Monday, July 23, 2007

Circumire ad Commandum

In case you were wondering what the last post was about, check out this article written by Bryan Cones at US Catholic Magazine, "Semper ubi sub ubi." For your convenience it is copied here:

Semper ubi sub ubi

If you don’t understand that, you’re gonna love the new, old Latin Mass.

The old German pastor of my first parish, Father Albert Henkel, was marked by both an endearing character—affectionately calling all us servers by our “real” name, George—and an almost indomitable resistance to change. When the liturgical reforms of Vatican II rolled around, the only new addition to the church was a plywood altar finished in family-room paneling, a reflection of Father Henkel’s belief that the “old” liturgy would soon return.

My pastor’s reaction seems to have been on the mark. For months now the Vatican has been—depending on your point of view—either promising or threatening to permit individual parish priests to celebrate at their discretion the so-called “Tridentine” liturgy, so named because it was mandated after the Council of Trent. A near-unanimous vote by the bishops at the Second Vatican Council ordered a reform of that liturgy, calling in the Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy for a renewal guided by the principle of “full and active participation” of all the baptized as its “paramount concern.”

That charge dramatically restored variety to a liturgy that had for 400 years remained almost unchanged. In the 40 years since, the people of God have embraced praying in their own languages, singing their own music, and taking on roles once reserved to clergy. Though it has had its share of bumps, the reform of the liturgy by most accounts has been a magnificent success.

But there is an oft-forgotten passage in the liturgy document that proved prophetic. The bishops warned that there was “no hope of achieving this [reform] unless pastors themselves...become fully imbued with the spirit and power of the liturgy and attain competence in it.” First among the resisters of reform was the late Swiss Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre, who led his followers into schism in 1988. Others stayed to push for restoration, and under Pope John Paul II they won a dispensation to celebrate the suppressed liturgy of Trent with permission from the local bishop.

Others worked for restrictions on the “new” liturgy, successfully opposing lectionary translations that used inclusive language and an improved translation of the prayers used for Mass, both approved by super-majorities of all the world’s English-speaking bishops’ conferences. Now a special commission of cardinals called Vox Clara, a who’s who of prominent conservatives, oversees the translation of the liturgy into English, despite the council’s explicit directive that the conferences of bishops should do so. For this reason English-speaking Catholics will soon be responding “And with your spirit” to “The Lord be with you,” even though it makes no sense in modern English.

All of this may seem like too much conspiracy—though I am barely touching the highlights—and some may wonder what all the fuss is about. Indeed, the National Catholic Reporter’s John Allen recently argued in The New York Times that the return of the Tridentine liturgy is really no big deal, wryly commenting, “If only we could convince the activists to slug it out in Latin, leaving the rest of us blissfully oblivious, then we might have something.”

But any good liturgist will tell you that the ancient saying lex orandi, lex credendi—the prayer of the church is the source of its faith—applies here. Trent’s liturgy wasn’t just a way of celebrating the Lord’s Supper. It embodied a particular way of being church: an all-powerful clergy mediating between God and a silent, sinful laity; a church frozen in time, untouched by the world around it.

The liturgy of Vatican II no less embodies a way of being church, one rooted in the cultures of God’s people, one engaged in the “joys and hope, the grief and anguish” of the world, one that requires the gifts of every baptized person. It should be no surprise, for example, that liberation theology arose after Vatican II. Once the poor found their voice in the liturgy, they were sure also to find it in theology as well.

Proponents of the old liturgy, who reside mostly in the Roman curia rather than in churches with actual people, argue that there is a popular groundswell in its favor, a judgment based on nothing but anecdote. What is more likely is that they know the liturgy of Trent is a major step back toward the church of Trent, a fear expressed publicly by several prominent European bishops. Absent any actual pastoral need, I’d argue that’s exactly what it is.

Bryan Cones is associate editor of U.S. Catholic. This article appeared in the August 2007 (Volume 72, Number 8; page 7) issue of U.S. Catholic.

Upon reading this I immediately wrote a rebuttal which was promptly refused, within 2 hours to be precise. Since US Catholic has refused the article, I will post it here. Honestly, I am not surprised they refused it, what do you expect with such a publication?

Circumire ad Commandum
If you understood that, you will love this rebuttal
by Lily A. Thorns

Today’s parish priest is as likely to sport a ponytail and jeans as the pre-Vatican II priest was to sport a crew cut and a cassock. He is also likely to incorporate new elements into the liturgy with each passing fancy, or sing songs from popular radio in his homily to make a point. The ‘Spirit of Vatican II’ has become so distorted that is should be called semper reformanda (always reforming) or perhaps, free spirit reforms.

Since Pope Benedict XVI released his motu proprio in July, there has been a panic among the liberals that the ‘Mass of the Ages’ would squash all of the new found politically correct freedoms the Catholic liturgists and music ministers enjoy. The ‘Catholic feminists’ (an oxymoron if ever there was) are afraid priests will send them packing, back to their seats and away from the altar they are trying to infiltrate with their desire of ordination.

The Supreme Pontiff, in his letter to the bishops of the world, specifically stated the fear some hold that the Vatican II reforms were going to be called into question was unfounded. He also stated that the desire for the Mass to be said under the extraordinary form is “...because in many places celebrations were not faithful to the prescriptions of the new Missal but ... was understood as authorizing or even requiring creativity which ... led to deformations of the liturgy which was hard to bear...I have seen how arbitary deformations...caused deep pain.”

Instead of singing sacred songs, music has degenerated to popular style, as often as not the Catholics today are unwittingly singing Protestant hymns. Have you ever sung “A Mighty Fortress is Our God” (by Martin Luther) or “How Great Thou Art” (by Carl Boberg) or “Amazing Grace” (by John Newton) at Mass? In Sacramentum Caritatis (released in February) the pope stated, “...the better-known prayers of the Church's tradition should be recited in Latin ...selections of Gregorian chant should be sung...I ask that future priests...receive the preparation needed to understand and to celebrate Mass in Latin...and execute Gregorian chant...the faithful can be taught to recite...prayers in Latin, and...Gregorian chant.”

The motu proprio, the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith’s statement about the ‘5 questions’ and the pope promulgating the 1962 Missal (because it was never abrogated in the first place) is not a conspiracy. Correlating the Protestant worship service and the post Vatican II ordinary form will reveal that they are strikingly similar. Comparing the ordinary against the extraordinary form of the Mass, the differences are evident. The conspiracy lies in the protestant influence we find infiltrating Masses in the free spirit interpretations of the Second Vatican Council.

The liturgy of Vatican II did give rise to liberation theology. And the Vatican issued formal rejections of the theology in the 1980s. Both Pope John Paul II and Pope Benedict XVI issued serious criticisms of liberation theology. Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger wrote in 1984, "Preliminary Notes on Liberation Theology." He stated, “An analysis of the phenomenon of liberation theology reveals that it constitutes a fundamental threat to the faith of the Church..The very radicality of liberation theology means that its seriousness is often underestimated, since it does not fit into any of the accepted categories of heresy; its fundamental concern cannot be detected by the existing range of standard questions.” This perfectly illustrates the danger in semper reformanda in the style of a free spirit instead of seeking guidance in the Holy Spirit. Conspiracy theorists should look back into the last forty years of church history. Si tacuisses, philosophus mansisses, if you had kept your silence, you would have stayed a philosopher.

Proponents of the old liturgy (the ones who attend the Churches of America, not those who undoubtedly live in Rome) are the people who are producing vocations; the all accessible free spirits liturgists are not. The traditional conservatives are sending their sons to the priesthood, cultivating vocations at home. Without the vocations there will be no priests and no Eucharist. One day, perhaps sooner rather than later, liberals may have to follow the groundswell to the Tridentine community to find the Holy Eucharist. Hopefully, crossing the ‘Pons Asinorum’ will not be too difficult for them. The free spirit liberals will be blissfully oblivious when the Traditional activists slug it out in Latin trying to name the bridge they will build to invite the liberals in.

For those who do not understand Latin, Circumire ad Commandum roughly translates into "going about in the fashion of a commando." If I were to name this article in English, it would be called, "Going Commando." The "Pons Asinorum" means, "Bridge of Asses."

Busy Being A Lily Among Thorns

What have I been up to lately? Reading the Catholic press. Unfortunately, some of the material written under the guise of Catholicism is very misleading. How can a writer call himself a practicing Catholic and then advocate (in the Catholic press) for betrothal which will make pre-marital relations morally acceptable? How can you argue that non-Catholic Christians ought to be able to receive the Real Presence in the Eucharist in a Catholic church, or it is no big deal for Catholic to receive elsewhere? Both of these articles are supposedly written by Catholic writers.

Printing this sort of material for Catholics to read is very dangerous. When a person reads something in a Catholic publication they believe the opinions expressed are from a Catholic viewpoint. This becomes difficult to stomach because the average American Catholic lacks in their formation. Since the Second Vatican Council basic faith formation has been lacking in structure and content. From an American perspective, there is 'freedom of the press' but that right assumes a certain responsibility on the part of the publisher to present accurate information. If you don't want to write from a Catholic perspective, than do not write under the guise of being Catholic. Write for secular magazines. There is a journalistic responsibility to be fair, accurate, and to check your facts repeatedly. I wouldn't call these publications journalism, or even opinion. Some of these things are flat out scandalous and sinful for the scandal they cause to unassuming Catholics who think they are reading about the ideas of their religion.

May the Holy Spirit grant these poor souls the wisdom to recognize a scandalous article when they read it. May God please grant these writers and publishers a conscience.

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Kansas City Catholic: Street Talking

You must go and look at this very clever post! This is church signs discussing EENS. Thank you Beth, for pointing this one out.
Kansas City Catholic: Street Talking

Shocking! Letter to the Editor, Printed

The letter to the editor which I referred to writing in an earlier post, actually ran! I cannot provide a link, they do not reprint the letters to the editor online. Below is the (highly edited) version of what I wrote, which appeared in today's paper. Of course, it appeared directly below a letter which dissed the Vatican for the "Responses to Some Questions Regarding Certain Aspects of the Doctrine on the Church" released last week. Following my letter was one about why there is no need to protest a concert singing the 99 traditional names of Allah, and two letters about praying for the church to allow women and married men to be ordained. Why am I not surprised? That is why I am shocked mine ran.

The paper did run two other articles about the Latin Mass this week, I think that is a first. Not that my little letter will do anything outside of irritating a few people I know, but the idea that I'm being a 'a thorn in the pew' (to borrow that phrase) really tickles me. You should all get out your pens and write letters to the editors, maybe you will get through too! I know for a fact many of you are just as irritated as I am.

Regarding your July 12 front-page article, "Overture to Schismatics: Pope Expands the Use of the Latin Liturgy," the title is very misleading. The pope's motu proprio is not just an overture to schismatics but a directive to the entire Catholic population.

He was stating that anyone who wanted the extraordinary form of the liturgy is entitled to it, and he is referring to more than schismatics.

It seems clear that Latin is here to stay. The pope expects Latin to be used in large scale liturgies and international gatherings. Clearly, he intends for everyone to be aware that the Latin Mass is alive and well, and that anyone who wishes should have easy access to it.

Saturday, July 14, 2007

Blogger question

Does anyone know how to relocate type on the line? For example, the poem 'Soliloquy of Slumber' is not supposed to have the dots on each line. The characters are supposed to hang on the lines, like they are falling asleep. I couldn't get the post to work, it kept aligning them on the left. I don't want left, right or center alignment. I want the letters to hang. How do I do that?

Soliloquy of Slumber

As I've said here before, and many of you know, I suffer with terrible insomnia. For years now. Here is one of the fruits. Sleep would be nice, however, maybe I'd drink less coffee, and spill it less often, if I had more sleep!

Sleep, an ever elusive delight
Sleep, why do you escape again tonight?
Sleep, you pass me hour by hour
Till morning finds me, a wilted flower.

Come, dear sleep, and let me rest
Come, let me slumber as your guest
Come, dreams, come, in a bevy
and let my eyelids become heavy.

Sleep, please evade me no more
Sleep, please stop barring the door
Sleep, sing your sweet soliloquy
Thank you! Finally!

Friday, July 13, 2007

Extra Ecclesiam Nulla Salus

Why is it that Catholics today think Extra Ecclesiam Nulla Salus is outdated? I was at a meeting earlier this week and it seems I shocked people when I said the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith's RESPONSES TO SOME QUESTIONS REGARDING CERTAIN ASPECTS OF THE DOCTRINE ON THE CHURCH was certainly talking about 'No Salvation Outside The Church' as well as emphatically stating that the protestant 'churches' are in fact, not churches, but ecclesial communities. Between the questions "What document?" and "Was that the one about Latin?" to "Well, what about my Protestant relatives?" and statements like "That's a really old teaching, the Church doesn't teach that anymore" I realized too many Catholics today just don't seem to know or understand about Catholicism any more.

Actually the opening question is facetious. I do in fact know why Catholics today think 'No Salvation Outside The Church' is an outdated teaching. It is multifaceted.

First, most parents don't know their faith anymore because they are victims of the 'love and parachutes' era of CCD. (See my post about Female Acolytes and Vocations for an explanation.) As a result, they don't know anything from basic prayers to tenets of the faith. They cannot teach their children their faith, and we are more than 40 years into this insanity.

Second, the ecumenical dialogue has degenerated into Catholics participating in 'Tent Revival Meetings' with ecclesial communities, where priests are featured speakers (sans Roman collars) and it is covered on the front page of the diocesan paper.

I'm not sure if you can enlarge the picture or not, but that man with the microphone, he is a priest. I find this disturbing. Catholic priests talking at a revival, no collar. The same paper talks about the Motu Proprio as an 'Overture to Schismatics' and begins their report by calling those who want the Latin Liturgy 'disaffected, schismatic, Catholic traditionalists.' I wrote a letter to the editor :-).

Third, to modernism, indifference, and egotism, the Catholic church takes a back seat. How can the Church get through to people who put sleep ahead of Holy Mass? People are so far from the sacraments, they don't think they need confessionals any more. No one sins these days! When you try to enlighten them, you are threatened or attacked (hopefully just verbally and not physically) but it is harder and harder to evangelize when you must teach your Catholic brethren their faith too!

If people knew their faith, really knew their faith, they would know that three Ex Cathedra statements have been made regarding No Salvation Outside The Church.

Pope Innocent III and Lateran Council IV (A.D. 1215): "One indeed is the universal Church of the faithful outside which no one at all is saved..."

Pope Boniface VIII in his Papal Bull Unam Sanctam (A.D. 1302): "We declare, say, define, and pronounce that it is absolutely necessary for the salvation of every human creature to be subject to the Roman Pontiff."

Pope Eugene IV and the Council of Florence (A.D. 1438 - 1445): "[The most Holy Roman Church] firmly believes, professes, and proclaims that those not living within the Catholic Church, not only pagans, but also Jews and heretics and schismatics cannot become participants in eternal life, but will depart `into everlasting fire which was prepared for the devil and his angels' (Matt. 25:41), unless before the end of life the same have been added to the flock; and that the unity of the ecclesiastical body is so strong that only to those remaining in it are the sacraments of the Church of benefit for salvation, and do fastings, almsgiving, and other functions of piety and exercises of Christian service produce eternal reward, and that no one, whatever almsgiving he has practiced, even if he has shed blood for the name of Christ, can be saved, unless he has remained in the bosom and unity of the Catholic Church."

What more remains to be said? Pray for Catholics everywhere. Pray for all people everywhere. Pray for our Pope! Thank you, God, for such a holy man as Benedict XVI. I think he has a lot more to say, the liberals are quaking in their boots.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Tagged. The Love of Christ Meme

Da rules:
Those tagged will share 5 things they love about Jesus.
Those tagged will tag 5 other bloggers.
Those tagged will provide a link in the combox here with their name so that others can read them.

I was tagged by A Thorn in the Pew. This has turned out to be good for me today. My fellow blogger took the first things that came to my mind. I've noticed from reading her blog that we do tend to think alike on many things. I then decided to reflect a bit and found that it was quite easy to come up with other things I love about Christ, without excepting the ones 'A thorn in the pew' listed. Without further adieu:


Five things I love about Christ:
1. Christ's humility. The humility Christ modeled throughout his life moves me to tears upon reflection. From humbling Himself to be born into human form, and have a fully human existence to, most especially, His Passion. I'm drawn to love Him and feel acutely what I have yet to accomplish in my own life.

2. Corpus Christi. The fact that Christ became man, lived among us, and died a painful death inflicted by humanity. Looking at and meditating on the crucifix is a painful reminder of my sinful nature; yet it brings forth so much love and gratitude to our Savior who endured this pain to open the gates of Heaven to us.

3. The Pieta. The beauty and simplicity of the Pieta always brings tears to my eyes. Why I chose this as something I love about Jesus is because it brings me to His mother and her sorrows. The Pieta brings me right back to the fact that Christ is both God and man. A man who had a mother who loved Him because He is her son and because He is God. I love Christ depicted in the Pieta for His gifts of Himself in the Eucharist, Himself in sacrifice and death, and Himself by way of His mother, Regina Caeli.

4. The Institution of the Sacraments. Without Baptism, we'd all be condemned. Without Confession we could not find forgiveness. Without the Eucharist we could not find the Grace to live the life of Christ; and we could not have the life of Christ within us. Without Confirmation we'd never find the gifts and fruits of the Holy Spirit. We'd be ill prepared to fight for Christ and His One, Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic Church.Without Holy Orders there would be no priests. Without Matrimony we'd lack the Grace to lead our spouse and children to God and sainthood. It would be so hard to be married without that Grace. Finally, without Anointing of the Sick we'd lack the fortitude to face illness and death with grace and dignity. We'd only be selfish in illness instead of having the ability to align ourselves with Christ in His suffering, and make reparation to God.

5. Christ's Forgiveness. This is, I think, the hardest thing Christ requires of us. Forgiveness. Christ tells us to seek forgiveness and gives us the means to do so. In Matthew we are told that Christ makes our own forgiveness contingent upon our ability to forgive (Mt:6:14-15). In the Lord's prayer we recite "Forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us." Christ's forgiveness is a beautiful example of how to do that. He loved all men, even when they were nailing Him to the cross. If He can forgive that, I can surely forgive those who've injured me in some way. I love Christ for this gift of forgiveness.

I am tagging: Sag Harbor Gifts, The Chronicles of Mommia, Gloria in Excelsis Deo, Against all Heresies, and The Walled Garden.

Monday, July 9, 2007

A Little Funny From Mass

At Sunday Mass this week, there was a visiting priest. He has been 'retired' for quite a while, and was rather old. He started out his homily in a friendly manner, remarking that the Fourth of July was sure to have been a disappointment for some due to the weather; but he hoped we all took some time to thank God for the blessings of living in a country where we enjoy such freedoms. No, that wasn't the funny part ;-). Then he went on to say that even rain is a blessing since the heatwave we've recently gone through, and there he stopped. We all realized that he had obviously taken a 'canned sermon' from his archives because we have not had any heat, it has been unseasonably cool and rainy this summer! But, he was committed to seeing it through, and finished, laughably, by saying that the rain would end the drought. He realized how silly he sounded, but just ploughed on ahead. Today is hotter, but still, no heatwave.

Monday, July 2, 2007

Coffee at the Computer

I did it again! Drinking coffee at the computer, and for the third time I spilled it all over. I know it is a foolish thing to do. Maybe someone can tell me, how is a busy mom who is up too late every night (you know, there aren't enough hours in the day) supposed to function without the caffeine? Certainly, you cannot expect anyone to sit at the computer typing in many articles, keep up a blog, plan lessons and schedules, and stay awake without coffee! That is simply asking much too much of one person! ;-)

If you don't hear from me for a while, you can suspect it is because my keyboard drowned in coffee. Maybe then, I would get some rest?