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One more post on Cardinal Rodriguez-Maradiaga’s talk in Dallas November 19, 2013

Posted by Tantumblogo in Basics, disconcerting, episcopate, General Catholic, sadness, scandals, shocking, the return, Tradition.
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Dallas’ Bishop Kevin Farrell operates a blog, and last Oct. 30 he added a post on Cardinal Rodriguez-Maradiaga’s talk in Dallas at the annual ministry conference.  I present much of that post below, with some minimal comments. I think the Cardinal’s comments largely speak for themselves, but I will add a thought or two.  Some might consider this post in relation to the most recent post on this talk I did last week, in which I quoted a blogger as viewing this talk rather negatively.  Emphases and comments, per usual:

Addressing the University of Dallas Ministry Conference on Oct. 25, Cardinal Oscár Rodriguez, the chairman of Pope Francis’ Cardinal Consultors, said that “There is not a possible reform in the Church without coming back to Jesus.

The Cardinal, of course, is intimately involved in the efforts of the Holy Father to reform the Church and only recently returned from the first meeting of the Cardinal Consultors on Oct. 1-2.

Vatican II, he recalled, “wanted to renovate the Church internally, since the Church was not the Gospel, nor the perfect follower of itand from “her limited and sinful condition many habits, laws and arrangements were established that did not correspond to the teachings and practice of the Gospel.” [A few questions – in declaiming the Church’s many “sinful habits that did not correspond to the teachings and practice of the Gospel,” is Cardinal Rodriguez-Maradiaga not rather severely criticizing at least several centuries of popes and prelates who preceded Vatican II?  Does this kind of rhetoric advance an understanding of Vatican II in continuity with Tradition?]

The Cardinal stated that the great challenge of the Church today is “to revise the mission of the Church adjusting it to the mission of Jesus.The Church and each of us individually must come back to Jesus. Remember, he said, “salvation comes from Jesus, not from the Church.” [Doesn’t the first statement not just imply, but outwardly claim, that the Church did not, prior to the Council, conform to the Will of God or the “mission of Jesus?” If the Church must “come back to Jesus,” at what point did She leave?  And if the Church can be so sinful and erroneous then, how do we know She is right, now?]

Many questions come to mind.  I have covered this talk now several times. I have received some criticism for having done so.  Mostly, I have just asked questions, perhaps pointed ones.  But I cannot see in much of the Cardinal’s discourse any overt adherence to the “hermeneutic of continuity.”  It is disconcerting to me that these statements lambasting the pre-conciliar Church seem to be quite positively received in some quarters.

The foundational assumption of the “hermeneutic of continuity” and of the whole pre-conciliar Tradition is that Truth cannot change. It can be better understood, put into practice better, but it cannot radically change, and it certainly cannot contradict itself.  There cannot be some marked contrast between the Church of “before” or “after,” at least not in terms of Doctrine or what constitutes “truth.”  Saying the Church had many sinful habits and had walked away from the Gospel seems to be coming perilously close to embracing an idea of rupture, of a radically wrong pre-conciliar Church.





We must withdraw our souls from the world and participate with great inward focus at the Mass November 19, 2013

Posted by Tantumblogo in awesomeness, Basics, Eucharist, fun, General Catholic, Glory, Grace, Holy suffering, Interior Life, priests, sanctity, Tradition, Virtue.
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Fr. Nicholas Gihr, in his book The Holy Sacrifice of the Mass Dogmatically, Liturgically, and Ascetically Explained, highlights true active, interior participation at the Mass in a section explaining the exalted prayers of the Preface, the common parts of which date to Apostolic times according to Fr. Gihr, one of the greatest scholars of the Mass in the history of the Church.  Active participation is not running around performing various jobs during Mass, or acting in what from time immemorial was the place of the priest in the distribution of Holy Communion.  Participation is inward, does not require the understanding of every word spoken at Mass, and is focused above all on turning out thoughts away from the world and its illusions, and focusing them on God and our need for contrition and repentance. Pages 555-557 below, I add emphasis and comments:

Sursum corda! “Lift up your hearts!” The meaning of these words is most comprehensive: they signify that we should withdraw all the faculties of our soul from what is earthly, and consecrate them exclusively to intercourse with God and divine things. For this is, above all, necessary to turn mind and spirit from worldly objects and to close them to distracting thoughts, so as to be immersed with all one’s might and Gold_fr-barth-1st-mass-07attention in holy meditations.  If the mind be penetrated with a higher light from above, then the will also will be incited to devotion. The heart becomes aglow with holy love of God, and disengages itself from the bonds of worldly inclinations and desires, that enchain it in the dust; it rouses itself from its sluggish indolence and tepidity, that it may with holy ardor soar heavenward with all its powers. ”Hearts on high!” This applies principally to the time of Mass. It, of course, requires serious effort on our part to raise mind and spirit on high, and keep them recollected and disengaged from what is earthly and perishable; human frailty and the inconstancy of man being so very great. To persevere in undisturbed recollection and communion with God, is possible only to a soul that daily endeavors to divest itself of all earthly dross and bonds, and labors to attain a permanent direction upward. [So, we must practice penance and mortification regularly to improve our ability to participate actively and inwardly at the Mass.]  Hence the words of the Apostle: “Our conversation is in heaven” (Phil. 3, 20). What does this imply? That we should not grovel like worms in the dust, Easter_Vigil_TAR_2013but like the birds in the air we ought to soar in spirit heavenward ; we should not burthen and oppress our hearts with the thoughts and desires, with the cares and pleasures of this life, but we should so divest ourselves of the earthly and of the love of perishable goods, that our soul may aspire with ease to Heaven with lively hope and ardent desire. “Mind the things that are above, and seek for what is above” this is the wisdom of Christian life. The Sursum corda, therefore, admonishes us, especially at the Sacrifice of the Mass, to have our mind occupied with heavenly things only and to be intent upon them. “No one should be present in such a manner, that, although he may say with the lips: ‘We have lifted our hearts to the Lord,’ his thoughts are directed to the cares of this life. We should indeed think of God at all times; but if this be impossible, on account of human frailty, we should take it to heart most especially at least during the Holy Sacrifice……

……The more estranged the soul becomes from frivolity and the distractions of the world, the more she rises above all created things, the more clearly and profoundly also will she perceive that God is the eternal love and the fountain-source of all that is good: she thereby becomes penetrated with a lively sense of grateful praise to Him.

———End Quote———

Thus Father Gihr presents the timeless wisdom of the Church on pious participation at the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass. We are very frail creatures. Maintaining our focus for even an half hour on thoughts of God and heavenly things is very difficult. We can only achieve such through practice. This practice should really begin outside the Mass with focused times of prayer, meditation, and spiritual reading.  It is not a trivial task.

But when we think of what the Mass is, what awesome events transpire there, and what the Mass means for our souls, even a large effort seems to pale in comparison to the august Gift we receive every time we worthily participate in the Mass and receive Our Blessed Lord in the Eucharist. It is the Source and Summit of our Faith, and worth our utmost efforts to participate with the most reverent and deeply engaged participation possible.

I found the picture below on Ars Orandi. What a glorious photo – I love the tonsure!  Religious simplicity does not mean we can not render proper honor and glory to God at the Mass!

Gold_Capuchin Friar3


Confusion – are bishops consecrated, or ordained? – ANSWERED November 19, 2013

Posted by Tantumblogo in Basics, Christendom, Dallas Diocese, episcopate, General Catholic, Glory, Grace, priests, Sacraments, true leadership.
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A commenter asked about the “ordination” of Bishop-elect Olson of Fort Worth.  I replied that the proper term, at least in the tradition, is consecration.  But there is actually confusion about this.  Prior to Vatican II, it was 100% clear that bishops were consecrated.  This term had been used for many centuries prior, going back at least to the early Middle Ages.  The Catholic Encyclopedia from 1913 defines the “plenitude of the priesthood” that a newly installed bishop receives as being a consecration.

But since Vatican II, a new term, “episcopal ordination” has come into use.  In the 1997 English version of the Catechism of the Catholic Church – NOT a dogmatic  or formally defining document – the terms episcopal ordination and episcopal consecration are used interchangeably (CCC 1556-1558).  The 1983 Code of Canon Law also uses both terms.

Referring to more doctrinal sources, Sacrosanctum Concilium, the Dogmatic Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy produced at Vatican II, states in number 76:

Both the ceremonies and texts of the ordination rites are to be revised. The address given by the bishop at the beginning of each ordination or consecration may be in the mother tongue. [Interesting.  Just the address in the vernacular.  So, the rest was to be in Latin?  It’s not clear.]

When a bishop is consecrated, the laying of hands may be done by all the bishops present.

Now, I think in the above, the “ordination” rite refers to the ordination of a priest, while the second paragraph, plainly broken out from the previous one, refers to consecration of bishops.

Theologically, ordination, or Holy Orders, is a Sacrament that leaves an indelible mark on the soul, like Baptism, and it can only be performed once. So, I’m not certain I understand the “modern” usage of “episcopal ordination.”  A consecration is a setting aside, which makes perfect sense in reference to a bishop, and is a direct reference to the “setting aside” of the Apostles Paul and Barnabas in Acts of the Apostles.  But so far as I know, a bishop receives no special additional mark or change to his soul as he did when he was ordained a priest. So, the terminology seems confusing.

But, then again, bishops are the fullness of the priesthood, with the ability to ordain priests and, normally, perform Confirmations.  So, there is certainly an additional influx of Grace, and extra gifts provided by the Holy Spirit, but I’m still not certain if “ordination” is the right term for what a priest undergoes when ascending to the episcopate.

Your comments are welcome.  Any further thoughts on the post Vatican II change, the reasons for it, or the history of the prior practice?  As far as I can tell, the term and concept of “episcopal ordination” was not used prior to the most recent Council.

So, reader JLG had the following explanation:

I would argue that the terminology of consecrate is ambiguous at best ultimately meaning to make holy… the consecration of bread and wine, the consecration of ones family to the Sacred Heart, entering into a consecrated life as a religious. I would say that while it may be common to use the term consecrate for a person that becomes a bishop is actually consecrated through the sacrament of Holy Orders via the rite of ordination.

FYI – I remember as a kid that one year Bishop-elect Orson was a Lenten speaker after Stations. He is an expert on Catholic morality of death, dying, and end of life issues.

Now that Obamacare has utterly cratered…… November 19, 2013

Posted by Tantumblogo in abdication of duty, Abortion, Basics, contraception, disaster, episcopate, error, foolishness, General Catholic, horror, sadness, scandals, self-serving, Society.
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…..I have to wonder what is the response of the USCCB bureaucracy that pushed so very, very hard for its passage?  I don’t mean the bishops themselves, I know there have been press releases against the HHS Mandate of late, but I mean the lobbyists and bureaucrats who were just about 100% in favor of passage of Obamacare, or something even more radically socialistic.

Will they admit that the kind of “socialized medicine” they argued so strenuously for is a disaster of unprecedented proportions, destroying people’s lives by making health insurance now not just unaffordable for a small minority of citizens, but for the entire lower middle class?  In fact, it should be renamed the Unaffordable Care Act, because people’s premiums have skyrocketed between 50 and 300%.   This is what happens when a sclerotic government gets involved in an industry, any industry – costs explode, service dramatically declines, and the less than extremely rich are left holding the bag.

As an example – the woman Obama held out as a great “success story” from the Kennedy-esque, in terms of incompetence, launch of Obamacare and its pathetic website now announces she actually cannot afford the health insurance proffered:

Big surprise.  But my question to the bureaucracy of the USCCB, and probably a good portion of the Conference itself, is: what in the entire experience of governmental programs in this country led you to believe this attempted takeover of 1/6 of the national economy would be even remotely achieve its stated goals of dramatically lowering health insurance costs while improving standards of care, something that should have been obviously impossible from the start? Don’t we constantly read and hear about how Social Security is broken, how Medicare is insolvent, how Medicaid needs radical reform?  Aren’t those rather strong indicators of failure?  

But the left always believes that THEY – this particular group of leftists – will succeed where others have failed, even to the point of giving out and out communism another try.  Even though communism has inflicted more murder, suffering, mayhem, wars, and general misery upon mankind than any other ideology, there is a hardcore of democrat supporters in this country – maybe as much as 10% – who believe communism is the way to go.  And the number who believe such had been, until now, increasing, due to the utter dominance of the extreme left in the public schools and, especially, academia.  But I think – and growing evidence supports this contention – that Obamacare is going to be the rude awakening for a whole generation of carefully indoctrinated young progressives that they have been sold a giant bundle of unworkable lies, whose only true feature is a vast increase in suffering and misery.

The only question now is how much pain will be inflicted on the nation and how much damage will be done to the health care industry as this nightmare is semi-implemented and then possibly pulled back.  It seems even those whom the law was supposed to benefit most – by imposing an extremely high tax via massively increased premiums on about 80% of the American public – have little interest in paying for health insurance, even when massively subsidized. Most signups thus far have been for Medicaid, which requires no premiums.  I have to wonder if the USCCB will in future be more circumspect in endorsing these kinds of socialist wealth transfer schemes?  

I shouldn’t need to remind that ALL of the huge problems this program is causing – except, perhaps, the inept production of the sign up website – were predicted volubly and repeatedly in advance.  We were warned that health care premiums would skyrocket, that care standards would fall dramatically, and that a whole ream of morally offensive programs would be shoved down our throats whether we wanted them or not.  But the USCCB bureaucracy, over the concerns of many members of the Conference, lobbied loudly and expensively (several millions were spent on the lobbying effort) in favor of this bill, in spite of the massive moral problems it entailed. 

I pray this experience will cause more control to be exerted over the USCCB apparatus (and all its daughter organizations – Catholic Charities, CCHD, Catholic Health Association, etc) and that the USCCB will not so reflexively endorse socialistic programs in future.  The USCCB, in a sense, owns a good chunk of this mess*.  

*I again want to distinguish between the Conference itself, which was plainly divided over Obamacare and half-hearted in both support and opposition, and the bureaucracy, which was 100% in favor of the most radical socialized health insurance schemes possible, and was disappointed Obamacare was not a single-payer government-run system

The Diocese of Fort Worth has a new bishop – and Dallas’ influence continues to grow November 19, 2013

Posted by Tantumblogo in awesomeness, Basics, Dallas Diocese, episcopate, General Catholic, Glory, Papa, priests, Society, Victory.
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Congratulations to Father Michael Olson, Rector of Dallas’ Holy Trinity Seminary and now, God willing, the fourth Bishop of the Diocese of Fort Worth.

Bishop-Elect Olson is 47 and has been rector of Holy Trinity for the past 5 years.  He is actually a priest of the Ft. Worth Diocese, the first such “home” priest to be elected bishop of that diocese.  He has been a fast riser – he was ordained in 1994, served as formation adviser at St. Mary’s Seminary in Houston (where many Dallas priests have been trained) from 2001-2006, and was vicar general of FW Diocese from 2006-8.  He is a native of Illinois.

Bishop Farrell has written a congratulatory note here.

Interesting, Bishop-elect Olson adds to a list of several recent prelates appointed with strong ties to the Diocese of Dallas.  We of course saw Bishop Mark Seitz depart to head the El Paso Diocese (where, I understand, he is already doing some good things), and Michael Duca was installed as the Bishop of Shreveport a few years ago.  There was a long stretch of time when the Archdiocese of San Antonio provided many of the bishops for the remaining sees in Texas and nearby states.  In fact, there have been periods when almost all the bishops appointed to various Texas sees came from or through San Antonio.  And San Antonio, being such a large and influential diocese, will of course continue to do so – as Bishop Oscar Cantu from San Antonio was named to head the Las Cruces Diocese earlier this year. But it is interesting that many appointments of late have “run through Dallas,” if you will. I don’t know if that is significant, or not.  Perhaps it’s a reflection of Dallas now being seen as a major/influential diocese in its own right.

I really don’t know much of anything about Fr. Olson, so sorry to the folks in Ft. Worth, I can’t help you much there.  I do know that Holy Trinity Seminary has turned around quite a bit, with far, far more men entering and staying to be ordained than was the case 10 years ago or so. That process had started prior to 2008, but it certainly seems Bishop-elect Olson hasn’t done anything to upset that continued improvement, and probably – given recent ordination trends – helped it continue.  That’s about all I can say on that front.

z3hTQ_St_58Congratulations again to Bishop-elect Olson, and the people of Ft. Worth, who have been waiting over a year for their new bishop!