Thursday, May 29, 2014

Anyone remember Dr. Martyn Lloyd Jones?

David Martyn Lloyd-Jones (20 December 1899 – 1 March 1981) was a Welsh Protestant minister, preacher and medical doctor who was influential in the Reformed wing of the British evangelical movement in the 20th century. For almost 30 years, he was the minister of Westminster Chapel in London. Lloyd-Jones was strongly opposed to Liberal Christianity, which had become a part of many Christian denominations; he regarded it as aberrant. He disagreed with the broad church approach and encouraged evangelical Christians (particularly Anglicans) to leave their existing denominations. He believed that true Christian fellowship was possible only amongst those who shared common convictions regarding the nature of the faith.

[Hat tip to G.N.]

10 life lessons from the SEAL who led mission for bin Laden

President celebrates Harvey Milk - what a guy!

Kirsten Andersen, "White House to hold event unveiling postage stamp commemorating child sexual predator Harvey Milk" (, May 19, 2014):
President Obama's White House will host a dedication ceremony for a new U.S. postage stamp commemorating Harvey Milk, the infamous homosexual activist who became the first openly gay elected official in California in 1977. However, friends and foes alike say Milk was more than an elected official – he was also a child sexual predator whose partners had a habit of killing themselves.

The predatory nature of Milk's personal relationships led at least two of his young sexual partners to commit suicide – one of them Jack Galen McKinley, a 16-year-old runaway from Maryland.

A biography about Milk written by his close friend and fellow homosexual Randy Shilts states that, in addition to the 16-year-old runaway, Milk had other relationships with underage boys as well, indicating that Milk was a statutory rapist....
And there's more!

Daniel J. Flynn, "Drinking Harvey Milk’s Kool-Aid" (City Journal, May 21, 2014):
Nine days prior to Milk's death, more than 900 followers of Jim Jones – many of them campaign workers for Milk – perished in the most ghastly set of murder-suicides in modern history. Before the congregants of the Peoples Temple drank Jim Jones's deadly Kool-Aid, Harvey Milk and much of San Francisco's ruling class had already figuratively imbibed. Milk occasionally spoke at Jones's San Francisco – based headquarters, promoted Jones through his newspaper columns, and defended the Peoples Temple from its growing legion of critics. Jones provided conscripted 'volunteers' for Milk's campaigns to distribute leaflets by the tens of thousands. Milk returned the favor by abusing his position of public trust on behalf of Jones's criminal endeavors....
What a guy.

[Hat tip to JM]

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

For the record: Maya Angelou ... proud gun owner and user

Tim Cavanaugh, "R.I.P., Maya Angelou, Proud Gun Owner and User" (The Corner, May 28, 2014):
Angelou also emerged very late in life as an off-hand supporter of the right to bear arms. In a 2013 interview with Time magazine’s Belinda Luscombe, the ancient poetess talked Star Trek and death (“I’ll probably be writing when the Lord says, ‘Maya, Maya Angelou, it’s time’”), but she also recounted how she used a gun for home defense:
Did you inherit your mother’s fondness for guns?

I like to have guns around. I don’t like to carry them.

Have you ever fired your weapon?

I was in my house in North Carolina. It was fall. I heard someone walking on the leaves. And somebody actually turned the knob. So I said, “Stand four feet back because I’m going to shoot now!” Boom! Boom! The police came by and said, “Ms. Angelou, the shots came from inside the house.” I said, “Well, I don’t know how that happened.”
[Hat tip to G.N.]

Pope Pius XII "blocked" from canonization machine

"Pope Francis says Pius XII's beatification won't go ahead" (The Times of Israel, May 26, 2014):
ABOARD THE PAPAL PLANE (AP) -- Pope Francis remained firm in his refusal to allow the beatification of Pope Pius XII, the World War II-era pope accused by some Jews of not speaking out enough against the Holocaust, because he doesn't have enough miracles in his record. [One is required]

As he flew from Ben-Gurion International Airport Monday night at the conclusion of two day visit to Israel, Francis spoke of his position on the matter and made it clear that, for the time being, the beatification won’t go ahead.

“There’s still no miracle,” he said. “If there are no miracles, it can’t go forward. It’s blocked there.”
It has always amazed me how the Catholic world, above all, has apparently fallen for the hateful screed directed against this good Pope -- screed stemming from Rolf Hochhuth's 1963 drama, The Deputy, which fabricated the calumny that Pius XII was "Hitler's Pope" (soundly debunked as a myth). The matter has been thoroughgoingly refuted, and numerous prominent Jews, from Israeli Prime Minister Golda Meir to President of the World Jewish Congress Nahum Goldmann, are on record for publicly thanking Pope Pius XII for his protection of thousands of Jews within the precincts of Vatican City and his summer residence Castel Gondolfo during the Nazi Holocaust.

Furthermore, as to lack of a miracle in the case of Pope Pius XII, this report surfaced some years ago, as one of our readers points out. I wonder what's happened to it? Anybody know? "Possible Miracle of Venerable Pius XII Emerges; Validates His Heroic Virtue in the Face of Mainstream Misconception" (St. Michael Society, January 20, 2010).

[Hat tip to L.S.]

Is the "crisis of the family" a pastoral one, or a doctrinal one?

Maybe it's both, but here are some interesting considerations. Pope Francis recently said:
We know that there is a crisis of the family. Young people do not want to get married, or do not get married, live together... I do not wish that we got into casuistry: what can be done or cannot be done... That is why I am so thankful for this question, because it gives me the opportunity to clarify. The pastoral problem of the family is very, very wide, and should not be plucked case by case.
A reader wrote, commenting on the Holy Father's words:
I don't really get this. Perhaps it IS Latin American. But what "crisis"? The family remains intact, as much as people will embrace it. There is no pastoral problem, that I see at all, but a doctrinal one. People have rejected Church teaching, pretty plain and simple. Yes, there are other cases, but for the most part... Young people don't want to get married? Is that a problem? Well yes, but if they are Cathoic young people, it simply means the faith community rearing them is wildly broken. Maybe the problem is the Church expects society in general to be Catholic. Likewise, the minute you hear "pastoral," you know fudging is about to occur. Vatican II set the template there...
Next up from Pope Francis:
To study the faith with which a person enters matrimony, and clarify that divorcees are not strange. Oftentimes they are treated as if they were. I am certain that it was the Spirit of the Lord who guided us to choose this theme for the Synod. The family needs much pastoral help.
Our reader continues with his observations:
I guess Francis is not a biological father. If he was, he would know you always, always want divorce to be strange. The minute it is not "strange," you have a problem. I have always told friends I cannot imagine telling my parents I was going to live together or get a divorce. I just could not go there ... and hence most likely would not go there. I don't know. But these comments to me seem not so much alarming as just jarringly simplistic.
Indeed, we live in bizarre times. I can remember coming back to the States from Japan with my parents when I was nine years old -- a lifetime ago. We were in a restaurant in my mother's original home town in rural Iowa. During dinner she leaned over and whispered, by way of illuminating the hushed adult conversation around the table which left me puzzled, "Don't look, but there's a lady at a table near us who is divorced." She said the word in a way that signified it's awful wrongfulness and tragedy. I'll never forget that.

C.S. Lewis once described divorce as the moral equivalent of having one's legs amputated; and the idea that now it has become so commonplace that people refer to their "ex" as though it were having a feather in their cap is deplorable.

I have no doubt that this situation presents wrenchingly-difficult situations for pastors who have to confront well-meaning people who are uninformed about Church teaching. I know of situations where people have been received into the Church where it was known that they were married two or three times before becoming Catholics, and apparently the issue of annulments was not even raised. It can't be easy.

Having said that, however, the practice of allowing various ad hoc "pastoral provisions" to bypass the doctrinal demands of the Church give the impression that the Church doesn't really believe in the indissolubility of marriage after all. There always seem to be loopholes. This, in turn, undermines the faith of the "faithful" in the bindingness of matrimony, no matter what what the Catechism says or what words they may say in their marriage vows.

Doesn't this mean, as our reader suggests, that the issue finally comes down to whether we really believe Church teaching or not? If we really believe it, we would adhere to it, would we not? Your thoughts?

[Hat tip to JM]

Second-generation Hispanic immigrants being seduced from Church in droves ... by "Americanization"

Pew Research Foundation found that 67% of U.S. Hispanics identified themselves as Catholic in 2010. By last year the percentage dropped to 55%. At this rate, by 2020 (six more years), barely 1/3 of Hispanics in the U.S. will be Catholic. Mr. Voris suggests that the reason for this is that Hispanic immigrants no longer find two things when they arrive in the U.S. that their ancestors would have found: (1) a basic public consensus concerning traditional morality, and (2) a strong (if small) Church.

Bible 101: Invitation to Agnosticism

By Joseph Martin

I do not know why people have a hard time understanding the following: believers in Inerrancy do not necessarily believe everything in the Bible is to be taken literally. Never have. Really. To believe the Bible is word for word true is not to believe that the trees literally clap their hands, or that there are four corners of the world, or that Adam's Rib is not just a steak house but also the anatomical artifact from which sprang Woman. On this score the decrees of the early Pontifical Biblical Commission [HERE and HERE] deserve revisiting.

That said, if you gut the Bible of its credibility, no amount of authoritative Church teaching can salvage belief. Witness one reason for the current crisis in Catholicism. The Catechism of the Catholic Church is great [Christopher Schonborn's involvement I suppose is a stunning testament to prevenient grace], but still, if the notes in the New American Bible are true, what rube would believe a catechism that relies so heavily on the Bible?

All of this is said as a preface to this linked testimony: Rod Dreher, "She wishes she was still born again" (The American Conservative, May 22, 2014).

People always talk like the problem is Fundamentalists. Or Traditionalists. No, the problem is Modernists. Always has been. Even if they make up the majority of faculty at Notre Dame and Fordham and Catholic U. I recall a best friend, very faithful, pride of the church youth group, who -- poof! -- lost her faith as a college freshman fairly quickly once she took a course in Old Testament. Her mother could not understand how this happened at a "church" college!

The Evangelicals do seem to be the only ones who get the fact that modern Scripture scholarship as currently taught dissolves faith. Even when it is gussied up with assurances from a comfortably less verifiable papal magisterium (see Ignatius Press’ depressingly oblivious [if happily no longer marketed] Scripture introduction The Consuming Fire: A Christian Introduction to the Old Testament,for an example of well-intentioned embrace of critical thought that nonetheless pops the balloon of belief). If the Bible is not very reliable, on what grounds does the Church base its authority? If the historical claims are textually bogus, well, good luck then trying to maintain an authoritative voice. Or maybe that is why there seems to be so little motivation to exercise one.

Are we or are we not confident of the Biblical witness? I am almost afraid to ask that question. And I'd wager Rome would tell us we simply don't need to go there and risk seeming... combative? Meanwhile, however, I would also wager the linked sad story has been replicated in the lives of tens of thousands, prompted our very enlightened and very non-Fundamentalist Catholic Scripture scholars (including the widely referenced Raymond E. Brown). It's an issue I have harped on, but that is because I think it is an issue that is rarely if ever faced honestly.

The last real rumblings I've heard about it were at a conference hosted by Fr. Neuhaus, and that was back in the '80s (and attended by then Cardinal Ratzinger). Those conference addresses are reprinted in Biblical Interpretation in Crisis: The Ratzinger Conference on Bible and Church(Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 1989). Inerrancy was hardly the focus, but a careful reading reveals that the issue of source credibility was certainly raised there. Cardinal Dulles diplomatically commented, "Many have made the point that modern critical exegesis, with all of its methodological self-limitations, has in fact destroyed the credibility of a great deal of church teaching. It does this by saying that Jesus had no messianic or divine self-consciousness, that Jesus was very likely not conceived of a virgin, that we do not have a coherent and consistent account of the Resurrection appearances. At almost every point where faith begins, this historical-critical exegesis falls silent and says, ‘We cannot help you there.'" Another pastor told of “a former colleague, […] a New Testament scholar, [who said]: ‘There was a time when I could read the Bible for devotional purposes. But after a lifetime spent on exegesis, I am no longer able to do so.’" And finally a seminary dean gave what might be the most jarring assessment, saying “We have invented ways of studying the Word of God from which no word of God could possibly come."

We are left with the question that never goes away. Is the Bible trustworthy, reliable, and worthy of our respect as more than some ancient literature esteemed by academics but problematic to honest inquirers? That's a question any non-sleeping Catholic college student is likely to ask. And you don't have to buy into caricatures of Protestant Inerrancy to answer affirmatively, witness C.S. Lewis, Romano Guardini, Fulton Sheed and Frank Sheed -- not to mention the currently toasted Scott Hahn. Christianity, unlike Judaism, "is not a religion of a book." That's an argument you'll frequently hear Catholics invoke against earnest Protestant debate opponents. But Catholicism is hardly a religion that can stand independently of the Bible. But thus far the only book I have found to hand Catholic students in this regard is Peter Kreeft's You Can Understand The Bible: A Practical And Illuminating Guide To Each Book In The Bible,which, perhaps unsurprisingly, sounds almost like it was almost written by an Evangelical.

Related resources (with annotations by Dr. Martin):Jesus Seminar Critically Examined series:Joe Martin is a professor of Communication at Hampton University in Hampton, Virginia, who prowls the outskirts of the Internet and keeps an eye on the Atlantic surf.

Weigel on Anglican wannabes

Following April 27's canonization doubleheader, George Weigel, "The Anglican Wannabe Fallacy" (First Things, May 21, 2014), notes that some of the public reactions verged on the bizarre. He cites an interview with ABC in which a former nun promoting women's ordination, Dr. Lavinia Byrne, said the following:
If in the 1990s, the [Catholic] Church had followed the example of the Anglican communion and had accepted the ordination of women, it would look very different nowadays. . . . Had there been ordination of women we would not have had parishes that are starved of the sacraments because there simply aren’t enough young men coming forward who are prepared to be celibate and prepared to labor on their own.
Weigel continues:
There, in brief, is the Fallacy of Wannabe Anglicanism.

If the experience of Anglicanism in Great Britain is the measure Dr. Byrne proposes, then it is certainly true that “the Catholic Church . . . would look very different nowadays” if “in the 1990s [it] had followed the example of the Anglican communion and had accepted the ordination of women”—it would look empty. For that is how most Anglican churches in Britain today look on Sunday: empty. There are, of course, many reasons for the collapse of Anglican faith and practice in the U.K.; but there isn’t the slightest shred of evidence that that collapse has been slowed, much less reversed, by the Church of England’s decision to admit women to its ordained ministry.

On the contrary, that decision was of a piece with the general doctrinal meltdown of the Anglican leadership in the so-called First World, which began in earnest when the 1930 Lambeth Conference (a decennial meeting of Anglican bishops) accepted the morality of contraceptive sex, and has continued apace ever since. Thus when the head of the Anglican Communion, Robert Runcie, engaged in an extended correspondence with John Paul II and Cardinal Johannes Willebrands (the Vatican’s chief ecumenist) in the 1980s, Runcie leaned heavily on sociological arguments about changing gender-patterns of leadership in society to buttress his attempt at a theological explanation of why the Church of England was moving toward ordaining women to its ministry—a “radical innovation,” John Paul and Willebrands had warned, that would do grave damage to what was once the most promising of the bilateral ecumenical dialogues.

The Church of England went ahead with the “radical innovation;” the quest for full communion between Canterbury and Rome suffered a grave blow; North Atlantic Anglicanism continued to hemorrhage active congregants.

Hard experience should have taught us by now that there is an iron law built into the relationship between Christianity and modernity. Christian communities that know and defend their doctrinal and moral boundaries (while extending the compassion of Christ when we fail to live within those boundaries, as we all do) survive in modernity; some actually flourish and become robustly evangelical. Conversely, Christian communities whose doctrinal and moral boundaries are eroded by the new orthodoxy of political correctness, and become so porous that it becomes impossible to know if one is “in” or “out,” wither and die.

That is the sad state of Anglicanism in the North Atlantic world today: Even splendid liturgical smells-and-bells can’t save an Anglicanism hollowed out by the shibboleths of secular modernity. Why British Catholics like Lavinia Byrne can’t see this is one of the mysteries of the 21st-century Church.
Good as far as it goes, right? But turn your head and blink, and wham! another telegram from Guy Noir - Private Eye:
What planet is Weigel living on? In what way is Anglicanism very different than say, the Catholic Church in Ireland or Austria?! Are we to suppose that what John Paul II settled "definitely" in terms of women's ordination has indeed been in fact once and for all settled, given John Allen, The NCReporter, altar girls, lay eucharistic ministers, and the like? [Not to mention the rarely-mentioned fact that even Ratzinger was emphatic in his statement that the teaching on women was actually not infallible: That's helpful!] Does he really think the Catholic Church is busy "knowing and defending its boundaries" when the Pope is saying we have been doing too much defending, even as western morals collapse? Even our post-conciliar, a bit less splendid Catholic smells-and-bells certainly don't seem to be saving American Catholicism, do they?! Maybe we should ask the congregants at NYC's Holy Innocents. Or over in England, the faithful believers who got to listen to the chief author of the CCC laud the transvestite winner Eurovision's song contest as he/she "rose like a phoenix." John Paul thought the Church of England had done "grave damage to what was once the most promising of the bilateral ecumenical dialogues." You have to wonder then what he would think of the current state of affairs. Grave damage to what was once the most promising of the bilateral ecumenical dialogues. "The Church of England went ahead with the 'radical innovation;' the quest for full communion between Canterbury and Rome suffered a grave blow..." It is hard to take such comments seriously given the all-around fuzziness of current theological conversations and excuse-making on behalf of the reigning pontiff.

I don't enjoy bashing Weigel among the ashes, at least not too much. But here's the 'but...': he reminds me of so many assured voices that sound convincing if you don't have much knowledge of source material. This essay tries to make a point, but ignores the fact that the entire ecclesial structure of Catholicism is becoming more and more like an "Anglican wannabe," with only the addition of a sentimental Marian streak and a saint-making machine now in overdrive. Somehow this all reminds me of his recent book Evangelical Catholicism, which -- even with that title phrase repeated ad nauseum -- sounds more like an arid policy paper than a religious treatise. Polite cocktail party commentary but nothing to jar the status quo: what could be more Anglican than that? Weigel increasingly sounds like a man desperately trying to make sure he is on the inside with whomever sits in Peter's chair. It all seems dishearteningly like religion as party loyalty. Especially given it is hard these days to discern much difference between the reassuringly smiling faces of Papa Francis and ABC Welby. People actually interested in evangelical Catholicism would be far better served by reading Ralph Martin's bracing The Catholic Church at the End of an Age. And while the latter is not apocalyptic in tone, reading Weigel's exercises in denial increasingly makes me think we actually are living in what be be the end of something.
[Hat tip to JM]

Monday, May 26, 2014

Memorial Day: the souls of the departed

Fr. Eduard Perrone, "A Pastor's Descant" (Assumption Grotto News, May 25, 2014):
Have you ever noticed that civil holidays have a remarkable resemblance to Church holy days? I think it not accidental. There may even be something subversive about it. This was surely true at the time the French Revolution when the tyrannical government invented new days of celebration to replace, and perhaps also to mock, Church feast days that had been so dear to Catholic people. Even without the conspiratorial connotation it is certain that Memorial Day bears a resemblance, however secular, to our All Souls Day. The emphasis in each is quite different and the method of ‘remembrance’ of the dead in them is entirely different. Here we take Memorial Day for its advantage of being a potential help to the souls of servicemen who may be detained in purgatory, whereas the civil holiday is only a time to be respectful to the memory of the dead and to offer, perhaps, a moment of silence to honor them. Such secular acts, not objectionable in themselves, do put into relief the great difference of our Catholic faith in our way of being American citizens, a difference which does not detract from the secular but gives it deeper meaning.

Memorial Day celebrated with all due civic observance may be the best of what most have to offer today. At worst, we are not even much concerned to render any honor to our dead. To render that honor to them is a virtue, but we are running rather thin on virtue nowadays. Instinctive impulses are what get our attention: how we feel at the moment, responding to whim and wish of the moment. Being dutiful however often means doing what we might rather not do at a given moment. Virtue is that strength of soul which overcomes the inclination to be self-serving. We are being brought up now in the School of Selfish Interest where virtue is a forgotten and unwanted thing. The dead are gone and out of sight; they matter nothing. It’s the here and now that matters. This holds poor prospects for the future of Memorial Day USA.

Our Catholic faith and our disciplined upbringing (presuming we had such) lead us to recognize the duty we have towards the dead since we have an ability to help them through our connectedness with them in the wider Church. Death is a separation certainly, but not a severing of spiritual communication. This realization ought to make our way of keeping this holiday uniquely prayerful. Eating hotdogs and grilled hamburgers on a day off from work and school may be great fun but it profits the dead nothing. Maybe many of you will come to Mass this Monday at 7:30 or 9:00 a.m. and pray for those who either in fact died in the service of our country or potentially put their lives on the line by their service. The 9:00 Mass will be preceded by the flag raising ceremony at 9:00 outdoors on Gratiot Avenue.

As the weather heats up the liturgical season beings to cool down. This Thursday, at the morning Mass we will have the Ascension of Christ into heaven. This feast will be celebrated at all Masses, English and Latin, next Sunday as well: for the Latin Mass it will be the Ascension’s ‘external’ observance, meaning ‘outside’ its accustomed liturgical time.

What things await us for rounding out the year before summer is Pentecost Sunday (June 8), Trinity Sunday (June 15), and Corpus Christi (Thursday the 19th for the 7:30 a.m. Mass and again for all Masses Sunday, June 22). The grand finale of the season is the feast of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, Friday June 27.

The entire month of June is dedicated to the Sacred Heart of Jesus and we will have more to say on the subject next week, perhaps. This is a particular way of being devoted to Christ that you will find only in the Catholic Church. We look forward to this special time of the year.

Fr. Perrone

Sunday, May 25, 2014

How the love that dare not speak its name became the love that won't shut up

Austin Ruse, "A Manly Voice on Matters Gay and Christian" (Crisis magazine, May 23, 2014):
A gay guy gets up in the morning, does something, and nobody writes about it. Now that would be news.

Will we ever see that day when we as a culture do not stare slack-jawed and unblinking—so as not to miss a single thing—at all things gay?

There’s an old joke about how many lesbians it takes to screw in a light bulb. Five. One to screw it in and four to write about it. That’s pretty much where we are now and there’s no relief in sight. A society of 300,000,000 force-fed the nanosecond by nanosecond trials, tribulations, triumphs and television kisses of a comparatively scant few.

... A writer at something called “Letters to Christopher” explores a variant of this enforced obsession and that is the insistent obsession of “gay Christians”on, well, themselves, how we see them and deal with them and speak to them and minister to them and everything about them.

In “My Cross Isn’t Greater Than Yours, or, Enough with the Whining” this anonymous blogger says, “Show me a man who doesn’t suffer, and I’ll show you a dead man. One of the more irksome aspects in the current conversation of LGBT issues and Christianity is the remarkable amount of dreary and droopy writing I hear from folks like me who grew up in the Church and realized they had an attraction to men.”

He quotes one such blogger:
“It would be beneficial for Christians and Christian traditions as a whole to consider [the] question: are we imposing sexual abstinence as an unfunded mandate with dire consequences for LGBT people who do not succeed? Especially as more people are coming to awareness of their sexual orientations and gender identities at a younger age (emphasis mine), it is irresponsible and cruel for churches to repeat ‘You can’t have sex!’and refuse to offer any additional support.”He says there are only two options, forced abstinence and a life of suffering, or sex and excommunication from Church, and family. He says “numerous young LGBT Christians find themselves crushed by the pressure from priests, pastors, parents and faith communities.”
“Letters from Christopher” hates “that sort of portrayal of what my life must have been like back when I was a teenager in the eighties, or how that must be what the life is today for a 15 year old. How fatalistic. How could that ever inspire a teenager to fight the good fight of chastity if they were to ever read that?”

He says, “Sure, it’s hard. But we are made of the stuff of God. We are made in the image of a God who willingly went to the Cross. That’s the building block of our humanity. Boys and girls with same sex attraction aren’t witless victims of the vagaries of fate if they find themselves attracted to the same sex—they have a choice, and God has promised that He will always provide his children the grace to live out the most difficult of demands.”

One word describes this column from this anonymous blogger—manly—something quite distinct from the “oh woe is me” school of “gay Christians.” He calls them back to the “buck up” school. Get on with it. Stop whining, he says.
This isn't ultimately a same-sex problem, as prevalent as it might be in the LGBT community. It's a narcissism problem. Something of this problem is evident in the pre-shooting rampage video by Elliot Rodger, who confesses to having suffered for eight years since reaching puberty and reached his wit's end because he's twenty-two years of age and hasn't had sex yet or even kissed a girl.

One wants to scream: "Get a life!" But the problem is more that this or that individual, as culpable as they may be, because the whole culture is drenched in weak-willed self-indulgent narcissism (Christopher Lasch, The culture of Narcissism); and if one had nothing but the entertainment media as one's catechesis, one might well conclude that the meaning of life is to be found in an endless series of transient spasms of pleasure. What a pathetic, lonely, shallow little puddle of meaning. Sights can be set a good bit higher. Look to our Lord.

[Hat tip to JM]

Extraordinary Community News

"I will go in unto the Altar of God
To God, Who giveth joy to my youth"

Tridentine Community News (May 25, 2014):
St. Anne de Detroit To Hold Tridentine Mass on June 11

The oldest parish in the Archdiocese of Detroit will see the historic Latin Mass return to its premises on Wednesday, June 11, when soon-to-be-ordained Fr. Ryan Adams will celebrate one of his first Masses in the Gabriel Richard Chapel. [Photo below by Andrew Fanco / Detroit Church Blog]

Fr. Gabriel Richard [1767-1832] was Michigan’s equivalent to California’s Fr. Junipero Serra. Like Fr. Serra, Fr. Richard was a man of numerous talents. He ministered to a Protestant community while still serving as a Catholic priest, printed a French periodical on the first printing press in Detroit, was elected as a member of the U.S. House of Representatives, and co-founded the University of Michigan. He served at Ste. Anne Parish, founded in 1701 and the oldest parish in the Archdiocese of Detroit. The altar on which Fr. Richard used to say Mass now contains his body: It is the High Altar in the Gabriel Richard Chapel, which is located behind and adjacent to the sanctuary of St. Anne’s main church.

The time of the Mass is still in flux, but we will report it as soon as we know.

Weekly Tridentine E-Mail Broadcast

Speaking of Mass schedules, it’s worth reminding our readers that we send out a weekly listing of upcoming Tridentine Masses in metro Detroit and Windsor, along with news snippets, every Friday. To subscribe to this broadcast, please e-mail the address at the bottom of this page.

St. Thomas the Apostle in Ann Arbor To Hold Tridentine Mass on June 23

A few churches in our region seem to have orbited around the Tridentine world for a long time, but never seem to have made the leap. Ann Arbor’s St. Thomas the Apostle Church has hosted at least one wedding in the Extraordinary Form; one private Low Mass celebrated by the Vatican’s chief Latin translator; and [informal] weekly Saturday Vespers according the traditional Breviary. At long last the church will offer its first public Tridentine High Mass, on Monday, June 23 at 7:00 PM. As one might expect for an Ann Arbor venue, Juventútem Michigan has arranged a social event for young adults age 18-35 to follow the Mass. Further information is on the Facebook event page:

Sacred Architecture Journal

The Institute for Sacred Architecture, based in Notre Dame, Indiana, publishes a semiannual journal named Sacred Architecture. Intended to promote traditional church designs, the magazine has historically offered many thought-provoking articles. Issue 24, published in Fall, 2013, contained two particularly noteworthy articles.

The Editorial, by architect Duncan Stroik, makes the point that Catholic high schools should not settle for makeshift chapels, hastily thrown together as temporary rearrangements of auditoriums or gymnasiums. As a sign of commitment to exposing good liturgy to our children, moveable but artistically well-conceived sacramental furniture for those temporary facilities should be considered. A better choice is to construct suitable chapels for the schools. Locally, our own Academy of the Sacred Heart Chapel in Bloomfield Hills is a perfect example of what can and should be built, as is the chapel at the Academy’s former sister school across town, now known as the Grosse Pointe Academy and pictured here:

An article by Dr. William Mahrt entitled “Sacred Rhetoric: Microphones and the Homogenization of Liturgy” makes the argument that P.A. systems used for more than just the announcements and Homily discourage good liturgy. Celebrants should be encouraged to chant the Mass, in both the Ordinary and Extraordinary Forms. Singing in an acoustically well-designed edifice should not need to be supported by a microphone, nor should sacred silence and more quiet prayer be discouraged. The mic encourages an informal, “chatty” character, which supports the mindset that the Sacred Liturgy is addressed to the congregation, when in fact it is addressed to almighty God. Fortunately, most Extraordinary Form Mass sites already restrict the mic’s usage to the pulpit only, for these very reasons.

Tridentine Masses This Coming Week
  • Mon. 05/26 7:00 PM: Low Mass at St. Joseph (St. Philip Neri, Confessor –OR– Rogation Mass)
  • Tue. 05/27 7:00 PM: Low Mass at St. Benedict/Assumption-Windsor (St. Bede the Venerable, Confessor & Doctor)
  • Thu. 05/29 7:00 PM: High Mass at St. Joseph (Ascension Thursday)
  • Thu. 05/29 7:00 PM: High Mass at Old St. Patrick, Ann Arbor (Ascension Thursday)
  • Fri. 05/30 7:00 PM: High Mass at Queen of Apostles, Hamtramck (St. Joan of Arc, Virgin) – Dinner for young adults age 18-35 will follow Mass, organized by Juventútem Michigan
[Comments? Please e-mail Previous columns are available at This edition of Tridentine Community News, with minor editions, is from the St. Albertus (Detroit), Academy of the Sacred Heart (Bloomfield Hills), and Assumption (Windsor) bulletin inserts for May 25, 2014. Hat tip to A.B., author of the column.]

Tridentine Masses coming this week to the Metro Detroit area

Tridentine Masses This Coming Week

Friday, May 23, 2014

Help save a Sudanese woman facing martyrdom for refusing to renounce her faith

"Sudanese Christian Preparing to Die for Her Faith" (Remnant, May 22, 2014):

Dear Mr. Matt,

I was wondering if you have heard the story about the 27 year old Christian woman in Sudan being persecuted for being a Christian? Her husband has dual citizenship and lives in New Hampshire and is fighting to save his wife's life. She is in prison 8 months pregnant, along with her 18 month old baby boy. As soon as she has this baby she is sentenced to 100 lashes and hanging. My hope is that since her husband is an American, something can be done.

Please let’s spread the word to pray for this dear, brave woman. As a mother of 9 children, I am just heartsick over this. We are praying to St. Philomena. Thank you, Mr. Matt. - Gwen Marbach from Pa

Dear Mrs. Marbach:

Indeed we have. Meriam Yehya Ibrahim Ishag is a Sudanese woman who was born to a Muslim father but was raised by her Christian mother after her father abandoned the family when she was a child. She was never a Muslim, but rather embraced the faith of her mother, an Orthodox Christian from Ethiopia.

The really powerful aspect to this story, however, is that Meriam is at this moment preparing herself for martyrdom. After marrying a Christian, Daniel Wani, a Sudanese immigrant with U.S. citizenship, Meriam was sentenced to 100 lashes for adultery since a court ruled that her marriage to a Christian violated Sudan’s Islamic law. After her conviction, the 27-year-old was given three days to deny her Christian faith. She refused. Let me repeat that: SHE REFUSED!

She, her unborn baby and her 20-month-old son are currently in prison awaiting the execution, which is scheduled to take place sometime after Meriam gives birth to the baby.

The international community is rightfully outraged, and a great deal of pressure is being applied to force the government of Sudan to spare Meriam and her children. In the meantime, this heroic woman presents a shining example to the whole world on how to live the Christian faith…even when asked to die for it.

Remnant readers are encouraged to join the worldwide effort to save Meriam.

Michael J. Matt

Kasper: "I made my proposals in agreement with the pope"

Elliot Bougis, "What a relief!" (FideCogitActio, May 21, 2014), writes (emphasis and in-line commentary his):
“This pope is not a liberal pope. He is a radical pope! … This pope goes back to the gospel. … I told the pope, ‘Holy Father, there will be a controversy [after the consistory]. … The pope laughed and told him, ‘That’s good, we should have that!’ … I do not know if my proposals will be acceptable…. I made them in agreement with the pope, I did not do them just myself. I spoke beforehand with the pope, and he agreed.” …

Kasper said he was confident that the process of debate that Francis had launched on the topic of family life and sexuality would in the end produce some significant reforms, in part “because there are very high expectations.”

He noted that the church has often changed, or “developed,” over the centuries, and quite recently in the 1960s when, for example, the Second Vatican Council reversed long-standing teachings against religious freedom and dialogue with other believers.

Kasper reiterates that he’s not advocating a change in the church’s dogma on the sanctity of marriage, but a change in the “pastoral practice” about who can receive Communion. “To say we will not admit divorced and remarried people to Holy Communion? That’s not a dogma [noumenon]. That’s an application [phenomenon] of a dogma in a concrete pastoral practice. This can be changed.” [Behold the rank Kantianism!] [Source]

Kasper said it is the voice of the faithful that has made the difference. “The strongest support comes from the people, and you cannot overlook that,” he said.

“If what people are doing and what the church is teaching, if there is an abyss, that doesn’t help the credibility of the church,” he said. “One has to change.”
Bougis adds
Centuries ago, the Arians were not demanding a change in dogma, either, opting instead to disseminate their heresy through lived worship and pastoral changes. Where traditional liturgy easily spoke of Christ as God, the Arians preferred to tone down such abstruse language, speaking of Christ as the most Godlike creature [homoiousios]. Thus, based on popular expectations and customs, it was precisely by challenging and altering “merely disciplinary” matters in the liturgy–or as Kasper would say, changing “concrete pastoral practice”–that Arianism took root. Don’t be deceived: we’re enduring the same kind of assault on a different front.
[Hat tip to JM]

Even Cardinal Schönborn of Vienna praises Conchita Wurst

So reads a large headline in the major German periodical, "Sogar Wiens Kardinal lobt Conchita Wurst" (Die Welt, May 14, 2014). "Because who doesn’t like a colorful hairy Wiener?" (FideCogiActio, May 21, 2014), as Cogitator declares.

And, after all, in contrast to the parade of distinctly intolerant attitudes displayed in Moscow, Cardinal Schönborn insists, "Tolerance is an important issue" (Toleranz ist ein wichtiges Thema). Of course. (Though I always thought that to "tolerate" something implied that it was an evil. Perhaps I was wrong.)

More translation, with inline commentary by Cogitator:
The 69-year-old Viennese cardinal explained that, as far as gender identity goes, he finds it a wonderful idea how the Creator made humans as man and woman. [I'm sure God is tickled by such flattery.] Out of this polarity and bivalent completion arises attraction, a “striving-towards-one-another”, as well as a “struggling-with-one-another”. In the context of creation, this is God’s most fascinating idea. This fascinating idea is also incarnated [!] in Conchita Wurst.
Indeed. Or, as our correspondent on retainer Guy Noir - Private Eye suggests, maybe this could be re-titled "Deity, Diversity, and Dignity" ...":
or, Maybe just "Forget Evertyhing You Think You Know"! At the rate we are going, Being Catholic will mean Being Warm and Fuzzy, and having some sort of interest in Ethics, Sexuality, Non-heretical Liberation Theology, Vatican II Saints, and Middle Eastern Archaeology. So banal it is actually past depressing, and just predictable... kind of like Malcolm X, Hello Kitty and Virgin of Guadalupe tattoos. All you can muster is a monotone, "Wow."
[Hat tip to JM]Fortitude, Guy!! Colorful hairy Wieners, too, shall pass. Though I'm not sure about Being Warm and Fuzzy.

An over-emphasis on grace yields lack of programmatic sanctification

"Boring Grace? A review of One Way Love- Inexhaustible Grace for an Exhausted World" (theweeflea, October 2013):
The reviews I read about Tullian Tchividjian’s One Way Love were so enthusiastic that I immediately shelved out the £7.99 for the Kindle version, stopped reading the latest Keller book and jumped in, looking forward to a stimulating and encouraging account of Gods grace in my exhausted world.
Our correspondent on retainer observes:
Tullian Tchividjian (grandson of Billy Graham, and hereafter Double T because who can spell that?) is the champion of "All Grace. All, Absolutely, and Without Qualification or Complication." It is the pietistic and Protestantized-version of Walter Kasperism, I think. Though TT's rhetorical tone and his penchant for single emphasis theologizing unfortunately remind me more remind me of our own Christopher West!
D.G. Hart picks up the following apology to him by Mark Jones in "No Need to Apologize to Me" (Old Life, May 21, 2014):
Commenting on what typically happens after times of revival – sorry, D.G. Hart – James Stalker wrote: “it is no unusual thing to find the initial stage of religion regarded as if it were the whole. Converts go on repeating the same testimony till it becomes nauseous to their hearers as well as unprofitable to themselves. In the religion of many there is only one epoch; there is no program of expanding usefulness or advancing holiness; and faith is only the constant repetition of a single act. [or thought].” Indeed. (emphasis mine)
[Hat tip to G.N.]

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Polish film Ida "a spiritual masterpiece"

J. R. Jones, "Polish director Pawel Pawlikowski delivers a spiritual masterpiece" (Reader, May 21, 2014):
In Ida a virginal teenager who's been raised in a Polish convent since her infancy is summoned by the mother superior and informed that, before she takes her vows of ordination to become a nun, she must travel to the city and meet her only living relative, an aunt who refused to take her in after her parents died. Poland is still under communist rule in the mid-60s, and the aunt is a powerful magistrate known for sentencing enemies of the state to death ("Red Wanda," people call her). From this embittered and alcoholic woman, the young novitiate learns that her real name is Ida Lebenstein, that her father was Jewish, and that her mother perished alongside him during the Nazi occupation; together Ida and Wanda set off for the little village of Piaski to learn where the parents are buried and how they met their fate. Wanda cautions Ida before they leave: "What if you go there and discover there is no God?"

[Hat tip to C.B.]

All Blacks Haka vs. Fiji Cibi

You gotta wonder about these tribal rituals preceding their match, as our friend points out in "Eleanor Rugby" (Amateur Brain Surgeon, May 20, 2014):

Review: God's Not Dead

A pretty good review by Boniface, "God's Not Dead (2013)" over at Unam Sanctam Catholicam.

With a word from our commentator, Guy Noir - Private Eye:
Coming from a nerdy, cinematically over-observant point of view, I thought God’s Not Dead to be an excellent Christian film [so perhaps it's actually OK!] It was real enough to be believable (although I admit the intertwining of lives seemed to be a bit melodramatic at times), and yet it was appropriate. The only unfortunate thing is that Protestants made this film; I can't imagine a modern Catholic film in which Muslims and Chinese converting would be portrayed so positively [ R O F L O L!!]
[Hat tip to JM]

Where Evangelicals shame Catholics

Patricia Miller, "The Catholic-Evangelical (Non-)Coalition" (RD magazine, April 30, 2014).

The downright embarrassing bottom line:
Writing in The Atlantic, [Public Religion Research Institute's] Robert Jones gets at the truth behind these numbers: "there is more support for official Roman Catholic Church positions among white evangelical Protestants than among Catholics."

[Hat tip to JM]

The Church's objections -- yes, objections -- to Evolution

Boniface, "Evolutionary Theology and More" (Unam Sanctam, May 13, 2014):
Have you heard the refrain from conservative Catholic apologists that the Church has "never had a problem" with evolution? Or perhaps that theological objections to evolutionary theory are based solely in rigidly literalistic interpretations of Genesis 1 or are primarily Protestant concerns? This new exhaustive article on evolutionary theology on Unam Sanctam Catholicam's website will demonstrate that the opposite is in fact true; the Catholic Church was one of the first Christian bodies to object to evolution, doing so in 1860, only one year after Origin of Species. And the fundamental objection was not centered on literalism in Genesis 1 - although that was a concern - but on the question of substance and how creatures could be said to have substances expressed in 'natures' if everything was in a constant state of change. How could we speak of "being" when evolution teaches that there is only "becoming"?

Click here to read "Solemn Enthronement of Evolution" on Unam Sanctam Catholicam.
Read more >> [Spoiler alert: Pierre Teilhard de Chardin, S.J., and the former Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger take hits in this critique, as well as Cardinals Agostino Casoroli, Avery Dulles, and Chrostoph Schönborn.]

[Hat tip to L.S.]

Accommodating homosexism: Will RC's follow Anglicans down the primrose path?

A courier arrived at my door yesterday wearing a tux and holding a tray with three items on it: a telegram, a newspaper, and a martini. "You'll need it," he said he was supposed to tell me, about the martini.

The telegram was from our friend, Guy Noir - Private Eye, who regularly does a good bit of sleuthing for us. In part, it read as follows:
Only God's prevenient grace will keep the Catholic Church from seeing this same scenario duplicated almost word for word within its own walls. Note that while no official reversal of doctrine is admitted, it also is quite obviously reversed in effect. What is being witnessed is a wholesale redefinition of the idea of morality and revelation. We have "ideals" and we have "reality," and ideals are so otherworldly they are almost irrelevant.

Also note that Welby is an Anglican [counterpart of Pope] Francis in that he is marketed as a man of the people and an "evangelical" Anglican who talks about sin and the devil. Woo hoo! Of course the devil is here, in the details... And no, this is not from The Onion.
The newspaper was a copy of The Telegraph with the following headline blazed across the front page: "Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby says gay marriage is ‘great’" (May 14, 2014). The article began:
The Church of England has been forced to reaffirm its opposition to same-sex marriage after the Archbishop of Canterbury appeared to suggest that he thinks it is “great”.

In his first interview with a gay publication, the Most Rev Justin Welby, told PinkNews that the Church had to accept that same-sex marriage is now the law in England and Wales after securing overwhelming support in Parliament.

He said it was “right and proper” that same-sex marriage has now come into force, adding: “And that’s great.”

His comments came as he offered an olive branch to the gay community, publishing new rules for Church of England schools aimed at stamping out homophobic bullying.

Lambeth Palace insisted that despite the initiative, the Archbishop remained opposed in principle to same-sex marriage and that he had been speaking about the right of Parliament to change the law when he used the word “great”.
Then came the second part of Guy Noir's telegraph message, which contained a URL to a website and the following:
Now THIS might be from The Onion. But as an item of satire it could easily be mistaken for anything but, in either communion. I think Kasper might have ghost-written it! And notice that for all the talk of conservative obsession over homosexuality, it is not conservatives who keep placing it on the front page, but homosexauls, liberals, and accommodating conservatives. In fact, it is now close to impossible to find any converge of conservative attitudes towards homosexuality. But hey, what culture war?
I typed the URL into my browser, and here's what came up: David W. Virtue, "Episcopal Church Declares ‘Week of Unhappiness’ over 'Gay' Bishop Divorce" (VirtueOnline.Org, May 6, 2014):
Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori today declared The Episcopal Church would recognize a ‘Week of Unhappiness’ to be enshrined in "Lesser Feasts and Fasts" to honor the broken marriage of Bishop Gene Robinson and his beloved “husband” Mark following their much publicized split.

“I believe the king of Bhutan is right to say that gross national happiness is far more important than the gross national product, and The Episcopal Church’s gross national grossness needs to be honored as well,” opined Jefferts Schori as she wiped a tear from her eye at a press conference.
Read more >> [Advisory: off-color humor]

[Hat tip to JM]

Latin Massers "... scurrying around like ecclesiastical scavengers ..."

From Christine Le Niles on Facebook (May 19, 2014):
Knock-out homily by Father Justin Wylie yesterday, speaking at Holy Innocents, on the upcoming closing of the only parish in the diocese that offers a regular TLM: "New York no longer appears, in my view, a very felicitous place for Traditional Catholics....

Yes, the archdiocese *tolerates* the Traditional Latin Mass here...but responsibility for the TLM rests only on the responsibility of the laity who have to source priests hither and thither as though they were still living in Reformation England or Cromwellian Ireland. Isn't it HIGH TIME for the archdiocese to take pastoral responsibility also for these sheep? Do they not deserve a shepherd, a parish, some sense of juridical security?

BASTA! This is deplorable. This is an exclusionary injustice, which should be the attention of the Cardinal.

Why are you scurrying around like ecclesiastical scavengers, hoping for a scrap or two to fall from the table for your existence?... Whatever happens to Holy will accept it with obedience--but you do need to bring to [Cdl. Dolan's] attention an elemental fact: You belong to the Church as fully as any other community.... No good shepherd would dispossess you of your home without providing for your shelter. No longer should you be squatters, dear friends...nor should you be turned out as if you were squatters.

By all means, shepherds have to make difficult decisions about the erection and suppression of parishes, and in all of this, we owe them our obedience and our charity. But never shall they open the sheepfold and watch the dispersion of the sheep in a world full of wolves. Charity is a TWO-WAY street."

The homily was public. Please feel free to share.

Please also see what Fr. John Zuhlsdorf says about this:
Related: Michael Potemra, "Save the Tridentine Mass, or, ‘These Little-Town Blues’" (NRO, The Corner, April 29, 2014).

Monday, May 19, 2014

Extraordinary ministers at Papal Mass deny Communion in the hand

While Pope Francis doesn't reject Communion in the hand (remember Rio?), it's nice to see the convention retrieved under Pope Benedict XVI continued in Rome: Communion on the tongue. Check it out:

Now just imagine one of your lay "Eucharistic ministers" try that in your local AmChurch parish! Isn't this crazy? All hell would break loose, and you know it!

For a good discussion of the issue by Bishop Athanasius Schneider, author of Dominus Est – It Is the Lord! Reflections of a Bishop of Central Asia on Holy Communion(Newman House Press, 2009):

There is also a whole series that Michael Voris is producing on ChurchMilitant.TV called "Sleight of Hand - Reception Deception," that goes into the history and theology, as well as the motive that moved some to push through the widespread change in the practice, but you have to have a premium account to access it, unfortunately. It's excellent, and pulls together a lot of material that would be difficult for one person to dredge up for himself.

Sunday, May 18, 2014

Catholics should avoid the temptation to Schadenfreude

The underground correspondent we keep on retainer in an Atlantic seaboard city that knows how to keep its secrets, Guy Noir - Private Eye, wired me on Friday. The telegram had a distinctly ominous air about it:
Despite the secular clean-up crews, the bodies and rubble still lay scattered about. I experienced the Episco-insurrection first-hand. No one believed the danger was so visceral until it was upon us. Then it was too late.
There followed a link to this article: "Slow Motion Implosion" (New Oxford Notes, May 2014) with the following sentences in large, red capital letters: "Anglicanism’s slow-motion implosion has drawn a lot of rubberneckers over the years. But Catholics would be well advised to avoid the temptation to Schadenfreude." The article proceeds as follows [with Mr. Noir's added emphases]:
A time of deep soul-searching is fast approaching for Christianity. It should come as no surprise that the past few decades have been particularly difficult ones for institutional churches and ecclesial communions, which have struggled to attract new members and retain old ones. The situation has grown so grim in the Anglican Communion that one of its elder statesmen, Lord George Carey, a former archbishop of Canterbury, warned recently that the Church of England (C of E) is “one generation away from extinction.” At a November 2013 conference, Lord Carey said that Anglicans should be “ashamed” of themselves for not “investing in young people.”

His sentiments were echoed by prominent Anglican columnist A.N. Wilson, who wrote in London’s Telegraph (Nov. 19, 2013) that in each of the more than ten C of E parishes he visited over the preceding year, he had the same experience. “At the age of 63,” he said, “I have been the youngest person present by 20 years. The congregation has seldom numbered double figures. The C of E is a moribund institution kept going by and for old people.”

Things are equally dire in the Church of England’s U.S. counterpart, the Episcopal Church (TEC). As reported in “Incredible Shrinking Churches” (New Oxford Notes, Dec. 2011), since 2003 TEC has lost over three hundred thousand members. According to research conducted by David Virtue, a veteran analyst of all things Anglican, nearly one-third of all Episcopal parishes are populated by parishioners in their mid-60s, with virtually no young people to fill the gap. Virtue predicts that in a quarter century, “there will no longer be anyone attending an Episcopal Church.”

Anglicanism’s slow-motion implosion has drawn a lot of rubberneckers over the years. But Catholics would be well advised to avoid the temptation toSchadenfreude. After all, the Pew Forum’s 2008 “U.S. Religious Landscape Survey” found that, of all Christian groups, the Catholic Church “has experienced the greatest net losses.” Former Catholics outnumber converts by a ratio of four to one. Ten percent of the U.S. population now consists of “ex-Catholics.” If they were to form their own church, it would be the second largest in the U.S., trailing only the Catholic Church herself.

Back in old England, the picture isn’t much merrier. Linda Woodhead, a sociology of religion professor at Lancaster University in Lancashire, recently conducted her own “scientific survey of Catholic opinion.” Dr. Woodhead has determined that “faithful Catholics” in the U.K. are now “a rare and endangered species” (Religion Dispatches, Nov. 24, 2013). Defined as those who attend weekly Mass, profess certain belief in God, take authority from religious sources, and are opposed to abortion, same-sex marriage, and euthanasia, a mere five percent of British Catholics can be called “faithful.” That figure drops to two percent for British Catholics under the age of 30. Startlingly, Dr. Woodhead found that zero percent of British Catholics “look to religious leaders for guidance as they make decisions and live their lives.”

The problem, as Woodhead sees it, is that “most Catholics don’t think the [Church’s moral] teaching is too hard, they think it’s wrong” (italics in original). This would suggest that dressing up existing doctrines — especially those related to marriage and sexuality — to make them more appealing, or dispensing with them altogether, will have little to no effect. The recent history of the Anglican Communion is a case in point: It is endlessly refashioning itself in order to achieve “relevance” by shedding virtually every one of its distinctively Christian moral teachings — and with disastrous results.
The foregoing article, "A Slow-Motion Implosion" was originally published in the New Oxford Review (May 2014), and is reproduced here by kind permission of New Oxford Review, 1069 Kains Ave., Berkeley, CA 94706.
[Hat tip to JM]

Correction: First Mass for Soon-to-be Fr. Joe Tuskiewicz to be held at St. Josaphat Church

"I will go in unto the Altar of God
To God, Who giveth joy to my youth"

Tridentine Community News (May 18, 2014):
Last week we reported that Deacon Joe Tuskiewicz will celebrate his first Holy Mass after ordination to the sacred priesthood in the Extraordinary Form on Sunday, June 8 at 9:30 AM. The restoration of St. Josaphat Church is proceeding quicker than originally anticipated, so barring any unforeseen problems, soon-to-be Fr. Joe’s first Mass will be held at St. Josaphat rather than St. Joseph Church.

May Crowning on May 25

Next Sunday, May 25, a May Crowning will be held after the 2:00 PM Tridentine Mass at St. Benedict/Assumption-Windsor. The Knights of Columbus are once again bringing their lovely statue of our Blessed Mother and are supplying men to carry the statue in procession.

Music Program News

Wassim Sarweh has new duties in his day job that take him out of Windsor on many Tuesdays, but fear not, our music team has depth: Veteran Windsor Tridentine choir member Jackie Robitaille will be playing the organ for Tuesday evening Low Masses at Assumption Church. Colleague choir member Laura Hurajt will continue to sing on Tuesdays, as well. Wassim will continue to play for High Masses that take place on Tuesdays, for Feasts on which a Gloria and Credo are specified.

Across the river, the Oakland County Latin Mass Association choir at the Academy of the Sacred Heart is taking shape quickly: Jill McDonnell, Andrea Savickis, and Patricia Seibold have joined this new ensemble. Tenor Hani Sarweh and ubiquitous and ever-helpful alto Laura Hurajt round out the choir.

Tridentine Myth Busting

Apologetics is the art of defending the Catholic Faith. It is often said that when people express dislike for the Catholic Church, what they really dislike is a misconception of what the Church is and stands for. It is useful for those who attend the Traditional Latin Mass to develop their own specific apologetic skills, to rebut the erroneous statements occasionally made by Catholics and non-Catholics about our historic style of worship.

Only old people attend the Tridentine Mass: This statement is usually made by people who have not attended a Latin Mass in recent years, for if they had in fact gone, they would realize that there is a spectrum of age groups in attendance, including many young families. Of special note, the international Juventútem and Sursum Corda Extraordinary Form special interest groups, with numerous local chapters, are among the fastest-growing young adults organizations in the Catholic world.

The priest turns his back on the people: The age-old posture is of the priest leading the faithful in prayer. He is not ignoring them; in the Mass, the priest addresses his prayers to God the Father. When he does address the congregation, he does indeed turn to them.

The Communion Rail is a barrier between the people and the priest: The traditional architectural norms for a church specify a distinction between the sacred and the profane or secular. The Altar Rail helps to demarcate that portion of the church where the sacred actions of Holy Mass take place. It is no more a “barrier” than the steps to a stage in a theater are.

There’s little to no “active participation” of the faithful: As Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI often wrote, physical and vocal participation are not the only forms of involvement in the Holy Mass. Focused prayer and silent attentiveness to the sacred proceedings can often involve a person more “actively” than rote but potentially distracted external action.

There’s less Sacred Scripture in the Traditional Mass: The Extraordinary Form makes extensive use of Scripture in the mandatory use of Propers: The Introit, Gradual, Offertory and Communion Antiphons, for example, bring Scripture into the Mass in places and capacities where it is often omitted in the Ordinary Form. Psalm 42 in the Prayers at the Foot of the Altar at the beginning of Mass brings a chunk of Scripture into the Ordinary of the Mass, as well. And then there’s the Last Gospel.

Laypeople are less involved, especially women: It’s an ironic turn of events that the Latin Mass scene is one of the most intensively lay-led segments in the Church post-Vatican II. Women have active leadership roles; locally, consider long-time Windsor Secretary/Treasurer Sharon Moody and Oakland Count Latin Mass Association Chair Cecilia Lakin.

You have to understand Latin to appreciate the Mass: The vast majority of laypeople – and clergy – involved with the Extraordinary Form have relatively little if any understanding of Latin. With abundant Latin/English worship aids, missals, and tutorial guides, this is no obstacle to understanding.

Latin Mass-goers are elitist/arrogant/too smart/too uninformed/too controversial: Those who attend the Tridentine Mass are a typical cross-section of our culture. You’ll find all types there. If you’re looking for bad things, you’ll find them anywhere. Why waste energy on that? Look for good instead, and you might just be delighted...or inspired.

Tridentine Masses This Coming Week
  • Mon. 05/19 7:00 PM: Low Mass at St. Joseph (St. Peter Celestine, Pope & Confessor)
  • Tue. 05/20 7:00 PM: Low Mass at St. Benedict/Assumption-Windsor (St. Bernardine of Siena, Confessor)
  • Sun. 05/25 12:00 Noon: High Mass at St. Albertus (Fifth Sunday After Easter)
  • Sun. 05/25 12:30 PM: High Mass at Immaculate Conception, Lapeer (Fifth Sunday After Easter)
[Comments? Please e-mail Previous columns are available at This edition of Tridentine Community News, with minor editions, is from the St. Albertus (Detroit) and Assumption (Windsor) bulletin inserts for May 18, 2014. Hat tip to A.B., author of the column.]

Tridentine Masses coming to Metro Detroit this week

Tridentine Masses This Coming Week