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Tonsures in action! August 15, 2011

Posted by Tantumblogo in Art and Architecture, awesomeness, Basics, Dallas Diocese, General Catholic, Interior Life, Latin Mass, religious.
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A video of Lauds at the Benedictine Abbey of Le Barroux in France:

More here:

The tonsure used to be so strongly associated with the priesthood or monastic life that giving someone a tonsure would automatically mean they had to become a priest/monk.  That’s a pretty poor way to obtain vocations, which probably explains some of the abuses in the medieval Church.  Some men were forced into religious life in that manner.  But as a symbol of a life totally consecrated to God (voluntarily!), I’m all for it.

Then, ripping off from New Liturgical Movement in a different vein, but remaining in France, a Catholic Cathedral like I’ve never seen before, Sainte-Cecile d’Albi:

Such elaborate, detailed, comprehensive painting, it looks rather Byzantine/Orthodox.  It’s striking.  Makes my heart just <sigh>.  To meditate in such a structure, with such reminders of aspects of the Sacred Scripture and the Faith – I don’t think I’d ever run out of things to meditate on!

Today is the Feast of the Assumption August 15, 2011

Posted by Tantumblogo in awesomeness, Basics, Dallas Diocese, General Catholic, Interior Life, Latin Mass, North Deanery, Our Lady, Saints.
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The Assumption: still one of the few non-Sunday Holy Days of Obligation in the “US Church,” the obligation was abrogated this year because the Holy Day fell on a Monday (same would have applied on Saturday, too).  But who cares?!  Go to Mass anyway!  Show your Mom how much you care, by going to Mass and offering thanksgiving for her intercession!  I’m certain she would not mind if you implored Her help on this great feast day – in fact, I am certain she would be especially responsive, interceding and praying extra hard for you, on her special day. Isn’t that how mom’s normally behave – if you do something nice for them, they typically reply with something three times as nice for you?  Our Blessed Mother Mary is the Patroness of the Americas – in this continent, especially, we should feel a special filial obligation to assist at Mass, while she is raised to the highest honors of the Heavenly Altar.  I really like this image from Holy Card Heaven:

There are some special Mass celebrations going on today in the Diocese, including the following:

  • Mater Dei FSSP Traditional Latin Mass parish has Mass at 7p
  • St. Peter the Apostle in Dallas has a Rosary at 5:30, English Mass at 6 and Polish at 7:30 – you can also bring flowers, fruits, and vegetables to be blessed
  • St. Mark in Plano will have a Novus Ordo High (sung) Mass at 7pm. 

Bishop Athanasius Schneider – Communion in the hand a novelty…. August 15, 2011

Posted by Tantumblogo in awesomeness, Basics, Dallas Diocese, disaster, Ecumenism, episcopate, Eucharist, foolishness, General Catholic, horror, Interior Life, Latin Mass, Liturgy, North Deanery, Papa, sadness, scandals, sickness.
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……not grounded in Tradition.  The promoters of receiving our Blessed Lord in the hand have long argued that they simply desire to return to the earliest practice of the Church, which, they claim, practiced Communion in the hand (in spite of the clear development of Doctrine and Tradition, which showed that Communion in the hand if ever practiced widely by the Church, was certainly cast aside as a poor practice by AD 3-400).  Now Bishop Athanasius Schneider, patristics expert and a leader of liturgical reform, states that Communion in the hand as practiced today in the Church is definitely a novelty:

Communion in the Hand has no roots in the early Church.

This was stressed by Auxiliary Bishop Athanasius Schneider (50) of Astana in Kazakhstan on the 19th on the radio station ‘Radio Maria Südtirol’

Msgr Schneider is a Patristic expert.

Hand Communion was contrived “all new” from the Second Vatican Council — the Auxiliary Bishop firmly said.

The antique Church had practiced a completely different form for the reception of Communion.

In that period the hand in which Communion was received was purified before and after.

Additionally, the faithful would take the Body of the Lord from their hand in a disposition of prayer with his tongue:

“If anything it was more of an oral reception of Communion than in the hand”.

After Communion, the communicant had to lick their hands with their tongues, so that even the smallest particle should not be lost.

A Deacon supervised the purification.

The Auxiliary Bishop continued: “This concern and care stands in direct opposition to indifference and carelessness with which so called Communion in the hand is dispensed.”

Women never held Communion simply on the flat of the hand.

They spread a white cloth, a manner of corporal over their hand.

Then, they would receive Communion directly to their mouth from the linen cloth.

“That is a tremendous contrast to the present form of Communion in the hand” — insisted Msgr Schneider.

The ancient faithful never took Communion with their fingers: “the gesture of hand Communion was completely unknown in the Church.”

In the course of the centuries the Church developed a form of giving Communion which “surely came from the Holy Ghost”……[That would be reception on the tongue, preferably kneeling]

……..French and Spanish Synods of the 8th and 9th Centuries sanctioned against touching the Host with excommunication: “If a Synod can make such a strict threat, this form will be forbidden in a short time.” [As I argued in a previous post linked above, for well over a millenium the idea of lay people touching the Host with profaned fingers was seen as the highest sacrilege]

According to the Auxiliary Bishop, communion in the hand comes from the Dutch Calvinists of the 17th Century.

Calvinism denies the real presence of Christ in the Host.

I’ll state again – Communion in the hand is a novelty, but one that has been ‘regularized’ by the Vatican for various, primarily political reasons. Shortly after Vatican II, the modern practice of Communion in the hand began in NW Europe.  At first, Pope Paul VI decried this practice and stated it was not licit, but after threats of schism he relented and had documents released which ‘regularized’ it.  Such a history makes it difficult to see an authentic movement of the Holy Spirit – it was not the ‘people’ clamoring for Communion in the hand, just as they were not clamoring for a change in the Mass – it was an act imposed from above.  But now, many people are very used to this practice and some are even offended at the ancient practice of receiving kneeling and on the tongue.  But, the ‘reasoning’ presented for Communion in the hand has been shown to be deficient at best, and intentionally false at worst.  The fundamental problem is that casual receipt of the Blessed Sacrament in the hand undermines respect and reverence for the Real Presence of Jesus Christ in the Eucharist.  That Presence is the very cornerstone of our Faith – lose that, and everything else falls with it.  Of course, Communion in the hand has led to other difficult to deal with practices, most notable of which is the constant use, regardless of the number of people at Mass, of Extraordinary Ministers of Holy Communion.  Without Communion in the hand, EMHCs cannot function.

On a practical level, it always seems to me to be a good idea to try to model our behavior as much as we can on the guidance given by the Pope.  He seems to be rather clear on this issue:

Vatican – do not oversexualize theology of the body August 15, 2011

Posted by Tantumblogo in awesomeness, Basics, Dallas Diocese, episcopate, foolishness, General Catholic, North Deanery, scandals, Society.
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The comments below could be taken to be a measured voice of concern over certain popularized presentations of John Paul II’s ‘Theology of the Body,’ that complex, almost impenetrable set of audiences the late Pontiff gave in the early 80s.  In seeking to ‘break down and simplify’ that very complex theology, many popular presenters (Chris West?) may be overstressing the sexual aspect and missing other aspects:

The secretary of the Pontifical Council for the Family is cautioning Catholics against making an oversexualized interpretation of Blessed John Paul II’s theology of the body–a series of catechetical addresses delivered at Wednesday general audiences between 1979 and 1984.

Calling the series of audiences a “very, very important doctrinal corpus,” Bishop Jean Laffitte told the Catholic News Agency that the series is properly entitled the “Catechesis on Human Love.” Asked to identify “problems in the manner that Blessed Pope John Paul’s teachings on this issue have been popularized, particularly in the English-speaking world,” Bishop Laffitte said:

…………The problem is that if you focus only on sexuality, you cannot develop beyond that level, that such beauty is a gift, something given to mankind by the Creator but within a much broader context. Attraction to the beauty of human sexuality and the human body is normal because it is true and real. What can become a problem, however, would be to regard human sexuality in a kind of mystical way. Pope John Paul II embraced no form of mystic sexuality. What the Blessed Pontiff did in fact say is that sexuality has a mystical perspective and dimension …

There is a danger of vulgarizing here a crucial truth of our Faith that needs rather to be contemplated. It requires a silence. Sometimes in reading Blessed John Paul II’s Catecheses, you read only half of a page and then have to stop … you cannot continue … because it provokes within you a kind of loving meditation of what God has made. You enter into the mystery …[The good bishop here is being delicate.  Those audiences are very hard to follow at times.  There is great potential for misinterpretation]

There is always a great temptation to appeal to what people want and like, and what people want and like in the context of the present culture is sex, and lots of it.  So there is a powerful incentive to ‘give the people what they want’ – a sort of sexualized view of Catholicism.  There is a great deal of money to be made proclaiming a sort of ‘sexualized Catholicism’ as good and holy – the fulfilment of the Will of God.  I’m not saying anyone would consciously and callously choose to try to make money on such an ‘interpretation’ of ToB – but sometimes it’s easy to confuse motives.  And those audiences were so complex on so many levels, they can be said, to those without a PhD in moral theology, to ‘mean’ things that were perhaps never the intent of Blessed JPII.  And thus, the problem.

There is no question that a number of folks have cashed in on ToB, especially in this country (interestingly, not so much anywhere else).  Outside the US, popular presentations on ToB are essentially unknown.  I’m not saying there’s no merit in ToB as presented in this country.  I’m just saying – be very careful with it.

Fr. Angelo Geiger has his analysis of Bishop Jean Laffitte’s (like the pirate!) here.

Bishop Aquila – unrepentant pro-abort politicians should be excommunicated August 15, 2011

Posted by Tantumblogo in awesomeness, Basics, Dallas Diocese, episcopate, Eucharist, General Catholic, sadness, scandals, sickness, Society.
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It’s refreshing to hear a small, but growing number of bishops, understand and seem willing to enforce this basic point of Catholic theology: those who persist, publicly, in a manifest state of grave sin must be publicly declared outside the Body of Christ (excommunicated – anathema sit).  This has been covered elsewhere, but since this is a topic of great interest to this blog, I’ll repost here:

The Church should seek the conversion of pro-abortion politicians, but if they remain obstinate they should be expelled from the Church, says Bishop Samuel Aquila of Fargo.

The Bishop proposed in an interview with Catholic World Report this week that Bishops should take their cue from the Gospel of Matthew in handling pro-abortion politicians.

“Our Lord tells us to speak to the person, and then take two or three others with us if he does not change,” he said. “If he still does not change, the Church can speak to him, which is done through the bishop. [The bishop] exercises the authority of Christ. Christ then says that if that person is still obstinate and will not change, treat them as a tax collector or Gentile. Expel him.'”

We do this out of love for the person, seeking his conversion. He needs to understand that the salvation of his soul is in jeopardy because of the positions he is taking. [This is the key point – excommunication is not a case of the ‘mean ‘ol Church’ beating up on some dissident thinker, it’s a desperate attempt to convert someone back into the life of Grace, and away from the path of damnation]

Catholics are called to defend human life, particularly that of the unborn. The Church’s teaching is clear. If we don’t challenge public officials who reject this teaching, we leave them in their sins and confuse the faithful.

The Bishop continued: “Catholics are called to defend human life, particularly that of the unborn. The Church’s teaching is clear. If we don’t challenge public officials who reject this teaching, we leave them in their sins and confuse the faithful.”

Aquila, who has been the spiritual head of the diocese of Fargo in North Dakota for ten years, is well known for his support for the pro-life cause.

His active support for the 40 Days for Life campaign in Fargo included sending a letter to the priests of the diocese asking them to sign up for an hour of prayer outside an abortion clinic. He has also personally led prayer vigils outside Fargo’s only abortuary.

The Bishop told Catholic World Report that his commitment to pro-life advocacy began in the 1970s, when he got a glimpse of the devastating aftermath of an abortion as an orderly in an emergency room in Colorado.

Obviously, I agree with the Church’s constant teaching, which, as Bishop Aquila pointed out, is grounded in Sacred Scripture (not to mention Tradition).  What I find additionally interesting, is the possible correlation between Bishop Aquila’s truly standout position on abortion, even among Catholic bishops, and the heavy pressure on abortion “rights” in North Dakota.  The North Dakota legislature has repeatedly passed laws to limit abortion, to a degree greater than almost any other state – some of which have been struck down in court.  I am certain that the public witness of Bishop Aquila, and his guidance to priests to pray outside mills, has played a large role in that continuing pressure.  I think there is much to be learned from the leadership he has exhibited to the local pro-life movement by Catholics all over the country.

It would certainly be interesting to know if there are any pro-abort ‘Catholic’ politicians in the Diocese of Fargo, and whether they have been disciplined in any way.  I recognize that, as good as Bishop Aquila’s words are, it is action that really matters.

h/t culturewarnotes