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Thursday, December 31, 2009
2010 Resolution: Learn More About the Catholic Faith
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I have heard plenty of people say "I want to learn more about the Catholic Church" or "I want to deepen my understanding of the Sacraments" each January.  But when I ask them about their progress in December, they always say "There's always next year.  I try harder to fit time in my schedule."

My recommendation to those of you who want to learn about the Catholic Faith is to make sufficient time and have the proper resources at your disposal.  How can you learn about the Faith if you don't know which sources to believe about matters of eternal importance?

To solve this problem and help you learn more about your faith in 2010, please consider subscribing to the Catholic CD of the Month Club!

What is the Program?

The Catholic CD of the Month Club offers various CDs ranging from Fr. Corapi, Fr. Groeschel, Archbishop Sheen, Scott Hahn and many others. Overall, it is at an affordable price. I truly believe this is a worthwhile project to spread the Faith. With a subscription, you even get a free download of Scott Hahn's "The Lamb's Supper". As a fan of Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen, I am very excited to be able to received a CD of his talks along with other notable Catholic speakers.


What is the Promotion Code?

Please make sure the Promotion Code on the form is 1403. I am an affiliate partner and I will earn a small commission for each sign-up if the code of 1403 is entered on that form. Consequently, I will greatly appreciate you entering the code of 1403 on the form if you do sign up for the Catholic CD of the Month Club.


Are there Recommendations?

The CD service is recommend by several people including Cardinal George of the Archdiocese of Chicago and Archbishop Burke of St. Louis
:

“The CDs and brochures are a welcome addition to the faith life and continuing education of our people. I heartily recommend your program to all the pastors in the Archdiocese as a way to rekindle the faith of Chicago’s Catholics" - Francis Cardinal George, O.M.I., Archbishop of Chicago, IL
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Tuesday, December 29, 2009
St. Thomas of Canterbury
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Image: The martyrdom of St Thomas from the St Thomas Altarpiece commissioned in 1424, from Meister Francke by the Guild of English Merchants in Hamburg

Double (1955 Calendar): December 29
Optional Memorial (1969 Calendar): December 29

St. Thomas of Canterbury ( 1118 - 1170) - also known as St. Thomas Becket - was Archbishop of Canterbury from 1162 to December 29, 1170, the date of his assassination.

St. Thomas Becket grew into a dispute with King Henry II of England when Henry II wished for St. Thomas Becket to sanction customers contrary to the liberties of the Church - an action that would undoubtedly make the Church subservient to the secular rule of the King.  In his definance, St. Thomas Becket refused to consent to this request.  As a result, St. Thomas Becket - ever faithful to the Lord - was slain in the Cathedral in Canterbury on December 29, 1170.

As sings the Introit for today's Mass Propers: "Let us all rejoice in the Lord, celebrating a festal day in honor of blessed Thomas the Martyr: at whose martyrdom the Angels rejoice, and praise the Son of God.  Rejoice in the Lord, O ye just: praise becometh the upright."

Account of the Assassination according to Edward Grim:
The wicked knight leapt suddenly upon him, cutting off the top of the crown which the unction of sacred chrism had dedicated to God. Next he received a second blow on the head, but still he stood firm and immovable. At the third blow he fell on his knees and elbows, offering himself a living sacrifice, and saying in a low voice, 'For the name of Jesus and the protection of the Church, I am ready to embrace death.' But the third knight inflicted a terrible wound as he lay prostrate. By this stroke, the crown of his head was separated from the head in such a way that the blood white with the brain, and the brain no less red from the blood, dyed the floor of the cathedral. The same clerk who had entered with the knights placed his foot on the neck of the holy priest and precious martyr, and, horrible to relate, scattered the brains and blood about the pavements, crying to the others, 'Let us away, knights; this fellow will arise no more.
 Source: This Sceptred Isle: 55 BC - 1901: The Roman Invasion to the Death of Queen Victoria p.73 Christopher Lee
In 1173 — barely three years after his death — he was canonised by Pope Alexander III as a saint.  On July 12, 1174, Henry II visited the tomb of St. Thomas Becket in a display of public penance.

Collect:

O God, for the sake of Whose Church the glorious Bishop Thomas fell by the sword of ungodly men: grant, we beseech Thee, that all who implore his aid, may obtain the good fruit of their petition.  Through our Lord.

Prayer Source: 1962 Roman Catholic Daily Missal

Image Source: 

High Mass on Feast of St. Thomas Beckett in the Birmingham Oratory, 2009 via Catholic Mom of 10.


St. Thomas Becket, ora pro nobis!
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Monday, December 28, 2009
The Importance of Music in the Life of a Parish and How a Parish Can Start a Sacred Music Program
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The Importance of Music in the Life of a Parish and How a Parish Can Start a Sacred Music Program

Guest Author of this article: Daniel

If you wish to contact the author, please leave comments in the comments box or email acatholiclife[at]gmail[dot]com.

+JMJ+

In the Catholic Book of Character, Edward Garesche S.J. indicates that whatever enters the imagination remains there until death, even if not always present to consciousness. We are therefore obliged to nourish the imagination with good and beautiful things that lead us to God. This summarizes the beneficence of having good music in our liturgies on a human level. Everything employed in the worship of God seeks firstly to glorify Him. Secondarily, though probably just as important, is its salutary effect on us.

The Gregorian Mass is saturated with symbols expressed through gestures, sounds, and smells for a reason which is at the very heart of religion: To bring mankind into an encounter with the Divine. Like our incomparable Savior, the Mass is composed of divine and human elements. Its divinity consists in the offering of the Son to the Father in atonement for our sins and those of the whole world. However, in order that we may more fully benefit from its effects, the Church draws our attention to this mystery by stimulating our imaginations with beautiful ritual, for the more beautiful something is, the closer it is to God, Who is Beauty Itself.

Until the reforms of the 1960s, it was generally accepted that only the most beautiful and holy music, especially Gregorian chant, was suitable for the solemnity of the Mass. With the introduction of the "folk Mass," however, music in the liturgy became intimately tied with the world, losing its holiness to secular influences and beauty to shallow popular forms. The imagination no longer had the opportunity to soar into the transcendent, but was dragged into the immanent.

Such a description of these reforms might sound ridiculous. Why is music so important that I should view recent history with this perspective? The Second Vatican Council responds in the Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy that music is the most esteemed of the Church's liturgical arts, as it most directly speaks to the soul. That is, music, more than any other element of the liturgy, affects the imagination, having the power to raise our thoughts to heavenly things or lower them to worldly distractions. When we raise our minds to God, we are praying; music therefore has a direct correlation to our life of prayer. Therefore man has a greater potential for holiness when he is nourished with the bread of beauty in the worship of God.

This is why the return to beautiful liturgical music in recent years is such a good thing and so important. One could almost say our salvation depends on it. If we do not conceive heaven as being someplace beautiful, then we will not want to go there. We are drawn toward things that please us; only God, Who is infinitely pleasing, can satisfy our infinite longings, but we cannot know this if He is shrouded and blocked out by ugliness. It is imperative, then, that all parishes begin the process of restoring beauty - dare I say, God Himself - to their liturgies. Through music, the liturgy can become more God-like, greatly sanctifying its participants and, consequently, the world.

Such a noble task rests with church musicians in cooperation with their pastors. Establishing or reorganizing a parochial music program can appear a daunting task. In considering the challenges, though, musicians should always keep in mind that there is no obstacle too great for God's grace to overcome. Be sure to complement all your efforts with prayer.

Having a supportive pastor is essential in enacting meaningful and enduring changes. It is through his preaching and teaching of orthodoxy that a congregation will be able to appreciate the gradual changes that you will implement. Depending on your situation, this might be the most difficult part of the process and will require more prayer.

Once you have the support of your pastor, your primary concern will be to address the twofold challenge of teaching your choir good vocal technique and acclimating the congregation to proper liturgy. Concerning the former, if you do not know where to start, it is good to keep in mind that the two most important components of good singing are breath control and unity of vowels. Regarding the latter, I offer my own experience.

For the purpose of training both choir and congregation, it is best to begin with hymns, avoiding a complete switch from one style of worship to another. This also permits your choir some time to begin learning the art of singing chant. Some good sources of hymnody include the Traditional Roman Hymnal - one of the best in my opinion, the St. Gregory Hymnal, the Westminster Hymnal - text and music are separate here, and the Adoremus Hymnal. Hymns are the best way for your choir to practice good singing and for the congregation to become accustomed to orthodox text and beautifully crafted melodies.

You should use chant hymns that have been harmonized - such as Creator of the Stars of Night or Of the Father's Love Begotten, for example - whenever possible in order to prepare the way for the propers. When you believe your choir is ready, you may start adding simple propers. One of the best sources of free online chants and chant resources is www.musicasacra.com. I have found the Anglican Use Gradual - approved for use in the Mass - wonderfully suited to novice singers and congregations. They use psalm tones and high English, making them accessible yet exalted.

If you have attained these heights in your liturgies, then your parish is well on its way to fostering great holiness among its parishioners. From here, the paths are as varied as the branches of a Christmas tree. You may choose to employ polyphonic music of the renaissance, modern compositions (www.canticanova.com is a good place to find some of these), or simple hymns. The sky is your limit and the rubrics your foundation.

St. Cecelia, pray for us!
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Saturday, December 26, 2009
Extra Copy of "This is the Faith" for Sale
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Long-time readers of the blog will know that I have been a strong supporter of the book, This Is the Faith by Canon Francis Ripley.

I have mentioned the text in several posts before:

Wedding Feast of Cana
Sacrament of Baptism
Non-Catholics, I want to hear from you
Organized Religion


For this reason, I wanted my readers to know that I have an extra copy of "This is the Faith" which is still in plastic wrap. It is in perfect mint condition and has never been opened.
For $18.00 USD, I am willing to ship the text to any location within the 48 continental states.

If you are interested, please comment below and/or send me an email message.
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Christmas 2009 Urbi et Orbi
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The same comments regarding last year also apply to this year, namely that the Holy Father will not wear cope and mitre for the Urbi et Orbi blessing

To forestall any rash comments, this is not without precedent, as may be seen from the accompanying picture of Pius XII imparing the Urbi et Orbi blessing on Easter 1952. The choice would seem to be connected to the fact that the Pope does not publicly celebrate the Missa in die, and is therefore not vested prior to the blessing. Msgr. Marini explains that it is "a solemn benediction which is not connected to a particular liturgical rite."

Source: NLM
Text:

"Lux fulgebit hodie super nos, quia natus est nobis Dominus.

A light will shine on us this day, the Lord is born for us"
(Roman Missal, Christmas, Entrance Antiphon for the Mass at Dawn)

The liturgy of the Mass at Dawn reminded us that the night is now past, the day has begun; the light radiating from the cave of Bethlehem shines upon us.

The Bible and the Liturgy do not, however, speak to us about a natural light, but a different, special light, which is somehow directed to and focused upon "us", the same "us" for whom the Child of Bethlehem "is born". This "us" is the Church, the great universal family of those who believe in Christ, who have awaited in hope the new birth of the Saviour, and who today celebrate in mystery the perennial significance of this event.

At first, beside the manger in Bethlehem, that "us" was almost imperceptible to human eyes. As the Gospel of Saint Luke recounts, it included, in addition to Mary and Joseph, a few lowly shepherds who came to the cave after hearing the message of the Angels. The light of that first Christmas was like a fire kindled in the night. All about there was darkness, while in the cave there shone the true light "that enlightens every man" (Jn 1:9). And yet all this took place in simplicity and hiddenness, in the way that God works in all of salvation history. God loves to light little lights, so as then to illuminate vast spaces. Truth, and Love, which are its content, are kindled wherever the light is welcomed; they then radiate in concentric circles, as if by contact, in the hearts and minds of all those who, by opening themselves freely to its splendour, themselves become sources of light. Such is the history of the Church: she began her journey in the lowly cave of Bethlehem, and down the centuries she has become a People and a source of light for humanity. Today too, in those who encounter that Child, God still kindles fires in the night of the world, calling men and women everywhere to acknowledge in Jesus the "sign" of his saving and liberating presence and to extend the "us" of those who believe in Christ to the whole of mankind.

Continue Reading

Image Source: Unknown
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Friday, December 25, 2009
Midnight Mass Celebrated by Fr. Daniel Couture
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Midnight Mass, celebrated by Fr. Daniel Couture, SSPX.  Photos are from True Restoration Photos and True Restoration via Facebook.
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Mass of Christmas Day Celebrated at St. Jude Roman Catholic Church
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A child is born to us, and a Son is given to us: Whose government is upon His shoulder: and His Name shall be called, the Angel of Great Counsel. -- (Ps.97. 1). Sing ye to the Lord a new canticle: because He hath done wonderful things. V.: Glory be to the Father . . . A child is born to us . . .


Grant, we beseech Thee, almighty God, that the new birth of Thine only-begotten Son in the flesh may set us free, who are held by the old bondage under the yoke of sin. Through the same Jesus Christ, Thy Son, who liveth and reigneth with Thee in the unity of the Holy Ghost, God . . . 


God, who at sundry times and in divers manners spoke in times past to the fathers by the prophets, whom He hath appointed heir of all things, by whom also He made the world: Who being the brightness of His glory and the figure of His substance, and upholding all things by the word of His power, making purgation of sins, sitteth on the right hand of the Majesty on high: being made so much better than the angels as He hath inherited a more excellent name than they. For to which of the angels hath He said at any time: Thou art my Son, today have I begotten Thee? And again: I will be to Him a Father, and He shall be to Me a Son? And again, when He bringeth in the first begotten into the world, He saith: He that maketh His angels spirits, and His ministers a flame of fire. But to the Son: Thy throne, O God, is for ever and ever: a sceptre of justice is the sceptre of Thy kingdom. Thou hast loved justice and hated iniquity: therefore God, Thy God, hath anointed Thee with the oil of gladness above Thy fellows. And: Thou in the beginning, O Lord, didst found the earth: and the works of Thy hands are the heavens. They shall perish, but Thou shalt continue: and they shall all grow old as a garment: and as a vesture shalt Thou change them and they shall be changed: but Thou art the selfsame, and Thy years shall not fail.


All the ends of the earth have seen the salvation of our God: sing joyfully to God, all the earth. V.: The Lord hath made known His salvation: He hath revealed His justice in the sight of the Gentiles.


Alleluia, alleluia. V.: A sanctified day has shone upon us: come ye Gentiles and adore the Lord: for this day a great light hath descended upon the earth. Alleluia


In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was in God's presence, and the Word was God. The same was in the beginning with God. All things were made by Him, and without Him was made nothing that was made: in Him was life, and the life was the Light of men; and the Light shineth in darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it.There was a man sent from God, whose name was John. This man came for a witness, to testify concerning the Light, that all might believe through Him. He was not the Light, but he was to testify concerning the Light. That was the true Light, which enlighteneth every man that cometh into this world. He was in the world, and the world was made by Him, and the world knew Him not. He came unto His own, and His own received Him not. But as many as received Him to them He gave power to become sons of God, to them that believe in His Name, who are born not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.[Here all kneel.] And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us: and we saw His glory, the glory as of the Only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth.


Images of the Mass of Christmas Day Celebrated at St. Jude Roman Catholic Church (SSPX).  Photos are the property of Jim, the Photographer via Flickr.


Text: Parts of the Propers from the 3rd Mass of Christmas
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Pope Pius XII Midnight Mass of 1944
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A solis ortus cardine ad usque terrae limitem, Christum canamus Principem, natum Maria Virgine. Beatus auctor saeculi servile corpus induit: ut carne carnem liberans, ne perderet quos condidit.

Christmas Message of His Holiness Venerable Pope Pius XII, 1942.

My Dear Children of the Whole World:

As the Holy Christmas Season comes round each year, the message of Jesus, Who is light in the midst of darkness, echoes once more from the Crib of Bethlehem in the ears of Christians and re-echoes in their hearts with an ever new freshness of joy and piety. It is a message which lights up with heavenly truth a world that is plunged in darkness by fatal errors. It infuses exuberant and trustful joy into mankind, torn by the anxiety of deep, bitter sorrow. It proclaims liberty to the sons of Adam, shackled with the chains of sin and guilt. It promises mercy, love, peace to the countless hosts of those in suffering and tribulation who see their happiness Shattered and their efforts broken in the tempestuous strife and hate of our stormy days.

The church bells, which announce this message in every continent, not only recall the gift which God made to mankind at the dawn of the Christian Era; they also announce and proclaim a consoling reality of the present, a reality which is eternally young, living and life-giving; it is the reality of the "True Light which enlighteneth every man that cometh into this World," and which knows no setting. The Eternal Word, Who is the Way, the Truth and the Life, began His mission of saving and redeeming the human race by being born in the squalor of a stable and by thus ennobling and hallowing poverty.

He thus proclaimed and consecrated a message which is still, today, the Word of Eternal Life. That message can solve the most tortuous questions, unsolved and insoluble for those who bring to their investigations a mentality and an apparatus which are ephemeral and merely human; and those questions stand up, bleeding, imperiously demanding an answer, before the thought and the feeling of embittered and exasperated mankind.

The watchword "I have compassion on the multitude" is for Us a sacred trust which may not be abused; it remains strong, and impelling in all times and in all human situations, as it was the distinguishing mark of Jesus.

The Church would be untrue to herself, ceasing to be a mother, if she turned a deaf ear to her children's anguished cries, which reach her from every class of the human family. She does not intend to take sides for any of the particular forms in which the several peoples and States strive to solve the gigantic problems of domestic order or international collaboration, as long as these forms conform to the law of God. But on the other hand, as the "Pillar and Ground of Truth" and guardian, by the will of God and the mandate of Christ, of the natural and supernatural order, the Church cannot renounce her right to proclaim to her sons and to the whole world the unchanging basic laws, saving them from every perversion, frustration, corruption, false interpretation and error.

This is all the more necessary for the fact that from the exact maintenance of these laws, and not merely by the effort of noble and courageous wills, depends in the last analysis the solidity of any national and international order, so fervently desired by all peoples. We know the qualities of courage and sacrifice of those peoples, and We also know their straitened conditions and their sorrow; and in this hour of unspeakable trial and strife We feel Ourselves bound to each and every one of them without exception, by a deep, all-embracing, unmovable affection, and by an immense desire to bring them every solace and help which is in any way at Our command.

...



Martyrology-December 25th

Roman Martyrology-December 25th-on this date in various years-

In the 5199th year of the creation of the world, from the time when in the beginning God created heaven and earth; from the flood, the 2957th year; from the birth of Abraham, the 2015th year; from Moses and the going-out of the people of Israel from Egypt, the 1510th; from the anointing of David as king, the 1032nd year; in the 65th week according to the prophecy of Daniel; in the 194th Olympiad; from the founding of the city of Rome, the 752nd year; in the 42nd year of the rule of Octavian Augustus, when the whole world was at peace, in the sixth age of the world: Jesus Christ, the eternal God and Son of the eternal Father, desiring to sanctify the world by His most merciful coming, having been conceived by the Holy Ghost, and nine months having passed since His conception (A higher tone of voice is now used, and all kneel) was born in Bethlehem of Juda of the Virgin Mary, having become man.

In the same higher tone of voice and in the tone of the Passion:

THE NATIVITY of our Lord Jesus Christ according to the flesh. 
 

Image Source: Worshippers standing on top of confessional booth to view unprecedented Christmas midnight mass conducted by Pope Pius XII fr. the high altar; the first time since Charlemagne's coronation that a Pope has said Midnight Mass at St. Peter's Cathedral. December 1944, Taken by Margaret Bourke-White
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Christmas Day Chants
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These are some of the prayers said at the Tridentine Masses for the Mass of Christmas day. Please pray along to these beautiful chants:

Christmas (Day Mass) - Introit: Puer
Christmas (Day Mass) - Gradual: Viderunt omnes
Christmas (Day Mass) - Alleluia
Christmas (Day Mass) - Offertory: Tui sunt
Christmas (Day Mass) - Communion: Viderunt omnes
Christmas - Vespers Hymn: Christe redemptor omnium 

Image Source: Annunciation by Domenico Beccafumi, 1545-1546
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Thursday, December 24, 2009
Jesus Christ is the Second Adam - St. Leo the Great
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“Dearly beloved brethren, if we study attentively the history of the creation of our
race, we shall find that man was made in the image of God, that his ways also might be an imitation of the ways of his Maker. This is the natural, real, and highest dignity which we are capable of attaining, that the goodness of the Divine nature should have a reflection in us, as in a mirror. As a means of reaching this dignity, we are daily offered the grace of our Saviour, for as in the first Adam all men are fallen, so in the Second Adam can all men be raised up again… And we know from the Apostle John how God fulfilled His promise,. We know that the Son of God is come, and hath given us an understanding, that we may know Him That is True, and be in Him That is True, even in
His Son.”

St. Leo the Great
Image Source: Nativity by François Boucher, 18th Century
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Tuesday, December 22, 2009
Moral Theology By Rev. Heribert Jone
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I recently received an email that from a reader of the blog that included two scanned copies from the book Moral Theology by Rev. Heribert Jone on the topic of fasting.

(click for a larger, clear preview of this text)

The copy is a reprint of Reverend Jone's classic 18th English edition. A handbook for the busy priest that will boggle the mind with its organization, thoroughness and detail. Hand pocket size. Every priest [ and I might add seminarian] should have a copy of this text at his fingertips. There is no other book like it! Also of note, this 610 page book comes with an imprimatur.
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Monday, December 21, 2009
Blog Help Needed for Vocation Blogs
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The following is from a long-time reader of this blog, Mark:
Last year I had the pleasure to co-operate on two new Vocations resource 'blogs'.

The first is a general resource for promoting vocations to Traditional Societies in union with Pope Benedict XVI: tradvocations.blogspot.com

The second is a resource specifically to encourage vocations for the Priestly Fraternity of St Peter, especially from Scotland and Ireland: fsspvocations.blogspot.com

Unfortunately, I will not be able to continue with these blogs after Spring. Without further help, both blogs will stop. If you have time to help out with this blog, and see it continue, please leave a comment, or email markadm at catholic dot org.
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Sunday, December 20, 2009
4th Sunday of Advent
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INTROIT
Isaias 45: 8
Drop down dew, ye heavens, from above, and let the clouds rain the Just: let the earth be opened and bud forth a Savior. -- (Ps. 18. 2). The heavens show forth the glory of God: and the firmament declareth the work of His hands. V.: Glory to the Father . . . -- Drop down dew, ye heavens . . .

COLLECT - O Lord, we beseech Thee, stir up Thy power, and come, and with great might succor us: that by the help of Thy grace that which is hindered by our sins may be hastened by Thy merciful forgiveness. Who livest and reignest, with God the Father, in the unity of the Holy Ghost .

See all of this Sunday's Propers Prayers


Image Source: Photo from the 4th Sunday in Advent. Photo taken by Christopher M. of Lost Lambs.
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Saturday, December 19, 2009
Pope Pius XII, John Paul II Declared Venerable
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The following is an excerpt. My comments are in brackets. Emphasis is in bold.


Image Source: A/P
Today in Rome, Pope Pius XII and Pope John Paul II were both declared venerable by Pope Benedict XVI — the first step on the road to canonization as saints for both men

By Robert Moynihan
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In a dramatic move, after long hesitation, Pope Benedict XVI has signed a decree declaring Pope Pius XII -- the Pope who led the Church during the Second World War and has been repeatedly accused by many Jewish and progressive Catholic groups of not doing enough to help the Jews during the Nazi persecution -- as "venerable," the first major step on the road toward canonization as a Catholic saint.

In the same decree, Benedict has declared Pope John Paul II, known for his friendship with the Jewish people and his dramatic visits to the synagogue of Rome in 1986 and to the Western Wall in Jerusalem in 2000, as also worthy to be called "venerable" in the Church.

Benedict's decree, published today in connection with the 40th anniversary of the founding of the Congregation for the Causes of Saints, recognizes the "heroic virtues" of the two Popes, paving the way for their beatification and canonization, which can come with the approval of first one, then a second miracle attributed to their intercession.

Also approved were the martyrdom of the Polish priest Fr Popielusko and a miracle attributed to Mary McKillop (Australia).

Pius XII, the Pope who led the Church during the Second World War (he was Pope from 1939 to 1958), and John Paul II (Pope from 1978 to 2005) are now officially to be called "Venerable" (meaning able to be venerated), because Benedict XVI has confirmed that their lives displayed "heroic virtues," that they were heroes because of their remarkable virtue.

This is particularly dramatic with regard to Pius, because he has been accused, not only of not being a hero, but even of being evil, of being "Hitler's Pope." (A book under that title was published several years ago by British author John Cornwell, who later retracted much of what he had written.) The attacks on Pius seem to have given Benedict pause. Not because he believed their truth, but because he knew that many did believe they were true, and would be scandalized if Pius was declared "Venerable" without clarifying that the charges against him were false. This explains why the documentation to sign the Pius XII decree was given to Pope almost two years ago, and not signed until now.

Many Vatican observers had noted that Benedict was taking his time before signing the decree. Senior Vatican officials told me that he was waiting until Jewish and progressive Catholic groups themselves recognized that the charges of anti-Semitism raised against Pius XII were without foundation. And this is what has occurred.

Over the past several years, due in large measure to the work of committed Catholic and Jewish scholars and activists ranging from Sr. Margherita Marchione, an American Catholic nun, to Gary Krupp, an American Jewish businessman, clear evidence that Pius XII worked heroically "behind the scenes" to save nearly 1 million Jews from deportation to Nazi concentration camps has now been discovered and published. (We have printed much of this in the pages on Inside the Vatican magazine.) In fact, this evidence even suggests that Pius XII did more to help victims of the persecution than virtually any other single person in Europe during the war years, making his denigration all the more unjust. And because an increasing number of scholars have come to conclude that the charges raised against Pius XII were a calmny, the opinion about Pius in the world's Jewish community has slowly been transformed from an absolutely negative one to a far more positive one.

"I received a call from Rome just now to inform me that the Holy Father proclaimed Pius XII as venerable," Krupp emailed to me this morning. "Congratulations to all of you for the hard work over the years to right a terrible wrong perpetrated by the historical revisionists."

Similar Posts:

  1. War and remembrance: Vatican highlights Pope Pius XII's peace efforts (September 2009)
  2. Encyclicals of Pope Pius XII (June 2009)
  3. Strong defense of Pius XII by Cardinal Bertone (June 2009)
  4. 50th Anniversary of Pius XII's Death (October 2008)
  5. Pope Pius XII Condemned Nazism
  6. Funeral of Pope Pius XII
  7. Traditional Papal Funeral Masses 
Reading:

The Myth of Hitler's Pope: How Pope Pius XII Rescued Jews from the Nazis
Germany and the Church: Encyclical of His Holiness Pope Pius XI (Mit brennender Sorge)
SUMMI PONTIFICATUS: Exhorting Unity in Opposing World Evils.
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Society of Jesus Christ the Priest
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June 1, 2012 Update: The Society of St. Pius X website features good news regarding this order bringing Tradition back to a Madison-based parish.

Original Article: The following is excerpted from the Wisconsin State Journal. My comments are in brackets. Emphasis is in bold.

As mentioned in both Sisters in Crisis: The Tragic Unraveling of Women's Religious Communities and The Habit: A History of the Clothing of Catholic Nuns, traditional religious orders and not liberal ones are seeing growth.

Please also remember to consult a copy of St. Stephen's Handbook for Altar Servers while reading this article. This article relates appropriately to my article on the History and Graces Received from Altar Serving.

Image Source: Andy Manis via Wisconsin State Journal
SAUK CITY -- At a recent Mass at St. Aloysius Catholic Church, the Rev. John Blewett urged parishioners to emulate their savior and stand firm on matters of church doctrine.


"Jesus does not back down," he said.

The same could be said for Blewett and his fellow members of the Society of Jesus Christ the Priest, a religious group based in Spain. Beginning in 2006, Bishop Robert Morlino invited priests from the society to serve in the Madison Catholic Diocese, and in the ensuing years, they have thrilled some and dismayed others with their staunch Catholicism and tough-love approach.

Five of them now lead a five-parish cluster in the Sauk City area, with three more priests from the society expected this fall. They have brought considerable change in the way the parishes approach worship services.

The priests no longer let girls be altar servers, and they have dispensed with the common Catholic practice of using trained lay people to assist with Communion [this practice is inherently sinful and should be universally abolished]. They have greatly increased opportunities for confession - some complain they nose around too much - and added many Masses celebrated only in Latin, which some parishioners find divine and others alienating.

Supporters say the priests have brought richness to the faith and much-needed discipline to followers who too often water down church teachings.

"They tell us what we need to hear, not what we want to hear," said Kay Ringelstetter, a St. Aloysius member who calls the changes beautiful. "We see their love for Jesus Christ and the joy in everything they do, and we desire it."

Others are upset over what they consider a hard-line approach that leaves little room for shades of difference. [Catholicism is a HARD religion.  It is not an easy-approach to religion and people must stop watering-down the Faith]

"You get the impression they only want to be a shepherd for the people who agree with them," said Troy Jacobson, who left St. Barnabas Parish in Mazomanie last year over his disappointment with the priests. "It's almost like they've restricted access to God."

Critics contend that scores of parishioners have left, but others disagree and say new members have filled any voids. The Rev. Jared Hood, a society priest and the administrator of the five-parish cluster, said membership numbers were not available.

Morlino said any time parishes change priests, some upheaval is inevitable. He said the priests follow a different course from many in the diocese, but that diversity is good and everything the priests do falls within the accepted practices of the church.

"They are not in any sense renegades," he said.

Special designation

Societies are a special designation within the Catholic Church. They are groups of lay people, consecrated women and priests who live in common and come together around a specific mission, such as aiding the sick. The mission of the Society of Jesus Christ the Priest is to increase the number of boys entering the priesthood [and having male-only altar servers has proven to do so!].

"If we can manage to get the young people to fall in love with Jesus Christ, then they will not but want to be like him and to share his life and mission," wrote the society's founder, the Rev. Alfonso Galvez, in a 1994 book on the society's formation.

The Catholic Church officially recognized the society in 1980. It is based in Murcia, Spain, but has members from other countries, including the U.S.

Hood, a New Jersey native, said the society has 25 priests, 13 consecrated women, two laymen and 12 seminarians studying for the priesthood. This puts it on the small side as far as societies go, he said.

In his book, Galvez, now 77, criticizes the quality of priest training, saying seminaries often fail to instill obedience and genuine Catholic values. This is indicative of a post-Vatican II church in the 1960s that "found herself invaded by liberal Protestant theology and by various currents of Marxist ideology," he wrote.

Many good candidates for priesthood have been turned off by the lack of demanding training, exacerbating the priest shortage and forcing bishops to either go without priests or accept anybody who walks through the door, according to Galvez. "That explains why young men of weak spirit, incapable, effeminate and - why not say so? - even homosexuals have been admitted to seminaries," he wrote.

In 1991, Galvez founded a middle and high school, currently in Murcia, to provide young people with "a total formation based in Catholic values and tradition," according to the school's Web site. Plans are in the works to move the school next year from Murcia to Sauk City, where it would reopen as a middle school.

'Very hard-working'

The relationship between the society and the Madison diocese dates to the spring of 2006 when representatives from the society visited several U.S. dioceses to gauge interest in their priests serving here.

"Very simply, Bishop Morlino was the most inviting," Hood said. The only other place in the U.S. where priests from the society serve is the Diocese of Metuchen in New Jersey, where there are four.

Morlino, who has sought to increase the number of young men from the Madison area going into the seminary, said he "could see from the very first moment they were holy, happy and very hard-working. I was very receptive to them."

Because societies are not connected to any one Catholic diocese, their seminarians can be ordained into the priesthood by any willing bishop. That's how Morlino came to ordain three society priests July 31 in Madison.

The Society of Jesus Christ the Priest seems to hew to a theologically traditionalist line that is in favor today and indirectly encouraged by the Vatican through a renewed emphasis on Latin Masses, said the Rev. Steven Avella, a history professor at Marquette University in Milwaukee and a Catholic priest.

"Priestly formation in general today seems to be harkening back to older models of clerical identity," Avella said. At some seminaries, for instance, the educational environment is exclusively male and seminarians and lay women don't mix, he said. Still, removing girls as altar servers is "unusual" in the U.S., he said.

Hiring foreign priests, however, is not uncommon - many U.S. dioceses are recruiting from "priest-rich" areas such as the Philippines and Nigeria to address a shortage, Avella said. Even if there were no priest shortage, Morlino said he would want the society priests here.

"There is no watering down, no ambiguity, just straight," he said of their Catholicism.

Making changes

Removing girls as altar servers was one of the initial changes the priests made. (The Vatican began allowing female servers in 1994.) Hood said that if the society is to succeed in encouraging more young men to enter the seminary, it must give boys as much time around priests as possible. Girls can distract and intimidate boys, he said.
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Wednesday, December 16, 2009
Gaudete Sunday 2009
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Monday, December 14, 2009
"No Shades Between Valid and Invalid" - Bishop Williamson
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I wanted to share these words from the recent issue of Dinoscopus - an email newsletter with the thoughts/writings of Bishop Richard Williamson. Emphasized items are underlined:
Now it is true that any one sacrament administered in real life will have been either valid or invalid. There are no more shades between valid and invalid than there are between pregnant and not pregnant. But if we consider the Conciliar sacraments being all the time administered throughout the Newchurch as a whole, we can only say some are valid, some are invalid, but they have all been placed on a slide towards invalidity by the Conciliar Rites' total thrust to replace the religion of God with the religion of man. That is why the Newchurch is on its way to disappearing altogether, and why the Society of St. Pius X can in no way allow itself to be absorbed into it.

...

Meanwhile, as to just how far down the slide is this or that priest, or even the Newchurch as a whole, I will apply the great principle of St. Augustine: "In things certain, unity; in things doubtful, liberty; in all things, charity". And within the framework of certainties such as, within the Newchurch neither already nothing, nor everything still, is Catholic, I mean to extend to my fellow-Catholics the same liberty to judge of things uncertain as I hope they will extend to me. Mother of God, obtain the rescue of the Church !
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Sunday, December 13, 2009
Gaudete Sunday
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INTROIT
Philippians 4: 4-6
Rejoice in the Lord always: again I say, rejoice. Let your modesty be known to all men: for the Lord is nigh. Be nothing solicitous: but in every thing by prayer let your petitions be made known to God. -- (Ps. 84. 2). Lord, Thou hast blessed Thy land: Thou hast turned away the captivity of Jacob. V.: Glory to the Father . . . -- Rejoice in the Lord always . . .


COLLECT - Incline Thine ear, we beseech Thee, O Lord, to our petitions: and, by the grace of Thy visitation, enlighten the darkness of our minds. Who livest and reignest, with God the Father, in the unity . . .

EPISTLE
Philippians 4:4-7
Brethren, Rejoice in the Lord always: again I say, rejoice. Let your modesty be known to all men. The Lord is nigh. Be nothing solicitous: but in every thing, by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your petitions be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasseth all understanding, keep your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus our Lord.

GRADUAL
Psalms. 72: 2,3,6
Thou, O Lord, that sittest upon the Cherubim, stir up Thy might and come. V.: Give ear, O Thou that rulest Israel: that leadest Joseph like a sheep. Alleluia, alleluia. V.: Stir up, O Lord, Thy might, and come to save us. Alleluia.

GOSPEL
John 1: 19-28

At that time the Jews sent from Jerusalem priests and levites to John, to ask him: Who art thou? And he confessed, and did not deny: and he confessed: I am not the Christ. And they asked him: What then? Art thou Elias? And he said: I am not. Art thou the Prophet? And he answered: No. They said therefore unto him: Who art thou, that we may give an answer to them that sent us? What sayest thou of thyself? He said: I am the voice of one crying in the wilderness, Make straight the way of the Lord, as said the Prophet Isaias. And they that were sent were of the Pharisees. And they asked him, and said to him: Why then dost thou baptize, if thou be not Christ, nor Elias, nor the Prophet? John answered them, saying: I baptize with water: but there hath stood one in the midst of you whom you know not. The same is He that shall come after me, who is preferred before me: the latchet of whose shoe I am not worthy to loose. These things were done in Bethania, beyond the Jordan, where John was baptizing.




OFFERTORY
Psalms 84: 2,3
Lord, Thou hast blessed Thy land: Thou hast turned away the captivity of Jacob: Thou hast forgiven the iniquity of Thy people.

SECRET - May the Sacrifice of our devotion, we beseech Thee, O Lord, be continually offered up to Thee, may it both complete the institution of the holy Mysteries, and wondrously accomplish in us Thy salvation. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, Thy Son, who liveth and reigneth with Thee in the unity of the Holy Ghost . . .


PREFACE (Preface of the Most Holy Trinity) - It is truly meet and just, right and for our salvation, that we should at all times, and in all places, give thanks unto Thee, O holy Lord, Father almighty, everlasting God; Who, together with Thine only-begotten Son, and the Holy Ghost, art one God, one Lord: not in the oneness of a single Person, but in the Trinity of one substance. For what we believe by Thy revelation of Thy glory, the same do we believe of Thy Son, the same of the Holy Ghost, without difference or separation. So that in confessing the true and everlasting Godhead, distinction in persons, unity in essence, and equality in majesty may be adored. Which the Angels and Archangels, the Cherubim also and Seraphim do praise: who cease not daily to cry out, with one voice saying:

COMMUNION
Isaias 3 5: 4
Say: Ye fainthearted, take courage and fear not: behold our God will come, and will save us.

POST COMMUNION - We implore, O Lord, Thy mercy: that these divine helps may expiate our sins, and prepare us for the approaching feast. Through our Lord . .

Image Sources: St. John the Evangelist in Montreal, Canada (Gaudete Sunday, 2007) via Flickr. Click on photos for a larger image.
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