I am pretty sick at the moment, Friday night, high fever. I heard confessions for a while tonight that that almost did me in. I have to give two talks at a men’s retreat tomorrow morning, I have an early Mass on Sunday and a baptism, and I fly on Monday to do a parish retreat.
Please, I ask you to “storm heaven” a bit for my sake.
Remember, the liberals think they have the big right now. They are hiding behind support for Francis because they hoped that he would approve their homosexual relationships and their, whatever. They will turn on the Pope. They will continue to shove their agenda out there, even at the expense of the Pope, so that they can agitate for their pet issues.
Liberal Catholics Fault the Pope
March 7, 2014
Bill Donohue comments as follows:
On the website of the liberal Catholic outlet, Commonweal, Mollie Wilson O’Reilly accuses Pope Francis of ignoring the problem of priestly sexual abuse. According to her, “he [the pope] has said and done little about the scandal itself,” maintaining that “things haven’t been fixed.” Similarly, Father Thomas P. Doyle says the pope “has done almost nothing” about this issue,” calling one of the pontiff’s efforts “so meaningless it is almost comical.” An editorial in the National Catholic Reporter also expresses its chagrin with the pope on this issue, imploring him “to meet with victims of clergy sex abuse.”
Here are some fast facts. We know from the John Jay College of Criminal Justice that 81 percent of the sexual abuse of minors was the result of male-on-male sex, and that less than 5 percent involved pedophilia. In other words, the Church witnessed a homosexual scandal.
Perhaps these people haven’t noticed but the scandal largely ended over a quarter century ago in the U.S., and has witnessed a marked decline in other nations. The data show that most of the abuse occurred between 1965 and 1985. In the last six years, a grand total of 7.0 credible accusations have been made against 40,000 priests. In short, there is little left for the pope to “fix.”
It is particularly galling for liberal Catholics to admonish the pope on this issue when their hero remains former priest Anthony Kosnik. His book, Human Sexuality, suspended all moral judgment on homosexuality, sodomy, and bestiality, and was taught to seminarians in the 1970s. It was commissioned by liberals at the Catholic Theological Society of America and was given a first-place award by the liberal Catholic Press Association. Subsequently, it was condemned by the bishops, but to this day it is celebrated by the National Catholic Reporter. [What a surprise.]
The call for the pope to meet with victims is a cruel ploy: these liberals have a vested ideological interest in keeping the scandal alive. Why? So they can press for their “reforms.”
Here is another example of when laypeople, who have been twisted in their faith by catholic media like The Fishwrap and the Call To Action type organizations in their orbit, go to the zoo about the appointment of their new bishop.
I think we can all agree that it was time for a change in the Diocese of Albany, where the now retired Bp. Hubbard had reigned for some 36 years. He retired at the age of 75, according to Canon Law. Dura lex, sed lex, after all.
So much for the thoughtful opinion piece by Bill Halligan (“Bishop’s voice and our voice,” Feb.8) who called on the Catholic faithful — both clergy and laity — to submit their ideas on the qualities they would like to see in the next bishop to the Apostolic Nuncio in Washington, D.C. [Yes, indeed... so much for that op-ed in a newspaper about how Catholic bishops should be selected. Moving on...]
Mr. Halligan, noting his admiration for Bishop Howard Hubbard and the latter’s longstanding concern for the poor and the marginalized, [here it comes] and Pope Francis’ obvious commitment to similar values as well as his desire for greater openness and inclusiveness, was bold enough to think that the appointment process would value the concerns of the diocese’s clergy and laity. ["the diocese's clergy and laity"? ... a half dozen people at a coffee shop in an Albany suburb who think they've come to some interesting conclusions about how the Church should pick bishops?]
Alas, as Pope Francis must be fast realizing, the Vatican bureaucracy is more akin to the Kremlin and it is not going down easily. [These dissidents got a bishop they don't like, so they call the Vatican "the Kremlin".] The appointment comes with no input from the clergy or the laity, [Are they psychic or just ignorant? I guess the latter. Of course, there was input from a range of people, in Albany and elsewhere. But these sour-pusses weren't asked and, therefore, no one was. I guess no one else counts but them and what they wanted.]top-down decision-making, [That's how decisions are made.] no question as to who calls the shots, at least for the immediate future. [The one who calls the shots is the Pope Francis they were just slobbering over: His Holiness confirmed in place the Prefect of the Congregation for Bishops and the Apostolic Nuncio in these USA. No question.] This more than anything may prove to be Pope Francis’ biggest challenge in “reopening the windows of the church” and making it a much more welcoming and inclusive church. [Ah, you see... it's not Francis' fault! It's everyone else's fault.]
We pray, nonetheless, that our new Bishop-designate, Monsignor Edward B. Scharfenberger, proves to be a worthy successor to Bishop Hubbard and a true representative of Pope Francis. [This is what happens when people try to punch over their weight and fail. A diocesan bishop is not the representative of the Bishop of Rome.]
Robert K. Corliss
This letter is a good example of the use of manipulative phrases from the sourpuss catholic Left who didn’t get their way.
They are not being bold and zealous in the right way. They would do far better to line up with prayerful support of the new bishop and the process that brought him to Albany.
Remember: Francis doesn’t like sourpusses! As he wrote in Evangelii gaudium 85:
One of the more serious temptations which stifles boldness and zeal is a defeatism which turns us into querulous and disillusioned pessimists, “sourpusses”.
There is an article about this church and the consecration of the altar in the diocesan newspaper, The Catholic Herald. This is how it begins…
That was the simple word of exclamation uttered by a young girl as she entered St. Mary Church in Fennimore on a recent Sunday morning.
While the words used by others in the church may have been more sophisticated that day, the feelings were more than likely similar to those of the young girl’s.
Upon entering the church that Sunday morning, parishioners and visitors got a chance to see the completed work of a restoration project to bring the church back to its original design from more than a century ago.
The reaction of the girl speaks volumes.
She reacted to the church’s interior as one will when you don’t have baggage from the halcyon days of post-Conciliar chaos and iconoclasm. This is the reaction of a soul that is open to what a church ought to communicate: a sense of the transcendent, through beauty, rational design, theological and liturgical coherence.
For those of you who may think that Lent is a pretty tough time to be a Catholic, giving up chocolate and all year in and year out, this came to me email today. This is what our forebears did for Lent in these USA (my emphases and comments):
DIOCESE OF NEWARK.
(1873) REGULATIONS FOR LENT.
Ash Wednesday, the first day of Lent, will fall on the twenty-sixth day of February.
1. Every day during Lent except Sunday, is a day of fast on one meal, which should no be taken before mid-day, with the allowance of a moderate collation in the evening.
2. The precept of fasting implies also that of abstinence from the use of flesh meat, but by dispensation, the use of flesh meat is allowed in this Diocese at every meal on Sunday, and at the principal meal on Mondays, Tuesdays and Thursdays, of Lent except Holy Thursday. [But not Wednesday and Friday and Saturday]
3. There is no prohibition to use eggs, butter or cheese, provided the rules of quantity prescribed by the fast be complied with. Fish is not to be used at the same meals at which flesh meat is allowed. [No surf and turf, friends.]
Butter, or if necessary lard, may be used in dressing of fish or vegetables.
4. All persons over seven years of age are bound to abstain from the use of flesh meat, and all over twenty-one to fast according to the above regulations unless there be a legitimate cause of exemption. The Church excuses from the obligations of fasting, but not from that of abstinence from flesh meat, except in special cases of sickness or the like, the following classes of persons: 1st, the infirm; 2nd, those whose duties are of an exhausting or laborious character; 3rd, women in pregnancy, or nursing infants; 4th, those who are enfeebled by old age. In case of doubt in regard to any of the above exemptions, recourse must be had to one’s spiritual director, or physician.
All alike, should enter into the spirit of this holy season, which is, in a special manner, a time of prayer, and sorrow for sin, of almsgiving, and mortification.
The faithful are reminded that by a special privilege granted d by the Holy see to the faithful of this Diocese, a Plenary Indulgence may be gained on the usual conditions, on St. Patrick’s Day or any day, within the Octave. [This does NOT dispense Catholics from the Lenten discipline on St. Paatrick's Day, a dopey practice now which I abhor, promethean neopelagian that I am.]
By order of the Very Reverend Administrator,
GEORGRE H. DOANE. Secretary.
Bishop’s House, Newark, Feb. 6., A.D. 1873.
NB: Catholics are not obliged to follow the regulations of 1873. You are obliged to follow them as they are hic et nunc, here and now. Be sure you know the regulations in your country. If you decide to do more than what the regulations require here and now, fine. But don’t trumpet the fact and don’t look down on those who choose not to add things on beyond the regulations.
Along the way when writing about The Francis Effect™ (mostly a rather shallow, “I don’t agree with the Church about a bunch o’ stuff, but I like this new Pope!”, though sometimes a genuine revitalization of Gospel values), I have opined something along the lines of: We shall see. We shall see if this makes any difference in how people live, whether they change their lives in any way.
It is one thing to say “He’s the most wonderfullest, fluffiest Pope ehvur! He’s the first Pope who has ever smiled or kissed a baby!” and quite another to say, “Because of his inspiring model I’ll give up using contraception, get my marriage straightened out, and go to confession.”
Pew Research has results of polling about The Francis Effect™ now.
No clear ‘Pope Francis effect’ among U.S. Catholics
There are all sorts of numbers that show that Francis is popular, that he has a high favorable rating.
But has the pope’s popularity produced a Catholic resurgence in the U.S., where 10% of adults are former Catholics? Not so far, at least in terms of the share of Americans who identify as such, or the share of those who report attending Mass weekly. [It hasn't been even a year since his election.]
A new analysis of pooled Pew Research surveys conducted between Francis’ election in March and the end of October this year finds that the percentage of Americans who identify as Catholics has remained the same – 22% — as it was during the corresponding seven-month period in 2012. In fact, our polls going back to 2007 show Catholic identification in the U.S. has held stable, fluctuating only between 22% and 23%.
Though Americans may report attending church more frequently than they actually do, our surveys find that self-reported levels of Mass attendance have remained virtually unchanged since the new pope was elected. Since April of this year, 39% of U.S. Catholics report attending Mass at least weekly, similar to the 40% attendance figure last year.
Another Effect might be, however, the use by catholic politicians of off-the-cuff phrases uttered by Pope Francis to justify immoral acts (cf. Illinois and Kentucky). But people who do that sort of thing are either wicked or dumb or both. If they didn’t use Francis as a body-shield, they’d find some other way to justify their scandalous actions.
I read here, always in the same study, that there is little or no change in the numbers of people going to confession because of TFE™.
The new survey also finds no evidence that large numbers of Catholics are volunteering more or going to confession more often than in the past. Roughly one-in-eight U.S. Catholics (13%) say they have been volunteering more in their church or community over the past year, but 23% say they have been doing this less often, and 59% say their level of volunteering has not changed. Just one-in-twenty Catholics (5%) say they have been going to confession (also known as the sacrament of penance and reconciliation) more often over the last 12 months, while 22% say they have been going to confession less often, and 65% say their frequency of confession has not changed very much. [That 87% who are not doing so well with this.]
Today the Holy Father met with the clergy of Rome. I read the highlights in the Italian VIS and I am working my way through the video of the whole event. BELOW.
His Holiness said “preti ‘asettici’ non aiutano la Chiesa… Antiseptic/cold/indifferent” priests don’t help the Church. We could say “sterile”, but not in the sense that he warned old liberal women religious about being, whom Francis calls “zitelle”, because they are bound up in female machismo and don’t bear fruit. But I digress. No, Francis is talking about priests who are aloof, distant, cold. Don’t fall into the trap of reading “asettici” as “ascettici… ascetic”. That would have been a lot more fun.
The priest is called “to have a heart that is moved. ”Sterile” priests or those ‘of the laboratory’, all clean and well-groomed, don’t help the Church!” I don’t think he is advocating that we dress like slobs. What pops into my mind is a concelebration with all those hideous flour sack albs… brrrr…. talk about sterile. But I digress.
The Holy Father goes on to use the “field hospital” image again. Field hospitals are a mess. He makes a good point. Priests cannot be emotionally detached, they must know what is going on in their parishes, they must care and they must pray for people. He asked his priests whether they are moved by the sufferings of the people they encounter. Do they weep for their sufferings? I doubt Francis is suggesting that priests go about weeping and wringing their hands. Well… maybe he is. I’ll bet Jonah was a sight as he roamed about Ninevah. But, wait… he was asking them to repent of and change their sinful ways or be slain by the Father of Mercy Himself.
Back to the Pope and his priests.
The Pope spoke about the importance of the Sacrament of Penance.
“… It is up to us, as ministers of the Church, to keep this message alive, above all in preaching and in our gestures, in signs and in pastoral choices, such as the decision to restore priority to the Sacrament of Reconciliation, and at the same time to works of mercy.”
He followed up saying that priest confessors should not be either too rigid or too lax in the confessional. Who will disagree? At the same time, he doesn’t offer anything concrete about striking that balance. I will point out that the confessional is a tribunal in which the penitent – not the confessor – is the prosecuting attorney.
Finally, I did like the fact that he quoted the older, traditional form of the Missale Romanum when he spoke about priests shedding tears for their people before the Blessed Sacrament. He said, and this was a truly a poor choice of words which suggests that the Holy Father is out of touch with an important dimension of the lives of many of his flock. This is in the Italian account, not the English… and you have to ask why:
To explain, I’ll put to you some questions that help me when a priest comes to me…. [He must be talking about the days when he was a provincial or diocesan bishop] Tell me: Do you cry? Or have we lost tears? I remember that in the old Missals, those of another time [No... of our time, too, Your Holiness], that there is a very beautiful prayer to ask the gift of tears. The prayer started like this: “Lord, who commanded Moses to strike the stone in order that water would come, strike the stone so that tears…”: it was like that, more or less, that prayer. It was very beautiful. But, how many of us weep in the face of the suffering of a child, before the destruction of a family, before so many people who can’t find the path? The weeping of the priest… do you cry? Or in this presbyterate have we lost tears? Do you weep for your people? Tell me, do you pray a prayer of intercession before the Tabernacle? Do you struggle with the Lord for your people? Do you struggle with the Lord like Abraham struggled? And if there should be fewer? If there should be 25? And if there should be 20? That courageous prayer of intercession… But, let’s talk about parresia, of apostolic courage, and let’s think about pastoral plans… but that’s going alright: but the same parresia is also necessary in prayer. Struggle with the Lord, or discuss with the Lord how Moses did it, when the Lord was fed up, tired of his people and told him: “But you remain calm… I will destroy them all, and I will make you the head of another people”. No. No. If you destroy the people, destroy me too. But, these guys had chutzpah [to not write another thing - Ma, questi avevano i pantaloni!] Do we have the chutzpah [i pantaloni] to to struggle with God for our people?
A couple things.
First, one of the most powerful verses in the New Testaments is John 11:35:
ἐδάκρυσεν ὁ Ἰησοῦς … Jesus wept.
Next, perhaps the Holy Father – who emphatically tells his priests to know their flocks and be with them in their sufferings – could also spare a little time for those who have in the past and still today suffered enormously at the hands of indifferent or domineering priests and bishops who dislike the traditional expression of our Catholic faith. Perhaps a little time could be spared also for them? Perhaps the Holy Father might encourage a shepherd who is supposed to know his flock also to open his heart to them and learn also the older form of Mass and sacraments and not to refer to them with opening statements like “Once upon a time…”. But I digress.
Note the context of “struggling” or “dickering” with God: the imminent destruction of the people by God Himself. This is not a fairy tale the Pope is addressing. The example concern the obliteration of the whole people and a restart. That adds a grim dimension to the Pope’s folksy points.
I recall the words of St. Augustine to his flock in Hippo. In a sermon, he gave his people a real talking to and then explained why he was laying it on so hard. Explained that if he didn’t preach his tough message he could not be saved. If they listened or didn’t listen he was going to preach anyway and thus save his own soul. “But” he concluded, “Nolo salvus esse sine vobis! … I don’t want to be saved without you!” (s. 17.2)
Back to that point about the prayer in the older Missal. I think his description of the older, traditional Missal is unfortunate and blinkered, but let that pass for now (cf. Summorum Pontificum). The prayer to which the Holy Father refers is in the 1962 edition of the Roman Missal, but it doesn’t explicitly mention Moses.
It is in the section called “Orationes diversae… diverse prayers”, “diverse” in the sense of “various” not “contrasting”. These are orations that could be added by the priest after the obligatory prayers for the particular Mass formulary being used. For example, were I to say Mass (as I do) using the Votive Mass “for the remission of sins”, or “in time of war”, I might also add the prayer “ad petendam compunctionis cordis… for the petitioning compunction of heart”.
Here is the Collect:
Omnipotens et mitissime Deus, qui sitienti populo fontem viventis aquae de petra produxisti: educ de cordis nostri duritia lacrimas compunctionis; ut peccata nostra plangere valeamus, remissionemque eorum, te miserante, mereamur accipere.
I love that juxtaposition of perduco and educo. Subtle. Rich. Our Latin copia verborum never fails to satisfy.
Plango brings in a fantastic image. In the first place, it means “to strike, beat”. Waves plangent the rocks, palms drums, birds against snares with their wings. The verb is especially associated with beating one’s breast or head. St. Augustine mentions in a sermon how, when he spoke of God’s mercy, the congregation would strike their breasts with such force that it would rumble in the church. Of course plango is also beweep, bewail, wring one’s hands (see above).
Compunctio is ”a puncture” and, in Christian Latin, “the sting of conscience, remorse”.
Almighty and most merciful God, who brought forth a font of living water from the rock for the sake of your thirsting people: draw forth tears of stinging remorse from the hardness of our heart; in order that we may be able to bewail our sins, and, you being merciful, merit to accept their remission.
Have you ever noticed that, after not shedding tears for a long time, those first tears really burn and sting?
This word compunctio shows up in the Latin 2002 Missale Romanum on Ash Wednesday, in the Post Communion: it is what Holy Church wants us to take with us out the door. It is a key theme, stressed in our liturgical prayers – always starting points for everything – for Lent.
The prayer about tears doesn’t mention Moses, as the Holy Father quips, but the image is clearly that of Numbers 20. And it is important that he struck the rock twice and it is important that the water is living water. But I digress.
The themes of compunction of heart and of the gift of tears have a deep and nearly unfathomable wealth in the spiritual writings of the saints and in liturgical texts.
Allow me to digress. Just a quick scan of the prayers yesterday, for Ash Wednesday during the blessing of ashes, at least in the traditional form I used yesterday – I didn’t bother to check the new form – offer the image of weeping prominently:
Almighty, everlasting God, spare those who are repentant, be merciful to those who pray to You, and graciously send Your holy angel from heaven to bless ? and hallow these ashes, that they may be a wholesome remedy for all who humbly implore Your holy Name; who accuse themselves by acknowledging their sins, who weep for their evil deeds in the sight of Your divine mercy;… Between the porch and the altar the priests the Lord’s ministers shall weep, and shall say: Spare, O Lord, spare thy people: and shut not the mouths of them that sing to thee, O Lord?
And in Joel:
Thus says the Lord: Return to Me with your whole heart, with fasting, and weeping, and mourning; rend your hearts, not your garments, and return to the Lord, your God.
We have lost so much of our patrimony in the last few decades. It’s enough to make a grown man weep.
Here is the video of the Holy Father’s time with the clergy of Rome.
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Food For Thought
“The legalization of the termination of pregnancy is none other than the authorization given to an adult, with the approval of an established law, to take the lives of children yet unborn and thus incapable of defending themselves. It is difficult to imagine a more unjust situation, and it is very difficult to speak of obsession in a matter such as this, where we are dealing with a fundamental imperative of every good conscience — the defense of the right to life of an innocent and defenseless human being.”
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More food for thought:
“I expect to die in bed, my successor will die in prison and his successor will die a martyr in the public square. His successor will pick up the shards of a ruined society and slowly help rebuild civilization, as the church has done so often in human history.”
Francis Card. George
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- Edward Everett Hale
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Additional Food For Thought
“And how we burned in the camps later, thinking: What would things have been like if every Security operative, when he went out at night to make an arrest, had been uncertain whether he would return alive and had to say good-bye to his family? Or if, during periods of mass arrests, as for example in Leningrad, when they arrested a quarter of the entire city, people had not simply sat there in their lairs, paling with terror at every bang of the downstairs door and at every step on the staircase, but had understood they had nothing left to lose and had boldly set up in the downstairs hall an ambush of half a dozen people with axes, hammers, pokers, or whatever else was at hand?... The Organs would very quickly have suffered a shortage of officers and transport and, notwithstanding all of Stalin's thirst, the cursed machine would have ground to a halt! If...if...We didn't love freedom enough. And even more – we had no awareness of the real situation.... We purely and simply deserved everything that happened afterward.”
- Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn
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