Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Why are these canonizations being fast-tracked?

Is it "extreme" of me to ask that? While I never met Blessed John XXIII and don't know too much about him beyond the little I've read, Blessed John Paul II is the Pope under whom I was received into the Church, the only Pope with whom I've actually exchanged a handshake, and I have every reason to have loved and appreciated His Holiness during his earthly life and to appreciate him still. Here are some of the positive things being said in the mainstream media about the pending canonizations of Blessed John XXIII and John Paul II:

Yet I have also scratched my head a bit over what seems a rather precipitous and fevered rush to canonize these two popes. My reservation has nothing to do with doubting the Church's authority to canonize them, doubting their presence in heaven, or thinking ill of these soon-to-be sainted popes who were in their earthly lives undoubtedly sinners just as we all are. (Indeed, we know that among the saints whose veneration the Church approves there were many that were never formally canonized at all, but are nevertheless recognized as saints by the Church.) Rather, in much the way that Blessed John Henry Cardinal Newman questioned the timing of Vatican I's declaration of papal infallibility (without in any way questioning the declaration itself), I think there are those who wonder whether there are not reasons for finding the timing of these particular canonizations a trifle imprudent.

Secular and Jewish critics have complained that Pope Pius XII didn't do enough to help the Jewish victims of the Nazi holocaust (though I think there's ample evidence to confute that silly conceit), and the Church has slowed down his case and continued to defer it despite very good reasons for promoting it. Critics have likewise complained that Blessed John Paul II did not do enough to help the victims of clerical sexual abuse, such as his alleged passivity if not complicity in the case of the founders of the Legionaries, Maciel Marcial (though I think there is good evidence against his knowing complicity), but administrators of his cause have not let these concerns deter them.

Other concerns have been raised as well. Professor Roberto de Mattei, for example, whose credentials are above dispute, suggests that when the Church canonizes one of the faithful, "it is not that she wants to assure us that the deceased is in the glory of Heaven," but rather that "She proposes them as a model of heroic virtue." The person proposed for canonization therefore might be an exemplary religious, pastor, father of a family, etc. In the case of a Pope, it is assumed that he must have exercised heroic virtue in performing his mission as Pontiff, as was for example, the case for Saint Pius V or Saint Pius X. That sounds like the bar is being set pretty high -- enough, at least, to give some pause in the matter.

Now it is true that Mattei also goes on to offer reasons why he believes that the pontificate of John XXIII was "objectively harmful to the Church," which goes well beyond my competence to assay, although I have to wonder whether his analysis of the question of infallible judgments in the case of matters not directly pertaining to the doctrinal content of faith and morals does not touch on some significant considerations.

Finally, there is also this video during Holy Week by Michael Matt, which, in the final analysis, I think cannot be simply shrugged off as silly traddy nonsense. I think he is right that Blessed John Paul II would probably agree that his own canonization should not be fast-tracked, but time ought to be taken to set aside all grave doubts -- not only for the sake of the critics, but for the sake of the Church and the candidate for canonization himself. The consequences of not doing so, as he points out, could include providing substantial fodder for the enemies of the Church.

So put me down as an obedient son of the Church who will always happily submit to Mother Church, but a son who is a trifle less than enthusiastic about the timing of these canonizations. What can I say? Maybe it can be chalked up to having Blessed Cardinal Newman as my patron, perhaps. As I said at the outset, he was less than enthusiastic about the timing of Vatican I's declaration of papal infallibility. In the end, these opinions aren't going to make any difference to what happens on Divine Mercy Sunday; but I'm grateful for a Church that allows for the expression of concerns by the laity, whatever they may be worth.

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Dan Schutte's "Glory to God" and My Little Pony

Jeff Ostrowski, "Why Can't We Use Secular Music During Mass?" (Views from the Choir Loft, February 13, 2014), includes this remarkably telling comparison:There is also this fine video discussion entitled, "Can you tell the difference??" (Corpus Christi Watershed).

Happy ~ birthday ~ dear ~ EARTH ~ !!

A day late, after the Google graphic, as our undercover correspondent (Guy Noir, PI) points out, this would probably give both NPR and the Vatican Press Office hives, which some might enjoy for that reason alone!

Kevin DeYoung, "Building a Better Earth Day" (TGC, April 22, 2014).

I remember meeting the self-described founder of Earth Day, John McConnell (I believe that was his name) while working in a Swiss hotel 1972-1973 back during my student years. He gave me an "earth flag," and a card with some "earth prayers" on it that struck me was very syncretistic (I would now call it "New Age-y"). He was a kindly old fellow, but his ideas felt soft and mushy, like the stuff of lava lamps and bean bag cushions and hump necklaces with peace sign pendants -- though, to his credit, I can attest that he offered me no weed.

The case for Pacelli's canonization

Adfero argues a case for the canonization of Pacelli (RC, April 22, 2014), noting that the case for beatification was launched by Pope Paul VI and that a very strong case can be made from a standpoint of sheer numbers alone:
For those who say we are now living in the greatest age of the Church, let us consider the numbers below, just for the dioceses of the United States during the reign of Pius XII [Eugenio Pacelli]. They are remarkable, to say the least -- if the canonization of a Pope also takes into consideration the appraisal of his pontificate (other than his personal holiness and his prophetical wisdom, both of which are irreproachable regarding Pope Pacelli), then these surely deserve observation:

Adfredo concludes:
While all these numbers may make one yearn for the Church of old, a few of them are truly staggering for the modern mind to comprehend in today's Catholic-lite world: a 200+% increase in American converts; a nearly 250% increase in seminaries built; a 200+% increase in seminarians; and a 50% increase in priests. All of this happened over Pius XII's glorious 19-year-reign.

While we do not question the canonization of a saint, we can say, looking at these numbers, that there is a strong case to be made that the lineup on April 27 is short one great man.
Related: Rita Ferrone, "Room at the Font: Is the RCIA Still Working?" (Commonweal, April 22, 2014):
From 2005 to 2010 adult baptisms fell by 41 percent. Those losses were masked by a gain in adult receptions into full communion; then those totals began to fall too.

USA Today throws wet blanket on canonizations

Brett M. Decker, "Pope puts Catholic rebirth at risk: Column" (USA Today, April 21, 2014):
... Few moves could so quickly undo [Pope Francis's] popular efforts to make the Roman Catholic Church more sensitive to the values of modern churchgoers.

Francis has concentrated much of his 13-month papacy on making symbolic gestures....

The impact of the Argentine pontiff raising two popes to sainthood after their failures to address the globe-spanning clergy sex abuse scandal would be far more than symbolic. The scandal damaged thousands of innocent lives and cost the church billions of dollars in legal damages as well as its moral standing.

John XXIII, pope from 1958 to 1963, and John Paul II, pope from 1978 to 2005, both held their positions after the widespread abuse, stretching back deep into the 20th century, was known to the Vatican....

... Outside of those who were martyred, the Catholic Church traditionally has found few pontiffs worthy to be saints. In fact, only two have been canonized in the past 700 years.

There is a good reason for this. The church teaches that a priest is responsible for every soul in his parish, a bishop for each person in his diocese and the pope for the whole world. The bar is set purposely high because the duties of being vicar of Christ are so immense....

The Catholic Church declares individuals to be saints to give the faithful role models of heroic virtue and show how one should live life to get to heaven. Because of their sins of omission in face of horrors at the hands of their clergy, neither John Paul II nor John XXIII should be canonized as exemplars of sanctity.
But that's Brett Decker of USA Today. What would he know?

[Hat tip to K.J.W.]

"Marriage is between a man and a woman": the elephant in the room

Arguing against the lie of gay sex by insisting that "marriage is between a man and a woman" is like arguing against rape by saying "I think consensual sex best honors God." -- Guy Noir

First Anniversary: For the record: after another papal interview, another Holy See Press Office clarification (RC, March 11, 2014)

Our underground correspondent, Guy Noir - Private Eye, writes:
... what I think is missing is this fact. No one is arguing that civil unions should be equated with marriage. At least no Pope. They are simply saying we need to authenticate this alternative arrangement as a lesser state, etc. That is the wrinkle: "Marriage is between a man and a woman." Like THIS is holding the line! Still no real mention of the problem of gay sex by itself. It is kind of like it is regarded as a well-intentioned miscue. The problem with gay marriage is not a technicality, which is how Rome phrases it. It is, rather, that it is based on a lie. Gay sex is that lie. But to propose that would offend the gay community, so it cannot be spoken. We retreat to "I still believe marriage is between a man and a woman." It is like arguing against rape by saying, "I think consensual sex best honors God"!

Once we have to stoop to define marriage, we have already lost the argument. Gays can adopt. Gays can love. Gays can be good parents. Mr. Moms can work. Functionality is not the primary problem. But the primary problem is one that to mention makes us rude or Neanderthal ...."
Related: Fr. Brian W. Harrison, "Satan is right now shaking the Church to her very foundations over this divorce issue." (Letter to the Editor, Inside the Vatican magazine, February 2014).

Fr. Gregory Baum & the "manualists"

An excellent article by Joseph Clifford Fenton, "The Teaching of the Theological Manuals" (, March 13, 2014), showing how Fr. Gregory Baum completely misconstrued the significance of the teaching of the manuals with his assertion in Commonweal 77 (Jan. 18, 1963), p. 436:
The conflict at the Council is not at all between men who try to introduce new insights and modern ways and those who seek to remain faithful to the great tradition of the past. It is rather between those who seek to renew the life of the Church by returning to the most authentic Catholic tradition of all ages and those who seek to consecrate as eternal Catholic wisdom the theology of the manuals of the turn of the century and the anti-modernist emphasis which penetrated them.

The Pope and the CEO: John Paul II’s Leadership Lessons to a Young Swiss Guard

This is the title of a book some years ago by Andreas Widmer, the Swiss Guard in question. Stanley Kurtz, in "Party for 'The Pope and the CEO'” (The Corner, October 14, 2011), gives an account:
The other day I attended a party launching The Pope and the CEO: John Paul II’s Leadership Lessons to a Young Swiss Guard, by Andreas Widmer. Most book parties are chit-chat, with little said about the actual occasion for celebration. This was different. Widmer, a towering and charismatic presence, answered questions about his book from a delighted audience for nearly an hour. His stories of John Paul II’s impact on his life were fascinating and inspiring.

Widmer was raised in a thoroughly secular atmosphere in Switzerland. (Yes, the Swiss Guard is really Swiss.) Soon after he joined up, Widmer pulled Christmas Eve duty as the innermost of the Pope’s many layers of protection. This very tall and physically tough young soldier away from home for the first time during Christmas was quietly weeping with homesickness just outside the Pope’s personal chamber that night. Widmer’s job was to make sure the Pope’s quarters stayed securely locked till John Paul was ready to exit them; in other words, to be sure the Pope stayed locked in.

Amazingly, it never crossed Widmer’s mind that the honor of serving as John Paul’s inner-guard might be the most extraordinary, devout, and memorable way he could possibly have spent his first Christmas away from home. That’s how irreligious Widmer was. The Swiss guard has always been made up of mercenaries. There is no test of devotion, so somewhere around half the guard consists of Euro-secularists. But more than a few times, what happened to Widmer happens to secular members of the Guard.

When Widmer finally unlocked the door and allowed the Pope to exit his Chamber–with the soldier all the while struggling to hide his homesick tears–the conversion experience began. How the Pope responded to his guardian that night was the beginning of Widmer’s new life.

There’s a lot in this book about John Paul II the man, observed close up. But The Pope and the CEO also includes Widmer’s later struggles as a businessman who went from success and wealth to financial disaster, and back again, all the while learning how to integrate and reconcile faith and everyday life–”the crucifix and the BlackBerry”–as Mary Eberstadt puts it in her very positive NR review of the book (subscriber only). If Widmer’s enthralling performance at a stand-out book party is any indication, you’re going to like his work.
[Hat tip to JM]

"Archbishop Welby fails to hold Love of God and Holiness of Life together in Gay Dithering"

COMMENTARY by David W. Virtue (VirtueOnline, April 21, 2014):
Perhaps the ALPHA course didn’t teach the connection deeply enough or preferred to dodge the issue altogether.

Whatever, the Archbishop of Canterbury has made a fundamental error that could cost him the Anglican Communion. In preaching up God’s love for absolutely everybody and giving a pass to same-sex civil partnerships (while repudiating gay marriage), he has publicly divorced God’s love from God’s holiness and His demands on our everyday lives.

By giving a pass to same sex marriage, Archbishop Welby has fallen for the psychological and therapeutic rather than the moral and divine.

As Dr. David Wells in his new book God in the Whirlwind notes, “It is impossible to think of the love of God apart from his holiness.” While love and holiness are not the same thing, he observes, we see the world today through therapeutic categories rather than moral categories. “In twentieth-century liberalism, then, we ended up with love that was separated from divine holiness. Love and holiness belong together and work together: Love is characteristic of every aspect of God’s being as well as every action that issues from it.

“Love and holiness belong together and work together: Love is characteristic of every aspect of God’s being as well as every action that issues from it.”

Is it any wonder then that Bishop Gene Robinson and his “Love free or Die” movie is all about his need for full inclusion and acceptance? His concept of “love” is not agape but Eros. It is devoid of any talk of holiness. His narcissism, driven by the need for the church to accept who he perceives himself to be, has so corrupted Western imperial Anglicanism that a realignment is underway that will not be stopped.

[Hat tip to JM]

Monday, April 21, 2014

Saint: Why I Should be Canonized Right Away

I saw a short clip by Lino Rulli somewhere recently, and it wasn't half bad. Very funny, good-natured guy with some substance. Somewhat timely, too, perhaps, given the up-coming canonizations of Blessed John Paul II and John XXIII. Lino Rulli, Saint: Why I Should Be Canonized Right Away(Servant Books, 2013).

Seminary Prof critiques Cardinal Kasper on re-marriage and Communion

Always a model of diplomacy, Sacred Heart Major Seminary Professor of Systematic Theology, Dr. Robert Fastiggi, recently wrote a courteously-worded critique of Cardinal Kasper's Feb. 20 address on the family that was subsequently posted under the title of "A Reflection on Cardinal Kasper's Speech on the Family: Theology Professor Detects Problems with Cardinal's Comments on Divorce and Remarriage" (Zenit, March 12, 2014). Please be advised that Dr. Fastiggi goes more than the proverbial "second mile" in diplomacy here, which should help his critique get at least a sympathetic hearing:
ROME, March 12, 2014 ( - Robert Fastiggi, Ph.D. professor of systematic theology at the Sacred Heart Major Seminary in Detroit, MI, has shared the following response to Cardinal Walter Kasper’s Feb. 20th address to an extraordinary consistory of cardinals. The cardinal’s address focused on the family but his comments on divorced and remarried Catholics caused some controversy. Here Professor Fastiggi examines the speech and aspects which he finds problematic.


Cardinal Walter Kasper, the president emeritus of the Pontifical Council for Christian Unity, gave a two hour address on Feb. 20, 2014 to an extraordinary consistory on the family at the Vatican. In his March 5, 2014 interview with the Italian newspaper, Corriere della Sera, Pope Francis was asked about the Cardinal’s presentation. The Holy Father remarked that Cardinal Kasper had given “a most beautiful and profound presentation” (una bellissima e profonda presentazione). He indicated, though, that section five of the Cardinal’s talk is likely to generate an intense discussion, which we should not fear because it can lead to theological and pastoral growth.

An Italian text of Cardinal Kasper’s address was made available on March 1, 2014 via the on-line Foglio Quotidiano as a Vaticano Esclusivo. In addition to Cardinal Kasper’s address, there was also a critique by Prof. Roberto de Mattei of the European University in Rome. Based on this Italian text, I would like to offer the following comments:

Positive Aspects of the Address

Cardinal Kasper provides a very rich anthropological and biblical synthesis of the theology of marriage. He also takes note of the many challenges facing the Church with regard to the present state of marriage and family life. His address is divided into five parts with two appendices. The five sections are: 1) the family in the order of creation; 2) the structures of sin in the life of the family; 3) the family in the Christian order of redemption; 4) the family as domestic Church; and 5) the problem of the divorced and remarried.

I agree with Pope Francis that there are many beautiful insights about marriage in this presentation, especially in the first four sections. Cardinal Kasper highlights the foundation of marriage in the natural law (section 1); the importance of children (section 2); the family as the fundamental cell of society and a school of the virtues (section 3); the Church’s need for the family and the family’s need for the Church (section 4). In my opinion, these first four sections provide a very beautiful synthesis of the key points of the Catholic theology of marriage.

The fifth section of Cardinal Kasper’s address is the most controversial. In this section he discusses the difficulties faced by Catholics who are divorced and remarried civilly. He affirms the indissolubility of sacramental matrimony and the impossibility of a new marriage while the other spouse is still living. He describes this as “part of the tradition of the binding faith of the Church and it cannot be abandoned or dissolved by an appeal to a superficial comprehension of a cheap type of mercy.” Nevertheless, the Cardinal wonders whether the door might be open to further development regarding the pastoral care of the divorced and remarried without abandoning the binding tradition of the faith. By way of comparison, he mentions how Vatican II was able to develop the Church’s response to the questions of ecumenism and religious freedom without violating traditional doctrine. In this regard, Cardinal Kasper suggests that divorced and remarried Catholics can be allowed to receive Holy Communion in individual cases under certain conditions after an appropriate penance.

Problems with the Address

While Cardinal Kasper’s proposal is very nuanced and measured, his arguments are not free of difficulties. In what follows, I will try to summarize what, in my opinion, are the main problems:

1) The move beyond Church tribunals: Cardinal Kasper states that it is not divine law (iure divino) that cases of the divorced and remarried must only be handled by juridical means. He wonders whether the bishop might not entrust these cases to a priest with pastoral and spiritual experience as a type of penitentiary or episcopal vicar. This evasion, though, of the Church’s juridical process seems to have many potential dangers. If the priest is going to make a declaration of nullity of the prior putative marriage, on what basis can he make this judgment other than through the Church’s canon law? How, though, is an individual priest better able to apply canon law than an ecclesiastical tribunal? If, though, the job of the designated priest is to decide whether or when divorced or remarried couples can be admitted back to Holy Communion on what basis does he make this decision? If he admits them back to the reception of Holy Communion without a firm resolve to remain continent, then it seems that a concession is being given to have sexual relations with someone other than one’s sacramental spouse. This, though, seems like permission to commit adultery, which is contrary to divine law!

2) The need to move from general rules to the consideration of the unique situation of the human person. Cardinal Kasper appeals to Pope Francis’ Jan. 24, 2014 address before the Roman Rota in which the Holy Father emphasized that the pastoral and juridical dimensions should not be placed in opposition. In light of this, Cardinal Kasper points to the spiritual needs of divorced and remarried Catholics. He wonders whether the encouragement for them to receive “spiritual communion” instead of sacramental communion makes any sense in light of the fundamental sacramental structure of the Church. If these divorced and remarried Catholics can make a spiritual communion with Christ in spite of their situation, why can they not receive the sacramental communion of the same Christ? The simple response to the Cardinal’s question is that those who persist in grave sin are not to receive Holy Communion (CIC, canons 915–916). Having conjugal relations with someone other than one’s spouse is a grave or mortal sin because it is adultery. Proper care for the human person can never give way to a permission to sin. If the Church allows divorced and remarried Catholics to receive Holy Communion, this would mean either that marriage is not indissoluble or that adultery is not a mortal sin. As John Paul II writes in Familaris consortio, 84: “If these people [divorced and remarried Catholics] were admitted to the Eucharist, the faithful would be led into error and confusion regarding the Church’s teaching about the indissolubility of marriage.” The rules of the Church are grounded in the teachings of Christ, which are directed to the true good of every individual. There is no contradiction between applying the teachings of Christ and care for the true good of each person. It is no doubt difficult for divorced and remarried Catholics to refrain from receiving Holy Communion. Their hunger for the Eucharist, however, might motivate them to turn to the Church to see if their prior putative marriage was truly valid. Cardinal Kasper’s suggestion would eliminate the need for such an inquiry because the Church could allow them to receive Holy Communion without a declaration of nullity.

3) The ancient Church provides examples of allowing the divorced and remarried to be re-admitted back to ecclesial communion and the Eucharist. Cardinal Kapsar’s historical examples in this regard are open to challenge. His appeal to canon 8 of the Council of Nicaea I (325) is misguided. This canon does not apply to the divorced and remarried. The clemency shown is to the Cathars who were rigorists and had previously refused communion with those who had entered into a second marriage after their first spouse died. As a condition for their return to Catholic communion, the Cathars were required to be in communion with these widows and widowers who had remarried. This is made clear in Christian Marriage: An Historical and Doctrinal Study by George J. Joyce, S.J. (Sheed & Ward, 1933), pp. 581–582. Prof. Roberto de Mattei also cites Fr. Joyce’s book to refute some of the historical examples of Cardinal Kasper. The cases the Cardinal mentions of remarried Catholics being re-admitted back to Holy Communion after doing penance were cases that involved expiation from the sin of the invalid second marriage, which was being abandoned. These were not cases of doing penance that allowed the penitents to continue living in the invalid second marriage. Cardinal Kasper likewise can be challenged for his implication that St. Basil allowed the divorced and remarried to continue living in their unions after doing penance. As Fr. Joyce shows, “St. Basil is simply concerned with the question whether a married man separated from his wife and living with a paramour incurs in all cases the canonical penance for adultery as such” (p. 322). If the man was deserted by his wife and he takes up with a mistress, both he and the mistress can receive a milder penance intended for non-adulterous fornication. This is the indulgence St. Basil allowed—not an indulgence to continue in the non-marital relation! St. Basil’s position is clear in his Ethica, Regula 73, c. 2: “It is not lawful for a man to put away his wife and marry another. Nor is it permitted that a man should marry a wife who has been divorced by her husband” (PG. 32, 730). Other examples cited by Cardinal Kasper are also questionable. His mention of penance as the “second plank after baptism” is taken from Tertullian, De paenitentia 4,2 and cited in the Council of Trent’s Decree on Justification (D-H, 1542). He’s correct that penance served in the early Church as the second plank for penitent apostates or the lapsed (lapsi). This, though, assumed that the penitents gave up their sin of apostasy. It was not a penance that allowed them to persist in their sin! A much better assessment of the practice of the early Church toward the divorced and remarried is found in Cardinal Ratzinger’s text, Concerning Some Objections to the Church’s Teaching on the Reception of Holy Communion by Divorced and Remarried Members of the Faithful, published as the introduction to Vol. 17 of the series of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith entitled, Documenti e Studi: On the Pastoral Care of the Divorced and Remarried (Vatican City, 1998). This text—which is now found on the Vatican website in support of the 1994 document of the CDF on this subject—provides a thorough refutation of the types of examples given by Cardinal Kasper. While admitting the possibility of some exceptional cases, Cardinal Ratzinger states: “In the early Church at the time of the Fathers, divorced and remarried members of the faithful were never officially admitted to Holy Communion” (n. 2).

4) The Catholic Church has never rejected the practice of the Eastern Orthodox on allowing divorce and remarriage. Cardinal Kasper makes this claim in his second appendix, and he appeals to the assessment of the Council of Trent on this issue by several scholars. The Council of Trent, however, anathematizes those who “say that the Church is in error for having taught and for still teaching that in accordance with the evangelical and apostolic doctrine [cf. Mt 5:32; 19:9; Mk 10:11f; Lk 16:18; 1 Cor 7:11] the marriage bond cannot be dissolved because of adultery on the part of the spouses and that neither of the two, not even the innocent one who has given no cause for infidelity, can contract another marriage during the lifetime of the other; and that the husband who dismisses an adulterous wife and marries again and the wife who dismisses an adulterous husband and marries again are both guilty of adultery” (D-H, 1807). This condemnation leaves no room for the toleration of the present practice of the Eastern Orthodox Churches. As Cardinal Ratzinger writes in the text cited above: “On doctrinal grounds, the praxis of the Eastern churches separated from Rome cannot be taken up by the Catholic Church … Furthermore, there is evidence that groups of Orthodox believers who became Catholic had to sign a profession of faith with an explicit reference to the impossibility of a second marriage” (n. 2).

5) Conclusion. Cardinal Kasper is to be commended for the first four sections of his Feb. 20, 2014 address. His fifth section, however, seems to resurrect suggestions that have been presented before and rejected by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. A far better discussion of the issue can be found in Cardinal Gerhard Müller’s excellent article that appeared in L’Osservatore Romano [Eng. Ed.] of Oct. 23, 2013.

Active participation facilitated by liturgical silence

Silence in the Liturgy from LMS on Vimeo.

The "hermeneutic of fogetfulness" applied to Vatican II

"How to Regard Vatican II: a special essay by Don Pietro Leone" (Rorate Caeli, March 10, 2014):

A representative image of the consequences of
Vatican II in the web encyclopedia

Many of our readers are aware of the work of Don Pietro Leone (for instance, The Roman Rite: Old and New, on the Traditional Mass and the many problems of the new liturgy). Don Pietro Leone is the pen name of a priest who celebrates the traditional Mass in full and peaceful communion with his Ordinary somewhere in that great cradle of civilization known as Italy
In this special essay, reflecting the personal position of the author and translated by our contributor Francesca Romana, the reverend Father tries to explain what is the best way to regard the Second Vatican Council, 50 years later and with the full knowledge of all its fruits and consequences, willed or unintentional.

 The Vaticanum Secundum is characterized by a number of declarations lacking in clarity. An example is the statement: ‘The Church of Christ subsists in the Catholic Church’ (Lumen Gentium, 8). In this essay we shall present three criteria for understanding the Council as a whole in relation to this unclarity.
The criteria are as follows:
1) the accomplishment of the objective purpose of Vatican II as a Council;
2) the assistance of the Holy Spirit;
3) the ‘Hermeneutic of Continuity’.

I. The Accomplishment of the Purpose of the Council qua Council

The purpose of a Church Council is to exercise the Church’s munus docendi.

The Church has three munera or offices: the munus docendi, (the teaching office), the munus regendi (the office of government), and the munus sanctificandi (the office of sanctification).

The munus docendi, or teaching office, was entrusted to the Church by Our Lord Jesus Christ together with the Depositum Fidei, in order that she might teach the Faith, the content of the Faith, or, in other words, that she might teach Catholic doctrine.

The Church has the competence to teach this doctrine, she has no competence to teach any other doctrine. This doctrine is immutable; it is re-iterated over the ages as the same doctrine and in the same sense; it is always to be understood in the same manner (in eodem scilicet dogmate, eodem sensu, eademque sententia, Dei Filius, First Vatican Council, s.3 ch.4). The only change to which it is subject is the change in its expression, namely the increase in the depth and clarity of its expression over the ages.

Nancy Pelosi: Episcopalian foot washer! (Fr. Z's Blog)

Fr. Z comments on this HERE, but one wonders whether he doesn't miss the larger picture of this staged performance. How likely is it that this would have happened, had Pelosi not witnessed all the politicized media hype about Pope Francis setting aside canon law and washing the feet of women and Muslims last year and this? Can you imagine she doesn't aim to capitalize on this photo op for political ends? Nothing new happening here, folks, let's move along.

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Extraordinary Community News

"I will go in unto the Altar of God
To God, Who giveth joy to my youth"

Tridentine Community News (April 20, 2014):
The Blessing of Pilgrims and Those Beginning a Journey

Around major holidays, it is appropriate to recall that Holy Mother Church provides a blessing in the Rituále Románum – the Roman Ritual for the Extraordinary Form – for Pilgrims and Those Beginning a Journey. Anyone who is about to set forth on travels is invited to ask for this blessing from the celebrant after Mass. The English text from the 1961 Colléctio Rítuum – the currently-in-force subset of the Ritual adapted for North America – is provided below:
Prayers (may be prayed in Latin or English)
Antiphon. Along ways of peace and prosperity may the almighty and merciful Lord lead you, and may the Angel Raphael accompany you on the journey. So may you in peace, health, and joy return unto your own.

Canticle. Blessed be the Lord, the God of Israel, * because He has visited and wrought redemption for His people,
And has raised up a horn of salvation for us * in the house of David, His servant,
As He promised through the mouth of His holy ones, * the prophets from of old:
Salvation from our enemies * and from the hands of all who hate us,
To show mercy to our forefathers, * and to be mindful of His holy covenant:
Of the oath that He swore to Abraham our father, * that He would grant us,
That, delivered from the hand of our enemies, * we should serve Him without fear,
In holiness and justice before Him * all our days.
And thou, child, shalt be called * the prophet of the Most High;
For thou shalt go before the face of the Lord * to prepare His ways,
To give to His people knowledge of salvation * through forgiveness of their sins.
Because of the loving-kindness of our God * wherewith the Orient from on high has visited us.
To shine on those who sit in darkness and in the shadow of death, * to guide our feet into the way of peace.
Glory be to the Father.

Antiphon (above, repeated)

Lord, have mercy on us. Christ, have mercy on us. Lord, have mercy on us.

Our Father, etc.
℣. And lead us not into temptation.
℟. But deliver us from evil.
℣. Preserve your servants.
℟. Who trust in You, my God.
℣. Send them aid, Lord, from on high.
℟. And from Sion watch over them.
℣. Be for them a mighty fortress.
℟. In the face of the Enemy.
℣. Let the Enemy be powerless against them.
℟. And let the son of iniquity do nothing to harm them.
℣. May the Lord be praised at all times.
℟. May God, our Helper, grant us a successful journey.
℣. Show us Your ways, O Lord.
℟. And conduct us along Your paths.
℣. Oh, that our ways might be directed.
℟. To the keeping of Your precepts!
℣. For the crooked ways will be made straight.
℟. And rough ways smooth.
℣. God has given His Angels charge over you.
℟. To guard you in all your undertakings.
℣. O Lord, hear my prayer.
℟. And let my cry come to You.
℣. The Lord be with you.
℟. And with your spirit.

Let us pray.
O God, You led the sons of Israel through the sea over a dry path and revealed the way to the three Magi by the guidance of a star. Be pleased to grant these pilgrims a happy journey and a peaceful time, that, accompanied by Your Angel, they may safely reach their destination, and come finally to the haven of eternal salvation.
O God, You led Your servant Abraham out of Ur of the Chaldeans, safeguarding him in all his wanderings. Guide these Your servants, we implore You. Be for them support in battle, refuge in journeying, shade in the heat, covering in the rain, a carriage in tiredness, protection in adversity, a staff in insecurity, a harbor in shipwreck; so that under Your leadership they may successfully reach their destination, and finally return safe to their homes.
Give ear, we pray You, Lord, to our entreaties; direct the steps of Your servants on the paths of righteousness, that, in all the happenings of the journey and of life, they may have You as their constant Protector.
Grant, we ask You, almighty God, that Your pilgrims may march forth on the way of security; heeding the exhortations of blessed John, the Precursor, let them come safely to Him whom John foretold, Jesus Christ, Your Son, our Lord.
Hear, Lord, our prayers, and graciously accompany Your servants on the journey. As You are everywhere present, dispense Your mercy to them in all places, so that, protected by Your help from all dangers, they will be able to offer thanks to You. Through Christ our Lord.
℟. Amen.

Blessing (must be prayed in Latin) May the peace and blessing of almighty God, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit come upon you and remain with you for all time.
℟. Amen.
Tridentine Masses This Coming Week
  • Mon. 04/21 7:00 PM: Low Mass at St. Joseph (Easter Monday)
  • Tue. 04/22 7:00 PM: High Mass at St. Benedict/Assumption-Windsor (Easter Tuesday)
  • Fri. 04/25 7:00 PM: High Mass at St. Michael, Flint (Easter Friday) – Dinner for young adults age 18-35 follows Mass, organized by Juventútem Michigan
  • Sun. 04/27 12:00 Noon: High Mass at St. Albertus (Low Sunday) – Chaplet of Divine Mercy will be prayed before Mass
  • Sun. 04/27 3:00 PM: High Mass at St. Benedict/Assumption-Windsor (Low Sunday) – Confessions begin at 2:00 PM; Chaplet of Divine Mercy will be prayed before Mass
[Comments? Please e-mail Previous columns are available at This edition of Tridentine Community News, with minor editions, is from the St. Albertus (Detroit) and Assumption (Windsor) bulletin inserts for April 20, 2014. Hat tip to A.B., author of the column.]