28 July is the anniversary of the beginning of World War I.
CNS has a brief video you might like to view. Interesting footage of Pope Benedict XV.
28 July is the anniversary of the beginning of World War I.
CNS has a brief video you might like to view. Interesting footage of Pope Benedict XV.
How grim is you life? We watch in horror as Christians in Iraq are being persecuted, driven, hunted by Islamic terrorists. The Religion of Peace… right?
‘Christian families are on their way to Dohuk and Arbil [in Kurdistan]. For the first time in the history of Iraq, Mosul is now empty of Christians’
Chaldean patriarch Louis Sako
From the Daily Mail:
Thousands of Iraqi Christians pour out of Mosul after ISIS jihadis give them deadline to convert, pay or face death
Thousands of Iraqi Christians today poured out of Mosul after ISIS jihadis gave them an ultimatum – convert, pay or face death.
The Islamic State terror group declared that Christians must either convert to Islam, pay a special tax or leave the city, around 250 miles north-west of Baghdad.
If they did not do so by noon (9am GMT) today, there would be ‘nothing for them but the sword’, it said.
From Catholic World Report:
ISIS tags Christian homes in Mosul for confiscation as Christians flee
Chaldean Catholic Patriarch: “Iraq will come face to face with human, civil, and historic catastrophe”
Warning that “Iraq will come face to face with human, civil, and historic catastrophe,” Chaldean Catholic Patriarch Louis Sako has written a letter “to the people of conscience and good will in Iraq and the world” in which he describes the dire situation in which Iraqi Christians find themselves.
“The control exercised by the Islamist Jihadists upon the city of Mosul, and their proclamation of it as an Islamic State, after several days of calm and expectant watching of events, has now come to reflect negatively upon the Christian population of the city and its environs,” the patriarch reported in his July 17 letter. “The only alternative is to abandon the city and their houses with only the clothes they are wearing, taking nothing else. Moreover, by Islamic law, upon their departure, their houses are no longer their properties but are instantly confiscated as property of the Islamic state.”
He also stated that ISIS forces had started marking the homes of Christians in Mosul with the Arabic letter “N,” for “Nazara” (Christian). “We do not know what will happen in future days because in an Islamic state the Al-sharia or Islamic code of law is powerful and has been interpreted to require the issuance of new I.Ds for the population based on religious or sectarian affiliation,” Patriarch Sako wrote.
Iraq’s Christian leaders have just made a desperate cry for help. Patriarch Louis Raphael I Sako, head of Iraq’s Catholic church, has issued an appeal “to all who have a living conscience in Iraq and all the world.”
The situation for Iraq’s Christians has been steadily deteriorating ever since the 2003 invasion, in part because the U.S. never acknowledged that Christians were being targeted by Islamists and did not prioritize protection of Christians or other minorities.
But with the recent sweep through Mosul and other Iraqi cities by the jihadi group ISIS, Iraq’s Christians look to be on the verge of genocide.
On June 16th it was reported that ISIS had marked the doors of Christians in red. Patriarch Sako’s letter confirms that rumor. While no one yet knows what this ominous sign foretells, Sako and other Christian leaders are pleading with the world to intervene before the meaning of the sign is made clear.
Earlier this week, Iraqi human rights activist Pascale Warda came to Washington from Baghdad to raise the alarm with the State Department and members of Congress. She was accompanied by Bishop Yousif Habash, who now resides in Elizabeth, New Jersey, but who is originally from Qaraqosh, a city 15 miles from Mosul which was also recently overrun by ISIS, where the Christians still speak Aramaic, the language spoken by Jesus.
Bishop Habash said, “Christians throughout the Middle East have been targeted, and we are on the verge of being exterminated. The West stepped in to stop the ethnic cleansing of Bosnian Muslims and Kosovar Muslims, so we know it can be done. The West must step in now and save the Middle East’s Christians, or we will be wiped out.”
Sts. Nunilo and Alodia! Pray for us!
St. Lawrence of Brindisi! Pray for us!
Know much about him?
I like this story about him from the Catholic Encyclopedia:
It was on the occasion of the foundation of the convent of Prague (1601) that St. Lorenzo was named chaplain of the Imperial army, then about to march against the Turks. The victory of Lepanto (1571) had only temporarily checked the Moslem invasion, and several battles were still necessary to secure the final triumph of the Christian armies. Mohammed III had, since his accession (1595), conquered a large part of Hungary. The emperor, determined to prevent a further advance, sent Lorenzo of Brindisi as deputy to the German princes to obtain their cooperation. They responded to his appeal, and moreover the Duke of Mercœur, Governor of Brittany, joined the imperial army, of which he received the effective command. The attack on Albe-Royal (now Stulweissenburg) was then contemplated. To pit 18,000 men against 80,000 Turks was a daring undertaking and the generals, hesitating to attempt it, appealed to Lorenzo for advice. Holding himself responsible for victory, he communicated to the entire army in a glowing speech the ardour and confidence with which he was himself animated. As his feebleness prevented him from marching, he mounted on horseback and, crucifix in hand, took the lead of the army, which he drew irresistibly after him. Three other Capuchins were also in the ranks of the army. Although the most exposed to danger, Lorenzo was not wounded, which was universally regarded as due to a miraculous protection. The city was finally taken, and the Turks lost 30,000 men. As however they still exceeded in numbers the Christian army, they formed their lines anew, and a few days later another battle was fought. It always the chaplain who was at the head of the army. “Forward!” he cried, showing them the crucifix, “Victory is ours.” The Turks were again defeated, and the honour of this double victory was attributed by the general and the entire army to Lorenzo.
Let Pope Benedict tell you something more
Here is what the Martyrologium Romanum has:
Sancti Laurentii de Brundusio, presbyteri et Ecclesiae doctoris, inter Fratres Minores Capuccinos adscriptus, praedicandi munere in Europae regionibus indefesse functus est, tum pro Ecclesia defensione adversus infideles, tum in reconciliandis principibus, tum in Ordinis sui moderatione, omnia munera explens simplicitate et humilitate. Die vero vigesimo secundo iulii Ulyssipone in Lusitania obiit.
How about your own, smooth but accurate rendering into English (or Klingon… whatever)?
Everyone should go to confession regularly.
That said, sometimes it can happen that you will have a less than edifying experience of the priest confessor. Do not fret!
This even happened to me, recently. While out on the road, I stopped at a parish where I knew confessions were scheduled. The priest in the confessional was a missionary from India. As you know, in these USA during the summer we have many visiting priests going about making mission appeals.
This priest did not say the proper form of absolution. Instead, he gave me a blessing. Three times I asked for absolution. I even said the words for him. He eventually came through.
Will that discourage me from going to confession? Not a whit. Of course, as a priest, I can bring a bit more ammo to the moment, if you get my drift. I am not easily shaken.
Still, I informed the pastor of the parish (standing in the church’s entry way) about my experience and left the situation in his hands. The priest in the confessional, of course, cannot in any way speak about what happened behind that closed door, but I had – nevertheless – to inform the pastor of the parish about what happened in his confessional.
The matter and form of sacraments is no small matter. Invalid matter or form is serious. That is what prompts this post.
What happened to me on Saturday is not an isolated experience. I know that priests can back me up on this. As a matter of fact, some time back a priest reader wrote in once with this experience, in response to one of my ASK FATHER posts:
I have gone to Confession in [different Western languages] to Indian priests and I have experienced on many – the majority – of occasions that they do not say the words of absolution. Instead there is often a sort of flowery prayer ending with the words “and so Jesus forgives you” or “God forgives you.” [I didn't even get that. I got a blessing.]
I think the problem is often that they do not know the formula. If corrected, it becomes clear that they do not know the form. [Yep.] I’ve tried telling it to them, but that doesn’t go over to well.
A fair number of the Indian priests serving in the U.S. are not even of the Latin rite, they’re Syro-Malabar – some have not celebrated a Roman Mass before coming here, thus they import from what they know, or they make it up as they go along.
It has come to the point that I avoid going to Indian priests for confession. Also, some priests may not know the form in English or Latin – perhaps a nice gift for parishes/priests would be a nicely framed card for the confessional with the necessary prayers.
Yes, dear readers, this can happen. We live in a fallen world and not every priest out there, over the last few decades, has been perfectly trained up. Thus, we learn not to freak out.
Fathers, if you are pastors of parishes, parish priests, and you have a missionary priest visiting, and you put him to work hearing confessions, I suggest that you mention that in your parish, all priests use exactly the form of absolution which the Church has approved. You should have a printed card in the confessional with the approved formula in Latin and in English (and perhaps in Spanish, etc.). Perhaps diocesan bishops might think about directing that parish priests remind visiting priests from outside the diocese that, ’round these parts we say the black words and do the red stuff.
“But Father! But Father!”, you might be thinking, “isn’t this sort of… insulting? Assuming that priests don’t know the form of absolution? Telling them something so fundamental?”
We can’t assume that all visiting priests are going to get it right. You just can’t. Better safe than sorry.
Lay people, if this happens to you, ask the priest – politely – to say the words of absolution. Keep in mind that older priests will be saying the form of absolution while you are reciting your Act of Contrition. In most cases, they will wait with the actual form, “I absolve you…” when you have finished. But, sometimes, they don’t. In that case, if you don’t hear the priest say “I absolve you…” you can – politely – ask if the priest gave you absolution. You might add that you didn’t hear it. If you get the sense that the priest simply did not just at any time the correct form, do not lose your cool. Sometimes a priest will send signals that he is a bit dodgy or unsure. For example, if he tells you something that is clearly a mortal sin is not a sin, or if he subtly (or not) runs you down for a reciting “laundry list”, or even if he doesn’t give a penance or the penance is something like “think nice thoughts about someone”, you may be in the presence of a guy who has either made the choice that he knows better than the Church or he has not been well-trained. Again, don’t lose your cool. Inform the pastor – politely. If the priest is the pastor, you may have to inform the diocesan bishop. Did I mention don’t lose your cool? Be polite? It is nearly unimaginable that the priest is straying from what ought to be done out of malice or ill intent.
If you are pretty sure that you were not absolved, freak thou thyself not out. If there is another priest available, tell him what happened, make your confession, get absolved, and go on your way whistling a happy tune (after leaving the church, of course). Otherwise, at your next opportunity, make your confession.
Sacraments have matter and form. The matter of the Sacrament of Penance (Reconciliation) is the telling of the sins. The form is the absolution spoken by the validly ordained priest who has faculties. If the priest does not say a valid form of absolution, then the Sacrament of Penance has not been celebrated. Some other sort of grace-filled moment might have taken place, but it won’t have been the Sacrament of Penance.
Finally, in the document Redemptionis Sacramentum we read at the end:
Complaints Regarding Abuses in Liturgical Matters
[183.] In an altogether particular manner, let everyone do all that is in their power to ensure that the Most Holy Sacrament of the Eucharist [all sacraments, actually] will be protected from any and every irreverence or distortion and that all abuses be thoroughly corrected. This is a most serious duty incumbent upon each and every one, and all are bound to carry it out without any favouritism.
[184.] Any Catholic, whether Priest or Deacon or lay member of Christ’s faithful, has the right to lodge a complaint regarding a liturgical abuse to the diocesan Bishop or the competent Ordinary equivalent to him in law, or to the Apostolic See on account of the primacy of the Roman Pontiff. It is fitting, however, insofar as possible, that the report or complaint be submitted first to the diocesan Bishop. This is naturally to be done in truth and charity.
I would add to this that, in a parish, start with the pastor – if feasible – and work your way up.
And always always always say a prayer for any priest who might be doing something a little dodgy.
The comment moderation queue is ON.
It is interesting that Ameriʞa Magazine would feature something by or about Fr. James Schall, SJ. Perhaps this is Jesuit solidarity? Fr. Schall, a political philosopher, is retiring from his long and distinguished teaching career at Georgetown. Fr. Z kudos to him.
Ameriʞa interviewed Fr. Schall in advance of the release of his new book, a collection of essays entitled The Classical Moment: Selected Essays on Knowledge and Its Pleasures. (Alas! No Kindle version yet!)
The final paragraph of the interview caught my eye.
We live in a time in which the very essence of our republic and our reason are being overturned in the public order. They are replaced by the voluntarism of which Pope Benedict spoke so clearly. All turmoil in the public order begins in the hearts and minds of the dons, clerical and academic. My last thoughts are those of Chesterton concluding Heretics in 1905, that in the end, the only ones left to uphold reason in the modern world will be the believers. We are seeing this happen before our very eyes, but few notice because few want to know.
For your Brick by Brick file.
From the Democrat and Chronicle:
Catholic diocese upends custom on homilies
For the better part of 40 years in churches across the Roman Catholic Diocese of Rochester, clergy ceded the floor to laypeople for the delivery of the homily — the sermon that follows the reading of the Gospel at Mass.
The practice, which dated to the mid-1970s and was simultaneously derided by the faithful for running afoul of church law and praised for its inclusiveness, has come to an end.
In an extensive interview, Bishop Salvatore Matano said he has been confronting the issue on a case-by-case basis since his installation in January and is now drafting guidelines to clarify that homilies are reserved for ordained priests and deacons, as prescribed by canon law.
“It is not a policy shift as regards to the universal law of the church,” Matano said. “I am trying to help the faithful understand what is the universal law of the church and how important it is that in the celebration of Mass, we do what the church asks of us.”
The reversal is perhaps the starkest example yet of the contrasting stewardship of Matano with his predecessor, Bishop Matthew Clark, under whom the diocese earned a reputation as among the most liberal in the country.
Although laypeople were giving the homily before Clark’s time as bishop, it was during his tenure from 1979 to 2012 that such preaching blossomed into a regular occurrence in multiple churches.
Matano called the ubiquity of the practice “a bit perplexing” and attributed it to a misinterpretation of canon law.
“In the life of the church today, there are many interpretations that people might give to a particular ruling with no malintent present, but that do need clarification,” Matano said.
Many in the church have welcomed the shift as a long-awaited return to doctrine. Indeed, Matano said he began addressing the matter in response to complaints from parishioners.
But it also has been received with disappointment, particularly among women, who made up the majority of lay homilists and viewed the practice as a way to play a more active role in their faith.
Read the rest there.
This is excellent. Fr. Z Kudos to Bp. Matano.
As I watch the nasty business with the Gaza Strip, I continue my reading of Disinformation: Former Spy Chief Reveals Secret Strategies for Undermining Freedom, Attacking Religion, and Promoting Terrorism. It was written by the former head of Romanian intelligence together with a law professor who is an expert on evidence (and on the smearing of the reputation of Pius XII). (UK link HERE)
Here is an excerpt, which pertains to what is happening in the Middle East right now:
By 1972, Andropov’s disinformation machinery was working around the clock to persuade the Islamic world that Israel and the United States intended to transform the rest of the world into a Zionist fiefdom. According to Andropov, the Islamic world was a petri dish in which the KGB community could nurture a virulent strain of America-hatred, grown from the bacterium of Marxist-Leninist thought. Islamic anti-Semitism ran deep. The message was simple: The Muslims had a taste for nationalism, jingoism, and victimology. Andropov pontificated that “we” should make them feel sick to their stomachs just thinking about that “Council of the Elders of Zion” (meaning the US Congress), the aim of which was to have the Jews take over the world. We should whip up their illiterate, oppressed mobs to a fever pitch. Terrorism and violence against Israel and America would flow naturally from the Muslims’ anti-Semitic fervor, Andropov explained. The Kremlin has always been a strong advocate of divide et impera. The split between the Judeo and the Christian worlds generated by the framing of Pius XII proved that this archaic strategy of divide and conquer worked in modern times as well. In 1972, Andropov launched Operation “SIG” (Sionistskiye Gosudarstva, Zionist Governments). This was the code name for a “socialist division of labor” aimed at turning the Islamic world into an “explosive” enemy of the United States. The Romanian DIE’s [Romanian intelligence agency] sphere of influence for the operation embraced Libya, Iran, Lebanon, and Syria, where Romania was involved in building hospitals, schools, and roads and maintained large colonies of builders, doctors, and teachers. The DIE’s task was to scour Romania for trusted Communist Party activists belonging to Islamic ethnic groups, train them in dezinformatsiya and terrorist operations , and infiltrate them into its target countries. They would be charged with the task of implanting a rabid , demented hatred for American Zionism by manipulating the ancestral abhorrence for Jews felt by many people in that part of the world. Before I left Romania for good, in 1978, the DIE had sent about five hundred undercover agents to its Islamic target countries— and, as I later learned, it continued to send such agents until the Soviet bloc collapsed, in 1989. Most of them were engineers, medical doctors, teachers, and art instructors. According to a rough estimate received from Moscow, by 1978 the Soviet bloc intelligence community had sent some four thousand such agents of influence into the Islamic world. The assumption was that about 70– 75 percent of those assets would end up being really useful. In 1972 , the DIE received from the KGB an Arabic translation of the Protocols of the Elders of Zion along with “documentary” material, also in Arabic, “proving” that the United States was a Zionist country whose aim was to transform the Islamic world into a Jewish fiefdom. The DIE was ordered to “discreetly” disseminate both “documents” within its targeted Islamic countries. During my later years in Romania, every month the DIE disseminated thousands of copies throughout its Islamic sphere of influence. In the meetings I had with my counterparts in the Hungarian and Bulgarian services, with whom I enjoyed particularly close relations at that time, I learned that they were also sending such influence agents into their own Islamic spheres of influence. (Kindle pp 256-257)
And then there is this:
On December 31, 2000 , President Putin, celebrating his first anniversary as president, announced that Russia had a new national anthem. In fact, the law signed by Putin restored the melody of Stalin’s national anthem, which had been prohibited after the collapse of the Soviet Union . Those original lyrics, written by the poet Sergey Mikhalkov, praised Stalin, Lenin, the Communist Party, and the “unbreakable” Soviet Union. At Khrushchev’s request, Mikhalkov wrote a second version of the lyrics, removing Stalin’s name, after his memory had become politically unpalatable. Mikhalkov has now again rewritten his lyrics, this time to satisfy Putin. Yelena Bonner, the widow of the Nobel Peace Prize winner Andrey Sakharov, denounced Putin’s actions in this matter as a “profanation of history.” Putin disagreed , explaining: “We have overcome the differences between the past and the present.” (p 267)
Over at Fishwrap (aka National Schismatic Reporter), knickers are in twists over the recently issued document from the International Theological Commission, “‘Sensus Fidei’ in the Life of the Church“.
As you will recall, at Fishwrap, “sensus fidei“, closely related to “sentire cum Ecclesia“, means majority sentiment, deduced through an intricate algorithm involving feelings, polls, and the interpreters own liberal notions, which then can trump any divinely revealed teaching, all dogma (aka “church policy”), and, especially, “rules”, which are bad – unless liberals are making them, of course.
The Fishwrap writer, Robert McClory, (whose brief Fishwrap bio says: professor emeritus of journalism at Northwestern University, and has contributed to NCR since 1974. He is the author of Radical Disciple: Father Pfleger, St. Sabina Church, and the Fight for Social Justice and As It Was in the Beginning: The Coming Democratization of the Catholic Church), offers his insights into the deficiencies of the new ITC doc. Here is a sample (my emphases and comments:
At one point, the writers consider the most important dispositions a Catholic needs for authentic participations [sic] in the sensus fidei (sense of the faith). “No single one can be discussed in an isolated manner; its relationship to each and all of the others has to be taken into account,” they write.
“The first and most fundamental is … active participation in the liturgy, especially the Eucharist, regular reception of the sacrament of reconciliation, discernment and exercise of gifts and charisms received from the Holy Spirit … There are countless ways in which such participation may occur, but what is common in all cases is an active solidarity with the Church.”
Now, this sounds pretty rigid. [Oh dear oh dear! Can you imagine? For someone to have a true "sense of the faith" they should be able to receive Communion, having gone to ... CONFESSION?!? What's the world coming to? But I like this next bit...] If taken literally, [HA! What the ITC really meant to say, was....] it could eliminate from authentic participation in the sense of the faith that overwhelming mass of Catholics who receive reconciliation irregularly. [Ummm... yep.] But I hope that is not the intent of the writers, and I do not think the writers intend to cut off those who attend Mass on a less-than-weekly basis. [No, that's right. Why would we call into question the perspective of those who get up on Sunday, yawn, stretch, and then go about their business without even having remembered Mass? Or who remember and then choose not to go? Or who have lived outside the state of grace for years?] Might Catholics who belong to intentional eucharistic communities [? More in this seriously messed up notion: HERE] or small faith groups [?] qualify as actively participating in the Eucharist? [No.] I think so, [Imagine my shock.] especially if they cannot tolerate abysmal liturgy, awful preaching or closed attitudes at the Catholic parish or parishes available to them. ["closed attitudes"... code for "No, you can't do whatever the hell you want with your genitals."] As the document notes, what is most needed is “an active solidarity with the Church” — that is, with the whole church. [Which includes, by the way, the HIERARCHY.]
And there is this:
The fourth disposition a faithful Catholic needs is “attentiveness to the magisterium of the Church, and a willingness to listen to the teaching of the pastors of the Church, as an act of freedom.” [Because there is no true "freedom" in the Church, properly understood, without willingness to "listen" (as a first step) to the Magisterium. The next step would be.... ?] The document does not say immediate obedience is required, though the “magisterium is rooted in the mission of Jesus.” [Even the writer figured out that the next step is obedience. But... hey!... why not defer it for a while?] Earlier in the document, the writers state that the sense of faith “enables individual believers to perceive any disharmony, incoherence, or contradiction between a teaching or practice and the authentic Christian faith … Alerted by their sensus fidei, individual believers may deny assent even to the teaching of legitimate pastors if they do not recognise in that teaching the voice of Christ.” [The point is that the faithful need, first, to know what the Church teaches. Then they need to submit to what the Church teaches. Then, if the hear something that is out of synch with the Church's authentic teaching, then they can play their proper role.] The term “legitimate pastors” obviously includes priests, bishops and popes. [It is probably good that the writer included that last bit, since it wouldn't be apparent to most readers of NSR.]
Finally, there’s this:
[T]he writers declare: “The magisterium also judges with authority whether opinions which are present among the people of God and which may seem to be the sensus fidelium, actually correspond to the truth of the Tradition received from the Apostles. … Thus, judgement regarding the authenticity of the sensus fidelium belongs ultimately not to the faithful themselves nor to theology but to the magisterium.”
You can imagine how well that part went down.
You can read the ITC document yourselves. It is good to have a bit more clarity about sensus fidei and sentire cum Ecclesia. It could have been better, but it is a start. But, if the Fishwrappers are unsettled by it, it is probably a sound piece of work.
Finally, may I remind you all of Lumen gentium (that’s from the -cue celestial music – Second Vatican Council) 12?
The holy people of God shares also in Christ’s prophetic office; it spreads abroad a living witness to Him, especially by means of a life of faith and charity and by offering to God a sacrifice of praise, the tribute of lips which give praise to His name. The entire body of the faithful, anointed as they are by the Holy One, cannot err in matters of belief. They manifest this special property by means of the whole peoples’ supernatural discernment in matters of faith when “from the bishops down to the last of the lay faithful” (Augustine, De Praed. Sanct. 14.27: PL 44.980) they show universal agreement in matters of faith and morals. That discernment in matters of faith is aroused and sustained by the Spirit of truth. It is exercised under the guidance of the sacred teaching authority, in faithful and respectful obedience to which the people of God accepts that which is not just the word of men but truly the word of God. Through it, the people of God adheres unwaveringly to the faith given once and for all to the saints, penetrates it more deeply with right thinking, and applies it more fully in its life.
In other words, you can’t make it up. You can’t, in the name of “being prophetic”, pick this and refuse that. You can’t, and be Catholic, think apart from or over and against the bishops and Holy Father. An appeal to “sensus fidei” apart from them is a sham.