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


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H/T Orbis Catholicus Secundus & CMTV: Edward Pentin - Instrument of the Spirit?

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Ottawa: Attack on Ceremonial Guard Soldier

Shortly before 10am Ottawa local time, a soldier standing guard at the War Memorial was shot. Reports vary, but at least one gunman is responsible for the vicious attack on the soldier. Additional shots were fired as the gunman or gunmen entered the Centre Block of Parliament.

Individuals, among them parliamentarians, via twitter are saying one gunman has been killed and that police are pursing at least one additional suspect. The suspect's or suspects' car was found on the street near the Memorial.

Please pray for the guardsman, members of parliament, our emergency, police and security forces as they deal with this barbaric attack on our national government. Pray, too, that any additional perpetrators of these violent crimes be rapidly brought to justice.

This latest attack follows an attack on two soldiers by Ahmad (Martin Couture-)Rouleau, a 25 year old radicalized convert to Islam whose passport was seized earlier by authorities. One soldier died after being run down by Rouleau who was driving. Rouleau was shot and killed by police. Public Safety Minister Steven Blaney said the deliberate attack was "clearly linked to terrorist ideology".—Ottawa AFP.

Pray for the souls of these misguided men responsible for these cruel attacks. Pray, too, that any others considering the use of violence to further their goals may come to their senses. May the Holy Spirit speak to these individuals and, barring their choice of peace over violence, confuse the enemies of peace so that their efforts may be thwarted and law abiding citizens may live peacefully without being threatened by terrorists.

May God bless our security and intelligence services with sharp minds so they may identify any additional threats and anticipate any potential attacks in the future.

Update: mainstream media report one gunman shot dead. Additional gunshots have been reported at or near the Chateau Laurier.

Mining the Reports of the Working Groups: Synod of Bishops

Click HERE to visit the reports of the Working Groups of the Synod of Bishops. These reports, in English, French, Italian and Spanish, for the most part reject the Kasperian gambit.

Gallicus B 
Moderator: Em.mo Card. Christoph SCHÖNBORN, O.P.
Relator: S.E. Mons. André LÉONARD

We have reiterated our respect and welcome homosexuals, and have denounced the unjust and often violent discrimination they have suffered and still suffer at times, including, alas, in the Church. But that does not mean that the Church must legitimize homosexual practices, much less recognize, as do some states, a so-called homosexual "marriage". Instead, we denounce all maneuvers of certain international organizations to impose on poor countries laws establishing a so-called homosexual "marriage" through financial blackmail.
Anglicus A
Moderator: Em.mo Card. Raymond Leo BURKE
Relator: S.E. Mons. John Atcherley DEW

We know that the final Synod document gives us a wonderful opportunity to influence the prevailing culture and for the Church to present the way of Jesus Christ who is "The Way, the Truth and the Life" (John 14). Our amendments have tried to show that living as disciples of Jesus Christ, with all the challenges that brings is the life that leads to true joy and human happiness.

For example, where the Relatio appeared to be suggesting that sex outside of marriage may be permissible, or that cohabitation may be permissible, we have attempted to show why such lifestyles do not lead to human fulfillment. At the same time, we want to acknowledge that there are seeds of truth and goodness found in the persons involved, and through dedicated pastoral care these can be appreciated and developed. We believe that if we imply that certain life-styles are acceptable, then concerned and worried parents could very easily say "Why are we trying so hard to encourage our sons and daughters to live the Gospel and embrace Church teaching?"

We did not recommend the admission to the sacraments of divorced and re-married people, but we included a very positive and much –needed appreciation of union with Christ through other means.
Anglicus B 
Moderator: Em.mo Card. Wilfrid Fox NAPIER, O.F.M.
Relator: S.E. Mons. Diarmuid MARTIN

Many in the group felt that a young person reading the Relatio would if anything become even less enthusiastic about undertaking the challenging vocation of Christian matrimony. The Synod Report - and the Message - should direct itself towards young people, to help them understand and be attracted by the Christian vision of marriage and the family, in a world in which they are exposed to many contradictory visions.

It was felt that in the current situation of widespread cultural confusion about marriage and the family and the human suffering that this can bring, there is an urgent need for leadership in today's world and that such clear leadership can only come from the Church. Such leadership is an urgent part of the Church's service to contemporary society and a failure to give such witness would be to fail humanity.
Anglicus C 
Moderator: S.E. Mons. Joseph Edward KURTZ
Relator: S.E. Mons. Stephen BRISLIN 
Marriage is a gift of God to man, a blessing given by him for the well-being of his creatures, made in his image. From the beginning God ordained that it is not good for man to live alone and so he created for him a helpmate, one equal to him, that they may live in relational complementarity. This gift, this mystery of attraction and love between man and woman, was recognized from earliest times as coming from God. In the New Testament, the relationship between man and woman is deepened and explained even more fully and as mirroring the relationship between Christ and his Body, the Church. Through the centuries, the Church has built on this Biblical teaching in order to teach and assist Christians to live and appreciate marital life as God intended it to be lived and appreciated; she has also strived to protect the meaning and mystery of marriage, safeguarding the treasure of which we are stewards, so that it will not be trivialized or seen as a mere human institution separated from God's will and his love. The gift of self in marriage, which in some way manifests the self-giving of Jesus Christ to his people, reaches its fullest expression in sexual intercourse, where the couple express their total giving of self to other, emotionally, physically and spiritually, and not as a selfish self-gratification. It is in such self-giving that we become more human and more Christ-like. It is important that the Scriptural foundation for marriage, as well as the teaching found in Tradition, be made clear in the document from its beginning in order to build the framework for the issues to be discussed.

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Tinkerer, Trifler, Presbyter, Priest: liturgical deviations

1630s, from Late Latin deviatus,
past participle of deviare "to turn out of the way"

How does one respond to a priest who:
  1. contrary to what the rubrics dictate and permit, routinely omits from the Mass or severely truncates the Penitential Rite?
  2. routinely breaks the host at the words "At the time he was betrayed and entered willingly into his Passion, he took bread and, giving thanks, broke it, and gave it to his disciples, saying... ."
  3. instead of using the new translation of the consecratory prayers, routinely uses the former paraphrase version (1973 ICEL translation)?
  4. instead of the new translation of the Per Ipsum, routinely uses the former paraphrase version?
  5. for no good reason, habitually does not wear the appropriate vestments to celebrate Mass?
Does one:
  1. say nothing and tolerate the deviations and go with the low bar approach: "Oh well, at least the Mass is still valid."
  2. request a conversation with the priest to share one's concerns?
  3. send the priest an email of concern?
  4. leave for the priest an "FYI" memo in a conspicuous location?
  5. consult with another priest to seek his advice as to how to proceed?
  6. when a priest obstinately refuses to abide by the rubrics, report his actions to the Bishop?
Questions for priests and bishops who should know better:
  • By what authority are you making changes to the Mass?
  • Is there any wonder why the average person in the pew flees a parish when a priest cannot or will not pray the Mass with care and attention?
  • Is it any wonder that members of parish liturgy committees consider themselves above the liturgical law when their pastor acts like he is above the law?
  • Why must the faithful be subjected to the whimsy of priests who, for whatever reason—e.g., bad seminary formation, personal bias, ignorance—, abandon the script that Holy Mother Church has given for the Mass?
  • Why must the faithful be placed in the awkward position of having to remind priests that they should not mess with the Mass?
Priests need to know that when they celebrate the Mass by "saying the black and doing the red", the Mass "speaks" for itself. I.e., when the Mass is celebrated faithfully, God's voice is not obscured and the people can hear Him more clearly than when the Mass is made into mere entertainment or reflects the misguided agenda of an individual tinkering priest.

A) General norms 
1. Regulation of the sacred liturgy depends solely on the authority of the Church, that is, on the Apostolic See and, as laws may determine, on the bishop.
2. In virtue of power conceded by the law, the regulation of the liturgy within certain defined limits belongs also to various kinds of competent territorial bodies of bishops legitimately established.
3. Therefore no other person, even if he be a priest, may add, remove, or change anything in the liturgy on his own authority.
I. From apologist Jimmy Akin at Catholic.com/Catholic Answers:
When my priest is saying the words of consecration and he gets to the words "He broke the bread, gave it to his disciples, and said . . . " he breaks the host in two on the word "broke." Should he be doing this?
No, he should not. The breaking of the host is known as the "fraction," and there is a special place for it in the Mass—namely, in the Fraction Rite, which occurs after the Sign of Peace and immediately before the Communion Rite.
Since the Church has a specific place in the liturgy for the fraction, to perform it at another time subverts the role of the Fraction Rite and must not be done.
Further, the rubrics in the Sacramentary tie the meaning of the Fraction Rite to the commingling, where a piece of the host is placed in the chalice. The symbolism of this is commonly explained today as representing the resurrection of Christ, the reuniting of his Body and Blood. 
The rubrics of the Mass link the meaning of the fraction to the commingling, stating: 
"Meanwhile, [the priest] takes the host and breaks it over the paten. He places a small piece in the chalice, saying inaudibly: ‘May this mingling of the Body and Blood of our Lord Jesus Christ bring eternal life to us who receive it.’"
Since nothing else is said—either in the rubrics or the prayers—about the breaking of the host, its primary purpose in the current order of Mass seems to be to obtain a piece of the host for use in the commingling. Any other meaning attached to the fraction that precedes the commingling would be secondary. 
If one breaks the host on the words "He broke the bread," it would have a different primary meaning—either a reference Jesus’ breaking the bread for his disciples to partake or to the breaking of his body on the cross or both. Thus it would amount to adding a new rite to the Mass, which cannot be done (refer to Sacrosanctum Concilium 22).
Snapping a host in two on the word "broke" is also dangerous. It is done so quickly and carelessly that excessive particles are likely to result and possibly be scattered. Priests who do it may think that they are heightening the symbolism of the Mass, but they are actually detracting from it as well as giving scandal to many of the faithful.
II. And there is this counsel from the horse's mouth, so-to-speak:

ROME, 26 OCT. 2004 (ZENIT)
Answered by Father Edward McNamara, professor of liturgy at the Regina Apostolorum Pontifical University.
Q: The pastor of my parish breaks the bread into two pieces prior to consecrating the bread into the precious Body of Christ. Then he holds the two pieces of bread, one in one hand, one in the other. Then he spreads his hands wide apart, and as he pronounces the words of consecration, he brings his hand together, and touches the two consecrated hosts at the lower end. I always understood that the bread is not to be broken till after the Lamb of God is announced. This is a source of concern and very disturbing to some of the members of our parish. — E.F., Scottsdale, Arizona
A: This theme is succinctly addressed in the instruction "Redemptionis Sacramentum," No. 55:
"In some places there has existed an abuse by which the Priest breaks the host at the time of the consecration in the Holy Mass. This abuse is contrary to the tradition of the Church. It is reprobated and is to be corrected with haste."
It is hard to be much clearer than that.

This abuse seems to have arisen from a literal and somewhat dramatic interpretation of the words of the institution narrative of the consecration "He took the bread, broke it ..."

This might be a symptom related to our televised society where the visual image predominates over the deeper meaning. And so, some priests, often in good faith, have been led to adopt in a more dramatic or even theatrical mode while celebrating the Mass.

Thus, some see themselves almost as acting out the role of Christ by imitating his words and gestures.

This phenomenon, however, may also be indicative of a lack of formation and of a defective understanding of the priest's ministerial role as acting "in persona Christi" and the theological content of the words of consecration as form of the sacrament.

Of course, if one were to be totally consistent with this view, then Communion would logically have to be distributed immediately after pronouncing the words "gave it to his disciples," etc.

As far as I know, this has never been attempted.

In a way, the other parts of the Eucharistic Prayer explicate what is contained within the institution narrative as the summit of Christ's paschal mystery of his death and resurrection, the center of salvation history.

During the course of the celebration each element of the consecration is rendered clearer and in a way is also made present.

During the offertory the Church takes the bread and wine and offers up thanks and praise to the Father.

Before the consecration the Church also calls upon the Holy Spirit to intervene just as he did in Christ's incarnation and throughout his life.

The prayer which immediately follows the consecration, often called the "Anamnesis," because it begins with a phrase such as "Father, calling to mind his death and resurrection ..." is, in a way, the Mass defining itself by explaining what is meant by Christ's command to the apostles to "do this in memory of me."

This prayer shows that the priest, in the consecration, is saying and doing more than just repeating Christ's words and gestures.

What is called to mind and made present throughout history is Christ's death resurrection and ascension into glory.

The command to "do this" also means imitating in our lives the attitudes of the loving and total self-giving which Christ demonstrated in his sacrifice.

After this the Eucharistic Prayers generally invoke the Holy Spirit once more so that we may obtain the fruits of the celebration, above all to be united in charity and to intercede along with Christ for all those, living and dead, who need our prayer. This is done so that the overall purpose of the Eucharist is achieved when we are united with the saints in heaven.

Finally, in the doxology, we recognize that all that is done through, with and in Christ in union with the Holy Spirit, is done for the Father's honor and glory just as Christ constantly offered all to the Father.

This might seem to be a digression away from the main point of the question. But I wish to show that unless the Eucharistic Prayer is complete, the full meaning of the gesture involved in breaking and giving is truncated and not fully grasped.

The gesture is not the breaking and giving of a piece of bread but of the Lord's Body sacrificed yet risen and ascended into glory.

It is not partaking of a simple meal, but of Christ's eternal sacrifice from which springs our salvation.
+ + +

So then, dear priests, stop tinkering with the Liturgy and give us the Mass undefiled.—TCS.

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Anglicans abandon Seal of Confession

Adelaide Anglican Church synod supports priests breaching confessional to report crimes
17 Oct 2014, ABC.net
RELATED STORY: Anglican priests to have option of disclosing confessions
The Anglican Church in Adelaide has backed an earlier move by the church nationally to let its priests break the confidentiality of confessions.

Adelaide Archbishop Jeffrey Driver said the local synod voted to back the change and, after some further consultation with clergy, the church legislation would be signed into effect.
Just so you know: Anglican holy orders are not valid. Invalid holy orders means invalid absolution. The news that Anglicans are abandoning priest/penitent confidentiality should come with little or no surprise. The news is merely further confirmation that Anglicanism is sliding further and further away from the Apostolic Faith.

Undoubtedly, some will demand that Catholic priests follow the Anglican practice. Oo, wait!—someone is already trying to coerce a Catholic priest to violate the seal of confession.

In the case, a girl who was 14 in 2008 said she told her parish priest – Fr Bayhi, parish priest of St John the Baptist Parish in Zachary – in the confessional that she was abused by a now-dead lay member of the parish.

The girl’s parents sued Fr Bayhi and the (Catholic) Diocese of Baton Rouge for failing to report the abuse. The parents won at the district court level about compelling the priest to testify, but lost in Louisiana’s First Circuit Court of Appeals, before the state’s highest court reversed and vacated the appellate court’s decision.

“The seal of Confession is one that can never be broken. Through its use the faithful must always be protected, so much so, that as a priest I cannot even say someone has come to Confession, let alone divulge the contents of what was revealed.” (Pray for Fr. Bayhi! Pray that the courts respect the teachings and practices of the Catholic Church. Pray for healing for the young woman and her family. Pray for mercy toward all.)

The Baton Rouge diocese, in its own statement, said the state Supreme Court violated the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment to the US Constitution in its decision.

“A foundational doctrine of the Roman Catholic Church for thousands of years mandates that the seal of Confession is absolute and inviolable. Pursuant to his oath to the Church, a priest is compelled never to break that seal,” the diocese said. “Neither is a priest allowed to admit that someone went to confession to him. If necessary, the priest would have to suffer a finding of contempt in a civil court and suffer imprisonment rather than violate his sacred duty and violate the seal of Confession and his duty to the penitent.

“This is not a gray area in the doctrines of the Roman Catholic Church. A priest/confessor who violates the seal of Confession incurs an automatic excommunication reserved for forgiveness to the Apostolic See in Vatican City.”

The diocese added: “In this case, the priest acted appropriately and would not testify about the alleged Confessions. Church law does not allow either the plaintiff [penitent] or anyone else to waive the seal of Confession.
Note to the mainstream media types and others: Catholics are not Anglicans. The seal of confession is, for Catholics, inviolable.

Relatio post post disceptationem

The Synod of Bishops: confused, intense, messy, illuminating, humbling, frustrating, unsettling, invigorating, instructive... .

The Synod, it has been said, was called to find new ways to express the mercy of God. Unfortunately, to some that seems to have meant a change in the Church's teaching with regards to divorce and remarriage, homosexual unions, etc. The media ran wild with the Relatio (Mid Term RPD); most bishops decried the RPD's content. The reports from the working groups were published, reports which cast a very different light on the proceedings. Manipulations were exposed; the Kasperian agenda was quashed, at least for the time being.

Without intending nor pretending to think I know better than the Synod Fathers, perhaps the Synod Fathers could have paid better attention to a simple maxim that, unless this blogger has been grossly misinformed, could have read as follows:

Speak the hard truth with soft words of mercy.
Then Jesus told his disciples, “If any man would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. For whoever would save his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for my sake will find it. For what will it profit a man, if he gains the whole world and forfeits his life? Or what shall a man give in return for his life?"—St. Matthew 16:24-26.
1. The "hard truth": the path to heaven is not easy.
Enter by the narrow gate; for the gate is wide and the way is easy that leads to destruction, and those who enter by it are many. For the gate is narrow and the way is hard, that leads to life, and those who find it are few.—St. Matthew 7:13-14.
2. If we trust in Jesus, the burden is light, for He is with us always.
Jesus declared, “I thank thee, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that thou hast hidden these things from the wise and understanding and revealed them to babes; yea, Father, for such was thy gracious will. All things have been delivered to me by my Father; and no one knows the Son except the Father, and no one knows the Father except the Son and any one to whom the Son chooses to reveal him. Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me; for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.”—St. Matthew 11:25-30.
3. Christ has entered into the human condition and He gives meaning to suffering.
But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities; upon him was the chastisement that made us whole, and with his stripes we are healed.—Isaiah 53:5
The five wounds in the flesh of Jesus open a place for us in the Body of Christ; our suffering opens in us a place for God. Suffering creates an opening for God to work in us, through us. Do we go looking for suffering? No. Suffering will find us, and when it does we should quickly turn to the Lord in prayer and ask for strength. Christ, Who enters into our wounds, transforms us. If we trust Jesus with our wounds, our wounds are the opportunity in which we may rise with Him to newness of life.
The Beatitudes reveal the ways God touches us in our brokenness. The Beatitudes reveal real avenues of grace by which we are made holy by God. The Beatitudes reveal our wounds, wounds that the Master enters into. A wound creates in us a space for God to act in and through us, hence we are blessed because the wound is a sign that the obstacle to God’s grace has been removed so that we may become a vehicle of God’s blessing to others and may participate in the Divine life. Cooperate, then, with God’s grace. In so doing, the mind and heart is disposed to God Who by grace guides us toward Himself through the avenues, for example, presented in the Beatitudes.
4. And, "soft words", i.e., gentle but firm counsel that proposes the path of life.
Having a bad day? bad month? bad year? bad life? Offer up your sufferings to God and ask God for the grace to endure.
Fecisti nos ad te et inquietum est cor nostrum donec requiescat in te. You have made us for yourself, O Lord, and our hearts are restless until they rest in you.—Confessions, St. Augustine. 
Never give up. Never give in to despair. Do not take the easy route. Take up your cross and, if you are living in sin, leave your life of sin behind. Fear not and trust in the Lord.
Jesus looked up and said to her, “Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?” She said, “No one, Lord.” And Jesus said, “Neither do I condemn you; go, and do not sin again.”—St. John 8:10-11.
You are not alone. Your fellow Catholics are here for you, to pray with you and offer you support. Ask people to pray for you. Don't be surprised, in your need for relief, if God gives you a sign that demands much from you.
Those whom I love, I reprove and chasten; so be zealous and repent.—Revelation 3:19.
Besides this, we have had earthly fathers to discipline us and we respected them. Shall we not much more be subject to the Father of spirits and live? For they disciplined us for a short time at their pleasure, but he disciplines us for our good, that we may share his holiness. For the moment all discipline seems painful rather than pleasant; later it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it.—Hebrews 12:9-11.
We know that in everything God works for good with those who love him, who are called according to his purpose.—Romans 8:28.
5. The Synod has reminded me to stay close to Jesus, to pray and to embrace His commandments and know real joy, real hope, real forgiveness and real love. The Synod has reminded me to go to confession and know the freedom and joy of God's mercy.
He who has my commandments and keeps them, he it is who loves me; and he who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I will love him and manifest myself to him.” Judas (not Iscariot) said to him, “Lord, how is it that you will manifest yourself to us, and not to the world?” Jesus answered him, “If a man loves me, he will keep my word, and my Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our home with him. He who does not love me does not keep my words; and the word which you hear is not mine but the Father’s who sent me.—St. John 14:21-24.
6. If one has doubt as to the victory of mercy, one need only go to Mass and (re)discover Jesus Christ in the Holy Eucharist. Jesus was crucified for our sins; He gives Himself to us in each and every Mass. Alleluia! If one desires a real, intimate communion with Jesus Christ, then attend Mass and ask God for the faith to meet Jesus. Once you ask for that grace, then listen and be patient.