Saturday 9 January 2010

Stand Up For Vatican II...?

I spotted a few references to this group during the day, on Twitter first, and then a few bloggers kicked it around a bit... Kate from At Home in My Father's House hit the nail squarely on the head when she quoted:

"It is not unreasonable to assert that many of the decrees emanating from the Vatican in recent times have sought to put a brake on the developments that grew out of the discussions at the Council."

A number of priests some anonymously, are supporting this campaign which appears to be highly critical of 'The Vatican' and of the Holy Father.

Oh dear, oh dear... where to begin?

How about, with one of the group's own statements? Adrian Smith writes:

For those of us who lived at the time of the Council, we will never forget what an exciting time it was for us.

The changes in our Sunday worship were only part of the sense of renewal that was sweeping through our church. Pope John XXIII had asked for 'aggiornamento' the bringing up to date of our church and we felt that this was really beginning to happen. As the windows of the Church gradually opened the Spirit blew in, giving the People of God worship in the vernacular, breaking down post Reformation sectarianism, endorsing the work of biblical scholars, affirming the primacy of conscience, acknowledging the need to learn from the secular sciences, breathing Joy and Hope into the Church.

Quite apart from pointing out that the changes in Sunday worship appear, over the past forty years, to have so emptied the pews that one suspects that it wasn't just the windows of the Church that were opened, there is so much that is wrong with this statement that I hardly know where to begin.

The implication is that, pre-Vatican II, none of the laity knew anything, and it wasn't until Mass was said in the vernacular that your average Joe was able to worship. Codswallop (I was tempted to write something stronger, but I don't want to scandalise any clergy reading this...) One glance at my Saint Andrew's Missal is sufficient to put paid to that hoary old chestnut. The writings of great saints, such as St. Francis of Sales, designed to help the faithful participate fully in the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, also show that participation was very much "active" on the part of the laity. Active participation does not mean we-all-have-to-have-jobs-on-the-Sanctuary-or-we're-not-taking-part-fully.

Because, if active participation does mean "we have to do something, preferably on the Sanctuary, but whatever it is, call it a collaborative ministry anyway" then, frankly, the majority of the People of God are not participating, and the circle of "active participants" or "ministers" has merely been changed from "the priest" to "the priest and the few people he has chosen to help."

Obviously, this is a false interpretation of active participation, as was made clear by Mgr. Guido Marini, Pontifical Master of Liturgical Ceremonies, in a talk given to a conference for the Year of the Priest a few days ago. He said:

It was really the saints who have celebrated and lived the liturgical act by participating actively. Holiness, as the result of their lives, is the most beautiful testimony of a participation truthfully active in the liturgy of the Church.

Rightly, then, and by divine providence did the second Vatican Council insist so much on the necessity of promoting an authentic participation on the part of the faithful during the celebration of the holy mysteries, at the same time when it reminded the Church of the universal call to holiness. This authoritative direction from the council has been confirmed and proposed again and again by so many successive documents of the magisterium down to the present day.

Nevertheless, there has not always been a correct understanding of the concept of "active participation", according to how the Church teaches it and exhorts the faithful to live it. To be sure, there is active participation when, during the course of the liturgical celebration, one fulfills his proper service; there is active participation too when one has a better comprehension of God’s word when it is heard or of the prayers when they are said; there is also active participation when one unites his own voice to that of the others in song....All this, however, would not signify a participation truthfully active if it did not lead to adoration of the mystery of salvation in Christ Jesus, who for our sake died and is risen. This is because only he who adores the mystery, welcoming it into his life, demonstrates that he has comprehended what is being celebrated, and so is truly participating in the grace of the liturgical act.

Mgr. Marini then went on to quote the Holy Father's words from his book, The Spirit of the Liturgy, written as Cardinal Ratzinger:

"What does this active participation come down to? What does it mean that we have to do? Unfortunately the word was very quickly misunderstood to mean something external, entailing a need for general activity, as if as many people as possible, as often as possible, should be visibly engaged in action. However, the word 'part-icipation' refers to a principal action in which everyone has a 'part'...By the actio of the liturgy the sources mean the Eucharistic prayer. The real liturgical action, the true liturgical act, is the oratio....This oratio - the Eucharistic Prayer, the "Canon" - is really more than speech; it is actio in the highest sense of the word." (pp. 171-2)

Mgr. Marini then added:

Christ is made present in all of his salvific work, and for this reason the human actio becomes secondary and makes room for the divine actio, to God’s work. Thus the true action which is carried out in the liturgy is the action of God Himself, his saving work in Christ, in which we participate... God Himself acts and accomplishes that which is essential, whilst man is called to open himself to the activity of God, in order to be left transformed.

Going back to the first quote I took from the website, I see that the affirmation "of the primacy of conscience" is mentioned as one of the fruits of this outpouring of the Spirit. In fact, St. Thomas Aquinas wrote about the primacy of conscience. Dignitatis Humanae, the Declaration on Religious Freedom, re-stated this primacy of conscience, within the context of religious freedom and the search for the Truth. However, it also noted that the Christian's conscience must be informed by the Truth:

"In the formation of their consciences, the Christian faithful ought carefully to attend to the sacred and certain doctrine of the Church. For the Church is, by the will of Christ, the teacher of the truth. It is her duty to give utterance to, and authoritatively to teach, that truth which is Christ Himself, and also to declare and confirm by her authority those principles of the moral order which have their origins in human nature itself." (n.14)

That last little bit is all too easily glossed over by groups such as Stand Up for Vatican II. Bernard Wynne writes:

Stand up for Vatican II is a campaign designed to involve the whole Church, Catholic organisations and individuals, who recognise the benefits the Second Vatican Council brought to the Church to stand together to celebrate the forty fifth anniversary of the closure of the Council.

However, his list of speakers demonstrates that the group is actually not interested in recognising what the Second Vatican Council actually promulgated (on conscience, for example) but only in what the liberal agenda has interpreted the Council to have said, the so-called "spirit" of Vatican II. The fruits of that spirit are indeed clear to see - the speakers mentioned include Myra Poole, a campaigner for women priests and Michael Winter, an ex-priest who campaigns for married clergy.

By the way, there's a petition as well, which makes for very amusing reading, calling on the Bishops of England & Wales to hold celebrations marking the closing of the Council... It might also be of interest to note that Bernard Wynne was one of those responsible for speaking to The Suppository to complain about Fr. Finigan's implementation of Summorum Pontificum.

Another New Blog...

Maybe all the snow has gotten everyone hunkered down over their computer keyboards... Anyway, I have a new blog to bring to your attention: The Sunday Morning Soap Box is penned by Innocent Smith. If he is innocent, then I'm up for Ordination, but we'll let that slide... check him out, because he's a very good read!

My attention has also been drawn to a very useful website with propers for the Extraordinary Form of Mass, as well as booklets, hymns and music. Called "The Society of St. Bede," it is an excellent resource for any person (or parish) wanting to give out the readings for Sunday Mass as leaflets to be used in conjunction with the Ecclesia Dei "Red Missal" for example. Some areas of the site are still under construction, but it is worth bookmarking it now.

Friday 8 January 2010

Confusing Calendars...

I like to have the saint or saints of the day on my calendar - the one on my computer and mobile phone, that is. Previously, I had entered all the saints days according to the Novus Ordo calendar, and this was fine when celebrating the Liturgy of the Hours which followed that calendar.

I now want to record the saints according to the usus antiquior, but I've hit a bit of a snag. So far, I have identified doubles of the first class, and doubles of the second class (so far so good) but then I have identified major doubles, semi-doubles and simplex...

So, what is the order of precedence? Is a major double less than a double of the first class but more than a double of the second...?


UPDATE: My St. Andrew's Missal is a veritable mine of information... I hadn't spotted the explanation of degrees of feasts at the front...

Thursday 7 January 2010

What His Hermeneuticalness Is Up To...

It's one thing to put pictures up of people you know. It's quite another when you happen to see photos of people you know in famous places...

Shawn Tribe has put up a post from the Solemn Pontifical Mass at the Lateran Basilica; the Mass was celebrated as part of the Year for Priests Clergy Conference in Rome. Somehow or other, His Hermeneuticalness has ended up in amongst all those Aussie priests, as subdeacon at the Mass! Cool, or what?

Looking at the photos (they are gorgeous) I couldn't help noticing that Fr. Tim is wearing a borrowed alb... either that, or Gamirelli's hadn't quite gotten around to stitching the hem!!

A Couple More For The Blogroll...

Occasionally, I like to check to see who is linking to me. Not the general, included-in-the-blogroll links, (although they are important) but actual links in posts, which means that something I've posted has struck a chord with another person.

Google Blog Search is the best way to check that out, either by typing in the full URL of the blog (to find links, although this often just throws up blogs which have you on the blogroll) or by typing in the name of the blog, to find mentions "in passing", or mentions by people who, perhaps, are unfamiliar with how to put links in blog post texts...

Either way, it's rather fun!

It sometimes reveals interesting results: for example, today, I have discovered two blogs for addition to my blogroll...

A Reluctant Sinner came up on the radar with a review of English Catholic Heroines; he seemed to enjoy the book, which was encouraging, and further exploration of his blog led me to a very interesting exposé of so-called modern paganism.

Checking out the blogs he follows (I'm not one of them, sadly) I discovered The Sequere Me Blog, by Simon-Peter... I have a vague feeling I've come across him before, but he wasn't on my blogroll (maybe he'd been edited out - he posts a little infrequently) and there didn't appear to be a Profile for me to check out... but I enjoyed the posts I read, so back he goes...

Wednesday 6 January 2010

Choosing Bishops...

The inimitable Fr. Z had a very interesting post a short while back, about the appointment of bishops. Since we, in the Archdiocese of Southwark, are currently sede vacante (I believe that is the correct term), the process will apply to us!

I took the liberty of editing out the bits which referred to Scranton diocese, and substituted bits that were relevant to Southwark... no doubt someone will tell me if I've made a complete hash of it!!

Once a bishop resigns... the nuncio [currently Archbishop Faustino Sainz Muñoz] requests a report from the leader of the diocese about its condition, needs and challenges. The nuncio also does his own investigation into the needs of the diocese and suitable candidates to lead it. He consults past bishops of the diocese, other bishops in the province and around the country, and the metropolitan. He may also consult priests and lay members of the diocese.

Once he narrows the list to a handful of candidates, the nuncio sends confidential questionnaires to people who know the candidates, including priests, religious and well-respected laity. Those who receive the questionnaire are bound by the code of papal secrecy: they cannot tell anyone that they have received the letters or what they write in response.

The nuncio then gathers the information and writes a report including a list of three candidates, a terna, and notes his preference, which he sends to the Congregation for Bishops at the Vatican, the body of about 30 cardinals that oversees the selection process.

An English-speaking cardinal assigned to review the Southwark position studies the file and makes a recommendation to the body of cardinals at one of its twice-monthly meetings. The congregation then votes for its preferred choice, which may not be the same as that selected by the nuncio or the presenting cardinal, or it may ask for more information or to be given a new terna.

Once the congregation agrees on its choice, that information is passed on to the pope during a Saturday meeting with the head, or prefect, of the congregation. The pope can follow the council’s recommendation or, in a rare case, make a different decision. He is ultimately responsible for selecting the bishop.

Archbishop Sainz Muñoz has himself stated, in an interview given to that dreadful rag, The Suppository, that Rome is apparently more interested in what is available on the internet than in a terna submitted by himself.

Given that The Suppository spends all its time promoting worn-out liberal ideas while attacking the Holy Father and doing its utmost to undermine Catholicism with wishy-washy, it's-ok-if-it-feels-right pronouncements, I am surprised that the nuncio would give them an interview.

To be honest, from what I've heard, I'm actually not surprised... but I am surprised that, given how happy he is to be associated with The Suppository and all things liberal, the nuncio seems surprised that no-one in Rome trusts his judgement... and that they prefer to look at the internet for information on the state of the Church in England.

Having said that, it's of vital importance that we bloggers make sure that Rome has all the information they want.

So, what do we need from our new Archbishop?

A man of prayer: that goes without saying. A man who is loyal to the Holy Father... that should also go without saying, but, sadly, we have seen little evidence of such loyalty from our Bishops in the UK. A man who is unashamedly Catholic, and who is prepared to stand up for the Truth, and for the rights of the Church to teach those Truths.

That means we need someone who is pro-life and pro-family. Someone who will proclaim Humanae vitae, Evangelium vitae, and every one of the doctrines of Holy Mother Church, proudly, and explain why they are right... instead of shuffling off with a half-apologetic smile, saying, "Well, Rome says..." as if that means it has nothing to do with us in Britain because we're easy-going, rational sorts who just want to get along and be nice to everyone...

We need a man who will address the mess of the Cabrini Society, which, while failing to uphold the teachings of the Church with regard to marriage and the family, still expects to receive financial contributions from the Catholic faithful, as well as retaining assets it gained when it was still a Catholic charity.

And we need a man who is sympathetic to the Extraordinary Form of Mass, who wishes to implement Summorum Pontificum with generosity, as there are many priests and people in the Archdiocese of Southwark who are very attached to the traditional liturgy.

Those of us who recognise that Truth is not subject to a majority vote, and cafeteria Catholicism is not an option, should not have to watch our shepherds cave in to the latest Government policy, be it human-animal hybrids, cloning, abortion, compulsory sex education for five-year-olds or whatever. There are things which are WRONG, absolutely wrong, and we need a man who will say so.

Such a man should be prepared to be treated with contempt by our politicians, just as Bishop Patrick O'Donoghue was treated, when, after daring to say that the Catholic Faith should be taught in Catholic Schools, he was hauled up before a Parliamentary Committee to explain himself.

Unfortunately, I suspect that such a man would also need to expect a great deal of hostility from those Catholics who have grown comfortable with the idea that conscience excuses all things (forgetting that it is an informed conscience which must be heeded, informed by Holy Mother Church) - the attacks in The Suppository on our own Holy Father are proof of that.

If Rome is, indeed, more interested in the internet than in the ternas submitted by nuncios, then it is time for the faithful to make themselves heard.

The Twelfth Day Of Christmas...

Customer Relations Department
Ye Olde True Love Gift Shoppe
Santa's Grotto, North Pole

Dear Sir,

We really must ask you to desist from making such unreasonable demands of our staff. Your latest order was fulfilled quite reasonably well, we thought...

Twelve drummers, drumming. They're not the easiest item to *ahem* drum up at this time of year, and so we sent the only drummers we had. It wasn't our fault that they were members of an Ulster Orange Brigade and your true love is a devout Catholic...

Nor is it our fault that the local Council's noise prevention unit slapped a hefty fine on you for infringing the noise pollution regulations. The licence needed for a public performance was also your responsibility: you should have checked it out before ordering twelve drummers.

I have instructed our Mail Order Department to ignore any further requests from you.

Yours faithfully,
Mary Christmas.

Tuesday 5 January 2010

The Eleventh Day Of Christmas...

Customer Relations Department
Ye Olde True Love Gift Shoppe
Santa's Grotto, North Pole

Dear Sir,

You asked for 11 pipers, piping. We sent 11 pipers, piping. It is not my fault you had pan pipes in mind... you didn't ask for pan pipes. Admittedly, I did think it was a little odd for someone to want more than one bagpiper playing - they were designed to put the fear of God into the enemy, and by heaven, it works - but the customer gets what the customer wants, and we were just so pleased to have the item in stock...

Yours faithfully,
Mary Christmas.

Monday 4 January 2010

Excellent New Pro-Life Blog...

Check out Coming Home, the blog of Dr. Gerard M. Nadal. His tag line is "Science in Service of the Pro-Life Movement" which says it all, really.

Twitch of the mantilla to Kate, who spotted him first.

Unwanted Christmas Gifts...

"The sweet and silly Christmas things,
Bath salts and inexpensive scent
And hideous tie so kindly meant..."

Ok chaps and chapesses... you don't need to worry about what to do with all those little items you really, really didn't want. This time, you will not have to wait until the School Summer Fayre or Christmas Tombola before being able to clear out those cupboards!

The Sisters of the Gospel of Life are prepared to take the stuff off your hands, and so help you to get 2010 off to an uncluttered start...

We want your unwanted gifts! If you have adult, children or baby clothing, jewellery, unopened toiletries, craft items or books that you don’t want, please pass them along to us and we’ll be sure to make use of them, either at the Initiative or in our Precious Things shop.

Our office at 104 Albert Road, Glasgow is open 9.30-5pm, Monday to Friday. If you’d like more information give us a call on 0141 433 2680.

Thank you and God bless!

Remember that you can always do a bit of last-minute Christmas shopping for the good Sisters via Amazon, who will even deliver the goodies for you... to 106 Dixon Avenue, Glasgow, G42 8EL.

Monday Madness...

Day 10 And The Saga Continues...

Customer Relations Department
Ye Olde True Love Gift Shoppe
Santa's Grotto, North Pole

Dear Sir,

One might assume that one is extracting the Michael. Ten Lords, a-leaping? Have you actually watched the Parliamentary Channel? I suspect not, or you would know that most of them have one foot in the grave already, and the only leaping that might be done is the skirmish amongst the relatives as the will is being read out.

So, no, sorry. We can't supply any leaping Lords. Better luck next time.

Yours faithfully,
Mary Christmas.

Sunday 3 January 2010

Sympathy Update...

When I woke up this morning, I greeted the cat and, startled by the rasping croak which emanated from my direction, he shot out of the catflap. He soon returned, demanding food.

I didn't feel up to singing anything at Mass, but, by the end of it, the drugs I'd taken had started to kick in, and I felt a little more human. By late afternoon, I realised that the respite had been temporary, and so headed off to the supermarket to buy more cold remedies, tissues (balsam ones help to stop the nose chaffing) and ribena (hot ribena is very comforting!)

If you are of a squeamish disposition, don't read any more... I shall go into full technicolour detail in a blatant attempt to drum up more sympathy...

The little flap of skin which hangs down from the soft palate at the back of the throat is called the uvula. By some fluke of genetics or developmental quirk, I have got two. This has never been a problem before. However, at the moment, they are both extremely swollen (they feel like golf-ball sized nodules, but this is clearly not accurate) and they keep bumping against the back of my tongue... which makes me gag as a reflex... also makes swallowing very difficult...

...and I don't think I'll be yelling at anyone tomorrow morning.

...come to think of it, speaking in anything above a whisper might just prove to be beyond my capabilities.

The Ninth Day Of Christmas...

Customer Relations Department
Ye Olde True Love Gift Shoppe
Santa's Grotto, North Pole

Dear Sir,

Mr. Guest is on Annual Leave, but he has passed your correspondence on to me. I have to say that, looking at your recent orders, you appear to be deliberately antagonising my staff with the most obscure gift items possible.

The latest request, for no fewer than nine ladies dancing, is a case in point.

We sent nine dancing girls. Very good dancers they were, too... King Herod was particularly keen on the one called Salome, promised to give her half his kingdom. The fact that she settled for some poor chap's head on a platter just goes to show that one shouldn't listen to everything one's mother tells one.

But no, this was unacceptable. So, we sent nine pole dancers as a replacement, free of charge, in order to show how much we value your custom. The tirade of abuse in your latest missive was totally uncalled for: 9 female Poles, dancing and 9 females, pole dancing - well, it's an easy mistake to make.

However, in order to demonstrate that there is no ill-will on our part, we shall offer to send the next gift to your true love absolutely free, gratis and for nothing... provided it is in stock.

I remain,

Yours faithfully,
Mary Christmas (Ms.)
(Deputy Director)

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