Saturday, April 05, 2008

Zehr gut! Those boys have done it again.

The Holy Father peruses a copy of the latest book by Fathers Brighenti & Trigilio, entitled "Catholicism Answer Book: 300 of the Most Frequently Asked Questions"

Cardinal McCarrick (seen in the background) pointed out the imprimatur came from his former see (Archdiocese of Newark), albeit from his successor, Archbishop John Myers.

Roman rumor mill then produced tidbit that two American priests were mysteriously transferred the following day ...

pure pope fiction (satirical news report for those of you who take the internet too seriously)

Batman & Robin ???

Ode on the appointment of two priest bloggers to the newly-formed Congregatio pro Evangelizatio Interretialis
To the tune of "Me and Julio down by the school yard"

The cardinal prefect rolled out a bed
Heading up a new congregation
When the Papa found out he began to shout

And he issued a communication
It's within the law
It was within the law
What the Papa saw
It was within the law.

The prefect look round and muses aloud
We gotta team to hit dissension
The Papa said, "Sheesh, if I get that priest,
I'm gonna get him give my blog a mention."
Well I'm on my way.
I don't know where I'm going
I'm on my way I'm taking my time
But I don't know where
Goodbye to Brenda queen of the English
See you, me and Z in a
Roman dicastery
See you, me and Z in a Roman dicastery

In a couple of days they come and
Take me away
But the web can’t keep a secret
And when the radical priests
Found the news released
We were dissed in the back of the Tablet

And I'm on my way
I don't know where I'm going
I'm on my way, I'm taking my time
But I don't know where
Goodbye to Brenda queen of the English
See you, me and Z in a
Roman dicastery
See you, me and Z in a Roman dicastery
Singin’ me and Z in a Roman dicastery.

Thursday, April 03, 2008

Pope Benedict : Follow the teaching and example of Pope John Paul II

Three years ago, the Lord took John Paul the Great from us. We mourned his loss as he deeply and profoundly affected the Catholic Church around the world. Across the globe churches and cathedrals had Masses and memorial services for the deceased pontiff. His beatification and canonization are inevitably in the pipeline since rumors have proliferated from one continent to the next of authenticated cases of miraculous cures.

Hopefully, trivial comparisons between JP2 and B16 have subsided. Each ponitff is exceptional in his own right. Pope Wojtyla was an actor, poet, athlete and very much an extrovert. Pope Ratzinger is an academic, philosopher, scholar and an introvert. BOTH are gifts of the Holy Spirit to Holy Mother Church. JP2 mades us proud to be Catholic again. He reminded the world and the church of the charism of universality. Catholicity was emphasized in his broadening of the college of cardinals to the extensive and inclusive list of canonized saints he made to the numerous pastoral trips around the globe. His papacy epitomized the notion of a universal shepherd. As supreme head of the church, he personified the idea of being the pastor of the world. Successor of Saint Peter, Vicar of Christ, Bishop of Rome and Servant of the Servants of God were never diluted nor diminished. However, his role as international leader of more than one billion Catholic Christians was evident.

B16 has his own unique style to be sure. But his papacy complements that of his predecessor as much as his first encyclical Deus Caritas Est complements JP2's last one, Mane Nobiscum Domine. The latter expressed the desire of the disciples that Jesus never leave them and the former shows that Our Lord could never leave us since His love for us was and is both possessive and oblative (eros & agape). The Blessed Sacrament unites the two pontificates perfectly. The accessibility of Pope John Paul symbolized the availability of Christ in the Real Presence in tabernacles all over the world. The studied, prayeful and deliberate gestures and actions of Pope Benedict symbolize the care and diligence of our Divine Beloved.

Whatever further tweaking B16 does to the Ordinary form (Novus Ordo) of the Roman Rite and his continued respect and support for the Extraordinary form (TLM) as well, will only continue his mission to recapture and resurrect a true sacramental renaissance in the church. The SACRED is being restored bit by bit while the lunacy and idioacy of liturgical abberations and theological dissent from previous decades begin to atrophe one by one.

Buon Compleanno / Tanti Auguri

Those wondering where the Black Biretta was for the past few weeks can have their curiosity aleviated. March 25-27 I attended the fourth annual Opus Dei seminar for Priests at Arnold Hall in Pembroke, MA. Father Roger Landry of the Diocese of Fall River has spearheaded this gathering since 2005.

Father Ken Brighenti and I were some of the old timers who remembered attending the annual Opus Dei Seminar for Seminarians back in the 1980's. Back then, many seminaries had Easter week off as vacation, so lots of us could attend this Msgr. Escriva Palooza just south of Boston. At its zenith, over 150 seminarians from across the continential USA gathered from east to west and from north to south. Many came from heterodox seminaries that were infested with dissident theologians and where all kinds of liturgical, doctrinal and moral abberations plagued the place from top to bottom. Deo Gratias, we had one week of unadulterated orthodoxy and a booster shot of authentic, Roman and very reverent orthopraxy (in terms of sacred liturgy).

During the school year, some of us in minor and major seminary got all kinds of bizarre theology so we drooled in expectation of our annual reunion at Arnold Hall. Prudentially, the mail we got inviting us was marked New England Theological Forum, which sounded so Protestant and liberal that some faculty members actually smiled seeing that return address. Little did they know that much like the clandestine acting group Studio 38 and the Rhapsodic Theatre in Poland where Karol Wojtyla defied Nazi occupation, the NETF allowed orthodox seminarians loyal to the Magisterium and Holy See to network with other like minded seminarians and support each other.

Father George Rutler was one of our regular favorites as were Fr. Benedict Groeschel, CFR; Msgr. William Smith of Dunwoodie; Msgr. Lorenzo Albacete; Fr. Ken Baker, SJ, of Homiletic & Pastoral Review; Fr. Joseph Fessio, SJ, of Ignatius Press; Bishop Thomas Welsh of Allentown; Dr. John Haas; Dr. Janet Smith; et al. Five days of erudite and orthodox speakers combined with Holy Mass, Benediction, Rosary, Stations of the Cross and other devotions done so reverently, so elegantly and so liturgically correct, that it literally sustained for an entire year. Some seminarians would leave Arnold Hall to go back into the belly of the beast. Their seminaries were dens of iniquity and houses of deformation. Doctrine was distorted and church discipline ridiculed while witch-hunts for 'rigid' 'conservatives' made life seem like a concentration camp at times. Were it not for the Seminar for Seminarians, I would not have persevered. Though I had the prayerful support of holy and devout priests like Father Bob Levis and my pastors Msgr. Ennis Connelly and Msgr. Wilfrid Nash, I also needed the support of very good friends like Ken Brighenti and others who gave us hope to keep going.

After a while the seminaries changed their Easter vacation and they were no longer coordinated. So the seminars ended. We, the sons of those seminars, however, are grateful that they have been resurrected and now exist for ordained priests. Three days (Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday) after Easter is not much to plan but it is worth every day, hour and minute. Whether the recent papal encyclical or lineamenta of an upcoming document or just practical issues an average parish priest needs to address, these seminars are fantastic.

I religiously attend the seminar for priests and of course the annual convocation of the Confraternity of Catholic Clergy. These two annual gatherings give me a personal and professional boost I desperately need. Priests and deacons MUST give each other FRATERNAL support. It is not enough to attend the mandatory diocesan functions. We also need to get together with like minded fellows and give brotherly support to each other. Vatican II (Presbyterorum Ordinis), Canon Law, Pope JP2 (Pastores Dabo Vobis) and the Directory on the Ministry and Life of Priests all concur that priests NEED associations to promote ONGOING spiritual, theological and pastoral formation in a fraternal setting. Opus Dei and the CCC are but two entities that try.

March 31st I celebrated my 46th birthday with Father Brighenti and some friends. Both of us celebrate 20 years of priesthood this coming May (2008) and my friend Father Dennis Dalessandro and our bishop, the Most Rev. Kevin Rhoades, celebrate their silver jubilee of 25 years of priesthood this month, too. With Pope Benedict coming to the States this month as well, I am grateful to be able join my brother priests at the public papal Mass in Washington, DC on April 17th. Could not think of a better anniversary present than that.

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