Monday, July 24, 2017


I am sitting out on the beach as I am on vacation. Four teenage girls from Iowa approached me with a free cold water offer. They are Christians. I declined the water and they asked if they could pray for me. I said yes, that I would stay on the straight and narrow!

Then I asked if they were Christians and they said yes. The one said to me they don't belong to any of the chains but a church her parents started!

Then she said she liked my "necklace" which for men is a chain--a gold chain and crucifix I wear!


I am on vacation at a beachside community and the beachside Catholic Church, near where I am staying allowed me (the pastor that is) to celebrate the 9:30 AM Mass.

The church was packed and only when I began to preach the homily, which some say, not all, though, is not a part of the Mass, I said "good morning" to everyone. I never say good morning or hello, or glad you're here as a part of the official greeting of Mass, unlike some priests who have a compulsion to do so. But I digress.

After the good morning, I told everyone that I was a vacationer too and that I, like them, had to fulfill my Sunday Obligation and I was grateful to the pastor for allowing me to celebrate this Mass with them. I praised all the people there with young families, in particular, for taking the Sunday obligation so seriously.

The church seats about 1,500 souls, bodies too. I then asked those who were vacationers to raise their hands and almost 99.9% of the congregation raised their hands! I then asked the parishioners to raise their hands and it numbered about 20! (The 9:30 Mass is added during the summer to accommodate the vacationers.). They also have an 8 AM and 11:15 Mass and a 1 PM Spanish Mass.

And this diverse congregation of people from all over, but especially the Midwest, sang their hearts out and responded to the spoken parts of the Mass with gusto. So Catholics can sing after all is sung and done.

I tied in last Sunday's Gospel in which I quoted Pope Francis' Angelus address on last Sunday's Gospel into my homily. The pope stated Jesus is the sower and we are the soil and he spoke of the kind of soil that is not good for the reception of God's seed sown by Jesus and now the Church and the soil that is good. God proposes but does not impose.

As one who was warped by some of the theology of the 1970's, and I am not sure what heresy this is, but so often we were taught that because of freewill and God not imposing, it was up to us to save our souls by how well we receive the Word of God. Pope Franics seems to buy into this 1970's theology as he does on so many other 1970's thinking. What do you think about this and what heresy is it that it all hinges on our reception, our works,  in terms of being saved?

I bridged this to yesterday's Gospel where Jesus explains the parables and that  the devil is the culprit. Then I spoke about Pope Francis' emphasis on the devil as a real fallen archangel, Lucifer, who is not just a symbolic of evil personified, but an actual fallen being who has other lesser minions to assist him in tempting the world to follow him and not the true God.

Did you hear about the devil yesterday?????


This article is in Crux this morning:

Manichean-style hatred must be resisted on both left and right

Manichean-style hatred must be resisted on both left and right
A supporter of Donald Trump faces protesters outside Trump Tower. (Credit: Associated Press.)
A recent 'La Civiltà Cattolica' article denounced an 'ecumenism of hate' in the U.S. between fundamentalist Evangelicals and 'Catholic Integralists,' but Charles Camosy says that ironically, the article trafficked in the very dualistic thinking it denounced, and that 'Manichean poison' of either left or right damages the Body of Christ.
A recent 'La Civiltà Cattolica' article denounced an 'ecumenism of hate' in the U.S. between fundamentalist Evangelicals and 'Catholic Integralists,' but Charles Camosy says that ironically, the article trafficked in the very dualistic thinking it denounced, and that 'Manichean poison' of either left or right damages the Body of Christ

Sunday, July 23, 2017


I don't get it. So much of what Robert Cardinal Sarah is proposing to reconcile the Ordinary Form of the Mass with the Extraordinary Form of the Mass has already been acccomplished with the Ordinarite's Divine Worship, the Missal. No one brings this Roman Missal into the discussion as the template for this reconciliation that is so desperately needed to resacralize the Ordinary Form, that is to reconcile the reverence of the Extraordinary Form of the Mass with the Ordinary Form which lacks reverence, awe and mystery, not to mention, silence, in so many instances.

The Ordinariate's Missal has done a wonderful job of reconciling the Roman Calendar of the EF Mass to its calendar. No longer is there Ordinary Time but Time After Epiphany and Time after Pentecost. The ember days and rogation days are restored. Septuagesima is restored. The Octave of Pentecost is restored.

The format of the Missal itself restores the format of the EF Missal with the traditional form of the Introit, the inclusion of the Offertory Antiphon, the restoration of the Gradual/Tract.

There are the PATFOTA, the traditional Offertory Prayers and more usage of the rubrics of the EF Mass for the Roman Canon, which is expected to be used on Sundays and the option of only Eucharistic Prayer II (called the alternate canon) for weekday usage. There is also the thrice said, "Lord, I am not worthy...."

Ad Orientem and kneeling for Holy Communion are restored.

What has not been reconciled is the lectionary of the Extraordinary Form of the Mass. But how difficult would that be? As I have recommended time and again, simply make the Extraordinary Form's Lectionary, the new Year A. Then based on its template, have a Year B that has a primarily Old Testament Componant for the first reading and Gospel Readings not in the Year A cycle. Then have a Year C that includes more New Testament Epistles and Gospels not in the Year A or B Cycle.

How hard would that be? Come on Cardinal Sarah, do it!

Friday, July 21, 2017



Guest Op-Ed - Bishop Schneider: The interpretation of Vatican II and its connection with the current crisis of the Church

Once again, we are honored to post this guest op-ed, submitted to us by His Excellency Bishop Athanasius Schneider. We not only allow but encourage all media and blogs to reprint this as well.

By Bishop Athanasius Schneider
Special to Rorate Caeli
July 21, 2017

The interpretation of Vatican II and its connection with the current crisis of the Church

The current situation of the unprecedented crisis of the Church is comparable with the general crisis in the 4th century, when the Arianism had contaminated the overwhelming majority of the episcopacy, taking a dominant position in the life of the Church. We must seek to address this current situation on the one hand with realism and, on the other hand, with a supernatural spirit – with a profound love for the Church, our mother, who is suffering the Passion of Christ because of this tremendous and general doctrinal, liturgical and pastoral confusion.

We must renew our faith in believing that the Church is in the safe hands of Christ, and that He will always intervene to renew the Church in the moments in which the boat of the Church seems to capsize, as is the obvious case in our days. 


Pope Benedict envisioned mutual enrichment of the two forms of the Roman Mass. He desired an organic renewal and reconciliation of the OF Mass with the EF Mass.

As Cardinal Sarah desires, the OF would be very similar to the EF with Latin required for some parts, but an all Latin OF Mass is not now or in the future abrogated.

I agree with a return to one standard Latin Rite Mass more EF in order than IF.

This is from Rorate Caeli:

A reply to Cardinal Sarah on 'liturgical reconciliation'
It seems that the most trad-friendly Prelates of the Church actually want the Traditional Mass to disappear. Thus, Cardinal Burke said in 2011:

It seems to me that is what he [Pope Benedict] has in mind is that this mutual enrichment would seem to naturally produce a new form of the Roman rite – the 'reform of the reform,' if we may – all of which I would welcome and look forward to its advent.

Cardinal Sarah has now said the same thing.

It is a priority that, with the help of the Holy Spirit, we can examine through prayer and study, how to return to a common reformed rite always with this goal of a reconciliation inside the Church,

Cardinal Sarah's concrete suggestions point to an intermediate state, in which the two 'Forms' have converged somewhat. I have addressed these suggestions in a post on the Catholic Herald blog here. Notably, the Novus Ordo Lectionary cannot be simply be inserted into the Vetus Ordo Missal, because it reflects a liturgical vision which is completely different from that of the ancient Mass: which is why all the other changes were made at the same time. A compromise between these two two understandings of what the liturgy is for and how it should work will not produce a perfect synthesis, but a muddle.

I've made the argument about the Lectionary at length, on this blog, here, and about the 'Reform of the Reform' falling between two stools here.

Leaving open the question of how Cardinal Burke's thinking may have developed since 2011, why would he or Cardinals Sarah want to get rid of the ancient Mass?

One justification appears to be the idea that the existence of two Forms of the Roman Rite is, regardless of the merits or demerits of the forms themselves, itself a problem. I suppose this idea is related to a certain conservative yen for centralisation and uniformity, but I doubt either Cardinal would want to apply it to the Eastern Rites, even in the West, and I suspect they would not really want to stop the Dominicans, Norbertines, or Carthusians - or the former Anglicans - from celebrating their own rites and usages. So although talk of 'disunity' has a superficial force I don't think this is really driving their thinking here. They don't really want to contradict Vatican II's praise of liturgical diversity. (I have written about liturgical pluralism here.)

I think the more powerful consideration is that they are unhappy with the Ordinary Form. Cardinal Sarah, in particular, has taken up points hammered by Cardinal Ratzinger in The Spirit of the Liturgy, notably about how celebration 'facing the people' was a mistake, and how the reformed Mass should have more silence in it. This is the argument of the 'Reform of the Reform', and it is an argument which has no direct connection with the Extraordinary Form. But Sarah and others seem to think that the existence of the Extraordinary Form creates an extra reason to undertake the Reform of the Reform. 'Look!' he seems to be saying: 'Here are a whole lot of Catholics who refuse to go to the Novus Ordo because it lacks silence, and the priest usually faces the people. Let's make those changes and draw these people back in.'

In other words, his sympathy for some of the arguments about the merits of the Traditional Mass made by its adherents has given Cardinal Sarah the idea of making a purely tactical use of the movement to leverage his position on the future development of the Ordinary Form.

Perhaps things would be different if the EF looked about to take over the whole Church, but if that is going to happen, it would seem it would take at least a century.

I can't say I'm too worried by these proposals. They revive discussions on liturgical matters, which is positive, but opposition by progressive and - let's be honest - middle-of-the-road Novus Ordo priests and faithful to the Reform of the Reform makes the implementation of Cardinal Sarah's programme by fiat from Rome unimaginable, even if he were to become Pope tomorrow.

It should, all the same, stimulate supporters of the Church's ancient liturgical traditions to explain ever more forcefully the point of the ancient Lectionary, and any other threatened features of the Mass they love.

Thursday, July 20, 2017


As a child of the 1970's seminary, I have to tell you that the ethos of our preparation for the priesthood, especially as it concerns preaching, was to be prophetic, meaning that we were to afflict the comfortable (the rich) and comfort the afflicted, i.e., the poor.

This meant that we were to be prophets challenging the rich in our parish, calling them out for being members of country clubs that did not admit the poor and challenge their labor practices.

I wonder, if all of this, along with poor liturgical practices, has contributed to the decline in active membership of the Catholic Church, in some places, like New York and New England having only 12% of Catholics actually attending Mass on Sunday?

Progressives in the Church shifted the manner in which they would lay guilt trips on Catholics from sex to not being caring enough toward those on the margins of society, the poor and dispossessed.

In the Jansenistic good old 1950's it was sex that most Catholic were the most ashame of and heard the most sermons on. In the 1970's it was being mean and unchristian to the poor. We could never do enough and money spent on bricks and mortar and educating well to do children of rich parents were the ultimate mortal sins.

As you know, the 1970's have returned with a vengeance under the current papal magisterium.

How many of the 12% of Catholics who actually bother to attend Mass in New England will dismiss the Church as so many did in the 1970's? Time will tell.

Wednesday, July 19, 2017


This speaks for itself! Anglicans should immediately rid themselves of silly mitres but I like the versatile copes and dry or wet use!

Story is sad…but true, ”Tanzanian police have detained a pastor after two worshippers drowned while being baptised in a river near Rombo in the north of the country.

The two victims were overwhelmed by the current of the River Ungwasi, a police spokesman has told the BBC.

It is not clear how the pastor and the other worshippers involved managed to survive, the BBC's Odeo Sirari says.

They are members of a local church, Shalom, which is part of the charismatic Christian movement.

Baptism in a river rather than in church is seen as a way of re-enacting the baptism of Jesus in the River Jordan.

The ceremony is a symbol of washing away sin and the start of a new life.”


I grew up in Augusta and this slaughter house has always been there. When the poor souls are being "processed" the air nearby smelled like peanut butter as most kids my age would attest as we passed by the "processing plant" next to a major highway leading downtown. What could be better than peanut butter? A DELICIOUS RUTHS CHRIS FILET!

Protesters act to show compassion to cattle

MICHAEL HOLAHAN/STAFF Animal rights protesters gather outside the FPL Food plant in Augusta on Tuesday to bring awareness to the Save Movement.
For much of the past year, Dee Spencer has stood outside FPL Food LLC on New Savannah Road carrying signs supporting an international movement that “bears witness” to farm animals before they are slaughtered, packaged and processed for food.
The Save Movement is composed of groups that document the transportation of pigs, cows, chickens and other farm animals being sent to slaughter.
Spencer, an Augusta resident, was joined Tuesday at the intersection of Skyview Drive and New Savannah Road by several activists from the Carolinas and Florida to support the cause and bring public awareness to the movement.

NEFETERIA BREWSTER/STAFF Dee Spencer, the founder of the Save Movement in Augusta, holds up signs on New Savannah Road. The movement documents the transportation of farm animals that are being sent to slaughter.
One by one, the activists placed their signs alongside the road and walked up to the trailer of each truck, snapped a photo or two of the cows inside while telling them they were loved and offering them water.
The goal, according to Yvonne Newman, who protested alongside her friend Bill Steinbuechler, is to make people think about the processing of farm animals, consider alternative diet options and to show the animals compassion.
“This love and compassion is the only compassion they will ever see in their life before death,” Newman said as a cattle truck pulled from the intersection onto New Savannah Road.
As the protesters approached cattle trucks at a stop sign on the intersecting roads, they were often greeted with prolonged honks and swerves om of the vehicles as the workers drove the livestock into the processing plant.
Most of the drivers did not stop. Those who did gave the protesters a couple of minutes to take photos of the cattle, give them water and share words of comfort before they were driven away, said Spencer, who founded the local chapter of the movement and became interested after participating in a similar protest in North Carolina last year.
The photos were then posted to Facebook and other social media platforms as a way for the group to document the animals before they die.
“We try to get as close as possible to them, make eye-to-eye contact with them, and if they’re thirsty, we’ll give them water before they go there,” Spencer said.
“If we bear witness and show people what it is really like, we can help a lot of people make that connection of their food on the plate. That’s where it came from, and we’re hoping that we can change that.”
Carla King and her sister Linda King Jackson traveled from North Carolina to participate in Tuesday’s protest. King, a participant of the movement in her hometown, said she did not mind driving five hours to support Spencer’s protest.
“We go to slaughterhouses in our county for pigs,” she said. “We decided actually last minute to come down and bear witness to the cows because we’ve never done that and just to show Dee support because she came all the way to Clinton to support ours.”
FPL Food LLC released a statement Tuesday afternoon saying that the family-owned operation is committed to humane treatment of all cattle in its care and meets regulations for animal handling practices. 

Animal rights protesters stand outside the FPL Food plant in Augusta. The company said in a statement Tuesday that it is committed to the humane treatment of all the cattle in its care.MICHAEL HOLAHAN/STAFF
“From the producers we work with to our facility in Augusta, we are dedicated to providing the utmost care and treatment of livestock throughout the supply chain,” the statement says. “We assure animal welfare through standard operating procedures and compliance with USDA regulation. We also were the first beef processor in the U.S. to install third-party video monitoring to verify animal handling practices.”

Tuesday, July 18, 2017


This is the Requiem for Cardnial Meisner. It only last a little bit over three hours.

But please note the sumptuous black vestments and for all the concelebrating bishops and priests--stunning, but of course Germany has money galore from the state, so why not go hog wild?

Please note too, all of the candles surrounding the coffin and all of the candles are themselves what is required for the EF Requiem, unbleached. It is nice to have an unlimited funding source,no?

This is obviously a "renewal or reconciled OF Mass in continuity with the Ancient Form from which it came."


Monday, July 17, 2017


Disordered affections are out and calling something a crime is anathema because it may cause emotion stress to the criminal--the new glorious pastoral sensitivity and theology:

Two very different books about being Roman Catholic and gay were released recently, each with an endorsement from a cardinal who oversees an archdiocese along the Hudson River.
Cardinal Joseph W. Tobin, the archbishop of Newark, endorsed “Building a Bridge,” calling it “brave, prophetic and inspiring.” The book calls on church leaders to use preferred terms like “gay” instead of “same-sex attraction,” as a sign of respect to gay Catholics.
Cardinal Timothy M. Dolan, the archbishop of New York, endorsed “Why I Don’t Call Myself Gay,” a memoir by a Catholic man who resisted his homosexual attractions and who now leads a celibate life inspired by the Gospel. Cardinal Dolan praised the book as an “honest account of the genuine struggles faced by those with same-sex attraction” that details how its author came to “understand and accept God’s loving plan for his life.”
The simultaneous endorsements were just the latest sign that the two cardinals on opposite sides of the Hudson appeal to two very different constituencies within the Roman Catholic Church in America.
Cardinal Tobin is emerging as a champion of progressive, center-left Catholics, who favor a church that places more emphasis on protecting immigrants and the environment than on fighting same-sex marriage. Cardinal Dolan, who was elevated to that rank in 2012, remains a favorite of center-right Catholics, taking a more conservative approach toward doctrine and focusing more on issues like the church’s opposition to abortion.
Neither man is out of step with church tenets, and both believe in a kind of “big tent” Catholicism that reaches out to all, church experts said. As bishops, their beliefs are more alike than different.
Neither cardinal wanted to comment for an article that compared them. But comparisons are inevitable because Pope Francis placed Cardinal Tobin in the same major media market as Cardinal Dolan when he appointed him to Newark in November. There had never been a cardinal in Newark. And of course, there is the standard rivalry that exists between New York and New Jersey in all things.
“I have to tell you that this beautiful cathedral is five feet longer than St. Patrick’s,” Cardinal Tobin said in May to laughter and applause at a Mass for gay Catholics at the Cathedral Basilica of the Sacred Heart, comparing the building to Cardinal Dolan’s majestic church in Manhattan. “We like to be generous here in Newark.”
The two men share striking similarities, even physically. Both men are 6 feet 3 and broad, though Cardinal Tobin, a weight lifter who can hoist 425 pounds, could in theory dead-lift Cardinal Dolan. They are nearly the same age (Cardinal Tobin is 65; Cardinal Dolan, 67) and grew up in large Irish Catholic, Midwestern families as the eldest sibling (Cardinal Tobin of 13, Cardinal Dolan of five). They have self-deprecating senses of humor and warm, gregarious personalities.
Both felt the call to the priesthood early. Both had devoted fathers who died in 1977 of heart attacks. Both men idolize their fathers. And both still remain very close to their force-of-nature mothers, who are in their 90s.
Informed by their views and personalities, the two took different paths to the highest reaches of the church. Cardinal Dolan took the route of the institutional insider, becoming a diocesan priest, which does not require a vow of poverty, then earning a doctorate in church history. He served at the Vatican’s embassy to Washington, and later he became the rector of the main seminary for American priests in Rome. It was there that the genial conservative came to the attention of Pope John Paul II, who appointed him auxiliary bishop of his home diocese of St. Louis.
Cardinal Tobin, in contrast, wanted to travel the world as a missionary. He took a vow of poverty and joined the Redemptorists, the religious order that ran his home parish in Detroit and focuses on ministering to those on society’s margins. He became an administrator and ultimately superior general of his worldwide order, based in Rome. He learned several languages fluently.
Cardinal Dolan flourished as an insider. As he came up through the ranks, he promoted the conservative priorities of Pope John Paul II and Pope Benedict, offering a strong, countercultural voice opposing same-sex marriage, abortion and contraception.
As president of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops from 2010 to 2013, Cardinal Dolan led the effort to persuade President Barack Obama to exempt religious institutions from having to provide health coverage that included birth control. He deplored same-sex marriage. “Today is a tragic day for marriage and our nation,” he said when the Supreme Court struck down part of the federal Defense of Marriage Act in 2013.
But he also stressed the joys of being Catholic and became a media personality with his own radio show. Church experts called him the go-to guy for Pope Benedict in the American church. In Rome on the eve of the papal conclave in 2013, Vatican insiders whispered that he could be “papabile,” or “pope material.”
But with Pope Francis’s election, the ground shifted. Archbishop Tobin, who had been exiled to Indianapolis from a Vatican post by Pope Benedict after he spoke up in support of American nuns, suddenly had more in common with the pope than Cardinal Dolan did. Francis was a Jesuit priest who favored a simple, pastoral approach. He was an outsider to the institutional church, just like Cardinal Tobin, and he knew Cardinal Tobin personally.
“Dolan did all the right things, but the rules of the game changed so quickly that he’s kind of been caught off guard,” said David Gibson, the director of Fordham University’s Center on Religion and Culture. “But for Tobin, it’s now kind of an atmosphere that he’s suited for.”
Cardinal Dolan, who sees himself as a uniter, offered a prayer at the inauguration of President Trump. He also has a powerful, socially conservative constituency in New York, one whose ample donations help keep his diocese and the Vatican running. He has shown a reluctance to alienate conservative Catholics, keeping his gestures on controversial issues like outreach to gay Catholics low-key.
He is the chairman of the bishops’ Committee on Pro-Life Activities, and made clear after his homily at a national vigil in January that fighting abortion was a bigger issue for him than fighting deportations.
“We want to protect all human life: the immigrant, our grandmothers who are dying, people who are starving,” he told The Atlantic. But he added: “What is the greatest danger today? When you look at the numbers of the babies whose lives are terminated in the womb, you’ll say, ‘Uh oh. There’s our priority.’”
In his work, Cardinal Tobin has emphasized public efforts to protect immigrants. He accompanied Catalino Guerrero, a 59-year-old grandfather, to his deportation hearing in Newark in March. In 2015, he refused to close a Syrian refugee resettlement program in Indiana despite an order by Gov. Mike Pence, now the vice president.
“You really have to believe in inflicting cruelty on innocent people to choose to support the policies we have seen in recent months while possessing the power to change the law,” Cardinal Tobin said in a keynote address at a conference in Brooklyn in May, referring to the Trump administration’s immigration policies.
More recently, Cardinal Tobin made a landmark gesture of solidarity with gay Catholics, welcoming them to Mass at the Newark cathedral, though that won him a fair amount of hate mail from fellow Catholics.
The cardinals also have contrasting approaches to running a diocese. As archbishop of Indianapolis, Cardinal Tobin won praise from his priests for his willingness to delve into the details of parish management. Cardinal Dolan is more of a hands-off manager, relying heavily on his vicar general, Msgr. Gregory Mustaciuolo.
“He’s never been into running the diocese,” said John L. Allen Jr., who wrote a book with Cardinal Dolan, “A People of Hope,” in 2012. “The nuts and bolts of deciding what priest is going to be in what parish has zero interest for him. He’s a big-picture guy.”
One result is that Cardinal Dolan has come under criticism for his hands-off approach toward the painful local issue of parish mergers and closures. He did not visit the dozens of parishes he ordered merged in New York to offer support to the heartbroken parishioners, and he has been unbending in the face of appeals to the Vatican.
Cardinal Tobin, on the other hand, was so accommodating toward the objections of parishioners in four merging parishes in Indiana that they withdrew their Vatican appeals, said Sister Kate Kuenstler, a canon lawyer who represented those parishes, as well as about 15 parishes appealing mergers in New York.
“With Dolan, there was an abandonment of the people and no pastoral sensitivity,” she said. “But Tobin, when alerted to issues harmful to the people, immediately looked for an alternative way to respond to their needs.”
To some, Cardinal Tobin represents the future and Cardinal Dolan the past. “Tobin and Cupich” — the Francis-appointed archbishop of Chicago, Blase J. Cupich — “are really breathing fresh air into the American Catholic Church,” said Pat McNamara, who has written a history of the Brooklyn Diocese. “Dolan is sort of like the old guard.”
But others said the difference between the men is less dramatic.
“It comes down to small stuff,” Mr. Allen said. “Tobin would be somebody who, if there were a theologian under investigation, would instinctively sympathize with the theologian. And I think Dolan’s instinctive sympathies would be with the system.”

Sunday, July 16, 2017


I attended Mass today as I am on vacation in a beach island resort community. The 8 AM Mass was in a church that must seat up to 1,500 people or more. Most in attendance were vacationers.

The deacon, who preached, was very positive about vacationing Catholics attending Mass is such huge numbers. He was very cognizant of the young people there with their parents. His homily was brief after a bit of a gimmicky start, but not over the top. But the gimmick was disconnected from the homily which I think he could have tied into the homily, but alas.

Attending Mass, I commit the venial sin of being too critical. I did not plan to be critical and did not give it forethought or planning, thus the venial category of sin rather than mortal.

The church building is a 1980's in the half round concoction with the altar in a sort of mini-pit with the sloping floor. In fact I was toward the back of the church in a side transcept and was higher than the altar, but in an almost full church when people were standing I could not see the altar.

Of course we are in a beach side facility with vacationing Catholics, but the sense of the sacred prior to and sadly during Mass was lacking not just because of the location of the church.

People got up during the consecration to take care of crying babies, go the bathroom and the like. One young father with his baby walked directly in front of me and I knelt during the elevation of the Sacred Host.

But apart from that, the church was full, so we don't want to be overcritical.

But now, let me critique the Ordinary Form of the Mass.

1. It has too many Scripture readings for the Liturgy of the Word. The EF Mass has the right number. I would recommend the EF Lectionary format with the Gradual and Tract, using it as Year A and creating a Year B and C modeled after its format to include a year of the Old Testaement as the First reading (except of course during Eastertide). Thus more Scripture would be lavished upon the Church as asked by Sacrosanctum Concilium.

2. The useless repititon of the refrain of the Responsorial psalm now drives me to distraction. The Gradual would solve that, but simply singing the refrain at the beginning and the end with the Psalm sung straight through would help.

3. The cantor intoning the Alleluia with the congregation acting like a parrot should be eliminated, no need to repeat and the congregation can join in singing automatically when this is established.

4. The Universal Prayer needs to go, meaning eliminated. The exclusive use of the Roman Canon would, should and does include all the intercessions that are necessary for the Mass and are general, not specific or preachy as are homemade intercessions that are banal, poorly formulated and often inane.
(As an aside, just to show you the less of the sense of the sacred even during a prayer, the deacon prayed the Intercession for the pastor who is celebrating his priestly ordination anniversary to which to the congregation applauded!).

5. Get rid of the presentation of the offerings. It is stupid to do so and adding a theology that these come from the laity is just dumb because they come from the clergy too.

6. Move toward a low voice Roman Canon, audible but low.

7. Ad Orientem is a no-brainer, apart from the elevation, which should be seen, and is ad orientem or facing the people, there isn't anything to see and makes seeing a show rather than a prayer for many, to include the priest who plays to his captive audience.

8. Kneeling for Holy Communion would go a long way to restoring reverence during Communion time.

9. There need not be an Offertory hymn as there was this morning as the collection was being taken by passing the basket and two sets at the same time for a second collection. No one can open a hymnboook and give their gift at the same time.

10. I did not join in signing the Offertory hymn as it was stupid to ask us to sing at the point and I hate that I was asked, yes asked, to join in singing the Commmunon song. I think there should be no congregational singing at Communion. Get rid of it, although a choir, cantor or organ only could be done if it is Eucharist and meditative.

Just my two cents from a venial sin committing priest attending Mass as though a layman.


Pope Francis holds aloft the eucharist before giving holy communion during a Mass in St. Peter’s Basilica, Vatican City. CreditMassimo Percossi/European Pressphoto Agency 

By the standards of the Francis papacy, things were rather quiet in Rome for much of 2017. The great controversy of the previous two years, the debate over communion for the divorced and remarried, had entered a kind of stalemate, with bishops the world over disagreeing and the pope himself keeping a deliberate silence. One long act of the pontificate seemed finished; the question was how much drama there was still to come.
The last month has supplied some. In rapid succession, four important cardinals have been removed from the stage. The first, George Pell, was both in charge of the pope’s financial reforms and a leading opponent of communion for the remarried. He has returned to his native Australia to face charges of sexual abuse — charges that either represent a culminating revelation in the church’s grim accounting on the issue, or else (as Pell’s defenders insist) a sign that the abuse scandal has become a license for prosecutorial witch hunts.
The second cardinal, Gerhard Mueller, was the head of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, the office charged with safeguarding Catholic doctrine. Often sidelined by Francis, he had performed a careful tightrope walk on the pope’s marriage document, Amoris Laetitia, insisting that it did not change church teaching on remarriage and the sacraments while downplaying the signals that the pope himself thought otherwise. His five-year term was expiring; these are often renewed but his was not, and in a manner so brusque that the usually circumspect German publicly complained.
The third cardinal, Joachim Meisner, was a retired archbishop of Cologne and a longtime friend of Benedict XVI. He was one of the signatories of the dubia — the public questions four cardinals posed last year to Francis about Amoris Laetitia, effectively questioning its orthodoxy. He died in his sleep at 83 — shortly after Mueller, his fellow countryman, had called him to report the news that he had been cashiered.
The fourth, Angelo Scola, was another Benedict XVI confidant and a leading contender for the papacy at the last conclave. He retired as archbishop of Milan five days after Mueller’s departure.
These four very different departures have a combined effect: They weaken resistance to Francis in the highest reaches of the hierarchy. And they raise the question facing the remainder of his pontificate: With high-level opposition thinned out and the Benedict/John Paul II vision in eclipse, how far does the pope intend to push?
It is clear enough that Francis has friends and allies who want him to go forward in a hurry. They regard the ambiguous shift on divorce and remarriage as a proof-of-concept for how the church can change on a wider range of issues, where they have lately made forays and appeals — intercommunion with Protestants, married priests, same-sex relationships, euthanasia, female deacons, artificial birth control, and more.
So too in politics, where the pope’s obvious hostility to Trumpian populism has been leveraged by some of his friends into a sweeping critique of all Catholic engagement with the political right, and especially the American Catholic alliance with evangelical Protestants.
And so too in liturgical issues, where there is talk that Francis’s outreach to the Society of Saint Pius X, the semi-schismatic group that celebrates the Latin Mass, could lead first to the S.S.P.X.’s reintegration and then the suppression of the pre-Vatican II liturgy for everyone else — effectively using the S.S.P.X. to quarantine traditionalism.
If so far Francis’s pontificate has been a kind of halfway revolution, its ambitions somewhat balked and its changes left ambiguous, these kind of ideas would make the revolution much more sweeping.
But the pope himself remains both more cautious than his friends — the men he appointed to succeed Mueller and Scola are moderate, not radical — and also perhaps more unpredictable.
His more liberal appointees can get ahead of him, as in the case of Charlie Gard, the dying English baby whose doctors and government won’t let his parents pay for an unlikely-to-succeed treatment. The pope’s refashioned Pontifical Academy for Life, which now accepts pro-choice and euthanasia-friendly members, issued a statement that seemed to support the government over the parents. But shortly thereafter, Francis intervened in support of the parents’ rights, creating a somewhat defensive scramble by his allies.
This small example gets at a larger point. We know that Francis is a liberal pope, but apart from the remarriage debate we don’t know what priority he places on any given liberal-Catholic goal.
Among many liberals there is a palpable ambition, a sense that a sweeping opportunity to rout conservative Catholicism might finally be at hand. But there is also a palpable anxiety, since the church’s long-term future is not obviously progressive — not with a growing African church and a shrinking European one, a priesthood whose younger ranks are often quite conservative, and little evidence that the Francis era has brought any sudden renewal.
How much does Francis himself share either sentiment — the ambition, the anxiety? The next act of this papacy will tell.

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I began to write about Pope Benedict as a shadow pope on May 3, 2013, the first link at the end of this long introduction.

Given the fact that the late Pope Benedict has spoken from the grave on a number of times, the most recent yesterday at the funeral of Cardinal Meissner, I opined that Pope Benedict was the "shadow" pope to Pope St. John Paul II, especially during the time of His Holiness' incapacitation due to Parkinson's disease.

I suspected at the time and still do, that Pope Benedict prefers to be pope behind the scenes. And perhaps, His Holiness is still behind the scenes as an actual pope for a greater good.

The late Pope Benedict had asked at the beginning of His Holiness' papacy that the Church would pray that he not flee the wolves--meaning the heterodox of the Church, I presume, especially those in the hierarchy who are opposed to Catholic orthodoxy and interpreting Vatican II  as a rupture with the pre-Vatican II Church, and not renewal in continuity as Pope Benedict authoritatively laid out to the Curia in one of his Christmas addresses.

By becoming a shadow pope, once again, Pope Benedict may well have allowed the heterodox papacy of Cardinal Kasper, another shadow pope, to come out of the woodwork and show what heterodoxy wants of Catholicism.

The late Pope Benedict said yesterday the following bombshell which tells me that Pope Benedict, having spoken to Cardinal Meissner a day before his death, has been doing a lot of speaking wth the cardinals of the Dubia. Is all of this preparing the way for an unprecedented correction that the Dubia intended of a reigning pope but brought about by a late pope--this would truly be a bombshell and create a schism in fact not in theory leading to a smaller but purer Church which the late pontiff, Pope Benedict predicted.

This is the bombshell statement of Pope Benedict just yesterday. I think you can read between the lines

What struck me particularly in the last conversations with the Cardinal, now gone home, was the natural cheerfulness, the inner peace and the assurance he had found. We know that it was hard for him, the passionate shepherd and pastor of souls, to leave his office, and this precisely at a time when the Church had a pressing need for shepherds who would oppose the dictatorship of the zeitgeist, fully resolved to act and think from a faith standpoint. Yet I have been all the more impressed that in this last period of his life he learned to let go, and live increasingly from the conviction that the Lord does not leave his Church, even if at times the ship is almost filled to the point of shipwreck.






Reading between the lines, this translation of Pope Benedict's eulogy for Cardinal Meisner reveals that Pope Benedict was in communication with him and that Pope Benedict is still concerned about the dictatorship of relativism which has filled the Church.

What does one make of this? It is certainly historic and unprecedented for a late pope to speak. Can a late pope change the future? What will history say?

This translation is copied from Rorate Caeli:

From the 2-page written homage (German original) by Pope Emeritus Benedict read today in Cologne for the Requiem of Cardinal Meisner:

A word of greeting from Benedict XVI, Pope Emeritus, on the occasion of the funeral Mass of Cardinal Joachim Meisner, on 15th July 2017

In this hour, when the Church of Cologne and believers further afield take their leave of Cardinal Joachim Meissner, I am with them in my heart and thoughts and am pleased to accede to Cardinal Woelki’s wish and address a word of reflection to them.

When I heard last Wednesday by telephone of the death of Cardinal Meissner, I could not believe it at first. We had spoken to each other the previous day. From the way he spoke he was grateful to be on holiday now, after he had taken part the Sunday before (25th June) in the beatification of Bishop Teofilius Maturlionis in Vilnius. His love for the neighbouring Churches in the East, which had suffered persecution under Communism, as well as gratitude for endurance in suffering during that time left a lifelong mark on him. So it was certainly no accident that the last visit of his life was made to a confessor of the faith.

What struck me particularly in the last conversations with the Cardinal, now gone home, was the natural cheerfulness, the inner peace and the assurance he had found. We know that it was hard for him, the passionate shepherd and pastor of souls, to leave his office, and this precisely at a time when the Church had a pressing need for shepherds who would oppose the dictatorship of the zeitgeist, fully resolved to act and think from a faith standpoint. Yet I have been all the more impressed that in this last period of his life he learned to let go, and live increasingly from the conviction that the Lord does not leave his Church, even if at times the ship is almost filled to the point of shipwreck.

There were two things which in this final period allowed him to be increasingly happy and assured:

- The first was that he often related to me that what filled him with deep joy was to experience, in the Sacrament of Penance, how young people, above all young men, came to experience the mercy of forgiveness, the gift, in effect to have found life, which only God can give them.
- The second, which again and again touched and made him happy, was the perceptible increase in Eucharistic adoration. This was the central theme for him at World Youth Day in Cologne – that there was adoration, a silence, in which the Lord alone speaks to hearts. Some pastoral and liturgical authorities were of the opinion that such a silence in contemplation of the Lord with such a huge number of people could achieve nothing. A few were also of the opinion that Eucharistic adoration as such has been overtaken, because the Lord wanted to be received in the Eucharistic bread and not be looked at. Yet the fact that a person cannot eat this bread as just some sort of nourishment, and that to “receive” the Lord in the Eucharistic Sacrament includes all the dimensions of our existence – that receiving has to be worship, something which has in the meantime become increasingly clearer. So the period of Eucharistic adoration at the Cologne World Youth Day became an interior event that has remained unforgettable, and not only to the Cardinal. This moment for him was subsequently always present internally and a great light for him.

When on the last morning Cardinal Meissner did not appear for Mass, he was found dead in his room. The breviary had slipped from his hands: he died while praying, his face on the Lord, in conversation with the Lord. The art of dying, which was given to him, again demonstrated how he had lived: with his face towards the Lord and in conversation with him. So we may confidently entrust his soul to the goodness of God. Lord, we thank you for the witness of this your servant, Joachim. Let him now intercede for the Church of Cologne and for the whole world! May he rest in peace!

[Note: Translated by Rt Rev Michael G Campbell OSA, Bishop of Lancaster, UK, and published in the website of the Diocese of Lancaster as a PDF file.]
Labels: Benedict Pope Emeritus, Benedict XVI Writings, Crisis of Bishops, Crisis of the Church, Deutsche mess, German Collapse, Meisner, The Bergoglio Pontificate

Saturday, July 15, 2017


Hispanic couple lead growing church, impact state, nation

Luis Ramirez has watched and helped as his Hispanic ministry in Warner Robins, Iglesia Cristiana Remanso de Paz, has grown from a small gathering under a pecan tree to a vibrant church on Elberta Road.

MICHAEL W. PANNELL Special to The Telegraph A pastor and engineer, Luis Ramirez of Iglesia Cristiana Remanso de Paz, came to work at Robins Air Force Base after graduating with an engineering degree in Puerto Rico.

Iglesia Cristiana Remanso de Paz

Address: 1715 Elberta Road, Warner Robins
Phone: 478-329-1550
Leadership: Luis and Yolanda Ramirez, pastors
Worship: 11 a.m. Sunday, 7:15 p.m. Wednesday Awana and Bible study
Luis Ramirez said Remanso de Paz roughly means a place of still waters, calm waters — a haven of rest and peace.
Along with his wife, Yolanda, Ramirez co-pastors Iglesia Cristiana Remanso de Paz, a growing Hispanic fellowship in Warner Robins.
In addition to his pastoral role, Ramirez has served as a regional and national Hispanic leader in his denomination, The Foursquare Church, and is now Georgia’s leader for the National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference, America’s largest Hispanic Evangelical organization.
Ramirez is a bi-vocational pastor with a long career as an engineering supervisor with Robins Air Force Base’s equipment maintenance section.
Ramirez said he became a pastor almost by default.
“I came to the U.S. and the base in 1986,” he said. “Like hundreds of other Puerto Rican graduates, I started job hunting and went to an event where the (U.S.) Department of Defense was looking for employees — and they found me. I wasn’t a Christian at the time, I was just seeking to begin my career and coming to the U.S. was certainly a wonderful opportunity.”
Puerto Ricans have had U.S. citizenship since 1917, a fact Ramirez said few realize.
“After coming to the U.S., I was invited to services a nondenominational, Spanish-speaking group had facilities Green Acres Baptist Church let them use,” Ramirez said. “I kept coming mainly for the music. I loved the songs and I listened to the Bible being taught week by week. As God says, his word accomplishes his purpose. In about six or seven months I accepted Christ and that’s where my Christian service began. It began by my setting up chairs and, by his doing, by his grace, he brought me to where I am.”
Ramirez said his early interest in Christianity led him to take classes and graduate from a Spanish-speaking Biblical Institute at Christ Missionary Church in Athens. At the same time, the Warner Robins services were coming to an end due to its leader’s failing health.
Ramirez and others decided to continue meeting in homes. Because of his Biblical studies, Ramirez said he was selected as pastor-leader.
“I was surprised, but it was what we felt God wanted,” he said. “A couple of families and I eventually believed we were to start a church. There wasn’t a Spanish-speaking Pentecostal group in Warner Robins and that was what we were. Our first meeting was in 1998 when we had an outreach under a pecan tree for workers at Lane Southern Orchards in Peach County. A group gathered around us and I preached for a few minutes.”
Ramirez said the small congregation was able to meet in a local church’s facility but were soon offered the option of becoming a Foursquare congregation and taking over an old, small Foursquare building on Green Street.
After prayer and consideration, Ramirez said he and others felt it was a good match and accepted the offer. Upon moving in, members took down 80 pine trees to create a playground and space for children to play soccer.
Ramirez said children and positive activities for families have always been important.
As the congregation grew, a move to the current Elberta Road location was planned. Ramirez said the structure reached its current state in two phases with an unplanned disruption during the economic downturn of 2007. However, by 2014 they were able to move services from a multiuse fellowship hall into a new 300-seat sanctuary.
Ramirez said the congregation was about 75 people at the time of the move to Elberta Road in the mid-2000s and now stands at about 140.
“God continues to bless and we continue to work to be a blessing to our community,” he said. “We minister to whoever he brings us and though our services are in Spanish, we have translation into English over headsets.”
Ramirez said as the church grows, outreach expands to include things such as a summer volleyball league playing on Friday, local evangelistic outreaches, community classes and services and a growing international outreach with support of orphanages and other churches and ministers in places such as Haiti, Mexico, Kenya and Italy.
The church has been able to sponsor families in need and in trouble, as is particularly evident in situations such as giving help to an immigrant family from Venezuela that is in the process of gaining political asylum.
And in part because of his own story, Ramirez is especially thankful the church’s own Bible institute saw its first handful of graduates this year.
“We’re always in awe of the things God does,” Ramirez said. “Recently the Livingston family, Bob and Mike, donated two acres of land a half mile from us on Elberta that has abandoned commercial and apartment buildings on them. We plan to clean it up and use it to create a women’s ministry, a place for youth ministry and outdoor activities to benefit the community. It will take money and donations, but right now there’s a lady in our church with a ministry teaching simple skills like reading and sewing. We want to grow that there. God has poured that kind of desire for others in my and Yolanda’s and everybody in the church’s heart. God opens doors and does miracles.”
Ramirez said just like in the church’s previous building efforts, a large part of the work will be done by members. He said one item he still envisions but has yet to come to pass is seeing a gym built for members and the local community.
“It takes time but we have a clear vision where God is taking us,” he said. He said the church is committed to following God even in the midst of modern social and immigration issues.
“Our policy has always been and still is that we don’t ask for papers before we minister to someone,” he said. “We don’t check IDs or cards before we pray for people or serve them. We’re not required by law as a church to report immigration status. Our church is here for the purpose of reaching people for Christ and we stick to the plan. We focus on that. We’re here for those seeking God and seeking his and our help. At the same time we’re not naive politically. In that regard, we advocate for the security of the nation first of all and we advise people do all things according to the law and as part of the community. We never advise people to violate the law.”
Ramirez said balancing the political and spiritual is problematic but doable. He said God is always present for each and every person and that God always officers answers.
“For example, there’s a lot of fear in the streets these days among immigrants,” he said. “People in every position are facing so many unknowns. We know we can’t control all our circumstances but we believe we can make the best of even the worst situation. As Christians, we’re to glorify God and we can’t do that living in fear. To get beyond fear we have to look to him and move past it to knowing he is good and our faith is always worthwhile. As a church, it’s our call to stand strong and be a light that shines in love and truth no matter what the circumstances.”
Contact writer Michael W. Pannell at .