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Pope Benedict’s October prayer intentions September 30, 2010

Posted by Tantumblogo in Basics, General Catholic, scandals.
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I thought you might want to see these, especially the first:

That Catholic universities may more and more be places where, in the light of the Gospel, it is possible to experience the harmonious unity existing between faith and reason”.

His mission intention is “That World Mission Day may afford an occasion for understanding that the task of proclaiming Christ is an absolutely necessary service to which the Church is called for the benefit of humanity

There are many problems in the Church, but there are few more pressing than the collapse of Catholic education.  I pray for much better Catholic education just about every day.

Pill, sexual revolution make women miserable September 30, 2010

Posted by Tantumblogo in Abortion, Basics, General Catholic, Society.
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According to George Cardinal Pell, the pill and the sexual revolution it helped foster have dramatically decreased not only women’s happiness, but also their economic and social well being:

FAR from bringing equality, contraception has redistributed power away from women, says George Pell. 

The Australian – THIS year is the 50th anniversary of the contraceptive pill, a development that has changed Western life enormously, in some ways most people do not understand.

While majority opinion regards the pill as a significant social benefit for giving women greater control of their fertility, the consensus is not overwhelming, especially among women.

A May CBS News poll of 591 adult Americans found that 59 per cent of men and 54 per cent of women believed the pill had made women’s lives better.

In an article in the ecumenical journal First Things that month, North American economist Timothy Reichert approached the topic with “straight-forward microeconomic reasoning”, concluding that contraception had triggered a redistribution of wealth and power from women and children to men.

Applying the insights of the market, he points out that relative scarcity or abundance affects behaviour in important ways and that significant technological changes, such as the pill, have broad social effects. His basic thesis is that the pill has divided what was once a single mating market into two markets.

This first is a market for sexual relationships, which most young men and women frequent early in their adult life. The second is a market for marital or partnership relationships, where most participate later on.

Because the pill means that participation in the sex market need not result in pregnancy, the costs of having premarital and extra-marital sex have been lowered.

The old single mating market was populated by roughly the same number of men and women, but this is no longer the case in the two new markets.

Because most women want to have children, they enter the marriage market earlier than men, often by their early 30s. Men are under no such constraints.

Evolutionary biology dictates that there will always be more men than women in the sex market. Their natural roles are different. Women take nine months to make a baby, while it takes a man 10 minutes. St Augustine claimed that the sacrament of marriage was developed to constrain men to take an interest in their children.

Men leave the sex market at a higher average age than women to enter the marriage market.

This means that women have a higher bargaining power in the sex market while they remain there (because of the larger number of men there) but face much stiffer competition for marriageable men (because of the lower supply) than earlier generations.

In other words, men take more of “the gains from trade” that marriage produces today.

Reichert also claims that this market division produces several self-reinforcing consequences, including more infidelity.

From a Christian viewpoint it is incongruous and inappropriate to consider baby-free infidelity as an advantage for women or men.

But younger women are likelier to link up with older, successful men than older women with young men, as any number of married women can attest after rearing children, only to find their husband has left for a younger woman.

Another consequence is a greater likelihood of divorce. Because of their lower bargaining power, more women strike “bad deals” in marriage and later feel compelled to escape. This is easier today because the social stigma of divorce has declined and because of no-fault divorce laws.

More women also can afford to divorce and, in some cases, prenuptial agreements provide insurance against the worst.

Only the official teaching of the Catholic Church remains opposed to the pill and indeed all artificial contraception, but this is not even a majority position among Catholic churchgoers of child-bearing age.

Indeed, this particular Catholic teaching is often cited as diminishing the church’s authority to teach on morality among Catholics themselves, as well as provoking disbelief and even astonishment among other Christians and non-believers.

Catholic teaching does not require women to do nothing but have children but it does ask couples to be open to kids and to be generous.

What this means in any particular situation is for each couple to decide.

Progressive Catholic opinion 40 or 50 years ago urged believers to follow their consciences and reject the church’s opposition to artificial contraception. Today’s advocates of the primacy of personal conscience urge Catholics to pick and choose among the church’s teachings on marriage, sexuality and life issues, although they generally allow fewer liberties in social justice or ecology.

These changes, regarded as progressive or misguided depending on one’s viewpoint, are not coincidental but follow from the revolutionary consequences of the pill on moral thinking and social behaviour; on the broadening endorsement of a moral individualism that ignores or rejects as inevitable the damage inflicted on the social fabric. This revolution was reinforced by the music of the 1960s, for example Mick Jagger’s Rolling Stones, or the Beatles.

While early Catholic supporters of the pill claimed it would diminish the number of abortions, this has not eventuated. Whatever the causes, abortion rates have increased dramatically since the mid-60s in Australia and the US, although the number has peaked.

Real-life experience suggests that the “contraceptive mentality” pope Paul VI warned about in 1968 has had unforeseen consequences. To paraphrase Reichert, an unwanted baby threatens prosperity and lifestyle, making abortion seem necessary.

It is the women who bear most of the burden of trauma and grief from abortions.

Even women who believe deeply in the Christian notion of godly forgiveness, and those who do not believe in God at all, can battle for years with unassuaged guilt.

In support of his claims that women are bearing a disproportionate burden in the new paradigm, Reichert cites evidence that in the past 35 years across the industrialised world women’s happiness has declined absolutely and relative to men.

We have a new gender gap where men report a higher subjective wellbeing. This decline in women’s happiness coincides broadly with the arrival of the sexual revolution, triggered by the invention of the pill.

The ancient Christian consensus, which lasted for 1900 years, linking sexual activity to the lovemaking of a husband and wife to create new life, was first broken by the Anglican Church’s Lambeth Conference approval of contraception in 1930.

In this new contraceptive era, where no Western country produces enough children to maintain population levels, the Catholic stance is isolated, rejected and often despised.

But the use of the contraceptive pill not only changes the dynamics within a family between husband and wife, it is also changing our broader society in ways we understand imperfectly.

But 50 years is not a long time; it is still early in the story.

Cardinal George Pell is the Catholic Archbishop of Sydney.

Sounds about right to me.  Comments?

h/t Sancte Pater

Funny – how society views large families September 30, 2010

Posted by Tantumblogo in Basics, General Catholic, silliness, Society.
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Continuing with the theme of unlimited reproduction from my previous post, here’s a bit I cribbed from Reflections of a Paralytic (I don’t know the story there) from an old Our Sunday Visitor on how society views large families.  Many of my readers will find much familiar here:

Here’s how society’s perception of family size appears from our side of the maternity ward:

Child No. 1: In today’s culture, everyone is entitled to have a chid. No problem there. It’s a birthright. It can be a boy or a girl – it doens’t matter.

Child No. 2: You’re allowed a second child, as long as it’s the opposite gender from your first. “How wonderful! You have one boy and one girl,” we heard when our second child came. “Now you can quit.” Quit? At 25, we’re done having kids?

Child No. 3: The culture allows you, if you insist, to have a third child, but only if you failed to get a matched set with the first two. Call it a mulligan. If you have two girls, you go for a boy; two boys, and you’re after a girl. if you blow it and get another of the same, too bad. You get no more do-overs.

Child No. 4: Now you’re just getting ridiculous, especially if the kids are close in age. You’re officially christined “Fertile Myrtle” and “Virile Cyril.” Knock it off.

Child No.5: People begin to suspect you are nuts. Or just plain irrisponsible. Or both.

Child No. 6: The diagnosis is confirmed. Besides, a family of eight is simply impractical. Most minivans seat seven. Now you need a full-size van or nine-passenger SUV, or one of those classic early 1980s station wagons with the fake wood panelings and the fold-down third bench seat (I recommend the 1983 Pontiac Parisienne).

Child No. 7: By now, anywhere you venture as a family, you are inevitably asked, “Are they all yours?” Take no offence. Between day-care, field trips and the proliferation of blended families, it’s actually a legitimate question.

Child No. 8: Since No. 5 you’ve been hearing that timelessly coarse quip, “Don’t you know what causes that?” You have permenant teeth marks on your toungue from trying to suppress snappy sarcastic replies. (One wouldn’t think of making remarks about fertility to couples with few or no children. Why are large families fair game?)

Child No. 9: Neighbors, strangers and even a few well meaning friends have pretty much given up on you long before now. They compare your progeny to sprting events: With nine, you’ve got a baseball team.

Child No. 10: You’ve gone American League and added a designated hitter.

This is exactly what happened to us.  So, we had a child, a girl.  Then, another girl.  Everyone is ok with that.  When my wife got pregnant again, everyone was saying “you’re trying for a boy, huh?”  When it turned out to be twins, friends and strangers alike laughed at the trick God played on us….”see, you got greedy, and God gave you a surprise!”  When they also turned out to be both girls, well, we had to be done now, right?  With the next baby, people immediately assumed I had some massive complex about having a “male heir” (heir of what?  I don’t have much to inherit).  When the sixth was a boy, we of course HAD to be done at that point, right?  “You got your boy, you’re done now, right?”  Well, no, not necessarily.  We don’t know.  Maybe, it depends on what God wants.  “Oh, you’re one of those God-botherers……”

I actually love telling people about my wife’s family.  My father in law has 9 children, 61 grandchildren and 3 great grandchildren.  It’s pretty funny having to whip out a calculator to add up all his grand-children.

America’s low fertility rate – why? September 30, 2010

Posted by Tantumblogo in Basics, General Catholic, sickness, Society.
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Chelsea at Reflections of a Paralytic has some answers:

The Weekly Standard’s Jonathan V. Last takes a look at declining fertility rates world-wide. It’s a very long article, but it’s interesting to see how many countries seem to have voluntarily adopted China’s forced “one child” policy over the years. His main focus is America (which has a fertility rate of about 2.06, so pretty darn close!), who he says owes it’s decline in birth rates to a variety of cultural and economic factors: the American drive for education, the broadening of women’s career paths and delayed family formation, a higher cost of living over the years and the rise in government programs (social security, medicare, etc…) that have reduced the pressing “need” for one to have children who will help take care them in old age (nevermind the fact that these programs, to be effective in the long run, require a steady supply of new workers to replace the ones who retire and want to reap their benefits).

And then, of course, there’s this:

If the G.I. Bill could wreak so much havoc on fertility rates, imagine the effects of the last century’s two great changes in sexual life: the contraceptive pill and the legalization of on-demand abortion. Calculating the number of babies not born because of the birth control pill is impossible. But without confusing correlation and causation, it is worth noting that the pill became available in America and much of the West in 1960, the precise moment when fertility rates began heading into deep decline.

On the other hand, it is quite easy to make an accounting of abortion’s effects. Before the Supreme Court’s 1973 Roe v. Wade decision, the tide of public opinion in America was against abortion. Accordingly, there were relatively few abortions, even though most states allowed for early-term abortions. In 1970, for example, there were 193,491 reported legal abortions. Certainly, this number undercounts the real total because it does not include illegal abortions. But let’s take 200,000 as a baseline. In 1973, as Roe created a universal abortion right, the number of reported abortions rose to 744,600. The next year, that number rose by 20 percent, to 898,600 abortions. By this time all abortions were legal, and so we can be confident that this number is fairly accurate. Over the course of the next 15 years the number of abortions rose by almost 100 percent.

In 1973—the year of the Roe decision—there were 3.1 million babies born. Over the next 10 years that number rose only slightly, despite the fact that America’s total population was increasing quickly. Why weren’t there more babies born in the decade following Roe? Because during that time, 13.6 million were aborted—meaning that 28.5 percent of all pregnancies ended in abortion. Since Roe more than 49.5 million babies have been aborted in the United States, and the fertility rate has varied inversely to the abortion rate, generally declining when abortion is on the rise and rising when abortion is on the decline.

Last goes on in his article to spell out what he thinks the government could do to try to promote procreation (reducing taxes for every child born per family, reformatting the college system, etc…), but is that really enough to reverse this trend?

It seems to me the problem is a lot deeper than potential parents needing a little extra money in their pockets and a quicker education. Just look at what passes for “entertainment” and largely influences our society these days. It is obvious that one of the main reasons Americans are having less children is because, for the most part, they simply do not value large or even medium-large families, period (just ask any couple expecting their 4th or 5th – sometimes even just their 3rd – child what kind of comments they get from people), nor do they necessarily hold the traditional family model or its values in very high esteem, either. Our morals have drastically changed over the past few decades and there’s little the government can do to really change that. Not that they shouldn’t try to make America more “family friendly”. One of the best ways they could do that (which Last doesn’t mention): get rid of abortion on demand. Would this end abortion altogether? No. But, as you can clearly see by the numbers above, at least less children are killed when abortion is illegal.

What we really need in this country is to get our priorities straight. To put God’s will above our own selfish desires and to rediscover the value of marriage and family and the truth and meaning of human sexuality.

Ultimately, the collapse in America’s birthrates is a moral issue.  We can make abortion illegal, but until hearts and minds are changed the birthrate will not increase.  Some may not see the problem in having a low birth-rate: the problems, though manifold, do not obviously and quickly materialize.  The entire structure of this nation’s social welfare system is predicated on a steadily expanding population.  That is why so many in government favor massive immigration, in spite of all the problems it causes, because they see that as a possible solution to the problem of low birth-rate and lack of population growth.  But immigrants tend to be poor, they tend to be consumer of services rather than contributors to services for others, and there are cultural problems from absorbing and assimilating huge waves of immigration that lead to all kinds of social issues, from crime to failing schools to potential for backlash.  A far better path is for governments to encourage larger families, but as “reflections of a paralytic” notes, these will only have a limited impact.  The only real way forward is to, with charity but some zeal, to explain to the dominant culture that the path it has chosen out of selfishness and obeisance to a hyper-materialized lifestyle will only lead to the eventual collapse of that society.  There are numerous reasons, as Christians, to have large families – these need to be emphasized.  But we also need to stress the practical advantages of having larger families, and get people to recognize that the short term perceived benefits of having 1 or 2 kids at most are outweighed by the long term damage to the economic and social life of the world.

If you want to send your kids to Catholic college…. September 29, 2010

Posted by Tantumblogo in foolishness, General Catholic, scandals, sickness.
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……scratch Georgetown off your list.   A Jesuit, which I’m beginning to wonder if that is still a Catholic order, priest, professor, and out n’ proud homosexual (how is he still a priest?) at Georgetown is one of the founders of the catholyc group “Catholycs for Equality.”

I have heard so many very bad things about the Jesuits over the past few years.  I know of only a very few good Jesuits.  In the history of the Church, orders have sometimes been abandoned because they lost their way.  Anything is possible for the Holy Spirit, but who will He find to do the work of reform?

Russian Orthodox playing games? September 29, 2010

Posted by Tantumblogo in Ecumenism, foolishness, General Catholic, sadness, Society.
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I reported earlier that both the Vatican and representatives of the Patriarch of Constantinople, the symbolic head of the Orthodox Church were claiming that talks on reunification were going very well.  Today, the Russian Orthodox Church vehemently denied these claims, and completely made up the claim that for the first 1000 years of the Church, prior to the Great Schism of East and West, the Pope never, ever had any authority in the East.  From everything I have read on the early Church fathers, this is completely false and a ridiculous, unsupportable statement to make.  I am severely dismayed. 

The Russian Orthodox Church said on Tuesday there was no “breakthrough” at a Catholic-Orthodox theological dialogue meeting in Vienna last week that ended with reports of promising progress on the thorny issue of the role of the Catholic pope. The statement may be more interesting for what it doesn’t say than what it does. It’s not clear which reports Metropolitan Hilarion of Volokolamsk, the “foreign minister” of the Moscow Patriarchate, was referring to when he said that “contrary to allegations in the press, the Orthodox-Catholic Commission meeting in Vienna has made no ‘breakthrough’ whatsoever.”

Did any media report a breakthrough? Not that I’ve seen. Is it possible that Hilarion was actually referring to the cautiously upbeat statements given at a final news conference by Metropolitan John Zizioulas of Pergamon and Archbishop Kurt Koch, the top Vatican official for Christian unity?

Hilarion was in Vienna last week but did not appear at the news conference. Metropolitan John, who spoke for the Orthodox side, is affiliated with the Ecumenical Patriarchate in Istanbul, the spiritual leader of all Orthodox which Moscow seems to compete with for a leadership role. Could this have played a part?

The issue was the role the pope played in the millennium before the Great Schism of 1054. At the 2007 dialogue meeting in Ravenna, the Orthodox confirmed that the pope, as the bishop of Rome, was traditionally the first of the five ancient patriarchs. At the news conference in Vienna, the two delegation heads said that Catholics and Orthodox could eventually come to see themselves as “sister churches” if they could agree to translate that traditional role of the pope into a modern understanding of how the churches related to each other.

In his statement, Hilarion said:  “For the Orthodox participants, it is clear that in the first millennium the jurisdiction of the bishop of Rome was exercised only in the West, while in the East, the territories were divided between four Patriarchs – those of Constantinople, Alexandria, Antioch and Jerusalem.”

“The bishop of Rome did not exercise any direct jurisdiction in the East in spite of the fact that in some cases Eastern hierarchs appealed to him as arbiter in theological disputes. These appeals were not systematic and can in no way be interpreted in the sense that the bishop of Rome was seen in the East as the supreme authority in the whole Universal Church. It is hoped that at the next meetings of the Commission, the Catholic side will agree with this position which is confirmed by numerous historical evidence.”

This statement is completely false.  The Pope was always viewed as the head of the Church, and although there were always attempts in the Greek church to usurp this role, for the first 1000 years of the Church the Primacy of the See of Peter was clear.  When the East repeatedly fell into heresy after about AD 350, it was the West, and, in particular, Rome, that would have to set things straight again.  Saying that the East just appealed to Rome occasionally to answer some questions is ridiculous – the entire Church, including the frequently wayward Greek Church, constantly referred to Rome on core issues of doctrine, recognizing the See of Peter as the final source of Authority in the Church.  I find this claim completely flabbergasting, and it calls into question both the integrity of Hilarion and the entire motives of the Russian Orthodox Church in these talks.  It’s like saying Peter wasn’t the head of the apostles, he was just a guy that Jesus talked with sometimes. 

I am forced to wonder if the Russian Church hasn’t simply been playing up the prospects of some ecumenical advance in order to wrangle from the Catholic Church more concessions on issues like whether many Churches in Russia should be returned to Catholic ownership, and how far Catholic evangelization efforts in countries like the Ukraine can advance.  It would be very disappointing to see that all this talk about a potential reunion wasn’t just a cynical exercise in realpolitick by the Russian Church.  But it would not be the first time.  There have been a half dozen or more occasions where the Eastern, and Russian church in particular, seemed to make overtures towards reunion, and they always collapsed.  Am I learning why?

A good night out – see Sarah Palin and raise money to stop abortion September 29, 2010

Posted by Tantumblogo in Abortion, Dallas Diocese.
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Whether you love her or hate her, there is no doubt that Sarah Palin is now one of the most influential personalities in American politics.  A group called Heroic Media is hosting Mrs. Palin in Dallas at the Majestic Theater on Wednesday, November 10 at 6 pm.  They have a range of ticket options – $50 for general admission, $100 for preferred seating, going up to $25,000 for a personal meet and greet, which is really more tempting than it should be for me.  I have no idea why that might be……

Here’s the Catholic angle – Heroic Media raises money to engage in pro-life advertising, specifically targeting women who may be contemplating abortion.  Billboards, magazine ads, etc.   So, even if you find Sarah Palin the most dangerous woman in America, you might still want to go just to help the pro-life cause.  Me, I think she’s pretty good, though she’s showed some questionable judgement at times regarding political endorsements.  But, I also recognize that she is a captivating speaker and someone who holds views that align pretty well with Catholic moral doctrine, especially that regarding life issues.  This isn’t my kind of gig, but I’d still consider going to see her speak and help out this pro-life media effort.  Anyone that can field dress a caribou on the Alaskan tundra deserves some respect, and not the weird violence tinged sexkitten fantasies projected on her by the left.

So, there you go.  I wonder if my wife would consider the $25,000 as an investment in my future political career…….

St. Augustine on sin September 29, 2010

Posted by Tantumblogo in Basics, General Catholic.
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I’ve been reading St. Augustine’s Confessions.  St. Augustine was pretty hard on himself in that book…..I’m afraid my past makes his look pretty tame.  Seeing how his sins grieved him, even many years later, I should probably don sackcloth and ashes permanently.  Would it be wrong for me to wear a rough brown wool or burlap accoutrement like the Franciscans did/do?  Anyways, St. Augustine on different types of sin, from Book III Chapter 8:

Surely it is never wrong at any time or in any place for a man to love God with his whole heart and his whole soul and his hole mind and to love his neighbor as himself [Matt 22:37, 39]?  Sins against nature, therefore, like the sin of Sodom, are abominable and deserve punishment wherever and whenever they are committed.  If all nations committed them, all alike would be held guilty of the same charge in God’s Law, for our Maker did not prescirbe that we should use each other in that way.  In fact, the relationship which we ought to have with God is itself violated when our nature, of which He is the Author, is desecrated by perverted lust.

On the other hand, offenses against human codes of conduct vary according to differences of custom, so that no one, whether he is a native or a foreigner, may, to suit his own pleasure, violate the conventions established by the customary usage of the law of the community or the state…..But if God commands a nation to do something contrary to its customs or constitutions, it must be done even if it has never been doine in that country before. 

I find some obvious interest in the first paragraph, where St. Augustine establishes that sins against nature, such as homosexual acts or abortion or the use of contraception, are always and everywhere wrong, because they pervert the order of our human nature, given to us by the God who loved us into being.  God killed Onan for the sin of coitus interruptus, withdrawing rather than impregnating his deceased brother’s wife – the first Biblical prohibition against the use of contraception, because he perverted the nature of a human act, coitus, in order to avoid an outcome he did not like.  In our present culture, it is these sins that are most prevalent, and most tolerated, by the culture – we have essentially re-written the laws of man to be in violation of the laws of God in many cases.

St. Augustine’s decrying sodomy and other un-natural acts are interesting given the context of his times.  Roman culture borrowed much from ancient Greece, including a culture that at the least tolerated pederasty and other homosexual acts, most typically between men.  While a number of prominent individuals in Roman society from the time of the Republic until the Empire became overtly Chrisitan decried these homosexual acts, there was little headway made in curtailing them until Christianity spread and rose in influence.  St. Augustine is advocating the typical belief held by all Christian thinkers from Apostolic times, that sexual acts between males (and woman lying with woman) were always and everywhere wrong – no matter if the dominant partner (top?) was a very powerful person and the submissive (bottom?) was the lowest of slaves – status did not matter, custom did not matter, culture did not matter – these acts were always and everywhere wrong because they pervert human nature and violated God’s clearly written law.  Other early Doctors agree, including Chrysostom and Cyril of Alexandria.  Certainly, I think the very clear writings of the early Church fathers should weigh heavily in current day considerations with regard to homosexual activism.  There is nothing new under the sun.

What is most interesting to me, however, is the bit about countries changing their laws to conform to the Law of God.  I do not know that this has ever been achieved in practice – perhaps during the Carolingian Empire?  This gets back to Voris’ exhortation on truly Catholic government – which he identified as a very benevolent Catholic monarchy.  Can such a thing really exist in a world filled with incredibly sinful men like me?

More like this – Bishop leads Eucharistic Procession to abortion mill September 29, 2010

Posted by Tantumblogo in Abortion, awesomeness, Dallas Diocese, General Catholic, North Deanery.
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We need much more like this.  This is the kind of bold, public exhibition of the Faith that can make a significant difference in the culture and immensely strengthen our identity as Catholics:

In time for the upcoming Respect Life Month of October, Bishop Samuel Aquila of Fargo, North Dakota presided over an annual Mass and led a procession over 700 people to a local abortion clinic last Sunday, encountering oppositional protestors for the first time.The Diocese of Fargo estimated that on Sunday, 700 to 800 people from St. Mary’s Cathedral processed to the local Red River Women’s Clinic, North Dakota’s only abortion facility in downtown Fargo. Director of Communications for the diocese Tanya R. Watterud told CNA that Bishop Aquila led the procession several blocks, carrying a monstrance with Blessed Sacrament and also sprinkling the clinic with holy water amidst pro-abortion demonstrators.

During his homily at the Mass preceding the procession, Bishop Aquila stated that the purpose of the event was “to give witness to the gift of life and particularly the dignity of human life from the moment of conception to natural death.”

We currently have the 40 days for life ongoing in the Dallas Diocese.  This is one of the two biggest pro-life events of the year, the other being the very sad anniversary of Roe v. Wade.  There is going to be a priest, Fr. Alphonse Nazzarro out at 40 days for life today at noon (Wednesday, Sept. 29), and that is a great thing.  It could perhaps be even greater if we had Bishop Farrell leading a procession to an abortion mill, a Eucharistic or Marian Procession, during this event.  That is something I think many area Catholics would be very glad to participate in.  I think when we see priests, and especially bishops, leading these kinds of efforts, it shows to the faithful the very high priority we should place on the moral doctrine of the Faith, and gives witness to the role it should play in our lives.

I pray we see more priests, religious, and bishops involved in publically proclaiming the Faith through word and action.

h/t Abbey Roads

Can bishops legitimately forbid pastors to celebrate Traditional Latin Mass? September 28, 2010

Posted by Tantumblogo in Dallas Diocese, Latin Mass, North Deanery, scandals, sickness.
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The esteemable Fr. Z has a post concerning whether or not bishops, in light of the Pope’s Motu Proprio Summorum Pontifucum, can legitimately block the use of EF Mass in the parishes of their diocese.  Fr. Z, and the canon lawyer he consulted, say no:

I have of late received more than one email from readers with similar questions.

In effect, they have asked if diocesan bishops can forbid pastors to add a Traditional Latin Mass to the Sunday Mass schedule, or if the local bishop can force the pastor to eliminate an existing TLM from the schedule.

From what I am picking up, it may be that a few bishop are trying to restrict the use of the older form of the Missale Romanum to one church/parish only.  In doing so, they seem to be ignoring the existence of Summorum Pontificum.

A pastor (parochus) does not need the permission of the bishop to use the 1962 Missale Romanum or to place a TLM on the parish schedule.

Pope Benedict XVI’s Motu Proprio says (in my translation and with my emphases):

§ 2.  Celebration according to the Missal of Bl. John XXIII can take place on weekdays; on Sunday, however, and feasts there can be also one celebration of this kind.

Art. 5, § 1.  In parishes, where there is stably present a group of the faithful attached to the previous liturgical tradition, let the pastor willingly receive their petitions that Mass be celebrated according to the Rite of the Missale Romanum issued in 1962.  Let him see to it that the good of these faithful be harmoniously brought into accord with the ordinary pastoral care of the parish, under the governance of the Bishop according to canon 392, by avoiding discord and by fostering the unity of the whole Church.


Art. 7.  Where some group of the lay faithful, mentioned in art. 5 § 1 will not have obtained the things sought from the pastor, let the Diocesan Bishop be informed about the matter.  The Bishop is strenuously asked that he graciously grant their desireIf does not want to provide for a celebration of this kind, let the matter be referred to the Pontifical Commission “Ecclesia Dei”.

In reading 5, § 1, pay close attention to that “avoiding discord”.  Few things create discord in a parish faster than changing the Mass schedule.  It is very important, therefore, that those who are inclined to the traditional form of Mass not be the source of the discord.

Keep in mind that 5, § 1 mentions CIC 1983 can. 392.

Can. 392 §1 Since the Bishop must defend the unity of the universal Church, he is bound to foster the discipline which is common to the whole Church, and so press for the observance of all ecclesiastical laws.

§2 He is to ensure that abuses do not creep into ecclesiastical discipline, especially concerning the ministry of the word, the celebration of the sacraments and sacramentals, the worship of God and the cult of the saints, and the administration of goods.

Thus, bishops cannot ignore Summorum Pontificum.  At the same time we could probably identity one or two bishops who, although they have not regulated very well the liturgical practice of their dioceses in respect to curbing obvious abuses, are willing to repress more traditional forms that are perfectly legitimate.

After consultation with a canonist about the meaning of can. 392, it seems that it would be abuse of power by a bishop to micromanage a parishes schedule so as to eliminate a TLM when there is not really a strong need to do so and provided that the schedule adequately and reasonably suits the other needs of the parishioners.   Common sense and charity should prevail.

Interesting analysis.  Now, Fr. Z is definitely a proponent of the Extraordinary Form of the Mass.  Are there views out there that claim it is legitimate for a bishop to put in place severe restrictions on the EF Mass?  Perhaps, although I’ve not come across such an argument that is convincing.  Most of the arguments seem to hinge on that Canon 392, that the bishop must insure that “abuses do not creep in” and so will claim that the priests/altar boys etc. are not sufficiently trained to celebrate EF, or even NO Latin, Mass.  This canon lawyer (Dr. Ed Peters?), says that is not really a fair reading of Canon 392.   Now, in 2007, Bishop Farrell wrote:

In accordance with Article V of the Motu Proprio it is the responsibility of the Bishop of the Diocese to oversee the celebration of the liturgy in all of its Forms. As most of our priests have no formal liturgical training in the use of the Extraordinary Form I ask that any priest who wishes to celebrate this Form to contact me so that I can assist him in receiving adequate training in this Liturgical Form. In his letter to the Bishops of the world, the Holy Father pointed out that the celebration of the Mass in the Extraordinary Form”… presupposes a certain degree of liturgical formation and some knowledge of the Latin language.”
It is my intention to establish a committee of four priests who have knowledge of the Tridentine Rite to assist me in reviewing all requests from priests and the laity to establish public Masses in the Extraordinary Form. It will be the responsibility of this committee to assess the Pastoral needs of the people as well as the capacity of our priests and parishes to celebrate the Mass in this Form.
I encourage any priest who seeks to celebrate the Extraordinary Form for the first time, privately or publicly, to seek a review of his abilities to celebrate the Rite in a worthy and noble manner. It would be most unfortunate if, due to a lack of liturgical training or misinterpretation of the rubrics, this Sacred Form was not celebrated with the dignity it requires.
As I visit the Parishes I am impressed by the dedication of some of our brother priests who, because of the needs of our people, celebrate six or more Masses on a weekend. I have also received requests from Pastors to establish Masses in additional national languages, but I have been reluctant to do so due to a lack of priests. I would hope that, if any priest feels that he could be of assistance in helping some of our more populated parishes, he would be willing to do so.

As far as I know, that committee of priests has still not formed. Also, I don’t think the last paragraph is a non-sequitir….I think Bishop Farrell is strongly implying that the priests of the Diocese are already overburdened with Sunday Masses, and that if a priest feels he has time to add a Latin Mass, perhaps he should go relieve one of his brother priests from some of his excess burden.  There also seems to be the implication that there is greater demand for Mass in Urdu than there is in Latin, and that the needs of these “national languages” are a more justifiable use of the priest’s time.  But then, that’s just my reading….

My question is, what about adding one weekday Mass per week, or even month?  That would not appear to be as dire a situation, as few (if any) parishes celebrate more than two daily Masses as is.  I know of very few priests who celebrate more than one daily Mass.  And what about Novus Ordo Latin Mass…..that has always been “permissible” (as if permission were needed for Latin in the Latin Church!!!), and yet I have been told that the same, ah……restrictions?…..listed above, apply to Novus Ordo as well.   

In this diocese, we’ve seen permission given for speakers like Richard Rohr, Joyce Rupp, Thomas Keating, and Charles Curran, all problematic in the extreme, to hold conferences in church sanctuaries.  There have been all manner of liturgical abuses, some ongoing, some in the past.  We have churches with no kneelers, in fact, where kneeling is frowned upon.  While getting better, we still have limited opportunities to adore our Lord.  Why is it that these Doctrine-rejecting speakers, these liturgies that deviate from norms, seem to have no problem occurring, while celebrating a Mass in Latin seems to evoke such strong limitations?  

Why indeed?