30 years a priest, 60th birthday – a priest’s first real Solemn Mass! Wherein Fr. Z rants.

This is the season of First Holy Masses.   For example, on Saturday 30 June, I will be helping as Assistant Priest with the First Mass of a newly ordained priest to be celebrated in the presence of the bishop (coram episcopo), who will be present in cappa magna.

That’s the First Mass of a new priest.

What about when an older priest celebrates a Traditional Latin Mass for the first time?

That’s a First Mass too, in many ways.

Think about it.  It takes about 5 minutes for a guy to learn how to say the Novus Ordo.   There’s just not much there to learn, especially in the vernacular.   However, the TLM takes work to learn, even if you have seen and served it for a while.  And it’s not in the vernacular.

Now think about the challenge for a man who is young and has been cheated out of formation in Latin, contrary to the Church’s explicit laws (cf. can. 249).  That makes a hard Mass even harder.  But, hey!  The young learn quickly.

Now think about a guy who has been ordained, say, 30 years and is 60 years old; who was cheated out of his Latin in explicit violation of the Church’s clear laws.  Is it going to be easy to learn the TLM, right?  Not so much.

But wait!  There’s more!

Learning to say the TLM in its LOW Mass configuration is one thing, but learning also how the SING the Latin you were cheated out of as well as take care of all the gestures and movements… that’s not going to be so easy either.

Part of the problem is that for decades liturgical worship sung in Latin according to the proper tones and chants was effectively obliterated by the haters.  We were all denied our patrimony.  Men who would be priests were cheated out of the opportunity to have their Roman inheritance seep into their marrow so that the sound of the Sung Latin Mass and all those chants became part of them even before they applied themselves to learn them.

I am thankful for the many years of intense classical music training I received, which provided me with experiences of beauty which would eventually help me to recognize who God is through the transcendentals.  I am intensely grateful for the way that God guided me with His mysterious finger as if by “accident” into studying Latin, which I had had zero plan to do.  I thank God that, because of the Latin I studied I checked out a church where Latin was being used, and sung.   I am am ineffably beholden to God and to all those at St. Agnes in St. Paul – Msgr. Schuler, Paul Levoir, Harod Hughesdon and the rest – who maintained the Gregorian chant and sacrificed to show up to sing at Saturday and Sunday Masses and at Vespers every Sunday afternoon  They gave glory to God and the gave me a gift of knowing the tones and chants and ceremonies as if by osmosis.  When it came time for me to learn the TLM, before my ordination, I sailed into it with nary a care.

I am, therefore, deeply sensitive to the work and the anxiety of older priests, who didn’t get any Latin and may not have had the music and the liturgical experiences I was privileged to receive.

Gentlemen, when you decide to learn the traditional forms, you are really standing up like the men the priesthood needs.  It’ll be hard and, frankly, scary.  But that’s what men do when they love: they make sacrifices.

Priesthood and sacrifice are inseparable.  If priests love their congregations, I contend that they will also want to give them the very best.  In regard to being Roman Catholic priests, that means also learning and giving them the Roman Rite in its fullness.    People must have the patrimony that has been withheld.  They will benefit from it.  Their Catholic identity will be augmented and deepened and fortified.  The traditional rites themselves will effect a change because…

…we are our rites!

Not only with people be slowly formed by participation in the rites, they will be formed inexorably by the way the priest himself is being changed by his own learning of and celebrating of the rites.  The priest learns things about himself at the altar of the Lord using the older, traditional form of the Roman Mass in ways that the Novus Ordo simply doesn’t provide.   As the priest changes, the congregation will change, as if through the knock-on effect that must unavoidably result.

We are our rites.  But the Latin, Roman Rite has two forms.  There is the new-fangled and somewhat reduced rite and there is the traditional form which nourished the lives of saints for centuries.

Who is the priest if he only knows half of his own Rite?   The easy half?

We are our rites.  RIGHT?

If a priest loves people, he will make the sacrifices and take the risks to learn also the traditional Roman Rite, for the sake of his own identity and for the sake of the faithful.

If people love their priests, they will ask him to learn the traditional Roman rite, for his sake and for theirs and they will make sacrifices to provide anything and everything he needs.

If priests love each other, then in fraternal care and concern they will prompt, suggest, recommend, push, prod, harass, urge, cajole their brethren into learning the older, traditional Roman Rite, for the sake of the deepening of the identity of the brotherhood and for the future, especially in the way that the older Rite will foster vocations.

If bishops love anyone, they will support everything having to do with the older, traditional rite and they will, fearlessly, lead by example.   A lot of bishops will have the same anxieties about learning what they, too, were cheated out of.

We are here for you!  We will provide everything you need and help as much as we can and we will be grateful.

All of this rant is a preamble to the following.

Today, a priest who had been denied all the Latin and all the music and the whole of the Roman Rite growing up and in seminary and in the first decades of his priesthood, stood tall and sang his first Solemn Mass this morning, on his 60th birthday.   Fr. Richard Heilman, whom you remember took his parish ad orientem and who put in a Communion rail – now everyone receives on the tongue, kneeling – and  who provides rosaries that even the Swiss Guards carry, was he admitted pretty nervous.  But he did it.  There were some rough spots, but we do not let the perfect be the enemy of the good.  He did his very best and that is pleasing to God and to his flock.

Here are some photos of Fr. Heilman’s first Solemn Mass, 30 years into his priesthood on his 60th birthday.

 

That, gentlemen, is how it’s done.

¡Hagan lío!

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Posted in ¡Hagan lío!, "How To..." - Practical Notes, Be The Maquis, Brick by Brick, Fr. Z KUDOS, Hard-Identity Catholicism, Just Too Cool, Latin, Liturgy Science Theatre 3000, Mail from priests, Si vis pacem para bellum!, SUMMORUM PONTIFICUM, The Coming Storm, The Drill, The future and our choices, Turn Towards The Lord, Wherein Fr. Z Rants | Tagged , , | 4 Comments

Reuters and @PhilipPullella create fake news, pit Francis against Trump

This is one of the worst examples I’ve seen of selective reporting, in order to change the narrative (aka “fake news”), since the head of Vatican communications chopped up Benedict XVI’s letter about the series of booklets he received.

Long-time Reuters guy in Rome Phil Pullella and his editors have it out for Pres. Trump.  Pullella tried his best to get a negative declaration out of the Pope about Trump, but the Pope didn’t bite.

Here’s Breitbart on what happened.  It’s amazing, but not surprising if you stop to think about the MSM.

Reuters ‘Fake News’ Spins Pope Against Trump

In one of the most egregious cases of journalistic deception in recent memory, Reuters has spun Pope Francis to literally say the opposite of what he said regarding President Trump and immigration.

Veteran pope-spinner Phil Pullella, who famously lured Francis into calling Trump a non-Christian in 2016, was back to his old tricks, trying futilely to get the pope to criticize the U.S. president. Having failed to do so, Reuters simply went with the story anyway, carefully selecting which papal quotations to insert in the story and which to omit to back up their pre-conceived narrative.

Pullella was granted an exclusive, two-hour interview with the pontiff at the Santa Marta residence in the Vatican, during which he asked the pope a variety of questions regarding China, Vatican reforms, sex abuse, women in the Church, immigration, populism, and President Trump.

In the central story from the interview, the Reuters piece bore the title “Exclusive: Pope criticizes Trump administration policy on migrant family separation.” Apparently, Reuters had already prepared its script ahead of the interview, because that is not what the pope did or said. In fact, Francis carefully avoided criticizing the president, despite his interviewer’s efforts to lead him into doing so.

Pullella asked the pope how he evaluates the work of President Trump, particularly regarding his decisions to pull the United States out of the Paris Climate Accord and to move “backward” in relations with Cuba.

While expressing his disappointment, Francis gave the president the benefit of the doubt, noting that he must have reasons for doing what he did.

“Regarding Cuba I was saddened because it was a good step forward,” the pope responded, “but I don’t want to judge because to make such a decision he must have had his reasons.”

“Yes, President Trump’s decision on Paris pained me somewhat because humanity’s future is at stake,” he said. “But he has at times made it known that he will reconsider it, and I hope he will rethink the Paris accords well.”

The pope then added an important line that he would repeat several times:

“Concerning my opinion on other things, I stand with the bishops and follow their lead. Not to wash my hands but because I do not know the issues there very well. The bishops know and I stand behind their declarations.”

Pullella then moved into the central issue, asking the pope what he thinks of “the current situation where in recent months some 2000 minors have been separated from their families, from their parents, at the Mexican border.”

The pope carefully sidestepped the question, refusing to be baited into criticizing Trump.

The pope’s textual answer was: “I stand by the bishops. Let it be clear that in these things I respect the bishops.” In this answer, the pope repeated what he has said in numerous similar circumstances where he believes the local church is better suited to evaluate local problems than Rome is.

Not content with this answer, Pullella pressed harder, reminding the pope that he has “always been concerned with immigration and separation from families.”

Francis refused to be taken in, and reiterated for the third time that he defers to the bishops “who have worked hard on the question.”

The pope then spontaneously added a key line that Reuters chose to omit completely in its recounting of the interview.

“But during the Obama years I celebrated Mass at Ciudad Juárez while on the other side of the border 50 bishops concelebrated and in the stadium there were many people. The problem already existed there, it is not just Trump’s but goes back to previous administrations,” the pope said.

Summing up: the pope said that regarding the current administration’s position on immigration he prefers to defer to the judgment of local bishops but he is aware that the problem was not caused by Trump but predates him.

This is not the story Reuters published.

Reuters made the mistake of sending a group of journalists a large section of the original Italian transcript of the interview ahead of publication, which allowed Breitbart News to break the story of the incongruency between what Reuters published and what the pope actually said.

Oddly, despite having access to the original Italian, most mainstream media outlets echoed the Reuters version of the story, not mentioning the pope’s efforts to contextualize Trump’s responsibility in the U.S. immigration crisis.

To date, Reuters has published at least three different articles on the interview with the pope, but the agency has failed to include the pope’s words on the immigration crisis predating Trump and has elected not to publish the full transcript to allow people to read for themselves what the pope actually said.

If anyone still had doubts as to why people universally distrust the mainstream media, including once prestigious news agencies, this umpteenth example of fake news should serve to allay them.

Interesting, no?

What think you of Reuters’ coverage of Vatican issues now?

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Posted in Green Inkers, Liberals, What are they REALLY saying? | Tagged , , | 2 Comments

Fr. Phillips of @SJCantius will NOT be allowed to return to public ministry after he was exonerated

Yesterday I posted that Fr. Frank Phillips who founded the Canons of St. John Cantius in Chicago, who had been accused of immoral behavior and suspended pended an investigation by a board, had been exonerated of all charges.

The board issued a letter.

I wrote, in an update to that post, that people in the Chicago would not make a mistake to attend Sunday Masses this weekend.

That’s because after I heard about the exoneration by the board that had been appointed, I learned that the Cardinal Archbishop decided not to go with the board’s decision and that he required the following to be printed and inserted in the parish bulletin for Masses this weekend.  Until it was released publicly, I didn’t want to post anything.

The letter is now out.

The letter is from the Congregation of the Resurrection (“Resurrectionists”), to which Fr. Phillips belongs.

Nutshell: The review board came to a decision: “Fr. Phillips has not violated any secular criminal, civil or canon law.”

However, in the letter below Fr. Phillip’s superior wrote:

“We accept the Archdiocese’s decision that Fr. Phillips’ faculties for public ministry will remain withdrawn and that he not return as pastor of St John Cantius and as Superior of the Canons Regular of St. John Cantius.”

Hence, although they determined that he didn’t violate any laws, his faculties will not be returned and he has been removed from his offices anyway.

If you choose to attend Mass at St. John Cantius on Sunday, be mindful that there will probably be media there, given this controversy, and the newsies may want reactions from people as they leave Mass.  Not everyone wants to get involved with that.

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Concerning Card. McCarrick

Card. McCarrick. What to say?

I remember that it was Card. McCarrick who suppressed information in a memorandum to US bishops from the Prefect of the Cong. for the Doctrine of the Faith, Joseph Card. Ratzinger, about guidelines for voting in these USA.

I remember that it was Card. McCarrick who, after Card. Arinze – while presenting Redemptionis Sacramentum to the press corps – responded to my question about Communion for pro-abortion Catholic politicians, made a bee line to the cameras and microphones after the presser and said, “What Card. Arinze meant to say, was…” and then turned Arinze’s point on its ear.

My friend Fr. Martin Fox has an offering at his blog.  HERE

Phil Lawler has a very interesting point:

Why were so many journalists willing to let the rumors go unexplored? Or, if they did explore the rumors, why were they willing to drop the story, at a time when so many other allegations were splashed across the headlines? Could it be because, for anyone seeking to influence a cardinal, the threat of disclosure is more effective than disclosure itself?

Rod Dreher has more information on what this is about.  HERE

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Posted in SESSIUNCULA | Tagged | 44 Comments

URGENT UPDATE – Fr. Phillips EXONERATED! UPDATED!

UPDATE:

HUGE UPDATE HERE

UPDATE:

Everyone in the Chicago area…

You would not make a mistake were you to choose to go to Mass at St. John Cantius on Sunday.

——-

You remember the controversy that surrounded Fr. Frank Phillips of the Canons of St. John Cantius in Chicago?  HERE

The Review Board concluded that Fr. Phillips did not violate any secular criminal, civil or canon law.

From the site Protect Our Priests:

Fr. Phillips Exonerated

We have confirmation that after several weeks the Congregation of the Resurrection has indeed concluded its hearings and investigation of the accusations directed against Father Phillips.

An independent Review Board of three public-spirited leaders from the Chicago area, who are not members of St. John Cantius Church, was constituted. Thereafter, the Review Board interviewed the detractors and several witnesses, persons who personally know the accusers, and other individuals who came forward to testify in defense of Father Phillips’ integrity. In accordance with directives given by Card. Cupich the members of the Canons Regular were not interviewed..

[…]

This is very good news.  I didn’t believe the charges from the onset.

Therefore, today is a good day to sing Non Nobis and Te Deum.

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Posted in Mail from priests, Non Nobis and Te Deum | Tagged , , | 15 Comments

Dubious dubia about the Dubia

Once upon a time there was a Post-Synodal Apostolic Exhortation that caused a lot of head scratching.  And so some Cardinals got together, four in all, and asked the writer of the Exhortation – or rather the Pope whose signature was on it – a few questions, five in all.  They were, you see, scratching their heads.

The Pope didn’t answer their questions, and that made a lot of other people scratch their heads.  There was a lot of head scratching.

Then two of the Cardinals died.  It would be wrong to read into that “then” that they died because the Pope didn’t answer the questions.  That would be a post hoc ergo propter hoc mistake.  They died, because, well, they were old and their time was up.

Two Live Dubia Cardinals™ remain.

Today I read that during His Holiness told Reuters:

In 2016, [Card.] Burke and three other cardinals issued a rare public challenge to Francis over some of his teachings in a major document on the family, accusing him of sowing disorientation and confusion on important moral issues.

Francis said he had heard about the cardinals’ letter criticizing him “from the newspapers … a way of doing things that is, let’s say, not ecclesial, but we all make mistakes”.

He borrowed the analogy of a late Italian cardinal who likened the Church to a flowing river, with room for different views. “We have to be respectful and tolerant, and if someone is in the river, let’s move forward,” he said.

“If someone is in the river”….  I think this is something like, “The Church is a big tent.  You might be under that end of the tent or under this end, but either way you are still in the tent.”

On the other hand, at LifeSite we find a piece which checked in with one of the Four Cardinals of the Five Dubia, Live Dubia Cardinal™ Burke.

Cardinal Burke, however, told LifeSiteNews that “The late Cardinal Carlo Caffarra personally delivered the letter containing the dubia to the Papal Residence, and at the same time to the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, on September 19, 2016, as he also delivered subsequent correspondence of the four Cardinals regarding the dubia.”

Burke added that, “During the entire time since the presentation of the dubia, there has never been a question about the fact that they were presented to the Holy Father, according to the practice of the Church and with full respect for his office.”

Cardinal Burke suggested that perhaps the Pope misunderstood the reporter’s question. “If the question of the journalist is referring to the formal presentation of the dubia or questions regarding Amoris Laetitia by Cardinal Walter Brandmüller, the late Cardinals Carlo Caffarra and Joachim Meisner, and myself, then Pope Francis must not have understood him,” he said.

Hence, there is room within the comments of the Holy Father that allows for a simply misunderstanding, rather than a darker possibility.

The other Live Dubia Cardinal™ Brandmuller: “It is very clear that we wrote directly to the Pope and at the same time to the Congregation for the Faith. What should be left that is unclear here?”

What is unclear is whether there will ever be a response to the Five Dubia of the Four Cardinals.   It has been some 640 days since they were submitted… and received.

 

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JUST TOO COOL: SPACE FORCE!

When I was driving to Michigan for this year’s Acton University, I heard a speech that Pres. Trump gave to a gathering of small business leaders.   During that speech he mentioned NASA and the development of the

SPACE FORCE!

I heard some of the President’s talk yesterday in Duluth, MN.  He spoke about NASA and the

SPACE FORCE!

Let’s just say that I’ll sign up to be a chaplain.   That might have to come after they figure out how to reverse my clock about 40 years.    But, I’ll sign up anyway.

After all, I’ve already been a chaplain in space!   HERE

A long-time reader here, who is involved with NASA, took the time to send these inspiring images.

UPDATE:

Some wags had a little fun with this. I, of course, am really serious.

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Posted in Just Too Cool, Look! Up in the sky! | Tagged , , | 16 Comments

ASK FATHER: What can the acolyte do and wear?

From a reader…

QUAERITUR:

I was wondering if you know the rubrics or know where the rubrics for lay instituted acolytes in the EF can be found?
At my parish, we try and do a lot of things in the extraordinary form, and I am trying to find some authoritative/knowledgeable source on what an instituted acolyte can/ cannot do/wear (in terms of the biretta) for liturgical celebrations (mainly outside of Mass). Thank you!

Once upon a time, Paul VI suppressed the “minor orders” with a document called Ministeria quaedam.  In that document the Pope said that, henceforth, the functions of the subdeacon would be assumed by lectors and acolytes.    Along came the 1983 Code for the Latin Church which supplanted Mq to a degree. It has canons on the lector and acolyte and established that the clerical state, which once began with tonsure and minor orders, now begins with diaconate.

Technically, cleric choir dress should apply to clerics.  However, it also pertains to servers who fill the roles in liturgical service that clerics would ideally serve.

To my mind, the instituted lector/acolyte can wear the tunic and function as the subdeacon in the Usus Antiquior.  Some don’t like this suggestion, but they can do so even if they left seminary and married.  They are still lectors/acolytes.  Some would not vest this liturgical critter in a maniple.  Lana caprina.

To my mind, the instituted lector/acolyte can wear clerical choir dress (cassock, collar, surplice, biretta) when in choir, as the subdeacon of yore would.  Some might disagree.  Fluctus in simpulo.

Otherwise, the acolyte can function in the EF as… acolyte!  He can take other roles, too.  Be flexible.

There are good books which breaks down and describes the individual roles of different ministers at Mass.  I like Stehle and Collins.

¡Hagan lío!

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Posted in "How To..." - Practical Notes, ASK FATHER Question Box, Liturgy Science Theatre 3000 | Tagged , , | 15 Comments

Day 1 #ActonU – Getting Started – Days and Deaths

There are some thousand participants from across the globe and many confessions and religion.

The first evening involves checking in, a social hour, supper and an address.

The first evening our speaker addressed us from Venezuela.

She is forbidden to leave Venezuela.

“We don’t count our days in minutes, but in deaths.”

In the morning I caught up with a friend from Rome who showed me an app that lists all the various “genders” you could chose from today. Alas, it’s the people who came up with this horse-hockey were serious… no… earnest.

All this new participants take a “core” of talks before they select electives. That provides a common basis. Here is one of the core lectures.

A bookstore is available. A certain Fishwrap writer would like the titles by Fr Robert Sirico, Rodney Stark, San Gregg….

One of the talks.

I am on tomorrow afternoon.

Mass each morning, TLM, NO and Orthodox Divine Liturgy and Protestant prayer service each day.

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“Disinformation” and some notes about the World Council of Churches

The Fishwrap (National Schismatic Reporter) is all excited about a visit His Holiness will make soon to the World Council of Churches in Geneva for its 70th anniversary.  John Paul II and Paul VI both visited the institution.  In turn, the WorldCC had its influence on theologians such as Yves Congar, who played a major role from the sidelines of Vatican II.

When I read “World Council of Churches” a little bell rang in my head.   I don’t think of that group very often.  There was, however, something that I read about it not too long ago.  What was it?

It came to me this morning.

I read about the World Council of Churches in the gripping book

Disinformation: Former Spy Chief Reveals Secret Strategies for Undermining Freedom, Attacking Religion, and Promoting Terrorism by Ronald Rychlak and Lt. Gen. Ion Mihai Pacepa.

I want to recommend it warmly.
US HERE – UK HERE

Gen. Pacepa, who ran intelligence for Romanian despot and Soviet thug Nicolae Ceaucescu, fled to the West when he was asked to start killing people. He is an expert on the Soviet technique of framing, disinformation, creating false narratives and history. The book exposes the Communist background of seemingly-benign organizations and explains the treatment received by Cardinals Stepinak, Mindszenty and Wysznski and, of course, Pius XII.

In the first part of the book, Pacepa relates how the Soviet Union used the WorldCC to whip up sensationalism about “white supremacy” and arson cases committed against black churches in these USA.    Sound familiar?  Pacepa wrote:

The clue to understanding the significance of the black church arson hoax lies in the documented fact that the World Council of Churches, which ignited and promoted that story, has been infiltrated and ultimately controlled by Russian intelligence since 1961. The Mitrokhin Archive, a voluminous collection of Soviet foreign intelligence documents smuggled out of the Soviet Union in 1992, provides the identities and Soviet intelligence code names of many Russian Orthodox priests dispatched over the years to the World Council of Churches for the specific purpose of influencing the politics and decisions of that body. In fact, in 1972 Soviet intelligence managed to have Metropolitan Nikodim (its agent “Adamant”) elected WCC president. A 1989 KGB document boasts: “Now the agenda of the WCC is also our agenda.” Most recently, Metropolitan Kirill (agent “Mikhaylov”), who had been an influential representative to the World Council of Churches since 1971 and after 1975 a member of the WCC Central Committee, was in 2009 elected patriarch of the Russian Orthodox Church.

There’s quite a lot about the World Council of Churches in the former Romanian intelligence chief’s book.

That doesn’t mean that the Pope shouldn’t visit their HQ or talk to members.   Popes meet with all sorts of people, such as Paul VI meeting with Idi Amin Dada, etc.  That’s what Popes do.

Anyway, here is another quote:

In 1985, the KGB-managed World Council of Churches elected its first general secretary who was an avowed Marxist: Emilio Castro. He had been exiled from Uruguay because of his political extremism, but he managed the WCC until 1992. Castro strongly promoted the KGB-created liberation theology, which is today putting down strong roots in Venezuela, Bolivia, Honduras, and Nicaragua. In those countries, the peasants have supported the efforts of Marxist dictators Hugo Chávez, Evo Morales, Manuel Zelaya (now exiled to Costa Rica), and Daniel Ortega to transform their countries into KGB-style police dictatorships. In September 2008, Venezuela and Bolivia booted out the US ambassadors during the same week and called for Russian military protection.

Disinformation is a fascinating read.  It gives a lot of insight into what certain Russian entities have been trying to accomplish in these USA of late.

Disinformation is really dangerous. I think that the MSM and vast hordes who follow it uncritically have fallen prey.   As we read in the book:

Soviet leader and long-time KGB head Yuri Andropov, apparently a real aficionado of dezinformatsiya, put it this way: “[ Dezinformatsiya is] like cocaine. If you sniff once or twice, it may not change your life. If you use it every day though, it will make you an addict— a different man.”

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Posted in The Drill | Tagged , , | 6 Comments

Catholic? Why?

Quotes from the article that follows:

  • Freely to assent to truth is the heart of what it means to be civilized.
  • A human order is built on fidelity to tradition and principle.
  • While there are signs of life in various places in the Church, a survey of the whole, to be frank, is rather bleak.
  • In the past several years, I have perceived a noticeable loss of intellectual acumen that the Church gained with John Paul II and Benedict.
  • Things that once seemed unchangeable are now changed or expected to change in the near future.
  • Under the aegis of finely tuned “mercy” and “discernment,” a method has been developed that would justify this accommodation of the Church to that modernity and its principles that everyone seems eager to embrace.
  • Many wonder whether the Church does not now see itself as simply a this-worldly socio-political movement instrumental primarily in curing our temporal ills.
  • Indeed, it seems like we find two Churches holding contradictory views within the same Church.
  • The primary argument that the Church teaches the same things over time does not seem valid for many any longer.
  • What is new is the worry that radical changes have been made in an official way that would cause us to doubt the integrity of the original revelation.

At Crisis:

Why Be (or Continue to Be) Catholic?
REV. JAMES V. SCHALL, S.J.

On a recent book review TV interview program called Q/A, Ross Douthat, author of To Change the Church, was asked about his own beliefs. He responded quite frankly that he was a Catholic. When asked why, Douthat replied that, as far as he could see, a divine intervention did take place in this world around the time and appearance of Christ. He added that the essence of this intervention has been best preserved down the subsequent ages by the Catholic Church. This sensible view is one that many Catholics would also accept as valid for them. Indeed, probably the best way to see this view of the divine intervention spelled out step by step is in Benedict’s Jesus of Nazareth. After reviewing most of the scholarly literature on this topic, Benedict concluded that the evidence seems to show that Christ was “who He said He was.”

But few are much concerned with the intellectual facts of the matter. Something else is going on. Not many really seem to worry about the truth of these issues, though that is where the real drama lies. Freely to assent to truth is the heart of what it means to be civilized. [Isn’t it interesting that libs try to force people to deny the truth in front of your face?] In a way, however, our culture is beyond truth. We make up our own universe. The Supreme Court tells us it is our “right.” Such a development, wherein we impose our ideas on reality rather than let reality instruct us about what it is, usually means to opt for one or other current fantasy or ideology that is custom-designed to explain away things that we choose not to accept, no matter what evidence can be given for them.

Many millions of words have now been written about the meaning of the Irish abortion vote, one foreshadowed by a similar change in Quebec decades ago. In both cases, areas that had been proudly Catholic for centuries, suddenly decided to ditch its tradition to join the secular world, its principles and practices. Such a radical change in these cultures had already taken place, just as Plato thought, in the souls of the citizens of these areas. From that viewpoint, the change was not so surprising. A human order is built on fidelity to tradition and principle. It is not immune to change as if it were a material object. Indeed, reasonable change is part of its stability.

Likewise, many Catholic churches, orphanages, hospitals, and schools in Europe and America are closed. Muslims are willing to move into these edifices if allowed to do so. [I know a concrete case like this in my native place.  What an outrage.] Many famous churches have long been national monuments or museums under government support. I read somewhere that, on visiting the churches in Dublin, the only people there were American tourists, often looking for their ancestors. While there are signs of life in various places in the Church, a survey of the whole, to be frank, is rather bleak. Whether Scripture or tradition gives us many grounds for expecting anything too much different is doubtful. Christ himself asked the disciples whether, on his return, they thought there would be faith on earth (Luke 18, 7-8). This passage is always a testimonial to the powers that are in constant opposition to what Christ put into the world.

In the past several years, I have perceived a noticeable loss of intellectual acumen that the Church gained with John Paul II and Benedict. Many are upset by this lack of depth, especially more recent converts who came into the Church with the help of the vigorous thinking we still see in these two popes. But the main reason for the decline of Church membership is the desire to be like others in modern society. Many want Catholic teaching to be viewed and interpreted through a modern lens. [The lib, modernist agenda: reduction of the supernatural to the natural, conformation to the world.]

We no longer speak of “heretics.” [Isn’t that the case??  Just try the word “heretic” and people run around with their hair on fire and spout virtue signals.] Heretics insist on staying in the Church so that they can change it from the inside. On the surface, everybody is nice, [But only on the surface.  Scratch a lib….] with a “right” to his own opinion. Nothing seems definite, precisely so that nothing binds. In the end, freedom of opinion ends up with everyone having mostly the same opinions, now politically enforced. Things that once seemed unchangeable are now changed or expected to change in the near future. The clergy and the bishops are not much help as they seem—to many at least—to betray the same symptoms.

II.

In the light of these comments, in spite of scandals and confusions in Rome, we still need to ask: “Why should we continue to be Catholic?” Much of the controversy that swirls around the Holy Father has, at its origin, the feeling that certain basic—once-thought non-negotiable—principles and practices have been denied or at least implicitly allowed to pass away. Under the aegis of finely tuned “mercy” and “discernment,” a method has been developed that would justify this accommodation of the Church to that modernity and its principles that everyone seems eager to embrace.

Recent remarks and decisions, often coming from Archbishop Luis Ladaria, the current Prefect of the Congregation of the Doctrine of Faith, however, have been more careful. We have seen a firm statement that women cannot be priests. The German formula for the interfaith communion at a wedding is set aside. A renewed interest in the centrality of doctrine appears in CDF documents. These are welcome signs. The dubia are still not answered. Good Catholics are still seen as rigid. The papacy often appears to act in the public eye like a political party of the left. Christianity is seen as a force to lead sundry crusades over ecology, poverty, or immigration. Such initiatives are difficult to square with good economics, science, and politics.

Not a few have also pointed out that an indirect papal input in the various pro-abortion and gay marriage votes in Ireland and Portugal occurred when Catholics were advised to deal with more “important” things. Their enemies, to give them credit, do not think these issues are among the lesser important things. Many wonder whether the Church does not now see itself as simply a this-worldly socio-political movement instrumental primarily in curing our temporal ills. The irony is that the methods recommended in these areas have almost invariably, when tried, made things worse. We do find considerable talk of sanctity and holiness but again this is often of an activist kind. The contemplative life, the life that is needed to keep our souls in touch with the transcendent, seems to be minimized.

III.

Let us ask again: “Why be, or continue to be, Catholic today?” The only sensible reason is that what the Church teaches is true to its immediate origin in the divinity itself. Has the Church on any major issue contradicted its own mandate? This is a delicate point. Only the Church believes that it is the sole deposit of this mandate.

In thinking about these things, I again take my cue from the “heretics” who refuse to leave the Church but stay in it to transform it, as they say, into their image of modernity. In the end, they can find no place else to go. They are already wrapped within modernity’s orbit. The effort from within to transform Christianity into modernity, to align its basic premises with those of the modern world, seems like a plausible, shrewd tactic. Many have already made this transition.

The Catholics who remain in the Church because the Church is consistent over time with its founding often find themselves perplexed. Practically no one is excommunicated for holding any position associated with modernity. They see people, in apparent good standing, continuing in the Church who accept and practice most of the aberrations of modern social living. Indeed, it seems like we find two Churches holding contradictory views within the same Church. The division liberal/conservative is practically useless as a way to understand the difference. The issue is a matter of truth, not interpretation.

To many, both inside and outside the Church, there seems to be much ecclesiastical confusion. Upsetting new interpretations constantly appear. Previously, many considered the Church wrong, but no one thought it did not hold or articulate what it affirmed on basic points of practice and doctrine. The primary argument that the Church teaches the same things over time does not seem valid for many any longer. [This is the position of Kasper and Co., who have replaced philosophy with politics.  Over time the truth can change.] The same things do not seem to be taught and affirmed in its many dioceses, schools, seminaries, and institutions. Various attempts have been made to explain how the Church can be both loyal to its tradition and, without contradiction, accept the basic premises of modernity.

For instance, Jesus was said in his time to look at current events and see what needed to be changed. So he changed them according to what was needed at the time. “Loyalty” to tradition thus means doing the same for our time. First we do what needs to be done; then we can develop a theory to justify it. The word “discernment” has come to mean the ability to see almost directly into temporary things or situations the action of the Holy Spirit. On the basis of what we think we discern, we can act with confidence that we are not following our own wills but that of the Holy Spirit[Note how libs talk about the “spirit-filled church” over and against the “institutional” Church.]

Or we can say that we do not know exactly what Jesus said or did[Like a certain head of the Jesuits, who cast doubt on just about every word of Christ because they didn’t have tape recorders back then.] He really did not lay down basic principles that needed to be maintained over time to protect the authenticity of his teaching and revelation. He was merciful and compassionate. The best we can do is to read the “signs of the times” and accommodate ourselves to where the Spirit is leading all men into the future. This approach would allow us to put aside our “absolutes” and embrace the pastoral changes that the culture has already put into place.

However plausible these positions may seem, if indeed they do seem plausible, they clearly avoid facing the central issue of whether a definite revelation in Christ was to be maintained for the human good down the ages in spite of persecution, disagreement, and other cultural conditions in other places and times.

Can we continue to be Catholic today? Only if one thing remains true and upheld. Only if the same teachings and practices that were handed down and guaranteed down the ages remain the basis of what the Church is. This revelation in all its ramifications is what best explains human meaning and destiny. If the substance of this revelation is not upheld, the question is no longer a merely human problem of loyalty to a tradition. It is the breakdown of revelation itself since it is no longer credible on its own terms. The guarantee of Christ is to be with us till the end, with the central teachings and practices of his life at the center. If this content and sequence is not maintained in a living way, in a thoroughly nuanced but plain way, we really have no reason still to be Catholic.

What is unusual about our time is not opposition to or rejection of the truth of this revelation. Adversaries have been found in every era. What is new is the worry that radical changes have been made in an official way that would cause us to doubt the integrity of the original revelation. At least some of us can still affirm with Douthat that a divine intervention did take place in Christ and that it is best preserved in the Catholic Church. The same intervention also gives us the criterion for judging when it is itself not credible—namely when the Church as guardian of revelation clearly changes its own truths and does not uphold them before the nations down the ages. This is why contemporary writers like Douthat carefully watch for changes that take place in Roman. [sic – that’s how it ends.  It could be “… in Rome.”]

Fr. Z kudos to Fr. Schall for this sober and sobering comment.

It seems appropriate also to post a reminder about a recent book by Peter Kreeft.

Forty Reasons I Am A Catholic

US HERE – UK HERE

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Posted in Hard-Identity Catholicism, Our Catholic Identity, The Drill, The future and our choices | Tagged , , | 7 Comments

“Perdonamose!” Midsummer Snails, John’s Birthday Feast and You.

UPDATE:

Thanks for “snail money” as JP called it, and to: GG

___

Your planet once again is whirling its way towards your solstices, Summer in the North and Winter in the South.  Since the emphasis in Western Civilization has been northern, I’ll stick with that.

In the Northern Hemisphere the June solstice is the day with the most daylight and the shortest night.  It falls every year between 20-22 June, this year on 21 June (05:07 CDT – 10:07 UTC).  This solstice marks the end of Spring and the beginning of Summer (as if we weren’t already getting 90ºF days and +100ºF  heat indices).

On Holy Church’s calendar we celebrate the Vigil of John the Baptist on Saturday, 23 June and the Feast of his Birth on Sunday, 24 June.  Surely the reason we celebrate John near the solstice is because He said “He must increase, I must decrease”, and the ancients knew that at this time of year the length of days began to decrease.

There are lots of fine traditions from different cultures which you might incorporate into your own observances.   I post this some days in advance so that you can prepare.

First, consider having a bonfire (and cookout) on Saturday, the Vigil of the Nativity of the Baptist.  Invite your priests!  There is a special blessing in Rituale Romanum for fires on the Vigil.  After the usual introduction, the priest blesses the fire saying:

Lord God, almighty Father, the light that never fails and the source of all light, sanctify + this new fire, and grant that after the darkness of this life we may come unsullied to you who are light eternal; through Christ our Lord. All: Amen.

At this point the fire is sprinkled with holy water and everyone sings the hymn Ut quaent laxis which is also the Vespers hymn.  I have more about that beautiful – and historically important hymn – HERE.  You might practice the hymn and sing it.

In some places the bonfire is used for the burning of witches… in effigy.  That could be fun.  The witch connection probably comes from the fact that the satanically inclined or possessed hold the solstice as one of their important annual moments for their vile rites.

Also, I recommend the eating of snails.  This is very Roman. 

Romans traditionally eat snail of the Feast of John the Baptist, and so should you.

If you call yourself a traditional Roman Catholic…well… there’s no excuse.

Also, there is a witch connection with the snails and what Romans ate.

Romans would gather certain plants that were mature by this point, such as what we call St. John’s Wort, along with onions and garlic, which they thought drove off witches and demons.

Near St. John Lateran (named after both the Baptist and Evangelist) there was a little hill Monte Cipollario or “Onion Hill” that was eventually razed in the time of  Papa Lambertini – Benedict XIV.  It seems that lots of onions and garlic were cultivate in that zone.    In any event, the Romans gathered at St. John’s and ate lumache al sugo and greeted each other with the Roman dialect “Perdonamose!” (from “perdono… forgiveness”), a sort of way of mutual apologies and peacemaking.  It may be that the eating of snails comes from the fact, first, that at this time of year there are a lot of them and, next, they have horns, which could have symbolized discord and strife.  Hence, eating them did away with strife and promoted reconciliation.  “Perdonamose!”

To make and mess of lumache al sugo alla romana (aka ‘na ciumacata), you need well-purged snails, of course, along with tomatoes, olive oil, hot red pepper, onion, garlic, (preferably wild) fennel and/or mint. A couple versions I saw included anchovy.  Make your sauce and then add the snails, cook for a while, and serve hot with good bread.  This one is instructive.  So is this. For wine …. why get fancy?  Stick with cold Frascati or another dry white from the Castelli Romani – even Velletri!

If you can’t get your hands on some snails, or enough snails, there’s always THIS… for lots of fun and conversation.   I am not making this up…

EDIBLE SNAIL ACTION FIGURE!

US HERE – UK HERE… nope, sorry!

Meanwhile get your canned or jarred snails and start planing: US HERE – UK HERE… nope, sorry again!

Finally, I sure would like to make some snails.  Perhaps some of you readers could pitch in with a small donation?  HERE

Click!

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Posted in Fr. Z's Kitchen, SESSIUNCULA | Tagged , , | 4 Comments

Fr. Z’s Kitchen: The South

It has been awhile since I’ve cooked something interesting for myself. After my trip a few months ago which included Sicily, I’ve had a hankering for Pasta alla Norma. Today I saw that my DVR had picked up the Met’s broadcast of Norma, after which the pasta was names. I figured that was the signal, so I gathered my ingredients and did it.

Always use short pasta.  I made a simple tomato sauce from San Marzano and fried eggplant.  Use ricotta salata and fresh basil.  This is a really easy one.   Always fry the eggplant in olive oil, don’t grill.  I think this is best with a base of garlic in the sauce rather than onion (pick one or the other and don’t burn garlic).

For my second, I opted for scaloppine al limone e vino bianco… again with the south and the lemons, though this isn’t so much a southern thing.

After pounding out the scaloppine, flouring it, and giving it proper color in the butter, I put them aside and deglazed with lemon juice and white wine, adding a touch of thyme and a couple little threads of saffron.

VERY seedy lemon.  I had to sort that out.

Since

UPDATE Monday 18 June:

Since I was in the mood, I threw together a pizza.  I had a pre-made crust.  I like pizza super thin and crispy.  Sauce: I had made before.  Cheese: a combination of what I had on hand.  With a sprinkling of thyme and lots of fresh basil = Lunch.

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Posted in Fr. Z's Kitchen | Tagged , , | 5 Comments

Pres. Trump and the Brown Scapular

This is really interesting.  HERE

The Governor of Guam, gave Pres. Trump a brown scapular for the First Lady.  And he talks about a statue of Our Lady of Fatima.

 

 

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Posted in Just Too Cool | Tagged , | 4 Comments

WDTPRS – 4th Sunday after Pentecost: “HEY YOU!” *smack*

Here’s something a little different.  Let’s look at the Secret for the 4th Sunday after Pentecost, in the traditional use of the Roman Rite, also used on Saturday of the 4th Week of Lent, which has its Station Mass at San Nicola “in carcere”, my old haunt.

And because the other day I mentioned to priests that they should explain some “technical” language, let’s do that too.

This is an ancient prayer, to be found in the Gelasian Sacramentary.  It survived the liturgical experts of Fr. Bugnini’s Consilium to live on unchanged on the very same day in the post-Conciliar editions of the Missale Romanum.

Because this prayer is connected to a Station Mass in Lent, it could have developed in conjunction with the preparation of catechumens.

SECRET (1962MR):

Oblationibus nostris, quaesumus, Domine, placare susceptis: et ad te nostras etiam rebelles compelle propitius voluntates.

Roman prayers were typically terse.  There are two examples of hyperbaton, the separation of words which grammatically go together to create a stylish effect: Oblationibus nostris, quaesumus, Domine, placare susceptis and in the second part et ad te nostras etiam rebelles compelle propitius voluntates.  The two parts of the oration each have these “bookends”, each embracing an imperative, placare in the first, and compelle in the second.  Do you see the structure?  Elegant.  Tight.

Placo, according to your constant friend the Lewis & Short Dictionary, is “to quiet, soothe, calm, assuage, appease, pacify”.  At first glance the form here, placare, looks like an infinitive, but it is in fact a passive imperative.  So, if the infinitive placare is “to appease”, the passive imperative is “be thou appeased!”.  Compello, which gives us the other imperative, is a compound of the preposition cum (“with”) and pello (“to push, drive, hurl, impel, compel”) when constructed with preposition ad is “to drive, bring, move, impel, incite, urge, compel, force, constrain to something”. Compello has to do with driving things together as well as towards with that ad.   Suscipio is “to take upon one, undertake, assume, begin, incur, enter upon” especially when done voluntarily and as a favor.  The last thing remaining is to determine if in that first part the oblationis nostris susceptis is the ablative of the means by which the Lord is to be appeased (“be appeased by means of our up offerings that have been taken up”) or if that phrase is an ablative absolute (“now that our offerings have been taken up, be appeased”).  They both aim at the same idea, but there is a nuance of meaning. Having pondered it for a while, I believe this is to be felt as an ablative absolute.  The prayer is otherwise so elegantly constructed that the more elegant solution seems appropriate.

After you get those points, the prayer is so straightforward that it nearly translates itself.  Right?

LITERAL TRANSLATION: 

O Lord, we beg, be appeased by our offerings which have been raised up: and propitiously drive our wills, even when rebellious, toward You.

It is interesting to see the variety of solutions chosen by translators of past for hand missals used with the traditional form of the Roman Rite.  Some heard those ablatives in the first part as the means by which God is appeased.  For example:

Roman Catholic Daily Missal (Angelus Press, 2004):

Accept our oblations, we beseech Thee, O Lord, and be appeased by them: and mercifully compel even our rebel wills to turn to Thee.

New Marian Missal (1958): 

Be appeased, O Lord, we beseech Thee, by our oblations, which Thou hast accepted, and mercifully compel even our rebellious wills to turn to Thee.

Some translators heard more the ablative absolute or something in between:

St. Andrew’s Bible Missal (1962):

O Lord, we ask you to be merciful to us as you receive our offerings and turn our wayward wills to your service.

St. Joseph Daily Missal (1959):

Be appeased, we beseech You, O Lord, by the acceptance of our offerings, and graciously compel our wills, even though rebellious, to turn to You.

New St. Joseph Daily Missal (1966): 

Accept our gifts as a peace offering, O Lord, and by the constraint of Your mercy make our rebellious wills submit to You.

It could be that by 1966 for the New St. Joseph Daily Missal the translator was perhaps already veering away from the more literal as in the earlier 1959 edition into a dynamic equivalence approach that would dominate for decades after.

So, it seems that this prayer is rather tricky to render accurately into smooth English.  Different translators, to avoid “translationese”, took some reasonable liberties.  But that is not what the 1973 ICEL translator did!  Let’s have a glance at what people used to hear during the Lenten Mass when the Novus Ordo is used and the priest uttered aloud the version from

ICEL (1973 translation of the 1970MR):

Father, accept our gifts and make our hearts obedient to your will.

Did you do a double take?  I sure did when I first wrote about this prayer.  I checked to verify, in both the Latin edition and in the lame-duck English Sacramentary that I was copying from the correct day.  I could believe I was on the right page.

This ICEL version is the perfect example of how those who worked up the vernacular translation were more than just sloppy or incompetent.  

This obsolete ICEL version eliminates the concept of appeasement. By doing this they expunged the conclusion that there are consequences for man if God has not been appeased.  That conclusion is clearly drawn from the Latin.  The ICEL version asks God to make our hearts obedient. The Latin asks God to compel our wills even when our wills are in rebellion.

The Latin version is built on the concept of mankind’s fall and the subsequent need for propitiatory sacrifice.  The Latin version challenges us both in its content, with the underlying idea that something bad waits those who rebel against God, and in its elegant construction.

The ICEL version is perfectly insipid.  It is so boring as to offer an insult to the priest who prays it and people who have to hear it.  Nothing in it engages the mind or causes you to ponder what is about to happen on the altar.

We can glean from this little gem of a prayer – in Latin and a decent translation – that when we have fallen down through weakness, even when in arrogance we rebel against our Lord and God, He does not abandon us. 

When we lose the grace which dwells in us to keep us in the friendship of God, He nevertheless gives us the actual graces which go before our choices in order to ease our choice to return to Him in the humble submission of adopted sons and daughters.  This is what we call “prevenient (‘going before’) grace” by which God can guide us back to the sanctifying “habitual grace” we lose by mortal sins.  By prevenient grace God moves our wills, gently, by inspirations, making the will incline back to Him.   Once our will is aroused by God, these movements of God in us can be freely accepted or freely rejected.  If they are accepted, we then receive others graces, “consequent” or “cooperative” graces.

God can act on our will so as to drive us in His directions.  In the first move, however, God gives us something when we are not oriented to Him.  Hence, there is a certain lack of freedom on our part, though He does not violate the freedom He gave us.  Our created will has its source in God’s divine will.  No human will, no matter how rebellious, is ever entirely autonomous from God’s influence.  We are truly free but our freedom is the fruit of His will for us His images.  God’s divine will can therefore influence acts of our human will which God does not permit.  He can even bring about complete revolution of our inclinations without interfering with created freedom (cf. St. Thomas Aquinas,  Summa Theologiae I. q. III, a. 2.)

It is as we are distracted on our road to Damascus, and God goes “HEY YOU!” and smacks us upside the head.  That both leaves intact our freedom, while moving us somewhat unfreely to react.   We are not, after all, Calvinists with their wrong notions of “irresistible” grace.  Neither are we Jansenists.

God goes before us and helps us even when we lose the way, by weakness or on purpose.

This knowledge can give a priest the confidence to pray today’s silent Secret with great fervor.  People in the congregation can unite their wills to his prayer with great hope.

God does not let us go.

CURRENT ICEL (2011 Saturday of the Fourth Week of Lent):

Be pleased, O Lord, we pray,
with these oblations you receive from our hands,
and, even when our wills are defiant,
constrain them mercifully to turn to you.
Through Christ our Lord.

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Posted in LENT, Liturgy Science Theatre 3000, WDTPRS | Tagged | 5 Comments