Saturday, August 4, 2012

The Liturgy

Can. 213 Christ's faithful have the right to be assisted by their Pastors from the spiritual riches of the Church, especially by the word of God and the sacraments.

All Christians have a right to receive help from the spiritual goods of the Church.  This right is rooted in baptism; it is not a privilege granted by church authorities, but a claim rooted in the action of Christ that empowers Christians to seek the services of the sacred pastors.  These latter have the obligation to see that this help is available.
-- The Code of Canon Law, a Text and Commentary, The Canon Law Society of America, edited by James A. Coriden, Thomas J. Green and Donald E. Heintschel, Paulist Press, New York, NY/Mahwah, NJ, © 1985 by the Canon Law Society of America.

What does this say about the Ordinary Form of the Mass? For many years after Pope Paul VI's Mass was instituted, the translation used was very poor, and the variations from one parish to another, from one priest to another, were disturbing, at best.

If we are to take responsibility for our own understanding of what the Church teaches, we must face some difficult teachings. We must be prepared to distinguish right and wrong, of course, but must also develop an understanding of what is heretical.

Can. 751 Heresy is the obstinate denial or obstinate doubt after the reception of baptism of some truth which is to be believed by divine and Catholic faith; apostasy is the total repudiation of the Christian faith; schism is the refusal of submission to the Supreme Pontiff or of communion with the members of the Church subject to him.

"Heresy is the obstinate denial or obstinate doubt...." Consider then, that we routinely hear that 98% of Catholics make use of artificial contraception. From the Catechism:

2370 Periodic continence, that is, the methods of birth regulation based on self-observation and the use of infertile periods, is in conformity with the objective criteria of morality.158 These methods respect the bodies of the spouses, encourage tenderness between them, and favor the education of an authentic freedom. In contrast, "every action which, whether in anticipation of the conjugal act, or in its accomplishment, or in the development of its natural consequences, proposes, whether as an end or as a means, to render procreation impossible" is intrinsically evil:159
Thus the innate language that expresses the total reciprocal self-giving of husband and wife is overlaid, through contraception, by an objectively contradictory language, namely, that of not giving oneself totally to the other. This leads not only to a positive refusal to be open to life but also to a falsification of the inner truth of conjugal love, which is called upon to give itself in personal totality. . . . The difference, both anthropological and moral, between contraception and recourse to the rhythm of the cycle . . . involves in the final analysis two irreconcilable concepts of the human person and of human sexuality.160

I shall not provide the information referred to by the footnote numbers. For those who desire more study, the relevant sections of the catechism may be found online at St. Charles Borromeo parish, Picayune, MS. An excellent site, worth exploration.

So, given the definition of heresy, the reality of CCC 2370, and the poll results which claim 98% of (presumably fecund) Catholics in America practice artificial birth control, does that make 89% of American Catholics heretics?

Hard teaching in need of deep reflection.

Friday, August 3, 2012

On our obligations

In discussion on another blog, I was asked to justify my disagreement with the Church Hierarchy. The discussion was with respect to the USCCB statement of 12 April, this year, on religious liberty.

My disagreement is with their reference to "undocumented immigrants", a phrase which is at best, disingenuous. The people are illegal aliens, and many of them have contributed very unpleasantly to our lives, bringing with them drug-resistant strains of diseases we had all but obliterated, violent criminals, high levels of illiteracy and low levels of skill. I am not opposed to immigration, which is a legal process in which these people have elected not to participate. My wife and step-daughter are immigrants. Not illegals.

However, to the issue at hand.

In essence, the question is how dare I disagree with the bishops?

Well, let us review.

The statement is from the USCCB, not the Holy Father, so it is not binding. And had it been from the Holy Father, and not promulgated as an infallible teaching, it would still not be binding. It is simply a statement of what the signatories to the document believe are the approaches we should support in a number of areas.

With all due respect, I disagree with them on the illegals. I will never refer to them as "undocumented immigrants", as this is a deflection, a distraction from the legal reality that these people are here illegally.

As to the "basic human right" of health care, if it is a right, then its provision is an obligation. The logical result is either that we declare doctors are bound to provide free care, or that society is. Or in the style of our current president, we might declare that corporations must provide it at no charge. All of these are nonsense.

An aside: No one is refused health care at this time, anyway. Between 1997 and 2004, in California, 44 hospitals closed their doors forever, bankrupted by providing care to those unable to pay, a cost they were obligated to because they participated in Medicare and Medicaid.

Economics as a study was invented by the Church, long ago. Yet today, her princes, not unlike our politicians,appear to have forgotten it, or have not been schooled in it.

Returning to the topic, what are our obligations? First, we are obligated to obey what Christ taught, and then, what the Church infallibly teaches. And what of the bishops? Well, it is worth remembering that during the Arian heresy, 90% of the bishops were eventually on the wrong side of that. Should the faithful have followed them? Are we lemmings? We are called to obey Church teachings; we are also called to right reason, and to turn away from sin and heresy, itself a sin.