Ad Majorem Dei Gloriam

Essential thinking for reading Catholics.

Thursday, June 28, 2007

The choice is clear.

"I don't see how anyone can claim to follow Jesus and be a member of the U.S. Army, Navy or Air Force."
Fr. John Dear, SJ; as quoted in the National Catholic Reporter

Oh, pleasepleasepleasepleaseplease...

The Catholic blogosphere has been abuzz -- abuzz I tell you! -- with the seemingly imminent release of the long-rumored motu proprio of B16's regarding the derestriction of the "Tridentine" and the very strongly-hinted date of of July 7th (the Feast of St. Fermin in Pamplona, Spain, where the running of the bulls takes place).

The Trad elements, as well as those sympathetic thereto, are trying to keep a lid on the glee. In those quarters, the disappointments have been frequent and sharp.

But there you are.


Monday, June 25, 2007

A shot across the bow.

In a couple of moments I'm going to take aim at somethings which have crossed my radar and mostly displeased me. However, before I do, I think it vital that I lay out (again) my own worldview lest anyone read those upcoming comments through the incorrect prism.

First, I must make explicit I am not someone whose biography contains an unblemished arc of moral rectitude or charitable thought or irreproachable virtue or right-thinking or wisdom.

I am not a progressive, liberal or moderate and make no pretense to being one. I am also not an "Upper Case T" Traditionalist. I believe what the Magisterium teaches, and I am loath to scour texts for wiggle room. I am not striving for "balance" or "fairness" or "growth." I am striving to gather up and digest and disseminate truth, inasmuch as I have been endowed the capacity for doing so. Whatever results from my pursuit of same I'll chalk up to providential grace and let the chips fall where they may. To make a goal of reaching those things enumerated above is to seek the approval of men* -- and these days that means the Self-Anointedly Enlightened -- and since those men are particularly unlikely to sift my heart at the moment of my death, I, frankly, cannot be bothered.

When it comes those SAE people, I will try to be charitable as I express my views. I cannot guarantee I'll succeed, though. My prejudice and biases in this matter are borne of, on the one hand, having an pitying opinion of them and their views and most importantly, their self-concept. My instinct tells me they are, in this one sector, a vast repository of intellectual vacancy. Most probably, most of them mean well. The way I see it, they have inhaled deeply of the spirit of our time, drunk freely of the Kool-Aid of the age and internalized the outlook of the culture at large. Given that at any given moment throughout the trajectory of our history as a fallen humanity, the culture at large oscillates between an outrage and an embarrassment, this isn't good. These are our case study's Useful Idiots. Sadly, as far as I can tell, they consider themselves Illuminated and Clever but they are blinded and arrogant and blinded by their arrogance.

I ought keep in mind that these guys are not guilty in their hearts, just in the corridors of their minds unfortunately open to the sweetened entreaties of the times in which we live. "Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do."

But not all are quite so innocent and that brings us to the Fellow Travelers. Perhaps these guys mean well or, at some point, they meant well. But something has blinded them. My impulse would be to say "Heretic Cardinal Heterodox has written an imbecility in Popular Catholic Magazine. Again." Several people on "my" side of the Catholic blogosphere do so, frequently to great comic** effect. While it'd also be accurate to also say "to great and deservedly comic effect" I'll try not to. I won't be easy, given my personal fetish for the comedic jugular (of which this blog is impressive contrary evidence; just ask Karen).

This latter group has an interesting fondness for strutting and swanning about, freely exhibiting their intellectual (such as it is) or hierarchical plumage. Like their brethren and companions in the equivalent secular sectors, the implicit message seems to be: "We are, after all, The Advanced People. You, pointedly, are not. If you choose to dispute our opinions, you are outing yourself as a rube of impressive proportions or the ossified remains of an outdated metanarrative. Now, if you just nod assent, there may -- just may, we cannot guarantee you'll reach our PoMo LitCrit heights, y'see -- be some hope for you."

Which strikes me as very much compatible with the tale of the Emperor's New Clothes. Say that His Imperiousness is buck-nekkid and you might as well parade around with sign proclaiming yourself a barely literate caveperson. If you think the emperor is en dishabillé but you trust your self-professed betters in this front, well, you stand a chance of joining the PostModern Gnostics, or at least of basking in their reflected glory.

Now, all this (including the posts to come directly addressing the matter) was all prompted by the musings of Bp. Trautman on the matter of the ICEL translations and of recent commentaries by prominent Catholics (regrettably, several have been Jesuit pundits) on the matter of the possible motu proprio which would de-restrict the "Tridentine" (or Traditional Latin) Mass.

Hs Excellency's comments in America Magazine, frankly, struck me as somewhere between hallucinatory and monumentally condescending. He posits a notion of today's "average Catholics" as being the barely-lettered teeming hordes of the Ellis Island of 100 years ago, and having set the bar curiously thus, proceeds to make an (unconvincing to me) argument for a position which presupposes an incorrect set of assumptions. That the unlettered hordes that poured forth from all corners of Creation had no problem with the Traditional Latin Mass seems to be absent from His Excellency's (in my opinion) inelegant observations. Even more curiously, the ostensibly unlettered hordes pouring forth as I type and as you read, don't seem to have a problem with the far more accurate translations present in Spanish, French or Portuguese.

If a migrant worker from an excruciatingly poor shantytown in Mexico or Haiti or Brazil can worship and understand the concepts brought forth by an accurate translation in his language...why would some American with 2 cars, a mortgage, a 401(k), a time-share condo and 200 channels of TV be stumped? Why would His Excellency assume it'd pose a problem?

Which leads us to Fr. Reese's comments on the possible derestriction of the Traditional Latin Mass. I must out my views on this as well. I LIKE the Traditional Latin Mass. I'm not of the opinion it is the only valid Mass, or that vulgate Mass is invalid. If and when the TLM is derestricted I'll go every once in a while, but I am unlikely to make it my "main" Mass. I think it'd have a great effect on the Novus Ordo Mass as currently celebrated, the overwhelming majority of which are inexpressively, bewilderingly banal. This would be very, very good.

That said, my views (as my thinking invariably leads me) are pretty black and white: Is it a valid Mass? Check. Will anyone be forced to hear said Mass? No. So what's the problem? There are people for whom this liturgy better allows them to connect with God. Some people like bongos and tambourines and, maybe, that sort of liturgy resplendent with macramé (which they inexplicably consider to be "just as beautiful*** and meaningful as the TLM") actually does bring them closer to Christ.

Perhaps I am being too much of the libertarian, but I cannot but think "What's it to you?"

The argument is posited that to have all these flavors of Mass available will mean there will be a "balkanization" of parishes. This manages the feat of being both risible and demonstrably incorrect, as anyone who has been to parishes where Mass is said in English and one or two other languages (Spanish and French, or Latin and Vietnamese, or whatever) each and every Sunday. If the rubrics are invariably observed (granted, a ginormous "if") those parishes and their parishioners -- gasp! -- manage to function well in their roles as a section of the Body of Christ.

The other argument made is that the possible Motu Proprio will not so much derestrict the TLM, as restrict Bishops from prohibiting it in their dioceses. The implication is that the vast majority of Bishops are stalwarts for the faith and this damages the precious (if relatively novel) concept of "collegiality." Frankly, this'd carry a LOT more water if I had seen the current crop of Bishops being more stalwart and less enuretic. Why, I don't even have to mention names...even those of you reading this, with your systolic rising in disagreement, know who these guys are.

The Holy Father said as much at CELAM, calling upon the Bishops to be Bishops. When JP2's original Motu Proprio came out he asked the Bishops to be generous in their permission. If anyone thinks an Archdiocese with X million Catholics and one indult Mass is an example of generous application of the indult, then this'd be a strange and new definition of generous of which I was not previously aware. Roger Cardinal Mahony openly stated this position, so it's hardly uncharitable Traddie speculation to state it.

The fact remains that the Mass (regardless of rite) is greater than the Bishops. The Mass, where the transendent union of the temporal and eternal occurs, where Our Lord is present under the appearance of bread and wine, is an inestimable treasure. And it must be cherished and nourished against all who would -- even unwittingly -- harm it.

Quis custodiet ipsos custodies?



* By this, natch, I mean both men and women, but my position on inclusive language cannot be accurately stated without swerving sharply into an uncharitable view (of the basest sort) of the proponents thereof, and so I shan't. I hope you somehow muster the Will To Go On.

** Do a Google search for "Bishop Trautperson" if you wanna get an eyeful. If you find something that makes you laugh, shame on us.

*** I'm not making this up.

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

The Apostolic Exhortation, Pt. 17

This covers paragraphs 76-79 of the Apostolic Exhortation. Please read my "introduction" to this effort if you haven't done so already. (Be patient, not only is the translation from Latin a bit rough, but also formatting in Blogger is a pain in's my croix du jour to bear, let's just say.) The stuff I find to be incorrect will be stricken out, what I consider the best (or most approximate) translation will be in bold. 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.

A eucharistic form of Christian life, membership in belongingness to the Church

76. The importance of Sunday as the Dies Ecclesiae brings us back necessarily returns us to the intrinsic relationship between Jesus' victory over evil and death, and our membership in his ecclesial body. On the Lord's Day, each every Christian also rediscovers the communal dimension of his own redeemed life as one who has been redeemed. Taking part in the liturgy Participating in the liturgical action and receiving communion of the Body and Blood of Christ intensifies and deepens each time makes ever more intimate and ever deeper our belonging to the one who died for us (cf. 1 Cor 6:19ff; 7:23). Truly, whoever eats [i.e., is nourished] of Christ lives for him. The eucharistic mystery helps us to understand the profound meaning of the communio sanctorum is best understood in relationship to the eucharistic mystery. Communion always and inseparably has both a vertical and a horizontal sense reason [i.e., connotation]: it is communion with God and communion with our brothers and sisters. Both dimensions mysteriously converge in the gift of the Eucharist. "Wherever communion with God, which is communion with the Father, with the Son and with the Holy Spirit, is destroyed, the root and source of our communion with one another is destroyed. And wherever we do not live out the communion among ourselves, communion with the Triune God is not alive and true either."(215) Called to be members of Christ and thus members of one another (cf. 1 Cor 12:27), we are a reality grounded an essence founded ontologically in Baptism and nourished by the Eucharist, a reality that demands visible expression in the life of our communities.

The eucharistic form of Christian life is clearly without a doubt an ecclesial and communitarian form. Through the Diocese and the parish, the fundamental structures of the Church in a particular territory, each individual believer can experience concretely what it means to be a member of Christ's Body The way each of the faithful can experience concretely what it means to be a member of Christ's Body, is realized through the Diocese and the parish, the fundamental structures of the Church in a particular territory. Associations, ecclesial movements and new communities – with their lively charisms bestowed by the Holy Spirit for the needs of our time – together with Institutes of Consecrated Life, have a particular responsibility for helping the duty to make the faithful conscious that they belong to the Lord (cf. Rom 14:8). Secularization, with its inherent emphasis on individualism which comprises markedly [i.e., overly] individualistic aspects, has its most negative visits its deleterious effects above all on individuals who are have isolated themselves and lack in whom a sense of belonging is [most] scarce. Christianity, from its very beginning, has meant fellowship, a network of relationships constantly strengthened continuously sustained by hearing God's word and sharing in the Eucharist the Eucharistic celebration, and enlivened animated by the Holy Spirit.

Spirituality and eucharistic culture

77. Significantly, the Synod Fathers stated that "the Christian faithful need a fuller understanding of the relationship between the Eucharist and their daily lives. Eucharistic spirituality is not just participation in Mass and devotion to the Blessed Sacrament. It embraces the whole of life." (216) This observation is particularly insightful, given our situation consideration has particular significance for all of us today. It must be acknowledged recognized that one of the most serious effects of the secularization just mentioned is that it has relegated the Christian faith to the margins of life as if it were irrelevant useless to everyday affairs. The futility defectiveness of this way of living – "as if God did not exist" – is now evident to everyone. Today there is a need to it is necessary to rediscover that Jesus Christ is not just a mere private conviction or an abstract idea doctrine, but a real person, whose becoming part of insertion into human history is capable of renewing the life of every man and woman all. Hence the Eucharist, as the source and summit of the Church's life and mission, must be translated into spirituality, into a life lived "according to the Spirit" (Rom 8:4ff.; cf. Gal 5:16, 25). It is significant that Saint Paul, in the passage of the Letter to the Romans where he invites his hearers to offer live the new spiritual worship, also speaks of the need for a change in their way of living and thinking: "Do not be conformed to this world but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that you may prove what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect" (12:2). In this way the Apostle of the Gentiles emphasizes the link extols the bond between true spiritual worship and the need for a new way of understanding and living one's life. An integral part of the eucharistic form of the Christian life is a new way of thinking, "so that we may no longer be children tossed to and fro and carried about with every wind of doctrine" (Eph 4:14).

The Eucharist and the evangelization of cultures

78. From what has been said thus far, it is clear that the eucharistic mystery puts us in dialogue with various cultures, but also in some way challenges them. (217) The intercultural character of this new worship, this logiké latreía, needs to be recognized. The presence of Jesus Christ and the outpouring of the Holy Spirit are events capable of engaging every cultural reality and bringing to it the leaven of the Gospel leavening it Evangelically. It follows that we must be committed to promoting the evangelization of cultures, conscious that Christ himself is the truth for every man and woman all men, and for all human history. The Eucharist becomes a criterion for our evaluation of everything that Christianity encounters in different cultures. In this important process of discernment, we can appreciate the full meaning of Saint Paul's exhortation, in his First Letter to the Thessalonians, to "test everything; and hold fast to what is good" (5:21).

The Eucharist and the lay faithful

79. In Christ, Head of his Body, the Church, all Christians are "a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people he claims for his own, to declare his wonderful deeds" (1 Pet 2:9). The Eucharist, as a mystery to be "lived" that is to be lived, meets offers itself to each of us as we are and makes our concrete existence the place where we experience daily the radical newness of the Christian life person in his [particular] condition, making him live [out] daily the Christian newness in the situation of his existence. The Given that the eucharistic sacrifice nourishes and increases within us all that we have already received at Baptism, with its call to holiness, (218) and this must be clearly evident from the way individual Christians live their lives. Day by day we become "a worship pleasing to God" by living our lives as a vocation. Beginning with the liturgical assembly, the sacrament of the Eucharist itself commits us, in our daily lives, to doing everything for God's glory.

And because the world is "the field" (Mt 13:38) in which God plants his children as good seed, the Christian laity, by virtue of their Baptism and Confirmation, and strengthened by the Eucharist, are called to live out the radical newness brought by Christ wherever they find themselves in the common, everyday aspects of life. (219) They should are to cultivate a desire that the Eucharist have an ever deeper effect on their daily lives, making them convincing noticeable witnesses in the workplace and in throughout society at large. (220) I encourage families in particular to draw have as a font of inspiration and strength from this sacrament. The love between man and woman, openness to cherishing life, and the raising proper upbringing [of children] are privileged spheres in which the Eucharist can reveal its power to transform life [one's] existence and give it its full fill it with meaning. (221) The Church's pastors should unfailingly support, guide and encourage exhort the lay faithful to live fully their vocation to holiness within this world which God so loved that he gave his Son to become its salvation (cf. Jn 3:16).

Tuesday, June 19, 2007


All went well. Am dog-beat tired. More later.



Saturday, June 16, 2007

Today in the 54 Day Rosary Novena

This is a "sticky note" post. Scroll down for new content (if any) which follows.

UPDATE. To cover all bases, we have TWO 54-Day Novenas for your praying convenience, the one started on 4/12/07 and wraps up when Davy starts the treatment, and the one that cranked up on 4/23/07 and concludes when Davy finishes. You may latch -- it's OK to join our regularly scheduled prayer, already in progress -- on to either or both. See? I'm eminently fair.

For more information on my son Davy, his upcoming autism treatment, the 54 Day Novena and all that, read this.

Here are Monday & Saturday's Mysteries, the Joyful/Joyous Mysteries:

Part 1 of 2

Part 2 of 2

Here are Tuesday & Friday's Mysteries, the Sorrowful Mysteries:

Part 1 of 2

Part 2 of 2

Here are Wednesday & Sunday's Mysteries, the Glorious Mysteries:

Part 1 of 2

Part 2 of 2

Here are Thursday's Mysteries, the Luminous Mysteries in three parts:

Part 1 of 3

Part 2 of 3

Part 3 of 3



P.S. For some reason, Blogger's format is thrown off by this.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

A parenthetical-like aside.

The lovely and gracious Karen, just back from greeting all my sundry relations in Spain, has suffered -- yes! again! -- for her faith. This "pink crown" was in the form of a scandalous homily on the feast of Corpus Christi.

How she lives in the dioceses in which she has lived and still manages not to shave her head and shimmy up a water tower with a sniper rifle and a manifesto is as close to scientific proof of God's grace as you'll ever manage to find on this side of Heaven.

But that's not what I am taking time out to address.

I'm addressing the issue brought out by that harrowing abomination of a homily.

"We all know that Jesus didn't really _______."

That, dear readers, drives me up the [bad word]ing wall. First there is the matter of inexpressible arrogance: How do you know? How COULD you know? Is there some 1st Century appendix to the Gospels you have that nobody else has? If it's not that, then it's pathological credulity. One day "top theologians" say Jesus was actually an elderly Filipino and you'll believe that?

At the bottom of it all, is the matter of Sacred Scripture and Sacred Tradition. While Jesus spoke metaphorically sometimes, there is ZERO indication the Apostles spoke metaphorically of Jesus. Even less likely is the possibility these Apostles (all but one of whom would die as martyrs) would stick extraneous bits into Scripture while simultaneously not omitting all the bits that made them look like the dullest knives in the drawer.


Which is the only miracle recorded in all four Gospels? (Go ahead, look it up.) Mind you, the Eucharist isn't recorded in all four Gospels. Each of these Gospels focuses on different aspects of the Passion. But they ALL mention the bit about the loaves and fishes.


So...if Miracle X isn't true...then what else isn't? Because if something spurious has managed to creep into Holy Writ, then that proves that ANYTHING could have crept and --voila'!--there is no underpinning to our faith; like St. Paul wrote, we're all wasting our bloody time.


Monday, June 11, 2007

Brief update...UPDATED!

Just to let everyone know that so far -- and we're still only by the middle of Day 4 (of 12) of the treatment -- things seem to be going well. I want to take a moment to specifically thank all those people who have kept us and, in particular, Davy, in their prayers...especially the Carmelite Sisters, Veritas, Karen [UPDATE: "and Mary Jo"] & Andrea and their friends.

I am more grateful than I'll ever be able to express.


Monday, June 04, 2007

OK. It's "go" time.


In about 15 minutes, Davy starts the well-blogged treatment for autism. I want to take time out to thank you ALL for ALL your prayers, for your kindness, support, caring, concern and friendship. These mean more to us than I have the capacity to express.

You are all in my/our prayers.

Furthermore, I want to thank God for all the consolation and "tender mercies" He has shown us in the this whole autism journey. We know that whatever form Davy's progress takes (and, indeed, has taken up to know) they all bear His fingerprints. Like Fr. Hardon, SJ used to say: "To God be all the glory. ALL the glory."



P.S. More on the translation of the apostolic exhortation when I get a moment to breathe.