Monthly Archives: April 2012

The Tridentine Rite Accentuates the Solemnity of the Eucharist

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The altar is set up for the traditional Latin Tridentine Rite Mass in a Vatican II era Church.

Tradition for the sake of tradition is folly. But, the guidance of sacred tradition can also be very powerful in our spiritual development and ensuring that we worship God as we should. The ordinary form of the Mass as we think of it today is known as the Novus Ordo. In this post, I explore the Tridentine Rite and how two of its detail oriented practices can accentuate the sacredness of the Eucharist.

The Tridentine Rite, which is in many ways unrecognizable to most Catholics now, was practiced from 1570 A.D. to 1969 A.D. and has been optional since 2007. There have been many liturgical abuses of the Tridentine Rite just as there have been for the Novus Ordo: i.e. reported cases of the priests murmuring the Latin words or skipping over parts of the Mass. BUT it has a lot of benefits, especially in accentuating the how solemn the Eucharist really is.

The Predella

Did you ever notice that at any Catholic Church, the altar is(or is supposed to be) at least one full step higher than the remainder of the sanctuary? In the Tridentine Rite, that step or platform on which the altar sits is called the predella. The priest, who acts in the person of Christ during Mass, steps down from that platform to give Communion to the people. In this action, we remember that God, in a profound act of charity and humility, came down from Heaven and became man. Jesus came to us just as He continues to do in the Eucharist.

Reception of Communion

The second practice I want to explore are the normal conditions for receiving the Eucharist in the Tridentine Rite which include kneeling during reception, receiving on the tongue, and a fast that began at Midnight prior to receiving the Eucharist.

“In fact, as His Eminence, Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger has recently emphasized, the practice of kneeling for Holy Communion has in its favor a centuries-old tradition, and it is a particularly expressive sign of adoration, completely appropriate in light of the true, real and substantial presence of Our Lord Jesus Christ under the consecrated species.” -Archbishop Francesco Pio Tamburrino(EWTN)

In these modern days, the normal position to receive the Eucharist is standing and it must be received either the tongue or on the hand. Both are entirely acceptable and licit, but I personally enjoy receiving it on the tongue because it eliminates most accidental cases of particles of the most holy Eucharist ending up other than in our mouths. In just one particle of the Eucharist, there is the fullness of the physical presence of Jesus Christ’s flesh.

Personally, I believe that kneeling for Communion during the Novus Ordo is somewhat distracting, so it is good that we are instructed to make a sign of reverence BOTH before and after receiving the Eucharist(e.g.: bowing, making the sign of the cross). Genuflecting during the Mass itself is discouraged by the Church, but not prohibited. The Church does not tolerate denying Communion to those who genuflect before or kneel to receive(EWTN). They use the word “orthopraxy” which means that we should strive to make a correct action as opposed to simply an “orthodox” action (CUF).

As always, our desires for the correct practice of the Mass should be guided by our charitable desire to worship God as best as we can. Thank you for reading!

A.M.D.G.

Feast of St. Catherine of Siena – An Epic Model of Christian Living

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St. Catherine of Siena(1347-1380)  provided us with epic examples of Christian living. She rejected her parent’s will for her to marry and live a lavish lifestyle and rejected clothing she saw as immodest. As a Dominican sister during this period in Europe, she cared for many who were sick with the plague. St. Catherine experienced visions of Christ and St. Dominic and advocated for the “total love of God.”

She was a peacemaker and an Ambassador of Florence. This young woman was responsible for returning the papacy to Rome, where St. Peter was once Bishop and the first Pope. Under Pope Urban VI, she lived in Rome and worked to help heal the schism of the Church.

She died on April 29, 1380 at age 33 and is a patron saint of Italy.

A.M.D.G.

Defeating the Idea that Religion Obstructs World Peace

“Next time you hear someone say that religion is the cause of war, challenge it and ask he or she to consider how religion can be the cause of peace.”

If you were to take a survey of 10 random strangers on the street and ask them the following questions, what do you think the answers would be?

  1. Do religions cause war or end wars?
  2. Do religions contribute to peace or to destruction?
  3. Does organized religion promote the advancement of society or hinder it?

The truth is that the answers are not so clear-cut. Yes, many men have used religion to justify wars against outsiders. Yes, in times of economic disparity and the greater scarcity of resources, religious identities often provide easy targets for discrimination especially when all of those sharing in the suffering are of the same ethnic background.

But have you ever considered how organized religions have contributed to peace and to the advancement of society. Jesus repeated “peace be with you” over and over to His early Church after the Resurrection. How are we promoting that message?

Catholic NGO leaders from five continents meet to discuss economic issues in Geneva with the Apostolic Nuncio.

This is one of the great joys of the Catholic Church, particularly since Blessed John Paul II’s long reign as Pope. Just as the United States is the largest donor country of humanitarian aid in the world, the Catholic Church is the largest humanitarian charity. The Catholic Church is in every country of the world(and even Antarctica), driven by its nearly 1.2 billion members, and partners in faith.

Advancing and Building:

The Catholic Church’s theology, especially in its teachings concerning the human body, human dignity, and pastoral care, all center on Jesus’ teachings and natural law. The philosophy of natural law focuses on human rights and living as we were designed to live by God. One does not need to be Catholic to understand its desire for charity. For example: Catholic Relief Services helps farmers in underdeveloped regions  learn new techniques, educate the illiterate, and trains  the unemployed in less stable regions to become skilled workers. They work in nearly 100 countries, including the region of Palestine, and do not discriminate against anyone.

When we break that cycle of poverty, we are working to create stability. It is as if we are saying “peace be with you” just as Jesus said to us in the Gospels.

Other faiths do this too! Charity is not unique to the Catholic Church. When churches have resources, they often use those resources to build capacity and stability. Islam, Buddhism, Protestant Christians, Jewish, and many other congregations all have resources that they devote to building up those who do not have.

Mediating and Breaking Cynicism:

Pope John Paul II did not single-handedly defeat Communism as some have said; however, his promotion of nonviolence, his charismatic connection with common people, and stature as a religious world leader triggered the beginning of dialogue and change. He appealed to the people by encouraging them to think outside the box of communism. In fact, when he was shot, the Polish people erupted into a chaos the government could not control. His message was one of solidarity, and when it seemed as if the world would lose him too soon, many felt lost. John Paul II mobilized the Church to promote freedom. This is just one example of how a religious leader can promote change and freedom. There are many other examples. The Imam and the Pastor in Nigeria and Pray the Devil Back to Hell in Liberia are other great examples.  Continue reading

Feast of St. Mark the Evangelist

The previous post was about The New Evangelization, but how did it all start?

St. Mark, one of Jesus’ seventy Disciples, joined St. Peter in Rome to serve as a scribe of his homilies and a Greek interpreter and translator. The sermons that he wrote down recalled the life of Jesus and are now known as the Gospel according to Mark.

Later, St. Mark went to Alexandria to evangelize where he founded the Church there circa 43 A.D. He was martyred circa 68 A.D. according to tradition.

A.M.D.G.

“What is a New Evangelization?”

The joy of the Risen Christ is too great to keep to ourselves. In an earlier post, Bishop Jenky was quoted reassuring us that the Apostles were indeed shocked to find out Jesus actually rose from the dead. If Christ had not risen, the Apostle’s mission would have been over and the early Church would have died out quicker than it started.

The New Evangelization is a movement by the Catholic Church first and foremost for practicing Catholics to grow and to reignite that flame of love and truth in Catholics who have fallen away from regular practice. Second, like the early Church, we must be the Apostles of 2012 and share the Good News with those who have not heard it.

I was pleased to see the following in our parish bulletin this Sunday at Holy Rosary in Washington, DC:

“For many Catholics, the word “evangelization” conjures images of fundamentalist Christians knocking on doors and asking if we are “saved.” But when Pope Benedict XVI uses the phrase “New Evangelization,” he means something very different: The New Evangelization is, first of all, an invitation to Catholics to renew their own faith. It starts inside each one of us. Only when that renewal happens are we ready to share our faith with others in a way that is neither threatening nor intrusive, but inviting.”

Father then offered several ideas:

  • Set aside time to strengthen your relationship with God.
  • Take advantage of adult education classes in your parish.
  • Find out what your parish evangelization team is planning, if you parish doesn’t have one, find out how you can start one.
  • Talk about the ideas or insights that came to you during Mass.
  • Share with others how God has helped you through times good and bad. Invite people who are away from the Church to come to a parish event with you.
  • Let people know why you cherish your Catholic faith.

I would like to add one suggestion to that: blog, blog, blog(or Facebook). Take your faith and share that joy on the internet. Don’t be intrusive or abrasive about it, our faith is warm and welcoming. Make sure that what you are posting is true and genuine. All of the posts on this blog end with “A.M.D.G.” which is the Latin abbreviation for “All for the greater honor and glory of God”. Let everything you do be A.M.D.G. even if it is silently in your heart.

A.M.D.G.

The Real Message behind the Controversy of Bishop Jenky’s Homily

His Excellency Bishop Daniel Jenky of the Diocese of Peoria delivered an unyielding homily last weekend to his congregation on the HHS Mandate and the obligation of Catholics to vote pro-life. A firestorm erupted after he “compared Obama to Hitler” and some have called on him to resign. 

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The reality is that the homily employed some exhaustive rhetoric, but it made several very valid points. The forced compliance with the HHS mandate is tantamount to the intentional closing of 1 in every 6 hospitals in the United States. No means no. The Catholic Church can’t be involved in any health plan that pays for contraceptives. Here are a few excerpts from his homily that the controversy centered on:

“Hitler and Stalin, at their better moments, would just barely tolerate some churches remaining open, but would not tolerate any competition with the state in education, social services, and health care.

In clear violation of our First Amendment rights, Barack Obama – with his radical, pro abortion and extreme secularist agenda, now seems intent on following a similar path.”

“No Catholic ministry – and yes, Mr. President, for Catholics our schools and hospitals are ministries – can remain faithful to the Lordship of the Risen Christ and to his glorious Gospel of Life if they are forced to pay for abortions.” Continue reading

Religious Freedom and the New Turkish Constitution

Catholics are hoping to end a longstanding tradition of structural violence in the Republic of Turkey. Turkey, which has a population of approximately 75 million people(almost 72 million are Muslim), allows for the free practice of religion, but it does not grant legal status to all churches and other non-Islamic organizations.

Structural violence refers to the denial of access to political and other resources in a country based on someone’s religious, ethnic, or other minority status. This is the case in Turkey and the Catholic bishops have recently petitioned the Turkish Parliament to give full recognition of these rights to the Church and other religious organizations as they begin to rewrite the constitution of the country next month. Since 1929, only Jewish and Orthodox minorities have enjoyed legal recognition by the country (JW News).

The Catholic Church recognizes the freedom of religion for all people. It is spelled out in a the 1965 document Dignitatis Humanae(Of the Dignity of the Human Person):

The council further declares that the right to religious freedom has its foundation in the very dignity of the human person as this dignity is known through the revealed word of God and by reason itself.(2) This right of the human person to religious freedom is to be recognized in the constitutional law whereby society is governed and thus it is to become a civil right.

More information on the meeting between the Catholic and Protestant leaders meeting with the Turkish officials can be found here: Hurriyet Daily News(English) or L’Osservatore Romano(Italiano)