Friday, November 26, 2010

Another Reason To Go Back To The Latin Mass?

* Most importantly, when the final text of the Missal appears, we have everything we need to check how much this Received Text was corrected and improved. Whatever the case, it is difficult to see how the CDW could come away looking very good. Either the CDW made few changes, and we’re stuck for the most part with this crappy text. Or the CDW made lots of changes, which only shows how much their earlier work had to be undone. (Fr. Anthony Ruff OSB)

You should be aware by now that there are changes coming to the English text of the Novus Ordo Liturgy very soon. This new text has been a source of great controversy for many Catholics. Many are in favor of it claiming that it will be a better translation, following closer to the Latin text, and therefore retaining a truer adherence to Catholic theology. Others however claim that the new text is not going to be better, and hence there is a bitter tension brewing among many regarding this change in the translation.

Although there have been subtle changes made to the Latin Liturgy over the last 2000 years in the West, none were as drastic as what took place 40 years ago. Of course those against the new translation today are claiming that the change that was done 40 years ago was done as a "pastoral" need! These changes coming now however, in their opinion are not "pastoral." And so the bitter controversy goes on over the Liturgy. Check out this blog post over at the liberal PrayTell blog. This will give you an idea of what some people think of the new English translation. (Read through the comments) After reading it you can ask yourself the question, "Is this one more reason to go back to the Latin Mass?" Personally I would like nothing more than to see the complete restoration of the Latin Mass in the Latin Rite.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Pandoras' Box of Condoms? Updated with Vatican Clarification

How far can one brief statement by a Pope go? If the Pope has no authority or influence in the world as many claim, then why all the fuss by the secular media and the Protestants on this one ambiguous statement made by the Pope on condom use? Read about the varying opinions here. There will certainly have to be some sort of clarification made on the interview by the Church. Peter Seewald's new book which contains the interview with the Holy Father on this issue will be released this week.

A couple of things to keep in mind while wading through all of the media's opinions on the interview. First, this book is the text of a private interview that the Pope had with Peter Seewald, so it is not an official dogmatic pronouncement. Second, he does not really go into any detail regarding the issue. So before we go off the deep end, lets look at this for what it is. Finally, although I am not sure what the Holy Father was getting at, I do not understand how his comments are going to benefit the Church in these tumultuous times.

Here is an extended excerpt from the interview, with what looks like the Holy Father's entire answer concerning the use of condoms, which is not what the media is making it out to be.

I have updated the post with the full official statement from the Vatican which tells us that nothing has changed regarding Church teaching regarding the use of contraceptives.

Peter Seewald: On the occasion of your trip to Africa in March 2009, the Vatican's policy on Aids once again became the target of media criticism. Twenty-five percent of all Aids victims around the world today are treated in Catholic facilities. In some countries, such as Lesotho, for example, the statistic is 40 percent. In Africa you stated that the Church's traditional teaching has proven to be the only sure way to stop the spread of HIV. Critics, including critics from the Church's own ranks, object that it is madness to forbid a high-risk population to use condoms.

Pope Benedict: The media coverage completely ignored the rest of the trip to Africa on account of a single statement. Someone had asked me why the Catholic Church adopts an unrealistic and ineffective position on Aids. At that point, I really felt that I was being provoked, because the Church does more than anyone else. And I stand by that claim.
Because she is the only institution that assists people up close and concretely, with prevention, education, help, counsel, and accompaniment. And because she is second to none in treating so many Aids victims, especially children with Aids.

I had the chance to visit one of these wards and to speak with the patients. That was the real answer: The Church does more than anyone else, because she does not speak from the tribunal of the newspapers, but helps her brothers and sisters where they are actually suffering.
In my remarks I was not making a general statement about the condom issue, but merely said, and this is what caused such great offense, that we cannot solve the problem by distributing condoms. Much more needs to be done. We must stand close to the people, we must guide and help them; and we must do this both before and after they contract the disease.

As a matter of fact, you know, people can get condoms when they want them anyway. But this just goes to show that condoms alone do not resolve the question itself. More needs to happen. Meanwhile, the secular realm itself has developed the so-called ABC Theory: Abstinence-Be Faithful-Condom, where the condom is understood only as a last resort, when the other two points fail to work.

This means that the sheer fixation on the condom implies a banalization of sexuality, which, after all, is precisely the dangerous source of the attitude of no longer seeing sexuality as the expression of love, but only a sort of drug that people administer to themselves. This is why the fight against the banalization of sexuality is also a part of the struggle to ensure that sexuality is treated as a positive value and to enable it to have a positive effect on the whole of man's being.

There may be a basis in the case of some individuals, as perhaps when a male prostitute uses a condom, where this can be a first step in the direction of a moralization, a first assumption of responsibility, on the way toward recovering an awareness that not everything is allowed and that one cannot do whatever one wants. But it is not really the way to deal with the evil of HIV infection.
That can really lie only in a humanization of sexuality.

Peter Seewald: Are you saying, then, that the Catholic Church is actually not opposed in principle to the use of condoms?

Pope Benedict: She of course does not regard it as a real or moral solution, but, in this or that case, there can be nonetheless, in the intention of reducing the risk of infection, a first step in a movement toward a different way, a more human way, of living sexuality.

UPDATE 11-23-10 Vatican Statement 

From the Zenit link above..
At the end of chapter 10 of the book "Light of the World" the Pope responds to two questions about the battle against AIDS and the use of condoms, questions that reconnect with the discussion that followed some statements that the Pope made on the theme during the course of his trip to Africa in 2009.
The Pope again clearly stresses that at that time he had not intended to take a position on the problem of condoms in general, but wanted to affirm with force that the problem of AIDS cannot be solved simply by distributing condoms, because much more needs to be done: prevention, education, help, counsel, being with people both to keep them from getting sick and in the case that they do get sick.
The Pope observes that even in the non-ecclesial context an analogous awareness has developed, as is apparent in the so-called ABC theory (Abstinence -- Be Faithful -- Condom), in which the first two elements (abstinence and fidelity) are more decisive and basic in the battle against AIDS, while condoms appear in the last place as a way out, when the other two are not there. It should thus be clear that condoms are not the solution to the problem.
The Pope then broadens the perspective and insists on the fact that focusing only on condoms is equivalent to banalizing sexuality, which loses its meaning as an expression of love between persons and becomes a "drug." Fighting against banalization of sexuality is "part of the great effort to help sexuality be valued positively and have a positive effect on man in his totality."
In the light of this broad and profound vision of human sexuality and the contemporary discussion of it, the Pope reaffirms that "naturally the Church does not consider condoms as the authentic and moral solution" to the problem of AIDS.
In this the Pope does not reform or change the Church's teaching, but reaffirms it, placing it in the perspective of the value and dignity of human sexuality as an expression of responsible love.
At the same time the Pope considers an exceptional circumstance in which the exercise of sexuality represents a real threat for the life of another. In that case, the Pope does not morally justify the disordered exercise of sexuality but maintains that the use of a condom to reduce the danger of infection may be "a first act of responsibility," "a first step on the road toward a more human sexuality," rather than not using it and exposing the other to risking his life.
In this, the reasoning of the Pope certainly cannot be defined as a revolutionary change. Numerous moral theologians and authoritative ecclesiastical figures have supported and support analogous positions; it is nevertheless true that we have not heard this with such clarity from the mouth of the Pope, even if it is in a informal and not magisterial form.
With courage Benedict XVI thus offers us an important contribution of clarification and reflection on a question that has long been debated. It is an original contribution, because on one hand it maintains fidelity to moral principles and demonstrates lucidity in refuting an illusory path like that of the "confidence is condoms"; on the other hand, however, it manifests a comprehensive and far-seeing vision, attentive to uncovering the small steps -- even if only initial and still confused -- of an often spiritually and culturally impoverished humanity, toward a more human and responsible exercise of sexuality.
[Translation from Italian original by Joseph G. Trabbic]

Saturday, November 20, 2010

A Preview of The Catholicism Project

Fr. Robert Barron's new video series titled 'Catholicism' is almost complete. Below is an excerpt from the first episode of the series. The video production is top notch and I am looking forward to buying the series when it becomes available.

New Exorcism Movie 'The Rite'

Below is the new movie trailer for 'The Rite.' It is based on Matt Baglio's recent book on exorcism. The movie is being advertised as the most accurate depiction of exorcism ever put on the silver screen. It is supposed to be released on Jan28th of next year.

The Rite Trailer
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Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Forgotten Cardinal Newman Letters?

A friend of mine was doing some research on John Henry Newman and scanned a couple of letters that he wrote concerning Pope Pius IX and the First Vatican Council concerning papal infallibility. I thought the letters were quite interesting so I decided to post them up for comments. They are two complete letters to two of his friends written in 1870, one in August and one in November (They are not in chronological order here). It appears that Vatican I defined papal infallibility on July of 1870. These scans are taken from Volume 25 of Dessain's "The Letters and Diaries of John Henry Newman." Sorry if they are hard to read. Perhaps I should type out the text as well. Any thoughts on them concerning his attitude towards the pope? Some quotes worthy of note are, "We have come to a climax of tyranny. It is not good for a pope to live twenty years. It is anomaly, and bears no good fruit; he becomes a god, has no one to contradict him, does not know facts, and does cruel things without meaning it.” and “We must hope, for one is obliged to hope it, that the pope will be driven from Rome and will not continue the council or that there will be another pope. It is sad he should force us to such wishes.”

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Quo Vadis on Blu Ray

If you enjoy old movies on blu ray like I do then I suggest you pick up Quo Vadis. It is a great movie, and on top of that, the blu ray picture is great. The characters portrayed in the movie are fun to watch. The arrogant Nero is constantly being manipulated by his close adviser Petronius, while Nero's bodyguard Tigellinus tries to play the other side trying to manipulate him for his own reasons. Meanwhile you have a great battle for Christianity in Rome. The film was nominated for 8 Oscars and was released in 1951. It clocks in at almost 3 hours and is a great epic that we rarely see from Hollywood these days.. You can check out the trailer for the new DVD here.

USCCB Goes with Archbishop Dolan.

It seems that pressure from the faithful has won the day, and the USCCB passed over Bishop Kicanas for president, electing Archbishop Timothy Dolan instead. This is welcome news for Catholics in the US! If you have been reading Catholic websites over the past week, you must have noticed that there was no shortage of articles making it clear that Catholics in the US did not want Bishop Kicanas for president, for a several reasons. Maybe the bishops are figuring out that the faithful are sick and tired of business as usual.  Article here in the NYTimes. 

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Cardinal Manning Snapshot: Divine Faith Or Human Criticism?

If you really want to understand Catholic ecclesiology then Cardinal Manning's works are indispensable. Although many of his works contain well formed views of Catholic ecclesiology, there are two books that I suggest that you read which will give you a good overview. One is a biography written by Fr. James Pereiro titled 'Cardinal Manning: From Anglican Archbishop to Council Father at Vatican I.' Aside from being a great biography, Pereiro devotes a good portion of the book to Manning's view on the Church, which ultimately lead to his conversion. The other book is Manning's own work titled 'The Temporal Mission of the Holy Ghost.' It is available in the public domain. The Cardinal Manning Society is working to print a newly typeset edition next year. Manning's view of the Church rests in the necessity of having an infallible Church speaking with an infallible Living Voice, that of the Holy Ghost.

Manning's core argument lies in the fact that one will either listen to the Living Voice of the Holy Ghost, which came upon the Church at Pentecost and remains with us today, or in that of human criticism. The mistake made by those outside the Church is that they rely on their own ability to reason through history, the Scriptures or the Church Fathers, and then determine for themselves what they are going to believe doctrinally. This is why there is no unity outside the Catholic Church regarding Christian doctrine. The Protestant mind can only assent to what it feels comfortable within its own reason. They divide over baptism, marriage and divorce, predestination, salvation and justification and the list goes on. Manning sums up the problems of this error quite simply when he responded to the unionism and latitudinarianism that was plaguing the Anglican Church of his time. "There can be but two principles and two tendencies: the one divine faith...the other, of human criticism, disguise it it as you may in texts of Scripture, or in Patristic learning, or in sceptical history, or rationalistic interpretation, the tendency of which is always to wider formulas and diminished truth, to comprehension of communion, and loss of faith."(APUC44)

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Will Bishop Kicanas Replace George as Head of the USCCB?

Check out this article regarding bishop Kicanas. I know little of him, but this article is quite alarming!

"Bishop Kicanas has a troubling reputation. The arch-liberal Father Thomas Reese has described Kicanas as “the leading liberal hope” among the progressive wing of the Church. And for this reason (and others noted below) I believe Bishop Kicanas is not the right choice to lead the bishops during these next two critical years."

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

PBR Christianity: The Error of James White’s “Sovereign Grace.” or (The Parable of Jethro, the auto plant worker)

PBR Christianity: The Error of James White’s “Sovereign Grace.”
(The Parable of Jethro, the auto plant worker)
By: Matthew J. Bellisario 2010

Every once in awhile I like to post a spirited criticism of James White and his band of “Reformed” protesters. They are rabidly anti-Catholic and they often lie and distort the truths of the Catholic faith. I don’t pay as much attention to them anymore, but every once in awhile I drop by to see what nonsense they are peddling. Recently there was an interview done with James White on Sola Gratia, which concerns the “Reformed” view on God’s sovereign grace, or grace alone. The errors of heretics have been pitted against Christ and His Church since its foundation, and today is no different. In this particular case we have the heresy of what some “Reformed” Protestants consider to be God’s sovereign grace. It is rooted in the mentality of evil and disturbed men like the arch-heretic John Calvin, and it is quite simply manmade doctrine that is not rooted in Divine Revelation or the Living Voice of the Holy Spirit.

Podcast Sermon: Christ the King 2010- Fr. James Fryar, FSSP

Here is the sermon that Father James Fryar, FSSP gave last Sunday, Oct 31st, for the Feast of Christ the King. Listen here online or go to iTunes and subscribe to the Catholic Champion podcast.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Anglican Bishops Convert to Catholicism

The spirit of Cardinal Manning lives on as more Anglicans convert to the true faith. Read the story here.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Feast of All Souls at Ave Maria University

I had the privilege of attending one of the most beautiful liturgies last evening at Ave Maria University, Florida. The Feast of All Souls was celebrated in the Extraordinary Form and it was fabulous. Fr. Robert Tatman, pastor of the Quasi-parish of Ave Maria, and Fr. Brian Austin, FSSP from Christ the King in Sarasota, put together an incredible liturgy with a full choir and orchestra which delivered Gabriel Faure's requiem Mass beautifully. Fr. James Fryar, FSSP from Christ the King, Sarasota, assisted as sub deacon.

The liturgy, which lasted about one hour and forty five minutes, lifted our hearts to contemplate not only our earthly mortality, but also of the eternal life that awaits us if we live our lives in the light of Christ. Fr. Austin's sermon neatly tied together the three Feasts we celebrated over the past week, that of Christ the King, All Saints, and the day's Feast of All Souls, shedding light on the reality of death, heaven, hell and purgatory. Today's society is so wound up in the ordinary affairs of the day that we often forget to stop and think about where we are in our walk with the Lord. Although most of us conjure up ideas of our eternal reward, we sometimes forget the reality of purgatory, and our obligation as Christians to pray for the dead. It is a rare occasion to attend such a beautiful liturgy and I am blessed that I was able to make the trip. Here are some of the photos that I took during the liturgy. The lighting in the Oratory is quite low so it took some editing to bring them to life. Enjoy!

Feast Of All Saints at Christ the King, Sarasota, FL

I wanted to post up some photos from the Feast of All Saints. After Mass we had a nice candle lit procession and then we had the home school kids dressed up as their favorite Saint. The kids had to guess the Saint that each were dressed as after a brief description was given of each. Pizza was enjoyed by all! The Saints are wonderful examples of what God is able to do with those that love Him. When we give honor to them, we are giving praise and honor to God Himself, since it is His light that shines through them!