Friday, May 10, 2019

Eastern Christian Books: Nicholas Denysenko on The People's Faith

Eastern Christian Books: Nicholas Denysenko on The People's Faith

Venice in the East

Ecclesial Survival of the Fittest

From a comment by Fr. Augustine Thompson over at Fr. Z's blog:

I lived through the 1960s and it was the rapid and authoritarian way the liturgical changes were imposed that drove people out—and they had been trained in a “culture of obedience”! The act of imposing a novel form of worship on them undercut the people’s faith, and so remotely lies behind the later long-term loss of practice and faith.

A similar imposition of mandated changes today would be met with an even greater exodus, especially if the changes were in the traditional direction. (It would be hard to think of further “liberalizing” changes as causing any great disruption, save for the small group of traditionalists who have already fled to traditional or traditionalist parishes / chaplaincies.) The idea that a top-down imposition of Pre-Vatican-II forms of worship will bring people back to the Church is disproved by this very article.

Mary Douglas, the great Catholic anthropologist, brilliantly analyzed the religiously destructive nature of massive changes in religious ritual and culture imposed by elitist authorities in her book Natural Symbols—which should be required reading for all involved with liturgy.

I agree: liturgical reform should not be imposed by Rome, though Rome should provide an example to the other local Churches using the Roman rite. Liturgical reform must be handled properly through local action by bishops and presbyters. (Should bishops impose their vision on their collaborating presbyters? Probably not.)  But what do we do if one bishop undoes the good work done by his predecessor? Hence we must have active laity and presbyters who will defend their "canonical rights." Even for liturgical reform to be handled well at the local level, there must be ecclesial reform that makes the institutional Church more accountable to the laity, and protection of presbyters from bishops who are opposed to orthodox reform. In other words, to protect orthodox reform (liturgical and otherwise) requires that reform include institutional practices of authority.

This is what is reasonable -- but I don't see what is reasonable happening -- what will happen is that there will be a competition between churches of different traditions for members, and those who are most responsive to the orthodox faithful will flourish, while those that are not will die out. Not only that but liturgical reform, while important, is only one part of the crisis in Christian spirituality and living that must be addressed. A feminized institutional Church that makes its liturgy better but does not address the reasons why men are not interested in "practicing religion" will still fail.

A Right to Have a Child?

Even if it is understood through the Natural Law as a restriction upon political authority, can we say that such a right or freedom is absolute? (Or even any right or freedom?)

With respect to the right to have a child -- even if a political authority cannot directly prohibit one from exercising it, can one say that this means that the authority is obliged to ensure that it is fulfilled or exercised without difficulty, or that there will be no negative consequences? For example, if there is a people fleeing or migrating to a new land, a journey that will take some time, one might say that it is a reasonable thing to suggest that the members of that people not engage in sexual relations, lest they be burdened with a pregnant woman who will prevent the group from traveling. And if such a woman gets pregnant, in extreme circumstances or danger, the people may be justified in leaving her behind in order to save the others.

Thursday, May 09, 2019

Liturgical Piety and Emotion

From "What Became of the Spirit of the Liturgy? Implementation of Sacrosanctum Concilium 1963—1965" by Susan Benofy

However, Guardini also says, the liturgy is difficult to adapt to modern man, who often finds it artificial and too formal, and prefers other forms of prayer which seem to have the advantage “of contemporary, or, at any rate, of congenial origin.”[8] But to be appropriate as a prayer for all people, and any situation, the liturgy must be formal, and keep “emotion under the strictest control.”[9]

The direct expression of emotion in prayer is more appropriate in personal prayer or popular devotions. These are rightly intended to appeal to certain tastes and circumstances, and consequently retain more local characteristics and aim more at individual edification, but they must remain distinct from the liturgy. “There could be no greater mistake than that of discarding the valuable elements in the spiritual life of the people for the sake of the liturgy, or than the desire of assimilating them to it.”[10] The liturgy is celebrated by the whole body of the faithful, not simply the assembled congregation. It embraces “all the faithful on earth; simultaneously it reaches beyond the bounds of time.”[11]

Guardini notes that, since the liturgy doesn’t fit any personality type exactly, all must sacrifice some of their own inclinations to properly enter into it. And, though liturgy requires fellowship, this does not mean ordinary social interaction. “[T]he union of the members is not directly accomplished from man to man. It is accomplished by and in their joint aim, goal, and spiritual resting place—God—by their identical creed, sacrifice and sacraments.”[12] Guardini insists that liturgical prayer “must spring from the fullness of truth. It is only truth—or dogma, to give it its other name—which can make prayer efficacious.”[13]

Missed This Article in March

CNA: St. Paul VI’s Feast to be Celebrated May 29

Optional, indeed.

Sacred Liturgy Conference


Good to see Bishop Daly sponsoring this at Gonzaga University. The speakers seemed to be slanted towards the traditionalist side -- is there anyone there to represent the "reform of the reform," or is that dead, having failed to gain any traction within the American Latin Churches? (No one to represent a Bouyerian reform, either.) Any no representation from the Personal Ordinariate of the Chair of St. Peter?

Sacred Liturgy Conference in Spokane

Fr. Thomas Joseph White on Freedom

CWR/CNA: Dominican scholar: Church crisis calls for renewal of Catholic teaching on freedom
Ultimately, White thinks the solutions to today’s crisis in the Church will not be something new, and that the deep solutions needed “depend on grace and also the internal formation life and discipline life of the Church.”

He said it is true that the Church needs to make some prudential considerations about the formation, training, and vetting of priests and bishops, and that the laity have the right to expect and insist upon reform from bishops and priests.

I think most are more interested in proposals for changes to how the institution is run and how oversight of authority is possible, or accountability. If the relationship between the bishop and the Christian people of the local church needs to be re-examined, and our understanding of ecclesial authority needs to be refined and corrected, then maybe some of the solutions, those pertaining to the exercise of authority and accountability, may be new. If a bishop is a scandal to the faithful and an impediment to communion or the life of the Church, then if he doesn't resign, some other action must be possible to remedy this.

Newly Published!

Sandro Magister: Risen “According To the Scriptures.” A Freshly Published Easter Homily of Joseph Ratzinger

Call for Abstracts

Fr. Weinandy Responds to "the Letter"

First Things: Is Pope Francis a Heretic? by Thomas Weinandy, O.F.M. Cap.

Wednesday, May 08, 2019

Is the Pre-1955 Roman Holy Triduum Really Better?

1P5: My First Experience of a Pre-1955 Holy Triduum by Peter Kwasniewski

Recently, I bumped into a friend who expressed her surprise that this year was the first time I had ever attended the pre-1955 (i.e., ancient or unreformed) Holy Week liturgies. She was under the impression that someone who travels, reads, …

See also: NLM: Compendium of the 1955 Holy Week Revisions of Pius XII

Peter Kwasniewski on "the Letter"

1P5: When Creeping Normalcy Bias Protects a Chaotic Pope by Peter Kwasniewski

Reactions to the Open Letter accusing Pope Francis of holding seven heretical propositions — a letter that now bears the signatures of 81 clergy, religious, and scholars — have ranged from strong support (Zmirak, Coulombe, Verrecchio) to sympathetic critiques (Lawler, …

A Brief Update on the Open Letter on Papal Heresy by Steve Skojec

There have been a number of developments on the Open Letter accusing the pope of heresy since I first summarized it in this space on April 30. The first of these is that the number of scholars who have signed it …

Pope Francis, the Open Letter, and the Pesky Preface by Steven O'Reilly

The Secular Mind Versus the Whole Heart


Holy Baptism

Venice in the East


Holy Week and Pascha:


Pope Francis on the Question of...

Deaconesses. Or women deacons? Does he know the difference?

Tuesday, May 07, 2019

Dr. Henry Sire


CWR: In visiting North Macedonia, Pope Francis follows in the footsteps of St. Mother Teresa by Ines Angeli Murzaku

“This Easter is special for us, because we celebrate it on the eve of the visit of the head of the Catholic Church, Pope Francis. I truly believe that this visit is an important step [...]

Milwaukee Chamber Choir: Arvo Pärt, "The Beatitudes"

Monday, May 06, 2019

More of a Tribute to Fr. Schall

Than a testimony to the current state of the Society of Jesus.

First Things: Jesuits and The Catholic Mind by K. E. Colombini

Just to be Through

I probably haven't finished the series in the past.

Zenit: Fr. Cantalamessa's Fifth Lenten Homily

Will There Be Any Repercussions for This?

NCReg: Father Aidan Nichols Signs Open Letter Charging Pope Francis With Heresy by Edward Pentin
The Dominican priest is one of 19 academics and clergy calling on the world’s bishops to admonish the Pope and publicly reject heresy or face losing the papacy.

After all, Fr. Nichols' lecture on the papacy from last year has not been published in full.

Ephesians 6:12 and Spiritual Warfare

Ephesians 6:12

For we are not contending against flesh and blood, but against the principalities, against the powers, against the world rulers of this present darkness, against the spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places.

Put into context:
10 Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his might. 11 Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. 12 For we are not contending against flesh and blood, but against the principalities, against the powers, against the world rulers of this present darkness, against the spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places. 13 Therefore take the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand. 14 Stand therefore, having girded your loins with truth, and having put on the breastplate of righteousness, 15 and having shod your feet with the equipment of the gospel of peace; 16 above all taking the shield of faith, with which you can quench all the flaming darts of the evil one. 17 And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. 18 Pray at all times in the Spirit, with all prayer and supplication. To that end keep alert with all perseverance, making supplication for all the saints, 19 and also for me, that utterance may be given me in opening my mouth boldly to proclaim the mystery of the gospel, 20 for which I am an ambassador in chains; that I may declare it boldly, as I ought to speak.

With respect to our ultimate end, and the first object of our love, God, who is our enemy? What can other men do to prevent us from loving God? Nothing directly. They can only try to lead us away through temptation and persecution and torture. But who is the murderer from the beginning (John 8:44)? Doesn't the devil try to get us to reject God through temptation only? The devil cannot do anything to us directly. But the devil is much more subtle and clever than any human being, and he is our ultimate enemy.

If we are to become righteous in God, we must first deal with ourselves first, and the snares that the devil has set for us.

But this is not to deny that we do not have human enemies, especially with respect to secondary goods, like the good of the family or the good of the political community. And while the devil too operates in this sphere as part of his larger rebellion against God, still our human enemies are real, and they really are our enemies. Even if we are enjoined by our Lord to love them that does not mean that we do not need to respond to them and their attacks appropriately. The Gospel is not an pacifist humanistic religion.

Our human enemies have agency, and  a proper response, including the use of violence if necessary, should be understood as a form of correction or retributive justice.

Similarly, Matthew 10:28 -- is this another example of hyperbole? Can we ever get rid of the emotion of fear, instead of submitting it to reason? I don't think so. So perhaps what our Lord is really saying if you are to fear, you should really fear the devil and his cohort, who are trying to lead you away from God and to perdition. That is our first concern. But He is not denying that there are secondary goods--while secondary goods are not as important as the first good, God Himself, we may love them for the sake of loving God (and neighbor), and in grave circumstances it may be necessary to take extraordinary measures to secure those goods.

God Save Bavaria

CNA: German Church membership will be halved by 2060, new study says