Wednesday, February 13, 2008
St. Louis Jesuits: Morning Light CD
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March 20, 2008 Update: Item has been sold on Amazon.com

Over Christmas 2007, I received a copy of the St. Louis Jesuit's "Morning Light" CD. It is still in packaging and has never been opened or used. However, I am not a fan of the St. Louis Jesuits and consequently I do not want this CD. If anyone reading this blog would like this item, please comment below. I am open to offers. If no one is interested I am thinking of selling it over Amazon Marketplace although I have never used Amazon Marketplace before.
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Sunday, January 13, 2008
Pope Benedict XVI Celebrates Mass on January 13, 2008, as Ad Orientem
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The following story, which we should welcome with joy, concerns Pope Benedict XVI celebrated Mass on the Baptism of the Lord in an ad orientem posture. The following article is from Reuters and my comments following in red.

VATICAN CITY (Reuters) - Pope Benedict celebrated parts of Sunday's Mass with his back turned on the congregation [The ad orientem posture should never be described as facing away from the people. The ad orientem posture is facing East; both the Faithful and the priest together face East, symbolically facing God and awaiting His return since it is traditionally believed that Christ will come from the Easter], re-introducing an old ritual that had not been used in decades.

The Pope used the Sistine Chapel's ancient altar set right against the wall under Michelangelo's dramatic depiction of the Last Judgment, instead of the altar placed on a mobile platform that allowed his predecessor John Paul II to face the faithful.

A statement by the Vatican's office for liturgical celebrations said it had been decided to use the old altar, where ballots are placed during papal elections, to respect "the beauty and the harmony of this architectonic jewel." [The High Altar is indeed beautiful and should be used more frequently. Vatican II never called for the use of a low altar or the abandonment of the ad orientem posture].

That meant that for the first time in this kind of celebration since the Second Vatican Council (1962-65), the pope occasionally turned his back on the faithful [no, everyone is facing God] and faced the Cross [rather Our Lord truly present in the tabernacle]. He also read his homily from an old wooden throne on the left of the altar used by Pius IX in the 19th century [another beautiful addition to the Liturgy].

The conservative German-born pontiff is slowly reintroducing some of the old rituals phased out after Vatican II, which substituted Latin for local languages [it may have allowed the vernacular but Latin remains the chief language of the Church (Second Vatican Council, Sacrosanctum Concilium(Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy), para. 36.1)], modernized the Church [The Church can not modernize; poor choice of words (Pascendi Dominici gregis, Lamentabili Sane)] and encouraged inter-religious dialogue [for the purpose of saving the souls of others through conversion].

In July, the Pope issued a decree allowing wider use of the old Latin mass [Referencing the Tridentine Mass, not the Novus Ordo in Latin and ad orientem, which never required any permission], in what was regarded as a nod to Church traditionalists. He has also said he would like the centuries-old Gregorian chant to make a comeback [According to Vatican II, it is to be held in high regard anyway].

During Sunday's mass commemorating the baptism of Jesus Christ, which was celebrated in Italian, the Pope baptized 13 babies, carefully pouring water on their heads from a golden shell.

He spoke about the significance of baptism, which marks the admission of a person in the community of Christians.
Image Source: Believed to be in the AP
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Housekeeping Issues: January 2008
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With the start of another year I would like to outline my goals for this blog throughout the year. I will need some help in achieving some of them.

  1. Post as often as possible. I can not post while I am in seminary, but I am allowed to post outside of the seminary building. So, if I do have time, I will try and visit a nearby library and post occasionally over the next few months.
  2. Edit/Update Past Posts. I have a few thousand to edit because I want to have each spiritual reference link to the verse in the Douay Rheims Bible. I also want to put on each page about a saint the Collect from the 1962 Missal.
  3. Find Hundreds of Photos of the Tridentine Mass. I have searched Google Images and have a collection of images, but I want to find new images of the Tridentine Mass. If you have some images and would allow me to use them for posts on my blog, please email me at acatholiclife[at]gmail.com
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Thursday, January 10, 2008
Is the Usage of Graven Images Sinful?
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St. Luke was a famous painter. He wrote one of the Gospels and painted a famous image of the Blessed Virgin Mary. If making images of the saints were a sin, surely a Gospel writer would not have done so!

Scriptural References to counter the claim that making an image is sinful:
  • Numbers 21:8 God commands Moses to make the bronze serpent which we learn is a symbol of Jesus Christ (John 3:14). It is only destroyed after it is worshiped (2 Kings 18:4), the making of it was not a sin.
  • Numbers 8:4, 1 Kings 6:18 Images are carved
  • 1 Kings 7:25,29 Images of lions and bulls are carved to support the base of the temple
  • There were images of the cherubim angels in the temple (1 Kings 6:23-31) and God blessed the temple (1 Kings 9:3).
  • Exodus 20:5 We are forbidden to worship images or serving them. But by praying in front of a statue of a saint or a crucifix, we do not pray or worship the image, our thoughts are gazed upwards from them towards God.
There are many other passages to counter the notion that our Divine God somehow prohibits the images of our Savior, the saints, et cetera.  This is not a new debate.  This debate first arose in the 7th century and was crushed as a heresy against the Christian religion.  

If you are sincerely seeking to understand the Catholic claims that images are not sinful, I ask for you to read the writings of the Early Church Father St. John Damascus.  His Three Treatises on the Divine Images (available also in a Kindle Version) is as useful today as it was back in the 7th century to show - using Sacred Scripture - why the use of images is permitted and blessed by God!
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Wednesday, January 9, 2008
Vatican Newspaper: Receive Communion on Tongue, Kneeling
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As readers will remember from my past post, Mission: Restore Eucharistic Reverence, I encourage the reception of Holy Communion on the tongue as opposed to Communion in the Hand. My comments on this article are in the red brackets.

For those that are refused the ability to receive Communion on the Tongue while kneeling, I highly encourage you to write a formal letter of complaint to your bishop and/or Vatican officials. Some helpful pages may include Contacting Vatican Officials as well as Addressing Clergy.

Vatican Newspaper Article Says Catholics Should Receive Communion Kneeling and on the Tongue

Editorial by John-Henry Westen

Although it may seem a little strange, there is a definite battle being waged within the Catholic Church. It is the same "culture war" being waged by secular moderns against those who uphold traditional morality, it is pro-life vs. pro-choice. But within the Catholic Church the same battle is fought along liturgical lines, and the publication in the Vatican newspaper of an article calling for Catholics to receive Holy Communion kneeling and on the tongue is telling.

"If some nonbeliever arrived and observed such an act of adoration perhaps he, too, would 'fall down and worship God, declaring, God is really in your midst,'" explained Auxiliary Bishop Athanasius Schneider of Karaganda, Kazakhstan in the pages of L'Osservatore Romano. [Exactly - kneeling is a symbol for the whole world to help non-believers see that we believe the Eucharist truly is our God]

The Catholic News Service reports that in the January 8 edition of the Vatican paper, Bishop Schneider noted that the reverence and awe of Catholics who truly believe they are receiving Jesus in the Eucharist should lead them to kneel and receive Communion on their tongues. "The awareness of the greatness of the eucharistic mystery is demonstrated in a special way by the manner in which the body of the Lord is distributed and received," the bishop wrote. [Bishop Schneider's comments are well needed in an area when people continue to embrace heresies like consubstantiation]

Although in all likelihood most Catholics are oblivious to it, the decision to receive communion on the tongue, versus in the hand and the decision to receive communion standing rather than kneeling is a significant fault line in the culture war.

Modernizers who relentlessly work to have the Catholic Church move away from so-called 'archaic' positions on sexuality , (forbidding contraception, pre-marital sexual activity, homosexuality etc.) [Such actions are heresy] also rail against 'archaic' piety in worship.

However, the culture war at least in terms of liturgical issues was nearly lost in the West until the advent of Pope Benedict [Deo Gratias. Please remember to pray for the Holy Father daily. Thank God often for Summorum Pontificum].

In the United States for instance, the US Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) Committee on the Liturgy wrote in its July 2002 newsletter: "Kneeling is not a licit posture for receiving Holy Communion in the dioceses of the United States of America unless the bishop of a particular diocese has derogated from this norm in an individual and extraordinary circumstance."

The majority of the faithful have since adopted the practice of standing and receiving communion on the hand.

However, some traditional Catholics, often derisively referred to as "pre-Vatican II" Catholics have held to the practice of communion kneeling and on the tongue. Those same Catholics are often the most vociferous defenders of life and family within and without the Church.

While many valiant Catholic activists who work in the pro-life and pro-family battles receive communion in the common fashion, they nonetheless respect the right of those who wish to receive communion kneeling and on the tongue.

Not so for those within the Church seeking to get the Church in line with the times.

Certain Church leaders, priests and even bishops who are zealous in their attempts to modernize the Church have gone so far as to attempt to enforce modernism by refusing communion to those who kneel for communion. [Modernism has been declared the Synthesis of All Heresies by Pope St. Pius X]

One prominent example of such was Orange County Florida Bishop Tod Brown who was caught on video last year refusing communion to a woman who was kneeling. Brown is also known for refusing in 1994 to back an Idaho measure to deny homosexuals special privileges. Explaining his actions he said the law "would contribute to attitudes of intolerance and hostility in Idaho directed at homosexual citizens and is potentially discriminatory."

In Brown's diocese there has been considerable intolerance toward Catholics who kneel for communion and some traditional Catholics have been asked to leave the diocese.

Another prominent example was the denial of communion to Virginia House of Delegate member Richard Black by Arlington's St. Thomas More Cathedral Rector, Fr. Dominic Irace in 2002. Black was one of the strongest defenders of life in the legislature. As Delegate Black left the Cathedral, Fr. Irace loudly called him a "conservative idiot." (see coverage)

These types of situations caused the Vatican to react rather strongly in 2002. Jorge A. Cardinal Medina Estévez, the head of the Vatican's Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments, which addresses liturgical matters, wrote a bishop about reports received of a priest denying communion to faithful because they were kneeling.

The Cardinal called such denial "a grave violation of one of the most basic rights of the Christian faithful," and directed the bishop to investigate the case. The letter said that the Vatican regards such abuses of the faithful as very grave. The letter said, the Congregation, if such actions are verified, "will regard future complaints of this nature with great seriousness, and if they are verified, it intends to seek disciplinary action consonant with the gravity of the pastoral abuse."
(see the letter)

Despite this letter from the Vatican, the suppression of kneeling remains strong.

The article in the Vatican newspaper advocating kneeling however signals a sea change.

Those who kneel have a champion in Pope Benedict who prior to his elevation to the pontificate wrote of kneeling and its tie to culture in his book 'The Spirit of the Liturgy" (Ignatius Press, 2000) "There are groups, of no small influence, who are trying to talk us out of kneeling," wrote then-Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger. "'It doesn't suit our culture', they say (which culture?) 'It's not right for a grown man to do this -- he should face God on his feet'."

Cardinal Ratzinger continued: "The kneeling of Christians is not a form of inculturation into existing customs. It is quite the opposite, an expression of Christian culture, which transforms the existing culture through a new and deeper knowledge and experience of God.

Kneeling does not come from any culture -- it comes from the Bible and its knowledge of God . . . The Christian Liturgy is a cosmic Liturgy precisely because it bends the knee before the crucified and exalted Lord. Here is the center of authentic culture - the culture of truth. The humble gesture by which we fall at the feet of the Lord inserts us into the true path of life of the cosmos." [Excellent words on which to meditate]

Source: LifeSiteNews
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Beatification of Cardinal Newman and St. Therese's Parents Nears
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This is all very exciting news. Comments?

Cardinal Jose Saraiva Martins, Prefect of the Vatican's Congregation for the Cause of the Saints, has announced that the beatification of the great British convert and scholar, Cardinal John Henry Newman, is "imminent."

In an interview to be published on Wednesday in the daily Italian edition of L'Osservatore Romano, Cardinal Saraiva said that among the most important personalities to be beatified "soon" is "the case of Cardinal Newman, a relevant intellectual, and an emblematic figure of conversion from Anglicanism to Catholicism."

"Personally, I wish his beatification to happen very soon because it would be very important at this moment for the path of ecumenical dialogue,” Cardinal Martins said.

Cardinal Saraiva Martins also revealed the beatification, latter this year, of the parents of St, Therese of Lisieux, Louis Martin and Azelia Guérin. The heroic virtues of the parents of St. Therese, who is now one of the most popular saints in the Catholic Church and a Doctor of the Church, were proclaimed on March 26, 1944.

Source: Catholic News Agency
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Catholic Converts Blog
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I have just joined the Catholic Converts Blogroll! If you have not visited this blog, I encourage you to visit. In addition, please pray for all of the people in the sidebar of the Converts Blog under the RCIA List. Anyone that is preparing to enter the Church this year needs our prayers.
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Tuesday, January 8, 2008
Pope Benedict XVI Attracts 3 Million Pilgrims in 2007
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As evident by the above photo taken in recent months, Pope Benedict XVI is reviving many traditions. In July 2007, by the grace of God, Summorum Pontificum asserted that the Tridentine Mass was never abrogated, and the Holy Father allowed for all priests in the world to celebrate the Extraordinary Form of the Roman Rite. He continues to revive tradition, evident by his choice in miters, copes, and thrones such as at the Christmas 2007 Urbi et Orbi Address. Therefore, the news of millions of pilgrims journeying to see the Holy Father in 2007 does not surprise me.

Vatican City, Jan 8, 2008 / 10:22 am (CNA).- Recently released figures reveal that pilgrims continue to come to Rome in significant numbers under Pope Benedict XVI’s pontificate.

Nearly 3 million people came to Rome in 2007 to hear the Pope speak at his weekly audiences and Sunday addresses. The number, slightly lower than 2006, compares favorably with the numbers of Vatican visitors who heard Pope John Paul II in person.

Some observers believe that the increase of visitors as compared to John Paul II is connected to the decrease in Pope Benedict’s world travels. Since people reason that they are less likely to see the Pope while he travels, they visit him at the Vatican.

Pope Benedict’s writings have also attracted attention. His book Jesus of Nazareth has sold two million copies, while his second encyclical Spe Salvi has sold 1.5 million copies in Italy alone.

''It seemed impossible to imagine a successor to John Paul II who could approach the media success that the 'great' Karol Wojtyla had, but the shy and discreet Ratzinger has done it,'' commented the Italian paper Corriere della Sera.

The Pope is expected to write two more encyclicals and the second volume of Jesus of Nazareth in 2008. He has scheduled two more trips within Italy and three trips abroad, including a visit to New York City and to World Youth Day events in Sydney.

Source: Catholic News Agency
Image Source: Copyright Holder Unknown, Found via Hallowedground
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St. John the Baptist Church in Costa Mesa California
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As of February 2008 St. John the Baptist Church in Costa Mesa California will have a Sunday Tridentine Latin Mass (High Mass) at 12:30 PM. This means that in Orange County, California there will be four parishes holding the traditional Mass!

Image Source: Christopher Wagner / Daily Pilot (Fair Use)
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St. Theresa Church in the Diocese of Galveston-Houston
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It is always such a pleasure to see the transformation of a parish church from the barren product of past decades to a house of prayer properly adorned for the worship of the one, true God. With the permission of the pastor, here are a few images of St. Theresa Church, which has undergone a profound transformation. Notice the details in the after image including a crucifix and additional candles on the altar.

Before


After



Image Source: Photos Reprinted with the Permission of Fr. Stephen B. Reynolds, Pastor
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