Thursday, May 27, 2010

Pange Lingua

My two parishes (Our Lady of Good Counsel, Marysville & St. Bernadette, Duncannon) held their annual Forty Hours Devotions this past weekend (May 23, 24, 25). Rev. Mr. (Dr.) Paul Schenck was the homilist and several priests from the faculty of Mount St. Mary Seminary attended along with several priests and deacons of the Diocese of Harrisburg (currently sede vacante)

Dr.Schenke is a convert from Judaism who was baptized a Christian at the age of 16, joined the Assembly of God and later became an ordained minister for the Reformed Episcopal Church. He is Founding Director of the National Pro-Life Center on Capitol Hill, located directly across from the United States Supreme Court.  On November 1, 2008 Bishop Kevin C. Rhoades appointed him Director for Respect Life Activities for the Diocese of Harrisburg (PA). He was ordained a Deacon in February 2010 and Deo Volente will be ordained a Priest in June of this same year.

The clergy and laity were blessed with an erudite and eloquent homily. Dr. Schenck reminded us of the Jewish roots not just of Jesus' humanity but also the roots of formalized worship. Our tabernacles often resemble the Ark of Covenant on purpose since the original contained the written Word of God in stone (the Debarim or Ten Words or Ten Commandments)  Our Catholic Tabernacles contained the Word Made Flesh but the Holy Eucharist is confected when the Priest SAYS THE WORDS of Christ spoken at the Last Supper. The Word becomes Flesh and dwells in the tabernacle which is found in the SANCTUARY where the ALTAR OF SACRIFICE resided. In Old Testament times, a lamb was slain on the altar and forgiveness of sins was prayed for, especially on Yom Kippur (Day of Atonement).  Jesus, the Lamb of God, is both Priest and Victim and offers Himself as spotless Lamb on the altar of the Cross.

Deacon Schenck reminded us of the utmost importance of ALTAR and TABERNACLE and PRIESTHOOD. When the Romans destroyed the Temple of Jerusalem in 70 AD, Temple worship ended for the Jews but for Christians, every church, chapel and oratory is a temple where the unbloody sacrifice of Calvary is reenacted for the salvation of souls and the forgivess of sins.  As important is the preached written and spoken Word of God, the Word Made Flesh is a real PERSON, the Second Person of the Holy Trinity.  The Eucharist is the Body and Blood, Soul and Divinity of Christ. It IS Christ Himself. His words are powerful, creative, efficacious, miraculous, infallible, etc., but Jesus Christ is more than the sum of His words. He is God and Man (human and divine). He is the Son of God and the Son of Mary.  Eucharistic Worship makes sense and is the greatest treasure of our Catholic faith.


Sunday, May 23, 2010

Jesuit-author responds to column; Good priest defends pope, corrects misguided priest

Jesuit-author responds to column; Good priest defends pope, corrects misguided priest

In an October 2007 column I featured Father J. Patrick Wissman, pastor of Sacred Heart Catholic Church in Bolivar, Mo., who's no fan of Catholic orthodoxy.

The good Father John Trigilio sent me the following e-mail (slightly edited):

"Father J. Patrick Wissman made the preposterous assertion in October 2007 that 'the use of Latin as partly responsible for the rise and success of Hitler.' He also claimed that Pope Benedict 'was out of touch with the ordinary Church.' In his most recent rant, Father Wissman exposes his schismatic tendencies. He crosses the line between showing dissent from papal teaching and demonstrating open defiance of the Petrine ministry itself. In other words, he sees no need for the papacy.

"A church without a head is a decapitated corpse. Our Divine Lord Himself instituted both the Catholic Church and the papacy when He substantially and integrally connected 'church' (ekklesia) and 'rock' (petra). Elsewhere, Christ made it clear that a house built on sand cannot and will not stand. But a house built on rock will endure. Likewise, the Savior built His Church on the rock of Saint Peter and his successors.

"Vatican I defined papal infallibility a century before Vatican II reaffirmed the dogma in Lumen Gentium. That same Second Vatican Council, in the very same Dogmatic Constitution on the Church, taught about the necessity of the Petrine ministry (papacy) — and not just to make rare ex cathedra infallible statements. 'The pope's power of primacy over all, both pastors and faithful, remains whole and intact. In virtue of his office, that is as Vicar of Christ and pastor of the whole Church, the Roman Pontiff has full, supreme, immediate and universal power over the Church. And he is always free to exercise this power.' The council fathers went further and quoted Pope Pius XII (Humani Generis) and said 'religious submission of mind and will must be shown in a special way to the authentic Magisterium of the Roman Pontiff, even when he is not speaking ex cathedra.'

"Hence, Father Wissman's imprudent and disrespectful attack on Pope Benedict (calling him a 'white-washed sepulcher') is a public repudiation of his authority — pastoral and magisterial. He seems to reject the pope's authority to govern and to teach. Is this not the essence of schism? Anyone who openly challenges papal authority is a schismatic and quite likely a heretic as well, since it is Church doctrine that the Roman Pontiff possesses supreme, full, immediate and universal authority. Papal primacy is not the same as papal infallibility, but the bishop of Rome possesses both charisms and exercises them as he sees fit. No council is superior to a pope (canons 331-332, 336-338, 1372). Only an ecumenical council convened, presided and confirmed by the reigning pontiff has legitimacy, and only those decrees he personally approves.

"Father Wissman seems to think Vatican II can exist extra Petram which would be extra Ecclesiam since, as Saint Ambrose aptly put it, ubi petrus ibi ecclesia. Yet for faithful sons of the Church, it is not a matter of either the council or the pope. It is both the council and the pope. It is also both the ordinary form and the extraordinary form (vernacular and Latin).

"Father Wissman seeks to divide, whereas Pope Benedict unites."

© Matt C. Abbott

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