Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Answering The Liturgical Heresy


I am not a "Traditionalist" but I love and wholeheartedly promote the Extraordinary Form of the Roman Rite as the greatest explicit expression of the deepest realities of the Catholic religion in our present day Western Civilization, in complete conformity with the Second Vatican Council.

Father John F. Baldovin, S.J. published an article in America Magazine (May 27, 2013) on the state of the liturgy today ("An Active Presence: The Liturgical Vision of Vatican II 50 Years Later"), which he poses as an objective assessment of the Church's liturgical progress. However, Father Baldovin's article represents the attitude of self-hating Catholics (many of whom are unfortunately still in positions of authority) who reject the Church's traditions and magisterial teachings on the liturgy without providing any arguments or reasoned responses to the great "Reform of the Reform" which is presently underway.

In his assessment of the past 50 liturgical years Father Baldovin's chief concern is to criticize the "Reform of the Reform", or, what Pope Benedict often called the Hermeneutic of Continuity. He is worried about the growing trend of the devotion to and promotion of the extraordinary form of the Latin Rite. Why? Because "...this development is somewhat divisive...the older liturgy is clearly symbolic of a vision of church, theology and the world that the Second Vatican Council consciously moved away from in some very important ways...to reject the liturgy that resulted from the Vatican II constitution is to reject the council itself" He reduces his whole argument to an ad hominem attack, giving no logical response to the real concerns and legitimate aspirations of those who love the traditional form of the Mass, roundly ignoring the in depth analysis of the hot liturgical issues in light of our faith and tradition in the widely read various books of Joseph Ratzinger on the subject. This kind of rhetoric is not worthy of Boston College or the chair of liturgical and historical theology held by the author. Unfortunately this is and has often been the most common approach of modernist liturgists and Church hierarchy on matters liturgical. Their attitude is that they are right and they do not need to prove it. They are right because they are in power. And so, since Benedict is retired and Francis is Pope we can forget Benedict's liturgical magisterium and continue with the status quo. No dissent is tolerated.

What is clear here, in the lack of academic seriousness of the author, and in the widespread acceptance of his approach (e.g. this article was reprinted in the Archdiocese of Newark newsletter "Word and Worship") is a wholesale rejection of the liturgical magisterium of Pope Benedict XVI, which is enshrined both in Summorum Pontificum and in the accompanying letter to the Bishops of the world. It is ludicrous to pit Ratzinger against the Second Vatican Council (he having contributed at least a couple of the chief dogmatic developments thereof). To reject the liturgical magisterium of Pope Ratzinger is to reject the Catholic religion! viz. heresy. What the author charges against his caricature of traditionalist popes, bishops, priests, seminary rectors and seminarians, viz. that they reject the council if they reject the liturgy that resulted from it, applies equally to those who reject the extraordinary form of the Latin Liturgy! Those who reject gregorian chant, polyphony, Latin in the liturgy, lace, cassocks, biretta's, etc. reject the Council of Trent and Vatican I and Vatican II and Blessed John XXIII, Blessed John Paul II, Benedict XVI and Pope Francis! This approach is reminiscent of the post Humanae Vitae hierarchy who have been trying to muffle and distort the truth contained in that post Vatican II marital magisterial development. To reject the magisterium of our great liturgical Pontiff and the wonderful fruits thereof (myriad traditional young priests and seminarians throughout the world!) would be equivalent to rejecting the magisterium of his predecessor's magisterium on marriage and the family.

So, Father Baldovin, with his myopic, self-referential concern recommends two liturgical tasks for the future of the liturgy: 1) careful and prayerful preparation of the liturgy and 2) catechizing the people regarding the meaning of the liturgy. My respone is 1) that many of the abuses of the liturgy have been and are carefully and prayerfully prepared (e.g. the ubiquitous use of "extraordinary" "ministers" which he approvingly references). And 2) for helping the people to understand the nature of God and of the Mass the older form of the Mass is much clearer and more instructive as pointed out repeatedly by Ratzinger in his liturgical books. It is exactly that liturgical clarity which the Reform of the Reform is finally attempting to achieve, despite the self-hating Catholics' efforts to the contrary.

Furthermore, the Vatican II liturgical reform insisted upon the preservation of the various liturgical traditions throughout the Catholic world. Consistent with that norm, why should we oppose the most universal and venerable of those traditions, the one most a part of the formation of our own civilization? the Traditional Latin Rite. That problem, the root of our Catholic self-hatred is part of a larger crisis of thought in our postmodern world. That problem is fundamentally a problem of cultural relativism resulting from a distorted metaphysics, cf. Truth and Tolerance, Ratzinger. In our attempt at openness to everything we lose our sense of anything! We must have and love our clear foundation and it is called Peter, the Rock, the magisterium of the Catholic Church, which alone determines the legitimate Liturgy.

Evangelii Gaudium is Ordinary Magisterium

Below, my friend Father Bob Connor (Opus Dei!, of The Truth Will Make You Free Blog) convincingly shows that the economic teaching of Pope Francis in his first Apostolic Exhortation is binding authoritative teaching of the ordinary magisterium of the Catholic Church, consistent with the teaching of Pope Francis' predecessors and with the teaching of the Second Vatican Council.

The world of the "bottom line" needs to change. The bottom line must become the good of each individual worker and human person, and always remain thus!

N.B. Read the full Apostolic Exhortation document yourself before precipitously forming your own bias! May it not be said that conservative Catholics are against the Holy Father's magisterial pronouncements! It seems that the "neo-con" American Catholics are often more American (i.e. self-referential) than Catholic (Papally guided in social concerns). But morality surely includes the social sphere! What is morality if not social and religious! It seems that the conservative American Catholic is quite prone to ignore the Gospel on money and the proper Christian disposition towards it (cf. Matthew 6:16-34)!




Monday, December 30, 2013


Remarks on Cardinal Burke's Opinion on the Magisterial Authority of "Evangelii Gaudium."


CNSNews.com) -- Cardinal Raymond Burke, head of the highest court at the Vatican, said he did not think that Pope Francis's Apostolic Exhortation -- a 224-page document entitled The Joy of the Gospel (Evangelli Gaudium), which touches on myriad issues and has been widely quoted by the media -- was intended to be part of the papal magisterium, the ordinary teaching authority of the Catholic Church.

It seems that Pope Francis makes it clear in the Exhortation's introduction "that these are a number of reflections he's making, that he doesn't intend them to be part of the papal magisterium," said Cardinal Burke, an American, whose official title is Prefect of the Apostolic Signatura.

Cardinal Burke, the former archbishop for the archiocese of St. Louis, Mo., made his comments during a Dec. 13 interview with EWTN's Raymond Arroyo on the program, The World Over.

During the exchange, Arroyo asked, "Let's talk for a moment about this recent exhortation, the Apostolic Exhortation. It has been getting a lot of play in the media and, of course, lines have been pulled about capitalism and all these other things, and I think over-exaggerate at moments what the Pope's intentions are. In the total, do you agree that that docuemnt is a part of the continum of the teaching we saw with John Paul II, Benedict, and now Francis and that it's only the expression and the tone that has shifted?"

Cardinal Burke answered,  "I don't know. I think that one has to look at the Introduction to the document itself and it seems to me -- and I would have to have the text in front of me -- it seems to me that the Holy Father made a very clear statement at the beginning: that these are a number of reflections he's making, that he doesn't intend them to be part of the papal magisterium."
Arroyo: "He said they're programmatic."
Burke:  "Yes. They're suggestions. He calls them guidelines, there's programmatic. And so, to me, it's a distinct kind of document and I haven't quite figured out in my mind exactly how to describe it. But I would not think -- I don't think it was intended to be part of papal magisterium, at least that's my impression of it."


Blogger's comment

      It seems that one would be hard pressed to say Evangelium Gaudium is not Magisterium. What level of Magisterium is another question.

     Consider Lumen Gentium #25"(T)he faithful, for their part, are obliged to submit to their bishops' decisions made in the name of Christ, in matters of faith and morals, and to adhere to it with a ready and respectful allegiance. This loyal submission of the will and intellect must be given, in a special way, to the authentic teaching authority of the Roman Pontiff, even when he does not  speak, ex cathedra. In such wise, indeed, that his supreme teaching authority be acknowledged with respect, and that one sincerely adhere to decisions made by him, conformably with his manifest mind and intention, which is made known principally either by the character of the documents in  question, or by the frequency with which a certain doctrine is proposed, or by the manner in which the doctrine is formulated(my underline).

           
   It must be added that the bishops of the Church do not speak infallibly "taken individually"... But the pope does. That is, the pope can be speaking infallibly as an individual when the document speaks on faith and morals, is directed to the universal Church in an authoritative tone as Chief Shepherd and is reiterating doctrine that has been proposed. This can be the infallibility ofordinary Magisterium
            With regard to his remarks on economics and what can be clearly understood to be capitalism, he is repeating what Vatican II said in Gaudium et spes #65“Economic development must remain under man’s direction; it is not to be left to the judgment of a few individuals or groups possessing too much economic power, nor of the political community alone… Nor should development be left to the almost mechanical evolution  of economic activity nor to the direction of public authority.” John Paul II in “Of Social Concern:”

Of Social Concern:
#21. In the West there exists a system which is historically inspired by the principles of the liberal capitalism which developed with industrialization during the last century. In the East there exists a system inspired by the Marxist collectivism which sprang from an interpretation of the condition of the proletarian classes made in the light of a particular reading of history. Each of the two ideologies, on the basis of two very different visions of man and of his freedom and social role, has proposed and still promotes, on the economic level, antithetical forms of the organization of labor and of the structures of ownership, especially with regard to the so-called means of production.
It was inevitable that by developing antagonistic systems and centers of power, each with its own forms of propaganda and indoctrination, the ideological opposition should evolve into a growing military opposition and give rise to two blocs of armed forces, each suspicious and fearful of the other's domination.
This is one of the reasons why the Church's social doctrine adopts a critical attitude towards both liberal capitalism and Marxist collectivism. For from the point of view of development the question naturally arises: in what way and to what extent are these two systems capable of changes and updatings such as to favor or promote a true and integral development of individuals and peoples in modern society? In fact, these changes and updatings are urgent and essential for the cause of a development common to all.
#15. The Church's social doctrine is not a "third way" between liberal capitalism and Marxist collectivism, nor even a possible alternative to other solutions less radically opposed to one another: rather, it constitutes a category of its own. Nor is it an ideology, but rather the accurate formulation of the results of a careful reflection on the complex realities of human existence, in society and in the international order, in the light of faith and of the Church's tradition. Its main aim is to interpret these realities, determining their conformity with or divergence from the lines of the Gospel teaching on man and his vocation, a vocation which is at once earthly and transcendent; its aim is thus to guide Christian behavior. It therefore belongs to the field, not of ideology, but of theology and particularly of moral theology.

#41: The Church's social doctrine is not a "third way" between liberal capitalism and Marxist collectivism, nor even a possible alternative to other solutions less radically opposed to one another: rather, it constitutes a category of its own. Nor is it an ideology, but rather the accurate formulation of the results of a careful reflection on the complex realities of human existence, in society and in the international order, in the light of faith and of the Church's tradition. Its main aim is to interpret these realities, determining their conformity with or divergence from the lines of the Gospel teaching on man and his vocation, a vocation which is at once earthly and transcendent; its aim is thus to guide Christian behavior. It therefore belongs to the field, not of ideology, but of theology and particularly of moral theology.

Centesimus Annus #42: If by ‘capitalism’ is meant an economic system which recognizes the fundamental and positive role of business, the market, private property and the resulting responsibility for the means of production, as well as free human creativity in the economic sector, then the answer is certainly in the affirmative, even though it would perhaps be more appropriate to speak of a ‘business economy’, ‘market economy’ or simply ‘free economy’. But if by ‘capitalism’ is meant a system in which freedom in the economic sector is not circumscribed within a strong juridical framework which places it at the service of human freedom in its totality, and which sees it as a particular aspect of that freedom, the core of which is ethical and religious, then the reply is certainly negative.”

   This last sentence, "freedom in the economic sector" that is at the service of human freedom in its totality, and of which "it is a particular aspect," demands a comment.
    What is this "freedom in its totality?" It is the freedom of being out of oneself and for the others. Work is work only because there is the development of the self or "I" in creating an "it" or product that is to become "gift" for another. If that does not happen, that is, if there is no giftedness of a product that represents the "I" [and work is always an "artistic" production whose quality is the creating "I" incarnate in it], then there is no economy. This giftedness is freedom. Economy is freedom as interchange of gift based on trust. 
   To reduce the economy to a mathematical and mechanical calculus of supply and demand, and work as a commodity - an "it" - separated from the person, is to condemn the economy to failure for having failed to understand its true dynamic. And you can't fix it unless you understand how it works. 
  
Quid Ad casum:

 The pope is clearly manifesting his mind and will in the first person singular when - in just two examples - the semantics read: "In this Exhortation I wish to encourage the Christian faithful to embark upon a new chapter of evangelization marked by this joy, while pointing out new paths for the Church's journey in years to come" (#1).  And: "I am far from proposing an irresponsible populism, but the economy can no longer turn to remedies that are a new poison, such as attempting to increase profits by reducing the work force and thereby adding to the ranks of the excluded" (#203). 


   Also, the document is offered as an "Apostolic Exhortation... of  the Holy Father Francis to the Bishops, Clergy, Consecrated Persons and the Lay Faithful..." and ends officially: "Given in Rome, at St. Peter's, on November 24, the solemnity of Our Lord Jesus Christ, King of the Universe, and the conclusion of the Year of Faith, in the year 2013, the first of my Pontificate" and signed: "Franciscus"

Sunday, December 22, 2013

"'Seasons' Greetings"


Why is it that the only season of greetings happens to be the Christmas season? No one ever says happy Summer or Merry Spring!

Answer: the birth of Christ!

Happy Anno Domini MMXIV!


Hanukkah is a Jewish feast commemorating the re-dedication of the Temple of Jerusalem; which, since the Roman destruction of 70 A.D., no longer exists!  So, instead of the birth of the Son of David, in the city of David (Bethlehem), the King of the Jews, the Son of God (viz. Christmas) you celebrate His Temple that no longer exists?  Sounds like a time of mourning rather than any cause for celebration. For Jews to be happy at the thought of Hanukkah would be like Americans making merry on 9/11!

Kwanzaa is an modern political invention with no religious roots whatsoever. It's inventor, Maulana Karenga, created it in the USA in 1966 in order to contradict Christmas!

So, in this Season of seasons all of the lights, music and mirth is entirely a testimony to Christ's Birth. Face it (Him), accept it (Him), enjoy it (Him).  Merry Christmas!  Jesus Christ is God, the son of Mary, the perfect Jewess, and protected by Saint Joseph, the perfect Jewish gentleman, Guardian of the Ever Virgin Mother of God and of the God Child of Bethlehem. Salvation is from the Jews! Jesus, Mary and Joseph! forever.

...and the world will scoff, deny it, and try to quiet and ignore it. But the lights and the music goes on all in celebration of the King of Kings and Lord of All.

Friday, December 13, 2013

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