jump to navigation

Latin Mass tonight at St. Mark October 17, 2011

Posted by Tantumblogo in Basics, Dallas Diocese, episcopate, Eucharist, Latin Mass, Liturgy, North Deanery.
comments closed

Same bat time, same bat channel.  No schola tonight. 

No, it’s not TLM but I just like that picture a great deal. Remember to offer intentions for the Holy Souls at Mass!

Misleading, even bad “catechesis” from Texas Catholic October 17, 2011

Posted by Tantumblogo in Basics, Dallas Diocese, disaster, episcopate, foolishness, General Catholic, Interior Life, North Deanery, Papa, sadness, scandals, sickness, Society.
comments closed

Long post, but I think very important.  Do try to read it all, gentle reader.

Texas Catholic is the diocesan newspaper for the Diocese of Dallas.  This was a reprint of a story that ran on Catholic News Service on Sept. 30.  The problems with the article are legion, and I say this as one who is in general opposed to capital punishment, especially as practiced so…ah……enthusiastically, as in this great state of Texas.  The article starts off bad, and then goes downhill from there.  The lede is “Vatican: Catholics msut no longer suport capital punishment.”  Is this really Church Doctrine? Let’s take a look:

The Catholic Church’s position on capital punishment has evolved considerably over the centuries.

And as a result, “it is not a message that is immediately understood — that there is no room for supporting the death penalty in today’s world,” said a Vatican’s expert on capital punishment and arms control. [This not a magisterial statement.  In fact, it’s meaningless from a point of view of Church Doctrine.  This is not an ex cathedra statement from a Pope, it is not the product of a Papal-approved Council, and one man is not the Ordinary Universal Magisterium.  It’s one opinion, and is in fact not what the formal Doctrine of the Church reveals.  So, this is the “Vatican” revelation?]

Because the church has only in the past few decades begun closing the window — if not shutting it completely — on the permissibility of the death penalty, people who give just a partial reading of the church’s teachings may still think the death penalty is acceptable today, said Tommaso Di Ruzza, desk officer at the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace.
[Wow, he’s the “desk officer!”  Now that’s an authoritative position!  This is like me phoning the Pentagon, speaking to Staff Sergeant Philo T. Phucklesworth, and printing an article that proclaims “US military seeks dissolution of NATO” because of something he said.  Give me a break.]

The 1992 Catechism of the Catholic Church recognized “as well-founded the right and duty of legitimate public authority to punish malefactors by means of penalties commensurate with the gravity of the crime, not excluding, in cases of extreme gravity, the death penalty.” At the same time, it said, “bloodless means” that could protect human life should be used when possible.

The “extreme gravity” loophole was tightened with changes made in 1997, which reflected the pope’s 1995 encyclical, “Evangelium Vitae.” It specifies that the use of the death penalty is allowed only when the identity and responsibility of the condemned is certain and if capital punishment “is the only possible way of effectively defending human lives against the unjust aggressor.”……….[this is a much more significant “loophole,” and note the term, because a “loophole” implies a failure in the construction of a “law” that can then be taken advantage of, than the article implies]

Pope Benedict, then-Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, had a major role in drafting the 1992 Catechism and, especially, its 1997 revised passages. When he told journalists about the changes in 1997, he said while the principles do not absolutely exclude capital punishment, they do give “very severe or limited criteria for its moral use.” [Which is only reasonable]

“It seems to me it would be very difficult to meet the conditions today,” he had said. [Although he is now Pope, these statements from then Cardinal Ratzinger do not constitute authoritative statements of Doctrine.  They are his opinion.  His opinion had weight then, and of course far more now, but his interpretation of the issue is not Dogma, it does not constitute an article of faith that must be accepted by all Catholics.   This is key, because I know where this article is pointing.   Remember the “Pope condom issue” from a year ago – those statements also, were not Magisterial. 

I want to expand on this a bit more.  I can think of situations that I might not specifically support but where the death penalty could be legitimately, morally used.  Say Osama Bin Laden had not been killed by Seal Team Six, but captured, put on trial, and convicted.  Now, even with the very best security, it is possible, even likely, that he would be able to attain some kind of contact with the outside world should he be incarcerated, and not executed.  Certainly, numerous criminals, especially well-financed gang members, are able to continue to direct events even within the confines of prison, even within solitary confinement.  US airmen held in hellish captivity at the Hanoi Hilton came up with ingenious methods to stay in contact with each other, and even to a very limited extent the outside world, in spite of the most brutal supervision. It is likely bin Laden could have done so, as well.  Is this ability to continue to direct and mastermind terrorist plots sufficient grounds to make his execution moral?  And if not bin Laden, what of the Mexican drug cartel leader – what if it is him, instead?  How many criminal enterprises must be tolerated to assuage the conscience?   I can think of a number of situations where grave threats to the lives of others could be extant in a prisoner, even with the most careful supervision.  Criminals are past masters of getting around any kind of confinement.]

When a journalist said the majority of Catholics in the United States favor use of the death penalty, Cardinal Ratzinger said, “While it is important to know the thoughts of the faithful, doctrine is not made according to statistics, but according to objective criteria taking into account progress made in the church’s thought on the issue.”  [Well on that I certain agree, but reading Pope Benedict’s statements made then, 14 years ago, he is not stating that Catholics cannot, under any circumstances, support capital punishment, as the article implies]

My biggest problem with the article is that it is meant to imply that there is some great change in Dogma from the Vatican with which Catholics must comply.  There is nothing of the sort.  As the article says, if one takes the time to read all of it, the latest formal clarifications of the Dogma occurred 14 years ago.  This is not new.  There is not a complete ban on support for capital punishment.  The situations where this final means can be used are very limited, but the opposition to capital punishment is not total, as it is in abortion.

Which, I fear, is something of the point of the article.  We’re a year out from a hugely critical election, and CNS runs a non-news story with a breathless and misleading lede, proclaiming that “YOU CAN’T SUPPORT CAPITAL PUNISHMENT AND REMAIN A FAITHFUL CATHOLIC!!!  TAKE THAT YOU DIRTY REPUPLIKKKANS!”  There is an unstated equivalence being drawn, between capital punishment and abortion.  Abortion is always and everywhere intrinsically evil.  Capital punishment is not, even though its moral use is quite limited, but debatable. A Catholic can remain a good, faithful Catholic, and have a relatively expansive view of the moral use capital punishment.   The same is not true for abortion, which is always evil.

In this country we typically have a choice, between giving our electoral support to a pro-abort democrat or a pro-capital punishment Republican.  This article seems to imply that Catholics could not in good conscience support either, or that the two life issues “cancel each other out” and we are free to support whom we wish based on other considerations.  THAT IS SIMPLY NOT THE CASE, it is bad logic and a poor representation of Doctrine.  The article was crafted specifically, in my mind, to support this obfuscation.  It is well known that most people only read the headline of an article and the first 2 or 3 paragraphs.  And between the lede and the opening paragraphs, most readers would come away with the false impression that Catholics cannot remain faithful to the Church if they support capital punishment in the slightest, which is a gross misrepresentation of the true Doctrine of the Faith.  Was this misrepresentation intentional, simply the result of the author’s internal biases, or just a quirk?  I’ll leave you, dear reader, to be the judge of that. 

I think the takeaway is, don’t get your catechesis from Catholic News Service, even though…….especially because?……..it is the official news arm of the USCCB.

Strong condemnations of Planned Parenthood and their racial abettors October 17, 2011

Posted by Tantumblogo in Abortion, awesomeness, Basics, Dallas Diocese, General Catholic, scandals, sickness, Society.
comments closed

Wow.  This is what they call polemic.  Warning, some language and extreme truth ahead:


We must restore order in the Church to restore the Faith October 17, 2011

Posted by Tantumblogo in awesomeness, Basics, Dallas Diocese, disaster, episcopate, Eucharist, foolishness, General Catholic, Latin Mass, Liturgy, North Deanery, Papa, Sacraments, sadness, scandals, sickness, Tradition.
comments closed

Michael Voris comments on a topic I addressed a week or two ago, Cardinal Piacenza’s very lucid and appropriate comments to the seminarians of the Diocese of Los Angeles (who perhaps needed this talk).  Indeed, it does seem much smoke entered through the windows thrown open at Vatican II.  How do we clear that smoke?   A return to a focus on the Eucharist and Our Lady, certainly, but I also agree with Bishop Athanasius Schneider, Monsignor Gherardini, Dr. Roberto de Mattei, and numerous others, that a re-evaluation of Vatican II in light of Tradition would is imminently necessary.

I think Voris’ allusion to our mission as a spending light is beautiful and apropos.  But we so often shy from confrontation in public – we don’t want to offend, after all.

On a related topic, RealCathoilcTV has many upcoming programs that seem particularly interesting!  I highly recommend everyone of my readers to consider supporting RCTV as a premium member!  Soon my pal Colleen Hammond will be “on the air” with her own program “At Home with the Faith.” 

Holy Father announces ‘Year of Faith’ October 17, 2011

Posted by Tantumblogo in awesomeness, Basics, Dallas Diocese, General Catholic, Interior Life, North Deanery, Papa.
comments closed

Pope Benedict XVI has announced that 2012 will be the “Year of Faith.”  I pray that it is so.

“It’s precisely to give new impetus to the mission of the whole Church to lead men out of the desert in which they often find themselves, to the place of life, of friendship with Christ, who gives us life in abundance. I would like to announce in this Eucharistic celebration I have decided to convene a ‘Year of Faith’, which I will explain in an apostolic letter. This ‘Year of Faith’ begins on October 11, 2012, on the 50th anniversary of the beginning of Vatican II, and ends on November 24, 2013, for the Solemnity of Christ, the King of the Universe. It will be a moment of grace and commitment to a more complete conversion to God, to strengthen our faith in Him and to proclaim Him with joy to the people of our time.”

The Motu Proprio announcing the Year of Faith is Porta Fidei.  Perhaps the Holy Father will further solemnize the year by implementing a thoroughgoing effort to align all the documents of Vatican II with Tradition!

Dr. Alcuin Reid on the Liturgy, rupture, continuity, etc. October 17, 2011

Posted by Tantumblogo in awesomeness, Basics, Dallas Diocese, episcopate, foolishness, General Catholic, Latin Mass, Liturgy, North Deanery, Papa, Sacraments, sadness, scandals, Tradition.
comments closed

Dr. Alcuin Reid spoke at a conference in Germany recently, and was interviewed by a German newspaper, which asked some very intelligent questions.  New Liturgical Movement has the interview, in which Dr. Reid makes some very significant statements.  Thanks to my friend Larry B (no relation) for the heads up.  Saving the questions themselves, all emphasis is mine, not in the original:

2. What criteria are there for liturgical development in continuity? Is a Council competent to change or to remake the liturgy?

Neither councils nor popes are competent to construct the liturgy. The Council [Vatican II] does not speak of making a new liturgy, or of “change” – it uses the word “renewal” (“instauratio”). The Council wished to bring about fruitful participatio actuosa through widespread liturgical formation at all levels of the Church and through moderate ritual reform, not a rupture either in the official ritual or in the perception of the faithful in their experience of the liturgical celebration.

The criteria for development in continuity are found in article 23 [of Sacrosanctum Concilium], read in context and as it was approved by the Fathers of the Council. I have published a paper on this. It means that development is proportionate – the liturgical tradition may be developed, as is necessary, but it is not completely changed. There must be a continuity of rite where new texts or practices are integrated, naturally, over time. [and not a completely new liturgy fabricated of a sudden, artificially] A good example is the Ordo Missae of 1965. It is the rite of Mass as handed on to the Council, pruned and developed in line with the discussions at the council. But the 1969 Ordo Missae is very different, a new construction of the Concilium. To be sure, it is more conservative than they wanted because Paul VI refused their requests to abolish the Roman Canon, the Orate fratres and the sign of the cross at the beginning of Mass. [uh, the Ottaviani intervention may have played a role] But even so, the 1969 Ordo as a whole is a radical ritual and theological innovation, not an organic development in line with Sacrosanctum Concilium 23. [That is a most significant statement]

3. Continuity or Rupture? Could one say that “traditionalist” Catholics agree with the thesis of a rupture?

I am not a “traditionalist”. I am a Catholic. I am also a liturgical historian. As the latter I can say that there is evidence that those responsible for the reform intended rupture – ritual and also theological. They did not want what was handed on in tradition. They did not want to develop that. They wanted something new, something that would reflect ‘modern man’ in the 1960’s and what they thought he needed. [This was a common theme of “the Council,” that modern man was somehow different, somehow more exalted than his forebear.  How has that view played out in practice in the ensuing decades?  Anyone see much enlightment going on?  In my view, had the Council been called together 20 years later, perhaps even 10 years later, it would have taken a very different direction.  It was certainly the product of a very unique, very short-lived, time.]

This is an historical reality, not an ecclesio-political position. Liturgists from ‘both sides’ agree that the reform was radical and a rupture. As a Catholic I regard this as a significant problem, because it is unprecedented in liturgical history and it is not what the Council, out of respect for liturgical tradition, called for.

4. What authority did the Consilium – the body to reform the liturgy – have? Did it follow the intentions of the Fathers of the Council or exceed its competence? Are there examples of radical innovations?

The Consilium’s full name indicates that it was an organ to implement the Council’s Constitution. In effect its work rested on the personal authority of Pope Paul VI, who followed it very closely and authorized each change in forma specifica. It is clear that they went well beyond the Constitution: there is no authorization there for any new Eucharistic Prayers, for the 100% celebration of the Mass in the vernacular, etc. But all of these reforms enjoy the authority of Paul VI[So, the Novus Ordo is much more a creature of Pope Paul VI, than it was of the actual Council?]

5. If the liturgy is seen as “changeable” as Sacrosanctum Concilium 21 says, is there the risk to its impact upon ordinary people, as Martin Mosebach speaks about the “Heresy of formlessness”?

Elements of the liturgy that do not come from the Lord Himself are, of course, able to develop or even to be left aside, and new elements can be introduced. Change is possible. We know that from history. But if, all of a sudden, everything in the liturgy except those things concerning validity are seen as changeable – and almost constantly so – then the rite as a whole can be subjected to a “formlessness” whereby it looses its nature as a rite and becomes a temporary conglomeration of the “good ideas” of those who celebrate it. That would not be Catholic liturgy, which is always the liturgy of the Church, received by her in tradition and carefully handed on, with proportionate development as necessary. Even authorized developments, if they involve disproportionate changes to the received tradition imposed very quickly, risk bringing about such a “formlessness”.

6. Sacrosanctum Concilium has been criticized for having too much room for interpretation. Do you share this view?

Yes, it is clear that much of the language of the Constitution is capable of different interpretations. Article 36-2 is just one example. It is also clear from the memoirs of Archbishop Bugnini himself that there was a very wide interpretation of this article, and others.

There is more at NLM.  Comments?

Why would physicians oppose a personhood amendment? October 17, 2011

Posted by Tantumblogo in Abortion, Basics, foolishness, General Catholic, sadness, scandals, sickness, silliness, Society.
comments closed

Becuase giving full personal rights to the child from the moment of conception could undermine lucrative practices like in-vitro fertilization and even the distribution of hormonal birth control:

The amendment to the state Constitution [This is in Mississippi] is a direct challenge to court rulings such as Roe vs. Wade, which has made abortion legal for nearly four decades. Approval of Amendment 26 will guarantee a court fight, and advocates believe there is a good chance that the U.S. Supreme Court will overturn Roe.


Abortion-rights advocates, including Planned Parenthood, lost two court challenges to keep Amendment 26 off the November ballot. However, more notable opposition to the amendment rose — from prominent medical groups.

The Mississippi Section of the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists said its executive committee unanimously agreed that voter approval of Amendment 26 would be a bad decision for the state.

“It has numerous unintended consequences that will affect the care of our patients,” the group said in a press release. [What consequences?]

Another group of physicians, Mississippi Doctors Against 26, has members from various medical specialties, including obstetrics and gynecology and oncology. That group’s press statement said:

“This initiative is bad for the practice of medicine, bad for women’s health and bad for Mississippi families. It will inappropriately regulate and criminalize the practice of medicine. It will put lawyers and politicians in between families and their doctors and give unprecedented government control to historically private family health decisions.” [How so?  This article is very notable for how little it reveals, other than opinions.  Did these same groups oppose Obamacare on similar grounds, that it would put the government between the patient and the doctor?  How about Medicare?  I was speaking with a long term doctor of mine recently, a very good and brave man who also is an evangelical Christian who evangelizes in very dangerous places like Iran, about the changes he is already having to implement for Obamacare, and he says they are disastrous.  But I digress…]

To be sure, Amendment 26 has its medical supporters. They say approval will not stop practices like in vitro fertilization for couples who have difficulty conceiving, it will not ban use of birth-control methods like the pill, and it will not stop appropriate treatment for women with difficult, life-threatening pregnancies. [Ah, so now we get down to it, finally, at the end of the article (again, burying the details that have a strong impact on what the article actually communicates is an old journalistic tactic).  So the OB-GYNs are concerned that in-vitro might be made illegal, as well it should, given the huge numbers of lives created just to be destroyed as a normal part of the process.  And birth control……yes, hormonal birth control can abort a child at the earliest stage of development…..that is bad.  Think of all the doctors office visits that would no longer be necessary if the pill were no longer available!  That’s a serious impact to the bottom line.  But it’s also just scaremongering.  There is no way either practice will be outlawed as a result of this will, there is nothing like even a glimmer of a political consensus against these practices, unfortunately.]

Those details at the ends of articles really matter sometimes!