Sunday, January 16, 2011

Ut unum sint

These words, taken from the Holy Gospel according to St John, Chapter XVII, are also the basis of John Paul II's Encyclical Letter on Christian Unity. Christ desires, as this Gospel passage explicitly states, that His followers be ONE.
As we begin the week of prayer for Christian Unity, it is of note that three newly ordained Priests celebrated their First Masses today, having been ordained yesterday. There were, perhaps other men ordained to the Priesthood yesterday, but these three are of note to the Universal Church because they heard the call of Christ ut unum sint. These men followed the call of Christ, wherever it led them, counting not the cost. Until recent months, these three had been Bishops of the Anglican Communion. It could not have been easy for these men to have accepted the teaching of Leo XIII in Apostolicae Curae that Anglican Orders are null and void. Hearing the call of Christ to come to His Church is not without cost. For these men, this must have been a cross, which they nobly took up and carried.
The Holy Father, in his letter Anglicanorum Coetibus, has followed the imitation of St John the Baptist in today's Gospel, pointing the way to Christ. His Holiness has opened the way for those who have realized that Christ has called them into Communion with Him and His Church. His Apostolic Letter was a response to the request of many in the various Anglican Ecclesial Communion, who desired full, corporate communion with the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church. Those Anglicans have realized that the ecclesial community that they love has gone off course from the Christian tradition in its many controversial ordinations over the last 30 years. Each has reached his own point of no return. For some it was the "ordination" of women to the "priesthood" -- the Anglican official position is that the priesthood is a ministry of word and sacrament -- not a sacrificing priesthood. I.e., they don't intend to ordain Priests in the way the Catholic Church does. That aside, many who identified themselves as Anglo-Catholics believe as Catholics. They accepted the Catholic teaching, and then were confronted with the "ordination" of women in the 1970s in Philadelphia, PA. For those who accepted that, like some from my own family who were Anglican, the ordination of the "Philadelphia Eleven" -- Eleven women who were "irregularly ordained" in the Episcopal Church USA [ECUSA] in 1974, was considered a fringe (originally invalid according to the ECUSA) movement. In 1976 (see same citation timeline) the ECUSA decided that no one was to be refused admission to orders on the basis of sex. In 1989, the first female Episcopal bishop was ordained. At that point others found that the line had been crossed, and "Swam the Tiber", i.e., converted to Catholicism. Then came Vicki Jean Robinson, an openly practicing homosexual bishop., then came the election of Schori as first female Presiding Bishop of the ECUSA. Interesting enough, in the UK, there are no female bishops, so when Schori "celebrated the Eucharist" over there, she was conceded that she could carry her mitre in procession, but could not wear it! Now, in the UK they are talking about female bishops, and this has been the breaking point for still more.
This does produce a bit of a snowball effect as the more traditionally minded are leaving the Church of England, thus abandoning her to the less traditionally minded. The Oxford Movement had strong influence on the so-called Anglo-Catholics. These are they who wish to adhere to the liturgical patrimony of England, and who tend to think more as Catholics than Protestants. My maternal grandparents were in such a group. They would never have identified themselves as Protestant (even though the official name of their church at the time was The Protestant Episcopal Church of America). This same movement was a great influence in the life of Blessed John Henry Cardinal Newman, who also eventually converted.
At any rate, it is with great joy that Holy Mother Church welcomes these new sons (and their families) to her bosom. With equal joy, we, the faithful welcome these new Fathers in Christ and pray that God will bless their ministry in the Ordinariate of Our Lady of Walsingham with much fruit.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

A Year of Lasts

We have entered into a year of lasts. Every Sunday, every Feast, we celebrate the Holy Mass in the English of the Ordinary Form, we use the lame-duck ICEL translation for those Proper Texts for the last time. Never again will we have to hear the prayer, for instance, of the First Sunday of Advent in the dumbed-down translation.
There are stories out that the CDW - Congregation of Divine Worship and Discipline of the Sacraments - has "tweaked" the translation from the gray-book that was produced. Some say their changes are not improvements. Well, we have no where to go but up from the current translation. Fr Z has commentary and translations that are good -- see his blog for more.
Today is the Feast of Saint Andrew the Apostle. Traditionally the prayer in honor of the birth of Christ begins today (perhaps last night to make a total of 27 days, a triple-novena). The text of the prayer is:
Hail and blessed be the hour and moment in which the Son of God was born of the most pure Virgin Mary, at midnight, in Bethlehem, in piercing cold. In that hour, vouchsafe, O my God, to hear my prayer and grant my desires, (here mention specific intention of Novena) through the merits of Our Saviour Jesus Christ, and of His Blessed Mother. Amen.
The St Andrew Novena is said fifteen times each night beginning on the Feast of St Andew (again, it probably began after First Vespers of the Feast, which was celebrated until the simplification of the Liturgy in 1960-61 by John XXIII). If one begins on the eve of St Andrew's Feast, through Christmas Night, it comprises 27 days of a triple-Novena.
Happy Advent!

Friday, November 12, 2010

Wow! Has it been that long?

I guess I've been busy or uninspired or something. I haven't posted in over a year! Where do I start?

Things are moving along here. Nice to have one's own place! That said, I have discovered lately that it is of little consolation to us who are living in the other 5% of the country that AT&T Mobility covers 95% of the country. I'm asking myself why I need to buy a $150 microcell in order to use the phone!

It's been a long year in some ways. The struggle of getting a building project off the ground when some are interested in functionalism... They wonder why it is that we can't just build a church that is an aluminum structure. They wonder why it should be shaped like a cross (i.e., cruciform); it costs too much money to have all of those angles, they say. Are they serious? Do they really think the House of God and Gate of Heaven should be modeled after a barn????

Then, there's the whole issue of wondering why we can't build the church on the outskirts of town, where there's more land. Yeah there's more land because it's not populated! The idea is that people can easily get to the church, so it should be in (or as close a possible to) the center of town. By the way, the ones who want it on the outskirts are not the ones who come outside of Sunday! There is daily Mass folks, as well as the possibility of adoring our Lord and King present in the Tabernacle!

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Cooperation with Evil

In the last entry reference was made to cooperation with evil. What is that? How much is OK? Is it a sin for me to support a business that supports evil? All of these are questions that arise in the discussion.
To understand the morality of this issue, one must first look at the basis of morality. Too often morality has been seen in terms of can I do this and get away with it, i.e., Is this a sin. The true question one should ask oneself (and Christ) is, What more must I do to become holy? In other words, simply avoiding mortal sin is not good enough. It does not truly give God the glory He deserves. It is true, that if one manages to remain in a state of grace at the time of death, one is saved. I, for one, do not want to hear a list of things that I did to cooperate with evil and have only the defense, but that didn't constitute a mortal sin, did it?
Now, Satan has seen to it that we can scarcely avoid cooperating with evil in one way or the other. Often times we are left with choices between two or more goods, all of which cooperate with evil to one degree or another. That is the time where one has to choose the path of least cooperation with evil (we don't ever choose "the lesser of two evils" but rather the greater good or that which limits evil the most).
When one has the opportunity not to cooperate with evil at all, one should choose not to cooperate with evil at all. Even if the degree of cooperation is not such as to constitute the grave matter of a mortal sin, still, one should not electively cooperate with evil. Having just received my copy of the Boycott List from Life Decisions International, it is my intention to avoid cooperating with evil by avoiding patronizing corporations that give money to Planned Parenthood. When I have to lodge somewhere for the night, I will not stay at a hotel owned by a corporation that has given its sponsorship to Planned Parenthood. There are hotel from which to choose that do not, at least according to LDI's research, fund abortion. Sadly, Marriott, for whom I worked for over five years, has chosen to give to PP. Goodbye old friend. I have always preferred your lodging because I know it will be up to standards. Alas, I have found other places that have standards in their rooms and in the company they keep.
While Nike may mean victory in Greek, they have lost my business. There are other shoe companies that do not support the wanton slaughter of innocents with their money. Bank of America already earned my distrust when they posted a payment two days after they cashed the check from my account, conveniently late enough to charge me $35 for late payment. Their support of Planned Parenthood is over the top. Sadly other large banks have joined in as well. I'll be paying off the Chase card and shredding it. Wachovia and Wells-Fargo won't be getting my business either.
Now, there comes the sticky issue -- those companies or non-profit organizations (non-prophet?) that support Planned Parenthood and Embryonic stem cell research (in spite of the mounting evidence that it is a dead-end road). Some, in part may be because they do not themselves understand what it means to cooperate with evil. The Susan G Komen foundation (Race for the Cure), for instance, claims that it only paid for mamography services. It is sad that she would have anything to do with Planned Parenthood on the basis of their abortion record alone. What makes it ludicrous is that they are also one of the largest purveyors of artificial contraception in the county. HELLO! Have they not seen the research linking artificial contraception to breast, cervical, uterin, and ovarian cancer????? Why not just pay the fox to make sure the henhouse has not security problems! I am guessing that the American Cancer Society will have the same explanation [apologia] for their fund-giving. Did I tell you the devil was involved?? We are given the choice between helping these organizations raise money for cancer research, knowing that some percentage of it will go to Planned Parenthood? Fortunately, there are cancer centers that one can support without getting one's hand's stained with fetal blood.
There are a host of not-for-profit organizations that support embryonic stem cell research. In fact, if you name the disease, there probably is an organization on the list that thinks it would be OK to kill a few babies if it brings about a cure to their particular ailment. Is this not unbelievable? Michael J Fox, whom I used to respect, has a foundation in his name that thinks killing babies to cure Parkinson's is acceptable. There are organizations that want to kill babies for a cure for diabetes, cancers (many organizations, as there are many cancers), etc.
On the What-the-frak front, Save the Children, and the Council of Churches have both given money to PP. Then there's UNICEF -- Yes, I remember going around door-to-door asking people for money for UNICEF (thank you, Sister). Yep, they support (advocate) abortion and birth control.
The list is huge, and I recommend everyone go to the web site of Life Decisions International. Become a partner with them by donating. You'll receive a list, which will also help you to partner with them by letter writing and boycotting. For my part, I intend to the best of my ability, not to support any corporation or non-profit organization that has supported Planned Parenthood or embryonic stem cell research in any way. It will only be when people get the message out there that any contact with evil such as that taints an organization so badly as to make it unapproachable, that these organizations will back away from Planned Parenthood and embryonic stem cell research. When they back away, we will see improvements, because PP will run out of funds.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Distortions of Christianity

Well, the newest in the series of films about the witch-boy Harry has come out. Once again our young people who have been poorly catechized will be misled. Then Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger, in 2003, wrote to a German scholar who had written a book about the problems and dangers of the Harry Potter series. He told her, "It is good that you enlighten people about Harry Potter, because those are subtle seductions, which act unnoticed and by this deeply distort Christianity in the soul, before it can grow properly."
It seems pretty clear to most clear-thinking individuals where the current Roman Pontiff, now gloriously reigning, stands on the series. It is obvious that the series is dangerous to the formation of souls, especially of the young, but also of others who have not been thoroughly catechized (read here: those raised since 1965). It is clear that things such as the witches seen celebrating Christian holidays sends the message that Christianity and the black arts are not opposed.
It is also clear that the woman who wrote these stories is herself completely comprimised as far as Christian Moral teaching is concerned. Otherwise, she would not have made the big announcement last year that one of the big protagonists in the story suffers from same-sex attractions (SSA). Of course, having been compromised by modernism, she doesn't see his SSA as a problem, but just a different expression (much as witchcraft is just a different expression of Christianity in her world-view). Some have it, others don't ("muggles" or some such name is attatched to those who don't or can't practice the arts of Satan). Sounds like the "mundanes" of the world of Babylon-5 (which was infinitely more entertaining).
Now, having belonged to a gym that played movies in the cardio room, I have actually witnessed some of the movies (or parts thereof) from the series. Good cinematography and all that, but distorted. The lesson the children in these films show, much like the rest of the tripe Hollywood produces, is that you can do whatever you wish. They get away with doing things that are forbidden (even by the standards of their SSA-afflicted Headmaster), and get away with it. Typical Hollywood, the children disobey, and it turns out they were right after-all. How ingenious of them to come up with that. Hollywood has only run the disobedience saves the day subplot for 30-40 years! Oh, wait, isn't disobedience of the Devil? Subtle seductions as the Pope said.
Now, we have the unfortunate issue to deal with those who are in positions of influence over youth in our parishes, who take their children to see this stuff. This is scandalous! Of course, it's bad enough that any parents take their kids to see this. If there had not been an utter failure in catechesis over the last 30-40 years, we wouldn't have to worry about Catholic parents doing that. Unfortunately, most of us were just taught Jesus loves you, let's go make a banner! and nothing further. Hence, they see no problem with taking their children to see these movies.
Oh, did I mention that AOL-Time-Warner, who produces this tripe, also supports Planned Parenthood? Yes, that's right, your ticket to see the latest installment in the witch-boy series is remote material cooperation with evil! Still need a reason to stay home???

Friday, April 10, 2009

Vos fugam capietis et ego vadam immolari pro vobis.

In the second responsory for the Office of Tenebrae, the words of Christ are, in the literal sense of the word, con-fused. They are fused together. Please do not mistake this for the usual meaning of confused, as in mixed-up. This is a masterful fusing together, under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit.
Sad is my soul unto death: stay ye here and watch with me; now ye shall see the mob that shall surround me: Ye all shall flee and leave me and I will go to be immolated for you. Behold, the hour is coming, and the Son of Man will be handed over to the hands of sinners. Ye all shall flee and leave me and I will go to be immolated for you.
The Office of Tenebrae, as pointed out on the New Liturgical Movement, is one of the most ancient of all liturgical celebrations in the Church. The Divine Office in the Roman Breviary is stunningly beautiful and expressive of the very mysteries that are being celebrated. If, as NLM recounts, St Benedict thought the Office of Tenebrae to be too ancient to change, why did Msgr Bugnini and his collaborators have no such scruples? If the Liturgies go back to the time before Benedict of Nursia, and are so expressive of the mysteries, why were they completely done away with?
If the Office of Tenebrae is one of the liturgical celebrations that the faithful attended other than Mass, why mess with it? This is one of those questions that will continue to be unanswered until the Last Day.
Last night, before mine eyes, I saw the this antiphon lived out. By the time I got devested, all the "faithful" had fled and left Him. It is truly heart-rending. I have never in my life been in a parish where this happened. I didn't expect there to be a huge crowd, but at least a few? Perhaps I should have learnt my lesson from 40 Hours, when none of the English-speakers came.
Again today, after the Solemn Afternoon Liturgy, having received the monition from me that the Church asks us to genuflect to the Cross, and leave in silence, I would have expected people at least to wait until they left the church building before beginning their inane conversations. You would think that the Lord's Passion and Death had not just been recounted and liturgically celebrated. Please, people, try to keep you conversations like those of the disciples of the Lord on the way home from burying Him.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Consummatum Est

As we begin Holy week, we see in the Liturgy a prime example of how fickle man can be. At the beginning of the week, the crowds are cheering as Our Lord enters the Holy City for the last time. They strew their cloaks on the ground before Him, and wave palm branches, shouting Hosanna Filio David, Rex Israel! Benedictus qui venit in nomine Domini, Hosanna in excelsis! At the end of the week they are shouting Crucifige eum!
On Palm Sunday, we receive palm branches, which are blessed. They are a sacramental, that is to remind us that we wish to be in the former crowd, not the latter. By our works, we shout either Hosanna to the Son of David or Crucify Him. Sacramentals help us to be more open to the grace of God. The Church, in her wisdom, has established many sacramentals to aid the Christian Faithful in their journey to eternal life. One would be foolish to leave these tools of our salvation unused.
As Our Lord neared death, according to St John, he said consummatum est, as the Latin reads. The English translation does not do justice to this. There is nuptual imagery used here, consumation, by which the couple seals their marriage. The death on the Cross is the act by which our Divine Bridegroom sealed His marriage covenant with His Bride, the Church. There is also the connection to consume -- Christ, according to St Paul, takes up all history in Himself. He sanctifies all creation.
Many non-Catholics will use this passage to condemn the Sacrifice of the Mass. Of course, this is wrong, because they don't understand what they are condemning in the first place (they don't really know the Catholic teaching), and in the second place, they don't understand memorial.
In the Jewish understanding of memorial, it means more than just to commemorate or call to mind something or someone. When pious Jews celebrate the Passover, they understand that through that liturgical meal, God is making present the very events of their salvation from slavery in Egypt. They aren't just reminding one another about it! In the context of that celebration (probably anticipated), Christ establishes the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, commanding His Apostles Do this in memory of me.
The gift Christ gave to us in the Eucharist, through the gift of the Priesthood, is the ability to make present the events of our salvation. While celebrating the Passover for the last time, He transforms it and shows it to be a prefiguring of what He was to do. He then gives the power to His Apostles, who have handed it down through the generations, until He comes, to make the events of our salvation present in every time and place. The Jews knew that God transcends time and space, and is able to make events that are far distant present to us today.
When we celebrate the Mass, we are truly standing on the hill of Golgatha; we are peering with Sts Peter and John into the empty tomb; we are standing with the others on the Mount of Olives as He ascends! Imagine! Some think Mass is boring!
It is finished! At the same time, by the gift of the Eucharist, it continues through time and space to our present day, in our own town.