Good News

Last week at Mass, the celebrant at Mass placed the Host in one of the altar servers' hands, even though she intended to receive on the tongue. Her hands were together in the standard prayerful position and he sort of just pushed Him to her hands forcing her to receive Him on her hand. The incident came up later on in class, and I mentioned how the priest may not deny her right to receive on the tongue. As a practical measure, I suggested she hold her hands behind her back if necessary, so the priest couldn't possibly put Christ on her hand. I didn't tell her to do this, just mentioned it as a possibility.

And what do you think happened today? She put her hands behind her back when preparing to receive her Lord.

I thought it was just absolutely charming. Looks odd, but if that's what you have to do to maintain your rights.

If I'm this crotchety now, I almost shudder to think of what I'll be like when I'm well over the hill.


Caritas in Veritate: Chapter Five

53. One of the deepest forms of poverty a person can experience is isolation. If we look closely at other kinds of poverty, including material forms, we see that they are born from isolation, from not being loved or from difficulties in being able to love. Poverty is often produced by a rejection of God's love, by man's basic and tragic tendency to close in on himself, thinking himself to be self-sufficient or merely an insignificant and ephemeral fact, a “stranger” in a random universe. Man is alienated when he is alone, when he is detached from reality, when he stops thinking and believing in a foundation[125]. All of humanity is alienated when too much trust is placed in merely human projects, ideologies and false utopias[126]. Today humanity appears much more interactive than in the past: this shared sense of being close to one another must be transformed into true communion. The development of peoples depends, above all, on a recognition that the human race is a single family working together in true communion, not simply a group of subjects who happen to live side by side[127].

Pope Paul VI noted that “the world is in trouble because of the lack of thinking”[128]. He was making an observation, but also expressing a wish: a new trajectory of thinking is needed in order to arrive at a better understanding of the implications of our being one family; interaction among the peoples of the world calls us to embark upon this new trajectory, so that integration can signify solidarity[129] rather than marginalization. Thinking of this kind requires a deeper critical evaluation of the category of relation. This is a task that cannot be undertaken by the social sciences alone, insofar as the contribution of disciplines such as metaphysics and theology is needed if man's transcendent dignity is to be properly understood.

As a spiritual being, the human creature is defined through interpersonal relations. The more authentically he or she lives these relations, the more his or her own personal identity matures. It is not by isolation that man establishes his worth, but by placing himself in relation with others and with God. Hence these relations take on fundamental importance. The same holds true for peoples as well. A metaphysical understanding of the relations between persons is therefore of great benefit for their development. In this regard, reason finds inspiration and direction in Christian revelation, according to which the human community does not absorb the individual, annihilating his autonomy, as happens in the various forms of totalitarianism, but rather values him all the more because the relation between individual and community is a relation between one totality and another[130]. Just as a family does not submerge the identities of its individual members, just as the Church rejoices in each “new creation” (Gal 6:15; 2 Cor 5:17) incorporated by Baptism into her living Body, so too the unity of the human family does not submerge the identities of individuals, peoples and cultures, but makes them more transparent to each other and links them more closely in their legitimate diversity.

Caritas in Veritate: Chapter Four

Continuing our look at the new encyclical.
43. “The reality of human solidarity, which is a benefit for us, also imposes a duty”[105]. Many people today would claim that they owe nothing to anyone, except to themselves. They are concerned only with their rights, and they often have great difficulty in taking responsibility for their own and other people's integral development. Hence it is important to call for a renewed reflection on how rights presuppose duties, if they are not to become mere licence[106]. Nowadays we are witnessing a grave inconsistency. On the one hand, appeals are made to alleged rights, arbitrary and non-essential in nature, accompanied by the demand that they be recognized and promoted by public structures, while, on the other hand, elementary and basic rights remain unacknowledged and are violated in much of the world[107]. A link has often been noted between claims to a “right to excess”, and even to transgression and vice, within affluent societies, and the lack of food, drinkable water, basic instruction and elementary health care in areas of the underdeveloped world and on the outskirts of large metropolitan centres. The link consists in this: individual rights, when detached from a framework of duties which grants them their full meaning, can run wild, leading to an escalation of demands which is effectively unlimited and indiscriminate. An overemphasis on rights leads to a disregard for duties. Duties set a limit on rights because they point to the anthropological and ethical framework of which rights are a part, in this way ensuring that they do not become licence. Duties thereby reinforce rights and call for their defence and promotion as a task to be undertaken in the service of the common good. Otherwise, if the only basis of human rights is to be found in the deliberations of an assembly of citizens, those rights can be changed at any time, and so the duty to respect and pursue them fades from the common consciousness. Governments and international bodies can then lose sight of the objectivity and “inviolability” of rights. When this happens, the authentic development of peoples is endangered...

The notion of rights and duties in development must also take account of the problems associated with population growth. This is a very important aspect of authentic development, since it concerns the inalienable values of life and the family... Due attention must obviously be given to responsible procreation, which among other things has a positive contribution to make to integral human development. The Church, in her concern for man's authentic development, urges him to have full respect for human values in the exercise of his sexuality. It cannot be reduced merely to pleasure or entertainment, nor can sex education be reduced to technical instruction aimed solely at protecting the interested parties from possible disease or the “risk” of procreation. This would be to impoverish and disregard the deeper meaning of sexuality, a meaning which needs to be acknowledged and responsibly appropriated not only by individuals but also by the community. It is irresponsible to view sexuality merely as a source of pleasure, and likewise to regulate it through strategies of mandatory birth control...

Morally responsible openness to life represents a rich social and economic resource. Populous nations have been able to emerge from poverty thanks not least to the size of their population and the talents of their people. On the other hand, formerly prosperous nations are presently passing through a phase of uncertainty and in some cases decline, precisely because of their falling birth rates; this has become a crucial problem for highly affluent societies... Furthermore, smaller and at times miniscule families run the risk of impoverishing social relations, [one of the biggest reasons I've always wanted a big family of my own, and to live close to my in-laws should I get married] and failing to ensure effective forms of solidarity. These situations are symptomatic of scant confidence in the future and moral weariness. It is thus becoming a social and even economic necessity once more to hold up to future generations the beauty of marriage and the family, and the fact that these institutions correspond to the deepest needs and dignity of the person. In view of this, States are called to enact policies promoting the centrality and the integrity of the family founded on marriage between a man and a woman, the primary vital cell of society[112], and to assume responsibility for its economic and fiscal needs, while respecting its essentially relational character.

45. Much in fact depends on the underlying system of morality. On this subject the Church's social doctrine can make a specific contribution, since it is based on man's creation “in the image of God” (Gen 1:27), a datum which gives rise to the inviolable dignity of the human person and the transcendent value of natural moral norms. [I couldn't explain it well, but this is part of what I wanted to say to the Mormons when they were here. they take the "made in God's image" literally, and thus say that God the Father has a body. This is a better understanding of the verse.] When business ethics prescinds from these two pillars, it inevitably risks losing its distinctive nature and it falls prey to forms of exploitation; more specifically, it risks becoming subservient to existing economic and financial systems rather than correcting their dysfunctional aspects.

51. The way humanity treats the environment influences the way it treats itself, and vice versa. This invites contemporary society to a serious review of its life-style, which, in many parts of the world, is prone to hedonism and consumerism, regardless of their harmful consequences[122]. What is needed is an effective shift in mentality which can lead to the adoption of new life-styles “in which the quest for truth, beauty, goodness and communion with others for the sake of common growth are the factors which determine consumer choices, savings and investments”[123]. Every violation of solidarity and civic friendship harms the environment, just as environmental deterioration in turn upsets relations in society...

The Church has a responsibility towards creation and she must assert this responsibility in the public sphere. In so doing, she must defend not only earth, water and air as gifts of creation that belong to everyone. She must above all protect mankind from self-destruction. There is need for what might be called a human ecology, correctly understood. The deterioration of nature is in fact closely connected to the culture that shapes human coexistence: when “human ecology”[124] is respected within society, environmental ecology also benefits. Just as human virtues are interrelated, such that the weakening of one places others at risk, so the ecological system is based on respect for a plan that affects both the health of society and its good relationship with nature.

In order to protect nature, it is not enough to intervene with economic incentives or deterrents; not even an apposite education is sufficient. These are important steps, but the decisive issue is the overall moral tenor of society. If there is a lack of respect for the right to life and to a natural death, if human conception, gestation and birth are made artificial, if human embryos are sacrificed to research, the conscience of society ends up losing the concept of human ecology and, along with it, that of environmental ecology. It is contradictory to insist that future generations respect the natural environment when our educational systems and laws do not help them to respect themselves. The book of nature is one and indivisible: it takes in not only the environment but also life, sexuality, marriage, the family, social relations: in a word, integral human development. Our duties towards the environment are linked to our duties towards the human person, considered in himself and in relation to others. It would be wrong to uphold one set of duties while trampling on the other. Herein lies a grave contradiction in our mentality and practice today: one which demeans the person, disrupts the environment and damages society.

52. Truth, and the love which it reveals, cannot be produced: they can only be received as a gift. Their ultimate source is not, and cannot be, mankind, but only God, who is himself Truth and Love. This principle is extremely important for society and for development, since neither can be a purely human product; the vocation to development on the part of individuals and peoples is not based simply on human choice, but is an intrinsic part of a plan that is prior to us and constitutes for all of us a duty to be freely accepted. That which is prior to us and constitutes us — subsistent Love and Truth — shows us what goodness is, and in what our true happiness consists. It shows us the road to true development.


Religion and the policy of the state

There was a very interesting story on The World today, about ultra orthodox Jews protesting at a parking lot in Jerusalem. The 5m story is here, but there's no transcript, so you have to listen to it. I'll provide a brief summary if you don't want to listen to the whole thing.

Essentially, the ultra orthodox Jews of Jerusalem are pitting themselves against the city's secular residents. They have recurring protests at a parking lot which opens on the sabbath. These protests turn violent, throwing stones at the police. They believe that the municipal government is desecrating the sabbath by allowing the lot to remain open on the sabbath. They further believe that Jerusalem should be reserved for sabbath-observing Jews. They move into secular neighbourhoods and then insist that no-one there drive on the sabbath and that women dress modestly on the street.

I thought this was very interesting as a look at the intersection of religious belief and public policy. To what extent should the religious belief of a bloc be imposed on society at large? Christians tend to be against abortion and gay marriage, as they are sins. But nobody is trying to outlaw pre-marital sex and masturbation, so why are we insistent on some issues and not others? Clearly abortion is murder, so that is a more grave issue than the other three examples. But that kind of thing I always found odd. Why is it that some sins, Christians push to be outlawed in civil law, and others not so much. What is to be the basis for our civil laws? If it is Truth, which would rather make sense, then I think you could make the case that objective sins would be outlawed.

Pluralism throws a wrench in this though. The idea of a parking lot not opening on Saturday is just absurd in my mind. Nobody's forcing observant Jews to work there or to park there. There is no reason why Muslims and Christians shouldn't be able to use it on Saturday. Why the ultra orthodox Jews want to insist that non-Jews observe Mosaic law is beyond me. On a matter such as this (from which, perhaps relevantly, I am removed,) I say the answer is clear: the religious belief should not dictate city policy.

But what if we had a state, or a city, which was entirely of a single bloc? Should there happen to be a city which was 100% Catholic, I don't really see a problem with outlawing pre-/extra-marital sex, and meat on Fridays. But if there is even one person not Catholic in the city, those laws wouldn't really be right. Non-Catholics would be free to move into the city, but the city being entirely Catholic, they would have to move understanding that they have to abide by existing law--before Catholic-based laws are passed, the city must be 100% Catholic, or else the laws wouldn't be just. After the Catholic-based laws are passed, any non-Catholic shouldn't be able to rock the boat, as they would be choosing to immigrate to this Catholic city. I think the religious make-up of the city would not change, and there would be no problem.

I don't exactly have a point to this discussion; I haven't made up my mind about the issue: to what extent can religious belief be the basis of civil law? Civil law must have some basis. I still don't think gay marriage is so bad as a civil institution, a guarantee of equal rights, so long as ministers disagreeing with it are free to refrain from performing them. But as the Church says its wrong, I try to shut up about my position on this issue. Were I to ever have to vote on it, I think I just wouldn't vote. It would be difficult to vote with the Church, and I can't in good conscience vote in a way my bishop says is morally wrong.


Denver pride

Here is a video about a study-in-Rome program which three of our seminarians, including my godfather, from St John Vianney are participating. Very cool! Found it by way of Fr Ray Blake at St Mary Mag.


Caritas in Veritate: Chapter 3

Continuing our look at the new encyclical.
34. Charity in truth places man before the astonishing experience of gift. Gratuitousness is present in our lives in many different forms, which often go unrecognized because of a purely consumerist and utilitarian view of life. The human being is made for gift, which expresses and makes present his transcendent dimension. Sometimes modern man is wrongly convinced that he is the sole author of himself, his life and society. This is a presumption that follows from being selfishly closed in upon himself, and it is a consequence — to express it in faith terms — of original sin... The conviction that man is self-sufficient and can successfully eliminate the evil present in history by his own action alone has led him to confuse happiness and salvation with immanent forms of material prosperity and social action. Then, the conviction that the economy must be autonomous, that it must be shielded from “influences” of a moral character, has led man to abuse the economic process in a thoroughly destructive way. In the long term, these convictions have led to economic, social and political systems that trample upon personal and social freedom, and are therefore unable to deliver the justice that they promise. As I said in my Encyclical Letter Spe Salvi, history is thereby deprived of Christian hope[86], deprived of a powerful social resource at the service of integral human development, sought in freedom and in justice. Hope encourages reason and gives it the strength to direct the will[87]. It is already present in faith, indeed it is called forth by faith. Charity in truth feeds on hope and, at the same time, manifests it. As the absolutely gratuitous gift of God, hope bursts into our lives as something not due to us, something that transcends every law of justice. Gift by its nature goes beyond merit, its rule is that of superabundance. It takes first place in our souls as a sign of God's presence in us, a sign of what he expects from us. Truth — which is itself gift, in the same way as charity — is greater than we are, as Saint Augustine teaches[88]. Likewise the truth of ourselves, of our personal conscience, is first of all given to us. In every cognitive process, truth is not something that we produce, it is always found, or better, received. Truth, like love, “is neither planned nor willed, but somehow imposes itself upon human beings”[89].

Because it is a gift received by everyone, charity in truth is a force that builds community, it brings all people together without imposing barriers or limits. The human community that we build by ourselves can never, purely by its own strength, be a fully fraternal community, nor can it overcome every division and become a truly universal community. The unity of the human race, a fraternal communion transcending every barrier, is called into being by the word of God-who-is-Love. In addressing this key question, we must make it clear, on the one hand, that the logic of gift does not exclude justice, nor does it merely sit alongside it as a second element added from without; on the other hand, economic, social and political development, if it is to be authentically human, needs to make room for the principle of gratuitousness as an expression of fraternity.

36. Economic activity cannot solve all social problems through the simple application of commercial logic. [This is part of why I've wanted to turn from the field of economics to becoming a priest.] This needs to be directed towards the pursuit of the common good, for which the political community in particular must also take responsibility....

The great challenge before us, accentuated by the problems of development in this global era and made even more urgent by the economic and financial crisis, is to demonstrate, in thinking and behaviour, not only that traditional principles of social ethics like transparency, honesty and responsibility cannot be ignored or attenuated, but also that in commercial relationships the principle of gratuitousness and the logic of gift as an expression of fraternity can and must find their place within normal economic activity. This is a human demand at the present time, but it is also demanded by economic logic. It is a demand both of charity and of truth.

38. ...Today we can say that economic life must be understood as a multi-layered phenomenon: in every one of these layers, to varying degrees and in ways specifically suited to each, the aspect of fraternal reciprocity must be present. In the global era, economic activity cannot prescind from gratuitousness, which fosters and disseminates solidarity and responsibility for justice and the common good among the different economic players. It is clearly a specific and profound form of economic democracy. Solidarity is first and foremost a sense of responsibility on the part of everyone with regard to everyone[93], and it cannot therefore be merely delegated to the State. While in the past it was possible to argue that justice had to come first and gratuitousness could follow afterwards, as a complement, today it is clear that without gratuitousness, there can be no justice in the first place. [I'm not sure I follow on this point.] What is needed, therefore, is a market that permits the free operation, in conditions of equal opportunity, of enterprises in pursuit of different institutional ends. Alongside profit-oriented private enterprise and the various types of public enterprise, there must be room for commercial entities based on mutualist principles and pursuing social ends to take root and express themselves. It is from their reciprocal encounter in the marketplace that one may expect hybrid forms of commercial behaviour to emerge, and hence an attentiveness to ways of civilizing the economy. Charity in truth, in this case, requires that shape and structure be given to those types of economic initiative which, without rejecting profit, aim at a higher goal than the mere logic of the exchange of equivalents, of profit as an end in itself.


Caritas in Veritate: Chapter 2

Continuing our look at the new encyclical.
27. Life in many poor countries is still extremely insecure as a consequence of food shortages, and the situation could become worse: hunger still reaps enormous numbers of victims among those who, like Lazarus, are not permitted to take their place at the rich man's table, contrary to the hopes expressed by Paul VI[64]... Hunger is not so much dependent on lack of material things as on shortage of social resources... The right to food, like the right to water, has an important place within the pursuit of other rights, beginning with the fundamental right to life. It is therefore necessary to cultivate a public conscience that considers food and access to water as universal rights of all human beings, without distinction or discrimination[65].

28. One of the most striking aspects of development in the present day is the important question of respect for life, which cannot in any way be detached from questions concerning the development of peoples. It is an aspect which has acquired increasing prominence in recent times, obliging us to broaden our concept of poverty[66] and underdevelopment to include questions connected with the acceptance of life, especially in cases where it is impeded in a variety of ways.

Not only does the situation of poverty still provoke high rates of infant mortality in many regions, but some parts of the world still experience practices of demographic control, on the part of governments that often promote contraception and even go so far as to impose abortion. In economically developed countries, legislation contrary to life is very widespread, and it has already shaped moral attitudes and praxis, contributing to the spread of an anti-birth mentality; frequent attempts are made to export this mentality to other States as if it were a form of cultural progress.

Some non-governmental Organizations work actively to spread abortion, at times promoting the practice of sterilization in poor countries, in some cases not even informing the women concerned. Moreover, there is reason to suspect that development aid is sometimes linked to specific health-care policies which de facto involve the imposition of strong birth control measures. Further grounds for concern are laws permitting euthanasia as well as pressure from lobby groups, nationally and internationally, in favour of its juridical recognition.

Openness to life is at the centre of true development. When a society moves towards the denial or suppression of life, it ends up no longer finding the necessary motivation and energy to strive for man's true good. If personal and social sensitivity towards the acceptance of a new life is lost, then other forms of acceptance that are valuable for society also wither away[67]. The acceptance of life strengthens moral fibre and makes people capable of mutual help. By cultivating openness to life, wealthy peoples can better understand the needs of poor ones, they can avoid employing huge economic and intellectual resources to satisfy the selfish desires of their own citizens, and instead, they can promote virtuous action within the perspective of production that is morally sound and marked by solidarity, respecting the fundamental right to life of every people and every individual.

Cardinal Levada's letter on Ecclesiae unitatem

La Buhardilla has the text of Cardinal Levada's communication which comes in conjunction with Pope Benedict's today moving the PCED into the CDF. Here is my translation:
As anticipated in the Letter of the Holy Father to the Bishops of the Catholic Church about the lifting of the excommunication of the four bishops consecrated by archbishop Lefebvre (10 March 2009), today is published the Moto Proprio "Ecclesiae unitatem", with which the structure of the Pontifical Commission Ecclesia Dei, instituted by Pope John Paul II in 1988, is redesigned and updated.

The Motu Proprio Ecclesiae Unitatem explains the principal motive for the restructuring. The lifting of the excommunication of the four lefebvrist bishops was a measure in the field of canonical discipline to liberate the persons of the weight of the most grave ecclesiastical censure, even in the recognition that the doctrinal questions remain and, until they are clarified, the "Society of St Pius X" cannot enjoy canonical status in the Church and her ministers are not engaged in any legitimate mode with ministry in the Church. Because the problems are of an essentially doctrinal nature, the Holy Father has decided to rethink the structure the Pontificial Commission Ecclesia Dei, linking closely with the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.

The Pontifical Commission Ecclesia Dei maintains its current configuration, with some modifications in its structure, which we summarize here:

1) The President of the Commission is the Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.

2) The Commission, with in its own organic way, is composed of a Secretary and Officials.

3) It is the role of the President, with the help of the Secretary, to refer the principal cases and questions of a doctrinal nature for examination and judgement in ordinary instances to the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (Consulting with Members of the Ordinary/Plenary Session), and to submit the results to the final disposition of the Supreme Pontiff.

Cardinal William Levada, Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith and now elected President of the Commission Ecclesia Dei, has expressed his gratitude to the Holy Father for the confidence demonstrated with this decision, assuring the Holy Father, also in the name of the Officials of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, commitment the doctrinal dialogue with the Society of St Pius X.

The Holy Father, with signed Letter, warmly thanked Cardinal Darío Castrillón Hoyos, until now President, for his great dedication to the work of the Commission Ecclesia Dei. Equally, the Holy Father, through the Cardinal Secretary of State, thanked Mons. Camille Perl for his many years of service to the same Commission. Cardinal Levada has joined these acknowledgements, extending them to the Members and Experts of the Commission whose work will now be taken by the Members of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith and also with eligible experts according to the necessities of studying particular questions.

Welcoming the appointment of Mons. Guido Pozzo to be Secretary of the Commission, Cardinal Levada noted the preparation of Mons. Pozzo and his particular interest in the questions of the competency of the Commission Ecclesia Dei. Until now, Mons. Pozzo was Assistant Study of the Doctrinal Office of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith and the Adjunct Secretary of the International Theological Commission.

With the Motu Proprio published today, the Holy Father wanted to demonstrate particular and paternal solicitude for the Society of St Pius X, to the end of overcoming the difficulties which still remain to achieving full communion with the Church.

Caritas in Veritate: Introduction and Chapter One

I am going to present, a la Fr Z, those parts of Pope Benedict's encyclical Caritas in Veritate which I found particularly interesting or moving. This will be a series of posts as I make my way through reading the encyclical.

1. Charity in truth, to which Jesus Christ bore witness by his earthly life and especially by his death and resurrection, is the principal driving force behind the authentic development of every person and of all humanity. Love — caritas — is an extraordinary force which leads people to opt for courageous and generous engagement in the field of justice and peace. It is a force that has its origin in God, Eternal Love and Absolute Truth. Each person finds his good by adherence to God's plan for him, [God has a particular plan for each of us] in order to realize it fully: in this plan, he finds his truth, and through adherence to this truth he becomes free (cf. Jn 8:22). To defend the truth, to articulate it with humility and conviction, and to bear witness to it in life are therefore exacting and indispensable forms of charity. Charity, in fact, “rejoices in the truth” (1 Cor 13:6). All people feel the interior impulse to love authentically: love and truth never abandon them completely, because these are the vocation planted by God in the heart and mind of every human person. The search for love and truth is purified and liberated by Jesus Christ from the impoverishment that our humanity brings to it, and he reveals to us in all its fullness the initiative of love and the plan for true life that God has prepared for us. In Christ, charity in truth becomes the Face of his Person, a vocation for us to love our brothers and sisters in the truth of his plan. Indeed, he himself is the Truth (cf. Jn 14:6).

3. Through this close link with truth, charity can be recognized as an authentic expression of humanity and as an element of fundamental importance in human relations, including those of a public nature. Only in truth does charity shine forth, only in truth can charity be authentically lived. Truth is the light that gives meaning and value to charity. That light is both the light of reason and the light of faith, through which the intellect attains to the natural and supernatural truth of charity: it grasps its meaning as gift, acceptance, and communion. Without truth, charity degenerates into sentimentality. Love becomes an empty shell, to be filled in an arbitrary way. In a culture without truth, this is the fatal risk facing love. It falls prey to contingent subjective emotions and opinions, the word “love” is abused and distorted, to the point where it comes to mean the opposite. Truth frees charity from the constraints of an emotionalism that deprives it of relational and social content, and of a fideism that deprives it of human and universal breathing-space. In the truth, charity reflects the personal yet public dimension of faith in the God of the Bible, who is both Agápe and Lógos: Charity and Truth, Love and Word.
5. Charity is love received and given. It is “grace” (cháris). Its source is the wellspring of the Father's love for the Son, in the Holy Spirit. Love comes down to us from the Son. It is creative love, through which we have our being; it is redemptive love, through which we are recreated. Love is revealed and made present by Christ (cf. Jn 13:1) and “poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit” (Rom 5:5). As the objects of God's love, men and women become subjects of charity, they are called to make themselves instruments of grace, so as to pour forth God's charity and to weave networks of charity.

This dynamic of charity received and given is what gives rise to the Church's social teaching, which is caritas in veritate in re sociali: the proclamation of the truth of Christ's love in society. This doctrine is a service to charity, but its locus is truth. Truth preserves and expresses charity's power to liberate in the ever-changing events of history...

9. ...Fidelity to man requires fidelity to the truth, which alone is the guarantee of freedom (cf. Jn 8:32) and of the possibility of integral human development. For this reason the Church searches for truth, proclaims it tirelessly and recognizes it wherever it is manifested. This mission of truth is something that the Church can never renounce. Her social doctrine is a particular dimension of this proclamation: [the Church's social teaching can only arise from Truth. To ignore Truth can lead Catholics to 'seamless garment' arguments for their cherry-picking of social doctrine.] it is a service to the truth which sets us free...

11. The publication of Populorum Progressio occurred immediately after the conclusion of the Second Vatican Ecumenical Council, and in its opening paragraphs it clearly indicates its close connection with the Council[14]. Twenty years later, in Sollicitudo Rei Socialis, John Paul II, in his turn, emphasized the earlier Encyclical's fruitful relationship with the Council, and especially with the Pastoral Constitution Gaudium et Spes[15]. I too wish to recall here the importance of the Second Vatican Council for Paul VI's Encyclical and for the whole of the subsequent social Magisterium of the Popes. The Council probed more deeply what had always belonged to the truth of the faith, namely that the Church, being at God's service, is at the service of the world in terms of love and truth. Paul VI set out from this vision in order to convey two important truths. The first is that the whole Church, in all her being and acting — when she proclaims, when she celebrates, when she performs works of charity — is engaged in promoting integral human development. She has a public role over and above her charitable and educational activities: all the energy she brings to the advancement of humanity and of universal fraternity is manifested when she is able to operate in a climate of freedom. In not a few cases, that freedom is impeded by prohibitions and persecutions, or it is limited when the Church's public presence is reduced to her charitable activities alone. [Catholics must have a place in the public sphere, including in politics.] The second truth is that authentic human development concerns the whole of the person in every single dimension[16]. Without the perspective of eternal life, human progress in this world is denied breathing-space. Enclosed within history, it runs the risk of being reduced to the mere accumulation of wealth... integral human development is primarily a vocation, and therefore it involves a free assumption of responsibility in solidarity on the part of everyone. Moreover, such development requires a transcendent vision of the person, it needs God: without him, development is either denied, or entrusted exclusively to man, who falls into the trap of thinking he can bring about his own salvation, and ends up promoting a dehumanized form of development. Only through an encounter with God are we able to see in the other something more than just another creature[17], to recognize the divine image in the other, thus truly coming to discover him or her and to mature in a love that “becomes concern and care for the other.”[18]

12. The link between Populorum Progressio and the Second Vatican Council does not mean that Paul VI's social magisterium marked a break with that of previous Popes, because the Council constitutes a deeper exploration of this magisterium within the continuity of the Church's life[19]. In this sense, clarity is not served by certain abstract subdivisions of the Church's social doctrine, which apply categories to Papal social teaching that are extraneous to it. It is not a case of two typologies of social doctrine, one pre-conciliar and one post-conciliar, differing from one another: on the contrary, there is a single teaching, consistent and at the same time ever new[20]. [the hermeneutic of continuity] It is one thing to draw attention to the particular characteristics of one Encyclical or another, of the teaching of one Pope or another, but quite another to lose sight of the coherence of the overall doctrinal corpus[21]...

15. Two further documents by Paul VI without any direct link to social doctrine — the Encyclical Humanae Vitae (25 July 1968) and the Apostolic Exhortation Evangelii Nuntiandi (8 December 1975) — are highly important for delineating the fully human meaning of the development that the Church proposes. It is therefore helpful to consider these texts too in relation to Populorum Progressio.

The Encyclical Humanae Vitae emphasizes both the unitive and the procreative meaning of sexuality, thereby locating at the foundation of society the married couple, man and woman, who accept one another mutually, in distinction and in complementarity: a couple, therefore, that is open to life[27]. This is not a question of purely individual morality: Humanae Vitae indicates the strong links between life ethics and social ethics, ushering in a new area of magisterial teaching that has gradually been articulated in a series of documents, most recently John Paul II's Encyclical Evangelium Vitae[28]. The Church forcefully maintains this link between life ethics and social ethics, fully aware that “a society lacks solid foundations when, on the one hand, it asserts values such as the dignity of the person, justice and peace, but then, on the other hand, radically acts to the contrary by allowing or tolerating a variety of ways in which human life is devalued and violated, especially where it is weak or marginalized.”[29]

17. A vocation is a call that requires a free and responsible answer. Integral human development presupposes the responsible freedom of the individual and of peoples: no structure can guarantee this development over and above human responsibility. The “types of messianism which give promises but create illusions”[38] always build their case on a denial of the transcendent dimension of development, in the conviction that it lies entirely at their disposal. This false security becomes a weakness, because it involves reducing man to subservience, to a mere means for development, while the humility of those who accept a vocation is transformed into true autonomy, because it sets them free....This too is a vocation, a call addressed by free subjects to other free subjects in favour of an assumption of shared responsibility....

18. Besides requiring freedom, integral human development as a vocation also demands respect for its truth... Amid the various competing anthropological visions put forward in today's society, even more so than in Paul VI's time, the Christian vision has the particular characteristic of asserting and justifying the unconditional value of the human person and the meaning of his growth... The truth of development consists in its completeness: if it does not involve the whole man and every man, it is not true development. This is the central message of Populorum Progressio, valid for today and for all time... The Christian vocation to this development therefore applies to both the natural plane and the supernatural plane; which is why, “when God is eclipsed, our ability to recognize the natural order, purpose and the ‘good' begins to wane”[50].
Clearly, development is a theme of this encyclical. After finishing the posts giving excerpts of the letter, I will discuss what Pope Benedict means in this document by 'development'.

I didn't include it, as it is obvious, but article six discusses how justice is a necessary though insufficient basis for charity.


Critiquing a rupturista


I've just read Fr John O'Malley's "What Happened at Vatican II", which argues for the hermeneutic of discontinuity in examining Vatican II. It is an interesting read, and is a good brief introduction to the process of the council. I did get from it a clearer sense of the working of the council than I have from other works about the council, the only one I can specifically remember having read being P. Marini's "A Challenging Reform". I think he has something to his point that the "style" of the documents are different from those of previous councils. (Though, I haven't actually read the other councils, except for Lateran IV.) I am prepared to accept that the documents (of which, again, I have read only a few) have a feel more of argument and persuasion compared to prior councils, which did more decreeing.

The Problem

But that's about as far as my agreement with the assessments of Fr O'Malley can go. One definitely gets the sense from him that this change in style is a good thing, about pwhich I am not so sure. He further argues for this style as being the "spirit" of Vatican II, which is hogwash. O'Malley's hermeneutic means that Vatican II can be used to justify anything that the proponent believes to be in the "spirit of Vatican II".

Here is the paragraph (found on pp 139-40) of the work that particularly incensed* me:
Right after the council Latin was retained in the central Eucharistic prayer, the so-called canon of the Mass, a measure in keeping with Sacrosanctum, but within a few years the Mass in its entirety was being celebrated in the vernacular worldwide. It had become increasingly obvious that the principles of intelligibility and active participation did not sit well with maintaining for such a meaningful part a language only priests understood. The decree thus contained within itself a dynamism that led to changes that were beyond some of its specific provisions but that were almost required by its most fundamental principles.
You can see in the last sentence how rupturistas look at Vatican II. Fr O'Malley appeals to the "dynamism" of the document to justify changes that contradicted the letter of the document. He does not explain just what is this "dynamism" of which he speaks. The relevant entry in the OED for dynamism is: "The mode of being of force or energy; operation of force. Now usu., energizing or dynamic action, energy, ‘drive’."

Now how does one find this in a document? What is the mode of being of force or energy of Sacrosanctum Concilium? What is the energizing or dynamic action of Sacrosanctum Concilium? What is the energy of Sacrosanctum Concilium? What is the 'drive' of Sacrosanctum Concilium?

Perhaps these are the thesis of Sacrosanctum Concilium, which we should expect to find in its opening paragraph. SC 1 says that it is "undertaking the reform and promotion of the liturgy", to the end of the council's desire to "impart an ever increasing vigor to the Christian life of the faithful; to adapt more suitably to the needs of our own times those institutions which are subject to change; to foster whatever can promote union among all who believe in Christ; to strengthen whatever can help to call the whole of mankind into the household of the Church."

My other thought, the one which occurred to me on reading the offending paragraph in O'Malley, was that this dynamism was "fully conscious, and active participation". Bugnini certainly used this to justify his sweeping changes to the Mass.

Rather than choose between these options for SC's "dynamism", let us treat the second as part of the first; they go hand-in-hand and are not contradictory, so I don't see why we can't.

So Fr O'Malley is saying that the desire for intelligibility and full, conscious, and active participation as the fundamental principle of SC justified, almost required, a change which was among those which "were beyond" (read: contradicted) the text of SC. But SC does not say to celebrate the whole Mass in the vernacular to advance active participation. To advance this aim, what it says, with direct regard to the lay faithful, is that pastors need to instruct them (SC 14) and that texts and rites should be revised to more clearly show what they signify (SC 21). What it does not say is that the whole of Mass should be said in the vernacular.

Regarding the vernacular in Mass, what it does say is:

36. 1. Particular law remaining in force, the use of the Latin language is to be preserved in the Latin rites.

2. But since the use of the mother tongue, whether in the Mass, the administration of the sacraments, or other parts of the liturgy, frequently may be of great advantage to the people, the limits of its employment may be extended. This will apply in the first place to the readings and directives, and to some of the prayers and chants, according to the regulations on this matter to be laid down separately in subsequent chapters.

3. These norms being observed, it is for the competent territorial ecclesiastical authority mentioned in Art. 22, 2, to decide whether, and to what extent, the vernacular language is to be used; their decrees are to be approved, that is, confirmed, by the Apostolic See. And, whenever it seems to be called for, this authority is to consult with bishops of neighboring regions which have the same language.

4. Translations from the Latin text into the mother tongue intended for use in the liturgy must be approved by the competent territorial ecclesiastical authority mentioned above.

54. In Masses which are celebrated with the people, a suitable place may be allotted to their mother tongue. This is to apply in the first place to the readings and "the common prayer," but also, as local conditions may warrant, to those parts which pertain to the people, according to tho norm laid down in Art. 36 of this Constitution.

Nevertheless steps should be taken so that the faithful may also be able to say or to sing together in Latin those parts of the Ordinary of the Mass which pertain to them.

And wherever a more extended use of the mother tongue within the Mass appears desirable, the regulation laid down in Art. 40 of this Constitution is to be observed.

SC 36.1 is easily satisfied. As long as a strictly positive amount of Latin is used in the liturgy, this is satisfied. Even the Anglophone portion of my parish, which uses Latin only during Lent and only for the Kyrie (well, Greek) and Agnus Dei.

SC 36.2 however, seems to preclude the situation we are in, in which the vernacular effectively is used all the time for everything. Use of the vernacular for "some of the prayers and chants" cannot mean that it is permissible to use the vernacular for everything in the liturgy.

SC 54 is much the same as 36.2. It deals specifically with the Mass, and allows the vernacular for the readings, the common prayer, and the peoples' parts. The Canon is not the peoples' part. Anything the priest says is not the peoples' part. Reading the letter of SC, we can understand that the Canon in the vernacular is not in accordance with what is written in SC.

SC 54 goes on to say that the faithful ought to be able to say in Latin their parts of the Ordinary of the Mass. If Mass is said totally in the vernacular, we never have the opportunity to learn the ordinary in Latin. Randomly choose an American parish, interview 100 of the persons there after Mass, and I defy you to find one who can do what SC says they should be able to. I think I've only ever said the Credo once in Latin. And that was definitely not at my own parish. The current situation with regards to Latin is pitiful. If we don't use Latin at Mass, we won't be able to use Latin at Mass. That is where the use of the vernacular since Vatican II has gotten us.

SC gave clear instruction on how to achieve the end of active participation. We have touched on this above, and will do so below as well. But SC did not include exclusive use of the vernacular as a way to achieve this. Any appeal to the "spirit" or "dynamism" of the document which allows for the exclusive use of the vernacular in Mass is either dishonest or ignorant. It is absolutely absurd to think that the "spirit" of a document can nullify its text. If the council fathers wanted the entire Mass in the vernacular, they would not have approved a text which said that "
the use of the Latin language is to be preserved in the Latin rites." Moreover, Fr O'Malley himself acknowledges that the allowance of the vernacular into the liturgy was a very hotly contested issue. Clearly, many council fathers speaking strongly against the use of the vernacular is an indication that Mass completely in the vernacular was not the intent of the council.

One of the problems with Fr O'Malley's reasoning is that it can be used to justify anything in a Mass. If Fr Bob believes cola and crackers promote active participation, then it's ok. If Sr Jane thinks she would participate more actively by reciting the Eucharistic Prayer, then it's ok. There is no end to the foolishness that Fr O'Malley's reasoning allows.

The true meaning of active participation

The more true understanding of active participation can be found at SC 48: "The Church, therefore, earnestly desires that Christ's faithful, when present at this mystery of faith, should not be there as strangers or silent spectators; on the contrary, through a good understanding of the rites and prayers they should take part in the sacred action conscious of what they are doing, with devotion and full collaboration. They should be instructed by God's word and be nourished at the table of the Lord's body; they should give thanks to God; by offering the Immaculate Victim, not only through the hands of the priest, but also with him, they should learn also to offer themselves; through Christ the Mediator, they should be drawn day by day into ever more perfect union with God and with each other, so that finally God may be all in all."

This teaches us that to achieve the end of active participation, we need catechesis, not excluding Latin from the Mass. Active participation is about a deep awareness of the sacred realities going on under the veil of sensible signs. It is about maintaining oneself from mortal sin so that you can be nourished by the Body of Christ. For these things we need catechesis. Leaving Latin out of Mass does not promote active participation. Even if it did, it is not one of the ways SC told the Church to promote active participation. In fact, it is a repudiation of the text of SC.

Towards a solution

How will we rectify this all-vernacular error foisted on us by Bugnini?

*Encourage priests to use Latin. If they don't do it already, suggest it. If they do, let them know it is appreciated.
*Go out of your way for Masses that use Latin. In my own diocese, there is a fantastic parish in Westminster which has a Latin-Ordinary NO Mass every First Friday at 17:30. If you're in the area, check it out next month.
*Attend Mass in foreign languages. This will raise awareness that you don't need to understand the words.
*Teach yourself the Latin Mass parts. There are plenty of resources online with which you could do this.
*Teach your children and godchildren the Latin Mass parts.
*Teach other people's children the Latin Mass parts. Become a catechist, and just throw Latin in where you can. Kids eat it up, they think it's very cool to say the Pater in Latin. The Faith and Life Series of books from Ignatius Press are good for this; the sixth-grade book has a whole section on the Mass and encourages the teacher to teach the kids the Latin parts. Even if we can't get middle-aged people on our side, we can have a tremendous influence for good on the young, and that demographic is gonna win out in the long-run.

*Incidentally, it seems "incensed" is only used as an adjective. I can't imagine that I've just coined its use as a verb though, and I trust everyone knows what I mean, so I believe I am justified.

Prayer for the Church Suffering

Last time going by a cemetary with a friend in the car, she wanted me to teach me the prayer I started saying. I figured other people might be interested as well. If it takes longer than that to pass the cemetary, I'll add for the intention of the souls in purgatory a Pater, Ave, and GP as needed.

+ Lord, we pray for the repose of the souls in Purgatory. May our prayers help to purify them in your love. We ask this through Christ our Lord. Amen. +


Manasseh and us

Grave thoughts from the Archbishop's column in our diocesan newspaper:

Josiah’s grandfather was King Manasseh, whose 55 years of leadership over Israel marked one of the darkest periods for the people of God. Scripture tells us that Manasseh “did what was evil in the sight of the Lord,” which not only included pagan idolatry but also child sacrifice. He offered up even his own sons in sacrifice in the valley of Hinnom, and since the word in Hebrew for valley is “Ge” it was known as the valley of Ge-henna, a name that the New Testament uses as a metaphor for hell.

It’s sobering that God’s own people could be so deeply degraded by a pagan culture that they would sacrifice their own children. But obviously we don’t need to look very far to find modern parallels.


The Most Precious Blood of Our Lord Jesus Christ

Today is the feast of the Most Precious Blood. There is a lot of imagery in today's Office of our being cleansed in Jesus' blood, which I take as an exhortation to go to confession. I think in Catherine of Siena's Dialogues she talks about Confession as being the blood of the Lamb being poured out over us for the forgiveness of our sins. Someone said that, anyway. And that is what I am reminded of by lines such as this: "Everyone that washes his soul's robe in this blood, frees it of all its filth and gives it a beauty and fragrance that immediately make him like the Angels and pleasing to his King." And the same hymn (for first vespers) exhorts us to sorrow for our oft-repeated sins: "Henceforth let no one, in fickle inconstancy, leave the path of right, but keep to the course until he reach the finishing post in triumph; and God, who assists man on his way, will give him a glorious prize."

The lessons for the second nocturn today are from a sermon of St John Chrysostom, and are a good explanation of the sacraments, contra Protestants.

Do you wish to know the power of Christ's sacred Blood? Let us then review its Old Testament antecedents, let us recall what prefigured it... that His chosen nation would be spared...God devised a visible sign that would save them. A wonderful symbol, one which vividly brings home to us the power of blood! Now the divine wrath is striking the land, now the Destroyer is hurrying to every home! What does Moses do? He says, "Slay a yearling lamb and smear the doorposts with its blood." Such advice, O Moses? It sheep blood capable of delivering a human being? Yes, he says; not, of course, because it is blood, but because it foreshadows the Blood of the Lord."
This demonstrates the types of sacraments found in the OT. The smearing of lamb's blood really did effect the salvation of the firstborns; in seeing the blood, the Lord passed over that home, not striking it with this plague. (Ex 12:13) Clearly God knew the difference between Israelites and Egyptians. He didn't need a blood marker to tell the difference. And yet, this mark of blood was a necessary part of salvation from the tenth plague. For the homes which made use of this sign, the result was the sparing of their first-born.

There is nothing in Scripture to indicate that had an Israelite failed to mark his door with blood, his son would have been saved. The antiphon at the Benedictus says, ""The blood of the Lamb will be your sign," says the Lord. "Seeing the blood, I will pass over you; thus no destructive blow will come upon you."" Thus no destructive sign--this establishes the causality between seeing the blood and salvation from the destructive blow. All this is demonstrative of the efficacy and necessity of this sign. How much more efficacious, how much more necessary, are the sacraments which apply the blood of the Lamb? the Lamb of whom the lambs of the Passover were naught but types, or figures?

All that are corrupted by sin's deadly infection, come to these healing streams; for if a man bathe himself at this atoning spring, purity of soul will be his.