Saint Thomas Aquinas

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

What Blessed Eugene Bossilkov Teaches Us Today

There is a great article by Father Christopher Zugger on Blessed Eugene Bossilkov. I had not known the story of the this great Catholic martyr, nor how his story relates to us as Catholics today. We are seeing the evil spirit of persecution in America today that has reared its head over the world in many other places. It was a spirit that would take the life of Blessed Eugene in Bulgaria, where the communists murdered him for not giving in to their heinous demands. What I found to be of interest was that Blessed Eugene had a chance to escape his fate at one point and chose to return to Bulgaria, which became a black hole of sorts. Even though Pope Pius XII had received reports of his imprisonment, it was not for more 23 years later that an official report came of his execution. Fr. Zugger writes, "he returned, and was pressured to break with Rome and found a national Bulgarian Catholic church, free of papal control. He refused, and was convicted in a show trial. He was shot with several priests and other Bulgarians, and no one knows where their bodies are, even today...Bulgaria was so cut off from the world, that only in 1975 did Pope Paul VI find out that he was dead, and that was by asking Marshal Josip Tito of Yugoslavia the blunt question “Where is Bossilkov.”  ”Dead”, but even Tito did not know the date (Nov. 11, 1952)." I recommend that you check out the full article and the links embedded in the article. We should all remember the fate of Blessed Eugene Bossilkov, and how his life relates to ours. Fr. Zugger makes a startling observation, which I have quoted below.

Blessed Eugene Bossilkov

"American Catholics talk now of possible religious persecution, because of the mandate to provide Catholic-insurance provided sterilization, abortifacent pills, and contraceptives.  The ins and outs of that are still going on and I want to write more soon. But I will write this: once you let the State step into the doorway of religious freedom, and let the State give mandates that contradict a faith’s teachings, it is very hard to shut that door again. It was the mistake of the English and Welsh bishops with Henry VIII when he demanded their support for his break with the Pope in 1535, because they had not stood up for Catholic teaching on marriage and loyalty to the successor of Peter. They had not stood up any of the previous seven statutes that slowly changed England from Mary’s Dowry to a schismatic Church..."

(Fr. Christoper Zugger-A Tiny Piece of Cassock)

Monday, May 28, 2012

The Florence Baptistery Panorama

One of my favorite places in Florence, Italy is the baptistery located right next to the Duomo. I have had the pleasure of visiting Florence twice since 2005. For those who have never been there or who want to take in another glimpse of the magnificent interior of the baptistery, there is a panoramic view now available. Check it out.


Sunday, May 27, 2012

Interesting New Books for the Summer

For those of you looking for new books to read for the summer, below are some of the books that have been recently released over the past year or so that I have on my wishlist to be read. If you have read any of them please leave a review in the comment section. This list is not really an endorsement of the books, since I have not read them yet, but just a list of books that look like they would be worth a read.



1.The Religious Roots of the First Amendment: Dissenting Protestants and the Separation of Church and State- Nicholas P. Miller (Link)

Summary: 
Traditional understandings of the genesis of the separation of church and state rest on assumptions about 'Enlightenment' and the republican ethos of citizenship. Nicholas Miller does not seek to dislodge that interpretation but to augment and enrich it by recovering its cultural and discursive religious contexts - specifically the discourse of Protestant dissent. He argues that commitments by certain dissenting Protestants to the right of private judgment in matters of Biblical interpretation, an outgrowth of the doctrine of the priesthood of all believers, helped promote religious disestablishment in the early modern West. This movement climaxed in the disestablishment of religion in the early American colonies and nation. Miller identifies a continuous strand of this religious thought from the Protestant Reformation, across Europe, through the English Reformation, Civil War, and Restoration, into the American colonies. He examines seven key thinkers who played a major role in the development of this religious trajectory as it came to fruition in American political and legal history: William Penn, John Locke, Elisha Williams, Isaac Backus, William Livingston, John Witherspoon, and James Madison. Miller shows that the separation of church and state can be read, most persuasively, as the triumph of a particular strand of Protestant nonconformity - that which stretched back to the Puritan separatist and the Restoration sects, rather than to those, like Presbyterians, who sought to replace the 'wrong' church establishment with their own, 'right' one. The Religious Roots of the First Amendment contributes powerfully to the current trend among some historians to rescue the eighteenth-century clergymen and religious controversialists from the enormous condescension of posterity.

2. Francis of Assisi: A New Biography- Augustine Thompson (Link)


Summary:
Among the most beloved saints in the Catholic tradition, Francis of Assisi (c. 1181-1226) is popularly remembered for his dedication to poverty, his love of animals and nature, and his desire to follow perfectly the teachings and example of Christ. During his lifetime and after his death, followers collected, for their own purposes, numerous stories, anecdotes, and reports about Francis. As a result, the man himself and his own concerns became lost in legend.

In this authoritative and engaging new biography, Augustine Thompson, O.P., sifts through the surviving evidence for the life of Francis using modern historical methods. The result is a complex yet sympathetic portrait of the man and the saint. Francis emerges from this account as very much a typical thirteenth-century Italian layman, but one who, when faced with unexpected crises in his personal life, made decisions so radical that they challenge his own society-and ours. Unlike the saint of legend, this Francis never had a unique divine inspiration to provide him with rules for following the teachings of Jesus. Rather, he spent his life reacting to unexpected challenges, before which he often found himself unprepared and uncertain. The Francis who emerges here is both more complex and more conflicted than that of older biographies. His famed devotion to poverty is found to be more nuanced than expected, perhaps not even his principal spiritual concern. Thompson revisits events small and large in Francis's life, including his troubled relations with his father, his contacts with Clare of Assisi, his encounter with the Muslim sultan, and his receiving the Stigmata, to uncover the man behind the legends and popular images.

A tour de force of historical research and biographical writing, Francis of Assisi: A New Biography is divided into two complementary parts-a stand alone biographical narrative and a close, annotated examination of the historical sources about Francis. Taken together, the narrative and the survey of the sources provide a much-needed fresh perspective on this iconic figure. "As I have worked on this biography," Thompson writes, "my respect for Francis and his vision has increased, and I hope that this book will speak to modern people, believers and unbelievers alike, and that the Francis I have come to know will have something to say to them today."

3. Icons: Masterpieces Of Russian Art- Olga Polyakova (Link)


Summary:
We are proud to offer this important book on icons dating from the sixteenth to the nineteenth centuries. These sixty icons from the Kolomenskoye State Museum are presented with full descriptions of their origins and symbolic meanings written by a leading specialist in Old Russian art. This lesser-known collection shows the evolution and development of Russian iconography through its themes, styles and details - for example, historical figures such as Peter the Great featured in the battlefield on one of the intercession icons. These images are at once powerful and moving, engaging the observer in the story depicted in the painting or drawing the eye to a face that seems to look directly out at the viewer. This book provides a fascinating insight into the world of the mysterious and beautiful icons. This book is a valuable resource for art historians, scholars of religious practice, and collectors of icon.

4. Coptic Art Revealed- Nadja Tomoum (Link)

Summary:
This superbly illustrated volume sheds light on the splendid artifacts produced during the Coptic era and celebrates the Copts' remarkable contribution to Egypt's rich cultural heritage, presenting rediscovered treasures from the Coptic Museum's storerooms, precious items from its permanent display, and pieces from other museum collections in Egypt. The featured artifacts include colorful icons painted by renowned artists, beautiful textiles, illuminated manuscripts, pages from the famous Nag Hammadi library, stone and wooden friezes with intricate designs, and fascinating objects that were at one time in daily use.

5. Christ's Two Wills in Scholastic Thought: The Christology of Aquinas and Its Historical Contexts- Corey L. Barnes (Link)


Summary:

This book investigates scholastic discussions of Christ?s wills from Anselm of Canterbury to John Duns Scotus, concentrating on Thomas Aquinas. The work advances understandings of scholastic Christology in two basic ways. First, it traces the development of scholastic discussions of Christ?s wills, attending to the contested issues, to the context of debates, to the use of sources and distinctions, and to the larger implications of these discussions for scholastic Christology. Second, the book utilizes this general analysis as a backdrop for examining the role granted to Christ?s humanity by Thomas Aquinas. It argues that Aquinas, based upon his highly developed understanding of Christ?s wills, his novel use of patristic sources, and his own terminological and conceptual advancements, portrays Christ?s humanity as an instrumentum divinitatis that, through its free will and operation, acts as the instrumental efficient cause of salvation. As such, Thomas developed and extended Anselm?s basic soteriological insight by highlighting the Incarnation and passion as the most fitting means for redemption precisely in their elevation of human dignity in intellect and will. Serious challenges, both medieval and modern, have been directed against Aquinas?s Christological formulations. In responding to these challenges, the book demonstrates the enduring value of Aquinas?s Christology.

6. Dust Bound for Heaven: Explorations in the Theology of Thomas Aquinas- Rienhard Hutter (Link)


Summary: 
In Dust Bound for Heaven Reinhard Hutter shows how Thomas Aquinas's view of the human being as dust bound for heaven weaves together elements of two questions without fusion or reduction. Does humanity still have an insatiable thirst for God that sends each person on an irrepressible religious quest that only the vision of God can quench? Or must the human being, living after the fall, become a "new creation" in order to be readied for heaven?

Hutter also applies Thomas's anthropology to a host of pressing contemporary concerns, including the modern crisis of faith and reason, political theology, the relationship between divine grace and human freedom, and many more. The concluding chapter explores the Christological center of Thomas's theology.

7. Book of the Elders: Sayings of the Desert Fathers The Systematic Collection- John Wortley (Link)


Summary: 
In the early part of the fourth century, a few Christians, mostly men and some women, began to withdraw from the world to retreat into the desert, there to practice their new religion more seriously. The person who aspired to renounce the world first had to find an elder, a person who would accept him as a disciple and apprentice. To his elder (whom he would address as abba father) the neophyte owed complete obedience; from his abba he would receive provisions (as it were) for the road to virtue. In addition to the abba s own example of living, there was the verbal teaching of the elders in sayings and tales, setting out the theory and practice of the eremitic life. In due course, these sayings (or apophthegmata) were written down and, later, collected and codified. The earliest attempts to codify tales and sayings are now lost. As the collection grew, they were first organized alphabetically according to the name of the abba who spoke them, in a major collection known as the Apophthegmata Patrum Alphabetica. A supplementary collection, the Anonymous Apophegmata, followed. Later, both collections were combined and arranged systematically rather than alphabetically. This collection was created sometime between 500 and 575 and later went through a couple of major revisions, the second of which appeared sometime before 970. This second one was published in an excellent new critical edition, with a French translation, in 1993. Now, in Book of the Elders, John Wortley offers an English translation of this collection, based entirely on the Greek of that text.




8. The Life of the Virgin: Maximus the Confessor- Stephen J. Shoemaker (Link


Summary: 
Long overlooked by scholars, this seventh-century Life of the Virgin, attributed to Maximus the Confessor, is the earliest complete Marian biography. Originally written in Greek and now surviving only in Old Georgian, it is now translated for the first time into English. It is a work that holds profound significance for understanding the history of late ancient and medieval Christianity, providing a rich source for understanding the history of Christian piety.
This Life is especially remarkable for its representation of Mary's prominent involvement in her son's ministry and her leadership of the early Christian community. In particular, it reveals highly developed devotion to Mary's compassionate suffering at the Crucifixion, anticipating by several centuries an influential medieval style of devotion known as “affective piety” whose origins generally have been confined to the Western High Middle Ages.

9. Reading Romans with St Thomas Aquinas- Matthew Levering (Link

Summary:
St. Thomas Aquinas produced his Commentary on the Romans near the end of his life while working on the Summa theologiae and commenting on Aristotle. The doctrinal richness of Paul's Letter to the Romans was well known to the church fathers, including Origen and Augustine, on whom Aquinas drew for his commentary. With this rich collection of essays by leading scholars, both Catholic and Protestant, Aquinas's commentary will become a major resource for ecumenical biblical and theological discussion.

Authored by theologians, historians, and biblical scholars, Reading Romans with St. Thomas Aquinas contributes to a historical reconstruction of Aquinas's exegesis and theology by addressing such topics as: the Holy Spirit, the Church, the faith of Abraham, worship, preaching, justification, sin and grace, predestination, Paul's apostolic vocation, the Jewish people, human sexuality, the relationship of flesh and spirit in the human person, the literal sense of Scripture, Paul's use of the Old Testament, and the relationship of Aquinas's commentary on Romans to his Summa theologiae. This volume fits within the contemporary reappropriation of St. Thomas Aquinas, which emphasizes his use of  Scripture and the teachings of the church fathers without neglecting his philosophical insight.


10. Jesus and the Demise of Death: Resurrection, Afterlife, and the Fate of the Christian- Matthew Levering (Link)


Summary:
What happens after death to Jesus and to those who follow him? Jesus and the Demise of Death offers a constructive theology that seeks to answer that very question, carefully considering both Jesus' descent into hell and eventual resurrection as integral parts of a robust vision of the Christian bodily resurrection. Taking on the claims of N.T. Wright and Richard B. Hays, Matthew Levering draws strongly upon the work of Thomas Aquinas to propose a radical reconstruction of Christian eschatological theology--one that takes seriously the profound ways in which Christianity and its beatific vision have been enriched by Platonic thought and emphasizes the role of the Church community in the passage from life to death. In so doing, Levering underscores the hope in eternal life for Jesus' followers and gives readers firm and fruitful soil upon which to base conversations about the Christian's future.


Some E-Books and iPad Apps of Interest

Since purchasing my iPad several months ago I have been spending more time reading E-books than I did on my Nook. I have found that the larger screen on the iPad makes for a more pleasurable reading experience. I have purchased several books and a couple of Apps that I think are worth mentioning. I have found that having all of the reading apps makes it possible to get the best price and find the best selections of E-books. So I use the Kindle, Nook, Ebook, and iBook apps. I find that the Kindle store has the widest selection of books, and that the iBook app is great for viewing downloaded PDFs and other documents that you find on the net. Although there are tons of out of print books that you can find online, such as those on the Internet Archive, there are also some good deals on purchased books as well. Below are a few of those I have purchased.



Kindle Books

Faith of Our Fathers (Annotated) - is only 99cents and is a great book on the basics of the Catholic faith.

Open Letter to Confused Catholics- Angelus Press now has some books available in Ebook format for only 5.95.

Bringing Jesus to the Desert- This nicely illustrated book is a basic history of desert monasticism, 9.99.

The Divine Office in The Middle Ages- A series of essays on the divine office. A 160.00 hardback book available for only 7 bucks at the kindle store!

The Catechism of the Council of Trent is available for only 1.99

Pray Hope and Don't Worry: True Stories of Padre Pio- Only 9:99

Icons Speak: Their Message- I enjoy reading about iconography and this is a good book to read about the theology of the icon.

Puritan's Empire - A history of the US from a Catholic perspective.

Nook Books

Abandonment to Divine Providence- A new edition of a classic.

Journeying to God: Seven Early Monastic Lives- A nice book on the early monastics.

The Art of the Icon: A Theology of Beauty- Another nice book on icons in the Church.

A Bitter Trial- A short book of letters between Evelyn Waugh and Cardinal Heenan concerning the liturgical disaster following VCII.

Ibooks app

PapalEncyclicals.net will keep you busy downloading free PDFs for a long time!

BrevMeum App- You can download this from the apple app store and then have the Latin Mass breviary at your fingertips for every hour of the day! No more turning pages back and forth trying to find your place.  Latin on one side, English on the other.







Friday, May 25, 2012

Another Reason to Avoid Fr. Barron: Genesis Myths?

It seems that Fr. Robert Barron keeps falling further into his modernist errors. On one of his latest videos, Fr. Robert Barron tells his viewers that the Adam of the Book Of Genesis never existed. Fr. Barron insists that he was just a myth. He says in his video, (5:50 minute mark) "Adam, now don't read it literally, were not talking about a literal figure. We are talking theological poetry." Now for those of you who may not know, many Popes including Pope Pius XII have explicitly condemned Father Barron's modernist position. Adam is a literal figure according to the Magisterium of the Church. If he had read the Canons of the Council of Trent, Humani Generis, or even the text and references in the New Catechism, perhaps he would not have made this blundering comment, or perhaps he has and just ignores them. Does he consider the historical fact of original sin as being only "theological poetry" as well? That would be the logical follow up to his Adam non-existence conclusion. And we wonder why the Church is in disarray. Watch the video, then read the following statements by the Church, the first of which, from Trent are of dogmatic weight, and are underpinned by the Anathema. The second reference is from Pius XII, Humanis Generis. The third is from the New Catechism which also refers back to Trent and Pius XII and last but not least I quote the Baltimore Catechism, which is as basic as we can get. I wish Fr. Barron would quit trying to be hip to the new age and start teaching the Catholic faith in its fullness.



Council of Trent on Original Sin

1. If any one does not confess that the first man, Adam, when he had transgressed the commandment of God in Paradise, immediately lost the holiness and justice wherein he had been constituted; and that he incurred, through the offence of that prevarication, the wrath and indignation of God, and consequently death, with which God had previously threatened him, and, together with death, captivity under his power who thenceforth had the empire of death, that is to say, the devil, and that the entire Adam, through that offence of prevarication, was changed, in body and soul, for the worse; let him be anathema.

2. If any one asserts, that the prevarication of Adam injured himself alone, and not his posterity; and that the holiness and justice, received of God, which he lost, he lost for himself alone, and not for us also; or that he, being defiled by the sin of disobedience, has only transfused death, and pains of the body, into the whole human race, but not sin also, which is the death of the soul; let him be anathema:--whereas he contradicts the apostle who says; By one man sin entered into the world, and by sin death, and so death passed upon all men, in whom all have sinned. 


Humanis Generis Paragraphs 37-39


37. When, however, there is question of another conjectural opinion, namely polygenism, the children of the Church by no means enjoy such liberty. For the faithful cannot embrace that opinion which maintains that either after Adam there existed on this earth true men who did not take their origin through natural generation from him as from the first parent of all, or that Adam represents a certain number of first parents. Now it is in no way apparent how such an opinion can be reconciled with that which the sources of revealed truth and the documents of the Teaching Authority of the Church propose with regard to original sin, which proceeds from a sin actually committed by an individual Adam and which, through generation, is passed on to all and is in everyone as his own.[12]


38. Just as in the biological and anthropological sciences, so also in the historical sciences there are those who boldly transgress the limits and safeguards established by the Church. In a particular way must be deplored a certain too free interpretation of the historical books of the Old Testament. Those who favor this system, in order to defend their cause, wrongly refer to the Letter which was sent not long ago to the Archbishop of Paris by the Pontifical Commission on Biblical Studies.[13] This letter, in fact, clearly points out that the first eleven chapters of Genesis, although properly speaking not conforming to the historical method used by the best Greek and Latin writers or by competent authors of our time, do nevertheless pertain to history in a true sense, which however must be further studied and determined by exegetes; the same chapters, (the Letter points out), in simple and metaphorical language adapted to the mentality of a people but little cultured, both state the principal truths which are fundamental for our salvation, and also give a popular description of the origin of the human race and the chosen people. If, however, the ancient sacred writers have taken anything from popular narrations (and this may be conceded), it must never be forgotten that they did so with the help of divine inspiration, through which they were rendered immune from any error in selecting and evaluating those documents.


39. Therefore, whatever of the popular narrations have been inserted into the Sacred Scriptures must in no way be considered on a par with myths or other such things, which are more the product of an extravagant imagination than of that striving for truth and simplicity which in the Sacred Books, also of the Old Testament, is so apparent that our ancient sacred writers must be admitted to be clearly superior to the ancient profane writers.

New Catechism which references the dogmatic decree of Trent.

390 The account of the fall in Genesis 3 uses figurative language, but affirms a primeval event, a deed that took place at the beginning of the history of man.264 Revelation gives us the certainty of faith that the whole of human history is marked by the original fault freely committed by our first parents.265

Reference 265 Cf. Council of Trent: DS 1513; Pius XII: DS 3897; Paul VI: AAS 58 (1966), 654.


Baltimore Catechism

Q. 233. Who were the first man and woman?
A. The first man and woman were Adam and Eve.

Q. 234. Are there any persons in the world who are not the descendants of Adam and Eve?
A. There are no persons in the world now, and there never have been any, who are not the descendants of Adam and Eve, because the whole human race had but one origin.

Monday, May 21, 2012

FSSP Ordinations Lincoln NE, 2012

Father Fryar's 'LiveMass' operation is expanding and has captured the FSSP priestly ordinations this year on location in Lincoln NE. He and a group of parishioners at Christ the King have assembled a LiveMass studio trailer so that live events can be captured anywhere across the country! Perhaps you will see the LiveMass trailer going through your town one day. Enjoy!


Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Bishop Fellay Speaks: Video

This is an interesting video just released by bishop Fellay. It seems to me that the SSPX deal is almost complete.

Sunday, May 13, 2012

The Myth of Communion in the Hand?

We have all heard of the supposed historical sources which confirm that Communion in the hand was common in the early Church. What if all of that was pure conjecture? Those who have supported this most irreverent posture of receiving Holy Communion often try and use history to defend their position. While it is obvious that the practice of Communion in the hand puts the Sacred Species of the Eucharist at risk for profanation, it also seems that history is not a friend of the practice either. A friend sent over this article written by a Franciscan priest. I reproduced the entire article from the source found at this web address.


Some Considerations on Holy Communion in the Hand 

Following your editor's request for information, here are some patristic and historical considerations on Communion on the hand, as well as an additional aspect.

Was it universal? The history of Communion in the hand is often presented in certain quarters as follows: From the Last Supper on, Holy Communion was, as the norm, continually given in the hand. So it was during the age of the martyrs. And it continued to be so during that golden age of the Fathers and of the liturgy after the peace of Constantine in 313 A.D. And it continued to be the common practice until at least the tenth century. Thus for over half of the life of the Church it was the norm.

An argument for the above is held to be found in a text of St. Cyril of Jerusalem's fifth Mystagogic Catechesis (21f), which he preached to neophytes in 348 A.D., in which he counsels the faithful to "place your left hand as the throne of your right one, which is to receive the King [in Holy Communion]" (apudL'Osservatore Romano. English edition of June 14, 1973, p. 6). This Father of the Church further counsels great care for any Fragments which might remain on one's hands.

According to some critics' version of history, popular in certain quarters, Communion on the tongue became the universal norm in this way: During the Middle Ages certain distortions in the faith and/or in approaches to it gradually developed. These included an excessive fear of God and an over-concern about sin, judgment and punishment, as well as an over-emphasis on Christ's divinity-- so emphasized as to down-play His sacred humanity or virtually deny it; also an over-emphasis on the priest's role in the sacred liturgy, and a loss of the sense of the community which the Church, in fact, is. In particular, because of excessive emphasis on adoring Christ in the Holy Eucharist and an over-strict approach to moral matters, Holy Communion became more and more rare. It was considered enough to gaze upon the Sacred Host during the elevation. (In fact, in certain critics' minds the elevation, exposition and benediction of the Blessed Sacrament find their origins during the 'unfortunate' Middle Ages, a period whose liturgical practices we would do well-- so they think-- to rid ourselves of.) It was in this atmosphere and under these circumstances, they argue, that the practice of Communion in the hand began to be restricted. The practice of the priest placing the consecrated Bread directly into the mouth of the communicant thus developed and, they think, was unwisely imposed.

The conclusion is rather clear: We should get rid of this custom. We should forbid or at least discourage the Communion-on-the-tongue practice whereby the faithful are not allowed to "take and eat," and should return to the pristine usage of the Fathers and Apostles, namely, Communion in the hand. It is a compelling story. It is too bad that it is not true.

The sacred Council of Trent declared that the custom whereby only the priest-celebrant gives Communion to himself (with his own hands), and the laity receive It from him, is an Apostolic tradition.

(1) A more rigorous study of available evidence from Church history and from writings of the Fathers does not support the assertion that Communion in the hand was a universal practice which was gradually supplanted and eventually replaced by the practice of Communion on the tongue. Rather, facts seem to point to a different conclusion: Pope St. Leo the Great (440-461) is an early witness of the traditional practice. In his comments on the sixth chapter of St. John's Gospel he speaks of Communion in the mouth as the current usage: "One receives in the mouth what one believes by faith." (2) The Pope does not speak as if he were introducing a novelty, but as if this were a well established thing.

A century and a half later Pope St. Gregory the Great (died in 604) is another witness. In his dialogues he relates how Pope St. Agapitus performed a miracle during Mass, after having placed the Body of the Lord into someone's mouth.

We are not claiming that under no circumstances whatever did the faithful receive by their own hands. But under what conditions did this happen? It does seem that from very early times on, it was usual for the priest to place the Sacred Host into the mouth of the communicant. However, during times of persecution, when priests were not readily available, and when the faithful took the Sacrament to their homes, they gave Communion to themselves by their own hand. Rather than be totally deprived of the Bread of Life, they could receive by their own hand. The same applied to monks who had gone out into the desert, where they would not have the services of a priest and would not want to give up the practice of daily holy Communion. St. Basil the Great (330-379) indicates that reception of Communion by one's own hand was permitted precisely because of persecution, or, as was the case with monks in the desert, when no deacon or priest was available to give It.

(3) In his article on "Communion" in the Dictionaire d'Archeologiae Chretienne, Leclerq declares that the peace of Constantine in 313 A.D. served toward bringing the practice of Communion in the hand to an end. After persecution had ceased, evidently the practice of Communion in the hand persisted here and there. Church authority apparently judged that it invited abuse and deemed it contrary to the custom of the Apostles.

Thus the Synod of Rouen, France, in about 878 directed: "Do not put the Eucharist in the hands of any layman or laywomen, but only in their mouths" ("nulli autem laico aut feminae eucharistiam in manibus ponat, sed tantum in os eius"). (4) A non-ecumenical Council of Constantinople known as "In Trullo" in 692 A.D. prohibited the faithful from giving Communion to themselves (which is of course what happens when the Sacred Particle is placed in the hand of communicants), and decreed a censure against those who would do so in the presence of a bishop, priest or deacon.

Promoters of Communion in the hand generally make little mention of the evidence we have brought forward, but do make constant use of the text attributed above to St. Cyril of Jerusalem, who lived in the fourth century at the time of St. Basil. But scholars dispute the authenticity of the St. Cyril text, according to Jungmann-Brunner, op. cit., p. 191, n.25. It is not impossible that the text is really the work of the Patriarch John, who succeeded Cyril in Jerusalem. This John was of suspect orthodoxy, as we know from the correspondence of St. Epiphanius, St. Jerome, and St. Augustine.

But is it not a form of clericalism to allow the priest to touch the Sacred Host and to forbid the laity to do the same? But even priests were not allowed to touch the Blessed Sacrament except out of some need to do so. In fact, other than the celebrant of the Mass itself, no one else receiving Communion, not even a priest, could receive It in the hand. And so, in the traditional liturgical practice of the Roman Rite, if a priest were assisting at Mass (and not celebarating) and if he wished to receive Holy Communion, he did not do so by his own hand; he received on the tongue from another priest. The same would be true of a Bishop or even a Pope. When Pope St. Pius X was on his deathbed in August of 1914, and Holy Communion was brought to him as Viaticum, he did not and was not allowed to receive in the hand. He received on the tongue according to the law and practice of the Catholic Church.

This confirms a basic point: Out of reverence it seems better that there be no unnecessary touching of the Sacred Host. Obviously someone is needed to distribute the Bread of Life. But it is not needful to make each man, woman and child into his own 'eucharistic minister' and multiply the handling and fumbling and danger of dropping and loss of Fragments. Even those whose hands have been specially consecrated to touch the Most Holy Eucharist, namely the priests, should not do so needlessly.

As for the present situation, in those countries where the indult for Communion in the hand has been granted by the Holy See, an individual bishop may forbid the practice; but no Bishop has authority to forbid the traditional way of receiving Our Lord on the tongue.

But surely the Apostles received Communion in the hand at the Last Supper? It is usually presumed that this was so. Even if it were, though, we would point out that the Apostles were themselves priests, or even Bishops. But we must not forget a traditional custom of middle-eastern hospitality which was in practice in Jesus' time and which is still the case; that is, one feeds his guests with one's own hand, placing a symbolic morsel in the mouth of the guest. And we have this text of St. John's Gospel (13:26-30): "Jesus answered, 'It is he to whom I shall give this Morsel when I have dipped It.' So when He had dipped the Morsel, He gave It to Judas... So, after receiving the Morsel, he [Judas] immediately went out..."

Did Our Lord place this wet Morsel into Judas' hand? That would be rather messy. Did He not perhaps extend to the one whom He addressed later in the garden as "friend" the gesture of hospitality spoken of above? And if so, why not with Holy Communion, "giving Himself by His own Hand"? --


CANADA. Fr. Paul McDonald, Pastor, St. Patrick's Church, 123 King St., Pt. Colborne, Ontario L3K 4G3.

EDITOR'S NOTE TO READER: If any of you fear that Fr. McDonald has drawn some of this material from mistaken historical data, and you can cite precise sources which show anything Father says to be inaccurate or misleading, he and we would be grateful if you would write us about it. -- A.M.S. ----------------------

 (1) "It has always been the practice in the Church of God in the reception of the Sacrament, that laypersons receive Communion from priests and that the priest-celebrants give Communion to themselves. This practice, coming down lawfully and justly from Apostolic tradition, ought to be retained." ("... In sacramentali autem sumptione semper in Ecclesia Dei mos fuit, ut laici a sacerdotibus communionem acciperent, sacerdotes autem celebrantes se ipsos communicarent; qui mos tamquam ex traditione apostolica descendens iure ac merito retineri debet.") -- Council of Trent, Sess. 13, chapter 8 (DS 1648). While this ranks as unapostolic the practice today of laypersons directly helping themselves to Hosts from the tabernacle or altar or ciborium, and its lesson seems out of harmony with the extensive use of lay ministers whereby they give Communion when the celebrant could just as well give It; yet the description in the text as worded here does not necessarily exclude the possibility of laypersons receiving Our Lord from the priest into their hands, and giving It then to themselves. --A.M.S., Editor.

(2) "Hoc enim ore sumitur quod fide creditur" (Serm. 91.3). Of course this, too, proves no more of Fr. McDonald's thesis than the text quoted in footnote 1, except 'sumitur' can suggest receiving directly from the priest into the mouth. Passages from various Fathers of the Church are sometimes cited as authority that in their day Communion in the hand was universal. But the texts we have found assembled in literature promoting this practice, prove to us only that the practice existed, and perhaps prevailed in the area in which the writer lived, but not that it was the only method at that time in the whole Church. Nor do ancient materials quoted tell us whether the Apostles taught laypersons to receive holy Communion in the hand. Hence the Council of Trent and other witnessses here cited, may well have had important further information. Let me remark in passing that a writer in L'Osservatore Romano, English edition of June 14, 1973, pp. 6-7, influenced many when, in a long article he presents historical testimonies and references evidently intended to support his statement that: "The literary and monumental sources of the first nine centuries are unanimous in testifying to the use of receiving the eucharistic Bread in the hand throughout the whole Church." Note that this does not state Communion in the hand was the only method of communion during that period, as some have wrongly thought, nor do testimonies quoted in that writer's article tell us whether it was the most common method everywhere in the Church most of the time throughout the first nine centuries. --A.M.S., Editor.

 (3) "If one feels he should in times of persecution, in the absence of a priest or deacon, receive Communion by his own hand, there should be no need to point out that this certainly shows no grave immoderation; for long custom allows this in such cases. In fact, all solitaries in the desert, where there is no priest, reserving Communion in their dwellings, receive It from their own hands."

(Our translation of St. Basil's words in M. J. Rout de Journel's Enchiridion Patristicum, n. 916-- Barcelona, 1946). --A.M.S., Editor. (4) Can. 2 (Mansi, X, 1199). Apud Jungmann-Brunner, The Mass of the Roman Rite, vol. 2, pp. 381f, New York, Benziger Bros., 1955. Rev. Paul J. McDonald Parish Priest (Pastor) St. Patrick's Church 123 King Street Pt. Colborne, ON, Canada L3K 4G3 tel (905) 834 6426 fax (905) 834 1215 Email: pjm@vaxxine.com

+ My brothers, all of you, if you are condemned to see the triumph of evil, never applaud it. Never say to evil: you are good; to decadence: you are progress; to the night: you are light; to death: you are life. Sanctify yourselves in the times wherein God has placed you; bewail the evils and the disorders which God tolerates; oppose them with the energy of your works and your efforts, your life uncontaminated by error, free from being led astray, in such a way that having lived here below, united with the Spirit of the Lord, you will be admitted to be made but one with Him forever and ever: Qui adhearet Deo unus spiritus est (I Cor 6:17) Cardinal Pie of Poitiers

Fr. Goodwin FSSP, Ascent of Mt. Tabor

Here is the second talk on the Mass by Fr. Calvin Goodwin, FSSP from Christ the King in Sarasota FL. There is some great information about the Mass in this talk that Catholics need to be aware of. Pass it along!

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Fr. Goodwin FSSP, Latin Mass Video Part 1

You are in for a real treat here! Father Calvin Goodwin, FSSP visited Christ the King in Sarasota two weeks ago, and he gave a couple of talks on the Latin Mass. Perhaps this talk should be titled, 'The Mass That Refused to Die.' This video was just uploaded, and a second one is soon to be uploaded. I had the rare opportunity to chat to Fr. Goodwin because I had him hostage in my car when I picked him up at the airport! Poor Fr. Goodwin had to answer questions for over an hour as I and a friend of mine drove him to the rectory! He is a font of knowledge, and has many stories to share about his experience in the Church. At any rate, enjoy the video. I will post the other video when it gets posted. Please send this video around to others if you are a firm supporter of the Latin Mass. If you are not, hopefully after watching this video you will be! Sharing this video is an opportunity to help build the Latin Mass up for Holy Mother Church.

Fr. James Fryar's Theology of the Mass Series

Fr James Fryar, FSSP the pastor of the FSSP chapel that I attend in Sarasota, Florida, has now launched a YouTube channel for Livemass. He has an ongoing video series on the theology of the Mass. Below are the first three videos that he has posted in chronological order. I would suggest that anyone who is truly interested in understanding the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass to check them out. Put the link on your favorites and then pass this Youtube channel along to others so that they can benefit from the videos as well!

The Sacrifice On Calvary


The Mass is not Primarily a Meal


Turning the Altar Around





Memoirs of Annibale Bugnini and the Novus Ordo Mass (Part II) The Vernacular

Memoirs of Annibale Bugnini and the Novus Ordo Mass (Part II) The Vernacular
By Matthew J. Bellisario 2012



    In the first part of this series I briefly took a look at the attitude Annibale Bugnini had concerning the changes in the liturgy at VCII. I also took a look at what Pope Pius XII had to say about what he viewed to be serious crimes against the liturgy, which took place with the implementation of the Novus Ordo Mass. In this second part of the series I want to examine the issue of the vernacular. The Vatican II document that was penned concerning the liturgy was ‘Sacrosanctum Concilium’ released on December 4th, 1963. The document made clear that the law of the liturgy concerning language was to be Latin. The document did however make an exception to the vernacular concerning certain parts of the Mass, which quickly became the rule for the entire Mass. Before the ink was even dry on the document those who were in charge of the liturgical committee, along with some bishops, were petitioning Pope Paul VI to go further with the vernacular.

The document stated the following concerning the Latin language,

36. 1. Particular law remaining in force, the use of the Latin language is to be preserved in the Latin rites.
2. But since the use of the mother tongue, whether in the Mass, the administration of the sacraments, or other parts of the liturgy, frequently may be of great advantage to the people, the limits of its employment may be extended. This will apply in the first place to the readings and directives, and to some of the prayers and chants, according to the regulations on this matter to be laid down separately in subsequent chapters.
These norms being observed, it is for the competent territorial ecclesiastical authority mentioned in Art. 22, 2, to decide whether, and to what extent, the vernacular language is to be used; their decrees are to be approved, that is, confirmed, by the Apostolic See. And, whenever it seems to be called for, this authority is to consult with bishops of neighboring regions which have the same language.
54. In Masses which are celebrated with the people, a suitable place may be allotted to their mother tongue. This is to apply in the first place to the readings and "the common prayer," but also, as local conditions may warrant, to those parts which pertain to the people, according to tho norm laid down in Art. 36 of this Constitution.
Nevertheless steps should be taken so that the faithful may also be able to say or to sing together in Latin those parts of the Ordinary of the Mass which pertain to them.

Here we have the “this and that” character of the document. It would seem that the law of Latin should have been the first rule to be followed, at least concerning the canon. If that is so, why did we not see the vernacular only in the varying parts of the Novus Ordo while retaining Latin in the ordinary parts? In fact this was the case at the very beginning of the new liturgical implementation. Bugnini admits that this was how the document was being interpreted during the Council. But the Council fathers who were involved in the liturgical overhaul were not satisfied with this, and many of the bishops in Europe wanted further concessions. Bugnini writes, “...the vernaculars had to stop at the threshold of the Roman Canon and the sacrament of holy orders. Many thought or hoped that this threshold would not be crossed, or at least not in the near future. But the need was very quickly felt for having the entire liturgy in the vernacular. It was felt with special intensity in certain parts of the world, particularly in the Netherlands, where translations of the Canon were beginning to circulate, along with texts of new Eucharistic Prayers.” (Page 105) If we continue on we see that the Dutch episcopal conference petitioned the Holy See to get these translations approved as well as permission to allow the laity to distribute communion in the hand. The Holy Father had the Consilium headed by Bugnini himself, and the Congregation of Rites study the proposition. Pope Paul VI then had a special committee examine the final proposal. Despite the liturgical law laid down in ‘Sacrosanctum Concilium’, on January 31st, 1967 Paul VI approved a concession, which allowed for the entire Canon to be said in the vernacular and the rite of ordinations to be allowed as well. A special commission was then put together to allow the same concessions to the entire Church. Bugnini writes, “The desire was expressed that in sacred orders the essential formula for the ordination of deacons, priests and bishops remain in Latin, but the decision was left to the conferences.” If you remember in my first post, I pointed out that Bugnini was proud of the change which decentralized the control of the liturgy and allowed the individual conferences to decide what they wanted to do, and we can see one of the unfortunate results from this.

Another interesting problem was the translation issue. Bugnini is perfectly clear that right off the bat there were problems with this. The Church knew this was going to be a serious problem, hence the law of Latin was originally to be preserved. Bugnini discusses this on page 109. As they struggled along with their project he writes, “Thus little by little, the vernacular also came to be heard in the Canon of the Mass.” I bet most Catholics don’t know that the original intent was never to have the Canon in the vernacular. Bugnini admits the fact that the VCII document had been continually interpreted more liberally as time went on. (page 110) He writes, “If the rest of the Mass were to be celebrated in the vernacular while the Canon remained in Latin, it would have been like opening all the doors of the house to a guest and then excluding them form its heart.” You can see how very quickly things began to unravel concerning the implementation of the Mass. The Canon was now no longer a sacred heart to be preserved intact with the Latin language, but it was now a mere part of the rest of the Mass only to be subjected to many vernacular translations.

Many Catholics often attack me for claiming that the Vatican II documents are ambiguous. Yet, this is exactly what Bugnini says concerning the document concerning the liturgy. He writes on page 111, “In article 54 the Constitution says that a suitable place may be allowed to the mother tongue in Masses celebrated with the people, especially (“in the first place) in the readings and the prayer of the faithful and, depending on the local conditions, also in parts belonging to the people. the wording is vague. What is a “suitable” place? What is the point of the words “in the first place”? And what does “parts belonging to the people” include? In the third paragraph of this same article 54, the Council leaves it to the episcopal conferences to judge whether “a more extended use of the mother tongue” is desirable. What limits then did the Council set? If we judge solely on the basis of the text, no one will ever be able to answer with certainty.” Hence my argument stands. Even this council father says that the text is ambiguous. That is what happens when you have a crew of modernist theologians putting their corrupt fingers in the documents. No one, including those who had a hand in putting them together can understand them. Bugnini then concludes that the entire Mass belongs to the people so nothing was really off limits to the vernacular. So much for making any distinctions at all if you are not going to be able to tell anyone what they are. As you can see, the implementation of the Novus Ordo is far from cut and dry. Now you know more of the story on how the entire Novus Ordo Mass was changed to allow for the vernacular, and why the “law” concerning Latin in the VCII document was able to be circumvented.

Saturday, May 5, 2012

Memoirs of Annibale Bugnini and the Novus Ordo Mass (Part I)

 Memoirs of Annibale Bugnini and the Novus Ordo Mass (Part I)



If you are at all familiar with the reforms of liturgy which came after the Second Vatican Council, you will most surely know the name of Annibale Bugnini. Although others were involved in the creation of the Novus Ordo Mass, he was most certainly the most influential architect involved in the operation. I just received my copy of his memoirs on the liturgical reform titled, 'The Reform of the Liturgy 1948-1975.' As far as I know it is no longer in print, but a used copy can be found on the web, though they can be quite expensive. I found one at a reasonable price on Amazon. I wanted to post up a couple of passages from this book to give you an idea of how he viewed the Second Vatican Council and the liturgical changes which followed. I also wanted to tie in some thoughts from Pope Pius XII on regarding the liturgy to contrast the two views. It is no secret that Bugnini possessed many bad ideas concerning the reform of the Mass. He wanted to remove anything from the Mass that may have offended non-Catholics. He wanted to make it more Protestant friendly. His distorted view of active participation and involvement in the Mass were influential on how the Novus Ordo Mass was put together and how it was implemented. We can say that Bugnini's DNA is found in the forming and implementation of the New Mass. Before I go further, this does not mean that I think that the New Mass is invalid or that God gave us a liturgy that is not capable of effecting the Eucharist. I can however argue that the New Mass does not convey the Catholic faith as clearly in its prayers and its celebration that the previous Latin Mass. So that is where I am coming from on this matter. If you cannot stomach debate and the critical analysis of the liturgical crisis we have today, then perhaps this post is not for your eyes. Let us now turn to the matter of Bugnini and the New Mass.

Starting on the very first page of his memoir he writes, "The reform that the Second Vatican Council inaugurated is differentiated from all others in the history of the liturgy by its pastoral emphasis." This is no small proclamation. Indeed nothing like this liturgical overhaul which followed in the wake of the Council had ever happened before. Liturgical changes in all Rites of the Church happened very slowly and organically over long periods of time. They were made for very specific reasons, and they never sought to undermine the liturgical bloodline that they arose from. The arguments for the liturgical reform have largely come from Bugnini's thought. For example, on page 6 of the book he cites Pope Pius XII's encyclical 'Mediator Dei' as a seal of approval for the liturgical changes that would be implemented later by his recommendation. Yet, if you are to read Pius XII's encyclical 'Mediator Dei' in its full context, you will see much of what eventually happened with the liturgy was explicitly condemned. Although Pope Pius XII allowed for some changes to occur with the Mass, it is quite clear that he had no intention of implementing what came after VCII.

For example we read how the Psalms were newly translated for the liturgical purposes, yet he cautions the Church not to go overboard on changes to the Mass. "You are surely well aware that this Apostolic See has always made careful provision for the schooling of the people committed to its charge in the correct spirit and practice of the liturgy...Only a short while previously, with the design of rendering the prayers of the liturgy more correctly understood and their truth and unction more easy to perceive, We arranged to have the Book of Psalms, which forms such an important part of these prayers in the Catholic Church, translated again into Latin from their original text. But while We derive no little satisfaction from the wholesome results of the movement just described, duty obliges Us to give serious attention to this "revival" as it is advocated in some quarters, and to take proper steps to preserve it at the outset from excess or outright perversion." What did the Holy Father consider to be excess or perversion?

One of the first things he mentions about the liturgies of the Catholic faith is that they are to clearly present the faith in a way the makes them distinct from the worship of heretics. "They serve to foster piety, to kindle the flame of charity, to increase our faith and deepen our devotion. They provide instruction for simple folk, decoration for divine worship, continuity of religious practice. They make it possible to tell genuine Christians from their false or heretical counterparts." So those like Bugnini who sought to make the Mass more palatable to Protestants, they were clearly not echoing the voice of Blessed Pius XII.


As we know, the appeal to antiquity was a huge argument towards the implementation of the new Mass. Yet, Pius XII urged that this rationalization not be used in changing the Mass, "The same reasoning holds in the case of some persons who are bent on the restoration of all the ancient rites and ceremonies indiscriminately. The liturgy of the early ages is most certainly worthy of all veneration. But ancient usage must not be esteemed more suitable and proper, either in its own right or in its significance for later times and new situations, on the simple ground that it carries the savor and aroma of antiquity." Yet we often hear of how the early Church did not use Latin, and how the early Church had the "presider" facing the people, or how the early Church received the Blessed Sacrament in their hands, or how the early Church did not repeat the prayers of the Mass over and over again with useless repetition, and the list goes on and on. But even more telling are the specifics of what Pius XII considered to be grave and sinful errors concerning changes to the liturgy. All of which have come true since the wake of the Council.

Paragraph 63 of this encyclical is very telling. In fact, everything that was clearly condemned by Pius XII in this particular paragraph came true after Vatican II, and are still in place right now in the Church. There is no way to argue against this fact, that would be denying reality. Here is the clear commendation, "Assuredly it is a wise and most laudable thing to return in spirit and affection to the sources of the sacred liturgy. For research in this field of study, by tracing it back to its origins, contributes valuable assistance towards a more thorough and careful investigation of the significance of feast-days, and of the meaning of the texts and sacred ceremonies employed on their occasion. But it is neither wise nor laudable to reduce everything to antiquity by every possible device. Thus, to cite some instances, one would be straying from the straight path were he to wish the altar restored to its primitive tableform; were he to want black excluded as a color for the liturgical vestments; were he to forbid the use of sacred images and statues in Churches; were he to order the crucifix so designed that the divine Redeemer's body shows no trace of His cruel sufferings; and lastly were he to disdain and reject polyphonic music or singing in parts, even where it conforms to regulations issued by the Holy See."

Can there be anything more clear? The wonderful trait of an encyclical written before 1960 was that the intention of the pope was pretty clear. Their adherence to Thomistic thought did not allow for much ambiguity. Where are the altars now in the Novus Ordo? Many of those beautiful altars were chiseled out with jackhammers and thrown in dumpsters like cheap rubble. They are mostly replaced by the tables now, and that was clearly condemned by the Holy Father. Where are the black liturgical vestments now? When was the last time you saw one of those? Aside from the few that have been preserved by the SSPX, the FSSP and the like, I assume they have all long rotted in a trash dump someplace, or are rotted in the heat of the attic of the church. That was clearly condemned. Where are all of the sacred images in our Catholic parishes today? Again, many of them were dumped, and the new parishes never had them to begin with. Again, this was clearly condemned. How many parishes have you been to where they have a flying Jesus coming off of the cross rather the crucifix? These flying Jesus' are all over with no crucifix to be found! Again, clearly and unequivocally condemned! As far as the music in the average Novus Ordo parish today goes, I am positive that our dear Pius XII would be flabbergasted by what passes for liturgical music today.

Let us move to paragraph 95 and 96, and look at the sacrificial character of the Mass which is now downplayed by the con-celebration in the Novus Ordo. Some may see this as inconsequential, but Pius XII states, "Some in fact disapprove altogether of those Masses which are offered privately and without any congregation, on the ground that they are a departure from the ancient way of offering the sacrifice; moreover, there are some who assert that priests cannot offer Mass at different altars at the same time, because, by doing so, they separate the community of the faithful and imperil its unity; while some go so far as to hold that the people must confirm and ratify the sacrifice if it is to have its proper force and value. They are mistaken in appealing in this matter to the social character of the eucharistic sacrifice, for as often as a priest repeats what the divine Redeemer did at the Last Supper, the sacrifice is really completed." Do you know how many priests refuse to celebrate the Mass in private now? I had one priest tell me that it was useless to him to celebrate the Mass privately by himself. He was teaching this ramshackle theology in a diocesan school that forms future deacons and catechists. Do we need wonder why this is the attitude that is fostered in the average Novus Ordo parish? Yet, did Pius XII not clearly say that this mentality was wrong? It is clear that he did condemn this incorrect view of the social character of the Mass, which is at least implicitly taught today by almost all of the bishops in the Church today.

He further drives his point home by referencing back to Trent in paragraphs 113 and 114. "We wish in this matter to repeat the remarks which Our predecessor Benedict XIV makes with regard to the definitions of the Council of Trent: "First We must state that none of the faithful can hold that private Masses, in which the priest alone receives holy communion, are therefore unlawful and do not fulfill the idea of the true, perfect and complete unbloody sacrifice instituted by Christ our Lord. For the faithful know quite well, or at least can easily be taught, that the Council of Trent, supported by the doctrine which the uninterrupted tradition of the Church has preserved, condemned the new and false opinion of Luther as opposed to this tradition. "If anyone shall say that Masses in which the priest only receives communion, are unlawful, and therefore should be abolished, let him be anathema. They, therefore, err from the path of truth who do not want to have Masses celebrated unless the faithful communicate; and those are still more in error who, in holding that it is altogether necessary for the faithful to receive holy communion as well as the priest, put forward the captious argument that here there is question not of a sacrifice merely, but of a sacrifice and a supper of brotherly union, and consider the general communion of all present as the culminating point of the whole celebration."It is clear that this understanding of the Mass has almost been lost by Catholics today, and the prevailing theology of the Novus Ordo falls into this condemned mentality.

If we read on pages 35 of the Bugnini book we can see all of the changing in the wording of the schema on the liturgy that took place as it was being composed. As I have pointed out before, many of the VCII documents are ambiguous in wording, and they can and have been interpreted to allow for changes in the liturgy to take place beyond the text. This indeed did occur and it was intended for these documents to work in the favor of those who wanted these further changes. Bugnini's view of the Mass of which he sees realized in the Novus Ordo is viewed by him as a change in theology. For instance his view concerning the altar and the laity on page 40 is flawed, "The liturgy is the sign that offers the truest and fullest image of the Church: a worshiping community gathered around a single altar, under the presidency of its lawful pastors." Notice the idea of a "gathering around." This may seem insignificant to some in today's average parish, but it has significant meaning when it comes to implementing a new Mass. Hence Bugnini tells the tale on page 42, "The path opened up by the Council will surely bring a radical change in the very appearance of traditional liturgical assemblies,..."

I have noticed that many in the Catholics today use the excuse that if the Novus Ordo was celebrated reverently, it would be the same as the previous Latin Mass. The fact is however, that the Novus Ordo was not built by the committees to be celebrated in uniformity, which is why it has never been celebrated in any kind of coherent uniformity since its inception. Bugnini tells us this clearly on page 42, "This principle represents a momentous departure from past practice. For centuries the Church willed that all worship in the Roman Rite should everywhere show perfect uniformity. The two liturgical reforms which history has recorded - that of the eighth century and that promoted by the Council of Trent in the sixteenth century- had precisely that aim... Social, religious, cultic and cultural considerations, and indeed the entire psychological climate, have changed radically in our day."  Bugnini goes on to say that now the centralization for governing the liturgy has been done away with and that the Council fathers did not want uniformity. This is of course the reality we have today in the practice of the Novus Ordo. He says there are now three legislating branches which deal with liturgical celebration. "The complete centralization effected by the Council of Trent now makes way, in matters liturgical, to three levels of authority: the Holy See, episcopal conferences, and diocesan bishops." There is no wonder then that we have the huge problem today of non-uniformity and liturgical abuse today with the Novus Ordo. When the liturgical creation of the Novus Ordo came about is had this decentralized non-uniformity ingrained into its DNA so to speak.

I could go on and on with this article, but I must stop, thus I run the risk of bogging down the reader. It is easy to get carried away on this subject. I will however try to make this an ongoing series of posts concerning the Bugnini memoirs.



The Forgotten Papal Encyclicals Series

The Forgotten Papal Encyclicals Series



    When was the last time you have heard a papal encyclical mentioned in your parish that was penned before the reign of Pope Paul VI? I must say that aside from the Latin Mass parish I now attend, I cannot remember any writing referenced, written by a pope before him. In fact, most often we only hear of Pope John Paul II, and little is mentioned of the great popes who came before him. The atmosphere in most Catholic parishes is that the Church fell out of the sky during the sixties. What happened to all of the popes before that time? Are their writings relevant to us today? Are their memories doomed to be forever forgotten with the dawn of the ‘Age of Aquarius?’ To stir up an affection for our beloved popes of time past, and to benefit from their wisdom, I want to start a new series on my blog which goes through many of the great encyclicals of the popes who have been long forgotten. I want to focus on the papacy between Pope Gregory XVI and Pope Pius XII. This is a range of encyclicals spanning a crucial time in the history of the Church, 1831-1958. That being said, I think they have much to tell us about the state of the Church today, and what can be done to correct many of the problems the Church is facing right now in our time.

I am calling this series, ‘The Forgotten Papal Encyclicals Series.’ I will post an entire encyclical up in sections and comment below each section giving my thoughts on that portion of the encyclical. Some of the encyclicals are long so it will take several posts to cover some of them. I hope that this will be a good way for Catholics to familiarize themselves with these long dismissed documents. Of course I welcome all comments, the more the better. Hopefully we can all learn from these documents. But try and keep the comments related to the subject matter please. I will begin the series with the encyclical by Blessed Pope Pius IX titled, ‘Quanto Conficiamur Moerore’ or in English, ‘On Promotion of False Doctrines.’ This encyclical is very relevant for Catholics today and it cuts to the heart of many problems the Church faces right now. I hope to have a volunteer editor on board for this project to help clean up my horrible grammar and fill in my left out words, etc. Stay tuned for the first part of this series.


More Scandal at "Catholic" Universities

It appears that Secretary Kathleen Sebelius is going to be speaking at the commencement ceremony for Georgetown University’s Public Policy Institute on Friday, May 18. As you may know, Sebelius holds heretical views unbecoming of a Catholic. Despite her and the Big Zero's campaign to make abortion and contraception readily available through our government, Georgetown is going to invite her to speak on campus. How hard is it for the bishops to take away the Catholic status of these heretical universities? How hard is it to publicly condemn these radical public heretics? Well, here is your chance to make a difference. You can sign the petition to stop the heretic from speaking. Go to this website and join the fight. If the bishops won't do it then I guess others will have to make it known that we as Catholics won't tolerate this nonsense.


It has come to the attention of The Cardinal Newman Society and the following signers that U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius has been granted the honor of speaking at the commencement ceremony for Georgetown University’s Public Policy Institute on Friday, May 18.  We strongly urge you to withdraw the invitation to Secretary Sebelius immediately.

It is scandalous and outrageous that America's oldest Catholic and Jesuit university has elected to provide this prestigious platform to a publicly "pro-choice" Catholic who is most responsible for the Obama administration's effort to restrict the Constitution's first freedom -- the right to free exercise of religion -- while threatening the survival of many Catholic and other religious colleges and universities, schools, charities, hospitals and other apostolates.

Friday, May 4, 2012

Why The Latin Mass is Superior

I ran across this blog post today and thought I would share it with you. The post gives six reasons that the Latin Mass in the Extraordinary Form is superior to the Novus Ordo form. I agree with the thoughts of the author. His six reasons are...

1. The Extraordinary Form Is Better Equipped to Focus the Mind on God.

2. The Extraordinary Form Sheds More Light on Truths of the Faith.

3. The Extraordinary Form Is Less Susceptible to Liturgical Abuses.

4. The Extraordinary Form Sheds More Light on the Reality of the Communion of Saints.

5. The Extraordinary Form Is Much Simpler than the Ordinary Form.

6. The Extraordinary Form Is Hated and Despised by All the Right People.    

I'll let you read the article for yourself to get a further explanation for each.  


 

Thursday, May 3, 2012

The Latin Mass: We Can't Understand It, Vatican II Ditched Latin

Many Catholics today are vehemently against the return of the Latin Mass, often referred to as the Tridentine Mass or now titled, 'The Extraordinary Form'. These same people are also usually against Latin being used in the Novus Ordo as well. There are a range of absurd arguments made by these anti-Latin Mass proponents. Two of the most common accusations made about the Latin Mass is that, no one can understand it, and that Vatican II said to ditch Latin. Lets first deal with the first accusation.

1. No one can understand it!


Really? How long are these 60s retreads going to hold on to that absurd claim? Can they read? Do they know that the Missal has the Latin on one side and English on the other? Do they know that the ordinary parts of the Mass do not change and that many young children memorize those parts of the Mass quite quickly? Do they also know that the Epistle and Gospel readings are read in Latin during the order of the Mass, and then usually read again in the vernacular at the pulpit before the sermon? If not, guess what? The readings are in the vernacular in your Missal too! How much effort does it take to read the English in the Missal? They are usually available for free in the pews! Here is another novel idea. Do they know that they can actually pray during Mass? Many apparently do not understand that you do not have to pray the exact passage out of the Missal in order to participate in the Mass. If people are going to argue against the Latin Mass, this is not a tenable position to do it from. If you can read, you can participate. It will not suffice to say that no one can understand what is going on or what is being prayed.
2. Vatican II said to ditch Latin?

This is a most fundamental claim made by those Vatican II only Catholics who claim that the Council abolished Latin from the Mass. It is must be understood that Vatican II along with the Holy Spirit did not abolish Latin in the Mass. The problem with the document Sacrosanctum Concilium, which we have in many of the VCII documents, is that it goes back and forth between two ideologies. The document clearly says that Latin should be preserved by law of the Latin Rite. But we have a huge "but" in other parts of the document where permission is given to limited use of the vernacular. That is where everyone went overboard. Lets start with paragraph 36.
36. 1. Particular law remaining in force, the use of the Latin language is to be preserved in the Latin rites.
That is pretty clear, no?  But...it continues.



2. But since the use of the mother tongue, whether in the Mass, the administration of the sacraments, or other parts of the liturgy, frequently may be of great advantage to the people, the limits of its employment may be extended. This will apply in the first place to the readings and directives, and to some of the prayers and chants, according to the regulations on this matter to be laid down separately in subsequent chapters.


So the document lays down a clear law, then makes an exception primarily to readings, etc. If you continue on and read paragraph 54 of the VCII document Sacrosanctum Concilium, it reiterates the first law, "steps should be taken so that the faithful may also be able to say or to sing together in Latin those parts of the Ordinary of the Mass” That means that at least those parts of the Mass which never change should be said in Latin. As I stated above, there is usually no issue with the readings since both are usually read in Latin and the vernacular. But the document almost appears to be written by two people. One saying that the law of the Latin Rite Mass is to remain in force concerning the Latin language, the other wanting the vernacular more liberally used. While a person may be able to argue that the vernacular can be used in parts of the Mass, one obviously cannot argue that Latin was to be abolished from the Mass altogether. Yet we hear this all of the time from those who oppose the Latin Mass. This is the problem of the text giving an inch, and the liturgical hippies taking a mile. If we are going to use the text of Vatican II, we can see that Latin was not abolished from the Mass, it is the law that it be used. The vernacular is the exception to the law, which has unfortunately become the "law."

More Mark Shea Nonsense: False Compassion

I was debating whether or not to post on the latest nonsensical post by the Catholic "apologist" Mark Shea. Two others have beat me to the punch, and have done a nice job of pointing out Shea's errors, so I will just refer you to the blog posts found here and here. As I have pointed out before, I would not recommend learning your faith from Shea. Here is another reason why.

"One of the people I admire most in the world, who I regard as an inspiration and, very likely, as a saint was a gay guy who lived here in Seattle named Perry Lorenzo. You can get something of a sense of the man from his blog. Dunno if he was celibate or not...Some Catholics (and some of my gay readers) will probably be surprised to hear that I’m not interested in whether or not he was celibate. Not my business. That’s between him and God. (I had a reader write me in some degree of scandal after I posted on his death because he apparently had a partner he lived with."
The author of the post criticizing Shea, linked first above writes, "The fact that Mr. Lorenzo was openly homosexual and was known to have lived with another man is a matter of serious concern not to mention a source of scandal....Mark Shea is advancing a false idea of compassion."