Sunday, September 28, 2008

Tridentine Community News

The Beauty of the Propers

Regular attendees of the Extraordinary Form Mass can get so accustomed to its structure that we take for granted aspects of the Holy Mass that are not part of the general experience of Catholics today. The Asperges and the incense that we use every sunday, for example, are not seen in most suburban parishes.

Another unique characteristic of the Tridentine Mass, especially in Sung Masses, is the prominent role of Propers. The term "Propers" can be used in two senses: First, it can refer to all of the changing parts of the Mass, including the Orations (Collect, Secret, and Postcommunion Prayers), Readings (Epistle and Gospel), and Antiphons (Introit, Gradual, Tract, Alleluia, Offertory, and Communion). In the second sense -- the sense we are using here -- it refers specifically to the Antiphons.

The Introit so centrally sets the theme for the Mass to follow, that Masses are known by the first few words of their Introit. For instance, the Votive Mass of the Blessed Virgin is known as "Missa Salve Sancte Parens," and the Mass of the 18th Sunday After Pentecost, pictured at right, is known as "Missa Da Pacem, Domine."

In a Missa Cantata, it is not obligatory for the (Antiphon) Propers to be chanted. Qualified singers are not always available. When the Propers are chanted, they may be sung in either the rather simple Psalm Tone or in full Solemn Tone, [as can be seen by examining] the Liber Usualis, the official book of chant for the Tridentine Mass. Well-performed Solemn chant from the Liber helps to establish the sacred character of the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass. CDs of this chant have become best-sellers, because it is music that transports one's soul outside of the ordinary world.

Propers in the Novus Ordo

A little-known fact is that the Novus Ordo GIRM (General Instruction of the Roman Missal) states "... there are four options for the Entrance Chant: (1) the antiphon from the Roman Missal or the Psalm from the Roman Gradual as set to music there or in another musical setting; (2) the seasonal antiphon and Psalm of the Simple Gradual; (3) a song from another collection of psalms and antiphons, approved by the Conference of Bishops or the Diocesan Bishop, including psalms arranged in responsorial or metrical forms; (4) a suitable liturgical song similarly approved by the Conference of Bishops or the Diocesan Bishop." Unless you attend St. Joseph's Novus Ordo Latin Mass, when was the last time you heart Options 1, 2, or 3 employed in a sung Mass? You may, however, hear the Introit (or "Entrance Antiphon") read by the preist at a Mass without music.

The GIRM has another surprise: "... the following may also be sung in place of the Psalm assigned in the Lectionary for Mass: either the proper or seasonal antiphon and Psalm from the Lectionary, as found either in the Roman Gradual or Simple Gradual or in another musical setting; or an antiphon and Psalm from another collection of the psalms arranged in metrical form, providing that they have been approved by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops or the Diocesan Bishop." When was the last time you heard a Gradual sung in place of a Responsorial Psalm?

As for Communion, the GIRM says: "... there are four options for the Communion chant: (1) the antiphon from the Roman Missal or the Psalm from the Roman Gradual as set to music there or in another musical setting; (2) the seasonal antiphon and Psalm of the Simple Gradual; (3) a song from another collection of psalms and antiphons, approved by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops or the Diocesan Bishop, including psalms arranged in responsorial or metrical forms; (4) a suitable liturgical song ..." Fortunately, the sung Communion Antiphon is beginning to make a comeback, thanks to the encouragement of the Church Music Association of America.

We live in the era of the Four Hymn Sandwich: Opening, Offertory, Communion, Recessional. Hymns were originally an option in the early days of the Novus Ordo. Their popularity and ease of singing has led them to effectively replace the official Proper Antiphons of the Roman Missal.

The Vatican hasn't helped: There are different Antiphons in the (Latin) Novus Ordo Altar Missal (for use when the celebrant recites them) versus in the (Latin) Graduale Romanum (for use by singers), confusing to say the least. And the latest edition of the Novus Ordo Graduale was published in 1974. It's still in print, but Rome has not updated it with the additional feasts added to the 1975 and 2002 editions of the official Roman Missal. English editions of the Graduale, such as "By Flowing Waters," are not well-known. Identifying the correct singable Propers shouldn't be such a treasure hunt.

In the Tridentine Mass, these are non-issues. Our worship is augmented by the thematically-relevant texts and Church-specified chant of the easily-identified Propers. Humns have their place, but they do not replace the Propers, the official music of the Mass.
[Acknowledgement: "Tridentine Community News" is published by permission of the author from the bulletin insert for St. Josaphat Catholic Church for September 28, 2008. Previous columns are available at www.stjosaphatchurch.org.]

Of related interest

Dems caught in own words covering up Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac scam

Amazing. C-Span coverage of Republican attempts to regulate Fannie Mae & Freddie Mac -- against staunch opposition by the Democrats; one of which is Obama's financial advisor. Listen and weep.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_MGT_cSi7Rs

McCain warned this would happen in 2005-2006:

http://hotair.com/archives/2008/09/17/mccains-attempt-to-fix-fannie-mae-freddie-mac-in-2005/

[Hat tip to C.B.]

Saturday, September 27, 2008

"VOTE FOR ME!!! I HAVE A BETTER PLAN FOR CHANGE"

fyi . . ... Not my idea but it sounds pretty good!
This idea sounds just crazy enough to possibly work, so naturally it won't be given serious consideration. How great is our bureaucracy!!

I'm against the $85,000,000,000.00 bailout of AIG.

Instead, I'm in favor of giving $85,000,000,000 to America in a We Deserve It Dividend.

To make the math simple, let's assume there are 200,000,000 bona fide U.S. Citizens 18+.

Our population is about 301,000,000 +/- counting every man, woman and child. So 200,000,000 might be a fair stab at adults 18 and up..

So divide 200 million adults 18+ into $85 billion that equals $425,000.00.

My plan is to give $425,000 to every person 18+ as a We Deserve It Dividend.

Of course, it would NOT be tax free.

So let's assume a tax rate of 30%.

Every individual 18+ has to pay $127,500.00 in taxes.

That sends $25,500,000,000 right back to Uncle Sam.

But it means that every adult 18+ has $297,500.00 in their pocket.

A husband and wife has $595,000.00.

What would you do with $297,500.00 to $595,000.00 in your family?

Pay off your mortgage - housing crisis solved.

Repay college loans - what a great boost to new grads

Put away money for college - it'll be there

Save in a bank - create money to loan to entrepreneurs.

Buy a new car - create jobs

Invest in the market - capital drives growth

Pay for your parent's medical insurance - health care improves

Enable Deadbeat Dads to come clean - or else

Remember this is for every adult U S Citizen 18+ including the folks who lost their jobs at Lehman Brothers and every other company that is cutting back. And of course, for those serving in our Armed Forces.

If we're going to re-distribute wealth let's really do it...instead of trickling out a puny $1000.00 ( "vote buy" ) economic incentive that is being proposed by one of our candidates for President.

If we're going to do an $85 billion bailout, let's bail out every adult U S Citizen 18+!

As for AIG - liquidate it.

Sell off its parts.

Let American General go back to being American General.

Sell off the real estate.

Let the private sector bargain hunters cut it up and clean it up.

Here's my rationale. We deserve it and AIG doesn't.

Sure it's a crazy idea that can "never work."

But can you imagine the Coast-To-Coast Block Party!

How do you spell Economic Boom?

I trust my fellow adult Americans to know how to use the $85 Billion

We Deserve It Dividend more than the geniuses at AIG or in Washington DC

And remember, The plan only really costs $59.5 Billion because $25.5 Billion is returned instantly in taxes to Uncle Sam.

Ahhh...I feel so much better getting that off my chest.
McCain: pay attention! Obama: listen up!

[Hat tip to J.S.]

The October Synod: More on the dread "i" word . . .

Whether the issue is construed in terms of inerrancy or inspiration matters little, since both are inseparably related and begin with the letter "i"; but in this case, the stated issues is biblical "inspiration" and deals with the upcoming October Synod of Bishops on the topic of the Word of God. The foundational importance of the subject can hardly be overestimated. It's a wonder there has been no more news on the Synod. But then, this is the age of politicians, economists, Hannah Montana and Paris Hilton.

Some of you may recall the our post nearly a month ago, "Danger of revisionist misinterpretation of Dei Verbum at October synod?" (Musings, September 7, 2008), citing Fr. Brian Harrison's letter to the editor of the St. Louis Review sounding a note of concern.

Now the same reader who called that letter to our notice has sent an email calling to our attention a new website, ScriptureSynod.com -- "A site dedicated to providing up-to-date information on the Catholic Church's groundbreaking Scripture Synod--October, 2008." The reader comments: "Here is at least one voice that appreciates the issue of Inspiration as it needs to be if dealt with honestly." The reader went on to express certain concerns, but concluded by saying that he remains hopeful.

The linked website provides, among other things, a "Theological Analysis of the Instrumentum (Outline) for the upcoming Synod on the Word of God." It is long and gratifyingly detailed. The critical heart of the discussion begins with the following section (scroll down):
The second group of positions taken by the Instrumentum deals specifically with inspiration and inerrancy per se. In many ways, this is at the very heart of the discussion because how inspiration and inerrancy are defined and how they are related to each other determines the whole understanding of Scripture. While this discussion is somewhat technical, it is necessary to strive for accuracy and to ensure that the emerging concepts are consonant with the perennial teaching of the Church. The key text is found under Sacred Scripture, the Inspired Word of God (c.) of the document ... (Read more here.)
[Hat tip and many thanks to J.M.]

Children Latin Choir Concert

I forward to those of you interested an announcement of a Children's Latin Choir Concert this weekend. Those of you in the Charlotte, North Carolina, area, if you can find any gas stations that will sell you gas (I've heard about the shortage there), make an effort to go. These young people are the MEF scholae of the future! Maybe someday they will sing at a local MEF. Thanks to Renee O'Brien (via Sid Cundiff) for this notice!
You are Invited!

What: Children’s Latin Choir Concert
When: Sunday, Sept. 28 4:00 PM
Where: St.Patrick’s Cathedral
1621 Dilworth Rd. East
Charlotte, NC
(704) 334-2283

Please come and enjoy the sound of beautiful Latin Liturgical music sung by the Children’s Latin Choir…Sure to be a real treat!

All are welcome!!!

Common sense on the Wall Street crisis

R.R. Reno, "The Wall Street Crisis" (First Things, September 23, 2008):
And not just greed, but also stupidity. Anyone who bought a house in the last two years was as stupid as the Bear Stearns traders who bought and held securities backed by sub-prime mortgages, which means very stupid. Buy a house in Florida for $600,000 with 5 percent down in 2006, and you’re pretty much in the same sinking boat. What could have possibly motivated such a stupid purchase? Are rentals unavailable? Did you really believe that house prices would continue to go up at two and three times the rate of increase of family incomes?

We don’t need a degree in psychology in order to know why people bought houses at the peak of the market. The dollar signs clouded vision. The go-go hype from the real estate agents and media and friends who made tons of money buying and selling houses was overwhelming. Anyway, you gotta live somewhere, and the government lets you deduct the interest payments. Banks were intensely eager to give you the money. “And what the heck,” we tell ourselves, “it can’t ever really go down too much, because there are too many home owners like me for the government to let it all go to hell.”

Substitute mortgage-backed securities for houses, and we have a pretty clear picture of the Wall Street crisis. It’s not the case that financial barons are uniquely wicked. No, they mirror us all rather well: blinded by the prospect of quick profits, victims of a herd mentality, and prone to making stupid decisions. The partners at Bear Stearns were not taking advantage of poor ol’ Main Street. On the contrary, they had their own capital in mortgage-back securities, and they were wiped out when reality caught up with the very same housing-bubble fantasies that infected Anywhere, USA.

... The Paulson plan, no matter what its final form, will be huge. And because it’s huge, it will be fatefully consequential for our future economic and political system. We need to get this right, or at least as right as possible. That’s all the more reason to focus on the details rather than grandstanding about Wall Street greed and bellyaching about the supposed unfairness of a government bailout.(Read more here ...)
[Hat tip to E.E.]

Today's the last day!

A little belatedly: the Ember Days this week many of those who love the ancient Gregorian liturgy are keeping the traditional Ember Fast to pray for the Holy Father and for the full implementation of the motu proprio. Here is the "official" notice:
Call to Prayer and Fasting

This year, the Autumn Ember days are on September 24, 26, and 27. They follow the Feast of the Holy Cross (Sept. 14), the first anniversary that the motu proprio took effect. Let all traditional Catholics unite to observe the traditional Ember fast on these three days: 1) to pray for the Holy Father’s welfare, 2) to thank Almighty God for the motu proprio Summorum Pontificum, and 3) to pray for its full implementation in every parish around the world.
Of related interest

Michael Foley has an article on the Ember Days in the most recent issue of Latin Mass Magazine, which has been posted on the Rorate Caeli blogsite (http://rorate-caeli.blogspot.com/).

[Hat tip to M. Foley]

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

K of C begins airing "Vote Pro-Life" radio ad nationwide

"'Vote Pro-Life' Radio Ad Begins Running on U.S. Radio Stations" (Knights of Columbus, September 23, 2008):
Knights of Columbus spot features beating heart of 10-week-old unborn child.

A 30-second radio spot encouraging people to “vote pro-life” in the November elections began running on radio stations around the United States Sept. 23 It will continue to air until the Nov. 4 election.

The ad features the sound of an unborn baby’s heartbeat at 10 weeks, and the voice of a woman saying, “Listening to this makes me wonder – why would anyone question that her life has begun?” It concludes with the words, “Vote your heart. Vote Pro Life.”

“The fact that the child whose heartbeat we hear is alive is simply a matter of science,” Supreme Knight Carl A. Anderson said in announcing the beginning of the ad campaign.

“We believe that it is vital that America’s pro-life community make it clear that they will reserve their votes for candidates of either party who are committed to protecting life from conception to natural death.”

A similar ad is planned for broadcast in Canada, where general elections are set for October 14, 2008.
[You can listen to the ad via the link above.]

Network media campaign for Obama goes into full swing

CNN's and MSNBC's campaign in behalf of the Democratic Party has moved into full swing since this summer. It is amazing that the McCain-Palin ticket continues to have any viability, given the reality of network media's open campaigning for the Obama-Biden ticket. I don't have a television, but the other day I was watching a bit of the aforementioned network broadcasts after lunch at work, and I could hardly believe the blatancy of the slant. Their supposedly "non-editorializing reportage" has little more surface credibility than most of blogsville's output (which, however, has enough integrity to make no pretense of avoiding editorializing). Even their gestures toward "balance" are so contrived as to be ludicrous.

It goes without saying that the Obama media-spin team have exploited this network support to their full advantage. Just this summer appeared this article by Will Brady, "Obama's media campaign - branding our consciousness" (guardian.co.uk, July 10, 2008) -- detailing "Obama's brand strategy is sophisticated and rapidly achieving cultural ubiquity. How precisely is it done?"

I am ceaselessly nonplussed at the intelligent, well-educated political liberals I meet who mindlessly parrot the media bites and 'factoids' they hear -- such as that Palin had books banned (including Shakespeare and Harry Potter) from the Wasilla library while Mayor (even though Rowling's book wasn't yet published!), or that she insisted on having rape victims pay for their own medical testing (even though nobody can document a shred of evidence to support the allegation), long after she had been exonerated of these sorts of accusations. I keep seeing images of Mildred Montag slowly being brainwashed in front of her state-programmed TV in the film Fahrenheit 451, based on Ray Bradbury's novel by that title. Remember, they were burning books for purposes of state security.

Von Baader now online

This will be a bit arcane for most of you, but a major influence on the Dutch Calvinist philosopher, Herman Dooyeweerd, was Franz Xaver von Baader (1765-1841), whose work is now available online, albeit in difficult archaic German. J. Glen Friesen just emailed me the news that Google Books has digitized all 16 volumes of the Collected Works of Franz Xavier von Baader, the link to which is available at Friesen's website, along with links to several articles translated into English by Friesen.

[Hat tip to J.G.F.]

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Tridentine Community News

Governance of Tridentine Congregations

Currently, Tridentine Mass Communities are almost all under the jurisdiction of the local diocesan bishop. More so prior to the Motu Proprio, Summorum Pontificum, than now, this had the effect of blocking the estabishment of, or restricting, Tridentine Mass Communities when a local bishop was unsympathetic to the cause. Therefore, since the original 1984 Tridentine Mass Indult, Quattuor Abhinc Annos, ideas have been floating as to how to implement more supportive governance.

Apostolic Administration

An Apostolic Administration refers to the notion of having a bishop specifically for Tridentine Mass communities, crossing diocesan boundaries. As with the Archdiocese for the Military Services in the U.S., a bishop of such an arrangement might be stationed anywhere in the world, yet theoretically have worldwide, or at least regional, jurisdiction.

The argument in favor of such an arrangement is that the bishop would have the interest of Extraordinary Form Catholics as his mission. The success of the (regional and so far only) Apostolic Administration of St. John Marie Vianney in Campos, Brazil is often cited as a model for future arrangements. In that case, the original diocese refused to adopt the post-Vatican II liturgical changes. A parallel diocese was then established by the Vatican. The original group eventually reconciled with Rome. Current administrator Bishop Fernando Rifan (photo adjacent) has become a sought-after and eloquent speaker on the Extraordinary Form around the world.

The principal argument against such an arrangement is that real estate and budgetary matters become significant: Tridentine Communities might have to build, or maintain beyond their abilities, churches for their congregations. At this point in history, most Tridentine Mass groups are best off sharing a church with an Ordinary Form community. This is certainly the case here in Detroit and Windsor, where we are blessed with historic, but expensive-to-maintain, churches. Being under a diocesan bishop at least gives the possibility that a Tridentine community will be able to use such beautiful, appropriately-outfitted churches for the Classic Form of Holy Mass.

Personal Prelature

Similar in many ways to an Apostolic Administration is a Personal Prelature, a structure that also permits both religious and lay members. Unlike an Apostolic Administration, which operates independently of the local diocese, priests and lay members of a Personal Prelature are subject to their local diocesan bishop and therefore may use the churches and facilities of the local diocese. Clerical members are distinguished from members of an Order (e.g. Franciscans) in that they do not take vows. They thus resemble more a Clerical Society (e.g. Fraternity of St. Peter).

The only Personal Prelature so far established is that of Opus Dei, headed by Bishop Javier Echevarria. Opus Dei, for instance, administers St. Mary of the Angels Church in Chicago.

A Personal Prelature for the Tridentine Mass does not necessarily solve the real estate challenges of an Apostolic Administration, as the local diocesan bishop would still have to give permission for such a group to operate within his diocese. Also, Cardinal Castrillon Hoyos has mentioned that our Holy Father, Pope Benedict XVI, wants the Tridentine Mass to become a more normal part of parish life. Having a Personal Prelature or Apostolic Administration may make for a more sympathetic environment, but it may also relegate Tridentine Masses outside of the majority of parishes. For the good of the Church, the Tridentine Mass should not be an unusual experience for Catholics. Diocesan bishops simply must heed our Holy Father's direction on this front, even if it is not their personal preference.

Personal Parishes or Oratories

Summorum Pontificum makes mention of the possibility of Personal Parishes for the Extraordinary Form in a diocese. A diocese has two types of parishes: A Territorial Parish is one which serves a certain geographic region. A Personal Perish does not have territorial boundaries, but rather serves parishioners of a certain ethnicity or liturgical preference, who may reside anywhere. Note that membership in a Territorial Perish is no longer restricted to those who live in the neighborhood; the title is only one of nomenclature. A local example of a non-ethnic Personal Parish is Christ the King in Ann Arbor, a Personal Parish for the Charismatic Community. Personal Parishes that exclusively serve Extraordinary Form communities have been established in North America by the Fraternity of St. Peter, the Institute of Christ the King, and even by diocesan priests.

Note that variations on the above are possible: Vancouver's Extraordinary Form Community, Divine Mercy "Quasi Parish" until recently celebrated its Masses at four different locations over the course of a week. Thus, two parishes can occupy the same building. Recently, the Vancouver community was given Holy Family Church, a formerly German ethnic church, and has taken the name "Holy Family Parish" as its new, formal name. German Novus Ordo Masses will continue as a guest operation in the new Tridentine parish.

In some cases, especially in churches administered by the Institute of Christ the King, such Personal Parishes are referred to as [Public] Oratories. While fancier-sounding, the term can apply to a non-territorial parish (as it does in this instance); a church which is not a parish; or a parish run by the Oratorian Fathers, such as those in England and Toronto.
[Acknowledgement: This post is reproduced by permission of the author from the "Tridentine Community News" (September 7, 2008) bulletin insert for St. Josaphat Catholic Church, Detroit, Michigan. Previous columns are available at www.stjosaphatchurch.org.]

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Without comment

Knights of Columbus and Sen. Biden

WASHINGTON, D.C., SEPT. 19, 2008 (Zenit.org). - Here is an open letter addressed to Senator Joe Biden, the Democratic candidate for vice president, from the Supreme Knight of the Knights of Columbus, Carl Anderson. It was published today as a full-page ad in various U.S. newspapers. (Supreme Knight's Letter to Biden, "Today, Children of All Races Are Denied Recognition as 'Persons'," EWTN, September 19, 2008):
Dear Senator Biden: I write to you today as a fellow Catholic layman, on a subject that has become a major topic of concern in this year's presidential campaign.

The bishops who have taken public issue with your remarks on the Church's historical position on abortion are far from alone. Senator Obama stressed your Catholic identity repeatedly when he introduced you as his running mate, and so your statements carry considerable weight, whether they are correct or not. You now have a unique responsibility when you make public statements about Catholic teaching.
On NBC's Meet the Press, you appealed to the 13th Century writings of St. Thomas Aquinas to cast doubt on the consistent teaching of the Catholic Church on abortion.
There are several problems with this.

First, Aquinas obviously had only a medieval understanding of biology, and thus could only speculate about how an unborn child develops in the womb. I doubt that there is any other area of public policy where you would appeal to a 13th Century knowledge of biology as the basis for modern law.

Second, Aquinas' theological view is in any case entirely consistent with the long history of Catholic Church teaching in this area, holding that abortion is a grave sin to be avoided at any time during pregnancy.

This teaching dates all the way back to the Didache, written in the second century. It is found in the writings of Tertullian, Jerome, Augustine and Aquinas, and was reaffirmed by the Second Vatican Council, which described abortion as 'an unspeakable crime' and held that the right to life must be protected from the 'moment of conception.' This consistent teaching was restated most recently last month in the response of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops to remarks by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.

Statements that suggest that our Church has anything less than a consistent teaching on abortion are not merely incorrect; they may lead Catholic women facing crisis pregnancies to misunderstand the moral gravity of an abortion decision.
Neither should a discussion about a medieval understanding of the first few days or weeks of life be allowed to draw attention away from the remaining portion of an unborn child's life. In those months, even ancient and medieval doctors agreed that a child is developing in the womb.

And as you are well aware, Roe v. Wade allows for abortion at any point during a pregnancy. While you voted for the ban on partial birth abortions, your unconditional support for Roe is a de facto endorsement of permitting all other late term abortions, and thus calls into question your appeal to Aquinas.
I recognize that you struggle with your conscience on the issue, and have said that you accept the Church's teaching that life begins at conception - as a matter of faith. But modern medical science leaves no doubt about the fact that each person's life begins at conception. It is not a matter of personal religious belief, but of science.

Finally, your unwillingness to bring your Catholic moral views into the public policy arena on this issue alone is troubling.

There were several remarkable ironies in your first appearance as Senator Obama's running mate on the steps of the old state capitol in Springfield, Illinois.
His selection as the first black American to be the nominee of a major party for president of the United States owes an incalculable debt to two movements that were led by people whose religious convictions motivated them to confront the moral evils of their day - the abolitionist movement of the 19th Century, and the civil rights movement of the 20th Century.

Your rally in Springfield took place just a mile or so from the tomb of Abraham Lincoln, who in April 1859 wrote these words in a letter to Henry Pierce:
'This is a world of compensations; and he who would be no slave, must consent to have no slave. Those who deny freedom to others, deserve it not for themselves; and, under a just God, cannot long retain it.'

Lincoln fought slavery in the name of 'a just God' without embarrassment or apology. He confronted an America in which black Americans were not considered 'persons' under the law, and were thus not entitled to fundamental Constitutional rights. Today, children of all races who are fully viable and only minutes from being born are also denied recognition as 'persons' because of the Roe v. Wade regime that you so strongly support. Lincoln's reasoning regarding slavery applies with equal force to children who are minutes, hours or days away from birth.

The American founders began our great national quest for liberty by declaring that we are all 'created equal.' It took nearly a century to transform that bold statement into the letter of the law, and another century still to make it a reality. The founders believed that we are 'endowed by [our] Creator with certain unalienable rights,' and that first among these is 'life.'

You have a choice: you can listen to your conscience and work to secure the rights of the unborn to share in the fruits of our hard-won liberty, or you can choose to turn your back on them.

On behalf of the 1.28 million members of the Knights of Columbus and their families in the United States, I appeal to you, as a Catholic who acknowledges that life begins at conception, to resolve to protect this unalienable right. I would welcome the opportunity to discuss these issues personally with you in greater detail during the weeks between now and November 4.

Respectfully,
Carl A. Anderson
Supreme Knight
[Hat tip to Prof. E.E.]

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Tridentine Community News

Summorum Pontificum -- One Year In Effect

Today, the Feast of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross, Septermber 14, 2008, marks one year since our Holy Father's landmark Motu Proprio took effect. Let us thank almighty God for the fruits this document has produced in the metropolitan Detroit area as well as across the world. Amazingly, Detroit/Windsor is in third place in North America in number of Tridentine Mass sites.

It is therefore appropriate to note and thank the churches that have supported our Holy Father's initiative, in order in which their Masses commenced:
  1. Assumption, Windsor
  2. St. Josaphat, Detroit
  3. Assumption Grotto, Detroit
  4. St. Joseph, Detroit
  5. St. Stephen, New Boston
  6. St. Albertus, Detroit
  7. Sweetest Heart of Mary, Detroit
  8. Sacred Heart, Yale
  9. Ss. Cyril & Mtehodius, Sterling Heights
  10. Our Lady of Mt. Carmel, Wyandotte
New York Takes The Motu Proprio Crown

After hearing about the growth of the Traditional Mass in our region, longtime friend of Fr. Borkowski and Tridentine Mass advocate Fr. James Miara supplied information regarding the state of the Extraordinary Form in the New York City metro area. These 14 sites make New York the region with the most Extraordinary Form Masses in North America:
    St. Agnes, Manhattan
  1. Guardian Angel, Manhattan
  2. Holy Innocents, Manhattan
  3. Our Lady of Mt. Carmel, Manhattan
  4. Our Lady of Mt. Carmel, Bronx (Fr. Miara's church)
  5. St. Joseph, Bronxville
  6. St. Joseph, Middleton
  7. St. Joseph, Poughkeepsie
  8. Immaculate Conception, Sleepy Hollow
  9. Sacred Heart, Port Chester
  10. St. Sylvia, Tivoli
  11. Our Lady of Mt. Carmel, Tuxedo
  12. St. Eugene, Yonkers
  13. Our Lady of Peace, Brooklyn
The Motu Proprio Blossoms in Chicago

Some forces are unstoppable. A hurricane. A freight train. Michael Phelps. And in the Tridentine world, Chicago. In the indult days, Chicago had the most Tridentine Mass sites, at eight. Today, Chicago takes second place in North America with eleven sites:
  1. St. John Cantius, Chicago
  2. St. Thomas More, Chicago
  3. St. Daniel the Prophet, Chicago
  4. Shrine of Christ the King, Chicago
  5. St. Mary of Perpetual Help, Chicago
  6. St. Odilo, Berwyn
  7. St. Andrew the Apostle, Calumet City
  8. Monastery of Discalced Carmelite Nuns, Des Plaines
  9. St. John Vianney, Northlake
  10. St. Pter, Volo
Lake London, England, Chicago is often thought of by locals as an area overflowing with liturgical abuses. Such a glass-is-half empty view ignores the blessings these places enjoy. In the truest sense of the world, Chicago is a "liberal" diocese, in that it supports Sacred Tradition as well as tolerating liturgical activity not faithful to the rubrics prescribed by Rome.

Substantial credit for manstreaming the Traditional Mass must be given to Chicago Auxiliary Bishop Joseph Perry, who celebrates the Extraordinary Form regularly in Chicago and in other dioceses.

Comparing Apples to Apples

The Detroit statistics include Mass sites that only hold their Masses on special occasions, a few times per year. The New York and Chicago numbers do not include less-than-monthly sites (if those exist at all). We believe it is important to acknowledge these as well, as not every location is ready for more frequent Masses.

Mass Schedules

Mass times for the above-mentioned churches can almost all be found at: http://web2.airmail.net/~carlsch/MaterDei/churches.htm. This site is the most up-to-date of all national Tridentine Mass directories, and thus the first one to check before you travel. Situations are fluid; Masses may be added and cancelled without notice. New Mass sites may be added since we went to press. Always consider neighboring dioceses as options. Most importantly, it never hurts to call the parish you wish to visit in advance to confirm the time of the Mass, as even the parish's web site may be out of date.

[The foregoing is reproduced by permission from the Tridentine Community News bulletin insert for St. Josaphat Catholic Church, September 14, 2008 -- a significant date, not only because it marks the anniversary of the date the Motu Proprio, Summorum Pontificum, took effect in 2007, but because (appropriately, of course) the Feast of the Holy Cross falls on my birthday.]

Without comment

A reader writes: "In Peggy Noonan’s Friday column in the WSJ, she mentions a 'deadly email' making the rounds. Thanks to the mighty power of Google, I believe I have reconstructed it. It consists of two photos and a caption. Here they are."




Caption: This settles it.
Of related interest: In the interest of truth in advertising, the Palin "banned books list" turns out to be a hoax, as even Snopes, which vets Urban Legends and is no friend of cultural conservatives reports:
Claim: List catalogs books banned from the Wasilla, Alaska, public library by Mayor Sarah Palin.

Status: False.

"... One obvious clue that the list must have been cobbled together from some source other than discussions that may have taken place in Wasilla in 1996 is that several of its entries (most notably the books in J.K. Rowling's popular Harry Potter series, which began in 1997) hadn't yet been published back then. In fact, versions of this list have been circulating since at least as far back as 1998, and it is actually a catch-all collection of titles said to be 'books banned at one time or another in the United States.'"

Friday, September 12, 2008

A Prayer of Saint Alphonsus Liguori

Only One Thing Is Necessary

O my God, help me to remember -
That time is short, eternity is long.
What good is all the greatness of this world at
the hour of death?
To love You, my God, and save my soul is the
one thing necessary.
Without You, there is no peace, no you.
My God, I need fear nothing but sin.
For to lose You, my God, is to lose all.
O my God, help me to remember -
That to gain all I must leave all,
That in loving You I have all good things: the
infinite riches of Christ and His
Church, the motherly protection of Mary,
peace beyond understanding, joy unspeakable!

Thursday, September 11, 2008

New Knights of Columbus initiatives

Holy Father wants Gregorian Mass to become "normal occurence" in Church's life

The full text of Cardinal Castrillón Hoyos' address to the Latin Mass Society of England and Wales at their Annual Meeting in London (Saturday, June 14, 2008), has been available now for some time (e.g., New Liturgical Movement, June 16, 2008). But the recent re-publication of the address in the latest issue of Nota, No. 28 (Una Voce America, Summer 2008), reminded me of just how revolutionary some of its statements in fact are. See for yourself:
Mr Chairman, Reverend Monsignori and Fathers, Ladies and Gentlemen;

I am grateful for your kind invitation and for your warm welcome. It is a pleasure to be present with you today in London and to address the annual general meeting of the Latin Mass Society of England and Wales.

I look forward to the joy of celebrating the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass in the great, historic and beautiful Westminster Cathedral for you this afternoon.

Today I would like to speak about three related subjects.

1. The first thing that I wish to say is that I appreciate the work which the Latin Mass Society of England and Wales has undertaken in the past four decades. You have worked with and under your bishops, at times without all of the results which you desired. Yet in all that you have done you have remained faithful to the Holy See and to the successor of Saint Peter. And you have been loyal during a very difficult time for the Church – a time that has been especially trying for those who love and appreciate the riches of her ancient liturgy.

Quite evidently these years have not been without many sufferings, but Our Blessed Lord knows them and will, in his Divine Providence, bring about much good from your sacrifices and from the sacrifices of those members of the Latin Mass Society who have not lived to be here today. To all of you, on behalf of the Church, I say: “thank you for remaining faithful to the Church and to the Vicar of Christ; thank you for not allowing your love for the classical Roman liturgy to lead you outside of communion with the Vicar of Christ!”

I also say, “Take heart!” for it is obvious from the many young people in England and Wales who love the Church’s ancient liturgy that you have done very well in preserving and handing on a love for this liturgy to your children.

2. Secondly, I wish to speak about the Motu Proprio Summorum Pontificum of our beloved Holy Father, Pope Benedict XVI. I know what great joy the publication of Summorum Pontificum brought to your members and indeed to many faithful Catholics around the world. In response to the prayers and sufferings of so many people in these past four decades, Almighty God has raised up for us a Supreme Pontiff who is very sensitive to your concerns. Pope Benedict XVI knows and deeply appreciates the importance of the ancient liturgical rites for the Church – for both the Church of today and for the Church of tomorrow. That is why he issued a juridical document – a Motu Proprio – which establishes legal freedom for the older rites throughout the Church. It is important to understand that Summorum Pontificum establishes a new juridical reality in the Church.

It gives rights to the ordinary faithful and to priests which must be respected by those in authority. The Holy Father is aware that in different places around the world many requests from priests and lay faithful who desired to celebrate according to the ancient rites were often not acted upon. That is why he has now authoritatively established that to celebrate according to the more ancient form of the liturgy – the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass as well the sacraments and other liturgical rites – is a juridical right, and not just a privilege accorded to all.

Certainly this must be done in harmony with both ecclesiastical law and ecclesiastical superiors, but superiors also must recognise that these rights are now firmly established in the law of the Church by the Vicar of Christ himself. It is a treasure that belongs to the whole Catholic Church and which should be widely available to all of Christ’s faithful. This means that parish priests and bishops must accept the petitions and the requests of the faithful who ask for it and that priests and bishops must do all that they can to provide this great liturgical treasure of the Church’s tradition for the faithful.

In this period immediately following the publication of the Motu Proprio our most immediate task is to provide for the celebration of the extraordinary form of the Roman Rite where it is most desired by the faithful and where their “legitimate aspirations” have not yet been met. On the one hand no priest should be forced to celebrate according to the extraordinary form against his will. On the other hand those priests who do not wish to celebrate according to the 1962 Roman Missal should be generous in meeting the requests of the faithful who desire it.

As I see it, two factors are necessary. 1. It is first of all important to find a centrally located church, convenient to the greatest number of the faithful who have requested this Mass. Obviously, it must be a church where the parish priest is willing to welcome these faithful from his own and surrounding parishes. 2. It is crucial that there be priests willing to celebrate according to the 1962 Roman Missal and thus to provide this important pastoral service on a weekly Sunday basis. Often there may be one or more priests in a given deanery or section of a diocese who would be willing and even desirous of celebrating this Mass. Bishops need to be sensitive to such pastoral provisions and to facilitate them. This is a fundamental intention of Summorum Pontificum. It is particularly sad where priests are prohibited from celebrating the extraordinary form of the Mass because of restrictive legislative measures which have been taken and which run counter to the Holy Father’s intentions and thus to the universal law of the Church.

In this regard I am also pleased to commend the Latin Mass Society for its provision of the training session for priests at Merton College, Oxford, last summer, allowing many priests unfamiliar with the usus antiquior to learn how to celebrate it. I am very pleased to give my blessing to this initiative which will take place again this summer.

Let me say this plainly: the Holy Father wants the ancient use of the Mass to become a normal occurrence in the liturgical life of the Church so that all of Christ’s faithful – young and old – can become familiar with the older rites and draw from their tangible beauty and transcendence. The Holy Father wants this for pastoral reasons as well as for theological ones. In his letter accompanying Summorum Pontificum Pope Benedict wrote that:

"In the history of the liturgy there is growth and progress, but no rupture. What earlier generations held as sacred, remains sacred and great for us too, and it cannot be all of a sudden entirely forbidden or even considered harmful. It behooves all of us to preserve the riches which have developed in the Church’s faith and prayer, and to give them their proper place."

3. This brings me to my third point. You are rightly convinced that the usus antiquior is not a museum piece, but a living expression of Catholic worship. If it is living, we must also expect it to develop. Our Holy Father is also of this conviction. As you know, he chose motu proprio – that is on his own initiative – to alter the text of the prayer pro Iudæis in the Good Friday liturgy. The intention of the prayer was in no way weakened, but a formulation was provided which respected sensitivities.

Likewise, as you also know, Summorum Pontificum has also provided for the Liturgy of the Word to be proclaimed in the vernacular without being first read by the celebrant in Latin. Today’s Pontifical Mass, of course, will have the readings solemnly chanted in Latin, but for less solemn celebrations the Liturgy of the Word may be proclaimed directly in the language of the people. This is already a concrete instance of what our Holy Father wrote in his letter accompanying the Motu Proprio Summorum Pontificum:

"the two Forms of the usage of the Roman Rite can be mutually enriching: new Saints and some of the new Prefaces can and should be inserted in the old Missal. The “Ecclesia Dei” Commission, in contact with various bodies devoted to the usus antiquior, will study the practical possibilities in this regard."

Naturally we will be happy for your input in this important matter. I simply ask you not to be opposed in principle to the necessary adaptation which our Holy Father has called for.

This brings me to another important point. I am aware that the response of the Pontifical Commission “Ecclesia Dei” with regard to the observance of Holy Days of obligation has caused a certain amount of disturbance in some circles. It should be noted that the dates of these Holy Days remain the same in both the Missal of 1962 and the Missal of 1970. When the Holy See has given the Episcopal Conference of a given country permission to move certain Holy Days to the following Sunday, this should be observed by all Catholics in that country. Nothing prevents the celebration of the Feast of the Ascension, for example, on the prior Thursday, but it should be clear that this is not a Mass of obligation and that the Mass of the Ascension should also be celebrated on the following Sunday. This is a sacrifice which I ask you to make with joy as a sign of your unity with the Catholic Church in your country.

Finally I ask your prayers for those of us called to assist the Holy Father in Rome in this delicate work of facilitating the Church’s ancient liturgical tradition. Please be patient with us: we are very few and there is much work to be done. And there are many questions to be studied and sometimes we may make mistakes!

May the Blessed Virgin Mary, the Mother of God, intercede for all in this land which is so beautifully called “the Dowry of Our Lady,” and through her prayers may all Christ’s faithful come to draw ever more deeply from the great riches of the Church’s sacred liturgy in all of its forms.

Darío Cardinal Castrillón Hoyos
President
Pontifical Commission Ecclesia Dei
Here also is the full text of the homily from the Mass itself at Westminster Cathedral, London, on June 14th 2008: Cardinal Castrillón Hoyos Homily

[Hat tip to S.T. and Una Voce America, Nota]

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

The original "Yes we can"?

Chuck Norton, Obama’s Yes We Can Campaign Sounds Good But ...... (The IUSB Vision Weblog, February 20, 2008)

YES WE CAN! – It is the message that has been all over the news as the theme of Senator Obama’s campaign. However, what the antique media has decided that you didn’t need to know is that Obama is borrowing his message and theme from a man greater than he; with the very important twist that Obama leaves out a crucial context of that message. Our friends at Newsbusters.org have edited a little reminder of just who the original truly is and I present it to you in The Vision. – Chuck Norton

We as Americans have the capacity now, as we’ve had in the past, to do whatever needs to be done to preserve this last and greatest bastion of freedom.

Government is not the solution to our problem; government is the problem. We are a nation that has a government – not the other way around and this makes us special among the nations of the Earth. Our government has no power except that granted it by the people.

From time to time we’ve been tempted to believe that society has become too complex to be managed by self-rule, that government by an elite group is superior to government for, by, and of the people. Well, if no one among us is capable of governing himself, then who among us has the capacity to govern someone else?

It’s not my intention to do away with government. It is rather to make it work–work with us, not over us; to stand by our side, not ride on our back. Government can and must provide opportunity, not smother it; foster productivity, not stifle it.

It is time for us to realize that we’re too great a nation to limit ourselves to small dreams. We have every right to dream heroic dreams. Those who say that we’re in a time when there are no heroes; they just don’t know where to look.

Can we solve the problems confronting us? Well, the answer is an unequivocal and emphatic “yes.”

I believe we, the Americans of today, are ready to act worthy of ourselves, ready to do what must be done to ensure happiness and liberty for ourselves, our children, and our children’s children. And as we renew ourselves here in our own land, we will be seen as having greater strength throughout the world. We will again be the exemplar of freedom and a beacon of hope for those who do not now have freedom.

With the idealism and fair play which are the core of our system and our strength, we can have a strong and prosperous America, at peace with itself and the world.

If we look to the answer as to why for so many years we achieved so much, prospered as no other people on earth, it was because here in this land we unleashed the energy and individual genius of man to a greater extent than has ever been done before. Freedom and the dignity of the individual have been more available and assured here than in any other place on earth. The price for this freedom at times has been high, but we have never been unwilling to pay the price.

The crisis we are facing today does not require of us the kind of sacrifice that Martin Treptow and so many thousands of others were called upon to make. It does require, however, our best effort and our willingness to believe in ourselves and to believe in our capacity to perform great deeds, to believe that together with God’s help we can and will resolve the problems which now confront us. And after all, why shouldn’t we believe that? We are Americans. – Ronald Reagan

Video at http://www.eyeblast.tv/public/video.aspx?RsrcID=1435

Of related interest:

Prayer for the Election

Lord Jesus Christ, You told us to give to Caesar what belongs to Caesar and to God what belongs to God. Enlighten the minds of our people in America. May we choose a President of the United States and other government officials according to Your Divine Will. Give our citizens the courage to choose leaders of our nation who respect the sanctity of unborn human life, the sanctity of marriage, the sanctity of marital relations, the sanctity of family and the sanctity of the aging. Grant us the wisdom to give You what belongs to You, our God. If we do this as a nation, we are confident You will give us an abundance of Your blessings through our elected leaders. Amen.

Fr. John Hardon, S.J.

From the Archbishop of Denver

Public Servants and Moral Reasoning:
A notice to the Catholic community in northern Colorado
Monday, Sept. 8, 2008

To Catholics of the Archdiocese of Denver:

When Catholics serve on the national stage, their actions and words impact the faith of Catholics around the country. As a result, they open themselves to legitimate scrutiny by local Catholics and local bishops on matters of Catholic belief. In 2008, although NBC probably didn't intend it, Meet the Press has become a national window on the flawed moral reasoning of some Catholic public servants.

On August 24, Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, describing herself as an ardent, practicing Catholic, misrepresented the overwhelming body of Catholic teaching against abortion to the show's nationwide audience, while defending her "pro-choice" abortion views. On September 7, Sen. Joseph Biden compounded the problem to the same Meet the Press audience.

Sen. Biden is a man of distinguished public service. That doesn't excuse poor logic or bad facts. Asked when life begins, Sen. Biden said that, "it's a personal and private issue." But in reality, modern biology knows exactly when human life begins: at the moment of conception. Religion has nothing to do with it. People might argue when human "personhood" begins - though that leads public policy in very dangerous directions - but no one can any longer claim that the beginning of life is a matter of religious opinion.

Sen. Biden also confused the nature of pluralism. Real pluralism thrives on healthy, non-violent disagreement; it requires an environment where people of conviction will struggle respectfully but vigorously to advance their beliefs. In his interview, the senator observed that other people with strong religious views disagree with the Catholic approach to abortion. It's certainly true that we need to acknowledge the views of other people and compromise whenever possible - but not at the expense of a developing child's right to life. Abortion is a foundational issue; it is not an issue like housing policy or the price of foreign oil. It always involves the intentional killing of an innocent life, and it is always, grievously wrong. If, as Sen. Biden said, "I'm prepared as a matter of faith [emphasis added] to accept that life begins at the moment of conception," then he is not merely wrong about the science of new life; he also fails to defend the innocent life he already knows is there.

As the senator said in his interview, he has opposed public funding for abortions. To his great credit, he also backed a successful ban on partial-birth abortions. But his strong support for the 1973 Supreme Court decision Roe v. Wade and the false "right" to abortion it enshrines, can't be excused by any serious Catholic. Support for Roe and the "right to choose" an abortion simply masks what abortion is, and what abortion does. Roe is bad law. As long as it stands, it prevents returning the abortion issue to the states where it belongs, so that the American people can decide its future through fair debate and legislation.

In his Meet the Press interview, Sen. Biden used a morally exhausted argument that American Catholics have been hearing for 40 years: i.e., that Catholics can't "impose" their religiously based views on the rest of the country. But resistance to abortion is a matter of human rights, not religious opinion. And the senator knows very well as a lawmaker that all law involves the imposition of some people's convictions on everyone else. That is the nature of the law. American Catholics have allowed themselves to be bullied into accepting the destruction of more than a million developing unborn children a year. Other people have imposed their "pro-choice" beliefs on American society without any remorse for decades.

If we claim to be Catholic, then American Catholics, including public officials who describe themselves as Catholic, need to act accordingly. We need to put an end to Roe and the industry of permissive abortion it enables. Otherwise all of us - from senators and members of Congress, to Catholic laypeople in the pews - fail not only as believers and disciples, but also as citizens.

Charles J. Chaput, O.F.M. Cap.
Archbishop of Denver

James D. Conley
Auxiliary Bishop of Denver


[Hat tip to Rorate Caeli]

Sunday, September 07, 2008

Robert D. Novak on his latest brain tumor

The winsome Robert D. Novak writes, in "My Brain Tumor" (Townhall.com, September 6, 2008), about his fourth cancer.

[Hat tip to K.K.]

Danger of revisionist misinterpretation of Dei Verbum at October synod?

Saint Louis Catholic (August 8, 2008) reports:

Fr. Brian Harrison, the well-known theologian and member of the Oblates of Wisdom, has written an interesting and important letter to the editor of the St. Louis Review concerning the upcoming Synod of Bishops as it relates to the inerrancy of scripture. Fr. Harrison rightly takes on a fundamental misinterpretation by some of the Vatican II document, Dei Verbum. I have included the full letter below:
Editor:

Thanks for your extensive and positive coverage of "Humanae Vitae" (July 25).

Four years later, we face a similar crisis in doctrine. Just as the papal commission on birth control pressured Pope Paul VI to reverse the divine law forbidding practices that deprive the marital act of its procreative power, so now the world's bishops are being pressured by influential and highly placed biblical scholars to reverse another bimillenial but difficult-to-defend Catholic doctrine: the Bible's complete freedom from error.

On June 12 the Vatican made public the working document for the upcoming synod of bishops dedicated to "The Word of God". Section 15(c) contains the scandalous statement that "inerrancy applies only to 'that truth which God wanted to put into sacred writings for the sake of salvation'" (citing paragraph 11 of the Vatican II document "Dei Verbum [Word of God]).

This clearly implies that, according to "Dei Verbum", certain statements in Sacred Scripture are not there "for the sake of (our) salvation" and are not guaranteed to be free from error. In my own doctoral thesis, however, I have shown that "Dei Verbum" 11, correctly translated, really means that the whole Bible was written "for the sake of our salvation", and that "since everything affirmed by the sacred writers must be held as affirmed by "the Holy Spirit", all of their affirmations, regardless of subject matter, are guaranteed to be true (in the sense they were intended, of course).

We should all pray fervently that the synod fathers and Pope Benedict XVI be given true wisdom and discernment as the confront this issue in October.

Father Brian Harrison, OS, STD
Oblates of Wisdom Study Center
St. Louis
[Hat tip to J.M.]

Pelosi to talk to San Francisco bishop

It might be interesting to see Pelosi publicly debriefed by Palin after her meeting to see what she's learned.

Saturday, September 06, 2008

Google Chrome (Beta)

I've just started using Google's new browser, Google Chrome (Beta). It has absolutely no learning curve, it's faster; each functions independently so that if one locks up, the entire browser doesn't crash; it takes less RAM; it has an open architecture that isn't for sale, so it's free, and it makes use of the vary latest Internet technology. I recommend it. Download it. It installs itself and converts all your preferences and favorite links. Like I say, there's absolutely no learning curve. It's amazing. You'll love it.

I wrote this post in Google Chrome. I just finished downloading it, which took all of two minutes.

There may be some kinks to work out in the program, but I fully expect it will become the standard for many users before long.

Update: I've just encountered one problem which seems to repeat: certain pages don't redirect properly. I'm not sure whether this is a result of problems with converting links from Explorer, or what. Hence, be aware that there are some problems. Yet I remain enthusiastic about the prospects, if these glitches can be ironed out.

Advice: ignore my earlier suggestions and wait for another month before you download this browser. In my opinion, it's a brilliant conception, but they've made it available prematurely. They've got bugs to work out of it.

Related: Thomas Claburn, "Google Chrome's Shine Dimmed By Bugs" (Information Week, September 4, 2008).

Rome vs. Harvard on transplants and brain death

Sandro Magister, "Transplants and Brain Death. "L'Osservatore Romano" Has Broken the Taboo" (www.chiesa, September 5, 2008), reports that L'Osservatore Romano," the Pope's newspaper, ran a prominent front-page article three days ago, calling into question whether the 40 year old Harvard criterion for "brain death" (cessation of measurable brain activity) is enough to certify human death.

40 years ago, on August 5, 1968, the "Journal of the American Medical Association" published a document – referred to as the "Harvard report" – promoting the idea that
the total cessation of brain activity, instead of the stopping of the heart, ought to serve as the criterion for the moment of death. The idea seemed plausible, and all the countries of the world, and Catholic officials as well, quickly adopted the same position.

With the L'Osservatore Roman article, however, Rome has reopened the discussion on taking organs from "warm cadavers" while the heart is still beating. Scholars of the Pontifical Academy of Sciences, according to Magister, are even more critical of the Harvard Report. Furthermore, when he was a cardinal, Ratzinger gave a speech to the cardinals at the consistory of 1991 on the "threats against life," in which he said, among other things:
Later, those who are not put into an "irreversible" coma by disease or injury will often be put to death to meet the demand for organ transplants, or will be used in medical experimentation as "warm cadavers" ... Finally, when death seems to be near, many will be tempted to hasten this through euthanasia.
Again as pope, Ratzinger published the Compendium of the Catechism of the Catholic Church, which states (no. 476):
Before allowing the noble act of organ donation after death, one must verify that the donor is truly dead.
The inference is that the Holy Father already had strong reservations about the Harvard criterion and the practice derived from it long before he became Pope.

Furthermore, Paolo Becchi, professor of the philosophy of law at the universities of Genoa and Luzern, states in his book, Morte cerebrale e trapianto di organi: Una questione di etica giuridica (Brain death and organ transplant: A question of legal ethics, Brescia: Morcelliana, 2008):
Because there are good arguments today for maintaining that brain death does not mean the real death of the individual, the consequences in the matter of transplants could be truly explosive. And one might wonder when these will be the matter of an official statement of the Church's position.

Friday, September 05, 2008

Media: "Oh, my! What happened?"


  • "The Republican convention was the most-watched convention on television ever, beating a standard set by the Democrats a week earlier" (Breitbart.com, September 5, 2008)

  • "Palin now more popular than Obama or McCain" (Rasmussen Report, Sept. 5, 2008)

  • "McCain up by 4%" (Zogby Polls, Zogby International, September 6, 2008)

  • "Oprah balks at hosting Sarah Palin: Staff divided" (Drudge Report, Sept. 5, 2008)

  • "[Democrats in a panic to counter Palin]: Obama to dispatch female surrogates, [including] Clinton" (International Herald Tribune, Sept. 5, 2008)
So much for the veil of illusion. Still, this is a democracy; democracies get the leaders they deserve; and given our current cultural climate and drift toward Sodom, Moloch and Lethe, my hunch is that this country will very likely elect Sen. Obama and that garrulous elder statesman who reminds me of a smarmy little Bull Dog -- or was it a Poodle?

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

That's right: Pick your battles, show your colors ...

Ben Smith, "Obama ad slams McCain on abortion rights" (Politico, September 2, 2008).

Wake up Neo, it's not too late . . .

Resist the machine: free your mind



[Brought to you by the Society for the Defenestration of Television Sets]

Monday, September 01, 2008

Boston's Holy Trinity parishioners appeal to Rome

On August 28th, I received the following from a reader in Massachusetts concerning the still on-going story of historic Holy Trinity (German) Parish in Boston:
I thought you might like to see the Appeal to the Prefect of the Congregation of the Clergy regarding the suppression of Holy Trinity (German) Parish in Boston on 30 June 2008. The Appeal was posted to parish website today.

Refer to: http://www.holytrinitygerman.org/Suppression/Appeal_to_Rome.htm
This is an eight-page "Proposal of Recourse" with detailed supporting argument. Have a look, if you're interested. It's an education in itself.

[Hat tip to R.Q.]