Sunday, March 26, 2017

Guéranger: the Church reminds us of the apostasy of the Jewish nation - Part I

One of the uncomfortable facts we immediately run into when delving into traditional pre-1960 commentary on biblical texts is the bluntness with which it treats the Church's supersession of the Jewish nation as the 'new Israel.' While this is particularly uncomfortable for Protestants from those evangelical backgrounds accustomed to referring to contemporary Jews and the citizens of the modern state of Israel as 'God's chosen people," the same is true of Catholics influenced by such sentiments via the neoconservative and originally Jewish wing of the contemporary American politics or sensitized to accusations of anti-Semitism.

Nevertheless the fact remains that supersessionism (not anti-Semitism) is a firmly embedded, normative part of Catholic tradition; and in what follows I wish to offer some examples that surface in Volume 5 of Guéranger's The Liturgical Year,devoted to the liturgical season of Lent. [Note: I have changed the spelling of 'Chanaan' and 'Messias' to the more familiar 'Canaan' and 'Messiah'.]

For Friday of the second week of Lent, the first reading is from Genesis 37 on Joseph's elder brothers were all offended by his dream of their sheaves bowing to his, and his dream of their stars bowing to his moon. Guéranger writes:
Today the Church reminds us of the apostasy of the Jewish nation, and the consequent vocation of the Gentiles. This instruction was intended for the catechumens; let us, also, profit by it. The history here related from the old Testament is a figure of what we read in today's Gospel. Joseph is exceedingly beloved by his father Jacob, not only because he is the child of his favorite spouse Rachel, but also because of his innocence. Prophetic dreams have announced the future glory of this child: but he has brothers; and these brothers, urged on by jealousy, are determined to destroy him. Their wicked purpose is not carried out to the full; but it succeeds at least this far, that Joseph will never more see his native country. He is sold to some merchants. Shortly afterwards, he is cast into prison; but he is soon set free, and is made the ruler, not of the land of Canaan that had exiled him, but of a pagan country, Egypt. He saves these poor Gentiles from starvation, during a most terrible famine, nay, he gives them abundance of food, and they are happy under his government. His very brothers, who persecuted him, are obliged to come down into Egypt, and ask food and pardon from their victim. We easily recognize in this wonderful history our divine Redeemer, Jesus, Son of God and Son of Mary. He was the victim of His own people's jealousy, who refused to acknowledge in Him the Messiah foretold by the prophets, although their prophecies were so evidently fulfilled in Him. Like Joseph, Jesus is the object of a deadly conspiracy; like Joseph, He is sold. He traverses the shadow of death, but only to rise again, full of glory and power. But it is no longer on Israel that He lavishes the proofs of His predilection; He turns to the Gentiles, and with them He henceforth dwells. It is to the Gentiles that the remnant of Israel will come seeking Him, when, pressed by hunger after the truth, they are willing to acknowledge as the true Messiah, this Jesus of Nazareth, their King, whom they crucified.

Discovering Guéranger's rare and insightful Biblical commentary

A very generous friend recently sent me the 15-volume set of Dom Prosper Guéranger's The Liturgical Year. I had run across that name and title numerous times in reading liturgical history, but never picked up a copy and read it. Till now. At first the books just looked sort of like a very traditional hardback version of the 'Magnificat' periodical with lectionary readings from (and commentary) on the traditional Latin rite liturgy.

But then I started to read the commentary on the readings for each day of Lent, and the commentary -- in my humble opinion -- is some of the most profound and most accessible Catholic Biblical commentary I have ever encountered. The magnitude of the project (15 volumes) is nothing short of breath-taking. You can use each volume as a substitute for a 1962 Missal because it has all the ordinary parts of the Mass as well as the Propers for each day of the season.

Any student of Aquinas and his Summa Theologiae knows there are more senses to the meaning of a Biblical text than the fundamental literal or historical sense. There's the allegorial, anagogical, as well as other spiritual senses of Scripture. This is where Gueranger's commentary is particularly rich. He draws parallels that wouldn't have occurred to me in my wildest dreams; and the thing is, they're usually utterly compelling. To read them is to have new horizons opened up before oneself that wouldn't have occurred to you previously.

It's always been a temptation of mine to assume that Protestant writers had a better handle on Scripture than Catholics -- and in the last 80 years, chances are, that could be be right. But even twenty years ago, my assumption began to erode as I read books about where we got our English translation of the Catholic Bible, for example; and as I read some of the commentaries by Jerome and Augustine and Thomas and others. But Gueranger is simply amazing. Just amazing. There is a gold mine here for any priest interested in material for homilies.

THIS makes George Carlin's 'Buddy Christ' seem 'traditionalist'

You all remember how George Carlin played a bishop in the movie Dogma and announced that the crucifix, though a time-honored symbol of our faith and highly recognizeable, was being retired by Holy Mother Church as a wholly depressing image of our Lord crucified. Christ didn't come to earth to "give us the willies," says the bishop. He came "to help us out." "He was a booster." And with that take on our Lord, he introduces and unveils a new, more inspiring image of ... 'The Buddy Christ.'


And now, in the spirit of retrieving a Gospel for our time that will titillate and hopefully avoid boring us (like all those boring traditional -- >yawn< -- liturgies and doctrines), here comes the prancing priest: Ecce homo!


Honestly, is there anything remotely Catholic or even Christian about this, anymore than fluffy Care Bears or prancing My Little Ponies?

Fr. Perrone: with all the troubles in the Church and world, why is God in the Blessed Sacrament largely ignored?

From last week:

Fr. Eduard Perrone, "A Pastor's Descant" (Assumption Grotto News, March 19, 2017):
Sometimes I think of all the troubles in the Church and in the world and wonder why they are and what is to be done about them. Then I recall that God is here among us, in the Blessed Sacrament, and that there He's largely ignored. I think then I have my answer.

Where to begin to speak of this? Priests who no longer believe as they once did in the Real Presence? The careless, cavalier manner in which Christ is distributed and received in the hand? Precious particles of the Holy Sacrament scattered on church floors, carpets, altar tops? (Every particle of the host, every drop of the Precious Blood, is Christ whole and entire.) The indiscriminate distribution of Communion to those ill-disposed through mortal sin, to non-Catholics, or to those who have no supernatural faith? Passing before the Divine Presence in the tabernacle without genuflection or even a head bow? Talking to others in church, rudely ignoring the Divine Presence? Catholics believing Communion a mere symbolic presence and symbolic reception of Christ? Communion received with the requisite dispositions but without adoration, reverence, or further prayers? And what can be said of someone approaching Communion while chewing gum? (is it unspeakable ignorance or is it malice?) Spillage of the Precious Blood on clothing, altars, or pouring out the consecrated excess into the sacrarium or sink after Mass? All these done not by Christ's enemies but by His members! I recall words fromt he Gospel "to His own He came, but His own received Him not"; and "they seized Jesus and bound Him" (Jn 1:11; 18:12). While much is said in our time of heightened sensitivity about the abuse of persons through insulting words or assault, little or nothing is said of the horrible and widespread abuse of the Person of the Son of God in the Blessed Sacrament who, in a manner of speaking, suffers the ill-treatment and contempt of willful neglect, sacrilege, or abuse of the Holy Eucharist.

Here you have it, in your Grotto News, the greatest reason why so much is wrong in the Church and in the world. The naivety of your foolish pastor leads him to such an embarrassingly simplistic account for so many problems we have. I anticipate the reaction: "This is a hard saying; who can listen to it?" (Jn 6:60). I don't much care about dismissive and derisive reactions to my conjectures, but I do care a great deal that our Lord be rightly honored, adored, and treated with all due respect in the Holy Eucharist as holy Church prescribes and as the piety of God's people dictates.

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How's your Lent going? About now there's a temptation to fall from one's Lenten pledges, having become weary of self-denial and of crowding up one's time with those religious extras that need not be done by obligation. Next Sunday will be Laetare Sunday, the liturgical half-way marker of Lent. Have you already become weary of the holy season? Every morning of Lent the Church makes me say the psalm Miserere in the traditional Divine Office. She will not let me forget I am a sinner whose sin is "always before me," giving me ample reason to trudge through the day penitent and determined to keep Lent.

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March 19 ordinarily marks the feast day of Saint Joseph but on a Sunday in Lent this is transferred to the following day. Nevertheless we take the celebration into the gym today after the noon Mass for the traditional St. Joseph dinner. The great man may not get a lot of respect nowadays. Once he was highly honored, much invoked for a variety of benefits he was known to confer. We should not fail, in our alleged preference for a more Christ-centered piety, to invoke the saints who bestow and even greater honor to God through our patronage of them than we can give God by force of our own feeble prayers alone.

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Next Saturday, March 25, the feast of Annunciation will be observed on its assigned day. The event commemorated is in a sense greater even than Christmas day since it began the time God first came to live in the humanity of Jesus Christ, that humanity which came 'into the open' on His birthday.

Fr. Perrone

Fr. Perrone: can Pope Francis change immutable truths?

Fr. Eduard Perrone, "A Pastor's Descant" (Assumption Grotto News, March 26, 2017):
The greatest intellectual deception is to subvert the natural gravitation of the mind towards truth to admit falsehood. There are many ways to swindle people's thinking -- and -- with their consent. Bad philosophy is replete with errors of such kind. That's the "high end" of this strange but not uncommon phenomenon. The willful succumbing to untruth is more ubiquitous in the area of morals. Many want to believe that what is not true would be true. A sinner may wish to justify himself in his own eyes, to convince himself that he acts well, that his conscience is giving him leave to commit his sins.

Pope Francis has raised quite a ruckus in the Church with his proposals that some couples in invalid marriages (or even in none at all, as cohabitors) be permitted while in such states to receive the sacraments of Confession and Holy Communion. I have refrained from writing on this because the matter is such an embarrassment. I decided however to reverse this blithe turning aside from the subject simply because the issue is, regrettably, public news, and because there is as yet no official resolution to the dilemmas it poses for the Church or for the minds and manners of of our people. So here come I, foolish and consciously incompetent, who dare to make commentary. I do so only for the care I have for what I believe to be troubled minds beset by confusion and for concern that scandal may lead you to sin.

All the years of my rational life I have believed that truth is immutable, unchangeable. As a Christian I have believed that the word of God contained in the Church's teaching authority and in the Holy Scriptures contains that truth so that it can be known and accepted by mankind. Moreover, I find therein such phrases: "thou shalt not commit adultery"; "whoever divorces his wife and marries another commits adultery"; "what partnership have righteousness and iniquity?" "neither the immoral nor adulterers will inherit the kingdom of God"; "whoever eats the bread or drinks the cup unworthily will be guilty of profaning the body and blood of the Lord." Those words (others might be brought forth as well) are to me crystal clear. When however I hear the Pope's suggestions I am put into confusion. It's not only that what is proffered there is in conflict with what I read in the scriptures and the magisterium but that the same issues from a pope. Do we Catholics not believe that, besides being infallible in matters of faith and morals when he teaches in a solemn and public manner, the pope may also be infallible in his ordinary teaching under certain conditions (such being the doctrine enunciated by Pope Pius XII)? Even more, is not every Catholic obliged to show deference to papal teaching even in non-infallible matters since he is the Church's universal teacher and guardian of the deposit of faith which Christ bequeathed to the Church through His apostles? Can the pope be in error not merely as a private individual but in his public teaching. I am conflicted. Perhaps you are as well.

Self doubt ensues. Have I been wrong all my life to believe that what was taught me as truth and what my reason readily asserts to as being truth has been wrong all along? Or, perhaps was it right in the time past but that God now, without changing truth, is accommodating Himself to these evil times -- lowering the bar, so to speak -- to allow a more generous salvation for unrepentant sinners? Further, would this new leniency, if it be admitted, not dispense from moral laws more widely, permitting transgressors full access to the Communion? I'm thinking of murderers, abortionists, torturers, sodomites, self-abusers, prostitutes and pornographers among others who could Confess without an intention of amendment, be absolved, and Communicate? Can there in fact be any limits to a newfound exemption from the moral law? Will then all be saved, without moral obligations, even against their wills?

Such are my thoughts until I'm reminded of a wily voice once heard in the garden. "Did God really say not to eat of the forbidden fruit?" No. I can't submit the judgment of conscience in what is certainly the truth to anything contrary to it no matter who may propose it. Of course, I can be in error on many things, and if I do err, either in principles or in the logic of my thought, I need to be corrected for the amendment of my life and for the salvation of my soul. Yet, if I'm right ...

Kindly understand. I do not think I'm the Pope's judge. God is. The change in pastoral practice being suggested by Pope Francis and others needs to be worked out in the great areana of theological debate by those competent by dint of their position in the Church and their erudition. It's unfortunate, in my view, that these matters were made public and not brought to resolution behind closed doors. Since the media have spared neither you nor me the anguish of airing (and erring) of them we must wait patiently for the truth to surface. In the meantime, I write to you out of care for this little flock entrusted to me to remind you of the inflexibility of God's word -- of the word of Him who can neither deceive nor be deceived.

My parting word. Love the Pope and pray for him. Even if he be in error (as once was the first pope Saint Peter when he made pretense in refusing to take meals with Gentiles) Pope Francis is yet the holy father, the lawfully elected head of the Church. He intends good, not evil. We owe him respect. Pray also for the good of the Church and the triumph of the truth. Our Lord promised to be with us all days, even unto the consummation of the world.

Fr. Perrone

P.S. Laetare Sunday reminds us to be joyful, even in the midst of Lent.

Tridentine Community News - Bishop Dabrowski’s Visit to St. Benedict; VBP Chicago Hosts Tridentine Mass at National Shrine of St. Frances Xavier Cabrini; Los Angeles Sacred Music Symposium 2017; Santa Rosa Cathedral Installs New High Altar; TLM Mass schedule


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

Tridentine Community News by Alex Begin (March 26, 2017):
March 26, 2017 – The Fourth Sunday of Lent – Lætáre Sunday

Bishop Dabrowski’s Visit to St. Benedict


On Sunday, March 12, Diocese of London, Ontario Auxiliary Bishop Joseph Dabrowski made a pastoral visit to the St. Benedict Tridentine Community at St. Alphonsus Church. He was accompanied by Fr. Mark Sargent, Director of Priest Personnel for the diocese. His Excellency and Father remarked extensively on the beauty of the Sacred Liturgy and the evident faith and dedication of the members of the community. Thanks to all of the faithful who made the Mass and reception so memorable for these dignitaries and all who were present. VBP Chicago Hosts Tridentine Mass at National Shrine of St. Frances Xavier Cabrini


Véritas Bónitas Púlchritas, a young adults’ group in Chicago, organized the first Tridentine Mass to be held at the National Shrine of St. Frances Xavier Cabrini since Vatican II, on Saturday, March 25 for the Feast of the Annunciation. This past December’s Prayer Pilgrimages bus tour paid a visit to this Shrine, which bears many architectural similarities to Royal Oak’s Shrine of the Little Flower Basilica. Both are in the Art Deco style, and both are pre-Vatican II churches built in the round. The Chicago Shrine closed in 2002 when the adjacent Columbus Hospital was closed and torn down. It reopened in 2012 after an apartment building had been built over and around it. Los Angeles Sacred Music Symposium 2017


For the second year in a row, the Los Angeles apostolate of the Fraternity of St. Peter will host a Sacred Music Symposium, to be held June 26-30 at St. Therese Church in Alhambra, California. Organized by FSSP-LA music director and chief of the Corpus Christi Watershed music resource web site Jeff Ostrowski, this promises to be a smaller, more intimate opportunity to learn or sharpen one’s skills with Gregorian Chant and sacred polyphony than larger conferences such as the CMAA’s annual Sacred Music Colloquium. Further information is available at: www.ccwatershed.org/symposium. Santa Rosa Cathedral Installs New High Altar


St. Eugene Cathedral in Santa Rosa, California rescued and restored an historic High Altar from a church in Philadelphia and is making it the centerpiece of an architectural upgrade to the church. The Santa Rosa diocese is known for being friendly to tradition and traditionally-minded clergy. Tridentine Masses This Coming Week
  • Mon. 03/27 7:00 PM: Low Mass at St. Josaphat (Monday in the Fourth Week of Lent)
  • Tue. 03/28 7:00 PM: Low Mass at Holy Name of Mary, Windsor (Tuesday in the Fourth Week of Lent)
  • Sat. 04/01 8:30 AM: Low Mass at Miles Christi (Saturday in the Fourth Week of Lent)
[Comments? Please e-mail tridnews@detroitlatinmass.org. Previous columns are available at http://www.detroitlatinmass.org. 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 March 26, 2017. Hat tip to Alex Begin, author of the column.]

Saturday, March 25, 2017

'Preachy' and 'Boring': review of The Shack

Monica Migliorino Miller, "The Shack’s Preachiness leads to Cinematic Boredom" (Crisis, March 20, 2017).

Thursday, March 23, 2017

Tridentine Masses coming this week to metro Detroit and eastern Michigan


Tridentine Masses This Coming Week

Sunday

  • Sun. 3/26 7:30 AM and 10:00 AM: Low Mass (Confessions 45 minutes before and after Masses) at St. Joseph's Church, Ray Township [NB: See note at bottom of this post about SSPX sites.]* (4th Sunday of Lent [Laetare Sunday] - 1st class)
  • Sun. 3/26 8:00 and 10:30AM Low Mass (Confessions 1/2 hour before Mass: call beforehand) at St. Ann's Church, Livonia [NB: See note at bottom of this post about SSPX sites.]* (4th Sunday of Lent [Laetare Sunday] - 1st class)
  • Sun. 3/26 9:00 AM: Low Mass at St. Joseph Oratory, Detroit (4th Sunday of Lent [Laetare Sunday] - 1st class)
  • Sun. 3/26 9:30 AM: Orchestral High Mass at Assumption Grotto, Detroit (4th Sunday of Lent [Laetare Sunday] - 1st class) featuring Gabriel Fauré's Messe Basse and Giovanni Pergolesi's Stabat Mater
  • Sun. 3/26 9:45 AM: High Mass at OCLMA/Academy of the Sacred Heart, Bloomfield Hills (4th Sunday of Lent [Laetare Sunday] - 1st class)
  • Sun. 3/26: [occasional Tridentine Masses: contact parish] at Our Lady of the Scapular Parish (4th Sunday of Lent [Laetare Sunday] - 1st class)
  • Sun. 3/26 11:00 AM: Solemn High Mass at St. Joseph Oratory, Detroit (4th Sunday of Lent [Laetare Sunday] - 1st class)
  • Sun. 3/26 12:00: High Mass at St. Mary Star of the Sea, Jackson (4th Sunday of Lent [Laetare Sunday] - 1st class)
  • Sun. 3/26 2:00 PM: High Mass at Holy Name of Mary, Canada (4th Sunday of Lent [Laetare Sunday] - 1st class)
  • Sun. 3/26 3:00 PM: Low Mass (call ahead for Confession times, 989-892-5936) at Infant of Prague, Bay City [NB: See note at bottom of this post about SSPX sites.]* (4th Sunday of Lent [Laetare Sunday] - 1st class)
  • Sun. 3/26 3:00 PM: High Mass St. Matthew Catholic Church, Flint (4th Sunday of Lent [Laetare Sunday] - 1st class)

Monday


Tuesday


Wednesday


Thursday


Friday


Saturday


Sunday

* NB: The SSPX chapels among those Mass sites listed above are posted here because the Holy Father has announced that "those who during the Holy Year of Mercy approach these priests of the Fraternity of St Pius X to celebrate the Sacrament of Reconciliation shall validly and licitly receive the absolution of their sins," and subsequently extended this privilege beyond the Year of Mercy. These chapels are not listed among the approved parishes and worship sites on archdiocesan websites.

Monday, March 20, 2017

Delayed publication of EF Mass times, etc.

My apologies: I'm not going to get the weekly schedule of EF Mass times and Tridentine Community News column published till later in the week. I'm simply swamped with work.

Kind regards,
PP

Monday, March 13, 2017

First Things: A Call for the Restoration of the Roman Rite

[Disclaimer: Rules ##7-9]
I received my latest copy of First Things and noticed with delight an article by Martin Mosebach, the German author of the marvelous book, The Heresy of Formlessness, published by Ignatius Press. The article is entitled, "Return to Form: A Call for the Restoration of the Roman Rite"; and I was also pleased to see it transcribed over at Rorate under the blog post title: "Exactly! First Things compares Novus Ordo to the Protestant Revolt" (Rorate Caeli, March 14, 2017), where Adfero prefaces Martin's article with these words:
For those paying attention, First Things has had a lot to say lately, so much of it timely and important. In the following piece, that we find fitting to bring to our readers' attention, not only do they rightly compare the Novus Ordo to the Protestant Revolt, but credit the saving of the Roman Rite to Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre.
In any case, below is the article for our own readers here:
RETURN TO FORM

A CALL FOR THE RESTORATION OF THE ROMAN RITE

The times in which a new form is born are extremely rare in the history of mankind. Great forms are characterized by their ability to outlive the age in which they emerge and to pursue their path through all history’s hiatuses and upheavals. The Greek column with its Doric, Ionic, and Corinthian capitals is such a form, as is the Greek tragedy with its invention of dialogue that still lives on in the silliest soap opera. The Greeks regarded tradition itself as a precious object; it was tradition that created legitimacy. Among the Greeks, tradition stood under collective protection. The violation of tradition was called tyrannis—tyranny is the act of violence that damages a traditional form that has been handed down.One form that has effortlessly overleaped the constraints of the ages is the Holy Mass of the Roman Church, the parts of which grew organically over centuries and were finally united at the Council of Trent in the sixteenth century. It was then that the missal of the Roman pope, which since late antiquity had never succumbed to heretical attack, was prescribed for universal use by Catholic Christendom throughout the West. If one considers the course of human history, it is nothing short of remarkable that the Roman Rite has survived the most violent catastrophes unaltered.

Without a doubt, the Roman Rite draws strength and vitality from its origin. It can be traced back to the apostolic age. Its form is intimately connected with the decades in which Christianity was established, the moment in history the Gospel calls the “fullness of time.” Something new had begun, and this newness, the most decisive turning point in world history, was empowered to take shape, take on form. Indeed, this newness came above all in the assumption of form. God the Creator took on the form of man, his creature. This is the faith of Christianity: In Christ all the fullness of God dwells in bodily form, even in that of a dead body. Spirit takes form. From this point on, this form is inseparable from the Spirit; the Risen One and Savior, returning to his Father, retains for all eternity the wounds of his death by torture. The attributes of corporeality assume infinite significance. The Christian Rite, of which the Roman Rite is an ancient part, thus became an incessant repetition of the Incarnation, and just as there is no limb of the human body that can be removed without harm or detriment, the Council of Trent decreed that, with respect to the liturgy of the Church, none of its parts can be neglected as unimportant or inessential without damage to the whole.

It is said that every apparently new thing has always been with us. Alas, this doesn’t seem to be the case. The industrial revolution, science as a replacement for religion, and the phenomenon of the wonderful and limitless increase in money (without a similar increase in its material equivalent) have given rise to a new mentality, one that finds it increasingly difficult to perceive the fusion of spirit and matter, the spiritual content of reality that those who lived in the preindustrial world across thousands of years took for granted. The forces that determine our lives have become invisible. None of them has found an aesthetic representation. In a time that is overloaded with images, they have lost the power to take form, with the result that the powers that govern our lives have an intangible, indeed, a demonic quality. Along with the inability to create images that made even the portrait of an individual a problem for the twentieth century, our contemporaries have lost the experience of reality. For reality is always first seized in a heightened form that is pregnant with meaning.

In a period such as the present, unable to respond to images and forms, incessantly misled by a noisy art market, all experimentation that tampers with the Roman Rite as it has developed through the centuries could only be perilous and potentially fatal. In any case, this tampering is unnecessary. For the rite that came from late antique Mediterranean Christianity was not “relevant” in the European Middle Ages, nor in the Baroque era, nor in missionary lands outside Europe. The South American Indians and West Africans must have found it even stranger, if possible, than any twentieth-century European who complained that it was “no longer relevant”—whereas it was precisely among those people that the Roman Rite enjoyed its greatest missionary successes. When the inhabitants of Gaul, England, and Germany became Catholic, they understood no Latin and were illiterate; the question of the correct understanding of the Mass was entirely independent of a capacity to follow its literal expression. The peasant woman who said the rosary during Mass, knowing that she was in the presence of Christ’s sacrifice, understood the rite better than our contemporaries who comprehend every word but fail to engage with such knowledge because the present form of the Mass, drastically altered, no longer allows for its full expression.

This sad diminution of spiritual understanding is to be expected, given the atmosphere in which the revision of the Roman Rite was undertaken. It was done during the fateful years around 1968, the years of the Chinese Cultural Revolution and a worldwide revolt against tradition and authority after the conclusion of the Second Vatican Council. The council had upheld the Roman Rite for the most part and emphasized the role of Latin as the traditional language of worship, as well as the role of Gregorian chant. But then, by order of Paul VI, liturgical experts in their ivory towers created a new missal that was not warranted by the provisions for renewal set forth by the council fathers. This overreaching caused a breach in the dike. In a short time, the Roman Rite was changed beyond recognition. This was a break with tradition like nothing the Church in its long history has experienced—if one disregards the Protestant revolution, erroneously named “the Reformation,” with which the post-conciliar form of the liturgy actually has a great deal in common.

The break would have been irreparable had not a certain bishop, who had participated in the council (and signed the Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy in good faith, assuming that it would be the standard for a “careful” review of the sacred books) pronounced an intransigent “no” to this work of reform. It was the French missionary archbishop Marcel Lefebvre and his priestly society under the patronage of Saint Pius X whom we have to thank that the thread of tradition, which had become perilously thin, did not break altogether. This marked one of the spectacular ironies in which the history of the Church is rich: The sacrament, which has as its object the obedience of Jesus to the will of the Father, was saved by disobedience to an order of the pope. Even someone who finds Lefebvre’s disobedience unforgiveable must concede that, without it, Pope Benedict XVI would have found no ground for Summorum Pontificum, his famous letter liberating the celebration of the Tridentine Mass. Without Lefebvre’s intransigence, the Roman Rite almost certainly would have disappeared without a trace in the atmosphere of anti-traditional persecution. For the Roman Rite was repressed without mercy, and that repression, supposedly in the service of a new, “open” Church, was made possible by a final surge of the centralized power of the papacy that characterized the Church prior to the council and is no longer possible—another irony of that era. Protests by the faithful and by priests were dismissed and handled contemptuously. The Catholic Church in the twentieth century showed no more odious face than in the persecution of the ancient rite that had, until that time, given the Church her identifiable form. The prohibition of the rite was accomplished with iconoclastic fury in countless churches. Those years saw the desecration of places of worship, the tearing down of altars, the tumbling of statues, and the scrapping of precious vestments.

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Sunday, March 12, 2017

"Old Timey Catholic Muscle"


Boniface, "Old Timey Catholic Muscle" (Unam Sanctam Catholicam, February 5, 2017):
Have you heard that the Auxiliary Bishop of Newark was assaulted and punched in the face while celebrating Mass in his cathedral last week? If you missed this it is not surprising - the media was dominated that week by Trump news and this really fell though the cracks. Apparently Bishop Manuel A. Cruz of Newark was celebrating some sort of commemorative Mass when, according to the report:
"...a man wearing a white robe over a red suit shambled up to the altar from the crowd, reached Bishop Cruz and struck the 63-year-old in the face, knocking him backwards until he fell on the altar...several Essex County's Sheriff's police officers [who were present] ran onto the altar and handcuffed the man. One officer at the scene who saw Cruz after he was struck commented to another officer that several of the bishop's teeth had been loosened in the attack."
The incident is documented here at TAP into Newark, a local news outlet who actually had reporters present at the attack. [Video here]

It sounds like the attackers was probably mentally deranged or something. But what really struck me about the story was this little detail from the above mentioned article:
"Inside the cathedral immediately after the attack, the shock of the assault stunned the crowd. Many in the pews ducked when Cruz was first struck, not knowing what further to expect from the assailant. Others among the approximately 75 people assembled stood and screamed."
I understand not knowing whether the assailant had a gun. But the statement that many of the people "stood and screamed" seemed indicative of the weakness of contemporary Catholicism in the face of aggressive anti-Catholic violence. Gray-haired parishioners standing and screaming helplessly as the successor of the Apostles is pummeled. The modern Church wringing their hands helplessly as radical Islam continues its anti-western jihad unabated. The Christian west everywhere standing and doing nothing as civilization is dismantled. It is a very apt and powerful symbol.

There was a day when the very approach of a threatening stranger to the altar would have been greeted with a rush of angry Catholics eager to defend the bishop. To lay hands on the bishop himself or any sacred item in the Church would have been to risk one's life. Three hundred years ago, if this would have happened, the bishop would have had to forcibly restrain his flock from lynching the assailant from the nearest tree.

Catholics used to take physical attacks on their faith very seriously. In 1099, the event that finally gave the Crusading army the impetus to storm Jerusalem was the rage caused by seeing the Muslim defenders of the city desecrating crosses upon its walls. This insult was too much for the Franco-Norman army to endure, and their subsequent berserker assault upon the walls led to its downfall.

In 1131, the iconoclastic heretic Peter of Bruis was burning crosses in a gigantic bonfire near St. Gilles in France. At the site of the Lord's cross being profaned, the locals were so incensed that they picked up Peter and tossed him into his own bonfire. And that was the end of that.

In 1844, when anti-Catholic "Know Nothings" went on a riot in New York City and threatened to burn down the city's Catholic Churches, Archbishop John Hughes hastily assembled a mob of rugged Irish-Catholic laymen armed with bats, chains, and all sorts of maiming instruments and had them stand shoulder to shoulder around St. Patrick Cathedral (these are the sorts of fellows that we would say "had balls" in modern parlance). Then he threatened the Mayor of New York that if one single Catholic Church was burned he would turn the city into another Moscow - a reference to how the Russians burned Moscow rather than let it fall into the hands of Napoleon's army.

I know Cardinal John O'Connor of New York was not always the best exemplar of a traditional Catholic bishop, but I will never forget his bold stand against the homosexual lobby when the latter insisted on representation at the St. Patrick's Day parade; what a contrast to Cardinal Dolan's jovial collaboration with the gay lobby and Bishop Barron's sad acquiescence to the new norm.

Old timey Catholicism was not afraid to flex its muscles when threatened with blatant thuggery. Vandalizing a church or punching a cleric was likely to get you whacked in the skull with a board or taken out behind the church and roughed up by a group of half-sober Irishmen with big faith and bigger fists. But now white-haired Q-tips stand in place and scream.

I am not saying the people who witnessed the attack are blameworthy; in the moment of confusion, you don't know if the assailant has a gun or what. Good thing he didn't though, because this congregation would have been useless. But I do think this scene of parishioners standing there helplessly yelling while the successor of the Apostles is assaulted at the altar is an apt symbol for the current impotence of the west.
In this connection, I (Pertinacious Papist) have always liked the following story about St. Louis de Montfort at Roussay:

"The sick old priest arrived at Roussay to preach a mission. He mounted the pulpit in the parish church, and after a brief prayer, began to speak. This tiny town in the west of France consisted of several dilapidated buildings, most prominent of which was this church with a rowdy bar right next door. As the preacher raised his voice, the drunkards could hear the sermon, and the parishioners could hear the raucous noise coming from the bar.

Knowing this, the denizens of the bar tried to disturb his sermon by screaming insults at the congregation and mocking them for their cleaner habits. The priest very calmly finished the sermon, gave the people his blessing and exited the church. As he left, though empty handed and alone, he walked directly into the bar. An eyewitness describes what happened next:

“Father said nothing, except with his fists. For the first time since he came to Roussay, men had a chance to see how big, and to feel how hard, those fists were. He struck them down and let them lie. He overturned tables and chairs. He smashed glasses. He walked over the bodies of stunned and sobered hoodlums, and went slowly back up the street.”

Fr. Perrone: How to rid yourself of sins this Lent

Fr. Eduard Perrone, "A Pastor's Descant" (Assumption Grotto News, March 12, 2017):
Lent is a time for self-reflection on our sins: how we got into committing them, how we rid ourselves of them, and -- this is important -- how we can compensate for them. Perhaps we think little of that latter thing. We have more often in mind our sins as transgressions of reason and God's laws and we feel the need to be freed of them through Confession. Yet we should also recognize that our sins have disrupted the objective moral order, causing external damage, so to say, as well as the interior harm done to ourselves. This needs to be redressed. The scales of justice have to be balanced after the objective order has been disturbed.

The Church and sacred scripture borrow the language of commerce to explain sin and its redress as a kind of spiritual transaction. (God's side is another matter. His it is to pardon, to forgive as He pleases, usually through absolution of the priest.) On our part, sin has contracted a debt owed to the offended majesty of God. This is the objective 'damage' done to Him by our sins. Such debts incurred through our misdeeds demand repayment, satisfaction. We must have some means of paying this debt; hence the necessity to do good works: prayer,d enial of the use of some good things, giving alms to the needy, etc. Of ourselves we are unable to make full repayment for sin to the all-holy God. While He may have written off the debt of sin without requiring any satisfaction, He did not do this. He asks, demands compensation from us, even though He substantially paid the whole debt Himself by becoming man and by suffering and dying for our justification and salvation. That redemptive act of Christ more than compensated for all the offenses contracted against God. Yet, out of justice, He expects satisfaction to be made also by the offenders, each one contributing some part. Through belonging to the great society oand union of the Church we are able to offer God Christ's acquired sum of good works He did for us as payment for the debts of our own sins. (An aside: This seems unfair. How is it that we can borrow from another's accumulated 'treasure,' appropriate it to ourselves and use it in payment for our sins? A mystery!) We know that we can indeed offer from the pool of wealth that is the merit of our Lord's Passion and death, and the added sum of merits of the Blessed Virgin Mary and the saints, against our indebtedness to God for our sins. One draws from this 'bank account' when gaining indulgences (grants given through the Church) and when one offers Christ's sacrifice of Himself in the Mass, in union with the priest; or when one says, in the chaplet of Divine Mercy, "Eternal Father, I offer You the body, blood ... of Jesus." We offer God a sum not our own. This is possible through our incorporation into the Church by which we have, so to speak, a joint bank account of the merits of christ, Our Lady, and the saints.

We should all want to leave this life, when we die, debt free. Otherwise, we shall remain in purgatory until we will have "paid the last penny" in payment of the whole amount of our debt to God (cf. the servant in the parable threatened with being sold in payment of a debt). Only when it will be fully paid will the scale of justice in our regard be rightly balanced and we will become justly fit for heaven where "nothing defiled" can enter.

Lent is now here. We ought to do two things: 1) pay off the debt of our sins by works of penance; 2) draw upon the merits of Christ and the saints by our prayers, the co-offerings of Mass, and gaining the Church's indulgences for ourselves and for the souls in purgatory -- helping them pay their debts out of our love for them.

Do as much good as you can while you have time for yourselves and for others. "Now is the acceptable time." This is the reason we have Lent.

P.S. James Likoudis will be here today after the 9:30 Mass for a book-signing. Jim is an outstanding layman -- he would no doubt blush to hear his praises -- author and lecturer, defender of the faith. Onetime national president of Catholics United for the Faith (CUF) which in a time of terrible confusion and revolution in the Church fought to preserve our Catholic patrimony in doctrine, worship, and catechesis. (Believe it or not, there was a time in recent history when things were worse than they now are. CUF is one of the reasons for the betterment of the present state of the Church in this country. I welcome Mr. Likoudis, who has written compellingly about the rapprochement of the Orthodox Churches with the Catholic church. We wish him much added grace and rich blessings.

Fr. Perrone

Tridentine Community News - Peter & Paul West Side Removes Freestanding Altar; Parishes in Archdiocese of Detroit which celebrate the Ordinary Form Ad Oriéntem; Our Lady of the Scapular Sanctuary Restoration; Virginia Tuskiewicz, RIP; TLM Mass schedule


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

Tridentine Community News by Alex Begin (March 12, 2017):
March 12, 2017 - The Second Sunday of Lent

Ss. Peter & Paul West Side Removes Freestanding Altar


In the sacristy before the Juventútem Michigan Mass on Friday, February 24, Ss. Peter & Paul west side pastor Fr. Jerry Pilus explained that he had removed the freestanding altar from the sanctuary, and all Ordinary Form Masses at the parish, at least for a while, will be celebrated ad oriéntem. His February 19 and 26 parish bulletins provided the rationale behind the adoption of this traditional worship orientation. This 1950s edifice has a beautiful, spacious sanctuary, with clean sight lines to its High Altar.

Fr. Borkowski has celebrated several Tridentine Masses at the parish prior to Fr. Jerry’s decision, but this is an unexpected upgrade to the mainstream parish life. Ss. Peter & Paul is also adding a sung Latin Ordinary during Lent and chanted Propers. Interestingly, this is the sixth parish in the Archdiocese of Detroit to make such a move...dare we say it’s a trend?

Parishes in the Archdiocese of Detroit Which Celebrate the Ordinary Form Ad Oriéntem


The below churches celebrate most or all of their Ordinary Form Masses ad oriéntem. All have removed their freestanding altars from their sanctuaries, at least for most of their Masses.
  • St. Stephen, New Boston
  • Assumption Grotto, Detroit
  • St. Josaphat, Detroit
  • St. Mary, South Rockwood [pictured]
  • St. Anthony, Temperance
  • Ss. Peter & Paul west side, Detroit
Our Lady of the Scapular Sanctuary Restoration


As part of a variety of measures being taken to beautify Our Lady of the Scapular Church in Wyandotte, Michigan, Fr. Mark Borkowski has:
  • Removed the carpeted platform that used to cover most of the sanctuary floor. The original terrazzo floor is now exposed.
  • Replaced the dated-looking 1970s freestanding altar with a salvaged and refurbished traditional altar, soon to be outfitted with wheels to make it more easily moveable to make room for the parish’s monthly Tridentine Masses.
  • Restored the three-step High Altar platform.
  • Installed Victorian-looking light fixtures which approximate the appearance of the original gas lamp fixtures.
  • Cleaned and reinstalled statuary around the church.
  • Replaced the dated, 1970s-era Baptismal Font with the original, old font.
What’s left to do? Re-install the center part of the Communion Rail that had been removed, and replace the 1970s pulpit with a more historically authentic High Pulpit. [Photo by Zach Trailer]

Virginia Tuskiewicz, RIP

In the charity of your prayers, please pray for the repose of the soul of Virginia Tuskiewicz, mother of Fr. Joe Tuskiewicz, who passed away on Saturday, March 4. The funeral was held this past Friday, March 10. [Details] Tridentine Requiem Masses are being planned.

Tridentine Masses This Coming Week
  • Mon. 03/13 7:00 PM: Low Mass at St. Josaphat (Monday in the Second Week of Lent)
  • Tue. 03/14 7:00 PM: Low Mass at Holy Name of Mary, Windsor (Tuesday in the Second Week of Lent)
  • Sat. 03/18 8:30 AM: Low Mass at Miles Christi (Saturday in the Second Week of Lent)
[Comments? Please e-mail tridnews@detroitlatinmass.org. Previous columns are available at http://www.detroitlatinmass.org. 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 March 12, 2017. Hat tip to Alex Begin, author of the column.]

Tridentine Masses coming this week to metro Detroit and east Michigan


Tridentine Masses This Coming Week

Sunday


Monday


Tuesday


Wednesday


Thursday


Friday


Saturday


Sunday

* NB: The SSPX chapels among those Mass sites listed above are posted here because the Holy Father has announced that "those who during the Holy Year of Mercy approach these priests of the Fraternity of St Pius X to celebrate the Sacrament of Reconciliation shall validly and licitly receive the absolution of their sins," and subsequently extended this privilege beyond the Year of Mercy. These chapels are not listed among the approved parishes and worship sites on archdiocesan websites.

Archbishop Chaput on how liberal democracies become despotic


Charles J. Chaput, Strangers in a Strange Land: Living the Catholic Faith in a Post-Christian World (2017), Chapter 1, "Resident Aliens" (comments mine):
In a democracy, political legitimacy comes from the will of sovereign individuals. Their will is expressed through elected representatives. Anything that interferes with their will, anything that places inherited or unchosen obligations on the individual -- except for the government itself -- becomes the target of suspicion. [Which is why the Principle of Subsidiarity articulated by Pope Pius XI in Quadragesimo anno (1931) is so important, like the Kuyperian concept of Sphere Sovereignty of 'Intermediary Institutions.']

To protect the sovereignty of individuals, democracy separates them from one another. And to achieve that, the state sooner or later seeks to break down any relationship or entity that stands in its way. That includes every kind of mediating institution, from fraternal organizations to synagogues and churches, to the family itself. This is why Alexis de Tocqueville, the great French observer of early American life, said that "despotism, which is dangerous at all times, [is] particularly to be feared in democratic centuries."

Tocqueville saw that the strength of American society, the force that kept the tyrannical logic of democracy in creative check, was the prevalence and intensity of religious belief. Religion is to democracy as a bridle is to a horse. Religion moderates democracy because it appeals to an authority higher than democracy itself.


But religion only works its influence on democracy if people really believe what it teaches. Nobody believes in God just because it's socially useful. To put it in Catholic terms, Christianity is worthless as a leaven in society unless people actually believe in Jesus Christ, follow the Gospel, love the Church, and act like real disciples. If they don't, then religion is just another form of self-medication. And unfortunately, that's how many of us live out our Baptism.

Until recent decades, American culture was largely Protestant. That was part of the country's genius. But it also meant that Catholics and other minorities lived through long periods of exclusion and prejudice. The effect of being outsiders has always fueled a Catholic passion to fit in, to find a way into the mainstream, to excel by the standards of the people who disdain us. Over time, we Catholics have succeeded very well -- evidently too well. And that very success has weakened any chance the Church had to seize a "Catholic moment" when Catholics might fill the moral hole in our culture created by the collapse of a Protestant consensus.

As a result, Tocqueville's fear about democracy without religious constraints -- what he called its power to kill souls and prepare citizens for servitude -- is arguably where we find ourselves today...."