Saturday, November 30, 2013

HAPPY NEW LITURGICAL YEAR!

The Holy Father celebrated Evening Prayer I for the First Sunday of Advent at St. Peter's this evening. University students from all over Rome were present.

The Holy Father wears a very nice cope for Evening Prayer and "Tu es Petrus" is chanted by the choir at the procession.

Evening Prayer I for Advent (vigil) begins the new season of Advent and we are now in a new cycle of readings for Sunday and daily Mass.

JUST WHAT DOES IT MEAN TO MOVE AWAY FROM THE EUROPEAN MODEL OF LITURGY TO A GLOBAL VIEW?

Obviously this is a performance in a concert hall, but what it does show is how CHANT could be modified according to cultural differences without losing any of the Catholic nature of chant in its historical development fist in the East then in the Western Europe and now, God willing, in the idioms of other various cultures such as African. This is the Catholic Kyrie with an African adjustment to the CHANT, but it is Chant and one can tell that this experience is different than the "Broadway" sounds we hear in much of contemporary Catholic music today focused more on newly created hymns rather than the actual parts of the Mass!

This post goes with the one previous to it.

Inculturation of the Liturgy must be carefully accomplished with bishops promoting it and not through aimless creativity on the part of local priests and congregations.

Inculturation in my mind means beginning with the Liturgy itself, the Roman Missal as the bishops of each country have approved in the vernacular or Latin languages.

The biggest area of contention is music. What kind of music and how does this differ from the European model, which I presume means "chant" in the minds of most people, when it really refers to the more ostentatious examples of complex Masses created by European composers in the last few centuries that are more appropriate in a concert hall than in a liturgical setting?

For example, what style of music connects the Church of the Latin Rite with the Churches of the East and even the classical Protestant denominations such as Episcopal and Lutheran? It is CHANT although the style of Chant varies in terms of the Latin Rite's experience compared to the Eastern Rite's heritage and compared to Anglican and Lutheran chant.

And what else do we have in common with the Church of the East--it is the Liturgy that is sung, not added hymns no matter how Biblical these might be. Hymns in our Latin Rite tradition rightly below to the Liturgy of the Hours and popular devotions.

So how can we inculturate our Music in those places of the world? We begin with Chant and the Mass, not with popular music, instrumentation and composed hymns by liturgical artists.

How would one CHANT the INTROIT, OFFERTORY AND COMMUNION ANTIPHONS of the Roman Missal without dragging in hymns of dubious quality and style and calling this inculturation. How do we do the same with the sung parts of the Mass, of both the priest and the laity without turning it into entertainment (which is a part of our culture but not something we should inculturate into our Mass of course, but we have!)

Could there be something like an "African American" chant?

Could there be something like a "Latin and South American Chant" or African Chant or Asian Chant, but all using the normative Roman Missal of their regions and focusing in on the Mass that is in the Missal and Gradual but inculturated in style?

I think this style of inculturation is very different that what has been done up until now and is the path of the future!

IS POPE FRANCIS REALLY DISINTERESTED IN THE LITURGY AND MORE CONCERNED ABOUT STREET MINISTRY? I REPORT, YOU DECIDE!

Ostentatious????

A different kind of ostentatious?

The MSM as well as right and left wing Catholics (catholics) are spinning Pope Francis' recent Apostolic Exhortation, which again I urge you to read for yourself and not the spins. The following news story is from the secular press and I found it in the on-line religion section of the Macon Telegraph. I don't know if it appeared in the hard copy or not.

So please read this first and at the end my very astute comments:

VATICAN CITY
The Catholic Church should concentrate less on procedures and liturgy and get "dirty" and "bruised" by reaching out to people in the street, Pope Francis wrote in a document that was released Tuesday and is seen as a manifesto for his papacy.

The 224-page "apostolic exhortation" called "The Joy of the Gospel" summarized many of the themes and ideas that the Argentine-born Jorge Mario Bergoglio has raised since his election in March.

"I prefer a church which is bruised, hurting and dirty because it has been out on the streets, rather than a church which is unhealthy from being confined and from clinging to its own security," the pontiff wrote.

Francis, who has consistently shunned papal pomp and protocol, railed against an "ostentatious preoccupation for the liturgy ... without any concern that the Gospel have a real impact on God's faithful people."

"In this way, the life of the Church turns into a museum piece or something which is the property of a select few," he warned... (READ THE COMPLETE ARTICLE AT THIS LINK:
Read more here: http://www.macon.com/2013/11/26/2799842/francis-issues-manifesto-for-reform.html#storylink=cpy


MY COMMENTS:

Don't get me wrong, I love the liturgy and I am decidedly high church and have led the congregations where I influence the liturgy into high churchdom! But I dislike "an ostentatious preoccupation for the liturgy...without any concern that the Gospel have a real impact on God's faithful people."

And that, my friends, is how I felt as a teenager after Vatican II. What did we hear in our parishes the most? The renewal of the liturgy! That was not the case prior to Vatican II on the parochial or parish level. The only ones obsessing on the liturgy where liturgical theologians prior to Vatican II who brought their obsession to Vatican II and then following Vatican II to our local parishes.

How much time, talent, and treasure and sumptuous amounts of treasure did we squander focusing in on the liturgy and liturgical renovations in the 1960's, 70's and 80's and 90's and in terms of iconoclasm and forcing the laity to accept the iconoclastic liturgy of the post Vatican II era and what liturgical theologians and their enabling priests and bishops promoted?

What did we do? We taught the laity to plan the liturgy and be creative! We told grieving families and celebrating engaged couples to plan their liturgies and be creative.

We formed liturgy committees and invested them with such power that each Mass had to have a theme and be different from the other Masses and the Masses became fragmented in parishes thus separating parents from children and their teenagers all with their own style of music and ethos!

In the meantime we made many Catholics angry and the destruction of sanctuaries and having meetings after meetings to shove the new theology of the assembly down their throats. Beautiful vestments and altar accoutrements were thrown into the dumpster only to be rescued by antique dealers and money galore was spent on renovations (not normal upkeep and restoration) of sanctuaries that were horrible in comparison with what was ripped out.

Then there were and still are the music wars as we moved from the so-called European model of chanting the High Mass (Sung Mass) to modern idioms of music based upon vapid, trendy modern styles that change with the blowing in the wind, such as folk, and then what was called contemporary and now what is called Broadway sounds based upon the entertainment industry's view of what is "now" and of our culture.

And as it concerns the music of the Mass, too much emphasis was given to hymns and expanded the kinds of hymns Catholics sing, first to the good Protestant idioms and then to newly written so-called Catholic hymns, impossible to sing and dated as soon as they debuted and with the music industry taking control of Catholic music and publishing throw away hymnals, missalettes and constantly trying to sell new stuff! But what was forgotten in all the new hymns Protestant or Catholic thrown constantly to congregations tired of being cajoled and forced into singing with lengthy rehearsals before Mass is that hymns are not the sung idiom of the Mass, the Mass is, The Introit and other antiphons as well as the words of the Mass of both the priest and laity!

I AGREE WITH POPE FRANCIS! Keep it tasteful and simple no matter what form of the Mass is celebrated, Ordinary or the normative form of the Mass, Extraordinary, or now the Anglican Use Mass.

I have witnessed Pope Francis celebrate Mass and he does it solemnly, seriously and keeps his personality out of it. There is no creativity. The Vatican Masses provide booklets to make sure the thousands of people present can participate and they use normally the Mass of the Angels to foster this actual participation and even print the words and music of the Gregorian Chanted Introit, Offertory and Communion Antiphons.

The most ostentatious music we have in the modern Mass is contemporary music accompanied by all sorts of instruments and in the most triumphal way possible. Go to any bishop or priest's ordination and you will know what I mean! Compare that to the simplicity of Gregorian chant (simple or complex) and the sobriety of the core music of the Mass, chant and normally without accompaniment!

I think what the Holy Father is saying is don't recreate the Mass every time it is celebrated. Stick with the Book, the Roman Missal and celebrate it as prescribed and then go and proclaim the Good News by the manner of your Catholic life at home, work, play, politics and business!

Don't make the Mass into a museum piece, which is exactly what the release of the 1962 missal had become prior to Pope Benedict. Now it is mainstream and celebrated as a normal experience of the legitimate forms of the Mass, but not prior to SP in the post Vatican II era.

And with all the preoccupation, ostentatious preoccupation of the Liturgy what has happened to our Catholic Church in the past 50 years? We lost our Catholic identity not only at Mass but in the world, producing pro-choice Catholic politicians and judges and lawyers. We produced Catholics with a contraceptive mentality and radical feminism that embraces not only artificial means of contraception but also abortion and radical feminism trumps Church teaching as it concerns Holy Orders and Matrimony in the minds of most Catholics.

And helping the POOR is just merely an extension of what the government does or other charitable organizations (NGO's) rather than a form of Catholic evangelization bringing the Good News of the Person of Jesus Christ to the world, especially the poor. What difference Do the poor experience in a government handout to them compared to a Catholic handout. Are these the same in their minds? Do the poor see us Catholics merely as social workers or religious workers who point to Jesus Christ rather than themselves???????

So I agree with Pope Francis, as usual!

Friday, November 29, 2013

A PERSONAL RELATIONSHIP WITH JESUS CHRIST AS A PREREQUISITE FOR THE NEW EVANGELIZATION


As a southern pastor, who grew up in the Bible belt and had childhood friends who were not Catholic but very, very religious in terms of their own Christianity, I think I have been able to see the good character that Protestant denominations produce in their members.

One of the things that we southern Catholics know about our evangelical Protestant friends is their willingness to share their faith and more importantly, their personal relationship with Jesus Christ. For Catholics who are transplanted to the south for the first time, this is a bit off-putting because in Catholic "ghettos" of the northeast and elsewhere, religion is a private affair and one doesn't talk about it with their friends let alone with acquaintances or strangers.

After I became a priest, I would run into "former" Catholics who were brought up in the pre-Vatican II Church but had left the full communion of the Church for Protestant sects that were more pentecostal or evangelical. When I asked them why they did so, almost all of the answers revolved around discovering a personal relationship with Jesus in the denominations that friends had invited them to attend.

But it was also a community of believers, good friendship that developed in this congregations where the focus was on a personal relationship with Christ that kept them going week after week and regularly to Bible studies that were supportive. They also found "recipes" in how to live their Christian lives daily.

It seems to me that Pope Francis in his new apostolic exhortation is calling Catholics to this type of being Church but with a distinctive Catholic ecclesiology, Christology and devotional life.

When I think back on those Catholics who told me they left the Church, and how they said they did not experience a personal relationship with Christ, I wondered how this could be with our emphasis on Jesus in the Eucharist both as food and adoration for any Catholic in the world who could be present before the Lord in this way.

So how do we get Catholics, the majority of us, to be intimately in a relationship with Christ in and through the Church.

The pope seems to be pointing through several ways:

1. Through the Sacraments, Baptism, Confirmation and Holy Eucharist, shored up with frequent Confession (every two weeks!).

2. Through the popular devotions of the Church in their myriad of styles:

a. Eucharistic devotion in the form of adoration before the Blessed Sacrament and Benediction of the Most Blessed Sacrament
b. Christ-centered devotions, such as the Divine Mercy devotions
c. Marian devotion through the Holy Rosary and other devotions
d. devotion to the various saints
(all popular devotions apart from Benediction do not need a priest, can be very private and personal but also communal in a private sort of way

3. Bible study and on-going catechesis especially in small gatherings of the faithful or in larger parish settings
4. Service to the poor beginning at home in the family and extending to the local community and beyond
5. Sharing of one's Catholic faith through word and good works, the new evangelization and doing so with other Catholics and other people but not in a proselytizing way.

All of this is to support one of the key elements of Vatican II, that the laity are to bring the message of Christ and our way of life to the world, beginning in their homes and extending to their work and their politics.

This should encourage Catholics who lament that so many Catholics keep their Catholic Faith to themselves as a kind of medication rather than a "caffine" to kick them into high gear as it concerns not only their private lives but their public lives.

It is a word of warning to Catholics who are in power in terms of politics and employment, to care for the poor, beginning with the poorest of the poor, the innocent unborn and extending to the financially and materially poor, the sick and those who suffer in a variety of ways and extends also to the guilty such as those in prison.

This I think is the new Evangelization. It will include a variety of ways of celebrating the Mass including the Extraordinary Form and the Anglican Use. It will include inculturation but guided by the bishops and bishops' conferences (not by individual improvising priests and congregations).

At Saint Joseph Church, while we are far from perfect, I think we have been making strides in the right direction of the New Evangelization as highlighted by Pope Francis and his predecessors, Pope Benedict, Blessed Pope John Paul II and Pope Paul VI. These are our efforts:

1. Strong Catholic identity promoted through the Sacraments, especially Holy Mass in both forms and in a solemn way for both forms and the promotion of frequent Confession and times expanded to make it possible.

2. Strong popular devotions beginning with Eucharistic Adoration and Benediction, a perpetual adoration chapel with availability 24 hours a day and an open Church for the majority of day light time and Marian devotions such as the Holy Rosary and novenas

3. Service to the poor through Family Advancement Ministries, DePaul USA's Daybreak a day shelter and triage center for the homeless, the Saint Vincent dePaul Society and collaboration with ecumenical endeavors to help the homeless

4. Outreach beyond our borders with a 3rd world parish

5. assisting families in learning and living their faith together through small groups and other associations






Thursday, November 28, 2013

RESPECTFUL QUESTIONS OF POPE FRANCIS

I like how Fr. Sirico discusses the economic aspects of Pope Francis' apostolic exhortation. I would suggest that the gives those of us who make comments about others a model of doing so!




EVANGELICAL CATHOLICISM IN THE SOUTH


George Weigel, John Allen and lived Catholicism in the south (southern USA and southern hemisphere) have all described what the new evangelization is in words or actions, it is evangelical Catholicism. Now Pope Francis gives his own twist on this phenomenon lived in the south.

You can read a summary of Weigel's Evangelical Catholicism HERE.

A few years ago, the pastor of St. Mary Church in Greenville, SC wrote an article for his Parish's website, about new evangelization that Blessed Pope John Paul II promoted throughout his papacy, later picked up by Pope Benedict and now kicked into an unprecedented high gear by Pope Francis in his new apostolic exhortation.

This is what Father Jay Scott Newman of St. Mary Church, Greenville, SC (Diocese of Charleston) wrote in terms of characteristics of evangelical Catholicism and he wrote it several years ago. Pope Francis contextualizes this by making sure that Catholicism lived in deed reaches out to the poor, not just the spiritually poor who might be very rich materially, but to the materially poor as well with a special outreach to care for them spiritually, physically, morally and the like:

All Catholics are called by their Baptism to be Evangelical Catholics, which means (in part) living according to these eight principles of Evangelical Catholicism:
  1. The Lord Jesus Christ is the crucified and risen Savior of all mankind, and no human person can fully understand his life or find his dignity and destiny apart from a personal relationship with the Lord Jesus. It is not enough to know who Jesus is; we must know Jesus.
  2. The Gospel of Jesus Christ is divine revelation, not human wisdom, and the Gospel is given to us in Sacred Scripture and Sacred Tradition which together constitute a single divine deposit of faith transmitted authentically and authoritatively by the Bishops in full communion with the Bishop of Rome. We must surrender our private judgments in all matters of faith and morals to the sacred teaching authority of the Church’s Magisterium if we are to receive the whole Gospel.
  3. The seven Sacraments of the New Covenant are divinely instituted instruments of grace given to the Church as the ordinary means of sanctification for believers. Receiving the Sacraments regularly and worthily is essential to the life of grace, and for this reason, faithful attendance at Sunday Mass every week (serious illness and necessary work aside) and regular Confession of sins are absolutely required for a life of authentic discipleship.
  4. Through Word and Sacrament we are drawn by grace into a transforming union with the Lord Jesus, and having been justified by faith we are called to sanctification and equipped by the Holy Spirit for the good works of the new creation. We must, therefore, learn to live as faithful disciples and to reject whatever is contrary to the Gospel, which is the Good News of the Father’s mercy and love revealed in the life, death, and Resurrection of Jesus Christ.
  5. The sacred liturgy, through which the seven Sacraments are celebrated and the Hours of praise are prayed, makes present to us the saving mysteries of the Lord Jesus. The liturgy must therefore be celebrated in such a way that the truth of the Gospel, the beauty of sacred music, the dignity of ritual form, the solemnity of divine worship, and the fellowship of the baptized assembled to pray are kept together in organic unity.
  6. Receiving the Sacraments without receiving the Gospel leads to superstition rather than living faith, and the Church must therefore take great care to ensure that those who receive the Sacraments also receive the Gospel in its integrity and entirety. Consequently, before Baptism, Confirmation, Holy Communion, and Marriage are administered, there must be in those who request these Sacraments clear evidence of knowledge of the Gospel and a serious intention to live the Christian life.
  7. Being a follower of Christ requires moving from being a Church member by convention to a Christian disciple by conviction. This transformation demands that we consciously accept the Gospel as the measure of our entire lives, rather than attempting to measure the Gospel by our experience. Personal knowledge of and devotion to Sacred Scripture is necessary for this transformation to occur through the obedience of faith, and there is no substitute for personal knowledge of the Bible. Ignorance of the Scriptures is ignorance of Christ.
  8. All the baptized are sent in the Great Commission to be witnesses of Christ to others and must be equipped by the Church to teach the Gospel in word and deed. An essential dimension of true discipleship is the willingness to invite others to follow the Lord Jesus and the readiness to explain His Gospel 

THE CATHOLIC MASS AND IDOLATRY


Of course amongst bloggers and those who comment on them, there is great polarization as it concerns the Catholic Mass, which form should predominate and how the Mass should be celebrated concerning all of its accoutrements.

I am not sure, in fact, I think I am sure that this same polarization does not exist amongst rank and file Catholics, at least not in my parish.

But lets talk about those who cause polarization amongst some Catholics. And at the core of this polarization is what I like to call idolatry, worshiping or adoring that which points to God rather than focusing on God who is the center of all and the only source of our adoration and worship.

In fact, I would say that even veneration of these things distracts from authentic veneration which should be associated only with our Blessed Mother and all the angels and saints.

What do I mean?

Let me talk about the Extraordinary Form idolaters first.

Here, the adoration and worship at worst or veneration at best, focuses on EXTERNALS as though these are gods. Let me name just three:

1. rubrics followed in a OCD fashion, what is euphemistically called "scrupulosity" and leads to a robotic way of worshiping focused only on what the priest does or in the Solemn Sung Mass, also the deacon and subdeacon.

2. The types of vestments used with an obsession on ornate vesture of a previous era, cut, ornamentation, etc.

3. One's private relationship with God is exalted as well as postures that promote this during Mass such as kneeling

Let me talk about the Ordinary Form idolaters second:

Here, the adoration and worship at worst or veneration at best, focuses on EXTERNALS as though these are gods. Let me name just three:

1. obsession with the warmth, personality of priests and congregation turning these into the core of the Mass

2. obsession with the actions of doing what is prescribed in the Mass and the signs and symbols of these:

  a. the type of bread and wine used and what these look like as "real" food and drink
  b. who proclaims the scriptures and how these are proclaimed and where they sit prior to proclaiming as opposed to what is proclaimed
  c. that the food and drink of the liturgy be eaten and drunk. How people line up and process in lockstep making sure that they actually eat and drink in a literal and fundamentalistic way in the manner of the Last Supper

3. The communal relationship of the assembly is exalted especially the postures during Mass that promote this such as holding hands

Some have commented that Pope Francis' recent apostolic exhortation does not focus on the Mass very much at all as the Second Vatican Council's document on the liturgy did in terms of the Mass being the source and summit of Christian life and thus of evangelization, new or old.

There is a lament on a conservative blog of all places, that the pope's focus in on one's private relationship to Jesus without much said on the communal (Chant Cafe, southern author).

I can remember shortly after the Council that Catholics in my parish were told that the private, devotional aspects of worship had to take a backseat to the communal, the "I" of the liturgy to the "We." This was shoved down our throats that felt that the communal was where it was at not realizing that they were pushing out the door about 60% of Catholics who didn't want to be communal and only want a lose connection to the Lord and his Church, who wanted to be left alone. Now they are gone as are they children and their children's children.

Of course it isn't either/or but both/and that make up the Church in terms of the psychological need for a private or communal experience of God. When I was a child, I was very private in my participation at Mass and in my devotions, but I loved doing it in a communal setting with other like-minded Catholics, but of course I didn't worship this style of personality or worship.

Pope Francis isn't going to focus on the liturgy like Pope Benedict or is he?

I do think the style of music and participation at Mass is off  the radar screen with him. But he recognizes that we Catholics have lost the vertical aspect of our worship or adoration of God at Mass sacrificed to the communal, horizontal aspect of the post-Vatican II ethos of the Mass.

I think Pope Francis models very well the vertical dimension of our adoration and worship and making sure that the horizontal doesn't become the idolatry of the Mass. His sober almost detached personality as he celebrates the Mass by the book is what I continue to call celebrating the Mass facing the people in an ad orientem sort of way. Mass for him is worship, not entertainment in terms of the externals, rubrics, vesture, music and the characteristics of the horizontal aspects of the worshiping community turned in on itself.


Wednesday, November 27, 2013

NO AMBIGUITY HERE: LITURGY MUST BE BEAUTIFUL, NO WOMEN PRIESTS (HOLY ORDERS) AND BY EXTENSTION TO THAT NO TO SAME SEX MANIPULATION OF THE MEANING OF MARRIAGE AND AND NO ABORTION--POPE FRANCIS


I loved living in la bella Roma for the past three months while on sabbatical. I returned to good ole Georgia last night and will continue my sabbatical until December 3rd when I return to my wonderful parish in the Holy Land of Macon, Georgia. I am good to go.

But while in the air over the Mediterranean and the Atlantic, Pope Francis new Apostolic Exhortation was released. It is wonderful and it will truly prepare our Church for the 21st century that got off to a very, very rocky start as the Church is concerned.

I would recommend you read the apostolic exhortation  Evangelii gaudium yourself which you can read here here. Don't read the spin the secular press gives or those who are ultra traditionalists or ultra progressives. READ IT HERE!

But there are three things you can read where the Holy Father tells you there will be no discussion, case closed. The first is on abortion and the second on women's ordination to Holy Orders, (deacon, priest and bishop) and by extension of those two, no to the manipulation of the true nature of marriage, such as same sex unions and the combination of possibilities:

On abortion, an unambiguous statement:
Among the vulnerable for whom the Church wishes to care with particular love and concern are unborn children, the most defenseless and innocent among us. Nowadays efforts are made to deny them their human dignity and to do with them whatever one pleases, taking their lives and passing laws preventing anyone from standing in the way of this. Frequently, as a way of ridiculing the Church’s effort to defend their lives, attempts are made to present her position as ideological, obscurantist and conservative. Yet this defence of unborn life is closely linked to the defense of each and every other human right. It involves the conviction that a human being is always sacred and inviolable, in any situation and at every stage of development. Human beings are ends in themselves and never a means of resolving other problems. Once this conviction disappears, so do solid and lasting foundations for the defense of human rights, which would always be subject to the passing whims of the powers that be. Reason alone is sufficient to recognize the inviolable value of each single human life, but if we also look at the issue from the standpoint of faith, “every violation of the personal dignity of the human being cries out in vengeance to God and is an offense against the creator of the individual”.



Precisely because this involves the internal consistency of our message about the value of the human person, the Church cannot be expected to change her position on this question. I want to be completely honest in this regard. This is not something subject to alleged reforms or “modernizations”. It is not “progressive” to try to resolve problems by eliminating a human life.
On the role of women in ministry and decision making but NO TO THE PRIESTHOOD--discussion closed!

 "I readily acknowledge that many women share pastoral responsibilities with priests, helping to guide people, families and groups and offering new contributions to theological reflection," the pope wrote.
At the same time, he said, "demands that the legitimate rights of women be respected, based on the firm conviction that men and women are equal in dignity, present the Church with profound and challenging questions which cannot be lightly evaded."

"The reservation of the priesthood to males, as a sign of Christ the spouse who gives himself in the Eucharist, is not a question open to discussion," the pope said, "but it can prove especially divisive if sacramental power is too closely identified with power in general."

The idea that ordination equals power not only robs the Church of valuable contributions from women, he said, it presents a misguided view of the priesthood and the sacraments.

"The configuration of the priest to Christ the head -- namely, as the principal source of grace -- does not imply an exaltation which would set him above others," Pope Francis wrote. "In the Church, functions 'do not favor the superiority of some vis-a-vis the others.'"

Even when considering the priest's role within the hierarchical structure of the Church, he said, "it must be remembered that 'it is totally ordered to the holiness of Christ's members.' Its key and axis is not power understood as domination, but the power to administer the sacrament of the Eucharist; this is the origin of its authority, which is always a service to God's people."

Pope Francis said the Church and society need women and always have benefited from their contributions, including "the sensitivity, intuition and other distinctive skill sets which they, more than men, tend to possess."

"I think, for example, of the special concern which women show to others, which finds a particular, even if not exclusive, expression in motherhood," he wrote. "But we need to create still broader opportunities for a more incisive female presence in the Church," including "the possible role of women in decision-making in different areas of the Church's life."

On the manipulation of the true nature of marriage (and with an explicit reference to the French Bishops who have been fighting the redefining of marriage in France to include same sex unions and the first time the Holy Father has confirmed their initiatives!:

The family is experiencing a profound cultural crisis, as are all communities and social bonds. In the case of the family, the weakening of these bonds is particularly serious because the family is the fundamental cell of society, where we learn to live with others despite our differences and to belong to one another; it is also the place where parents pass on the faith to their children. Marriage now tends to be viewed as a form of mere emotional satisfaction that can be constructed in any way or modified at will. But the indispensible contribution of marriage to society transcends the feelings and momentary needs of the couple. As the French bishops have taught, it is not born “of loving sentiment, ephemeral by definition, but from the depth of the obligation assumed by the spouses who accept to enter a total communion of life”.

MY COMMENTS:

I have not read the entire exhortation yet, only summaries. What I sense from it is that  what is happening in the local Churches, dioceses and parishes, as well as new movements is where it is at, not the Vatican. All of us know this is the truth, even in pre-Vatican II times. It never has been the Vatican actually, nor our local bishops and exalted pastoral centers, but in our parishes where 99.9% of us Catholics experience Catholicism and what we are meant to do.

First, we touch most of our people in the pews (unfortunately only about 25% and fewer) at our Sunday Mass. Mass must be beautiful and oriented toward adoration of God, not the exaltation of the congregation.

 We have two forms of this Mass in in the Latin Rite and three if you count the Anglican Use Mass. Do these well and beautiful and by the book. There can be variety not only in forms but in the style of the celebrations, including music and cultural accretions, but do them by the book and remove the NARCISSISM of the clergy and laity out of it by the humility of our sinfulness and unworthiness and the reduction of the pride of personality and horizontal self reference! WATCH HOW POPE FRANCIS CELEBRATES THE MASS, AND YOU WILL SEE WHAT I MEAN.HE CELEBRATES THE MASS EVEN WHEN FACING THE CONGREGATION IN AN "AD ORIENTEM" SORT OF WAY! HE POINTS TO CHRIST, NOT HIMSELF IN TERMS OF HIS PERSONALITY.

On the parish level and diocesan level, women outnumber men and this has always been the case, even in pre-Vatican II times when there was an abundance of Women Religious in parishes, schools, hospitals and care for the poor. In fact, Women Religious were the backbone of the Church and today, lay women continue this.

Just look at St. Joseph Church, Macon! The vast majority of pastoral workers, paid and volunteer are women. Women are chairmen of our pastoral council, finance council, stewardship council and other committees. In these councils and committees real decisions are made, but more importantly real work, pastoral work.

And thanks to the Daughters of Charity our parish is situated very well in going to the periphery of those who live on the edge of Macon society, the homeless and poor as well as needy families of a variety of configurations. We help without asking questions about doctrinal positions or moral lifestyle. 

Our Saint Vincent de Paul Society goes to the periphery every day.

The question for our ministry to the poor is to find ways to help them to experience the Catholic Church apart from being a "Non Governmental Organization" (NGO). How do we invite them to Mass, to our way of praying and living the Gospel? How do we invite them to become Catholic and to see Christ in our Church building as well as our people? 

Finally, the pope is grieved by all the vitriolic polarization in the Church (and so am I). These are the Pope's money quotes (summarized by Fr. Anthony Ruff, OSB at Praytell):

“when we speak more about law than about grace, more about the Church than about Christ, more about the Pope than about God’s word.” (38). Then we risk “the edifice of the Church’s moral teachings…becoming a house of cards.” (39) Instead of the Gospel, we would be teaching “certain doctrinal or moral points based on specific ideological options.” (39)
 
Relativism in Pastoral Workers: In a culture of skepticism toward Christianity, many pastoral workers “develop a sort of inferiority complex which leads them to relativize or conceal their Christian identity and convictions.” They are obsessed with “being like everyone else.” (79) Pastoral workers fall into “relativism” which is not just about doctrine, but about “the deepest and inmost decisions that shape their way of life.” There is a “practical relativism” – “acting as if God did not exist.” (80)

Worldliness in Pastoral Workers: The pope seems to have a two-pronged critique of those on the so-called left and right. He critiques “Gnosticism, a purely subjective faith whose only interest is a certain experience or a set of ideas and bits of information which are meant to console and enlighten,” and then he goes on to critique a ‘self-absorbed promethean neopelagianism of those who ultimately trust only in their own powers and feel superior to others because they observe certain rules or remain intransigently faithful to a particular Catholic style from the past.” This latter leads to “narcissistic and authoritarian elitism.” (94)

Mercy: The Eucharist “is not a prize for the perfect but a powerful medicine and nourishment for the weak.” (47) We should not act as “arbiters of grace rather than its facilitators,” and the church is not a “tollhouse” but “the house of the Father.” (47)
 

Monday, November 25, 2013

THIS UNREPENTANT PAPIST INVOLVED IN PAPAL MELEE AT THE END OF THE MASS FOR THE CONCLUSION OF MY SABBATICAL, QUITE A GIFT WE PRIESTS GET THAT MAKES SOME ENVIOUS, GREENLY SO! ONE OF THE SEVEN DEADLY SINS!

Yes, I am in this priestly mob, being swept up from one distant point to a very close point to the Holy Father. This priestly melee was a surge and I do not know how I got from point A to point B without being killed. In fact, I just plain don't know how I got there! The papal security team was horrified to say the least!

I have gray hair and glasses and am evident to myself but can you pick me out?
I took this first photo:












AN EXCELLENT ARTICLE ON OUR MOST CONSERVATIVE HOLY FATHER, POPE FRANCIS


Finally, and without the usual spinning from the usual sources, especially the main stream liberal media with its own political and social agenda, we are seeing the true Pope Francis emerge as he gets a handle on being pope and what it means to be the most major player on the world stage of religion and politics as well as social agendas.

YOU CAN READ A VERY GOOD ARTICLE ON THIS FROM CATHOLIC WORLD REPORT BY PRESSING HERE!

I couldn't have written it better myself, the ultramontane papist I am, and not because I am a priest, but because I am an orthodox Catholic who learned to respect the person and office of the Holy Father from my Baltimore Catechism in the pre-Vatican II Church! In fact, we learned to respect and love all people no matter who and what they did, since all of us are sinners. Love the sinner, hate the sin was emphasized, but respect for persons was foundational! No coloring book Catholicism for my generation of youngster reared by pre-Vatican II parents. Unfortunately today, the least likely source for coloring book Catholicism as it regards the Petrine Ministry is coming from ultra conservatives who should know better and who should be showing the ultra-progressive, post-Catholic, heterodox branch within Catholicism the way, but not they have chosen heterodoxy themselves as it concerns Pope Francis.

THE PAPAL MASS CLOSING MY SABBATICAL, I MEAN, THE YEAR OF FAITH AND WHY CATHOLICS AT A PAPAL MASS CAN SING!

The ad orientem altar with the traditional pre-Vatican II arrangement of candles and crucifix in a straight line across the altar with the crucifix in the center and the bishop's candle behind it!

Yesterday, I concelebrated with a few other priests Pope Francis' Pontifical Mass for the closing of the Year of Faith. I must say it was moving. It was outside in front of St. Peter's and the crowd  numbers were a bit down due to the inclement weather. It was threatening rain, after having poured the entire day before and it was cold! But I would venture to say about 70,000 were there, many coming at the last minute.

I want to comment on the "full, conscious and actual participation of this Mass" and the style of it.

Let me get the first part out of the way. It was a "Solemn High Mass" as far as Pope Francis is able to do it, but of course he can't sing, so his parts are all spoken. It was indeed solemn. Incense and torches were used in all the right places. The Holy Father used the same vestment, very beautiful, that Pope Benedict used to beatify Pope John Paul II.

The Mass was all in Italian, except for the sung parts, even the canon and that was #III. The Gospel was chanted beautifully in Italian, with the Latin Greeting and conclusion and the Latin conclusion for the other readings.

Let's talk about the music and the invitation for the 70,000 to sing. First of all, everyone received a worship booklet with all of the Mass in it and what the assembly was invited to sing. That's is a huge expense as the booklets are very nice on glossy paper.

Prior to Mass we all prayed the Holy Rosary in Latin. Great. Then the Processional Hymn began which was a commission work with two different refrains in Latin, quite singable that everyone did sing. The verses were primarily in Italian, although one was English, and it was long enough to cover the long procession (the concelebrating lowerarchy was already seated and only a selection of bishops and cardinals processed. There were many Eastern Rite bishops and clergy concelebrating in their own vestments. Their bishops were crowns, similar to the papal tiara and there were many of those!

Once the Holy Father arrived at the altar, the Sistine Choir and other choirs (and they were great) sang the official Introit or Entrance Antiphon and in Latin. However the words and notes were printed so anyone could join, although it was a complex Latin chant.

I think this combination of a congregational hymn and the official Introit is the way to go. And what was chanted was only the verse that is in the Roman Missal and what most find in their missallettes.

The Mass of the Angels was used beginning with the Kyrie and all had parts to sing.

The Gloria was divided between the schola and assembly and the schola parts were jazzed up in  a very beautiful way, especially for the Gloria and Credo.

The Holy Father held the cask with the bone of Saint Peter in it as the Credo was chanted. I think this was a first in the history of the Church, St. Peter and his Successor as one! That was a profound moment!

The Universal Prayer was introduced by the deacon chanting the Latin introduction to each intercession with people of different languages offering the actual intercession and the deacon chanting the  concluding   invitation to pray in Latin.

Although the pope spoke the introduction, the Pater Noster was chanted in Latin with an Italian doxology after the Embolism.

Both the Offertory and Communion chants were the official ones and in Latin and beautifully sung by the combined choirs with words and notes for the assembly.

Additional Communion motets were sung. Ave, Verum Corpus and then Adoro Te Devote, with verses for the Assembly to chant as well and words and notes provided.

There were two moments of extended silence for contemplation after the homily and again after Holy Communion.

All and all, the reason why Catholics can't or won't sing is because modern idioms of music today are hard to sing and no tradition of singing the same thing regularly, like over centuries is provided for most parishes.

Not so at this Vatican Papal Mass. There was nothing new, all that was sung came from centuries of music all Catholics should know! And what was easy enough for congregational singing was chosen from that centuries old tradition!

The only new piece was the initial processional hymn, but this hymn had been sung at every papal Mass for the past year! And the refrains were accessible for the assembly to sing.

Finally, the concelebrants were not chosen to distribute Holy Communion until the time of the Offertory when ciborium were passed to us. My row was the last to have these passed down and I kept getting one that I kept passing down the row but then sadly, they ran out just when it was about my turn to keep it for me to hold to consecrate during the Eucharist Prayer.

However, all the concelebrating bishops and priests received Holy Communion by taking our Host from a deacon who held both the cibori of consecrated Hosts and a Chalice of Precious Blood and we intincted our Host into the Chalice of Precious Blood.

Finally, the Vatican Youtube presentation of this Mass can be seen by PRESSING HERE. If you go to  hour 2, minute 4, and seconds 50, you will see a priestly surge toward the Holy Father as he approached and gets onto the popemobile to tour the piazza. I was literally carried forward and almost got to the very back of the popemobile within a foot or two of being able to touch the Holy Father. There was nothing the security, in a panic, could do. It was amazing and the music you here is actually what we were hearing from the live orchestra of the Mass which continued to play after the Mass. It is like being in a movie and watching it looks like a Hollywood movie!


Sunday, November 24, 2013

POPE FRANCIS CELEBRATED THE CLOSING MASS OF MY SABBATICAL!

View the Mass by PRESSING HERE! The Bones of St. Peter were on display at Mass and Pope Francis held them at the chanting of the Credo. The chanting was wonderful including the propers!

It was marvelous to concelebrate Mass today with Pope Francis, a fitting end to my sabbatical. I also saw two of my heroes Msgr. Guido Marini and Archbishop Georg Ganswein up close and personal, and I shook Archbishop Ganswein's hand and said I was from Georgia, he America! Please note the straight line Benedictine altar arrangement!











Saturday, November 23, 2013

BOMBSHELL! POPE FRANCIS USES THE ROYAL "WE" AND "OUR" IN A VERY FORMAL LETTER COMMEMORATING THE 450TH ANNIVERSARY OF THE COUNCIL OF TRENT AND ONCE AGAIN PRAISES POPE BENEDICT'S HERMENEUTIC OF REFORM IN CONTINUITY NOT ONLY FOR TRENT BUT FOR THE VATICAN COUNCIL!


This is big news and one more sign of the shift that is taking place with His Holiness, Pope Francis, Supreme Pontiff of the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church.

He confirms outright his support for Pope Benedict's marvelous Christmas speech to the Cardinals in 2005 setting out His Holiness' agenda for his papacy and the reform the Church needs in terms of the proper interpretation of the Second Vatican Council very much in continuity with the Council of Trent and what preceded Trent.

This is stunning news. On top of the that the Supreme Pontiff, Francis I, uses the royal or papal "we" and "ours" in this very formal and traditional letter. Read it for yourself, rejoice and be glad!

To our Venerable Brother
Walter Cardinal Brandmüller
Deacon of St. Julian of the Flemings

As the 450th anniversary of the day on which the fortunate Council of Trent was closed approaches, it behooves the Church to recall with more prompt and attentive eagerness the most fruitful doctrine which came out of that Council convened in the Tyrolese region. Certainly not without cause, the Church has for a long time already accorded so much care to the Decrees and Canons of that Council that are to be recalled and observed, since, indeed the most grave affairs and questions having appeared at that time, the Council Fathers summoned all diligence that the Catholic Faith appear more clearly and be better understood. No doubt, with the Holy Ghost inspiring and suggesting, it especially concerned the Fathers not only to guard the sacred deposit of Christian doctrine, but also to more clearly enlighten mankind, so that the saving work of the Lord may be poured out onto the whole world and the Gospel be spread through the entire world.

Graciously hearing the very same Holy Ghost, the Holy Church of our age, even now, continues to restore and meditate upon the most abundant doctrine of Trent. As a matter of fact, the “hermeneutic of renewal” (interpretatio renovationis) which Our Predecessor Benedict XVI explained in 2005 before the Roman Curia, refers not only to the Tridentine Council but also to the Vatican Council. The mode of interpretation, certainly, places one honourable characteristic of the Church in a brighter light that is given by the Same Lord (Benedict XVI): “She is a subject which increases in time and develops, yet always remaining the same, the one subject of the journeying People of God” (Christmas Address to the Roman Curia).

Therefore, we rejoice and express gladness that, glowing with such splendor of the Church, this event is celebrated in a more solemn manner in the City of Trent. Wherefore, the Venerable Brother Luigi Bressani, Metropolitan Archbishop of Trent, requested that We assign some honourable Prelate who, on the 3rd of the following December, may pronounce the exhortatory words to all who shall attend this gladsome commemoration. Deeming this request, therefore, as just, and willing to designate You, Our Venerable Brother, who indeed have expertly investigated and have wisely carried forward the decrees of this Council. We, therefore, name You in these letters OUR EXTRAORDINARY ENVOY to the celebrations of the 450th anniversary of the day on which the Conciliar Fathers completed the works of the Council of Trent. Indeed, You will exhort all who shall participate in this event, that, souls joined together with the soul of the Most Holy Redeemer, they may be fully conscious of all the fruits derived from this Council, and that they may unite themselves in bringing these fruits to others and in propagating them in every way. You shall greet on Our behalf the Metropolitan Archbishop of Trent and all other attending holy Bishops, priests, religious men and women, and lay faithful of Christ, and You shall show them Our benevolence.

[Concluding greetings and blessing.]

Given in Rome, at Saint Peter's, on November 19th of the year 2013, 1st of our Pontificate.

FRANCISCUS



Original translation for Rorate was made by the owner of the Philippine Catholic blog Dei Praesidio Fultus. Edited by NC. 


MONSIGNOR JAMES MORONEY'S OF VOX CLARA LECTURES TO OUR SABBATICAL PROGRAM HERE IN ROMA (PRESS THE TOPIC OF MARRIAGE BELOW FOR A PDF GIVING PORTIONS OF THE REVISED ENGLISH AND ORDER OF THE RITE OF MARRIAGE RECENTLY APPROVED BY THE USCCB AND AWAITING ROMA'S RUBBER STAMP!)

Monsignor James Moroney, rector of Saint John Seminary in Boston gave us several days of lectures on the liturgy. You can find links to his presentations with cool images by press HERE. 

Dr. Janet Hunt is the music director and organist at this seminary and was the same at The Church of the Most Holy Trinity in Augusta when I was pastor. She has a passion for chant in all its forms as well as polyphony and wonderful Anglican chant too.

Mgrs. Moroney is a part of Vox Clara and was in Rome for meetings finishing their work on retranslating the Rite of Marriage and the Exorcism translation.

He was a crucial part in bringing us the fabulous and most wonderful new English translation of the Mass for which the Praytell blog heaped globs of kudos upon him!

You might enjoy looking at the marriage presentation with some examples of what is coming in the link above.

The image below is our chapel here, small but quite lovely. IF YOU PRESS ON THE TITLE OF THE LECTURE BELOW IT SHOULD BRING YOU TO THE PDF FOR IT WITHOUT GOING TO THE LINK ABOVE. BELOW DID NOT POST PROPERLY FOR SOME REASON:

ICTE Lectures draw to a close...

It was a great joy being with the Priests of ICTE these past couple of days.  As our time together draws to a close, here are PDFs of all my lectures.









POPE FRANCIS TO CELEBRATE ON SUNDAY, THE SOLEMNITY OF CHRIST THE KING, THE CLOSING MASS OF MY SABBATICAL!


Well, maybe it is the closing Mass of the Year of Faith in technical terms, but I along with many others in the Pontifical College North American sabbatical program will be there to concelebrate this Mass with the Holy Father.

It starts at 10:30 AM Roma time, 4:30 AM Macon time. I think EWTN repeats it again around 12 noon EST.

The weather here in la bella Roma has been anything but bella. It has been overcast, raining, thundering, lightening, dreary, dark and chilly for the last several days. Tomorrow's forecast is for more of the same, so I'll probably be hidden under an open umbrella (ombrella).

God willing and through his grace my last very sad day here in la bella Roma, Monday, is suppose to be sunny!

Friday, November 22, 2013

HAS THE HOLY FATHER, POPE FRANCIS, BEEN WARNED ABOUT HIS IMPRECISION AS THE UNIVERSAL TEACHER OF THE FAITH AND TAKEN THE WARNING TO HEART?



Sandro Magister  (PRESS THESE SENTENCES TO READ HIM) of the Chiesa blog has a very insightful article on the shift that is taking place with Pope Francis as he begins to clarify the "mess" he has made with some of his off-the-cuff remarks and the interviews he has given where his answers seem to be heterodox. Heterodoxy in a pope could lead to schism, especially with a living, very orthodox pope still around in the new pope's backyard. You can read Magister's well written article that basically says the same thing I've been writing for the last two weeks. The Holy Father is getting the message about his imprecision.

When you have pro-choice political movements thanking the pope for his support; when you have those in the gay marriage movement doing the same and state legislators in Illinois saying they have voted for gay marriage because of the pope, well then, Houston (or Rome) we've got problems!

But even if Benedict were dead, the potential for schism along orthodox/heterodox lines and with the living pope being in the heterodox camp harkens back to schismatic heretical movements in the early Church.

We have seen how looney liberals have spun the pope's word to feed their heterodox ideologies for the Church. We have seen too how the rad trads spin it the same way pushing for wider schism in their direction. Both are schismatic, but the looney liberals are heterodox, while the rad trads aren't. 

At any rate the pope is changing course on how he captains the ship or barque of Peter and he is shifting it toward the hermeneutic of Pope Benedict. He is listening to those who are raising legitimate concern and he is maturing as the Supreme Pontiff of the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church.

POPE FRANCIS ONCE AGAIN SAYS ABOUT THE ORDINARY FORM OF THE MASS, "IT IS TRUE THAT WE HAVE LOST THE ASPECT OF ADORATION DURING MASS WHICH IS SO NECESSARY!"




You can listen to Pope Francis words in Italian and the English summary of Pope Francis homily today at the Chapel of His Holiness residence at the Vatican Motel 6 by PRESSING HERE! The only problem with the English translation is that it is not faithful to the Italian Pope Francis uses where he explicit acknowledges that the Mass today has lost it focus on adoration of our God in Jesus Christ. 

Pope Francis stated that we must recover the mystery of adoration in our Mass and in our liturgies in our "temples" the Church and the temple of our heart, our inner being of the soul.

But how in the world do we do this? It is quite easy and the Holy Father, Pope Francis has modeled this for us as did Pope Benedict, by celebrating the Mass facing The Lord, facing God, ad orientem as Pope Francis has done in the photo at the top of my blog.

It doesn't hinge on elaborate ceremony or vestments, as much as these could contribute to the sense of mystery and adoration, it hinges on the direction of prayer and the way the priest faces, no matter how humble the circumstance of the Mass and the nature of the altar that must be chosen in extreme circumstances as in the war photos of Mass on a Jeep's hood! Even a Mass with simple vestments and no music, a low Mass, celebrated ad orientem will be a powerful sign and experience of adoration that our Holy Father says in lacking in today's liturgies and churches!

The reason we have definitely lost the mystery of adoration in our Mass is very simple to diagnose! We can lay blame not only on the committee Pope Paul VI formed to fabricate a newly constructed Mass but on subsequent liturgists in the 1970's and 80's, who hijacked the renewal of the Mass along these fabricated lines which eventually influenced the iconoclasm of not only the liturgy but of church architecture.

According to Jung's theory of psychological types and the Myers-Briggs test type indicators, we can see how the mere personality types of post-Vatican II liturgists did such damage to the mystery of the Mass and its theology of adoration especially through the elimination of "ad orientem" and kneeling for Holy Communion.

Prior to Vatican II and now in the recovery of the 1962 Roman Missal referred to as the Extraordinary Form in modern parlance, the style of the celebration of the Mass since the days the home churches developed according to the temple imagery of the basilica was guided by the personality types of those who are called "sensates" and "thinkers"

Sensates who guided the theology of the liturgy for 1,500 years understood the Mass as a commemoration of the Sacrifice of Jesus on the Cross and His Glorious Resurrection. This psychological perspective backed up with doctrine emphasized the sanctoral cycle, the use of symbols and most importantly the vertical, not horizontal, aspect of worship. This enabled those who are called "thinkers" to contemplate the Mysteries of the Mass by reflecting on the entire Mass, its imagery based Scripture, its profound prayers and use of Sacred Scripture throughout the Mass.

Those in the 1970's who hijacked the renewal of the liturgy were of two psychological types and have brought untold damage to the Church's liturgy that will take one or two generations for us to rebuild and recover. They undid 1,500 years of Tradition and tradition!

The first of their personality types is that of the "feeler." The primary symbol of the liturgy for them is the community. Thus the horizontal needs to be emphasized, the relationship of the various believers first of all to one another in the touchy-feely sense, and then to The Lord in their midst. In this novelty foisted upon the liturgy and Catholics, the personality of the congregation and the priest is the most important, how friendly they are, how much they exude warmth and hospitality. It is feel good worship but devoid of adoration of the God beyond us who is our Creator and beckons us to the Church Triumphant in heaven.

The second are the "intuiters" who want to make the liturgy into a sacred meal where the focus in on what we do at Mass in terms of taking, eating and drinking. Thus everything has to look like the meals that people eat at home, no matter how ridiculous when brought to the temple of the church building. The name of the Mass as the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass is anathema to them. The dark aspect of suffering and death intrudes too much into the joy of the meal shared by friends.

So the preoccupation is with an altar that looks like a table, with how a table would be set in the home according to cultural accretions. It focuses on bread that is baked by parishioners, that can be chewed and resembles the bread of the home and where it can be broken and shared in the "horizontalness" of the moment.  The symbol of drinking the "Wine" is important too, and the procession of doing this action is very critical. The liturgical actions of the horizontal community are critical. Adoration is of little concern. It is too private, a form of privatized Catholicism.

But of course it is all horizontal and focuses on externals and forgets about Christ and our adoration of Him! What the bread and wine look like and how people eat and drink is really what is important! In essence it is a form of idolatry.

So we must return to the true nature of the Mass as we had it for 1,500 years or more and based upon the "sensate and thinkers" model of the Mass. We can do this not by returning exclusively to the 1962 missal, but by celebrating the Ordinary Form of the missal in an extraordinary way, ad orientem and kneeling for Holy Communion.

We did a horrible disservice to the victims of the first wave of "feelers and intuiters" liturgists in the post-Vatican II era who mocked and ridiculed Catholics by calling them pre-Vatican II because they wanted a "vertical, adoration" theology of the Catholic Mass as they had experienced all their lives and as the Church did for over 1,500 years.

They were told that they had to form community, eat and drink and be merry. Adoration was out and kumbaya was in! And the best way to do this was through the iconoclasm of the traditional architecture of our church temples and the reorienting of our altars so that the priest faces the congregation and the altar is in their midst and everyone stands throughout, since kneeling indicates adoration of God which is bad.

We can save the liturgy and the Church in two major ways and Pope Francis is leading the way:

1. Save the Sacrament of Confession  and get as many Catholics possible to repent of their sins and receive absolution in the Sacrament of Penance celebrated every two weeks and we will save the Church.

2. Save ad orientem in terms of the direction of adoration that the Liturgy is celebrated and we will save the Church!

It really is quite easy! BUT IT WILL TAKE ONE OR TWO GENERATIONS OR LONGER, sadly. This didn't have to happen, but somehow it is all in God's Divine Providence!

THIS DAY STILL DEPRESSES ME! REQUIEMS UPLIFT ME BUT IN A DREADFUL SORT OF WAY! THE FOUR LAST THINGS MAKE ME SOBER AND FEARFUL BUT HOPEFUL AND FAITHFUL!

It was a Friday, November 22, 1963 and I as in the 5th grade at Wheeless Road Elementary Public School in Augusta. I was 9 years old (59 now) and on December 21 would be 10 years old (soon to be 60 now). It was exactly 50 years ago. I remember it like it was yesterday. I remember the weather, it was cloudy but warm. It was depressing looking outside. I remember my Catholic teacher, Miss Betty Casey (who is still living in Augusta, GA) running into our classroom and saying the president had be shot in Dallas Texas. 

I remember everything stopping and teachers gathering and whispering. I remember a sense of dread, not fully comprehending what all this meant. 

I remember the principal of the school putting the radio news beamed live to us over the intercom system and hearing all the confusion. And then at about 2:00 PM our time, or 1:00 PM Dallas time, we were told the president had been assassinated. I did not know what assassinate meant or what an assassin   was, but I learned it that day and in the days to follow!

I remember Ms. Casey bursting out into tears when that announcement came through and the entire class followed her example as a contagion! 

They let us out of school early as most of us walked home or rode our bikes. I remember the feeling outside as I walked home a little less than a mile. I remember it being warm but cloudy and I remember that we had the following Monday off because of the funeral. 

I don't remember much about what I did when I got home.  I think my mother was crying and fearful. I don't remember exactly.

We know now that like all of us, President Kennedy was a great sinner but he was a Catholic and he received a Catholic funeral, a Requiem Mass to pray for his immortal soul. That Mass accomplished what it was meant to do in terms of the soul's need for the Church's prayer as one faces death, judgment, heaven or hell. 

I believe in purgatory and its purifying fires. We prayed for President John F. Kennedy that day of his death and in the days, weeks, months and years to follow. That prayer for the repose of his soul was and is critical! 

On his funeral day, all those in attendance heard the Dies Irae, all those high government officials and dignitaries   from throughout the world. I hope they had a translation of it in their own vernacular. I hope they heard this pre-Vatican II Requiem Mass and heard the prayers that were offered for the slain president that day of his funeral. I hope all took note that the prayers of the church were sober and chilling as chilling as the steel cold reality of those blasts ringing out in Dallas, Texas 50 years ago today!  Let us remember President John F. Kennedy and continue to pray for the repose of his immortal soul. 

But let us also grieve the beauty, dignity and sobriety of the Requiem Mass that John F. Kennedy had, that was taken from us too, shortly after this mournful day to be replaced by the banalities of the post Vatican II Funeral Mass and the canonizations we hear proclaimed by priests and deacons over the faithful and not so faithful departed. In canonizing them, we rob them of the prayers of the Church and the reason for praying for their immortal souls and deprive them of the assistance they need at their particular judgment and in the fires of purgatory! 

At the President's Requiem they did not sing, "Be Not Afraid" or "On Eagle's Wings" or  "Amazing Grace" or "How Great Thou Art" or "Danny Boy" or any other such nonsense that have no place in a Requiem. They sang the Requiem from the Roman Missal and the Roman Graduale including the Introit, Gradual, Sequence (Dies Irae), Offertory and Communion antiphons and the rite of purification at the end. None of these prayers canonized this dead sinner experiencing his just reward. We simply acknowledged the dread reality of this hour and in faith, hope and love, mournful and sorrowful, we commended the faithful departed to His creator and his just reward.

Eternal rest grant unto him O Lord and let perpetual light shine upon him. May he rest in peace! May his soul and all the souls of the faithful departed rest in peace. Amen!