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Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Catechetical Methods

I have started teaching a course on Catechetics.  It is offered once a month.  I will be posting a recap of each module once the module has been completed.  If you would like to sit in on the course, you are most certainly welcome, it is at St. Mary's Catholic School, Humboldt, Iowa at 7pm every 3rd Sunday.  There are 4 courses remaining for this session.  We will offer another session in the summer.  This recap does not count as attendance at an individual module.  If you are seeking certification, attendance at all modules is compulsory.

Module #1:  Catechetical Methods

1.  Explain and apply the goals and aims of Catechesis
2.  Explain and implement catechetical methodology from the Catechism of the the Catholic Church
3.  Explain and execute the Ecclesial Catechetical method
4.  Integrate St. John Bosco's Preventative Method with students in the classroom

Catechesis is
An education in the faith of children, young people and adults.
It is the Church's efforts to make  disciples.
It is the teaching of Christian doctrine imparted in an organic and systematic way.

The pastoral mission of the Church is to arouse faith (kerygma); to explain the reasons for our beliefs; to experience Christian living (marturia); to celebrate the Sacraments, especially the Holy Eucharist and Penance (leitrugia); to integrate (koinonia); and to have an apostolic and missionary witness (diakonia).

At the heart of Catechesis, we find Jesus Christ.

The aim of catechesis is to teach people to love the LORD, by putting them in communion with Him.  It is Christ who teaches and it is Jesus who taught.

The Catechist must first seek to know Christ, we must have a desire to proclaim Him and to lead others to the faith in Him (evangelization).

God reveals Himself in stages.
Divine revelation is ordered toward Christ
Catechesis should be taught in stages and ordered toward Christ

Ecclesial Method of Mons. Francis Kelly

It presupposes kerygma has been proclaimed and it presupposes that those being catechized have been baptized.  The steps are these
1.  Preparation
2.  Proclamation
3.  Explanation
4.  Application
5.  Celebration

Each step should point to Christ and the Rites of the Church.  It should be a challenge to live the faith and it should hand that faith on.

Preventative Method of St. John Bosco

Educational Philosophy:  Frequent Confession; frequent Communion (daily Mass if possible); educators should be professional and be patient, charitable and joy-filled.
Preventative System of Education is based on
Religion (faith); pride in being Catholic, practice the virtues, practice penance and prayers, frequent the Sacraments (especially the Holy Eucharist and Confession)
Reason (hope); logical explanations, discipline (simple rules, followed by all, immediate and fair consequences), fear of the LORD, non-public punishment, learn the students names
Kindness (charity); all duties and discipline done in love

Catechism of the Catholic Church (CCC) # 18-22; 4-5, 983; 6; 426-429;
Matthew 28:18-20
The Mystery We Proclaim 137-149

Monday, January 28, 2013

Temporary Measures and Lipstick on a Pig

It was recently argued that,
This method of the so-called "Benedictine altar arrangment" is the best solution as everyone faces the same crucifix with the Corpus on it.  However, the Holy Father also models "ad orientem" or facing God together, by having a crucifix placed centrally on the altar facing the priest when he faces the congregation. It is not as perfect as the above pictures, but it will due as a temporary measure in a time of great liturgical renewal and transition where everything old is made new (renewed/renewal) again!

I would argue that this "temporary mesaure" of versus populum (not ad orientem) with the Benedictine arrangement is simply lipstick on a pig.

Harsh?  Probably, but true.

How many times does the General Instruction of the Roman Missal (GIRM) instruct the priest to turn around and face the congregation?  I'll save you the suspense.  FIVE.

If we are to DO THE RED and SAY THE BLACK, why are we not "doing the red?"  At what point does "the red" cease to be legal and authoritative?  At what point does "the red" just become a suggestion or an ideal?  And if "the red" isn't followed to the letter (where we find the spirit, btw), then how can we expect the priests to SAY THE BLACK?

One of the reasons that I argue so vociferously about the ad orientem position is that if we are to be authentic in our worship, then we should be authentic in our worship.  We should not be banal and on-the-spot about what we tolerate and what we don't.

It is often said that "we can't approach reform with the same attitude of the 1960s!"  I say, why not?  The liberals hold the 1960s to be the dawning of a new age (Aquarius or not) and if that model of approach is so wonderful, why can't we now employ the same tactic?

The faithful won't leave.  It is proven to be the case that the fastest growing segment of the Church is the traditionalist movement.  If one thinks that the faithful will be offended that the priest is facing the same direction starting in Advent 2013, then he is sorely misguided.  The older faithful will carp about it, but won't do anything, because they are passive agressive, oh sure some will bolt, some will stop giving money, but by and large the young people will pick up the slack and the Church will continue on.

If we are going to be serious about the "New Evangelization" and the "Reform of the Reform,"  this is a step.  We must start by doing what the books ask of us, 100%.  Not 70% or 80% or even 90%, 100%!

This is not hard.  Really, it isn't.  What is hard, is that the more orthodox priests of today are afraid of their liberal peers and they are afraid that their money sources will dry up.  It is that same old story, that man is afraid of the tattle-tale.  The orthodox priest has the proper justification on his side...Fr. McD has shown some of it.

The priests of today cannot be afraid of a little persecution.  The vocation to the priesthood isn't a popularity contest, nor is it a matter of going with the status quo.  Had that been the case, the priesthood would have died a long time ago.

It is my prayer that priests stand up, DO THE RED and SAY THE BLACK; in both forms. Since, however, my prayers are unlikely to be answered in a timeframe which is conducive to my spirituality, I will continue to call for a return to the TLM exclusively, because for some unknown reason "the red and the black" are treated as law, which is where we find the spirit.

Courage.  That is what we need, courage.

Thursday, January 24, 2013

A Clarification on Ecumenism and Religious Tolerance

With regard to Ecumenism, I think that we absolutely must return to the proper and traditional understanding of what we're talking about and that isn't "ecumenism," but rather; religious tolerance with a goal of reconciliation and conversion.

My position is this, as applied to Religious Tolerance (and this piggy backs my previous post):

1. When dealing with other Christian sects, other than the Orthodox, we must view this as a matter of CATECHESIS. It is rehabilitating a heresy, namely Protestantism. This also encompasses the continued catechesis of Catholics (faithful and dissenting) as well.

2. When dealing with the Orthodox, we must be ECUMENICAL. While they are in schism (let's not forget the excommunications were lifted), they are an authentic Church with apostolic succession. Insofar as this is the case, the manner by which we deal with them as a matter of rehabilitation is a very precise form of catechesis. It isn't about rehabilitating a heresy (in all cases), but rather it is about reuniting a Church to which has split.

3. EVANGELIZATION is how we must deal with the non-Christian, including the Jews.

The understanding of Religious tolerance has almost been completely usurped by the idea of "ecumenism," which in my view is not consistent with tradition and is the second major spur of the hermeneutic of rupture.

We must return to proper definitions. The Church operates off of definitions, so we must properly define those things which are applied. Improper and incorrect definitions lead to error and ecumenism, as defined by Vatican Council II assumes that all other ecclesial communions and non-Christian faith traditions are Churches. That is simply not the case.

A Whiny Teen and Vatican Council II

In a continuing conversation, the following was said:
Parents know all to well when their children try to talk them to death in order to get what they want. The children will keep the dialogue and conversation going until the parent is worn down and finally gives in. That might mean that a teenage girl will start dating boys at the age of 14 rather than the age of 21 the parents desire or a 6th grader will get not only an iPad but an iPhone and internet connections and you know the rest![...]On the left it is all about continuing the dialogue about who can minister, opening the ordained life to females and making the divine institution of the hierarchical Church into the marshmallow of democratized principles that puts every single teaching of the Church to a vote and the so called "sense of the faithful" meaning not fidelity to the Church but what they happen to believe at any given point in time. [...]But how about the ultra-conservatives like the SSPX'ers? They do the same and are quite dogmatic about their positions and that their way is the only way; they are the ones who are faithful and Vatican II corrupted the faith, even a literalist approach to Vatican II.
What they despise the most about Vatican II apart from the liturgical changes is "ecumenism" and more charitable approach to the Jews and other religions and even to non believers all of which Vatican II suggested, not in a dogmatic way but in a pastoral way.

Wow!!!  This is an interesting point of view.  I think that parts of it are right and I am confused by another part.

First, the part which I am confused about.  How can one see the SSPX as being a whiny teenager trying to get what they want?  What EXACTLY, has the SSPX taught which is inconsistent with the tradition of the Church?  How is asking (albeit repeatedly) that the Church clarify changes to doctrine and dogma satisfactorily, whining?  If the Church is infallible, then the truth cannot change and being a champion for that truth does not equate to being a whiny teen.

BTW, they have never, ever, ever claimed that they were the only purveyors of truth.  Not once.  That was done for them by the liberals.

That is the first part.

The is said, "What they despise the most about Vatican II apart from the liturgical changes is "ecumenism" and more charitable approach to the Jews and other religions and even to non believers all of which Vatican II suggested, not in a dogmatic way but in a pastoral way."

I think that I have to take issue with that.  I think that "ecumenism" was re-defined and done so incorrectly during Vatican Council II.  I have spoken about this before, so I won't go into it here, but suffice to say, I will ask the following question;  Is it charitable or pastoral to misapply ecumenism to those which it doesn't apply?  The Jews are not a Church, so there is no way to be ecumenical with them.  We must evangelize them to convert to the only means of salvation, which is inside the Church.  So my question, asked another way is, How does one act in an ecumenical way with a non-Christian group who has no real exposure to Christ?

The issue with the SSPX is not only a pastoral one, I believe that they are being pastoral and compassionate and charitable, by continuing to promote the Catholic faith as defined through the ages.  Bishop Fellay has over and over and over again said that the issues with Vatican Council II are doctrinal insofar as they misapply the consistent tradition of the Church.  This is a pastoral issue.  The dogma and doctrine haven't changed, but the application has.  Interestingly enough, the Holy Father is now saying the same thing.  Hermeneutic of rupture.

So, it isn't like being a whiny teen trying to get his way with regard to the SSPX, but rather it is an elder child trying to impart the knowledge and truth which had always been taught and now has changed, to a greater or lesser degree.

I agree that Vatican Council II must be accepted, but it must be accepted for what it is, not what it isn't; or more precisely, what the liberals want it to be...a defining body of "superdogma."  Vatican Council II was a pastoral Council which was put forth to do two things, bring about changes to the liturgy and promote aggiornamento.  When we recognize that, then we can start talking about Vatican Council II in a very honest and open way.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

When and How to Begin the Reform of the Reform

A reader asked at what point should we begin the reform of the reform.  He based this on my last post here and I thought it would be best to flush this out as it's own post.  It is a great question, a valid question and one which I have been formulating for some time now (read: years).  At one point, I firmly believed that if we were to simply "tighten" the Novus Ordo, that was the reform necessary, but that view is obviously short sighted.

As it stands now, I would argue that to go back to the 1951 formulations is not necessary, because the changes which were made to the Missal in the 1962 revisions were no more harmful to the Mass than those revisions which were promulgated in the years following Trent.  I am well aware that some will say that there has long been the agenda that adding Joseph to the Canon would be abusive and that it took a weak pope like John XXIII to allow for it, but honestly there is nothing in the 1962 Missal which is divisive enough to warrant abandoning the '62 Missal for the 1951 formulations.

If one is going to argue about the second confiteor, I would argue this....the second confiteor properly speaking was never part of the Mass to begin with.  The people's communion in the TLM is secondary to the priest's and it is not an integral part of the Mass itself.  That is why there is a second confiteor, right?  So, if the people's communion is a separate act from the Mass, then the formula for reception can be altered without any real "destruction" to the Mass.  This is why in some places the second confiteor is retained and in others it is not.  It is a non-starter.

As for retroactive reforms, I would argue this....if we return to the reforms starting with the '62 Missal, there is nothing saying that everything has to move forward.  If, as David asserts, a move to the pre-'62 Palm Sunday makes more sense, then the Vatican should be open to it.  One of the things that can work to the advantage of the reform of the reform is that Vatican Council II was pastoral.  So, if something is deemed unnecessary  it can be reinterpreted to lessen it's impact without affecting dogma or doctrine.  So, if a move toward a more traditional interpretation of a liturgical act is warranted, then there is nothing prohibiting it, just as if there is a more modern interpretation, or even a mixture of modern and traditional.

The Mass is disciplinary insofar as it can be revised, but the actions of the last 50 years are not revision, but rather they are abusive, not only to the letter of the law, but also to the spirit of the law.  I firmly believe that this did begin before the formation of the Consilium and has not ended yet; but I do believe that the Consilium did not move out of the realm of theoretical until Vatican Council II.  The changes made to Holy Week and following do not shake the Faith of the Church, however, I do believe that the changes following the Council have.  We must re-gain control of the liturgical action.

If we are to gain control again of the liturgical action, I do believe that several things must take place...

1.  We must reform from the last stable application of the Mass (1962 Missal)
2.  We must regain control of liturgical law (and canon law)
3.  We must be open to applying the past as well as looking to the future
4.  We must be very diligent and precise in our actions with regard to rubrics, to music, and to language

This should be our starting point and this should be where we begin from.  To move forward or backward is now a matter of discussion, but there must be an openness to both, IN AN AUTHENTIC way.  The Church is not static, it never has been, so we cannot freeze time.  But we can move judiciously through time and in a manner which is consistent with 2000 years of existence and revelation.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Four Points to Consider with the Reform of the Reform

There is a continually growing sentiment within the Church, regarding the so-called "Reform of the Reform" and while I generally agree with it, there is one major exception which must be discussed, but I'll leave that til the end. However, I think that I have to continue to take issue with the overall attitude.

Let me preface this by clearly saying two things. 1. I applaud the efforts of those who have authentically worked to have them applied. It takes some courage to stand up to peers and I think that to an extent, that has been done. And 2. I appreciate the general attitude. I think that it is one which truly, truly embraces Benedict XVI's hypotheses reagarding the "Reform of the Reform." That too takes some courage for the very same reason.


By and large the attitudes and words are just like the Holy Father's. They are mostly hypothetical. It has long been my contention that in order to truly enact the "Reform of the Reform" we cannot embrace the Novus Ordo. Here is why. The liturgical reforms of Vatican Council II were flawed. The Holy Father has said so in so many words, please reference the hermeneutic of discontinuity or rupture. If we begin from a flawed position, the Church cannot be authentic. We know that this cannot be the case, in the Church there can be no error. The Church must be authentic in all that she does. My first point:

1. The reform of the reform must start from the TLM. That is what the Council Fathers intended.

I believe that in order to properly accomodate the reform of the reform, we must have a pope who is a reformer. Benedict XVI is not. He is an academic. There is nothing wrong with that, but we must understand what he is and accept that. I think that most traddies do, I think that most neo-cons don't.  I think that the neo-cons want to reform the liturgy based upon a reform of the Novus Ordo.  I know that most mainstream conservatives are just trying to "tighten up" the Mass as we have it now, so they love him. I know that most liberals don't care, because they are too busy opposing him at every turn. My second point:

2. There must be a reformer pope.

With the proper "Reform of the Reform," there has to be a theological clarification on many aspects of Church life, not just the liturgy. The Church must re-evaluate Ecumenism and religious tolerance. The churchmen who lead have forgotten what true ecumenism is. The Church must re-evaluate it's position on Ecclesiology, including religious freedom. The Church must re-evaluate it's position on the Magisterium of Vatican Council II. If Vatican Council II is only pastoral, to what end is it binding? Can a purely pastoral statement with no dogma or doctrine attached to it be binding on the faithful? And are those pastoral statements which are contrary to proven and accepted dogma and doctrine binding? Can they be? My third point:

3. The Church must re-evaluate it's positions on a) liturgy, b) Ecclesiology including religious freedom, c) Ecumenism/Religious tolerance, and d) the Magisterium of Vatican Council II.

Finally, I need to say this, and I take major issue with this idea.  There is an idea starting to be circulated that there should be a restoration of the ministry of acolyte, outside of Holy Orders proper, but still a minor order or ministry.  I am not 100% opposed to this idea, but as it is being presented, I do.  Here is why, it has been said:

"As for Extraordinary Ministers of Holy Communion, I have no issue with these in principle, but I think they should be installed acolytes and vested for this ministry. [...] I am not opposed to women being included in this ministry."

Under no circumstances can this be acceptable. IF (and it's a HUGE if) women are allowed to be installed into a minor order, where does it stop? This view is contrary to John Paul II's clarification that women are not called to Holy Orders. You speak of this being an ordinary ministry. Women are not capable of being ordinary ministers of anything. That is 100% contrary to Catholic teaching. If you are to allow women to be installed as acolytes, why not ordain them as deacons? If you ordain them, why stop at deacon? Shouldn't they then be allowed to be ordained to priesthood? An installed acolyte is an official ministry of the Church and it is an infallible teaching that this is reserved only to men. To do what you are suggesting is to undermine the infallibility of the Church. I do firmly, firmly believe that the ministries of the Church ordinary or extraordinary should be reserved to men only. Why? Because they are DIRECT extensions of the power of the bishop. This includes ushers (porter), readers (lector), servers (acolyte), deacons, and priests.  Incidentally, any pious layman can act as a vested acolyte. However, 99.99999999% of pastors will not utilize a "straw acolyte or subdeacon" for the edification of the Mass. It is one of the few times when the liberals will draw a line in the sand regarding the "clericalization of the laity."

The use of laymen as subdeacons/vested acolytes has been a practice of the Church for centuries. (cf. Ministeria Quaedam) There are provisions made and to be honest, in the Novus Ordo, a layman does most of it already, but in a three piece suit (sometimes in a Havana shirt and bermuda shorts). I boggles my mind why a priest wouldn't just vest the pious layman and utilize him in a way which is most proper to the Church's authentic vision of the liturgy.

We must return to a proper understanding of our roles within the Church. My fourth and final point:

4. The Church must reaffirm it's positioning on ministry and definition of priesthood.

In summation, I think that this discussion can start, but I think that the four major issues which must be discussed, frankly, openly, and honestly:

The reform of the reform must start from the TLM.
2.  There must be a reformer pope.
3.  The Church must re-evaluate it's positions on a) liturgy, b) Ecclesiology including religious freedom, c) Ecumenism/Religious tolerance, and d) the Magisterium of Vatican Council II.
4.  The Church must reaffirm it's positioning on ministry and definition of priesthood.

Once these are addressed, we can start to look at how to have a real conversation on the "Reform of the Reform."