"And, I rejoice to say, to one great mischief I have from the first opposed myself. For thirty, forty, fifty years I have resisted to the best of my powers the spirit of liberalism in religion. Never did Holy Church need champions against it more sorely than now, when, alas! it is an error overspreading, as a snare, the whole earth; and on this great occasion, when it is natural for one who is in my place to look out upon the world, and upon Holy Church as in it, and upon her future, it will not, I hope, be considered out of place, if I renew the protest against it which I have made so often.
"Liberalism in religion is the doctrine that there is no positive truth in religion, but that one creed is as good as another, and this is the teaching which is gaining substance and force daily. It is inconsistent with any recognition of any religion, as true. It teaches that all are to be tolerated, for all are matters of opinion. Revealed religion is not a truth, but a sentiment and a taste; not an objective fact, not miraculous; and it is the right of each individual to make it say just what strikes his fancy. Devotion is not necessarily founded on faith. Men may go to Protestant Churches and to Catholic, may get good from both and belong to neither. They may fraternise together in spiritual thoughts and feelings, without having any views at all of doctrine in common, or seeing the need of them. Since, then, religion is so personal a peculiarity and so private a possession, we must of necessity ignore it in the intercourse of man with man. If a man puts on a new religion every morning, what is that to you? It is as impertinent to think about a man's religion as about his sources of income or his management of his family. Religion is in no sense the bond of society."
The teaching Church, led by Benedict XVI, still weathers the waves of dissent, the barque of Peter awash in the stormy seas of this life, but still on course toward the Kingdom of Heaven.
A refreshing look at the history of Humanae Vitae and a forecast of the fair weather ahead for the truth as taught by the holy Catholic Church. And in the New York Times! A God of surprises we have. + mcitl
Op-Ed Contributor The Pope vs. the Pill
By JOHN L. ALLEN Jr. Published: July 27, 2008
FORTY years ago last week, Pope Paul VI provoked the greatest uproar against a papal edict in the long history of the Roman Catholic Church when he reiterated the church’s ban on artificial birth control by issuing the encyclical “Humanae Vitae.” At the time, commentators predicted that not only would the teaching collapse under its own weight, but it might well bring the “monarchical papacy” down with it.
Those forecasts badly underestimated the capacity of the Catholic Church to resist change and to stand its ground.
Down the centuries, Catholics have frequently groused about papal rulings. Usually they channeled that dissent into blithe disobedience, though occasionally a Roman mob would run the Successor of Peter out of town on a rail just to make a point. In 1848, Pope Pius IX was driven into exile by Romans incensed at his refusal to embrace Italy’s unification.
Never before July 25, 1968, however, had opposition been so immediate, so public and so widespread. World-famous theologians called press conferences to rebut the pope’s reasoning. Conferences of Catholic bishops issued statements that all but licensed churchgoers to ignore the encyclical. Pastors openly criticized “Humanae Vitae” from the pulpit.
In a nutshell, “Humanae Vitae” held that the twin functions of marriage — to foster love between the partners and to be open to children — are so closely related as to be inseparable. In practice, that meant a resounding no to the pill.
The encyclical quickly became seen, both in the secular world and in liberal Catholic circles, as the papacy’s Waterloo. It was so out of sync with the hopes and desires of the Catholic rank and file that it simply could not stand.
And in some ways, it didn’t. Today polls show that Catholics, at least in the West, dissent from the teaching on birth control, often by majorities exceeding 80 percent.
But at the official level, Catholicism’s commitment to “Humanae Vitae” is more solid than ever.
During his almost 27-year papacy, John Paul II provided a deeper theoretical basis for traditional Catholic sexual morality through his “theology of the body.” In brief, the late pope’s argument was that human sexuality is an image of the creative love among the three persons of the Trinity, as well as God’s love for humanity. Birth control “changes the language” of sexuality, because it prevents life-giving love.
That’s a claim many Catholics might dispute, but the reading groups and seminars devoted to contemplating John Paul’s “theology of the body” mean that Catholics disposed to defend the church’s teaching now have a more formidable set of resources than they did when Paul VI wrote “Humanae Vitae.”
In addition, three decades of bishops’ appointments by John Paul II and Benedict XVI, both unambiguously committed to “Humanae Vitae,” mean that senior leaders in Catholicism these days are far less inclined than they were in 1968 to distance themselves from the ban on birth control, or to soft-pedal it. A striking number of Catholic bishops have recently brought out documents of their own defending “Humanae Vitae.”
Advocates of the encyclical draw assurance from the declining fertility rates across the developed world, especially in Europe. No country in Europe has a fertility rate above 2.1, the number of children each woman needs to have by the end of her child-bearing years to keep a population stable.
Even with increasing immigration, Europe is projected to suffer a population loss in the 21st century that will rival the impact of the Black Death, leading some to talk about the continent’s “demographic suicide.”
Not coincidentally, Europe is also the most secular region of the world, where the use of artificial contraception is utterly unproblematic. Among those committed to Catholic teaching, the obvious question becomes: What more clear proof of the folly of separating sex and child-bearing could one want?
So the future of “Humanae Vitae” as the teaching of the Catholic Church seems secure, even if it will also continue to be the most widely flouted injunction of the church at the level of practice.
The encyclical’s surprising resilience is a reminder that forecasting the Catholic future in moments of crisis is always a dangerous enterprise — a point with relevance to a more recent Catholic predicament. Many critics believe that the church has not yet responded adequately to the recent sex-abuse scandals, leading to predictions that the church will “have to” become more accountable, more participatory and more democratic.
While those steps may appear inevitable today, it seemed unthinkable to many observers 40 years ago that “Humanae Vitae” would still be in vigor well into the 21st century.
Catholicism can and does change, but trying to guess how and when is almost always a fool’s errand.
John L. Allen Jr. is the senior correspondent for The National Catholic Reporter and the author of “The Rise of Benedict XVI.”
“This love is first of all fully human, that is to say, of the senses and of the spirit at the same time…intended to endure and to grow by means of the joys and sorrows of daily life, in such a way that husband and wife become one heart and one soul, and together attain their human perfection. “This love is total, that is to say, it is a very special form of personal friendship, in which husband and wife generously share everything, without undue reservations or selfish calculations. “Again, this love is faithful and exclusive until death…, a fidelity which can sometimes be difficult, but is always possible, always noble and meritorious, as no one can deny. “Finally this love is fruitful for it is not exhausted by the communion between husband and wife, but is destined to continue, raising up new lives.” (Humanæ Vitæ, No. 9)
Solomon prayed: "...I am a mere youth, not knowing at all how to act. I serve you in the midst of the people whom you have chosen...Give your servant, therefore, an understanding heart to judge your people and to distinguish right from wrong."
Christ teaches in His Church both what is right, to lead us on the way to heaven, and what is wrong, that we may reject evil and its false promises which lead to depair and death. Let us be courageous in both seeking truth and living it, proclaiming by our actions the way of freedom and hope to a fallen world. + mcitl
Vatican, Jul. 25, 2008 (CWNews.com) - The Vatican has given formal approval to a new English translation of the central prayers of the Mass for use in the United States.
In a June 23 letter of Bishop Arthur Serratelli, the chairman of the US bishops' liturgy committee, the Congregation for Divine Worship announces its recognitio for the translation, which had already won the approval of the US bishops' conference, despite strong protests from some liberal prelates.
The new translation adheres more closely to the Latin of the Roman Missal. Since the 2001 publication of Liturgiam Authenticam, the instruction on the proper translation of liturgical texts, the Vatican has pressed for more faithful translations of the official Latin texts.
Alluding gently to the fierce debates over English-language liturgical translations in the past decade, the Congregation for Divine Worship reports "no little satisfaction in arriving at this juncture." The letter from the Vatican is signed by Cardinal Francis Arinze (bio - news) and Archbishop Albert Malcom Ranjith, the prefect and secretary, respectively, of the Congregation.
The Vatican's binding approval covers only a portion of the entire Roman Missal. The entire process of translating the Roman Missal is expected to take at least until 2010. However, the prayers given the Vatican recognitio are the most common texts for the Order of the Mass.
The Vatican approval comes just after the US bishops' conference voted against approval of another installment in the series of translations that will be required to complete the overall project.
The new translation is not to be used immediately, the Vatican letter indicates. Instead the US bishops are directed to begin "pastoral preparation" for the changes in the language of the Mass. During this same period, the Congregation for Divine Worship notes, some musical settings for the text could be prepared.
Among the noteworthy changes that Catholics will notice when the new translation goes into effect are:
* At the Consecration, the priest will refer to Christ's blood which is "poured out for you and for many"-- an accurate translation of pro multis--rather than "for all" in the current translation.
* In the Nicene Creed the opening word, Credo, will be correctly translated as "I believe" rather than "we believe."
* When the priest says, "The Lord be with you," the faithful respond, "And with your spirit," rather than simply, "And also with you."
* In the Eucharistic prayer, references to the Church will use the pronouns "she" and "her" rather than "it."
* In the Agnus Dei, the text cites the "Lamb of God, who takes away the sins of the world," rather than using the singular word "sin."
* In the preferred form of the penitential rite, the faithful will acknowledge that they have sinned "through my fault, through my fault, through my most grievous fault."
Throughout the translation of the Offertory and Eucharistic Prayer, the traditional phrases of supplication are restored, and the Church is identified as "holy"-- in each case, matching the Latin original of the Roman Missal.
(Thanks to M. Fisher of the Archdiocese of Baltimore.)
As we mark 40 years since Paul VI promulgated the Encyclical Humanæ Vitæ let us not ourselves forget, nor fail to remind others, that the essential, irreducible moral teaching of that letter is that "every use of artificial contraception is a moral evil." + mcitl
His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI recently spoke of Humanæ Vitæ:
"The Magisterium of the Church cannot be exonerated from reflecting in an ever new and deeper way on the fundamental principles that concern marriage and procreation. What was true yesterday is true also today. The truth expressed in Humanae Vitae does not change; on the contrary, precisely in the light of the new scientific discoveries, its teaching becomes more timely and elicits reflection on the intrinsic value it possesses. The key word to enter coherently into its content remains "love".
As I wrote in my first Encyclical Deus Caritas Est: "Man is truly himself when his body and soul are intimately united.... Yet it is neither the spirit alone nor the body alone that loves: it is man, the person, a unified creature composed of body and soul, who loves" (n. 5). If this unity is removed, the value of the person is lost and there is a serious risk of considering the body a commodity that can be bought or sold (cf. ibid). In a culture subjected to the prevalence of "having' over "being', human life risks losing its value. If the practice of sexuality becomes a drug that seeks to enslave one's partner to one's own desires and interests, without respecting the cycle of the beloved, then what must be defended is no longer solely the true concept of love but in the first place the dignity of the person. As believers, we could never let the domination of technology invalidate the quality of love and the sacredness of life.
It was not by chance that Jesus, in speaking of human love, alluded to what God created at the beginning of the Creation (cf. Mt 19: 4-6). His teaching refers to a free act with which the Creator not only meant to express the riches of his love which is open, giving itself to all, but he also wanted to impress upon it a paradigm in accordance with which humanity's action must be declined. In the fruitfulness of conjugal love, the man and the woman share in the Father's creative act and make it clear that at the origin of their spousal life they pronounce a genuine "yes" which is truly lived in reciprocity, remaining ever open to life. This word of the Lord with its profound truth endures unchanged and cannot be abolished by the different theories that have succeeded one another in the course of the years, and at times even been contradictory.
Natural law, which is at the root of the recognition of true equality between persons and peoples, deserves to be recognized as the source that inspires the relationship between the spouses in their responsibility for begetting new children. The transmission of life is inscribed in nature and its laws stand as an unwritten norm to which all must refer. Any attempt to turn one's gaze away from this principle is in itself barren and does not produce a future.
We urgently need to rediscover a new covenant that has always been fruitful when it has been respected; it puts reason and love first. A perceptive teacher like William of Saint-Thierry could write words that we feel are profoundly valid even for our time: "If reason instructs love and love illumines reason, if reason is converted into love and love consents to be held within the bounds of reason, they can do something great" (De Natura et dignitate amoris, 21, 8). What is this "something great" that we can witness? It is the promotion of responsibility for life which brings to fruition the gift that each one makes of him or herself to the other. It is the fruit of a love that can think and choose in complete freedom, without letting itself be conditioned unduly by the possible sacrifice requested. From this comes the miracle of life that parents experience in themselves, as they sense the extraordinary nature of what takes place in them and through them. No mechanical technique can substitute the act of love that husband and wife exchange as the sign of a greater mystery which (as protagonists and sharers in creation) sees them playing the lead and sharing in creation.
Unfortunately, more and more often we see sorrowful events that involve adolescents, whose reactions show their incorrect knowledge of the mystery of life and of the risky implications of their actions. The urgent need for education to which I often refer, primarily concerns the theme of life. I sincerely hope that young people in particular will be given very special attention so that they may learn the true meaning of love and prepare for it with an appropriate education in sexuality, without letting themselves be distracted by ephemeral messages that prevent them from reaching the essence of the truth at stake. To circulate false illusions in the context of love or to deceive people concerning the genuine responsibilities that they are called to assume with the exercise of their own sexuality does not do honor to a society based on the principles of freedom and democracy. Freedom must be conjugated with truth and responsibility with the force of dedication to the other, even with sacrifice; without these components the human community does not grow and the risk of enclosing itself in an asphyxiating cycle of selfishness is always present.
The teaching expressed by the Encyclical Humanae Vitae is not easy. Yet it conforms with the fundamental structure through which life has always been transmitted since the world's creation, with respect for nature and in conformity with its needs. Concern for human life and safeguarding the person's dignity require us not to leave anything untried so that all may be involved in the genuine truth of responsible conjugal love in full adherence to the law engraved on the heart of every person.
Benedict XVI Address to Participants of International Congress on the 40th Anniversary of Humanæ Vitæ May 10, 2008
MCITL rejoices to announce the establishment of the Humanæ Vitæ Awards, recognizing web publications that practice total and faithful adherence to the full truth about the sacredness of every human life from the moment of conception until natural death, in all its stages and conditions, in particular as enshrined in the teaching of His Holiness Pope Paul VI in the Encyclical Humanæ Vitæ.
Send your nominations for the awards to MeetingChristintheLiturgy AT gmail DOT com
Humanæ Vitæ is right. Celebrating the 40th Anniversary.
At the beginning of the 4th century, with the end of the persecutions and the promulgation of the Edicts of Tolerance in favour of Christianity, Emperor Constantine ordered the excavation of the cella memoriae, the place where Christians venerated the memory of Saint Paul the Apostle, beheaded under Nero around 65-67 A.D. Above his grave, located along the Ostiense Way, about two kilometers outside the Aurelian Walls surrounding Rome, Constantine built a Basilica which was consecrated by Pope Sylvester in 324.
Between 384 and 395 the Basilica, under the emperors Theodosius, Valentinian II and Arcadius, was restored and enlarged according to an extensive project consisting of five naves opening out into an atrium (quadriportico), or courtyard with four rows of columns. Throughout the centuries the Basilica would not cease to be embellished and enhanced by the Popes. For example, the massive defensive wall was built to protect against invasions at the end of the ninth century, while the bell tower and the magnificent Byzantine door were constructed in the eleventh century. Other important additions include Pietro Cavallini’s mosaics in the façade, the beautiful Vassalletto family’s cloister, Arnolfo di Cambio’s celebrated Gothic baldachin and the Candelabrum for the Paschal candle attributed to Nicola d’Angelo and Pietro Vassalletto of the thirteenth century. This historical period represents the golden age of what had been the biggest Basilica of Rome, until the consecration of the new Basilica of St. Peter in 1626. This sacred place of Christian pilgrimage was well-known for its artistic works.
On the night of July 15, 1823, a fire destroyed this unique testimony to the Paleo-Christian, Byzantine, Renaissance and Baroque periods. The Basilica was reconstructed identically to what it had been before, utilizing all the elements which had survived the fire. In 1840 Pope Gregory XVI consecrated the Altar of the Confession and the Transept.
Other embellishments followed the reconstruction. In 1928 the portico with 146 columns was added. Contemporary work in the Basilica has uncovered the tomb of the Apostle, while other important and beneficial works are carried out, as in the past, thanks to the generosity of Christians from all over the world.
In the fifth century under the Pontificate of Leo the Great, the Basilica became the home of a long series of medallions which would to this day depict all the popes throughout history. This testifies, in an extraordinary way, to “the very great, the very ancient and universally known Church founded and organized at Rome by the two most glorious Apostles, Peter and Paul” (Saint Irenaeus, Adversus Haereses 3, 3,2).
Saint Paul Outside-the-Walls constitutes an extra-territorial complex (Motu Proprio by Pope Benedict XVI, 30 May 2005), administered by an Archpriest, His Eminence Cardinal Andrea Cordero Lanza di Montezemolo.
In addition to the Papal Basilica, the entire complex includes a very ancient Benedictine Abbey, restored by Odon of Cluny in 936. This Abbey remains active even today under the direction of its Abbot who retains his ordinary jurisdiction intra septa monasterii. The Benedictine Monks of the ancient Abbey, founded near the tomb of the Apostle by Pope Gregory II (715-731), attend to the ministry of Reconciliation (or Penance) and the promotion of special ecumenical events.
It is in this Basilica that every year on the feast of the Conversion of Saint Paul, January 25, the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity solemnly opens. The Pope has specified two privileged tasks for this Papal Basilica: the Sacrament of Reconciliation (or Penance) and the development and organization of ecumenical initiatives.
On June 28, 2007, Pope Benedict XVI visited the Basilica and announced that the following year would be designated the “Pauline Year” to commemorate the bimillennium of the birth of Saint Paul. Thus, the “Pauline Year” will run from June 28, 2008 to June 29, 2009. (Information courtesy of Vatican web site.)
And through the power of truth and beauty Christ gives the grace to reject what is false, superficial and destructive.
"Yet this power, the grace of the Spirit, is not something we can merit or achieve, but only receive as pure gift. God’s love can only unleash its power when it is allowed to change us from within. We have to let it break through the hard crust of our indifference, our spiritual weariness, our blind conformity to the spirit of this age. Only then can we let it ignite our imagination and shape our deepest desires. That is why prayer is so important: daily prayer, private prayer in the quiet of our hearts and before the Blessed Sacrament, and liturgical prayer in the heart of the Church. Prayer is pure receptivity to God’s grace, love in action, communion with the Spirit who dwells within us, leading us, through Jesus, in the Church, to our heavenly Father. In the power of his Spirit, Jesus is always present in our hearts, quietly waiting for us to be still with him, to hear his voice, to abide in his love, and to receive "power from on high", enabling us to be salt and light for our world."
-- Pope Benedict XVI, World Youth Day 2008
Faith has serene confidence in the power of Christ to attract souls. The joy of authentic love gives strength to reject error and persevere in the way of Christ.
False “gods”, whatever name, shape or form we give them, are nearly always associated with the worship of three things: material possessions, possessive love, or power. Let me explain what I mean.
Material possessions, in themselves, are good. We would not survive for long without money, clothing and shelter. We must eat in order to stay alive. Yet if we are greedy, if we refuse to share what we have with the hungry and the poor, then we make our possessions into a false god. How many voices in our materialist society tell us that happiness is to be found by acquiring as many possessions and luxuries as we can! But this is to make possessions into a false god. Instead of bringing life, they bring death.
Authentic love is obviously something good. Without it, life would hardly be worth living. It fulfills our deepest need, and when we love, we become most fully ourselves, most fully human. But how easily it can be made into a false god! People often think they are being loving when actually they are being possessive or manipulative. People sometimes treat others as objects to satisfy their own needs rather than as persons to be loved and cherished. How easy it is to be deceived by the many voices in our society that advocate a permissive approach to sexuality, without regard for modesty, self-respect or the moral values that bring quality to human relationships! This is worship of a false god. Instead of bringing life, it brings death.
The power God has given us to shape the world around us is obviously something good. Used properly and responsibly, it enables us to transform people’s lives. Every community needs good leaders. Yet how tempting it can be to grasp at power for its own sake, to seek to dominate others or to exploit the natural environment for selfish purposes! This is to make power into a false god. Instead of bringing life, it brings death.
The cult of material possessions, the cult of possessive love and the cult of power often lead people to attempt to “play God”: to try to seize total control, with no regard for the wisdom or the commandments that God has made known to us. This is the path that leads towards death. By contrast, worship of the one true God means recognizing in him the source of all goodness, entrusting ourselves to him, opening ourselves to the healing power of his grace and obeying his commandments: that is the way to choose life.
Benedict XVI Address - Meeting with disadvantaged people - Sydney July 18, 2008
IN a return to tradition, the Pope will tomorrow offer communion to kneeling Catholics, and preferably on the tongue rather than in the hand.
The final World Youth Day mass at Sydney’s Randwick racecourse will attract up to half a million worshippers and will be beamed to as many as a billion viewers around the world.
A firm believer in the importance and beauty of liturgical traditions, the Pope will seek to set an example to a massive audience with his return to pre-1960s ritual. [Notice a couple things. First, memory is short… or the writer is too young to have known anything other than Communion in the hand, standing. This practice was introduced against the Church’s law well after the Council. Also, it remains the exception (in law) to the rule (in law) that Communion should be (even now) received on the tongue. Furthermore, the law protects Catholics who want to receive in the proper way.]
"The Holy Father has requested that those whom he gives communion to will kneel, and his preference is that they receive communion on the tongue," said Father Mark Podesta, an official World Youth Day spokesman.
However, these preferences will not apply to the crowds at the racecourse, who could be pressed for kneeling space.
"His request is not a mandate for the church, it’s merely an indicator," Father Podesta said. [Give it time, Father.]
"He is concerned with the question of reverence. [If it is a matter of reverence, then perhaps it goes beyond an "indicator".]
"(Standing and receiving the host in the hand) could be open to irreverence. It’s a reminder for those who watch it that this is very special."
The mass will also include a recital in Latin of the Our Father prayer, and a few other words in Latin, [Oooo… a few words…] Father Podesta added. World Youth Day was an international event, he said, and the language of the church was [is] Latin.
"World Youth Day is about communicating with youth," he said. "The Pope’s message will be made in a way that youth can most easily identify with." [Yes… but some things are communicated in better in a language that is different from what we speak daily.]
Latin was largely lost to Catholic churches after the Second Ecumenical Council of the Vatican that began in 1962 – which the Pope attended as a young theological adviser.
It permitted [yes] masses to be celebrated in the vernacular, much to the horror of traditional Catholics such as the writer Evelyn Waugh, [and others] who said the changes made going to church "a bitter trial".
According to a report in the Inside the Vatican magazine, Australia will be one of the first places in the world outside Italy where these changed customs will be used in a papal liturgy. [Good point.]
"Australia is a country well known for lax liturgical practices following in the wake of the reforms of the Second Vatican Council, and this was particularly evident during liturgies celebrated by John Paul II on visits there in 1986 and 1995," the report said.
"After criticism of liturgical music at a recent mass celebrated by Pope Benedict in Washington DC, there was much debate over whether, despite an evident return to older customs in the Holy See, liturgical committees would follow a similar pattern in a country like Australia."
In July last year, the Pope issued an apostolic letter announcing greater use of the Tridentine or Latin mass. [We are talking about Summorum Pontificum of course.]
World Youth Day director of evangelisation Stephen Lawrence said Vatican II had never demanded the removal of all Latin – it only said that priests could use the vernacular.
"We don’t want Latin completely removed," he said. "I think he’s keen to make sure the Vatican II implementation actually happens. The common practice up until now is there hasn’t been much use of Latin." [I think it is great that the a WDY official said this. Excellent. Could we have imagined that a few years ago?]
"Conjugal love . . . is total [pleno]; that is, it is a very special form of personal friendship whereby the spouses generously share everything with each other without undue reservations and without concern for their selfish convenience. One who truly loves his spouse not only loves her for what he receives from her but also for her own sake. This he does joyfully, as he enriches [his beloved] with the gift of himself."
From what sublime document does this revelation come?
Blogger Esperu reviews the spiritual value of celebrating Holy Mass "versus Deum" or, together toward the Lord.
"So, here's one thing I really liked. Ad Orientem. Once you've seen this, you'll never want to go back to "versus populum." So much of the Eucharistic prayer, and the actions of the priest, just make so much more sense when the priest is offering up the Eucharist to the Lord, rather than to the congregation. (I'm exaggerating to make a point.) It's clear when the priest turns to the people and invites them to participate, that this is exactly what he is doing. Also, the elevation of the species turns into a great high-point of the Mass (especially with that incense!) rather than just a momentary gesture."
Fresh from greeting the Pope upon his arrival, Cardinal Pell was asked this morning by a journalist about how those receiving communion directly from the Pope would do so, when the time came, at the Final Mass during WYD08.
Following on from recent sightings at Vatican events where ‘older postures’ – kneeling to take Holy communion on the tongue – have been adopted, his Eminence replied,
"I think those receiving holy communion will be kneeling."
(Thanks to post at wdtprs.com and photo from AFP.)
Blessed Kateri Tekakwitha, patron of those ridiculed for their piety, pray for us!
Mary and I just got back from Rome, where Mary spoke at the 27th annual meeting of the American Academy of FertilityCare Professionals. It was an international meeting with at least eight countries represented. I could write several articles about the meeting, but will just try to hit the highlights.
First, it amazes me that a 1,230 page textbook can be written by applying the science to the observation of a woman’s cycle. The textbook is entitled The Medical and Surgical Practice of NaPro Technology. We all know these cycles can at times be complicated. But a 1,230 page textbook? Dr. Thomas Hilgers, founder of NaPro Technology, has a great deal that has yet to be published. Unfortunately his data, like the document Humanae Vitae, goes unread by most.
Second, NaPro Technology is not second-rate medicine. It is good medicine. In fact, Dr. Hilgers is more successful at treating almost any obstetrical or gynecological problem, e.g., his techniques are about twice as successful as IVF for fertility and almost 100% successful in treating post partum depression. It stands to reason that by cooperating with a woman’s body, results of therapy will be better.
Third, we heard a very moving testimony from J. Francis Cardinal Stafford. He was a priest when Humanae Vitae was released. Sadly then (1968), as now (2008), the critics of the document did not read it or they read it and came up with objections that were simply not true when the document is read honestly.
Fourth, we heard the Pope’s own moral theologian, Fr. Giertych (geer-tec). He emphasized the Holy Spirit as the Giver of Life. He also discussed how contraception changes our hearts, minds and bodies. Contraception expresses and propagates egoism (selfishness), distorts the nature of love (produces a caricature of love) and elevates pleasure to a supreme good. He and others stated clearly that the contraceptive culture and the culture of life were two different and irreconcilable views of reality and humanity.
Though Humanae Vitae is perhaps the most countercultural of all Church documents, it is easy to promote. Mary and I do not prescribe contraceptives or refer for sterilization (vasectomy or tubal ligation). This practice of medicine is in line with right reason at many levels.
If contraceptives were fail-safe or free from side effects, there wouldn’t be new ones coming out all the time. Sterilization can result in chronic pain where the tubes are cut and burned and tied. Further, all the things we are trying to prevent have increased with widespread contraceptive use. Sexually transmitted infections are up at least 300%, out of wedlock pregnancy up 500%, abortion has been legalized and is not rare, infertility is more prevalent, and those who use contraceptives feel less intimacy. Dr. Meg Meeker has a very informative book called EPIDEMIC: How Teen Sex is Killing Our Kids. She notes that prescribing contraceptives is like throwing gasoline on a fire.
One way to make this intuitive: contraception and sterilization are the only two times in medicine when someone comes in healthy (fertility is the natural, healthy state of reproductive age people) and comes out with a disease. Infertility is a disease. Infertility is an epidemic. Infertility is afflicting millions in the U.S. alone. It stands to reason that bad effects will occur when we create widespread disease.
Not contracepting or sterilizing is consistent with natural law (which can be known to anyone no matter their religious beliefs). For example, Gandhi said if contraception came to India it would bring “widespread evil.” Anyone of good will, who is truly open minded, sees the truth of the Church’s moral teachings.
God bless all of you, especially in this year of St. Paul which started June 28, 2008.
Steve Mosher: World (Over) Population Day, 2008 By Steven W. Mosher 7/11/2008 Population Research Institute (www.pop.org)
"We are not facing a cataclysmic population explosion, but rather a population implosion, as entire peoples age and die."
FRONT ROYAL, VA (PRI) - By the weekend, World Population Day, July 11, will have come and gone, with its usual spate of articles bemoaning the fact that there are too many people in the world.
This year the U.N. Population Fund (UNFPA), which came up with the idea of a World Population Day in the first place, argued that population growth can and should be restrained by "empowering women."
By this fine phrase they mean that women should be taken out of the home--and the business of bearing and raising children--and put to work producing goods and services for strangers. The UNFPA claims that only the wholesale employment of women will save us from being overrun by people.
Now I have to admit that this is a clever argument.
To oppose it puts one in the position of seeming to oppose women joining the workforce and having a career outside the home. But that is not my position at all. Rather, I would defend the right of women to exercise their special gift--one not given to men--to not only bring new life into the world, but to nurture it on a full-time basis, especially in through the vital years on infancy and early childhood.
This is, after all, what most women want during this special chapter of their lives, even if they pursue careers before and after this time.
The population controllers have always feared that if women were to be allowed to act on their pro-natal impulses, the world would become overpopulated. But it is not overpopulated at present, nor is it likely to become so.
Let me give you an illustration I use in my book, Population Control.
You could, as it turns out, put the entire population of the world in single-family homes in the state of Texas. Now, let me make clear that I'm not suggesting everyone move to Texas. I like Texas the way is. Rather, this is just a way of saying that the world is still a pretty empty place--and about to become emptier.
When I make this point in my talks, there are invariably people in the audience who ask about "the population bomb." They have been propagandized into believing that the population of the world will just keep on doubling until there is no room for any of us.
Most people don't know that the population of the world will never double again. Rather, according to the best estimates that we now have, it will peak in 2040 or so at around 8 billion, and then begin to decline.
In other words, we are not facing a cataclysmic population explosion, but rather a population implosion, as entire peoples age and die. This thinning of the ranks is already well underway in dying Europe. This is why The New York Times has called overpopulation "one of the myths of the Twentieth Century."
The UNFPA's current call for empowering women seems fairly innocuous, but the UN agency has also been a principal cheerleader of China's one-child policy.
In China, women are arrested for the crime of being pregnant, locked up for weeks on end, and in the end aborted and sterilized against their will. The suffering that this policy has caused Chinese families and, especially, women, is almost beyond belief.
Yet it is not just China. Many other countries have, with UN and U.S. encouragement and urging, adopted policies not that far removed from China's.
In fact, it is the height of hypocrisy for the UNFPA to talk of empowering women, when its population control programs around the world invariably target and abuse young, vulnerable women.
Take Indonesia, where a few years ago the military was used to herd young women at gunpoint into clinics for sterilizations. Or Mexico, where women in labor--experiencing the pangs of childbirth--are pressured by government doctors and nurses to accept sterilization.
The only campaign focused on sterilizing men took place in India in the 1970s at a time when Indira Gandhi, a woman, was Prime Minister. And it ended eighteen months later when men by the hundreds of thousands rioted in the streets against it.
Women are targeted because they don't generally fight back.
The UNFPA also targets the poor, along with racial and religious minorities. Not everyone who advocates population control--or family planning, as it is often called these days--is racist, but look at the way these anti-people campaigns play out on the ground.
The Chinese enforce their one-child policy on their "troublesome" Tibetan and Muslim minorities (despite claiming not to).
Peru's infamous sterilization campaign of the late 1990s focused on the Quechua-speaking Indians of the High Andes, not the good citizens of Lima and other major cities.
And the Indian campaign mentioned above collapsed because the Untouchables and the Muslims realized that they, not the high caste Hindus who were ...
Read the rest of the article at www.catholic.org
Humanae Vitae is right. 40th Anniversary, 25 July 2008
(Photo: Maggie at Wet 'n Wild demonstrating that babies are fun!)
Reform in the New Mass: Vernacular celebrations with Latin Prex?
Ignazio Ingrao, religious correspondent for Italian weekly Panorama, reports the following:
BENEDICT CHANGES THE MASS - THE STUDY OF THE NEW LITURGY ASSIGNED TO THE CONGREGATION FOR WORSHIP
The rite of the Mass [MCITL: i.e. the Mass of Paul VI] could change. According to some indiscretions, Benedict XVI has charged the Congregation for Divine Worship to study some modifications in the liturgy. In particular, the Pope is said to have the intention to restore Latin for the formula for the Eucharistic consecration within the Mass in the "vernacular language", i.e. the one celebrated in the different national languages. The same could happen to the formulae of Baptism, Confirmation, Confession and of the other sacraments. In addition, the exchange of peace among the faithful during the Mass, which today takes place prior to the distribution of the Eucharist, could be anticipated (as in the Ambrosian rite) to the offertory so as not to disturb the recollection that precedes Communion.
These would be changes which would be added to the changes in the liturgy and regarding sacred vestments which the Pope, together with his Master of Ceremonies, Monsignor Guido Marini, has made in recent months, to recover ancient traditions: the restoration of the crucifix at the center of the altar, the distribution of Communion to the faithful in the mouth while kneeling, the recovery of the pastoral staff of Pius IX (the ferula), the changing of the style of pallium (the strip of white wool with red crosses worn by the Pope), the restoration of the papal throne used in the Consistory and the celebration of Mass with the back to the assembly, as happened in January in the Sistine Chapel.
Many of the Council Fathers believed that this would be the order of the reformed Mass: most parts in the vernacular and the (one and only) Roman Canon kept in Latin. In fact, the Constitution Sacrosanctum Concilium did not seem to foresee the use of the vernacular during the Canon (cf. SC 36, 2; 54; cf. Inter Oecumenici, 57-59). [Translation by Gregor Kollmorgen for The New Liturgical Movement./Tip: Papa Ratzinger blog.]
(Thanks to rorate-caeli.blogspot.com for art idea and posting the article.)
I offer this:
(For the preceding, thanks to Father Z @ wdtprs.com and credit to the original posting at Creative Minority Report. Bravi!)
...pro omnibus, quae retribuit mihi? Calicem salutaris accipiam: et nomen Domini invocabo."
"How shall I make a return to the Lord for all that He has given me? I shall take up the chalice of salvation, and call upon the name of the Lord."
--Psalm 115, from the Vespers for Monday, Breviarum Romanum. In thanksgiving for 46 years of life and 16 in the Holy Priesthood. Thanks be to God.
(Photo: Altar of Saint Leo the Great, Saint Peter's Basilica, Roma. "The Meeting between St. Leo the Great and Attila" depicted here is the only altarpiece in St. Peter's consisting of a monumental marble relief. The pope repels Attila and the Huns from attacking Rome; Attila raises his arm as Sts. Peter and Paul appear in the sky. Offered Holy Mass at this altar for intentions of family members 30 April 2008.)
Almighty God, Lord of Lords and King of Kings, in Your infinite fatherly love you are keeping watch over the fate of men and nations. You called Your servant, Emperor and King Charles of the House of Austria, to serve as a father to his peoples in difficult times and to promote peace with all his strength. By sacrificing his life, he sealed his willingness to fulfill Your holy will. Grant us the grace, with his intercession, to follow his example and serve the true cause of peace, which we find in the faithful fulfillment of Your holy will. We ask this through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, forever and ever.
Special thanks to brother blogger Andrew Cusack at cusack.norumbega.co.uk. (Way too cool. Had to go with it.)
"But now Christ has appeared as the high priest with regard to the good things of these new times. He passed through a sanctuary more noble and perfect, not made by hands, that is, not created. He did not take with Himself the blood of goats and bulls but His own Blood, when He entered once and for all into this sanctuary after obtaining definitive redemption." --Hebrews, 9: 11-12
The Blood of Christ on the Shroud of Turin
"And the soldiers, platting a crown of thorns, put it upon His head; and they put on him a purple garment. And they came to Him and said: ‘Hail, King of the Jews!’ And they gave him blows." (Jn 19.2-3) Beneath the blows, the head oscillates pitifully from right to left, as is witnessed by the blood flows on the temples, in the form of an upside down "V": the blood took two directions alternatively, as the head leaned to one side or the other. Whereas on the brow a trickle "undulates serpent-like", as the Poor Clares of Chambéry would say: it follows the lines formed on the brow by the spasmodic puckering caused by the pain."
From His Holiness Pope Pius XII:
"Unlimited is the effectiveness of the God-Man's Blood - just as unlimited as the love that impelled him to pour it out for us, first at his circumcision eight days after birth, and more profusely later on in his agony in the garden, in his scourging and crowning with thorns, in his climb to Calvary and crucifixion, and finally from out of that great wide wound in his side which symbolizes the divine Blood cascading down into all the Church's sacraments.
"Such surpassing love suggests, nay demands, that everyone reborn in the torrents of that Blood adore it with grateful love. The Blood of the new and eternal covenant especially deserves this worship of latria when it is elevated during the sacrifice of the Mass. But such worship achieves its normal fulfillment in sacramental communion with the same Blood, indissolubly united with Christ's Eucharistic Body. In intimate association with the celebrant, the faithful can then truly make his sentiments at communion their own: 'I will take the chalice of salvation and call upon the name of the Lord. . . The Blood of our Lord Jesus Christ preserve my soul for everlasting life. Amen.'
"Thus as often as they come worthily to this holy table they will receive more abundant fruits of the redemption and resurrection and eternal life won for all men by the Blood Christ shed 'through the Holy Spirit.' Nourished by his Body and Blood, sharing the divine strength that has sustained countless martyrs, they will stand up to the slings and arrows of each day's fortunes - even if need be to martyrdom itself for the sake of Christian virtue and the kingdom of God. Theirs will be the experience of that burning love which made St. John Chrysostom cry out, 'Let us, then, come back from that table like lions breathing out fire, thus becoming terrifying to the Devil, and remaining mindful of our Head and of the love he has shown for us. . . This Blood, when worthily received, drives away demons and puts them at a distance from us, and even summons to us angels and the Lord of angels. . . This Blood, poured out in abundance, has washed the whole world clean. . . This is the price of the world; by it Christ purchased the Church… This thought will check in us unruly passions. How long, in truth, shall we be attached to present things? How long shall we remain asleep? How long shall we not take thought for our own salvation? Let us remember what privileges God has bestowed on us, let us give thanks, let us glorify him, not only by faith, but also by our very works.'
"You know well enough that your ransom was not paid in earthly currency, silver or gold; it was paid in the Precious Blood of Christ; no lamb was ever so pure, so spotless a victim. If only they would lend a more eager ear to the apostle of the Gentiles: 'A great price was paid to ransom you; glorify God by making your bodies the shrines of his presence.' Their upright lives would then be the shining example they ought to be; Christ's Church would far more effectively fulfill its mission to men. God wants all men to be saved, for he has willed that they should all be ransomed by the Blood of his only-begotten Son; he calls them all to be members of the one Mystical Body whose head is Christ.
"If only men would be more responsive to these promptings of his grace, how much the bonds of brotherly love among individuals and peoples and nations would be strengthened."
--From Pope Pius XII's encyclical Haurietis Aquas of May 15, 1956
A bishop, or anyone, when told that "there is nothing you can do" in the face of an anti-life decision should never be satisfied with such a response. There is ALWAYS something that any of us can do in the face of the culture of death.
Prayer is first.
Witness is second.
Dialogue is third.
All of these avenues must be pursued for LIFE at all levels and at all times.
It is never acceptable to "do nothing" in response to attacks against life in any of its stages and conditions, from the moment of conception until natural death.
Christ fights for every life in His death throes on the cross, with every breath left to Him. Can we not do the same? Fight for life with every breath, every word, every action and every beat of the heart.
"Doing nothing" is never an acceptable answer for those who love life.
MCITL 10th Anniversary: The Catechism and Scriptures together in the Sunday homily
"The integration of elements of the Catechism of the Catholic Church with the readings from the Lectionary offers us an opportunity to demonstrate how the Word of God is able to animate our personal and communal life with Christ and, at the same time, articulate the Church’s faith that has been immeasurably enriched by the living tradition of twenty centuries."-- Archbishop Donald Wuerl, intervention at the Synod of Bishops on the Word of God