Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Episcopal Domineering

Below is an article reporting on the present day ubiquitous authoritarianism of the diocesan bishop trampling the rights of parish priests. Aside from the merits of this particular case, Pastors' term limits are contrary to the universal norm of the Church: Parochus stabilitate gaudeat oportet ideoque ad tempus indefinitum nominetur... (It is necessary that the pastor enjoy stability, and therefore be appointed for an indeterminate period of time...Canon 522).

Term limits are allowed only if the bishops' conference allows them, but the ideal remains: that each pastor be permanent so that he can accomplish his mission as the father of the parish family under God, under the Pope and under the bishop.

It is hard to find any parish where the pastor or any priest is the longest reigning member of the parish staff, usually with disastrous results for the parish, like a family without a father, and contradicting one of the essential elements of fatherhood which is long-lived permanence. Fathers are like oaks, they should take a long time to grow and seldom if ever move!

There is another law which is often ignored in the appointment of pastors which says that in order to be validly appointed pastor of a parish the priest "must be outstanding in sound doctrine and uprightness of character, endowed with zeal for souls and other virtues, and possessed of those qualities which by universal law are required for the care of the parish in question." (Canon 521, par. 2) This principle alone would annul many of our present day pastors' pastorship. Many, because of heretical doctrine and/or immoral character are not fit for the office they hold.

Monday, March 29, 2010
The Thiberville saga continues
The blog Osservatore Vaticano reports that Cardinal Hummes of the Congregation of the Clergy has rejected -- with unusual speed -- the appeal lodged by the Abbe Francis Michel against his sudden dismissal from the curacy of the parish of Thiberville (and of several other parishes) by his liberal bishop on January 3, 2010.

One wonders to what extent this decision will negatively impact on the implementation of Summorum Pontificum, not to speak of its effect on tradition-minded parish or assistant priests.

The following is a quick translation of the Osservatore Vaticano article, courtesy of our friend Natasja Hoven of Katolsk Observator:

Everybody knows the very famous Thiberville case, in the diocese of Évreux. This diocese is one of the most ill-fated in France. After Mgr Gaillot and Mgr David, the not so genial Mgr Nourrichard administers the collapse of a land which in times past was Christian, a land where churches are closed one after the other, catechism is deserted, vocations discouraged and finances dried up.

In this desert, a priest, abbé Francis Michel, maintains the most flourishing of parishes, Thiberville. This parish priest, not coming from a traditionalist milieu but profoundly traditionalist, in anticipation had applied the motu proprio Summorum Pontificum since many years back. In his church the masses are celebrated according to the form in our days called “the extraordinary form” and also masses according to the “ordinary” form, but in a manner in conformity with the wishes of Pope Benedict XVI, that is, turned towards the Lord.

And what was the result? Thiberville and the 14 parishes which abbé Michel is serving formed the most living Catholic ensemble and the one with the greatest missionary zeal of the diocese of Évreux : the church of Thiberville is full at all the masses, assuring the service “in turn” for the other churches ( desserte « tournante » des autres églises), there we find sound catechism, active participation of the faithful, abundance of ministrants, confraternities, all the churches magnificently restored, funerals celebrated by the parish priest himself … Those parishes where the communion of all the Catholics are lived in an exemplary way are a model for the application of the pope’s wish.

This is exactly what the “spirit of Vatican II”, with 40 years of delay, is not able to stand. At the end of December of last year, Mgr Nourrichard informed the parish priest … that his parish was abolished and brought together with a “parish ensemble”. By this procedure, the parish of Thiberville would no more have a parish priest of its own, as he was “withdrawn”.

We all know what followed: On January 3rd the bishop went to Thiberville with his collaborators in order to announce “with distress” the decision “beyond recall”. However he met with the revolt of the whole canton, which refused the end of the Catholic faith in this corner of the Norman land. A church full to the brim, on the first row of which were present the mayor and the county councilor together with the whole municipal council, acclaimed their parish priest and hindered the bishop to announce that he was suppressing the parish and its parish priest.

An appeal was then (twice) presented within the prescribed delay, before the Congregation for the clergy. The case was overwhelming for the bishop. It is necessary to understand that such an appeal is a delaying appeal: things remain as they are as long as the Roman decision does not intervene. In similar cases the Roman decision usually comes very late, when emotions have calmed down.

On the other hand everybody knows that Rome strongly disapproves of parish regroupings that are legally indefinable, this being a problem which retains the keen interest of the Roman canonists. Since the Council the rights of the parish priest have diminished. The traditional principal of the irremovability of the parish priest remaining (as in the popular saying: “the parish priest is the pope of the parish”). But the bishops’ conferences of each country have received the faculty of disregarding this right. This is how it is in France: the parish priests are from now on nominated "ad tempus", which is something that notably puts off balance the structure of the traditional diocesan life: the post-conciliar French bishop actually has much more power over his priests through the nomination “game” than the traditional bishop had. Moreover, it frequently happens that bishops do not nominate parish priests but only “parish administrators”, which makes the priests even more dependent on the diocesan administration.

In this case there was thus now the situation where there was a slow process while the Congregation of the Clergy examined the case, and thus there was a recovering of calm and common sense told that the Catholic life would continue in the parishes of abbé Michel and that the unjust – legally – and disastrous – pastorally – decision of the bishop could be nothing but reversed.

And then it was exactly the opposite that happened! The appeal that was presented in the end of February received a reply less than a month later …: On March 26th abbé Michel was informed … that his appeal was turned down and purely and simply rejected! The decision is signed by Cardinal Hummes, Prefect of the Congregation for the clergy: the parish of Thiberville does not exist anymore and thus has no parish priest.

Even in Rome one is dumbfounded. But everybody understands that the pressure exercised by the French bishops’ conference has had an uncommon force. The most eminent French instances have made it a question of principle. And they have won.

At least as yet. This decision is certainly going to be subject to appeal, and other means may be used. There is a rumor already on this matter. I will tell you more about it as soon as possible …

However it remains that for the good people of God, the negative sign that has been given is catastrophic.

posted by Carlos Antonio Palad at 4:41 PM 31 comments

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Sanctity in Love and Life

Holy Matrimony is to love what Baptism is to life, the elevation and the sanctification thereof. Jesus Christ, through the ministry of the Church and by the power of the Holy Spirit changes the profane into sacred realities.

It is analogous to the consecration of bread and wine at Holy Mass, with the difference that the bread and wine are completely and substantially changed into the reality of the living God Himself: the Flesh and Blood of Christ our Lord.

In baptism and in marriage the human persons remain, but they are changed and made good, in the former in life and in the latter in love.

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Be Ye Perfect

Every man needs to strive for perfection. The world needs great men. Enough with the mediocre. That is the essence of Christianity. Christ is the perfect man. Perfect God was needed to make perfect man! Christ is both, perfect God and perfect man. Because of Him men can be perfect, by His mercy.

"If good men were better there would be less bad [men]". Saint John Chrysostom

To make the world a better place and to make men better the only real way is to change yourself. Convert!

"If only it were all so simple! If only there were evil people somewhere insidiously committing evil deeds, and it were necessary only to separate them from the rest of us and destroy them. But the line dividing good and evil cuts through the heart of every human being. And who is willing to destroy a piece of his own heart.

"During the life of any heart this line keeps changing place; sometimes it is squeezed one way by exuberant evil and sometimes it shifts to allow enough space for good to flourish. One and the same human being is, at various ages, under various circumstances, a totally different human being. At times he is close to being a devil, at times to sainthood. But his name doesn't change, and to that name we ascribe the whole lot, good and evil.

"Socrates taught us: Know thyself!

"Confronted by the pit into which we are about to toss those who have done us harm, we halt, stricken dumb: [let him who is without sin be the one to throw the first stone at her the Lord says to those about to stone to death the woman caught in adultery] it is after all only because of the way things worked out that they were the executioners and we weren't."
Alexandr Solzhenitsyn, The Gulag Archipelago, 168.

His holiness Pope Benedict XVI takes up this same theme in his encyclical on hope, Spe salvi, when he speaks of divine judgment after death.

"With death, our life-choice becomes definitive--our life stands before the judge. Our choice, which in the course of an entire life takes on a certain shape, can have a variety of forms. There can be people who have totally destroyed their desire for truth and readiness to love, people for whom everything has become a lie, people who have lived for hatred and have suppressed all love within themselves. This is a terrifying thought, but alarming profiles of this type can be seen in certain figures of our own history. In such people all would be beyond remedy and the destruction of good would be irrevocable: this is what we mean by the word Hell. (Cf. Catechism of the Catholic Church, 1033-1032) On the other hand there can be people who are utterly pure, completely permeated by God, and thus fully open to their neighbors--people for whom communion with God even now gives direction to their entire being and whose journey towards God only brings to fulfilment what they already are. (Cf. ibid., 1023-1029)

"Yet we know from experience that neither case is normal in human life. For the great majority of people--we may suppose--there remains in the depths of their being an ultimate interior openness to truth, to love, to God. In the concrete choices of life, however, it is covered over by ever new compromises with evil--much filth covers purity, but the thirst for purity remains and it still constantly re-emerges from all that is base and remains present in the soul...the way we live our lives is not immaterial, but our defilement does not stain us for ever if we have at least continued to reach out towards Christ, towards truth and towards love." The purification of that type of soul which is good and not perfect at death is Purgatory.
Spe salve, 46-47

"You therefore are to be perfect, even as your heavenly Father is perfect." (Mt. 5:48)

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Furthering the Black Genocide

"Health insurance for all," covering contraception and abortion for all, will translate as further decimating the poor populations of the nation's citizens, a disproportionate amount of which are black. Thank God the poor illegal immigrant will be as yet unaffected, having to still pay for their abortions out of pocket. May the poor Catholic faithful save our nation and our world!


Monday, March 22, 2010

Purity is Necessary

One of the messages from yesterday's Gospel (5th Sunday of Lent [year C]) of the woman caught in adultery and forgiven with the advice "go and sin no more" is the essential Christian virtue of chastity. We could put it this way.

To be pure you need Jesus...and...

To be with Jesus you need to be pure.

He gives the grace; His love is the sufficient motor force for chastity. And purity of heart and life is necessary to see God.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Priestly Priorities

An old wise and faithful priest told me (a middle-age priest) that his good old pastor had told him:

"Buy a new breviary and re-plate your chalice (or buy a new one) every time you buy a new car."

I thought of this wise priestly advice in prioritizing in our spending (divine worship being our first love), on retreat at a Franciscan hermitage where the chalice badly needed re-plating. I guess the middle-age mendicant priest hermit neither ever heard the advice or has ever yet bought a new car! I don't judge him, but it does give me a point for self-examination on how I might spend more, much more, the maximum, everything!, on God. We can all do more in this area. Giving the best and most precious to God is a testimony and a buttress to faith.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

God's Look Alike

Today's Mass reading from Hosea 6:16 speaks of the urgent need for real divine intimacy saying "Let us know, let us strive to know the Lord," not superficially but with the greatest depths.

In scripture "knowing" and "getting to know" is an image for the marital act, marital intimacy. "To know the Lord" is to be intimate with Him, to go deep with Him, to have Him on the inside and to get inside Him, to feel Him, to want to feel Him , to struggle to be one flesh with Him. Below is my translation of Saint John of the Cross' description of the likeness in beauty resulting from divine intimacy.

"'We shall see ourselves in Your beauty.' Through the exercise of [divine intimacy] we shall see ourselves in Your beauty; that is, that we shall be likened in beauty, and that Your beauty be such that, looking at one and the other, it shall look like You in Your beauty and shall see itself in Your beauty, which shall be transforming myself in Your beauty; and thus I shall see You in Your beauty and You me in Your beauty; and You shall see You in me in Your beauty, and I shall see me in You in Your beauty; and thus I shall be like You in Your beauty and You shall be like me in Your beauty, my beauty shall be Your beauty and Your beauty my beauty, and I shall be You in Your beauty, and You shall be me in Your beauty, because Your beauty itself shall be my beauty. This is the adoption of the sons of God, who will truly say to God what the Son Himself said through Saint John (17:10) to the Eternal Father Omnia mea tua sunt, et tua mea sunt; which means: 'Father, all things Mine are Yours and all things Yours are Mine'; He by essence, being the natural Son, we by participation, being adoptive sons, thus He said it not only for Himself, He Who is the Head, but for all the mystical body, which is the Church."

The Spiritual Canticle (A) 35 Song, 5 (BAC p. 548)

Therefore, in the highest level of human intimacy with God you shall see yourself in Him and He shall see you in Himself. And you shall see Him in you and He also shall see Himself in you!!! And that seeing will be a reflection of the metaphysical, you will see it because it will be so in fact. The reality of you being in Him and He in you shall be manifest in the shared divine beauty.

Friday, March 12, 2010

Knowing with the Heart

Known as the Seraphic Doctor because of his profound reflections on the six-winged angel, the stigmata, and the mysticism of Saint Francis of Assisi, Saint Bonaventure closes his great work on mystical union with God--Itinerarium mentis in Deum-- indicating the supernatural depth of interior union reached by the soul with God.

"If you now yearn to know how (mystical communion with God) happens, ask grace, not doctrine; desire, not the intellect; the groaning of prayer, not the study of the letter; the spouse, not the teacher; God, not man; darkness not clarity; not light but the fire that inflames everything and transport to God with strong unctions and ardent affections. ... We enter therefore into darkness, we silence worries, the passions and illusions; we pass with Christ Crucified from this world to the Father, so that, after having seen him, we say with Philip: that is enough for me" (Ibid., VII, 6).

(This thought was taken from Pope Benedict XVI's Wednesday Audience of 10 March 2010 http://zenit.org/article-28599?l=english.)

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Divine Atmosphere

"In our homes and places of work we are careful to set up the most congenial environment. Spiritual environment is set up chiefly by meditation, prayer, examination of conscience and spiritual reading."

"Cling to the book that helps you to love God."

Steps to God, Rev. Stephen McSweeney, p.15

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Mapquest's Religious Omission

Just on Mapquest, I thought to look for all the Catholic churches in the mapped area. But Mapquest has no icon for churches of any type. You can click on schools, hospitals, coffee shops and even specific hotel icons but no churches, which are among our major landmarks, not to mention among our most frequented buildings. Just consider how many people go through Saint Patrick's in New York everyday, and to think that Mapquest omits it entirely from it's categories.

A map that fails to clearly indicate what is contained within the parameters of the map is an incomplete map.

Mapquest needs to get religion!!!

In any case, it seems that the GPS industry has almost supplanted their business. That pains me a bit because I have found their service to be very practical and useful except for this one inconvenience. Perhaps they could add that feature and maybe with God's blessing they will survive.

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Atheism is Unreasonable

Personal and consistent convinced atheism is untenable.

"...[A]s the knowledge of God can easily be gained from the contemplation of nature and the life of the soul, it will not be possible permanently to adhere to an honest and positive conviction of the non-existence of God.


"An inculpable and invincible ignorance regarding the existence of God is not possible for a long time in a normal, grown-up person, in view of the facility of the natural knowledge of God attested in Holy Writ and in Tradition. Cf. Rom 1:20; ita ut sint inexcusabiles." Fundamentals of Catholic Dogma, Dr. Ludwig Ott, p.16

A life-long avowed atheist is, therefore, most certainly a dishonest man, guilty of denying, and at least of avoiding, the truth.

Friday, March 5, 2010

New Ratzinger Study Center in Rome

In my continued search for world masters in the thought of Pope Benedict, I recently learned of a newly founded center of studies in Rome dedicated exclusively to the thought and works of Joseph Ratzinger/ Pope Bendict XVI (beginning this past Winter session 2009-2010).

It is called Centro J. Ratzinger http://www.ratzinger-papst-benedikt-stiftung.de/centro.html (sponsored by the German Pope Benedict Foundation [Papst Benedikt Stiftung] with offices in Salzburg and Munich) and is housed in Casa Balthasar http://www.casabalthasar.org/ .

My first knowledge of the new Center came through a priest friend who is presently doing a sabbatical year of studies there. Then, having forgotten the details, I more recently contacted Father Fessio about it who immediately referred me to the Casa Balthasar.

I shall add the Centro link to my blog sidebar "Great Links" so as to check it occasionally for updates on it's courses, seminars and projects. The experts at the Center are Stephen Horn of the Pope Benedict Schulerkreise (Passau) and Bruno Gautier.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

New England 2010 Annual Easter Seminar For Priests

Opus Dei has an annual seminar (from Tuesday evening to Thursday morning of the Octave of Easter), for diocesan priests, just south of Boston. This year's (April 6-8 2010) featured speaker will be Mr. George Weigel presenting on the priesthood in light of the five year papacy of His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI and it's relationship to and transition from that of Venerable Pope John Paul II.

For registration or further information contact Father Roger Landry at fatherlandry@saintanthonynewbedford.com.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

The Priceless Smile

Here is my translation of a Spanish poster on the value of smiling.


A smile costs little
but is worth much.
The one who gives it is joyful
and the one who receives it is grateful.

It last but an instant
and, at times, it's memory
continues all life long.

No one is so rich
that he does not need one,
nor is anyone so poor
that he cannot give one.

It produces joy in the home,
prosperity in business and is
a password among friends.

It is rest for the weary,
light for the disappointed,
sun for the sad,
and a remedy for problems.

It cannot be bought
nor borrowed
nor take or stolen;
it serves only as a gift.

And no one needs a smile
as much as the one
who has forgotten to smile.

Smile always because the smile
is the best gift that we can receive
and the best that we can offer.

If in haste I forget
to give you a smile,pardon me.
Would you have the goodness to
give me one of yours?

Because a smile is the
best identification card
for walking through life.

Exposing myself to the accusation of being saccharine, I propose that you smile to someone who needs it, at least once a day, with God's love, for Lent.

"...[I]f you continually wish to please God in the little battles that go on inside you--a smile, for example, when you don't feel like smiling; and I assure you that a smile is sometimes more difficult than an hour's worth of cilice--then there is little room left for pride, or for the ridiculous notion of thinking we are great heroes. Instead, we will see ourselves as a little child, who is hardly able to offer even the merest trifles to his father, but who then sees them received most joyfully." Saint Escriva, Friends of God, par. 139.

Monday, March 1, 2010

Time For Confession

Lent is the special time to convert, to change your life, to change the direction of your life or to change a habit or two from vice to virtue. Honest Confession is the God given way to be purified by the blood of Christ, and to change. Christ takes away our sins through the ministry of the priest.

Don't be ashamed to go to a priest for Confession during these days. Seek one out immediately, especially if it has been a long time. The bigger the sinner that repents the greater the joy in heaven over his confession. Saint John Vianney used to refer to the long time lapsed sinners as "the big fish!" Be the priest's "big catch" today. Decide to go to Father, your Father, and tell him everything.

Don't be ashamed to go to Confession, no matter what you have done, the greatest shame is to not believe in the boundless mercy of Christ in the ministry of His priests.
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