Card. Zen on the “Provisional Agreement” with the PRC on Bishops

When I lived in Rome I had some contact with the Chinese Catholic ex-pat community.  Today, I can only imagine their heartbreak and fear.

The reaction of His Eminence Joseph Card. Zen is at LifeSite.

“It’s a complete surrender … I have no other words.”

The only consolation is that this is a “provisional” accord.

Communique?
concerning the signing of a Provisional Agreement between the Holy See and the People’s Republic of China on the appointment of Bishops

Today, 22nd September 2018, within the framework of the contacts between the Holy See and the People’s Republic of China that have been underway for some time in order to discuss Church matters of common interest and to promote further understanding, a meeting was held in Beijing between Msgr. Antoine Camilleri, Undersecretary for the Holy See’s Relations with States, and H.E. Mr. Wang Chao, Deputy Minister for Foreign Affairs of the People’s Republic of China, respectively heads of the Vatican and Chinese delegations.

During that meeting, the two representatives signed a Provisional Agreement on the appointment of Bishops. The above-mentioned Provisional Agreement, which is the fruit of a gradual and reciprocal rapprochement, has been agreed following a long process of careful negotiation and foresees the possibility of periodic reviews of its application. It concerns the nomination of Bishops, a question of great importance for the life of the Church, and creates the conditions for greater collaboration at the bilateral level.

The shared hope is that this agreement may favour a fruitful and forward-looking process of institutional dialogue and may contribute positively to the life of the Catholic Church in China, to the common good of the Chinese people and to peace in the world.

Comment of Greg Burke, Director of the Holy See Press Office:

This is not the end of a process. It’s the beginning. This has been about dialogue, patient listening on both sides even when people come from very different standpoints. The objective of the accord is not political but pastoral, allowing the faithful to have bishops who are in communion with Rome but at the same time recognized by Chinese authorities”.

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WDTPRS – 25th Ordinary Sunday: Each love fuels the other, when love of God is first.

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This week’s Collect for Mass for the upcoming 25th Ordinary Sunday (Novus Ordo, obviously), was introduced into the Missale Romanum with the Novus Ordo but it is influenced by a prayer in the ancient Veronese Sacramentary.

Deus, qui sacrae legis omnia constituta in tua et proximi dilectione posuisti, da nobis, ut, tua praecepta servantes, ad vitam mereamur pervenire perpetuam.

OBSOLETE ICEL (1973):

Father, guide us, as you guide creation according to your law of love. May we love one another and come to perfection in the eternal life prepared for us.

BRUTALLY LITERAL ATTEMPT:

O God, who placed all things of the sacred law which were constituted in the love of You and of neighbor, grant us that we, observing Your precepts, may merit to attain to eternal life.

CURRENT ICEL (2011):

O God, who founded all the commands of your sacred Law upon love of you and of our neighbor, grant that, by keeping your precepts, we may merit to attain eternal life.

This Collect seems to be founded on the exchange between Jesus and a lawyer:

“But when the Pharisees heard that he had silenced the Sadducees, they came together. And one of them, a lawyer, asked him a question, to test him. ‘Teacher, which is the great commandment in the law?’ And he said to him, ‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind. This is the great and first commandment. And a second is like it, You shall love your neighbor as yourself. On these two commandments depend all the law and the prophets’” (Matthew 22:34-40).

St Thomas Aquinas (+1274) glossed this verse in his Commentary on Saint Matthew:

When man is loved, God is loved, since man is the image of God.

In 1 John 4:21 there is a good explanation of this double precept: “This commandment we have from him, that he who loves God should love his brother also.”

All of the Law is summed up in Jesus’ two-fold command of love of God and neighbor.

The first part of the two-fold law is about unconditional love of God. The second follows as its consequence.

We must cultivate our different loves in their proper order.

God comes first, always.

Always.

A married person must love God more even than a spouse. We must never put any creature, no matter how proximate to us in our hearts, closer than the God in whose image and likeness we are made. When this logical priority is properly in place, love of God and neighbor will not conflict or compete.

Each love fuels the other, when love of God is first.

HEY!  YOU out there promoting an agenda that can’t honestly be reconciled with the Church’s teaching!  You are putting something in God’s place.  That’s perilous.  You run the risk of burning in Hell for eternity.  You know who you are.  Some of you have SJ by your name.

Today’s Collect reestablishes that we have a special relationship with each person who lives, and not merely with God alone. People are made in God’s image. They are our neighbors, though some are closer to us than others.

But there is no person on earth who is not in some way our neighbor, even enemies.

This reciprocal relationship calls to mind another act of reciprocity which the Lord teaches us: forgive or you will not be forgiven.

When our Savior taught us how to pray what we now call the Lord’s Prayer (Matthew 6:9-13), the first thing he then explained and stressed was forgiveness:

“For if you forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father also will forgive you; but if you do not forgive men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses” (vv 14-15).

It is often hard to forgive.

The second section of the Catechism of the Catholic Church [US HERE – UK HERE ] digs into the Lord’s Prayer. When we get to the examination of “…as we forgive those who trespass against us” we read (2842):

“This ‘as’ is not unique in Jesus’ teaching: ‘You, therefore, must be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect’; ‘Be merciful, even as your Father is merciful’; ‘A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another, even as I have loved you, that you also love one another.’ It is impossible to keep the Lord’s commandment by imitating the divine model from outside; there has to be a vital participation, coming from the depths of the heart, in the holiness and the mercy and the love of our God. Only the Spirit by whom we live can make ‘ours’ the same mind that was in Christ Jesus. Then the unity of forgiveness becomes possible and we find ourselves ‘forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave us.’”

QUAERITUR: When it is your time to go to Your Lord, will you be well-reconciled with the neighbors you leave behind?

Our time will come. Let us pray daily that we will not die without the solace and strengthening of the sacraments and an opportunity to make peace with our neighbor.

Do you have unfinished business?

Time is running out.

Reconcile with your neighbor.  Get right with God and others.

GO TO CONFESSION!

tick… tick… tick… tick… tick… ti-

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VIDEO: Fr. Murray on aspects of The Present Crisis

Let libs tremble and clutch their pearls upon their fainting couches.

My good friend Fr. Gerald Murray was interviewed by Raymond Arroyo last night on The World Over.

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ASK FATHER: Adding water to Holy Water

What are priests for?

Short answer: They offer sacrifice.

The role of the priest is to confect the Eucharist, absolve sins, impart blessings, preside at all manner of approved rites.   The jocular Scriptural basis for this is, of course, “For God so loved the world that he did not send a committee.”   Priests these days are pulled into all sorts of parish activities because of their role of governance in the Church, which goes along with their priestly and prophetic roles.  However, governance has been drawn down into the minutiae which can, if permitted, take him away from what he is really for: offering the Sacrifice, absolutions, blessing.

There has been for many decades now an erosion of the identity of the priest and of the bishop.  As the lodestone of liturgical worship which energized and activated them weakened, other forces drew them in.  Now they are pulled into all sorts of things and away from what they ought to be doing.

This struck me forcefully during the 7.5 hour ceremony for the consecration of the new Gower Abbey church.   There we no other place where it was better for priests and bishops to be.  What was going on there is precisely why we are ordained.  We were kicking the Enemy out of the place with mighty rites of cleansing and exorcising.  We were readying the sacred space for the people to enter.  We were making it into a mighty transceiver of grace and intercession.  That’s what priests and bishops do.  Only they can do it!

Hence, they should be allowed to be free enough to do those things that only they can do, for the sake of the People of God.

This little rant is a prelude to a question I received.

From a reader…

QUAERITUR:

Dear Father,

I was asked to help clean our parish Baptismal font (also use as a holy water font by parishioners). When we finished putting about 30 gallons of fresh water in it I was instructed to get one cup of holy water from the holy water container by the main entrance.

When I placed the cup of holy water in the baptismal font I was told this made all 30 gallons holy water?

It does not seem right to me? Can you tell what is going on?

Your sense did not fail you.  That wasn’t right.

What’s going on?

A couple things.

First, it sounds as if you have one of those “font of living waters” gizmos or one of those “wading pools”.   They are sort of silly, but let that pass.

Some people are under the impression that adding a little Holy Water to a large amount of unblessed water will render the whole into Holy Water.

No.

Some say that you can add some Holy Water to regular water as you describe.  Some will even say that so long as you add the same amount of Holy Water to regular, plus just a bit more – like one percent – and that’ll do the trick.  Thus, you would double the amount.  I think that’s a bad approach.  We should be more prudent and respectful.

The REAL solution I’ll post below.

But, in the meantime, let’s use the analogy of how much water can be, should be, added to the wine at the offertory in the preparation of the chalice.

Manualists say that no more than 1/5 (one fifth) of the volume of the wine should be added  by the water to be sure that the substance of the wine has not been compromised and, therefore, consecration would be invalid.  One fifth.

Let’s now apply this for the combination of Holy Water to water.  I would say that perhaps 1/5 of the volume of the Holy Water in regular water could be added to the Holy Water, in order to increase its volume by 20%.  And I think you could do that once.

You see… I think that Holy Water is important.  You don’t fool around with this stuff because we use Holy Water for serious purposes.  It is not a toy, part of a game, or a souvenir.   Holy Water puts to flight the influence of the Enemy.

That’s why I have never, not even once in 27 years of priesthood, ever used the new prayers for “holy water”.  I have always ever used the older, traditional form, with the exorcisms of the salt and the water before their blessing and mixing.

Here is the REAL solution for the concrete case described above.

Father should get off his backside, go over to the church and BLESS THE WATER (preferably with the older Ritual).

If Father can’t be bothered because he is involved with more important things, like a committee meeting, then, I contend, his priorities are screwy.  Sure, he might not be able to come at this very minute, but that’s his job: bless stuff.

 

 

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ASK FATHER: If in letters Benedict XVI imparts still the Apostolic Blessing…

Debates about the true status of Benedict XVI could root the stuff of novels.

There are those who say that Benedict XVI is still really Pope.  There are different reasons given.  One is that his abdication was under duress and is, therefore, void.  Another is that he himself did not intend to resign: why else would he remain in Vatican City, retain the papal name Benedict XVI and dress in the classic white cassock with white zucchetto, but not the simarra which, with its pellegrina or cape, is a symbol of jurisdiction?  Some wonder if there isn’t a way in which Benedict remains Pope but with a solely contemplative role, while Francis is pope with an active role which includes potestas, such that the munus Petrinum is now shared.

Here is another bit of information to toss into the speculation ring.

I received an email from a reader…

QUAERITUR:

Can Benedict XVI impart an apostolic blessing if he has ceased to be the Pope?

In the Bild article leaking excerpts of Benedict XVI’s letters to Brandmuller, he ends one with:

Beten wir lieber darum, wie Sie es am Ende Ihres Briefes getan haben, daß der Herr seiner Kirche zu Hilfe kommt. Mit meinem apostolischen Segen bin ich

Ihr

Benedict XVI

My translation:

Let us pray, as you did at the end of your letter,  that the Lord will come to the help of His Church.  I am with my apostolic blessing

Your

Benedict XVI

It may be that His Holiness B16 dashed that off as a matter of habit.  Heck, I know an older priest or two who still mention John Paul in the Eucharistic Prayer.

It may be that His Holiness is using the term somewhat loosely.

That said, the Apostolic Benediction is given by the Pope.   They do so solemnly on occasions such as the Urbi et Orbi blessing.  It is done at audiences (except when Francis chooses not to bless at all).  They do so also in writing for some occasions.

A few others in limited circumstances impart the Apostolic Blessing.  A priest can give it with an indulgence when someone is dying.  Bishops could give the blessing three times a year on solemn feasts.

However, in general Popes give this blessing and Popes customarily end special letters with an expression that they impart the Apostolic Blessing.

It is possible that Benedict XVI was using terms loosely, and really meant his pontifical blessing, his episcopal blessing as a bishop.

Finally, I suspect that Benedict, who by all reports is still as sharp as a scalpel, knows very well what he can and cannot do, none better.

 

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A story of spectacular complexity, involving shady people, huge money, interlocking directorates, vast loans, and the Papal Foundation.

Read this.

Zenit reports.

Pope Francis on September 20, 2018, received in the Apostolic Palace Consistory Hall of the Vatican, the participants at the Conference of the Sons of Holy Mary Immaculate on the occasion of the 150th anniversary of the Venerable Joseph Frassinetti death, founder of the Congregation of Santa Maria Immacolata Sons.

Now read this at Crux about the hospital in Rome – called the Immaculate Dermatological Institute or IDI – run by them.

This is a story of spectacular complexity, involving this order, extremely shady people, huge amounts of money, interlocking directorates, vast loans, and the Papal Foundation.

[…]

Left with no alternatives, Pope Francis asked Wuerl to help him find a way to once again fend off the “social catastrophe” of an IDI collapse. The American cardinal forwarded the request to the Papal Foundation, a group of wealthy U.S. benefactors who gave their first grant for charitable initiatives under St. Pope John Paul II in 1990.

Among those pushing for a $25 million grant to be sent to IDI, sources within the foundation said, was also McCarrick, now at the center of a sexual abuse scandal hitting the Church’s hierarchy, and who participated in some sessions of the Papal Foundation until June 2017.

But lay foundation members were not so eager to spend that money, especially since IDI did not release any financial statement or strategy. Speaking to the Wall Street Journal, the former chairman of the foundation’s audit committee, businessman James Longon, called the grant an “irresponsible and immoral stewardship of funds.”

Though ostensibly a dispute about the proper use of funds, the fight over IDI inside the Papal Foundation is also seen by many observers as a proxy battle for the larger war over Francis and his leadership of the Church. Many of the clergy supporting the hospital are also major Francis loyalists, while several of those most skeptical have their doubts about the pope on other grounds as well.

Normally the foundation offers grants for the poor in amounts that rarely exceed $300,000, and its members found themselves at odds with the Vatican’s leadership, to the extent that an audience with the pope last April had to be canceled.

Eventually the lay members capitulated to the request. In July 2017, the first $5 million was approved, followed in January by another $8 million. While these first two payments have already been sent to IDI, the remaining $12 million is still in the foundation’s account, sources within the foundation told Crux.

How those U.S. funds were used by IDI, and the reasons behind the delay of the final payment, remain shrouded in mystery.

[…]

They couldn’t run a bird cage, these people.

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One Mad Mom spanks James Martin, LGBTSJ – UPDATED

UPDATE:

I had a call from a friend who underscored her real shock at Martin’s ghastly suggestion in his tweets.  The more I think about it, the more loathsome the true content of Martin’s tweets appears.

He told people that they shouldn’t pray or do penance.  The underlying message is that their prayer and penance would not be effective, that their prayers and penances wouldn’t help or do anything.

How twisted is that?


Originally Published on: Sep 18, 2018

One Mad Mom is one mad mom!

She tackles, as well as anyone could, something deeply deceptive that homosexualist Jesuit James Martin, LGBTSJ, said.

In full disclosure, I am one of those leaders who call for the laity to do penance and make acts of reparation for the sins of priests. Now that I know that Martin thinks it is a bad idea (actually, he is doing something far more slithery), I know that I am right.

Fr. Martin – Don’t Be That Guy!

Only from the mind of Fr. James Martin, LGBTSJ, can we get this shocker. I had another post all tee’d up but this one deserved a response.

I understand the desire among some church leaders to call for the church to fast and pray in response to the sex abuse crisis. It’s a recognition that we are all the Body of Christ, the People of God, united as one, in Christ’s name. And we are all called to prayer. However, in this case, to imply that the laity, in any way, should perform any kinds of penances, including fasting, is simply wrong. The laity should not have to do one minute of penance for the crimes, sins and failings of the hierarchy and the clergy. And yes, we are all one, but it’s important, especially in this case, not victimize people all over again. To use the model of the sacrament of reconciliation, it is the sinner, the one seeking forgiveness, who repents, not the one, or ones, sinned against.

Put your eyes back in your head. Yep, he actually said that. It was so fantastical that I screenshot that puppy for you. Oh, Fr. Martin, where in the heck is the Catholicism in this three tweet rant? Sorry, Blessed Mother. All of those times you urged us to prayer, fasting, and penance to hold back God’s wrath and drive the evil out of the world, well, you were wrong. Oh, and your spot at the foot of the Cross was useless, since you were free from sin. Not your problem. And Apostles, you wasted your time, too. Please, please, tell me that even some of the Fr. Martin groupies cocked their head at this one!!!

[…]

You might check out my Sunday Sermon.

.

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Bishop R. Walker Nickless of Sioux City on #ViganoTestimony

Bishop R. Walker Nickless of Sioux City has made a statement about The Viganò Testimony.

[…]

As I mention our priests, seminarians and deacons, I want to thank the faithful of the Diocese of Sioux City who have offered support, prayers and encouragement to them and to myself. We all know that our beloved Catholic Church is undergoing a purification, and hopefully, a renewal. The news of the Archbishop Theodore McCarrick scandal, the grand jury report in Pennsylvania and the recent “Testimony” of Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganó have given us much to think about and to pray about.

Let me say this about the “Testimony.” In having read carefully the 11-page Testimony of Archbishop Viganó, I support and echo Cardinal Daniel DiNardo, president of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, in his statement of Aug. 27, in which he stated, “The recent letter of Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganó brings particular focus and urgency to this examination. The questions raised deserve answers that are conclusive and based on evidence. Without those answers, innocent men may be tainted by false accusation and the guilty may be left to repeat sins of the past.”

I believe Archbishop Viganó and, at the same time, we need more information.

In the matter of transparency in disciplining bishops, no one is above the law; and no bishop, regardless of diocese or rank or standing, may hope to evade the full and exacting moral law of our Lord Jesus Christ and the canonical laws of the church in the exercise of our duties. Therefore, let the harsh light of truth come, with its healing and freeing power.

Moreover, while renewing my respect for our Holy Father, Pope Francis, I join the greater part of my brother bishops in supplicating the Holy Father to make a clearer and fuller answer to the Testimony. My unshakeable loyalty to the Chair of St. Peter prompts me to beg its current occupant, Pope Francis, to undertake the necessary examination for the truth and to lead us courageously. This examination must happen for the church to heal and move forward, and it undoubtedly will happen, if not with our cooperation, then in spite of any attempts to avoid it. We bishops must be open to the truth and accept justice for our misconduct, if any be found.

[…]

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Archd. Chicago parish burns a “rainbow flag”

UPDATE:

Right on cue, homosexuals are after this priest’s chitlins.  An Alder… woman?  Aldergal? is on his case, calling for protests.

Chicago Tribune

WGN – with the obligatory comments of shock from a protestant ministrix.

It’ll be interesting to see what the Archdiocese does to this priest.  I hope he is left alone, but that is not what I expect.    I expect that he will be “mercy-ed”.  Maybe even “accompanied”… out the door.

UPDATE:

I see that the Church-hating McClatchy newspaper group is spreading the story.

 


NBC news’ local affiliate had informative video interview with Card. Cupich of Chicago. Remember?  He said that Francis has better things to do than investigate clerical abuse, like protect fish from plastic straws – HERE).

NBC now reports that there was an act of defiance in Chicago recently.  But they left out some critical information.   Better is ChurchMilitant and also Chicago Sun Times:

Priest defies Cardinal Cupich, burns LGBTQ flag on church grounds

A North Side priest who says he “can’t sit well” with Cardinal Blase Cupich burned a gay-friendly flag outside his Avondale church last week — against the wishes of the cardinal he claims is trying to minimize the clergy sex-abuse crisis.

Rev. Paul Kalchik says the banner, featuring a cross superimposed over a rainbow, had been featured prominently in the sanctuary at Resurrection Catholic Church but had been taken down and was forgotten in storage at the parish at 3043 N. Francisco for more than a decade.

Kalchik led seven parishioners in a prayer of exorcism Friday, and the flag was burned inside a portable fire pit placed the schoolyard next to the church. The ashes of the flag now rest in a church compost heap.

“That banner and what it stood for doesn’t belong to the Archdiocese or Cardinal Cupich. It belongs to the people of this parish who paid for it,” Kalchik said. “What have we done wrong other than destroy a piece of propaganda that was used to put out a message other than what the church is about?”

[…]

Kalchik, 56, claims he was preceded by three “bad priests” who were “big in promoting the gay lifestyle” before he was ordained as pastor of Resurrection by Cardinal Francis George in 2007.

The flag was first displayed prominently at the church’s altar in 1991 to welcome LGBTQ worshippers to the faith, according to Kalchik, but it was later taken down and put into storage — along with priestly vestments and candles emblazoned with rainbow colors.

Kalchik said he found the vestments and destroyed them when he arrived in 2007, but somehow missed the flag until another cleaning session last month.

“The people of this parish have been pretty resilient and put up with a lot of B.S.” Kalchik said in an interview in his office Tuesday night. “And it was just by accident that this banner that was made to celebrate all things gay … did not get destroyed when I first got here.”

[…]

In a church bulletin dated Sept. 2, Kalchik announced that he planned to burn the flag Sept. 29 for “the Feast of Saint Michael, Gabriel and Raphael.” But a few days later, the archdiocese told him to scrap the burning after officials were notified of his plans by a reporter for the Windy City Times.

The priest says the archdiocese threatened him with “canonical penalties” if he went through with the flag burning, and that Cupich has since blocked Kalchik’s request to transfer to a diocese in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, where Kalchik has family.

Despite the orders from the archdiocese, Kalchik admits he went ahead and destroyed the flag “in a quiet way” on Friday.

Kalchik — who says he was sexually abused by a neighbor as a child, and again by a priest when he began working for the church at 19 — says the sex-abuse crisis plaguing the church is “definitely a gay thing.” Cupich has rejected a connection between the scandal and gay priests but has drawn criticism in recent weeks for comments claiming the church should focus on other priorities instead of being “distracted” by the sex-abuse crisis.

“I can’t sit well with people like Cardinal Cupich, who minimizes all of this,” Kalchik said. “Excuse me, but almost all of the [abuse] cases are, with respect to priests, bishops and whatnot, taking and using other young men sexually. It’s definitely a gay thing.”

Of gays in the church, Kalchik says “scripture is crystal-clear. It’s against God’s law.”

As of Tuesday night, Kalchik said the archdiocese had not contacted him since the flag was torched.

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And now a word from our sponsor…

And now a word from our sponsor…

Today – the 20th day of the month – is one of this blog’s very lean days.

There are only three people signed up to make monthly donations.

There are a lot of you out there who come often to read and comment.

If this blog is useful to you, please consider signing up to make a monthly donation.  Doing so today would make this 20th day of the month a good deal less depressing.

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I am deeply grateful for your support and I regularly remember my benefactors in prayer and with Masses. And thank you, once again, to those of you who have already subscribed or who send donations via snail mail (address on sidebar).

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BOOKS RECEIVED: Vatican I: The Council and the Making of the Ultramontane Church

So time ago, I received a new book from a reader about Vatican I. I am not a great fan of the author, John W. O’Malley, who is a liberal Jesuit (tautology).  His book on Vatican II was sharply partisan.

Hence, I hesitated in regard to the new book

Vatican I: The Council and the Making of the Ultramontane Church

US HERE – UK HERE

However, I read a review of O’Malley’s new book at First Things by Russell Hittinger.  He put my mind at ease by saying:

O’Malley gives an accessible, even-handed overview of the council with a minimum of interpretive gloss. He excels in describing the ways in which the council initiated deep changes that still affect the everyday lives of Catholics.

I’ll be digging into it right away.

I am particularly interested right now because of how the word “ultramontane” is being thrown around rather irresponsibly. Right now, ironically, catholic libs who have never spoken well of the last couple Popes, now use “ultramontane” to bludgeon anyone who resists what Francis is up to.

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The upcoming Synod’s “working document”

George Weigel described the guiding document for the upcoming 2018 Synod of Bishops and Non-Bishops.

Anyone looking for a remedy for insomnia might try working through the Instrumentum Laboris, or “working document,” for the XV Ordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops, to be held in Rome next month on the theme “Young People, the Faith, and Vocational Discernment.” The IL is a 30,000-plus-word brick: a bloated, tedious doorstop full of sociologese but woefully lacking in spiritual or theological insight. Moreover, and more sadly, the IL has little to say about “the faith” except to hint on numerous occasions that its authors are somewhat embarrassed by Catholic teaching—and not because that teaching has been betrayed by churchmen of various ranks, but because that teaching challenges the world’s smug sureties about, and its fanatical commitment to, the sexual revolution in all its expressions.

A gargantuan text like this can’t seriously be considered as a basis for discussion at the Synod. No text of more than 30,000 words, even if written in a scintillating and compelling style, can be a discussion guide. The IL for Synod-2018 reads, rather, like a draft of a Synod Final Report. And that is a prescription for a failed Synod.

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ASK FATHER: Should we pray for or against the success of the Synod?

I’ve had a few questions in email about the upcoming Synod.   People are worried that it is rigged.   Imagine such a thing!  “Surely NOT!”, you might gasp.

Questions have ranged from the new constitution for the Synod’s operation to whether we can, given the changes and given those whom Francis invited personally to participate, we can support it.

This afternoon Peter Kwasniewski has a piece that is as earnest as it is mordant.   He writes about the upcoming Synod.

A sample:

What this suggests to me is that, at this time in history, the higher one’s position in the institutional hierarchy, the more likely one is to be corrupted and compromised, while simple lay believers are far more likely to be outspokenly committed to traditional faith, morals, and liturgy. This is where future Catholic laity, priests, and religious will come from—not from the Synod machinery of the new German-Italian Axis.

Instead of praying for the success of another rigged Synod, perhaps we need to pray for a real chastisement from God to wake up the Church in its heady echelons. We might consider using the so-called cursing Psalms that were excised from the new Liturgy of the Hours.

What are the “cursing psalms” (aka “maledictory psalms”)?

A standard list of the maledictory psalms will include – and alert that Psalms are numbered differently in various editions of Scripture and in newer and older books you might consult – 5, 6, 11, 12, 35, 37, 40 52, 54, 56, 58, 69, 79, 83, 137, 139, and 143.  Many of these psalms were “edited” or even wholly excluded from the revised Psalter used in the Liturgy of the Hours.   However, there are lots of maledictions, curses and imprecations throughout the Psalter: 5:10; 6:10; 7:9-16; 10:15; 17:13; 18:40-42; 18:47; 26:4-5; 28:4; 31:17, 18; 35:3-8; 40:14; 54:5; 55:9, 19; 56:7; 58:6-10; 59:ll-15; 68:2; 69 (most of the psalm); 70:2-3; 71:13; 79:6, 12; 83:9-17; 104:35; 109:6-20; 129:5; 137:7-9; 140:8-11; 141: 10; 143:12; 149:6-9.

Of special note are Ps 55, 108, and 136 which give libs a serious case of the collywobbles (except perhaps if they use it against defenders of doctrine and law).

So, what to make of these psalms?

First, since they are the inspired word of Almighty God, we can safely say that they are not bad and they can be used for prayer.   

St. Augustine believed that every word of the Psalms was Christ speaking to the Father, but in different voices, as the Head, the Body and both together, Christus Totus.  I’ll go with Augustine.

That said, it might make the Christian scratch her head when we pray “Blessed be he that shall take and dash thy little ones against the rock” (Ps 137:9).

How to use these psalms in prayer in a way that is pleasing to God and that does not imperil our own salvation by spurring us to soul killing hatred?

Isn’t this a serious consideration in these times of political circuses and ecclesial misadventure?

Christ the Lord commanded us to love our enemies (Matthew 5:44).  And yet a couple dozen or so psalms – which all Christians can use for prayer – seem to wish some pretty dire things on our enemies.  And, yes, we have enemies.

Love for “enemy” can be expressed different ways.

Love for our enemies does not mean that we must hope that they prosper or succeed in their wicked ways.  Love, charity, means that we will their true good. We pray for their salvation.  We ask God to use the necessary corrections, chastisements, whatever, to punch through their pride and turn their minds and hearts, even if that means suffering unto loss of limb and life.

 

One of the best explanations of the maledictory psalms – and therefore how to pray for our enemies – I’ve run across came in a comment made on this very blog under another entry  Namely, …

In the Introduction (by Pius Parsch) to the Baronius edition of the 1962 Roman Breviary [UK HERE], we read that:

As Christians we may never wish evil upon a sinner directly and personally, but [NB] these [curse] psalms have nothing to do with personal enmities. The theme of all our praying is God’s kingdom and sin, and the curse passages in the psalms are expressions of absolute protest against evil, sin and hellTry changing the curses into an expression of divine justice and you pronounce them no longer with your own mouth, but with the mouth of Christ and the Church. The curse thus resembles the woes that our Lord addressed against the Pharisees. There is something quite stirring and grand about these curses. The all-just God steps before us as we pray and warns us of the punishments of hell.  [NB: warns us!]

In regard to Psalm 108 (109)—perhaps the most maledictory of all the so-called curse psalms and omitted entirely from the LOH psalter—he says that

Psalm 108 is a curse formula and very difficult to reconcile with the Christian idea of prayer. Let us suppose that the Church or Christ Himself is praying this psalm. Then the curses become no longer wishes, but rather the solemn sentence of divine justice upon unwillingness to repent. With tears in her eyes the Church prays these terrible words–just as Jesus once declaimed his eightfold “Woe is you . . .” against the Pharisees. At the opening of the psalm, the Church laments. In the following two sections, where curses and punishments are asked for, a picture of the everlasting hell is painted for us. The petition which comprises the fourth part of the psalm can be a prayer of the individual soul; I stand terrified before the picture I have seen: “Have mercy on me, a poor weak mortal!”.

While there is a great deal more to be said about the maledictory psalms, that seems a good place to pause so that I can do my job and admonish you.

We members of the Church Militant have enemies.  Right now, many of them are inside the gates.

There are the relentless, ineluctable foes which are the world, the flesh and the Devil.  There are also the agents of the Devil among us, outside the Church and, verily, inside.

We must strive not to hate enemies, to love enemies with the love that is charity, the love that desires what is truly good for them.  If they are doing great harm to our persons, families, nation and Church, yes, we can pray for their conversion or for their ruin lest they continue to do harm and lest they go to Hell.  For example, HERE. And while we pray for and against our enemies (and bear wrongs patiently), we must see to it that we don’t go to Hell, either.

As we soldier on through this vale of tears, we must constantly field strip our consciences while asking God for all the graces we need to do His will and to conform ourselves to His will and ways.

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What passes for important today.

Once upon a time, Roman Pontiffs and the Curia they assembled as hired help concerned themselves with the great issues and questions of the day.   Minor issues were left to others to deal with.

These days, in the age of the feckless, a reversal of sorts can be noted.

Head over to Crisis for Fr. Rutler’s tour de force of apposite factoids and dates.  You might make some popcorn.   Here’s a taste…

These days seem to be a “perfect storm” of events which add up to a fourth crisis, and the faithful trust that “through toil and tribulation” the purging of corrupt elements will result in a stronger Catholic witness. Recently, Pope Francis told the press: “I will not say a word” about some of the most serious allegations of decadence in the Church, and he has long declined to respond to the dubia of some cardinals on the spiritual economy of marriage. Some have thought that such reticence is inconsistent with his dogmatic outspokenness on ambiguous matters such as climate change and capital punishment. On the most recent New Year’s Day, he said: “I would once again like to raise my voice” about immigration, and on Palm Sunday he told young people: “You have it in you to shout” even if “older people and leaders, very often corrupt, keep quiet.” That is why there was eagerness to hear him when in these most tumultuous months, on the fourth day of World Prayer for the Care of Creation, he finally spoke—but it turned out to be a warning about plastic debris in the world’s waters.

On September 1, the successor of Gregory I, who saw Latin civilization crumbling, and Leo IX, who grieved at the loss of Constantinople, and Pius V, who pitied souls lost in the heretical northern lands, implored and lamented: “We cannot allow our seas and oceans to be littered by endless fields of floating plastic. Here, too, our active commitment is needed to confront this emergency.” The struggle against plastic litter must be fought “as if everything depended on us.”

I almost spit my coffee on the keyboard when he reminded us of a 2007 of one of the minor dicasteries (which had to produce occasional documents to remind people – including Popes – of their existence to justify their budget):

 The poignancy of such pastoral solicitude inevitably brings to mind the historic document of the Pontifical Council for the Pastoral Care of Migrants and Itinerant People in 2007 which was entitled: “Guidelines for the Pastoral Care of the Road.” That was precisely the one thousandth anniversary of the no less important peace treaty with the Vikings signed by King Aethelred the Unready. The world will long remember that pontifical document’s opening line: “Moving from place to place, and transporting goods using different means, have characterized human behavior since the beginning of history.” The guidelines also pointed out (n. 21) that “A vehicle is a means of transport…” and observed (n. 23), “Sometimes the prohibitions imposed by road signs may be perceived as restrictions on freedom.”

ROLF!

In the Online Illustrated Dictionary of the Church, this piece might be linked under the voice: “sardonic”.

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YOU are other people.  It’s always someone else… until it’s YOU.

Last night I watched the news for the first time in a few days.

One guy in North Carolina, who lost everything because of Florence, said that he’d seen things like this on TV but he never thought it would happen there.

From time to time, I remind you to make at least basic preparations against the day when you might need to move fast or when disaster strikes.

We don’t know the day or the minute when we will go before our Judge.  Whether it is a natural event like a storm or meteor, or a man-made event like a drunk driver or a nutjob with a rifle, we just don’t know.

Avoid the trap of thinking that these things only happen to other people.

YOU are other people.  It’s always someone else… until it’s you.

You can lose your house and everything you own in a storm, but you can lose your immortal soul from a mortal sin unconfessed.

So, examine your consciences and …

GO TO CONFESSION.

I would also add as a regular feature of your daily prayers that important petition in the Litany of Saints:

“A subitanea et improvisa morte… From a sudden and unprovided death, spare us O Lord.”

Sudden is one thing.  Unprovided is another.  An “unprovided” death is a death without access to the last sacraments, especially absolution from a priest.

That’s a scary thought…. especially if you haven’t been to confession for a  long time.

When did you last go to confession?

Moreover, consider well your living conditions and security.

If you haven’t done so yet, begin to develop a physical situational awareness. Seek advice and training from professionals.

If you haven’t done so yet, begin to develop a spiritual situational awareness.  Seek advice and training from priests.

Also, you should be reviewing what you will do, especially with your loved ones, when the big storm comes.   Will you have food, water, clothing a place to go, a way to keep yourselves safe if you have to move fast?

 

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