Tuesday, November 16, 2010

A New Leaf...

The good Abp. Dolan, now president of the USCCB! Good news, indeed, and a surprise, given that it's the first time that the incumbent VP has not been made president. Dolan is strong, outspoken, and will make a great leader for the USCCB. May this be a time of renewal for the group, and for the Church in the U.S.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

The More Things Change...

InsideCatholic has two notes on the continuing scandal that is the CCHD. In the first note, Deal W. Hudson reports that "Chicago's CCHD had retracted grants previously promised to pro-life groups." In the second note, he reports that in their response to an earlier story he posted, rather than respond to the allegations, they chose to deflect.
Some lessons seem never to be learned. If you are asked to contribute in a second collection for the CCHD, remember that the Catechism of the Catholic Church makes plain that we cannot support in any way the act of abortion. Just say no.

Friday, November 5, 2010

About Proper Teaching

In the Wisconsin State Journal is an article which caught my attention. At issue is the unhappiness of a significant number of parishioners with the services of three priests recently assigned. They apparently circulated petitions, and let their bishop know they were not pleased. Also, the Apostolic Nuncio.
Bp. Morlino made his reply, most graciously and clearly acknowledging their concerns. In his addendum, he offers specific responses to their individual allegations. There is much there from which to learn, as he provides references to Canon Law, where appropriate, as well as to the documents of Vatican II, the latter being at the core of the things the parishioners apparently felt were being mishandled.
A few quotes are worth taking out of context.
It is permissible in the Diocese of Madison for Pastors to reserve altar service at the Holy Mass to males. This is particularly beneficial for the promotion of priestly vocations, which is a particular charism of the Society of Jesus Christ the Priest.
And this:
Extraordinary ministers of Holy Communion have no “right” to administer Holy Communion at all—whether within the Holy Mass or outside of it. The administration of Holy Communion is proper to the clergy; and extraordinary ministers may only be used when there is a true necessity (Instruction Ecclesiæ de mysterio, art. 8, §1). 
And this:
The duty of administration of the parish is entrusted to the Pastor and no other (c. 532); the Parochial Vicars participate in this according to the determinations of the Bishop and the Pastor. The Pastor never needs the approval of the finance council, pastoral council, or any other committee before making any decision (c. 536, §2, and c. 537). 
I heartily recommend reading his entire reply.

About the "spirit of" Vatican II

From the Catholic Encyclopedia, we have this definition:
Ecumenical Councils are those to which the bishops, and others entitled to vote, are convoked from the whole world (oikoumene) under the presidency of the pope or his legates, and the decrees of which, having received papal confirmation, bind all Christians. A council, Ecumenical in its convocation, may fail to secure the approbation of the whole Church or of the pope, and thus not rank in authority with Ecumenical councils. Such was the case with the Robber Synod of 449 (Latrocinium Ephesinum), the Synod of Pisa in 1409, and in part with the Councils of Constance and Basle.
To emphasize: "...the decrees of which, having received papal confirmation, bind all Christians."
We are taught that the councils are guided by the Holy Spirit, and are, therefore, protected from error. Again from the Catholic Encyclopedia:
All the arguments which go to prove the infallibility of the Church apply with their fullest force to the infallible authority of general councils in union with the pope. For conciliary decisions are the ripe fruit of the total life-energy of the teaching Church actuated and directed by the Holy Ghost.
So how, exactly, are we to understand the "spirit of Vatican II"? 
First, unless we reject the infallible authority of the council acting in union with the pope, we must accept that the documents published by the council, particularly the constitutions, are the full expression of the council's intention on their respective subjects.
Second, to properly appreciate what was intended, we must commit the time and energy to read and study the documents, and to seek out scholarly commentary on them.
Now on having followed those steps, which must, I think, be viewed as acts of conscience, we may then consider the representations of those who propound various actions in the name of the "spirit of Vatican II". We can then evaluate them, as follows:
  1. Do the proposed actions agree with declarations made by the council?
  2. Do the proposed actions appear to be contrary to the declarations of the council?
  3. Is there commentary from the Vatican already on the sort of changes proposed?
Few of the champions of the "spirit of Vatican II" I have met have been aware of the fact that the council's constitution on the liturgy (Sacrosanctum Concilium) affirmed the use of Latin, and further, strongly affirmed preference for Gregorian chant in liturgical music. There have been subsequent documents on the liturgy (see Liturgiam Authenticam) and on sacred music, which provide cautions and guidance. There are more than those to which I have linked, but they are a good beginning.
Liturgiam Authenticam addresses the issues surrounding translations of liturgy to the vernacular languages. Although Sacrosanctum Concilium, in my reading, seems to allow for the vernacular in the context of mission lands, not the entire Church, this has been softened in recognition of the fact that the vernacular, however badly implemented, is now pervasive.
The best commentary on the liturgy, and on its abuses, is in The Spirit of the Liturgy, by then Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger. I have read a review of Vatican II: Renewal within Tradition, edited by Matthew L. Lamb and Matthew Levering, and will soon read that volume, as it appears to be a very clear discussion of what we should properly understand from the documents of Vatican II.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Behind the Title

I was raised with Catholic sensibilities and traditions. However, my mother was Catholic, and my father Lutheran, and in 1948, the year of my birth, that meant the priest tried to coerce my father into the Church. My father, being of (stubborn, if it needs saying) German and Dutch stock, dug in his heels. One think led to another, and I didn't seriously approach the Church on my own until four years ago. Hence Late to the Table. And as I needed to petition for annulment of my first marriage, and so did my present wife, I am still late, and getting later.

Getting Started (again...)

So I had a blog, even one with this same title. But I ran out of steam, got distracted, whatever. However, of late, almost every day, I have felt moved to speak out. To give vent to my views. And so I shall. No apologies; if you don't like what you read, move on.