ASK FATHER: What time of day should Father be saying his Office?

From a reader…

QUAERITUR:

I know some priests who pray all the Hours of the divine office at a particular time…for example:

There is this priest who went out for an important trip..he probably didn’t have any free time in the evening so he prayed Lauds, Office of Readings, Daytime, and Vespers all in the morning, is that allowed for just causes since Canon Law states that the Hours be prayed as much as possible in their respective time, thanks Father.

First, let it be said that it really isn’t any of your business when Father says his Office.  Be happy that he is, in fact, saying his Office for the whole Church (that is, also for you).

That said, restricting myself to priests of the Latin Church and Roman Rite, the law requires that the Officium  (“office” is from Latin officium, “duty, obligation, function, service”) be celebrated “as far as possible” at the appropriate time of day (cf. General Instruction of the Liturgy of the Hours 29).  Also, the 1983 Code of Canon Law says in can. 276, § 2, n. 3: “Priests, and deacons aspiring to the priesthood, are obliged to carry out the liturgy of the hours daily, in accordance with their own approved liturgical books; permanent deacons are to recite that part of it determined by the Episcopal Conference”. The 1983 CIC no longer says “under pain of mortal sin”.

This all gives the Latin cleric a good deal of latitude.

A good and faithful priest, taking stock of his schedule, will pray his Office when he can. If the evening is jammed with a meeting of the Knights of Columbus, a funeral vigil, training servers for the Extraordinary Form Mass, and a social event with the St. Gabriel Possenti Gun Club at the parish’s indoor shooting range, Father is to be commended for his foresight if he prays Vespers at 1:00 pm. If Father knows he has a free morning, but the afternoon and evening are going to be hectic, and he therefore he prayers through the whole Office in the morning, that could be better than rushing through Vespers and Compline with tired eyes and distracted mind at 11:53 PM.

BTW… there was a time when priests would, while driving, stop their cars and read their breviaries with the light of the car’s headlamps.   Not only!  They would know when solar midnight fell in the place where they lived, or how far they lived from the timezone line by longitude in case they needed those extra few minutes accorded them by the interpretive principle of law odiosa restringenda, that is, that laws which impose a duty are to be interpreted strictly.  This is handy for understanding “time” in the legal sense.  For example, if I need to finish my office by midnight, I can think in terms of 1200 midnight by civil time, 24h.  That’s both boring and too restrictive.  To give me more flexibility I can also go by an offset of how many degrees I am from the timezone line.  By that reckoning, I should have, given my location, till about 12:06 AM, I think, to complete my office.  However, I can also calculate Roman midnight, since I am Roman Catholic priest.  Roman midnight is halfway between sunset and sunrise the next day.  As a matter of fact, my Roman Curia calendar, with the tear off sheets provides me with the sunrise and sunset times, in addition to “Aurora” and “Ave Maria” times… in Rome.  But figuring this out each day is a bother.  To give myself greatest latitude, pardon the pun, I can also go by solar midnight, which would today give me until 12:52  AM tomorrow (and 54 seconds), given my precise coordinates on your planet!  That’s when your Earth’s yellow sun will be at the exact nadir for my location. But I digress.

So, if Father regularly prays the whole Office at once “to get it out of the way”, he might want to bring his practice up with his spiritual director. That notwithstanding, he fulfills his obligation to the Lord and to the Church, an obligation he willingly assumed at the time he was ordained a deacon.

As far as the time of recitation of the hours is concerned, looking at the Liturgy of the Hours, it is reasonable to assume that the Church wants us to pray Morning Prayer in the Morning, right?  The intermediate hours still have distinctions of Terce, Sext, Nones.  Does that mean that Father must say the intermediate prayer for Sext exactly at noon (civil, solar or Roman?).  I don’t think so.  Neither should Father worry during Mass about completing signs of the Cross exactly between the syllables where the appears on the page.

Priests should talk to their spiritual directors about their relationship to the Office.  They should be open with their brother priests if they struggle with it. Fraternal support can help tremendously, and fraternal correction can also be of great value. They publicly assume at ordination the duty to recite the Office daily, that is, to offer the Church’s official prayers on behalf of the whole Church so that God hears ceaselessly the supplications and praises raised by His Son’s Mystical Body.

And, before people raise it:

Yes, Latin, Roman Rite priests fulfill their obligation by reciting either the Roman Breviary as it was during the Second Vatican Council (that is to say with the Breviarium Romanum of Saint John XXIII, the actual Vatican II Office) or with the Liturgia Horarum of Paul VI revised by St. John Paul II in 1985 with the New Vulgate.  And were I to participate in the singing of any of the hours at, say, the wonderful Benedictine Monastery at Norcia or at Le Barroux, I would fulfill my obligation.

Furthermore, while recitation of the Office should be aloud, since it is official and vocal prayer – this is why of yore and even now priests move their lips when saying their Office, there is always a measure of subvocalization taking place when reading.  I am of the opinion that a priest fulfills him obligation even when not moving his lips, reading silently.

And, yes, priests and deacons can use mobile phone apps and websites.  They don’t have to be holding a book in their hands.  The Office is the text, not the book.

Finally, this is why I think it is wrong wrong wrong to call Holy Mass simply “the liturgy”.  The Church’s liturgy is much more expansive than Mass, even though Mass is the zenith of what we do in our sacred liturgical rites.

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Posted in "How To..." - Practical Notes, ASK FATHER Question Box, Liturgy Science Theatre 3000, Priests and Priesthood, Seminarians and Seminaries | Tagged , , , , , , , | 6 Comments

Crux – Fr. Z’s initial observations

I have been watching the new initiative from the Boston Globe, with the involvement of former Fishwrap writer John Allen: Crux.

I have some initial observations.

Happily, it seems to me that Crux has the potential to make the National catholic Fishwrap irrelevant.  Sadly, it could be that Crux will make the National catholic Fishwrap irrelevant.  That is to say, Crux might be a slicker, smarter Fishwrap on steroids.

Now for a few more concrete observations.

Crux‘s ”spirituality editor” is former Boston Globe wrote Margery Eagan.

Back in January 2014 Eagan wrote in the Boston Herald that

“a birth control ban has never been central to Catholic doctrine. The church says family planning is fine, as long as it’s done by the natural rhythm method. A commission made up of bishops, cardinals, and theologians did vote to end the ban on artificial birth control in the mid-1960s, but then Pope Paul VI overruled them, mainly for political reasons. Pope Francis, whose politics are clearly different, could actually lift the ban.”

In her bio at Crux we read:

Maybe you’ve heard some variation on this line: “I’m an American. Just because I disagree with much of what America’s doing, I don’t run off and become a Canadian.”

I heard it years ago from a friend explaining why he remained a Catholic despite his massive disappointments with the Church.

I’ve used it myself when somebody asks: if you disagree with the church on gays, birth control, women, their handling of the sex abuse crisis, etc. – why not become an Episcopalian, a Methodist, a Quaker, a Jew? Why stay when you’re at odds with its teachings?

What I read in this is that she disagrees with the Church on “gays, birth control, women, their handling of the sex abuse crisis”.  However, she won’t “leave the Church”. Why?  She explains that she stays Catholic because of the Church’s “intellectualism”.  The problem is that you can’t have a personal relationship with intellectualism.  You can’t pray with and for and even to intellectualism.  You can’t love and be loved by intellectualism.  She has more reasons:

The sensual parts of Catholicism. The bread, wine, incense, candles, phenomenal stained-glass windows. Smudged forehead ashes at the start of Lent. Anointing with oils. Palm Sunday. White lilies crowding the Easter altar, the liturgical season in sync with our own.  [All great things.  But these are externals, literally skin deep.]

Daily Mass, 365 days a year. It is peaceful, short, intimate, a holy half-hour of quiet before or after a frantic day. Some people stay afterwards to say the Rosary, in unison. [You can go to a tanning parlor for that.]

Community. The older I get, the less I like “Bowling Alone,” as Harvard’s Robert Putnam wrote in his book of that name. I like being in a prayer group with people who don’t think I’m crazy. I like parish life, the chances to volunteer, meet and greet. I like seeing the same parishioners in the same pew week after week. [A gardening club or Red Hat group can do these things.] I like being with people very different from me but the same in this: we are seekers, some days frustrated doubters, some days drawn, as if magnetized, into the mystery. Many, like me, were born Catholic. Keenly and even painfully aware of Catholicism’s many and gargantuan flaws, we stay Catholic. And we will die Catholic, too.  [There's a ringing endorsement.]

Not a word about Christ.  Nothing about God, or grace, or sin and redemption.

This is Crux‘s spirituality writer.

Let’s turn the page.

Whom did they choose to answer questions from readers? Lisa Miller. Miller has a BA in English. She wrote for Newsweek about how stupid and backward the Church is, how awful Pope Benedict was. When writing about a movie on Hildegard von Bingen for Newsweek she used the opportunity to bash the Church and leave the reader with the image of the Mother of God as a “potty-mouthed BFF”.  See how she writes about the Catholic hierarchy.  HERE

In any event, atCrux she answered a question:

What of those who cannot accept in good conscience various teachings of the magisterium [official Church policy]? Are we still to consider ourselves Catholic, or should we go elsewhere?

Did you detect a problem there?  Anyone who goes out of her way to describe “teachings of the magisterium” as “policy” is not going to be able to approach the question from the right perspective.  Only one sort of person frames the Magisterium’s teachings as “policy”.  Policy, after all, can be changed, especially after extensive polling.

Let’s glance at something from Miller’s answer:

Perhaps a more provocative question is this: To what extent must the hierarchy heed the consciences of the faithful? [There actually is an answer to this, in Lumen gentium 25.]

For decades, the bishops have appeared to be a my-way-or-the-highway kind of crew, and Pope Benedict gained a reputation for disdaining the cafeteria approach of American Catholics, wanting instead to build a smaller, purer church.  [This is a biased misrepresentation of Benedict.  There was no one more patient when dealing with dissent.  I don't think he has ever "distained" anyone in his life.  But WAIT!  There's more!   You can hear the next word coming....]

But [BUT!] Pope Francis has taken a different, and historically significant, tack, says the Rev. Drew Christiansen at Georgetown.  For him, the beliefs of faithful Catholics ought to define the faith – at least as much as the hierarchy does.  [Is that even true?]

Benedict bad.  Francis good.   At least Francis will be good until she, and other liberals, turn on him.  When he doesn’t conform to their expectations, they will turn on him.

And sample her penetrating analysis of Justice Scalia HERE.

So,Crux asked Lisa Miller to answer questions about the Catholic faith.

Moving on, Crux also tapped on Michael O’Loughlin to be their “National Reporter”. In the past he was written for The Advocate (a homosexual advocate, if you hadn’t guessed), Religion News Service, Foreign Policy, America, National Catholic Reporter, Religion & Politics, Busted Halo, and Faith & Leadership.

On Saturday 13 September, John Allen wrote (among other things) about what he thinks Crux aims to do and to be.  Here are relevant excerpts.

The vision behind Crux:

[...] Toward the end [of the roll out event], I fielded a question about the vision forCrux and whether it can do something about the widespread polarization that many American Catholics perceive in the Church.

The truth is that if someone should be laying out a vision, it’s really not me. Brian McGrory, editor of The Boston Globe, and Teresa Hanafin, editor of Crux, are the decision-makers responsible for overall direction.  [Get that?  The Boston Globe is guiding this "Catholic" endeavor.  What could go wrong?]

That said, it’s a legitimate question, and obviously I have my own reasons for getting involved. For what it’s worth, I’ll recap my answer.

To begin, the basic ambition ofCrux is simple: To get the story right. Catholicism is a complicated and difficult beat; it’s hard enough to be accurate, comprehensive, and balanced in the way we cover the news without trying to accomplish another agenda.

That said, I also believe that ifCrux can get the story right on a regular basis, one natural consequence could be softening divisions in Catholic life.

[...]

IfCrux becomes a trusted forum for all voices ["all"?  I'm not seeing a lot of balance.  Just look at their staff.] in the conversation, it will create a virtual space in which members of different Catholic tribes can build friendships. Over time, that can’t help but have a positive effect.

So, yes, I suppose helping to mitigate polarization is part of the plan. Just don’t ask us to think too much about it, because most of the time we’ll be too busy trying to nail down today’s news.

Crux is slick. They have had a big, splashy roll out. My jury is still out. My sense is, however, that Crux is poised to out-Herod Herod, or out-Fishwrap Fishwrap.

And there must be bails of money behind it.

But, for now, we are on Crux Watch.

The moderation queue is ON.

Posted in Biased Media Coverage, CRUX WATCH, Liberals, Our Catholic Identity, The Drill | Tagged , , , , , | 21 Comments

Our Sorrowful Mother, Queen of Martyrs

Today is the Seven Sorrows of the Blessed Virgin Mary.  Can you name them?

Here the entry from the Roman Martyrology:

Memoria beatae Mariae Virginis perdolentis, quae, iuxta crucem Iesu adstans, Filii salutiferae passioni intime fideliterque sociata est et nova exstitit Eva, ut, quemadmodum primae mulieris inoboedientia ad mortem contulit, ita mira eius oboedientia ad vitam conferret.

In the older, pre-Conciliar Missale Romanum we find this wonderful Collect for today’s Holy Mass.

COLLECT (1962MR):
Deus, in cuius passione,
secundum Simeonis prophetiam
dulcissimam animam gloriosae Virginis Matris Mariae
doloris gladius pertransivit:
concede propitius;
ut qui dolores eius venerando recolimus,
passionis tuae effectum felicem consequamur.

LITERAL VERSION:
O God, at whose Passion,
according to Simeon’s prophecy,
the most sweet soul of the glorious Virgin, Mary our Mother,
was pierced by a sword of sorrow:
mercifully grant
that we who observe her sorrows by veneration
may attain to the happy result of Your Passion
.

Also, in the old Communion Antiphon we have a connection between the great sorrow of Mary at the Cross and how she merits to be called Queen of Martyrs:

ANTIPHONA AD COMMUNIONEM:
Felices sensus beatae Mariae Virginis,
qui sine morte meruerunt martyrii palmam
sub Cruce Domini
.

Sensus is an incredibly complicated word. It means, among other things, the faculties of sensing and perceiving, but also of the sentiments of the heart and mind. In a collective “sense” sensus stands for “the common feelings of humanity, the moral sense”. Sensus is also our disposition of mind or humor and inclination. It signifies understanding of the thinking faculty, in the sphere of reason.

LITERAL VERSION:
Blissful the sentiments of the Blessed Virgin Mary,
which beneath the Cross of the Lord,
without death merited the martyr’s palm
.

This antiphon underscores how the totality of Mary’s being, “magnified” by God at every point of her life, was united with her Son as He endured the sufferings of the Cross.

This feast reminds us that there is a path to holiness through the sufferings and sorrows we endure.  We must learn to unite them to the sufferings of our Lord.  Mary teaches us to do this.  The martyrs teach us to do this.

Posted in Liturgy Science Theatre 3000, WDTPRS | 4 Comments

Intinction

The other day the Holy Father Pope Francis witnessed, during Holy Mass for the Feast of the Exaltation of the Cross, the marriages of a passel of couples, some in some irregular situations. Leaving that aside, there was one thing that caught my eye.

His Holiness, again, did not seem to distribute Communion. He doesn’t, you know. However, deacons distributed under both kinds and by intinction.

Thus, no Communion in the hand.  Nota bene: they are kneeling.

For all the liturgical progressivists out there who think that Francis is the first Pope who has ever smiled or kissed a baby…. When will you implement kneeling in your parishes for Communion by intinction?

Posted in "How To..." - Practical Notes, Liturgy Science Theatre 3000, Pope Francis | Tagged , | 56 Comments

YOUR URGENT PRAYER REQUESTS

Please use the sharing buttons! Thanks!

Registered or not, will you in your charity please take a moment look at the requests and to pray for the people about whom you read?

Continued from THESE.

I get many requests by email asking for prayers. Many requests are heart-achingly grave and urgent.

As long as my blog reaches so many readers in so many places, let’s give each other a hand. We should support each other in works of mercy.

If you have some prayer requests, feel free to post them below. You have to be registered here to be able to post.

I still have a pressing personal petition.  I could use your prayers, frankly.  The recent past has brought some bad and discouraging news and, as I foresee, there is worse on the horizon.  I must move into warfare mode soon.

Pray for the poor suffering Christians in Iraq!

Sts. Nunilo and Alodia, pray for us!

Posted in SESSIUNCULA | 26 Comments

Those zany Satanists!

In case you were wondering, the satanic event scheduled to be held in an Oklahoma City civic center (thus, state operated), is still on and has sold out.  HERE

But, hey!  Don’t worry.  These are just benign people doing their thing.  Right? No consecrated Host, no harm, no foul, right?

In other news, we read at The Mail:

Terrified five-year-old boy has his eyes gouged out with spoon by his mother and five relatives in satanic ritual

A Mexican family has been jailed for gouging out the eyes of their five-year-old relative with a spoon during a satanic ritual to bring about the end of the world.

Fernando Caleb Alvarado Rios was ordered to close his eyes out of respect with his mother, grandparents, aunt and uncles as they danced in a circle and called on Satan to reveal himself.

But when he was too scared to do so, his mother, Maria del Carmen Garcia Rios, grabbed a spoon and the entire group gouged them out.

[...]

Fun and games, huh?

I hope Archbishop Coakley will use the older, traditional Rituale Romanum before, during, and after this evil event, the shame of the city officials.

Posted in The Drill, You must be joking! | Tagged , | 26 Comments

Good news on the Spanish Front!

I received good news today (Sunday 14 September, as I write). Not all the news – most – I have received lately has been good.   Perhaps things have not gone well in Blackfen or in Bakersfield, but in Dunn, something good is up.

First, I have written occasionally about the need to reach out through the traditional forms of our Catholic Faith to the Latino communities with whom we share our places of worship.  We have to bring communities together.  A while back I posted a question about Extraordinary Form resources in Spanish HERE.  There were good responses.  And recently I posted about a beautiful new Latin and Spanish hand missal from Angelus Press HERE.

Today I had news of a fine development in the Diocese of Raleigh, NC.  Fr. Paul Parkerson of Sacred Heart Church in Dunn, has done something special.

On Sunday, the anniversary of Summorum Pontificum going into effect, Fr. Parkerson announced that his parish will have TLMs with preaching in Spanish.   But, there’s more.

For 10 years, TLM has been offered at Sacred Heart along with two English language Novus Ordo Masses, as well as a Spanish Novus Ordo Mass.

On the last weekend of this month, September, they will have

  • Saturday, 5:30 p.m. English, Ordinary Form (no change)
  • Sunday, 9:00 a.m., Extraordinary Form with repeated readings and sermon in English
  • Sunday, 12:00 p.m., Extraordinary Form with repeated readings and sermon in Spanish
  • Religious Education classes between the two TLMs in both languages for 90 minutes.

Fr. Parkerson told me that he pondered this change for a long time.  The news of the Spanish hand missal, which he read here, pushed his decision along.

Father wrote me a note with some other comments, some of which I can share.  Thus, Fr. Parkerson:

Both before the motu proprio, and after, Sacred Heart Parish has taken on a kind of special apostolate – not just to provide the TLM for those who desire the older Form of the Mass, but also to familiarize, and refamiliarize all the Catholics in the Parish and in the Diocese of Raleigh with the Traditional Mass in all its beauty and mystery. I often say, “We started out this ministry to assist those who simply wanted the Tridentine Mass, but in the process, starting with myself, we fell in love with the Older Mass and Sacraments.” I am a convert, personally, but learning the older Mass has been like a second conversion, transforming my whole understanding of the Faith – and helping many people in the Parish to have a far more profound understanding of the Divine Mysteries which take place at Mass.

At the Parish level here at Sacred Heart, various attempts have been made to bring about greater unity in the – esp. between English speakers and Spanish speakers, most of which have been unsuccessful.

Last Christmas, the Latinos asked me to lead them in the devotion of “Las Posadas” but were insistent that the Americans participate. When the issue of the language difference was brought up, the Latinos themselves were the very ones to ask for the TLM since, according to what they had learned after my years of teaching them this, “Latin is the language of the entire Church and provides us all with the opportunity to worship together.” We had a TLM followed by Posadas, and this was probably, the most successful “multi-cultural” event we have ever had in the Parish. The key, as I knew then, and as I am certain now, was the Latin language and the ancient Form of the Mass which belongs to every Catholic legitimately. It makes everyone equal, if they will open their hearts to its beauty.

In pondering the differences between Catholic immigrants throughout the centuries, it occurred to me, as it has to many others, that there never used to be such disunity amongst Catholics, despite their idiomatic differences. They all shared a common understanding of the Mass of the Ages, despite the fact that the homily may be in a language other than their own mother tongue. (I’ve never heard anyone complain about not understanding the sermon, though.)

After speaking with the Parish Council and several trusted priests, I decided that, for the good of the Parish and for our apostolate to the diocese, it is time to take things to the next level. Therefore, on the 7th anniversary of Summ. Pont., I announced a change in the Mass schedule which will go into effect on the last weekend of September.

My main point in presenting the Parish with this upcoming change is that it must be seen for what it is: GOOD. As our dear Pope Benedict XVI said, “What was good and holy for previous generations remains good and holy for us today.” It is our intention, in this Parish, to live by that simple truth spoken by the Holy Father, and to help all Catholics who come to this Parish to understand the older Mass through the use of Missals and other worship aids. The new Latin/Spanish 1962 hand Missal just made available by Angelus Press is a Godsend.

To pass along history from generation to generation, is a great gift. It is our duty to do whatever we can to shake off the religious, doctrinal, and liturgical amnesia which seems to be paralyzing the Church and to rediscover the gift of the Faith as it is so beautifully contained in the Treasure of the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass in its Traditional Latin Form.

Fr. Z kudos to Fr. Parkerson and Sacred Heart Parish.  Excellent news.

Finally, Fr. Parkerson told me that they are now looking for a good hymnal for Spanish TLMs.  Perhaps there is something out there like the old St. Gregory Hymnal?  Anyone?  Help?

Posted in "How To..." - Practical Notes, Brick by Brick, Just Too Cool, Liturgy Science Theatre 3000, Mail from priests, New Evangelization, Our Catholic Identity, SUMMORUM PONTIFICUM, The future and our choices | Tagged , , , , | 13 Comments

Your Sunday Sermon Notes

Was there a great point from the sermon you heard for this Sunday, the Feast of the Exaltation of the Cross?

Let us know.

Posted in SESSIUNCULA | 17 Comments

Summorum Pontificum 7 years on. Wherein Fr. Z rants.

Today is the anniversary of the implementation of Summorum Pontificum.  The Motu Proprio will surely be recognized as one of the most important achievements of the too-brief pontificate of Benedict XVI.  It has already created a huge knock-on effect in many younger priests and seminarians.  It’s fruits, and those of Benedict’s “Marshall Plan”, will manifest themselves in years to come.

That said, I remember where I was when Summorum Pontificum went into effect, on 14 September 2007.  I was in England, visiting my good friend Fr. Tim Finigan, who was, then, at Our Lady of the Rosary in Blackfen, Kent.  On that day we had a wonderful Solemn Mass to mark the occasion and I was privileged to preach.  I concluded that sermon saying:

Our attachment to the extraordinary form of Mass is therefore grounded not in nostalgia, or curiosity, or a fear of modernity, or suspicion of Vatican II, or downright stubbornness, but rather in the conviction that this form of Holy Mass draws us into a participation in the mystery of Christ, the incarnate Word, who saves us from eternal death.

Liturgy has no higher goal than to promote holiness.  And so we are thankful for the gift of Summorum Pontificum.  We accept the challenge the Holy Father has given us to extend this older form of the Roman Rite to all those who seek it and to celebrate the Roman Rite with devotion.  May it promote in us the holiness which is Christ’s gift to the Church.

That was then.  This is now.

I have been curious about how things have been at Our Lady’s Church in Blackfen since they very recently – beginning of September, I believe – acquired a new parish priest, a Fr. Fisher, whom I don’t believe I have met.  Fr. Finigan has moved to Margate after quite a few years at Blackfen.

I’ve been wondering if Fr. Fisher would be maintaining the regular celebrations of the Extraordinary Form in continuity with his predecessor.  I was informed that he knows how to celebrate Mass in the traditional form.

That said, more than one person (Fr. Finigan is NOT among them) has written to me with concern about some swift developments in Blackfen.   People are pretty upset there right now.  I’ve had a lot of information come in which, as I was writing, I decided not to post at this time.   Let two items suffice.

  • Fr. Fisher announced that he is terminating Extraordinary Form Masses at Blackfen at the end of September.
  • The Tablet (aka The Bitter Pill) is now available in the back of the church.

What’s my point?

First, I have real affection for that parish, since I spent good time visiting and I know some wonderful people who have been involved there.  I am concerned for them.  This is happening after two weeks of a new regime.

Second, everyone who has what St. John Paul called “legitimate aspirations” regarding the traditional expressions of the faith need to be vigilant and to work ceaselessly to expand opportunities for the older, traditional form of Holy Mass and the sacraments.  Help seminarians and priests get training.  Encourage them.  Work hard to make sure that everything is in place and available.  Keep expanding the pool of priests who know what to do.

Why do I harp on this all the time?

As its says in Scripture, “surrexit rex novus super Aegyptum… there arose a new king over Egypt, who knew not Joseph”.  It is increasingly evident that, in many corners of the Church today, the enemies of what Pope Benedict accomplished are feeling emboldened.  What has been gained, through patience and the hard work of years, can be swept away be a single sweep of a new pharaoh.

So, I will offer the following.

First, I don’t believe that Pope Francis will rescind Summorum Pontificum.  I have little doubt that it has been suggested to him by his inner circle.  I don’t believe that His Holiness would consider this a big enough issue to deal with.  He has much bigger fish to fry.  That’s doesn’t mean that others, the far more political, sensing changes in the wind, won’t try to curtail what Summorum Pontificum established.

Second, be exemplary Catholics.  Do not just drive to a church where you have the older Mass on the schedule and then drive away, forgetting about the place until next week.  Yes, that’s exactly what 98% of regular parishioners do too.  Be involved in the life of the parish as a whole so that you have some influence when or if the blade hits the meat.  Be involved, be present, be visible.  Be especially attentive to projects that involve corporal works of mercy.  Exceed expectations.  Be engaged with the parish priests.  When something is good, tell them.  Be cordial.  Go out of your way.  Make sure they know you and appreciate your presence.

Will all this require sacrifice?  Yes.  But it is what you should be doing anyway.  Right?  So it’s going to be twice as hard for you as it is for others who don’t care about these things.  So what?

Next, people who have these “legitimate aspirations”, as St. John Paul described them, should get their heads into the mental place wherein they can deal with being persecuted – again - without becoming bitter, discouraged, hostile, aggressive.  In many places, it’s simply a fact that we are already scorned as second class citizens.  Don’t confirm unfair and even sinful prejudices by being a jerk.  St. Paul told the Romans to treat their enemies with kindness and, by doing so, heap hot coals on their heads.  Don’t just check out either.  You have to be engaged and be … well… holier than ever.  So: GO TO CONFESSION.

I sense that, in some corners, things could get tougher really quickly.  It’s buckle-it-on time.  Even if the situation where you are isn’t so dicey, it’s still buckle-it-on time.

You remember the story of Nehemiah, I hope.  The Persian King Artaxerxes gave Nehemiah permission to rebuild the walls of Jerusalem which was surrounded by enemies, Philistines, Arabs and the like.  They were infuriated.  While the workman strove to get the walls up before they could be attacked, “aedificantium enim unusquisque gladio erat accinctus…  each of the builders had his sword girded at his side while he built.”  A trumpeter stood by on watch.

I, for one, do not assume that anything is going to be smooth.  I take my queue not only from what happened to Israelites after the death of the friendly pharaoh, but also from Nehemiah.  I’m buckling up. I sat down today, after some discouraging news, and made a list for myself of a few things I am resolved to do, or to do better.  Change has to begin with me.

Get your heads into the game, my dear readers.   Get organized.  Be vigilant and prayerful and active active active.  All hands on deck.  As Jack Aubrey might put it, get ready for a blow.

And now, on that cheery note, I shall make pesto from basil in honor of this happy anniversary.  The Widow is chilling in the fridge.  I will pray, in a special way for His Holiness Benedict XVI.  I will also raise a glass to Benedict, whom I thank with great fondness for the gift to the whole Church that is Summorum Pontificum.

 

Posted in "How To..." - Practical Notes, ACTION ITEM!, Be The Maquis, Benedict XVI, Hard-Identity Catholicism, Liturgy Science Theatre 3000, New Evangelization, Our Catholic Identity, SUMMORUM PONTIFICUM, The Coming Storm, The Drill, The future and our choices, The Olympian Middle, Universae Ecclesiae, Wherein Fr. Z Rants | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 48 Comments

“If God exists, He is evil….” Not.

For your consideration…

Posted in "How To..." - Practical Notes, Just Too Cool | Tagged | 11 Comments