Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Cleveland Priest Defying Vatican II

Remember that Vatican II stuff we've been talking about? Specifically, this part from the Constitution on the Liturgy:

Liturgical services are not private functions, but are celebrations of the Church, which is the "sacrament of unity," namely, the holy people united and ordered under their bishops.

That last part. The one about the people being united to their bishop. Apparently, the folks from St. Peter's (how ironic) in Cleveland would just rather not do so. Basically, their parish was closed. In response to the bishop's directive, they have decided to form their own parish.

Defying the authority of their bishop, parishioners and their priest from the closed St. Peter Catholic Church in downtown Cleveland celebrated Mass Sunday in leased commercial space they transformed into a church independent of the Cleveland Catholic Diocese.

The move by the new Community of St. Peter puts members in danger of excommunication because they had been warned by Bishop Richard Lennon, who shuttered St. Peter's in April, not to hold worship services in places without his approval.

Still, about 350 people, joined by their spiritual leader, the Rev. Robert Marrone, gathered for their first Mass and communion in their new home -- a newly renovated, century-old building on Euclid Avenue and East 71st Street.

So much for being united with the bishop. Anybody want to guess how many of these parishioners would probably use Vatican II as their justification for getting away with this? I'm betting at least 1/3 would do so. Logic and reason clearly aren't the strong points here. Note the comments/commentary provided from the Plain-Dealer article:

"This feels real good," said parishioner Bob Kloos of Cleveland Heights. "This is the handiwork of hundreds of people over many, many months."

The reporter apparently misspelled "handiwork of the Father of Lies." But, hey, if it feels good, it can't be wrong.

Group leaders emphasize that they see themselves as traditional Catholics and are challenging the closing of St. Peter's, not the tenets of their faith.

You mean except for that part about being united with the bishop, right?

"I feel wonderful at this moment," said parishioner Suzanne Joseph of Shaker Heights. "It's a little scary. We're kind of going into a new way of being within the Catholic church, but I'm very happy we're on this journey."

A new way. A journey. But not really breaking from anything. We know where this journey ends. It's not a happy thing.

Now Marrone had to decide whether to be faithful to the congregation he had inspired and nurtured for more than 20 years, or to the bishop who closed his church.

He chose . . . poorly.

"I see this as an act of disobedience, not a schism," Marrone said in an interview before the new space was opened. "But I suspect we'll get accused of schism."

Oh, well, hey then, I guess it must be ok. After all, if you don't see it as an act of schism, then things must be alright. Thanks for clearing that up. I wonder what his position on the SSPX is. All Archbishop Lefebvre claimed was a danger to the faith of the entire world. I mean, this guy's parish was closed down. He couldn't just stand by and do nothing.

"The Community of St. Peter holds to the fundamental teachings and doctrines of the Roman Catholic Church," said parishioner Bob Zack of Independence.

Again, with the lies. At least be honest about what you are doing.

"We consider ourselves neither a focal point of dissent nor a schismatic organization."

Except that you are. Your opinion doesn't change reality.

"We do stand, however, in opposition to the closing of our church as well as so many others in our diocese," Zack said. "The bishop says the church is his real estate. Fine, take it. We have no control over that. But we have decided we want to keep our community together."

Together. Outside of the One, Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic Church. Unity. In a common ruin.

Asked whether the congregation fears excommunication, Zack said, "That's something each individual has to consider. I have a hard time understanding why we need the bishop's permission for us to worship together."

Did Vatican II say that? Or any other Church teaching for the last 2000 years? Have you ever tried to understand why?

Parishioner Norbert Koehn of South Euclid, a sculptor who designed and built the new altar and baptismal font, said he didn't expect the bishop to retaliate or push for excommunications.

"This is a new beginning, a new start," he said. "It has nothing to do with the bishop any more.

"Yes, there could be excommunication, but I don't think that once you've been baptized it can be taken away from you by anybody."

Who the hell has been teaching these people? Does baptism guarantee their salvation? Does he even know/care what an excommunication is?

"It's an ongoing story. It's an evolving story. In my last sermon at St. Peter's I said, 'The exodus begins. Come, let us go.'"

And so you went.

We close with some counter-proposals from St. Ignatius of Antioch:

Now, therefore, it has been my privilege to see you in the person of your God-inspired bishop, Damas; and in the persons of your worthy presbyters, Bassus and Apollonius; and my fellow-servant, the deacon, Zotion. What a delight is his company! For he is subject to the bishop as to the grace of God, and to the presbytery as to the law of Jesus Christ. . .

Take care to do all things in harmony with God, with the bishop presiding in the place of God, and with the presbyters in the place of the council of the apostles, and with the deacons, who are most dear to me, entrusted with the business of Jesus Christ, who was with the Father from the beginning and is at last made manifest. . .

Be subject to the bishop and to one another as Jesus Christ was subject to the Father, and the apostles were subject to Christ and to the Father; so that there may be unity in both body and spirit.- Epistle to the Magnesians

Indeed, when you submit to the bishop as you would to Jesus Christ, it is clear to me that you are living not in the manner of men but as Jesus Christ, who died for us, that through faith in his death you might escape dying. It is necessary, therefore—and such is your practice that you do nothing without the bishop, and that you be subject also to the presbytery, as to the apostles of Jesus Christ our hope, in whom we shall be found, if we live in him. . .

He that is within the sanctuary is pure; but he that is outside the sanctuary is not pure. In other words, anyone who acts without the bishop and the presbytery and the deacons does not have a clear conscience.- Epistle to the Trallians

It was the Spirit who kept preaching these words, ‘Do nothing without the bishop, keep your body as the temple of God, love unity, flee from divisions, be imitators of Jesus Christ, as he was imitator of the Father.- Epistle to the Philadelphians

This is the old way of the saints and martyrs. The narrow gate. It is a shame that these parishioners have chosen a new way, through the broad gate.

Monday, August 30, 2010

Another Bit On Liturgical Reform

If you're keeping up with the current series on liturgical reform, you'll note that the basic premise is that what the Council said and what was actually done are two radically different things. For more evidence of that, let's take a look at a Fr. Z entry from October of 2009. It recounts a conversation between Pope Paul VI and Fr. Louis Bouyer, who was a very prominent liturgist and member of the commission in charge of the conciliar implementation:

Father Louis Bouyer: I wrote to the Holy Father, Pope Paul VI, to tender my resignation as member of the Commission charged with the Liturgical Reform. The Holy Father sent for me at once (and the following conversation ensued):

Paul VI: Father, you are an unquestionable and unquestioned authority by your deep knowledge of the Church’s liturgy and Tradition, and a specialist in this field. I do not understand why you have sent me your resignation, whilst your presence, is more than precious, it is indispensable!

Father Bouyer: Most Holy Father, if I am a specialist in this field, I tell you very simply that I resign because I do not agree with the reforms you are imposing! Why do you take no notice of the remarks we send you, and why do you do the opposite?

Paul VI: But I don’t understand: I’m not imposing anything. I have never imposed anything in this field. I have complete trust in your competence and your propositions. It is you who are sending me proposals. When Fr. Bugnini comes to see me, he says: "Here is what the experts are asking for." And as you are an expert in this matter, I accept your judgement.

Father Bouyer: And meanwhile, when we have studied a question, and have chosen what we can propose to you, in conscience, Father Bugnini took our text, and, then said to us that, having consulted you: "The Holy Father wants you to introduce these changes into the liturgy." And since I don’t agree with your propositions, because they break with the Tradition of the Church, then I tender my resignation.

Paul VI: But not at all, Father, believe me, Father Bugnini tells me exactly the contrary: I have never refused a single one of your proposals. Father Bugnini came to find me and said: "The experts of the Commission charged with the Liturgical Reform asked for this and that". And since I am not a liturgical specialist, I tell you again, I have always accepted your judgement. I never said that to Monsignor Bugnini. I was deceived. Father Bugnini deceived me and deceived you.

Father Bouyer: That is, my dear friends, how the liturgical reform was done!

Yeah, I know. It wouldn't hold up in a court of law. If it is true, though, it would explain a whole lot as to how what the Council said wound up getting completely ignored or contradicted. And there's that Bugnini name again. For what it's worth, the above conversation allegedly took place in 1974. In July of 1975, the Congregation of Divine Worship (for which he acted as secretary) was dissolved as a separate Curial office. Six months after that, Archbishop Bugnini was shipped off to Iran as papal nuncio. This was a huge fall for Bugnini. Many are convinced that he was exposed as a Mason to Paul VI.

I'm not making any judgments on such things. I'm just saying that a lot of stuff would make more sense if that was the case.

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Sacrosanctum Concilium, Pt. 5

And we're back, and we're heading straight back to the Council's Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy:

In order that the Christian people may more certainly derive an abundance of graces from the sacred liturgy, holy Mother Church desires to undertake with great care a general restoration of the liturgy itself.

Ok, let's notice that the first thing here is that what is supposed to happen is a "restoration." I don't think it's out of bounds to say that this would have a frame of reference to something that came before. Creating something completely new is not restoring it.

For the liturgy is made up of immutable elements divinely instituted, and of elements subject to change. These not only may but ought to be changed with the passage of time if they have suffered from the intrusion of anything out of harmony with the inner nature of the liturgy or have become unsuited to it.

Sure, but might it not be a dangerous thing to just change something that was as venerable as the Mass? Something that had gone basically unchanged since the time of Gregory the Great doesn't seem a very ripe field for things that might be unsuitable. This reminds me of something Aquinas said in the First Part of the Second Part, Question 97, Article 2 of the Summa. He basically says that crappy laws might be best left alone, since changing the law all the time diminishes the power of the law in question. It habituates people to change, rather than to stability. Isn't that what happened with the Mass?

Cardinal Ottaviani warned of this very thing at the Council, per The Rhine Flows Into the Tiber:

Are we seeking to stir up wonder, or perhaps scandal, among the Christian people, by introducing changes in so venerable a rite, that has been approved for so many centuries and is now so familiar? The rite of Holy Mass should not be treated as if it were a piece of cloth to be refashioned according to the whim of each generation...

Anyways, onward we go.

In this restoration, both texts and rites should be drawn up so that they express more clearly the holy things which they signify; the Christian people, so far as possible, should be enabled to understand them with ease and to take part in them fully, actively, and as befits a community.

Aha!, someone says. There's the impetus for ditching Latin and all that other stuff! Not really. If you recall, active participation in the Mass has already been described as a contemplative thing. Moreover, the rest of the Constitution goes into some detail as to what we're supposed to do to understand this stuff better. Just bear with us.

Wherefore the sacred Council establishes the following general norms:

A) General norms

22. 1. Regulation of the sacred liturgy depends solely on the authority of the Church, that is, on the Apostolic See and, as laws may determine, on the bishop.

Of course.

2. In virtue of power conceded by the law, the regulation of the liturgy within certain defined limits belongs also to various kinds of competent territorial bodies of bishops legitimately established.

Ugh. The good part is the bit about "certain defined limits." The bad part is that is brings up bishop conferences and ignores that unless the "limits" are defined and then enforced, bad things will happen. This phrasing might have been unwise.

3. Therefore no other person, even if he be a priest, may add, remove, or change anything in the liturgy on his own authority.

Here's one of those limits right here, yet how many priests and bishops do this very thing? Without enforcement, this is a functionally worthless statement.

23. That sound tradition may be retained, and yet the way remain open to legitimate progress careful investigation is always to be made into each part of the liturgy which is to be revised. This investigation should be theological, historical, and pastoral. Also the general laws governing the structure and meaning of the liturgy must be studied in conjunction with the experience derived from recent liturgical reforms and from the indults conceded to various places. Finally, there must be no innovations unless the good of the Church genuinely and certainly requires them; and care must be taken that any new forms adopted should in some way grow organically from forms already existing. As far as possible, notable differences between the rites used in adjacent regions must be carefully avoided.

First, we're retaining sound tradition. Does that sound like it suggests creating an entirely new Mass?

Careful investigation. Why bother if you are just going to make something new?

Third, and please consider this carefully, no innovations unless the good of the Church genuinely and certainly requires them. What in this remotely suggests that an entire new Mass is needed? Did the good of the Church require such a thing? The Traditional Mass had nurtured the spirituality of the Latin Church for centuries. It was an instrument for converting the world. Why did it have to be shelved? What good was damaged by its continued presence?

Finally, organic development from the forms already existing. This by itself demonstrates that a Novus Ordo wasn't in the works. We also know from his comments on the current liturgy being a "banal fabrication" that the Holy Father sees it as not springing from organic development at all.

24. Sacred scripture is of the greatest importance in the celebration of the liturgy. For it is from scripture that lessons are read and explained in the homily, and psalms are sung; the prayers, collects, and liturgical songs are scriptural in their inspiration and their force, and it is from the scriptures that actions and signs derive their meaning. Thus to achieve the restoration, progress, and adaptation of the sacred liturgy, it is essential to promote that warm and living love for scripture to which the venerable tradition of both eastern and western rites gives testimony.

Nothing really to see here, I think.

25. The liturgical books are to be revised as soon as possible; experts are to be employed on the task, and bishops are to be consulted, from various parts of the world.

Yeah, this was probably a bad idea, too. Consider that the lead expert in all this was Archbishop Bugnini, who was later suspected of being a Freemason. Check this comment he made back in 1965:

We must strip from our Catholic prayers and from the Catholic liturgy everything which can be the shadow of a stumbling block for our separated brethren that is for the Protestants.

Does this sound like a guy interested in restoration, organic development, or the maintenance of tradition?

B) Norms drawn from the hierarchic and communal nature of the Liturgy

26. Liturgical services are not private functions, but are celebrations of the Church, which is the "sacrament of unity," namely, the holy people united and ordered under their bishops.[33]

The footnote here is to St. Cyprian's treatise on the Unity of the Church, as well as to his 66th Epistle.

The former item insists that the Church cannot be other than one:

That coat (Christ's garment at the Crucifixion) bore with it an unity that came down from the top, that is, that came from heaven and the Father, which was not to be at all rent by the receiver and the possessor, but without separation we obtain a whole and substantial entireness. He cannot possess the garment of Christ who parts and divides the Church of Christ.He cannot possess the garment of Christ who parts and divides the Church of Christ.

The latter item is a about excomming a schismatic and replacing him with another bishop.

Therefore liturgical services pertain to the whole body of the Church; they manifest it and have effects upon it; but they concern the individual members of the Church in different ways, according to their differing rank, office, and actual participation.

In other words, there are things some people can do that you can't. Like the priest. You can't do the things he does.

27. It is to be stressed that whenever rites, according to their specific nature, make provision for communal celebration involving the presence and active participation of the faithful, this way of celebrating them is to be preferred, so far as possible, to a celebration that is individual and quasi-private. This applies with especial force to the celebration of Mass and the administration of the sacraments, even though every Mass has of itself a public and social nature.

This is a reference to private Masses, which I've been told by some who deny the Mass as Sacrifice instead of a "communal supper." Clearly, though, this isn't the suppression that some folks claim. All it says is that other folks should be there if possible.

The "according to their specific nature" part makes this more likely about other things, too. It might be talking about the Divine Office.

28. In liturgical celebrations each person, minister or layman, who has an office to perform, should do all of, but only, those parts which pertain to his office by the nature of the rite and the principles of liturgy.

Again, stick to what you are supposed to be doing. If you aren't a priest, don't pretend to be one. Otherwise, you're out of your element, Donny.

29. Servers, lectors commentators, and members of the choir also exercise a genuine liturgical function. They ought, therefore, to discharge their office with the sincere piety and decorum demanded by so exalted a ministry and rightly expected of them by God's people. Consequently they must all be deeply imbued with the spirit of the liturgy, each in his own measure, and they must be trained to perform their functions in a correct and orderly manner.

Training? For the choir? Why would a choir need training? Don't you just get up there and sing a song? That doesn't take any training.

More on that in a bit. For now, just consider the part about piety and decorum and whether or not this fits the bill:

30. To promote active participation, the people should be encouraged to take part by means of acclamations, responses, psalmody, antiphons, and songs, as well as by actions, gestures, and bodily attitudes. And at the proper times all should observe a reverent silence.

So there are times to sing, say things, and do things. Then there are times to be quiet. In spite of what you might have heard, these are not items exclusive to the Pauline Mass, especially if we're talking about Dialogue Masses in the Extraordinary Form. Do not forget, though, that the Council has already said that the contemplative aspect of worship is the superior.

31. The revision of the liturgical books must carefully attend to the provision of rubrics also for the people's parts.

This is good. The Traditional Mass, so far as I know, never had rubrics for the people.

32. The liturgy makes distinctions between persons according to their liturgical function and sacred Orders, and there are liturgical laws providing for due honors to be given to civil authorities. Apart from these instances, no special honors are to be paid in the liturgy to any private persons or classes of persons, whether in the ceremonies or by external display.

This is noteworthy. It not only reiterates that the Mass itself emphasizes the distinction between priest and laity, but it also makes it clear that you don't change the liturgy because a Kennedy or other such person is involved.

By my reckoning, this puts us about 20% of the way through the Constitution. I will do better on this. I promise. Hopefully, this entry will get me back on track.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Catholic Campaign For Human Development Badness

The USCCB has the uncanny ability to not have its crap together. Every time you think that they can't really screw up anymore, they turn things up to eleven, just to prove us wrong.

The Catholic Campaign for Human Development (CCHD), the anti-poverty program run by the USCCB, came under fire this past year for funding groups who were explicitly supporting abortion, contraception, and same-sex marriage.

After its internal investigation, the CCHD claimed there were problems with only five groups out of the 51 listed as problematic by the Reform CCHD Now coalition. These five groups were subsequently defunded. (The approximate total number of CCHD grants in a year is 250.)

However, new evidence has emerged that adds 16 new groups to the 51 originally listed as problematic by the Reform CCHD Now Coalition. The 2010 CCHD list of grantees has yet to be released, so we have to wait to learn how many of the problematic groups were funded once again. (The troublesome fact that the announcement of the 2010 grantee list has been delayed a month later than usual is an issue we will return to later.)

Is it too much to ask that our prelates not support infanticide?

Monday, August 23, 2010

Fr. Breen Has Recanted

If you don't remember Fr. Breen, check this post here.

Call Bishop Choby and congratulate him. Fr. Breen has retracted his heretical comments.

Go Visit This Priest's Blog

It's basically just his homilies, but he's an ND grad himself (without losing the Faith), and a guy whose been kind enough to let me follow his journey from the world to the seminary to ontologically changed.

God bless you, Father.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

St. John Kemble

I'd never even heard of this guy. He was an English priest and martyred by the Elizabethan hordes at age 80. They screwed up his execution something terrible. The hanging hadn't worked half an hour later, so they just went ahead and beheaded them.

I mention this as paired with my previous post. There will be a generation of Catholics who have this sort of treatment to look forward to.

Watch and pray.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

At Some Point, It Won't Get Better

I've been thinking about the last few posts and how so many Catholics are hung up on whether or not we are "winning" the war with the world and the culture. It reminded me that we must always remember that the time will come when we will lose. Huge.

At some point, things are going to just keep getting worse. God told us so. It is inevitable. There will come a time when we will be persecuted, hunted, and martyred. If we are to believe the Fathers and Doctors, the Mass will be outlawed. Man will enshrine himself as god. The whole of society as we know it will be pretty much a testament on how much sin can be crammed into a single minute/hour/day/year.

This doesn't mean we are supposed to stop fighting. Far from it. However, we must accept the reality that an enormous number of battles will be lost before we actually win the war.

That is the good part, of course. Just as we know the struggle that awaits, we also know that there is a happy ending.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Desecration Avoided

For some bizarre reason, a Catholic church in Anchorage was going to be used as the site for a fake Episcopalian bishop who hates the Church (Katherine Schori) to pretend consecrate another fake bishop from the same false sect.

In what universe does this even remotely pass as a good idea? St. Ambrose defied the Emperor over issues like this with the Arians. Even to the point where he could have gotten himself killed. Are we just supposed to let this stuff go nowadays?

We couldn't really find a lot of news on this (the above-mentioned link was emailed to us), but after some digging, we discovered the Defend Us In Battle blog entry about it.

Bishop Schweitz of Anchorage took responsibility for the event's being scheduled. It's a bit disappointing to see him using past assistance from others as being a factor in doing this. Catholicism is Divine Truth. Methodism (or whatever) isn't. There isn't equal standing here to either ask for or deserve support from others. The whole point is that he basically did this to be a "good neighbor." I'm not sure how letting people play pretend bishop and do enact fake sacramental rituals benefits them.

Here's the good part, though. From the blog updates that were posted, it looks like His Excellency had a change of heart. Schori & Co. will have to go elsewhere for their performance.

The Bishop deserves our thanks for this action. This could not have been easy for him. If you have the time, please let him know that you appreciate his standing up for the faith. His contact info is at the blog linked above.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Von Hildebrand And West

I've mentioned before that, while I appreciate the idea of Theology of the Body, I never really saw it as all that revolutionary given that so much of it comes off as a re-hash of Dietrich von Hildebrand's work about sex, purity, and so forth.

I won't reproduce the whole thing here, but it's an interesting read.

There was also another thing. It seems like a bunch of Catholic folks in the internet realm have really hammered West hard on this stuff. Maybe I was too hard on him in prior entries as well. Some of the personal stuff that's being said about him now is really uncalled for, though. He's taken a leave to consider where he might have gotten mixed up. Nobody's perfect, and I think giving the guy the benefit of the doubt might be the charitable thing to do. Insulting him as a heretic worthy of excomming is way, way out of bounds.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

What More Do You Have To Do?

Check out this video we found on Creative Minority Report:

This is Fr. Joseph Breen from Nashville. You would think this is his doing an impression of a modern Anglican auditioning to be Archlayman of Canterbury. Unfortunately, the views expressed are his own.

While it looks like attempts have been made to silence him in the past, they don't look all that successful from what we're seeing here.

So what does a guy have to do to get excommed around here?

Happy Feast Of The Assumption

For which reason, after we have poured forth prayers of supplication again and again to God, and have invoked the light of the Spirit of Truth, for the glory of Almighty God who has lavished his special affection upon the Virgin Mary, for the honor of her Son, the immortal King of the Ages and the Victor over sin and death, for the increase of the glory of that same august Mother, and for the joy and exultation of the entire Church; by the authority of our Lord Jesus Christ, of the Blessed Apostles Peter and Paul, and by our own authority, we pronounce, declare, and define it to be a divinely revealed dogma that :

the Immaculate Mother of God, the ever Virgin Mary, having completed the course of her earthly life, was assumed body and soul into heavenly glory.

Hence if anyone, which God forbid, should dare willfully to deny or to call into doubt that which we have defined, let him know that he has fallen away completely from the divine and Catholic Faith...

It is forbidden to any man to change this, our declaration, pronouncement, and definition or, by rash attempt, to oppose and counter it. If any man should presume to make such an attempt, let him know that he will incur the wrath of Almighty God and of the Blessed Apostles Peter and Paul.

Pope Pius XII, Munificentissimus Deus

The Beatles At Mass Today

We got to hear "Let It Be" during communion.

Does this mean we have to re-consecrate the Church now?

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Last Sunday's Readings

I'm running way behind with this topic, I know. It's been one of those weeks. Work has been a tremendously mad house. On to the business at hand, though:

I was thinking last Sunday about some of the stuff in the Gospel reading and picked up on an item I'd never noticed before. For those who don't recall, it was Luke 12 and was about the need for faithful and diligent servants to do their jobs so that when the Master comes back, He doesn't catch them napping.

It was this part that caught my eye (the initial talk is Jesus):

"Be sure of this:
if the master of the house had known the hour
when the thief was coming,
he would not have let his house be broken into.
You also must be prepared, for at an hour you do not expect,
the Son of Man will come.”

Then Peter said,
“Lord, is this parable meant for us or for everyone?”
And the Lord replied,
“Who, then, is the faithful and prudent steward
whom the master will put in charge of his servants
to distribute the food allowance at the proper time?

Blessed is that servant whom his master on arrival finds doing so.
Truly, I say to you, the master will put the servant
in charge of all his property.
But if that servant says to himself,
‘My master is delayed in coming,’
and begins to beat the menservants and the maidservants,
to eat and drink and get drunk,
then that servant’s master will come
on an unexpected day and at an unknown hour
and will punish the servant severely
and assign him a place with the unfaithful.
That servant who knew his master’s will
but did not make preparations nor act in accord with his will
shall be beaten severely;
and the servant who was ignorant of his master’s will
but acted in a way deserving of a severe beating
shall be beaten only lightly.
Much will be required of the person entrusted with much,
and still more will be demanded of the person entrusted with more.”

It specifically mentions Peter as the one asking Jesus who He is talking about, the Apostles or the masses. Jesus then answers the question with a question, focusing on an individual who is the faithful and prudent steward who is put in charge of the other servants.

I've heard this bit a million times, and I never once noticed the connection to the papacy before. Maybe I'm out of line, but Christ is clearly referencing someone being in charge of everyone else. Let me also say that I find it interesting that the servants are first discussed as awaiting the Master's return from a wedding. Then, their job is mentioned as distributing a food allowance. This seems very Eucharistic to me, especially if we're talking about the Pope and the clergy subservient to him.

The parable gets sort of vague after that, as it isn't entirely certain if Jesus is talking about the steward or the servants distributing the food allowance or both. He winds up the discourse with a contrast between the servant who knew what the Master wanted and the servant who was ignorant, making it clear that the former will be in for a much worse punishment.

I'll interject here to say that I have seen this Scripture selection used to present the concept of purgatory.

On the main subject, Jesus gives His explanation for why the punishment will be worse for the servant who knew the Master's will. We can be pretty certain here that He's talking about the steward in charge as someone who fits that category.

Much will be required of the person entrusted with much, and still more will be demanded of the person entrusted with more.

Popin', therefore, is decidedly not easy. Moreso than that, it bears the weight of enhanced accountability before God for whatever screw-ups the Supreme Pontiff might have a long the way. Think Spider-Man. "With great power comes great responsibility."

All the more reason to pray for the Pope and for all of God's other laboring servants.

On a side note, if anyone is familiar with any of the Fathers or Doctors who have taken this part of the Gospel in the papal way that I've mentioned, let me know. I'd like to see their thoughts. There's nothing in Haydock that mentions it.

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Protestant Unholy Crap

Needless to say, these ain't your dad's crop of Presbyterians. I got this from the Sanctus blog. It's allegedly the procession of the 219th General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church (USA). Calvin would crap his pants to see something like this.

And who the hell was the whackjob who started this giant-headed puppet what-not? It was bad enough when Call to Action was doing it. Now, it seems that the infection is spreading, meaning that people actually think it's a good idea. What Satanic conspiracy could be behind such a phenomenon?

Friday, August 6, 2010

The Cause Of Life Advances

Sometimes, prayer and fasting are the only things that drive them out.

Whether it's shutting them down in Arkansas:

The Fayetteville Women's Clinic abortion business located in this northwest Arkansas city that is the home of the University of Arkansas is closing down. The abortion facility is the site of an incident that saw a man attempt to run over pro-life advocates outside the building with his vehicle.

According to news reports, the Fayetteville Women's Clinic will be closing its doors at the end of the month as the owner has announced his retirement.

"This will be the sixth abortion center at a location where 40 Days for Life's peaceful prayer vigils have been conducted to go out of business," said Shawn Carney, the campaign director of 40 Days for Life, a national pro-life event.

Keeping the issue alive on Capitol Hill:

On Thursday Reps. Chris Smith (R-N.J.) and Dan Lipinski (D-Ill.) were scheduled to introduce legislation which would establish a permanent government-wide prohibition on taxpayer funding for abortion. Pro-life leaders praised the comprehensiveness of the proposal.

The legislation, titled the “No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion Act,” also codifies conscience protections for health care providers who do not want to participate in an abortion.

He was a murderer from the beginning: and he stood not in the truth, because truth is not in him.

John 8:44

Thursday, August 5, 2010


I have been corrected. Not sure how I screwed this one up, but the aforementioned shenanigans with Dei Verbum were actually shenanigans relating to Lumen Gentium and collegiality. The shenanigans relating to Dei Verbum were on pages 175-185 of The Rhine Flows Into the Tiber.

We apologize for this error and now return you to your regularly scheduled reading.

Dei Verbum And Inerrancy

Dei Verbum 11 is probably a more frequent topic of discussion here than folks are used to seeing elsewhere. The relevant part that is always coming up reads as follows:

Therefore, since everything asserted by the inspired authors or sacred writers must be held to be asserted by the Holy Spirit, it follows that the books of Scripture must be acknowledged as teaching solidly, faithfully and without error that truth which God wanted put into sacred writings for the sake of salvation.

How it was drafted and the attempts of modernists to insert heresy into the discussion of inerrancy, much to Pope Paul VI's dismay, is discussed here. The Scripture synod's hijinks with the text were addressed here and here.

The controversy relates to efforts to limit Scriptural inerrancy to matters of faith and morals by twisting the meaning of the "for the sake of salvation" bit at the end. It would be way too easy for people doing this to just read the freaking footnotes and see that the cited documents completely shut down the legitimacy of this heretical interpretation.

Fr. Brian Harrison has taken up this argument and done a good job with this article. Granted, he does focus a bit on the "just read the footnote" stuff, but he also gives history and analysis that I hadn't seen before from other elements and participants at the Council.

It's well worth your time.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

It's McBrien, So That Should Tell You Something

Usually that he's completely lost his mind.

It's from the Distorter, so that should tell you something as well. Usually that the author is utterly devoid of good sense.

The intro tells it all:

Many years ago, when the National Catholic Reporter was a young newspaper, it ran a feature in the left-hand column of Page 1 that highlighted embarrassingly dumb items that had recently appeared in parish bulletins and other ecclesiastical documents.

If that feature were still active, I would have an entry to submit.

What is it that is supposed to be so incredibly dumb as to merit this attention?

In a letter dated May 18 of this year and addressed to "Eminences" and "Excellencies" of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, Bishop Thomas Paprocki, self-described as "Bishop Designate of Springfield in Illinois," announced that the bishops' Committee on Canonical Affairs and Church Governance, of which Paprocki is chairman, is sponsoring a special Conference on the Liturgical and Pastoral Practice of Exorcism, to be held in Baltimore in early November, just before the bishops' semiannual meeting.

And why is it dumb?

Those with a deep interest in Catholic issues will recognize immediately how pertinent and even urgent this conference will be, given the present state of the church and the world, what with the ongoing wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, and the tragic oil spill and loss of 11 lives in the Gulf of Mexico.

I'm not going to bother with the rest, as it's really just a bunch of smug sarcasm, without any reason or attempt at argument. It's the standard Fr. McBrien of demonstrating his rightness by the act of his saying so.

This is a good demonstration, though, of what modernism has done to Catholics (or ex-Catholics). All the things that Fr. McBrien mentioned are indeed tragedies. I'm a bit at a loss as to what bishops will do about the oil spill or the 11 workers who are already dead. There are wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. What does that have to do with Canonical Affairs and Church Governance?

On another note, which of these items features the direct danger of someone's soul being lost? None. Possession does. Which is the greater tragedy: a soul lost to the demonic or an oil spill (regardless of how bad the effects)? I actually have doubts as to what McBrien would answer. It's clear he either doubts the possibility of damnation, the reality of possession and exorcism, or the value of a human soul.

What should we say about an ostensibly Catholic person who demonstrates the obstinate post-baptismal denial of such truths?

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Eastern Promise

Between myself as a Latin Rite guy with Eastern leanings and Karl, a Ruthenian Thomist, we have a lot of interest in promoting goodness between the Tiber and Bosporus. On that note, these comments from Patriarch Kyrill (as posted by The Eponymous Flower) are encouraging:

The Russian Orthodox Patriarch Kyrill I praised Pope Benedict because of his moral values. The bearing of this Pope "gives us reasons for optimism", said the Moscow Patriarch on Monday.

The "complete agreement" of the Catholic and Orthodox churches in many public moral questions enables them to work together in making Christian values strong, especially in international organizations.

Kyrill I also mentioned that in the Catholic Church in the later half of the 20th Century has seen reinforced liberal tendencies which give the Orthodox Church cause for concern. So, Benedict XVI. is frequently criticized by liberal theologians, but also by the Western media. The Patriarch also dubbed the Protestant stance on homosexuality as "very dangerous". "Sinful elements" are given entrance, he said. To this Kyril also criticized the women's ordination practiced in Lutheran circles.

If you haven't read it, we highly recommend Vladimir Soloviev's book The Russian Church and the Papacy.

Monday, August 2, 2010

It's Funny Because It's Stupid

What does it mean when folks can reduce the handling of questions as significant as the nature of God to the same level as ice cream preferences?

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Sacrosanctum Concilium, Parentheses

I know it's been 5 months-ish since I last hit the series on SC. I will be getting back to it. I promise.

In the interim, check out this bit from Rorate Caeli regarding Archbishop Koch's comments on what the Council actually intended:

All those things that some people say that was new after the Second Vatican Council were not a theme of the Constitution on the Liturgy [Sacrosanctum Concilium]. For instance, celebrating the Eucharist facing the faithful was never an object of Tradition. The Tradition had always meant celebrating facing East, because that was the position of the resurrection. In Saint Peter's Basilica, the celebration took place facing the people for a long time because that was the direction facing East. The second thing was the vernacular language. The Council wished that Latin remain the language of the liturgy.

Yet all those very deep, fundamental, things of the liturgical Constitution, are still ignored by many. For instance, the entire liturgy and the Paschal liturgy. The Easter of mystery, of death, and of the resurrection of Jesus Christ. One cannot celebrate the Paschal [mystery] without sacrifice, and that is the theme that is mentioned in theology. Because the Constitution on Revelation [Dei Verbum] is not yet known in the Church either.
We still have much to do in order to receive the Council.

Never forget this stuff when folks are claiming that "Vatican II changed all that."