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Wednesday, November 30, 2011

SSPX Cannot Accept the Preamble As It Is...

From the Vatican Insider:

It is true that this Doctrinal Preamble cannot receive our endorsement, although leeway has been allowed for a “legitimate discussion” about certain points of the Council.  What is the extent of this leeway?  The proposal that I will make in the next few days to the Roman authorities and their response in turn will enable us to evaluate our remaining options.  And whatever the result of these talks may be, the final document that will have been accepted or rejected will be made public.” 

This was the much awaited reply given by Bishop Bernard Fellay of the Society of Saint Pius X, to Vatican authorities. Last September, following a series of doctrinal talks between Lefebvrians and the Holy See, the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith delivered the doctrinal preamble text to the Lefebvrians. The Vatican made it clear that it considered their agreement to the points made in the document, vital, if they were to enter into full communion again with the Catholic Church. This would also make it possible for the Church to offer them some canonical status.

The interview published by Fellay in the Society’s official online bulletin ( reveals that attached to the Preamble, was a note, explaining that Lefebvrians could ask for clarifications in order to suggest any modifications. However, the heads of the Pontifical Commission Ecclesia Dei, the Prefect of the Doctrine of the Faith, Cardinal William Levada and Mgr. Guido Pozzo, are of the opinion that no substantial changes can be made to the document.

In actual fact, in the Preamble, the Society was asked to sign the “Professio fidei”, a requirement for anyone who assumes an ecclesiastical office. Three steps of assent are required for the profession of the Catholic faith which distinguishes between revealed truths, dogmatic declarations and ordinary Church teaching. In terms of the latter, the Church states that Catholics are called to guarantee “religious respect of intellect and will” for the teachings that the Pope and the college of bishops “put forward when they exercise their authentic teaching,” even if these are not proclaimed in a dogmatic way, as is the case with most of the Magisterium’s documents.

The Holy See has not therefore excluded the possibility of keeping discussions open on certain points of the Second Vatican Council which the Lefebvrians still consider problematic. The path towards a potential agreement with the Brotherhood still seems to be all uphill and there have been rumours over the past few weeks of a strong internal opposition to the Vatican proposal.
The interviewer asked Fellay: “Given that this document is not very clear, wouldn’t it have been simpler to tell your Vatican interlocutors that it could not be taken into consideration?” “The simplest thing, perhaps, but not the most honest - the Brotherhood’s Superior replied - Since the note that accompanies it foresees the possibility of making clarifications, to me it seems necessary to ask for them instead of refusing them a priori.  This in no way prejudges the response that we will give.”

The Lefebvrian bishop stated that the only eternal doctrine is the Creed, the profession of the Catholic faith, while “the Second Vatican Council” was a pastoral council “which did not define dogmas and did not add any new articles of faith such as “I believe in religious freedom, in ecumenism, in collegiality…” Today, is the Creed no longer sufficient for being recognised as Catholics? Does it not convey the Catholic faith in its entirety?” The bishop seemed to say that the Creed and not the Preamble, which contains the “Professio fidei”, is the common text that the Brotherhood would be prepared to subscribe its name to.

It is obvious that the interview did not provide the final response. The Superior of the Society of Saint Pius X is well aware of the internal oppositions with regard to the agreement with Rome, particularly among Lefebvrian leaders. In the written text that will be sent to the Vatican authorities, it appears he will be asking for substantial changes to the Doctrinal Preamble: the fact that the current text “was not met with approval” within the Society, clearly shows that it was not just the commas or the nuances that cause disagreement, but essential aspects of the document. The game is therefore not over yet, and the ball is now in the Vatican’s court as the Lefebvrians await a response to their reply.

 This is getting interesting now....because the brass tacks are out of the package.  Before I comment further though, I think that to use the term "Lefebvrians" is a subtle ploy to separate them and as a traditional Catholic, I find it to be in bad taste.  They are not a sect.  They have difficulty with aspects of Vatican Council II, precisely because it is holding the Church dogmatically and doctrinally accountable for things which are not dogmatic or doctrinal, but rather pastoral.

That is whole crux of the SSPX's argument.

Another thing that must be understood is that this is a preamble.  It is something by it's very nature needs further definition into a formal document, much like the Constitution of the United States.  It states clear intention, but in and of itself there is nothing definitive in the preamble.

The place where this becomes difficult for me, personally, is the fact that both sides are unwilling to really move.  The Holy See won't recognize the issues the SSPX have and the SSPX won't move.  There must be development position.  The Church doesn't sit still, she never has.  But in this age of relativism and dichotomy, I can understand the hesitation to move forward.  Especially since everything points to Vatican Council II being investigated by the Holy See.

If there is a hermeneutic of rupture with the Mass, it begs the question, what else was ruptured?  That is the question the SSPX is asking.  It is a legitimate question, because whether we (mainstream Catholics) like it or not, it is largely due to the SSPX that the EF has the liberty that it does.  1984 was because of Lefebvre.  1988 was directly because of Lefebvre.  2007 was because of the SSPX.  there is no getting around it.  The Holy See has made concessions and they are good concessions, but now the SSPX is (and always has) saying that there is more trouble here than just the liturgy.  Yes, the liturgy is the more visible issue and thank God Papa Ratzinger saw that and loosened the chains, but there are bigger theological issues than the Mass.

1.  Religious Tolerance
2.  Ecclesiology
3.  The Magisterium of Vatican Council II

Are still left on the table, without any real, clear explanation....

Now, I don't know everything about this, obviously, but I've been following all of this very closely for years.  At least since my days of living in Detroit ('02-'06), where I had friends who assisted at an SSPX chapel...

On a personal note, I want desperately for the SSPX to reconcile with Holy Mother Church, but I don't want the SSPX to become a simple vassal or a shell of what they are.  It is the diversity and strength of men like Fellay, which the Church needs today.  It's just that the SSPX has questions which need an answer...and they are legitimate questions....but alas, as are many things today, the leadership of the Church is not willing or not able to answer the questions they put forth.  Please don't get me wrong, the SSPX needs to move toward the position of the Church as well...there has to be a suitable answer for some of the questions they are asking.

I hope that there is resolution, but I don't want an unauthentic resolution from either side.  That's not good for anyone.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

In the End, Validity Isn't Enough

I cannot in good conscience say that the new translation adds any sort of continuity to the EF.  The break is still there.  The translation is simply that, a translation.  The problems with the liturgy still exist. 

I don't think that there can be any concrete comparison to the EF, until the OF adapts it's rubrics to be more contiguous.  Words are simply words and while this translation is nice and all, it doesn't change anything theologically with the Editio Typica.  The Editio Typica is what needs reform, not simply calling a new English Translation a reform.  We're missing the forest for one tree if we do that.

My contention is this:

1.  Eliminate the vernacular as a normative language, it was never meant to be so.
2.  Restore (read: reform) the rubrics to be contiguous with the EF.
3.  Promulgate an Editio Quarta, which theologically speaks to the mystery of the sacrifice as opposed to focusing on the Institution Narrative.
4.  Restore (read: reform) the externals of the church proper (ie. ad orientem worship, communion rails).
5.  Restore (read: reform) the proper distinctions between low and High Mass with proper use of ceremonials, including Asperges as a separate part and the return of the Confitieor as a mandatory prayer.
6.  Eliminate the "bidding prayers" and return the traditional Offertory prayers.

This in my humble opinion would be a real start.  Until then, I can't see any real reform taking place.

 In this case, with regard to the translation, we're not talking about "the words that matter."  Those words that matter would be the Latin words.  We are talking about the translation of the words that matter.  We've seen for 40 years that the vernacular words don't really matter.  Case in point..."for all."  If the translated words mattered, the Mass would have substantially been changed, and invalidated.  But it wasn't, because pro multis didn't change.  Therefore, when I speak about a translation, I mean precisely that, it is a translation.  For 40 years we've had a bad one.  Now we have a better one.  But, my contention is that we don't need any translation.  Latin is good.  Not good enough.  Not one of several options, but in the Thomistic sense, Latin is good.

We should simply do away with all translations and restore (read: return) to the Latin as the normative language.  The majority of the world not Algonquin.  The majority of the world is not Slovakian.  The majority of the world is from a country that is not faced with the issues that preclude Latin.  We need to follow the mandate of Vatican Council II on this.

My point remains....there will be no real return to continuity until such time as the rubrics are reformed (read:replaced) with a more continuous rendering.

In this particular case, words don't matter...they are just a translation of what does.  What does matter, in this case, is the action.  Lex orandi, lex credendi works both ways.

The translation is nice, but it is one tree.  One that should eventually be cut down, so the forest can grow.

What I'm saying is that regardless of the translation, the Mass is valid.  The issue with English words, just being words, is that validity isn't the issue when dealing with translation.  If it were, then "for all" would have been dealt with much earlier.

My point is this.  The Novus Ordo is not ideal.  It is a break with Tradition.  It is fabricated and while it is valid, because the words of consecration, in Latin, are not and have not been altered; it leaves much to be desired. If the TLM is to enrich the Novus Ordo, then it should do so, not in the application of a translation, but in the rubrics.  Since 1970, we've seen the rubrics slowly stripped away.  Why?  It is my contention that it has been done to make the Mass more palatable to the Protestant.  This was already done by abandoning our sacred language, in favor of the language of the people.  Which was and is a mistake, in my estimation (I know that my estimation means nothing, I digress).

Continuity can be achieved in the manner I have been putting forth recently.  I'm not calling for the end of the Novus Ordo.  I don't have to. The Novus Ordo will fail on it's own over time.  We must simply endure until the Traditional Mass makes a full return to becoming "the ordinary form."
Again, validity isn't the only matter, but when the theology has been utterly and completely stripped away from the Mass, save just enough to remain valid, that is all we have to go on.  Compared to the TLM, the Novus Ordo teaches us very little, save for the idea that we are Church and that the community is the celebrant and that the priest merely presides, like a bishop in cope and mitre on the throne.

At what point do we say enough?  We have the right, because it was given to us in Redemptionis Sacramentum to make abuses known.  The biggest abuse regarding the Novus Ordo isn't just that it is said in the vernacular, or that the rubrics are stripped, or that the music is just awful.  No.  The biggest abuse regarding the Novus Ordo is that Catholics have had their patrimony taken away with regard to the liturgical action and we must simply sit back and watch our heritage float away, like the smoke that has crept into the Church.

This is a monsterously huge issue.  And it is one that if we are going to be authentic to the Liturgical Movement, we have to stop coddling "Study Group 10" and Bugnini and start engaging in what Dom Gueranger really intended in the movement.  If we keep supporting and keep promoting this minimalist notion of validity is enough and licit actions will certainly come if we just wait, we'll stay in this same holding pattern of constant revision and more revision and more revision until there is nothing left.

In 40 years the Novus Ordo is coming very close to matching the number of revisions the TLM had in 500.  That should be seen as a problem.  Catholics, in general, should take the wool and remove it from their eyes...This isn't an issue about validity.  The Novus Ordo is valid, but being valid isn't enough.

What would happen if we took the traditions away from the Jews?  Or the Muslims?  Or the Hindi?  Or the Protestants?  What would happen?  Look at what happened when we tried this with the Uniate Churches....

What was unforseen by "Study Group 10," Bugnini, and Pope Paul VI is that their idea would fail and that Catholics would see that there is no continuity between the Novus Ordo and the TLM.  And that Catholics would speak up.  They thought their master plan was foolproof, but in the end, the actions of men trying to replace Sacred Tradition is proving to be foolhardy, not foolproof.

So, in the end, my opinion is just my opinion, but it is based in fact.  It isn't an easy opinion to hold and it is hard to grasp, but I'd rather latch on to what Dom Gueranger and Pope St. Pius X were trying to do, as opposed to what Bugnini and Pope Paul VI actually did do.  For it is with the former that the authentic Liturgical Movement lies, not with the latter.

ETA:  Update...Father Zuhlsdorf has posted at WDTPRS and it is absolutely consistent with my view....

Monday, November 28, 2011

Thousands of Hours? Really?

So, at Holy Mass on Sunday morning, Father preached a little about the changes...I was at a TLM, so it didn't really apply.  I think that he was trying to make a correlation, but it didn't quite work.  Anyhow, during his homily he brought up a point that was curious to those of us who assist at the TLM.

Father mentioned that the persons who translated the Latin to the "more faithful" vernacular spent THOUSANDS of hours pouring over the translations to make sure they were more accurate.  We were very confused by this, because it sure seems to us that all the work had already been done.  All we had to do was open our hand missals and start reading the right hand side of the page.  The translations in our 1962 hand missals are "slavishly" accurate.

The question is, "Why the THOUSANDS of hours pouring over the translations, when any 1962 hand missal already had a faithful and accurate translation done?"

We were/are perplexed....

Thursday, November 24, 2011

The Difference Between "What If" "If Only" And "Why Not?"

I recently read a blog post from Southern Orders:

What's wrong with this for the post-Vatican II reformed Mass (Ordinary Form)?
UGH! After renovation! Please note that the renovated sanctuary is on the other side of the altar railing which they kept oddly enough, but now behind the new altar or sanctuary. Were they confused? But at least the old was save and could easily be restored by ripping out the new which I suspect will happen one day if not already!
UGH! After renovation!
Why not? Before Renovation! Was renovation really needed for the post Vatican II Mass? I say no! What a waste of time, energy and money!
What if the reform of the Mass had not led to the reform of Church buildings and the sanctuary in particular? If only the reform of the Mass had been carried out without the reform of sanctuaries or what many call the iconoclasm of these sanctuaries that rivaled the destruction of Catholic sanctuaries during the height of the Calvinistic movement during the Protestant Reformation. Why not revisit the Catholic sanctuary as it was traditionally designed and recover what was tossed out?

I think the liturgical renewal was derailed by the destruction of Catholic Church sanctuaries after Vatican II and unnecessarily so. The liturgical renewal was derailed by the horrible examples of post-Vatican II architecture that abounds in the USA today and elsewhere. Music is a separate problem for another article but also derailed authentic renewal too!

My first paragraph should not be construed as opposing the reform of the Mass because quite frankly I love the reformed Mass when celebrated reverently and as the General norms and rubrics indicate. That doesn't mean that I don't love the extra-ordinary form either. I do and if I had a congregation that appreciated that and wanted it every day, they would get it.

The reason that I love both is because both are the same at least when it comes to its dogma and doctrine although their spirituality and theology may differ a bit.

But back to my main premise: why did we have to deconstruct the Catholic Sanctuary for the reformed Mass? Was it necessary? I say no and that has been a long time in coming as I would have been a "champion" for renovating sanctuaries in the early 1980's. (One day I'll reprint an article I wrote for our diocesan newspaper in 1981 extolling the renovation of Saint Teresa Church in Albany, Georgia by none other than Rambusch! You'll be shocked by what I wrote!) But when I saw what was accomplished by these renovations I realized that nothing really was and that in fact it had a deleterious effect rather than a positive effect upon the Catholicity and spirituality of the congregations which did renovate radically.

You can have a beautifully celebrated Ordinary Form of the Mass in a traditional sanctuary all the while still involving the laity both in interior and exterior participation, reading the scriptures and being Extraordinary Ministers of Holy Communion when needed.

You could still have altar railings and kneel for Holy Communion without damaging the intent of the reform of the Mass that is the Paul VI Missal.

You can still celebrate the Liturgy of the Eucharist ad orientem and still have people understanding why and what is happening at the altar.

So, I say, let's recover the pre-Vatican II altar for the post-Vatican II Mass even if that altar is pulled away from the reredos and free-standing allowing for either Ad Orientem or facing the people but keeping the so-called "Benedictine arrangement" for whatever way is chosen (although I prefer the six candles behind the priest on a reredos if the priest is facing the people, but with a crucifix dead center, but low on the altar facing the priest). "Why not?"

This is my response:

I agree with EVERYTHING you're saying Father.  But I have one question for you, have you made the changes to using the traditional arrangement of the sanctuary, ad orientem, communion rails, etc. full time yet?
The difference between "what if" and "if only" and "why not" v. "done" are the priests and bishops.  If it is kept in the realm of the theoretical, it will only stay a theory.  This isn't a theory, it should be a reality.
I challenge any priest, bishop or edcuated layman to show where the changes implemented after Vatican Council II were implemented. 
The faithful will adapt.  YOU must lead.
I hope that you're practicing what you preach.  As a layman, I want what you advocate.  I speak about it on my blog often.  (If you're curious, click on my name and check it out)  The priests are afraid of their bishops and the bishops are afraid of the liberals.  That is why none of this is done, save a very, very few who have courage enough to stand up and say, enough is enough.  Bishop Slattery comes to mind.  The late Mons. Richard Schuler (my mentor) is another.
Liturgically, the Church has been hijacked by the Protestant mentality.  Bottom line.  We take the Protestant out of the Mass and the move to what you're advocating is simple.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Key Reading to Understanding the History of the Liturgical Revolt After Vatican Council II

Sacrosanctum Concilium
The Reform of the Liturgy
The Development of the Liturgical Reform
The Bugnini Liturgy and the Reform of the Reform
The Organic Development of the Liturgy
Looking at the Liturgy
The Spirit of the Liturgy
The Holy Mass
The Holy Sacrifice of the Mass: Dogmatically, Liturgically, and Ascetically Explained

These works are the key to understanding the crisis we have in the Church today, liturgically. There are more books written, but these speak directly to the issue that is at hand. In order to be able to coherently speak to the issue, one must study the issue. I've read all of these books and others over the last 15 years. If we are to follow the mandate of Vatican Council II and know our faith, this is the first place to start, because it is this place which most Catholics see their faith in a concrete way.

I know others will have other sources, but these are the most important in my very humble opinion.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Advent Wreaths Drive Me Batty....

The Advent Wreath --  It drives me batty, from a liturgical point of view that we're inserting a completely Protestant idea into the Mass.  The advent wreath is Lutheran.  Insofar as this is the case, there is no place for it a Catholic sanctuary, let alone creating some sort of solemn blessing and lighting, as is wont to do in many different Catholic places.  I cannot abide anything Protestant in a Catholic setting.

I suppose that if one wants to have this in their home, c'est la vie.  But, as it is, I am opposed to putting up the Christmas tree before Christmas Eve.  A Christmas Tree should be up for the Christmas season, not Advent and 1 week of is illogical and materialistic.

Don't get me wrong, I'm a HUGE fan of Christmas, I think that it is the best time of the year.  I love getting together with my family and friends, but I also love Advent.  It creates a great sense of want, which is what it is supposed to do.

But the Advent about we just keep track of the weeks and mark Gaudete Sunday with Rose!!!!!!  That is a wonderful expression of joy in a time of Penance.

 If the Advent Wreath is considered to be part of the "broader sense" as liturgy, then Bugnini and his fellows have accomplished their goals.  The liturgy is the liturgy precisely because it is established formulas, prayers, rites and rubrics.  The liturgy is a definable position governed by laws which the Church put forth.  Not something by which the Protestant idea can be inserted into the Catholic Mass.

If it is desirable that one would like to define all of the Protestant things described as being para-liturgical that's one thing, but to include something which is not Catholic into the liturgy, then that is what makes it illicit.

I do object to Protestant the origins of this being used in a Catholic setting, because in today's world, we are not allowed to make Protestant things Catholic.  We must acknowledge them as Protestant and simply say they are that used in a Catholic setting.  Whereas, in times gone by, the idea of Christmas trees, wreaths, etc...were given a Catholic connotation over time and the non-Catholic or non-Christian view was completely eliminated.  As a matter of fact, making those changes were a way to evangelize non-Christians into becoming Christian.  How is using the Advent Wreath a way to catechize the Lutheran into reverting into being Catholic and where is the concrete application of that, from an authoritative Catholic point of view?  It won't be done, so what's left is to compare apples and oranges and do this in the name of ecumenism.  That simply isn't the case, it is a false sense of ecumenism as defined traditionally in the Church.

 If the Advent Wreath is used to draw people into the liturgical year, then we are using a Protestant idea as a draw, without the catechesis from the Church that was used in years gone by, as with the Christmas tree or other greenery.  The Advent Wreath was not and is not used as a catechetical point, but rather it is used as a decoration with a religious connotation.  And it is that connotation I take issue with, whether it be at home, in a store or in our churches, because that is not authentically Catholic.

This is not a hypothetical "can be done" issue, because we all know that it will not be done in today's arena of Christian political correctness, which dominates the catechetical life of Holy Mother Church.  Had the Advent Wreath taken on a connotation which is inherently Catholic or could be used to provide solid catechetical proofs for the Church, then I would sing a different song.  If the Church can provide sound Catholic catechesis which draws upon the Advent wreath from some source text of the Church, I am open to using it.  If it cannot/will not be done, then the point stands as a general principle for Catholicism.

Ultimately, the question becomes this, "Why should a Catholic family adopt a Protestant idea?"  I said that the family, based upon a mature decision could engage in something like this, but in today's Catholic world the assumption is that the family will not make a mature decision and that the catechesis should be as innocuous and dumbed down as possible, if even used at all.  Often times, the use of a Protestant notion is simply put into practice as being "ecumenical," which completely undermines the traditional understanding of Religious Tolerance, which I have spoken of before.

Monday, November 21, 2011

What a Wonderful Day!

Yesterday, the last Sunday after Pentecost (or Christ the King, if you're a Novus Ordo Catholic), I had the opportunity to spend the day with some very good friends of mine and a very new friend of mine.  I would like to elaborate, because this is a perfect example of what we, as Catholics, should be doing with regard to the inherently Catholic idea of Religious Tolerance.

One thing before I start; I've mentioned this before but it bears repeating:

1.  Ecuemnism = Religious conversion of the Orthodox
2.  Evangelization = Religious conversion of the non-Christian
3.  Catechesis = Religious education and reversion/conversion of the Protestant

This is a story about catechesis and how being Catholic is enough.

I had the chance yesterday to go to Holy Mass in Des Moines and assist at the TLM.  Once Holy Mass was complete, my friends the Nandell's and I made our way over to St. Aidan's Anglican Church.  There we met (the Nandell's for the first time) Fr. Chori (pronounced Cory) Jonathin Seraiah (pronounced Ser-I-ah) and his family.  They truly are a wonderful family and his conversion story is amazing.  I would have you read his blog, The Maccabean to get a good idea of his views...

As we met at St. Aidan's we find their "Mass" finishing up.  The sanctuary is small and the Church is tiny, but the Mass, from all intents and purposes looks Catholic.  Father is saying the post communion, and making the final blessings as Dave, Heather, the boys and I are walking in.  Immediately both boys get wide eyed, if only for a moment and Harrison says something to his mom about how cool it looks.  That is a good sign.

We go downstairs and the conversation as the gets going I can see my two sets of friends starting to become comfortable and when Fr. Seraiah makes a comment about a particularly sensitive subject about Catholic teaching, I literally see all of the apprehension wash away from the room.  The Catholics and the Anglicans are getting along.

We move to the Seraiah's home for more conversation and a meal (which was absolutely fantastic) and the conversation continues to be inquisitive, because David and Father are still getting to know one another. (I should mention that the two wives are having their own conversation in the kitchen and the children are outside and downstairs playing).  As the conversation continues, I sit back and listen to how Catholic Father Seraiah is and I listen and watch David get more and more comfortable.  Bottom line, a new friendship is born and I think that it is a good thing.

We start comparing notes on the similarities of the two worship services and the inherently Catholic nature of that which isn't Catholic, yet.  With the exception of roughly three prayers and the omission of one prayer, the Masses are exactly the same.  Caveat:  I am speaking of the TLM, not the Novus Ordo.  The biggest difference, with the one glaring  issue (validity), is that the TLM is in Latin and the American Missal (Anglican) is in English.  Not modern English, but a very High Elizabethan English.  So, it isn't exactly the vernacular, but it is still intelligible.  If one is not used to hearing it or reading it, it can be difficult to hear, because the modern person is not used to the styling.  And that is a good thing.  On another note, there is nothing prohibiting Mass in Latin, they just normally don't do it.

Back to the conversation we progress through the meal, come to find that the oldest daughter is as astute about religion as anyone.  She has a very traditional sense about her and it is very developed.  I would like to commend her for not abandon the importance of religion...there is certainly something refreshing in seeing what she had to say.  It wasn't much (for she is a child and she knew that she should pick her words carefully, not that she shouldn't be heard or speak, she certainly has that right), but it was very good to see a young person who understands the nature of religion.

As the time together grew short and as the friendship became clear, the reality sunk in, St. Aidan's is coming into the Catholic Church.  Fr. Seraiah and his family are converting.  Fr. Seraiah and his parish are converting. St. Aidan's, in Des Moines, is going to become part of the new Anglican Ordinariate, which will be erected on January 1.  There are a number of steps that must be followed,  and the time frame on these steps will become exposed in the next few weeks.  The erection of the Ordinariate must happen first and there is a date!  That is exciting.  Fr. Seriah will become a Catholic priest.  St. Aidan's will become a Catholic Ordinariate parish.

We are on the cusp of something that has not happened in a millennium.  We will see an entire ecclesial communion become Catholic.  This is the reason for understanding Religious Tolerance.  We simply cannot, as Catholics, live and let live.  If salvation is to be found only in the Catholic Church, then we must look at this process as necessary.  We have a privilege in Des Moines, that we can observe and participate in this first hand.  It is through a proper understanding of Religious Tolerance that the leaders of the Anglicans who are coming into the Church made their decision and it is through a proper understanding of Religious Tolerance that the Holy Father initiated this.

As Fr. Seraiah is quick to point out, they already feel Catholic, now they just need to be received.  That isn't an ecumenical view, that isn't an evangelical view.  That is the view of a group of people who think they are Catholic and simply need to be catechized.  That is a catechetical view.

May all of this happen quickly.  Please pray for the parish of St. Aidan's.  Please pray for Fr. Chori Jonathin Seraiah.  Please pray for his family.  Please pray that this unifying action is a concrete example for other ecclesial communions.

It is amazing that the bounds love God has for his creation is unlimited.  Welcome home, St. Aidan's, welcome home Fr. Seraiah.  Yesterday (11/20/2011) was a wonderful day!

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Expanding the Liberal Hoax Idea...

I am melding together some posts from other sites I've participated in recently...I will include the post from yesterday incorporated into this post as well, but I think that the idea is fascinating and a very fresh idea on Traditionalism...

There is room for traditional and liberal Catholics, but worship is not a place for politics. What I am advocating isn't political, it is simply a return to what Vatican Council II envisioned. Show me where any of the things that I have mentioned previously in this [site] were explicitly stated to be removed or replaced in the Mass, using the documents of Vatican Council II. You won't be able to do it, because they are not there. Everything I have advocated is fully supported by Vatican Council II and everything I have put forth in this post is 100% apolitical. There isn't one thing political about it, unless the liberals who don't like it make it so. Because I can guarantee you there isn't a traditional Catholic who has one iota of trouble accepting what the Church wants liturgically.

So, liberals be liberal, but don't project liberalism onto the Mass or any other liturgical or Sacramental action. My call for a return to what the Mass should be isn't political, it is anti-political. I am literally trying to take the liberal agenda away from the Mass and restore the patrimony to what it has been intended to be. Liberals bemoan this and say it is political, because that is how liberals operate. Traditionalists usually don't, they are mostly apolitical or anti-political, trying to eliminate the politics of the modern world from those things which are Catholic and have no political meaning or need.

Yes, but liberalism in the Church prior to the Ecclesiastical and Social revolutions of the 1960s meant something different.

Political liberalism, as defined today (rooted in 1950s and 60s socio-theological circles) in the Church was not the same type of ecclesiastical liberalism that existed in the times of Benedict XV and Pius IX. Their brand of liberalism was largely one of theological hypothesis, as opposed to the truly liberal who has distorted and maligned great works such as Rerum Novarum, etc...

I think that the brand of liberalism TODAY is what was Modernism (the heresy) then.

My point is that liberalism wasn't the same thing then as it is today. Looking at how Newman defined liberalism, I have no problem with. It is different than how I view things, but the times were different. And the ideologues were different.

It was once said that Paul VI made the grievous error of "eliminating" heresy from Catholic nomenclature, when he wouldn't condemn certain actions that were taking place during the 1960s and 1970s, which his predecessors were quick to control. I think that I agree with that.

I also think that Catholic liberalism and the ensuing shift to Modernism with regard to the Church in the 1960s and 1970s was strongly influenced by the Kennedy family and the East Coast cardinals and bishops, who followed Paul VI model.

Finally, I think that the biggest problem with the shift to Modernism from authentic liberalism was the idea of aggiornamento. It was this mindset which set the Church leaders down the path they have taken over these last 50 years. So much so that cardinals like Bernadin and Mahoney and Keeler; and bishops like Gumbleton and Clark and Weakland are perfectly legitimate in promoting the errors they promoted and still promote, yet bishops like Lefevbre and Castro De Mayer are demonized for holding on to Catholic tradition.

I said two days ago, that my call for a return to what the Mass should be isn't political, it is anti-political. I am literally trying to take the liberal agenda away from the Mass and restore the patrimony to what it has been intended to be. Liberals bemoan this and say it is political, because that is how liberals operate. Traditionalists usually don't, they are mostly apolitical or anti-political, trying to eliminate the politics of the modern world from those things which are Catholic and have no political meaning or need.

This can be applied to all aspects of the Church, not just Sacramental theology, it's just that Sacramental theology is the most visible. I firmly believe that. The polarization has come from the left. Those of us who are traditional just want the Church to be viewed in the same light it always was.

There are humans who choose by their actions to refuse redemption. The Catholic revolt of the 1960s (not revolution) didn't keep things the same. There was a rupture or break in Tradition. This much is perfectly clear.

I stand firm in saying that Modernism (heresy) poisoned authentic liberalism in the 1960s and 1970s for the reasons listed above.

Yes, I'll pray for those who are Modernist, but the prayer is that they recant the Modernist heresy and return to an authentic liberal ideologue. By their choice to adhere to the Modernist heresy, they aren't irredeemable, but rather they refuse redemption.

Again, like I said below, aggiornamento (thank you John XXIII and Paul VI), led Pope Paul to make the now famous statement, "It is as if from some mysterious crack, no, it is not mysterious, from some crack the smoke of Satan has entered the temple of God."

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Liberalism...the Hoax Exposed....

There is room for traditional and liberal Catholics, but worship is not a place for politics. What I am advocating isn't political, it is simply a return to what Vatican Council II envisioned. Show me where any of the things that I have mentioned previously in this blog were explicitly stated to be removed or replaced in the Mass, using the documents of Vatican Council II. You won't be able to do it, because they are not there. Everything I have advocated is fully supported by Vatican Council II and everything I have put forth in this post is 100% apolitical. There isn't one thing political about it, unless the liberals who don't like it make it so. Because I can guarantee you there isn't a traditional Catholic who has one iota of trouble accepting what the Church wants liturgically.

So, liberals be liberal, but don't project liberalism onto the Mass or any other liturgical or Sacramental action. My call for a return to what the Mass should be isn't political, it is anti-political. I am literally trying to take the liberal agenda away from the Mass and restore the patrimony to what it has been intended to be. Liberals bemoan this and say it is political, because that is how liberals operate. Traditionalists usually don't, they are mostly apolitical or anti-political, trying to eliminate the politics of the modern world from those things which are Catholic and have no political meaning or need.

The Anglican Ordinariate

Cardinal Wuerl has made it known that the Ordinariate will begin on 1 Jan 2012 in the USA.

Here is a Q and A about the Ordinariate...from the USCCB website....

Anglicanorum Coetibus: Questions & Answers


What is Anglicanorum coetibus?

This is an apostolic constitution issued by Pope Benedict XVI in November 2009 that authorized the creation of "ordinariates," geographic regions similar to dioceses but typically national in scope. Parishes in these ordinariates are to be Catholic yet retain elements of the Anglican heritage and liturgical practices. They are to be led by an "ordinary," who will have a role similar to a bishop, but who may be either a bishop or a priest.
Note: Anglicanorum coetibus is pronounced Anglican-orum chay-tee-boose.

Why did Pope Benedict authorize this?

Anglicanorum coetibus was a response to repeated and persistent inquiries from Anglican groups worldwide who were seeking to become Catholic. Ordinariates seek to provide a way for these groups to enter in "corporate reunion"; that is, as a group and not simply as individuals. This will allow them to retain their Anglican liturgical heritage and traditions.

Is there an ordinariate for the United States?

How many ordinariates are there?

The first ordinariate, Our Lady of Walsingham, was established for England and Wales on January 15, 2011, bythe Vatican. The ordinariate is led by Monsignor Keith Newton, a former Anglican bishop who is married and was ordained a Catholic priest. The ordinariate in England and Wales now includes approximately 1,000 Catholics. . . , 42 groups. . . located throughout the country and a growing number of priests and permanent deacons, with others in formation. Among its priests are five former Anglican bishops. Ordinariates also are under consideration in Australia and Canada.

What is the timeline for actions related to the ordinariate in the United States?

  • In September 2010, Cardinal Donald Wuerl, Archbishop of Washington, was asked by the Vatican's Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (CDF) to be its delegate for the implementation of Anglicanorum coetibus in the United States.
  • The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops created an ad hoc committee that includes Cardinal Wuerl, Bishop Kevin Vann of Fort Worth and Bishop Robert McManus of Worcester to assist the CDF with implementation of the document and to assess interest in an ordinariate for the United States. Fr. Scott Hurd, a priest of the Archdiocese of Washington, was named as a staff liaison to the committee.
  • Over the next several months , Cardinal Wuerl received inquiries from numerous groups and parishes interested in potentially joining an ordinariate. Some are currently part of The Episcopal Church and others, though Anglican, are not part of The Episcopal Church. Cardinal Wuerl presented the findings to the United States bishops at their Spring Meeting in June 2011.
  • At the Spring Meeting, Cardinal Wuerl stated that there was sufficient interest to move forward with establishing an ordinariate in the United States.
  • In September and October 2011, two communities (one in Fort Worth, Texas, the other in Bladensburg, MD) were received into the Catholic Church with the intention of eventually being part of the ordinariate.
  • At the Fall Meeting of the United States bishops in November 2011, Cardinal Wuerl announced that Pope Benedict XVI had approved the creation of an ordinariate in the United States.The canonical establishment of the ordinariate will take place on January 1, 2012, the Solemnity of Mary, Mother of God. An ordinary for the United States will be named at that time.

Is there a difference between Episcopal and Anglican?

Parishes that are part of The Episcopal Church belong to the worldwide Anglican Communion, under the spiritual direction of the Archbishop of Canterbury in England. Thus, they are both Episcopalian and Anglican. However, other Christians in the United States identify themselves as Anglican, but are not part of the Anglican Communion. These Christians therefore are Anglican, but not Episcopalian.

How does an ordinariate work?

According to the Complementary Norms for the Apostolic Constitution Anglicanorum coetibus, issued in November 2009, an ordinariate is "juridically comparable to a diocese."
An ordinary (an individual with a role similar to a bishop) who may be a bishop or a priest - is appointed by the Pope and is a voting member of the Episcopal Conference. If a priest is married, as Monsignor Keith Newton, the Ordinary for Our Lady of Walsingham is, he may not be ordained a bishop.
The ordinary exercises his responsibilities in collaboration with local diocesan bishops, and is assisted by a Governing Council, Finance Council and Pastoral Council.
The Governing Council has the rights and responsibilities that Canon Law gives to a diocesan College of Consultors and Presbyteral Council. In addition, the Governing Council must give consent for an ordinary to (1) admit a candidate to Holy Orders; (2) erect or suppress a personal parish or house of formation; or (3) approve a formation program. The Governing Council advises on formation and also submits a terna of names to the Holy See when it is time to appoint a new ordinary. Half of the Council's members are to be elected by the priests of the ordinariate.

Is there precedent for this?

These ordinariates are new in that they will provide a way for Anglicansto enter the Church in a corporate manner; that is, as a group or community, while also retaining some of their Anglican heritage and traditions. However, there are other Catholic ordinariates. One that many people are familiar with is the Archdiocese for the Military Services, USA, which has responsibility for Catholics serving in the U.S. armed services worldwide and which works in collaboration with local bishops.

How does this differ from the "pastoral provision"?

The pastoral provision was established by Pope John Paul II in 1980 to provide a way for individual Episcopal priests, including those who may be married, to be ordained Catholic priests for dioceses in the United States. It also allowed Anglican parishes to become Catholic parishes or chaplaincies within existing dioceses. Since 1980, three parishes and a number of smaller groups have been established. They are commonly referred to as "Anglican Use" communities, since they use The Book of Divine Worship in their liturgies, a Vatican-approved Catholic resource that reflects traditional Anglican prayers and formularies.
Anglicanorum coetibus is new in two ways: it applies to the world, not solely the United States, and it allows Anglican groups to be received into the Catholic Church - not through a local diocese, but through a new entity, an ordinariate that, though similar to a diocese, is national in scope and reflects Anglican liturgical and other traditions.

How many groups in the United States will enter the ordinariate when one is established?

Cardinal Wuerl reported to the U.S. bishops in June 2011 that inquiries had been received by many groups and that there was sufficient interest to proceed with the creation of an ordinariate in the United States. Since the June meeting, two communities have been received into the Catholic Church – one in Fort Worth, Texas, and the other in Bladensburg, Maryland.

How does this work?

Anglican priests seeking to enter the Catholic Church under an ordinariate may apply to be ordained as Catholic priests after a period of preparation. Community members also will undergo a formation period prior to their reception into the Church, studying the United States Catholic Catechism for Adults.
The liturgy in ordinariate parishes will be very similar to that of an Anglican liturgy. However, the parishes will use the Book of Divine Worship, which is a Vatican-approved Catholic liturgical book that is based upon historic Anglican liturgies.

How do groups come into the ordinariate?

Groups seeking to be part of the ordinariate will undergo a process of catechesis involving the use of the United States Catechism for Adults which has been approved by the ad hoc Committee on the Implementation of Anglicanorum coetibus.

Has an ordinary been named yet?

No. The canonical establishment of the ordinariate will take place on January 1, 2012, the Solemnity of Mary, Mother of God. An ordinary for the United States will be named at that time.

What news for the ordinariate was announced at the U.S. bishops' Fall Meeting?

At the Fall Meeting of the United States bishops in November 2011, Cardinal Wuerl announced that Pope Benedict XVI had approved the creation of an ordinariate in the United States. The canonical establishment of the ordinariate will take place on January 1, 2012, the Solemnity of Mary, Mother of God.
At the same time, Cardinal Wuerl confirmed that Bishop Kevin Vann of Fort Worth, Texas, will succeed Archbishop John Myers of Newark as the Ecclesiastical Delegate for the Pastoral Provision, through which married Anglican priests become diocesan priests in the Catholic Church.
While Bishop Vann's new role as Ecclesiastical Delegate for the Pastoral Provision and his continuing work on the establishment of the ordinariate are separate, they are related because both are concerned with Anglicans entering the Catholic Church

Monday, November 14, 2011

A Problem of Interpretation....

My friend Fr. Smith has a fascinating article at The Chant Cafe that I am going to repost here.  I also have a commentary which will follow.  Please do read:

Reports are coming in that Bishop Olmstead of Phoenix has promulgated a policy on Communion under both species much less restrictive than a document released earlier. It will be interesting to see if the Diocese of Madison will follow suit. “There has been much needless hurt over this issue,” Auxiliary Bishop Eduardo Nevares has stated.
But should this episode not lead us to ask the question, “What is the ultimate origin of this hurt?” Many were quick to blame Bishop Olmstead for the hurt because of enacting a policy, which, although it has now been retracted, is entirely permissible according to the Church’s liturgical law.
People all over the blogosphere were quick to turn to Church documents to support their positions for and against Olmstead’s now reversed decision. I was one of them, and even posted some of the pertinent documents in a post on Chant Café. As I watched the commentary on this issue develop, I came to realize something which frankly makes me quite uncomfortable. Everyone could appeal to authoritatively binding Church documents, without modifying or falsifying their meaning, for their position.
So this begs the question: what is the proper hierarchy of documents related to the liturgy? Theologians before the Second Vatican Council often used a system to rank the relative gravity of theological propositions: de fide divina, de fide ecclesiastica, and so on. That system has disappeared, and so there is a lack of clarity as what the weight of a papal encyclical is as opposed to, oh, for example, a note of the Vatican dicastery Iustitia et pax, or a comment made by the Pope in an interview on an airplane and an instruction of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.
This is not just a question for theology or liturgy nerds. Its answer is vital to communion in the Church. Now that Pope Benedict XVI’s principle of the hermeneutic of continuity has become the cornerstone for what some see as a proper interpretation, not only of the Second Vatican Council, but of everything in the life of the Church, we have to ask: how do we establish that hermeneutic?
Where the principles of establishing that hermeneutic are reversed, that reversal is going to be played out in ways which can engender confusion and ill will. When the Visitation of female Religious in America was announced, there were some Sisters who said that religious life had to be interpreted according to Gaudium et spes, while others said according to Perfectae caritatis. The Sisters who honestly reformed their communities according to the former have been treated with suspicion for not conforming to a certain interpretation of Perfectae caritatis. We can argue over how the reform of religious life was carried out, but was either principle false?
In liturgy, these tensions can be seen. Is Redemptionis sacramentum to be seen in the light of Sacrosanctum concilium or vice-versa? Is the Missal of Paul VI to be seen in the light of the Missal of St Pius V or vice-versa? If the Missal of Paul VI does not tell you how to incense an altar, can it be presupposed that you do so in the manner of the Missal of St Pius V? I have heard both sides on all of these questions. And these questions can be multiplied ad nauseam.
It would seem to me that, if we view Church documents as becoming more explicit as time goes on, then precedence should go to the most recent document. One assumes that with each successive document, the Church becomes more specific. If we take this to be the case, then the permission in MR 2002 for Communion under both species has to take into account 2004 Redemptionis sacramentum, which places Communion under both species in the context of the prohibition against the unnecessary multiplication of extraordinary ministers of Holy Communion, that also hearkens back to the 1997 document On Certain Questions Regarding the Collaboration of the non-Ordained Faithful in the Sacred Ministry of the Priest. Then the question becomes: which is more important: that the faithful receive under both species or the avoidance of the unnecessary multiplication of extraordinary ministers of Holy Communion?
(An aside: Yet seeing the most recent Church document as more explicit, and thus the driving force for interpretation, would mean that the Missal of St Pius V should be seen in the light of the Missal of Paul VI, and not vice-versa, contrary to what seems to be the thrust of Summorum pontificum and Universae ecclesiae. So which is it?)
Different people come down on different sides of the priority of MR 2002 vs, RS 2004 question, and that drives their response to what Olmstead did originally in Phoenix. The question of priority of document drives the answer to alot of questions.
I am reminded of the fact that, outside of the United States, both Communion under both species and extraordinary ministers of Holy Communion are comparatively rare. The Roman Pontiff in his Masses employs neither. Do those two facts have any meaning at all, or are they aberrations from what should be the norm? And if they are aberrations, why are they allowed to continue?
Against the bewildering plethora of liturgical documents in different times and places, with no discernible ranking as to their weight and authority, we have several levels of actual practice, which are in turn sometimes enshrined in law. We have the practice of the Roman Pontiff, we have the norms of the Universal Church, the norms of the Episcopal Conferences, the norms of individual Ordinaries, the policies and praxis of individual pastors, then of individual celebrants, and then the idiosyncracies of all of them. In turn, again, we have the multiplication of endless options in the liturgical books themselves for everything under the sun, and then the reality that there are many priests and communities that just do whatever they want.
There are some who argue that this is how the Church is supposed to be. The nature of the Church and the liturgy is such that all of this diversity is part of her constitution. The Church and the liturgy must be in eternal flux, just as the human experience itself.
But, does it not seem, that with every option, every nuance, every legitimate possibility at an increasingly differentiated number of levels, the possibilities for misunderstanding, hurt and the impairment of ecclesial communion increase exponentially? If the Second Vatican Council in Lumen gentium was all about helping us to discover the Church once again as Communion, which Joseph Ratzinger’s theology so eloquently argued that it was, then is it possible that the liturgical reform after Sacrosanctum concilium has hidden within it germs which threaten that very same communion?
There will be those who will gloat over Olmstead’s retraction of a policy barring Communion under both species. Who knows to what extent popular pressure or guidance from other Bishops or the Vatican had something to do with that volte-face. But in essence, it seems to me to be a Pyrrhic victory at best. The liturgical reform at present is a collection of competing rites, books, authorities, documents, and personalities. Those who see the retraction as a vindication of their position, and those of us who maintain that both the previous proposed and the now current policy are legitimate exercises of episcopal authority under the present liturgical law, do we not have to ask ourselves a more pressing question? Why does this situation exist, in which so many possibilities exist which are all equally legal and valid, and consequently set us all at each other’s throats?
The answer to this question cannot be discovered in denunciations of clericalism or papal authority, or appeals to one theological idea over another. We have to go back to basics: What is the point of the liturgy and how does it build up the communion of the Church? Guided by the Holy Spirit, may the entire Church, under the guidance of the hierarchy, untie the knots the liturgical reform has wrought in the life of the Ecclesia orans.
We are almost fifty years out from Vatican II. It is time for the growing pains that inevitably come with change and reform to stop. It is time for the heresy of formlessness which has characterized the last fifty years of liturgical chaos to be anathematized. It is time that we find a way in which the entire Latin Church can actually celebrate the liturgy in a way which respects diversity, but does not at the same time threaten the bonds of communion within the Church.

My response to Fr. Smith:

I want to take it upon myself to work through the following, since you, Fr. Ramil Fajardo, and I tried this several years ago in Chicago...

"This is not just a question for theology or liturgy nerds. Its answer is vital to communion in the Church. Now that Pope Benedict XVI’s principle of the hermeneutic of continuity has become the cornerstone for what some see as a proper interpretation, not only of the Second Vatican Council, but of everything in the life of the Church, we have to ask: how do we establish that hermeneutic?"

I think that the steps are these:

1. The rubrics of the Novus Ordo must be reworked to eliminate any and all ambiguity. I know that is a mighty undertaking, but necessary.
2. The orientation of the Mass must return to an oriented position.
3. The communion rail (or some facsimile therein) must return.
4. The use of Latin must become mandatory except for the most extraordinary of reasons.

That starts the discussion on the Liturgy. Now on to Catechesis:

1. I think that the Holy Father must create a universal and complete catechetical program.
2. He must oblige his bishops to follow this program.
3. He must oblige his bishops to TEACH the faithful as opposed to be an administrator of a conglomerate. (That is why bishops have chancellors, FYI).

This starts the discussion on catechesis. Now onto Catholic life:

1. Until recently, there was a time when there was a Catholic life in most towns, that needs to be resurrected.
2. This will fall on pastors and their "teams" to do. It really isn't that hard, most pastors grew up in that era and would recall how things were done. But, this cannot be done out of nostalgia, or simple reminiscing, but rather it must be done with an authentic goal of bringing a Catholic life back to the faithful.
3. This can be done in several ways...a) Devotions. Start them up again. If people have a reason to gather, they will. b) The Extraordinary Form. The Holy Father wants it, and it is a way to do "something new, different and en vogue" from a Catholic point of view. c) Offer Confession. I don't mean 15 minutes before Holy Mass, or by appointment. BTW, by doing the appointment thing, the secretary is then made aware of who is coming for confession and people don't come to confession, well, unless there is something to confess. And that starts the gossip mill, because we all know that the secretary is the biggest gossip in the parish, next to the curate (tongue-in-cheek, most parishes don't have a curate). d) Get girls out of the sanctuary. The existence of sodalities leads to grown up things for women like Altar and Rosary Societies, Legion of Mary, etc...If sodalities exist and the girls are encouraged to join, then several things happen....boys will start serving again, girls will have something special (because that is all the girls want), and vocations can be fostered (in both directions).

That starts the discussion on Catholic life. And finally:

We must get the faithful out of the sanctuary. Bottom line. There is no reason the priest (or deacon) cannot read the readings, bring the gifts over from the credence (eliminate the offertory procession, it is useless), and distribute Holy Communion. And for God's sake, please kick the cantor to the choir loft, with an organ....that is where they belong. (Pianos are still verboten, I have yet to find a document from the Holy See (recognitio) which lifts that little tome from Tra le Sollectitudini.) These are all extraordinary ministries which have been granted de facto status of being a right of the laity. Prior to the Bugnini reforms, the priest handled all of these things, why can't he today? The short answer is, he can. And the even shorter answer is that it is in his privy to do so. Will there be hurt feelings, sure; but that will last a week. Will there be talk, sure; but there will be talk anyways. So, I think that the sooner the pastor bites the bullet and does it, the better off he will be.

So, my dear Fr. Smith....this is how we establish the hermeneutic. Can it be done? You bet. Will it sting? You bet. Will the faithful be better off for it? You bet. Now is the time, with the new translation, they will be more open to change...but alas...we're just talking and realistically, nothing will be done....unless priests become more bold and start taking risks...there is more to being a pastor than making sure the parish reaches $5000/Mass per Sunday.

I'm just sayin'....

Trying to Bring Lapse Catholics Back....

Recently it has been mentioned that there is a movement afoot which is trying to bring back Catholics who have lapsed in England...An excerpt of what has been written in The Guardian;

It started at the weekend in York with Crossing the Threshold, a national tour of talks and workshops to help clergy and parishioners re-evangelise friends and family. Around a million people regularly attend mass on Sundays, but church leaders say there are many more who are baptised but do not go to church. Kieran Conry, bishop of Arundel and Brighton, said no-shows were more likely to do with laziness and children’s extra-curricular commitments than controversies surrounding the pope or clerical sexual abuse scandals. Conry said: “We have something we’re trying to market and we’re just reminding people there’s something that can bring you happiness, satisfaction and friendship.”

Here is my take on this:

I understand the human part of all of this  (and it can’t be overlooked), but it sure seems that this is more a work of community organizing (a la Obama, and Salinksy) than a call for a return to Holy Mother Church.  Where is the immediate talk of salvation; shouldn’t that be the reason why people come back?

The Church has traditionally gained membership through preaching the truth (Dominic, Clare, Francis, etc….ad nauseam), as opposed to “a personal welcome” (cue the butterflies and music from Cat Stevens {errr…Yusef Islam}).

I realize that we live in a different time, but look at what community organizing has done to the Church, it has failed. It has spent the last 50 years driving people away, yet here we go again….if you build it, they will come (I am from Iowa after all). The real growth comes when the Sacraments are offered unencumbered by emotion and feelings. A very strong argument can be made that this is why the resurgence in the TLM has gone so well since 1984.

It just seems to me that if community organizing didn’t work in America, it certainly isn’t going to work in England. Perhaps the reason that Fr. Finigan’s (the hermeneutic of continuity)  success isn’t in the fact that people are going door to door, but rather that he is doing something authentically Catholic?

I apologize for my rant, but it just seems that the pattern needs to be broken. And this is reason number 30049928839399928817727438437748282 why Vatican Council II needs to be gone over with a fine toothed comb, the human person is fallible, the Church is not.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Welcome Home!!!

Per the request of Fr. Zuhlsdorf, I am posting about a group of Anglican/Episcopalian nuns in Baltimore received into full communion in the Catholic Church.

Please take a moment to go over to their site and send a quick email to Mother Christina welcoming them home to Holy Mother Church.  It takes a lot of courage to do what this order of sisters did.

I have already sent an email to them welcoming them home and I sincerely hope that you do too.  They need our support.  Perhaps if you are so called, you might consider buying greeting cards from them.

Here is their information page.

Thank you...God will bless you for this.

Friday, November 11, 2011


I was reading an article over at Fr. Z's bog about funerals and I thought I would share a couple of things, from a Catholic point of view.

1.  The funeral is first for praying for the dead, not celebrating their life.  Celebrations of life are not consistent with Catholic theology.  There is something very final in celebrating the life of one who has died.  As Catholics, we know that death is not the end.  We know that the person still has a journey to make.  So, we pray for that person to complete the journey.  If he be in purgatory, we pray for his release, so he may view the beatific vision.  If he be in heaven (a canonized saint), we ask for his intercession to the almighty.  We know that Hell exists and that there are souls there, but we don't assume any one person to be there.  To celebrate the life of a person, is a denial, no matter how slight of the journey that he still has to make.

2.  A funeral, for the living, is a form of comfort.  For we see the person who has died off to the next step of his journey.  Look at the final commendation prayers:

May Angels lead you into paradise;
may the Martyrs receive you at your coming
and lead you to the holy city of Jerusalem.
May a choir of Angels receive you,
and with Lazarus, who once was poor, may you have eternal rest.
 We know that the journey doesn't end.  We know that there is still much to be done, whether it be purgation or whether it be direct entrance to heaven.

3.  The reading for the funeral also opens the door to a continued life.  Please view Wisdom 3:1-10.

[1] But the souls of the just are in the hand of God, and the torment of death shall not touch them. [2] In the sight of the unwise they seemed to die: and their departure was taken for misery: [3] And their going away from us, for utter destruction: but they are in peace. [4] And though in the sight of men they suffered torments, their hope is full of immortality. [5] Afflicted in few things, in many they shall be well rewarded: because God hath tried them, and found them worthy of himself.
[6] As gold in the furnace he hath proved them, and as a victim of a holocaust he hath received them, and in time there shall be respect had to them. [7] The just shall shine, and shall run to and fro like sparks among the reeds. [8] They shall judge nations, and rule over people, and their Lord shall reign for ever. [9] They that trust in him, shall understand the truth: and they that are faithful in love shall rest in him: for grace and peace is to his elect. [10] But the wicked shall be punished according to their own devices: who have neglected the just, and have revolted from the Lord.

We should pray at a funeral, not to celebrate the life of one who has lived an earthly life, but rather we should pray at a funeral for the soul who still has a journey to make.  And we should pray unceasingly for that soul that his time to heaven be short and that his eternal rest is granted.

I will leave this post with the 15th stanza of the Dies Irae:

Grant me a place among the sheep,
and take me out from among the goats,
setting me on the right side.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

5 Misconceptions.....

1.  Ad Orientem worship.  The priest does not turn his back on us, but rather he leads us in the Sacrifice of the Mass facing the same direction.  Question:  Do you get angry with the people in the pews in front of you for having their back to you?

2.  Communion.  One receives The Body and Blood, Soul and Divinity under the accident of bread.  There is no necessity of Communion under both kinds, except to create a role for the laity which should be truly extraordinary.

3.  Latin.  Latin is a liturgical language and should be retained for universal use.  The form of Latin used in the Mass was never a spoken langauge.  It isn't vuglar Latin and it isn't classical Latin.  It is liturgical Latin.  The intelligibility of the language by the faithful is easily achieved by catechesis.  If a 4th grader could learn enough Latin to serve Holy Mass in 1940, then the entirety of the faithful should be able to learn enough Latin to understand the Mass.  Vatican Council II commands that we know it.

4.  Two forms of the Mass.  The TLM (Old Mass) has equal footing with the Novus Ordo (New Mass).  All Catholics should be as familiar and comfortable with the TLM as they are with the Novus Ordo.  According the Holy Father, there is only one Roman Rite, but there are two equal forms.  Take enough time to become familiar with both.

5.  The Altar rail.  The altar rail does not separate the faithful from the altar and priest, but rather it brings the altar and priest to the faithful.  Think about it.

We should be taking time to look at the hows and whys of the Catholic Church, not only from a practical point of view, but also from a Traditional point of view.  The Church has done things the way they have for over 1600 years, only to see it all changed about 40 years ago.  Clearly the changes didn't accomplish what was intended.  Mass attendance is down, understanding of the Faith is lower, and the vocation crisis is as bad today as it was in 1980.  Perhaps if we return to what we know works, we can see the Church grow and recover in these areas.  There is no shame in admitting that the "great experiment" failed.  Thankfully, the Holy Father gave the leaders of the Church an out, by liberalizing the TLMs use.  Maybe we should not miss the forest  for the trees.

There are other examples of misconceptions I can give, but realistically, these are the 5 largest in my opinion.


I think that under the circumstances, Joe Paterno needed to be relieved of his duties as head coach.  Even if he had direct knowledge of one incident, he should have reported it to his superiors AND to the police.  The abuse of the innocent is unconscionable.  There is no excuse for what Jerry Sandusky did, but there is also no excuse for what JoPa didn't do.

It has been a very difficult situation for me, personally as I vetted this in my head.  I was in seminary during a time when all of the allegations about sexual abuse were hush, hush.  I know of instances in which priests did deviant things, but it was all heresay, in other words, I had no direct knowledge of any instance, save one.  And that instance had already been dealt with by the proper authorities. 

As I weighed in my mind the correlation between PSU and the Catholic Church, which is similar,  I came to the conclusion that if the clergy were being shown no quarter (by and large) by the authorities and media,  then neither should the leadership at PSU.  So, Joe Paterno had to go.  Graham Spanier had to go.  Mike McQueary has to go.  Anyone who has had any knowledge AND didn't act should be at the very least relieved of his duties all the way up to and including prosecution, if necessary.

 So, looking at this from a Catholic point of view, I think that several things need to be accounted for:

1.  100% accountability
2.  An independent body should investigate the whole of PSU athletics
3.  Findings should be made public, it is a public institution
4.  Any person having any knowledge and failing to act should be summarily dismissed.
5.  We need to be merciful, we should forgive those who have done wrong and help them to find peace, in a just way.  If justice means losing a job, ok.  If justice means prosecution, ok.  If justice means something in between, ok.

JoPa is not above the law.  While he may have been a "god" at PSU, he is one man.  And one man cannot be more than the whole.  Should he have been able to retire and save face?  Well, my answer to that is no.  That hasn't been the case for any Catholic priest, bishop, or cardinal, so why should it be the same for JoPa?  We as a society must be consistent.

All of that aside, we must focus on the well being of the vicitims.  Many now are young adults and those young people should be taken care of, their needs should be met, their rehabilitation should be assumed by Penn State. 

Most of this will be vetted over the coming months and this certainly isn't the end of the story, but I can honestly say, JoPa needed to go.  Immediately.

N.B.  For those out there that think Card. Law got off easy for being made Archpriest, I would seriously take a closer look.  He lost one of the most influential positions in the Church, certainly in the Church in America.  He had to relocate halfway around the world, to a position which is purely ceremonial.  Card. Law has no real voice and he has no real authority any longer.  Also, he is close to the Holy Father.  While I cannot speak perfectly about this, I would be willing to put dollars toward donuts that Pope Benedict is  frequently checking up on him.   So, let's not think that Card. Law got a free pass.  I, for one, don't think that he did.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

From the National Catholic Register....Bishop Slattery

An article interviewing Bishop Slattery from the diocese of Tulsa, shows the very fortitude we need if the "reform of the reform" is going to be taken seriously.  I think that the time to approach our bishops has come.  This is an issue bigger than liberalism or conservatism.  This is a matter of Sacramental honesty.  Read below:

Bishop Edward Slattery, 71, was born and raised in Chicago. He attended the archdiocese’s Mundelein Seminary and was ordained a priest in 1966. He served in Chicago parishes and was active with the Catholic Church Extension Society, which funds the American home missions.

In 1994, he was ordained a bishop by Pope John Paul II and installed as the third bishop of the Diocese of Tulsa, Okla. He is noted for his orthodoxy and piety and has publicly advocated a reform of the liturgy. As the Church prepares for the official promulgation of the new translation of the liturgy on the First Sunday in Advent, Nov. 27, he shared his thoughts on the liturgy, the priesthood and religious life, and maintaining a healthy spirituality.

You’ve made public statements about problems with the liturgy. What changes would you like to see?
I would like to see the liturgy become what Vatican II intended it to be. That’s not something that can happen overnight. The bishops who were the fathers of the council from the United States came home and made changes too quickly. They shouldn’t have viewed the old liturgy, what we call the Tridentine Mass or Missal of Pope John XXIII, as something that needed to be fixed. Nothing was broken. There was an attitude that we had to implement Vatican II in a way that radically affects the liturgy.

What we lost in a short period of time was continuity. The new liturgy should be clearly identifiable as the liturgy of the pre-Vatican II Church. Changes, like turning the altar around, were too sudden and too radical. There is nothing in the Vatican II documents that justifies such changes. We’ve always had Mass facing the people as well as Mass ad orientem [“to the east,” with priest and people facing the same direction]. However, Mass ad orientem was the norm. These changes did not come from Vatican II.

Also, it was not a wise decision to do away with Latin in the Mass. How that happened, I don’t know; but the fathers of the Council never intended us to drop Latin. They wanted us to hold on to it and, at the same time, to make room for the vernacular, primarily so that the people could understand the Scriptures.

You yourself have begun celebrating Mass ad orientem.
Yes, in our cathedral and a few parishes where the priests ask me to. Most of the time, I say Mass facing the people when I travel around the diocese or when I have a large number of priests concelebrating, because it works better that way.
A few priests have followed my example and celebrate ad orientem as well. I have not requested they change. I prefer to lead by example and let the priests think about it, pray about it, study it, and then look at their churches and see if it’s feasible to do.

And it’s positive when people are thinking about and talking about the liturgy.
When people make the liturgy part of their conversation, it is a good thing. As priests and laypeople discuss the liturgy, they’ll see how important it is and how it is a work of God and not our own.
But we must approach the liturgy on bended knee with tremendous humility, recognizing that it doesn’t belong to us. It belongs to God. It is a gift. We worship God not by creating our own liturgies, but by receiving the liturgy as it comes to us from the Church. The liturgy should be formed and shaped by the Church itself to help people pray better. And we all pray better when we are disposed to receive what God has offered, rather than creating something of our own.

Are you excited about the promulgation of the new translation of the Roman Missal?
I’m looking forward to it. I’ve put a lot of work into it this past year: getting the people of the diocese ready. We’ve hosted a number of large gatherings to explain the new translation, and those in attendance were attentive and grateful. I think it is going to be well received by our priests and the people.
Moreover, the announcement of the new translation has sparked an opportunity to renew our commitment to an active participation in the liturgy. We should come to the liturgy with an interior disposition that it is something which we can only receive. It is a gift from God. And, as part of our reception of that gift, we must listen with a loving heart to what God has to tell us.

In 2010, to celebrate the fifth anniversary of Pope Benedict XVI’s election, you celebrated a traditional Latin Mass at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in Washington. Why did you celebrate this Mass, and how did it go?
I did it because I didn’t want a lot of people to be disappointed. Archbishop [Donald] Wuerl [of Washington], now Cardinal Wuerl, called me to say they could not find a bishop to celebrate the Mass because the bishop who was originally scheduled withdrew. It was only a few days before the event, and they needed a replacement. Since bishops’ schedules are so tight, even Archbishop Wuerl could not do it on such short notice. So, I was thrilled to have the opportunity.
I was impressed by the large crowd, but found it easy to pray, despite all the people. There was a sense of prayer, a silence and an involvement that made it easy for all of us to pray together.

You preached on suffering that day, and your homily was well received.
We were there to thank God for the Holy Father’s five years of service as the Successor of Peter. I realized that during those five years he has suffered enormously, and the Church has been the target of much persecution. It makes you more conscious of suffering itself. Suffering has always been with us; it’s something we all have to endure.
I wanted to remind the congregation that our sufferings need not be wasted; suffering in union with Christ is redemptive. However, if we suffer with resentment or with a sense of merely feeling the pain of suffering, it is wasted.
I thought that would be a good theme. I didn’t want to talk about the divisions that exist between conservatives and liberals or those who attend the Tridentine Mass and the rest of the Catholic world.
Suffering is universal. Everyone suffers as a result of the sin of Adam and Eve and our own sins. But what Christ, in his great love for us, has done is taken that which is our great enemy, suffering and death, and put it at our service. Suffering and death can be the cause of our redemption.

You obviously have quite a love for the priesthood. What first made you want to be a priest?
I can’t trace it to any one thing. My mother and father were good Catholics, and the neighborhood in which I lived had many good Catholics, so I grew up in a positive environment.
I do recall one instance, however, when I was very young. I woke up in the middle of the night and made my first adult prayer. By this, I mean I was conscious of God’s presence and moved by it. I was filled by a profound and unexplainable gratitude for his presence and love.
From that time I changed. I became interested in things of the Church: Mass, sacraments, religion classes, priests and nuns. Anything that was religious was attractive to me from that time on.
I announced to my parents when I was in the fifth or sixth grade that I would like to go to Quigley [Preparatory Seminary] and become a priest. They were happy, but I was a little disappointed that they were not as excited about it as I was. They were in favor of it, but I thought they would be thrilled. Looking back on it, I think they were thinking, Oh, this is just a child’s dream. But I was serious. My father went to Quigley himself, and my brother too, but they both left and got married.

Your ordination as a bishop by Pope John Paul must have left you with many special memories.
It was an unforgettable experience. To this day, I feel grateful and unworthy.
I had met Pope John Paul II several times before. Because I was president of the Extension Society, I traveled frequently and came to places where he was visiting. I remember meeting him in Arizona and Alaska and in Guam, where I met him the first time.
Like everyone else, I was in awe in his presence. I felt privileged that I could shake hands with him and see him face to face.

How has your Diocese of Tulsa changed since you first arrived nearly 18 years ago?
We’ve had a large influx of Hispanic Catholics, most of whom have come since I arrived. The diocese officially has 60,000 Catholics, but twice as many if you include Hispanics. Often, they won’t register in our parishes, however. Because of our immigration laws, they are hesitant to sign their name on anything.
We’ve also gone from having one of the older clergy populations in the country to one of the youngest. In the last 18 years, most of our priests who were on active duty have died or retired. I’ve ordained about 30 since I’ve arrived, and we have about 50 active priests total. Our average age now is about 45 or 46.
We usually ordain about two priests a year. They serve a Catholic population in this state that is a minority, but a strong and faithful minority.

You’ve expressed your concern about the decline of religious communities in the past 40 years. What do you think caused it?
Sometimes Vatican II is blamed for it, but I think it has to do with a change in our culture and the West. We have become secular, self-reliant and independent.
In the 1960s, we had the war in Vietnam, the civil-rights movement and a society that was increasingly disillusioned with people in authority. Protests arose emphasizing that people were being denied their rights — and, sometimes, they were — and the themes of responsibility, obedience, loyalty and fidelity were forgotten. We lost an important balance we needed.
Also, as technology improves, people become more and more comfortable and expect to be comfortable. We take for granted the gifts God has given us and think we’re entitled to them.
These prevailing attitudes then affect all of us, whether we’re a religious, bishop, priest, married or single person. It’s just a matter of time before some religious say, “I’m going to change the way I’m living and re-interpret the meaning of poverty, chastity and obedience.”
But for us to have a conversion of heart, we need examples. We need religious. We need reformation of the religious and consecrated life because the Catholic Church is searching for men and women who can lead us by example. That is what has been lacking in the past 40 years, as many religious left the religious life or changed to a lifestyle which is, unfortunately, even more comfortable than the average person. Sometimes I think some religious have lost their identity.
The charisms of poverty, chastity and obedience are something that all of us need to embrace, but the religious are the ones who lead us in this. They help us to stay focused on Christ in another world, another kingdom, and not the kingdom of this world.

How should we respond?
We should start with prayer. That’s where everything starts. We don’t start by talking about ourselves or even examining our consciences. We start by prayer, on our knees. We come to the Lord and ask him to let us see ourselves as he sees us. He’s the only one who can. God knows each one of us perfectly, and if we’re seeking self-knowledge, we must go to him.
Once we do that, we receive his help and a certain joy because we open our hearts to being honest. We allow ourselves to see and accept what is true about ourselves and about others in light of the Gospel. But without prayer, that can’t happen.
Once we become men and women of prayer, everything else will fall into place. But we have to put in the time. You have to schedule prayer. You have to make sure that you pray every day, and as often as you can. Become a man or woman of prayer. When we do this, we will begin to discover ourselves, perhaps for the first time.

You also frequently recommend Eucharistic adoration.
The Eucharist is the center of our lives. The reason for Eucharistic adoration is so that we might find ourselves as better participants when we do celebrate the Mass. Everything centers around our Lord in the Eucharist. Once we begin to see this and experience this, we’ll find ourselves going to Mass more often.

Are there other spiritual practices you recommend?
We have to return to the Rosary. Pope John Paul II said that when we pray the Rosary, we see the life of Christ through the eyes of his mother, Mary. And there’s no better way to look at Christ than through the eyes of Mary. The Rosary is a tried and true means of doing that. I encourage every Catholic to pray the Rosary every day. Praying the Rosary takes us through the major mysteries of our faith, especially now since John Paul has given us the five Luminous Mysteries.
I also advise a return to confession. When I say this, I don’t mean to do this in some sort of laborious, burdensome way, but rather as a form of prayer. Pray before you examine your conscience, and allow the Lord to tell you what your sins are. He loves you, and he will tell you a lot about yourself. He will help you see yourself in contrast with his infinite love for you. You will begin to see the gap between his love for you and your love for Him. And when you experience that gap, it will help you become more generous and more apt to recognize and admit your sins in confession.

Who are your heroes in the spiritual life?
St. Thérèse of Lisieux, the Little Flower. I have a picture of her in my chapel, and I talk to her every day. Since becoming a bishop, she has become my hero. She has such enormous humility, and her love for Christ is so genuine.
What impresses me most about her is that she found great peace in her life because she wanted the approval of Jesus alone for anything she thought or did. She never wanted anyone else’s approval, only his. Now, that’s really love. We often seek approval and praise from others, whether it be from our parents, co-workers or friends.
But she did not. All she wanted was that approval from Christ himself, so she was always trying to please him. That’s all that mattered to her; that simplified her life and made her a saint.