Beauty, then, is not mere decoration, but rather an essential element of the liturgical action, since it is an attribute of God himself and his revelation. These considerations should make us realize the care which is needed, if the liturgical action is to reflect its innate splendour.― Pope Benedict XVI
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Journalism is the art of translating abysmal ignorance into execrable prose. At least, that is its purest and most minimal essence. There are, of course, practitioners of the trade who possess talents of a higher order—the rare ability, say, to produce complex sentences and coherent paragraphs—and they tend to occupy the more elevated caste of “intellectual journalists.” These, however, are rather like “whores with hearts of gold”: more misty figments of tender fantasy than concrete objects of empirical experience. Most journalism of ideas is little more than a form of empty garrulousness, incessant gossip about half-heard rumors and half-formed opinions, an intense specialization in diffuse generalizations. It is something we all do at social gatherings—creating ephemeral connections with strangers by chattering vacuously about things of which we know nothing—miraculously transformed into a vocation.—David Bentley Hart
''You do not mean by mystery what a Catholic does. You mean an interesting uncertainty: the uncertainty ceasing interest ceases also... . But a Catholic by mystery means an incomprehensible certainty: without certainty, without formulation there is no interest;... the clearer the formulation the greater the interest."—Gerard Manley Hopkins (1844-1889), British poet, Jesuit priest. Letter, Oct. 24, 1883, to Robert Bridges. Gerard Manley Hopkins: Selected Letters, ed. Catherine Phillips (1991).
Sunday, April 20, 2014
Thursday, April 17, 2014
We should be diplomatic in the sense that we should be kind toward others in the mission of mercy, of extending to the downtrodden and repentant a helpful word or deed of encouragement and support as we share the saving message of Jesus Christ. Does a concern for diplomacy avoid the necessity of speaking the truth in love, even if the truth hurts? Criticized by low-informed self appointed "pontiffs" who confuse judging behaviour with judging the person, do we avoid judging wrong behaviour for what it is, i.e., sinful behaviour, simply to preserve a perception that Catholics are "nice" people? The understanding that Catholicism is a limp social welfare organization might be a better fit for Canadians who elevate niceness, it seems, above authentic virtue. However, if we put the name 'Catholic' first before 'Canadian', or 'American', etc., as we should, then we might better keep our priorities straight and better represent the Faith in the public square as faithful Catholics who accept and practice right judgement over, say, the non-critical acceptance of sin and indifference to the question of right or wrong.
Confrontation can be unpleasant. Who doesn't want to avoid confrontation, or at least avoid any unnecessary conflict in this day and age of litigious trigger fingers, "human rights" tribunals and pugilistic parishioners who, more congregationalist that Catholic, threaten to walk with their chequebooks when offended for some inane reason, e.g., to protest a priest putting a card in the pew that promotes Catholic teaching on who should and should not receive Holy Communion. As a religious work of art might confront the human condition and point the viewer/hearer toward God, the Liturgy—celebrated faithfully—should confront us with the drama of sin and redemption. Is it any wonder that Catholics, so poorly formed in a correct understanding of the Mass, tend to treat the Liturgy as a mere social gathering with religious overtones? The Liturgy, having been made banal by a distortion of its form and content, is in some parishes little more than a sideshow rather than the supreme drama of man's redemption, i.e., Jesus' sacrifice on Calvary, re-presented on the altar every time Mass is validly celebrated. If the "source and summit" of our faith is ground down from a lofty peak to a barren plain, is it any wonder that Catholics lack the identity to stand up for the Faith in the public square?
Jesus the diplomat?
If we are asking 'What Would Jesus Do?', we can be certain that His example, which led Him to be crucified, will require us to speak and act with kindness and conviction, a kindness that is not saccharine nor dismissive of someone's wrongdoing or ill-informed argument, but a kindness that considers the consequences of actions in light of the Four Last Things—death, judgement, heaven, hell. If we really care, we should find ways to engage people stuck in their sins to help save them from damnation. In sweeter words, we must find ways to engage others so that they may come to a saving knowledge of Jesus Christ, to invite the lost to come home to the Catholic Church founded by Christ as a hospital for sinners, a nursery for saints.
So then, can we imagine a Jesus Who was timid and avoided confrontation? Is Jesus a virile messiah whose teachings and assertions that He is the Son of God led Him to the Cross, or is He the safe, inoffensive prophet of the religious communities that have embraced a culture of entitlement, hedonism and death, a culture that whines then dines on the blood of innocent unborn children in an attempt to sustain itself?
Can we imagine a Jesus Who, instead of confronting the money changers in the Temple with harsh words and a whip, waved His hand in a gesture of casual dismissal as if to say, "Oh well, they are only doing what they need to do to make a buck"?
Jesus, by His words or by His silence, gave people the opportunity to confront the tyranny of sin in their lives. He was gentle, firm, engaging, spoke with authority (How dare he!), and when necessary, showed His anger if only to reveal what is right and just in the precincts of the Lord, which is to say the sanctuary of any parish church and the sanctuary of the human heart.
Parish Priest—Pastor or Pushover?
Since when do the sheep have a vote on the Liturgy and the manner of its celebration? How many pastors, which is to say too many pastors, have become more "sheeplike" at the expense of their calling to shepherd the flock?
Instead of surrendering the Liturgy to the whims and trials of liturgists who lord a non-existent rubric of improvisation over the actual rubrics of the Mass, priests have the responsibility and privilege of conserving the rites so that the true story of the Faith is preserved and communicated to the faithful. The faithful can hardly be expected to remain faithful and grow in the Faith if the Liturgy itself is rife with abuses and excuses.
The Laity—disciples of the Lord Jesus or diplomats of the multicultural state?
Are we to excuse ourselves from the responsibility to mediate to others the saving message of Jesus by caving in to political correctness when an office manager demands we relinquish our beliefs in the public square? Is the demand to serve the public something the state can place above the consciences of civil servants who, desiring the development and well being of the common good, refuse to support state actions that impinge upon charter rights and freedoms?
On the occasion of the Institution of the Holy Eucharist and the Sacrament of Holy Orders, i.e., Holy Thursday, perhaps we might be even more mindful that the Lord Jesus Christ has entrusted us with the Holy Gospel, to spread the message of hope by our lives for the salvation of souls.
Furthermore, the Divine Liturgy entrusted by the Lord to His Church requires our utmost respect. May the "source and summit of the Christian Faith" be celebrated with solemn and sober dignity.
A holy Triduum to all.
Tuesday, April 15, 2014
Monday, April 14, 2014
Sunday, April 13, 2014
Saturday, April 12, 2014
Original report: Click HEREIl Papa ha confermato mons. Guido Marini come maestro delle Celebrazioni liturgiche pontificie. Nato 49 anni fa a Genova, mons. Guido Marini era stato chiamato a questo incarico da Benedetto XVI nell’ottobre del 2007.The Pope has confirmed Msgr. Guido Marini as Master of Pontifical Liturgical Celebrations. Born 49 years ago in Genoa, Msgr. Guido Marini was named to this position by Pope Benedict XVI in October 2007.
Pray for the good monsignor!
The Catholic politician's duty is not to vote for legislation that merely appeases the majority, especially if a majority of the population holds to positions that are racist, antihuman and are inherently illogical. The duty of the Catholic public servant is to promote laws and policies that are true and good, and to vote against laws and policies which are evil, e.g., legislation which destroys unborn life, promotes violence and/or promotes immorality. For example, the slogan "personally opposed to abortion" is a hollow verbal and mental gymnastic which avoids the implications of the Catholic Faith handed on to us by the Apostles and neglects to consider the consequences of promoting unjust laws. Catholics have a duty to shape legislation and policy so that laws conform to the natural law, which is itself a mirror of the divine Law.
The Church's social doctrine is the only body of thought that is capable of supporting authentic democracy and its increase. The Constitution of the United States, magnificent document that it is, will not be respected nor authentically interpreted unless politicians are oriented to the mindset which produced the documents in the first place. That is, a Judeo-Christian ethos. The Catholic Church's expression of that Judeo-Christian heritage is the clearest and most thorough presentation of that heritage. The Church's teaching produces better citizens than atheistic secular philosophies. One need only take note of the stark contrast between societies which have embraced a militant secularism in the past, e.g., the former Soviet Union and currently North Korea (DPRK), and western societies that value fundamental freedoms but which, forced to embrace the ideologies imposed by militant secularists, are beginning to collapse. Look at Britain and most, if not all, of the Scandinavian countries.
- Immigration and social(ist) policies are failing, ghettos are emerging and immigrants are engaging in violence to impose a radical islamist ideology on states that have opened their doors to suffering peoples.
- Those same suffering peoples, i.e., people who suffered in their former Middle-eastern and African homelands, are now inflicting suffering on the western societies which have offered refuge.
- The states which have welcomed muslim immigrants from warring states have provided comprehensive welfare and free medical and educational support.
- The welcoming states are now rife with immigrant violence: e.g., a huge increase in rape of Swedish women by muslim attackers; violent demonstrations seeking the imposition of shari'a law while flouting the law of the land; destruction of property; exclusion of indigenous populations from muslim dominated communities; and so forth.
Democracy, a true and lasting democracy that protects the weak and shelters the homeless and educates its citizens because it is not only practical but morally right to do so, depends on people who are themselves virtuous and know how to promote the common good. Virtuous people, guardians of democracy, work to root out corruption when evil infects government and law enforcement.