Thursday, July 31, 2014

Rescuing the Sign of Peace

It has been a long time since I have posted anything - I'm having to relearn! Sandro Magister informs us that a new teaching document has been sent to the bishops of the world concerning the sign of peace. Following the Synod on the Eucharist in 2005, a study was made as to whether the sign of peace should be moved to another place in the Mass, e.g. before the Offertory, or remain in its traditional place. It has been decided with Pope Francis' approval that no change should be made as to its place to avoid structural changes to the Mass but that its true nature should be taught.

I cannot find the letter in English but from the Spanish version one learns the following:

  • the invitation to exchange the sign of peace should not be given in a mechanical way, i.e. it shouldn't be just automatic. If it is likely that the sign of peace will not be exchanged in an appropriate manner in a given circumstance of if it is judged that pedagogically it is a good thing not to carry it out on certain occasions, it may be omitted and even should be omitted. We are reminded that the rubrics say: "Then, if appropriate, the Deacon, or the Priest, adds: Let us offer each other the sign of peace."

  • abuses such as the following are to be avoided:
    - the introduction of a "song for peace" which does not exist in the Roman Rite;
    - the moving around of the faithful during the sign of peace;
    - the priest leaving the altar to give the peace to some of the faithful;
    - in circumstances such as Christmas, Easter, or during ritual celebrations such as Baptisms, First Communion, Confirmation, Marriage, Ordination, Religious Profession or Funerals, turning the sign of peace into an occasion to greet or to express condolences to those present.

  • Episcopal Conferences are invited to prepare liturgical catechesis about the significance of the Rite of Peace in the Roman liturgy and the correct way of carrying it out during the Mass. The Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments encloses with their letter some orientational lines.
The Holy Father Pope Francis approved the letter on June 7 and it was published on June 8, the Solemnity of Pentecost.

So I bet every parish can soon expect some catechesis on the subject.

The above picture was taken from Father Tim Finigan's blog. It just so happens on the June 6 he posted an article about the distortion of the sign of peace in most parishes today. Since it does not appear to be possible to post comments on his blog, I thought I'd put a post up myself.

[Update: Fr Z reports and comments.]

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Happy Thanksgiving

I met someone after Mass today who had read my blog but mentioned that perhaps I should change the picture by putting another post up and shift my last post of May 2nd down from the top of the blog. I hereby do so my putting a Happy Thanksgiving post. No guarantee of further posts is given. I'm rather enjoying the peace of not blogging. At least for now. Here is a post from the National Catholic Register about the Thanksgiving messages of Presidents Washington and Lincoln. Deo gratias!

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George Washington, Abraham Lincoln and Thanksgiving (1442)

Comforting words for a new nation and for a time when it was torn by civil war.

 11/28/2013 Comment
Photo illustration by Melissa Hartog
– Photo illustration by Melissa Hartog
In response to a joint request by both Houses of Congress, on Oct. 3, 1789, President George Washington proclaimed Nov.  26, 1789, as a day of “public thanksgiving and prayer” devoted to “the service of that great and glorious Being who is the beneficent Author of all the good that was, that is, or that will be.”
Here is the full text of President Washington’s 1789 Thanksgiving proclamation:
By the President of the United States of America, a Proclamation.
Whereas it is the duty of all nations to acknowledge the providence of Almighty God, to obey His will, to be grateful for His benefits, and humbly to implore His protection and favor; and — Whereas both Houses of Congress have, by their joint committee, requested me “to recommend to the people of the United States a day of public thanksgiving and prayer, to be observed by acknowledging with grateful hearts the many and signal favors of Almighty God, especially by affording them an opportunity peaceably to establish a form of government for their safety and happiness:”
Now, therefore, I do recommend and assign Thursday, the 26th day of November next, to be devoted by the people of these States to the service of that great and glorious Being who is the beneficent author of all the good that was, that is, or that will be; that we may then all unite in rendering unto Him our sincere and humble thanks for His kind care and protection of the people of this country previous to their becoming a nation; for the signal and manifold mercies and the favor, able interpositions of His providence in the course and conclusion of the late war; for the great degree of tranquillity, union, and plenty which we have since enjoyed; for the peaceable and rational manner in which we have been enabled to establish constitutions of government for our safety and happiness, and particularly the national one now lately instituted; for the civil and religious liberty with which we are blessed, and the means we have of acquiring and diffusing useful knowledge; and, in general, for all the great and various favors which He has been pleased to confer upon us.
And also that we may then unite in most humbly offering our prayers and supplications to the great Lord and Ruler of Nations, and beseech Him to pardon our national and other trangressions; to enable us all, whether in public or private stations, to perform our several and relative duties properly and punctually; to render our National Government a blessing to all the people by constantly being a Government of wise, just, and constitutional laws, discreetly and faithfully executed and obeyed; to protect and guide all sovereigns and nations (especially such as have shown kindness to us), and to bless them with good governments, peace, and concord; to promote the knowledge and practice of true religion and virtue, and the increase of science among them and us; and, generally, to grant unto all mankind such a degree of temporal prosperity as He alone knows to be best.
Given under my hand at the City of New York the third day of October in the year of our Lord 1789.
Go. Washington

On Oct. 3, 1863, President Abraham Lincoln issued his own Thanksgiving proclamation. In it, he invited a nation “in the midst of a civil war of unequaled magnitude and severity” to observe Nov. 26, 1863, “as a day of Thanksgiving and Praise to our beneficent Father who dwelleth in the Heavens,” and to “commend to His tender care all those who have become widows, orphans, mourners or sufferers in the lamentable civil strife in which we are unavoidably engaged, and fervently implore the interposition of the Almighty Hand to heal the wounds of the nation and to restore it as soon as may be consistent with the Divine purposes to the full enjoyment of peace, harmony, tranquillity and Union.”
Here is the full text of President Lincoln’s 1863 Thanksgiving proclamation:
By the President of the United States of America.
A Proclamation.
The year that is drawing towards its close, has been filled with the blessings of fruitful fields and healthful skies. To these bounties, which are so constantly enjoyed that we are prone to forget the source from which they come, others have been added, which are of so extraordinary a nature, that they cannot fail to penetrate and soften even the heart which is habitually insensible to the ever watchful providence of Almighty God. In the midst of a civil war of unequaled magnitude and severity, which has sometimes seemed to foreign States to invite and to provoke their aggression, peace has been preserved with all nations, order has been maintained, the laws have been respected and obeyed, and harmony has prevailed everywhere except in the theatre of military conflict; while that theatre has been greatly contracted by the advancing armies and navies of the Union. Needful diversions of wealth and of strength from the fields of peaceful industry to the national defence, have not arrested the plough, the shuttle or the ship; the axe has enlarged the borders of our settlements, and the mines, as well of iron and coal as of the precious metals, have yielded even more abundantly than heretofore. Population has steadily increased, notwithstanding the waste that has been made in the camp, the siege and the battle-field; and the country, rejoicing in the consiousness of augmented strength and vigor, is permitted to expect continuance of years with large increase of freedom.
No human counsel hath devised nor hath any mortal hand worked out these great things. They are the gracious gifts of the Most High God, who, while dealing with us in anger for our sins, hath nevertheless remembered mercy. It has seemed to me fit and proper that they should be solemnly, reverently and gratefully acknowledged as with one heart and one voice by the whole American People.
I do therefore invite my fellow citizens in every part of the United States, and also those who are at sea and those who are sojourning in foreign lands, to set apart and observe the last Thursday of November next, as a day of Thanksgiving and Praise to our beneficent Father who dwelleth in the Heavens. And I recommend to them that while offering up the ascriptions justly due to Him for such singular deliverances and blessings, they do also, with humble penitence for our national perverseness and disobedience, commend to His tender care all those who have become widows, orphans, mourners or sufferers in the lamentable civil strife in which we are unavoidably engaged, and fervently implore the interposition of the Almighty Hand to heal the wounds of the nation and to restore it as soon as may be consistent with the Divine purposes to the full enjoyment of peace, harmony, tranquillity and Union.
In testimony whereof, I have hereunto set my hand and caused the Seal of the United States to be affixed.
Done at the City of Washington, this Third day of October, in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and sixty-three, and of the Independence of the Unites States the Eighty-eighth.
By the President: Abraham Lincoln
William H. Seward,
Secretary of State

Read more: 08:14:01#ixzz2lyvKeMc3

Thursday, May 2, 2013

Life-saving abortions - have you ever heard of one?

The result of a "life-saving" procedure.
That's how Ireland's proposal to legalise abortion with a its double-speak "Life During Pregnancy Bill" is described by an Associated Press report. SPUC has described the Bill as worse than Britain's 1967 Abortion Act. Language has been emptied of its meaning when abortion can be described as life-saving. This is the tyranny of relativism.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

New Cardinals: Princes of a Higher Kingdom

As was widely reported, Pope Benedict created six new non-European cardinals on eve of the Solemnity of Christ the King.
New Cardinal Luis Tagle of Manila wipes away tears after being
made a cardinal by Pope Benedict XVI during a consistory
in St. Peter's Basilica at the Vatican Nov. 24. (CNS)

The Pope concluded his homily last Sunday:
To you, dear and venerable Brother Cardinals – I think in particular of those created yesterday – is is entrusted this demanding responsibility: to bear witness to the kingdom of God, to the truth. This means working to bring out ever more clearly the priority of God and his will over the interests of the world and its powers. Become imitators of Jesus, who, before Pilate, in the humiliating scene described by the Gospel, manifested his glory: that of loving to the utmost, giving his own life for those whom he loves. This is the revelation of the kingdom of Jesus. And for this reason, with one heart and one soul, let us pray: Adveniat regnum tuum – Thy kingdom come. Amen.

Voice for Justice: a religious freedom blog from the UK

A new blog to counteract the Thought Control that is being perpetrated in the UK on such things as same sex "Marriage", Islam, etc.

The most recent post begins:
The Thought police … coming to a street near you

118 Tory MPs rebelling over the proposed legislation, now apparently being fast-tracked by David Cameron, to allow gay marriage! Whatever next? However hard our Prime Minister tries to pull religion – that is, Christianity - into line and tell us we’re out of step, he seems doomed to failure. And rightly so. Same sex marriage was conspicuously absent from the Tory manifesto leading up to the last election, and it is not, and never can be, the province of Government to try to redefine belief. Yet this is what same sex marriage will do, if it ever becomes law. In one fell swoop, it will attempt to rewrite the Biblical understanding of the nature of men and women, and of our relationship with each other, and with God.

This kind of loopy interventionism would seem increasingly to be becoming a hallmark of British life...

Year of Faith Tweets from English and Welsh Bishops Conference

Pioneering use of ‘twitter’ during the Year of Faith
A new way to teach the Catholic Faith and to encourage people to read the Bible is being piloted on the social networking tool, ‘Twitter’.
@YoFtweets is a daily service that is being provided by the Catholic Bishops’ Department for Evangelisation and Catechesis, in partnership with Bible Society. Throughout the Year of Faith (11 October 2012 – 24 November 2013), followers will be led through the documents of the Second Vatican Council, with related extracts from the Bible being offered, as well as quotes from the Catechism of the Catholic Church and from some Saints.   
Bishop Kieran Conry, Chair of the Department for Evangelisation and Catechesis, said: “This is the first time that the Department has been involved in a project to use Twitter to offer a scheme of catechetical material. We hope that, especially for very busy people, it will provide an easily accessible daily encouragement to grow in faith and to share it. Please do 'follow' and share it with your friends.”
Supported by the Bishops' Home Mission Desk, over 400 tweets have been prepared and, where possible, the material complements the liturgical seasons. Quotes in Lent, for example, are designed to help followers to prepare for Easter.
Bishop Conry added: “We hope that by reading the material on Twitter people might be inspired to read more of the documents, the Bible and the Catechism. The Twitter initiative is, we hope, a helpful starting point for people.”
The promotion of the tweets comes ahead of a second national initiative concerning Scripture which is called 'Bible Sunday' and falls on 9 December. For more information please see:  
To sign up for the Twitter resource follow: @YoFtweets and also see: 
Additional Year of Faith materials are available on: 

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Where to now?

There is a lot of angst among many in the Church about what to do now that President Obama has won a second term. Clearly the bishops' efforts (with the help of their priests and other collaborators) to draw attention to the intrinsic evils that formed part of the Democratic Party's policy platform did not convince a sufficient number of Catholics that they should vote for someone other than the President or Democratic candidates.

One article which demonstrates such angst is by George Weigel in the online version of FirstThings entitled: The Crisis of a Second Obama Administration.

Among other things Weigel calls for the withdrawal of the Church from the civil side of marriage.

The eminent and always concise and perceptive Dr Edward Peters has responded on his blog in a post entitled: Some first thoughts on Weigel’s call to reconsider civil consequences for Catholic weddings.

I entered a comment under the First Things article referred to above but, because of its length, I doubt it shall be published. So here it is.
I have to own up to echoing the opinion of an eminent canonist, and that is that clergy do not so much act as agents of the State. Rather, the State accords recognition to marriages celebrated in the presence of a duly authorized Church minister. If the State wishes to accord such recognition, why reject it? It is good for the couple and for society that the marriage receives such recognition.

As for celebrating marriages that would not receive recognition from the State (e.g. of those without legal papers), Canon Law prohibits this without the permission of the Local Ordinary. There are all sorts of reasons why the Local Ordinary might withhold permission, in which case there are ways and means for the couple themselves to celebrate the marriage without the intervention of a duly delegated minister (who, however, should be present but not intervening). Canonists will be familiar with Can. 1116. Non-canonists: beware. This canon requires careful interpretation. Such a marriage would be sacramental (if both baptized) but would not enjoy civil recognition. The couple would enjoy the Church's blessing upon their union and would, therefore, be able to receive Holy Communion, be godparents, etc. They would not, however, benefit from any state recognition.

All this goes to show that the Civil and Ecclesiastical are separate spheres. One offers civil benefits. The other offers spiritual goods. If both can work together, why tear them asunder?

I feel that the most urgent matter at hand is to deal with those Catholics in public life who promote intrinsic evils. Their diocesan bishops should issue them with the warnings that Canon Law foresees (precepts) and, should they fail to come into line, notify them that they fall under Canon 915. Further penalties can also be considered.

Then we must address the issues affecting the Church's proclamation of the Social Gospel including, but not limited to: the sanctity of life, the dignity of marriage, the care offered to the stranger (i.e. immigrants - has the Church lost Latinos as a result of this election campaign) and the poor.

A renewed catechesis to be offered to all Catholics who attend Mass, and a public campaign of information on the Church's teaching on various issues.

Homosexuality: However hard it might be, we also need to present our compassionate approach to those who experience same sex attraction, without compromising on the Divine Law concerning marriage and the purpose of human sexuality. We will, like Cardinal Keith O'Brien of Scotland, receive "bigot of the year" awards from organizations such as Stonewall, no doubt, but we might at least reach those with open hearts and minds.

I feel this political campaign has divided us so much. The Holy Spirit might show us some ways of healing these divisions.

We need also to recognize that there is a choice to be made: Christ or the World. We are in the world but not of it. Let the world go its way, if it insists. Let us be faithful to the Lord. If the State deprives us of our freedom, it does so unjustly. It will not be the first time Christians experience injustice. But nothing can deprive us of our inner freedom of conscience and will: even if we must withdraw from those areas that, traditionally, were the initiative of Christian missionaries: schools, hospitals, etc. Naturally, we should not do so without seeking to vindicate our rights before the civil courts. It is ridiculous for the State - on the pretext of the separation of the Church and State - to want to kick the Church out of these areas and institutions which were founded, in large part, by Catholic and other Christian missionaries. But if it does, so be it.

Oh, and if we lose tax exempt status, fine.


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