I remember as a young person hearing the priest exhort us to make a good Lent because “for someone in this congregation it will be their last Lent.” And he was always right.
Certainly, the obvious time of year to examine our sinful ways has to be the penitential season of Lent which begins today, Ash Wednesday. The clue is in those sobering words which the priest says as he places the ashes on our forehead: “Remember, soul, that thou art dust, and unto dust thou shalt return.”
Trying to find something imaginative to post here, I visited a site listing one hundred possible Lenten penances, every one of which began with the words “Give up…” Chocolate was on that list. Can you believe it?
Seriously, small sacrifices are, of course, important, but is there another angle? All ideas welcome…
Reminder: we always close to blog to comments for the duration of Holy Week.
From Rorate Caeli – What does a Catholic bishop do when government orders the end of gatherings in times of Coronavirus? This:
Northern Italy is in a state of semi-lockdown due to the spread of the current most dangerous strain of the Coronavirus, as large public gatherings have been forbidden for several days in most of the regions — including Lombardy, Veneto, Liguria, Piedmont, CEmilia-Romagna.
Since some of the local “ordinanze” (decrees) include the prohibition of “religious” gatherings, and getting ahead of the public authorities, several dioceses in the region have suspended religious activities.
Now, as the very high death toll in a few days (over 50 so far, in only a week) in the Islamic Shia center of Qom, in Iran, has shown, religious gatherings can indeed lead to widespread infection and high mortality rates. But what if there is a way to keep the worship of God while complying with public demands to avoid contagion?
The Bishop of Pavia, in Lombardy, Corrado Sanguineti, shows that is possible. His pastoral letter on the matter is a lesson in common sense, and in particular we call your attention to this paragraph:
While unfortunately having to suspend the celebration of the Holy Masses until further notice, I order that Churches remain open, for the personal prayer of the faithful, and I ask that, even on weekdays, priests celebrate daily Mass, behind closed doors, praying in the name of the whole community, signaling with the sound of the bells that the Eucharist is being offered for the living and the dead: even if we cannot celebrate publicly, the liturgical prayer must not fail, which for us priests is a daily appointment of life and is an inexhaustible source of grace for all the people of God. Priests must keep in touch with the faithful, and must not fail to continue their presence among the sick and the elderly in homes and welcoming structures.
Of course, private daily Masses “without the people” are a traditional practice, and well known to Traditional Catholics, but not very common among large numbers of clergy raised with the Novus Ordo, so the reminder is necessary. Ends
There’s another very interesting article on the subject of the Coronavirusover at Rorate Caeli – well worth reading right through, but for now, here’s an extract from the close of the piece, where the author links the miracle of the Archangel St Michael in ending that plague with the apparition of the same Archangel at Fatima…
Pope Gregory I was canonized, proclaimed Doctor of the Church and went down in history known as the “Great”. After his death the Romans began calling the Hadrian Mausoleum “Castel Sant’Angelo” and, in remembrance of the miracle, placed at the top of the castle, the statue of St. Michael, head of the heavenly militia, in the act of sheathing his sword. Still today in the Capitoline Museum a circular stone with foot-prints is kept, which according to tradition, had been left by the Archangel when he stood to declare the end of the plague. Also Cardinal Cesare Baronio (1538-1697), considered one of the greatest historians of the Church for the rigor of his research, confirms the apparition of the Angel on top of the castle. (Odorico Ranaldi, Annali ecclesiastici tratti da quelli del cardinal Baronio, anno 590, Appresso Vitale Mascardi, Roma 1643, pp. 175-176).
We note only that if the Angel, thanks to the appeal of St. Gregory, sheathed his sword, it means that it had been first drawn to punish the sins of the Roman people. The Angels in fact are the executors of divine punishments on people, as the dramatic vision of the Third Secret of Fatima reminds us, by calling us to repentance: “an Angel with a flaming sword in his left hand; flashing, it gave out flames that looked as though they would set the world on fire; but they died out in contact with the splendor Our Lady radiated towards him from her right hand: pointing to the earth with his right hand, the Angel cried out in a loud voice ‘Penance, Penance, Penance!’”
Is the spread of the Coronavirus related in some way to the vision of the Third Secret? The future will tell us. However the appeal to penance remains of prime urgency for our age and the prime remedy to guarantee our salvation, in time and eternity. The words of St. Gregory the Great must resound again in our hearts: “What will we say of the terrible events of which we are witnesses if not that they are predictions of a future wrath? Think then dearest brothers, with extreme care to that day, correct your lives, change your habits, defeat with all your might the temptations of evil, punish with tears, sins committed” (Omelia prima sui Vangeli, in Il Tempo di Natale nella Roma di Gregorio Magno, Acqua Pia Antica Marcia, Roma 2008, pp. 176-177).
It is these words, not the dream of Amazzonia felix, that today are needed in the Church which appears the way St. Gregory described it in his times: “A very old ship, horrifically gashed; waves and rotted planks getting in everywhere; shaken everyday by a violent tempest, foreshadowing a shipwreck (Registrum I, 4 ad Ioann. episcop. Constantinop.)”. But way back then Divine Providence called forth a helmsman, who, as St. Pius X states: “amid the raging waves was able not only to dock in the harbor, but also secure the ship from future storms” (Enciclica Jucunda sane del 12 marzo 1904). Ends.
So… Is the Catholic response to the Coronavirus simply prayer and penance? Really? Why?
With yet another storm (Dennis) due to hit the UK this weekend, let’s challenge the secular wisdom, reinforced by Pope Francis that humans are causing extreme weather because we insist on using plastic bags and drive petrol cars. IS this erratic and often treacherous weather due to human behaviour, or is God telling us something about the way we are living – and I don’t mean that He wants us to start buying electric cars…
There is no shortage of biblical evidence that God controls the weather, although there is a manifest shortage of Catholic websites and videos reflecting that truth. God has established what we think of as scientific laws and principles governing the weather but He remains in charge. God can dispense with His laws for His own purposes, when He sees fit. Is that what is happening now, with professional weather forecasters struggling to explain what is going on these days?
Is “Storm Dennis” on its way because God wants to remind us of something? If so, what?
This group takes too long to get into the discussion (at least five minutes) but once they get going, it’s very interesting indeed to hear them objecting to some of the very things which were defended and promoted by fellow-parishioners when some of us were doing the complaining. It’s also interesting to see how the standards have shifted (mostly in a downward direction). In the end, it dawns on Catholics who are truly thinking it all through, that there is no option but to move on to the traditional Mass – back to the future… It seems clear that the growth is to be found where the traditional Latin Mass is being offered, so pray for the trio in the video. They obviously mean well. I liked them as people – so much so that, but for the geography, I’d invite them out for Haggis and Neeps 😀
Anyway, in summary, below are the 15 things which the group in the video argue need to stop happening… or not; there is some disagreement within the group which offers food for thought, not least because, notably, it is the priest [“Richard” or “Rich” as he seems to introduce himself] who does the disagreeing.
1 Clapping (applause)
2 Too many Extraordinary Ministers of Holy Communion
3 Receiving from the Chalice (“cup”) when sick
4 Leaving seats at sign of peace to “share the peace” with people across the church
5 Socialising before (and after) Mass
6 Phone ringing
7 Not donating
8 Leaving Mass early
9 Bad preaching (lack of “fire”, not inspiring or nourishing) [worryingly, the priest in the video is open to laity, including women, preaching.)
10 Receiving Holy Communion in mortal sin
11 Dressing inappropriately – not dressing up for Mass
12 No sanctus bells
13 Genuflecting to the altar when the Tabernacle is somewhere else
14 I couldn’t hear anything specific, but the conversation went on to discuss baptism/use of “lemonade” type jug (If I’ve missed something, tell me in the comments…)
15. Holding hands during Our Father
My own predominant thought listening to the conversation was that any hope for the future in that diocese lies with the laity, as represented by the two lads on the video not the clergy, as represented by the [very nice and doubtless well-meaning] priest in the video – a manifestly modernist priest but one who likes Cardinal Ratzinger! How much more confusing can this mess get!
Share your thoughts – politely! I’ll be posting the link to this thread on their YouTube channel, below the above video, to be precise., so don’t be too hard on these good souls, who are all far too young to have been taught the Faith properly. They are typical New Catholics tailor made for the New Mass, the New Liturgy, the New Sacraments, the New Catechism, the New Rosary, the New Evangelisation, the New Morality, the New Politically Correct Pontiff, the New Canonisations, the New Commandments (minus idolatry and adultery) … and the New – you name it.
Rebecca Long-Bailey has appeared to suggest her politics are more important than her Catholic faith, as she attempted to extinguish a major row over her stance on abortion.
Amid a mounting backlash over her objection to later terminations on the grounds of disability, the Labour leadership frontrunner said that although she prayed to God every day she disagreed with “many” of the Church’s teachings.
Before we give Rebecca Long-Bailey a hard time, reflect on two key issues: firstly, she is very young and has grown up at a time when the Church has been – and continues to be – in major crisis. Thus, she clearly does not understand the nature and purpose of the Church, specifically, the role of the Church to protect and proclaim the natural moral law. She doesn’t get it. She doesn’t understand that “The Church” hasn’t made up the moral law. God did that, and authorised His Church to teach, preach, protect and proclaim the moral law.
Secondly, this attitude – that politics is more important than our Catholic Faith – is embedded in many Catholic souls. I’ve had many discussions, some bordering on attempted murder, trying to convince Catholic friends that they cannot go out canvassing for local politicians standing for election for a Party which condones the killing of unborn babies. They think nothing of working to get such MPs elected and then present for Holy Communion at Mass. Incredible. No conflict of conscience whatsoever.
It might be worth contacting Ms Long-Bailey to suggest that she re-consider her priorities because, Christ warned us to be ready for death at any moment – “you do not know the day nor the hour…” and it will not go well for her at her judgment, if she has put her political beliefs and aspirations before the Catholic Faith, given to us by God, so that we may be saved. Click here for contact details...
For bloggers and readers who may wish to attend the traditional Latin Mass on New Year’s Day, the Masses available include:
Society of St Pius X in Edinburgh – 12.30pm
Society of St Pius X in Glasgow – 6.30pm
Immaculate Heart of Mary, Archdiocese of Glasgow – 12 noon.
In the January newsletter, not yet published due to holidays, we are asking readers to make a special effort to bring to the Pope’s attention at the beginning of this new year, the increasing urgency of the Consecration of Russia to Our Lady’s Immaculate Heart, in order to achieve world peace: write to His Holiness Pope Francis, Apostolic Palace, 00120 Vatican City. (Do not add ‘Rome’ or ‘Italy’)…
That’s one New Year’s resolution done and dusted!
Now share any favourite hymns and prayers, videos, jokes and stories, to ease us into the new year and a new decade.