Wednesday, March 31, 2010

"Mistaking the Woods with the Trees"

Pravda, the Russian News Agency Defends Pope Benedict XVI and the Catholic Church.  Here are some excerpts.

Much of the news coming out, in the effort to disguise ideological propaganda, contains the fundamental error of mistaking the wood with the trees ... especially when the aim is to denigrate. That is, from an isolated case, preferably rough outlines, and generalized in order to induce the reader to think that the whole is of the same nature. This generalization obviously has ideological connotations and follows a political agenda that seeks to deconstruct traditional society and all its secular institutions and to impose a New World Order after the manner of the sinister interests of the international oligarchy, the same ones that handle the financial markets and through them, largely control the global economy. We refer to cases ofpedophilia within the ranks of the Catholic Church recently publicized by international news agencies.
and here is more:

The fury of the anti-clerical secular lobby goes so far as to revive old cases like that of Father Lawrence Murphy, back in 1975, to address the current Pope insidiously and in this way, the very Roman Catholic Church. On 25 March of this year, the prestigious New York Times published an article that allegedly accused Benedict XVI of covering up for the priest from Milwaukee in 1995 when the Pope was still Cardinal and responsible for the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith It must be motivated by a very strong hatred of Catholicism to raise this issue 35 years afterwards...
The complaint is all the more insidious when it ignores all that this body has had is the specific function to monitor doctrinal deviations, heresies, so nothing to do with the Law, which deals with cases of indiscipline, as are the acts that violate the chastity of the clergy are required. It is ignored that this priest was acquitted by civil law, which did not find evidence of the practice of pedophilia on deaf boys who were protected. How aware are we made that the Catholic hierarchy kept him under surveillance and did so not so much for suspicion of sexual abuse of minors, but for doctrinal deviations. It was this and only for this reason that the then Cardinal Ratzinger, in 1995, sanctioned, and then limited his pastoral functions. Four months later Murphy died. We do not believe that the New York newspaper was absolutely unaware of these facts. From here, it follows that bad faith exists and a defamatory smear campaign has been articulated against the world Catholic hierarchy.

 Indeed in the field of ecumenical relations the Catholic Church and the Russian Orthodox Church will unite to defend our Judeo-Christian patrimony against the attacks of those people with ideological leanings and with a political agenda to destroy the Christian religion.

You can read more of this report at PRAVDA

Cardinal Levada Defends Pope Benedict XVI Against Calumnious Articles

William Cardinal Levada has written an excellent article to his former Archdiocesan paper.  The title of the article:The New York Times and Pope Benedict XVI: how it looks to an American in the Vatican.  Here is an excerpt"

In our melting pot of peoples, languages and backgrounds, Americans are not noted as examples of “high” culture. But we can take pride as a rule in our passion for fairness. In the Vatican where I currently work, my colleagues – whether fellow cardinals at meetings or officials in my office – come from many different countries, continents and cultures. As I write this response today (March 26, 2010) I have had to admit to them that I am not proud of America’s newspaper of record, the New York Times, as a paragon of fairness.

Read more of this On the Catholic San Francisco Online.  

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Milwaukee Judicial Vicar Speaks Out His Mind

Here is an interesting article written by Fr. Thomas Brundage to defend himself and the Vicar of Christ.  Read HERE.

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Palm Sunday 2010

Zechariah 9:9-10

"Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Sion, shout for joy, O daughter of Jerusalem: BEHOLD THY KING will come to thee, the just and saviour: he is poor, and riding upon an ass, and upon a colt the foal of an ass."

"And I will destroy the chariot out of Ephraim, and the horse out of Jerusalem, and the bow for war shall be broken: and he shall speak peace to the Gentiles, and his power shall be from sea to sea, and from the rivers even to the end of the earth."

My Meditation:

Every year as we live thought the life, hope and expectations of the Church though the celebrations in the Liturgical calendar, we come again to this most important and solemn occasion of our faith.  The sacred passion of our Lord.  Through out the week we shall relived in a very special way the passion of Christ.  Our Lord has promised graces for people who will meditate on His passion.

The special thing that comes to my mind this week are the secular mass media's attack on the Holy Father.  The world will never indeed love our Lord.  The Jewish Leaders of Christ's time crucified Him, and today in the same manner they are trying to crucify our Holy Father.  I admire so much the patience by which our Holy Father in dealing with these attacks.  I am saddened by the silence of the people who should have been defending our Church.

Let us remember our Church is a most special way this lenten season and may our sufferings and sacrifices be offered for this intention.

Friday, March 26, 2010

Defenders of the Faith

There is a CNS report defending the church here is an excerpt:

VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- The Vatican defended a decision not to laicize a Wisconsin priest who sexually abused deaf children, despite the recommendation of his bishop that he be removed from the priesthood. In a statement responding to a report in the New York Times, the Vatican said that by the time it learned of the case in the late 1990s, the priest was elderly and in poor health. The Vatican eventually suggested that the priest continue to be restricted in ministry instead of laicized, and he died four months later, the Vatican said.

For the full story READ HERE

I also follow Fr.Z's comments on his blog and here is an excerpt.
I know that Holy Catholic Church in its human dimension has to undergo this purification.  It simply has to happen.  The Church will always be attacked from without and within, as part of a constant purification.  And I would be inconsistent indeed were I not to apply what I constantly mention to those going through a harsh purification.  St. Augustine said about Christ, Physician of the soul, who corrects us sometimes with nearly unbearable means: "The doctor doesn’t stop cutting just because the patient is screaming for him to stop."

You can follow through Fr. Z's article Here

All these events are sad indeed.  I feel that there is a concerted plan in the secular and anti-Catholic media to discredit the Holy Father and His collaborators.  God is great and on this month of St. Joseph, may this humble and great father intercede and protect our Pope, our leaders and the faithful ones.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Pope's Letter to Irish Catholics

The child abuse scandals that has rocked the church in Ireland and in some countries has cast a dark shadow on the Church. On March 19, 2010, his holiness Pope Benedict XVI has issued a pastoral letter to Ireland. The full text of this letter can be read from - HERE

Christ is the same yesterday, today and forever.

To the Priests and Religious who have committed child abuse, the Holy Father wrote:

"You betrayed the trust that was placed in you by innocent young people and their parents, and you must answer for it before Almighty God and before properly constituted tribunals. You have forfeited the esteem of the people of Ireland and brought shame and dishonour upon your confreres. Those of you who are priests violated the sanctity of the sacrament of Holy Orders in which Christ makes himself present in us and in our actions. Together with the immense harm done to victims, great damage has been done to the Church and to the public perception of the priesthood and religious life.
I urge you to examine your conscience, take responsibility for the sins you have committed, and humbly express your sorrow. Sincere repentance opens the door to God’s forgiveness and the grace of true amendment. By offering prayers and penances for those you have wronged, you should seek to atone personally for your actions. Christ’s redeeming sacrifice has the power to forgive even the gravest of sins, and to bring forth good from even the most terrible evil. At the same time, God’s justice summons us to give an account of our actions and to conceal nothing. Openly acknowledge your guilt, submit yourselves to the demands of justice, but do not despair of God’s mercy."

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Let Us Pray for Our Pope and Our Church-Christ's Church

The Holy Father was verbally abuse by a man at St. Peter's square.  Here is the excerpt from the  HERALD SUN :

A man, apparently in his early 50s, shouted "bulls***, bulls***" while stretching an accusatory arm towards Benedict XVI, after approaching the barrier in front of the Pope's podium.  Vatican police forcibly removed the man, still shouting, from the square.  The Pope went on to announce that he would "soon" send a pastoral letter to Irish Catholics over the paedophile priest scandal that has rocked Ireland.  

You can follow the link for the report.  Personally I feel very sad about the events in the Church.  The sex and pedophile scandals have been manipulated by the enemies of the Church to destroy the church.  Let us pray all the more about these events.  Let us never loose hope.  The Lord is good and may He grant healing for every one affected and may those who were affected learn also the meaning of forgiveness.  Let us pray for our dear Pope Benedict XVI.  Our Pope is a good man, he has a deep understanding of the problems of the church, and has done so much for the good of the Church.  I believe that his mind is all set for the good of the church.  I have never lost hope in our Pope.  I believe and support his program of unity and reconciliation.  The Church is a Divine organization, it will endure until the end of time.  Though she is made up of weak human beings, sinful as they are.  But the grace of God through the ministry of the church will continue to feed and nurture His children.  Viva il Papa.

As we celebrate the feast of St. Joseph, husband of Mary, let us seek the intercession of St. Joseph, patron of the Universal Church.  

To Thee Oh Holy Joseph

The Holy Family by Raphael, 1506

"Joseph teaches us that it is possible to love without possessing," said the Holy Father. "In contemplating Joseph, all men and women can, by God's grace, come to experience healing from their emotional wounds, if only they embrace the plan that God has begun to bring about in those close to him, just as Joseph entered into the work of redemption through Mary and as a result of what God had already done in her." (  

Saturday, March 13, 2010

The Priesthood and the Hermeneutics of Continuity

His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI in an address to the participants in the International Theological Conference Organized by the Clergy expounded beautifully and poignantly on the meaning of the Priesthood and its connection with the Priesthood of Christ.  Here is an excerpt form

Jesus Christ, the Eternal Priest
"For this reason, it is important to overcome dangerous reductionism that, in past decades, using categories that were more functional than ontological, has presented the priest almost as a "social agent," running the risk of betraying the priesthood of Christ itself. Just as the hermeneutic of continuity is increasingly revealed as urgent to understand in an appropriate way the texts of the Second Vatican Council, similarly an hermeneutic seems necessary that we could describe "of priestly continuity," which, starting from Jesus of Nazareth, Lord and Christ, and going through the 2,000 years of the history of grandeur and holiness, of culture and piety, which the priesthood has written in the world, arrives at our days."
Holy Orders (Wikipedia, Priesthood Catholic Church)

I am delighted that here in this speech the Holy Father has underscored the need to understand the meaning of the Second Vatican Council through a hermeneutics of continuity.  By this it means that the Second Vatican Council is not a "super council" that overrides the other councils and magesterial pronouncements of Popes and the Church.  Rather it is a valid council and one among the many councils that the Church has had since the church was founded by Christ in Jerusalem and handed on to the apostles.  The Second Vatican Council did not define new dogmas, but of a fact it is a pastoral council and not a dogmatic council.  It simply reaffirmed what was already in existence.  Unfortunately the liberal elements and those with leanings on "modernism" have taken the wrong notion that the Second Vatican Council was a blanket authority to discard the old and to bring in the new.  The problems in Liturgy and moral teachings that resulted in the aftermath of the council stemmed from the hermeneutics of rupture.  All of a sudden it was as if the umbilical cord that connects the mother to the child was cut off thus resulting to serious problems.

This hermeutics of rupture is very much a problem in the priesthood.  The role of the priest has been reduced to a "social revolutionary", "politicians", "champion of the poor", "social worker", etc... While it is true that priests must defend and uphold the welfare of the flock in the social sphere, it is by no means a limitation on the role of the Priest.  The primary role of the Priest is to be a Priest-Mediator, Alter Christus, along the lines of the Order of Melchizedek.  To be a priest forever.  It is our fervent prayer that our priests will realize this need and once again reclaim their place in the house of the Lord and redefine their identity as identical with that of Jesus Christ the eternal priest.

The Text of the Holy Father's address can be read Here

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

"The Goal of Ecumenism is Union with the Catholic Church"

"In a lengthy address delivered in Canada on March 6, Cardinal William Levada, prefect for the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, stated that the reception of communities of Anglicans into the Catholic Church is consistent with Anglican-Catholic ecumenical dialogue because “union with the Catholic Church is the goal of ecumenism.' " Read More of These from Catholic Culture.Org

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Is Politics Good for the Church?

Here is an exerpt from a news report from the CBCP News entitled "6 Bishops Now Backs JC, March 6, 2010.

Sometimes, I wonder how bad the social situation here in the Philippines has become.  That even Bishops are moved to intervene in order to defend the principles and faith that has molded our Nation against the gigantic problems of corruption and seeming impunity for evils in our country.  I personally believe that it is not a good idea for clerics to be involve in politics.  Politics involves a struggle for power where individuals, groups and  parties jostle for control.  Often these contending parties wish to defeat their opponents.  Thus for religious leaders to be involve in politics is never a good idea.  It will compromise the mission of the Church.  The Hierarchy should stand above the situation.  Being pastors of souls they have to stand above the rest.  For they are a fathers to both the good and obedient as well as to the disobedient.  However, I could not blame some of our Bishops.  And I will never dare to criticize such moves, because this shows us that our society has gone the way of the wild.  Justice cries out to heaven, innocent blood spilled, the poor go hungry while their leaders enjoy the good life, the powerful continues to oppress the weak.  Our leaders have let us down.  Successive generations of leaders failed to live up to righteous governance.  Thus, Christians who live up to the teachings of the Gospel of Jesus Christ could not stand idle and pretend not to know.  For indeed, the true follower of Christ will be moved to do something to uphold justice.  The true religion as St. James said is to do mercy and to be kind to the poor.  Who will defend the flock against the ravening wolves?  Our Bishops are just doing their job.  So let us use our privileges and rights to choose good leaders who will uphold truth and justice and who will defend life against the culture of death and materialism.

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Liturgical Tug of War

An interview was conducted by a reporter of the National Catholic Reporter.  I took notice of this report from the NLM. Papal Master of Ceremonies Monsignor Guido Marini explained what he meant by "Reform of the Reformed".  Those of you who would like to read the text of the interview can visit the links above.  

What Monsignor Marini expressed is not something new.  I believe that he was simply echoing what was in the mind of the Holy Father concerning the “Reform of the Reformed” as it apply to the liturgy.  Early in his pontificate, Pope Benedict XVI expressed the need to reestablish the link or to put it simply emphasize the hermeneutics of continuity.  Perhaps this is the reason why some who oppose this new liturgical movement has found ways to attack or to put it in mild terms, criticize the Pope by not mentioning his name but by directing their criticism to the papal master of ceremonies and others who support this reform. 

Even while as a cardinal, Benedict XVI has expressed the need to emphasize the hermeneutics of continuity.  The difficulty that arose in the aftermath of the council was on how to implement its decrees.  To put this more eloquently, I will quote what Cardinal Ratzinger, now Pope Benedict XVI said in an address delivered in Santiago, Chile on July 13, 1988, (emphasis supplied):

“The Second Vatican Council has not been treated as part of the entire living Tradition of the Church, but as an end of Tradition, a new start from zero.  The truth is that this particular Council defined no dogma at all, and deliberately chose to remain on a modest level, as a merely pastoral council; yet many treat it as though it had made itself into a sort of a super dogma which takes away the importance of all the rest.”[i]

Further he stated that the only way that Vatican Council II can be made effectively operative is to consider it as part of the entire living tradition of the Church.  Not as a blanket authority to discard the past but a means to consolidate the past and present with the entire living experience of the pilgrim Church.  The irony or should I say the difficulty was expressed by then Cardinal Ratzinger when he said:

“That which was previously was considered most holy-the form in which the liturgy was handed down-suddenly appears as most forbidden of all things, the one thing that can safely be prohibited.  It is intolerable to criticize decisions which have been taken since the Council; on the other hand, if men make question of ancient rules, or even of the great truths of the Faith-for instance, the corporeal virginity of Mary, the bodily Resurrection of Jesus, the immortality of the soul, etc.-nobody complains or only does so with the greatest moderation.  I was a professor, have seen how the very same bishop who, before the Council, had fired a teacher, who was really irreproachable, for a certain crudeness of speech, was not prepared, after the council, to dismiss a professor who openly denied certain fundamental truths of the Faith.”[ii]

Thus further, the conclusion given by Cardinal Ratzinger, now Benedict XVI is summarized powerfully thus:

“All this leads a great number of people to ask themselves if the Church of today is really the same as that of yesterday, or if they have changed it for something else without telling people.  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.”[iii]

Looking at the answers given by Monsignor Guido Marini to the reporter’s questions, I find his reasoning excellent and truly explain the program of his Holiness Pope Benedict XVI.  

"I don’t believe that the liturgy of the church needs any radical changes or distortions, in part because it’s not in the logic of this spirit of development in continuity. I believe instead that it’s a matter of consolidating what already exists, in a more authentic way, according to the true mind of the church." (Emphasis supplied). (NCR)  

I think that Mosignor Marini has said it well.  This is the reason why we laypeople could not grasp the logic why all of a sudden the crucifixes were removed from the altars and substituted with an empty crucifix and with the figures of the resurrected Lord.  The disappearance of the communion rails, the liturgical tasks which previously were done by the clergy are now being performed by lay people.  Why do the enculturation scholars and “gurus”  need to dig for artifacts and find tidbits of discoveries and then all of a sudden make this as the norm as if the church had been sleeping for a long time and as if the living tradition has been ruptured.  The promoters of enculturation have after all failed to understand the meaning of authentic liturgical evolution.  Liturgical practices evolve with time.  Most often this evolution takes several years even centuries.  They evolve for a reason and they evolve not from anywhere but from existing liturgical tradition and practices.  I would opine that this is what Monsignor Marini mean when he said those words quoted above.

Thus, turning back the clock is not the correct term to describe this new liturgical movement as some of its opponent would like to make it appear.  But rather this new liturgical movement is a means to consolidate the reforms and to connect it with the entire living Tradition of the Church or the Deposit of Faith. The purpose is to offer an authentic interpretation of the reforms as envisioned by the Second Vatican Council.  The hermeneutics of rupture is the main reason for the increasing desacralization of the liturgy, which resulted in much deformation of the liturgy and abuses.  Which as the principle goes, how we pray is the way we also believe.  Thus many of the moral aberrations of our times like moral relativism have its roots in this rupture.  Once the body of the tree is detached from the roots (tradition) it looses its vitality.  The restoration of the Sacred in the liturgy will bring back the old piety and devotion in the church that has helped it withstand trials and persecutions. 

I am inclined to believe that the Summorum Pontificum of His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI should be interpreted along the lines of continuity.  Monsignor Marini expressed it thus:

"In my opinion, what’s important now is that the two forms of the Roman rite look upon one another with great serenity, realizing that both belong to the life of the church and that neither is the only true, authentic expression. But rather, the two forms of Roman Rite can mutually enrich each other. This must be the path along which we should walk, because perhaps we haven’t yet truly arrived at this attitude of serenity and welcome in daily life." (NCR)

Thus from this point of view, it is inappropriate now to speak of the Tridentine Rite as “the Mass of All Ages” if by this to denote that the rite surrounding the Mass under that typical edition is fixed for eternity.  Even St. Pius V speak of revising the missal in order to provide a standard missal for the Roman Rite, which at the time prior to the Council of Trent appeared in various editions dictated by local sees and custom.  On the other hand it will also be inappropriate to say that the Reforms of Vatican II discards the rites of the pre-conciliar Mass.  Rather, the correct way to view the Mass as far as the Roman Rite is concerned is that there is only one Roman Rite in two forms, namely the Extraordinary Form (1962) and the Ordinary Form (the current novus ordo rite).  The motu proprio Summorum Pontificum explains this more clearly.  Both forms of the Roman rite are legitimate and can be used according to existing church law.  I believe that the growing appeal of the classical rite (extraordinary form) will help improve the Novus Ordo and bring to clarity the mind of the council fathers.  I do personally believe that the decrees of the Second Vatican Council must be interpreted in the light of Tradition.  Bishop Fabian Bruskewitz has aptly described this relationship between the Extraordinary and the Ordinary in his preface to the Daily Missal:

“May it likewise contribute to the understanding that the older rites need not be disdained in order to appreciate the new, nor must the new rites be disparaged in order to love the old”.

In conclusion I would say that the pontificate of His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI is a gift to the Church.  His pontificate will help consolidate the reforms envisioned by the Second Vatican Council in an authentic way.  For just as Christ is the same Yesterday, Today and Forever, so is His Bride the Church. 

[i] Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger, “Lessons from the Lefevbre Schism”. Position Paper. Documentation Service.  Vol. IV, no. 12, Manila: 1989, pp. 19-20
[ii] Ibid p. 20
[iii] Ibid p. 20