Wednesday, April 29, 2020

Murder and Sodomy Continue On, But Still No Holy Mass

Abortion is deemed legally necessary for the "rights," "freedom," and "health" of women, even though it is the direct killing of each abortee, and irreparable damage to each of the women so aborted. We even designate tax-payer funding for the murder of those annual million+ babies in the USA alone, not to mention the other millions killed by abortifacient contraceptives (for example, "the morning after pill").

Homosexual activity, is also juridically promoted and defended as an inalienable and necessary "right," again in the name of "freedom," though it is a chief cause of the spread of the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV/AIDS) which annually claims approximately 1 million deaths worldwide.

Those sins against humanity have continued uninhibited as the whole world has been commanded to stop, not go anywhere, except if "necessary," not even to church, because of some questionable expert speculations about mitigating Covid-19 deaths. Now they say they have curbed the contagion, but they still ban the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, the Lamb of God Who takes away the sins of the world (and every other ill).

Joseph Gloor is Word on Fire Producer

Tuesday, April 28, 2020

The Infinite Boon of Covid-19

Everyone Now Has Time For God!
God has given us all a prolonged Day of the Lord, the Day of Rest! Don't squander it. Become who you are, the image and likeness of God, which you are. Do something beautiful FOR GOD with YOUR SELF. Relationship is everything. Go into yourself so that you may get out of yourself, and thereby into God, and into others, for God.

The Pros and Cons of Virtual Masses and the Nature of the Mass

Below are two current articles on a debate begun by Pope Francis on April 17, regarding virtual Mass attendance and the nature of the Holy Sacrifice. One is by a theologian and the other a lawyer on the present state of the question. Plinthos translation.

Masses without people. What about the Church in Italy? The opinions of a theologian and a jurist.

(Sandro Magister) The note by Leonardo Lugaresi in the previous post and the protest of the Italian episcopal conference against the decree of the head of government Giuseppe Conte which postponed "sine die" the return to the celebration of the mass with the faithful animated all the more the debate on the future of that constitutive act of the Church which is precisely the Eucharistic celebration and therefore on the future of the Church itself in Italy.

(But, curiously, speaking of the decree at beginning his mass at Santa Marta this morning, Francis invited to pray to the Lord "to give us all the grace of obedience to the dispositions," the Italian bishops are doubly humiliated, first by the head of government and then by the pope).

They wrote us from two distinct points of view, theological and juridical, Professor Pietro De Marco and the Attorney Mauro Barberio.

Here are their letters one after another.



Dear Magister,

I take the liberty to add a few comments to the fine statement by Leonardo Lugaresi. In the slow and unsure development of the ecclesiastical response to the epidemic, there has also been lacking a clear distinction between the emergency suspension of the mass "cum populo" and the holy mass as such, which nothing prevents the priests from celebrating, in a healthy and valid way, even "sine populo."

Days ago, I asked a bishop friend that the distinction be more clearly marked between the factual limitation of the gathering of people that accompanies a liturgical celebration and the celebration itself, between an empty church, on the one hand, and the intact reality of the liturgical action and its effects, on the other.

Every liturgy ("leitourgía," service of public affairs, from "laós," people, multitude, and "ergon," work) is a sacred service provided for the public good by religious experts. The Umbrian Episcopal Conference produced a document - courageous for this strange time of the Church, - signed by the Archbishop of Spoleto and Norcia, Renato Boccardo, in which it is recalled that "the essential" matter "of the mass is bread and wine, just as the 'form' is given by the celebratory act presided over by the priest.” So "when a priest celebrates the Eucharist 'with the intention of doing what the Church intends to do,' that mass objectively actualizes the paschal mystery of Christ." This is the classical and constant doctrine of the Church, without, I add, any other validation being required.

The Eucharistic liturgy is above all a memorial mystery and an action of praise to God. Celebrated by the priest "in persona Christi capitis" it has value in itself "pro multis." It is not an expression of immanent sociability nor much less does its supernatural reality come from below. This is what Lugaresi recalls: "Unfortunately a good part of the post-conciliar liturgy has misunderstood and betrayed that perspective, mistaking it for an invitation to liturgical activism, that is, for the promotion of the human protagonism in the opus Dei". I am grateful to him for that.

But to the bishop I allowed myself to add that the faithful must consequently know that they are participating in the mystery even if they are distant, provided that they are internally disposed according to the intention with which the Church ordinarily convokes them in the liturgical spaces. This could have limited both the disorientation about what to do and the concentration on the "domestic" liturgies, in which the shift to the celebratory "everyone is free" is easy.

We have always known that mass goes beyond the walls that are erected to protect and inscribe holy action: the temple. Given the temple, and also by virtue of the symbolism of the temple, mass is a cosmic mystery event. The absence of people does not degrade the temple, just as the temple does not fear the absence of people. Each mass participates in the eternal mass celebrated by the Son, celebrated, in fact, by the Father in the oblation of the Son, as pointed out by a great French school of spirituality of the seventeenth century (de Condren, Olier); vertiginous as the link between heaven and earth may be, of which the liturgy consists, the distance from the temple should never give way to substitutes, but rather to keep mind and heart firmly fixed on the places and acts in which the paschal mystery is brought up to date.

In conversation with the bishop, I did not deny that presence is above all corporeal. And, since one might ask how many meters define the presence with respect to the fulcrum, the altar, and that a certain modern spiritualism makes us feel more Presence and those present in a small church than in Saint Peter's or in a huge square, there is phenomenology of the sacred precincts, sacred spaces, not only buildings, for the great praying assemblies, as for the Israel of Exodus around the sanctuary tent. Therefore an immense cathedral or a circumscribed open space is equally a place of Presence/presence; with caution the latter, for the subtle constant "panic" or pantheistic risk of a contemporary communion with nature, even to the Teilhardian misunderstanding of the "mass on the world," a pancristic visionary world.

There are therefore thresholds also for our case, brought better into focus by an emergency. The threshold or katastrophé crises are constitutive of human practices, all the more so in the interpretations and actions of the sacred: limits beyond which an order of intention and action becomes something other than itself. Hence the discipline of the rite, the rubric. Only the principle, the supernatural hope, of the "supplet ecclesia" consoles us in these months.

I add something about the distinction between spectacle and ritual. The patristic reminder outlined by Lugaresi is essential and healthy, in years during which even quality liturgists seek in the theatrical model a re-foundation of the liturgy, with the additional temptation to import into the liturgy that subversive lack of distinction between actor and spectator that has tempted the avant-garde for decades. I believe that the bankrupting results have produced the conviction that there is no "mimesis" without a spectator, because it is not in the actor that "mimesis" takes place; the actor represents, "fingit."

I would distinguish, however, the show - as a theatrical or cinematographic "fictio" - from the spectacularization, which is the in-formal trans-formation (an interesting play on words) of a public event, or one made such by radio and television media, on a stage before the world .

We know that, under the eyes of the cameras, every opportunity made public, as heads of state conversing in a drawing room, imposes on the actors some studied behaviors, for example the gradation in the smile. But those actors are not real actors: the communication turned into spectacle - that is made visible, "exire ad spectaculum", to go and see - is that of the protagonists themselves: the chagrin of a head of state, or of a Jorge Mario Bergoglio, does not end when the curtain, it persists as a political action. So: the television broadcast of a rite does not make the rite a show, a "fictio;" it is the visible rendering of an actor and an event that is not mimetic but sacramental. The past abuse of the term spectacularization - understood as alienation of the authentic event - risks, in my opinion, the deterioration even today of the "res" to which our judgment refers. Just as a public handshake between sovereigns has consequences according to reality, so the Mass has consequences, in its proper order of realism.

Is it then irrelevant to recover the sacred space, the "templum"? Absolutely not. The occasional and internal reproduction of the "templum" in itself contains all the risks of non-Catholic de-realization that accompany interiorizations. The space within the individual soul does not contradict, it does not receive within itself and make true neither the temple nor the priesthood nor the "plebs sancta." During the contagion the soul experiences a separation and an extreme anachoretic poverty, more that that imposed by things, unsolicited. It is right, therefore, to reintegrate. But it will be important to return to the churches with this clear awareness: it will not be our presence that will legitimize the rite again, which was never interrupted. The rite and the "plebs" will confirm and complete us.



Dear Magister,

on the question of masses televised or streamed, we have heard a bit of everything, in the theological and pastoral fields. However, very little has been written with reference to the very sensitive juridical aspects.

I cannot but point out how the breaking of the balance between what belongs to God and what is due to Caesar was - through the serious and flagrant suspension of the kingdom of holy masses and of the free participation in the sacraments by the faithful. And, of course, since the March 8th first decree of the Prime Minister, and certainly not only since yesterday, April 26th.

Given these events, it can only come as a surprise to hear the Italian Conference of Bishops (CEI) now make its late complaints about the violated "fullness of its autonomy" and the compromise of the "exercise of freedom of worship."

The real "vulnus" occurred, in fact, with the first Prime Ministerial Decree of March 8: "All organized events are suspended, as well as events in public or private places, including those which are cultural, recreational, sporting, religious or exhibitional, even if held in closed places but open to the public."

On that occasion, one of the few critical voices, in the sepulcral silence of the episcopal conference, was that of Andrea Riccirdi who with an intervention in the "Corriere della Sera" stated: "It is not clear why worship and prayers are forbidden, if celebrated in safety. Perhaps not all decision makers penetrate the peculiar sense of the mass for believers, of whom the ancient martyrs said: 'Sine Dominicum non possumus".

Few have pointed out the intangibility and absoluteness of religious freedom vis-à-vis the State and, above all, the marked violation of the 1984 Agreement between the Holy See and the Italian State, whose article 1 states: " The Italian Republic and the Holy See reaffirm that the State and the Catholic Church are, in their own order, independent and sovereign, committing themselves to full respect for this principle in their relations and to mutual collaboration for the promotion of man and the good of the Country." And article 5 specifies that "the buildings open to worship cannot be requisitioned, occupied, expropriated or demolished except for serious reasons and after agreement with the competent ecclesiastical authority." It follows likewise that, without the agreement of the church authority, suspend the religious functions could not be determined.

Unfortunately, however, the situation on the "structural" side also has been even more serious and mortifying. To proceed in the aforementioned terms, a totally inadequate tool was used, namely the aforementioned DPCM that has no value or force of a normative source. It is, in fact, a trivial administrative measure which generally has an organizational function. The appropriate tool, or rather the only one to possibly affect absolute rights, could and should have been that of a decree of law.

It is important to be aware of elementary principles that even a student of the second year of jurisprudence knows well. The DPCM has no legal force and can be challenged before the administrative judge, where a decree of law - an act of the government having the force and value of the law - is subject to being converted into law (with all the guarantees of the parliamentary passage) and can be subject to scrutiny of the constitutional court only.

In short, the damage is upstream. What happened yesterday, April 26, therefore, repeats the most classic of the déjà-vu.

The biggest problem, however, in my opinion, is found in the fact that the right to religious freedom and freedom of worship - until February 2020 absolute and untouchable - has become something else: something inferior and dispensable by Caesar, to whom some absent-minded and naive shepherd has conceded and delegated, with guilty carelessness, even what should be of God.

The Pope Against Masses on TV: "This Is Not the Church," April 20, 2020

For and Against Mass on TV. A Letter from the United Kingdom, April 22, 2020

“To Be Or Not To Be.” The Capital Question of Masses on TV, April 27, 2020

Messe senza popolo. Che ne è della Chiesa in Italia? I pareri del teologo e del giurista, April 28, 2020

Monday, April 27, 2020

Some Good Shepherd Sunday Ejaculations

Here I brainstorm, transposing some of Christ's titles, etc. into short prayers in Latin which may be used spontaneously to pray during the day. I prefer second person singular, the Thou form of the verbs, though the third person is also quite legitimate in prayer.

Vivis, Christus! (You live, O Christ!)
Christus vivit! (Christ lives!)

Pastor Bonus es, Christus! (Christ, You are the Good Shepherd! or Christ, be the Good Shepherd!)
Pastor Bonus, Christus.
Bonus Pastor, Christus.

Da animam tuam, Christus! (Give your life, O Christ! [for Your sheep, pro ovibus Tuis]
Tuas cognosces. (You know Your own.)
Pater Te noscit. (The Father knows You.)
Tuas cognosce! (Know Your own!)
Ut cognoscamus Te! (May we know You!)
Animam Tuam pone pro nobis! (Lay down Your life for us!)
Animam Tuam pone pro me! (Lay down Your life for me!)

Ut animam meam ponam! (O, that I may give my life [for You, for the sheep])
Ut animas nostras ponamus! (O, that we may give our lives [for You, for the sheep!)

Friday, April 24, 2020

Antichrist Poses as Harbinger of "Peace and Safety" --Ratzinger

"It can happen that a state falls into the hands of groups which palm off injustice as justice, destroying justice from top to bottom, and thereby, in their own way, creating a peace which in reality is a dictatorship. Such a state, by the methods of modern mass-domination, can produce total subjugation and so give an impression of order and tranquility, while people of uncompromising conscience are thrown into jail, forced into exile or murdered... [A] state without justice is a great band of robbers... [U]nder total tyranny, there is no possibility at all of a war of liberation. Dictatorship quietly sets itself up as the triumph of peace. This is what the New Testament means when it predicts that the Antichrist will appear as the harbinger of 'peace and security.' (1Thes. 5:3) ...What poses as definitive peace may well be the total destruction of peace."

"Peace and Justice in Crisis: The Task of Religion" (1988) in Joseph Ratzinger in Communio: Volume 1 The Unity of the Church, Grand Rapids, Michigan: Eerdmans, 2010, 109-110.

Thursday, April 23, 2020

Summa Sermon Notes 11

Here are the Summa references for the EF, 2nd and 3rd Sundays after Easter

2nd Sunday after Easter
EPISTLE (1 Peter 2:21-25)
"Christ suffered for us"
   The passion of Christ as efficient source of our salvation III Q.48, a.6
   Did Christ by His passion open for us the door to heaven? III Q.49, a.5
   The difference between Christ's sufferings and those of the saints as regards their fruits to us III Q.48, a.5, ad.3
   How could Christ satisfy for us when He had not sinned Himself? III Q.48, a.2
"That you should follow His steps"
   Since Christ abundantly satisfied for us, why should we have to do something too? III Q.49, a.1, ad.4; a.3
"Who did no sin"
   Was there not some sin in Christ? III Q.14, a.3; Q.15, a.1
"Who when He was reviled, did not revile"
   Harmful words II-II Q.72
   Bearing calumny II-II Q.73, a.3
   Should wrongs done us be borne, if they may redound to the dishonor of God? III Q.42, a.4, ad.6
"But delivered Himself to him that judged Him unjustly"
   How was Christ the cause of His own passion and death? III Q.47, a.1; a.3, ad.2
   How was Christ in surrendering Himself to Pilate sinless, while Judas was not? III Q.47, a.3, ad.3
"Who His own self bore our sins in His body"
   Did Christ suffer physical pain? III Q.15, a.5
   Was Christ's passion more painful than all other sufferings? III Q.46, a.6
   Was the pain of Christ's passion compatible with heavenly happiness? III Q.46, a.8, ad.1
"By whose stripes you were healed"
   How much good accrued to us from Christ's passion? III Q.48
GOSPEL (John 10:11-16)
"I am the Good Shepherd"
   What kind of shepherd is Christ? III Q.8, a.6, ad.3
   What kind of shepherd was Christ during His life? III Q.40, a.3
"The Good shepherd giveth His life"
   What belongs to the pastoral office? II-II Q.184, a.5; a.7, ad.1
   Is pastoral care a pledge of God's love? II-II Q.184, a.7, ad.1; Q.185, a.2, ad.1
   To whom does pastoral office properly belong? II-II Q.184, a.6, ad.2, 3
   Are those in charge of souls, especially bishops, in a state of perfection? II-II Q.184, a.5
   Is the state of bishops more perfect than that of religious? II-I Q.184, a.7
   Are priests, curates, archdeacons in a state of perfection? II-II Q.184, a.6; a.8
   Are the above obliged to lay down their lives for their flock? II-II Q.184 a.6, ad.3
"But the hireling"
   Who may be called a hireling? II-II Q.185, a.5, ad.1
"And leaveth the sheep and flieth"
   Is it ever proper because of temporal persecution for bishops to leave the flock entrusted to them? II-II Q.185
   Must subjects obey superiors in everything? II-II Q.104, a.5
"And one shepherd"
   Since pastors are chosen by the Church, how can there be only one shepherd? III Q.8, a.6

3rd Sunday After Easter
EPISTLE (1 Peter 2:11-19)
"Refrain from carnal desires which war against the soul"
   Are spiritual works and the fruits of the Holy Ghost opposed to works of the flesh? I-II Q.70, a.4
"Having your conversation good"
   Is scandal a mortal sin? II-II Q.43; a.3; a.4
   Wishing one's own goods and praising them to others; is it sinful? II-II Q.132, a.2, ad.1
"Be ye subject, therefore, to every human creature"
   Is one person bound to obey another? II-II Q.104, a.1
   Are subjects bound to obey superiors in all things? II-II Q.104, a.5
   In what are they bound and in what not bound to obey superiors? II-II Q.69, a.1
"Whether it be to the king as excelling"
   Are Christians bound to obey the secular authority? II-II Q.105, a.6
   May infidels have power over the faithful? II-II Q.10
   Are subjects absolved from obedience by the apostasy of superiors? II-II Q.12, a.2
"For the punishment of evildoers"
   Is punishment fitting? II-II Q.108, a.1
   By what means should punishment be meted out? II-II Q.108, a.3
   Is killing a man permissible? II-II Q.64, a.2
"For so is the will of God"
   The twofold will of God I Q.19, a.11
"Honor all men"
   How can all men be honored since honor is properly reserved for superiors? II-II Q.103, a.2, ad.3
"Fear God"
   Fear II-II Q.19
"But also to the froward"
   Since honor is due because of virtue, how is ti possible to honor those who lack it? II-II Q.103, a.2, ad.2
GOSPEL (John 16:16-22)
"We know not what He speaketh"
   Why did Christ cloak His doctrine in parables? III Q.42, a.3, ad.2, 3.
   Is Sacred Scripture difficult and obscure? I Q.1, a.9, ad.3; II-II Q.1, a.9, ad.1
   Do heretics pervert Scripture? II-II Q.1, a.10, ad.1
   Is it the duty of the Pope to establish a symbol of faith to refute heresies as they arise? II-II Q.1, a.10
"And Jesus knew that they had a mind to ask Him"
   Does the soul or mind of Christ know all things in the world? III Q.10, a.2
"You shall lament and weep"
   Is it fitting for the just to be afflicted in this life? I Q.21, a.4, ad.3
   Why do sinners prosper and the good do not? I-II Q.87, a.7, ad.2; II-II Q.36, a.2
   How can the universe be equally intended for the just and the unjust, the good and bad? I-II Q.114, a.10, ad.4
"But your sorrow shall be turned into joy"
   In what should we rejoice? II-II Q.28, a.1, ad.3; a.2
   How many ways should we rejoice in God? II-II Q.28, a.1, ad.3
   Does spiritual joy involve a certain sadness? II-II Q.28, a.2
   Can spiritual joy be full in us? II-II Q.28, a.3
   What is opposed to joy? II-II Q.35
"But I will see you again and your heart shall rejoice"
   When was this joy complete in the apostles? III Q.55, a.3, ad.1

Wednesday, April 22, 2020

Social-Media Depression

Having participated last week for the first time in a "live" video conference social media platform, zoom, I feel the need to articulate the emotional after-effect.

It was a fine "gathering" of five of my sisters with their husbands and (twenty-five) children, from their homes, and I, the priest, from my rectory. We said the Rosary, each family taking a turn, with the final Litany of Loreto, which I read in Latin and gave the blessing at the end. Then we had some informal conversation for the rest of the hour. It was fun and enjoyed by all. It was good while it lasted. What surprised me is how I felt afterwards.

I have been saying the Rosary and praying with others in the family and at parishes and other Catholic environments for over 35 years, every day, but always in person, never looking at pixels on a screen imaging the people to me. The prayer experience with others, in person, present in the same room together, always lifted me up and brought me to a better interior place. It lifted up my heart and placed it on a more elevated plane. It built me up and I was consistently left a better person and could feel that. This time it was different.

The dark part of my soul, whatever that is, after that encounter, felt darker. I have come out of that "encounter" and feel, as one day passed, and another, lower, not better but worse. I know that the spiritual life is not primarily about enthusiasm and sentimentality, but I also know that there is an ontological difference even between digital reality and analogue. Analogue is continuous whereas digital is always disjointed, it never touches. I come out feeling that I never really saw them and they never really saw me, and that is, indeed, the fact. Virtual is not real. My phone conversations, by comparison, I find much more fruitful and satisfying long-term, than the experience of the video chat. There must be something in the way the mind works that it does not like the deception of false images, idols, if you will. It cannot sink its cognitive teeth into the screen the way is can the living flesh and blood person that is with you in the same room. I'm left to conclude that it may be better to have no image at all rather than such a false image. Static pictures are OK. They are more honest because they do not present the dead image as if it were alive. Pictures do not offer the lie of the video image that over-stimulates the mind and offers it what it cannot deliver. It pretends to be what it is not.

This is helping me to understand the tragic increase in depression and despair in our day, especially among the youth and those who otherwise spend many hours on social media looking at and participating in pseudo-experience.

"All things are hard: man cannot explain them by word. The eye is not filled with seeing, neither is the ear filled with hearing." Ecclesiastes 1:8

That is why Christ's resurrection is essential, because the encounter, in the flesh, is solid ground for the heart and for true humanity. "See my hands and feet, that it is I myself; handle, and see: for a spirit hath not flesh and bones, as you see me to have." Luke 24:39 You have to be there, He with you, you with Him, in order to touch Him, in order to be touched by Him. That is why watching television Mass is not really attending Mass. It is at least the difference between watching a dinner on TV and actually eating the dinner yourself, with the others, at the table. They are worlds apart. One fills you, while the other leaves you hungrier than before. It is helpful to pray the Mass even when you are physically deprived of it, but that prayer of the Mass is not enhanced because you watched it virtually, it may also be diminished in its lasting effect. The audio, without video, may be more honest and more helpful.
"...Jesus said to them: Amen, amen I say unto you: Except you eat the flesh of the Son of man, and drink his blood, you shall not have life in you. He that eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, hath everlasting life: and I will raise him up in the last day. For my flesh is meat indeed: and my blood is drink indeed." John 6:54-56

He has to be there with you, and you have to be there with Him. No substitute will do, according to Christ. And phony substitutes may make matters even worse, pretending to give what they do not have. A screen will never give you a man in the flesh, and even less, God.

Solution, continue to make every reasonable effort to receive the sacraments right now from your priest, and let the bishop know how essential it is for you to enjoy and eat the real presence of Christ. Also, try to pray with someone else, in person, at least once a day, in your own home. Love those in your own household, your neighbors, and those with whom you come in contact today. They are Christ, in the flesh, for you. Feed them, give them to drink, clothe them, shelter them, welcome them, visit them, serve them, and you do it to Christ. You have to do it physically! in the flesh! You have to actually go out and do it. You cannot do it simply virtually. You have to do it really. "Amen I say to you, as long as you did it to one of these my least brethren, you did it to me... [and] as long as you did it not to one of these least, neither did you do it to me." Matthew 25:40,45

Tuesday, April 21, 2020

Catholics May Receive Communion At SSPX Masses

A question came to me this morning from a brother priest, a pastor in another US diocese.

Q. Some of my parishioners have been going to the SSPX Masses because our bishop, and virtually every US bishop, has stopped the public Sunday Masses. The SSPX is having outdoor Masses despite the fact that our bishop has asked us not to do so. Of course, they do not care what the bishop says, and the civil authorities are permitting the outdoor Masses... Thoughts?

A. It is my understanding that the Church law allows Catholics to receive communion from the Orthodox where they are unable to do so from the Catholic Church, e.g. in places where there is no Catholic Church around. The present situation seems to be a parallel case, in which the Catholic church has practically forbidden any administration of the sacraments to the faithful. Plus, regarding Canon Law we learned that once you have made a reasonable effort to find out what the law says, if it is still unclear, then freedom reigns.

I say yes. Catholics, in the present proscriptive climate, in which the Catholic churches are sacramentally closed to the faithful, they have freedom to go elsewhere to receive valid sacraments, which they need for their spiritual well-being. It is a God-given right for Catholics to have the assistance of the sacraments, because the sacraments are necessary means of salvation. We need the sacraments. We are not Protestants!

I would go further. There are many places where traditional Catholics are, as a rule, not provided the traditional Mass. In those places, given the law I mentioned above, those Catholics have freedom to receive the eucharist from traditional and valid liturgies that may otherwise be illicit, e.g. SSPX, Orthodox, independent chapels, etc.

Sunday, April 19, 2020

Private Communion

Below is the testimony of a fellow blogger instructive in encouraging the laity to respectfully request the Sacrament of their pastors during this time of grace.

Private Communion
Unam Sanctam April 7, 2020
The whole thing was a surreal experience. It had been quite useless calling the parish office. All of the employees had been sent home weeks ago and calls simply went to an already full voicemail box. Seeing phone contact to be useless, I got out a piece of paper and scribbled a little note:

"Father X, would it be possible to make an appointment for my family to come receive Holy Communion and receive a blessing? We have not been able to receive the Eucharist for a month. Please call me and let me know if you'd be willing."

I scrawled my phone number on the note and stuffed it in an envelope with the priest's name on it. I drove to the parish and walked about the abandoned campus. The rectory was a sprawling complex with a couple of different buildings and multiple entry ways; I was not certain which door the priest was most likely to come or go from. I found took a guess as to which door looked the most used and affixed the letter to the door, then went my way.

Two days later, after dinner one evening, I heard a text come through. "It's Father X, please call me." I called him back and he said he would grant my request. Distribution of communion has not specifically been forbidden in my diocese, so as I understand it, this was basically a discretionary judgment left to each priest. I told him how many persons I had: "There will be myself and four of my children receiving." We made an appointment for the following day around 11:30 AM.

I called my children in and explained to them that we would be receiving Holy Communion the following day and to prepare themselves as best they could. There was palpable excitement. Receiving any sacrament in the age of Covid-19 is a challenge. They were joyful at being able to receive Christ.

The following morning we arrived at the church a few minutes early to pray in silence and dispose ourselves. We each took a squirt from the massive canister of hand sanitizer by the door and then knelt in silence. A few moments later the priest walked in, vested in a stole. He removed the ciborium from the tabernacle, approached us in the pews, and began proceeding through the text of a communion service.

"Behold the Lamb of God," he said, holding the Body of Christ aloft immediately in front of us. I'd never been so close to a priest at a moment like that. He administered the sacrament to each of us, on the tongue. There was no contact between the priest's fingers and my tongue; indeed, in my 18 years of receiving Holy Communion on the tongue, no priest's finger had ever touched me.

After communion, the priest gave us his priestly blessing and departed. We stayed behind a few moments to pray in thanksgiving. It reminded me very much of stories I had read in saints' lives; I remember in the biography of St. Elizabeth Ann Seton, it talked about how before she entered religious life, when she wanted to receive communion she had to approach the parish priest, ask for permission, explain what preparations she'd made to dispose herself, and then receive at a particular Mass scheduled for that purpose.

It was certainly more of a challenge to orchestrate, but this communion meant a lot more. I was more prepared. My children were more prepared. The extra work made it more meaningful. And I started thinking there really is something to the argument that less communions can be more beneficial. Of course I've always known that it was superior to receive fewer communions better prepared than more communions less prepared, but until this present darkness I had no experiential knowledge of the fact.

When this is all over, I think I may voluntarily receive Holy Communion less and spend more time in preparation. Maybe once a month or something.

Also, I am very grateful for this priest for accommodating myself and my children. I suggested a friend in another diocese try the same thing I did for herself and her family; her priest categorically told her no and simply forwarded her a link to an Act of Spiritual Communion. She was understandably disappointed.

May the Lord bless and keep you all.

Cf. Can Priests Cancel Public Masses, and Say a Private Mass Instead? No.

Friday, April 17, 2020

George Cardinal Pell April 11, 2020 Full Interview

Acquitted, declared innocent, Tuesday April 7, 2020

"For no Christian is an earthly tribunal the last tribunal."

Bolt: "What's the meaning to come out of this?...What do [we] have to learn from this?"
Cardinal Pell: "Well, I'd say, 'faith is a help.' I'd say, 'there is a God. He's interested in us. He's good. He's got funny ways. Christ explained what life's about, and that you can get meaning out of the most terrible suffering.'"

Why do all of the News Media, EWTN and Fox especially, ignore this huge story!!!
Fake News!

This story needs to be reported every day, at every hour, on every network, for at least a month! Anything less is totally unjust given the wholesale maligning and condemning of this innocent man of God.

N.B. Speaking of Vatican corruption, Pope Emeritus Benedict should leave the Vatican and speak  and move about freely! What is keeping him at the Vatican? Why does he not return to Bavaria? Shall we call it "The Benedict Captivity?" Tomorrow marks the 15th anniversary of his election to the Papacy. He should have remained Pope! The Francis Papacy is a mockery of the Catholic faith and of the Papal Office.

Summa Sermon Notes 10

Here are the Summa references for the EF for Easter Sunday and Low Sunday.

Easter Sunday
EPISTLE (1 Cor. 5:7-8)
"Purge out the old leaven"
   What is meant by leaven? III Q.74, a.4
"That you may be a new paste"
   Refraining from evil and doing Good II-II Q.79, a.1
   Avoiding and fleeing sin always II-II Q.35, a.1
   Contention and discord II-II Q.37; Q.38
   Fornication and incest II-II Q.154, a.2; a.3; a.9
   Envy and detraction II-II Q.36; Q.73
"For our Pasch"
   What is understood here by the Pasch? III Q.46, a.9, ad.1
   What is the literal meaning of those things done about the Paschal lamb? I-II Q.102, a.5, ad.2
   What feast of the New Law follows the Pasch of the Old Law I-II Q.103, a.3, ad.4
"Therefore let us feast, not with the old leaven"
   How should Christ our Pasch be eaten? I-II Q102, a.5, ad.2
GOSPEL (Mark 16:1-7)
"That, coming, they might anoint Jesus"
   Is it more proper of charity to love than to be loved? II-II Q.27, a.1
Is beneficence an act of charity? II-II Q.31, a.1
To whom should beneficence be shown? II-II Q.31, a.2; a.3
"And very early in the morning, the first day of the week"
   Religion II-II Q.81
   Devotion II-II Q.82
   Is devotion an act of religion? II-II Q.82, a.2
"The sun being now risen"
   How can St. John say that Mary Magdalen came in the morning when it was sill dark at the tomb? III Q.53, a.2
"And entering into the sepulchre"
   What is here understood by "Sepulchre"? III Q.55, a.6, ad.5
"They saw a young man sitting"
   Since John says that Mary Magdalen saw tow angels in white sitting, and Luke mentions two men in shining garments standing, how does Mark mention only one young man sitting at the right side? III Q.55, a.6, ad.5
"Who saith to them: e not affrighted"
   Why should an angel be the first to make known Christ's resurrection? III Q.55, a.2
   Since these women were witnesses of Christ's resurrection, and women have no voice in the Church, why was the resurrection first made known to them? III Q.55, a.1, ad.3
"He is risen"
   the resurrection of Christ III Q.53
   Was it necessary for Christ to rise again? III Q.53, a.1
   Was it proper for Christ to rise the third day? III Q.53, a.2
   By what power did Christ rise again III Q.53, a.4
   The resurrection of the dead III Q.53, a.3
"He goeth before you into Galilee"
   Why did Christ wish to show Himself in Galilee to the apostles III Q.55, a.3, ad.4

Low Sunday
EPISTLE (1 John 5:4-10)
"Whatsoever is born of God"
   The effects of Baptism III Q.69
"But he that believeth that Jesus is the Son of God"
   Is an explicit faith in the mystery of Christ necessary for salvation? II-II Q.2, a.7
"He that came by water and blood"
   The effects of Christ's passion III Q.49
"And there are three who give testimony in heaven"
   The being and essence of the Trinity I Q.30, a.2; Q.31 a.1; a.2
"The Father"
   Was it fitting for the Son to hear the voice of the Father attesting Christ's sonship? III Q.39, a.8
"The Word"
   Do the works and miracles of Christ give testimony of Christ? III Q.53, a.4
"And the Holy Ghost"
   Is the Holy Ghost fittingly described as descending on Christ at baptism? III Q.39, a.6; a.7
"And these three are one"
   Why do we say the Father, the Son and the Holy Ghost are one? I Q.31, a.2, ad.4
   Are the three Person of the same essence? I Q.39, a.2
"The water and the blood"
   Was it real water and real blood that flowed from Christ's side? III Q.66, a.4, ad.3; Q.75, a.7. ad.3
"[He] hath the testimony of God in himself?"
   The testimony of the Father attesting Christ's sonship III 39, a.8
Gospel (John 20:19-31)
"Peace be to you"
   Peace--is Christ our peace? III Q.55, a.3, ad.1
"He breathed on them"
   Why did Christ breathe the Holy Spirit on His apostles? I Q.43, a.7, ad.6
"Whose sins you shall forgive"
   Does the pries by absolution truly forgive sins? Suppl. Q.18, a.1; III Q.86, a.1
   The power of the keys Suppl. Q.18
"The doors being shut"
   How did Christ, if He had a real body, enter through closed doors? III Q.54, a.4; a.1, ad.1
"Put in Thy finger hither"
   Why did Christ's body after resurrection show scars? III Q.54, a.4
   Other qualities of Christ's body after the resurrection III Q.54
"Be not faithless"
   Infidelity II-II Q.10
"Because thou hast seen Me"
   Did Thomas believe what He saw? III Q.55, a.5
"Blessed are they that have not seen"
   Why did Christ in many proofs to His disciples portray Himself as living? III Q.55, a.5
"But these are written"
   Why did Christ not write His won doctrine rather than have it done by the evangelists and His disciples? III Q.42, a.4

Summa Sermon Notes 9

Here are the Summa references for the EF for Palm Sunday

Palm Sunday
EPISTLE (Phil. 2:5-11)
"Who, being in the form of God"
   Since Christ is of the same form of nature as God the Father, how is He other than the Father? I Q.31, a.2, ad.2
"Thought it not robbery to be equal with God"
   Is the Son equal to the Father? I Q.42, a.4; a.6
   Did the devil and the first man wish to be equal to God? II-II Q.163, a.2
"But emptied Himself"
   According to what nature was it proper for Christ (God) to be humiliated? II-II Q.161, a.1., ad.4
   How could Christ be said to empty Himself? III Q.57, a.2. ad.2
"Taking the form of a servant"
   Was the incarnation becoming to Christ III Q.1, a.1
   Was the assumption of a created nature becoming to a divine Person? III Q.3, a.1
"Being made in the likeness of men"
   Did Christ not assume a true human body? III Q.5, a.1, ad.1
"And in habit found as a man"
   Was human nature accidentally united to the word of God? III Q.2, a.6
"Becoming obedient unto death"
   Did Christ die out of obedience? III Q.47, a.2
   The passion of Christ III Q.46, a.2
   How great is the perfection of dying from obedience? II-II Q.124, a.3, ad.2
"Even the death of the cross"
   Was it becoming for Christ to suffer on the cross? III Q.46, a.4
"For which cause God hath exalted Him"
   Did Christ merit to be exalted by His passion? III Q.49, a.6; Q.57, a.1; Q.59, a.3; a.6
"And hath given Him a name which is above all names"
   How God gave Christ a name above all others III Q.49, a.6
GOSPEL (Matthew 26:1-27:66)
"You know that after two days shall be the pasch"
   Did Christ suffer at a convenient or suitable time? III Q.46, a.9
"Lest there should be a tumult among the people"
   Sedition II-II Q.42
   Is it sedition to resist your enemies in defense of the common good? II-II Q.42, a.2
"And the disciples, seeing it, had indignation"
   What is indignation and whence does it arise? II-II Q.158, a.7
"But Me you have not always"
   Have we not Christ daily in the sacrament of the Eucharist? III Q.75, a.1, ad.2
"And on the first day of the azymes"
   What was the first day of the azymes? III Q.46, a.9, ad.1; Q.74, a.4, ad.1
"He that dippeth his hand with Me"
   Why did Christ denounce and make known Judas' sin without any previous notice, even privately? II-II Q.33, a.7, ad.2 
"It were better for him if that man had not been born"
   Is it better to be than not to be? I Q. 5, a.2, ad.3
   Do the damned deliberately prefer not to exist? Suppl. Q.98, a.3
"And whilst they were at supper, Jesus took bread"
   The sacrament of the Eucharist III Q.74
   Was the institution of this sacrament proper? III Q.73, a.5
   What is the matter of this sacrament? III Q.74
   Did Christ take bread in order to eat it? III Q.81, a.1, ad.1
"This is My body"
   Is this the proper form of consecration of the bread? III Q.78, a.2
"This is My blood of the New Testament"
   Is this the proper form of the consecration of the wine? III Q.78, a.3
   Are these pronounced words true? viz. "This is My body" and "This the the chalice of My blood," etc. III Q.78, a.5
"And you shall be scandalized in Me, this night"
   Why does God permit man to fall at times? I Q.98, a.2, ad.3
"I will go before you into Galilee"
   Why should Christ have preferred to go before them into Galilee than elsewhere? III Q.55, a.3, ad.4
"He began to grow sorrowful"
   Was Christ really in sorrow? Why? III Q.15, a.6; a.4
"My soul is sorrowful even unto death"
   What is sorrow? I-II Q.25; Q.42, a.3, ad.2
   Was sorrow actually in Christ? III Q.15, a.4; a.6
   Since sorrow is opposed to the will, did Christ suffer unwillingly? III Q.47, a.1
"He fell upon His face, praying"
   Was it proper for Christ to pray? III Q.21, a.1
   According to which of His natures was it proper for Him to pray? II-II Q.88, a.10; III Q.21, a.2
   Was it proper for Christ to pray for Himself? III Q.21, a.3
"Let this chalice pass from me"
   Why does Christ call the chalice His passion? III Q.78, a.3, ad.1
"Nevertheless not as I will"
   Did Christ in His human will desire something other than did His divine will? III Q.18, a.6, ad.1
   Did the human will of Christ otherwise than the will of God? III Q.18, a.5
   Was there a conflict in the wills of Christ? III Q.18, a.6
   Was Christ's prayer heard, viz., "Father if it be possible," etc.? III Q.21, a.4, ad.1
"My Father, if this chalice may not pass away, but I must drink it"
   Was not some other plan of salvation possible than the passion of Christ? III Q.46, a.2
"Whomsoever I shall kiss"
   Hypocrisy II-II Q.111
"Put up again thy sword into its place"
   Is it becoming for clerics and bishops to bear arms? II-II Q.42, a.2; II-II Q.64, a.4
"For all that take the sword"
   Will all who take the sword perish by the sword? II-II Q.40, a.1, ad.1
   Is it permissible to kill sinners? II-II Q.64, a.2
"I sat daily with you teaching in the temple"
   Should Christ have taught all things publicly? III Q.42, a.3
"Sought false witness against Jesus"
   Is false testimony a mortal sin and how great a sin? II-II Q.70, a.4
"I adjure thee by the living God"
   What is adjuration? II-II Q.90, a.1
   Is it permissible for man to adjure? II-II Q.90
"He hath blasphemed"
   What is blasphemy and how in many ways does it happen? II-II Q.13, a.1
   Is blasphemy a sin and what kind of a sin? II-II Q.13, a.2; a.3
"Then did they spit in His face"
   In what members and senses did Christ suffer? III Q.46, a.5
"Prophesy unto us, O Christ, who is he who struck thee?"
   Ridicule, is it a mortal sin? II-II Q.75, a.2
"But he denied before them all"
   Did Peter in denying Christ lose his charity and love? II-II Q.24, a.12, ad.2
"Then He began to curse and swear"
   Is it permissible to curse oneself or others? II-II Q.76, a.1
"He wept bitterly"
   Penance as a virtue III Q.85, a.1
"And they delivered Him to Pontius Pilate"
   Why did the Jews deliver Christ to Pilate, instead of killing Him? III Q.47, a.4, ad.3
"Then Judas, who betrayed Him, seeing that He was condemned"
   Why Judas sinned in betraying Christ III Q.47, a.3, ad.3
"Saying, I have sinned"
   Is contrition an act of virtue? Suppl. Q.1, a.2
"And went and hanged himself with a halter"
   Is despair a sin? In what does it consist? II-II Q.20, a.1
   Should despair arise from horror of our sins? II-II Q.20, a.4
"He hanged himself"
   Is it permissible to take one's own life? II-II Q.64, a.5
"They bought with them the potter's field, to be a burying place for strangers"
   Is it permitted to sell a grave in a sacred place? II-II Q.100, a.4, ad.3
"And Jesus stood before the judge"
   Can a judge pass sentence on one not subject to him? II-II Q.67, a.1
"And when He was accused"
   Is a man bound to accuse himself? II-II Q.69, a.1
   Should an accusation be in writing? II-II Q.68, a.2
   How does an accusation become unjust? II-II Q.68, a.3
   May a judge pass sentence without accusation? II-II Q.67, a.3
"And He answered to him never a word"
   Is the accused bound to answer truthfully to all the judge asks? II-II Q.69, a.1
"The governor was accustomed to release to the people"
   May the judge rightly relax punishment II-II Q.67, a.4
   May a judge, knowing the truth, pass sentence to the contrary because of what is adduced in court? II-II Q.67, a.2
"I have suffered many things this day in a dream"
   Is believing in dreams proper? II-II Q.95, a.6
"I am innocent of the blood of this just man"
   Did Pilate sin in delivering Christ to crucifixion? III Q.47, a.3. ad.3
"Delivered be crucified"
   Should Christ have suffered on the cross? III Q.46, a.4
"And taking Jesus into the hall"
   Did Christ undergo all sufferings? III Q.64, a.5
   Was Christ's pain in the passion greater than all others? III Q.64, a.6
"And they came to a place that is called Golgotha"
   Did Christ suffer in a suitable place? III Q.46, a.10
   Why did Christ not suffer in Nazareth or Bethlehem but in Jerusalem? III Q.46, a.10
"And after they had crucified Him"
   Was the sin of those crucifying Christ most heinous? III Q.47, a.6
"They cast lots"
   What are lots? II-II Q.95, a.8
   Is it permissible to cast lots? II-II Q.95, a.8
"Then they crucified Him with two thieves"
   Should Christ have been crucified with thieves? III Q.46, a.11
"And the selfsame things the thieve also reproached Him with"
   Was there another thief, besides those blaspheming, who asked for forgiveness? III Q.46, a.11, ad.3
"There was darkness over the whole earth"
   During Christ's passion was the course of the heavenly bodies changed? III Q.44, a.2, ad.2
"Why hast Thou forsaken Me?"
   How did the Father abandon Christ in His passion? III Q.47, a.3
   Was the deity of Christ separated from His flesh in death? III Q. 50, a.2
"And crying with a loud voice, He yielded up the ghost"
   Why did Christ cry with a loud voice at death? III Q.47, a.1, ad.2
   Was it proper for Christ do die? III Q.50, a.1
   Was Christ a man during the three days of death? III Q.50, a.4
   Was the body of the dead and of the living Christ identically the same? III Q.50, a.5
"And behold the veil of the temple was rent in two"
   Why was the veil of the temple rent during Christ's passion? III Q.44, a.3
"And the earth quaked"
   Why did the earth quake, the rocks break the graves open? III Q.44, a.3, ad.3
"And many bodies of the saints"
   Will these risen saints die again" III Q.53, a.3, ad. 2
"Mary, the mother of James and Joseph"
   Is this Mary also the mother of Christ? III Q.28, a.3, ad.6
"Wrapt it in a clean linen cloth"
   Why was Christ's body wrapped in a clean linen cloth? III Q.51, a.2, ad.3
"And laid Him in His own new monument"
   Why was Christ placed in a new monument of stone? III Q.51, a.2, ad.4
   Why did Christ prefer burial in a garden in a new and strange grave? III Q.51, a.2, ad.4
   Since Christ's death was so ignominious, why did He wish to be so lavishly buried? III Q.51, a.2. ad.1
   When was Christ in the tomb? III Q.51, a.4

Summa Sermon Notes 8

Here are the Summa references for the EF for the 4th and 5th (Passion) Sundays of Lent

4th Sunday of Lent
EPISTLE (Galations 4:22-31)
"Which things are said by an allegory"
   Has the Scripture many meanings? I Q.1, a.10
"Engendering unto bondage"
   Difference between the Old and New Law I-II Q.107, a.1, ad.2
   Why the Old Law is called the law of fear I-II Q.107, a.1, ad.2
   Was the Old Law good? I-II Q.98, a.1, a.1
   Did the Old Law induce men to observance by threats and promises (temporal)? I-II Q.99, a.6
"That Jerusalem which is above is free"
   Is the New Law one of love and liberty I-II Q.107, a.1, ad.2
   Does the New Law justify? I-II Q.106, a.2.
"Rejoice, thou barren, that bearest not"
   Should the New Law have been given from the beginning? I-II Q.106, a.3
   Did any go from the Old into the New Law and were they thereby saved? I-II Q.106, a.1, ad.3; a.3, ad.2; Q. 107, a.1, ad.2
   Similarly, at time of the New Law did some remain under the Old Law I-II Q.107, a.1, ad.2
"For many are children of the desolate, more than," etc.
   In the New Law, besides the Jews, the Gentiles were saved III Q.42, a.1
GOSPEL (John 6:1-15)
"Because they saw the miracles which He did on them"
   Should Christ have performed works and miracles? III Q.43, a.1
   What is a miracle? I Q.105, a.7
   Can God alone perform miracles? I Q.110, a.4
   Is one miracle greater than another? I Q.105, a.8
   Can the grace of performing miracles be communicated to some saint? II-II Q.178
   Why is the grace of miracles not given to all the saints? II-II Q.178, a.2, ad.5
   Were the miracles which Christ performed sufficient to prove His divinity? III Q.43, a.4
"On them that were diseased"
   Did Christ suitably perform miracles on men? III Q.44, a.3
"And when Jesus had seen that a very great multitude"
   Almsdeeds II-II Q.32
   Is giving alms of precept, and when? II-II Q.32, a.5
   Mercy (pity); how great a virtue is it? II-II Q.30, a.4
"And He said this to try him"
   Why does Christ tempt (test) man, since He already knows his mind?  II-II Q.97, a.2
"And Jesus took the loaves"
   The sacrament of the Eucharist III Q.77
"And when He had given thanks"
   Why did Christ pray in working miracles? III Q.43, a.2, ad.2
"And when they were filled"
   How was this multiplication of the loaves performed? III Q.44, a.4, ad.4
"This is of truth the prophet"
   Prophesy II-II Q.171
   Was Christ a Prophet? III Q.7, a.8

Passion Sunday
EPISTLE (Hebrews 9:11-15)
"Christ being come a high priest"
   Was the priesthood becoming to Christ? III Q.22, a.1
   The priesthood of Christ? III Q.22
"Of the good things to come"
   Why Christ is called the high priest of the good things to come? III Q.22, a.5
"More perfect tabernacle not made by hands"
   Whether Christ should be said to be conceived of the Holy Ghost? III Q.22, a.2
"But by His own blood"
   Was Christ the Host which He as Priest offered to God the Father? III Q.22, a.2
"Having obtained eternal redemption"
   Does Christ's priesthood endure forever? III Q.22, a.5
   Did Christ by His passion open for us the gates of heaven? III Q.49, a.5
   Does the effect of Christ's priesthood belong to Him or only to others? III Q.22, a.4
   Was Christ's priesthood according to the order of Melchisedech? III Q.22, a.6
"For if the blood of goats and of oxen"
   Did the ceremonies of the Old Law have salvific power? I-II Q.103, a.2
"How much more will the blood of Christ cleanse our conscience?
   Was the expiation of sin an effect of Christ's priesthood? III Q.22, a.3
   Were we reconciled to God by Christ's passion? III Q.49, a.4
"And therefore He is the mediator of the New Testament"
   What has to be considered in a mediator? III Q.26, a.2
   According to what nature is Christ said to be a mediator? III Q.26, a.2
   Is being a mediator of god and man becoming to Christ? III Q.26, a.1
GOSPEL (John 8: 46-59)
"Which of you shall convince Me of sin?
   Is it a sin to know your own good and approve it? II-II Q.138, a.1
   Is it boasting when one extols himself beyond the opinion of men? II-II Q.112, a.1
   Is God, praising Himself and seeking His own glory, guilty of vainglory? II-II Q.112, a.1, ad.1
   When is it praiseworthy to seek one's own glory and good name? II-II Q.112, a.1, ad.3
"If I say the truth to you"
   Truth I Q.16
   The virtue of truth II-II Q.109
"Therefore you hear them not"
   Can men know truth without grace? I-II Q. 109, a.1
   Why do some, hearing the same sermon, believe, and others not? II-II Q.6, a.1
   How God moves the created intellect I Q.105, a.3
"The Jews therefore answered and said to Him, do we not say well?"
   Should Christ have preached to the Hews without offending them? III Q.42, a.2
"That Thou art a Samaritan"
   Is envy a capital vice? II-II Q.36, a.4
   Whence does contumely arise? II-II Q.72, a.4
   Cursing II-II Q.76
"Abraham is dead"
   Do all die according to the body? I-II Q.81, a.3, ad.1; Suppl. Q.78, a.1
   Is death the result of sin? I-II Q.85, a.5; II-II Q.164, a.1
   How our bodies are vivified by the indwelling of the Spirit within us I-II Q.85, a.5, ad.2
"If glorify myself, my glory is nothing"
   Vainglory; how many ways it is committed II-II Q.132, a.1
"I shall be like to you, a liar"
   Why did our Lord publicly condemn the vices of the Jews? III Q.42, a.2; II-II Q.72, a.2, ad.2
"Abraham your father rejoiced"
   Was it from Abraham's merit that the seed was promised to him, from which all men would be blessed? I-II Q.98, a.4
"Jesus hid Himself and went out of the temple"
   Did Christ show His divinity when, by standing in the midst of those plotting against Him, He was not seized by them? III Q.44, a.3, ad.1

Thursday, April 16, 2020

From a Senseless Monologue to the Saving Dialogue

Today, in F. Ebner, I came across an idea which has been on my mind for some years now, the fact that every man is carrying on an interior conversation, formulating innumerable unspoken words to express the self, all the time. That conversation, which is typically carried out in the way of a monologue, speaking to "oneself," in the activity of one's mind and soul, is meant to become a dialogue. The expression (meaning "to press out") of oneself in words is not meant to be contained within oneself. It is made for communication, for communion, with others, and, ultimately, with God. Turn your constant monologue into a constant dialogue.

That is the object of all prayer, especially Christian prayer, our vocal prayers, our meditation and our contemplation. Prayer is turning your heart and your mind to God, to go from monologue to dialogue. Tell God, tell Christ, tell holy Mary, tell the Angels and the Saints, tell the Church, all that you are telling yourself. God understands your conversation better than your self can understand it. You will come to know yourself by formulating your thoughts, by "expressing" yourself (pressing yourself out) to God. Our conversation is restless until we give it to the Father in heaven, in Christ. Christ, the Son, is constant dialogue with the Father. You too are made for that. Nothing less will give you peace. Your only peace is in your real conversation with God, turning your conversation over to Him, now, and now, and now. Totus tuus sum, et omnia mea tua sunt. Accipio te in mea omnia. Dona mihi cor tuum, O Maria!

"...[W]hy do we record our thoughts? Because of vanity and because we think so much of them? We want to come to rest in the restlessness in which they put us. And the thoughts want to rest by coming to the word. But there is another reason. We think our best thoughts as we talk to someone in spirit. All thinking is 'inner speech' - in monologue or in dialogue. And when we record the thought, it is above all the expression of a secret or obvious need for communication. No thought is entirely at ease in the loneliness of being thought. Because man lives - idealiter or realiter - spiritually in the "relationship of the I to the Thou", and the word is essentially what makes this relationship actual. The word and love."*

Talk to God! all the time.

That is the meaning of Saint Paul's injunction, "pray constantly." 1 Thessalonians 5:17

*Und warum zeichnen wir unsere Gedanken auf? Gerade aus Eitelkeit und weil wir gar so viel von ihnen halten? Wir wollen zur Ruhe kommen in der Unruhe, in die sie uns versetzen. Und die Gedanken wollen zur Ruhe kommen, indem sie zum Wort kommen. Es ist aber noch ein anderer Grund da. Unsere besten Gedanken denken wir, während wir uns im Geiste mit jemandem unterreden. Alles Denken ist "innere Rede"--im Monolog oder im Dialog. Und wenn wir die Gedanken aufzeichnen, so ist das vor allem auch der Ausdruck eines geheimen oder offenkundigen Mitteilungsbedürfnisses. Es ist keinem Gedanken in der Einsamkeit seines Gedachtwerdens ganz wohl. Denn der Mensch lebt--idealiter oder realiter--geistig im "Verhältneis des Ich zum Du", und das Wort ist wesentlich dasjenige, wodurch dieses Verhältnis aktuell wird. Das Wort und die Liebe.

"Geistiges Leben" (1931) in Ferdinand Ebner, Fragmente, Aufsätze, Aphorismen: Zu einer Pneumatologie des Wortes Band I, München: Kösel, 1963, 939-940.

Wednesday, April 15, 2020

An Agnus Dei for Mercy in Epidemic

Below Is the Recording of the Entire Mass

Sunday, April 12, 2020

Straw Men and Some Distinctions

Some recent articles in the Catholic press criticize the large Catholic outcry against the closing of our churches and the apparent total banning of the laity from the sacraments by our bishops, our "shepherds," who have all but relegated the entire Catholic flock to follow the Mass on a digital screen, "until further notice."

The typical caricature is that those who are critical of such draconian methods by our Catholic leaders are inciting civil disobedience or encouraging priests to disobey their bishops. And the writers of the articles present themselves as saying something novel or otherwise insightful when they are generally repeating the going narrative of the propaganda machine, blind obedience to "the experts" without using the sensus fidelium as our guide. Cf. Father Thomas White's response to Rusty Reno's article "Say "No" to Death's Dominion."

The intelligent conservative Catholic critique of these extreme measures is not at all a call to buck the system or to deny science. Many of them are scientists and politicians themselves entirely committed to the civic cause. They are simply demanding reasonable access to the churches and to the sacraments. They are not demanding huge Sunday Masses! That is a straw man. The rebuttals ignore the just and reasonable demand of the faithful of leaving our churches open and giving them reasonable access to the sacraments, while respecting all of the recommended protocols. Here is a quick list of reasonable proposals which would promote our Catholic faith while not present any challenge to the civil norms.

While fully promoting, following and respecting the civil social-distancing recommendations on avoiding crowds, hand sanitizing, etc....

1. All Catholic churches and chapels should remain open for private devotion, small private masses, communion and confessions, etc.

2. Priests should be encouraged and even required to spend time every day in their open churches to attend to the needs of the faithful, saying masses on the side altars of the churches and cathedrals, etc. Being there, in prayer, available, while keeping three feet distance as the norm.

3. Priests should be encouraged and even required to do daily processions (small, sparse and devout) through their parishes, to publicly pray for the people under their care. That should be encouraged and facilitated by the civil authorities.

4. Priests should immediately be called and respond to any Catholic with a life-threatening illness and administer the sacraments of the last rights, now as ever. That is one of the principle functions of the priest and of the Church, to assist the sick, the dying and the dead. We cannot shirk that sacred duty.

All of the above should be allowed. Most people in the present circumstance are freaked out anyway and will not want to crowd into any place, never mind a church. So why forbid the pious Catholic among them from coming to the churches to visit the Most Blessed Sacrament? We are not Protestants. We need the sacraments. Open the churches!

The guidelines of most bishops on this give the impression that priests cannot rightfully administer any sacraments to anyone during this time. However, if one carefully reads the diocesan directives, the vagueness and the canonical imprecision of most of them seems to leave much to the discretion of the pastors and priests regarding individual cases; so it is not a matter of disobedience for a priest to continue, even in this quite repressive climate, to exercise his zeal in his sacramental service of the laity, following all the governmental norms and the apparent wishes of his superiors. To say so, and to say that those who encourage the priests to discretely exercise their public ministry, even in this climate, are encouraging them to disobey their bishops, is largely another straw man.

The Italian government does not forbid any of the things I have listed above, but rather seems to encourage them. It has most recently said that going to the neighborhood church is a legitimate reason to leave one's house during this epidemic and that priests can go to the churches with their assistants for their private functions, freely leaving the churches open! But then, doctors, nurses, civic officials, etc., the laity, when they approach the church, they find it locked! That's the problem. Open the churches!

We are not calling for civil disobedience. We are calling for Catholic zeal with full respect for the rule of law. And that zeal is far from evident when we are completely closed for business, or give the appearance of that, which is far beyond anything the civil law expects or can rightly demand. To forbid all Catholic sacramental worship to all of the faithful is historically unprecedented and wrong because that goes against the jus divinum. That would be the violation of the inalienable rights and duties of the faithful, and of the priests.

Private religious ceremonies should not be interpreted as meaning that no laity are allowed, but that is what most people seem to think, especially when the churches are required to be locked and people are entirely forbidden from attending mass or receiving communion. Consider, for example, that at his Easter Mass today at the Vatican Pope Francis had more than fifty people present. Or the Easter Mass at our National Basilica Shrine had at least twenty five people present. There is no reason why every parish and cathedral every day can't have multiple private masses with people attending and participating in small numbers and the churches open for people to come and pray before the Lord all day every day. That is essential to our Catholic faith and an essential need for the world, especially in crisis, the public display of Catholic devotion.

Open Letter to the Bishops to Facilitate Greater Access to the churches and the sacraments.

Visiting Church, Valid Reason to Go Out --Italian Prime Minister

Saturday, April 11, 2020

Traditional Easter Vigil

Four Hours of Beautiful Mystery!
Christ is the Light of the World!

El Inocente Cardenal Pell da Su Mensaje Pascual

“En el Sufrimiento Encontramos la Redención”
Su Eminencia Jorge Cardenal Pell, 11 abril 2020

Toda persona sufre. No hay nadie que se escape siempre. Todos se enfrentan a un par de preguntas. ¿Que debería hacer en esta situación? ¿Por qué hay tanto mal y sufrimiento? ¿Y por qué me pasó esto? ¿Por qué la pandemia de coronavirus?

Los antiguos griegos y romanos pensaban que los dioses eran caprichosos, susceptibles de castigar sin razón. Se dice que cuando envolvemos nuestros regalos de Navidad, seguimos la antigua práctica de los que ofrecían un sacrificio a un dios particular, cubriéndolo para que los otros dioses no se pusieran celosos.

Los ateos de hoy en día creen que el universo, incluyéndonos a nosotros, es producto del azar ciego, que no existe una Inteligencia trascendente para poder explicar nuestra secuencia de ADN, los 10,000 nervios conectados a un ojo, el genio de un Shakespeare, Michelangelo, Beethoven y un Alberto Einstein.

Otra opción es un agnosticismo radical. No sabemos y quizás no queremos saber. De manera que el agnósticos puede luchar contra el destino con una dignidad estoica o ponerse furioso, viajar a la noche "enfurecido contra la luz".

La Pascua da la respuesta cristiana al sufrimiento y al vivir. Los cristianos son monoteístas que surjieron desde dentro de la revelación judía; ellos también siguen al Dios de Abraham, de Isaac y de Jacob. Ellos creen que hace casi 2000 años un joven judío fue crucificado en una colina en Jerusalén, un viernes por la tarde, despreciado y rechazado. Todos lo vieron morir, mientras que un número limitado de personas con fe lo vieron después de una milagrosa resurrección corporal ese mismo domingo. La afirmación no es que el alma de Jesús siga marchando. Fue el regreso de toda su persona de la muerte, rompiendo las reglas de la salud y de la física, ya que los cristianos creen que este joven era el único Hijo de Dios, divino, el Mesías. Los huesos de Jesús nunca se descubrirán. Para consternación de muchos, este era un Mesías que no era un gran monarca como David o Salomón, pero el siervo sufriente de Isaías, que nos redime, nos permite recibir el perdón y entrar en una eternidad feliz.

“He aquí el madero de la cruz en el que cuelga el Salvador [Salus =" la Salud "] del mundo. [¡Vengan a adorar!] "[Ecce Lignum Crucis in quo Salus mundi pependit, venite adoremus!]

Mi generación y los más jóvenes están pasando por un momento único, un momento sin precedentes. No estábamos vivos para la pandemia de la gripe española después de la Primera Guerra Mundial, hasta ahora algo comparable, y hemos oído hablar de la terrible Peste Negra del siglo XIV, donde en algunos lugares murió un tercio de la población. La novedad es nuestra capacidad de combatir la enfermedad de manera inteligente, para mitigar la propagación.

La crisis de abuso sexual dañó a miles de víctimas. Desde muchos puntos de vista, la crisis también es mala para la Iglesia Católica, pero hemos dolorosamente eliminado un cáncer moral, y eso es bueno. Así también verán algunos al COVID-19, como un momento malo para aquellos que afirman creer en un Dios bueno y racional, el Amor Supremo y la Inteligencia Suprema, el Creador del universo. Y es un misterio: todo sufrimiento, pero especialmente la gran cantidad de muertes por plagas y guerras. Pero los cristianos pueden hacerle frente al sufrimiento mejor que podrán explicar los ateos la belleza y la felicidad de la vida.

Y muchos, la mayoría, entienden en qué dirección vamos cuando entienden que el único Hijo de Dios no tuvo una carrera fácil y que sufrió más que lo merecido. Jesús nos redimió y podemos redimir nuestro sufrimiento uniéndolo al suyo y ofreciéndolo a Dios.

Acabo de pasarme 13 meses en la cárcel por un delito que no cometí, una contrariedad tras otra. Sabía que Dios estaba conmigo, pero no sabía lo que pretendía, aunque sabía que nos ha dejado libres a todos. Pues con cada golpe era un consuelo saber que podía ofrecércelo a Dios por algún buen propósito, como convirtiende la masa de sufrimiento en energía espiritual.

Las raíces de nuestros servicios de salud están profundamente arraigadas en la tradición cristiana de servicio, sigiendo su trabajo de largas horas y con un vivo peligro de infección. No era así en la Roma pagana, donde los cristianos eran únicos porque se quedaban con sus enfermos y los cuidaban en tiempos de peste. Incluso Galén, el médico antiguo más conocido, huyó a su finca durante la peste.

Kiko Argüello, co-fundador del Camino Neocatecúmeno, afirma que una diferencia fundamental entre los temerosos de Dios y los secularistas de hoy se encuentra en la menera de afrontar al sufrimiento. Con demasiada frecuencia, los irreligiosos quieren eliminar la causa del sufrimiento, a través del aborto, la eutanasia, o excluirla de la vista, dejando a nuestros seres queridos sin visitarlos en asilos de ancianos. Los cristianos ven a Cristo en todos los que sufren: en las víctimas del abuso, en los enfermos, en los ancianos, y están obligados a ayudar.

Eso es parte del mensaje de la Pascua de Cristo resucitado.

Cardinal Pell, Innocent, Proclaims Easter Faith

"In the Suffering we Find Redemption"
His Eminence George Cardinal Pell

Every person suffers. None escapes all the time. Everyone is confronted with a couple of questions. What should I do in this situation? Why is there so much evil and suffering? And why did this happen to me? Why the coronavirus pandemic?

The ancient Greeks and Romans thought the gods were capricious, liable to punish without reason. It is claimed that when we wrap up our Christmas presents we are following the ancient practice of those offering a sacrifice to a particular god who would cover it so the other gods would not be jealous.

The atheists today believe that the universe, including us, is the product of blind chance, that no transcendent Intelligence exists to help explain our DNA sequence, the 10,000 nerves connected to an eye, the genius of Shakespeare, Michelangelo, Beethoven and Albert Einstein.

Another option is a radical agnosticism. We don’t know and perhaps we don’t want to know. Here the agnostics can battle against fate with a Stoic dignity or turn furious, journey into the night “raging against the light”.

Easter provides the Christian answer to suffering and living. Christians are monotheists who developed from within the Jewish revelation; they too follow the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. They believe that nearly 2000 years ago a young Jew was crucified on a hilltop in Jerusalem, one Friday afternoon, despised and rejected. Everyone saw him die, while a limited number, those with faith, saw him after a miraculous bodily resurrection on the next Sunday. The claim is not that Jesus’ soul goes marching on. It was a return of his entire person from death, breaking the rules of health and physics, as Christians believe this young man was the only Son of God, divine, the Messiah. Jesus’ bones will never be found. To the dismay of many this was a Messiah, who was not a great monarch like David or Solomon, but Isaiah’s suffering servant, who redeems us, enables us to receive forgiveness and enter into a happy eternity.

“Behold the wood of the cross on which hangs the Saviour [Salus = "Health"] of the World. [Come adore!]” [Ecce Lignum Crucis in quo Salus mundi pependit, venite adoremus!]

My generation and those younger are passing through a unique moment. It is not unprecedented. We were not alive for the Spanish flu pandemic after World War I, somewhat comparable so far, and we have heard of the terrible Black Death in the 14th century, where one-third of the population died in some places. What is new is our capacity to fight the disease intelligently, mitigate the spread.

The sexual abuse crisis damaged thousands of victims. From many points of view the crisis is also bad for the Catholic Church, but we have painfully cut out a moral cancer and this is good. So too some would see COVID-19 as a bad time for those who claim to believe in a good and rational God, the Supreme Love and Intelligence, the Creator of the universe. And it is a mystery; all suffering, but especially the massive number of deaths through plagues and wars. But Christians can cope with suffering better than the atheists can explain the beauty and happiness of life.

And many, most understand the direction we are heading when it is pointed out that the only Son of God did not have an easy run and suffered more than his share. Jesus redeemed us and we can redeem our suffering by joining it to His and offering it to God.

I have just spent 13 months in jail for a crime I didn’t commit, one disappointment after another. I knew God was with me, but I didn’t know what He was up to, although I realised He has left all of us free. But with every blow it was a consolation to know I could offer it to God for some good purpose like turning the mass of suffering into spiritual energy.

The roots of our health services are deeply rooted in the Christian tradition of service, their continuing work of long hours and with a lively danger of infection. It wasn’t like this in pagan Rome where Christians were unique because they stayed with their sick and nursed them in times of plague. Even Galen, the best known ancient physician, fled to his country estate during the plague.

Kiko Arguello, co-founder of the Neocatechumenal Way, claims that a fundamental difference between God-fearers and secularists today is found in the approach to suffering. Too often the irreligious want to eliminate the cause of the suffering, through abortion, euthanasia, or exclude it from sight, leaving our loved ones unvisited in nursing homes. Christians see Christ in everyone who suffers — victims, the sick, the elderly — and are obliged to help.

That is part of the Easter message of the Risen Christ.

Tuesday, March 31, 2020 The High Court of Australia Acquitted Cardinal Pell

Friday, April 10, 2020

Sunday, April 5, 2020

The Cross of Christ Gives Meaning to this World --St. Newman

“[T]he death of the Eternal Word of God made flesh..., [His Cross], our great lesson how to think and how to speak of this world... It has given a meaning to the various, shifting course, the trials, the temptations, the sufferings, of [man's] earthly state. [The Cross of Christ] has brought together and made consistent all that seemed discordant and aimless. It has taught us how to live, how to use this world, what to expect, what to desire, what to hope. [Christ and His Cross] is the tone into which all the strains of this world's music are ultimately to be resolved.

“Look around, and see what the world presents of high and low. Go to the court of princes. See the treasure and skill of all nations brought together to honour [the children of men]. Observe the prostration of the many before the few. Consider the form and ceremonial, the pomp, the state, the circumstance; and the vain-glory. Do you wish to know the worth of it all? look at the Cross of Christ.

“Go to the political world: see nation jealous of nation, trade rivalling trade, armies and fleets matched against each other. Survey the various ranks of the community, its parties and their contests, the strivings of the ambitious, the intrigues of the crafty. What is the end of all this turmoil? the grave. What is the measure? the Cross.

“Go, again, to the world of intellect and science: consider the wonderful discoveries which the human mind is making, the variety of arts to which its discoveries give rise, the all but miracles by which it shows its power; and next, the pride and confidence of reason, and the absorbing devotion of thought to transitory objects, which is the consequence. Would you form a right judgment of all this? look at the Cross.

“Again: look at misery, look at poverty and destitution, look at oppression and captivity; go where food is scanty, and lodging unhealthy. Consider pain and suffering, diseases long or violent, all that is frightful and revolting. Would you know how to rate all these? gaze upon the Cross.

“Thus in the Cross, and Him who hung upon it, all things meet; all things subserve it, all things need it. It is their centre and their interpretation. For [Christ, this Holy Week, the most Holy Week,] was lifted up upon it, that He might draw all men and all things unto Him.”

"The Cross of Christ, The Measure of the World: Sixth Sunday of Lent" in John Henry Newman, Parochial and Plain Sermons, San Francisco: Ignatius, 1997, 1240-1241.

Plinthos: The Cross of Christ gives meaning to this world. That is why all men need the Mass and the Catholic sacraments above every thing in the world. The Mass, the administration of the seven sacraments, and public Catholic worship are not “dispensable, non-essential activity.” To say that would be a terrible blasphemy, because the right worship of God is the only essential work!, because the Cross of Christ is the meaning of the world. It is the meaning of every true nobility, of every wealth, of every real power, of all knowledge and technology; it gives meaning to every poverty, to every sickness, to every death and to every life. And the Mass is the trans-historical holy sacrifice of Christ on Calvary, every spiritual gift comes to the world from the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass. People need the Mass! The world needs the Mass. The Church Herself, all men united to God, in spirit and in truth, comes from the Mass. Ecclesia Ipsa de Eucharistia est!

This, my Palm Sunday sermon, I delivered today at the end of the Missa Cantata which is available online here. Go to minute 1:47:05 for the sermon.
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