Prayer requests

My mom's father died yesterday, please pray for the repose of his soul.

Fr Z reports that Cardinal Cañizares, Prefect of the CDW, has been taken to hospital with thrombophlebitis. Please play for the speedy recovery of his health.


The blood of the Christian

I have another translation to present: again from La Buhardilla, a piece of his about the family into which we were born when we were baptized into the Church:
We Christians have been re-born in Christ. We are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people he claims for his own to proclaim the glorious works of the One who called you from darkness into his marvelous light. The same Mother, who sprang from the side of Christ, and who has brought us to life, is who gave birth to so many illustrious brothers who preceded us; countless multitudes of men and women in whose veins clearly ran the blood of a chosen race. The same runs in our veins. The blood of the martyrs, of the virgins, of the confessors, of the many saints who fought the good fight of faith.

In the middle of one of the worst epochs of persecution against our Mother Church, we have to defend their children in the good fight, without fear, with nothing to lose and much to gain. How could we be defeated? Impossible. The one who said "Do not fear, I have overcome the world", before going to the battle. How can we not?

Because we carry the same blood of Francis of Assisi and Angela of the Cross: we can against materialism and consumerism, against pride, vanity and discord.

Because we carry the blood of Augustine of Hippo and Thomas Aquinas, we can against false anthropological optimism, against the conceit of man, against the deficit of truth that is in the world.

If rages in us the blood of Maria Goretti, Rose of Lima, Aloysius Gonzaga, Dominic Savio, Gemma Galgani, Jacinto and Francisco Marto, we can against everything that is opposed to the purity of the soul and of the body.

Because we have the blood of Teresa of Avila, John of the Cross and Saint Benedict, we can against disobedience, lukewarmness and sloth.

If in our veins runs the blood of Thomas More, Thomas a Becket and Casimir of Poland, we can against institutional corruption and against the ambition of power.

Because we carry the blood of Vincent de Paul, Camillus de Lellis and Damien of Molokai, we can against egoism, individualism and avarice.

Because the blood of Philip Neri and John Bosco irrigates our hearts, we can against sadness, despair, disconsolation and discouragement.

Because we have the same blood as Ignatius of Antioch, Catherine of Siena, and Bernard of Clairvaux, we can against attacks on the Church.

Because we are of the same race as Gianna Beretta Molla, Maximilian Kolbe and Stanislaus Papczynski, we can against the culture of death.

Because we have the same blood as Ignatius of Loyola, Peter Nolasco, and David Uribe Velasco, we can overcome the fear of being handed over, timidity and cowardice.

Because we are of the family of Tarcisius, Peter Julian Eymard and Clare of Assisi, we can against irreverence, desacralization and impiety.

Because the same blood of Therese of Lisieux and Mother Teresa runs in us, we can against grandeur, indifference, hatred and resentment.

In the end, we carry the same blood as so many people who preceded us who were able to overcome in Christ. We are a chosen race, all born of Our Holy Mother Church, the Spouse of Christ without stain or wrinkle. She impels us to honour our race and defend the rights of God, who were rescued by a most-high price: the Blood of Christ.

Comprehend the Liturgy

I present my own translation of a piece from La Buhardilla, an interview with Monsignor Bux. In it, he touches on a subject near and dear to my heart, ad orientem worship. The original interview, in Italian, is available at La Buhardilla's page to which I've linked.

An interview by Bruno Volpe with Monsignor Nicola Bux.


"But...what feast? Liturgy is a drama": thus affirms Mons. Nicola Bux, theologian and liturgist of the highest fame. With him, I dealt with the theme of the meaning the sacred in the liturgy.

I believe the meaning of the sacred will recuperate when the Mass is comprehended never as a spectacle, an entertainment, or the property of the priest, but as a drama truly and properly. Often we fill their mouths with the word "feast", but...what feast? In the Mass we remember the sacrifice of Christ, this is true. Christ has been immolated for us and later we use the word feast... It is correct to talk of a feast only after we have comprehended and accepted the concept of Christ giving his life for us. Only then is it licit to talk about a feast, but never before.

Later he adds:

A good liturgy has the cross at its center but, frequently placed to the side or in places not visible, it has lost its true and authentic signification. It seems much more an accessory object than the centre of adoration. Sometimes I have the sensation that a cross at the centre of the altar produces annoyance, almost uncomfortable. To be tough: most of the time, no one is looking.

Mons. Bux talks of the concept of devotion:

To restore to the liturgy the sense of the sacred, devotion is necessary. Enough Masses are celebrated as mundane events and entertainment. Devotion is necessary, the encounter with the face of God. But unfortunately this occurance is very, very rare. Without an encounter with the true face of God, without devotion, the Mass is converted into a ritual, an auto-celebration of the priest which has no sense.

Provocatively, Mons. Bux poses a question:

How many today, celebrating the Mass, look at God and at the cross? Few. And so the sense of the sacred is diminishing in our Masses.

So, what can one do?

I think a good idea could be the following: in the second part of the Mass, after the Offertory onwards, the priest could celebrate directed to the cross, ad orientem.

Why ad orientem?

Thus, the faithful would no longer [see] the figure of the priest, who is not the protagonist, but with him contemplate the cross, the mystery.

Therefore, the ad orientem position in the second part of the Mass...

I find it convenient. In this way, the Liturgy acquires a value more eschatological, a value of mystery and adoration; the people themselves commence to comprehend and appreciate the eschatological value (to use a difficulte word) of the Liturgy. Looking to the east is equivalent to contemplating the Lord who comes. I think that this position, which on the other hand is used by the Eastern rites, can help you find greater recollection. Here is my modest proposal for a gradual and sensible reform: look to the east in the second part of the Holy Mass.

In an interview he conceded a few days ago, the historian Franco Cardini has talked of the crisis of the sense of the sacred...

It is necessary to see in what sense he has said this. But the sense of the sacred is God. Apparently, this sense of the sacred, that is, proximity and seeking God, now seems obfuscated, that is certain. But I would not be so pessimistic. Basically, man is always naturally seeking God. Often also personal comfort or corrupt forms and wrong such as superstition or magic, but in the end that contact is being sought. Alliance with God, even selfish, is convenient for man.


On Friday Abstinence

By way of Fr Z, I've seen that the bishop of Steubenville is encouraging his flock to resume abstinence from meat on Fridays. This is laudable, and I intend to take it up myself, this coming Friday.

We're still obliged to do some form of penance on Fridays throughout the year, though I only knew of it through Sam, and never really bothered with it. We are legally obliged to abstain from meat on the Fridays of Lent, however. The rest of the year, we get to choose our penance.

This practise will strengthen our Catholic identity. Making it a normal 'Catholic thing' again, to abstain from meat on Fridays, will set us apart from the nations. The whole point of the dietary laws in the Old Testament were to make the Israelites distinguishable from the surrounding peoples. Catholics returning to Friday abstinence will act in the same way. It is a small act, one day out of seven, that makes us different. It will mark us as Catholics. When someone sees you eating normally the rest of the week, and refraining from meat on Friday, you can be identified as a Catholic.

Abstinence from meat is preferable to the current situation because: it is already associated with Catholics; a uniform Friday penance will build camaraderie; it will be easier to support each other and hold each other to account. The current situation (choose your own penance) is undesirable because most Catholics just don't bother to do anything. Left to our own devices, we treat Friday like any other day of the week. Returning to nobody gets meat on Fridays will increase the number of persons who actually bother to do Friday penance.

Let's re-invigorate our Catholic identity--say no to meat on Fridays!

Parish Bulletin

In our parish bulletin last week, one can see on the front page two-for-one liturgical abuse: the deacon washing a woman's foot at the mandatum. Thus, why I don't think talking to the pastor about the anointing post month's ago would avail the situation.

Incidently, if anyone knows how to publish PDF's from your desktop into your posts, or how to make footnotes within a post, please let me know.


On Anointing of the Sick

The following appeared in my parish bulletin (St John the Baptist) for the Fourth Sunday of Advent (21 December 2008). It bugged the heck out of me, and I wanted to complain to the pastor, seeing as how heterodoxy is being taught in his bulletin. But then I figured, he may well not care. He did allow it in the bulletin, after all. An upcoming post will further demonstrate why talking to him would do no good. A couple of friends weren't pushing me towards making a big deal out of it, and then I talked to my confessor about it last week when there wasn't a line, and he said to pray over it to discern whether or not I should talk to the pastor about it. I didn't get a sense I should, and since my rash judgement sees every hill worth dying on (and so obviously that can't be trusted), I decided not to talk to the pastor about it.

Instead, I'm going to bug all of you about it. This way I can complain, and do everything I want to, and receive the satisfaction of doing so, without battling the pastor. And I can even hope that Providence will guide him to this post, so that I can have my passive-aggressive dream fulfilled. :P

The text follows, treated by me a la Fr Z:

Q: Can you explain the sacrament of healing? Who can receive it? How often? Is it for physical ailments only or can anyone who is hurting mentally or emotionally receive it?

A: "Is anyone among you sick? Let him call for the elders (presbyters) of the Church and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord; and the prayer of faith will save the sick man..." St. James [emphasis in the original]

Anointing of the Sick is today's name for the sacrament many of you might remember as "Extreme Unction." Ah, so we're starting with the hermeneutic of rupture. Nevermind that it is still called extreme unction; while SC 73 says that it might be "more fittingly be called" anointing of the sick, it does not abrogate this name of the sacrament. Since the Medieval Ages it was a bad sign if the priest was called to administer this sacrament because it meant death was imminent. I do agree that the Middle Ages idea that if someone received the sacrament but recovered then they would be "a sort of animated corpse" (Duffy, Stripping of the Altars pp 313) was a serious catechetical problem. However, as a result of Vatican II, the Church began to see "anointing" in a new light. Today it is seen as a means of bringing strength to those whose health is compromised by illness or age. The sacrament is available to anyone seeking physical, mental, emotional, or spiritual healing. It is? Odd, CIC 1004 indicates that persons eligible to receive it are "the faithful who, having reached the use of reason, begins to be in danger due to sickness or old age." It can be received more than once as the grace it imparts is a gift of the Holy Spirit that can help those suffering regain peace, courage, comfort, and strength. The first clause is valid, but "as" is not the proper word here; all the sacraments impart a gift of the Holy Spirit; irrepeatable sacraments confer an indelible mark, and that is why they cannot be received more than once. Anointing of the Sick can does--remember, ex opere operato bring healing to the soul, and, if it is God's will, healing to the body.

The sacrament is administered by a priest and generally is comprised of three ritual elements: prayer, laying on of hands, and an anointing with sacred oil on the forehead and hands of the person receiving the sacrament. Loved ones are encouraged to be present as an anointing takes place to lend their prayers and support to the one being anointed.

St. John the Baptist Church has scheduled this important sacrament as opposed to the unimportant sacraments? at regular intervals so that people can take advantage of the grace it imparts.

Anointing of the Sick is available to those who need it on the second Saturday of every month immediately following the 5:00 p.m. Mass.
Essentially, my problem with this text is the sentence I bolded. This is not what the Magisterium tells us about who can receive the sacrament. Much of the rest is objectionable to one degree or another, but is not nearly so egregious as this sentence. It really seems to have been written off the top of the writer's head, with no reference to Magisterial documents. So here I offer my own piece, a response to the questions asked:

Anointing of the sick is that sacrament "by which the Church commends the faithful who are dangerously ill to the suffering and glorified Lord in order that he relieve and save them".CIC 998The Council of Trent gave the effects of the sacrament as: anointing with the Holy Spirit, which takes away sins and their remnants; relieving and strengthening the soul, arousing confidence in God's mercy; and sometimes to restoring bodily health.Sacram Unctione Infirmorum, quoting the Council of Trent It invites the sick by associating themselves, in their suffering, with Christ's Passion and death. The Catechism gives the effects of the sacrament as: a particular gift of the Holy Spirit (including strength, peace, courage, faith, strength against the devil's temptation, forgiveness of sin); union with the passion of Christ; ecclesial grace (contributing to the sanctification of the Church); and preparation for the final journey, of death.CCC 1520-23

Anointing of the sick may be administered by a priest or bishop, using oil blessed by the bishop (or priest in case of emergency); the priest is to administer anointing to the forehead and hands (or one location, if necessary) and say once the words from the liturgical books.canons 999-1003 The matter of the sacrament is the blessed oil, and the form are the words from the liturgical books: "PER ISTAM SANCTAM UNCTIONEM ET SUAM PIISSIMAM MISERICORDIAM ADIUVET TE DOMINUS GRATIA SPIRITUS SANCTI, UT A PECCATIS LIBERATUM TE SALVET ATQUE PROPITIUS ALLEVIET."Sacram Unctione Infirmorum

This sacrament make be administered to "a member of the faithful who, having reached the use of reason, begins to be in danger due to sickness or old age."CIC 1004 If there is doubt as to whether the person has attained the use of reason, is dangerously ill, or is dead, the sacrament is to be administered. If the sick no longer have their faculties, the sacrament is to be administered if they at least implicitly requested it when they maintained their faculties. Naturally, it is not to be given to those who persevere obstinately in manifest grave sin.

This sacrament is for only those suffering physical ailments; it is for those who are "dangerously ill",Sacram Unctione Infirmorum those "being tried by illness".CCC 1511 Mental and emotional hurt are not grounds for reception of the sacrament. The sacraments likely to be appropriate in those occasions are Confession and Communion. This sacrament is about commending the dying to God. This can be seen in canon 1004's use of the language "begins to be in danger". This danger is the danger of death. This can be seen more clearly in the sacrament's other names: extreme unction, and the sacrament of those departing. The pastoral handbook for our archdiocese affirms that "Only those whose health is seriously impaired by sickness or old age are proper subjects for the sacrament."Pastoral Handbook of the Archdiocese of Denver 5.6.4. Again, in our own diocese, "Ordinarily, those who are recovering from any form of chemical dependency do not qualify as subjects for this sacrament. The spiritual help and sacramental nourishment most appropriate to such persons are: prayer, the sacrament of Penance, and frequent reception of the Holy Eucharist."Pastoral Handbook of the Archdiocese of Denver

It was once widely thought that this sacrament was reserved for the deathbed, as it were. Sacrosanctum Concilium 73 says it "is not a sacrament for those only who are at the point of death." However, this is not to say that anyone with any hurt at all may receive the sacrament. SC goes on to say, "Hence, as soon as any one of the faithful begins to be in danger of death from sickness or old age, the fitting time for him to receive this sacrament has certainly already arrived." Though the recipient need not be at death's door, imminent death need be a concern for the one anointed. The medieval English view that "reception of this sacrament effectively constituted a death sentence"Duffy, Eamon. "The Stripping of the Altars: Traditional Religion in England c. 1400-c. 1580" (Yale University Press: New Haven, 2005): 313 is too far in one extreme, but to administer the sacrament to anyone, regardless of physical health, is an abuse in the other extreme.

Aside from illness, other grounds for receiving the sacrament are a serious operation, or particularly pronounced frailty due to old age.CCC 1515 In practise, many pastors regard operations in which general anesthesia is used as "serious".

Since the sacrament does not leave an indelible mark on the soul of the recipient, it may be repeated, as often as is necessary, even multiple times during the same bout of illness.CIC 1004

St John the Baptist has scheduled this sacrament at regular intervals so that the faithful may receive the grace it imparts. Anointing of the Sick is available to those sick or elderly who need it on the second Saturday of every month, immediately following the 1700 Mass. In accordance with the norms of our beloved archbishop, at each of these regularly scheduled celebrations of this sacrament, we announce the requisites to be a subject for the sacrament, so that the gravity of the sacrament is not diminished. If the sacrament is needed outside this time, call the parish at 303.776.0737.

So, to summarize: anointing of the sick is the sacrament in which God strengthens those in danger of death by anointing with oil; it may be received only by those in danger of death; it may be received as often as is fitting; and those hurting mentally or emotionally who are not in danger of death may not receive this sacrament.
My response is a bit long, and so it may need to be cut down to be included in the bulletin, but I submit that it is true to the Magisterium and answers the questions in full.

Communion kneeling and on the tongue in Spain

In relation to this piece from the NLM, I present translations of the two Spanish pieces mentioned:

Applause for Cardinal Cañizares

I do not always agree with Cardinal
Cañizares. And when I don't, I say so. Although I've been angry, emphatically so, in many ways I find a very good bishop. And I also say:

He has just re-established the communion rail in the Cathedral of Toledo. Supporting the will of the Pope cannot be more clearly expressed. Although he hasn't said so with words, his gestures are eloquent. The Pope desires that we receive Communion kneeling and on the tongue.

Here there is no communion rail either;
Cañizares has put one in what is no longer his cathedral. Who will you imitate?

Communion Kneeling

Three Spanish cathedrals, during Holy Week, have facilitated reception of Communion kneeling, which pleases us. With them, we adhere to the practical catechesis of our Holy Father Pope Benedict XVI, in which he administers Communion kneeling and on the tongue in his Masses.

In the Cathedral of Malaga, as part of the Chrism Mass, the bishop,
don Jesús Esteban Catalá, administered Communion to the faithful, who were on a kneeler.

In the cathedral of Toledo, their apostolic administrator, Cardinal don Antonio Cañizares, has ordered the re-instatement of the communion rail.

And finally, in the cathedral of the armed forces in Madrid, last Sunday (Easter Sunday) a kneeler was put in place to administer Communion at the noon Mass. The principal decision-maker was Archbiship Castrense, who is in the midst of studying the possibility of restoring the old communion rail that had existed in the cathedral (which was a convent before becoming the cathedral of the armed forces).

Several readers have made the following reflections: A friend from Valencia noted that two of these bishops are Valencians. He didn't find it strange, because in the cathedral of Valencia the communion rails were never taken out. There have always been two communion rails there, at the centre, which each accomodate four or five persons. And indeed, in the cathedral of Valencia, many persons kneel at Communion.

Another friend, from Madrid, emphasizes that the communion rail is preferable to a kneeler. The faithful are kneeling and expect the "Sagrada Forma" in prayer, and the distribution becomes more rapid. The issue is that young priests learn to use the communion rail, as it is they who have to administer Communion.

Also, it gives us an explication of the privilege of using candles in the Mass to accompany the distribution of Communion. This would be a special concession to Spain for having brought the light of the Faith to the Americas.
The translations will be rough in places, and omit a phrase or two I didn't get, but they will give you the gist, and be a bit more smooth than google translate.


Divine Mercy Sunday

The Chaplet of the Divine Mercy


You expired, Jesus, but the source of life gushed forth for souls, and the ocean of mercy opened up for the whole world. O Font of Life, unfathomable Divine Mercy, envelop the whole world and empty Yourself out upon us.

Oh Blood and Water, which gushed forth from the Heart of Jesus, as a fountain of Mercy for us, I trust in you. (3x)

Our Father...

Hail Mary...

Apostle's Creed

On the Our Father beads of a rosary: Eternal Father, I offer you the Body and Blood, Soul and Divinity, of your dearly beloved Son, Our Lord Jesus Christ, in atonement for our sins and thsoe of the whole world.

On the Hail Mary beads: For the sake of his sorrowful Passion, have mercy on us, and on the whole world.

After the five decades:

Holy God, Holy Mighty One, Holy Immortal One, have mercy on us, and on the whole world. (3x)

Eternal God, in whom mercy is endless, and the treasury of compassion inexhaustible, look kindly upon us and increase your mercy in us, that in difficult moments we might not despair nor become despondent, but with great confidence submit ourselves to your holy will, which is Love and Mercy itself.



Happy Easter

Happy Easter to all.

Ad cenam Agni providi,
stolis salutis candidi,
post transitum maris Rubri
Christo canamus principi.


Pro-life speaker at CU

For those of you near Boulder:

Refuse to Choose: Reclaiming Feminism


Thursday, 16 April, 1900, UMC 235

Sally Winn will be speaking about real solutions for women facing unplanned pregnancies. She will discuss early American feminist views on abortion – views that might surprise many contemporary feminists. Winn knows the challenges of pregnancy and parenting in college firsthand. In addition to covering 200 years of pro-life feminism, Winn’s talk will emphasize solutions for pregnant and parenting students and staff.

The lecture, followed by Q&A, is sponsored by Students for Life at CU, the Cultural Events Board, and Rep Council.

Free tickets will be available at the door. Doors open at 6:30. For information on how to obtain a free ticket in advance or for any other questions, contact Students for Life at CU at 303-667-1172 or email studentsforlife.cu@gmail.com.

On Good Friday

I refrained from receiving Communion yesterday, at the celebration of the Passion. It was really quite freeing, as this year I didn't occupy myself wondering whyever do we receive on a day when there is no Mass? I hope this catches on, and that others choose to abstain on Good Friday, in keeping with our tradition up through 1955.

On the way to the (1500h) celebration, I turned the radio off in the car, to maintain penitance from 1200-1500. I'm considering using that as my Lenten penance next year. It is very austere, to someone for whom listening to the radio makes driving interesting, and indeed bearable for any notable amount of time. It would affect me (virtually) every day, and will grant me silence in which to consider, to meditate upon Lent in a way that cutting things from my diet does not.

On the way back, to be penitential but not quite so much as on the way there, I wouldn't allow myself All Things Considered, but listened instead to the Gregorian proper for the celebration, as well as a bit of Haydn's Seven Last Words of our Saviour on the Cross.


Good Friday

(detail from Grunewald's Isenheim Altarpiece, 1516)

Ant. God did not spare his own Son, but gave him up to suffer for our sake.

Have mercy on me, God, in your kindness.



For anyone in the Denver area, Tenebrae services at St John Vianney Seminary:

The seminarians of St John Vianney are conducting Tenebrae, as they do each year. It is a service of Matins and Lauds held early in the morning (0530) on Maundy Thursday, Good Friday, and Holy Saturday. Tenebrae, Latin for "darkness", lives up to its name. Sunrise isn't until a touch after 0630, and the chapel is lit only by candles, gradually extinguished. The services will be at Christ the King Chapel.

On Palm Sunday

Palm Sunday is one of my favourite Masses. It's the first Mass of Holy Week. We get to play with palm branches during Mass. And we get to stand for seemingly-ever, listening to the entire Passion for the Gospel.

Except for the parishes where the clergy are, ahem, lazy? I'll say. Being told that you may sit down for the Gospel reading is decidedly not inspiring. I am highly doubtful that it is licit. And yet, virtually everyone at the Mass I went to in the morning sat. Sat through the proclamation of the Gospel. Heaven forbid they should have to stand upright for 10 minutes. Persons have gone willingly to their deaths for the sake of the Gospel, but we can't stand up for 10 minutes. And there is wonder at why men aren't flooding the gates of seminaries. Being told he can sit down for the Gospel is not going to inspire boys to become holy priests.

But on the upside, Fr Servando didn't let us sit down. Naturally, the elderly/infirm may. But persons who are in good health and still working? We stand for the Gospel during Misa at St John the Baptist. This is part of our Catholic identity. Part of being Catholic is standing uncomfortably long for the Gospel on Palm Sunday. That is part of Palm Sunday. Let us reclaim our identity. Have the courage to stand for the Gospel, even when all others sit. Save the Liturgy, Save the World.

And now for the better of my Palm Crosses:

Remember, the palms are blessed. They may not be thrown away or discarded. To do so would be sacrilege. So, before Ash Wednesday next year, bring your priest your old palms so he can burn them. The ashes have to come from somewhere.

On sacrifice for sin

This post and the next are rather tardy, but I'm finally doing them, because it would be ill-advised to post them after something on Tenebrae.

I have a small nugget from Fr Hellstrom's homily for the Fifth Sunday of Lent at St Francis of Assisi at Buckley AFB, because this topic is so rarely treated in homilies.

He discussed how we deal with guilt: we are very good at shifting blame. We transfer the guilt to someone else, so that we needn't deal with it. His OT example was Yom Kippur and the scapegoat.

His present-day example: who bears the guilt for our sexual sins? Children in the womb. Our society "sacrifices" them for our sexual sins.