Tuesday, May 26, 2015


John Nolan quotes Archbishop Annibale Bugnini as saying:

'We must strip from our Catholic prayers and from the Catholic liturgy everything which can be the shadow of a stumbling block for our separated brethren, that is for the Protestants.'

But Former Father PI states that John Nolan's version of the translation is prejudiced. In reality, Archbishop Annibale Bugnini said the following:

"And yet it is the love of souls and the desire to help in any way the road to union of the separated brethren, by removing every stone that could even remotely constitute an obstacle or difficulty, that has driven the Church to make even these painful sacrifices."

I suspect that Former PI is giving us the literal translation of what Archbishop Bugnini wrote. Therefore if this is true we should all despise it as those who despise the new and glorious literal translation of the English Roman Missal.

I suspect too, that what John Nolan presents is an equivalent translation of the Italian original. If so we should all love it as equivalency is so touted by those who hate literal translations.

I am grateful to form PI for pointing out the obvious and that we should all love the equivalent version.

I saw this comment at another internet site that captures very well the essence or equivalent of what I am saying:

Hehe. So Archbishop Bugnini's defenders are objecting to the fact that the quote attributed to him all these years appears to have been translated into English by someone from the 70's era of the ICEL.

And they're mad as heck that the translation isn't remotely precise. Oh the irony!

Ironic too that his critics used a sloppy dynamic equivalence for all these years. You can't make this stuff up!


Jesus was not successful in the eyes of the world. He was murdered after all. The  early Church wasn't successful either, it was martyred. And her mission thus far hasn't been too successful, lots of Catholics are destined for hell. This also implies Jesus' cross and resurrection wasn't too successful either in this regard.

Thus we have to take the following commentary from the Irish independent with a grain of salt. But I have to say, having grown up in a period of un-ecumenical anti-Catholicism in the south, this commentary sounds like religious bigotry toward the Church, not Christian, non-Catholic bigotry, but secular bigotry that almost rivals the infamous "Chic" publications.

The Church is not going to get people to come back to her by watering down the Faith. These people have joined a new religion and they are quite content. The Catholic Church has never been pure, we have always been sinners, big sinners. So we might be a smaller Church because some of us sinners have left for a new religion but we will never be a purer Church, ever!

I do believe we have to have a better apologetic about how we call out sinners. Calling people by the sins they commit isn't a good hermeneutic at all and it is off-putting. Someone may commit sodomy and this isn't a sin just of homosexuals, by the way, but is it necessary to call them sodomites?

Someone may commit masturbation, but do we have to call them masturbatorites? These two epitaphs go to a specific aspect of their sin and is descriptive of the sin and sinner. Whereas when we call someone a thief or adulterer or fornicator, we don't name the specific sin in the name calling but generally indicate that they have broken the moral law by stealing (we don't know if it is an armed robbery or simply taking a paper clip from work, the same with adulterer and fornicator, we don't name the specific sin just the general category).  So we don't call heterosexuals who commit fornication by the type of sin of fornication they commit, like coitusites or, heavy-pettingites or whatever the sex act might be.

So we need to be more gentle in our language. But lets face it, we can't keep everyone in the Church if they simply don't love the Church, respect her or believe what she teaches. How can we? That would undermine the gift of free will that God has given them that is a great gift with great responsibilities and consequences.

Here is the Irish Commentary  from the Irish Independent. This commentary tells us what we are up against.

An out-of-touch church must address its obsession with 'sexual morality'

Minister for Health, Leo Varadkar TD and Archbishop of Dublin Diarmuid Martin, at the opening of St. Francis Hospice Blanchardstown, shakes hands with Archbishop of Dublin Diarmuid Martin a day after the landslide referendum result Open Gallery 2
Minister for Health, Leo Varadkar TD and Archbishop of Dublin Diarmuid Martin, at the opening of St. Francis Hospice Blanchardstown, shakes hands with Archbishop of Dublin Diarmuid Martin a day after the landslide referendum result
Archbishop Diarmuid Martin is right that the Catholic Church needs a "reality check" in the wake of the landslide marriage equality referendum result, but the State also needs a reality check when it comes to its reliance on the church for the provision of education.

The notion that it took the decisive result of the marriage equality referendum for senior members of the church to grasp that it is no longer relevant in the lives of young people is a sad indictment of its remoteness from the lives of the people it purports to represent.

In truth, alarm bells should have been ringing for the church as far back as 1973, when the Supreme Court found married couples had a right to use contraceptives - even if the church and the State, which were then virtually indistinguishable, disagreed.

Instead, it has opted to ignore the massive societal changes that have occurred in Ireland in the intervening four decades, leading it to its current sorry impasse of irrelevance and decay.
Throughout the referendum campaign none of its members made any reference to their fundamental religious opposition to the proposal, preferring to frame their argument in dubious sociological terms.

Why? Because they knew reminding people that the Catholic faith considers gay sex immoral, and same-sex marriage a perversion of the institution, would not win over many voters.

This strategy was diverted from only once, when Breda O'Brien told the 'Sunday Independent' she believes gay people "should abstain from sex - like all unmarried couples".

Of course, seeing as she doesn't believe in same-sex marriage, what she was prescribing for gay people was a lifetime devoid of sexual intimacy. The benefits of living a celibate life would be, she said, "knowing that you are loved by God and that you are valued" - seeming to imply gay people in sexual relationships are neither loved by God nor valued.

This kind of dogmatism is something that a majority of Irish people, no matter what their religious persuasion, are no longer willing to countenance. The Catholic Church may believe that homosexuality is a moral disorder but people don't see their gay friends or family members as in any way deviant or their relationships as in any way disordered.

Therein lies the problem for the Catholic Church. It is peddling 19th century teachings about sexual ethics in a 21st century world and an increasing number of people are no longer willing to listen to disparaging descriptions of gay people as being somehow sexually sick.

This is particularly the case when those lectures are coming from an institution that facilitated and covered up the rape and abuse of children over many decades, leaving it with no moral authority when it comes to preaching about sexuality.

What the church is really facing is an existential crisis with itself - between its bipolar liberal and conservative wings, the former pleading for change and the latter opposed to any variation in its stance. Between people like former President Mary McAleese, who doesn't see any discord between her faith and her support of same-sex marriage, and the Iona Institute's John Murray, who believes Catholics who voted Yes have effectively renounced their faith.

However, even Archbishop Diarmuid Martin, pilloried by the religious right as a liberal dilettante in thrall to the media, doesn't seem to fully grasp the enormity of the challenge the church faces.

Speaking in the wake of the Yes campaign victory, he said, "the church has a huge task in front of it to find the language to be able to talk to and to get its message across to young people" - but the language is not the problem, it is the message.

While Pope Francis has recently softened the language the church uses to discuss gay people, the underlying teaching, that homosexuality is a disorder, remains the same and there is no indication that it is likely to change any time soon.

But the church has changed its stance on moral issues before, as prominent Catholic intellectual John T Noonan documented in his book, 'A Church That Can and Cannot Change'.

In it, he describes the volte face the church has done on a number of issues - like its former acceptance of slavery as part of the natural order of things or its view of religious intolerance as a moral imperative - and argues that the impetus for change back then came from prominent Catholic thinkers and leaders.

It is time for those kinds of leaders to again challenge the status quo position and question whether the church's obsession with issues of sexual morality are really a fundamental core of its ideology or merely a relic of a prurient past.
As the church embarks on some soul searching, it is also time for the State to evaluate whether it can continue to defend its wholesale delegation of the provision of primary education to the church - particularly when church teaching on a range of different social issues is so divorced from majority public opinion.

The Catholic Church currently controls 92pc of primary schools, in which an integrated curriculum that states "a religious spirit should inform and vivify the whole work of the school" operates. This means that children who do not share the religious denomination of the school cannot escape its ethos, even if they're excused from religion classes, because it pervades the whole school day.

In a modern State which seeks to defend the principle of freedom of religion, how can the State continue to effectively be complicit in the attempted indoctrination of children who are forced to attend religious-run schools because there is no non-denominational option?

This does not mean that religious schools should be abolished, it simply means that the State must provide a real choice to parents so that they no longer feel that they have to get their children baptised in order to secure them a school place.

The Catholic Church does not have any special preferred position in the Constitution, compared to other religious faiths, so the State's continued attitude of deference to the church when it comes to the provision of education is an anachronism that has to be addressed.

Irish Independent


Catholic or Lutheran?
Was the Mass redesigned to appeal to Protestants? I would say yes given my seminary education in the 1970's. In fact John Nolan proves this to be the case by quoting the primary architect of the revised Mass:

'We must strip from our Catholic prayers and from the Catholic liturgy everything which can be the shadow of a stumbling block for our separated brethren, that is for the Protestants.'

Annibale Bugnini, L'Osservatore Romano, 19 March 1965.

Personally, I don't think this is entirely a wrong approach although it did lead to a deformation of the Mass as celebrated in rank and file parishes to this day. This fact is a result of not reading the black and doing the red but instead of being sloppy, banal and careless with the Mass especially when it comes to music and indiscriminate selections of lay ministries for the Mass with little or no real training. 

I can remember when I first got to the seminary having a heated discussion with another seminarian who thought we should not call ourselves Catholic anymore as it was too divisive when it came to reuniting Christianity. We should simply call ourselves Christian or the Christian Church.

Inter-communion became the norm and individual priests often made the decision to be magnanimous in inviting our separated brethren to the table of the Lord. In my previous parish I gave permission to a neighboring parochial vicar to celebrate the wedding Mass of one of his parishioners at my ornate downtown church. I just happened to be in the sacristy at the time of Holy Communion to hear him state to the congregation that anyone was free to come to Holy Communion at this joyous ecumenical event. Of course he even gave Holy Communion to the non-Catholic spouse. To say the least, he was not given permission by me to celebrate any more weddings or funerals at my parish church.

But I have to admit that the English Mass does make weddings and funerals more intelligible for non-Catholics. In fact in my southern parishes there are usually more Protestants in attendance at our weddings and funerals than there are Catholics. In fact I have had funeral Masses where the deceased and altar servers were the  only Catholics present at the Mass and the Church was full.

The English Mass was at least understandable to them in language even if the Protestants don't really get the mystical aspect of the Mass. But let's keep in mind that prior to the Council Protestant were converting to the Catholic Church in great numbers and appreciated the more complicated Latin Mass of that period. It was not a stumbling block to converts although to those who had no desire to become Catholic it didn't matter what language or how stripped down the Mass could be, they weren't becoming Catholic period!

Pope Francis is very suspicious of theologians and regularly denigrates them. He thinks ecumenism will come about at the grass roots. I thinks so too, but not in worship necessarily, but how Catholics relate to Protestants in the world.

On the institutional level ecumenism is best carried out in helping the poor through cooperative ministries. It is not occurring in worship, doctrine or morals. In fact we are further apart today than we were in the 1960's prior to the Council in these areas. And the reason for this is that Protestants have moved away from us even as we tried to move closer to them.

The ecumenism of tea and crumpets of the officials of the Church is a miserable failure. Annual conventions and workshops that these so-called ecumenists attend at diocesan expense have accomplished nada, nothing but good manners in social settings and a heady exchange if ideas and speeches not to mention some educational opportunities. I'm with the pope of this one, what uselessness!

Monday, May 25, 2015


It seems that there are two pastoral aspects of the Second Vatican Council that have not served rank and file Catholicism well, not so much because the idea is dated and flawed, maybe, maybe not, but because rank and file Catholics did not understand that one has to be truly committed Catholicism with deeply committed beliefs in what the Church teaches, how the Church prays and what the Church's worldview is to participate and dialogue properly with these two pastoral aspects of Vatican II.

What are these two pastoral aspects of VII?

1. Ecumenism and interfaith dialogue
2. Dialogue with the world

It did not have to happen, but these two pastoral aspects of Vatican II led many Catholic, maybe a majority to view the called for dialogue as a capitulation to the world and to protestantism as well as an egalitarian approach to other religions, a sort of recovery of the heresy of universalism.

For my purposes, I will speak of Catholics becoming secularists, the logical outcome of an uncritical dialogue with the world and Catholics who either become Protestant or Orthodox out of a false sense that these two schisms were justified and that Protestantism and Orthodoxy preserve elements of the Church lost by Catholicism. However, I will focus more on protestant capitulation rather than  Catholics swimming eastward.

The unbridled ecumenism of the 1960's saw the birth of the Pentecostal Protestant movement in the Catholic Church, what is known as Catholic charismatics. At its core it is Protestant focused on Scripture and personal emotional experiences of God. It is non-sacramental in other words.

It had an immense impact in the USA. More virulent forms of Pentecostalism has nearly destroyed true Catholic identity in South America where the Catholic Church caters to pentecostal sensibilities in worship and manner of being Church.

We see Protestant converts only partially converting but still harboring great suspicion towards the clergy and hierarchy of the Church especially the pope. Many of these types comment here. Their conversion was only partial.

The unbridled dialogue with the world has led to the more insidious deformation of Catholicism as made horribly clear in Ireland. It is secularism embraced by Catholics who still have a veneer of Catholicism but a very thin veneer. It is worse than the protestantization of Catholicism as it is a step toward, if not a complete capitulation to godless secularism born of agnosticism or atheism.

True Catholicism is lost in the process. This loss started with Vatican II but was fueled by the rupture in Catholic identity that the wrong interpretation and implementation of a pastoral council wrought on the Church beginning as soon as the documents of Vatican II were released beginning withthe one on the liturgy and then perverted in the implementation of the Council, not in continuity with the Church's great heritage but in a complete rupture striving to design a different Catholicism from that which had preceded the council.


What Ireland did on Friday in showing the world that a popular vote landslide could lead to the approval of same sex marriage tells us in some ways what is wrong with the post-Vatican II Church today. There has been an over correction in tactics of leadership from authoritarianism (not to be confused with authoritativeness) to a wishy-washy Catholicism that lacks it edginess, authority or even convinceability.

However, there are two good commentaries on the Irish Church's decline and near fall. The first is built on the authoritarianism of the Irish Church enshrined in government that usually leads to anti-clericalism when politics and religion are too intertwined and viewed as limiting the freedom of the populace that doesn't believe everything the Catholic Church teaches. Civil law supports Church law and this causes resentment. It would be like Sharia Law imposed upon Americans who aren't Muslim and even the Muslims might not appreciate it being a part of secular law.

I know that my Italian mother thought it was a good thing when Italy finally allowed civil divorce which the Church had successfully defeated until a popular voters' uprising. My mom said that many good-for-nothing Italian men had left their wives and families and were living with their significant other and got away with it legally. In other words abandonment was allowed in the law and the offending party didn't have to offer support to his family.

This also caused a serious anti-clericalism in Italy when the Church involved herself too much in Italian politics like the Muslims do in their own Muslim countries.

The other commentary points to a loss of Catholic Faith and the vacuum filled not by evangelical Protestantantism as in South America, but by godless secularism.

Here are the two commentaries:

'We're next' says Italy after Irish gay marriage vote

Positive reaction to overturning of Catholic church's hold on Ireland may have knock-on effect elsewhere

People march during the annual Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) Pride Parade in Turin, on June 28, 2014
LGBT Pride Parade in Turin in 2014. Italy now is the only Western European country that does not recognize either same sex marriage or civil unions. Photo: AFP/Getty
Ireland's historic vote in favour of same sex marriage reverberated across Italy on Sunday, as Prime Minister Matteo Renzi's lieutenants came out in force to call for fast-track passage of a stymied civil partnership law.
Socially conservative Italy now is the only Western European country that does not recognize either same sex marriage or civil unions. But that the Irish referendum garnered an unexpectedly strong 62 per cent "Yes" vote in such a deeply Catholic country rallied backers of the Italian law, which has been languishing in parliament for months.
Several editorials on Sunday suggested that such a referendum in Italy would have a similar outcome, recalling the divorce referendum in 1974, when 60 percent of Italian voters went against the wishes of the Catholic church on a major social issue.
La Repubblica reported Mr Renzi confided privately that in the wake of the Ireland vote the question of civil unions in Italy can no longer be put off. Many of his key cabinet members and key party allies spoke out in favor of swift passage of the proposed legislation.

Roberto Speranza said it was now Italy's turn (AFP/Getty)
"What joy," said Roberto Speranza, leader of Mr Renzi's centre-left Democratic Party of the result. "Now it is Italy's turn." "The moment has arrived, finally, to approve this before the summer's end," said Democratic Senator Andrea Marcucci.
"Ireland is giving us a lesson in civility," said gay Italian politician Nichi Vendola, president of the Apulia region since 2005.
Laura Boldrini, speaker of the Italian Chamber of Deputies, said Ireland was giving Italy a much-needed push forward. "It is time that Italy has a civil unions law," Ms. Boldrini said on Twitter. "To be European means to recognize rights."
• Ireland's love for its gay children won out over fears for 'family'

The crowd in Dublin celebrates the referendum result on Saturday (EPA)
Ireland is the 13th EU country to recognize gay marriage. Many countries, such as Germany, allow civil partnerships but are yet to allow marriage, while Cyprus, Greece and most of Eastern Europe do not recognize any form of same sex union.
The vote in Ireland crowned a dramatic shift in public attitudes towards homosexuality and a wide range of other social issues as the Roman Catholic church's once-firm grip on the country weakens.
There was soul-searching in churches across the country after the vote in favour of changing the 1937 constitution specifically to allow same-sex marriage was declared passed, with a vote of 62.1 per cent in favour, on Saturday.

Archbishop Diarmuid Martin says there's a "growing gap between Irish young people and the Church" (AFP/Getty)
The Archbishop of Dublin, Diarmuid Martin, described the vote against church teaching on gay marriage as "overwhelming" and said Catholic leaders needed "urgently" to find a new way to speak to the country's young.
"It's a social revolution," he said. "The church needs to do a reality check right across the board."
He said that some church figures who argued in the "No" camp came across as "harsh, damning and unloving, the opposite of their intention".
"Have we drifted completely away from young people?" he said. "Most of those people who voted 'yes' are products of our Catholic schools for 12 years."

After being honoured with the Tipperary International Peace Award on Sunday, Ban Ki-moon said the landmark referendum giving equal rights to same-sex couples was a truly historic moment (PA)
The vote is likely to have a knock-on effect elsewhere, particularly in Catholic-majority countries. It was also welcomed by Ban Ki-moon, the United Nations secretary-general.

"This is a truly historic moment: Ireland has become the first country in the world to approve marriage equality in a nationwide referendum," he said.

"The result sends an important message to the world: All people are entitled to enjoy their human rights no matter who they are or whom they love."

Italy's proposed civil partnership law – based on the German model - gives same sex couples many of the same rights as married couples, as well as the option of stepchild adoption, which allows a partner the possibility of adopting the biological child of the other partner. But the law is stuck in a Senate committee, where it has been bombarded with 4,320 amendments and is currently being rewritten with careful language that does not mention marriage.

Many of the roadblocks to the law have been thrown up by the far-right Northern League and the New Centre Right party of Angelino Alfano, which remain steadfast in their opposition to the adoption of children by same sex couples, the right for same sex partners to each other's pensions or a union that resembles marriage. "In our country we need to identify a path for civil unions that at the same time is not the same as marriage," said NCR's Fabrizio Cicchitto.

Pope Francis remained silent on the Irish vote during his Pentecost Sunday address (SIPA/Shutterstock/ Rex Features)
How the Vatican will respond to the social shift underway is as yet unclear. Pope Francis remained silent on the Irish vote during his Pentecost Sunday address, while comments by some senior Catholic clergy suggested the Church was reeling from the result.

"Many times the Catholic Church in Italy has said it is one thing to respect legitimate rights of every person, but it is another to speak of gay marriage," said Sicilian Archbishop Michele Pennisi in La Repubblica. But at least one senior Catholic cleric in Ireland now disagrees, saying the outcome of the vote was a message that the Church needs a "reality check. "

"I appreciate how gay and lesbian men and women feel on this day," said Diarmuid Martin, the archbishop of Dublin. "That they feel this is something that is enriching the way they live I think it is a social revolution."

While Pope Francis has in the past stressed that the Church continues to regard marriage as being a union between a man and a woman, he has also asked senior Church leaders to study the reasons why many countries continue to legalise same sex marriages.

Father Timothy Radcliffe is an outspoken proponent of gay rights (Nick Cornish)

In Latin America, where Catholic traditions and conservative governments tend to be anti-gay, Brazil, Uruguay, the Pope's native Argentina and the Federal District of Mexico City have passed laws allowing same sex marriages. Last week, the Pope appointed a liberal Dominican priest, Father Timothy Radcliffe, as consultor for the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace. The Englishman is an outspoken proponent of gay rights – another sign, some say, that Pope Francis is showing willingness to take a more inclusive stance on the issue.

And here is the commentary concerning the loss of Christian Faith altogether:

Secularism has filled the vacuum left by the decline of Irish Catholicism
Saturday’s vote for same-sex marriage in Ireland is one for the history books. It’s the first time a country has legalised gay marriage by popular vote.

The question on everyone’s lips is: what changed Catholic Ireland into a post-religious country where gay marriage has been enshrined in law by the will of the majority of people?

The vastly diminished role of the Church has left an elephantine emptiness in Irish life. One very important factor is how ashamed many Irish people feel about the sexual abuse crisis. Perhaps the people who ought to feel that shame are the guilty priests and nuns. But Benedict XVI was right, in his book-long interview with Peter Seewald, when he pointed out that most Irish families had a member who had a vocation either as a priest or a nun. Therefore most Irish people felt very deeply the disgrace caused by the revelations of clerical sexual abuse. This was the case even if the priest or nun in a family was totally innocent.

Growing up in Ireland, I saw this first-hand, when a friend or acquaintance who had a brother who was a blameless priest, they would feel embarrassed to say that their sibling was a good priest, for fear that people would think they were “covering up”.

Humiliation and regret have gone hand in hand, and increasingly in the past few decades, the Irish, who have, by an average margin of two to one, legalised gay marriage, convinced themselves that if the Church was wrong, then the opposite of the Church’s teaching must be right.

When the Church lost power and influence in Irish life, that same power and influence was inherited by the forces of secularism. Have no doubt: the vacuum was filled by secularism: The Irish did not turn to another religion such as Pentecostal Christianity. When tens of thousands of people stopped practising as Catholics, they did not en masse convert to any other Christian denomination.

Jon Anderson hit the nail on head when he recently wrote: “Many Irish believe in Jesus in the same way that Hindus believe in Gandhi, an interesting historical figure.”

It’s not as simple as saying that the Irish have rejected the Catholic Church. It goes much deeper: the truth is that the majority have abandoned traditional Christianity and will not let it guide their choices and their way of life.

It’s a strange irony that the Irish constitution, dedicated to the Most Holy Trinity, will now enshrine same-sex marriage. An austere portrayal that even the most formally Catholic legal charters for a formally Catholic country can be usurped by secularism.

Sunday, May 24, 2015



We know that in many places around the world if even 11% of Catholics attend Mass, that is good news. Think of what communism did to Catholicism in Eastern Europe as well as what it is doing today in Red China. Many people abandon the Catholic faith, and other Christian denominations, if it is not politically or socially in vogue to be considered a public Christian or Catholic. Yet in Communist Europe of the past and Red China of today, there were/are underground, faithful Catholics who keep the Church going even if just a mustard seed.

Right now in those places around the world where the mustard seed of 11% of Catholics are attending Mass, there is no need to go underground yet although I suspect on the hot button cultural issues concerning sexuality they need to keep their mouths shut in the public square.

Ireland is a case in point. It is Catholic in name only. But the decline in Irish Catholicism accelerated by too much of Catholicism being a kind of state religion with inept episcopal leadership in the face of scandal and the relentless march of secularism has in reality made Ireland a secular state with a secular religion more virulent and authoritarian than anything Catholicism was in her heyday. Perhaps it is the Irishness of Ireland that is so authoritarian simply picking and choosing which vehicle they will use to express it. Today it is a ruthless secularism.

The law of prayer is the law of belief. Yet we know of high Anglicanism with tasteful and exquisite liturgy and music that despite the smoke, bells, chant and elaborate ritual, Anglicans are quite content to be post-Christian. They have led the way in fact into appeasing the secular culture on everything sexual.  

How do faithful Catholic today navigate through the cesspool of secularism and the corruption it brings to Catholics and other Christians who drink of its water?

1. Love never fails. Pray for them but don't join them. This is true of family members, be they parents, siblings children or down the ancestry ladder.  One can love a relative without accepting their lifestyle. One can visit them in their homes, go out to eat with them and have them as friends. Never enable a sinful lifestyle though. But don't harangue.And if they influence your more than you influence them disengage.

2. Be compassionate and in dialogue with relatives (who want to speak to you) about their lifestyle choices. Sometimes, though, following Christ and being a Catholic estranges us from family members who aren't. This goes way back to the early Church and we have to accept this reality.

3. One commenter wrote on another thread that we should engage those who oppose us. A couple of years ago my parochial vicar was on a panel at Mercer University and the topic was homosexuality. With him was an openly homosexual Episcopal priest in a public partnership as well as others yea and nay. It was a very productive meeting and I hear Fr. Dawid represented the Church very well and was invited out for lunch by the gay Episcopal priest! That says something, no?

4. On one to one meetings with those who have same sex attractions, I think I am quite pastoral as I am in the confessional. I don't think anyone thinks I am condemning them to hell or that I find them disgusting as I don't. When they are respectful of the Church and her teachings, I think things are very productive. Sometimes while aiming for perfection we have to settle with what will do. When Jesus couldn't keep his three apostles, Peter, James and John awake in the Garden of Gethsemane, in accepting this reality Jesus simply said "It will have to do!"

5. It is better for a homosexual to be monogamous rather than promiscuous and to be in a loving, healthy partnership than in one that is unhealthy. Mortal sin is mortal sin but only God will judge why people committed their mortal sins at their personal judgment. Why are some Catholics, a few who comment here, persist in breaking the 4th and 8th Commandments when it comes to the Holy Father and others in the Church in positions of authority? Do I ban them from commenting or pray they will repent one day? Only God will judge their salvation at their personal judgement though. But for those who break the 6th Commandment (from masturbation to same sex sex)where true care and love are expressed in chaste ways, this should be encouraged and applauded.   Grace is at work. And pastoral counselors should counsel chastity, be it faithfulness to a partner or celibacy. We all know that in true marriages husbands and wives are often sexually inactive due to a variety of circumstances. In an illicit sexual partnership, chastity should be a goal as well as chaste celibacy.

The jury is out on what same sex partnerships that involve the adoption of children or children created in some fashion for the couple does to these children. We have some anecdotal evidence that it is quite harmful, but as with sexual abuse or any other type of abuse, it takes decades for people to acknowledge publicly what they experienced as children and teenagers. It will come though.  I am sure we will have studies on this in the future. It has to be damaging.

Finally, as our culture embraces the infidelity of Sodom and Gomorrah in its rejection of God (sexuality is a part of that infidelity) will we see a collapse of western civilization overrun by the barbarians of the day, be they ISIS or any other radical, death dealing group? Time will tell. We know history repeats itself.

But we also know that evil never prevails. The battle is won and this Pentecost Sunday should reassure us of the ultimate outcome!


 Latin Mass with Roman Canon and a chasuble worn by Benedict:


“As the Father has sent me, even so I send you...  Receive the Holy Spirit” (Jn 20:21-22).  The gift of the Spirit on the evening of the Resurrection took place once again on the day of Pentecost, intensified this time by extraordinary outward signs.  On the evening of Easter, Jesus appeared to the Apostles and breathed on them his Spirit (cf. Jn 20:22); on the morning of Pentecost the outpouring occurred in a resounding way, like a wind which shook the place the Apostles were in, filling their minds and hearts.  They received a new strength so great that they were able to proclaim Christ’s Resurrection in different languages: “They were all filled with the Holy Spirit, and began to speak in other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance” (Acts 2:4).  Together with them was Mary, the Mother of Jesus, the first disciple and the Mother of the nascent Church.  With her peace and her smile, she accompanied the joyful young Bride, the Church of Jesus.

            The word of God, especially in today’s readings, tells us that the Spirit is at work in individuals and communities filled with the Spirit: he guides us into all the truth (cf. Jn 16:13), he renews the face of the earth (Ps 103:30), and he gives us his fruits (cf. Gal 5:22-23).

            In the Gospel, Jesus promises his disciples that, when he has returned to the Father, the Holy Spirit will come to guide them into all the truth (cf. Jn 16:13).  Indeed he calls the Holy Spirit “the Spirit of truth”, and explains to his disciples that the Spirit will bring them to understand ever more clearly what he, the Messiah, has said and done, especially in regard to his death and resurrection.  To the Apostles, who could not bear the scandal of their Master’s sufferings, the Spirit would give a new understanding of the truth and beauty of that saving event.  At first they were paralyzed with fear, shut in the Upper Room to avoid the aftermath of Good Friday.  Now they would no longer be ashamed to be Christ’s disciples; they would no longer tremble before the courts of men.  Filled with the Holy Spirit, they would now understand “all the truth”: that the death of Jesus was not his defeat, but rather the ultimate expression of God’s love, a love that, in the Resurrection, conquers death and exalts Jesus as the Living One, the Lord, the Redeemer of mankind, of history and of the world.  This truth, to which the Apostles were witnesses, became Good News, to be proclaimed to all.

            The gift of the Holy Spirit renews the earth.  The Psalmist says: “You send forth your Spirit… and you renew the face of the earth” (Ps 103:30).  The account of the birth of the Church in the Acts of the Apostles is significantly linked to this Psalm, which is a great hymn of praise to God the Creator.  The Holy Spirit whom Christ sent from the Father, and the Creator Spirit who gives life to all things, are one and the same.  Respect for creation, then, is a requirement of our faith: the “garden” in which we live is not entrusted to us to be exploited, but rather to be cultivated and tended with respect (cf. Gen 2:15).  Yet this is possible only if Adam – the man formed from the earth – allows himself in turn to be renewed by the Holy Spirit, only if he allows himself to be re-formed by the Father on the model of Christ, the new Adam.  In this way, renewed by the Spirit of God, we will indeed be able to experience the freedom of the sons and daughters, in harmony with all creation.  In every creature we will be able to see reflected the glory of the Creator, as another Psalm says: “How great is your name, O Lord our God, through all the earth!” (Ps 8:2, 10).

            In the Letter to the Galatians, Saint Paul wants to show the “fruits” manifested in the lives of those who walk in the way of the Spirit (cf. Gal 5:22).  On the one hand, he presents “the flesh”, with its list of attendant vices: the works of selfish people closed to God.  On the other hand, there are those who by faith allow the Spirit of God to break into their lives.  In them, God’s gifts blossom, summed up in nine joyful virtues which Paul calls “fruits of the Spirit”.  Hence his appeal, at the start and the end of the reading, as a programme for life: “Walk by the Spirit” (Gal 5:6, 25).

            The world needs men and women who are not closed in on themselves, but filled with the Holy Spirit.  Closing oneself off from the Holy Spirit means not only a lack of freedom; it is a sin.  There are many ways one can close oneself off to the Holy Spirit: by selfishness for one’s own gain; by rigid legalism – seen in the attitude of the doctors of the law to whom Jesus referred as “hypocrites”; by neglect of what Jesus taught; by living the Christian life not as service to others but in the pursuit of personal interests; and in so many other ways.  The world needs the courage, hope, faith and perseverance of Christ’s followers.  The world needs the fruits of the Holy Spirit: “love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control” (Gal 5:22).  The gift of the Holy Spirit has been bestowed upon the Church and upon each one of us, so that we may live lives of genuine faith and active charity, that we may sow the seeds of reconciliation and peace.  Strengthened by the Spirit and his many gifts, may we be able uncompromisingly to battle against sin and corruption, devoting ourselves with patient perseverance to the works of justice and peace

Saturday, May 23, 2015


In the last 50 years and beginning with the redefinition of the Liturgy which became banal with its loss of reverence or what some would say irreverence, loss of piety and loss of wonder and awe in the majesty of God, that what happened in Ireland was bound to happen.

Would a liturgy that had maintained the spiritual, devotional, piety and reverence of the Latin Liturgy with only minor adaptations been able to sustain the Irish in the secularism that had fed their religious decline coupled with scandal in the Church both pre- and post-Vatican II that might have been abated by authentic Faith and piety?

It is a wake-up call for not just Ireland but for the Magisterium from the Holy Father to the college of bishops and the priests and deacons that support them. It is a wake up call for the laity.

A new and improved Church as a result of Vatican II did not, has not and will not come about. True and time tested is what is needed. Restoration as Pope Benedict envisioned it is the way.  

Archbishop Martin: Church needs reality check

Archbishop of Dublin Diarmuid Martin has called for the Church to take a reality check after the gay marriage vote.

Archbishop Martin declared the groundswell of support for same-sex couples was a social revolution that did not happen in the last day.

“It’s a social revolution that’s been going on – perhaps in the Church people have not been as clear in understanding what that involved,” he said.

“It’s clear that if the referendum is an affirmation of the views of young people the Church has a huge task in front of it.”

In the weeks running up to polling day, a series of Catholic bishops issued open letters to congregations outlining their concerns about gay marriage and why the Church would not support the reform.

The Primate of All Ireland, Archbishop of Armagh Eamon Martin, said the hierarchy may even reconsider its position on whether priests would continue to solemnise the civil aspect of a marriage if the vote was passed.

But Archbishop Diarmuid Martin called on Church leaders to take a look at itself and how it interacts with young people and their views.

“I think really the Church needs to do a reality check,” he told RTE.

“I appreciate how gay and lesbian men and women feel on this day. That they feel this is something that is enriching the way they live. I think it is a social revolution.”

Archbishop Diarmuid Martin said the Church needs to look at all areas it is involved in, from the things it is doing well in to areas where it has drifted away from young people.

The senior cleric said that there have discussions at the highest level in the church on where the contact was between the Church in Ireland and young people.

“We have to stop and have a reality check, not move into denial of the realities. We won’t begin again with a sense of renewal with a sense of denial,” he said.

“I ask myself, most of these young people who voted yes are products of our Catholic school system for 12 years. I’m saying there’s a big challenge there to see how we get across the message of the Church.”


It appears that once Catholic Ireland, prior to Vatican II, is no longer Catholic in the post-Vatican II 21st century after all the "spirit" of Vatican II experiments and loss of Catholic identity and lack of appropriate leadership prior to Vatican II and after as it concerns the supervision of clergy drunk on sin and change, is about to approve same-sex marriage.

Are they leading the way for Catholics throughout the world in this post-Catholic era? Time will tell.

I wonder what the pew-forum will say about this as it concerns the success of Vatican II changes that has led to this new springtime for the Church?  The laity, as Vatican II teaches, has its expertise and witness in the secular world. Voting Catholic, one would think, is what Vatican II called Catholics to do as the secular is where they witness to their Catholic Faith.

Seems though they are now witnessing to their post-Catholic faith which is actually godless secularism.


It would be wrong to call these stupid liturgical gimmicks as many are offended by the word stupid but not by the stupid gimmicks.
In the 1970's I was taught that gimmicks during the liturgy were good because these were creative and made the Mass more interesting and engaging. It has worked really well hasn't it! Before the gimmick season we only had about 10% of Catholics not attending Mass and today after the gimmick season with have about 88% not attending Mass. This is success you can really measure!

But I digress.

Since Sunday is Pentecost Sunday, I got nostalgic for Pentecosts past and the things I had hope to do gimmick-wise but failed to do for whatever reason, maybe by the power of the Pentecostal Holy Spirit?

One gimmick was to get all the ethnic groups in the parish to wear their native costumes to Mass. Never did that for some reason.

Another gimmick, which I actually like but forgot to promote this year, but I am sure many will do it anyway, is for the laity to wear red to Mass. I like that actually. Oh, I already said that--the redundant spirit in me.

Another gimmick was to get all the different language groups in the parish to offer a petition in their own native tongue during the Universal Prayers. I just couldn't get organized on that.

Another gimmick I never instituted but heard other parishes did which made me pentecostal red with jealousy was to encourage the congregation to say the Our Father together but in their own native tongues. I think this was to reenact the babel of the Old Testament or was it to show that the different languages if they were saying more or less the same thing could become one through the babel and thus overcome it?

And of course, what Pentecost Mass would be complete without a gimmicky pentecostal liturgical dance somewhere during the course of the festivities?

Here is a Protestant version of a Pentecostal Liturgical dance. I like the gimmick of the red paper cut-outs hanging from the ceiling as a representation of the tongues of flames. But I thought protestants were opposed to dancing????? But I really, really am touched by the canned liturgical dancing music for the Holy Spirit to accompany this liturgical dance gimmick. Although the congregation is ad orientem, that is with their back to us (but not the choir) we can see the great joy and exquisite drunkenness of the Holy Spirit on their faces as they experience this glorious gimmick:

Here is a Catholic version of a Pentecostal Dance at Mass. I think this gimmick speaks for itself. I see the Church is truly packed with Catholics dying for this kind of liturgical gimmick to get their Pentecost Sunday going!

Friday, May 22, 2015


My comments first, but below these is a great article from Crisis Magazine on kneeling for Holy Communion and receiving on the tongue: I know there are those who wish to go back exclusively to the 1962 missal. They are a tiny minority. Don't get me wrong I love the 1962 Missal and would gladly serve a parish where it was exclusively used. But I love the revised Roman Missal too, especially since we now have the new and glorious revision of the English. It can be celebrated in an EF sort of way if celebrated in Latin with use of all the Propers or celebrated in a 1965 missal sort of way if all propers and parts of the Mass were chanted in the vernacular.

The greatest problem with the revised Roman Missal is what happened subsequent to its publication. There was immediately the calling forth of lay lectors who had little or no training or expertise in either proclaiming the Scriptures at Mass or formation in the Scriptures. Warm bodies volunteered and that's all it took.

Then standing for Holy Communion became an option and the illicit receiving of Holy Communion in the hand once indiscriminately chosen Extraordinary Ministers of Holy Communion came about started to occur until after the fact of its practice the USCCB approved it in 1977! I was in the seminary but receiving in the hand long before this approval!

Today in many large urban northeast metropolises, 88% of Catholics do not attend Mass and of the 11% who do, we're not sure they actually believe what the Church believes about transubstantiation and the real presence of Christ. This is shockingly sad!

Crisis Magazine has a good article on all of this and it is well worth reading as we approach the Feast of Corpus Christi in two weeks.

The single most important recovery of a lost liturgical practice even for the OF Mass is kneeling for Holy Communion and receiving on the tongue. This, bar none, will bring back Catholic reverence, piety and devotion for the Most Blessed Sacrament! 

From Crisis Magazine: The Reception of Holy Communion in the United States

This year marks the 50th anniversary of the close of the Second Vatican Council. Pope Francis has decided to mark the occasion with the “Year of Mercy.” Despite much happy-talk and positive papal press, it is a time of foreboding in the Church. The anxiety over the coming Synod on the Family is substantial and growing, with the German bishops’ recent moves to formally ignore the Church’s teachings on sexual morality and the family. Their corruption, and the decayed state of the Church in Europe, is a source of much distress.

The social and political situation in the United States is also of concern. Soon, the Supreme Court may declare homosexual “marriage” a constitutional right. The Obama era has been marked by a series of assaults on religious liberty and the Church’s future ability to freely exercise its prerogatives is uncertain.

It seems an apt time, therefore, for the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) to take stock of the state of affairs ad intra Eccelsiam. By clearly examining the health of the inner life of the American Church, the bishops can lay a better foundation for dealing with the challenges from the outside.

Of particular concern these fifty years after the Council ought to be the changes made to the liturgy in the United States in the late 1960s and 1970s, implemented by, and under the authority of, the bishops’ conference. And the most fundamental of these changes relates to the manner of reception of Holy Communion at Mass, whereby the vast majority of today’s communicants receive Communion in the hand while standing.

In reviewing the challenges both inside and outside the Church, based upon several decades of experience, the bishops must ask themselves a simple, profound and concrete question: Have the changes to the manner in which the Faithful receive the Lord in the Blessed Sacrament assisted the Faithful in their understanding of, and active participation in, the mystery, beauty and essential purposes of the Holy Mass?

Reception of Holy Communion in the Hand

Today, the practice of receipt of Holy Communion at Mass in the hand is extremely widespread. Like other changes that followed the Council, many Catholics incorrectly associate this manner of reception with the “reforms” of Vatican II. In truth, the Council gave no permission to allow the Faithful to receive the Blessed Sacrament by hand, nor was it made part of the rubrics for the Novus Ordo missal of 1969.

The movement to permit this manner of reception grew in force after the close of the Council. The idea, it seems, was based on a kind of antiquarianism that associated reception in the hand with the practice of the early Church. It was also part of the effort to promote the understanding of the Mass as a community meal over the conception of the Mass as primarily a Holy Sacrifice.

It seems apparent, however, that these lofty concepts were hardly embraced or understood by the vast majority of the laity. For his part, Pope Paul VI perceived significant dangers in allowing for the practice. Responding to the pleas of a minority of progressive European bishops (sound familiar?) to permit in-hand reception, in May 1969, the Sacred Congregation for Divine Worship declared that “the Holy Father has decided not to change the existing way [via the tongue] of administering holy communion to the faithful.” (See Memoriale Domini at para. 11.)

The Holy See apprehended the gravity of permitting a change in the solemn manner of the reception of the Blessed Sacrament. It recognized that the proposed change “carries certain dangers with it which may arise from the new manner of administering holy communion: the danger of a loss of reverence for the august sacrament of the altar, of profanation, of adulterating the true doctrine.” (See Id. para. 10.) By a two-to-one margin, the bishops worldwide voted in support of the position of the Holy Father.

Nonetheless, in the typical fashion of the times, the pope undercut his own declaration by allowing the various bishops’ conferences the right to permit Communion in the hand in their respective territories via a secret, two-thirds majority vote of the bodies. (See Id. at para. 11-12.)

In the United States, the bishops’ conference voted in favor of reception in the hand in 1977. The conference had rejected the practice in votes held in each of the preceding two years. Cardinal Bernadin, the outgoing president of the conference in 1977, apparently by means of parliamentary tricks, secured the two-thirds majority as one of his final “achievements” as conference leader.

The practice grew widely and quickly thereafter, and the American episcopacy seems committed to its maintenance. Discussing the implementation of the Third Edition of the Roman Missal, the January 2012 Newsletter of the USCCB’s Committee on Divine Worship proclaims as follows:

With regard to receiving Communion in the hand, there is a significant development from the 1985 GIRM to the 2003/2011 edition. Whereas in 1985, Communion in the hand was granted by virtue of an indult received in 1977, in the Roman Missal, Third Edition, Communion in the hand is now ordinary liturgical law for the United States, though every communicant retains the equal right of receiving on the tongue. (See January 2012 Newsletter of the Committee on Divine Worship at p. 3; emphasis added.)

The support for this claim—that “Communion in the hand is now the ordinary liturgical law for the United States,” supplanting the need for the indult—is rather dubious, as the General Instruction of the Roman Missal (“GIRM”) does not seem to support the notion. While the GIRM notes that a communicant may receive either by tongue or in the hand, it places a caveat on in-hand reception.

“The communicant replies, Amen, and receives the Sacrament either on the tongue or, where this is allowed, in the hand, the choice lying with the communicant.” (See GIRM at ¶161; emphasis added). Thus, the description of the legal status on reception in the hand offered by the Newsletter seems inaccurate. 

Reception of Holy Communion While Standing

The practice of receiving the Blessed Sacrament while standing preceded the limited permission for in-hand reception.

In 1967, the Sacred Congregation of Rites promulgated Eucharisticum Mysterium, wherein the Holy See declared that the Faithful may receive the Blessed Sacrament either standing or kneeling. Again, the bishops’ conferences were empowered to set the proper posture for their respective territories. (See Eucharisticum Mysterium at para. 32.) (This document also reminds us of the incredible speed at which the age-old liturgy was transformed, as it allowed the priest to sing aloud the Canon, an instruction that would become moot within two years.)

The American bishops, however, did not formally adopt a norm on the proper posture for the reception of Holy Communion until 2002. Such lack of formal direction, of course, did nothing to impede the removal of altar rails in countless parishes across the country, as the practice of taking Communion on one’s knees was nearly entirely abandoned.

In 2002, the USCCB formally named reception while standing as the proper posture for American Catholics. At that time, the bishops inserted language into the GIRM that, while not prohibiting a communicant to kneel, marked anyone who did so for “catechesis” so that he might come to learn the “reasons for” standing. (See GIRM 2002 at para. 160.) At the behest of the Holy See, the language on “catechesis” for those who wish to kneel was removed from the GIRM in 2010.

The Current State of Affairs

According to a 2013 study performed for Georgetown’s Center for Applied Research on the Apostolate, only 63 percent of Catholics believe in the Real Presence of Christ in the Eucharist. Nearly 1 in 5 believers in the Real Presence apparently hold to the belief without an awareness that it is taught by the Church. And of course well-over a third of Catholics do not believe at all in the Real Presence (and yet our bishops were eager to catechize those who kneel down before the Real Presence of the Lord!).

It is not here necessary to rehash other statistical information on the decline of American Catholicism following the Council and the changes to the Mass, such as the sharp drops in Mass attendance and vocations. While the experience of the last 50 years has not been uniformly negative, the tendency of the hierarchy to trumpet the “springtime of renewal” is a sad joke.

Furthermore, as the digital pages of this publication and so many other highlight daily, the American Church is increasingly isolated in a culture that is under constant, and effective, assault from an aggressive secularist, modernist ideology. Many American bishops have courageously and articulately proclaimed and defended the Church’s teachings on life, marriage and religious liberty, and yet, especially with marriage, there is a sense that the Church is rapidly losing ground and is, essentially, ignored.

In sum, we are not properly catechizing ad intra or ad extra Eccelsiam. The reasons for the problem are many, but at the core, the problem stems from our diminished liturgy, the diminishment of which is highlighted by the manner in which the Faithful receive Corpus Christi. Since, as the Council proclaimed in Sacrosanctum Concilium, the liturgy is the “summit toward which the activity of the Church is directed” and is also “the font from which her power flows,” we must first graft the spiritual life of the Faithful wholly onto the liturgy before we can hope to broadly evangelize inside and outside the Church. And reverence before the Eucharist is the heart of liturgical spirituality.

As has always been the case, the Mass is the greatest tool for teaching and handing on the Faith. The Church need not convert the entire body of believers into Thomistic scholars in order for the Faithful to fully understand and embrace the True Presence.

In a simple and profound way, the faithful can learn this truth merely through the reverent reception of the Blessed Sacrament and by observing the way in which we treat the Sacred Species. Its reception should be done in a manner that is unlike any other experienced in daily life.

In deep reverence, we come to Communion on our knees. Nothing else given to us requires us to kneel down in awe and respect.

We do not touch it, as we would any other object someone might give to us, for it alone is too holy.

We receive it with a paten under our chins, lest even a crumb fall to the ground. No other food is so honored.

Finally, it is essential for the episcopacy to be mindful of the geneses of Communion in the hand and the standing posture. Neither is the work of the Council. Sacrosanctum Concilium says nothing regarding a change in the manner of the reception of Holy Communion.

Neither is mentioned in the rubrics of the Novus Ordo; even the substantial changes instituted in the “Mass of Paul VI” gave no directive for these practices.

Indeed, Blessed Paul VI himself, the pope of the Council, refused to endorse in-hand reception and strongly counseled against it.

Thus, there is no reason given by the magisterium to retain these practices. Whatever abstract or academic notions prompted their adoption, the experience of the Church in the decades since shows that the underlying theology of the changes did nothing to catechize the faithful and enhance their devotion to the sacred liturgy.

The American bishops rightly wish to engage the culture on a wide range of issues, including the so-called “social issues.” Yet it is only the action of grace, the working of the Holy Spirit, that can ultimately convert hearts, and then minds. Until the Church fully reclaims the Sacred Liturgy and realizes the long-lost desire of the Council to draw the faithful into a deeper spiritual life, with the Liturgy at it center, the New Evangelization will not succeed.

Our shepherds need now to look to the inside in order to be prepared to reach to the outside. Promote honor and reverence for the Blessed Sacrament; the rest will follow.