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Traditional Parish Thrives in Northern Kentucky

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A recent article at the Cincinnati Enquirer introduced many around the country to a newly established parish in Park Hills, Kentucky. Our Lady of Lourdes Catholic Church, located within the Diocese of Covington, was established in 2016 following the purchase of a former Protestant church by the Missionaries of Saint John the Baptist. As noted at their site, the Missionaries were formed:

To work toward the establishment of a new religious Institute of Diocesan Right within the Diocese of Covington, Kentucky under the authority of the Bishop, and…

To establish a community in which common religious life is lived in a more disciplined and traditional way including the celebration of the liturgy according to the usus antiquior of the Roman Rite, with the liturgical books of 1962 being normative.

The success of the newly formed parish is due in no small part to the charism and preaching of the founding priests of the Missionaries, Fr. Shannon Collins, MSJB and Fr. Sean Kopczynski, MSJB. Both men are nationally recognized for their teaching, preaching, and traditional parish retreats.

In the year since Bishop Roger Foys of Covington consecrated the new parish, attendance has more than doubled at the second of their two Sunday morning Masses. On some weekends as many as 250 fill the pews. This is significant growth for Our Lady of Lourdes, which began with only 20-30 families, and is the only Latin Mass exclusive parish in the Diocese of Covington.

Consistent with other traditional communities around the country is the make up of the parishioners. On any given Sunday a visitor to the parish will find the pews filled with large, young, Catholic families. According to a recent report, as many as 98% of registered families home school their children, with many of those also participating in an educational co-op. To ensure the quality and orthodoxy of the program, only priests and educated laity instruct the young.

The result of this commitment to tradition has also resulted in some families picking up roots and relocating to Kentucky. Some have moved from as far away as Florida, Texas, and even Mexico.

Of course, as with any success realized, there is also criticism. A recent article at the Cincinnati Enquirer (Park Hills is just across the Ohio River from Cincinnati) seeks to paint the parish as being in conflict with the community. While there is some controversy surrounding the building of a proposed grotto (inspired by the original found in Lourdes, France), an official statement from the parish has sought to allay concerns over issues such as traffic, parking, and size.

Another effort even went so far as to hype a story from a same-sex couple claiming that a bumper sticker on a parishioner’s car (which read, “Male and Female He created Them -Genesis 1:27”) was intended to harass. The couple, who prominently fly a rainbow flag on their front porch, contend that the bumper sticker said something more offensive. As parishioners point out, the car (which belongs to neighbor of the men) still has the bumper sticker on it, and could have simply been verified by interested news media seeking to clarify. Of course the key word is interested.

Where there is no controversy, however, is with the very Catholicity of the church, its parishioners, and the community. Simply put, northern Kentucky and Cincinnati are very Catholic. Largely made up of third and fourth generation immigrants from Germany, Ireland, and Italy, Catholicism is well represented in the area.

Park Hills, Kentucky may have as many as 50-60% Catholics. The city is also home to both Notre Dame Academy, the only all girls Catholic high school in the diocese, and Covington Catholic High School, an all boys school. Just up Dixie Highway, past these two schools, lies St. Agnes Catholic Church. Though it only offers the Ordinary Form of the Mass, the parish has been nothing but welcoming to their new neighbors.

Traditional Catholicism is also well represented in the tri-state area. Cincinnati is home to at least three Sunday Latin Masses (located at Sacred Heart, Holy Family, and Old St. Mary’s). Northern Kentucky is even home to a Society of St. Pius X chapel and even a SSPV sedevacanist community. It is in this setting, with all of these available traditional Masses, that Our Lady of Lourdes is thriving. Unlike other parts of the country, where traditional parishes can be hard to come by, some families are driving past other Latin Masses, and sometimes several hours, for a fully traditional parish committed to offering all of the sacraments in the old Rite.

This then is the story of Our Lady of Lourdes in Park Hills. Recent efforts to portray the parish as intolerant of its neighbors, or viewed with suspicion by the community, are simply disproportionate and incorrect. Tradition is indeed thriving in northern Kentucky, and for this we should all be grateful. Deo gratias!

(I would like to thank Maria Merklin for her significant contribution to this post).

Photo credit: The Enquirer/Meg Vogel

August 17, 2017   No Comments

Mater Ecclesiae 17th Annual Assumption Mass, Tuesday August 15, 2017

Mater Ecclesiae Roman Catholic Church will celebrate its 17th Annual Mass of Thanksgiving for the Feast of the Assumption on Tuesday, August 15, 7 p.m. at The Cathedral Basilica of Saints Peter and Paul, 18th Street and Benjamin Franklin Parkway, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The Reverend Robert C. Pasley, KCHS, Rector of Mater Ecclesiae, will be the Celebrant, and Reverend Dennis J. Carbonaro, Spiritual Director at St. Charles Borromeo Seminary, will be the Preacher.

The Solemn High Tridentine Mass will once again feature the Ars Laudis Festival Chorus and Orchestra. Our Cantor Mr. Nicholas Beck, a graduate of Westminster Choir College, will direct the singing of the Gregorian Propers. Dr. Timothy McDonnell will be the conductor.

Mater Ecclesiae celebrates this feast each year by the use of the great treasury of Sacred Music, especially the beautiful polyphonic Masses that are very infrequently prayed in their proper place: the Sacred Liturgy. We want to foster a greater love for the great works of our Catholic heritage. For notes on this year’s music from Dr. McDonnell, click here. For a detailed listing of the music click here.

In order to sponsor such grand music we cannot depend on our little parish of 500 families. We need the help of everyone in the Delaware Valley who wants to foster excellent sacred music as well as support professional musicians who have been blessed by God with magnificent talent.

To donate, click here for the Patron Donation Form, or send a check to Mater Ecclesiae Roman Catholic Church, 261 Cross Keys Rd., Berlin, NJ 08009-9431. When we receive the donation, we will send a letter acknowledging receipt that can be used for tax purposes. We will also put your name before the statue of Saint Jude, and specifically remember all the donors at our Novena to St. Jude on nine consecutive Wednesdays starting August 19th.

Parking at the Cathedral is available in the adjoining parking lot and at the underground garage at the Sheraton Hotel on 17th Street. A link to directions at the Cathedral’s website is here.

Click here for the donation form. Click here for the advertising form.

August 14, 2017   No Comments

INSTRUCTION ON THE TENTH SUNDAY AFTER PENTECOST

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Rev. Fr. Leonard Goffine’s

The Church’s Year

At the Introit of the Mass pray with the Church for God’s help to guard us against our enemies:

INTROIT When I cried to the Lord, he heard my voice, from them that draw near to me, and he humbled them, who is before all ages, and remains forever. Cast thy care upon the Lord, and he shall sustain thee. (Ps. LIV.) Hear, O God, my prayer, and despise not my supplication; be attentive to me, and hear me. Glory etc.

COLLECT O God, who dost manifest Thine almighty. power above all in showing pardon and pity: multiply upon us Thy mercy, that we running forward to the attainment of Thy promises, may be made partakers of Thy heavenly treasures. Through etc.

EPISTLE (I Cor. XII. 2-11 .) Brethren, You know that when you were heathens; you went to dumb idols according as, you were led. Wherefore I give you to understand, that no man, speaking by the Spirit of God, saith. Anathema to Jesus. And no man can say: the Lord Jesus, but by the Holy Ghost. Now there are diversities of graces, but the same Spirit; and there are diversities of ministries, but the same Lord. And there are diversities of operations, but the same God, who worketh all in all. And the manifestation of the Spirit is given to every man unto profit. To one, indeed, by the Spirit, is given the word of wisdom: and to another, the word of knowledge, according to the same Spirit: to another, faith in one Spirit: to another, the working of miracles: to another, prophecy: to another, the discerning, of spirits: to another, divers kinds of tongues: to another, of speeches. But all these things one and the same Spirit worketh, dividing to every one according as he will.

EXPLANATION The apostle here reminds the Corinthians of the great grace they received from God in their conversion, and urges them to be grateful for it; for while heathens, they cursed Jesus, but being now brought to the knowledge of the Spirit of God, they possess Christ as their Lord and Redeemer who can be known and professed only by the enlightenment of the Holy , Ghost. The holy Spirit works in different ways, conferring His graces on whom He wills; to one He gives wisdom to understand the great truths of Christianity; to another the gift of healing the sick; to another the gift of miracles and of prophecy; to another the gift of discerning spirits, to know if one is governed by the Spirit of God, or of the world, Satan and the flesh; to another the gift of tongues. The extraordinary gifts, namely, those of working miracles, and of prophesying &c. became rarer as the faith spread, whereas the gifts which sanctify man will always remain the same.,

[See Instruction on the gifts of the Holy Ghost, Pentecost.]

GOSPEL (Luke XDII. 9-14.) At that time, Jesus spoke this parable to some who trusted in themselves as just, and despisedothers. Two men went up into the Temple to pray: the one a Pharisee, and the other a Publican. The Pharisee standing, prayed thus with himself: O God, I give thee thanks that I am not as the rest of men, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, as also is this Publican. I fast twice in the week; I give tithes of all that I possess. And the Publican standing afar off, would not so much as lift up his eyes towards heaven, but struck his breast, saying: O God, be merciful to me a sinner. I say to you: this man went down to his house justified rather than the other: because every one that exalteth himself shall be humbled, and he that humbleth himself shall be exalted.

Why did Christ make use of’ this parable of the Pharisee and the Publican?

To teach us never proudly to condemn or despise a man, even though he should appear impious, for we may be deceived like the Pharisee who despised the Publican, whom he considered a great sinner, while, in reality, the man was justified before God on account of his repentant spirit.

What should we do before entering a Church?

We should reflect that we are going into the house of God, should therefore think what we are about to say to Him, and what we wish to ask of Him. That we may make ourselves less unworthy to be heard, we should humble ourselves as did Abraham, (Gen. XVIII. 27.) remembering that we are dust and ashes, and on account of our sins unworthy o appear before the eyes of God, much less to address Him , for He listens to the prayers of the humble only, (Ps. CI, 18.) and gives them His grace, while He resists the proud. (James IV. 6.)

Was the Pharisee’s prayer acceptable to God?

No, for it was no prayer, but boasting and ostentation; he praised himself, and enumerated his apparent good works. But in despising others and judging them rashly he sinned grievously instead of meriting God’s grace.

Was the Publican’s prayer acceptable to God?

Yes, for though short, it was humble and contrite. He stood afar off, as if to acknowledge himself unworthy of the presence of God and intercourse with men. He stood with downcast eyes, thus showing that he considered himself because of his sins unworthy to look towards heaven, even confessed himself a sinner, and struck his breast to punish, as St. Augustine says, the sins which he had committed in his heart: This is why we strike our breast at certain times during Mass, for by this we acknowledge ourselves miserable sinners, and that we are sorry for our sins.

ON PRIDE AND VAIN GLORY

We should learn from this gospel that God looks upon the humble and exalts them, but is far from the proud. (Ps. CXXXVII. 6.) The Pharisee went to the temple entirely wrapt up in himself, and the good works which he thought he had performed, but returned empty and hated by God; the Publican, on the contrary, appearing before God as a public but penitent sinner, returned justified. Truly,. an humble sinner is better in the sight of God than a proud just man!

He who glories in his own good works, or performs them to please men, or to win their praise, loses his merit in the eyes of the most High, for Christ says: Take heed that you do not your justice before men, to be seen by them: otherwise you shall not have a reward of your Father who is in heaven. (Matt. VI. 1.)

In order that we may learn to despise vain glory, these doctrines should be well borne in mind. We should consider that it will happen to those who seek after vain glory, as to the man who, made many toilsome journeys on land and sea in order to accumulate wealth, and had no sooner acquired it than he was shipwrecked, and lost all. Thus the ambitious man avariciously seeking glory and honor will find, when dying, that the merit which he might have had for his good works, is now lost to him, because he did not labor for the honor of God. To prevent such an evil, strive at the commencement of every good work which you undertake, to turn your heart to God by a good intention.

But that you may plainly recognize this vice, which generally keeps itself concealed, and that you may avoid it, know that pride is an inordinate love of ostentation, and an immoderate desire to surpass others in honor and praise. The proud man goes beyond himself, so to speak, makes far more of himself than he really is, and, like the Pharisee, despises others; the humble man, on the contrary, has a low estimate of himself, looks upon himself as nothing and, like the Publican, despises no one but himself, and thus is pleasing in the sight of God.

ASPIRATION O God, who hearest the prayers of the humble, but dost resist the proud, I earnestly beseech Thee to give me an humble heart, that I may imitate, the humility of Thy only?begotten Son, our Lord Jesus Christ, and thereby merit to be exalted with Him in heaven.

INSTRUCTION ON GRACE

In the epistle of this day the Apostle St. Paul speaks of the different gifts of the Holy Ghost which He distributes as He pleases. These extraordinary graces which the apostle mentions, are not necessary for salvation. But the Church teaches, that the grace of the Holy Ghost is
necessary for salvation, because without it we could neither properly believe, nor faithfully observe the commandments of God. For the holy religion of Jesus teaches, and experience confirms, that since the fall of our first parents we are weak and miserable, and of ourselves, and by our own strength, we cannot know or perform the good necessary for our salvation. We need a higher aid, a higher, assistance, and this assistance is called grace.

What, then, is grace?

Grace is an inward, supernatural gift which God through finite goodness, and in consideration of Christ’s merits, ants us to enable us to work out our salvation.

Grace is a gift, that is, a present, a favor, a benefit. t is an inward and supernatural gift; an inward gift, Because it is bestowed upon man’s soul to distinguish it tom external gifts and benefits of God, such as: food, clothing, health; grace is a supernatural gift, because it is above nature. In creating our souls God gives us a certain degree of light which enables us to think, reflect, judge, to acquire more or less knowledge: this is called natural light. In the same way He gives our souls the power in some measure to overcome sensual, vicious inclinations; this power is called natural power (virtue). To this natural light and power must be added a higher light and a higher power, if ‘man would be sanctified and saved. This higher light and higher power is grace. It is, therefore, called a supernatural gift, because it surpasses the natural power of man, and produces in his understanding and in his will wholesome effects, which he could not produce without it. For example, divine faith, divine love is a supernatural gift or grace of God, because man of his own power could never receive as certain God’s revelations and His incomprehensible mysteries with so great a joy and so firm a conviction, and could never love God above all things and for His own sake, unless God assisted him by His grace.

God grants us grace also through pure benevolence without our assistance, without our having any right to it; He grants it without cost, and to whom He pleases; but He gives it in consideration of the infinite merits of Christ Jesus, in consideration of Christ’s death on the cross, and of the infinite price of our redemption. Finally, grace is a gift of God, by which to work out our salvation, ,that is, it is only by the grace of God that we can perform meritorious works which aid us in reaching heaven. Without grace it is impossible for us to perform any good action, even to have a good thought by which to gain heaven.

From this it follows that with the grace of God we can accomplish all things necessary for our salvation, fulfil all the commandments of God, but without it we can do nothing meritorious. God gives His grace to all, and if the wicked perish, it is because they do not cooperate with its divine promptings.


How is grace divided?

Into two kinds, actual and sanctifying grace.

Actual grace is God’s assistance which we always need to accomplish a good work, to avoid sin which we are in danger of committing, or that grace which urges us on to good, and assists us in accomplishing it; for it is God, says the Apostle Paul, (Phil. II. 13.) who worketh in you both to will and to accomplish. If a good work is to be performed by us, God must enlighten our mind that we may properly know the good and distinguish it from evil; He must rouse our will and urge it on to do the known good and to avoid the evil; He must also uphold our will and increase our strength that what we wish to do, we may really accomplish.

This actual grace is, therefore, necessary for the just, that they may always remain in sanctifying grace, and accomplish good works; it is necessary for the shiner that he may reach the state of sanctifying grace.

What is sanctifying grace?

It is the great benefit which God bestows upon us, when He sanctifies and justifies us; in other words: sanctifying grace is the love of God, given to us by the Holy Ghost, which love dwells in us and whose temple we become, or it is the advent and abiding of God in our hearts, as promised in the words of Jesus: If any one love me he will keep my word, and my Father will love him, and we will come to him, and will make our abode with him. (John XVI. 23.)

He who possesses sanctifying grace, possesses the greatest treasure that a man can have on earth. For what can be more precious than to be beautiful in the sight of God, acceptable to Him, and united with Him! He who possesses this grace, carries within himself the supernatural image of God, he is a child of God, and has a right to the inheritance of heaven.

How is this sanctifying grace lost?

It is lost by every mortal sin, and can only be regained by a complete return to God, by true repentance and amendment. The loss of sanctifying grace is a fax greater injury than the lass of all earthly possessions. How, terrible, then, is mortal sin which deprives us of this treasure!

 

 

August 12, 2017   No Comments

“The Organic Development of the Liturgy”

From “Liturgy Guy” Blog

In recent years the Church has witnessed an increasing appreciation for the writings of Benedictine priest Dom Prosper Guéranger. Abbot of Solesmes Abbey, founder of the French Benedictine Congregation, and author of both “The Liturgical Year” and “The Holy Mass”, Dom Prosper is widely considered one of the foremost liturgists of the nineteenth century.

In his contemporary classic, “The Organic Development of the Liturgy”, Dom Alcuin Reid, O.S.B. discusses the twelve characteristics of what Guéranger called the antiliturgical heresy. Guéranger’s list today reads like a litany of the supposed liturgical reforms of the post-conciliar years. Dom Reid lists the twelve as follows:

The first is the hatred of Tradition in the formulas of divine worship.

The second is the substitution of writings from Sacred Scripture for formulas composed by the Church.

The fabrication and introduction of new liturgical formulas is the third.

Fourth is the contradictory principle that operates from an affection for antiquity that seeks to “reproduce divine worship in its original purity” while spurning development later in liturgical Tradition and yet introducing new elements of “incontestably human” origin.

Fifth, noting that similar attitudes are to be seen in Protestant liturgical reform, Guéranger proscribes the rationalistic removal of ceremonies and formulas that leads to a loss of the supernatural or mystical element of the Liturgy without regard for its tangible and poetic nature.

The sixth characteristic is the total extinction of the spirit of prayer or unction from the Liturgy. Guéranger speaks here of pharisaical coldness and cites the Protestant insistence on the vernacular by way of example.

The Protestant exclusion of the cult of the Blessed Virgin Mary and of the saints…is the seventh characteristic.

The use of the vernacular itself is the eighth. Here Guéranger warns of the transience of the vernacular and of the dangers of using mundane language in worship.

An overriding desire to lessen the burden of the Liturgy (by shortening it) is the ninth characteristic.

Rejection of all things papal or Roman is the tenth.

A consequent presbyterianism that downplays the ministerial priesthood forms the eleventh characteristic.

Finally, Guéranger deprecates secular or lay persons assuming authority in liturgical reform lest the Liturgy, and consequently dogma, become an entity limited by the boundaries of a nation or region.

Reid, Alcuin O.S.B. The Organic Development of the Liturgy. San Francisco: Ignatius Press, 2005. pp. 58-59

August 10, 2017   No Comments

No Posting of TLM’s for First Friday and First Saturday of August

N.B. We apologize that there will be no posting of the above-referenced Masses this month. We will return to their posting in September. We have, however, posted the Mass for Sunday, August 6, 2017, below.

August 2, 2017   No Comments

Sunday August 6th: Feast of The Transfiguration of Our Lord

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DOUBLE, SECOND CLASS / WHITE
It was in order to strengthen the faith of Peter, James, and John for the approaching ordeal of the Passion that Jesus led them up Mount Tabor and was transfigured before them. Beholding Christ as the brightness of the Father and the figure of God’s substance, Peter cried out, “Lord, it is good for us to be here!” Yet only a short while later, the same Peter would deny his master during the agonizing darkness of the Passion. “Jesus has now many lovers of His heavenly kingdom, but few that are willing to bear His cross,” says the author of The Imitation of Christ. “But they that love Jesus for Jesus’ sake and not for any comfort of their own, bless Him no less in tribulation and anguish of heart than in the greatest consolation.”

INTROIT Ps. 76:19
Your lightning lighted the world; the earth quivered and trembled.
Ps. 83:2-3. How lovely is Your dwelling place, O Lord of hosts! My soul yearns and faints for the courts of the Lord.
V. Glory be . . .

COLLECT
O God, in the glorious transfiguration of Your only-begotten Son You confirmed the truths of faith by the testimony of the prophets, and you wondrously foreshadowed the fact of our adoption as Your sons by the voice speaking through the resplendent cloud. Grant us in Your mercy that we may be co-heirs with the King of glory and sharers in that very glory that is His. through our Lord . . .

Commemoration of SAINTS SIXTUS AND HIS COMPANIONS
Pope Sixtus II and Felicissimus and Agapitus, his deacons, were martyred at Rome on the same day, in the year 258. Pope Sixtus’ archdeacon Lawrence met his death three days later, as he had prophesied to the younger man.

O God, who has granted us the grace to celebrate the birthday of Your blessed martyrs Sixtus II, Felicissimus, and Agapitus, grant that we may also share their eternal happiness in heaven. Through our Lord . . .

EPISTLE II Peter 1:16-19
Beloved: For we have not by following artificial fables made known to you the power and presence of our Lord Jesus Christ: but we were eyewitnesses of his greatness. For he received from God the Father honour and glory, this voice coming down to him from the excellent glory: “This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased. Hear ye him.” And this voice, we heard brought from heaven, when we were with him in the holy mount. And we have the more firm prophetical word: whereunto you do well to attend, as to a light that shineth in a dark place, until the day dawn and the day star arise in your hearts.

GRADUAL Ps. 44:3, 2
You are fairer than the sons of men; grace is poured out upon your lips.
V. My heart overflows with good tidings; I sing my song to the king.

Alleluia, alleluia! Sap. 7:26
He is the brightness of eternal light, the unspotted mirror, and the image of his goodness. Alleluia!

GOSPEL Matt. 17:1-9
At that time, And after six days Jesus taketh unto him Peter and James, and John his brother, and bringeth them up into a high mountain apart: And he was transfigured before them. And his face did shine as the sun: and his garments became white as snow. And behold there appeared to them Moses and Elias talking with him. And Peter answering, said to Jesus: “Lord, it is good for us to be here: if thou wilt, let us make here three tabernacles, one for thee, and one for Moses, and one for Elias.” And as he was yet speaking, behold a bright cloud overshadowed them. And lo a voice out of the cloud, saying: “This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased: hear ye him.” And the disciples hearing fell upon their face, and were very much afraid. And Jesus came and touched them: and said to them: “Arise, and fear not.” And they lifting up their eyes, saw no one, but only Jesus. And as they came down from the mountain, Jesus charged them, saying: “Tell the vision to no man, till the Son of man be risen from the dead.”

OFFERTORY ANTIPHON Ps. 111:3
Glory and wealth shall be in his house, and his righteousness shall endure forever, alleluia!

SECRET
Bless these gifts we offer You, O Lord, by the glorious Transfiguration of Your only-begotten Son. May they cleanse us from the stain of our sins by the brightness of His glory. Through the same Jesus Christ, our Lord . . .

Commemoration of SAINT SIXTUS AND HIS COMPANIONS
We offer these gifts to You in sacrifice, O Lord. may the honor we pay to Your saints please You, and may these offerings, through Your mercy, bring us closer to our salvation. Through our Lord . . .

COMMUNION ANTIPHON Matt. 17:9
Tell the vision thou hast seen to no one, till the Son of Man has risen from the dead.

POSTCOMMUNION
O Almighty God, grant that we with pure minds may understand the most sacred mystery of the Transfiguration of Your Son, which we here solemnly commemorate. Through the same Jesus Christ our Lord . . .

Commemoration of SAINT SIXTUS AND HIS COMPANIONS
May the intercession of Your holy martyrs Sixtus, Felicissimus, and Agapitus help us to cherish with pure hearts the Sacrament we have received upon our lips. Through our Lord . . .

August 2, 2017   No Comments

The Mass of The Ages

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July 31, 2017   No Comments

INSTRUCTION ON THE EIGHTH SUNDAY AFTER PENTECOST

Rev. Fr. Leonard Goffine’s
The Church’s Year

The Introit of the Mass reads:

INTROIT We have received thy mercy, O God, in the midst of thy temple: According to thy name, O God, so also is thy praise unto the ends of the earth: thy right hand is full of justice. Great is the Lord, and exceedingly to be praised in the city of our God, in his mountain. (Ps. XLVII.) Glory be to the Father, etc.

COLLECT Lord, we beseech Thee, mercifully grant us the spirit to think and do always the things that are right: that we, who can not subsist without Thee, may by Thee be enabled to live according to Thy will. Through etc.

EPISTLE (ROM. VIII. 12-17.) Brethren, We are debtors, not to the flesh, to live according to the flesh. For if you live according to the flesh, you shall die: but if by the spirit you mortify the deed of the flesh, you shall live. For whosoever are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God. For you have not received the spirit of bondage again in fear, but you have received the spirit of adoption of sons, whereby we cry: Abba (Father). For the Spirit himself giveth testimony to our spirit, that we are the sons of God. And if sons, heirs also: heirs indeed of God, and joint heirs with Christ.

Who live according to the flesh?

Those who follow the evil pleasures and the desires of corrupt nature, rather than the voice of faith and conscience. Such men are not guided by the Spirit of God, for He dwells not in the sensual man, (Gen. VI. 3.) they are no children of God, and will not inherit heaven, but eternal death. But he who is directed by the Spirit of God, and with Him and through Him crucifies his flesh and its concupiscence, is inspired with filial confidence in God. by the Holy Ghost, who dwells in him, and by whom he cries: Abba (Father.) Prove yourself well, Christian soul, that you may know whether you live according to the flesh, and strive by prayer and fasting to mortify all carnal and sensual desires that you may by such means become a child of God and heir of heaven.

ASPIRATION Strengthen me, O Lord, that I may not live according to the desires of the, flesh; but resist them firmly by the power of Thy Spirit, that I may not die the eternal death.

GOSPEL (Luke XVI. 1-9.) At that time, Jesus spoke to his disciples this parable: There was a certain rich man who had a steward: and the same was accused unto him that he had wasted his goods. And he called him, and said to him: How is it that I hear this of thee? give an account of thy stewardship; for now thou canst be steward no longer. And the steward said within himself: What shall I do, because my lord taketh away from me my stewardship? To dig, I am not able: to beg I am ashamed. I know what I will do, that when I shall be removed from the stewardship, they may receive me into their houses. Therefore calling together every one of his lord’s debtors, he said to the first: How much dost thou owe my lord? But he said: A hundred barrels of oil. And he said to him: Take thy bill, and sit down quickly, and write fifty, Then he said to another: And how much dost thou owe? Who said: A hundred quarters of wheat. He said to him: Take thy bill, and write eighty. And the Lord commended the unjust steward, forasmuch as he had done wisely: for the children of this world are wiser in their generations than the children of light. And I say to you: Make unto you friends of the mammon of iniquity, that when you shall fail, they may receive you into everlasting dwellings.

Who aye represented by the rich man and his steward?

The rich man represents God, the steward is man – to whom God has confided the various goods of soul and body, of grace and nature: faith, intellect, memory , free will; and five senses, health, stregth of body, beauty, skill power over others, time and opportunity for good, temporal riches, and other gifts. These various goods of soul and body God gives us not as our own, but as things to be used for His honor and the salvation of man. He will therefore demand the strictest account of us if we use them for sin, luxury, seduction, or oppression of others.

Why did Christ make use of this parable?

To teach us that God requires of every man a strict account of whatever has been given to him, and to urge us to works of charity, particularly alms-deeds.

What friends do we make by alms giving?

According to St. Ambrose they are the poor, the saints and angels, even Christ Himself: for that which we give to the poor, we give to Christ. (Matt. XXV. 40.) And: He that hath mercy on the poor, lendeth to the Lord, and he will repay him. (Prov. XIX. 17.) “The hands of the poor,” says Peter Chrysologus, “are the hands of Christ,” through whom we send our riches to heaven before us, and through whose intercession we obtain the grace of salvation.

Why did his lord commend the steward?

Because of his prudence and foresight, but not for his injustice; for he adds: The children of this world are wiser than the children of light: that is, the worldly-minded understand better hove to obtain temporal goods than do Christians to lay up treasures for themselves in heaven.

Why is wealth called unjust?

Because riches are often massed and retained unjustly, often lead man to injustice, and because they are often squandered, or badly used.

SUPPLICATON Grant me the grace, O my just God and Judge, that I may so use the goods of this earth confided to me by The e, that I mad make friends, who at my death will receive me into eternal joys.

ON THE SIN OF DETRACTION
And the same was accused unto him. (Luke XVI. 1.)

The steward in the gospel was justly accused on account of the goods he had wasted; but there are many who lose their good name and honor by false accusations, and malicious talk! Alas, what great wrongs do detracting tongues cause in this world! How mean a vice is detraction, how seldom attention is paid to its evil, how rarely the injury is repaired!

When is our neighbor slandered?

When he is accused of a vice of which he is not guilty; when a secret crime is made known with the intention of hurting him, or when our duty does not require us to mention it; when we attribute an evil intention to him or entirely misconstrue his actions and omissions; when his good qualities or commendable actions are denied or lessened, or his merits underrated; when we remain silent, or speak ambiguously in cases where praise is due him; when we lend a willing ear to detractions, and make no effort to stop them; and lastly, when joy is felt in the detraction.

Is detraction a great sin?

Yes, for it is directly opposed to the love of our neighbor, therefore to the love of God, hence it is, as St. Ambrose says, hateful to God and man. By it we rob our neighbor of a possession greater than riches, (Prov. XXII. 1.) and often he is plunged by it into want and misery, even into the greatest vices; St. Ambrose says: “Let us fly from the vice of detraction, for it is altogether a satanic abyss, full of deceit.” Finally, detraction is a great sin, because it can seldom be recalled, and the injury done by it is very great, and often irreparable.

What should we do when we have committed this sin?

We should retract the calumny as soon as possible and repair the injury done to our neighbor in regard to his name or temporal goods; we should detest this sin, regret it, and be cleansed from it by penance, we should daily pray for him whom we have injured, and in future guard against the like fault.

Are we ever allowed to reveal the wrongs of our neighbor?

To make public the faults of our neighbor only for the entertainment of idle people, or for the sake of news, and to satisfy the curiosity of others, is always sinful. But if after having reproached or advised our neighbor fraternally, without obtaining our end, we make known his faults to his parents or superiors for the sake of punishment and reformation, far from being a sin it is rather a duty, against which those err who are silent about the sins of their neighbor, when by speaking they could prevent the sin and save him much unhappiness.

Is it a sin to listen willingly to detraction?

Yes, for we thus give the detractors occasion and encouragement. Therefore St. Bernard says: “Whether to detract is a greater sin than to listen to detraction, I will not decide. The devil sits on the tongue of the detractor as he does on the ear of the listener.” In such cases we must strive to interrupt, to prevent the detracting words, or else withdraw; or if we can do none of these, we must show in our countenance our displeasure, for the Holy Ghost says: The northwind driveth away rain, so doth a sad countenance a backbiting tongue. (Prov. XXV. 23.) The same demeanor is to be observed in regard to improper language.

What varieties of detraction are there?

There is a certain detestable kind of detraction which degrades and ridicules others by witty and sneering words. Still worse is that detraction which carries the faults of others from one place to another, thus exciting those who are on good terms to hard feeling, or making those who are living in enmity more opposed to each other. The whisperer and the double tongued, says the Holy Ghost, is accursed, for he bath troubled many that were at peace.

What should deter us from detraction?

The thought of the enormity of this sin; of the difficulty, even impossibility of repairing the injury caused; of the punishment it incurs, for St. Paul expressly says: Calumniators shall not possess the kingdom of God, (I Cor. VI. 10.). and Solomon writes: My son, fear the Lord, and the king: and have nothing to do with detractors; for their destruction shall rise suddenly. (Prov. XXIV 22.)

SUPPLICATON Guard me, O most loving Jesus, that I may not be so blinded, either by hatred or, envy, as to rob my neighbor of his good name, or make myself guilty of such a grievous sin.

CONSOLATION FOR THOSE WHO HAVE SUFFERED FROM DETRACTION

If your good name has been taken away by evil tongues, you may be consoled by knowing that God permitted this to humble you, to exercise you in patience and free you from pride and vain self-complacency. Turn your eyes to the saints of the Old and the New Law, to the chaste Joseph who was cast into prison on a false charge of adultery, (Gen. XXXIX.) to the meek David publicly accused by Semei as a man of blood, (II Kings XVI. 7.) to the chaste Susanna who was also accused of adultery, tried and condemned to death. (Dan, XIII.) Jesus, the king of saints, was called a drunkard, accused and condemned as a blasphemer, a friend of the devil, an inciter of sedition among the people, and like the greatest criminal was nailed to the cross between two thieves. Remember besides that it does not injure you in the sight of God, if all possible evil is said of you, and that He, at all times, cares for those who trust in Him; for he who touches the honor of those who fear God, touches, as it were, the pupil of His eye, (Zach. II. 8.) and shall not go unpunished. St. Chrysostom says: “If you are guilty, be converted; if you are innocent, think of Christ.”

PRAYER O most innocent Jesus, who wert thus calumniated, I submit myself wholly to Thy divine will, and am, ready like Thee, to bear all slanders and detractions, as with perfect confidence I yield to land care my good name, convinced that Thou at Thy pleasure wilt defend and protect it, and save me from the hands of my enemies.

July 28, 2017   No Comments

Carmelites get FSSP chaplain in Philadelphia; Solemn High Mass, Wednesday, July 26th, 7:00 p.m.; Sacred Music Concert at 6:15 p.m.

From Rorate Caeli:

Coming from Archbishop Charles J. Chaput, this is very big news for the Archdiocese of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, in the U.S.:

Dear Friends, I’m sharing some joyful news. Today, our Archdiocese welcomed six nuns from the Carmelite Monastery of Valparaiso, Nebraska, and four nuns from the Carmelite Monastery of Elysburg, Pennsylvania. They are transferring to the Carmelite Monastery of Saint Joseph and Saint Anne here in Philadelphia (The Discalced Carmelite Nuns of Philadelphia).As a result of these transfers, there is now a community of twelve nuns in the Philadelphia Carmel, which was founded in 1902. Since that time it has been home to generations of Discalced Carmelite nuns who have dedicated themselves to a cloistered life of contemplation and prayer for the good of us all. The Carmel is also welcoming a new chaplain, Father William Allen, FSSP.

Tomorrow, Wednesday, July 26th, the Feast of Saint…Anne, all are invited to a Solemn High Mass at the Carmel and welcome to greet the new sisters in the “speakroom” of the convent following the liturgy. Details are below.
Philadelphia Carmel
1400 66th Avenue
Philadelphia, PA 19126
Concert of Sacred Music at 6:15 p.m.
Solemn High Mass at 7:00 p.m.
Celebrant: Rev. William Allen, FSSP, Chaplain for the Philadelphia Carmel
Homilist: Most Reverend Michael J. Fitzgerald
For additional information on the Philadelphia Carmel, please visit http://www.discalcedcarmelitesphila.org/. Kindly consider sharing this invitation broadly with others and join in praying for the Carmelite community in Philadelphia.
May the Lord give you peace.

July 25, 2017   1 Comment

From Rorate Caeli: Guest Op-Ed – Bishop Schneider: The interpretation of Vatican II and its connection with the current crisis of the Church

The interpretation of Vatican II and its connection with the current crisis of the Church

The current situation of the unprecedented crisis of the Church is comparable with the general crisis in the 4th century, when the Arianism had contaminated the overwhelming majority of the episcopacy, taking a dominant position in the life of the Church. We must seek to address this current situation on the one hand with realism and, on the other hand, with a supernatural spirit – with a profound love for the Church, our mother, who is suffering the Passion of Christ because of this tremendous and general doctrinal, liturgical and pastoral confusion.

We must renew our faith in believing that the Church is in the safe hands of Christ, and that He will always intervene to renew the Church in the moments in which the boat of the Church seems to capsize, as is the obvious case in our days.

As to the attitude towards the Second Vatican Council, we must avoid two extremes: a complete rejection (as do the sedevacantists and a part of the Society of St. Pius X (SSPX) or a “infallibilization” of everything the council spoke.

Vatican II was a legitimate assembly presided by the Popes and we must maintain towards this council a respectful attitude. Nevertheless, this does not mean that we are forbidden to express well-founded doubts or respectful improvement suggestions regarding some specific items, while doing so based on the entire tradition of the Church and on the constant Magisterium.

Traditional and constant doctrinal statements of the Magisterium during a centuries-old period have precedence and constitute a criterion of verification regarding the exactness of posterior magisterial statements. New statements of the Magisterium must, in principle, be more exact and clearer, but should never be ambiguous and apparently contrast with previous magisterial statements.

Those statements of Vatican II which are ambiguous must be read and interpreted according to the statements of the entire Tradition and of the constant Magisterium of the Church.

In case of doubt the statements of the constant Magisterium (the previous councils and the documents of the Popes, whose content demonstrates being a sure and repeated tradition during centuries in the same sense) prevail over those objectively ambiguous or new statements of the Vatican II, which difficultly concord with specific statements of the constant and previous Magisterium (e.g. the duty of the state to venerate publicly Christ, the King of all human societies, the true sense of the episcopal collegiality in relation to the Petrine primacy and the universal government of the Church, the noxiousness of all non-Catholic religions and their dangerousness for the eternal salvation of the souls).

Vatican II must be seen and received as it is and as it was really: a primarily pastoral council. This council had not the intention to propose new doctrines or to propose them in a definitive form. In its statements the council confirmed largely the traditional and constant doctrine of the Church.

Some of the new statements of Vatican II (e.g. collegiality, religious liberty, ecumenical and inter-religious dialogue, the attitude towards the world) have not a definitive character, and being apparently or truly non-concordant with the traditional and constant statements of the Magisterium, they must be complemented by more exact explications and by more precise supplements of a doctrinal character. A blind application of the principle of the “hermeneutics of continuity” does not help either, since thereby are created forced interpretations, which are not convincing and which are not helpful to arrive at a clearer understanding of the immutable truths of the Catholic faith and of its concrete application.

There have been cases in the history, where non-definitive statements of certain ecumenical councils were later – thanks to a serene theological debate – refined or tacitly corrected (e.g. the statements of the Council of Florence regarding the matter of the sacrament of Orders, i.e. that the matter were the handing-over of the instruments, whereas the more sure and constant tradition said that the imposition of the hands of the bishop were sufficient, a truth, which was ultimately confirmed by Pius XII in 1947). If after the Council of Florence the theologians would have blindly applied the principle of the “hermeneutics of the continuity” to this concrete statement of the Council of Florence (an objectively erroneous statement), defending the thesis that the handing-over of the instruments as the matter of the sacrament of Orders would concord with the constant Magisterium, probably there would not have been achieved the general consensus of the theologians regarding the truth which says that only the imposition of the hands of the bishop is the real matter of the sacrament of Orders.

There must be created in the Church a serene climate of a doctrinal discussion regarding those statements of Vatican II which are ambiguous or which have caused erroneous interpretations. In such a doctrinal discussion there is nothing scandalous, but on the contrary, it will be a contribution in order to maintain and explain in a more sure and integral manner the deposit of the immutable faith of the Church.

One must not highlight so much  a certain council, absolutizing it or equating it in fact with the oral (Sacred Tradition) or written (Sacred Scripture) Word of God. Vatican II itself said rightly (cf. Verbum Dei, 10), that the Magisterium (Pope, Councils, ordinary and universal Magisterium) is not above the Word of God, but beneath it, subject to it, and being only the servant of it (of the oral Word of God = Sacred Tradition and of the written Word of God = Sacred Scripture).

From an objective point of view, the statements of the Magisterium (Popes and councils) of definitive character, have more value and more weight compared with the statements of pastoral character, which have naturally a changeable and temporary quality depending on historical circumstances or responding to pastoral situations of a certain period of time, as it is the case with the major part of the statements of Vatican II.

The original and valuable contribution of the Vatican II consists in the universal call to holiness of all members of the Church (chap. 5 of Lumen gentium), in the doctrine about the central role of Our Lady in the life of the Church (chap. 8 of Lumen gentium), in the importance of the lay faithful in maintaining, defending and promoting the Catholic faith and in their duty to evangelize and sanctify the temporal realities according to the perennial sense of the Church (chap. 4 of Lumen gentium), in the primacy of the adoration of God in the life of the Church and in the celebration of the liturgy (Sacrosanctum Concilium, nn. 2; 5-10). The rest one can consider to a certain extent secondary, temporary and, in the future, probably forgettable, as it was the case with some non-definitive, pastoral and disciplinary statements of various ecumenical councils in the past.

The following issues – Our Lady, sanctification of the personal life of the faithful with the sanctification of the world according to the perennial sense of the Church and the primacy of the adoration of God – are the most urgent aspects which have to be lived in our days. Therein Vatican II has a prophetical role which, unfortunately, is not yet realized in a satisfactory manner.

Instead of living these four aspects, a considerable part of the theological and administrative “nomenclature” in the life of the Church promoted for the past 50 years and still promotes ambiguous doctrinal, pastoral and liturgical issues, distorting thereby the original intention of the Council or abusing its less clear or ambiguous doctrinal statements in order to create another church – a church of a relativistic or Protestant type.

In our days, we are experiencing the culmination of this development.

The problem of the current crisis of the Church consists partly in the fact that some statements of Vatican II – which are objectively ambiguous or those few statements, which are difficultly concordant with the constant magisterial tradition of the Church – have been infallibilisized. In this way, a healthy debate with a necessarily implicit or tacit correction was blocked.

At the same time there was given the incentive in creating theological affirmations in contrast with the perennial tradition (e.g. regarding the new theory of an ordinary double supreme subject of the government of the Church, i.e. the Pope alone and the entire episcopal college together with the Pope, the doctrine of the neutrality of the state towards the public worship, which it must pay to the true God, who is Jesus Christ, the King also of each human and political society, the relativizing of the truth that the Catholic Church is the unique way of salvation, wanted and commanded by God).

We must free ourselves from the chains of the absolutization and of the total infallibilization of Vatican II. We must ask for a climate of a serene and respectful debate out of a sincere love for the Church and for the immutable faith of the Church.

We can see a positive indication in the fact that on August 2, 2012, Pope Benedict XVI wrote a preface to the volume regarding Vatican II in the edition of his Opera omnia. In this preface, Benedict XVI expresses his reservations regarding specific content in the documents Gaudium et spes and Nostra aetate. From the tenor of these words of Benedict XVI one can see that concrete defects in certain sections of the documents are not improvable by the “hermeneutics of the continuity.”

An SSPX, canonically and fully integrated in the life of the Church, could also give a valuable contribution in this debate – as Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre desired. The fully canonical presence of the SSPX in the life of the Church of our days could also help to create a general climate of  constructive debate, in order that that, which was believed always, everywhere and by all Catholics for 2,000 years, would be believed in a more clear and in a more sure manner in our days as well, realizing thereby the true pastoral intention of the Fathers of the Second Vatican Council.

The authentic pastoral intention aims towards the eternal salvation of the souls — a salvation which will be achieved only through the proclamation of the entire will of God (cf. Act 20: 7). The ambiguity in the doctrine of the faith and in its concrete application (in the liturgy and in the pastoral life) would menace the eternal salvation of the souls and would be consequently anti-pastoral, since the proclamation of the clarity and of the integrity of the Catholic faith and of its faithful concrete application is the explicit will of God.

Only the perfect obedience to the will of God — Who revealed us through Christ the Incarnate Word and through the Apostles the true faith, the faith interpreted and practiced constantly in the same sense by the Magisterium of the Church – will bring the salvation of souls.

+ Athanasius Schneider,

Auxiliary Bishop of the Archdiocese of Maria Santissima in Astana, Kazakhstan

July 23, 2017   No Comments