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Gack! Last minute post – Latin Mass tonight at St. Mark April 2, 2012

Posted by Tantumblogo in Dallas Diocese, General Catholic, Latin Mass, North Deanery.
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Latin Mass tonight at St. Mark in Plano at 7pm.  Not sung.  No schola.  See you there?

“Where two or three are gathered…….” April 2, 2012

Posted by Tantumblogo in Basics, disaster, foolishness, General Catholic, Interior Life, Latin Mass, scandals.
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The verse from St. Matthew, “Where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them” (Matt 18:20), has been used to justify many good things, but also many sad ones, including heresy and schism.  On the unfortunate Pray Tell blog, I saw discussed how various protestant services were “valid” because of this verse (this is contrary to what the Church believes, by the way).  

A little story.  I knew a guy in NA.  An interesting guy, he had been a gay party boy in San Francisco but still held some of the baptist belief his mother had inculcated in him as a child.  He had an unusual melange of beliefs – very conservative in many respects, except in regard to sexual license (go figure).  He used to tell this tale at NA meetings.  He and his fellow ravers used to say prayers, invoking Jesus’ name, over the meth or ex they bought at clubs, that it would be “good s#%t” and get them real high.  Was Jesus there in their midst?  Is there any limit to this Biblical statement?

Of course there is.  All statements from Scripture have to be understood in the light of Tradition, the repository of accrued Grace which has revealed to the Church the proper understanding of the Faith for 2000 years.  In the brilliant Haydock Study Bible, the following commentary accompanies Matthew 18:20;

Ver. 20 There am I in the midst of them. This is understood of such assemblies only, as are gathered in the Name and Authority of Christ; and in unity of the Church of Christ (this opinion from St. Cyprian in Unitate Ecclesiae).  St.s Chrysostom, Theolphylactus, and Euthymius explain the words in his name, thus, assembled by authority received from Christ, in the manner appointed by him, or for his sake, and seeking nothing but his glory.

So, in order for this great statement to apply, the gathering must occur under the Authority of the Church, in a manner appointed by Him, and/or for the sake of Christ and His glory.  Thus, the revolters are eliminated off the bat – they are outside the Church, they are not gathering in a manner appointed by Him (after all, they are outside the Church Christ established), and whether they are gathering for His glory, or for lesser reasons, is anyone’s guess, but I’d bet heavily on the latter in many cases.  The same applies to any group outside of open, visible union with the Church of Christ and the See of Peter. 

What of those within the Church, but who reject Church Dogma?  Call to Action and similar groups frequently hold conferences where they invoke this passage to claim that they are speaking for the Church.  Well, again, they aren’t meeting under the Authority of the Church, and by rejecting various Dogmas they aren’t seeking Christ’s glory (they may think they are, but they are mistaken). 

The way is narrow and winding.  For a very, very long time, the Church – the people IN the Church, knew this, almost to a man.  But now, many believe that Jesus comes and hangs out with any group of stoners or dissidents who seek His Presence.  It is believed by many, even among the clergy and episcopacy, that the way to Heaven is a 14 lane freeway with nothing but straightaway and no speed limit.  Such a view appeals to our fallen human nature.  But it’s not the case.  Take Matt 21:28-46 for example.

 

Standing as god-parent is a vital and sacred duty April 2, 2012

Posted by Tantumblogo in awesomeness, Basics, Dallas Diocese, General Catholic, Glory, Interior Life, Sacraments, Tradition, Virtue.
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Perhaps many of my adult readers have been asked to be god-parent to a newly baptized person.  My wife and I recently had that great privilege, again.  Until a few years ago, I did not really understand the awesome responsibilities that entails.   For, the god-parent(s) hold(s) responsibility for the spiritual formation of the baptized.  We will be called to account at our particular judgment for the spiritual state of the baptized, and for our efforts to help form them in the Faith.  But since so many people are baptized at infancy, I’m afraid many sponsors or god-parents lose sight of their responsibilities for catechesis.  To help alleviate that, here is an excellent section from the Roman Catechism, or the Catechism of the Council of Trent:

The faithful are also to be taught the duty of sponsors; for such is the negligence with which this office is treated in the Church that only the bare name of the function remains, while none seem to have the least idea of its sanctity. Let all sponsors, then, at all times recollect that they are strictly bound by this law to exercise a constant vigilance over their spiritual children, and carefully to instruct them in the maxims of a Christian life; so that these may show themselves throughout life to be what their sponsors promised in the solemn ceremony.

On this subject let us hear the words of St. Denis. Speaking in the person of the sponsor he says: I promise, by my constant exhortations to induce this child, when he comes to a knowledge of religion, to renounce every thing opposed (to his Christian calling) and to profess and perform the sacred promises which he now makes.

St. Augustine also says: I most especially admonish you, men and women, who have acquired godchildren through Baptism, to consider that you stood as sureties before God, for those whom you received at the sacred font. Indeed it preeminently becomes every man, who undertakes any office, to be indefatigable in the discharge of its duties; and he who promised to be the teacher and guardian of another should never allow to be deserted him whom he once received under his care and protection as long as he knows the latter to stand in need of either.

Speaking of this same duty of sponsors, St. Augustine sums up in a few words the lessons of instruction which they are bound to impart to their spiritual children. They ought, he says, to admonish them to observe chastity, love justice, cling to charity; and above all they should teach them the Creed, the Lord’s Prayer, the Ten Commandments, and the rudiments of the Christian religion.

While I  may have understood these duties in essence, I find my efforts wanting.  I’m going to strive to make sure my god-children understand those “rudiments” described above!

I strongly recommend everyone read The Catechism of the Council of Trent.  It’s a valuable companion to the present-day Catechism.

REMINDER – Special Diocesan Confession time this Wed 6:30-9p April 2, 2012

Posted by Tantumblogo in Basics, Dallas Diocese, episcopate, General Catholic, Interior Life, Sacraments.
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Almost all parishes will have a special, Diocese-wide period for Confessions on Wed, April 4 from 6:30-9pm.  Bishop Farrell, who stated that Confession was one of the most vital roles for a priest to perform at last year’s ordinations, also blogged on the subject recently.  I found his comments interesting (my emphasis):

Lent is not just the season of repentance; it is the season for reconciliation.

Jesus is the Great Reconciler and the Church is His reconciling community.

On Ash Wednesday, as we received our ashes, we were called to “Repent and believe in the Gospel.”  The Gospel or Good News we are called to believe is that Jesus came to reconcile us to the Father.

Following the Second Vatican Council, the Church’s understanding of the Sacrament of Penance deepened and documents began referring to it as the Sacrament of Reconciliation. Our need for penance is still very real, but the emphasis has changed from our brokenness due to sin to forgiveness and the healing and restoring effects of the sacrament.

Sin is real. It distances us from Jesus, but it also separates us from others. Guilt disrupts our relationships with others. We feel out of sync. We know that we are broken and yearn to be made whole. Our separation from the Body of Christ, the Church, is very real when we are separated from the Eucharist.

Jesus also yearns for our relationship to be restored. It is when we encounter Him in the Sacrament of Reconciliation that our relationship is restored and we are also reconciled with His Body, the Church.

When we have been away from the Sacrament of Reconciliation for a long time, it is often difficult for us to make the decision to return. There can be many reasons but they all fade when we realize that God’s mercy and forgiveness is ours for the asking.

A few points.  I am certain Bishop Farrell, if he had adequate space to write, perhaps, would have noted that while venial sin does indeed “distance” us from Jesus, mortal sin makes that distance essentially infinite, to continue the analogy.  It completely cuts off sanctifying Grace, and leaves us in a terrible place – bereft of so many spiritual aids, and cut off from union with God and his Church.  If we die in such a state, we will face eternal damnation. 

Guilt, as such, is not necessarily a bad thing.  If it inspires us to have true repentance for our sins and a firm purpose of amendment, it can actually be a good thing.  Inordinately focusing on the negative aspects of guilt has led to certain problems in the past, where, out of a desire to avoid inducing feelings of guilt, the effect sin has on our souls is ignored or trivialized by some pastors or other clergy.  I’m sure Bishop Farrell was simply writing from a pastoral perspective, having concern for the suffering of his flock, but it is important to note that if we don’t have contrition for our sins, Confession will avail us nothing. Repentance is a necessary part of the Sacrament.

I think it great that Bishop Farrell alluded to the fact that, when we are in a state of mortal sin, we cannot, must not receive the Blessed Sacrament.  To do so would be to commit the greatest sacrilege. 

I’m a traditional kind of guy.  I like the old terms – the Sacrament of Penance, or Confession, works for me.  Reconciliation is the goal, but it is not assured.  It requires effort on our part.  I fear that too much focus on the reconciliation aspect could lead some to assume that either Confession isn’t necessary (a terribly widespread phenonemon), or that the forgiveness is automatic.  Neither is true.

Having said that, I strongly applaud this effort by Bishop Farrell.  I pray daily for the Sacrament of Confession to be much more widely available.  I know Bishop Farrell desires this, as well.  I pray this effort is a good beginning and we see more in the future!

 

Oh, that sights like this were commonplace! April 2, 2012

Posted by Tantumblogo in awesomeness, Basics, Dallas Diocese, episcopate, General Catholic, priests, religious, Tradition, Virtue.
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I saw this on Fr. Z, who had picked it up from Philip Gerard Johnson’s blog:

What a witness!  What a source of inspiration!  Would that scenes like this would be repeated constantly throughout the nation and world!  It reminds me of the tale I was told by a local priest concerning how the bishop mobilized the priests and laity of the diocese to picket and ultimately close down a porn shop in town!  What faithful Catholic would not be inspired to join these men in prayer outside an abortion mill, strip club, or other den of iniquity?  What impact would this sight have on our increasingly amoral, paganistic culture?  Men, visibly given over to the service of God, praying in public!  How many consciences might be stirred by such a vision? 

I know mine would be.  Such scenes are vital if we are to re-assert the Faith in a public sense, to stop the long retreat and to live our Faith out in the world, as we are called to do by many Church councils and Sacred Scripture.  We’ve got to get out there and be Catholics in a visible sense.  Having our clergy (or seminarians, in this case) leading the way would be inspirational to millions.  It could literally change the world.

An abortion mill in Rockford, IL – a particularly nasty, combative, satanic mill – was shut down after repeated visitations by local priests, frequently in cassocks (it does make a difference!), who prayed outside for many long hours in all kinds of weather, and then, critically, performed an exorcism on the place.  It shut down within a few months of the exorcism.  I know we have priests active in the local pro-life effort, but not quite to this extent.  Who knows what good could come from greater involvement!  Wouldn’t it be glorious to have all the mills in this Diocese shut down, and Planned Parenthood exorcised from our presence?

 

Special events this Holy Week April 2, 2012

Posted by Tantumblogo in awesomeness, Basics, Dallas Diocese, Eucharist, General Catholic, Interior Life, North Deanery, Our Lady, Tradition, Virtue.
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I pray God may grant you a blessed Holy Week!  A couple of things going on – first, 40 Hours Adoration at St. Mark in Plano, starting on Tuesday (tomorrow) 04/03 at 3 pm and going until Holy Thursday at 8am.  Spend time with Our Eucharistic Lord this Holy Week! 

Secondly, there is an effort to have a Church-wide Rosary prayed on Good Friday.  I received this via e-mail:

Imagine what might happen if every Catholic in the world would pray a Rosary on the same day! We have an example in October of 1573 [actually, 1571], when Europe was saved from the invasion of the mighty Turkish fleet, [at the Battle of Lepanto, one of the greatest naval battles ever fought] by the praying of the Rosary by all Christians!

So, on Good Friday, let us all pray a Rosary for peace in the world and the return of moral values into our communities. If possible, please pray your Rosary between Noon and 3:00pm.

I don’t know about you, but I pray a Rosary every day, for many intentions.  Definitely for a return to the great defense of the moral doctrines of the Faith.  I strongly believe every Catholic should pray at least one Rosary every day.  I know many who pray many Rosaries a day.  There is no prayer more pleasing to God, or more efficacious for ourselves, the Church, and the world, than the Rosary.

Our Lady of Sorrows April 2, 2012

Posted by Tantumblogo in awesomeness.
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Thank you, my Blessed Mother, for making such a willing sacrifice of all that you loved, and having your soul pierced so that so many could be saved.

Thanks to Ars Orandi for the great art!