Thursday, June 30, 2011

REDEFINING WHAT A "GOOD" CATHOLIC IS


Certainly the National Catholic Reporter has a bias that leans severely to the left and makes a parody of what Catholicism actually is. If there was ever any question that Vatican II has not taken root in the lives of some Catholics, read the following lavish praise for Catholics who have redefined Catholicism and what it means to be Catholic. It ties in very well with the video from Ireland below this post:

Catholic hierarchs lose marriage battle to Catholic laity
by Jamie L Manson on Jun. 28, 2011


Grace on the Margins

It took nearly two days for Archbishop Timothy Dolan to comment on the historic passage of legislation allowing gays and lesbian to marry in the state of New York.

He waited until he had concluded Sunday Mass at St. Patrick’s on the Feast of Corpus Christi. As chance, or the Holy Spirit, would have it, this was also Gay Pride Sunday.

Dolan met with reporters in a rear corner of the cathedral. When asked why he didn’t mention gay marriage in his homily, Dolan said he thought it would be a distraction to the Sabbath day, which is meant for prayer.

He added, “I sorta needed a good dose of the Lord’s grace and mercy because I’ve been a little down, as you can imagine.”

Continuing in his dejected tone, Dolan admitted, “I can say this now. I’m not surprised. I had been led to believe from the beginning...that this was a tough, uphill battle.”

Across the East River, Dolan’s confrère, Bishop Nicholas DiMarzio of the Brooklyn diocese, was less resigned. In a Sunday morning editorial in the Daily News, Brooklyn’s “chief shepherd,” as he referred to himself, offered these fighting words:
As a protest, I have asked my collaborators not to bestow or accept honors, nor to extend a platform of any kind to any state elected official, in all our parishes and churches for the foreseeable future.

The passage of the gay marriage bill, DiMarzio says, is “another nail in the coffin of marriage.” Writing lines that unintentionally drip with irony, DiMarzio worries that the new law is detrimental to the welfare of children:

The children of our state deserve the best. We put in place public policies to ensure that children...are safe from harms way....Our children in New York State deserve the best and unfortunately there seem to be very few if any “Profiles in Courage.”

It’s no wonder Dolan and D’Marzio are feeling especially trouble. One look at key players in the road to the same-sex marriage victory reveals a strikingly Catholic roster.

The bill’s sponsor, assembly member, Daniel O’Donnell, was raised Catholic. He met his partner of 31 years on his first day of college at The Catholic University of America.

Tom Duane, the New York State Senate’s first openly gay and openly HIV-positive member, has been gay marriage’s greatest champion for years. Though he no longer practices, he was raised Catholic.

The first Republican senator to break ranks and agree to vote in favor of the bill was Joseph Alesi, who was raised Catholic and graduated from St. John Fisher College in Rochester, N.Y.

And, of course, Governor Andrew Cuomo, whose commitment, political influence, and impeccable organizational skills were the most powerful force behind the bill’s approval, was raised in a Catholic home. A pro-choice, cohabitating divorcee, Cuomo receives communion when he attends Mass and reportedly takes his Catholicism seriously.

One wonders whether Dolan’s depression and DiMarzio’s mania was less a reaction to New York’s eroding moral fabric than it was a realization of the twilight of their once formidable power over New York politics.

The bishops refuse to see that these officials were actually honoring the Catholic social justice tradition in their motivation for passing the marriage bill. They approached the issue as a cause for civil rights. From health care proxies and medical benefits to tax laws, same sex couples will now enjoy thousands of rights previously available only to married heterosexuals.

Listening Dolan at his impromptu press conference after Sunday Mass, one wonders if a little bit of their compassion didn’t rub off on him.

After expressing his disappointment with the bill’s passage, Dolan stated:
To the gay community, I love you very much. If anything I ever said or did would lead you to believe that I have anything less than love or respect for you, I apologize.

As the archbishop spoke these words, just outside the cathedral doors stood more than a dozen peaceful protestors from the New York chapter of DignityUSA. They have offered this witness every Gay Pride Sunday since 1987. They stand together for thirty minutes each year, waiting for a dialogue that the archbishop chose instead to have with news cameras.

Fifteen blocks south of St. Patrick’s, members of the gay and lesbian ministry at the Church of St. Francis Xavier lined up for the fifteenth consecutive year to march in the Gay Pride Parade. Since Dolan came to New York, he has attempted to block the parishioners from marching in the parade under their traditional banner, which read, “The Church of St. Francis Xavier, A Roman Catholic Parish.” For decades Xavier has been recognized city-wide and nationally for its prophetic outreach to LGBT Catholics.

Fearing that Dolan would impose punishment on the parish, the group marched with a blank banner last year. This year, after months of agonized conversation and discernment, they opted to purchase a new banner that read “St. Francis Xavier, Come to the Table.” In previous years, under different pastoral leadership, the group also received a blessing from the church’s pastor before heading out to the march. No such blessing was offered this year.

In addition to his interactions with members of Dignity and Xavier, those who watched Dolan interviewed on 60 Minutes three short months ago still have vivid memories of the Archbishop’s equating gay marriage with incest, as he quipped, “I love my mom, but I don’t have a right to marry her.”

While Dolan’s contrite tone on that Corpus Christi morning no doubt piqued the interest of some gay and lesbian Catholics throughout the city, Christ’s body cannot begin to mend until he faces this community and offers his loving, apologetic words in the flesh.

I have been struck by the effect that the passage of the marriage bill has had on my own sense of dignity. Though I am blessed not to carry any guilt or shame about my sexuality, walking through New York City streets on Pride weekend with my partner, I did experience new, unexpected feelings of legitimacy and integrity. I can finally appreciate how good equality is for the spirit.

I suspect many members of the gay and lesbian community will continue to discover this as well. Though all will seek marriage as their civil right, many will also seek to honor the transcendent, spiritual bonds that their love also creates. Though most will not receive this affirmation from religious authorities, the door toward that recognition has been opened, thanks in no small part to several courageous, lay Catholic leaders.

Our elected officials are leading the state and the nation toward a vision of equality for all citizens. In the same way, married gay and lesbian Catholic couples, by living out the goodness and holiness of their committed relationships, will lead the church toward that future day of justice and inclusion for all members of the body of Christ.

[Jamie L. Manson received her Master of Divinity degree from Yale Divinity School where she studied Catholic theology and sexual ethics. Her columns for NCR earned her a first prize Catholic Press Association award for Best Column/Regular Commentary in 2010.]

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

THE LOSS OF FAITH AND ITS EFFECTS

This is in Dublin, Ireland but it could be anywhere in the Catholic world. What is astounding is the loss of faith, not just the Catholic faith, but faith in God. Could the sex abuse scandal involving priests be attributed to the loss not only of Catholic faith, but belief in God too? I report, you decide:

BEAUTY IS IN THE EYE OF THE BEHOLDER!




Sacred Art – Recapturing a Treasure

by Bishop Arthur J. Serratelli, Paterson, New Jersey

Jun 28

The cathedrals of Chartres, Paris, Cologne, Florence, Siena and Toledo open their doors each day to thousands of pilgrims and tourists alike. They come to look, to gaze and to stand in wonder at these majestic marvels of architecture. Pugin, the famous British architect of the nineteenth century, once remarked that the Gothic style of these magnificent cathedrals was the only architectural and artistic style which Christianity created for itself.

At its birth, the Christian church simply worshipped in the houses of believers, most often those of its wealthier members. The very first followers of Jesus in Galilee assembled as church in St. Peter’s house in Capernaum along the shores of the Sea of Galilee. The Christians at Corinth met in the home of the wealthy business couple Aquila and Priscilla (cf. 1 Corinthians 16:19).

When the Emperor Constantine legalized Christianity in the 4th century, Christians began to build churches. They simply adopted existing architecture. They turned away from the temples of their pagan neighbors to their basilicas. The temples did not have the space necessary for congregations to gather and worship. But the basilicas did. The basilicas were used as courts of law and as meeting places. Rome’s St. Mary Major and St. John Lateran come from this earliest period of church architecture.

Over the centuries, Church architecture changed both in the East and the West. Gradually, the Orthodox Church introduced strict norms regarding sacred art. This process reached its high point in a 16th century council held in Moscow called “the Council of the Hundred Canons.” Even our Islamic neighbors have rather strict norms that make a mosque immediately recognizable anywhere in the world. Not so the Catholic Church.

Byzantine, Romanesque, Gothic, Renaissance, Baroque, Rococo, Modern and Post-Modern: there is no one style that the Church has canonized. In fact, in its document on the liturgy, the Second Vatican Council noted, “The Church has not adopted any particular style of art as her very own; she has admitted styles from every period according to the natural talents and circumstances of peoples, and the needs of the various rites. Thus, in the course of the centuries, she has brought into being a treasury of art which must be very carefully preserved” (Sacrosanctum concilium, 123).

Different theological points of view, coupled with the technology of each new age, have produced churches whose spires stretch upward to heaven to churches in the round whose simple form encircles the congregation gathered within. In the course of time, there have risen magnificent cathedrals and modest country churches. While not canonizing any particular style, nonetheless, the Church clearly embraces sacred art as a legitimate and needed expression of faith.

However, some more recently built churches and some churches renovated in the last forty years raise a serious question. Does it not appear that “a considerable part of the Church’s cultural and artistic patrimony has been squandered in the name of honesty and simplicity”? (Uwe Michael Lang, “The Crisis of Sacred Art and the sources for its renewal in the thought of Pope Benedict XVI,” Benedict XVI and the Sacred Liturgy, p.105).

Vatican II instructed bishops to “carefully remove from the house of God and from other sacred places those works of artists which are repugnant to faith, morals, and Christian piety, and which offend true religious sense either by depraved forms or by lack of artistic worth, mediocrity and pretense” (Sacrosanctum Concilium, 124). Such an admonition almost seems useless in face of the iconoclasm that has stripped so many churches of sacred images and beauty. The desire for simplicity and practicality has led to churches empty of much religious symbolism.

With the Industrial Revolution came steel, plate glass, and mass-produced components. Bold, new imaginative structures arose. Emphasis on form made decoration something of a crime and led to the disappearance of much artistic imaging within our church buildings. Abstract images and splashes of color have replaced the biblical scenes and figures of the Gothic cathedrals that remind the worshippers of their place in the history of salvation and the communion of saints.

Since the Second Vatican Council, the theological emphasis on the people of God gathered for liturgy led to some very healthy changes. Churches have been built to allow for the greater participation of the laity in the liturgy. But there have also been some rather questionable results.

Some churches have the altar situated in the middle of the congregation. At times, this violates the architectural line of the building itself and loses a sense of coherence. As a result, there is structurally no longer the vertical direction of the ancient cathedrals that gently draws the worshipper into the liturgy and upward to heaven.

With a rightful emphasis on the place of music in the liturgy has come the positioning of choirs and musicians in full view of the congregation. At times, this boldly detracts from the worshippers’ attention on the altar and can make worship seem like a performance. With a greater emphasis on music, organ pipes have assumed more than a functional position in church buildings!

Unfortunately, the theological emphasis on the liturgy as action has often led to the removal of the Eucharist from a central position in the Church. Tragically, we have churches with the tabernacle off to the side of the church. Others less felicitously with the tabernacle placed behind the congregation. Peoples’ backs to the Lord! How uncivil! In either case, the position of the tabernacle no longer leads the faithful to adoration and worship.

Removing the tabernacle from the central position in the Church can lead to an anthropocentric view of liturgy. Liturgy easily becomes about us and not about the divine presence into which we are being drawn. When a church positions the tabernacle in a prominent and central place, the worshipper is caught up in the action at the altar and visually led to the Real Presence in the tabernacle.

Sacred art is faith translated into vision. It is both an apologetic of the faith and a catechesis in faith. Both the architecture of the church building and its interior decorations are always at the service of the liturgy.

Sacred art is “oriented toward the infinite beauty of God… redounding to God’s praise and glory in proportion as [it is] directed the more exclusively to the single aim of turning men’s minds devoutly toward God” (Sacrosanctum concilium, 122). As the Church continues to renew the way in which we celebrate divine worship, ennobling our language of prayer and focusing us on God, there stirs the hope of recapturing the treasure of sacred art within our churches.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

THIS IS COOL

An archbishop is showing the Holy Father an Ipad, I presume, and how the new Vatican website can be accessed on it.

The archbishop is speaking to the Holy Father in Italian. Men seem to speak Italian a lot faster than women almost using an dialect of their own. I grew up in Augusta listening to my mother and all her Italian friends who were female speaking Italian, so I understand women speaking Italian better then men whom I seldom heard speaking Italian, who often to me sound like they have stuff in their mouth as they speak it so fast. But I digress:


PRESS HERE FOR THE NEW VATICAN NEWS WEBSITE. IT IS COOL! BOOKMARK IT!

GIVEN NEW YORK'S AFFIRMATION OF SAME SEX MARRIAGE, DO WE NEED MORE BISHOPS LIKE THIS ONE, MAYBE EVEN A POPE?

This cardinal is Italian, but he sure as heck looks German! Maybe that's why Pope Benedict likes him?


John Allen writes about Cardinal Angelo Scola who will be the new archbishop of Milan. This is what Allen writes: "As opposed to some European prelates, Scola is typically not inclined to handwringing about the “silent apostasy,” in the words of John Paul II, of the West. Instead, Scola tends to believe that Christianity still has culture-shaping capacity, if it finds the nerve to make its case effectively."

What do you think of that statement given the on-going Godless secularization of America and Europe?

READ THE FULL ARTICLE HERE. This was written before Cardinal Scola was actually named to Milan by Pope Benedict this morning.

I like the idea of another Italian pope!

NEW BEGINNINGS AND THE GRACE OF FAITHFUL CATHOLICS WHO PULL TOGETHER TO GET THROUGH DIFFICULT TIMES!



Thursday marks the new beginning for many of our parishes in the Diocese of Savannah.

At St. Joseph Church, Macon, Fr. Justin Ferguson concludes his three years as parochial vicar and continues at St. Teresa Church outside of Augusta. Fr. Dawid Kwiatkowski begins his priestly ministry here at St. Joseph Church.

My former parish in Augusta, Georgia, The Church of the Most Holy Trinity, will be getting its fourth pastor since I departed in 2004! Father Jacek Szuster becomes their yet again new pastor. I was Most Holy Trinity's pastor from 1991 to 2004. When I arrived in 1991, they had been without a pastor for over a year, having three administrators in that time period! Because of that, I was warmly received almost as the Messiah!

It happens that in the life of some parishes, there is upheaval when a pastor leaves and another one arrives. Priests have to adjust to new parishioners and parishioners have to adjust to priests.

When problems arise in parishes due to the skills or lack of skills especially administrative skills that not all priests possess, people can react in a positive way and pull together or they can react in a negative way and create even more problems and further divisions. People, meaning clergy and laity since we are all people, can be fickle in that way. I think it is due to Original and Actual sin. Perfection is not to be found on this side of heaven.

In Protestant Churches, especially congregational ones, when parishioners have difficulties with their pastors, polarization usually occurs with parishioners either supporting the status quo or wanting to change things. The group that looses usually goes and creates another church or they go to another Church. Usually charismatic leaders arise in these situations either to exacerbate the problems by become pseudo structures exerting a false authority or to bring healing and unity under the legitimate authority of the parish, i.e bishop and pastor.

Catholics are suppose to be different. We are suppose to be united under the institution of the bishop and the pastor the bishop sends. We are to respect these offices and the legitimate authority that comes with these offices and respect what Church law requires of us in being Catholics united in a parish and her pastor.

When problems arise we shouldn't set about to create alternative structures of leadership, to obsessively seek out the wrong and make it right or to polarize the parish through proving one side is right and the other is wrong. We shouldn't grasp an authority that is not ours for the taking in other words.

Thank God for the rank and file Catholics who attend Mass each Sunday, support the parish through thick and thin with their offerings of prayer, talent and treasure and seek to pull together to get parishes through difficult times. They are the silent majority, the "sensus fidelium" and God bless them for their faith, loyalty and love and their quiet ability to bring people together under their bishop and their pastor rather than to tear apart and create havoc, pour fuel on anger and light the match to destroy.

HOW TO PROMOTE CATHOLIC TEACHING WITHOUT BEING LIKE THE TALIBAN

Now, how do we be more Taliban like with Catholics who are anti-Catholic, undermine the Church and still want to be Catholic and receive Holy Communion? "To be or not to be, that is the question!"

Archbishop Timothy Dolan on NYS Same-Sex Marriage Law from Rocco Palmo on Vimeo.

NOT BAD! I LIKE BOTH

This would be so simple for our flower committee to implement next Corpus Christi. I can't wait to walk on it whilst I carry the Most Holy Eucharist in the monstrance!

Sunday, June 26, 2011

IN LIGHT OF CATHOLICS PROMOTING ANTI-CATHOLIC POSITIONS IN THE POLITICAL REALM, WHAT SHOULD HAPPEN TO THEM?




What canonical consequences might Andrew Cuomo face now? By Canon Lawyer, Ed Peters. Press these sentences to read all about it!

DOES SECULARISM EQUAL FASCISM? WHEN IT COMES TO RELIGION'S PUBLIC INFLUENCE, YES!

The video below is from PBS's Religion and Ethic's Show, shown this morning. It ties in well with my "The Train has left the Station" post.

You can see how secularism has influenced the marginalization of religion in France, first Catholicism and now Islam. Both are marginalized out of the fear of religion and its public influence.

France and Europe have been decades ahead of the United States in terms of secularization. However, the USA is catching up very fast and the legalization of same sex marriage in New York is but one giant sign of that. Religion beware! Public expressions of it are forbidden for a society that is religion-phobic.

When you look at the liberal Protestant and Jewish branches of religion, you see already have they have acquiesced to the "fascism of secularism" by shunting religion and religious ethics and morals to the private sphere and away from the political and visible realm. These liberal religions pat secularism on the head and imitate it wrongly thinking this will enable them to dialogue with the fascists when in fact it makes them impotent in the face of their power to dictate, censor and bully.

Like the Church that had to put up for decades with Communism and Nazism and fascism, so too will the Church of today have to put up and fight tooth and nail with spiritual weapons the dictatorship of secular fascism that is sweeping our country and even those who call themselves Catholics. The Church will win though, although it may take time, as testified by the collapse of communism and Nazism. BE NOT AFRAID! But there will be martyrs in this fight, bloody and unbloody!

Watch the full episode. See more Religion & Ethics NewsWeekly.

THESE LITURGICAL SUGGESTIONS AND MANDATES IN OTHER PLACES SOUND VERY FAMILIAR


I must say that when I was in the seminary in the late 1970's I appreciated everything that was taught and I learned. I especially appreciate the apologetic for all the changes that had occurred in the Mass, especially the main ones such as Mass facing the people, standing to receive Holy Communion and in the hand, using bread that looked and tasted like "real" bread and even the priest improvising the words and order of the Mass. All of it was based in a historical analysis of what happened in the "home" churches of Christians immediately following the resurrection and ascension of Christ all the way up to about the 6th century.

The apologetic was based upon antiquity (antiquarianism). The modern way was more ancient than the presumed ancient way of the pre-Vatican II liturgical books.

However, many are reexamining that 1960's apologetic for the reforms of the Mass and other liturgies of the Church. The apologetic is not holding up to scrutiny.

The following is rather interesting. You would not have read something like this 10 or 20 years ago. Also what must be noted is that Cardinal Ranjith quoted below could one day be pope, but I'm not clairvoyant, but maybe I am:

Cardinal Ranjith's reforms in his archdiocese, and more from Adoratio 2011
Fr. Simon Henry of Offerimus Tibi was present at the Adoratio 2011 conference in Rome and wrote three posts on the conference as it unfolded:


Adoratio - Rome 2011

Pope Benedict's intention - BEYOND INDULTS AND PERMISSIONS - that kneeling for Communion remains universal (This post says of Mauro Cardinal Piacenza that at a concelebrated Mass during the conference at which he was the main celebrant, "at the canon of the Mass he dropped his voice considerably (even though microphones were used) and so the canon was not actually silent but sotto voce.")

Impressive forward thinking bishops

The final post reports, among other things, the statements of Cardinal Ranjith during the conference:

In his address to the Conference he spoke of the lack of faith in many parts of the Church itself, a lack of faith in the objective presence of the Lord in the Holy Eucharist.

He thought there was often a lack of wonder and reverence for the Blessed Sacrament, quoting St Augustine saying, "We would sin if we did not adore Him before receiving Him."

The Cardinal spoke to the meaningless and tasteless (in many senses) experience of the Eucharist in many parishes because of a noisy and frenetic atmosphere that was no longer devout, adoring and contemplative. These aspects are not of choice but essential to a celebration of the Mass - an experience much more usual in the "Tridentine" Mass.

Of the priest facing the people instead of the Lord, he said that it promoted an attitude of showmanship, a silent body language of entertainment inevitably enters into the Mass. It is an innovation never advocated by the Second Vatican Council and is not respectful of the awesome mystery of the Holy Eucharist. (There was here an extended interruption for as applause echoed around the auditorium.)

He re-iterated the view that active participation does not mean outward activity but interior adoration, which takes a great deal of effort and spiritual activity.

Later over dinner he was also telling us of some of the changes he has made in his own diocese:

Each and every church has altar rails once again for the reception of Holy Communion, which is to be received kneeling.

The allowance to deviate from the universal norm of Holy Communion on the tongue has been withdrawn. So Communion is always on the tongue.

Priests must dress in the proper vestments for Mass.

Priests are forbidden to bring elements or styles of worship from other religions into the sacred liturgy.

Saturday, June 25, 2011

THE TRAIN HAS LEFT THE STATION





Like divorce, like abortion, same sex marriage is now legal in New York. Catholic Governor Andrew Cuomo signed the bill last night after the state Senate narrowly approved it.

Is this the end of civilization as we know it? Of course not, but it is the beginning of a new era and I suspect within the next ten years more and more states will recognize same sex marriage.

As with the legalization of divorce, the Catholic Church does not recognize the legitimacy of same sex marriage. She never will. If a marriage is a sacrament it is until death do they part. No civil law can change that. Does the Catholic Church recognize as marriage those who having lawfully entered a first marriage, then lawfully end that marriage and then lawfully enter a second marriage? No.

For a union to be considered the Sacrament of Matrimony in the Catholic Church, the couple must:

1. be male and female

2. freely and without reservation commit to one another in a life long union

3. be open to children and forming a Christian home

4. be committed to marital fidelity

5. be emotionally mature and psychologically stable and not have hidden any important information about themselves such as alcoholism, drug addiction, criminal record or sexual deviancy

Even if a couple gets married in the Catholic Church, but any of the above criteria are provably lacking from either individual of the marriage, the marriage is not a Sacrament, although presumed to be until judged otherwise by a Church tribunal.

My suggestions for the Church as she lives in an increasingly secular, post Christian world:

1. Maintain separation of Church and State by requiring the legality of marriage to be the domain of the state and the Sacramentality of Marriage to be the domain of the Church.

2. Specifically, this would mean that in order for a valid sacramental marriage to take place in the Church, its legality must first be recognized by the state in a state civil ceremony. Once that has occurred, the couple "solemnizes" or "sacramentalizes" the marriage by having the Nuptial Liturgy in the Church. At this point a legal marriage becomes the Sacrament of Matrimony in the Church governed solely by the laws of the Catholic Church.

3. The Church's ministers would no longer sign any civil marriage license as this is taken care of in civil court at the time of the civil marriage, although the civil license would be necessary for the sacramentalization of the marriage.


Even with this arrangement, the Church would still insist that couples refrain from the "marital act" until they have had their civil marriage converted to the Sacrament of Holy Matrimony through the Church's recognition.

This would be no different than the Catholic Church not recognizing as a Sacrament anyone who divorces after a their first marriage and marries again.

What about the reception of Holy Communion? Anyone who "mocks" the Sacrament of Holy Matrimony and is Catholic, i.e. does not have or cannot have their civil marriage "sacramentalized" in the Church, may not receive Holy Communion.

This would apply to:

1. Heterosexuals who enter civil marriages but do not or cannot have that marriage sacramentalized in the Church.

2. Homosexual Catholics who enter same sex civil marriages

Friday, June 24, 2011

THE HOLY FATHER AND THE ORDINARY FORM OF THE MASS AS HE CELEBRATES IT

Cardinal Ratzinger celebrating the EF Solemn High Pontifical Mass:

An unknown pope prior to Vatican II celebrating Mass at the altar of the Basilica of St. John Lateran; It looks like Pope Benedict and there isn't much different about this photo and how the pope celebrated the Corpus Christi Mass yesterday if a picture was taken from this angle:

The Pope at the Basilica of Saint Paul Outside the Walls:

We know for a fact that as Cardinal Ratzinger, the Holy Father celebrated the Extraordinary Form of the Mass himself and defended the rights of traditional Catholics to have access to it. With these sensibilities, the Holy Father has broadened the permission of the celebration of this Mass and that has trickled down to good old Macon, Georgia and my parish. The Holy Father has real power!

However, as pope, Pope Benedict has not publicly celebrated the Extraordinary Form of the Mass. He did state that he hoped having its celebration more widely accepted would influence the way priest celebrate the normal or Ordinary Form of the Mass and that even the Ordinary normal form of the Mass might influence the EF in some ways--I think he meant verbal active and internal participation for both forms without the excesses of individualism or private piety and or personality of either form.

But with that said, as I watched the Holy Father celebrate the Corpus Christi Mass yesterday at his Cathedral Church, the Basilica of Saint John Lateran and more as the Bishop of Rome rather than the head of the universal Church, I detected what the Holy Father really wants for the Ordinary Form of the Mass which he is modeling, not imposing (yet anyway) and perhaps sees his successors implementing through legislation. In other words, he's paving the way for the reform of the reformed Mass but within continuity of the EF Mass. Of course I'm not clairvoyant, but as you know, maybe I am.

What did I see at yesterday's marvelous celebration of Corpus Christi at Saint John Lateran?

1. A Mass that most parishes and parish priests could celebrate with a schola and some well trained altar servers

2. A lovely well-choreographed procession and recession and liturgical ministers who were well trained and carried out their functions with style and dignity.

3. The official Introit Psalm with refrain chanted in Latin and in Gregorian Chant--no metrical hymn chosen as an option.

4. The Sign of the Cross, Greeting, brief introductory remarks preparing for the penitential act (Confiteor) and "absolution" said/sung in the vernacular (Italian). The Kyrie in Greek and the Gloria in plain chant Latin with the Collect sung in Italian.

5. A marevelous Liturgy of the word as is done in most parishes with lay lectors.

6. A deacon chanting the Gospel in the vernacular (Italian in this case).

7. A wonderful homily

8. The Credo sung in a plain chant Latin format

9. The General Intercession chanted in Italian.

10. The presentation of the Gifts as in most parishes

11. The simple preparation of the altar and preparation of the gifts with incense and the schola singing the offertory Latin Gregorian Chant.

12. The Prayer over the Offerings in Italian and chanted

13. The preface dialogue,preface and Eucharistic Prayer II chanted in Latin.

14. The Pater Noster chanted in Latin but with the Italian embolism and doxology.

15. The Sign of Peace offered to one another as in most parishes but in a sober way

16. The Agnus Dei in Latin, but the Ecce Agnus Dei in Italian

17. The official Communion antiphon and psalm in Latin Gregorian Chant

18. Holy Communion to communicants kneeling and receiving on the tongue, not in the hand

19. The Prayer after Holy Communion in Italian and if there had been a solemn blessing and dismissal in Italian; these were omitted because of the subsequent liturgical Eucharistic Corpus Christi Procession.

20. The altar was decorated as in for the EF Mass but what is now called the Benedictine arrangement for the OF Mass. At St. John Lateran as with St. Peter's Basilica and the other major basilicas of Rome, the altar faces east and the direction of the celebrant has never changed from the EF to the OF--so there was built in continuity in all the Roman Basilicas.

This form of the Mass could be celebrated in any parish with some Latin or simply English chants.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

"FIDDLEBACK VESTMENTS, LACE AND THE RAGE OF LITURGICAL PROGRESSIVES

UPDATE! UPDATE! UPDATE!: The Holy Father is now in procession from St. John Lateran to St. Mary Major. We conservative southerners truly enjoy that the Holy Father is riding with our Eucharistic Lord in the back of a nicely decorated Chevrolet Pick-up truck! It goes very well with the lace! Liberals who dislike the south may have a fit with our Holy Father riding in the back of a Chevy pick-up, but I am thoroughly enjoying it and remember well my childhood when we were allowed to ride in the back of these without fear of being taken away from our parents. We didn't wear sit belts either inside our trucks to boot!


I'm watching on the internet (mostly listening) to Pope Benedict's Corpus Christi Mass. For the most part it is in Italian although the Kyrie was in Greek and the Gloria, Credo and Sanctus in Latin.

The Holy Father is wearing a Roman style chasuble also known as a fiddle-back vestment with his normal lace alb. These two vestments absolutely drive sterile progressives wild. I wonder why?

Again, the Holy Father prayed the Opening Collect and Prayer over the Gifts in Italian, however, the preface dialogue, the preface itself as well as the Eucharistic Prayer were prayed in Latin. He chose Eucharistic Prayer II, the shortest. This is now his custom even when he goes to Italian parishes and there is no international congregation. I wonder if this is a sign of things to come for the universal celebration of the Mass? I'm not clairvoyant, but maybe I am as you know.

CORPUS CHRISTI, GEORGIA, NOT TEXAS, MACON THAT IS, 2009!

This was the first and only time that I've participated in an outdoor Corpus Christi Procession. It was Corpus Christi Sunday, 2009. It was also 102 degrees outside, but no one fainted, sun stroked or died, thank God. Because Easter has been late last year and this year the latest ever, so too is Corpus Christi, which means the scorching, life-threatening sun and humidity put a damper on our desire to be out after high noon in the sun that can kill. This year we had anticipated a Corpus Christi Procession, however, as fate would have it, our parochial Vicar who would have organized it is celebrating his last Sunday Mass with us as he is being transferred to Augusta. So in place of the Corpus Christi Procession, we'll have a farewell reception for him in our cool, air conditioned social hall. Maybe next year?
Click on photo once or twice to enlarge:
Nice cobblestone streets, no? And notice our grand spires in the background!

Our ecumenical nod to First Baptist Church next door to us! Notice departing Fr. Justin in the Beretta!



THE SIN OF SCANDAL YOU SAY? WHAT'S THAT?


On another blog someone commented that we shouldn't be judgmental, meaning we shouldn't judge the behavior of others. It's not Christian to do so. Of course that is false. A Christian can become a lawyer, a judge, sit on a jury and condemn people for the crimes for which they are JUDGED guilty.

The Church, meaning her pastors and the laity have every right to judge the behavior of other Catholics, their spouses, children, etc. We don't have the right to judge their personal salvation, but we can connect mortal sin with the possibility of eternal damnation.

But what about giving scandal? If I go into a brothel as a priest and there hear the confessions of those making use of this place of business, am I giving scandal to the larger community or am I showing Christ's compassion to the sinner?

What about the Catholic who goes to the wedding of another Catholic who is not getting married in the Church and in fact is getting married for a second or third time?

HERE'S A GOOD ARTICLE ON THE FORGOTTEN SIN OF SCANDAL. I post you comment.

DOES THIS HELP A HOPELESS SITUATION?

What possesses a parish to build a church like this? Of course it is from the 1970's era and it was thought to be the way of the future at the time. I would have loved this in the 1970's. But even dressing up the altar the way it is for the EF Mass doesn't help much, but it does help some. I kept looking at the barrel like thing to the right of the altar wondering if it was a receptical to receive food for the poor and then realized it is the ambo. What were they thinking?


Wednesday, June 22, 2011

IF FATHER CORAPI SAID THIS AND I GUESS HE DID, IT IS TRULY REPREHENSIBLE


MY PRIESTHOOD WASN'T ABOUT CELEBRATING THE MASS AND OTHER SACRAMENTS, SO WHAT I'LL BE DOING NOW IS WHAT I'VE BEEN DOING; I DON'T NEED TO BE CALLED FATHER TO DO WHAT I DO. WOW!--WORDSMITHING AND PARAPHRASE BY FATHER ALLAN MCDONALD--READ THE DEACONS TAKE ON THIS BY PRESSING THIS SENTENCE!

A COMMON PROBLEM WITH MODERN CATHOLIC CHURCH ARCHITECTURE

What's wrong with the architecture of Saint Joseph Church in Jacksonville? It is all too common for most new churches built today. Can you guess what it is?


1. The stain glass windows behind the altar are very attractive. But the problem is that these windows are the same eye level as the altar, thus the altar can get lost when looking at it. The windows become a distraction and by competing with the altar obscures it. In traditional architecture, the windows are much higher and one has to actually look up at them, they are not in the same sight line as the altar and thus the altar becomes the focus not the windows during Mass.

2. Notice where the deacons being ordained are. They are on the floor of the nave. The altar, ambo and presiding chair are all on the same level and there is not enough room in front of the altar to have the deacons to be ordained located.

Unfortunately most architects and dioceses who approve these plans build churches today only for the celebration of the Mass. They fail to realize that the church building is used for other liturgies too, such as ordination Masses, Wedding Masses/liturgies, RCIA liturgies, etc.

There should be two steps up, then a nice wide landing that can accommodate brides, RCIA liturgies (such as the Easter Vigil) and other liturgies. Thus the altar, ambo and preside chair are not obscured by people being on this first landing with the altar area up two or more steps from that.

With brides, RCIA people, deacons on the nave level of the Church, the majority of the congregation cannot see them, except for the people in the first two rows.

THE DIVORCE MENTALITY AND THE CHURCH OF WHAT'S HAPPENING NOW


Each time I lead a couple during their wedding in responding to the marriage vows, I wonder if they really get it. "I promise to be true to you for better or for worse, in good time and in bad, in sickness and in health for as long as we both shall live." The vows compliment the Church's sacramental understanding of Holy Matrimony as a public sign of the permanent commitment Jesus, the Bridegroom of the Church has made to His bride which is the Church. There will be no divorce between Christ and His spouse, the Church and thus the Sacrament of Holy Matrimony precludes the same.

But let's talk about divorce and the events that lead to it. Normally there are a series of events, adultery, disinterest, lack of communication, arguing, fighting and other interests.

What we see today in the Church mirrors so often what we see in marriages and family life. Catholics just don't seem to get it. The call of Christianity is perfection that only God can establish and does so at the end of time. In the meantime imperfect, sinful creatures are asked to live sacramental lives, imitate their Lord and Savior, go to Mass each Sunday, goes to confession regularly, eat meals in the home together and do all the other things that build up the Body of Christ and the Body that is the family which is the Church in miniature.

With the scandals in the Church which could easily indicate the bad times, the for worse and the sickness of our commitment aspect to Holy Mother Church of which we are members by the way, there are one of four ways we can react.

1. Become vitriolic and divisive and get people to our side of the argument and trump the bad old nasty side with rhetoric and mean spirited actions

2. Pray for the Church, be supportive of the good things that are happening and seek constructive and unifying ways to deal with the bad, in other words be Christ-like

3. Separate from the Church and become ambivalent

4. Divorce the parish or the Church

I like option #1! Pray the following prayer everyday for your bishops and priests:

Prayer for Priests


O Jesus,

I pray for Your faithful and fervent priests;

for Your unfaithful and tepid priests;

for Your priests labouring at home

or abroad in distant mission fields;

for Your tempted priests;

for Your lonely and desolate priest;

for Your young priests;

for Your dying priests;

for the souls of Your priests in purgatory.

But above all I recommend to You the priests dearest to me;

the priest who baptized me;

the priests who absolved me from my sins;

the priests at whose Masses I assisted

and who gave me Your Body and Blood in Holy communion;

the priests who taught and instructed me;

all the priests to whom I am indebted in any other way.

O Jesus, keep them all close to Your heart,

and bless them abundantly in time and in eternity.

Amen.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

THIS IS SCARY, THE DIRTY DEVIL!

Dirt Devil-The Exorcist from MrPrice2U on Vimeo.

A RELIABLE SOURCE TO BRING CLARITY TO MUDDIED WATERS OF JOHN CORAPI?

FATHER CORAPI: YOU CAN'T MAKE THIS STUFF UP

Is this what The Black Sheep Dog intends to do? Just wondering:

CATHOLIC BIGOTRY FROM CATHOLICS? YES IT IS CRYSTAL CLEAR THAT THEY MUDDY THE WATERS!



Last night I was at a bar in Augusta, really. Well it was the Village Deli and the bar was a part of the restaurant that had no tables but two chairs at the bar. Well on one side of me was a person who was brought up Catholic and well, he no longer is, he's a "none." No pun intended.

On the other side of me was another fallen away Catholic who seems to have embraced an alternative lifestyle. She's a "none" too!

I don't think either of them hate the Church or want to change her, they just don't want to be a part of her. They are ambivalent and other concerns in their lives, like drinking and their alternative relationships take precedence over God and religion and the discipline to the moral life these ask for; although one of them said they can and do pray to God when they feel like it at any time of day or night. Sweet!

It is sad when Catholics abandon the discipline of our Faith. It is reprehensible when they become vitriolic shrills against our faith.

George Wiegel calls a "spade a spade" in writing about Maureen Dowd, who could loosely be called a journalist for the New York Times. It is excellent. Read all about here: MAUREEN DOWD THE CATHOLIC BIGOT!

Monday, June 20, 2011

TO MUDDY THE WATERS EVEN MORE A RETIRED BISHOP OF CORPUS CHRISTI CHIMES IN--VERY INTERESTING!


I got this from another blog from the Dallas area and it is quite interesting. Do we need more drama? Maybe we do have a saint in the making, not that I'm presuming that!

Retired Bishop Rene Gracida of Corpus Christi, who approved the basing of the Society of Our Lady of the Most Holy Trinity (Fr. Corapi’s order) in the Diocese of Corpus Christi, and who has many contacts in that order, has some very interesting thoughts on the matter:

As a suspended priest he cannot function publicly as a priest, but he can continue to evangelize as long as he does not present himself to the public as a priest.

Every baptized person is given the obligation of being a witness to the truth, of being an evangelizer. In Father Corapi’s case, the obligation is all the greater in view of the gift of the sacramental priesthood he has been given. Prevented (hopefully only temporarily) from exercising that priesthood in a public manner during his suspension, he is aware of his obligation to be a witness to the truth and to continue to evangelize. He evidently intends to do so until his suspension is lifted not as Father John Corapi but as The Black Sheep Dog.

Now, until his suspension is lifted, he is free from the Church’s prohibition on clerics participating in the political life of the nation. Given his past outspoken criticism of the current slide of our government to become more and more like the socialist governments of Europe, I think that we can expect to hear The Black Sheep Dog speak out more openly on the burning issues we will face in the election year of 2012. I know from my own experience that God sometimes “writes straight with crooked lines” as the Portuguese put it, and so perhaps God is using this new (unwanted) freedom from ecclesiastical restraint to permit The Black Sheep Dog to say some important things in the next 16 months on those burning issues.

I believe that he is justified in not seeking to clear his name through a canonical process; at the present time such processes are very flawed in most dioceses. Rather I would like to believe that he intends to try to clear his name through the civil courts. Since I believe that his accuser is a former manager of his media company who he terminated with some kind termination agreement, and since she has evidently sought revenge for her termination by writing to the Bishop of Corpus Christi denouncing Father John, I believe that it is possible for him to do so and I wish him every success in such an endeavor. The basis for his lawsuit would probably be defamation of character, libel, extortion, breech of contract, or whatever.

Reading some of the comments on his blog I am appalled at the viciousness of some of them. It is obvious that there is very little if any love in the hearts of some of the writers. It is almost as though some of those writers are filled with hatred for the Catholic Church and/or its priests. It is possible to disagree about almost anything without resorting to ad hominem personal attacks.

What many of these hostile commentators seem to be unaware of is the fact that Father John Corapi does not belong to a religious order or congregation. He is not a priest of the Diocese of Corpus Christi, he is incardinated in the Society of Our Lady of the Most Holy Trinity, a diocesan institute I established in the Diocese of Corpus Christi when I was the Ordinary of the Diocese. He has never held an assignment in the Diocese nor has he ever worked in the Diocese. Following his ordination in Rome in 1991 by Blessed Pope John Paul II he has ministered in many places, but not in the Diocese of Corpus Christi. With the permission of his superiors he established his media company in Montana and has lived there ever since. As a member of that Society (The Society of Our Lady of the Most Holy Trinity) Father John is not bound by a vow of poverty. He is bound by a promise of obedience to his superior, the General Priest Servant of the Society.


Very interesting indeed!

CATHOLIC LEAGUE PRINTS TWO ARTICLE FROM CONVICTED PRIEST IN PRISON, TAKE THEM FOR WHAT THEY ARE WORTH


From a priest in prison: These are long articles and given the source take it for what it is worth:

DUE PROCESS FOR ACCUSED PRIESTS PRESS HERE.

SEX ABUSE AND SIGNS OF FRAUD FROM THE SAME AUTHOR, PRESS HERE

Sunday, June 19, 2011

I KNOW PREJUDICE WHEN I SEE IT




My family moved from Naples, Italy to Atlanta, Georgia in 1957. The first time I saw prejudice was on the city bus. My mother and I took the bus that stopped behind our apartment downtown several times a week. The blacks had to sit at the back of the bus, whites up front.

When we moved to Augusta in 1960, I learned how to read and I would ask my father why there was a "whites only" sign on the laundromat near our home, at water fountains, restaurants and bathrooms. He told me white people were afraid of blacks.

What was this fear? Prejudice is built on fear and paranoia. Whites feared black's sexuality, size, color and culture. Whites fear their southern slang, excitability and emotions. Whites fear their criminal records, after all the prisons were filled with a disproportionate number of blacks convicted of rape, theft and murder. Whites feared their lifestyle and poverty.

While we haven't come far enough, we've come a long way baby, but a new prejudice is developing and is starting to entrench itself in the Church and outside of the Church and it is a prejudice against priests out of a fear of priests, their lifestyle, their sexuality and the fact that a small percentage of them have committed mortal sins and crimes against children and a culture of so-called clericalism that has allowed for it.

Now those who fear priests are taking matters into their own hands and developing a new form of lynching not directed at the perceived crimes of blacks but toward priests. It is a high tech form of lynching and those who promote it are like the racists of the south that I describe above. The problem, like with all racism, is that they think they are actually doing good. Read on:

Sunday June 19, 2011
VICTIMS' GROUPS OPPOSE RIGHTS FOR PRIESTS


Catholic League president Bill Donohue comments on the three most prominent so-called victims' groups:

BishopAccountability, the Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests (SNAP) and the National Survivors Advocates Coalition (NSAC) are so consumed with their agenda that they are ready to throw the constitutional rights of accused priests overboard.

Bishop Fabian Bruskewitz expressed his concerns this week that unscrupulous lawyers may try to plunder the bishops' conference for making commitments on how best to handle accused priests. For merely raising this concern, SNAP urged Catholics in his diocese to stop making contributions. Last month, when a case against the Louisville diocese was thrown out, SNAP lashed out at the judge for dismissing it on the basis of a technicality. The technicality? The First Amendment.

BishopAccountability said this week that priests should be removed from ministry before the accusation is investigated. Similarly, SNAP said this week, "We strongly and repeatedly beg people to call authorities—police and prosecutors—with any information or suspicions no matter how small or seemingly insufficient." Here's a good one: after typing "rights of priests" in the search engine of NSAC, the first article to appear calls for the suspension of rights for accused priests.

When an innocent Jesuit priest was recently nominated to be the House Chaplain, both SNAP and NSAC opposed him simply because some accused priests belong to his religious order.

BishopAccountability openly admits that it does not verify allegations made against priests before listing information on its website. That includes Father Charles Murphy, who died last weekend after being victimized by two bogus lawsuits against him that went nowhere. Worse, after NSAC ripped a columnist who pointed out what a travesty the Murphy case is, it concluded, "Perhaps Rev. Murphy was an innocent man, poorly treated." It just doesn't get much lower than this.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

WHERE THERE IS SMOKE, THERE IS FIRE

The video below is quite sad and will shock his fans. Therein lies the problem "his fans." Should priests have fans (remember fan is short for fanatic)? I have written against the "cult of celebrity" that surrounds some of those who are in the priesthood, not only in terms of how they might celebrate the Ordinary Form of the Mass, but also how they present themselves in ministry.

From all appearances, Fr. John Corapi is a victim of his own celebrity. I don't know if he is guilty or innocent, but in the video below he makes a number of very valid points about due process and justice in the Church when accusations of sexual improprieties with adults or with minors are lodged against priests. The presumption is that the priest is guilty until he is proven innocent and the accuser is allowed anonymity. From our American mindset of justice, this is very unfair.


TRANSPARENCY IS NECESSARY, NOT ONLY IN THE CHARGES LODGED AGAINST THE PRIEST BUT ALSO BY THE ONE LODGING THEM. BOTH NEED TO BE BROUGHT TO THE LIGHT. THE AMERICAN CIVIL AND JURIDICAL SYSTEM OF TRIAL BY JURY AND TELEVISED WHILE SOMETIMES A SIDE SHOW, BRINGS LIGHT TO THE PROCESS AND STILL ALLOWS FOR THE PRESUMPTION OF INNOCENCE UNTIL PROVEN GUILTY.

At any rate, Fr. Corapi is speaking out of both sides of his mouth in this video, especially at the end. He won't function as a priest anymore, but by God he'll continue his ministry of the "cult of the personality" a man with many gifts and oratorical abilities all of which have gone to his head. God bless him.

Friday, June 17, 2011

HOME SWEET ROME, I MEAN, LIVORNO!


This is my mother's home town and I still have many, many first cousins there. The shrine actually overlooks Livorno (also called Leghorn in English) situated on a hill to the south of Livorno, called Montenero. It has been a destination for pilgrims since 1345, and is called Santa Maria delle Grazie, but also known as Madonna di Montenero. Many miracles are associated with Our Lady's intercession there and there is a shrine room with discarded crutches, wheel chairs and wonderful, lavish "thank you's" to Our Lady. Up until at least the late 1980's or early '90's the high altar was used exclusively for daily and Sunday Mass ad orientem in the Ordinary Form of the Mass. Unfortunately they succumbed and placed an out-of-place altar table in front of the magnificent original altar. Very sad. St. Elizabeth Ann Seton experienced her conversion while staying in Livorno. This is a Extraordinary Form Solemn Sung Mass held this past week at the Shrine.
My mother and her family often went to Montenero which is a short bus and funicular ride from her home in Livorno. There is a lovely village with nice bakeries and small Tratorias. Both Livorno and Montenero are situated on the Mediterranean side of Italy and from Montenero there is a spectacular view of Livorno and the Mediterranean. I want to go back so bad! The air is so fresh too. I can smell it in my mind!





Thursday, June 16, 2011

A BLAST FROM THE RELATIVELY RECENT PAST

Getting ready for post-Wedding photos around 2006. Wedding at St. Paul Episcopal Church, Macon, home Church of Debra who married Mike Wisdom, our parishioner, but she and Mike traveled with our choir to Rome. Mike is a member of our choir and his wife a member of the choir at St. Paul's, but sang with us in Rome. The female Episcopal minister is the Rev. Camillie Hegg. It is good to be able to get a dispensation from the form of Catholic marriage in these sorts of situations. In the old days when a Catholic married a Protestant (up until the 1940's or so) they could not get married in the Church but in the rectory. Many of my older parishioners were married in our rectory because they were not allowed to be married in the Church due to them marrying a Protestant! And they followed the rules and are still good Catholics to this day. That needed to change and thank God it did!

A more formal shot of the post wedding photos:

Our Choir visited Rome in late October of 2006 I believe. A candid shot that was just sent to me by Debra Wisdom, whose wedding to our parishioner Mike is above. I was less gray back then! I wonder why?