Friday, May 29, 2009

And Speaking of Emanations from Hell...

...this disgusting image of a beata (recently mentioned in this space) was commissioned by a cardinal.

And hung up in a chapel.

And blessed.

Notice also the "artist's" attempt to beatify Communists by association.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

"You Could Go to Mass Once More."

It seemed like the last call of Love.

Clear and resolute, my 'NO' cut off that train of thought.

Read the rest of it here.

Monday, May 25, 2009

Ascension Thursday Sunday

The Diocese of Boise, which encompasses the entire state of Idaho, and is a suffragan of the Archdiocese of Portland, is among those in which the feast of the Ascension is observed on the seventh Sunday of Easter. Yesterday, the priest who offered the Mass I attended for Ascension Thursday Sunday gave a homily in which, to the general acclaim of the congregation, he (a) held up to ridicule those who think the feast of the Ascension should be celebrated on its proper day; (b) gave the "excellent" reasons why the feast has been transferred to the Sunday following; (c) treated us to his theory on why some bishops will not transfer the feast.

Father told the story of a visitor from another diocese who called the parish office to ask about the Mass schedule for Ascension Thursday, and became indignant when told that we do not celebrate Ascension Thursday in this diocese, declaring that in her home diocese, the feast is celebrated on "the proper day." This was supposed to be funny. Father explained that the reason the feast was transferred was because so many people were not attending Mass on Ascension Thursday; and as it is an important feast, and it's good for people to celebrate the Ascension, it is better to transfer it to a day when people will attend Mass. He gave us the benefit of his opinion that the reason some bishops will not transfer the feast is so they can take up an extra collection. All of this was greeted with laughter and approval.

The feast was transferred about fifteen years ago, so I no longer have any independent recollection on this point, but just to begin with, I question the truth of the assertion that people were not attending Mass on Ascension Thursday. I have never heard the sound of crickets in the church on other holy days of obligation that fall on weekdays. Ash Wednesday and Easter Triduum services are always standing room only, even though these fall on weekdays and are not days of obligation. Furthermore, there are plenty of people going to Mass every day, whether they have to or not. The late Msgr. Donoghue's 7:00 a.m. daily Masses were nearly always packed to the rafters; and since St. John's Cathedral started offering First Saturday Masses at 8:30 a.m., so many people have been attending that this Mass had to be moved from the tiny day chapel up to the main Cathedral. In such circumstances, I don't see why people should suddenly stay away in droves on Ascension Thursday.

Even if it is true that people were skipping Ascension Thursday without a good reason, that would seem to have been the cue for priests and bishops to do something other than relieve the faithful of a requirement they were failing to take seriously. What mother dispenses her kids from the requirement that they go to school, just because they don't want to do it? Yet, on the admission from the pulpit of a priest who supports the transfer of the feast, this is exactly what has been done -- to the considerable discredit, it seems to me, of those responsible for obtaining the indult. Should priests and bishops not have viewed a widespread failure to attend Ascension Thursday Mass as a symptom of spiritual infirmity, and tried to incite their flocks to greater zeal, and rekindle the ardor that had cooled to the point of making people feel easy in their consciences about shirking a serious obligation? Is it not a sign of sloth on their part that they chose instead to lower their expectations to the point where they were already met?

Or perhaps it was sloth mixed with contempt for the Great Unwashed. Quite honestly, the explanation for the transfer of the feast is downright insulting. The message is that we, the laity, are incapable of being held to the minimal standard of having to observe a holy day of obligation during the week. This is one of the outstanding fruits of elitist snobbery within the hierarchy, brought to us precisely by those who claim to be champions of the teachings of Vatican II. Is catering to mediocrity really what the fathers of the Second Vatican Council had in mind when they sought to place greater emphasis on the dignity of the laity and their mission in the world? How did we ever get such a crop of bishops and priests who have so much contempt for the souls under their care?

The Novena between the Ascension and Pentecost is under way. The Holy Spirit came to lift us out of the mud and misery that we are of ourselves, without the help of grace. I vote we make the restoration of Ascension Thursday, and the lifting of ourselves out of mediocrity, one of our intentions.

Friday, May 22, 2009

Novena to the Holy Spirit

Why do Catholics make novenas? Because after Jesus ascended into heaven, the Apostles and the Blessed Mother waited in the Upper Room and prayed for nine days for the coming of the Holy Spirit. When we make a novena -- nine days of prayer for a particular intention -- we make an act of perseverance in prayer, and we honor and commemorate the original Novena: the infant Church's nine days of prayer between the Ascension and Pentecost.

Novena Prayer to the Holy Spirit

Come, Holy Spirit, fill the hearts of Your faithful, and enkindle in them the fire of Your love.

V. Send forth Your Spirit, and they shall be created,

R. And You shall renew the face of the earth.

Let us pray.

O God, Who by the light of the Holy Spirit, did instruct the hearts of Your faithful, grant that by that same Holy Spirit, we may be truly wise and ever rejoice in His consolation, through Christ our Lord. Amen.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Ascension Thursday

From the Office of Readings for the Feast of the Ascension: from a sermon by St. Augustine, bishop

Today our Lord Jesus Christ ascended into heaven; let out hearts ascend with Him. Listen to the words of the Apostle: If you have risen with Christ, set your hearts on the things that are above where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God; seek the things that are above, not the things that are on earth. For just as He remained with us even after His ascension, so we too are already in heaven with Him even though what is promised us has not yet been fulfilled in our bodies.

Christ is now exalted above the heavens, but He still suffers on earth all the pain that we, the members of His Body, have to bear. He showed this when He cried out from above: Saul, Saul, why do you persecute Me? and when He said: I was hungry and you gave Me food.

Why do we on earth not strive to find rest with Him in heaven even now, through the faith, hope and love that unites us to Him? While in heaven He is also with us; and we while on earth are with Him. He is here with us by His divinity, His power and His love. We cannot be in heaven, as He is on earth, by divinity, but in Him, we can be there by love.

He did not leave heaven when He came down to us; nor did He withdraw from us when He went up again into heaven. The fact that He was in heaven even while He was on earth is borne out by His own statement: No one has ever ascended into heaven except the One Who descended from Heaven, the Son of Man, who is in heaven.

These words are explained by our oneness with Christ, for He is our Head and we are His Body. No noe ascended into heaven except Christ because we also are Christ: He is the Son of Man by His union with us, and We by our union with Him are sons of God. So the Apostle says: Just as the human body, which has many members, is a unity, because all the different members make one body, so it is also with Christ. He too has many members, but one body.

Out of compassion for us He descended from heaven, and although He ascended alone, we also ascend, because we are in Him by grace. Thus, no one but Christ descended and no one but Christ ascended; not because there is no distinction between the Head and the Body, but because the Body as a unity cannot be separated from the Head.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Meanwhile, Back at a REAL Catholic College...

How fortunate the Class of 2009 at Thomas More College of Liberal Arts in Merrimack, New Hampshire: instead of witnessing the prostitution of their Catholic identity, they got to hear Francis Cardinal Arinze, prefect emeritus of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments and all-around pistol who, several years ago, famously promised to give a turkey to anyone who could find the greeting, "Good morning everybody, did your team win last night?" in any liturgical books. Appropriately enough, the cardinal gave the commencement address on the subject of what constitutes a truly Catholic college, stating that right morals apply in every human endeavor, and formation in upright behavior is part of the mission of a Catholic college.

"What does it profit us," asked the cardinal, "if a student is an intellectual giant but a moral baby? if he or she can shoot out mathematical or historical facts like a computer but is unfortunately a problem for the parents, corrosive acid among companions in the college, a drug addict and sexual pervert, a disgrace to the school, a waste-pipe in the place of work and 'Case No. 23' for the criminal police? It is clear that intellectual development is not enough."

Cardinal Arinze went on to say that a Catholic university that is faithful to its calling will give society model citizens who are a credit to their families, their alma mater, the Church and the state. "It will prepare for us members of Congress or the Senate who will not say 'I am a Catholic, but ...' but rather those who will say 'I am a Catholic, and therefore....'"


Monday, May 18, 2009

Reason No. 17,383,429 Why Liberalism Makes No Sense

[The liberal thinks that] [e]veryone is born “good” with a blank slate. To the extent that people become “bad” it is because “society” corrupted them. Nowhere does the liberal explain how combining many good people makes a bad society.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

The Church and the Holocaust

Israel's media and other elites seem bent on whipping up anti-Catholic sentiment by raising a hue and cry about how Pope Benedict failed to offer a groveling apology on behalf of the Church for the Holocaust. Some are naming the Church as a culprit, and even Pope Benedict personally as a German, in the atrocities committed against the Jews during the Second World War.

So while it is true that nominal Catholics (including Hitler himself) helped perpetrate Nazi atrocities, it pays for us to remind ourselves what the true children of the Church, living by her teachings, were doing during the war. Here is a very, very short list:

St. Maximilian Kolbe
Franciscan priest, a prisoner at Auschwitz. In July of 1941, a prisoner from his barracks escaped; as a punishment, the guards chose ten men out of the barracks to be starved to death. One of them, Franciszek Gajowniczek, lamented for his wife and family; St. Maximilian approached the guards and offered his own life in place of Gajowniczek's. The offer was accepted. After three weeks of starvation and dehydration, St. Maximilian was dispatched by an injection of carbolic acid. The man he saved was later reunited with his wife (although his sons perished in the war), and lived to see the canonization of the priest who had given his life for him.

The Martyrs of Nowogrodek
When the Nazis arrested 120 citizens of Nowogrodek, Poland on July 18, 1943, the town's community of Sisters of the Holy Family of Nazareth unanimously offered in prayer to take their places. In the name of their community, Sister Mary Stella, their superior, begged God that if the sacrifice of lives was needed, to take their lives in place of the imprisoned, who included their chaplain. On July 31, 1943, all but one of the sisters was arrested; the following day, they were taken out to the woods and shot, and buried in a common grave. Meanwhile, most of the other prisoners, including their chaplain, were spared.

St. Theresa Benedicta of the Cross (Edith Stein)
From afar, Edith Stein, who had been born and raised Jewish, discerned the fate that awaited her people at the hands of the Nazis. In 1933, she wrote: "I had heard of severe measures against Jews before. But now it dawned on me that God had laid his hand heavily on His people, and that the destiny of these people would also be mine." Six years later, in her last will and testament, the child who had been born on the Day of Atonement would offer herself up for the sake of atonement: "Even now I accept the death that God has prepared for me in complete submission and with joy as being his most holy will for me. I ask the Lord to accept my life and my that the Lord will be accepted by His people and that His Kingdom may come in glory, for the salvation of Germany and the peace of the world." Although her order smuggled her to the Netherlands for her safety, she desired to share the fate of her Jewish brethren. This desire was granted on August 9, 1942, when St. Theresa Benedicta and her sister Rose, also a convert to the Faith, were murdered in the gas chamber at Auschwitz.

Bl. Hilary Pawel Januszewski
Carmelite friar. When the Gestapo came to arrest some friars out of the Carmel in Cracow in December of 1940, Fr. Hilary volunteered to go in place of a sick, elderly friar. He gave himself to the care of dying prisoners at Dachau, and died of typhus in 1945 -- just days before the camp was liberated.

Bl. Julia Rodzinska
A Dominican nun, Sr. Julia was interned in the Stuthoff concentration camp, where she gave herself to serving the Jewish women prisoners. She died of typhoid at the camp in 1945.

Bl. Natalia Tulasiewicz
Bl. Natalia Tulasiewicz was a teacher from Poznan, Poland. She volunteered to be deported with other women sent to do heavy slave labor in Germany in order to give them spiritual comfort. On finding out what she was up to, the Gestapo arrested and tortured her, and sent her to Ravensbruck concentration camp. On March 31, 1945 -- Good Friday -- Bl. Natalia used the little strength she had left to mount a stool and give the other prisoners a talk about the Passion and death of Jesus. Two days later, she was put to death in the gas chamber.

Stanislawa Leszczynska
Polish midwife, arrested by the Germans in 1943 and sent to work in Hell on earth, the "sick ward" at Auschwitz. She delivered more than 3,000 babies at Auschwitz, and made sure every one was baptized. Miraculously, despite the unspeakable conditions, she never lost a single mother or child in childbirth, though few of the babies survived the war. Despite threats on her life, she flatly refused to drown newborns, even facing down the notorious Dr. Mengele. She died in 1974, and is still venerated in Poland. Evidence is being gathered for her cause for sainthood.

Bl. Franz Jägerstätter
Austrian farmer, husband and father of four. Jägerstätter was outspokenly anti-Nazi, and was the only one in his village to vote against the Anschluss (the annexation of Austria by Germany). After being drafted in the German army and serving for a brief period, he refused to serve any further, and was arrested. He spent time in prison before finally being beheaded, saying that it was better for his children to live without a father than for them to keep their father as a Nazi collaborator.

Bl. Maria Restituta Kafka
A Franciscan Sister of Charity, Bl. Maria Restituta was born in Brno in what is now the Czech Republic. A trained nurse, she went to work at the hospital in Mödling, south of Vienna after World War I, eventually becoming the head surgical nurse. Her refusal to take down crucifixes that she had hung in the hospital, plus her writings critical to the regime, led to her arrest by the Gestapo on Ash Wednesday, 1942. She was eventually sentenced to death, and was beheaded on March 30, 1943. Here is the link to Pope John Paul II's homily on the occasion of her beatification.

Msgr. Angelo Roncalli (Bl. John XXIII)
Working from Istanbul with Chaim Barlas of the Jewish Agency Rescue Committee, Msgr. Roncalli arranged for false papers, transit passes, false baptismal certificates and other documents that made it possible for thousands of Jews to escape the slaughter in Europe.

And last (though only on this list) but certainly not least...

Eugenio Pacelli (Pope Pius XII)
Just a few of the things Pope Pius XII -- whom the Nazis mocked as a "Jew-lover," and whom Hitler plotted to kidnap -- did to save the Jews before and during World War II include:

-- As Cardinal Pacelli, helped to author Mit Brennender Sorge (With Burning Sorrow), Pope Pius XI's anti-Nazi encyclical
-- As Pope, calmly confronted Nazi Foreign Minister Joachim von Ribbentrop with a list of Nazi atrocities in Poland during a personal audience, to Ribbentrop's deep mortification
-- Ordered the opening of monastaries, convents and even cloisters to Jewish refugees
-- Sheltered thousands of Jews at Castel Gandolfo
-- Sheltered as many refugees in the Vatican as could make their way there, and kept the railway lines into the Vatican running so as to be able to supply for all their needs
-- Came up with 100 pounds of gold to ransom the Jews of Rome, whom the Nazis threatened with deportation during the occupation, never revealing what he had to melt down to get it
-- Personally intervened to halt the deportation of Jews out of Hungary, Romania and Slovakia
-- Contributed unstintingly to relief efforts, even personally assisting those affected by the devastation of air strikes in Rome
-- Stuck to his post in Rome, despite the dangers to himself personally; his mere presence was a hindrance to Nazi atrocities in Rome

It is worth noting that when, after the war, Israel Anton Zoller, Chief Rabbi of Rome from 1939 to 1945, converted to Catholicism, he took the baptismal name Eugenio Zolli in honor of Pope Pius XII.

No, it is not the Catholic Church that owes an apology for the Holocaust. If any apologies are owed, they are owed by people whose blind hatred of the Church makes them equally blind to the facts, and enemies of the truth.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Nuggets from the News

A Man Is Measured by His Enemies. In an address in the Al-Hussein Mosque in Amman, Jordan, Pope Benedict disappointed Muslim leaders by failing to touch his forehead to the floor for remarks he made about Islam back in 2006. "We wanted him to clearly apologise," said Sheikh Yusef Abu Hussein, mufti of Karak, setting a classic example of what it means to forgive and forget. "What the pope said (in 2006) about the Prophet Mohammed is untrue. Islam did not spread through the power of sword. It's a religion of tolerance and faith," the mufti continued, barely managing to keep a straight face.

And the Saudi Judge Gives No Help to the Mufti. It's okay to slap your wife as a punishment for overspending, says Jeddah judge Hamad al-Razine. I guess there are some things the Religion of Peace and Tolerance just won't tolerate.

Liberal "Compassion." At the White House Correspondents' Dinner, Barack Obama laughs at alleged comedienne Wanda Sykes' vicious jokes about Rush Limbaugh, in which she says (a) he was the 20th hijacker on 9/11, but he was too loaded on Oxycontin to make the trip, and (b) she hopes his kidneys fail. This in an age when merely to mention B. Hussein Obama's middle name is considered "hate speech."

The Sheepification of America. Los Angeles' anonymous citywide gun buyback was so successful that it only took two hours for city officials to run out of the cheap crap they were doling out as "compensation" for renouncing a constitutionally protected ownership right. Some people went ahead and turned in their guns, even though they got nothing for them. Police reported that it was mostly little old ladies and people who looked like decent citizens who turned in their guns, thereby making Los Angeles a safer place for thugs and gang bangers.

Thanks, But No Thanks. Susan Boyle, the shock of a lifetime for the dismayingly large number of people in the world who judge strictly based on appearances, turned down an invitation to dine with Barack Obama at the aforementioned White House Correspondents' Dinner. An unnamed "source" claims she turned down the invite because she would have been "too nervous," although she "loves" President Obama and dreams of singing for him one day. This could be true; or maybe she is being diplomatic. Or, perhaps a lifetime as a book that is judged strictly by its cover has taught her not to be deceived by slick packaging. Plus, could be she has just never developed a taste for such low company as was evidently on parade at the event she was fortunate enough to miss.

Saturday, May 09, 2009

A Canonist Weighs in against Crusurpation

Crusurpation: When a lay extraordinary minister of Holy Communion attempts to bestow a priestly blessing upon a child or a non-Catholic during Communion. (From A Modern Lexicon)

This is Pope Benedict giving a blessing. Pope Benedict gets to do this. The reason he gets to do this is because he is in Holy Orders. Men possessed of Holy Orders have the power to bestow blessings on behalf of the Church. There are apparently some exceptions in the Book of Blessings; but for the most part, laymen do not get to bestow blessings. This is why it makes me crazy to see extraordinary ministers of Holy Communion purporting to bestow blessings in the Communion line.

Here is something that laymen are REALLY forbidden to do: the Benediction of the Blessed Sacrament. In fact, it is a violation of canon law for a layman to do this. Nevertheless, I have seen an extraordinary minister of Holy Communion do it in the Communion line. On the occasion in question, a non-Catholic -- known to me as someone who has little or no love for the Church -- went up with her hands crossed over her breast. The extraordinary minister held up the Host and made the sign of the cross over her with it. Both the non-Catholic and the EMHC -- who was a vocal dissident against the primacy of Peter and the all-male priesthood -- smiled smugly at this blatantly political statement. This happened at a funeral, and directly in front of me. It is the only time I have ever seen a lay person "bless" somebody with the Host, but apparently the practice is not uncommon.

So hooray for canonist Ed Peters, who comes out strongly against the practice, of recent vintage, of crusurpation, which he forthrightly calls an abuse per se.
Lay ministers of holy Communion (by definition, extraordinary ministers thereof), in response to people approaching them without the intention to receive Communion (maybe such folks are non-Catholics [footnote omitted] or are Catholic kids prior to First Communion), currently do one of three things: they (1) speak and gesture a sign of the cross over such folks, or (2) lay hands on such persons' heads or shoulders while voicing a blessing, or (3) waive the Eucharist over them while purporting to confer a blessing. I think all three actions are liturgical abuses. [Emphasis added.]
You can get the whole story here.

Wednesday, May 06, 2009

Oklahoma Throws Down the Gauntlet -- Sorta

The Oklahoma Legislature wants to see the federal government withdraw to the confines of its proper constitutional authority, and are undaunted by the governor's refusal to endorse their resolution.

House Joint Resolution 1003 demanded that the federal government abide by the Tenth Amendment to the United States Constitution, and stop exercising authority beyond the scope of what is enumerated in the Constitution. After Governor Brad Henry vetoed it, on the grounds that it would jeopardize federal dollars coming into Oklahoma, House supporters came back with a Concurrent Resolution, which does not need to be approved by the Governor. Said Rep. Charles Key (R-Oklahoma City): "We’re going to get it done one way or the other. I think our governor is out of step.”

But the governor does put his finger on an important point. Key says that the resolution will not jeopardize federal tax dollars, but let's get serious about something. If individual states really want the feds to roll back, then they are going to have to be willing to jeopardize the inflow of federal dollars. If they are not willing to forgo their share of federal loot, then they can't be serious about wanting the feds to abide by the Constitution. What else is it that has bloated the federal government beyond all imagination, but the willingness of states and other persons and entities to trade their freedom in exchange for filthy lucre? Don't the feds get to dictate the terms on which they will distribute largesse? This resolution demands that the feds stop imposing terms in exhange for federal funding, but does anybody seriously think they can repeal the age-old Golden Rule: whoever has the gold makes the rules? Besides all of which, to get the largesse to distribute, don't the feds, who are incapable of creating their own wealth, have to take it away from somebody?

Here is the text of House Concurrent Resolution 1028 (you can find the official text here):

WHEREAS, the Tenth Amendment to the Constitution of the United States reads as follows:
“The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.”; and

WHEREAS, the Tenth Amendment defines the total scope of federal power as being that specifically granted by the Constitution of the United States and no more; and

WHEREAS, the scope of power defined by the Tenth Amendment means that the federal government was created by the states specifically to be an agent of the states; and

WHEREAS, today, in 2009, the states are demonstrably treated as agents of the federal government; and

WHEREAS, many federal laws are directly in violation of the Tenth Amendment to the Constitution of the United States; and

WHEREAS, the Tenth Amendment assures that we, the people of the United States of America and each sovereign state in the Union of States, now have, and have always had, rights the federal government may not usurp; and

WHEREAS, Article IV, Section 4 says, “The United States shall guarantee to every State in this Union a Republican Form of Government”, and the Ninth Amendment states that ”The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people”; and

WHEREAS, the United States Supreme Court has ruled in New York v. United States, 112 S. Ct. 2408 (1992), that Congress may not simply commandeer the legislative and regulatory processes of the states; and

WHEREAS, a number of proposals from previous administrations and some now pending from the present administration and from Congress may further violate the Constitution of the United States.


THAT the State of Oklahoma hereby claims sovereignty under the Tenth Amendment to the Constitution of the United States over all powers not otherwise enumerated and granted to the federal government by the Constitution of the United States.

THAT this serve as Notice and Demand to the federal government, as our agent, to cease and desist, effective immediately, mandates that are beyond the scope of these constitutionally delegated powers.

THAT all compulsory federal legislation which directs states to comply under threat of civil or criminal penalties or sanctions or requires states to pass legislation or lose federal funding be prohibited or repealed.

THAT a copy of this resolution be distributed to the President of the United States, the President of the United States Senate, the Speaker of the United States House of Representatives, the Speaker of the House and the President of the Senate of each state’s legislature of the United States of America, and each member of the Oklahoma Congressional Delegation.

All fine, well, and good; but until the states are willing to stop clamoring for their share of federal plunder, it's just air.

Monday, May 04, 2009

Mystery Solved

At last, archaeologists know what the Eleusinian Mysteries looked like.

No wonder they were kept secret!

Says Jewish Researcher to Pius XII Critics: Get a Clue

Gary Krupp, founder of the Pave the Way Foundation, has a barn-burner of an article in the New York Daily News in which he tells the "Hitler's Pope" crowd to get off Pius XII's back. Krupp summarizes the fruits of his research on the role of Pius XII in the war and the years leading up to it, and ends with this declaration:
It's time for our "historians" to correct this academic negligence and honestly research the open archives. Jewish teaching says, if you save one life you save all humanity. We must acknowledge what Pius actually did rather than criticize him for what he should have done. Pope Pius should be commended for his courageous actions that saved more Jewish lives than all the world's leaders combined.
Click here for a look at the Pave the Way Foundation's research into our holy, courageous, and thoroughly lovable wartime Pope.

Sunday, May 03, 2009

Pre-Mass "Ice-Breakers" Revisited

I've posted this before, but after today's Mass, I need to post it again.

About the widespread practice of making everybody shake hands and greet each other at the beginning of Mass, a few questions:

1. Is this practice prescribed in the General Instruction of the Roman Missal?

2. Is this a practice of long, uninterrupted standing such that it properly qualifies as tradition? If not, what has changed that makes it impossible for us to continue to do without it?

3. Can it be proven that this practice prevailed during the earliest days of the Church? If so, do the reasons for it that existed then still exist in the present day? If such reasons do not presently exist -- and assuming it really was an ancient practice of the early Church -- what justifies its revival?

4. Does this practice accomplish some purpose or fulfill some need that is not accomplished by the liturgy as presently constituted? If so, what is this purpose or need, and, if it is a genuine necessity, in what way does the liturgy fail to fulfill it?

5. Where this practice prevails, is it mandated by persons who have canonical authority to make changes to the liturgy?

6. Is this practice more or less likely to foster a spirit of reverence and recollection inside the church?

7. What are the assumptions about relations among parishioners that underlie the introduction of this practice, and upon what evidence are such assumptions based? Is there any evidence to support the proposition that making people engage in mutual intimacies will necessarily cause them to form friendships? If there is, what case can be made for introducing this practice to the liturgy, when there are other venues readily available and appropriate for fellowship?

8. Will this practice tend to alleviate the burdens of the introverted, the grief-stricken, and the penitent, or will it tend to add to them? Are the extroverts who tend to advocate this practice specially equipped to understand the violence that forced gregariousness does to the sensitive, retiring soul, or the soul drowning in sorrow? What effect might this practice have on the weak soul who, like the penitent tax collector in the parable, comes to Mass to try, humbly and anonymously, to make his peace with God? What interests outweigh these considerations, and why?

9. Does this practice tend to focus the attention of parishioners upon the worship of God, or does it tend to focus it elsewhere?

10. Does this practice tend to contribute to, or to detract from, the Catholic understanding of the Mass as the actual sacrifice of Calvary, represented on the altar in an unbloody manner? Does this practice tend to increase or decrease our awareness of the fact that at Mass, we are literally at the foot of the Cross?

Just something to think about.

Saturday, May 02, 2009

The Wisdom of Latin

Some points about Latin and the Catholic Church:

-- Latin Has Never Been Abrogated as the Language of the Church. Latin is still the language of the Church, even though Vatican II extended, in limited cases, the use of vernacular tongues. Some points from the documents of Vatican II illustrate how far we have strayed from the true teachings of the Council:
Sacrosanctum Concilium (Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy), 36.1: Particular law remaining in force, the use of the Latin language is to be preserved in the Latin rites.

Id. at 54:....steps should be taken so that the faithful may also be able to say or to sing together in Latin those parts of the Ordinary of the Mass which pertain to them.

Id. at 101.1: In accordance with the centuries-old tradition of the Latin rite, the Latin language is to be retained by clerics in the divine office. But in individual cases the ordinary has the power of granting the use of a vernacular translation to those clerics for whom the use of Latin constitutes a grave obstacle to their praying the office properly. The vernacular version, however, must be one that is drawn up according to the provision of Art. 36.

Optatum Totius (Decree On Priestly Training), 13: Before beginning specifically ecclesiastical subjects, seminarians should be equipped with that humanistic and scientific training which young men in their own countries are wont to have as a foundation for higher studies. Moreover they are to acquire a knowledge of Latin which will enable them to understand and make use of the sources of so many sciences and of the documents of the Church.
-- Latin Makes it Harder to Tinker with the Liturgy. It is altogether possible to commit liturgical abuses in Latin, but it cannot be possible to do it to the extent it has been done in vernacular liturgies.

-- Latin Preserves the Integrity of the Faith.
The safest way to preserve Catholic doctrine intact is by preserving it in a language that is no longer a vernacular tongue, and therefore no longer subject to the vicissitudes of change and evolution.

-- Latin Is a Mark of Universality. The Mass in Latin was recognizable to any Catholic. A Catholic could travel anywhere and be perfectly at home at Mass, even though he could not understand the language of the homily. Those who hold that Latin left the majority of Catholics ignorant of what truly happens in the Mass bear the burden of proving their assertion. The existence of children's books explaining the preconciliar Mass (I happen to own one from the 1940s), boys who served the Mass, Latin classes in Catholic schools, and the existence of Missals providing the Latin text side-by-side with the vernacular translation, all serve to give the lie to the idea that people did not understand the Mass before the changes. On the other hand, the marked decline in reverence on the part of many of us at Mass is a strong indication that fewer people than ever truly understand what is happening at Mass, even though it is now seldom offered in Latin.

-- Latin Is a Mark of Unity. All Catholics could participate in a Latin Mass, even though they were from different countries and spoke different languages. Setting aside Latin as the language of the liturgy -- which was never permitted by Vatican II, let alone mandated -- has led to the balkanization of parishes. Now parishes are divided into ethnic enclaves that rarely intermingle, even for worship. Efforts to divide one Mass up into several vernacular languages serves rather to accentuate disunity than to overcome it; they can never substitute adequately for the loss of a universal language.

Besides being unlawful, the discarding of Latin, and the fostering of hostility toward Latin among the faithful, was downright foolish. Hopefully, the damage will soon be undone.

Friday, May 01, 2009

How Appropriate...

...that news of the latest vacancy on the Supreme Court should break on May Day, Day 102 of the most virulently leftist and pro-abortion administration ever in the history of the United States. NARAL and the other militant leftists must be thinking that maybe there is a God after all, and daring to entertain the possibility that maybe He is on their side.

For the rest of us, it's time to start wearing out the rosary beads. After decades of stealth liberal Supreme Court justices installed by Republican administrations, aren't we long overdue for a stealth conservative justice?