Friday, April 17, 2015

Francis Card. George – RIP

Via Fr. Z:
I just received word that His Eminence Francis Card. George has died.

He was Archbishop of Chicago for 17 years and a great churchman.

He was quoted saying some time ago about our era:
“I expect to die in bed, my successor will die in prison and his successor will die a martyr in the public square. His successor will pick up the shards of a ruined society and slowly help rebuild civilization, as the church has done so often in human history.”

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Fr. Perrone on man's sin, divine mercy, and God's terms for forgiveness

Father Perrone, "A Pastor's Descant" [Temporary link] (Assumption Grotto News, April 12, 2015):
Sometimes it happens that I become troubled over what to say in my weekly Descant, now running well over twenty years. Writing for the Sunday after Easter poses no such problem. It’s always Divine Mercy Sunday, even before it became so titled. The Gospel for this Mass in the old and new rite as well presents the recollection of the happenings in the upper room on Easter night. How thoughtful, so to say, that our Lord’s visit to His trembling apostles should have been for the express purpose of endowing them with the divine ability to remit sins. His explanation to them in doing this was that since He had been sent into the world by His Father for this very reason, He was in turn sending the apostles unto the same end: to forgive the sins of men. Not being familiar with Protestant biblical exegetes (scholars who probe the meaning of biblical texts), I don’t know how they, who neither believe in Confession nor have it, explain away the Catholic teaching on this biblical episode wherein certain men–ordained–were clearly given the ability and duty to perform a divine service on behalf of men by wiping out their sins–acts which are properly speaking God’s alone. This they were to do, or not do, as circumstances allowed or disallowed. Just as in the time of our Lord some people were disposed to receive forgiveness while others were not, so it has been in succeeding ages. “Whose sins you forgive, they are forgiven them; whose sins you retain they are retained,” He told the eleven apostles. That’s unsettling, is it not, that there are some whose sins were to be “retained,” that is, not forgiven? The sacraments of the Church are unlike magical formulas which make their effects without human cooperation. In the sacraments, and in Confession in particular, have necessary conditions to be effective: there must be real priests to do absolving and real repentant people seeking their absolution. Lacking this reality there is no forgiveness of sins.
We have in our time the lamentable circumstance of some priests being unwilling to hear Confessions (or believing them unnecessary) and of some lay people unwilling to seek absolution for their sins from priests. Both are attempting ‘other ways’ to be disburdened of sins–ways other than Christ established by instituting this Sacrament. Priests, for example, have attempted general absolution without hearing Confessions, while lay people have tried to be forgiven through the secretiveness of their private prayers. Forgiveness, however, can’t be had on man’s terms, but on God’s–on Him who does the pardoning. Vain therefore are attempts to circumvent the divinely ordained terms upon which forgiveness of sins is obtained.
This is the time designated for divine mercy (not that it has an exclusive season outside of which mercy cannot be come by; one can confess to a priest anytime). In our day when the situation is such as I have outlined it above (viz., priests and people unwilling to do what forgiveness requires them to do), the Church has established a special period of divine mercy from Good Friday through today, Mercy Sunday. You need divine mercy because you sin; you need Confession to be rid of your sins. If you say you have no sins, you’re a liar: “If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, He will forgive our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness” (1 John 1:8-9). Conclusion: people who are honest with themselves go to Confession. 
Easter thanks are due to so many people who made the Great Week possible, especially in consideration of the solemn way we go about it in our parish. The Lord knows who you are and what you did for Him. The reward be yours in heaven!
An addendum. Responding to repeated requests, we will now have the Tuesday and Thursday evening Masses in the Tridentine (“extraordinary”) form. These are the two evening Masses for which the Holy Cross fathers were the celebrants. Because they did not offer Mass in the old rite, we had those Masses in the new Latin form. Now with your two parish priests assuming the whole Mass load, we can respond to those requests from our parishioners and offer the Tridentine Mass every weekday evening.
Fr Perrone

Monday, April 13, 2015

Archbishop of Buenos Aires formally recognizes SSPX as part of Catholic Church???

And Pope Francis? This would be news to me, but here it is at Rorate Caeli (april 13, 2015). Not sure about the Holy Father, but at least the Archbishop of Buenos Aires.

Fr. Z's take.

Sunday, April 12, 2015

Mullarkey - a voice of SANITY on RFRA

Maureen Mullarkey, "RFRA & My Wedding Ring" (First Things, April 7, 2015):

She and her soon-to-be husband, two Gentiles, were shopping for wedding rings and wanted those well-known words from the Book of Ruth inscribed on her ring. But the old jeweler, his forearm tattooed with his identification number from a concentration camp, said he was sorry but couldn't given them that particular inscription. How did they respond, and what does it tell us, not only about them, but about us today?

[Hat tip to JM]

Helpful after the fact

"Interview With a Christian" (New York Times, April 4, 2015), in which Ross Douthat interviews himself about Indiana's religious freedom laws -- thoughtful and helpful as nearly always.

[Hat tip to JM]

Tridentine Community News - "Sanctifying Time"

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

Tridentine Community News by Alex Begin (April 12, 2015):

The Catholic Gentleman blog ( ran a post on February 24 entitled “Sanctifying Time: The Catholic Meaning of Days and Months”. With the permission of author Sam Guzman, we excerpt from the post:
...The liturgical cycle gives shape and meaning to the year, and each season brings new significance. But the liturgical year is just the beginning. Did you know Mother Church has also assigned meaning to each day and month of the year? It’s true. Let’s briefly examine the significance of each day and month.
Sunday: The Holy Trinity - ...Sunday is the first day of the week and the day when we offer God, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit our praise, adoration, and thanksgiving.
Monday: The Angels – ...Angels are powerful guardians, and each of us is protected by one. Many of the saints had a great devotion to the angels in general and to their guardian angel in particular.
Tuesday: The Apostles – The Catholic Church is apostolic. That is, it is founded on the authority and teaching of the apostles, most especially that of St. Peter to whom Jesus gave the keys of his kingdom. Each bishop is a direct successor of the apostles.
Wednesday: Saint Joseph – Saint Joseph is known as the prince and chief patron of the Church. As the earthly father of Jesus, he had a special role in protecting, providing for, and instructing Jesus during his earthly life. Now that Christ is ascended into heaven, St. Joseph continues his fatherly guardianship of Christ’s body, the Church.
Thursday: The Holy Eucharist – Our Lord instituted the most Holy Eucharist on a Thursday, so it is fitting that we remember this greatest of sacraments on this day. The Eucharist is the greatest gift of God to mankind, as it is nothing less than Jesus himself...
Friday: The Passion – Jesus was scourged, mocked, and crucified on a Friday. Because of this, the Church has always set aside Fridays of days of penance and sacrifice. ... This day should always be a day of repentance and a day in which we recall Christ’s complete self-sacrifice to save us from our sins.
Saturday: Our Lady – There are a number of theological reasons Saturdays are dedicated to Our Lady, perhaps the most significant is that on Holy Saturday, when everyone else had abandoned Christ in the tomb, she was faithful to him, confidently waiting for his resurrection on the first day of the week.
January: The Holy Name of Jesus – ... The Catechism sums up the power of this name beautifully: “The name ‘Jesus’ contains all: God and man and the whole economy of creation and salvation. To pray ‘Jesus’ is to invoke him and to call him within us”...
February: The Holy Family – The Holy Family is an earthly reflection of the Holy Trinity. By meditating on the Holy Family, we can learn the meaning of love, obedience, and true fatherhood and motherhood. We are also reminded that the family is the foundational unit of both society and the Church.
March: St. Joseph – St. Joseph is the icon of God the Father: silent but active and perfectly providing for the needs of all. The Church constantly invokes the protection of St. Joseph, admonishing us to ite ad Joseph, go to Joseph.
April: The Blessed Sacrament – Holy Church is the guardian of the Holy Eucharist. For two thousand years, she has guarded this treasure, administering it to the faithful and proclaiming that it is nothing less than Jesus himself. We can never be too devoted to the Blessed Sacrament or show it too much honor.
May: The Blessed Virgin Mary – Our Lady has long been associated with the beauty of flowers and the coming of spring. This is fitting because she is both beautiful and the Mother of our Lord Jesus Christ, who is the life of the world. In May, the Church remembers our glorious lady with crownings and processions in her honor.
June: The Sacred Heart of Jesus – The Sacred Heart of Jesus is the revelation of God’s immense love for us. It is often depicted as a fiery furnace, pierced and broken, but beating with love. The Sacred Heart is also a profound reminder of the humanity of our Lord...
July: The Precious Blood – The blood of Christ saves us from sin. It is the blood of Christ that gives us the hope of heaven. ... Without the blood of Christ shed for us, all would be lost.
August: The Immaculate Heart of Mary – The heart of Mary is a motherly heart, a heart full of love and mercy for her children. The heart of Mary is also the channel through which all the graces of God flow down to us. She is “our life, our sweetness, and our hope.”
September: The Seven Sorrows of Mary – Aside from Jesus, no human being has suffered more than our Blessed Mother. In perfect obedience to the will of God, she consented to her son’s torture, humiliation, and brutal executed for our salvation. As any parent knows, watching one’s child suffer is the greatest suffering of all. She still bears the sufferings of her divine Son in her heart.
October: The Holy Rosary – The rosary is one of the most powerful weapons the Church possesses. We are constantly exhorted by saints, popes, and Our Lord and Our Lady themselves to pray this simple yet profound prayer. Accordingly, Mother Church has set aside a whole month to the promotion of this prayer.
November: The Souls in Purgatory – The souls in purgatory are suffering a great deal, and they cannot pray for themselves. They are our brothers and sisters, and as members of the body of Christ, we must pray and offer sacrifices for those who have gone before us, asking that they may rest in the light of God’s presence.
December: The Immaculate Conception – ... In the Immaculate Conception, Mary was without sin from the first moment of her conception. She is perfectly united forever to her spouse, the Holy Spirit. Their fruitful union produced a wedding of heaven and earth in the God-Man, Jesus Christ...
The Church takes seriously the call to sanctify all things, even time. The Catholic significance of days and months is a profound reminder that our lives are finite, and that time should not be squandered. As the Psalmist said, “teach us to number our days that we may get a heart of wisdom” (Ps. 90:12). But more than anything, it reminds us that time is a gift from God, and with him and through him, all things are holy....”
Tridentine Masses This Coming Week

Mon. 04/13 7:00 PM: Low Mass at St. Josaphat (St. Hermenegild, Martyr)
Tue. 04/14 7:00 PM: Low Mass at Holy Name of Mary (St. Justin, Martyr)
[Comments? Please e-mail Previous columns are available at This edition of Tridentine Community News, with minor editions, is from the St. Albertus (Detroit), Academy of the Sacred Heart (Bloomfield Hills), and St. Alphonsus and Holy Name of Mary Churches (Windsor) bulletin inserts for April 12, 2015. Hat tip to Alex Begin, author of the column.]

Tridentine Masses coming to metro Detroit and east Michigan this week

Tridentine Masses This Coming Week

Wednesday, April 08, 2015

Meanwhile, in Seattle ...

Easter Vigil Liturgy of St Patrick Catholic Church, Seattle, 2010.

[Courtesy of an aghast son, C.B., in NYC]

My favorite spoof on liturgical dance:

Müller suggests new task for CDF: shoring up deficient "theological structure" of Francis Pontificate

In an interview with French Catholic newspaper La Croix, Cardinal Gerhard Ludwig Müller, Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, defined a new task for his office: providing the theological structure for the pontificate of Pope Francis. The Cardinal reportedly stated: “The arrival of a theologian like Benedict XVI in the Chair of St. Peter was no doubt an exception. But John XXIII was not a professional theologian. Pope Francis is also more pastoral and our mission at the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith is to provide the theological structure of a pontificate.”

[Hat tip to CMTV Headlines, 4/8/15 and CFN, 7/4/15]

"Reasonable Republicanism"

It's another from Guy Noir:
Maggie Gallagher is someone whose writings have often seemed insightful. I suppose this ought to. She certainly seems to express a worthwhile concern:
Maggie Gallagher, "Who’s Really Showing Courage in Indiana?" (National Review, april 2, 2015)
But then again.... Look... if you can say this:
"I don’t see any reason why I as a Roman Catholic could not bake a cake or pizza for a gay wedding, in the unlikely event anyone wanted me to do so. (Gay couples: If you are turned down by a local business and want an alternative to crushing a local family’s livelihood, call me!)
And you can say this:
Will we find a way to stand and fight this new wave of hatred and intolerance, while recognizing and communicating that we know gay people have the same right that we’re demanding for ourselves — the right to live as one chooses?
Then explain to me again, just why do we object to the way gay people choose to live their life? I think our opponents might then be right that we are making a mountain out of a molehill. She is right about the lack of political firepower, but why should anyone muster that at all if the whole thing is as tepid an affair as she seems to suggest? "The right to live as one chooses" sounds a lot like the note sounded by Vatican II in its Decree on Religious Liberty. It certainly sounds good, even noble. But lest no one else mentions it, isn't it true that history's most notorious sinners also chose to live as they wanted, according to their lights? Would Maggie make them a nosegay or send them a cake. Is the problem that liberals are, well, over-reacting, or that Christians need to, well, taken a tip from Francis and lighten up? Whose Okay, and whose not? Just wondering, even as I wonder at the fact NR chose not to review Robert Royal's Making Gay Okay.

Fr. Perrone on Christ's Descent to Hell & Resurrection

Fr. Eduard Perrone, "A Pastor's Descant" [temporary link] (Assumption Grotto News, April 5, 2015):
On the third day He rose again from the dead. We say these words frequently and are sometimes perplexed when we do the math. Our Lord died on Good Friday and arose very early on Sunday, which counts for two days, unless we reckon the number of the days of the week, even partial days, in which His body was in death rather than count the number of twenty-four-hour days. Another interpretation holds that since Christ had been thrown into an underground prison on Holy Thursday night awaiting trial the next day, His body was “in the bowels of the earth” three days: Thursday in a cellar under the High Priest’s house, and Friday and Saturday in the tomb. In any case, our Lord emerged out of the earth alive in the body after having descended into “hell:” limbo or the abode of the dead. This mission into the lower regions of the earth (it was believed that spirits of the dead went to a place deep in the earth) must have been a sort of Easter celebration for the souls of those just men and women. Although Christ was not yet there in His body, His appearing there indicated to those souls that the purpose for which He had lived and died–to be the Victor over sin and death–had been successfully accomplished. Can we imagine the jubilation which took place in limbo? A vast sea of humanity, we should hope, was there waiting for this precise moment. A short time later these holy souls would follow Christ in His ascension into heaven, producing a sweeping procession of people into the Holy City, the Jerusalem above.

I use a bit of imagination to try to stir your minds to catch some of the excitement which must have greeted our Lord Easter Sunday morning. The rejoicing must have been at a feverish pitch. It was the vindication of everything the disciples had believed about Christ–that He is truly God, the Messiah, the Redeemer of humanity, the true judge of judge the living and dead. The resurrection meant that His teachings about heaven, beatitude, righteousness, the Holy Eucharist, about the worth of the sacrifices that had been made for the sake of Christ by leaving home and work–all is vindicated. This was the sign which confirmed everything. There would be no further proof needed to convince these witnesses to convert all the world to Christ. On Easter day any doubts about Christ were dispelled and the affection for Him must have been intense. The Acts of the Apostles indicates the prodigy of people whose faith was ardent.

We are at a seeming disadvantage not having seen the Lord’s resurrection with our eyes. Our knowledge of Him comes rather through faith, a way of knowing which is often taken to be a lesser, weaker manner of knowing. “Seeing is believing” is a well-known phrase, but one that’s totally contrary to what we mean by faith. Faith is indeed a kind of knowing Christ, but not through sight, not through the senses. It is a supernatural gift infused into the soul at baptism. And in order to be a living faith, it needs to be fed by instruction and by intimate association with Him through prayer. This is how many lapse from faith. They suffer malnourishment through poor instruction, and are weakened by deceit and led astray through godless men. Our Lord indicated that the faith of many would grow cold. This does not happen of itself since faith is a permanent gift abiding in one’s soul. But faith can be lost by putting faith in falsity and it can be ‘cooled’ through neglect of religious practice.

Once I heard the sad words from a woman: “I’m afraid we’re rather poor Christians” (‘poor’ here referring to lax, not to material poverty). We’ve got lots of such people today, poor Christians, people without a passion for truth, without a deep personal love for Christ, but who have skeptical minds and sordid affections. What follows this laxity is disorder, sadness, misery, and deep spiritual loneliness.

I know you are aware of this enfeeblement of Christianity in the world today. It’s a worrisome thing for us and surely a heartbreak for the Lord who gave His all to redeem us. But I hope you are true believers in Him and in His holy Church which brings you truth and grace. If so, you are spiritually alive and so you must be joyful. Easter has literal meaning for you. Christ is living and you know Him with the superior kind of knowledge called faith. It’s wonderful to live in God’s grace and to have some of that apostolic zeal which the first Christians had ever since Easter morning.

I wish you to have this always: a strong faith in Christ and deep love for Him. If so, your life has meaning and a secure and worthwhile direction. You should carry the exuberance of Easter in your hearts today and keep it always stored within you. You won’t ever be defeated if the life of the risen Christ remains in you.

Fr Perrone

Tuesday, April 07, 2015

Lectionary censorship continues???

Back in 2006 we posted an article entitled "Lectionary censorship" (Musings, July 11, 2006) about large swaths of Biblical teaching withheld from parishioners on a regular basis by those who typically use the "Shorter Form" lectionary readings in the Novus Ordo liturgy.

What reminded us of this was a post entitled "What does the Bible really teach?" (The Nesciencent Nepenthene, April 6, 2015) based on a comparison of what can be found in the April 5 Easter Sunday readings with what is actually in the Bible. Pretty amazing.

This leads me to think there is a good research project here for someone willing to undertake the foot work. The discrepancies are simply scandalous.

For a few dollars more (Catholic Relief Services, etc.)

Our correspondent, Guy Noir, sent us an interesting cluster of links a few days back about Catholic charities and gross inordinancies in salaries of CEOs of these NGOs:

Concerning Matt C. Abbott's "The controversy surrounding Catholic Relief Services" (Renew America, March 26, 2015), Noir writes, "The entire article is interesting, but this stuck out like a sore to me:
... for a government-funded NGO that takes in just under a billion dollars per year, $460,000 is not unreasonable for a CEO's salary. For a Catholic charity that serves the poor, it shows a disconnect bordering on the extreme.
Then there's this article about Dr. Carolyn Y. Woo, President and CEO of Catholic Relief Services on the organization's website, about which Noir comments:
Note that this CEO is married to a Dr. I imagine is also a high earner. I am still confused why people are so self-righteous about the "one percent," when CEOs of associations and college presidents, institutions set up to be altruistic and not profit-driven, make these salaries of over $300,000. It all suggests not that there are a rich few, but that there is a sizable wealthy class steering not simply robber baron businesses but our entire culture. And so we are given moral instruction from a tier of folks who do their grocery shopping at Whole Foods.
Finally, this interesting aside, by Matthew Archbold, "Wide Disparity in Catholic College Presidents’ Salaries, From $1 Million to Zero" (Catholic Education Daily, August 22, 2013).

"The Elephant in the Higher Education Room"

Lydia McGrew, "The Elephant in the Higher Education Room" (What's Wrong with the World, March 31, 2015) - excerpt:
"When I obtained a PhD in English from Vanderbilt University in 1995, the rot was already firmly in place. In order to get my requisite graduate credits without taking Queer Theory and other postmodernism (which I did not entirely avoid) I had to do repeated independent studies with the last members of the old guard, all of whom are now long since retired or passed on "to the greater life." Most other relatively conservative students were not so lucky. And that was twenty years ago.

"Why in the world should people who want to defend the humanities write as if this were not a reality? Why should we pretend that a student who takes a literature course at the majority of secular colleges (and even some Christian colleges) can be sure of learning worthwhile content when that is, at best, a gamble with a risk of big losses?"
In correspondence on this post, Guy Noir commented:
This is spot on.

As proof, see this over at Crisis, where a well-intentioned, serious commentator seriously asks us, "Will Notre Dame Continue to Betray its Catholic Identity?"



Is that a serious question? If conservatives are operating under paradigms so naive that they can ask something like this straight-facedly, I suggest that our serious conversations are little more than posturing and game playing. Let's just give Francis the blank check he wants minus the feigned open dialog already.
Must be forgetting to take his Prozac again by the look of it.

That White House Easter photo

Emily Zanotti, "We Need to Talk About the White House Easter Photo" (American Spectator, April 6, 2015):
This is what the White House put on social media to celebrate Easter. Now, I know, every holiday, obituary and random event must, by law, be celebrated by this President with a photo of himself.

But what on God's green Earth is happening here?

I feel like this is a poster for a depressingly dark independent "comedy" film I will never see, about a man and a giant imaginary bunny, sort of like Willard, but without the quality writing and with questionable casting choices. Does he see the bunny? Does he know its there? Is it really Joe Biden, performing the single most important duty of his Vice Presidency? Is this all a gloriously complicated scheme that will eventually be revealed to be the dawn of the New Order?

My money's on Biden.
[Hat tip to JM]