Ad Majorem Dei Gloriam

Essential thinking for reading Catholics.

Saturday, March 31, 2007

The Apostolic Exhortation, Pt. 2

This covers paragraphs 11-16 (Hey, this is tough sledding! and I haven't had a chance to shake the rust off my Latin since 1981!) of the Apostolic Exhortation. Please read my "introduction" to this effort if you haven't done so already. If there is something that isn't in the text to be translated, but which adds sense, I put it in [brackets]. Sometimes a translated word or phrase needs a little extra help in making itself clearer, so in put any such clarification(s) [italicized in brackets]. I haven't made any comments yet, and I know that I have been VERY nitpicky in the translatin' so that anyone with a better sense of these things than I can piece together something, meaningwise, which might not have been apparent to me.

Figura transit in veritatem

11. Jesus thus brings inserts his own radical novum newness to the ancient Hebrew sacrificial meal. For us Christians, that meal no longer need be repeated repeating that meal is no longer necessary. As the Church Fathers rightly say, figura transit in veritatem: the foreshadowing has given way yielded its place to the truth itself. The ancient rite has been brought to fulfilment fulfilled and definitively surpassed by the loving gift gift of love of the incarnate Son of God. The food of the truth, Christ sacrificed immolated for our sake, dat figuris terminum. (20) By his the command to "do this in remembrance of me" (Lk 22:19; 1 Cor 11:25), he asks us to respond compatibly [i.e. consistently, in a corresponding manner] to his gift and to make it sacramentally present represent him sacramentally. In through these words the Lord expresses, as it were let us say, his expectation that the his Church, born of his sacrifice, will receive take [i.e. give a home, shelter] this gift, developing under the guidance of the Holy Spirit the liturgical form of the sacrament. The remembrance memorial of his perfect gift consists not only in the mere repetition of the Last Supper, but properly in the Eucharist itself, that is, in the radical newness of Christian worship. In this way, Jesus left us commissioned us with the task of entering into participating in his "hour." "The Eucharist draws internalizes us into Jesus' act of self-oblation. More than just statically receiving We do not only receive passively the incarnate Logos, we enter into are implicated in the very dynamic of his self-giving." (21) Jesus "draws us into himself." (22) The substantial conversion of bread and wine into his body and blood introduces within creation the principle of a radical change, a sort of "nuclear fission," to use an image familiar known to us today, which penetrates to the heart produces in the most intimate [reaches] of all one's being, a change meant to set off awaken a process which transforms for the transformation of reality, a process leading ultimately to with the ultimate end being the transfiguration of the entire world, to the point the moment where God will be all in for all (cf. 1 Cor 15:28).

The Holy Spirit and the Eucharist

Jesus and the Holy Spirit

12. With his word and with the elements of bread and wine, the Lord himself has given us the essentials elements of this the new worship. The Church, his Bride, is called to celebrate the eucharistic banquet daily in his memory day after day in his commemoration. She thus makes introduces the redeeming sacrifice of her Bridegroom a part of human history into the history of men and makes it sacramentally present in every culture all cultures. This great mystery is celebrated in the liturgical forms which the Church, guided by the Holy Spirit, develops in throughout time and space in diverse places. (23) We need a renewed To this purpose it is necessary to awaken within us an awareness of the decisive role played by of the Holy Spirit in the evolution of the liturgical form and the deepening understanding of the sacred mysteries. The Paraclete, Christ's first gift to those who believe the first gift for believers, (24) already at work active in Creation (cf. Gen 1:2), is fully present throughout the life of the incarnate Word: Jesus Christ is conceived by the Virgin Mary by the power work of the Holy Spirit (cf. Mt 1:18; Lk 1:35); at the beginning of his public mission, on the banks of the Jordan, he sees the Spirit descend upon him in the form of a dove (cf. Mt 3:16 and parallels); he acts, speaks and rejoices in the Spirit (cf. Lk 10:21), and he can offer himself in the Spirit through Him he offers himself (cf. Heb 9:14). In the so-called "farewell discourse" reported collected by John, Jesus clearly relates establishes a clear relationship between the gift of his life in the paschal mystery to the gift of the Spirit to his own (cf. Jn 16:7). Once risen resurrected, bearing in his flesh the signs of the passion, he can pour out the the Spirit upon them (cf. Jn 20:22), making them sharers imparts the the Spirit (cf. Jn 20:22), making his [people, disciples, followers] participants in his own mission (cf. Jn 20:21) The Spirit would then teach the disciples all things and bring to their remembrance remind them of all that Christ had said (cf. Jn 14:26), since it falls corresponds to him, as the Spirit of truth (cf. Jn 15:26), to guide the disciples into all completed truth (cf. Jn 16:13). In the account in Acts, the Spirit descends on the Apostles gathered in prayer with Mary on the day of Pentecost (cf. 2:1-4) and stirsanimates them to undertake the mission of proclaiming the Good News to all peoples. Thus it is through the working of the Spirit that Christ himself continues to be Therefore Christ himself by virtue of the action[s] of the Holy Spirit is present and active in his Church, starting with from her vital centre which is the Eucharist.

The Holy Spirit and the eucharistic celebration

13. Against In this backdrop context we can understand the decisive role played by of the Holy Spirit in the eucharistic celebration, particularly with regard to transubstantiation. An awareness of this is clearly evident in All this has been well documented by the Fathers of the Church. Saint Cyril of Jerusalem, in his Catecheses, states that we "call upon God in his mercy to send his Holy Spirit upon the offerings before us, to transform the bread into the body of Christ and the wine into the blood of Christ. Whatever the Holy Spirit touches is sanctified and completely transformed" (25). Saint John Chrysostom too notes that the priest invokes the Holy Spirit when he celebrates the sacrifice: (26) like Elijah, the minister calls down the Holy Spirit so that "as grace comes down upon the victim, the souls of all are thereby inflamed" (27). The spiritual life of the faithful can benefit greatly from a better appreciation It is very [i.e., vitally, crucially] necessary for the spiritual life of the faithful to be fully conscious of the richness of the anaphora: along joined together with the words spoken by Christ at the Last Supper, it contains the epiclesis, the petition to the Father to send down make descend the gift of the Spirit so to the ends that the bread and the wine will become the body and blood of Jesus Christ and that "the community as a whole will become ever more the body of Christ" (28). The Spirit, which is invoked by the celebrant upon the gifts of bread and wine placed on the altar is the same Spirit who gathers the faithful "into one body" and makes of them a spiritual offering pleasing to the Father (29).

The Eucharist and the Church

The Eucharist, causal principle beginning of the Church

14. Through By the sacrament of the Eucharist Jesus draws incorporates the faithful into his "hour;" in this manner he shows us the bond union that he willed to establish between himself and us, between his own person and the Church. Indeed In effect, in the sacrifice of the Cross, Christ gave birth to begets the Church as his Bride and his body. The Fathers of the Church often meditated on the relationship between Eve's coming forth origins from the side of Adam as he slept (cf. Gen 2:21-23) and the coming forth of the new Eve, the Church, from the open side of Christ sleeping in death: from Christ's pierced side, John recounts, there came forth blood and water (cf. Jn 19:34), the symbol of the sacraments (30). A contemplative gaze Contemplating [i.e., pondering, looking upon meditatively] "upon him whom they have pierced" (Jn 19:37) leads us to reflect on consider the causal connection between Christ's sacrifice, the Eucharist and the Church. The Church "draws her life from the Eucharist" (31). Since the Eucharist Given that it makes present Christ's redeeming sacrifice, we must start by acknowledging recognize (i.e., admit) that "there is a causal influence of the Eucharist at the Church's very origins" (32). The Eucharist is Christ who gives himself to us and continually builds us up as his body. Hence, in the striking interplay between the Eucharist which builds up the Church, and the Church herself which "makes" the Eucharist The Eucharist is who gives himself to us, edifying us continually as his body. Therefore in the correlative [i.e. symbiotic] relationship between the Eucharist which builds the Church and the Church that makes (i.e. confects) the Eucharist (33), the primary causality is expressed in the first formula> the first affirmation expresses the primary cause: the Church is able to celebrate and adore the mystery of Christ present in the Eucharist precisely because this very Christ first gave himself to before her in the sacrifice of the Cross. The Church's ability to "make" the Eucharist is completely rooted inhas as its root Christ's self-gift donation [i.e. selfgiving] to her. Here we can see more clearly the meaning of Saint John's words: "he first loved us" (1 Jn 4:19). We too, at every celebration of the Eucharist, confess the primacy of Christ's gift. The causal influence of the Eucharist at the Church's origins definitively discloses both the chronological and ontological priority of the fact that it was Christ who loved us "first." For all eternity he remains the one who It is he who eternally loves us first.

The Eucharist and ecclesial communion

15. The Eucharist is thus constitutive of the Church's being and activity actions. This is why Christian antiquity used the same words, Corpus Christi, to designate Christ's body born of the Virgin Mary, his eucharistic body and his ecclesial body.(34) This clear datum fact of the verily present in tradition helps us to appreciate augment within us a consciousness [i.e., a conscious knowledge, a full awareness] of the inseparability of Christ and the Church. The Lord Jesus, by offering himself in sacrifice for us, in his gift effectively pointed to through his gift announced in an efficacious [i.e., complete, thorough, having a proper effect] manner the mystery of the Church. It is significant that the Second Eucharistic Prayer, invoking the Paraclete, formulates its prayer for the unity of the Church as follows: "may all of us who share in the body and blood of Christ be brought together in unity by the Holy Spirit." These words help This passage permits us to see clearly understand clearly how the res of the sacrament of the Eucharist is includes the unity of the faithful within in ecclesial communion. The Eucharist is thus found at the roots of the Church as a mystery of communion (35).

The necessary relationship between Eucharist and communio had already been pointed out called to our attention by the Servant of God John Paul II in his Encyclical Ecclesia de Eucharistia. He spoke of made reference to the memorial of Christ as "the supreme sacramental manifestation of communion in the Church" (36). The unity of ecclesial communion is concretely manifested revealed in the Christian communities and is renewed at the celebration of the Eucharist in the Eucharistic act, which unites them and differentiates them in the into particular Churches, "in quibus et ex quibus una et unica Ecclesia catholica exsistit" (37). The fact that Precisely because of the reality of the one Eucharist which is celebrated in each Diocese around its own Bishop helps allows us to see how those particular Churches subsist in and ex Ecclesia. Indeed. In effect, "the oneness and indivisibility of the eucharistic body of the Lord implies implicates [i.e., establishes the fact, makes clear] the oneness of his mystical body, which is the one and indivisible Church. From the eucharistic centre arises the necessary openness of every celebrating community, of every particular Church. By allowing: to allow itself to be drawn into the open arms of the Lord, it achieves continues the insertion into his one and undivided body." (38) Consequently, in the celebration of the Eucharist, the individual members of the faithful find themselves in their Church, that is, in the Church of Christ. From With this eucharistic perspective, adequately fully [i.e., properly, correctly] understood, ecclesial communion is seenrevealed to be catholic by its very nature (39). An emphasis on Underscoring this eucharistic basis of ecclesial communion can also contribute greatly effectively [i.e., having proper effect] to the ecumenical dialogue with the Churches and Ecclesial Communities which are not in full communion with the See of Peter. The Eucharist objectively creates establishes a powerful bond of unity between the Catholic Church and the Orthodox Churches, which have preserved the authentic and integral nature of the eucharistic mystery. At the same time, emphasis on the [bold] relief given to the ecclesial character of the Eucharist can become an important element of the dialogue with the Communities born of the Reformed tradition (40).

The Eucharist and the Sacraments

The sacramentality of the Church

16. The Second Vatican Council recalled commemorates [i.e., reminds us] that "all the other sacraments, and indeed as well as all ecclesiastical ministries and works of the apostolate, are bound up united with the Eucharist and are directed towards ordered [i.e. ordained] by it. For in the most blessed The Holy Eucharist is contained the entire spiritual wealth contains all the assets [i.e., goods, property] of the Church, namely Christ himself our Pasch Passover and our living bread, who gives life to humanity through his flesh – that flesh which is given life and gives life by the Holy Spirit whose flesh is living and gives life to men by the Holy Spirit. Thus men and women are invited and led taken to offer themselves, their works and all creation in union things created with Christ him." (41) This close intimate relationship of the Eucharist with the other sacraments and the Christian life existence can be most fully understood is understood to its depth [i.e., root, core] when we contemplate the mystery of the Church herself as a sacrament. (42) To this end, the Second Vatican Council in this regard stated that "the Church, is in Christ, is a sacrament or a sign and instrument – of communion the intimate union with God and of the unity of the entire human race humankind." (43) To quote Saint Cyprian, as "a people made one by the unity of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit," (44) she is the sacrament of trinitarian communion.

The fact that the Church is the "universal sacrament of salvation" (45) shows how the sacramental "economy" ultimately definitively determines the way that Christ, the one only Saviour, through the Spirit, reaches our lives existence in all their particularity propriatery [i.e., individual, particular, specific] conditions. The Church herself receives and at the same time expresses herself what she herself is in the seven sacraments, thanks to by which God's grace concretely influences the lives of the faithful, so that their whole existence life, redeemed by Christ, can become an act of worship pleasing acceptable to God. From this perspective, I would like here to draw attention to some underscore certain elements brought up signaled [i.e., indicated, "flagged"] by the Synod Fathers which may help us to grasp might be helpful in comprehending the relationship of each of the sacraments to the eucharistic mystery.

Friday, March 30, 2007

The Apostolic Exhortation, Pt. 1

This covers paragraphs 1-10 of the Apostolic Exhortation. Please read my "introduction" to this effort if you haven't done so already. If there is something that isn't in the text to be transaled, but which adds sense, I include in [brackets]. Sometimes a word needs a little help in making itself clearer, so in put any such clarification(s) [italicized in brackets]. I haven't made any comments yet, and I know that I have been VERY nitpicky in the translatin' so that anyone with a better sense of these things than I can piece something together which might not have been apparent to me.


1. The sacrament of charity (1), the Most Holy Eucharist is the gift that Jesus Christ makes of himself, thus revealing to us God's infinite love for every man and woman each man. This wondrous admirable sacrament makes manifest that "greater" love which led him to "lay down his life for his friends" (Jn 15:13). Jesus did indeed love them "to the [extreme] end" (Jn 13:1). [With this phrase] the Evangelist introduces Christ's act of immense humility: before dying for us on the Cross, he tied a towel around himself and washed the feet of his disciples. In the same way, Jesus continues, in the sacrament of the Eucharist, to love us "to the end," even to offering giving us his body and his blood. What amazement stunning emotion must the Apostles have felt in witnessing what the Lord did and said during that Supper! What admiration [i.e., reverence and awe] must the eucharistic mystery also awaken in our own hearts!

The food of truthFood of the truth

2. In the sacrament of the altar, the Lord meets us, men and women encounters man, created in God's image and likeness (cf. Gen 1:27), and becomes our companion along the way accompanying him along the way. In this sacrament, the Lord […] becomes food for us, to satisfy our hunger for truth and freedom. Since only the truth can truly make us free (cf. Jn 8:32), Christ becomes for us the food of truth. With deep human insightpenetrating insight into human reality, Saint Augustine clearly showed highlighted [i.e. put in bold relief] how we are moved spontaneously, and not by without constraint, whenever we encounter something attractive and desirable which awakens desire. Asking himself what it is that can move us most deeply, the saintly Bishop went on to say: "What does our soul desire more passionately ardently than [the] truth?" (2) Each of us has an innate and irrepressible desire Every man has an indelible desire for ultimate and definitive truth. The Lord Jesus, "the way, and the truth, and the life" (Jn 14:6), speaks to our thirsting, pilgrim hearts, our hearts yearning for the source of life, our hearts longing for truth addresses the yearning heart of man which thirsts and wanders [i.e. is on a pilgrimage], a heart longing for the wellspring of life, a heart that is begging [i.e. in beggary] for the truth. Jesus Christ is the Truth in person, drawing the world to himself. "Jesus is the lodestar of human freedom: without him, it loses its focus [proper] orientation [i.e. direction], for without the knowledge of truth, freedom becomes debased, alienated and reduced to empty caprice denatured [i.e. unnatural], isolated and reduced to a sterile arbiter. With him, freedom reencounters itself." (3) In the sacrament of the Eucharist, Jesus shows us in particular the truth about the love which is the very essence of God. It is this evangelical truth which challenges each of us and our whole being Jesus [specifically] shows us in the sacrament of the Eucharist the truth about […] love[,] which is the very essence of God. It is this evangelical truth that is of interest to every man and to the whole man. For this reason, the Church, which finds in the Eucharist the very centre of her life, is constantly concerned to proclaim to all, opportune importune whose vital center is the Eucharist, is bound to [i.e. is vowed to, places herself in obligation to, has solemnly promised to] proclaim to all, “in season, out of season” (cf. 2 Tim 4:2), that God is love.(4) Precisely because Christ has become for us the food of truth food of the truth, the Church turns to every man and woman, inviting them freely to addresses man, inviting him to freely accept God's gift.

The development of the eucharistic rite

3. If we consider the bimillenary history of God's Church, guided by the wisdom wise action of the Holy Spirit, we can gratefully admire we admire, filled with gratitude, the orderly development, through time, of the ritual forms in which we commemorate the event of our salvation. From the varied forms diverse modalities of the early centuries, still resplendent in the rites of the Ancient Churches of the East, up to the spread diffusion of the Roman rite; from the clear indications of the Council of Trent and the Missal of Saint Pius V to the liturgical renewal called for by established with the Second Vatican Council: in every age of the Church's history the eucharistic celebration, as the source and summit of her life and mission, shines forth in the liturgical rite in all its richness and variety multiform richness. The Eleventh Ordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops, held from 2-23 October 2005 in the Vatican, gratefully acknowledged the guidance of the Holy Spirit in this rich history. has manifested a profound gratitude to God for this history, recognizing in it the guidance of the Holy Spirit. In a particular way In particular, the Synod Fathers acknowledged have attested and reaffirmed the beneficial influence benefits on the Church's life of the liturgical renewal which beganreform set in motion starting with the Second Vatican Ecumenical Council (5). The Synod of Bishops was able to evaluate the reception of the renewal in the years following the Council. There were many expressions of appreciationThe positive judgments [i.e. opinions] have been numerous. The difficulties and even the occasional abuses which were noted, it was affirmed, cannotThere has also been attestation to the difficulties and even the certain [i.e. known, not “some” or “several”] abuses committed, but which do not overshadow the benefits worth and the validity of the liturgical renewal, whose riches are are yet to be fully explored not yet fully discovered. Concretely, the changes which the Council called for indicated need to be understood ought to be read [i.e. interpreted] within the overall unity characteristic of the historical development of the rite itself, without the introduction of artificial discontinuities ruptures.(6)

The Synod of Bishops and the Year of the Eucharist

4. We should must also emphasize place in [bold] relief [i.e. highlight, underline] the relationship between the recent Synod of Bishops on the Eucharist and the events which have taken place in the Church's life in recent years. First of all, we should must recall the Great Jubilee of the Year 2000, with which my beloved Predecessor, the Servant of God John Paul II, led the Church into the third Christian millennium. The Jubilee Year clearly had a significant was undoubtedly characterized by a strong eucharistic dimension. Nor can we We cannot forget that the Synod of Bishops was preceded, and in some sense prepared for, by the Year of the Eucharist which John Paul II had established with great foresight, wanted for the whole Church to celebrate. That Said year, which began with the International Eucharistic Congress in Guadalajara in October 2004, ended on 23 October 2005, at the conclusion of the XI Synodal Assembly, with the canonization of five saints Beati, distinguished for their eucharistic piety: Bishop Józef Bilczewski, Fathers Gaetano Catanoso, Zygmunt Gorazdowski and Alberto Hurtado Cruchaga, and the Capuchin Fra Felice da Nicosia. Thanks to the teachings proposed set forth by John Paul II in the Apostolic Letter Mane Nobiscum Domine (7) and to the momentuous arguments [i.e. logical proofs, proofs] and helpful valuable suggestions of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments,(8) many numerous initiatives were undertaken by Dioceses and various ecclesial groups in order to reawaken and increase eucharistic faith in the believers, to improve the quality dignity of [Eucharistic] celebration[s], to promote eucharistic adoration and to encourage a practical animate an effective solidarity which, starting from the Eucharist, would reach the needy. Finally, mention should be made of the significance it is necessary to mention the importance of my venerable venerated Predecessor's last Encyclical, Ecclesia de Eucharistia (9), in with which he left us a sure definite magisterial statement of the Church's teaching on the Eucharist Eucharistic doctrine and a final testimony of the central place that this divine sacrament had in his own life.

The purpose of this Exhortation

5. This Post-Synodal Apostolic Exhortation seeks to take up [once more] the richness and variety multiform richness of the reflections and proposals which emerged from the recent Ordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops – from the Lineamenta to the Propositiones, along the way of the Instrumentum Laboris, the Relationes ante and post disceptationem, the interventions of the Synod Fathers, the auditores and the fraternal delegates – and to offer some basic directions aimed at a renewed commitment to eucharistic enthusiasm make explicit certain courses of action aimed at a awakening a new eucharistic momentum and fervour in the Church. Conscious of the immense patrimony of doctrine and discipline accumulated over the centuries with regard to this sacrament,(10) I wish here to endorse by means of this document to recommend, taking into account the avowed wishes expressed by the Synod Fathers (11), the Christian people to deepen their understanding of the relationship between the eucharistic mystery, the liturgical action, and the new spiritual worship which derives from the Eucharist as the sacrament of charity. Consequently, I wish to set the present Exhortation alongside my first Encyclical Letter, Deus Caritas Est Given this perspective, I wish to establish a relationship between the present Exhortation and my first Encyclical Letter, Deus Caritas Est, in which I frequently mentioned mentioned several times the sacrament of the Eucharist and stressed its relationship to Christian love, both of God and of neighbour: "God incarnate draws us all to himself. We can thus understand how agape also became a term for the Eucharist: there God's own agape comes to us bodily, in order to continue his work in us and through us" (12).



"This is the work of God: that you believe in him whom he has sent" (Jn 6:29)

The Church's eucharistic faith

6. "The mystery of faith!" With these words, spoken immediately after the words of consecration, the priest proclaims the mystery being celebrated and expresses his wonder admiration [i.e. awe] before the substantial change in substance of bread and wine into the body and blood of the Lord Jesus, a reality which surpasses all human understanding. The In effect, the Eucharist is a "mystery of faith" par excellence: "the sum and summary of our faith." "the compendium and sum of our faith." (13) The Church's faith is essentially a eucharistic faith, and it is especially nourished it is nourished in a particular way at the table of the Eucharist. Faith and the sacraments are two complementary aspects of ecclesial life. Awakened by the preaching of God's word, faith is nourished and grows in the grace-filled encounter with the Risen Lord which takes place in the sacraments The faith which is awakened by the annunciation [i.e. proclamation] of God's word is nourished and grows in the grace-filled encounter with the Risen Lord which is produced by the sacraments: "faith is expressed in the rite, while the rite reinforces and strengthens faith." (14) For this reason, the Sacrament of the Altar is always at the heart center of the Church's life: "thanks to the Eucharist, the Church is reborn ever anew!" (15) The more lively alive the eucharistic faith of the People of God, the deeper is its sharing in ecclesial life in steadfast commitment to the mission entrusted by Christ to his disciples. The Church's very history bears witness to this. Every great reform has in some way been linked to the rediscovery of belief faith in the Lord's eucharistic presence among his people.

The Blessed Trinity and the Eucharist

The bread come down from heaven

7. The first element reality [i.e. object] of eucharistic faith is the mystery of God himself, trinitarian love. In Jesus' dialogue with Nicodemus, we find an illuminating expression in this regard: "God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. For God sent the Son into the world, not to condemn the world, but that the world might be saved through him" (Jn 3:16-17). These words show demonstrate the deepest source root of God's gift. In the Eucharist Jesus does not give us a thing "something," but himself; he offers his own body and pours out his own blood. He thus gives us the totality of his life and reveals the ultimate origin of this love. He is the eternal Son, given to us by the Father. In the Gospel we hear how Jesus, after feeding the crowds by multiplying the loaves and fishes, says to those who had followed him to the synagogue of Capernaum: "My Father gives you the true bread from heaven; for the bread of God is he who comes down from heaven, and gives life to the world" (Jn 6:32-33), and even identifies himself, his own flesh and blood, with that bread: "I am the living bread which came down from heaven; if anyone eats of this bread, he will live forever; and the bread which I shall give for the life of the world is my flesh" (Jn 6:51). Jesus thus shows that he is manifests himself as the bread of life which the eternal Father gives to mankind.

A free gift of the Blessed Trinity

8. The Eucharist reveals the loving plan design that guides all of salvation history the whole [i.e., total, entire] history of salvation (cf. Eph 1:10; 3:8- 11). There the Deus Trinitas, who is essentially love (cf. 1 Jn 4:7-8), becomes fully a part of united to our human condition. Through the bread and wine under whose appearances Christ gives himself to is given unto us in the paschal meal (cf. Lk 22:14-20; 1 Cor 11:23-26), God's whole life encounters us and is sacramentally shared with us divine life arrives unto us, and is shared with us in the form of the sacrament. God is a perfect communion of love between Father, Son and Holy Spirit. At creation itself, man was called to have some share in a certain measure of God's breath of life (cf. Gen 2:7). But it is in Christ, dead and risen, and in the outpouring of the Holy Spirit, given without measure that [God’s breath] is given to us without measure (cf. Jn 3:34), that we have become sharers of God's inmost life there we are converted into true participants in the divine intimacy. (16) Jesus Christ, who "through the eternal Spirit offered himself without blemish to God" (Heb 9:14), makes us, in the gift of the Eucharist, sharers in God's own life communicates [i.e. imparts] that same divine life to us, in the eucharistic gift. This is an absolutely free gift, the superabundant fulfilment of God's promisesGod's promises fulfilled above all measure. The Church receives takes to its bosom [i.e. gives a loving home to], celebrates and adores this gift in faithful obedience. The "mystery of faith" is thus a mystery of the trinitarian love, a mystery in which we are called by grace to participate. We too, should are to therefore exclaim with Saint Augustine: "If you see love, you see the Trinity." (17)

The Eucharist: Jesus the true sacrificial immolated lamb

The new and eternal covenant in the blood of the Lamb

9. The mission for which Jesus came among to us was accomplished in the Paschal Mystery. On the Cross from which he draws all people to himself (cf. Jn 12:32), just before "giving up the Spirit," he utters the words: "it is finished" (Jn 19:30). In the mystery of Christ's obedience unto death, even death on a Cross (cf. Phil 2:8), the new and eternal covenant was brought about accomplished (i.e. started, established). In his crucified flesh, God's freedom and our human freedom the freedom of God and the freedom of man met definitively in an inviolable indissoluble, eternally valid pact. Human sin was also redeemed expiated once for all by God's Son (cf. Heb 7:27; 1 Jn 2:2; 4:10). As I have said elsewhere, "Christ's death on the Cross is the culmination of that turning of God against himself in which he gives himself in order to raise man up give new life to man and save him. This is love in its most radical form." (18) In the Paschal Mystery, truly our deliverance from evil and death has taken place. In instituting the Eucharist, Jesus had spoken of the "new and eternal covenant" in the shedding of his blood (cf. Mt 26:28; Mk 14:24; Lk 22:20). This, the ultimate purpose of his mission, was clear from the very beginning of his public life. Indeed, when, on the banks of the Jordan, John the Baptist saw Jesus coming towards him, he cried out: "Behold, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world" (Jn 1:29). It is significant that these same words are repeated at every celebration of Holy Mass, when the priest invites us to approach the altar that we may receive communion: "This is the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world. Happy are those who are called to his supper." Jesus is the true paschal lamb who freely gave himself in sacrifice for us, and thus brought about the new and eternal covenant. The Eucharist contains this radical newness, which is offered to us again at every celebration. (19)

The institution of the Eucharist

10. This leads us Because of this we come to reflect on the institution of the Eucharist at the Last Supper. It took place within the context of a ritual meal commemorating the foundational fundamental event of the people of Israel: their deliverance the liberation from slavery in Egypt. This ritual meal, which called for the sacrifice of lambs (cf. Ex 12:1-28, 43-51), was a remembrance commemoration of the past, but at the same time a prophetic remembrance, the proclamation of a deliverance yet to come memory, that is to say, a declaration of a future liberation. In effect, the people had come to realize experienced [i.e. internalized the knowledge] that this earlier liberation was not had not been definitive, for their history continued to be was still too [i.e. overly] marked by slavery and sin. The remembrance of their ancient liberation thus expanded opened itself up [i.e. left itself open] to the invocation and expectation supplication and hope of a yet more profound, radical, universal and definitive salvation. This is the context in which Jesus introduces the newness of his gift. In the prayer of praise, the Berakah, he does not simply thank the Father for the great events of past history, but also for his own "exaltation." In instituting the sacrament of the Eucharist, Jesus anticipates and makes present implicates [i.e. binds, involves, melds] the sacrifice of the Cross and the victory of the resurrection. At the same time, he reveals that he himself is the true sacrificial lamb, destined foreseen in the Father's plan from the foundation creation of the world, as we read in The First Letter of Peter (cf. 1:18-20). By placing his gift in this context, Jesus shows the salvific meaning of his death and resurrection, a mystery which renews becomes the renewing factor for history and the whole cosmos. The institution of the Eucharist demonstrates how Jesus' death, for all its violence and absurdity, became in him itself violent and absurd, is transformed in Jesus into a supreme act of love and mankind's definitive deliverance liberation from evil.

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Oy, the Apostolic Exhortation, an intro


Because I am clearly deranged and am obviously getting too much rest in my life, I have decided to tackle the issue of the unspeakably bad translation of this document from the official Latin to English.

What I have thus far managed to plow through can be found here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here and here.

It'd obviously make the Blogspot servers melt and shoot sparks if I posted the (current) English, Latin, Italian, Spanish and (correctly translated) English versions in their entirety. The MS Word file I created to sort this out is 150+ pages! So, what I'll do is just post the current English version in with any sections I consider flawed or incorrect in strikeout and my translation into English in bold. The differences are stark and conclusions should be, um, readily apparent. (Charitable enough?) Any comments I consider worthwhile, I'll put in blue in a separate post. But I guesstimate these will happen once I have the whole thing wrapped up.
You can go to the Vatican site and compare this with whatever language you see fit. If you see something in this effort which you consider a mistake on my part, please email me. I don't mind being wrong (in fact, I HAVE been wrong once or twice) but I hate staying wrong. No, I am not a professional Latinologist, although I am Latin (¾ Spanish & ¼ Italian).

I noted differences even when they struck me as minor or as just odd differences in usage. I also noted the fetish of the Latin-to-English translation for "inclusive language." The very estimable Fr. Z doesn't believe this is of major importance. However, I include these references because to my mind, serve as evidence of a certain mindset at work. And yes, this takes a LONG time, thanks for asking.



OK. Something serious.

Yes, I am still slogging through the translation thing of the Apostolic Exhortation.

However, I wanted to ask (beg, plead, etc.) for your prayers. As most of you know, my youngest son Davy has autism. In the course of researching the various medical options, therapies, schooling choices, treatments, etc. we have found a very promising one. No quackery, no "silver bullet." Most children who undergo this treatment make excellent progress and some (not a majority, alas) are even "cured."

Davy is scheduled to undergo this protracted and intensive treatment* from June 4- June 15, 2007 and as such I beg your prayers. The Carmelites Sisters and new blogging phenom Veritas are fervently on the case.

Use whatever prayers your heart dictates. We are starting a 54 Day Rosary Novena on April 12th to wrap up on the day Davy starts (someone tell me if my math is off!!) the treatment, we would LOVE to have you join us. Furthermore, we would also beg you to please ask (draft, conscript, cajole) as many likeminded friends as is possible. Please mention it in your various blogs, etc.

To shed some light on this, here is what the website says about the 54 Day Rosary Novena:

"Practically everyone who prays the Rosary 'offers' the Rosary to God and Our Lady for an intention. Some people offer particular intentions before each decade. You can ask God to grant you a favor, heal a sick person, or convert a sinner. Some people offer the same intention every day--sometimes for years on end--especially when asking the Father for the conversion of a particular person. Intentions are as varied as the people who pray.

Ask for big and small gifts. Be bold! In this sense, the Rosary is an exchange of gifts between friends.

It is widely known that Our Lady answers seemingly impossible intentions to those who are first beginning to pray the Rosary. This is her way of drawing you closer to Her and to Jesus. If you are praying your first Rosary, or returning to the Rosary after years of not talking to Our Lady, ask for something big, spectacular, "impossible." She'll often surprise you."

and also:

"Perhaps the most powerful novena is the 54-Day Rosary Novena, a series of six consecutive nine-day novenas. The first three novenas are offered for the intention, while the last three are offered in thanks to God in anticipation of granting the favor."

Of course, we'll humbly and gratefully accept whatever manner of prayer to which the Spirit moves you. (Pray for the intercession of a Saint, Blessed or Venerable, if your heart dictates, we're not picky or anything!)

We ask you to keep in mind an 8 year old boy, full of goodness and love, who is trapped and afflicted by this terrible condition; and also all the other millions of children and their families undergoing similar trials. Our Lord loves them all and hears their pleas.

In this matter, we remain totally obedient to God's will, trusting in His goodness, kindness, mercy and providence; imploring Him to look with loving favor on this petition (that Davy be healed from autism), if it be for His greater honor and glory.

Rest assured of our prayers for you, as well as gratitude well beyond my meager capacity to express.



* Those who undergo this treatment are in no danger, thank God, but it is very intensive and time consuming and exhausting.

Monday, March 19, 2007


Happy feast day to me,
Happy feast day to me,
Happy Feast of St. Joseph,
Happy feast day to me!

Of course, that's not how it goes.

But, I feel a special rapport with St. Joseph. After all, he was a "dad" and I'm a dad. We share a name (along with the Holy Father, so we're a snappy club of all-around good guys). He was known as a carpenter I mention the name thing?

Seeing as how St. Joseph is my "name saint" and seeing as how St. Joseph is a very well-connected sort of intercessor, I am reminded by the very estimable Veritas* that if something is (duh!) God's will, and we prayerfully ask for his (St. Joseph's, not Veritas' least not yet)intercession on its behalf, he will grant us.

Anyway, as I have mentioned previously, we have a son who has been diagnosed with autism. Through the very powerful effects of prayer from ma-a-a-a-a-any, we have been very blessed to find doctors, teachers, therapists, treatments, etc. that have enabled our son to make remarkable progress. But there are still many "miles to go before I sleep."


I'm asking you to keep our 8 year old, Davy, in your prayers** and in particular, join in praying for St. Joseph's intercession:

O God,
Who in Thine ineffable providence didst choose
Blessed Joseph to be the spouse of Thy most Holy Mother,
grant that as we venerate him as our protector on earth,
we may deserve to have him as our intercessor in Heaven,
[I think this is where the intention/request goes]
Thou Who livest and reignest forever and ever.




* Who timidly started a blog and three or four entries into it is writing as if he had been doing so all these years.

** I'll come back with some really hardcore prayer requests as we try out a very important treatment up in Chicago later this summer. Think of this as a warmup.

Sunday, March 18, 2007

Enjoy the si-i-i-i-ilence.

I am working on a point-by-point analysis of the translation of the recent Apostolic Exhortation, to see where the English varies from the Latin and other translations.


Thursday, March 15, 2007

Oh, but it gets BETTER !

First, I apologize to Fr. Z for whatever contribution I make to the near-meltdown status of his blog's server. Mea culpa, mea culpa, mea maxima culpa.*

Second, I recall posting here, as well as wafting similar thoughts in comboxes throughout the land, that the problems related to the English translation of the Holy Father's Apostolic Exhortation could definitely tempt* an otherwise pure soul to lean in the direction of nefarious conspiracy theories.

Guess what?

Fr. John Zuhlsdorf, who is clearly doing the Lord's work, has noted that, apparently, bishops in the UK got the story of the Apostolic Exhortation buried (in the original story in The Telegraph they use the word "killed") so it would receive no play in the secular press and furthermore, it seems they wouldn't comment or address the issue for the British Catholic newspaper, The Catholic Herald.

Why, oh, why would these bishops want this story killed and/or buried? There are reports "suggesting that they [the UK Bishops] didn’t like the contents of the document."

If even the poorly translated version of the AE is objectionable, well, then this document must really be hot stuff.

What got me all excited is that The Catholic Herald lodged a formal complaint with the Vatican’s worldwide head of communications, Archbishop John Foley, President of the Pontifical Commission for Social Communication.

If anyone wishes to contact His Excellency, seek and ye shall find:

Pontifical Council for Social Communications
Most Rev. Archbishop John Foley, President
Palazzo S. Carlo
00120 Città del Vaticano

You may want to cc the Secretary of the Council, Most Rev. Bishop Pierfranco Pastore.



* Or, as the current ICEL translation has it "My bad."
** An old Spanish saying, translated (correctly!), says that to think the worst is invariably sinful but usually accurate.

See? What'd I tell ya?

In a previous blog entry, I alluded to "those who desire wiggle room as their main place of residence."


Rummaging around online, I found my way to Gerald's blog, The Cafeteria Is Closed. There, Gerald had posted a link to an article on the New Ways Ministry being denied permission to celebrate the Eucharist (if you read up thereon, the reasons for this denial of permission ought strike you as absurdly obvious).

Here is the money quote du jour, with the added fillip of bolstering my statement above:

"There [in Kentucky], [New Ways Ministry executive director Francis]
DeBernardo said, Archbishop Thomas Kelly told New Ways Ministry that he had been told by the Vatican not to allow the Eucharist — a decision that lies with the
head of the diocese under church law.

Kelly invited conference participants to instead attend Mass at his cathedral — but New Ways Ministry declined and conducted the Eucharist anyway, saying Kelly's letter fell short of forbidding the sacrament.

'We saw it as a loophole,' DeBernardo said."
Setting aside the salvationally-charged consequences for those who like playing Simon Says with the Magisterium, we have to look at the deeper implications of veiled disobedience. While all indications are the cafeteria is, indeed, closed, it does very little good if those in charge don't lock it or if others break in and throw trays and spoons around. Y'know, it used to be the devil was in the details, but now it seems Satan has found much plusher digs in the pied-a-terre that is "wiggle room."



Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Oh, THIS is cool.

Check THIS out. (You need to enable cookies and popups...)


Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Let's get ready to rummmmmmmmmmmble! [UPDATED][AGAIN!]

Many people, especially at the uniformly excellent The New Liturgical Movement blog, have been batting around the will he/won't he/when of the Motu Proprio of the Holy Father as re. the liberalization of the Traditional (i.e. "Tridentine") Mass. Many are worried the motu proprio (literally "of his own motivation" but effectively "Because I'm the Pope and I say so.") is not going to come to pass and, given the attitudes of bishops like Roger Cardinal Mahony, there is much worry and concern.

However, I ran across what I humbly consider to be the money quote from The Post-Synodal Apostolic Exhortation Sacramentum Caritatis of His Holiness Benedict XVI:

"Speaking more generally, I ask that future priests, from their time in the seminary, receive the preparation needed to understand and to celebrate Mass in Latin, and also to use Latin texts and execute Gregorian chant ... (Sacramentum Caritatis, 62)"

My guesstimate is the Holy Father is seeking to blunt any criticism (unwarranted though it may be) that to liberalize the Traditional Latin Liturgy is equivalent to pretending Vatican II never happened. [In fact, it's actually pretending everyone actually properly read the documents, but never mind my cynical asides.]

Of course, I am shocked -- SHOCKED, I tell you! -- that the English translation is, um, not in full synchrony with the Latin text. I know! I was surprised my own bad self, but it seems true. Check it out:

Here you have the Latin:
"...exceptis lectionibus, homilia et oratione fidelium, aequum est ut huiusmodi celebrationes fiant lingua Latina."

which is properly translated in Spanish:
"...exceptuadas las lecturas, la homilía y la oración de los fieles, sería bueno que dichas celebraciones fueran en Latín."

and stands in contrast to the English:
"...that, with the exception of the readings, the homily and the prayer of the faithful, such liturgies could be celebrated in Latin."

The rub is that the "could be" woulda been more accurately translated as "would be better" or "it would be better/best/good if..." If it were not Lent and I had not given up being cynical, I'd say someone at the Vatican is providing ICEL-like air cover for those who desire wiggle room as their main place of residence.

[UPDATE] It seems I'm not the only one to have had this idea. (Go read the VERY estimable Fr. Zuhlsdorf's. Now.) I'd hate to think my cynicism towards the output of whoever is doing the Latin-to-English translating over at the Vatican is contagious. But it sure seems that way. After having to do a bit of research on what the GIRM really says about Ad Orientem, my own personal weaknesses have led me to look upon the English version of Whateverum Documentum with, er, a gimlet eye. It's one of the blessings of being fluent in a couple of languages and conversant in a few more.

Anyway, the question naturally arises: "Why is the English translation so clearly off-kilter?" The fact its off-kilterness is so pellucidly clear and obvious, to me, indicates reasonable cause for worry as stated above. Absent any further information, I believe this was no accident or innocent mistake. Perhaps someone is trying to prevent Bp. Trautman's hypertension from flaring up, perhaps its something more nefarious. Either way, it makes the little alarm bells in my head go ringy-dingy.

Of course, the next two questions are: "What can be done about this?" and "How long will it take the Usual Suspects to trot out the 'could'?"


Interestingly, we have another interesting translation, afforded us by some wacky funster:

(§62, 183) In English: "nor should we forget that the faithful can be taught to recite the more common prayers in Latin, and also to sing parts of the liturgy to Gregorian chant."

In Spanish: "se procurará que los mismos fieles conozcan las oraciones más comunes en latín y que canten en gregoriano algunas partes de la liturgia."

In the original Latin: "neque neglegatur copia ipsis fidelibus facienda ut notiores in lingua Latina preces ac pariter quarundam liturgiae partium in cantu Gregoriano cantus cognoscant."

Notice, if you'd be ever so kind, that the English rendering of this tidbit is equally concessive. "Yeah, sure, you can, if you really want to, teach the faithful..." as opposed to "it will be made sure the faithful will know..." or "do not neglect to..." In this case the English is at even greater variance with the Latin and all other translations. Again, why a discrepancy so large and so at variance to everything else that it beggars belief to assume it was accidental?

In sum, though, I think the Holy Father is moving in a very deliberate, but inexorable fashion. I know many of my fellow travelers are, um, less than pleased with the rate of change under His Holiness, but I am of the opinion that B16 is a man who likes to move in such a way as to make these sorts of decisions hermetic.



Monday, March 12, 2007

"God invented the folk mass so that those Catholics who have not been forced to suffer for the Faith might not be denied the opportunity."

Yet another biretta tip to Shawn Tribe.

Here is an excellent piece by the formidable Dr. Philip Blosser. The premise is that many a former Protestant falls in love with the Catholic Church as it's called by Christ to be and then, sadly, often finding many/all available parishes to be in sharp contradistinction thereto.

This, I hasten to add, is not new. In fact, the Old Testament gives us many foreshadowings.

This is why I always rejoice for those who come into full communion from other sectors of Christianity. They show us the idealized self of the Church. Sometimes that is a harsh reflection given all those "Halloween Mass" and all the sorts of things we have to endure from the recent goings on in Anaheim.

But the actual proves the possible. The fact is that the vision of the Church as she is called to be still moves the hearts of those who are moved to seek ever greater closeness with God. It's one thing to not have the cure to some awful disease and therefore dying. It's another to have the cure in the medicine cabinet and either not knowing about it or not wanting to get up and reach for it. It means that we, the individual faithful, must make an extraordinary effort to seek out parishes where the church looks like a church and the Mass looks like a Mass. Those places which have struck out in different directions will, inevitably, fall by the wayside.

Choked, as Christ said, by the thorns that grow among them.



Saturday, March 10, 2007

For the 100th Sheep...

From The New Liturgical Movement blog:

"Someone has made available some video of the Solemn [i.e. "Tridentine"] Mass at St. Louis' Cathedral, celebrated by the Institute of Christ the King.

Here are the links:

Part I
Part II: Procession and Introit
Part III: Kyrie
Part IV: Gloria, Collect, Commemoration
Part V: Epistle
Part VI: Tract
Part VII: Gospel "

H/t to Shawn Tribe.

Please someone explain to me how the views of The Usual Suspects against a wider and generous indult of this liturgy can possibly be justified.



Friday, March 09, 2007

Ya think?

I quote Sr. Sara Butler: "Their [the faithful's] confidence in the Church's teaching authority has been badly eroded."

The fuel which powers the engine of our faith is, as I keep hammering, a proper and thorough catechesis. Catechesis is crucial both for the student and the teacher. (In fact, every half-decent catechist I've ever met over the last decade invariably tells of learning more as they teach.) Once a real effort to catechize, to consolidate whatever gains have been made by evangelization, ceases, the whole thing begins to corrode before us, like an electromagnetic field when you power off. Sometimes I imagine you can shut your eyes and hear the corrosion like some far-away Alka-Seltzer.

What's more, a badly catechized population becomes ever-more hostile to proper catechesis. Like in real estate or equities, buying back what you gave away costs more than what you paid the first time...never mind the resources that have been wasted. It also throws open the door to ever cretinous heresy and halfwitted dissent and idiotic blasphemy and hatefully cruel, stupid slander that man can conceive. Once these spiritual termites take hold, the difficult task metamorphoses into the near-impossible. Hubris, not reverence, becomes the spiritual beacon of a time and culture.

What is ever more vexing is that those who are called upon to safeguard (bishops, say) are quite often the ones who are asleep at their post or complicit in the corrosion of faith.

During this Lenten time, I think it'd be useful to reflect on what we, individually, have done to aid and abet this corrosion. And repent. And go and sin no longer.



Thursday, March 08, 2007

Catechism, Part 4 of ...

Q. Is there only one God?
A. There is only one God.

Q. Why is there only one God?
A. There can only be one God because God, being supreme (i.e. the highest) and infinite, cannot have an equal.

By "equal" we mean that X has exactly the same attributes, in the same proportion and manner, in everything Y has. F'rinstance, two cars are each other's equal if they are the same model, year, color, have the same options, same engine and transmission and tires, and if they are in the same condition. A gardener is the equal of another gardener if they do the same work equally well. can't have two persons in chief, unless they share their authority equally, but then they're equals and neither will be the boss. God can't share His power with anyone because He is infinite, and that means "to have all." Anyone else only have the loan of his (or her) power from God. This means--duh--all power and authority come from God. When we disobey our parents* or superiors who are properly placed in authority relative to us, we disobey God Himself.

Q. How many persons are there in God?
A. There are three divine persons really distinct (i.e. "not scrambled together") and equal in all things--the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit (i.e., "The Holy Trinity").

We use the terms first and second persons "Father" and "Son," because the second is begotten by the first person, and not because of any difference in age. For example I (the father) am older than my son, maybe some people think it works the same with the Holy Trinity. Nuh-uh. God the Father, and God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit have existed through all eternity, with one not existing before the other. God the Son is just as old as God the Father, and this is another great mystery. For example: Fire is the cause of light and heat; and yet the heat, light and the fire begin at the same time.

Q. Are the three Divine Persons one and the same God?
A. The three Divine Persons are one and the same God, having one and the same divine nature and substance.

Though they are one God, we can think of it (it doesn't mean this is what it is, it's just one way to wrap our brains around this) in terms of "roles." For example, creation we attribute to the Father; mercy to God the Son; and love and sanctification to the Holy Spirit.

Q. Can we fully understand how the three Divine Persons are one and the same God?
A. We cannot fully understand how the three Divine Persons are one and the same God, because this is a mystery.

We can partly understand it. We know what one God is and we know what three persons are; but how it all works, we are pretty much at as loss here--the mystery, which is a truth which we cannot fully understand. By this we mean it's a revealed truth; which has been made known to us by God or by His Church. It is a truth which we must believe though we cannot understand it.

A good example is something you learn in school. Say, the fact the earth is round, revolves on its axis, and all that. While this is counterintuitive, it's also true and we should have faith and trust in our teachers and textbooks to accept this, even if it doesn't make sens.

If, therefore, we have to believe things we don't grasp based on what people whom we trust (directly or indirectly)...why should the authority of God be any different?

If a 2nd Grader knew as much as a college professor, then there would be no point in going to school. The student would be the equal of the teacher. If we knew all God knows then we would be as great as He. (Remember the bit about the serpent and the tree of knowledge and all that?) Trying to know all that God knows is, as St. Augustine wrote, "like trying to put the ocean in a bucket." OK, maybe it was St. Thomas Aquinas, but either way.

This is the mistake a lot of people make when they try to understand with their limited, human intelligence the infinite knowledge and all the mysterious aspects of God. Because they don't then (and usually smugly) they refuse to believe.

Imagine a 6 year old who decides the Pythagorean theorem is false because he (or she) can't understand it. Now, as the child ages and learns more he (or, as previously stated, possibly she) will understand it more. That same way, when we go from this world to the presence of God, we'll see clearly things that are we can't grasp now. For now, we'll have to take it on God's say-so.

Q. What is a mystery?
A. A mystery is a truth which we cannot fully understand.

When we're talking about "a truth," we mean a revealed truth; that is a truth made known to us by God or His Church. This is the sort of truth which we must believe, even though we don't understand it. F'rinstance, let's say a 7 year old goes to school and is learns the earth is spherical and has two rotations, one on its own axis that brings us days and nights and the other around the sun** that produces our seasons: spring, summer, autumn, winter.

But wait! When you go out into, say, the open prairie of Kansas, all you see is miles -- and I mean MILES -- of flat land and if you schlep out to the Rocky Mountains you notice they rise thousands of feet. If you were certified to operate a bathyscape you could see for yourself how the ocean is several miles deep.

Which might make you scratch your head (assuming you had room in the bathyscape) and ask yourself: "Self, how can the earth be round if we have these oceanic trenches, tall mountains, and flat prairies? These, Self, show me (or, more accurately, my senses) the total opposite. What's more, the fact that things aren't hurling off my desk at a zillion miles per hour prove to me the earth is motionless." But, because you are an intelligent, sensible person, you believe, not what your senses attest, but that the earth is spherical and spinning (kind of like your Aunt Gloria at a wedding reception). You believe this because scientists have no motive in folling you; knows more than you on the matter (having learned more than you on the matter) and having been taught by who themselves knew more after conducting studies and research and went up mountains, down oceanic trenches in bathyscapes and/or stoon in the middle of noewhere in Kansas (possibly Nebraska) and discovered these things and can attest they are true.

Now, if we must believe things we don't understand on the authority of people (who are, frankly, not that impressive) why shouldn't we believe truths we don't understand on the authority of God? DUH! Of course we have to believe Him.

Again, if a 3rd grade student knew all the 3rd grade material the 3rd grade teacher knew, he (or, just as likely, she) wouldn't need to go to school; being equally knowledgeable as the teacher, the student would equal the teacher. Then the 3rd grade student could stay home playing Nintendo and eating pudding from a cup.

So if we knew all that God knows, we would be as great as He. (Quick! Where'd you read that before? Ring any bells?) You might as well try to put ocean into a bucket, to understand the wisdom of God. This is where the assorted unbelievers make their mistake. They want to understand, with their limited*** intelligence the limitless knowledge and unfathomable ways of God. So, when they don't understand, they refuse to believe. Ta-da!

Which doesn't sound so bright from this vantage point. Wouldn't you roll your eyes at a child who refuses to believe the earth is sperical and spinning because our senses say otherwise? As the child grows older and learns more the child will understand. This is why we say to our kids "Just wait until you get older. You'll see."

The same way, when we depart from this life and come into the presence of God, we'll see clearly the things that make no sense now. But, until we actually get there, the best we can do is believe them God's teaching. So if we go around not believing anything we don't understand, pretty soon we'll soon believe nothing and make idiots of ourselves.



* We're NOT talking about abusive or mentally unhinged people or those commanding us to violate God's commandments...get a grip.

** Shut up about Galileo. I know where you're going with this, so DON'T.

*** If that!

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

The Tridentine Math

The Catholic blogosphere is now aswim with the transcripts of Roger Cardinal Mahony's webchat. Here's the one snippet that arrested my attention:

James: I've read that Pope Benedict is concerned about the liturgy and is about to issue a decree that encourages a more generous use of Latin in the liturgy including the use of the Tridentine rite. Do you support this and will you encourage the use of more traditional forms of worship in the archdiocese if he issues the decree?

Cardinal Mahony: James, of our 5 million Catholics, only a handful are interested in the Latin Mass. I must focus upon the 99% who need a vibrant Mass that includes them in its celebration.

Let us, for the sake of discussion, grant that His Eminence's numbers* are absolutely correct. 99% of 5 mill = 4,950,000 people and, naturally, 1% = 50,000.

Is His Eminence stating the pastoral care of 50K souls is not worthy of his focus? But let's do a bit mo' number-crunching. What percentage of the 5 million Catholics in the Archdiocese of Los Angeles are weekly communicants? Because the vibrancy of a Mass is irrelevant to those who are among the absent, by my lights.

So let's further assume the average rate of weekly Mass attendance (25% as of 2000) applies to the Archdiocese of Los Angeles. That means 1,250,000 Catholics. Which means that the proportion of those interested in "the Latin Mass," which stands to reason would have a near-100% rate of weekly Mass attendance, is in practical terms, 400% larger than Cardinal Mahony's response suggests. (If you jump columns to the one that reads "daily communicants" my assumption is all bets are off on how large the percentage of this group would be the Latinites.)

But there is something troubling me even more about His Eminence's answer. Greatly troubling, at that.

I hope someone may disabuse me of this, but, um, doesn't his answer contrast rather, er, unfavorably (and therefore appears to be impossible to reconcile) with this and/or this?



* I'm insanely curious to know if, in fact, these numbers are correct. If they are not, I'd love to know what the correct numbers are.

** I have no way of knowing if His Eminence was conflating the Tridentine advocates with those who'd prefer the Novus Ordo Mass in Latin.

Friday, March 02, 2007

OK. I'm going to try to do this charitably.

No guarantees I'm going to succeed, though.

A while back, the estimable Ryan Duns, SJ posted an entry where he took mild exception to an article written by someone named Regina Brett. On a certain blog (which, frankly, I'm not eager to publicize* and so I won't!) a certain blogger accused Ryan, the foul bloodthirsty ogre that he is, of "attacking" Ms. Brett.

(Ms. Brett had worried about the priest shortage in print and, through a careful analysis of the thing, arrived at the very novel, audacious conclusion that what we need are -- drumroll!-- priestesses and married male priests. I'll pause while the newness of this sinks in. Anyway, I stated my views already, so I shan't rehash them.)

However, this blogger then posts a snippet from someone's comment in a famous (for being virulently anti-Catholic) blog's combox. This person, a feminist woman, natch, goes into a pellucidly clear, if unwitting, exposition on the dangers of poor-to-nonexistent catechesis, wherein a perfect score is reached in landing opposite Church teaching on Coincidentally, our fearless blogger holds up the author of this pitiable snippet as an example of what a priest(ess) ought to be, whereas in his lamentable opinion Ryan has, frankly, no more brains than could comfortably fill an egg cup.

It'll come as no suprise that this poor, deluded blogger has it exactly bass-ackwards. Setting aside that someone who professes to be "no longer a Catholic" is likely to be a very poor priest(ess) no matter how ardently an anti-Jesuit wishes it to be; the fact is that Ryan's argument -- an argument FAR milder than I would have made -- is right and the argument posited against his is, let's face it, evidently lacking in coherence and intellectual rigor.

Which is not surprising, given the characteristics of the blog where this whole thing appeared.

You have no idea how difficult it has been to be charitable in blooging on this.


* You may find it if you're diligent enough. But hanged if I send traffic in that direction.

Overheard during CCD

I have a friend who teaches CCD at another parish. She and her husband have a teenage daughter (and a soon-to-be teenage son) . On the nights her parish has CCD classes, they also offer a Bible Study thing for the "CCD Parents" so they don't have to drive back and forth, etc.

She relates the following comment she heard during a post Bible Study chat between two parents:

"I figure the reason Abraham was asked to sacrifice Isaac when he was a boy and not when he was a teen, is because once they hit 15, it really doesn't feel like a sacrifice."