Saturday, September 2, 2017

What Exactly Is "Active Participation" and "Noble Simplicity" in the Context of Holy Mass?

Kind of piggybacking of of Pope Francis' comments (which really were a non-story, and were not controversial at all), I got into a bit of a discussion on elements of liturgical worship. The usual charges against traditional liturgical worship were bandied about, unfortunately. Charges that the extraordinary Form of the Mass didn't reflect "noble simplicity" or had too many "useless repetitions". Below is the conversation that I and several others had on the subject.

There are some good citations from same great essays that I do not want to be lost, so I'll post links to everything here as well for posterity's sake. My words will be in blue, with the others' in various, different colors. The whole conversation "began" when one person found it inaccurate to say that Latin encourages a camaraderie among the faithful.

Harry: The common Latin language encourages a bond of brotherhood between Catholics of all countries, rich and poor, far and wide. 

The problem is that perhaps memory of the pre-reform period has to pass before we can change attitudes to Latin. People will then come to see it not as a mysterious and alien language that shuts them out of the litugy, but as their liturgical language in which is expressed their universality of rite, their brotherhood with their fellows Catholics and not least, their intimacy with Almighty God, for whose worship this language is set aside in their lives. 

The argument that people won't understand the words of the Sanctus and Gloria in Latin when they say them every single week, and read from a Missal with both languages side by side, is just nonsensical. 

We have failed Vatican II when it comes to Latin. It should play a greater role in the reformed liturgy, where it can do all kinds of good without impeding active and conscious participation, if it is employed proportionally and only to the unchanging parts of the Mass. 

''Nevertheless steps should be taken so that the faithful may also be able to say or to sing together in Latin those parts of the Ordinary of the Mass which pertain to them.''

Completion of the liturgical reform of Vatican II as referred to by the Holy Father this week, must involve this. Otherwise we have only a 'partial revelation'.

Tom: The only common bond was that the laity were equally disconnected with the Mass. The Mass prayers were said by the priest and altar boys and the people sat and stared. 

You mentioned Hong Kong, and it reminds me of how the Vatican once held that nothing of Chinese culture could be brought into the celebration of the Mass.

Thankfully, that was lifted and Chinese can and do bring their culture into parts of the Mass without changing the consecration itself. 

Sunday, August 27, 2017

On Pope Francis' Address on the Irreversible Reforms of the Second Vatican Council

This recent address by the Pope has been making the rounds all over the web in the last few days. In this address to a group of Italian liturgists, His Holiness said this:
"...we can affirm with certainty and magisterial authority that the liturgical reform is irreversible.... 
"And today there is still work in this direction [in the liturgical education of pastors and faithful], in particular rediscovering the reasons for the decisions made with the liturgical reform, overcoming unfounded and superficial readings, partial revelations, and practices that disfigure it."
I think this is really a non-story, and people on both sides are going to twist it in their own way. One side will think Pope Francis is attacking them (I don't think he's attacking anyone) and the other side will think that Pope Francis is supporting a false "spirit of Vatican II" that was extremely popular in the 1970's and 80's.
Pope Francis

Friday, August 25, 2017

Has the Church Ever Taught Error Regarding Faith and Morals?

A few days ago, I posted my essay on how dissenting Catholics face a mighty large dilemma in discounting certain teachings of the Church in matters of faith and/or morals. Apparently, the combox to that article was fairly lively. I think the one sentence that ruffled feathers most was my main thesis, and I would imagine it perturbed people because in order to accept such a notion, one must look deep inside oneself, especially if they do indeed actively dissent from any Church teaching that we are to definitively hold. That thesis was this:
"If the Church is wrong about any of its teachings, even just one, this is tantamount to admitting that Jesus is a false god, because He allowed the Church He founded to teach error."
One person in particular balked at such a suggestion. His words will be in red, mine in blue, and various other posters' comments in other colors. My main interlocutor, after quoting my words above, had this to say:

Tom: I don't think anyone believes this, even "traditional" Catholics. I don't even think the last few Popes believed this either. The Church has issued some teachings in the past that everyone admits now were error. It doesn't mean Jesus was a false god.

Is Tom's assertion true? Let's see.
Jesus the Teacher- Jan Luyken

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

The Orthodox Interpretation of What the Canaanite Woman Did

This past Sunday, the Gospel reading came from Matthew 15, where we hear about "The Canaanite Woman's Faith." Apparently, this particular Gospel selection has been misinterpreted through a poor eisegesis (that is, an exegesis that one gets nothing out of), and even the clergy have not been immune to this. Most notably, it comes Fr. James Martin (who wrote on this same bad interpretation last year) and the Maryknoll Missionaries. What is this ridiculous and completely heterodox interpretation being banded about? From the latter's Twitter feed this past Sunday:

Yea... no. A Canaanite woman did not "school" Jesus, and to even suggest as much is to deny that Jesus was perfect. Are we really so naive as to believe that Jesus needed to learn anything from anyone? Furthermore, if we as Catholic Christians proclaim Jesus to be perfect, then how can we ascribe a prejudice attitude towards our Lord? To be prejudice against someone because they are foreign is an imperfection in us as humans. But since Jesus didn't have only a human nature, but a divine nature as well, He did not possess this imperfection, because our Lord Jesus, like the Father (as both are one in being), is perfect (cf. Matt. 5:48). 

The interpretation given in the above image denies the august majesty of Jesus, as well as His foreknowledge. This interpretation is just as bad as the interpretation of the loaves and fishes which says that Jesus performed no miracle; everyone just shared. So then, what exactly is the right interpretation of this verse? Luckily, we have the Church Fathers and the rest of the saints to turn to. As well as many orthodox priests and pastors alive today.

Saturday, August 19, 2017

The Magisterium and the Dilemma of Dissent: New Essay on Catholic Stand

A couple weeks back, I recently posted an essay on Catholic Stand in response to comments made by Melinda Gates, wife of the multi-billionaire Bill Gates. In an interview with the BBC, Mrs. Gates made it clear that she and the Pope “agree to disagree” on the morality of contraception.

She opined, “It’s been a while since [the Catholic Church] revisited this topic [of contraception] — but I’m still optimistic that they might [change the teaching] over time.” This is a reference to Blessed Pope Paul VI’s remarkable encyclical Humanae vitae, in which he reconfirmed the constant teaching of the Catholic Church. You can see a preview of my essay responding to such dissenting or "cafeteria" Catholics below, with the link to the actual essay again provided at the end.
How does Gates gauge whether a certain thing or activity is “right” or not? Does she believe that the Church can make an accurate pronouncement on the morality or sinfulness of a certain action? 
Apparently not, as she outright rejects what the Church teaches on contraception. If she believes she is doing “the right thing for women” by promoting contraceptives, then the Church, by doing the opposite in condemning the use of contraceptives, must be doing the wrong thing. Two contradictory things can’t both be right and true. In this case, either Gates is wrong, or Christ in His Church is wrong. And if it’s the latter, all those who profess to be Catholic have quite the dilemma.
You can read the rest of the essay over at Catholic Stand.
Jesus Among the Doctors- Albrecht Dürer

Friday, August 4, 2017

Being the Light of the World: Stop Hiding Your Faith!

My latest article in the Diocese of Joliet's monthly magazine, Christ Is Our Hope, has appeared in print in their August 2017 issue. The article can also be found on their digital magazine in the link above. Below is an unedited and slightly longer version of the article found in the magazine. After experiencing many Catholics around me who were reticent to share their faith, I was moved to write an article that we are exhorted to do just that. The movie Silence was another trigger for writing this article, and it is mentioned in the essay itself, specifically why we must not follow the example of the two main characters in the film.hh
The Ahırkapı Lighthouse- Michael Zeno Diemer

Thursday, August 3, 2017

Essay on Alternatives to Planned Parenthood: Why Pro-Lifers Are Against PP

I recently had the opportunity to write a guest article for the pretty awesome website Secular Prolife. These people are dedicated to protecting the unborn, and while we hope for their conversion one day, they are secular and typically agnostic. This sit has proved to be a great starting point for talking to people who think that all pro-lifers are only of such an opinion because they are religious. Rarely, if ever, have I used a religious argument to voice my opposition to abortion. Anyone can do so using natural reason, as the wonderful people at Secular Prolife have. Below is a link to my first essay with the site. A short selection can be found below:
Here’s the thing that those who support Cecile Richards and her associates need to know about their pro-life friends. Even if we were to accept the bogus claim that only 3% of the services done at Planned Parenthood are abortions, how could one in good conscience support an organization that purposefully ends the lives of human beings? Even if that number was 1% or .5% of the time, the percentage would be too high. Why? Because the vast majority of people in this world consider the purposeful and willful killing of a member of the human race to be immoral and wrong.
Read the full article here.