Wednesday, July 31, 2019

SPARE US O LORD USELESS REPETITION: PART II


Is the Responsorial psalm really or actually new and improved over the Gradual?

Here’s the Gradual for the Feast of St. Ignatius of Loyola :

The just shall flourish like the palm- tree; he shall grow up like the cedar of Libanus in the house of the Lord. (Ps. 91: 3) To show forth Thy mercy in the morning and Thy truth in the night. Glory to...

Alleluia, alleluia. Blessed is the man that endureth temptation; for when he hath been proved, he shall receive the crown of life. Alleluia.

Here is the Responsorial Psalm with six refrains:

Responsorial Psalm Ps 99:5, 6, 7, 9

R.(see 9c) Holy is the Lord our God.
All: Holy is the Lord our God.Extol the LORD, our God,
and worship at his footstool;
holy is he!
R. Holy is the Lord our God.
Moses and Aaron were among his priests,
and Samuel, among those who called upon his name;
they called upon the LORD, and he answered them.
R. Holy is the Lord our God.
From the pillar of cloud he spoke to them;
they heard his decrees and the law he gave them.
R. Holy is the Lord our God.
Extol the LORD, our God,
and worship at his holy mountain;
for holy is the LORD, our God.
R. Holy is the Lord our God.


Which one is less grating!

Tuesday, July 30, 2019

SPARE US O LORD USELESS REPETITION AND THE ENGRAINED CLERICALISM OF THE ORDINARY FORM AT COMMUNION TIME


As I get older and less patient, although in some ways I have truly mellowed, I find the Responsorial Psalm at Mass grates against me because of all the silly useless repetition of the refrain.

A case in point is today's Psalm for the memorial of St. Peter Chrysologus:

Responsorial Psalm Ps 119:9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14

1. R.    (12) Lord, teach me your statutes.
2.        All: Lord, teach me your statutes.
How shall a young man be faultless in his way?
By keeping to your words.
3. R.    Lord, teach me your statutes.
With all my heart I seek you;
let me not stray from your commands.
4. R.    Lord, teach me your statutes.
Within my heart I treasure your promise,
that I may not sin against you.
5. R.    Lord, teach me your statutes.
Blessed are you, O LORD;
teach me your statutes.
6. R.    Lord, teach me your statutes.
With my lips I declare
all the ordinances of your mouth.
7. R.    Lord, teach me your statutes.
In the way of your decrees I rejoice,
as much as in all riches.
8. R.    Lord, teach me your statutes.

Now, count that: eight times the refrain is said, 8 cotton picking times!!!!!!

Is it permissible to simply say or chant the refrain at the beginning and then at the end, maybe concluding with the Glory be prior to the concluding refrain?

I know the Gradual is an option, but I know of no one who does it in the Ordinary Form except the Ordinariate crowd.

And now for the clericalism of the Ordinary Form at Communion time:

In the EF Mass, the same formula for receicing Holy Communion is recited by the priest for his Holy Communion which concludes the Sacrifice and for the laity who receive.

It is: May the Body of Christ keep your soul safe unto life everlasting.

While the same words are used for the priest when he receives his Holy Communion, for the laity it is truncated to:

Body of Christ, with the response, Amen.

How crass is that and clerical too!

Monday, July 29, 2019

OKAY, HERE I GO AGAIN: CONFLICTED IN RICHMOND HILL AND SAVANNAH!




This past weekend I celebrated three 17th Sunday of the Year Masses in my parish of St. Anne in Richmond Hill. I chant all the priestly parts of the Mass and the music is the same for all three. It is middle of the road Ordinary Form music but a cantor chants the official Introit, Offertory and Communion antiphons in addition to the processional hymn and any other anthems.

For the most part, the congregation sings and speaks their parts which adds to the Solemnity.

We have lay lectors, male and female altar servers, extraordinary ministers of Holy Communion, male and female as well as Holy Communion under the form of the Precious Blood for those who desire to partake.

Of the three Masses, our 10:30 AM Mass also employs incense. Our parish is a young parish with many who are army families who have chosen to have large families, more than two children and some with eight and nine children. There are children and young people galore at Mass.

I love our Masses.

Then I had the Cathedral's EF High Mass for the 7th Sunday after Pentecost. I love that Mass too and for all the reasons that progressives in the Church despise it. The youthful schola chants superb Greogrian and Polyphony and one feels as though one is hearing the choirs of angels. The congregation is mute though. But all of us are swept up into the estacy of heaven and contemplate its glory which is the Magesty of God.

There are no lay ministries except for the schola and ushers and altar boys/men. The Cathedral uses a novelty of a laymen who reads the Epistle and Gospel simultaneously as the priest reads these silently at the altar. I chant the introductions to both the Epistle and Gospel and the first few words before going silent, then the lector takes over in English. I now EF purists don't like this and what I would prefer that the celebrant chant the Epistle and Gospel in English.

So I am conflicted. I love both forms of the Mass and see where improvements can be made in both forms to make each more like the other in the best of both.

What improvements would I mandate to the OF Mass? For the time being, three things:

1. Ad orientem modeling what is done in the EF Mass
2. Kneeling for Holy Communion with the option of intinction only for the Precious Blood if this Form of Holy Commuion is offered
3. Chanting of the Introit, Offertory and Communion Antiphons

What improvements would I make in the EF Mass? For the time being, three things:

1. The option of chanting the changing parts of the Mass in the vernacular except in the case of the Introit, offertory and communion antiphons in order to preserve Gregorian Chant and Polyphony for these parts of the Mass. Thus I would be suggesting that the Collect, Preface, Secret and Post Communion Prayers as well as the Epistle and Gospel be allowed in the vernacular.
2. The Secret and a few more lines of the Roman Canon spoken more audibly to include the actual words of consecration and the Doxology.
3. Installing the adult MC, after proper preparation and certification, as an official acolyte and allowing him to be an extraordinary minister of Holy Communion. On Sunday I distributed Holy Communion alone to over 200 people. This extends the length of the Mass unnecessarily. Two weeks ago when I had the EF Mass, 300 came to Holy Communion and only by the grace of God there was an additional priest available to come and assist me.

Let the sniping begin!

Sunday, July 28, 2019

THE NATIONAL CHISMATIC REPORTER HAS A GREAT NEW WAY TO IMPROVE THE PRIESTHOOD: MORE SEX! I LIKE IT---NOT!



The following is a commentary on the NCR's article by Fr. Martin Fox from his Bonfires of Vanities blog. It's a very good critique, no?

NCR's Father Daly fixes the priesthood: less Cross, more sex!

On July 15, Father Peter Daly, a retired pastor in the Archdiocese of Washington, penned an article for the National Catholic Reporter (sic) with the astonishing headline, “The priesthood is being crucified on the cross of celibacy.” Well, that sounds just terrible, doesn't it? The priesthood being associated with the Cross! Wherever might the Church have gotten such an idea? Father Daly can't figure it out.

Upon reflection, I'm not surprised that Father Daly and his beloved N"C"R can't fathom a priesthood associated with the Cross; they find it scandalous for the life of any Christian to be cruciform, at least as pertains to sex and desire. Chastity? No contraception? Sex only in marriage -- once -- between a man and a woman? Horrors!

Father followed up his first effort with another column a week later, but it is more of the same fallacies, non-sequiturs and evidence-free assertions. What a mess! Let’s take a look at the first article.

Read the rest of the commentary at Fr. Fox's Bonfire of Vanities, here.

Saturday, July 27, 2019

MY HOMILY FOR THE 7TH SUNDAY AFTER PENTECOST, EXTRAORDINARY FORM OF THE MASS


INTRODUCTION: There are two different types of “root systems” that nourish the moral and spiritual lives of Catholics and many Christians. One root system feeds our fear of God and of eternal damnation. If we think that the bad, immoral things we experience in this world and the hatred that fuels its existence is bad enough, most of us do not want to spend an eternity experiencing these evils. We turn to God out of fear of hell. If this “root system” works for you in terms of keeping you on the straight and narrow path, then by all means fear eternal damnation and hell. That is a wise decision. This root system is working! For others, their root system provides the nourishment of love and a positive orientation toward God and all He has created. Through the beauty of life, the love that is experienced and the love that God has for us, motivates them to love God in return and our neighbor as ourselves. The desire for heaven is this grace placed in our hearts by God to be drawn to love, not hatred, beauty, not ugliness, respect, not contempt, reconciliation and not revenge, peace not war, unity and not division. The root system that nourishes us with God’s love helps us to produce good fruit in our lives as Christians. However, if our root system is diseased, we do not produce good fruit in our spiritual and moral lives as Catholics and there are consequences for us as God judges our behavior for good or ill. And sometimes we rely on false prophets, wolves in sheep’s clothing to lead us into perdition because they have great personalities or they give to us what we want to hear and do rather than what God wants us to hear and do.

Main point: In the Church today, Jesus is the Good Shepherd who never leads His people astray for He is to be trusted above all.

1. Those Catholics and other Christians who do not heed Jesus call to repent “now” may find themselves in the same plight as the tree that does not produce good fruit.

A. Many bishops and priests and anyone in a position of religious authority like a catechist, parents or grandparents can wittingly or unwittingly be a wolf in sheep’s clothing when we lead people astray because we don’t want to give them the hard truths. We don’t want them to leave the Church if we tell them that fornicators and adulterers will not enter the kingdom of God; that those who do not practice the corporal and spiritual works of charity will be condemned, such as welcoming the immigrant, feeding the hungry, burying the dead and I could go on. Sometimes we want to tell people that it is okay to practice artificial birth control, have sex outside of marriage, to enter civil unions, heterosexual or homosexual and I could go on. But then there are truly the malicious and perverted out there that want to steal our Catholic Faith and pervert it into something unrecognizable. We've seen tons of stories in the news recently that show how many wolves in sheep's clothing there are in the clergy and laity. It illustrates all the more, how much we need the truth of Jesus in our spiritual combat or warfare against the devil and his minions who tempt and corrupt even those called to teach, rule and sanctify.

B. But the good thing about our Catholic faith is that it does not depend on any one person to hand on the faith as though no one else can find out what the Church teaches. Yes, there are Catholics who like to have their ears tickled and their sins turned into virtue by charismatic bishops, priests and others. But most of us can use our common sense and look up what the Church actually teaches because it is out in the open for all to find. It doesn’t belong just to the pope or bishops but to all the baptized. Clericalism is a disease where personality driven clergy think they can offer their own answers, their own ways of celebrating Mass and praying and the laity need to swallow it hook, line and sinker. But you don’t, I don’t. No one needs too. If you have questions look it up.

2. Just as we must use common sense as it concerns our physical health and the consequences of not taking care of it properly especially by avoiding quacks, so too we must use common sense concerning the ramifications of poor or non existent spiritual and moral health and not allowing quacks to guide us whom we follow blindly.

A. We take for granted the disastrous things that can happen to us if we don’t follow common sense. If I drive my car into a tree at 70 miles an hour, I’m going to get killed. If I jump into a pool and I don’t know how to swim, I will drown. If I put a plastic bag over my head, I am going to suffocate. We don’t do these things.

B. When it comes to our eternal salvation, however, we seem to think that we are impervious to the possible of losing it. Jesus makes it clear in today’s Gospel the refusal to turn around one’s heart and life is to refuse to listen to God, to refuse the invitation to know God. Given the belief of an afterlife, a truth that Jesus taught unambiguously, the absence of God is especially stark. Even the threat of death cannot compare with the emptiness of being forever without God. But there is hope. What we must do is what the Gradual of today’s Mass teaches us from Psalm 23, we must fear God out of love for God and come to Him to be enlightened so that our faces will not be confounded. And as Jesus tells us in today’s Gospel, we must do the will of His Father if we are to enter into the Kingdom of heaven!

Conclusion: In this Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, we meet Divine Truth, Jesus Christ, crucified and risen. Listen to Him and you will produce good fruit, a life pleasing to God now and in eternity.

THESE BENEDICTINES ONCE HAD A THEOLOGY OF THE LITURGY THAT PRODUCED AWE, WONDER AND RESPECT FOR THE BODY, BLOOD, SOUL AND DIVINITY OF THE RISEN LORD, THEN THEY WENT OFF THE RAILS WITH A NEW THEOLOGY THAT HAS LED TO MORE THAN 50 % OF CATHOLICS NOT KNOWING WHAT TO BELIEVE ANYMORE!

I have been to St. Meinrad’s many times in the 80’s and 90’s. By that point, the Benedictines there had wreckovated an absolutely stunning arch-abbey chapel. Mahogany pews, beautiful altars and other art work were removed and the magnificent flooring was covered in concrete, yes, a sidewalk look! The altar was placed by the entrance doors of the church and looked like a giant picnic table. I don’t have photos of that horror.

The renovated photos from the early 2000's show a little bit, but not much, of a commonsensical return to beauty but the altar is still by the entrance doors and the ambo is where the altar once was. In the latest renovation the stairs to the old sanctuary and high altar are removed and all is on one level.

One can only imagine the waste of money and resources in all these renovations when what was original was good enough, actually magnificent.  And think about the amount of teaching or catechesis that had to happen to convince some of the monks, many of the seminarians and the laity who support this monastery to buy into the new looks hook, line and sinker!

There is a completely different theology in these two looks below. And one has to wonder what did this wreckovation do the faith of the monks and seminarians in the transition from beauty and tradition to the perversions that followed? What did it do to the faith and morals of these people and their understanding of the Real Presence of Christ. There is definitely a shift from a High Christology to a Low Christology and a low faith and morals.

The original look and wreckovated looks:











Friday, July 26, 2019

MAY I MAKE A MODEST APPEAL FOR THE REFORM OF THE EUCHARISTIC PRAYERS?


In every Mass of the Latin Rite, we pray for "Francis our pope" and "'N' our bishop (Greorgy here)". I have no problem with that and have done so faithfully for over 39 years as a priest.

But shouldn't the pastor of the parish be remembered too?

If a parochial vicar or visiting priest are celebrating the Mass, they would pray: "For Francis our pope, Gregory our bishop and Allan our pastor..."

If I am praying the Canon, I would say: "For Francis our pope, Gregory our bishop and me your hand picked servant..." Okay, "...and me, also your unworthy servant..."

What do you think?????

And speaking of unworthy servants, as I searched for the first photo above, I found this under "servant" which sure does look like to me the maniple and gloves and cuff links that a bishop wears in the Extraordinary Form, albeit this is a secular version of it and under servant! Someone should tell Pope Francis, no?


YOURS TRULY CELEBRANT FOR THE EXTRAORDINARY FORM MASS FOR THE 7TH SUNDAY AFTER PENTECOST AT THE CATHEDRAL OF SAINT JOHN THE BAPTIST IN HISTORIC DOWNTOWN SAVANNAH THIS SUNDAY AT 1 PM; BE THERE OR BE SQUARE, LAFAYETTE SQUARE, THAT IS!




I was mistaken in an earlier post about the Gospel for the 7th Sunday after Pentecost not being in the new lectionary. It is only read on Wednesdays of the 12 Week in Ordinary Time.



FOR YOUR READING PLEASURE


It seems like Pope Francis wants the Catholic Church to be as divided as the Anglican Communion, which means another Great Schism or am I over-reacting?

I have to say that I agree with Cardinal Mueller, but I hope His Eminence isn't just spitting in the wind:

I copy and paste from Lifesite News:

Cardinal Müller: No pope or council could permit female deacons, ‘it would be invalid’ 

Full text of Cardinal Gerhard Müller's critique:

“Be not conformed to the world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind” (Rom. 12:2)

On the Synodal Process in Germany and the Synod for the Amazon

by Cardinal Gerhard Müller

1. The Secularization of the Church is the Cause of the Crisis and Not Its Remedy

He who believes that “Christ loved the Church and gave Himself up for her, that He might sanctify her” (Eph. 5:25), can only be shaken by the newest piece of news from Germany, namely that in 2018 more than 216,000 Catholics have left their spiritual home by explicitly leaving the Church, thus brusquely turning their backs to their mother in the Faith. It may be that the motives of the individual persons who had become members of the ecclesial Body of Christ through their Baptism are as varied as human beings simply are. It is clear, however, that the larger part of them leave the Church in the same spirit as one cancels membership of a secular organization; or as one turns away from his traditional political party, from which one has estranged oneself or in which one is deeply disappointed. They are not even aware – or have never been told – that the Church, though consisting of defective men up to her highest representatives, is, in her essence and mandate, a divine institution. Because Christ has established His Church as Sacrament of Salvation of the world, as “a sign and instrument both of a very closely knit union with God and of the unity of the whole human race.” (Lumen Gentium 1)

The author of the Letter to the Hebrews is well aware of the pastoral difficulty “to restore again to repentance those who have once been enlightened, who have tasted the heavenly gift, and who have become partakers of the Holy Spirit, and have tasted the goodness of the word of God and the powers of the age to come, if then they commit apostasy, since they crucify the Son of God on their own account and they hold Him up to contempt” (Hebr 6:4-6).

The main reason for leaving the Church without the realization that they thereby gravely sin against the love of Christ our Redeemer and thus put into jeopardy one's own eternal salvation, is the idea that the Church is a secular association. They do not know anything about the fact that the Pilgrim Church is necessary for salvation and that she is indispensable for each who has come to the Catholic Faith. “He is not saved, however, who, though a part of the body of the Church, does not persevere in charity. He remains indeed in the bosom of the Church, but, as it were, only in a 'bodily' manner and not 'in his heart.'” (Lumen Gentium 14)

This crisis of a massive exit from the Church and of the decline of the Church's life (low Mass attendance, few Baptisms and Confirmations, empty seminaries, the decline of monasteries) cannot be overcome with the help of a further secularization and self-secularization of the Church. It is not because the bishop is so kind and encouraging – close to the people and never shy of expressing banalities – that the people return to Christ's salvific community or participate piously at the celebration of the Divine Liturgy and in the Sacraments. Rather it is because they recognize the true worth of the Liturgy and Sacraments as means of Grace. Should the Church try to legitimize herself before a de-Christianized world in a secular manner as a natural-religious lobby of the ecological movement, or try to present herself as a relief agency for migrants by donating money – she would lose even more of her identity as the universal Sacrament of Salvation in Christ, and she will not at all receive that much-yearned-for recognition on the part of the left-wing, green mainstream.

The Church can only serve men in their search for God and for a life in the Faith if she proclaims to all men the Gospel in the name of the Father, of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, and if she makes them disciples of Jesus through Baptism. She is the Body of Christ, so that Jesus Christ, her Head, remains present through her and in her, until the end of the world (see Matt. 28:19 seq.). Christ speaks to us in the words of the homily; makes present His own Sacrifice at the Cross in the Holy Mass; and He gives Himself to us as food for eternal life; he forgives sins and transmits the Holy Spirit to the servants of the Church through which the ordained bishops and priests – in the name of Jesus Christ, the High Priest of the New Covenant – act and thereby make Him visible in the parish (Sacrosanctum Concilium 41).

The so-called synodal path of the Church's establishment in Germany, however, aims at further secularization of the Church. Instead of a renewal in the spirit of the Gospel, with the help of catechesis, mission, pastoral care, mystagogy [a mystical explanation] of the Sacraments, one now relies on – and this has already been going on for a half a century now – other topics, hoping thereby to receive public approval of the western world and to please that way of thinking that holds a materialistic image of man.

In its essence, the synodal path is about 1. the change of the Sacrament of Holy Orders into a professional system of well-paid functionaries; 2. the passing of a politically perceived “power” from the bishops and priests on to a leadership of laymen, with the added clause that, if the qualifications are the same, women are themselves to be preferred. What is bothersome to them is (3.) that Christian morality as it stems from the new life in Christ, which is now demeaned for its being “against the body” and, purportedly, not compatible with the standards of modern sexual science. The stumbling block since the Protestant Reformation and since the naturalism of the Enlightenment is (4.), of course, priestly celibacy; as well as the evangelical counsels (poverty, chastity, obedience) of the vowed consecrated life. In a Church which – as a mere human institution with purely secular goals – has abandoned her identity as the mediator of salvation in Christ, and who has lost all transcendental and eschatological reference to the Coming Lord, the freely chosen celibacy “for the sake of the kingdom (Mt. 19:12), or, in order to be able “to concern himself with the Lord's work” (1 Cor. 7:37) is perceived now as an embarrassment – like an alien element or a residual waste from which one has to be freed as quickly and as thoroughly as possible. At best, this celibacy might be granted to some exotic people as a masochistic form of an extremely autonomous self-determination.

2. Germans and the Amazon people in one Boat

As it was already the case with the Family Synods, the “German Church” claims hegemony over the Universal Church and proudly and arrogantly praises herself as the trendsetter for a Christianity at peace with modernity – in spite of Pope Francis' 29 June 2019 Letter to the Pilgrim People of God in Germany. However, it has not been explained – and it is also hard to see for any interested observer – why, in the face of the desolate state of the Church in one's own country [Germany], they now feel called to be a model for others. They use the neutral and good-sounding expression of a “wholesome decentralization” (Instrumentum Laboris 126) and of a de-Romanization of the Catholic Church (earlier, this was called the anti-Roman aversion); but really what they value is the mythology of the Amazon and of western ecological theology, over Revelation; as well as the hegemony of their ideologues, over the spiritual authority of the successors of the Apostles in the episcopal office.

In Catholic ecclesiology, it is not about a balance of power between center and periphery, but, rather, about the common responsibility of the Pope – who is assisted by the Roman Church in the form of the College of Cardinals and of the Roman Curia – as well as by the bishops of the Universal Church, which consists in and of the particular churches under the leadership of a bishop (Lumen Gentium 23).

My proposal is the following: if one truly wishes to do some good for the Church with regard to both elements, then one should abstain, for example, from the dismissal of bishops without a regular canonical procedure (which includes the right to a self-defense) and also abstain from closing down monasteries without even giving reasons, or – under the pretext that one is not a subsidiary of Rome – from undermining the proper magisterial and judicial primacy of the Pope. I would also recommend dealing in a Christian manner with fellow brothers and employees who have not committed any fault – except that they defended a legitimate position, in the framework of a legitimate plurality of opinions and of styles, which deviates, however, from the private opinion of their superiors.

The synodal process in the realm of the German Bishops' Conference is now being linked with the Synod for the Amazon, and this is done for ecclesial-political reasons and as a leverage for the restructuring of the Universal Church. Additionally, at both events the protagonists are nearly identical, and they are even financially and organizationally connected by way of the relief agencies of the German Bishops' Conference. It will not be easy to control this wrecking ball. Afterwards, nothing is to be anymore as it was before, and it has been said that one will not even recognize the Church afterwards. Thus spoke one of the protagonists thereby revealing the true aim.

Perhaps it was a miscalculation, just like King Croesus of Lydia (590-541 BC). He once asked the Oracle of Delphi about his chances of victory were he to attack the Persian Empire and then misinterpreted the prophetic response: “when you pass Halys, you will destroy a great empire.” Our Halys is the divine constitution of the Catholic Church doctrine, life, and cult (Lumen Gentium).

Unfortunately, in the once nearly completely Catholic South America, Catholics, just as in Germany, have left the Catholic Church by the millions without leading to any consideration of the roots of this catastrophe, nor leading to an earnest determination to foster renewal in Christ. The solution here is not a pentecostalization of the Church, that is to say her liberal protestantization in a Latin American way, but the re-discovery of her Catholicity. The bishops now may, like the “Holy Synod” of the Second Vatican Council, turn their “attention firstly to the Catholic faithful. Basing itself upon Sacred Scripture and Tradition, it teaches that the Church, now sojourning on earth as an exile, is necessary for salvation. Christ, present to us in His Body, which is the Church, is the one Mediator and the unique way of salvation. …. They are fully incorporated in the society of the Church who, possessing the Spirit of Christ accept her entire system and all the means of salvation given to her, and are united with her as part of her visible bodily structure and through her with Christ, who rules her through the Supreme Pontiff and the bishops. The bonds which bind men to the Church in a visible way are profession of faith, the sacraments, and ecclesiastical government and communion” (Lumen Gentium 14).

The colorful diversity of contradictory opinions and the arbitrariness in the decision of conscience are not Catholic before the Holy Will of God, but, rather Catholic is the unity of the people in Faith which introduces us into the union with the Father and the Son in the Holy Spirit. “That they may all be one; even as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be in us, so that the world may believe that thou hast sent me” (John 17:21). And that is why we are told to take to heart: be “eager to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called to the one hope that belongs to your call, one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of us all, who is above all and through all and in all” (Eph. 4:3-6).

As a supposed way out of the crisis of the Church, the Instrumentum Laboris and the synodal process in Germany both rely on a further secularization of the Church. When, in the entire hermeneutics of Christianity, one fails to start with God's historical self-revelation in Christ; when one starts with incorporating the Church and her liturgy into a mythological view of the entire world; or turns the Church into part of an ecological program for the rescue of our planet, then the sacramentality – and especially the ordained office of bishops and priests in the Apostolic Succession – are up in the air. Who would actually want to build a whole life requiring total dedication upon such a shaky foundation?

3. The Sacrament of Holy Orders as the Central Focus of the Crisis

Through Christ's permitting participation in His Ordination and Mission (Lumen Gentium 28), the Apostles and their successors in the episcopal office – which also represents the unity of the local Church with the priests, deacons, and all baptized faithful – exercise their authority in Christ's name and authority (Lumen Gentium 20). This is not a political-sociological power, but the authority given in the Holy Spirit in order to sanctify, to teach, and to govern the People of God. “Bishops, therefore, with their helpers, the priests and deacons, have taken up the service of the community, presiding in the place of God over the flock, whose shepherds they are, as teachers for doctrine, priests for sacred worship, and ministers for governing.” (Lumen Gentium 20) It is not about three different offices which have been bundled together by historical accident, so that one could take them apart or reassemble them in a different way.

It is also not appropriate to make a comparison with the worldly power of absolute monarchs against which one justifiably – and by referring to Baron of Montesquieu – presents the model of the separation of powers (government, legislation, jurisdiction). Because it is here about the one service of Christ the Teacher, the Shepherd and Priest, which is being exercised by the Apostles and their successors in Christ's Name and in the power of the Holy Spirit. And it is not a form of power over others, but, rather, a service for them and their salvation (Mt. 23:11). That is why the publicly declared readiness of some bishops to freely give up “power” is not an expression of their modesty, but, rather, a sign of their lack of understanding as to what a Catholic bishop is. The form of “power” that they wish to give up is something they had better not have in the first place; and the spiritual authority which they received from Christ at their ordination, they cannot give away, since it is not their own property that they may propose to dispense of. At the most, they could ask to be relieved of the jurisdiction of their diocese, because they are no longer capable of living up to their responsibility.

It is striking that both the Instrumentum Laboris for the Amazon Synod and the German synodal path do not start with biblical foundations and then orient themselves according to the developing teaching of the Church in Tradition and the definitive doctrinal decisions of the Councils and the Pope. Instead, they draw their norms and rules from the putative sociological necessities of the globalized world or from the Amazonian tribes' traditional forms of organization.

If one ordains there in the Amazon respected men in professedly stable partnerships (whether in a canonically valid marriage or not?) to the priesthood, in order to provide (!) the community with the Sacraments – even without a theological formation (IL 129,2) – why should this then not also be the leverage finally to introduce the viri probati in Germany, where celibacy has no acceptance anymore in society and where many married theologians would be available in order to fill, as priests, the holes within the celibate clergy?

One cannot deduce from the calling of “the seven men of good reputation who were filled with the Spirit and the Truth” (Acts 6:3) to the service of the tables (Acts 6:1-7) – which one later linked with the degree of the sacramentally ordained deacons – the clerical-theological conclusion that the Church may now create at any time new sacramental offices out of sociological necessities (IL 129), or that one may do so at all. The three-fold ordained office came, on one side, out of the necessary succession of the Apostles and their mandate to proclaim the Gospel, sacramentally to mediate Grace, and to lead, as good shepherds, Christ's fold. On the other side, it came out of the formation of the particular churches as local representatives of the Universal Church. Here, then, one of the priests is the First among the College of Presbyters, together with the deacons; and, beginning with the 2nd century, he is more and more exclusively called a bishop (Ignatius of Antioch, Mag. 6,1). In the bishop, the unity of the local church is sacramentally represented, and the unity with the Apostolic origins, inasmuch as the entirety of the bishops, with the Pope at the head, follows the College of Apostles with St. Peter at their head (First Epistle of Clement, 42:44; Lumen Gentium 20 seq.)

4. A Sacramental Office for Women?

The three-fold office – as it historically grew out of the apostolate in the Early Church as instituted by Christ – exists by virtue of a “divine institution” (Lumen Gentium 20), and it is being exercised by those who, according to the current terminology, are “called bishops, presbyters/priests, deacons” (Lumen Gentium 28). In better times, the German bishops unanimously opposed the culture-warrior Bismarck and stated: “The Church's constitution is based, in all essential points, on divine order and is exempt from any human arbitrariness” (DH 3114). Part of this is also the insight that bishop, priest, and deacon are only degrees of the one Sacrament of Holy Orders. “No one may doubt that the holy ordination is truly and essentially one of the seven Sacraments of the Holy Church – unum ex septem sacramentis.” (Trent, Decree on the Sacrament of Holy Orders: DH 1766; 1773). That is why it makes no sense to plant into “Ordinatio sacerdotalis” (1994) the specious interpretation that there was no decision made about the indivisible Sacrament of Holy Orders as a whole, but, rather merely about the degrees of the episcopal and of the priestly office which only men can receive.

When making a theological analysis of the doctrinal and ecclesiastical-historical facts, in context with the binding statements concerning the Sacrament of Holy Orders, there is to be seen very clearly that sacramental ordination, in the degree and with the official title “deacon,” has not and has never been administered in the Catholic Church to women.

It stems from the “divine constitution of the Church,” as Pope John Paul II has reliably decided, that the Church has no authority to administer to women priestly ordination. This is not the conclusion from history, but, rather, stems from the divine constitution of the Church. This of course applies to all three sacramental degrees. It has become custom in the general public and in the usage of the Church to use the open word “servant” in the Greek version “diakonos” as the technical term for the first of the three ordination degrees. Therefore, it is not useful now to speak of female non-sacramental deacons, thereby establishing the illusion that this is about reviving a past – but only temporarily and regionally limited – institution of the deaconesses of the Early Church.

It also contradicts the essence of the episcopal and of the priestly office when it is being reduced to the sanctification in order that one may then let laypeople – that is to say, men and women in a non-sacramental service – deliver the homily during the Mass celebrated by a priest or bishop. One would thereby make priests to become “altarists” [“Altaristen”: a demeaning word for priests who celebrate Mass without a homily and pastoral care; this was an abuse which Luther detected and used for his polemics; G.M.], something which at the time caused the protest of the Reformation. The Mass is – as a Liturgy of the Word and of the Body and Body of Our Lord – “one single act of worship” (Sacrosanctum concilium 56). That is why it is up to the bishops and priests to preach and, at the most, at times to let the ordained deacon deliver a homily. The service in the Word and in the Sacrament has one inner unity. The most important office of the bishops is the proclamation, from which stems with an inner logic also the sacramental duties (Lumen Gentium 25). Just as the Apostles are “servants of the Word” (Lk. 1:2; Acts 6:2), also the task of the priests (bishops, presbyters) is being defined as the service in the “Word and in Doctrine” (1 Tim. 5:17).

At ordination, there are not being transferred individual particular competences without any inner order and interconnection. It is the one service in the Word, through which the Church is being assembled as a community of the Faith, in which the Sacraments of the Faith are being celebrated and through which God's flock is being governed by its appointed shepherds, in Christ's Name and Authority. That is why the priestly offices in doctrine, worship, and governance are united at the root and are merely different in their theological aspects, under which we look at them (Presbyterorum Ordinis 4-6). In the first description of the rite of the Mass in Rome around the year 160 AD, the martyr and philosopher Justin says that during the Sunday liturgy – after the readings from the biblical books – the presider (bishop, presbyter) holds the homily, and that afterwards he celebrates the Holy Eucharist with Offertory, Consecration, and Communion (see Justin, II. Apologia 65-67).

The Sacraments are signs and instruments of Divine Grace, with the help of which God builds up the individual Christian and the Church as a whole. That is why one cannot go to secular authorities and claim, in the name of human rights, the right to be ordained (neither as a man nor as a woman), because human rights are instilled into the nature of man. As regards the order of Grace and the order of the Church, the civil authority has no competence. Only a Catholic of the male sex can be ordained – if he is called and if the Church, represented by the bishop, recognizes the authenticity of this vocation and then ordains a fitting candidate according to the canonical conditions as bishop, priest, or deacon.

Only those who have difficulties with this insight consider the Church to be at best a secular institution and subsequently fail to recognize the ordained office as a divine institution. Such people, rather, reduce the Christian office holder to a mere functionary of a religious-social organization. How easily could one, in that case, exhort the faithful with the words: “Obey your leaders and submit to them; for they are keeping watch over your souls, as men who will have to give account. Let them do this joyfully, and not sadly, for that would be of no advantage to you.” (Heb. 13:17)

The Magisterium of the Pope and of the bishops has no authority over the substance of the Sacraments (Trent, Decree on Communion under both species, DH 1728; Sacrosanctum Concilium 21). Therefore, no synod – with or without the Pope – and also no ecumenical council, or the Pope alone, if he spoke ex cathedra, could make possible the ordination of women as bishop, priest, or deacon. They would stand in contradiction the defined doctrine of the Church. It would be invalid. Independent of this, there is the equality of all baptized in the life of Grace, and in the vocation to all ecclesial offices and functions for which exercise the Sacrament of Holy Orders itself is not necessary.

5. On What is Important with Regard to the Priestly Office

In the course of 2,000 years of Church history, the cultural constellations and political-sociological conditions for the life of the Church have also at times changed in a dramatic fashion. However, the priestly office has always been the same in its essential elements, be it in a feudal society, or in the Germanic propriety church system, during the establishment of court and prince bishops, or at the time of the Office of Peter up until 1870 with the advantages and burdens of the Papal States. Like today this office is about serving the Word and the Sacraments for the salvation of the world and it is the care of the shepherd who, like Jesus, “the shepherd and bishop of your souls” (1 Pet. 2:25), the “Supreme Shepherd,” gives his life for the sheep that have been entrusted to him (1 Peter 5 1:4). The substance of the Sacraments is not subject to the authority of the Church. And one cannot piece together each a new model of the priesthood, aided by isolated elements from Scripture and Tradition and while omitting to distinguish dogmatically binding decisions from developments in minor aspects. Nor are the priestly images as developed by pastoral strategists important, but only the one Image of Christ, the High Priest of the New Covenant, which is eternally imprinted upon the souls of the consecrated and in whose name and strength they sanctify, teach, and govern the faithful (Presbyterorum Ordinis 2;12).

However, profound German thinkers involved in the synodal process have defamed the central claim that priests act – by virtue of the character that they have received at their ordination – just like the Apostles, “in persona Christi” (2 Cor. 2:10; 2 Cor. 5:20), the head of the Church (Presbyterorum ordinis 2), by calling it the cause of clericalism and even the cause of sexual abuse of youth. This is an unbelievable insult to the many diligent pastors. This claim means to belie Jesus who told first the 12 Apostles and then the other 72 disciples: “He who hears you hears Me, and he who rejects you rejects Me, and he who rejects Me rejects him who sent Me” (Lk. 10:16). A German professor of liturgy unwittingly placed himself in a bad light, and openly into a contradiction to the Second Vatican Council, when he claimed that the daily celebration of the Eucharist – in which Jesus' sacrifice on the Cross, out of love for mankind, becomes present to the world – is the reason for the pedophile and homophilic abuse of sexuality. Because the Council says: “In the mystery of the Eucharistic Sacrifice, in which priests fulfill their greatest task, the work of our redemption is being constantly carried on; and hence the daily celebration of Mass is strongly urged” (Presbyterorum ordinis 13). If during the synodal process in Germany, the essential topic of the transmission of the Faith fails to be addressed, the decline will be more and more accelerated.

Perhaps we are on the way to becoming a “small flock.” But this word of Jesus is not meant in a sociological sense, and it has nothing to do with small or large numbers. God “desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth” (1 Tim. 2:4), with the help of the one mediator Jesus Christ, within the “household of God, which is the Church of the living God, the pillar and bulwark of the truth” (1 Tim. 3:15).

The Church is the People of God amidst the peoples. And if in one nation the majority of the people are Catholic, and thus the community and the state are permeated by the Christian culture, it is certainly God's Will. We are a “small” flock in the majority or in a diaspora, because to be a Christian in the imitation of the Crucified Lord is not a question of adaptation to the dominant culture, or a way of contradicting that culture, but, rather, a personal decision.

It is certainly so beautiful to be at the Rhine and to dream of the Amazon. But impressions of majestic rivers cannot calm the yearning of the human heart, nor can their waters quench the thirst for eternal life. Only the water, which Jesus the Incarnate Word of God, gives us, becomes in us, the “a spring of water welling up to eternal life” (John 4:14).

Translation by LifeSiteNews' Maike Hickson

Thursday, July 25, 2019

I AM REALLY PUT-OFF BY CELEBRITY PRIESTS LIKE FATHER JAMES MARTIN AND THE FORMER FATHER, JONATHAN MORRIS


The article below just appeared on my Yahoo search engine home page, so I copy it for your reading pleasure.

What is it about narcissistic celebrity priests like Fr. Martin and the former Fr. Morris? Are they wolves in sheep's clothing that the 7th Sunday of Pentecost's Gospel refers?

Jonathan Morris could have easily sailed into the sunset of a new life and career, but he still appears on Fox and Friends, now dressed in a suit and tie, to bloviate about things religious. Has he no shame or common sense about this particular scandal of breaking a life long commitment to the priesthood?

But I digress. Here's a great critque of Fr. James Martin, SJ by Declan Leary speaking truth to a narcissist:


What America Magazine Gets Wrong about the Mass

Declan Leary


James Martin, S.J., infamous celebrity priest and editor-at-large of America magazine, lent his considerable PR weight on Monday to another attempt to rile up ire at the longstanding traditions of the Church to which he and his magazine swear faith. Taking a much-needed break from his incessant obfuscation on sexuality, Martin weighed in on a debate about laywomen preaching during the Mass.
Sharing a piece published in America on the subject, Martin commented, “It is stupefying to me that women cannot preach at Mass. The faithful during Mass, as well as the presiders, are missing out on the wisdom, experience and inspired reflections of half of its members. St. Mary Magdalene, pray for us.”
It is no surprise that Fr. Martin is stupefied by the practices of the Roman Catholic Church, but it is certainly a disappointment. He is supposed to be a teacher and a shepherd to the faithful. Instead, he substitutes the politics of the moment for the tradition and law of the Church. In so doing, he inevitably leads many of the faithful astray. Given the failure of Father Martin and other should-be leaders of the Church, the ignorance displayed by Jean Molesky-Poz, the author of the piece in question, is at least understandable, if not forgivable.

After relating the story of Mary Magdalene encountering Jesus following the resurrection, Molesky-Poz begins, “In our parish in Northern California, lay women began to preach the good news during the Sunday liturgy in 1996.” Let’s get one thing straight here: It’s the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, not just a liturgy. That may seem like a trivial semantic quibble, but it’s important. Describing it simply as a “liturgy” makes it seem like this is just a worship service that can be redesigned at will. Recognizing it as the sacrifice of the Mass forces us to confront the fact that this is something much more, something not easily tampered with.

Molesky-Poz justifies the practice of women preaching in Mass by paraphrasing part of a complementary norm to canon 766 of the Code of Canon Law. The canon does allow bishops to permit supplementary preaching by the laity when necessary or particularly advantageous. The law makes it abundantly clear, however, that this lay preaching cannot take the place of a homily, because the homily “is part of the liturgy itself and is reserved to a priest or deacon.”

Molesky-Poz ignores that distinction, repeatedly referring to the reflections offered by herself and her peers as “homilies.” Any attempt to justify her claims on canonical grounds is immediately undermined by this direct rejection of the letter of the law. Another detail of her language reveals where Molesky-Poz is coming from in her criticism of the Church: She glibly remarks that the reason women cannot be ordained is that they have been “deemed unworthy of holy orders.” This is a mischaracterization of Church teaching on the subject that could only come from someone who disagrees with that teaching and feels the need to publicly oppose it. When Molesky-Poz writes of women giving “homilies,” she’s not being careless with her words — she’s hinting at a change far more substantial than the one she’s able to demand outright.

Throughout the piece Molesky-Poz writes positively of women turning away from the Church in protest of their inability to preach at Mass. She quotes, among others, one woman who alleges, “This church is not a healthy place for my soul.” What she means, of course, is that the Church is not a healthy place for her ego. Any Catholic with half a brain and faith the size of a mustard seed should believe quite firmly that the Church is the only healthy place for her soul.

Catholics have to make a choice about how we approach the Mass. Is it the solemn observation instituted by Christ in which we as a Church constantly live the Passion and experience the real presence of our Lord? Or is it a do-it-yourself liturgy where we play out our fantasies and fulfill our wishes, where we make sure that everyone is included in any way they want, no matter how much attention is shifted away from Christ? One choice serves our egos, the other, our souls.

We can guess pretty well which side Mary Magdalene — who stood weeping at the foot of the cross; who first beheld the glory of the risen Christ; who knew as well as anyone (save His Mother and maybe the first pope) the man and God who gave Himself as the Holy Sacrifice — would fall on.

St. Mary Magdalene, pray for us indeed.






Wednesday, July 24, 2019

WHAT'S UP WITH THE REFORMED LECTIONARY?????



I am celebrating the EF Mass at our Cathedral for the 7th Sunday after Pentecost this coming Sunday.

The Epistle Reading, Romans 6:19-23, is no longer in the Sunday cycle of readings in the Ordinary Form. It is relegated to a daily Mass only.

But this is the kicker! The Gospel reading is no where to be found in the Ordinary Form Lectionary either for Sunday or for a weekday Mass!!!!!!

While I may have offered a reflection on the Epistle at an Ordinary Form Mass where this was read, I have never preached a homily on Matthew 7:15-21 in nearly 40 years of ordination. 

May I ask why? Could it be the new lectionary is the wolf in sheep's clothing????? Or were the ones who proposed to Pope Paul VI that this new lectionary was new and improved the ones this Scripture identifies? I ask; you answer.

Just on what shall I preach as a novice to this Gospel read at Holy Mass?????????????????????


Here are the two readings:

Romans 6:19-23

I am speaking in human terms because of the weakness of your nature. For just as you presented the parts of your bodies as slaves to impurity and to lawlessness for lawlessness, so now present them as slaves to righteousness for sanctification. 20q For when you were slaves of sin, you were free from righteousness.* 21But what profit did you get then from the things of which you are now ashamed? For the end of those things is death.r 22But now that you have been freed from sin and have become slaves of God, the benefit that you have leads to sanctification,* and its end is eternal life.s 23For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Gospel, Matthew 7:15-21

“Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but underneath are ravenous wolves.k 16l By their fruits you will know them. Do people pick grapes from thornbushes, or figs from thistles? 17Just so, every good tree bears good fruit, and a rotten tree bears bad fruit. 18A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor can a rotten tree bear good fruit. 19Every tree that does not bear good fruit will be cut down and thrown into the fire. 20So by their fruits you will know them.m

 21“Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven,* but only the one who does the will of my Father in heaven.n



Tuesday, July 23, 2019

THE DEBACLE THAT IS THE POST-VATICAN II CHURCH AND THE BISHOPS FIDDLE AS ROME BURNS


In his heroic attempt to correct that debacle that is the Ordinary Form of the Mass, the Bishop of Gallup quoted Flannery O'Connor in his letter about ad orientem:

We would do well to remember, then, that the Eucharist is not simply a nice “sign” or “symbol” of communion with God, but rather truly is communion with God. (In fact, it is so far from being a mere symbol in the modern sense of that term, that Flannery O’Connor once famously said that “if it is just a symbol, to hell with it!) For the Eucharist is nothing less than the very Body, Blood, Soul, and Divinity of Jesus Christ, and the “source and summit of the Christian life” (Lumen gentium, 11).

Crux has more sobering news about the debacle that is the Post-Vatican II Church as it concerns her liturgy in the Ordinary Form, press title for full article:

ROME - Results from a new Pew survey show that Jews are the most knowledgeable among America’s religious communities about world religions, while only half of American Catholics know what their own Church teaches on core principles such as communion.

 

According to the survey, exactly 50 percent of Catholics in the United States correctly answered a question about Church teaching on transubstantiation - the belief that during Mass, the bread and wine become the actual flesh and blood of Jesus Christ.

 

“The other half of Catholics incorrectly say the Church teaches that the bread and wine used in Communion are just symbols of the body and blood of Christ,” and a small percentage are not sure, the study found....

 

 ....According to the findings, the average U.S. adult was able to answer fewer than half the religious questions correctly, with just nine percent able to answer three-quarters correctly and less than one percent earning a perfect score...