Thursday, April 30, 2015

Point-counter-point on Cardinal Robert Sarah

Too little time to comment on the following, but two very interesting and radically opposed "readings" of the significance of Cardinal Robert Sarah and his best-selling 434-page Dieu ou Rien [God or Nothing] (Fayard, 2015):
  • Samuel Gregg, "Cardinal Kasper could learn from this African bishop" (Crisis, April 13, 2015) - an all-positive, thoughtful appreciation of the insights of the good Cardinal by the Research Director at the Acton Institute.

  • Louie Verrecchio, "Cardinal Sarah interview nothing to cheer about" (Harvesting the Fruit of the Vatican II, March 6, 2015) - a self-professed "rain on the parade" analysis of all that's wrong with Cardinal Sarah's views by the Al Pacino of la cosa nostra tradizione cattolica.
[Hat tip to JM]

Rome as others see her: Called to Communion? to be Catholic? to Denial?

It's always helpful, in my opinion, to get a second opinion; in this case, to get a sympathetic outsider's take on Rome's performance. It goes without saying, of course, that any outsider (even a sympathetic one) is going to lack a faithful insider's commitment and the perspective that offers. Yet even an outsider can help us to see what message we're communicating and how it's being perceived and received.

In "Which Call?" (Old Life, April 29, 2015), D. G. Hart comments on a conference on polarization in the Roman Catholic Church in the United States hosted by The University of Notre Dame’s Center for the Study of Religion and Society. (See the plenary session round table here.)

Hart notes that while the folks at Notre Dame recognize diversity in the Church, conservative Catholics tend to see unity as the "real" condition of their communion, ignoring the large groups of problem children within the Church.

From here, Hart compares and contrasts the "Called to Communion" paradigm of such Catholics with an older liberal "Called to be Catholic" proposal revisited recently by Commonweal here. He closes by bringing up a third possibility after remarking as follows on the Commmonweal discussion:
Not much there about motives of credibility, papal audacity, Thomas Aquinas, or John Henry Newman.

So which is it? Is it Called to Communion or Called to be Catholic? You can only chalk up such questions to Protestant perversity for so long before you finally admit a problem. Or you change your theme to Called to Denial.
The problem isn't Sacred Tradition, as such, but the lack of clarity about the professed relation of contemporary Catholicism to that Tradition. As one reader recently wrote:
"Rome: please share.... just what IS the authentic faith? Helping people? Seeing the goodness of all, and simply basking in God's redemptive action as an accomplished fact? Or declaring sin, salvation, and the peril of the present moment?

"Because based on the words I read online, I have no idea where Church leaders' hearts are. And I know I am not alone. How about some real, man-to-man and man-to-woman frankness, as opposed to common man posing? Just what is it that you believe? From Rome, I would argue the message right now is anyone's guess. 'God has spoken.' OK, can we hear what he had to say, clearly and reliably and without coy set reporter spin?"
[Hat tip to JM]

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Stark

From Guy Noir - Private Eye:
Talk about an acid test.

Try this line out, with just about any priest or parishioner in any parish anywhere these days, and watch the reaction. I double dare you. I don't know what it is an acid test for, but it certainly is an acidic one.

"...[T]he entire human race save those who have been regenerated in baptism are condemned!"

Source: Boniface, "Enemies of Contrition" (Unam Sanctam Catholicam, April 12, 2015).
The Boniface post is good, provocative, and worth reading, as always. Recommended.

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

As the "Trads" see it


It's not always easy anymore to distinguish some of what is written by those who call themselves "Traditionalists" and those who call themselves "Conservatives." Certainly there are differences, but in the complaints and criticisms of recent trends, the lines seem to blur a bit, sometimes significantly.

It's been interesting catching up on what the "Trads" are saying of late. Here's a quick survey. Keep in mind, this is only a survey, and I'm not necessarily promoting the views expressed in these articles. It is interesting to see what is being said. Some opinions strike me as reasonable; others are so radically different from what one reads in what Michael Voris calls the "Catholic Establishment Media," that one wonders whether each party inhabits the same planet. Still, one can read and learn:Maybe one of these days, we'll take a tour of Commonweal, National Catholic Reporter, U.S. Catholic, and Catholic Worker.

Sunday, April 26, 2015

"Francis: Facts + Fears Moving Forward"

Our correspondent, Guy Noir, writes in recommendation of Ross Douthat's article, "Will Pope Francis Break the Church?" (Atlantic, May 2015), and calls Ross Douthat's article
A masterful mash-up of three biographies, and an irenic marshaling of words that nonetheless confirms the instincts of many: Francis is a genial, aging Jesuit who believes, yes, but has also lived such a varied life, witnessed so much Catholicism that seems in spirit so unChristian, and finally followed the reigning progressive-moderate theology to its logical conclusions. And so he's inevitably become a Vatican version of a disarming, retirement-aged Barrack Obama. Once you see it, you can't not — all the explanations and conservative Catholic spin to the contrary.
Is that a fair characterization of Douthat's article? Is it a fair characterization of the pontificate of Pope Francis? This isn't the first time I've heard such parallels drawn, even by well-known conservative Catholic colleagues. I hardly know what to say. Douthat is a thoughtful, respected journalist, but we also do need to read widely and carefully.

"After all that," says Noir, "read Mullarkey if you can." He refers to Maureen Mullarkey's "Notes on an Idol" (First Things, April 21, 2015), in which she says, among other things:
"The mission of the Church is to keep man mindful that he has another life to live. When the Church maneuvers to be counted a player among the principalities and powers, the subversion of Christian truth and charity has begun."
Finally, Noir asks, echoing the title of Douthat's article: "Can a successor of St. Peter break the Church? I don't know. But he most certainly can subvert its mission and contribute to its deformation."

We Catholics do have an extensive historical list of "anti-popes" and "bad popes," true. I think an acquaintance with that history bolsters our confidence that the Church can weather just about any storm; but I also do know that we are not absolved by our faith in that tenet from our own responsibility in defending and supporting and promoting the Catholic Faith in our own lifetimes.

Tridentine Community News - Office Building Chapels, 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 (April 26, 2015):
Office Building Chapels

Not every Catholic worship site is a full-fledged parish. Most of us are aware of chapels in schools and universities, including our own Academy of the Sacred Heart Chapel. Some shrine churches are not parishes, for example St. Albertus Church and the Divine Mercy Center in the Archdiocese of Detroit, and the Shrine of St. Joseph in St. Louis, Missouri. There are also non-parish churches located in office districts which exist to serve local workers, such as St. Peter’s in the Loop, Chicago (http://www.stpetersloop.org). Along these lines, some of the Catholic world’s better kept secrets are chapels improbably located inside of office buildings, a few examples of which follow:

Ave Maria Chapel at Domino’s Farms, Ann Arbor: Inside the sprawling Frank Lloyd Wright-inspired Domino’s Farms complex, adjacent to the studios of WDEO-AM, is a chapel where Mass is offered four times each day. One of landlord Tom Monaghan’s many Catholic projects, the chapel originally served the employees of Domino’s as well as the once-nearby Ave Maria University. Today it is open to all. Confessions are offered there, and it is not uncommon to see students from the University of Michigan lined up in the corridor of the office building awaiting their turn. (http://www.dominosfarms.com/amuchapel/)


TACOM Chapel, Warren, Michigan: St. Hyacinth Church Tridentine Mass organizer Mike Smigielski supplied us with this photo of a chapel inside the tank plant, where Holy Mass is offered on Wednesdays. It’s not entirely clear how or why this chapel was established, but a dedicated team of volunteers keeps it running. The TACOM Chapel is not open to the public.


St. Francis Chapel, Boston: Perhaps the busiest office building chapel in North America, this one is located in a retail storefront on the ground floor of the enormous Prudential Center office tower and mall. It is open for daily Mass, Confessions, and adoration. (http://www.stfrancischapel.org/en/)


Queen of Life Chapel, Irvine, California: One of many outside-the-box projects of attorney, hotelier, and Catholic philanthropist Tim Busch, this chapel is located inside Busch’s law firm. Originally holding one Mass per week on Thursdays at 11:50 AM, the chapel now hosts Mass Monday-Friday, weekly Adoration, and even an Anglican Use community on Sundays. It is open to the public. (http://www.queenoflifechapel.org/)


You might be wondering: Do any such chapels offer the Traditional Latin Mass? That’s hard to know, given that many of these chapels don’t make much of an attempt to publicize their existence. However this writer can testify to the existence of one such chapel: In the early 1990s, on the lower level of the Arco Tower in downtown Los Angeles, the St. Bernardine Chapel was the location of one of L.A.’s then-indult Tridentine Masses, in addition to hosting weekday Masses in the Ordinary Form. The St. Bernardine Chapel closed later in the decade, most likely due to the high rents in the district.

Tridentine Masses This Coming Week
  • Mon. 04/27 7:00 PM: Low Mass at St. Josaphat (St. Peter Canisius, Confessor & Doctor)
  • Tue. 04/28 7:00 PM: Low Mass at Holy Name of Mary (St. Paul of the Cross, Confessor)
  • Fri. 05/01 7:00 PM: High Mass at St. Joseph (St. Joseph the Workman) – First Friday
[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 April 26, 2015. Hat tip to Alex Begin, author of the column.]

Fr. Perrone on the Importance of Intellectual Catechesis, Sacred Tradition, & Prayer in Knowing Christ

Fr. Eduard Perrone, "A Pastor's Descant" [temporary link] (Assumption Grotto News, April 26, 2015):
A few things converge in my mind, leading to the subject matter here.
In our home school classes on Wednesdays we are attempting a bold enterprise: a course in Christology. That would be quite an undertaking for anybody. For high school students, it’s a near impossibility. I knew that in proposing the study in the first place but I wanted to see how far we could go. The central problem in general is that theological study, especially of the Catholic kind, presumes a grounding in philosophy and familiarity with its terminology. This is not something easily to be had and cannot be compensated for by improvised explanations of the moment. In musical terms, it would be like attempting to play a piano concerto when one had not first learnt the fundamentals of piano technique. One can, without the preliminary studies, grasp some things, but a great deal must be left undone. Was it then a foolish attempt to have a course in Christology for high schoolers? My purpose was to make known some of the complexity involved in trying to grasp divine things–in this case, the study of Christ–to expand the mind, if you will. Religious studies in a number of parishes are reduced to reading bible stories and to some sentimental aspects of religion (usually religious enthusiasm). This is a great impoverishment because the mind seeks to understand, and in the Catholic tradition there is a great deal to be understood. The Church would have a lot to impart to questing minds about many things in our faith. Too often, however, our kids are not taught even the basics of the faith in catechetical instruction, an omission which leaves them high and dry when they mature and begin to ask the deeper questions about faith only to find little or nothing in their mental store to lead them to a an understanding. The result is proved by the stats. Kids drop out of going to Mass and often leave the Church on account of the conjunction of two factors: 1) the awakening of adolescence, which causes an interior rebellion against the moral teachings of God and the Church leading to question the force both of their consciences and the moral authority of anyone, parents or priests, over them, and 2) the lack of solid religious instruction in the basics of the faith that should have been implanted in them in their youth through catechetical instruction.

Another matter which stirred me to write is reading a critical review of a very prominent Protestant theologian’s work on Christ. He makes some very basic errors where a good grounding in the Catholic tradition would have led him to truth. Here we see that the stored wisdom of Mother Church would have been a guiding light to the unfortunate man had he been well prepared to approach the daunting subject of Christ with the advantage of a Catholic background. 

The third influence pressing upon my mind to write is the experience of Christ that can be gained only through prayer. Where human ignorance is necessarily presumed in trying to grasp, comprehend, encompass God—an impossibility in the full sense, since God must remain beyond the capabilities of any finite intelligence—and where the dizzying experience of concupiscence tends to divert one from the paths of humble submission to God, the discovery of the Person of Christ through prayer secures a personal possession of Christ that can’t be had by religious instruction and moral discipline alone. Prayer is the indispensable means for spiritual maturity. One who does not pray is lost, both in the sense that he is consigned to meandering through life without the security of God’s friendship and in the ultimate sense of everlasting confusion in the next life.

The conclusion is inevitable. Unless one prays with humility, regularity, with perseverance, and with love for Christ, he can neither know Him in any deep sense nor remain in a state of grace. Possession of Christ is a need that is satisfied through the sacraments and through personal prayer. If you’re not doing these things, you will be lost, mentally, morally, and eternally.

Fr. Perrone

Tridentine Masses coming to metro Detroit and east Michigan this week


Tridentine Masses This Coming Week

On disadvantages of the Novus Ordo Mass in Africa


Joseph Shaw, "The Extraordinary Form and Sub-Saharan Africa" (Position Paper No. 25) (Fœderatio Internationalis Una Voce, April, 2015), via Rorate Caeli:
Catholics of the older generation often tell me that at the time of the introduction of the reformed liturgy, it was frequently justified as being necessary for 'the missions'. This paper points to a number of difficulties with the idea that the reformed liturgy is particularly suited to Africa.
Shaw also addresses the problem of inculturation on his own blog in a post entitled, "The Traditional Mass and Africa" (LMS Chairman, April 25, 2015):
[O]bviously, the Novus Ordo is bound to be more suited to the cultural conditions of Africa... right?

Wrong. The reality is that, unfortunatly, the Novus Ordo looks very much like ... aspects of modern European culture which have been arriving in Africa since colonial times, which are not respectful of authentic African culture. Alongside Hollywood films and consumerism, the Novus Ordo reflects the passage through European thinking of Rationalism and Romanticism. Insofar as one can see it as a good response to the cultural situation of modern Europe - and this is presumably the idea - then its attempt to make Catholicism less shocking and uncomfortable for people who don't understand the concept of the supernatural and instinctively reject the idea of tradition, it is addressing a situation totally removed from the situation in Africa. For most African Catholics, it is an answer to a question which is not being asked....

What the Church needs, in fact, is a form of worship which is clearly not pagan, but which still answers the spiritual needs of people who feel the pull of paganism. A liturgy which creates a sense of the sacred, of entering into the mysterium tremendum. What can too easily happen is just the opposite: a 'banal on-the-spot-product' (as Pope Benedict described it) with pagan ceremonies inserted into it at intervals, as we have all seen with Papal liturgies. African Catholics could be forgiven for thinking, in a liturgy like that, that it is the pagan stuff which is powerful, which connects with the transcendant, with the spirit world, and not the Christian stuff. That, obviously, is a disaster, even leaving aside the whole question of liturgical abuses.

What I would like to emphasise finally is that, however narrow-minded some of the missionary priests of old might have been (and by no means all of them were narrow-minded), having a totally Catholic but spiritually impressive liturgy like the Traditional Mass can today give priests and people the confidence to incorporate African customs into the life of the Church, without exposing themselves to the polemics of the Evangelicals or to any kind of syncretism. It is a great sadness that Africans should feel they have the abandon their indiginous names, music, or art, in order to become Christian: this is something Pope Paul VI spoke firmly against in 1967: 'an African man, when initiated into the Christian religion, is by no means forced to repudiate himself'. Cultural self-repudiation has never been the Church's demand of converts. The Traditional Mass is not part of the problem with inculturation, but part of the solution.

Support the work of the LMS by becoming an 'Anniversary Supporter'.
The Una Voce Position Paper (first referenced above) is actually the much more substantial article of the two, so please don't neglect to read it, if the subject interests you.

One recalls the massive success in Africa of the Superior General of the Holy Ghost Fathers, Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre, from 1932 until he ran afoul of Rome after Vatican II.


In 1948 he was appointed by Pope Pius XII as his Apostolic Delegate of Dakar, he oversaw the Catholic Church in 18 African countries. By 1959, his territory of apostolic work had expanded to 12 archdioceses, 36 dioceses, and 13 Italian Apostolic Prefectures including Morrocco, Algeria, Mauritania, Mali, Central African Republic, Senegal, Guinea, The Gambia, Cote d'Ivorie, Benin, Togo, Niger, Chad, Cameroon, Gabon, Congo, Madagascar, Le Reunion. One can find more on his testimony of the Catholic Faith's effect in Africa here [disclaimer: Rules 7-9]; and all of this took place well before the advent of the Novus Ordo in 1970.

Saturday, April 25, 2015

D. G. Hart and Ross Douthat: Should the tail of Papal biography wag the dog of Church policy?

D. G. Hart, "Should Biography Be So Important?" (Old Life, April 22, 2015):
Ross Douthat’s article on Pope Francis reflects the smarts, insights, and courage that characterizes almost everything the columnist writes. His conclusion about a potential disruption of the church by the current pope is again refreshing, especially coming from a conservative, since most converts and apologists hum merrily the tune of “nothing changes, we have the magisterium.” Douthat recognizes that this ecclesiology makes it almost impossible for conservatives to stop a progressive-led disruption:
In the age of Francis, this progressive faith seems to rest on two assumptions. The first is that the changes conservatives are resisting are, in fact, necessary for missionary work in the post-sexual-revolution age, and that once they’re accomplished, the subsequent renewal will justify the means. The second is that because conservative Catholics are so invested in papal authority, a revolution from above can carry all before it: the conservatives’ very theology makes it impossible for them to effectively resist a liberalizing pope, and anyway they have no other place to go.
But the first assumption now has a certain amount of evidence against it, given how many of the Protestant churches that have already liberalized on sexual issues—again, often dividing in the process—are presently aging toward a comfortable extinction. (As is, of course, the Catholic Church in Germany, ground zero for Walter Kasper’s vision of reform.)
Contemporary progressive Catholicism has been stamped by the experience of the Second Vatican Council, when what was then a vital American Catholicism could be invoked as evidence that the Church should make its peace with liberalism as it was understood in 1960. But liberalism in 2015 means something rather different, and attempts to accommodate Christianity to its tenets have rarely produced the expected flourishing and growth. Instead, liberal Christianity’s recent victories have very often been associated with the decline or dissolution of its institutional expressions.
Which leaves the second assumption for liberals to fall back on—a kind of progressive ultramontanism, which assumes that papal power can remake the Church without dividing it, and that when Rome speaks, even disappointed conservatives will ultimately concede that the case is closed.
Read more >>
[Hat tip to JM]

Friday, April 24, 2015

"Synod. A letter almost from the ends of the earth"


Sandro Magister (www.chiesa, April 24, 2015) relates an open letter from Australia and Papua New Guinea, written by theologian Paul A. McGavin: "Holy Father, do not limit yourself to listening but say also what you think, in the assembly and outside. And then decide.”

Thursday, April 23, 2015

How Bach's music is like Escher's drawings and Gödel's theorem



Years ago I remember reading Douglas R. Hofstadter's Gödel, Escher, Bach: An Eternal Golden Braidwhich compares Bach's music to Escher's drawings and Gödel's mathematical reasoning. You may remember Echer's drawings, like the one below, where the water at the bottom of the waterfall flows "downstream" until it reaches the top of the falls again:


What he does with the mathematics of Gödel may be of particular interest to mathematicians and philosophers of mathematics and meta-theories of theories, but my particular interest was in what Hofstadter did with Bach's "Musical Offering" (Das Musikalische Opfer), or that part of it known as the Crab Canon (canon cancrizans). From a mathematical point of view, what Bach does is simply breath-taking. First, he plays through the melody in the trebel clef, then plays it backwards, then he plays the same sequence simultaneously forwards and backwards, then transposes the trebel and base clefs, and so on. What is remarkable is how everything fits together. As I visualize it, it must have been like playing a chess game and anticipating not one or two moves of your opponent alongside your responses, but perhaps one or two hundred. Bach might have made a hell of a chess player.

But just today I discovered this video of Bach's "Crab Canon" visualized on a Möbius Strip such as Escher might have drawn. Watch it. Follow the notes and what Bach does at each step. It's simply mind-numbing. And ethereally beautiful.

Here's what Colin Marshall says about it in his post, "The Genius of J.S. Bach’s “Crab Canon” Visualized on a Möbius Strip" (Open Culture, February 2013):

"Michigan Priest Urges Parishioners to Arm Themselves"

Concealed Pistol License Classes Held on Parish Property - via Church Militant, April 22, 2015)

ANN ARBOR, April 22, 2015 (Detroit Free Press) by Patricia Montemurri—An Ann Arbor Catholic priest has urged his parishioners to arm themselves and attend classes at Christ the King parish to earn a concealed pistol license (CPL).

In a letter sent to Christ the King parishioners recently, the Rev. Edward Fride explained why he believed it was necessary to get concealed pistol licenses because of recent crime in the area. During a Palm Sunday mass last month, Fride announced that the parish would be holding the CPL class.

"I didn't think people spoke like this anymore. Ever."

Our underground correspondent we keep on retainer in an Atlantic seaboard city that knows how to keep its secrets, Guy Noir - Private Eye, sent the following (emphases his):
Compare this exchange to the memorable lines of America's leading Bishop:"Good for him," Dolan said. "I would have no sense of judgment on him," Dolan continued. "God bless ya. I don't think, look, the same Bible that tells us, that teaches us well about the virtues of chastity and the virtue of fidelity and marriage also tells us not to judge people. So I would say, 'Bravo.'"
Read on...

LETTERS in May 2015s FIRST THINGS
The Two Shall Become One Flesh: Reclaiming Marriage” (March) is a clear articulation of the importance of marriage in Christian theology and the need for churches to remain faithful to Christian teaching. But for all that it gets right, the piece contains one line of argument that Christians should be on guard against. The authors write, “Christians have too often been silent about biblical teaching on sex, marriage, and family life.” It goes on, “In a few matters, we do not speak with one voice: We hold somewhat different views about the morality of contraception, the legitimacy of divorce, and clerical celibacy.” ­Finally, later: “An easy acceptance of divorce damages marriage; widespread cohabitation devalues marriage. But so-called same-sex marriage is a graver threat, because what is now given the name of marriage in law is a parody of marriage.”

Taken together, these quotes represent a dangerous line of argument, because same-sex marriage cannot be abstracted from the wider background of marital collapse enabled by widespread divorce and contraception. This is true both as a matter of principle and of prudence.

As a matter of principle, any argument against same-sex marriage that invokes the reproductive end of sex necessarily implicates contraception. Contraception frustrates reproduction no less than homosexual sex does. Therefore, to say that the morality of contraception is merely questionable but the morality of homosexual sex is clear is internally incoherent. And it’s not just pure logical consistency at stake, either. The Christian intellectual tradition has the sweep and grandeur of the Cathedral of Notre Dame; it is a space of cavernous beauty and monumental profundity. Anyone who takes even a step inside is immediately struck by the sense that something important happens here. You cannot separate the discussion of gay marriage from the full scope of Christian sexual ethics without limiting this sweep and grandeur.

As a matter of prudence, prioritizing the wrongness of same-sex marriage over divorce or contraception (or even masturbation) only serves to reinforce the claim that Christians are motivated by some kind of anti-gay animus when they defend traditional marriage laws. The best defense against that charge is an equally vocal concern for all the threats to marriage, and all varieties of sterile sex.

Many of the leading writers on gay marriage have spoken well about the need to limit no-fault divorce, and are clear about their moral opposition to contraception. Indeed, “The Two Shall Become One Flesh” makes several gestures in the direction I outlined above. For instance, the authors write, “Christians are implicated in this decline. Evangelicals and Catholics are more likely to divorce than they were fifty years ago. Moreover, Christians have adopted to no small extent the contraceptive mind-set that in society at large has separated sex from reproduction and so weakened the centrality and attraction of marriage.”

But these statements coexist with the ones I quote at the start of this letter, and that creates an ambiguity that has bedeviled the marriage movement. The authors contend that Christians have often been silent on marriage. When it comes to gay marriage, this is simply not true. The debate over gay marriage has consumed the nation for several years, and there has been no lack of Christian voices expressing the Christian view. That Christians are “anti-gay” seems to be one of the few “facts” this country knows about us. But when it comes to divorce and contraception, we have not always raised clear objections. The uneasy relation this document bears to those issues does not really correct that silence. It dances around it.

Amateur Brain Surgeon's analysis of Eucharistic Prayer II

Commenting on Fr John Hunwicke's otherwise unexceptional article, "How to enjoy Eucharistic Prayer II" (Fr Hunwicke's Mutual Enrichment, April 22, 2015), Raider Fan (A.K.A. Amateur Brain Surgeon) writes in The Nesciencent Nepenthene (April 22, 2015):
It would be comforting to learn that late in life, Annibale Bugnini, had a moment like Alec Guinness had in the movie, Bridge on the River Kwai:

What can I say? The man has a twisted sense of humor. [Laughing ... ] Unfortunately, so do I.

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Four characteristics of the new intolerance

I found some good insights in Mary Eberstadt's article, "The New Intolerance" (First Things, March 2015), which is an adaptation of the first annual First Things Lecture. Here are some excerpts:
The first fact is that the new intolerance isn’t just a Christian problem. It’s an everybody problem....

... as someone wrote about the forced resignation in April 2014 of Mozilla CEO Brendan Eich: “When people’s lives and careers are subject to litmus tests, and fired if they do not publicly renounce what may well be their sincere conviction, we have crossed a line. This is McCarthyism applied by civil actors. This is the definition of intolerance.” Thank you, Andrew Sullivan.

... You don’t have to be a card-carrying theist to question what’s going on out there, after all—and that’s exactly the point. In fact, much of what’s known today about the post-revolution world, ironically enough, has been mapped over the decades by people without any religious agenda whatsoever.

The new intolerance ... penalizes people who are a clear net-plus for society, people who spend their days helping the poor, clothing the naked, feeding the hungry, caring for the cast-off, and otherwise trying to live out the Judeo-Christian code of social justice. More and more, those people are also witnesses to a terrible truth: The new intolerance makes it harder to help the poor and needy.

I met one such witness last year, a young woman who works for Catholic Charities. She is every inch the kind of paragon who puts the rest of us to shame—someone pulled closely into the Church’s orbit by the sheer gravity of her desire to help the poor.

Much of her time now, she said sadly, is spent not where she wants to be, in soup kitchens or hospitals or nursing homes or with destitute immigrants. (Her particular archdiocese is half Spanish-speaking, and its humanitarian work among immigrants there is critical.) Why not? Because her days are spent largely on countering legal and other maneuvers by activists intent on closing Catholic Charities’ foster care and adoption services—for the sole reason that Christian teachings about the family infuriate sexual ­progressives.

This witness said, “I know the time is coming when we’ll either close our doors, or decide to keep up our work regardless—in which case we’ll end up in jail. But who will take care of the children? Not the people who have sued us out of existence—they’ll move on. Who will take care of all those kids?”

To repeat: The new intolerance is bad for the poor, and concern for the poor is not just some boutique Christian quirk—at least, it isn’t supposed to be. Everybody who cares about social justice ought to deplore the new intolerance.

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Fr. Perrone: Post-Holy Week house keeping & ruminations

Fr. Eduard Perrone, "A Pastor's Descant" (Assumption Grotto News, April 19, 2015):
All the great days are now behind us: Holy Week, Easter Sunday and Divine Mercy Sunday. Although the Church is still in high spirits throughout the greater Easter season, yet it would be expected that one should feel a liturgical slump. For sure, there are some peak days ahead, such as Pentecost, Trinity Sunday, Corpus Christi and the solemnity of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, not to mention our own local celebration of First Holy Communion and May crowning. The break with the sharp winter temperatures and the warmth of the sunshine add to this feeling of release and repose after a season of hard work with harsh temperatures.

It is only now that I can begin to feel this pleasant change. I say this because there is about the span of a month’s time when I so immerse myself in liturgical things that I have to drop almost everything else. In other words: one week before Holy Week preparations are made; then comes the Great Week itself with Easter; what follows is a week of restoration to order, putting things back in place, noting corrections to be made for next year’s celebrations. After Divine Mercy Sunday I look over the large stack of parish work that has lain on my desk, growing ever higher by the day, and I began to make up for the “lost” time.

I write this not because you want to know what I do behind the scenes, but so that you can be a little understanding of why it may be that I cannot set meeting times and answer many messages, respond to mailings and make appointments during this time. I’m catching up on many things (not to mention the necessities of the dread tax time) so that there can be a return to normalcy. I appreciate your understanding and patience.

You will note that the church front porch and steps are being repaired and rebuilt. There had been a growing problem for the last few years. We thought it would be a relatively easy fix-up. It turned out to be a major project. After some eighty years and more one should expect that some repairs of our church would be needed. As it is, the church structure is remarkably sound (I’m told) and it is obvious that no effort or expense was spared when constructing the church, the reason for its durability as well as its admirable quality.

You will notice that there are other areas of the church plant which need attention. There’s so much here of land and aging buildings. We do our best to keep things serviceable while awaiting a time when more substantial restorations can be done. Another area for you to exercise patience.

We were pleased to have four new members of the Church brought in at the Easter Vigil Mass. While that may be a somewhat small number of converts in comparison to what suburban parishes accomplish, it is for us a good number. The more important thing, however, is that, after having interviewed them and questioned them on the faith, these converts give good indications that they will be worthy members of the Church. Christ is alive not only in Himself but also in His members who live in His grace and who represent Him to the world. This is so badly needed today when the Catholic voice is being stifled by the ungodly din of the worldly and the depraved. I have high hopes for these new Catholics (not to put too great a burden of expectation on them) that they will inject their newfound enthusiasm for the faith back into the body of the Church. This is an encouragement for all of us as well as our joy for them.

We have for several years been blessed with two extraordinary ladies–both named Mary–who have done laundry for us priests on the one hand and for the church linens on the other. Both of them have had to retire from this work (one only temporarily, it is hoped). This leaves us with a need for a couple of ladies to step in, those who may have the extra time to devote to it. Should you know of some such person, or should you yourself be she (how awkward that sounds!), do pluck up the courage and speak to the pastor or to his more kindly disposed associate priest.

Fr. Perrone

The Idols of Environmentalism


Maureen Mullarkey, "Notes on an Idol" (First Things, April 21, 2015):
... Growing mightily all the while is the cult of environmentalism, a burgeoning state religion summarized in the catechism of sustainable development. It is the ascendant idol of our time, as magnetic—and totalizing—as the Leninist-Stalinist doctrines were to Milosz’ contemporaries.

.... There is little need to wait for the climate encyclical to know which way this trolley is headed. On its website, the Pontifical Academy of Sciences announces an April 28th conference: Protect the Earth, Dignify Humanity: the Moral Dimensions of Climate Change and Sustainable Humanity. Its mission statement is steeped in the received wisdom that enchants today's collective mind....

... The Vatican's slouch toward salvation-by-ecology did not begin with Pope Francis. Daniel Stone, writing in National Geographic in 2013 stated that one lasting legacy of Benedict XVI, dubbed the “Green Pope,” was how he steered the global debate over climate change: ” . . . the pontiff has made environmental awareness a key tenant of his tenure.” In Caritas in Veritate (2009), Benedict signaled his hope for a “world political authority.”

... The mission of the Church is to keep man mindful that he has another life to live. When the Church maneuvers to be counted a player among the principalities and powers, the subversion of Christian truth and charity has begun. The true object of Green globalism is not human needs, but those of the planet. The culture of death wears many guises. Among them are the anti-humanist assumptions of environmentalism.

Yesterday's Gospel reading (John 6: 28-29) hovers over this discussion:
Then they said unto him: What shall we do, that we might work the works of God?

Jesus answered and said unto them, This is the work of God: that you believe in him whom he hath sent.
All the rest, with its time-bound, tragic burdens, is the work of man. And men of good will, in their God-given freedom, differ in definitions of the common good and in means to achieve it. Turning stones into bread is not a work for the Pontifical Academy.
[Hat tip to Dr. M. Latkovic]

Related - Despite media spin, Pope Benedict XVI expressed 'GRAVE MISGIVINGS' about modern environmentalism

Monday, April 20, 2015

In case you were wondering


HERE is the reality in which I daily live my life (see below); and I post this because I sometimes get the impression that at least some readers may sometimes received the wrong impression from the tone of many of my posts.

I recently posted the following on Facebook (yes, I sometimes descend into that nefarious pit of hell to preach to the prisoners inside). Just in case you were wondering ...
The Catholic Faith is just so utterly BEAUTIFUL !!! There are so many disturbing things in the Church and in the world that I sometimes need to stop myself and let people know that the ultimate reality in which I live is so untroubled, peaceful, and saturated by God's grace that they would probably be surprised, in view of my frequent laments.

Sunday, April 19, 2015

Newman, Weigel, "Development"

George Weigel, "Newman and Vatican II" (First Things, April 15, 2015):
That Blessed John Henry Newman was one of the great influences on Vatican II is “a commonplace,” as Newman’s biographer, Fr. Ian Ker, puts it. But what does that mean? What influence did Newman have on a Council that opened seventy-two years after his death? And from this side of history, what might we learn from Newman about the proper way to “read” Vatican II, as we anticipate the fiftieth anniversary of its conclusion on December 8?

... That Newman had considerable influence at Vatican II is ... evident in the Council’s seminal Dogmatic Constitution on Divine Revelation (Dei Verbum). There, the Council Fathers teach that the Great Tradition “that comes from the apostles makes progress in the Church, with the help of the Holy Spirit ... as the centuries go by, the Church is always advancing toward the plenitude of divine truth, until eventually the words of God are fulfilled in her.” Thus did Vatican II vindicate Newman’s great work on the development of doctrine, which grew from a theological method that brought history, and indeed life itself, back into play as sources of reflection and growth in our understanding of God’s revelation.

That Newman could make this contribution to the Catholic future was due to the fact that he was neither a traditionalist, who thought the Church’s self-understanding frozen in amber [I have yet to meet someone who fits this description - G.N.], nor a progressive, who believed that nothing is finally settled in the rule of faith. Rather, Newman was a reformer devoted to history, who worked for reform-in-continuity with the Great Tradition, and who, in his explorations of the development of doctrine, helped the Church learn to tell the difference between genuine development and rupture.
Even as a substantial devotee of Cardinal Newman, I confess to having become a trifle suspicious regarding how his notion of "development" has been used in recent decades, if not also regarding Newman's own understanding of the matter. Our understanding of the Apostolic Deposit of Faith may gain in profundity over time, but may just as easily slacken and grow more forgetful and superficial and confused. I'm not at all convinced that all that passes under the attribution of "development" today is at all credible. Orestes Brownson has written extensively about this in the 14th volume of his collected works, where he takes to task Newman's own theory of doctrinal development. One of the projects to which I've promised to devote myself in the months ahead is a personal study of this issue.

I was therefore forcibly struck by the note that accompanied the message sent to me by my trusted correspondent, Guy Noir, along with the link to Weigel's article. Noir wrote:
My bone of contention with modern Church apologists -- or apologists for the modern Church -- has always been this: they talk and talk and talk about Development of Doctrine, but do not give concrete examples of it positive demonstration or of its abuse in contemporary circles.

Is condemnation of capital punishment a DOD? Because it seems like a reversal. And if it is not, why can't gay marriage be another DOD? And so on, and so on. The modern Church does not seem to be able to expand on doctrines without reversing previous policy, and that is what I think makes the whole appeal to Newman seem vague and unconvincing. If Dei Verbum and the Two Sources Theory is what Development of Doctrine is about, I think it affects most laity very little. If downplaying Hell and condemning capital punishment are examples of DOD, I think it confuses the faithful quite a bit. Everyone talks about change and development, but no one will give clearly defined illustrations. Instead it is used to justify excursions into ambiguity. As a convert from Protestantism, I very much embrace Development of Doctrine. As a concerned Catholic, also I don't see any modern instance where it is convincingly invoked.

"The trials that lie before us are such as would appal and make dizzy ... courageous hearts." And I really [question whether] "development of doctrine" as it is now understood does anything other than add to the disorientation. I guess when you allow development of something that is already generally distorted, you can't expect to like the hybrid new thing.

"Nightcrawler: my favorite Catholic super hero"


Charmaine Wagner, "The Amazing Catholic Nightcrawler!" (Skeeoh, August 25, 2013), writes: "Kurt Wagner A.K.A Nightcrawler is not only my favorite super heroes in general, he is also my favorite Catholic super hero. Here are some of his awesome quotes":
“We are alike, you and I — angry at the world. My pain drives me to seek God, yours drove you away. Our ability to understand God’s purposes is limited, but take comfort in the fact that His love is limitless.”- Nightcrawler to Wolverine
Read more >> ... and have a look at this revealing clip, if you're interested:

The yearn for clarity

A Catholic convert troubled (like a lot of us) by recent events, calls our attention to two articles, the ironically-titled "That's Why I Could Never Be a Catholic" (Aleteia, April 15, 2015) by the Catholic author David Mills, who "tries to cut through the seemingly endless defense of the papacy," and the Calvinist author D. H. Hart's article, "Why Reform Won't Ever Happen" (Old Life, April 16, 2015), who, like "a lot of former Protestants who have doctrine on their minds, he distinguishes between the popes’ offhand comments (and perhaps even weightier statements) and the catechism, which may help with the spiritual gas that attends the bloating that follows episcopal overreach." [An article worth reading]

And our reader writes:
I have to agree with Hart against Mills here. And this is why these speculative Popes hurt the cause of the Church. Sure C.S. Lewis talked about the salvation of pagans. But her never, ever sounded remotely like a Universalist, even with his admiration for George MacDonald. Strangely though, these newer Popes sometimes sound like Universalists even as they don't officially affirm it and pay lip service to Tradition. The variance is painfully obvious unless you don't want to see it.

Also, we respect our priests, but we don't explain or spin their advice if they are encouraging our brother to remarry after divorce. Or if they are making a mess of religion and politics. Or confusing everyone on just what our family stands for. Or do we?

Being nice but not being clear

Guy Noir, our correspondent, sent a link to Katelyn Beaty's article, "Rachel Held Evans Returns to Church" (Christianity Today, April 16, 2015), which begins:
Four years ago, Rachel Held Evans spent Easter in the apartment of a funeral home. But there would be no candles lit, no feast after the service. Instead, the group of about 10 had gathered to mourn the death of their church....
Noir comments:
I could say a whole lot about this piece in CT. But I guess I can summarize with the line, "Truth matters. Sort of."

This is the mentality that plagues Catholicism as well. History shows that no good comes of it. It is genial but wrongheaded. May we be genial and right-minded. It is good to have a benevolent attitude towards people. It is wrong to act like "getting things wrong" is [comparable?] to preferring the wrong flavor of Jell-0. Let me put it this way:
if you can say the creed and participate in a liturgy, but also believe the wafer might as well be bread as flesh; if you can read the Bible and think it is myth and fable as much as truth and history; if you can look at pre-marital sex, second and third marriages, gay marriages and think they fall more into preference and biology than morality; and if you can look at all religions and think well-meaning people are essentially all invisible Catholics ...

Well, If you can do that, and want to push it, don't be surprised if you effectively let all the air out of your 'religion.' As Flannery O'Connor thought, people can easily think "To Hell With It!"
Meanwhile, I see InterVarsity Press is releasing this little book to further dialog.

Richard J. Mouw and Robert L. Millet, eds, Talking Doctrine: Mormons and Evangelicals in Conversation (InterVarsity Press)

Which makes me another point: At some juncture, if all strange religious beliefs start seeming like your own, it is reasonable to find your own not sounding reasonable but strange. Genesis is myth, the Book of Mormon is bogus but beautiful, and I am supposed to get hyped for Bible Study? I am not so sure...!

"... where Maggie Gallagher is articulating unpopular truth"

Guy Noir - Private Eye, our underground correspondent, writes: "I previously pointed out where I thought Maggie Gallagher was flirting with nonsense. So I ought to point out where I think she is now articulating unpopular truth."
Maggie Gallagher, "Why I, Unlike Senator Rubio, Would Not Attend a Gay Wedding" (National Review, April 17, 2015).

Hope and Change: Of Pope Francis & Jimmy Carter

Two links and tag lines from Guy Noir:

Tridentine Community News - EF Chrism Mass, Liturgy conferences, Local news, Chant workshop


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

Tridentine Community News by Alex Begin (April 19, 2015):
Chrism Mass Celebrated in the Extraordinary Form

For what we believe is the third year in a row, Archbishop Wolfgang Haas, of Vaduz (Liechtenstein) celebrated the Chrism Mass for his diocese in the Extraordinary Form on Holy Thursday. [Photo of 2014 Chrism Mass in Vaduz by Hubert Bizard]


As far as we are aware, the only other bishop to celebrate the Chrism Mass according to the Traditional Rite is His Excellency Fernando Rifan, Apostolic Administrator of the Personal Apostolic Administration of Saint John Mary Vianney, in Campos, Brazil. That quasi-diocese is the only one in the world to conduct all of its liturgies, at all of its parishes, in the Extraordinary Form.

CMAA Colloquium and Sacra Liturgia Conferences

Two major liturgical conferences will be taking place in upcoming months: From June 1-4, 2015 in New York City, Sacra Liturgia USA will bring Raymond Cardinal Burke, Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone, and a host of other litugical experts together. Organized by Dunwoodie Seminary Director of Music Dr. Jennifer Donelson and liturgical scholar Dom Alcuin Reid, Sacra Liturgia is the second edition of a conference series that debuted in Rome in 2013. A Pontifical Tridentine Mass and Solemn Vespers in the Extraordinary Form will be offered. Full information is available at: http://sacraliturgiausa.org/

From June 29 – July 4 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, the annual Church Music Association of America Sacred Music Colloquium will assemble over 200 singers and musicians for a week of musical training, talks, and elaborate liturgies. Former Windsor Tridentine Mass Music Director Matthew Meloche, now Director of Music at Phoenix, Arizona’s Ss. Simon & Jude Cathedral, is one of the speakers. Highlights include Vespers in the Extraordinary Form at Pittsburgh’s St. Paul Cathedral and a Solemn High EF Requiem Mass. The conference schedule and registration information is here: http://musicasacra.com/events/colloquium2015/

If you have not had occasion to attend a major liturgical conference such as one of these, try to make time for one at some point. The experience of being in the company of some of the world’s most renowned liturgical experts and musicians, and participating in exemplary liturgies, is a great spiritual grace. The Extraordinary and Ordinary Forms are given equal attention, and even the OF Masses are celebrated with great reverence. The Extraordinary Faith film crew will be present at both of these conferences to shoot content for future episodes.

Assumption Grotto Weekday Evening Masses

One of the challenges in assembling this column is keeping track of the dates and times of upcoming Tridentine Masses in the region. Assumption Grotto in particular is known to hold frequent Masses in the Extraordinary Form, but their published schedule makes little if any mention of when they take place. Their web site states that only their weekday 7:00 AM Masses are in the EF, but personal experience is that some, but not all, of their weekday 7:00 PM Masses are also Tridentine. Finally we have a policy statement: Their April 12 parish bulletin announced that with the departure of the Holy Cross Fathers from the parish, it will now become the norm for all weekday 7:00 PM Masses to be Tridentine.

This raises the question of what will happen to the 7:00 AM Masses; it may very well be that some or all of them shift to the Ordinary Form, as it would seem unusual for a diocesan parish to have all Masses Monday-Friday in the EF. Readers are advised to call the parish for clarification before traveling there for Mass.

Last Call for Chant Workshop


The Oakland County Latin Mass Association’s Gregorian Chant Workshop, taught by Wassim Sarweh, will be held next Saturday, April 25, beginning at 9:00 AM. No experience is necessary; beginners are welcome. Registration is available for a few more days at: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/oakland-county-spring-chant-workshop-tickets-16011545965. A Facebook event page with more information is here: https://www.facebook.com/events/803688956384249/.

Tridentine Masses This Coming Week
  • Mon. 04/20 7:00 PM: Low Mass at St. Josaphat (Feria in Paschaltide)
  • Tue. 04/21 7:00 PM: Low Mass at Holy Name of Mary (St. Anselm, Bishop, Confessor, & Doctor)
  • Fri. 04/24 7:00 PM: High Mass at St. Stanislaus Kostka, Jackson, Michigan (St. Fidelis of Sigmaringen, Martyr) – Dinner for young adults age 18-35 follows Mass, organized by Juventútem Michigan
  • Sat. 04/25 1:30 PM: High Mass at Academy of the Sacred Heart, Bloomfield Hills, MI (St. Mark, Apostle & Evangelist) [Part of OCLMA Chant Workshop, but all are welcome to attend the Mass]
[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 April 19, 2015. Hat tip to Alex Begin, author of the column.]

Tridentine Masses coming this week to metro Detroit and eastern Michigan


Tridentine Masses This Coming Week

Saturday, April 18, 2015

Keep the "Roman" in Catholic?

I don't consider this a particularly weighty issue, but it's interesting. When I first shared my thoughts about becoming a Catholic with my Episcopal priest, he (yes, Virginia, they're sometimes men) referred to the differences between "Anglican" and "Roman" traditions. He seemed to have an allergy against using the term "catholic" for Catholics.

This raises the question, "Did the Anglicans coin the term, 'Roman Catholic Church'", as our friend over at Nesciencent Nepenthene asks. Was the reason, perhaps, that Anglicans wished to continue thinking of themselves as "catholics," but just not of the "Roman" variety? Quite likely, I think. Even many Lutherans I know have referred to their tradition as a reform movement "within the church catholic," although they, in turn, seem to have a similar allergy about using the capital letter "C" when using the word "catholic."

I ran into a similar tendency among "liberal" revisionist Catholics who dissented from Church teaching and would say that they sought to become "more Catholic and less Roman." They didn't have the allergy about using the capital letter "C", but they meant by "Catholic" something other than fidelity to the See of Peter.

One reaction to the last tendency is to say, "Keep 'Rome' in 'Catholic'" the way some people say "Keep 'Christ' in 'Christmas," not realizing that the "X" in "Xmas" is the Greek letter symbolizing "Christ" and the first letter of the Greek word for "Christ", namely Χριστός. In that case, the faithful Catholic would see himself as responding to the revisioned by saying, "I'm not merely 'Catholic', by Gum, I'm 'ROMAN Catholic'!"

Having said that, however, I think it makes much more sense to let "Catholic" simply be "Catholic", from the Greek word καθολικισμός, meaning "universal", as in "Universal Church," not just the "Church of Rome" but of the whole world.

Friday, April 17, 2015

Francis Card. George – RIP

Via Fr. Z:
I just received word that His Eminence Francis Card. George has died.

He was Archbishop of Chicago for 17 years and a great churchman.

He was quoted saying some time ago about our era:
“I expect to die in bed, my successor will die in prison and his successor will die a martyr in the public square. His successor will pick up the shards of a ruined society and slowly help rebuild civilization, as the church has done so often in human history.”

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Fr. Perrone on man's sin, divine mercy, and God's terms for forgiveness

Father Perrone, "A Pastor's Descant" [Temporary link] (Assumption Grotto News, April 12, 2015):
Sometimes it happens that I become troubled over what to say in my weekly Descant, now running well over twenty years. Writing for the Sunday after Easter poses no such problem. It’s always Divine Mercy Sunday, even before it became so titled. The Gospel for this Mass in the old and new rite as well presents the recollection of the happenings in the upper room on Easter night. How thoughtful, so to say, that our Lord’s visit to His trembling apostles should have been for the express purpose of endowing them with the divine ability to remit sins. His explanation to them in doing this was that since He had been sent into the world by His Father for this very reason, He was in turn sending the apostles unto the same end: to forgive the sins of men. Not being familiar with Protestant biblical exegetes (scholars who probe the meaning of biblical texts), I don’t know how they, who neither believe in Confession nor have it, explain away the Catholic teaching on this biblical episode wherein certain men–ordained–were clearly given the ability and duty to perform a divine service on behalf of men by wiping out their sins–acts which are properly speaking God’s alone. This they were to do, or not do, as circumstances allowed or disallowed. Just as in the time of our Lord some people were disposed to receive forgiveness while others were not, so it has been in succeeding ages. “Whose sins you forgive, they are forgiven them; whose sins you retain they are retained,” He told the eleven apostles. That’s unsettling, is it not, that there are some whose sins were to be “retained,” that is, not forgiven? The sacraments of the Church are unlike magical formulas which make their effects without human cooperation. In the sacraments, and in Confession in particular, have necessary conditions to be effective: there must be real priests to do absolving and real repentant people seeking their absolution. Lacking this reality there is no forgiveness of sins.
We have in our time the lamentable circumstance of some priests being unwilling to hear Confessions (or believing them unnecessary) and of some lay people unwilling to seek absolution for their sins from priests. Both are attempting ‘other ways’ to be disburdened of sins–ways other than Christ established by instituting this Sacrament. Priests, for example, have attempted general absolution without hearing Confessions, while lay people have tried to be forgiven through the secretiveness of their private prayers. Forgiveness, however, can’t be had on man’s terms, but on God’s–on Him who does the pardoning. Vain therefore are attempts to circumvent the divinely ordained terms upon which forgiveness of sins is obtained.
This is the time designated for divine mercy (not that it has an exclusive season outside of which mercy cannot be come by; one can confess to a priest anytime). In our day when the situation is such as I have outlined it above (viz., priests and people unwilling to do what forgiveness requires them to do), the Church has established a special period of divine mercy from Good Friday through today, Mercy Sunday. You need divine mercy because you sin; you need Confession to be rid of your sins. If you say you have no sins, you’re a liar: “If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, He will forgive our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness” (1 John 1:8-9). Conclusion: people who are honest with themselves go to Confession. 
Easter thanks are due to so many people who made the Great Week possible, especially in consideration of the solemn way we go about it in our parish. The Lord knows who you are and what you did for Him. The reward be yours in heaven!
An addendum. Responding to repeated requests, we will now have the Tuesday and Thursday evening Masses in the Tridentine (“extraordinary”) form. These are the two evening Masses for which the Holy Cross fathers were the celebrants. Because they did not offer Mass in the old rite, we had those Masses in the new Latin form. Now with your two parish priests assuming the whole Mass load, we can respond to those requests from our parishioners and offer the Tridentine Mass every weekday evening.
Fr Perrone

Monday, April 13, 2015

Sunday, April 12, 2015

Mullarkey - a voice of SANITY on RFRA


Maureen Mullarkey, "RFRA & My Wedding Ring" (First Things, April 7, 2015):

She and her soon-to-be husband, two Gentiles, were shopping for wedding rings and wanted those well-known words from the Book of Ruth inscribed on her ring. But the old jeweler, his forearm tattooed with his identification number from a concentration camp, said he was sorry but couldn't given them that particular inscription. How did they respond, and what does it tell us, not only about them, but about us today?

[Hat tip to JM]

Helpful after the fact

"Interview With a Christian" (New York Times, April 4, 2015), in which Ross Douthat interviews himself about Indiana's religious freedom laws -- thoughtful and helpful as nearly always.

[Hat tip to JM]

Tridentine Community News - "Sanctifying Time"


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

Tridentine Community News by Alex Begin (April 12, 2015):

The Catholic Gentleman blog (www.catholicgentleman.net) ran a post on February 24 entitled “Sanctifying Time: The Catholic Meaning of Days and Months”. With the permission of author Sam Guzman, we excerpt from the post:
...The liturgical cycle gives shape and meaning to the year, and each season brings new significance. But the liturgical year is just the beginning. Did you know Mother Church has also assigned meaning to each day and month of the year? It’s true. Let’s briefly examine the significance of each day and month.
Sunday: The Holy Trinity - ...Sunday is the first day of the week and the day when we offer God, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit our praise, adoration, and thanksgiving.
Monday: The Angels – ...Angels are powerful guardians, and each of us is protected by one. Many of the saints had a great devotion to the angels in general and to their guardian angel in particular.
Tuesday: The Apostles – The Catholic Church is apostolic. That is, it is founded on the authority and teaching of the apostles, most especially that of St. Peter to whom Jesus gave the keys of his kingdom. Each bishop is a direct successor of the apostles.
Wednesday: Saint Joseph – Saint Joseph is known as the prince and chief patron of the Church. As the earthly father of Jesus, he had a special role in protecting, providing for, and instructing Jesus during his earthly life. Now that Christ is ascended into heaven, St. Joseph continues his fatherly guardianship of Christ’s body, the Church.
Thursday: The Holy Eucharist – Our Lord instituted the most Holy Eucharist on a Thursday, so it is fitting that we remember this greatest of sacraments on this day. The Eucharist is the greatest gift of God to mankind, as it is nothing less than Jesus himself...
Friday: The Passion – Jesus was scourged, mocked, and crucified on a Friday. Because of this, the Church has always set aside Fridays of days of penance and sacrifice. ... This day should always be a day of repentance and a day in which we recall Christ’s complete self-sacrifice to save us from our sins.
Saturday: Our Lady – There are a number of theological reasons Saturdays are dedicated to Our Lady, perhaps the most significant is that on Holy Saturday, when everyone else had abandoned Christ in the tomb, she was faithful to him, confidently waiting for his resurrection on the first day of the week.
January: The Holy Name of Jesus – ... The Catechism sums up the power of this name beautifully: “The name ‘Jesus’ contains all: God and man and the whole economy of creation and salvation. To pray ‘Jesus’ is to invoke him and to call him within us”...
February: The Holy Family – The Holy Family is an earthly reflection of the Holy Trinity. By meditating on the Holy Family, we can learn the meaning of love, obedience, and true fatherhood and motherhood. We are also reminded that the family is the foundational unit of both society and the Church.
March: St. Joseph – St. Joseph is the icon of God the Father: silent but active and perfectly providing for the needs of all. The Church constantly invokes the protection of St. Joseph, admonishing us to ite ad Joseph, go to Joseph.
April: The Blessed Sacrament – Holy Church is the guardian of the Holy Eucharist. For two thousand years, she has guarded this treasure, administering it to the faithful and proclaiming that it is nothing less than Jesus himself. We can never be too devoted to the Blessed Sacrament or show it too much honor.
May: The Blessed Virgin Mary – Our Lady has long been associated with the beauty of flowers and the coming of spring. This is fitting because she is both beautiful and the Mother of our Lord Jesus Christ, who is the life of the world. In May, the Church remembers our glorious lady with crownings and processions in her honor.
June: The Sacred Heart of Jesus – The Sacred Heart of Jesus is the revelation of God’s immense love for us. It is often depicted as a fiery furnace, pierced and broken, but beating with love. The Sacred Heart is also a profound reminder of the humanity of our Lord...
July: The Precious Blood – The blood of Christ saves us from sin. It is the blood of Christ that gives us the hope of heaven. ... Without the blood of Christ shed for us, all would be lost.
August: The Immaculate Heart of Mary – The heart of Mary is a motherly heart, a heart full of love and mercy for her children. The heart of Mary is also the channel through which all the graces of God flow down to us. She is “our life, our sweetness, and our hope.”
September: The Seven Sorrows of Mary – Aside from Jesus, no human being has suffered more than our Blessed Mother. In perfect obedience to the will of God, she consented to her son’s torture, humiliation, and brutal executed for our salvation. As any parent knows, watching one’s child suffer is the greatest suffering of all. She still bears the sufferings of her divine Son in her heart.
October: The Holy Rosary – The rosary is one of the most powerful weapons the Church possesses. We are constantly exhorted by saints, popes, and Our Lord and Our Lady themselves to pray this simple yet profound prayer. Accordingly, Mother Church has set aside a whole month to the promotion of this prayer.
November: The Souls in Purgatory – The souls in purgatory are suffering a great deal, and they cannot pray for themselves. They are our brothers and sisters, and as members of the body of Christ, we must pray and offer sacrifices for those who have gone before us, asking that they may rest in the light of God’s presence.
December: The Immaculate Conception – ... In the Immaculate Conception, Mary was without sin from the first moment of her conception. She is perfectly united forever to her spouse, the Holy Spirit. Their fruitful union produced a wedding of heaven and earth in the God-Man, Jesus Christ...
The Church takes seriously the call to sanctify all things, even time. The Catholic significance of days and months is a profound reminder that our lives are finite, and that time should not be squandered. As the Psalmist said, “teach us to number our days that we may get a heart of wisdom” (Ps. 90:12). But more than anything, it reminds us that time is a gift from God, and with him and through him, all things are holy....”
Tridentine Masses This Coming Week

Mon. 04/13 7:00 PM: Low Mass at St. Josaphat (St. Hermenegild, Martyr)
Tue. 04/14 7:00 PM: Low Mass at Holy Name of Mary (St. Justin, Martyr)
[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 April 12, 2015. Hat tip to Alex Begin, author of the column.]