Saturday, July 31, 2010

RATS, ROACHES , EXORCISMS AND CONFESSION

I'm living with these, God help me!

I live with these too!

I don't know if "rataphopbia" is a word, but it should be as it concerns my rectory and me. In short, we have rats in the rectory. You've heard of the old saying, "while the cat's away, the mice will play?" Well shortly before I departed for vacation, we became aware of rat, not mice, droppings in our kitchen. We called the exterminator who checked the building for all openings. He set rat traps, etc.

Well, my first day on vacation, our parochial vicar, Fr. Justin sends me a picture of a large rat killed behind our stove! On return from vacation, I was informed by him that three more had been killed!That's a total of four so far! These are large rats, not pitiful mice!

On top of that, we renovated an antiquated bathroom while I was away. On taking the tub out (which is next to my bedroom) the workers found a large rat nest nestled beneath the warmth of the tub! Yuck!

I want to know if there is an exorcism prayer for rats! Because if I see one in my room, I'm the one who will be exorcised to a hotel!

But, Fr. Justin did inform me that confession lines remained long and that by himself, he was kept extremely busy. So I'm off to help him hear confessions. It usually takes two of us for about an hour and a half to hear them!

Living in the south means making friends with roaches (what are really palmetto bugs or water bugs), they are huge. But I don't think I can make friends with rats. Call me unChristian!

I'M BACK!

What a joy to be back, you can see it on my face!

Well, I'm back. I haven't had use of a computer since July 4th! I recommend quitting the computer and blogs cold turkey. It can be very healthy. But now it's back to reality. I had a great visit to London and Ireland. I'll blog on that later when I can post some pictures. A highlight of the visit was my visit to the Kilns, the home of C. S. Lewis. More on that later.

England is getting ready for the Pope's visit. I visited Westminster Cathedral, a beautiful Byzantine structure, but still unfinished. The pope's visit will not be without controversy. Pray for the pope as he enters hostile territory in September.

I noticed that the Vatican has a stricter dress code for visitors now. I'll blog on that later. What's wrong with Daisy Duke shorts, tank tops and flip flops anyway? And why are we discriminating against naturalists. Shouldn't they feel welcomed in God's house?

Well, it's the first Sunday of the month. On Sunday I'm celebrating the Ordinary Form of the Sung Mass at 12:10 PM and the Extraordinary Form of the High Mass at 2:00 PM, neither of which I have a homily prepared. I know the readings for the OF Mass but not for the EF Mass. So I have to go to work on my homilies now! More later on a whole host of topics dear to my heart.

Finally, I read a "progressive" liturgical blog that I enjoy greatly, but whose principle contributor just can't stand the fact that the Church has changed in the last three years with the more liberal allowance of the EF Mass. He just can't see that it is an enrichment of our liturgical life as Catholics and gives us options for celebrations of the Mass that expand what we can now do to honor the Lord and be nourished in the faith. It really is sad and narrow to be so opposed to this gift of faith. Don't be narrow minded! God bless you.

Sunday, July 4, 2010

MY LAST BLOG UNTIL THE END OF THE MONTH!

Guess whom I'm visiting on vacation? A hint:
j r r Tolkien

Today, after all our Masses, I'm leaving for vacation and won't return to my computer until the end of the month! Actually, I'm only taking three weeks, but the legalist I am, in order to stretch my possibility of vacation time which is a full month, I'm taking Monday as my normal day off, but for the diocese it is a holiday for Independence Day, so technically for me, Tuesday would be my day off, since all these Monday holidays are my day off and I'm entitled to another day. Don't you like legalists? So legally, my vacation doesn't begin until Wednesday, July 7th! I'll be back in the office on the 30th! So I still have a full week more of vacation and don't you forget it!

However, I'm already going through withdrawal with no computer at my beck and call while I'm away. Unless I break down and get one while on vacation, the only thing I'll have is my blackberry which allows me to post comments, but I haven't figured out how to post new posts with it. I don't think I can.

Part of my vacation will be spent at my mother's home in Augusta. Next week I'm departing for London for three days and then on to Ireland for a week. I'm going with a priest friend of mine from Pensacola. I'll let you know if he smells like crude when we get together, not to joke about a tragic situation!

Oddly enough, one of my parishioners, Tammy Rowan, also a convert of mine and of the Church of course, will be working at C.S. Lewis's home in Oxford which is about 50 miles from London. She's invited my friend and me to a private tour and high tea there. It's called the Kilns. Even more odd, though, is that former parishioners of mine in Augusta, know j r r Tolkien's daughter Priscilla Tolkien who lives in Oxford. She has visited Augusta several times and I've had dinner at my former parishioner's home with her a few times. So I'm hoping to make contact with her while I'm there. In fact my parishioner Tammy says Walter Hooper, Lewis' former secretary and a frequent guest at The Kilns, is a close personal friend of Priscilla and may arrange a visit for us to Priscilla. Priscilla would tell us of C. S. Lewis coming to her home in Oxford when she was growing up and what her father thought of him. I won't betray any confidences!

In addition, I have an Italian first cousin from Livorno, Italy living in London. I've never met him, but he's been in London for 10 years now and is married to an English woman and has two small children. He's my age. He's a psychologist. So I'm hoping he will help me with my multiple personalities, Italian, Canadian and Southern! His mother is the daughter of my mother's oldest sister. My mother is the youngest of 15 pregnancies (not all coming to term). So my mother's niece, is as old as my mother is, 90! I hope my cousin will be able to shed more light on my mother's extended family since I didn't grow up with them or really know any of them except for one aunt and one first cousin who immigrated to Chicago in the 1950's.

Keep on commenting!

Saturday, July 3, 2010

JUST WHEN YOU THOUGHT THE REFORM OF THE REFORM WAS TAKING HOLD, WE HAVE THIS:

Just look at it and this really caught my liturgical eye--a cross without the crucified Corpus of our Lord on it!

And for the love of God, I hope there is not a third "K" on a pew!

Friday, July 2, 2010

WHAT DOES IT ALL MEAN FOR THE CATHOLIC CHURCH?

The week that was and what it means. John Allen of the National Catholic Distorter, although I again emphasize that John Allen is not a distorter and so don't fret, has a marvelous summary of events with a very good editorial that hits the nail on the head. You can read it HERE!

The only remedy for the Church is crisis as well as the Church Militant engaged in spiritual warfare is:
In either form, but well celebrated!




NEW YORK TIMES BRILLIANT 20/20 HINDSIGHT REPORTING ON POPE BENEDICT AND THE CHURCH

New York Times taking aim at the Catholic Church and Pope Benedict--its ongoing war:

New York Times caricature of Pope Benedict:

The inept reporter Laurie Goodstein and her cohorts at the anti-Catholic and prejudicial New York Times have another hatchet job on Pope Benedict and the hierarchy on the front page of this morning's paper. They really hate him because he is a threat to America's and Europe's spiral toward godless socialist secularism especially in the areas of "reproductive rights" and marriage One godless secularist socialist refers to "staunch ethical traditionalism" as the soul of true Catholicism to be feared, mocked and undermined so as to keep the Church and her laity from being resurgent in the areas of traditional Catholic belief in those places where Catholics are a clear majority.

You can read the story from the New York Times HERE.

With her 20/20 hindsight reporting, I wonder when Laurie and the New York Times will apply the same technique to those who promoted abortion, perform abortions, had abortions, and said nothing in the face of the slaughter of millions of children? This non-responsibility is not seen now, but it could be seen in 20 years. Who should go to prison when the criminalization of abortion becomes retroactive in 2020?
Who at the New York Times should lose their job, be banned from reporting and even go to jail? And of course the statute of limitations should be eliminated retroactively.

With her 20/20 hindsight reporting, did Laurie and cohorts even bother to study the sociology of the Church that Cardinal Ratzinger inherited when he came into office and the freight train towards liberalism that the Catholic Church was riding? The key word for the Church in that period was subsidiarity,meaning that almost everything from priestly discipline, even optional celibacy, female priests and the elimination of the permanence of vows and promises be made on the local and lowest level, which would be Bishops' Conferences in various countries as well as local bishops of each diocese. The Church was in the midst a decentralization of authority that Pope John Paul and Cardinal Ratzinger slowly began to turn around but with much, much resistance in Europe, especially Germany, Holland, Austria and Belgium not to mention the USA.

This has ramifications for allowing bishops to handle their priests, discipline them, set up policy and the like on the local not universal level. The spirit of the time was to do it anyway even if canon law had not caught up.

Laurie and her cohorts fail in their 20/20 hindsight reporting to acknowledge that of all religious institution, Catholic, Protestant, Jewish and others, only the Catholic Church in the 1970's until 2002 actually attempted to deal with the sex abuse scandal, albeit in-house. They sent priests for residential psychiatric care and tried to rehabilitate and reintegrate these priests which was the philosophy of liberal American in terms of criminals, incarceration and reintegration. With 20/20 hindsight, we know how wrongheaded this was, but not at the time, it was seen as very modern and progressive.

In terms of reporting priests to the civil authorities, while that works in some countries the Church must be cautious in countries where the government is outright hostile towards the Church, for example in Nazi Germany, Communist China and elsewhere. Anti-Catholic godless, secularist, socialistic governments today are not to be trusted.

Finally, even Laurie Goodstein knows that liberal, progressive Catholicism hates when the hierarchy initiates any type of investigation of Church procedures and religious orders. Who are the ones within the communities of religious women today (religious orders) who scream, rant and rave about the Vatican investigating them and making policy for them? This, thank God, is not as vociferous as it was in the early 1970's, but it is still there and it is the Church that Cardinal Ratzinger inherited and which he has tried to steer in a new direction albeit too slowly for the New York Times in one area and too fast for the New York Times in other areas. They can't have it both ways. The fact that Laurie Goodstein has not yet been fired and barred from ever reporting again speaks volumes not so much about Laurie but about the New York Time's spiral toward ridiculousness, eventual bankruptcy and being purchased by the The Wanderer.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

MORE TRANSPARENCY FROM POPE BENEDICT!

Bishop Walter Mixa of Germany:

Just imagine, Pope Benedict is calling for forgiveness and Christian charity toward a brother in need! How scandalous! How novel! We have a great pope in our Holy Father!

COMMUNIQUE CONCERNING POPE'S AUDIENCE WITH BISHOP MIXA
VATICAN CITY, 1 JUL 2010 (VIS) - The Holy See Press Office published the following communique at midday today:

"On 1 July the Holy Father received in audience Bishop Walter Mixa, emeritus of Augsburg, Germany. On 4 May the Pope had accepted the bishop's request to be relieved of his duties as pastor of the diocese of Augsburg and as military ordinary, a decision definitively confirmed during today's audience. Bishop Mixa will retire for a time of silence, meditation and prayer and, following a period of cure and reconciliation will, like other bishops emeritus, be available for pastoral duties, with the agreement of his successor.

"Bishop Mixa highlighted how he had always sought to carry out his episcopal ministry willingly and conscientiously but, with all sincerity, he also recognised that he had made mistakes and committed errors which led to a loss of trust and made his resignation inevitable. He once again requested forgiveness for all his mistakes but also, and rightly, asks that despite those mistakes, all the good he has done not be forgotten.

"The Holy Father expressed the hope that this request for forgiveness will find open ears and open hearts. Following a period of often excessive polemics, the Pope hopes for reconciliation, for a new and reciprocal acceptance in the spirit of mercy of the Lord and in faithful abandonment to His guidance. Above all, the Supreme Pontiff asks his confreres in the episcopal ministry to offer Bishop Mixa, more than in the past, their friendship and closeness, their understanding, and their help to find the right path.

"The Pope asks all the dear faithful of the diocese of Augsburg again to favour mutual communion and to welcome with open hearts the prelate he will appoint as Bishop Mixa's successor. In a time of contrasts and insecurity, the world expects Christians to show harmonious witness on the basis of their encounter with the risen Lord, with which they help one another and the whole of society to find the right path to the future".

THE NEW LITURGICAL MOVEMENT ACCORDING TO POPE BENEDICT AND THE NATIONAL CATHOLIC REPORTER!


The National Catholic Fish-wrap as one prominent liturgical blogger calls it (National Catholic Reporter), has an article today on Pope Benedict's vision for the new liturgical movement. But fret not, it is written by John Allen who is excellent and he gets my vote to be the new spokesman for the Vatican when Fr. Lombardi concludes his time. You can read John Allen's article HERE.

I must warn you that the comments that liberal Catholics, or should I say, progressive Catholics leave on the NCR blogs are annoying, shrill and downright nasty, so don't look at those! They've forgotten how to sing Kumbaya while holding hands! And that's truly shocking!

I WAS SHOCKED BY THE VATICAN'S CANDOR ON THIS ONE TOO!




On Monday the Vatican released this statement to the world. I got it immediately through an email service from the Vatican and I couldn't believe my eyes as I read it for its transparency and candor. Below this Vatican statement is a link to a commentary on it by Phil Lawler:

Monday, June 28, 2010
COMMUNIQUE CONCERNING AUDIENCE WITH CARDINAL SCHONBORN
VATICAN CITY, 28 JUN 2010 (VIS) - The Holy See Press Office released the following communique early this afternoon:


"(1) The Holy Father today received in audience Cardinal Christoph Schonborn O.P., archbishop of Vienna and president of the Austrian Episcopal Conference. The cardinal had asked to meet the Supreme Pontiff personally in order to report on the current situation of the Church in Austria. In particular, Cardinal Schonborn wished to clarify the exact meaning of his recent declarations concerning some aspects of current ecclesiastical discipline, and certain of his judgements regarding positions adopted by the Secretariat of State - and in particular by the then Secretary of State of Pope John Paul II - concerning the late Cardinal Hans Hermann Groer, archbishop of Vienna from 1986 to 1995.

"(2) Cardinal Angelo Sodano, dean of the College of Cardinals, and Cardinal Secretary of State Tarcisio Bertone S.D.B. were subsequently invited to join the meeting.

"In the second part of the audience certain widespread misunderstandings were clarified and resolved, misunderstandings deriving partly from certain statements of Cardinal Christoph Schonborn, who expressed his displeasure at the interpretations given to his words.

"In particular:

"(a) It must be reiterated that, in the Church, when accusations are made against a cardinal, competency falls exclusively to the Pope; other parties may have a consultative function, while always maintaining due respect for persons.

"(b) The word 'chiacchiericcio' (gossip) was erroneously interpreted as disrespectful to the victims of sexual abuse, towards whom Cardinal Angelo Sodano nourishes the same feelings of compassion, and of condemnation of evil, as expressed on various occasions by the Holy Father. That word, pronounced during his Easter address to Pope Benedict XVI, was taken literally from the pontifical homily of Palm Sunday and referred to the "courage that does not let itself be intimidated by the gossip of prevalent opinions".

"(3) The Holy Father, recalling with great affection his own pastoral trip to Austria, via Cardinal Christoph Schonborn sends his greetings and encouragement to the Church in Austria, and to her pastors, entrusting the journey to renewed ecclesial communion to the celestial protection of the Blessed Virgin, so venerated at Mariazell".


Phil Lawler has a commentary on the unusual nature of this candor. You can read it
HERE

SILENCIO!

Click once or twice on the images below and they'll blow up, but this blogger is not responsible for damages to you or your computer!

The Roman Canon prayed aloud in the concelebrated Ordinary Form Mass:

The Roman Canon prayed silently by the priest in the Extraordinary Form Mass:

When I was first ordained in 1980, I had many older people lament that they missed the old Latin Mass, what is now called the Extraordinary Form. Most of these parishioners were in the 60's and 70's in the 1980's, so most of them have gone to their reward by now. But they spent the majority of their Catholic lives participating in the "old" Latin Mass and just a relatively few years with the OF Mass.

I would ask them what they missed about the "old" Mass. There answer was the "silence." Because of my faulty memory, I didn't grasp what they were saying to me. My normal, liberal, post Vatican II retort at the time was that the "new" Mass had silence. In fact, even in the late 70's and early 80's liturgical theologians were encouraging that silence be recovered in the Mass. When I was in the seminary, we had silences after the readings, after the homily and after receiving Holy Communion. Sometimes the silences seem to me to be never ending, like almost five minutes after the first reading! (I don't think it was five minutes, but it seem like five minutes to me!)

Unfortunately, most parishes still do not have silences after the readings, even briefly, after the homily or after Holy Communion. Pope Benedict has instituted rather long silences at his Masses, not after the readings for some reason, but after the homily and after Holy Communion. Watching his Masses on television, one begins to wonder if the pope has fallen asleep or forgotten what to do next or if time is getting away on him, but he wants silence and is modeling it for the rest of the Church.

But the silence my older parishioners in the early 80's were missing wasn't and isn't the type of silence we should have today in the OF Mass. It was silence that was built into what the priest was actively doing at the altar while joining the laity in facing the same direction. All of the priest's private prayers are prayed silently in the EF Mass. The offertory prayers are prayed in silence as well (and still may be done so in the OF Mass). But more importantly, the Roman Canon was/is prayed in silence by the priest except for a few minor words. The silence in the EF Mass is not meditation by all, but prayer, official liturgical prayer, prayed silently by the priest.

When I first started celebrating the EF Mass three years ago, I must admit I had forgotten that the Roman Canon was prayed silently. I simply did not recall that. So when I prayed the Roman Canon in a low voice, knowing that there were many people behind me whom I could not see (which in many ways is a blessing for the priest's personal piety and spiritual nourishment at Mass) I became anxious that the congregation would be distracted by all the silence, that they would see the Eucharistic Prayer only as my special prayer and not something they should join in participating by hearing it proclaimed aloud, although the EF Mass makes clear that the people do in fact join with the priest in all the prayers that are prayed, although he alone is indispensable for praying those prayers.

So in the EF Mass, the majority of the spoken prayers are prayed in a silent way. What do you think about this? Do you or would you feel excluded by the silent praying of prayers? Does this silence make the Mass appear to be the "priest's private prayer that you are privileged to watch from a distance?"

What do you think about the silences we should have in the OF Mass? Is silence a distraction to busy people of our culture where there is a clutter of sound always occurring? For example, when I retreat to my private quarters, I usually turn the TV on, even though I'm not watching it, just so there is some noise. What about that? Is noise contemplative? Is silence outdated?

THE RELIGIOUS SENTIMENTS BEHIND LOVING "GILLIGAN'S ISLAND"


Now I know why I liked Gilligan's Island so much as a child and yes, now as an adult I am proud to admit that I still like it. It is a religious show! Who would have thought? Read all about it HERE!