Sunday, June 2, 2013


You can view wonderful photo display of the Solemn Sung High Mass at Notre Dame, Paris by clicking HERE. If you click the image you will get a roll of photos one after the other.


This is the new altar that was placed much closer to the nave so that the people could feel the closeness of the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass. What do you think of this altar, compared to the one that is about 20 yards behind it pictured above and in the photo roll I link?

A closer look?

And the older altar 20 yard behind the new one?

Pope Benedict celebrating Solemn Sung Vespers at Notre Dame and its new altar:

This photo give you a bit of the sense of the distance between the new altar and the older one behind it:


MY COMMENTS: The power of liturgical theologians is present in these pictures of the new and old altars. There is nothing in Vatican II Documents on the liturgy that says old altars must be discarded, especially old altars in ancient cathedrals, in order to have Mass facing the people. There is nothing said of that. And there is absolutely nothing said about the altar being brought a few feet closer to the congregation in order for them to feel a part of things. In fact doing so hides the altar in most churches when the church is full of people.

The only thing the General Instruction of the Roman Missal says is that new altar should be free standing so that the priest can easily walk around it and that Mass could be celebrated facing the congregation. This becomes an option in the post-Vatican II era, but this is not what Vatican II taught, but rather, theologians taught it after Vatican II saying it was implied in the documents or is a part of the "spirit" of Vatican II.

My sense about this deconstruction of our altars and making them closer to the people and smaller in size is that it diminishes the symbolism of the importance the Church once placed on altars with the traditional six-candle set-up with the crucifix in the center.

To my child's eye and even as a teenager, when I viewed this sort of thing in my parish and other parishes, it looked like the divine was being demoted and the Lord and His Sacrifice were being made ordinary, not extraordinary. It was clearly a dumbing-down of things in the Church liturgically and otherwise.

I think it is this sort of thing that wrecked havoc in the Church beginning in the late 1960's and we have yet to recover and unfortunately there are those my age and older who are very nostalgic for the 1960's. We can never and should never recapture our corrupted youth!


Joseph Johnson said...

New altars should be freestanding: My reading of that general instruction regarding freestanding altars is that it only applies to new construction (new churches)from that point onward. There is nothing in the instruction that appears to mandate the destruction of already existing altars that were fixed to the apse wall (or had a high reredos attached, preventing versus populum celebration). There is nothing mandating the placement of new freestanding altars in front of the older high altars.

The general instruction also reads as if it presumes ad orientem celebration, with the priest turning to face the people at certain points in the Mass. Isn't is curious how some parts were read to mean much more than what the words actually stated and other parts were ignored? The "spirit" of Vatican II was (and is) an unwritten agenda and it clearly has been at play here.

Pater Ignotus said...

"“For those around the world who still suffer slavery and who are victims of war, human trafficking, drug running, and slave labour. For the children and women who are suffering from every type of violence. May their silent scream for help be heard by a vigilant Church so that, gazing upon the crucified Christ, she may not forget the many brothers and sisters who are left at the mercy of violence. Also, for all those who find themselves in economically precarious situations, above all for the unemployed, the elderly, migrants, the homeless, prisoners, and those who experience marginalization. That the Church’s prayer and its active nearness give them comfort and assistance in hope and strength and courage in defending human dignity.”

I think this passage, not the location of an altar, reflects the Great Pope Francis' priorities.

Fr. Allan J. McDonald said...

What you describe PI took place also in the pre-Vatican II Church with all its triumphalism. In other words, that is a smoke screen and what is missing in your remark is that only 20% of Catholic today, compared to 90% well into the early 1960's attend Mass, so how can we do what is the pope's priorities if we only have 20% of Catholics to do it compared to 90% into the early 1960's before all the silly and useless changes drove Catholics to secularism at worst or apathy at best?

Pater Ignotus said...

If, Good Father, all of what Pope Francis describes "... took place also in the pre-Vatican II Church with all its triumphalism" then you have made a succinct argument against returning to that "triumphalism" and pomp. If it took place back in the "good ol' days" of the Church when everything liturgical was done, in your view, properly (ad orientem, Latin, chant, ember days, etc.) then how is going back to that going to rid the world of the suffering the pope describes?

If it didn't change the world then, why will it change the world now?

(I suggest the answer is not in the "correct" orientation of the priest at mass, but the orientation of our hearts and minds.)

Marc said...

Fr. Kavanugh's comment reflects an either/or dichotomy that the Pope, in his homilies, clearly rejects. The Pope flows from day to day, discussing things internal to the Church (such as the hierarchy, governance, and liturgy) and things external to the Church (such as human suffering and atheism).

Thankfully, the Pope recognizes the both/and of Christ and His Church. Would that the Body of Christ were able to hold this balance of positions as well...

ytc said...

That stupid table thing with the alien people on it is atrocious and should be thrown out immediately. It doesn't match the cathedral, it is ugly, and it is way too small.

PI, don't make prevention of human atrocities the enemy of celebrating beautiful liturgy. They are not, never have been, and never will be opposed to one another. See the world as a whole, not as little niblets that are exclusive of one another.

Anon #1 said...

Speaking of Frances' priorities, here is a news item of interest:

What I found interesting is one line:
"At Vatican, newly selected Pope Francis, while a bishop in Argentina, angered other church leaders by supporting civil unions for gay couples ahead of that country's vote to legalize gay marriage."

Now I am starting to put 2 and 2 together. The reason Fr Federico Lombardi and Fr Piero Marini were never reprimanded by the Frances when they essentially outed themselves as memebers of the gay mafia by supporting gay unions, is because Francis told them to make public statements supporting gay unions, to set the stage for he, himself, to redefine Church doctrine, approving of gay relationships.

If this does indeed happen, and I am confident Francis will do it, then what of those with other so-called "alternate sexualities"? Will all of that no longer be suns? Masturbating, pornography, open marriages, orgies, ultimately beastiality? Why would gays be given a special privilage removing sin from their acts, when others would not be? The Church will have to be fair and equal to all, or else the Church will be a hypocrite and lose all credibillity and authority.

Will Francis open this pandora's box, as the rank and file Catholics in the pews want him to, according to the posted article? I think he will eventually. It's the "humble" and "pastoral" thing to do.

Fr. Allan J. McDonald said...

PI I was speaking of Catholic working to overcome the sufferings of people by their good works, of which prior to Vatican II and her so-called triumphalism, there was great good works especially from flourishing religious orders and the lay groups called "Catholic Action."
Suffering is here in plenty, but few active Catholics to help alleviate it with Good works today, compared to back then.

rcg said...

PI, I on;y disagree with you in that the problem was not the Church nor the way things were done, but the reason why. The idea of doing good works and very clearly showing them as done for the glory of Go and in union with His Son was not a bad thing. Ironically, since Vatican II good works have become very much about self and remind me of the abuse of indulgences that also were part of the pre-Vatican II Church.

One of the great signs that this is God's Church is the ability to find our way out of such errors by returning to the root of our doctrine and Liturgy and traditions. What seems to have happened is that we blamed the wrong things and kept the problems and created new symbols. Certainly the Faith has fallen on hard times as a result of the failure of the symbols to cure the problems and again we blame the wrong things. We have come very close to making a Golden Calf for ourselves, but all we have to do is evaluate ourselves honestly in light of what we have always had. And confess.

Gene said...

What Ignotus cannot understand, in his clearly secular humanist leanings, is that the nature of worship, the form of the Liturgy, are inseparable from the proper theology and doctrine that orients our hearts toward God in His majesty and, through Christ Crucified, toward our fellow man. And, Ignotus, do you really believe that all the nice sounding nostrums about orienting our minds toward the "poor and oppressed" and the government programs and BS socialist fixes that have been tried over and over again are going to change the world?

John Nolan said...

The problem with Notre Dame, as with so many French cathedrals, is that neither the 18th century high altars nor the minimalist post-V2 'cubes' are in keeping with the architecture of the buildings.

Fr. Allan J. McDonald said...

This comment I copy to my comment as I accidentally deleted it when pushing buttons:

Pater Ignotus has left a new comment on your post "SPECTACULAR PHOTOS OF THE SOLEMN SUNG EXTRAORDINAR...":

Good Father - I suspect you are making up the notion that "few" good Catholics are working today to alleviate suffering. I suspect we are doing more today in terms of dollars spent and hours donated than we were in the 'halcyon" days of the 1950's.

And we do it with a deeper understanding of the call to our shared Baptismal dignity. That deeper understanding is expressed in ecumenical cooperation in social service work, which you have lauded in the past.

It is also done with inter-racial cooperation. As much as Pin/Gene wants us to believe that African-Americans are a "feral minority," we are able to work shoulder to shoulder with members of all races.

Pin/Gene - I believe in the power of the Cross and Resurrection; so, yes, I believe that we can change the world. You, on the other hand, think that even with God's grace, nothing's going to change.

"He took the five fish and two loaves, blessed and broke them, and had the Apostles distribute them to the crowds. All ate and were filled, and twelve baskets of fragments were collected."

Yes, I believe. You should too!

Marc said...

Why can't we have both doctrinal and dogmatic adherence and a love for the poor as manifested in social service work? Why can't we have a beautiful, majestic liturgy and perform the corporal works of mercy?

The essence of the problem is that we continually go from one end of the spectrum to the other without achieving the balance to which God is calling us.

We cannot forget Christ the Head of the Body, and we should not forget to tend to the other members of that Body as well.

What we do in liturgy is give praise to God, its not a lesson in social service. It's an interior act of the Body of Christ. When we are fed, then we proceed to tend to our obligations to the needy. The two simply aren't dichotomous but are complimentary.

Gene said...

Once again, Ignotus deliberately misconstrues my words. I did not say that, "even with God's grace, nothing is going to change." I said that that ll the nice sounding nostrums and BS socialist fixes that have been tried and always failed are not going to change anything. Look at all the money we have poured into welfare, the 'Hood, and affirmative action programs and feral minorities are still feral minorities. Money, public defenders, lenient parole boards, corrupt politicians, and incompetent judges do not change hearts.

Now, about the feeding of the five-thousand...once again you miss the point of the narrative (you do that a lot...). First of all, the throng in Mark is not necessarily a throng of "poor." It is a good bet that many from all classes were in attendance, so the narrative has nothing to do with social action. Jesus first response was , "you give them something to eat." Like you, Ignotus, the disciples focus on the bread and fish and begin wringing their hands. I imagine Jesus smiled and shook his head in mild exasperation. So, he performed the miracle with plenty to spare. The very next narrative is about Jesus walking on the sea...they thought he was a ghost.He got into the boat and the wind ceased. Mark says, (7:51-52)"And they were utterly astounded, for they DID NOT UNDERSTAND ABOUT THE LOAVES, BUT THEIR HEARTS WERE HARDENED."
The narrative in Mark is about the Hidden Christ, whom no one recognizes due to their lack of faith (in fact, the entire Gospel of Mark is about the hidden Christ). Once again, Ignotus, it ain't about the food, it is about right belief...which issues in right worship and, through that, right service. It ain't about social programs or changing the world. It is about saving souls and changing hearts. Christ will change the world when he returns. Where did you say you studied New Testament?

Pater Ignotus said...

Pin/Gene - The literal meaning of Scripture does not always reveal its true or its full meaning. This plurality of meanings was affirmed in Divino Afflante Spiritu which recognized the existence of various literary styles in the books of Scripture.

I do not read the Loaves and Fishes narrowly as you do. The throng is hungry - that is the "need" of those people at that moment. Their socio-economic status is irrelevant.

The response of the disciples is to send them away. They, the disciples, believe that their resources, a little bread and fish, are inadequate. They are entirely correct, but only in the absence of God's grace. Like you, they are afraid to trust in the power of grace to achieve, through them, a complete response to the need (in this case portrayed as physical hunger) of the people in their presence. Although without understanding of who Jesus was or what He could accomplish, when they did as Jesus asked, the need was met.

Jesus does not let them off the hook, any more than He lets us off the hook today. The needs in our communities - hunger, housing, lonliness, racially fueled hatred (!), war, a lack of respect for human life, etc - can be addressed and overcome by God's grace working through us. It is easier to say "God, we can't do this, so let them take care of themselves" but that is not the Christian response.

It didn't matter what the disciples believed. In spite of the weakness of their faith, the people were fed.

I don't agree that "it ain't about social programs or saving the world. It is about saving souls and changing hearts."

It is about both. Grace builds on nature.

Gene said...

Ignotus, I'm not sure it is possible for anyone to miss the point as completely as you do. It is due, of course, to your humanistic/anthropological prejudices. This is summed up in your comment, "It did not matter what the disciples believed...the people were fed." That pretty much says it all regarding your understanding of Jesus and Scripture. More later...

Pater Ignotus said...

Pin/Gene - And since you asked, my New Testament studies were done at Belmont Abbey College and Mount St. Mary's Seminary, two fine CATHOLIC schools. Now at which PROTESTANT schools did you do your New Testament studies, hmmm? ;->

Pater Igtnotus said...

Pin/gene - At the moment the people were fed, what did the faith of the Disciples have to do with their being fed? Did the faith of the Disciples multiply the loaves and fishes? No. Did the faith of the Disciples move Jesus to compassion for the hungry? No. Their faith, or lack thereof, did not cause the people to be fed.

They were growing in faith, as we are. We are, today, confronted with "hungers" among the people, but it will not be our faith that fills that need. A contemporary example might be Teresa of Calcutta. She acknowledged her lack of faith, her doubt, but that did not prevent her or those who ministered with her from caring for the dying, from meeting the need of the people they encountered.

I have not missed THE point of the periscope because there is not only ONE point. As with most (all ?) Scripture, there are layers of meaning, as the Church herself recognizes. I learned THAT in a CATHOLIC New Testament studies. Maybe you learned something else in your PROTESTANT New Testament classes...?

Pater Ignotus said...

"Today we have come to pray for our dead, for our wounded, for the victims of the madness that is war! It is the suicide of humanity, because it kills the heart, it kills precisely that which is the message of the Lord: it kills love! Because war comes from hatred, from envy, from desire for power, and – we’ve seen it many times - it comes from that hunger for more power.” - Pope Francis

Pin/Gene - War is exactly the kind of evil that grace can overcome, despite your belief that we "peace-niks" who chant "nostrums" to the tune of "Kumbaya" are wasting out time; that only when Christ returns will the world really be changed by grace.

No, grace is far far more powerful than you or I can imagine.

Yes, I am liking this pope's thinking and teaching more and more . . .

Marc said...

Fr. Kavanaugh, are you influenced in your thought and theology by von Balthasar, by chance?

Gene said...

Ignotus, It is "pericope" not "periscope." That is one thing I learned at Vanderbilt and Chicago NT classes...

Now, you continue to focus on the miracle...the feeding. But, the miracle...all the upon the Mystery; the Mystery does not rest upon the miracles. Mark begins with Jesus' earliest message, "Repent and believe the Gospel." You keep focusing on "layers of meaning" and insisting upon the obvious...that Christians should serve others. But, the issue is priority. What is primary..."believe in him who was sent." Every miracle serves only to reveal that Christ is the Son of God and has come to forgive sins and offer eternal life. When the Pharisees question his healing on the Sabbath, Jesus asks ironically, "which is easier to say,'rise take up your pallet and walk or your sins are forgiven? But, to show that I have power to forgive sins, I say to you arise, take up your pallet and walk." Note the priority here...the miracle serves the, indeed, can a man forgive sins and bring redemption? It is far easier for a lame man to walk than for a lost sinner to be redeemed without Christ.

In all the the Gospels, Jesus primary message, is about belief in Him and who he claims to be. It does matter what the disciples believe, for they are to go out and preach the Gospel. If it is just about feeding people, who cares? Certainly, Jesus feeds the people in spite of their order to have them believe.

Once again, I ask you the question, which is die fat in your unbelief or to be hungry and poor but saved? Priorities...theological priorities...belief is primary. Everything else follows from right belief..we learned that in them thar protestant Calvinist schools...and we learned that Calvin drew extensively from Augustine, too.

Hammer of Fascists said...

Pater: Yes, Gene studied at a Protestant seminary. But weren't you the one telling me just the other day that all sorts of good stuff can come from the Protestants? :-)

And just because a school identifies itself as Catholic doesn't mean it's orthodox. In American "Catholic" higher ed, we're witnessing something that's very close to apostasy these days.

On another point, I find your following statement very disturbing: "I don't agree that 'it ain't about social programs or saving the world. It is about saving souls and changing hearts.'
It is about both. Grace builds on nature."

It certainly isn't about saving the world. Christ has already done that. The Book of Revelation indicates to me that God will solve the problem of poverty and inequity not by having us "build the kingdom" (which is already built, and not by us) but by bringing about a new heaven and a new earth, no? And the idea that social programs are somehow part of the Christian message by definition is a very simplistic one, at best. At worst it's a perversion of the Christian message, which is voluntary giving of goods and self, not enforced taking and redistribution. And furthermore, am I sniffing a bit of liberation theology here?

Same goes for the idea of ending war. The evidence is overwhelming that war is the natural condition of fallen mankind. Eliminate original sin, or at least concupiscence, in the world and then we'll talk. Oh wait--we can't do that.

Now I don't mean all of this as a justification for sitting on our duffs and not trying to do anything. But I believe in that old collectivist adage "Think globally and act locally" (which the collectivists actually don't follow as much as they should). Once you start thinking about saving humanity, you can ignore and dispense with individuals. That has at least two effects: it makes you tend to identify salvation with material welfare, and it means that the individual and his soul are expendable for the greater good. And that's very, very dangerous.

Pater Ignotus said...

Pin/Gene – The miracle stories are integrated wholes, not scenes that can be picked apart with various parts being arranged in some kind of idiosyncratic “proper” hierarchy, imposed to correspond to one’s personal religious or political beliefs.

Yes, I focus on the feeding because that is the focus the evangelists themselves emphasize. And this is not only “my” focus. In my copy of Kurt Aland’s “Synopsis of the Four Gospels,” the section containing this miracle story is titled “Five Thousand are Fed.” Various bible translations name it thus: NIV – “Jesus Feeds the Five Thousand;” NKJV – “Feeding the Five Thousand;” ESV – “Jesus Feeds the Five Thousand;” RSV – “Feeding the Five Thousand;” RSV Catholic Edition – “Feeding the Five Thousand;” New Century Version – “More Than Five Thousand Fed;” New American Standard – “Five Thousand Fed;” etc, etc. None of them call it “The People Believed Because of the Miracle of the Multiplication of the Loaves and Fishes.”

I focus on the layers of meaning because that is what the Church tells me to focus on. I cannot read a miracle and conclude that “I” have the true and proper meaning all figured out and anyone who disagrees with me is missing the point. That is simply not a CATHOLIC approach to understanding the meaning of the Scriptures.

“Every miracle serves only to reveal that Christ is the Son of God and has come to forgive sins and offer eternal life” is made incomplete by your use of “only” which narrows unnecessarily the meaning of the events. Our miracle in question was also to feed the hungry. Raising the dead son of the widow of Nain was also to restore to a mother her child. Changing water into wine was also to ease the embarrassment of the party-givers. Healing the man born blind was also to restore, not only his sight, but his place in society. This is the “Both/And” approach that is founded in the mystery of the Incarnation – Jesus was both God and man. That fundamental mystery of Jesus is the filter through which his words and actions, including miracles, have to be understood.

It is not a matter of dying fat OR to be saved. It is both, and necessarily so.

rcg said...

PI, I think Gene's point is that you might get both, but you have to willing have only one.

Gene said...

Ignotus, I have to ask this question...are you really that dense and is your reading comprehension really that bad? You cannot seem to comprehend the idea of theological priorities, you know, methodology. Since I assume you cannot possibly be that dumb, I must assume that you are being deliberately dense in order to avoid dealing with the real theological issue. This has been typical of you in the past on this blog, so I assume you have reverted to your usual twisting and turning. After all, you nearly put your back out of joint trying to justify refusing to answer a direct question about whether you believe in the bodily resurrection of Jesus of Nazareth and whether you believe in the Real Presence (the two questions are really the same one). This, along with your choice of books for your parishioners, your frequently quoting apostate sources over the past several years, your disdain for the TLM and traditional liturgics, your snide remarks to me regarding confession and "skipping Mass," your thinly veiled contempt for Fr. MacDonald, and your condescension towards others on this blog have more than given us a pretty clear picture of who you are and where you stand. I would not respond to you at all except for the fact that other people on the blog need to hear the other side and they need to see your ilk exposed and called on their BS. OK, then, back to your office with you and your Hans Kung, von Balthassar, or Teilhard...

Pater Ignotus said...

Pin/Gene - I'm sorry, but not everyone thinks the way you think about understanding Scripture, nor need we.

I won't answer your question about the bodily resurrection of Jesus for three reasons. These are: 1) You have stated time and again that, when I DO answer a question, that I am not being honest and you know what I REALLY believe; 2) You assert that the answer I give is not an answer to the question asked; or 3) You make some remark having to do with excretion, proctology, or some other topic that excites your adolescent way of dealing with people who disagree with you.

I have never quoted an apostate source - I have quoted sources that do not see things the way you see things. You, then, fall into "apostasy search mode," finding falsehood where it does not exist.

You trumpeted with pride that you skipped mass - I pointed out that such behavior was a grave sin. This is not being snide.

Contempt for Good Father McDonald -blah blah blah. Why don't you ask him if he feels I hold him in contempt.

Pater Ignotus said...

Anon 5 - The college and seminary I attended were well-regarded for their Catholicity when I attended them and are so now. Check 'em out.

The world has not been saved - it has been redeemed - and there is a significant difference. Redemption is a done deal, salvation is an on-going process. “Therefore, my dear friends, as you have always obeyed--not only in my presence, but now much more in my absence--continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling,…”

The problem of poverty and inequality is not something we who are disciples of Christ can leave to God to solve at the parousia. It is our job, by virtue of our Baptism. The kingdom is built and in our midst, but we effectively block its fruition by our sinful choices and actions. Social programs are one means by which we work, guided and directed by grace, to make that kingdom more and more concrete. We will always, on this side of the tombstone, fall short of the fullness of the kingdom, but that is not an excuse not to act.

As to your concerns regarding “enforced taking and redistribution” programs, the Church teaches, “The responsibility for attaining the common good, besides falling to individual persons, belongs also to the State, since the common good is the reason that the political authority exists.” (Catechism 1910)

Beyond that, Rerum Novarum, Quadragesimo Anno, Centesimus Annus, and Caritas in Veritate are Catholic Social Teaching documents which advocate a just distribution of income and wealth. They are worth reading.

Further, from TOWARDS A BETTER DISTRIBUTION OF LAND, THE CHALLENGE OF AGRARIAN REFORM: “The right to private property is not, however, unconditional, according to the magisterium of the Church, but entails some very precise obligations. Whatever concrete forms private property may take as a result of varying institutional and juridical approaches, it is basically an instrument to implement the principle of the universal destination of material goods, and hence a means and not an end. (Laborem Exercens no 14)

The right to private property, which is of itself valid and necessary, must be circumscribed within the limits of the fundamental social function of property. Every owner must, therefore, always bear in mind the social mortgage on private property: "In his use of things man should regard the external goods he legitimately owns not merely as exclusive to himself but common to others also, in the sense that they can benefit others as well as himself." (Gaudium et Spes no 69)

The social function directly and naturally inherent in goods and their destination means that the social teaching of the Church can state: "When a person is in extreme necessity he has the right to supply himself with what he needs out of the riches of others."(Ibid)

The right of every person to the use of the goods needed in order to live sets a limit on the right of private property. This doctrine was expounded by St Thomas Aquinas, (Summa II-II, q 66, art7) and it helps in evaluating some complex situations of major socio-ethical importance, such as the expulsion of peasant farmers from land they have been farming, without guaranteeing their right to receive a portion necessary to sustain life; or, again, cases of occupation of uncultivated land on the part of peasant farmers who are not its owners and who live in conditions of dire poverty.”

Ayn Rand’s philosophy of objectivism is morally objectionable in part for all, especially Catholics.

War, and any moral evil, is the result of our fallen nature. The life, death, and resurrection of Jesus has restored our nature, but, as above, we refuse to accept the renovation.

I do not identify salvation with material welfare.

Gene said...

Ignotus, There you go again. It was not me that asked you the question. It was another blogger. I do not ask questions to which I already know the answer. I merely commented on your disingenuousness.

A number of others on this blog have pointed out that you never really answer their questions, rather you merely prevaricate.

I remember your vigorous, indignant defense of the female Bishop of the Episcopalian church to Fr. and I a couple of years ago. You know, the one who clearly stated in an interview that she did not believe Jesus was the Son of God.
You choose books for your parishioners by Margaret Nutting Ralph, clearly an apostate Catholic in name only who teaches in a Prot seminary.
Early in your coy and cocky presence on the blog, you kept choosing your anonymi from among a number of questionable so-called Catholic individuals. You have a short memory.

Pater Ignotus said...

Pin/Gene - You have asked questions of me. You have dismissed my answers. You have made comments about excretion, proctology, and having intercourse in airplanes.

I was right. You say, "I do not ask questions to which I already know the answer." For this reason you don't deserve any answers from me on any question.

I know that "a number" of other here share your views. "Birds of a feather..."

And I have answered many questions, just not yours.
And that really rubs against your need to be in control.

Margaret Nutting Ralph's book "A Walk Through the New testament" is a good introduction for Catholics. Good theology, good biblical scholarship. She teaches at a "Prot" seminary - but isn't that where you studied . . . with "Prot" instructors...?

I will defend anyone against injustice, against false accusations, and against misplaced Catholic triumphalism. That person might be an Episcopalian Bishop, a Muslim Imam, or the shaman of an African nativist religion. If you choose to allow injustice, false accusations, or misplaced triumphalism to continue, that's your issue, not mine.

Hammer of Fascists said...


1) The quotation you attribute to CCC 1910 is erroneous. It instead is a gloss on CCC 1910 by the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace, which has been criticized for being tinged with Liberation Theology. Further, CCC 1908, which speaks most directly to redistribution, is much more nuanced than the quotation you supplied.

2) Re TOWARDS A BETTER DISTRIBUTION OF LAND, THE CHALLENGE OF AGRARIAN REFORM: Also written by said Pontifical Council and subject to the same concerns.

3) Your citation of Rerum Novarum fails to support your point, being concerned more with contractual relations between capital and labor rather than with government redistribution, of which it is actually critical. Example: “The common Mother of rich and poor has aroused everywhere the heroism of charity, and has established congregations of religious and many other useful institutions for help and mercy, so that hardly any kind of suffering could exist which was not afforded relief. At the present day many there are who, like the heathen of old, seek to blame and condemn the Church for such eminent charity. They would substitute in its stead a system of relief organized by the State. But no human expedients will ever make up for the devotedness and self sacrifice of Christian charity.” (para. 30) See also para. 4, which is quite critical of socialistic redistribution.

3a) Likewise Quadragesimo Anno. Note that as with Rerum Novarum, many of the powers of the state mentioned therein go not to redistribution but to what may broadly be called due process or regulatory powers exercised on behalf of labor (with occasional reference to the poor). See, e.g., para. 25.

3b) Likewise Centesimus Annus. See, e.g., paras 15, 34, 48. Note that para. 30, while discussing the limitations of private property, makes those limitations a mater of individual responsibility directly to Christ and the Church and makes no mention of the state as an agent of involuntary redistribution.

3c) Likewise Caritas in Veritate, which hearkens back to Rerum Novarum in its contract-oriented language (see, e.g., the discussion of subsidiarity and the critique of the welfare state in para. 57).

4) Gaudium et Spes no. 69 assiduously avoids mandating (and perhaps even advising) redistribution. The closest it comes are a) when it urges (not mandates) both individuals and governments to remember the aphorism of the Fathers, "Feed the man dying of hunger, because if you have not fed him, you have killed him," without advocating redistribution, and b) when it suggests (not mandates) that Family and social services, especially those that provide for culture and education, should be further promoted. The qualification suggests that the programs be those that encourage productivity rather than redistributionist, since the same paragraph expresses a wariness of producing a class of lazy welfare recipients. An earlier statement in tha paragraph regarding a right to take from others in cases of “extreme necessity” cannot be a justification for collective redistributive action by the poor, or by the state on behalf of the poor, in light of the above documents’ condemnation of socialism both before and after VII.

5) Not sure where you got Ayn Rand from. I’m pretty sure she would condemn my advocating local action/individual charity.

6) Your final statement, that you don’t identify salvation with material welfare, is enigmatic. Do you mean to say that the poor will not be saved by being fed, with which I agree, or instead that the rich will not be saved by their wealth, with which I also agree, or that the rich cannot be saved because they are rich, with which I disagree?

Gene said...

Ignotus, it isn't where you studied, it is what you believe...

Margaret Nutting Ralph is a second-rate, apostate, Biblical scholar.

Where do you get from my post that I support, "Catholic Triumphalism, false accusations, or injustice..." You were mentioning "false accusations..."

Fr. Allan J. McDonald said...

I would have to agree about Nutting after what was written about her in our very own Macon Telegraph. She is out of sync with the Magisterium to which our Holy Father has called all renegade religious, theologians, priests, bishops and deacons, not to mention, Red Chinese Catholics, to fidelity. Certainly PI you can find a good Biblical Scholar for the textbook you use for the Bible study. Nutting is nutty.

Pater Ignotus said...

Pin/Gene and Good Father McDonald - I would wager neither of you have read "A Walk Through the New Testament" by Dr. Margaret Nutting Ralph. Would I be wrong?

Fr. Allan J. McDonald said...

Why in the most Holy Name of God and all that is even mostest Holy, would I read Nutting when I have Brown and others far superior? It just wouldn't make sense.

Pater Ignotus said...

Good Father - As you previously dismissed Fr. Komonchak's essay on ecclesiology without reading it, you dismiss Ralph's "A Walk Through the New Testament."

You claim that other sources are superior, but you've never read Ralph's work. The real pity is, you don't see how silly this is . . .

Pater Ignotus said...

Anon5 – “The goods of creation are destined for the whole human race.” (CCC 2402) “The universal destination of goods remains primordial, even if the promotion of the common good requires respect for the right to private property and its exercise.” (CCC 2403)

Is there a contradiction here between the universal destination of goods and private ownership? No, there is not. “In his use of things man should regard the external goods he legitimately owns not merely as exclusive to himself but as common to others also, in the sense that they can benefit others as well as himself.” (CCC 2404)

Now, as to your objection to “enforced taking and redistribution,” which I understand to be regarding governmental programs of which you do not approve, the Church says, “Political authority has the right and duty to regulate the legitimate exercise of the right to ownership for the sake of the common good.” (CCC 2406) States have a legitimate right – even a duty – regulate private ownership. While you may disagree with some aspects of how this is done, the principle is firmly and clearly part of the Magisterial Teaching of the Church. If you find a “tinge of Liberation Theology” here, then you are apprehending the teaching well.

It is easy to dismiss offhandedly the Pontifical Council for Peace and Justice as you do. It is much harder – I would say impossible – for you to show that the principles enunciated by the Pontifical Council for Peace and Justice are not principles held and taught, authoritatively, by our Church. The same principles that that Council uses are found throughout the Catechism of the Catholic Church, the Documents of the Second Vatican Council, and come from the various encyclical letters, apostolic exhortations, and other papal teachings I have cited.

Notably among them is Populorum Progressio no 23: “He who has the goods of this world and sees his brother in need and closes his heart to him, how does the love of God abide in him?" Everyone knows that the Fathers of the Church laid down the duty of the rich toward the poor in no uncertain terms. As St. Ambrose put it: "You are not making a gift of what is yours to the poor man, but you are giving him back what is his. You have been appropriating things that are meant to be for the common use of everyone. The earth belongs to everyone, not to the rich." These words indicate that the right to private property is not absolute and unconditional.
No one may appropriate surplus goods solely for his own private use when others lack the bare necessities of life. In short, "as the Fathers of the Church and other eminent theologians tell us, the right of private property may never be exercised to the detriment of the common good." When "private gain and basic community needs conflict with one another," it is for the public authorities "to seek a solution to these questions, with the active involvement of individual citizens and social groups."

More whiffs of Liberation Theology here? I certainly hope so!

The Church does not teach that the rich will be condemned for their wealth. I, as always, agree with the Church’s teaching.

Leo XIII said...

For, indeed, although the socialists, stealing the very Gospel itself with a view to deceive more easily the unwary, have been accustomed to distort it so as to suit their own purposes, nevertheless so great is the difference between their depraved teachings and the most pure doctrine of Christ that none greater could exist.

For, while the socialists would destroy the "right" of property, alleging it to be a human invention altogether opposed to the inborn equality of man, and, claiming a community of goods, argue that poverty should not be peaceably endured, and that the property and privileges of the rich may be rightly invaded, the Church, with much greater wisdom and good sense, recognizes the inequality among men, who are born with different powers of body and mind, inequality in actual possession, also, and holds that the right of property and of ownership, which springs from nature itself, must not be touched and stands inviolate.

She is constantly pressing on the rich that most grave precept to give what remains to the poor; and she holds over their heads the divine sentence that unless they succor the needy they will be repaid by eternal torments. In fine, she does all she can to relieve and comfort the poor, either by holding up to them the example of Christ, "who being rich became poor for our sake,(18) or by reminding them of his own words, wherein he pronounced the poor blessed and bade them hope for the reward of eternal bliss. But who does not see that this is the best method of arranging the old struggle between the rich and poor? For, as the very evidence of facts and events shows, if this method is rejected or disregarded, one of two things must occur: either the greater portion of the human race will fall back into the vile condition of slavery which so long prevailed among the pagan nations, or human society must continue to be disturbed by constant eruptions, to be disgraced by rapine and strife, as we have had sad witness even in recent times.

Hammer of Fascists said...


1) CCC 2402 and 2403 are general statements that mention neither state action nor any other means of public or private redistribution.

2) Likewise with CCC 2404. Further, the language of 2404 a) is advisory and not mandatory and b) advises how the individual views and disposes of his own property rather than how the state should treat that property.

3) Re CCC 2406 makes no mention of redistribution programs but rather discusses regulation of property use. (Examples of regulation: “Draining of wetlands you own is prohibited” and “You may not put a toxic waste dump on your land.” That’s a major distinction, although one can argue that any regulation of property is a “taking” by definition. Thus, if government takes a right-of-way across my land, it has redistributed some of my property rights to the public. If it prevents me from draining my wetlands, it may have reduced the market value of that property for me as well as its revenue-generating potential for me. Many of the documents you quote, including 2406, do permit this kind or taking, as opposed to socialistic redistribution of wealth, which the documents you cite condemn.

4) I’ve already replied in detail to the documents you’ve cited and demonstrated that your improperly attributed quotation is out of synch with those documents. It is a fact that commentators have argued that the Pontifical Council is influenced by Liberation Theology. I’ve no time to beat that horse further today.

5) Re Populorum Progressio no 23 or the St. Ambrose quotation: Why do you think I have a qualm with that? Further, where do you find state action mandated in that? Further, note the vague “seek a solution,” which stops way short of where you’d like it to stop, i.e. mandating that that solution can (or must) be state redistribution of wealth.

6) Thank you for your clarification re wealth/salvation.

7) I congratulate you on a hard-hitting exchange with heavy citation of authority on your part (although that authority ultimately fails to support your argument). This is how we should be debating on this blog.

Pater Ignotus said...

Leo 13 - No one here is arguing that there is no right to private proper or that the right to private property should be "destroyed."

Anon 5 - Where do I find State action mandated? There is none, But . . . "It is the role of the state to defend and promote the common good of civil society, its citizens, and intermediate bodies." (CCC 1910)

And "Political authority has the right and duty to regulate the legitimate exercise of the right to ownership for the sake of the common good.” (CCC 2406)

It cannot be argued that the State has a role to promote the Common Good, but then is not free to exercise that role. It cannot be argued that a State has a right to regulate the ownership of private property, but then is constrained by some principle from doing so.

CCC 2402, 2403, and 2404 express the Church's teaching regarding the basis for the state to act regarding protecting private property and promoting the Common Good.

If a portion of your property is taken to benefit the Common Good, then the value of that land, lost to you, is redistributed to others.

These aspects of our Church's teaching to not "mandate" specific programs. The Church does not do that. The Church does, however, offer principles that should guide the regulation of private property and that remind us that property is not, ultimately, destined for private ownership.

The authoritative sources I cite support my argument - that the State can and should regulate property for the Common Good.

Marc said...

"No one here is arguing that there is no right to private proper (sic) or that the right to private property should be 'destroyed.'"

"If a portion of your property is taken to benefit the Common Good, then the value of that land, lost to you, is redistributed to others."

These two statements do not comport with each other. Will you explain how a State's taking a portion of private property and redistributing to others doesn't militate against the right to private property...?

Pater Ignotus said...

Marc - The right to private property, in the Church's teaching, is secondary to the needs of the Common Good.

This is clearly stated in the CCC sections I have posted.

Private Property and the Common Good are not equals.

Marc said...

Okay, so in your view, the Church teaches that the right to private property is subordinate to "the Common Good"?

So, when you said "no one is arguing the right to private property should be 'destroyed,'" you actually meant "the Church argues the right to private property can be destroyed, if such is necessitated by the Common Good."

Who determines the Common Good? Is that left to the State, as well? And how does that idea comport with Leo XIII's encyclical saying the duty to the poor is an individual duty of all men and not a duty of the State, as the socialists argue (and as you are now arguing)?

(And I understand the two duties may not be completely separate from each other, but you are saying the Church's teaching supports, nay mandates, a redistribution of wealth, that is private property, by the State and not solely on an individual basis as part of man's obligation toward others.)

Gene said...

Ignotus is a Marxist at heart ( I can't say 'vile wretch' on here, can I?)

Gene said...

BTW, I read excerpts from Nutting's "Walk" on line, yes. There is absolutely nothing new in it. If we know already that she is apostate, then why read her crap?

Pater Ignotus said...

Marc - It is not "my" view that the Church teaches that the Common Good trumps private property. The Church plainly teaches this in the passages that I have cited and in others I have not.

Leo XIII's passage is not the whole story in this regard. The Church's doctrine has developed since Leo's teachings. Read, again, the more recent passages I have cited. And note that in many such teachings, the citations are to biblical passages and to the Patristic authors. So this notion is neither novel nor contrary to former teaching.

Taking property from a private owner - 50 acres for example - for the expansion of an interstate highway is not a "destruction" of the right to private property. It is a re-allocation of one person's assets for the benefit of the Common Good. Neither does this act indicate that there is no right, in principle, to private ownership, but that this particular parcel of land is needed for the Common Good.

If the State has a right to regulate the ownership of private property, and it does, then the State may be justified in taking from one and giving to another IF that action serves the Common Good.

There is much written about determining the Common Good in the Church's texts.