Saturday, August 31, 2013

"Just Call Me 'Father'"


If you have had much contact with priests over the past fifty years you must have heard a priest say "Just call me 'Joe'" (or whatever his baptismal name is), by way of humility, simplicity and being "more personal" and "with the people." Now there is a generation of priests who want everyone to call them "Father" including their natural parents and their priestly comrades. My experience of both trends is that the men who rejected the title tended to be lax and disoriented in many other areas of their priestly call and identity whereas the new men have a clear notion of the priestly dignity as a ministry of sacramental service and fidelity to the Church.

The title "Father" is actually more supernatural, and therefore humbler, and more intimate. It is more supernatural because it is given by the bishop who ordains the priest whereas the baptismal name is given by the priest who baptizes. "Father" is a reference to the representational nature of the priesthood, that the priest is God's representative, and that that representation is not primarily a matter of function but of essence: he "is" a priest. That is "who" he is, not just what he does. If he continues to be "Joe", than where is the change? And that change is the same regarding even his natural parents and his brother priests. All should feel honored to acknowledge the reality of the sacrament in the ordained minister by always using his title. It is a confession of faith in God. This is particularly striking with some Hispanic children who will endearingly call the priest "Papa Dios" (Daddy God). Priests represent God!

Monday, August 26, 2013

Applying The Gun Control Argument to Pornography

In a moment of passionate weakness it is helpful not to have it on hand (in house).

If you have no access you won't use it, because you can't use what you do not have.

Both are deadly! The guns are necessary sometimes, the porn never!

Eliminate indecency in all it's forms.

Flight is the only fight in matters of the flesh.

Sunday, August 25, 2013

Cardinal Dolan Questions Pope Francis' Managing Skills

The following is a transcript of the July 24th (Rio de Janeiro) interview of John Allen of the National Catholic Reporter with Cardinal Timothy Dolan of New York on Pope Francis, etc.
* * *
You were one of the cardinals who elected Francis, and presumably you had some idea of what kind of pope he would be. To what extent has it turned out the way you expected?
In some ways, it's been exactly what I expected. One of the things we looked for was a very savvy pastor, a good man on the ground. To use the expression of [Cardinal] George Pell [of Australia], we wanted somebody with "dirty boots," because he's used to going through the sheep fields. We got that, and we got it in spades.
The simplicity, sincerity, humility, that ability to speak from the heart which the world is seeing now, are all things we'd heard about him. One of the cardinals said we needed somebody with the mind of Benedict and the heart of John Paul, and I think we got it. He's been called the world's parish priest, and I think that's right on target.
If there's a surprise, it's that he's even better at it than we had anticipated. We thought he was pretty good, and the reports we got about him in Buenos Aires were excellent, but he's doing it all on steroids.
What would your biggest surprise be?
We also wanted someone with good managerial skills and leadership skills, and so far that hasn't been as obvious. It's a little bit of a surprise that he hasn't played his hand on that front yet. However, I think that's part of his strategy. He knows that the things we talked about a moment ago are more important because, in many ways, impression is reality. Having created this extraordinarily appealing impression -- which, by the way, is very genuine -- that he's a man of simplicity, holiness and simplicity will make it easier to do other things down the line. I think that was his first goal, and he's done it.
I would expect that after the summer lull, we'll see some more signs of management changes. In the meantime, I think calling the eight cardinals together was brilliant. As you know, that came up in the meetings before the conclave. Many of the cardinals said the new pope would have to look at some sort of "council of wise men," some more precise way to exercise collegiality beyond the Synod of Bishops. (By the way, the congregations said the synod needs to be reformed, too.) The idea was an ongoing exercise of collegiality that would assist the pope permanently. His "G8" with the cardinals was a good move in that direction.
Are you surprised, for instance, that it's taken this long to make a change in the Secretary of State?
If something doesn't happen by October I'd be surprised, but I don't think there's anything surprising that he wants to take his time with it. First of all, this is a man of exquisite charity, and I don't think he wants to hurt anybody's feelings. Second, he realizes that he needs somebody for a transition period. I mean, he's got to have somebody who knows where all the keys are. I thought maybe it would come at the end of June or July, but it hasn't, and so now I think it's probably going to be the fall.
You're known for media savvy. Are you struck by how positive the media tone has been about Francis?
Yes, very much so. New leaders always enjoy a sort of honeymoon, but this guy's early reputation is just extraordinary. For instance, when I take my walk in the morning and talk to the trash collector or to the policeman or to the cab driver, the waiters, the bartenders, they all love this guy. It's basically unanimous. They say, what a great gift, you did a good job with this Pope Francis. It's a real booster shot for the church.
You're a big fan of Benedict. How do you react when you see people praising Francis for being different from Benedict?
It bothers me. Personally, I love Benedict, but beyond that a lot of it just isn't accurate. Take all this talk about how Francis has rejected the "opulence" of the Apostolic Palace. I've been in the pope's apartment, and sure, that public study is very nice, but the rest of it is just functional. It's as if Benedict is being caricatured as this more regal, monarchical kind of pope. It's the same with the business about Francis not going to the "palatial" summer residence at Castel Gandolfo, which is actually fairly simple, too. All these comparisons bother me, both because I think they're probably hurtful to Benedict, and I also think they're not accurate.
The Brazil trip has caused a few security scares around Francis. You're somebody who likes to be close to people, too. Over the years, have you had to learn to let yourself be handled?
Yes, I have, and it started right away. Since the days of Cardinal [Francis] Spellman, the New York Police Department has assigned a detective to accompany the archbishop, and when I got there, I told the commissioner, "Thanks a lot, but it's really not necessary. I don't need one." He said to me, "It's really none of your business. If something happens to you, I'm the one who's in trouble, so grin and bear it." I did, and I've learned to listen to them. There will be times in a group when I'm trying to greet as many people as possible, he'll say, "Turn to your right, there's trouble coming on the left." I don't know what he's talking about, but I do it. Or he'll say, "We're going out this door rather than that one," and so on, and again, I listen.
Of course they know that I want to see as many people as possible, and they know their job is to try to get people to see me, not to keep them from me. But within those confines, if they say to me, "We're not going to do this" or "We're not going that way," I have to listen.
Do you think that's something Francis may have to learn?
I think so, and it's probably happening right now. That said, I don't believe his drive to be close to the people is some sort of strategy. I think he just does it naturally and spontaneously.
Are you worried for his safety?
Yes, definitely. I didn't see the pope's arrival on Monday, so I asked somebody how it went. They said the crowds were so enthusiastic, and when his car took a wrong turn, they were really worried. They told me he's OK now, but it was really touch-and-go. I turned on the news and watched the video, and I was scared, too. There's a wisdom in people being able to see him, and he's not visible if he's in the back seat of a limo. There's also, however, a wisdom in some kind of safety. They're going to have to figure that out without cramping his style.
You were criticized recently for your handling of sex abuse cases in Milwaukee, when the archdiocese released a series of documents. What did you make of it?
I was disappointed. Naively, I thought that was behind us, that we had done our best, meaning the people both in Milwaukee and New York.
Basically, they criticized me on two things. One was the transfer of cemetery funds to a more secure, segregated account, but that was in conformity with Wisconsin law and it was at the direct recommendation of the finance council of the archdiocese of Milwaukee. I felt like I was being criticized for obeying the law. The other was giving some type of sustenance to priests while they were waiting for laicization, which I think most bishops view as a step that may be regrettable, but in justice and charity, you're obliged to do it. Canonically and morally, you're still responsible for them, so some type of provision for housing and health care and so on seems like the charitable thing to do.
Does it help to have a popular pope?
Sure, because the reputation and the credibility of the church are much higher now. Even the cynics and those who are constantly carping are standing back and saying, "Let's give this guy a chance." He's the talk of the town.
I've said before that we bishops lack a lot of credibility in many areas, and it's clear that the goodwill Francis enjoys right now makes things a little easier.
Is there any way in which Francis is having a personal impact on you?
I find myself examining my own conscience ... on style, on simplicity, on lots of things.
For instance, I saw the pope open his own car door, close his own door, and carry his own carry-on bag. That says something to me. I used to do those things for myself, and it's not that I think I'm above it now, but it's just that as archbishop of New York people are doing it for me all the time. That's a very down-to-earth example, but I'm beginning to say that I need to watch this guy closely because he's a good example for me.
I also find myself thinking about living arrangements, because that's a pretty nice house I'm living in. In some ways it's not clear what I could do about it, because it's the historic, traditional residence of the archbishops of New York, and it's not like we can sell it. [Note: The residence is attached to St. Patrick's Cathedral.]
In general, I find myself thinking about some of the perks, the cushiness, we associate with being a bishop. He's pushing me to ask whether they're necessary, and if they might actually be counterproductive.
[Follow John Allen on Twitter: @JohnLAllenJr]


Saturday, August 24, 2013

Chinese Intellectuals Turning to Thomism for Light

LifeSiteNews has an article summarizing this week's Rimini lecture by the Catholic Chinese philosopher Tianyue Wu on China's need for Christian Philosophy, the video of which is above. He spoke in English. Enjoy! He sounds so much like the new encyclical Lumen Fidei and Pope Benedict's encyclical Spe Salvi.

The theme of The Rimini Meeting 2013 (which ends today) is "The Human Person: A State of Emergency."

Friday, August 23, 2013

His Holiness Benedict XVI Will Offer Ratzinger-Student-Circle Mass

The customary student conference begins on August 29th.

Vatican (German Vatican Radio [Translated by Plinthos]). This year's meeting of the annual Ratzinger Student Circle (Ratzinger-Schülerkreise) begins on August 29th at Castel Gandolfo. For the first time Benedict XVI will not be participating in the lectures, as coordinator Father Stephan Horn reported last Thursday.

On Sunday, September 1st, however, the Emeritus Pontiff plans to celebrate Mass at the Vatican with the 150 participants. The Archbishop of Vienna, Cardinal Christoph Schonborn, and Cardinal Kurt Koch will attend.

This year’s  theme for the conferences is "The God Question on the Horizon of Secularization." The main speaker will be the retired historian, philosopher and scholar of religion Remi Brague. These regular meetings with previous academic students began in 1977 and were among the few fixed dates the former Professor Ratzinger continued to keep as Pope.

Plinthos--Presumably this means that we should expect a homily from the Pope Emeritus, his first public words since the historic February 11th retirement.

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

In Cairo the Lecture of Regensburg Is Relevant Again

Never has a pope been so clear and courageous in unveiling the roots of violence in Islam, before Benedict XVI. And not afterward, either. Two obligatory rereadings, to decipher the Egyptian crisis 

by Sandro Magister

ROME, August 20, 2013 – In a few days many dozens of churches, convents, homes of Christians in Egypt have been attacked or burned. A tragedy within the tragedy, after the coup d'état that has plunged the nation of the Nile into a civil war with hundreds if not thousands of victims.

In covering the news of the numerous appeals for the cessation of violence, “L'Osservatore Romano” of August 18 did not, however, succeed in listing among these invocations even one from the Muslim world.

This public silence of the Islamic spiritual guides does not come as a surprise. It accompanies almost every act of political violence that sees Muslims in action, in one or another region of the globe.

It is a silence that is not explained by calculations of timeliness alone, or by the fear of retaliation. Nor by the fact alone that today in Egypt the greatest clash is between opposing Muslim factions, both of them determined to assert with force the precepts of Islam: because it is not only the Muslim Brotherhood of the deposed president Mohamed Morsi that has a conception of the political struggle as jihad, as holy war, but this is also held by its adversary, Abdel Fattah Al Sisi, the general placed at the head of the armed forces by Morsi himself because he was believed to be the most faithful Islamist of all.

In order to understand the ultimate root of the silence of Muslim spiritual leaders in the face of the explosion of violence of Islamic inspiration, one need do just one simple thing. It is enough to reread the initial part of the lecture given by Benedict XVI on September 12, 2006 in the aula magna of the University of Regensburg.

The aggressive actions with which Muslim men and groups reacted to this lecture were the tragic confirmation of the correctness of the theses presented by pope Joseph Ratzinger. According to whom violence associated with faith is the inevitable product of the fragile connection between faith and reason in Muslim doctrine.

No pope before Benedict XVI had ever had the clarity of vision and courage to express such a blunt judgment of Islam, nor to formulate with such rigor the difference between Islam and Christianity.

Within the Catholic Church Benedict XVI was highly criticized for having dared so much. He was accused of having destroyed the “dialogue” with the Muslim world.

In reality, just two months after Regensburg pope Ratzinger recollected himself in silent prayer in the Blue Mosque of Istanbul. And he was able to perform this gesture - otherwise incomprehensible - precisely because he had stated clearly what was his thought in this regard.

And it was precisely from the lecture in Regensburg that there came to life that sprout of Islamic-Christian dialogue that found its expression in the “letter of the 138 scholars” written to the pope by Muslim representatives of various orientation.

Not only that. Also in that autumn of 2006, during his voyage to Turkey, Benedict XVI said clearly to the Muslim world that it was facing the same challenge that Christianity had already faced and overcome positively: that of “welcoming the true achievements of the Enlightenment, human rights and especially the freedom of faith and its exercise.”

Here as well, no pope had ever gone so far before Benedict XVI. Nor afterward. Even today.

To the civil war that is inflaming Egypt Pope Francis dedicated these words, after the Angelus on the feast of the Assumption:

"Unfortunately sorrowful news is arriving from Egypt. I wish to pledge my prayers for all of the victims and their relatives, for the wounded and for those who suffer. Let us pray together for peace, dialogue, reconciliation in that dear land and in the whole world.”

And three days later, at the Angelus of Sunday, August 18, he may have alluded to it:

"The Gospel does not authorize in any way the use of force to spread the faith. It is precisely the contrary: the true force of the Christian is the force of truth and love, which involves renouncing all violence. Faith and violence are incompatible.”

But let us return to the Ratzinger of 2006 and to those memorable words of his on Islam, which are also decisive for understanding the Egyptian tragedy.

The following is what he said in the lecture of Regensburg on September 12 and how he commented - after he had returned to Rome - on his voyage to Turkey that same autumn.

__________



1. IN REGENSBURG


[…] I read the edition by Professor Theodore Khoury (Münster) of part of the dialogue carried on - perhaps in 1391 in the winter barracks near Ankara - by the erudite Byzantine emperor Manuel II Paleologus and an educated Persian on the subject of Christianity and Islam, and the truth of both. […]

In the seventh conversation ("dialexis"  - controversy) edited by Professor Khoury, the emperor touches on the theme of the holy war. The emperor must have known that surah 2, 256 reads: "There is no compulsion in religion". According to some of the experts, this is probably one of the suras of the early period, when Mohammed was still powerless and under threat. But naturally the emperor also knew the instructions, developed later and recorded in the Qur'an, concerning holy war.

Without descending to details, such as the difference in treatment accorded to those who have the "Book" and the "infidels", he addresses his interlocutor with a startling brusqueness, a brusqueness that we find unacceptable, on the central question about the relationship between religion and violence in general, saying: "Show me just what Mohammed brought that was new, and there you will find things only evil and inhuman, such as his command to spread by the sword the faith he preached. The emperor, after having expressed himself so forcefully, goes on to explain in detail the reasons why spreading the faith through violence is something unreasonable. Violence is incompatible with the nature of God and the nature of the soul. "God", he says, "is not pleased by blood - and not acting reasonably ('sun logo') is contrary to God's nature. Faith is born of the soul, not the body. Whoever would lead someone to faith needs the ability to speak well and to reason properly, without violence and threats... To convince a reasonable soul, one does not need a strong arm, or weapons of any kind, or any other means of threatening a person with death...".

The decisive statement in this argument against violent conversion is this: not to act in accordance with reason is contrary to God's nature. The editor, Theodore Khoury, observes: For the emperor, as a Byzantine shaped by Greek philosophy, this statement is self-evident. But for Muslim teaching, God is absolutely transcendent. His will is not bound up with any of our categories, even that of rationality. Here Khoury quotes a work of the noted French Islamist R. Arnaldez, who points out that Ibn Hazm went so far as to state that God is not bound even by his own word, and that nothing would oblige him to reveal the truth to us. Were it God's will, we would even have to practise idolatry.

At this point, as far as understanding of God and thus the concrete practice of religion is concerned, we are faced with an unavoidable dilemma. Is the conviction that acting unreasonably contradicts God's nature merely a Greek idea, or is it always and intrinsically true? I believe that here we can see the profound harmony between what is Greek in the best sense of the word and the biblical understanding of faith in God.

Modifying the first verse of the Book of Genesis, the first verse of the whole Bible, John began the prologue of his Gospel with the words: "In the beginning was the logos". This is the very word used by the emperor: God acts, "sun logo", with logos. Logos means both reason and word - a reason which is creative and capable of self-communication, precisely as reason. John thus spoke the final word on the biblical concept of God, and in this word all the often toilsome and tortuous threads of biblical faith find their culmination and synthesis. In the beginning was the logos, and the logos is God […]



2. AFTER RETURNING FROM TURKEY


[…] In a dialogue to be intensified with Islam, we must bear in mind the fact that the Muslim world today is finding itself faced with an urgent task. This task is very similar to the one that has been imposed upon Christians since the Enlightenment, and to which the Second Vatican Council, as the fruit of long and difficult research, found real solutions for the Catholic Church. […]

On the one hand, one must counter a dictatorship of positivist reason that excludes God from the life of the community and from public organizations, thereby depriving man of his specific criteria of judgment.

On the other, one must welcome the true conquests of the Enlightenment, human rights and especially the freedom of faith and its practice, and recognize these also as being essential elements for the authenticity of religion. As in the Christian community, where there has been a long search to find the correct position of faith in relation to such beliefs - a search that will certainly never be concluded once and for all -, so also the Islamic world with its own tradition faces the immense task of finding the appropriate solutions in this regard.

The content of the dialogue between Christians and Muslims will be at this time especially one of meeting each other in this commitment to find the right solutions. We Christians feel in solidarity with all those who, precisely on the basis of their religious conviction as Muslims, work to oppose violence and for the synergy between faith and reason, between religion and freedom. […]

__________


The complete text of the lecture in Regensburg on September 12, 2006, with the notes added subsequently:

To the representatives of science

And the complete commentary made by Benedict XVI on his voyages of 2006, including those in Germany and Turkey:

To the Roman curia, December 22, 2006

__________


English translation by Matthew Sherry, Ballwin, Missouri, U.S.A.

Benedict XVI Speaks to his Closest Friends of the Wonders that the Holy Spirit does with Papa Francisco


Maybe he needed to breathe a different air to that of the Vatican gardens; or perhaps at the end of the European Summer he wanted to see the residence which received him eight times and Lake Albano that is seen from there.

The fact is that this past Sunday the 18th in the afternoon, Benedict XVI took a short walk at Castel Gandolfo, the palace that has been the Summer residence of the popes from the time of Urban VIII, where he spent the first two months after his resignation from the Petrine ministry.

The Pope Emeritus, according to Vatican sources, spent about three hours at Castel Gandolfo, where he strolled the palace gardens, prayed the rosary  and attended a classical piano concert.

In the evening he returned to the Vatican,  Mater Ecclesiae monastery, where he decided to live hidden from the world after the historic resignation of Feb. 11.
He was accompanied by the ladies Loredana, Carmela, Cristina and Manuela, 'memores domini', consecrated lay women of Communion and Liberation, who took care of the Pontiff's apartment, chapel and clothing during his pontificate, and assist him still.
Pope Francisco invited the Pope Emeritus to go to Castel Gandolfo this Summer, given that he would be staying in Rome for work. The Emeritus Pope declined the invitation preferring to keep the low profile he had chosen. Within his cloistered life, however, Pope Emeritus Benedict sporadically receives some visits in the Mater Ecclesiae monastery.

At these meetings the Pontiff Emeritus says nothing and give no statements that could be understood as the words of the other Pope. At most he makes remarks regarding the wonders that the Holy Spirit is doing with his successor, or he talks about how this decision to resign was divinely inspired.

One of the guests at these meetings with Benedict XVI commented anonymously on his resignation: "God told me to do it." saying that it was not an apparition or phenomenon of this type, but a "mystical experience" in which the Lord made "an absolute desire" to stay only in prayer with Him" arise in his heart.

Benedict's decision was not so much an escape from the world, but rather a taking refuge in God and living in his love. The Pope Emeritus himself declares (as the anonymous source reveals) that this "mystical experience" has continued during these months and that the more he sees the charism of Francis the more he understands that his decision was the will of God.

My translation of the Spanish article from lumenfidei.com.ar.

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Saint Joseph in the Reform of the Reform


It makes sense that the name of Saint Joseph should be included in every Canon of the Mass so as to conform to the mind of the Legislator (Blessed John XXIII), who included the name of Saint Joseph in the Canon of the Mass when there was only one!

The furthest thing from his mind was multiple Canons! On the other hand, the Council is the work of the Holy Spirit which is much greater than the mind of the Holy Father, by definition!  So, the great Pontiff of the Reform of the Reform (Pope Emeritus Benedict the Great!) had approved the action of the addition and most appropriately his humble Successor His Holiness Pope promulgated it. And there you have it!

Thursday, August 15, 2013

On Names (and Dates)

English names are confusing.  Take, for instance, the name of a Saint who's feast has moved three times since the Second Vatican Council: Saint Jane Frances of Chantal (Jeanne Françoise de Chantal).

How is Jeanne to be translated?

We say Jane of Chantal but Joan of Arc for the same Jeanne.  There is also Joann(e) and Johanna, all of which come from the same Latin root word Iohanna.

To avoid all the confusion the English language should simply leave proper names the way they are originally, spelling and saying them as their owners and originators intend(ed)!  Or, at least use the Latin (as the Germans do with most names: e.g. Johanna).  But, please, let's be consistent!  If we say Jane of Chantal we must say "Jane" of Arc; and vice versa, if it's Joan of Arc it must be "Joan" of Chantal!

It always gets me when we say "Charles" (a French name!) for Carlo on the feast of Saint Carlo Borromeo. Of course, in the Spanish Missal we say "Carlos."

Welcome to English eclecticism!

On this matter of names there is a norm for the choosing of a name, in the traditional Ordo of the Baptism of Infants, which is today almost universally unknown.

70. Since a name is given to those who through baptism are to become children of God, newly born in Christ and enrolled in His service, let the priest see to it that ugly, notorious, or ridiculous names are not imposed, nor those of false deity or heathen profligates.  Rather let names of the saints be selected so far as possible, whose example the faithful may devoutly imitate and to whose patronage they are consigned.

N.B. In my Hispanic parish community I recently met a "Hitler."  We would do well to go back to that norm.

N.B.B. The Gospel records Our Blessed Lord changing one man's name (and that of man only!): "Simon Bar-Jona...I say to thee: That thou art Peter ("Rock"); and upon this rock I will build my church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it." Matthew 16:18
That fact alone should make the who world Catholic (following and venerating the Pope: Peter).  That is why Popes choose a new name upon receiving the office of Peter, because their reality changes when they are made Vicar of Christ and head of His Church. Jesus Christ changes them, so they take a name to signify the change. The Vicar of Christ represents Christ and thus weds the Church on earth in His name.

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Saint Mary Major: the Most Priest Friendly Church in the World


The Mother of all Marian Shrines, The Basilica of Saint Mary Major in Rome (to which Pope Francis has a particular devotion [having officially visited five times so far as Supreme Pontiff!]) is the Church which best accommodates priests who go there to say Mass.  It seems that any priest with his celebret can arrive anytime and the good brothers (The Franciscan Friars of the Immaculate) will set him up immediately to say Mass on any of various altars in either the extraordinary or the ordinary form with the proper and most dignified vestments (they have very worthy roman sets) and the proper books.  This type of priestly hospitality and priestly sense I have never found anywhere in the world, it is indeed better hospitality than the Vatican itself and more flexible and accommodating to the traditional form of the Mass.  A veritable buttress to the holiness of Our Lady's holy priests, as it should be.

It is most fitting that the preeminent shrine to Our Lady should be the place where priests are best cared for. Would that all the basilicas, shrines and cathedrals of the world should be half as welcoming as the Church of Churches of Our Blessed Mother, the Mother of God!

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Protecting God's Priests


In their zeal to "protect God's children" many Church administrators are wrongly blocking the right of the visiting priest to say Mass.

The canonical norm for a priest while travelling is to obtain within the year a "celebret" from his Ordinary which he may present at any church in the world and is to be allowed to say Mass.  Since the Dallas Charter most dioceses in the United States have adopted the policy of rejecting that canonical norm and imposing practically impossible bureaucratic regulations (a case by case letter of good standing with the place, date and time of the mass(es) to be said), all but shutting the door to the basic priestly piety of saying mass in church while travelling away from his parish.

Canon law actually says that even if the priest does not have the "celebret" he is to be allowed to say Mass provided his good standing may be presumed.

Can. 903 A priest is to be permitted to celebrate the Eucharist, even if he is not known to the rector of the church, provided either that he presents commendatory letters, not more than a year old (viz. "celebret"), from his own Ordinary or Superior, or that it can be prudently judged that he is not debarred from celebrating.

In other words, innocence is presumed.  This law is to be interpreted broadly.  Let them say Mass; do not try to unnecessarily stop them, for the good of the Church and of the priests themselves.

Could it be that some in the hierarchy are using the priestly sexual abuse of children as an excuse to promote their own anti-clerical agenda (i.e. against the basic distinctive rights and identity of the priest).

What is often happening in parishes is that visiting priests are simply sheepishly hidden among the laity in the pews because the way to the altar is wrongly barred to them.  This has nothing to do with "protecting God's children" but with laicizing the clergy!  While the lay people are doing the clerical roles (i.e. being clericalized in those same parishes).

The canonical logic requiring the rectors of churches to allow every legitimate priest to say Mass is related to two other canons: the one urging priests to say Mass daily, even if it must be done alone (it is "earnestly recommended" can. 904); and the other requiring that Mass be said in a sacred place and on a dedicated or blessed altar, except in a particular case of necessity (can. 932). That priests (in good standing) might fulfill this solemn and sacred priestly duty of saying daily Mass (for their own salvation and that of the world) they have the right to do it properly in church, wherever they are, without unnecessary legalistic (pharisaic and non-canonical) obstacles.  He's not asking to baby sit.  He's just asking to say Mass, i.e. to pray in his distinctive capacity of priest!

This need to say Mass daily in church is not clericalism, it is basic priestly piety.  The altars of our churches are not private property but they belong to the entire Catholic body and should be open to all, including, especially, our beloved priests.  To oppose this fundamental priestly duty in any way is to oppose Christ in His sacred ministers, a subtle but very real form of anti-clericalism within the ranks of the Church hierarchy and administration which needs to be corrected.

We need to get this straight before we can even consider the same right to say the Extraordinary Form as set out in the motu proprio Summorum Pontificum below.

Art. 2. In Masses celebrated without the people, each Catholic priest of the Latin rite, whether secular or regular, may use the Roman Missal published by Bl. Pope John XXIII in 1962, or the Roman Missal promulgated by Pope Paul VI in 1970, and may do so on any day with the exception of the Easter Triduum. For such celebrations, with either one Missal or the other, the priest has no need for permission from the Apostolic See or from his Ordinary.

Art. 4. Celebrations of Mass as mentioned above in art. 2 may - observing all the norms of law - also be attended by faithful who, of their own free will, ask to be admitted.

Art. 5.  § 3 For faithful and priests who request it, the pastor should also allow celebrations in this extraordinary form for special circumstances such as marriages, funerals or occasional celebrations, e.g. pilgrimages.

N.B. All of these directives are to be interpreted liberally, give the people and the priests what they legitimately want, even if it is traditional!


Monday, August 12, 2013

Sacra Liturgia Conference 2013 and What it Means


Having attended the milestone liturgical conference Sacra Liturgia 2013 in Rome last June on the Reform of the Reform, I was most struck by one fact which was a complete novelty, and due completely to the pontificate of Pope Benedict XVI and especially Summorum Pontificum.  That fact which impressed me was that this event was the first international conference in Rome of a significant group of Church hierarchy, clerics and laity who--hundreds of men and women in administrative roles in the Catholic Church throughout the Novus Ordo world--defend, promote and often prefer the Extraordinary Form of the Roman Rite.

What tipped me off to that novel fact was the fact that the "Traditional" movements (exclusively Tridentine) were manifestly absent: (e.g. the Fraternity of Saint Peter and the Institute of Christ the King). That makes sense because those exclusive organizations are, by definition, on the fringes of the universal Catholic activity, like it or not! Here we finally have a conference composed of a body of people--representative of a much larger world wide body--solidly in key positions in the post Vatican II Church with all of its consequences. What this conference shows is that there is a significant, youthful, powerful and rapidly increasing number of leaders of the Church mainstream finally promoting the ancient form of the Liturgy alongside the new form in their respective capacities as heads of dioceses, seminaries, parishes, etc.  That is exciting and very promising for the future of the Church's every ancient liturgy in the heart of the Church. Deo Gratias Pro Papa Emerito Benedicto!

Monday, August 5, 2013

Official World Youth Day 2013 Statistics: 3.7 Million!



CWN - August 05, 2013

3.7 million people attended events on July 28, the final day of World Youth Day in Rio de Janeiro, which culminated in Pope Francis’s Sunday Mass at the waterfront of Copacabana, according to statistics released by World Youth Day’s local organizing committee.

“Copacabana never saw so many people at peace, happy and committed to building a better world,” said Archbishop Orani João Tempesta of Rio de Janeiro. “It was an event without violence, depredations. And these positive signs we saw in the youth must endure. We want these young people, driven by the World Youth Day, to remain players in a new world.”

1.2 million pilgrims attended events on July 25, 2 million on July 26, and 3.5 million on July 27.

427,000 pilgrims from 175 nations officially registered, with the largest contingents coming from Brazil, Argentina, the United States, Chile, Italy, Venezuela, France, Paraguay, Peru, and Mexico.

644 bishops, including 28 cardinals, took part in World Youth Day, as did 7,814 priests.

Toward A Female Theology: Woman is More Bitter Than Death


Pope Francis is asking for a theology of woman which he says has never been written (In Flight Journalist Interview from Brazil World Youth Day 2013).  Here is one idea which, to many, might seem new: women are dangerous! Beware!

The most mundane book in sacred scripture is Ecclesiastes.  In that most secular of sacred texts there is a clear warning against women!  Ecclesiastes 7:25-30 says

"I have surveyed all things with my mind, to know, and consider, and seek out wisdom and reason: and to know the wickedness of the fool, and the error of the imprudent:
"And I have found a woman more bitter than death, who is the hunter's snare, and her heart is a net, and her hands are bands.  He that pleaseth God shall escape from her: but he that is a sinner, shall be caught by her.
"Lo this have I found, said Ecclesiastes, weighing one thing after another, that I might find out the account,
Which yet my soul seeketh, and I have not found it.  One man among a thousand I have found, a woman among them all I have not found.
"Only this I have found, that God made man right, and he hath entangled himself with an infinity of questions. Who is the wise man? and who hath known the resolution of the word?"

A major element in any feminine theology must include this negative element that was well emphasized throughout the Sacred Scripture, the Fathers and the Scholastics but has been rejected in modern thought.

The author says that he has rarely found a good man; but a good woman, never!  Of course, this was written before the Immaculate Conception.  What is curious is how he found good men if all of the women are depraved, given the fact that all men are also born of women!

This sounds so much like what I once heard in a movie: "All women are whores except my mother who is a saint!"

It is a secular caricature of women which does, however, make a necessary point regarding the ever present danger of disordered sexual desires in every ordinary person.  Concupiscence is the point.  The modern error is to make everything so platonic and deny sin and temptation.  How many disgraces have occurred under the guise of "platonic" relationships!  This very human theme, somewhat appropriated by Christianity, disabuses us (women as well as men) of the modern (and ancient) spell of universal innocence with the resulting neglect of training in virtue!  The truth is that no man is to be trusted (male or female) because all, except Jesus Christ Himself and the Most Blessed Virgin Mary, are sinners, at least stained with the stain of original sin, if not their own sinful stains too.  In this sense we are all whores!  (I am making my way through a book in German by von Balthasar largely on the Church as Whore!, [Wer ist die Kirche] the whore married, saved and purified and made perfect by the Lord, her Husband).  So, of course, in that very ontological sense no one is good.  You cannot trust yourself (regardless of gender).  Trust in Jesus and His mercy alone and entrust yourself to his strength.  As He Himself said, only One is good, the One who came from heaven.

The point is that women are dangerous (aside from any discussion about the defects of men) and so honest men must stay away from them.  They are to be distrusted and must be trained in virtue, hence they should obey in order to be good.  That is a necessary social truth which is present is some form or other in any well ordered society.  You cannot just mix everybody together without great disasters.  Just talk to any parents of a large family in any society.  When they reach adolescence it is essential to separate the girls from the boys for the protection of all!

Could we say that the danger of women is due to the corruption in the minds and hearts of men?  That is part of the issue for sure!  Keeping away is part of forming men in virtue.  This thesis is actually men being honest about the effect of women on them!  To deny it is dishonest and anti-woman because it claims for men a strength that they do not naturally possess.  Women are stronger then men, at least in this.  And this injuction to stay away and beware is a clear admission of that fact.  Hence the danger.  Beware lest you be caught in the trap unawares!

Saturday, August 3, 2013

Matt Maher's Song of Adoration with Pope, Bishops and 3 Million+ at World Youth Day 2013

This man has won two grammy's and is a practicing Catholic!  He sang also for Pope Benedict five years ago (2008) at the New York Seminary, Yonkers.

Baptism in Lumen Fidei: The Rock Foundation in God!

Here are three paragraphs from Pope Francis' first encyclical which highlight the essential nature of the sacraments, for God to live in the life of men today, with emphasis on the transforming and original power of the sacrament of Baptism.

The sacraments and the transmission of faith
40. The Church, like every family, passes on to her children the whole store of her memories. But how does this come about in a way that nothing is lost, but rather everything in the patrimony of faith comes to be more deeply understood? It is through the apostolic Tradition preserved in the Church with the assistance of the Holy Spirit that we enjoy a living contact with the foundational memory. What was handed down by the apostles — as the Second Vatican Council states — "comprises everything that serves to make the people of God live their lives in holiness and increase their faith. In this way the Church, in her doctrine, life and worship, perpetuates and transmits to every generation all that she herself is, all that she believes".[35]
Faith, in fact, needs a setting in which it can be witnessed to and communicated, a means which is suitable and proportionate to what is communicated. For transmitting a purely doctrinal content, an idea might suffice, or perhaps a book, or the repetition of a spoken message. But what is communicated in the Church, what is handed down in her living Tradition, is the new light born of an encounter with the true God, a light which touches us at the core of our being and engages our minds, wills and emotions, opening us to relationships lived in communion. There is a special means for passing down this fullness, a means capable of engaging the entire person, body and spirit, interior life and relationships with others. It is the sacraments, celebrated in the Church’s liturgy. The sacraments communicate an incarnate memory, linked to the times and places of our lives, linked to all our senses; in them the whole person is engaged as a member of a living subject and part of a network of communitarian relationships. While the sacraments are indeed sacraments of faith,[36] it can also be said that faith itself possesses a sacramental structure. The awakening of faith is linked to the dawning of a new sacramental sense in our lives as human beings and as Christians, in which visible and material realities are seen to point beyond themselves to the mystery of the eternal.
41. The transmission of faith occurs first and foremost in baptism. Some might think that baptism is merely a way of symbolizing the confession of faith, a pedagogical tool for those who require images and signs, while in itself ultimately unnecessary. An observation of Saint Paul about baptism reminds us that this is not the case. Paul states that "we were buried with him by baptism into death, so that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life" (Rom 6:4). In baptism we become a new creation and God’s adopted children. The Apostle goes on to say that Christians have been entrusted to a "standard of teaching" (týpos didachés), which they now obey from the heart (cf. Rom 6:17). In baptism we receive both a teaching to be professed and a specific way of life which demands the engagement of the whole person and sets us on the path to goodness. Those who are baptized are set in a new context, entrusted to a new environment, a new and shared way of acting, in the Church. Baptism makes us see, then, that faith is not the achievement of isolated individuals; it is not an act which someone can perform on his own, but rather something which must be received by entering into the ecclesial communion which transmits God’s gift. No one baptizes himself, just as no one comes into the world by himself. Baptism is something we receive.
42. What are the elements of baptism which introduce us into this new "standard of teaching"? First, the name of the Trinity — the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit — is invoked upon the catechumen. Thus, from the outset, a synthesis of the journey of faith is provided. The God who called Abraham and wished to be called his God, the God who revealed his name to Moses, the God who, in giving us his Son, revealed fully the mystery of his Name, now bestows upon the baptized a new filial identity. This is clearly seen in the act of baptism itself: immersion in water. Water is at once a symbol of death, inviting us to pass through self-conversion to a new and greater identity, and a symbol of life, of a womb in which we are reborn by following Christ in his new life. In this way, through immersion in water, baptism speaks to us of the incarnational structure of faith. Christ’s work penetrates the depths of our being and transforms us radically, making us adopted children of God and sharers in the divine nature. It thus modifies all our relationships, our place in this world and in the universe, and opens them to God’s own life of communion. This change which takes place in baptism helps us to appreciate the singular importance of the catechumenate — whereby growing numbers of adults, even in societies with ancient Christian roots, now approach the sacrament of baptism — for the new evangelization. It is the road of preparation for baptism, for the transformation of our whole life in Christ.
To appreciate this link between baptism and faith, we can recall a text of the prophet Isaiah, which was associated with baptism in early Christian literature: "Their refuge will be the fortresses of rocks… their water assured" (Is 33:16).[37] The baptized, rescued from the waters of death, were now set on a "fortress of rock" because they had found a firm and reliable foundation. The waters of death were thus transformed into waters of life. The Greek text, in speaking of that water which is "assured", uses the word pistós, "faithful". The waters of baptism are indeed faithful and trustworthy, for they flow with the power of Christ’s love, the source of our assurance in the journey of life.
43. The structure of baptism, its form as a rebirth in which we receive a new name and a new life, helps us to appreciate the meaning and importance of infant baptism. Children are not capable of accepting the faith by a free act, nor are they yet able to profess that faith on their own; therefore the faith is professed by their parents and godparents in their name. Since faith is a reality lived within the community of the Church, part of a common "We", children can be supported by others, their parents and godparents, and welcomed into their faith, which is the faith of the Church; this is symbolized by the candle which the child’s father lights from the paschal candle. The structure of baptism, then, demonstrates the critical importance of cooperation between Church and family in passing on the faith. Parents are called, as Saint Augustine once said, not only to bring children into the world but also to bring them to God, so that through baptism they can be reborn as children of God and receive the gift of faith.[38] Thus, along with life, children are given a fundamental orientation and assured of a good future; this orientation will be further strengthened in the sacrament of Confirmation with the seal of the Holy Spirit.
44. The sacramental character of faith finds its highest expression in the Eucharist. The Eucharist is a precious nourishment for faith: an encounter with Christ truly present in the supreme act of his love, the life-giving gift of himself. In the Eucharist we find the intersection of faith’s two dimensions. On the one hand, there is the dimension of history: the Eucharist is an act of remembrance, a making present of the mystery in which the past, as an event of death and resurrection, demonstrates its ability to open up a future, to foreshadow ultimate fulfilment. The liturgy reminds us of this by its repetition of the word hodie, the "today" of the mysteries of salvation. On the other hand, we also find the dimension which leads from the visible world to the invisible. In the Eucharist we learn to see the heights and depths of reality. The bread and wine are changed into the body and blood of Christ, who becomes present in his passover to the Father: this movement draws us, body and soul, into the movement of all creation towards its fulfilment in God.
45. In the celebration of the sacraments, the Church hands down her memory especially through the profession of faith. The creed does not only involve giving one’s assent to a body of abstract truths; rather, when it is recited the whole of life is drawn into a journey towards full communion with the living God. We can say that in the creed believers are invited to enter into the mystery which they profess and to be transformed by it. To understand what this means, let us look first at the contents of the creed. It has a trinitarian structure: the Father and the Son are united in the Spirit of love. The believer thus states that the core of all being, the inmost secret of all reality, is the divine communion. The creed also contains a christological confession: it takes us through all the mysteries of Christ’s life up to his death, resurrection and ascension into heaven before his final return in glory. It tells us that this God of communion, reciprocal love between the Father and the Son in the Spirit, is capable of embracing all of human history and drawing it into the dynamic unity of the Godhead, which has its source and fulfillment in the Father. The believer who professes his or her faith is taken up, as it were, into the truth being professed. He or she cannot truthfully recite the words of the creed without being changed, without becoming part of that history of love which embraces us and expands our being, making it part of a great fellowship, the ultimate subject which recites the creed, namely, the Church. All the truths in which we believe point to the mystery of the new life of faith as a journey of communion with the living God.

Friday, August 2, 2013

Accomplishing the Hours of the Extraordinary Form (1962 Breviary)


Here is my horarium for the daily Breviary which I have been saying faithfully, at the regular intervals of the day, as a parish priest, for approximately three years now.  It's deep and very fulfilling for a middle aged priest.  I have to say that after spending three weeks this Summer chanting the Liturgy of the Hours with the monks at Mariawald (where Matins alone is over an hour), I now very much understand the brevior aspect of the Breviary.  The major time difference I notice between the extraordinary and the ordinary forms of the Breviary is the rhythm of the minor hours and the three nocturnes for feast days.  The minor hours (5-10 minutes each) are very helpful for the heart of the day to sanctify it with a regulated "turning to the Lord" in the Ecclesial  and priestly praise and worship of the centuries.

5 AM  Lauds
6 AM  (or as preparation for morning Mass) Prime
9 AM  (or as thanksgiving after morning Mass) Terce
12 Noon  (or prayer before lunch) Sext
3 PM  (or prayer after lunch) None
4 PM  Vespers and Matins of the following day anticipated
9:30 PM  Compline

N.B. (Matins may [for a just cause] be anticipated the day before, after 2 PM, according to the 1962 rubrics: #144 Matutinum, ex justa cause, horis postmeridianis diei praecendentis anticipare licet, non tamen ante horam quartamdecimam.  My just cause is efficiency, that I am a busy parish priest and should like to be strictly faithful to fulfilling all of the office every twenty four hours and, preferably, at the proper times.  On the rare occasion that I miss Matins at my habitual anticipated hour I have a full day to catch up!  It works!  I have never missed any of the hours so far.)  A major key to this schedule is spread it out, leaving nothing for the evenings (which are usually very busy).

Note also that I usually do each "hour" with the prescribed time as the deadline.  For example, I always begin Lauds sharply at rising (5 AM), Prime by Mass time (or right after breakfast), Terce by 9 AM, Sext by Noon (just before lunch), None by 2 PM (just after lunch) so as to be able to do Vespers and the anticipated Matins at 2 PM (after the midday nap).  So that my habitual window for doing the hours is thus:

5 AM Lauds
5:15 - 7:00 AM  Prime
7:00 - 9:00 AM  Terce
9:00 - Noon  Sext
Noon - 2:00 PM  None
2:00 - 4:30 Vespers and Anticipated Matins
8:30 - 9:30 PM  Compline


Thursday, August 1, 2013

Faith is the Foundation Even of Basic Etiquette


In the third to the last section of the new encyclical, Lumen Fidei, entitled A light for life in society, (#55), the Holy Father quotes T.S. Eliot's poem "Choruses from 'The Rock'" thus:

When faith is weakened, the foundations of life also risk being weakened, as the poet T.S. Eliot warned: "Do you need to be told that even those modest attainments / As you can boast in the way of polite society / Will hardly survive the Faith to which they owe their significance?"[48]

Read the entire poem below to enjoy in verse what the Holy Father has spelled out in prose.  The message is the same.  Namely, that the world without God, Christ, the Church, honest Christians, is lost in the darkness; and that the fight for faith is a continuous battle which every man must fight, indeed, for the good of the world!



Choruses from "The Rock"


                                I
The Eagle soars in the summit of Heaven,
The Hunter with his dogs pursues his circuit.
О perpetual revolution of configured stars,
О perpetual recurrence of determined seasons,
О world of spring and autumn, birth and dying!
The endless cycle of idea and action,
Endless invention, endless experiment,
Brings knowledge of motion, but not of stillness;
Knowledge of speech, but not of silence;
Knowledge of words, and ignorance of the Word.
All our knowledge brings us nearer to our ignorance,
All our ignorance brings us nearer to death,
But nearness to death no nearer to GOD.
Where is the Life we have lost in living?
Where is the wisdom we have lost in knowledge?
Where is the knowledge we have lost in information?
The cycles of Heaven in twenty centuries
Bring us farther from GOD and nearer to the Dust.


   I journeyed to London, to the timekept City,
Where the River flows, with foreign flotations.
There I was told: we have too many churches,
And too few chop-houses. There I was told:
Let the vicars retire. Men do not need the Church
In the place where they work, but where they spend their
           Sundays.


   In the City, we need no bells:
Let them waken the suburbs.
I journeyed to the suburbs, and there I was told:
We toil for six days, on the seventh we must motor
To Hindhead, or Maidenhead.
If the weather is foul we stay at home and read the papers.
In industrial districts, there I was told
Of economic laws.
In the pleasant countryside, there it seemed
That the country now is only fit for picnics.
And the Church does not seem to be wanted
In country or in suburbs; and in the town
Only for important weddings.
CHORUS LEADER: Silence! and preserve respectful distance.
For I perceive approaching
The Rock. Who will perhaps answer our doubtings.
The Rock. The Watcher. The Stranger.
He who has seen what has happened.
And who sees what is to happen.
The Witness. The Critic. The Stranger.
The God-shaken, in whom is the truth inborn.
Enter the ROCK, led by a BOY:
THE ROCK: The lot of man is ceaseless labour,
Or ceaseless idleness, which is still harder,
Or irregular labour, which is not pleasant.
I have trodden the winepress alone, and I know
That it is hard to be really useful, resigning
The things that men count for happiness, seeking
The good deeds that lead to obscurity, accepting
With equal face those that bring ignominy,
The applause of all or the love of none.
All men are ready to invest their money
But most expect dividends.
I say to you: Make perfect your will.
I say: take no thought of the harvest,
But only of proper sowing.


   The world turns and the world changes,
But one thing does not change.
In all of my years, one thing does not change.
However you disguise it, this thing does not change:
The perpetual struggle of Good and Evil.
Forgetful, you neglect your shrines and churches;
The men you are in these times deride
What has been done of good, you find explanations
To satisfy the rational and enlightened mind.
Second, you neglect and belittle the desert.
The desert is not remote in southern tropics,
The desert is not only around the corner,
The desert is squeezed in the tube-train next to you.
The desert is in the heart of your brother.
The good man is the builder, if he build what is good.
I will show you the things that are now being done,
And some of the things that were long ago done,
That you may take heart. Make perfect your will.
Let me show you the work of the humble. Listen.

The lights fade; in the semi-darkness the voices of Workmen are
heard chanting.
In the vacant places
We will build with new bricks
There are hands and machines
And clay for new brick
And lime for new mortar
Where the bricks are fallen
We will build with new stone
Where the beams are rotten
We will build with new timbers
Where the word is unspoken
We will build with new speech
There is work together
A Church for all
And a job for each
Every man to his work.

Now а group of Workmen is silhouetted against the dim sky. From
farther away, they are answered by voices of the Unemployed.
No man has hired us
With pocketed hands
And lowered faces
We stand about in open places
And shiver in unlit rooms.
Only the wind moves
Over empty fields, untilled
Where the plough rests, at an angle
To the furrow. In this land
There shall be one cigarette to two men,
To two women one half pint of bitter
Ale. In this land
No man has hired us.
Our life is unwelcome, our death
Unmentioned in "The Times."
Chant of Workmen again.
The river flows, the seasons turn,
The sparrow and starling have no time to waste.
If men do not build
How shall they live?
When the field is tilled
And the wheat is bread
They shall not die in a shortened bed
And a narrow sheet. In this street
There is no beginning, no movement, no peace and no end
But noise without speech, food without taste.
Without delay, without haste
We would build the beginning and the end of this street.
We build the meaning:
A Church for all
And a job for each
Each man to his work.


                                II
Thus your fathers were made
Fellow citizens of the saints, of the household of God, being built
upon the foundation
Of apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus Himself the chief corner­stone.
But you, have you built well, that you now sit helpless in a
ruined house?
Where many are born to idleness, to frittered lives and squalid
deaths, embittered scorn in honey-hives,
And those who would build and restore turn out the palms of
their hands, or look in vain towards foreign lands for alms to
be more or the urn to be filled.
Your building not fitly framed together, you sit ashamed and
wonder whether and how you may be builded together for a
habitation of God in the Spirit, the Spirit which moved on
the face of the waters like a lantern set on the back of a
tortoise.
And some say: "How can we love our neighbour? For love must
be made real in act, as desire unites with desired; we have only
our labour to give and our labour is not required.
We wait on corners, with nothing to bring but the songs we can
sing which nobody wants to hear sung;
Waiting to be flung in the end, on a heap less useful than dung."

You, have you built well, have you forgotten the cornerstone?
Talking of right relations of men, but not of relations of men
to God.
"Our citizenship is in Heaven"; yes, but that is the model and
type for your citizenship upon earth.

   When your fathers fixed the place of God,
And settled all the inconvenient saints,
Apostles, martyrs, in a kind of Whipsnade,
Then they could set about imperial expansion
Accompanied by industrial development.
Exporting iron, coal and cotton goods
And intellectual enlightenment
And everything, including capital
And several versions of the Word of God:
The British race assured of a mission
Performed it, but left much at home unsure.

   Of all that was done in the past, you eat the fruit, either rotten
or ripe.
And the Church must be forever building, and always decaying.
and always being restored.
For every ill deed in the past we suffer the consequence:
For sloth, for avarice, gluttony, neglect of the Word of God.
For pride, for lechery, treachery, for every act of sin.
And of all that was done that was good, you have the inheritance.
For good and ill deeds belong to a man alone, when he stands
alone on the other side of death,
But here upon earth you have the reward of the good and ill that
was done by those who have gone before you.
And all that is ill you may repair if you walk together in humble
repentance, expiating the sins of your fathers;
And all that was good you must fight to keep with hearts as
devoted as those of your fathers who fought to gain it.
The Church must be forever building, for it is forever decaying
within and attacked from without;
For this is the law of life; and you must remember that while
there is time of prosperity
The people will neglect the Temple, and in time of adversity
they will decry it.


   What life have you if you have not life together?
There is no life that is not in community,
And no community not lived in praise of God.
Even the anchorite who meditates alone,
For whom the days and nights repeat the praise of God,
Prays for the Church, the Body of Christ incarnate.
And now you live dispersed on ribbon roads.
And no man knows or cares who is his neighbour
Unless his neighbour makes too much disturbance,
But all dash to and fro in motor cars,
 Familiar with the roads and settled nowhere.
Nor does the family even move about together.
But every son would have his motor cycle,
And daughters ride away on casual pillions.


   Much to cast down, much to build, much to restore;
Let the work not delay, time and the arm not waste;
Let the clay be dug from the pit, let the saw cut the stone.
Let the fire not be quenched in the forge.
                                                      

                                III
The Word of the Lord came unto me, saying:
О miserable cities of designing men,
O wretched generation of enlightened men,
Betrayed in the mazes of your ingenuities.
Sold by the proceeds of your proper inventions:
I have given you hands which you turn from worship,
I have given you speech, for endless palaver,
I have given you my Law, and you set up commissions,
I have given you lips, to express friendly sentiments,
I have given you hearts, for reciprocal distrust.
I have given you power of choice, and you only alternate
Between futile speculation and unconsidered action.
Many are engaged in writing books and printing them.
Many desire to see their names in print.
Many read nothing but the race reports.
Much is your reading, but not the Word of God,
Much is your building, but not the House of God.
Will you build me a house of plaster, with corrugated roofing,
To be filled with a litter of Sunday newspapers?
1st Male Voice: A Cry from the East:
What shall be done to the shore of smoky ships?
Will you leave my people forgetful and forgotten
To idleness, labour, and delirious stupor?
There shall be left the broken chimney,
 The peeled hull, a pile of rusty iron.
 In a street of scattered brick where the goat climbs,
Where My Word is unspoken.
2nd Male Voice: A Cry from the North, from the West and from
        the South
Whence thousands travel daily to the timekept City;
Where My Word is unspoken,
In the land of lobelias and tennis flannels
The rabbit shall burrow and the thorn revisit,
The nettle shall flourish on the gravel court,
And the wind shall say: "Here were decent godless people:
Their only monument the asphalt road
And a thousand lost golf balls."
Chorus: We build in vain unless the Lord build with us.
Can you keep the City that the Lord keeps not with you?
A thousand policemen directing the traffic
Cannot tell you why you come or where you go.
A colony of cavies or a horde of active marmots
Build better than they that build without the Lord.
Shall we lift up our feet among perpetual ruins?
I have loved the beauty of Thy House, the peace of Thy
sanctuary,
I have swept the floors and garnished the altars.
Where there is no temple there shall be no homes.
Though you have shelters and institutions,
Precarious lodgings while the rent is paid,
Subsiding basements where the rat breeds
Or sanitary dwellings with numbered doors
Or a house a little better than your neighbour's;
When the Stranger says: "What is the meaning of this city?
Do you huddle close together because you love each other?"
What will you answer? "We all dwell together
To make money from each other"? or "This is a community"?
And the Stranger will depart and return to the desert.
О my soul, be prepared for the coming of the Stranger,
Be prepared for him who knows how to ask questions.


   О weariness of men who turn from God
To the grandeur of your mind and the glory of your action,
To arts and inventions and daring enterprises.
To schemes of human greatness thoroughly discredited.
Binding the earth and the water to your service,
Exploiting the seas and developing the mountains,
Dividing the stars into common and preferred.
Engaged in devising the perfect refrigerator,
Engaged in working out a rational morality,
Engaged in printing as many books as possible,
Plotting of happiness and flinging empty bottles,
Turning from your vacancy to fevered enthusiasm
For nation or race or what you call humanity;
Though you forget the way to the Temple,
There is one who remembers the way to your door:
Life you may evade, but Death you shall not.
You shall not deny the Stranger.
                                   

                                IV
There are those who would build the Temple,
And those who prefer that the Temples should not be built.
In the days of Nehemiah the Prophet
There was no exception to the general rule.
In Shushan the palace, in the month Nisan,
He served the wine to the King Artaxerxes,
And he grieved for the broken city, Jerusalem;
And the King gave him leave to depart
That he might rebuild the city.
So he went, with a few, to Jerusalem,
And there, by the dragon's well, by the dung gate,
By the fountain gate, by the king's pool,
Jerusalem lay waste, consumed with fire;
No place for a beast to pass.
There were enemies without to destroy him.
And spies and self-seekers within,
When he and his men laid their hands to rebuilding the wall.
So they built as men must build
With the sword in one hand and the trowel in the other.


                                V
О Lord, deliver me from the man of excellent intention and
  impure heart: for the heart is deceitful above all things, and
  desperately wicked.
Sanballat the Horonite and Tobiah the Ammonite and Geshem
  the Arabian: were doubtless men of public spirit and zeal.
Preserve me from the enemy who has something to gain: and
  from the friend who has something to lose.
Remembering the words of Nehemiah the Prophet: "The trowel
  in hand, and the gun rather loose in the holster."
Those who sit in a house of which the use is forgotten: are like
  snakes that lie on mouldering stairs, content in the sunlight.
And the others run about like dogs, full of enterprise, sniffing
  and barking: they say, "This house is a nest of serpents, let us
  destroy it,
And have done with these abominations, the turpitudes of the
Christians." And these are not justified, nor the others.
And they write innumerable books; being too vain and distracted
  for silence: seeking every one after his own elevation, and
  dodging his emptiness.
If humility and purity be not in the heart, they are not in the
  home: and if they are not in the home, they are not in the City.
The man who has builded during the day would return to his
  hearth at nightfall: to be blessed with the gift of silence, and
  doze before he sleeps.
But we are encompassed with snakes and dogs: therefore some
  must labour, and others must hold the spears.


                                VI
It is hard for those who have never known persecution,
And who have never known a Christian,
To believe these tales of Christian persecution.
It is hard for those who live near a Bank
To doubt the security of their money.
It is hard for those who live near a Police Station
To believe in the triumph of violence.
Do you think that the Faith has conquered the World


And that lions no longer need keepers?
Do you need to be told that whatever has been, can still be?
Do you need to be told that even such modest attainments
As you can boast in the way of polite society
Will hardly survive the Faith to which they owe their signifi-
  cance?
Men! polish your teeth on rising and retiring;
Women! polish your fingernails:
You polish the tooth of the dog and the talon of the cat.
Why should men love the Church? Why should they love her
  laws?
She tells them of Life and Death, and of all that they would forget.
She is tender where they would be hard, and hard where they
  like to be soft.
She tells them of Evil and Sin, and other unpleasant facts.
They constantly try to escape
From the darkness outside and within
By dreaming of systems so perfect that no one will need to be
  good.
But the man that is will shadow
The man that pretends to be.
And the Son of Man was not crucified once for all.
The blood of the martyrs not shed once for all,
The lives of the Saints not given once for all:
But the Son of Man is crucified always
And there shall be Martyrs and Saints.
And if blood of Martyrs is to flow on the steps
We must first build the steps;
And if the Temple is to be cast down
We must first build the Temple.


                                VII
In the beginning God created the world. Waste and void. Waste
  and void. And darkness was upon the face of the deep.
And when there were men, in their various ways, they struggled
  in torment towards God
Blindly and vainly, for man is a vain thing, and man without
  God is a seed upon the wind: driven this way and that, and
  finding no place of lodgement and germination.
They followed the light and the shadow, and the light led them
  forward to light and the shadow led them to darkness,
Worshipping snakes or trees, worshipping devils rather than
  nothing: crying for life beyond life, for ecstasy not of the flesh.
Waste and void. Waste and void. And darkness on the face of
  the deep.


   And the Spirit moved upon the face of the water.
And men who turned towards the light and were known of the
  light
Invented the Higher Religions; and the Higher Religions were
  good
And led men from light to light, to knowledge of Good and Evil.
But their light was ever surrounded and shot with darkness
As the air of temperate seas is pierced by the still dead breath of
  the Arctic Current;
And they came to an end, a dead end stirred with a flicker of life.
And they came to the withered ancient look of a child that has
  died of starvation.
Prayer wheels, worship of the dead, denial of this world, affirma-
  tion of rites with forgotten meanings
In the restless wind-whipped sand, or the hills where the wind
  will not let the snow rest.
Waste and void. Waste and void. And darkness on the face of
  the deep.

  
   Then came, at a predetermined moment, a moment in time
      and of time,
A moment not out of time, but in time, in what we call history:
transecting, bisecting the world of time, a moment in time
but not like a moment of time,
A moment in time but time was made through that moment:
for without the meaning there is no time, and that moment
of time gave the meaning.
Then it seemed as if men must proceed from light to light, in the
  light of the Word,
Through the Passion and Sacrifice saved in spite of their negative
  being;
Bestial as always before, carnal, self-seeking as always before,
  selfish and purblind as ever before.
Yet always struggling, always reaffirming, always resuming their
  march on the way that was lit by the light;
Often halting, loitering, straying, delaying, returning, yet fol-
  lowing no other way.


   But it seems that something has happened that has never hap-
  ­pened before: though we know not just when, or why, or
  how, or where.
Men have left God not for other gods, they say, but for no god;
  and this has never happened before
That men both deny gods and worship gods, professing first
  Reason,
And then Money, and Power, and what they call Life, or Race,
   or Dialectic.
The Church disowned, the tower overthrown, the bells up-
  turned, what have we to do
But stand with empty hands and palms turned upwards
In an age which advances progressively backwards?
Voice of the Unemployed [afar off]:
                           In this land
There shall be one cigarette to two men,
To two women one half pint of bitter
Ale....
Chorus: What does the world say, does the whole world stray in
high-powered cars on a by-pass way?
Voice of the Unemployed [more faintly
                                    in this land
        No man has hired us  . . . .
Chorus: Waste and void. Waste and void. And darkness on the face
          of the deep.
Has the Church failed mankind, or has mankind failed the
  Church?
When the Church is no longer regarded, not even opposed, and
  men have forgotten
All gods except Usury, Lust and Power.


                                VIII
О Father we welcome your words.
And we will take heart for the future,
Remembering the past.


   The heathen are come into thine inheritance,
And thy temple have they defiled.


   Who is this that cometh from Edom?


   He has trodden the wine-press alone.


   There came one who spoke of the shame of Jerusalem
And the holy places defiled;
Peter the Hermit, scourging with words.
And among his hearers were a few good men,
Many who were evil,
And most who were neither.
Like all men in all places,

   
   Some went from love of glory,
Some went who were restless and curious,
Some were rapacious and lustful.
Many left their bodies to the kites of Syria
Or sea-strewn along the routes;
Many left their souls in Syria,
Living on, sunken in moral corruption;
Many came back well broken,
Diseased and beggared, finding
A stranger at the door in possession:
Came home cracked by the sun of the East
And the seven deadly sins in Syria.


   But our King did well at Acre.
And in spite of all the dishonour,
The broken standards, the broken lives,
The broken faith in one place or another,
There was something left that was more than the tales
Of old men on winter evenings.
Only the faith could have done what was good of it.
Whole faith of a few,
Part faith of many.
Not avarice, lechery, treachery,
Envy, sloth, gluttony, jealousy, pride:
It was not these that made the Crusades,
But these that unmade them.
   
       
   Remember the faith that took men from home
At the call of a wandering preacher.
Our age is an age of moderate virtue
And of moderate vice
When men will not lay down the Cross
Because they will never assume it.
Yet nothing is impossible, nothing,
To men of faith and conviction.
Let us therefore make perfect our will.
О God, help us.


                                IX
Son of Man, behold with thine eyes, and hear with thine ears
And set thine heart upon all that I show thee.
Who is this that has said: the House of God is a House of Sorrow;
We must walk in black and go sadly, with long-drawn faces.
We must go between empty walls, quavering lowly, whispering
  faintly,
Among a few flickering scattered lights?
They would put upon God their own sorrow, the grief they
  should feel
For their sins and faults as they go about their daily occasions.
Yet they walk in the street proudnecked, like thoroughbreds
  ready for races,
Adorning themselves, and busy in the market, the forum,
And all other secular meetings.
Thinking good of themselves, ready for any festivity,
Doing themselves very well.
Let us mourn in a private chamber, learning the way of peni­-
  tence,
And then let us learn the joyful communion of saints.


   The soul of Man must quicken to creation.
Out of the formless stone, when the artist united himself with
  stone,
Spring always new forms of life, from the soul of man that is
  joined to the soul of stone;
Out of the meaningless practical shapes of all that is living or
  lifeless
Joined with the artist's eye, new life, new form, new colour.
Out of the sea of sound the life of music,
Out of the slimy mud of words, out of the sleet and hail of verbal
  imprecisions,
Approximate thoughts and feelings, words that have taken the
  place of thoughts and feelings,
There spring the perfect order of speech, and the beauty of
  incantation.
  

   Lord, shall we not bring these gifts to Your service?
Shall we not bring to Your service all our powers
For life, for dignity, grace and order.
And intellectual pleasures of the senses?
The Lord who created must wish us to create
And employ our creation again in His service
Which is already His service in creating.
For Man is joined spirit and body,
And therefore must serve as spirit and body.
Visible and invisible, two worlds meet in Man;
Visible and invisible must meet in His Temple;
You must not deny the body.


   Now you shall see the Temple completed:
After much striving, after many obstacles:
For the work of creation is never without travail;
The formed stone, the visible crucifix,
The dressed altar, the lifting light,


               Light


               Light


               The visible reminder of Invisible Light.


                                X
You have seen the house built, you have seen it adorned
By one who came in the night, it is now dedicated to God.
It is now a visible church, one more light set on a hill
In a world confused and dark and disturbed by portents of fear.
And what shall we say of the future? Is one church all we can
  build?
Or shall the Visible Church go on to conquer the World?


   The great snake lies ever half awake, at the bottom of the pit
  of the world, curled
In folds of himself until he awakens in hunger and moving his
  head to right and to left prepares for his hour to devour.
But the Mystery of Iniquity is a pit too deep for mortal eyes to
  plumb. Come
Ye out from among those who prize the serpent's golden eyes,
The worshippers, self-given sacrifice of the snake. Take
Your way and be ye separate.
Be not too curious of Good and Evil;
Seek not to count the future waves of Time;
But be ye satisfied that you have light
Enough to take your step and find your foothold.

   
   O Light Invisible, we praise Thee!
Too bright for mortal vision.
О Greater Light, we praise Thee for the less;
The eastern light our spires touch at morning,
The light that slants upon our western doors at evening.
The twilight over stagnant pools at batflight,
Moon light and star light, owl and moth light,
Glow-worm glowlight on a grassblade.
О Light Invisible, we worship Thee!


   We thank Thee for the lights that we have kindled,
The light of altar and of sanctuary;
Small lights of those who meditate at midnight
And lights directed through the coloured panes of windows
And light reflected from the polished stone,
The gilded carven wood, the coloured fresco.
Our gaze is submarine, our eyes look upward
And see the light that fractures through unquiet water.
We see the light but see not whence it comes.
О Light Invisible, we glorify Thee!

   In our rhythm of earthly life we tire of light. We are glad
  when the day ends, when the play ends; and ecstasy is too
  much pain.
We are children quickly tired: children who are up in the night
  and fall asleep as the rocket is fired; and the day is long for
  work or play.
We tire of distraction or concentration, we sleep and are glad
  to sleep,
Controlled by the rhythm of blood and the day and the night
  and the seasons.
And we must extinguish the candle, put out the light and
  relight it;
Forever must quench, forever relight the flame.
Therefore we thank Thee for our little light, that is dappled
  with shadow.
We thank Thee who hast moved us to building, to finding, to
  forming at the ends of our fingers and beams of our eyes.
And when we have built an altar to the Invisible Light, we may
  set thereon the little lights for which our bodily vision is made.
And we thank Thee that darkness reminds us of light.
О Light Invisible, we give Thee thanks for Thy great glory!




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