Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Marine's Prayer

Almighty Father, whose command is over all and whose love never fails, make me aware of Thy presence and obedient to Thy will. Keep me true to my best self, guarding me against dishonesty in purpose and deed and helping me to live so that I can face my fellow Marines, my loved ones, and Thee without shame or fear. Protect my family.

Give me the will to do the work of a Marine and to accept my share of responsibilities with vigor and enthusiasm. Grant me the courage to be proficient in my daily performance. Keep me loyal and faithful to my superiors and to the duties my Country and the Marine Corps have entrusted to me. Help me to wear my uniform with dignity, and let it remind me daily of the traditions which I must uphold.

If I am inclined to doubt, steady my faith; if I am tempted, make me strong to resist; if I should miss the mark, give me courage to try again.

Guide me with the light of truth and grant me wisdom by which I may understand the answer to my prayer. Through Jesus Christ our Lord.

(Photo: Courtesy LT PC Fisher currently on duty somewhere in Afghanistan. Please pray for all our military serving in Afghanistan, Iraq and wherever in harm's way.)

Monday, September 29, 2008

"There is...no rupture" in the liturgy

"As Pope Benedict XVI wrote in his letter which accompanied Summorum Pontificum: 'In the history of the liturgy there is growth and progress, but no rupture.'

The Gregorian Rite is today a living liturgical rite which will continue its progress without losing any of its riches handed on in tradition. For as the Holy Father continued, 'What earlier generations held as sacred, remains sacred and great for us too, and it cannot be all of a sudden entirely forbidden or even considered harmful. It behooves all of us to preserve the riches which have developed in the Church’s faith and prayer, and to give them their proper place.'

May this book assist the Church of today and of tomorrow in realising Pope Benedict’s vision."

Darío Cardinal Castrillón Hoyos
Pontifical Commission “Ecclesia Dei”
25 September 2008
-- from the introduction to the new edition of The Ceremonies of the Roman Rite Described edited by Alcuin Reid

(Photo: Fr Dennis Gordon, FSSP, and His Eminence Cardinal Hoyos on Friday, May 30th 2008, in Lincoln, Nebraska at the Cathedral of the Risen Christ following ordination of four priests for the Priestly Fraternity of Saint Peter.)

Saturday, September 27, 2008

"Let your yes mean 'yes' "

Twenty-sixth Sunday in Ordinary Time

A superficial faith says "Lord, Lord", as if to promise love, but goes no further.

The faith that leads to salvation, however, gives the sincere gift of self in doing the will of our heavenly Father.

The Son shows us this self-donation perfectly on the Cross and thus leads through the abyss of death to Life Eternal.

We must strive to be like the first son in the parable inasmuch as he said 'yes' though he did not follow through in his actions. We must also repent as did the second son who, though he said 'no' at first, later returned to the right way and assented to the Father's will.

Both a generous response to God's invitation and a serious commitment to living the Gospel are necessary for the authentic disciple of Christ. And when we fall, our salvation is accepting the Father's mercy in our sorrow for sin.

Meeting Christ in the Liturgy offers a reflection for the Twenty-sixth Sunday in Ordinary Time.

(Art: Pompeo Batoni, Return of the Prodigal Son.)

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Roma Locuta Est, Causa Finita Est

No doubt the reason many of our Catholics receive communion irreverently, dress inappropriately and chew gum at Mass, talk in church, skip Sunday Mass for trivial reasons and a long list of other maladies is because of the poor example and teaching for forty years or more in the breakdown following upon Vatican II.

But the time is now over for tolerating these abuses. Priests must now use all the tools at their disposal to reclaim the sacred, which is the great project of the pontificate of our Holy Father Benedict XVI. The unique identity of the Church is as the Spouse of Christ founded by the Lord and given life by the Holy Spirit. The Church is the Lord’s Body on earth whose greatest task is to worship God. The liturgy is the apex of the Church’s work and the greatest manifestation of her identity. There can be no limit to the worship that is due to the all-holy, all-powerful everlasting God, therefore liturgy can never be too beautiful for God.

The first tool in the great project of reclaiming the sacred, placed by our Holy Father himself into the hands of all priests and bishops, is Summorum Pontificum. Whether or not a priest chooses himself to offer the Extraordinary Form, or Usus Antiquior, of holy Mass, a study of the immemorial liturgy will aid him in understanding how the ordinary form can and must be offered. Whether or not a pastor is himself attached to the ancient rite, he is called in obedience to support free and unfettered access to this liturgy for all his people and priests.

During his apostolic visit to France, just completed 15 September, our Holy Father addressed the French Cardinals and bishops, calling them to implement Summorum Pontificum “within reasonable time”:

“Liturgical worship is the supreme expression of priestly and episcopal life, and also of catechetical teaching. Your mission of sanctification of the faithful people, dear Brothers, is indispensable for the growth of the Church. I was prompted to detail, in the Motu proprio Summorum Pontificum, the conditions for the accomplishment of this mission, in that which relates to the possibility of using both the missal of Blessed John XXIII (1962) and that of Pope Paul VI (1970). The fruits of these new dispositions have already seen [the light of] day, and I hope that the indispensable pacification of the spirits is being accomplished, thank God.

“I comprehend your difficulties, but I do not doubt that you will be able to reach, within reasonable time, solutions which are satisfactory to all, so that the seamless robe of Christ is not torn anymore. No one is excessive within the Church. Everyone, without exception, must be able to feel at home, and never rejected. God, who loves all men and wills that no one be lost, entrusts us with this mission of Pastors, making us Shepherds of His sheep. We can only give Him thanks for the honor and the confidence He places upon us. Let us endeavor to always be servants of unity.”

Why is it necessary for the Holy Father to remind that his letter, already over a year old, was to be implemented beginning a year ago as of 14 September? As shepherds of the flock, the bishops are “pontiffs”, or bridge-builders, between the Lord and His people. The great charge and duty of a shepherd is to preserve, nurture and defend the flock: “Everyone, without exception, must be able to feel at home, and never rejected”. The Holy Father has now decided there is more than one lane of liturgical traffic on the bridge and there is no further discussion to be had on the subject. Has disobedience within the Church reached a new and horrifying high tide?

Perhaps a refresher as to the Church’s teaching on just who the Pope of Rome is might be helpful:

“Canon 331 The bishop of the Roman Church, in whom continues the office given by the Lord uniquely to Peter, the first of the Apostles, and to be transmitted to his successors, is the head of the college of bishops, the Vicar of Christ, and the pastor of the universal Church on earth. By virtue of his office he possesses supreme, full, immediate, and universal ordinary power in the Church, which he is always able to exercise freely.

“Canon 333 §1. By virtue of his office, the Roman Pontiff not only possesses power offer the universal Church but also obtains the primacy of ordinary power over all particular churches and groups of them. Moreover, this primacy strengthens and protects the proper, ordinary, and immediate power which bishops possess in the particular churches entrusted to their care.

“§2. In fulfilling the office of supreme pastor of the Church, the Roman Pontiff is always joined in communion with the other bishops and with the universal Church. He nevertheless has the right, according to the needs of the Church, to determine the manner, whether personal or collegial, of exercising this office.”

Restoring the sacred in our churches and in our liturgies will likewise restore the sacred in our lives. The Roman Pontiff in these days is using his power of the keys, “supreme, full, immediate, and universal ordinary power” to serve our salvation by calling us to a more reverent and worthy worship of God, particularly in the holy Mass. Let us pray that, under the patronage of the Archangel Michael, the malevolent spirit of insubordination and disobedience in the Church will be vanquished. Let us beg that, in the Holy Spirit, a submission of intellect and will will be restored on the part of all to the Pope’s authority granted by no less Christ Himself, the One with the “name that is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bend, of those in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.” (Phil 2.)

Roma has spoken, the case is closed.

(Photo Forest Murmurs.)

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

"Provide me only with the food I need"

Every word of God is tested;
he is a shield to those who take refuge in him.

Add nothing to his words,
lest he reprove you, and you will be exposed as a deceiver.

Two things I ask of you,
deny them not to me before I die:

Put falsehood and lying far from me,
give me neither poverty nor riches;
provide me only with the food I need;

Lest, being full, I deny you,
saying, “Who is the LORD?”

Or, being in want, I steal,
and profane the name of my God.
-- Prv 30:5-9

(Photo by author: Radiant flora blossom forth their final days in the reflected glory of the waning warmth of September sunlight while fauna benefit, busy bees working quickly to store up food for the winter. Blessed Fall to all our readers.)

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

"Love is the first ingredient in the relief of suffering"

Our Holy Father Benedict teaches, "No suffering, no love".

What the world considers foolishness, the followers of Christ call wisdom. Saint Pio lived the wisdom of suffering and lived the message of Christ's love.

"The life of a Christian is nothing but a perpetual struggle against self; there is no flowering of the soul to the beauty of its perfection except at the price of pain."

-- San Pio

From Zenit, the Secret Story of Padre Pio's Stigmata.

View Saint Padre Pio's last holy Mass

Thousands March in Vietnam

09/22/2008 13:30
Thugs attack Thai Ha Catholics as police look on

by J.B. An Dang

Goon squad goes into action under the indifferent eye of the police, ransacking, destroying an outdoor altar, and sullying a statue of Our Lady. Hanoi authorities have the archbishop’s residence surrounded, pledging to “severely punish” the archbishop, guilty among other things of trying to exercise his rights that are recognised under law.

Photo: Priests and thousands of faithful march to protest government oppression in Hanoi. Church property has been sized and buildings are being demolished, including the apostolic nunciature.

Full story AsiaNews

Monday, September 22, 2008

The power of sin does NOT "prevail"

Dear readers,

There is a very popular song, "Glory and Praise to our God", that is widely used in our churches and which includes the line: "though the power of sin prevails our God is there to save". I do not believe that this phrase accurately reflects our Faith.

Recently I celebrated a Mass at which this was the opening song. As I began my remarks for the opening rites and the Confiteor I felt compelled to tell the people that "the power of sin does NOT prevail but, rather, it is the power of God to forgive sin which prevails in the heavens, on the earth and under the earth".

The lure or temptation to sin might be described as "persisting" or "perennial" but to say that something finite, such as human sins, can "prevail" over the infinite Being who is God and over His infinite mercy in Christ our Savior, strikes me as erroneous.

To continue to use such a text in our liturgies is inimical to the faith of our worshipping people, is it not?

You can listen to the song here .

What do you think?

Peace be with you,

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Benedict XVI : appeal and prayer for hurricane victims

21/09/2008 12:29

The Pope: an appeal for the victims of the hurricanes in the Caribbean and to the leaders of the world to defeat poverty. Prior to the Angelus Benedict XVI commented on the gospel of the day and underlined the happiness of being "workers in the vineyard of the Lord". He cited Saint Matthew and Saint Paul.

Castel Gandolfo (AsiaNews) – Benedict XVI has launched an appeal and a prayer for the victims of the hurricanes in the Caribbean so that "help will quickly reach the areas most greatly damaged." After the Angelus prayer today he also directed an invitation to world leaders that they may dedicate themselves to "eradicate the extreme poverty, hunger, ignorance and the scourge of pandemics that cause suffering for the most vulnerable" on the occasion of the 25th gathering of the UN Assembly 25 September.

Recollecting the disasters brought by hurricanes Fay, Gustav, Hanna and Ike to the peoples of Haiti, Cuba, the Dominican Republic and Texas, he said "I desire to again assure to all these dear populations my special remembrance in prayer. I hope, also, that help will quickly reach the most greatly damaged areas. The Lord desires that, at least in these circumstances, solidarity and fraternity prevail over every other motive."

Full report: Asia News .


21/09/2008 12:29

Papa: appelli per le vittime dei cicloni nei Carabi e ai leader mondiali per sconfiggere la povertà
Prima dell’Angelus Benedetto XVI commenta il vangelo del giorno e sottolinea la felicità nell’essere “operai nella vigna del Signore”. E cita san Matteo, san Paolo e se stesso.

Castel Gandolfo (AsiaNews) – Benedetto XVI ha lanciato un appello e una preghiera per le vittime dei cicloni nei Caraibi perché “giungano prontamente i soccorsi nelle zone maggiormente danneggiate”. Dopo la preghiera dell’Angelus di oggi egli ha anche rivolto un invito ai leader mondiali perché si applichino a “sradicare la povertà estrema, la fame, l’ignoranza e il flagello delle pandemie, che colpiscono soprattutto i più vulnerabili”, in occasione dell’Assemblea dell’Onu il 25 settembre prossimo.

Ricordando i disastri portati dai cicloni Fay, Gustav , Hanna e Ike ai popoli di Haiti, Cuba, Repubblica Dominicana e Texas (Usa), egli ha detto “Vorrei nuovamente assicurare a tutte quelle care popolazioni il mio speciale ricordo nella preghiera. Auspico, inoltre, che giungano prontamente i soccorsi nelle zone maggiormente danneggiate. Voglia il Signore che, almeno in queste circostanze, solidarietà e fraternità prevalgano su ogni altra ragione”.

L’invito ai leader mondiali ad impegnarsi contro la povertà, avviene qualche giorno prima della 63.ma sessione dell’Assemblea Generale dell’ONU, il prossimo, 25 settembre a New York. L’incontro dovrebbe verificare il compimento degli obiettivi stabiliti nella Dichiarazione del Millennio, l’8 settembre 2000. Rivolgendosi ai “leaders di tutti i Paesi del mondo”, il pontefice ha chiesto che “si prendano e si applichino con coraggio le misure necessarie per sradicare la povertà estrema, la fame, l’ignoranza e il flagello delle pandemie, che colpiscono soprattutto i più vulnerabili. Un tale impegno, pur esigendo in questi momenti di difficoltà economiche mondiali particolari sacrifici, non mancherà di produrre importanti benefici sia per lo sviluppo delle Nazioni che hanno bisogno di aiuto dall’estero sia per la pace e il benessere dell’intero pianeta”.

La riflessione prima della preghiera mariana, nel cortile di Castel Gandolfo, era dedicata al commento del vangelo della domenica di oggi, XXV durante l’anno, che presenta “la parabola del padrone della vigna che a diverse ore del giorno chiama operai a lavorare nella sua vigna” (Mt 20,1-16a).

“Un primo messaggio di questa parabola – ha spiegato il papa - sta nel fatto stesso che il padrone non tollera, per così dire, la disoccupazione: vuole che tutti siano impegnati nella sua vigna. E in realtà l’essere chiamati è già la prima ricompensa: poter lavorare nella vigna del Signore, mettersi al suo servizio, collaborare alla sua opera, costituisce di per sé un premio inestimabile, che ripaga di ogni fatica. Ma lo capisce solo chi ama il Signore e il suo Regno; chi invece lavora unicamente per la paga non si accorgerà mai del valore di questo inestimabile tesoro”.

Benedetto XVI elenca fra gli “operai della vigna” san Matteo, di cui oggi è la festa liturgica: “Prima che Gesù lo chiamasse – ha detto il pontefice - faceva di mestiere il pubblicano e perciò era considerato pubblico peccatore, escluso dalla ‘vigna del Signore’. Ma tutto cambia quando Gesù, passando accanto al suo banco delle imposte, lo guarda e gli dice: ‘Seguimi’. Matteo si alzò e lo seguì. Da pubblicano diventò immediatamente discepolo di Cristo. Da ‘ultimo’ si trovò ‘primo’, grazie alla logica di Dio, che – per nostra fortuna! – è diversa da quella del mondo”.

Un altro “operaio” è san Paolo: “Anche san Paolo, del quale stiamo celebrando un particolare Anno giubilare, ha sperimentato la gioia di sentirsi chiamato dal Signore a lavorare nella sua vigna. E quanto lavoro ha compiuto! Ma, come egli stesso confessa, è stata la grazia di Dio a operare in lui, quella grazia che da persecutore della Chiesa lo trasformò in apostolo delle genti. Tanto da fargli dire: ‘Per me vivere è Cristo e il morire un guadagno’. Subito però aggiunge: ‘Ma se il vivere nel corpo significa lavorare con frutto, non so davvero che cosa debba scegliere’ (Fil 1,21-22). Paolo ha compreso bene che operare per il Signore è già su questa terra una ricompensa”.

Benedetto XVI non dimentica se stesso e ricorda che proprio alla messa del giorno della sua elezione, in san Pietro, “mi venne spontaneo presentarmi come un operaio della vigna del Signore”.

Alla fine del raduno il papa ha salutato i pellegrini in diverse lingue. I gruppi presenti lo hanno intrattenuto con canti in tedesco, spagnolo, italiano.

(Photo: Benedict XVI in Paris by daylife.com.)

Hanoi Archbishop protests

(AsiaNews) – Mgr Joseph Ngô Quang Kiệt, archbishop of Hanoi, has written a letter of protest to the president and to the prime minister of Vietnam, slamming today’s dawn invasion and destruction by police of the buildings of the former nunciature (see In Hanoi, stance of repression against Catholics seems to have won, 19 September 2008, AsiaNews).

In the letter the prelate reminds his interlocutors that in the past the government had promised to return the land to the diocese (a promise also made to the Vatican), demanding that all activities at the work site be stopped.

Equally he slams the violence and the disinformation campaign that is being carried out against the Church.

The old nunciature, which was once slated to become a bar and night club, is now expected to be turned into a public park, this according to unofficial sources.

Here is the full text of the letter sent by the archbishop of Hanoi:

Archbishop's Office of Hanoi

Hanoi, 19 September 2008

Urgent protest letter

To: Mr. Nguyễn Minh Triết, President of Social Republic of Vietnam

Mr. Nguyễn Tấn Dũng, Prime Minister of Socialist Republic of Vietnam Cc: The Committee for Religious Affairs

The People’s Committee of Hanoi City

The Department of Public Safety of Hanoi City

Relevant agencies

On September 19, 2008 morning, at the piece of land of the nunciature at 42 Pho Nha Chung, which belongs to the Archbishop's Office of Hanoi, a great mass of police and security forces, militiamen, and police dogs has besieged Hanoi archbishop residence and blocked Nha Chung street. Another team in huge numbers has demolished the fence, some other construction; and digged out the lawn in the front door of our nunciature. Archbishop's Office of Hanoi has repeatedly requested the building and its land to be returned to the Church but so far our aspiration has not been met. All in a sudden, on September 18 evening and September 19 morning, state television reported the demolition plan with distortional information to prepare public opinion for this illegal deed. This development is going against the policy of dialogue that the government and the Archbishop's office are conducting. This act is a deed that smears the legitimate aspiration of the Hanoi Catholic community, ridicules the law, and disrespects the Catholic Church in Vietnam. It is also an act of trembling morality, and mocking society’s conscience. The discuss on the ownership of the nunciature is still on the way but the authorities of Hanoi City and Hoàn Kiếm district have employed their armed forces to back the destruction of our property. Hence, Archbishop's Office of Hanoi strongly protests and requests 1) The government to stop besieging Hanoi archbishop residence, and end the demolition our property. 2) The government to restore the property to its original status, and return it to us so that it can be used for religious and community welfare purposes. 3) Relevant agencies and Hanoi City must accept responsibilities for all potential consequences born of this property appropriation. We have our rights to use all of our capabilities to protect our property. 4) The President, the Prime Minister of Social Republic of Vietnam, the authorities of Hanoi City, and relevant agencies to immediate interfere to put an end for this act.

+ Archbishop of Hanoi Joseph Ngô Quang Kiệt (signed and sealed)

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Hanoi Catholics Under Siege

Catholics and their supporters gather for a rally in front of the old Vatican Embassy in Hanoi, Vietnam, Friday, Sept. 19, 2008, to ask for the return of the old embassy site, one of many church properties taken over by the government after 1954. (AP Photo/Chitose Suzuki)

The old Vatican embassy, one of many church properties taken over by the government since 1954, is seen in Hanoi, Vietnam, Friday, Sept. 19, 2008. Catholics and their supporters gather for a rally to ask for the return of church land Friday. (AP Photo/Chitose Suzuki)

10:30 pm EST - A Vietnamese priest who is monitoring the news from Hanoi tells me that the former Vatican embassy has been bulldozed with damage sustained by neighboring structure.

"Many are called"

"...few are chosen."

Why "few'? Many refuse the friendship freely offered by God by rejecting the sacredness of every human life, voting for the economy or the environment in preference to doing all in their power to save human lives, especially the most vulnerable and most innocent, in the womb.

Many refuse the friendship and love of God by attacking or disrespecting the sacred: the Holy Name of God, the Holy Presence of God in the Eucharist, the holy people of God the Church, the holy day of God on Sunday.

Few there are who with heroic virtue place their friendship with God above all the world's treasures.

Few are chosen.

Meeting Christ in the Liturgy offers a reflection for the Twenty-Fifth Sunday in Ordinary Time

(Photo of pilgrims queuing to enter Saint Pater's Basilica for the sacred liturgy by SaintPeter'sBasilica.org)

Friday, September 19, 2008

San Gennaro 'miracle' recurs

Blood of 3rd- century martyr liquefies on schedule

(ANSA) - Naples, September 19 -
The Miracle of San Gennaro was repeated on Wednesday when the blood of this city's patron saint liquefied at 9.30am.

The event was announced to the thousands packing the cathedral and square outside, who cheered and let off firecrackers.

A visibly moved Cardinal Crescenzio Sepe, the Archbishop of Naples, held up a phial containing the blood of the 3rd-century saint while a traditional white handkerchief was waved.

Cardinal Sepe said that, unusually, the blood was already in liquid form when it was taken out of the strongbox where it is stored.

But the liquefaction had taken place around the time it usually does, he said.

Aside from the faithful, leading local politicians attended the ceremony which was also broadcast live by a host of national and international TV networks.

Naples Mayor Rosa Russo Jervolino told reporters that Naples, which has hit headlines worldwide with a trash crisis that has just been solved, ''must not die but must continue to bloom again and again''.

She said she had felt ''a very strong emotion'' when the case containing the saint's blood was opened.

The miracle takes place on the anniversary of the martyrdom of San Gennaro (St.Januarius) in September 305 AD.

The dried blood of the saint is preserved in two glass phials and traditionally liquefies three times a year, the Church says thanks to the devotion and prayers of the faithful.

Aside from the anniversary of the saint's beheading, the miracle also takes place on December 16 to commemorate the 1631 eruption of Mt. Vesuvius, believed to have been halted by the saint's intervention, and again on the Saturday before the first Sunday in May.

On this occasion, there is a procession through the city's streets to recall the many times the relics have been moved over the centuries.

The liquefaction process sometimes takes hours, even days, and on occasions fails to happen at all.


For the faithful and superstitious, the ritual's success is a good omen for the city while its failure is a sign of impending disaster.

In fact, disaster has struck on at least five occasions when the blood failed to liquefy, including in 1527 when tens of thousands of people died from the plague and in 1980 when 3,000 people were killed in an earthquake which devastated much of southern Italy.

The phials will remain on view in the cathedral for eight days before being returned to a vault in the chapel of the cathedral's treasury.

The first historical reference to the liquefaction of the martyr's blood is dated 1389.

Although now a headline-making saint, little is known about San Gennaro except that he was bishop of Benevento to the south of Naples and was martyred during the persecution of Christians spearheaded by the Roman Emperor Diocletian.

The bishop was beheaded for refusing to bow down to his 'pagan' persecutors.

According to legend, his body and head, still dripping blood, were gathered up by an old man and taken to a safe place while a local woman filled a phial with his spilt blood.

A group of Italian scientists has analysed the contents of the phials, establishing that they do contain blood, but have been unable to explain the phenomenon.

Some sceptics believe it is due to the shaking of the containers or the penetration of warmth from the holder's hands.

(Photo of Pompeii and Vesuvius by Leanne Monaco. Photo of Naples Cathedral by ANSA.)

"Discarding beauty"? A Priest Reflects

Dear Readers,

The following is the"true confession" of a priest: before he became a priest, it was the "most beautiful thing this side of heaven", the immemorial holy Mass which we now call the "Extraordinary Form" of the Roman Rite, which drew him to the altar of God and ordination as a priest.
What is haunting for me, and may also be for you, is to wonder how many vocations to the priesthood, how many conversions from error and false creeds, how many fallen-away Catholics may have been saved from their way had this very unnecessary tragedy been averted through an authentic, truly "Catholic", interpretation of the Second Vatican Council.

The priest writes:

"Many years ago, back in College (1981) I took a girl-friend to see a movie called 'True Confessions".

"It was about an ambitious priest who discovered what it really meant to be a priest.

"Anyway, the opening scene was of a solemn high nuptial mass. I was just a college kid and had never seen what the old mass looked like. I remember being amazed at the beauty of the Mass as displayed in the movie and wondered how and why the Church had ever discarded something so beautiful. I remember being angry that I had been deprived of my birthright. Somehow, also, that night the seeds of my own vocation were nurtured and I longed to see the day when this beautiful form of the mass would one day shine forth again. Here is an excerpt from that movie, the solemn high nuptial mass scene I saw. Enjoy this beautiful clip:


(The Movie, “True Confessions” can be purchased at Amazon.)

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Vocations worth sacrifice on the part of some for the good of all?

Dear readers,
Please consider visiting The Liguori Society blog and taking part in our poll. Respondents are asked to agree or disagree with the statement:

"Priestly vocations are worth the effort to restore the noble tradition of altar boys."

Thank you,

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Holy Trinity Church in Gainesville, Virginia

The funeral Mass for Thomas Vander Woude, RIP, was held on Monday, 15 September, the feast of Our Lady of Sorrows, at the Church of the Holy Trinity in Gainesville, Virginia, a stunning achievement for the pastor, Father Francis Peffley, and his people. The church was filled to overflowing with thousands of mourners, over 70 priests and the bishop of Arlington. The altar boys numbered at least 100, all vested in red and black cassocks with surplice.

The pattern of threes, number symbolic of the Holy Trinity, is repeated throughout the structure, from the facade with portico of three arches faced in brick and trimmed in gray stone to the fleur-de-lis arches that span the interior ceiling. The exterior also sports flying buttresses.

Holy Trinity will soon begin the weekly offering of the Extraordinary Form, or Usus Antiquior, of the Holy Mass.


For information and more photos visit the Holy Trinity Catholic Church website.

(Photos are by Jordan Koepke.)

Monday, September 15, 2008

"Tepid" response to the pope? No thank you to "applause meter".

La Croix.com reports that the bishops responded to the Holy Father's address with "tepid" applause during his apostolic journey to France. The Church does not judge teachers and their teaching by use of the "applause meter".

Benedict reminded his brothers in the episcopacy that they serve not their own preferences; the bishop is a "pontifex", or bridgebuilder, between Christ and His people, and whose role is one of guarding, supporting and nourishing free and unfettered access to the life of grace, the source of hope. Good bishops build good, wide bridges with lanes for all traffic: " Everyone, without exception, must be able to feel at home, and never rejected".

No matter what judgment the world might make of a superficiality like the "applause meter", Benedict is the Successor of Peter, who "strengthens the brethren", and the proper response of faith is one of submission in obedience born of love of the Lord for the sake of the Church.

Roma locuta est, causa finita est. Rome has spoken, the case is closed.

"I comprehend your difficulties, but I do not doubt that you will be able to reach, within reasonable time, solutions which are satisfactory to all, so that the seamless robe of Christ is not torn anymore. No one is excessive within the Church. Everyone, without exception, must be able to feel at home, and never rejected. God, who loves all men and wills that no one be lost, entrusts us with this mission of Pastors, making us Shepherds of His sheep. We can only give Him thanks for the honor and the confidence He places upon us. Let us endeavor to always be servants of unity."
Benedict XVI
Meeting with the Cardinals and Bishops of France,
Hémicycle «Saint Bernadette»,
September 14, 2008

"Merci beau coups" to rorate-caeli.blogspot.com.

(Photo from Getty Images by AFP/Getty Images.)

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Liturgy the "supreme expression of priestly life"

"Liturgical worship is the supreme expression of priestly and episcopal life, and also of catechetical teaching. Your mission of sanctification of the faithful people, dear Brothers, is indispensable for the growth of the Church. I was prompted to detail, in the Motu proprio Summorum Pontificum, the conditions for the accomplishment of this mission, in that which relates to the possibility of using both the missal of Blessed John XXIII (1962) and that of Pope Paul VI (1970). The fruits of these new dispositions have already seen [the light of] day, and I hope that the indispensable pacification of the spirits is being accomplished, thank God."

Pope Benedict to the Bishops of France, 14 September 2008

Benedict: "Liturgy...can never be too beautiful for God""

Liturgy was also a point of reflection for Benedict XVI as he remarked on the Cathedral of Notre Dame. “Your cathedral is a living hymn of stone and light in praise of that act, unique in the annals of human history: the eternal Word of God entering our history in the fullness of time to redeem us by his self-offering in the sacrifice of the Cross.”

“Our earthly liturgies, entirely ordered to the celebration of this unique act within history, will never fully express its infinite meaning. Certainly, the beauty of our celebrations can never be sufficiently cultivated, fostered and refined, for nothing can be too beautiful for God, Who is Himself infinite Beauty. Yet our earthly liturgies will never be more than a pale reflection of the liturgy celebrated in the Jerusalem on high, the goal of our pilgrimage on earth. May our own celebrations nonetheless resemble that liturgy as closely as possible and grant us a foretaste of it!"

-- His Holiness Benedict XVI to priests at Cathedral of Notre Dame, Paris, on September 13, 2008.

(Photo: Grotto and Basilica Church at Lourdes, CNA.)

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Benedict at Lourdes: "it is enough to love”

At Lourdes where Our Lady gave "pride of place to the sick, the poor and the little ones, we are invited to discover the simplicity of our vocation: it is enough to love".

Lourdes is a "place of light because it is a place of communion, hope and conversion."

Pope Benedict a pilgrim at the spring in the grotto of Massabielle where the Blessed Virgin Mary said to Saint Bernadette: "I cannot promise you happiness in this life, only in the next."

Benedict to 300K in Paris: "Shun the worship of idols"

"...with Christ, flee from the idols that alienate man."

With a complete overturning of the Marxist theory on religion as the "opium of the people", and of Enlightenment rationalism, on the uselessness of God in life, Benedict XVI today claimed that Christ, the Eucharist, the Mass, help man to free himself from the "idols" that, as in ancient paganism, "constituted a powerful source of alienation and diverted man from his true destiny". And precisely in order to free man from the prison of the idols, the pope invited the young people to follow the call to the priestly and religious vocation.

Story Asia News.

"...not to be serve but to serve"...

..and to give His life as a ransom for many."

Meeting Christ in the Liturgy offers a reflection for the Feast of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross.

(Photo: The Holy Cross as the Tree of Life, Church of San Clemente, Rome. Detail of apse mosaic, 12th century.)

Extraordinary Form Mass 26 September in Upper Marlboro, MD

Fr. Mark White will be celebrating an Extraordinary Form (Traditional Latin) Mass on Friday, September 26, 2008 at 7:00 PM at the Church of Saint Mary of the Assumption in Upper Marlboro, Md.

Bishops draw from CCC to alleviate confusion in US Adult Catechism

For more info visit What Do Catholics Really Believe?

Friday, September 12, 2008

Join World Rosary October 4 and help set record

Rosary-Prayers Aiming to Break Record

ROME, SEPT. 11, 2008 (Zenit.org).-

The founder of the Worldwide Rosary activity is ready to break a record and unite the largest group ever in praying the rosary.

The Worldwide Rosary, scheduled for Oct. 4, the first Saturday of October, is in its eighth year. The first Worldwide Rosary, held in 1996, was offered as a gift to Pope John Paul II for the 50th anniversary of his priesthood.

Twenty countries participated, and in Mexico, home of the founder, the rosary was prayed in 2,600 locations. Since then, it has enjoyed growth, with 140 countries participating in 2000.
Guillermo Estévez, the founder of the initiative, invites communities to organize a rosary on the first Saturday of October, "either as a mass event, in a stadium or church, in the family or with friends, in order to join many rosaries being organized worldwide."

Estévez urges groups that will organize these rosaries to seek the approval and support of their bishops or parish priests, and to advertise the initiative on the radio, television, the Internet and through the press.
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On the Net:
Worldwide Rosary: www.churchforum.org/rosario/ingles/

Thursday, September 11, 2008

"a pilgrim among pilgrims": Papa Benedict at Lourdes

"He has been a master catechist, drawing the Church back to its roots in the Bible and the Fathers who created Christian doctrine.

"He has also done both the world and the Church a great service by highlighting and analyzing the linked problems of faith-detached-from reason -- as in jihadism -- and a loss-of-faith-in-reason -- as in European, and especially French, post-modernism.

"Finally, the Pope has reminded the Church that it is most itself when it is celebrating the Eucharist, which must therefore be done with appropriate dignity."

-- George Weigel reflects on the major contributions of Pope Benedict XVI's pontificate to date as the pontiff prepares to journey to France 12-15 September.

(Photo: Papa Ratzinger blog.)

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Requiescat in pace Thomas Vander Woude

"Amen, amen I say to you, unless the grain of wheat falling into the ground die, Itself remaineth alone. But if it die, it bringeth forth much fruit. He that loveth his life shall lose it; and he that hateth his life in this world, keepeth it unto life eternal." John 12, 24-25

Catholic man, husband and father who died as he lived,
in the self-sacrificing love of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ
to whom be all glory and honor now and forever, world without end. Amen.

May his soul, and all the souls of the faithful departed, through the mercy of God rest in peace. Amen.

Photo and story The Washington Post.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Extraordinary Form Practicum Deepens Priestly Fraternity

At the Washington Archdiocese practicum on the Extraordinary Form of Holy Mass brother priests discovered a new source for deepening their common fraternity in their shared interest in learning how to offer this liturgy of beauty and noble dignity.

Monsignor Charles Pope offered his active support and encouragement to the mostly young group of priests as they prepare to offer solemn high Masses. EF Masses are currently offered at locations in the city of Washington and Maryland.

Fr. Victor Szczurek, O. Praem., of St. Michael's Abbey in Silverado, California, led the training attended by 15 priests of the Archdiocese.

Our Holy Father Pope Benedict's call for celebration of the EF of the Latin Rite in every parish is heeded by increasing numbers of priests who are seeking the training necessary to offer the Mass as these priests did today at Sacred Heart Catholic Church in LaPlata, Maryland.

Young and newly ordained priests are showing great interest in learning to celebrate the immemorial liturgy.

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Announcing US Navy Lieutenant Commander promotion selection

With thanks to Almighty God, family, the many faithful and friends all over the world, this blogger announces his selection for promotion to the rank of Navy Lieutenant Commander as released in a Naval message dated 5 September 2008. Thanks also to many loyal chaplain friends, colleagues and superiors through the years.

Let us pray that worldly pride and honors, wonderful though they be, never take priority over our first duty to love, worship and honor our God and Savior Jesus Christ that His work of the salvation of the world in and through His universal Church remain our highest privilege and duty.

We can do no better than our sovereign pontiff Benedict XVI who, when elected successor to Peter, called himself a "humble worker in the vineyard of the Lord". To follow his eminent example and to be such a servant reflects authentic Divine Love and is the highest of honors, bestowed by God, to which all of us should aspire. To Christ be glory and honor now and forever, Amen.

(Above, insignia of US Navy Christian Chaplains. Below, insignia of US Navy Lieutenant Commander.)

Friday, September 5, 2008

"Whoever turns a sinner from the error of his way"

A priest friend and I were discussing the Gospel for this coming Sunday and how we might preach about it and I told him that I would post my current column in this week's issue of The Wanderer. Here it is:

Fraternal correction, excommunication and words that "hurt"

I have been doing some homework, or research, lately on a somewhat unpleasant topic and, at the same, reflecting on “ words that hurt.” There are times indeed when, out of love, we must make a fraternal correction, speak the truth in charity and, without judgment, call a sinner back to the true way of faith in the universal Church of Jesus Christ which is the Catholic Church. But there are other times when words are used that are unneces­sarily strong or condemning and gentler and more inviting language could and should be used.

In light of a certain Catholic politician lately posing in a television interview as a theologian and doing a very bad imitation of such, it is good to refresh our memories in regard to the fact that procuring an abortion does result in latae senten­tiae excommunication. This means that one removes oneself from communion with Christ and the universal Church by the act of committing a particular sin. Archbishop Charles Chaput, OFM Cap., of Denver has also recently taught that not only is abortion a moral evil, but also morally evil are the evasions used to justify abortion. Our Catholic bishops have issued a state­ment clarifying the fact that the Church has been clear since the first century that the intentional tak­ing of the life of the child in the womb is evil. They have referred us to the relevant paragraph in the Catechism of the Catholic Church:

“Since the first century the Church has affirmed the moral evil of every procured abortion. This teaching has not changed and remains unchange­able. Direct abortion, that is to say, abortion willed either as an end or a means, is gravely contrary to the moral law” (CCC, n. 2271)

In the Church, and in the world, there is talk sometimes of “excommunication.” People will say that the Church excommunicated “so and so” or that a family member heard someone say someone was excommunicated. Catholics, both priests and lay faithful, have not always used the word appropriately, as the Church uses it.

The work of the Church is the salvation of souls. Judgment is for God alone. Even when the Church uses the word “excommunication,” and she does so only in seven possible instances as ennumerated in can­ons 1364-1399 of the Code of Canon Law, it is done not to judge but for medicinal reasons. That is, to call a believer back to the way of salvation in the Lord Jesus through the Church He founded, the “place of faith” in the world. The truth offered in love is the highest service one person can offer to anoth­er. Charity is the love that seeks above all the salva­tion of the other as well as of self.

All of us are sinners, and all of us intend, say, or do things that damage or sunder our relationship with Christ and His Church, especially in the case of mortal sin. These damage our communion with Christ and His Church but are not necessarily al­ways with the result of excommunication.

The seven instances when the Church uses the word excommunication are (and these are de­scribed briefly due to space limitations): 1) Using violent force against the Pope, 2) com­mitting a sacrilege such as throwing away a con­secrated Host, 3) absolving a person with whom one has committed a sin against the Sixth Com­mandment, 4) consecrating a bishop without a pontifical mandate, 5) directly violating the seal of Confession, 6) procuring an abortion, and 7) for­mal apostasy, heresy, or schism.

Only in these seven possible situations does the Church use the word “excommunication” to de­scribe the status of a believer in reference to his relationship with the Lord and His Body the Church. In these cases what has been done is so serious that the whole Church makes fraternal correction to call the sinner from the error of his way and back to the sheepfold of the Lord. In some cases the Bishop may speak on behalf of the Church in what is called a latae ferendae excommunication.

The lay faithful serve as a leaven in the world when they dedicate them­selves to studying the faith with the help of the authentic sources such as Scripture and the Catechism. Thus they are capable of reaching out to others in confidence with the truth in the New Evan­gelization. If one soul is reached with the truth of Christ, who alone can set us all free to love and serve Him in this life and be happy forever with Him in the next, this effort will be of infinite worth.

"...remember this: Whoever turns a sinner from the error of his way will save him from death and cover over a multitude of sins." James 5:20

Email: meetingchristintheliturgy AT gmail DOT com

(Art: The Parable of the Blind, Peter Bruegel the Elder.)

NOT Meeting Christ in the Liturgy

The "womanpriest" (sic) hydra raises its ugly head in the Archdiocese of Washington.

News has come that the Catholic Worker House in the capital city plans to host a "faux" liturgy by excommunicated women who claim to have attempted to receive ordination through apostolic succession.

As the Catechism of the Catholic Church teaches, only men may be ordained to the ministerial priesthood.

There is another tragedy here besides the schism into which Catholics place themselves by participating in so-called liturgies celebrated by so-called "ordained" women or the excommunication into which Catholics place themselves by conferring or accepting invalid and illicit ordination: the heinous manner in which Dorothy Day's name is being dragged in the mire of disobedience and scandal.

Prayer For The Canonization of Servant of God Dorothy Day

Merciful God, you called your servant
Dorothy Day to show us the face of
Jesus in the poor and forsaken.
By constant practice of the works of mercy,
she embraced poverty and witnessed
steadfastly to justice and peace.
Count her among your saints
and lead us all to become friends of
the poor ones of the earth,
and to recognize you in them.
We ask this through your Son
Jesus Christ, bringer of good news
to the poor. Amen

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Say no more

Some say that the beautiful gift of the marital act can be an expression of love outside of the life-long, exclusive bond between one man-husband and one woman-wife open to new life.

Some say the marital act can be an expression of love when stolen under the shameful cloak of contraception.

Some say the fruit of God's love in the gift of a child through marital love is punishment.

Some should "say no more".

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

"Describe spiritual realities in spiritual terms"

"We have not received the spirit of the world
but the Spirit who is from God,
so that we may understand the things freely given us by God.
And we speak about them not with words taught by human wisdom,
but with words taught by the Spirit,
describing spiritual realities in spiritual terms."
- 1 Corinthians

Saint Paul therefore teaches us that we must describe the contents of the chalice after the consecration as the Precious Blood of the Lord, because the substance is no longer wine but the Blood of Christ.
We must describe the Eucharist no longer as bread after the consecration but only the Body of Christ, "describing spiritual realities in spiritual terms."

(Photo: Holy Mass in the extraordinary form at Kenrick-Glennon Seminary, courtesy of wdtprs.com)

Monday, September 1, 2008

Blessed Labor Day

God our Creator, it is your will that man accept the duty of work. May our every effort in this life begin with your inspiration and continue with your saving help. In your kindness may the tasks with you bless us bring us spiritual growth and help to extend the kingdom of Christ which will never end.

Give success to the work of our hands.

We ask this through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

Saint Joseph the worker, pray for us.

(Art: Joseph the Carpenter, Georges de La Tour)