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Does the modern mindset towards obligatory reception of Communion undermine the dignity of the Sacrament? September 23, 2014

Posted by Tantumblogo in Basics, Christendom, disaster, error, Eucharist, foolishness, General Catholic, Interior Life, Liturgy, priests, sadness, scandals, secularism, self-serving, sickness, Society, Spiritual Warfare.
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Here is another highly interesting proposal, this time from Father Tim Finigan.  Father Finigan asks whether very frequent reception of the Blessed Sacrament, surely a font of enormous Grace, might not have had an unexpected and highly negative effect, in creating in people’s minds the idea that the Blessed Sacrament is not treated as a divine privilege, but something people are almost owed for showing up at Mass: (my emphasis and comments)

Priests who speak on these matters will probably be confronted by the protest “Are you saying that I am being irreverent by standing and receiving communion in the hand?” It is time that we stopped caving in to this childish passive aggression, in favour of helping the majority of ordinary faithful to benefit from external signs of reverence that they quickly recognise as helping reinforce belief in the real presence. [sic]

… I can almost hear the cry from some quarters of “Jansenism! Jansenism!” … The debate on who should and should not receive Holy Communion needs to be re-framed according to classical Catholic spiritual teaching. Nobody wants to see frequent Holy Communion disappear from the lives of Catholics, but it is equally necessary that Holy Communion should once again be understood as a sacrament to be received with due preparation, in a state of grace, and in a state of life that accords with the teaching of Christ and the Church. [Contrary to the perception today, which is that, no matter how much of the Faith one rejects, no matter what deplorable sins one has committed and still commits on a regular basis, one is somehow “owed” the Blessed Sacrament because they deigned to set foot in a Catholic parish.  And this applies to visitors who often walk away from the all-present unextraordinary ministers having no idea what to do with the “Thing” they were just handed, Our Lord Jesus Christ in all His reality.  All too often those Hosts wind up in the pews, if we are lucky, or on the ground, or even worse, if we are not.]

Christ quoted the word spoken to Hosea desiring a real change of heart, and not an empty external ritual. We could reword His call without disrespect: “What I want is mercy, not sacrilege.”

Pertinacious Papist added these comments, which I strongly share:

the problems are not simply a Catholic liturgical thing, but represent the larger and seismic generational shift. People no longer think of approaching God as requiring much acknowledgement of grandeur or holiness. The newer emphasis is that God is not so much ‘Other’ as he is ‘For Us.’ [How much do disastrous practices like Communion in the hand, oh-so-casual consecrations, and flippant reception of the Blessed Sacrament standing have to do with this sadly casual attitude towards receiving God, in all His Substance, into our bodies for food?] And this without the pivotal pre-acknowlegement of the Cross as opening up our access to Him. Of course it makes sense. If sin is downplayed, and if God’s universal salvific will is read as simply God’s unconditional love, then communion is simply the equivalent of the club membership ritual. Every member gets to participate as long as they show up. Even the kids. “Let the little children…” The mass is no longer communion with someone but affirmation of worth[Excellent point.  Once again, in the religion of secular humanism, even the most August Sacrament becomes all about us. Well, I’m bored to death with us, why don’t we focus on God for a change, He is endlessly interesting!]

Those of us who are converts from Protestantism may even remember greater reverence, of sorts, in our erstwhile communions than we are apt to experience in certain AmChurch Catholic parishes these days. [Hey, we received kneeling and on the tongue in my Episcopal Church, and it’s not even high church!  There were others where they received standing.] We may not have had the true Body and Blood of Christ, but we were taught that the Lord’s Supper, whatever we supposed it to be, was something special. You had to be old enough to have an inkling of what it’s about, and if you had big things to still get right with God, you abstained.[Well, by the time I came around, I can’t say I ever heard abstinence mentioned, nor sin, for that matter. The only sins were corporate, not enough welfare state, not enough leftism, etc. But I can say this: I was at least as much a post-conciliar Catholic when I was an Episcopalian, as most Catholics are today.]

How different today, when you’re likely to feel like an oddity if, out of awe and reverence for our Lord, you choose to abstain rather than queue up in the communion line. [Oh yes, the looks, the looks!  What are you, a murderer, a weirdo?!?]As my contact put it: “Same symbols but close to an entirely different religion. In the new cult the problem is not how God sees us………It is how we see ourselves.” [Close?]

The great Pope Saint Pius X could not have known that his act, intended to aid the Church and the good of souls by making the Sacrament of infinite value available to the people on a much more ready basis, could have been so twisted by modernists into a means to allow even the most egregious sinners to claim the false right to receive Our Lord, no matter the state of their soul.  But it must be admitted that this change was a great novelty at the time.  Perhaps, the old practice, before Pope Sarto, was not so misguided after all?  Was the common need for approval before receiving which proceeded Pope Pius X’s liberalization perhaps a means to protect the dignity and even the perception of sanctity of the Sacrament itself, after long and difficult experience?  Just a thought.

Certainly, souls throughout the Church need strong catechesis that the Blessed Sacrament is a Gift, not a right, the reception of which entails the very gravest of responsibilities.  Examination of conscience must be stressed before reception.  To receive the Blessed Sacrament unworthily is  such an act of sacrilege, such an offense against God – it is described as being literally the re-crucifixion of Christ.  There simply must be much greater focus on the responsibilities that come with privileges, instead of pretending that all dogs go to heaven.

At the same time, we don’t want to go back to the bad days of Jansenism, where priests would proudly announce to their Jansenist bishop that there was not one sacrilegious reception at Christmas…….because no one received!  Moderation in all things, and all that.

A modest proposal: seat men, women (+boys, girls) apart during Mass? September 23, 2014

Posted by Tantumblogo in Basics, catachesis, family, General Catholic, Latin Mass, Liturgy, manhood, priests, sanctity, Tradition, true leadership, Virtue.
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Well, the Jews did it, and I think orthodox Jews still do, and the Catholic Church is the perfection of the Old Covenant of Judaism, but……..what do you make of Father Carota’s proposal to seat men and women (including boys and girls) apart from each other at Mass?  It’s more than a proposal – apparently at St. Catherine of Siena in Phoenix, where Fr. Carota serves, this is being implemented.  Women and girls on the Gospel/Our Lady side, men and boys on the Epistle/Saint Joseph side.  Have any of you long time Catholics seen this in your lives? Has this been practiced widely in the Church in centuries?  Has it ever been common in the US?

I can think of several concerns I’d have right off the bat, but Father Carota gives some arguments for why he has felt called to make this initiative (emphasis in original, I add comments):

Recently, here at St. Catherine, we have started the re-introducing the tradition of men and boys sitting on St. Joseph’s side of the Church and women and girls on Our Lady’s side.  If you are observant, you have observe that the statue of St. Joseph was always on the right side and Our Lady on the left side of the altar……

……As a child, I remember that in the churches of Mexico, the men sat on one side and the women on the other.  Many men and women still do that today, but it is also mixed now.  My friends from India say that it is still a divided congregation there today where they go. [Interesting. I have heard this was done, but thought it was long, long ago. I did not know it was done until recently, and/or still going on elsewhere.  Any of you have personal experience of this?]

In the 1917 Canon Law, separation of men and women was strongly advocated. [Very interesting.]

Canon 1262, § 1. “It is desirable that, in harmony with ancient Church order, the women in church be separated from the men.”

Many people say it was not Catholic tradition.   But they simply have selective memory or total ignorance to Catholic tradition from the past.

When the 1917 Canon Law is invoked or quoted in favor or tradition, it is dismissed as a long dead and buried dinosaur of the dark ages or an archaeological specimen from the caveman time of the Catholic Church.  This outdated Canon Law has now been supplanted by the “enlightened” “modern” Canon Law of 1983 that is in conformity with the beliefs of “sophisticated” modern man. [No argument there. That was a danger in codifying the Canon Law in the first place, once you do that, you make it a lot easier to monkey around with.]

I have yet to see the world, the United States or the Catholic Church improving.  But what I do daily see everywhere in the world and in the Church, is scientific evidence of violence, dysfunctional families and emotionally destroyed and aborted children.

So I, and many other wise people, have learned to trust Catholic tradition found in the Church’s 2000 year history.  I no longer trust the progressive, evolutional and modernistic ideology.  It is only leading us to our own self destruction as it has eventually produce everywhere it is enforced, like in Russia.

We Catholics are Judeo-Christians.  Our roots are jewish.  We believe in both the New Testament and the Old Testament.  Yes, Jesus came to fulfill the Old Testament, but He did not condemn it.  Jesus was constantly quoting passages from the Old Testament to re-enforce what He taught.  So it is an error to throw out the God given traditions that the Jews.  Jesus came to correct and fulfill, not to destroy.

In that light we look at the separation of men and boys from women and girls in the Jewish religion…….[there follows an exposition on past and current orthodox Jewish practice]

…….As Catholics, why is this Canon Law and tradition a blessing.

1) Men can identify with St. Joseph and try to be holy like him. [I’ll take that as a given, and number 4, but both sexes should emulate the heroic virtues of both parents in the Holy Family.]

2) I contend that it is good so that we men are not distracted by the women around them and are not sexually tempted by their sexy clothing in church.  (You have no idea how many times men confess sexual temptations in church by how the women are dressed). [Well, that is a scandal. And one for which the congregation should be frequently, if gently (or not?) admonished. But the worst sexual scandal I ever had in Church was when a ~16 year old girl in a miniskirt decided she needed to show me she had no panties on in the football stadium type seating at St. Peter’s in Boerne (laity seated in “stands” on each side, large “playing field” for the priest to prance around, altar at one end, jacuzzi baptismal font at the other.  The people faced each other (inwardly turned “community!”), not the altar or tabernacle, which like in so many SA parishes, was not even present).  So, this may not be a complete deterrent.]  One friend of me told me he no longer went to church because he was always distracted by the women in front of him, especially their beautiful hair. [Ummm……I’ll pass]

3) Boys can identify with their dads and learn how to be a man who prays. [OK.  This is not impossible when both sexes are seated together]

4) Women can identify with Our Lady and be holy like she is.

5) It helps women to be themselves and to not have to show off to get men’s attention.  They can pray in peace. [Are they forced to show off?  Why do some women feel compelled to troll at Mass?]

6) Girls can identify with their mothers and how women pray.

———–End Quote————

I am actually quite fascinated by this. I think all of us struggle mightily, knowingly or unknowingly, with cultural conceits and errors we have absorbed from the frothing waters of modernism/materialism/leftism/sciencism in which we swim.  Many of us may hold what would have been considered truly radical beliefs 100 years ago, without even being aware we hold them.  So, when it comes to resurrecting some past practice that is very contrary to the prevailing “wisdom” of the world, I’m generally pretty receptive.  I have sadly seen trads sometimes defend just as vociferously some of those things they’ve unwittingly absorbed from the culture as they do any Church Doctrine.  Which is odd, but true.

Having said that, I do have some concerns with the proposal.  Take my family.  It wouldn’t be such a big deal now, but a few years ago, in this situation I would be sitting all alone while my wife struggled with 6 kids, 5 young girls and an infant boy (I assume the infants are still with the mom, especially if they nurse?).  I helped out quite a bit for a long time, and still do today, with keeping the kids in line during Mass, especially High Mass on Sunday, which tests their patience a bit.  There are a lot of families with disproportionate numbers of boys or girls.  That could leave one parent floundering while the other gets to enjoy a rather trouble-free Mass.  So, there’s that.

The other major concern I have is that is possible to take good practices too far. I am told – though I have no experience of such myself – that there are traditional parishes where there are silent, or even open, expectations that women, especially, dress very dourly, never wear makeup, and generally make themselves as unattractive as possible. I won’t go into details, but I’ll just say it’s almost a muslim-type thing.  And there have been some bad things come of this, especially from young ladies raised in this environment, where the repression of natural modes of expression becomes too great and the girls wind up cracking and falling into really bad behavior.  I’m not saying Father Carota is even headed in this direction, but it is something to keep in the back of one’s mind.

Overall, I would say……interesting, and it bears watching, to see how this plays out. There could be some real benefits. One of the greatest of which was not mentioned by Father Carota: it would reinforce the truth, in the face of a monstrous lie perpetrated by the culture, under omnipresent influence of marxist-lesbians, that men and women are fundamentally different.  Not incompatible, by any stretch, but also not interchangeable.  It might help young people develop a greater appreciation of both the virtues of the sexes, but also the wide gulf between them.  And it might help them take male-female interaction less casually, which approach has led, over time, to the travesties of early fornication and other experimentation, pregnancy, unwed mothers, collapsed families, and all the rest.

I am one who feels that the best approach to young male-female, single relations is courting under the somewhat distant but watchful eye of the family.  If this seating arrangement at Mass would help bring more courting about, I could support it strongly.  But, as I said, there are some concerns.  Perhaps  it should be implemented on a strictly voluntary basis, with understanding given to large families with many young children who may need both parents’ involvement to keep in line.  I hate to see kids shuffled off to the cry room on a routine basis – doing so is a necessity at times, but should be avoided as a regular behavior so that the children may learn to love and appreciate the Mass at the earliest possible age.  I have always felt it is natural and helpful for families to assist at Mass together, literally.  But maybe that’s one of those unthinking assumptions that isn’t the best practice?

So…..what do you think of this?  I say kudos to Father Carota for caring enough, and knowing enough, to try.  As I said, I am interested to see how this plays out.  It might be a glorious development.

Speaking of great Bishop-Saints – Saint Alphonsus’ 50 maxims for attaining perfection September 23, 2014

Posted by Tantumblogo in awesomeness, Basics, catachesis, General Catholic, Glory, Grace, Holy suffering, Interior Life, manhood, mortification, Saints, sanctity, Spiritual Warfare, Tradition, Virtue.
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A couple months ago I posted some spiritual maxims from the great Moral Doctor Saint Alphonsus Maria de Liguori.  When one considers some of the inestimably great Saints who were also bishops of the Church’s glorious past, none shine brighter than the humble founder of the Redemptorists. Such an example he sets for the bishops of our time  A reader sent a list that is a bit more concise and focused, in terms of the attainment of perfection by individual souls.  Even though some of the below may be a repeat of what I posted last July, it is very much worth sharing again!  There is so much of value below, as in all Saint Alphonsus’ works!  I invoke this great Saint as the patron and protector of this blog!  I pray you find the below as edifying and useful as I did, and I thank reader TB for bringing it to my attention:

  1. To desire ardently to increase in the love of Jesus Christ.
  2. Often to make acts of love towards Jesus Christ. Immediately on waking, and before going to sleep, to make an act of love, seeking always to unite your own will to the will of Jesus Christ.
  3. Often to meditate on his Passion.
  4. Always to ask Jesus Christ for his love.
  5. To communicate often, and many times in the day to make spiritual Communions.
  6. Often to visit the Most Holy Sacrament.
  7. Every morning to receive from the hands of Jesus Christ himself your own cross.
  8. To desire Paradise and death, in order to be able to love Jesus Christ perfectly and for all eternity.
  9. Often to speak of the love of Jesus Christ.
  10. To accept contradictions for the sake of Jesus Christ[especially relevant today]
  11. To rejoice in the happiness of God.
  12. To do that which is most pleasing to Jesus Christ, and not to refuse him anything that is agreeable to him.
  13. To desire and to endeavor that all should love Jesus Christ.
  14. To pray always for sinners and for the souls in purgatory.
  15. To drive from your heart every affection that does not belong to Jesus Christ.
  16. Always to have recourse to the most holy Mary, that she may obtain for us the love of Jesus Christ.
  17. To honor Mary in order to please Jesus Christ.
  18. To seek to please Jesus Christ in all your actions,
  19. To offer yourself to Jesus Christ to suffer any pain for his love.
  20. To be always determined to die rather than commit a willful venial sin.
  21. To suffer crosses patiently, saying, “Thus it pleases Jesus Christ.
  22. To renounce your own pleasures for the love of Jesus Christ.
  23. To pray as much as possible.
  24. To practice all the mortifications that obedience permits.
  25. To do all your spiritual exercises as if it were for the last time.
  26. To persevere in good works in the time of aridity.
  27. Not to do nor yet to leave undone anything through human respect.
  28. Not to complain in sickness.
  29. To love solitude, to be able to converse alone with Jesus Christ.
  30. To drive away melancholy [i.e. gloom].
  31. Often to recommend yourself to those persons who love Jesus Christ.
  32. In temptation, to have recourse to Jesus crucified, and to Mary in her sorrows.
  33. To trust entirely in the Passion of Jesus Christ.
  34. After committing a fault, not to be discouraged, but to repent and resolve to amend.
  35. To do good to those who do evil.
  36. To speak well of all, and to excuse the intention when you cannot defend the action.
  37. To help your neighbor as much as you can.
  38. Neither to say nor to do anything that might vex him. And if you have been wanting in charity, to ask his pardon and speak kindly to him.
  39. Always to speak with mildness and in a low tone.
  40. To offer to Jesus Christ all the contempt and persecution that you meet with.
  41. To look upon [religious] Superiors as the representatives of Jesus Christ.
  42. To obey without answering and without repugnance, and not to seek your own satisfaction in anything.
  43. To like the lowest employment.
  44. To like the poorest things.
  45. Not to speak either good or evil of yourself.
  46. To humble yourself even towards inferiors.
  47. Not to excuse yourself when you are reproved.
  48. Not to defend yourself when found fault with.
  49. To be silent when you are disquieted [i.e. upset].
  50. Always to renew your determination of becoming a saint, saying, “My Jesus, I desire to be all Yours, and You must be all mine.”

I would declare, with great certitude, that were one to observe all the above, one’s salvation would be assured.  But the spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak. Ask Saint Alphonsus to assist you in diligent adherence to every maxim in that list!  He is a great, gentle, powerful, efficacious Saint, and he wants to help you!

Saint Alphonsus Maria de Liguori, pray for our salvation and for the good of Holy Mother Church!

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An awesome story regarding Cardinal Burke September 23, 2014

Posted by Tantumblogo in awesomeness, Christendom, episcopate, General Catholic, Glory, Grace, Holy suffering, Latin Mass, martyrdom, Papa, persecution, sadness, sanctity, scandals, the return, Tradition, Virtue.
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Reader GM sent this to me and I thought it was well worth sharing.  From Vox Cantoris, a story regarding Cardinal Burke’s virtue and concern for souls:

A few years ago, I read a story on the Internet, which I can no longer find; it was written by a man that once suffered from same-sex attraction.

He wrote that he was outraged that then Bishop Burke of LaCrosse in Wisconsin would speak out firmly against sodomy. This man sent letters to the Bishop, hateful and spiteful letters. A few years later, he had a conversion to Christ and His Church. By then, Raymond Leo Burke was the Archbishop of St. Louis, in Missouri. The man that harassed him so many times sought him out in St. Louis and was surprised when the Archbishop accepted his request for a meeting. He came to the Archbishop and apologised. Archbishop Burke then went to a closet to retrieve a shoebox. Inside the shoebox were all the letters of harassment and hate that the man had sent to him. Archbishop Burke explained that he would regularly pray over the letters for the man and gave him back his letters with his blessing.

I have a personal friend that knows Cardinal Burke personally, I told him this story and his reply was, “I don’t know that I’ve ever heard that but I believe it because that is exactly the kind of thing that Cardinal Burke would do.”

I pray this story is true, if for no other reason than the benefit of the soul in question.

I don’t know if any of the current prelates in the Church have the kind of heroic sanctity that has been demonstrated by so many Saint-bishops of the past.  But among them all, at least insofar as we in the Anglosphere with our tendency to focus entirely on English-speaking prelates see things, I would have to say Cardinal Burke would be one of only a few I could imagine as being in that exalted class.  I’m certain he has his warts and has made many mistakes, but he has also been about as strong a defender of the Faith as we’ve seen in recent years.  But, I do have to say, for all his forthrightness and clarity with regard to Doctrine, he is probably only average or slightly above compared to the historical conduct of bishops going back centuries in the Church with regard to doctrinal defense. Reading defenses of Doctrine or exhortations to observe it from great Saint bishops of the past is generally mind-blowing in its depth, clarity, and force of reason.  Cardinal Burke is strong, but perhaps not quite to that level. To his credit, however, he does seem to have grown into the role over the past decade or so, and Cardinal Burke has emerged as perhaps the strongest friend of the TLM in high Church office.  I have no real idea of his personal practice of virtue, this anecdote aside, although it is reputed to be very strong.

At any rate, it appears Cardinal Burke and many more defenders of the Faith are going to be made to suffer real persecution for their beliefs.  May God bless and strengthen him and all those in high positions in the Church who cooperate with Grace by being true shepherds and not one of the large number of wolves in sheep’s clothing, or the even larger number of empty clerical suits.