Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Habemus papam

Pope Francis. The first pope from the Americas.

So the waiting is over, and yet not. By some, our new pope is seen as the anti-Benedict. I know too little of him to comment on that.

I shall wait and see. It is reported that in Beunos Aires, Summorum Pontificum has not been implemented. It may be more accurate to say that SP has been blocked there. Again, I have too little data.

I shall wait and see. I am nervous. I had a favorite for whose election I prayed. This is not he.

I think we can learn much from the appointments he will make to the Curia. I shall pray for him, and for those appointments. Our Pope Emeritus Benedict sacrificed himself to clean out the Curia.

Although Pope Francis is being reported as a "compassionate conservative", I have not found much to support that view. And he was in the Curia under Pope Benedict. Was he among those who Benedict felt compelled to remove?

I shall wait and see.


It seems that many who consider themselves traditional are beside themselves.
Likewise the liberals.

The office changes the man. I pray for good works by Pope Francis.

I repeat: I shall wait and see.

Monday, March 4, 2013

What passes for ethics...

I was shocked and appalled this morning, to read that ethicists in Australia have satisfied themselves there is a case for "post-birth abortion". Infanticide, if we're going to be honest.

You can read of it here.

This is what comes of divorcing ethics and morals from faith. Holy Mother Church is steadfast in her teachings; public policy, on the other hand, shifts with cultural "values". Or in this case, apparently, no value.

When religion is banished form the public square, this is what we must expect. We cannot rely on common sense, nor on an innate sense of what is right. Clearly, there are those among us who can make a case for almost anything being "right". And that's just wrong!

Sunday, March 3, 2013

Exploring charity

We hear so much now about the need for charity, especially toward the poor. But we are now seeing the poor in the United States defined in such a way that nearly half the population is poor. And this, in a time when our elected government is spending at unheard of rates, and has failed for four years even to produce a budget.

Charity is essential to our faith. However, I find nothing in scripture to suggest that our call to charity can be fulfilled by a government taking money from us, and redirecting it, much of it to no benefit of the the poor.

Further, while we do not often hear of it in a homily, there is responsibility. We are responsible to help the poor, thus engaging in charity. We are responsible to love our neighbors; we are responsible to turn away from sin. We are also responsible not to spend what we do not have.

On the other hand, one of the deadly sins is sloth, yet we often see examples of sloth among those who remain perennially on welfare, and also on drugs or alcohol. No, it's not always the case, but it is a significant percentage, and is highly resistant to change.

Do we not fail in our responsibility when we tolerate the destructive acts of government, which forces us to finance abortion? Do we not fail in the deepest meaning of charity when we do not remove the opportunity which allows anyone to spend a life on drugs? And can we not see that in every sermon, Jesus was preaching responsibility?

And where is our love when we condone or even support heresy? And we do that, friends, when we support the notion that "social justice" trumps the teachings of the Church.

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

On wailing and gnashing of teeth...

In response to recent events, there have been many reports that the sky is falling. Many have declared they are depressed by the resignation of Pope Benedict. Others are depressed at the resignation of Cardinal O'Brien,  just yesterday.

Take a deep breath. Holy Mother Church has been around for 20 centuries, more or less. The hierarchy has been in place and structurally pretty much as now for 1700 years. Pope Benedict is our 266th pope.

Life goes on. The Church will prevail, even against the gates of Hell.

It is not a tragedy that Pope Benedict has resigned. Yes, I could surely wish for another eight years of his command at the helm, but it is not for me to determine his life. What I do know, beyond any doubt, is that Benedict is not a man who makes capricious decisions. His resignation has obviously been something over which he prayed at great length, and if he has resigned, I must trust in him, and in God above, that it is the right thing at this time.

That Card. O'Brien resigned is a blessing. First, because he removes himself from the Church, and thereby limits what damage he might do. Second, because in making a public confession of his sins, he has taken the first step toward the forgiveness he most assuredly needs.

As to the College of Cardinals and the coming election, we must all pray that the cardinals are guided by the Holy Spirit, and able to conclude the election soon, and give us another excellent pope.

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Picking Nits?

As Fr. Z said: The New Evangelization also requires a sweeping of the floors.

A friend recently suggest to me that I should not be concerned so much with the overuse of EMHCs. He asked how it affected my "walk with Jesus".

My view is that of the many dozens of changes made in the wake of Vatican II, most of them, taken individually, are of little import. However, taken in their totality--as indeed they must be--they are scandalous.

Mass was, before the Council, a reverent sacrifice. The laity were indeed reverent, silent before the Mass, and prayerful (most of them, at least) during the Mass. The celebrant (not presider) and the laity faced their Lord together. The celebrant offered the prayers, and the faithful assisted, with prayers responses from the Missal, and with prayers of their own (many prayed the Rosary during the parts where the celebrant could not be heard.) We had a sermon, not the all too often feel-good homily, but a usually firm teaching, which did, on occasion, become a stern admonition against the sinful practices of those who needed to hear it.

And in my youth, I do not recall seeing the dash to the parking lot before the closing prayers.

The design and decoration of our churches was traditional and reflected the reverence to our Lord, to whatever degree the parish could afford. There were fancy churches, and plain ones such as the parish in which I grew up. We had not stained glass windows, but windows with an applied and very regular pattern, much less expensive, but still in a very traditional motif.

At no time did the church, in the interval before Mass, sound more like a parish hall than like the house of our Lord.

The Missal was given in Latin and English, and those of us who took such things seriously could easily see the relation between the two forms, and could readily follow the Latin. Admittedly, the particular priest might enunciate less well than we might hope, or the church acoustics could interfere, and in these cases, following was chancey. It was, however, never impossible.

We go to Mass to worship our Lord. At least, we are supposed to go for that purpose. It's not a communal meal, nor a picnic. Despite what is seen in many parishes, it is not about us congratulating one another on our piety and good works. It is worship, and it is our obligation, as Catholics, to be there each week.

As to the picking of nits, I find as follows:
  • We should do our best not to allow the local variations to distract us from worship.
  • We should prepare ourselves for Mass, arriving early enough to purge the distractions from our minds, and to pray well before Mass, the better to assist in the sacrifice.
  • We should, when the local variations intrude, remember to discuss them with our priests, letting them know how and why these things were disturbing.
  • We should not be accepting of practices which violate the rubrics and intention of Holy Mother Church, but should, respectfully, point out the concerns we feel about them.
  • We should educate ourselves endlessly in our faith according to the true teachings of the Church. The Catechism of the Catholic Church should be as well read as our Bibles and Missals.
  • We should, gently and respectfully, remind our priests (and when necessary, our bishops) that when the deviations from form reach a certain level, they are no longer minor, but become a scandal.
  • We should, we must, pray for our priests and bishops.
I suggest, too, that we pray for a conversion of heart for the liturgists and music directors who contribute the deviations to our parishes.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Complain or not?

I recently posted on Facebook about my experience at Mass Sunday, when 15 EMHCs presented themselves to serve. A friend responded: "Ask yourself hot this affects your walk with Jesus. Let it go, my friend, you will be happier!"

Or in other words, just pay no attention. Or perhaps, go along to get along.

But can I do that? Did Jesus let it go, when he found money changers in the temple?

The rubrics--including those issued by my own archdiocese--stipulate that the EMHCs (let us not overlook the Extraordinary in their title) are to serve only when the priest is unable, or when there are so many receiving that the distribution would take too long. Unfortunately, the rubrics neither stipulate nor suggest a means by which "too long" may be judged or defined. They are quite clear, however, that the use of EMHCs is not to be made routine at every Mass.

The rubrics also state that the use of the EMHCs is at the discretion of the celebrant. However, I know a priest who tried to limit the service at his own Masses, not eliminating their use, but reducing the number, and the EMHCs raised a noisy complaint with the pastor. Apparently, the service of EMHCs is considered by those who serve as an entitlement!

So I pray, and consider. I do not think I can simply ignore this abuse. And if I do, what sort of steward am I?

Update: Article here on one priest's decision to cease using EMHCs. How very sad that it must be seen as an act requiring courage!

Monday, January 21, 2013

The Biological Solution... is not!

It is not uncommon to find in many Catholics blogs references to the biological solution, by which is meant that the problems which are perpetuated by the Spirit of Vatican II crowd will disappear as they do, which will be in the near future.

I am sorry to do so, but I have to disagree. In my former parish, these people are in firm possession of the Religious Education department, in which they continue to spread such nuggets as:
- The Rosary isn't for everyone
- Ordination of women? Well... not yet

These are glaring examples, of course, and the actual list is very long, indeed. I gritted my teeth through two years of RCIA, thankful that I had my Catechism of the Catholic Church always near.

It is all too easy to buy into the notion of the biological solution, as it avopids the need for direct actions which might be very unpleasant. However, it is a passive approach, and entirely out of keeping with what we read of Jesus in the Gospels. Had he been passive, the money changers would still be in the temple.

If we truly are the body of Christ, how can we justify any further tolerance of these scandals?