Friday, March 28, 2008


Several years ago, I accidentally bought journals from a religious bookstore, the name of the journal is Documentation Service, published in December of 1991 (Volume 4, No.12). At that time I was a mere 21 years old and never had any idea what the TLM is, having been born and lived with the Novus Ordo Missae and the revised Liturgy. Perhaps it was by Divine Providence that despite the typhoons and house repairs undertaken I still have these journals in my collection of books. Never realizing then that today I will experience a personal attraction to the Traditional Roman Rite. But this edition of the Documentation Service has provided me some insights that helped me understand the issues surrounding these things.

I believe that no one who is attracted to the spirituality of the Traditional Rites is oblivious to issues surrounding it. On the extreme end we see the schismatic tendencies of some groups opposed to the reforms undertaken in the aftermath of the Second Vatican Council. Some even have fallen into the erroneous belief of Sede Vacantism. On the other extreme end there is the ultra liberal and progressive groups who wish to do away with everything associated with pre-Vatican II church.

But reading the article "Lessons from the Lefevbre Schism" by Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger, now PP Benedict XVI, has given me a good insight about the issues. No one who has read this article will fail to notice the vividness and the erudition by which Cardinal Ratzinger articulated a correct interpretation of the Liturgical Reforms of the Second Vatican Council.

Indeed the illicit episcopal consecrations undertaken by Archbishop Lefevbre in 1988 is a sad episode in the History of the Church, because it has consummated the brewing tendencies toward schism. Episcopal consecrations without papal mandate is a grave offense because it tears the cloak of unity of the Body of Christ. Defying the Authority of the Supreme Pontiff is defiance to Christ Himself. Reading the article from the Documentation Service gave me new insights. And I would like to quote some of the passages that served to enlightened me:

"One of the basic discoveries of the theology of ecumenism is that schisms can take place only when certain truths and certain values of the Christian Faith are no longer lived and loved within the Church. The truth which is marginalized becomes autonomous, remains detached from the whole of the ecclesiastical structure, and a new movement then forms itself around it." [p17].

Moreover, the cardinal wrote that while there were myriad reasons why some Catholics seek refuge in the Traditional Liturgy, one of the obvious reason is that "they find the dignity of the Sacred preserved there" [18] In that article, the Cardinal underscored the fact that there were even some priests who considered desacralization on the level of a parish program. Using the argument that Christ has abolished the temple and rent the veil from the Holy of Holies. Thus the desacralization of the Liturgy has manifested itself in many forms. Among these are the disregard for the sacred vestments used for the Mass. They regarded the Mass as an opportunity to get together and have good time. The parish priest pre-occupied with thinking of innovative ways to somewhat entertain the parishioners to get their attention. This is also the main reason why inappropriate gestures at mass were introduced in some parishes. What I mean by inappropriate gestures are the non-liturgical gestures, the common gestures of friendships, the clapping of hands as if the faithful are applauding the speaker. Thus in refuting these tendencies toward desacralization, the Cardinal underscored the importance of the Liturgy thus: "The grandeur of the liturgy does not rest upon the fact that it offers us interesting entertainment, but in rendering tangible the Totally Other, whom we are not capable of summoning" [p18]. Here the Cardinal deeply leads us to realize that the symbols, such as vestments, sacred vessels, and even liturgical language and gestures are designed to help our senses grasp the mystery of God and the paschal mystery. The dictum holds true that nothing comes to the mind without first coming through our senses. The rites and ceremonies helps us grasp reality. By bringing the truths of religion to our senses we are more equipped to reflect and to go deeper into the realization of eternal truths. This is the reason why the Church celebrates the Eucharist with rites.

Furthermore, the Cardinal mentioned this: "The Second Vatican Council defined no dogma at all: and yet many treat it as though it had made itself into a sort of super dogma which takes away the importance of all the rest." [p19]. I would think that this is the root cause of the problem. The Second Vatican Council should be seen as a continuation of sacred tradition. The Second Vatican Council did not define any dogma, it was particularly a pastoral council. Thus, "The only way in which Vatican II can be made plausible is to present it as it is: one part of the unbroken, the unique Tradition of the Church and of her faith." [p20]

As we observe and analyze the pontificate of Pope Benedict XVI we see how the Holy Father is doing his best to fulfill his pastoral task of implementing this continuity. His apostolic letter Summorum Pontificum is a giant testimony to this. He thereby inaugurated the "Reform of the Reformed". To bring to light more clearly the Treasures of the Vatican Council II and to correct the erroneous interpretation of Vatican II. His encyclicals and exhortations have focused on this. The recent papal liturgies have demonstrated this "Reform of the Reformed". The Pope has celebrated the Liturgy in Ad Orientem direction and using Italian [the following line is my personal interpretation, not official]to demonstrate that even the Vernacular Novus Ordo can be celebrated in Ad Orientem direction. During the Good Friday Services he wore the Full Roman Chusable and the traditional Miter. He also began to use the Throne of Pope Leo XIII. If we will notice further the arrangement of the altar is now more traditional and in line with sound theological perspective. Once again the Altar Crucifix is now set in the middle, no longer at the sides, because the true liturgical orientation must look up to Christ our rising sun. It is absurd to place the crucifix at the side because how can we place the symbol of Him who is the rising sun on the side of the altar?

Now that the Holy Father is implementing the "Reform of the Reformed", let us pray that the Holy Ghost will lead us into full realization of the truth and contribute to the Mission of the Church. Then we shall see the "Springtime of the Church" realized after all these years.

Friday, March 21, 2008


Photos & Narration by Dr. Herbert unless otherwise indicated.

Pilate, Presenting Jesus in front of the Jews. Pilate said "ecce homo". The Jews replied " Crucify him! crucify him!"

This is one of the most beloved images of Christ I have seen. This is part of the tableau for the Lenten Celebration in our town. The owner of this tableau lives right across the street where I live. So I ask permission to have the photo taken. Take note of the workmanship of this piece of art. The parts of the bodies and facial features are clearly drawn, including the fingers. It has Spanish features, an evidence of the Spanish influence in Philippine Catholicism.

The image of Mater Dolorosa. The heart of the Sorrowful Mother pierced with a lance.

"O, Mother, in this hour of desolation, the sword prophesied by Simeon has pierced your heart. Let me join you in this doleful night of pain. I am filled with remorse for the many sins I have committed. It was because of my sinfulness that Our Lord suffered this pain. But my soul shall hope in the Lord. My soul why are you sad? Hope in the Lord."

Thursday, March 20, 2008


Pictures and Narration by Dr. Herbert unless indicated.

Several years ago, because of successive typhoons, repairs were undertaken in our parish church. The issue of improving ventilation was also addressed. One very important innovation I noticed were the way the stained glass were done. The new stained glass windows were designed to depict episodes from the gospel. The inscriptions were written in Bicolano, the native tongue of Bicol. Indeed stained glass windows are works of art whose purpose is to enhance the beauty of the Gospel. Here are some photos I have taken using my mobile phone.

Depicted below is Christ's conversation with the Woman of Samaria. Our Lord declared that Salvation comes from the Jews, if only to emphasize that the Samaritans are in error regarding their belief. But even as Christ rebuked the sectarian errors of the Samaritans, He also declared that the Samaritans are welcome to draw that water from Him who is the source of life. He invited the woman to seek for this water that brings eternal life. The converted woman has become an example of zealous convert eager to share to others the blessing she received from the Lord.

Prayer: Lord just like the Samaritan Woman, we long for this water of life. Come to our hearts and satisfy our longings so that with you we might find eternal rest and peace. Amen.

Nicodemus, the member of the Sanhedrin who sought Christ at night. Christ said, Unless a man is born of water and spirit he will not enter the Kingdom of God."

Prayer: Lord, like Nicodemus inspire us with the desire to know the truth so that like him we may diligently search for it even at the most inconvenient time. Amen.

The wonderful catch. Lower you net, and lo they gathered a bountiful catch. Peter said, Lord, stay away from me for I am a sinful man.

Prayer: Lord, like Peter we are assailed by our unworthiness, but wee your wonderful works. Thank you Lord for being good to us even if we are stubborn and unbelieving. Amen.

The multiplication of the Bread.

Prayer: Lord as you fed the hungry of Capernaum, fed our hunger and multiply yourself in our hearts that we may savor the bounty of your grace. Amen.


Pictures and Narration by Dr. Herbert unless indicated.

Today is Good Friday. may I once again invite you to visit our parish church where I grew up. This is the Parish Church of St. John the Baptist in Tabaco City, also the first vicariate of the Diocese of Legazpi. "Built in the 19th century by the secular clergy; the bell tower features rocaille elements dated from an earlier time. The church has an unusual floor plan, with compartments that are inexplicable as of now. The stones on the walls bear masons’ marks, rarely seen elsewhere in this country."
[Reinerio Alba. "Restoration of 26 Philippine Churches." NCCA. ]

The front Facade. The Stained Glass Window depicts the Mystical Eye to symbolize the all knowing quality of God. Also inscribed in the window is the Greek Letter for Alpha and Omega, to symbolize that God is eternal.

The Bell Tower is detached from the body of the Church. It has several windows that accommodates lesser bells aside from the major Bell at the center of the Tower. The bells of this tower has served many purpose in the past and even now. Although at present we seldom hear these bells. Primary bells are blessed for the purpose of calling the faithful to prayer.

The Nave of the Church. The Nave of the Church represents the body of Christ. Catholic Churches are traditionally built in the shape of the Cross, the symbol of Man's redemption.

The Baptismal Font located in a side chapel near the entrance. Traditionally baptismal fonts are situated near the entrance to dramatize the fact that Baptism is the entrance to the Church, it is the sacrament of initiation.

Side View of the Facade as seen from the left.

The Confessional.

The Sanctuary where located are the Tabernacle and the Main Altar.

The Side Altar on the right, where the Image of St. John the Baptist is located. The Old Altar has not been demolished (still good for Tridentine Low Mass, and even ad orientem Novus Ordo)

The Side Altar on the Left, with the image of Our Lady of Salvation, patroness of the Diocese of Legazpi.


Words of Jesus as revealed to Sister Faustina, as written in her diary.
"I have opened My Heart as a living fountain of mercy. Let all souls draw life from it. Let them approach this sea of mercy with great trust. Sinners will attain justification, and the just will be strengthened in goodness" (Diary, 1520). []

Today Good Friday is the start to the novena to the Divine Mercy as revealed to the handmaid of the Lord St. Faustina of Poland. Pope John Paul II promoted this devotion and as a sign of election to God's Favor, he passed away on the Vigil of the Feast of Mercy.

Let us pray for the Catholic Church that the Lord will give us the grace of eternal perseverance until He comes to Judge the World.

Intentions of the Novena

First Day - for all Mankind and for Sinners
Second Day - for priests and Religious
Third Day - for the Devout and Faithful
Fourth Day - for the Unbeliever and for those who do not know God
Fifth day - for the separated Brethren
Sixth Day - for the Humble souls
Seventh Day - for the Devotees of the Divine Mercy

Sister Faustina was also instructed to recite the chaplet. []

Wednesday, March 19, 2008


Reflections By Dr. Herbert

Tomorrow is Maundy Thursday and one thing that really moves me is to witness the Chrism Mass live from Rome via Television. This is time of the year that the priests gathered around their Bishop celebrates the Eternal Priesthood of Jesus Christ.

The Catechism of the Catholic Church poignantly explain this priesthood thus: "Christ, High Priest and unique mediator, has made of the Church 'a kingdom of priests for His God and Father." The whole community of believer is , as such, priestly. The faithful exercises their baptismal priesthood through their participation, each according to his own vocation, in Christ's mission as priest, prophet, and king..." [CCC 1546] Through the ordained ministry, especially that of bishops and priests, the presence of Christ as Head of His Body, Shepherd of His flock, high priest of the redemptive sacrifice, Teacher of Truth. That is what the Church means by saying that the priest, by virtue of the sacrament of Holy Orders,
acts in persona Christi Capitis...[CCC 1548 b].

The visible presence of Christ is made more manifest among the faithful through the ministry of Priests, the bishop being the High Priest of the New Covenant. This does not mean however, that priests are perfect, like everyone of us they have their own weaknesses to conquer. But the virtue of Christ's action through the Sacrament of Holy Orders, makes the ministerial priesthood relevant in the service of the Church.

Who is the priest? A priest is someone taken from among the people to offer sacrifice and to stand as mediator between God and His people. In the Old Testament, this ministry was manifest in the Levitical Priesthood. The Almighty has made His visible presence to in the midst of His people by means of the Temple, its priesthood and sacrifices. The strict regulations imposed by the Torah in the manner of Temple celebrations speaks of how the Lord would like to manifest more perfectly the heavenly worship to His people on earth. The Priest occupies the central figure in this cult of God. For unlike the tribes of Israel, the sons of Levi did not receive a territorial inheritance from the Lord. For the Lord said that the inheritance of Levi shall be the Lord [meaning the splendor of His service]. And indeed the Lord is the greatest of inheritance. But all these Levitical regulations points us to a more perfect priesthood and a more perfect sacrifice. St. Paul speaks of this eternal priesthood in the New Covenant thus: "...we have such a high priest, who has taken his seat at the right hand of the throne of the Majesty of heaven, a minister of the sanctuary and of the true tabernacle that the lord, not man, set up. Now every high priest is appointed to offer gifts and sacrifices, thus the necessity of this one also to have something to offer. If then he were on earth, he would not be a priest, since there are those who offer gifts and sacrifices thus the necessity for this one also to have something to offer..." (Hebrews 8:1-3, NAB)

Through the Sacrifice of the Mass, we see the Priest performing the highest function of his ministerial priesthood, a minister ordained for God's people, a servant of the servants of God, alter Christus, an oblation and a victim. To offer sacrifice of propitiation for both the living and dead. To forgive sins, to bury the dead, to heal the sick and to counsel. As the Bible said, "How beautiful are the feet of them that brings good tidings!".

Let us pray for our Bishops and Priests, support them with our prayers, help them in their ministry, and by our generosity contribute to the sustenance of the Divine ministration.
photo above from Armand La Morte]

Saturday, March 15, 2008


If there is any saint beloved by many of the faithful including me, it is no other than St. Joseph. St. Joseph is always dear to my heart. I can always feel his power and protection over me and my family. This is what makes our Catholic faith wonderful. We who believe in the Communion of the Saints can trust that the Church militant (We who are baptized and still alive on earth), the Church suffering (the souls in purgatorial fires) and the Church Triumphant, (The Saints who are with the Lord) are united in one spirit and one heart. It is the Charity of God that binds us all together as one. When we seek the intercession of St. Joseph, we state the wonders and power of this doctrine.

This is the Parish Church of Catubig, Northern Samar. The Titular is St. Joseph. I took this picture three years ago on a field research.

[Photos by Dr. Herbert]

Thursday, March 13, 2008


Our Humble but dignified makeshift altar. Fr. Abe, CRS Celebrated the Ordinary form of the Mass. Our initial plan was to celebrate the Mass in the Latin Novus Ordo, but for pastoral reasons we finally decided to have it in English for the benefit of the students who are not familiar with Latin and we do not have booklets where students could follow through. But Father Abe used Roman Canon I.

The First Reading and the Responsorial Psalm.

After the Mass the students and Dr. Herbert R. requested the celebrant to bless sacramentals such as rosaries, medals and booklets.

In the photo, students listening intently to the talk of Fr. Abe. After the talk Fr. Abe offered the Sacrament of Penance to the students.After the Mass, Dr. herbert and some students requested Fr. Abe to bless rosaries and other sacramentals. Initially, I requested Fr. Abe to say the Novus Ordo in Latin, but since some are nominal Catholics, we thought it would be beneficial for the students if we have the Mass in English. Fr. Abe used the Roman Canon I.

[Photos by Dr. Herbert]

Tuesday, March 11, 2008


How do we plan to spend our Holy Week? Perhaps there will be many suggestions. For the secular mind perhaps things like going to the beach, visiting with friends, travels, etc... But for a Christian there are many things we need to do. We can spend it in Church. The few days off from work can serve as time to be with family and quietly prepare spiritually for the Greatest Feast -EASTER
For those who plan to stay indoors, except for going to Church on Good Friday and Easter Vigil, EWTN and other Catholic Networks offer very good viewing opportunity concerning the live coverage of Papal Liturgies in the Vatican. There is also a very beautiful and interesting program on EWTN please see this link: Pilgrimage: A Rediscovery of Catholic Tradition Hope that we all will have the most wonderful Easter.

Thursday, March 6, 2008


We held our Second Traditional Latin Mass on March 5, 2008, Wednesday at Amelianum College Chapel. We hope that as time goes on we will e able to hold our TLM on a Sunday. Some members of the Oath Alliance of Two Hearts has expressed their desire and intention to attend said mass if scheduled on a Sunday. During weekdays it would be difficult to attract a group because most of the people are busy with their obs, professions and other obligations. Our Altar is still simple and bare but we hope that generous souls will help us procure everything we need for this wonderful celebration. Indeed, after forty years of Novus Ordo, we have discovered a great treasure in the TLM. We should praise God for this rediscovery of a Treasure, a gift from God called, the Holy Mass.

The Reading of the Gospel

Fr. Abe preparing the Altar

The Altar Ready and set for the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass.

Saturday, March 1, 2008


Installment #1 of Essay… continuation to follow in the coming Days

By Dr. Herbert R.


In few days time it will be holy week and for the spiritually minded Christian this is a week to prepare for, spiritually and bodily. Easter is the feast of all feasts. The celebration of Easter and the teachings on the Resurrection of Christ is central to the Christian faith. This doctrine was preached by St. Paul, when writing to the Corinthians he said: “If there is no resurrection of the dead, then neither has Christ been raised. And if Chris has not been raised, then empty (too) is our preaching: empty too your faith…For if the dead are not raised, neither has Christ been raised, and if Christ has not been raised, your faith is in vain; you are still in your sins:” [I Corinthians 15:13-15 (New American Bible)] This verse from the New Testament gives us a hint that even during the time of the apostles, the narrative account of the Resurrection has been at the center of theological controversy. The Corinthians influenced by Greek philosophy tended to interpret the resurrection in the metaphorical and spiritual manner. But St. Paul in rebutting this erroneous notion emphasized the importance of the Physical Resurrection. More often God works in wonderful ways and He wants us to accept His grace with faith. Thus, in making the apostles the sole witnesses of the Resurrection of Christ, He wanted us to grasp this truth in faith. He wants us to accept with faith the words spoken to us and relayed to us by the apostles. Here too, our Lord showed us the importance of the Church as an organization established by Christ as the Divine agent for the perpetuation of the truth. This truth was spoken to us by St. Paul, when he wrote to Timothy thus: “…you should know how to behave in the household of God, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and the foundation of truth.” [Emphasis supplied] [I Timothy 3:15b (New American Bible)] Here too the Lord laid emphasis on the special mission of the Apostles as the ones sent to establish the Church on earth. This is one of the reasons why the resurrection of Christ was not manifested to the multitude of the people but to the apostles, because the mission of establishing churches and the confirmation of the beliefs were laid down on the Apostles and their legitimate successors. As Christ said to St. Peter: "You are the Peter and upon this Rock I will build my Church and the gates of hell shall not overcome it." As the Scriptures said, the Church is the pillar and foundation of truth. For even Scripture cannot be the subject of private interpretation. The Bible is the treasure and patrimony of the Church. It is integral to the whole of the economy of what we call the Sacred Deposit of the Faith or known more commonly as Sacred Tradition. [2 Peter 1:20 “Know this first of all, that there is no prophecy of Scriptures that is a matter of personal interpretation, for no prophecy ever came through human will; but rather human beings moved by the holy Spirit spoke under the influence of God.” (New American Bible)] Thus, the quoted scripture above rejects the Sola Scriptura argument of Martin Luther. The Bible itself cannot be taken singularly apart from the context of Sacred Tradition because the Scripture is part of that sacred deposit of faith entrusted to the Church. Aside from the written words of Scriptures there were also other things which Christ said and did, which according to St. John the Evangelist, “…if these were to be described individually, I do not think the whole world would contain the books that would be written.” [John 21:24b (New American Bible)] And here too we find the doctrine of the Resurrection of the Dead as central to this deposit of faith. The burial customs and practices of the Church speak of this faith in the physical resurrection. Perhaps this is the reason why we bury our dead in consecrated grounds and we refuse cremation. By means of these burial practices we seek to demonstrate our faith in the reality of the physical resurrection of the dead. We deny the nihilism of the eastern religions and we believe that the resurrection of the dead is a reality to come. This is also the reason why we Catholics have the custom of placing the relics of Saints and Martyrs in stone altars. By doing so we demonstrate by action our faith in the Resurrection of the Body.


The Doctrine of the Resurrection remains a controversial belief even in our times. During the apostolic times, St. Paul had to refute the Greeks in their belief that the Resurrection of the Body is an impossibility. It was difficult for the ancient Greeks to conceptualize the reality of the Resurrection of the Body because of their belief in the immortality of the soul or the transmigration of soul’s doctrine which makes bodily resurrection an unnecessary thing. On the other hand St. Paul had to refute the unbelief of some of the Jews of his time who cannot conceived the idea of crucifixion and suffering as necessary for resurrection. For them to teach that one has to take up one’s cross in order to enter the kingdom of God is foolishness. Even during the age of the Church Fathers, this controversy continue to rage. We saw the Gnostics [ “A collective name for a large number of greatly-varying and pantheistic-idealistic sects, which flourished from some time before the Christian Era down to the fifth century, and which, while borrowing the phraseology and some of the tenets of the chief religions of the day, and especially of Christianity, held matter to be a deterioration of spirit, and the whole universe a depravation of the Deity, and taught the ultimate end of all being to be the overcoming of the grossness of matter and the return to the Parent-Spirit, which return they held to be inaugurated and facilitated by the appearance of some God-sent Saviour.” Gnosticism. New Advent Encyclopedia. ] who denied bodily resurrection and instead substituted reincarnation in order to explain the nature of the resurrection. [Wikipedia. “Resurrection of the Dead.” ] Even in our times, modernists tend to deny the physical resurrection. It said that the resurrection of Christ was not a matter of historical fact but the product of faith and conscience. These errors were condemned by Pope Pius X in the encyclical Lamentabili Sane [Papal Ecyclicals Online. ] The errors proposed by the modernists which was infallibly condemned by Pius X are items 36 and 37 in the 65 propositions condemned by the said encyclical. The modernists erroneously propose: “The Resurrection of the Savior is not properly a fact of the historical order. It is a fact of merely the supernatural order (neither demonstrated nor demonstrable) which the Christian conscience gradually derived from other facts.” Another erroneous proposition is this: “In the beginning, faith in the Resurrection of Christ was not so much in the fact itself of the Resurrection as in the immortal life of Christ with God.” We just could imagine the damage to the faith and foundation of Christianity if these kinds of propositions will be accepted and promoted. There are several scholarly works that has been cited in order to prove the historical truth of the Resurrection of Christ, but it is not my purpose here to provide a scholarly treatise. I believe that the theologians can do it. My purpose is to expound my faith in the resurrection of the body. But what else could be the best proof than the statements of St. Paul: “If there is no resurrection of the dead, then neither has Christ been raised. And if Chris has not been raised, then empty (too) is our preaching: empty too your faith…For if the dead are not raised, neither has Christ been raised, nor if Christ has not been raised, your faith is in vain; you are still in your sins.” The wisdom of God Almighty is seen here again in these events. The seeming obscure aspects of faith should be beholden by the eyes of faith. It was intended so that we may receive the gift of faith and grasp the promises of heaven and obtain salvation by faith. For Christ said that if we have faith as small as a mustard seed, we shall obtain what we asked for. For if the resurrection of Christ was not literally true then what sense and purpose is the Christian religion? But the fact that Christ rose again from the dead is a proof that our religion is different from the others, because in this religion we are given hope. For as the Jews refer to the Lord as the “God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob”, then the Lord must be the Lord of the Living for in Him Abraham, Isaac, Jacob and all righteous persons live.

To be continued….