Monday, June 30, 2008

26th Annual Pierogi Festival Aug. 16-17, 2008

Back in January, I mentioned how we first encountered the Annual Pierogi Festival hosted by Sweetest Heart of Mary parish when we first arrived in Detroit in August of last year:
When we first arrived in Detroit and were driving through the neighborhood, we were going East on Canfield St. and came to Sweetest Heart of Mary Catholic Church, which sported a banner announcing the August 12th 2007 Pierogi Festival.
Well, it's that time of year again, almost. I just received an email announcing the following:
  • 26th Annual Pierogi Festival - 2008
  • August 16-17, 2008; Saturday 1pm - 9pm; Sunday 12pm -8pm.
  • Pierogi dinners, chicken dinners, grilled food bar
  • Live music: Pan Franek & Zosia - Sat.; Polish Muslims - Sun.; Kielbasa Kings - Sun.
  • Special Polka Mass - 4pm Saturday with Pan Franek & Zosia [Your guess as good as mine!]
  • Moonwalk; face painting; magic; balloon twisting; dunk tank; Detroit Tigers 'Paws'; 50-50 raffles; games of chance; Vegas wheel; Hooligan; Bingo; Doll booth; Church tours; Fresh baked goods
  • Grand Raffle ($7,200 in CASH prizes)
  • Halka dancers - Sat.; Wawal dancers - Sun.
  • Sweetest Heart of Mary, 440 Russell at Canfield, Detroit (313) 831-6659 -
  • Fenced and guarded parking [Hey, it's Detroit]

Tridentine Masses in North Carolina: Who would have dreamed?

According to an email from the ever-faithful Sid Cundiff, friends of the Mass in the Extraordinary Form in the Diocese of Charlotte, North Carolina, now apparently enjoy the following options:
  • St. Benedict the Moor, Winston-Salem, NC, every 2nd and 4th Sunday of the month beginning 13 July 2008, 1:30pm. Nota Bene: For information about this Mass contact ONLY Holy Angels Church, Mt. Airy, 336-786-8147. Fr Kowalski.
  • Holy Angels Church, Mount Airy, NC, most Saturdays at 630pm. This MEF satisfies the Sunday Obligation. Fr. Kowalski.
  • Holy Redeemer Church, Andrews, NC, every 2nd Saturday of the month, 4pm (Vigil Mass for Sunday) and every Thursday at 8:30am. The Pastor adds: "Please call the church office at 828-321-4463 to confirm the times and check for any changes." Fr. Kaltreider.
  • St. Joseph's in Asheboro, NC, every Wednesday, 7pm. Fr. Christopher Davis.
  • St. Ann, Charlotte, NC, every Saturday, 8am. Fr. Timothy Reed.
In the Diocese of Raleigh, NC:
  • Sacred Heart, Dunn -- every Sunday, 12noon, Daily -- Tuesday 9:00 a.m. usually (but not always); -- Wednesday 6:00 pm, Thursday and Friday 9:00 a.m., First Saturday 10:00 a.m.; Holy Days of Obligation, either 12:15 p.m. or 6:30 p.m. - rotating the ordinary and extraordinary forms. People can call the office (910)891-1972 if they want to ascertain which one of the two will be which form.
  • Sacred Heart Cathedral, Raleigh, the 1st Sunday of the Month, 430pm
  • Saint Bernadette, Fuquay Varina, most Tuesday mornings 9am
  • Our Lady of Perpetual Help, Rocky Mount, the 2nd Sunday of the month and every Saturday 8am
  • St. Therese, Wrightsville Beach, the last Sunday of the month at 330pm and every Wednesday at 630pm. Nota Bene: Fr. Ospina is being transferred to Red Springs in July and the location/time for the MEF in the Wilmington area is still being discussed.
[Hat tip to S.C.]

The ascendant hatred of traditional morals

I've received a seeming spate of articles and posts lately on the erosion of common civil rights of those whose beliefs in traditional family values is taken for homophobic prejudices animated by sheer hatred. Some time ago we commented on the erosion of these sorts of rights in Canada ("Censuring 'homophobic hate speech,'" Musings, June 13, 2008).

In this same vein, here are a few recent cases:
Yeshiva University was ordered to allow same-sex couples in its married dormitory. A Christian school has been sued for expelling two allegedly lesbian students. Catholic Charities abandoned its adoption service in Massachusetts after it was told to place children with same-sex couples. The same happened with a private company operating in California.

“A psychologist in Mississippi who refused to counsel a lesbian couple lost her case, and legal experts believe that a doctor who refused to provide IVF services to a lesbian woman is about to lose his pending case before the California Supreme Court.” (Barbara B. Hagerty, "Gay Rights, Religious Liberties: A Three-Act Story", NPR, June 16, 2008)
Two articles of recent note include the following: (1) Patrick McIlheran, "Your beliefs are going to be called 'hatred'" (Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, June 18, 2008), and (2) Terry Mattingly, "Is sex outside of marriage a sin?" (Scripps Howard News Service, June 25, 2008).

A few excerpts. From the first article:
NPR tells the story of the wedding photographers in New Mexico, a couple, who just happen to think that marriage is what everyone has always thought it was until pretty much yesterday.

So when a woman was planning to “marry” her girlfriend, she emailed Elane Photography in Albuquerque to inquire about a shoot. The photographers replied simply that the company doesn’t shoot same-sex weddings but thanks for asking. They later explained they just don't want to use their abilities in the service of something they saw as wrong.

They got sued.

And they lost: The New Mexico Human Rights Commission told them to pay the plaintiff’s $6,600 lawyer bill....
From the second article above:
It's becoming more and more dangerous for preachers to use the words "sex" and "sin" in the same sentence.

Consider this question: Is sex outside of marriage a sin?

Say "yes" and millions of believers who are sitting in pews will say "amen." But that same affirmation of centuries of doctrine will offend just as many believers and nonbelievers, giving them an easy excuse to avoid congregations they believe are old-fashioned and intolerant.

"We have to recognize that our historic positions on sexual issues are becoming incredibly distasteful to more people in this culture and especially to our media and popular culture," said Ed Stetzer, director of the Southern Baptist Convention's LifeWay Research team.

... The numbers were radically different in different pews, with only 39 percent of Roman Catholics believing that homosexual acts are sinful, as opposed to 61 percent of Protestants and 79 percent of those who identified as evangelical, "born again" or fundamentalist Christians.

... The issue of homosexuality does not, of course, stand alone, said Stetzer. It's getting harder for religious leaders to maintain consistent teachings about other acts and conditions that traditional forms of religion have, for centuries, considered a sin. This affects preaching on premarital sex, divorce, cohabitation and adultery.

"Ultimately, the modern church has failed to proclaim and explain a biblical ethic of sexuality," he said. "We also need to admit that the church has failed to live out the ethic that it's claiming to be advocating. If we are going to say that we stand for the sanctity of marriage, then we -- in our churches and in our homes -- are going to have to live out the sanctity of marriage."
[Hat tip to C.G.-Z., E.E.]

Sunday, June 29, 2008

History of the Lefebvre/SSPX relations with Rome

A detailed overview of the history is provided under the title of "20 years on: Reliving the Events of 1988" (Rorate Caeli)

Saturday, June 28, 2008

Aussie 'Pope Alice' sponsors queer kiss-in to protest Benedict visit

"Pope's queer kiss-off" (Queenland Pride, June 26, 2008):
LGBTs and their supporters will gather in Brisbane and Sydney on July 19 for simultaneous kiss-in protests against “homophobic religions” and Pope Benedict XVI’s visit to Australia.

The kiss-ins are an initiative of Brisbane’s own self-declared pontiff and art scene identity, Pope Alice, who told Queensland Pride she hoped the event would eventually become celebrated annually as International Kissing Day.

... “Homosexuality is natural and genetic.... Yada yada yada.

Fellay wonders how Rome will react

"Fellay: "I have already written a response, and we will see how Rome will react" (Rorate Caeli, June 28, 2008):
The Superior General of the Priestly Fraternity of Saint Pius X (FSSPX / SSPX), Bishop Bernard Fellay, granted today an interview to Gino Driussi, of RTSI (the Italian-language Swiss public radio), providing some very enlightening answers:
[17:45] [Fellay:] Perhaps it is false to say, in such a way, directly, that I reject, that I propose a total rejection [of the conditions], that is not true. Rather, I see in this ultimatum a very vague, confused thing. But, in fact, I have already written a response and we will see how Rome will react.
Fr. Zuhlsdorf, "Bp. Fellay interview by Radio Svizzera: didn’t totally reject the Conditions" (WDTPRS, June 28, 2008):
... I think the usual media suspects are somewhat misreading the situation.

... That is to say, though [Fellay et al] are afraid to cause a split in the SSPX were they to sign off on those conditions openly, perhaps they could skirt the issue by saying they wouldn’t accept the premise of the conditions but then begin to modify their style a bit anyway.

... The bottom line:

The leadership of the SSPX are afraid of an internal rupture more than anything else. They can’t explicitly reject the Conditions offered by the Holy See. Therefore they are trying to steer a middle course by rejecting a seconday premise of the conditions which was explicitly state (Don’t speak disrespectfully about the Pope and put on airs about their own "magisterium") without rejecting the true premise underlying them (Who is the Bishop of Rome and who are you without him?).

The code language to listen for in future comments by the leadership of the SSPX will be things like "the conditions don’t make sense – we do have dialogue even though it is slow – what’s the hurry".
[Hat tip to Syriacus via Rorate Caeli; and Fr. Zuhlsdorf]

The Devil may wear Prada, but the Pope puts on Christ

Sandro Magister, "The Pope Does Not Put On Prada, But Christ" (www.chiesa, June 28, 2008):
ROMA, June 28, 2009 – "The pope does not put on Prada, but Christ": this is the abrupt conclusion of an article in "L'Osservatore Romano" two days ago, aimed at defending the decisions of Benedict XVI in his liturgical and other attire. Curiously, the article was written by a man with almost the very same name as the famous fashion house, Juan Manuel de Prada.

But there is more in the same edition of "L'Osservatore Romano." There is an interview with the master of pontifical liturgical celebrations, Monsignor Guido Marini, who – taking his cue from a new configuration of the pallium worn by the pope – response to the recurring objections against some of Benedict XVI's recent decisions in liturgical matters:

– the motu proprio "Summorum Pontificum," which liberalized the ancient rite of the Mass;

– the placement of the cross at the center of the altar, in papal celebrations;

– the Mass celebrated in the Sistine Chapel, on the ancient altar facing the fresco of the Last Judgment (see photo);

– the return to the use of the crosier in the form of a cross;

– the placement of communion on the tongues of the faithful, kneeling.

Friday, June 27, 2008

A Catholic headed toward Orthodoxy thinks twice

Jay Dyer, "My Retraction of Eastern Orthodoxy" (Nicene Truth, June 25, 2008), is a long discussion by a Catholic who decided not to follow the path of Rod Dreher into Eastern Orthodoxy. Here he tells us why. Substantively.

[Hat tip to Fr. Al Kimel]

The "Question" of Lutheran Orders

Rorate Caeli posted a wonderfully provocative article, "The 'Question' of Lutheran Orders" (Rorate Caeli, June 26, 2008) yesterday, which speaks to a heartfelt concern of many of my erstwhile colleagues at Lenoir-Rhyne College in North Carolina and its circle of "Germano-Catholic" Lutherans associated -- either closely or loosely -- with the Center for Theology, its monthly colloquia, and its annual Aquinas-Luther Conference, founded by the late ELCA Bishop Michael C.D. McDaniel. Rorate Caeli's article begins thus:
One of the bugaboos of advanced Catholic ecumenists is the widespread "misperception," as they might put it, that the Council of Trent declared Lutheran orders to be invalid. Their ultimate goal is for the Roman Catholic Church and the Lutheran World Federation to officially declare themselves to be in full communion, without any reordinations of Lutheran ministers by Catholic bishops. They lament that too many Catholics still automatically assume the absence of true holy orders in the Lutheran church. So they are at pains to point out, and in fact correctly, that Trent did not declare Protestant orders to be invalid. It only said that those who were not "rightly" (rite ) ordained and not sent by canonical authority, are not lawful ministers of the Word and sacraments. Notice that the end of the passage does not conclude saying these men are not valid ministers. Rite in this passage does not have to refer to the sacramental validity of an ordination, but can signify its having been conferred in accord with the canons or with the authorization of a legitimate superior. Our modern enthusiasts for the validity of Lutheran orders conclude therefore that the ordinations conferred by early Lutheran leaders were at most illicit, without prejudice to their possible validity.
You really must read the rest of this very good article, as well as the spirited and sometimes quite substantive discussion that follows in the comment box. The position articulated in Rorate Caeli's article comes in for some heated if predictable criticism from some non-Catholics, as well as some solid defense, before those backed into their corners revert to a bit of ad hominem muck-slinging in good, 16th-century Lutheran tradition.

News roundup

Item 1: The SSPX

We do not have the text of the official letter from the SSPX yet, but from all information points, it looks like the intent of the letter is, in effect, to offer a non-response to the Holy See's five conditions spelled out by Darío Cardinal Castrillón Hoyos on behalf of the Pontifical Commission Ecclesia Dei.Item 2: Archbishop Burke to leave St. LouisItem 3: Church of England defection(s)

This just in:

Thursday, June 26, 2008

And now ... financial incentives for teens to come out

Mark Price, "Scholarship for gay, lesbian, bi teens" (Charlotte Observer, June 16, 2008):
Juan Vazquez graduated from Garinger High Friday, still unsure whether he'll be able to afford his dream of becoming a high school English teacher.

But he is $2,500 closer this week, thanks to an unusual new Charlotte-based scholarship dedicated to students who have come out as gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgendered. Called The Griffin Scholarship, it is believed to be the first college fund in the Carolinas awarded on the basis of sexual orientation.

One good reason to quit blogging

There are, of course, some reasons to keep blogging. Yet, if I ever thought this had become a personal problem for me, I'd quit in a heartbeat.

Leonard Pitts in his nationally syndicated column, worries that he's forgotten how to read ("Help! My brains' stuck in the Web," Charlotte Observer, June 16, 2008):
I had thought it was just me.

In reading the cover story in the new issue of The Atlantic, however, I have learned that I am not alone. There are at least two of us who have forgotten how to read.

I do not mean that I have lost the ability to decode letters into words. I mean, rather, that I am finding it increasingly difficult to read deeply, to muster the focus and concentration necessary to wrestle any text longer than a paragraph or more intellectually demanding than a TV listing.

My idea of fun has always been to retire to a quiet corner with a thick newspaper or a thicker book and disappear inside. But that has become progressively harder to do in recent years. More and more, I have to do my reading in short bursts; anything longer and I start drowsing over the page even though I'm not sleepy, or fidgeting about checking e-mail, visiting that favorite Web site, even though I checked the one and visited the other just minutes ago.

I've tried to figure out why my concentration was shot, but no explanation satisfied: I watch less television than most folks and am no more busy than I was 10 years ago.

Our hard drives altered?

Now, author Nicholas Carr posits a new theory. In “Is Google Making Us Stupid?” he notes that he and many of his literary friends report the same experience, leading him to wonder if the Internet is rewiring our very brains, altering the hard drive of the human computer. The culture of hyperlinks, blogs and search engines that return more results than you could read in a lifetime is, he argues, changing the way we read and, indeed, think.

You hardly need me to sell you on the benefits of the Internet. Sitting at her desk, the average human being now has instant access to a vast universe of information.

But what if the very vastness of that universe, the very fact of so much to know and so little time to know it in, requires a tradeoff in concentration and focus? We may have more options, but we're still dealing with the same 24-hour days we've always had. The Internet does little to filter or prioritize the information it retrieves – it simply dumps it on your head and leaves it to you to figure out. So perhaps it is to be expected that we learn to skim and scan information, but lose the ability to absorb and analyze it.

A couple of weeks ago, I read Scott McClellan's book, What Happened for this column. Deadlines being what they are, I had to wolf down the last 200 pages in a single day. I chose an uncomfortable chair, to minimize the danger of dozing off, and allowed myself only one Internet break.

I would read this book. Nothing else. Just read.

It was difficult. I felt like I was getting away with something, like when you slip out of the office to catch a matinee. Indeed, I'd have felt less guilty sitting in a matinee. I had to keep reminding myself that this was OK, that, indeed, this was work.
Read the rest of the article. It will make you think.

Of related interest:

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Update: Rome's conditions for SSPX omits any Vatican II reference

Andrea Tornielli, the respected Vatican-watcher for Il Giornale, reports that he has now obtained a copy of the correspondence from Cardinal Castrillon Hoyos outlining the Vatican’s proposal. The cardinal’s letter does not specifically mention the requirements that the SSPX affirm the validity of Vatican II and the Novus Ordo Mass, he says; “these are prior general conditions” that have been understood during the dialogue between the Holy See and the traditionalist group.

Cardinal Castrillon’s letter does say that the SSPX should agree to avoid personal attacks on the Pope, and to avoid any public responses that would offend against “ecclesiastical charity.” The Vatican further asks the SSPX to avoid portraying itself as a rival magisterium, superior to the Holy See, to respect the legitimate authority of the Pope, and to adhere to the deadline-- set at the end of June-- for a positive response to the Vatican offer. ("Vatican proposal to SSPX (updated),", June 24, 2008).
I have said in other venues that these are the most generous conditions the SSPX could ever hope for. The Fraternity loses nothing and gains everything: the licit canonical status of its own prelature. Nobody is being silenced, as some radical traditionalists allege. Fr. Brian Harrison criticizes the "Skeletons in the Conciliar Closet" with impunity because he does so with due respect and submission to Rome. There is no reason why the SSPX cannot do the same. Fr. Zuhlsdorf observes:
"I can’t help but think that Michael Davies, a great gentleman who died a couple years ago, would have strongly supported the gesture of the Holy See made to the SSPX.

"I met Michael Davies and remember what a tremondous bulldog he was on points he was convinced about. However, you could have an amicable discussion with him and, if your arguments were good, he would shift his position. Also, he was careful not to go over the top with his rhetoric and, when something was pointed out to him that was too harsh, he would make changes.

"I think Michael Davies – sorely missed today – would have been thrilled by the election of Pope Benedict, Summorum Pontificum and this recent gesture of the Holy Father to resolve the divisions that sadly wound the Church."
Of related interest:[Hat tip to A.S.]

Newt Gingrich: Detroit collapse should be centerpiece of Fall campaign

I sometimes wonder whether Detroit -- this decimated wreck of a once magnificent city, which was once hailed as "the Paris of the Midwest" -- is an icon of the future of America; whether there could be anything to the notion that as Detroit goes, so goes America. ... Nawww, I tell myself. Surely not:
"The collapse of Detroit from 1950 to 2008 should be the centerpiece of the Fall [presidential] campaign.... If we can't have an honest conversation about how big a disaster Detroit is, we sure can't have an honest conversation about poverty in America, and we sure can't have an honest conversation about what needs to change. It's that simple ... And I think that virtually no one on the left is prepared to talk candidly about Detroit, because it is their institutions and their culture which has caused the collapse of one of America's great cities. You may think I'm exaggerating, but consider the folilowing. An entrepreneur offered 200 million dollars to develop charter schools in Detroit and was rejected on the ground that he was obviously a white racist attempting to overturn the black power structure. 'I am disappointed and saddened by the anger and hostility that has greeted our proposal,' exclaimed Thompson to the Associated Press. 'Because of these contentious conditions, we are not going to move forward with our planned charter high schools. Our proposal to build a number of new, very small charter schools in Detroit was intended to increase options for Detroit parents and children. The proposal was meant to be for kids and not against anyone or any institution. Now what does it tell you about pathology when you can have a system failing ... and remember, if you're an African-American male, and you drop out of high school, you face a 73% unemployment rate in your 20s, and a 60% chance of going to jail. And you have to ask yourself, by what moral authority did the Detroit school bureaucracy block 200 million dollars from saving young men from going to jail, from giving them an opportunity to go to college, from offering them hope; and why did no one speak out against it?"

Newt Guingerich, "Liberals and the fall oF Detroit." (YouTube)

[Newt Gingrich is author of Real Change: From the World That Fails to the World That Works (Regnery, 2008). Hat tip to Carolyn Binder-Scapone.]

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

The Hammer Drops

by Dale Vree

Leon J. Podles, in his new book Sacrilege: Sexual Abuse in the Catholic Church (2008, Crossland Press,, hammers the point home that most Catholic bishops "hate confrontation." This goes a long way toward explaining their reluctance to discipline predatory priests. It also goes a long way toward explaining the sorry state of the Church today. Fortitude, one of the four cardinal virtues, is sorely lacking among the current leaders of the U.S. Church.

This cowardly attitude also explains why several U.S. bishops shrugged off the recent and numerous invalid attempts at priestly "ordination" of women by the rogue Roman Catholic Womenpriests movement. As we wrote in our New Oxford Note "A New Catholic Community" (Oct. 2006), Bishop Patrick McGrath of San Jose, California, "has no plans to reprimand or excommunicate or in any other way acknowledge" the woman in his diocese who claims to have been "ordained" a Catholic priest and who has been offering an invalid "mass" at San Jose State University. In our New Oxford Note "The Beat Goes On" (Oct. 2006), we noted that then-Bishop Donald Wuerl of Pittsburgh took no action against the "ordination" ceremony on the Pittsburgh rivers or its participants, and that Archbishop Sean O'Malley of Boston "has not sanctioned" and has "imposed no penalty" on his former archdiocesan director of Healthcare Ministry who was "ordained" a Catholic womanpriest in Canada. These bishops, it seems, were willing to wink at the unlawful simulations of the conferring of the Sacrament of Holy Orders, and the public rejection of the de fide doctrine that female ordination is invalid, rather than risk confrontation and -- God forbid! -- bad press.

So when Roman Catholic Womenpriests made another attempt at "ordaining" female Catholic priests in St. Louis, Missouri, we perked up, with an inkling that Archbishop Raymond Burke wouldn't allow this travesty to take place in his archdiocese without repercussions.

As we reported in our New Oxford Note "Archbishop Burke Has Courage" (Jan. 2008), Archbishop Burke "reacted strongly" to the November 11, 2007, attempt by "bishop" Patricia Fresen of Germany to "ordain" Elsie Hainz McGrath and Rose Marie Dunn Hudson at a Jewish synagogue in St. Louis. He "sent letters by courier to Elsie and Rose warning them to 'renounce your intention to attempt to receive priestly ordination…. Should you refuse to comply…you will automatically in­cur…the censure of excommunication.' He warned them that they have placed 'in danger the eternal salvation of your soul and the souls of others,' and that their ceremony is a 'grave spiritual deception.'" He warned them that they risked the penalty of interdict (the withholding of the Sacraments) unless they publicly acknowledge their errors.

Archbishop Burke then ordered Elsie and Rose to defend themselves before a Church tribunal. But Elsie called the tribunal a "canonical kangaroo court," and Rose said of Archbishop Burke, "He loves to do this. But nobody's paying attention." Both women indicated that they would not appear at the tribunal.

According to Msgr. John Shamleffer, the chief canon lawyer of the St. Louis Archdiocese, Burke sent three letters to Elsie and Rose between November and March, asking them to meet with him "to give them the opportunity to recant, hoping that through pastoral means this could be resolved" (St. Louis Post-Dispatch, March 14) -- to no avail.

Then, on March 12, Archbishop Burke dropped the hammer on Elsie and Rose, and on Patricia Fresen: He issued a "Declaration of Excommunication of Patricia Fresen, Rose Hudson and Elsie McGrath," which he ordered published in the St. Louis archdiocesan newspaper, St. Louis Review (it appeared on March 14). Archbishop Burke explicitly states in the Declaration that the three women have incurred a latae sententiae (i.e., automatic) censure of excommunication "by reason of the crime of schism." Schism is defined in the Catechism as "the refusal of submission to the Roman Pontiff or of communion with members of the Church subject to him" (#2089). Archbishop Burke also imposed a ferendae sententiae censure of interdict on them "for having pertinaciously rejected a definitive truth of the Faith [i.e., that female ordinations are invalid] after having been admonished by the Ordinary." (A latae sententiae censure is automatically incurred with the committing of a canonical crime; a ferendae sententiae censure is "imposed" by the lawful Church authority, in this case the Ordinary, and adds greater solemnity to the sentence.)

Archbishop Burke also writes that "the faculty to exercise the right of defense" was "delivered to each of the three women…requiring them to appear before" him at the tribunal. "All three accused," however, "failed to appear."

Archbishop Burke writes that "after having weighed all of the proofs and arguments," and "with God alone before my eyes, I, by this my definitive sentence, consigned to writing, declare and pronounce" that Elsie and Rose are "guilty of the canonical crimes" mentioned above, and that Patricia is further guilty of the crime of "simulation of the administration of a Sacrament." Archbishop Burke therefore also imposed on Patricia a feren­dae sententiae censure of excommunication for her additional canonical crime.

Archbishop Burke explains in his Declaration that Patricia, being the "leader of a schism" -- i.e., as a founder of the Roman Catholic Womenpriests movement -- who "has publicly stated that her sect is outside the hierarchy of the One True Church willed by the Savior Himself, our Lord Jesus Christ," and Elsie and Rose, by attempting to receive "priestly ordination" from Patricia, have all "thereby demonstrated their consummate disobedience, and their withdrawal from full communion with the Roman Pontiff, the local Archbishop, and the faithful loyally subject to them."

The full force of the Declaration is that "all three of the guilty parties have lost membership in, good standing in, and full communion with the Roman Catholic Church, which bond each and every baptized Catholic is obliged to maintain." Elsie, Rose, and Patricia are henceforth forbidden from entering the grounds of "any property of any parish or other institution of the Archdiocese of St. Louis, until they have formally and publicly withdrawn from their contumacy." Further, "all three of the guilty are forbidden to…receive any Sacraments," and "no ordinary or extraordinary minister may lawfully administer Holy Communion to any of the guilty parties." The three "may not receive absolution from their sins as long as they have not repented, publicly retracted their rejection of a truth of the Faith, made amends for their commission of the delict of schism, and had the censure of excommunication lifted from them." They are also "barred from burial in blessed ground, and are deprived of a funeral in the Church."

Heavy stuff.

Archbishop Burke does express his "most sincere hope" that the "application of the due canonical penalties" of excommunication and interdict "will lead the parties to seek the cure of their most grievous sins and canonical crimes." This is why excommunication is often referred to as a "medicinal" penalty. It calls the excommunicated party to a full realization of his errors and to seek the "cure" of repentance and conversion, for the health of his eternal soul.

In a brief statement accompanying the publication of the Declaration in the St. Louis Review, Archbishop Burke says that it is "my responsibility to safeguard the unity of the Catholic Church and protect the souls of the faithful." He also notes that the "situation is sad for the whole Church," and is "a cause of great concern for me as an archbishop." He asks that we join him in praying that the three "will be reconciled with the Church and that the great harm which has been caused to the Church, with the help of God's grace, will be healed."

But in a statement released on March 13, Elsie and Rose say that they "and all Roman Catholic Wom­en­priests, reject the penalties of excommunication, interdict, and any other punitive actions from church officials. We are loyal daughters of the church, and we stand in prophetic tradition of holy (canonical) disobedience to an unjust man-made law that discriminates against women." We can only pray that Elsie, Rose, and Patricia avail themselves of the medicine of repentance and conversion.

The excommunication of the "St. Louis 3" is the first official censure against Roman Catholic Women­priests since the 2002 excommunication of the "Danube 7" by Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger. Bridget Mary Meehan, spokesman for Roman Catholic Womenpriests, told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch that there are 53 "ordained" women in North America alone. Why have Archbishop Burke and Cardinal Ratzinger been the only ones to act? It's that old "fear of confrontation."

Archbishop Burke has done what his brother bishops have hesitated to do. He has dropped the hammer on the heads of heretics. Archbishop Burke does indeed have courage, and he has set a sterling example of leadership in defense of the Faith.

[Dale Vree is Editor of the New Oxford Review. The present article, "The Hammer Drops" was originally published as a "New Oxford Note" editorial in the New Oxford Review (June 2008), pp. 25-27, and is reproduced here by kind permission of New Oxford Review, 1069 Kains Ave., Berkeley, CA 94706.]

Where is our country headed?

(1) William J. Bennett & Seth Leibsohn, "10 Concerns about Barack Obama" (National Review, June 24, 2008):
  1. Barack Obama’s foreign policy is dangerous, naïve, and betrays a profound misreading of history.
  2. Barack Obama’s Iraq policy will hand al-Qaeda a victory and undercut our entire position in the Middle East, while at the same time put a huge source of oil in the hands of terrorists.
  3. Barack Obama has sent mixed, confusing, and inconsistent messages on his policy toward Israel.
  4. In the primary campaign, Barack Obama consistently campaigned against NAFTA, but has now changed his tune, as he has with other issues.
  5. Barack Obama’s judgment about personal and professional affiliations is more than troubling.
  6. Obama is simply out of step with how terrorists should be handled; he would turn back the clock on how we fight terrorism, using the failed strategy of the 1990s as opposed to the post-9/11 strategy that has kept us safe.
  7. Barack Obama’s economic policies would hurt the economy.
  8. Barack Obama opposes drilling on and offshore to reduce gas and oil prices.
  9. Barack Obama is to the left of Hillary Clinton and NARAL on the issue of life.
  10. Barack Obama is actually to the left of every member of the U.S. Senate.
(2) Thomas Sowell, "An Old Newness" (, April 29, 2008):
... There is no reason why someone as arrogant, foolishly clever and ultimately dangerous as Barack Obama should become president -- especially not at a time when the threat of international terrorists with nuclear weapons looms over 300 million Americans.

Many people seem to regard elections as occasions for venting emotions, like cheering for your favorite team or choosing a Homecoming Queen.

The three leading candidates for their party's nomination are being discussed in terms of their demographics -- race, sex and age -- as if that is what the job is about.

One of the painful aspects of studying great catastrophes of the past is discovering how many times people were preoccupied with trivialities when they were teetering on the edge of doom.

... Protecting criminals, attacking business, increasing government spending, promoting a sense of envy and grievance, raising taxes on people who are productive and subsidizing those who are not -- all this is a re-run of the 1960s.

We paid a terrible price for such 1960s notions in the years that followed, in the form of soaring crime rates, double-digit inflation and double-digit unemployment. During the 1960s, ghettoes across the countries were ravaged by riots from which many have not fully recovered to this day.

... Internationally, the approach that Senator Obama proposes -- including the media magic of meetings between heads of state -- was tried during the 1930s. That approach, in the name of peace, is what led to the most catastrophic war in human history.

Everything seems new to those too young to remember the old and too ignorant of history to have heard about it.
[Hat tip to E.E. and Carolyn Binder-Scapone]

Monday, June 23, 2008

SSPX reconciliation with Rome in sight?

"Tornielli: SSPX-Rome Agreement near" (Rorate Caeli, June 23, 2008), reports:
Vaticanist Andrea Tornielli reports today in Il Giornale that an agreement of the Holy See with the Priestly Fraternity of Saint Pius X (FSSPX / SSPX) may be very near. Some days ago, the Superior General of the Fraternity, Bishop Bernard Fellay, met with the President of the Pontifical Commission "Ecclesia Dei" and, before June 28, the Fraternity should decide to accept the five conditions proposed by Rome.
In English translation by Gregor Kollmorgen, for The New Liturgical Movement, the article reads as follows:
The Ultimatum of the Vatican to Lefebvre's rebels: peace, if you accept the Council

by Andrea Tornielli

In exchange, they will receive a Prelature. But they must choose before June 28.

ROME -In the relations between the Holy See and the Lefebvrians the countdown has begun: by this 28 June, the Fraternity of St. Pius X, founded by the French Archbishop who would not suffer the post-conciliar liturgical reform, will in fact have to decide whether to accept the five conditions proposed by the Vatican in order to reenter into full communion with Rome. Some days ago, the superior of the Lefebvrians, Bishop Bernard Fellay, met with Cardinal Darío Castrillón Hoyos, president of the Commission Ecclesia Dei, which deals on behalf of Benedict XVI with negotiations with the traditionalist group. Fellay, who previously had written to the Pope asking for the revocation of the excommunication imposed by John Paul II in 1988 to Lefebvre and the four new bishops that he had wanted to consecrate without the consent of the Holy See (among them Fellay himself), has received a letter with the five points set by the cardinal [Castrillón] and will discuss them during the next chapter of the fraternity, to be held at the end of the month.

Never like at this moment the negotiations have come close to an agreementwhich would heal the mini-schism which had been created now two decades ago, allowing the full reentering of the Lefebvrians into the Catholic communion. Among the points that the Holy See asked to sign there would be, according to the indiscretions gathered, the acceptance of the II Vatican Council and the declaration of full validity of the Mass according to the reformed liturgy: two conditions that Lefebvre had already signed with the then cardinal Joseph Ratzinger in 1988. The Vatican, for its part, offers the traditionalist group a canonical framework similar to that of Opus Dei, namely a [personal] "prelature", which would allow the Fraternity to continue its activities and to train its seminarians.

The march of rapprochement was started in 2000, when the Lefebvrians made a Holy Year pilgrimage to Rome. It was followed by a brief audience granted by Pope Wojtyla to Monsignor Fellay and the beginning of the long and laborious negotiations with Cardinal Castrillón. Many things have changed since then however. The Lefebvrians asked, before making any step towards an agreement, that the old preconciliar missal, which fell into disuse after the liturgical reform, be liberalised. The new pope, Benedict XVI, particularly sensitive to these issues, a year ago published the Motu proprio declaring the full citizenship of the old Mass allowing it in every parish, in fact stripping the bishop of the possibility of prohibiting it. The application of the new papal directives has not been easy, there are a lot of cases of resistance - some blatant, as is known - but it is beyond doubt that by declaring the existence of an extraordinary Roman rite (the old one) and an ordinary (the reformed one), the Pope has authorized throughout the Church and without restrictions the celebration of the Tridentine Mass. Moreover, Ratzinger has reintroduced the Cross at the centre of the altar, has begun to distribute communion to the faithful kneeling, has restored ancient vestments: all signals that go in the direction of emphasizing the continuity of tradition.

Conditions this favourable for a reentering into full communion will in all likelihood not repeat themselves. Many faithful, now that they have obtained the Mass according to the ancient rite, do not understand why the Fraternity does not definitively make peace with Rome. The Lefebvrians have come to realize what is happening, even if Fellay has some problems of internal resistance. The choice is whether to make an agreement and reenter into full communion with the Holy See, or rather to remain a small separate body with the risk of turning into a little sectarian and uninfluential group.
To my knowledge, the "five conditions" have not yet been published, nor has this report been vetted by independent sources.

Related readingAction points
Pray for (1) Pope Benedict and his advisors, and (2) for Msgr. Bernard Fellay and his advisors. It's high time for reconciliation.
[Hat tip to Rorate Caeli and Gregor Kollmorgen/The New Liturgical Movement, and Anthony Sistrom for the links immediately above.]

UpdateI do not see how the impasse with the SSPX can be resolved without much prayer.

[Hat tip to Mr. Borealis, and Mr. Sistrom]

Sunday, June 22, 2008

L'Osservatore Romano article calls for end to Communion in the hand

"Historical argument favors Communion on the tongue" (, Apr. 22, 2008):
The American magazine Catholic Response has published an English translation of a provocative article, originally published in the official Vatican newspaper, calling for an end to the practice of receiving Communion in the hand.

The article by Bishop Athanasius Schneider of Karaganda, Kazakhstan, originally printed in L'Osservatore Romano, examines the historical record of Catholic practice, concluding that the early Church quickly developed the practice in which lay people Communion on the tongue while kneeling.

... Kneeling to receive Communion was also a pattern established early in Church history, Bishop Schneider reports.

... The article published in L'Osservatore Romano, and now translated in Catholic Response, summarizes the more complete argument that Bishop Schneider put forward in his book, Dominus Est. That book, released in Italy earlier this year, drew special notice for two reasons. It was published by the official Vatican press, and a preface was contributed by Archbishop Malcolm Ranjith, the secretary of the Congregation for Divine Worship, who said it was "high time to review" the policy of allowing laymen to receive Communion in the hand.
Bishop Schneider offers a thoughtful reflection on his book in an online interview available on Gloria.TV. A written summary of his remarks can be found in the Catholic News Agency article, "Bishop calls receiving Communion on the tongue more reverent."

The full title of Bishop Schneider’s book, recently released by Vatican Editing House (Libreria Editrice Vaticana) and not yet available in English translation, is Dominus Est: Meditations of a Bishop from Central Asia on the Sacred Eucharist. Shawn Tribe provides an unofficial translation of the Introduction by Archbishop Malcolm Ranjith in "Ranjith on Kneeling for Communion during the liturgy and Communion on the Tongue" (New Liturgical Movement, January 27, 2008).

I have previously briefly addressed the history of the controversy concerning Communion in the hand in my "Liturgical Position Statement: For the Record" (Musings, December 1, 2007) [N.B.-- scroll down to "Problems of licit innovations not mandated by Vatican II" under "Examples of legitimate criticism"]. While early examples of it may be found, it was soon replaced by Communion on the tongue as a nearly universal organic development in Eucharistic piety and law. As I state in the aforementioned reference:
It is also a fact that reception in the hand was seen by certain sixteenth century Protestant Reformers as a demystifying gesture by which the laity could be disabused of their 'superstitious' Catholic belief in the Real Presence in the Eucharist. An example of this is the Censura of Martin Bucer (not to be confused with Martin Luther), which condemned Anglican Archbishop Thomas Cranmer's 1549 Prayer Book for retaining the Catholic practice of administering Communion on the tongue for the reason that it might cause individuals to persist in their Catholic 'superstitions' about the Real Presence.

Hence, when the practice of Communion-in-the-hand was first re-introduced in Catholic circles in modern times in Belgium by Leo Jozef Cardinal Suenens in violation of the rubrics then in force under the Holy See, Pope Paul VI, although eventually lifting the ban against it, warned that the practice carried "the danger of a loss of reverence for the august sacrament of the altar, of profanation, of adulterating the true doctrine" and that the vast majority of bishops at the time believed that the discipline "should not be changed, and, that if it were, the change would be offensive to the sentiments and the spiritual culture of these bishops and of many of the faithful" (Pope Paul VI's instruction Memoriale Domini, 1969).

Note that these criticisms were raised by Pope Paul VI (as well as by the majority of the Church's bishops at the time in their voiced reservations). Of course it is true that the practice has been subsequently mainstreamed and sanctioned by the Vatican, albeit not without unmixed signals. [See the original for extensive footnotes and documentation]
[Hat tip to The Reverend James Miara, Our Lady of Mt. Carmel, Bronx, NY, who preached on this subject in this morning's homily at St. Josaphat Catholic Church in Detroit.]

Is this the Daily News or Monty Python?

I first read something about this in Rita L. Marker's Newsletter for the International Task Force on Euthanasia & Assisted Suicide, and it seemed just so far off the edge that I decided to Google it and see what turned up. Lo and behold, there it was: "State denies cancer treatment, offers suicide instead" (World Net Daily, June 19, 2008).

Happily, the story appears to have a favorable ending, not, however, thanks to the State of Oregon: Tim Christie, "A GIFT OF TREATMENT: When the Oregon Health Plan fails to cover a cancer drug, the drugmaker steps in" (The Register-Guard, June 3, 2008).

Saturday, June 21, 2008

More questions answered by Cardinal Castrillón Hoyos

Developing ...

On Friday, May 30th, 2008, the Feast of the Sacred Heart, Darío Cardinal Castrillón Hoyos, the President of the Pontifical Commission Ecclesia Dei, was in Denton, Nebraska, at the invitation of Father John Berg, the Superior General of The Priestly Fraternity of Saint Peter (FSSP), to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the foundation of the Fraternity, and to ordain four young men for the Fraternity. EWTN apprently televized the ordinations.

During his brief visit, the Cardinal consented to grant an interview to the media. The Fraternity has expressed the hope to publish very soon the full contents of the conference, but offered a few highlights in "A Special Report from the American Seminary of the Priestly Fraternity of Saint Peter to all Readers of The Latin Mass: The Journal of Catholic Culture and Tradition" (dated June 2, 2008)

In discussing the origins of the Ecclesia Dei Commission, the Cardinal mentioned the special relationship between the Commission and the Fraternity. When asked the reason for his presence at the ordination, the Cardinal replied, "Well, this is my responsibility! I have the responsibility for the groups of the Ecclesia Dei. This [the ordination day] is an important day for the Fraternity because this is the first ordination after the Apostolic Letter Summorum Pontificum and the Fraternity has been engaged in a very important work for the various dioceses, developing a course to prepare priests in numerous dioceses to celebrate the Gregorian Rite and this is a very good collaboration with the bishops in the United States."

The Cardinal spent some considerable time explaining the attention which the Holy Father has devoted to the restoration of the Traditional Latin Mass as the Extraordinary Form of the Roman Rite. As he stated, "He [The Holy Father] gives special importance to this form of the Latin Rite."

The Cardinal indicated the basis for the Holy Father's attitude when he remarked that, "The theology of the Immemorial Rite is very rich." He explained that this richness consists not principally in the use of the Latin language which is, after all, common to both forms of the Latin Rite, but especially in the profound theological content and character of the prayers in the Traditional Missal. And he further noted the rich cultural elements of the Extraordinary Form such as those to be found in Gregorian Chant: "In it [the Gregorian Rite] was born the Gregorian Chant as a form of piety, and a very high expression of the Faith."

The Cardinal took the media gently to task for the way in which the Holy Father's recent Mass in the Sistine Chapel had been reported. He said, "when the Pope celebrated the Mass in the Capella Sistina [ad orientem at the high alter] they spoke about his 'back to the people.' This is ignorance! When a general is leading his troops, he does not walk backwards in order to avoid turning his back on his soldiers. It's not back to the people -- It's face to God! It's a sacrifice to God."

Asked to comment on the distinctions between the two forms of the Roman Rite, the Cardinal acknowledged that, "It's not easy to make comparisons between the two Rites"; but he spoke very directly in noting that, "Certainly the accent in the Gregorian Rite is the sacrifice ... this Rite considers the sacrifice. It's not necessary to have many other things, but to put all the intensity, the contemplation, in this mystery of salvation."

One member of the press asked, "Does the Pope believe, do you believe that we are moving to a time when the Gregorian or Traditional Rite will be celebrated once a week in most parishes? Would that be a goal?" The Cardinal replied, "Yes, the Pope is aware that this is a richness which he wants to offer not only to those who ask for it but to make it known to all people of God so that the new generations can know and can experience the sanctity, the powerful force of the old Rite. It is not only a privilege for the Fraternity of Saint Peter! It is a treasure for all the Church. The Holy Father would like to have it grow." He went on to note that, "The Holy Father is convinced that this is important for piety and sanctity. He is exercising his duty as the Sanctifier of the Church [munus sanctificandi]. He's making efforts to preserve this marvelous means for the sanctification of the Church."

Another questioner asked if this explained the principal motivation for Summorum Pontificum or whether the motivation includes the reconciliation of the Society of Saint Pius X with the Vatican. The Cardinal explained that the latter was an important but secondary motivation saying that, "The main point is the importance of the sanctity contained within the Gregorian Liturgy."

Among the last questions was this one: "Long-term, do you think that the Holy Father intends the two forms of the Roman Rite to coexist or is he stillthinking of the goal as the Reform of the Reform?"

The Cardinal replied, referring to the possibility of an amalgamation of the two forms, "No, I don't think so. No, I think they are different." He went on to explain that a particular goal would be the elimination of abuses in the Ordinary Form of the Mass, but he added with some humor that even in the old days, priests, being human, could lapse into occasional abuses in the way that they celebrated Mass. And most important, in his exhortation of the Ordinandi he emphasized the lofty goals of the Catholic Priesthood in which always and everywhere, in all celebrations of any approved Catholic Rite, there should be nothing other than a humble fidelity in the liturgy to what Christ, the High Priest, does at the Altar.
The Report concludes with the following petition:
We of the Priestly Fraternity of Saint Peter, during this year of our 20th anniversary ask all the readers of the Latin Mass magazine to join their prayers to ours as we continue the work of forming priests in the Fraternity for a life devoted to the Church's traditional liturgical prayer. And we ask for your prayers as we continue the important work of extended training in the Extraordinary Form to priests throughout North America. May our efforts advance the honor of God and the good of souls.

Decline of British Catholicism

John Haldane, "God doesn’t guarantee that the British Church will last" (Christendom Awake), offers a depressing account of the decline of contemporary British Catholicism. Haldane identifies three features of British Catholicism that suggest loss of faith:
  • a pervasive inclination to neo-pelagianism
  • becoming sentimentalist about matters that call for hard, reasoned thought, and
  • becoming accommodationist, preoccupied with means of forestalling secular criticism, rather than engaging confidently with it, in part by means of ingratiating ourselves with dominant groups and classes.
Haldane concludes:
The decline of Catholicism in Britain will continue until such time as it is defended and promoted for what it is, not a social teaching or a cultural lifestyle, but the truth that without grace we cannot be saved, that grace comes by Christ’s salvation, and that what Christ himself taught is that no one comes to the Father save through Him. Serious re-education in this teaching, through home, school and parish, would transform the condition of Catholicism in Britain and equip it to embark on the necessary tasks of engaging the faithless, and missioning to the unfaithful.
[Hat tip to E.E.]

Refreshing political sense

"'Joe, American' Challenges the Presidential Candidates" offers -- wonder of wonders -- a coherent vision on national energy and the war in Iraq, and, by implication, economy. 'Joe' doesn't address other issues of specific concern to Catholics, such as abortion, but it's refreshing to see somebody thinking in a coherent and systematic way about political issues. This is probably more than we can say about the political candidates this year, at least on many of the issues.

The "Gregorian Rite"

nIt may not have escaped your notice either. Cardinal Dario Castrillón Hoyos, in his announcement of June 14th before celebrating Mass in the Extraordinary Form at Westminster Cathedral in London, said that this ancient form of the liturgy "will be known as the 'Gregorian Rite'" ("And then the other shoe dropped ...", Musings, June 18, 2008).

David Palm takes an interesting look at the issue in "All Rite! -- They Really Are Two Rites" (The Reluctant Traditionalist, June 18, 2008), where he offers a hermeneutic for working out the prima facie inconsistency between (1) this statement of Cardinal Castrillón Hoyos and (2) Pope Benedict's statement in Summorum Pontificum that the Missal of John XXIII (1962) and the Missal of Paul VI (1970) represent, in fact, "two usages of the one Roman rite." He also refers us to Father Zuhlsdorf's blog entry on this, the upshot of which is, as he puts it, that if the Cardinal put in charge of the implementation of Summorum Pontificum by the Holy Father can speak of the Gregorian Rite, I guess that I can too. Palm writes:
Ultimately (you read it here first?), I think that Article 1 [which refers to "two usages of the one Roman rite"] of Summorum Pontificum will come to be seen as some romanita designed to prevent undue alarm in liberal circles at the promulgation of the document. But I think that, in time and as the divergence of the two rites is made more obvious by the wider celebration of the Gregorian Rite, this way of thinking will give way to the common sense acknowledgment that we really are faced with separate rites. (Well, more than two really, because the Novus Ordo is very far from being one unified rite.)
Having said that, Rorate Caeli's Note (June 19, 2008) stating that the term "Gregorian" is really not new, suggests that one should perhaps not read too much into the expression:
The expressions "Gregorian Mass" (Messe Grégorienne) and "Gregorian Rite" (Rite Grégorien) have been extensively used as alternative names for the Traditional Latin Mass and Traditional Roman Rite in France for several years. Cardinal Castrillón's use of the second expression in English should not be construed as something extraordinary or filled with any mysterious meaning; he just chose to use it then.

In any event, "Gregorian Mass" should not be confused with the ancient and beautiful practice of the Gregorian Masses.
Nevertheless, I do like the term "Gregorian" for the simple reason that it underscores the hoary antiquity of the traditional Mass, resisting the contrarian effort to marginalize it historically as, for example, something idiosyncratically "Baroque."

UK cathedral pushes altar girls in Tridentine Mass

You may recall our recent post on "The 1962 Mass with Post-1970 Innovations: Is It Likely?" (Musings, May 29, 2008), an article by Charles M. Wilson With additional comments by Philip C.L. Gray, JCL and Duane L.C.M. Galles, JD, JCD, in Christifidelis (November 9, 2007).

As an addendum to that post, here is one on a recent incident in Great Britain between the Dean of Cardiff Cathedral, Canon Peter Collins, and representatives of the local Latin Mass Society. Anna Arco, "Traditional Mass called off after row over altar girl" (Catholic Herald, May 23, 2008), writes:
A traditional Latin Mass that was due to be held in Cardiff Cathedral last Sunday was cancelled at the last minute after a row broke out over a female server.

Plans for a Pontifical High Mass in the Extraordinary Form, a joint initiative between the cathedral and Latin Mass Society (LMS), which was supposed to have been celebrated by the Abbot of Belmont Abbey, were scuppered after a disagreement arose over the altar server.

Disagreements escalated during a second training session for the cathedral servers and the Dean, Canon Peter Collins, when one of the cathedral's regular female servers came to the practice. She had not been at the previous training session nor had Canon Collins.

Her presence came as a surprise to members of the Latin Mass Society who were present, as the LMS insists that its policy has always been clear about following the rubrics and laws, which govern the 1962 form of the Roman Rite. This excludes the presence of women in the Sanctuary.

... Kingsley Lewis, the LMS's representative in Cardiff, telephoned Canon Collins the next morning to say that the LMS in conscience could not take part in the Mass if there was a female server present in the sanctuary. Neither party backed down and the Mass was cancelled.

Canon Collins said: "... I had no agenda, and no assumptions that it would be a problem that our normal servers would participate plus the extra servers supplied by the Latin Mass Society....

"I'm unclear as to whether Rome has an opinion on the rubrics of the Extraordinary Form and whether it would prohibit the presence of lady servers, but I will seek clarification on that matter....

Since Pope Benedict XVI published the Motu Proprio Summorum Pontificum which lifted restrictions on the traditional Latin Mass last year, a number of questions about the two forms of the Roman Rite have arisen. It has been reported that the Ecclesia Dei Commission is working on a document clarifying the Motu Proprio though the details of its release remains unclear.

Female altar servers were authorised by the Vatican retroactively in 1994 - so in accordance with Canon Law 230 - that Liturgical services may be carried out by lay people ex temporananea deputatione, according to the judgment of the bishop and where the needs of the Church require it. Permission was given as many parishes were already using girl altar servers. In 2001 Rome issued a clarification, saying that while bishops could give permission for female altar server, they could not force a priest to have women as servers.
[Hat tip to N.B.]

Friday, June 20, 2008

Obama quote generator

A friend of mine forwarded the link below to me from a guy who said in his email:
Hey, I posted one of those quotes on my blog and a few minutes
later someone wired $250 million into my bank account. What am
I supposed to do now?
My friend's comment? "Try it! Then run for president!"

No. 1. Here's where you can try it: Generate a Barack Obama Quote! (Buttafly: the procrastinator's paradise).

No. 2. For some extra fun, run the latest speech of your favorite political ignoramus through Samuel Stoddard's Dialectizer, which will convert it into your choice of "Redneck," "Jive," "Cockney," "Elmer Fudd," "Swedish Chef," "Moron," "Pig Latin," or "Hacker."

Thursday, June 19, 2008

C.S. Lewis and Ronald Knox at Oxford

"This book had led me deeper into [C.S.] Lewis' own writings than any I've read," writes Walter Hooper, longtime trustee and literary advisor to the estate of C.S. Lewis, in his preface to Fr. Milton T. Walsh's new book, Second Friends: C.S. Lewis and Ronald Knox in Conversation (San Francisco: Ignatius Press, 2008). Hooper writes:
This—to quote C.S. Lewis—"is the most noble and joyous book I've read these past ten years." It is also one of the most surprising. After immersing myself in the writings of Lewis for half a century I could not, when I first heard Milton Walsh talk about the book, see how C.S. Lewis and Ronald Knox could benefit from being placed together. I am now totally converted.
Carl Olson of Ignatius Insight interviewed Fr. Walsh about his earlier book, Ronald Knox As Apologist: Wit, Laughter and the Popish Creed (San Francisco: Ignatius Press, 2007) last May, and he said this about his second book:
There are many similarities between Knox and C. S. Lewis, and I am currently writing a book comparing their thought. They both came from Evangelical backgrounds; they both combined a love of logic with a romantic view of life. They were both very much at home in the world of Oxford, and wrote in a variety of genres. Knox was about ten years older than Lewis, so they did not know one another in student days. I have found references to each man's writings in the other man's books and letters; they were familiar with one another's work.

When I went to Oxford a couple of years ago I made an interesting discovery. Every afternoon Lewis used to take a walk in the meadow behind Magdalen College, and Knox would take a walk in Christ Church Meadow. I found out they were practically across the street from each other! They had friends in common, and one of them reports that he invited them to lunch one day in 1936. They hit it off very well, and it is enjoyable to speculate what might have happened had Knox not left Oxford a couple of years later. They may have gotten better acquainted, although Lewis' discomfort with "Papists" (excluding such exceptions as Tolkien), and Knox's reticence to go "convert hunting" may have been enough to keep them apart. I like to think they're together now!
Read an excerpt from Ronald Knox As Apologist and the entire interview.

[Acknowledgement: Carl Olson's review posted at Ignatius Insight on June 12, 2008.]

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

And then the other shoe dropped ...

The first shoe dropped on the Seventh day of the Seventh month of the Seventh year of the new millennium when His Holiness, Pope Benedict caused great wailing and gnashing of teeth among liturgically revisionist Catholics by issuing his long-awaited Motu Proprio, Summorum Pontificum, legally liberating the traditional Latin Mass from the erstwhile (and continuing) resistance of recalcitrant episcopates.

The second shoe dropped, almost exactly a year later, when Benedict's deputy, the senior Vatican cardinal in charge of Latin liturgy as head of the Pontifical Commission Ecclesia Dei, Cardinal Dario Castrillón Hoyos, speaking on behalf of Pope Benedict, announced on June 14, 2008, as he was preparing to celebrate Mass at Westminster Cathedral in London that the traditional Latin Mass -- effectively banned by Rome for 40 years -- is to be reintroduced into every Roman Catholic parish in England and Wales.

Cardinal Dario Castrillón Hoyos celebrates Mass in the Extraordinary Form
at Westminster Cathedral, London, June 14, 2008

As a point of clarification, when asked whether the Tridentine Mass would be celebrated in many parishes in the future, Cardinal Castrillón Hoyos said: "Not many parishes – all parishes. The Holy Father is offering this not only for the few groups who demand it, but so that everybody knows this way of celebrating the Eucharist."

Damian Thompson, in an article in the London Telegraph entitled "Latin Mass to return to England and Wales" (, June 14, 2008), wrote:
In addition, all seminaries will be required to teach trainee priests how to say the old Mass so that they can celebrate it in all parishes.

Catholic congregations throughout the world will receive special instruction on how to appreciate the old services, formerly known as the Tridentine Rite.

... Cardinal Castrillón said that the reverent silence of the traditional rite was one of the “treasures” that Catholics would rediscover, and young worshippers would encounter for the first time.

Pope Benedict will reintroduce the old rite – which will be known as the “Gregorian Rite” - even where the congregation has not asked for it. “People don’t know about it, and therefore they don’t ask for it,” the Cardinal explained.

The revised Mass, adopted in 1970 after the Second Vatican Council, had given rise to “many, many, many abuses”, the Cardinal said. He added: “The experience of the last 40 years has not always been so good. Many people have lost their sense of adoration for God, and these abuses mean that many children do not know how to be in the presence of God.”

However, the new rite will not disappear; the Pope wishes to see the two forms of Mass existing side by side.
Needless to say, this announcement is being taken with utmost seriousness by opponents of Benedict's initiative and is certain to stir intense controversy. For his part, the Cardinal stated that the changes would take a few years to implement fully, and insisted -- in line with Benedict's hermeneutic of continuity -- that the widespread reintroduction of the old Mass does not contradict the teachings of the Second Vatican Council.

From Rorate Caeli's summary of events entitled "Cardinal Castrillón in the Archdiocese of Westminster" (June 18, 2008), we also garner the following references:A full photographic record of Cardinal Castrillón Hoyos’s visit and Westminster Cathedral Mass can be seen at:

I think it was a strategic move to make this announcement in England, not because of the evident contemporary resistance to the traditional Mass there, but because of the historic resistance of English Catholics to the banning of the traditional Mass following Vatican II, including the notable success of the late John Carmel Cardinal Heenan (1905-1975) in securing an indult in 1971 from Rome for English Catholics to celebrate the Tridentine Mass, and the support of his successor Basil Cardinal Hume (1923-1999) in preserving the indult. Furthermore, English Catholics have the heroic history of suffering under the penal laws as recusants for refusal to participate in the Anglican liturgy introduced at the hand of Thomas Cranmer during the English Reformation -- a Mass that, in certain respects, looks positively Tridentine compared to the Novus Ordo of Paul VI, produced under the supervision of Archbishop Bugnini in Rome. In other words, many Catholics in Elizabethan England suffered persecution and execution at Tyburn rather than being forced to accept a the new Anglican Mass which looked more "Catholic" in many ways than the new Catholic Mass introduced by Paul VI in 1970. All of these symbolic ironies converge to make England a symbolically and historically strategic site for spearheading this most recent initiative. Let us continue to pray for the revival of the Church and her divine worship.

Of related interest:

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Increase in Masses of the Extraordinary Form

"This Wednesday, June 18, at 7:30PM, Wyandotte's Our Lady of Mt. Carmel Parish will debut a weekly Extraordinary Form Mass. If the Wednesday Masses prove popular, there is a possibility that a Sunday Mass will be added. This is the ninth Tridentine Mass site in the Archdiocese of Detroit. Only the Archdiocese of Chicago, with eleven sites, surpasses the Archdiocese of Detyroit in number of Extraordinary Form Masses."

"Our Lady of Mt. Carmel Debuts Wednesday TLM"
Tridentine Community News, June 15, 2008
St. Josaphat Parish Bulletin

"On Sunday, June 29 at noon, the Feast of Ss. Peter & Paul, historic St. Albertus Church [in Detroit, MI] will host its second Extraordinary Form Mass since the publication of the Motu Proprio, Summorum Pontificum. The celebrant will be Fr. Peter Hrystyk of Windsor's Assumption Church. Music will be provided by a joint St. Josaphat-Assumption choir, under the direction of Wassim Sarweh."

"St. Albertus To Host Second Tridentine Mass"
Tridentine Community News, June 15, 2008
St. Josaphat Parish Bulletin

McCain's son in Iraq

Vetted by in an article entitled "My Three Sons" (April 2008). Status: True. Example:
Mr. McCain, now the presumptive Republican nominee, has staked his candidacy on the promise that American troops can bring stability to Iraq . What he almost never says is that one of them is his own son, who spent seven months patrolling Anbar Province and learned of his father's New Hampshire victory in January while he was digging a stuck military vehicle out of the mud.

Two of Jimmy's three older brothers went into the military. Doug McCain, 48, was a Navy pilot. Jack McCain, 21, is to graduate from the Naval Academy next year, raising the chances that his father, if elected, could become the first president since Dwight D. Eisenhower with a son at war.
[Hat tip to J.S.]

William Buckley on the new liturgy

TheM following piece, attributed to William F. Buckley, can be found at "Buckley on the New Mass" (Saint Louis Catholic, June 13, 2008) where it is linked to an article, "William F. Buckley on the New Mass" from the archives of The Remnant (May 15, 1979):
As a Catholic, I have abandoned hope for the liturgy, which, in the typical American church, is as ugly and as maladroit as if it had been composed by Robert Ingersoll and H.L. Mencken for the purpose of driving people away.

Incidentally, the modern liturgists are doing a remarkably good job, attendance at Catholic Mass on Sunday having dropped sharply in the 10 years since a few well-meaning cretins got hold of the power to vernacularize the Mass, and the money to scour the earth in search of the most unmusical men and women to preside over the translation.

The next liturgical ceremony conducted primarily for my benefit, since I have no plans to be beatified or remarried, will be my own funeral; and it is a source of great consolation to me that, at my funeral, I shall be quite dead, and will not need to listen to the accepted replacement for the noble old Latin liturgy. Meanwhile, I am practicing Yoga, so that, at church on Sundays, I can develop the power to tune out everything I hear, while attempting, athwart the general calisthenics, to commune with my Maker, and ask Him first to forgive me my own sins, and implore him, second, not to forgive the people who ruined the Mass.

William F. Buckley, Jr. (circa 1979)
Editor, National Review

[Hat tip to N.B.]

If only this were true ...

Muhammad Tahir, "The Pope's Special Forces" (Ummah Pulse, February 29, 2008), writes: "Jane's, the world's premier provider of military and strategic intelligence, describes Special Forces personnel (e.g. the SAS) in the following terms:
"These soldiers are different: they have to be intelligent, lateral thinkers, superbly fit and have the mindset that keeps them going when others would give up."
One part of the story concerns the Jesuits as the "special forces" of the Pope, at least historically:
Who are the Jesuits? One revealing description states them to be "what was effectively an elite force of intellectual missionary priests... always at the service of the universal Church."

John Ralston Saul, in his book Voltaire's Bastards, describes the Jesuits as "intellectual mercenaries", whose intellectual talents were placed at the Church's disposal to achieve whatever ends the Church required. He argues that they are the originators of the "tyranny of Reason" - the modern day trap of horrible outcomes (the Holocaust, the nuclear bomb, the global arms industry) which arise from perfectly sound logical thought processes.
The other part of the story concerns "the media launch of a certain Felix Koerner on the BBC who "is a prime mover in the Turkish secularist establishment's latest attack on Islam." Read on.

[Hat tip to M.W.]

The crisis of Holy Trinity in Boston

Readers of this blog may recall that we have followed with some interest the developments involving the historic German parish of Holy Trinity in South Boston. (See our posts Boston's Indult: An Expensive Move [Musings, April 13, 2007] and Old Mass to return to Boston's Holy Trinity [Musings, December 19, 2007], for two examples.)

James Likoudis comments on the latest (and possibly last) development in his article, "A Month After Pope's Visit . . .Cardinal O'Malley Closes German Parish" (Free Republic, June 13, 2008, from Wanderer Press, June 5, 2008). Here are some excerpts:
One month after Pope Benedict XVI made his historic visit to the United States, Sean Cardinal O’Malley ordered the closure of Boston’s oldest German parish, Holy Trinity, and declared all its assets — including $ 242,000 in its bank account — be transferred to Holy Cross Cathedral.

The priests and parishioners of Holy Trinity Church, established by German immigrants in 1844, opened the first parochial school in New England and introduced the Christmas tree and Christmas cards to Puritan Boston, among many other traditions.

Since 1990, the parish has been home for the Traditional Latin Mass community from 1990 to 2007, when the Traditional Latin Mass was relocated to Mary Immaculate of Lourdes Parish in Newton. Following Pope Benedict XVI’s motu proprio, parishioners of Holy Trinity successfully petitioned the pastor administrator, Fr. John J. Connolly, for the Latin Mass. Since January 2008, when the Latin Mass was restored, the congregation at Holy Trinity has tripled, despite a standing-room-only congregation at Mary Immaculate of Lourdes, said C. Joseph Doyle, a member of the Latin Mass Community at Holy Trinity, and executive director of the Catholic Action League of Massachusetts.

For four years, Cardinal O’Malley has been intent on closing Holy Trinity ....

... "The whole so-called reconfiguration process,” Doyle told The Wanderer, “is insane. Venerable churches of great historical significance and architectural and artistic distinction are being destroyed, while churches of no historical or aesthetic value are being preserved. Orthodox congregations are being dispossessed, while parishes that are hotbeds of dissent remain open.”
If you have a stomach for depressing news, read on in the original article. There is plenty more from the rapid decomposition of historic Catholic culture in Boston.

[Hat tip to R.Q.]

New background on the Credo of Paul VI

In his article, "The Credo of Paul VI. Who Wrote It, and Why" (www.chiesa), Sandro Magister sheds new light on the "Credo of the People of God," which was issued by Paul VI in 1968 in response to the upheaval in the Church exemplified by the heterodox Dutch Catechism that emerged at the time. What has now come to light is that the "Credo" was written by Jacques Maritain as a result of a long standing correspondence of 303 letters exhanged between himself and the Swiss theologian and cardinal, Charles Journet. Magister says that Cardinal Georges Cottier – a disciple of Journet, and theologian emeritus of the pontifical household – has already revealed the background of the "Credo" in the international magazine "30 Days," in the cover story of the latest issue.

Magister notes that in one passage of the draft sent by Maritain to the pope, he had "explicitly cited the common witness that the Israelites and Muslims give to the one God, together with Christians," but that in his "Credo," Paul VI simply "gives thanks to the divine goodness for the 'many believers' who share faith in the one God with Christians, without specifically mentioning Judaism and Islam." Among other things, Magister also notes that during the 1950's, "Maritain came close to being condemned by the Holy Office for his philosophical thought, suspected of 'extreme naturalism,' but that "one reason why the condemnation was not issued was that he was defended by Giovanni Battista Montini, the future Paul VI, who at the time was substitute secretary of state and had a longstanding friendship with the French thinker."

[Hat tip to J.]

Friday, June 13, 2008

Censuring "homophobic hate speech"

A friend recently wrote to me, saying:
In his book, Christianity and the Crisis of Cultures (San Francisco: Ignatius Press, 2006), Pope Benedict XVI wrote, "Very soon, it will no longer be possible to affirm that homosexuality (as the Catholic Church teaches) constitutes an objective disorder in the structure of human existence" (p. 35). Interesting article on precisely that issue below.
Indeed. The article is by David Warren, entitled "Deafening Silence" (Ottawa Citizen, June 12, 2008). Warren begins by professing that the pen is ultimately mightier than the sword, that "political power passes away, that truths about God and man resurface, that human freedom is never fully extinguished." He continues:
This is a point worth recalling, as we head into a period in Canada when, owing to malice from an ideological camp, to cowardice on the part of our elected representatives, and to indifference on the part of the people, free speech and freedom of the press will disappear in Canada. Those who deviate from the officially-sanctioned lies of "political correctness" will emigrate, perhaps mostly to USA, or experience that peculiar form of internal exile -- of enforced silence -- that good men have shared in many times and places.

... As free speech disappears in Canada, one looks for instance not at the more celebrated cases of Mark Steyn and Ezra Levant, but at the much less publicized fate of e.g. Rev. Stephen Boisson, convicted by an Alberta kangaroo court ("human rights tribunal") last November for publicly expressing the Christian and Biblical view of homosexuality, on the say-so of an anti-Christian activist from his home town.

Rev. Boisson has now been ordered to desist from communicating his views on this subject "in newspapers, by email, on the radio, in public speeches, or on the Internet" so long as he should live. He has been ordered to pay compensation to Darren Lund, the anti-Christian activist in question, and further to make a public recantation of beliefs he still holds.

... Among the spookiest aspects of these cases is the silence over, and indifference to them, on the part of journalists whose predecessors imagined themselves vigilant in the cause of freedom. As I've learned first-hand through email, many Canadian journalists today take the view that, "I don't like these people, therefore I don't care what happens to them." It is a view that, at best, is extremely short-sighted.
I've long asserted that one of the most formidable practical challenge the Church faces in our time is not women's ordination, a shortage of priests, or church closings. Rather, it is the lack of stalwart response to this problem, which almost nobody seems to want to confront.[Hat tip to Prof. E.E.]