Friday, July 31, 2009
Thursday, July 30, 2009
Some probably remember very well the felling of altar rails, the dumpsters full of precious vestments and their replacement with polyester ponchos, the churches re-decorated with cheap paneling and orange shag carpeting, the rejection of organ music in favor only of guitar tunes. Phrases such as "pre-Vatican II" uttered with contempt also stem from an erroneous idea that the Council mandated a break within the Church from all that came before it.
These were some of the more obvious signs of a rupture within the Church from her magnificent and sacred past. But the physical aspects of the Church's life are only indicators of something far more profound and vital: the state of faith in the Church's members. We are saved by grace through faith. Just as a doctor must assess the patient's vital signs before determining their state of health, so must the visible manifestation of the Church's life be seen always as an indicator of the vibrancy of Christ's ongoing work of salvation in His Mystical Body on earth.
Every person who has had this experience probably has a unique name for the phenomenon but the appellation "hermeneutic of rupture" has arisen as the predominant way of describing what for some has been a very distressing development. In the face of this unprecedented phenomenon in Catholic life some are indifferent and some approve, but there are also some who have not found the rupture helpful. There is a desire on the part of many priests, including our Holy Father, to make this third group feel loved and at home in the universal Church of Christ, the sole Savior of the human race. As well, the idea that the Church would break from her past, particularly in the area of the sacred liturgy which has always been a spiritual reality of consistent organic development from the time Our Lord Himself instituted the Holy Sacrifice at the Last Supper, is an innovation which some might term illegitimate.
The movement within the Church to read and implement the documents and teachings of Vatican II in continuity with the whole of our Catholic tradition has come to be called "the hermeneutic of continuity". There is a blog by this very name and which is dedicated to furthering our Holy Father Benedict's efforts in this area of renewal for Catholic faith, life and worship.
From that blog I offer the following information for those who are unfamiliar with this concept.
Pope Benedict XVI on the hermeneutic of continuity
The title for this blog is inspired by an expression of Pope Benedict XVI in his address to the Roman Curia on 22 December 2005. In order to give the context, here is a quotation:
The last event of this year on which I wish to reflect here is the celebration of the conclusion of the Second Vatican Council 40 years ago. This memory prompts the question: What has been the result of the Council? Was it well received? What, in the acceptance of the Council, was good and what was inadequate or mistaken? What still remains to be done? No one can deny that in vast areas of the Church the implementation of the Council has been somewhat difficult, even without wishing to apply to what occurred in these years the description that St Basil, the great Doctor of the Church, made of the Church's situation after the Council of Nicea: he compares her situation to a naval battle in the darkness of the storm, saying among other things: "The raucous shouting of those who through disagreement rise up against one another, the incomprehensible chatter, the confused din of uninterrupted clamouring, has now filled almost the whole of the Church, falsifying through excess or failure the right doctrine of the faith..." (De Spiritu Sancto, XXX, 77; PG 32, 213 A; SCh 17 ff., p. 524).
We do not want to apply precisely this dramatic description to the situation of the post-conciliar period, yet something from all that occurred is nevertheless reflected in it. The question arises: Why has the implementation of the Council, in large parts of the Church, thus far been so difficult?
Well, it all depends on the correct interpretation of the Council or - as we would say today - on its proper hermeneutics, the correct key to its interpretation and application. The problems in its implementation arose from the fact that two contrary hermeneutics came face to face and quarrelled with each other. One caused confusion, the other, silently but more and more visibly, bore and is bearing fruit.
Part II next week.
With thanks to the blog The Hermeneutic of Continuity where you can read the entire address by Benedict XVI on the subject.
Wednesday, July 29, 2009
Stellar in example for other priests and the seminarians he served in formation.
Spiritual director to this writer in the four crucial years leading to ordination.
Steady in humility though blessed with considerable intelligence and Thomistic knowledge.
Ready wit in elegant ripost and elfish grin.
May he rest forever in the peace and love of Christ, the reward for which he labored so well.
Tuesday, July 28, 2009
"The Archbishop has assigned Father Kevin Cusick as our new Parochial
Vicar. Father Cusick was ordained in 1992. While he has served in a
few parishes of the Archdiocese, Father has spent the majority of his
17 years in the priesthood serving the men and women of the US armed
forces. Father Cusick is currently a Naval Reserve Officer. While we
are happy to welcome him to St. Mary's, we know that he could be
called into active service in the Navy at any time. Father will begin
ministry here on the 8th of August. We will welcome him formally as we
bid farewell to Father White on the 29th of August at the 5pm Mass."
Monday, July 27, 2009
Vatican City, July 26 (CNA) .- On July 26, Pope Benedict XVI led the Angelus prayer in Les Combes, Italy and recalled the Sunday readings, in particular the miracle of the loaves, when Jesus feeds thousands of people with only loaves of bread and two fishes."Narrating the 'sign' of the loaves, the Evangelist stresses that Christ, before distributing them, blesses them with a prayer of thanksgiving," the Pope said. "The verb is 'eucharistein' and recalls directly the Last Supper, during which John does not refer to the institution of the Eucharist, but to the washing of feet.
"During the Year for Priests, the Holy Father explained, "we priests especially can turn again to this text of John, where the Apostles say: Where will we be able to find bread for all these people? Reading of this anonymous boy who has five loaves and two fish, we too come to say spontaneously: But, what is this for such a crowd?"
"Who am I? How can I, with my limitations, help Jesus in His mission?" He continued: "The Lord's response is that by placing in his 'holy and venerable' hands the little that they are, priests become instruments of salvation for many, for all!"At the conclusion of the Angelus prayer, Pope Benedict addressed a special greeting to local inhabitants in the Valdoten regional dialect: "Dear Valdostans, I am happy to be here with you. Pray for me and for the entire Church. I wish you a good summer!"
Saturday, July 25, 2009
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Friday, July 24, 2009
Thursday, July 23, 2009
One must truly admire Kathleen Kennedy Townsend’s frequent, determined and overreaching efforts to be taken seriously. First it was a failed bid for elected Democratic office in the state of Maryland where no Democrats have lost an election as far back as Agnew until Townsend came along. Now she strides fearlessly into the world of theology as she pontificates in Newseek magazine that “Obama represents American Catholics better than the Pope does.” Yes, Kathleen, there is a Pope and he represents, not American Catholics, but rather Jesus Christ. And that is the point of the whole exercise: Catholicism is about representing Christ to the world; bringing the truth and salvation of Christ to the world. Catholicism is not a plebiscite broken into national denominations in search of elected representatives. Obama is no more qualified to represent what is Catholic than is the Dalai Lama.
Let’s take Kathleen to catechism class and review for her benefit, also for ourselves, how the Pope is our teacher with authority in what we believe and in how our Faith should be reflected in our lives. The Catechism, in paragraph 2034, tells us: “The Roman Pontiff and the bishops are ‘authentic teachers, that is, teachers endowed with the authority of Christ, who preach the faith to the people entrusted to them, the faith to be believed and put into practice.’The ordinary and universal Magisterium of the Pope and the bishops in communion with him teach the faithful the truth to believe, the charity to practice, the beatitude to hope for.” This means that if Kathleen is a Catholic, she must give assent with her intellect and will to all that the Pope teaches in matters of faith and morals just as she would to Christ Himself. It also means that if she does not do so she is not a Catholic in good standing and must repent.
Towsend represents very well the erroneous and very modern notion that truth is determined by polls or by the direction of the wind or by the media. The Church, the Body of Christ on earth, stands until the end of the world as a bulwark against Townsend and other advocates of what Pope Benedict XVI has dubbed “the tyranny of relativism”. Those who say that God should obey the latest public fads and opinions and that the Pope and the Church should fall in behind the bandwagon have the freedom to belong to any ecclesial body they choose but not sincerely so the Catholic Church. Why? The Church is founded by Christ, to which He has given the Holy Spirit. It is the Holy Spirit that leads the Church into “all the truth”. The Church is in the truth business. And God is the source of truth.
In the Catechism we read, "‘The sum of your word is truth; and every one of your righteous ordinances endures forever.’ ‘And now, O LORD God, you are God, and your words are true"; this is why God's promises always come true. God is Truth itself, whose words cannot deceive. This is why one can abandon oneself in full trust to the truth and faithfulness of his word in all things. The beginning of sin and of man's fall was due to a lie of the tempter who induced doubt of God's word, kindness and faithfulness.” (CCC 215)
Being Catholic means now, and always has, that the truths of the Faith are truth because they cannot change, and truth cannot change because it comes from God who is not subject to any creature. All truth finds its source in God who is consistent, unchanging and everlasting. Christ the Lord declared of Himself, “I Am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.” This same Christ founded the Church and entrusted to Her the fullness of the source of salvation, to include the teaching of saving truth, in matters of faith and morals.
" ‘The sole Church of Christ [is that] which our Savior, after his Resurrection, entrusted to Peter's pastoral care, commissioning him and the other apostles to extend and rule it. . . . This Church, constituted and organized as a society in the present world, subsists in (subsistit in) the Catholic Church, which is governed by the successor of Peter and by the bishops in communion with him.’
The Second Vatican Council's Decree on Ecumenism explains: ‘For it is through Christ's Catholic Church alone, which is the universal help toward salvation, that the fullness of the means of salvation can be obtained. It was to the apostolic college alone, of which Peter is the head, that we believe that our Lord entrusted all the blessings of the New Covenant, in order to establish on earth the one Body of Christ into which all those should be fully incorporated who belong in any way to the People of God.’ " (CCC 816)
Yes, Kathleen, there is a Pope. And he is your teacher in matters of Catholic Christian faith and morals, the “sweet Christ on earth”. If you fail to obey the Pope you fail to obey Christ Himself.
This column was published in today's issue of The Wanderer Catholic Newspaper. For information about how to subscribe to the online "e-edition" or paper coopy visit the website for The Wanderer.
Wednesday, July 22, 2009
Tuesday, July 21, 2009
bookbearer at Mass, a military veteran and faithfully,
Let perpetual light shine upon him. May his soul, and all the souls of
the faithful departed, rest in peace. Amen.
Help me let life unfold slowly, like the small rosebud whose petals unravel bit by bit, and remind me that in hurrying the bloom along, I destroy the bud and much of the beauty therein. Instead, let me wait for all to unfold in its own time. Each moment and state of growth contains a loveliness. Teach me to slow down enough to appreciate life and all it holds. Amen.
-- Offered in thanksgiving for benefactors, friends, and all those who offer themselves in support of priests. Thanks to A Catholic Life where I found the prayer.
Monday, July 20, 2009
Writing today. Pre-loading daily Scripture and Catechism posts for Meeting Christ in the Liturgy for next week and beyond. Also need to start cranking out the weekly column for The Wanderer Newspaper.
More news coming soon. Stay tuned and thanks for prayers.
Sunday, July 19, 2009
Saturday, July 18, 2009
In response Mr. Bruce E. Ford of Newark, New Jersey, writes:
"Only in a 1975-style 'Mass Without a Congregation' is the corporal spread and the chalice placed on the altar at the beginning of the Mass.
"Why do you hold up this outdated usage as an ideal?
"To say that the celebrant's facing east during the Eucharistic Prayer (for example) is reflective of the 'Hermeneutic of Continuity' would be entirely reasonable. But to revive silly pre-Conciliar practices such as placing the chalice on the altar at the beginning of the Mass is simply silly.
"The 'Hermeneutic of Continuity' does not call for indiscriminate revival of pre-Conciliar practices in contravention of the rubrics of the Novus Ordo. It calls for the interpretation of the Novus Ordo rubrics in the light of tradition."
Thank you, Mr. Ford, for your comment, the entire text of which readers are invited to see in the comments section at the original post.
My first reaction is, who decides which of the Church's customs are silly and which are not? Sounds to me like the beginning of an onion peeling away to nothing. Although I certainly defer to the Church when deciding for the purposes of liturgy what is an accretion and what is noble simplicity.
Comments if you please.
Friday, July 17, 2009
Thursday, July 16, 2009
Gregor Kollmorgen posted a few days ago about APL's pictorial guide to celebrating Mass according to the hermeneutic of continuity at The New Liturgical Movement.
Thank you, Gregor, and "Shawn's Tribe": the whole team at the NLM.
Wednesday, July 15, 2009
I quote here for clarification N0. 107 of Redemptionis Sacramentum:
[107.] In accordance with what is laid down by the canons, “one who throws away the consecrated species or takes them away or keeps them for a sacrilegious purpose, incurs a latae sententiae excommunication reserved to the Apostolic See; a cleric, moreover, may be punished by another penalty, not excluding dismissal from the clerical state”. To be regarded as pertaining to this case is any action that is voluntarily and gravely disrespectful of the sacred species. Anyone, therefore, who acts contrary to these norms, for example casting the sacred species into the sacrarium or in an unworthy place or on the ground, incurs the penalties laid down. Furthermore all will remember that once the distribution of Holy Communion during the celebration of Mass has been completed, the prescriptions of the Roman Missal are to be observed, and in particular, whatever may remain of the Blood of Christ must be entirely and immediately consumed by the Priest or by another minister, according to the norms, while the consecrated hosts that are left are to be consumed by the Priest at the altar or carried to the place for the reservation of the Eucharist.
One can read the entire document here.
Thank you, Nicolas.
Tuesday, July 14, 2009
Have you read Kathleen Kennedy Townsend's column in Newsweek, "Why Barack Obama represents American Catholics better than the pope does"? If Catholicism was about "representing American Catholics" Kathleen might have a point. But it isn't, so she doesn't.
Catholicism is about representing God and thus Catholicism is also about representing and teaching the truth. And the pope has the grace of teaching the truth infallibly in matters of faith and morals. Last I checked, Prez Obama doesn't fit that description. In my most recent column penned for The Wanderer, I begin this way:
"One must truly admire Kathleen Kennedy Townsend’s frequent, determined and overreaching efforts to be taken seriously. First it was a failed bid for elected Democratic office in the state of Maryland where no Democrats have lost an election as far back as Agnew until Townsend came along. Now she strides fearlessly into the world of theology as she pontificates in Newseek magazine that “Obama represents American Catholics better than the Pope does.” Yes, Kathleen, there is a Pope and he represents, not American Catholics, but rather Jesus Christ. And that is the point of the whole exercise: Catholicism is about representing Christ to the world; bringing the truth and salvation of Christ to the world. Catholicism is not a plebiscite broken into national denominations in search of elected representatives. Obama is no more qualified to represent what is Catholic than is the Dalai Lama."
Please visit A Priest Life again next week to read the column in its entirety, to be posted as the 23 July issue of The Wanderer goes to press. Or you can subscribe to the electronic on-line edition of The Wanderer by clicking here. Thank you. ((((..))))
Sunday, July 12, 2009
The floating facility, or FAF, at Pier 11 in Norfolk used by the crew during the USS Theodore Roosevelt repair period was the setting for Sunday holy Mass with Chaplain Father Charles Johnson.
Father Johnson provides a dignified liturgical setting despite the humble and industrial environment of the FAF. Note that the altar cloth hangs from the sides of the altar but does not extend below the front of the table.
Father arrives at the altar and places the chalice in the center to begin Mass having removed his beretta and placing it on the credence table. The Mass is celebrated entirely in English to better enable "fully conscious and active participation" on the part of all.
When Father arrives at the altar he removes the corporal from the burse and unfolds it on the mensa, placing the chalice which he has carried with him on top of the corporal. Note that the corporal should not be left on the altar outside of the celebration of Mass but rather should be used as an envelope for collecting particles of the host which may fall during the celebration of Mass. These particles are then reverently consumed.
Father prepares the Gospel. The burse is placed to the left of the crucifix. Note the corporal visible below the veiled chalice. Chief Inocencio, partially visible at left, was stationed with the blog author, and active in the Catholic chapel communities, in Naples, Italy and Mayport, Florida.
Father's homily was gentle, learned and practical. He urged us to remember the twofold commandment to love God and neighbor as symbolized by the counsel of the Lord who sent the disciples out two by two to bring Him and His Gospel to the world. Just as we cannot move forward but by walking upon both of our legs, so we cannot move toward God except by loving and keeping both commandments which are the fulfillment in Christ of all that preceded Him in the Law and the Prophets.
Father prepares the altar for sacrifice. The veil is folded and placed on the right side of the altar.
Much thanks to Father Johnson for his hospitality and kindness.
Saturday, July 11, 2009
Friday, July 10, 2009
I offer here a portion of Allen's brief synthesis of the Encyclical that I found of particular interest as it pinpoints original and new contributions by Benedict. The highlights are mine:
"Nonetheless, there are a couple of new wrinkles in Caritas in Veritate.
"For one thing, Benedict XVI insists that Catholic social teaching must be seen as a package deal, holding economic justice together with its opposition to abortion, birth control, gay marriage, and other hot-button issues of sexual morality. The pope expresses irritation with “certain abstract subdivisions of the church’s social doctrine,” an apparent reference to tensions between the church’s pro-life contingent and its peace-and-justice activists.
"For the first time in a social encyclical, a pope argues that current demographic trends – in particular, population declines and rapid aging in parts of the developed world, especially Europe and Japan – illustrate the wisdom of Catholic sexual morality.
“ 'Decline in births, falling at times beneath the so-called ‘replacement level’, also puts a strain on social welfare systems, increases their cost, eats into savings and hence the financial resources needed for investment, reduces the availability of qualified labourers, and narrows the ‘brain pool’ upon which nations can draw for their needs,' Benedict writes.
"Benedict called falling birth rates in the developed world a sign of “scant confidence in the future and moral weariness.”
"A second original touch in Caritas in Veritate is Benedict’s description of the emergence of a 'broad intermediate area' between private business firms and non-profit initiatives, made up of business enterprises that operate not just from the profit motive but also out of a sense of social responsibility. The pope explicitly cites the 'Economy of Communion,' linked to the 'Folocare' movement founded by the late Italian Catholic laywoman Chiara Lubich, which links almost 800 businesses worldwide in a commitment to pool a share of their profits in order to fund development and formational programs.
“ 'It is to be hoped that these new kinds of enterprise will succeed in finding a suitable juridical and fiscal structure in every country,' Benedict writes. 'The very plurality of institutional forms of business gives rise to a market which is not only more civilized but also more competitive.'
"Third, despite the argument of some social theorists that the nation-state may become obsolete in a globalized age, Benedict argues that 'both wisdom and prudence suggest not being too precipitous in declaring the demise of the State.' In fact, the pope says, the current economic crisis may mark something of a renaissance for the state, as public authorities once again assert control over economic life.
"One interesting twist to Caritas in Veritate is that Benedict XVI managed to pen a 144-page reflection on the globalized economy without once using the term 'capitalism.'
"Caritas in Veritate is the first social encyclical of the 21st century, and the third encyclical letter from Pope Benedict XVI, after Deus Caritas Est in late 2005 and Spe Salvi in 2007. The new encyclical carries the date of June 29, the Feast of Sts. Peter and Paul."
-- John L. Allen, Jr.
For the whole review, go here.
Wednesday, July 8, 2009
By this light of faith we can choose to walk in serenity the path of the present, content with knowing only that which God in His wisdom chooses to reveal.
Tuesday, July 7, 2009
One of A Priest Life readers says the photo here is her favorite from my recent Morocco experience. You can see more about that here. Thank you, "K".
Also, thanks to "D" who sends the following birthday wish I share with everyone:
The gifts of God are priceless treasures. You are such a gift. Your life has a special importance that I deeply value. My heart is so thankful that God has not only brought you into this world, but that He also brought you into my life. This special blessing is my birthday prayer for you.....
The Lord bless thee, and keep thee. The Lord shew his face to thee, and have mercy on thee.
The Lord turn his countenance to thee, and give thee peace. Numbers 6:24-26
May God bless you on your birthday and always.
And for those of us who celebrate our natal anniversaries today, an awesome way to mark the day.
Thank you, Holy Father.
(Photo: Thanks to Rorate Caeli.)
Friday, July 3, 2009
Now he chooses the same date this year to release his new encyclical, Caritas in Veritate.
There's something about 7 July.
Church news sources, priest blogs, sources on the priesthood
- American Papist
- Anna Arco's Diary
- Annus Sacerdotalis
- Apostles of Jesus Christ, Priest and Victim
- Archdiocese of Washington Blog
- Clerical Reform
- Damian Thompson
- Daughters of Mary, Spiritual Mothers of The Priesthood
- Father Jason Worthley
- Father Joe
- Father Joe: Blogger Priest
- Father Raymond DeSouza
- Forest Murmurs
- From the Inside: James Dean enters the Benedictine Order
- John L. Allen, Jr.
- Offerimus tibi Domine
- Opus Bono Sacerdotii: "Work for the Good of the Priesthood"
- Overheard in the Sacristy
- Priests' Secretary
- Roman Miscellany
- Rome Reports
- Rosary for the Bishop: Pray for our bishops
- Saint Mary Magdalene
- Sandro Magister in Rome: News, analysis, and documents on the Catholic Church
- The Heart of the Matter
- The Hermeneutic of Continuity
- Valle Adurni
- Voice in the Areopagus / Father Bill Stetson
- Vultus Christi
- Yorkshire Shepherd