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Before I leave – partial list of best hymns July 8, 2010

Posted by Tantumblogo in Basics, General Catholic, silliness.
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I promised Fr. Smith of St. Mark I’d try to get a list of best hymns published today.  I’m about to leave for my aunt’s funeral, so here are a few, in no particular order:

Salve Regina
Holy God We Praise Thy Name
O Sacrament Most Holy
Tantum Ergo (no, really?!!)
O Salutaris Hostia
Stabat Mater
Veni Creator Spritus (Latin or English)
All Glory Laud and Honor
Pange Lingua
Praise God From Whom All Blessings Flow (ok, maybe protestanty)

Enter your favorites to win a prize!

An Orthodox Priest’s views on pending Church unification July 8, 2010

Posted by Tantumblogo in awesomeness, Basics, Ecumenism, General Catholic.
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From the Anglo-Catholic.  If this were come to pass, I would be so incredibly happy you cannot imagine.  And you can bet I’d be at an Orthodox Mass now and then.  All highly speculative, but, then again, we can pray.

I’m ripping off all of this, because it is so good and important.  Again, note, this is true ecumenism – reunion with Rome.


Fr. John Guy Winfrey, the parish priest of St. George Antiochian Orthodox Church in Grand Rapids, MI, and a former parishioner of the Anglo-Catholic St. Timothy’s Episcopal Church in the Diocese of Ft. Worth, has written to offer the following piece on promising developments in Eastern Orthodoxy and his thoughts regarding their place in the larger drama of reconciliation between the “two lungs” of the Church, East and West.

Fr. Winfrey posits that the Holy Father’s recent Apostolic Constitution providing for the corporate reconciliation of Anglican groups, Anglicanorum Coetibus, is a sign to Orthodox Christians that the Roman Pontiff is truly committed to the pursuit of a genuine unity in diversity.

* * *

I returned Saturday evening from the Parish Life Conference (for those of you who are not Antiochian Orthodox, it is our rough equivalent of a Diocesan Conference).  At the clergy meeting on Wednesday evening I heard something that I wasn’t sure that I had actually heard.  I was startled, stunned, and paradoxically thrilled and filled with angst at the same time.  His Grace was speaking about the recent National Assembly of Bishops (Orthodox) and their work.  Much of this I had already heard, but had not spoken of it much because I continued to hear things that are better not made the subject of discussion in large groups.  After all, the questions that the bishops are discussing really stand solely within the purview of the bishops.

On Saturday, before I left Perrysburg (the suburb of Toledo, Ohio where the event was hosted), I asked one of my brother priests who seemed to be more “in the know” than I.  He has always been much more active in these areas than myself.  Following our conversation I was utterly floored.  So what was it that I had heard, first on Wednesday and then reiterated on Saturday?  I heard that it is thought within five years there will be only one jurisdiction of Orthodox in the United States.  There will no longer be a Greek Orthodox Archdiocese, and an Antiochian Archdiocese, and an Orthodox Church in America…  There will only be the Orthodox Church.  But this is not simply an American concern alone.  In truth it will be a world-wide action affecting Australia, Central America, South America, England, Europe and so on.

The details will prove to be some of the great hiccups I am sure.  Diocesan borders will be redrawn and restructured.  There will be a singular guideline for all the priests in the country rather than seeing it vary in every jurisdiction.  Admittedly there will be a period of transition that will naturally cause no little tension.  What of the calendar?  Will that be a source of unity, or will there be Old Calendar (Julian) and New Calendar parishes still?  Just the selection of a revised Julian Calendar has caused a terrible schism within the Orthodox Church since the 1920s.  Only time will be able to tell exactly what will happen, but five years is a very short time indeed.

One of my personal difficulties, and I have to be frank about this, is that it appears that everything will be under Constantinople.  There is some logic to this.  After all a recent study states that 80% of the Orthodox in the United States are already in the Greek Archdiocese.  If they have those numbers, then naturally they should have the lion’s share of say.  Of course, it is being handled with a different sense.  The natural presvia (or order given clergy and local churches) is being followed.  Therefore the Greeks as representing the Ecumenical Patriarch — who anciently second only to Rome — is given the seat of honor, followed by Antioch (since Alexandria has no churches here), and on down the line.  I said that I had personal difficulties with this, and I do, but I’ll save those thoughts for another post.

Having a singular jurisdiction would be a very healthy development in Orthodoxy here and elsewhere.  Yet I can’t help to think that this is only part of something that is much larger.  We are tempted to look only at our own countries, or only at the Orthodox Church in isolation from what seems to be happening in the larger scene.  When I view the scene of Christianity on the largest possible scale, I get the distinct intuition that God the Holy Spirit is incredibly active right now.  Of course, God is always active, but there are moments that His activity seems more perceptible.

Consider these things a components or signs of something profound happening:

  1. The Orthodox Church is working on getting her house in order (trying to reconcile the scandal of multiple jurisdictions in many countries).
  2. Both Moscow and Constantinople have had very positive and warm meetings with Rome.
  3. Moscow has publicly given support to Pope Benedict XIV recently in Rome, and has called for greater work together with Rome on commonly held concerns.
  4. The recent agreed statement produced at Ravenna (and that which has been leaked from Cyprus) between the Orthodox and Catholics is incredible.
  5. Pope Benedict XVI issued the motu proprio, Summorum Pontificum, which gave very liberal and broad license to priests to celebrate the 1962 Latin Mass.  This is a very significant development because it helps to show the Orthodox that the Catholic Church is officially holding in a line of “continuity” rather than of “disruption”.  Perhaps it doesn’t need to be stated that this was one of the things that Archbishop Hilarion Alfeyev brought up as important when he met with the Pope.
  6. Pope Benedict XVI’s stunning Apostolic Constitution, Anglicanorum Coetibus, which makes it possible in the very near future for Anglicans to enter into communion with the Catholic Church whilst keeping the great treasure of their patrimony shows the genuine sense that the Holy Father has of being the pivot of unity for the universal Church.  He seems quite content to allow diversity in unity and is completely unthreatened by it — provided there is theological unity (recall again the agreements of Ravenna and Cyprus here).
  7. The Western world is dying because of many spiritual and moral diseases, but perhaps more than anything else because of the loss of the organic and sacramental unity of the Church: Eastern and Western.  The desire to work together would seem to be a hint that maybe we understand this.
  8. The Roman Catholic Church is experiencing a nascent recovery of some of her tradition and liturgical beauty at the moment.  Although this is still small, one leading priest in this area continually reminds the faithful that this will be brought back together “brick by brick.”  Deo volente!
  9. Finally there is the continual disintegration of non-historic Christianity into mere entertainment, leaving many of their faithful looking for something that is stabile, substantial, historic and real.

Fr. John Richard Neuhaus wrote a marvelous book in the 1980s called “The Catholic Moment.”  It was, like so much of what he wrote, incredibly insightful.  However, I think that the moment that we might be seeing is not simply a moment for the Church of Rome, but for the entire Church Catholic (East and West).  I have a suspicion that Orthodox unity is being pressed forward, perhaps unconsciously, to make ready for a reunification of the Church.

There will be many who would not be able to make a journey to unity and union.  Some are liberal Roman Catholics (I’d prefer to say heterodox, or even heretical, rather than liberal) who are ably represented by the likes of the Tablet, or the National Catholic Review [He means National Catholic Reporter Distorter – ED].  Some are the monastic extremists referred to by the Archbishop of Cyprus as the “Orthodox taliban.”  Old Calendarists would not enter into reconciliation.  Perhaps the inclusion of the Orthodox would cause the Society of Saint Pius X to refrain from unity.

Nevertheless, I think that God might well be at work to bring us back together.  The reunion would bring more joy to my heart than I could possibly express.  I pray for this every day.  I hope for it every hour.  I dream of it every minute.

Cardinal Rode – Liberal nuns cannot defend support for Obamacare July 8, 2010

Posted by Tantumblogo in Abortion, foolishness, General Catholic, scandals.
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A very interesting article from the Catholic News Agency, regarding the meetings between LCWR and Vatican leadership in April.  LCWR, the Leadership Conference of Women’s Religious, supported Obamacare and its leadership was one of a number of women religious who signed a notorious letter that was used by so-called pro-life democrats to vote for Obamacare during the crucial House vote last spring.  In fact, Obama, formerly “pro-life” Senator Bob Casey (D-PA), and several members of the House have stated that it was the Catholic Health Association and the group of nuns letter that made passing Obamacare possible.  This, in spite of clear instruction from the bishops conference and dozens of individual bishops (and every reputable pro-life group) that Obamacare would lead to a massive expansion of abortion.

Well, as Ricky would say to Lucy, those LCWR nuns have a lot of ‘splainin to do.  LCWR leadership was recently in Rome for a regular meeting with the heads for the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, William Cardinal Levada, and the head of the Congregation for Congregation for Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life, Franc Cardinal Rode’, and they got off pretty hard, it would seem.  Cardinal Levada reportedly told the LCWR group that their actions in support of Obamacare created a public display of disunity (calling Bishop Dowling!), and that they undercut the leadership of the Church.  Cardinal Rode’ was apparently stronger, stating that the sisters could not defend a position that was contrary to that of the bishop’s conference, and that while discussing the Obama issue at length, declared that LCWR has no role in providing pastoral or ecclesiastical direction and that they undermined Church unity.  The other topic discussed at length, of apparently only two topics, was the ongoing apostolic investigation.  Do you think the sisters support for Obamacare will accentuate the need for a change in direction among those religious represented by LCWR?  I do.

This may be alot of diplomatic Vatican-speak, but I would think that that LCWR leadership must be feeling extremely insecure right now.  In fact, that is readily apparent by their passive aggressive response to the investigation, with alot of lashing out, but only in ‘safe’ venues like the Distorter.  The fact is, many of the religous groups represented by LCWR, and especially those who make up the LCWR leadership, broke with the faith quite a long time ago.  Their organization is in dire straits, because young women are not attracted to shrill 70’s feminism and questionable sexual practices.  Even without the prospect of an apostolic investigation, which could well lead to a severe shakeup of LCWR, these religious groups have been dying from lack of vocations and an increasingly old, enfeebled, and tiresome membership.  I think these words from Cecile Richards, the president of Planned Parenthood, say it all “NETWORK’s letter was a critical demonstration of support.”  She praised how the nuns “most importantly broke with the bishops and the Vatican to announce their support for health care reform.”

UPDATE: One more thing.  There is a growing trend among some pro-aborts where they try to claim “I’m not pro-abortion, but I support a woman’s right to choose.”  These nuns essentially use that argument, stating that they are in agreement with the bishops that abortion is wrong, but that they felt the health care provisions of the bill were imperative and that they still don’t support abortion.  This is a false dichotomy.  The health care was cleverly written to try to hide the billions set aside to fund abortions, but the nuns chose to believe the lie that it does not.  Every pro-life organization has stated that Obamacare will lead to a massive expansion of abortion, and this belief is confirmed by Planned Parenthood, which is ecstatic over Obamacare and has gone on a building boom ever since.  That is why Cecile Richards of Planned Baby Murdering Parenthood was overjoyed at LCWRs support.

South African Bishop – Pope Benedict XVI a revaunchist, young, orthodox Catholics afraid to face the world July 8, 2010

Posted by Tantumblogo in Basics, foolishness, General Catholic, scandals.
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And women’s ordination should be on the table, too!   He also attacked the very good Bishop Slattery of Tulsa, who actually took the time to personally thank many people who sent him kind words after celebrating a Pontifical High Mass (I have sent Bishop Farrell numerous communications, he has never responded to one), for being  a triumphalist, and for acting in the manner of a medieval royal court.  Wait, I thought the “Vatican II changed everything” types were all about collegiality?  Read this, and tell me that this Bishop Kevin Dowling does not have a “hermeneutic of rupture” about him:

The Southern Cross about three or four weeks ago published a picture of Bishop Slattery with his “cappa magna” – in colour, nogal! For me, such a display of what amounts to triumphalism in a Church torn apart by the sexual abuse scandal, is most unfortunate. What happened there bore the marks of a medieval royal court, not the humble, servant leadership modelled by Jesus. But it seems to me that this is also a symbol of what has been happening in the Church especially since Pope John Paul II became the Bishop of Rome and up till today — and that is “restorationism”, the carefully planned dismantling of the theology, ecclesiology, pastoral vision, indeed the “opening of the windows” of Vatican II – in order to “restore” a previous, or more controllable model of Church through an increasingly centralised power structure; a structure which now controls everything in the life of the Church through a network of Vatican Congregations led by Cardinals who ensure strict compliance with what is deemed by them to be “orthodox”. Those who do not comply face censure and punishment, e.g. theologians who are forbidden to teach in Catholic faculties …

I find it impossible to conclude, after Pope John Paul II’s pronouncements on the impossibility of women’s ordination, that this issue is not a part of the “deposit of the Faith.”  It is very interesting to me that, when it comes to these ‘rupture’ oriented points of theology, the issue is never settled until it is settled in favor of the rupture viewpoint. 

But this is not all.  You young, orthodox people, you young ladies joining cloistered orders in your hundreds annually, you young men entering seminary in steadily greater numbers:  you’re just looking for an ecclesial pacifier, to keep you from having to engage the big, bad, secular world:

The rise of conservative groups and organizations in the Church over the past 40 years and more, which attract significant numbers of adherents, has led to a phenomenon which I find difficult to deal with, viz. an inward looking Church, fearful of if not antagonistic towards a secularist world with its concomitant danger of relativism especially in terms of truth and morality – frequently referred to by Pope Benedict XVI; a Church which gives an impression of “retreating behind the wagons”, and relying on a strong central authority to ensure unity through uniformity in belief and praxis in the face of such dangers. The fear is that without such supervision and control, and that if any freedom in decision-making is allowed, even in less important matters, this will open the door to division and a breakdown in the unity of the Church.

Dude, where have you been?  “This will open the door to division and a breakdown of unity?”  Did you not just witness the ‘magisterium of nuns’ defy their bishops explicit guidance and support a bill that will lead to vastly expanded killing of children?   Do you not witness 97% of Catholics practicing contraception, in spite of clear, authoritative Church doctrine to the contrary?  Do you not see the incredible decline in Church membership and attendance in the West?  What are these wonderful benefits of which you speak, this “theology, ecclesiology, pastoral vision, indeed the opening of the windows,” that you are so entralled of?  Nuns who are ‘post-Christian’ and who serve as abortion mill “escorts?”  Priests who leave to get married and still insist on calling themselves faithful Catholics?   About half the Church membership in the US thinking it’s cool to have an abortion?

Look – Vatican II did a  number of good things.  But I cannot accept this opinion that there was a ‘pre-Vatican II Church’, and a ‘post-Vatican II Church.’  This is a contradiction of a principle solemnly defined by Pope St. Pius X in Pascendi Domini Gregis, that all new doctrine in the Church must be rooted in, and agree with, all that has come before.  So, whatever Vatican II did, it must be in union with all that came before. 

This highlights to me the grave need for the re-examination and clarification of many of the Vatican II documents, which Vatican theologian Msgr. Gherardini makes plain in his new book.  We have sitting bishops claiming that efforts to bring certain older practices back into more common usage are somehow a violation of the Council (I should add that this bishop has been in trouble for being involved in distributing condoms as a means of HIV prevention, and he ‘dissents’ from Church doctrine in a host of areas).  You can see how this might tend to confuse the faithful.

Michael Voris on unintended consequences July 8, 2010

Posted by Tantumblogo in Basics, Dallas Diocese, General Catholic, scandals.
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I think alot of us Catholics recognize that there exists, in the highest levels of the Church, a sometimes too cozy relationship between our Church leadership and the political/cultural elites.  A case in point – the shameful eulogizing of former Senator Robert Byrd of West Virginia – corruptocrat, pro-abort, and one time Exalted Cyclops of the Ku Klux Klan.  A Catholic bishop, Bishop Michael Bransfield of Wheeling-Charleston– West Virginia’s sole diocese, stated that “Senator Byrd is now at peace with the Risen Lord and, with his late wife Erma Ora Byrd, is experiencing Perfect Joy.”   Well, this is enough to set Michael Voris, and he goes on to tie this coziness to the coming grave threat to Catholic hospitals:

Wow, that’s pretty strong stuff.  But, as usual, Voris has a substantial point.  Much of the Church leadership has been far too accomodating of the constantly encroaching tendrils of the culture of death.  As this culture gains influence and its reach extends further and further into US society, a large proportion of bishops have chosen the far easier, but ineffective, “pastoral” approach to the threats this baleful culture poses, instead of standing athwart this path of encroachment and shouting “Stop!”  And so we see Catholic funerals (attended by the Ordinary, no less) for Ted Kennedy, Nancy Pelosi receiving Communion weekly, and numerous other leading lights of the culture of death not only not being challenged, but being welcomed with open arms by the leadership of the Church.  And now, as Voris says, that culture has grown powerful enough to feel able to openly challenge the Church.  I don’t know how this particular suit filed by the communist ACLU will pan out, but I do know that if the leadership of the Church does not stop playing footsie with the purveyors of this totenkopf culture, eventually they will overcome the Church.  That is to say, eventually, these politicians and other elites will take steps to radically reduce, if not eliminate, the Church as an effective voice in the public square. 

The time is long past to take a very strong stand for the Faith.  The time is rapidly approaching when the ability to take that stand will be past, and there will be nothing to do but to try to maintain some small shell of the Church from the predations of the world.  This is not inevitable.  But it could be, if the leadership does not radically change its approach, its accomodation, with the world.

Pray for your priests and bishops. Pray that they will come to understand that the pieper must eventually be paid, and that it is far cheaper to pay the price of standing against the culture now, than it will be later.