Saturday, June 27, 2009

Jackson's Apostasy, McMahon and Fawcett's Catholicism

Thursday, June 25, 2009

McMahon, Fawcett, and Jackson

It's confirmed again, that celebrities die in threes. Who could have imagined that these three are forever linked by the date of their death as Mother Teresa and Princess Di are?

[My (Plinthos) comment to that is who was Ed McMahon? and Mother Teresa and Princess Diana did not die on the same day!]

Let's take a moment to remember them as children of God and pray for their souls. [Indeed!]

On local television news tonight, it's all about Michael Jackson. So far no one mentioned that he converted to the Muslim faith, or that he leaves behind three children.

Both Ed McMahon and Farah Fawcett were Catholics and received the sacraments prior to their deaths.

Friday, June 26, 2009

Priest Teaching Catechism: More Important than Preaching

Being the first week of the sacerdotal year I thought it would be good to provide Saint Anthony Mary Claret's most practical catechetical method which I translate from volume two of El Colegial o Seminarista Teorica y Practicamente Instruido, 1861 (pp. 513-518).

Section V. On what a priest should teach.

Chapter IV. On the catechism.

The priest has the obligation to instruct the faithful in christian doctrine, in the mysteries which they should believe, in the precepts which they should keep, in the Sacraments which they should receive and in the prayers which they should pray; how they are to remove themselves from evil and do the good, and how they are to live in the holy fear and love of God.

The Bishops shall take care that children be punctually taught the fundamentals of the faith or catechism; the obedience that they owe God and their parents; and, if necessary, they shall require that they be taught, with ecclesial censures and no impeding privileges. by the persons to whom it pertains in all of the parishes, at least on sundays and other feast days. (Council of Trent, session XXIV, chapter 4 de Ref.).

And the sacred Congregation, by the decree of 5 august of the year 1732, says: Each pastor shall teach the elements of christian doctrine to the boys and girls of his parish, placing them separately the boys from the girls, as it is done in Rome and in other places.

The same sacred Congregation declared on 5 august 1774 that the explanation of doctrine could not be interrupted on even one feast day of the year in any parish, not even at vintage time, even if there should be no more than one person in attendance in the temple.

Benedict XIV says: May the priest pastors know that they have two principle obligations: one is that they are to preach to the people on feast days, and the other is that on the same feast days they are to instruct the children and the ignorant adults in the christian doctrine.

Saint Charles Borromeo with the greatest severity would order that the pastors preach to the people in the morning at the mass and to the children in the afternoon, ringing the bell for them to come.

The obligation to preach to the people and to catechize the children and the ignorant binds sub gravi.

Benedict XIV orders that the pastors be helped in this work of catechizing by those initiated in tonsure and those that aspire to the priesthood, the Bishops refusing final ordination to those who should present themselves lax or reticent in this matter; and for this reason care shall be taken that they know the catechism well, because sometimes they do not know it, and in that case they will poorly know how to teach it. Nemo dat quod non habet.

The above mentioned Pontiff also asks and demands that in addition to the pastors, priests and ordained (including all aspirants to the priesthood), who should teach the christian doctrine to the boys and girls, fathers and mothers of families, teachers and the brothers of the confraternities also teach it.

The priest pastors should know that the Catechism is more necessary than preaching, for the latter becomes almost useless when the listener is ignorant of the Catechism.

The Catechism is of two types: for children and for adults.

Article 1. On the catechism for children.

The main defect in catechesis is too much talking; thus the catechist should speak little, he should ask the question and the child should respond: if he errs he shall make another child correct him, and thus they will ensure that all shall be attentive.

The children are only alert when they speak and when they are told illustrating examples; and so, before finishing the catechism some analogy to the material or to their age or customs shall be told to them.

The catechist should have method; otherwise he shall progress very little. The method which we have hitherto seen to give the best results is the one which we are going to give here, which rests on these points:

1. If there is only one catechist and many students, he shall have them placed, standing or seated, in the form of a half moon or semi-circle and the catechist shall place himself in the middle, in such a way that with one glance he can see them all.

2. If there are two or more catechists the students shall be divided, because the fewer each catechist has the more progress will be made, because all can exercise themselves more.

3. If there are few catechists and many students, they can use the more advanced students to teach the groups of the beginners, and after they have taught a while the respective classes shall be placed.

4. Before beginning the catechism, and placed as indicated, the catechist and students all make the sign of the cross with pause and devotion; and after they pray three Hail Mary's to most holy Mary, and an Our Father and Hail Mary to the guardian Angels.

5. One begins according to the little book of catechism of the diocese with the first question; he asks the question to one whom he knows knows it, and if he does not know it the catechist will help him word by word. He will ask the same question to others. Sometimes it turns out well that one same thing be said by all together and at the same time, and after to ask it one by one; and one shall not pass to the second question until the first is known well.

6. When the first question is known well one passes to the second; when the second is known it is joined to the first and both are repeated; then one passes to the third, and when it is known it is joined to the preceding ones and they are repeated, and one continues thus.

7. The first day that one should return to the catechism, before asking one shall begin by reviewing these same question, then one shall ask the others that follow.

8. When the children know some questions they are placed in front of the class, and both, two by two, ask each other and respond reciprocally.

9. Two lines may also be formed, one facing the other, and the first (student) in one line asks the first (student) of the other line, and the latter responds and asks the second of the other line.

10. When the children know the letter of the Catechism, the catechist shall vary the wording and ask the same things to see if the children understand them.

11. He shall also add some questions to it, but this shall not be done until the little book is known well. That is how they become used to discussing.

12. Before concluding a small talk of few minutes is given according to their capacity, in clear and simple terms, and it shall have five parts: The 1st shall be the proposition, which shall serve as an introduction; 2nd an exposition; 3rd an example or case; 4th a moral, and 5th a resolution.

Article 2. On the catechism for adults

The catechism is not just to be taught to children but also to adults; and experience shows that more fruit is had with the catechism or doctrinal points than with sermons.

To give the catechism for adults the catechist should be wise and experienced, and he should observe much method.

In each instruction or talk he shall observe the following: 1st he shall make the introduction, the exposition of the matter, and the division; these three will form the exordium of the doctrinal talk.

Next he follows with the explanation of the precept, sacrament or mystery.

Then he goes to the moral. And finally he responds to the objections (difficulties or excuses) which the lax or those who are a little timid might presumably make. Regarding the introduction, it shall be made from the preceding instruction or talk, synthesizing it: this is very useful for the catechist, who needs not work too hard, and it greatly serves the listener, because it refreshes the ideas of the previous instruction and makes him more firm in them, correcting if he did not well understand something, and those who were absent shall know the material that was covered and what will be covered.

Then the matter shall be expounded, and shall be divided, and thus one shall speak with more clarity, it shall be better understood and better remembered; he shall explain the material, he shall prove the doctrine by authorities, but that they not be many nor long, with reasons, with likenesses and comparisons, and with some small example or story taken from sacred Scripture or from some author or commentator.

Later the moral lesson shall be brought up, the remedies shall be shown, the means, the difficulties shall be solved and the excuses shall disappear.

With all the rest as it may be seen in the authors of the catalogue. (Here Saint Claret is referring to his list of books that each priest should own in each branch of theology, etc. pp. 398-408. I shall provide that list (in Spanish) in a future blog.)

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Alter Christus

In the first Wednesday Audience during the sacerdotal year yesterday, the Holy Father indicated that, because of Christ (the source and purpose of the priesthood), the essential duty of the priest is to be in intimate communion with God. He must be holy, that is the first "work" of the priest. Here are a few relevant passages.

Alter Christus, the priest is profoundly united to the Word of the Father, who in incarnating himself, has taken the form of a slave, has made himself a slave (cf. Philippians 2:5-11). The priest is a slave of Christ in the sense that his existence, ontologically configured to Christ, takes on an essentially relational character: He is in Christ, through Christ, and with Christ at the service of man. Precisely because he belongs to Christ, the priest is radically at the service of all people: He is the minister of their salvation, of their happiness, of their authentic liberation -- maturing, in this progressive taking up of the will of Christ, in prayer, in this "remaining heart to heart" with him. This is therefore the essential condition of all proclamation, which implies participation in the sacramental offering of the Eucharist and docile obedience to the Church.

The holy Curé d'Ars often repeated with tears in his eyes: "What a frightening thing to be a priest!" And he added: "How we ought to pity a priest who celebrates Mass as if he were engaged in something routine. How wretched is a priest without interior life!"

May this Year of the Priest bring all priests to identify themselves totally with Jesus, crucified and risen, so that in imitation of St. John the Baptist, we are willing to "decrease" so that he increases; so that, following the example of the Curé d'Ars, they constantly and deeply understand the responsibility of their mission, which is sign and presence of the infinite mercy of God. Let us entrust to the Virgin, Mother of the Church, this Year for Priests just begun and all the priests of the world.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Litany of the Immaculate Heart of Mary

Lord, have mercy.
Lord, have mercy.
Christ, have mercy.
Christ, have mercy.
Lord, have mercy.
Lord, have mercy.
Christ, hear us.
Christ, graciously hear us.

God the Father of Heaven, Have mercy on us.
God the Son, redeemer of the world,
God the Holy Spirit,
Holy Trinity, one God,
Heart of Mary, Pray for us.
Heart of Mary, after God’s own Heart,
Heart of Mary, in union with the Heart of Jesus,
Heart of Mary, the vessel of the Holy Spirit,
Heart of Mary, shrine of the Trinity,
Heart of Mary, home of the Word,
Heart of Mary, immaculate in your creation,
Heart of Mary, flooded with grace,
Heart of Mary, blessed of all hearts,
Heart of Mary, Throne of glory,
Heart of Mary, Abyss of humbleness,
Heart of Mary, Victim of love,
Heart of Mary, nailed to the cross,
Heart of Mary, comfort of the sad,
Heart of Mary, refuge of the sinner,
Heart of Mary, hope of the dying,
Heart of Mary, seat of mercy,

Lamb of God, who take away the sins of the world,
Spare us, O Lord.
Lamb of God, who take away the sins of the world,
Graciously hear us, O Lord.
Lamb of God, who take away the sins of the world,
Have mercy on us.
Christ, hear us.
Christ, graciously hear us.
Lord, have mercy.
Christ, have mercy.
Lord, have mercy.

L: Immaculate Mary, meek and humble of heart.
A: Conform our hearts to the heart of Jesus.

Let us pray:
O most merciful God, who for the salvation of sinners and the refuge of the wretched, has made the Immaculate Heart of Mary most like in tenderness and pity to the Heart of Jesus, grant that we, who now commemorate her most sweet and loving heart, may by her merits and intercession, ever live in the fellowship of the hearts of both Mother and Son, through the same Christ our Lord. Amen.

Spiritual Communion of the Immaculate Heart of Mary
(of Blessed Mother Teresa of Calcutta)
O Mary give me your heart, so beautiful, so pure so Immaculate, so full of love and tenderness, that I may receive Jesus in the Bread of Life, love Him as you love Him and serve Him in the destressing disguise of the poorest of the poor.

Friday, June 19, 2009

Papal Letter to Priests for the Opening of the Sacerdotal Year

Having just read the Letter I have one major reflection.

His Holiness' Letter to open the Sacerdotal Year is a panegyric on the Cure D'Ars and at the same time an exaltation of the unique dignity and duties of the ministerial priesthood.

One example of the grandeur of the priesthood is the idea which I first heard at a First Mass reception by Father John Hardon, that "were it not for the Catholic Priesthood Jesus Christ would not be on earth today". That is the idea conveyed in the Holy Father's Letter quoting the following text of the patron saint of parish priests:

"Without the Sacrament of Holy Orders, we would not have the Lord. Who put Him there in that tabernacle? The priest. Who welcomed your soul at the beginning of your life? The priest. Who feeds your soul and gives it strength for its journey? The priest. Who will prepare it to appear before God, bathing it one last time in the blood of Jesus Christ? The priest, always the priest. And if this soul should happen to die [as a result of sin], who will raise it up, who will restore its calm and peace? Again, the priest. ... After God, the priest is everything! ... Only in heaven will he fully realise what he is".

How shall we call it? Clear clerical identity coupled with selfless service and humble obedience to the Lord in the Church and in Her sacred rituals.

The place in which the reality of the sublime dignity and duties of the priest are best expressed and exercised are in the exalted and most solemn rites of the Extraordinary Form of the Roman Ritual. So it is most appropriate that here in New York City we should begin this sacerdotal year with a solemn high pontifical Mass of this feast of the Sacred Heart in the extraordinary form of the Mass. Saint Jean Baptiste, 74th and Lexington, 7PM.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Brain Fuel

"Brain Fuel" read the sticker on the bananas this morning. Clever, though a bit misplaced and exaggerated, I thought.

Over breakfast, I considered that the sticker would be much more appropriately placed on the Word of God and on the Magisterium of the Church, recalling the words of the Lord:

"Not by bread alone does man live, but by every word that comes forth from the mouth of God". (Matt. 4:4)

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Pope Gives Insight Into Next Encyclical

VATICAN CITY, JUNE 14, 2009 ( Benedict XVI said Saturday that his next encyclical, which "will soon be published," will outline the work Christians must do in order to bring about "truly free" human coexistence.

The Pope spoke of his third encyclical on Saturday when he received in audience members of the Centesimus Annus Pro Pontifice Foundation.

The encyclical is expected to be called "Veritas in Caritate," and it is thought that it will be published June 29, feast of Sts. Peter and Paul.

"As you know, my encyclical on the vast theme of economics and labor will soon be published," the Holy Father told the Centesimus Annus group.

"It will highlight what, for us Christians, are the objectives to be pursued and the values to be promoted and tirelessly defended, with the purpose of realizing a truly free and solidary human coexistence," he explained.

The Centesimus Annus Pro Pontifice Foundation was founded by Pope John Paul II in 1993. It is a lay foundation that aims to promote the social doctrine of the Church in professional and business sectors.

This will be Benedict XVI's third encyclical. His first, on charity, was published in 2005, and his second, on hope, was published in 2007.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

A Return to Latin

A few years ago I was experiencing some resistance in promoting Latin in the liturgy. The opposition demanded "Are we returning to Latin?" This was my answer.

Yes, we are returning to Latin.

Our Catholic religion and our Liturgy is a series of returns.

We return to the Cross.

We return to Jesus.

We return to confession.

We return to communion.

We return to prayer.

We return over and over to begin again. In the words of Saint Escriva, holiness consists in beginning again.

Everything new in human life is a renewal, an attempt at perfection which always includes an attempt to return to Paradise, to the original innocence. One turns into a saint, by returning, beginning again, going ever deeper, communicating (especially in receiving Holy Communion), always better, with the Lord--in His language (there was no English on Calvary!), in the language of our Holy Mother Church. Wouldn't it be nice to learn Her language, to get out of my smallness and embrace the whole world, with the intention of exercising a Catholic heart--immense--without borders of land, of race, of language, or of time, in every place forever. Our religion is thus because our God is thus--a boundless Heart: Cor Jesu. Of course, God's language is ultimately one, Love. He loves us in every language and we can express our love for Him in countless tongues and even without tongues. Nevertheless, we have a precious patrimony and efficacious instrument in right worship in the languages of the Cross, one of which is Latin.

P.S. On the same token I seek to embrace the Greek and Aramaic Catholic Masses while recognizing that our Tradition in the Roman Catholic Church is Latin.

P.S.S. There is great irony in Latin-America's neglect of Latin. This whole discussion was had in Spanish with Latinos. I have translated it for this article for the benefit of my readers.

Monday, June 8, 2009

Consolatio Christi

From the epistle of today's Mass we read: sicut socii passionum estis, sic eritis et consolationis. (2 Cor. 1:7) As you are partakers of the sufferings, so will you also be of the comfort.

Holiness is a state of being, a position, being with, namely, that of grace, of sanctifying grace. It is the position of being with God, God calling you, working on you, God giving you interior life, wisdom, strength and enthusiasm, He purifying you, sending you out to bear fruit. It is all about Him with you, in you, active in you, in His great mercy (Pater misericordiarum v.3), and you at peace with that, Him, with His good company, purified, well-disposed, "a gusto", comfortable! Holiness is liking Him, liking being with God and liking His work in you! Like the cat at one of my first Friday communion calls.

An elderly man (92 year old American Indian) to whom I take Holy Communion once a month has a cat which, this past Friday after I administered the Sacrament, very graciously lept onto the coffee table, let his owner affectionately scratch its head and most serenely lied down on the table licking its back and calmly waving just the tip of its tail up and down in an expression of complete contentment in the good care and fine presence of the owner and the priest. That cat provides an illustration of interior communion with God.

Communion with Christ is confidence in Him which gives complete contentment and profound peace in the soul.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Brazilian Prince Killed on Air France Flight 447

The first question to be asked when an airplane "disappears" (i.e. is destroyed) is were there any great people on the flight? Andrew Cusack's blog provided this piece of the puzzle: the heir-presumptive to the Imperial throne of Brazil was killed with that flight.

The next question, after finding about all of the dignitaries that died on the flight, is, did anyone hate them? Who were their greatest enemies? Can a flight be destroyed on purpose? Could the enemies of those passengers have destroyed the plane? Planes do not typically disappear these days, even over the Atlantic, especially with princes aboard. The present-day lack of investigative journalism is alarming!

Please pray for the repose of the soul of
Prince of the Imperial House of Brazil
Son of H.I.H. Prince Antônio of Orléans-Braganza & H.H. Princess Christine of Ligne
Born 12 January 1983 in Rio de Janeiro.
Died 1 June 2009, on Air France Flight 447.
Until his early death, heir-presumptive to the Imperial throne of Brazil.
Requiem aeternam dona eis, Domine:
et lux perpetua luceat eis.
Requiescat in pace.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Official Perversion

On Monday President Obama declared June 2009 to be Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Pride Month. Every upright citizen of this nation and of every nation condemns this action and the false anthropology and the gross immorality which it represents and promotes.

There is no just pride to be had in any immoral inclination or activity. At the root of the president's declaration is the denial of the fundamental truth about the human person, created by God as male and female, and the responsibility of chastity inherent to that truth. Ultimately it is a denial of God.

Homosexualism is the rape of God. (cf. Genesis 19:5ff)

Homosexualism is the shameful punishment of God for the people who reject Jesus Christ, the one true God. (cf. Romans 1:18-32)

June is rather the Month of the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus Whose mercy we need to invoke especially now in the face of this new insult to every human male and every human female, especially insulting the perfect Man, Jesus Christ and the perfect woman, the most blessed and ever Virgin Mary.

Immaculate Conception, patroness of the USA, pray for our moral and spiritual recovery.

New Encyclical Coming 29 June 2009

Caritas in veritate, the eagerly awaited social encyclical of Pope Benedict, is presently being translated and is to be issued on the Solemnity of the Apostles Saint Peter and Saint Paul, 29 June 2009, just a few weeks away!

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Solus Cum Sola

Solus cum sola non dicunt 'Ave'.

That is the moral lesson of the Padre Alberto scandal. Do not pray alone with a woman alone.

He said that her most attractive feature is her prayer life! The dictum is that a man alone with a woman alone do not just pray the Hail Mary. His case is one more tragic proof of the wisdom of that age old Catholic wisdom, and this: "Entre santa y santo paredes de cal y canto." (Teresa de Avila), viz. that distance is the best and only sure remedy for concupiscience: i.e. fuga.

All of this reminds me of the simple wisdom of an elderly Felician nun who told me in my first year of college seminary over twenty years ago: "Women and money, stay away from them!"

The Institution of Infidelity
What can we say about Episcopalianism, a community which enthusiastically accepts and promotes the Catholic failures to their clerical ranks, representing various degrees of sexual immorality and perversion (e.g. the unfaithful Padre Alberto, the perverse homosexualist ex-governor McGreevey, etc.) except that the Catholic Church is the One Holy Church of Jesus Christ and everything opposed to Her is the church of Satan, or, if you prefer, The Institution of Infidelity.
If the unrepentant unfaithful Catholics are welcome there then it is the "community" of the unfaithful. What a distinction! Small wonder. Their religion was founded on the murderous adulteries of their first "pope" Henry VIII. It is also no wonder that hundreds of thousands of the members of the worldwide Anglican communion are seeking entry into the Catholic Church to escape that dissolute institution in which the Sodomists have officially taken over. Their honest members come to us as our dishonest members go to them! Deo gratias!
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