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Reminder – Latin Mass tonight! June 20, 2011

Posted by Tantumblogo in awesomeness, Basics, Dallas Diocese, episcopate, General Catholic, Latin Mass, North Deanery.
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We had a very good turnout at the first Novus Ordo Latin Mass celebrated at St. Mark last week.  Let us have even more this week!  If you have an interest in Mass celebrated in Latin, please come out!  This Mass is sort of an ‘experiment’……if many attend, it will be continued and possibly expand to other days of the week.  If it is little attended, it may be cancelled altogether.  It is critical to have high attendance!  If you pray for reverent Mass and a return to the traditions of the Church, please consider coming out!  The Mass is at 7pm every Monday night and is celebrated by Fr. Hopka.  The first Mass, last week, was a great success.  I pray even more will assist at this Mass and the evident demand for such celebrations of the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass will lead to more Latin Mass in the Diocese! 

If you gripe about the quality of the Mass you typically assist at, then this is the Mass for you!

Radaelli – ‘Spirit of Vatican II’ must burn through the fires of Tradition and Doctrine June 20, 2011

Posted by Tantumblogo in awesomeness, Basics, Dallas Diocese, disaster, Ecumenism, episcopate, General Catholic, Latin Mass, sadness, scandals, sickness, Society.
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There has been an ongoing and exceptional series of articles and editorials in the Italian newspaper L’Esspreso which amounts to a debate between those who feel that Vatican II and it’s ‘spirit’ do somehow exist in continuity with the traditional Doctrine of the Faith, and those who argue that Vatican II represents, at least in its application, a rupture or lack of continuity.  In essence, it is a proxy war being fought between elements in the Church, inclucing bishops and cardinals, who desire to maintain the status quo regarding Vatican II and its implementation, and those who wish to see Vatican II clarified in the light of Tradition.  Enrico Radaelli is a professor of philosophy and a staunch traditionalist – he has added his voice to the debate, establishing his view through crystalline logic and analysis that Vatican II, or at least its implementation, represents a radical break with the past Tradition and Doctrine of the Faith, and all the bizaare and hurtful practices that have come forth (including: “panecumenism; relations with the other religions; the equation of the God worshiped by Christians, Jews, and Muslims; correction of the ‘doctrine of replacement’ of the Synagogue with the Church into the “doctrine of the two parallel salvations”; unicity of the sources of Revelation; religious freedom; anthropocentric anthropology instead of theocentric; iconoclasm; or what gave rise to the ‘Novus Ordo Missæ’ in place of the Gregorian rite (now slung alongside the former, but subordinately).”

It’s a long article, so I’ll only quote a bit, but you should read the entire thing – Radaelli builds his case with great precision, establishing Vatican II as fundamentally different from other Councils, establishing neither Doctrine nor anathametizing error, and thus constituting only a weak, third level of the Magisterium, one which may not require obedience.  An excerpt:

What in my view has been perpetrated in the Church for fifty years is a deliberate amalgamation of continuity and rupture. It is the studied government of spurious ideas and intentions in which the Church has been changed without changing it, under the cover (as Monsignor Gherardini neatly illustrates even in his most recent books) of an intentionally suspended magisterium – beginning with the opening discourse of the Council, “Gaudet Mater Ecclesi” – in a completely unnatural and completely invented form, called, with deliberate theological imprecision, “pastoral.” The Church has been emptied of the doctrines hardly or not at all fit for ecumenism, and thus disliked by the luminaries seen above, and has been filled with the ecumenical ideas of these same persons, and this has been done without touching in any way the metaphysical vestment of the Church, which is dogmatic by nature (cf. p. 62), meaning supernatural by nature, but working only in that field of its magisterium which impinges only on its “historical preservation.”

In other words: there is no formal rupture, nor formal continuity, only because the popes of the last fifty years have refused to ratify in the dogmatic form of level two the doctrines of level three that under their reign are devastating and emptying the Church (cf. p. 285). That means that in this way, the Church no longer matches the truth, but neither does it lose it, because the popes, even on the occasion of a Council, have formally refused both to dogmatize the new doctrines and to strike with anathema the nonetheless disfavored (or corrected, or spun) former doctrines.

As can be seen, one can also maintain that this deplorable situation would constitute a sin of the magisterium, and a grave one, both against faith and against charity (p. 54): it does not seem, in fact, that we may disobey the commandment of the Lord to teach the nations (cf. Matthew 28:19-20) with all the fullness of the gift of understanding bestowed upon us, without thereby “deviating from the rectitude that the act – that is, the ‘teaching instructive in right doctrine’ – must have” (Summa Theologiae I, 25, 3, ad 2). A sin against the faith because it puts it in danger, and in fact the Church over the past fifty years, emptied of true doctrines, has been emptied of faithful, of religious and priests, becoming a shadow of itself (p. 76). A sin against charity because the faithful are deprived of the beauty of the magisterial teaching and the visual beauty with which only the truth shines, as I illustrate in the whole second chapter of my book. The sin would be one of omission: it would be the sin of “omission of the dogmaticity proper to the Church” (pp. 60ff.), with which the Church intentionally would not supernaturally seal and thus would not guarantee the guidelines for living that it gives us.

This state of sin in which the holy Church would be plunged (this always means: of some men of the holy Church, or the Church in its historical component), if found, should be lifted and even penitentially cleansed, since, as Cardinal José Rosalio Castillo Lara wrote to Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger in 1988, its current stubborn and culpable stance “would favor the deplorable tendency [. . .] toward an ambiguous government called ‘pastoral’, which at bottom is not pastoral, because it leads to overlooking the due exercise of authority to the detriment of the common good of the faithful” (pp. 67f).

In order to restore the Church’s parity with the truth, as it has been restored every time it has found itself in such dramatic tempests, there is no other way than to return to the fullness of its “munus docendi,” putting through the sieve of dogma, and turning 360 degrees, all the false doctrines with which it is drenched today, and resuming as a “habitus” of its most ordinary and pastoral teaching (in the rigorous sense of the term: “transfer of the divine Word in the dioceses and in the parishes all over the world”) the dogmatic stance that supernaturally led it through the centuries until now.

Restoring the suspended magisterial fullness would restore to the historical Church the metaphysical essence virtually taken away from it, and with that would bring back to the earth the divine beauty in all its most distinctive and savory fragrance………….

This act that is being proposed here, the only one that could bring back into a single wax, as it should be, those two powerful souls that throb in the holy Church and in the same being, one recognizable in the men “especially faithful to what the Church is,” the other in the men whose spirit is more bent to its future, and the act that, putting a decisive end to a rather uncharitable and insincere fifty-year situation, summarizes in a supernatural government the holy concepts of Tradition and audacity. In order to rebuild the Church and return to producing beauty, Vatican II must be read through the grid of Tradition, with the fiery audacity of dogma.

You must read the whole article to get all the meaning of the above.  Basically, though, Raedelli is calling for what others have called for previously – an examination of Vatican II and what has come since then in the light of Tradition and Doctrine, in the established beliefs of the Church.  This is nothing more than requesting that the Church perform its most basic function, the function that Christ instituted in Peter when he gave him the ‘Keys of the Kingdom:” to separate Truth from error.  Many had hoped that Pope Benedict XVI would begin this process already, based on his writings as Cardinal Ratzinger, but he has not done so.  And so the calls for clarity, from Gherardini, Schneider, Radaelli, and others.

The dangers of the Pope as ‘private theologian’ June 20, 2011

Posted by Tantumblogo in Basics, Dallas Diocese, foolishness, General Catholic, Papa, scandals.
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I love history.  One of the things I love most about the study of history is how it can reveal much about the present.  We are all fallen creatures, after all, and many of the mistakes we make today have been made before.  We can see how that played out before, and, hopefully, be smarter this time.

I love Pope Benedict XVI.  He has given  many great gifts to the Church, and he is surely one of the most brilliant Pontiffs ever – probably the greatest mind the Papacy has seen in 100 years or more.  And I know he loves to think and to write and to teach.  But there is some danger here.  The Pope has an incredibly powerful position.  His thoughts influence, or should influence, the mind and faith of every Catholic.  And herein lies the danger.

In the early 14th Century, a similar elderly theologian became Pope – Pope John XXII.  Pope John XXII liked to discourse on various theological subjects, but he had a problem with one aspect of Catholic belief.  He came to believe that there were different grades of the Beatific Vision, specifically, that souls after their particular judgment who went to Heaven had a poorer state than they would have after the general judgment, when their souls would be reunited with their bodies.  The Beatific Vision is the ultimate bliss of which the human soul is capable – it is the literal beholding of God.  Pope John XXII was arguing that the Saints in Heaven had a deficient view enjoyment of the Beatific Vision, until the general judgment and Resurrection when their souls would be reunited with thier bodies.  There were all kinds of problems with this view, which many critics at the time pointed out.  Some feared it was a revival of the Nestorian heresy. 

Pope John XXII made plain that he expressed these problematic views as a ‘private theologian’ – that his views were not binding on Catholics to accept.  He was not teaching definitively – he even stated that his views might be wrong.  But as Dr. Warren Carroll points out, even as a private theologian, the Pope holds huge sway:

But a Pope can never really be only a ‘private theologian.’ While he may speak on theological issues without intending to bind the faithful, his unique post and duties and responsibilities make it inevitable that any pronouncement by him on such issues will have enormous impact. He cannot avoid seeming to teach whenever he speaks on theology. For a Pope to propose a doctrine, actually or apparently contrary to that held by most of the Church, when he is not sure of its truth, is imprudent in the highest degree.  No Pope has ever gone so far in such imprudence as John XXII in the Beatific Vision controversy.

The parallels with Pope Benedict XVI are obvious.  The Pope’s recent book Light of the World proposed some theological arguments which appeared to at least question some of the established Doctrine of the Faith.  The Pope was sort of ‘wondering out loud’ if there may be cases where the use of condoms in sexual activity could be moral.  Whether the Pope meant to question Church Doctrine or not, the ‘takeaway’ of many in the media and broader culture is that he was.  Like John XXII, at the least, his comments regarding the use of condoms seem very imprudent.   Pope Benedict XVI has thankfully not continued to push his doctrinal query in a broadly public way – Pope John XXII nearly came to heresy in spite of opposition from nearly all bishops, priests, and theologians of his time, finally recanting on his deathbed. 

I don’t know that I have a huge point to take away from this post, other than not being able to write and discuss things as a ‘private theologian’ may be one of those crosses Popes have to bear.  And that everything that comes to pass has come before – ‘there is nothing new under the sun.’

Fr. Michael Rodriguez continues his lonely struggle……. June 20, 2011

Posted by Tantumblogo in awesomeness, Basics, episcopate, General Catholic, sadness, scandals, sickness, Society.
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…….against the advance of the chimera of ‘gay rights.’  Out in El Paso, he has suffered greatly for the Truth Christ has revealed through his Church.  Below is a video of a speech he made before the El Paso city council, which is trying again to extend health care and other benefits to ‘domestic partners,’ especially the lovers of homosexual city employees.  There is great confusion in El Paso on what the Church believes with regard to homosexuality, apparently – city council members have claimed they have been told ‘by the Diocese’ that the ‘Diocese’ favors gay partner benefits.  It is very likely some source within the Diocese has said such things, and I am sad to report that even many priests, apparently, share this view.  But Fr. Rodriguez makes plain the Truth Christ has revealed through His Church – that homosexuality is intrinsically disordered and that homosexual acts are always sinful, and that Catholics cannot support anything that would help promote either the disordered lifestyle or the sin. 

As you can see, there appears to be a great deal of confusion in El Paso about what the Church believes with regard to homosexuality.  It appears that there are some in the Church there, perhaps even many, who have substituted cultural mores or a certain political view of homosexuality for what the Church believes.  It is a great blessing to have such a defender of the Faith.  On a side note, I always find it inspiring to see priests dressed in traditional clerical garb in public, especially the cassock!  It shows a willingness to live the Faith at all times, and even put up with societal hostility towards Jesus Christ and His Church.

I love it when he says that Western Civilization has only flourished insofar as it has upheld the beliefs of the Church.

His reply to the hostile city councilmember, who invoked the usual clubs with which to beat the Church, was masterful.  Many people, including those within the Church, like to point to the individual failures of many within the Church as evidence of the Church’s corruption.  Such could be said of any organization, of course, but even the examples speak to the moral authority of the Church – the failures of individual priests are shocking precisely because of the moral authority the Church holds.  I found the reference to the Pope’s correct statement that condoms do not help prevent the spread of HIV (a sacred shibolleth of the religion of leftism) very distasteful. 

It is a great shame that Fr. Rodriguez was NOT present as an official spokesman for the Diocese. 

From a Mass celebrated by Fr. Rodriguez:

h/t culturewarnotes


Elvis has left the building, but Fr. Corapi has not left the priesthood – UPDATE! June 20, 2011

Posted by Tantumblogo in Basics, Dallas Diocese, episcopate, General Catholic, sadness, scandals, Society.
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And no, I’m not arguing on the ground of the indelible character of the Sacrament of Holy Orders, I’m saying that Fr. Corapi will remain a priest, he will simply no longer speak as one in public (and, of course, cannot celebrate the Sacraments publicly).  Retired Bishop Rene Gracida of Corpus Christi, who approved the basing of the Society of Our Lady of the Most Holy Trinity (Fr. Corapi’s order) in the Diocese of Corpus Christi, and who has many contacts in that order, has some very interesting thoughts on the matter:

As a suspended priest he cannot function publicly as a priest, but he can continue to evangelize as long as he does not present himself to the public as a priest.

Every baptized person is given the obligation of being a witness to the truth, of being an evangelizer.  In Father Corapi’s case, the obligation is all the greater in view of the gift of the sacramental priesthood he has been given.  Prevented (hopefully only temporarily) from exercising that priesthood in a public manner during his suspension, he is aware of his obligation to be a witness to the truth and to continue to evangelize.  He evidently intends to do so until his suspension is lifted not as Father John Corapi but as The Black Sheep Dog.

Now, until his suspension is lifted, he is free from the Church’s prohibition on clerics participating in the political life of the nation.  Given his past outspoken criticism of the current slide of our government to become more and more like the socialist governments of Europe, I think that we can expect to hear The Black Sheep Dog speak out more openly on the burning issues we will face in the election year of 2012.  I know from my own experience that God sometimes “writes straight with crooked lines” as the Portuguese put it, and so perhaps God is using this new (unwanted) freedom from ecclesiastical restraint to permit The Black Sheep Dog to say some important things in the next 16 months on those burning issues.

I believe that he is justified in not seeking to clear his name through a canonical process; at the present time such processes are very flawed in most dioceses.  Rather I would like to believe that he intends to try to clear his name through the civil courts.  Since I believe that his accuser is a former manager of his media company who he terminated with some kind termination agreement, and since she has evidently sought revenge for her termination by writing to the Bishop of Corpus Christi denouncing Father John, I believe that it is possible for him to do so and I wish him every success in such an endeavor.  The basis for his lawsuit would probably be defamation of character, libel, extortion, breech of contract, or whatever.

Reading some of the comments on his blog I am appalled at the viciousness of some of them. [heh…..and hardly just the comments at Corapi’s new blog.  I think Shea just about blew a head gasket  keystroking out his missive, among others.  Many seem very happy to dismiss the great good Corapi has done as nothing but ‘get-rich’ self-aggrandizement.] It is obvious that there is very little if any love in the hearts of some of the writers. [As I was saying…….] It is almost as though some of those writers are filled with hatred for the Catholic Church and/or its priests.  It is possible to disagree about almost anything without resorting to ad hominem personal attacks.

What many of these hostile commentators seem to be unaware of is the fact that Father John Corapi does not belong to a religious order or congregation.  He is not a priest of the Diocese of Corpus Christi, he is incardinated in the Society of Our Lady of the Most Holy Trinity,  a diocesan institute I established in the Diocese of Corpus Christi when I was the Ordinary of the Diocese.  He has never held an assignment in the Diocese nor has he ever worked in the Diocese.   Following his ordination in Rome in 1991 by Blessed Pope John Paul II he has ministered in many places, but not in the Diocese of Corpus Christi.  With the permission of his superiors he established his media company in Montana and has lived there ever since.  As a member of that Society (The Society of Our Lady of the Most Holy Trinity) Father John is not bound by a vow of poverty.  He is bound by a promise of obedience to his superior, the General Priest Servant of the Society.

Alot of folks, some of whom I think have generally good motives with regard to the Church, are jumping to the easy and self-satisfying conclusion that Fr. Corapi loves Mammon more than Jesus, his ostensibly lucrative media company more than the priesthood.  For a fact, none making these claims has any idea where the money from Corapi’s media efforts goes – they assume into his pockets, but there is no evidence of that.  We don’t know where it goes.  I’m not in love with Fr. Corapi, and I think some of his ‘conversion story’ has been exaggerated for effect and that his preaching has gotten somewhat tired of late.  But he still has enormous impact and I think was faced with the choice of slipping off into ineffectual silence or going a different route – but he has not ‘left the priesthood.’ He has chosen to speak out as a non-priest during this time of suspension.  That means he can no longer market himself as Fr. John Corapi, which is a huge marketing hit.  That means all those videos that sold in very large volumes had to be cleared out of the warehouse at fire sale prices.  It means that his future in evangelization is very uncertain, but at least he controls his own destiny.

There is another point.  It is no secret that the Church is badly divided right now, and this includes the episcopate.  Fr. Corapi has many friends and supporters, and many enemies.  He referenced in his announcement that there are elements arrayed against him who want to insure he is totally silenced.  It is likely he has heard back channel from supporters that this was the intent of the ‘suspension.’  It may have been that he was told those who oppose him were likely to be successful in their effort, given the current state of affairs in the Church.  That could explain the route he took.

I defend Corapi because he is a good, orthodox priest, at least as far as his public persona is concerned.  I defend him because of the individuals attacking him.  I defend him because the self-serving conclusions being jumped to by many are just that – self-serving.  Many don’t like Corapi for his politics, for his clarity, and for his great success.  Many have waited to see the larger than life priest cut down to size.

As Fr. Z said, one thing is certain – all of our good orthodox priests need more prayers than ever.  There is a serious backlash underway and they are under horrible attack.  Please spend 5 or 10 minutes praying for your priests, at a minimum.  Pray for them by name.  Be specific about your intentions for them, and pray we have more such good men.

UPDATE: As always in fast developing situations like this, I am forced to re-apprise situations based on additional information.  The additional information comes in the form of comments from Fr. Gerry Sheehan, regional for SOLT North America (Fr. Corapi’s religious ‘boss,’ in lay terms) in the National Catholic Register, which indicate that Corapi did actually pen a resignation from the priesthood and that, more significantly, he has refused an offer to serve God in community with SOLT.  Sheehan also implies that SOLT was in the process of changing its ‘rule’ to prevent people like Corapi from keeping any of the earnings they made in the course of their religious life.  This points towards a more self-serving motive for Corapi than Bishop Gracida indicated.  I have to say right now that I know Fr. Sheehan personally and trust him implicitly – my father-in-law knows him particularly well, whereas I have met him on several occasions and corresponded with him via letters and telephone.  If Fr. Sheehan says that Corapi has submitted a resignation letter from the priesthood, you can take it to the bank.  The most positive spin to put on this is that Corapi felt that he knew he would never have a public role as a priest again and knew that the only way he could continue in a public role is to leave the priesthood.  How he came to know the above, one can only guess, and it’s certainly not ‘proven’ by any publicly available information.  The worst case analysis points towards Corapi self-servingly leaving the priesthood in order to continue his lucrative speaking engagements and video sales.  Based on Sheehan’s comments, I think this worst case scenario is more plausible than I did last night, when I was just coming back from 3 days out of town completely isolated from any source of news (if you want peace and quiet, I might suggest 3 miles NE of Phillipsburg, KS).   

I am profoundly disappointed that Corapi would choose to leave the priesthood for any reason.  To deny that great gift of celebrating the Sacraments, no matter what good one can do otherwise, points to a lack of understanding of the incredible, beyond human nature capacities that were conferred on him in the Sacrament of Holy Orders.  Evangelization is of course extremely important, but leaving the priesthood to do so seems a step too far – it says to me that Corapi thinks a bit too much of his importance in this area. 

We’ll have to see what develops at his ‘blacksheepdog’ site, and what his many followers do.  This could be a disaster, or it could be a minor triviality quickly forgotten.  Meanwhile, I say again, pray pray pray for our priests, especially those who are striving to improve catechesis, reverence in the Liturgy, and live a simple and devout life.  They are under the most severe attack at present!  And say some prayers for Fr. Sheehan, he has suffered greatly in this last year – there have been a number of issues outside Corapi that have been difficult to deal with.

One final thing – fame and fortune are often fatal to the practice of the Faith.  Look at what Fr. Corapi wrote some 27 years ago in a private correspondence, and compare that to his recent announcement.  Money and adulation can ruin the very best of souls.  Cults of personality are extremely dangerous in the Church, and there is no question Corapi has a very well developed cult.  I pray his actions do not lead any away from the Church.