20 May 2008

Why I Do What I Do

Some people accuse me of stirring the pot or poking a stick into an ant pile. I just recently came across some wise words by some of our Popes throughout the ages.

"It is an act of great piety to expose the concealments of the impious and to defeat there the devil himself, whose slaves they are." - Saint Leo

It is an act of charity to cry out against the wolf when he is among the sheep, wherever he is." - Saint Frances de Sales, Introduction to the Devout Life

So, if you're going to complain about me stirring the pot, you're out of luck. I hope you know that I am not bringing up all these stories for the heck of it, just for fun. My motives are to defend the Church from attacks both external and internal, and to defend the laity who deserve nothing short of the Catholic Faith, 100%.

Pope St. Felix III said, "Not to oppose error is to approve it; and not to defend truth is to suppress it; and indeed to neglect to confound evil men, when we can do it, is no less a sin than to encourage them."

St. A's Women's Book Group- Proof of Heresy

The Women's Book Group of St. Augustine's Church has been a topic of several posts of mine. The book club is an ultra-feminist group of women who are angry at the Church for supposed sexism or oppression against women. They look to St. Mary Magdalene as some kind of first century proof of "women priests" and hold an annual celebration in her honor, modeled after Call to Action and FutureChurch's plans. They host lectures by well known dissidents, and read from books that challenge Papal authority and the Church's teaching on ordination. The women (or womyn?) get their books from Wild Iris Bookstore, a local "new age feminist" bookstore that advocates all kinds of perversions.

Despite all of these reasons for completely shunning this group, the parish gives them a page on the church's website and announces their meetings in the bulletin. Well Father Gillespie, St. Augustine's, here is another reason to add to the list.

On March 29, 2008, seven women from the book group went down to Sarasota to the "house church" of Bridget Mary Meehan. Meehan belongs to the group known as Roman Catholic Womenpriests. Meehan is a delusional nut case, in that she believes she was ordained in July 2006 by a woman bishop. While the women from St. A's were at Meehan's home, the priest-wanna-be celebrated a "Mass". The result is that these women are toying with automatic excommunication. The link to Meehan's article about this "liturgy" can be found here.

St. Augustine's must not allow this group to meet on church property, and cannot advertise this group's meetings in any way. Pray for the women involved in this mess, that they might come back to the Truth.

18 May 2008

God Our Father, Not Our Mother

Well, I’m glad that I wrote that positive blog post that I had promised. Almost as soon as I had published it, I read in St. Augustine’s May 11th bulletin the following prayer in the Religious Education section.

God, our Father and Mother
Today we thank you for one of your special gifts to us- Our Mother!
Thank you for the love she shares with us in so many ways. We thank her for the warmth she gives to our home, for the cuts and bruises she makes well, for the ideas she gives us when we don’t have anything to do, for all the times she talks and listens to us, for the ways she makes peace when we are mean to each other.
We thank her for seeing good in us that we don’t see ourselves. Help us to love her as she loves us. Keep her close to you always.
May God, who is mother as well as father bless you- The Father who gives life, The Son who nourishes, and the Spirit who cares. Amen.

Besides being, as Anders put it, one of the hippiest prayers ever- the invocation of God as Mother as well as Father is completely out of line with Church teaching. This probably should not have shocked me, since Mr. Tom Rinkoski, the man who brought Gainesville Magdalene, is in charge of Religious Education at St. Augustine’s.

So what is wrong with calling God Mother? Put simply, God has revealed Himself as our Father, not Mother. If we call God Mother, we are fashioning God in our own image- how we would like Him to be. This is idolatry. Our Holy Father, Pope Benedict XVI, said while he was Cardinal Ratzinger: “Christianity is not our work; it is a Revelation… we are not authorized to change the Our Father into an Our Mother.” So in calling God Mother, we are not only misunderstanding the nature of God, but the nature of Divine Revelation as well.

Some might say that we may call God ‘Mother’ because the Scriptures contain several references to God using maternal characteristics. Examples include Jesus wanting to gather Jerusalem “as a hen gathers her brood under her wings” (Matthew 23:37) and when God says that he “will cry out like a woman with labor pains.” (Isaiah 42:14) These passages from the Bible, however, do not show that God is a Mother. In fact, Pope John Paul II said that “it is significant that in the passages from the Prophet Isaiah, the fatherhood of God is enriched by images of motherhood.” So it is not attributing motherhood to God, but complementing His fatherhood with maternal images.

The fundamental reason why God is called Father is related to creation. In the procreative process, the father is the source of life. The mother is more or less passive as the father impregnates the egg cell within her, creating new life. In Creation, God is the source of our being. To say that He is the Mother takes away from His role in Creation as Father. Secondly, God created man in His image. Now both man and woman are created in His image in that we have an intellect and an immortal soul. But, according to St. Thomas Aquinas, who quotes 1 Corinthians 11, “for man was not made from woman, but woman from man.” Therefore, God also made man in His image in a way that He did not make woman in His image.

We must then ask the question, why is there the need to make God our Mother? Jesus called God Our Father, we pray the Our Father, we say in the Creed that we believe in God the Father Almighty, and that Jesus was begotten of the Father. Our Lord gave us His own mother, the Blessed Virgin Mary, for our mother. Let us pray to her, that she might show us the Truth in Christ’s Church, and the Truth about the Divine Nature. Praised be the Blessed Trinity- Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.

15 May 2008

The Smoke of Satan

Some of you may have heard about the homily of His Holiness, Paul VI, in which he said that "from some fissure the smoke of Satan has entered the temple of God." The Holy Father spoke of this in a homily on June 29, 1972, the Solemnity of the Holy Apostles Peter and Paul. Some loony rad-trads have taken this to mean that the New Mass or the Second Vatican Council itself are of diabolical origin. Those of us who have our heads screwed on straight, though, know that the Second Vatican Council was a true ecumenical council and that the Novus Ordo is indeed a valid Mass. The Council and the Mass have been hijacked and grossly misinterpreted, to the detriment of Holy Church.

A new interview with Cardin
al Virgilio Noé, a former Master of Ceremonies for Paul VI, John Paul I, and John Paul II, sheds some light on what the Pope meant when he referred to the smoke of Satan.

"[Pope Paul], for Satan, meant to include all those priests or bishops and cardinals who didn’t render worship to the Lord by celebrating badly Holy Mass because of an errant interpretation of the implementation of the Second Vatican Council. He spoke of the smoke of Satan because he maintained that those priests who turned Holy Mass into dry straw in the name of creativity, in reality were possessed of the vainglory and the pride of the Evil One. So, the smoke of Satan was nothing other than the mentality which wanted to distort the traditional and liturgical canons of the Eucharistic ceremony."
Wow! Now Paul VI isn't my favorite Pope because of several reasons: the simplification of the Mass, ridding himself of the Papal Tiara, etc.. but he was Pope nonetheless and did stand against artificial contraception and some of the other liberal movements in the Church. Now if Cardinal Noé is correct, we get some very interesting insights into Paul VI's idea of the state of the liturgy immediately after the implementation of the New Mass. When priests try to get creative and do their own thing, the Mass can only get worse. This is one of the benefits of ad orientem worship- the priest is focused on the altar and not the congregation, so he is less inclined to try to perform.

The Cardinal's mention of an errant interpretation of the Council brings up a broader point. First, I'd like to distinguish between the Novus Ordo de jure and the Novus Ordo de facto. The celebration of the New Mass de jure (as it is laid out in the books) can be solemn and reverent, especially if the more traditional options are used. This would include ad orientem celebration, generous use of Latin and chant, and Eucharistic Prayer I over the shorter (and may I say uglier?) prayers. I still prefer a good Traditional Mass over the Novus Ordo, but that is beside the point here. On the other hand, we have the de facto celebration of the Novus Ordo in parishes throughout the world. Icky, sometimes heretical songs... additions, changes, deletions. These things are what make Mass a joke. This is the smoke of Satan.

Now that this is out of the way, let's look at what the Council really wanted. The document related to the Liturgy is the Constitution Sacrosanctum Concilium. First, the Council Fathers say "
there must be no innovations unless the good of the Church genuinely and certainly requires them; and care must be taken that any new forms adopted should in some way grow organically from forms already existing." Now, that sounds like a limiting restriction. There should be minimal changes in the Mass, only changes that need to be made. Also, these changes should grow from the current form. In many cases, there was a rupture, not an organic growth.

"Although the sacred liturgy is above all things the worship of the divine Majesty, it likewise contains much instruction for the faithful." Mass is meant primarily for worship and adoration of God. Its main focus is not didactic in nature. Unfortunately, I find myself in most 30 minute Novus Ordo weekday Masses listening to readings and a homily for about 15 minutes! From the time I return to my pew from Communion to the dismissal, maybe 2 minutes have passed. The emphasis has turned from adoration of the Blessed Trinity through the Sacrifice to a people-oriented "me, you, us together" learning experience and get together.

Finally, the issue of Latin. The Council desired that Latin remain the language of the LATIN Church, but that the vernacular could be used in some places, at the discretion of the bishop. Compare this to what we see in most places- no Latin at all, vernacular throughout, and ugly, innacurate translations at that!

There are the exceptions, however. By exceptions I mean those places and priests that actually follow the books and love tradition.
  • St. John Cantius Parish in Chicago celebrates the TLM and the Novus Ordo (in English and Latin) with great beauty.
  • St. Agnes Parish in St. Paul is famous for its beautiful music- Gregorian Chant and sacred polyphony. The Novus Ordo is often celebrated in Latin.
  • St. Peter's Basilica! The Holy Father and his new MC Guido Marini is bringing great solemnity and reverence to Papal Masses, with seven candles on the altar, an ad orientem Mass in the Sistine Chapel, more frequent use of chant, etc.
Let us all pray to St. Michael the Archangel that he might defend the Church from the attacks of Satan. If the Devil can get a hold of the liturgy, he has the Church by the throat. We have confidence, however, that the Holy Spirit will never allow the Church to go under.

In Jesus and Mary,

The interview may be found here.

14 May 2008

Some Good News

Well, lest you think I'm just a bad news-mongerer... I wanted to share some good news now that I have some (and the time to share it!)

April was a particularly good month for St. Augustine's Catholic Church. The Catholic Student Fellowship held its weekend retreat April 11-13 and it was awesome! The theme of the retreat was spiritual freedom and the Eucharist. There were talks on God's mercy and Confession, the Blessed Virgin Mary, the Eucharist, and so much more. Mass was offered on all three days, and there was overnight Eucharistic Adoration! Adoration is an amazing experience with the Lord. I definitely recommend making a holy hour in front of the Blessed Sacrament if you can. In the chapel there were no distractions, which allowed for quiet prayer in front of Jesus. What a blessing!

The fruits of the retreat were soon evident after returning to Gainesville. Thank you Fathers Gillespie, Mesa, and Eseke for coming out to hear confessions and say Mass, and thank you to Deacon Zmuda for your talk on Mother Mary! Also many thanks to all the CSF organizers. Two Catholic snaps for y'all. Once we got back to Gainesville, we were all experiencing a litlte Adoration-withdrawl. So Chas, Jamey, and some others worked to organize extended Exposition of the Blessed Sacrament. Usually, St. A's has Adoration every last Thursday of the month for one hour. The students organized a Facebook group for promoting overnight Adoration and over 80 people joined! So with Miss Letty and Father Gillespie's approval, we were able to have overnight Adoration on the 24th! It was just beautiful... seeing so many people in the middle of the night worshipping our Lord!
"My Jesus! What a lovable contrivance this holy Sacrament was - that You would hide under the appearance of bread to make Yourself loved and to be available for a visit by anyone who desires You!" - St. Alphonsus Ligouri
"We must visit Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament a hundred thousand times a day." - St. Francis de Sales
"Today solemn exposition of the Blessed Sacrament is the grace and need of our time. Society will be restored and renewed when all its members group themselves around our Emmanuel." - St. Peter Julian Eymard
In the intervening week between the retreat and the night-long exposition, Father Tony celebrated Mass in a manner probably not seen at St. Augustine's in several years. Aided by Dr. Edward Schaefer and his schola, Father sung a Mass completely in Gregorian chant. The schola chanted the Propers in Latin, while the Kyrie, Gloria, Credo, Sanctus, and Agnus Dei were chanted in Latin (well the Kyrie was in Greek, of course) by the schola and the congregation. Father Tony chanted his prayers in English, and the readings were chanted by Cliff Whitty in English. Though it was a bit awkward for the congregation, we managed pretty well considering the vast majority had not seen this music in 40 years if at all. It was a beautiful expression of the tradition of the Church. Hopefully we will see more of it this upcoming school year.
Laudetur Iesus Christus - Praised be Jesus Christ.

P.S. Thanks to Raul Fernandez for the pictures

05 May 2008

Episcopal Irresponsibility

One of these days I promise I'll get a positive blog post out. There have been good things happening, I promise. Summer is here and I am up in Virginia with my Catholic family, so I'll try to find some time to post a little more. This one article today really caught my attention, though.
During the recent Papal Mass in Washington, several high-profile dissenting Catholic politicians received Holy Communion. This also happened in New York City, where thrice "married" Giuliani received the Body of Christ. Cardinal Egan in New York later issued a statement of regret, saying that Mayor Giuliani should not have received Communion. In Washington, Archbishop Wuerl also issued a statement, which can be found here. He makes the argument that the local bishop of the politician should be making the call regarding withholding Holy Communion... Your Excellency, you are shirking responsibility for the pastoral care of souls. These men and women work in your diocese; most of them have residence in your diocese. Do you not have a responsibility here? They came to a Mass in your diocese, and received the Body and Blood of Christ in a state of public, manifest grave sin. Why will you stand aside while the Body of Christ is being profaned? Pray for Archbishop Wuerl, and for bishops everywhere.