Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Tolerance is over

Wherein Fr. Z rants:

The world is going nuts. I have often felt a bit like Cassandra, but … Cassandra was right. Here is another take. From the pen of John Zmirak at The Stream with my emphases and comments:
The expected Supreme Court decision imposing on 50 states an entirely new understanding of marriage, and the frenzy of hatred that gay activists have stoked against Indiana for trying to shelter religious believers from crippling lawsuits should wake us to a cold and stark reality: The age of tolerance in America is vanishing before your eyes. The question is how Christians and other people of faith and good will are going to respond.
Of course, some of us knew that the "age of tolerance" was a thinly-veiled fraud to begin with. But read more >>

Question: What will the "New Evangelization" yield?

The question comes to us from the undercover correspondent we keep on retainer, Guy Noir - Private Eye, who asks, even more starkly: "Will the 'New Evangelism" ever produce recognizable faith?"

That may sound a bit bleak, given the fact that a fairly large swath will likely be claimed for the "New Evangelizaton," which includes the likes of the significant numbers of those who would attest that their lives have been impacted in a positive way by what is largely termed the "renewal" of the last few decades (happening places like Steubenville, for example).

But I'm not sure that's exactly what Noir has in mind. I'm guessing that he's thinking of the virtual collapse of Catholic overseas missions since the mid-20th century and erosion of the zeal that animated those efforts since the early years of the Church right down through St. Francis Xavier's time -- namely, the conviction that the unevangelized in all probability cannot be saved apart from the Gospel. Here's what Noir was thinking about: David G. Bonagura, Jr.'s article, "Can Faith Survive in the 'first world'?" (The Catholic Thing, March 22, 2015). Excerpts:
... history shows that Catholics have had massive success evangelizing whole peoples when they were compelled by two deeply held beliefs: a profound love of Christ to the point of martyrdom, and an understanding that those they encounter cannot be saved unless they accept the Gospel.

Our Lord promised that the gates of Hell will not prevail against the Church, but that was not a guarantee to keep souls within her. A distressing number of first world residents have heard of the Gospel [heard hear suggests understood, gotten it] but have not listened to it.
Noir comments: "This is rather shocking in how it makes quiet assertions seemingly oblivious to the example of reigning clerics who seem to deny them by pastoral example. The bolded lines, what leaders even believe these things?"

Hard words.

This also reminds me of what John Lamont wrote (New Blackfriars, Vol. 88, 2007) concerning a missing element in Vatican II:
The trouble with the Council's approach to mission is that although it stresses that Catholics must seek to convert unbelievers, it gives no adequate reason for doing this. It does give Christ's command to evangelize as a reason, but it gives no proper explanation of why that command is given, or of the good that the commandment is supposed to promote. This, of course, means that the command is unlikely to be followed; and it has in fact been largely disregarded since the Council.
In other words, Lamont writes: "[The Council] made no reference at all to unbelief rendering salvation doubtful." Or, in still other words: completely missing was a sense of urgency about the possible damnation of the unevangelized.

Again, hard words. Do we still believe them?

Monday, March 30, 2015

Tridentine Community News - Terry Klink, RIP; Divine Mercy Sunday special devotion; Bishop Schneider's 10 tips for liturgical renewal; Mass times

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

Tridentine Community News by Alex Begin (March 29, 2015):
Terry Klink, RIP

Your prayers are requested for the repose of the soul of Mr. Terry Klink, who passed away on Thursday, March 26. Terry was a retired attorney and a fixture on the local Latin Mass scene since the late 1980s, when he began serving at the altar for the Ordinary Form Latin Masses at St. Joseph Church. In recent years Terry and his wife Betty have been devoted regulars at Tridentine Masses around the region. Terry was also an active member of the Legion of Mary chapter that met at St. Joseph for many years.

A Funeral Mass in the Extraordinary Form will be held on Tuesday, March 31 at 10:30 AM at St. Alphonsus Church in Dearborn, Michigan. The celebrant will be Fr. Mark Borkowski, and music will be led by Wassim Sarweh.

Special Afternoon of Devotion on April 12, Low Sunday / Divine Mercy Sunday

An afternoon of devotions in honor of Divine Mercy is planned at St. Alphonsus Church in Windsor on April 12: Exposition of the Blessed Sacrament will take place at 1:45 PM, Confessions begin thereafter, Benediction will be at 2:45 PM, the Divine Mercy Chaplet will be prayed at 3:00 PM, and Holy Mass in the Extraordinary Form will follow. A reception will be held after Mass in the parish social hall. This day is being co-organized with the Filipino community of St. Alphonsus Parish.

Bishop Schneider: Ten Tips for Liturgical Renewal

Auxiliary Bishop Athanasius Schneider of Astana, Kazakhstan delivered a speech in Washington, DC on February 14 in which he provided ten recommendations for renewal of the Sacred Liturgy. These tips were documented by Steve Skojec of the OnePeterFive blog; an abbreviated version of Steve’s report appears below:
  1. The tabernacle, where Jesus Christ, the Incarnate God, is really present under the species of bread should be placed in the center of the sanctuary...The tabernacle is the sign indicating and containing the Real Presence of Christ and should therefore be closer to the altar and constitute with the altar the one central sign indicating the Eucharistic mystery. The Sacrament of the Tabernacle and the Sacrifice of the Altar should therefore not be opposed or separated, but both in the central place and close together in the sanctuary. All the attention of those who enter a church should spontaneously be directed towards the tabernacle and the altar.

  2. During the Eucharistic liturgy – at the very least during the Eucharistic prayer – when Christ the Lamb of God is immolated, the face of the priest should not be seen by the faithful. Even the Seraphim cover their faces (Isaiah 6:2) when adoring God. Instead, the face of the priest should be turned toward the cross, the icon of the crucified God.

  3. During the liturgy, there should be more signs of adoration — specifically genuflections — especially each time the priest touches the consecrated host.

  4. The faithful approaching to receive the Lamb of God in Holy Communion should greet and receive Him with an act of adoration, kneeling. Which moment in the life of the faithful is more sacred than this moment of encounter with the Lord?

  5. There should be more room for silence during the liturgy, especially during those moments which most fully express the mystery of the redemption. Especially when the sacrifice of the cross is made present during the Eucharistic prayer.

  6. There should be more exterior signs which express the dependence of the priest on Christ, the High Priest, which would more clearly show that the words the priest speaks...and the blessings he offers to the faithful depend on and flow out from Christ the High Priest, not from him, the private person. ... Such signs could be ... the kissing of the altar before greeting the people to indicate that this love flows not from the priest but from the altar; and also before blessing, to kiss the altar, and then bless the people. ... Also, bowing towards the altar cross to indicate that Christ is more important than the priest...

  7. There should be more signs which express the unfathomable mystery of the redemption. This could be achieved through the veiling of liturgical objects, because veiling is an act of the liturgy of the angels. Veiling the chalice, veiling the paten with the humeral veil, the veiling of the corporal, veiling the hands of the bishop when he celebrates a solemnity, the use of communion rails, also, to veil the altar. Also signs – signs of the cross by the priest and the faithful. Making signs of the cross during the priest by the Eucharistic prayer and by the faithful during other moments of the liturgy...

  8. There should be a constant sign which expresses the mystery also by means of human language...Latin is a sacred language demanded by the Second Vatican Council in celebration of every holy Mass and in each place a part of the Eucharistic prayer should always be said in Latin.

  9. All those who exercise an active role in the liturgy, such as lectors, or those announcing the prayer of the faithful, should always be dressed in the liturgical vestments; and only men...because this is an exercise in the sanctuary, close to the priesthood...

  10. The music and the songs during the liturgy should more truly reflect the sacred character and should resemble the song of the angels, like the Sanctus, in order to be really more able to sing with one voice with the angels.”
Tridentine Masses This Coming Week
  • Mon. 03/30 7:00 PM: Low Mass at St. Josaphat (Monday in Holy Week)
  • Tue. 03/31 7:00 PM: Low Mass at Holy Name of Mary (Tuesday in Holy Week)
  • Thu. 04/02 7:00 PM: High Mass at Academy of the Sacred Heart, Bloomfield Hills, Michigan (Holy Thursday)
  • Thu. 04/02 7:00 PM: High Mass at St. Josaphat (Holy Thursday)
  • Fri. 04/03 12:00 Noon: Good Friday Service at St. Josaphat
  • Fri. 04/03 1:30 PM: Good Friday Service at Academy of the Sacred Heart
  • Fri. 04/03 5:30 PM: Good Friday Service at Holy Name of Mary
  • Sat. 04/04 8:00 PM: High Mass at Academy of the Sacred Heart (Easter Vigil)
  • Sat. 04/04 8:00 PM: High Mass at St. Josaphat (Easter Vigil)
  • Sun. 04/05: No Mass at Academy of the Sacred Heart
[Comments? Please e-mail tridnews@detroitlatinmass.org. Previous columns are available at http://www.detroitlatinmass.org. This edition of Tridentine Community News, with minor editions, is from the St. Albertus (Detroit), Academy of the Sacred Heart (Bloomfield Hills), and St. Alphonsus and Holy Name of Mary Churches (Windsor) bulletin inserts for March 29, 2015. Hat tip to Alex Begin, author of the column.]

Saturday, March 28, 2015

Alex Begin: Promoter of the Extraordinary Form Liturgy in Detroit

Alex Begin is many things to many people, but to most who know him he is probably the foremost promoter of the Tridentine Mass in the metro Detroit area next to the late Richard Langrell, whom he calls the "Father of Detroit's Latin Mass Movement."

Alex found his way back to the Catholic Faith while a student at Harvard. Instrumental in the process was his exposure to the music at St. Paul's Choir School (Harvard Square) in Cambridge, which, he says, "roped me back in." After graduating from Harvard as the youngest member of his class (age 20) in 1982, he also discovered the Traditional Latin Mass, fell in love with it, and has been working tirelessly ever since as an advocate, coordinator, and organizer on behalf of the Tridentine Mass community, not only in Detroit and Windsor, Ontario, but throughout the country.

After learning how to serve the Latin Mass, first in the Ordinary Form in the mid-eighties, then in the Extraordinary Form, Alex has helped establish several Tridentine Mass communities on both sides of the Detroit River -- most notably St. Josaphat in Detroit, and Assumption Church in Windsor, Ontario (where he has been Master of Ceremonies and website manager since 1997, until the community's relocation to St. Alphonsus and Holy Name of Mary, both in Windsor). He has regularly served as Coordinator of and Master of Ceremonies for these and various other Tridentine Masses in Detroit, such as St. Albertus, St. Joseph, Sweetest Heart of Mary, Holy Redeemer, and St. Hyacinth. He is also known to have trained over 40 priests and bishops on celebrating the Extraordinary Form.

A video of Alex's fascinating account of the history of the Latin liturgy renaissance in Detroit, "How Metropolitan Detroit Became a Center for Latin Liturgy," presented at the Latin Liturgy Association Conference in Detroit in 2010, can be found immediately below:

Several churches in Detroit have had Ordinary Form Latin Masses for some time, as Alex points out, including Old St. Mary's in the Greektown entertainment district, St. Joseph, and Holy Family. The last-mentioned parish, an Italian-Sicilian parish, had (until 2012) the interesting reputation of never having had a vernacular Mass on its schedule. All of its Masses had always been (until the recent change) in Latin and ad orientem. (Other venues not discussed include Assumption Grotto on the East side.)

The video highlights the often austere and difficult beginnings of the Latin Mass revival (particularly in the Extraordinary Form) in Windsor and Detroit with humor and insight. At its nadir, the Windsor Latin Mass community consisted of a small band of intrepid souls who, temporarily banished to a nursing home chapel at the at the height of the SARS Virus epidemic (ca 2002), would allow themselves, in turn, to be sprayed down with disinfectant in order to gain access to the weekly celebration of the Tridentine Mass! Trust me, the video is well-worth watching in its entirety.

If asked of which achievements he is most particularly proud, one answer that invariably comes up is the Latin/English Propers Handouts he has created, known for their typographical accuracy, and available on the St. Benedict Tridentine Catholic Community website of The Latin Mass Community of Windsor, Ontario, HERE. There are no other published Propers known to be as accurate as these, and they are used at numerous churches around the world.

Since 2006, Alex has also been writing weekly Tridentine Community News columns, that appear as parish bulletin inserts at Tridentine Masses in Detroit and Windsor. These columns also appear weekly on this blog and are archived at http://www.windsorlatinmass.org/latin/tnews.htm.

Alex is also Executive Producer of EWTN series "Extraordinary Faith," a 30 minute television program celebrating the beauty of classical Catholic sacred art, architecture, music, and liturgy. (See Preview of Episodes 1 and 2 immediately below.) If there is any one point that he would like to convey, it is that his whole goal is to promote the beauty of traditional Catholicism. "Beauty," he likes to say, "attracts and is its own form of apologetics."

Since 2014, in addition to his involvement in regular liturgies in Windsor, Alex has also been serving as liturgical coordinator, Master of Ceremonies, and board member for the Oakland County Latin Mass Association, which has established a new venue for a weekly Tridentine Mass in the chapel of the Academy of the Sacred Heart in in Bloomfield Hills. After Mass, they have recently been featuring a series of regular speakers on various topic related to the Latin Mass liturgy, such as Paul Schultz, an Ann Arbor lawyer and founder of the Michigan chapter of Juventutem, a Tridentine Mass movement for young people who meet monthly for a celebrations of the Tridentine liturgy in different parishes, with time afterwards for conversation and fellowship over dinner.

Career-wise, Alex has been an entrepreneur and owner of a computer firm, as well as apartments, and commercial real estate in both Michigan and California. In recent years, however, he has arranged his business affairs so that he has more time to focus on real estate ventures as well as to devote himself more fully to the greatest love of his life (beyond his beloved wife, Diane), namely the Tridentine Liturgy.

If you were to visit one of the local Tridentine liturgies in Bloomfield Hills or Windsor, chances are you would see Alex assisting at the liturgy as Master of Ceremonies, or assisting someone else in training; and you would doubtless meet his wife, Diane, who often almost single-handedly organizes the receptions afterwards, and all that goes with it. Imagine, furthermore: they do this at least twice (sometimes three times) each Sunday, once in Bloomfield Hills, again at 2:00PM across the international border in Windsor, Canada, and sometimes at yet another venue in Detroit -- and that's not counting weekday Masses. Needless to say, they consider it a labor of love. And for that, all of us who love the Tridentine Mass owe them a debt of gratitude.

Tridentine Masses coming Holy Week to metro Detroit and east Michigan

Tridentine Masses This Coming Week

Is all hope for common ground gone?

Carl. R. Trueman, "When Pastoral Language becomes Political Rhetoric" (First Things, March 24, 2015). Excerpts:
[Hope] for common ground and co-existence {in todays culture wars] is sadly misplaced. There is the fact noted above that the language of political correctness and the language of pastoral Christianity overlap only at the level of phonetics. Conceptually, they are built on different notions of virtue. It is also clear that this strategy underestimates the ambitions of the identity politicians. Common ground with an opponent is only of real interest to those who are on the losing side. The PC lobbyists are increasingly in control of the political and legal environment and will thus see the linguistic games of the Christian establishment for what they are: Signs of fatal weakness. Ultimately, they will present such institutions with a straightforward choice: Abandon the common language or adopt the common concepts... As the language of traditional Christian pastoral concern is taken from us and turned on its head, we are left with no language ... the very language by which we understand virtues, well-being, and concern becomes not a tool for care but a barrier preventing us from caring.
Overly academic? Unduly pessimistic? For disturbing confirmation watch this video and ask yourself: wait a sec, did I just fall asleep and wake up in the Interfaith Observers Booth at the Synod on the Family next to Tim Tim Keller and Robert McAfee Brown?

Conservative Evangelical celebrity Tim Keller discusses homosexuality, and after dodging all the bullets he can, finally agrees the gay sex is not optimal for "human flourishing," but also crows this jaw dropper that “It’s misleading to call homosexuality a sin”! [Hat tip to JM]

Church crisis illustrated by country music?

According to one amusing wag, HERE.

"Pope Leo XIII speaks on the duty to fight openly against the Kasper Agenda"

Br. Alexis Bugnolo's application of Leo XIII's encyclical, Sapientiae Christianae, to the Kasper crisis in the Vatican and beyond (From Rome, March 26, 2015).

[Disclaimer: Rules 7-9]

[Hat tip to L.S.]

Thursday, March 26, 2015

"Abp Luigi Negri: Western Civilization is at an end"

He puts the end of Western Civilization in the Museum of Mosul, where ISIS thugs destroyed timeless treasures, blowing up places of worship, and burning libraries.

I would have put it in the 2008 election of Barack Hussein Obama as President of the United States; but that's a detail. Western Civilization has been in decline since the Endarkenment, better known as the so-called "Enlightenment."

There were many milestones along the way, as there will doubtless be others. But we have for some time now been well into a new Dark Ages far more bleak that those following the "Fall of Rome" in AD 476. We just haven't quite realized it yet.

Traditional Mass increasingly re-accepted in mainstream

Practically every month I head about a new venue in which the Tridentine Mass is being offered locally; and when one expands the field nationally or internationally, the incidents are even more common.

Here's the most recent example: the Cardinal-Archbishop of Paris celebrating the ancient rite at Saint-Germain-L'Auxerrois, in the heart of Paris:

"The Traditional Mass re-enters the regular life of the Church" (Rorate Caeli, March 25, 2015):

Sunday, March 8, 2015
It seemed a regular unsurprising event for the Cardinal-Archbishop of Paris (and not the first time for him, either). In the historic parish church of Saint-Germain-l'Auxerrois, in the heart of Paris (right across the street from the cour carrée of the Louvre), where the traditional Mass is celebrated every Sunday, Cardinal Vingt-Trois celebrated the Traditional Mass (Mass in the Extraordinary Form) for the faithful in his visit to the parish. The Church in France will rise again - one day, it will rise again.

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

I guess none of this matters anymore?

http://www.usdebtclock.org/. Check it out. We had this running during a single class period today at the seminary, and the amount that the debt mounted in that hour-and-a-half was simply staggering. I was under the illusion that the national debt was still around $14 million. I guess that must have been last week. But it's all just electronic digits, so it doesn't really matter, right? Right? Right? Of course the stock market is up so we're in the middle of a reasonable "recovery," right? Right? Right? Oh, that's all electronic digits too? Well what does that mean, then? He who dies with the most debt on his credit card "wins"? What a noble example our government sets for our children!

One seminarian told me that he checks this every morning the first thing after he wakes up, though I'm not at all sure as to his sincerity. Wouldn't this give you an ulcer after watching it too long? Or should one regard it as something more like a video game. Would any of you like it as a screen saver? Or perhaps a background on your desktop? Do you sleep better each night knowing that our dear leader has the best golf handicap of any of our presidents so far? The US Debt Clock has made me a bit dizzy. Think I probably should turn in for the night. Cheers. Have a restful evening.

Here's a video from last year, back when the debt was about $1 trillion less. Enjoy:

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Fr. Z: "Doctors of the law" a straw man of Pope Francis?

Well, it does seem the Holy Father has his favorite hobby horses, caricatures, and a few straw man constructs he likes to pummel with insults as well, such as the well-known "Promethean Neo-Pelagians."

But HERE it looks like Fr. Z is suggesting that the Pope is using "doctors of the law" to refer to those who are legalistically preventing the gay or divorced and remarried from receiving the sacraments.

One might think on first blush that this refers to some wacked out raddie traddie foam-at-the-mouth traditionalists. Not so. At the very least, it's a straw man. At worst, it's a charge that finds traction only in the established teaching of earlier popes, like Pope Benedict XVI in his Post-Synodal Exortation Sacramentum caritatis, where he is very clear about guidelines for licit and valid reception of the Sacraments. Have a look for yourself. Interesting.

Fr. Z bends over backwards to be a loyal and obedient son of the Church here, which is to say, diplomatic. Good for him. Read a Fr. Z's well-rounded discussion HERE.

The past is a foreign country

The Rolls Royce Cloud pulled up (of all the ironic incongruities!) in front of my modest condominium. Out stepped a gentleman in a tux WITH TAILS! I watched him out the window as he placed on a silver tray, with white-gloved hands, a cognac glass, popped open a bottle of Camus, and deftly poured some into the glass, then added a rose in a vase, and placed beside it a folded parchment with a red wax seal upon it. Then he rang my doorbell.

First time I ever had Camus Cognac ... along with something else I missed while looking out the window: a neatly-wrapped pack of four Louixs cigs. Amazing.

You guessed it. This guy's got taste. No, not the gentleman courier. I mean the gentleman who sent the courier: the clandestine underground correspondent we keep on retainer in an Atlantic seaboard city that knows how to keep it's secrets, Guy Noir - Private Eye, who more than makes up for the modest stipend I send him in all these elegant accessories he sends along with his telegrams and sundry other missives. It's like being a seminary professor and hiring a guy with James Bond's tastes (or James Bond himself!) to do a little sleuthing for you. You pay him pennies on the dollar in terms of the good time he shows you. It makes Lent a nearly impossible challenge some days.

Here's what he wrote me: Noir, not Bond (though they could be the same person for all we know):
Interesting meditation here. This part hit me because it is a boilerplate line of recent papacies: "And there is no going back."

Peter Kreeft has a counterpoint line to the effect that, "People say you can't turn back the clock, but why not? Isn't that exactly what you do if it is telling the wrong time?"

Like in discussion of many other items, a lot of informed people would say the old product was simply plain better. They don't make them like they used to. Etc. An odd attitude to have to take to a Church's most prized communal possession.

Oh, and enjoy the cigs. I picked them up in Havana, of all places, last week. [emphasis mine - PP]

The "meditation" Noir was referring to was this piece, by James Casper, "The Past is a Foreign Country" (Ignatius Press, March 19, 2015). Wistful and profoundly true, I was glad to have the Camus Cognac in hand as I read the piece, which awakened some deep sentiments in my own soul:
Much we know about the world would be lost were it not for artistic renderings of the past. Memories otherwise would seldom outlive those who remember.

Eamon Duffy’s The Stripping of the Altars forced professional historians and casual readers alike to revise assessments of the Catholic religion in England in the years immediately preceding the Reformation:
If medieval religion was decadent, unpopular, or exhausted, the success of the Reformation hardly requires explanation. If, on the contrary, it was vigorous, adaptable, widely understood, and popular, then we have much yet to discover about the processes and the pace of reform.
In the almost six hundred pages following this observation, Duffy develops support for this thesis: that the Reformation in England was more of a revolution against a popular, widely-revered institution than an effort to reform something rife with problems and corruption. He can only build his case by reference to contemporary written accounts and a study of Church artistic works that somehow managed to survive state-sponsored efforts to obliterate the past.

Interview: Cardinal Burke says confusion spreading among Catholics ‘in an alarming way’

Jeanne Smits, Paris correspondent, "Exclusive interview: Cardinal Burke says confusion spreading among Catholics ‘in an alarming way’ (full text)" (LifeSiteNews, March 24, 2015). Substantial.

[Hat tip to L.S.]

Monday, March 23, 2015

"Children's Crusade and the Age of Mercy"

Boniface, "Children's Crusade and the Age of Mercy" (Unam Sanctam Catholicam, March 21, 2015).

Another interesting response to Pope Francis announcement of a Jubilee Year of Mercy beginning this December, and a related announcement of a "Children's Crusade" of prayer for Pope Francis, that the mercy promised might be authentic and protect both the Eucharist and Sacramental Marriage from sacrilege (credited originally to James Larson).

Sunday, March 22, 2015

"End of the Reform of the Reform"?

For the record: "End of the Reform of the Reform" (Athanasius Contra Mundum, March 12, 2015). On the past and future of the divide represented in microcosm by the Matt family split over the direction taken, respectively, by the Wanderer and the Remnant newspapers.

[Hat tip to L.S.]

On "going forward" or "going back"

"Who Goes Back is Wrong?" (That the bones you have crushed may thrill, March 11, 2015). Excerpts:
“It was quite a courageous gesture of the Church to draw closer to the people of God so that they can understand well what she is doing. It is important for us to follow the Mass like this. One cannot go back. We have always to go forward, always forward. Who goes back is wrong. Let us go forward on this path.” - Pope Francis

"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." - Pope Benedict XVI

Jesus Christ does not simply call us to 'go forward', marching on blindly. He ceaselessly calls us back to Him. Repentance means turning around. We can go forward quite happily and unhappily leave Jesus Christ behind....

Numerous statistics have been made available over time, not least by the Latin Mass Society that show a certain trend that does not lend greater credibility to the post-Concilliar Church as a resounding success.

And why, exactly, should Catholics, Popes, Bishops and Cardinals, or priests, have an irrational fear of the past, of the tradition of the Church? Why such fear and loathing of our heritage?

... Why is it that the spectre of the traditional Latin Mass is one that haunts so many prelates and brings them out in a sweat? What, exactly, is so offensive about the Latin tongue in the liturgy? What is so terrifying about Mass being celebrated Ad Orientem? No reasons are given, just a kind of psychological 'we mustn't go there' response that any psychotherapist could tell you means you have deep-rooted problems with accepting your past, as if the Latin Mass was some kind of horrendous ecclesiastical inflicted trauma visited upon the Church's children by brutalising, callous parents.

hanks to Benedict XVI, more and more young people, as well as older people, are able to enjoy the liturgical riches of the Traditional Latin Mass. This mission to restore the sacred to the liturgy is being taken up by more and more priests and Bishops as well. This is not a threat to the Church - this is about giving God the glory that is His right and permitting, out of love, the Faithful to seek the Lord in the Mass offered by the Church for 1,500 years or more. This has seen a renewal of the desire for holiness, a thirst for a relationship with Jesus Christ, an increase in vocations in those Orders that embrace it and a real sense of love for the Church as well as fidelity to Her infallible teachings.

"Who goes back is wrong", says His Holiness.

Going back isn't wrong if you are going in the wrong direction. I am only a layman but it seems obvious to me that the Hierarchy must be mature enough to admit that there are paths the Church has taken which have not led to an improvement in catechesis, that have not led to the fulfillment of those ambitious spiritual goals set out by the Second Vatican Council. These words of Pope Francis will have a chilling effect in parts of the Church. It sends out quite a signal to bishops who wish to clamp down upon clergy who celebrate the Mass of Ages. It is, finally, saddening to look at Pope Francis's words and to see that the 'wisdom' of Benedict XVI which he himself has praised openly does not extend to the wisdom the Pope Emeritus showed in bringing forth treasures both old and new in the Church's liturgy. There is an oblique criticism of the Pope Emeritus within the words of his Successor that rip to shreds the hermeneutic of continuity that he sought to restore. More and more Catholics today look at the Church and say, about many things, Benedict XVI was right.
[Hat tip to JM]

Papally-induced exhaustion

First there was one of my colleague's quips about "PIA (Papally Induced Anxiety) Syndrome." Now there is little question that we are seeing pathologies in some quarters akin to something more nearly fatal: "PIE," or Papally Induced Exhaustion. Here's a sample:

"Jubilee of Mercy: An Idea or Two" (That the bones you have crushed may thrill, March 14, 2015). Excerpts:
A Jubilee of Mercy sounds wonderful. In previous pontificates I would be very happy about it. But this is no ordinary time.

Was this Cardinal Baldisseri's idea? Cardinal Kasper's clever idea? After all, he's the expert on mercy, isn't he?

I can only speak for myself. I have had two years of this strange 'mercy nullifies God's law, so there' weirdness streaming from the Vatican. That's two years in which my cynicism has matured.

Faithful Catholics don't - won't - say "hurrah" to what amounts to a blanket betrayal by the Hierarchy of Christ's own teaching by distributing communion to unrepentant adulterers and other unrepentant sinners in mortal sin. They won't say "huzzah" to treating the Holy Eucharist as if it were unchanged bread and wine, so now we are going to be made to feel really guilty to the point of pariah status for resisting the cunning plan made apparent by the manipulation at the Synod by the even more shrewd institution of a Jubilee Year of Mercy....

As I say, I've become quite cynical but I am sure that others feel the same. My good faith in this pontificate with its peculiar 'agenda' has been exhausted....

Still, a Year of Mercy. Let's go with that.... So...how about lifting all those restrictions on the Franciscans of the Immaculate? ... In a Jubilee Year of Mercy, how about teaching the Faithful and others the Truth through proper catechesis so that we may be convicted of our sins and seek Divine mercy? How about granting the Sacraments to German Catholics of good faith and good will even if they haven't paid their Church Tax? How about a cessation of all insults and a hostile atmosphere of recrimination directed at faithful Cardinals, Bishops and priests whose only crime is to wish to hold fast to the Magisterium and promote traditional liturgy?
[Hat tip to JM]

Fr. Eduard Perrone on St. Joseph and spiritual virility

Fr. Eduard Perrone, "A Pastor's Descant" (Assumption Grotto News, March 22, 2015):
In my brief sermon for the feast of Saint Joseph this past Thursday, I quoted a few words from an old hymn to the Saint that we learnt in our Catholic school. For the life of me I could not remember the title of it on the spot. I had to look it up after Mass. I found it in the old Saint Basil Hymnal, a collection of Catholic hymns published in the 1920s. As I mentioned in my little talk, the hymn’s not a specimen of high art, but it did manage to stick (at least partially) in memory all these years. I quoted the final words of the first stanza–inaccurately, as it turned out–“Sweet Spouse of our Lady, we lean safe on thee.” The text was composed by Father Faber, a writer of considerable talent, though this may not be the finest evidence of his talents. My quotation of this hymn text was meant to point to the towering figure of Saint Joseph as a pillar of strength. One ‘leans’ on someone who lends strength. Of the many ways we may profitably invoke Saint Joseph, his moral and spiritual strengths must not be overlooked.

The kind of power exemplified in Joseph is surely of a spiritual kind. Images of the Saint usually show him to be a man with a solid physical build. That’s appropriate enough since he was a carpenter, the head of the home and a caretaker for his beloved Bride and foster Son. His physical stature however corresponded to his many virtues. Scripture laconically speaks of him as “a just man,” that is, a man who kept the Law of God in its entirety. No accident that divine providence selected him to be the spouse of the holy Mother of Christ. The fullness of virtue which Joseph possessed made him well-suited as a husband for the Virgin Mother Mary and as the father-figure for the Son of God incarnate.

As I mentioned, again in my weekday sermonette, there is in the rectory a piece of sculpture that I have often admired (reproduced [temporarily] here). It’s a single block of marble out of which the artist (unknown) chiseled out the three figures of the Holy Family, with the infant Jesus in the arms of Mary, Joseph’s body bent over them in protective shelter. That’s how I think of Saint Joseph. Strong, manly, protective. The excellence of this art lies in its portrayal of Joseph as a human, guarding shield while, at the same time, indicating his loving gentleness in the way he cares for his family. That combination of virile tenderness and dutifulness makes Saint Joseph, to my mind, the ideal patron saint for every man. (Be not offended, dear ladies. His virtues are plentiful enough for you as well.)

The sore greatly smarting the Church (and the body of civil society as well) is receding masculinity, by which I don’t mean a lesser number of men in the world, nor the banishment of the muscleman or the playboy. These latter images abound and are more often caricatures of manly men than exemplars of them. It’s the responsible, dutiful, diligent and determined man of virtue that’s vanishing from families, society and from the Church. Whenever this happens we get a parody of manliness: violent aggression, destructiveness, cool detachment and unconcern for important matters: reactions due to the absence of true manly qualities. Readily available pornography is ruining the male psyche for its many users, disabling them from becoming good men. This ever-growing problem will probably mean more troubled marriages, more misery for families, fewer dedicated priests, and more troubled men and women in the time to come.

The hymn text which almost eluded my memory says, in part, “bleak sands are all round us.” The reference to the desert sands through which Saint Joseph led the Holy Family on their flight into Egypt was surely meant. The cultural desert sands of our time call out to Saint Joseph to be a patron for our fathers, our single men and our boys, to teach them how to become “just” in the eyes of God, virtuous men and boys. God gave the perfect exemplar of all the Christian virtues in this one great Saint. His time has come for this role particularly.

In honor of Blessed Joseph and in keeping with a long-standing parish tradition we will have the Italian (actually, it’s Sicilian) dinner in the gym after the noon Mass today. Meatless fare is the tradition. All are welcome to join in the festivities. There’s no specified cost, but donations help the parish.

Fr. Perrone

Tridentine Community News - EF Triduum venues, plummeting RC wedding & convert stats since 1965, new U.S. choir school plans, TLM Mass listings

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

Tridentine Community News by Alex Begin (March 22, 2015):
Tridentine Triduum Opportunities

The Traditional Latin Easter Triduum services are a profound liturgical experience. Each of the three days contains elaborate ceremony and ritual commemorating our Lord’s Passion. We are fortunate to be able to experience these services at multiple local sites. The below locations have announced Triduum services according to the Extraordinary Form.

Musically, the Triduum promises to be special: Wassim Sarweh will direct a full choir at the Academy of the Sacred Heart and Holy Name of Mary. Members of Windsor’s St. Benedict Tridentine Community professional choir will join in singing at the Academy.
Holy Thursday
Academy of the Sacred Heart Chapel, Bloomfield Hills: 7:00 PM
Celebrant: Msgr. Ronald Browne
St. Josaphat Church, Detroit: 7:00 PM

Good Friday
- St. Josaphat: 12:00 Noon
- Academy of the Sacred Heart: 1:30 PM
Celebrant: Fr. Louis Madey
- Holy Name of Mary Church, Windsor: 5:30 PM
Celebrant: Fr. Peter Hrytsyk

Easter Vigil
- Academy of the Sacred Heart: 8:00 PM
Celebrant: Fr. Louis Madey
- St. Josaphat: 8:00 PM
LMS Charts Weddings and Receptions into the Church

Following up on our March 1 column, in which statistics were published showing a precipitous decline in vocations to the priesthood in the United States from 1965 onwards, on March 10 Dr. Joseph Shaw, Chairman of the Latin Mass Society of England and Wales, published charts showing the number of receptions into the Catholic Faith in England over the past several decades, as well as the number of Catholic weddings. Once again, 1965 proved to be a watershed year, with numbers dramatically falling thereafter.

Granted, society experienced significant upheavals in the 1960s, but one cannot escape the fact that 1965 also happened to be the year the Catholic Church began to implement major changes to the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass that had far-reaching effects in the life of the Church. It is not unreasonable to attribute some cause and effect. If one accepts that line of logic, is the solution to press ahead with yet more changes, or to return to the apparently more successful pre-1965 practices? Faced with an analogous situation, the Coca Cola Company took swift action in the 1980s, with one key difference: The reintroduction of Classic Coke was not restricted to a few selected retailers; every store that carried their product line stocked both the new and old formulas. The market decided which product would succeed.

Dr. Shaw offers the following suggestions to bring the numbers back up: Make the Church “serious, demanding, and holy”, and return to the clarity of pre-Conciliar teachings. In other words, raise expectations, and more people may just come to the table.

Third U.S. Choir School Planned

For decades, the United States has only had two full-time Catholic choir schools: St. Paul’s Choir School in Cambridge, Massachusetts, an all-boys program; and the Cathedral of the Madeleine Choir School in Salt Lake City, Utah, with both boys and girls. Plans have now been announced for a third, at Most Pure Heart of Mary Parish in Topeka, Kansas. The parish’s [part-time] 45-member boys-and-girls Schola Cantorum will be integrated with the 400-member parish school, with the result being a [full-time] choir school-within-a-school. Though the parish does not (yet) offer the Extraordinary Form, the repertoire of the Schola Cantorum is predominantly Latin, much as it is at St. Paul’s Choir School.

Tridentine Masses This Coming Week
  • Mon. 03/23 7:00 PM: Low Mass at St. Josaphat (Feria of Passiontide)
  • Tue. 03/24 7:00 PM: Low Mass at Holy Name of Mary (Feria of Passiontide)
  • Fri. 03/27 7:00 PM: Low Mass at St. Josaphat (Feria of Passiontide) – First Tridentine Mass of Fr. Stephen Pullis. Reception for young adults age 18-35 follows Mass, organized by Juventútem Michigan
[Comments? Please e-mail tridnews@detroitlatinmass.org. Previous columns are available at http://www.detroitlatinmass.org. This edition of Tridentine Community News, with minor editions, is from the St. Albertus (Detroit), Academy of the Sacred Heart (Bloomfield Hills), and St. Alphonsus and Holy Name of Mary Churches (Windsor) bulletin inserts for March 22, 2015. Hat tip to Alex Begin, author of the column.]

Tridentine Masses coming this week to metro Detroit and east Michigan

Tridentine Masses This Coming Week

Saturday, March 21, 2015

The Façade of "Mercy"

Cardinal Dolan to Michael Voris at the St. Patrick's Day parade: "Love to have ya!"

The problem behind what the eye sees may run deeper when one consider's Cardinal Dolan's Gay Problem.

In other news, there is an interesting discussion HERE of
  1. the NYC St. Patrick's Day Parade (interview with C.J. Doyle of Catholic Action League);
  2. an interview with Paul McGregor of Holy Innocents Parish about the reason why Fr. Wylie was exiled to a very dangerous area of S. Africa, which involved not merely his defence of the TLM at Holy Innocents in NYC, but his whistle-blowing on financial malfeasance by Msgr. Francis Chullikatt of the Holy See's United Nations Permanent Observer Mission, in connection with the Path to Peace Foundation affiliated with the Holy See's United Nations Permanent Observer Mission; and
  3. the arbitrary hold put on the cause for the beatification of the Venerable Archbishop Fulton Sheen by the Archdiocese of New York (a.k.a. Cardinal Dolan): he doesn't want to release Sheen's body to be moved back to Peoria, IL -- why? because he wants the income from a prospective shrine to Sheen at St. Patrick's Cathedral to fill the archdiocese coffers with pilgrim's financial offerings? -- all speculations the Cardinal could immediately end by an announcement of his reasons for putting a hold on the beatification process.

Adam, Even, and Genesis - the implications of revisionism

It's always an interesting exercise to review the implications of revising the traditional account. We all know of Catholics we've met or heard about who dismiss the historicity of Adam and Eve, and who consign the first eleven chapters of Genesis to the murky primordial world of "myth."

The importance of thinking more deeply about the implications of such moves on the Biblical-theological chessboard, however, is not always readily seen. For example, an alternative to the traditional Catholic view that Adam and Eve were historically real, first parents of humanity (as Jesus Christ is the "New Adam" and new root of regenerated and redeemed humanity), is the view that they are only "symbols," whatever that is taken to mean. On that view, the Fall (Original Sin) is not to be taken as anything so naively parochial as a "historical event," but rather to be understood as a "fatal flaw" in our nature, empirically confirmed by the pervasive selfishness of human beings we see all about us and in ourselves. Problem with that: it makes God the author of sin, of our sinful nature, because it means there was never a human being with a pre-lapsarian (non-fallen) nature and so God made us selfish and sinfully-disposed. In this case, as Baudilaire famously quipped: if God exists, he's the Devil! (Something like that)

Well here we have an example of someone toying with revisionist interpretation of Genesis, only he's not nearly so radical as the aforementioned views, because he still believes that Adam was a "historical" person. Yet the implications of even his views are far more revolutionary that he suggests. Have a look: "The Lost World of Adam and Eve" (Christianity Today, March 19, 2015): "Old Testament scholar John Walton affirms a historical Adam -- but says there are far more important dimension to Genesis." Yeah. Right. Interviewed by Kevein P. Emmert, John Walton is Professor of Old Testament at Wheaton College, the flagship academic institution of Billy Grahm Evangelicalism in the United States.

Here is what one of our readers writes about this piece:
Let's be frank and let's be honest. If you are going to say "I believe Adam was a real person, but literarily he represents more than just who he was," shouldn't we ask, "How can someone literally be more than who he was?" Are we so determined to try to reconcile the Bible and 'science' that we will swallow such sophistry? And that [sophistry] is without question just what this is, well-intentioned or not. If Walton's take is accepted, it will not only be the world of Adam and Eve or Genesis that will be lost -- all the eager and impassioned endorsements to the contrary. I am increasingly convinced that Original Sin as classically understood is the acid test of orthodox Christianity. [Amen to that!]

From Christianity Today, of all places. Reported as if it is nothing unusual at all [emphasis added]. With no com box option! The ghost of Carl Henry would be spinning in its grave if it hadn't been here diced and quartered under a cone of silence. [Not to mention what Billy Graham would think of this, if he could attend to its import at age 97.]
For further reading:[Hat tip to JM]

Friday, March 20, 2015

"Vatican Diary / The two-step of the Argentine pope"

Sandro Magister: "Perfectly in keeping with tradition when he talks about abortion, divorce, homosexuality. But also open to changes in doctrine and practice. An anthology that intensifies the mystery."
... The novelty of this pontificate is that along with [orthodox] reaffirmations of perennial doctrine it also gives free rein to doctrines and pastoral practices of a different and sometimes opposite nature....

[Hat tip to Paul Borealis]

"The Synod Market Index. Kasper Down, Caffarra Up"

Sandro Magister: "Even Pope Francis is distancing himself from the former and taking sides with the latter. And staying on good terms with Cardinal Müller. And promoting the African Sarah. All unyielding defenders of the Catholic doctrine on marriage."
ROME, March 20, 2015 – “This does not resolve anything,” Pope Francis has said with regard to the idea of giving communion to the divorced and remarried. Much less if they “want” it, demand it. Because communion “is not a badge, a decoration. No.”

In his latest big interview Jorge Mario Bergoglio threw cold water on the expectations for substantial change in the doctrine and practice of Catholic marriage, which he himself had indirectly fostered:

... “Overblown expectations,” he called them. With no more references to the innovative theses of Cardinal Walter Kasper, which he had repeatedly extolled in the past but now seems to be keeping at a distance.

On the other hand, for some time now Pope Francis has looked with growing attention and esteem at another cardinal theologian, who upholds ideas on the “Gospel of marriage” that are perfectly in line with tradition: the Italian Carlo Caffarra, archbishop of Bologna.

[Hat tip to Paul Borealis]

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Whose Gospel? Which Mercy?

Ross Douthat identifies the three groups of Roman Catholic conservatives who are critical of Pope Francis: 1) traditionalists, 2) Catholics who are economic conservatives or libertarians, and 3) doctrinal conservatives.

Then, out of the blue, comes this carrier pigeon with a printed email from Guy Noir containing the following message: "On Ross Dothan's article, here is this bitchy Protestant insight":
One way of interpreting this is to say that conservative Roman Catholics are concerned about the language of the liturgy, the economy, or the family. Where, Protestants may wonder, among these criticisms of the pope is a concern about mortal sin and protecting the church as a means of grace for freeing believers from guilt and condemnation? To be fair, Douthat himself as one of the doctrinal conservatives has raised the issue of mortal sin and whether the church could conceivably turn a blind eye to it if it tolerates people on second marriages, or gay couples to take communion.

But it is striking to this observer how little concern there seems to be for defending and maintaining the gospel as set forth by the Council of Trent or even John Paul II’s catechism. It could be that these are settled matters that need no more attention. But if you have ever studied the history of Protestantism, such silence about the most important teachings of the church are likely an indication not of confidence but of indifference. [emphasis mine - PP]
OoooOOOOOooooo! Bitchy indeed. But an insight too. How should we pertinacious papists answer, do you think?

Here's what Noir says: "And I'd agree. My biggest anxiety right now is people seem to be advocating different gospels and different 'mercies.' From the Church, that's dizzying. Forgiveness is an offer, not a fact. But the media message from the papal reporting is 'Love has won. Don't sweat it.' Or as Amy Grant sings, "Don't try so hard." Which makes building Chartres Cathedral seem a bit of a farce, no?"

"The very rationale God gives for instituting the death penalty is the same rationale now given to abolish it!"

Boniface, "A Reminder About Capital Punishment" (Unam Sanctam Catholicam, March 12, 2015), via Elliot Bougis, "Rainbows and puppy dog tails ..." (FideCogitActio, March 17, 2015). Some insightful observations here.

[Hat tip to JM]

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

"Cardinal rebukes head of German bishops: We can’t ignore Christ’s teaching on marriage"

"Cardinal rebukes head of German bishops: We can’t ignore Christ’s teaching on marriage" (LifeSiteNews, March 11, 2015):
German Cardinal Paul Josef Cordes, who headed the Papal Council Cor Unum until 2010 and was made a cardinal by Pope Benedict XVI, has publicly opposed the words and direction of the German Bishops' Conference....

First of all, Cardinal Cordes rebuked Cardinal Marx for his claim that the Catholic Church looks to and expects much from the Church in Germany. He noted that Germany has barely any supernatural Faith left (only 16.2 percent of German Catholics believe in a Triune God, as a personal God with a Face, instead of an abstraction), so therefore, Germany is hardly a model for any other country concerning the Faith.

[Hat tip to Dr. Ralph Martin]

Cardinal Kasper on how Pope Francis sees the Church

Walter Kasper, "How Pope Francis Sees the Church" (Commonweal, March 13, 2015).

No surprises here. I can't help remembering the question that arises when reading Plato: Is Plato merely reporting what Socrates said, or is Socrates a mouthpiece for the projected opinions of Plato?

Either way, it's interesting: Kasper dies state, however, that the Pope's "pastoral" style is more than "good-natured folsiness" or "cheap populism." Behind it stands an "entire theology," he says. It's deliberate.

What are its elements? The Church, as the people of God, "transcends every institutional expression." It is rooted in God's mercy. It eschews every form of clericalism ("Laypeople are ... the vast majority of the people of God"). It recognizes the indispensable contribution of women. It recognizes the importance of young people and recognizes their difficulties. It puts a premium on the sensus fidei. It seeks "a magisterium that listens." In terms of the Sacraments, the Church is viewed as "a merciful mother with an open heart for all," seeking to reconcile those in irregular relationships. It regards as wrong an attitude that stays fixated on "hot potatoes." It seeks to grow, not by proselytism but by attracting. "God is a God of the journey ..." It wants to "touch Christ ... in the poor." Its "paradigm shift" takes as its model the Good Samaritan. The "guiding star of evangelization and of this kind of pastoral care is Mary, Jesus mother -- and our mother." It's magna carta is Evangelii gaudium, in which Pope Francis writes:
... I would like to remind you that “pastoral care” is nothing other than the exercise of the church’s motherhood. She gives birth, breastfeeds, lets grow, corrects, nourishes, leads by the hand.... There is need therefore for a church that is capable of rediscovering the womb of mercy. Without mercy it is scarcely possible today to penetrate into a world of the “injured,” who need understanding, forgiveness, and love.

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

"Is the Synod Secretariat Stacking the Deck Again?"

Edward Pentin, "Is the Synod Secretariat Stacking the Deck Again?" (National Catholic Register, March 14, 2015). A suspicious squint at developing plans.

Is marriage an end-in-itself, an absolute good and, hence, a "right"? Or something else?

The writer unifies all of the 'Marriage Crisis' concerns by applying a dose of Catholic pragmatism that both affirms and disputes, and in doing so diagnoses what ails us -- too much concern for this world. Too much of it is quotable, but here are these parts ...

Patricia Snow, "Dismantling the Cross" (April 2005):
Contrary to popular impressions, the documents of Vatican II did not break with this traditional understanding. The same documents that resoundingly affirm marriage continue to assign to celibacy an “eminent” position, one “always . . . held in particular honor in the Church.” In the language of Lumen Gentium, the religious, by his profession, seeks “more abundant fruit” from the grace of his baptism, is “more intimately consecrated to divine service,” ... In St. John Chrysostom’s formulation, “It is something better than what is admitted to be good that is the most excellent good,” a conclusion echoed by John Paul II. “Virginity, or celibacy, by liberating the human heart in a unique way bears witness that the Kingdom of God . . . is that pearl of great price which is preferred to every other value no matter how great.”

Put another way, the Catholic view of human life and history is never circular but always teleological, always “straining forward,” in the words of St. Paul, “to what lies ahead” (Phil. 3:13). Catholic family life is not ordered to itself, but to what is future and ultimate: life with God and his saints in heaven. Catholic families do not bear children simply so that their children may bear children, and so on. They bear children for God. ...

Few families in the history of the Church have risen to the level of the Martins in this regard. But whether acted upon or not, whether explicit or implicit, there was a consensus in Christendom as to the direction and meaning of human life. When mortality was high and childbearing dangerous, when there was no Viagra or estrogen therapy, there were few illusions about the duration of either sexuality or marriage, and there was a general acknowledgment that, soon enough, everyone would be obedient, celibate, and poor. While the vast majority of people in those days chose marriage in the first place, if they outlived their spouse they were less likely than our contemporaries to choose marriage again. Even before death intervened, a small minority of spouses separated by mutual agreement and entered monasteries. Many more widows and widowers did the same. Marriage was not regarded as a treadmill to be endlessly resumed, but as a passing phase of life, even as everyone, married or not, was passing from earth to heaven, where “they neither marry nor are given in marriage” (Matt. 22:30).

In the view of St. Ignatius, marriage was so provisional a state that it was scarcely deserving of a vow, for “it must be remembered that a vow deals with matters that lead us closer to evangelical perfection. Hence, whatever tends to withdraw one from perfection may not be made the object of a vow, for example, a business career, the married state, and so forth.” If we bristle at this seemingly low view of marriage, we might remember that in Ignatius’s day most marriages lasted until death, suggesting that what holds a marriage together more effectively than a promise or vow is the larger faith tradition in which an individual marriage is embedded.

Sex in the City of San Francisco: "Who-am-I-to-judge?" gone-to-seed

The following arrived in a Fed-Ex from Guy Noir - Private Eye from an undisclosed location in sub-Saharan Africa. Heaven knows what he's doing there. I certainly didn't ask him to go there. But here's what he had to say in the enclosed missive:
Over at The Week there is a piece about "The Fledgling Legacy of the great Pope Francis" (no I am not embellishing the headline: what is it with Catholics and this new instant deployment of 'great' when discussing their popes, anyway?) Here is how [Pascal-Emmanuel] Gobry gushes over the Franciscan philosophy:
Each one of us is called to render all things for the greater glory of God, and we become truly free from what separates us from God when we follow our calling...

[A]cross history, a big failing of Catholicism has come in this experiential side of faith for everyday people. The Church has always had its mystics, of course, but it's easy for Catholicism, with its rites and laws, to be turned in everyday life into a simple and lifeless set of boxes to check and actions to perform.

Francis understands that getting rid of this sort of Catholicism, and instead emphasizing a strongly spiritual and living Catholicism for everyday Catholics is what will rejuvenate the Church. That is what he has oriented his legacy towards.
Scant mention of sin, salvation, or change. Lots of assumptions of fulfilling experience and human potential.

That, I would argue, is the blossoming legacy of this "Who Am I To Judge?" papacy, even if said quote was taken out of context. The exact same currents and an example of how they alter the terrain in terms of cause-and-effect is on full display in this scenario being playing out in one of the churches of one of Archbishop Cardileone's separated brethren:

Robert A. J. Gagnon
[an EXCELLENT scholar, by the way!], "Why San Francisco's Largest Evangelical Church is Wrong About Sex" (First Things, March 17, 2015).

Wherein Andy Stanley meets Walter Kasper, or possibly Mel White enjoys some empathetic brainstorming with Frs. Martin and Barron. All in the name of avoiding harm and cultivating human flourishing. For those curious as to what the Church will sound like in 50 years, barring the surprise rise of a bonafide Traditionalist to the chair of Peter. The church's p.r. contact explained, as reported in "San Francisco's Evangelical City Church Will No Longer Ask LGBT Members To Be Celibate" (Huffington Post, March 16, 2015):
"Churches are slowly coming to recognize that if God is bringing people to them who are LGBT they have to meet them where they are and not demand that they change," Turner said. "Telling LGBT people they have to change before they can become Christians is leading to depression, suicide and addiction and we won’t do that anymore.
Play this against our Pope's "Everyone knows the Church's teaching..." Today it is much more like "Everyone demurs from the Church's teaching..." Which would call for a vital support for it, Instead, we witness the ongoing erosion.

It's No small church either, as the website impressively reveals: very cool... In some ways I would like to attend!

"City Church, San Francisco" (Home page)

The laughable thing here is that City Church still insists it condemns gay sex *outside of marriage,* like this is an important or noble distinction. More like an unreal one. Find me a planet, or even just a city block in San Francisco, where self-proclaimed gay men live who believe that all gay sex *outside of marriage* is wrong and that homosexuals should remain virgins until married. (Not to mention the fact that the case for celibacy outside of marriage rests every bit as much on Tradition with a capital 'T' as it does on any literal exegesis of texts.)

"Should the Jews leave Europe?" -- Unbelievable

Jeffrey Goldberg, "Is It Time for the Jews to Leave Europe?" (The Atlantic, April, 2015).


Saint Patrick: "He rooted up infidelity, and planted catholicity in this country"

At my Guy Noir debriefing 5 hours ago, he pointed out the article below, declaring: "It's a bonus, I guess, of tradition ... This is terrific. I only also laugh because when I read these words I thought, "Wow! Who talks like that anymore?" But of course they don't (Notice the date for the Bishop: 1804.) LOL."

He was referring, of course, to a piece of writing by the Rev. Fr. William Gahan, O.S.A. (1732-1804) posted under the heading of "Saint Patrick: 'He rooted up infidelity, and planted catholicity in this country'" (Rorate Caeli, March 17, 2015) [emphasis from RC]:
Mementóte praepositorum Vestrorum, qui vobis locuti sunt Verbum Dei— imitamini fidem — doctrinis variis et
peregrinis nolite abduci.

Heb. c. xiii. v. 7 et 9.
Remember your Prelates, who have spoken to you the word of God—whose faith follow—and be not led away by
various and strange doctrines.

Heb. c. xiii. v. 7. 9.

When the Almighty singles out men to be the extraordinary messengers of his councils, oracles of his wisdom, instruments of his grace and channels of his boundless mercies, he confers on them those wonderful gifts, talents and virtues, that are requisite to qualify them for the execution of his orders, and for the accomplishment of the grand designs of his all ruling providence. Thus he qualified Moses, Aaron and the Prophets in the old Law, and the twelve Apostles in the new Law, for the solemn embassy and the heavenly commission on which he was pleased to send them. He invested them with every power they stood in need of, in order to discharge the duties of their ministry with success; he communicated to them all the eminent gifts and talents that were necessary, to enable them to encounter the difficulties and surmount all the obstacles which stood in their way, and which attended the due execution of the high commission they were charged with.

Among many other renowned characters and remarkable instances of this truth, we may justly rank St. Patrick, the glorious Apostle and Patron of Ireland, whose feast the Church solemnizes this day, and honours with the privilege of a plenary indulgence, extended to the faithful of the whole kingdom on every day of the ensuing octave. When the Lord in his great goodness singled him out, for the grand work of the conversion of this remote corner of the then known world to the Christian and Catholic religion, when he sent him as an instrument of his divine mercy to announce the mystery of the cross to our ancestors, and to enlighten a people, who, as the Scripture phrase expresses it, were sitting in darkness and in the gloomy shades of death, he qualified him in every respect for the arduous enterprise, and made him at once a most zealous Apostle and an illustrious Saint, that he might diffuse the light of the Gospel all over this island by his indefatigable zeal, and establish the spirit of the Gospel by his eminent sanctity. It is under these two considerations that I intend to represent St. Patrick to you at present, as a precious vessel of election and model of Christian perfection. He rooted up infidelity, and planted catholicity in this country; he banished vice and immorality, and promoted the practice of true piety and solid virtue both by his word and example. Behold the plan of the following discourse and the subject of your favourable attention. Let us previously invoke the aid of the Holy Ghost, through the intercession of the blessed Virgin, greeting her with the words of the Angel, [Ave Maria....]

From the Dream Journal of Joseph Biden ...

Fashionista alert

Matthew Schmitz, "Dolce & Gabbana: 'The only family is the traditional one'” (First Things, March 14, 2015).

An exclamation!

And a question from Guy Noir: "So is a downturn in the number of Ministers of Music sprightly sporting D & G ware now pretty much inevitable?"

Monday, March 16, 2015

Fr. Perrone: Reflections on penitential discipline mid-way through Lent

Fr. Eduard Perrone, "A Pastor's Descant" [temporary link] (Assumption Grotto News, March 15, 2015):
Over the years I’ve maintained a certain childlike (my detractors would say ‘childish’) attitude towards Lent. I still believe in the value of penitential practices of self-denial, such as giving up desserts and sweets (a favorite thing in Lent for kids in my day), fasting for the forty days (as adults once did in former times), and the avoidance of entertainments. When modernity hit the Church, in the later ‘60s and after, such things were regarded with disdain, as unworthy of mature Catholics. Reading the bible for Lent (a thing much talked about but not much observed), doing good for the needy (harder to practice than to talk about), going to Mass more often during the week (this was sometimes done)–these were thought substitutes for the works of penance for a Catholicism come of age. While those alternative things are good in themselves–but not diligently followed–a dimension of the spiritual life was missing in this new, positive emphasis. Doing the harder things was an admission of the fallenness and weakness of human nature which can be remedied only by hard measures. Would that there was an easier way to self discipline apart from them! When it became evident that Catholics were losing the “salty” distinction, it was almost too late to turn back to those discarded disciplines which had come to be regarded antiquated and unworthy of human dignity. The road back to a more circumscribed observance of Lent is difficult for anyone to find once it’s been abandoned. I’m glad to see now that some young families have recognized the value of doing penance and are instilling this virtue into their children once again. “Unless you do penance, you will perish,” are God’s words. There really is no substitute for ascetical (penitential) practices, the good of which does not lie in their severity but in the healthful outcome they offer for having a greater freedom to live as a true disciple of Christ. My encouragement is to keep going in your Lenten resolves and, should you have relaxed them, take them up once again.

This brings me to say that we have now arrived at Lent’s midpoint, today being Lætare Sunday. It’s a very Catholic thing, don’t you know, that when one is carefully observant of the rules that one can also, at the right moment and prudently, let up on the restraints and celebrate. I’d go so far as to say that only one who has experienced a lack or privation of some good thing fully knows it’s value. Conversely, no one appreciates a thing less than one who is spoiled, having all, all of the time. One of the little beauties of Lent is that at this time the Church, with the finishing line of Easter day in view, can bid us to rejoice. This is the meaning of Lætare Sunday, with its rose-colored vestments, the return of the organ and with flowers placed on the altar. And so, celebrate a little today, not to lose what you may have gained, but to increase your eagerness to attain the spiritual rewards of Easter. Perhaps I’ll just have some ice cream today (there go my childish ways again).

One more joyful note is the approach of Saint Joseph’s Day, March 19th, which falls this year on Thursday of this week. With all due respect to the Irish observance of Saint Patrick’s on Tuesday, Saint Joseph is a saint of universal relevance and importance for the Church....

Fr. Perrone