Thursday, September 30, 2010

KIDS SAY THE DARNDIST THINGS!

The old Creed in English says that Jesus became Man at this point! That's heretical and leads people to think some strange things about humans in the womb!

If Jesus did not become Man at the Incarnation, just what was Jesus? What are we if we are not completely human at our conception? Opens the door to abortion for many, if we're not human before we're born!

Art Linkletter had this famous saying concerning kids he interviews on his daily and nightly show called "House Party."

Well, today it happened to me as I was teaching our 6th graders about the changes that will occur in our English Mass. We were going over the Creed. We said the old together and then the new. Then I highlighted some of the major changes, such as each of us saying "I believe" rather than "We believe" and "visible and invisible" rather than "seen and unseen". They understood something could be quite visible and unseen because of it being hidden behind a rock or whatever, whereas visible and invisible means exactly that, you can't see it, period!

We got to "consubstantial" and they understood it for what it is worth and that the only time we would ever use this word is in context of the "nature" of Jesus (God the Son) to the nature of God the Father. Of course, we could say that we are one in being with our parents, our twin if we had one, or with our brothers and sisters. But only Jesus, God the Son is consubstantial with the Father, no one or nothing else is that way except God the Father and God the Son. They got it!

But here's where a 6th grade girl said the "darndist" thing. We went over the old Creed where it says that Jesus was "born of the Blessed Virgin Mary and became Man" and the new which says, "and by the Holy Spirit was incarnate of the Virgin Mary and became Man." I explained that Jesus did not become Man or Human at His birth, but 9 months earlier when He was conceived when the Angel Gabriel announced the the Blessed Virgin Mary that she would conceive a Son and call Him Emmanuel. The old Creed is radically wrong, even heretical in having us say Jesus became Man at His birth. That's a lie! It was nine months earlier at the INCARNATION!

The 6th grade girl then raised her hand and stated, you mean that we're completely human before we are born? Is that why abortion is wrong? She gets it! Maybe praying the Creed wrong for over 40 years has led many people to believe we don't become human until we are born, if Jesus became Man at His birth! The way you pray is the way you believe!

WOULD THE HOLY FATHER'S WAY OF CELEBRATING THE MASS LEAD TO MORE AWE AND REVERENCE IN THE ORDINARY FORM OF THE ENGLISH MASS?




In the blog below where Cardinal Ratzinger responds to criticism about his approach to the Liturgy and his outreach to traditionalist Catholics, I pick two things that I think are still a part of Pope Benedict's hermeneutic of "reform of the reform within continuity."

...liturgical reform, the way it has been implemented, and the crisis deriving from some of the tendencies hidden in it, such as desacralization.

I repeat that which was said in my speech: the difference between the Missal of 1962 and the Mass faithfully celebrated according to the Missal of Paul VI is much smaller than the difference between the various, so-called ”creative” applications of the Missal of Paul VI. In this situation, the presence of the earlier Missal may become a bulwark against the numerous alterations of the liturgy and thus act as a support of the authentic reform.--Cardinal Ratzinger, February 1999


What I have learned from the Holy Father since his election over five years ago and what I have learned since I began celebrating the Extraordinary Form of the Mass as it pertains to the "resacralization" of the Ordinary Form of the Vernacular Mass:

1. Fewer options make for better celebrations. The OF currently has too many options especially as it regards Mass with music and Mass without music. Each priest, music minister or worship committee decides what is appropriate. The EF Mass has three choices, Low Mass (that could have hymns sung at the procession, offertory, communion and recessional, but nothing else); Sung Mass which has everything being Sung that is prescribed and Solemn Sung which would also include the use of deacon and sub deacon and more choreography for the altar boys, extra candles, etc.

2. The singing or saying of the Introit, Offertory Antiphon and Communion Antiphon, these are required in the EF Mass but optional in the OF Mass in the sense that metrical hymns can be substituted. This was an unfortunate development as it regards the General Instruction of the Roman Missal of 1970 and 2002.

3. Kneeling for Holy Communion and receiving on the tongue in the EF Mass has shown me that the return to these simple two gestures by the entire Latin Rite would have the most impact on promoting more reverence and respect for Holy Communion, especially children. There is a tendency today in the OF Mass to make the moment of receiving Holy Communion an "eat and run" experience as well as a "grab and walk off" moment rather than a more measured, slower and reverent moment of receiving. The Holy Father models this in all of his Masses, in fact requires it. Will he mandate that the American norm of standing and the option of receiving in the hand be made option and kneeling the norm as well as Holy Communion on the tongue. I think the Holy Father could legislate this return to a much longer tradition in the Latin Rite.

4. Encouraging the option of ad orientem for the celebration of Mass or at least the "Benedictine altar arrangement" for Mass facing the congregation will help the priest and the congregation to realize that spoken prayers with the priest looking at the congregation as he prays these sends a mixed signal concerning to Whom these prayers are actually directed. Simply having a crucifix on the altar facing the priest allows him to focus there rather than on the congregation as though he's reading these prayer to them. However, the greatest advantage of ad orientem is that it reduces the role of the personality of the priest in the celebration of the Mass.

WHAT IF THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OR A FORMER PRESIDENT OR A POTENTIAL PRESIDENT SAID THE FOLLOWING?




WHICH STATEMENT OUTRAGES YOU THE MOST?

He might have said this:

“Now, with respect to the sex abuse issue, I actually think-- I mean, there are laws both federal, state and constitutional that are in place,” he said later. “And I think that this is an area where I think Bill Clinton had the right formulation a couple of decades ago, which is sex abuse should be safe, legal, and rare.

Or he could have said this:

“Now, with respect to the killing of children issue, I actually think-- I mean, there are laws both federal, state and constitutional that are in place,” he said later. “And I think that this is an area where I think Bill Clinton had the right formulation a couple of decades ago, which is killing of children should be safe, legal, and rare.

This is what he actually said:

“Now, with respect to the abortion issue, I actually think-- I mean, there are laws both federal, state and constitutional that are in place,” he said later. “And I think that this is an area where I think Bill Clinton had the right formulation a couple of decades ago, which is abortion should be safe, legal, and rare.

President Obama the other day spoke the last statement! All three are equally outrageous! Who in their right mind would spew forth such nonsense and think that it isn't outrageous? And for whom is abortion ever safe? A child always dies!

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

THE ORDINARY FORM OF THE CATHOLIC MASS, WHICH IS THE ODD LITURGY OUT?

All three of these images are the Ordinary Form of the Mass, which one is the odd man out?



The web site Rorate Caeli has something quite interesting. A priest writes a letter to Cardinal Ratzinger criticizing him for promoting the older form of the Catholic Mass. Cardinal Ratzinger writes back! The future pope shows his hand in 1999 and what he will eventually accomplish with Summorum Pontificum.

This is long, but read the first letter and then read Cardinal Ratzinger's response. I've darkened the area that I think is most significant and certainly very true.

Letter from Fr. Matias Auge to Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger:

Rome, 16 November 1998

Most Reverend Eminence,

I beg you to excuse me for venturing to write this letter. I do it in humble simplicity and also with great sincerity. I am a professor of liturgy at the Pontifical Liturgical Institute of Sant’ Anselmo and at the Theological Faculty of the Pontifical Lateran as well as Consultant of the Congregation for Divine Worship. I have read the conference that you gave some time ago on the occasion of the ”Ten Years After the Motu Proprio ’Ecclesia Dei’” ("Dix ans du Motu Proprio ‘Ecclesia Dei’”). I must confess that its content left me deeply perplexed. In particular I was struck by the response you gave to the objections made by those who do not approve of "the attachment to the old liturgy”. It is on this that I would like to pause a little in this letter to you.

The accusation of disobedience to Vatican II is fended off by saying that the Council did not itself reform the liturgical books but only ordered that they may be revised. This is true enough, and the affirmation cannot be contradicted. However, I want to draw your attention to the fact that not even the Council of Trent reformed the liturgical books, as they only occupied themselves with the very general principles. To execute the reform as such, the Council asked the Pope to do it, and Pius V and his successors implemented it in a most loyal way.


Therefore, I cannot understand how the principles of the Second Vatican Council concerning the reform of the Mass, presented in Sacrosanctum Concilium, nos. 47-58 (thus not only in nos. 34-36 as cited by Your Eminence), may be in harmony with the re-instatement of the so-called Tridentine Mass. If on the other hand we consider the affirmation of Cardinal Newman mentioned by you, namely that the Church has never abolished or prohibited ”orthodox liturgical forms”, then I ask myself if, for instance, the admirable changes introduced by Pius X in the Roman Psalter (Breviary – CAP) and by Pius XII in the (ceremonies for) Holy Week have abolished the old Tridentine orders or not. The above mentioned principle could make some people think – for example, in Spain – that it is permitted to celebrate the old Spanish rite – the Visigothic, (which is) orthodox, and return it to its place after Vatican II. To say that the Tridentine Rite is something different from the rite of Vatican II does not seem accurate to me: I would say that it is contrary to the notion of what is meant here by rite. Therefore the Tridentine Rite and the present one are one and the same rite: the Roman Rite, in two different phases of its history.

The second objection was that the return to the old liturgy is likely to break the unity of the Church. This objection is met by you in distinguishing between the theological and the practical side of the problem. I can share many of the considerations made by you in this respect, except some that are not historically sustainable, as for instance the claim that until the Council of Trent there existed Mozarabic Rites (of Toledo and other places), which were then suppressed by the same. The Mozarabic Rite was in fact suppressed already by Gregory VII, with the exclusion of Toledo, where it still remains in force. The Ambrosian Rite, on the other hand, has never been suppressed. Thus I cannot understand why it has been forgotten what Paul VI says in the Apostolic Constitution of April 3,1969, with which he promulgated the new Missal, namely: “We are confident that this Missal will be received by the faithful as a means of testifying to and confirming the unity of all, and that through it, in a great variety of languages, to our heavenly Father will rise one sole and identical prayer.” Paul VI desired that the new Missal should be an expression of unity for the Church. He then adds in conclusion: “What we have here established and ordained, we wish to remain valid and effective now and in the future, despite what may be contrary to it in the Constitutions and the Apostolic Decrees of our predecessors, as well as other provisions also worthy of mention and exception.”

I know the subtle distinctions made by some persons who are legal specialists or considered as such. I believe, however, that these are mere “subtleties” not meriting much attention. One could cite several documents that clearly show the intention of Paul VI in this respect. I can only remember the letter of October 11, 1975, which Cardinal J. Villot wrote to Monsignor Coffy, president of the French Episcopal Commission for Liturgy and the Sacraments (Secretariat of State, no. 287608), in which he said, inter alia: ”By the Constitution Missale Romanum, the Pope prescribes, as you know, that the new Missal should replace the old one, notwithstanding the Apostolic Constitutions and Ordinances of his predecessors, which consequently includes all the dispositions made in the Constitution Quo primum and which would have permitted the preservation of the old Missal [...] In short, as mentioned in the Constitution Missale Romanum, it is to the new Roman Missal and nowhere else that the Catholics of the Roman rite should look for the signs and the instrument of the mutual unity of all ... .”

Your Eminence, please let me say, that being a professor of liturgy, I find myself in the position of teaching facts that seem to me different from those expressed by you in above mentioned conference. And I believe that I have to continue on this road of obedience to the Pontifical Magisterium. I also lament the excesses with which some people after the Council have celebrated and still celebrate the reformed liturgy. But I cannot understand why some eminent Cardinals, not only yourself, think it opportune to call into question a reform approved, after all, by Pope Paul VI and to open the doors more and more to the use of the old Missal of Pius V. With humility, but also with apostolic frankness, I feel the need to state my opposition to such an outlook. I prefer to say openly that which many liturgists and non-liturgists, feeling themselves to be obedient sons of the Church, say to each other in the corridors of Roman universities.

Your most devoted [servant] in Christ,

Matias Augé, CMF


Response of Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger to Matias Auge

February 18 1999

Reverend Father
P. Prof. Matias Augé, CMF
Istituto “Claretianum”
L.go Lorenzo Mossa, 4
00165 Rome

Reverend Father,

I have attentively read your letter of November 16, in which you express some criticism in respect to the conference I held on October 24, 1998, on the occasion of the 10th anniversary of the motu proprio “Ecclesia Dei.”

I understand that you do not share my opinions on the liturgical reform, the way it has been implemented, and the crisis deriving from some of the tendencies hidden in it, such as desacralization.

However, it seems to me that your criticism does not take into consideration two points:

The first one being that the Pope John Paul II, with the indult of 1984, under certain conditions, granted the use of the liturgy preceding the Pauline reform; thereafter the same Pope in 1988 published the motu proprio “Ecclesia Dei”, manifesting his wish to please the faithful who are attached to certain forms of the earlier Latin liturgy; and furthermore he asks the bishops ”by a wide and generous application” to allow the use of the liturgical books of 1962.

The second one is that a considerable number of the Catholic faithful, especially those of French, English, and German nationality and language remain strongly attached to the old liturgy, and the Pope does not intend to repeat what happened in 1970 when the new liturgy was imposed in an extremely abrupt way, with a transition time of only six months, whereas the prestigious Liturgical Institute in Trier had rightly proposed a transition time of ten years (if I am not mistaken) for such an undertaking, one that touches in a vital way the heart of the Faith.

Thus, these two points, namely the authority of the Supreme Pontiff and his pastoral and respectful concern for the traditionalist faithful, that must be taken into consideration.

I, therefore, take the liberty to add some answers to your criticism of my speech.


1. Regarding the Council of Trent, I have never said that it should have reformed the liturgical books; on the contrary, I have always emphasized that the post-Tridentine reform, situating itself in the continuity of liturgical history, did not wish to abolish the other Latin orthodox liturgies (which existed for more than 200 years); neither did it wish to impose liturgical uniformity.

When I said that even the faithful who use the indult of 1984 must follow the decrees of the Council, I wanted to show that the fundamental decisions of Vatican II are the meeting point of all liturgical trends and are therefore also the bridge for reconciliation in the area of liturgy. The audience present actually understood my words as an invitation to an opening to the Council, to the liturgical reform. I believe that those who defend the necessity and the value of the reform should be completely in agreement with this way of bringing Traditionalists closer to the Council.


2. The citation from Cardinal Newman means that the authority of the Church has never in its history abolished with a legal mandate an orthodox liturgy. However, it is true that a liturgy that vanishes belongs to historical times, not the present.


3. I do not wish to enter into all the details of your letter, even if I would have no difficulties meeting your various criticisms against my arguments. However, I wish to comment on that what concerns the unity of the Roman rite. This unity is not threatened by small communities using the indult, who are often treated as lepers, as people doing something indecent, even immoral. No, the unity of the Roman rite is threatened by the wild creativity, often encouraged by liturgists (in Germany, for instance, there is propaganda for the project Missale 2000, which presumes that the Missal of Paul VI has already been superseded). I repeat that which was said in my speech: the difference between the Missal of 1962 and the Mass faithfully celebrated according to the Missal of Paul VI is much smaller than the difference between the various, so-called ”creative” applications of the Missal of Paul VI. In this situation, the presence of the earlier Missal may become a bulwark against the numerous alterations of the liturgy and thus act as a support of the authentic reform. To oppose the Indult of 1984 (1988) in the name of the unity of the Roman rite, is – in my experience – an attitude far removed from reality. Besides, I am sorry that you did not perceive in my speech the invitation to the ”traditionalists” to be open to the Council and to reconcile themselves to it in the hope of overcoming one day the split between the two Missals.

However, I thank you for your courage in addressing this subject, which has given me the occasion – in an open and frank way – to discuss a reality which is dear to both our hearts.

With sentiments of gratitude for the work you perform in the education of future priests, I salute you,

Yours in Christ

+ Joseph Card. Ratzinger

YOUR MUGS HAVE ARRIVED FR. Z AND I HAVE POSTED PICTURES OF THEM BELOW

Fr. Z of What Does the Prayer Really Say? fame, sent Fr. Justin and me one of his cups which I've photographed by a screen saver that Fr. Justin surprised me with on my return from Panama City, my face superimposed on the body of the main character of the rat movie "Ben!"

Fr. Z From WDTPRS blog sent Fr. Justin and me one of his mugs. Thanks so much!

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

MY CHARISMATIC JOY AT ONE MORE DEAD RAT!

My elation at a conquered rat has led me to uncharacteristic charismatic joy at Panama City!

Fr. Z. Picks Up My Rats! Not Really!

Fr. Z has put some of my posts on the rats in the rectory on his famous blog. I've been told that I should buy a "ratzinger" to get rid of these pests! He is sending Fr.Jusin and me two of his coffee mugs! Others may send coffee! You can read Fr. Z.'s blog WDTPRS at this address which the computer I'm using won't let me hyperlink for some reason: http://wdtprs.com/blog/. I think people around the world read his blog and now little old Macon's rats, in rectory and out, have made it big time! Thanks Fr. Z!

Monday, September 27, 2010

RATS R US!

Dead rat killed Saturday morning in my rectory's living quarters!

Well, I got access to a computer to update you on the continuing saga of "As the Rat Turns" or if you like, "Another Rat!" I post this as I look out of the window of my hotel overlooking the magnificent Gulf. In fact in the post below, I'm in the high rise hotel that is horseshoe shaped. It is wonderful. But I digress!

When I departed the rectory as we had a missionary priest preach this weekend for Mission Coop Sunday, I told Fr. Justin to call the priest who is from Viet Nam and tell him of our rat problem and that we would put him up in a hotel if he felt uncomfortable staying in our rectory that is hospitable to priests and rats alike. He said he was from Viet Nam and rats don't bother him--he said it not me so don't castigate me--he has a sense of humor too!

At any rate, on Saturday morning, Fr. Justin awoke to go downstairs and at the bottom of the first flight of stairs he noticed a rat trap that wasn't there and he noticed that a rat trap that was under a curio in our bedroom hallway was gone! This is by the bedroom door of our Vietnamese visitor! So he went down and found a dead rat attached to the trap. The rat struggled with the trap around his neck and got all the way down the stairs from the hallway upstairs!

This is rat number five that we've executed and he is a big one!!!!!!!!!!!! This is the stuff of my current nightmares. He was in my bedroom pooping! He could have attacked me in my sleep! He was enjoying himself in our living quarters! He knew hisway around all three floors of our rectory! I saw him alive twice, coming into the kitchen as I was breakfasting! What kind of martyrdom is this? How do I promote vocations under these circumstances?

I pray this is the last one (he ate some decon that we had placed on the third floor two days earlier and he is still around. In fact, he transferred the entire contents of the decon tray from the tray to under a nearby couch for later eating!!!!! And he was still alive and happy! Well, no more!

More to come as information about other wanderings filters into me here in Panama City!

Many thanks to Fr. Pat Foley for bringing his lap top so I can post this. His blog is www.fatherpat'spage.blogspot.com He has pictures of our Ireland excursion!

Friday, September 24, 2010

OFF TO PANAMA CITY BEACH! NO MORE BLOGGING UNTIL NEXT WEDNESDAY OR THURSDAY!





I have a very difficult weekend starting tomorrow, I have to go to Panama City Beach for some rest and relaxation. But how can I enjoy what you see above? What a difficult place to go and relax! It should be a crime!

DO YOU THINK POPE BENEDICT'S TRIUMPH IN ENGLAND WILL GALVANIZE THE SECULARISTS WHO FEAR MORE THAN ANYTHING A GALVANIZED CATHOLIC CHURCH?

Well wishers?

Pope speaking to politicians and other leaders in Westminster Hall where St. Thomas More was condemned to death for his fidelity to the Pope!

All the fears and anxieties that the pope would be humiliated in Great Britain and possibly arrested proved false. He won them over and never budged once on his message and the need for Christianity in general and Catholicism in particular to be active in the social and political process of that country and all of Europe.

The protests were a side show to the actual "gig" as some called the pope's various venues.

His soft spoken demeanor betrayed the rock solid message that he unflinchingly proclaimed. He took a razor to the rampant secularism of Great Britain and all of Europe and cut it to shreds without once blinking and none of the secularists saw the blood spewing forth from their smug ideological agendas.

But will this galvanize the powerful secular media, those in high politics and sadly enough the Judas Iscariots in the Church who truly hate the Catholic Church's traditional teachings in general and truly hate Pope Benedict in particular because he is such a threat to the secularists' domination of Europe. Stay tuned to the news media, maybe even CNN on Saturday night. Let's see how far they will go in discrediting the Holy Father.

SOME IN THE ARENA OF LITURGY WON'T LIKE THIS SO DON'T READ IT!

Click on image twice to enlarge, do you like it?

Who's the star of this talk show?

A Filipino Archbishop describes his feelings about Liturgical renewal. Liturgists of a particular ideology are not going to like it! The article originally appeared HERE but I've copied it below. I have a few comments below the reproduced article.

The Liturgical Renewal I Would Like To See
by Archbishop Jesus Dosado of Ozamiz


Looking back, some of the culprits for me for the gradual loss of the true reform of the liturgy were the so-called “liturgists” who were more like technicians and choreographers rather than pure students of liturgy.

They had a peculiar affinity for refined liturgical celebrations coupled with disdain for the old rites and devotions. Unfortunately, some bishops, not pure students of liturgy either, gave in to their terrorist proclivities.

A search for creativity and community were dominant projects in “reform-minded” Catholic circles in the 1960s and beyond. In itself, this might not have been bad. But the philosophy that the community was god, and that “God” was not fully “God” without the community was the source of ideas that have done most damage to the Church.

This secular notion of community made its way into the liturgy to gradually supplant the inherited Christian tradition.

These self-appointed arbiters of the reform were, and I hate to say this, liturgical hijackers who deprived ordinary parishioners – and bewildered pastors – of their right to the normative worship of their own Church. Hence, there was the need for a reform of the reform.

A major goal of Pope Benedict XVI is the restoration of our Catholic identity. Liturgy is a key component of such an endeavor.

Benedict’s broad liturgical approach can be described in terms of “continuity,” i.e. recovering elements of the liturgical tradition which he believes were too hastily set aside or downplayed in the immediate period after the Second Vatican Council.

The idea of a new liturgical movement came with strength from his book, Spirit of the Liturgy.

A relevant section: “I am convinced that the crisis in the Church that we are experiencing today is to a large extent due to the disintegration of the liturgy … in that it is a matter of indifference whether or not God exists and whether or not he speaks to us and hears us. … Such circumstances will inexorably result in a disintegration. This is why we need a new Liturgical Movement, which will call to life the real heritage of the Second Vatican Council.”

Pope Benedict XVI in his Pastoral Letter to Catholics in Ireland situated the sexual abuse of children in the wake of fast-paced social change and a decline in adherence to traditional devotional and sacramental practices.

To his priests in the Diocese of Rome he said, “In the Eucharist we do not invent something, but we enter into a reality that precedes us, more than that, which embraces heaven and earth and, hence, also the past, the future and the present. … Hence, the liturgical prescriptions dictated by the Church are not external things, but express concretely the reality of the revelation of the body and blood of Christ and thus the prayer reveals the faith according to the ancient principle ‘lex orandi – lex credendi.’” (“the law of praying establishes the law of believing.”)

To be sure, the Pope has great regard for the Novus Ordo. He issued a Letter to the Bishops on the Occasion of the Publication of Summorum Pontificum where he narrated why he wanted to expand the use of what is now called the Extraordinary Form of the Roman Rite and, in so doing, he deliberately responded to the fear that this expansion was somehow intended to demote the Novus Ordo or undermine the Vatican Council’s call for liturgical reform, saying it was unfounded.

For the former Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, (now Pope Benedict XVI) the liturgy is of its nature an inheritance, a space we inhabit as others have inhabited it before us. It is never an instrument we design or manipulate. Self-made liturgy is a contradiction in terms, and he distrusts liturgies that emphasize spontaneity, self-expression and extreme forms of local inculturation.

In his own book, Spirit of the Liturgy, Cardinal Ratzinger scathingly compared such liturgies to the worship of the Golden Calf, “a feast that the community gives itself, a festival of self-affirmation. Instead of being worship of God, it becomes a circle closed in on itself: eating, drinking and making merry … It is a kind of banal self-gratification … no longer concerned with God but with giving oneself a nice little alternative world, manufactured from one’s own resources.”

In his view, the liturgy is meant to still and calm human activity, to allow God to be God, to quiet our chatter in favor of attention to the Word of God and in adoration and communion with the self-gift of the Word incarnate.

The call for active participation seems to Benedict XVI to have “dumbed” down the mystery we celebrate, and left us with a banal inadequate language (and music) of prayer.

The “active participation” in the liturgy for which Vatican II called, he argues, emphatically, does not mean participation in many acts. Rather, it means a deeper entry by everyone present into the one great action of the liturgy, its only real action, which is Christ’s self-giving on the Cross.

We can best enter into the action of the Mass by a recollected silence, and by traditional gestures of self-offering and adoration – the Sign of the Cross, folded hands, reverent kneeling.

For the Pope, therefore, liturgical practice since the Council has taken a wrong turn, aesthetically impoverished, creating a rupture in the continuity of Catholic worship, and reflecting and even fostering a defective understanding of the Divine and our relationship to it.

His decision to permit the free celebration of the Tridentine liturgy was intended both to repair that rupture and to issue a call to the recovery of the theological, spiritual and cultural values that he sees as underlying the old Mass.

In his letter to the bishops of July 2007, he expressed the hope that the two forms of the one Roman liturgy might cross-fertilize each other, the old Missal being enriched by the use of the many beautiful collects and prefaces of Paul VI’s reformed Missal, and the celebration of the Novus Ordo recovering by example some of the “sacrality” that characterized the older form.

It is just like Anglicanorum Coetibus, the Apostolic Constitution providing for personal ordinariates for Anglicans entering into full communion with the Catholic Church, about which the Pope talked to the Bishops of England and Wales in their ad limina visit.

“It helps us to set our sights on the ultimate goal of all ecumenical activity: the restoration of full ecclesial communion in the context of which the mutual exchange of gifts from our respective spiritual patrimonies serves as an enrichment to us all,” Anglicanorum Coetibus reads.

Despite Summorum Pontificum, Pope Benedict himself has only celebrated the ordinary form of the Mass in public, “facing the people” in the manner of the Novus Ordo, using modern languages, all as stipulated in the Liturgical Books of the different countries where he celebrated.

Many people, for example, were waiting for him to use “for many,” instead of “for all” in the United States, but he did not do so.

The Pope celebrated ad orientem (to the east) once more at the newly renovated Pauline Chapel, whose altar was repositioned so that it could be used to celebrate both ways – and the Pope chose the traditional direction in the Mass he celebrated with members of the International Theological Commission.

Small changes to the accessories, vestments and ritual rubrics point to the Pope’s Reform of the Reform. On Corpus Domini of 2008 he began to give Communion exclusively on the tongue to the kneeling faithful.

In November of that year with a new master of pontifical liturgical ceremonies, the Crucifix and candle holders returned to the papal altar, from which the post-Conciliar liturgical reform had taken them away putting the Cross to the side and replacing the candelabra, if at all, by little temple lights.

On the Feast of the Epiphany last year, the Pope wore the guitar-shaped so-called Philippine chasuble instead of the post-Conciliar flowing chasuble, to underscore the continuity between past and present, manifested through liturgical vestments.

Then there are the ritual silences during the liturgies, observed after readings, after psalms, after the homily, and most especially, after Communion.

With these silences, the Pope is starting to educate the faithful who follow papal liturgies to a better, more appropriate attitude of concentration and meditation.

What is the Pope up to? In the words of Monsignor Guido Marini, “I think what the Holy Father is trying to do is to wisely bring together traditional things with the new, in order to carry out, in letter and spirit, what Vatican II intended, and to do it in such a way that papal liturgies can be exemplary in all aspects. Whoever takes part in, or watches, a papal liturgy should be able to say, “This is the way it should be done. Even in my diocese, in my parish!”

And that is how I would like the direction of the liturgical renewal to take with the Mass to be recast, yes, but in order to remain what it is, Calvary and the Upper Room.


My comments:

One cannot downplay the significant role that "liturgists" played in the initial reform of the Mass immediately following Vatican II and well into the 1990's if not later. These "theologians" were elevated by many in the Church both clergy and laity and not a few bishops, to the level of a parallel magisterium. What they said, what they modeled at workshops and all of their suggestions about liturgical renewal were taken as gospel truth to be obediently and immediately implemented on the parish level.

What are some of the fruits of these "liturgists" that still linger with us today?
1. The stripping of traditional art, architecture and music from our churches and liturgies
2. Building churches in the round or semi-round so people can see each others faces while celebrating Mass
3. Music that is faddish and won't stand the test of time; disdain for Gregorian Chant and the actual music of the Mass, i.e introit, offertory antiphon and Communion antiphon
4. Kneeling forbidden for any part of the Mass, kneelers removed from churches in a Gestapo act to prevent those who want to kneel to have any comfort in doing so (Remember Mother Angelica making portable kneelers that you could carry with you to church?)
5. Any sense of private or traditional devotions either a part of Mass or during Mass frowned upon, for example beating one's breast at the Confiteor, Agnus Dei, bowing at the "incarnation" during the Credo, etc. Eucharistic adoration was truly disdained as well as Benediction of the Most Blessed Sacrament and other popular devotions. God forbid that the tabernacle be central in the Church, best for it to be in a closet somewhere independent of the interior of the Church!

Thursday, September 23, 2010

THE VERDICT IS IN, MIKEY LIKES IT!


I taught our 2nd, 3rd and 4th graders this afternoon at our school. I had copies of the new greeting, Confiteor, and Gloria. I also had the old version side by side with the new.

We started with the new greeting and their response "and with your spirit." I explained to them the reason for the change and even the second graders got it and are excited about this change.

Then we recited the old Confiteor and the new one, especially emphasizing "through my fault, through my fault, through my most grievous fault! All of the classes, especially the 4th graders said it really did make them feel bad for their sins with such a strong emphasis on their personal culpability! They like it!

Next we recited the old and new Gloria. I asked the 4th graders what they noticed was the biggest change. One raise her hand and said that the new one had added a four line sentence that wasn't in the old. I explained to them that 40 years ago those who translated the Mass tried to make things simple and in doing so made things dumb. They got it and even laughed.

I think these kids are as excited about the new English translation as I was as a 7th grader when the Latin Mass went to English for the first time. It was thrilling back then. I can't say the kids are as thrilled, but they are excited and want to start doing it right away. But alas, I said, in humble obedience to my bishop, I'll wait until we all do it together throughout our diocese!

They think the new is better or new and improved and I must agree with the children on this one! I can hardly wait for it to be implemented! This is exciting folks!

EULOGIES AT FUNERALS, FORBIDDEN?


Below is an article by Bishop Thomas Tobin of the Diocese of Providence on the celebration of funerals. He dislikes eulogies and shows that the liturgical norm is opposed to these. In our parish we do allow by request a person to speak after the prayer after Holy Communion. However, our parish norm is that this person must be a Roman Catholic who practices their faith (attends Sunday Mass is the minimal expectation). Their talk must be written and submitted to the priest who celebrates the Mass for review. It can be no longer than 3 to 4 minutes.

For those families who would like additional persons to offer reflections, our parish policy is that the family arrange this and any sort of "celebration of life" that they wish after the "Vigil for the Deceased" has been prayed. This, of course, takes place in the funeral home. This is in addition to but not part of the Vigil for the Deceased. If the family wants someone to speak at the place designated in the Vigil for the deceased, this person must be a practicing Catholic, only one person and the same criteria as for the Funeral Mass.


WITHOUT A DOUBT
Let’s Bury the Eulogies


BY BISHOP THOMAS J. TOBIN
9/16/10


According to the dictionary, a eulogy is “a speech or piece of writing that praises someone or something highly, typically someone who has just died.” Sounds simple enough, doesn’t it? In the context of a Catholic funeral, however, eulogies can be problematic for several reasons.

The first is that Catholic liturgical norms do not permit a eulogy during the funeral Mass. The Order of Christian Funerals states, “A brief homily based on the readings should always be given at the funeral liturgy, but never any kind of eulogy. The homilist should dwell on God’s compassionate love and on the paschal mystery of the Lord as proclaimed in the Scripture readings.” (#27, #141) The instruction goes on to say that the homily should give consolation and strength to the community mourning the death of one of its members.

The point here is that the funeral liturgy is public worship for the Church – with its own expectations and limitations – and not primarily a memorial service for the one who has died. The homily, therefore, should focus on Jesus Christ and His saving death and resurrection, and not become a testimony – as well-deserved as it might be – to the deceased.

Obviously it’s fitting, even during the homily, to offer sympathy and support to the grieving community, and to say good things about the deceased, to highlight their positive virtues and contributions. But that personal tribute should never be the primary focus of the homily.

Another emphasis of the liturgical norms is that the homily be “brief.” Now, “brief” is a relative term and what might be brief to one might be excessive to another. In light of our common liturgical experience, however, it seems to me that a funeral homily generally shouldn’t exceed ten to fifteen minutes. The homily should apply the Word of God, simply and clearly, to the reality of death and resurrection, and avoid the temptation to recall, year-by-year, the deceased’s life story and accomplishments.

Now, having said all of that, the Church certainly recognizes the more personal consequences of death. For that reason, the funeral liturgy provides an option for the conclusion of Mass: “A member or a friend of the family may speak in remembrance of the deceased before the final commendation begins.” (#170)

Even these “words of remembrance,” popularly called eulogies, create real pastoral problems, however, and like many priests I’ve witnessed abuses of this accommodation. On one occasion, the eulogy was presented by a relative of the deceased, a fallen-away Catholic, who used his time at the microphone to lambaste the Catholic Church and its traditions. In another case, the nephew of the deceased took the occasion to praise his uncle’s rather profligate life style, emphasizing how he was really good “at picking-up chicks.” Another time the eulogy rambled on and on, becoming almost as long as the rest of the funeral Mass.

Sometimes the person chosen to offer the remembrance isn’t adept at public speaking and their words are presented in vain, unable to be heard or understood by the congregation. I remember one eulogist so overwhelmed by grief that she stood at the pulpit weeping uncontrollably for several minutes, imposing her intense private grief upon a very uncomfortable congregation, until someone finally came forward and gently led her back to her pew.

Whether or not to permit words of remembrance is the sole discretion of the pastor who is responsible for the spiritual care of his parish and the liturgy that takes place there. If words of remembrance are permitted they should be very brief, not competing with or replacing the homily, and they should be appropriate in tone, keeping in mind the sacred time and place.

There may be some special situations – for example when the deceased is well-known in the community, or there are unusual circumstances in the death of the individual – when words of remembrance at the end of Mass may be more fitting, but these too must be limited in scope and appropriate in content.

It seems to me that the funeral rites of the Church provide much better times for a personal remembrance of the deceased than during the sacred precincts of the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass – for example, during the vigil, or at the graveside, or at the social event that follows the liturgy when family and friends gather together.

You can see, I hope, why the Church prohibits eulogies during the funeral Mass. They don’t fit well in a liturgical setting, and they are filled with pastoral minefields. The poor parish priest who prohibits eulogies is sometimes viewed as an uncaring, insensitive ogre, while really, all he’s trying to do is follow the law of the Church and provide for a dignified and prayerful funeral.

“In the face of death, the Church confidently proclaims that God has created each person for eternal life and that Jesus, the Son of God, by his death and resurrection, has broken the chains of sin and death that bound humanity . . . Christians celebrate the funeral rites to offer worship, praise and thanksgiving to God for the gift of life which has now been returned to God . . . The Church through its funeral rites commends the dead to God’s merciful love and pleads for the forgiveness of their sins.” (#1, #5, #6)

May all of our funeral celebrations seek to maintain and promote this holy understanding of a death of a Christian.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

TIME FOR "AS THE RAT TURNS" SOAP OPERA


This is rat central and I have an update for you on the rectory wanderings of Ben and Socrates. The last straw two weeks ago has led us to put poison out. Have they eaten it? Maybe, but they are immune evidently! It must be like crack to them!

The latest terror is that our parochial vicar, Fr. Justin ate some Zaxby's chicken on Monday night, my day off when I go to Augusta for rat respite! He placed his bones (the chicken's) in the carry out Styrofoam container, closed it, place that in its plastic bag and tied it shut and placed that in a open kitchen plastic garbage can in the TV room which is in our living quarters on the top floor of the rectory. The office is on the main floor, our kitchen and dining room are the ground floor.

Yesterday, Fr. Justin noticed that the bag of discarded chicken bones had been opened, a hole had been eaten through the Styrofoam container of bones and that every bone including a used pack of blue cheese was missing. The light weight garbage container was still upright!

Fr. Justin moved the couch and behind it was strewn the chewed on chicken bones and the blue cheese packet licked clean. All that was left were rat droppings marking the stash of bones. It was quite shocking to see!

Last night we placed all kinds of traps and poisons on the third floor, only to discover this morning that of the four traps we set, all had the food removed from them and the traps not sprung!

This is diabolical. I suffer now from current and post traumatic stress syndrome. I don't sleep well at night and dread going to the kitchen in the morning to fix breakfast. I go to my mother's house in Augusta and hear a sound there and think she has rats too! I go on retreat and the same thing occurs.

This is war and I think I'm losing it!

A DOUBLE STANDARD IN REPORTING?


There's a brief article from AP on the Georgia mega church (Baptist) pastor, Bishop Eddie Long who has been accused of sexual abuse by two men, now 20 and 21. They say they were abused when they were 17 and 18. You can read the brief story by pressing this sentence.

This morning as I exercised at the health club, watched CNN and prayed the Holy Rosary to myself (yes, I can multi-task)CNN did a segment on this developing story. The reporter went to great lengths to say that the men allege the abuse happened when they were 17 or 18, but that Georgia State Law says the age of sexual consent is 16! Have you ever heard a reporter declare what the age of sexual consent is in any state where a priest has been accused of similar crime?

More and more we are learning that when a person who has religious authority, such as a bishop, priest or minister,(Catholic, Protestant, Jewish, Orthodox, Muslim, etc) abuses a child or a teenager by taking advantage of them sexually, that this type of abuse has even greater traumatic, psychological consequences for the one abused. One person characterizes this type of religious abuse as "slaying the soul!"

The age of consent issue raised by the CNN reporter does bring another dimension to these sordid scandals. I don't know if it is still true, but within my memory, meaning as a teenager, South Carolina State Law allowed 13 year old girls to marry (they also allowed 16 year olds to drive school buses well into the 1990's!). In fact when I was a teenager one of my supervisors at a fast food joint who at that time was in her late 40's told me she had married at 13 and had her first child at 13 years old. Her husband at the time was 21! Was that sexual abuse? She was pregnant before they married.

Oh, by the way, this pastor is a conservative black pastor opposed to gay marriage and many of the other hot button issues of the day. I wonder if there is any correlation? And shall we accord to him what is not accorded to Catholic priests with allegations of this sort: innocent until proven guilty?" Catholic priests are presumed guilty until proven innocent and even then the doubt lingers! Read about a Glenmary priest in my diocese who was cleared of allegations of sexual abuse in West Virgina. His story is hair raising on many levels, the least of which is how the media in general and SNAP in particular considered him guilty prior to any legal process and continue to make shrill statements after he was cleared. He has been reinstated in his parish in Claxton within our diocese. READ ABOUT HIM HERE.

THIS PRETTY MUCH SUMS IT UP!


Controversy and Schism in the Catholic Church

Throughout her history, the Church has always faced schisms, large and small. The two largest schisms were the Great Schism in 1054 between the east and west and the Protestant Reformation in the 16th century. The Great Schism preserved the Sacramental system of the separated Eastern Churches including their Sacrament of Holy Orders and thus the Order of Bishops. The Protestant Reformation dismantled the sacramental system of the various Protestant denominations. Most Protestant denominations only recognize Baptism and Holy Communion as sacraments. However, they have dismantled the traditional sacramental theology of Holy Orders held by the East and the West which has implications for the validity of their sacramental understanding of Holy Communion.

What possible schisms do Catholics have to avoid today? There are several and these come to us from the left and right, literally, politically and theologically.

As it concerns “far right wing Catholics” we have those groups that have gone into schism based upon their rejection of Vatican II’s theology especially as it concerns the Mass, the manner in which the other sacraments are celebrated, ecclesiology and ecumenism. There are groups that have been excommunicated from the Church, the most noteworthy group that was once headed by the late Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre. This group rejects Vatican II altogether although their exclusive embrace of the Extraordinary Form of the Mass symbolizes their schism. Pope Benedict lifted the excommunication of their bishops as an effort at internal reconciliation in the Church. Time will tell if this effort will prove fruitful.

As it concerns “far left-wing Catholics” we have those groups born of radical feminism who have actually “simulated” the celebration of the rite of ordination for various women. These individuals and groups who have done so have faced public excommunication. Their mock ordinations are completely invalid. Recently a priest in Arizona was automatically excommunicated for participating in one of these mock or simulated sacramental celebrations. These acts and the groups and individuals who participate in them are clearly schismatic.

In between, we all are buffeted by issues surrounding human sexuality based upon a secular and non Christian agenda. Many mainline Protestant denominations have already embraced parts of this agenda giving these movements supporters in the Christian world. The official teachings of the Catholic Church and the teachings of many Evangelical Protestants are at odds with the trends and fads of the day thus placing us on the fringe of current secular, sociological, political and psychological thought.

The most controversial issues of sexuality that potentially could lead some Catholics into schism or to join current Protestant denominations, such as the Episcopal Church, are issues surrounding artificial contraception, abortion, marriage, divorce, homosexuality, and women’s ordination and medical ethical issues.

Most of us have family members, friends and acquaintances who profess to be Catholic but nonetheless use artificial birth control, are pro-choice, live together outside of marriage, are divorced, are actively homosexual, advocate for women’s ordination and the redefining of marriage. Some of these Catholics believe that they can effect change in the Catholic Church on these issues. Others have joined schismatic groups practicing such change.

Someone was once asked where she stood on all these controversial issues. She responded, “I stand with the Pope, whoever the pope might be at any given time. Doing so keeps the Catholic Church together.” It should be of no irony that many Catholics now attack the pope, question his authority over the universal Church and carp at any perceived inaction as it concerns the discipline of the clergy in the area of sexual abuse. These groups would like nothing more than for a sitting pope to be deposed or to have his moral authority diminished in the eyes of the world in general and Catholics in particular.

Just study what happened to the Protestant Reformation. Initially it was a noble movement to reform some aberrant practices that had developed. But once these reformers rejected the leadership of the Pope and his God-given authority, it splintered and continues to splinter to this very day. A modern day example of this is the Episcopal Church which in so many ways resembles the Catholic Church, yet its liberalizing agenda for the last 35 years has caused it to splinter into further groups all because there is no one person, such as the pope, that can set boundaries.

The Pope and the Magisterium of the Catholic Church have the authority to declare what is in bounds and what is out of bounds. This authority has been handed onto to them by our Founder, Jesus Christ Himself. When we align ourselves with the pope, even though we might have our own differing opinions on orthodox Catholic teaching, we will always avoid schism. This means that we must humbly put aside our own opinions and inclinations and humbly accept the Pope and the Magisterium in the areas of faith and morals and even Church law.

Although it is a part of the “Deposit of Faith” that the Church cannot ordain women to the priesthood and thus an infallibly held belief, we could hypothesize that if the pope or the pope together with an ecumenical council decided that women could be ordained priests, to remain in union with the Church, those Catholics who personally oppose women’s ordination in humble faith would have to accept the Church’s authority in this area. Fidelity to the Holy Father and the Magisterium cuts both ways!

The above hypothesis will not happen but the converse has. Women’s ordination in the Catholic Church was ruled out definitively on May 22, 1994 (Ordinatio Sacerdotalis) by Pope John Paul II and he defined it in such a way that future popes or ecumenical councils could not reverse. Thus those who advocate for women priests and bishops in the Catholic Church must in humble faith place their personal desires or opinions aside.

What is the basis of schism? It is the basis of Adam and Eve’s original sin and all the actual sins that have been committed ever since. It is the sin of pride. This pride leads us to think that our way is better than what God has revealed to us through His Word in the Church’s Scripture, Tradition and Magisterium. Humble obedience to the Word of God in the areas of faith and morals is the antidote to the sin of pride. Let us humbly accept what our Church teaches in the areas of faith and morals as well as Church law even though accepting these will entail struggle and persevering prayer.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

IS THE SECOND COMING NEAR?



The New York Times actually ran a very positive editorial on Pope Benedict on September 20th. It must mean that the Second Coming has arrived. Get thee to confession! You can read it BY PRESSING HERE for ROSS DOUTHAT'S EDITORIAL!

The editorial shows why so many in the liberal media and in liberal politics are opposed to Pope Benedict. He and his Church are the biggest stumbling block to the agenda to secularize the world through a godless new religion. These secularists are not opposed to religion that is private, quiet and non-influential in the area of politics, morals and ethics. Radical secularists want absolute control over setting policy and law. They'll do anything to neuter or discredit traditional religion, especially Catholicism.

We know what the secularists want to do. It's all about sex: artificial birth control, abortion, condoms, same sex marriage, and polygamy. But it is also about euthanasia, genetic engineering using aborted fetal tissue and it is about assisted suicide.

When the Catholic Church lobbies in a political way for our point of view and galvanizes the millions of Catholics in this country to vote according to a well formed Catholic conscience, this threatens the agenda of the on going secularization of our world. You can see why they hate us.

Pope Benedict gives us an example of how to face our critics and haters. It is the love of Christ and serenity in the face of yet another attempt in the 2000 year history of the Church to snuff out the message of Christ. In a calm but calculated manner the Holy Father faced the world in England and did not blink! That's the example His Holiness gives to us as Catholics!

Saturday, September 18, 2010

BACK FROM JACKSONVILLE AND RETREAT

St. Augustine Beach where I spent Thursday! Like Daytona Beach, you can drive your car for a price on the beach and park it there! It's quite nice. Although all I had to do was walk across a sand dune and I was there, that's how close the Condo was to the beach. I could live there! The surf was very rough due to the hurricanes out in the Atlantic, but the weather was great and only in the low 90's!

Condominiums and pool at St. Augustine Beach where I spent Thursday night! Just lovely and refreshing too!

The retreat was very, very refreshing and it was very refreshing not to post any blogs or to make any comments on any other blogs. I spent Thursday afternoon at the Condo of friends from Augusta who are visiting St. Augustine Beach. What a great spot, right on the ocean and a great condo pool as well. The weather was splendid as well. But now it's back to reality.

I did get glimpses of the Holy Father's visit to Great Britain. What courage it must take to do a pilgrimage such as this to hostile territory. God's grace supplies what is needed. Overall I think the English as well as the Anglicans did a wonderful job of welcoming the Holy Father.

I was watching the CBS Evening News on Friday. The only report on the Holy Father was mid way through the newscast. It was just a voice over report saying that six people had been arrested for suspicion of plotting against the Holy Father. Katy Courric then said briefly that as the pope entered Westminster Abby, he was greeted by a female priest of the Anglican Church, the first one he has ever met! Of all that happened yesterday as well as his remarks you would have thought CBS could do better, but they just can't.

Monday, September 13, 2010

DIOCESAN PRIEST RETREAT

I'm departing today (Monday) for our annual Diocesan Priests' retreat. It is held at the Marywood Retreat Center in Jacksonville, Florida. From Macon, that's about a five hour drive if not a bit more. Please pray for all of our priests who are traveling by automobile today and returning on Friday.

I won't have a computer at my beck and call so I won't be posting anything, unless of course I use one at the retreat center. But it is good to retreat from computers and blogs while on retreat. I recommend it highly.

Although I don't have my computer, my Blackberry allows me to post comments on my blog.

PRESS HERE FOR THE MARYWOOD RETREAT CENTER WEBSITE. IT SITS ON THE SAINT JOHN RIVER, WHICH I BELIEVE IS ONE OF ONLY TWO RIVERS IN THE WORLD THAT FLOWS NORTH! CAN YOU NAME THE OTHER?

Sunday, September 12, 2010

VATICAN II: REFORM WITHIN CONTINUITY OR DISCONTINUITY WITH THE CHURCH'S PAST?

The bishops of the world at the altar of the Second Vatican Council during the Second Vatican Council!

Believe it or not, this is the Holy Mass of the Second Vatican Council, celebrated during the Second Vatican Council!

In February of 2009, America Magazine printed an article by Father Joseph Komonchak on Vatican II and Pope's Benedict's emphasis that the reform of Vatican II is "reform within continuity" rather than "discontinuity" with the Church prior to Vatican II. You can read this excellent article by pressing this entire paragraph.

My comments:

No one should be deceived by anyone. Vatican II did not change any dogmas of the Church or any doctrines that are a part of the Church's Ordinary Magisterium. This is a fact.

What Vatican II did do is to change in a major way the "theology" of expressing doctrine and dogma. The Council also recovered some aspects of theology that had been neglected in previous eras. It also changed the "hermeneutic" of how the Church was going to engage the world in general and those of other faiths or no faiths at all. There was a special outreach to the Easter Orthodox Churches and "Separated Christians" of the Protestants "communions" or denominations. This was in fact a new approach, but nothing new in terms of dogma or doctrine.

While Vatican I emphasized the role of the Magisterium in the Church, in particular the papacy, Vatican II also emphasized the role of the laity in the Church and the world. It did not change the doctrine of the hierarchical nature of the Church one iota. It simply taught that the laity are called to holiness. Their primary role is in the world, especially in their homes and in their secular endeavors. I would suggest that the vision or theology of Vatican II in this regard has not completely caught on with a good number of our Catholic politicians and others in the public arena, to be lamented for sure.

As for the Mass, the Council simply set forth some principles for the reform of the Tridentine Mass, but gave almost no specifics. "Noble simplicity" is often quoted, but there can be a wide range of opinions as to what this means. For example a "Low Mass" has a noble simplicity that a "Solemn High Mass" does not. Complicated concert music for the Mass has a complexity that the noble simplicity of Gregorian does not have. The Council called for active participation in the Liturgy. This was already being emphasized for most of the 20th century and certainly by the late 1950's it was taking hold in the Tridentine Mass. But active participation also means immersion into the spirituality of the Liturgy, not just mouthing words. A priest might not be totally engaged in what he is celebrating, although he's actively speaking for most of the Mass. There are spiritual and physical qualities that are necessary for active participation for the clergy and laity even when no sounds are being uttered.

So the theology that the Church employs certainly did change with Vatican II. Doctrine and dogmas did not change at all. Older teachings and doctrines that were neglected were recovered, especially the nature of the Church (ecclesiology) and a recovery of the fuller understanding and appreciation of the laity's call to holiness and active participation within the hierarchical nature of the Church.

Pope Benedict is not going backwards with his agenda of "Reform within Continuity." He is helping the Church to make a quantum leap forward in the correct interpretation of Vatican II. It is much appreciated and most needed today!

Saturday, September 11, 2010

200th ANNIVERSARY OF THE CHURCH OF THE MOST HOLY TRINITY, AUGUSTA, GEORGIA

Last night the Church of the Most Holy Trinity in Augusta celebrated its 200th anniversary. I found a disc of photos given me at my departure as pastor in 2004 and I share them with you. Archbishop Edwin O'Brien of Baltimore was the principle celebrant and homilist. He spoke of Most Holy Trinity's first pastor Fr. Brown as a renegade pastor who with the help of a cohort in Charleston tried to form an independent Catholic Church in Georgia and South Carolina. Trustee-ism was taking root in the new colony and was a threat to the authorities of the Church of this period. Most Holy Trinity was founded by Archbishop Carroll of Baltimore and a part of the Archdiocese of Baltimore, then the newly created Charleston, SC diocese and then in 1850, the Diocese of Savannah. In no way did I attempt any sort of independent movement from the diocese or Rome in my time as pastor 1991-2004. What I did was small potatoes in comparison to Fr. Brown! Enjoy the photos



Most Holy Trinity in 1894

Two of Most Holy Trinity's finest ladies!

After Mass greetings (Polish visitors to Most Holy Trinity)

Some folks at Most Holy Trinity

Chilling out on the high seas!

Preaching at Mass in the home town of Joseph Stalin, Gori, Georgia (Mass in a home)

Preaching at Most Holy Trinity's sister parish in Tblisi, Republic of Georgia

Parish picnic at Most Holy Trinity

Christmas at Most Holy Trinity, we weren't always orthodox!

Senator Strom Thurmond attending a wedding at Most Holy Trinity

Friday, September 10, 2010

WILL IT HAPPEN OR WON'T IT?


It is amazing to me that a small town fundamentalist pastor with about 30 people in his congregation is making world news because he intended to burn Islam's holy book, the Qur'an. What he and his little tribe of people wanted to do is reprehensible. But I really wonder if he deserves all the publicity he has received and international notoriety. How did this happen? I guess it spread through the internet and thus worldwide.

Yesterday it appeared that a deal was reached where he would relent and not burn these books and thus insult all of Islam. But that deal seems to be crumbling and no telling what will happen tomorrow.

I have been pleased with the voices of reason within Christianity asking that this pastor not follow through on his plans to burn the books. Even the Rev. Pat Robinson seems to be on the side of reason on this one.

I haven't seen too much news coverage about the voices of reason in the Islamic world. If the pastor in Florida does do what he says he intended to do, will the leaders of Muslims ask for a reasoned response to this vile action? Will they ask for peace and calm? I hope the media does its job and reports what the voices of reason within the Islamic community are communicating to their people, because I haven't heard or read too much in this regard. It could be that the news media just simply has focused so much on a "crazy" pastor in Florida who has garnered world-wide attention that they have not had time to focus on the voices of reason within the Islamic community. We'll see what happens and hopefully hear from the voices of reason in the Islamic world. It's up to the news media to report it to us.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

RCIA IS CONTINUING AT ST. JOSEPH CHURCH!

Last week we began in a more formal way our Inquiry period of the RCIA. We have a very talented person who tapes the sessions and then places them on the internet. She sent me the links. I have two posted. One is an abbreviated session from last Thursday, our first night and another is a catechetical session some time in the last two or three years. I hate watching myself and my Italian mother is responsible for my hand motions! Yikes! I'm very grateful to Jerry Schmitt our RCIA coordinator and the hoards of people we have on our team. It is wonderful!


Of course when one sees oneself on video, one gets a dose of reality in terms of how others sees one, doesn't one? As for me, I see myself as I am, what I will look like in my glorified body in heaven, as I am now and yes the the Nile is not just a river in Egypt!

Absolutely no change in appearance from the mid 1980's until now; God is good!

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

THIS IS THE LAST STRAW; I CAN'T TAKE IT ANYMORE!



What you are seeing is a stash of large "priest's" hosts that I had on the bottom shelf of a bookcase in my office. Yesterday, I noticed that there was an empty box in the plastic bag I had. I could have sworn that there were unconsecrated hosts in this box, tied in a smaller plastic bag. I didn't think anymore about it.

Then this morning, I noticed about five hosts protruding out from under the tiny opening of the book case as it sits on the floor. All of them had been munched on by our rectory rat, that elusive (explicative eliminated) rat that is haunting me and causing much psychological stress and trauma around here!

Well, I moved the bookcase away from against the wall and the rat had brought all of the hosts underneath the bookcase and was having a feast. He marked his food by putting his droppings all over them as you can see in the picture! It is truly disgusting and this bookcase is behind me as I sit at my desk in my office!

We have tried everything to get rid of this rat and he is so smart that he avoids everything that our professional has placed in the house to catch or kill him.

I know many have counseled against rat poison, but I'm at that point and it goes out tomorrow. We think it is only one rat out of five that remains. I kid you not about the stress that this causes, and that I sleep lightly thinking that the rat could come into my bedroom and I want to be awake when it does. I wouldn't wish this on my worse enemy!

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

A BUDDING VOCATION STORY

A former parishioner of St. Joseph Catholic Church and now a parishioner of St. Patrick's in Kathleen, GA, Kay Duryea is a wonderful teenager who believes she has a calling from God for the religious life. She is now an aspirant for the Dominican Sisters of Mary, the Mother of the Eucharist. God bless you in your discernment!



From the Dominican Sisters website:

Hawkinsville, GA

“We know that in everything God works for good with those who love Him, who are called according to His purpose.” (Romans 8:28). I have been discerning my religious vocation all of my life. What started out as a child’s play of a “Sister runs orphanage” with my siblings, eventually turned into a curious internet search for various religious orders by the age of twelve. I continued my inquiries with greater and greater interest, but when I turned fourteen, I made an effort to put the desire aside. I felt pressured by my peers. I pushed God away and forced myself to say that I was supposed to get married. I said that I wanted a husband, kids, and a house of my own, yet I still had a longing for something greater. Later that summer, I went to Mississippi to visit my Grandma and while I was at Mass, I looked across the church and I saw three sisters, in full habit, praying. My mom told me that I should go and talk to them, so after Mass I did. Talking to them again sparked my interest. When I got home, I started to seek out my vocation once more.

The following summer, I went back to Mississippi and went to the same church again. This time, I spoke with seven sisters. They were the Dominican Sisters of Mary, Mother of the Eucharist. As soon as I got home I looked at their website. It captured my attention. I got really excited when I saw that they allowed sixteen year olds to go on their retreats. The only problem was they were all the way in Michigan. I knew that my parents would be uncomfortable sending me on a plane, and it was definitely too far to drive. So, I pushed that idea out of my head and went back to wondering what God wanted me to do. I looked into all different kinds of occupations; nursing, the navy, and other medical careers. These things, however, did not fill my emptiness.

God is good! In November of 2009, Elizabeth Cavanaugh, a mom in our home school group, called the Dominican Sisters of Mary, Mother of the Eucharist and invited them to come and talk to our group. They agreed. Sr. Joshua Mary and Sr. Jude Andrew came down to Georgia. They were amazing! I was intrigued with the fact that they were young, energetic women that still wore the full habit. As I was leaving, Sr. Jude Andrew invited me to come to their retreat in February. I told my parents, and they both agreed that I should go.

When I arrived at the Motherhouse, the sisters were in Adoration. I prayed before the monstrance and I just knew immediately that I was home. Sr. Joseph Andrew agreed as well and gave me an application, despite being just shy of my seventeenth birthday. Since then, the time has flown, from finishing school at an accelerated rate, to getting physically and spiritually ready for my entrance on August 28th. It has been challenging, yet wonderful too, as I had the support of my family and friends. The people of my home parish of St. Patrick and our rector, Fr. Nicholas Mansell, have overwhelmed and humbled me by their support.

I thank God that the Dominican Sisters of Mary, Mother of the Eucharist opened both their hearts and their doors for me. I know that with the grace of the Holy Spirit, Our Lady’s help, and the loving support of this community, I will be able to live out my vocation.