Saturday, July 07, 2007

The Priest at Prayer for July 8: Priestly Chastity

The Third Part - Vices and Virtues

Priestly Chastity

Third Meditation - The Church's Ruling

I. Let us see in this meditation how the unchanging Mind and law of the Church is concretely expressed in current Canon Law:
Canon 132.-1. Clerics in major orders are, under pain of nullity, forbidden to marry, and they have the obligation of observing chastity, so that sins against this virtue are also a sacrilege.

2. Clerics in minor orders may indeed get married but, unless the marriage was invalid on account of their being forced to such a marriage by grave fear or violence, they cease to be clerics ipso facto.

3. A married man who, though in good faith, receives major orders without a dispensation from the Holy See is forbidden to exercise such orders.

I recognise the whole force of this obligation, Lord, because one of the articles of faith which I profess every day is: Credo in unam, sanctam, catholicam, et apos­tolicam Ecclesiam.

II. From the day I received the sacred Sub-diaconate, the first of major orders, I became disqualified for life, by a diriment impediment, from contracting holy matrimony.

Since any sexual act, of those forbidden by the sixth and ninth commandments, both interior and exterior, by desire or by act, would be lawful only within the legitimate use of marriage; from the moment I received major orders I came under the law of absolute con­tinence, exterior and interior; and I shall break the law only at the cost of grievously offending Almighty God.

Not only do I offend Him, like any other person sinning against the commandments; I become guilty of sacrilege, of profaning something holy, something offered to God and to His service. The law entails not only the obligation of observing the sixth and ninth commandment, it becomes a matter of the first com­mandment, that is, an act and duty of religion.

Chastity for me, therefore, is an obligation resulting from a vow. I live bound by the vow of chastity, the same as any man in religion; and every sin of mine against my vow would be no less grave than the trans­gression of a religious against his. On the other hand, the merit of my observing the vow is no less sublime.

Do I really accept my obligation in this sense, such as is expressed above, such as I understood it when it was enjoined on me, such as I then embraced it? And am I aware that the following words of St. Paul apply to me more than to anybody else?
"Do you not understand that you are God's temple and that God's Spirit has his dwelling in you?" (1 Cor. iii, 16)

"Surely you know that your bodies are the shrines of the Holy Spirit, who dwells in you." (1 Cor. vi, 19)

"If anybody desecrates the temple of God, God will bring him to ruin." (1 Cor. iii, 17)

III. Let us listen to the voice of opposition, and answer it.

"A tyrannical imposition, this law of celibacy." - ­Yes, this has often been said, but there is nothing in the statement except a vile calumny. The Church has never imposed celibacy on anyone. She excommunicates with all the might of Her authority any person who has the audacity to do so. One example, among many, should be referred to:

Canon 214. The cleric who received a major order out of grave fear may by the sentence of the ecclesiastical judge be reduced to the lay state, pro­vided he can prove that he was ordained in fear and has not ratified the ordination afterwards, at least tacitly, by the exercise of the order with the intention of subjecting himself to the obligations of the major orders. He is then free from the obligation of celibacy and from the duty of saying the Divine Office. . . .

To the law of celibacy, however harsh it may seem, you submitted entirely of your own free will, and for ever. ­

"But I didn't understand properly what I was doing." - What? At 23 years of age, at the youngest, when curiosity, the source of so many evil suggestions, is most irresistible; when the passions and the physio­logical life have reached their highest development; hadn't you felt a thousand times in your flesh and heart and brain the storms of sexual desire? Then, when are they going to be felt? At twenty-three, when the intel­ligence had matured and you had finished your studies, didn't you realise exactly what celibacy entailed?

"But I was forced into it." - A lie, and you know it is! Remember the ordaining Prelate's serious admon­ition to you just before you received the sub-diaconate:

"You must attentively consider again and again that the burden you ask to assume today you ask for entirely of your own free will. Until this you are free. . . think over it while there is yet time. If you receive this order you will be obliged to observe chastity. Therefore, while there is yet time, take thought; and if you are ready to persevere in your holy endeavour, in the Lord's name, approach."

"Oh, there were other coercions: my parents, uncles and aunts, vested interests, etc." - And what has that got to do with the Church? Are you going to make the Church responsible for the blunders and even crimes of your family? And don't you blush for shame that at the age of twenty-three you hadn't the courage to withstand your family in a matter of such supreme importance? Didn't God and His Church warn you against approach­ing the altar for such disreputable aims as these?

Now, be honest with yourself, and if today you are weighed down under a law to which you freely and spontaneously - ultro - submitted, own up to the fact that what you need most is manliness. Esto vir, be a man who can stick to his word, to that sacred word the most solemn that ever came from your lips, to that word you spoke to the whole world, to the Church, to God Himself.

I shall find out whether I am keeping to my word. I resolve most firmly to keep to it from now onwards, even if, as Christ commands, I have to cut off my right hand and foot and pluck my eye out from me and cast it away, to avoid its becoming a stumbling-block and an occasion of sin. I am resolved from this moment, if in the past I have not done so, to observe with scrupulosity Canon 133:

1. The clergy shall take care not to have in their houses, nor to visit, women that may give reason for suspicion.

2. They are allowed to have in their houses only such women as those concerning whom there can be no suspicion, either on account of the natural bond as mother, sister, aunt, or from whom on account of their character and likewise their more advanced age all suspicion is removed.

Don't complain of the harshness of this law; it would be more than harsh, it would be cruel, if the Church did not lay down the law. Having bound me to con­tinence, could the Church have left me free in the midst of the greatest dangers without being a cruel and bad Mother?

Experience clearly shows how easy it is, relatively speaking, to keep this virtue if only we get away from the occasions which so readily excite and blind us and are the cause of over ninety-nine per cent of our lapses. It is incomparably less painful to pluck out one's eyes and to cast them away, that is, to cut away from those people, however dear and necessary they may seem to us, if they afford us a proximate occasion of sin, than to remain in their midst and resist the brutal onslaughts of passion.

It is Thou, my God, who commandest me; do not therefore deny me Thy abundant and efficacious grace, that I may faithfully abide by Thy Will.
Adapted from The Priest at Prayer
by Fr. Eugenio Escribano, C.M. (© 1954)
Translated by B.T. Buckley, C.M.

Please pray for our priests and pray for vocations to the priesthood!

Understanding Summorum Pontificum

Phil Lawler of Catholic World News has an excellent commentary on the Holy Father's Motu Proprio, Summorum Pontificum, which can be read here.

A Summorum Pontificum Celebration

May God Bless our Holy Father!

HT to Trish for the link!

USCCB Liturgy Committee Issues Special Newsletter on Summorum Pontificum

On July 7, 2007 Pope Benedict XVI published a Apostolic Letter under the title Summorum Pontificum, by which the Holy Father allows for and promotes a wider usage of the liturgical books in force in 1962. An unofficial translation of the Apostolic Letter is printed here for the convenience of our readers. A letter from Pope Benedict XVI which accompanied the Apostolic Letter follows the text, as does a BCL summary entitled Fifteen Questions on Summorum Pontificum.

The original Latin text of the Apostolic Letter may be found on the BCL website at:
Link here(PDF).

Pope Benedict XVI Liberalizes the Ancient Rite of the Mass – And Explains Why (Chiesa)

This is how the Mass was celebrated before, during, and after Vatican Council II, until 1970. If the passage to the new rite has created divisions and ruptures among the faithful, the fault is partly that of the Church: a fault which the pope now means to remedy.
by Sandro Magister

The Letter Accompanying Summorum Pontificum

My dear Brother Bishops,

With great trust and hope, I am consigning to you as Pastors the text of a new Apostolic Letter “Motu Proprio data” on the use of the Roman liturgy prior to the reform of 1970. The document is the fruit of much reflection, numerous consultations and prayer.

News reports and judgments made without sufficient information have created no little confusion. There have been very divergent reactions ranging from joyful acceptance to harsh opposition, about a plan whose contents were in reality unknown.

This document was most directly opposed on account of two fears, which I would like to address somewhat more closely in this letter.

In the first place, there is the fear that the document detracts from the authority of the Second Vatican Council, one of whose essential decisions – the liturgical reform – is being called into question.

This fear is unfounded. In this regard, it must first be said that the Missal published by Paul VI and then republished in two subsequent editions by John Paul II, obviously is and continues to be the normal Form – the Forma ordinaria – of the Eucharistic Liturgy. The last version of the Missale Romanum prior to the Council, which was published with the authority of Pope John XXIII in 1962 and used during the Council, will now be able to be used as a Forma extraordinaria of the liturgical celebration. It is not appropriate to speak of these two versions of the Roman Missal as if they were “two Rites”. Rather, it is a matter of a twofold use of one and the same rite.

As for the use of the 1962 Missal as a Forma extraordinaria of the liturgy of the Mass, I would like to draw attention to the fact that this Missal was never juridically abrogated and, consequently, in principle, was always permitted. At the time of the introduction of the new Missal, it did not seem necessary to issue specific norms for the possible use of the earlier Missal. Probably it was thought that it would be a matter of a few individual cases which would be resolved, case by case, on the local level. Afterwards, however, it soon became apparent that a good number of people remained strongly attached to this usage of the Roman Rite, which had been familiar to them from childhood. This was especially the case in countries where the liturgical movement had provided many people with a notable liturgical formation and a deep, personal familiarity with the earlier Form of the liturgical celebration. We all know that, in the movement led by Archbishop Lefebvre, fidelity to the old Missal became an external mark of identity; the reasons for the break which arose over this, however, were at a deeper level. Many people who clearly accepted the binding character of the Second Vatican Council, and were faithful to the Pope and the Bishops, nonetheless also desired to recover the form of the sacred liturgy that was dear to them. This occurred above all because in many places celebrations were not faithful to the prescriptions of the new Missal, but the latter actually was understood as authorizing or even requiring creativity, which frequently led to deformations of the liturgy which were hard to bear. I am speaking from experience, since I too lived through that period with all its hopes and its confusion. And I have seen how arbitrary deformations of the liturgy caused deep pain to individuals totally rooted in the faith of the Church.

Pope John Paul II thus felt obliged to provide, in his Motu Proprio Ecclesia Dei (2 July 1988), guidelines for the use of the 1962 Missal; that document, however, did not contain detailed prescriptions but appealed in a general way to the generous response of Bishops towards the “legitimate aspirations” of those members of the faithful who requested this usage of the Roman Rite. At the time, the Pope primarily wanted to assist the Society of Saint Pius X to recover full unity with the Successor of Peter, and sought to heal a wound experienced ever more painfully. Unfortunately this reconciliation has not yet come about. Nonetheless, a number of communities have gratefully made use of the possibilities provided by the Motu Proprio. On the other hand, difficulties remain concerning the use of the 1962 Missal outside of these groups, because of the lack of precise juridical norms, particularly because Bishops, in such cases, frequently feared that the authority of the Council would be called into question. Immediately after the Second Vatican Council it was presumed that requests for the use of the 1962 Missal would be limited to the older generation which had grown up with it, but in the meantime it has clearly been demonstrated that young persons too have discovered this liturgical form, felt its attraction and found in it a form of encounter with the Mystery of the Most Holy Eucharist, particularly suited to them. Thus the need has arisen for a clearer juridical regulation which had not been foreseen at the time of the 1988 Motu Proprio. The present Norms are also meant to free Bishops from constantly having to evaluate anew how they are to respond to various situations.

In the second place, the fear was expressed in discussions about the awaited Motu Proprio, that the possibility of a wider use of the 1962 Missal would lead to disarray or even divisions within parish communities. This fear also strikes me as quite unfounded. The use of the old Missal presupposes a certain degree of liturgical formation and some knowledge of the Latin language; neither of these is found very often. Already from these concrete presuppositions, it is clearly seen that the new Missal will certainly remain the ordinary Form of the Roman Rite, not only on account of the juridical norms, but also because of the actual situation of the communities of the faithful.

It is true that there have been exaggerations and at times social aspects unduly linked to the attitude of the faithful attached to the ancient Latin liturgical tradition. Your charity and pastoral prudence will be an incentive and guide for improving these. For that matter, the two Forms of the usage of the Roman Rite can be mutually enriching: new Saints and some of the new Prefaces can and should be inserted in the old Missal. The “Ecclesia Dei” Commission, in contact with various bodies devoted to the usus antiquior, will study the practical possibilities in this regard. The celebration of the Mass according to the Missal of Paul VI will be able to demonstrate, more powerfully than has been the case hitherto, the sacrality which attracts many people to the former usage. The most sure guarantee that the Missal of Paul VI can unite parish communities and be loved by them consists in its being celebrated with great reverence in harmony with the liturgical directives. This will bring out the spiritual richness and the theological depth of this Missal.

I now come to the positive reason which motivated my decision to issue this Motu Proprio updating that of 1988. It is a matter of coming to an interior reconciliation in the heart of the Church. Looking back over the past, to the divisions which in the course of the centuries have rent the Body of Christ, one continually has the impression that, at critical moments when divisions were coming about, not enough was done by the Church’s leaders to maintain or regain reconciliation and unity. One has the impression that omissions on the part of the Church have had their share of blame for the fact that these divisions were able to harden. This glance at the past imposes an obligation on us today: to make every effort to unable for all those who truly desire unity to remain in that unity or to attain it anew. I think of a sentence in the Second Letter to the Corinthians, where Paul writes: “Our mouth is open to you, Corinthians; our heart is wide. You are not restricted by us, but you are restricted in your own affections. In return … widen your hearts also!” (2 Cor 6:11-13). Paul was certainly speaking in another context, but his exhortation can and must touch us too, precisely on this subject. Let us generously open our hearts and make room for everything that the faith itself allows.

There is no contradiction between the two editions of the Roman Missal. In the history of the liturgy there is growth and progress, but no rupture. What earlier generations held as sacred, remains sacred and great for us too, and it cannot be all of a sudden entirely forbidden or even considered harmful. It behooves all of us to preserve the riches which have developed in the Church’s faith and prayer, and to give them their proper place. Needless to say, in order to experience full communion, the priests of the communities adhering to the former usage cannot, as a matter of principle, exclude celebrating according to the new books. The total exclusion of the new rite would not in fact be consistent with the recognition of its value and holiness.

In conclusion, dear Brothers, I very much wish to stress that these new norms do not in any way lessen your own authority and responsibility, either for the liturgy or for the pastoral care of your faithful. Each Bishop, in fact, is the moderator of the liturgy in his own Diocese (cf. Sacrosanctum Concilium, 22: “Sacrae Liturgiae moderatio ab Ecclesiae auctoritate unice pendet quae quidem est apud Apostolicam Sedem et, ad normam iuris, apud Episcopum”).

Nothing is taken away, then, from the authority of the Bishop, whose role remains that of being watchful that all is done in peace and serenity. Should some problem arise which the parish priest cannot resolve, the local Ordinary will always be able to intervene, in full harmony, however, with all that has been laid down by the new norms of the Motu Proprio.

Furthermore, I invite you, dear Brothers, to send to the Holy See an account of your experiences, three years after this Motu Proprio has taken effect. If truly serious difficulties come to light, ways to remedy them can be sought.

Dear Brothers, with gratitude and trust, I entrust to your hearts as Pastors these pages and the norms of the Motu Proprio. Let us always be mindful of the words of the Apostle Paul addressed to the presbyters of Ephesus: “Take heed to yourselves and to all the flock, in which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to care for the Church of God which he obtained with the blood of his own Son” (Acts 20:28).

I entrust these norms to the powerful intercession of Mary, Mother of the Church, and I cordially impart my Apostolic Blessing to you, dear Brothers, to the parish priests of your dioceses, and to all the priests, your co-workers, as well as to all your faithful.

Given at Saint Peter’s, 7 July 2007



The Motu Proprio, Summorum Pontificum (Latin) is here

The unofficial English translation of Summorum Pontificum can be read here...

Summorum Pontificum (English Translation-not official)

VATICAN CITY, JUL 7, 2007 (VIS) - Given below is a non-official English-
language translation of the Apostolic Letter "Motu Proprio data" of Pope
Benedict XVI, "Summorum Pontificum," concerning the use of the Roman liturgy
prior to the reform of 1970. The original text is written in Latin.


"Up to our own times, it has been the constant concern of supreme pontiffs
to ensure that the Church of Christ offers a worthy ritual to the Divine
Majesty, 'to the praise and glory of His name,' and 'to the benefit of all His
Holy Church.'

"Since time immemorial it has been necessary - as it is also for the future
- to maintain the principle according to which 'each particular Church must
concur with the universal Church, not only as regards the doctrine of the
faith and the sacramental signs, but also as regards the usages universally
accepted by uninterrupted apostolic tradition, which must be observed not only
to avoid errors but also to transmit the integrity of the faith, because the
Church's law of prayer corresponds to her law of faith.' (1)

"Among the pontiffs who showed that requisite concern, particularly
outstanding is the name of St. Gregory the Great, who made every effort to
ensure that the new peoples of Europe received both the Catholic faith and the
treasures of worship and culture that had been accumulated by the Romans in
preceding centuries. He commanded that the form of the sacred liturgy as
celebrated in Rome (concerning both the Sacrifice of Mass and the Divine
Office) be conserved. He took great concern to ensure the dissemination of
monks and nuns who, following the Rule of St. Benedict, together with the
announcement of the Gospel illustrated with their lives the wise provision of
their Rule that 'nothing should be placed before the work of God.' In this way
the sacred liturgy, celebrated according to the Roman use, enriched not only
the faith and piety but also the culture of many peoples. It is known, in
fact, that the Latin liturgy of the Church in its various forms, in each
century of the Christian era, has been a spur to the spiritual life of many
saints, has reinforced many peoples in the virtue of religion and fecundated
their piety.

"Many other Roman pontiffs, in the course of the centuries, showed
particular solicitude in ensuring that the sacred liturgy accomplished this
task more effectively. Outstanding among them is St. Pius V who, sustained by
great pastoral zeal and following the exhortations of the Council of Trent,
renewed the entire liturgy of the Church, oversaw the publication of
liturgical books amended and 'renewed in accordance with the norms of the
Fathers,' and provided them for the use of the Latin Church.

"One of the liturgical books of the Roman rite is the Roman Missal, which
developed in the city of Rome and, with the passing of the centuries, little
by little took forms very similar to that it has had in recent times.

"'It was towards this same goal that succeeding Roman Pontiffs directed
their energies during the subsequent centuries in order to ensure that the
rites and liturgical books were brought up to date and when necessary
clarified. From the beginning of this century they undertook a more general
reform.' (2) Thus our predecessors Clement VIII, Urban VIII, St. Pius X (3),
Benedict XV, Pius XII and Blessed John XXIII all played a part.

"In more recent times, Vatican Council II expressed a desire that the
respectful reverence due to divine worship should be renewed and adapted to
the needs of our time. Moved by this desire our predecessor, the Supreme
Pontiff Paul VI, approved, in 1970, reformed and partly renewed liturgical
books for the Latin Church. These, translated into the various languages of
the world, were willingly accepted by bishops, priests and faithful. John Paul
II amended the third typical edition of the Roman Missal. Thus Roman pontiffs
have operated to ensure that 'this kind of liturgical edifice ... should again
appear resplendent for its dignity and harmony.' (4)

"But in some regions, no small numbers of faithful adhered and continue to
adhere with great love and affection to the earlier liturgical forms. These
had so deeply marked their culture and their spirit that in 1984 the Supreme
Pontiff John Paul II, moved by a concern for the pastoral care of these
faithful, with the special indult 'Quattuor abhinc anno," issued by the
Congregation for Divine Worship, granted permission to use the Roman Missal
published by Blessed John XXIII in the year 1962. Later, in the year 1988,
John Paul II with the Apostolic Letter given as Motu Proprio, 'Ecclesia Dei,'
exhorted bishops to make generous use of this power in favor of all the
faithful who so desired.

"Following the insistent prayers of these faithful, long deliberated upon by
our predecessor John Paul II, and after having listened to the views of the
Cardinal Fathers of the Consistory of 22 March 2006, having reflected deeply
upon all aspects of the question, invoked the Holy Spirit and trusting in the
help of God, with these Apostolic Letters we establish the following:

"Art 1. The Roman Missal promulgated by Paul VI is the ordinary expression
of the 'Lex orandi' (Law of prayer) of the Catholic Church of the Latin rite.
Nonetheless, the Roman Missal promulgated by St. Pius V and reissued by Bl.
John XXIII is to be considered as an extraordinary expression of that same
'Lex orandi,' and must be given due honour for its venerable and ancient
usage. These two expressions of the Church's Lex orandi will in no any way
lead to a division in the Church's 'Lex credendi' (Law of belief). They are,
in fact two usages of the one Roman rite.

"It is, therefore, permissible to celebrate the Sacrifice of the Mass
following the typical edition of the Roman Missal promulgated by Bl. John
XXIII in 1962 and never abrogated, as an extraordinary form of the Liturgy of
the Church. The conditions for the use of this Missal as laid down by earlier
documents 'Quattuor abhinc annis' and 'Ecclesia Dei,' are substituted as

"Art. 2. In Masses celebrated without the people, each Catholic priest of
the Latin rite, whether secular or regular, may use the Roman Missal published
by Bl. Pope John XXIII in 1962, or the Roman Missal promulgated by Pope Paul
VI in 1970, and may do so on any day with the exception of the Easter Triduum.
For such celebrations, with either one Missal or the other, the priest has no
need for permission from the Apostolic See or from his Ordinary.

"Art. 3. Communities of Institutes of consecrated life and of Societies of
apostolic life, of either pontifical or diocesan right, wishing to celebrate
Mass in accordance with the edition of the Roman Missal promulgated in 1962,
for conventual or "community" celebration in their oratories, may do so. If an
individual community or an entire Institute or Society wishes to undertake
such celebrations often, habitually or permanently, the decision must be taken
by the Superiors Major, in accordance with the law and following their own
specific decrees and statues.

"Art. 4. Celebrations of Mass as mentioned above in art. 2 may - observing
all the norms of law - also be attended by faithful who, of their own free
will, ask to be admitted.

"Art. 5. õ 1 In parishes, where there is a stable group of faithful who
adhere to the earlier liturgical tradition, the pastor should willingly accept
their requests to celebrate the Mass according to the rite of the Roman Missal
published in 1962, and ensure that the welfare of these faithful harmonises
with the ordinary pastoral care of the parish, under the guidance of the
bishop in accordance with canon 392, avoiding discord and favouring the unity
of the whole Church.
õ 2 Celebration in accordance with the Missal of Bl. John XXIII may take
place on working days; while on Sundays and feast days one such celebration
may also be held.
õ 3 For faithful and priests who request it, the pastor should also allow
celebrations in this extraordinary form for special circumstances such as
marriages, funerals or occasional celebrations, e.g. pilgrimages.
õ 4 Priests who use the Missal of Bl. John XXIII must be qualified to do
so and not juridically impeded.
õ 5 In churches that are not parish or conventual churches, it is the
duty of the Rector of the church to grant the above permission.

Art. 6. In Masses celebrated in the presence of the people in accordance with
the Missal of Bl. John XXIII, the readings may be given in the vernacular,
using editions recognised by the Apostolic See.

"Art. 7. If a group of lay faithful, as mentioned in art. 5 õ 1, has not
obtained satisfaction to their requests from the pastor, they should inform
the diocesan bishop. The bishop is strongly requested to satisfy their wishes.
If he cannot arrange for such celebration to take place, the matter should be
referred to the Pontifical Commission "Ecclesia Dei".

"Art. 8. A bishop who, desirous of satisfying such requests, but who for
various reasons is unable to do so, may refer the problem to the Commission
"Ecclesia Dei" to obtain counsel and assistance.

"Art. 9. õ 1 The pastor, having attentively examined all aspects, may also
grant permission to use the earlier ritual for the administration of the
Sacraments of Baptism, Marriage, Penance, and the Anointing of the Sick, if
the good of souls would seem to require it.
õ 2 Ordinaries are given the right to celebrate the Sacrament of
Confirmation using the earlier Roman Pontifical, if the good of souls would
seem to require it.
õ 2 Clerics ordained "in sacris constitutis" may use the Roman Breviary
promulgated by Bl. John XXIII in 1962.

"Art. 10. The ordinary of a particular place, if he feels it appropriate,
may erect a personal parish in accordance with can. 518 for celebrations
following the ancient form of the Roman rite, or appoint a chaplain, while
observing all the norms of law.

"Art. 11. The Pontifical Commission "Ecclesia Dei", erected by John Paul II
in 1988 (5), continues to exercise its function. Said Commission will have the
form, duties and norms that the Roman Pontiff wishes to assign it.

"Art. 12. This Commission, apart from the powers it enjoys, will exercise
the authority of the Holy See, supervising the observance and application of
these dispositions.

"We order that everything We have established with these Apostolic Letters
issued as Motu Proprio be considered as "established and decreed", and to be
observed from 14 September of this year, Feast of the Exaltation of the Cross,
whatever there may be to the contrary.

" From Rome, at St. Peter's, 7 July 2007, third year of Our Pontificate."

(1) General Instruction of the Roman Missal, 3rd ed., 2002, no. 397.
(2) John Paul II, Apostolic Letter "Vicesimus quintus annus," 4 December
1988, 3: AAS 81 (1989), 899.
(3) Ibid.
(4) St. Pius X, Apostolic Letter Motu propio data, "Abhinc duos annos," 23
October 1913: AAS 5 (1913), 449-450; cf John Paul II, Apostolic Letter
"Vicesimus quintus annus," no. 3: AAS 81 (1989), 899.
(5) Cf John Paul II, Apostolic Letter Motu proprio data "Ecclesia Dei," 2
July 1988, 6: AAS 80 (1988), 1498.



Gospel for Saturday, 13th Week in Ordinary Time

From: Matthew 9:14-17

The Call of Matthew (Continuation)

[14] Then the disciples of John (the Baptist) came to Him (Jesus), saying, "Why do we and the Pharisees fast, but Your disciples do not fast?" [15] And Jesus said them, "Can the wedding guests mourn as long as the bridegroom is with them? The days will come, when the bridegroom is taken away from them, and then they will fast. [16] And no one puts a piece of unshrunk cloth on an old garment, for the patch tears away from the garment, and a worse tear is made. [17] Neither is new wine put into old wineskins; if it is, the skins burst, and the wine is spilled, and the skins are destroyed; but new wine is put into fresh wineskins, and so both are preserved."


14-17. This passage is interesting, not so much because it tells us about the sort of fasting practised by the Jews of the time--particularly the Pharisees and John the Baptist's disciples--but because of the reason Jesus gives for not requiring His disciples to fast in that way. His reply is both instructive and prophetic. Christianity is not a mere mending or adjusting of the old suit of Judaism. The redemption wrought by Jesus involves a total regeneration. Its spirit is too new and too vital to be suited to old forms of penance, which will no longer apply.

We know that in our Lord's time Jewish theology schools were in the grip of a highly complicated casuistry to do with fasting, purifications, etc., which smothered the simplicity of genuine piety. Jesus' words point to that simplicity of heart with which His disciples might practise prayer, fasting and almsgiving (cf. Matthew 6:1-18 and notes to same). From apostolic times onwards it is for the Church, using the authority given it by our Lord to set out the different forms fasting should take in different periods and situations.

15. "The wedding guests": literally, "the sons of the house where the wedding is being celebrated"--an __expression meaning the bridegroom's closest friends. This is an example of how St. Matthew uses typical Semitic turns of phrase, presenting Jesus' manner of speech.

This "house" to which Jesus refers has a deeper meaning; set beside the parable of the guests at the wedding (Matthew 22:1 ff), it symbolizes the Church as the house of God and the body of Christ: "Moses was faithful in all God's house as a servant, to testify to the things that were to be spoken later, but Christ was faithful over God's house as a son. And we are His house if we hold fast our confidence and pride in our hope" (Hebrews 3:5-6).

The second part of the verse refers to the violent death Jesus would meet.
Source: "The Navarre Bible: Text and Commentaries". Biblical text taken from the Revised Standard Version and New Vulgate. Commentaries made by members of the Faculty of Theology of the University of Navarre, Spain. Published by Four Courts Press, Kill Lane, Blackrock, Co. Dublin, Ireland. Reprinted with permission from Four Courts Press and Scepter Publishers, the U.S. publisher.

Friday, July 06, 2007

The Priest at Prayer for July 7: Priestly Chastity

The Third Part - Vices and Virtues

Priestly Chastity

Second Meditation - The Mind of the Church

I. Let us see the mind of the Church in this matter; it is not of recent date but of every age right down to the Apostles and to Jesus Christ Himself.

So pure and chaste was our Lord that, although accused of so many crimes by enemies who had no scruples when it came to putting into operation their perverse intrigues and giving expression to their male­volent designs, nowhere do we read in the Gospels, impartial and serene as they are, of the slightest hint or most veiled insinuation against the absolute purity of Christ; and that in spite of a number of opportun­ities which might possibly have given His enemies some shadow or glimpse of an excuse for accusing or sus­pecting Him.

For example, on the occasion when Christ confronted them with that scathing reply about the woman caught in adultery : He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone at her, and clearly showed them that He knew they were as guilty in their obstinacy and hard-heartedness as ever the woman was guilty in her adultery, they could not take up the chal­lenge; one after another (" being reproached by their own consciences" add some Greek codices), starting by the older men, they all slunk away covered with con­fusion.

What a grand opportunity it would have been to throw a tu quoque into our Lord's face had He ever furnished them with the slenderest pretext! No, never were they given a chance to accuse Him of impurity.

O Jesus, that slinking away of Thy slanderers was the most eloquent panegyric of Thy immaculate purity; I endorse their testimony and confess Thee to be the all-pure Son of a Virgin Mother. Only once didst Thou defy all laws of nature, and that was in order to take flesh and blood from a Woman who out-dazzled the sun's rays in radiant purity, who was never defiled by any most fleeting shadow of lascivious touch or thought.

II. The Fathers and Doctors of the Church are unanimous in their praise and practice of celibacy.

The Gospels gave them the first lead in those graphic words of the Saviour:
There are eunuchs who have made themselves eunuchs for the kingdom of heaven; he that can take, let him take it. (Matt. xix, 12);

they had from St. Paul those admirable lessons on total victory over sensual cravings, lessons which the Apostle prefaced and endorsed with his own example:
"I wish you were all in the same state as my­self. . . . To the unmarried, and to the widows, I would say that they will do well to remain in the same state as myself." (l Cor. vii, 7-9.)

And lest he should provide the least motive for sus­pecting his personal integrity, he renounces things quite lawful in themselves:

"Have we not the right to travel about with a woman who is a sister, as the other apostles do, as the Lord's brethren do, and Cephas? . . . Yet I have not availed myself of any such right." (l Cor. ix, 6 and 15)

Moreover, St. Paul gives us to understand quite clearly what the practice was among the priests of that time; because, while telling us in detail the duties of priests towards others, including the priest's own children, if before his ordination he had had them in lawful wedlock, never does he make the slightest allusion to the conduct he should observe towards his wife, sup­posing she lived on after the priest's ordination; an evident sign that she had no further claim over her husband who, once a priest, lived in separation from her.

III. That St. Paul demanded of the priest absolute absten­tion from marital intercourse follows from his teachings.

For the Apostle of the Gentiles - who with a touch of self-assertiveness declares, in proof of the truth of his teachings on the merit of virginity, "and I, too, claim to have the spirit of God " - the priest is essentially the "homo Dei" (1 Tim. vi, 11), the man wholly conse­crated to God's service. He is the soldier of Christ with no other possible task in life than to fight for Christ:
"Thou art God's soldier; and the soldier on service, if he would please the captain who enlisted him, will refuse to be entangled in the business of daily life ". (2 Tim. ii, 4)

A text which expresses the same line of thought, even if we omit the word "God" that is missing in some of the old codices; the idea that just as a soldier renounces al1 other worldly pursuits and business in order to be exclusively a soldier and to please and serve his enlist­ing captain, so also the priest, as a soldier of Christ, called to Christ's colors, must renounce every occupa­tion and aspiration other than soldiering for Christ.

Here we have the supreme and unanswerable argu­ment for ecclesiastical celibacy set forth in so many words by the same Apostle:

"I would have you free from concern. He who is unmarried is concerned with God's claim, ask­ing how he is to please God; whereas the married man is concerned with the world's claim, asking how he is to please his wife; and thus he is at issue with himseIf." {1 Cor. vii, 32-33)

How should the priest, the miles Christi, the homo Dei, who has renounced all other concern, be allowed to tie himself down to the rearing of a family? St. Paul does not think so, he considers this task precisely the source of this world's anxieties, worries and aspirations.

I may well observe the law of celibacy in its sexual meaning, but do I live solicitous for the affairs of God? Or do I squander the energies of my solitary celibate life for the sake of stupidly trying to raise the economic status of my parental home, of my nephews and nieces, or, sadder still, of strangers? Will not this misplaced concern of mine be one day my stunning reproach?

With all that is truest and best in me, and notwith­standing the rebellion of my lower nature, I will cherish the privations of my celibate state of life, even when rendered really painful by the occasional impetus of passion. I will cherish continence such as was practised by Christ, my Master and High Priest, by the Apostles, who learned the lesson from Him, and by the Church in every age.

But I wish to cherish it for the sole purpose for which the Church imposes it upon me; namely, in order to live with the one concern of pleasing God by my ministry and my life of piety. I am not going to be so foolish as to allow the immense energies, which the faithful preservation of this virtue demands, to be har­nessed to the economic advancement of my family or of anyone else, instead of the interests of God's glory.

No, dear Lord, I have not bent my shoulders to the heavy yoke of celibacy for the sake of bettering my father's position in life or of giving a career to my nephews, or of enabling my nieces to marry "well"; I have taken the burden on for Thee, and for nothing but Thy glory and the salvation of souls.
Adapted from The Priest at Prayer
by Fr. Eugenio Escribano, C.M. (© 1954)
Translated by B.T. Buckley, C.M.

Please pray for our priests and pray for vocations to the priesthood!

Episcopalian Muslim Priestess Suspended for a Year...

...during which she "is not to exercise any of the responsibilities and privileges of an Episcopal priest or deacon..." in the Episcopal church.

She can, however, still continue to "teach" this fall as a visiting assistant professor at Jesuit-run Seattle University. It's nice to see that the Jesuits in Seattle haven't lost their sense of humor...

The Rev. Ann Holmes Redding, a local Episcopal priest who announced she is both Muslim and Christian, will not be able to serve as a priest for a year, according to her bishop.

During that year, Redding is expected to "reflect on the doctrines of the Christian faith, her vocation as a priest, and what I see as the conflicts inherent in professing both Christianity and Islam," the Rt. Rev. Geralyn Wolf, bishop of the Diocese of Rhode Island, wrote in an e-mail to Episcopal Church leaders.

Missouri Governor Blunt to Sign Anti-abortion Legislation

Missouri Governor Matt Blunt is holding a statewide bill signing tour today in which he will sign pro-life legislation.

JEFFERSON CITY — Missouri abortion providers will face new regulations for their clinics and new restrictions on teaching sex education classes.

Gov. Matt Blunt signed legislation today placing more abortion clinics under government oversight by classifying them as ambulatory surgical centers. Planned Parenthood claims the law could force it to spend more than $1 million to remodel some of its buildings.

The new law, which will take effect Aug. 28, also bars people affiliated with abortion providers from teaching or supplying materials for sex education courses in public schools, and it allows schools to offer abstinence-only programs.

Missouri Right to Life, which backed the measure, claims groups such as Planned Parenthood have a conflict of interest in supplying materials for sex education courses, because they could potentially make money off female students who later visit their clinics.
Of course, Planned Parenthood, an expert in misinformation and disinformation campaigns when it comes to parenting and parenthood, is not pleased and asserts that this is “political propaganda." Surely, PP knows all about "propaganda."

Shame at Petco Park; The TMLC Urges Families to Boycott This Sunday’s Padres Game

ANN ARBOR, MI – On the same evening, the San Diego Padres are enticing families to bring there children to the Padre’s game against the Atlanta Braves with a family day giveaway of “floppy hats;” the Padres are also advertising a homosexual event, “Pride Night at PETCO Park.”

As a result, the Thomas More Law Center, a national public interest law firm based in Ann Arbor, Michigan today urged families with children and fans of the San Diego Padres and Atlanta Braves to stay away from the game and avoid watching, or even listening to this Sunday’s game involving the two clubs.

On the San Diego Padres official website, the Padres are advertising for an official “San Diego Pride event (sponsored by the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgendered community).” The Padres’ website states, “Pride Night at PETCO Park. ‘Enjoy an evening of Padres baseball at a discounted price… . San Diego Pride supporters and volunteers will be recognized for organizing the group event with a scoreboard welcome and the Gay Men’s Chorus of San Diego will sing the National Anthem.’”
Is there no longer any shame for promoting debauchery and sodomy?

More here.

The 'leaked' MP...?

I read about this today and I must concur with the comments of Catholic World News, which says:

Although some copies of the document-- which was sent to the world's bishops in advance-- are already in circulation, the contexts are under embargo until noon (Rome time) on July 7. CWN will respect that embargo.
We've waited for this for such a long time, it's a very small sacrifice, indeed, to respect the embargo and patiently wait another few hours to receive the document when it is intended to be received, is it not?

Faithful Welcome Coadjutor Archbishop John Nienstedt

The future leader of the Catholic Church in the Twin Cities got to the point a few minutes into his homily.

He is not coming to divide the Catholics of the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis - his mission is to unify the faithful.

"Much ink has been spilled in the press over speculation about how this new coadjutor will differ from the present archbishop," Coadjutor Archbishop John Nienstedt said during his welcome Mass on Friday at the Cathedral of St. Paul. "But frankly, I believe that speculation is misplaced."
As in many places, there already exists a certain disunity, caused by, to a great extent, those who no longer accept or are ignorant of the Church's teaching while vocally expressing dissident opinions.

After Pope Benedict XVI's apostolic letter appointing Nienstedt as coadjutor archbishop was read, the crowd gave him a standing ovation. One woman hooted, while another jumped up and down until she doubled over from the excitement.
Apparently some were unable to control their excitement!

Some speculated Nienstedt's theologically conservative approach would clash with more progressive views held by Catholics under Flynn's guidance - especially on issues like homosexuality and women in the priesthood.
It takes the secular media to inject politcal terminology into Church related matters and to promote theological impossibilities as issues worthy of discussion.

"Leadership in Christ's church should not be about the differences in personality or administrative styles, but rather about our commitment to the message and mission of the Lord Jesus," Nienstedt said.
The faithful of Minneapolis/St Paul have reasons to be thankful.

Pope warned over return of ancient Latin Mass

As expected, some are unjustifiably upset about the Holy Father's Motu Proprio:

Members of the Catholic Church in Britain, including Cardinal Cormac Murphy O’Connor, had previously urged the Pope not to re-introduce the Mass, which is widely seen as a step backwards.

The Bishop of Arundel and Brighton, the Rt Rev Kieran Conry, said: "Any liberalisation of the use of the Tridentine Rite may prove seriously divisive. It might send out an unfortunate signal that Rome is no longer fully committed to the reforms of the Second Vatican Council and it could encourage those who want to turn the clock back throughout the Church."

Turkey Strikes a Blow against the Patriarch of Constantinople (Chiesa)

The supreme court denies him the title of "ecumenical." And with this, it reinforces the suffocating of the freedoms of the patriarchate and of the other religious minorities. The repercussions of the sentence on relations between Rome and the Churches of the East.
by Sandro Magister

Gospel for Friday, 13th Week in Ordinary Time

Optional Memorial of St. Maria Goretti, virgin and martyr

From: Matthew 9:9-13

The Call of Matthew

[9] As Jesus passed on from there, He saw a man called Matthew sitting at the tax office; and He said to him, "Follow Me." And he rose and followed Him.

[10] And as He sat at table in the house, behold, many tax collectors and sinners came and sat down with Jesus and His disciples. [11] And when the Pharisees saw this, they said to His disciples, "Why does your Teacher eat with tax collectors and sinners?" [12] But when He heard it, He said, "Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick. [13] Go and learn what this means, `I desire mercy, and not sacrifice.' For I came not to call the righteous, but sinners."


9. "Tax office": a public place for the payment of taxes. On "following Jesus", see the note on Matthew 8:18-22.

The Matthew whom Jesus calls here is the Apostle of the same name and the human author of the first Gospel. In Mark 2:14 and Luke 5:27 he is called Levi the son of Alphaeus or simply Levi.

In addition to Baptism, through which God calls all Christians (cf. note on Matthew 8:18-22), the Lord can also extend, to whomever He chooses, a further calling to engage in some specific mission in the Church. This second calling is a special grace (cf. Matthew 4:19-21; Mark 1:17-20; John 1:30; etc.) additional to the earlier calling through Baptism. In other words, it is not man who takes the initiative; it is Jesus who calls, and man who responds to this call by his free personal decision: "You did not choose Me, but I chose you" (John 15:16).

Matthew's promptitude in "following" Jesus' call is to be noted. When God speaks, soul may be tempted to reply, "Tomorrow; I'm not ready yet." In the last analysis this excuse, and other excuses, are nothing but a sign of selfishness and fear (different from that fear which can be an additional symptom of vocation: cf. John 1). "Tomorrow" runs the risk of being too late.

As in the case of the other Apostles, St. Matthew is called in the midst of the ordinary circumstances of his life: "What amazes you seems natural to me: that God has sought you out in the practice of your profession! That is how He sought the first, Peter and Andrew, James and John, beside their nets, and Matthew, sitting in the custom-house. And--wonder of wonders!--Paul, in his eagerness to destroy the seed of the Christians" ([St] J. Escriva, "The Way", 799).

10-11. The attitude of these Pharisees, who are so prone to judge others and classify them as just men or sinners, is at odds with the attitude and teaching of Jesus. Earlier on, He said, "Judge not, that you be not judged" (Matthew 7:1), and elsewhere He added, "Let him who is without sin among you be the first to throw a stone at her" (John 8:7).

The fact is that all of us are sinners; and our Lord has come to redeem all of us. There is no basis, therefore, for Christians to be scandalized by the sins of others, since any one of us is capable of committing the vilest of sins unless God's grace comes to our aid.

12. There is no reason why anyone should be depressed when he realizes he is full of failings: recognition that we are sinners is the only correct attitude for us to have in the presence of God. He has come to seek all men, but if a person considers himself to be righteous, by doing so he is closing the door to God; all of us in fact are sinners.

13. Here Jesus quotes Hosea 6:6, keeping the hyperbole of the Semitic style. A more faithful translation would be: "I desire mercy MORE THAN sacrifice". It is not that our Lord does not want the sacrifices we offer Him: He is stressing that every sacrifice should come from the heart, for charity should imbue everything a Christian does--especially his worship of God (see 1 Corinthians 13:1-13; Matthew 5:23-24).
Source: "The Navarre Bible: Text and Commentaries". Biblical text taken from the Revised Standard Version and New Vulgate. Commentaries made by members of the Faculty of Theology of the University of Navarre, Spain. Published by Four Courts Press, Kill Lane, Blackrock, Co. Dublin, Ireland. Reprinted with permission from Four Courts Press and Scepter Publishers, the U.S. publisher.

Thursday, July 05, 2007

The Priest at Prayer for July 6: Priestly Chastity

The Third Part - Vices and Virtues

Priestly Chastity

First Meditation - Motives

I. St. Thomas Aquinas tells us that the Church permits the chalice of the Blood of Christ only to priests, because, among other reasons, She considers them purer than the general body of the faithful: ad haben­dum vas congruum hujus Sanguinis contentivum. (Opusc. 58, c. xxix)

As wine is served in cleaner and choicer vessels than those used for bread, so also the priest is granted the Precious Blood under the Species of wine because he is the vessel of the Lord consecrated to divine wor­ship and bound to God by the vow of chastity, and burnished brighter than other men by the beauty and purity of a more virtuous life.

God grant that the Church may always find in me the fulfilment of Her intention and desire! A terrible contrast it would be if the purity and infinite wealth of the Blood of Christ - vinum germinans virgines - ­were poured into a heart made a sink, day by day, year after year, of lewd iniquity. So let me keep my ears open to St. Paul's grave admonition:
"Each of you must learn to control his own body, as something holy and held in honour, not yielding to the promptings of passion." (Thess. xv, 4)

II. It is well to stress this idea. I am a vessel consecrated to God; a temple, a tabernacle set apart for the sole purpose of containing God, by His grace, by the ful­filment of His law, and by my daily dealings with the Blessed Sacrament. On the frontispiece of this temple rather than on the fanes of ancient paganism should be sculptured the motto: Deo sacrum.

I am a monstrance and a chalice of the Holy Eucharist. Every day for a number of years, and, I hope, until the end of my life, I have been the Tabernacle of the Most Holy Body and Blood of my Lord Jesus Christ. Lips, tongue, hands, and my whole body are sanctified by contact with the Sacramental Species, more so than the corporals and the chalice: I am, so to speak, the earthly vesture now of the Word made flesh.

Hence, to stain myself with the repulsive vice of impurity would be tantamount to assigning the sacred vessels, my body and soul, to profane and unworthy uses, in imitation of the sacrilegious King of Babylon; and so horrible a crime, I fear, would suffice to make God's Patience yield to His infinite Wrath, and once again would appear the writing on the wall above my sinful head: Mane, Thekel, Phares.

III. If we have any esteem at all for the inheritance Christ has promised us, for the souls He treasured and redeemed at such a price, for the vineyard He planted with so much sweat and toil, let us priests be chaste. For it is one of the sad lessons of history in every age of the Church that the vice which has wrenched the greatest number of souls, communities, and nations from Christ's Fold is the sensuality of His evil ministers.

Of this particular vice we might say in the words of the Vulgate Psalter: singularis ferus depastus est eam. (Ps. lxxix, 14) A terrible curse afflicts those individuals and nations who stand witness to the long-continued sexual laxity of the altar's ministers, of the dispensers of the divine word and mysteries.

No morals, however pure; no faith, however deep-rooted, but will eventually succumb to the infernal force of such an evil example. Impiety and vice will build up a stronghold of im­pregnable defense from the sexual laxity of the clergy; this is Hell's infallible boast.

Am I, O Jesus, on the black list of those priests whom Thou, century after century, canst point to with a finger of scorn and flay with the devastating rebuke:
Ignominia domus Domini!
Abominatio desolationis in templo sancto! ?

I shall often repeat the meditations on the Holy Sacrifice and Blessed Sacrament and the Sacrilegious Mass contained in earlier pages of this book, as an incentive to keep myself chaste and pure, at least out of reverence for such sublime mysteries.
Adapted from The Priest at Prayer
by Fr. Eugenio Escribano, C.M. (© 1954)
Translated by B.T. Buckley, C.M.

Please pray for our priests and pray for vocations to the priesthood!

Spin -or- professionalism?

George Weigel touches on editorials posing as "News" reports in his recent commentary and includes a couple of paragraphs about the goings on in St Louis since Archbishops Burke's arrival:

...there was the May 29 Washington Post “news” story on Archbishop Raymond Burke of St. Louis. Burke, according to the Post’s gimlet-eyed reporter, has “roiled the Church in St. Louis” because he is “adhering to Vatican orthodoxy endorsed by Pope Benedict XVI,” a posture that has caused some St. Louis Catholics to “complain that the Church under his direction seems out of touch.” That’s a lot of confusion in a few phrases. The Catholic Church’s teaching on the impaired ecclesiastical communion of Catholic legislators who facilitate abortion (like Missouri Senator Claire McCaskill) is not a “Vatican position” that takes its force from being “endorsed by Pope Benedict XVI.” It’s settled moral conviction, based on philosophical convictions about the first principles of justice that are open to public scrutiny.
The Post Dispatch, generally it seems, persists in adding to the confusion when it comes to the Church.

Things quickly got worse, however. For whom did the Post choose to illustrate, by contrast, Archbishop Burke’s being “out of touch”? Father Marek Bozek of St. Louis’s boldly schismatic St. Stanislaus Kostka Church, whom the Post presented as the paladin of a new, “open” Catholicism. The Post failed to mention, however, that Bozek had been run out of a seminary in Poland; had gotten himself ordained in a small Missouri diocese while someone wasn’t paying attention; and has subsequently been having fun wearing witch hats as complements to his Mass vestments. Other peculiarities at the parish could easily have been adduced. So is St. Stanislaus Kostka Church the embodiment of “open Catholicism,” or a gathering of schismatic malcontents? You make the call — but do it on the op-ed page, not on A2.
It's a group of schismatic malcontents - there is no question about that.

Weigel's complete article is here.

Who would have ever suspected...?

Miami's 'Antichrist' In Financial Trouble

MIAMI - The Miami-based preacher [Jose Luis De Jesus Miranda] who has basked in international attention since declaring himself the second coming of Jesus Christ has used charitable donations to his ministry for personal expenses - paying $144,000 a year in alimony to his first wife and buying property in his and his relatives' names.

TMLC: Daily Dispatch of LtCol Chessani - Decision 10 July 2007

From the Thomas More Law Center:

The Thomas More Law Center has received an official correspondence from the Investigating Officer, Colonel Christopher Conlin, in regards to the recent Article 32 Hearing for LtCol Chessani. Colonel Conlin has asked for an extension of time for his official report to LtGen Mattis to be due.

The Staff Judge Advocate for LtGen Mattis has agreed to this extension request. The recommendation from Colonel Conlin is now due at or before July 10, 2007. The Law Center understands that the official report cannot be completed until the transcripts of the Article 32 Hearing have been completed. The Law Center has received confirmation that the transcripts have been recently completed. The 4th of July holiday may also play a small part in the delay as well.

Brian Rooney, and attorney for the Law Center commented, "I read nothing into this extension request other than the fact that we have to wait a little while longer for the report."

Col Conlin's report could recommend the charges be sent to a general courts-martial, dismiss the charges altogether, or take care of the charges administratively.

The Thomas More Law Center would like to continue to thank everyone for their prayers and support in regard to LtCol Chessani, his family, and our country.

Don't Be Afraid...of Charismatics...

Don't be afraid of charismatics, leaders tell their fellow Catholics
By Patricia Zapor
Catholic News Service

SECAUCUS, N.J. (CNS) -- Mention that you're attending a charismatic renewal event to most American Catholics and they may take a cautious step backward, as if they expect you to lay a hand on their foreheads and pray over them, unbidden.

In a world where being Catholic can seem countercultural, being a charismatic Catholic often adds one more layer of popular misunderstanding. Terminology like "slain in the Spirit" and "speaking in tongues," hand-waving, dancing and enthusiastically expressed joy are images of charismatics that make other Catholics more than a little uncomfortable.
More than a little uncomfortable? Really? Many might be suspicious and sceptical...

The U.S. church is becoming more charismatic, whether or not other American Catholics feel awkward around charismatic practices.
That's not all the "U.S. church" has become...

Among the typical characteristics of charismatic experiences are the "gifts of the Holy Spirit." Some people are overcome with a physical feeling of warmth and well-being, sometimes called "baptism of the Spirit." Some find they can "prophesy" or relate to others a message from God.

Other people shout or dance, sometimes without control over their actions, falling to the floor in what is called being "slain in the Spirit." Others may simply raise a hand high, swaying along with a song. What is called "speaking in tongues" is traditionally the ability to speak in a language unknown to the individual, but may be heard as a phrase such as "Jesus is Lord" or something indecipherable, repeated over and over like a mantra.

Defining who is a part of the charismatic renewal is even harder to quantify.
...or justify?

I ain't buyin' it...none of it..but your mileage may vary. I was raised as Catholic, not pentecostal.

Father Joseph Fessio, S.J. on "Pope Benedict and the Old Mass"

Watch it here.

Gospel for Thursday, 13th Week in Ordinary Time

From: Matthew 9:1-8

The Curing of a Paralytic

[1] And getting into a boat He (Jesus) crossed over and came to His own city. [2] And behold, they brought to Him a paralytic, lying on his bed; and when Jesus saw their faith He said to the paralytic, "Take heart, My son; your sins are forgiven." [3] And behold, some of the scribes said to themselves, "This man is blaspheming." [4] But Jesus, knowing their thoughts, said, "Why do you think evil in your hearts? [5] For which is easier to say, `Your sins are forgiven', or to say, `Rise and walk'? [6] But that you may know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins"--He then said to the paralytic-- "Rise, take up your bed and go home." [7] And He rose and went home. [8] When the crowds saw it, they were afraid, and they glorified God, who had given such authority to men.


1. "His own city": Capernaum (cf. Matthew 4:13 and Mark 2:1).

2-6. The sick man and those who bring him to Jesus ask Him to cure the man's physical illness; they believe in His supernatural powers. As in other instances of miracles, our Lord concerns Himself more with the underlying cause of illness, that is, sin. With divine largesse He gives more than He is asked for, even though people do not appreciate this. St. Thomas Aquinas says that Jesus Christ acts like a good doctor: He cures the cause of the illness (cf. "Commentary on St. Matthew", 9, 1-6).

2. The parallel passage of St. Mark adds a detail which helps us understand this scene better and explains why the text refers to "their faith": in Mark 2:2-5 we are told that there was such a crowd around Jesus that the people carrying the bed could not get near Him. So they had the idea of going up onto the roof and making a hole and lowering the bed down in front of Jesus. This explains His "seeing their faith".

Our Lord was pleased by their boldness, a boldness which resulted from their lively faith which brooked no obstacles. This nice example of daring indicates how we should go about putting charity into practice--as also how Jesus feels towards people who show real concern for others: He cures the paralytic who was so ingeniously helped by his friends and relatives; even the sick man himself showed daring by not being afraid of the risk involved.

St. Thomas comments on this verse as follows: "This paralytic symbolizes the sinner lying in sin"; just as the paralytic cannot move, so the sinner cannot help himself. The people who bring the paralytic along represent those who, by giving him good advice, lead the sinner to God" ("Commentary on St. Matthew", 9, 2). In order to get close to Jesus the same kind of holy daring is needed, as the Saints show us. Anyone who does not act like this will never take important decisions in his life as a Christian.

3-7. Here "to say" obviously means "to say and mean it", "to say producing the result which your words imply". Our Lord is arguing as follows" which is easier--to cure the paralytic's body or to forgive the sins of his soul? Undoubtedly, to cure his body; for the soul is superior to the body and therefore diseases of the soul are the more difficult to cure. However, a physical cure can be seen, whereas a cure of the soul cannot. Jesus proves the hidden cure by performing a visible one.

The Jews thought that any illness was due to personal sin (cf. John 9:1-3); so when they heard Jesus saying, "Your sins are forgiven", they reasoned in their minds as follows: only God can forgive sins (cf. Luke 5:21); this man says that He has power to forgive sins; therefore, He is claiming a power which belongs to God alone--which is blasphemy. Our Lord, however, forestalls them, using their own arguments: by curing the paralytic by saying the word, He shows them that since He has the power to cure the effects of sin (which is what they believe disease to be), then He also has power to cure the cause of illness (sin); therefore, He has divine power.

Jesus Christ passed on to the Apostles and their successors in the priestly ministry the power to forgive sins: "Receive the Holy Spirit. If you forgive sins of any, they are forgiven; if you retain the sins of any, they are retained" (John 20:22-23). "Truly, I say to you, whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in Heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in Heaven" (Matthew 18:18). Priests exercise this power in the Sacrament of Penance: in doing so they act not in their own name but in Christ's--"in persona Christi", as instruments of the Lord.

Hence the respect, the veneration and gratitude with which we should approach Confession: in the priest we should see Christ Himself, God Himself, and we should receive the words of absolution firmly believing that it is Christ who is uttering them through the priest. This is why the minister does not say: "Christ absolves you...", but rather "I absolve you from your sins..." He speaks in the first person. So fully is he identified with Jesus Christ Himself (cf. "St. Pius V Catechism", II, 5, 10).
Source: "The Navarre Bible: Text and Commentaries". Biblical text taken from the Revised Standard Version and New Vulgate. Commentaries made by members of the Faculty of Theology of the University of Navarre, Spain. Published by Four Courts Press, Kill Lane, Blackrock, Co. Dublin, Ireland. Reprinted with permission from Four Courts Press and Scepter Publishers, the U.S. publisher.

Wednesday, July 04, 2007

The Priest st Prayer, July 5

The Third Part - Vices and Virtues

Contempt for the World's Pleasures

Second Meditation - Divine Example and Precept

I. Let us hear what He has to say about the world's pleasures:

Blessed are the poor. . . the meek. . . those that mourn. . . those that hunger and thirst after justice. . . the clean of heart. . . the peace-makers . . . those that suffer calumny and persecution. . . .

Woe to the rich. . . to those that have their fill . . . woe to those that jeer and scoff. . . to those who are blessed and honoured by men. . . .

What an amazing and enlightening chapter - but a terrifying one to our softness - could be compiled from just the very grave words spoken by our Divine Master about these passing pleasures which so fascinate us!

How shattering His words are about those false idols which, in one way or another, we all worship, before whose shrine we have all at one time or another burnt the incense of our heart's desire!

Do I really and truly acknowledge Thee, O Jesus, as my Master and my life's Guide? Do I deserve to be enrolled on Thy register? Even if I do, I must confess that some of Thy lessons have remained unlearnt, and that certain theories of Thine my heart would like to dispute, if not my intellect.

O give me strength, Lord, to declare myself Thy disciple with my whole being, without mental reser­vations or dark corners unillumined by Thy Light!

II. What arguments does the Son of God use to prove His austere theory? In case His word should not suffice, He adduces a proof that no one can reject, the example of his entire mortal life.

There is not the slightest indication in His life that He ever attached any importance to the things the world esteems so highly and so recklessly pursues as the goal of happiness. He is born in poverty, lives in poverty, dies in destitution; He has no longing to receive any­thing from anybody, makes no demands for anything, except the human heart; He flees from worldly osten­tation, renounces power, hates pleasures, amasses neither silver nor gold, and, if given to Him in alms, He hands it over to Judas's administration, to the only disciple who was covetous and grasping.

The life of Jesus, from stable to sepulchre, bears eloquent testimony to the fact that He, the Teacher of teachers, found nothing in this world's material values worthy of the human heart's ambition; and' His was the most sensitive of human hearts.

Such were Thy inmost convictions, dear Jesus; I realise what they are and I shall not be so rash as to doubt their deep sincerity; with all my sinfulness I have not yet come to deny veracity and honesty to Thy words and Thy irreproachable life.

III. Let me compare my convictions on this matter with the Divine Master's, if only for the sake of understand­ing that I, too, am included in the universal indictment spoken by David: Omnis homo mendax. (Ps. xcv, 2)

What is my opinion of pleasures, not excluding the illicit ones? By God's mercy, or by some physical im­possibility, I may live at a distance from them. . . but is there no faint feeling of regret? is there no secret envy of those who can indulge in them without undue risks?

How do I feel about worldly honours? Don't I strain after them in desire, only to crash against a wall of restraint confining me within the narrow limits of my priestly office and personal limitations?

How do I regard wealth? I have not gone so far as to barter away my Lord and Master, like Judas - at least I don't think I have - but if I stop to think, perhaps I should not like to swear that money has played no part in my priestly zeal. Have I never thought and decided to study, preach, say Mass, or perform other ministerial duties for the sole or primary purpose of raking in a few odd shillings? Have my interests been vested in money rather than in souls and the glory of God?

There seem to be points of doctrine where Christ and myself are not of one and the same mind. How long will this estrangement last?

IV. I am convinced that just as the might of a nation rests on its armies and armaments, so does the strength of a disciple of Christ, especially that of a priest, depend upon detachment from everything worldly and upon closest union with God. This is the meaning of the two comparisons adduced by St. Luke: of the man who has a mind to build a tower but does not sit down first and reckon whether or not he has sufficient money to finish the task; and that of the king setting out to join battle with another king and not studying beforehand whether he can cope with numerical superiority; and our Lord concludes:
So likewise, everyone of you who does not renounce all that he possesses cannot be my disciple (Luke xiv, 28-33).

How much more the clergy would accomplish, even if priests were less numerous, with greater detachment and self-denial! What a handicap our unruly affections are! How they bring us into disrepute!

Contempt for this world's pleasures will in future be one of the lessons I shall learn, O Lord, from Thy Cross, on which Thou, in utter detachment and destitution, hast attracted the world.
Adapted from The Priest at Prayer
by Fr. Eugenio Escribano, C.M. (© 1954)
Translated by B.T. Buckley, C.M.

Please pray for our priests and pray for vocations to the priesthood!

The Motu Proprio is Titled: Summorum Pontificum

Vatican, Jul. 4, 2007 ( - A papal document widening use of the 1962 Roman Missal will be released on July 7, the Roman news agency I Media says, confirming reports that circulated late in June.

The motu proprio will be entitled Summorum Pontificum, I Media adds. The title of the Pope's document had not previously been mentioned in the media, despite numerous reports of its existence and intense speculation over its contents...

Congressmen Want U.S. Bishops to Intervene on Iraq War

I heard this on the radio last night but was unable to finad any story or followup on it until now.

My first reaction (a rash judgment?) was that these were probably the same Congresscritters who also want bishops to keep quite about intrinsically evil matters the legislators support such as abortion, embryonic stem cell research, homosexuality as well as other morally bankrupt positions.

WASHINGTON - Rep. Rosa L. DeLauro and 13 other Catholic members of Congress released a letter Tuesday calling on Catholic bishops to help end the war in Iraq.

"As Catholic members of Congress, we stand in unison with the Catholic Church in opposition to the war in Iraq," the Democratic 3rd District congresswoman said in a statement. "Yet to attain the ideal of peace, we must not only speak the words, we must take action."

As a result, she and her colleagues sent a letter to the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, or USCCB, urging it to "mobilize Catholic opinion on this, one of the most critical issues of our time."
Lest anyone forget, Rosa L. DeLauro and a cadre of 54 other so-called Catholic House Democrats outed themselves as pro-aborts last year (link).

DeLauro was also the "ringleader" of the "group of 18" who recently condemned Pope Benedict for his comments regarding excommunication for politicians, saying it would “offend the very nature of the American experiment and do a great disservice to the centuries of good work the church has done.” (Source)

All good work the Church has done is being systematically destroyed by these politicians who thwart good to advance evil, all while claimimng to be 'devout, practicing Catholics'...

I can now conclude that my initial reaction to the radio report was justified and correct - this is an attempt by pseudo-Catholics to enlist the support of bishops to further their agendas...

The members want to meet with key Catholic officials. They reminded the conference that "throughout our nation's history, Catholics have been at the forefront of the fight for social justice. Now, at another critical moment, we respectfully urge the USCCB to join with us in mobilizing support for Congress' efforts to end the war."
It would be a perfect opportunity for bishops to remind these "Catholics" what it means to be Catholic...and that there is a problem with a cafeteria style Catholicism as manifested by these people.

Gospel for Wednesday, 13th Week in Ordinary Time

July 4 - Independence Day

From: Matthew 8:28-34

The Demoniacs of Gadara

[28] And when He (Jesus) came to the other side, to the country of the Gadarenes, two demoniacs met Him coming out of the tombs, so fierce that no one could pass that way. [29] And behold, they cried out, "What have You to do with us, O Son of God? Have You come here to torment us before the time?" [30] Now a herd of many swine was feeding at some distance from them. [31] And the demons begged Him, "If You cast us out, send us away into the herd of swine." [32] And He said to them, "Go." So they came out and went into the swine; and behold, the whole herd rushed down the steep bank into the sea, and perished in the waters. [33] The herdsmen fled, and going into the city they told everything, and what had happened to the demoniacs. [34] And behold, all the city came out to meet Jesus; and when they saw Him, they begged Him to leave their neighborhood.


28. Most Gospel codexes and the New Vulgate say "Gadarenes"; but the Vulgate and parallel texts in Mark and Luke have "Gerasenes". Both names are possible; the two main towns in the area were Gerasa and Gadara. The event reported here could have happened close to both towns (limits were not very well-defined), though the swine running down into the lake or sea of Galilee makes Gadara somewhat more likely. "Gergesenes" was a suggestion put forward by Origen.

28-34. In this episode Jesus once more shows His power over the devil. That it occurred in Gentile territory (Gerasa and Gadara were in the Decapolis, east of Jordan) is borne out by the fact that Jews were forbidden to raise swine, which the Law of Moses declared to be unclean. This and other instances of expulsion of demons narrated in the Gospel are referred to in the Acts of the Apostles, when St. Peter addressed Cornelius and his household: "He went about doing good and healing all that were oppressed by the devil" (Acts 10:38). It was a sign that the Kingdom of God had begun (cf. Matthew 12:28).

The attitude of local people towards this miracle reminds us that meeting God and living a Christian life require us to subordinate personal plans to God's designs. If we have a selfish or materialistic outlook we fail to appreciate the value of divine things and push God out of our lives, begging Him to go away, as these people did.
Source: "The Navarre Bible: Text and Commentaries". Biblical text taken from the Revised Standard Version and New Vulgate. Commentaries made by members of the Faculty of Theology of the University of Navarre, Spain. Published by Four Courts Press, Kill Lane, Blackrock, Co. Dublin, Ireland. Reprinted with permission from Four Courts Press and Scepter Publishers, the U.S. publisher.

Tuesday, July 03, 2007

The Priest at Prayer, July 4

The Third Part - Vices and Virtues

Contempt for the World's Pleasures

First Meditation - Priestly Detachment

I. Contempt for the pleasures of the world is an impos­ition of the Church and of our own priestly status. It is a duty as imperative for us as for a soldier the readiness to give his life for his country.

If we go through Titulus III of the Code, De obligationibus Clericorum, we shall see that there is hardly a pleasure, honour, or good thing of this world that it does not forbid us. Priests are forbidden to marry. They must wear clerical attire. They must abstain from everything unbecoming their state. They must not engage in affairs improper to their state. They are not to indulge in gambling. They ought not to attend worldly shows, parties, displays, etc.

Neither riches nor pleasures of the flesh nor worldly honours; these three great gratifications of the world are forbidden us, the approach to them is closed against our entry, once and for all.

And the Church on this point has never changed Her mind.

II. The faithful and even the world itself demand this of us. Our first duty is to bring the world to God, teaching it to esteem the things of eternity and to make little of the things of earth, bearing in mind and having on our lips at all times the words of St. Paul:
"The fashion of this world is soon to pass away." (1 Cor. viii, 31)

But these are truths and exhortations completely at variance with our human nature's perverted instincts, they are hard to believe and to take for our fixed standard of conduct; and if my personal life is in flat contradiction with my profession, how will the world receive them from my lips? St. John Chrysostom puts it well:
"Our living example is more moving than miracles. If they hear us condemn avarice, lewdness, and straightway hear that we practise the opposite of what we teach, they will consider our exhor­tations sheer mockery, and our doctrine, just child's play.

"To speak fulsomely in praise of the highest morality is easy; many of the old philosophers did so. What they demand of us is good works. It isn't enough for us to point to the Saints of the past, they see only the present, and they insist on our meeting the challenge: 'Prove thy belief to us by thy good works'."

Only by our own example shall we convey to souls the lesson of detachment from things of earth which clears the way to eternal life.

III. The practice of this detachment must begin by our cherishing it inwardly, and even then, how difficult it is to bring practice into line with the strength of one's convictions! Not even the greatest Saints succeeded completely in giving outward expression to their inmost thoughts and desires, and can I expect to progress very far in detachment from all things visible if my heart succumbs to them and builds an altar of worship to them?

What is my real assessment, O God, of the value of these frail and transitory things which I am obliged to hold in contempt? Are the Gospel utterances on the vanity of this world's pleasures just borrowed formulas which my lips alone do justice to? If I haven't begun by despising them inwardly, how shall I detach myself from them outwardly? How shall I observe the strict obligations laid down in Canon Law? And won't the discrepancy between my preaching and my example be a stumbling-block to the faithful?

God does not forbid me to covet riches, honours and pleasures, but He does demand that they be in keeping with my personal dignity as a child of God; so I shall go in eager quest of the riches, honours and pleasures of eternal life. Quae sursum sunt, quaerite. (Col. iii, 1)

I shall deposit my vested interests and my heavenly treasures in the only Bank that never suffers bank­ruptcy, the Hands of my Father in Heaven; and great will be my gain.
Adapted from The Priest at Prayer
by Fr. Eugenio Escribano, C.M. (© 1954)
Translated by B.T. Buckley, C.M.

Please pray for our priests and pray for vocations to the priesthood!

Knights of Columbus? Hardly...

I have just heard from John O’Gorman, the Fighting Knight of Columbus from Massachusetts, that the 170,000 signature Initiative Petition to define marriage as the union of one man and one woman was thwarted by the Legislature, meeting in joint Constitutional Convention, on Thursday, June 14 2007. The sad part is it would have passed to go on the ballot in 2008 had it not been for the votes of at least sixteen men who call themselves Knights of Columbus who voted against the Church they are supposed to be Knights of, and for the sodomites they support! They are:

Massachusetts Speaker of the House Sal Dimasi, and House Majority Leader John Rogers.

State Reps: Garrett Bradley, Bob Deleo, Stephen Di Natale, Chris Donelan, Christopher Fallon, Kevin Honan, Charles Murphy, Angelo Puppolo and Bob Spellane, Bob Nyman, and Paul McMurtry.

State Senators: Tom McGee, Michael Knapik, and Michael Morrissey.

It only required 50 votes to bring this to the people of Massachusetts for a vote. The vote was 45 to do so. If the sixteen so called Knights had voted with the Church, and for the good of society, they would have had SIXTY ONE! God have mercy on their much compromised souls!

Seven of these Judases have PRO-CHOICE RATINGS FROM PLANNED PARENTHOOD OF MASS,, they are: The Speaker Dimasi, Bradley, Donelan, Honan, Murphy, Spellane, and McGee!
The question remains what will the Knights do about these men (and I use that term loosely) for, by their votes, they have demonstrated that they are nothing more than cowards and quislings. What a disgrace and shame for the Knights of Columbus and for the Catholic Church!

Trouble in the Diocese of Belleville...

Priests resign from board to protest Belleville bishop's secrecy

Three priests have resigned from an 11-member diocesan board citing Belleville Bishop Edward Braxton's secrecy in assigning priests. Three other priests on the personnel board publicly voiced similar complaints about the bishop but did not resign.

The rift is the latest example of clerical dissent that has marred Braxton's two years in Belleville. It was revealed in a letter to their fellow priests from the Revs. Andrew Knopik, Carl Scherrer and Dennis Voss.

The letter said that "nearly all" the assignments announced by the bishop's office over the last month "were made secretly by Bishop Braxton, with little or no input from the members of the personnel board." The letter was dated June 17, but most priests did not receive it until late last week.

The board is made up of the diocesan deans (the priests who head the six geographical areas that make up the diocese), the vicar general, the chancellor and three priests who are elected to the board by their fellow priests. Knopik, Scherrer and Voss are the three elected priests. None of the three responded to phone calls Monday.

Three of the six deans — the Revs. Robert Flannery, Mark Stec and Thomas Stout — wrote an accompanying note to "concur with the above letter and voice our dismay at the lack of full consultation by Bishop Braxton."