Thursday, April 30, 2009

The Eucharist: The “Reformed” Deformation of Saint Austin

The Eucharist: The “Reformed” Deformation (Butchery) of Saint Austin (Augustine) and the Rest of the Early Fathers.

Look out the butchers are it again! It has been an historical practice of Calvinists to twist Saint Austin's writings to fit their own heretical ideas. Although is is quite clear that the great Saint often spoke of Christ as being bodily present in the Eucharist, the “Reformers” do with his words that which they do with Sacred Scripture, they butcher it. One recent post uses a problematic argument to redefine St Austin's writings describing the Eucharist as being Christ's real body and blood. The Protestant butcher refuses to let St. Austin's words be taken at face value, deciding ignorantly that everyone should take them as being symbolic, or spiritual in nature only. This comes as no surprise since they expect people to take Jesus' words as being symbolic or merely spiritual in nature in the sixth chapter of the gospel of St. John as well. The problem is there is no evidence that any of the early Christians during the time of St. Austin took any of it only symbolically, or as referring to a spiritual presence only.

Those who force St. Austin's writings to be taken at less than face value must first prove that he did not mean what he wrote. This however is never proven by any of these heretics. In fact they are so blinded by hatred for the Catholic Church that they will do anything they can to twist St. Austin or any of the early writers for that matter. The fact is, they cannot stomach the possibility that they may be wrong and the Catholic Church may be right. Why should we reinterpret St. Austin's writings to be anything less than what the text says? Of course half-baked apologists like James White will take one of St. Austin's writings out of context to try and shoehorn an argument as to why St. Austin would not have written it to be taken literally. White frequently in his debates loves to quote St Austin as saying that Christ was no longer present on the earth. White seems to miss that fact the Christ is no longer present on the earth in the same exact manner as He was before His ascension. Meaning that He is not walking around talking to people and interacting with them as he did 2000 years ago. This however does not negate the real and substantial presence of Christ in the Eucharist, which comes to us under that sacraments in an un-bloody manner. St. Austin is clear on the teaching of the Christ being substantially present in the Eucharist after consecration. Here are a few of the passages that the heretics refuse to take as they are written by St Austin.

"That Bread which you see on the altar, having been sanctified by the word of God is the body of Christ. That chalice, or rather, what is in that chalice, having been sanctified by the word of God, is the blood of Christ. Through that bread and wine the Lord Christ willed to commend His body and blood, which He poured out for us unto the forgiveness of sins.(Sermons 227)

"The Lord Jesus wanted those whose eyes were held lest they should recognize him, to recognize Him in the breaking of the bread [Luke 24:16,30-35]. The faithful know what I am saying. They know Christ in the breaking of the bread. For not all bread, but only that which receives the blessing of Christ, becomes Christ's body." (Sermons 234:2)

"What you see is the bread and the chalice; that is what your own eyes report to you. But what your faith obliges you to accept is that the bread is the body of Christ and the chalice the blood of Christ." (Sermons 272)

"How this ['And he was carried in his own hands'] should be understood literally of David, we cannot discover; but we can discover how it is meant of Christ. For Christ was carried in his own hands, when, referring to His own body, He said: 'This is my body.' For he carried that body in His own hands" (Psalms 33:1:10)

If we read these passages in context and at face value the heretic has no rational argument. He can only try and get you to believe that the great Saint was only speaking symbolically or spiritually. The heretic must assume that the great saint could never have been affirming a Catholic teaching, yet never proving that he meant anything otherwise. One such heretic wrote recently “This is what I call the "weakest argument against the spiritual presence." As I have noted over and over again, even someone who views the sacrament is merely symbolic could use those expressions.” Yes we hear the lame argument over and over again, but repeating a bad argument doesn't make it any more convincing than the first time he said it. Who has the weak argument? The one who has to play word games with the text or the one who reads the text at face value? Does the heretic ever prove that the great Saint did not mean it to be taken literally? No, he does not, because he cannot. It is clear that St. Austin is not using any of these terms in a symbolic nor a mere spiritual manner. As we will see, if we look to another great Saint of the early Church, Saint John Chrysostom, he also believes Christ to be bodily present in the Eucharist.

Before we look at the text we must understand that even when we as Catholics refer to the substantial, bodily presence of Christ, we understand it not in a mere carnal bodily presence, but as it is presented to us in an un-bloody, mystical manner. This is attested to in many official Catholic sources. The Catechism paragraph 1357 uses these words, “We carry out this command of the Lord by celebrating the memorial of his sacrifice. In so doing, we offer to the Father what he has himself given us: the gifts of his creation, bread and wine which, by the power of the Holy Spirit and by the words of Christ, have become the body and blood of Christ. Christ is thus really and mysteriously made present.”

If we read Saint Chrysostom's commentaries on the New Testament there can be no doubt as to his interpretation as being a literal one, in line with Catholic doctrine, and not symbolic, or spiritual in nature alone. Saint John Chrysotom makes it clear that we are to accept Jesus' words as being literal, yet he carefully explains that it is not a mere carnal understanding of the bodily presence of Christ. If we examine part of his writing on the Gospel of Saint John we can see that the bodily presence is never questioned, but only how we accept the bodily presence in light of the whole person of Christ as a divine person, not a mere human person in which we consume carnally. It must be understood in a mystical and spiritual sense in that Christ is not subject to the laws of nature because He is a divine person. That is why the argument against cannibalism is not tenable when talking about Christ in the Eucharist in Catholic teaching. He is not a mere human person, but a divine person with a human nature and a divine nature.

After we look at St. John's commentary on the gospel of John, I will close with his commentary on 1st Corinthians 11:25-27. This will cement in the fact that St. Chrysostom was not looking at the Eucharist as a spiritual presence alone, but the mystical and real presence of Christ's body as well. He uses words such as, “And these things thou doest when thou hast enjoyed the Table of Christ, on that day on which thou hast been counted worthy to touch His flesh with thy tongue. What then is to be done to prevent these things? Purify thy right hand, thy tongue, thy lips, which have become a threshold for Christ to tread upon.” So now let us look at part of Saint Chrysostom's commentaries. I have looked at these in particular in more detail in another of my writings found here.

Saint John Chrysostom's homily on the Gospel of John 6:55-69

Ver. 55. “For My flesh is true “truly,” N.T. meat, and My blood is true drink.”

What is that He saith? al. “but what is the, ‘ is true meat ’ ?” He either desireth to declare that this is the true meat which saveth the soul, or to assure them concerning what had been said, that they might not suppose the words to be a mere enigma or parable, but might know that it is by all means needful to eat the Body. Then He saith,

Ver. 56. “He that eateth My flesh, dwelleth in Me.”

Ver. 63. “It is the Spirit that quickeneth, the flesh profiteth nothing.”

His meaning is, “Ye must hear spiritually what relateth to Me, for he who heareth carnally is not profited, nor gathereth any advantage.” It was carnal to question how He came down from heaven, to deem that He was the son of Joseph, to ask, “How can he give us His flesh to eat?” All this was carnal, when they ought to have understood the matter in a mystical and spiritual sense. “But,” saith some one, “how could they understand what the ‘eating flesh’ might mean?” Then it was their duty to wait for the proper time and enquire, and not to abandon Him.

“The words that I speak unto you, they are spirit and they are life.”

That is, they are divine and spiritual, have nothing carnal about them, are not subject to the laws of physical consequence, but are free from any such necessity, are even set above the laws appointed for this world, and have also another and a different meaning. Now as in this passage He said “spirit,” instead of “spiritual,” so when He speaketh of “flesh,” He meant not “carnal things,” but “carnally hearing,” and alluding at the same time to them, because they ever desired carnal things when they ought to have desired spiritual. For if a man receives them carnally, he profits nothing. “What then, is not His flesh, flesh?” Most certainly. “How then saith He, that the flesh profiteth nothing?” He speaketh not of His own flesh, (God forbid!) but of those who received His words in a carnal manner. But what is “understanding carnally”? It is looking merely to what is before our eyes, without imagining anything beyond. This is understanding carnally. But we must not judge thus by sight, but must look into all mysteries with the eyes within. This is seeing spiritually. He that eateth not His flesh, and drinketh not His blood, hath no life in him. How then doth “the flesh profit nothing,” if without it we cannot live? Seest thou that the words, “the flesh profiteth nothing,” are spoken not of His own flesh, but of carnal hearing?

1st Corinthians 11:25-27

Ver. 25. “In like manner also the cup after supper, saying, This cup is the New Covenant in My Blood: this do, as oft as ye drink of it, in remembrance of Me.”

What sayest thou? Art thou making a remembrance of Christ, and despisest thou the poor and tremblest not? Why, if a son or brother had died and thou wert making a remembrance of him, thou wouldst have been smitten by thy conscience, hadst thou not fulfilled the custom and invited the poor: and when thou art making remembrance of thy Master, dost thou not so much as simply give a portion of the Table?

But what is it which He saith, “This cup is the New Covenant?” Because there was also a cup of the Old Covenant; the libations and the blood of the brute creatures. For after sacrificing, they used to receive the blood in a chalice and bowl and so pour it out. Since then instead of the blood of beasts He brought in His own Blood; lest any should be troubled on hearing this, He reminds them of that ancient sacrifice.

[6.] Next, having spoken concerning that Supper, he connects the things present with the things of that time, that even as on that very evening and reclining on that very couch and receiving from Christ himself this sacrifice, so also now might men be affected; and he saith,

Ver. 26. “For as often as ye eat this bread, and drink this cup, ye proclaim the Lord’s death till He come.”

For as Christ in regard to the bread and the cup said, “Do this in remembrance of Me,” revealing to us the cause of the giving of the Mystery, and besides what else He said, declaring this to be a sufficient cause to ground our religious fear upon:—(for when thou considerest what thy Master hath suffered for thee, thou wilt the better deny thyself:)—so also Paul saith here: “as often as ye eat ye do proclaim His death.” And this is that Supper. Then intimating that it abides unto the end, he saith, “till He come.”

Ver. 27. “Wherefore whosoever shall eat this bread and drink the cup of the Lord unworthily, shall be guilty of the Body and the Blood of the Lord.”

Why so? Because he poured it out, and makes the thing appear a slaughter and no longer a sacrifice. Much therefore as they who then pierced Him, pierced Him not that they might drink but that they might shed His blood: so likewise doth he that cometh for it unworthily and reaps no profit thereby. Seest thou how fearful he makes his discourse, and inveighs against them very exceedingly, signifying that if they are thus to drink, they partake unworthily of the elements τῶν προκέιμενων.? For how can it be other than unworthily when it is he who neglects the hungry? who besides overlooking him puts him to shame? Since if not giving to the poor casteth one out of the kingdom, even though one should be a virgin; or rather, not giving liberally: (for even those virgins too had oil, only they had it not abundantly:) consider how great the evil will prove, to have wrought so many impieties?

“What impieties?” say you. Why sayest thou, what impieties? Thou hast partaken of such a Table and when thou oughtest to be more gentle than any and like the angels, none so cruel as thou art become. Thou hast tasted the Blood of the Lord, and not even thereupon dost thou acknowledge thy brother. Of what indulgence then art thou worthy? Whereas if even before this thou hadst not known him, thou oughtest to have come to the knowledge of him from the Table; but now thou dishonorest the Table itself; he having been deemed worthy to partake of it and thou not judging him worthy of thy meat. Hast thou not heard how much he suffered who demanded the hundred pence? how he made void the gift vouchsafed to him154154 ἐξενεχθεῖσαν, perhaps “officially declared.”? Doth it not come into thy mind what thou wert and what thou hast become? Dost thou not put thyself in remembrance that if this man be poor in possessions, thou wast much more beggarly in good works, being full of ten thousand sins? Notwithstanding, God delivered thee from all those and counted thee worthy of such a Table: but thou art not even thus become more merciful: therefore of course nothing else remaineth but that thou shouldest be “delivered to the tormentors.”

[7.] These words let us also listen to, all of us, as many as in this place approach with the poor to this holy Table, but when we go out, do not seem even to have seen them, but are both drunken and pass heedlessly by the hungry; the very things whereof the Corinthians were accused. And when is this done? say you. At all times indeed, but especially at the festivals, where above all times it ought not so to be. Is it not so, that at such times, immediately after Communion, drunkenness succeeds and contempt of the poor? And having partaken of the Blood, when it were a time for thee to fast and watch, thou givest thyself up to wine and revelling. And yet if thou hast by chance made thy morning meal on any thing good, thou keepest thyself lest by any other unsavory viand thou spoil the taste of the former: and now that thou hast been feasting on the Spirit thou bringest in a satanical luxury. Consider, when the Apostles partook of that holy Supper, what they did: did they not betake themselves to prayers and singing of hymns? to sacred vigils? to that long work of teaching, so full of all self-denial? For then He related and delivered to them those great and wonderful things, when Judas had gone out to call them who were about to crucify Him. Hast thou not heard how the three thousand also who partook of the Communion continued even in prayer and teaching, not in drunken feasts and revellings? But thou before thou hast partaken fastest, that in a certain way thou mayest appear worthy of the Communion: but when thou hast partaken, and thou oughtest to increase thy temperance, thou undoest all. And yet surely it is not the same to fast before this and after it. Since although it is our duty to be temperate at both times, yet most particularly after we have received the Bridegroom. Before, that thou mayest become worthy of receiving: after, that thou mayest not be found unworthy of what thou hast received.

“What then? ought we to fast after receiving?” I say not this, neither do I use any compulsion. This indeed were well: however, I do not enforce this, but I exhort you not to feast to excess. For if one never ought to live luxuriously, and Paul showed this when he said, “she that giveth herself to pleasure is dead while she liveth” (1 Tim. v. 6.); much more will she then be dead. And if luxury be death to a woman, much more to a man: and if this done at another time is fatal, much more after the communion of the Mysteries. And dost thou having taken the bread of life, do an action of death and not shudder? Knowest thou not how great evils are brought in by luxury? Unseasonable laughter, disorderly expressions, buffoonery fraught with perdition, unprofitable trifling, all the other things, which it is not seemly even to name. And these things thou doest when thou hast enjoyed the Table of Christ, on that day on which thou hast been counted worthy to touch His flesh with thy tongue. What then is to be done to prevent these things? Purify thy right hand, thy tongue, thy lips, which have become a threshold for Christ to tread upon. Consider the time in which thou didst draw near and set forth a material table, raise thy mind to that Table, to the Supper of the Lord, to the vigil of the disciples, in that night, that holy night. Nay, rather should one accurately examine, this very present state is night. Let us watch then with the Lord, let us be pricked in our hearts with the disciples. It is the season of prayers, not of drunkenness; ever indeed, but especially during a festival. For a festival is therefore appointed, not that we may behave ourselves unseemly, not that we may accumulate sins, but rather that we may blot out those which exist.

There is no doubt that St. Austin or St. Chrysostom who came before him, both believed that Christ's body was present in the Eucharist. The only tactic the heretic can use is one of deception. They try to convince people that the Scriptures and the writings of the early fathers are only speaking in symbolic or spiritual terms alone, but as we can see the mystical bodily presence of Christ in the Eucharist is well understood and taught by both St. Chrysostom and St. Austin as well as the Catholic Church.

I also once again found it absurd for the heretic to pit the Orthodox Churches against the Catholic Church when it comes to the true substantial presence of Christ in the Eucharist. The Orthodox also hold that Christ is bodily present and that the substance indeed changes after the consecration. The Orthodox do believe in transubstantiation as far as taking the term at face value to mean, “the substance changes”. They just do not go into the philosophy and theological detail that the Catholic church does to explain it. This is yet another trick to try and divert attention away from the fact the every single church before the Reformation believed in Christ's mystical, substantial, bodily presence in the Eucharist after consecration. Unfortunately we will have to deal with heretics in all ages who seek to butcher and twist the Church Father's writings so that they can feel better about themselves living in rejection of Christ and His Church. John Calvin was famous for doing this, and his followers today are no different.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Transformation of a Building, Transformation of the Soul.

Transformation of a Building, Transformation of the Soul.
The dedication of Christ the King Chapel, Sarasota, Florida.
By Matthew James Bellisario 2009
Pictures by Matthew James Bellisario

On April 19th, 2009, I experienced first hand the transformation of an ordinary building into a Sacred House of God. Over the past several months, I watched as a building was transformed. On the morning of the 19th I woke up at 5:00 a.m. unable to sleep in anticipation of the dedication of the new chapel. I had had the opportunity to help Father James Fryar, FSSP, with the chapel's sound system, and assist with other small tasks along the way, prior to dedication day. Although I experienced something beyond words at Sunday's Dedication and Mass, I realize that this event neither started on that day, nor did it come to summation. This little chapel in Sarasota, Florida, has a much grander story to tell. The Chapel of Christ the King tells the story of the human soul, and its relationship with God.

As the sun rose over the chapel just a small distance away from the Sarasota coastline, over 400 people were making their way to witness the historical event. Bishop Frank J. Dewane, who has not only been supportive of the Latin Mass community in the Diocese of Venice, but was also instrumental in the purchase of the building, arrived early to see the final touches that were made in the sanctuary just hours before the ceremony. Father Fausto Stampiglia, pastor of Saint Martha's where the Latin Mass community began in January 1995 in conjunction with the Ecclesia Dei Society, another main catalyst and longtime supporter of the Latin Mass, also arrived early and walked alongside Bishop Dewane. He gazed at the bishop with Father Fryar following close behind, and spoke in a low sincere tone that his dream had finally come true. Father Fausto made it clear that he wanted to be sure the Extraordinary Form of the Latin Mass would be carried on in Sarasota after he retired. His dream, along with that of many others, was fulfilled just hours later. The bishop in good humor posed for some photos and then along with Father Fausto and Father Fryar graciously made his way to the sacristy to prepare for the Dedication and Mass.

As I reflect on my spiritual journey in my Catholic faith, I cannot help but relate this chapel to my own life. I am sure that many others who have been in this community for much longer than I will relate to my experience. Coming to the Catholic Church from Protestantism and through the Orthodox faith, I have experienced quite a transformational journey. It is one that is still in process, of course. But when I remember the chapel and the rather ugly interior of it, I think of myself before my conversion. The damage of sin takes its toll on the soul and makes a mess of it that cannot be repaired with nice clothes or a new haircut. So it was with the little chapel; although it was renovated and given new paint, new adornments and so forth, it only really came alive with the Dedication and the Mass that followed it. So it is with the soul; it only comes alive with the presence of God in the sacraments and in the Holy Eucharist. Although the chapel was well decorated and renovated from the dingy and mangy looking corpse that it was before, it came to life when Bishop Dewane dedicated and blessed the altar and walls of it.

Just after 9:00 a.m., the bishop followed behind the procession of priests and servers, making his way to the main doors of the structure. He chanted the Latin prayers and then proceeded to bless the building generously, soaking the outer walls with the aspersorium. He rounded the building, then stopped again before the double doors of the church where more prayers were said. The cross-bearer knocked on the doors three times and and the doors were opened. It was as if the building had received a baptism, just as we, the faithful, do. Bishop Dewane stepped through the doors and proceeded to the altar where the litany of the Saints was chanted. Next Bishop Dewane blessed the entire interior of the chapel, after which the procession exited to the back hall where preparation began for the chapel's first Mass.

So the chapel's life begins anew as ours does in baptism and confirmation. We are nourished with the Holy Eucharist in the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass. This is instrumental in our transformation or deification. The next glorious happening in the new Latin Mass chapel would be the first Mass ever to be celebrated within its walls. Now that the building had been blessed and dedicated it was ready to be used to feed the faithful. Just as Christ told Saint Peter in the Gospel of John, “Feed my sheep,” Bishop Frank J Dewane had the coming of the FSSP planned well before Pope Benedict's Motu Proprio was released, and has indeed fed the faithful of his diocese with this wonderful Latin Mass chapel.

Minutes later everyone gazed upon the server carrying the thurible, which billowed sweet-smelling incense into the air. He was followed by the cross-bearer, two candle-bearers, several more servers who were seminarians from the FSSP, Father Justin Nolan, FSSP, Father Gregory Pendergraft, FSSP, Father James Fryar, FSSP, and Bishop Frank J. Dewane, flanked by Father Robert Tatman and Father Fausto Stampiglia. The bishop and priests came before the altar so that Jesus could be given to us in the real and substantial form that He Himself chose. The liturgy was carried on with great reverence by everyone involved and everyone in the chapel was awestruck into silence.

It was now beginning to set in what was actually happening. This chapel is the first chapel in the state of Florida dedicated to the Extraordinary Form. No longer could the Latin Mass be referred to as being washed up, or done away with. No longer could it be considered an outcast in the life of the Church in Florida. I have been to many great churches in my life, witnessing the ancient tile mosaics of San Vitale in Ravenna, Italy, and Saint John Lateran in Rome, and the great Saint Peter's in Rome which rises many stories above the ground, and yet this little chapel in Sarasota, Florida, had just carved out its own small piece of history. She would be the sign which overcame the iconoclastic mindset of so many over the past 40 years. She would be the sign which gave the liturgy back her more pure and reverent language. She would be the sign to bring us liturgical music which raises the heart and soul to God. And this little chapel would bring us to contemplate and receive God in a an increasingly godless society. She alone in the state of Florida gives us a forecast of the future climate of Catholicism in America. Although she is not the first of her kind, she has indeed spoken with a loud voice in the wilderness.

After the Epistle was chanted by Father Justin Nolan, and the Holy Gospel by Father Gregory Pendergraft, Father James Fryar climbed up the ambo to introduce the bishop. The bishop in his usual joyful form ascended the steps of the ambo and gave a thoughtful homily on what this chapel was dedicated for. He spoke of the importance of each person coming closer to God within its walls and growing in community. He also made it clear that he was not only supportive of this grand spectacle, but overjoyed at it. He then looked down upon Father Fausto Stampigilia and congratulated him on his efforts and his work with the community. Father Fausto looked upwards with a wide smile.

One of my tasks for the day was to take for Father Fryar a grand photograph of the first consecration in the chapel. As I knelt in the center aisle and watched him raise the host above his head with the greatest pause and reverence, I knew that God was present. Likewise, as he raised his handmade chalice to the heavens, I had to hold back tears. I knew that not only was this a glorious event for me, but also for the many present in that chapel who grew up with the Latin Mass and had waited for this day for over 40 years. Folks like Stan Valerga who headed the Ecclesia Dei society, Leo and Carol LaBrecque who led the choir, and many others had waited so long for this. Many of them had been going to Saint Martha's for about 14 years with this day as their sole aim, and their dedication had finally been rewarded.

I walked to the front of the chapel afterword and knelt before the communion rail. The bishop prayerfully and without the slightest disposition of haste placed Our Lord on my tongue. As I received Our Lord from Bishop Dewane, kneeling at the new altar rail, I knew that something beyond words had taken place. I knew that this was not the end of the story, but only the beginning of the next chapter. When I look at this chapel, it reminds me of how I started out. A virtual wreck, damaged by sin, yet continually restored and renewed by the grace of God. Just as the chapel had been transformed so are we as the faithful transformed. Just as the chapel had new life so do we have new life. Just as this chapel now proclaims the living Gospel, so do we as well proclaim the living Gospel.

After the Mass had concluded, Bishop Dewane walked about outside to meet the people. He gave blessings, posed for photographs, and graciously blessed a child's rosary for her. The affection of the faithful was expressed by all to His Excellency. Soon after, the Bishop along with all of the clergy and faithful met in the new hall. Father James Fryar presented a plaque to Father Fausto Stampiglia which named the new hall after him. Father Fryar expressed that he had only harvested the field which had long ago been planted by Father Fausto. The bishop congratulated Father Fausto and the two embraced after Father Fausto thanked the bishop for his support. The day ended with children dressed in yellow aprons imprinted with the Christ the King logo serving snacks, and people enjoying conversation with one another.

This chapel gives us all a lesson in our lives. She gives us an example of a transformation that we are all called to experience. We see that God takes a damaged, distorted image of our souls and transforms it by His grace, just as this dead building was transformed into a chapel of God. It is in this Latin Liturgy that this will happen for those who attend Christ the King chapel in Sarasota, Florida. Pope Benedict XVI wrote in his landmark Motu Proprio, “It is known, in fact, that the Latin liturgy of the Church in its various forms, in each century of the Christian era, has been a spur to the spiritual life of many saints, has reinforced many peoples in the virtue of religion and fecundated their piety.” So too will this be the case here at this little chapel. May we all be transformed in Christ Our Lord.

Matthew James Bellisario 2009.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Christ the King Dedication: Photobucket

I had so many pictures I decided to drop some of them on photobucket. It contains some of the 800+ pictures that I took. Click on the link below for a sideshow of all of the pictures or on the one below for a grid view to select them individually. The pictures are in chronological order. Enjoy and pass on the website to others who may be interested.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Too Much For Words: Dedication of Christ the King Chapel

I am currently working on an article on the dedication of the new Christ the King FSSP chapel in Sarasota, Florida. Words cannot really express what I experienced today, so for now enjoy these pictures. I have many more to come.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Silence and Anticipation in Sarasota Florida...

Christ the King chapel is now ready to open its doors to the faithful tomorrow at 9AM. After months of renovations, hard work and dedication by many people the Lord will now make His new home at the new FSSP chapel. Bishop Frank J. Dewane will be there to bless the chapel. I will have pictures up tomorrow evening of the dedication and the Mass.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Countdown to Dedication Day: Christ the King Chapel, Sarasota.

Anticipation grows for Catholics in Sarasota Florida who adore the Latin Mass. The dedication day of April 19th for the Chapel of Christ the King in Sarasota, Florida is a monumental day in the recent history of the Catholic Church in the US. Although the chapel is relatively small in size, it is sending a large ripples throughout the Church.

The final cleanup of the chapel is being carried out as we speak. Final touches are also being made on the sound system and other peripherals. Father James Fryar has been working with several seminarians who will be present on Sunday for the dedication as well. Here are a few more pictures to wet your appetite. On Monday I will have a full article and pictures covering the landmark event. As far as I know this will be the only dedicated Latin Mass church in the state of Florida. This church is an answer to many years of prayer made by many individuals. While seating may be limited, all are invited to attend. There is an overflow room that will hopefully accommodate all guests. The ceremony begins at 9AM at the chapel located at 1900 Meadowood St. Sarasota FL. You can also visit for more pictures and information.

Father James Fryar FSSP and Vincent Beck pose in front of the new ambo. Vincent did all of the work on the main altar, the window casings, the sacristy and other decorative woodwork in the church.

Father James Fryar FSSP and Father Justin Nolan FSSP stand before the new sacristycredens.

Father James Fryar FSSP tries out the ambo.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Protestant Confessions Part I: Attack the Pope

The evil and blasphemous Philip Melanchthon above and a demonic cartoon below mocking the Papacy that he published in 1523.

We of course know that all Protestants reject the Papacy and the Catholic Church. Although there are many Protestants today who are not as rabidly anti-Catholic as their forefathers were, we must remember that their creeds and the foundation that their heretical faith is based upon is rabidly Anti-Catholic. I wanted to post a few excerpts below from some of their "confessions" which deal with the Papacy. After you read below you will find that these confessions radically attack the Pope and every one of them refer to him as the anti-Christ. This is a friendly reminder to all Catholics that we must not let false ecumenism get in the way of denouncing these heresies. While many Protestants are ignorant of their heritage, they are still following in the footsteps of some of these "confessions." The only real ecumenism that is worth anything is one that brings their conversion, not complacency with their evil heresies.

Westminster Confession (1646) (Calvinist)

25.6. There is no other head of the Church but the Lord Jesus Christ: nor can the Pope of Rome in any sense be head thereof; but is that Antichrist, that man of sin and son of perdition, that exalts himself in the Church against Christ, and all that is called God.

1689 Baptist Confession of Faith (Calvinistic)

26.4. The Lord Jesus Christ is the Head of the church, in whom, by the appointment of the Father, all power for the calling, institution, order or government of the church, is invested in a supreme and sovereign manner; neither can the Pope of Rome in any sense be head thereof, but is that antichrist, that man of sin, and son of perdition, that exalteth himself in the church against Christ.

Lutheran Confession (Book of Concord)

Article IV: Of the Papacy.

10] This teaching shows forcefully that the Pope is the very Antichrist, who has exalted himself above, and opposed himself against Christ because he will not permit Christians to be saved without his power, which, nevertheless, is nothing, and is neither ordained nor commanded by God. 11] This is, properly speaking to exalt himself above all that is called God as Paul says, 2 Thess. 2:4. Even the Turks or the Tartars, great enemies of Christians as they are, do not do this, but they allow whoever wishes to believe in Christ, and take bodily tribute and obedience from Christians.

12] The Pope, however, prohibits this faith, saying that to be saved a person must obey him. This we are unwilling to do, even though on this account we must die in God s name. 13] This all proceeds from the fact that the Pope has wished to be called the supreme head of the Christian Church by divine right. Accordingly he had to make himself equal and superior to Christ, and had to cause himself to be proclaimed the head and then the lord of the Church, and finally of the whole world, and simply God on earth, until he has dared to issue commands even to the angels in heaven. 14] And when we distinguish the Pope's teaching from, or measure and hold it against, Holy Scripture, it is found [it appears plainly] that the Pope's teaching, where it is best, has been taken from the imperial and heathen law and treats of political matters and decisions or rights, as the Decretals show; furthermore, it teaches of ceremonies concerning churches, garments, food, persons and [similar] puerile, theatrical and comical things without measure, but in all these things nothing at all of Christ, faith, and the commandments of God. Lastly, it is nothing else than the devil himself, because above and against God he urges [and disseminates] his [papal] falsehoods concerning masses, purgatory, the monastic life, one's own works and [fictitious] divine worship (for this is the very Papacy [upon each of which the Papacy is altogether founded and is standing]), and condemns, murders and tortures all Christians who do not exalt and honor these abominations [of the Pope] above all things. Therefore, just as little as we can worship the devil himself as Lord and God, we can endure his apostle, the Pope, or Antichrist, in his rule as head or lord. For to lie and to kill, and to destroy body and soul eternally, that is wherein his papal government really consists, as I have very clearly shown in many books.

John Wesley 1754 (United Methodist)

"The whole succession of Popes from Gregory VII. are undoubtedly antichrist. Yet this hinders not, but that the last Pope in this succession will be more eminently the antichrist, the man of sin, adding to that of his predecessors a peculiar degree of wickedness from the bottomless pit. This individual person, as Pope, is the seventh head of the beast; as the man of sin, he is the eighth, or the beast himself."

More on Cleveland's Closings of Landmark Catholic Churches

St. Casimir's in East Cleveland slated to close.

I ran across this article today which pondered on what may possibly be done to try and preserve some of the landmark churches in Cleveland which have been chosen to be closed in 2010. Towards the middle of the article are some nice pictures of these wonderful treasures of our faith. This is a sad state of affairs indeed!

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Happy Easter! From the FSSP, Ocala FL.

It was a beautiful Easter vigil in Ocala Florida this year. Father Justin Nolan FSSP celebrated his first Easter Vigil as a newly ordained FSSP priest. Here are some pictures from the memorable occasion. Rejoice heavenly powers! Sing choirs of angels! Christ is Risen! Indeed He is risen!

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Good Friday: Ukrainian Catholic Rite in Pictures

Today I also had the opportunity to go to my Ukrainian Rite Good Friday service. We had the procession with the burial shroud, but since I was part of the procession I couldn't get any pictures of it. Here are the few that I did get. It is quite amazing to be able to take part in both the Extraordinary Latin Rite service as well as the Ukrainian Eastern Rite. Both Rites are very rich in their liturgical practices and the theology one can learn from immersing themselves in them is stunning to say the least.

Friday, April 10, 2009

Good Friday: The Extraordinary Form in Pictures

Here are some pictures of the Extraordinary Ritual of Good Friday. Father James Fryar FSSP is the celebrant here at Saint Martha's in Sarasota Fl. Next years Holy Week will be in the new FSSP chapel, which will be dedicated on April 19th.