Launching the second video in our Thinking Through Catholic Truth series…
Launching the second video in our Thinking Through Catholic Truth series…
April 3, 2018 – There is a strange tendency nowadays to think that the external aspects of a thing matter very little, while the “inside” is all that counts. For example: as long as you’re “a good person on the inside,” it doesn’t matter what you look like, how you dress, how you speak, what music you listen to, or even (taken to an extreme) what religion you profess.
There is a grain of truth in this view: one’s height or build or skin color, for instance, are not moral qualities; sinners and saints come in all colors, shapes, and sizes. The problem is rather that we are too quick to forget how the outside wells up from within, how it often reveals to us just what is in the heart. A good person will dress modestly, speak respectfully, and listen to music that builds up a noble character instead of assaulting it—and all this, because of dispositions in the heart, invisible to men’s eyes but visible to God’s. The profession of a religion, while obviously done with external words and gestures, is rooted in the deep soil of the soul, and shows outwardly what a man’s most intimate worldview and priorities are.
The great British philosopher Roger Scruton comments:
There is truth in Oscar Wilde’s quip, that it is only a shallow person who does not judge by appearances. For appearances are the bearers of meaning and the focus of our emotional concerns. When I am struck by a human face this experience is not a prelude to some anatomical study, nor does the beauty of what I see lead me to think of the sinews, nerves and bones which in some way explain it. On the contrary, to see “the skull beneath the skin” is to see [merely] the body and not the embodied person. Hence, it is to miss the beauty of the face.
With perfect consistency, therefore, our medieval forebears would never have agreed with the platitude “you can’t judge a book by its cover.” For they spent enormous sums of money on Evangelaries or Gospel books with heavy bindings of gold, silver, and jewels, so that it was perfectly obvious that this book held the very words of God Himself, and deserved our utmost veneration.
The sacred liturgy, too, holds the very words of God—indeed, astonishingly, the Mass holds God Himself, the Word made flesh. It is utterly inconsistent with its inner content that the outward form of it should be anything but glorious, majestic, beautiful, solemn, reverent. We should be able to judge this book by its resplendent cover, that is, the Mass by its appearances, musical, textual, ceremonial; we should be able to see the heart in the actions. We should not “miss the beauty of the face.”
Nowadays we hear a lot of emphasis on not paying too much attention to externals in the Mass but just remembering that “Jesus is present.”
To lapse into a bit of slang: Sorry, this ain’t gonna cut it.
Throughout history, Christians have offered the best they can to God in the liturgy, especially the beauty attainable in the fine arts, in order that the souls of worshipers might be better disposed to adore and glorify the Lord. This is the sense in which St. Thomas insists that the liturgy is not for God’s sake but for ours. Of course it is directed to God; there would be no point in liturgy if God did not exist and if Christ were not our Redeemer by whose Sacrifice we are saved.
But the liturgy does not benefit God or Christ, as if making them better; they are already as good, holy, and glorious as they can be. Rather, it benefits us who offer Him the sacrifice of praise, by ordering our souls to Him as our ultimate end, by filling our minds with the truth of His presence and our hearts with the fire of His love. These things are best accomplished by a liturgy that is impressive in its setting and furnishings, gestures and vestures, chants and ceremonies—one that is permeated from start to finish with manifestations of the nearness and otherness of God. A liturgy that is thoroughly sacral will be one that cannot be co-opted for secular purposes but compels the respect, wonder, and prayer of the beholder.
Put simply, man as a creature of intellect and sensation will not be benefited nearly as much by liturgy that is either verbal-cerebral or superficially flashy (as in the circus exhibitions of the Three Days of Darkness in Los Angeles) as he will by liturgy that is packed with rich ceremonial-textual content and saturated with sensuous symbols. This is exactly what all historic Christian liturgies are. Sadly, this is exactly what most contemporary Catholic liturgies are not.
A happy exception would be the growing number of places where the traditional Roman rite or “Extraordinary Form” [Ed: Traditional Latin Mass] is being offered, for this rite is saturated with sacrality and nearly compels one to pray, to go deeper into the mysteries of Christ through the outward appearances, just as the disciples at Emmaus “knew him in the breaking of the bread” (Lk 24:35). The liturgical rite is like bread miraculously multiplied down through all the centuries and placed in front of every king and pauper who seeks the food that will not perish. When we break this bread by entering into the rite, we come to know the risen Christ.
Matthew Schmitz has remarked:
It is amazing that the leaders of a ritual faith imagined that they could dispense with traditional forms of prayer. Among the few elites who saw the folly of this project, most were artists, naturally alert to the way supposedly superficial things can in fact be essential.
In like manner, aphorist Nicholas Davila observed: “When religion and aesthetics are divorced from each other, it is not known which is corrupted sooner.”
For all these reasons, then, a liturgy not only may but must be judged “by its cover,” by appearances—for, as Aristotle says, it is the appearances of a thing that point to its nature and substance. The Catholic Church has to care not only about realities but about appearances. Human beings come to know the truth through their senses; they cannot have concepts without phantasms. In religion, in the encounter with the God-man in His life, death, and resurrection, our senses, memories, imaginations, and emotions play as important a role as our intellects and wills. Source – LifeSiteNews
Young people are ‘leaving the Church in droves,’ says Scots delegate to Vatican youth synod By James Farrell
Young people are ‘leaving the Church in droves for all the wrong reasons,’ according to Scotland’s representative to a global Vatican meeting of young people.
Sean Deighan, 23, a youth worker for Glasgow Archdiocese, will be one of 300 young representatives to attend the Synod on Young People, the Faith, and Vocational Discernment to be held in Rome from March 19 to 24.
The meeting is being held ahead of a Synod of Bishops in October that will focus on youth.
“I didn’t realise it was such a select group [attending the meeting] and it’s a great privilege,” Mr Deighan said. “I hope that my voice will be heard and by extension I hope the representative voice of all young people in Scotland will be heard. I’m optimistic that real results will materialise from the pre-synodal meeting. I think what needs to be addressed is that young people are leaving the Church in droves for all the wrong reasons.
“They are leaving the Church because of what they think the Church is and not the reality. If we want to pursue the new evangelisation authentically then we need to present the Church authentically and young people need to see that.”
“When young people see the Church being presented authentically, it’s attractive,” Mr Deighan said. “We have never had to dress things up or use false pretences to get people in the Church. It has always been the reality of the Church’s message which they are attracted to.”
At the Angelus on Sunday February 18, Pope Francis called on young people from around the world to take part in the preparatory work of the upcoming synod.
“I strongly desire that all young people might be the protagonists of this preparation,” Pope Francis said. “And so they will be able to contribute online through linguistic groups moderated by other young people.”
The Pope was referring to an initiative promoted by the Secretariat of the Synod of Bishops, under the direction of its general secretary, Cardinal Lorenzo Baldiserri. Young people have been invited to join a Facebook group through the Synod website, http://www.synod2018.va, and from March 12 will have the opportunity to send questions to Pope Francis for the Synod on the group page.
“Pope Francis insisted on showing great concern for the ‘distant’—the young people of the ‘peripheries,’ those who are not part of our network of Catholics faithful,” Cardinal Baldisseri said in conversation with the Vatican website.
“The participants will be able to ask questions, propose ideas and therefore act as intermediaries between the ecclesial institution that derives from the people of God and secular society. The experience that will be proposed to them will consist in getting to know the Church better, discovering what we are more deeply.”
At the end of the youth meeting representatives will approve a document, the result of the work of the entire week, which will express their point of view on the reality of youth in the Church and present their expectations, their doubts and their hopes. This document will then help guide reflections at the synod in October. Source – SCO
I know it’s been a while, but when I was a schoolgirl we were taught about the Faith, that we were Catholics and should be knowledgeable and be able to explain it to those we met outside of school, friends etc. and later, in the workplace, colleagues. There was no mention of, let alone emphasis on, the fact that we were “young Catholics”, a separate type of Catholic from everyone else. We didn’t have “special” Masses for the young, etc. That’s the beauty of the Traditional Latin Mass, with which I grew up – it cannot be manipulated into a performance tailored to particular groups. We were simply Catholics. This contemporary emphasis on reaching out to the young as if they ARE a different type of Catholic has led to a great deal of muddled thinking, beginning with this…
Those young people identified in the above SCO report, are not leaving the Church because they are young. They are leaving it – as the author writes – for all the wrong reasons, and that is because, there IS no “right reason” to leave Christ and His Church. Someone needs to clarify for those youngsters who say they believe in Jesus, admire Jesus etc. but just don’t like the Church or “institutionalised religion” that, like love and marriage, as the old song goes, you can’t have one without the other. Christ cannot be separated from His Church – that’s the way HE has arranged things.
Think of your favourite quotes from Scripture and from saints, to drive home this message to the young. Plenty read this blog, I’m told, so how would YOU convince them that, not only is there no right reason to leave Christ’s Church, but there is no “wrong” reason either – leaving the Church for any reason means that they are risking damnation – spelt out, they are risking suffering Hell fire for all eternity. Not cool. Convince them to begin their journey to the fullness of the Faith which they have manifestly not been taught and which, if they truly knew it, would love it and never dream of leaving it. What’s the first thing you would advise a young person seeking the Faith in its fullness to do… where’s the best place to begin that journey?
ROME, February 22, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) — The head of the Vatican department overseeing liturgy is summoning the Catholic faithful to return to receiving Holy Communion on the tongue and kneeling.
In the preface to a new book on the subject, Cardinal Robert Sarah, Prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship, writes: “The most insidious diabolical attack consists in trying to extinguish faith in the Eucharist, by sowing errors and fostering an unsuitable way of receiving it. Truly the war between Michael and his Angels on one side, and Lucifer on the other, continues in the hearts of the faithful.”
“Satan’s target is the Sacrifice of the Mass and the Real Presence of Jesus in the consecrated Host,” he said.
The new book, by Don Federico Bortoli, was released in Italian under the title: ‘The distribution of Communion on the hand: a historical, juridical and pastoral survey’ [La distribuzione della comunione sulla mano. Profili storici, giuridici e pastorali].
Recalling the centenary of the Fatima apparitions, Sarah writes that the Angel of Peace who appeared to the three shepherd children in advance of the Blessed Virgin’s visit “shows us how we should receive the Body and the Blood of Jesus Christ.” His Eminence then identifies the outrages by which Jesus is offended today in the Holy Eucharist, including “so-called ‘intercommunion.’”
Sarah goes on to consider how faith in the Real Presence “can influence the way we receive Communion, and vice versa,” and he proposes Pope John Paul II and Mother Teresa as two modern saints whom God has given us to imitate in their reverence and reception of the Holy Eucharist.
“Why do we insist on communicating standing and on the hand?,” the Prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship asks. The manner in which the Holy Eucharist is distributed and received, he writes, “is an important question on which the Church today must reflect.”
Here below, with the kind permission of La Nuova Bussola where the preface was first published, we offer our readers a LifeSiteNews translation of several key extracts from Cardinal Sarah’s text.
Providence, which disposes all thing wisely and sweetly, has offered us book The Distribution of Communion on the hand, by Federico Bortoli, just after having celebrated the centenary of the Fatima apparitions. Before the apparition of the Virgin Mary, in the Spring of 1916, the Angel of Peace appeared to Lucia, Jacinta and Francisco, and said to them: “Do not be afraid, I am the Angel of Peace. Pray with me.” (…) In the Spring of 1916, at the third apparition of the Angel, the children realized that the Angel, who was always the same one, held in his left hand a chalice over which a host was suspended. (…) He gave the holy Host to Lucia, and the Blood of the chalice to Jacinta and Francisco, who remained on their knees, saying: “Take and drink the Body and Blood of Jesus Christ, horribly outraged by ungrateful men. Make reparation for their crimes and console your God.” The Angel prostrated himself again on the ground, repeating the same prayer three times with Lucia, Jacinta and Francisco.
The Angel of Peace therefore shows us how we should receive the Body and the Blood of Jesus Christ. The prayer of reparation dictated by the Angel, unfortunately, is anything but obsolete. But what are the outrages that Jesus receives in the holy Host, for which we need to make reparation? In the first place, there are the outrages against the Sacrament itself: the horrible profanations, of which some ex-Satanist converts have reported and offer gruesome descriptions. Sacrilegious Communions, not received in the state of God’s grace, or not professing the Catholic faith (I refer to certain forms of the so-called “intercommunion”), are also outrages. Secondly, all that could prevent the fruitfulness of the Sacrament, especially the errors sown in the minds of the faithful so that they no longer believe in the Eucharist, is an outrage to Our Lord. The terrible profanations that take place in the so-called ‘black masses’ do not directly wound the One who in the Host is wronged, ending only in the accidents of bread and wine.
Of course, Jesus suffers for the souls of those who profane Him, and for whom He shed the Blood which they so miserably and cruelly despise. But Jesus suffers more when the extraordinary gift of his divine-human Eucharistic Presence cannot bring its potential effects into the souls of believers. And so we can understand that the most insidious diabolical attack consists in trying to extinguish faith in the Eucharist, by sowing errors and fostering an unsuitable way of receiving it. Truly the war between Michael and his Angels on one side, and lucifer on the other, continues in the hearts of the faithful: Satan’s target is the Sacrifice of the Mass and the Real Presence of Jesus in the consecrated Host. This robbery attempt follows two tracks: the first is the reduction of the concept of ‘real presence.’ Many theologians persist in mocking or snubbing the term ‘transubstantiation’ despite the constant references of the Magisterium (…)
Let us now look at how faith in the real presence can influence the way we receive Communion, and vice versa. Receiving Communion on the hand undoubtedly involves a great scattering of fragments. On the contrary, attention to the smallest crumbs, care in purifying the sacred vessels, not touching the Host with sweaty hands, all become professions of faith in the real presence of Jesus, even in the smallest parts of the consecrated species: if Jesus is the substance of the Eucharistic Bread, and if the dimensions of the fragments are accidents only of the bread, it is of little importance how big or small a piece of the Host is! The substance is the same! It is Him! On the contrary, inattention to the fragments makes us lose sight of the dogma. Little by little the thought may gradually prevail: “If even the parish priest does not pay attention to the fragments, if he administers Communion in such a way that the fragments can be scattered, then it means that Jesus is not in them, or that He is ‘up to a certain point’.”
The second track on which the attack against the Eucharist runs is the attempt to remove the sense of the sacred from the hearts of the faithful. (…) While the term ‘transubstantiation’ points us to the reality of presence, the sense of the sacred enables us to glimpse its absolute uniqueness and holiness. What a misfortune it would be to lose the sense of the sacred precisely in what is most sacred! And how is it possible? By receiving special food in the same way as ordinary food. (…)
The liturgy is made up of many small rituals and gestures — each of them is capable of expressing these attitudes filled with love, filial respect and adoration toward God. That is precisely why it is appropriate to promote the beauty, fittingness and pastoral value of a practice which developed during the long life and tradition of the Church, that is, the act of receiving Holy Communion on the tongue and kneeling. The greatness and nobility of man, as well as the highest expression of his love for his Creator, consists in kneeling before God. Jesus himself prayed on his knees in the presence of the Father. (…)
In this regard I would like to propose the example of two great saints of our time: St. John Paul II and St. Teresa of Calcutta. Karol Wojtyła’s entire life was marked by a profound respect for the Holy Eucharist. (…) Despite being exhausted and without strength (…) he always knelt before the Blessed Sacrament. He was unable to kneel and stand up alone. He needed others to bend his knees and to get up. Until his last days, he wanted to offer us a great witness of reverence for the Blessed Sacrament. Why are we so proud and insensitive to the signs that God himself offers us for our spiritual growth and our intimate relationship with Him? Why do not we kneel down to receive Holy Communion after the example of the saints? Is it really so humiliating to bow down and remain kneeling before the Lord Jesus Christ? And yet, “He, though being in the form of God, […] humbled himself and became obedient unto death, even death on a cross” (Phil 2: 6-8).
St. Mother Teresa of Calcutta, an exceptional religious who no one would dare regard as a traditionalist, fundamentalist or extremist, whose faith, holiness and total gift of self to God and the poor are known to all, had a respect and absolute worship of the divine Body of Jesus Christ. Certainly, she daily touched the “flesh” of Christ in the deteriorated and suffering bodies of the poorest of the poor. And yet, filled with wonder and respectful veneration, Mother Teresa refrained from touching the transubstantiated Body of Christ. Instead, she adored him and contemplated him silently, she remained at length on her knees and prostrated herself before Jesus in the Eucharist. Moreover, she received Holy Communion in her mouth, like a little child who has humbly allowed herself to be fed by her God.
The saint was saddened and pained when she saw Christians receiving Holy Communion in their hands. In addition, she said that as far as she knew, all of her sisters received Communion only on the tongue. Is this not the exhortation that God himself addresses to us: “I am the Lord your God, who brought you up out of the land of Egypt. Open your mouth wide, and I will fill it”? (Ps 81:10).
Why do we insist on communicating standing and on the hand? Why this attitude of lack of submission to the signs of God? May no priest dare to impose his authority in this matter by refusing or mistreating those who wish to receive Communion kneeling and on the tongue. Let us come as children and humbly receive the Body of Christ on our knees and on our tongue. The saints give us the example. They are the models to be imitated that God offers us!
But how could the practice of receiving the Eucharist on the hand become so common? The answer is given to us — and is supported by never-before-published documentation that is extraordinary in its quality and volume — by Don Bortoli. It was a process that was anything but clear, a transition from what the instruction Memoriale Domini granted, to what is such a widespread practice today (…) Unfortunately, as with the Latin language, so also with a liturgical reform that should have been homogeneous with the previous rites, a special concession has become the picklock to force and empty the safe of the Church’s liturgical treasures. The Lord leads the just along ‘straight paths’ (cf. Wis. 10:10), not by subterfuge. Therefore, in addition to the theological motivations shown above, also the way in which the practice of Communion on the hand has spread appears to have been imposed not according to the ways of God.
May this book encourage those priests and faithful who, moved also by the example of Benedict XVI — who in the last years of his pontificate wanted to distribute the Eucharist in the mouth and kneeling — wish to administer or receive the Eucharist in this latter manner, which is far more suited to the Sacrament itself. I hope there can be a rediscovery and promotion of the beauty and pastoral value of this method. In my opinion and judgment, this is an important question on which the Church today must reflect. This is a further act of adoration and love that each of us can offer to Jesus Christ. I am very pleased to see so many young people who choose to receive our Lord so reverently on their knees and on their tongues. May Fr. Bortoli’s work foster a general rethinking on the way Holy Communion is distributed. As I said at the beginning of this preface, we have just celebrated the centenary of Fatima and we are encouraged in waiting for the sure triumph of the Immaculate Heart of Mary that, in the end, the truth about the liturgy will also triumph. [emphases added].
* Prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments
Surely, no Catholic reading the above could continue to participate in this Satanic attack on the Eucharist? Indeed, could anyone who continues to receive Communion in the hand after reading the above, honestly claim to believe in the Real Presence of Our Lord, Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity, truly present in every particle of the Sacred Species?
There can sometimes be a failure to understand the true nature of Lent. It’s seen, rightly, as a time of prayer and penance, making atonement for sins, and reflecting on the Passion and Death of Our Lord. However, arguably, the majority of Catholics pay insufficient attention to what should be the outcome of our Lenten prayers and penances – namely, an increase in our love for Our Lord. It’s sometimes striking to reflect on the uncharitable way we behave towards others, sometimes even right after attending Mass or praying a rosary – indications that we are seriously lacking in charity, that charity which is the love of God, made manifest in our lives…
I am ashamed to admit that I have never – ever – made a good Lent. My attempted penances over the years include the classics; giving up chocolate, crisps, soft drinks – and if I were fond of the less soft drinks, I would have, very likely, sacrificed those as well (pat on the back), but I can’t , without fibbing, claim an increased love of God, manifesting itself in increased charity towards my neighbour, as a result. The truth that no-one can stand still in the spiritual life – we either go forwards or back – terrifies me. I need help, therefore, and I’m hoping that this thread will do the trick…
As we mark the beginning of Lent today, Ash Wednesday, share your ideas for useful penances, and post any meditations, experiences, prayers, hymns and advice that you think will be helpful to us all this Lent, as we seek to grow in the love of God.
A friend rang me last night to say he’d attended a Summorum Pontificum Traditional Mass and found himself chatting afterwards with a couple who were not husband and wife, but “partners” … My friend was downhearted, dispirited that even the better priests seem to be willing to tolerate such scandals.
Then this from The American Conservative: “The president of the German Bishops’ Conference has declared that, in his view, Catholic priests can conduct blessing ceremonies for homosexual couples.”
The list of scandalous words and actions from this current shocking pope, or tolerated by him, grows day and daily. Too much to list here – and anyway, would, more likely than not, be out of date before I press the “publish” button on this page.
There is no lack of evidence that Pope Francis is a danger to Catholic Faith and Morals. Quite the reverse – there’s an abundance of evidence. Even as I type this, a report has come in questioning the pope’s integrity – would he blatantly impart falsehoods, we have to ask? Click here to answer that for yourself.
The question is, why are the supposedly concerned bishops who allegedly oppose him remaining silent – such as Cardinal Burke and the Captain and Crew of the Lifeboat SSPX? Why no sense of urgency? Why have they all gone to ground?
It’s one thing to pick one’s fights, but not to fight at all? Take a few minutes to view the short video in the News section of the Dici website here. Who, on this earth, would ever imagine that the Church is suffering the worst crisis ever in its entire history, watching that broadcast? Lovely reports, sure, but there’s been nothing about any attempt to fight as members of the Church Militant, under our banner as Soldiers of Christ, in any of the recent videos posted on Dici in January, which I’ve viewed with surprise and disappointment. This latest one, linked above, dated 2nd February, is no different. Plenty of devotional content, suggesting the danger of becoming so heavenly minded that we’re no earthly use.
What should the supposed opponents of this dreadful pontificate be doing, in addition to prayer. Concrete action, surely – but what, precisely?
I stumbled across the above rendition of Tantum Ergo quite by accident earlier this evening and it got me wondering if, as I suspected, Benediction is no longer a normal part of Sundays in Scottish parishes.
“Rosary & Benediction, 5pm” was routinely published in the Sunday bulletin in days of yore. Yet, I can’t remember the last time I heard it mentioned. So, I checked with a friend in the Archdiocese of Glasgow and, sure enough, Benediction is largely thing of the past. The key question is … why? Whatever happened to Benediction? Poor youngsters, growing up without this beautiful spiritual refreshment. Why?
Your thoughts on this, welcome, and feel free to post your own favourite Benediction hymns. To post a YouTube video, simply right click on the video, select “copy embed code”, click to copy, and then return to your comment box to paste it for us all to enjoy!