31 August 2008

Some Acclaim for the Blog

I thought I would humor you with some comments that people have made about myself or the work on this blog. There's positive stuff out there, too, and I thank all of you who have left kind words for me. However... it's just not as funny as this stuff!

"[Reminds] me of a petulant child with a long stick that likes to stir up ant beds just for the sake of agitating and stressing the ants"

"Stupid Boy"

"strikes me as thoughtless and immature."

"[It's] sad how you think yourself superior to others and think of other denominations inferior to yours."

"Doesn't this sort of thing amount to Internet cyberstalking?"

"He appears to have no sense of humor"

"You sound like an exceptionally angry kid...and I'm sorry for you."

"These posts may come back to haunt you if a future employer or graduate school admissions committee ever googles you."

Prayer Before Studies

Well, classes are starting to pick up here at the University of Florida. This is a really important semester for me, and I'm going to need all the help I can get! So off to the Patron Saints Index went I... and found St. Thomas Aquinas. I actually knew that he was a patron saint of universities and students, but such is the state of my mind right now. St. Thomas has a feast day on March 7 in the traditional calendar, though he has been transferred to January 28 in the modern calendar.

I found an excellent prayer before studies- though I'm not sure who authored it. Anyways, here it is.
"O incomprehensible Creator, the true Fountain of light, and only Author of all knowledge; vouchsafe, we beseech thee, to enlighten our understandings, and to remove from us all darkness of sin and ignorance. Give us a diligent and obedient spirit, quickness of apprehension, capacity of retaining, and the powerful assistance of thy holy grace; that what we hear or learn, we may apply to thy honor and the eternal salvation of our own souls, through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen."
There's another prayer that is attributed to St. Thomas Aquinas, which can be found here.

But for now, I am off to my studies. Saint Thomas Aquinas, pray for us!

28 August 2008

Intriguing Interview With an Exorcist

Somewhat connected to my last post's subject- St. Michael:

My friend Gerald Lamb at Assenting Catholic has a post up that deals with a very interesting interview with Fr. Gabriele Amorth. Fr. Amorth is an exorcist with the Diocese of Rome, and as such he is well known throughout the Catholic world. I have read one of his books, An Exorcist Tells His Story, though this was a couple years ago. It's scary to go back and read some of the things he says. For example, many bishops don't believe in demonic possession and withdrew the faculties of their dioceses' exorcists! Go check out the interview and let's get a discussion going.

In Jesus and Mary,

27 August 2008

A Little Tribute to My Patron

Somebody posted this on a message board I frequent- tons of pictures/statues of Saint Michael the Archangel...

25 August 2008

A Friendly Reminder- Genuflection

Genuflection: In front of the Blessed Sacrament reserved, bring the right knee down to touch the floor where the right heel once was. There should be a pause while you are on your knee- enough to pray "In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit."

What we should avoid is the knee spasm reflex thing. That silly looking gesture that looks like a half curtsy. Besides, we genuflect to honor the Real Presence of Our Lord. It is not a gesture to take lightly or go half way with. If your knee is killing you so you can't put your knee to the ground, make a profound bow instead. Whatever you do, do it reverently. The Savior went all the way with His cross, suffering for the last several hours of His life. Can we not take the time to properly show reverence to His Body and Blood?

20 August 2008

What ARE They Thinking?!? (3)

Here's another Communion related "What ARE They Thinking?!? post.

Orthodox bishops and canon lawyers have repeated time and time again, no Holy Communion for pro-abortion Catholic politicians. They are in a state of obstinate mortal sin, directly supporting the killing of the unborn. They've been warned time and again, yet some do it anyways.
Here's Rudy Giuliani- who supports abortion rights and is in his third or so 'marriage'. He bothered to have the first one annulled (they were second cousins), and after affairs and more affairs, well anyways... he presented himself to the priest for Holy Communion. What is he thinking? Whatever it is he's thinking, it must be a 'private matter' he doesn't like to discuss... right.

Bagh. This one is worse. Senator John Kerry received the cracker and fruit juice from an African Methodist Episcopal (where do they come up with those names, by the way?) Palm Sunday service. Instead of fulfilling his Sunday obligation at a real church, he went to a Protestant gathering. This is a crime against the Faith in more ways than one. What is he thinking?!?

Now here is some more sense! Whether or not you are of the opinion that blessings should be given at the distribution of Holy Communion, President Bush and the First Lady are doing what they should be doing. They are not Catholic, so they are not to receive the Body of the Lord. Also, notice the reverence they show with their posture and faces. The president looks like he is praying- how is it that W is more respectful towards the Eucharist than most Catholics who shuffle up to the front of the church and run back to their seat.

There are many issues here to discuss. First, Catholics must not participate in any type of psuedo-Communion at a Protestant church. There are several reasons for this prohibition. First, if they do not have a valid Mass, but they believe that they do- you are acknowledging the presence of Our Lord when He is not really there. If they view (correctly) that their communion is a symbol, there is still the problem that you are professing yourself "in communion" with them and their heretical beliefs. If you're going on Sunday instead of Mass, that's even worse. As Catholics we worship God in the Mass- a truly propitiatory sacrifice. Whatever apparent good might come for you at a Protestant service, it's not what God wants or requires of you.

We also come to the question of worthiness to receive Holy Communion in a Catholic church. If we have committed any mortal sins since our last confession (see here for a good examination of conscience - list of sins that are mortal), we must not receive the Body of the Lord. If we were to do so, we would desecrate His holy Body and commit yet another serious mortal sin. It is a good and pious practice to examine your conscience and pray an Act of Contrition. If we have committed a mortal sin, we need to get to Confession as soon as possible. Here is the Act of Contrition I use:
O my God, I am heartily sorry for having offended Thee, and I detest all my sins because of Thy just punishments, but most of all because they offend Thee, my God, Who art all good and deserving of all my love. I firmly resolve, with the help of Thy grace, to sin no more and to avoid the near occasions of sin. Amen.

Just make sure you mean it, that you are heartily sorry and not 'hardly sorry'. Because to confess without a firm purpose of amendment and repentance (I don't want to sin again, even though I am tempted) is not a true confession at all.


16 August 2008

What ARE They Thinking?!? (2)

Why must Holy Communion be distributed to all the faithful at every Mass? Without even taking into consideration that most Catholics are not worthily receiving the Body of the Lord, there are perhaps those Catholics who are in a state of grace, but perhaps are at a mega-Mass. Is it really necessary that they receive Communion? It used to be that at Papal Masses, only the Pope, the deacon, and subdeacon communicated. Now we have this...

BAGH! I recall that at the Mass at Nationals Park, the organizers prided themselves on figuring out how to distribute Holy Communion to 57,000 people in 14 minutes. (It is interesting, though, that they took 14 minutes without any lay extraordinary ministers of Holy Communion. Hmm.) Now how can this be reverent? People looking like animals with their paws sticking out for food. Guys, this isn't a piece of bread. This is the Body and Blood, Soul and Divinity of Our Lord Jesus Christ. Any malicious person could easily pocket the Eucharist, and any well-intentioned and properly disposed Catholic doesn't even have space to make the silly bow of the head.

That's another thing that I don't get. I'm not faulting you if you do this, since it is the American norm, but.... why bow your head when you are about to receive the King of Kings into your own body? Let's look at the occasions of various postures:
  • At the name of Jesus, we bow our head (same in Old Mass)
  • At the mention of the Incarnation, we bow our body so our hands could touch our knees (we genuflect in the Old Mass)
  • We should genuflect on our left knee when greeting our own bishop. We bow to any other bishop.
Now why, when we do the above, should we simply bow our head as we recognize the Body of the Lord and receive Him? And why do we dare touch His holy Body? Are our hands consecrated as the priests and deacons are? Our hands are not "dirty" in themselves, but the priest's hands are alone set apart, consecrated, to touch the Eucharist.

Now that's nice.... that's how it should be done. Even the Anglicans receive "Communion" at an altar rail. We have the real Body of Jesus. For several hundred years, this is how Catholics received Holy Communion. When we kneel, we make the most profound sign of adoration possible. Also, by receiving on the tongue, we are not grabbing for Jesus. We are fed by the priest (who acts in the person of Christ) the very Body of the Lord. Receiving on the tongue shows this act of God nourishing us with His Body.

For those who receive in the hand, or even on the tongue standing, it might seem odd or difficult to think of trying something different. But if we approach the altar with a humble heart, in the state of grace and making acts of faith, hope, and charity, we have nothing to fear. We may kneel in front of Our Lord and receive Him as a child would. When you see Jesus in heaven, I guarantee you will fall to your knees. Why not get the practice while you're here? The spiritual benefits will be great. Don't do it to be more pious for the sake of being pious. Do it out of a love of God. It pleases Him when we do this.

Also, do not let anyone give you any trouble. If you are reading from Gainesville, know that I have not had any problems at all, ever. The Holy See has reassured us that this is a proper way to receive Holy Communion, and even now all those that receive the Sacred Host from the Pope do so in this manner. Think about it, pray about it, then try it out!


14 August 2008

The Muller

I hope you can all check out the blog of a good friend of mine- The Muller. Kevin is a "20-some-odd year old UF senior mulling over God, His Church, such philosophy as [he is] able to speak of, food, drink, music, literature, politics, and this world with all its wonder and sorrow." (from his profile)

Kevin's latest posts include some "mullings over" the lyrics of the song My Jesus, links to an essay on "The Theology of Pipe Smoking" (which refutes such heresies as that pipe smoking involves risk and should therefore be avoided), and an excellent post by Kevin on how Truth and Love must always be united.

Well, don't take my word for it. Especially since right now I am tired and in pain, and probably did a poor job of convincing you. Anyways- The Muller. Do it.

12 August 2008

What ARE They Thinking?!? (1)

I've never tried a 'series' of posts- other than my reports from Spain. I think it might be a fun idea, so here goes. Snooping around the internet- (or stalking?) I have come across a lot of pictures that make me scratch my head and ask, "What are they thinking?!?" So in this series, I'm going to post some pictures, both of the head-scratching nature and of the "Ahhh- now that's nice" nature. Enjoy, and pray that the Holy Ghost will soon bring us out of this current crisis of confusion and dissent.

What are they thinking?!? A clown Mass!?

Ahhh- now that's nice! That's Catholic nice.

Except... the second picture is not Catholic at all. It's not Mass. It's the liturgy of an Episcopalian church in Philadelphia- St. Clement's. Yeah, that's the Sanctus you hear when you visit the page. Now why can the Anglicans have a ceremony that looks like a Mass, complete with "priest, deacon, subdeacon", male altar servers in cassock and surplice.... and ugh. The first picture is an exaggeration (but a true event) of what most Catholic parishes get on Sunday. That's Fr. Fred Bailey at Corpus Christi in CA. He's listening to a troupe of clown-actors proclaim the Gospel. What are they thinking?

Basically, what we have here is an issue of obedience to tradition and rubrics. Whether it's the Old or the New Mass, priests must do what the book says. No changed words, no cookies for Communion (which invalidates the Mass), and no hand holding! It's quite simple, folks.


07 August 2008

Bibles I Use

I thought I'd let you all know what Bibles I use, especially when it comes to referencing various verses of Scripture here on the blog.

The first is this beautiful Bible on the right with the hardcover. It is a hodgepodge of translations, though all are faithful to the Church's doctrine and have a traditional feel to them. The basis is the Douay Rheims Bible, the English Bible for Catholics that was written (ha!) before the King James Version around 1600. It is a translation into English of the Latin Vulgate, written by Saint Jerome. By the way, I was born on the feast day of Saint Jerome, September 30. The Douay Rheims is considered to be one of the most faithful translations of the Bible, even though it is a translation of a translation. The reasoning behind this is that the Sacred Council of Trent declared Jerome's Vulgate to be free of any doctrinal error. The original DR, however, has many anglicized Latin words that are difficult to read unless you know a little Latin, such as the word "potestats" instead of "powers".

To make the translation more readable, Bishop Richard Challoner of England revised the Douay Rheims in 1750. This translation, while faithful to the Douay-Rheims and Vulgate, has a style similar to the King James Version. From 1750 into the 1900's, this remained the popular Bible for English speaking Catholics. In 1941, the United States Confraternity of Christian Doctrine released a revision of Bishop Challoner's New Testament. It again updated the 18th century English and consulted the Greek in some places. The CCD also finished Genesis-Ruth and the Psalms, while the rest of the Old Testament remains the Douay-Challoner. So, wow! It is a lovely Bible, traditional, and was my first Catholic Bible. It's a big one with room for family sacramental records, and I'm keeping it for a long time. If you see me quote the Douay-Rheims, DR, or Confraternity Bible, they all mean the above-described Bible, all technicalities aside.

The other Bible I use (and carry with me if going to Adoration or a Bible study) is the Ignatius Bible, the Revised Standard Version, Second Catholic Edition, seen here on the right. This Bible has a long history of its own. The King James Version was revised into the Revised Version, which was revised into the American Standard Version, which itself was revised into the Revised Standard Version. What a bunch of revisions! The RSV itself is very similar to the KJV, except it used thous and thees for God, and not for man. It also translated Isaiah 7:14 as a young woman shall conceive, instead of the traditional "a virgin shall conceive" which supports the Virgin Birth.

The RSV used old Greek and Hebrew versions of the New and Old Testament, while consulting the Dead Sea Scrolls and sometimes even the Vulgate. The Catholic Biblical Association of Great Britain in 1956 tweaked the RSV, adding the Deuterocanon and refining some words in the New Testament, all minor changes.

In 2006, Ignatius Press made a Second Catholic Edition. This time, all archaic pronouns are out and Isaiah 7:14 uses the traditional 'virgin'. This Bible seems to be the Bible of choice for conservative Catholics, and is used in the English Catechism of the Catholic Church and many Church documents translated into English. It is also the basis for the Navarre Study Bible and the Ignatius Study Bible, written by professors of the University of Navarre and by Scott Hahn, respectively. The notes in my RSV-2CE are not as extensive as my Confraternity Bible, but there is no inclusive language and it is a solid text overall.

But what about the New American Bible!? This is the official Bible of the Catholic Church in America (hrm) and it is what you'll hear at the readings in the Mass (the New Mass, of course). Well, sort of... the most recent version of the NAB was published in 1991. This version includes much inclusive language, including vertical inclusive language. This means that some masculine pronouns when referring to God have been neutralized. The Vatican was not happy with this, so a revised Psalms and New Testament had to be created (which can only be found in the Lectionary, not as a lay Bible) to fix that language. Also, the notes are very liberal and even call into question the traditional identity of the authors. Please, stay away from the NAB. If for no other reason, than for this ridiculous translation of Isaiah 9:6 (which the NAB calls 9:5 for who knows why)
For a child is born to us, a son is given us; upon his shoulder dominion rests. They name him Wonder-Counselor, God-Hero, Father-Forever, Prince of Peace. -NAB

For a Child is born to us, and a son is given to us, and the government is upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called, Wonderful, Counsellor, God the Mighty, the Father of the world to come, the Prince of Peace. -Douay-Rheims

For to us a child is born, to us a son is given; and the government will be upon his shoulder, and his name will be called "Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. -RSV:2CE

So avoid that one, please. Like the plague. Don't worry about it being the version used at Mass, because really it's not. A day is soon coming when the English at Mass will be much more elevated and... sane? The NAB is mostly a product of a time when 59 out of 69 theological "experts" (including 15 cardinals and bishops) suggested to Pope Paul VI to overturn the ban on artificial contraception. Hmm. Oh, but here's an interesting factoid- Karol Wojtyla (later Pope John Paul II) was one of the 10 faithful!

I hope this clarifies where I'm coming from when I cite Sacred Scripture here in my work, and hopefully you all know a little more about some of the most common Biblical translations around to choose from.

04 August 2008

Veiling Again

I know I've written on women wearing veils before, but I have recently come across some new insights. I am not sure what to think about the issue, since I generally respect the writings of all four of these sources. On one end, we have bloggers Jimmy Akin and Fr. Zuhlsdorf, who believe that women covering their heads in church is a good idea, but not binding under canon law. Then there are Dr. Robert Sungenis and the webmasters of Fisheaters who believe that although the Code of Canon Law in 1983 abrogated the 1917 Code of Canon Law, the requirement for veiling of women remains. Oddly enough, or maybe not oddly enough, the supreme legislator (the Holy Father) has remained silent on the issue for several decades. So until the Magisterium clears this issue up, we do not have moral certitude that either position is right. Since this is the case, we cannot accuse any woman of being less pious or guilty of sin because they do not cover their heads. Regardless, I will try to again show why women should wear veils. After all, we don't do things simply because they are laws on the books. Rather, we do certain things for the love of God.

Before we get into the nitty-gritty of the details of canon law, let us go back once again to what Saint Paul has to say in the First Epistle to the Corinthians. "Every woman praying or prophesying with her head uncovered disgraces her head." (1 Cor 11:5, Douay-Confraternity Bible). From the earliest times in the Church, the practice was for women to cover their head while at Mass. Pope Saint Linus, the first successor of St. Peter, ordered that women cover their head while in church. Tertullian, around the year 200, repeats the words of Saint Paul, saying that a woman's head is to be covered on account of the angels. Even at the time of the Protestant 'Reformation', John Calvin and John Knox (haha) instructed women to cover their head. The 1917 Code of Canon Law in canon 1262 required that "men, in a church or outside a church, while they are assisting at sacred rites, shall be bear-headed, unless the approved mores of the people or peculiar circumstances of things determine otherwise; women, however, shall have a covered head and be modestly dressed, especially when they approach the table of the Lord." So it is obvious that from the beginning of the Church, throughout its history, even into the 20th century, women were to cover their heads in church. That is some 1900 years of custom.

Now, we come to the fact that the 1983 Code of Canon Law does not mention at all the covering of women's heads. Note also that it nowhere mentions that men should take off their hats. Father Z and Jimmy Akin argue that since canon 6 of the new Code abrogates the 1917 Code, women are no longer required to cover their heads in church. Those who believe that the requirement remains cite several other canons of the new Code.
Can. 23 A custom introduced by a community of the faithful has the force of law only if it has been approved by the legislator, in accordance with the following canons. Can. 25 No custom acquires the force of law unless it has been observed, with the intention of introducing a law, by a community capable at least of receiving a law. Can. 28 Without prejudice to the provisions of can. 5, a custom, whether contrary to or apart from the law, is revoked by a contrary custom or law. But unless the law makes express mention of them, it does not revoke centennial or immemorial customs, nor does a universal law revoke particular customs. Canon 5 deals with contrary customs. Since the new Code does not at all mention head covering, it certainly cannot be contrary to the law to veil the head. The second half of canon 5 says "Universal or particular customs beyond the law which are in force until now are preserved."

So here is the sticky part. People disagree on the definition of custom. Canon 23 says "a custom introduced by a community of the faithful has the force of law only if...." Does this mean that all customs mentioned in canon 5 have to be customs introduced by the faithful, and not by the legislator? If so, does head-covering fall under this designation? Certainly it is an immemorial custom. Now the Catholic Encyclopedia's entry on 'Custom' breaks customs into two types: judicial and extrajudicial. The first come from the Pope and bishops, the second from the people. If head-covering is a universal custom beyond the law (which I believe it to be) and was in force up until 1983 (which it was) it should be preserved by canon 5. The question is, do canons 23 and 25 restrict the legal binding of this custom? We can all agree that 1917's Code of Canon Law is totally abrogated. But since head-covering is also outside of and certainly predates 1917, is it a universal custom beyond the law to be preserved? Well, I'm rambling now and don't have the answers! We must end this canonical discussion keeping in mind, however, that canon 14 says "laws, even invalidating and disqualifying ones, do not oblige when there is a doubt about the law." This leads me to believe that, until the Holy See clarifies this issue, women are not obligated to cover their heads in church. There is just too much ambiguity and not enough clarification.

Regardless of whether or not ladies have to cover their head, let us once again look at the merits of this custom. First, it is recommended by Saint Paul and written in the Scriptures. Also, it has been the tradition of the Church for almost 2,000 years. We should also keep in mind that this tradition was probably not mentioned in the 1983 Code because of the unlawful discarding of the custom. All throughout the Second Vatican Council, into the Novus Ordo and up to 1983, the law in effect was the 1917 Code! Women who did not cover their heads were, whether they knew it or not, disobeying the law of the Church. This is how some of our great traditions have fallen by the wayside. Only boys and men were permitted to serve at the altar for as long as we can remember, but some liberal dissidents started allowing girls at the altar. So the Vatican caved in and allowed the practice in 1994, even though it rejected the idea as early as 1991. It was not until people started receiving Holy Communion in their hands that the Vatican allowed the indult (yes, that's a dispensation from the law) to receive in the hands. So why do we want to follow in the footsteps of bad Catholics?? A fourth reason includes those reasons that I outlined in my
previous post. Well, I hope this provokes some thought and good discussion, and hopefully more women will see the reasons and the beauty behind wearing a veil.

In Jesus and Mary,
Jonathan Knox