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Archive for July, 2007

Read this Book. I think everyone who calls himself a follower of Christ (whether Protestant or Catholic) will enjoy this book. I appreciate how B16 engages the modern historical-critical method and yet points out where they stray too far from the historical, cultural and theological context of the text. The end result is a reading the Gospels as a coherent narrative and one is left with a cohesive (and orthodox) picture of Jesus. I especially appreciated his treatment of Jesus’ baptism… I look forward to the next installment…

Also, read this review.

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Out with the Old, In with the Ancient

Here is an article from the Archdiocese of Chicago newspaper about the Tridentine Mass. The MP is again said to have no significance and everything will be status quo…. Yet the Canons Regular of St. John’s have been asked to train priests (from all over the US) in how to say the Tridentine Mass. My hope is that everyone will not just be interested in the old forms but in the Catholic doctrine which is an inseparable part of it (lex orandi lex credendi). They need not only to be taught how to say Mass properly but they need to be catechized (makes you wonder what they do in seminary?)…. and the Church needs to discipline priests that go against the Magisterium (either in word or deed) and there should be no toleration for criminal actions. [sorry about the rant]… Here is a great podcast from Fr. Z about “the priest has his back to the people” bit…. reading mostly from Ratzinger’s book “Spirit of the Liturgy.

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One Rite, Two Forms

A good article about my parish St. John Cantius: “One Rite, Two Forms.”

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The Convenient Truth Behind the MP

I haven’t been a Catholic for very long (officially I’m still not) however, when I was a member of the Anglican Communion, I had plenty of practice in decoding official church communications. I can now tell you the true meaning behind the Pope’s Motu Proprio “Summorum Pontificum.” Ignore all those ridiculous conspiracy theories, the real reason the Pope published the MP is to stop global warming, specifically in the reduction of greenhouse gases.

It should be no surprise that the Church is doing its part to save the environment. We have a mandate in scripture to take care of the earth. Enemies of the Church and the environment will say the MP is a step backwards to the middle ages. Well, perhaps it is, we and and the earth will be better off for it; global warming, greenhouse gases, and unsustainable energy usage wasn’t a problem then.

The MP empowers the laity and gives them the freedom to request and participate in the celebration of the Tridentine Mass in their neighborhood parish. For too long Trads have been ghettoized, sometimes driving into different states to attend a traditional mass. I once met a large family from Pennsylvania attending a Mass at St. Alphonsus in Baltimore, driving in a van that got, at best, 15 mpg.

The MP is about saving the earth not just the liturgy. Now, Trads don’t have to travel as far, emitting large amounts of carbon dioxide, but will be able to attend the neighborhood parish, driving shorter distances or even walking to church. With the new powers given to the laity, in the MP, conscientious Catholics can ask the parish priest to say the Tridentine Mass; therefore decreasing our dependence on fossil fuels and increasing our love of Jesus Christ and the devotion to Him in the Blessed Sacrament.

Save the liturgy Save the World

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The Solemn Prayers

A common complaint about the Tridentine Mass is that it is Anti-Semitic because once a year at the Good Friday service there is “the Prayer of the Faithful” which has many petitions one of which asks for the conversion of the Jews. How this is anti-semitic I have no idea; if we didn’t pray for their salvation or if we prayed that they be damned to hell then, yes I think there could be an argument that it was antisemitic, but as it is it sounds more like compassion. I was going to just include just the more controversial prayers (8 and 9) for your examination, however it seemed incomplete so here is the whole thing (from the 1961 ed.)

 

1. For the Holy Church

 

Let us pray, dearly beloved, for the holy Church of God, that our Lord and God may deign to give it peace, keep it in unity, and protect it throughout the world, subjecting principalities and powers to it, and may grant us that, leading a peaceful and quiet life, we may glorify God, the Father almighty.

Let us Pray. V. Let us kneel. R. Arise

Almighty and everlasting God, in Christ You have revealed Your glory to all nations; guard the works of Your Mercy, that Your Church, spread over the whole world, may with constant faith persevere in the confession of Your name. Through the same our Lord Jesus Christ, Your Son, Who lives and reigns with You in the unity of the Holy Spirit, God, world without end. All respond: Amen

 

2. For the Supreme Pontiff

 

Let us pray also for our most Holy Father Pope N., that our Lord and God, Who chose him for the order of the Episcopate, may keep him in health and safety for the good of His holy Church, to govern God’s holy people.

Let us pray. V. Let us kneel. R. Arise

Almighty and everlasting God, by Whose judgment all things are established, mercifully regard our prayers, and in Your goodness preserve the Bishop chosen for us, that the Christian people who are ruled by Your authority, may under so great a Pontiff be increased in the merits of their faith. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, Your Son, Who lives and reigns with You in the unity of the Holy Spirit, God, world without end. S. Amen.

 

3. For All Orders and Degrees of the Faithful

 

Let us pray also for all Bishops, Priests, Deacons, Subdeacons, Acolytes, Exorcists, Readers, Porters, Confessors, Virgins, Widows, and for all the holy people of God.

Let us pray. V. Let us kneel. R. Arise

Almighty and everlasting God, by Whose Spirit the whole body of the Church is sanctified and ruled, hear our humble pleading for all its orders, that by the gift of Your grace You may be faithfully served by all degrees. Through our Lord, etc. All respond: Amen

 

4. For Civil Authorities

 

Let us pray also for all civil authorities, in the exercise of their ministry and power, that God, our Lord may direct their minds and hearts in accordance with His will for our everlasting peace.

Let us Pray. V. Let us kneel. R. Arise.

Almighty and everlasting God, You direct the powers and laws of all nations; mercifully regard those who rule over us, that, by Your protecting right hand, the integrity of religion and the security of each country might prevail everywhere on earth. Through our Lord, etc. All respond: Amen

 

5. For Catechumens

 

Let us pray also for our Catechumens, that our Lord and God would open the ears of their hearts, and the gate of mercy; that, having received by the font of regeneration the remission of all their sins, they also may be found in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Let us pray. V. Let us kneel. R. Arise.

Almighty and everlasting God, You make Your Church ever fruitful with new offspring; increase the faith and understanding of our Catechumens; that being born again in the font of Baptism, they may be associated with the children of Your adoption. Through our Lord, etc. All respond: Amen.

 

6. For the Needs of the Faithful

 

Let us pray, dearly beloved, to God the Father almighty, that He cleanse the world of all errors: take away diseases, drive away famine, open prisons, break chains, grant a sure return to travelers, health to the sick, and a safe haven to those at sea.

Let us pray. V. Let us kneel. R. Arise.

Almighty and everlasting God, the comfort of the sorrowful, and the strength of those who labor, let the prayers of those who call upon You in any trouble reach You, that all may rejoice because in their necessities Your mercy has helped them. Through our Lord, etc. All respond: Amen.

 

7. For the Unity of the Church

 

Let us pray also for heretics and schismatics: that our Lord and God may be pleased to deliever them from all their errors, and to recall them to our holy Mother the Catholic and Apostolic Church.

Let us pray. V. Let us kneel. R. Arise.

Almighty and everlasting God, You save all, and will that no one should perish; look on the souls that are led astray by the deceit of the devil, that having set aside all heretical evil, the hearts of those who err may repent, and return to the unity of Your truth. Through our Lord, etc. All respond: Amen

 

8. For the Conversion of the Jews

 

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

Let us pray. V. Let us kneel. R. Arise.

Almighty and everlasting God, You drive not even the Jews away from Your mercy; hear our prayers, which we offer for the blindness of that people, that, acknowledging the light of Your truth, which is Christ, they may be rescued from their darkness. Through the same, etc. All respond: Amen.

 

9. For the Conversion of Pagans

 

Let us pray also for the pagans, that almighty God may remove iniquity from their hearts, that, putting aside their idols, they may be converted to the true and living God, and His only Son, Jesus Christ our God and Lord.

Let us pray. V. Let us kneel. R. Arise.

Almighty and everlasting God, You always seek not the death, but the life of sinners; mercifully hear our prayer, and deliver them from the worship of idols, and join them to Your holy Church for the praise and glory of Your name. Through our Lord, etc. All respond: Amen.

 

[End.]

 

 

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Tridentine Mass

With all the recent excitement over B16’s motu proprio “Summorum Pontificum” I thought I would give you some thoughts on the Tridentine Mass.

The Novus Ordo Mass and its common liturgical abuses and accompanying [bad] music [at least in the US] was a hurtle I had to overcome when I decided to convert. I was already a bit of a Traditionalist as an Anglo-Catholic so my options of good trad parishes were limited in central PA. I first went to St. Pius X, I thought with a name like that it would be fairly traditional, however the mass was completely haphazard and irreverent it wasn’t like a mass at all; it was like going to a Presbyterian church (dare I say perhaps even worse)…. My complaint is not with the Novus Ordo (NO) exactly, although if it were more reverent (that is celebrated correctly) I wouldn’t have that much of a problem; sure the language is pedestrian but its not heretical.

I eventually did find a parish where I was able to pray. The mass was the NO but it had a reverence I didn’t see in any other parish. People were there to pray not just take communion and leave before the Mass was finished. Sure the music was bad but if you really try you can tune it out, if you concentrate on praying, and there were actually periods of silence. My experience of the NO is that it is the exact opposite of what it was supposed to encourage “full, conscious and active” participation. I had to struggle to participate (remember active participation is not just vocalizing something, but also conscious contemplative prayer)…. So, I moved to Chicago where I knew they had a parish (St. John Cantius) that offered the Tridentine (Latin) and NO (in both Latin and English)

Why latin? As a traditionalist I believe the role of worship is to bring us into the heavenly realms (per se), not bring heaven into the gutter (where I live). A liturgical language is needed to speak to God in public worship that is not the language of the gutter (God and the worshiping congregation both deserve better than that). As an Anglo-Catholic our liturgical language was 16th century English. As a Catholic it is Latin. Do I speak Latin? No. I am almost completely ignorant of the language, although I am learning. In a way, since it is the language of no one it is that language of everyone. The Catholic Church is universal, and international. We need one language to unite us all. The Archdiocese of Chicago, for instance, is 40% Hispanic. So many parishes have at least one Mass in Spanish. Which means I will never worship with anyone who doesn’t speak my language. That is not very Catholic. The separation of the people into their separate language groups Balkanizes us in a way that is contrary to the gospel and our actual unity in Christ. Now of course the Mass symbolizes this unity in whatever language it is celebrated in, however having one common language in worship would enable us to actually worship together in body as well as in spirit. (Which is very Catholic).

Now what about the readings is it not right that everyone be able to hear the word of God in their own language? Yes. I think it is beneficial if the readings are read in the vernacular (and so does the Pope). So, if you are going to a parish with mostly English speakers the reading would be in English (as it is in all Masses at St. John’s), if Spanish than Spanish. This is where having a missal is of utter importance. The missal is bi-lingual; Latin and vernacular. The missal not only contains whatever the priest says but also contains the full lectionary. So if I were at a Mass where the Lessons and Gospel were read in Spanish I would have an English translation in my missal. (I was fortunate to have a copy of the 1961 St. Joseph’s edition in my library. It has been invaluable.)

I love the Tridentine Mass because it forces me to fully, consciously and actively participate in the Mass. This Mass is not entertainment, not noise, not theatre, yes you could just stare waiting for someone to tell you what to do/say, and lament the fact that you can’t speak Latin or you can use your missal and pray.

What attracted me to St. John Cantius was not only the Tridentine Mass but their commitment to catecheses. They offer Latin classes and Greek and have Religious Education classes (and RCIA) that are taught by priests (this is very rare, in most parishes instruction of catechumens is assigned to a lay person). The Summorum Pontificum won’t really have an effect on St. John Cantius (since it was already offering the Tridentine Mass) but it will hopefully increase the use of the Tridentine Mass in other parishes or at least increase reverence and catecheses in NO parishes and also encourage Priests to end liturgical abuses. “Say the Black. Do the Red.”

To understand why so many people are upset and think this move by the Pope is a move backwards, it might be helpful to add the Pope’s “hermeneutic of discontinuity” speech.

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