Wednesday, March 25, 2015

"It is not possible to go backwards. We must go forward. Always forward." - Pope Francis

Prayer by Pope Francis for the Synod on the Family

The Pope asks for prayers for the Synod on the family
Vatican City, 25 March 2015 (VIS) – On the solemnity of the Annunciation, during this Wednesday's general audience held in a rain-soaked St. Peter's Square, the Pope announced to the faithful that today would be a special catechesis, a pause for prayer during his path of reflections on the family.
“On 25 March, the Church solemnly celebrates the Annunciation, the beginning of the mystery of the Incarnation. The Archangel Gabriel visits the humble girl from Nazareth and announces that she will conceive and give birth to the Son of God. By this announcement the Lord illuminates and strengthens Mary's faith, as He will also do for her spouse Giuseppe, so that Jesus may be born in a human family. This is beautiful: it shows us how deeply the mystery of the Incarnation, as God wished it to be, includes not only conception in the womb of the mother, but also the fact of being welcomed into a true family. Today I would like to contemplate with you the beauty of this bond, of this, God's condescension, and we can do so reciting together the Hail Mary, which in its first part includes the words the Angel addressed to the Virgin”.
After praying the Hail Mary with all those present, Francis commented that today in many countries is the Day for Life, and that twenty years ago on this date St. John Paul II signed his encyclical “Evangelium Vitae”, in which the family “occupies a central role, inasmuch as it is the womb of human life”.
“The word of my venerated predecessor reminds us that the human couple has been blessed by God since the beginning to form a community of love and life, to whom the mission of procreation has been entrusted. Christian couples, by celebrating the sacrament of Marriage, indicate they are willing to honour this blessing, with the grace of Christ, for all their life. The Church, for her part, solemnly commits to caring for the family that is thus born, as a gift from God for her own life, in good times and bad: the bond between the Church and the family is sacred and inviolable. The Church, as a mother, never abandons her family, even when it is debased, hurt and humiliated in many ways. Not even when it gives in to sin or drifts away from the Church; she will always do everything to seek to cure and heal it, to invite it to convert and be reconciled with the Lord”.
If this is her task, the Pontiff observed, then it appears clear how much prayer the Church needs in order to be able to carry out this mission. “A prayer full of love for the family and for life. A prayer that knows how to rejoice with those who rejoice, and to suffer with those who suffer”. The Holy Father explained that he and his collaborators had decided to propose a renewal of the prayer for the Synod of Bishops on the family, and asked all present to continue to recite it until October, when the Synod assembly dedicated to the family is due to take place.
“I would like this prayer, like the entire Synod path, to be inspired by the Good Shepherd's compassion for his flock, especially for those people and families who for various reasons are 'harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd'. In this way, supported and inspired by the grace of God, the Church will be able to be even more committed, and even more united, in her witness of the truth of God's love and His mercy for the world's families, without exception, both inside and outside the fold”.
“I ask you, please, to ensure that your prayer is not lacking. All of us – the Pope, cardinals, bishops, priests, men and women religious – we must all pray for the Synod. We need this, not chatter! I encourage even those who feel distant to pray too, and those who are not used to doing so. This prayer for the Synod on the family is for the good of all of us. I know that this morning an image has been given to you, which you now hold in your hands. I invite you to keep it and carry it with you always, so that over the coming months you can recite the prayer often, with holy insistence, as Jesus asked us. Now, let us pray together:
Jesus, Mary and Joseph,
In you we contemplate
The splendour of true love,
We turn to you with confidence.
Holy Family of Nazareth,
Make our families, also,
Places of communion and cenacles of prayer,
Authentic schools of the Gospel,
And little domestic Churches.
Holy Family of Nazareth
May our families never more experience
Violence, isolation, and division:
May anyone who was wounded or scandalised
Rapidly experience consolation and healing.
Holy Family of Nazareth,
May the upcoming Synod of Bishops
Re-awaken in all an awareness
Of the sacred character and inviolability of the family,
Its beauty in the project of God.
Jesus, Mary and Joseph,
Hear and answer our prayer. Amen”.

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Cardinal Cordes on Faithfulness to Marriage by Bishops and Faithfulness in Marriage by Catholics

"At the last plenary meeting of the German bishops, statements of their president were made public which were neither officially published nor denied by the conference’s secretariat. Since words of the most prominent representative of German Catholics give directions and [since these statements] furthermore caused a stir in the media, it makes sense to publicly contradict some of the positions expressed, also in order to limit the confusion they have caused in several places.

"In these statements, the president [Marx] noted that in the universal Church ‘certain expectations’ are directed towards Germany. This is astonishing. A poll of the ‘Bertelsmann foundation’ showed that only 16.2 percent of the West-German Catholics believe in almighty God as a person they can encounter, all other Catholics equate ‘God’ with a faceless providence, anonymous fate, or a primordial power – or they simply deny His existence. Therefore we have little reason to boast against churches in other countries about our faith.

"Moreover, it is not only astonishing that the German Church supposedly enjoys such great respect within Catholicism. More irritating still are the theological blurs and statements, in which the President of the Bishops’ Conference plainly declared that “We are no local branches of Rome. Each Conference is responsible for the pastoral care in its cultural environment and, as it most proper task, has to proclaim the Gospel in its own way.” As a social ethicist Cardinal Marx may know much about the dependency of branches of large corporations. In an ecclesiastical context, such statements should rather be rather left to the village pub.

"What, however, is meant with the “responsibility” for the “pastoral care in a cultural environment”? Undoubtedly, the President of the German Bishops’ Conference has such competence for questions like the new edition of a hymnal [Gotteslob, new edition recently released in the German-speaking world], or for decisions on pilgrim routes to Altötting [Marian shrine]. However, the debate on the problems of remarried divorcees is another matter. It is bound to theology, which forms its centre. Therefore, even a Cardinal cannot, almost as in a coup, separate pastoral care from doctrine – unless he wants to ignore the meaning of the words of Jesus, which oblige us in Faith, and the binding definitions of the Council of Trent.

The fundamental sense of community, a central theological-spiritual foundation upholding the universal Church, seems to be of little relevance in his [Marx’s] statements from Hildesheim, although bishops have promised explicitly such “Unity with the College of Bishops under the Successor of St Peter” at their consecration. The sentence “We cannot wait until a synod tells us how we have to shape pastoral care for marriage and families here” was hardly inspired by the ecclesiastical sense of ‘Communio,’ to say the least. This ‘anti-Roman instinct’ is not the invention of some scholars, but in the North [of Europe] a reality that displays strong centrifugal power. It is destructive to the highest degree to the unity of the Faith.

"It is, however, also correct that Cardinal Marx is not alone. The chairman of the pastoral commission of the conference, Bishop Franz-Josef Bode, came to his support by demanding that pastoral care and dogma had to cross-fertilise each other. This was supposedly a “historically important” insight, which he even calls a “change of paradigm.” For this purpose he even uses the conciliar constitution ‘Gaudium et Spes,’ where it is written that there was “nothing truly human that did not find an echo in their [sc. the disciples’ of Christ] hearts.”

From that he deduces that “Not only the Christian message must find an echo with men, but men must find an echo with us.” “In what relation stands the doctrine of the Church today with the everyday life of men? Do we sufficiently integrate the concrete experiences of people into doctrine? A total discrepancy between doctrine and life must not happen.” However, the attempt to deduce the content of Faith from the experience of human life is not as new as is claimed here, and it can especially not claim to be a “change of paradigm”.

"During the conciliar debate on the relevance of social or ecclesiastical phenomena for the Faith the arguments focused on the biblical expression “signs of the times.” However, the debate of the Council Fathers had as its result that it would be erroneous to discover the “signs of the times” in human life simply as a “source for the Faith”, and they explicitly rejected the embarrassing shortcut that a phenomenon challenging the Church would as such already be a source of the Faith (Locus Theologicus)On the contrary, the Vatican II constitution on “Divine Revelation” leaves no doubt that the Faith of the Catholic Church is nourished by Scripture and ecclesiastical tradition only. Independent of this unambiguous direction it would be paradox to attribute to a small group of members of the Church, who live in a spiritually pitiable but objectively irregular situation, the function of a source of the Faith.

"This problem does not touch directly most of the members of the Church practicing the Faith. May the pastors assembled in Rome this autumn also instruct these men and women on how their marriage can root them deeper and deeper in the Faith in Jesus Christ, so that they may become for many contemporaries witnesses of God’s power in the life of men. Maybe it will even occur to the synod fathers to express their respect to those who, out of fidelity to the marriage vows once made, do not enter any new union. Also they exist."

- Cardinal Cordes is a member of the German Episcopal Conference of Catholic Bishops and former president of Pontifical Council Cor Unum. Translation provided by Rorate Caeli.

Saturday, March 14, 2015

"The Church is not of the world": A Young Revert Catholic Defends Cardinal Burke and the Church

"This debate is between those who care about the world and those who care about the salvation of souls."

A young Catholic "revert" shared his recent experience in conversation with the attackers of Cardinal Burke who, in opening their mouths, only prove their ignorance.

"I was on CathNews commenting on a topic concerning Cardinal Burke. I confess I got a bit upset, because I'm tired of seeing him attacked. A lot of Catholics have the wrong impression of Burke, as if he's some Sedevacantist radical.

"One guy told me that I should leave the Church along with 'my cardinal'. Well, here's my response. I hope you don't find it too 'judgmental':

"So, because I spoke up in defense of Burke and against the modernists attacking him for no reason at all, this fellow said that I need to leave the Church along with 'my cardinal'. I responded and he deleted his post, because he knows he's wrong. But I'll tell you what I said, because it shines a light on this debate. I told him that I would never, under any circumstances, tell someone to leave the Church, because that's the same as telling someone to go to Hell. EXTRA ECCLESIAM NULLA SALUS.

"I wonder, you who attack Cardinal Burke for defending the Church's traditions, do you believe in the indefectibility of the Church? Do believe the Church to be One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic, the institution of Salvation founded by Christ? Because that appears to me to be the difference in this debate concerning Burke.

"The people who go on about not being 'judgmental' are telling us they find the Magisterium of the Church to be 'judgmental'. They find the words of Our Lord against divorce 'judgmental'. They are concerned with the world's acceptance, forgetting that the Church is not of the world.

"This debate is between those who care about the world and those who care for the salvation of souls. And I wouldn't have said all that if I believed there were ANY truth to the accusation that Burke has attacked Pope Francis. I've read his interviews. He has never attacked the Pope, and would never."

Friday, March 13, 2015

March 13 Lenten Fish Dinner at Francis Xavier Church in Leonardtown, Maryland

Lenten Fish Dinner Location: St Francis Xavier Church Hall, Newtown Neck Rd. Leonardtown, Date: 3/13/2015 Time: 5 PM Duration: 03:00 Knights of Columbus St. Francis Xavier Council #10957 will Host The Annual Lenten Fish Dinner Friday, March 13th,2015 From: 5:00-8:00pm In the St. Francis Xavier Church Hall Newtown Neck Rd, Leonardtown, md Food prepared by Kevin’s Corner Kafe Menu: Fish fillet, Kevin’s Mac N Cheese and Cold Slaw Soda’s, Water, Coffee Cost $12.00 Adult,$6.00 Children under 12 Benefit’s the Council #10957 General Charity Fund POC: Tom Koviak 240-434-1464 Posted By: Dale Rebarchick

Thursday, March 12, 2015

Traditional Formula for Sacramental Absolution

Dominus noster Jesus Christus te absolvat; et ego auctoritate ipsius te absolvo ab omni vinculo excommunicationis (suspensionis) et interdicti in quantum possum et tu indiges. Deinde, ego te absolvo a peccatis tuis in nomine Patris, et Filii, + et Spiritus Sancti. Amen.

May our Lord Jesus Christ absolve you; and by His authority I absolve you from every bond of excommunication (suspension) and interdict, so far as my power allows and your needs require. [making the Sign of the Cross:] Thereupon, I absolve you from your sins in the name of the Father, and of the Son, + and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

Thursday, March 5, 2015

Turning "Together Toward the Lord": Why my parish is facing "east" together at Mass this Lent

Turning "Together Toward the Lord"

By Father Kevin M. Cusick

The  futile closed circle of therapeutic naval-gazing hangs on like an overused joke in a few places still, one of them being the Church. The priest and people facing each other during the entire liturgy is a vestige of the illegitimate seizure and subjection of 2,000-year-old liturgical development by primitivist vandals in the post-Vatican period. The only thing this unscholarly lot left undone was to demand the liturgy be celebrated in Aramaic.

More and more young people are creating a buzz about ad orientem worship, in which the priest and people turn toward the Lord together during the Eucharistic prayer, in a renewed push to recover the sacred and cast off the tired and broken stereotypes of the 60’s. One of the places where this buzz is evident is among the numerous educated and loquacious young Catholics on the blogosphere, Facebook, Twitter and other social media.

The internet ferment ranges from popular images of priests offering the liturgy at the high altar to quotes from Chapter 3 of Pope Benedict (Cardinal Ratzinger) in The Spirit of the Liturgy:

“The turning of the priest towards the people has turned the community into a self-enclosed circle. In its outward form, it no longer opens out on what lies ahead and above, but is closed in on itself. The common turning towards the East was not a 'celebration towards the wall'; it did not mean that the priest 'had his back to the people': the priest himself was not regarded as so important. For just as the congregation in the synagogue looked together toward Jerusalem, so in the Christian liturgy the congregation looked together 'towards the Lord.'"

"As one of the Fathers of Vatican II’s Constitution on the Liturgy, J. A. Jungmann, put it, it was much more a question of priest and people facing in the same direction, knowing that together they were in a procession towards the Lord. They did not close themselves into a circle, they did not gaze at one another, but as the pilgrim People of God they set off for the Oriens, for the Christ who comes to meet us.”

Beside the fact that primitivism has been condemned by the Church’s Magisterium, there is this to say about a blind reaching only for what is most ancient without regard to other criteria:

“On the other hand, it is important and necessary to see that we cannot take as our norm the ancient in itself and as such, nor must we automatically write off later developments as alien to the original form of the liturgy. There can be a thoroughly living kind of development in which a seed at the origin of something ripens and bears fruit. We shall have to come back to this idea in a moment. But in our case, as we have said, what is at issue is not a romantic escape into antiquity, but a recovery of something essential, in which Christian liturgy expresses its permanent orientation.

"Of course, Häussling thinks that turning to the east, toward the rising sun, is something that nowadays we just cannot bring into the liturgy. Is that really the case? Are we today really hopelessly huddled in our own little circle? Is it not important, precisely today, to find room for the dimension of the future, for hope in the Lord who is to come again, to recognize again, indeed to live, the dynamism of the new creation as an essential form of the liturgy?”

A people without a future, a movement without “movement” does not promise life and closes off hope. This important aspect of the living liturgy which starts with Christ and ends with Him, the Alpha and the Omega, cannot serve its intended purpose as the nourishment of living Faith.

“But, Father,” some people say, “we like to see what you are doing during the Mass.” I wonder if these are the same folks who complain because they think that every Mass is the same.

Pope Benedict has this to say about the fact that there is One whom we should face together, including the priest:

“On the other hand, a common turning to the East during the Eucharistic Prayer remains essential. This is not a case of something accidental, but of what is essential. Looking at the priest has no importance. What matters is looking together at the Lord. It is not now a question of dialogue, but of common worship, of setting off towards the One who is to come. What corresponds with the reality of what is happening is not the closed circle, but the common movement forward expressed in a common direction for prayer.”

In our time of abundant information, of news good and bad about the Church and her members, is there any need more urgent than to emphasize that Jesus Christ alone is Lord and Savior of every human person, and that our priests need to prioritize prayer, their own as well as that of the people gathered for the liturgy? Our faithful young people with their zest for life and instinct for its beauty will no doubt help to lead us in this journey “toward the Lord” for many years into the future.

(Follow Father Cusick on Facebook at Reverendo Padre-Kevin Michael Cusick and on Twitter @MCITLFrAphorism.)

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