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Let’s have a change of pace – (some of) the glories of the Mass October 1, 2013

Posted by Tantumblogo in awesomeness, Basics, Christendom, General Catholic, Glory, Grace, Interior Life, Latin Mass, Liturgy, reading, Tradition, Virtue.
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Santo_Stefano_dAveto-santuario_madonna_di_Guadalupe-altare2I’m frankly getting tired of talking about Pope Francis all the time. Is it perhaps deliberate that the Pope keeps saying things that, at the least, can be radically interpreted to appear to be attacking very core elements of the Faith?  Is it being done just to keep him in the limelight?  Why so many interviews, one after another after another?  Isn’t there a Church to run?

Anyway, I’m going to turn away from all that and be reminded of how things used to be, when the Church had a steady hand at the helm in Blessed Pius IX or Leo XIII, and the Mass was still………the Mass.  From Fr. Nicholas Gihr’s wonderful The Holy Sacrifice of the Mass Dogmatically, Liturgically, and Ascetically Explained:

The beauty, the worth and the perfection of the Roman liturgy of the Mass are universally acknowledged and admired. Father Faber styles the Church’s Rite of the Holy Sacrifice “the most beautiful thing this side of heaven,” and, as he remarks, “it came forth out of the grand mind of the Church, and lifted us out of earth and out of self, and wrapped us round in a cloud of mystical sweetness and the sublimities of a more than angelic liturgy, and purified us almost without ourselves, and charmed us with celestial charming, so that our very senses seem to find vision, hearing, fragrance, taste and touch, beyond what earth can give.” The Church prayers of the liturgy are superior to all other prayers; no “human genius can hope to attain their beauty and sublimity. [Yes. To me, this just nails the experience of the Requiem Mass_elevation2.jpgTLM. Even before I had ever been to a TLM, I would hear many prayers in the Novus Ordo and think…….wow, is that banal. Or, wow, is that clumsy.  Not in the TLM.  All the prayers are gorgeously composed and express such deep, moving theological insights.  They are truly transcendent.  That is why I feel the TLM is a product of Grace, divinely inspired, while the Novus Ordo has always felt manufactured to me – especially in its vernacular variants.  A good Latin NO, offered very well, can be quite sublime. But it does not equal the TLM, to my mind.] In these two qualities, the Mass differs from all other offices in a remarkable manner. It has not merely flights of eloquence and poetry strikingly displayed in particular prayers, but it is sustained throughout in the higher sphere, to which its divine purpose naturally raises it. If we examine each prayer separately, it is perfect; perfect in construction, perfect in thought, and perfect in expression. If we consider the manner in which they are brought together, we are struck with the brevity of each, with the sudden but beautiful transitions, and the almost stanza-like effect, with which they succeed one another, forming a lyrical composition of surpassing beauty. If we take the entire service, as a whole, it is constructed with the most admirable symmetry, proportioned in its parts with perfect judgment and so exquisitely arranged, as to excite and preserve an unbroken interest in the sacred action……..Papa Stronsay Adoration (5).jpg

“That overruling influence of the Spirit of God, that directs even in secondary matters the affairs of the visible Church, nowhere else appears so marked and evident as in the arrangement of the rite of the Holy Mass, which, although only monumental, yet in its present state forms such a beautiful, perfect whole, yea, a splendid work, that it excites the admiration of every reflecting mind. Even the bitterest adversaries of the Church do not deny it; unprejudiced, aesthetic judges of good taste admit that even from their own standpoint the Mass is to be classed as one of the greatest masterpieces ever composed. [To this Catholic soul, as it was to Michael Davies and others, the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass is the highest achievement of human civilization, bar none.  But that is because it is not truly human, but inspired.]  Thus the momentous sacrifice is encompassed with magnificent ceremonies : it is our duty to study to penetrate more and more into their meaning, and to expound what we have learned to the people according to their capacity” (Oswald).  [Unfortunately, the laity, at least in the mid-20th century, 20130825_122000_resizedwere not taught the meaning of the Mass, and some, at least, often goaded by priests of a certain ilk, demanded revolutionary changes.  While most Catholics did not want these changes, they, for the most part, accepted them at least fairly willingly. I think if these souls had really been formed in the meaning of the manifold treasures of the Mass, they would not have desired or accepted any manufactured subsitute.] The Roman liturgy has for some centuries been a complete masterpiece of art wonderful in the harmony and union of its parts. The most sacred and venerable prayers and chants, breathing religious fervor and tenderness, follow most ingeniously upon one another, and together with the most appropriate and significant actions and ceremonies, form a beautiful whole, serving as a protecting garment and a worthy ornament to the divine mystery of the Holy Sacrifice. Their language, for its kind and object, cannot be surpassed; for it is biblical, ancient, simple, grave, dignified, solid, full of the spirit of faith, humility and devotion, and penetrated with the perfume of piety and holiness.

Pope Francis’ latest grenade – UPDATED October 1, 2013

Posted by Tantumblogo in abdication of duty, Basics, catachesis, disaster, Ecumenism, episcopate, error, foolishness, General Catholic, Papa, sadness, scandals, secularism, self-serving, Society, the return.
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Wow…….as one of the commenters said, this Pope, he is moving fast.  He wants to apparently do quite a bit in whatever time he has.

Pope Francis has given yet another interview, this time with Italian editor and militant atheist Eugenio Scalfari.  This is an interview the Pope sought out and initiated.  It’s another rather long, wordy interview. Rorate has the complete text in English.  We hadn’t even gotten over the previous interview, before this one drops on us.  I will give some of the more………exciting………excerpts. I shall endeavor to keep my comments to a minimum, but I may fail:

Pope Francis told me: “The most  serious of the evils that afflict the world these days are youth unemployment and the loneliness of the old. The old need care and companionship; the young need work and hope but have neither one nor the other, and the problem is they don’t even look for them any more. They have been crushed by the present. You tell me: can you live crashed under the weight of the present? Without a memory of the past and without the desire to look ahead to the future by building something, a future, a family? Can you go on like this? This, to me, is the most urgent problem that the Church is facing” [So, not abortion. Not plummeting birth rates and attendant economic collapse. Not worldwide apostasly. Youth unemployment and the loneliness of the old.  Is he serious?  Or is Pope Francis just incredibly provincial?]

[The interviewer says……….]My friends think it is you want to convert me.

He smiles again and replies: “Proselytism is solemn nonsense, it makes no sense. We need to get to know each other, listen to each other and improve our knowledge of the world around us. Sometimes after a meeting I want to arrange another one because new ideas are born and I discover new needs. This is important: to get to know people, listen, expand the circle of ideas. The world is crisscrossed by roads that come closer together and move apart, but the important thing is that they lead towards the Good.”
 
Your Holiness, is there is a single vision of the Good? And who decides what it is?

 

“Each of us has a vision of good and of evil. We have to encourage people to move towards what they think is Good.” [This is the second time the Pope has said this. He seems almost desperate to get the wordly secularist/atheist types to………what?  Like him?  It’s certainly not so they convert.]
 

 

Your Holiness you wrote that in your letter to me.  The conscience is autonomous, you said, and everyone must obey his conscience. I think that’s one of the most courageous steps taken by a Pope.

 

“And I repeat it here. Everyone has his own idea of good and evil and must choose to follow the good and fight evil as he conceives them. That would be enough to make the world a better place.”  [Ummm, can we also have a little concern over the eternal destination of souls?  It is not enough to “make the world a better place,” which will vary according to the apparently 7+billion dogmatic definitions of “good” the Pope apparently feels exist out there in each human being.  Is this not just private judgment run absolutely amok?  Is this not complete moral relativism?  Is this not a bitter rebuke of the former, but still living, pontiff?  This statement here is in some ways worse than the statement regarding proselytism at the top, because the Pope has now said almost the exact same thing 3 or 4 times. These statements could have come from the mouth of a Charles Curran or Richard McBrien]
 
Jesus in his preaching said that agape, love for others, is the only way to love God. Correct me if I’m wrong.
 

 

“You’re not wrong. The Son of God became incarnate in the souls of men to instill the feeling of brotherhood……..”  [I thought it was more about redeeming all mankind of our sins, and making salvation at least a possibility for us]
 
The leprosy of the papacy, those were his exact words. But what is the court? Perhaps he is alluding to the curia?
 

 

“No, there are sometimes courtiers in the curia, but the curia as a whole is another thing. It is what in an army is called the quartermaster’s office, it manages the services that serve the Holy See. But it has one defect: it is Vatican-centric. It sees and looks after the interests of the Vatican, which are still, for the most part, temporal interests. This Vatican-centric view neglects the world around us. I do not share this view and I’ll do everything I can to change it. The Church is or should go back to being a community of God’s people………”
 
Throughout the interview, Pope Francis stresses, as he has done on numerous previous occasions, that his vision of the Church is one that sees our duty to serve our fellow man as far, far more pressing and predominant than our need to serve God.  These duties certainly do not have to be competitive, they should be profoundly complementary, but we see again a sort of “either-or” approach in the post-conciliar Church being played out.
 
Those are certainly the comments that will get the most attention, I think. I may have missed a few highly charged ones.
 
So, the above is certainly in keeping with much that we’ve heard from Pope Francis throughout his pontificate.  In closing, Mundabor makes an interesting comparison:
 

Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost, teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you.

Our Lord, 33 AD.

“Proselytism is solemn nonsense, it makes no sense. We need to get to know each other, listen to each other and improve our knowledge of the world around us. Sometimes after a meeting I want to arrange another one because new ideas are born and I discover new needs. This is important: to get to know people, listen, expand the circle of ideas. The world is crisscrossed by roads that come closer together and move apart, but the important thing is that they lead towards the Good.”

Pope Francis, 2013 AD.

UPDATE: I missed the following excerpt. “Make a mess,” he said:

“We must be a leaven of life and of love,” Francis said, “and the leaven is infinitely smaller than the mass of fruit, of flowers and trees that grow thanks to it…. [O]ur objective isn’t proselytism but listening to [people’s] needs, desires, disappointments, desperations and hopes. We must restore hope to the young, aid the old, open ourselves to the future, spread love. [We must be] the poor among the poor. We must include the excluded and preach peace. Vatican II, inspired by Pope John and Paul VI, decided to look to the future with a modern spirit and to open [the church] to modern culture. The Council fathers knew that
opening to modern culture meant religious ecumenism and dialogue with non believers. After then very little was done in that direction. I have the humility and ambition to want to do it.”  [First of all……..I have not known too many humble people who go around reminding others how humble they are all the time. Secondly, claiming “very little” was done regarding implementing novel concepts on ecumenism and dialogue sends cold shivers down my spine.  Good grief, what was not done?  We have had popes kissing Korans, sending greetings to every pagan and muslim and Jewish holiday you can imagine, we have whole conferences and dicasteries and groups of cardinals dedicated to nothing BUT ecumenism and “dialogue,” we have regular meetings in posh resorts to spend more time fruitlessly trying to square the corner on subjects like Anglican ordination of women and Catholic understanding such is impossible, we have spent nearly 50 years beating our breasts crying “mea culpa” for all the “wrongs” and failings of the Church over 2000 years, we had not one, not two, but THREE scandalous, indifferentist confabs in Assisi with every pagan religion under the sun present……..and little has been done?  If that’s the case, what will be left standing when this humble, ambitious Pope gets done dialoguing?]

What happens when government runs your healthcare October 1, 2013

Posted by Tantumblogo in asshatery, disaster, episcopate, error, foolishness, General Catholic, persecution, sadness, scandals, secularism, self-serving, sickness, Society.
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You get service like the post office and costs like the Defense Department.  But hundreds of thousands of leeches, swindlers, labor leaders, and others of the same type will get filthy rich skimming off the top 1-2% 30-40%.

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The first day of Obamacare, which the USCCB/bishops sort of kind of opposed, but also sort of kind of wanted.  Like so much of what they do, their half-hearted response was revealing of the divided nature of the conference and how consensus almost always leads to neutering of any evangelical fire.  I am personally convinced that as bureaucracy grows, evangelical fire tends to decrease proportionately.

Even the response to the health care mandate, while initially vigorous, has grown increasingly muted and ineffectual. Essentially, the USCCB seems to be counting on the courts to bail them out on having to cover contraception, but I’m not sure they’re as concerned such a ruling would apply to lower level institutions not under the direct umbrella of the USCCB or individual bishops, such as religious orders, some charities, and some Catholic universities.

Enjoy your Obamacare.  BTW, the AP (which sides with Obama wherever it is even remotely possible to do so) has confirmed that if you like your doctor, under Obamacare, you most likely CANNOT keep him.  In fact, Obamacare looks to have even less availability of both general practitioners and specialists than does Medicare/Medicaid.

Examining the infamous interview in more detail October 1, 2013

Posted by Tantumblogo in Basics, disconcerting, episcopate, General Catholic, Interior Life, Papa, persecution, pr stunts, the return, Tradition.
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I know many readers may be getting tired of hearing about Pope Francis’ (in)famous interview released a week and a half ago in several Jesuit publications.  I have already posted some excerpts, but as I was reading one section again, I found that putting the excerpt in context made it all the more devastating to the Catholic heart.  At least, to this Catholic’s heart.  So, without further intro, here is a full section of the interview on the subject of doubt and uncertainty and the gross “failures” of those who see in the Faith clear, concrete answers or certainties (I will add some emphasis and comments per usual):

“Yes, in this quest to seek and find God in all things there is still an area of uncertainty. There must be. If a person says that he met God with total certainty and is not touched by a margin of uncertainty, then this is not good. [Why is it not good?  What kind of uncertainty is the Holy Father talking about?  Uncertainty in the existence of God, or in what God wills for us, individually, or in what He wills for the world, or the Church, or matters of doctrine?  I think we come to know below]  For me, this is an important key. If one has the answers to all the questions—that is the proof that God is not with him[Wow. St. Thomas Aquinas had a lot of answers to a lot of questions…..was God not in him?]  It means that he is a false prophet using religion for himself. The great leaders of the people of God, like Moses, have always left room for doubt. [OK, here is a concrete example.  But Moses trusted completely, invincibly in the existence of God, at least by the time he was leading the Jews. He at times doubted himself, and his ability to carry out God’s plans.  That’s OK.  But he did not doubt what God told him, at all.  So, is the Pope referring more to ourselves, and being uncertain WE fully understand the Faith, or God? That I can comprehend.] You must leave room for the Lord, not for our certainties; we must be humble. Uncertainty is in every true discernment that is open to finding confirmation in spiritual consolation. [Probably, but that does not mean we should quiver in doubt. We have to trust we are in the state of Grace and prayerfully discern God’s Will for us.  We must trust boldly in the Lord, as St. Paul says, not be wracked in doubt all the time whether we have properly understood.  There are times when we will be in doubt, as individuals, but I don’t think this applies well to the Church overall.]

The risk in seeking and finding God in all things, then, is the willingness to explain too much, to say with human certainty and arrogance: ‘God is here.’ We will find only a god that fits our measure. The correct attitude is that of St. Augustine: seek God to find him, and find God to keep searching for God forever. Often we seek as if we were blind, as one often reads in the Bible. And this is the experience of the great fathers of the faith, who are our models. We have to re-read the Letter to the Hebrews, Chapter 11. Abraham leaves his home without knowing where he was going, by faith. [yes, but he was certain of that faith, and in the existence of the God who called him, which is why he was justified by faith after going through various tests, or works] All of our ancestors in the faith died seeing the good that was promised, but from a distance…. Our life is not given to us like an opera libretto, in which all is written down; but it means going, walking, doing, searching, seeing…. We must enter into the adventure of the quest for meeting God; we must let God search and encounter us. [This all has a great ring of modernism to it, the Church as “pilgrim,” the people as “becoming” the people of God, searching, encountering, instead of presenting God as a great certainty and the Church as the source of Truth which the human mind is capable of unlocking and understanding through reason.  It’s almost a counter-Scholastic approach, unless I’m just totally misunderstanding.]

“Because God is first; God is always first and makes the first move. God is a bit like the almond flower of your Sicily, Antonio, which always blooms first. We read it in the Prophets. God is encountered walking, along the path. At this juncture, someone might say that this is relativism. Is it relativism? Yes, if it is misunderstood as a kind of indistinct pantheism. It is not relativism if it is understood in the biblical sense, that God is always a surprise, so you never know where and how you will find him. You are not setting the time and place of the encounter with him. You must, therefore, discern the encounter. Discernment is essential.  [OK.  This paragraph is not unreasonable. We have to be open to God’s Will, to His desires for us, we cannot close him out by being so certain we know what He wills that we miss His message. But I do think the Pope recognizes the danger in his preferred “uncertainty” in noting that it is prone to abuse, and can lead to indistinct definitions of God that tend towards modernist pantheism. But then……..]

If the Christian is a restorationist, a legalist, if he wants everything clear and safe, then he will find nothing. Tradition and memory of the past must help us to have the courage to open up new areas to God. Those who today always look for disciplinarian solutions, those who long for an exaggerated doctrinal ‘security,’ those who stubbornly try to recover a past that no longer exists­—they have a static and inward-directed view of things. In this way, faith becomes an ideology among other ideologies[OK, full stop, because the Pope then segues to a radically different subject.  These previous sentences bolded above are really disconcerting.  It appears the first three paragraphs were really pointed at this attack on “restorationist” Christians, which I think the text makes clear are those who love Tradition and believe as the Church has always believed.  I think these sentences here make clear that Pope Francis is talking about certainty regarding doctrine in the first 3 paras above.  “Legalist” is a term used for those who have a very firm understanding of the Church’s beliefs, and who strive to live according to those beliefs.  It is used as a pejorative by modernist/progressive types who don’t much favor clear definitions of Dogma. Those four sentences above are a really, really strong attack on the faith of so many Catholic souls, and they are a caricature to boot.  It is not about recovering a lost past, it is about building a golden future on the great foundations laid by the Apostles, Doctors, Popes, Saints, and all the other countless holy souls who preceded us.  They get to have a vote, too.  They did exist. The Church they built is the Church Christ desired to see built.  If the Church is One, it is one not just geographically but throughout time. Therefore, how THEY lived the Faith 1000 or 500 or 100 years ago is how WE must live and understand and proclaim the Faith today. I just find in these words a distressing display of what really seems like contempt and total dismissal of the faith of millions of the most concerned, charitable, and involved Catholics there are.  It is also a sign of that “rupture” we heard so much about in the previous pontificate.]   I have a dogmatic certainty: God is in every person’s life. God is in everyone’s life. Even if the life of a person has been a disaster, even if it is destroyed by vices, drugs or anything else—God is in this person’s life. You can, you must try to seek God in every human life. Although the life of a person is a land full of thorns and weeds, there is always a space in which the good seed can grow. You have to trust God.”  [Who says otherwise?  Who says that there are people not made in the image and likeness of God, that there are people we can just write off as disasters?  I certainly don’t think that way.  There are people who are very lost in sin and have become inculcated in very destructive thinking and behaviors, but even if I condemn their sins and remind them of the urgent need to repent and convert, that does not mean I hate them or write them off as “bad people.”  Maybe some Catholics think that way, but I really think this is just another unfair caricature of a philosophical belief set Pope Francis really, really opposes. It is a convenient club to pretend that the most orthodox Catholics are really not charitable, they just cling to their rigid rules and definitions as their “stairway to Heaven.” In fact, progressive/modernists have been using this claim as a favorite means to attack faithful Catholics for decades.  The reality is, in actuality, completely different, at least in my experience.  Me, I work out my salvation with fear and trembling, and I look to the guidance of the constant belief of the Church and all the great Popes, Saints, Doctors and mystics of the past to help me understand how to do that.  That is not being Pelagian, it is being sensible, and I both pray and believe that in doing so I am acting in the best traditions of the Church]

Sorry for such a long post.  Sorry if i make you mad. I just had to get this off my chest.  I think the comment is much worse in context, because the Pope goes to substantial lengths to frame his argument, and I find that framing unsettling. I don’t think he ever really proves, rhetorically, why being certain regarding what the Church believes is bad, other than that he just doesn’t like it.