Saturday, January 31, 2009

Be a hero on the Hudson - fun game

I highly recommend this 'Hero on the Hudson' game for a laugh:
Press left direction button to put plane nose down, press right to put plane nose up. Bon chance!

Friday, January 30, 2009

There is a lion in the hierarchy

Pope Benedict XVI with a lion cub

Cardinal Castrillón says full communion with SSPX will come

Thursday, January 29, 2009
Cardinal Castrillón:
Relevant declarations to Corriere della Sera
Excerpts of an article published today in Italian national daily Corriere della Sera:

"[Card. Castrillón:] Full communion will come. In our discussions, Bishop Fellay recognized the Second Vatican Council, he recognized it theologically. Only a few difficulties remain...[sic]"

Maybe on Nostra Aetate, the declaration which represented a turning point in the relationship with the Jews?

"[Card. Castrillón:] No, that is not a problem. It involves discussing aspects such as ecumenism, liberty of conscience...[sic]"

Full interview here

Not only that but madcap Bishop Williamson of SSPX has apologised to the Holy See for his ridiciulous holocaust denial comments.

On another matter, Monsignor Ignacio Barreiro, chief of Human Life International’s Rome bureau said his Curial source told him that they are currently busy working out the practical arrangements for a fully regularized Society of St. Pius X.
See here.

In light of then Cardinal Ratzinger's comments to the bishops of Chile this may not prove intractable at all:

Certainly, there is mentality of narrow views that isolate Vatican II and which has provoked this opposition. There are many accounts of it which give the impression that, from Vatican II onward, everything has been changed, and that what preceded it has no value or, at best, has value only in the light of Vatican II.

The Second Vatican Council has not been treated as a part of the entire living Tradition of the Church, but as an end of Tradition, a new start from zero. The truth is that this particular Council defined no dogma at all, and deliberately chose to remain on a modest level, as a merely pastoral council; and yet many treat it as though it had made itself into a sort of superdogma which takes away the importance of all the rest.

This idea is made stronger by things that are now happening. That which previously was considered most holy – the form in which the liturgy was handed down – suddenly appears as the most forbidden of all things, the one thing that can safely be prohibited. It is intolerable to criticize decisions which have been taken since the Council; on the other hand, if men make question of ancient rules, or even of the great truths of the Faith – for instance, the corporal virginity of Mary, the bodily resurrection of Jesus, the immortality of the soul, etc. – nobody complains or only does so with the greatest moderation.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

US Bishops' election document faulty and helped Pro-abortion Obama

Vatican Archbishop Raymond Burke says that the USCCB's "Forming Consciences for Faithful Citizenship" is partly to blame for the election of the "most pro-abortion president" in US history.

Catholic Online reports that Archbishop Burke, the prefect of the Apostolic Signatura, named a document on the election produced by the US Conference of Catholic Bishops that he said "led to confusion" among the faithful and led ultimately to massive support among Catholics for Barack Obama.

The US bishops' document, "Forming Consciences for Faithful Citizenship," stated that, under certain circumstances, a Catholic could in good conscience vote for a candidate who supports abortion because of "other grave reasons," as long as they do not intend to support that pro-abortion position.

Archbishop Burke, the former Archbishop of St. Louise Mo. and recently appointed head of the highest ecclesiastical court in the Catholic Church, told that although "there were a greater number of bishops who spoke up very clearly and firmly ... there was also a number who did not."

But most damaging, he said, was the document "Faithful Citizenship" that "led to confusion" among the voting Catholic population.

"While it stated that the issue of life was the first and most important issue, it went on in some specific areas to say 'but there are other issues' that are of comparable importance without making necessary distinctions."

Archbishop Burke, citing an article by a priest and ethics expert of St. Louis archdiocese, Msgr. Kevin McMahon, who analysed how the bishops' document actually contributed to the election of Obama, called its proposal "a kind of false thinking, that says, 'there's the evil of taking an innocent and defenceless human life but there are other evils and they're worthy of equal consideration.'

"But they're not. The economic situation, or opposition to the war in Iraq, or whatever it may be, those things don't rise to the same level as something that is always and everywhere evil, namely the killing of innocent and defenceless human life."

Archbishop Burke also cited the work of the official news service of the US Catholic Bishops' Conference, that many pro-life observers complained soft-pedalled the newly elected president's opposition to traditional morality.

"The bishops need to look also at our Catholic News Service, CNS, they need to review their coverage of the whole thing and give some new direction, in my judgement," he said.

(Source: CTHUS)

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Who is the fluffy teddy bear - the Pope or Dalai Lama?

Bit of fun: Trendy Lefty Liberals are aghast ...

Australian TV host John Safran playing a little game of who said this? The big, bad, authoritarian Pope or the cute and cudly Dalai Lama.
The Pope is a huge bugbear because he's soooooo dogmatic and dictatorial and, well, censorious! The Liberal lefties who read the Guardian and its ilk much prefer trendy gurus such as the Dalai Lama... unless they actually read what he says........H/T here

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Holocaust-denier bishop gets silenced by Society of St Pius X - about time too.

Rorate Caeli reports:
Communiqué of the Superior General of the Society of St. Pius X,
Bishop Bernard Fellay

It has come to our attention that Bishop Richard Williamson, a member of our Society, granted an interview to a Swedish network. In this interview, he also commented on historical issues, especially on the genocide of Jews by the National-Socialist regime. It is obvious that a bishop speaks with religious authority solely on matters of faith and morals. Our Society claims no authority over historical or other secular matters.
The mission of the Society is the offering and restoration of authentic Catholic teaching, as reflected in the traditional dogmas. We are known, accepted and appreciated worldwide for this.
We view this matter with great concern, as this exorbitance has caused severe damage to our religious mission. We apologize to the Holy Father and to all people of good will for the trouble it has caused.
It must remain clear that those comments do not reflect in any way the attitude of our community. That is why I have forbidden Bishop Williamson to issue any public opinion on any political or historical matter until further notice.
The constantly accusations against the Society have also apparently served the purpose of discrediting our mission. We will not allow this, but will continue to preach Catholic doctrine and to offer the Sacraments in the ancient rite.

Menzingen, January 27, 2009
+ Bishop Bernard Fellay, Superior General

As District Superior of the Society [of Saint Pius X] in Germany, I am very troubled by the words pronounced by Bishop Williamson here in this country.

The banalization of the genocide of the Jews by the Nazi regime and of its horror are unacceptable for us.

The persecution and murder of an incalculable number of Jews under the Third Reich touches us painfully and they also violate the Christian commandment of love for neighbor which does not distinguish ethnicities.

I must apologize for this behavior and dissociate myself from such a view.

Such dissociation is also necessary for us because the father of Archbishop Lefebvre died in a KZ [concentration camp] and because numerous Catholic priests lost their lives in Hitler's concentration camps.

Stuttgart, January 27, 2009
Father Franz Schmidberger

Are we living in a post-Vatican II springtime? An alternative view

Gerald Warner in the Daily Telegraph here gives an alternative view about effect of second Vatican Council:

Fifty years on: time to revisit and reform the Second Vatican Catastrophe
Posted By: Gerald Warner at Jan 27, 2009 at 07:49:45 [General]
Posted in: Society , Religion
Benedict XVI, Second Vatican Council, Summorum Pontificum

Benedict XVI grows in stature as his reign progresses. To the momentous achievement of the motu proprio Summorum Pontificum, freeing the Tridentine Mass, he has now added the sagacious and just lifting of the excommunications imposed on the four bishops of the Society of St Pius X.

Although there was widespread scepticism about the validity of those censures, their lifting removes a roadblock to the restoration of the Church after the damage wrought by the Second Vatican Catastrophe. Not everyone is happy about the pardoning of the bishops. The staff of The Tablet are rumoured to be on suicide watch, while the malign spirit of those who, without any conscious irony, denominate themselves "liberals" was well illustrated by Gianni Gennari, an Italian journalist.

Gennari is a laicized priest, now married. Fighting back tears, he responded to news of the lifting of the excommunications: "It is a tragedy, the complete debacle of the Church!... I am disappointed, stunned, scandalised... In this case there is no place for the mercy of Christ"... Of course not. The Modernists have always excluded from any kind of mercy those faithful Catholics who adhere unreservedly to the Deposit of Faith. Anything that reduces the likes of Gennari to tears has to be good news.

Over the past few days, some blinkeredly optimistic souls have been trying - without much real hope - to persuade Catholics to "celebrate" the 50th anniversary of the announcement of the Second Vatican Council. This was the great "renewal", when the Holy Ghost inspired the Church to aggiornamento, or modernisation. What form has that Renewal taken?

In England and Wales in 1964, at the end of the Council, there were 137,673 Catholic baptisms; in 2003 the figure was 56,180. In 1964 there were 45,592 Catholic marriages, in 2003 there were 11,013. Mass attendance has fallen by 40 per cent. In "Holy" Ireland, only 48 per cent of so-called Catholics go to Mass. In France, there were 35,000 priests in 1980; today there are fewer than 19,000. Renewal?

In the United States, in 1965, there were 1,575 priestly ordinations; in 2002 there were 450 - a 350 per cent decline. In 1965 there were 49,000 seminarians, in 2002 just 4,700. Today 15 per cent of US parishes are without priests. Only 25 per cent of America's nominal Catholics attend Mass. Worse still is the erosion of faith among those who ludicrously describe themselves as Catholics. Among US Catholics aged 18-44 (the children of Vatican II) as many as 70 per cent say they believe the Eucharist is merely a "symbolic reminder" of Christ.

To describe this unprecedented collapse of the Church as "renewal" is insane; to attribute it to the operation of the Holy Ghost is blasphemous. The Catholic Church is in the same position as an alcoholic: until it admits to the problem, no cure is possible. The problem is Vatican II.

Pope Benedict himself has expressed reservations about at least one Council document. The only remotely celebratory response to the Council's 50th anniversary would be to appoint a commission of orthodox theologians to scrutinise all of Vatican II's documents and correct their errors. It is time to revisit and reform this council that has brought forth such poisonous fruits.

Bishop Patrick O’Donoghue of Lancaster calls Vatican II: A Magna Carta of the Holy Spirit
The Catholic Herald 23 January 2009 here:
Another more positive interpretation of VatII can be found here.

Are Irish Catechetics a disaster? Looks like it.

Speaking about right of Catholic schools being just that in a pluralist society, Dr Diarmuid Martin of Dublin today had stiff comments to say about effectiveness of Catholic schools and catechetical programmes. Has the penny finally dropped about the total failure of present catechetical programmes used in Catholic schools to convey knowledge never mind commitment, to young Irish people. Eanna Johnson has a fine number of studies about deficiencies of AliveO programmes here.

Archbishop Martin says Catholic school identity at risk
CATHOLIC SCHOOLS must not water down their identity to conform with a more pluralist society, the Archbishop of Dublin Dr Diarmuid Martin said yesterday.

At a conference to mark the first Catholic Schools Week in the Republic, Dr Martin said the Catholic school system had its rightful place within a multicultural society.

“Pluralism does not mean watering down identity. Indeed, a Catholic school which waters down its identity waters down its real contribution to society and renders itself useless,” he said.

“The survival of Catholic education in Ireland will not depend on it fitting in to an overall pluralist secularist philosophy, but on it being fully Catholic, bringing that specific contribution of the message of Jesus Christ to society........"

The archbishop also questioned the success of Catholic schools in passing on the faith to young people.

“What are we to say about a Catholic school system and catechetical programmes which have produced the numerically largest cohort of unchurched young people in recent Irish history?” he asked.

“Irish young people are among the most catechised in western Europe, with religious instruction right through primary and secondary school, and yet we cannot say that they are among the most evangelised.

“Indeed, the biggest challenge that I, as archbishop, see for the church in Dublin is precisely that of the evangelisation of young people and their insertion as true and committed members of a believing and worshipping community.”.......

Bishop Leo O’Reilly, chair of the Bishops Commission for Education, said it was important that Catholic schools became more conscious of their identity as the schools system became more pluralist.

Souce: The Irish Times Tuesday Jan 27, 2009.

Time to concentrate attention on dialogue of tradition with Orthodox churches

Russian Orthodox National Council meets to elect patriarch

I am of the opinion that ecumenical conferences and the like with Protestant sects are a waste of time. Notice all the time and attention wasted with the Anglican Communion over the last 40 years. -Same too with Lutherans, Baptists etc.
It is time now to concentrate on avenues which are worthwhile and contain genuine hopes and possibility of re-union. That is with the various Orthodox churches as well as Oriental rite church - those who split away after Chalcedon.
Like the Orthodox and Oriental churches, the Catholic Church celebrates seven sacraments, and has many other similarities. I understand they have a great respect for traditional practices of the Catholic Church, so perhaps the lifting of excommunication against Society of Pius X four, will help in talks with Orthodox and Oriental churches.

The bishops of the Russian Orthodox Church this evening in Moscow elected Metropolitan Kirill of Smolensk and Kaliningrad, 62, to succeed the late Patriarch Alexi II as the head of the Russian Orthodox Church.

The new Patriarch's challenge: to deepen the Church's influence inside Russia, and to widen its presence outside Russia

Kirill will "certainly" invite Pope Benedict XVI to visit Russia, and increase collaboration with the Roman Catholic Church worldwide, Orthodox sources say.

This was after the Local (national) Council of the Russian Orthodox Church opened its meeting at the Christ the Saviour Cathedral in Moscow to elect the Russian patriarch.

MOSCOW, January 27 (Itar-Tass) --

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Fr Vincent Twomey refuses to debate at UCC

Theologian refuses UCC debate invite over decision on stem-cell research

A FORMER professor of moral theology at St Patrick’s College Maynooth has turned down an invitation to take part in a debate held by the UCC Philosophical Society on Monday January 26th.
Fr Vincent Twomey said it “evidently supports the policy of your university to allow stem-cell research on human embryos which, of its nature, involves the killing of children in the earliest stages of their development”.

The invitation last Tuesday said the motion for debate would be “That this house would allow homosexual couples to adopt” and that society members would be delighted if Fr Twomey was willing to speak in opposition.

Fr Twomey said: “I gather that you hosted a ‘debate’ on this topic soon after the governing body announced its decision [to allow stem cell research at UCC] by a majority of one.

“At that debate one of speakers, I gather, was Dame Mary Warnock, the main advocate of destructive experimentation on human embryos in Britain.

“You boast of her as one of your patrons.
“Such ‘debates’ are but exercises in propaganda and with no concern for the truth . . .”

He continued: “Just as I am not prepared to be associated with any debating society that would embrace Nazi or Marxist ideology, so too I am not prepared to be associated with a philosophical society that supports the killing of children even for the most noble of motives.”

A spokesperson for the UCC Philosophical Society was unavailable for comment yesterday.

Source: The Irish Times Sat 24th Jan 2008.

Friday, January 23, 2009

Stop liturgical abuse

The product of a Jesuit education

9% Of the New Congress in the US is Jesuit Educated, 30% Of Congress Is Catholic.

33 out of the 51 of these members are committed to legislating pro abortion laws.

The 111th Congress, sworn in last week, features 51 members (out of 535) who are Jesuit-educated, according to the Association of Jesuit Colleges and Universities. Georgetown has by far the most alumni at the Capitol -- 18 -- but local favorites Boston College and the College of the Holy Cross have their share, with six and four graduates in Congress, respectively.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Some Italian Jews and Catholic Liberals gang up to criticise Pope Benedict XVI

As Sandro Magister has shown a number of prominent Italian Jewish leaders have ganged up with some liberal Churchmen in Italy to attack the teaching of the Catholic Church about its prayer for the conversion of the Jews.

Giorgio Israel, an Italian Jewish commentator (and Math professor at the University of Rome - La Sapienza), writes in Il Foglio about the attacks of the Italian rabbinate against Pope Benedict XVI. Liberal Judaism, he says, have acted together with the leaders of the "Progressive" Italian Church (especially those in the Archdiocese of Milan) to undermine the reputation of Pope Benedict XVI.

According to Damian Thompson and CNS, the Vatican has called on the Italian Jewish leaders to calm down a bit and see sense.

A large part of the dispute centers around the Good Friday prayers of the Traditional Latin Mass.

The post 1955 text of the Good Friday Prayers can be found here. The later version correctly translates perfidius as faithless.

Oremus et pro perfidis Iudaeis: ut Deus et Dominus noster auferat velamen de cordibus eorum; ut et ipsi agnoscant Iesum Christum Dominum nostrum.

Let us pray also for the faithless Jews: that our God and Lord would remove the veil from their hearts: that they also may acknowledge our Lord Jesus Christ.

S. Oremus. Priest: Let us pray.
V. Flectamus genua. Deacon: Let us kneel.
R. Levate. Subdeacon: Arise.

Omnipotens sempiterne Deus, qui etiam iudaicam perfidiam a tua misericordia non repellis: exaudi preces nostras, quas pro illius populi obcaecatione deferimus; ut, agnita veritatis tuae luce, quae Christus est, a suis tenebris eruantur. Per Dominum nostrum, Iesum Christum, filium tuum, qui tecum vivat et regnat in unitate Spiritu Sancti, Deus, per omnia saecula saeculorum. R. Amen.

Almighty and everlasting God, who drivest not away from Thy mercy even the faithless Jews: hear our prayers, which we offer for the blindness of that people: that, acknowledging the light of Thy truth, which is Christ, they may be rescued from their darkness. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, Thy Son, who liveth and reigneth with Thee in the unity of the Holy Spirit, God, world without end. R. Amen.

Some Jewish leaders have attacked Benedict XVI for his approval of TLM and its attendant Good Friday Prayers.
This is a bit selective, because the Novus Ordo Mass repeatedly calls for the conversion of Jews, but no-one says a thing.
One can also note the 1962 breviary speaks about the Jews on Ember Wednesday in Lent. Compared to 'Judaeorum plebe damnata' a prayer for their conversion is positively benign.

As we get started, please understand I don't think Jews are in a worse position that anyone else, and believe the Church should pray for the conversion of all to faith in Jesus Christ and their entry into His Church. To be Catholic is to preach the Gospel to all people in all places at all times, as Jesus Himself commanded us to do. (see Mark 16:15)

There have been a number of changes to prayers for conversions of Jews on Good Friday. This is a scholarly critique by someone whose views of the papacy I don't share - but this exposition of facts on this issue seems essentially accurate.

Most interesting he points out that the reference to the veil on their hearts is directly from St. Paul (2 Cor. 3: 13-16 NIV):

13 We are not like Moses, who would put a veil over his face to keep the Israelites from gazing at it while the radiance was fading away.
14 But their minds were made dull, for to this day the same veil remains when the old covenant is read. It has not been removed, because only in Christ is it taken away.
15 Even to this day when Moses is read, a veil covers their hearts.
16 But whenever anyone turns to the Lord, the veil is taken away.

Pope Benedict asked that the 1962 Prayers on Good Friday be slightly amended. [ I don't agree with this particular apologists views on a number of issues - just on issue of Good Friday prayers.]

It is as plain as day that there is a battle going on among Catholic theologians about the status of the Old Testament Covenant and the Church's relationship with the Jewish people.
Though I don't agree with him on many important issues this American apologist points out important issues and even managed to get the American bishops to change and correct their adult catechism: here The following sentence had to be expunged from the book's text: "Thus the covenant that God made with the Jewish people through Moses remains eternally valid for them."
In a round about way we return to the essential point that if the Catholic Church wishes to call itself apostolic it must continue to preach and pray for the conversion of all non-Catholics into the Catholic Church and a flowering of faith in Jesus in their hearts. For the Church to do otherwise would be to declare itself not Catholic, and throw away its duty of mission given by Jesus Christ the Saviour.
The Catholic Church, as the commissioned herald of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, is the New Israel which fulfills and supersedes the Old Covenant with the the New Covenant. This is sometimes called supersessionism or Replacement Theology.

Speculation that The Irish Catholic is going down the tubes

Another blog once asked if the Irish Catholic newspaper is not just going down the tubes editorially but financially as well.
The print run for the paper when it was last printed by The Limerick Leader had fallen to 17,000. It has a large number of journalists and plethora of say-nothing columists - all of whom need big pay packets. Having a flick through it one can notice it has next to no large ads. This week it had one half page ad - about a meeting organised by the paper itself. It is not getting ad income. It has now been forced to put up its cover price for second time in a few months.

This fall in readership no doubt was because it has turned not just liberal in matters theological, but become a campaign sheet for Lisbon Yes campaign. No wonder as Irish Catholic deputy editor Michael Kelly is an activist in Fianna Fail who canvassed for Seam Ardagh TD for Dublin South Central during the last election, and the paper is governed by a board made up in part of IFA leaders. How could one expect to be independent and objective in this matters?

It is a great pity to watch it go down hill so steadily - it could have been a force for good and building up the faith and reporting on the Church in Ireland. Many friends of mine, who would have been keen readers before, now no longer buy it. With readership, prestige, advertising revenue going down as costs go up - is it only a matter of time before this privately owned company hits the wall. This year might tell us.

The US needs our prayers.

A number of priests in America are saying the following prayer today, as President Obama takes office.

Thanks to Fr Z for telling us that the prayer below was composed by John Carroll, Archbishop of Baltimore, in 1791. He was the first bishop appointed for the United States in 1789 by Pope Pius VI. He was made the first archbishop when his see of Baltimore was elevated to the status of an archdiocese. John was a cousin of Charles Carroll of Maryland, a signer of the Declaration of Independence.

PRAYER FOR GOVERNMENT We pray, Thee O Almighty and Eternal God! Who through Jesus Christ hast revealed Thy glory to all nations, to preserve the works of Thy mercy, that Thy Church, being spread through the whole world, may continue with unchanging faith in the confession of Thy Name. We pray Thee, who alone art good and holy, to endow with heavenly knowledge, sincere zeal, and sanctity of life, our chief bishop, Pope N., the Vicar of Our Lord Jesus Christ, in the government of his Church; our own bishop, N., all other bishops, prelates, and pastors of the Church; and especially those who are appointed to exercise amongst us the functions of the holy ministry, and conduct Thy people into the ways of salvation.

We pray Thee O God of might, wisdom, and justice! Through whom authority is rightly administered, laws are enacted, and judgment decreed, assist with Thy Holy Spirit of counsel and fortitude the President of these United States, that his administration may be conducted in righteousness, and be eminently useful to Thy people over whom he presides; by encouraging due respect for virtue and religion; by a faithful execution of the laws in justice and mercy; and by restraining vice and immorality. Let the light of Thy divine wisdom direct the deliberations of Congress, and shine forth in all the proceedings and laws framed for our rule and government, so that they may tend to the preservation of peace, the promotion of national happiness, the increase of industry, sobriety, and useful knowledge; and may perpetuate to us the blessing of equal liberty. We pray for his excellency, the governor of this state , for the members of the assembly, for all judges, magistrates, and other officers who are appointed to guard our political welfare, that they may be enabled, by Thy powerful protection, to discharge the duties of their respective stations with honesty and ability. We recommend likewise, to Thy unbounded mercy, all our brethren and fellow citizens throughout the United States, that they may be blessed in the knowledge and sanctified in the observance of Thy most holy law; that they may be preserved in union, and in that peace which the world cannot give; and after enjoying the blessings of this life, be admitted to those which are eternal.
To these, O Lord, and to all that rest in Christ, grant, we beseech Thee, a place of refreshment, light, and everlasting peace, through the same Jesus Christ, Our Lord and Savior. Amen.

Confession joke

The Confession Session

The new priest is nervous about hearing confessions, so he asks an older priest to sit in on his sessions.

The new priest hears several confessions, then the old priest asks him to step out of the confessional for a few suggestions.

The old priest suggests, "Cross your arms over your chest and rub your chin with one hand."

The new priest tries this.

The old priest then suggests, "Try saying things like, 'I see, yes, go on, and I understand, how did you feel about that?"

The new priest says those things, trying them out.

The old priest concludes, "Now, don't you think that's a little better than slapping your knee and saying, 'No way! What happened next?'"

Monday, January 19, 2009

Why can't an Irish priest come out and say this

H/T to Fr Z for spotting this.
This American Fr Markey gets right to the point. Clangs all the right bells. I find it very insightful.
Hopefully not too distant from now in time, an Irish priest will have the balls to say the same. Or even an bishop!

January 18, 2009

Part I: These past two Sundays I have dedicated my Pastor’s Column to New Year Resolutions. First I recommended that following Pope Benedict XVI’s lead, people no longer receive Holy Communion in the hand, and start receiving on the tongue. Secondly I recommended that people start correcting themselves when they use the Lord’s name in vain. This week I recommend that everyone in the parish make it a point to attend the 9:30 am Extraordinary Form of the Mass at least a few times during the coming year.
To begin to understand why, perhaps it is best to ask a question: How many Catholics today even realize that there is a liturgical crisis currently going on in the Church? Many parishes during the post-Vatican II era fell into irregular liturgical practices to such an extent that Pope John Paul II needed to commission a juridical document in 2004 for the universal Church in order to address the issue: “It is not possible to be silent about the abuses, even quite grave ones, against the nature of the liturgy and the sacraments as well as the tradition and authority of the Church, which in our day not infrequently plague liturgical celebrations in one ecclesial environment or another. In some places the perpetuation of liturgical abuses has become habitual” (Redemptionis Sacramentum, 4).
Habitual abuse means that neither the clergy nor the laity at Mass even realizes that the Sacred Mass, that which offers true worship to God and forms Catholic identity like no other act, is being deformed. Such ignorance of the nature of the liturgy prompted Pope Benedict XVI, then Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, to write in 2000: “Liturgical education today, of both priests and laity, is deficient to a deplorable extent. Much remains to be done here.” Sadly these attempts by Rome to correct liturgical abuse seem to have been virtually ignored by much of the Church at the parish level.
Since I arrived here at St. Mary Church in 2003 I have tried to address these issues and as everyone knows, I have made the renewal of the liturgy a priority for the parish. The first thing I did as pastor was to simply bring St. Mary Church into conformity with the norms of the Church. In the following years, I introduced singing the Latin Mass parts into all of the Masses, depending on the Mass and the occasion, as the documents require: “...steps should be taken so that the faithful may also be able to say or to sing together in Latin those parts of the Ordinary of the Mass which pertain to them.” (Sacrosanctum Concilium, 54). Thirdly I reserved altar serving to boys alone in order promote vocations to the priesthood. Finally, I have tried to imbue the liturgy here with a sacred spirit, avoiding profane greetings and actions, and I sought to build a sacred music program that would truly reflect our rich and ancient heritage.
Most importantly, I have attempted to educate everyone about why I was doing all of this. I have held numerous evening classes on the liturgy over the years, given homilies and written bulletin columns, trying to explain the proper spirit of the liturgy, and the authentic liturgical norms of the Church.
Many Catholics, who have been rightly offended by the profanation of the sacred over the years, joyfully embraced these changes. Some while not familiar with liturgical theology, have grown to understand better why a reverent liturgy is a more prayerful experience, and have also supported the changes.
Nonetheless the decisions I have made have been hard for others, and there have been not a few complaints. I am sometimes saddened by the brazen words of people who come to me and criticize a St. Mary’s priest for actually prayerfully offering the Mass according to the liturgical norms. To me, the person’s comment is symbolic of the current liturgical crisis: many years of a more casual liturgy, and even habitual liturgical abuse, are hard to overcome. Furthermore, the fact that so few parishes are implementing what the Magisterium is asking us to do makes the changes at St. Mary Church appear even more strange.
Yet how many Catholics truly understand what the Mass is: the re-presentation of the Sacrifice of Christ’s crucifixion to God the Father? (Catechism #1367) Some people are still coming to Sunday Mass expecting liturgical abuses or to be entertained by the priest, rather than the real reason we come – to worship God, offering this perfect sacrifice according to the means handed down to us by Mother Church.
If only more people understood that novelties and priestly creativity in the Mass take away from this transcendent reality, and suddenly the sacred act is profaned, taking on the mere personality of the priest. No! As Padre Pio says, at Mass we are to humbly pray like St. John and Our Lady at the foot of the cross. Would that more people’s comments to me about the Mass reflected this understanding.

January 25, 2009

Part II: Yet beyond the lack of fidelity to the Vatican II liturgical norms there is still a deeper question which has only now begun to be addressed by Pope Benedict XVI: whether the liturgical reform of the Second Vatican Council that we have today was what the Fathers of the Council intended. Addressing the discontinuity between the Council’s idea of liturgical renewal and the final form of the Vatican II Mass, the then Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger wrote: “(I)n the place of liturgy as the fruit of development came fabricated liturgy. We abandoned the organic, living process of growth and development over centuries, and replaced it –as in a manufacturing process- with a fabrication, a banal on-the-spot product.”
For example, today much of what Catholics think is the Second Vatican Council liturgical reform did not in fact come from the Council: “To the ordinary churchgoer,” wrote Cardinal Ratzinger, “the two most obvious effects of the liturgical reform of the Second Vatican Council seem to be the disappearance of Latin and the turning of the altars towards the people. Those who read the relevant texts will be astonished to learn that neither is in fact found in the decrees of the Council.” There is a long list of other changes as well that are simply not in the Vatican II documents either: removing altar rails, Communion in the hand, altar girls, etc.
For this reason Pope Benedict XVI’s decision to liberalize the Traditional Latin Mass (Extraordinary Form) is essential to reconnecting us with our lost tradition, and understanding what authentic worship of God is all about. This Mass was the Mass of our forefathers, of countless saints, and which in its essence dates back to the earliest Church.
Inspired by the Holy Father, I began the Extraordinary Form at the parish every Sunday over a year ago. As your Pastor I wish more people in the parish would understand that we have been given a treasure here at St. Mary’s with this Extraordinary Form, and while the Mass is definitely growing, it is still a disappointment that more people do not recognize what this is all about. .......

I encourage people to come and attend the 9:30 am Extraordinary Form so that they will experience what is in my opinion is the fullness of Catholic worship, and which communicates the Sacred to a higher degree than the other forms. The Ordinary Mass is a simpler version of this more ancient form, yet points to this fuller expression of worship.
I ask you to attend a few times because it sometimes takes a little while to appreciate its subtly, beauty and order. Even if you prefer the Ordinary Form of the Mass, your attendance at the Extraordinary Form will at least help you understand our history and the Ordinary Form better.
With all of the liturgical growth here at the parish over the past five years I hope that these two Pastor’s columns would help people to understand the big picture of why I am making these decisions. It is not my own personal whim which motivates me, but my desire to have our parish think and worship with the mind and heart of the Church.
Furthermore I think it more than a coincidence that the crisis in the liturgy over the past forty years coincided with so many other ecclesial crises: the radical decline in priestly and religious vocations, the shrinking and closing of Catholic schools, the breakdown of the family and the growth of the culture of death, the painful clergy scandals, etc. The Mass is the heart and source of our faith. If is the Mass is deformed and weak, then so is the rest of the body. As Pope Benedict XVI has written, “I am convinced that the crisis in the Church that we are experiencing today is, to a large extent, due to the disintegration of the liturgy.”
In conclusion, nothing will affect a renewal in the Church and in the culture more than a renewal in the liturgy. The Mass not only expresses what we believe, it shapes what we believe. Come, open yourself to what the Holy Spirit is doing at this point in history, and worship our Lord in the coming year in spirit and truth.

Sincerely in Christ,

Fr. Greg J. Markey

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Back to the future: Communion with physical signs of reverence

H/T to Fr Ray Blake for this 

A book, Dominus Est: by Bishop Athanasius Schneider, about the history of the reception of Holy Communion was endorsed very stronglyby Cardinal Francis Arinze and was reviewed very favourably by in in L'Osservatore Romanum. Schneider comes down very heavily in favour of receiving Communion on the tongue.

Interestly one of the first interviews with Cardinal Cañizares Llovera, the new Prefect of the Congregation for the Divine Worship, dealt with Communion on the Tongue

"No, it is not just a matter of form. What does it mean to receive communion in the mouth? What does it mean to kneel before the Most Holy Sacrament? What dies it mean to kneel during the consecration at Mass? It means adoration, it means recognizing the real presence of Jesus Christ in the Eucharist; it means respect and an attitude of faith of a man who prostrates before God because he knows that everything comes from Him, and we feel speechless, dumbfounded, before the wondrousness, his goodness, and his mercy. That is why it is not the same to place the hand, and to receive communion in any fashion, than doing it in a respectful way; it is not the same to receive communion kneeling or standing up, because all these signs indicate a profound meaning. What we have to grasp is that profound attitude of the man who prostrates himself before God, and that is what the Pope wants."

Cardinal Stafford, Prefect of the Apostolic Penitentiary speaking of sins reserved to the Holy See, spoke recently of desecration of the Holy Eucharist, said,
"this offense is occurring with more and more frequency, not just in satanic rites but by ordinary faithful who receive Communion and then remove the host from their mouths and spit it out or otherwise desecrate it."

Friday, January 16, 2009

Jews against Zionism

Here are a people we rarely hear about on TV or radio, Jews who are opposed to the secular and racist ideology of Zionism
Do not blame 'the Jews' for what is going on in Gaza. The whole Israeli problem was precipitated by Zionists:

Although there are those who refuse to accept the teachings of the Rabbis and will continue to support the Zionist state, there are also many who are totally unaware of the history of Zionism and its contradiction to the beliefs of Torah-True Jews.

Contrary to common perception, Jewish anti-Zionism is not restricted exclusively to the well know Jewish anti-Zionist movements such as Satmar and Neturei Karta.

There are in fact many Jewish movements, groups and organizations whose ideology regarding Zionism and the so-called "State of Israel" is that of the unadulterated Torah position that any form of Zionism is heresy and that the existence of the so-called "State of Israel" is illegitimate.

No one has had to create any antagonism between our Torah and Zionism because such antagonism exists by virtue of the essence of Judaism itself, which can never tolerate the heresy of Zionism.

Zionism is wrong from the Torah viewpoint, not because many of its adherents are lax in practice or even anti-religious, but because its fundamental principle conflicts with the Torah.

Here's a video of religous and anti-Zionist Jews.

This is a powerful video of Jewish UK MP Gerald Kaufman speaking to the British parliament on Jan 16th, 2009.
Sir Gerald, who was brought up as an orthodox Jew and Zionist, said: "My grandmother was ill in bed when the Nazis came to her home town a German soldier shot her dead in her bed.

"My grandmother did not die to provide cover for Israeli soldiers murdering Palestinian grandmothers in Gaza. The present Israeli government ruthlessly and cynically exploits the continuing guilt from gentiles over the slaughter of Jews in the Holocaust as justification for their murder of Palestinians."

I disagree with one line by Mr Kaufman. He said "Israel was born out of Jewish Terrorism". This is wrong, not all Jews are Israeli. Not all Jews are Zionists. Many Jews are anti-Zionist.
It must be corrected thus: "Israel was born out of Zionist Terrorism"

Is Dublin's Archbishop Diarmuid Martin being Intellectually honest?

The Archbishop of Dublin has taken umbrage at people stating the obvious meaning of the words and phrases that he uses when he approaches the issue of homosexual acts. This time concerning his interview with Vincent Browne.

For the umteempth time, he claims that he has been mis-understood again! Yet another clarification is offered.

The problem is not that he is mis-understood, the problem is his refusal to publicly attest to the immorality of homosexual acts and publicly declare that he is opposed to the legalisation of gay / civil union. It is really that simple.
Until Dr Martin does both these things it is difficult to see anything but his refusal to publicly endorse Church teaching.

He says below he does not know about the moral culpability of individuals in regards homosexual acts.
Thing is, as he should well know - An intrinsically evil act is one that is objectively wrong in and of itself, and which therefore can never be justified by circumstances or consequences.

There are no circumstances in which an intrinsically evil act - such as homosexual acts - would be morally good.
So his reply of not knowing subjective moral culpability is nonsense - We must ask if he is being  intellectually honest on this matter?

Securus iudicat orbis terrarum ("The whole world will safely judge"), declared St. Augustine of the Church's all-embracing Catholicity.

Below is the statement from Archbhishop's House concerning his interview with Vincent Browne:
15/1/09 Church Teaching on Mutuality of the Sexes

In a recent television interview, Archbishop Diarmuid Martin was quizzed about the significance of certain phrases taken, often in isolation, from documents of the Church on homosexuality.

In response the first question of the interview Archbishop Martin clearly and without hesitation replied that he fully accepted the teaching of the Church on the morality of homosexual acts in its entirety.

In a later section of the interview Archbishop Martin was asked a question which touched on the moral culpability of individuals. He replied that he could not make generalized statements about individual situations, noting “I do not know”, in a sense in which the “not knowing” referred not to the Church’s teaching but to the specific circumstances of individuals.

Unfortunately, many anonymous sources have spread the view that Archbishop Martin had refused to endorse Catholic teaching. One website even invites its readers to begin looking at the interview a full two minutes after the point where the Archbishop spoke of his full adherence to the teaching of the Church.

Archbishop Martin confirms once again his complete adherence to this teaching which also constitutes the norm for teaching and preaching in the diocese.

The Archbishop has repeatedly, over a number of years, stressed how the Church’s position on human sexuality is based on a vision in which the mutuality of the sexes is recognised as something anthropologically unique and irreplaceable and not as a simple cultural construct which can be adapted and changed.

The relevant church teachings are reproduced here:

Catechism of the Catholic Church (2357, 2358, 2359)

Considerations regarding proposals to give Legal Recognition to Unions between Homosexual Persons (June 3, 2003)

Letter to the Bishops of the Catholic Church on the Pastoral Care of Homosexual Persons (1/10/1986)

Persona Humana Declaration on certain questions concerning sexual ethics

Previous posts on this issue:
post 1, post 2, post 3, post 4.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Catholic Church calls for peace in Palestine

Today, Episcopal Conferences called for an end to violence in the Holy Land.

Holy Land religious leaders condemn Christian Zionism as false, a corrupting influence

JERUSALEM (Catholic Online) – Christian Zionism is a false and extreme theological and political philosophy that is has become a corrupting influence in the politics of Israel and the United States, said a Catholic patriarch and three other religious leaders here, urging Christians churches to break their silence. 8/31/2006

There are many articles on the net taking Christian Zionism to task: here ,here here

Christian Zionists are the false friends of Israel.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Irish bishops' commission demand cease fire in Gaza

Concluding a week long visit of solidarity to the Holy Land, Bishop Raymond Field, Chair of the Irish Commission for Justice and Social Affairs and Father Eamon Martin, Executive Secretary of the Irish Catholic Bishops’ Conference, have expressed alarm at the level of human suffering and living conditions currently being experienced by the people of Gaza. Bishop Field called for immediate action to end hostilities in order to begin building peace with justice in the region.

Bishop Field and Fr Martin are part of a delegation of Catholic Church leaders from Europe and North America visiting Christians of the Holy Land whose purpose is to express solidarity with them and listen to their concerns at this time. The visit was organised by the Co-ordination of Episcopal Conferences on behalf of the Holy See.......

Commenting today from Bethlehem manger square, about 40 miles from Gaza, Bishop Field said: “The horror and destruction of Gaza gets worse every day. From the posters and graffiti all around us, to the black flags flying from the Church of the Nativity, everywhere we look stark reminders of this human and societal tragedy exist. The most moving point of our visit was to hear the parish priest of Gaza, Fr Manawel Musallam, describing the terrifying nightmare that his people are living through.

“Fr Musallam told us about the death from fear and shock of a 14 year old girl in his parish, and about the chronic lack of food, water and energy which is threatening their very lives. Fr Musallam pleaded with us: ‘The world is not giving us our right; stop our living like animals in a prison. Do justice for Palestine and you will have lasting peace.’

“We assured Fr Manawel that the thoughts and prayers of people in Ireland are with him and with all the people of Gaza at this time.”

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Celebrating our Faith with beauty and joy

This is a beautiful photograph taken from a blog of a Polish Jesuit.

The flowers, the vestments, the gold monstrance. Christ deserves the best we can give in return.

Monday, January 12, 2009

Church in Sri Lanka calls for modesty in lay dress

In Ireland, I have not even heard the issue of modest dress in church raised for many many years. No one seems to care. Surely the way we dress signifies something of our interior disposition.
While not having a great hang-up about the way people dress in church - one can be dressed modestly and still unready for entering church etc. Dressing modestly is usually a sign of reverence and ensures less of a distraction to others. A priest in Colombo, Sri Lanka makes the case for more modest dress in church.

SRI LANKA Calls For Women To Cover Up At Cathedral

The clothing some young women wear to Mass at Colombo's main Catholic Church is attracting attention, judging by the messages on the notice board asking them to dress more modestly.

Father Tony Martyn, appointed parish priest of St. Lucia's Cathedral in 2006, says Sunday Mass there has become something of a women's fashion parade. This may have silent admirers, but it definitely has others frowning.

"Modesty is a virtue not limited to conduct, gestures, language, reading and thought, but also to clothing," Father Martyn told UCA News at the end of December.

"Here they (people) meet God," the priest said.

Three priests at the cathedral and some parishioners complain that some young women come to church in revealing short skirts, halter tops and low-cut blouses. This creates an unpleasant atmosphere, sets a bad example for youngsters and distracts many people, especially young men, they maintain. They also say little was done about the situation in the past.

Since November, however, some parishioners have distributed head veils free of charge to women, especially the young, to be worn during church services. Women traditionally wore a head covering to church, but the practice has slipped.

Meanwhile, the cathedral notice board shows pictures of modest dress as well as signs parishioners have put up calling on women to dress modestly and all parishioners not to dress extravagantly. Some signs appeal to parents to educate children about this. "Begin early," one said.

Father Joseph cited Saint Paul's admonition against extravagant dress in his First Letter to Timothy......

January 12, 2009

Though I don't agree with a lot of what he writes in other matters, an American Catholic apologist here does a very good article on the wearing of the veil at Mass. The useful part is the collection of quotations from the Fathers on the issue - page 4 onwards.
Can you just imagine the furore if an Irish bishop said we were to return to the biblical admonition of women wearing the veil again in church. Editorials in The Irish Times or what?

Korean bishops criticise Charismatic excesses

Korean Bishops denounce Charismatic excesses

Finally, a bishops' conference has the courage to take on a movement that, until very recently, has been practically above public criticism in the Catholic Church despite the numerous errors and dubious practices associated with it. The specific condemnation of the practice of "family tree healing" -- very common in charismatic circles -- is most necessary.

KOREA Bishops Provide Guidelines For Charismatic Renewal Movement

SEOUL (UCAN) -- Korean bishops, in a recent document, mentioned certain negative aspects of the charismatic movement in the Church here, while at the same time acknowledging its contributions to Church life.
The Committee for the Doctrine of the Faith of the Catholic Bishops' Conference of Korea (CBCK) says that although the movement has helped to renew the faith of Catholics, some aspects have been questionable.

Its 88-page document, Right Understanding of the Holy Spirit, cites certain misunderstandings of the faith and unethical behavior of some followers, the abuse of spiritual gifts, a fanatical atmosphere at some prayer meetings, and deviation from Church teaching by some laypeople, priests and Religious.

The document, which the committee issued on Dec. 24, attributes decades of growth in the spiritual renewal movement, which focuses on the power of the Holy Spirit to transform lives, to members' dedication. However, it pointed out that some followers have pursued fame, money and privilege, which it calls "a great obstacle" to the movement.

The bishops' committee says some of these people have sought money from people, claiming they possess the gift of healing or prophecy.......

Source UCAN News here
This website gives an alternative and Protestant critique of Charismatic excesses.

Russian Orthodox Church and importance of Tradition

I know there are a number of problems with loose structure of Orthodox federations of churches and that Russian Orthodox Church can be intransigent but this post does highlight the fact that they recognise the importance of ecclesiatical tradition and found that radical reform of church practice does not work:

No desire for reform - in Russian Orthodoxy
Interfax reports on comments made by the current locum tenens of the Moscow Patriarchate:

There will be no reforms in the Russian Orthodox Church when a new Patriarch takes office, Patriarchal Locum Tenens Metropolitan Kirill told the media in Moscow on Monday.

"I strongly oppose any church reforms. Besides, I do not think that any of the 145 archbishops that may be nominated for Patriarch have reform aspirations," he said.

Russia has twice learned "the necessity of careful attitude to traditions, especially church traditions," the Metropolitan said.

"The first lesson we learned was the church split by Old Believers. Our second lesson was the notorious innovations of the 1920s. Both processes caused agitation and divided people but neither of them reached the goals set by the reformers," he told.

"Church reforms cannot attain their goals unless these goals are rooted in people's life," Metropolitan Kirill remarked.

"Our Church is strong with its ability to preserve the belief and the flawless moral paradigm and to pass them over from one generation to another," the Metropolitan said.

"The Church is conservative by nature, as it maintains the apostolic belief," he added.

"If we want to pass the belief from one generation to another for centuries, the belief must be intact. Any reform damaging the belief, traditions and values is called heresy," he said.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Tongue in cheek type of joke

Thanks to Helen for this one.

I was walking across a bridge one day, and I saw a man standing on the edge, about to jump off.

So I ran over and said, “Stop! Don’t do it! There’s so much to live for!”

He said, “Like what?”

I said, “Well, are you religious or atheist?”


I said, “Me too! Are you Christian or Buddist?”


I said, “Me too! Are you Episcopalian or Baptist?”


I said, “Wow! Me too! Are you Baptist Church of God or Baptist Church of the Lord?”

“Baptist Church of God.”

I said, “Me too! Are you original Baptist Church of God or Reformed Baptist Church of God?”

“Reformed Baptist Church of God.”

I said, “Me too! Are you Reformed Baptist Church of God, Reformation of 1879, or Reformed Baptist Church of God, Reformation of 1915?”

He said, “Reformed Baptist Church of God, Reformation of 1915.”

I said, “Die, heretic scum!” and I pushed him off the bridge.

Here is an interesting set of pics and a good story of a fireman bravely helping a man threatening suicide.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Dublin's Archbishop Diarmuid Martin refuses to endorse Church teaching again

The Archbishop of Dublin was asked by Vincent Brown - "do you think child sexual abuse is a moral
evil?" to which the Archbishop replied, after several attempts, and repeating of the question, "I have no

Well, no, that didn't actually happen - what the Archbishop said was "I would kill anyone who
touched the children of friends of mine" which is rather strong for a bishop but good punter friendly
language to get the masses on side before the reports come out and makes clear that the Archbishop
recognises sin when he sees it.

The Archbishop of Dublin was then asked by Vincent Brown - "do you think homosexual acts are a
moral evil?" to which the Archbishop replied, after several attempts, and repeating of the question,
"I have no idea".

This time it did actually happen.

So for all the talk of anthropology, caring relationships, uniqueness of marriage, it comes down to that
- a reluctance by a Catholic bishop to confirm and deliver basis Catholic teaching. Of course he
could nuance it. Of course he could point out that homosexual sins aren't worse than other sins.
But if he can't bring himself to confirm the sinfulness of the act, where can he go from there?

Perhaps he was too busy in his head trying to think how to answer the question as to whether he
wanted to remain as Archbishop of Dublin or return to Rome.

Video of Vincent Brown show on TV3 on Jan 7th 2008.
Dr Martin's replies when asked about moral status of homosexual acts is in the last quarter of the interview.

In the course of the television interview, Archbishop Diarmuid Martin is given a splendid chance to witness to the integrity and truth of Catholic teaching. So here he is in action:

Interviewer: You can say yes or no to my question: do you think that people -- homosexual people -- who engage in homosexual sexual relations are engaged in an intrinsic moral evil?

Archbishop: I would not make a judgment, again, on ... on ... on ... on ... on individual people. I have no idea.

Global Warming alert

According to the New York Times solar panels in Minnesota are being rendered useless by thick snow fall. Ironic or what.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

New orthodox religious orders flourish

look at this beautiful photograph of an investiture from Kansas Catholic (H/t).

On Tuesday, January 6, 2009, the Feast of the Epiphany, the Benedictines of Mary, Queen of Apostles, a traditional community in the Diocese of Kansas City-Saint Joseph (MO), had a novice make her first profession of vows and also had the investiture in the Benedictine Habit of four postulants. This happened at the Oratory of Old Saint Patrick in Kansas City, MO.

Here are photographs of the Holy Mass, celebrated by His Excellency Robert W. Finn, as well as the profession of Sister Grace of the Merciful Face of Jesus and the investiture of the four postulants. Congratulations to the Benedictines of Mary for their phenomenal growth. Their website is here, and details, among other things, their making of traditional vestments.

Fr Finegan at HOC comments that a Dutch sociologist, has noted that it is only orthodox religious orders which are attracting vocations, libby whatever you're having yourself orders are dying on their feet.

In an interesting article in the Nederlands Dagblad (Nieuwe ordes weer in habijt), the sociologist Theo Schepens is quoted on the pattern of religious life he observes in the Netherlands today.
"You see growth in those orders that emphasize the Pope, the Eucharist and Mary. Among the religious there was always a lot of support for progressive movements [...] These would lead to an attractive Church, these were the future. Well, it seems not [...] not that there's so much growth in traditional orders, but they're the only ones growing at all."

Of the religious orders for men in Ireland the only one that I know is doing well for vocations is the Dominicans.
See enclosed Dominican nuns being interviewed on RTE TV here.

Saturday, January 3, 2009

Two liturgical calendars

Calendar above which makes reference to both traditional and new rite liturgical dates aptly illustrates the contradictions and problems caused by having two liturgical calendars.

Well-known blogger, Fr Z. highlights some of the signals sent out by moving Holy Days of Obligation to the Sunday here.

The Roman Station for Epiphany is San Pietro in Vaticano. The only problem is that Epiphany in the Vatican is celebrated on 6 January, when it ought to be. In the rest of the world, sadly, Epiphany is moved around, thus obliterating it’s fixed character in relation to Christmas Day......

The celebration of Epiphany stretches back to the Church’s earliest times. In the Greek East, Epiphany was of far greater importance than Christmas, which was a relative latecomer. In the Latin West, Christmas developed first, and Epiphany later.

In many countries people exchange gifts on Epiphany, in imitation of the Magi with their gifts. Epiphany truly falls on 6 January, the twelfth day after Christmas, as in “On the Twelfth day of Christmas, my true love gave to me…”, and also the title of Shakespeare’s play Twelfth Night. In the reformed, post-Conciliar calendar Epiphany is usually transferred to a Sunday, so that more people can attend the Mass.

I think it is a mistake to transfer important feasts like Epiphany, in Christmastide, and Ascension Thursday in Eastertide. These feasts are pegged to the great celebrations of Christmas and Easter for a reason. When we transfer these feasts to Sunday, we diminish the meaning of the liturgical year. By making our obligations as Catholics ever more lax and easier to fulfill, a subtle signal is sent that none of our obligations, practices or teachings are important enough to warrant a place and, at times, sacrifice in our daily lives.

Bishops will support Lisbon II claims The Irish Catholic

Michael Kelly, deputy editor of The Irish Catholic, and a Fianna Fail cumann member of Dublin South Central has an unsourced article in this weeks Irish Catholic claiming the Irish bishops will come out in support of Lisbon II.
Not only is unsourced material unworthy of a front page in a respectable newspaper, but it is despicable that a journalist who is a member of a political party should not disclose this to the paper's readership.
They have words to describe this type of journalism: Propaganda could be one, piffle the other.

Bishops to back Lisbon II
Michael Kelly

The Bishops' Conference is set to adopt an unequivocal pro-Lisbon approach to the second referendum on the Lisbon Treaty The Irish Catholic understands.

The Church came in for sharp criticism from politicians after a statement in the run up to the first Lisbon Treaty referendum made very positive statements about the treaty, but, crucially, stopped short of an endorsement.

Now, The Irish Catholic understands that Government assurances on the right to life and other sensitive ethical issues will lead the Bishops' Conference to be clearer in its support.......

 A well-placed Church source confirmed to The Irish Catholic  that in the second Lisbon referendum, due to be held later this year, a stronger statement of support will be issued by a committee of the Bishops' Conference. At this stage it is unclear whether that statement would come from the Standing Committee or the bishops' Committee on Europe.

Another senior figure privately admitted to The Irish Catholic that the inconclusive statement on Lisbon ''may have caused some unnecessary confusion''.

More on Michael Kelly of The Irish Catholic here:

Thursday, January 1, 2009

The Liturgical Year and the sanctification of time

Pic: NLM May 19, 2007.
Happy New Year. Mm, well the Church New Year began weeks ago in Advent.

Recent changes in the Church calendar are not without problems. Yes it was good to add a number of new saints into the calendar and have them celebrated,.
However, radical structural reform to the Liturgical Calendar , such as moving important Feast days like Christ the King to different days have caused and at times signified changes in belief.

In the last few years, the transfer of Holy Days of Obligation to the nearest Sunday has contributed to the secularisation of time. There was plenty of pressure on from the surrounding culture to do that already without the Catholic bishops of Ireland and of Britain contributing to this effect.

Changing the calendar not only caused a rupture with traditional calendar of the Church but also added to break with Anglican tradition who more or less held to old Roman calendar.

Currently, under Pope Benedict's moto proprio, in the one Roman rite, there are now two calendars at work. I think it is best to go back to the traditional Roman Calendar to avoid confusion and conflict. It shall be another important movement in the the Benedictine reform of the reform. It can also show new rite of Mass is in organic continuity with traditional liturgical practice of the Church.

Senior Church prelates such as Cardinal George in the US has pointed out the niaviety and harm changing the Church calendar has done.

Cardinal George in 2003 said:
Liturgical renewal after the Council, he suggested, had shown in hindsight a "kind of naive innocence", with inadequate "thought being given to what happens in any community when its symbol system is disrupted."

The liturgical calendar was an example. For since the Liturgy "is the place where time and eternity meet", changing the liturgical calendar, he said, "means to change our way of relating to God".

This can flow over to thinking on doctrinal matters. "Pastorally, every bishop has been asked: 'Since we no longer recognise certain saints on the Church's calendar, why can't the Church correct her teaching on sexual morality, on women's ordination and on other difficult doctrines?'"

He continued: "A change in space, in architecture and in the placement of altars and other liturgical furnishings has similar effect, as has a change in language, which carries and conditions our thinking and evaluating. A change in Liturgy changes the context of the Church's life.

Interestingly as Fr Ray Blake of Mary Magdalene blog pointed out that "Protestant hatred of the Blessed Virgin ended the start of traditional English New Year on Lady Day, the Feast of the Annunciation, 25th March, the hangover from that was the start of the Tax Year, a few days later, from 1st April."

He was corrected by a commentor who said:
Father, I am sorry to be a pedant but the tax year starts on 6th April. This came about when Britain adopted the Gregorian Calendar in September 1752. Because of the differences between the Julian and Gregorian calendars and the delay in Britain adopting the new calendar, this required a correction of 11 days, 2nd September 1752 being followed not by 3rd September but by 14th.

After 1753, the British tax year in Britain continued to operate on the Julian calendar and began on 5 April, which was the "Old Style" new year's day of 25 March. A 12th skipped Julian leap day in 1800 changed its start to 6 April. It was not changed when a 13th Julian leap day was skipped in 1900, so the tax year in the United Kingdom still begins on 6 April.