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Prayer request July 6, 2011

Posted by Tantumblogo in Dallas Diocese, General Catholic, Interior Life, Latin Mass, North Deanery, religious, sadness.
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I’ve posted many times about the First Friday vigils at the Carmelite monastery in south Dallas.  Perhaps some readers of this blog have availed themselves of that great opportunity for Adoration and prayer.  Unfortunately, I have to relate that two of the Carmelite nuns there are very ill.  Reverend Mother Juanita Marie is suffering with an aggressive cancer and is undergoing chemotherapy, and Mother Marie Regina was just found with a mass between her esophagus and trachea.  Would you, in your charity, say some prayers for these women?  I pray they may be healed, and that through their sufferings they may earn tremendous Grace for themselves and others. 

It is badly needed.

Thank you and may God bless you!

A sadly needed reminder – Mass is not the place for applause July 6, 2011

Posted by Tantumblogo in Basics, Eucharist, foolishness, General Catholic, sadness, scandals.
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Not even for a good reason, not even if the priest initiates it.  This is not my opinion, it is the opinion of Pope Benedict XVI, who sees dire things in a Liturgy that is reduced to such a level that repeated outbursts of applause occur:

An important liturgical message from Cardinal Ratzinger – now Pope Benedict XVI

“Wherever applause breaks out in the liturgy because of some human achievement, it is a sure sign that the essence of liturgy has totally disappeared and been replaced by a kind of religious entertainment. ” (Spirit of the Liturgy p. 198)

This message has been brought to you by Sober Inebriation Weblog.

If you should encounter applause during Mass in your parish do not panic. Immediately after Mass go out and get a copy of Pope Benedict’s book “The Spirit of the Liturgy” by Ignatius Press and give it to your pastor as a gift. Be sure to highlight the above passage on page 198. Yellow highlighter works really, really well.

I was at a Mass this past weekend where applause broke out no fewer than 7 times.  It made me think of this:

That’s not true, it actually made me cry.

Check out The PulpIT July 6, 2011

Posted by Tantumblogo in Admin, awesomeness, General Catholic.
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I’ve found this site an increasingly useful resource, if you were not aware.  The PulpIT is a link aggregation site like some others, but tends to have the best available that day, particularly items of interests to those on the side of Tradition. 

You are likely already aware of all that, but if not, check it out!

Eucharstic miracle in Minnesota? July 6, 2011

Posted by Tantumblogo in awesomeness, Basics, Dallas Diocese, Eucharist, General Catholic, Latin Mass.
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Why would a Host made of wheat, oil, and water turn red when dissolved in more water?

Above is a photo taken by Fr. Echert, pastor of Saint Augustine in South St. Paul, MN, of a consecrated host.

The host had been accidentally dropped on the ground last week during the distribution of Holy Communion at a daily Mass.

It was subsequently placed in water to dissolve so that it could be poured down the sacrarium.

Fr. Grabner, the parochial vicar, went to check on the host a few days later, on the Feast of Corpus Christi, and found that not only had it not dissolved, but that it had turned red.

Is there a natural explanation? You decide.

The Chancery has been notified

Some notes about the priest/parish from Eponymous Flower (which should have been on my blogroll a long time ago):

Editor: St. Augustine’s is a parish which has the Immemorial Mass of All Ages in South Saint Paul. Father Echert has long been a priest friendly to tradition of impeccable reputation and great learning, having graduated from the infamous, but very challenging, Biblicum in Rome. He’s also a Chaplain in the Air Force where he’s served on a number of occasions, ministering to military personnel. What’s being gotten at is that he’s a very credible and serious man

Speaking of the Liturgy…. July 6, 2011

Posted by Tantumblogo in awesomeness, Basics, Dallas Diocese, disaster, episcopate, Eucharist, General Catholic, horror, Latin Mass, North Deanery, sadness, scandals, sickness.
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…..so, I’m reading this book I got just before the holiday.  I had  meant to read several books before getting to this one, but I took it with me when we were out of town and, having finished some other reading, started on it.  I was immediately captivated, although it is a fairly scholarly book.  It is The Banished Heart, written by Professor Geoffrey Hull of Macquarie University, Sydney.  I’ve only read the first 40 pages or so, but they are beyond interesting, they are positively illuminating.  I’m totally hooked.

Professor Hull argues (among many, many other things) that the use of (un)extraordinary ministers of Holy Communion, and the reception of Communion in the hand, are two of the gravest abuses of the post-conciliar times.  He establishes convincingly that, contrary to what is frequently claimed, while the early Church did allow Communion to be received in the hand, this was more a product of the environment the Church had to exist in than any kind of reverent practice.  Due to the constant persecution of the Romans, the Liturgy often had to be celebrated quick and on the fly, for the Liturgy could be interrupted at any moment.  So, Communion in the hand was permitted, but the practice was also very different.  The communicant could not touch the Host with their fingers, they had to move the Host directly from the palm of the hand to the mouth, and they were closely supervised to insure that no abuses occurred.  After this initial period passed, when many elements of the Liturgy and Theology of the Church were still in flux, being in their definitional stages, there was a conscious move away from Communion in the hand, and the practice was completely banned between the early 4th and middle of the 5th centuries, depending on the location.  It must be remembered that even many elements of core theology were still being defined at this time, and that the persecutions played a major role in how the Liturgy was celebrated, so that it is rather bizaare to hearken back to this time and trying to establish Communion in the hand as a practice somehow more fitting to the Liturgy of today, when these exterior conditions no longer prevail.

Regarding extraordinary ministers of Holy Communion, the practice is completely novel.  There is no evidence it has ever occurred in the history of the Church, save for these last 30 years or so.  There are countless reasons why only the priest was allowed to place the Blessed Sacrament on the tongue of the recipient – it emphasizes the Sacramental role of the priesthood and the recipient’s unworthy nature to literally receive the Body of Jesus Christ as food for their total nourishment, it shows the extreme reverence which we are to have for the Blessed Sacrament, with only those specifically consecrated to God as priests being allowed to handle it, and it heightens the Eucharistic mystery by reserving its consecration and handling by only those who are properly instituted to do so. 

After Communion in the hand was banned, and I mean banned, to have the profane fingers of an unconsecrated lay person touch the Blessed Sacrament was seen as the highest sacrilege.  The practice was completely forbidden in the Latin Church for at least 1500 years.  We must keep in mind here the organic development of the Mass.  Organically, this practice of reserving the handling of the Blessed Sacrament had evolved over the first few hundred years of the Church to become an accepted practice.  It was no medieval accident – much thought went into the development of this practice.

But, in the 1960s, liturgical revolutionaries (a term used by some of those most involved in the reform of the Mass after Vatican II) sought to ‘democratize’ the Church by doing away with reverent receipt of the Blessed Sacrament.  After all, modern man no longer went on bended knee before earthly king or prince, why should they do so at Mass?  Neither Communion in the hand nor the use of extraordinary ministers of Holy Communion were specified by the Second Vatican Council.  Both evolved out of abuses that were later ‘normalized’ by decree for various reasons (but mostly due to pressure from various episcopal conferences, who threatened to go into schism and go ahead with these practices even without Papal sanction).  Even today, the use of ‘extraordinary’ ministers is supposed to be just that – for extraordinary occasions, but as we all see at Mass, it is anything but.  I wonder if those who now try to piously assist at Mass by being an EMHC would continue to do so if they understood the history of the Church with regards to lay people handling the Blessed Sacrament?

Get the book. 



Altar rails making a comeback? July 6, 2011

Posted by Tantumblogo in awesomeness, Basics, Dallas Diocese, disaster, episcopate, Eucharist, foolishness, General Catholic, Latin Mass, North Deanery, sadness, scandals.
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Unfortunately, I don’t see this as a major trend, certainly not locally, but I will certainly pray that this return to proper church design accelerates!

Altar (Communion) rails are returning for all the right reasons.

Said Father Markey: “First, the Holy Father is requiring holy Communion from him be received on the knees. Second, it’s part of our tradition as Catholics for centuries to receive holy Communion on the knees. Third, it’s a beautiful form of devotion to our blessed Lord.”

James Hitchcock, professor and author of Recovery of the Sacred (Ignatius Press, 1995), thinks the rail resurgence is a good idea. The main reason is reverence, he said. “Kneeling’s purpose is to facilitate adoration,” he explained.

When Stroik proposed altar rails for the Shrine of Our Lady of Guadalupe, “Cardinal [Raymond] Burke [yay Cardinal Burke!] liked the idea and thought that was something that would give added reverence to the Eucharist and sanctuary.”

In Eastern Orthodox churches, there is an iconostasis — a wall of icons and religious paintings that separate the nave from the sanctuary — rather than altar rail separating the sanctuary. While the altar rail is usually about two feet high, the iconostasis veils most of the sanctuary.

“The altar rail is nothing compared to that,” he says, “and these are our Eastern brethren. We can benefit and learn something.” [This is a key point.  The distorted view of ‘ecumenism’ that predominated during and after Vatican II in many circles was focused very heavily towards protestantism, especially in the areas of the <sigh> reform of the Liturgy and the church design that went hand in hand with that.  Many of the changes to the Liturgy and our churches were and are baffling, even offensive, to the Eastern Orthodox, with whom we as Catholics have far more in common than with the protestants.  A case in point, is the heightened in closer ties from several Orthodox churches since the pontificate of Benedict XVI signaled something of a return to Tradition, and especially since Summorum Pontificum was released]

They may be returning, but were altar rails supposed to be taken out of sanctuaries?

“There is nothing in Vatican II or post-conciliar documents which mandate their removal,” said Denis McNamara, author of Catholic Church Architecture and the Spirit of the Liturgy (Hillenbrand Books, 2009) and assistant director and professor at the Liturgical Institute of the University of Saint Mary of the Lake in Mundelein, Ill.

Cardinal Francis Arinze strongly affirmed this point during a 2008 video session while he was still prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments:  “The Church from Rome never said to remove the altar rails.”

So what happened?

“Unfortunately, democratic ideas came into the situation after Vatican II,” Hitchcock said. 

Stroik points some out of these ideas: a general iconoclasm that rejected the past, a desire to make churches into gathering spaces more like Protestant meeting houses, and the argument that kneeling is a sign of submission, which is seen as disrespectful to the modern person — we didn’t kneel before kings and queens, so it was more “democratic” not to kneel.

Added McNamara: “Some people called them ‘fences’ which set up division between priest and people.”

“Of course,” he said, “theologically there is a significant meaning in the distinction between nave and sanctuary. Just as there was confusion over the roles of ordained and laity at the time, so there was confusion about the architectural manifestation of those roles.”
Altar rails give “a clear designation as to what is the sanctuary,” Father Markey said. “The word ‘sanctuary’ comes from the word ‘holy,’ which means ‘set apart.’ The sanctuary is set apart from the rest of the church because it reinforces our understanding of what holiness is. The sanctuary is symbolically the head of the church and represents Christ as the head.” [A local priest I highly respect mentions that, during this time of liturgical upheaval, “many mistakes were made.”  Mistakes like tearing out marble altar rails paid for at great expense by our forebears, and then using them as curbs in the parking lot.  Many beautiful churches were horribly disfigured in a fervor of ‘renewal’ that mirrored the protestant desacralization of many churches during the early stages of their revolt]

“[The altar rail] is still a marker of the place where heaven and earth meet, indicating that they are not yet completely united,” McNamara explained.

“But, at the same time, the rail is low, very permeable, and has a gate, so it does not prevent us from participating in heaven. So we could say there is a theology of the rail, one which sees it as more than a fence, but as a marker where heaven and earth meet, where the priest, acting in persona Christi, reaches across from heaven to earth to give the Eucharist as the gift of divine life.”

There have been some, perhaps even many, in the Church who have tried to claim that altar rails and many other elements of church design that had been in place for centuries were mere contrivances of medieval piety, with no real theological or liturgical basis for their existence.  Certainly, the main architect of the new Mass, Anibale Bugnini, tried to argue thusly.  But, as the article briefly illustrates (for there is much more depth of reason, theologically and liturgically, for the presence and use of altar rails), altar rails have a profound role to play in the Catholic Liturgy.  There is nothing in the conciliar documents that specified their removal.

There is much more gold in the NCR article.  Check it out. 

Things don’t look so good regarding Corapi July 6, 2011

Posted by Tantumblogo in Basics, Dallas Diocese, disaster, episcopate, foolishness, General Catholic, Our Lady, sadness, scandals, sickness, Society.
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I may attract the true believers, but the latest statement from SOLT obviously raises grave concerns.  I think prayers are needed all around, as well as memories of the very good work Corapi did circa 1991 – 2004.  I do know Fr. Sheehan somewhat – I don’t think he’d be making this stuff up.  I don’t think he could be pressured to release false data. There is still perhaps a shadow of a doubt, but that’s about all:

SOLT’s fact-finding team has acquired information from Fr. Corapi’s e-mails, various witnesses, and public sources that, together, state that, during his years of public ministry:

He did have sexual relations and years of cohabitation (in California and Montana) with a woman known to him, when the relationship began, as a prostitute; He repeatedly abused alcohol and drugs; He has recently engaged in sexting activity with one or more women in Montana; He holds legal title to over $1 million in real estate, numerous luxury vehicles, motorcycles, an ATV, a boat dock, and several motor boats, which is a serious violation of his promise of poverty as a perpetually professed member of the Society.

SOLT has contemporaneously with the issuance of this press release directed Fr. John Corapi, under obedience, to return home to the Society’s regional office and take up residence there. It has also ordered him, again under obedience, to dismiss the lawsuit he has filed against his accuser.

SOLT’s prior direction to Fr. John Corapi not to engage in any preaching or teaching, the celebration of the sacraments or other public ministry continues. Catholics should understand that SOLT does not consider Fr. John Corapi as fit for ministry.

I do agree with Bishop Gracida that, if the allegations about Corapi’s wealthy lifestyle, entirely unbefitting a priest, are true, they reflect very poorly on SOLT’s oversight.  SOLT’s charism has been somewhat unclear, as well as their odd relations ‘in their early days’ regarding how individual religious, priestly or not, funded themselves and the oversight of their financial activities.  It appears it may have been something of a ‘wild west’ atmosphere.  Be that as it may, if these allegations are true, and I am certain Fr. Sheehan believes they are, they point towards a man lost in sin.  As an addict, I know how easy it is to slip back into addictions.

I will pray, and pray some more, for John Corapi and SOLT.  I pray for humility and charity to abound in all concerned.  I do also pray that his many good works will be recalled when people think or write about him.  I don’t think this is a charlatan that bided his time through years of seminary and then spent more years building up an apostolate, in order to pull one over on us dumb Catholics and get rich and party.  IF, and I still maintain the if to a small extent, the allegations are true, then I believe we’re looking at a relapse on a massive and tragic scale.  I would appreciate your prayers for my struggles with addiction, as well.

Oh, one more thing.  I agree with Ann Barnhardt, the hardcore Catholic and red white and blue koran burner on youtube, that the post-Vatican II abuses changes to the Mass may help precipitate this kind of unholy behavior in priests.  The super-clericalism of the priest as rock star has a potential to cause unhealthy pride on the part of priests, as well as an unhealthy attachment towards priests on the part of the laity.  The priest need not be a total cypher in the Mass, but the current arrangement of priest facing the people, the tendency towards free-lancing the Liturgy, etc, all can create an environment of adulation that could tend towards idolatry.

More on this aspect later.