Saturday, February 28, 2009

Bible Study: Witnessing on John 6:35ff

I attended the men's Bible Study at the Princeton Alliance Church near Queenship of Mary this past Thursday night. I got an email (along with the other regulars) out of the blue from the leader, Barry, which said "We'll kick off this week with Chapter 6, verse 35." No mention of the book of the Bible, but I'm a Catholic, so I know my Scriptures!

What other 6:35 would you start a Bible Study session with? John 6:35. The "Bread of Heaven" discourse! At a non-denominational Bible Study! As a Catholic, I felt compelled to go.

We didn't get to the verses about eating and drinking the Body and Blood of Jesus Christ until the very end of the evening, because there was much more discussion (and disagreement) over some of the verses before those. "All that the Father gives me will come to me; and him who comes to me I will not cast out. ... No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him; and I will raise him up at the last day." (John 6:37, 44) There was some discussion about predestination, why some people answer the call and others don't, whether God calls everyone or only some people.

My contribution to the discussion was to offer that God's desire that all men be saved (cf. 1 Timothy 2:4; 2 Peter 3:9) is distinct from His sovereign will. I argued that we have free will in this way: 1) sin is a transgression against God, thus 2) sin is a transgression against the will of God, so 3) God cannot command or will a person to sin because He would be willing against His will, so 4) our choice to sin is determined by our free will. God is not the author of sin, even though He is the author of those who sin.

It would be utterly contrary to His nature for God to will someone to not do His will. That's a paradox, plain and simple: in disobeying God, that man would be obeying God! Another way to come to the same conclusion comes from the words of Christ: "Not every one who says to me, 'Lord, Lord,' shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of my Father who is in heaven." (Matthew 7:21) If we have no free will, then that means we are all doing simply what God pre-ordained us to do: we are all doing God's will for us. That means all of us shall enter the kingdom of Heaven. That's absurd and is refuted soundly by Scripture. Thus, we have free will.

And again, we pray "Thy will be done". Why would we bother praying that if it's already being done?

God knows our free will decisions because He is God. He is outside of time, and so He knows what I'm doing before I go to bed, not because He commanded or willed it, but because He has already seen it by virtue of his omniscience.

With that out of the way, we finally moved onto John 6:53-58. I suggested that I was in the minority in my interpretation of these verses because I'm Catholic. Barry (who is such a gentle and kind man, and is newly engaged, so pray for him and his fiancée) asked me to give that Catholic interpretation.

So I did. I defended the Catholic teaching on the Eucharist several ways. I defended drinking Christ's blood against the commandment not to consume the blood of animals. I defended Christ's language, going from phago ("to consume" which could be philosophical, not physical) to trogo ("to gnaw", which is not used outside of the literal sense). I defended the context of this passage, which starts with the miraculous multiplication of fishes and loaves (a superabundance, an overabundance); which starts with mention of the Passover and ends with mention of Judas' future betrayal (as do the Last Supper accounts of the synoptic gospels). I defended the Church's "policy" on a "closed communion": receiving Holy Communion in the Catholic Church is a sign of being in Communion with the Church and all she teaches and professes to be true. I defended against the argument of "it is the Spirit that gives life; the flesh is of no avail", because Jesus does not say his flesh is of no avail, and the words that he spoke (which are Spirit and life) are quite plainly: "eat my flesh and drink my blood".

I also corrected a few misconceptions (voiced or not). The Church does not teach that Jesus becomes bread and wine: bread and wine become Jesus. The Church does not teach that mindless and rote consumption of Holy Communion saves us; on the contrary, she believes what St. Paul says on the subject, that those who receive unworthily receive condemnation! (cf. 1 Cor 11:27-30) I answered a question about whether a person has to receive Communion (such as a person who is baptized and dies before receiving Communion), although I didn't cite the Council of Trent (Session 21, Chapter IV).

We didn't finish the chapter, so I'll be going again next Thursday night for some "followup". Please pray for me, and pray for Barry, Steve, Kevin, Steve, John, Alan, Sidney, Joe, Yeol, and Gary.

The importance of music in Catholic worship

Another excellent (and brief) post by Jeffrey Tucker of the New Liturgical Movement:
At some point in my studies of Catholic liturgy, I concluded that you can't really understand liturgy without understanding or being exposed to the music of the Mass — that is, without the music, you miss important information that forms our tradition and faith. The text alone does not provide all. Critical signals and knowledge are embedded in notes and forms of notes. This is lost when we fail to sing what the Church's liturgy asks us to sing. We are missing out on the whole of the liturgical structure and the experience of the faith that liturgy provides.
Read the rest, which includes a commentary by William Mahrt on the propers for the First Sunday of Lent.

An exercise in Latin translation

I like the Super Smash Brothers series of games. I've played the N64 version, the GameCube version, and the Wii version. The Wii version has a theme song in Latin! However, the translations of this Latin theme song are often wrong. If you've seen Audi famam illius translated as "I have heard of his rumor", then you've seen a poor translation. Here is my attempt at an accurate translation of the theme song from Super Smash Brothers Brawl.

Audi famam illius. Solus in hostes ruit et patriam servavit.
(Hearken to his tale! He alone rushed upon [into] the enemy and protected his native land.)

Audi famam illius. Cucurrit quaeque tetigit destruens.
(Hearken to his tale! He charged, destroying everything he touched.)

Spes omnibus, mihi quoque.
([He is] hope for all men, not only to me.)

Terror omnibus, mihi quoque.
([He is] fear for all men, even to me.)

Ille iuxta me.
(He is at my side.)

Socii sunt mihi qui olim viri fortes rivalesque erant.
(They are allies to me, who once were strong heroes and rivals.)

Saeve certando pugnandoque sprendor crescit.
([Our] splendor increases through vying and fighting fiercely.)

Abortion rhetoric

Diane from Te Deum laudamus posted on this, as did Patrick Madrid. The National Catholic Reporter, which stretches wider the definition of "Catholic" every day, has an article with the following title: "I am a prochoice Catholic".

Before I get into the meat of her argument, I want to speak briefly about how the author (who "serves on the Women’s Ordination Conference board of directors and the Call to Action Next Generation Leadership Team") describes her realization:
And thus started my process of discernment around the right to abortion. It took several years. I asked friends on both sides of the issue thousands of questions. I read book after book. I prayed. I studied what the church hierarchy had to say about the issue. I studied what the Catholic church — the faithful — had to say about the issue.

In the end, after months of avoiding my conscience as to not stir up any controversy in my life, I finally discerned that I am a prochoice Catholic.
I don't care what issue you're looking at. To distance the "church hierarchy" from "the faithful", as if one is the Church (to her, it's the faithful) and the other is not, is poor ecclesiology, and it's the root of her problem. She assumes the sensus fidelium ("the sense of the faithful") is simply the sense of those who call themselves Catholic; she takes the "faith" out of the "faithful". The sensus fidelium cannot be divorced from the sensus fidei ("the sense of the faith"). The sense of the faithful cannot be opposed to what has been revealed as the faith to the Church! Thus, the "sense of the faithful" which teaches that abortion is acceptable (a position against the faith of the Church) is not the true sense of the faithful. In order for the sensus fidelium to exist, one must sentit cum ecclesia ("think with the Church").

On to how she supports her prochoice stance:
Where abortion is prohibited or stigmatized, women do not all of the sudden decide to carry pregnancies to term.
This argument does not work for, say, murder. Should we legalize murder, then? Or give people the "right to choose" whether they murder someone who is already born?
Where it is illegal, more often than not abortions are unsafe. According to the World Health Organization, 19 million unsafe abortions occur each year and some 70,000 women die as a result.
70,000 women die as a result of 19,000,000 "unsafe" abortions. That statistic is, indeed, sad. Women die in "safe" abortions, too. But the point she has missed is that 19,000,000 babies die as a result of 19,000,000 "unsafe" abortions... unless, of course, the abortion is "botched", in which case the baby probably dies from some complication or from simple negligence on the part of the attendants.
[B]eing prochoice does not end at supporting the right to safe and legal abortion; it extends to discovering the best methods to prevent unintended pregnancies. Contraception promotion, comprehensive sexuality education, and access to affordable child care and healthcare are just some of the methods that are paramount to reducing the need for abortion.
Why should we be concerned with "reducing the need for abortion" if women should have "the right to safe and legal abortion"? Is it because abortions are more expensive than preventative measures? Then let's make abortions cheap! Or is it because abortions are a "necessary evil" (although they wouldn't use that e-word).

Supporting contraception is also against the teaching of the Church. (And, lest one get all "Spirit of Vatican II"-y on me, Vatican II decried abortion and infanticide as "nefanda ... crimina" (abominable crimes) in Gaudium et Spes 51.) There's nothing wrong with proper sex education (which should teach abstinence until marriage!), affordable child care and health care.
Finally, I am a prochoice Catholic because my Catholic faith tells me I can be. The Catechism reads, “[Conscience] is man’s most secret core and his sanctuary. There he is alone with God whose voice echoes in his depths.”
Ah, here's the problem. SQC, "Selective Quoting of the Catechism". If she were to read all of CCC 1776-1802 (it's not a lot, really!), she would notice that the Catechism teaches the following about conscience:
"Conscience must be informed and moral judgment enlightened. A well-formed conscience is upright and truthful. It formulates its judgments according to reason, in conformity with the true good willed by the wisdom of the Creator. The education of conscience is indispensable for human beings who are subjected to negative influences and tempted by sin to prefer their own judgment and to reject authoritative teachings." (CCC 1783)

"In the formation of conscience the Word of God is the light for our path, we must assimilate it in faith and prayer and put it into practice. We must also examine our conscience before the Lord's Cross. We are assisted by the gifts of the Holy Spirit, aided by the witness or advice of others and guided by the authoritative teaching of the Church." (CCC 1785)

"A human being must always obey the certain judgment of his conscience. If he were deliberately to act against it, he would condemn himself. Yet it can happen that moral conscience remains in ignorance and makes erroneous judgments about acts to be performed or already committed." (CCC 1790)

"Ignorance of Christ and his Gospel, bad example given by others, enslavement to one's passions, assertion of a mistaken notion of autonomy of conscience, rejection of the Church's authority and her teaching, lack of conversion and of charity: these can be at the source of errors of judgment in moral conduct." (CCC 1792)
Why does she accept the one little snippet from the Catechism, but ignore what the Catechism has to say about abortion?

Since the Church, by her God-given authority, teaches against abortion (CCC 2322, cf. 2270-2274) and contraception (CCC 2399, cf. 2370), a conscience that is "formed" against these teaches is malformed. If the author has actually read what the Church teaches, then she cannot claim ignorance in this matter. In fact, she does not:
After years of research, discernment and prayer, my conscience has been well informed. Being a prochoice Catholic does not contradict my faith; rather, in following my well-informed conscience, I am adhering to the central tenet of Catholic teaching — the primacy of conscience.
It does not contradict her faith, but it does contradict the faith of the Church.
My hope is that together the hierarchy of the Catholic church, the antiabortion movement and the prochoice movement will help people of all faiths and no faith to develop well-informed consciences.
She does not use the term "well-formed", but "well-informed". Whether on purpose or by accident, there is a difference. "Well-formed" speaks to the quality of the formation; "well-informed" speaks ambiguously to the quality or amount of information. The Catechism says the conscience "must be informed" and "well-formed", but not "well-informed". You can have a well-informed conscience and yet that conscience might not be well-formed!

The Power of the Cross: Saturday after Ash Wednesday - A Matter of Life and Death

Ask — How does viewing Jesus as my savior from death help me to face head-on the deaths of my loved ones and even my own death?

Seek — Fast from passing judgment on anyone today. Realize in this little dying to yourself you are opening yourself to see others as God sees them.

Knock — Meditate on Revelation 1:17-18. Imagine Jesus touching you with his right hand and lifting you up from your death. What other ares of your life are dominated by death rather than the life of Christ? Ask our Lord to free you from all death.

Transform Your Life — Do not shy away from death. Attend the funerals of loved ones and use the experience to engage your faith in Christ. Pray for others, ask the saints to pray for you, seeing in them living examples of the promise of Christ to save us from death.

The Power of the Cross: Applying the Passion of Christ to Your Life, p. 269.)

Friday, February 27, 2009

Music: Venezuela Youth Orchestra, conductor Gustavo Dudamel

This is just beautiful. The expressiveness of the orchestra, the talent of the musicians, and the power and vitality of the conductor are astonishing!

The Power of the Cross: Friday after Ash Wednesday - How much we need Jesus

Ask — How greatly do I feel the need for Christ in my life?

Seek — Practice fasting before your reception of the Eucharist. Also find special times to fast before high points in the Christian year and during high points in your own life so that you may always remain focused on your need for Christ. Try doing more than is required by the Church.

Knock — Meditate on Revelation 22:17, 20. What did Jesus say about two or more gathering in his name? Who are you waiting for?

Transform Your Life — Foster and keep before you the need that you have for Jesus. Make your constant prayer to Jesus one of entreating him to come, to be present, inviting him to be a part of your life.

The Power of the Cross: Applying the Passion of Christ to Your Life, pp. 263-264.)

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Lenten Lament: Attende Domine

Next Wednesday, I'll post another Lenten favorite of mine, Attende Domine ("Hear [us] Lord"). This and Parce Domine are two of the earliest chants I learned (all of 18 months ago). They are simple melodies to learn, certainly penitential in character, and the words could not be truer. The Latin is beautiful, and it doesn't hurt to know what it means in English either!

Here's a teaser for Attende Domine:

R. Attende, Domine, et miserere: quia peccavimus tibi.

(Hear us, O Lord, and have mercy: because we have sinned against You.)

1. Ad te, Rex summe, omnium Redemptor, oculos nostros sublevamus flentes: exaudi, Christe, supplicantum preces.

(To you, Most High King, Redeemer of us all, we lift our eyes, weeping: hear, O Christ, our prayers of supplication.)

That's enough for now. Meditate on those words (and the words of Parce Domine) during Lent, especially on Friday.

As part of your penance (or mine?) I plan on recording myself singing this and Parce Domine and placing it online.

Wisdom from a friend

I hope she won't mind, but these words of hers are too good (and true) not to share with my readers:
There are some wonderful theologians who are filled with the Holy Spirit, while there are some others who, sadly, are just full of themselves.
In the words of St. Paul, "test everything; hold fast what is good" (1 Thess 5:21). For a Catholic, that means comparing what someone tells you with what the Church teaches; check the Catechism and other Church documents.

Bishop Williamson (SSPX) apologizes for his remarks

... I can truthfully say that I regret having made such remarks, and that if I had known beforehand the full harm and hurt to which they would give rise ... I would not have made them. ... To all souls that took honest scandal from what I saidbefore God I apologise.
See the full text at Fr. Z's blog.

The Power of the Cross: Thursday after Ash Wednesday - Jesus' Invitation

Ask — Do I fear the cross of Christ or do I embrace it?

Seek — Place a crucifix in a prominent place in your home. Look upon this sign of our salvation upon rising and before you retire for the night, asking Christ to help you to "take up your cross" and follow him.

Knock — Meditate on Philippians 3:18-21. What are you living for? Do you see the saving power of the cross or are you an enemy of the cross? Do you believe in the power of Christ?

Transform Your Life — Believe in the gospel and experience the liberating effects of taking up your cross and following Jesus. Make your life one that will not be spent looking backward in regret for all the good that you did not do — focus on the good that you can do right now!

The Power of the Cross: Applying the Passion of Christ to Your Life, p. 259.)

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Lenten Lament: Parce Domine

R. Parce Domine, parce populo tuo: ne in aeternum irascaris nobis.

(Spare, O Lord, spare Your people: lest You be angry with us forever.)

1. Flectamus iram vindicem, ploremus ante Judicem; clamemus ore supplici, dicamus omnes cernui.

(Let us bow before the avenging wrath, let us weep before the Judge; let us cry out with words of supplication, let us all speak, falling prostrate.)

2. Nostris malis offendimus tuam Deus clementiam; effunde nobis desuper remissor indulgentiam.

(O God, by our wickedness we have offended Your clemency; pour forth on us from above, O forgiving One, Your pardon.)

3. Dans tempus acceptabile, da lacrimarum rivulis lavare cordis victimam, quam laeta adurat caritas.

(Giving us an acceptable time, grant to purify, in the rivers of our tears, the sacrifice of our hearts, enkindled by joyful charity.)

4. Audi, benigne Conditor, nostras preces cum fletibus in hoc sacro jejunio fusas quadragenario.

(Hear, O benign Creator, our prayers, with lamentations, poured forth during this holy fast of forty days.)

5. Scrutator alme cordium, infirma tu scis virium; ad te reversis exhibe remissionis gratiam.

(O beloved searcher of hearts, You know the weakness of mortal bodies; show to those returning to You the grace of forgiveness.)

English translations are essentially my own. Verse 3 was a tough one.

The antiphon is based on
Joel 2:17.

Verse 1 is from
Ex more docti mystico (Pope St. Gregory I), verse 5 (according to the revision by Pope Urban VIII). Verse 2 is from Ex more docti mystico, verse 6 (original).

Verse 3 is from
O Sol salutis initimis (Pope Urban VIII), verse 2 (revision of Iam, Christe, sol iustitiae).

Verses 4 and 5 are from
Audi, benigne Conditor (Pope St. Gregory I), verses 1 and 2.

Liturgy: Blessing with holy water... and a Super-Soaker

Sigh. File this under "liturgical abuse". The Rite of Sprinkling (which can replace the Penitential Rite) is not to be performed with a Super-Soaker.

[H/T: the Curt Jester]

Humor: Google on Ash Wednesday

Someone forgot to upload Google's special image for today!

Lenten Resources from the USCCB

Check out the USCCB's web site for Lent. It looks pretty good. It's organized according to the four pillars of the Catechism:
  1. What We Believe (Creed)
  2. What We Celebrate (Sacraments)
  3. How We Live (Live)
  4. How We Pray (Prayer)

Lenten Fasting

Please consider joining me for a Lent of daily Mass attendance and fasting. My "motto" for this discipline two years ago when I first did it was "Two square meals and one round one". It's a bit misleading because when fasting, only one meal should be "square" — that is, full — but it works for a motto.

I'm afraid it doesn't translate very well into Latin (retaining the pun-value of "square" versus "round"), but here are a few attempts that use a mild play on words:
  • Duo cibi iusti; unus cibus iustificatorum. ("Two just meals; one meal of the justified.")
  • Duo cibi iusti; unus cibus ad iustitiam. ("Two just meals; one meal unto justification/righteousness." This is the one I've chosen to go with, because it reminds me of the ongoing process of justification.)
You could also substitute mensa/mensae or cena/cenae (both feminine) for cibus/cibi (masculine), and come up with:
  • Duae mensae iustae; una mensa iustificatorum.
  • Duae cenae iustae; una cena ad iustitiam.
Anyway, punny slogans aside, this is a serious discipline for me. For some reason... no, I take that back, I know the reason: Because my Lenten discipline is essentially a private promise (or even vow) I make to God, I feel especially beholden to keep it, to the point that I will confess transgressing it if I fail to keep it.

So I'll repeat my invitation to you: consider making Mass and fasting part of your daily life during Lent. What you give up, give to the Lord. What you sacrifice of your daily life, let the Lord of life breathe new life into. Lent is a slow exhalation that precedes our breathing in deeply the new life that comes to us from the Lord, as we celebrate the Paschal mystery of his Passion, Death, and Resurrection for our salvation!

Duo cibi iusti; unus cibus ad iustitiam.

The Power of the Cross: Ash Wednesday - Eternal Life or Death?

(Each day during Lent, I will be posting a small excerpt from my Lenten daily reading, The Power of the Cross: Applying the Passion of Christ to Your Life by Michael Dubruiel. This excerpt is from pages 253-254.)

Ask — Am I living my life in fear of death or in anticipation of eternal life in Christ?

Seek — Try to focus on Christ as the motivation for all of your actions throughout the day. Be conscious fo whom you ar trying to please in all that you do.

Knock — Meditate on Genesis 3:19. How does Baptism wash away original sin? What is the purpose of recalling that without Christ we are all living to die? How does the cross of Christ defeat death?

Transform Your Life — Make the cross of Christ your banner of hope. See in the victory of Jesus' cross a life-changing invitation to overcome all the evil forces that try to keep you from being who God has created you to be and to drive away from your true purpose in life.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Catechesis: What do eighth graders know?

I've been volunteering as a catechist for a month now. When I'm teaching, I use a somewhat Socratic method, asking a lot of questions to try and draw the answers from the students. Sometimes it works... sometimes it doesn't.

This evening, they had a large session (all the classes together) on social justice and "Operational Rice Bowl". Before and after, when they were split up into their individual classes, I was going over a few things about Lent with my students. Topics covered:
  • What does Kyrie eleison mean? ("Lord, have mercy" in Greek)
  • Why do we say/sing this in Greek? (Greek was one of the original languages of the Church; we use the Greek words during Lent in our parish to draw attention to this particularly penitential season)
  • What word don't we say during Lent? (Alleluia)
  • What does Alleluia mean? (It is the Latinization of Hallelu-yah which means "Praise Yah[weh]" or "Praise the LORD")
  • Why don't we say Alleluia during Lent? (As a sign of the reserved and penitential character of Lent)
  • What color vestments does the priest wear? (Purple/violet)
  • Why does he wear purple? (As a sign of royalty, but primarily as a sign of the penitential character of Lent)
I'm very concerned with making sure these kids know what they're saying at Mass. There's no reason for them to be ignorant of their faith, and if they're ignorant of the great liturgy of the Mass, that's something that can easily be fixed! Thus my questions about what Kyrie eleison and Alleluia mean. (They got the answers when I wrote Christe eleison beneath Kyrie eleison, and when I wrote Hallelu-yah under Alleluia.)

So then I moved into more general liturgical questions.
  • What does Amen mean? ("So be it", "I believe", "Yes", etc.)
  • When do we say Amen? (After prayers, especially the Eucharistic Prayer, and when we are receiving Holy Communion)
  • Why do we say Amen? (To signal our assent with the prayer, to "make the prayer our own"; when we are receiving Holy Communion, it is our confession that we are truly receiving the Body of Christ)
  • What does Hosanna mean? ("Save [us], we beg [you]!")
  • When do we say Hosanna? (In the Sanctus)
  • Where does Hosanna come from? (Two places: Jesus' entry into Jerusalem (cf. Matthew 21:9) and a Psalm of thanksgiving for the Lord's enduring mercy and love (cf. Psalm 118:25))
  • Why is Palm Sunday so named? (From the greeting with palm branches of the people of Jerusalem when Jesus entered)
  • What is the symbolism of the palms? (A sign of victory and triumph and royalty; the people were greeting Jesus as their "king", although his kingship was not what they were hoping for)
  • Who was not greeting Jesus as he entered Jerusalem? (The Pharisees and scribes and their associates)
  • Why didn't the Pharisees like the greeting that Jesus received? (Partly because they did not like Jesus or his teaching; partly because there was political strife in the people treating Jesus as their king, which would culminate in their rejection of him during his presentation before Pilate)
All in all, it went pretty well. I ended by letting them ask questions. One girl (who is eager to ask and ready to answer) asked about the fasting rules for Lent. In the course of my answer, I brought up the issue of fish. I turned the tables and asked about the use of the fish as an early Christian symbol, primarily for identification of a fellow Christian.

The fish was adopted as a symbol of Christ because the Greek word for "fish", ichthys, is an acronym for the title "Jesus Christ, Son of God, Savior": ΙΧΘΥΣ stands for "Iesous Christos, Theou Huios, Soter". It is also believed that the symbol of the fish was used to identify whether another person was a Christian: one man would draw in the dirt the top curve of the fish, and if the other man was a Christian, he would know how to draw the bottom curve of the fish (see the image [H/T Wikipedia] to the right).

Liturgy: Archbishop Ranjith on the need for a "reform of the reform"

This is big news, partly because of the people involved, and partly because of the impact of the matter.
A key Vatican official has called for "bold and courageous" decisions to address liturgical abuses that have arisen since the reforms of Vatican II. Archbishop Malcolm Ranjith, the secretary of the Congregation for Divine Worship, cites a flawed understanding of Vatican II teachings and the influence of secular ideologies are reasons to conclude that — as then-Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger said in 1985 — "the true time of Vatican II has not yet come." Particularly in the realm of the liturgy, Archbishop Ranjith says, "The reform has to go on." ...

Specifically, Archbishop Ranjith writes: "Some practices which Sacrosanctum Concilium had never even contemplated were allowed into the Liturgy, like Mass versus populum, Holy Communion in the hand, altogether giving up on the Latin and Gregorian Chant in favor of the vernacular and songs and hymns without much space for God, and extension beyond any reasonable limits of the faculty to concelebrate at Holy Mass. There was also the gross misinterpretation of the principle of 'active participation'." ...

Today, Archbishop Ranjith writes, the Church can look back and recognize the influences that distorted the original intent of the Council. That recognition, he says, should "help us to be courageous in improving or changing that which was erroneously introduced and which appears to be incompatible with the true dignity of the Liturgy." A much-needed "reform of the reform," he argues, should be inspired by "not merely a desire to correct past mistakes but much more the need to be true to what the Liturgy in fact is and means to us and what the Council itself defined it to be."
Read the complete article. I'm adding True Development of the Liturgy by Msgr. Nicola Giampietro (a member of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith) — with foreword by Archbishop Ranjith — to my wish-list!

[H/T: Catholic World News]

Monday, February 23, 2009

Bible Study: 1st Sunday of Lent

1 Pet 3:18-22
Baptism is an appeal for a clear conscience before God
Cuius antitypum, baptisma, et vos nunc salvos facit.
Download this study [MS Word, 46 k, 3pp]

Lent, Baptism, and the Flood

The season of Lent is nearly upon us. I strongly recommend that you take the time to read the Holy Father's Lenten message.

Lent is meant to prepare us (and those catechumens and candidates who are seeking to enter into full communion with the Church) "to celebrate the Paschal mystery" (Paschale Solemnitatis 6), that turning point in salvation history when the Lord of all creation willingly gave his life for us on the cross, and was resurrected in glory after "resting on the Sabbath". It is "a time of purification and enlightenment" (PS 7), not only for the catechumens but for all the faithful as well.

Because "the time of Lent preserves its penitential character" (Paenitemini II, 1), "the virtue and practice of penance form a necessary part of the preparation for Easter" (PS 14). Pope Pius XII, in his encyclical on the liturgy Mediator Dei, wrote that during Lent, "our Holy Mother the Church over and over again strives to make each of us seriously consider our misery, so that we may be urged to a practical emendation of our lives, detest our sins heartily and expiate them by prayer and penance. For constant prayer and penance done for past sins obtain for us divine help, without which every work of ours is useless and unavailing." (MD 157)

The Second Vatican Council, in the Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy, had this to say of the renewal of this most important liturgical season:
109. The season of Lent has a twofold character: primarily by recalling or preparing for baptism and by penance, it disposes the faithful, who more diligently hear the word of God and devote themselves to prayer, to celebrate the paschal mystery. This twofold character is to be brought into greater prominence both in the liturgy and by liturgical catechesis. Hence:
a) More use is to be made of the baptismal features proper to the Lenten liturgy; some of them, which used to flourish in bygone days, are to be restored as may seem good.

b) The same is to apply to the penitential elements. As regards instruction it is important to impress on the minds of the faithful not only the social consequences of sin but also that essence of the virtue of penance which leads to the detestation of sin as an offence against God; the role of the Church in penitential practices is not to be passed over, and the people must be exhorted to pray for sinners.
110. During Lent penance should not be only internal and individual, but also external and social. The practice of penance should be fostered in ways that are possible in our own times and in different regions, and according to the circumstances of the faithful... .

Nevertheless, let the Paschal fast be kept sacred. Let it be celebrated everywhere on Good Friday and, where possible, prolonged throughout Holy Saturday, so that the joys of the Sunday of the Resurrection may be attained with uplifted and clear mind.
The Second Reading from the First Sunday of Lent (Year B) is 1 Peter 3:18-22, in which the Prince of the Apostles relates the waters of baptism to the waters of the flood. Baptism, one of the foundational themes of Lent, is a major part of the Easter Vigil celebration. The Easter Vigil includes a lengthy prayer over the water to be used for baptism. Part of this prayer speaks of the waters of the flood:

1962 Missal2002 Missal
Deus, qui
nocentis mundi crimina per aquas abluens,
regenerationis speciem
in ipsa diluvii effusione signasti:
ut, unius eiusdemque elementi mysterio,
et finis vitiis, et origo
Deus, qui

regenerationis speciem
in ipsa diluvii effusione signasti,
ut unius eiusdemque elementi mysterio
et finis vitiis et origo

The texts of the prayer in the 1962 Missal (Extraordinary Form) and the 2002 Missal (Ordinary Form) are almost identical. The translation of this part of the prayer is:
O God, Who
[ by water washed away the crimes of the guilty world, and ]
by the pouring out of the deluge gave
a figure of regeneration,
that of one and the same element might be, by a mystery,
an end to vices and a beginning of [ or: to ] virtues!
(Translation note: virtutibus means "to virtues", whereas virtutum means "of virtues".)

This prayer of the Easter Vigil glorifies God by remembering His many deeds wrought through water. The prayer (in both forms) calls to mind:
  1. the waters "in the beginning" over which His Spirit moved,
  2. the waters of the Flood through which Noah and his family were saved,
  3. the waters of the Red Sea which destroyed Pharoah's army and through which the Israelites were delivered,
  4. the waters of the Jordan in which our Lord was baptized,
  5. the water and blood which poured forth from the side of our crucified Lord,
  6. and the water in which our Lord commands us to be baptized.
The Extraordinary Form also recalls:
  1. the four rivers flowing out of Eden,
  2. the water from the rock in Exodus,
  3. the water-made-wine at Cana,
  4. and the waters upon which the Lord walked.
(Where else do you recall Christ using water as a sign?)

It is no wonder, then, that the Lord God chose water as the means by which we enter the covenant of Christ. God's plan to incorporate the material in His work of spiritual redemption is proper to our nature, being both flesh and spirit. The God Who is the "maker ... of all things, visible and invisible" (Nicene Creed) has reconciled and united both the visible (the physical) and the invisible (the spiritual) in the Church and her sacraments, just as His only-begotten Son reconciled and united Jew and Gentile in himself.

As we prepare to take up the cross of Lent so as to worthily celebrate the mystery of salvation at Easter, let us call to mind our baptism, and recommit ourselves to the life we were configured to when we "put on Christ" (Gal 3:27) in that wondrous "washing of water with the word" (Eph 5:26), the "washing of regeneration and renewal in the Holy Spirit" (Titus 3:5).

Nancy Pelosi on the Real Presence (updated)

Update: The article doesn't make it entirely sure whether Nancy Pelosi does or does not accept the doctrine of the Real Presence; her daughter (the grandchild's mother) is the one quoted as saying the elements of the Eucharist "represent the Body and Blood". I've included the next paragraph from the article which provides Nancy Pelosi's explanation.

I read a blog post from Diane (at Te Deum laudamus) that saddens me, but doesn't really surprise me. It's about Nancy Pelosi, her daughter, and her granddaughter, and the Real Presence:
Relaying an exchange with the girl, her mother and Grandma Nancy, the congresswoman writes that the girl announced that she wanted to explain that “‘it is the BODY and BLOOD of Christ. When we go to church, IT IS THE BODY AND BLOOD OF CHRIST.’”

Her mother corrected the girl: “‘Yes, the host and the wine REPRESENT the body and blood of Christ.’”

But Nancy’s granddaughter protested, God bless her: “‘NOT represent. IS, it IS the body and blood of Christ.’”

Pelosi writes, “My granddaughter was buying into it.”

[Update: I've added this paragraph so as not to misrepresent Nancy Pelosi's position.]

Pelosi goes on to explain: “Okay. But it is hard. Every Sunday for me it’s hard. Christ has died; Christ is risen; Christ will come again. Now think of it; we say that every week. Do I really believe he’s coming again? Yes, I believe he’s coming again. Christ has died; Christ is risen; Christ will come again. This is my body; this is my blood. They’re asking a lot. In my era, we didn’t question any of it.
Sigh. [Update: I've added the following commentary.]

I'm not sure what she's saying here. It sounds like the granddaughter believes what she has been taught (by her parish), that the elements of the Eucharist truly become the Body and Blood of Jesus Christ. It sounds like the child's mother (Nancy's daughter) does not believe in the Real Presence (saying the elements represent the Body and Blood). Nancy Pelosi, though, seems to juxtapose belief in the Second Coming with belief in the Real Presence: she believes that Jesus is coming again, but then regarding the Eucharist, she says "they're asking a lot" and that when she was growing up, "we didn't question any of it".

Do we question it now? Well, sure, of course we do. It's part of our nature to question what we're told. But sincerity demands that what we question, we investigate. So, has she investigated the Church's belief in the Real Presence? What are her findings? What does she believe? (I hope it turned out better than her "investigation" of the Church's teaching on abortion.)

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Liturgy: Revised Order of the Mass with Scriptural annotations!

This is awesome! God bless Bishop Serratelli and the rest of the USCCB Committee for Divine Worship!

There is now a PDF of the revised Order of the Mass with Scriptural annotations! This is the sort of thing I find tremendously valuable for liturgical catechesis.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

News: "Relentlessly confessional and rarely contrite"

There's a decent article in the New York Times about a parish in Stamford, CT, that has restored the traditional approach to the Sacrament of Confession: plenty of scheduled time for confession and refurnished confessionals (as opposed to "reconciliation rooms").

The article interviewed a woman at the parish who appreciates the renewal of Confession; the article says that "she recognizes how the practice sets her apart from a national popular culture of celebrity magazines, talk shows, Facebook pages and Twitters that is relentlessly confessional and rarely contrite". Awesome turn of phrase!

At the end of the article, Fr. Richard McBrien (true to form...) says that "Confession as we once knew it is pretty much a dead letter" and calls the parish "an anomaly and not a sign of anything else".

Friday, February 20, 2009

Diocese of Rochester: Lay preaching during the homily

Bishop Clark of the diocese of Rochester, NY, has interpreted Ecclesiae de Mysterio as permitting a priest or deacon to involve a layman in the homily by entering a "dialogue". I propose that this interpretation is fallacious.

Here is a letter from Bishop Clark from 2005. In it, Bishop Clark says that his 2002 "Norms for Liturgical Preaching" does not allow "preaching by the lay faithful ... within the celebration of the Eucharist at the moment reserved for the homily"; at the same time, he admits that "another provision of the diocesan norms" allows use of "dialogue" whereby "the ordained preacher begins the homily and then invites an authorized preacher or preachers to develop part of the exposition".

Here (no longer linked) is a letter from Bishop Clark from 2009. In it, Bishop Clark says that a 2005 document from Francis Cardinal Arinze (then prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments [CDWDS]) addressed to the Neocatechumenal Way permits the "dialogue" method practiced in the Rochester diocese. Bishop Clark also speaks of priests "occasionally shar[ing] the ministry of preaching with lay preachers" (although anecdotal evidence suggests this is done far more frequently than "occasionally"). He also describes the practice of allowing a lay preacher to give "an exposition of the ordained minister's homily" as truly a "dialogue" since that term "refers to 'two speakers'" and is not exclusive to something "resembl[ing] a secular conversation."

Here is an article which includes the 2005 document from Cardinal Arinze (about halfway down). The salient part is this (emphasis mine):
3. The homily, because of its nature and importance, is reserved to the priest or deacon (cf. Codex Iuris Canonici, can. 767 § 1). As for the occasional contribution of testimonies on the part of the lay faithful, the proper places and methods for these are indicated in the Interdicasterial Instruction Ecclesiae de Mysterio, which was approved “in specific form” by Pope John Paul II and published on August 15, 1997. In this document, sections 2 and 3 of article 3 read as follows:
    §2 - “It is permitted to have a brief instruction that helps explain better the liturgy that is being celebrated, and even, in exceptional circumstances, a few testimonies, as long as these conform to the liturgical norms, are offered on the occasion of Eucharistic liturgies celebrated on particular days (for seminarians, the sick, etc.), and are thought truly helpful as an illustration of the regular homily delivered by the celebrating priest. These instructions and testimonies must not assume characteristics that might cause them to be confused with the homily.” §3 - “The possibility of ‘dialogue’ during the homily (cf. Directorium de Missis cum Pueris, no. 48) can be used occasionally and with prudence by the celebrating minister as a means of exposition, which does not transfer to others the duty of preaching.”
Careful attention must also be paid to the Instruction Redemptionis Sacramentum, no. 74.
Here is the 2004 Instruction Redemptionis Sacramentum (also from the CDWDS) which is referenced in the 2005 document from Cardinal Arinze (but neglected in Bishop Clark's 2009 letter). Article 74 reads (emphasis mine):
If the need arises for the gathered faithful to be given instruction or testimony by a layperson in a Church concerning the Christian life, it is altogether preferable that this be done outside Mass. Nevertheless, for serious reasons it is permissible that this type of instruction or testimony be given after the Priest has proclaimed the Prayer after Communion. This should not become a regular practice, however. Furthermore, these instructions and testimony should not be of such a nature that they could be confused with the homily, {cf. Ecclesiae de Mysterio, Art. 3, Sect. 2} nor is it permissible to dispense with the homily on their account.
Redemptionis Sacramentum is referring to Article 3, Section 2 of Ecclesiae de Mysterio, which is quoted above, in the 2005 letter of Cardinal Arinze.

The real kicker to all of this is that Bishop Clark is falling back upon the permission for "dialogue" given in the document Directorium de Missis cum Pueris. What is this document? It's the 1973 Directory for Masses with Children (DMC). Article 48 reads as follows (emphasis mine):
The homily explaining the word of God should be given great prominence in all Masses with children. Sometimes the homily intended for children should become a dialogue with them, unless it is preferred that they should listen in silence.
The directory "is concerned with children who have not yet entered the period of preadolescence" (n. 6), and this norm specifically governs "Masses with children in which only some adults take part" (n. 7). Applying DMC 48 in any other situation — as Bishop Clark is apparently doing — is erroneous.

Anyone disagree? State your case!

St. Blogs

I'm a St. Blog-ger now. I'm not moving anything; this blog (and Critical Mass) will remain active where they are. I'm just casting my net wider, so to speak.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Confronting Tradition

Fr. Tim Finigan is a priest at Our Lady of the Rosary in Blackfen (near London). A UK paper, The Tablet, recently ran an article about the "divisions" being caused at that parish by Fr. Finigan's manner of celebrating Mass and his inclusion of one Mass in the Extraordinary Form every Sunday.

Fr. Finigan responds here; Fr. John Zuhlsdorf comes to his defense as well.

Please pray for Fr. Finigan and his parishioners.

I wish I had a Blackfen nearby...

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Bible Study: 7th Sunday of Ordinary Time

2 Cor 1:18-22
God establishes truth and certainty
Deus ... signavit nos et dedit arrabonem Spiritus in cordibus nostris.
Download this study [MS Word, 47 k, 3pp]

Bible Study: 6th Sunday of Ordinary Time

1 Cor 10:31-11:1
Glorify God in all that you do
Imitatores mei estote, sicut et ego Christi.
Download this study [MS Word, 44 k, 2pp]

Bible Study: 5th Sunday of Ordinary Time

1 Cor 9:16-19, 22-23
We must go to great lengths to preach the Gospel to all men
Omnibus omnia factus sum, ut aliquos utique facerem salvos.
Download this study [MS Word, 45 k, 2pp]

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Religion and the United States

I found this through NewAdvent's blog roundup. Bishop John Carroll (the first Catholic Bishop of the United States) said this about George Washington (the first president of the United States):
The last act of his supreme magistracy was to inculcate in most impressive language on his countrymen… his deliberate and solemn advice; to bear incessantly in their minds that nations and individuals are under the moral government of an infinitely wise and just Providence; that the foundations of their happiness are morality and religion; and their union among themselves their rock of safety… May these United States flourish in pure and undefiled religion, in morality, peace, union, liberty, and the enjoyment of their excellent Constitution, as long as respect, honor, and veneration shall gather around the name of Washington; that is, whilst there still shall be any surviving record of human events!
[H/T: McNamara's Blog]

Monday, February 16, 2009

Lenten Reading

Last week, I purchased two more books by Michael Dubruiel, and they arrived a couple of days ago. One was "The Power of the Cross: Applying the Passion of Christ to Your Life" (sixth book down). This will be my daily reading project for Lent.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Over the flu

I was hit hardest on Wednesday and Thursday. By Friday (and lingering still tonight...) all that's left is a cough.

I usually don't get sick. Not even in the winter. This year, though, has been pretty rough. Oh well. Maybe I need more vitamins.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Suffering with the flu

No, this is not going to be a deeply spiritual post about how to unite our suffering from physical illnesses with the suffering of Christ during his Passion. I don't have the energy for that because, as the post title indicates, I'm suffering with the flu. I've had it since Tuesday morning. I didn't go to work yesterday or today (although I'm trying to get work done from home). My adorable wife (who seems to have avoided catching it) doesn't have class on Wednesday or Thursday, so thankfully she's been around to help me out.

I can't talk without coughing. My eyes hurt. I've had a fever of 100.6 (although today it's under 100). My nose is runny. My body is achy. I hope I'm not coughing on Saturday, since I'm giving an announcement at the end of a Mass about Bible studies, and then my wife and I are going to see a play, and I'd really hate to be that guy who's coughing and gets everyone else sick.

A short prayer for my recovery would be greatly appreciated, but please also pray for the people who are suffering far worse than I am.

Monday, February 09, 2009

Church Documents (Quiz)

I'm thinking of writing a quiz which requires the reader to identify whether a quote (from a Church document) is from before Vatican II, from during Vatican II (including conciliar and non-conciliar documents), or from after Vatican II. Maybe add a fourth category: "Not a real quote at all."

The point would be to surprise and educate the people taking the quiz.

Have any quotes you'd like to share? I'd request that you write the quote but don't cite it; that is, give the quote but don't say the document or who wrote it or when it was from. If you'd like, you can link to the document <a href="http://link to the document">like this</a>.

Support the Pope!

Please voice your support for Pope Benedict XVI during these turbulent times.

Sunday, February 08, 2009

Meme: First Initial

I saw this on Brian's blog Christus Vincit so I figured I'd copy it.

Rules: Use the first letter of your name to answer each of the following questions. They have to be real... nothing made up! You cannot use any word or answer twice.
  1. What is your name: Jeff
  2. A four letter word: jazz
  3. A boy's name: James
  4. A girl's name: Jessica
  5. An occupation: Jailor
  6. A color: jade
  7. Something you wear: jumpers (children's coveralls)
  8. A food: jelly
  9. Something found in the bathroom: Jergens (health and beauty skin care products)
  10. A place: Jeffersonville, Indiana
  11. A reason for being late: jam (traffic...)
  12. Something you shout: Jump!
  13. A movie title: Jaws
  14. Something you drink: juice
  15. A musical group: Jars of Clay
  16. An animal: jackrabbit
  17. A street name: Jackson Avenue
  18. A type of car: Jeep (or a more general "type": jalopy)

News: David Ogden, deputy attorney general

This is appalling:
Obama has picked a man called David Ogden to be deputy Attorney-General. Ogden has made his legal career from representing pornographers, trying to defeat child protection legislation and undermining family values. As FoxNews reported this week, he once represented a group of library directors arguing against the Children's Internet Protection Act, which ordered libraries and schools receiving funding for the Internet to restrict access to obscene sites. And on behalf of several media groups, he successfully argued against a child pornography law that required publishers to verify and document the age of their models, which would have ensured these models were at least 18.

The Family Research Council has more examples of his contribution to upholding American and western values. In one such case, he expressed the view that abortion was less damaging to a woman than having children[.] ...

In another, co-authored brief, he argued that it was an unconstitutional burden on 14-year old girls seeking an abortion for their parents to be notified -- because there was no difference between adults and mid-teens in their ability to grasp all the implications of such a decision[.]
[H/T to Gretchen]

Friday, February 06, 2009

7 Quick Takes, vol. I

I'm trying my hand at joining Conversion Diary's meme-series of "7 Quick Takes".


I read Jeff Cavins' I'm Not Being Fed! this week. I'm usually not a fast reader, but I've had the book since July and I've wanted to read it. I read it this week because I was going through a bit of a "dry spell". I was feeling stagnant in my faith... I had no questions, no concerns... I wanted to jump start myself. This book definitely helped.

And I'm already onto another book...


The weekly Young Adult Bible Study I facilitate has chosen A Thousand Splendid Suns as our first book to read as an introduction to social justice issues. It's a new concept for our group. I hope it goes well: we'll read a book, discuss it and its relation to Catholic social teaching, and then do something.


At that Bible Study this week, I spoke about the SSPX/Holocaust controversy this week. A bit of ecclesial history was in order. Please pray for the Pope, for Bishop Fellay, and for Bishop Williamson. (Prayer for a lot of other people is in order too.) Please pray for the continued reconciliation of the Society of St. Pius X with the Catholic Church.


I read Pope Benedict XVI's message for Lent this year. I'm planning on blogging about it (when we get closer to Lent). "Give up and give to" is my personal theme for Lent. I'm bringing fasting back. You should too. Pope St. Leo the Great thinks so.


I'm teaching my first real Religious Education (I prefer "Faith Formation") lesson on Tuesday. I recently volunteered to be a catechist for my parish's Confirmation-candidate students. The topic is "Jesus: His Mission and His Message". I hope to engage the students and get them into the topic, understanding how it relates to their faith, to Confirmation, to their everyday lives, and to their relationship with Jesus Christ and one another.


I'm retreating this weekend. Twice. On Saturday is the RCIA retreat (6 hours); I'm a team member and a sponsor, but I wasn't one of the planners for the retreat so I'm not entirely sure what it'll be about, although I expect Lent and the Scrutinies will be brought up. On Sunday is the Confirmation retreat (4 hours); as a recent addition to the catechist team, I had absolutely nothing to do with this and was only invited this past week.


Flexing my apologetics muscle... in charity. I'm involved in a bit of a discussion about the necessity and meaning of baptism at Kinney Mabry's blog, Preacherman. I'm also involved in a discussion about what is made present in the Eucharist on the Catholic Answers Forum. And I called into EWTN Radio's Open Line this week to ask about "temporal punishment", a topic related to Purgatory and indulgences. I need to listen to the podcast and write down Mr. Donovan's answer.

I hope I did this "7 Quick Takes" thing right.

Thursday, February 05, 2009

News: "Botched abortion"?

Depressing and maddening news from Florida:
Williams ... went into labor and delivered a live baby girl. What Williams and the Health Department say happened next has shocked people on both sides of the abortion debate: One of the clinic's owners, who has no medical license, cut the infant's umbilical cord. Williams says the woman placed the baby in a plastic biohazard bag and threw it out.


The case has riled the anti-abortion community, which contends the clinic's actions constitute murder. "The baby was just treated as a piece of garbage," said Tom Brejcha, president of The Thomas More Society, a law firm that is also representing Williams. "People all over the country are just aghast."

Even those who support abortion rights are concerned about the allegations.


Williams' lawsuit offers a cruder account: She says Gonzalez knocked the baby off the recliner chair where she had given birth, onto the floor. The baby's umbilical cord was not clamped, allowing her to bleed out. Gonzalez scooped the baby, placenta and afterbirth into a red plastic biohazard bag and threw it out.


An autopsy determined Williams' baby - she named her Shanice - had filled her lungs with air, meaning she had been born alive, according to the Department of Health. The cause of death was listed as extreme prematurity.

Spiritual Food: Novenas

(This is my "Spiritual Food" entry for my parish's bulletin.)

From the Thursday on which Jesus Christ ascended into Heaven until the Sunday of the Jewish festival of Pentecost, St. Luke records that the Apostles were gathered together in prayer with Mary and over a hundred other disciples. (cf. Acts 1:1-2:1) These nine (Latin: novem) days marked the first novena of prayer in the Church.

Novenas are typically nine-day devotions to prayer for a particular intention, although there are also 30-day and "perpetual" novenas. Some consist of the same prayer for each day; some have a different prayer for each day. The Church established an official indulgenced novena for Pentecost, which asks for the gifts of the Holy Spirit. The Church also attaches an indulgence to novenas prayed before Christmas and the Immaculate Conception.

Novenas are not "Catholic superstition", so you should steer clear from novenas which guarantee to "work" if prayed X times a day and if you make X copies of the prayer. God and His saints are not "vending machines" and novenas, like all prayers, are meant to teach us perseverance in faith, trust in God, and acceptance of His will.

Life: Excellent quote from President Obama

Obama, in prepared remarks, said, "There is no God who condones taking the life of an innocent human being."

I expect CatholicVote to do great things with this quote.

[H/T: Eric Pavlat @]

Humor: Bus Slogan Generator

I found this through Fr. Tim Finigan's blog. If you're familiar with the atheist bus adverts popular in London recently ("There's probably no God. Now stop worrying and enjoy your life.") then this should be good fun:

Wednesday, February 04, 2009

News: SCHIP uses tobacco tax

I see a few problems with this scenario.
  • A health-insurance program is being funded by a tax on cigarettes.
  • The poor and middle-class are being hurt the most by this tax.
  • What happens to the program if people decide not to buy cigarettes because of the tax increase?

Pray for the soul of Michael Dubruiel

Catholic blogger and speaker Michael Dubruiel (husband of Amy Wellborn) died unexpectedly this morning. Please pray for his soul and for his family.

Michael always donated the royalties from his book sales to his children's college funds. Our Sunday Visitor will make its own contribution to the children's college fund by doubling what would have been Mike’s proceeds from book sales on all of his OSV books through the month of February. Here’s a link to his books in the OSV catalog.

Please consider purchasing one or more of his books. I have two already (The Pocket Guide to the Mass, and the How-To Book of the Mass), and I have purchased two more today.

Liturgy: What is made present in the Eucharist?

Catholics believe that the Body, Blood, Soul, and Divinity of Jesus Christ — that is, the whole Christ in both his humanity and his divinity — are made present under the appearances of bread and wine in the Eucharist at each Mass (or Divine Liturgy). Catholics also believe that the Eucharist is the same sacrifice which Jesus offered to the Father on Calvary some 2000 years ago: "the victim is one and the same, the same now offering by the ministry of priests, who then offered Himself on the cross, the manner alone of offering being different." (Council of Trent, Session XXII, Chapter 2)

So in the Mass (or Divine Liturgy), the sacrifice of Jesus Christ is being made present, both in its immolation (which took place on the cross in a bloody manner, but which is presented in an unbloody manner via the separate consecration of the bread and wine) and its offering (which takes place eternally in heaven). The sacrifice is made present without crucifying Christ again, without making the crucifixion (which was bloody) present again.

Thoughts? Questions? Comments?