Monday, March 30, 2009

Seen a bulletin insert like this recently?

What's the last time you've seen a Sunday bulletin insert like this one? I was pleased to find it in the St. Josaphat bulletin from last Sunday, March 29, 2009:
Here's a timely Lenten Message to keep in mind!

Christian! Remember This!

Only One Thing Is Necessary!

Save Your Soul!

  1. Receive regularly the Sacraments of Penance and the Holy Eucharist!

  2. Say your morning and evening prayers. Make acts of Faith, Hope and Charity every day and night, before retiring examine your Conscience and make an act of Contrition.

  3. Attend Mass on all Sundays and Holy Days of Obligation.

  4. If there exist any Church Societies in your parish, join at least one of them.

  5. It is an obligation blinding under sin to contribute to the support of the Church.

  6. You are obliged to avoid the occasion of sin; an occasion of sin is any person, place or thing, which will likely lead you into sin.

  7. Practice Daily Devotion to the Blessed Virgin; pray to her particularly for the grace of a Happy Death.

  8. Always remember: Death -- Judgment -- Heaven -- Hell, and you will persevere unto the end.

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Hermeneutics of Velveeta

[Hat tip to John Henry]

What’s a Modernist?

From a post by Tito Edwards by the same title over at American Catholic with a delightful little clip, prefaced by these words:
A biretta tip to Fr. John Zuhlsdorf for this wonderful piece of humor that he came across on Catholic Church Conservation. When they stop believing in God, they call themselves modernists. They being the Church of England but would also apply to many Catholic prelates and laymen here in the United States and around the world.

You just can't make this stuff up

"Hillary Clinton leaves flowers for Our Lady of Guadalupe, asks ‘Who painted it?’" (Catholic News Service, March 27, 2009):
Mexico City, Mexico. During her recent visit to Mexico, U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton made an unexpected stop at the Basilica of Our Lady of Guadalupe and left a bouquet of white flowers “on behalf of the American people,” after asking who painted the famous image.

... After observing it for a while, Mrs. Clinton asked “who painted it?” to which Msgr. Monroy responded “God!”

Clinton then told Msgr. Monroy that she had previously visited the old Basilica in 1979, when the new one was still under construction. [In other words... she had heard at least once before about the image.... the sort of story people tend to remember.]

After placing a bouquet of white flowers by the image, Mrs. Clinton went to the quemador –the open air area at the Basilica where the faithful light candles- and lit a green candle.

Leaving the basilica half an hour later, Mrs. Clinton told some of the Mexicans gathered outside to greet her, “You have a marvelous virgin!” (emphasis added) [This is why she is our Secretary of State!] [Comments in brown from Fr. Zuhlsdorf]
"You have a marvelous virgin!

"Who painted it?"

Wow ...

[Hat tip to J.M.]

The Easter Triduum in the Extraordinary Form

Tridentine Community News (March 29, 2009):
This year marks the first time that our readers will be able to attend Holy Week services according to the Tridentine Form. The Latin term Tríduum, or three days, refers to the Thursday, Friday, and Saturday before Easter Sunday, the most sacred days of the Liturgical Year.

Your browser may not support display of this image.Because the liturgies of Holy Week were reformed in 1955, hand missals published prior to 1955 will be of limited use. Examples of hand missals currently in print that follow the 1962 Holy Week are the Marian, Baronius Press, and Angelus Press Missals. If you have an older missal, please use the Propers Handouts we will supply to follow the liturgies.

Holy Week begins on Palm Sunday with the Procession with Palms and the chanting of the Passion of St. Matthew.

Holy Thursday

The Mass on Holy Thursday evening commemorates the institution of the Holy Eucharist at the Last Supper. At the end of Mass, the Blessed Sacrament is transferred to the Altar of Repose, and the high altar is stripped of all decorations, to symbolize the desolation when Christ is not present.

Mass for Holy Thursday will be held at 7:00 PM at St. Josaphat Church.

Good Friday

On Good Friday, the Passion of St. John is chanted; the Great Intercessions are sung; the ceremony of Adoration of the Cross is conducted; and Holy Communion is distributed.

For several years, Tridentine Good Friday services have been celebrated in Windsor, which many from Detroit have attended. This year, you will have the choice of attending Good Friday services at St. Josaphat at 1:30 PM, or at Assumption Church-Windsor at 5:30 PM. The same service and same music program will be offered at both locations.

The Easter Vigil

The Mass on Holy Saturday marks the discovery of the empty tomb and proclaims the Resurrection of our Lord. The Easter Fire and Paschal Candle are blessed; the Exúltet and the Litany of the Saints are chanted; the Baptismal Water is blessed; and the congregation renews their Baptismal Promises.

The Easter Vigil Mass will be held at 8:00 PM at St. Josaphat Church.

Easter Sunday and Low Sunday (Divine Mercy Sunday)

Easter Sunday Masses will be held as usual: 9:30 AM at St. Josaphat and 2:00 PM at Assumption-Windsor.

The first Sunday after Easter is known as Low Sunday on the Extraordinary Form calendar, so named to distinguish it from the most solemn of feasts the Sunday prior. In recent years, Low Sunday has become better known as Divine Mercy Sunday, after the Vatican sanctioned the popular devotion held on that day.

St. Josaphat will hold its Tridentine Mass at 9:30 AM as usual on Low Sunday. Assumption-Windsor will move its Tridentine Mass to 1:00 PM, to accommodate Divine Mercy devotions held in the church that afternoon. St. Joseph Church in Detroit will hold a special Tridentine Mass at 3:15 PM in conjunction with its own Divine Mercy devotions. As many of our readers may recall, St. Joseph was the first church in the Archdiocese of Detroit to hold Divine Mercy devotions, starting in the early 1980s. Full-page ads were taken out on the back cover of the Michigan Catholic to acquaint the faithful with the story of Sr. Faustina and invite them to St. Joseph.

Progress on the Confirmations Front

In a conversation with Fr. Borkowski, Archbishop Vigneron agreed to celebrate Confirmations at St. Josaphat according to the Extraordinary Form. Formal scheduling is the next step.

St. John Cantius Takes Interest in Chant Sheets

The FSSP is no longer alone. Chicago’s St. John Cantius Church, a major Tridentine Mass center in North America, has taken note of Michel Ozorak’s Chant Sheets on the Assumption Tridentine Mass Community’s web site, They have asked Michel to prepare a third setting of the Gospels, in the Tonus Evangélii, which are being posted on the web site. St. John Cantius is considering posting the Chant Sheets on their web site of resources for the Extraordinary Form, as well.
[Comments? Please e-mail Previous columns are available at This edition of Tridentine Community News, with minor editions, is from the St. Josaphat bulletin insert for March 29, 2009. Hat tip to A.B.]

Ever feel like ... kids are in charge?

Don't have enough money? That's okay. Let's just print some. And don't worry, we'll print lots and lots. And what's the media talking about? How cool it is that everyone can submit questions at the White House website for the President's ONLINE town hall meeting. Is that just not just so personal?

Hitting one of the nails squarely on the head, Karen Hall writes in "Our Teen Prez" (Some Have Hats, March 27, 2009):
One of the major reasons for the current insanity is that our president is mind-numbingly immature.

That's why my college-aged children love him so much. He's exactly the same age they are. He cares about the same things -- saving the world based on feelings with no regard to reality and no concern about either history or the future. A vision of utopia that most people have realized, by age thirty or so, cannot co-exist with human nature. And mostly, the thrill of the PAR-TAY!

The man cannot be parted from his crackberry, even in the interest of national security. (In other words, screw the rest of us.) Just like a 16 year-old kid, he lectures us about saving the planet while asking for gas money to go to the mall. (Has anyone calculated the carbon footprint of Airforce One since January 20th?) He wants to hang with celebrities -- which is even scarier when you realize that Simon Cowell is his idea of a celebrity. The country is falling down around us, and he's trying to schedule a dinner with Simon Cowell?????????? (If any of his admirers would like to defend that, the combox is all yours.)

... So now, while the country is falling down around us and there are about fifty fires that would be front page news (if we still had front pages) that our (for lack of a better term) representatives should be dropping everything and fixing immediately, he has them trying to fix the BCS.


What's next, an senate hearing on the NASCAR race-to-the-chase? A congressional oversight committee for the PGA tournament? And what is going to take precedence in the mind of the Juvenile-in-Chief, the North Korean missile crisis or the Final Four?

Democracy (not that it's possible without a free press, so it's effectively gone) is a lovely thing, until the majority of the voters are so clueless, they would trade freedom and security for a chance to have a prez who would be just so darned cool to have a beer with.
[Hat tip to J.M.]

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Wants Hindu concepts in Vatican Good Friday prayers

Jacinta D Souza, "Concepts of 'ahimsa,' 'nishkam karma' to resonate at Vatican" (Press Trust of India, 2009):
Bangalore,Mar 28(PTI) Mahatma Gandhi's concept of 'ahimsa' and Bhagvad Gita's essence of 'nishkam karma' would resonate at the Vatican during Good Friday prayers next month as an Indian Archbishop, bestowed with a rare honour by the Pope to prepare the prayers, would incorporate the two messages.

72-year-old Archbishop of Guwahati of Salesian Order Thomas Menamparampil has been asked by Pope Benedict XVI to prepare the meditation prayers for Way of the Cross, which the Papal Head himself will lead on Good Friday on April 10 at the Roman Colosseum.

He is the first Indian and second Asian to prepare the meditation prayers for the 'Way of the Cross', where '14 stages' of Jesus Christ are meditated upon.

Thomas, a native of Kerala, would give an Indian touch by blending the concepts of Mahatma's ahimsa and nishkama karma in the prayers for Way of the Cross, which reflects on Christ's journey to Mount Calvary before his crucifixion.

"Without using the words ahimsa and nishkama karma, I have woven these concepts into the prayers in a language that will be understood by all globally," Thomas, who is also the Chairman of Catholics Bishops Conference, told PTI over phone.

"In my prayers I have tried to be perfectly Christian and also perfectly Indian and Asian," said the Archbishop, who has written on sufferings of Dalits and been engaged in conflict resolutions in restoring peace among warring ethnic groups of North-East for over 12 years.
[Hat tip to N.B.]

Friday, March 27, 2009

How lucky (or unlucky) can you get?

Mari Yamaguchi, "Japanese Man Certified as Double A-Bomb Victim" (Yahoo News, March 24, 2009):
TOKYO – A 93-year-old Japanese man has become the first person certified as a survivor of both U.S. atomic bombings at the end of World War II, officials said Tuesday....

Yamaguchi was in Hiroshima on a business trip on Aug. 6, 1945, when a U.S. B-29 dropped an atomic bomb on the city. He suffered serious burns to his upper body and spent the night in the city. He then returned to his hometown of Nagasaki just in time for the second attack, city officials said.
[Hat tip to J.S.]

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Three from Twain

  • No man's life, liberty, or property is safe while the legislature is in session.

  • Suppose you were an idiot. And suppose you were a member of Congress.... But then I repeat myself.

  • The only difference between a tax man and a taxidermist is that the taxidermist leaves the skin.

    --Mark Twain

Varieties of intolerance: Cardinal Pell at his best

Pell starts with Barack Obama, California's Proposition 8, the vociferous attacks on Mormon temples by same-sex supporters, the ways in which militant Mohammedanism seeks to cow the West into submission (which, after all, is the meaning of "Islam"), and much, much more.
[Hat tip to E.E.]

Liturgical news notes

Tridentine Community News (March 22, 2009):
St. Josaphat Makes the Front Page of the Detroit News

On Friday, March 13, the Detroit News ran a story on its front page about Traditional Catholic worship. The paper had sent a reporter, photographer, and videographer to our Masses on the previous two Sundays. If you didn’t see the newspaper, the story is available for (paid) viewing on-line at Search for “Josephat” [sic – the writer misspelled it]. Be sure to watch the video and look at the additional photos.

Following the press coverage that Assumption-Windsor received in November in the Windsor Star newspaper and on CBC Radio, this marks the third time that mainstream media outlets have recently covered our local Tridentine Mass scene.

Tridentine Mass Presentation at Orchard Lake Seminary

Orchard Lake’s Ss. Cyril & Methodius Seminary has followed in the footsteps of London, Ontario’s St. Peter’s Seminary in exposing their seminarians to the Classic Liturgy: Last Monday, March 16, Seminary Vice Rector Fr. Miroslaw Król invited a team from St. Josaphat to give a presentation on the Extraordinary Form of Holy Mass to his Liturgy class. Seminarians heard a brief talk on the resurgence of the Tridentine Mass. An explanatory walk-through of the Mass was then conducted at the high altar of the Shrine Chapel.

Presentations such as this help to dispel the myth that the Extraordinary Form is intimidating. With a little guidance, celebrating the Tridentine Mass is no more complicated than driving a car. Seminarians should be made aware that they may very well be asked to celebrate the Traditional Latin Mass in their parish assignments, in accordance with the terms of our Holy Father’s Motu Proprio, Summórum Pontíficum.

Shrine Mass Instructive to Many

This past Wednesday, March 18, Royal Oak’s National Shrine of the Little Flower held an historic Solemn High Tridentine Mass as part of their Lenten Wednesday Liturgy series. Readers of this column who attended the Mass felt quite at home: Msgr. George Browne, Deacon Richard Bloomfield, and Fr. Peter Hrytsyk were at the altar, assisted by a joint group of St. Josaphat and Assumption-Windsor’s altar servers and choir members.

Over 500 people attended, attracted in part, no doubt, by the article that Shrine pastor Msgr. William Easton wrote in the March 15 edition of their parish bulletin, available on-line at Fifteen Red Missals were sold, and the choir received several compliments, both encouraging signs of newfound interest in the Traditional Liturgy.

A story and additional photos were posted on The New Liturgical Movement blog, at:, and positive reactions were posted on Catholic Answers’ Forum. It was an honor for our communities to be invited to participate in such an event.

Special Tridentine Mass this Wednesday, March 25

As part of Fr. Borkowski’s plan to hold sung Tridentine Masses on First Class Feasts, St. Josaphat Church will have a Missa Cantata this Wednesday, March 25 at 7:00 PM for the Feast of the Annunciation. Attending this and upcoming Masses will help integrate the liturgical calendar of Holy Mother Church more closely into our thinking and daily lives.

Attention: Pioneers From Villa Maria Days

A side note to those of our readers who attended metro Detroit’s only Tridentine Mass at Windsor’s Villa Maria Nursing Home Chapel up through 2003: Remember when there were only about 15 of us? Could anyone have predicted the level of interest in the Traditional Mass that we are now witnessing? Our region has truly been blessed with remarkable growth.
[Comments? Please e-mail Previous columns are available at This edition of Tridentine Community News, with minor editions, is from the St. Josaphat bulletin insert for March 22, 2009. Hat tip to A.B.]

Saturday, March 21, 2009

The news you may have missed

William Lajeunesse, "Pelosi Tells Illegal Immigrants That Work Site Raids are Un-American" (Fox New, March 18, 2009): "House Speaker Nancy Pelosi recently told a group of both legal and illegal immigrants and their families that enforcement of existing immigration laws, as currently practiced, is 'un-American.'"

[Hat tip to S.K.]

Telegraph: UK "stands on precipice"

Iain Martin, "Gordon Brown brings Britain to the edge of bankruptcy" (Telegraph, March 21, 2009):
hey don't know what they're doing, do they? With every step taken by the Government as it tries frantically to prop up the British banking system, this central truth becomes ever more obvious.

Yesterday marked a new low for all involved, even by the standards of this crisis. Britons woke to news of the enormity of the fresh horrors in store. Despite all the sophistry and outdated boom-era terminology from experts, I think a far greater number of people than is imagined grasp at root what is happening here.

The country stands on the precipice. We are at risk of utter humiliation, of London becoming a Reykjavik on Thames and Britain going under. Thanks to the arrogance, hubristic strutting and serial incompetence of the Government and a group of bankers, the possibility of national bankruptcy is not unrealistic.

The political impact will be seismic ...
  • Josh Painter, "Barack Obama’s Bankrupt States of America" (RS, March 22, 2009): "Sen. Judd Gregg (R-NH) knows more than a little about sound fiscal policy... Appearing Sunday on CNN’s “State of the Union” program with John King, Gregg said:
    The practical implications of this is bankruptcy for the United States. There’s no other way around it. If we maintain the proposals that are in this budget over the ten-year period that this budget covers, this country will go bankrupt. People will not buy our debt, our dollar will become devalued. It is a very severe situation.

    “It is as if you were flying an airplane and the gas light came on and it said ‘you [have] 15 minutes of gas left’ and the pilot said ‘we’re not going to worry about that, we’re going to fly for another two hours.’ Well, the plane crashes and our country will crash and we’ll pass on to our kids a country that’s not affordable."
    The Senator’s choice of metaphor drives home the seriousness of what the Obamunists are doing to the nation."
[Hat tip to S.K.]

Estimated 550-600 attend EF Mass at Shrine of the Little Flower

Shawn Tribe, "Solemn Mass at the Shrine of the Little Flower" (New Liturgical Movement, March 19, 2009): "Yesterday, a solemm Mass in the usus antiquior was offered in the Shrine of the Little Flower, near Detroit, Michigan. The Mass was celebrated by Msgr. George Browne as part of the Shrine's 'Lenten Presentations on Catholic Ritual Liturgies.'" Another source informs me that a star soprano, Melinda Enns, flew in from Montreal for the occasion. Below is a picture of the Msgr. George Browne with the liturgical team (photo courtesy of Shawn Tribe). More photos of the event are available at the New Liturgical Movement website.

Friday, March 20, 2009

Obama to deliver Notre Dame Commencement address

This announcement from Univ. of Notre Dame Office of News & Information (March 20, 2009):
President Barack Obama will be the principal speaker and the recipient of an honorary doctor of laws degree at the University of Notre Dame’s 164th University Commencement Ceremony at 2 p.m. May 17 (Sunday) in the Joyce Center on campus.
And this immediate reaction: "Help Stop the Scandal at Our Lady's University" (The Cardinal Newman Society, March 20, 2009): "Sign the petition to Fr. Jenkins:
Dear Father Jenkins:

It has come to our attention that the University of Notre Dame will honor President Barack Obama as its commencement speaker on May 17.

It is an outrage and a scandal that “Our Lady’s University,” one of the premier Catholic universities in the United States, would bestow such an honor on President Obama given his clear support for policies and laws that directly contradict fundamental Catholic teachings on life and marriage.

This nation has many thousands of accomplished leaders in the Catholic Church, in business, in law, in education, in politics, in medicine, in social services, and in many other fields who would be far more appropriate choices to receive such an honor from the University of Notre Dame.

Instead Notre Dame has chosen prestige over principles, popularity over morality. Whatever may be President Obama’s admirable qualities, this honor comes on the heels of some of the most anti-life actions of any American president, including expanding federal funding for abortions and inviting taxpayer-funded research on stem cells from human embryos.

The honor also comes amid great concern among Catholics nationwide about President Obama’s future impact on American society, the family, and the Catholic Church on issues such as traditional marriage, conscience protections for Catholic doctors and nurses, and expansion of abortion “rights.”

This honor is clearly a direct violation of the U.S. bishops’ 2004 mandate in “Catholics in Political Life”: “The Catholic community and Catholic institutions should not honor those who act in defiance of our fundamental moral principles. They should not be given awards, honors or platforms which would suggest support for their actions.”

We prayerfully implore you to halt this travesty immediately. We do so with the hope that Catholics nationwide will likewise call on you to uphold the sacred mission of your Catholic university. May God grant you the courage and wisdom to do what is right.

Hermeneutics: Constitution as model for Vatican II?

'Original intent' vs. 'making it up'

A reader writes: "Given all of the conversations lately about interpreting a Living Tradition and [Vatican II documents], and continuity vs contraction, I thought this blog post from Justin Taylor suggested Catholic concerns.

Interesting also that [Supreme Court Judge Clarence] Thomas, who would be called an Originalist wanting a "dead" document, yet defines his idea in non-incendiary words suggesting an appreciation for the document's intent at conception:
"there are really only two ways to interpret the Constitution — Try to discern as best we can what the framers intended OR make it up. No matter how ingenious, imaginative or artfully put, unless interpretive methodologies are tied to the original intent of the framers ...
Justin Taylor, "Interpreting the Constitution" (Between two worlds, March 17, 2009):
Peter Robinson has interviewed Associate Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia on the video program "Uncommon Knowledge," and they are posting them in chapters throughout the week.

The one for today is on interpreting the Constitution. Justice Scalia argues for a "dead" Constitution, not a "living" one. It's about 8 minutes in length and is worth your time. After admitting that "originalism" is not perfect and that there are some difficult issues, he also says:
The originalist has easy answers for many things, especially the most controversial things in modern times. [Does] the equal protection clause require that states permit same sex marriage? That is not a hard question for an originalist. Nobody ever thought that is what the equal protection clause meant. . . .[Is there] a right to abortion? For Pete’s sake, it was criminal in every state for 200 years. . . . So I have easy answers to a lot of stuff. Whereas, for the "living constitutionalist," there are no answers.
(For more on this, readers might be interested in a blog interview I did a few years ago with Notre Dame law professor Richard Garnett, where we covered things like defining “originalism,” “strict constructionism, ” and “the living Constitution”).

Also relevant is a lecture delivered by Clarence Thomas on these issues:
Let me put it this way; there are really only two ways to interpret the Constitution — try to discern as best we can what the framers intended or make it up. No matter how ingenious, imaginative or artfully put, unless interpretive methodologies are tied to the original intent of the framers, they have no more basis in the Constitution than the latest football scores. To be sure, even the most conscientious effort to adhere to the original intent of the framers of our Constitution is flawed, as all methodologies and human institutions are; but at least originalism has the advantage of being legitimate and, I might add, impartial.
Finally, if you want a well-researched, conservative guide to the Constitution, it's probably hard to improve upon The Heritage Guide to the Constitution.

Update: For any lawyers out there, this new book looks like a good one: Making Your Case: The Art of Persuading Judges, by Justice Scalia and Bryan Garner (author of the famous reference work Garner's Modern American Usage--a new edition comes out in August).
[Hat tip to J.M.]

Statistics: Condoms not stemming tide of African AIDS pandemic

Kathryn Jean Lopez, "From Saint Peter’s Square to Harvard Square: Media coverage of papal comments on AIDS in Africa is March madness" (NRO, March 19, 2009):
We have found no consistent associations between condom use and lower HIV-infection rates, which, 25 years into the pandemic, we should be seeing if this intervention was working.”

So notes Edward C. Green, director of the AIDS Prevention Research Project at the Harvard Center for Population and Development Studies, in response to papal press comments en route to Africa this week.

Benedict XVI said, in response to a French reporter’s question asking him to defend the Church’s position on fighting the spread of AIDS, characterized by the reporter as “frequently considered unrealistic and ineffective”:
I would say that this problem of AIDS cannot be overcome with advertising slogans. If the soul is lacking, if Africans do not help one another, the scourge cannot be resolved by distributing condoms; quite the contrary, we risk worsening the problem. The solution can only come through a twofold commitment: firstly, the humanization of sexuality, in other words a spiritual and human renewal bringing a new way of behaving towards one another; and secondly, true friendship, above all with those who are suffering, a readiness — even through personal sacrifice — to be present with those who suffer. And these are the factors that help and bring visible progress.
“The pope is correct,” Green told National Review Online Wednesday, “or put it a better way, the best evidence we have supports the pope’s comments. He stresses that “condoms have been proven to not be effective at the ‘level of population.’”
[Hat tip to E.E.]

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Dignitatis Humanae

In the wake of our recent posts on the interpretive principles concerning the hermeneutics of continuity and hermeneutics of rupture, you may be interested to find available online a very good analysis of the interpretive principles of the crucially controversial Vatican II document, Dignitatis Humanae by Peter A. Kwasniewski. The article, "Dignitatis Humanae: The Interpretive Principles," (Scripture and Catholic Tradition, March 14, 2009) is a long but -- as usual with Kwasniewski -- a rewarding study. Here I excerpt only his closing recommendations for sources for better understanding and some closing reflections, but do read the entire article. It's very good. The original contains the needed footnotes and nuanced qualifications:
When all is said and done, Dignitatis Humanae remains a problematic document if only because its own scope and method are left unclear to the reader and, as a result, its interpretation has been terribly, but predictably, vexed. It has given rise to acrimonious debate, intense partisanship, and even to real or emergent schism: leaders of the Society of Saint Pius X have pointed above all to Dignitatis Humanae as undeniable proof of the doctrinal discontinuity that justifies skepticism about the Second Vatican Council. It little helps most of us who are neither proficient in French nor have leisure for vast amounts of reading that a learned monk of the traditional Abbaye Sainte-Madeleine du Barroux, Dom Basile Valuet, O.S.B., has published a 3,000-page definitive study of Dignitatis Humanae, responding to both Lefebrvist and liberal/modernist interpretations by documenting and defending the doctrinal continuity of Dignitatis Humanae with the entire preceding Catholic tradition. It is true that Dom Basile prepared a one-volume synopsis, which he personally told me he wishes to see translated into other languages than French, but to my knowledge, an English edition has not yet appeared.

Still, there are many good readings that shed light on the quetion of the interpretation of Dignitatis Humanae. I highly recommend the following.

1. Thomas Storck has taken up the Dignitatis Humanae question three times: first, with an article in Faith & Reason, then with an article in Homiletic & Pastoral Review, and most recently with a chapter and appendix in his book Foundations of a Catholic Political Order. This last treatment is the best short treatment I know of.

2. For historical background and common sense textual analysis, see Russell Hittinger's "Dignitatis Humanae, Religious Liberty, and Ecclesiastical Self-Government," a chapter in his book The First Grace (Wilmington: ISI Books, 2003). Related articles by the same author are "What Kind of Caesar?"; "The Pope and the Liberal State"; and "Making Sense of the Civilization of Love: John Paul II's Contribution to Catholic Social Thought." Although I am not completely convinced by some of Hittinger's arguments, I find his approach refreshingly uncluttered and certainly much better than interpretations that do not pay sufficient attention to historical context.

3. A goldmine of background and documentary information is contained in Michael Davies' The Second Vatican Council and Religious Liberty. Davies' approach is handicapped by methodological flaws that make it impossible for him to avoid drawing an unacceptable conclusion, namely, that Dignitatis Humanae fundamentally conflicts with the prior Magisterium of the Church. A review by Father Brian Harrison, O.P., exposes these flaws quite clearly, while praising aspects of Davies' work in other respects. It is important to aquire a good grasp of the nineteenth-century historical situation and the way in which the papal teaching on State and society was precipitated and influenced by the fierce battle waged against the Church by rampant liberalism. Again, while not endorsing all their views, I recommend E.E.Y. Hales' Pio Nono, especially the chapter on the Syllabus of Errors, and Canon Roger Aubert's essay, "Religious Liberty from Mirari Vos to the Syllabus."

At the Second Vatican Council, the idea of a state that aimed to give public honor to God by privileging the Catholic religion was called into question. Some were saying: "We can't retain a double-faced policy (thesis/hypothesis) such that, if you are in power, you must grant freedom to us, but if we're in power, we don't need to grant freedom to you. How illogical!" In truth, this is no counter-argument at all; it is symptomatic, rather, of a sociologically eviscerated notion of "religion" that fails to give due primacy to the fullness of truth revealed by God and entrusted to the Catholic Church. Of course the Church has unique rights over civil society, even as she has a unique right to interpret the natural law without error. She is unique, period. The Catholic Faith is not one religion among many but the one true religion, of which all others (excepting, in a certain sense, the Jewish religion) are partial and groping images that arise principally from man and are inherently non-salvific. Hence a common political theory of the relationship between religion and civil society -- one that would take in the Catholic religion on equal terms with all other religions and treat them as if politically indistinguishable -- is impossible in principle, and so cannot be applied in practice.

In the end, there are two mutually exclusive political paradigms and paths, one of which must be taken while the other is left behind: Leonine Thomism and Lockean-Murrayite secularism. According to the first, the civil and ecclesiastical or kingly and sacerdotal powers are intended by God, their Creator and Redeemer, to stand in the correct hierarchical relationship, so much so that the very well-being of society and of culture depends intimately on the concrete realization of this relationship; according to the second, the two powers have no formal relationship at all, at best a tenuous material one. The contrast is like that between a marriage intended and sanctified by God, open to the gift of new life in the synergetic activity of procreation, and a couple without vows, living together for mutual convenience. In spite of superficial similarities, which may even include offspring, these avenues tend to go in opposite directions and, barring perversion or conversion, will end in opposite destinies.

SSV2 eruption in S. Africa

I love this Jeff Miller comment from a recent Herm of Continuity blog post on the ICEL and "liturgical anger" in S. Africa:
What will happen is that a group will break off called the SSV2 (Society of the Spirit of Vatican II) and they will say the Mass only using the older ICEL translation and setup SSV2 chapels with clown masses.
I think he's got it right.

[Hat tip to J.M.]

Hermeneutics of rupture and continuity

Fr. Edward T. Oakes, S.J., "Benedict’s Vatican II Hermeneutic" (First Things, March 13, 2009), writes:
As the debate is usually framed, we are confined to but four positions. First, according to the standard schema, there are only two stances on the question of whether Vatican II broke with Catholic tradition (yes or no). Then, right after that, there are two further subsidiary positions one must take, to affirm or decry the initial conclusion (good or bad). Thus, one option holds that Vatican II seamlessly continues the Church’s past, and should be praised for keeping the faith. (The late Avery Cardinal Dulles is often taken as the premier defender of this position, although his actual conclusion is more subtle.)

The second position equally concedes Vatican II’s continuity with the Church’s past, but is for that reason to be lamented. (Hans Küng comes close to that view; indeed he wrote his book The Church while the Council was still in session to offer an alternative to Lumen gentium, the Council’s Dogmatic Constitution on the Church, which he thought was too hidebound in its attachment to the past).

A third position holds that Vatican II represents a break with the Church’s past and should be praised for doing so. (John O’Malley’s recent book What Happened at Vatican II likes this posture.)

Finally, a fourth position agrees with the disruption thesis and loudly complains about it. (Such is the basis for the Lefebvrist schism.)

But surely the reality is more complicated than these too-neat options can allow. Why cannot Vatican II be seen as both continuous with and yet also a departure from the Church’s ancient tradition? Isn’t that true, after all, of all the major and historic councils? Doesn’t a more nuanced assessment do less violence to the historical record than the procrustean options outlined above? Although Benedict is famous in the world press for holding to what he calls the “hermeneutics of continuity,” his own position is actually far subtler than such a tagline would indicate (which is partly why in lifting the excommunications he was so readily misunderstood).

In fact, in the very speech he gave to the Roman Curia, December 22, 2005, that made the “hermeneutics of continuity” so famous as a phrase, he openly admitted that Vatican II represents a rupture of some kind (why else the controversy?). But for him it was a rupture that paradoxically revealed the Church’s fidelity to her truest identity: A discontinuity was revealed, he said to the Curia, “but [it was one] in which, after the various distinctions between concrete historical situations and their requirements had been made, the continuity of principles proved not to have been abandoned.”

To those stuck in the usual two categories provided by secular journalism, the pope will sound here like he is trying to have it both ways. But for Benedict, unless we can accurately categorize the various changes brought about by the Council in different terms, we will continue to misinterpret it. In other words, the issue of continuity vs. discontinuity only gets us to the beginning of the debate, not to its end.
Fr. Zuhlsdorf, "A reflection on rupture" (WDTPRS, March 12, 2009), furnishes the following mental assignment:
Let me propose something to think about.

The Holy Father has made his pontificate in part a reflection on continuity.

This commitment to restore a proper interpretive principle is the fruit of decades of observation and reflection from a unique, privileged vantage point.

Will you stipulate now that "rupture", lack of "continuity" is a bad thing?

The obvious type of rupture and discontinuity is in the form of a break with the past. Progressivists see the Council, for example, as a break with the past, a new theological, ecclesiological starting point. They do great harm by working from this view. If you take insufficient positive consideration of the past, you work great harm.

Another type of rupture, less obvious, comes from those who defend the past while not taking sufficient account of present progress or the possibility of authentic development without substantive change in doctrine. Those who freeze the Church and deny the possibility of broadening our theological reflection do great harm. The world does in fact present new exigencies even if human nature doesn’t "mature" out of its perennial needs – as many progressivists falsely assume.

Rupture from the past. Rupture from the future.

Rupture from the future is easier to correct. Rupture from the past is the more dangerous.

After all, it is part of the warp and weft of the Church’s nature to tend toward the unchanging, to resist the effects of that which shifts and is never fixed, and to guide the wider world toward her Lord, who is the same yesterday, today and tomorrow.
Some of the combox comments are worth reading if you have the time.

[Hat tip to J.M. for the Fr. Oakes link.]

Special Upcoming Tridentine Masses

This coming week demonstrates the surging level of activity in Traditional Catholic Liturgy in our area. Here is a list of planned upcoming events:

This Wednesday, March 18: Shrine of the Little Flower

This Wednesday at 7:00 PM, a special Solemn High Tridentine Mass for the anticipated Feast of St. Joseph will be held at the National Shrine of the Little Flower Church in Royal Oak. St. Josaphat and Assumption-Windsor’s Tridentine Communities are assisting Shrine with the celebration of this Mass. Shrine has been publicizing this Mass as part of their Lenten Wednesday Masses being offered in other rites of the Church (see for the write-up). It promises to be one of the best-attended Tridentine Mass events of 2009.

Photo by Cris Rea

Shrine is historically significant, and one of the, if not the, largest parish in the Archdiocese of Detroit. As an architectural cross between Detroit’s Fisher Building, a traditional Catholic Church, and a theatre-in-the-round, Shrine is a visual experience. We hope you can attend this special Mass and show your support to the people of Shrine who have put this event together.

This Thursday, March 19: St. Joseph Church

As part of a full day of events related to the Feast of St. Joseph, St. Josaphat’s cluster partner St. Joseph Church will hold a special sung Mass in the Extraordinary Form this Thursday at 7:00 PM.

This Saturday, March 21: Sweetest Heart of Mary Church

This Saturday at 4:00 PM, Sweetest Heart of Mary Church will hold Vespers and Benediction according to the Tridentine Form, as part of their annual Forty Hours Devotion. To our knowledge, this will be the first time that Tridentine Vespers will have been publicly celebrated in metropolitan Detroit in over 40 years.

Next Wednesday, March 25: St. Josaphat Church

One week from this Wednesday at 7:00 PM, St. Josaphat Church will hold a special Missa Cantata for the Feast of the Annunciation.

Holy Week at St. Josaphat and Assumption-Windsor

The prayers and requests of many have been answered: For the first time since the liturgical reforms of Vatican II, St. Josaphat Church will hold Masses on April 9, Holy Thursday, at 7:00 PM; and on April 11, Holy Saturday, at 8:00 PM. Good Friday Services will be offered at St. Josaphat at 1:30 PM, and at Assumption-Windsor at 5:30 PM.

Divine Mercy Sunday at St. Joseph Church

On April 19 at 3:15 PM, a Tridentine Mass with orchestral accompaniment will be celebrated by Fr. Lee Acervo at St. Joseph Church for Low Sunday, also known as Divine Mercy Sunday.

Additional Special Masses Planned for St. Josaphat

Fr. Borkowski has initiated a new plan to hold sung Tridentine Masses at St. Josaphat for First Class Feasts that occur on weekdays. These Masses will be held at 7:00 PM if they fall on a Monday through Friday, and at 9:30 AM if they fall on a Saturday. Plans will be confirmed as the dates approach.

Sunday, June 7: St. Albertus Church

Historic St. Albertus Church will offer their next Tridentine Mass on Sunday, June 7 (Trinity Sunday) at noon. This Mass will also mark the completion of the second phase of their organ restoration project.

LLA Convention Clarification

The Latin Liturgy Association has sent out a newsletter announcing the 2010 Convention in Detroit. In it, they state that the convention will be based at St. Joseph Church. This is not quite accurate: The talks will all be held in St. Joseph’s Parish Hall, as it has the largest single room in the cluster, but the liturgical events will be spread across all of the host churches, one event per church. St. Josaphat, Assumption-Windsor, Sweetest Heart of Mary, and St. Albertus will all host liturgies.

Stay Tuned for More

Plans for yet more special Masses, at existing and at new sites, are underway. You’ll read about them here once they become concrete.

Already one of North America’s Top 5 regions for scheduled Tridentine Masses, we believe metro Detroit is #1 for Special Event Masses. Thanks to everyone who is playing direct and indirect roles in organizing all of these liturgies.

[Comments? Please e-mail Previous columns are available at This edition of Tridentine Community News, with minor editions, is from the St. Josaphat bulletin insert for March 15, 2009. Hat tip to A.B.]

Thomas Nagel defends intelligent design

[Hat tip to E.E.]

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Local exposure

Gregg Krupa, "More Catholics embrace traditions" (Detroit News, March 13, 2009), offers an interesting treatment of Catholics who have found their home in the traditional liturgy generally, but also some local exposure of the Mass at St. Josaphat parish. Last Sunday, someone from the Detroit News was shooting video footage of portions of the Mass. The yield included several photographs, such as this, from the Prayers at the Foot of the Altar at the beginning of the Mass.

(Charles V. Tines / The Detroit News)

The comment beneath the photo reads: "Some 150 people now attend the traditional Latin Masses at St. Josaphat in Detroit, and about half of the congregation consists of young families and adults in their 30s and 40s."

In addition, the featured article also carries an accompanying video with some good footage of the Mass with accompanying music (the closing tune, which our Lutheran readers will recognize as coming from Luther's A Mighty Fortress, I hesitate to assure them, is a rare aberration), as well as a cameo appearance by yours truly, if you do not blink.

[Hat tip to A.B.]

Friday, March 13, 2009

His Holiness responds to the wolves

  • Letter of His Holiness Benedict XVI to the Bishops of the Catholic Church concerning the remission of the excommunication of the four Bishops consecrated by Archbishop Lefebvre (March 12, 2009) -- Excerpts:
    ... Can we be totally indifferent about a community which has 491 priests, 215 seminarians, 6 seminaries, 88 schools, 2 university-level institutes, 117 religious brothers, 164 religious sisters and thousands of lay faithful? ... I think for example of the 491 priests. We cannot know how mixed their motives may be. All the same, I do not think that they would have chosen the priesthood if, alongside various distorted and unhealthy elements, they did not have a love for Christ and a desire to proclaim him and, with him, the living God. Can we simply exclude them, as representatives of a radical fringe, from our pursuit of reconciliation and unity? What would then become of them?

    Certainly, for some time now, and once again on this specific occasion, we have heard from some representatives of that community many unpleasant things – arrogance and presumptuousness, an obsession with one-sided positions, etc. Yet to tell the truth, I must add that I have also received a number of touching testimonials of gratitude which clearly showed an openness of heart.... And should we not admit that some unpleasant things have also emerged in Church circles? At times one gets the impression that our society needs to have at least one group to which no tolerance may be shown; which one can easily attack and hate. And should someone dare to approach them – in this case the Pope – he too loses any right to tolerance; he too can be treated hatefully, without misgiving or restraint.

    "... if you bite and devour one another, take heed that you are not consumed by one another."
  • Communiqué of the Superior General of the Priestly Fraternity of Saint Pius X [FSSPX / SSPX] -- Excerpts:
    Pope Benedict XVI addressed a letter to the Bishops of the Catholic Church, dated March 10 2009, in which he made them aware of the intentions which guided him in this important step which is the Decree of January 21, 2009.

    After "an avalanche of protests was unleashed" recently, we greatly thank the Holy Father for having placed the debate at the level on which it should take place, that of the faith. We fully share his utmost concern for preaching to "our age, when in vast areas of the world the faith is in danger of dying out like a flame which no longer has fuel"....
  • Fr. Zuhlsdorf, "J’accuse! L’Osservatore Romano’s editor points a finger, Fr. Z comments" (WDTPRS, March 13, 2009):
    When the wheels come off a train, people get hurt and the capital of an organization is threatened, someone gets blamed. Someone must pay.

    The liberals of the secular press and the progressivist element of the Catholic media latched on to the Holy Father’s admission that mistakes were made in the lifting of the SSPX excommunications.

    Their common accusation is that the Holy Father failed to consult widely enough, he is to blame, or that Card. Castrillon with the Pontifical Commission he heads was a loose cannon, and he is to blame. They energetically advance that the future fusion of the Pontifical Commission "Ecclesia Dei" to the CDF is truly an acceptance of this blame. They rejoice in their vindication.

    On the other hand, Giovanni Maria Vian, the revolutionary editor of the Vatican’s newspaper L’Osservatore Romano printed an editorial in which he identifies his own candidates for blame.

    The first part of the editorial chews over facts we already know. The meat of the piece comes well along.

    Here is my translation of the paragraph conveying Vian’s central point:
    The clarity of the Pope’s analysis does not sidestep open and difficult questions, such as the need for attention and a more prepared and timely communication in a global context where information, omnipresent and superabundant, is continuously exposed to manipulations and exploitations, among which are so-called leaks, which only with effort cannot be called wretched - even within the Roman Curia, an organism historically collegial and which in the Church has the obligation of being exemplary.
    ... Say what you will about the Vatican-hostile, SSPX-allergic Marco Politi of La Repubblica, he is astute. He caught Vian’s drift immediately and wrote: "In a column Giovanni Maria Vian castigates the ‘manipulations and exploitations’ also within the Roman Curia…". Politi caught the real point of Vian’s editorial.

    Vian says the Vatican’s portion of the blame lies on the backs of some workers of the Roman Curia.

    The point: These negationists took advantage of the situation to hurt the Pope and prevent positive developments with the SSPX.

    So set are they against such a rapprochement, and its implications for how we read and apply the Second Vatican Council, that they would harm to Pope’s moral capital in the world and with Jewish groups, damage the Holy See’s relations with states, and foment chaos in Holy Church’s internal harmony.

    A close reading of that paragraph shows that information leaks, intended to fuel a rumpus, were only one dimension of the "manipulations and exploitations". There were other dealings, subtle and confined to hallways and offices.

    I believe these deeper manipulations are behind the present scapegoating of Card. Castrillon and the Pontifical Commission Ecclesia Dei.

    The Holy Father desires to reintegrate the SSPX. Doctrinal discussions are the next logical step, now that Summorum Pontificum has taken root and the excommunications have been lifted. The Commission’s mandate must naturally be adjusted to this new situation. But the negationists are busily spinning the Pope’s intention to place the Commission under the umbrella of the CDF as a sure sign of defeat for the Pope, for the Commission and Card. Castrillon, and for the pro-Lefevbrites in the Curia who, as Politi frames them, shamelessly used leaks to create an unrealistically rosy picture of the SSPX.

    The last thing progressivists want is a Pope determined to reintegrate the SSPX, with their dangerous ideas, or an effective Cardinal as President of the Commission who might actually take seriously the Commission’s mandate to reconcile the SSPX. In fact, the Holy Father’s projects have gained frightening momentum.

    The liberals now coo that, at long last, the connection of the Commission with the CDF will allow the "consultation" of many many interested well-informed parties from the corners of the globe with differing points of view.

    In reality they hope that as the consultation broadens the Pope’s project will grind to a halt.

    There are in the Curia, in key positions, men who would prefer that Paul VI’s official pontifical portrait was still framed upon their beige walls. They patiently endured the hard years of the Polish Pope, put in their time, and climbed inexorably upward. Then came the German Pope with his dangerous ideas about continuity, his penchant for the fait accompli, his pesky intelligence and annoying happiness. They are vexed.

    Quite a few heads of dicasteries have reached the famous age limit and will most likely be moved along. The men in the next tier down would normally have expectations of moving up. But as Paolo Rodari pointed out in a recent series of commentaries, not a few of the old guard, at first disposed to support this new Pope’s efforts in the expectation that they would eventually be raised to the next level, have discovered to to their dismay that this Pope isn’t going to promote them. They have turned on him now that they know they will not be. They have fished out their stilettos from the back of the desk drawer.

    Traditionally Curial changes are announced in the spring and the fall.

    Blame has been apportioned. Accounts are being settled.

    We must watch the appointments.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Dilemma of the Catholic academic job search

What's a newly-minted-Ph.D.-packin' orthodox Catholic graduate to do? Here the problem as posed by one recent doctorate looking at Catholic English departments in "Catholic Colleges and Orthodoxy" (Words, Words, March 12, 2009):
I'm starting to think that I have no business applying to Catholic colleges, since one of my concerns is orthodoxy--actual adherence to the Church's teaching, broadly conceived. What kind of battles will I be in for if I go to a school that violates or disregards Church teaching on life issues, ordination of women, and even questions whether it is just to exclude non-Catholics from the Eucharist? Matters of conscience even get tricky at a secular, state school; how much more so if the administration of a Catholic college where I worked were to promote an agenda opposed to Church teaching? And yet, I interview by phone tomorrow with a college that was founded by an order that ABSOLUTELY supports women's ordination. Campus ministry reluctantly acts according to the will of the local bishop in refusing Communion to non-Catholics (not the Vatican, you will notice). I even emailed for clarification on this point, and the tone was one of remorse and sad disagreement. I have no idea how this would influence the tenor of the English department, except that the faculty members list the subjects about which they will willingly be interviewed by the press on their web pages--yes, that's ENGLISH faculty, people. Yet they're hiring for a position that would, essentially, oversee the school's orthodoxy, including screening new hires for willingness to adhere to the school's mission, uphold Catholic identity, etc. This person does not have to be a practicing Catholic.

What to do??
[Hat tip to R.B.]

The New Dollar Coin

It's easy to be taken in by junk emails sometimes. There's one going around claiming that "In God We Trust" has been removed from the face of the new George Washington US dollar coin. While this is true, and there was nothing yet at the time of this posting on about the report, what I discovered by checking a few websites (like this one) is that the phrase has been retained as an edge-incused inscription. In other words, it's on the side of the coin instead of the face, as in the image below.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Catholic converts: 1960 & 2002

Source: Official Catholic Directory (Converts: adult baptisms)
  • 1960 - 146,212
  • 2002 - 79,892
Statistics cited in Kenneth C. Jones, Index of Leading Catholic Indicators: The Church since Vatican II (Oriens Publishing; rpt., Ft. Collins, CO: Roman Catholic Books, 2003), p. 63.

Sunday, March 08, 2009

Newt Gingrich wants aboard the Ark

Fr. John Zuhlsdorf, "Fmr. Speaker Gingrich to become Catholic" (WDTPRS, March 4, 2009): "I caught this in the very long profile piece the NYT did on Former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich… to my mind one of the most interesting men working in politics and political commentary today."

Yeah, I know. Some of you in the Presidential Cradle Club, if you're not willing to look the other way, may be willing, at least, to let him on board one of the lower decks with the other baggage-class converts, if not in back with the odoriferous elephants. I'm sure he'd be happy either place.

[Hat tip to C.B.]

Home again

Deo gratias. Thanks to those of you who remembered us in your prayers. God bless you.

Tridentine Community News

Tridentine Community News (March 8, 2009):
FSSP Showcases Assumption-Windsor’s Chant Sheets

In past columns, we have discussed the official sources for the Gregorian Chants of the Church. The Liber Usuális and other books published by the monks of Solesmes are the principal references. The altar missal used by the priest contains musical settings of the Preface and various parts of the Ordinary of the Mass. As far as we know, however, there is no official book in print containing the music for the priest’s chanting of the Collect, Epistle, Gospel, and Postcommunion. The altar missal has the texts for these Propers, of course, but no music. The Liber doesn’t have the music either, as it is primarily a book for the choir.

Musical purists might point out that the Liber has the “tones”, or musical guidelines for chanting these Propers. In other words, learn how to chant one Epistle, and you can chant them all. That may work for someone who has a natural skill for music, but many a priest would prefer clear sheet music that leaves no doubt as to how these parts of the Mass should be sung.

Recognizing this gap in available support materials, Mr. Michel Ozorak, a chant expert and longtime member of Windsor’s Tridentine Mass Community, began to create in early 2007 a complete set of sheet music for the Collect, Epistle, Gospel, and Postcommunion of the Sundays and Holy Days of the Church Year. Fr. Peter Hrytsyk has been using the Chant Sheets for over a year. Bishop Earl Boyea also uses them, as do the deacons and subdeacons at our Solemn High Masses.

Fr. Josef Bisig, co-founder of the Fraternity of St. Peter, noticed these Chant Sheets during his visit to Assumption in November. In an impressive endorsement of Michel’s work, the FSSP is in the process of posting the Epistles and Gospels (in the Tonus Antíquior) on the web site of Our Lady of Guadalupe Seminary The FSSP recognizes that such a resource is of great value at this point in Church history, when numerous new priests are trying to master the Extraordinary Form with a minimum of training materials. Congratulations and God’s blessings for taking this initiative, Michel!

New Web Site for Assumption-Windsor

After the existence of the new Chant Sheets on the FSSP web site was recently mentioned on The New Liturgical Movement blog, requests started to arrive for sheets with the Gospel in the alternate Ad Libítum tone, as well as for sheets with the Collect and Postcommunion. These inquiries became the motivation for a long-overdue updating of the web site for the Extraordinary Form Mass at Assumption Church, The new site includes a page with all of the Chant Sheets, including the Collects, Epistles, Gospels (in both the Tonus Ad Libítum normally used at Assumption and the Tonus Antíquior preferred by the FSSP), and Postcommunions.

All of the Latin/English Propers Handouts for the year and all of the Tridentine Community News columns going back to the beginning in 2006 have been posted in PDF format. Recordings of the Assumption Tridentine Choir and various photo slide shows have also been included. Further video and audio files will be posted over time, as visual and auditory beauty can be a more eloquent way to convey a concept than words.

We welcome any suggestions that you may have for both the Assumption and St. Josaphat web sites, as these are important forms of outreach in our day.
[Comments? Ideas for a future column? Please e-mail Previous columns are available at This edition of Tridentine Community News, with minor editions, is from the St. Josaphat bulletin insert for March 8, 2009. Hat tip to A.B.]

Thursday, March 05, 2009

Note from Kansas: Petition to withhold Communion

A colleague emailed me the following from, which I pass on to you:
I recently completed a petition to Withhold Communion from prominent Catholics in public life thatdissent from the Church's teaching on a variety of serious moral issues including abortion, euthanasia, human cloning, homosexual marriage, and embryonic stem cell research to name a few.

I encourage you to do the same.

Canon 212 S3 of the Catholic Church states that the Catholic faithful have '..the right, indeed at times the duty, in keeping with their knowledge, competence and position, to manifest to the sacred Pastors their views on matters which concern the good of the Church.' In response to this 'duty' please go to the following link and complete a petition.

The goal of the petition drive is to generate a million petitions to give to present to our bishops asking them to take action. Also, please pray for the success of this petition drive.

God Bless You,

p.s. If you previously received this letter from me [by email] and have already completed the petition - - thank you -- and please forgive the duplication.
[Hat tip to Prof. E.E.]

Sunday, March 01, 2009

Leave of absence from Blogesville

Travel on family and professional business. Covet your prayers. Back, Deo volente, Saturday, March 7th.

Care in handling the Blessed Sacrament

Tridentine Community News (March 1, 2009):
Care in Handling the Blessed Sacrament

We have stated before a concept that seems as though it should be self-evident to Catholics, and even to non-Catholics: If we truly believe that the consecrated bread and wine are the Most Precious Body and Blood of our Lord Jesus Christ, then they deserve to be shown utmost respect. They should not be handled or distributed casually as though they were hors d’oeuvres.

The Rubrics and customs of the Extraordinary Form Mass are designed to do just that. It starts with the basics: If they are not in a collective motion involving the priest, the sacred ministers and altar servers genuflect when they cross the tabernacle, as a sign of reverence to our Lord reserved in the Blessed Sacrament.

Even the Tiniest Particle is Our Lord

Great care is taken after the Consecrations to ensure that no particle of our Lord’s Sacred Body, and no droplet of His Most Precious Blood, are scattered, trampled upon, spilled, or desecrated in any way. The celebrant holds his thumb and forefinger together from the Consecration to Holy Communion, lest any crumbs fall. The priest uses the paten to scrape off any particles there may be on the altar, and then wipes off the paten into the chalice, thereby ensuring that all particles of the Host are consumed.

After a priest or deacon has touched a Sacred Host, he must purify his hands. During Mass, this is done at the ablutions after Holy Communion. First, wine is poured into the chalice or ciborium, when is then tilted around so that the wine cleanses its side walls. Then the priest takes the chalice to the Epistle side of the altar, where the altar servers pour wine and water over his fingers into the chalice. Again, the chalice is tilted to ensure thorough cleansing. The priest wipes his fingers dry with the purificator cloth and drinks the wine and water from the chalice.

If there was a second distributor for Communion, such as a deacon, he cleanses his fingers in a little glass cup of water that sits to the right of every tabernacle, and then wipes his fingers with a cloth that sits next to this cup.

During the Distribution of Holy Communion

At the Communion Rail, an altar server holds a paten underneath the chin of each communicant, to catch a Host that may fall. The server never tilts the paten, lest any particle of the Host that may be on the paten fall to the floor.

Some churches, including St. Josaphat and Assumption-Windsor, have Communion Rail Cloths that augment the paten and expand the area where a dropped Host might be noticed.

What Happens If a Host Falls on the Floor?

The paten and the Communion Rail Cloth cannot and do not handle all situations. Sometimes a Host does fall to the floor. It is our collective responsibility, altar servers and those kneeling at the rail alike, to alert the priest or deacon distributing Holy Communion if this does happen.

The Rubrics prescribe that a dropped Host “is to be taken up reverently, a little water is to be poured over the place where it fell, and the place is to be dried with a purificator” [De Deféctibus #45]. The priest either consumes the Host or places it in the water cup next to the tabernacle, so that it dissolves. Similar rubrics exist for spilled Precious Blood and other mishaps.

Every so often, the tabernacle’s water cup is emptied directly into the earth, either outside the church or via a Sacrárium, a sink in the sacristy that drains directly into the ground. Chalices and ciboria purified outside of Mass are also drained into the earth in this fashion if their contents are not consumed.

Each of these steps is taken to ensure that no profane end – such as being trampled upon underfoot, being swept into trash, or being flushed into the sewer system – occurs to any particle of our Lord.

It Can Give One Pause…

…to consider just what message is being sent by the more casual methods of distributing Holy Communion that have become the norm nowadays. On a practical level alone, theological issues aside, Communion given in the hand while standing, and with the disuse of patens held under communicants’ chins, is simply going to result in particles, and even entire Hosts, falling, being stepped upon, and even ground into the floor. Why are we letting our God be treated in such a manner?

Encouraging Signs of Regained Respect for the Eucharist

There is good news: In the 1980s, one would have had to search high and low to find a church offering Benediction or Holy Hours. By the grace of God, Eucharistic Adoration is making a comeback, via Adoration Chapels, Benediction services, and the example set by EWTN. Perhaps if people ponder just why they are showing such devotion to the Blessed Sacrament, they will notice the incongruity of handing the Blessed Sacrament in a casual manner before, during, and after Holy Communion.

Fortunately, at an Extraordinary Form Mass, the rubrics minimize such risks. Let us pray that a renewed sense of respect for the Blessed Sacrament results not only in increased Eucharistic Adoration, but also in adoration of a different sort, the day-to-day reverence that we should be showing our Lord at every Holy Mass.
[Comments? Ideas for a future column? Please e-mail Previous columns are available at This edition of Tridentine Community News, with minor editions, is from the St. Josaphat bulletin insert for March 1, 2009. Hat tip to A.B.]