Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Frohliche Weinachten

Pope B16 gives his urbi et orbe blessing to the world on Christmas day, 2007.

Notice the elegant cope, magnificent mitre and (as they say in England) looooovely cathedra (chair).

Perhaps the new Master of Ceremonies did some Christmas shopping?

Sunday, December 23, 2007

The Thames Flows into the Tiber? or Crossing the Channel & the Rubicon

Welcome Home to Rome

Former Prime Minister of Great Britain, Tony Blair, was recently received into full communion with the Roman Catholic Church. The Church of England (Anglican) must be somewhat embarrassed but not surprised in light of the many defections from the Worldwide Anglican Communion since the ordination of women and the recognition of same-sex marriages within their fold and epicopacy. Some have gone to Eastern Orthodoxy while others have gone West to the See of Saint Peter and the Bishopric of Rome, a.k.a., Catholicism.

Catholics in England (and the rest of Britain) are happy but reservedly so. On the one hand, any person's conversion to full communion with the Church and the reception of Confirmation and Holy Communion as a fellow Catholic is cause for great joy. It is an article of our faith that Holy Mother Church possesses the
fullness of grace (all seven valid sacraments) and the fullness of truth (both Sacred Scripture and Sacred Tradition being channels of Divine Revelation) are entrusted to the fullness of authority (Pope, Bishops & Magisterium). Hence, it is a cause of joy that another person is now able to share in the sublime beauty of that plenitude of fullness.

On the other hand, there is concern about moral judments made by Mr. Blair during his time on 10 Downing Street (British equivalent to the White House in the USA). Had he been Catholic while Prime Minister, like many politicians in the former colonies (alias the United States), he would have been in conflict with official church teaching on certain issues, most especially abortion. Sadly, here in the USA, so-called Catholic politicians who classify themselves as 'pro-choice' (meaning they oppose any ban on abortion) brazenly receive Holy Communion while only a few Bishops like Archbishop Raymond Burke of St. Louis, have the courage to ban these same people from Holy Communion itself.

Deo volente, Tony Blair had a true and complete and full conversion. While not a 'death-bed' conversion like that of the Emperor Constantine, it could be similar in that at least Blair respected Catholicism enough not to be a formal and public hypocrite by becoming Catholic while P.M. when he knew he would not always make decisions which conformed to the moral teachings of the church. If he intentionally delayed his conversion until he could and more importantly would embrace the moral code of Catholicism, albeit after he left office, at least he was honest with himself, the nation and the Church. How many 'Catholic' politicians in the U.K. or U.S.A. claim to be Catholic but consistently vote to support abortion, euthanasia, same sex marriages, et al.? While it would have been much better for Mr. Blair to convert a long time ago and be a practicing Catholic during his time as Prime Minister, it is unlikely he would have been elected and perhaps, as is claimed by his staff, he was not ready to embrace ALL the churches doctrines and disciplines at that time.

Perhaps, Blair crossed the Rubicon before he crossed the Tiber, i.e.,, maybe he defeated those internal forces which previously prevented him from entering full communion. Many converts admit there was one or two doctrinal or moral points they had to resolve before making a Profession of Faith, at least an honest one. Many tell of a stumbling block, be it a Marian dogma, Papal infallibility or the Church's teaching on contraception, abortion, homosexuality, women's ordination, etc. Finally, they either see the light or are willing to abandon themselves completely and totally to God and His Holy Church and thus surrender their personal authority by submitting to a higher one. Too many 'half-baked' Catholics around today who only accepted some but not all the official teachings and laws of the Church. Too many who were not taught the correct or at least the complete deposit of faith during their period of catechesis and intruction. Best to have someone wait until he or she is ready to give their entire assent of faith and their complete submission of mind and will to the Pope and Magisterium. Anything less is cheating God, is cheating the Church and is cheating the person him/herself.

I would like to give him the benefit of the doubt and hope that Tony Blair truly came into full communion with Rome, liturgically, theologically and morally. I hope his Profession of Faith was sincere and complete. And despite his faults, mistakes and sins of the past, new converts are asked to make a good first confession before they are Confirmed and receive Holy Communion. Let us trust that is what happened and rejoice that this Christmas, Tony Blair and family can attend Mignight Mass together and receive the Sacraments as one family within the great family of faith we call the Catholic Church.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Return to Ritual

The Cafeteria is Closed posted this today. You won't see such articles in most diocesan newspapers, yet ironically, in a secular periodical like U.S. News & World Report we get a glimpse into a profound truth on sacred worship.

Indeed, the NEED for ritual transcends religion. Human nature is oriented toward ritual since it reminds us that we are hylomorphic beings (body & soul; material & spiritual; matter & form; for those who slept through Aristotelian Philosophy 101)

Ritual is the prescribed set of symbolic actions, clothing, artifacts, gestures and words which are done consistently and intentionally. By using symbols, man, who is physically confined to space and time, is nevertheless able to transcend the spatial-temporal limits and thus connect the past, present and future.

Even people who may have a personal dislike or disdain for routine in general still have an inner longing and need for ritual at some level since it brings stability and security in a world that is perennially changing, moment by moment. Technology, medicine and science progress day by day but man still needs to anchor himself to the past so he can weather the turbulence of the present and the uncertainty of the future. Customs and traditions are part of every family and even individuals have some things they do consistently the same way, not just out of habit, but because doing it methodically and identically each time gives a sense of security: it works.

One of the by-products of liturgical abuses in the post-Vatican II era is the demasculinization of worship. The Greeks saw the importance of ritual in their sporting games, notably the Olympiad. These symbolic actions connected the participants of the present with the heroes of the past. There was unity among diversity in that numerous contestants with different abilities were playing the same games and by the same rules. Likewise, the Romans saw the importance of ritual in their historic Imperial Army. Military life is based on rituals. It unites members of the group into an organic unit. Ritual gives stability, it unites and it strengthens.

When radicals began to abandon rubrics in the Mass, they in essence diluted ritual to virtual oblivion. Man still needs ritual in the 21st century as he did in the first or second century, the middle ages or even in ante-diluvian times. Look at the popularity of sporting events. Rules are followed, uniforms worn, referees and umpires officiate. Join the Knights of Columbus, the Elks, Moose Lodge or even the Loyal Order of Waterbuffalos and you will see ritual, not just in the initiation of new members but at important events and occasions.

Then comes along the new priest to the parish who decides on his own not to wear the prescribed vestments for Mass. He disregards the rubrics of the Missal and ad-libs the prayers to make himself relevant. The discontinuity drove many men from church. When ancient rituals are casually and carelessly abandoned, ignored or ridiculed, guys stop coming.

Several dioceses have recently learned that lesson and have instituted a formal set of concelebration chasubles whenever the priests gather together for a Mass with the Bishop, e.g., ordination of deacons or priests, Chrism Mass or the funeral of a cleric. Previously, the custom had been for concelebrants to wear an alb and their own stole while the principal celebrant alone wore a chasuble. This is where you would find all kinds of political, philosophical and theological nonsense. Some priests had slogans on their stoles, others had bizarre graphics, others had colors which had no connection to the liturgical use of only white, gold, red, green, violet or black. Shades of blue, yellow, orange, brown, etc. punctuated the sea of stoles at an ordination.

Now, we all look alike in that we are all wearing albs, stoles and chasubles. Not just matching vestments but proper ones as well. Each one of us was ordained an alter Christus to act in persona Christi. Hence, the individual no longer matters. As Saint Paul says, "it is no longer I, but Christ living in me."

The recent changes in papal vestments thanks to the new Master of Ceremonies, Msgr. Guido Marini, will have a great impact on liturgical celebrations around the globe. Attention and respect to tradition but most of all to authentic ritual enhances worship and unifies and unites those who participate.

At diocesan and parish levels, even more so, the need and urgency to return to proper ritual is critical. One does not have to resort to the extreme of being Pharisaically ritualistic, either. Proper attention, respect and deliberate execution of authentic ritual demonstrates a love for God and His Church. Doing even little things well and out of love, shows our love, said the Little Flower. Clean linens, unwrinkled vestments, polished vessels, and reverent celebration of the sacraments as delineated in the ritual books, especially the careful observance of saying the right words and performing the right gestures and actions show how much we love God. Inattention to these things shows more a love of self.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Hat's Off


Fraternity of Saint Peter sends first missionary into outer space

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Let's Do the Time Warp Again --- NOT

Paul Nichols's Catholic Cartoon Blog had me in stitches and he's back after a brief haitus. You can see some of his work on this blog in the far right (what else) column


Ironically, the radicals of the 1960's are today and tomorrow's pensioners who spend their retirement golfing and shopping in Florida during the winter months. Those who sat-in with dissidents like Charlie Curran et al., can now barely stand without a walker. Kumbaya has been replaced by Kyrie Eleison. "Long Live the Revolution" has been replaced with "Long Live the Reform of the Reform."

Here's real irony: the youth who wanted 'Folk Masses' in the '60's are now the cranky old codgers having nightmares about today's youth who want the Latin Mass (whether ordinary or extraordinary forms), just like their great-grandparents before them.


Thursday, December 13, 2007

What Hollywood Will NEVER Produce

Coming in 2008 from ICONOCLAST Pictures, Inc.

The Copper Dredil

Long ago, in a place far away from political correctness, there was a land, a prophecy, a villian and a hero. Critics rave about the upcoming film for its bold, daring and provocative attempt to insult two of the three major monotheistic religions.

Since Christianity, and Catholicism in particular, have already been dissed, trashed and ridiculed by Hollywood seventy times seventy times, the tables have now been turned. Ron Boward produces and directs this innovative cinematic masterpiece intended to even the score once and for all.

Synopsis – an ancient prophecy predicts that the thousand year reign of evil tyranny will end only when the magic Copper Dredil is returned to its proper place. Before that can happen, however, it must be rescued from the clutches of the malevolent Synagogue of Zeon, a super-secret society of fanatical fundamentalists who claim the only true magic comes from the Book of Spells. They are always at war, however, with a competing faction, the Mosque of Mira whose adherents reject anything and everything in the Book of Spells. They maintain the only true and valid incantations are the ones not written down but are spontaneously created by the individual wizard. The Mosque of Mira has declared a Jihad on the Synagogue of Zeon. There can be no victory until one side is no more.

Meanwhile, while the forces of darkness battle each other for control of the world, a small group of rebels known as the Sacerdotes, led by the wise and aged Pontifex Maximus, seek to fulfill the prophecy given millennia ago. Visitors from another world came in peace to share their knowledge: scientific, philosophic and theological. They only wore scarlet red clothing and were called by the natives, “Cardinals.” The Cardinals had no agenda and no ulterior motives. That was not the case with their enemies, however.

Cardinals insisted on worshipping their deity facing East and in an old, archaic language only spoken in their temples. They also wear elaborate costumes when they worship.

The biggest obstacle, however is that the Cardinals refuse to dilute their teaching which is as much moral as it is religious. An alliance between the Cantors (local authorites from the Synagogue) and the Imams (secret police from the Mosque) occurs when it is learned that the Cardinals have something which promises eternal life.

Before the mysterious element is discovered, however, war breaks out and all the Cardinals are killed, save one. Catzinger lives long enough to prophesize that a hero will find the Copper Dredil which has the power to render enemies powerless and thus enable the quest for the Missal, the special book that allows the Priest to make present the source of eternal life.

Until that day arrives, the mysterious artifact lays hidden and protected in a Basilica by an order of Knights called the Krewsaydurs. Hildebrand, our hero, leaves the safety of the monastery to seek the Copper Dredil and free his people from slavery once and for all. He is accompanied by Zozimus, the sacristan; Jerome, the lector; Edmund, the extern; and Sylvester, the Acolyte. Together, they form a brotherhood sworn to return proper worship back to their temple. Forbdidden for centuries, the ancient language of their forefathers is still secretly used by our champions. VERITAS VINCIT (truth conquers) is the motto of this coalition for victory.

But it is only fiction, so why should anyone be offended??? Hear that before?

Of course, you'll NEVER see such a film EVER attacking or even making satire of Judaism or Islam. Yet, Christianity is perpetually being parodied and in fact persecuted by mainstream Hollywood. Catholic Christianity is the usual target, as evidenced in THE GOLDEN COMPASS where the enemy is the Magisterium (a term unique to Catholicism) and punctuated with villians who are 'priests.' Why not renegade rabbis or imams? Because that would rightly offend Jews and Muslims who would not tolerate it. They resist blasphemy while our people ignore it. Hollywood should either attack ALL religions (not a good choice) or NO religions (best option).

Good Advice from Father Timothy Finigan

Families can do a lot to promote vocations:

A. "Nothing impure in the home"

1. Keep mainstream mass media out of the home, period. This will go a long way toward creating a prayerful, peaceful, joyful home.

2. Afford no opportunity for the children to develop friendly regard and admiration for atheist uncles, lesbian aunts and the like. Keep all such far, far away, period.

B. "Whatever things are true ... honorable ... just ... holy, etc. ... think on these things."

1. Lives of the saints. Read these to the children from their earliest years. Many lives of saints begin, "When Johnny was a little boy his mother used to read to him from the gospels and the lives of the saints." So began the life of the Cure of Ars, patron of priests.

2. Read other good, uplifting literature that "baptizes" the imagination, esp the Chronicles of Narnia and the like.

3. Children have a phenomenal memory and want to learn much earlier than we think. From age four work with the catechism 20 minutes per day. From this the children will learn that you value the faith very highly. They will also come to have a love of learning and desire for God and a respect for their own accomplishments.

C. "Pray always ... "

1. Pray often but briefly with the children, for example before they go out to play put your arm around them and pray for their physical and moral safety, but also that the Lord will bless them today and every day of their lives. With our children that scene was replayed three times a day or so till they were nine or ten. It was the most natural thing to hear, "Dad, will you pray with me? I want to go out and play!"

2. Pray often for the children, especially that the Lord will keep them from everything harmful, but also that He will lead them into His highest and best for their lives.

3. Have a prayer life yourself, and ratchet it up as the years go on. Dad pacing the hall with a rosary in hand should be the most natural thing in the world.

D. Also,

1. Visit old churches with beautiful stainglass windows, and let the beauty of the place catechize and inspire your children.

2. Encourage your son to serve Mass.

3. Sit right up front with your children so they can see what is going on at Mass, rather than making it a tedious experience of their staring at the back of someone's overcoat for 45 minutes.

4. Speak well of the priests.

5. Encourage a spirit of self-sacrifice in your children ala Louis and Zellie Martin.

6. As a couple, read out loud "The Story of a Family- the Home of St. Therese of Lisieux" by Fr. Piat.

7. When your son is a little older, take him on retreat with you.

8. Let it be known that you are very open to your children pursuing religious life or the priesthood and would feel greatly blessed if they pursued such a life, but for pity's sake avoid all semblance of nagging or propaganda.

wise words

Monday, December 10, 2007

A True Timelord

Stellar Observation of a Master

"Much water has flown under the Tiber's bridges, carrying away splendor and mystery from Rome since the pontificate of Pius XII ..."

"The banalities and translations which have ousted the sonorous Latin and Greek are of a supermarket quality which is quite unacceptable. Hand shaking and embarrassed smiles or smirks have replaced the older courtesies; kneeling is out, queuing is in, and the general tone is like BBC radio broadcast for tiny tots ..."

Sir Alec Guinness (1914-2000)

courtesy Matthew Doyle

Alec Guinness converted to the Roman Catholic faith in 1954 while filming his famous Father Brown (based on the stories by G.K. Chesterton) He attended Mass with Grace Kelly while he was working on a film in Los Angeles. His wife and son also became Catholics. Sir Alec is famous for his part in Star Wars (1977) as the old mentor, Obi wan Kenobi, who trained Luke Skywalker. Yet, his career spanned more than 70 years. He played Emperor Marcus Aurelius in The Fall of the Roman Empire (1964); an Arab Sheik in Lawrence of Arabia (1962); a Cardinal behind the Iron Curtain in The Prisoner (1955); Pope Inocent III in Brother Sun, Sister Moon (1972). My favorite Guinness film is Kind Hearts and Coronets (1949) second only to his George Smiley spy films, Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy (1979) and Smiley's People (1982).

obiter dicta

Smells & Bells (to the tune of "Jingle Bells")
thanks to Fr. Z.

Processing into church
It’s the TLM today
Doing liturgy right
Chanting all the way (Glo-ri-a!)

Bells at the sanctus ring
Raising our spirits high
Oh how great to have Mass and tradition back in line!

Smells & Bells

Smells & Bells
Liberals cough and fuss
Oh what fun it is to serve in cassock and surplice

Smells & Bells
Smells & Bells
Hippies start to fume
Thanks to the 16th Benedict for Summorum Pontificum!

Sunday, December 09, 2007

U.S. Bishops give Golden Compass a pass, and why we shouldn't.

AMERICAN PAPIST has an excellent critique of the move The Golden Compass

This post is rather long and is divided into two parts. If you want to skip down to my short essay on why I find this movie problematic, scroll down until you see the text bolded in red.

If you want my commentary on an advance review of the movie, read on:

CNS news hub introduces the USCCB's "much-awaited movie review of 'The Golden Compass', which they rate suitable for A-II: adults and adolescents. The story is being marketed primarily to children.

My comments and interspersed with parts of the review, which begins by praising the movie as a "lavish, well-acted and fast-paced adaptation" from "Philip Pullman's much-awarded trilogy, "His Dark Materials":

The film has already caused some concern in Catholic circles because of the author's professed atheism, and the more overt issue of the novels' negative portrayal of his (very much fictionalized) church, a stand-in for all organized religion.

The fact that the church described in the novels is "fictionalized" does not matter so much in this case. Pullman wrongly proposes his caricature of the Church not as caricature but as the actual reality.

Most moviegoers with no foreknowledge of the books or Pullman's personal belief system will scarcely be aware of religious connotations, and can approach the movie as a pure fantasy-adventure. This is not the blatant real-world anti-Catholicism of, say, the recent "Elizabeth: The Golden Age" or "The Da Vinci Code." Religious elements, as such, are practically nil.

Just because this movie is not the blatant real-world anti-Catholicism of the movies noted does not rule out the possibility that the Golden Compass may also be offensive for different, but significant reasons.

(As an aside, it's no surprise to find the "excellent voice work" of homosexual-activist/anti-Catholic British actor Ian McKellen as the the great polar bear. But who knows, maybe it's a slow time of the year.)

Even if Pullman's fanciful universe has a patchwork feel, with elements culled from other fantasy-adventure stories -- most especially "The Chronicles of Narnia" (a work Pullman disdains) -- there's hardly a dull moment, and the effects are beautifully realized, including the anthropomorphized creatures like the polar bears whose climactic fight is superbly done.

"Disdains" is a very sublimated way of describing Pullman's systematic, energetic rejection of C.S. Lewis's art and belief. To use a culinary analogy to make my point: if I only disdained domino's pizza I would not set out to create an alternative pizza that I marketed as better, more appealing and then insult anyone who still professed a preference for domino's pizza. Pullman more than disdains C.S Lewis, that's certain.

Whatever author Pullman's putative motives in writing the story, writer-director Chris Weitz's film, taken purely on its own cinematic terms, can be viewed as an exciting adventure story with, at its core, a traditional struggle between good and evil, and a generalized rejection of authoritarianism.

First of all, Pullman's motives aren't "putative", they are explicit and intentional. The traditional struggle of good and evil, and the rejection of authoritarianism, moreover, are warped in his storyline into an invective against the Church, again falsely attributing to it the attributes of "evil" and "authoritarian." Movies are cultural moments, and those who resist this movie are doing so to build up a culture of respect for the Catholic Church and in so doing militantly oppose those artists who insult and denigrate it. Correctly, I would argue.

There is, admittedly, a spirit of rebellion and stark individualism pervading the story. Lyra is continually drawn to characters who reject authority in favor of doing as they please. Equally, only by defying the powers that be, can a scientist like Lord Asriel achieve progress. Pullman is perhaps drawing parallels to the Catholic Church's restrictive stance towards the early alchemists and, later, Galileo.

Again, Pullman is not "perhaps drawing parallels." This is to grant him an absurdly-merciful benefit of the doubt. And since when do we support drudging up the hackneyed relationship between the Catholic Church and Galileo? Isn't that getting old? Even a cursory analysis of the myriad of circumstances that obtained in that controversy make it clear that focusing on a minor aberration in Church history does a disservice to the Catholic Church's vibrant, pervasive tradition of encouraging the sciences! Fair's fair.
The script also makes use of some of the occult concepts found in the books, such as the diabolically named "daemons" -- animal companions to each person, identified as their human counterpart's visible soul.Again, occult? daemons? visible souls? Such material in a children's book is a serious matter. A child's imagination is a precious thing that should be guarded carefully.

Will seeing this film inspire teens to read the books, which many have found problematic? Rather than banning the movie or books, parents might instead take the opportunity to talk through any thorny philosophical issues with their teens.

Clearly, it's absurd to argue that every child who sees this movie is in danger of losing their faith. Parents, however, are charged with the education and formation of their children. "Thorny philosophical issues" are constantly the proximate cause of genuine crisis among youth, and sometimes it's best to nip them in the bud, not buy popcorn and absorb them in vivid technicolor dolby surround at a theater.

The religious themes of the later books may be more prominent in the follow-up films which Weitz has vowed will be less watered down. For now, this film -- altered, as it is, from its source material -- rates as intelligent and well-crafted entertainment.

Intelligent, well-crafted entertainment is not an end in itself if it betrays fundamental human goods and divorces beauty from truth. The fact that New Line is evaluating the sustainability of these latter, presumably more offensive films based on the ticket sales of this first one further council a prudent consideration of whether one can support it. In essence, there is more at-stake here that artistic integrity.

Let me elaborate:

I've been thinking about the Golden Compass and trying to better formulate why I'm so opposed to it. I have not seen the movie, nor have I read the books. Here's what I came up with that might be helpful.

One could easily argue that movies are the contemporary medium of popular art. Within this medium, there are, I would submit, two great movie series vying for the imagination of the next generation. The Lord of the Rings, clearly, is the greatest. Second to that is the Chronicles of Narnia (the second film in that series, Prince Caspian, will be released in spring of '08). The authors of these two series are both brilliant intellectual Christians who employ fantasy in different ways to communicate transcendent truths about man, the world and God.

The production of these two series have provided a wonderful opportunity for a wider audience to familiarize themselves with stories long cherished by Christians in general and Catholics in particular. They are excellent tools for evangelization (and I don't meant that in a utilitarian sense), just look at the bevy of books they have prompted. Their beauty, and the richness of the worlds they create, lead towards truths concretely realized in the Christian revelation. They are "ours", and we are only too willing to share them with others.

Enter into this scene Philip Pullman's His Dark Materials series. New Line Cinema, who is producing this series and also produced The Lord of the Rings, is explicitly in their advertisements attempting to draw a parallel between the two works (I blogged about that strategy here when I first heard about the Golden Compass, and stated my problems with it then). They claim it is a continuation of Tolkien.

Now, while Pullman does share in the same broad category of "fantasy" as Lewis and Tolkien, he is also at-odds with their more fundamental philosophical and religious worldviews. Pullman has been named the "anti-Lewis" for a reason. New Line Cinema may not realize it, but Tolkien and Pullman are not peas in a pod. In fact, they aren't even Jacob and Esau. They are more like Gandalf and Sauron, more like Aslan and Jadis.

The fate of our corporate "movie imagination" balances on the edge of a knife. Catholics, I think, realize without completely understanding why, that Pullman's movie is a danger to what has so fortuitously come about as a result of Hollywood's storyline vacuum - a vacuum filled so-far, and happily, with the accumulated wisdom and beauty of Tolkien and Lewis. Pullman is poised on the brink of entering into what has been so carefully assembled, and blast it to pieces. If I may be permitted a moment of cynicism, I suspected that the avowed anti-Lewis is content to see his series of books become the new cinematic anti-Narnia, and by extension, anti-LOTR.

I remain open to the possibility that I'm making too much of all this, but I can't shake the sense that part of building up a Catholic culture, in this instance, involves sedulously resisting the lure of His Dark Materials.


As a postscript, I am aware of the argument that any attempt to boycott or vocally criticize this movie will supposedly only play into the hands of those who want to see the film do well (a la The Da Vinci Code). At the same time, of course, I think it is important to inform Catholics and Christians about the true nature of this film. Many people simply don't know why it problematic because and it is not overtly anti-Catholic or anti-God. There is already a very large movement to boycott the film, and a brief look at the social networking site Facebook reveals literally hundreds of thousands of folks doing so. In other words, this little post is just a drop in the bucket. And we should also refuse to be marginalized from these public debates. That's a sure path to defeat.


Incidentally, my previous posts on this topic have been receiving a large influx of visitors from search engines who are looking for background on the claim that this movie is anti-Catholic. I've written this post in part as a service to those new readers who might not be aware of the issues involved. Towards that end, you should also consider my previous posts on this topic, which in turn include links to other good commentaries and sources:

*update 2: New Line Cinema uses favorable USCCB review to advertise in Catholic publications

*update: Catholic League slams USCCB for positive review of Golden Compass

*Actor Daniel Craig: "They sell Dan Brown now in the Vatican"

*Golden Compass author Philip Pullman calls critics "nitwits"

*The word is getting out about The Golden Compass

*The Golden Compass is pointing towards anti-Catholicism

*Related: Posts on Philip Pullman and other dark materials

Thursday, December 06, 2007

Indulgence Offered for Lourdes Jubilee

Faithful Invited to Visit Where "Her Feet Trod"

VATICAN CITY, DEC. 5, 2007 (Zenit.org)

Benedict XVI will grant the faithful a plenary indulgence for the occasion of the 150th anniversary of the apparition of the Blessed Virgin Mary at Lourdes.

The Holy See published a decree of the Apostolic Penitentiary today, stating that a plenary indulgence is granted to faithful who take part in the jubilee year, which will begin Saturday, and last through Dec. 8, 2008.

The decree was by Cardinal James Stafford and Bishop Gianfranco Girotti, major penitentiary and regent of the Apostolic Penitentiary, respectively.The decrees states: "The forthcoming 150th anniversary of the day in which Mary Most Holy, revealing herself as the Immaculate Conception to Bernadette Soubirous, wished a shrine to be erected and venerated in the place known as 'Massabielle' in the town of Lourdes calls to mind the innumerable series of prodigies through which the supernatural life of souls and the health of bodies has drawn great advantage from the omnipotent goodness of God.

"Indeed, by venerating the Blessed Virgin Mary in the place 'upon which her feet trod,' the faithful draw nourishment from the Holy Sacraments, expressing the firm intention to lead in the future Christian lives of increasing faithfulness."

The text recalled that "in the year 1858 Mary Most Holy showed herself to [...] Bernadette Soubirous using the words of the dogmatic definition: 'I am the Immaculate Conception.'"

The Immaculate Conception was defined a dogma on Dec. 8, 1854.


The decree continues: "Benedict XVI has decided to concede the gift of plenary indulgence to the faithful under the usual conditions -- sacramental confession, Eucharistic communion and prayer in keeping with the intentions of the Holy Father -- in the following way:

"If between Dec. 8, 2007, and Dec. 8, 2008, they visit, preferably in the order suggested: (1) the parish baptistery used for the baptism of Bernadette, (2) the Soubirous family home, known as the 'cachot,' (3) the Grotto of Massabielle, (4) the chapel of the hospice where Bernadette received first Communion, and on each occasion they pause for an appropriate length of time in prayer and with pious meditations, concluding with the recital of the Our Father, the Profession of Faith, [...] and the jubilee prayer or other Marian invocation.

"If between Feb. 2, 2008, [...] and Feb. 11, 2008, feast of the Blessed Virgin Mary of Lourdes and 150th anniversary of the apparition, they visit, in any church, grotto or decorous place, the blessed image of that same Virgin of Lourdes, solemnly exposed for public veneration, and before the image participate in a pious exercise of Marian devotion, or at least pause for an appropriate space of time in prayer and with pious meditations, concluding with the recital of the Our Father, the Profession of Faith, [...] and the invocation of the Blessed Virgin Mary."

The decree concludes by recalling that faithful who "through sickness, old age or other legitimate reason are unable to leave their homes, may still obtain the plenary indulgence [...] if, with the soul completely removed from attachment to any form of sin and with the intention of observing, as soon as they can, the usual three conditions, on the days Feb. 2-11, 2008, in their hearts they spiritually visit the above-mentioned places and recite those prayers, trustingly offering to God, through Mary, the sickness and discomforts of their lives."

Father Brighenti and I will be leading a pilgrimage to Lourdes in November 2008 to commemorate the 150th anniversary and to take advantage of the special Plenary Indulgence. Please see Fratelli & Co. for more information.

Saturday, December 01, 2007

Yesterday and Today

Yesteryear / This Year

Thanks to Fr. Zuhlsdorf and to Gerald Augustinus (Cafeteria is Closed):

* Leo XIII’s great chair is back. It looks like it is going to be a keeper.

* The Pope is wearing a Roman style cope and stole with a classic pattern. Did someone find the keys for the old dusty wardrobes?

* The M.C. Mons. Guido Marini (whom I met today – nice fellow) has a very nice surplice in the traditional style.

* The Pope’s cinture with the heavy fiocco slipped down, exactly like they do when I use that type. Hmmmm….

* The Holy Father’s alb looks pretty decent! Hard to see white on white, but it was nice. He needed a different miter, however. Brick by brick.

* The M.C. in the left of the [second] photo is lifting the Holy Father’s alb as he steps. Just as one should when serving.

Friday, November 30, 2007

Pro-Life Congressman Henry Hyde Passes Away

Pro-Life Groups Sing Congressman Henry Hyde's Praises After His Death
by Steven Ertelt, LifeNews.com, November 30, 2007

Washington, DC (LifeNews.com) -- Congressman Henry Hyde commanded the respect of pro-life groups from across the country and, following his death on Thursday, LifeNews.com was overwhelmed with emails from organizations expressing their support for this respected opponent of abortion.

The following is a sampling of the some of the comments, we've received about Hyde's life and accomplishments:

Tony Perkins, President of the Family Research Council - "No debate was ever concluded until Hyde, speaking without notes or other prompts, rose in the well of the House to interpose his great frame and incredible voice to shield the weakest and smallest in our midst, the unborn."

Dr. J.C. Willke, President of Life Issues Institute: "Henry's death is a major loss to the entire pro-life movement. He and I worked closely together since he first introduced the Hyde Amendment. Probably no other person in public service, here and abroad, has had the influence and certainly no one commanded the respect that he did. We'll all keep trying, but none of us will ever be able to replace him."

Marjorie Dannenfelser, President, Susan B. Anthony List - "He was really my hero and he helped the SBA List when we were just a seedling. He signed letters, gave words of encouragement, and generally inspired me and all of us. When I was the director of the Pro-Life Caucus in the House of Representatives, I felt like a privileged lieutenant of a great general."

"Henry Hyde will always be an inspiring model of commitment to public service and the sanctity of human life -- the William Wilberforce of our time," said Americans United for Life President Clarke Forsythe.

"Henry Hyde was a champion in the fight to protect unborn children," said Dr. Wanda Franz, president of National Right to Life. "Congressman Hyde was a passionate and dedicated ally of the pro-life movement. In both word and deed, Henry Hyde worked for the day that unborn children are again protected by law."

Brian Burch, president of Fidelis - “Henry Hyde will be long remembered for his tireless dedication to protecting unborn life. In the wake of the disastrous Roe v. Wade decision, Henry Hyde won the first major victory for unborn children in 1976 by ensuring that no federal taxpayer dollars would be used to fund abortion."

Tom Brejcha, President and Chief Counsel of the Thomas More Society: "Henry Hyde was truly a giant in the pro-life community and a friend to the Thomas More Society. During our hard fought NOW v Scheidler trial in the Supreme Court, Congressman Hyde came back to Washington to be a character witness for Joe Scheidler. In his testimony he praised Scheidler and other pro-lifers for doing what he wished others had done at the Nazi deathcamps, like Auschwitz and Dachau. The testimony provoked a rebuke from the trial judge, but brought loud applause from those in the audience. We will miss him greatly."

Printed from: http://www.lifenews.com/nat3502.html


Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Commonwealth Cardinals

John Cardinal Foley (left) and Daniel Cardinal DiNardo (right) were recently elevated to the College of Cardinals by His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI in the the recent consistory. Both prelates are from the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania: Foley was ordained for the Archdiocese of Philadelphia and DiNardo was ordained for the Diocese of Pittsburgh before he was Archbishop of Houston, TX.

While the ceremony was SPECTACULAR (thanks EWTN), a few found it overwhelming, if not exhausting

Yet, there was time for family and friends, even for the Princes of the Church

Sunday, November 25, 2007

The Curt Jester has a good one:

Liturgical Jeckyll and Hyde or Bishop Marini and Mons. Marini

Before - with Bishop Piero Marini

After - with Monsignor Guido Marini

Monday, November 19, 2007

Comments on Father Francis Mary Stone, MFVA

Matt C. Abbott Matt C. Abbott
November 19, 2007

In addition to Father J. Patrick Serna, I asked Father John Trigilio, author, EWTN personality, and president of the Confraternity of Catholic Clergy, to comment on the sudden departure of Father Francis Mary Stone from EWTN.

The following is Father Trigilio's statement:

Father Francis is indeed in my prayers. We were taught a saying when I entered the high school minor seminary in 1976, There but for the grace of God, go I. This means that we are all in need of prayer and in need of divine grace. Father Francis needs our prayers and so do all priests. All of us are tempted from time to time. All of us have weaknesses, vunerabilities, and our own demons. We know too well that we all make mistakes, are imperfect and have numerous idiosyncrasies since many cannot wait to point them out to us. Original Sin produced concupiscence which plagues every human being who has a wounded human nature. Only Our Lady and Our Blessed Savior had been spared this due to the miracles of the Immaculate Conception and the Incarnation. The rest of us men and women have to fight the good fight which is more often a battle inside ourselves and with ourselves, i.e., our own desires.

I have great respect and admiration for the good work done by Father Francis. I consider him a friend as well as a brother priest. I pledge my continued prayers for him. I remind him that his vows of holy orders made at diaconate and renewed at priesthood covenanted him to the Church as his spouse. He may have fallen in love with a woman but he is in one sense already spoken for, i.e., despite the vow of chastity and the promise of celibacy, he is married insofar as Ordination made him an alter Christus. As such, he and all priests have the same bride as does Christ. Holy Mother Church is the Bride of Christ, His spotless spouse, and we priests who are ordained as an alter Christus to act in persona Christi, have the same bride.

If a married man falls in love with another woman, whether she is married, single or widowed, he is still covenanted to his original wife. He made a promise to be true to her 'for better or for worse ... until death.' Likewise, a priest in the Latin (Roman rite) Church makes an oath of celibacy because he takes as his bride the bride of Christ. The Church, which is the parish, the diocese, the religious community, and indeed is also the universal church around the globe, is the spouse of every ordained priest.

Even if he discovers it was a mistake and he should not have been ordained or that he should not have taken solemn vows (poverty, chastity and obedience), like the married man (who may or may not have children from this marriage), he is still in a commitment which binds him for life. If there was an impediment to that covenant, then an annulment of matrimony or of holy orders can take place. Usually, however, it is more the case of the human heart finding someone at the wrong time and in the wrong place.

It does not mean that love is wrong. Human love is natural and is holy when it conforms to God's Will. The higher love of God, however, is rooted in the covenant and commitment we make to Him and before Him, as when a bride and groom get married or when a man gets ordained or when a person takes final vows and commits himself to consecrated religious life.

I can feel for Father Francis and can understand, at least a priori (and not a posteriori since I have never fallen in love with someone after being ordained) what it must be like to have those feelings. I urge Father Francis and all my brother priests, however, to remember the covenant commitment we made the day of our ordination or the day you took your final vows. God's grace can overcome even our imprudent decisions and yes even our bad judgments. Be open to divine grace and to the working of the Holy Spirit and you will be able to return to the path to which you belong. We all have second thoughts and some regrets along the way. We all imagine what it might be like 'on the other side,' as they say. But we must do what we can where we are now.

Father Francis is my brother priest and I promise him my support and prayers as I have with classmates and schoolmates throughout my 19 years of priesthood. I urge him to renew his first choice to embrace a consecrated life within the Church as an ordained priest of Jesus Christ. He may always love this woman but real love means wanting the best, i.e., willing good, to the other. The best she can have is a holy and complete relationship with Christ and within His Church. Many men have had to let their 'beloved' go so as to persue a more sublime and at times elusive lover. The Church may not give us a hug or a kiss; she may not whisper in our ear or laugh at our jokes; she may not cry in our arms nor tickle our feet. Nonetheless, the Church loves every priest as much if not more than any faithful, loving and devoted wife. The Church, local and universal, is our bride and she must always be our first and our only true love in the romantic sense of the term."God be with you Father Francis. We are praying for you and know that Our Lord, His Blessed Mother and your guardian angel will never let you down. GODSPEED."

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Padre Pio

Just returned from a nine day pilgrimage with 50 persons. Father Brighenti and I led a tour of San Giovanni Rotondo, Pietrelcina, Orvieto, Lanciano, Cascia and Rome under the excellent guidance of Mr. Luigi Falconeri, our tour guide from New Jersey. His fluent Italian and good humor in addition to his magnificent travel skills made our trip a complete success. While there, we met up with Joan Lewis, Rome Bureau Chief for EWTN. She has a spectacular view of the Vatican from her apartment.

Here is a shot from Joan's living room. BREATHTAKING, isn't it?

We left JFK on November 5th and arrived in Naples the following day via EuroFly Airlines (nice staff but lousy food). Then we travelled by bus to Pietrelcina to see the hometown and birthplace of Padre Pio. Our group was a wonderful cross section of NJ and PA residents as well as some nice folks from Idaho, Texas, California, Oregon, Montana.

After visiting the birthplace of the famous stigmatist, we went to San Giovanni Rotondo where Saint Pio is buried. It is also the location of the House to Relieve Suffering, the free hospital Padre Pio established to help treat anyone in need of medical assistance.

The only down side of our entire trip, however, was our stay at the Hotel Gran Paradiso in San Giovanni Rotondo. When we arrived, there was no porter to unload our luggage, so while the 50 pilgrims ate supper, Lou, our tour guide, personally took care of the baggage and delivered them to each room. Two hours later, he got his meal 15 minutes before the kitchen closed. The worst part of all was on our departure day from the hotel when one of our pilgrims had his laptop stolen from a locked hotel room. His luggage was placed outside the locked room while he and his wife went to breakfast. 45 minutes later, they re-entered their room to discover the laptop (in its case) had been stolen. When the hotel security chief was notified, his initial response was to question whether there ever was a laptop to begin with, although the victims in this case are both certified and licensed physicians. Two hours were then spent at the local police station where Barney Fife (the hotel security chief) was accompanied by the hotel owner. Now, their theory evolved into accusing a member of our pilgrimage of being the thief. How an American could get into a locked Italian hotel room was never explained. Meanwhile, several Italian housekeeping and maintenance personnel who had master keys to enter any and all rooms were never questioned. Father Brighenti and I do NOT recommend this hotel and warn all pilgrims and travellers to AVOID Hotel Gran Paradiso at all costs. Shameful that we had to have a theft on our religious pilgrimage (two priests, one nun, one deacon and 48 lay faithful) and in the town of Padre Pio, no less.

Monte Sant’Angelo, the cave where the Archangel Michael victoriously battled Satan, was the place Father Ken celebrated Mass before we left for Lanciano, the place of the Eucharistic Miracle. A lukewarm priest in the 8th century doubted the dogma of the Real Presence. When he celebrated Mass oneday, the Host turned into human flesh and the consecrated Wine turned into human blood (type AB, same as on the Shroud of Turn). Today, both are miraculously preserved.

Our next visit was to Orvieto, another Eucharistic miracle location, where a Host bled onto a corporal. It is also a center for fantastic white wine. We then moved on to Montefiascone where Saint Lucy Filippini is buried, founder of her order of teaching nuns. Later, we visited all four of the major Roman basilicas and made a side trip to the shrine of Saint Rita of Cascia, where we ran into a parish pilgrimage from the diocese of Joliet, IL. Another pleasant surprise was the visit of a nice young man Jeff from California who was spending some time in Venice. He joined us for a few days in San Giovanni. Jeff is a script writer who did some impressive work for Hollywood, notably several of the new Perry Mason made-for-TV movies. He told us of his friendship with the late Raymond Burr, and work he also did with Dick Van Dyke for "Diagnosis: Murder" series. You never know who you'll run into while visiting Italy.

Father Brighenti and I also concelebrated Mass at Saint Peter's Basilica with our group and then attended the Pope's noon Angelus message. It was the crowning gem of a wonderful pilgrimage. Despite a few bumps in the road and a couple of small inconveniences we still had a marvelous and memorable trip. The 50 pilgrims were fantastic, patient, kind, courteous and fun to be with, as well as being very devout and pious. We prayed the Rosary and Divine Mercy chaplet in the bus and we shared many delicious meals accompanied by entertaining conversation.

Fratelliandcompany was our tour company and we both highly recommend their services. We are both hoping to go on the Fall 2008 pilgrimage to Fatima and Lourdes. Next year is the 150th anniversary of the apparition of Our Lady to Saint Bernadette in 1858, France. Next year is also the 20th anniversary of ordination to the priesthood for both me and Father Ken. We want to thank Our Lady for getting us to the altar of God by visiting these two great shrines.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Catholic Clergy Ask Bishops to Keep Mass Holy

Contact: Father John Trigilio, Jr., President, CCC

MEDIA ADVISORY, October 30 /Christian Newswire/ --

The Confraternity of Catholic Clergy denounces the recent letter from the National Coalition of American Nuns (NCAN) sent to the Bishops of the United States (USCCB). That letter called for the rejection of a literal and accurate English translation of the 2000 Roman Missal from its typical Latin text. The Missal is the official altar book used by priests to celebrate the Mass. It is second only to the Lectionary, which contains the Scripture passages chosen for each Sunday and weekday Mass.

Catholic worship centers on Word (Scripture) and Sacrament and the Sacred Liturgy, particularly the Eucharistic Sacrifice of the Mass, is the 'source and summit of Christian life.' As such, it requires the clergy to celebrate 'digne, atténte ac devote' (worthily, with attention and devotion). This can be done only if liturgical books are accurately and literally translated from the typical Latin text.

Ritual (gestures) and Rite (words) make proper worship. 'Full, conscious and active participation' by the faithful in the sacred liturgy is only possible when pedestrian language and banal translations are abandoned once and for all. The congregation is more educated and sophisticated than purported by those who insist accurate and literal translations from the Latin into English would be confusing at best and frustrating at worst.

We live in a culture where the vulgar, crass and obscene are part of everyday conversation. It proliferates the media at all levels: radio, television, movies, theater, magazines, and the internet. Yet, good taste and graceful language are not archaic. Sacred worship requires a sacred vocabulary and nomenclature which expresses the value and need for reverence for 'the Holy' and which transcends the secular world and allows the worshipper to approach the threshold of heaven.

Accuracy demands that the word 'consubstantial' be restored to the Creed since the Council of Nicea (325) canonized the terms 'homoouios' (Greek) and 'consubstantialem' (Latin) rather than the current 'one in being'. Adjectives which predicate the divinity of Christ, prominent in the Latin, need to be reinserted into the English. 'Holy', 'sacred', 'venerable', and 'immaculate', etc., are not foreign terms to Catholic vocabulary. Edified language 'inspires' the believer to 'aspire' to those things which are holy and sacred. Banal and pedestrian language lowers us into the gutter.

We ask the bishops to preserve a poetic sacred language that uplifts the human spirit to seek the divine rather than being content with the mediocrity of mundane.

Saturday, October 27, 2007


now in Spanish

with foreward and imprimatur


Archbishop Jose Gomez
of San Antonio, TX

Sunday, October 21, 2007

JC Penney Catalog

Remember when you were a little kid and you spent hours looking through the JC Penney toy catalog the day it arrived in the mail? Pages and pages of items that Santa could never possibly carry in his sack without getting a hernia.

Here are some photos from a website Tridentium

Since the election of B16, a lot of the good stuff has returned or re-emerged. Hopefully, this is a trend and more prelates and ecclesiastics will initiate a renaissance of tasteful accoutrements and traditional paraphrenalia. We hope and pray that the moo-moo albs, burlap chasubles and ricky-relevant stoles of the 60's & 70's are once and for all BURNED and their ashes cast to the four winds.

MANLY lace

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Priests' opposing views on Latin Mass

Matt C. Abbott

October 17, 2007

In recent parish bulletins, Father J. Patrick Wissman, pastor of Sacred Heart Catholic Church in Bolivar, Mo., lashed out at Pope Benedict's motu proprio Summorum Pontificum.

read his incredulous diatribe here

Here is my response:
'This pastor was born in 1938 and ordained in 1964; hence, he grew up and was trained in the seminary according to the Tridentine Mass. Yet, most of his priesthood has been in the Novus Ordo. While he has experience of the extraordinary as well as the ordinary form of the Roman Missal, his statements and judgments about the motu proprio are totally non sequitur.'

'First, he classifies the request for a Latin (and not just Latin but the usus antiquior, i.e., Missal of 1962) as being 'selfish.' That is an ad hominem attack to say the least. Are Hispanics 'selfish' for asking for a Mass in Spanish? Are Italo-Americans selfish for wanting an Italian Mass? Of course not. The desire and request for a Latin Mass, be it Novus Ordo according to the 1970 Missal or the Tridentine based on the 1962 Missal, is not selfish. What is selfish is the prejudicial attitude to refuse and to ridicule those who have a spiritual need for something the Church allows, permits and now encourages.'

'Secondly, he insults anyone who likes Latin as being 'disobedient' and being dissenters from the Second Vatican Council. Actually, priests and bishops who refuse to implement the papal motu proprio are the ones who are disobedient, not the faithful who have the right to request the extraordinary form of the Mass and the Sacraments. Selfish priests are the ones who refuse to provide for the spiritual needs of their flock just because their requests do not conform to his own personal preferences. The same papal authority which inaugurated the ordinary form of the Mass (Novus Ordo) also issued the motu proprio Summorum Pontificum. Benedict XVI is as much pope as was Paul VI. Both enjoyed full, immediate, universal and supreme authority, hence, one cannot pick and choose which pope or which act of papal authority to comply with and which to disregard.'It is not dissent to want and to request the Latin Mass, either. Vatican II did not mandate a totally vernacular Mass. It allowed the possibility of some parts of the Mass to be in the vernacular. Sacrosanctum Concilium (1963) #36 states '[T]he use of the Latin language is to be preserved in the Latin rites.' It goes on to say in #54, '[I]n Masses which are celebrated with the people, a suitable place may be allotted to their mother tongue ... Nevertheless steps should be taken so that the faithful may also be able to say or to sing together in Latin those parts of the Ordinary of the Mass which pertain to them.''So, how can the request for Latin be construed as anti-Vatican II?'

'Third, he resorts to the reductio ad absurdam fallacy in saying the pope is 'out of touch with the ordinary church' and that he risks creating a 'shadow church' which will divide the true church. The pope is head of the universal church and not just the church in North America. With several continents, cultures, languages and ethnic traditions within Roman Catholicism, some elements of unity need to be preserved. Latin language and Gregorian chant are not threats, nor are they antithetical to English or to contemporary church music. Whenever the pope visits a nation or presides at World Youth Day, it is amazing how many Catholics from outside the U.S. can pray and sing both in Latin and in their own mother tongue. Young and old can express both unity and diversity by sharing the same liturgical language (e.g., Hebrew in Judaism, Arabic in Islam and Greek in Eastern Orthodoxy) and by retaining some of their own vernacular.'Fourth, Pope Benedict acutely recognizes that Catholicism is the 'great religion of the Et ... Et ' (both/and) rather than the Aut ... Aut (either/or) found in other religions. Hence, we have both Sacred Scripture and Sacred Tradition; both faith and good works; both Eastern (Byzantine) and Western (Roman) rites. The motu proprio continues this process by affirming both the ordinary and the extraordinary forms of the Roman Rite. Father Pat, however, prefers to have it reduced to either/or. Either vernacular or Latin but not both, according to him. Pope Benedict and others believe differently.'

'Lastly, I find it most offensive and bizarre to blame Nazism on Latin. While it is true that Catholics in Germany had the Latin Mass before, during, and after 1933-1945 (Hitler's Third Reich), 62 percent of the nation was Lutheran and only 32 percent was Catholic. Germany also had the third largest population of Jews in Europe. Though he himself was born and baptized a Catholic, Hitler repudiated the Catholic faith and never received any other sacraments. He practiced no religion as an adult. There is no corollary between the Latin Mass and the Nazi rise to power, and Father Pat should be ashamed to create one. That's what is misleading, not Pope Benedict, not the motu proprio and certainly not Latin or the usus antiquior.'

'On the contrary, as Father [John] Zuhlsdorf has pointed out, there is a mutual gravitational pull between the ordinary and the extraordinary forms of the Roman rite. The 'old Latin Mass' and the 'new vernacular Mass' will reciprocally and beneficially affect each other since they come from one and the same Roman Rite. The dichotomous opposition is not intrinsic to either liturgical form, rather the focal point of animosity and foments of discontent originate in the paranoia of those who vehemently hate anything connected to Catholic tradition and custom. Catholicism preserves the best of the past while adopting the best of the new. It did so with Hebrew and Greek centuries ago and continues to do so with Latin and the vernacular today.'

'I find Latin a unifying rather than dividing language. Attend a papal Mass in Rome where millions come year round on pilgrimage. Despite the plethora of languages and cultures, everyone joins in the Sanctus, the Pater Noster and the Agnus Dei. Whether the Mass is entirely in Latin or just the common parts; whether the ordinary form (1970/2000 Missal) or the extraordinary form (1962 Missal); the beauty of Catholic Liturgy and worship is that it transcends time and space. Ironically, more irreverence and heresy have emanated from modern 'liturgical Nazis' who seek to impose their illegitimate abuses and agendas on the rest of the faithful.''

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