November 2001

November 29, 2001 - Vigil of St. Andrew, Apostle

The Beginnings of Christianity

From: Paul

Dear Fr. Moderator:

It seems that modern Biblical scholars are rewriting the founding of Christianity. They claim that Jesus did not found Christianity but the "Jesus Movement," a Jewish apocalyptic movement. Also, they assume that the Apostles anticipated the end times to come in their lifetime, especially St. Paul, and that the more the End Times didn't come, the more they revised their preaching about the parousia, Paul, for example, telling the Churches to wait and be patient, for the parousia will come). Would you please comment?

Fr. Moderator Replies.

There was an opinion in the early Apostolic era that the Second Coming might be within a human generation (33 years). However, a clearer understanding that generatio did not mean a literal human generation was soon reached.

"Christianity" is simply the religion of Christ. It is quite clear from the New Testament that what Christ taught was not Judaism as the Jews knew it. Otherwise, the leaders of the synagogue, the Scribes and Pharisees, would not have been so hostile to it. If you read the Acts of the Apostles in the New Testament, you will see how Christianity quickly came to be understood to be something quite different from Judaism.

November 27, 2001 - Ferial Day

Candidate for Pope?

From: Fr. Moderator:

"We're not attacking Islam, but Islam has attacked us. The God of Islam is not the same God. He's not the Son of God of the Christian or Judaeo-Christian faith. It's a different God, and I believe it is a very evil and wicked religion."

One might expect that such a statement would come from a Roman Catholic pope. It certainly reflects the prayer of Pope Pius XI imposed upon the Church in the 1920s. But who actually said it? John Paul II?

Hardly. This sensible and objectively true statement was said by -- Franklin Graham, the son and successor of Protestant preacher Billy Graham. Would that we had a pope who would speak such Catholic sense!

The Mind of Pope Paul VI

From: Tim

Dear Fr. Moderator:

Pope Paul VI is quoted as having said: "Be very sure of one point: nothing of substance of the traditional Mass has been altered." Since 60 to 80% of the Traditional rite was removed from the Novus Ordo Missae, depending on which "Eucharistic prayer" is used, how do we assess these words of the late pontiff?

  1. Was he lying and being purposely deceptive?
  2. Was he delusional?
  3. Was he not that well acquainted with the contents of the Traditional Latin Mass?
  4. Was he pressured to make a statement that he knew in his heart of hearts was not true?

One, or a combination of these possibilities, must have been operative, wouldn't you think?

Fr. Moderator Replies.

I cannot read his mind as to his intent. However, objectively, the quoted statement is deceptive. There does seem to be evidence from his close associates, who are speaking out now that he has been dead for over twenty years, that he had symptoms similar to manic-depression. His documents show that propensity: lauding the New Order in one document and condemning it in the next. He was certainly acquainted with the Traditional Latin Mass, as that was the rite he said all his life until after Vatican II. He was of two minds (another symptom of possible manic-depression).

If, in fact, he was suffering from mental disease and was to some degree non compos mentis, then according to long-standing Catholic theology, his acts could well be invalid. Wouldn't it be the final irony if all of the New Order were invalid because promulgated by a pope who was not mentally competent?

Bible Only?

From: Francis

Dear Fr. Moderator:

Why can't Catholics say "Bible alone" like Protestants?

Fr. Moderator Replies.

Martin Luther's notion of Biblia sola [Bible alone] is quite erroneous. Even the Bible doesn't support it -- the Bible, which itself says that it is incomplete (twice, for example, toward the end of St. John's Gospel). St. Paul frequently speaks of Tradition as being a source of the Faith.

Moreover, the Bible does not speak about itself. If this book were supposed to be the sole source of salvation, don't you think that it would be littered with references to itself and how it is necessary to read it to be saved? Instead, Luther came up with that Biblia sola notion out of whole cloth. There is no evidence that Christ ever spoke about a "Bible." Certainly He did not say that such a thing is the only means of salvation.

November 26, 2001 - St. Silvester, Abbot (Double)

Flags -- in Church?!

From: Elise

Dear Fr. Moderator:

Could you please explain why the American flag would appear in a Catholic Church?

Fr. Moderator Replies.

By the law of the Universal Church, nothing should be in the sanctuary but the sacred materials for the celebration of Holy Mass. By local custom in some places, tolerated over a period of time, the national flag of the country and of the Vatican City State appears on either side of the sanctuary. How that practice began, I do not know, but from the general law of the Church no flags should be in the sanctuary.

November 24, 2001 - St. John of the Cross, Confessor & Doctor (Double)

Our Debt to the Romans

From: Douglas

Dear Fr. Moderator:

I have heard that the city of Rome was originally known as Saturnia or the City of Saturn. The Roman Catholic Church retains much of the Saturn worship in its ritual. Saturn also relates to Lucifer. Saturn was important to the religion of Mithra, and also the Druids.

Fr. Moderator Replies.

It appears that your correspondent getting a number of things mixed up. No doubt, the Roman Catholic Church was the successor to high classical Rome. That is one of the reasons why it is called the Roman Catholic Church. But that was how the Divine Providence planned it, to implant the Faith in Rome so that it could be carried to the entire world.

Moreover, most of Western culture (art, architecture, language, etc.) is based upon high classicism of Rome and indirectly of Greece, as Christianized by the Church. And thank God for it! This civilizing influence has persisted for good to the present day, and its divine purpose was well explicated by, among others, St. Augustine in Civitas Dei and even by Dante Alighieri in De Monarchia.

This high culture was far from the naturalistic culture of the old state religion of the 8th century before Christ and has nothing to do with Lucifer, who is not a Greco-Roman concept at all. Saturn was an "old" god, something like an image of God the Father. Saturn was the father of Jupiter, king of the Roman pantheon. His chief festival, the Saturnalia, was easily Christianized into Christmas, the commemoration of the Mass of the Nativity of Our Lord.

Druidism was a Celtic religion, not associated with Rome at all. The Celts were a native Brittanic people, against whom, in fact, the Roman general Julius Caesar battled. Mithraism was a mystery religion imported from the East, not derived from Rome. In fact, the Romans on the whole were too practical and balanced to tolerate such nonsense. Around the 2nd century B.C., when Eastern mystical religions were finding their way to Rome and catching on with the sons of the nobility, the Roman fathers sternly extirpated the nonsense in the incident known as the Bacchanalian Conspiracy.

The Issue of Popular Sagas

From: Fernando

Dear Fr. Moderator:

Currently, an inventive series about a young witch is popular. There is also a very popular film series about a warlock-knight. There are some who decry these popular sagas with great elan. What are we to think about them?

Fr. Moderator Replies.

I haven't read them and don't intend to, as they are really below what an adult should be contemplating. So I will make some general remarks. Is it possible that Shakespeare's line might apply, "The lady doth protest too much, methinks" in these fanciful literary matters (Hamlet, III, ii, 242). Otherwise,

One of the most admirable things about the Catholic Church is the degree to which it has inspired and supported literary creativity. Remember, that we would have none of the great classical literature -- its sagas, its non-Christian philosophies, and even its explicit amatory poetry -- if the Benedictine monks of the post-classical ages had not been broadminded enough to consider this literature worth preserving.

At the height of the Renaissance, there were even cardinals who objected to Michelangelo's depiction of figures descending to Hell naked. Pope Julius II, however, understood the brillance of the painter's work and silenced the nay-saying cardinals. Now the superlative artistry of Michelangelo's Last Judgment stares down at the cardinals in conclave, reminding them of the life-and-death nature of their selection of a pope.

It was not the Catholics, but the Protestant Calvinist Puritans who burned books, suppressed Christmas, and affixed the Scarlet Letter to the adulterous woman, who nevertheless was courageous enough not to condemn publicly the Puritan clergyman who was the instigator of the act.

When the heads of our youth are filled daily with at best degenerate music and at worst satanic music, when commercial (as opposed to cable) television pumps immorality into living rooms, and Catholic adults simply join with their children in listening to and watching this degeneracy, I find it hard to get too exercised about a literary exercise that has roots in our culture two to three millennia ago.

I think that Catholics must be very careful not to sink to the level of Philistines or Puritans in literary matters. If you are a concerned parent, check the suspect books yourself and give your children the benefit of your guidance. If you don't care for them, start them on Homer!

November 22, 2001 - St. Cecilia, Virgin & Martyr (Double)

Our Indonesian Correspondent Reports Moslem Attacks against Christians

From: Jeff (Indonesia)

Dear Fr. Moderator:

The district of Poso, Central Sulawesi, is under attack as I write this, November 17. Over 50,000 Christians are in terrible peril as I write. The jihad are attacking, and the situation is critical. Unless there is a miracle many lives will be lost. I have just talked with Christian leaders in Tentena, and they are crying out for help. They are desperate for food, medicine, and protection. They are completely surrounded and request our prayer support. Please bring this to the attention of as many intercessors as possible as these Christians are in imminent danger. If the jihad terrorists break through, there will be great massacres. The jihad are well organized and well equipped.

This is of utmost urgency, and we must pray that the hand of the Lord will stop these disciples of Islamism from doing their evil deeds. Please call on your friends and churches to start praying now to prevent these terrorists and that the Lord will intervene.

Fr. Moderator Replies.

And where is the pope, decrying this massacre of his people? Where is he when bishops, priests, and nuns are imprisoned, tortured, and publicly executed in Communist China? He seems too busy calling an ecumenical love-in in Assisi. And people complain about Pope Pius XII because he (allegedly) didn't speak out against the Nazis. Plee-az!

The current pope kisses the blasphemous Koran and implicitly supports by this incomprehensible act the militarism of Islamism. Thank the Lord, we don't have just one pope, but some 260. If the current one happens to wander off the dime, we can find wisdom in the others.

Pope Pius XI, for example, imposed upon the Church a Consecration to the Sacred Heart of Jesus, which he decreed should be said on bent knee before the Most Blessed Sacrament exposed on the Feast of Our Lord Jesus Christ, King, the last Sunday of October. That prayer included the petition that the Mohammedans be converted "from the darkness of Islamism." Interestingly, when the politically-correct John XXIII got in, he expunged this paragraph -- just another weakness of the "Indult" Missal of 1962.

The Wisdom of the Church

From: Bryant

Dear Fr. Moderator:

There are many different scapulars and devotions that have been given to us? What is the reason that there are so many? How does one choose a particular devotion? For example, why would one choose to wear the green as opposed to the brown scapular?

Fr. Moderator Replies.

The wisdom of the Church recognizes that human souls differ greatly in their individual human characteristics. Therefore, she provides a variety of opportunities for receiving graces, according to the particular disposition of the individual soul.

There is, of course, the public liturgy of the Church, the Divine Office and the Holy Mass, in which all must participate, as the Universal Church's due worship of Almighty God. But as to private devotion, there is much to choose from to meet individual dispositions. One should, however, not go off half-cocked, but rather should select a meaningful devotion and concentrate on it consistently. As the classical Greek saying goes: Ou polla, alla pollu [quality, not quantity].

November 21, 2001 - Presentation of the Blessed Virgin Mary (Double)

Is there a Catholic Country Left?

From: Fr. Moderator

Have Catholics awakened yet to the fact that in this era of "tolerance," nay, "preference" of anti-Catholic bigotry, that, even in tempore belli the central symbol of our Faith is suppressed in a supposedly Catholic country? I wonder whether the Italian schools close for Lent?

Fury Over Removal of Crucifix
Catholic Herald
A dispute over a teacher's decision to remove a crucifix from a classroom wall, so as to make a Muslim student feel "more at home," is having repercussions throughout Italy.
The row came as Italians clashed over calls for some schools to close for the Muslim holy month of Ramadan.
Although Catholicism is no longer the state religion of Italy, a Mussolini-era statute continues to require that crucifixes hang in municipal buildings.

Novus Ordo Turns Protestant

From: Fr. Moderator

If (and I say if) the poll below is to be believed, there is no question (as if there ever were any) that the Novus Ordo will shortly become unmistakably Protestant.

NEW YORK (CWNews) - A new poll of American Catholics reports that they overwhelmingly support the Pope, generally support their priests and bishops, mostly oppose abortion, but that many believe priests should marry, women should be ordained, and birth control should be allowed.
The survey by LeMoyne College of Syracuse, New York, and Zogby International interviewed 1,508 American Catholics between October 25 and November 1. The results showed that 90 percent of Catholics agree that Pope John Paul II is doing a good job, and a similar majority approve of the American bishops as a whole (85 percent), their local bishops (83 percent), and their local pastors (86%).

On another plane, what a supreme contradiction that "support" of the pope, bishops, etc., means denying the Roman Catholic Faith! What kind of "support" is this? Do they support the way the pope parts his hair? Do they support the way the bishop dances?

Of course, such "polls" are worthless, since they sample only Novus Ordinarians. It is like asking Nazis whether they support Hitler, or Communists whether they support Stalin!

A majority of Catholics say they attend Mass at least weekly (54 percent).

This part of the poll proves its falsity. Novus Ordo Mass attendance figures have been tracked very carefully for over fifty years by Gallup and other academic institutes. The current Novus Ordo attendance rate is actually a little below 20%. If somebody asked you how often you attend Mass, and you attend only once a month or so, are you going to say once a month, or do you feel guilty and lie saying once a week? All legitimate pollsters know about this skew in self-reported data.

November 20, 2001 - St. Felix of Valois, Confessor (Double)

Muslim Imams in U.S. Military

From: Paul

Dear Fr. Moderator:

Do you know that there are 15,000 Muslims serving in the U.S. armed forces? Are you aware that the U.S. military has Muslim Imams [ministers]?

Following September 11, Captain Abd Al-Rasheed Muhammad, Imam of Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Washington, D.C., asked the North American Islamic Jurisprudence Council if it is permissible for Muslim troops in the U.S. military to fight other Muslims in the war against terrorism. [Why did this question even come up in a U.S. Muslim's mind? Is it possible that the government is trying to soften over the stark differences in the religio-cultural war between Christianity and Mohammedanism?]

The Council referred the matter to Muslim clerics abroad, who issued a Fatwa [religious interpretation] permitting U.S. Muslims to fight if there was "no alternative." Whew! The chain of command of the U.S. military remained intact. But not for long. The Middle East Media Research Institute reports that the Arab clerics reconsidered and withdrew permission on October 30, issuing a new Fatwa prohibiting U.S. Muslim troops from participating in U.S. attacks on Muslim forces.

Oh, no, not again!

From: Fr. Moderator

Those who remember the sacrilege which occurred on October 27, 1986, when Pope John Paul II hosted an "ecumenical" prayer meeting at Assisi, Italy, during which an image of Buddha was placed on top of the tabernacle in St. Francis' own basilica, will be horrified to learn that apparently he wants to do it again!

As to the called-for prayer on Ramadan (!), I would instead encourage Catholics to pray Pope Pius XI's indulgenced prayer, "Consecration of the Human Race to the Sacred Heart of Jesus," which includes the proper Catholic invocation: Be Thou King of all those who are still involved in the darkness of idolatry or of Islamism, and refuse not to draw them all into the light and kingdom of God. It would certainly be sacrilegious to pray with a false religion that wishes to destroy Christianity. Instead, we should pray for the conversion of the adherents of that false religion.

On the blasphemy inherent in the selection of the date, which falls within the Octave of the Feast of the Immaculate Conception, a feastday of Our Lady who overcame the Mohammedan infidels in a miraculous naval victory at Lepanto under Pope St. Pius V in 1571, no comment is necessary.

Pope Invites World Religions to Assisi
By Nicole Winfield
The Associated Press AP-NY-11-18-01 1329EST
VATICAN CITY (AP) - Pope John Paul II, concerned about the continued impact on humanity of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, invited representatives of the world's religions to come to Assisi, Italy on Jan. 24 for a daylong prayer for peace. In his weekly appearance Sunday at St. Peter's Square, the pontiff invited leaders of all faiths, but particularly Christians and Muslims, to "proclaim before the world that religion should never become a motive for conflict, hatred and violence." Assisi, a pilgrimage hilltown in central Italy, is the birthplace of St. Francis, the founder of the Roman Catholic Franciscan order. The pope has twice before invited leaders of various faiths to gather in Assisi to pray for peace.
During his appearance, the 81-year-old pontiff also asked Catholics to fast on Dec. 14 and pray to God for justice and an end to the many conflicts in the world. He noted that the date coincides with the holy month of Ramadan, the month-long holiday of fasting and purification for Muslims.
Some of the town's famed basilicas, including the basilica of St. Francis, were badly damaged following two earthquakes that jolted central Italy on Sept. 26, 1997 [a sign of God's disfavor on blasphemous "ecumenical" conventions?]

On the other hand, it appears that our Protestant friends, at least some of them, have more sense.

AGAPE -- The nation's largest denomination will not be taking part in interfaith prayer services in the wake of the terrorist attacks. Since the attacks, numerous prayer services have been held which featured Christian denominations sharing the stage with Muslims, Jews, Buddhists, Hindus, and Roman Catholics. But pastors representing the Southern Baptist Convention have been absent from such gatherings.

Pastor Dwayne Mercer of the First Baptist Church of Oviedo, Florida, says he will not take part in such gatherings because Southern Baptists believe Jesus is the only way to heaven -- a view not shared by other religions. Mercer said that if he did attend events with leaders of other faiths, members of his congregation might assume he believes that all faiths are legitimate, which he does not. Mercer is president of the one-million-member Florida Baptist Convention.

November 19, 2001 - St. Elizabeth, Widow (Double)

Eternal Rome

From: Jo Ann

Dear Fr. Moderator:

What is "Eternal Rome"? If the Ecclesia Dei "indult" was granted in l988, what happened? We are allowed one Traditional Latin Mass per Sunday in our archdiocese, in a very bad part of town. This doesn't seem to be what the Pope stated. Why do the people in the traditional movement seem so disunited?

Fr. Moderator Replies.

"Eternal Rome" is a term used to distinguish the Rome of the Roman Catholic Church (its orthodoxy and orthopraxis) from any transient church administration that might not be in conformity with the Roman Catholic Faith. There have been a number of cases of such occurrences, for example, the fourth century, when even the papacy was tainted with the heresy of Arianism, the reign of Pope Honorius, who who was excommunicated, and other times.

The Ecclesia Dei "indult" has been proven to be a shill for the local bishops to suppress traditional Catholicism and inject Newchurch Catholicism into local dioceses. No "indult" is ever required to celebrate or attend the Traditional Latin Mass of the Roman Rite, which has been canonized in perpetuity by the Church and the pope.

I don't understand what you mean when you say that traditional Catholics are disunited. On the contrary, they are united in many important things: the Deposit of Faith, Catholic doctrine, and Catholic liturgy. It is the Novus Ordinarians who are united on nothing! They can't agree on anything in doctrine or in liturgy. Some advocate a married clergy and priestesses. Others want homosexuality to be accepted as natural. Still others want all religions to be equal. Even the bishops and the pope often go along with this nonsense.

I can't put it better than Pope Paul VI. He said that after the Vatican II Council, the Church is bent on "auto-destruction".

Latin Is Easy

From: Douglas

Dear Fr. Moderator:

Thank you for advising me to "jump in" -- total immersion -- in praying the Divine Office in Latin. It works quite well. If I had waited to learn Latin, I may never have started. I find that as I read the psalms in Latin I understand more than I realized. I do not stop to try to translate, but often the thought is clear to me even though I do not understand each word.

Several things have helped me: I studied Latin many years ago in school. I also studied Spanish and French, many of the Latin words are in the English language, and I have read the psalms for years in English.

November 18, 2001 - Dedication of the Basilica of Sts. Peter & Paul (Major Double)

No Meat on Friday

From: Thomas

Dear Fr. Moderator:

I was discussing this very topic with a friend, that it is my understanding that at one point in the history of the Catholic Church, there was to be no meat eaten on Fridays. Do you happen to know if this is true?

Fr. Moderator Replies.

Yes, it is still true. Catholics by apostolic tradition take it as a serious obligation to abstain from eating fleshmeat on any Friday of the year as a small act of self-mortification recalling the day on which Christ died on the Cross for us. Some Newchurch Catholics think that the obligation was lifted. It wasn't; this penitential practice is still applicable to the Novus Ordinarians.

November 17, 2001 - St. Gregory Thaumaturgus, Bishop & Confessor (Semidouble)

Hope for the Future

From The Remnant

"The Catholic establishment is obsessed with traditionalists precisely and only because they suspect that the traditionalists are right, and because they see that a growing number of Catholics are reaching the same conclusion. The day is coming with that patrimony will be restored in all its perennial integrity.

"The Novus Ordo liturgy will die of its own sterility, for it cannot attract priestly vocations in sufficient numbers to perpetuate itself. The ecumenical and interreligious 'dialogues' that go nowhere and produce nothing will eventually cease, and the Church will return to teaching and making disciples of all nations. The entire failed experiment in making the Church conform to the empty neologisms of the 'New Theology' will be abandoned."

The Curtain Is Torn

From: Grappa

Dear Fr. Moderator:

If Our Lord prayed publicly, at synagogue, in Hebrew (a sacred language there), why don't Catholics also pray in church in Hebrew? Wouldn't that be more traditional and Christ-like?

Fr. Moderator Replies.

No, it wouldn't. The Jewish church ended, as far as the Christian is concerned, when Our Lord died on the Cross to redeem all men, not just the Chosen People. On that occasion, as St. Matthew tells us (27:51) "the curtain of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom," signifying that the Old Covenant was at an end and that the secret Sancta Sanctorum of the Temple was exposed for the whole world, that is, the Gentiles, to see, and became the Most Blessed Sacrament of the New Covenant.

From that time the center of the Church moves from Jerusalem to Rome, consecrated by the martyrdom of Sts. Peter and Paul, and with that shift in its center the Church receives the third of the Sacred Languages mentioned in Scripture, the Latin Language. It is this language that Providence has given to the true Church to carry the clarity and truth of the Gospel to the Gentiles, as the Hebrew languages carried it to the Jews of the Old Covenant.

The Vulgate Bible

From: James

Dear Fr. Moderator:

A Novus Ordinarian tells me that vulgate means vulgar tongue. Is thus true?

Fr. Moderator Replies.

No. St. Jerome's version of Scripture is called the Biblia Vulgata (I don't believe that the Saint himself ever used the phrase), which means, literally, common books. Vulgata is not a noun, but a participle modifying Biblia, which comes from the Greek.

There was an earlier Latin version of Scripture used in the Church very early, called the Itala (Italian). St. Jerome's version was the one that really spread throughout the Roman Church and became the "common version." Vulgata comes from the Latin vulgus" meaning "the people," and the English word vulgar does later derive from it.

However, like so many English cognates that people ignorant of language take literally, the Latin word does not have the same connotation as the much later English word. Another example would be perfidus, used in the Good Friday service. The English cognate is perfidious, but the meaning in Latin is more like faithless.

Why Doesn't God Intervene?

From: Chris

Dear Fr. Moderator:

Billy Graham's daughter was being interviewed on the Early show, and Jane Clayson asked her: "How could God let something like this happen?," referring to the disaster of September 11. And Ann Graham gave an extremely profound and insightful response. She said the following.

I believe that God is deeply saddened by this, just as we are, but for years we've been telling God to get out of our schools, to get out of our government and to get out of our lives. And being the gentleman that He is, I believe that He has calmly backed out. How can we expect God to give us his blessing and His protection if we demand that He leave us alone?

Let's see, I think it started when Madeline Murray O'Hare (she was murdered, and her body was found recently) complained that she didn't want any prayer in our schools, and we said OK.

Then someone said: you'd better not read the Bible in school, the Bible that says Thou shalt not kill, Thou shalt not steal, and love your neighbor as yourself. And we said, OK.

Then, Dr. Benjamin Spock said that we shouldn't spank our children when they misbehave because their little personalities would be warped, and we might damage their self-esteem (Dr. Spock's son committed suicide). And we said said OK.

Then someone said that teachers and principals had better not discipline our children when they misbehave. And the school administrators said: No faculty member in this school had better touch a student when he misbehaves because we don't want any bad publicity, and we surely don't want to be sued. (There's a big difference between disciplining and touching, beating, smacking, humiliating, kicking, etc.). And we said, OK.

Then someone said, let's let our daughters have abortions if they want, and they shouldn't have to tell their parents. And we said, OK.

Then some wise school board members said: Since boys will be boys and they're going to do it anyway, let's give our sons all the prophylactics they want, so they can have all the fun they desire, and we won't have to tell their parents that they got them at school. And we said OK.

Then some of our top elected officials said that it doesn't matter what anyone, including the President, does in private as long as we have a job and the economy is good. And we said OK.

And then someone said let's print magazines with pictures of nude women and call it wholesome, down-to-earth appreciation for the beauty of the female body. And we said, OK.

And then someone else took that appreciation a step further and published pictures of nude children and then stepped further still by making them available on the internet. And we said OK.

And then the entertainment industry said, let's make TV show and movies that promote profanity, violence, and illicit sex. And let's record music that encourages rape, drugs, murder, suicide, and satanic themes. And we said OK.

Now we're asking ourselves why our children have no conscience, why they don't know right from wrong, and why it doesn't bother them to kill strangers, their classmates, and themselves.

Probably, if we think about it long and hard enough, we can figure it out. Funny how simple it is for people to trash God and then wonder why the world's going to hell. Funny how we believe what the newspapers say, but question what the Bible says. Funny how everyone wants to go to heaven provided that they do not have to believe, think, say, or do anything the Bible says. Funny how quick we are to judge but not to be judged.

November 16, 2001 - St. Gertrude, Virgin & Abbess (Double)

That "New New" Bible

From: Zach

Dear Fr. Moderator:

Regarding the "new new" Bible, I am of the mind that Holy Mother Church could not add anything to Scripture which would undermine the Catholic Faith, and so whatever portions of the Dead Sea Scrolls are added to the Bible would be worthy and free from moral error, as guaranteed by the Holy Ghost. Am I right in assuming that your position is the same?

Fr. Moderator Replies.

I would like to hope so, but in practice I would have serious doubts. The modern Vatican (as distinguished from the theological concept of "Rome") since the council has been unreliable in its preaching of Catholicism. Teachings that have been clear Apostolic and Catholic doctrine for 2000 years are now "fuzzed up," "nuanced," and "ambiguated."

The only clear dogma on this question, from the dogmatic Council of Trent, is that St. Jerome's Latin Vulgate, the Church's traditionally-recognized version, is free from doctrinal and moral error. There is no such guarantee for any other version, including the Neo-Vulgate. Moreover, many Catholics wonder these days, with popes kissing Korans and religious indifferentism emanating in practice from the Vatican, whether in fact the Holy Ghost has flown the Vatican coop (not Eternal Rome, of course).

November 15, 2001 - St. Albert the Great, Bishop, Confessor & Doctor (Double)

Vain Baptism

From: Terry

Dear Fr. Moderator:

As baptism remits all sin on one's soul, what would happen if (hypothetically) one's uncle who had not led a good life was dying, was in a coma, and had never been baptized, but his niece, fearing his damnation, decides to baptize him? Is the baptism valid? What if he is not sorry for his sins and if he were to waken would surely not be repentant.

Fr. Moderator Replies.

The Sacraments are not "magic." An adult must have at least the virtual intention of receiving them. If the uncle had no virtual intention of receiving Baptism (let's say, for example, that he was a confirmed atheist), it would be vain.

An interesting application of this principle is found in the vintage Gregory Peck film Keys of the Kingdom of 1944, in which the humble and devout priest played by Peck does not attempt to force Baptism on his friend, an atheist doctor, when terminally ill. The doctor says something to the effect that if in his heart he had the will to become a Catholic -- and he wished he had, but did not --, it would be principally because of the charity of the priest in not abusing his sickened condition to force upon him a Faith that he did not hold.

November 14, 2001 - St. Josaphat, Bishop & Martyr (Double)

A New, New Bible?!

From: Mary

Dear Fr. Moderator:

I heard something disturbing on a radio show last night: that the Vatican is planning to release a "new" Bible with extra texts never before published from the Dead Sea Scrolls at Qumran. Supposedly this gives more credence to the "Essene" tradition of Jesus' education. Do you have any information about this?

Fr. Moderator Replies.

First of all, what do we know dogmatically about Sacred Scripture? According to the decree of the dogmatic Council of Trent, the Latin Vulgate version of St. Jerome was declared free of error in faith and morals. The Douay-Rheims version, the Confraternity version (from the 1940s), and the Msgr. Ronald Knox version are English translations of the Latin Vulgate, although no translation can be said to be free of possible error.

For the most part (much to the surprise of some scholars), the Dead Sea Scrolls have substantiated the text that was the basis of the Greek Septuagint, which was the Old Testament Our Lord quoted from and which was the primary basis of the Old Testament Vulgate, rather than the later Hebrew recensions that are used as the modern basis of the Hebrew text.

Nothing in the Catholic Faith can be affected. Moreover, it is the Old Testament that is primarily, or exclusively, affected. Furthermore, recent biblical scholarship has not upheld the liberal scholars' notions that the Gospels were dated later after Christ's ascension, but instead have indicated that, for example, St. Mark's Gospel was written within a generation of the Ascension.

A Little "Lay Theology"

From: Ralph

Dear Fr. Moderator:

For a sacrament to be valid, aren't there three things that are necessary, namely, proper matter, proper form, and proper intention? I do believe that the Novus Ordo Baptism has a defective intention.

Fr. Moderator Replies.

One must be careful about the danger that I call "lay theology." One cannot take a theological term -- and a vernacularized translation of a theological term at that -- out of its dogmatic, sacramental, and moral context in the 2000-year Greco-Latin history of the Church's doctrine.

Let me give an example from civil law. If one reads the First Amendment to the United States Constitution, one might not have any idea that falsely yelling "Fire!" in a theater would not be treated as freedom of speech. One has to know the full history of the First Amendment and its legal interpretation throughout the last 200 or so years. Moreover, one has to know its context in Anglo-American law as a whole. How much more careful one has to be with the 2000-year Greco-Latin tradition of Roman Catholic theology!

Intention, that is, intentio interna, has a theological meaning that is not what the word would mean in English at first blush. The principle, as defined by the dogmatic Council of Trent is saltem faciendi quod facit ecclesia. A specific intention concerning the Sacrament is not required. Right intention is presumed by the use of the traditional rite. Even an atheist might baptize in case of emergency, as long as he intends to do at least what the Church does. Remember, heresy or even disbelief does not invalidate a Sacrament, as long as the right form, matter, and minister are used.

The same principle applies to the confection of the Holy Eucharist. Any priest, even if he be a heretic, schismatic, or apostate, as long as he intends to do at least what the Church does, that Mass is valid, and such intention is morally presumed if he uses the traditional rite of the Church. It doesn't matter what he personally believes. This battle was fought long ago, and the great St. Augustine cogently formulated this response, that the Sacraments operate ex opere operato, that is, from the power of Christ, not from the power of the minister.

An exception would be if, for example, the priest should make a counter-intention explicitly known. For example, the priest says: "In going through the motions of the Mass, I am simply intending to demonstrate to you seminarians how to say Mass."

"Where Does It Say So in the Bible?"

From: James

Dear Fr. Moderator:

Where did Christ or His apostles ever say or write that if some one who is suffering (with no hope of relief) and takes his own life cannot enter heaven?

Fr. Moderator Replies.

Why would you expect to find such a thing in the Bible? That is the Protestant's erroneous chant. The Bible itself says that it is far from complete (cf., e.g., John 20:30). Nor is it a "theological texbook." Rather, it sets basic doctrinal and moral principles (and sometimes details) from which, as a whole, theological conclusions can be drawn.

Suicide, as such, is a grave offense against God as Creator, just as is abortion, infanticide, euthanasia, homicide, and all the rest. The subjective moral guilt for such an action made be modified, as any moral act, by lack of knowledge or full consent. One who is doped up to insensibility and stabs himself in the heart with a scalpel is not morally compos mentis.

One cannot actively take one's own life. However, one can allow oneself to die by refusing extraordinary medical means.

November 13, 2001 - St. Didacus, Confessor (Semidouble)

One Apology Too Many?

From: Fr. Moderator

Of all the problems with the current pontificate, one of the worst has been the issuing of "apologies" for actions of the Church that were completely justifiable. For example, why should the pope apologize for the Holy Crusades, when the Mohammedans had cut off access by Christian pilgrims to the Holy Land and had enslaved thousands of Christians? The events of the last two months, as well as several major assaults by the Mohammedans on the European continent, show the necessity of that action.

For another example, why should the pope apologize to the heretic Martin Luther and even rank him among the informal "saints" of the 2000 Jubilee? No doubt there were activities of ecclesiastical officials that needed to be corrected - St. Thomas More, among others, admitted and worked for that. But Luther attempted to destroy the Church: changing its Sacred Scripture, reducing its Sacraments, destroying its the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass. Moreover, Luther was a personally a corrupt individual who promoted immorality and war and died in a night of debauchery.

Below we read of yet another apology gone awry. The pope seems to want to reconcile the Eastern schismatics, as other popes before him have hoped. However, they worked on it by prayer. This pope issues his apologies and then is slapped in the face for it. Those Eastern Orthodox patriarchs that associate with him are disowned by their congregations when they return to the East. Most would probably think that the most virulent anti-Catholics are the fundamentalists Protestants like Bob Jones; they would be wrong. I have seen the most disgusting anti-Catholic vitriol emanate from the Eastern Orthodox, many of whom don't consider Roman Catholics even Catholic!

The news release below is just the most recent example of the farcical consequences of these papal "apologies." The Orthodox simply gloat in the apology and give nothing in return.

The Armenian Apostolic Church's rapprochement and consequent unification with the Roman Catholic Church is not currently on the agenda of the Holy See of Echmiadzin, archbishop Arsen Berberyan said at a news conference in the Azdak discussion club today. He said that there had been much talk about the Roman Catholic Church recognizing the mistakes committed by the leadership of this church and unification of churches during recent visits to Armenia by Rome Pope John Paul II and the Ecumenical Constantinople Patriarch Varfolomey I.

Ordinary Time

From: Fr. Moderator

Could you explain what Ordinary Time in the Novus Ordo? Why are there no longer 23 weeks after Pentecost. I asked, and the only answer I received was that the bishops hate the Holy Ghost. This does not make sense since all of Vatican II, they claim, was the work of the "Holy Ghost". I just realized the big change, though was not totally unaware of it. Is there some explanation?

Fr. Moderator Replies.

Correction: Pope John invoked the "Holy Ghost" at Vatican II. That didn't mean He came! In fact, the evidence is quite to the contrary.

Ordinary Time is the Novus Ordo's term for what traditionally was called Per Annum. The number of Sundays after Pentecost varies depending upon the date of Easter. Depending upon that date, there may be more or fewer Sundays after Epiphany (before Easter) in comparison to the number Sundays after Pentecost (after Easter). The total of the two is always the same.

November 12, 2001 - St. Martin I, Pope & Martyr (Semidouble)

November 11, 2001 - 23rd Sunday after Pentecost (Semidouble)

November 10, 2001 - St. Andrew Avellino (Double)

Religiously Serving Mass

From: Al

Dear Fr. Moderator:

Altar boys are often to make the server responses at Holy Mass by rote, and some may not understand what they are saying. One rubrician holds up as a standard of service St. Paul's exhortation: Orabo spiritu, orabo et mente: psallam spiritu, psallam et mente (1 Corinthians Cor. 14:15). What steps can be taken at traditional churches and chapels to accord as much as possible with St. Paul's standard?

Fr. Moderator Replies.

First of all, it is an argument for universal Latin training for Catholics -- boys and girls, men and women. I have never understood why a Jewish boy can't have his Bar Mitzvah without being able to deal with some degree of Hebrew, yet many Catholics fail to take a little time to acquire some acquaintance with the Catholic sacred language.

Secondly, although many Catholics have never studied Latin formally, they easily pick up some of it simply by attending Holy Mass and have a basic understanding of the content of what they are saying. Have these boys never read Psalm 42 in their missals? Do they not know that Introibo ad altare Dei is a processional psalm to the altar? Do they not know that Kyrie, eleison asks for God's mercy or that Gloria in excelsis Deo adores God? If not, their parents are really falling down on their teaching responsibilities. Actually, the parents should be learning the responses with their boys. What a wonderful opportunity for the parents to deepen their own knowledge of the Catholic sacred language and to teach, as well as learn, their Faith better.

Another approach, in many cases much better, is to have men serve at the altar rather than boys. Remember that this role should strictly be performed by clergy in minor orders, who would be men. From men, or at least adolescents, one would hope for a more mature performing of the grave and sublime privilege of serving Holy Mass.

Like so many other Catholics, I was given a missal at my First Communion at age 7 and constantly read and studied it thereafter. If a boy is able to receive Holy Communion, one would expect that he would at least some general knowledge of what the words of Holy Mass mean. The prejudice here seems to be that a boy understands the Mass better in the vulgar tongue. In reality, this is not the case. Have you ever heard a child recite the Pledge of Allegiance? For that matter, have you heard an adult? At least in the Latin the focus is on the essential meaning, uncluttered by vernacular misunderstanding and malapropisms.

Finally, I would not be nearly as negative as your remarks would indicate. I am sure that many boys are most devout, serve Mass as an act of religion, and study the Holy Mass and the responses knowledgeably. I prefer not to sell people short, but to show them what they can accomplish if they set their standards at the proper height. If you assume that people can only be ignoramuses, they will not fail to fulfil your low expectations. All it takes is a look at most school systems, public or parochial, to see the proof of that statement!

November 9, 2001 - Dedication of the Basilica of Our Savior (Double of the Second Class)

November 8, 2001 - Within the Octave

General Absolution in Crisis

From: Carol

Dear Fr. Moderator:

I read that a general absolution was given by the first priests to arrive at the site of the World Trade Center towers during that horrific tragedy. The Council of Trent defined solemnly (I don't know how accurate this translation of the Latin is):

that, for those who have fallen into grave sin after Baptism, the Sacrament of Penance is the only gate of salvation; that though it sometimes happens that contrition is perfect through charity and reconciles man with God before the Sacrament of Penance is actually received, nevertheless the reconciliation itself is not to be ascribed to contrition alone, but to contrition together with the desire it includes of receiving the Sacrament.

Can you comment about this situation?

Fr. Moderator Replies.

As you quoted from the dogmatic Council of Trent, there is always the requirement of both contrition and the desire (at least virtual) of receiving the Sacrament of Penance. Absolution is not magic. The graces of the Sacrament apply only if the person is properly disposed interiorly. Sometimes the person gives external indications of a lack of interior contrition, and the priest can refuse absolution in such a case. As for the other cases, only God knows the heart.

General absolution is permissible in emergency situations when individual confession is not immediately possible (though must be approached later whenever it becomes possible) -- war, plague, disaster, etc. One can only hope that there was a traditional priest giving general absolution. One never knows about the Novus Ordo.

As the Council of Trent indicated, contrition may be perfect through charity, but I think that we all would have to admit that this a difficult standard for most of us. That is why the graces of the Sacrament are applicable even in cases of imperfect contrition.

Sins of Word

From: John

Dear Fr. Moderator:

Some people persist in circulating communiques calumniating the personal reputations of others, sometimes even the clergy. What are the Catholic moral principles that apply to such situations?

Fr. Moderator Replies.

I have seen the kind of thing that you are talking about, and it is often clear to anyone with any objectivity that the communiques are the result of motivations far baser than the cloak of altruism in which the writer shrouds himself.

One must consider carefully one's own precarious moral position in such things. One must always remember St. Augustine's chilling condemnation of sins of the tongue (or pen) against one's fellow man as being just as mortal as sins of deed. Murdering a person's reputation is a mortal sin against the Fifth Commandment, just as deadly spiritually as if you were to kill his body. In participating in such actions, one can become the moral equivalent of the Pharisee crying out: "Crucify him, crucify him!"

Even those who circulate the calumnies of others most often don't personally know the truth of the matter -- and even they did there would be serious moral question about involving people who have no direct interest in the matter (that would be the grave sin of detraction) -- are just as morally condemnable, exposing themselves both spiritually and legally.

November 7, 2001 - Within the Octave

"Reinventing" the Mass from Antiquity

From: Maureen

Dear Fr. Moderator:

A Novus Ordinarian recently quoted to me some passages from St. Justin Martyr as a justification for the Novus Ordo's definition of the Mass and the priest as a "presider." Is there a reasonable explanation for Justin Martyr's use of the word "presider" to describe the priest?

Fr. Moderator Replies.

There is so much wrongheaded about this that it is hard to know where to start! First of all, St. Justin did not live in the 1345 as indicated there, but around the mid 2nd century. Moreover, he never used the word "presider" because the English language didn't even exist when St. Justin lived. This is the difficulty of these "lay theologians" who know neither the context nor the language of what they are talking about. In the words of the aphorism: tradutore, tradittore (the translator is a traitor).

A "new invention" or "reinvention" of a hypothetical Mass from the second century is tantamount to a new mass. It goes contrary to the Catholic understanding of orthopraxis. If you carry that argument to its logical extreme, we should all be reclining on couches for Holy Communion! Moreover, anyone who is a proponent of such a reconstructed Mass must also be a strong proponent of the exclusive use of Latin in the Sacred Liturgy. This is a point that many miss. If the Novus Ordinarian wants to go with St. Justin on one thing, he must go with him on the rest.

The most significant point, however, is that what your uncle is proposing has been condemned by the Church. It is known as the error of "archaeologism" and was specifically condemned most recently by Pope Pius XII in his liturgical encyclical Mediator Dei.

November 6, 2001 - Within the Octave

Bishop Hoist by His Own Petard

Bishop Warns Priests to Avoid Mary Ramerman's Ordination
By Matt Leingang
Democrat and Chronicle (Rochester, NY) -- Monday, November 5, 2001
Bishop Matthew Clark is warning priests in the Rochester Roman Catholic Diocese not to attend the upcoming ordination of an excommunicated woman seeking to become a priest in a breakaway parish.... "As pastoral ministers we have a special responsibility to avoid actions that will contribute to the confusion of the faithful or increase the scandal occasioned by this schism," Clark wrote. Spiritus Christi broke away from the diocese in 1998 over issues such as same-sex marriage and increased roles for women.
Ramerman said yesterday she was disappointed by Clark's letter. "In the past, Bishop Clark was known as a champion for women, and I would hope that he would rejoice that now a woman can follow her call to be ordained in the Catholic tradition," Ramerman said.

Fr. Moderator Replies.

How typical of a Novus Ordo bishop! He opens the door, the woman walks in, and then he slams the door in her face. Of course, this "ordination" of the woman Ramerman is a travesty, but maybe she was honest in thinking that the bishop would support her. He had probably spoken out in favor of priestesses! Why some traditional Catholic would wish to entrust the fate of their Mass, Sacraments, and Faith to such as these is an amazement.

Television - Good or Evil?

From: Raymond

Should television be banded from the Catholic home?

Fr. Moderator Replies.

Television is no different from books, music, or other such sources. We are subjected in this world to much good and much evil. As a mature Catholic, you should be making these choices based upon the virtue of prudence, or practical wisdom.

There is much on television that is legitimate entertainment or education. Not so much, I am afraid on the commercial channels, but more so on cable channels. We cannot shut out the world, so I think that it is more important for parents to teach their children how to make prudent choices in the world they live in. The way is select good books, good music, good art, good television.

Parents should inspire in their children the love of Rachmaninoff rather than rock, of Giotto rather than junk. This is a precious gift of education that so many parents pay no attention to, allowing their children to immerse themselves in debasing music. Frankly, I would be a lot more worried about the junk-culture music that people are pounding into their heads 16 hours a day!

Saving Souls One by One

From: Albert

I enjoy your commentaries, and they have helped my faith grow. Twenty years ago during a bad time in my life, I studied all faiths and religions and concluded that either Catholicism or Orthodox Judaism were the only two that had historical sense. After praying to the Blessed Virgin, I left the Quaker religion to join the traditional Catholic faith.

Without going into all the nonsense one experiences in the Novus Ordo today, all I can say is that my pilgrimage as a Catholic has been confusing at best. Whenever I read the Church fathers or doctrinal/spiritual books or documents from before Vatican II, they seem very different from current ones.

November 5, 2001 - Within the Octave

2002 Liturgical Calendar and Ordo Recommendations

November 4, 2001 - 22nd Sunday after Pentecost

2002 Liturgical Calendar and Ordo Recommendations

From: Fr. Moderator:

Around this time of year people look for a Catholic calendar and ordo for the next year. The calendar and ordo that I particularly recommend below are both based on the most traditional form of the Roman Rite, before the rubrical changes of 1950, 1956, 1960, and 1962. This is most authentic form to which more and more traditional Catholic priests are returning since the implosion of of the "indult" using the 1962 rubrics.

Immaculate Heart of Mary Church Publications produces a full-color calendar, both in the calendar boxes and in the religious art that accompanies each month. It contains full information about all feasts, commemorations, votive Masses, fasts and abstinence, and more. In the back matter, there is excellently-summarized information about indulgences, fast and abstinence, and other practical matters. 2200 Smelter Ave., Black Eagle, MT 59414-1213, (406) 452-9021,, $9.00 per calendar.

St. Lawrence Press produces the best and most complete ordo available. (An ordo is the detailed information about the Mass and Divine Office that priests use, much more complete in its detail than any calendar gives.) This ordo is in the traditional Latin form that is familiar to all priests.

The editor, who does an absolutely phenomenal job with this work, tells me that for the 2002 Ordo Recitandi he has added 16 additional pages of text about the rubrics for Solemn Votive Masses, such as the Forty Hours, Pro re gravi (Collects for emergencies, such as time of war), rules for conventual Masses and private votive Masses, a summary of calendar information, and the text for the movable feasts sung on Epiphany (the 2003 edition will include the music). External solemnities of the feasts formerly on a Sunday, such as the Most Holy Rosary, have been added. 59 Sandscroft Ave., Broadway, Worcestershire WR12 7EJ, UK (mail cash US $15.00 in cash per copy or VISA/Mastercard).

Turnabout Is Fair Play

From: Andy

Dear Fr. Moderator:

My wife recently left the Catholic Church for a Fundamentalist Protestant church. In order to try to hold our marriage together, we (with our 4 year old son) attend both churches. At the last service at her church the pastor said that Pope Gregory stated that it is God's will that some people suffer disease and sickness (or something to that effect). The pastor seemed to infer that the Catholic Church led by Pope Gregory strayed away from Jesus and His teachings in A.D. 600.

Can you provide some info on this, a source in a library -- secular and Catholic and Protestant? I believe there is a misunderstanding here somewhere, and if the Catholic Church is still teaching the word of Jesus Christ, as I believe it is, I'll need several sources. My wife is at a point where she thinks Catholics are brainwashed so a Catholic source alone used to refute these statements will not likely be enough to convince her of the Truth.

Fr. Moderator Replies.

I think that you are approaching this from the wrong end. You have put yourself on the defensive. You are not on the defensive. Your Church has preserved the Christian Faith for 2000 years. These little Protestant sects have only been around for a few hundred years, if that. As opposed to the Catholic theologians of great faith and intellect that have explained the faith for two millennia, most of these fundamentalist sects pull a few Bible verses out of context and try to build a false religion upon it.

This pastor made the allegation. Let him defend his statement. It is the accuser, after all, who must prove his case. Tell that pastor that you are offended that such a casual statement was made in front of your wife and children without any context of proof. Demand that he produce the complete work, in the original, on which he bases this allegation. Tell him that as a Catholic you will not rest until this calumny of one of the greatest popes in the history of the Church is resolved.

Frankly, I don't think that he will have the proof, especially in the original. At best he's probably gotten some perverted tidbit from an "anti-papist" secondary, vernacularized source, which can easily be twisted in any way that someone wants. After all, who could be more twisted than the founder of Protestantism, Martin Luther, whose works are filled with profanity, who sided with the German princes to murder the peasants who were uprising for justice, and who died in a drunken stupor after a night of debauchery. Luther even tried to suppress books from the Bible because he didn't agree with them. All this is easily provable through his own works. Pope Gregory was a Saint after all, as admitted by everyone who knew him, while this pastor's idol is a debauchee.

I do want to comment too on this arrangement of both parents going alternately to Fundamentalist and Catholic (I have a suspicion too that this is New Order Catholic) churches. What is this teaching the children? That the father accepts by his presence the kind of error that is being preached by this pastor? If you have a family problem with your wife, you should at least absent yourself from attending the Fundamentalist church: let your wife take the children alone. Then you take your children alone to the Catholic Church. At least you'll have every other week to implant the true Faith in your children without condoning by your presence what is a Fundamentalist Protestantism.

You should go to a traditional Catholic Church. I have had a number of Fundamentalist converts to the traditional Catholic Faith, as they have seen that this represents the Apostolic Church. I could agree with your wife if she has a problem with Novus Ordo Catholicism.

November 3, 2001 - Within the Octave (Semidouble)

Love Is an Act of the Will

From: Scott

Dear Fr. Moderator:

Let's say I came home to find a stranger in my home. He had just raped my wife and was in the process of harming my children, perhaps attempted murder to make the scenario stronger. How do I "love" this evil monster? What "good" should I do to him? This one commandment from Our Lord is almost never explained in Catholic exegesis.

Fr. Moderator Replies.

I think that there is ample evidence about how to apply this commandment in one's life. In the Scripture, Our Lord gives us many examples in the parables and most especially by his own life, particularly in the fact that he would die for sinners, although He himself was innocent. We also look to the example of the Saints, who followed Our Lord's will. We pray for the conversion of sinners (as in the Deus, refugium nostrum et virtus prayer after Mass) and for their eventual salvation.

Perhaps you are confusing the inaccurate English word love with a feeling or emotion. It is not that. It is an act of the will, which is part of the intellect (soul). The post-modern world that is awash in shirt-sleeve sentimentalism has lost its will. Real love is shown, for example, by the spouse who, having suffered the injustice of adultery and certainly not having "warm-fuzzy" feelings about the errant spouse, yet by an act of love, an act of the will, still forgives, for the good of both the spouses and the family as a whole.

One can easily see this over-emotionalism in what is going on with the current "war." While we pusillanimous Christians wave flags and sing patriotic tunes, it is the Mohammedans who are steel-willed to meet their divine objective, as they see it. They have, as we say, the courage of their convictions. We did have a Catholic will three times before in history when Christians beat back the Mohammedans from taking over Europe. Do we have such will, such love of our Faith, now?

November 2, 2001 -- Feast of All Souls (Double)

[Third Nocturn of Matins of the Divine Office: St. Paul's First Letter to the Corinthians 15:12-58]

Found at a Church Entrance

From: Scott

Dear Fr. Moderator:

I found the following prayer at the entrance of a church and was curious as to its meaning: Da, Domine, virtutem manibus meis ad abstergendam omnem maculam: ut sine pollutione mentis et corporis valeam tibi servire.

Fr. Moderator Replies.

This is the prayer that is said by the priest as the first step of preparing to say Mass, when he washes his hands ceremonially as he says this prayer (translated): "Grant, Lord, virtue to my hands for wiping out all stain: that without impurity of mind or body I may be able to serve Thee."

It is instructive to consider how often the rubrics of the Traditional Latin Mass prescribe that the priest wash his hands, both as a physical and as a spiritual act. The rubricians suggest first a regular washing of the hands with soap and water before any prescription of the rubrics themselves. Then there is this first ceremonial washing with the prayer Da Domine. Then there is the Lavabo during the Offertory, and the Purification and Ablution after Communion.

One need only compare this devout attention of the Traditional Latin Mass to the careless and even filthy practice of the Novus Ordo worship service, in which even laypeople are encouraged to touch the Sacred Host with unwashed hands that have touched God knows what.

November 1, 2001 -- Feast of All Saints - Holyday of Obligation (Double of the First Class)

What Is "Rome"?

From: Timmy

Dear Fr. Moderator:

I'm a very orthodox Catholic, who would love to see the reverence of the Traditional Latin Mass return as the exclusive Mass of the Roman Rite, and groups such as the Pius V and X have their differences understood and recognized by Rome. This Novus Ordo is so Protestant in nature that it's very hard to find reverence to Our Lord with all the abuses that are contained within it.

Fr. Moderator Replies.

Be careful how you use the word Rome around. Rome is not a transient bureaucracy. It is the eternal Rome of the Roman Catholic Faith, the Rome of Saints Peter and Paul, the Rome that leads the Roman Catholic Church faithfully to do the will of Jesus Christ, as defined in Sacred Scripture, Sacred Tradition, and the orthodox doctrines and practices of the Church based upon them.

In many ways, the modern Vatican seems to have given up the true Faith, or at least so watered it down and changed it that modern-day Catholics now define the Mass as an "assembly of God" service, like the Protestants, not as the renewal of the Sacrifice of Christ on Calvary.

The modern Vatican has certainly implied, if not written, that "all religions are the same." If that has in fact is the new teaching of the Novus Ordo (sometimes these things are worded so ambiguously that it is impossible to tell), it is heretical. According to the Church, even popes have been heretics in the past -- one was even excommunicated.

So, one must be very careful, as I say, to define Rome not as a bureaucracy, but as the true Church founded by Christ as its Head, whose purpose is to save souls by the transmission (not changing) of the Apostolic Faith.

Return Arrow Return to Commentaries from the Mailbox.