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Leading theologians on continuity/rupture with regard to Vatican II July 14, 2010

Posted by Tantumblogo in Basics, General Catholic.
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In a follow up to the discussion surrounding my post on Msgr. Gherardini’s book calling for a re-examination and explanation of much of the confusing portions of Vatican II, here is an article by the awesome Sandro Magister that adds to the discussion with an analysis of the criticism of Vatican II by another leading Catholic thinker, Romano Amerio.  The article is not too long, but I don’t want to copy too much, so here’s a brief bit:

The self-demolition of the Church deplored by Paul VI in the famous speech at the Lombard Seminary on September 11, 1974, is becoming clearer by the day. Even during the council itself, Cardinal Heenan (Primate of England) complained that the bishops had ceased exercising the office of the magisterium, but comforted himself with the observation that this office was fully preserved in the Roman pontificate. The observation was and is false. Today the episcopal magisterium has ceased, and that of the pope as well. Today the magisterium is exercised by theologians who have shaped all of the opinions of the Christian people, and have disqualified the dogma of the faith. I heard an astonishing demonstration of this while listening to the theologian of Radio Maria last night. With boldness and great tranquility, he denied articles of the faith. He taught […] that the pagans to whom the Gospel is not proclaimed, if they follow the dictates of natural justice and try to seek God with sincerity, will go to the beatific vision. This modern doctrine goes back to the ancient Church, but it was always condemned as error. But the ancient theologians, while they held firm the dogma of the faith, nevertheless felt all of the difficulty that dogma encounters, and tried to overcome it with profound thinking. The modern theologians, however, do not perceive the intrinsic difficulties of dogma, but run straight to the ‘lectio facilior,’ sweeping all the doctrinal decrees of the magisterium under the rug. And they do not realize that by doing this they negate the value of baptism and the entire supernatural order, our whole religion. Rejection of the magisterium is widespread on other points as well. Hell, the immortality of the soul, the resurrection of the body, the immutability of God, the historicity of Christ, the unlawfulness of sodomy, the sacred and indissoluble nature of matrimony, the natural law, the primacy of the divine are other arguments in which the magisterium of the theologians has eliminated the magisterium of the Church. This arrogance of the theologians is the most visible phenomenon of self-demolition.”

Go read it all, then come back and discuss.  Anyone know if there are English translations of either or Amerio’s books?

Fr. Larry Adamcyzk on the centrality of Faith in our lives July 14, 2010

Posted by Tantumblogo in awesomeness, Basics, General Catholic.
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This is a really important subject, because far, far too many people in our modern world treat religion as an accessory, at best.  Even far too many Catholics, some of which attend daily Mass, treat their Faith as an accoutrement, a part of their life that they take out every week or every day and look at, admire, use a little, and then put it back in its box.  That is not what God desires.  God desires to be our all, the point of our entire life is to learn to know, love, and serve God so that we may be happy with Him and sing His praises for all eternity in Heaven.  Fr. Adamcyzk nails it:

God is not a hobby like golf or gardening; something you can fit into your life when you have time.  God wants to be the center of your life.  God wants your WHOLE heart, your WHOLE being, your WHOLE strength, your WHOLE mind.  I remember when I was in grad school and had a crisis of faith.  I wanted to know how far could I go without sinning.  How far could I do what I wanted to do without crossing over that line and falling over the edge into hell.  I realize now that that type of question, like “who is my neighbor?” that the scholar asked in today’s Gospel is the wrong approach.  If I am asking how much of my OWN will can I follow and still be in safe with God then I have not given my WHOLE heart, my WHOLE being, my WHOLE mind to God and I have violated the First and Greatest Commandment.  That great Saint and Doctor of the Church, St. Therese of Lisieux wrote in her autobiography, “My God, I choose all! I don’t want to be a saint by halves, I’m not afraid to suffer for You, I fear only one thing: to keep my own will; so take it, for I choose all that You will.”  The amazing thing is that when we get the order of the three things, love of God, neighbor, and self mixed up, we end up not feeling satisfied.  When we try to love ourselves first, we end up feeling either empty, bored, or bloated.  Empty and bored, because even though we do or get what we want, the happiness does not last for long.  We have to go out and do it again or buy another one that is bigger and better.  It is not an authentic ideal.  Sometimes we get so tired of satisfying our own needs its liked eating that fourth piece of pie after thanksgiving dinner.  Our desire may tell us it is good but our bodies tells us that we are in overload.  If we put our neighbor first, we can become very easily burned out.  For as Jesus said, the poor will always be with us.  No matter how many people we help, no matter how many charities we support, no matter how much we try to end suffering in the world.  Our efforts lead us to the conclusion that are efforts are in vain, people don’t appreciate all the work WE do, and we become frustrated. When we put God first, and make God truly the center of our lives, by our daily prayers with our family and coming to Mass every Sunday, the crucifixes and holy pictures that are in our homes, by the entertainments that we choose, then we will be satisfied and can really love our neighbor as ourself.   St. Augustine said “Our hearts are restless, O Lord, until they rest in You.”  We should ask ourselves if our lives are leading us to our authentic ideal of union with God, or are we lying along side of the road, broken, bruised, and robbed of our true human dignity, waiting for someone to bring us home.

As I have tried to grow in my Faith, and any success I have had has been entirely due to God’s great benificent Grace, I have come to learn just how all-encompassing our worship of God is intended to be.  This is something that is very clear, I think, only in Catholicism and Orthodoxy, the asceticism and self-denial, yes, but also the fact that our minds and hearts and souls must be changed so that instead of focusing on ourselves or even our families as the world tells us, we focus on knowing, loving, and serving God.  This is a lifelong task.  This not a check list one completes to become “a good Catholic.”  It is like the reaches of the universe – there is always so much more to explore and to know.  My Faith in at present Thomist and Augistinian in character, at least on the superficial level I am presently at, but there is so much more I want to know, and I know in my heart of hearts that even though I probably spend more time discussing and reading about the Faith than any other thing I do aside from sleep (7 hours a night!), my own efforts are pitiful and are far too often oriented towards MY desires and not necessarily towards God’s. 

This is what I find so hard to express to people, especially to those who are protestant.  There is so much depth and richness in the Catholic Faith, I can’t imagine now NOT being Catholic.  Protestants may have some aspects of the Faith, but they don’t have the Fullness of Truth, and they are missing so much.  Most of all, their Faith is far too often focused on themselves – what they want, what they hope to “get from God” – that whole once saved always saved ‘health wealth and prosperity’ claptrap.  It’s hard to explain this to someone in a brief encapsulation – the august majesty of this Faith that is the fullest, most complete, most all-encompassing of God’s revelations to men.  I love it.  I love it so much, and yet I look on a single simple cloistered religious and know that I am so far from the Kingdom, that my own efforts are so weak and minimal.  I know I desperately need God’s Grace and all the prayers I am fortunate enough to receive.

I could go on.  This post wrote itself. 

Another, longer, Fr. Adamcyzk sermon is here.  Do yourself a favor and read all of it.

What can I say, the man is on fire July 14, 2010

Posted by Tantumblogo in Basics, foolishness, General Catholic, scandals.
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Some say Voris and I were separated at birth.  Well, I don’t know about that, but holy cow, he’s been hitting it out of the park the last three days.  I initially wasn’t going to comment on this, but I have to say at least a bit.  First, Voris’ video:

Now, the video from St. Francis Xavier parish that caused Voris to make his own video (sorry, I cannot imbed, it’s only a link):


Now, the CNN interview that corroborates some of Voris’ key points (sorry, again just a link):


Please take the time to watch all videos in their entirety.  It is key to fully understand what is being presented.

As I said, I originally intended to post this material with no comment.  But, I have to, because of two things.  The first was the CNN report, stating that the Church sends “mixed messages” regarding homosexuality, both welcoming them but at the same time telling them that the Church regards homosexual acts as intrinsically disordered and sinful.  These are not mixed messages, this is the Church acting in Charity and Truth.  No matter how much people may not like it today, Sacred Scripture, in numerous passages, is clear: homosexual acts are an “abomination before the Lord.”  But, we are called to love all, and so the Church welcomes gays with the message that they are called to be celibate, that their sexual inclinations are disordered but that Christ loves them and gave them this very great cross to bear as a sign of His Love.  In Truth, homosexuals are given an enormous gift – should they choose to live a celibate lifestyle in spite of their inclinations, the graces they will store up will be enormous, and a great proof of their love for Christ.  Some may say, well, the Church doesn’t persecute adulterers, or fornicators, or cohabitators.  This is a chimera – there are no Catholic Churches that I know of that have pro-adultery groups, that tout being open to fornicators and sport fornication support groups (now that would be a sight!), or anything similar.  The Church recognizes those actions as sinful, and no one has a problem with that, precisely because there are no enormous scale, extremely well funded pro-adultery groups out there lobbying for recognition by the Church!  Should that one day come to pass, I would expect to see various “progressive” parishes such as this one jumping on the bandwagon and fully embracing the fornicative lifestyle.  In truth, they already do, for any sex outside the confines of marriage constitutes fornication and is also an abomination before the Lord.

The second thing is, I’m very sorry about this situation.  I’m most sorry that a retired Cardinal can state that this parish that flaunts the fact that it not only welcomes, but supports and advocates for, those engaging in a lifestyle that has always been defined as sinful by the Church can state that this parish is a shining example for the entire world.  This is what prompted me to write – this statement is indefensible.  For all the good works that this parish has done, for all the great architecture it has (it’s a gorgeous church), for all of its positive aspects, this Church is built upon its encouragement of intrinsically sinful acts.  Let there be no mistake, these are not celibate homosexuals struggling to live their lives in union with the Truth revealed by Christ, these are folks who make no bones about being in gay sexual relationships, and are proud of that fact.  The CNN video makes this clear.  That a retired cardinal and the archbishop of the  most influential diocese in the country can provide such a ringing endorsement of this church, and I’m sure it does numerous great things, is a stinging rebuke of Sacred Scripture and the Truth revealed through Christ’s Church.  It is heartbreaking, and it is indicative of so much of what is wrong with the Church today. 

I’m also sorry for the people involved, for they are being sold a terribly false bill of goods that puts their souls in grave danger.  They are being taught that it is a positive good to be gay.  That their sexual acts cause no offense to God.  This is contrary to the Truth revealed by Christ through Sacred Scripture and explained very clearly in the Catechism.  This is soft sentimalism masquerading as “acceptance” and the cardinal virtue of charity.  In Truth, it is those calling this church and its parishioners to task for their sinful lifestyles that are acting in Charity – we simply do not want to see these folks putting their eternal souls in grave danger due to their being sold a happy delusion. 

And if that weren’t enough, they had liturgical dance and “All are welcome,” uff da……..

UPDATE: Just a reminder of what triggered all this, the support of St. Francis Xavier parish, featured in the videos above, for the NYC gay pride parade.

Is the Church subsumed in protestantism? July 14, 2010

Posted by Tantumblogo in Basics, Dallas Diocese, General Catholic, Latin Mass, North Deanery.
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Michael Voris says yes:

I don’t think it an overstatement to say that the Liturgy, the Mass, is the lifeblood of the Church.  Yes, the Church is far more than just the Mass, but the Church is nothing without it.  In coming into the Catholic Church as a protestant convert, I was very comfortable, because the Mass as it is celebrated in the vast, vast majority of Catholic parishes today is extremely familiar to a “sacramental,” or mainline, protestant.  There is very little difference between the Mass at your average suburban (or urban) parish, and the church service at an episcopal or lutheran church.  At first, that was fine for me, because I initially only became Catholic to please my wife.  After I had a genuine conversion, I found this status quo to be lacking a great deal.  I wanted a truly Catholic Mass, I wanted  distinictively Roman Catholic worship.  Although they are hard to find, the Mass is celebrated in a manner which is distinctive from the episcopal or lutheran or other churches.  It’s not even so much the language in which the Mass is celebrated, although it does seem that the great preponderance of very reverent, distinctively Roman Catholic Masses are celebrated at least partly in Latin.  I challenge any priest to attend an episcopal church service in their town, compare it to their normal Mass, and tell me what is really different about the two.  In the past, this would be an easy list, but since the changes in the Mass that occurred after the release of the 1970 Missale Romanum, I think formulating this list would be more problematic, and the differences minor. 

Is this a prime reason why so many Catholics leave the Faith, and why so few take it seriously?  I don’t know, I think there may be a confluence of factors, but mediocre, indistinct Liturgy certainly does not help.  I can name some very concrete benefits to having a more reverent, distinctively Catholic Mass: increased donations to the parish (all such parishes I have ever attended are financially sound), more consistent and higher levels of Mass attendance, far more vocations, generally increased parish involvement, the serious and effective transimittal of the Faith from one generation to the next, and many more.  Now, the fact that more seriously minded Catholics tend to be drawn to these more reverent liturgies I am certain plays a role in those benefits, but the effect is so widespread and consistent that I think there is more to it than just having the “right” people making up the membership. 

Again, I think this is less a matter of language than it is of reverence and a uniquely Catholic nature that focuses on the Eucharistic as a salvific action absolutely necessary for the redeeming of unworthy sinners.  Yes, for some, celebrating the Mass in this manner may be a massive turn off, but I think the evidence supports the claim that far more will be transformed and engaged by a distinctively Catholic Mass.  As Voris says, the last 40 years of ho hum Masses has not produced good fruit.  Given the problems facing the Church, and the benefits seen at those parishes offering a more distinctively Catholic Mass, isn’t it perhaps time for a change?