TEMPUS PER ANNUM | Year A | Gospel of St. Matthew | Cycle II | Christ the King

Transform Culture

“The first Christians required courage to overcome and transform a vast, pagan world whose ideas about marriage and sexual morality were not unlike those which prevail in our own culture. Today we need this same, supernatural courage to live and give witness to all the Church believes and teaches about marriage, the family and human sexuality.”—Bishop Mark Davies, Bishop of Shrewsbury, England.


Welcome! The digital sacristy has many cabinets. e-Media can be found at the bottom of the blog.

Holy Obedience

“We become Catholics not actually knowing a great deal about the Faith and keep finding ourselves suddenly realizing, ‘Oh, that’s it. That’s why the Church teaches this.’ Acceptance comes first, then practice, then understanding.”—David Mills.

“Priests need to stop people-pleasing. They need to speak the truth in love. If people pack-up and go away, well, so be it. When their lives get broken, they’ll be back. And they’ll be back at a place that truly is a hospital, where people can find true comfort and healing. (...) If God can heal me, God can heal anybody.”Robin Teresa Beck, 59, former Lesbian, convert to Catholicism.

Debate at University of Victoria exposes anti-free speech fascism of pro-abortion students

Monday, November 24, 2014

Ecumenical Dictionary Update 2014

Anglicans/Episcopalians say: via media.
Catholics say: narrow gate. St. Matthew 7:13-14

Anglicans/Episcopalians, Evangelicals and secularists say: divorce and remarriage is permissible.
Catholics say: without a decree proving a prior union is null, divorce and remarriage is sinful. The Permanence of Matrimony.

Evangelicals and charismatics say: personal relationship with Jesus.
Catholics say: intimate loving communion with Jesus in His Church.

Protestants say: service.
Catholics say: liturgy.

Protestants say: table.
Catholics say: altar.

Protestants say: worship.
Catholics say: worship—latria (adoration due to God alone), hyperdulia (veneration shown to Mary) and dulia (honouring the saints).

Liberal Religionists and Liberal Protestants say: abortion is wrong sometimes.
Catholics say: all human life is sacred and therefore abortion is always wrong.

Non-religious say: sex is just a game between consenting adults.
Catholics say: sex is holy and therefore belongs within the marriage of one man and one woman according to God's design.

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Catholic Extremism

Are you a Catholic extremist?

What, exactly, is a Catholic extremist?

If you...
  • are baptized and confirmed in the name of the Father, and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, the Faith of the Catholic Church,
  • are in an intimate loving communion with Jesus Christ in His Church,
  • love God and love your neighbour,
  • love your enemies and forgive and pray for those who persecute you,
  • believe Jesus is the way, the truth and the life, and only through Him is salvation,
  • believe that many elements of sanctification and of truth are also found outside the visible confines of the Catholic Church (the written Word of God; the life of grace; faith, hope, and charity, with the other interior gifts of the Holy Spirit, as well as visible elements,") and you believe that Christ's Spirit uses these Churches and ecclesial communities as means of salvation, whose power derives from the fullness of grace and truth that Christ has entrusted to the Catholic Church(,) and that all these blessings come from Christ and lead to him, and are in themselves calls to "Catholic unity(,) and assert in charity that the Catholic Church is the one true Church founded by Jesus Christ on Saint Peter (CCC819) and that she, the Catholic Church, alone possesses the fullness of the Faith,
  • keep the commandments of Jesus, are loyal to the Magisterium and believe and profess all that the Catholic Church teaches (and teach your children to believe and do the same by your word and example),
  • pray for the conversion of all people to Jesus Christ and His Catholic Church,
  • foster vocations to the priesthood and religious life (in your family),
  • are prepared to defend the Faith and suffer and die for the Faith,
  • attend daily Mass,
  • believe in the Real Presence,
  • believe that the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass is the one and same Sacrifice of Calvary,
  • keep the fast before receiving Holy Communion,
  • observe meatless Fridays and other days of fasting and abstinence,
  • receive Holy Communion on the tongue while kneeling because you are receiving the Lord of the universe, the Saviour sent to redeem us, the Lamb of God Who takes away the sins of the world,
  • believe that ad orientem worship is the proper orientation of the Liturgy because the priest and people should face in the same direction, i.e., in the direction of the Second Coming of the Lord,
  • believe the Mass should be beautiful and celebrated reverently because, hey, Jesus is the principal actor in the Divine Liturgy,
  • attend Mass every Sunday (with your spouse and children) and Holy Days of obligation because you so love the Lord and His Church,
  • attend Adoration and Benediction of the Blessed Sacrament because Jesus wants us to be with Him in His beautiful, vulnerable and glorious Presence,
  • pray constantly every day because you desire to be closer to Him and draw on His wisdom,
  • prayerfully read the Bible daily (lectio divina) because God speaks His word to us in Holy Scripture,
  • enlist the help of the Saints in heaven to pray for and with you to God because they, with us and the souls in Purgatory, constitute the Communion of Saints,
  • make the Sign of the Cross in public, e.g., pray Grace at lunch, pass by a Catholic church, etc., because the Sign is the sign of our salvation in Christ and a defence against evil,
  • wear a crucifix outside your shirt because you glory in the Cross of Christ and the sacramental reminds you to take up your cross daily,
  • pray the Rosary, e.g., one set of the Mysteries per day because you love Mary, the Mother of God,
  • pray the Angelus at noon complete with genuflection,
  • believe that churches should look like Catholic churches (e.g., cruciform) and should be beautiful in every respect (stained glass windows, beautiful statuary, etc.),
  • promote communion railings in every parish church,
  • know how to venerate an icon,
  • participate in Eucharistic and Marian processions,
  • love Gregorian chant and the sacred polyphony of Palestrina,
  • acknowledge that Latin is the language of the Roman Rite and know from memory the prayers of the Mass in Latin,
  • attend the Mass in Latin (Ordinary Form and/or Extraordinary Form), or attend the Divine Liturgy of any of the languages of the other sister-churches (rites) in communion with Rome, e.g., Ukrainian Greek Catholic, Melkite, Maronite, Chaldean, etc.,
  • believe that all human life is sacred from the moment of conception to natural death,
  • attend pro-life rallies and support pro-life ministries,
  • believe that marriage (Holy Matrimony) is the lifetime covenant between one man and one woman,
  • believe that every act of sexual intercourse in marriage should be open to the conception of a new life (Humanæ Vitæ!),
  • practice the Corporal and Spiritual Works of Mercy,
  • contribute to the financial needs of the Church,
  • are a good steward of the gifts God gives you,
  • a good steward of the earth and the many blessings of God's creation,
  • volunteer as a reader, choir member, sacristan, altar server or as a member of the parish council,
  • vote pro-life,
  • with the Church acknowledge the existence of angels and seek their assistance,
  • ask the help and protection of your guardian angel,
  • keep holy water in your home and bless yourself (and your children) with it,
  • acknowledge the devil is real and you ask the help of Saint Michael to intercede for the Church and to defend her and you in the great spiritual battle for souls,
... then you might just be a Catholic extremist.

Lukewarmness has no place in the Church. Do not give in to tepidity. Be a radical and keep the Faith! Be a saint! Be holy!

A few Catholic extremists:
Pope St. John Paul II (the Great)
Blessed (Mother) Teresa of Calcutta
St. Damian of Molokai
St. Maximilian Kolbe
St. Joan of Arc
St. Mary McKillop
St. Josephine Bakhita
See alsohttp://catholicsacristan.blogspot.ca/2014/07/who-are-you-calling-fanatic.html

Friday, November 21, 2014

Doin' the Salt Lake City Shuffle

First off, this post is not a criticism of individual mormons, per se. Mormons should be commended for their dedication to family and zeal for mission. However, mormon beliefs and the behaviour of mormon leaders are fair game for evaluation.

Most internet detectives know that the Book of Abraham (BoA), claimed by Mormons to be the inspired word of God, is nothing of the sort. The scroll from which Joseph Smith derived the BoA, indeed an ancient relic, was a funerary document and has nothing to do with the patriarch Abraham. Mormonism's founder Joseph Smith claims he translated it from the scroll which he purchased from a travelling salesman.

The "translation" of the scroll Smith produced is merely the invention of a man who, by his very actions, is guilty of hucksterism. Joseph Smith misrepresented his translation skills and convinced his followers to believe he had in his possession a bona fide testament of the biblical patriarch Abraham. Some claim the scrolls which we have access to now are only a few of the scrolls to which Joseph Smith had access, and therefore any criticism should take into consideration that not everything is known about the sources to which Smith had access. Such an assertion, however, is completely without foundation. Given the historical record established by Smith himself (the BoA was published in three instalments in 1842 in a local newspaper, The Times & Seasons, in Nauvoo, IL), any attempt to lessen Smith's culpability for misrepresenting himself and the work he cobbled together from various biblical sources which he then embellished is merely another attempt to obfuscate and detract from Joseph Smith's act of fraud. (Several sources note the strong resemblance between Smith's work and the construction and content of Bunyan's The Pilgrim's Progress.)

Smith's Book of Abraham contained in The Pearl of Great Price is, as is the entire Book of Mormon, a clever plagiarism and reassembly of extant biblical sources combined with his own inventions. The translation of the Book of Mormon from the Golden Plates allegedly revealed to him by an angel, which were then taken back by the angel Moroni (Lucifer? other fallen angel?) once Smith had completed his work, is said to have been achieved in sixty consecutive days by Smith who had a seeing stone placed in a hat used to cover his face and aid his translation of the Golden Plates. Was there something more than a stone concealed under Smith's hat? Notes, perhaps?

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, according to the New York Times (full article by Laurie Goodstein, click here), has been engaged in a PR campaign to offset the unsettling facts that mormons are finding online. The LDS sect has posted 12 essays intended to get ahead of the growing wave of damage caused by internet exposure of facts the LDS would rather have had neatly tucked under its temple underwear.

The LDS sect, rather than deny the information, is following a tactic commonly employed these days by smarmy politicians that runs something like this: 'Yes, we know there have been lies (about scripture)... we lied (and covered up or spun the information to perpetuate a lie)... and we said and did horrible things in an attempt to discredit our critics, but we're really nice people who do good things. What matters most, more than what we say, is how we live our lives in the present.'

It's one thing to teach the truth but act against it. It is quite another to teach lies and falsehoods and then think that one's actions will be anything but a lie. In the first case, one is a hypocrite. In the second instant one is both a liar and a hypocrite, a fraud who purposefully leads others astray.

The LDS sect is saying that much of what they base their beliefs upon is a lie,... but 'that's ok', or so they imagine. You've got to admit, the strategy to come clean while having no intention of admitting their entire enterprise is a house of cards built on sand is a brazen one, to say the least. They've even outdone the historical revisionists who typically resort to manufacturing half truths to cloud people's judgement so that another agenda lacking any foundation in reality might be imposed.

The current LDS leadership is attempting to empty the conversation of any need for accountability by shifting critics' focus on their collective act of soul searching while consigning their errors to the fine print or a footnote. That residual error becomes the lie quietly buried with other teachings masquerading as christian doctrine, e.g., the bizarre Mormon trinity (i.e., God the Father was once a human being who then became God; Jesus is the brother of Satan) versus orthodox teaching on the Trinity (see Nicene Creed, A.D. 381). The LDS PR stunt, true to its founder's antics, fails to emphasize there are fundamental problems with LDS doctrines.

The LDS on LSD?

The LDS sect frequently uses false comparisons in an attempt to lend credibility to its current and founding fathers' practices which amount to a corruption of history and practice. In one essay, Book of Mormon Translation, the LDS spin doctors attempt to lend legitimacy to Joseph Smith's translation efforts—bear in mind, he had very little knowledge of ancient languages—by comparing his use of the "tools of translation" to accounts in the Bible which the LDS sect claim to support Joseph Smith's use (i.e., misappropriation) of the Urim and Thummin. 'Hey, it's got to be true because—look!—he did the same things as the ancients did in biblical times.' The problem is this: just because certain practices were used in the past does not lend legitimacy to one's practices today or, for that mater, practices employed 180+ years ago. One has to look at the reason for and outcome of the use of a discernment technique, for example, to validate its authenticity. Clearly, when it comes to Joseph Smith's fabrication of a translation that is nothing short of a very big and bold lie, the LDS sect's attempts to manipulate the narrative are nothing less than a continuance of its founder's deceptions.

So then, will the LDS/Mormon leadership come around to acknowledging its bogus claims, or will it continue to encourage its adherents to live in ignorance and embrace the darkness of Smith's and others' deceptions and evasions? The charge by mormons that non-mormons are the apostates rings hollow in light of Mormonism's many serious deviations from Apostolic Christianity and the LDS's attempts to mitigate any culpability for its founder's fraudulent translations, institutional racism (i.e., the Curse of Cain teaching), polygamy (and child exploitation) and adultery (read below). Regarding the latter, the seer Joseph Smith has a lot in common with another false prophet whose corrupt teachings have led many astray.
New York Times, Nov. 14, 2014
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, as the Mormon Church is formally known, has quietly posted 12 essays on its website over the last year on contentious topics such as the ban on blacks in the priesthood, which was lifted in 1978, and accounts of how Smith translated the Book of Mormon, the church’s sacred scripture.

Elder Steven E. Snow, the church historian and a member of its senior leadership, said in an interview, “There is so much out there on the Internet that we felt we owed our members a safe place where they could go to get reliable, faith-promoting information that was true about some of these more difficult aspects of our history. (In other words, ignore the facts and listen to our spun version.)

“We need to be truthful (in our own way...), and we need to understand our history,” Elder Snow said. “I believe our history is full of stories of faith and devotion and sacrifice, but these people weren’t perfect.” (Again—'Hey, we're nice folk. Don't focus on what we believe; just trust us.')

The essay on “plural marriage” in the early days of the Mormon movement in Ohio and Illinois says polygamy was commanded by God, revealed to Smith and accepted by him and his followers only very reluctantly. Abraham and other Old Testament patriarchs had multiple wives, and Smith preached that his church was the “restoration” of the early, true Christian church. ('Hey, everybody's doing it! It must be good.' By contrast, the Church, i.e., the Catholic Church founded by Jesus Christ on St. Peter, has remained faithful to the teaching of Jesus Christ. That is, God's plan concerning marriage. So then, who are the apostates?)

Most of Smith’s wives were between the ages of 20 and 40, the essay says, but he married Helen Mar Kimball, a daughter of two close friends, “several months before her 15th birthday.” A footnote says that according to “careful estimates,” Smith had 30 to 40 wives. (The Mormon religion—originally a sex cult?)

The biggest bombshell for some in the essays is that Smith married women who were already married, some to men who were Smith’s friends and followers. (Um... adultery?)
The LDS cannot be expected any time soon to adhere to the same rigorous standards of scholarship that other religious bodies are held. Time will tell if the average mormon will wake up to the contradictions piled upon contradictions that constitute their doctrinal heritage.

Thursday, November 20, 2014

The internet is abuzz: Bishop Conley to celebrate Mass Ad Orientem for Advent & Christmas

Bishop Conley/Diocese of Lincoln

Many blogs are reporting Bishop Conley's plan to celebrate Mass ad orientem.
During the Sundays of Advent, the priests in the Cathedral of the Risen Christ will celebrate the Mass ad orientem. With the People of God, the priest will stand facing the altar, and facing the crucifix. When I celebrate midnight Mass on Christmas, I will celebrate ad orientem as well. This may take place in other parishes across the Diocese of Lincoln as well. 
In the ad orientem posture at Mass, the priest will not be facing away from the people. He will be with them—among them, and leading them—facing Christ, and waiting for his return.—Bishop Conley.

Four out of five swings of the thurible for His Excellency!

Bishop Conley is Bishop of the Diocese of Lincoln, Nebraska.

Click HERE for the Bishop's announcement.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

The Ambo, throne of the Word, and "catwalk priests".

Ambon of King Henry II, Aachen Cathedral/Wikipedia

We've all seen it happen. I.e., priests strutting around during the homily.

The ambo or pulpit has become another casualty in the war on the Liturgy perpetrated by often well intentioned but thoroughly ignorant men whose seminary formation has produced priests who have little or no appreciation of the proper orientation of the Liturgy and appropriate behaviour in the sanctuary:
Confused Choreography

Though one may argue that a priest's movement toward or around the people during a homily can better engage the attention of the congregation, an obvious liability is that a cult of personality is reinforced. Bishops should not be surprised when parishioners become partisan and canonize their popular priests, ignoring the heresy-ridden content of their homilies while lapping up the delivery. Parishioners who are so enamoured of their priests that they will follow them into schism is a sad commentary on the state of catechesis. One might argue that had such a congregation received better catechesis and pastoral oversight by the local ordinary to help inoculate them against the errant teachings and bizarre practices of some dopy pastor, things might not have ended up as badly as it has in some locales.

Homility, er... humility.

It is far too easy—and there have now been decades of precedents—for priests to become self enamoured to the point they think themselves above any kind of criticism. When legitimate criticism points out loose play with the Liturgy, or a politicization of the Liturgy, or lax attention to authentic catechesis, such criticism is typically dismissed out of hand.

Ambon (ambo)/Basilica of San Vitale, Ravenna/Wikipedia

Bishops who similarly wander about during the homily should not be surprised that their own example has permitted circumstances to develop where defiant priests, emboldened to make changes in the Liturgy or stretch the boundaries of liturgical propriety, endanger souls and parishes become divided against the local ordinary.

When a bishop does not preach from the pulpit or ambo, the throne of Holy Scripture, and moves about the sanctuary and occasionally into the nave of the church, his example will almost certainly be appealed to and copied by priests, especially when a bishop's apparent deviation reinforces in some priests' minds a license to engage in additional rubrically-challenged activities.

That such incidents involving loose play with the Liturgy occur all too frequently is a sure sign that Catholics, clergy in particular, have lost a sense of their connection to the altar of the Word, i.e., the ambo.
  • Ambos are believed to have taken their origin from the raised platform from which the Jewish rabbis read the Scriptures to the people.
  • (Ambos) were first introduced into churches during the fourth century (and) were in universal use by the ninth, reaching their full development and artistic beauty in the twelfth, and then gradually fell out of use until in the fourteenth century when they were largely superseded by pulpits
  • In the Ambrosian Rite (Milan), the Gospel is still read from the ambo. 
  • The most celebrated ambo was the one erected by the Emperor Justinian in the church of Sancta Sophia at Constantinople, which is fully described by the contemporary poet, Paulus Silentiarius in his work Peri Ktismaton. The body of the ambo was made of various precious metals, inlaid with ivory, overlaid with plates of repoussé silver, and further enriched with gildings and bronze. ... In St. Mark's, at Venice, there is a very peculiar ambo, of two stories; from the lower one was read the Epistle, and from the upper one the Gospel. This form was copied at a later date in what are known as "double-decker" pulpits.—Catholic Encyclopedia at New Advent. Edited by CS.
Pedestrian preachers?

Priests who leave the pulpit and go for a stroll during the homily usually do so for no better reason than some imagined benefit of an improved connection with the congregation. If the word of God preached cannot engage and connect people to Jesus Christ, then getting in people's faces will only have the effect of refocussing attention on the messenger, not the message.

Those priests who work the crowd like a talk show host are frequently not as good at preaching as they might think they are. The priests, themselves, are prone to distraction. A priest's train of thought is typically derailed in these kinds of encounters and often these meandering homilists demand that congregants participate in educational theatrics that have the unintended effect of generating general mayhem. Children, sensing a rising tide of informality, add their own input to a cacophony of voices.
The bema in the Chaldean Liturgy.
  • The bema is a platform somewhat higher than the rest of the nave. In the middle of the bema a table is set, symbolizing Gaghultha (Golgotha), on which the living cross and gospel are placed. At its right side (North) there is the lectern for the New Testament readings and at its left side (South) the lectern for the Old Testament (and Acts), namely, the first two readings.
  • The Word of God and the liturgical prayer are on the bema, while the Eucharistic Liturgy is celebrated in the heavenly Holy of Holies.
  •  The sanctuary symbolizes heaven and the sacrifice offered on the altar is the symbol of that which exists in heaven. The veil separating the sanctuary from the nave symbolizes the firmament; the nave of the church is the earth and the bema is Jerusalem from where Christ teaches us through the readings of the scriptures.
A word from our sponsor: In the beginning was the Word... .

Most priests could and should better prepare their homilies. A sure sign a homily has not been prepared, apart from the obvious lack of coherence and stumbling and fumbling for words, is repetition of content beyond what is necessary to emphasize the importance of an aspect of revelation. There is acceptable, elegant repetition of ideas woven together, revisited and developed in the manner of a sonata or symphony, and then there is burdensome repetition that could easily be of the mind numbing kind one hears in some drippy pop song. There is no sin in writing down and presenting a coherent, well organized, substance-oriented homily.

The homily is too important to the salvation and edification of the people to be thrown together or subject to the whim of an attention hungry pastor. Priests who "perform" their homilies should quit the theatrics and concentrate on content. It is enough to vary one's tone of voice and pacing to engage, thereby preserving the focus on the word (of God).

Curiously, pastors suddenly become anchored to the pulpit when they must ask for contributions to a particular fundraising event or annual appeal. However, their discomfort with having to beg for funds is poorly hidden behind the ambo they otherwise habitually ignore.

+ + +

Thesaurus of Terms

Ambo or Ambon (plural: ambones)
Bema (Chaldean)
Tebáh (synagogue)