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A big to do March 10, 2010

Posted by Tantumblogo in General Catholic, Society.
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There has been a very big controversy going on in the Denver Diocese.  A lesbian couple has wanted to place “their” child in a Catholic school.   Which seems odd, given that they must know that they are living a life that is not in concordance with the beliefs of our faith.  So, at the start, I think there is more going on here than meets the eye.  Someone is pushing an agenda. 

Well, the priest at the parish involved did a very good thing, which was to deny admittance to the school to the child.  This was in accordance with archdiocesan policy as well as in accordance with the clear doctrine of the faith and many quotes from Sacred Scripture, that Catholics cannot condone or support in any way a lifestyle that is by its very nature sinful.  Naturally, this being Boulder, CO, one of the most leftist places in the United States, there has been a huge protest.  The priest has been viciously attacked, the school and principal have been attacked (even though they had nothing to do with the decision), and the many forces that range themselves against the Church are fully engaged. 

I’m late on this, and others have alot of coverage.  Go over to Fr. Z’s – I completely agree with his assessment of the motives and who is really causing the child to suffer here.   The very good Archbishop Chaput of the Archdiocese of Denver has made some very salient points and stressed the consistency in Catholic moral doctrine.   And Jimmy Akin lays out the reasoning for why in this case it is necessary to deny a child admission to a Catholic school due to the actions of its ‘parents.’ 

The Denver Post piece has a poll you might want to vote in.  The newspaper has determined it wanted the voice of popular opinion to weigh on this subject, and weigh it shall.   Thanks to Fr. Z and others, the poll, which initially showed no support for the pastor, is now about tied.  Go over there and vote if you haven’t.

Alot of the commenters at the links above are using this issue, as they always do, as a club with which to beat the Church.  Some are even saying that the problems we see in Catholic schools is due to too strict an adherence to the Faith!?!  What a joke.  Of all the problems in Catholic schools, I don’t think “rigid orthodoxy” is near the top of anyone’s list.  But those who have a strong hatred for the Faith will use any weapon they can find to attack the Church, and a seemingly suffering kindergartner is an effective weapon to many.  But I agree with Father Zuhlsdorf – any suffering the child is being exposed to is due to the couple involved, not the Church.  No, the Church cannot investigate the interior life of everyone who has a child in Catholic schools, as a Jesuit at America Magazine inferred, but when someone is living a life that is visibly and completely at odds with the doctrine of the Church, it is not unreasonable to deny involvement in certain aspects of the Faith to that person and in this case, their children.  

The shame here is, there is no good solution.  When confronted with those who obstinately persist in grave sin, there rarely is.

h/t http://www.creativeminorityreport.com/

More Usus Antiquior March 10, 2010

Posted by Tantumblogo in Dallas Diocese, General Catholic, North Deanery.
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That’s what NCR, no, not that one, National Catholic Register, says we should be seeing with further clarifications of Pope Benedict XVI’s motu proprio, Summorum Pontificum.   The Pontifical Commission Ecclesia Dei (PECD), responding to questions from Polish priests regarding when Summorum Pontificum indicates the Extraordinary Form of the Mass, the Usus Antiquior, can be legitimately used.  These answers can really be applied anywhere in the world, but for now only officially apply to Poland.  The PCED is working on a new document to clarify Summorum Pontificum and provide more guidance for implementing the Extraordinary Form of Mass.

Why is this necessary or important?  Well, unfortunately, many bishops are opposed to the Extraordinary Form and have hindered its use.  In spite of what many (including myself) read in Summorum Pontificum that any priest can implement an Extraordinary Form Mass when he feels ready, a great number of bishops, especially in the United States, have chosen to place strict limits on the EF Mass.  Some claim they have done so to insure that the priests celebrating such a Mass do so having been properly been formed, but others don’t even use that pretense and simply reject it out of hand.  This is unfortunate, as there are many groups of faithful nationwide that have a great hunger for this ancient form of Mass.   There is such a group in the Dallas Diocese who have been waiting patiently for over a year regarding their own request for such a Mass.

We are told that PCED will soon issue a formal document clarifying the use of the Extraordinary Form, the intent of which is to get around some of the obstructionism that is going on around EF Mass.  I, for one, will pray that this is so – the Mass of John XXIII brings great graces to the Church, and is desired by many people my age and younger.

Irreverence at Mass March 10, 2010

Posted by Tantumblogo in Dallas Diocese, foolishness, North Deanery.
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Even though Benedict was hospitalized, at my wife’s urging, I took my five daughters to Mass on Sunday.   We celebrated Mass at an early afternoon service.  I had never been to Mass at this time at this parish before, although I have been to this particular parish many, many times.

I was quite disappointed.  I cannot recall a Mass where the laity were more irreverent.  During the very abbreviated consecration (90 seconds from the end of the Sanctus to the Great Amen), several groups of people around me engaged in barely whispered conversation.  It got worse as we awaited receiving the Blessed Sacrament – people talked louder to hear each other over the music sung by the choir.  This is the most important part of the Mass for me and many others, when we try to prepare ourselves interiorly to receive our Lord.  The talking by several pairs/grousp of individuals was so loud and disruptive I had difficulty concentrating on the prayers I say before getting in line to receive the Sacrament.  After reception, when we are all called to kneel in silent prayer at the august wonder of the great gift we have received at no merit of our own, the conversations resumed and if anything got even louder.  I was tempted to ask both the couple in the pew directly in front of me, who were sitting and not kneeling and just talking away, and the folks behind me having a conversation between parents and 3 children (this was not a shhhh or an important conversation, they were talking about where they wanted to go eat after Mass) to be quiet, but I offered it up and kept my place. 

After the final blessing, 1/3 of the congregation left before the priest had even started up the center aisle, clogging his way.  Less than 1/4 of the congregation was left at the end of the one verse sung during the final hymn. 

People – you are in the presence of God Himself when you are at Mass.  There are many people in the congregation who take Mass very seriously.  Can you please show some respect to Him, and to your fellow congregants, by remaining quiet during Mass?   Surely you can delay your conversations for the duration of Mass.  This is the Source and Summit of our Faith, without which the world would cease to exist! 

There were other aspects of this Mass that were less than ideal.  There was some teasing at the expense of the vicar who normally celebrates this Mass but was away, and there was an inappropriate joke.  I pray that such behavior is unusual – it certainly did not seem appropriate at the celebration of the Wedding Feast of the Lamb, the very core of our Catholic faith.

I’ve been called out for ill-behaved children, but that is something that cannot be totally controlled.  Talking excessively and leaving early and almost always controllable.

Fr. Dwight Longenecker on Authority March 10, 2010

Posted by Tantumblogo in General Catholic.
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I’ve related before that I come from a protestant background.  We attended a methodist church when I was young, but switched to Episcopalian when I was 13 or so.  It was here that I got some amount of formation – at least more than I absorbed from the methodist church.  My parents still attend an Episcopal chuch, one of an evangelical bent, in spite of my proselytizing efforts.  Of course, I eventually made my way to the Catholic faith.  And I am so graced to have done so.

But, I still follow goings on in many of the major protestant sects, especially in the Anglican Church.  Fr. Dwight Longenecker, another Anglican (same as Episcopalian) convert, has an insightful post up concerning the problems faced by traditionalists, and liberals, within the framework of Anglican theology.   The post concerns the issue of homosexuality and gay marriage, which is dividing and will ultimately all but destroy the Anglican communion (along with most other protestant denominations).   Fr. Longenecker’s point is this: since all protestant sects were formed initially on, and continue to maintain, the rejection of Authority in the Church, they are doomed to continued splitting and ultimate collapse.  Their three legged stool of Scripture, Tradition, and Reason, is insufficiently strong to resist the temptation of the world.  Without Authority, to help guide interpretation of Scripture, and to determine which Traditions are acceptable in light of the revealed Truth of Christ’s Faith, reason can be twisted any which way to support any kind of claim.   Fr. Longenecker:

As a result conservative Anglicans use Scripture, Tradition and Reason to come up with a conclusion that prohibits homosexual marriage while liberal Anglicans use Scripture, Tradition and Reason to come to exactly the opposite conclusion. The conservative will bleat, “But that’s the point! They’re ignoring or distorting Scripture! They’re deliberately distorting and changing the tradition! They’re distorting and abusing human reason!” Meanwhile the liberals say, “Those conservatives! They insist on the letter of the law in Scripture, but miss the Spirit of the Scriptures which are always loving and accepting. They insist on a hide bound view of Tradition–not seeing that part of the Tradition is to change and grow and accept new things! How can they use human reason to hurt their fellow gay Christians and deny true love?”

Guided by the Authority of the Church, I conclude that the liberals truly are twisting Scripture and whatever in tradition they find to support their beliefs in order to support their agenda, which ultimately seeks an accomodation with the world.  But Christ intended His Church to stand apart from the world, to be a beacon of faith, hope and charity to a world consumed with its self-seeking immersion in sin.  And the liberals ignore vast swaths of Scripture that is not about love and acceptance, but about being separate from and above the dictates of the world – Scripture that points to inevitable conflict with the world and its demands.  Nevertheless, without an Authority to guide them, which Catholics recognize as the Pope and the Magisterium, Anglicans, Lutherans, Methodists, and all the others can and do divide on many issues. 

This is why seemingly esoteric issues of Authority in the Catholic Church are so important.  There are some who try to question the Authority of the Pope and/or Magisterium on some issues.  There are a number of people in the Church who seek accomodation with the world, who embrace the attitude of “aren’t we called to love one another, and not to judge?”  One of the many things that attracts me to Catholicism, that makes me know this is the One True Church instituted by Jesus Christ, is that this Authority has insured that key doctrines of faith and morals have not been subject to change due to the whims of the world.  Those who seek to undermine this Authority in the Church know not what they do, for theirs is a path towards continual strife and the fragmentation of the Church.  It is a great shame when a bishop, priest, nun, or even theologian here or there seemingly embraces this call of the world and rejects Church doctrine on one issue or another – it terribly undermines the faith of so many Catholics, who are led to believe that none of this churchy stuff means very much. 

As Christ says: “And whosoever shall scandalize one of these little ones that believe in me; it were better for him that a millstone were hanged around his neck, and he were cast into the sea.”

UPDATE:  Post title changed, it wasn’t working out so well.

Thanks March 10, 2010

Posted by Tantumblogo in Admin.
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Thanks so very much to everyone for their prayers.  Benedict is back home (we all are) and is doing much better.  Pneumonia is not a minor thing for a boy of 7 months!  I thank God for his healing.  I thank all of you again for your prayers, especially Jim, Vicki, Steve, Veronica, Steve B and family and Fr’s Cargo and Weinberger.  I am eternally indebted to you all, and will remember you in my/our prayers. 

I will try to get back to blogging tomorrow.  I’m pretty wiped out 2nite.