Archive for the ‘by ALL SOURCES’ Category

If you read this post on Msgr. Pope’s blog, you will find many of his other outstanding reflections. For your convenience it is copied below with his kind permission.

Rediscovering a Lost Work of Mercy: Admonishing the Sinner

by Msgr. Charles Pope (posted with permission – source)

In the first reading from Mass for Monday of the 23rd week, St. Paul is practically livid that the Corinthians have not sought to correct and discipline an erring brother who is indulging in illicit sexual union. He orders them to act immediately lest the brother be lost on the day of judgment.

The current crisis in the Church is certainly connected to the widespread reticence to admonish and correct the sinner in our culture. This obligation is one of the seven spiritual works of mercy and is also referred to as fraternal correction. Sadly, even in the Church correcting and admonishing sinners has been on a kind of hiatus. Within many families, a flawed idea of love as mere kindness and approval has replaced the proper notion that true love wants the ultimate good of a person, not necessarily present joy and affirmation.

In the Summa Theologica, St. Thomas Aquinas describes fraternal correction as an act of charity:

[F]raternal correction properly so called, is directed to the amendment of the sinner. Now to do away with anyone’s evil is the same as to procure his good: and to procure a person’s good is an act of charity, whereby we wish and do our friend well (Summa Theologica II, IIae, 33.1).

The world and the Devil have largely succeeded in making Christians feel ashamed of doing this essential work. When we call attention to someone’s sin or wrongdoing, we are said to be “judging” him. In a culture in which “tolerance” is viewed as one of a person’s most important qualities, judging has become an unpardonable offense. “How dare you judge others?” the world protests, “Who do you think you are?”

To be clear, there are some judgments that are forbidden us. For example, we cannot assess whether we are better or worse than someone else before God. Neither can we fully understand someone’s inner intentions or ultimate culpability as though we were God. Regarding judgments such as these Scripture says, Not as man sees does God see, because man sees the appearance, but the LORD looks into the heart (1 Sam 16:7).

We are also instructed that we cannot make the judgment of condemnation; we do not have the power or knowledge to condemn someone to Hell. God alone is judge in this sense. Scripture also cautions us against being unnecessarily harsh or punitive:

Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful. Stop judging and you will not be judged. Stop condemning and you will not be condemned. Forgive and you will be forgiven. … For the measure with which you measure will in return be measured out to you (Luke 6:36-38).

In the passage above from Luke’s Gospel, “to judge” means to condemn or to be unmerciful, to be unreasonably harsh.

Another text that is often used by the world to forbid making “judgments” is this one from the Gospel of Matthew:

Do not judge, or you too will be judged. For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you. Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye? How can you say to your brother, “Let me take the speck out of your eye,” when all the time there is a plank in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye (Matt 7:1-5).

However, pay careful attention to what this text is actually saying. As in the passage from Luke, the word “judge” in Matthew’s Gospel is understood to mean to be unnecessarily harsh and punitive or condemning; the second verse makes this clear. To paraphrase verse two colloquially, “If you lower the boom on others, you will have the boom lowered on you.” Further, the parable that follows does not say that you shouldn’t correct sinners; it says that you should get yourself right with God first so that you can then see clearly enough to properly correct your brother.

Scripture repeatedly tells us to correct the sinner. Far from forbidding fraternal correction, the Scriptures command and commend it. Here are some of those texts, along with a little of my own commentary in red:

  • Jesus said, “If your brother sins against you, go and tell him his fault, between you and him alone. If he listens to you, you have gained your brother. But if he does not listen, take one or two others along with you, that every word may be confirmed by the evidence of two or three witnesses. If he refuses to listen to them, tell it to the church; and if he refuses to listen even to the church, let him be to you as a Gentile and a tax collector. Truly, I say to you, whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven” (Matt 18:15-18).

Jesus instructs us to speak to a sinning brother and summon him to repentance. If the matter is serious and private rebuke does not work, others who are trustworthy should be summoned to the task. Finally, the Church should be informed. If he will not listen even to the Church, then he should be excommunicated (treated as a tax collector or Gentile). Hence, in serious matters, excommunication should be considered as a kind of medicine that will inform the sinner of the gravity of the matter. Sadly, this “medicine” is seldom used today, even though Jesus clearly prescribes it (at least in serious matters).

  • It is actually reported that there is immorality among you, and of a kind that is not found even among pagans; for a man is living with his father’s wife. And you are arrogant! Ought you not rather to mourn? Let him who has done this be removed from among you. For though absent in body I am present in spirit, and as if present, I have already pronounced judgment in the name of the Lord Jesus on the man who has done such a thing. When you are assembled, and my spirit is present, with the power of our Lord Jesus, you are to deliver this man to Satan for the destruction of the flesh, that his spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord Jesus. Your boasting is not good. Do you not know that a little leaven leavens the whole lump? Cleanse out the old leaven that you may be a new lump, as you really are unleavened. … I wrote to you in my letter not to associate with immoral men; not at all meaning the immoral of this world, or the greedy and robbers, or idolaters, since then you would need to go out of the world. But rather I wrote to you not to associate with anyone who bears the name of brother if he is guilty of immorality or greed, or is an idolater, reviler, drunkard, or robber not even to eat with such a one. For what have I to do with judging outsiders? Is it not those inside the church whom you are to judge? God judges those outside. “Drive out the wicked person from among you” (1 Cor 5).

The Holy Spirit, speaking through Paul, commands that we “judge” the evildoer. In this case the matter is clearly serious (incest). Notice that the text says that the man should be excommunicated (handed over to Satan). Here, too, the purpose is medicinal. It is hoped that Satan will beat him up enough that he will come to his senses and repent before the day of judgment. It is also medicinal in the sense that the community is protected from bad example, scandal, and the presence of evil. The text also requires us to be able to size people up. There are immoral and unrepentant people with whom it is harmful for us to associate. We are instructed to discern this and not to keep company with people who can mislead us or tempt us to sin. This requires a judgment on our part. Yes, some judgements are required of us.

  • Brethren, if a man is overtaken in any sin, you who are spiritual should recall him in a spirit of gentleness. Look to yourself, lest you too be tempted. Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfil the law of Christ (Gal 6:1-2).

We are called to note when a person has been overtaken in sin and to correct him, but to do so in a spirit of gentleness. Otherwise, we may sin in the very process of correcting the sinner! Being prideful or unnecessarily harsh in our words is not the proper way to correct. The instruction is to be humble and gentle, but clear. Patience is also called for because we must bear the burdens of one another’s sin. We do this in two ways. First, we accept that others have imperfections and faults that trouble us; second, we bear the obligation to help others know their sin and of repent of it.

  • My brethren, if any one among you wanders from the truth and someone brings him back, let him know that whoever brings back a sinner from the error of his way will save his soul from death and will cover a multitude of sins (James 5:19).

The text is ambiguous as to whose soul is actually saved, but it seems that both the corrected and the corrector are beneficiaries of well-executed fraternal correction.

  • You shall not hate your brother in your heart: You shall in any case rebuke your neighbor, and not suffer sin upon him (Lev 19:17).

This text tells us that refusing to correct a sinning neighbor is actually a form of hatred. Instead, we are instructed to love our neighbors by not wanting sin to overtake them.

  • If anyone refuses to obey what we say in this letter, note that man, and have nothing to do with him, that he may be ashamed. Do not look on him as an enemy, but warn him as a brother(2 Thess 3:14).

The medicine of rebuke—even to the point of refusing fellowship (in more serious matters)—is commanded. However, note that even a sinner does not lose his dignity; he is still to be regarded as a brother, not an enemy.

  • We instruct you, brethren, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, to shun any brother who walks in a disorderly way and not according to the tradition they received from us (2 Thess 3:6).
  • Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teach and admonish one another in all wisdom (Col 3:16).

In this passage, to admonish means to warn. If the Word of Christ is rich within us, we will warn when that becomes necessary.

  • All scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work (2 Tim 3:16).

Reproof and correction are part of what is necessary to equip us for every good work.

  • And we exhort you, brethren, admonish the unruly, encourage the fainthearted, help the weak, be patient with them all (1 Thess 5:14).

Fraternal correction is described here as admonishing, encouraging, and helping. We are also called to patience in these works.

There are many more examples, but the point is that fraternal correction is prescribed and commanded by Scripture. We must resist the shame that the world tries to inflict on us by saying (simplistically) that we are “judging” people. Not all judgment is forbidden; in fact, some is commanded. Correction of the sinner is both charitable and virtuous.

That said, it is possible to correct a sinner poorly or even sinfully. If we are to have any shame at all about proper fraternal correction, it should be that we have so severely failed in fulfilling our duty to do so. Because of our failure in this regard, the world is more sinful, coarse, and undisciplined. Too many people today are out-of-control, undisciplined, and even incorrigible. Never having been properly corrected, too many are locked in sin. The world is less pleasant, charitable, and teachable because of this; it is also in greater bondage to sin. We can certainly see what the failure to correct has done within the Church, but the world at large is also in grave need of recovering this lost work of mercy.

To fail to correct is to fail in charity and mercy; it is to fail to be virtuous and to fail in calling others to virtue. We are all impoverished by our failure to correct the sinner.

  • He who winks at a fault causes trouble; but he who frankly reproves promotes peace (Proverbs 10:10).
  • A path to life is his who heeds admonition; but he who disregards reproof goes go astray (Proverbs 10:17).

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Solemn Pontifical Mass in the Extraordinary Form
Saturday, September 29 at 12 PM – 1:45 PM EDT
St. Mary Catholic Cathedral, Miami

Come witness and pray the Solemn High Pontifical Mass in the ancient rite, celebrated in all its splendor.

As part of the annual international conference of the Society for Catholic Liturgy, His Excellency Thomas Wenski, archbishop of Miami, will celebrate a solemn pontifical Mass in the extraordinary form of the Roman rite for the feast of the Dedication of St. Michael, Archangel (Michelmas). Ceremonial assistance for the Mass will be provided by the Priestly Fraternity of St. Peter (FSSP) and the Latin Mass community of the archdiocese of Miami.

Victoria’s Missa Ave Maris Stella and chants of the day’s Mass will be sung under the direction of Mr. Gustavo Zayas, director of music at St. Mary’s cathedral.

The public is cordially invited to attend this Mass.

Attendance at all other conference sessions requires registration for the conference. More information about the conference and registration are available at: http://liturgysociety.org/annual-conference

TM St. Charles's Church Vienna, Austria

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If you read this post on Msgr. Pope’s blog, you will find many of his other outstanding reflections. For your convenience it is copied below with his kind permission.

On the Problem of Arrested Spiritual Development

by Msgr. Charles Pope (posted with permission – source)

Consider a five-year-old child who had not yet learned to walk or talk, who could only lie in his crib, who could not eat solid food. Most of us would consider this a great tragedy, a case of arrested development. Surely as he failed to pass expected milestones his parents would consult multiple doctors in an anxious search for the cause of the problem and its cure. No one would fail to see the problem or shrug it off.

Now, let’s look at a case of arrested spiritual development and compare the typical response:

Consider a young adult—say 25 years old—who has graduated high school and even earned a college degree. Perhaps upon graduation he landed a job in a cutting-edge field. Despite being a highly trained expert in his secular field, his spiritual development is arrested; he has progressed little since the second grade. In some ways he has even gone backward: he can no longer recite an Act of Contrition or even the Hail Mary.

He still goes to Mass, but he is incapable of expressing much of anything about his faith. He knows that there is a God but does not know for sure if Jesus is God—he thinks so, but he’s not sure. He is aware of the Bible but can’t name all four Gospels and wouldn’t even be sure exactly where to find them in it. Names like Adam, Eve, Noah, Abraham, Joseph, David, Peter, and Judas all sound familiar, but he can’t tell you much about them except that they’re in the Bible—somewhere. He’s heard of the sacraments but can’t name them; he isn’t sure he’s received any of them or if they are only for priests and nuns. Every now and then he thinks to pray, but he really doesn’t know what to say or how to do it. Sometimes he remembers a prayer from Mass, but when he tries to recite it on his own he gets stuck because there aren’t other people around him saying it and helping him along. He can recite the Our Father, though; we have to give him that!

Mind you, this is a smart guy: he has a lot of knowledge in his field and is sought out for technical advice in the corporation where he works. Spiritually, however, he’s an infant.

The interesting question is this: why were his parents and others in his parish not alarmed as they noticed his arrested spiritual development? As he went from second grade to third and then on to fourth, not only did not progress, he regressed. Why were his parents not concerned? Why were the pastor and catechists not shocked that he seemed to show no progress in the spiritual life?

As he advanced to high school his moral life began to slide. Soon his language coarsened, he resented authority, and he began consuming pornography on the Internet. His parents were irritated by this, but not alarmed enough to intensify his recourse to the sacraments or to augment his spiritual training. Spiritually he was frozen in time, but no one seemed to care enough to do anything about it.

But, by God, when he almost failed a math course his parents sprang into action and hired a tutor! After all, a failing grade might threaten his ability to get into a good college. In contrast, his failure to grow spiritually didn’t seem to faze them much. When he went off to college they drove up with him, toured the dorms, met a few professors, and attended orientation sessions—but they never thought to meet the college chaplain or to ask who would be spiritually teaching or pastoring their son. That sort of stuff just didn’t occur to them to ask about.

Well, you get the picture:

  • Expectations are low. Most people don’t really expect that they should grow much in their faith. Advanced knowledge and deep prayer are for priests and nuns. Too many laypeople just don’t expect much and thus are not alarmed that they and their kids know next to nothing about the faith.
  • The faith is a side issue to many people. What really matters is that you study hard to get into a career that will get you access to the “American Dream.” Never mind that worldly things don’t last or that it’s pointless and harmful to climb the ladder of success when it is leaning up against the wrong wall. We’ll think about all that tomorrow.
  • The sense that faith really matters at all is muted.Many people today have the unbiblical view that almost everyone goes to Heaven. This removes motivation to grow in the faith or be serious about living in a countercultural way. They think, why work hard or seek to develop yourself when the “the paycheck has already been deposited and you’ll continue get paid no matter what”?

So, here we are today with many Christians who have a very bad case of arrested development. Scripture says,

  • We have much to say … but it is hard to explain because you are slow to learn. In fact, though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you the elementary truths of God’s word all over again. You need milk, not solid food! Anyone who lives on milk, being still an infant, is not acquainted with the teaching about righteousness. But solid food is for the mature, who by constant use have trained themselves to distinguish good from evil(Hebrews 5:11-14).
  • Brothers, I could not address you as spiritual but as worldly—mere infants in Christ. I gave you milk, not solid food, for you were not yet ready for it. Indeed, you are still not ready. You are still worldly (1 Cor 3:1-2).
  • Brothers, stop thinking like children. In regard to evil be infants, but in your thinking be adults (1 Cor 14:20).
  • My people are fools; they do not know me. They are senseless children; they have no understanding. They are skilled in doing evil; they know not how to do good (Jer 4:22).
  • When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put childish ways behind me (1 Cor 13:11).
  • It was [the Lord] who gave some to be apostles, some to be prophets, some to be evangelists, and some to be pastors and teachers, to prepare God’s people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ. Then we will no longer be infants, tossed back and forth by the waves, and blown here and there by every wind of teaching and by the cunning and craftiness of men in their deceitful scheming. Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will in all things grow up into him who is the Head, that is, Christ (Eph 4:11-15).

Scripture is clear that the normal Christian life is this:

  • To be constantly growing in our faith.
  • To go from the mother’s milk of elementary doctrine to the solid food of more advanced understanding.
  • To progress from being young students to mature teachers.
  • To exhibit mature knowledge of the faith and behavior that bespeaks mature Christianity.
  • To go from being worldly in our priorities to being spiritual.
  • To be able to distinguish false doctrine from true.
  • To show forth a stability of life and not be easily carried away by all the latest trends and fads.

Yes, this is the normal Christian life. Maturity pertains to the human person in general and it certainly ought to pertain to men and women of faith. I pray that you who read this blog are well along this path and are seeking to grow. I presume it, in fact.

Many are not maturing, however, and I wonder if enough of us in the Church today see this for the horrifically strange and tragic phenomenon that it is. It is far stranger and more tragic than a five-year-old still lying in a crib, speechless and unable to eat solid food. It is vastly more serious than the high schooler who is failing math. To fail math may affect college and a career, but those are passing consequences. To fail in the faith affects eternity.

Why are we so serious about passing, worldly threats and not so much about threats that have eternal consequences? Arrested spiritual development is by far the most serious of all developmental issues. Parents may give their child every good thing, but if they do not ensure the gift of strong and mature faith, they have given him nothing but sand that will slip through his fingers.

Only what you do for Christ will last. Pray God that we get our priorities straight and make sure that we—and everyone—grow up in the Lord. It is true that we must accept the Kingdom of God like a little child in order to enter it, but this well-known scriptural text refers to our dependence not our ignorance. God made us to know Him and to fail to do so is to miss the whole point and dignity of our life.

RELATED: A Child’s Plea for Eternal Life (made to his parents)

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Bishop Strickland’s Public Statement to the Diocese

Dear Priests, Deacons, Religious and all Holy Faithful of the Diocese of Tyler,

A letter (see below) by Archbishop Vigano, former Nuncio to the United States, raises grave allegations and calls for the resignation of numerous high ranking prelates including Pope Francis.

Let us be clear that they are still allegations but as your shepherd I find them to be credible.  Using this standard the response must be a thorough investigation similar to those conducted any time allegations are deemed to be credible.  I do not have the authority to launch such an investigation but I will lend my voice in whatever way necessary to call for this investigation and urge that it’s findings demand accountability of all found to be culpable even at the highest levels of the Church.

As this unfolds I urge all in the Diocese of Tyler to pray fervently for Holy Mother Church and beg the Intercession of Our Blessed Mother.  We are the flock of Jesus Christ.  He is Lord of His Church and His Holy Spirit will guide us through this darkness.

Almighty God Father, Son and Spirit have mercy on your Church and cleanse her in the fires of your Love.

Blessed Virgin Mary, Pray for us

All Sainted Popes & Bishops in Heaven, Pray for us
All Holy Men and Women, Pray for us

I direct all priests to include this notice  in the masses on August 26, and post it on their websites and other social media immediately.

Most Reverend Joseph E. Strickland
Bishop of Tyler

Click> Testimony by His Excellency Carlo Maria Viganò

 

 

 

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TM St. Charles's Church Vienna, Austria

This post is a follow-up to an earlier post in which I made the following comments:

As I approach more closely the end of my life, I am becoming less tolerant of mediocre Masses, less willing to subject myself to the goings on within them and depriving myself of the “Heaven on Earth” experience of an excellently celebrated “Holy Sacrifice of the Mass”.

Someday I may express my personal reasons for preferring the Traditional Roman Rite Mass.

 

A very brief bit of background:

Most Roman Catholics today attend Holy Mass under the newer form of the Roman Rite, referred to as the Novus Ordo (New Order (NO)). This Mass of modern times has more recently been labeled as the Ordinary Form of the Roman Rite. The older form of the Roman Rite is widely referred to as the Tridentine Mass, but more recently has been labeled as the Extraordinary Form of the Roman Rite (EF). Too often it is referred to as the Traditional Latin Mass (TLM). Although the older form of the Mass is always recited in Latin, I prefer it simply be called the Traditional Mass (TM). I say this because the NO was initially intended to be recited predominantly in Latin (and still should be). Therefore the TM should not be described as being a Latin (language) Mass simply because the NO may be recited in Latin or in the local area’s vernacular language. Both forms are Roman Rite Masses of the Latin Church (the Church of Rome). There are many resources available in book form and online which thoroughly describe both forms of the Mass and detail their histories. That not being the intent of this post, I won’t elaborate any further.

Why I have I asked “Is attending Holy Mass an ordeal for you?”

I expect there are many Catholics who find attending any form of the Mass to be an ordeal. If that isn’t so, why do most of them refuse to attend? It is said that eighty percent of Catholics no longer attend Mass. Perhaps attending Mass is an ordeal for them because its timing interferes with their other interests, or they are no longer believing Catholics, or they carry a burden of guilt for sins they either think haven’t been forgiven or are unforgivable, or for some reason they are angry with the Church. I’m sure that during none of the few Masses they do attend during the course of a year does the priest celebrant remind them that those who, for no legitimate reason as defined by the Church, neglect to attend Mass on every Sunday and other day of obligation commit serious sin and must suffer the consequences.

Another possible reason for their lack of attendance is that they find Mass to be boring or dissatisfying, or much worse. Of course that is as much an illegitimate reason as all of the aforementioned excuses. But I must say that I feel their pain! Mine for reasons noted below.

Why do I suggest that perhaps attending Mass should be an ordeal for you?

I say so because if you don’t find yourself suffering through at least some portions of the Mass, you probably are unaware of what you’ve been missing by only attending the typical NO Mass.

If you have been blessed to have Traditional Masses available in your area and have made an effort to attend those Masses, you are aware of what others less fortunate are missing. You have experienced its extraordinary beauty and reverence, the depth of the mystery of the Sacrifice of the Mass, the sincerity of the priest celebrant along with his assistants and all those in attendance, and you have come to love the TM and suffer at least to some extent when you must attend a typical NO Mass. [You may cringe during the recitation of the Eucharistic Prayer, or when the choirmaster strikes up another mediocre, superficial or banal ditty, or due to many other provocations.] Being deprived of the fullness of what God intends to offer us in the sacred liturgy is a cause of suffering. Worse yet is his suffering when we deprive Him of the highest level of glory, honor, praise and gratitude due Him.

Just because a Mass we’ve attended was valid in that the Eucharistic Host had been transformed into the Body and Blood of Jesus, doesn’t mean that the manor in which the Mass was celebrated wasn’t deplorable. It is Jesus Who makes Himself present in the Eucharistic Host. He makes this magnanimous gesture despite the deplorable way in which priests, those who serve other functions during Mass and many in the congregation conduct themselves.

I don’t wish suffering upon anyone, but I do wish all Catholics knew what they are missing. I don’t think we’ll ever get out of this liturgical rut as long as the majority of the measly twenty percent of Catholics who actually attend Mass are as happy as Protestants who don’t know what they’ve been missing by not being Catholic. Of course, their foremost deprivation – the real presence of the Body and Blood of Christ Jesus in the Holy Eucharist – pales in comparison. However, it has also been said that the liberals or progressives in the Church “do not really believe that the Mass is a true and proper sacrifice of Jesus Christ to the Most Holy Trinity; they do not really believe in transubstantiation and the Real Presence; they do not believe that one is eating and drinking the flesh and blood of God; they do not believe that one who eats and drinks unworthily is eating and drinking his own condemnation, just as those who eat worthily are seeding their souls and bodies for a glorious resurrection.”

The excerpts below are taken from an article written by Peter Kwasniewski, which is posted here. I recommend reading the entire article over there. Being aware that most visitors to my site do not click on links that will take them to other sites, I offer the following excerpts.

Our Progressive Desensitization to the Most Holy Eucharist

We did not wake up one fine day in 2017 to find ourselves suddenly confronted with Eucharistic sacrilege being promoted from on high. There was a long, slow process that led to this moment. It consisted in the gradual dilution of the sacredness of the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass and of the Blessed Sacrament at its heart, with institutionally tolerated sacrilege along the way. Fifty years of desacralization has ended in the temerity of contradicting the entire Catholic tradition about the most holy of all the Church’s mysteries.

The first major step was the allowance of communion in the hand while standing—a sharp break from the deeply-ingrained practice of many centuries of kneeling in adoration at the altar rail and receiving on the tongue… This change had the obvious effect of making people think the Holy Eucharist wasn’t so mysterious and holy after all. If you can just take it in your hand like ordinary food, it might as well be a potato chip distributed at a party. The feeling of awe and reverence towards the Blessed Sacrament was systematically diminished and undermined through this modernist reintroduction of an ancient practice that had long since been discontinued by the Church in her pastoral wisdom. Nor, as has been well documented, did the faithful themselves request the abolition of the custom of receiving on the tongue while kneeling; it was imposed by the self-styled “experts.”

The second major step was the allowance of lay ministers of communion. This reinforced the perception that the Church had given up all that stuff about the priest being essentially different from the laity, about the Mass as a divine sacrifice and the Eucharist as the Bread of Angels that only anointed hands are fit to handle.

:::

The effect of these “reforms” and others like them (the replacement of majestic and mysterious Latin with everyday vernacular, the substitution of guitar and piano ditties for pipe organ and chant, the turning around of the priest to face the people like a talkshow host, the removal of altar rails, the decentering of tabernacles, the uglification of vestments and vessels, and more) was to weaken and corrupt the faith of the people in the Mass as a true and proper sacrifice and in the Eucharist as the true Body and Blood of Jesus. No wonder that after this, the idea of the Eucharistic fast, and of preparing oneself for communion by going to confession, went right out the window for the vast majority of people. The Church’s own pastors didn’t act as if they really believed these things anymore, so why should their flocks?

In short, we have lived through, and suffered under, half a century of ritual diminishment and symbolic contradiction of the Church’s faith in the sublime mysteries of the Body and Blood of Christ. As John Paul II and Benedict XVI lamented, there is scant evidence in our communities of any awareness of the distinction between worthy and unworthy communions—one of the most basic lessons children used to be taught in their catechism class.

Children in those primitive “pre-Vatican II days” were taught to practice virtue and avoid mortal sin because they should desire to be able to receive the Lord and be ever more perfectly united to Him, until they reached the glory of heaven where they would possess Him forever. They were taught that if one received the Lord in a state of mortal sin, one committed a further and a worse sin. They were taught that making a good confession, with sorrow for sin and an intention to avoid it in future, was enough to put this bad situation right and restore them to God’s friendship. Who could seriously assert that most Catholics believe any of this today, or that they would even recognize, much less understand, the concepts?

Today, at least in certain Western countries, nearly everyone goes up for communion when the time comes. It’s just “what you do at Mass.” Hardly anyone goes to confession; hardly anyone refrains from receiving, out of a consciousness of sin; and rare is the priest who ever preaches about having the right dispositions for communion.

:::

Thus was the ground devilishly prepared for the final stage, in which any impediments to communion are theoretically and practically dissolved. In a general situation where the few Catholics who still attend Mass all receive, it would seem cruel and unusual punishment to single out a handful of so-called “divorced and remarried” people for special treatment: “You are not allowed to go to communion, but meanwhile, the self-abusing and fornicating teens, the contracepting couples, the families who sometimes skip Sunday Mass for sports events—all are welcome to come forward, as usual!”

… [the liberals or progressives in the Church] … do not really believe that the Mass is a true and proper sacrifice of Jesus Christ to the Most Holy Trinity; they do not really believe in transubstantiation and the Real Presence; they do not believe that one is eating and drinking the flesh and blood of God; they do not believe that one who eats and drinks unworthily is eating and drinking his own condemnation, just as those who eat worthily are seeding their souls and bodies for a glorious resurrection.

:::

the Mass has been stripped of its transcendent, mysterious, fearful and challenging sacrificial realism and pushed continually in the direction of an ordinary meal with ordinary folks doing ordinary things for a this-worldly end, with a forced spontaneity and embarrassing banality that has failed to attract the overflow crowds predicted by Paul VI. At such a Mass, is there anything to do but receive communion? Who would ever think of going just for the sake of adoring God and contemplating His beauty? Opportunities and incentives for adoration are practically non-existent in the Novus Ordo, and beauty has fared no better, or rather much worse. In such circumstances, to place a barrier between a free meal and a guest who thinks well of himself for being there is unthinkable.

In truth, the Mass is the unbloody sacrifice of the Cross, made present in our midst; it is simultaneously the heavenly life-giving wedding feast of the now-glorified Christ. The Eucharist is the sacrament of the one-flesh union of a bride adorned with grace and a Bridegroom who is her sole happiness.

I am not surprised to find that, at traditional Latin Masses around the world, including in the United States, one sees two related phenomena: a large number of the faithful availing themselves of confession, before and during Mass; and a fair number of the faithful who remain in the pews and do not go forward for communion. The interior triumphs of the one, the interior trials of the other, are known to God alone. But this much is obvious: they all came to worship Him. They came in response to His majesty. They came to fulfill a solemn obligation of the virtue of religion. Whether they are personally disposed to receive or not is a question at a different level. This is the sanity that prevails in the realm of tradition; it is the sanity that paves the way for sanctity.

RELATED POSTS: https://fjdalessio.wordpress.com/category/liturgy

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Turn room speaker off as necessary, such as during a Vatican II oriented homily, most or all songs and some Eucharistic Prayers.

Can also lower shade to eliminate view of choir.

During the consecration, close eyes and imagine an image below.

TM St. Charles's Church Vienna, Austria

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If you read this post on Msgr. Pope’s blog, you will find many of his other outstanding reflections. For your convenience it is copied below with his kind permission.

What a Storm at Sea Teaches Us of the Christian Life

by Msgr. Charles Pope (posted with permission – source)

The Gospel for the 12th Sunday in Cycle B is something of a storm journal. It presents a kind of picture of the Christian life as we journey through a stormy world with winds contrary to the gospel. There are distinctive stages, beginning with Jesus’ call to cross to the other shore. As we do so we are assailed by storms and difficulties, but the charge to keep making the crossing remains the same. Let’s look in more detail at the stages of this Gospel and see how the disciples get over to the other shore with Jesus.

This Gospel was omitted this year due the Feast of St. John the Baptist, but it is still an important one to review it. Here is the full text, followed by my commentary.

When that evening came, He said to His disciples, “Let us go across to the other side.” After they had dismissed the crowd, they took Jesus with them, since He was already in the boat. And there were other boats with Him. Soon a violent windstorm came up, and the waves were breaking over the boat, so that it was being swamped. But Jesus was in the stern, sleeping on the cushion. So, they woke Him and said, “Teacher, don’t You care that we are perishing?” Then Jesus got up and rebuked the wind and the sea. “Silence!” He commanded. “Be still!” And the wind died down, and it was perfectly calm. “Why are you so afraid?” He asked. “Do you still have no faith?” Overwhelmed with fear, they asked one another, “Who is this, that even the wind and the sea obey Him?” (Mk 4:35-41)

The CALL Let us go across to the other side. This is not merely a call to cross an ancient lake some 2,000 years ago. This summons echoes down to each of us today. It is the call to journey to the other shore, to Heaven.

Such crossings are not uncommon in the Scriptures. The Jewish nation crossed the Red Sea, which God parted for them. They set out as pursued slaves, crossed over, and reached the other shore to enjoy the glorious freedom of the Children of God. Then they crossed the River Jordan to enter the promised land, which symbolizes entering Heaven. Having made that crossing, they received their inheritance.

Many of the old spirituals contain such symbolic references. Here’s a well-known one:

Michael, row the boat a-shore Hallelujah!
Then you’ll hear the trumpet blow Hallelujah!
Jordan’s river is deep and wide,
Meet my mother on the other side.
Jordan’s river is chilly and cold.
Chills the body, but not the soul
.

Allow Jesus’ call, Let us go across to the other side, to be your summons to follow Him to Heaven. The disciples boarded a wooden boat to get to the other side; we cross to Heaven by the wood of the cross.

Listen to Jesus’ call and then set out. Heaven lies ahead, just over on the other shore!

The COMMENCEMENTAnd leaving the crowd, they took Jesus with them in the boat, just as he was. It is one thing to be called by Jesus to cross to the other shore. It is quite another to respond and set out with Him. The second stage of this gospel depicts the required response: to commence the journey.

Note three things that are said in the gospel about the commencement of the journey:

1. They Renounce – The text says that they leave the crowd. We are called to renounce the world, the flesh, and the devil. In our baptism we renounced the devil and by extension the world, of which he is prince. Scripture says,

You adulterous people! Do you not know that friendship with the world is enmity with God? Therefore, whoever wishes to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God (James 4:3-4).

No one can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and wealth (Mat 6:24).

I have chosen you out of the world, therefore the world hates you (Jn 15:19).

Therefore, the text says that they “leave the crowd.” They forsake the wide, popular road that leads to destruction and go out on the narrow way of the cross that leads to the other shore. You cannot have both Jesus and the world; you must choose. Jesus warns, Woe to you when all speak well of you (Lk 6:26). We must be ready to leave the crowd, forsake popular ideas, and embrace the “foolishness” of the cross.

2. They Receive – The text says that they took Jesus with them in the boat. That is, they receive Jesus into the “boat” that is their life. They agree to journey with Him, not with the world. They let Him pilot their ship. In the baptismal liturgy, not only do we renounce Satan and the trappings of this world, we also accept Christ and profess our belief in God—Father, Son, and Spirit—and in the Church, which is Christ’s Body. Now Jesus enters the “boat” of our life and leads us in the crossing to the other shore. Jesus’ command is simple: Follow me (e.g., Jn 12:26, Lk 9:59, Mk 2:14, Mat 9:9).

3. They respect – The text says that they “took Jesus with them in the boat, just as he was.” Even in the Greek, this text is a bit complex. What does it mean that they took Jesus in the boat “just as he was”? Many think that the text is trying to indicate that Jesus was in fact already in the boat. Thus, one possible understanding is that they took Jesus with them in the boat because he was already on board.

For our purposes here, though, let’s take the text less literally and assume it indicates that we are to accept Jesus into our life just as He is, placing no conditions on His admittance. It means to accept the real Jesus, not some fake or refashioned one. The real Jesus is complex. He sets impossible demands but then forgives the worst of sinners. He is kind and understanding one moment, but stern and refusing of any excuses the next. He consoles and challenges, affirms and unsettles.

Many today have attempted to remake Jesus into a kind of “harmless hippie” who told pleasant stories and went around blessing everyone. While He did bless many, He was a stumbling block for others. Jesus was a master preacher and storyteller, but He also warned in those stories that some were sheep and some were goats, some were wise and some were foolish, some were at the feast and others were cast out into the darkness, some heard “Come blessed of my Father” and others heard “I know you not, depart from me you evildoers.” Jesus warned, Unless you come to believe that I AM, you will die in your sins (Jn 8:24).

Jesus is complex, and we must learn to accept Him into our lives “just as he is.” St. Paul lamented, For if someone comes and preaches another Jesus than the one we preached … you put up with it well enough (2 Cor 11:4). Learn of the real Jesus and accept Him just as He is.

So, having taken Jesus into the boat, they commence the journey to the other shore. The journey is not always smooth, for the waters of this world are choppy and the winds are contrary.

The CONCERNAnd a great storm of wind arose, and the waves beat into the boat, so that the boat was already filling. Here they are, the inevitable storms of life that will test and purify our faith. Such aspects of life often trouble us greatly.

Why does God permit such things? Why do they last so long? Why does God, who could instantly solve all things, allow trouble to go on?

He has His reasons, most of which are mysterious. However, we can surely understand some of the ways in which trouble helps to purify and strengthen us. When we are in trouble we discover gifts we didn’t know we had; we gain wisdom; we learn detachment and humility. In living our questions, we deepen our search and grow to appreciate the answers and the truth more. Trouble often brings maturity and helps us to hone our skills. With no tension there is often no change. Trouble is also tied up in the freedom God allows His children. Some abuse their freedom and cause harm.

So, although we can get a glimpse of why God permits trouble, much is still mysterious.

Some people even notice that storms in their life increase rather than decrease after they begin to follow Christ! Well, take that as a compliment. Maybe there was a time in your life when you were traveling in a similar direction to Satan and you barely noticed him on the periphery. Then you turned around and ran right into him! Do not despair; you are still going in the right direction and Satan doesn’t like it.

Another reason that those who set out on a voyage to cross the sea often encounter more storms than the “land-lovers” who stay back in mediocrity is that there are more storms at sea. The “sea” here is a symbol of the way of the cross as opposed to the wide road that leads to destruction (cf Mat 7:13). The way of the cross is bound to have special troubles, but the cross, though not comfortable, is necessary. Jesus says, If you were of the world, the world would love you as its own. But since you are not of the world, for I have called you out of the world, therefore the world hates you (Jn 15:19). So again, take storms like these as a compliment, a sign you have set out with Christ across the deeper waters.

Thus, this storm at sea is a picture of our life in this storm-tossed world. There’s an old hymn that says,

When the storms of live are raging stand by me.
When the world is tossing me like a ship upon the sea,
Thou who rulest wind and water, stand by me
.

The CALM – Jesus’ calm brings peace to the others: But he was in the stern, asleep on the cushion; and they woke him and said to him, “Teacher, do you not care if we perish?” And he awoke and rebuked the wind, and said to the sea, “Peace! Be still!” And the wind ceased, and there was a great calm.

It seldom helps to panic in life. If you want to bring peace, you must be at peace. Jesus is not unaware of the storm, but He is not alarmed by it. He is able to sleep through it just fine. In life, two people can be involved in the same incident and yet have very different experiences.

Some years ago, I was out walking with a friend when a large dog, a Golden Labrador, came lumbering toward us. I had grown up with dogs and could tell the difference between a dog moving aggressively and one approaching benignly seeking merely to establish contact. My friend, however, harbored the memory of being bitten by a large dog as a youngster. Each of us looked at the dog approaching us. We saw the same scene but reacted to it very differently. My friend was afraid, while I was delighted. He reacted angrily and defensively, while I put my hand out and greeted the dog, patting it on the head and letting it smell my hand. With my experience, I was able to bring peace to the situation. An agitated reaction might well have provoked the dog into aggression.

We see something similar here in the boat. Jesus is able to sleep peacefully in the storm, but the disciples are panicked. Jesus knows His Father; He also knows the end of the story. Do you? Have you not read that for those who love and trust in the Lord all things work together for good? (cf Rom 8:28) Why are we so afraid? Storms will come, and storms will go, but if we love God we will be saved, even if we die to this world.

If you have this peace, you too will calm storms. Peaceful people have an effect on others around them. We cannot give what we do not have. Ask the Lord for a heart that is at peace, not just for your own sake but for that of others. Because He is at peace, Jesus can rebuke the storm. How about you?

The CHARGE “Why are you afraid? Have you no faith?” And they were filled with awe, and said to one another, “Who then is this, that even wind and sea obey him?”

In this way the Lord charges them to grow in faith so as to be at peace and to bring peace to others. How do we lay hold of this peace? By growing in our experience and in our wonder and awe at what the Lord can do, by learning to trust that God is bigger than our storms and concerns. We also learn that some of the storms are beneficial; they help to strengthen us, even speeding our journey along.

Faith is a way of knowing. We who grow in it are less terrified of storms. We have come to experience how God delivers us and strengthens us, often in paradoxical ways, and have learned that none of the things of this world can destroy us if we have faith.

In my own life I have made this part of the journey to greater faith. I used to be anxious about many things. Today I am seldom anxious because I have learned by faith and experience that God is working His purposes out. Most of the things I was anxious about in the past turned out fine, or at the very least OK. Even the stunning blows contained secret gifts, hidden at the time but later revealed. This is the knowing of faith that brings calm in the storms of life.

Our charge is to have faith.

Here, then, is a quick sketch of our life as disciples. We hear the call of the Lord to set out. We commence our journey with Him. Whatever the concerns or storms, we learn the calm of Jesus and let it reach us by the charge of faith.

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