Search This Blog

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Andrew and Peter

I recently sent this email to a friend of mine.  The reflection I had regarding the Sacred Scripture was as clear as opening my eyes on a fresh spring morning.

 I do hope all is well in the parish.  I know that this time of fasting is not easy, but it will certainly prepare them spiritually for the coming springtime of the Church.  Speaking of which, I did see that Mons. Stinson celebrated a Novus Ordo Mass not too long ago!  Praise God that he is starting to function as a Catholic priest, publicly!  I cannot wait for the day when we can all assist at your Mass, with absolutely no reservation.  It will be a glorious day, indeed.

I was reminded yesterday, during my prayers of one of my favorite passages in all of Holy Scripture.  Matthew 4:18-25...

[18] And Jesus walking by the sea of Galilee, saw two brethren, Simon who is called Peter, and Andrew his brother, casting a net into the sea (for they were fishers). [19] And he saith to them: Come ye after me, and I will make you to be fishers of men. [20] And they immediately leaving their nets, followed him. [21] And going on from thence, he saw other two brethren, James the son of Zebedee, and John his brother, in a ship with Zebedee their father, mending their nets: and he called them. [22] And they forthwith left their nets and father, and followed him. [23] And Jesus went about all Galilee, teaching in their synagogues, and preaching the gospel of the kingdom: and healing all manner of sickness and every infirmity, among the people. [24] And his fame went throughout all Syria, and they presented to him all sick people that were taken with divers diseases and torments, and such as were possessed by devils, and lunatics, and those that had palsy, and he cured them: [25] And much people followed him from Galilee, and from Decapolis, and from Jerusalem, and from Judea, and from beyond the Jordan.

When I read this passage going forward, I cannot help but think of your family.  Come ye after me, and I will make you fishers of men.  And they immediately leaving their nets, followed him.  How powerful is that?  When I think about the last stages of your journey to becoming a Catholic, I think of this passage.  They abandoned all that was familiar and they came to follow Jesus.  What courage that takes.  I don't know that kind of courage, because I've been "in the bosom" for my entire life.  But to leave that which is familiar, that has to be a very hard thing to do!  I have always held that priests are to be heralds for Christ.  That priests are to be the one's which bring the sick and possessed and lunatics to the Church, so that they can be cured!  Not necessarily physically, but spiritually.  And that leads people to follow him.

My prayer for you remains the same, but after my morning prayers and meditating on this piece of Sacred Scripture, I know one and your family are heralds.  Your priesthood and their support will allow you to bring the gospel in an entirely new and fresh way to Holy Mother Church.

These are exciting times and they are wonder filled!  May God keep you oh so close as you do what is necessary!  I cannot wait to assist at your Mass.  I cannot wait to watch your parish become Catholic.  I cannot wait to welcome them (and your family) into "the bosom" which is Holy Mother Church.

Being Catholic is a wonderful thing.  I cannot express to everyone how much solace and how much Grace I find daily in being Catholic.  It is realized by knowing that the truth of Holy Mother Church exists not because I want it to, or because I understand it a certain way, but rather it is realized in knowing that no matter what the truth won't change.  It never has.  When Andrew and Peter realized this, they gave up everything to follow Christ.  The recipient of the email did the same thing.  As I said in the email, I can't imagine what that is like, but in a certain sense, I'm glad, because I know that I will never have to go through that struggle.  I will always be Catholic.  There is a great warmth in that, like being wrapped in a blanket on a cold winter is my wish that everyone can have that feeling of security!

As I said, these are exciting times. 

Friday, February 24, 2012

5 Things Any Parish Can Do to Embrace the Hermeneutic of Continuity

These are five things any parish and any pastor can do to embrace tradition aesthetically and liturgically.  These five things are not radical nor are they invasive.  What they will do, as you will see is to embrace the Hermeneutic of Continuity...

Pastors, please listen  all five of these things are in your privy:

1.  Move the sanctuary back to the way it traditionally looked.  Put the altar back on the praedella.  People can't really see what is going on when the altar is "down in front."  It looks odd having the praedella there and nothing up there but the tabernacle.  It is a good time to make the move since there the change with the new translations is still fresh.  I think that something of that magnitude will go a long ways and it will be well received.

 2.  Start a devotion on say, Tuesday nights (It doesn't matter the day).  An example would be a Novena to our Lady of Perpetual Help or perhaps Divine Mercy, perhaps having Mass on Wednesday night at 6:30, and then Divine Mercy devotions immediately following, with benediction.  And then after that, make yourself available for Confession until say an hour after devotions end.  This will NOT be a fast starter, but I think that over time, this will really, really make a difference in the parish.  Gear this toward the young people....and not by pop music, but by traditional practices and music.

3.  Fully embrace and catechize the faithful on what the Holy Father is trying to do.  The Hermeneutic of Continuity isn't going away.  It is the future of the Church, so why not embrace it?  It means for more streamlined actions on the part of the priest and a better understanding of participation.  Look, if we are to embrace Vatican Council II, then we should embrace Vatican Council II.  Full, conscious, and active participation doesn't mean "doing" something externally, but rather praying internally the sacrifice of the Mass.  This really, really needs to be fostered, otherwise I fear that most parishes will be left behind.  The faithful need to know that their main concern should be worshipping during Holy Mass, not being a visible presence in the sanctuary.  That isn't their job.  Their job is to pray.  The pastor's job is to offer the Mass for them.  Participatio Actuosa must be a focal point for the faithful.  So, don't chide them for not coming up to be extraordinary ministers of Holy Communion.  Most parishes aren't so big that there need to be 5 EMHCs at any Mass.  I would be willing to bet that if pastors were to distribute Holy Communion by themselves, the line would move quicker than it does with the 5 EMHCs up there every week

4.  Get the girls away from serving Mass.  It is clear that this experiment just didn't work.  Create sodalities or groups for them, which they can gather, participate and be involved and they will go.  Give them a place in processions at Mass once a month and I can guarantee you they will be ok with it, once they understand it.  AND boys will step up and serve.  The reason they don't now...they don't want to serve with girls.  It is a proven fact.  Make a call for boys to serve, have more than two at a Mass. Use candles and cross at every weekend Mass (and incense from time to time), and the boys will get it.  And get cassocks and surplices for the boys.  Again, it is something different and it is something Catholic.  It would be a good investment.

5.  Finally, make the principal Sunday Morning Mass a High Mass.  Sing it.  And use as much ceremony as you can.  It hasn't been done in most places since the 1970s.  I can honestly tell you that if you do this, you will see a change in attitude.  The kids will serve, because they have something to do.  The faithful will have all of their senses engaged and the worship experience will be enhanced 10 fold.  And it is Catholic

I think that if we start with these five things, we can really make a difference.  People will see something fresh.  People will see that change is not simply for the sake of change.  And people will embrace it.  Don't sell yourselves short, dear pastors.  Don't sell yourselves short dear faithful.  The faithful will understand, it's like getting back on a bicycle after 40 years.  It can be done, it just takes a little practice and the next thing that happens that people start coming, just to see what is going on...and then the pastors have them.  Give them a whiz-bang homily and the parish church is re-invigorated.  The time is now.  Please don't be left behind.  We Catholics, we want the changes.  WE WANT THE CHANGES!!!!

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Commentary on The Holy Sacrifice Facing the People....

Recently, I came across a commentary regarding the posture of the priest during the Sacrifice of the Holy Mass. 

I think that this is a very concise and metered view of the issue.  While the idea of versus populum can exist, the reality is that because most (if not all) churches had an altar which was already apt, the iconoclasm really began.  I know that this is not brought up, but it does fly in the face of the Consilium.  The men who comprise the Consilium left just enough to allow for ad orientem worship, but clearly were pushing an agenda which would lead to the almost universal destruction of the oriented position.  We as Catholics have a patrimony and from the earliest days of the Church we have seen it borne out in the liturgy.  We must make it known to our bishops and priests that an oriented liturgy is more in keeping with the Sacred Mysteries.  The versus populum argument is rooted, in it's heart with a humanist bent.  The Mass is not ordered to man, but to God.  Facing man (as the norm) is not being authentic.

What we are after and what I am blogging about is authenticity; pure and simple.
Please read on:

Ad Orientem Prayer
The reform of the liturgical books after the Second Vatican Council conceded to the celebrant of the Liturgy a wider application of the practice of the versus populum posture. While the Missale Romanum of Pope Paul VI continued to embrace the immemorial tradition of the ad orientem posture the alternative posture received a strong endorsement as well. Indeed, it became popular to such an extent that some observers have concluded that the ad orientem position of the priest has been discarded. Sadly, undue criticism has sometimes emerged in regard to two lawful practices. Although the universal law foresees little conflict some local authorities have attempted to abnegate some of these provisions. Wherein lies the authority to regulate the Sacred Liturgy?

Codex Iuris Canonici1

Canon 838 - §1. The supervision of the sacred liturgy depends solely on the authority of the Church, which resides in the Apostolic See and, in accord with the law, the diocesan bishop.

§2. It is for the Apostolic See to order the sacred liturgy of the universal Church, to publish the liturgical books, to review their translations into the vernacular languages and to see that liturgical ordinances are faithfully observed everywhere.

§3. It pertains to the conferences of bishops to prepare translations of the liturgical books into the vernacular languages, with the appropriate adaptations within the limits defined in the liturgical books themselves, and to publish them with the prior review by the Holy See.

§4. It pertains to the diocesan bishop in the church entrusted to him, within the limits of his competence, to issue liturgical norms by which all are bound.
Canon 839 - §2. Local ordinaries are to see to it that the prayers and other pious and sacred exercises of the Christian people are fully in harmony with the norms of the Church.
Canon 135 - §2. Legislative power is to be exercised in the manner prescribed by law ... a law which is contrary to a higher law cannot be validly enacted by a lower level legislator.

The ad orientem posture of the celebrant during Mass dates to the earliest centuries of liturgical development. It has enjoyed a consistency throughout history enshrined both in immemorial custom and in law. Numerous scholarly studies have been undertaken which confirm the validity of this practice not only in the Latin Rite but in the Eastern Rites as well. The ad orientem posture is sometime referred to as the ad altare posture. The terms are nuanced and the reader is referred to other studies, which examine the underlying meanings. A fallacy exists among many observers who regard the versus populum posture as entirely new to the Church and that it was first introduced in the reform of Vatican II. On the contrary, the historical proof for its prior existence is substantial although the interpretation of the data is somewhat controverted. The Ritus servandus in celebratione Missae that compiles the rubrical directives for the 1570 Missal of Pius V countenanced the possibility of Mass versus populum. Conversely, the Institutio generalis Missalis Romani (IGMR) which compiles the rubrical directives for the 1970 Missal of Paul VI presume the time honored discipline of Mass ad orientem or ad altare. Consistent with the provisions of the Ritus servandus the Institutio generalis continues to countenance and, indeed, to expand usage of the versus populum orientation of the celebrant.

The reforms initiated by the Second Vatican Council have allowed for a variance in the posture of the celebrant. Although the former tradition continues and is in no way abrogated, the celebrant is now permitted to turn towards the people for the entirety of the liturgy. Of this there can be no doubt and the optional practice has been widely and warmly received. Still the ad altare posture remains the forma typica and the versus populum posture exists as a lawful option. Indeed the altar ideally is envisioned to be free standing for two reasons: so that the celebrant may walk around it especially during incensation and to allow Mass versus populum. Many churches, of course, have an altar that is designed otherwise and often times this altar possesses such an extraordinary beauty that no one could rightfully destroy this patrimony. And since it does not seem desirable to have two altars it is also evident that the optional versus populum posture would be difficult to accommodate in those churches with beautiful high altars at least during the Liturgy of the Eucharist.

The question of a diocesan bishop’s authority to regulate the liturgy is not in doubt. Canon 838 §4 empowers the Bishop to enact norms; however, these norms must accord with the universal law. Canon 135 §2 expressly declares any attempt by a lower level legislator (e.g., plenary or provincial councils of bishops, diocesan bishop) to establish a law contrary to a higher law (e.g., papal law) as invalid.

The legal sources that provide the foundation for canon 838 §4 are found in the following texts:

1917 Codex Iuris Canonici

Can. 1261 §2. Si loci Ordinarius leges pro suo territorio hac in re tulerit, etiam religiosi omnes, exempti quoque, obligatione tenentur easdem servandi; et Ordinarius potest eorundem ecclesias vel publica oratoria in hunc finem visitare.2

Vatican Council II, Constitutio Sacrosanctum concilium, 4 Dec 1963, AAS 56 (1964) 97-138.3

22. (1) Regulation of the sacred liturgy depends solely on the authority of the Church, that is, on the Apostolic See, and, as laws may determine, on the bishop.

(3) Therefore no other person, not even a priest, may add, remove, or change anything in the liturgy on his own authority.

SC Rites (Consilium), Instructio (prima) ad exsecutionem constitutionis de Sacra Liturgia recte ordinandam Inter Oecumenici, 26 September 1964, AAS 56 (1964) 877-900.4

22. It is for the bishop to regulate the liturgy in his own diocese, in accordance with the norms and the spirit of the Constitution on Sacred Liturgy, the decrees of the Holy See and of the competent territorial authority.

Vatican Council II, Constitutio dogmatica Lumen gentium, 21 Nov 1964, AAS 57 (1965) 5-71.5

26. Moreover, every legitimate celebration of the Eucharist is regulated by the bishop, to whom is confided the duty of presenting to the divine majesty the cult of the Christian religion and of ordering it in accordance with the Lord’s injunctions and the Church’s regulations, as further defined for the diocese by his particular decision.

Vatican Council II, Decretum Christus Dominus, 28 Oct 1965, AAS 58 (1966) 673-701.6

15. It is therefore bishops who are the principle dispensers of the mysteries of God, and it is their function to control, promote and protect the entire liturgical life of the Church entrusted to them.

35. (4) All religious, whether exempt or non-exempt, are subject to the authority of the local ordinary in the following matters: public worship, without prejudice, however, to the diversity of rites.

Whether a diocesan bishop, in the exercise of his moderatorial responsibilities, may restrict the use of options for the sake of uniformity throughout his diocese has been debated. One such doubt was proposed and given a response by the Apostolic See.
Query: When the rubrics provide several options, may the competent territorial authority for the whole region or the bishop for his diocese direct all to observe a single way of doing things, for the sake of uniformity?
Reply: Strictly speaking (per se) this is lawful. But always to be kept in mind is the preservation of that freedom, envisioned by the new rubrics, to adapt the celebration in an intelligent way to the particular church and assembly of the faithful in such a way that the whole rite is a living reality for living people.7
It must be remembered that this opinion which was given almost 35 years ago in 1965 was applied directly to the interpretation of n. 22 of the instruction Inter Oecumenici. At that time the revision of the liturgical books had barely commenced. Since the principle of Sacrosanctum concilium 22 has been reiterated in several conciliar documents and provides the language for canon 838 § 4 the response to the aforementioned dubium remains relevant and bears somewhat on the present discussion. However, it must be said again that the ad altare posture is the forma typica of the Ordo Missae of 1970 as it was in the Ordo Missæ of 1570. In both ordines the priest is required to turn to face the congregation at certain brief moments during the Mass. The notable difference lies in the expressly permitted option in the Ordo Missæ of 1970 to turn and face the congregation for the entirety of the Mass. The only posture which is presented as an option is the versus populum posture.
To further illustrate the point one might examine the penitential rite of the Ordo Missæ of 1970. Form A, the Confiteor, is the forma typica while Form B, and Form C (with its 9 paradigmatic formulas in the NCCB Sacramentary) are ad libitum, i. e., they are options.
An example of the way in which the dubium relative to n. 22 of Inter Oecumenici might be applied practically is found in the following scenario. The competent territorial authority or a diocesan bishop, "strictly speaking (per se)" could restrict the penitential rite to use of only Form B or Form C since these are the optional texts. That same authority, however, could not disallow use of Form A, the forma typica. The illustration applies similarly to the competent authority’s moderation of the celebrant’s posture at Mass. The competent ecclesiastical authority "strictly speaking (per se)" could restrict the celebrant’s posture to one of the optional postures. Since, a sole option is countenanced and a range of options is non-existent, in fact, the competent authority mentioned in canon 838 § 4 could not place any restrictions. And he certainly could not disallow the typical ad altare posture.
The discretion to celebrate ad orientem or versus populum is exercised by the celebrant. Prudence and circumstances compel him to consider those who are touched by his decision if he is going to depart from local usage. Common sense will dictate whether the physical environment of the presbyterium and the altar place any constraints. Respect for local de facto or de iure custom demands sensitivity. Clearly, the rector of a church or the caretaker of the oratory or chapel can grant or deny access to the sacred place to all the faithful or to specific individuals based on the willingness of the persons to conform to established customs of the place. Indeed, the rector or caretaker would be obligated to deny egress to a sacred minister who bore certain ecclesiastical penalties.
In reference to the posture of the priest during Mass the prescriptions differ for Masses with a congregation and for Masses without a congregation.
In a Mass with a congregation the rites and rubrics provide that during the Liturgy of the Word the celebrant sit or stand at the celebrant’s chair however it may be situated in the presbyterium. During the Liturgy of the Eucharist, i.e., from the Preparation of the Gifts until the Dismissal is pronounced, the priest faces the altar, turning to the congregation for specified brief moments and then returning to face the altar.8 As an option the celebrant may turn towards the congregation for the entire Liturgy of the Eucharist.
In a Mass without a congregation the rites and rubrics require the priest to face the altar during the entire Mass, turning to the minister or server only for specified brief moments and then returning to face the altar.9 The celebrant’s chair plays no role.
The permissiveness for the priest to celebrate Mass versus populum is mentioned in the 1964 decree Inter Oecumenici, the first instruction on the orderly carrying out of the Constitution on the Liturgy. However, the concession is found not in Chapter II which outlines the changes to the Ordo Missae rather it is mentioned in Chapter V which relates certain principles on the design of churches and altars:

91. The main altar should preferably be freestanding, to permit walking around it and celebration facing the people. Its location in the place of worship should be truly central so that the attention of the whole congregation naturally focuses there.

The suitability of a free standing altar contained in Inter Oecumenici 91 (and repeated in n. 95) is reiterated several times in subsequent documents.10 While the aptness of an altar versus populum is certainly fostered the Consilium also declared:
We wish to emphasize, however, that the celebration of the whole Mass facing the people is not absolutely indispensable for pastoral effectiveness. The entire liturgy of the Word, in which the active participation of the faithful is amply achieved through dialogue and song, already proceeds facing the people and is all the more intelligible now that it uses the people’s own language.11
Above all because for a living and participated liturgy, it is not indispensable that the altar should be versus populum: in the Mass, the entire liturgy of the Word is celebrated at the chair, ambo or lectern, and, therefore, facing the assembly.12

Most recently the ad altare question was revisited and the Congregation for Divine Worship and Discipline of the Sacraments published the following commentary:13

3. The arrangement of the altar "versus populum" is certainly something desirable in the current liturgical legislation. Nonetheless, it is not an absolute value over every other one ... It is more faithful to the liturgical sense in these cases to celebrate at the existing altar with the backs turned to the people than to maintain two altars in the same sanctuary. The principle of the oneness of the altar is theologically more important than the practice to celebrate turned towards the people.

4. It is appropriate to explain clearly that the expression "celebrate turned to the people" does not have a theological sense, but only a topographic-positional sense. Every celebration of the Eucharist is "ad laudem et gloriam nominis Dei, ad utilitatem quoque nostram, totiusque Ecclesiae suae sanctae." Theologically, therefore, the Mass is always turned to God and turned to the people. In the form of celebration it is necessary to be attentive not to reverse theology and topography, especially when the priest is on the altar. Only in the dialogues from the altar does the priest speak to the people. All the rest is prayer to the Father mediated through Christ in the Holy Spirit. This theology must be able to be visible.

1. Code of Canon Law: Latin-English Edition, Canon Law Society of America, Washington, DC, 1983.
2. Private translation: If the local Ordinary issues laws on this matter for his territory, all religious also, even if exempt, are bound to observe them. To this end the Ordinary can visit their churches or public oratories.
3. Vatican Council II: The Conciliar and Postconciliar Documents, ed., Rev. Austin Flannery, O.P., (Collegeville: Liturgical Press, 1975) (Hereafter Flannery).
4. Ibid., Flannery.
5. Ibid., Flannery.
6. Ibid., Flannery.
7. Notitiae 1 (1965) 254.
8. See IGMR, nn. 86, 107, 115, 116, 122, 198, 199; see Ordo Missae, nn. 2, 25, 128, 133, 134, 142, 143.
9. See IGMR, nn. 213 and 227; see Ordo Missae, nn. 2, 19, 24, 27, 28, and 34.
10. See SC Rites, Instruction Eucharisticum mysterium 54, IGMR 262, Ordo dedicationis ecclesiae et altaris 8.
11. Consilium, Letter, Le renouveau liturgique, n. 6, 30 Jun 1965.
12. Consilium, Letter, L'heureux développement, n. 6, 25 Jan 1966.
13. Notitae 29 (1993) 249.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012


I hope everyone was shroving yesterday...because today starts the darkness of Lent.  Lent is a time of self reflection, a time to enter into the desert.  It is not necessarily a time of affirmation and looking forward to what is to come; although there can be a legitimate aspect of the wanting of Easter.

As we begin Lent, we should remember several things:

1.  Holy Mother Church approaches Lent in the same way that Christ approached the desert.
2.  Do not over think Lent.  It is a time of self evaluation and a time of Penance.
3.  Embrace the solitude which Lent affords.
4.  Allow your heart to ache for Easter.
5.  Each day meditate upon a Lenten theme.
6.  If you have not already, rediscover the Sacrament of Penance.

There is a little different take I would like to reflect upon.  It is Psalm 91:11-12:

But my horn shall be exalted like that of the unicorn: and my old age in plentiful mercy. My eye also hath looked down upon my enemies: and my ear shall hear of the downfall of the malignant that rise up against me.

This is the basis for Satan's Temptation of Christ.  For all that Satan does, he uses that which is perfected in a malignant way.  He takes that which is Sacred and makes it profane.  He takes that which is beautiful and he perverts it.  He takes that which is full and he empties it.

God is good.  That is the easiest way to explain God in human terms.  To remove goodness from something is to remove God, theologically.  Often times we ask or we hear people ask, why does God allow bad things to happen to good people.  The answer is God doesn't allow it.  When goodness is lacking or goodness is removed, through human sin and suffering, Satan is in the world.  God doesn't allow bad things to happen, we know this because God does intervene.  God usurps natural law and will perform miracles.  He will heal, or he will make right a situation which seems hopeless.  He will use His creation to do this.  This is for one reason and one reason only, to give hope to the hopeless.  We, as Catholics should look to miracles and say, God is good.  God doesn't allow bad things, God intervenes in those situations in which goodness is lacking and he heals the malignant.

God also knows that he has enemies.  He knows that there are those who fall under Satan's power and rob the good from humanity.  But it is through the Temptation of Christ that we know it can be overcome.  We are able to find solidarity with Christ in the season we are embarking upon.  Lent.  We know that through the Passion, Death, and Resurrection, the horn of God...His Word will be exalted!  We know that His enemies will be smote.  We know that he does hear the downfall of the malignant.  Every Good Friday we witness the utter and complete destruction of those who rise against God.  And we are given the proof of our hope.

We are given the Sacrifice which is Holy Mass.  We do not assist at Holy Mass that day, because we witness it put forth for us, but every Good Friday we find resolute goodness through the bloody Sacrifice at Calvary.  We can then spend the rest of the year assisting at the unbloody Sacrifice which is Holy Mass.

Lent is a time to approach ourselves in the same way that Christ approached his Temptation.  The Church gives us the means, we must embrace it.  We must use this time to grow.  We must use this time to seek out the horn of exaltation.  It is a 40 day journey.  It is a time of penance in searching.  But we will persevere.  Embrace the Sacraments, especially Holy Mass, the re-presentation of Christ in an un-bloody way.  Embrace the Sacrament of Penance.  If you have not been in years, go and unburden yourself, allow yourself to hear the downfall of the malignant as you confess.  If you do go regularly, view your penance as a means of solidarity and allow yourself to hear the downfall of the malignant as you confess.

The Church does give us the means.  The Church gives us everything we need to attain heaven.  Lent is a time of preparation, to be sure....but it is also a time of purification.  Embrace those Sacraments and sacramentals which will purify your eternal soul.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Understanding Morality....From a Fallen Point of View

Lately, I have been struggling with some issues of morality.  I think that as we look into the future, this area will not get any easier to deal with or handle, unless WE change society.  Since WE are society, WE can change it, but it will take a concerted effort to do so.  That being said, I would like to share a couple of things with you.  They are rather personal, so I will be intentionally vague, but I think that after some prayer and reflection, I am able to share them.

First, more than anyone, I know that I am a sinner.  I sin more than the average person.  Because I do this, I have the need and the responsibility, as a Catholic, to utilize the Sacrament of Penance more than the average Catholic.  It has been my habit for a number of years to confess once a week.  Lately, I have been lax in that and I have suffered for it.  I got myself into a situation which required some serious advice and I was able to overcome it, but that was not before I made some big mistakes which led to me needing to go to confession.  I have since done so and the absolutely liberating feeling of relief has washed over me like a dew cleansing a field of grass on a spring morning.  THAT is what confession feels like for me, after I emerge from the box.  Praise God for that.

Next, I would like to give some advice, which I had to give myself and come to understand, before I could blog about it.  That is why there has not been a blog for several days.  I have been reflecting on just how to approach this very timely, but sensitive issue.  As Catholics who live in America, we have an obligation, not only to live in the world, but to promote Catholic values to other Catholics and Protestants (this is catechesis), to promote Catholic values to the Orthodox (this is ecumenism) and to promote Catholic values to the non-Christian (this is evangelization).  By doing this, we authentically engage in the "New Evangelization" which His Holiness, PP. Benedict XVI has implored of us.

I have posted on and I have spoken about the controversy regarding sexual ethics recently.  If we are to be authentic Catholics, we must promote Chastity.  Being Catholic in today's world means that we must live according to our states in life.  Those states are these:  single, married, or consecrated.

For the human person to be chaste, he must live as the Church teaches.  He must refrain from those actions which close the possibility to human life.  He must understand that the sexual actions which are so flippantly thrown around today are to be held very sacred.  He should know that the sexual action is a gift from God, by which he participates fully, but under conditions which are advantageous not only to himself, but also to his spouse and to God.  The participation is always threefold.  That is why man procreates, and not creates.  This being said, the sexual act is threefold as well, it is Sacramental; it is Unitive; and it is Procreative.  The Sacramental aspect is that the sexual action consummates the sacramental bond of Matrimony.  It is Unitive insofar as it draws and bonds the spouses together in that Sacramental bond.  Finally, it is Procreative, insofar as the couple must be open to the idea of bringing children into this world, if possible.

Another aspect of chastity is that the Catholic must be opposed to abortion and contraception.  If he is not, then he is not being chaste, because he is not open to the Procreative nature of the sexual action.  Abortion, for obvious reasons.  Also, contraception, because it cheapens the sexual act to one of simple unity.  If it does not fulfill the three aspects of authentic Catholicism, then it is an immoral action.  For the Catholic, this is exactly why he cannot support contraception.  When one lessens the sexual action, which is threefold in participation, he eliminates God and simply makes it a banal and instinctive response.  For the human person, this is beneath him, because he does have the ability to reason.  Once reason is removed, morality no longer exists.  Again, the human person will always have the ability to reason, so mere instinct is never a justification for an action; this includes the sexual action.

Obviously, there are other moral aspects which apply to each situation, but I am speaking of a very specific set of criteria in this blog posting.

Knowing these things, we must promote a proper understanding through reason, as to why we do what we do.  There is more to being a human person than just being an animal.  God did not create man for that.  God created man to do two love Him and to worship Him.  Because the sexual action properly includes God in it's action, it does embody love toward God, through the consummation of the Sacramental bond and it also promotes proper worship of Him, because procreating is a means by which God continues his adoration and worship through purely natural means.

To remove morality and reason from the sexual action and to simply make it pleasure based or instinctive (just because it feels good), the closure of chasity.  These ideas apply equally and commonly to all states in life, mentioned above.  For the single person and the consecrated person, the abstinence from the sexual action is necessary because he has either chosen, freely to abstain from the sexual action or has not yet found his spouse.  For the married person, he must understand that even in his marriage, he may be unchaste, if he does not fulfill the the threefold reasons for the sexual action.

It is imperative that in today's world, we promote proper morality.  We must on all fronts, whether it be sexual or otherwise.  When we fall, we must go to Confession and take advantage of the Sacrament of Penance.  We must make a firm resolution not to do it again and we must assume that all Catholics do the same.  The teaching does not change, the application does not change.  But when we know that someone is not being authentic, then we must help him seek out the proper answer.  It is not always simple and it is not always cut and dried, but it is something that through faith and reason, man can embrace.  We must hope that all Catholics accept the teaching and when they don't....we must admonish them to do the right thing.  Go to confession and make a firm resolution not to do it again.

Please pray for me, that I continue to do the right things in my life, so that I may be a faithful and good servant to the Lord God.  I know that I fall, but I also get up, brush off my knees and move forward.  God's love for my fellow man dictates that when I see another fall, I will help him; just as I hope that others will help me every time I fall.

I ask you today....have you come to understand how morality impacts your life?  Are you doing what is necessary?  Are you loving your fellow man with agape, in conjunction with filial and/or eros?  Those are the questions which we must answer for ourselves.  Reach out, even when you don't want to, your fellow man needs your help, daily.

May God keep you close.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Mini Rant on Latin....

The esteemed commenter and priest, Fr. John T. Zuhlsdorf made comment today on the lack of modern languages accomodating Summorum Pontificum at the Vatican website; over at his blog WDTRPS.

I opined a little tongue-in-cheek, but there is a grain of truth in what I say.  Please read my response:

I say this tongue-in-cheek, but there is an air of truth that rings in this.

It is in Latin. Shouldn’t all priests and seminarians be able to at least read Latin? Isn’t that the mandate the Church has always promoted and supported? Didn’t that great Council, the definer of our times, Vatican Council II demand that priests know and be able to communicate to the faithful the Latin Language?
Where is the problem? For THOUSANDS of years, the Church proclaimed any document ONLY in Latin. To be honest, I find no problem with it being only in Latin. Those of us who took the time and made the effort whilst in seminary (I am not a priest, I didn’t make it through, but I digress) can understand the majority of the Latin prose which makes up the document.

As it is, priests and seminarians don’t know Latin. Why? Well, we can thank Monsignor Bugnini, Pope Paul VI and their successors for not following through on what the authentic Magisterium wanted. Many people today will say, “Get over it and live in the world you’re in.”

I say to them, “YOU get over it. The disobedience and severe limiting of the Church’s universal message isn’t on MY soul.”

I have enough to worry about with my soul, this issue is one that I’m not going to fight. In being faithful to Vatican Council II, I took Latin. I took enough Latin that I am conversational. I am not as fluent as our esteemed host, but I can hold my own.

Si quid fecerim modo volui sanctae Matris Ecclesiae, hoc non omnes proventus. … Paucissimi et quid sit loquor sit sacerdotes saeculares. Quod facit me tristis.

It's time to talk to our bishops again.  It is time to talk to our pastors.  Latin must be returned to use in Holy Mother Church, for the Novus Ordo as well as for the TLM.  The Latin Language is not a matter of nostalgia or archaic tradition.  It is a reality of Holy Mother, in today's world.  Vatican Council II Fathers knew that this was the case.  Why can't we just be faithful to the Magisterium?  Or have those who have come to power in the last 40 years really re-envisioned the Church in their own image?

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Humanae Vitae

With all of the conversations today about morality, I think that we must keep this important document in sight.

Humanae Vitae

Some important excerpts,

It is a love which is total—that very special form of personal friendship in which husband and wife generously share everything, allowing no unreasonable exceptions and not thinking solely of their own convenience. Whoever really loves his partner loves not only for what he receives, but loves that partner for the partner's own sake, content to be able to enrich the other with the gift of himself.
Married love is also faithful and exclusive of all other, and this until death. This is how husband and wife understood it on the day on which, fully aware of what they were doing, they freely vowed themselves to one another in marriage. Though this fidelity of husband and wife sometimes presents difficulties, no one has the right to assert that it is impossible; it is, on the contrary, always honorable and meritorious. The example of countless married couples proves not only that fidelity is in accord with the nature of marriage, but also that it is the source of profound and enduring happiness.
Finally, this love is fecund. It is not confined wholly to the loving interchange of husband and wife; it also contrives to go beyond this to bring new life into being. "Marriage and conjugal love are by their nature ordained toward the procreation and education of children. Children are really the supreme gift of marriage and contribute in the highest degree to their parents' welfare."
(source: Second Vatican Council, Pastoral Constitution on the Church in the World of Today, no. 50: AAS 58 (1966), 1070-1072 [TPS XI, 292-293].)

Therefore We base Our words on the first principles of a human and Christian doctrine of marriage when We are obliged once more to declare that the direct interruption of the generative process already begun and, above all, all direct abortion, even for therapeutic reasons, are to be absolutely excluded as lawful means of regulating the number of children. Equally to be condemned, as the magisterium of the Church has affirmed on many occasions, is direct sterilization, whether of the man or of the woman, whether permanent or temporary.
Similarly excluded is any action which either before, at the moment of, or after sexual intercourse, is specifically intended to prevent procreation—whether as an end or as a means
Neither is it valid to argue, as a justification for sexual intercourse which is deliberately contraceptive, that a lesser evil is to be preferred to a greater one, or that such intercourse would merge with procreative acts of past and future to form a single entity, and so be qualified by exactly the same moral goodness as these. Though it is true that sometimes it is lawful to tolerate a lesser moral evil in order to avoid a greater evil or in order to promote a greater good," it is never lawful, even for the gravest reasons, to do evil that good may come of it—in other words, to intend directly something which of its very nature contradicts the moral order, and which must therefore be judged unworthy of man, even though the intention is to protect or promote the welfare of an individual, of a family or of society in general. Consequently, it is a serious error to think that a whole married life of otherwise normal relations can justify sexual intercourse which is deliberately contraceptive and so intrinsically wrong.
 (source #1:   See Council of Trent Roman Catechism, Part II, ch. 8; Pius XI, encyc. letter Casti connubii: AAS 22 (1930), 562-564; Pius XII, Address to Medico-Biological Union of St. Luke: Discorsi e radiomessaggi, VI, 191-192; Address to Midwives: AAS 43 (1951), 842-843; Address to Family Campaign and other family associations: AAS 43 (1951), 857-859; John XXIII, encyc. letter Pacem in terris: AAS 55 (1963), 259-260 [TPS IX, 15-16]; Second Vatican Council, Pastoral Constitution on the Church in the World of Today, no. 51: AAS 58 (1966), 1072 [TPS XI, 293]. 

source #2:   See Pius XI, encyc. letter Casti connubii: AAS 22 (1930), 565; Decree of the Holy Office, Feb. 22, 1940: AAS 32 (1940), 73; Pius XII, Address to Midwives: AAS 43

 (1951), 843-844; to the Society of Hematology: AAS 50 (1958), 734-735 [TPS VI, 394-395].

source #3:    See Council of Trent Roman Catechism, Part II, ch. 8; Pius XI, encyc. letter Casti connubii: AAS 22 (1930), 559-561; Pius XII, Address to Midwives: AAS 43 (1951), 843; to the Society of Hematology: AAS 50 (1958), 734-735 [TPS VI, 394-395]; John XXIII, encyc.letter Mater et Magistra: AAS 53 (1961), 447 [TPS VII, 331].)

 Consequently, unless we are willing that the responsibility of procreating life should be left to the arbitrary decision of men, we must accept that there are certain limits, beyond which it is wrong to go, to the power of man over his own body and its natural functions—limits, let it be said, which no one, whether as a private individual or as a public authority, can lawfully exceed. These limits are expressly imposed because of the reverence due to the whole human organism and its natural functions, in the light of the principles We stated earlier, and in accordance with a correct understanding of the "principle of totality" enunciated by Our predecessor Pope Pius XII.
 (source:   See Pius XII, Address to Association of Urology: AAS 45 (1953), 674-675; to leaders and members of Italian Association of Cornea Donors and Italian Association for the Blind: AAS 48 (1956), 461-462 [TPS III, 200-201].)

Finally, I am going to post this....

 And now We wish to speak to rulers of nations. To you most of all is committed the responsibility of safeguarding the common good. You can contribute so much to the preservation of morals. We beg of you, never allow the morals of your peoples to be undermined. The family is the primary unit in the state; do not tolerate any legislation which would introduce into the family those practices which are opposed to the natural law of God. For there are other ways by which a government can and should solve the population problem—that is to say by enacting laws which will assist families and by educating the people wisely so that the moral law and the freedom of the citizens are both safeguarded.

Obama and other leaders of the world would do well to read this paragraph and take it to heart!  Obama does have the responsibility of safeguarding the common good.  Obama must STOP undermining the preservation of morals.  Obama is not only tolerating, but promoting legislation which is contrary to Natural Law.  If there is a problem with population, which I don't believe there ever has been in the USA, the answer is promoting chastity in married life, as well as in single life.

If we do a study on unmarried birth rates since 1968 as opposed to married birth rates, I think that we'll find that chastity in general was under attack and that the focus was too narrow.  I think that a re-affirmation of chastity is warranted and should be made by the current Holy Father.


Michael Voris is right...and so are those of us who have been on this issue.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

A Conversation on Obama, This Past Weekend...

On Friday last, 2/10/2011, I had a conversation with a friend of mine over the following article:  Obama Announces Change In Contraception Coverage Rule After Outcry

Here is how part of the conversation went, me; it Obama's (or any government's) responsibility to attempt to control the population? That's exactly what he's doing. If you put contraception in the hands of people, you necessarily reduce the population.

It is that cut and dry. Contraception is two things, 1) it is not safe. Sure, the instance of pregnancy decreases, but the instance of disease increases, especially cancer; and 2) it is eugenics, plain and simple. Limit the number of children born and you control the population. Why would the government want to control that?

Friend responded;

i agree to an extent. i dont know what the answer is and being a middle class republican i'm not quite sure that i want support more and more people having more babies so more and more of my paycheck supports the ones who aren't resposiblie enough to be able to support them. however, i believe in peoples rights and i want smaller goverrment. i don't usually comment on people's political beliefs nor do i try to influence them on people because their beliefs are different than mine. it just seems like we as republicans want some things but don't want the burdens of not tyring to limit them in other ways... just my opinion.

I responded;

 And I respect your opinion. It hard, but if you adhere to Republican principles, then you have to accept the fact that part of smaller government ACTUALLY empowers the poor to become free of the government system, not to continue to take advantage of a government sponsored eugenics program, which came en vogue during the 1920s and 30s. BTW, who was that eugenics programmed aimed at? Blacks and hispanics....why would Obama support that? Money. Don't believe me, look up Margaret Sanger and see what I'm talking about. Birth control and abortion. BTW, she was a racist who wanted to obliterate the black person. Yet Obama supports it! Why? Money. That is how his political life is paid for.

To make the move that contraception is going to help make population smaller, so that ultimately you won't have to pay more is false. Since the 1930s, how has that worked? There are millions and millions of abortions, there are millions and millions of people using contraception, BUT (and here is the zinger) Obama and his ilk are still telling us that we have to pay more. At what point do we get the break that he's talking about? Or do those of us who are middle class just stay in the middle and continue to get bilked? I think that is the case.

Ultimately, Brad this comes down to one thing from a moral point of view. It isn't religious, but rather it is biological. When does life begin? If life begins at conception, then impeding conception is wrong. If life begins at birth, then contraception is a non-starter. But ask yourself this (it's a low blow, but I'm going to go there)...when did you think of your child as your child? Was it as soon as you knew Ashley was pregnant or was it as soon as she was born? That's the fundamental question here.

Ultimately, from a political point of view, this hinges on the fact that Obama doesn't have the authority to mandate any of this. The President has no right to subvert the Constitution, but that is exactly what's going on here.

I'm not trying to get you to change your mind. You have the right to think what you want. What I am trying to do is look at your own view from a different point of access. The decision is yours. What Obama is doing is incompatible with being a Republican and being middle class, upper class or lower class.

Friend replied;

im not saying i believe what obama is doing is right or wrong. i think people should have a choice to use contraception. whether is birth control, condoms, whatever people want i believe is their choice. who am i to tell some one that they shouldn't be able to use contracpeton. i personally have just come to a point wehre i am sick of everything goign on between republicans and democrats. i want people to come together and take our great country back, and fight to reach a common goal, not fight daily just to fight and get farther and farther away.. whoever does that has my vote regardless of my political classification. if they make my life better, y do i care what side of the fence they come from. there is too much divide, in my opinion. i also did not vote for obama, however i am one that would like to see the guy succeed to make a life better for myself and my family i do not wish he would fail jsut because doesn't share every belief that i have. there would never be a canidate that would share the same beliefs 100 percent of the time your or i do. anyway, there is my two cents. by the way, i am republican im just sick of all the bs.

I responded;

 And that is the big lie! It has never been about you telling people what they can or cannot do! The contraception/abortion issue isn't really about choice, it's about population control and eugenics.

If this was about choice, then we would have the choice to either have it or not. As it is, if Obama's plan goes through, we're all going to pay for it whether we like it or not. Where is the choice in that?

I am with you 100% that I want to get this country together. If I didn't, I would go back to Italy or to Canada. When we look at this issue, Brad, we have to look a two things. We have to look at legal rights and natural rights. This is part of what this country was founded upon. Natural rights are rights not contingent upon the laws, customs, or beliefs of any particular culture or government, and therefore universal and inalienable. Life falls into this. If someone contracepts or if someone has an abortion, this is impeded. The use of contraception and abortion is contrary to our natural rights in this country. The second, legal rights are those bestowed on to a person by the law of a particular political and legal system, and therefore relative to specific cultures and governments. Life cannot fall into this. If life falls into this, then the government essentially is trying to do what Obama is trying to do and what Hitler did do (look into eugenics in the re-branded as "family planning" because of what was exposed during WWII in the concentration camps. No lie.

Brad, you do have the right to choose. That much I will agree with. But don't think that it makes you "pro-choice." It doesn't. Your ability to choose is based upon a freedom which is trying to be taken away from you. The pro-life lobby has one thing in mind. The protection of children. The anti-life (or so called pro-choice) lobby has one thing in mind. Population control. Which enables and empowers freedom and which is an action of tyranny?

It's interesting that the pro-choice movement is imposing this and taking choice away. Hypocritical isn't it?

And that is the question which cannot be answered.  And that is just part of the lie.

American Catholicism's Pact with the Devil...

Yesterday, I came across this article titled,  American Catholicism's Pact with the Devil.

Here are a couple of excerpts:

 In the 1930s, the majority of the bishops, priests, and nuns sold their souls to the devil, and they did so with the best of intentions.


In the process, the leaders of the American Catholic Church fell prey to a conceit that had long before ensnared a great many mainstream Protestants in the United States – the notion that public provision is somehow akin to charity – and so they fostered state paternalism and undermined what they professed to teach: that charity is an individual responsibility and that it is appropriate that the laity join together under the leadership of the Church to alleviate the suffering of the poor. In its place, they helped establish the Machiavellian principle that underpins modern liberalism – the notion that it is our Christian duty to confiscate other people’s money and redistribute it.

At every turn in American politics since that time, you will find the hierarchy assisting the Democratic Party and promoting the growth of the administrative entitlements state. At no point have its members evidenced any concern for sustaining limited government and protecting the rights of individuals. It did not cross the minds of these prelates that the liberty of conscience which they had grown to cherish is part of a larger package – that the paternalistic state, which recognizes no legitimate limits on its power and scope, that they had embraced would someday turn on the Church and seek to dictate whom it chose to teach its doctrines and how, more generally, it would conduct its affairs.


...the Roman Catholic Church in the United States has lost much of its moral authority. It has done so largely because it has subordinated its teaching of Catholic moral doctrine to its ambitions regarding an expansion of the administrative entitlements state. In 1973, when the Supreme Court made its decision in Roe v. Wade, had the bishops, priests, and nuns screamed bloody murder and declared war, as they have recently done, the decision would have been reversed. Instead, under the leadership of Joseph Bernadin, the Cardinal-Archbishop of Chicago, they asserted that the social teaching of the Church was a “seamless garment,” and they treated abortion as one concern among many. Here is what Cardinal Bernadin said in the Gannon Lecture at Fordham University that he delivered in 1983:

Those who defend the right to life of the weakest among us must be equally visible in support of the quality of life of the powerless among us: the old and the young, the hungry and the homeless, the undocumented immigrant and the unemployed worker.

Consistency means that we cannot have it both ways. We cannot urge a compassionate society and vigorous public policy to protect the rights of the unborn and then argue that compassion and significant public programs on behalf of the needy undermine the moral fiber of the society or are beyond the proper scope of governmental responsibility.

This statement, which came to be taken as authoritative throughout the American Church, proved, as Joseph Sobran observed seven years ago, “to be nothing but a loophole for hypocritical Catholic politicians. If anything,” he added, "it has actually made it easier for them than for non-Catholics to give their effective support to legalized abortion – that is, it has allowed them to be inconsistent and unprincipled about the very issues that Cardinal Bernardin said demand consistency and principle.” In practice, this meant that, insofar as anyone pressed the case against Roe v. Wade, it was the laity.

I was reared a Catholic, wandered out of the Church, and stumbled back in more than thirteen years ago. I have been a regular attendee at mass since that time. I travel a great deal and frequently find myself in a diocese not my own. In these years, I have heard sermons articulating the case against abortion thrice – once in Louisiana at a mass said by the retired Archbishop there; once at the cathedral in Tulsa, Oklahoma; and two weeks ago in our parish in Hillsdale, Michigan. The truth is that the priests in the United States are far more likely to push the “social justice” agenda of the Church from the pulpit than to instruct the faithful in the evils of abortion.

And there is more. I have not once in those years heard the argument against contraception articulated from the pulpit, and I have not once heard the argument for chastity articulated. In the face of the sexual revolution, the bishops priests, and nuns of the American Church have by and large fallen silent. In effect, they have abandoned the moral teaching of the Roman Catholic Church in order to articulate a defense of the administrative entitlements state and its progressive expansion.

I've started a dialogue with my friend Iraneus G. Saintonge:

He has stated:

 First: "There is, I would suggest, a connection between the heretical doctrine propagated by Cardinal Bernadin in the Gannon Lecture and the difficulties that the American Church now faces. Those who seek to create heaven on earth and who, to this end, subvert the liberty of others and embrace the administrative entitlements state will sooner or later become its victims."

That's the first time I've seen the "seamless garment" mindset called heretical. Do you think that's a fair assessment? I hadn't really given it major though. It's certainly an idea that's accepted to a greater or lesser degree by a huge amount of at least self-described orthodox Catholics.
 I have responded:

I think that parts of the seamless garment issue are heretical. Will I go so far as Dr. Rahe? I think that the mindset is a perfect example of aggiornamento. The loopholes which are in it have brought us to the position we are in, because so many Catholics in America have accepted to a greater degree the so-called teaching.

We MUST apply Catholic teaching by assenting our will authentically. We cannot do so in the manner that Bernadin promoted through the seamless garment issue. To free conscience in the manner that His Eminence did, isn't authentically Catholic. It puts the conscience in the hands of the individual. This has never been a tenant of Catholic teaching. The Church always taught that one informs and forms his conscience through the light of the Church, not independently and then applying what he will to the Church. This is ultimately what the seamless garment issue advocates.

Essentially, Bernadin did an end around of Humane Vitae and authentic Church teaching by turning life issues into a checklist. Abortion simply becomes a thing that one can check off while focusing on other life issues. Ultimately, one could be "pro-life" by supporting the welfare state. The Church has never taught this.

I've argued this before, both here and at my blog that since the end of Vatican Council II, bishops have defined their Episcopal careers by two criteria and two criteria only. 1)By being "pro-life" and 2)Embracing any and (in some cases) all social justice issues. These processes would be to the eternal detriment to the other issues which concern Holy Mother Church, such as the sacramental life of the Church; the liturgical life of the Church; and moral life of the Church.

This has borne itself out over time. The Sacramental life of the Church is abused daily (over use of EMHCs, laity making sick calls, abandonment of extreme unction by changing the action to annointing all sick, the abandonment of sacramentals such as holy water during Lent, the disappearance of incense). The liturgical life of the Church is in shambles. I won't go on about that, but we're all aware. And the sex abuse scandal.

These are all symptoms of the larger issue that when the Church abandoned her traditional model of charity and simply turned things into a checklist under an umbrella, then we are left with what we are left with. And it is all justified by "the seamless garment."

Getting back to abortion specifically, the seamless garment issue opened the door to "personal opposition, but support for the welfare state." When abortion became simply another issue to check off, it became something that could NOT be checked off, but one could remain "pro-life" because one was publicly opposed to Euthanasia and the death penalty (a falsehood), or any other "life" issue.

So, ultimately, politicians like Biden, Pelosi, and the like can remain pro-gay, pro-abortion, and anti-death penalty and remain 100% legitimate, because of the seamless garment.

In my opinion, this is the biggest lie of our lifetimes, with regard to the Catholic Church.

He goes on:

Next: "And there is more. I have not once in those years heard the argument against contraception articulated from the pulpit, and I have not once heard the argument for chastity articulated. In the face of the sexual revolution, the bishops priests, and nuns of the American Church have by and large fallen silent. In effect, they have abandoned the moral teaching of the Roman Catholic Church in order to articulate a defense of the administrative entitlements state and its progressive expansion."

This is sad and true. I haven't travelled as much as the author apparently has, but I've been through my fair share of priests, and until I started attending the FSSP Mass in my city I had never once heard contraception mentioned. If the numbers are true, and something like 80% of Catholics are using birth control regularly, then pastors have a massive and absolutely crucial responsibility to preach against it. It's completely unacceptable for a pastor, who's entrusted with the salvation of all the souls in his parish, to be ignoring something that may very well be leading the vast majority of his congregation into mortal sin. How can they call themselves pastors if they haven't done absolutely everything in their power to save the flock that has been entrusted to them?

Again, I responded:

I've heard it a few more times, but you have to remember, I lived with Fr. Robert Altier for several years. His homilies were very hard hitting. I also had the privilege of being near Fr. Z for a number of years too and I've heard him preach on the evil of abortion several times. But, by and large, this has been ignored.


Because of seamless garment. What else it did was to demonize those who made the distinction. Priests have been disavowed and disowned. Seminarians have been dismissed. The laity have been run out of town. Being anti-abortion is the most important issue that faces the Church today. It has been since the mid-1950s. That's right, 1950s. We can't assume that the abortion issue started in 1973. It had been gaining steam since the end of World War II. And along with the Bugnini liturgical hi-jacking, there was a moral hi-jacking taking place at the very same time. They ultimately came together at Vatican Council II and what were we left with? Aggiornamento.

The problems which manifest themselves have been right in front of us for 40 years and we have been blind to them, be completely honest...we didn't want to see it. It is very easy to be a relativist. It is very hard to remain true to the teachings which guided the Church for 2000 years.

Finally, he says:

 Last: "Perhaps, however, Barack Obama has shaken some members of the hierarchy from their dogmatic slumber. Perhaps, a few of them – or among younger priests some of their likely successors – have begun to recognize the logic inherent in the development of the administrative entitlements state."

I'm praying so hard that this is the case. We've been complacent. We let the warfare-welfare state become more and more entrenched in western culture, and now it's finally coming back to bite us. This is simply the beginning of the logical conclusion of the modern development of the state. It's going to get much worse, if we don't learn finally to stand up and oppose it every single time it claims more 'authority' over us, not just when the authority it claims directly threatens us. I've been reminded a lot recently of that famous quote by Martin Niemöller.
"First they came for the communists,
and I didn't speak out because I wasn't a communist.
Then they came for the trade unionists,
and I didn't speak out because I wasn't a trade unionist.
Then they came for the Jews,
and I didn't speak out because I wasn't a Jew.
Then they came for me
and there was no one left to speak out for me."

This is exactly what's happened. We haven't opposed the ever-growing, grasping, thieving, murdering State while it's been taking more and more power for itself, and now it's a behemoth that is trying to crush us.

My final response, for now:

It will still get worse. Christ promised us a Church. He never promised a large one. There will be strife. The abuse scandal isn't over. Remember I've said before that I've seen some pretty depraved things in seminary. The gay issue isn't over. Many priests who are my age are gay. Some are chaste. Most are not. The scandal will shift from being child abuse issues to gay issues. There are rumblings about it, but nothing truly huge has broken. Most of the time, it is brushed under the rug. What do I mean...well, when anyone says that the scandal is based in the gay culture, it is immediately dismissed. So much so that the misapplication of terms has become the norm. The issues are not those of pedophilia, but rather the vast, vast majority of issues are of unchaste, gay priests who are attracted to young men who are "confused."

The question becomes this...Society promotes "coming out" at a young age, often times in junior high school and high school. Who do these young gay people turn to? They are encouraged to seek out adults who can help them. Some (not all, but some) turn to their priests and pastors. Think about it...a gay priest is approached by a young gay person, who has been encouraged to come out. What happens next? Well, we've been seeing what has happened. This isn't over. Not by a long shot.

What must happen and it is my fervent prayer, is that those gay priests remain chaste. But that isn't the real issue. The real issue is that society has to stop promoting the gay culture. People are gay. We know that. No one is denying that. But what do we NEVER hear (except when talking to other orthodox Catholics)...that we should be helping them overcome their intrinsically disordered condition, through disinterested friendship.

We MUST accept the homosexual as a person, because they are afforded their right to life, but we cannot condone their actions. The action is disordered. The charitable thing to do is to help them to accept that they must live a chaste life. Just as any other single person.

Oh, and one other is a lie to say that they are not called to marriage. Gay people can marry. Once they overcome their disordered action and accept self-mastery, there is nothing which says they cannot enter into properly ordered life, marry one of the opposite sex and live a married life. But NOBODY talks about that or very few, because we don't expect them to overcome homosexuality, but just accept their condition and suffer. Self-mastery through the light of the Church opens the door to being able to enter into licit and ordered relationships. If we are to be disinterested friends and provide examples, why don't we show them that the proper way to live a Christian life is to be chaste, either as as single person or as a married person (man and woman). To simply force the gay person to live a life of singleness without the possibility of love (eros) is not charitable. We should be helping them to understand that love (eros) is as attainable as the other forms of love (filial and agape). This is where the Catechism of the Catholic Church falls short.

Those are my thoughts, thus far.  There will be more.  The conversation will continue.  I've brought up issues which are hard to swallow.  They are hard for me to bring up.  I'm not saying that I'm 100% correct, but I think that there is the possibility to look into it....I welcome your responses in the combox.


Monday, February 13, 2012

An Eye Opening Conversation

This weekend, I was out for dinner and a movie.  It was a really nice time.  While I was out, I ran into a very old and a very good friend of mine.  We actually grew up together, two houses down from one another.  It got me to reminiscing about old times and the fun we used to have as kids.

He is a very athletic person, I'm no slouch, but he's better.  Always was, always will be.  He was the running back on the varsity my junior year of high school.  No problems and no worries.  He's also a grade ahead of me in school, so he was someone that I always looked up to, just a little bit.  But, growing up in a small town, that isn't a bad thing.  It shows healthy respect and it shows that there are people that you try to emulate.

Anyhow, I hadn't really talked to him in a number of years.  We are "facebook friends" and from time to time we remember playing football on the front lawns and in what used to be a vacant lot down the street (a house has since been built there).  As we were catching up, he made a comment to me that really showed me something and caused me to reflect on several things, in my life.

1.  We are in different places.  It is really funny how life works.  We grew up together, went to the same schools, lived in the same town...literally on  the same street, but we are in totally different places.  It is refreshing on one level, but on another, it is sad, because it showed me how quickly losing touch with someone can be.  He has become a counselor for criminals.  That is noble work.  It is something that I think I would struggle with, but he seems to really enjoy that field of work.

2.  We have completely different ideas about how we live our lives.  Again, I can't imagine living my life without being Catholic and without being able to express it.  I know that I am a little more conservative than the average Catholic today, but adherence to Catholicism and having zeal for that which I believe in isn't bad.  Something he said to me though struck me and it is what I would like to focus my post on.

He leaned in and in a hushed tone, he said, "'re killin' me with all this Catholic stuff on facebook.  What's that all about?"

He wasn't looking for me to really answer that question and I didn't.  I kinda deflected it and talked about something else that we have in common, the Pittsburgh Steelers (one of my two favorite NFL teams, along with the Packers).  That changed the subject and it helped to reestablish a bond that we had as kids.  But at the same time, I couldn't get it out of my head that he would think that my talking about something I love so much would be disturbing.  Then it hit me.  He's paying attention.  He may not like it, but he's paying attention.  So, while he was probably hoping that I would simply quit or that I would back off of posting about Catholicism, it has reinvigorated me to continue with my path of talking about and posting about things Catholic.

That doesn't mean I won't from time to time, on facebook, post about things like football or sports in general.  It doesn't mean that I won't post about golf, which is my real passion outside of Catholicism.  It doesn't mean that I won't poke fun at others in my satirical way, but it does mean that I will continue to post about Catholicism.

Being Catholic is part of who I am.  I will not and cannot change that.  If someone is going to accept me, he must accept me for being what and who I am.  And being Catholic is part of that.  What I've found through the years is that I have two unyielding and Catholicism.  The passionate aspect of Catholicism though, has an ulterior motive.  It is the promotion of the Faith to as many people as I can, through a balanced and normal life, while applying Catholic principles as best I can.  Do I always succeed?  Nope.  I'm human.  I make mistakes.  I'm one who makes big mistakes too.  I don't just nickel and dime it.  If I go, I go big.  But that doesn't mean that I'm not striving to be someone better.  That doesn't mean that I'm not striving to make myself the best person I can be.  The funny thing about Catholicism, is that those who are not Catholic assume that because we have all these "rules" to live by, that being Catholic is a very limiting and stodgy life.  It really isn't.  Those "rules" make it easier to live, because they give us a compass by which to travel.  Do I always stay on course.  Heck no, but if I truly reflect, if I really apply what it means to be a Catholic, it's pretty easy to right the ship.  I'm never left alone to just figure it out.  And that is a big part of why I choose to post so frequently about being Catholic.

So, Nelly...this one is for you, buddy.  I love you, man!  You were a great friend growing up and I really appreciate our friendship.  It was good catching up the other night.  I'm gonna call you to have that beer.  But, I'm not gonna stop promoting Catholicism.  It's part of who I am.  Just like the "orsk" is the play that will always burn you and Brian, when E and I run that sucker when it's 3rd and two sidewalks.....

Didn't think I'd work it in, did ya...well...BOOM!

Hit 'em long and straight.  We'll talk soon!

Friday, February 10, 2012

Bishop Slattery Responds to Obama...

Bishop Edward J. Slattery, Ordinary of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Tulsa had the following to say:

Today, the President of the United States has issued what he referred to as an accommodation on the mandate from Kathleen Sebelius, the Secretary of Health and Human Services issued on January 20 of this year. This mandate would have required - among other things - that religious institutions provide through their insurance policies hormonal contraception, abortifacients and direct sterilization, even though such a mandate violates our conscience and run counter to the 1st Amendment guarantee for the free exercise of Religion.
We are grateful that the President has begun to listen to the voices raised in opposition to this intrusion on our first amendment rights, and we are encouraged that he understands the urgency of this matter. However, we are dismayed that he does not understand the root issues which are involved here.
There will be a time, there must be a time, when Americans of good will and strong conscience discuss these points in a rational and non-idealogical conversation.
• First, no one is asking why it is that the Catholic Church is opposed to
artificial birth control, direct sterilization and abortifacients. For two thousand
years, the Church has understood that all of these methods that prevent life
damage marriages and thereby weaken the fabric of society.
• Secondly, in describing artificial birth control, direct sterilization and
abortifacients as “Preventive care” it is apparent that the ideology which
underlies this governmental intrusion is that pregnancy is a disease and that
the conception of life should be prevented.
• Thirdly, the question of who ultimately pays for this immoral coverage has
remained unanswered by the President. Free coverage is never free;
someone will have to pay for this coverage in their premium.
These three points will have to be addressed at some time, but what I want to address here is the constitutional issue. President Obama agreed that religious institutions would not compelled to directly pay for coverage which betrays their religious tenants or violates their conscience. This would include churches and those charitable institutions, schools and hospitals by which churches fulfill their mission.
However, the Constitution of the United States does not merely guarantee the freedom of religion to institutions, but to every American.
This includes every businessman or woman who willingly provides health insurance to his or her employees. It includes every single mother, every married couple, and every individual who does not wish to cooperate in this sin. No one should be required to betray their religious and moral
beliefs or violate their conscience.
I want to encourage people not to be afraid of the sacrifices which are required to love one another with a genuine, faithful and life-giving love. Through these we are made holy and are formed more fully into what God wants us to be. Thank you.

His Excellency has made a great statement and I agree with it 100%!!

Banging the Drum...

I read the following article from

With the White House under fire for its new rule requiring employers including religious organizations to offer health insurance that fully covers birth control coverage, ABC News has learned that later today the White House — possibly President Obama himself — will likely announce an attempt to accommodate these religious groups.
The move, based on state models, will almost certainly not satisfy bishops and other religious leaders since it will preserve the goal of women employees having their birth control fully covered by health insurance.
Sources say it will be respectful of religious beliefs but will not back off from that goal, which many religious leaders oppose since birth control is in violation of their religious beliefs.
White House officials have discussed the state law in Hawaii, where religious groups are allowed to opt out of coverage that includes birth control, as long as employees are given information whether such coverage can be obtained. But this accommodation would not go that far.
This announcement would not go that far. Sources say it will involve health insurance companies helping to provide the coverage, since it’s actually cheaper for these companies to offer the coverage than to not do so, because of unwanted pregnancies and resulting complications.
-Jake Tapper

"Sources say it will involve health insurance companies helping to provide the coverage, since it’s actually cheaper for these companies to offer the coverage than to not do so, because of unwanted pregnancies and resulting complications."
So, if abortions are to be "safe, rare, and legal," wouldn't it stand to reason that a RARE procedure wouldn't be a burden to a health insurance company?  Unless, of course, the idea of rare, is that it is rare for the individual, but not for society.  But that isn't how it is sold by advocates.

Logic fail.

Obama will tell you that rare is a societal term and not an individual term.  Which, is in fact, a lie.  Abortions are not rare, nor are they safe.  They are harmful psychologically, sociologically, and medically.  They are not rare.  According to the Guttmacher Insitute, 40% of unintended pregnancies are aborted.  40%!!!  That is a huge number.  And legality is well, dubious.  It is a supreme court decision, not a law....but I digress, because abortion mill doctors will not be prosecuted (very often) for murdering the unborn human person.

What I cannot understand is how Obama can support an industry which panders to black women more than any other.  If 67% of those who are getting abortions are black women, wouldn't it be in his best interest to oppose abortion?

Not if it is the anti-life industry which pays for his campaign.  The biggest wool pulled is on the poor and the black persons.  Interesting that Obama advocates a form of socialism which expects to level the playing field for the poor, but he supports an industry which preys on the poor to control their population.  How does that work again?  It doesn't.

Again, this is a logical failure.  There is nothing logical about eugenics.  Birth control and abortion are eugenics.  The goal of "family planning" is to limit the family.  Unless one goes to a pro-life "family planner," he will not receive any support for having children.

I will close with this...

 Only God is Lord of the life of a man who is not guilty of a crime punishable by death.  The physician has no right to dispose either of the life of the child or of that of the mother and no-one on earth, no individual, no human authority, can give him the right to its destruction.  His office is not to destroy life but to save it.  In the course of the last few decades, the Church has found it necessary to proclaim repeatedly and in all clarity, these fundamental and immutable principles in opposition to certain opinions and methods. -- Ven. Pius XII; Allocution to the Italian Medical-Biological Union of St. Luke, November 12, 1944.