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Calling the modern lectionary into question

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The other day, Rorate Caeli published a lecture given by Dr Kwasniewski at the Sacra Liturgia conference in 2015 in New York, on the reform of the lectionary. See: 50 Years of a Religious and Cultural Catastrophe: When the Yearly Biblical Readings of Immemorial Tradition Were Cast Away

At the heart of the discussion over the modern rite lectionary is the question of the purpose of the scripture texts at Mass. Until recently, it was unheard of to suggest that there was any other purpose than the instruction of the faithful. Kwasnieski argues that the lessons have first and foremost "an ecclesial identity, a sacerdotal orientation, and a eucharistic finality." This question is crucial in the discussion of such matters as the length of texts or the manner in which the scripture is presented at Mass: who reads it, which direction they face, what they wear, whether they speak or chant...

The purpose of the lessons also nags away in the background when we come to decide whether t…

Must we call it the Sacrament of Reconciliation rather than the Sacrament of Confession?

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You may have come across expert VaticanIIologians who say that we should not speak of the Sacrament of Confession or of Penance any more, but use the sacrament’s shiny new name, given to it by the Second Vatican Council: The Sacrament of Reconciliation.

This is nonsense. The Catechism of the Catholic Church refers to the Sacrament of Penance, Confession, and Reconciliation. The Code of Canon Law also uses all three terms. Hard-working parish volunteer catechists should be reassured that it is still perfectly proper to use the term Confession and it makes sense to do so because that is the name by which it is most commonly known. For adults under instruction, it might be helpful to explain the other terms since they tell us something about the sacrament. However, it is worth knowing why the term “reconciliation” is used, and what its significance is, since this is widely misunderstood.
Vatican II’s “astonishing enactment” In Lumen Gentium, the Council fathers dealt with the sacraments…

Three Things that are Wrong about Making Everyone Stand after Holy Communion

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In some places in the USA there is a custom of people going back to their place after Holy Communion and then remaining standing until everybody has received Holy Communion. (What happens then? Does everybody kneel or does everybody sit? If I gave you 5-1 odds for everyone sitting, I think I would come out quids in.) Sadly, I understand that this postural uniformity is mandated by some Bishops. In case there is any danger of its creeping across the Atlantic, I would like to offer some negative comment. I have selected Three Things that are wrong with this imposition – and free of charge, you get a Bonus Wrong Thing.
1st Wrong Thing. It interferes with a proper desire to adore God and to be recollected. In the period immediately after Holy Communion, the holy people of God quite rightly want to adore Jesus Christ and to be recollected . Kneeling down is a posture suitable to earnest prayer and adoration. The order for everybody to stand is presumably meant in some way to reinforce the…

5 Things about Votive Masses to bring up under AOB at the Parish Council Meeting

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Votive Masses need to be better known and more often celebrated. So if your Parish Council Meeting needs a little groundswell of devotional zip, here are some Things about Votive Masses to know and share. Thing 3 is especially important.
Thing 1. They are not a medieval invention The earliest liturgical books that we have, such as the Leonine Sacramentary contain Masses for special intentions. By the time of the Gregorian Sacramentary, these were called Missae Votivae. These were Masses that did not correspond to the office of the day, which would be sung according to the season. Votive Masses probably go back right to the beginning of our liturgical history. What happened during the middle ages is that votive Masses became more common. It was a sensible reform to limit them to a certain degree so that they were restricted in the main, to days on which there was not a major celebration in the Church’s calendar.
Thing 2. They are allowed more often than people think It may be that you h…

Saint Stanislaus, two sad comparisons, and the fall of Communism

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A central part of any visit to Krakow is a visit to the Royal Archcathedral Basilica of Saints Stanislaus and Wenceslaus on the Wawel Hill. It is some years now since I walked around it on a cold and foggy late November evening. I remember the thrilling sense that here, every stone is Poland.

The Wawel Cathedral is of enormous significance to the Polish people. Most importantly of all, it has the altar and sarcophagus of Saint Stanislaus, the Bishop who defied a King. Saint Stanislaus 1030-1079 was Bishop of Kracow at a time when Christianity was still being established in Poland. The faith was only brought to the country after the preaching of Saint Methodius in Moldavia. Saint Stanislaus furthered the early growth of Christianity in Poland significantly by getting the King, Boleslaw II the Bold, to establish Benedictine monasteries. He contributed even more to the Christianisation of Poland by his martyrdom.

The dispute with Boleslaw began with a legal case over the ownership of …

CD 299: Envy of another's success

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I think that I work conscientiously at my job, but I find that I become jealous of those who manage to achieve better results. Is this a sin or a motivation?
Envy occurs when we are saddened or angered by another’s good, experience pain at hearing them praised, and when we tend to undermine their good repute. (Strictly speaking, jealousy is a related but distinct fault in which we have an excessive love of our own good and the fear of being deprived of it by others.) Envy is opposed to charity because we should rejoice in the good of others. As a capital sin, envy leads to other evils such as wishing someone ill, speaking calumny or detraction against them, sowing discord, a disordered quest for success and reward, and disturbing the peace of our soul.

Envy can be either a sin or a temptation. Sometimes feelings of envy arise without our wishing them, and in such a case, as with other passions, it is an opportunity for growth in the spiritual life. A negative remedy is to try to put su…

Our Lord was in favour of world peace, but that was not what He was bestowing on the apostles

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Our Lord would have been in favour of world peace. I think we can safely say that. Even if you think that some wars are, or have been necessary for justice, Our Lord’s positive will would be that people would not commit the sins that led to the injustice in the first place.

Be that as it may, when Our Lord appeared to the apostles in the upper room (Jn 20) and gave His greeting “Peace be with you”, he was praying for a peace within their own hearts rather than for a generalised world peace. We can infer this from a previous occasion on which Our Lord said that He would bequeath peace to the apostles and added, “Let not your heart be troubled, nor let it be afraid.” (Jn 14:27) Of course, the two things are not in opposition. As St John XXIII said at the beginning of his encyclical letter Pacem in Terris:
"Peace on Earth — which man throughout the ages has so longed for and sought after — can never be established, never guaranteed, except by the diligent observance of the divinely…

Congratulations to Bishop Hying, the diocese of Madison, and Fr Z

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Since Bishop Morlino died last November after suffering a cardiac event, I have been praying for my good friend and blogging supremo Fr Zuhlsdorf, and the diocese of Madison. Bishop Morlino was an outstanding Bishop who was courageous in his witness to the teaching of the Church. He also made generous provision for the traditional Latin Mass, himself celebrating Pontifical High Mass in the older form.

Yesterday the announcement was made that Bishop Donald Hying, Bishop of Gary, Indiana, has been appointed as the new Bishop of Madison. It is great to see that Fr Zuhlsdorf is upbeat and positive about this news. I pray that this appointment will bring many blessings for the diocese of Madison.



The Red Scapular and Friday meditation on the Passion

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In the meditation for today, the Friday of the Easter Octave, the excellent book of Meditations of Priests, Seminarians and Religious, by the Rev Dominic Phillips CM, reflects on the value of frequent meditation on the passion.

Fr Phillips gives a favourable mention to the red scapular and so I decided to find out more about it. I think I have now got most of the way through one of those internet source criticism journeys. Let me save you the trouble: the ultimate Quelle or source for all other internet articles on the subject (including the Wikipedia article which repeatedly offers a dead link which was presumably once alive) is a leaflet which can be found at the website of the Central Association of the Miraculous Medal at this link: Redscapular.pdf. That gives you the basic information, some of which I too will repeat here for your convenience.

In the summer of 1846, Sr Louise-Apolline Andriveau had a number of visions of Our Lord and His Blessed Mother, particularly related to t…

Mutual enrichment: the traditional form of the ablutions

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Many good priests of my acquaintance are keen to celebrate Mass in a more traditional way, but do not celebrate the usus antiquior. This may be because of a lack of Latin, because of a fear that the older form is too difficult to learn, or for some other reason. While I would encourage such priests to learn the classical form of our Roman Rite in its entirety, I think that it is also helpful to learn parts of it that can legitimately be used when celebrating the modern rite.

This is in accord with the desire of Pope Benedict, expressed in the letter he wrote to accompany Summorum Pontificum which reassured everyone that the older form of the Mass had not been abrogated and that permission was not needed to celebrate it. The Holy Father spoke of how the two forms of the Roman Rite could be mutually enriching. I wrote about this some time ago and the article is available online if you would like to read it: Mutual Enrichment in Theory and Practice. (Please note prohibition of publishin…

No you can't have the little white thing! An example from 14 centuries ago

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Today is the feast day of Saint Mellitus who was sent to England by St Gregory the Great from the monastery of St Andrew on the Coelian Hill in Rome. In London he set up the first Church of St Paul.

When the Christian King Sabert died in about 616AD, his three sons, Sexred, Seward, and Sigebert, succeeded him. They were pagans, but wanted to get the white thing that the Christians had at their religious service. They asked Saint Mellitus for the white bread to strengthen them. He told them that they could receive Holy Communion if they were baptised, but despite his repeated and patient explanations, they refused to accept that they needed this extra ceremony as they saw it. They became very angry at what they considered his intransigence, and exiled him and his Christian community from London.

Plus ca change! Today also, people want to receive Holy Communion without understanding that it is the body, blood, soul and divinity of our Lord Jesus Christ. They become angry if any demands …

Popular posts from this blog

Three Things that are Wrong about Making Everyone Stand after Holy Communion

Must we call it the Sacrament of Reconciliation rather than the Sacrament of Confession?

5 Things about Votive Masses to bring up under AOB at the Parish Council Meeting

Congratulations to Bishop Hying, the diocese of Madison, and Fr Z

Saint Stanislaus, two sad comparisons, and the fall of Communism