DISCUSS: (updated with a second letter I wrote for our bulletin in mid January)
In the last several bulletin letters I have been writing about Catholic identity. I would say that the basis of our Catholic identity, its foundation, is Jesus Christ and following the two greatest Commandments (which sum up all 10) the love of God (first three) and love of neighbor (last seven).
For Catholics, our identity is tied to the Sacraments beginning with Holy Baptism. The Holy Sacrifice of the Mass is the source and summit of our Catholic identity. It is for this reason the Church in her wisdom mandates that Catholics attend Mass each Sunday, even if they are not free to receive Holy Communion, and to keep holy the Lord’s Day by avoiding unnecessary labor. It should be a day of rest in other words.
Of course keeping Holy the Lord’s Day is based on the 3rd Commandment.
Pope Francis recently gave a marvelous homily at one of his daily Masses on the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass as it relates to the eternal High priesthood of Jesus Christ. This is what His Holiness said in part:
The priesthood of Christ takes place in three stages, the Pope said. The first is the redemption: while the priests of the Old Covenant had to offer sacrifices every year, “Christ offered Himself, once for all, for the forgiveness of sins (which is renewed in an eternal and non bloody way at every Mass).” With this marvel, “He has brought us to the Father… He has re-created the harmony of creation,” the Pope noted. The second wonder is what the Lord is doing now – that is, praying for us. “While we pray here, He is praying for us” “for each one of us,” Pope Francis emphasized: “now, living, before the Father, He intercedes,” so that the faith might not falter. How often, in fact, are priests asked to pray, the Pope said, because “we know that the prayer of the priest has a certain force, especially in the sacrifice of the Mass.” The third wonder will be when Christ returns; but this third time will not be in relation to sin, but rather, it will be “to establish the definitive Kingdom,” when He will bring all of us to the Father. (The Holy Sacrifice of the Mass points to this final reality as well).
Traditionally, the Catholic Mass has been noted for its sobriety in the manner in which it was celebrated. The personality of the priest and congregation were deemphasized in order to make Christ central. Music of the chant form was simple as well all meant to direct us to Christ whom we worship alone as He offers Himself to the Heavenly Father as both priest and victim once and for all.
I pray that all of us understand and appreciate the true nature of the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass and the redemption God accomplishes for us in the great Sacrifice of Christ, His Passion and Death. God bless you.
Father Allan J. McDonald
This Sunday we return to Ordinary Time with its green liturgical color. I have never liked the term “ordinary” to describe sacred time in the Catholic Church. Time after Epiphany or after Pentecost seems better to me.
But in Ordinary Time, we simply focus on the basics of our Catholic Faith as the liturgy presents it to us each Sunday. But way more importantly, we experience in the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, the means by which God makes possible our salvation from sin and damnation. That in and of itself should be sufficient for us during all sacred times of the year.
We live in a consumer culture and often we drag that consumerism into the Church. We expect to be satisfied with our relatives, our friends and our parishes. If we aren’t we shop around for something else that satisfies us. If we don’t like the music, we search for better music. If we don’t like the congregation, we look for people we do like.
I find it sad when we approach our Catholic faith as consumers. I know I am dating myself, but I was taught that no matter how poor the priest was in his mannerisms and way of celebrating the Mass, no matter how boring the homily or horrible the music, that in the Mass, Jesus Christ, the Son of God was present and His one Sacrifice of the Cross was made available to us in the present, in a timeless, eternal way. What more do we want!!!!?????
Don’t get me wrong. I think the priest should be good looking, hip, relating to everyone and always giving great homilies and in touch with the deepest needs of his congregation. He should run a parish that attracts the multitudes and satisfies all their needs.
But you know what? St. Utopia doesn’t exist in the Catholic Church or any of the myriad of non-denominational churches that exist here and elsewhere no matter how much they satisfy the consumer mentality. When we become like Walmart trying to attract customers by what we offer rather than present Jesus Christ who suffered and died for us and who calls us to take up our cross and follow him, we cease to be Catholic, we become bogus.
I pray that during the Ordinary Time of the Church’s calendar, we Catholics won’t be consumers of Catholicism but servants of Jesus Christ who leads us to eternal life. God bless you.
Fr. Allan J. McDonald
"I pray that all of us understand and appreciate the true nature of the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass and the redemption God accomplishes for us in the great Sacrifice of Christ, His Passion and Death."
Father, your assumption that we don't understand and appreciate the true nature of the Mass is disheartening.
Just because you are a priest doesn't give you an advantage in this. I think you should have more respect for the faith of the people and not assume that we are dummies and need you to teach us something we don't already know.
Not all of us, to include priests, understand the true nature of the Catholic Mass. And statistics show the troubling lack of understanding Catholics have of their Catholic Faith today. Not all certainly, but a significant number and there is quite a body of evidence to prove it starting first with the coloring book catechesis of the 1960's and 70's, the meltdown of religious education of that period the rotten fruit of which we continue to reap today.
Thank you Father. Miss these and so true.
Anon at 0805. It's a mystery and I promise you that none of us understand it.
I feel sorry for priests like you working hard to do the right thing in the midst of a failing Church which WILL NOT take corrective action, at least under this Papacy.
Vatican II was an unmitigated disaster, and you have to be a special kind of delusional person, to believe otherwise. You are quite right about the coloring book catechesis. I see the unfortunate consequences with my own siblings. My older brother and I were trained before the disaster hit, thank God. My younger siblings were "educated" during the midst of the coloring book era and are clueless as to what the Faith means or the nature of the the Mass.
I believe in the US we will see more and more parishes closing before we hit bottom. All of this was caused by the hubris of the 1960s. I could pick a better decade out of a hat.
Somehow Holy Church will recover but only when it rediscovers its faith based mission. The Church should not be a social services organisation but a spiritual services one. Unfortunately we have a Pope and a hierarchy who do not understand that. They are creatures of the 1960s hubris. I have stopped listening to them because there is "no there, there."
"I have stopped listening to them because there is "no there, there."
And, in doing so, you have ceased to be Catholic.
When was there a time when Catholics understood the true nature of the Mass?
Are there statistics that show that in, say, 1917 or 1817 or 1717, Catholics had a firmer grasp? Not anecdotes, data.
TJM Says, "My older brother and I were trained before the disaster hit, thank God."
Yet, TJM asserts, "I have stopped listening to them (pope and bishops) because there is "no there, there."
If you were properly trained, as you claim, you would know that your second statement is completely at odds with the True Faith and that, by ignoring the pope and bishops, you have stepped away from the Church.
Thanks for the laughs. When are YOU going to stopp supporting the Democratic Party which supports intrinsic evils? If not, YOU are no longer Catholic but a tragic apostate.
There is nothing wrong with tuning them out, it certainly does not place you outside the Church. If Rodrigo Borgia were Pope, would you be getting all misty eyed about his pronouncement? Or Boniface VIII perhaps?
I am preserving my Faith and my sanity by tuning them out. Better times await. The biological solution will be the Church's salvation! The malformed priests like you will soon be a part of a sad history.
By definition, a Catholic cannot preserve his faith by ignoring the Pope and bishops. By definition, that act is a departure from the Catholic Church.
Yes, the Catholic definition of schism (which can only be defined by the magisterium not individual Catholics acting as their own magisterium as Baptists are wont to do, is to separate themselves from the reigning Pope.
Anonymous, then when are you going to abjure the Democratic Party which supports intrinsic evil? Answer that. I find it interesting that apostates like you are all of a sudden interested in what Holy Church or a particular Pope has to say when you blatantly ignore matters like abortion and maintain your fealty to a political party that would destroy the Church if it could
Ignoring a confused (and confusing) Pope does not mean I am disregarding doctrine or Cathlic practice. Do you really think I have to give up air conditioning because of Laudatio Si, or that I should concur with giving Holy Communion to adulterers? Pope Francis seems to be advocating that. I am tuning out that as well as his left-wing political nonsense which has nothing to do with Catholic doctrine. I cannot take a Pontiff seriously who participates in a photo-op with left-wing murderers like Castro but who seems to have HUGE problems with a Democratically elected president of the US who is sympathetic to the Catholic Church unlike the Abortion Drooler who just left office.
If that's what you mean, we are in serious trouble.
TJM - You can't say, "I have stopped listening to them (pope and bishops) because there is "no there, there." and claim to be a part of the Catholic Church.
Ignoring the pope and bishops IS disregarding doctrine and Catholic practice.
You can keep trying to shift this to some tangential discussion of someone else's behavior. That's just what Adam did when he was questioned and what Eve did when she was questions.
It doesn't work now any better than it did then.
Please excuse my ignorance, but wasn't the Arian heresy of the 4th century one where some bishops were Arians, and some were Trinitarians. A person living at that time would necessarily have had to reject the teachings of one or the other bishop, depending on how they themselves discerned the truth. If one declared they would not listen to their bishop once they determined he was a heretic, you are saying it was THEY who separated themselves from the Church?
And are you saying that when we refuse to listen to what we (with well formed consciences based on the official Catechism of the Catholic Church) understand to be heresy, even from a bishop or (dare I say it, a Pope) WE are separating OURSELVES from the Catholic Church?
Hardly. That would indeed be legalism in it's most egregious form. Furthermore, we all know our own consciences supersede any Church law, right? ;-)
Good thing God is Spirit, and the Holy Spirit continues to strengthen and guide His people sometimes in spite of bad leaders, wolves in sheep's clothing, who speak heresy from their chair of authority.
Bee - The essential error in your post is "...when we refuse to listen to what we (with well formed consciences based on the official Catechism of the Catholic Church) understand to be heresy,..."
Your presumption is that each individual can determine what is or is not heresy, what is or is not Divinely Revealed Truth.
We, individually, can't. Hence, God has given us the Bishops of the Church who ALONE possess the charism (not the intelligence, not the well-formed consciences, not the ability to read the official Catechism of the Catholic Church) to teach.
If it is up to individuals with Consciences and Catechisms, then we have devolved into Protestantism which, in many cases, teaches and believes exactly what you have claimed as the basis for your "right" to ignore the bishops.
anonymous, you keep dodging your apostasy and you are now dodging Bee. You are a member of the Abortion Party, so you have ZERO credibility. When are YOU going to give a homily on Humanae Vitae or Transubstantiantion and condemn the intrinsic evils it supports with great pride? I would so hate to think YOU are a heretic.
Also, I am in the Cardinal Burke camp. When is the Pope going to man up and do his job and answer the dubia? I suspect he won't because an ecclesiastical trial may ensue in which he won't prevail
TJM - Again, I'm not the one who, as you have done, boldly proclaims that he has left the Church. " "I have stopped listening to them (pope and bishops) because there is "no there, there."
Fr. McDonald has pointed out the danger of your situation and you would do well to listen to his warning.
As long as you keep trying to divert attention from your apostasy, I will keep putting the spotlight back on you.
Anonymous @March 11, 2017 at 9:38 AM:
I understand what you are saying, but then you did not clarify what would have been the standing of people in the 4th century who lived within the diocese of an Arian bishop, but were sure the Trinitarian bishops were teaching true doctrine.
Please answer. This intrigues me.
Bee - We can speculate all we want about what people 1600 years ago should have done, might have done, could have done in the face of Arianism.
But that would be an exercise in speculation and a projection of today's theological and canonical understanding on the distant past. I don't think that is especially helpful or instructive since it is just speculation.
We don't have to speculate today when a "Catholic" says that he/she is going to ignore the pope and bishops. When a person takes that step and announces it publicly, that person has left the Faith
I have not left the Church, you have. You keep dancing around your apostasy, your adoration of the Abortion Party, your failure to re-affirm transubstantiation, Humanae Vitae, etc.
Have you given up air conditioning yet? Are you giving Holy Communion to adulturers?
So I am not letting a prevaricator like you off the hook. Answer my questions, or buzz off to Pray Sniff where fake catholics are welcome!
TJM, I think Kavanaugh has gone Anonymous.
TJM - No, your decision to ignore the pope and bishops takes you out of the Church.
You have been warned of the consequences.
Anonymous @ March 12, 2017 at 5:42 AM
Oh, so you dodged the question. I was asking sincerely. So I will ask more clearly.
If the Arian heresy were happening today, and I were living in a diocese under an Arian bishop, and I was convinced the Trinitarian bishops had the truth, what should be my attitude and stance toward my bishop whom I believe is in error in his teaching?
Anonymous at 6:42,
I find it precious to be chided by a heretic. How's your Abortion Party doing these days? Have you figured out Transubstantiation yet?
Fake catholics always dodge the question. You are being played by a lefty loon, ignore him.
TJM - The Church figured that out centuries ago. You, however, remain separated from the Church. Take care...
Anonymous Kavanaugh, still dodging. LOL at YOU!
YOUR Party at work!!!!
"I have stopped listening to them (pope and bishops) because there is "no there, there."
YOUR words, not someone else's, not some party's words...
Since you are an adherent of the Abortion Party you have no credibility
TJM - The only person whose credibility is in question is yours.
You stated "I have stopped listening to them (pope and bishops) because there is "no there, there."
That places you outside the Church. You have become an "independent" protestant.
I would have to disagree about TJM being Protestant or schismatic at this point as the only one who could declare him to be in schism is his bishop if he begins to gather around him people who oppose their bishop and the pope and set up shop as an "independent" protestant cult.
However, I would agree that Catholics who are in full communion with the Church love and respect the pope and bishops in union with him and in the areas of faith, morals and canon law are obedient as these are tied to the 4th Commandment.
It complicates the sin of breaking the 4th Commandment to encourage others to do so. Thus mortal sin becomes even more serious.
In terms of non magisterial teachings or opinions voiced by the pope in interviews, a Catholic may disagree with this, that or the other but must do so in a respectful way free of rage and anger.
The black hole that TJM has a tendency to jump into, is the old Protestant canard of congregationalism, such as Protestant's of a non hierarchical ilk who break away from their pastor and form a new congregation if some disagreement develops.
Also Baptists tend to think of themselves as the final authority is interpreting the Bible. Catholics become "baptist" when they do the same especially with the Deposit of Faith.
there is a post-Vatican II corruption, which TJM has fallen into, of thinking the laity can usurp the rightful and canonical role of the pope, the bishop or the local pastor if some disagreement occurs and that they can gather others around their point of view thus causing strife and division in the parish/diocese or universal Church.
For example TJM has the tendency to excommunicate those with whom he disagrees calling them faux or false Catholics. In this he has no authority whatsoever. Only a bishop or the pope can excommunicate or place a censure against a Catholic who goes against the true Catholic Faith, a large part of which is respect for rightful authority in the Church, meaning the pope and bishops in union with him.
No ordinary priest or lay person can declare anyone a heretic. Only the pope can.
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