Wednesday, April 24, 2013

My Love of the Novus Ordo Mass

I cannot get enough of the old Novus Ordo Mass (English Mass). By and large I think the recent changes in the Mass are not positive. In the old Novus Ordo Mass they used to say "[Christ] will come again in glory." In the new Novus Ordo it says the flat "Christ will come again." Really, how will he come, my heart cries. Is he taking a Greyhound or will he come with the angels?

Peace Be With You....And With Your Spirit
This also leaves me flat. So you do not care about my body? Only my spirit matters to you? Well that is contrary to the Catholic Faith about the image of God being secondarily in the body? We do not need to relegate that truth.

Singing the Lamb of God in Latin
I do not think about myself in this, because I understand the Latin. However, many people do not. The Mass is a tool of evangelism, not just for Catholics. Again, you are cutting people off from the meaning, because the Mass is a public event, not a private one. It is for all those who wish to attend. There have been several converts who just sat at the mass and learned about the faith that way. Many of them later converted, but it took time.

In Praise of the (Old) Novus Ordo
With the subtlety and mystical orientation of the old Novus Ordo, it is more conducive to me to contemplation than the new Norvus Ordo. What a beautiful time we had with the old Novus Ordo. I miss it dearly.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Gun Control

The recent gun control controversy has cause a bit of a stir among Conservative Catholics. The threat of a Tyranny taking over this Country was foremost in the founder's minds:

"Firearms stand next in importance to the constitution itself. They are the American people's liberty teeth and keystone under independence …" George Washington

But the question remains, what would the Church teach on such matters?

2263 The legitimate defense of persons and societies is not an exception to the prohibition against the murder of the innocent that constitutes intentional killing. "The act of self-defense can have a double effect: the preservation of one's own life; and the killing of the aggressor. . . . The one is intended, the other is not."

So it seems the Church supports the natural right of the person to defend himself or herself. What about small arms? If they are used in the defense of a person to defend himself against an unjust aggressor, they are legitimate.

Abuses of Government in Recent History
Rwanda, Somalia, Sudan and many other countries have abused their authority to kill civilians. In the case of Sudan, the military did not have firearms. When the President gave firearms to the army, the majority muslim army started killing civilians, Christians, and people of different tribes who were not armed. To date, 320,000 deaths on the average of a population of 34 million. For Sudan, the death toll would have been 3 million proportionally based on our population.

In Rwanda, the death toll of 750,000 out of a population of 10 million.  If Rwanda was committed in the United States, the death toll would have been 21 million, xompared proportionally to the United States population.

This is just to show how the abuse of power can be a very bloody thing. What is the citizens in Sudan were armed? The army would have thought twice about attacking the population.

Very Serious Times
Gun control can seem like the right thing to do in the situation of the Sandy Hook Elementary. But what about a Rwanda or Sudan happening? The values of our Country are changing. The Tuskegee airmen were experimented on by being injected with syphilis without their consent. Government can abuse power. Guns are a final defense against such abuse.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Medjugorje Likely To Be Condemned

Word is Medjugorje, the controversial apparitions the former Yugoslavia, is going to be condemned. In case you did not know, Medjugorje has a notorious reputation among theologians. The immoral actions of the followers and apparitionists is part of the discernment of the Church. They have not been obedient to the Magisterium.

Discernment of Spirits
The highest discernment is found in the dogma of the Moral Law, which includes the Ten Commandments. Violations of these Commandments is indicative of not having a valid vision or apparition. Many theologians have given the various signs of discernment of spirits in regard to extraordinary experiences, like visions,. locutions (voices) and purported miracles.

Certain fruits like peace, humility, certitude (strange hope), persistence of the experience, increase in virtue and other characteristics of the experience are part of the discernment. Also, the person who experiences such a phenomena should wait at least 30 days until he accepts the phenomena as valid. Of course, all the characteristics should be present during this time.

Detachment
No more important characteristic the detachment regarding the experience. If an adherent or visionary is detached and open to being wrong about the experience, they have a good chance of having had a valid experience.

Submission to the Magisterium (Church)
If the purported visionary is submissive to the judgment of the Church, this indicates another good fruit of the phenomena. In the case of Medjugorje, the visions told them to obey their local bishop. This is a problem because it is a dogma of the Church that the local bishop has authority over his flock administratively.

That is, when he issues a decree, it should be obeyed. This is an issue about policy, not doctrine, so the reader should not get confused. Individual bishops only have doctrinal authority when they are in union with the Holy Father and their fellow bishops. A bishop by himself has no doctrinal authority, but does have administrative authority (power of making policy and day-to-day decisions).

A Lesson for Us All
It is easy to Catholics to go astray. Christ gave doctrinal authority to the bishops (Luke 10:14, Lumen Gentium 14) Not to the faithful. The pope has the final say, and can act with the bishops to make a decision. Also the various papal congregations have a limited authority as well.

We should strive to be detached from any such experience and open it up to discernment by others, especially a qualified spiritual director or the Church. In this way, we hold ourselves accountable to that institution that Christ founded with his divine authority of infallibility - The Magisterium of the Catholic Church.

The more humble you are, the more likely your experience is authentic. If you are improperly attached, it is not likely you experienced something from God. If you are in submission to the Church, you cannot go astray, if you remain faithful to her doctrine and directives.

May the Blessed Trinity bless you abundantly and Christ's Holy Mother's prayers always intercede for you that your discerment and life always be true. +



Tuesday, September 11, 2012

The Father Guarnizo Affair

I want to revisit the Father Guarnizo affair. This was a case in which the Archdiocese of Washington suspended the faculties of Father Marcel Guarnizo after he refused communion to lesbian activist, Barbara Johnson.The immediate reaction of the diocese, seems to have been one of immediate suspension of Father Guarnizo, without due consideration of the facts of the case.

The Archdiocese did not explain the circumstances of the case. Neither, did they chastise Barbara Johnson for receiving communion when she made a point making her manifest grave sin known to a priest, as if she wanted to flaunt it in Father Guarnizo's face. 

Barbara was at a funeral for her mother, and made known, according to Father Guarnizo, that she was a lesbian and that the woman with her was her "partner." Father Guarnizo had a right to be morally offended, as any Christian of good conscience should have been.

Canon 915 of the Code of Canon Law states that a person who "obstinately persist[s] in manifest grave sin" is to be refused communion. Alot of commentary from canon lawyers insued, in which they said Father Guarnizo had to be aware of the circumstances of a person's life in order to judge that. I find that funny, because the facts of the case, on the face, are that she was a manifest grave sinner being in a lesbian relationship which is "intrinsically disordered" according to paragraph 2357 of the Catechism of the Catholic Church.

Objectively, Barbara Johnson should have not been admitted to holy communion. Because, objectively, she was a manifest grave sinner. Father Guarnizo had a right to act on this knowledge when it was presented to him. Father Guarnizo later states that he did it based on "one of those relations which impede her access to communion according to Catholic teaching ," which does not help his case. Because it was on the part of Barbara to withhold herself from holy communion.

Objectively, however, Father Guarnizo was correct, regardless of his reason for doing it. Simply based on the facts, Father Guarnizo intuited the refusal of holy communion correctly, but for the wrong reasons. So, based on the facts again, Father Guarnizo should not have been suspended if it was based on his refusal.

The Archdiocese later said that he was suspended for reasons unrelated to this case. This has a giggle factor and is very suspicious given the timing of the announcement. While we do not have all the facts in our possession, the suspension was too suspicious for my taste.

Currently, the case of Father Guarnizo is in my rosary. I ask that all of you place it in yours. If he is innocent, let our Blessed Mother's prayers free him. If Bishop Knestout is guilty, let our Lord chastise him and he repent. If there has been a grave injustice here, let it be repaired and a good priest be returned to his ministry.
If all of this is true, may the Archdiocese of Washington make public restitution and repair his good name.

Here is a canonical defense of Father Guarnizo's actions. Here is a canonical criticism.

Friday, August 24, 2012

Alan Keyes

Alan Keyes is a former presidential candidate. This is where I encountered him first. Later he had a radio show, in which he gave his conservative, Catholic insights. I was always impressed by Alan.  

As a former Assistant Secretary of State for International Organization Affairs, Alan has worked in Washington and can give solid insight on the workings of national politics

His tough stance on pro-life issues, uncompromising loyalty to the Pro-Life movement and fascinating intellect made him a must-listen talk show host for me. Secretary Keyes has not been afraid to put himself on the line for the unborn, as was demonstrated in his arrest at Notre Dame when President Barrack Obama gave the commencement address. Barrack being awarded with an honorary doctorate was the straw that broke the camel's back for me, and former Secretary Keyes was there fighting against it when I could not.

Alan has a sharp intellect that does not let fallacious arguments go. He, like myself at times, is a pit bull for the Lord on matters of faith and values. He has debated atheists, liberal politicians and many others in trying to bring justice to the public square.

Alan would make a great addition to your speaking engagement. Be warned, however, he will not pull punches, and has a direct speaking style. However, the value of his insights are worthy of any Catholic event. (Hint: Get him to speak on Pro-life issues, his tender side will come out.)

To Mr. Keyes, I thank you for your many years of service to Holy Mother Church. Your tireless work for the Lord will never be forgotten by Him. Speak on, Mr. Keyes, speak on!

Thursday, August 9, 2012

The Myth of a Thick Skin

No one has a "thick skin." I studied this in Psychology for years. You would not believe the victims of verbal sexual and verbal emotional abuse that counselors treat in their daily work. I have many Psychologist and therapist friends who talk about it daily.

When I hear this term I just shake my head and ignore most of what the person says after that. Speech Communication theory has studied cussing extensively. What is not surprising is that cussing is universally offensive, even to the person doing the cussing. Anyone heard of self-abuse?

Low Self-Esteem

Low self-esteem is often caused by verbal abuse.  Calling someone stupid or an idiot is not something a person can brush off if the person doing the abusing is their family member.  These persons are close to you, they have a deep effect on your life. If you are called dumb as a child these attacks often become "tapes" that replay in the victim's mind over and over again throughout your life, until the tapes are dealt with in a healthy way.

People are sending messages all the time. If someone is sexually abused, the message that is sent is "you are worthless"  and "a sexual object to be used." The abuser does not have to say a thing.  It is communicated by the action of the abuse. If you were worthwhile in their mind, they would not abuse you.

Final Thoughts
Get rid of the "thick skin" analogy, research disproves it. In apologetics and evangelization I often encounter people who cuss or call names. I ask them to stop. If they continue, I cut off communication. When they can calmly talk about a subject, I am with them. When they want to abuse, I am gone.

What happens over time, and many people have told me this. is that they learn to be respectful. It is part of the evangelization. Otherwise, they are gone.

If a evangelee has a different opinion on something, I can deal with that. If another person wants to attack, there is the door. Come back when you are respectful. I can put up with some slips, but intentional attacking is off-limits. Learn to respect yourself and others will begin to respect you.

Monday, May 14, 2012

The LCWR: It's About Time

If you did not know, the Leadership Conference for Religious Women (LCWR) has been dressed down by the Vatican. The Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (CDF) found grave and serious doctrine problems in the LCWR. For those Catholics who know their faith, this is no surprise.

The Root of the Problem
The doctrinal problems are at the root of the LCWR's problems. They are like any of the many theologians who have seperated themselves from the Church by their dissent. The Catholic Faith has one united teaching, not many.  Her dogma does not change, however the LCWR seems to think it does.

As the Congregration for the Doctrine of the Faith says:

The Cardinal noted a prevalence of certain radical feminist themes incompatible with the Catholic faith in some of the programs and presentations sponsored by the LCWR, including theological interpretations that risk distorting faith in Jesus and his loving Father who sent his Son for the salvation of the world.
The LCWR also dissents against the Vatican, a remarkable hubris. We are all dependent on the guidance of the Magisterium, men and women alike. This is not a gender thing, it is an authority issue. The Protestants headed down this road, and look where it got them; dissent, heresy, schism and dissolution:
The Cardinal spoke of this issue in reference to letters the CDF received from “Leadership Teams” of various Congregations, among them LCWR Officers, protesting the Holy See’s actions regarding the question of women’s ordination and of a correct pastoral approach to ministry to homosexual persons, e.g. letters about New Ways Ministry’s conferences.
Even Jesus does not find reverence in this organization. They think they can move beyond the infinite God and Man:

The Cardinal offered as an example specific passages of Sr. Laurie Brink’s address about some Religious “moving beyond the Church” or even beyond Jesus.
We are all subject to error. We all need the voice of Christ through his apostolic teachers (Luke 10:16). Thank God for the guidance of the Church and its compassion that is drawing his flock back to himself.