Déjà vu from Card. Kasper and Jesuit-run Amerika Magazine

Jesuit-run Amerika Magazine has run more from Card. Kasper in support the divorced and civilly remarried receiving Holy Communion.  This is the “tolerate but not accepted” solution, which, through “mercy”, would see these people as a sort of second-class Catholic who, after they are sorry for what they have done, can be tolerated at the Communion rail, even though we don’t accept their adulterous state.

I’m not sure how many times Amerika has served as Card. Kasper’s agent in this, but it’s a few by now.  This new piece has the date of 15 September, but, at the bottom, we read that it is base on what they published last May.  No kidding.  First Pete and now Repeat.

The tune hasn’t changed much.  This is part of the “mercy” campaign I predicted would get into full-swing as we got closer to the Synod on the Family in October.  And, just you watch, people who uphold the Church’s doctrine and discipline, will be accused of conducting a war on mercy.  Those who say we must use the lens “mercy” so as to re-read what the Lord taught and what the Church has always affirmed will be accused of being “ideological”.  Just watch.

In any event, let’s glance at a few snips from Card. Kasper’s latest Pre-Synod Repetition.  Jumping in media res:

“[T]he church must proclaim the mercy of God; it must concretely provide people with God’s mercy in the form of the sacrament of reconciliation; and it must allow God’s mercy to appear and be realized in its entire life, its concrete structures and even in its laws.

This is code language.  Words like “structure” bring to mind, what?  For example, class struggle.

His Eminence then seems to ramble for a bit about the rich North and the poor South.  In a nutshell, we of the North (bad and unmerciful) must treat the South (poor and therefore good) with mercy.  We are, therefore, supposed to make some changes and be “merciful”.  In material terms that means give them money through changing all sorts of structures. However, Kasper gets back at it in the next section.  I am sure you can predict it: Just like we of the cold and merciless North must make changes to aid the materially poor of the South, then we of the merciless law-and-doctrine-defending-spiritual “North” (where it’s cold, I guess) must make changes to laws, and I suppose to doctrine, to “structures”, so as to show spiritual mercy to the spiritual “South”, that is, the divorced and remarried.

Simple.  Get it?

Thus, the Cardinal:

“The question many ask is: What does this mean for the church itself and its behavior not only toward those who are poor in a material sense but toward people within the church who feel neglected, put aside, marginalized and excommunicated—if not in a strict canonical sense, then in a de facto sense—because they are not allowed to take part in the table of the Lord? Often one asks: What about people who are divorced and remarried?

So the breakdown of church discipline can in no way appeal for support to Jesus and the New Testament. But because church discipline is in keeping with the meaning of the Gospel, it must also be interpreted and applied according to the sense and spirit of the Gospel. For this reason, Paul makes it clear that the punishment of expulsion is meant to force the sinner to reflect on his or her conduct and to repent. If the sinner regrets his or her actions and repents, the community should let gentleness again prevail (2 Cor 2:5-11). Punishment is the last resort and, as such, is temporally limited. It is the drastic and final means used by mercy.

Here is the problem with this.

In order to receive Holy Communion, we must be properly disposed.  If, after divorcing and not obtaining a declaration of nullity (thus, you are still considered married), you have entered into a civil marriage, you have committed a mortal sin. You are living in the state of sin if you are having relations reserved to marriage.  The word “adultery” is not reserved only to what the guy who cheats on his wife.  That’s what people tend to picture when they hear the word “adultery”.  When Christians hear “adultery”, they think of the way the adulteress was almost stoned by those legalist meanies whom Jesus put to shame with His mercy.  But “adultery” includes more than sneaking around.  Keep that firmly in mind.   Jesus told the adulteress to amend her life (πορεύου καὶ μηκέτι ἁμάρτανε). The civil marriage (after divorce without decree of nullity) is also an “adulterous” relationship, even though there is no sneaking around, even though it looks very respectable, and even if the couple is working really hard at it.  Bottom line: if you – anyone – are not willing to change your situation, if you – anyone – are not willing to “amend your life”, you remain not disposed to receive Communion.   The sin could be X or Y, but the consequence is the same: you aren’t properly disposed to receive Communion.

The inability to receive Communion is a consequence of not being in the state of grace.  It is NOT a punishment.

That’s the key, but let’s see just a bit more from the Cardinal (as if we haven’t see it before):

Such an understanding of church discipline as the bitter but necessary medicine of mercy conforms to a tradition that understood Jesus Christ, in light of his miraculous healings, as doctor, healer and savior; a tradition in which the pastor, in particular the confessor, is understood not only as a judge, but primarily as a doctor of the soul. This therapeutic understanding of church law and discipline leads us to the fundamental issue of how to interpret and explain church law. That is a broad field that we cannot treat here in a comprehensive way, but only from the perspective of the relation of church law to mercy. [Jesus told the adulterous woman, to "sin no more".  Jesus did not approve of the woman at the well having ... how many husbands was it?]

Law and Spirit
So, canon law is not against the Gospel, but the Gospel is against a legalistic understanding of canon law. Canon law should be interpreted and applied in the light of mercy because mercy opens our eyes to the concrete situation of the other. Mercy shows that the individual is not only a case that can subsumed under a general rule. On the contrary, it is essential for Christian anthropology that before God we are not a “plural”; every person and every situation is singular. So we have to find solutions that are just and equitable at the same time. If we do not, then—as the Romans put it—summa ius [ummm... ius is neuter, not feminine.  summum ius, right? lex is feminine and ius (jus) is neuter.  But I suppose, in mercy, we can just make ius be feminine.  I'll tolerate that in this article, though I won't accept it.] (highest justice) can become summa iniuria (highest injustice).


He goes on to talk about, again, oikonomia.  YES, he does it again.  He has not yet received the memo: oikonomia is not a solution.  As a propaedeutic for how oikonomia does NOT work to solve this situation click HERE.

This is more of the same thing we have heard and read from the Cardinal for the umpteenth time.  And Amerika, once again, has a new editorial in support of this.  Déjà vu.

I suspect that the Cardinal and the editors of Amerika, just as their former editor, Thomas Reese, SJ (now with the Fishwrap – he had a meltdown about this yesterday), have seen the list of the participants in the October Synod of Bishops and they know that they have lost. Their notions can’t garner the 2/3 vote that would be needed to make such proposals to Pope Francis.

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Posted in Liberals, One Man & One Woman, Our Catholic Identity, The Drill | Tagged , , , | 31 Comments

The hard truth about marriage, mercy and Eastern “oikonomia”

Click to PRE-ORDER

I have been posting about the soon-to-be-released book by five cardinala and four scholars called Remaining In The Truth Of Christ. This book is a defense of the Catholic doctrine marriage. It is an important book, some of it may be hard for all readers to read, but it is worth the effort.

It is still available for 25% off as a pre-order. HERE

Thus, I was please to find an EXCELLENT comment in the other entry, so good that I reproduce it here as a separate post.

I want to thank PaterAugustinus for his honest evaluation of Orthodox oikonomia. In view of this topic’s importance in the upcoming Synod, I recommend these comments for your opportune reading.

I’m a monk of the Orthodox Church converting to Catholicism. I have decided to do this on many grounds, pretty much all of them dogmatic. But though my realization of the Truth of Catholic dogmatic theology was a gradually increasing thing, there were two things from the get-go, that made me realize Catholicism’s doctrinal witness had to be taken seriously.

Having read the Fathers on how to discern a vocation either to married or religious life, it was clear that the Fathers had a very definite understanding of marriage and sexuality; this specific understanding led them to recommend the celibate life to all who could embrace it, and to insist that if a Christian did want to keep one foot in the world, his or her sexuality was to be exclusively reserved for marriage, marriage itself being directed to a particular end: the raising of godly offspring in a committed unit that formed the basis of society and mirrored the indissoluble bond between Christ and the Church. In the whole context of their views on marriage and sex, two things were inescapable: first, contraception is incomprehensible for the Christian marriage, since they tended to view marriage itself as a good, albeit as still a sub-optimal concession to worldly desires that was only justifiable on the grounds of producing children and raising them in the Faith; second, marriage is necessarily permanent so long as both spouses live, both because of its duties and obligations under natural law, and also because of its sacramental character. Orthodox may attempt to pride themselves on greater fidelity to the Apostolic Tradition in some external custom or other (ancient calendars, fasts, seasons of kneeling vs. not, etc.), but it was absolutely clear to me that she has come adrift from basic Christian doctrine on marriage and sexuality. This is a matter of doctrine, not mere practice, and this should give many Orthodox pause, as it gave me: I reckoned to myself, “If Catholicism is false and Orthodoxy is true, why is it that Catholicism still teaches the truth about marriage and contraception, while we have abandoned it?” The doctrinal vagaries surrounding the Filioque and Papal Infallibility can be debated until one is blue in the face; the crystal-clear Patristic and Apostolic (and Scriptural) teaching that marriage is forever and excludes contraception, cannot (at least, not by honest, above-board people). I think it would be tragic, to see Catholicism even flirt with this “oikonomia” idea, when her doctrinal fidelity was, for me, a very clear witness to her real claim to be the Church.

And as one who was in the Orthodox Church, allow me to tell you that this “oikonomia” concept has been utterly abused within Orthodoxy to justify any and every breach of canonical discipline. This is nothing that Catholicism should want to introduce. The proper use of “oikonomia” is “good management of an household” (which is what the word means). That means that often stricture is just as much a part of “oikonomia” as indulgence. The proper way to use economy is found in the Latin term “dispensatio,” which is how the Greek term was always translated. The Latin term means “to weigh out,” “to measure out,” “to pay out.” The idea, is that a dispensation tries to attain the same good as the law was intended to attain, by weighing all the variables in particular circumstances. One does not simply “do away with” the law; one tries to achieve the Law’s intent by another means. Sometimes this may result in relaxing the discipline of the law, when circumstances indicate that enforcing the full brunt of the law would actually do harm to a particular person in particular circumstances. But obviously, this power of attaining the law’s good intent through selecting a different approach after the prudent weighing of all factors, does not extend to violating truth or corrupting morality, since this is never the law’s intent. It would be the opposite of the law’s good intent. Catholics! Take it from an ex-Orthodox monk: flee this spurious “economy” that flouts the authentic understanding of that term! So distorted has Orthodox theology become, that they regard non-Orthodox sacraments as always invalid, but still believe they may be considered valid “by oikonomia.” How does a principle that allows for making prudent judgments in the administration of canon law, have anything to do with making sacraments valid or invalid retroactively? What good is such a befuddled concept of oikonomia? I knew an Orthodox priest, married, who worked as a psychiatrist; he had an affair with one of his patients, which even secular folk regard as crime that merits losing one’s right to practice medicine, yet his bishop allowed him to divorce his wife, “re-marry” with the patient, and *return to priestly service,* all in the name of “oikonomia.” Mercy my foot! Where was mercy for the man’s wife? For their kids? For the community that would rather not have a lying, fornicating adulterer for their parish priest? For the other women the man may victimize, now that he knows there are no consequences for his action? This is where such an idea of “oikonomia” naturally tends, and to this understanding of “okonomia,” I say: anathema sit! It should be a great shame to the Orthodox that they tolerate this mealy-mouthed treason against the faith; Catholics should pride themselves on having none of it. It is one of the reasons I took Catholicism seriously, and eventually came to confess her as holding the true faith.

Fr. Z kudos!

Posted in Fr. Z KUDOS, Hard-Identity Catholicism, HONORED GUESTS, Linking Back, One Man & One Woman, Our Catholic Identity, The Drill | Tagged , , , | 39 Comments

ASK FATHER: Will an annulment make a child into a bastard?

From a reader…


If two Catholics marry, have children, divorce, and then successfully obtain a decree of nullity, are the children then considered illegitimate in the eyes of the Church?

This is a concern regarding an acquaintance of mine who I am trying to encourage to come back to the Church.

I am glad this question came up.  It is good to clarify this once and for all.

Even in the modern age there are cases in which a child is conceived before marriage and the parents then hastily marry to make sure the child is “legitimate”.  Years later, after a divorce and a nullity case has been presented, one parent strenuously objects to the decree:  ”Annulment? The Church is making my child into a bastard!”

That isn’t, of course, the case, and that must be explained.

And one must, at all costs, resist asking in return: “Where was your concern about ‘legitimacy’ in the back of your VW Minibus with your girlfriend?”

Here’s the deal.

Both the outdated 1917 Code of Canon Law (and the old Catholic Encyclopedia at New Advent) use similar language as in can. 1137 of the current, 1983 Code.  Can. 1114 of the 1917 Code states,

“Those children are legitimate who are conceived or born of a valid or putative marriage…”

Even though a marriage could later be declared null, at the time of conception the marriage was putatively valid.

Children born in these circumstances have legitimate status, which cannot be taken away from them.

The current, 1983 Code places no restrictions on children born to unmarried parents.  I am sure that the Eastern Code is the same, though I don’t have the references to hand.

A larger question is, why is “legitimacy” a concern? Are children who are born to unmarried parents somehow less important, less worthy?

The former restrictions that were in place were, for the most part, concessions to secular society which may have been otherwise scandalized. I suspect that they also had to do with names and inheritance, etc.

Would we be in a better place today if society were we still scandalized by pre- and extramarital sexual activity?  Such is the new norm.  Not only.  All manner of perverse activities are the new norm and, if you don’t agree to call them normal and even good, then you are hissed down and marginalized.

But I digress.

Our moral rejection of such pre-marital and extra-marital should not descend upon the innocent children born of parents who sin.

Now, before someone jumps in to say “But Father! But Father!  Therefore, by your reasoning, we should never punish babies of less-than-sanctioned unions by not baptizing them! And… and… you hate Vatican II!  ”

That, however, is a different question and it won’t be a matter of discussion here.  This was about legitimacy.

No, really.

The moderation queue is ON.

Posted in "But Father! But Father!", "How To..." - Practical Notes, Liturgy Science Theatre 3000, One Man & One Woman, Our Catholic Identity | Tagged , , , , | 6 Comments

Feasts of Sts. John XXIII and John Paul II now on the Universal Calendar

Pope Francis has put the Feasts of Sts. John XXIII and John Paul II on the Universal Calendar.  Mutatis mutandis, I think it should be possible to adapt the texts for the Extraordinary Form which the wizards of the Holy See blithely forgot in issuing their decree.  Keeping in mind, as one commentator remarks (below) that, for John XXIII  11 October in the 1962 calendar is the 2nd class Feast of the Maternity of the Blessed Virgin Mary, which takes precedence.

For the Ordinary Form, however, consult this at the site of L’Osservatore Romano.  My translation:

Decree of the Congregation for Divine Worship and Discipline of the Sacraments

Given the numerous requests from every part of the world, Pope Francis has instructed that celebrations of the liturgical feasts of Saints Pope John XXIII and Pope John Paul II be written into the General Roman Calendar, for the first [John XXIII] the 11th [of October], the second [John Paul II], the 22nd of October, with the rank of facultative [optional] memorial.  We publish in Latin and Italian the decree from the Congregation for Divine Worship and Discipline of the Sacraments that governs the cult reserved to the two saints, and the liturgical texts for the Mass in honor of Pope Rocalli, attached to this decree.  The texts for Pope Wojtyla were published in L’Osservatore Romano of 11-12 April 2011.

Of course they didn’t attach the liturgical texts for John XXIII to the decree on that page, did they.  Typical of the Holy See’s press operations.  Sometimes I think they couldn’t find their own noses in the dark.

You can get the texts for Mass and the Office for St. John XXIII from L’Osservatore Romano HERE. And click the graphic on the right for a screenshot of the page.  I don’t have the patience to cut and paste today.

The texts for John Paul II


De Communi pastorum: pro papa.


Deus, dives in misericórdia,
qui beátum Ioánnem Paulum, papam,
univérsae Ecclésiae tuae praeésse voluísti,
praesta, quaésumus, ut, eius institútis edócti,
corda nostra salutíferae grátiae Christi,
uníus redemptóris hóminis, fidénter aperiámus.
Qui tecum.


De Communi pastorum [pro papa].

Lectio I           Is 52, 7-10: «Videbunt omnes fines terrae salutare Dei nostri».
Quam pulchri super montes pedes annuntiántis …
Ps. resp.     Ps 96 (95), 1-2a. 2b-3. 7-8a. 10.
R/. (3): Annuntiáte in ómnibus pópulis mirabília Dómini.
Alleluia    Io 10, 14: Ego sum pastor bonus, dicit Dóminus,
et cognósco oves meas et cognóscunt me meae.
Evang.       Io 21, 15-17: «Pasce agnos meos, pasce oves meas».
Cum [manifestásset se Iesus discípulis suis et] prandísset cum eis, dicit Simóni Petro …


Common of Pastors: For a Pope.


O God, who are rich in mercy
and who willed that the blessed John Paul the Second
should preside as Pope over your universal Church,
grant, we pray, that instructed by his teaching,
we may open our hearts to the saving grace of Christ,
the sole Redeemer of mankind.
Who lives and reigns.


Posted in "How To..." - Practical Notes, Liturgy Science Theatre 3000 | 11 Comments

ASK FATHER: Doubts about annulment for 1st marriage, guilt about 2nd

From a reader…


After a deeper conversion experience I had a love for my first wife that I did not have before. It seemed that after my conversion the love of Jesus was flowing through me for her. I was “loving her with love with which He loved me”. She did not like my changes and left me with two children. I was young. I divorced (felt tremendous guilt), and in good faith (at the time) filed papers on annulment. Was granted on the psychological grounds piece (I have, for most of the time in my second marriage, thought the annulment was invalid, but it is a fact, and was not appealed to the Rota) and I have been remarried for decades. Adult child. Wife and child are good Catholics. I wake up with guilt feelings every morning for decades about being married to current spouse, particularly after marital relations. [...]

The Church does not hold, and has never held, that the pronouncements of a marriage tribunal are invested with infallibility. Tribunals can – and do – make mistakes.

Sometimes faulty information is given to the Tribunal. Sometimes people intentionally lie. Sometimes Judges come to certitude on a marriage with too much haste. Sometimes Judges vacillate for a long period of time and cloud their own minds before rendering a judgment.

It is not an exact science.

Overall, despite complaints from some quarters of too much laxity, and from other quarters of too much legalism, the Church’s Courts do a yeoman’s job of adjudicating cases.

It is impossible here, based on this short email, to do the job that the Church’s Tribunal system, which has developed over many centuries, is entrusted to do and determine the validity of your marriage.

The Church teaches that a marriage celebrated in the external forum is presumed to be a valid marriage unless and until it has been judged otherwise (can. 1060). Your current marriage, which has perdured for 30 years, is presumed by the Church to be a valid marriage, despite your doubts and misgivings.

Was the declaration of the invalidity of your first marriage itself invalid? Perhaps. Are your doubts rooted in lies you may have told to the Tribunal, or some misperceptions you allowed the Tribunal to have? Are your doubts reasonable, or are they a demonstration of scrupulosity, or even a judgmental attitude towards the Tribunal or the Church itself?

You should probably talk with your pastor about your “thoughts” on the invalidity of that declaration of nullity.

At this point in time, however, two main things need to be stated, based on what you have presented.

First, your first marriage was legitimately declared null by the Church’s own juridical system. No appeal against that decision has been filed by you, by your first putative spouse, or by the Defender of the Bond.

Next, your current marriage has been blessed by a longevity that many would rightly envy, and has produced a son. Your wife and son are practicing their Catholic faith. While not definitive, those are good signs of a healthy marriage blessed with graces.

Seek the advice of a good confessor who, if your perception of guilt is rooted in scrupulosity, should be strictly obeyed.

Combox moderation is ON.

Posted in "How To..." - Practical Notes, ASK FATHER Question Box, GO TO CONFESSION, Hard-Identity Catholicism, Liturgy Science Theatre 3000, One Man & One Woman, Our Catholic Identity | Tagged , , | 8 Comments

“How are they down, how have they fallen down – Those great strong towers of ice and steel…”

In the late 1940′s Thomas Merton published his complicated poem Figures For An Apocalypse.  One of the sections of the poem is entitled “In the Ruins of New York“.

While the whole section concerns a great downfall, a city and way of life overturned in materialism, there are some striking lines which – when isolated – call to mind the horror of 11 September 2001.

Oh how quiet it is after the black night
When flames out of the clouds burned down your cariated teeth,
And when those lightnings,
Lancing the black boils of Harlem and the Bronx,
Spilled the remaining prisoners,
(The tens and twenties of the living)
Into the trees of Jersey,
To the green farms, to find their liberty.

How are they down, how have they fallen down
Those great strong towers of ice and steel,
And melted by what terror and what miracle?
What fires and lights tore down,
With the white anger of their sudden accusation,
Those towers of silver and of steel?

From Figures For An Apocalypse, VI – In the Ruins of New York (1947) by Thomas Merton

I have posted this excerpt on 9/11 occasionally, since 2005 when I first inserted it into a WDTPRS column for The Wanderer.  Inevitably someone will sneer that Merton wasn’t saying this or that, blah blah blah.  Yes, critics, we all know that.  Take your meds and breathe calmly.  Merton was not a “prophet”, anticipating an act of terror. 9/11 was not an “apocalypse” except for those who went to their Judge that day.  Islamist terrorists were not executing the just judgments of God on the United States: they were agents of Satan.

The poem does not line up perfectly with the events of 9/11, but poem imagery is, for me, evocative.

The whole poem, even just the section of “In the Ruins of New York” is worth your time.  Merton paints the ugly with beautiful images.  Other moments of his poem are now striking, given the global economic downturn and hard days we will be facing because of imprudence and greed.  Consider this:

“This was a city
That dressed herself in paper money.
She lived four hundred years
With nickels running in her veins.
She loved the waters of the seven purple seas,
And burned on her own green harbor
Higher and whiter than ever any Tyre.
She was as callous as a taxi;
Her high-heeled eyes were sometimes blue as gin,
And she nailed them, all the days of her life,
Through the hearts of her six million poor.
Now she has died in the terrors of a sudden contemplation
- Drowned in the waters of her own, her poisoned well.”

But now the moon is paler than a statue.
She reaches out and hangs her lamp
In the iron trees of this destroyed Hesperides.
And by that light, under the caves that once were banks and theaters,
The hairy ones come out to play….

The hairy ones come out to play…

Sts. Nunilo and Alodia, pray for us.

Posted in Linking Back, The Coming Storm, The future and our choices, The Religion of Peace | Tagged , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Music fit for heaven: New CD of William Byrd Masses by Choir of Westminster Cathedral

I often work in complete silence.  Long gone are the days when I could listen to music and get anything meaningful accomplished.  It pulls my attention, and I have little enough brainpower as it is.

However, as I type I am listening to the new CD from the Choir of Westminster Cathedral of William Byrd’s Three Masses and Ave Verum Corpus.  What a pleasure.   (UK link HERE)

This was a gift from my amazon wishlist from DH!  Thanks!

To give you a mere taste of what I am hearing, here is a video from when Pope Benedict said Mass at Westminster Cathedral during his monumentally important State Visit to Scotland and England.

This is the Agnus Dei from the Mass for 5 voices.

Posted in Just Too Cool | Tagged , | 22 Comments

“Welcome to Hell! Here’s your ice cream!”

It has been sometime since I posted anything from Savage Chickens.  (I wonder where the Masked Chicken” got himself off to, anyway.  You don’t suppose The Colonel finally caught up to him, do you?)

New Hell!  How jolly.

While we, as a preaching teaching Church, shouldn’t be incessantly pushing the Four Last Things in a dire and threatening way, we should be pushing the Four Last Things clearly and often.

Death, Judgement, Heaven and Hell.  These are not options.   Everyone of us will face three out of the four.

We have a say about which three.

But let’s be clear about something: Hell is not nice.  It isn’t nice for those in Hell now and it won’t be nice for anyone in Hell in the future.

There won’t be ice cream.

Hell is eternal… eternal … separation from God with no hope… no hope… of that state ever changing.

The eternal agony of the damned will come from the eternal and irrevocable loss of the Beatific Vision, the happiness of heaven, the bliss of being with God and experiencing that glorified state with the saints and angels.  That is the “pain of loss” to we refer in the classic Act of Contrition when we say we are sorry for our sins because we “dread the loss of Heaven and the pains of Hell”.

But loss of Heaven is not the only painful aspect of Hell.  We are creatures of both soul and body.  Pain of loss is to be felt in the soul.  Pain of the senses will be felt in the senses.   Imagery from Scripture suggests “fire”.  We don’t know for sure what the pain of senses will be, but “fire” doesn’t sound good at all.  Whatever it may be, let’s avoid it, shall we?

How can we avoid the loss of Heaven and the pains of Hell?

First, let’s not candy-quote what Hell is.

Let’s talk about Hell and think about it often, if not daily.

Let’s use well all the means of salvation (from Hell, by the way) that Our Lord has given us in the Church.  We have the sacraments and the Church’s sure teaching about faith and morals.

Let’s give good examples and encouragement to others, to help keep as many people out of Hell as we can.

Let’s also present and reflect on the joy and the beauty of Heaven, for which we were made if we only will cooperate with God who desires our eternal happiness with Him.   The glories of heaven are even more vague, in some ways, than the torments of Hell.  And yet we know that we shall be able to see God!  We cannot see Him in this life.  We see now only foreshadowings and suggestions.  Even if we consider just Rev. 24:4, Heaven sounds like a great option: ”He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning nor crying nor pain any more, for the former things have passed away.”

So, I think you know where I am driving this.

Examine your consciences, consider the Four Last Things and…


Posted in "How To..." - Practical Notes, De Novissimis: Four Last Things, GO TO CONFESSION, Lighter fare | Tagged , , , , , , | 60 Comments

MANHATTAN: Holy Innocents Church – Reprieve until Spring 2015?


I have been informed that “Breitbart was wrong”.

In a letter from the “Office of Strategic Pastoral Planning” of the Archd. of NY, one reads (inter alia):

[...] the Cardinal feels it is essential that he has more time to consider carefully and thoroughly evaluate all that has been handed over to him. Hence, the announcement of the Cardinal’s Making All Things New decisions will be postponed to the beginning of November.  The original date set to make the announcement was the end of September.

I was wondering about that March date, in the context of talking about the Synod, which only goes for part of October.

ORIGINAL 10 Sept 1802 GMT ____

My friends in New York and, frankly, all around the country, have been concerned about the fate of Holy Innocents Church in midtown Manhattan.  There have been lots of reports and much speculation that Holy Innocents was slated for closure.  The ideally-located Holy Innocents is the only church in Manhattan which has daily celebrations of Holy Mass in the Extraordinary Form.  Given that the parish is doing okay financially and that the community there is, under the influence of the Extraordinary Form, growing and becoming ever more vibrant and diverse, many people are puzzled at why closure would be considered.   No doubt there are many factors.

That said, I saw this today at Breitbart:


A source close to Timothy Cardinal Dolan has told Breitbart News the impending announcement about New York parish closings which could number as many as 60 has been held off until Cardinal Dolan returns from Rome in late March.
The source states that a meeting was supposed to have taken place over the past few days between Cardinal Dolan and his priest council so they could make the final decisions together. Dolan cancelled that meeting until further notice.
The source, who has been close to many Cardinal Archbishops of New York, suspects that the delay could have something to do with two unseemly controversies swirling around the Chancery office. First, there is the change in policy that allows organized gays to march in the St. Patrick’s Day Parade—this after consecutive prior Archbishops fought the idea successfully in court.
Second is the equally unseemly spat taking place between Cardinal Dolan and Bishop Daniel Jenky over who gets the body of Bishop Fulton Sheen, whose formal cause for Sainthood started more than a decade ago but was brought dramatically to a halt last week over which diocese gets the body of the family TV priest.
Maybe it was too much bad press to put 60 parish closings on top of an already bad week.

Whatever the motive for such a move, if true, it seems that Holy Innocents may have had a reprieve until Spring 2015.

Meanwhile, what sort of things take place at Holy Innocents?

  • You may recall that there are Sung Masses there three times (I think) every week.  They have well-attended Sung Vespers on Sunday.  St. Patrick’s Cathedral does not ever have Sung Vespers.
  • Recently, Holy Innocents hosted a Prayer Rally for Iraqi Christians.  The next one will be Friday, Sept. 12 after the 6 PM Mass (37th Street and Broadway).  There will be a March for Peace to nearby Herald Square!
  • You can check out the stories about Holy Innocents Church by  New York TimesNational Review OnlineRod DreherNational Catholic RegisterVoice of America, the NY Observer. I have written about Holy Innocents, HERE and HERE.
  • The well-known author and preacher Fr. George Rutler is the Administrator of Holy Innocents.
  • The altar-piece is by the painter Constantino Brumidi and it was recently restored to the tune of many thousands of dollars.

This parish is a model for the New Evangelization.

Posted in Linking Back, The Drill | Tagged , , | 8 Comments

ASK FATHER: EMHCs at TLM… permitted?

From a reader…

QUAERITUR (edited):

On Sunday  I attended the [Traditional Latin Mass - TLM] at ___.  What surprised me was that an Extraordinary Minister of Holy Communion (Male) assisted in distributing Holy Communion, Host only.

Is this proper or did I miss something?

This goes against the 1962 rubrics.  According the Universae Ecclesiae this, and other practices such as Communion in the hand, service at the altar by females, etc., are to be ruled out.

That said, stretching my mind a little, since this is more a matter of disciplinary law, not constitutive law, I suppose that a bishop could grant a dispensation to permit it.  I am not sure about that, however.  That also said, I think it would be a unwise to grant such a permission, except in cases of real necessity: keeping in mind that people are not obliged to receive at every Mass to fulfill Mass obligation or not, say 1000 folks are at the 8:00 AM Mass, Father has his foot in a cast, there is no deacon or other priest available, the parking lot already filling for the 9:00 AM. Mass….  That sort of thing.

It may be that the priest has good motives for doing this, but I don’t see how this is permissible.  This calls more for a private conversation with the priest before gathering the mob, polishing the pitchforks and lighting the torches.

Posted in "How To..." - Practical Notes, ASK FATHER Question Box, Liturgy Science Theatre 3000, SUMMORUM PONTIFICUM, Universae Ecclesiae | Tagged , , | 12 Comments