Sunday, May 31, 2015


Causation: I report you decide!

As some of you know, in the 1962 Missal of the one Roman Rite, the Roman Canon is prayed silently or quietly. I have to admit that when I started to celebrate the 1962 Missal eight years ago, the silence of this Mass, especially the Roman Canon, was quite disconcerting to me. I had forgotten that the Canon way prayed silently and I felt very self-conscious praying it silently before a congregation. It was not a part of my liturgical spirituality and I did not have a good explanation for its purpose so indoctrinated had I become to the idea that the Canon is a proclamation to both the assembly and to God. Sounds haughty, doesn't it! Yes, humility was the first thing to go in the revision of the sacraments.

But as I watch the EF Celebration of the Feast of the Immaculate Conception (AWESOME) a couple of posts below, I focused on the canon from the laity's point of view.

This is where there is a collision between old and new, new and improved or simply changed for the sake of change. And one must ask is there a flaw in the hermeneutic of rupture which some have the audacity to call renewal, that has led to the loss of the sense of mystery and awe and reverence in the new and improved Mass of the one Roman Rite?

The apologetic that so many liturgists, bishops, priests and religious used in promoting so much of the rupture in the revisions to the sacraments after Vatican II was a literalism that defies common sense.

For example, the ideology that standing to receive Holy Communion and on the hand rather than on the tongue is to be seen symbolically as "being raised up with Christ and more adult!" Yet, even when receiving Holy Communion kneeling, or for that matter, flat on one's back for viaticum, is not that person still "raised up in Christ?" Literalism run a muck is the apologetic for receiving Holy Communion standing and in the hand!

The apologetic given for the "spoken" canon is that it is a proclamation that must be heard. But who needs to hear it? If it is prayer, the essential One to hear it is God the Father, through Christ His Son by the power of the Holy Spirit. Even if the sacramental priest representing the Eternal High Priest at the altar prays the canon silently, does not God still hear it? Is it not still a proclamation of prayer? The volume of it has nothing to do with it. The silence though has everything to do with the sense of awe, mystery and reverence for the congregation and the sacramental priest!

In effect the flawed apologetic of a proclaimed Canon in the revised Mass and with the sacramental priest facing the congregation is that the congregation needs to hear the canon and have their ears tickled by it.  It thus places the Canon in the same category as the proclamation of Scripture, an exercise in catechesis and instruction. The Canon is neither! It is prayer to God pure and simply--the prayer of the Church on earth, in purgatory and in heaven! It is heard by God even when the voice is mute! Silence is Golden.

What are the requirements of Catholic spirituality when participating at Mass with a silent canon?

1. Clergy and laity must understand that the silence is a symbol of being in the presence of God and barefoot. It is an entering into the "Holy of Holies." Awe, wonder, hushed silence comprise the attitude of the soul.

2. Catholic laity need not follow the words of the canon in their own missal word by word, but they do need to be familiar with the Roman Canon having read and studied it regularly, especially its structure. But at Mass, understanding the reason for the silent canon as enhancing the sense of mystery, awe and wonder, they watch the priest and make the prayer of the Church which the priest prays to God silently a part of their own spirituality and offering. Simply let the gestures of the priest be a sacred sign language and the bells to keep one focused on the progress the priest has made in praying the canon with the occasional loud voice to begin a sentence.

3. During the silent Canon, Catholics must recover a sense that this is the most SACRED part of the Mass, where the offering of bread and wine takes place and  then is consecrated and then the sacrificial offering of the consecrated Bread and Wine, the Risen Lord in an unbloody way in remembrance of Calvary takes place. The congregation also needs to have an awareness of the prayers of petition for the living and dead that the priest prays during the Canon--thus rendering the Universal Prayer after the Credo in the Ordinary Form redundant and simply more words spoken aloud to make the Mass more wordy and banal, a carnival of babble.

If the priest and the laity at an EF Mass don't understand the spirituality and theology of silence during Mass and especially during the Canon they will find it a distraction. But go and watch an EF Mass with a silent canon and approach it as I have highlighted it above and one will appreciate it and rediscover a profound reverence, mystery and hermeneutic of piety!


When I use the term "save the Church," I mean all the baptized people of  God. But the term also refers to saving the institutional aspects of the Church for these are the sacramentals that draw people to Holy Mother Church and keep them in the fold.

In a sense I am referring to Church as a "sacrament" not in a dogmatic way but as a Sign of Christ. While the vernacular liturgies of the Church could have made the liturgies of the Church more intelligible to the laity and clergy, the sloppy reorientation of the Sacraments, to include the Mass, along with extremely sloppy and a flawed hermeneutic for translating the Latin into all the vernaculars caused a further dumbing down of the Church and her sacraments.

As much as some may protest, there is a direct link or causation between this dumbing down of the sacraments and of the Church that has led to the demise of the Catholic Church in Western Europe, the latest being Ireland. When 88% or more of Catholics are not engaged in the Church or in fact have left the Church, we have a problem.

Thank God for those God gives us in this dearth to call us back to basics and the true nature of Catholicism found in her liturgies traditionally celebrated. The first step is a complete reorientation of the flawed renewal after Vatican II toward what was even if all remains in the vernacular in most places.

The new Prefect for the Congregation of Divine Worship, Cardinal Robert Sarah understands what needs to be done and he is giving direction and creating excitment once again in the Liturgy world where cold water has been thrown upon them in the last two and a half years.

Read what the good Cardinal Sarah recently said. Is he going to be the first African pope in modern Church history? I think His Eminence would get some votes!

I copy this from the Rorate Caeili website:

Cardinal Sarah: "[New] Rite of Baptism doesn't even mention word 'Faith' - there's a big problem right there." | "Don't deceive people with 'mercy' without repentance."

Matteo Matzuzzi
Il Timone
May 30, 2015
“If the Eucharist is considered [simply] a meal we share in and that nobody can be excluded from it, then the sense of Mystery is lost”. So says Cardinal Robert Sarah, the new Prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship and Discipline of the Sacraments, in an intervention given at the John Paul II Pontifical Institute for the Studies on Marriage and the Family, at his presentation of: “The Family – a work in progress”, a compilation of essays published by Cantagalli, in view of the upcoming Synod in October. A compilation intent on stimulating a discussion which touches on the “hot issues” of homosexuality, sexuality, divorce, in-vitro-fertilization, euthanasia and celibacy. Three volumes make up the collection, two of which are written by professors of the John Paul II Pontifical Institute: “The Eucharist and divorce: does the doctrine change?” by José Granados (who has also been nominated consultant to the Synod of Bishops) and “Different Families: imperfect expressions of the same ideal?” by Stephan Kampowski. The third, “What does Jesus think of the divorced and remarried?” is the work of Luis Sanchez Navarro, Ordinary of the New Testament at San Damaso University in Madrid. Il Foglio had anticipated ample extracts of Professors Granados and Sanchez’s books on April 15th of this year.

“The West – said Cardinal Sarah, in an ‘off the cuff’ response to some questions posed to him from the auditorium – is adapting to its own illusions”. The main problem, the prelate noted several times, is faith. (Il Foglio anticipated this last March 13th in a long extract from the book ”Dieu ou rien” published in France by Fayard). “If you consider that the word “faith” is no longer mentioned even in the Rite of Baptism, when the parents are questioned about what they ask of the Church of God for their child, the significance of the problem is very clear”, added the Cardinal who also blamed the teaching of Catechism today, “The children do drawings and don’t learn anything – they don’t go to Mass.”
[The new rite and the most vacuous and obvious response in the history of the liturgy (which, as always, is optional and replaceable, even by 'faith').]
Regarding the upcoming Synod, an invitation came from Cardinal Sarah [for us] to have no illusions about epochal changes: “People think that there will be a revolution, but this cannot happen. Doctrine belongs to no-one, it is Christ’s alone”. After last October’s meeting, noted the Cardinal in his presentation of the three volumes, “it was clear that the real crux of the matter was not only the question of the divorced and remarried”, but “whether the doctrine of the Church is to be considered an unreachable ideal - an impossibility, which would therefore necessitate adapting to a downward trend to propose it to present-day society. If this is the situation, we need a clarification as to whether the Gospel is the good news for man or a useless burden no longer viable”. The riches of Catholicism – he added – “cannot be revealed through ideas dictated by a kind of pragmatism and some mutual feelings in common. Revelation shows humanity the way to wholeness and happiness. Ignoring this fact would mean affirming the need to re-think the very foundations of the redeeming action of the Church itself, which is accomplished through the Sacraments.”

The problem is also those “priests and bishops” who contribute to “contradicting the word of Christ” by their own words. And this said Cardinal Sarah, “is extremely grave”. To permit at some diocesan levels what has not yet been authorized by the Synod (the allusion was to the practices followed in many situations of centre-north Europe) is to “profane Christ”. It is of little worth invoking mercy: “We are deceiving people when we talk of mercy without knowing what the word means. The Lord forgives sins, but only if we repent of them”. The divisions that were seen last October, “…were all from the West. In Africa, we have remained steadfast, as there have been many people in that continent who have lost their lives for the faith.”

The Cardinal launched an appeal against those members of the clergy who use imprecise language: “ It is wrong for the Church to use the vocabulary of the United Nations. We have our own vocabulary.” He then wanted to make a clarification on one of the maxims that has become very popular since 2013 i.e. the one about ‘going out to into the peripheries’. A correct intention, obviously, but on one condition: “It’s easy to go out into the peripheries, but it depends on whether we are taking Christ [to them]. Today it is more courageous to be with Christ on the Cross which means martyrdom. Our duty is to go against the mainstream” as regards the fashions of the time, and “what the world is saying”. And besides, “if the Church stops preaching the Gospel, it is finished. It can do so with present day fashions, but with firmness.”

And lastly, a note on the decline of priestly vocations in the world: “The question is not that there are few priests, inasmuch as whether these priests are true priests for Christ.

[Rorate translation by contributor Francesca Romana. Source.]

Saturday, May 30, 2015



The EF Mass with all of its pious trappings is slowly but surely making its way back into the life of the Church.

One of the things that I have found interesting is that young people who attend it when it is convenient for them to do so, actually find it AWESOME. I had a 16 year old high school football player tell me after an EF Mass for the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception (which he attended not knowing it would be an EF Mass) that it was AWESOME! The Mass was a few years back and is posted below as a video. (Please note too, in the actual video below, the actual participation of the congregation, especially with the chanting of the Latin Credo, almost everyone in the congregation has their hymnal open to the Latin Credo and are chanting it with the schola!)

Unfortunately, I didn't have an opportunity for a follow-up.

When the CMAA held their Chant Intensive workshop here in Macon, they concluded with a Gregorian Chanted Mass to which I invited our elementary and high school to attend. It was the Ordinary Form, but completly chanted in Latin (with mostly English for the priest's parts) with Propers and all. The Mass was ad orientem.

The kids found it AWESOME!

I've asked young people who attend our 12:10 PM Ordinary Form Mass which is celebrated ad orientem and with Holy Communion distributed at the altar railing what they think of this experience. They tell me it is AWESOME! 

This begs the question. If this experience of the Mass were the normal fare in parishes throughout the world, would more Catholics remain in the Church or would we see the same bleeding that we see now.

Do young people need "hip" experiences of the Mass to include the vapid worship and praise music a la non-denominational trendy churches to keep them engaged in the Catholic Church?

Or do they need this AWESOME Mass:

Friday, May 29, 2015


My comments first: With all the hand ringing concerning Ireland's landslide victory for same sex "marriage," there seems to be greater grief about the loss of Church authority, her moral voice and the prestige she once had in Ireland. I don't hear too much grief about Ireland's descent into hell though!

Shouldn't we grieve for the soul of a nation and the souls that comprise a nation when they defy God. Isn't the consequence of this type of death dealing sin, mortal sin, the eternal fires of hell for those who gloat over sin and love sin more than they love God?

Isn't the only medicine or cure for eternal damnation the medicine of the Sacrament of Penance combined with repentance and a firm purpose of amendment? 

This vote is more than politics and secularism's mighty win, it is about the loss of souls to the fires of hell. Pray for these sinners, don't mock them!

From Catholic News Service (CNS):

Catholic Cardinal: Ireland's Vote for Gay Marriage 'In Defiance of God,' Worse Than 'Pagans'

Cardinal Raymond Leo Burke, former head of the highest court at the Vatican, said that the Irish people's vote to legalize homosexual marriage was in "defiance of God" and an action more depraved than that practiced by "pagans."

"I mean, this is a defiance of God, it's just incredible," said Cardinal Burke, speaking at the Newman Society at Oxford University's Catholic Society on May 27.

"Pagans may have tolerated homosexual behaviors, [but] they never dared to say this was marriage," said the cardinal, as reported in The Tablet.

Cardinal Burke, who is now patron of the Sovereign Military Order of Malta, made his remarks in response to a question at the Newman Society after he had delivered a speech on the intellectual legacy of Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI.

In Ireland last week, the people there voted to legalize homosexual marriage, 62.1% to 37.9%.  Commenting on the vote, Vatican Secretary of State Cardinal Pietro Parolin said it was a "defeat for humanity."

The Catholic Church defines marriage as the sacramental union between one man and one woman for life. "By its very nature the institution of marriage and married love is ordered to the procreation and education of the offspring and it is in them that it finds its crowning glory," reads the Catechism of the Catholic Church, paragraph 1652.

"Children are the supreme gift of marriage and contribute greatly to the good of the parents themselves," reads the Catechism.  "God himself said: 'It is not good that man should be alone,' and 'from the beginning [He] made them male and female'; wishing to associate them in a special way in his own creative work, God blessed man and woman with the words: 'Be fruitful and multiply.' Hence, true married love and the whole structure of family life which results from it, without diminishment of the other ends of marriage, are directed to disposing the spouses to cooperate valiantly with the love of the Creator and Savior, who through them will increase and enrich his family from day to day."

The Church teaches that homosexual persons "must be accepted with respect, compassion, and sensitivity" and that homosexuals are "called to chastity."  However, the Catechism further states, "Basing itself on Sacred Scripture, which presents homosexual acts as acts of grave depravity, tradition has always declared that 'homosexual acts are intrinsically disordered.' They are contrary to the natural law. They close the sexual act to the gift of life. They do not proceed from a genuine affective and sexual complementarity. Under no circumstances can they be approved."(2357)
In a 2013 interview, Cardinal Burke said that homosexual marriage "is a work of deceit, a lie about the most fundamental aspect of our human nature, our human sexuality, which, after life itself, defines us."

"There is only one place these types of lies come from, namely Satan," said the cardinal.  "It is a diabolical situation which is aimed at destroying individuals, families, and eventually our nation.”


The National Catholic  Register has this article by a Irish Deacon. Makes perfect sense to me!

Is This the Death of the Catholic Church in Ireland? 

COMMENTARY: There have been three key moments in the recent history of the Irish Church when leading bishops and priests could have chosen to strengthen the faith of the people. Instead, poor choices and inaction have weakened what remains.

– Shutterstock
The vote in Ireland has been to legalize same-sex “marriage,” an outcome that suggests a loss of moral clarity among the majority of Catholics in the Irish Church. I am left asking the question: Is the Irish Church dead?

I know this may sound shocking, and some may accuse me of alarmism and defeatism. However, sacred Scripture is clear that, though Our Lord has promised to be with the universal Church until the end of time (Matthew 28:20), it is possible for a local Church to die.

The Book of Revelation contains the locutions and visions Our Lord granted to his beloved disciple, St. John the Evangelist. Our Lord sent seven messages to the local Churches, one of which was addressed to the Church of Sardis, which reveals the awful possibility of the death of a church:
And to the angel of the church in Sardis write: “The words of him who has the seven spirits of God and the seven stars, I know your works; you have the name of being alive, and you are dead. Awake, and strengthen what remains and is on the point of death, for I have not found your works perfect in the sight of my God” (3:1-2).
In 2003, Pope St. John Paul II urgently addressed the exhortation contained in Our Lord’s Letter to the Church of Sardis to the whole of Europe, including the Church in Ireland, “Awake, and strengthen what remains and is on the point of death” (Revelation 3:2). Twelve years later, it is clear that Ireland and many other European countries have not heeded Pope St. John Paul II’s final warning, and, in fact, many of the bishops and people have done the exact opposite: They have weakened what remains to the point of death.

Weakening What Remains to the Point of Death

Pope St. John Paul identified the necrotic forces at work in the European churches that 12 years later have tipped the Irish Church into death:
“[There is a] serious situation of indifference towards religion on the part of so many Europeans, the presence of many people even on our continent who do not yet know Jesus Christ and his Church and who are not baptized; the secularism which poisons a wide spectrum of Christians who habitually think, make decisions and live ‘as if Christ did not exist’” (Ecclesia in Europa, 26).
There have been three key moments in the recent history of the Irish Church when leading bishops and priests could have chosen to strengthen the faith of the people. Instead, poor choices and inaction have weakened what remains to the point of death.

The Apostolic Visitation of the Irish Church

The first key moment was Pope Benedict XVI’s apostolic visitation of the Irish Church in response to the crisis caused by pedophile priests and the bishops’ widespread cover-up of crimes of child sexual abuse. Pope Benedict’s “Letter to the Catholics of Ireland,” announcing the need for an apostolic visitation, clearly stated his judgment as the Successor of St. Peter that his brother bishops had failed. He said this was a failure where “grave errors of judgment were made and failures of leadership.”
The apostolic visitation report was mainly a snapshot of the Irish Church that summarized safeguarding measures that the Irish episcopacy and religious orders were already putting in place. It also made a number of reasonable recommendations, including: the updating of safeguarding guidelines in accordance with the norms established by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith; the reorganization of ecclesiastical tribunals; the formation of seminarians; and various formation, spiritual and administrative changes for religious orders.

One paragraph of the report stands out in light of the open dissent among Irish priests supporting, or remaining neutral towards, the legalization of same-sex “marriage” in 2015:
“Since the visitators also encountered a certain tendency, not dominant but nevertheless fairly widespread among priests, religious and laity, to hold theological opinions at variance with the teachings of the magisterium, this serious situation requires particular attention, directed principally towards improved theological formation. It must be stressed that dissent from the fundamental teachings of the Church is not the authentic path towards renewal.”
Instead of welcoming the balanced findings of the apostolic visitation, Archbishop Diarmuid Martin harshly criticized it two years after its publication, giving the impression that he had shelved it. He told The Irish Times, “The Irish Church has to find the answers for the Irish Church, and where it has done so it has done so well.” He also attempted to shift blame onto the apostolic visitation, saying it “actually, in some ways, delayed reforms in the Irish Church,” without providing any evidence to support such a serious claim.

The archbishop’s rejection of Pope Benedict’s apostolic visitation gave the misleading impression that the Irish Church’s problems lay with Rome and not within herself. He even went so far as to unfairly imply blame lay with Pope Benedict XVI, when he told The Irish Times, “That isn’t a criticism of those who carried it out, maybe a criticism of those who planned it.”

Enda Kenny’s Abortion Law

The second key moment that has weakened the Irish Church to the point of death was the failure of the bishops to act over Catholic politicians who supported the legalization of abortion. The fact that Enda Kenny continues to receive holy Communion after spearheading the legalization of killing unborn babies through abortion is an ongoing public scandal. In 2013, Kenny received Communion in the presence of Bishop John McAreavey of Dromore,  Bishop Noel Treanor of Down and Conor and Bishop Christy Jones of Elphin.

Even The Independent newspaper, no friend of the Church, commented that this was in defiance of the Code of Canon Law, “915, which states that anyone who supports abortion legislation is automatically excommunicated.” What makes the inaction of the bishops even more incomprehensible is that, as cardinals, both Pope Benedict XVI and Pope Francis had insisted that pro-abortion Catholic politicians should not receive holy Communion.

The shocking scandal attendant to Kenny’s abortion law was compounded by a number of Catholic hospitals publicly agreeing to cooperate with the provisions of the law. When Dublin’s Mater Misericordiae hospital, named after Our Lady, Mother of Mercy, announced that it would “comply with the law, as provided for in the act,” Archbishop Martin’s spokesman said he would “seek further clarification on the exact meaning of the hospital’s statement.”

Nineteen months later, Irish Catholics are still waiting to hear Archbishop Martin’s response to a Catholic hospital agreeing to provide the morning-after abortifacient pill and performing medical abortions. For the sake of Catholic nurses, doctors and staff working in these hospitals, it is imperative that Archbishop Martin breaks his silence and addresses them as their pastor.

Not only should Enda Kenny’s legalization of abortion and same-sex “marriage” rightly incur the pastoral intervention of excommunication, but his public admission of heretical beliefs on Irish television makes the bishops’ inaction all the more inexplicable. Kenny has admitted that he doesn’t believe in a personal God or in the physical, real presence of Our Lord in the Blessed Sacrament. Yet Archbishop Diarmuid Martin refers to him as our “Catholic Prime Minister,” and he continues to receive holy Communion.

The consequence of the failure of the Irish hierarchy to act over Kenny publicly promoting and cooperating with abortion is that it signals to clergy and laity that the Church doesn’t really take seriously its own moral teachings and laws. Simply put, if politicians, hospitals and bishops can break the Church’s teaching on abortion, then it mistakenly appears that any of the Church’s moral laws on marriage and sexuality can be ignored without consequences.

Kenny’s Same-Sex ‘Marriage’ Legislation

For faithful Catholics, the referendum has been a heartbreaking catalogue of failures on the part of many bishops and priests, which has tipped a weak Church over into the point of death. What we have witnessed is either an unwillingness or inability of some to live up to their duties as bearers of the triple munera (duties of ordained ministers) of Our Lord — the ministerial powers of teaching, sanctifying and leading in conformity with the fullness of faith safeguarded and explained by the magisterium.
  • A number of priests misused their positions of leadership within the Church by publicly supporting the same-sex “marriage” campaign, and by so doing encouraged Catholics under their pastoral care to join them in voting for its redefinition. Such priests include: Redemptorist Fathers Tony Flannery and Gerry O’Connor, Augustinian Fathers Iggy O’Donovan and Gabriel Daly and Father Pádraig Standún, parish priest of the Archdiocese of Tuam.
  • The newly appointed Bishop Donal McKeown caused immense confusion and anguish among faithful Catholics when he said during a radio interview: “People have to make up their own minds, and I’m quite happy that people can do that in front of God, be it Yes or be it No. … I don’t doubt that there are many people who are practicing churchgoers of whatever church background who will in conscience vote Yes, and that’s entirely up them. I’m not going to say they’re wrong.” Bishop McKeown appeared to have forgotten that, according to the Catechism of the Catholic Church, people can be culpable for committing immoral acts even if acting according to conscience (1791). By talking about conscience in such a way, Bishop McKeown has surely added to the cross carried by homosexual Catholics who are seeking to live chastely according to the teachings of the Church.
  • Archbishop Martin’s advocacy of the enhancement of homosexual civil unions, as an alternative to same-sex “marriage,” is clearly at odds with the 2003 directives of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. Archbishop Martin said, “We have to find ways in which gay and lesbian people can have their love fully recognized in an equal but different manner. We have to find ways of examining that. and I don’t think we have done that far enough. I think civil partnership is not adequate; I think it could be tweaked.”
However, the CDF document, “Considerations Regarding Proposals to Give Legal Recognition to Unions Between Homosexual Persons,” concludes with these words from Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, on behalf of Pope St John Paul II:
“The Church teaches that respect for homosexual persons cannot lead in any way to approval of homosexual behavior or to legal recognition of homosexual unions. The common good requires that laws recognize, promote and protect marriage as the basis of the family, the primary unit of society. Legal recognition of homosexual unions or placing them on the same level as marriage would mean not only the approval of deviant behavior, with the consequence of making it a model in present-day society, but would also obscure basic values which belong to the common inheritance of humanity. The Church cannot fail to defend these values, for the good of men and women and for the good of society itself.”
The tragedy is that by not only publicly accepting civil unions between homosexual persons, but also advocating their enhancement, Archbishop Martin has inadvertently obscured basic values of marriage that he sought to defend.

With Every Death There Is the Hope of Resurrection

Every faithful Catholic knows that death is not the terminal point of life, but is the necessary condition for participation in Our Lord’s glorious resurrection. This is not to underestimate the pain, suffering and anguish that come with death — total incapacity, complete loss and impoverishment in extremis. We are grief-stricken at the weakening towards death of the Irish Church and the loss of sanctity, truth, goodness and beauty in the lives of so many Irish people.

However, Our Lord’s Letter to the Church of Sardis also contains words of hope and consolation:
“Yet you have still a few names in Sardis, people who have not soiled their garments; and they shall walk with me in white, for they are worthy. He who conquers shall be clad thus in white garments, and I will not blot his name out of the book of life; I will confess his name before my Father and before his angels. He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches” (Revelation 3:4-6).

Out of a population of nearly 5 million people, 682,932 Irish citizens voted “No,” despite the unrelenting propaganda from the Irish media, celebrities and political parties. Many who voted “No” also campaigned and canvassed unambiguously to uphold the truth and dignity of marriage entrusted to each one of us by God.

It is among these 682,932 people that the hope of the Catholic Church in Ireland's resurrection is active and alive. And it is in this spirit of hope that we must pray daily for our bishops during these hard times for the Church. Maranatha: Come, Lord Jesus.

Deacon Nick Donnelly is a contributor to EWTN Radio's Celtic Connections program. This article originally appeared in Catholic Voice Ireland and is republished here with permission. It has been edited for style.

Thursday, May 28, 2015


I realize that it is impossible to keep inner-city Catholic Churches all open when most Catholics have moved to the suburbs and many no longer practice the faith. They have to be closed.

But what do you do with these buildings, some of which have not only historical worth, but more importantly spiritual worth?

What is the best solution? Tear it down? Convert it to a secular use such as a cultural center, restaurant, bar or apartments?

This is Saint Joseph Church in Indiana. I don't have pictures of what it was like prior to the brewery converting it. But I saw some that showed the long-closed church in total disrepair and desperation.

But this was the church in its heyday: 
Now, completely renovated as a brewery:


Well, I'm glad that ecumenism is alive and well.
Here is a Presbyterian's take on the Catholic Church. He sounds like some former Presbyterians who comment here--those, that is, still hang on to their Protestant antipathy toward the Church based upon this minister's outlook:

This is from a Northern Ireland newspaper the  Fermanagh Herald, which you can read HERE: 

Firebrand pastor blames Catholic church abuse for same sex referendum result - See more at:
LOCAL firebrand preacher Ivan Foster has launched a scathing attack on Irish Catholicism after the South’s landslide yes vote to legalising gay marriage saying the historic vote was a direct result of the Catholic Church sexual abuse scandals.

Speaking after 62 per cent of people in the South voted in favour of changing the constitution to allow gay and lesbian couple to marry, the former minister of Kilskeery Free Presbyterian Church went on to brand it as a “false religion” which has “cursed” Ireland.

In a statement sent to the Fermanagh Herald, the fundamentalist accused the South of defying God and “embracing sodomy”.

“This has been done in defiance of God’s Word. That, of course, is hardly surprising since the people of the land have been under the heel of Romanism for centuries and have thereby been taught to pay scant heed to what the Bible says, irrespective of the allegiance to the Word of God that the Church of Rome professes.

“Romanism is a false religion which masquerades as the religion of the Lord Jesus Christ. It has indoctrinated the Irish people in its falsehoods for centuries. What a curse its dark shadow has been to Ireland.

“But Ireland has not only had to bear the burden of false doctrine instigated by Rome, but the Irish people have been plagued by the licentious vileness of her ‘bachelor’ priests, many of whom used their position to molest and violate hundreds of children within this generation and countless multitudes in the centuries of her past dominance.

“In reaction to that and as a direct result of it, the majority in the Irish Republic have supported the legalising of sodomite marriage.”

Referring to a picture of Sinn Fein leader Gerry Adams celebrating the yes vote with Ireland’s best known drag queen who is called Panti Bliss, he said: “The painted ‘female’ in the middle is Rory O’Neill, who performs as a ‘drag queen’.

“There you have it. The man who heads up Sinn Fein, the armed wing of which mounted a 30 year terror campaign in Northern Ireland, which resulted in hundreds of people, both Roman Catholic and Protestant, murdered and in thousands terrorised, robbed, injured, kidnapped and taken away and murdered and secretly buried, is at the heart of this “yes” vote.

“What an unholy caucus”

He appealed for prayer for the “Bible-believing minority” who he said would feel more isolated by the South’s decision to vote in favour of same-sex marriage.

He added: “Pray that many saddened, alarmed and troubled souls will seek out God’s Word and those who preach it and embrace the Truth of God in these evil times.”

Rev Ivan Foster is set to preach on the result of the Irish referendum at Kilskeery Free Presbyterian Church this Sunday, 31, at 7pm.


When it comes to the loss of Catholic identity from the 1970's this isn't the problem:
This is the problem!

I wish I had copied it, but I saw a photo of a man and woman in some kind of print commercial and the man was wearing a Nero jacket just like the one I had when I worked for Macy's in the early 1970's!!!!! The 1970's or nostalgia for it is back!!!! It is reemerging also with aging Cardinals whose heyday was in the 1970's. Cardinal Kasper is but one  case in point. It is like he has had a rebirth of influence bringing us backwards not forwards!

But this is a very good diagnosis and excerpt from Cardinal Wuerl's Pentecost Letter which you can read in full HERE:

"Why it is so crucial that we reassert and strengthen our Catholic identity, and that our freedom to do so be respected in society and in law.” 

“When I was a young priest in the 1960s and 1970s, there was much experimentation and confusion in the Church,” he recalled. “Teachers and clergy were encouraged by some to communicate an experience of God’s love, but to do it without reference to the Creed, the sacraments, or Church tradition. It did not work very well. Catholics grew up with the impression that their heritage was little more than warm, vaguely positive feelings about God.” 

“Those years of experimentation left many Catholics weak, spiritually and intellectually, and unable to withstand the tsunami of secularism that came in recent decades,” he continued. “We lost many people because we failed to teach them about right and wrong, about the common good, about the nature of the human person. This left many no longer able to admit that we are sinners who need Jesus because many no longer know what sin is. This lived experience of people not being fully or correctly presented the truth of the faith illustrates why we are called to the New Evangelization.” 

My thoughts: However, the Tsunami of secularism is not just coming from a loss of Catholic identity amongst lay Catholics it is coming from the highest echelons of the Church and particularly from cardinals in Germany, France and Switzerland. Someone, meaning all the bishops and in particular the Bishop of Rome needs to address this scandal and immediately. The laity have had to put up with too much scandal already. They don't need more to erode what little Catholic identity they have left. The 1970's should have remained buried!

Edward Pentin of the National Catholic Reporter tells the very sad, scary and heretical, schismatic story which you can read in full HERE about 1970's church building but the following is an excerpt (1970's anyone, Cardinal Wuerl will you call your brother cardinals out on this:
A one-day study meeting — open only to a select group of individuals — took place at the Pontifical Gregorian University on Monday with the aim of urging “pastoral innovations” at the upcoming Synod of Bishops on the Family in October.
Around 50 participants, including bishops, theologians and media representatives, took part in the gathering, at the invitation of the presidents of the bishops’ conferences of Germany, Switzerland and France — Cardinal Reinhard Marx, Bishop Markus Büchel and Archbishop Georges Pontier.
One of the key topics discussed at the closed-door meeting was how the Church could better welcome those in stable same-sex unions, and reportedly “no one” opposed such unions being recognized as valid by the Church.
Participants also spoke of the need to “develop” the Church’s teaching on human sexuality and called not for a theology of the body, as famously taught by St. John Paul II, but the development of a “theology of love.”
One Swiss priest discussed the “importance of the human sex drive,” while another participant, talking about holy Communion for remarried divorcees, asked: “How can we deny it, as though it were a punishment for the people who have failed and found a new partner with whom to start a new life?”
Marco Ansaldo, a reporter for the Italian daily newspaper La Repubblica, who was present at the meeting, said the words seemed “revolutionary, uttered by clergymen.”
French Biblicist and Ratzinger Prize-winner Anne-Marie Pelletier praised the dialogue that took place between theologians and bishops as a “real sign of the times.”
According to La Stampa, another Italian daily newspaper, Pelletier said the Church needs to enter into “a dynamic of mutual listening,” in which the magisterium continues to guide consciences, but she believes it can only effectively do so if it “echoes the words of the baptized.”
The meeting took the “risk of the new, in fidelity with Christ,” she claimed. The article also quoted a participant as saying the synod would be a “failure” if it simply continued to affirm what the Church has always taught.
Then there is this good article from the New Liturgical Movement that hits the nail on the head on confusion in the Liturgy from the same period of time that Cardinal Wuerl speaks of 1970's confusion and its deleterious effect on Catholic identity when it comes to the Mass, other liturgies and the Sacraments. You can read the full article HERE but the following is an excerpt:

Before this period, Catholics around the world were known for their widespread attendance at Mass, and it seems that a great many people were trying to be devout, or at least respectful, at Mass. Families attending low Mass together, praying the rosary or reading devotional books, may not have been the pinnacle of participatio actuosa in the Mass, but then again, as the Liturgical Movement pointed out, many places had never implemented what St. Pius X had called for—namely, that Mass be sung, that the people sing the chants and dialogues of the Mass Ordinary, and that they become familiar with the actual prayers of the liturgy. Still, there was a distinctively Catholic thing that Catholics did every Sunday (and the more pious, more often than that); they knew that this was the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, that Jesus was really and truly present in the Eucharist, and that you couldn’t receive Him if you were in a state of mortal sin.

Mass attendance was already decreasing in the mid- to late sixties, for social and cultural reasons known to all, but after the liturgical rupture embodied in the Pauline Missal, attendance fell precipitously. The situation we have on our hands today, with only a small percentage of the baptized still going to church at all, has its birth in this period of unprecedented liturgical insolence, experimentation, disruption, and confusion. A decline had already set in, to be sure, but it was the outrageous shock of substituting a new rite of worship for an age-old bearer and transmitter of Catholic identity that confirmed definitively the modernizing madness of the institutional church. This was the death knell. To paraphrase Joseph Ratzinger, if this is how the Church treated her most valued possession, her mystical treasures, what other betrayals could be expected from her? Would anything remain stably in place? Could doctrine itself survive the onslaught?

This is why some, rightly in my opinion, consider the Synods on the Family (last year’s and the forthcoming) to be the logical continuation and completion of the conciliar reforms. The years during and after the Council were preoccupied with changing ritual and discipline as widely as possible, while doctrine seemed to be left untouched, but all along the modernists have been preparing as well as they could for an opportunity to “renovate” the doctrine as well. Given the freedom to do so, there is almost nothing in the faith that they would not falsify or modify, in the same way that almost nothing in the Mass was left intact.

My final comments: Cardinal Wuerl hits the nail on the head about the past, but I fear it doesn't see the same thing happening today and once again spearheaded by confusion in the Magisterium and his brother cardinals in very, very high places. It is no wonder the laity have lost their Catholic identity and continue to do so.

Apart from the recovery of the 1970's silly season amongst bishops and cardinals, the liturgy and its diminishment since the 1970's is a big culprit too. Pope Benedict XVI knew this but I fear his successor doesn't as his successor may have nostalgia for the 1970's too. Although with Pope Francis, we are learning that he did not bring a wider world view to the papacy but a very provincial South American view and that he doesn't read widely, didn't  travel widely and hasn't watched televsion since 1990 or used the internet. While this is laudable for someone in religious life, it is not laudable for secular priests and bishops who live in the world.  We can't go backwards or remain stuck in the 1970's.

The sense of the faithful "sensuum fideli" is based upon the faith and belief of orthodox Catholics not heterodox lay Catholics. Heterodoxy that leads to heresy is not faithfulness. It isn't the sensuum fideli!

Wednesday, May 27, 2015


And while the Secretary of State would not use such strong words without Pope Francis' awareness and approval, yes, I agree, it would be better heard coming from the Pontiff:

Ireland Gay Marriage Vote Is A 'Defeat For Humanity,' Vatican Official Says

VATICAN CITY (AP) — The Vatican's secretary of state has called the Irish vote to legalize gay marriage a "defeat for humanity."

Cardinal Pietro Parolin said he personally was saddened by the landslide decision, in which more than 62 percent of voters in the Roman Catholic country voted "yes," despite church teaching that marriage is only between a man and woman.

In comments to reporters Tuesday evening, Parolin referred to remarks by the Archbishop of Dublin, Diarmuid Martin, that results showed the church needed to do a "reality check." Parolin said the church needs to acknowledge the reality "but in the sense of reinforcing its commitment to evangelization."

He said: "I don't think you can speak only about a defeat for Christian principles but a defeat for humanity."


The Jews had a very good reasons for this golden calf and their gifts they offered to it!
It wasn't completely the fault of the Eastern Church that led to the Great Schism. The Western Church often provoked it. But nonetheless the Eastern Church went into schism. They thought they were right and on some things they were. But was schism necessary? Evidently they thought so and thus disobeyed the Lord in His great farewell speech in John's Gospel. Fortunately not all the Churches of the east went into schism (a fact the orthodox fail to acknowledge) as well many of those Churches that did go into schism repented and returned to the full Communion of the Catholic Church with the pope as the Supreme Pontiff. The Western Church bent over backwards to make this happen.

There there was the Protestant revolt what is called the Reformation. Martin Luther and the others he inspired to break with Rome were not completely at fault. Politics and religions were inextricably tied together and secular rulers and kings used Martin Luther to break from the political shackles of the remnant of the Roman Empire now headed by the pope in Rome. It didn't help that corruption had entered the Church's clergy, liturgy and simony as it concerned the sacraments and indulgences exacerbated the reformers.

After Vatican I when papal infallibility was defined and dogmatized (it had always been a doctrine), the Old Catholics went into schism over it. They thought they knew better. I am sure at the beginning they thought they were carrying on the true traditions of the Church.

Then in the last century, I think, someone correct me, some of the Polish Catholics in the USA were not too happy with the primarily Irish Church in America. There may have been other reasons but they went into schism and formed the Polish National Catholic Church, not in union with Rome but with valid sacraments and priesthood.

After the Second Vatican Council a similar schismatic act occurred under Archbishop Lefebrve. He thought he knew better than Rome and in defiance of Pope John Paul II ordained bishops without papal approval. Thus he was excommunicated and the FSSXP soon evolved as a reform movement within the Church (as they  claim) but clearly censured by the Church's magisterium first with excommunications of all the bishops (not the priests and laity) which Pope Benedict lifted. But the priests and bishops had and have a serious censure that of suspension a divinas. This is serious stuff.

The FSSXP have experienced division too and other groups have spun off from them claiming the same legitimacy as the FSSXP in terms of being in full communion with the true Church.  It sounds like what Martin Luther wrought. Initially he simply saw himself upholding what Christ wanted for his Church but still as a Roman Catholic but all that cascaded into a full blown breach that then led other reformers as proud or more proud than Martin Luther to put forward even more sterile reforms and a hatred for Rome.

I suspect in 100 years the FSSXP will be just like the Old Catholics after Vatican I, insignificant and completely something different than what they at first intended to be.

As for me, I remain a papist even if I question this, that or the other. I just thank God I'm not the pope or a bishop. It's hard enough just being a plain old priest! In the end, it will all come out in the wash and we'll know which popes are in hell, which popes are saints (the currently unproclaimed ones) and where the Church took detours.

The Magisterium will be judged as will rank and file laity. Ireland and every local Church from the time of Christ to His second coming will be judged and the sheep and goats separated.

It will be a day of reckoning similar to what Moses would do on coming down from the mountain with the 10 Commandments only to find the Chosen People in a state of idolatry worshiping a golden calf. 


The Catholic Church is getting smaller. Fewer births, more departures and confusion reigns on what is essential to believe and what isn't. The cafeteria isn't quite closed.

One thing is for sure, we can't force Catholics to have more children, to stop leaving, to end the confusion and to close the cafeteria. We can't control Catholics. This is hard for control freaks to understand.

I've lived in Georgia for 58 or my 61 years. I've always experienced the Catholic Church as small minority. We never had power.

But as a small minority, we did and do have a spiritual impact in our Georgia communities.

Souls are being saved while some choose the way of damnation.

Good works are being accomplished on an institutional level within parishes and by individual Catholics in the public square.

Maybe this will have to do. It will have to do whether we like it or not. We can't control things.

Tuesday, May 26, 2015


John Nolan quotes Archbishop Annibale Bugnini as saying:

'We must strip from our Catholic prayers and from the Catholic liturgy everything which can be the shadow of a stumbling block for our separated brethren, that is for the Protestants.'

But Former Father PI states that John Nolan's version of the translation is prejudiced. In reality, Archbishop Annibale Bugnini said the following:

"And yet it is the love of souls and the desire to help in any way the road to union of the separated brethren, by removing every stone that could even remotely constitute an obstacle or difficulty, that has driven the Church to make even these painful sacrifices."

I suspect that Former PI is giving us the literal translation of what Archbishop Bugnini wrote. Therefore if this is true we should all despise it as those who despise the new and glorious literal translation of the English Roman Missal.

I suspect too, that what John Nolan presents is an equivalent translation of the Italian original. If so we should all love it as equivalency is so touted by those who hate literal translations.

I am grateful to form PI for pointing out the obvious and that we should all love the equivalent version.

I saw this comment at another internet site that captures very well the essence or equivalent of what I am saying:

Hehe. So Archbishop Bugnini's defenders are objecting to the fact that the quote attributed to him all these years appears to have been translated into English by someone from the 70's era of the ICEL.

And they're mad as heck that the translation isn't remotely precise. Oh the irony!

Ironic too that his critics used a sloppy dynamic equivalence for all these years. You can't make this stuff up!


Jesus was not successful in the eyes of the world. He was murdered after all. The  early Church wasn't successful either, it was martyred. And her mission thus far hasn't been too successful, lots of Catholics are destined for hell. This also implies Jesus' cross and resurrection wasn't too successful either in this regard.

Thus we have to take the following commentary from the Irish independent with a grain of salt. But I have to say, having grown up in a period of un-ecumenical anti-Catholicism in the south, this commentary sounds like religious bigotry toward the Church, not Christian, non-Catholic bigotry, but secular bigotry that almost rivals the infamous "Chic" publications.

The Church is not going to get people to come back to her by watering down the Faith. These people have joined a new religion and they are quite content. The Catholic Church has never been pure, we have always been sinners, big sinners. So we might be a smaller Church because some of us sinners have left for a new religion but we will never be a purer Church, ever!

I do believe we have to have a better apologetic about how we call out sinners. Calling people by the sins they commit isn't a good hermeneutic at all and it is off-putting. Someone may commit sodomy and this isn't a sin just of homosexuals, by the way, but is it necessary to call them sodomites?

Someone may commit masturbation, but do we have to call them masturbatorites? These two epitaphs go to a specific aspect of their sin and is descriptive of the sin and sinner. Whereas when we call someone a thief or adulterer or fornicator, we don't name the specific sin in the name calling but generally indicate that they have broken the moral law by stealing (we don't know if it is an armed robbery or simply taking a paper clip from work, the same with adulterer and fornicator, we don't name the specific sin just the general category).  So we don't call heterosexuals who commit fornication by the type of sin of fornication they commit, like coitusites or, heavy-pettingites or whatever the sex act might be.

So we need to be more gentle in our language. But lets face it, we can't keep everyone in the Church if they simply don't love the Church, respect her or believe what she teaches. How can we? That would undermine the gift of free will that God has given them that is a great gift with great responsibilities and consequences.

Here is the Irish Commentary  from the Irish Independent. This commentary tells us what we are up against.

An out-of-touch church must address its obsession with 'sexual morality'

Minister for Health, Leo Varadkar TD and Archbishop of Dublin Diarmuid Martin, at the opening of St. Francis Hospice Blanchardstown, shakes hands with Archbishop of Dublin Diarmuid Martin a day after the landslide referendum result Open Gallery 2
Minister for Health, Leo Varadkar TD and Archbishop of Dublin Diarmuid Martin, at the opening of St. Francis Hospice Blanchardstown, shakes hands with Archbishop of Dublin Diarmuid Martin a day after the landslide referendum result
Archbishop Diarmuid Martin is right that the Catholic Church needs a "reality check" in the wake of the landslide marriage equality referendum result, but the State also needs a reality check when it comes to its reliance on the church for the provision of education.

The notion that it took the decisive result of the marriage equality referendum for senior members of the church to grasp that it is no longer relevant in the lives of young people is a sad indictment of its remoteness from the lives of the people it purports to represent.

In truth, alarm bells should have been ringing for the church as far back as 1973, when the Supreme Court found married couples had a right to use contraceptives - even if the church and the State, which were then virtually indistinguishable, disagreed.

Instead, it has opted to ignore the massive societal changes that have occurred in Ireland in the intervening four decades, leading it to its current sorry impasse of irrelevance and decay.
Throughout the referendum campaign none of its members made any reference to their fundamental religious opposition to the proposal, preferring to frame their argument in dubious sociological terms.

Why? Because they knew reminding people that the Catholic faith considers gay sex immoral, and same-sex marriage a perversion of the institution, would not win over many voters.

This strategy was diverted from only once, when Breda O'Brien told the 'Sunday Independent' she believes gay people "should abstain from sex - like all unmarried couples".

Of course, seeing as she doesn't believe in same-sex marriage, what she was prescribing for gay people was a lifetime devoid of sexual intimacy. The benefits of living a celibate life would be, she said, "knowing that you are loved by God and that you are valued" - seeming to imply gay people in sexual relationships are neither loved by God nor valued.

This kind of dogmatism is something that a majority of Irish people, no matter what their religious persuasion, are no longer willing to countenance. The Catholic Church may believe that homosexuality is a moral disorder but people don't see their gay friends or family members as in any way deviant or their relationships as in any way disordered.

Therein lies the problem for the Catholic Church. It is peddling 19th century teachings about sexual ethics in a 21st century world and an increasing number of people are no longer willing to listen to disparaging descriptions of gay people as being somehow sexually sick.

This is particularly the case when those lectures are coming from an institution that facilitated and covered up the rape and abuse of children over many decades, leaving it with no moral authority when it comes to preaching about sexuality.

What the church is really facing is an existential crisis with itself - between its bipolar liberal and conservative wings, the former pleading for change and the latter opposed to any variation in its stance. Between people like former President Mary McAleese, who doesn't see any discord between her faith and her support of same-sex marriage, and the Iona Institute's John Murray, who believes Catholics who voted Yes have effectively renounced their faith.

However, even Archbishop Diarmuid Martin, pilloried by the religious right as a liberal dilettante in thrall to the media, doesn't seem to fully grasp the enormity of the challenge the church faces.

Speaking in the wake of the Yes campaign victory, he said, "the church has a huge task in front of it to find the language to be able to talk to and to get its message across to young people" - but the language is not the problem, it is the message.

While Pope Francis has recently softened the language the church uses to discuss gay people, the underlying teaching, that homosexuality is a disorder, remains the same and there is no indication that it is likely to change any time soon.

But the church has changed its stance on moral issues before, as prominent Catholic intellectual John T Noonan documented in his book, 'A Church That Can and Cannot Change'.

In it, he describes the volte face the church has done on a number of issues - like its former acceptance of slavery as part of the natural order of things or its view of religious intolerance as a moral imperative - and argues that the impetus for change back then came from prominent Catholic thinkers and leaders.

It is time for those kinds of leaders to again challenge the status quo position and question whether the church's obsession with issues of sexual morality are really a fundamental core of its ideology or merely a relic of a prurient past.
As the church embarks on some soul searching, it is also time for the State to evaluate whether it can continue to defend its wholesale delegation of the provision of primary education to the church - particularly when church teaching on a range of different social issues is so divorced from majority public opinion.

The Catholic Church currently controls 92pc of primary schools, in which an integrated curriculum that states "a religious spirit should inform and vivify the whole work of the school" operates. This means that children who do not share the religious denomination of the school cannot escape its ethos, even if they're excused from religion classes, because it pervades the whole school day.

In a modern State which seeks to defend the principle of freedom of religion, how can the State continue to effectively be complicit in the attempted indoctrination of children who are forced to attend religious-run schools because there is no non-denominational option?

This does not mean that religious schools should be abolished, it simply means that the State must provide a real choice to parents so that they no longer feel that they have to get their children baptised in order to secure them a school place.

The Catholic Church does not have any special preferred position in the Constitution, compared to other religious faiths, so the State's continued attitude of deference to the church when it comes to the provision of education is an anachronism that has to be addressed.

Irish Independent


Catholic or Lutheran?
Was the Mass redesigned to appeal to Protestants? I would say yes given my seminary education in the 1970's. In fact John Nolan proves this to be the case by quoting the primary architect of the revised Mass:

'We must strip from our Catholic prayers and from the Catholic liturgy everything which can be the shadow of a stumbling block for our separated brethren, that is for the Protestants.'

Annibale Bugnini, L'Osservatore Romano, 19 March 1965.

Personally, I don't think this is entirely a wrong approach although it did lead to a deformation of the Mass as celebrated in rank and file parishes to this day. This fact is a result of not reading the black and doing the red but instead of being sloppy, banal and careless with the Mass especially when it comes to music and indiscriminate selections of lay ministries for the Mass with little or no real training. 

I can remember when I first got to the seminary having a heated discussion with another seminarian who thought we should not call ourselves Catholic anymore as it was too divisive when it came to reuniting Christianity. We should simply call ourselves Christian or the Christian Church.

Inter-communion became the norm and individual priests often made the decision to be magnanimous in inviting our separated brethren to the table of the Lord. In my previous parish I gave permission to a neighboring parochial vicar to celebrate the wedding Mass of one of his parishioners at my ornate downtown church. I just happened to be in the sacristy at the time of Holy Communion to hear him state to the congregation that anyone was free to come to Holy Communion at this joyous ecumenical event. Of course he even gave Holy Communion to the non-Catholic spouse. To say the least, he was not given permission by me to celebrate any more weddings or funerals at my parish church.

But I have to admit that the English Mass does make weddings and funerals more intelligible for non-Catholics. In fact in my southern parishes there are usually more Protestants in attendance at our weddings and funerals than there are Catholics. In fact I have had funeral Masses where the deceased and altar servers were the  only Catholics present at the Mass and the Church was full.

The English Mass was at least understandable to them in language even if the Protestants don't really get the mystical aspect of the Mass. But let's keep in mind that prior to the Council Protestant were converting to the Catholic Church in great numbers and appreciated the more complicated Latin Mass of that period. It was not a stumbling block to converts although to those who had no desire to become Catholic it didn't matter what language or how stripped down the Mass could be, they weren't becoming Catholic period!

Pope Francis is very suspicious of theologians and regularly denigrates them. He thinks ecumenism will come about at the grass roots. I thinks so too, but not in worship necessarily, but how Catholics relate to Protestants in the world.

On the institutional level ecumenism is best carried out in helping the poor through cooperative ministries. It is not occurring in worship, doctrine or morals. In fact we are further apart today than we were in the 1960's prior to the Council in these areas. And the reason for this is that Protestants have moved away from us even as we tried to move closer to them.

The ecumenism of tea and crumpets of the officials of the Church is a miserable failure. Annual conventions and workshops that these so-called ecumenists attend at diocesan expense have accomplished nada, nothing but good manners in social settings and a heady exchange if ideas and speeches not to mention some educational opportunities. I'm with the pope of this one, what uselessness!

Monday, May 25, 2015


It seems that there are two pastoral aspects of the Second Vatican Council that have not served rank and file Catholicism well, not so much because the idea is dated and flawed, maybe, maybe not, but because rank and file Catholics did not understand that one has to be truly committed Catholicism with deeply committed beliefs in what the Church teaches, how the Church prays and what the Church's worldview is to participate and dialogue properly with these two pastoral aspects of Vatican II.

What are these two pastoral aspects of VII?

1. Ecumenism and interfaith dialogue
2. Dialogue with the world

It did not have to happen, but these two pastoral aspects of Vatican II led many Catholic, maybe a majority to view the called for dialogue as a capitulation to the world and to protestantism as well as an egalitarian approach to other religions, a sort of recovery of the heresy of universalism.

For my purposes, I will speak of Catholics becoming secularists, the logical outcome of an uncritical dialogue with the world and Catholics who either become Protestant or Orthodox out of a false sense that these two schisms were justified and that Protestantism and Orthodoxy preserve elements of the Church lost by Catholicism. However, I will focus more on protestant capitulation rather than  Catholics swimming eastward.

The unbridled ecumenism of the 1960's saw the birth of the Pentecostal Protestant movement in the Catholic Church, what is known as Catholic charismatics. At its core it is Protestant focused on Scripture and personal emotional experiences of God. It is non-sacramental in other words.

It had an immense impact in the USA. More virulent forms of Pentecostalism has nearly destroyed true Catholic identity in South America where the Catholic Church caters to pentecostal sensibilities in worship and manner of being Church.

We see Protestant converts only partially converting but still harboring great suspicion towards the clergy and hierarchy of the Church especially the pope. Many of these types comment here. Their conversion was only partial.

The unbridled dialogue with the world has led to the more insidious deformation of Catholicism as made horribly clear in Ireland. It is secularism embraced by Catholics who still have a veneer of Catholicism but a very thin veneer. It is worse than the protestantization of Catholicism as it is a step toward, if not a complete capitulation to godless secularism born of agnosticism or atheism.

True Catholicism is lost in the process. This loss started with Vatican II but was fueled by the rupture in Catholic identity that the wrong interpretation and implementation of a pastoral council wrought on the Church beginning as soon as the documents of Vatican II were released beginning withthe one on the liturgy and then perverted in the implementation of the Council, not in continuity with the Church's great heritage but in a complete rupture striving to design a different Catholicism from that which had preceded the council.


What Ireland did on Friday in showing the world that a popular vote landslide could lead to the approval of same sex marriage tells us in some ways what is wrong with the post-Vatican II Church today. There has been an over correction in tactics of leadership from authoritarianism (not to be confused with authoritativeness) to a wishy-washy Catholicism that lacks it edginess, authority or even convinceability.

However, there are two good commentaries on the Irish Church's decline and near fall. The first is built on the authoritarianism of the Irish Church enshrined in government that usually leads to anti-clericalism when politics and religion are too intertwined and viewed as limiting the freedom of the populace that doesn't believe everything the Catholic Church teaches. Civil law supports Church law and this causes resentment. It would be like Sharia Law imposed upon Americans who aren't Muslim and even the Muslims might not appreciate it being a part of secular law.

I know that my Italian mother thought it was a good thing when Italy finally allowed civil divorce which the Church had successfully defeated until a popular voters' uprising. My mom said that many good-for-nothing Italian men had left their wives and families and were living with their significant other and got away with it legally. In other words abandonment was allowed in the law and the offending party didn't have to offer support to his family.

This also caused a serious anti-clericalism in Italy when the Church involved herself too much in Italian politics like the Muslims do in their own Muslim countries.

The other commentary points to a loss of Catholic Faith and the vacuum filled not by evangelical Protestantantism as in South America, but by godless secularism.

Here are the two commentaries:

'We're next' says Italy after Irish gay marriage vote

Positive reaction to overturning of Catholic church's hold on Ireland may have knock-on effect elsewhere

People march during the annual Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) Pride Parade in Turin, on June 28, 2014
LGBT Pride Parade in Turin in 2014. Italy now is the only Western European country that does not recognize either same sex marriage or civil unions. Photo: AFP/Getty
Ireland's historic vote in favour of same sex marriage reverberated across Italy on Sunday, as Prime Minister Matteo Renzi's lieutenants came out in force to call for fast-track passage of a stymied civil partnership law.
Socially conservative Italy now is the only Western European country that does not recognize either same sex marriage or civil unions. But that the Irish referendum garnered an unexpectedly strong 62 per cent "Yes" vote in such a deeply Catholic country rallied backers of the Italian law, which has been languishing in parliament for months.
Several editorials on Sunday suggested that such a referendum in Italy would have a similar outcome, recalling the divorce referendum in 1974, when 60 percent of Italian voters went against the wishes of the Catholic church on a major social issue.
La Repubblica reported Mr Renzi confided privately that in the wake of the Ireland vote the question of civil unions in Italy can no longer be put off. Many of his key cabinet members and key party allies spoke out in favor of swift passage of the proposed legislation.

Roberto Speranza said it was now Italy's turn (AFP/Getty)
"What joy," said Roberto Speranza, leader of Mr Renzi's centre-left Democratic Party of the result. "Now it is Italy's turn." "The moment has arrived, finally, to approve this before the summer's end," said Democratic Senator Andrea Marcucci.
"Ireland is giving us a lesson in civility," said gay Italian politician Nichi Vendola, president of the Apulia region since 2005.
Laura Boldrini, speaker of the Italian Chamber of Deputies, said Ireland was giving Italy a much-needed push forward. "It is time that Italy has a civil unions law," Ms. Boldrini said on Twitter. "To be European means to recognize rights."
• Ireland's love for its gay children won out over fears for 'family'

The crowd in Dublin celebrates the referendum result on Saturday (EPA)
Ireland is the 13th EU country to recognize gay marriage. Many countries, such as Germany, allow civil partnerships but are yet to allow marriage, while Cyprus, Greece and most of Eastern Europe do not recognize any form of same sex union.
The vote in Ireland crowned a dramatic shift in public attitudes towards homosexuality and a wide range of other social issues as the Roman Catholic church's once-firm grip on the country weakens.
There was soul-searching in churches across the country after the vote in favour of changing the 1937 constitution specifically to allow same-sex marriage was declared passed, with a vote of 62.1 per cent in favour, on Saturday.

Archbishop Diarmuid Martin says there's a "growing gap between Irish young people and the Church" (AFP/Getty)
The Archbishop of Dublin, Diarmuid Martin, described the vote against church teaching on gay marriage as "overwhelming" and said Catholic leaders needed "urgently" to find a new way to speak to the country's young.
"It's a social revolution," he said. "The church needs to do a reality check right across the board."
He said that some church figures who argued in the "No" camp came across as "harsh, damning and unloving, the opposite of their intention".
"Have we drifted completely away from young people?" he said. "Most of those people who voted 'yes' are products of our Catholic schools for 12 years."

After being honoured with the Tipperary International Peace Award on Sunday, Ban Ki-moon said the landmark referendum giving equal rights to same-sex couples was a truly historic moment (PA)
The vote is likely to have a knock-on effect elsewhere, particularly in Catholic-majority countries. It was also welcomed by Ban Ki-moon, the United Nations secretary-general.

"This is a truly historic moment: Ireland has become the first country in the world to approve marriage equality in a nationwide referendum," he said.

"The result sends an important message to the world: All people are entitled to enjoy their human rights no matter who they are or whom they love."

Italy's proposed civil partnership law – based on the German model - gives same sex couples many of the same rights as married couples, as well as the option of stepchild adoption, which allows a partner the possibility of adopting the biological child of the other partner. But the law is stuck in a Senate committee, where it has been bombarded with 4,320 amendments and is currently being rewritten with careful language that does not mention marriage.

Many of the roadblocks to the law have been thrown up by the far-right Northern League and the New Centre Right party of Angelino Alfano, which remain steadfast in their opposition to the adoption of children by same sex couples, the right for same sex partners to each other's pensions or a union that resembles marriage. "In our country we need to identify a path for civil unions that at the same time is not the same as marriage," said NCR's Fabrizio Cicchitto.

Pope Francis remained silent on the Irish vote during his Pentecost Sunday address (SIPA/Shutterstock/ Rex Features)
How the Vatican will respond to the social shift underway is as yet unclear. Pope Francis remained silent on the Irish vote during his Pentecost Sunday address, while comments by some senior Catholic clergy suggested the Church was reeling from the result.

"Many times the Catholic Church in Italy has said it is one thing to respect legitimate rights of every person, but it is another to speak of gay marriage," said Sicilian Archbishop Michele Pennisi in La Repubblica. But at least one senior Catholic cleric in Ireland now disagrees, saying the outcome of the vote was a message that the Church needs a "reality check. "

"I appreciate how gay and lesbian men and women feel on this day," said Diarmuid Martin, the archbishop of Dublin. "That they feel this is something that is enriching the way they live I think it is a social revolution."

While Pope Francis has in the past stressed that the Church continues to regard marriage as being a union between a man and a woman, he has also asked senior Church leaders to study the reasons why many countries continue to legalise same sex marriages.

Father Timothy Radcliffe is an outspoken proponent of gay rights (Nick Cornish)

In Latin America, where Catholic traditions and conservative governments tend to be anti-gay, Brazil, Uruguay, the Pope's native Argentina and the Federal District of Mexico City have passed laws allowing same sex marriages. Last week, the Pope appointed a liberal Dominican priest, Father Timothy Radcliffe, as consultor for the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace. The Englishman is an outspoken proponent of gay rights – another sign, some say, that Pope Francis is showing willingness to take a more inclusive stance on the issue.

And here is the commentary concerning the loss of Christian Faith altogether:

Secularism has filled the vacuum left by the decline of Irish Catholicism
Saturday’s vote for same-sex marriage in Ireland is one for the history books. It’s the first time a country has legalised gay marriage by popular vote.

The question on everyone’s lips is: what changed Catholic Ireland into a post-religious country where gay marriage has been enshrined in law by the will of the majority of people?

The vastly diminished role of the Church has left an elephantine emptiness in Irish life. One very important factor is how ashamed many Irish people feel about the sexual abuse crisis. Perhaps the people who ought to feel that shame are the guilty priests and nuns. But Benedict XVI was right, in his book-long interview with Peter Seewald, when he pointed out that most Irish families had a member who had a vocation either as a priest or a nun. Therefore most Irish people felt very deeply the disgrace caused by the revelations of clerical sexual abuse. This was the case even if the priest or nun in a family was totally innocent.

Growing up in Ireland, I saw this first-hand, when a friend or acquaintance who had a brother who was a blameless priest, they would feel embarrassed to say that their sibling was a good priest, for fear that people would think they were “covering up”.

Humiliation and regret have gone hand in hand, and increasingly in the past few decades, the Irish, who have, by an average margin of two to one, legalised gay marriage, convinced themselves that if the Church was wrong, then the opposite of the Church’s teaching must be right.

When the Church lost power and influence in Irish life, that same power and influence was inherited by the forces of secularism. Have no doubt: the vacuum was filled by secularism: The Irish did not turn to another religion such as Pentecostal Christianity. When tens of thousands of people stopped practising as Catholics, they did not en masse convert to any other Christian denomination.

Jon Anderson hit the nail on head when he recently wrote: “Many Irish believe in Jesus in the same way that Hindus believe in Gandhi, an interesting historical figure.”

It’s not as simple as saying that the Irish have rejected the Catholic Church. It goes much deeper: the truth is that the majority have abandoned traditional Christianity and will not let it guide their choices and their way of life.

It’s a strange irony that the Irish constitution, dedicated to the Most Holy Trinity, will now enshrine same-sex marriage. An austere portrayal that even the most formally Catholic legal charters for a formally Catholic country can be usurped by secularism.