Part of the Catholic Truth series, Thinking Through Catholic Truth – The Big Questions…Answered.
Part of the Catholic Truth series, Thinking Through Catholic Truth – The Big Questions…Answered.
The latest video in our series Thinking Through Catholic Truth… (Updated 18 July, 2018)
On Pentecost Sunday several priests refused to give Holy Communion in the hand in Vatican St Peter’s Basilica.
They put Holy Communion as it should be on the tongue.
[Ed: except in one case where the choir member refused to accept the priest’s insistence on the tongue, pointing to his cupped hand.]
Twitter-User CatholicSat explained (May 25) that there was an increasing number of abuses over the recent months.
Therefore priests have been reminded again that Communion in the hand is prohibited in the Vatican.
Should the priest have refused to give in to the choir member who insisted on receiving Communion in the hand?
Launching the second video in our Thinking Through Catholic Truth series…
From Scottish Catholic Media Office – press release…
His Eminence Archbishop Vincent Cardinal Nichols of Westminster used his homily during the Requiem Mass for the Cardinal Keith Patrick O’Brien RIP (1938-2018) to urge those present to pray for the repose of his soul and also for those he offended during his life…
The Requiem Mass was held at 1pm at St Michael’s Church in Newcastle-upon-Tyne, just yards from the home for the elderly where Cardinal O’Brien resided until recently. The 80-year-old cleric died on 19 March at the Royal Victoria Infirmary in Newcastle. The subsequent funeral arrangements were drawn up between the executor of his will, the O’Brien family and the Holy See as represented by Cardinal Nichols. Cardinal O’Brien will be buried at Mount Vernon Cemetery, Edinburgh, on Friday 6 April where he will be laid to rest with his mother and father. Cardinal Nichol’s homily is reproduced in full below:
Homily of Cardinal Vincent Nichols, Archbishop of Westminster
(Catholic Truth Editorial comment in bold)
There is a truth, deep in our Catholic tradition, often forgotten in our days, yet very relevant to this moment. It is this: that every funeral Mass is above all else a prayer for God’s mercy for the one who has died. So often services after a death are seen to be a time for celebrating a life, for recognising the great achievements of a life now ended and for treasuring happy memories. Yet the emphasis of our tradition is somewhat different. Always, we gather to ask God’s mercy for the one who has died, today for Cardinal Keith O’Brien. We do so with trust and love, knowing that God’s promise of mercy is enduring and that our prayers, entering into the presence of the Father through, with and in Jesus, the beloved Son, will be heard.
[Ed: well, that’s a first. First in the long time that that, elementary Catholicism, has been said at any funeral, to best of my knowledge, since the onset of the modernist take-over of the Church. Alleluia! Difficult to explain, really, though, because we’ve “celebrated the life” of those who have committed suicide, who have cohabited, lived in same-sex partnerships – interesting that the life of Cardinal O’Brien has been singled out as one requiring the ancient tradition of praying for the salvation of the soul. Very interesting. A cynic might wonder about this.]
In recent days, the life of Cardinal Keith has been laid bare. We all know its lights and its darkness; we need not spend time talking about them even more for he has given us the key words. In his last will and testament he wrote: ‘I ask forgiveness of all I have offended in this life. I thank God for the many graces and blessings he has given me especially the Sacrament of Holy Orders.’ Today, as we prayer for the repose of his soul, we also pray for all those he offended and ask God to strengthen them at this time.
In seeking the mercy of God, Cardinal Keith follows in the footsteps laid out for us in our faith. St Patrick, whose name Keith Patrick O’Brien was proud to bear, wrote in his Confessions these words:
‘It is with fear and trembling that I should be awaiting the verdict that’s coming to me on that (judgement) day, when none of us can go absent or run for cover; and when every last one of us will have to answer for even our smallest sins at the court of Christ the Lord.’ (8) This is, indeed, the pathway we all have to trace.
Pondering on the mercy of God is what we should do today. You will recall the Year of Mercy. During it, Pope Francis encouraged us to ‘rediscover the infinite mercy of the Father who welcomes everyone and goes out personally to encounter each of them.’ The Pope also explained to us that ‘Jesus Christ is the face of the Father’s mercy’, adding, ‘Jesus of Nazareth, by his words, his actions, and his entire person reveals the mercy of God.’
Now this is what we have heard in this morning’s Gospel passage taken from St Luke. The two disciples are making their sad journey away from Jerusalem, a name that [is] used to represent the Church, the presence of God among His people. The two disciples, then, are walking away from the Church, disappointed in all their hopes, disillusioned by what they have seen and heard. But, see what the Risen Jesus does: he goes to walk with them, continuing their journey in the direction that they are going, away from Jerusalem. He does [not] simply tell them to turn back. No, he walks with them. He accompanies them. He listens fully to their dismay and their sense of being let down. Only gradually does he invite them to see beyond that dismay and begin to speak to their hearts. Even when he sits at table, he does not tell them to return to Jerusalem. He simply shows himself to them. The decision to return is one that they make, moved by the compassion they have found in him.
[Ed: this is a misinterpretation of the Gospel, whether mischevious or not one can only guess, to fit the new “theology of accompaniment”, but even a cursory examination of the passage shows that it doesn’t work, Cardinal Nichols, take note. For one thing, the two disciples were NOT “walking away from the Church” because they were guilty of no public sin – they were merely pondering the events surrounding the Passion and Death of Christ, downcast, at his death. It is preposterous to suggest that Christ would walk in the same direction – i.e. actively tolerate sin – without “telling them to turn back from sin”. Indeed, as they recounted the story of the events in Jerusalem, Christ rebuked the pair: “Oh, how foolish you are! How slow of heart to believe all that the prophets spoke!” You left that bit out, Cardinal Nichols!
The tortuous attempt by Cardinal Nichols to link this Gospel account with the heresy in Amoris Laetitia is underlined by the claim that “Even when he sits at table, he does not tell them to return to Jerusalem. He simply shows himself to them.” The implication is clear: Holy Communion for public sinners, adulterers et al, no problem. That’s what Our Lord did/would do. Outrageous. And this is supposed to help the deceased Cardinal O’Brien … how? Leaving his family and friends thinking that, well, he’s met with the God of Mercy, so let’s not worry about satisfying God’s justice?]
In this account, we see the mercy of God at work, in the person of Jesus, coming to us in our dismay, in the prison of sin which we construct around ourselves, and opening for us to door through which we can retrace our steps back to him.
[Ed: well, as already said, there is no “sin” in this passage, just human disappointment.]
In the life of Cardinal O’Brien, as well as his failings, there was goodness, courage and many acts of simple kindness. Not least was his determination to serve the poor of the world. But when we come to stand before God we do so best when we come empty-handed. No matter how great or slight our achievements might be, we cannot depend on them. No, we come before God empty-handed so that we can receive the one thing necessary: a full measure of Gods’ mercy.
Only in this way can we hope to enter into the promise that was proclaimed in the first Reading of the Mass. ‘On this mountain the Lord of hosts will make for all people a feast of rich food! A feast of well-aged wines, strained clear.’ This is an image we can all understand and one for which we long, notwithstanding our unworthiness.
But then we are consoled with the next words: ‘Then the Lord God will wipe away the tears from all faces and the disgrace of his people.’ This too is the promise of the Lord. The healing of the wounds we have inflicted and the wounds we ourselves bear, is his work. It is a work that cannot be accomplished without Him. Yet as His work, it is a task in which we are to be his active servants and never simply sit on our hands. The promise of the heavenly banquet is for all; the task of healing and finding forgiveness is also for all.
[Ed: The heavenly banquet for most of us will, more likely than not, follow a period in Purgatory. Why not mention that? There’s no better time to drive home the four last things, Death, Judgment, Heaven & Hell, those key truths of the Faith, than at a funeral, any funeral. A reminder that Purgatory is evidence of God’s great mercy, gives hope to the faithful and to family members of the deceased, not least in a case such as that of the much publicised disgrace of Cardinal O’Brien. ]
I started with words from the Confession of St Patrick. So let me end with some more. Here is St Patrick’s faith, loud and clear. Let us make it ours today. He wrote:
‘I haven’t a doubt in the world that, on the day appointed, we shall rise up again in the brightness of the sun; that is to say in the glory of Jesus Christ Our Redeemer…since it is from him and through him and in him that we are going to reign. But the sun he bids to rise, morning by morning, for our benefit, will never reign, nor will its glory last. Christ is the true sun whose glory shall not fade. We who believe in him, and worship him – in fact anyone who does his will – shall live forever, because Christ lives forever, reigning with God the Father Almighty and with the Holy Spirit, as it was in the beginning, is now and ever shall be. Amen.’ (59-60)
This is our prayer today, especially for Cardinal Keith Patrick O’Brien. May his soul and the souls of all the faithful departed, through the mercy of God, rest in peace. Amen
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
Extracts below from Catholic Herald article entitled: Cardinal lays out plan for parishes to implement Amoris Laetitia
“Amoris Laetitia is a call to compassionate accompaniment in helping all to experience Christ’s love and mercy,” the Archbishop of Washington said in the 58-page pastoral plan.
The plan, “Sharing in the Joy of Love in Marriage and Family,” was posted on the archdiocesan website late on March 3. Cardinal Wuerl planned to officially introduce the document to the archdiocese with a Mass on March 4 at the Cathedral of St Matthew the Apostle…
“Some may ask, ‘Is the teaching [on marriage] always binding?’ The answer of course is yes,” he continued. “Yet Amoris Laetitia invites us to adopt a complementary perspective and to look with a parental attitude at those families who find themselves in a position where they struggle to even understand, let alone embrace fully, the teaching because of the concrete circumstances in which they live.”
Cardinal Wuerl said his pastoral plan is “directed to parishes, priests, religious and laity” and is meant “to encourage reflection” on:
• “The richness of the Church’s perennial teaching on love, marriage, family, faith and mercy.”
• “The essential aspect of pastoral ministry, called accompaniment.”
• “Several significant themes such as the new evangelisation, the role of conscience, and the privileged place of the parish where we find and experience Christ’s way of living and loving.” Read entire article here
So, “yes” Christ’s teaching on the indissolubility of marriage is always binding, but here’s how to get round it… is essentially what the Cardinal is saying in typical modernist double speak. After all, a competent teacher, confronted by a student who “struggles to even understand, let alone embrace fully” a subject puts his/her mind and skill to working out ways to explain the subject more fully, more clearly, but doesn’t change the truth to make it more palatable. 2 + 2 will never make 5, no matter how much the student (and exasperated teacher) wishes it were so.
Check out the bullet points – closely. Notice one of the “significant themes” is the role of conscience… Code for the heresy of “your choice, your decision”, objective truth, objective morality does not exist but even if they do, well, rules are there to be broken, as the old saying goes. However it’s dressed up, and whatever the motivation, Amoris Laetitia (AL) is all about breaking the rules.
Still, Cardinal Wuerl is a bit behind the AL times. Here in the Archdiocese of Glasgow, we had retreats for priests and teachers almost as AL was rolling off the press, so chop-chop over there in the USA – we’re well ahead of you on this…