Saturday, October 31, 2015

Diplomacy with Lutherans

My friend John Bell, responding to a unanimous acclamation by an ebullient gaggle Lutheran college students that Martin Luther was the white knight in shining armor who brought the light of the Gospel into the gloomy world of benighted papists, once let loose a flurry of animated exchanges (I'm being diplomatic), by floating the proposal that, for all we know, Luther could be "playing checkers with Hitler in Hell."

I, on the other hand, the soul of diplomacy that I am, suggest the more "ecumenical" approach of announcing to your Lutheran friends that you'll be praying and sacrificing over the next few days with the intention of garnering an indulgence for poor Martin, generously assuming that he's at least among the poor souls in Purgatory (which, of course, requires the audacious assumption that St. Teresa of Avila isn't quite right about Luther, but that's a detail we shall overlook for the moment in the cause of diplomacy).

On that note, there's this lovely little Deformation Reformation Day reflection ("Reformation Day. Ecumenism. Lutherans. Hell.") from the irrepressible Amateur Brain Surgeon (October 31, 2015); or this no-less lovely reflection by the equally irrepressible John Vennari, "Catholics and Lutherans Prepare to Commemorate 2017" (CFN, November 4, 2013), with an eye to the ecumenical extravaganza planned for the 500th Anniversary of the Protestant Revolt, traditionally marked from the date Luther supposedly nailed up his Ninety-Five Theses on the church door in Wittenberg in 1517.

Then of course, there's the world famous Catholic-Lutheran Beer Brawl (courtesy of Patrick Madrid).

The beauty, glory, majesty, authority and power of the Holy Catholic Church

I'm sure it was hard for any Jewish contemporary of Jesus, under the ruthless Roman occupation of Palestine, to imagine the "Kingdom of Israel" as something great. Where was their king? Where was their kingdom? Where was the evidence of those ancient traditional prophecies of a Davidic kingdom that would endure forever? (2 Sam. 7; 1 Chron. 17:11-14, 1 Chron. 6:16)

In a similar way, it is becoming increasingly difficult for many Catholics in our day to imagine the Catholic Church as something great, as wielding power, possessing authority, manifesting glory, majesty, and anything like beauty. Think how much more difficult it would be if Rome itself were overrun by foreign enemies, St. Peter's Basilica destroyed, turned into a mosque or a museum, with the papacy dismantled. Of course Christ promised to be with His Church until the end of days, though all that would be needed for that promise to be fulfilled is for a single shepherd and a remnant flock (of even one or two!) to endure.

Not that I have any inkling that such an outcome lies in store for the Church. I don't. But one would think our Lord might expect us to be able, at least, to interpret the general signs of the times: "When you see a cloud rising in the west, you say at once, ‘A shower is coming’; and so it happens. And when you see the south wind blowing, you say, ‘There will be scorching heat’; and it happens.... You know how to interpret the appearance of earth and sky; but why do you not know how to interpret the present time?" (Lk 12:54-56)

Remember our Lord's haunting question: "When the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on earth?" (Lk 18:8) Again, His brief discourses on the end of days are grim: "[M]any will fall away, and betray one another, and hate one another. And many false prophets will arise and lead many astray. And because wickedness is multiplied, most men’s love will grow cold." (Mt 24:10-12)

Yet all I need do to remind me of the Sun shining above the clouds of our present darkness is to read a short prayer composed by Pope Leo XIII, a prayer I clearly remember reading not long after I was received into the Church back in the early 1990's. It was sent to me by a nun in California who has been a constant correspondent of mine for nearly three decades now. The prayer is The Exorcism Prayer to St. Michael the Archangel.

The prayer is nothing short of awe-inspiring. (See my earlier post on this prayer: "Giving the Devil his due - Part II," Musings, February 3, 2009.) When I read this prayer, I can't help but (1) wonder at the awesome power and authority that the Church and her ordained priesthood was once understood to possess, and (2) ask myself why this sense of power and authority seems almost to have evaporated in the contemporary incarnation of the Church.

All-too-often, unfortunately, one finds on the Internet the caveat that this prayer is "To be said by a priest only," which is a little misleading. The point is that only a priest with appropriate faculties from his Ordinary can licitly and safely say the prayer formally as an exorcism, not that the prayer cannot be read privately as a personal petition to ward off diabolical influence. (In Pope Leo's own words: "The faithful also may say it in their own name, for the same purpose, as any approved prayer.")

Providentially, a new book by Kevin J. Symonds, with a Foreword by Bishop Athanasius Schneider, Pope Leo XIII and the Prayer to St. Michael(2015), a comprehensive examination of the complex puzzle of the prayer's historical origins. The book (upwards of 200 pages), carries multiple imprimaturs, multiple appendices, and an interesting and balanced discussion sorting out legend from what can be known of Pope Leo's reputed horrific vision of the diabolical attack on the Church throughout the world in the generations after him.

Friday, October 30, 2015

A perfect summation of the new "gospel" of the new church

Well, I'm not sure what the "new church" is, exactly, though there's been a lot of talk about that both since the latest Synod and since the Second Vatican Council.

In any case, I think I've hit upon precisely the quintessential summation of its "new" theology in a quotation from H. Richard Niebuhr's The Kingdom of God in America:
“A God without wrath brought men without sin into a Kingdom without judgment through the ministrations of a Christ without a Cross.”
Niebuhr was, of course, describing Protestant Liberalism, but what's the difference? Beats me. Did we hear any official spokesmen for the Synod say anything about mortal sin (which, according to Church teaching, is involved in the very topics of divorce and "remarriage" and "homosexual relationships" over which they seem to have obsessed in their deliberations), much less the wrath of God? It's not that I enjoy the subject of mortal sin and divine wrath any more than the next guy; but if hell and damnation are mere fictions that can be brushed aside, then for what did our Savior suffer and die? What is "salvation" from? As St. Paul says in his syllogism in 1 Corinthians 15, if Christ be not risen [fill in the subordinate premises here, I'm paraphrasing], we ought to quit talking blithely about the "New Evangelization," pack our bags, and go home.

[Hat tip to E. Echeverria for the reference]

Thursday, October 29, 2015

Is it just me, or do we seem to be entering a very weird period of Church history?

I don't really think it's just me. I think many of us feel it. Like Galadriel again. We feel that the world is noticeably changing. We "feel it in the earth." We "smell it in the air." The world seems to be slipping precipitously into a deep spiritual darkness as ominous clouds gather on horizon.

In some ways, it is the best of times, as well as the worst of times. We have far more solid resources at our fingertips than anyone has ever had in previous generations -- all sorts of biblical and theological resources, ecclesial and historical documents, the Catechism of the Catholic Church, publishers like Ignatius Press, networks like EWTN and Catholic radio stations for the morning commute.

On the other hand, there is a certain growing anxiety about the confusing voices emanating from the Vatican, chancery offices, local parishes, as well as from the debates in print and online about what is going on. And not a little ennui and general weariness from information overload and the taxing strain of following every unfolding story, scandal, or crisis.

Or, for example, this missive [slightly edited below], which popped into my email inbox just two days ago. The author is a self-identified former Methodist and Catholic convert, and he writes here, not with any evident regret about his conversion, but with palpable sorrow, perplexity, and frustration at the confusing state of affairs in the Church:
The princes of the Church don't seem to realize it, but their posturing before the world (most recently exemplified by their Synodical performance), places the whole Catholic project on a greasy plane that slides towards Alfred Loisy [an early Catholic modernist theologian]. Would everyone stop what they are doing and read Maisie Ward on Insurrection Versus Resurrection?And realize that she conducted the layman's definitive if now obviously premature autopsy on Modernism? Then we will realize that the 'resurrection' she sees is now being slowly undermined? Yes, "New Springtime," in a Church that encourages prayers to postconciliar popes? And who speaks for the Church today? Pope Francis? Cardinal Schönborn? Fr. Jim Martin? ... Forgive me Lord, but all I can muster right now is, "Wow..."
Pray without ceasing, my friends, and drink deeply of the Sacraments! These are our lifelines.

Whose clarity? Whose confusion?

What sort of sign is this? Is this not depressing? Should it not be? That the Superior General of a priestly fraternity whose founder was declared excommunicated, in his "Declaration Concerning the Final Report of the Synod on the Family" (Documentation Information Catholiques Internationales, October 28, 2015), should speak more clearly about the role of the Pope and bishops, marriage and the Catholic family, than the official representatives of the Church in good standing in their Synod's Relazione Finale? Is this not scandalous?

Don't get any mistaken ideas from this. It's more of a lament about the state of the Church than anything. [Advisory: Rules 7-9]

"94% of Synod Fathers voted to undermine parental rights at Synod"

Alright, that's a pretty grim spin over at LifeSiteNews. If you look at the actual wording of the paragraph in the Relazione Finale that was voted and approved by 94% of the Synod Fathers, here's how it (paragraph 58 of the document) reads:
The family, while maintaining its primary space in education (cf. Gravissimum Educationis, 3), cannot be the only place for teaching sexuality.
Now when the LifeSite article says that the Synod Fathers voted "to undermine parental rights," this may not at all have been what the Synod Fathers thought they were doing. After all, the passage still states that the family maintains "its primary space in education." The only qualification is the harmless-looking additional proviso that the family nevertheless "cannot be the only place" for teaching about sexuality.

The implications of these sorts of documents are always hard to immediately discern. What possible can of worms does this harmless looking little additional proviso open up for Catholic families? The answer lies entirely in what our contemporary Catholic culture will make of it. See for yourself, and then you decide: Read more >>

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Safe masturbation and other Salesian myths for corrupting the young and the restless

Poor St. Francis de Sales! The order that takes its name from him has now been exposed for promoting abortifacient contraceptions, masturbation, and condoms in mirror image of all that the heathen New Dark Ages have embraced with delight since the collapse of Church influence in the West. Chalk up another one for the Lepanto Institute.

Related (a comprehensive discussion of the topic): Boniface, "Why is Masturbation a Sin?" (Unam Sanctam Catholicam).

What went down, starting back on October 22nd

Everyone won. Everyone lost. Wow. Here are the details. Roberto de Mattei, Corrispondenza Romana (RC, October 27, 2015).

I think of the Jewish merchant in Boccacio's Decameron who told the bishop of Paris after returning from a business trip to Rome that nothing so corrupt and stupid as the Church could possibly have survived all these centuries without God behind it, so he was ready to convert and become a Catholic!

But, come on, lads, can't we do a wee bit better?

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

The McCarthyism of Liberal Catholic Elites

Rod Dreher, "The McCarthyism of Liberal Catholic Elites" (American Conservative, October 26, 2015):
This letter was drafted by Massimo Faggioli and John O’Malley, SJ, and is now being signed by a bunch of liberal Catholic academics. Here’s how it stands as I post this; names are being added to the signatory list constantly:
To the editor of the New York Times

On Sunday, October 18, the Times published Ross Douthat’s piece “The Plot to Change Catholicism.” Aside from the fact that Mr. Douthat has no professional qualifications for writing on the subject, the problem with his article and other recent statements is his view of Catholicism as unapologetically subject to a politically partisan narrative that has very little to do with what Catholicism really is. Moreover, accusing other members of the Catholic church of heresy, sometimes subtly, sometimes openly, is serious business that can have serious consequences for those so accused. This is not what we expect of the New York Times.
October 26, 2015

John O’Malley, SJ (Georgetown University)
Massimo Faggioli (University of St. Thomas, Minnesota)
Nicholas P. Cafardi (Duquesne University)
Gerard Mannion (Georgetown University)
Stephen Schloesser, SJ (Loyola University Chicago)
What a remarkable document. Really remarkable — and damning to the writers, who ought to be ashamed of themselves.

The Catholic layman Ross Douthat, according to these liberal Catholic academics, is too stupid to have an opinion about Catholicism, because he has not been trained in theology. And his opinions are invalid because they reach offer a conclusion offensive to the letter-writers follow a “politically partisan narrative that has very little to do with what Catholicism really is.” You will look at the October 18 column in question, and anything else Ross Douthat has written about Catholicism, and I very much doubt you will find anything contrary to the faith and morals magisterially proclaimed by the Roman Catholic Church. You will unquestionably find much contrary to the faith and morals magisterially proclaimed by the Faggioli-O’Malley crew.
Then, as Guy Noir remarks:
Liberals dislike Douthat in the same way Virginia Beachers dislike Pat Robertson. It's not what he says or does, but that he manages to do what they fail to do... reach people! Douthat could write what he wanted, but if they feel like his words are consolidating distrust of the Pope's agenda, then game over. Since they agree with this particular Pope's agenda. Would any of the letter signatories write a letter about Michael Sean Winters criticizing  Benedict XVI? Hahahahaha. 

And that James Martin would chime in... in the twitter universe... after publicly engaging in Pro/Con forums with Douthat. Unintentionally or not, I think it shows him in a most unflatteringly light, and proves what I have always said. Liberals are every bit if not more ideological than conservatives they criticize for that very trait. And when the really feel the ground shifting beneath them, they are also every but as "fearful" or negative. 

That doesn't exonerate conservatives, but it does underscore the falsity of some liberal posturing. James Martin like Francis seems to want to manage an image as an Everyman's Theologian, engaging in plan talk and straight speak. And yet it is almost  impossible to get them to concretely weigh in on the most conservative controversial  hit button issues such as gay or pre-marital sex... At a certain point it seems fair to assume we know why. Douthat is criticized for being an unloyal son of the Church, but what makes someone fit that description?  I have yet to hear anyone appeal to the plain sense of Scripture or the Catechism. It's all blather about conscience and thoughtfulness. It is the return of Situation Ethics. Like Modernism, these things don't die, they just get cryogenically frozen I guess.

When your health insurance declines life-extending medication but covers assisted suicide

Imagine that there was medical help to save your life, but your health insurance plan denied authorization for it and offered you assisted suicide instead. This very thing happened to Oregon patients. The Oregon Health Plan notified them by letter that payment for life-extending mediation would not be covered, but that the Plan would pay for assisted suicide. (Sources: here, here, and here)

Here's what's coming, folks. It's already happening, though you may not have noticed it; but what do you think is going to happen when the next real financial crunch comes, when the economy tanks, resources are scarce, medicare and medicaid and social services are swamped and funds run dry?

Monday, October 26, 2015

The long trajectory from the Synodal crisis back to its roots

[Disclaimer: Rules 7-9]

Faithful Catholics are rightly uncomfortable with attacks on any pope, even if popes can make some pretty imprudent if not stupid decisions.

Michael Voris is an example of one who is unwilling to criticize Pope Francis, even though he has no problem criticizing many bishops who appear in one way or other to have betrayed the Faith or to have been negligent in their duties.

In today's "Vortex," Voris's daily 5-10 minute reflection, discussion, or fusillade aimed at trapping and exposing the latest falsehoods and lies about what concerns Holy Mother Church, he appears to have turned a corner. By way of reacting against the pervasive criticism of Pope Francis for mismanaging the Synod, Voris overtly shifts the blame away from Francis and back to Benedict XVI for having appointed so many of the cardinals and bishops who have turned out to be major disappointments and even saboteurs of the Faith in the present crisis. He also blames Benedict for resigning and abandoning the Church amidst the present confusion, effectively leaving a vacuum in theological leadership. Ironically, perhaps, in bending over backwards to avoid attacking Pope Francis, Voris attacks former Pope Benedict.

(And the attack on Benedict, be forewarned, is pointed and unrelenting -- See his "Vortex - Benedict's Fingerprints" [video with transcript] for the details.)

As painful as this attack on Benedict may be, especially for some among the more conservative Catholics and even some traditionalists, Voris is right about one thing: the roots of the present crisis are not to be found in the pontificate of Pope Francis and his two Synods on the Family, any more than these roots are ultimately to be found in Pope John XXIII and Paul VI and their Second Vatican Council, even if the latter was more seminal and decisive influence.

In that respect, Benedict cannot be justly cited as more than a very indirect instrumental cause (like John Paul II) in having made some unfortunate appointments as well as perhaps imprudent decisions during their pontificates. We are not privy to the personal rationales behind these appointments or decisions, or even to the full reasons or causes behind Benedict's resignation, as unfortunate as that has been. The more substantial and distant causes of the present crisis must be traced back through the aftermath of Vatican II, and through the Council itself to anterior causes in modernist movements of thought simmering beneath the surface of pre-conciliar pontificates. The long trajectory back to the ultimate roots of the present crisis lie far back, as a number of good studies on the rise of Modernism and Neo-Modernism attest (see for example, the book by H.J.A. Sire mentioned in my previous post).

For an example of traditionalists who have no hesitation whatsoever about laying the blame for this Synod at the feet of Francis, or for that matter tracing it back through Vatican II to even earlier movements, see this video interview of John Rao by Michael Matt, in what they self-identify as a prolonged "rant," with the over-the-top title of "Synod Send Off: It's the End of the Church as We Know It."

(Advisory: it will offend, but watch and learn. There are things you can pick up from these guys, precisely because of their hyper-sensitivity to the merest whiff of historical revisionism, that you won't find from the "Everything-is-Awesome-Because-The-Gates-Of-Hell-Will-Not-Prevail" crowd. The promises of Christ are not in question; but the recent performances by some of the princes of the Church are very much in question. The promises of Christ are no excuse either for blissful ignorance of what is happening today or for willful ignorance of the realities before us. We -- you and I -- are the generation now responsible for transmitting the Faith to our children, to our families, to our friends, and through our parishes so that it will not die. We are responsible, not just our priests and bishops and popes.)

Sunday, October 25, 2015

What once was, and how it was lost

The title is taken from Galadriel's voiceover at the beginning of The Lord of the Rings, which begins with "The world is changed ..." and ends with: "Much that once was is lost. For none now live who remember it."

The last part may not QUITE be true for any religiously astute Catholic octogenarians living today, who were born in 1935 or earlier and were in their twenties and thirties when the subterranean currents of revisionism begin to surface and overtly express themselves, initially in liturgical experiments proposed and implemented in the Mass already before the Council. But it is probably true for the vast majority of Catholics of nearly every stripe: the past is simply not part of their map of reality.

A particularly well-written book generously gifted to me by a reader and friend, Phoenix from the Ashes: The Making, Unmaking, and Restoration of Catholic Tradition(2015), by H.J.A. Sire, takes a close look at these changes. It begins with the Ancient and Medieval Church, as one reviewer describes it, with "a robust introduction to the history of the Church from the perspective of its moments of supreme crisis [such as the Arian crisis]. How did the Church react when its fundamental dogmas or structures or practices were rejected? Sire also builds up a convincing portrait of the Enlightenment background to the Modernist crisis and the postconciliar collapse."

The focus, however, as the publisher notes, is on a "comprehensive look at the state of the Catholic Church since the Second Vatican Council--one of a series of recurrent periods of moral and intellectual crisis to which it has succumbed in its history."

Sire writes in his Introduction:
There are many present-day Catholics who are bewildered to hear it said that the modern Church is in decline. They have known nothing else and see nothing untoward in the present state of affairs. They should not disturb themselves by attempting to read this book. Nor am I addressing those who believe that the Catholic Church needs constant remodeling, and that the novelties of our time are simply due to modern enlightenment. Such a point of view gives little weight to scripture and authority, and even less to tradition, in devising its improvements. Its partisans enjoy the approval of contemporary culture, but they stand self-condemned by the criteria of Christian teaching. The case I am concerned to address is the one that admits the Catholic premises -- and wishes to regard the present state of the Church as compatible with them. Those who defend that position hold that there is no heresy or impairment in the modern Church, and that the aberrations we see around us are perfectly compatible with Catholic tradition. They rebuke traditionalists for ignorance of the Church's history in doctrine and practice, and acquaintance with which, they imply, would make us see the present desolation as normal. It is this interpretation of things that needs to be tested. When we have compared the Church's heritage in worship, in doctrine, in culture, and in philosophy with what exists today, we can take stock of the two, judge their compatibility, and make up our minds about their respective merits.

... Catholics who knew the Church before the Second Vatican Council were familiar by their own experience with the teaching and spirituality of tradition. To those brought up since then it is an unfamiliar world, and one which the influence of modern culture, with its disdain for the attainments of the past, makes all the more difficult to understand. A book of this kind written thirty or forty years ago could have plunged straight into the 1960s, assuming what went before; but one cannot today make a case for Catholic tradition without explaining where we stand historically and culturally. In offering that outline, I intend to present a case that would have been thought commonplace two generations ago, part of the mainstream of Catholic thinking. The fact that today it seems unfamiliar and even outlandish is a measure of how far the Church has estranged itself from its intellectual tradition.
Highly recommended, with thanks to JM.

For the record: the six most controversial passages of the Synod's Final Relatio in English translation

Translation by Rorate with initial commenary (Rorate Caeli, October 24, 2015).

As with the documents produced by the 2014 Synod, it should be noted that the import of these paragraphs from the 2015 Synod may not be immediately apparent to the undiscerning reader unfamiliar with ecclesial documents. For example, if Rorate had not pointed out that paragraph #85 of the current Final Relatio, in its quotation of John Paul II's Familiaris Consortio #84, had omitted the part where communion for the "divorced-and-remarried" is forbidden, how many would have caught it? I'm not sure I would have.

Even more significant is the fact that the Final Relatio opens the path to watering down doctrine by speaking of the "orientations of the bishop" with regard to the "divorced and remarried."

One reliable foil for interpreting a highly ambiguous document such as this is to track down the most "cantankerous" of traditionalists and examine what they're saying about it. Why? Because, unlike the broad mainstream of conservative Catholic commentators, these are folks that have been extremely sensitized to any whiff of distortion of traditional Church teaching.

Examine, for example, what Christopher Ferrara says [at about 11:55 of the second video below] about paragraph #85 of the Final Relation and the way it twists the meaning of John Paul II's Familiaris Consortio. Maybe John Vennari and Ferrara look like their heads are going to explode, but you just might learn something.

Related: [Disclaimer: Rules 7-9]

Feast of Christ the King
Official Synod press spokesmen: Non serviam

Today is the Feast of Christ the King in the traditional Latin rite calendar. The Introit of the Mass refers to the "Lamb that was slain" who is "worthy to receive power and divinity and wisdom and strength and honor"; and the Collect refers to the Son of Almighty God who is "the King of the whole world" through Whom "all the families of nations now kept apart by the wound of sin may be brought under the sweet yoke of His rule."

But how many yet remain who continue to embrace submission to the sovereign majesty and rule of Jesus Christ as a "sweet yoke"? How many could still say with the Psalmist, "O how I love Thy law! ... How sweet are Thy words to my taste, sweeter than honey to my mouth!"

Even if the Synod is over, of course, it's not over -- just as Vatican II is not over even if it's been over for five decades. The "Spirit of the Synod" lives on just as the "Spirit of Vatican II" lives on, as a pretext for revisionism.

For the revisionists who controlled the Synod, this was the purpose of the Synod -- an ecclesial sensitivity session in "accompanying" families broken by divorce and re-marriage and with practicing gay couples in order to "listen" to them, a means of leveraging a "pastoral" theology of dissent.

This synodal event, now being called (like Vatican II) a "language event," is really only a relatively minor blip in the perpetual roller coaster ride of permanent revolution promoted by a dialectic of diabolical revisionism.

Fr. Perrone on Christ's Kingship, November prayers for the departed

Fr. Eduard Perrone, "A Pastor's Descant" [temporary link] (Assumption Grotto News, October 25, 2015):
Next Sunday will see the coincidence of All Saints Day with the Lord’s day. In both calendars, the new (ordinary) and the Tridentine (extraordinary), the liturgical observance with be All Saints Day. (Needless to add, the day preceding will be the national unholy day of Halloween which has now assumed gargantuan dimensions in proportion to the loss of religious faith in our country. While the weird and bizarre fascinate the imagination more and more, sober orthodox Christian belief and faithful practice is in decline. So goes the law of inverse loyalties.)

This is the time to pre-announce to approach of the month of November in which Catholics bestir themselves to a greater prayer for the souls of the faithful departed. This will begin next Sunday with All Saints Day and continue throughout the month of November, and with special emphasis on the first eight days of the month whereupon a plenary indulgence may be had, applied not toward oneself but only toward the souls of the dead. More about this in next week’s Grotto News. Brother Esteban has informed me that he will be leading some special devotions for the dead–a particular emphasis of the spiritual regimen of his religious-community-in-formation.

Today for 9:30 Mass goers is the feast of Christ the King. For the rest, this will not be celebrated until November 22, the Sunday just before Thanksgiving Day, where it will finish off the liturgical cycle and prepare for the new year in Advent. The value of the institution of the royal office in this world is a things much contested. One thing at least is surely an advantage in having a king. There’s no question of who’s boss, who’s in charge. Kings in history were perhaps as often good and benign as wicked and tyrannical. The modern world no longer has such an institution, except for the spiritual kingship of Christ, the absolute Ruler of heaven (“My kingdom is not of this world”). His rule can extend to the whole created universe as well but only to the extent that He is given reign in men’s minds and hearts through their voluntary surrender to Him. With all our uncertainty today about where we are heading, it would be wise for us to place ourselves under the explicit governance of Christ the King and ask Him to rule us and grant us the wisdom to know His truth and to pursue justice in this befuddled and unbalanced world. The Act of Consecration of the Human Race to Christ the King made at Mass today for 9:30 (for others, at the end of November) is meant to strengthen our Lord’s controls over the world in these meandering and confusing times.

Speaking of which, many are wondering what to make of the Synod of Bishops being held in Rome. I hear many an unsettling thing about it but there is at yet nothing definitive and so nothing is entirely clear. Only ambiguity with much fretting abound. This is not a good state of affairs. We would like to be confident that the Holy Spirit is leading the Church into all truth, as our Lord promised the Apostles. This He will unfailingly do, but along the way there may be a great deal of turmoil. We will just have to wait this out and sit tight as the Synod makes it way to its conclusion. Even at its end it’s not yet certain that we will have strong and clear directives. This much we know: we have an unchanging creed and a long history of dogmatic truth on our side. With this we must remain content and calm.

Many of you have already responded–some of your handsomely–to our substitute for the Benefit Raffle this year. This will help us out this year and make the going a little smoother. I encourage all others to become engaged in this extra financial effort for the good of their parish.

Attention potential altar boys! I will hold a practice for new altar boys Saturday November 7 at 1:00 p.m. in the church. This is required also for all rookie servers who have not yet been through this basic serving course with me.

Fr. Perrone

Tridentine Community News - The Requiem Mass, its format for All Souls and Requiems; TLM Mass times

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

Tridentine Community News by Alex Begin (October 25, 2015):
October 25, 2015 – Christ the King

The Requiem Mass

The Extraordinary Form of Holy Mass provides many opportunities throughout the year for special Masses to be celebrated for the faithful departed. All of these take the form of a Requiem Mass, a slightly shortened form of the regular Mass, optionally followed by the ceremony of Absolution, the blessing of the body. The black-framed altar cards and the thin black altar missals you see, and the Silver Missals for the congregation are specially designed for the unique aspects of the Requiem Mass. The missals include the ceremonies before and after Mass.

The first and primary form of Requiem is the Funeral Mass. The ceremony begins with prayers and chants accompanying the formal reception of the body at the door of the church. Holy Mass follows, at the end of which is the ceremony of Absolution, which is conducted at the casket if the body is present, or at a Catafalque if the body is not present. A Catafalque is a structure resembling a casket that stands in for the deceased person. A black pall (cloth) covers the casket or Catafalque, and six candles surround it. Finally, there is the optional concluding blessing given at the gravesite or other place of final disposition of the body. The ceremonies of the Funeral Mass were described in detail in our September 2, 2007 column, which is available on-line at the web site listed at the bottom of this page.

The Masses of All Souls Day are the second form of Requiem. The Church provides three separate sets of Mass Propers for All Souls Day and has long permitted her priests to celebrate three Masses that day instead of the usual two. On Monday, November 2, the St. Benedict Community at St. Alphonsus Church in Windsor will offer the traditional three Masses of All Souls, the first two of which [at 6:00 PM] will be Low Masses celebrated at the Side Altars; the third [at 7:00 PM] will be a Solemn High Mass at the High Altar, followed by Absolution at the Catafalque.

The third form is the Daily Mass for the Dead, more commonly referred to as a Memorial Requiem Mass. At the St. Benedict Tridentine Community, you may request a Requiem Mass to be celebrated for your departed friends and family at Holy Name of Mary Church in Windsor on Tuesdays at 7:00 PM. The intention can be for one or multiple people, as there are Propers to accommodate either option. Requiem Masses are permitted on weekday Ferias and Feasts of the Fourth Class outside of Christmastide; please consult a (Tridentine) Liturgical Calendar to see the dates on which these occur. Use the regular Mass intention request form and indicate that you wish a Requiem Mass. You may request Absolution at the end of Mass for an additional stipend of $10. These will ordinarily be Low Masses, however you may request a High (chanted) Requiem Mass for an additional stipend of $40; a full choir is available for the cost of singers.

Format of the Masses for All Souls and Requiems

The priest wears a black chasuble, somberly ornamented. Black is the liturgical color for everything except the ciborium veils, which should be white; the chalice pall, which should be white or violet; and the tabernacle veil, which should be violet. Our Lord is ever-living; our most penitential color cannot be used in conjunction with the Blessed Sacrament. As in Passiontide, Psalm 42 (Júdica me) is skipped; the Prayers At the Foot Of the Altar go from the Introíbo directly into the Confíteor. The altar servers’ liturgical kisses are omitted. There is no Glória, as that joyful hymn would be out of place. Between the readings, the choir chants the best-known part of the Classic Requiem Mass, the Sequence Dies Iræ, which begins:
“Day of wrath, O Day of mourning, Lo the world in ashes burning: Seer and Sibyl gave the warning.

O what fear man’s bosom rendeth, When from heaven the Judge descendeth, On Whose sentence all dependeth!”
Mass proceeds with a few differences: The Credo and the Glória Patri at the Lavábo are omitted. At the Agnus Dei, “dona eis réquiem” (grant them rest) replaces “miserére nobis”, and “dona eis requiem sempitérnam” (grant them eternal rest) takes the place of “dona nobis pacem”. The prayer for peace that follows the Agnus Dei is omitted, as is the Kiss of Peace in Solemn High Masses. At the end of Mass, “Requiéscant in pace” (May they rest in peace) takes the place of “Ite, Missa est”. The Final Blessing is omitted.

If Absolution follows the Mass, the Last Gospel is omitted. The celebrant changes into a black cope and goes to the entrance to the sanctuary where the Catafalque is placed. If the individual(s) being memorialized are priest(s), were the body present, the head would be toward the sanctuary, facing the flock he lead. For others, the feet are closest to the sanctuary, as the deceased person is facing his Lord on the altar. The Crucifer stands where the deceased’s head would be. The celebrant stands where the deceased’s feet would be and recites the Absolution: “Enter not into judgment with Thy servant, Lord…” The choir sings the responsory Líbera me (“Deliver me, Lord, from everlasting death in that awful day: When the heavens and the earth shall be shaken: When Thou shalt come to judge the world by fire.”). The priest recites the Kyrie and Pater Noster while passing around the body twice, once with Holy Water, and once incensing it, then says a final prayer. The choir sings In Paradísum (“May the Angels lead you into paradise…”) as the priest and sacred ministers exit.

Tridentine Masses This Coming Week
  • Mon. 10/26 7:00 PM: Low Mass at St. Josaphat (St. Evaristus, Pope & Martyr)
  • Tue. 10/27 7:00 PM: High Requiem Mass at Holy Name of Mary (Daily Mass for the Dead)
  • Fri. 10/30 7:00 PM: Solemn High Mass at Old St. Mary, Detroit (Votive Mass of Christ the King) – Dinner for young adults age 18-35 follows Mass, organized by Juventútem Michigan
[Comments? Please e-mail Previous columns are available at This edition of Tridentine Community News, with minor editions, is from the St. Albertus (Detroit), Academy of the Sacred Heart (Bloomfield Hills), and St. Alphonsus and Holy Name of Mary Churches (Windsor) bulletin inserts for October 25, 2015. Hat tip to Alex Begin, author of the column.]

Tridentine Masses coming this week to metro Detroit and east Michigan

Tridentine Masses This Coming Week

Saturday, October 24, 2015

Why are the best Catholic study Bibles by Protestants?

Michael Brendan Dougherty, "Why Can't Catholics Speak English?" (American Conservative, November 20, 2012):
It is an odd thing to go to the Bible section of the few remaining big box booksellers. You can get Bibles in metallic covers with notes directed at randy teenagers. You can get your dispensationalist “Left Behind” style Bibles, with equally appalling notes. You can find Bibles for law enforcement officers, or for nationalists seeking prophecies about America in the book of Daniel.

More seriously you can lose yourself in debates about translation style. “Formal equivalence” seeks to translate the Scriptures word for word and gives you phrases that can seem obscure. What is it to “cover his nakedness?” On the other side “dynamic equivalence” tries to go thought for thought but will usually desecrate Genesis with Clintonian phrasings like “have sexual relations with.”

But if you are an earnest Protestant you can junk all the cruft and debates, buy unbotched versions of the New American Standard or the English Standard Version and encounter the word of God. And there is always the King James.

What you can’t find is a good Catholic Bible in English. Well, let me explain.... Read more >>
Then there's the comment by Guy Noir in the message wrapped and tied to the carrier pigeon, which, when I unwrapped it, released a small bit of pigeon poop as it fell smack dab in the middle of my desk:
This remains painfully true, in terms of translations, in terms of design and binding, and in terms of editions aimed at specific audiences -- most especially youth audiences. By far and away the best among the few youth editions for Catholics published in the last 20 years, ironically, was The Student Bible issued by Zondervan and edited by evangelical Phillip Yancey! (Of course Protestants are Bible people, and Catholics, though they get indignant at the obvious verdict on the evidence presented, just simply...aren't, especially.)  
TSB was quite Catholic-conscious product-wise, in that it contained the Deuterocanonicals (!), and even used a rather tin-eared translation with the CET, trying to keep in tune with Mass, I guess. (LOL. If they'd used anything else, it would have been disparaged as talking above people. Even if they did forget those Good News for Modern Man-style line drawings YouCat refuses to realize are so very 'That 70s Catechesis.') 
But it didn't matter either way, since it quickly tanked. Maybe youth aren't going to be doing much Bible studying if priests and parents aren't. And if they are lured by more important churchy things like effusing over whoever happens to be Pope or whatever is the newest announced destination for WYD. At least liturgical dance is no longer the rage. 

What? Me? I have a life! Why should I care about this media circus in Rome?

"Why no synod coverage?" (Athanasius Contra Mundum, October 7, 2015)

Then, scroll down to the comment by "Benedict," who says "... Kasper’s proposal doesn’t seem much different from what the 1983 Code decreed about non-Catholics receiving Communion.... So I decided not to worry too much, because we’re already there."

[Hat tip to L.S.]

And now the lull, the eye of the storm

Church Militant's report (October 23, 2015), with a couple of interesting highlights.

Leading from behind the people of God: Which people? Which God?

"In a keynote talk of the utmost importance delivered at the celebration for the 50th anniversary of the establishment of the synod of bishops, Francis spoke about 'synodality in the church,' the synod’s place within this, the relation between the synod and the Successor of Peter, and reminded the synod fathers that he has the last word," reported Gerard O'Connell in America magazine recently.

Whatever the Holy Father's last word may be, even if it were the most stalwart defence of the historic Catholic magisterial teaching, the "damage has already been done," as some of my closest colleagues have been pointing out recently. At the very least, the egregious mishandling of the synodal process has permitted a Pandora's Box of confusion to be opened, aiding and abetting and empowering the revisionist faction within the Synod.

No less concerning is the fact that the Holy Father appears to endorse the "decentralization" of the Church and the authorizing of local bishops to work out their own "pastoral" solutions to the issues of Holy Communion for the divorced and re-married and -- apparently most important for them -- those involved in actively sexual gay relationships. Indeed, as Rorate notes, the Pope clearly endorsed the doctrinal "devolution" to the bishops' conferences as early as 2013 in Evangelii Gaudium.

But as Damian Thompson suggests, the Holy Father, in his recent keynote speech, delivered as the synod was entering its last week on October 17th, seemed to be signaling that the decentralisation will be imposed from above:
While deliberately referring to himself as ‘Bishop of Rome’, to underline his solidarity with local bishops everywhere (as opposed to the Roman Curia – i.e., ‘the Vatican’), he invoked the power of the Supreme Pontiff to overrule mere cardinals. ‘The synod journey culminates in listening to the Bishop of Rome, called to speak authoritatively as the Pastor and Teacher of all Christians,’ he said.
Thus, in the worst possible scenario, the Holy Father would invoke his Petrine authority, not to impose the perennial teaching of the Church on the matters at issue, but in order to impose a decentralized, democratized vision of ecclesiology in which dioceses occupied by revisionist ordinaries will be permitted to cobble together their own version of what constitutes Catholic faith and morals.

From the very first moment I beheld the newly elected Pope Francis appear on the balcony in the Vatican and bow toward the assembled people in St. Peter's Square and ask them for THEIR blessing upon HIM, I was reminded of similar scenes I had seen in my local parish after being received into the Church -- scenes in which the pastor put himself on the level of the people and asked them for their blessing, which they often made with upraised arms in a gesture reminiscent of the German Hitlergruß. What lay behind such impulses? Nothing less, it seemed to me, than a reluctance to wield the authority it was their right and responsibility to bear as the anointed shepherds of God's flock. Holy Father, please. Courage! Lead from the front!

Friday, October 23, 2015

Damian Thompson in a panic: Pope effectively at war with the Church

[Disclaimer: Rules 7-9]

Is the Pope Catholic??? This seems to be the proverbial question Thompson is essentially raising.

Damian Thompson, "Pope Francis is now effectively at war with the Vatican. If he wins, the Catholic Church could fall" (The Spectator, October 18, 2015), with Michael Matt's comments (Remnant, October 20, 2015).

Once the dust settles, I don't expect the trajectory will be too much changed, even if the confusion will likely encourage and embolden the revisionists. In other words, more of the same, slouching towards dissolution and apostasy. What will the Church of tomorrow look like? I suspect Pope Benedict XVI will turn out to have been prescient when he said that it will be leaner, smaller, and persecuted. Those qualities probably go together.

"Bishop Schneider warns of 'spirit of Satan' at Synod on the Family"

Maike Hickson, "Bishop Schneider warns of 'spirit of Satan' at Synod on the Family" (LifeSiteNews, October 21, 2015). Excerpt:
LSN: Your superior, Archbishop Tomash Peta, of Astana, Kazakhstan, has said recently during the Synod that, at the 2014 Synod, “the 'smoke of Satan' was trying to enter the aula of Paul VI.” He concretely mentioned as examples for this claim the attempt to allow “remarried” divorcees to receive Holy Communion; the claim that cohabitation “is a union which may have in itself some values”; and finally the “pleading for homosexuality as something which is allegedly normal.” He concluded with the regret that the “smell of Satan” is also to be found “in the interventions of some synod fathers this year [2015].” Could you comment on his statement and explain to us a little more about his position?

Bishop Schneider: I consider this statement one of the most striking, and it was one of the most apt statements on the issue. He spoke these words which no one else has dared to speak. He laid a finger on the wound. For, it is the spirit of Satan to pervert the Commandments of God, using specifically alluring and beautiful language. This is the language of Satan, smelling of the smoke of Satan. Archbishop Thomas Peta sincerely said it and we have to hope that some of the synod fathers awoke.

When Jesus spoke, He was often very exclusionary in His language. For example, when Peter said to Jesus: “Oh, you ought not to suffer at the Cross,” Jesus said: “Go and get behind me, Satan.” This is very exclusionary language. And so the Synod Fathers should also stand up and say such things when they see these proposals for accepting homosexuality and divorce: “Satan depart from here, from this Synod Hall, and from this Holy Eternal Rome.” Some people say it would be helpful to make an exorcism upon the Synod meetings.
Related: John-Henry Westen, "Pope's encouragement of airing heresy is severing the Church" (LifeSiteNews, October 23, 2015).

Magister: "But the Synod of the Media Has Already Toppled the Real One"

Sandro Magister, "But the Synod of the Media Has Already Toppled the Real One" (www.chiesa, October 23, 2015): "It doesn’t matter how it actually ends. World public opinion has already formulated its verdict. With the help of many churchmen."

Traditionalists: "a sham of a synod," "suppression of majority view," "blatant deception," "conservatives try to resist while their views are suppressed," "synod's controllers' one purpose: to overthrow the moral edifice of the Church"

[Disclaimer: Rules 7-9]

So have we now come from the smoke of Satan entering the Church, according to Pope Paul VI's statement after Vatican II, to a clique of homophile apostates controlling a Roman synod?


Pope Pius XII's Vatican plot to assassinate Hitler?!

Thomas D. Williams, "New Book Reveals Vatican Plot to Assassinate Hitler" (CM, October 22, 2015):
Although many people have come to swallow the caricature of Pope Pius XII as "Hitler's Pope," after the malicious smear campaign by John Cornwell, the facts now seem overwhelmingly to reveal the opposite: Not only was Pius adamantly opposed to the Führer's policies; he actively sought to have him assassinated.

A fascinating new book by intelligence expert Mark Riebling, Church of Spies: The Pope's Secret War Against Hitler, offers a compelling narrative of the actions taken by Pope Pius to stop Hitler from carrying out his campaign of world domination and ethnic cleansing.

Backed by a mass of carefully compiled documentation, Riebling shows that Pius cooperated in a variety of plots, initiated by patriotic, anti-Nazi Germans, to assassinate Hitler and replace the National Socialist regime with a government that would make peace with the West.

The Nazis, in fact, were deeply disturbed by the election of Pius XII in 1939, well aware of Pacelli's many anti-Nazi statements and actions. They commissioned an assessment of the situation from Albert Hartl, a former Catholic priest, who warned that the Catholic Church would prove a serious threat to the Third Reich.

"The Catholic Church fundamentally claims for itself the right to depose heads of state," Hartl wrote, "and down to the present time it has also achieved this claim several times." This statement seemed to embolden disaffected German officers who were seeking assistance to overthrow Hitler.

In 1938, several high-ranking German officers began turning against Hitler, for fear he would lead the country into a devastating war. One of these, General Ludwig Beck, was joined in this endeavor by Admiral Wilhelm Canaris, head of the Abwehr (Germany's intelligence agency), and his deputy, Colonel Hans Oster.

A novel on Islam and the intellectual, moral, and spiritual decomposition of France

Michel Houellebecq

Michel Houellebecq, Submission: A Novel(Farrar, Straus and Giroux, October 20, 2015).
It's 2022. François is bored. He's a middle-aged lecturer at the New Sorbonne University and an expert on J. K. Huysmans [Joris-Karl Huysmans (1848-1907), decadent French aesthete novelist and famous Catholic convert]. But François's own decadence is considerably smaller in scale. He sleeps with his students, eats microwave dinners, rereads Huysmans, queues up YouPorn.

Meanwhile, it's election season. And although Francois feels "about as political as a bath towel," things are getting pretty interesting. In an alliance with the Socialists, France's new Islamic party sweeps to power. Islamic law comes into force. Women are veiled, polygamy is encouraged, and François is offered an irresistible academic advancement--on the condition that he convert to Islam.

Adam Gopnik in The New Yorker has said of Submission that "Houellebecq is not merely a satirist but--more unusually--a sincere satirist, genuinely saddened by the absurdities of history and the madnesses of mankind." Michel Houellebecq's new book may be satirical and melancholic, but it is also hilarious, a comic masterpiece by one of France's great novelists.
See also the review by François Maillot from the French Christian weekly, La Vie (January 5, 2015), translated at Rorate Caeli (January 15, 2015):
It is undoubtedly this which grants to this novel its exceptional strength. No takeover by Fascists, no civil war (or just briefly, quickly covered up by the media), no radical Islam chopping heads, stoning men, raping women. As in Huxley's Brave New World, it is imposed softly in a society that is numb and with no way out. If there is any violence in this novel, it is in this perspective of crushing the reader with a submission to a soft and almost consensual New Order, without any resistance being offered to it. Faced with the collapse of politics, the Islamic Republic becomes a choice like any other. Faced with the ruin of the country, petrodollars buy it all. Faced with intellectual emptiness, any kind of speech can impose itself. Faced with generalized atheism, Islam can win the day.

The central point of the novel seems to me to reside in that which however seemed, during its reading, to be its weakest point. Could the French people accept a regime that would demand of women to accept a polygamy that would place them in a position of inferiority regarding men? Those who are proud of having thrown away the cover of Catholicism, would they accept to convert to Islam to teach at the Islamic Sorbonne? Regardless of fiction, Houellebecq follows uppercut with uppercut. How much is our devotion for the equality of the sexes an idea for which we would fight, and not a thin ideological layer that the contingencies of the moment and the insatiable demands of sex will quickly crack? How much is the free thinking of our contemporaries a strong conviction that may resist the attack, even a peaceful one, of a religion that is sure of itself? As we can see it, it is in what could appear as outrageous that Houellebecq reaches the heart of the matter. It might well be, in fact, that all that our society says it believes in is nothing more than a construction built upon sand, that the weakest gust of wind would cause to collapse. This is what Submission says, that our age does not believe in anything, or at the very least, in nothing whose nature allows it to be able to oppose itself to any faith. Faced with cynical and consumerist individualism, every recognition of a collective ideal, of the overcoming of a navel-gazing horizon, contains infinite power.
[Hat tip to JM]

Thursday, October 22, 2015

What do you mean, "Failed Papacy"?

Michael Voris concludes that the verdict is still out on whether history will ultimately judge Bergoglio's as a "failed papacy" (and there are doubtless others who will cynically argue that it's been far too successful); but he offers an interesting synopsis of this Synod and its fallout in terms of its ultimate effects on the Church for either good or ill, and how these may reflect on the Holy Father. Whether you agree with this or that point, it's a brief discussion worth hearing. Pray for Pope Francis.

Related: Don Pio Pace, Op-Ed: "The Failed Francis Pontificate - Finding another Path for the Church: may Pope Pacelli help us!" (RC, October 22, 2015).

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Rather striking

A carrier pigeon dropped this in my In Box from Guy Noir - Private Eye:
"What is Mark Shea going to do now that his Girl Friday - Shout Out Crony to Bask in Her Respectability - is Synod weary and skeptical?" [emphasis added]
Here's what he means: from Amy Welborn, "#Synod2015:It's Tight" (Charlotte was Both, October 21, 2015)

This gives "jaded" a whole new color. But I think it would be disingenuous to suggest that few of the faithful in the "bleachers" watching this thing have felt much different. Bottom line: What was the point of the Synod? What was accomplished? Yes, I know all about what the take-away will be for the Devil and his drive-by media and Judas priests and Judas bishops. I know what the "spirit of synodality" will mean in the days ahead, much as I know what the "spirit of Vatican II" has meant since the 1960s. But what, if anything, was in it for the good of the Church? Let me repeat that: what, if anything, was in this synod for the good of the Church? Let that sink in and sleep on it. Then tell me if you think you have an answer in the morning.

The decentralization of the Church offends the Faith and common sense

Roberto de Mattei, Il Foglio (via Rorate Caeli, October 20, 2015). Conclusion:
The Pope admits the existence of a sensus fidei, but it’s precisely the sensus fidei of bishops, priests and lay folk, that is scandalized today at the strange things they hear coming out of the Synod Hall. These strange things offend common sense even before they offend the sensus Ecclesiae of the faithful. Pope Francis is right when he affirms that the Holy Spirit doesn’t only assist the Pope and bishops but also the entire faithful (on this point: Melchior Cano, De locis Theologicis (Lib. IV, chap. 3, 117I). The Holy Spirit nonetheless is not a spirit of novelty; He guides the Church, infallibly assisting Her Tradition. Through fidelity to Tradition, the Holy Spirit still speaks to the ears of the faithful. And today, as in the times of Arianism, we may say with St. Hilary: « Sanctiores aures plebis quam corda sacerdotum » « the ears of the faithful are holier than the hearts of the priests » (Contra Arianos, vel Auxentium, n. 6, in PL, 10, col. 613).
[Hat tip to JM]

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

"Catholic Teaching on Marriage and Divorce - the Bible, Our Lord, and the Constant Teaching, simple and to the point"

John Lamont, "Catholic Teaching on Marriage and Divorce - the Bible, Our Lord, and the Constant Teaching, simple and to the point" (Rorate Caeli, October 20, 2015).

The conclusion:
There are three points to take away from this discussion. The first is of course that Catholic doctrine on marriage and divorce was taught directly by Christ himself, and it cannot be repudiated in theory or in practice without rejecting Christ and his teaching. The second is that the current debate does not capture Christ’s teaching. He did not say ‘Do not divorce and then remarry’; he said ‘Do not get divorced’. His statements about ‘remarriage’ after divorce were intended to explain and expand on this teaching; they were not the core of the teaching itself. The third thing is that this teaching is established not only by Catholic tradition, but also by secular historical studies. If we reject it, we not only reject the doctrinal authority of the Catholic Church, as the first Protestants did; we have to reject the personal authority of Christ’s words while on earth. This in turn means rejecting the Incarnation, and holding that Christ was a merely human 1st century rabbi, whose teaching was often new and inspiring but was not of divine origin and did not have divine authority. This is in fact what most of the bishops and theologians who are attempting to overturn Catholic theology of marriage at the Synod do believe. This rejection of the divinity of Christ is not new to those acquainted with modern Catholic theology, but it is not realized by the broader Catholic faithful, and is not acknowledged and addressed by the Roman authorities who should be correcting it. This failure to acknowledge disbelief in Christ’s divinity did not begin with Pope Francis; it was the policy under Paul VI, John Paul II and Benedict XVI. We are now paying part of the price for this policy at the Synod on the Family.

Sunday, October 18, 2015

Fr. Eduard Perrone: a priest's duty to study theology and the privilege of doing so

Fr. Eduard Perrone, "A Pastor's Descant" [temporary link] (Assumption Grotto News, October 18, 2015):
There is usually precious little time for me to do any spiritual reading except during my vacation. I have made some adjustments now that allow me time every week to engage in some much needed theological discipline. Priests by canon law are supposed to further their education. If this happens at all, this often takes the form of priests going to workshops, hearing talks or even taking sabbaticals. None of these appeals to me because I long to ‘get serious’ about the study of the faith while, as I indicated, I have not found the time to do so–until now. Getting back to the books, in his case some serious theological studies, is a great refreshment to the mind and a real boost to the spiritual life. I hope that some of my new-found zeal may finds its way into my preaching and classroom teaching. Although there are many religion light courses that are falsely identified as ‘theology’ classes, I want the real, good ol’ tough stuff that requires deep concentration accompanied by prayer. Theology, you see, is unlike other academic disciplines in that it requires prayer to attain to its goal, which is wisdom (as opposed to acquiring a mere increase in factual knowledge). Much, as I say, passes for “theology” today that is fluff. Nor is theological study a mere reading of religious books, such as lives of the saints, liturgical books, etc. There is often a certain dryness to genuine theological writing, and this is simply because the matter at hand–God–is very heady stuff – pardon the phrase. I, on the other hand, find theological reading a great source for meditation and an incentive for prayer. By expanding the mind, so to speak, the heart becomes expanded with divine love. And so, I am now spending time every week in spiritual study and am thus less involved in that deflating humdrum busywork, limiting my involvement in the latter only as is necessary. In a practical sense this means that I will be doing less of this-‘n-that stuff, while trying to keep up with phone messages and make arrangements for needed appointments.

In closing, I wonder what your thoughts and concerns are about the way the world is going. The Church is not on the winning side of things at this time and from the looks of it there may be some grim days for Catholic Christians ahead. I say this not to worry you further but to express the great hope I have for the triumph of Christ and His truth. This will inevitably prevail. Yet it appears that the crazed lust for wickedness must play itself out in the great drama of events we are living through. Whether there will be a more flagrant form of persecution for the Church in the time to come remains to be seen but should be anticipated by a deeper personal commitment to the truths of the Church and a deeper spiritual life. In these I hope all of you will excel for–as last week’s (Tridentine) Epistle reading said it–“The days are evil.” Keep always a joyful spirit. That’s a sign of the presence of the Holy Spirit in your souls. Fr. Perrone

Tridentine Community News -- Characteristics of a Pontifical Mass; TLMs commence in Texarkana & Ft. Hood; Detroit area TLMs this week

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

Tridentine Community News by Alex Begin (October 18, 2015):
October 18, 2015 – Twenty-first Sunday After Pentecost

Distinguishing Characteristics of a Pontifical Mass

2015 has brought us a spate of local Pontifical Masses in the Extraordinary Form. First was Bishop Boyea’s Mass for Juventútem at St. Patrick Church in Brighton, Michigan. Then came Bishop Hanchon’s Juventútem Mass at St. Augustine-St. Monica Church in Detroit. Next up is Bishop Hanchon’s Mass and Confirmations for the Oakland County Latin Mass Association at the Academy of the Sacred Heart Chapel on Sunday, November 8 at 9:45 AM. Last is Bishop Boyea’s Mass at St. Mary Star of the Sea in Jackson, Michigan on Sunday, December 6 at 12:15 PM. It is therefore worth mentioning the unique aspects of a Pontifical Mass. First, there are several types of Pontifical Mass:

In a Pontifical Low Mass, the bishop is assisted by two “Chaplains”, one of whom must be in major orders, i.e. a deacon or above. Typically the Chaplain in orders stands to the bishop’s right and functions as a quasi-deacon. The other Chaplain stands to the bishop’s left and functions as a Master of Ceremonies. One server functions as Bugia Bearer; the Bugia is a hand-candle, held next to the book from which the bishop prays. In the days before electric light, the Bugia had a functional purpose; nowadays it is a sign of the increased dignity of the bishop. Before Mass the bishop prays at a faldstool (typically a small bench or a kneeler), before the High Altar. His vestments are arranged on the altar. The servers come out and help him vest, while he prays vesting prayers. Conversely, at the end of Mass, the bishop unvests while praying prayers of thanksgiving, as the servers place his vestments back on the altar. Among the distinguishing vestments of a bishop is a pontifical dalmatic, a thinner version of the deacon’s vestment, worn under the chasuble. Nowadays it can be hard to find a pontifical dalmatic, so it is not always possible for a bishop to wear one. Though a Pontifical Blessing concludes the Mass, no mitre or crosier is used; those are reserved for the following two types of Pontifical Masses:

A Pontifical Solemn Mass is celebrated by the Ordinary of a diocese. It is an extremely elaborate ceremony, with the bishop seated at a throne and served by numerous sacred ministers. Multiple priests are needed for this form of the Mass, and as a result it is rarely seen. Several years ago, former Diocese of Lansing Bishop Carl Mengeling celebrated a Pontifical Solemn Mass at All Saints Church in Flint. Experts from the Fraternity of St. Peter were brought in to coordinate the innumerable details.

A Pontifical Mass at the Faldstool is almost as elaborate as a Pontifical Solemn Mass. This is the form of Mass that an Auxiliary Bishop, or an Ordinary in a diocese other than his own, would celebrate. The principal difference is that the bishop is seated at a more humble faldstool, or bench, rather than at a throne. Chicago Auxiliary Bishop Joseph Perry celebrated such a Mass at St. Josaphat Church during the 2010 Latin Liturgy Association National Convention. Fr. Scott Haynes from St. John Cantius in Chicago directed this similarly complex ceremony.

In recent years, a new form of Pontifical Mass has become popular, for purely pragmatic reasons: A Pontifical Missa Cantata. This form of the Mass was not identified in older liturgical books, but then again neither was a Missa Cantata celebrated by a priest (alone). In olden days it was presumed that priests either celebrated Low Mass or Solemn High Mass, because clergy were abundant to serve as Deacon and Subdeacon. The Missa Cantata evolved as clergy became sparser. Likewise in our age, bishops are less inclined to celebrate the lengthy and complex Pontifical Solemn Mass and Pontifical Mass at the Faldstool, but also recognize that a Pontifical Low Mass without music is inappropriately simplistic. A Pontifical Missa Cantata is the logical compromise. As Fortescue’s Ceremonies of the Roman Rite Described explains, a Missa Cantata is an upgraded Low Mass, not a downgraded Solemn High Mass, thus the ceremonies are essentially the same as a Pontifical Low Mass. It is this form of Pontifical Mass we usually see in metro Detroit and Windsor.

A bishop uses two special books: The Roman Pontifical is the book of Sacraments (Confirmation, Ordination, etc.), while the Pontifical Canon takes the place of the Altar Cards and Altar Missal, providing the unchanging Ordinary of the Mass. An Altar Missal is still used for the Propers.

Tridentine Masses Commence in Texarkana and Fort Hood

We’re pleased to report that two of the groups that took advantage of Extraordinary Faith’s priest training have commenced their own Tridentine Masses: Fr. Michael Adams of Sacred Heart Church in Texarkana, Texas now offers a Tridentine Mass every Thursday at 6:00 PM. Sunday Masses are planned for the future. See:

Assisted by Sergeant Major John Proctor, Fr. Lito Amande has begun to offer Sunday Low Masses at 3:00 PM at the Fort Hood, Texas army base, only six weeks after the training was provided. Almost 40 souls attended the first Mass. The historic Old Post Chapel has become a primarily Catholic facility as a result of this effort. Photos of the first Mass are available at:

Tridentine Masses This Coming Week
  • Mon. 10/19 7:00 PM: Low Mass at St. Josaphat (St. Peter of Alcantara, Confessor)
  • Tue. 10/20 7:00 PM: Low Mass at Holy Name of Mary (St. John Cantius, Confessor)
  • Sun. 10/25 9:45 AM: High Mass at OCLMA/Academy of the Sacred Heart (Christ the King) – Celebrant: Msgr. Arthur Calkins, retired English Correspondence Secretary of the Pontifical Commission Ecclésia Dei at the Vatican. A reception for Msgr. Calkins will follow the Mass.
[Comments? Please e-mail Previous columns are available at This edition of Tridentine Community News, with minor editions, is from the St. Albertus (Detroit), Academy of the Sacred Heart (Bloomfield Hills), and St. Alphonsus and Holy Name of Mary Churches (Windsor) bulletin inserts for October 18, 2015. Hat tip to Alex Begin, author of the column.]

Tridentine Masses coming this week to metro Detroit and east Michigan

Tridentine Masses This Coming Week

No kidding?

"Gay married couple who got divorced after just one year to include a THIRD man in their relationship now plan to have children with their sisters as surrogates" (Daily Mail, October 15, 2015). Why stop there? Why not include pets? Why not include the children you have by your sisters as surrogates? If marriage is artificial, not natural, then the sky's the limit isn't it.

Time is short.

Saturday, October 17, 2015

"What Francis Does vs. What He Says"

Rod Dreher, HERE (October 15, 2015), contrasting (1) the Pope's words in his general audience about need for loyalty to the promises we make our children and his apology for the scandals of recent times; and (2) his appointment of the confirmed pederast, Belgian Cardinal Godfried Danneels as a Synod of the Family father. Sad state of affairs. (Disclaimer: Rules 7-9)

Then there's this piece, on SEX, which makes the Synod on the Family seem, as our contributer says, "like a sorority pledge drive": Rod Dreher, "The ‘Yes We Can’ Catholics" (American Conservative, October 14, 2015):
I didn’t need Father to remind me every week in his homily to keep my pants up. That’s not the point. What I could have used was any sign that the life to which I had submitted, in obedience to what I believed was the truth, mattered to the Church. The message I constantly received from the silence in the parish(es) was: You are wasting your time trying to live out these teachings. Nobody here cares about this stuff, so why should you?
[Hat tip to JM]

Friday, October 16, 2015


Adfero, "Gentle Bishop Blaise: Sin all you want -- I'll still give you Communion" (Rorate Caeli, October 16, 2015)

As reader JM writes: "Did we not see this coming years back. Gay marriage is not 'premier' or 'best,' but it is something on which conscious is 'inviolable.' And now we must not only accompany but integrate and reconcile. Ambiguity always, always leads top erosion, which leads to foundational crumbling. Thankfully there is a strong media and lay attention to the Synod. But with rhetoric like this positioned against a traditionalist response that keys to calling remarrieds 'adulterous,' who do you think is going to win the ad campaign."

[Hat tip to JM]