Saturday, October 14, 2006
LIFE IN THE PEWS IN CLEVELAND - ST. BERNARD'S
Apart from the many EM's there is a lot to like at St. Bernards. Neither my husband nor I were up to more novelties this weekend, so we opted out of trying another parish.
Our celebrant at the vigil Mass was the African priest who is studying chemistry at Akron University, and who says the Mass strictly by the rubrics, apart from the fact that he leaves the sanctuary to give the homily in the aisle presumably to be better heard. Acoustics at St. B's are iffy at best. Between that and his accent, I don't actually know what the homily was about. However, when he was saying the familiar words of Mass, I could understand him. It's always a relief to be properly disposed to receive and to walk out of Mass without being either angry or in a sarcastic mood. Maybe we should attend St. Bernards more often.
Why do they use 10 Extroardinary Ministers for a congregation of less than 150 people at Mass? Oh well...
One thing did happen that I'm still trying to understand. After Mass there was an anointing of the sick, the sacrament of Extreme Unction.
In the days before Vatican II this sacrament was most often administered in the home of a person who was dying. Back in those days, it was common to die at home. This was a sacrament one expected to receive only once.
With Vatican II it became the sacrament of the Anointing of the Sick, and was no longer reserved only for those in danger of death, but was extended to those who were seriously ill. It was moved from the deathbed to Sunday Mass at some time after the Council.
In looking at the Trent Catechism, I find the words of St. James the Apostle establishing this sacrament:
Is any man, he says, sick amongst you? Let him bring in the priests of the church, and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord: and the prayer of faith shall save the sick man; and the Lord shall raise him up; and if he be in sins, they shall be forgiven him.(p. 308)
In those words there is no reference to being near death. Sickness is the criteria that admits to the sacrament. But reading further in the Trent Catechism I find:
In the first place, it is not to be administered to persons in sound health, according to these words of St. James: "Is anyone sick amongst you?" This is also proved by the fact that Extreme Unction was instituted as a remedy not only for the diseases of the soul, but also for those of the body. Now only the sick need a remedy, and therefore this Sacrament is to be administered to those only whose malady is such as to excite apprehensions of approaching death.(p. 311)
I also find further reference to this essential ingredient of the fear of imminent death:
Extreme Unction, then, can be administered to no one who is not dangerously sick; not even to those who are in danger of death, as when they undertake a perilous voyage, or enter into battle with the sure prospect of death, or have been condemned to death and are on the way to execution.(p. 312)
The CCC makes the change in the name of the sacrament clear. Under "Extreme Unction" in the index are the words: "see Anointing of the Sick."
Under Anointing of the Sick I find:
- It is very fitting to celebrte it within the Eucharist.
- the "priests of the church" - in silence - lay hands on the sick; they pray over them in the faith of the Church - this is the epiclesis proper to this sacrament; they then anoint them with oil blessed, if possible, by the bishop. (CCC 1519)
- The first grace of this sacrament is one of strengthening, peace and courage to overcome the difficulties that go with the condition of serious illness or the frailty of old age. (CCC 1520)
- If the sacrament of anointing of the sick is given to all who suffer from serious illness and infirmity, even more rightly is it given to those at the point of departing this life. (CCC 1523)
It seems to me that death has been somewhat obscured in this sacrament. Today it is used for anyone in danger of death, but also for those who are sick in mind or body no matter the age, also for those who are about to undergo a life-threatening event, and finally for the elderly even if they are well.
In my most recent parish all who were about to enter the hospital for a serious reason were invited to come to the rectory for the Anointing of the Sick.
Yesterday after Mass it was announced that an Anointing of the Sick would take place, and that this sacrament included anointing of the hands with sacred oil for the purpose of making them healing hands. I got the impression that these hands of the laity were then to be laid on those in need of healing, which would mean that the requirement for a priest had been erased, but that may be a mistaken understanding of what Father said. Since I didn't receive the sacrament, I don't know if the proper epiclesis was said over each recipient, or not. It was not said prior to forming the lines.
My husband and I waited in the pew for a few minutes to see what would happen. Everyone in the pews got in line--young and old alike. Most of them at least looked able bodied. I turned to my husband and asked him if he wanted to go up. He responded: "It's a sacrament for the sick, isn't it? I'm not sick." We left at that point. A couple of other people also left, but most were in the line going up for the latest goodie, I guess.
THE STATE DEPARTMENT'S DEFINITION OF ANTI-SEMITISM
In the same "Culture Wars" article to which I have previously referred, titled "The Conversion of the Revolutionary Jew", E. Michael Jones writes:
On October 16, 2004 President Bush signed into law the Global Anti-Semitism Review Act, which established a special department within the U.S. State Department to monitor global anti-Semitism, reporting annually to Congress. As one of the major steps in the implementation of that law, Secretary of State Condaleeza Rice swore in Gregg Rickman as head of the State Department's office of global anti-Semitism on May 22, 2006. Rickman had ties with both Jewish organizations and congress. ...
Mr. Rickman will not have to define anti-Semitism. His state department office has already done that for him. In its "Report on Global Anti-Semitism" and its "Global Anti-Semitism Report," the U.S/ State Department lists the following set of beliefs as anti-Semitic:
1) Any assertion "that the Jewish community controls government, the media, international business and the financial world" is anti-Semitic.
2) "Strong anti-Israel sentiment" is anti-Semitic.
3) "Virulent criticism" of Israel's leaders, past or present, is anti-Semitic. According to the State Department, anti-Semitism occurs when a swastika is portrayed in a cartoon decrying the behavior of a past or present Zionist leader. Thus, a cartoon that includes a swastika to criticize Ariel Sharon's brutal 2002 invasion of the West Bank, raining "hell-fire" missiles on hapless Palestinian men, women and children, is anti-Semitic. Similarly, when the word "Zionazi" is used to describe Sharon's saturation bombing in Lebanon in 1982 (killing 17,500 innocent refugees), it is also "anti-Semitic."
4) Criticism of the Jewish religion or its religious leaders or literature (especially the Talmud and Kabbalah) is anti-Semitic.
5) Criticism of the U.S. government and Congress for being under undue influence by the Jewish-Zionist community (including AIPAC) is anti-Semitic.
6) Criticism of the Jewish-Zionist community for promoting globalism (the "New World Order") is anti-Semitic.
7) Blaming Jewish leaders and their followers for inciting the Roman crucifixion of Christ is anti-Semitic.
8) Diminishing the "six million" figure of Holocaust victims is anti-Semitic.
9) Calling Israel a "racist" state is anti-Semitic.
10) Asserting that there exists a "Zionist Conspiracy" is anti-Semitic.
11) Claiming that Jews and their leaders created the Bolshevik Revolution in Russia is anti-Semitic.
12) Making "derogatory statements about Jewish persons" is anti-Semitic.
The State Department criteria has serious implications for anyone alive today. The most serious is that it turns many Jews, who have made many of the above claims in books and articles they have written, into anti-Semites. But the State Department's definitions have serious historical implications as well. If we take numbers 4 and 7 for example, it seems clear that not just ordinary Catholics but Catholic popes and saints were guilty of anti-Semitism, according to the State Department's criteria. Numerous popes beginning with Pope Gregory IX in 1238 have condemned the Talmud as a blasphemous assault on the person of Christ and the Christian faith and have urged Christians to confiscate and burn it. Concerning #7, St. Peter, the first pope claimed in the Acts of the Apostles that the Jews were responsible for the death of Christ. Even Nostrae Aetate, the declaration of Vatican II on the Jews which ushered in an era of good feeling and "ecumenism" claimed that some Jews were responsible for Christ's death. By their promiscuous use of the term anti-Semitism Rickman and his cohorts in the State Department have turned traditional Catholic teaching into a hate crime.
In spite of 40 years of Jewish exaggeration and chutzpah, certain facts remain. The Church is not and cannot possibly be anti-Semitic, because the term refers primarily to race and racial hatred. The Church cannot promote racial hatred of any group, certainly not of the Jews because its founder was a member of that racial group.
So it would seem that not only will Benedict get into trouble quoting words of an historical figure when those words are not complimentary to a certain religious group, but he will also get into trouble with the State Department when teaching certain aspects of the faith that are uncomplimentary to another religious group.
Also apparently censorship of certain inconvenient truths is the name of the State Department's game. What happened to religious freedom?
Of course anyone can criticize and denigrate Christians with impunity, and Catholics in particular, anywhere and anytime they choose with no fear from a terrorist or the censors in the offices of the State Department.
I am not in favor of blanket endorsements. Sometimes Jewish people, just like Catholic people, do things which are simply wrong. Sometimes their leaders do as well. Pope John Paul II issued apologys for what he considered had been errors on the part of previous popes. To say that all Catholics are always correct is foolishness. Can't the same be said of all Jewish people?
I did some checking and found the State Department's "Report on Global Anti-Semitism" here. While the incidents of concern are not numbered as Mike Jones has numbered them, the main points he lists seem to be there. The report indicates:
The definition of anti-Semitism has been the focus of innumerable discussions and studies. While there is no universally accepted definition, there is a generally clear understanding of what the term encompasses.
For the purposes of this report, anti-Semitism is considered to be hatred toward Jews—individually and as a group—that can be attributed to the Jewish religion and/or ethnicity. An important issue is the distinction between legitimate criticism of policies and practices of the State of Israel, and commentary that assumes an anti-Semitic character. The demonization of Israel, or vilification of Israeli leaders, sometimes through comparisons with Nazi leaders, and through the use of Nazi symbols to caricature them, indicates an anti-Semitic bias rather than a valid criticism of policy concerning a controversial issue.
Global anti-Semitism in recent years has had four main sources:
* Traditional anti-Jewish prejudice that has pervaded Europe and some countries in other parts of the world for centuries. This includes ultra-nationalists and others who assert that the Jewish community controls governments, the media, international business, and the financial world.
* Strong anti-Israel sentiment that crosses the line between objective criticism of Israeli policies and anti-Semitism.
* Anti-Jewish sentiment expressed by some in Europe's growing Muslim population, based on longstanding antipathy toward both Israel and Jews, as well as Muslim opposition to developments in Israel and the occupied territories, and more recently in Iraq.
* Criticism of both the United States and globalization that spills over to Israel, and to Jews in general who are identified with both.
There is wiggle room for legitimate criticism in the statement "An important issue is the distinction between legitimate criticim of policies and practices of the State of Israel, and commentary that assumes an anti-Semitic character," but the distinction seems to be arbitrary. It appears to depend upon subjective enforcement, leaving the door open to criticize anything even vaguely Jewish if someone with the power is so inclined.
In any case, the ADL is pleased with the State Department's response so far.
Our Lady of Fatima, pray for us!
Friday, October 13, 2006
ROD DREHER'S NEW HOME IN ORTHODOXY
He tells the story of his journey from Roman Catholicism to Orthodoxy, the reasons he made it and the frustration that led to it, and his sense of peace now that he is there. It's a long post that begins this way:
Thursday, October 12, 2006
Orthodoxy and me
I apologize for this very long post, but it's time to clear something up: yes, I am now a communicant of the Orthodox Church, and have been (along with my family) for a couple of months.
I did not intend to make this public until the end of this month, to honor a personal and professional obligation that, the violation of which stood to hurt some innocent people. This is why I've taken care since the day I entered Orthodoxy not to claim I am Catholic in writings here, and not to rise to the bait of certain people in the comboxes who have demanded that I declare myself. Though I've wanted to get this out there, and not to deceive readers, I had an obligation to keep this to myself until month's end, for an important reason I can't really discuss. But now I am forced to reveal all early. Why? Because a certain malicious reader, a perfect stranger and petty little Catholic Prufrock named Jonathan Carpenter, who is unhealthily preoccupied with me nearly to the point of cyberstalking, troubled himself to write a letter to a priest at my parish asking about my ecclesial affiliation -- and when he received his answer, undertook to publicize it.
So, here we are. I apologize to readers who feel deceived or betrayed.
But you have to read the whole thing, and it's worth the time it takes to read it.
I can so completely sympathize with what Rod writes. The devastation to his spiritual life that the scandal has caused him, and his description of discovering yet another reason for disillusionment with Roman Catholicism via his orthodox parish in Texas, is the point at which I and my husband find ourselves at present thanks to the Opus Angelorum Day of Recollection at the church we had been attending.
I can understand his sense of coming home in finding community at the Orthodox church where he is now a member, because I sensed that same community at the schismatic Sacred Heart Church I attended recently, and it makes you want to come back for more.
If I had not been Roman Catholic for more than fifty years prior to this current personal faith crisis, I would probably be heading East as well. Who knows, I still might. Having found the only orthodox Roman Catholic church in my area, as he had found one in Texas, and then discovering there as well a reason to be cautious and wary, is devastating. Being a refugee is painful. Attending Mass fully expecting to come away angry or jeering and mocking is not what Mass is supposed to be about. Hesitating to receive the Eucharist because the service has brought me to a heart not properly disposed to receiving Christ defeats the very purpose of attending Mass.
I envy Rod having made the transition and finding himself and his family at peace with the decision, while I'm still wandering around out here in the Roman Catholic wasteland with no spiritual home and not much hope of finding one.
THE POLITICS OF A UNIVERSAL INDULT FOR THE TRIDENTINE
are unpacked by The Australian.
RIO'S WEDDING CHAPEL
From The Australian:
IT has long been one of the most romantic and photographed spots on the planet. Now the Brazilian Catholic Church is to allowing couples to get married under the outstretched arms of the Christ Redeemer statue in Rio de Janeiro.
To mark the statue's 75th anniversary yesterday, Archbishop of Rio Cardinal Eusebio Oscar Scheid consecrated the small Nossa Senhora Aparecida chapel under the 37m statue, opening the way for it to hold religious ceremonies such as baptisms and weddings.
The art deco-style Cristo Redentor sits on the granite mountain of Corcovado and is a world-recognised symbol of Rio, attracting hordes of tourists each year.
Now church authorities want to make it a place of pilgrimage as well. "We want Corcovado to become a sacred place, and not just a spot to view the beauties of Rio," said Cardinal Scheid, announcing the move.
The location offers an unbeatable backdrop for wedding pictures. From the viewing platform at the foot of the statue there is a panoramic view of what locals have nicknamed A Cidade Maravilhosa (the Marvellous City), an improbable mixture of urban metropolis, granite peaks and islands, rainforest and a string of bays and beaches such as Copacabana and Ipanema.
TEACHING SATANISM IN SOMERSET
From the Guardian Unlimited:
A row has broken out after the launch of a a nightschool course in Satanism in a Somerset village hall. Occultist Scott Jones is guiding students through topics such as witchcraft, Satanism and tarot during the course in Worle, near Weston-super-Mare.
Students on the 10-week course will learn how to "increase their mental and physical strength through meditation", discover the "magic alphabet" and investigate rituals with dolls.
But the course headed by Mr Jones, 35, has been heavily criticised by locals, who allege that its subject matter is "distasteful and awful". Placard-waving protesters have campaigned outside the community centre while the classes are taking place.
STANDING FOR CHRIST
No dilution of Christian identity in dialogue -Pope
VATICAN CITY (Reuters) - Pope Benedict said on Wednesday Christians could not allow their beliefs and identity to be diluted for the sake of dialogue with other religions.
"We have to remember that this identity of ours calls for strength, clarity, and courage in the world in which we live," he told pilgrims and tourists at his weekly general audience.
Since he made controversial comments on Islam a month ago, the question of how much dialogue Catholics should have with other religions has become a point of debate in the Church.
Some Catholics feel they have compromised too much of their Christian identity in the four decades since the 1962-1965 Second Vatican Council called for increased dialogue with Muslims, Jews and members of other religions.
The Pope said the dialogue started after the Council "must continue".
"But this path of dialogue that is so necessary must not lead us to forget the duty to firmly underscore the tenets and identity of our Christian faith that cannot be renounced."
That is taking a stand for Christ.
I cannot help but reflect on the fact that this would be much easier had there not been 40 years of capitulation. Still, this pope has courage to say it, particularly in the face of recent world events.
As world events unfold, the question comes to mind more frequently, "Who is inciting the demonstrations and violence?", because I do believe they are being incited and are not grassroots protests.
Blogger credit to New Oxford Review for the link.
MEMORIAL SERVICE FOR BEHEADED PRIEST
The relatives of a Christian priest who was kidnapped and beheaded in Iraq have said that his Muslim captors had demanded his church condemn the pope's recent comments about Islam and pay a US$350,000 ransom.
They were speaking as more than 500 people attended a memorial service on Thursday for father Amer Iskender after his decapitated body was found in an industrial area of the northern city of Mosul on Wednesday.
Iskender was a priest at the St. Ephrem Orthodox church in Mosul.
"He was a good man and we all shed tears for him ... He was a man of peace," said Eman Saaur, a 45-year-old schoolteacher who said she attended Iskender's church regularly.
Blogger credit to New Oxford Review for the link.
E-NEWSLETTER FROM HUMAN LIFE INTERNATIONAL
Baby Three Hundred Million
The US population is set to cross the 300 million mark next week, a sign that our population is prosperous not only in dollars but also in people. But instead of celebrating, many Americans will look at their kids, nervously wondering whether they are contributing to the inevitable downfall of civilization that we've been told will follow as our population grows. You see, we have been indoctrinated to think that more babies are a bad thing, especially if those babies may not have pre-paid college tuition accounts while in utero. Because of our anti-baby bias, Americans, in general, need a good primer both on population issues and on generosity, so here it goes.
First, why is it that "growth" is only a problem when it concerns humans? When a new calf is born to a farmer he knows he's a richer man; but when a new baby is born to him we call him irresponsible. We crave growth not only in our flocks but also in our stocks, our opportunities, our freedoms and our reputations, but when it comes to the growth of our families, our attitudes are strangely determined by a careful cost-benefit analysis of how much another kid is worth. A US News and World Report cover some years ago showed a baby with a bar code stamped on her forehead and an alarmist headline that the little creature will eat up nearly $1.5 million before age eighteen. That icon of the prevailing attitudes is not only wrong, but it betrays a fundamental selfishness of our culture. Children are not commodities, they are gifts that make us richer in every way. But that message is hard to convey to a materialistic society.
Second, there is a deep-seated hypocrisy in the attitudes of westerners toward world population growth: that is, we only become alarmed at the growth of the populations of poor people, not rich ones. Ask the average American what areas of the world are overpopulated and she will inevitably tell you Africa and Asia. She may add Latin America due to the number of people who are undoubtedly so populous that they have to sneak across our borders to feed themselves. She will be wrong on all counts but facts are not relevant to overpopulation propaganda. Ask her what country has the third largest population in the world and she will likely not know that it is her own. We've been programmed to intuitively connect population growth with people of color and then to think that the best way to eliminate their poverty is to eliminate them. My favorite icon of this hypocrisy is Ted Turner who has given $1 billion to the UN to reduce the birthrates in the Third World but has five kids himself. I guess it's okay when those five are spread out over several wives.
Third, there is a profound ignorance about the nature of modern population growth. Since the end of the Second World War the world's population more than doubled, sending shock waves of panic throughout the well-developed countries blaming the growth exclusively on the number of babies that all those poor people were having. The over-population histrionics ignored the reality that advances in health care and modern technology have contributed the lion's share of that growth by simply keeping people alive longer and providing them with a better standard of living. That seems like a good thing to me because the result is more life and prosperity for all. Yet billions of dollars have been spent in the past forty years to fanatically lower the birth rates of the Third World so that all those unwashed masses don't take away the material gains that we earned for ourselves and we deserve, right?
We can't be blind to the fact that this anti-baby bias has greased the skids to abortion all around the world too. The abortion industry knows that there is a paper thin line between not wanting a baby now to not wanting a baby period. When they have sold a society on the idea that babies are the source of all their problems, it is not too hard to sell them on abortion.
Ultimately the question of population is not so much about numbers as it is about generosity with life and fertility. "To those who have, more will be given," said the Lord in His infinite wisdom, and that is especially true with childbearing. When my parents decided to have seven children in the late fifties and sixties they did so when many of their peers were calling it quits at three. If they had only had three I wouldn't be here because I'm their fourth; and I know I speak for my brothers and sisters in saying that we would all gladly undergo any measure of sacrifice for our parents as they get older because, as they say, what goes around still comes around.
Sincerely Yours in Christ,
Rev. Thomas J. Euteneuer
President, Human Life International
Thursday, October 12, 2006
IT'S SNOWING HERE
Hard. Snowing on the mums and the geraniums and the impatients, all of which are still blooming since we haven't had a frost yet.
WHAT ABOUT BISHOP FRANKLIN ?
From the Akron Beacon Journal:
Bishop Martin J. Amos, auxiliary bishop to the southern portion of the Catholic Diocese of Cleveland, is being introduced this morning as the eighth bishop of the Davenport Diocese in Iowa.
Amos, who has led the more than 150,000 Catholics in Summit, Medina, Wayne and Ashland counties since 2001, is in Davenport for a morning news conference.
The announcement of his appointment by Pope Benedict XVI was made about 6 a.m. today by the Vatican.
Amos, 65, will be installed as bishop of the Iowa Diocese on Nov. 20.
Bishop Franklin is mentioned near the end of the article, but there is no indication that he is retiring. Is he stepping down?
THE DUAL COVENANT THEORY
I've brought it up before--the idea that the Jewish covenant is still in force and that the Jews will be saved apart from Jesus Christ. In the current issue of "Culture Wars" that came today, E. Michael Jones' article, "The Conversion of the Revolutionary Jew", offers a possible explanation of the source of this dual covenant theory. He writes:
The Catholic Church, which throughout its history has urged the conversion of the Jews, has thus far been incapable of lending[contemporary] assistance in this regard because it has been lamed by an interpretation of Nostra Aetate which contradicts the Gospels. One of the rituals of post-Nostra Aetate ecumenism which has developed over the past 40 years entails having some church dignitary stand up at the ecumenical gathering--after the Jews have denounced the Church as the font of all anti-Semitism and the immediate cause of Hitler's genocide--and announce that the Jews do not need Christ as their savior. In May 2001, at a meeting of the international Catholic-Jewish Liaison committee in New York, Walter Cardinal Kasper, the Vatican official in chaarge of the Church's relations with the Jews, tried to quell the Jewish discomfort caused by the issuance of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith's Dominus Iesus on the Unicity and Salvific Universality of Jesus Christ and the Church by claiming that "God's grace, which is the grace of Jesus Christ according to our faith, is available to all. Therefore the Church believes that Judaism, i.e., the faithful response of the Jewish people to God's irrevocable covenant is salvific for them, because God is faithful to his promises" (emphasis added by me [Jones]).
In placating the Jews, Kasper not only contradicted the Gospels and 2000 years of Church teaching, he also contradicted the recently issued Dominus Iesus, which claimed that
There is only one salvific economy of the one and triune God realized in the mystery of the incarnation, death and resurrection of the Son of God, actualized with the cooperation of the Holy Spirit and extended in its salvific value to all humanity and to the entire universe. "No one, therefore, can enter into communion with God except through Christ by the working of the Holy Spirit."
Kasper also contradicted Pope John Paul II's 1990 encyclical Redemptoris Missio, which claimed that
Christ is the one savior of all, the only one able to reveal God and lead to God. In reply to the Jewish religious authorities who questioned the apostles about healing the lame man, Peter says: "By the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom you crucified, whom God raised from the dead, by him this man is standing before you well...And there is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved." ...salvation can only come from Jesus Christ.
In attempting to extricate himself from hot water, Kasper only made matters worse by muddying the already muddy waters even more. In November 2002, Cardinal Kasper gave a speech at Boston College in which he claimed that Jews could be saved if they "follow their own conscience and believe in God's promises as they understand them in their religious tradition, they are in line with God's plan, which for us comes to historical completion in Jesus Christ" (my emphasis.)
In using the phrase "for us," Kasper implied that there were two ways to salvation, a clear contradiction of the Gospels and recent Vatican pronouncement like Dominus Iesus. Kasper, however, was not alone in making these heretical claims. In August 2002, the US Bishops' Committee for Ecumenical and interreligious [sic] Affairs, under the direction of William Cardinal Keeler, along with the US National Council of Synagogues issued a paper entitled, "Reflections on Covenant and Mission," which claimed that: "A deepening Catholic appreciation of the eternal covenant between God and the Jewish people, together with a recognition of a divinely given mission to the Jews to witness to God's faithful love, lead to the conclusion that campaigns that target Jews for conversion to Christianity are no longer theologically acceptable in the Catholic Church. ...
Nostra Aetate had led to a deep crisis in the Catholic Church. In order to participate in ecumenical dialogue with Jews, Catholic "experts" had to be willing to make heretical statements which contradicted the teaching of the Catholic Church. They had to be willing to deny fundamental tenets of Catholic theology. The Church was suddenly in a position where she could not articulate a coherent position because denial of the Gospel had become the condition sine qua non of dialogue with the Jews.
In many ways this problem went all the way to the top. Viewing the history of Pope John Paul II's relations with the Jews, one of the most ultramontane of American Catholic commentators was forced to conclude that "Even Pope John Paul II...could occasionally create the impression that the Church was perhaps now prepared to cut a few corners in the interests of better relations" with the Jews. ..."John Paul II," according to the same commentator, "actually made the remark that the old covenant with the Jews had in fact 'never been revoked by God.'" The statement was theologically defensible because God never revoked the covenants with Noah or Abraham, but it gave the impression that the "new and everlasting covenant" which Christ Himself established did not apply to the Jews.
Pope John Paul II's gestures were even worse in this regard. His prayer at the Wailing Wall in Jerusalem was theatrical but ambiguous. Jews who pray at the Wailing Wall pray for the restoration of the Temple. No pope could ever contemplate doing what would be a completely wicked act, but Jewish artists lost no time memorializing that act and all of the ambiguity it embodied as a way of justifying their call for a ban on all forms of "proselytism."
If those of us in the pews are confused as to what the Church teaches regarding covenant theology, we are in that state of confusion through the help of our shepherds who seek the approval of men and are willing to deny Christ to get it. Ecumenical and interreligious dialogue always brings with it this threat of denying the truths of the faith.
A little birdie told me that Mike Jones is writing a book on Judaism. I think it's going to be an interesting read when he publishes it.
Our Lady of Fatima, pray for Benedict!
Wednesday, October 11, 2006
WILL LATIN MASS BE UNIVERSALLY RESTORED ?
VATICAN CITY -- Pope Benedict XVI has decided to loosen restrictions on use of the old Latin Mass, making a major concession to ultraconservatives who split with the Vatican to protest liberalizing reforms, a Vatican official said Wednesday.
The pope's intent is to "help overcome the schism and help bring (the ultraconservatives) back to the Church," said the official, who asked that his name not be used because the papal document has not yet been released.
It was not immediately clear when the pope will make his decision public, but the Vatican official said it was expected soon. The Times of London, in a report Wednesday, said the pope had already signed the order and it could be published in the next few weeks.
We've heard these rumors before. Will it become a fact this time? It's on talk radio here, so the word is being taken seriously this time.
Will this be the first step toward a correction of the N.O.?
Terry Mattingly is covering it.
Amy Welborn is watching it.
AGI says the congregation must request it.
The SSPX are offering Mass kits but aren't talking about this latest news on the Tridentine.
SEE THE STELTH PRIESTESS
at Catholic Church Conservation blog. Her church is German speaking and located in Kuala Lumpur.
FOURTH DIOCESE FILES FOR BANKRUPTCY
IOWA CITY, Iowa The Roman Catholic Diocese of Davenport filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection today, less than two weeks before it defends itself at a trial involving a former priest accused of sexually abusing a high school student.
Bishop William Franklin says he regrets the decision, but the financial pressure and demands for settling as many as 25 outstanding claims of sexual abuse by its priests is too great.
Franklin, in a posting on the diocese Web site, says bankruptcy reorganization is the best way to continue the Church's mission.
Blogger credit to New Oxford Review.
Bishop Franklin's statement can be read here.
CLEVELAND VOTER'S GUIDE
The Cleveland Diocese is providing a Candidate Survey for the 2006 senatorial and gubenatorial election.
There is also a Candidate's Survey for the Ohio General Assembly at the Diocesan website.
An interesting essay appears in a paper titled "The Angel Work" translated from German. Unfortunately the only way to get to it is to click the link in the following paragraph found at mid-point at the website. I can't link it here.
Later Hoenisch recommended also the admission of an angel connection in the context of the angel work and again the registration to a Sühne Anbetungs community - obviously without to consider whether such a multiplicity of obligating Frömmigkeitsleistungen did not drive at young people to fears became.
Bishop Kert Krenn is pictured in that essay. It appears that he is or was a suporter of OA. From the website:
St.Pöltener bishop Krenn, Förderer of the EW, withdraws
Krenn, an ultra-right controversial figure, was in the world news in August 2004 in conjunction with activities at the seminary in St. Polten. He was subsequently forced into retirement as a result.
I'm still trying to determine if the Austrian base for Opus Angelorum, St. Petersburg castle, is in the Diocese of St. Polten.
Tuesday, October 10, 2006
From the Akron Beacon Journal:
Proposals for clustering and consolidation of ministries in the 233 parishes in the Catholic Diocese of Cleveland are expected to emerge in December as the church moves into its second phase of determining how to serve its communities.(bolding mine - ct)
Proposals were delivered last week to the diocese, which expects to reveal those plans by the end of the year.
``Vibrant Parish Life is not about closing or merging parishes. It's about having a strong, stable Catholic presence in every part of the diocese,'' said Rick Krivanka, co-chairman of the Diocesan Vibrant Parish Life II Committee that has been charged with helping all parishes form clusters.
``After completing the process -- with much prayer and discernment -- we may discover that there are areas of the diocese where the only way we can have a strong, vibrant Catholic presence is to look at merging or closing.''
Decisions on closings could be at least two years away, he said.
Vibrant Parish Life is "not about closing or merging", but it may be that the only way to have a Vibrant Parish Life is to close or merge. Uh-huh. Could you make up your mind which way you want to spin this please? Trying to have it both ways isn't working.
How witless they must believe the folks in the pews are!
...if such issues were not addressed, the Catholic Church in the eight-county diocese might see a day when parishes and ministries are weakened by fewer staff members and diminished resources.
Gosh, would that mean there would be less liberal ladies lingering around rectories looking for a way to play priest and creating programs to guarantee their continued existence while keeping the laity busy? Would that mean that the sacraments would once again take on the prominence they have lost? We can't have that, can we?
The article describes the shrinking priest base, claiming that is the reason for consolidation, and then proposes some possible solutions:
Among those choices are things like interparish ministries, shared residences by priests, limited tenure for priests, combined CYO sports teams, shared facilities and merged schools and parishes.
We haven't got enough priests so we're going to combine sports teams??? How does this compute? How does "shared residences by priests" address a shortage of priests? Are they supposed to multiply in there? Maybe its the merged schools that will solve the priest shortage since less priests will be needed for less schools. Oh wait, schools don't need priests to operate, do they? They have paid teachers and principals who run them. Yeah, this is going to solve the priest shortage problem for sure!
The Gestapo arrives with this statement:
"This is a diocesan-wide restructuring and it is not a question just of the willing. Everybody has to get on board," Smith said. "Even though it is something we have never done before, I think it is a positive and upbeat approach to the future."
With the kind of stupid solutions to the priest shortage he has offered, I guess the eleventh "Thou shalt not be negative" commandment is essential. I wonder what he plans to do with the unwilling?
Am I the only one who senses an agenda here? The same agenda that fostered the cluster parish in Fond du Lac? Well it's one devious way to get rid of the church buildings that actually look like churches.
The article continues:
"Each parish will continue to have its own identity, canonical status and financial accountability," Krivanka said.
Scroll up four paragraphs in the article and note that already "In 2002, St. Mary's and Saced Heart merged to form one parish, Prince of Peace," then check my post titled "First Parish Merger." Notice that the word "Peace" is part of the title of both new parishes. "Peace"--a poorly disguised mandatory requirement?
One of the first rules of Christian management is to be honest with those you serve.
Our chanceries have been the center of duplicity since 2002, and enjoy a history of parish renovations that employed manipulative techniques to get the laity to go along with unCatholic church interiors, according to Michael Rose. Looks like nothing has changed, and I for one am REALLY REALLY SICK OF IT!
Thanks to a reader for sending in the link.
Our Lady of Fatima, pray for us!
Monday, October 09, 2006
I've been putting off doing some computer maintenance until the point has come when it's either do it or shut it down. So today there won't be any blogging. I trust that by tomorrow I'll have it working better.
Sunday, October 08, 2006
LIFE IN THE PEWS IN CLEVELAND - ST. MARY'S, HUDSON
The plans that began with me attending the vigil at St. Mary's, and my husband seriously considering returning to Sacred Heart Church, ended up with both of us attending St. Mary's last night. I didn't have high hopes. Hudson is an upscale community.
According to the parish website, at the "Adult Formation" link, they are "rekindlers", and in fact there was a sign advertising the Charismatic Mass near the doors into the church proper. The website indicates that Bishop Amos will be the celebrant.
The parish has a Pastor, an Associate Pastor, and two women Pastoral Associates. The church is quite large, relatively new, and constructed in one of those not-quite-round, definitely not square, certainly not cruciform, patterns that would make a satisfactory meeting hall. The interior of the church is partially visible across the top of their website. Last Sunday's collection amounted to $23,961, $1,211 over the "needed" amount.
We entered the church and stood in the back for awhile, trying to get oriented, and to find the tabernacle, then moved to a pew near the back and on the right side.
- Mass was said according to the rubrics except for the Agnus Dei.
- The congregation was quiet prior to the start of Mass.
- There were kneelers in spite of the very modern interior.
- The church is bright and cheerful with soothing and well-coordinated colors.
- One woman bowed to the altar before entering the pew.
- The organ pipes did not overwhelm the crucifix.
- I was able to find the tabernacle after Mass.
- There were holy water fonts by some of the entry doors.
- There were vigil candles to light near a statue.
- No drop-down movie screens appeared.
On the Negative Side:
- From where I was sitting I could not see the altar, but the organ pipes were prominently in view behind it.
- The sanctuary looks like an orchestra pit. There is a half-wall mid-way between steps and back wall. Behind this half-wall are chairs, presumably for the choir. This takes up a large portion of the sanctuary. My husband peeked around this half-wall after Mass and said it was a jumble of music stands and other stuff back there.
- There is a grand piano in the sanctuary. The man playing guitar and singing accompanied himself with pre-recorded music up there.
- From where I was sitting the sanctuary brought to mind the Cologne Synagogue when Benedict spoke there.
- The majority of parishioners genuflect to wood and organ pipes before entering the pew.
- The windows in the church are clear glass, providing a good view of Route 91 for entertainment when the mind decides to wander.
- Attendance, was anemic with empty pews. After communion it appeared that a third of those who had been there were gone.
- There were more than three salutations in the Agnus Dei. It began to sound like a litany.
- There were two boy altar boys and one girl altar boy, unless No. 3 was a boy with long hair.
- There were 15--yes folks 15--Extraordinary Ministers.
- We stood during communion. While time was allowed for private thanksgiving after, no one appeared to be praying.
- The single statue in the church was a woman. Her hair was visible. Her garment was draped in such a way as to make clear that she was female. Her clothing was pink and beige, and her veil was minimal. My first thought when looking at this statue was that it depicted Mary Magdalene. But on studying it more closely it became obvious that it must be a representation of the Blessed Virgin.
- We were asked to introduce ourselves to our pewmates after the entrance procession.
- When Mass was over and people were leaving, there was much talking, including a man who shouted across an entire section to get the attention of someone out of normal voice range.
- A large section in front consisted of chairs which must be removable. To accommodate liturgical dance, I couldn't help but wonder?
- The homily was another rendition of the luv gospel. We were told that sin is not about breaking rules. Sin is about failure to love. We are redeemed to the extent that love enables us to adhere to the gospels. That today's readings were talking about the failure to love. That we are redeemed, liberated, and enabled by His Spirit and called to live the life of love by the power of the Spirit.
Neither my husband nor I felt comfortable receiving in such an atmosphere. Certainly I was improperly disposed, by the time communion arrived. We both abstained. I saw two other people who did not receive as well.
After Mass was over we walked around to take a better look at the statue, the sanctuary, and to look for the tabernacle. When I stood immediately before the sanctuary and could not see the choir section as well, the altar looked more prominent.
We did finally discover the tabernacle over on the left behind a stained glass partition. I peered around the partition and my gaze fell upon a box topped by a wooden pyramid. Made of spalted wood, it captivated my husband who is a woodworker. Spalted wood is rare and sought after. It is also technically rotten wood. I'm still thinking about that. The box had stained-glass panels of what appeared to be a flowing rust-colored ribbon on a greenish background. There were chairs with kneelers in there. There was not one single visible Catholic symbol anywhere. The box could have held just about anything. Even the burning vigil lamp was outside of the area. This pyramid box was such a shock that I could not even kneel down to pray. One woman was kneeling in there, however.
There was an interesting twist to this Mass. The congregation received a lecture prior to the homily which included phrases such as: "arrogant and insensitive action", "disrespectful distortion", and I "call on you to apologize to the Jewish community". The details are covered in a bulletin insert, and were spelled out to the congregation as well. I'll let the pastor tell the story in his own words:
Two weeks ago as the Jewish community in Hudson gathered to celebrate Rosh haShana, one of the most sacred devotions of the Jewish calendar, someone or some group placed packets containing Catholic symbols on the windshields of their cars. Rabbi Susan Stone contacted me for help with this matter because the incident greatly upset members of her congregation. What follows is an open letter I sent to the Jewish congregation. The letter was read last week at the community's Yom Kippur service, a service devoted to atonement for sin. The letter reads:
To The Congregation of Temple Beth Shalom:
Rabbi Stone has informed me of the incident involving Catholic religious symbols that recently took place during your Rosh haShana service. As the leader of the Catholic community in Hudson I offer you my sincere apology for this harassment of your congregation. I value the good rapport that I and St. Mary Church have with your congregation, and so it disturbs me that anyone would disrupt your devotions in such an arrogant and insensitive manner. Be assured this gesture does not in any manner reflect the beliefs or attitudes we seek to instill in the members of the Hudson Catholic community. It is my abiding hope that our two congregations will continue to develop ties of friendship in the coming years.
To those responsible for these actions I can only say that the use of these sacred symbols as a prank or as a clumsy attempt at proselytizing or worse yet as an anti-Semitic gesture is at one and the same time an affront to those who are God's people and a disrespectful distortion of the very meaning of these symbols. I call upon you to come in humility and apologize to the Jewish community of Hudson.
In closing I pray God's blessing on the Temple Beth Shalom community. May both our congregations be joined in the common goal of abiding in the peace of our God.
Fr. Edward Kordas, Pastor
St. Mary Church, Hudson
I don't think either my husband or I will be attending Mass at St. Mary's in Hudson again any time soon.
Our Lady of Fatima, pray for us!