Saturday, January 24, 2015

Why not "Spiritual Communion" for most at large, outdoor papal Masses?

And the priest said to the boy: "Tarcisius, remember that a heavenly treasure has been entrusted to your weak hands. Avoid crowded streets and do not forget that holy things must never be thrown to dogs nor pearls to pigs. Will you guard the Sacred Mysteries faithfully and safely?". "I would die", Tarcisio answered with determination, "rather than let go of them". (Pope Benedict, re-telling the story of St. Tarcisius to 55,000 altar servers in Rome in August of 2010)

In the third century, St. Tarcisius - an acolyte of about 12, died a brutal death, by beating and stoning, protecting the Eucharist that hung in a small linen bag around his neck as he took Communion to prisoners. It was in the third century - a period of intense persecution of Christians and the pagan boys who beat him to death, his friends, discovered he was Christian.

Do we believe in Our Eucharistic Lord enough to die for Him like St. Tarcisius, rather than allow Him to fall into the wrong hands or to even be handled inappropriately by those whose intentions are more benign?

Even less, are we willing to abstain from Holy Communion, and make a spiritual communion, when the sheer number of people at a Mass increases the likelihood of accidents, irreverent handling out of ignorance, and intentional profanation? Abstaining in such a way would surely be painful, but it is not without graces, especially under such circumstances.  St. Thomas Aquinas pointed out one benefit of abstention.
If someone knows from experience that daily Communion increases fervor without lessening reverence, then let him go every day. But if someone finds that reverence is lessened and devotion not much increased, then let him sometimes abstain, so as to draw near afterwards with better dispositions.
Even if we do have the fervor Aquinas speaks of, I wonder if he would think it reasonable for a one-time abstention at an event so extraordinary, it makes distribution of Holy Communion difficult without risks to the Sacred Species already mentioned?

There have been outcries over distribution of Communion since these large Masses began, but with regards to authentic dialogue with our hierarchy, it is largely an "un-discussible." At least, that is how I feel about it. Many acknowledge it's a problem, but nothing ever happens to mitigate it. There are no shortage of stories of people finding the Eucharist on the ground after Mass ends, or of sources trying to sell the Consecrated Hosts online.  "Black Masses" are cropping up with increasing frequency, and in public ways.  Since it is a mockery of the Catholic Mass, it is not a "Black Mass" without the Body of Christ in the Host because they desecrate it as part of the ritual.

It's not just the Hosts we should be concerned with, but the fragments, each of which are no less the Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity of Jesus Christ than the whole.  The Church still requires Communion-plates but this is largely ignored (Redemptionis Sacramentum, 93).  I've seen particles on the Communion-plates used during Masses at my own parish.  Just think, most priests carefully sweep any remaining fragments from their own paten into the Chalice, and then drink what is left; yet, they don't use the plates when distributing. There are fragments of the Body of Christ all over our parish floors.  How can we not expect that a lot of handling of the Sacred Species during large open air Masses won't do the same?

If you think this is trivial, read the saints on it. These teachings don't change because we are in the "modern world."  They are timeless; it is we who need to change our thinking about Eucharistic reverence.

Here is St. Ephrem:
One particle from its crumbs is able to sanctify thousands and thousands, and is sufficient to afford life to those who eat of it. 

And, St. Cyril of Jerusalem, after discussing just how delicately we would treat gold-dust:
How much more carefully, then, will you guard against losing as much as a crumb of that which is more precious than gold or precious stones?  

A video US Bishops should study ahead of papal visit in 2015

What prompts my reflection is a situation you may already have learned about through other blogs or in social media.  I wanted to pray and reflect on it before deciding to post on it. When Pope Francis was in the Philippines, someone recorded part of Holy Communion where a chaotic situation resulted in people passing along the Eucharist over the heads of other people who could not reach the priest distributing, sometimes seemingly in stacks.  These are not bad people; they are badly informed people who are trying to be helpful without realizing the dangers of what they are doing with the Holy Eucharist. I think by-and-large, many would agree, that the Filipinos are among the most devout and faithful Catholics. So, this is not about them. It's a bigger issue that has been bubbling for decades.

We have time to act, here in the US, and find better ways to handle extremely large crowds with regards to Holy Communion.

Here is the video, originally provided in a Facebook post by 100% KATOLIKONG PINOY! It was then subsequently uploaded by One Peter Five to YouTube.

There was also an eye-witness account by a young Filipino blogger who was otherwise very enthusiastic by the visit of Pope Francis.  He writes:

Some of the crowd — who were at least two meters away from the ministers — cried for Holy Communion. Two or three soon called out, “Pasa-pasa nalang! (Just pass Them [the Sacred Hosts] around!)”

At first the ministers did not hear them, or probably ignored it. But the people were beginning to be noisy. Some of crowd, fortunately, said, “Uy, hindi pwedeng pasa-pasa! Komunyon yan!”

But the ministers were rather oblivious to the “debate.” Soon they DID pass around — from one grubby hand to another — the Sacred Hosts to the people who were asking for Communion. I saw one broken Host being handed on. Did the minister break It, or was It broken as It was being passed around? Worse, even the ciborium containing the Hosts was soon passed around!

Too distressed to bear the sight, I looked away…..

Other reports I've read said Communion fell to the ground and was found in mud.

Can you imagine seeing the Infant Jesus laying in the mud? That is not bread; it is Jesus.   And how we treat the Eucharist is how we witness our belief in the Real Presence to others.  What kind of witness does this give to non-Catholics in attendance, and there always some.

Archbishop Villegas Responds

A major Filipino news outlet got a response from Archbishop Villegas on what is seen in the video. I'm going to quote from the One Peter Five post, which has a translation of what was partially in Tagalog.  He addresses the criticism saying:
“Under normal circumstances, this should not have happened, but the situation in the Luneta was extraordinary, six million people.” He added: “On this occasion, it was necessary to help each other receive communion.”
We read further:
Fr. Francis Lucas, executive secretary of the CBCP Episcopal Commission on Social Communication and Mass Media, echoed this, telling GMA News Online: “For pastoral reasons since people can’t move during communion, mass passing of the host is okay.”
I'd like to know if the Congregation for Divine Worship would agree to these special "pastoral" situations and allow "mass passing of the Host" in large, papal Masses.

On what Archbishop Villegas said, as was pointed out at One Peter Five, we have to stop and reflect on the word, "necessary." We would infer from this that receiving Holy Communion at all in a gathering of six to seven million is necessary. Maybe that is what we need to discuss.  Is it really necessary for everyone to receive Communion at an extraordinarily large gathering for Mass?  We learn from the CCC:
1389: The Church obliges the faithful to take part in the Divine Liturgy on Sundays and feast days and, prepared by the sacrament of Reconciliation, to receive the Eucharist at least once a year, if possible during the Easter season. But the Church strongly encourages the faithful to receive the holy Eucharist on Sundays and feast days, or more often still, even daily.

At most we might be strongly encouraged to receive Holy Communion at a Papal Mass, if we were properly disposed, but it is not a requirement.  I return back to my original question: Are we willing to protect the Body of Christ, unto forgoing Holy Communion, if it was the most practical way to prevent what is seen in that video? Or worse, in the case of someone carrying It off for some other purpose?

Spiritual Communion

What is "spiritual communion?" Simply put, it is an interior movement in which we unite ourselves to the Eucharistic Lord when we are unable to receive.  This is something that can be done at any time and any place, but can also be done during Mass when we cannot receive for one reason or another.  Perhaps the Eucharistic fast isn't up, or you didn't make it to Confession and are aware of grave sin.  You don't skip Mass; you hear the Word of God, and when others go to Holy Communion, you make a spiritual communion. There was an excellent article in the National Catholic Register back in 2011 called, Follow the Saints: Make a Spiritual Communion. Do read it to understand it better.

Spiritual communion is not the same as Holy Communion, but it can still bring us graces when circumstances do not allow us to receive Our Eucharistic Lord.  I would think the graces would be in abundance if people accepted this on the basis that the risk was too great for accidents or profanation to distribute to such a large crowd.

Some have been outright opposed to any kind of large outdoor papal Masses.  I don't think it's necessary to go that far.  All we need to do is limit Communion to those seated in certain areas, and ask the rest to make a spiritual communion for that day.  If the Pope could hold Mass in a major Cathedral on a Sunday when traveling, and do any outdoor Masses on weekdays or Saturday mornings, it makes it all the more easier to ask people to make a spiritual communion since these Masses are not obligatory.

Offering up spiritual communion with the sacramentally famished

Until I read the book, Dominus Est – It Is the Lord! Reflections of a Bishop of Central Asia on Holy Communion, I had not given much thought to the plight of persecuted Christians who sometimes go for weeks, months, and even many years or decades without seeing a priest or having access to the Sacraments.  These are clandestine Catholics who risk life, liberty, and other things in order to continue practicing their faith under ground as Catholics did in the days of St. Tarcisius.  Bishop Athanasius Schneider, ORC, grew up in such a climate after his family was exiled to Kazakhstan from Germany. In the beginning of the book he explains how Catholics kept their faith during those long periods without a priest behind the Iron Curtain and the risks taken by priests and lay people alike.  This was the case for about two decades after World War II.  That gripped me at the beginning of his first book on the subject.  In the image here, we see the final moments of Blessed Miguel Pro of Mexico before he was shot for just being a priest, serving Catholics practicing clandestinely.  He is famous for shouting out before a hail of bullets hit him, "Viva Cristo Rey!" (Long Live Christ the King).

There are also people in prisons around the world without access to the sacraments, as well as in places like nursing homes.  I saw first hand when my mother was in one of those places in rehab.  Faithful Catholics whose children left the faith or became lukewarm don't always think to have a priest visit their loved ones. I saw some extraordinary faith in there, and even more suffering from this spiritual neglect.  If you think life is hard when you can go to Mass every Sunday, try being laid up in a nursing home for many months or years in the  midst of this priest shortage.

This had me thinking that the bishops, the Holy Father, and others could invite people to make a spiritual communion at these large Masses begging also for graces for these people who suffer in the  midst of a sacramental famine.  To go without Holy Communion for one Mass would certainly cause some suffering, but it would make us mindful of those around the world who suffer for long periods of time without the Eucharist, Confession, and other sacraments.  This too has graces.

In closing… 

I'll close with a quote from Bishop Schneider's latest book, Corpus Christi, which is published by Gracewing in the UK and sold through the Opus Angelorum site here in the US.  I've modified the English from UK to US and added white space.

Bishop Schneider makes the point earlier in the book how defenseless Jesus is in the Eucharist.  When you consider the Infant Jesus, who was also defenseless, He is even more defenseless under the appearance of the more lowly bread and wine. It is up to us to protect Him, and to come to his defense against mishandling and profanation.  We need to pray that our bishops will see the role they play in His defense.

A new Eucharistic star is indeed, urgently needed, for the Eucharistic Body of Christ is the weakest and most defenseless being in the midst of the life of the Church. Bravely defending this Divine Poor Body surely would not receive the eulogy and the applause of world, but undoubtedly it would be applauded by the Saints, and in particular th holy "Poverello" - or poor man of Assisi, attracting abundant Divine blessings. Indeed, the restoration of the visible honor due to the Eucharistic Body of Christ would be one of the most efficacious means for the renewal of His Mystical Body, the Church.  May God grant that the hearts and minds of the Shepherds of the Church in our days may be pierced by these words of Saint Francis of Assisi: 
"I conjure all of you, brethren, with all the love of which I am capable and kissing your feet: give as much as you can of all reverence and all honor to the most holy Body of Our Lord Jesus Christ!". 
Indeed, there is nothing else and no one else greater than the Sacred Host and each of even Its most minute fragments, for the Body of Christ is the Lord Himself: "Corpus Christi enim Dominus est!"

UPDATE 1: I see Kat at the Crescat just posted on this today too.  She writes:

And then you got some Catholics, who treat the reality of Christ’s presence in the Eucharist like… well, like this.

Lookit. The only person that has to receive the Eucharist during mass is the priest. And the only time we, as lay people, are required to receive the Eucharist is once a year at Easter.
There’s nothing in the GIRM or CCC or anywhere else that says, “Hey, lets distribute the Eucharist to thousands of people all at once. What could possibly go wrong?” 
Abuses, that’s what. 
We really need to get over this idea that we deserve to receive the Eucharist at every mass, whether it’s out of a sense of entitlement or belief that we aren’t “actively participating” if we don’t. 

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Te Deum Laudamus! Home

The obedient are not held captive by Holy Mother Church;
it is the disobedient who are held captive by the world!

- Diane M. Korzeniewski

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Sunday, January 11, 2015

St John of Kronstadt on sins of others...

A friend on Facebook had this up on her wall. There is so much to learn from the saints. 

Friday, January 9, 2015

About Fathers of Mercy Statement on Fr. Ssemakula's "Healing of Families"

On January 2, 2015, the Fathers of Mercy released an official statement on the "Healing of Families" by Fr. Yozefu-B Ssemakula.   If you follow that link you will see another link which opens a six-page synopsis of their concerns.  In the main link I provided, after reading the statement, you might want to read the dialogue taking place in the comment thread between readers and some of the priests.  While the statement released by the Fathers of Mercy is not magisterial, it carries considerable weight given the esteem these very solid priests have in Catholic circles.  Their members speak at all kinds of venues, they do parish missions, have been on Catholic television and radio, and in media.  Fr. William Casey and Fr. Wade Menezes of EWTN fame, are among their more notable members.

Back on August 26, 2014, Bishop Gregory Parkes released an official statement concerning the "Healing of Families." The request for an imprimatur by Fr. Ssemakula occurred while the Diocese of Pensacola-Tallahassee was under the administration of Archbishop Thomas Wenski.  The Fathers of Mercy, in their statement, write (emphasis mine in bold):

  1. A theological and spiritual work, like The Healing of Families, written by a Catholic priest, should not be published without ecclesiastical approbation.
• Fr. Ssemakula's work was reviewed and rejected for Church approval. Bishop Parkes' official statement: Despite the rejection due to theological errors, he still published it. 
• Fr. Ssemakula told attendees at the ‘clergy only conference’ in February of 2014, that his bishop had told him “there was no need for an imprimatur,” and there were [other] bishops who have offered him an imprimatur on his book. This was a misrepresentation of the truth; no imprimatur can be granted while there are theological errors. His book and ministry is currently under review once more by the Diocese of Pensacola-Tallahassee.

That is troubling.

In both the statement of Bishop Parkes, and the Fathers of Mercy, they point out that there are some good things in the book that people find helpful. They can't simply dismiss theological errors on the basis that other things are helpful.  Even mushrooms which have good taste and important nutrients, can be poisonous.  I'm not saying Fr. Ssemakula's book is a poisonous mushroom, but merely making a point that theological error can be found in a book that has other components which are otherwise good. Theological error in a book is not a benign thing and can have harmful effects. Those harms may be hidden to the casual observer.

I'm going to pepper in a few of the bullet points from the statement, but do read the whole thing.

Bullet 7:

Fr. Ssemakula's book makes the following statements: “Now, that suffering [of Jesus Christ] was willed by neither the Father nor the Son. What the Father willed was to save the world, not the death of His Son.” “He did not come to die, but to save, and ended up dying....” These statements are absolutely contrary to the Biblical prophesies of the Redemption being brought about through the suffering and death of the Messiah, and to the constant tradition of the Church and her saints.

Bullet 8:
This book presents a distorted picture of our chief enemy – Satan/Lucifer/The Devil – giving him powers and “rights” that he does not possess, and at the same time, presenting him as desiring only to wreck havoc, pain and sufferings upon us (in this life), when in fact, Satan's true goal is our spiritual destruction by sin and eternal damnation.

Bullet 9:

This book misrepresents the fact that God sometimes punishes us in this world, asserting rather that all evils/sufferings are “consequence[s] of sins.” This is clearly contrary to Scripture and Tradition, in which God uses sufferings to bring us back to Himself (our conversion), to correct our faults and free us from the effects of our sins (purification), and to unite us more closely to Himself in His Passion and Death (sanctification).

Bullet 11:

This book is replete with “proof-texting” – a serious misuse of Sacred Scripture in which passages are taken out of context in order to “prove” a point which is not supported by the clear meaning of the Scripture passages. There is also a severe lack of reference to the Catechism, Church Fathers, or the Saints.

In bullet 13, the statement explains how much of the "theology" in the book, "resemble ancient heresies": Manicheanism, Gnosticism, and Pelagianism (it explains those terms).

There are several bullets dealing with prayers made without faith, from praying a particular formula to saying the name of Jesus.  The explain that this is a form of superstition.  Faith has to be component.

In Bullet 20, it states:

In the appendix, Fr. Ssemakula states that a priest cannot use the imprecatory prayer of Leo XIII without permission from his bishop, but that it CAN be used by the lay faithful because they have authority in their families. This is in direct contradiction to Church teaching. In 1985, Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, Prefect of the Congregation of the Doctrine of the Faith, gave the Church’s official clarification on the matter: “… it is not even licit that the faithful use the formula of exorcism against Satan and the fallen angels, extracted from the one published by order of the Supreme Pontiff Leo XIII, and even less that they use the integral text of this exorcism.”

This is a clear example of how flawed Fr. Ssemakula’s teaching on authority is; his teaching on the individual’s authority to directly address the devil goes too far and potentially puts souls in serious harm’s way.

Later in the statement, the Fathers of Mercy discuss a list of reasons why they feel people find the program helpful and say these are not contrary to the faith.  After that list they explain:

In terms of why this program works, at a very superficial level, these principles listed above are in keeping with good Catholic thought and teaching. Fr. Ssemakula is not totally wrong in his presentation and there are elements of Truth with a capital “T” found here. These are some of the reasons why we feel this book and program has produced such notable results. 

Finally, they conclude:
While recognizing tremendous good that has resulted from the use of the Healing of Families book and program, the Fathers of Mercy have grave reservations regarding the tremendous theological errors, philosophical contradictions, and logical fallacies within the book and presented at the conferences. There has been much effort given to “working around” these errors and utilizing the program in its present form; however the errors are just too numerous and, in parts, dangerous to souls. For this reason we cannot recommend this book or program and in conscience must warn souls of the dangers it presents.

Among the  preparers undersigned, is Fr. Ken Geraci, listed as a (Attendee and Former instructor of "Healing of Families").  He is one of the priests responding in the comment thread here. Reading that comment thread you understand how involved they were and why, now, they feel the need to distance themselves.

In that comment thread, someone dropped in a comment with a link to an in depth review of the book he did this past summer.  See his comment with a link to the dropbox site where he has it stored online.

Please pray for Fr. Ssemakula and all of those struggling with this issue.  Hopefully, he can update his book and teachings to fix what is broke.  People can have mistaken understandings and hopefully, that is all that is happening here and it can be resolved.

"Generational Healing" and "Family-Tree Healing"?

On a similar note, I think this would be an opportune time to mention the subject of "generational healing." That was addressed soundly by the Korean bishops in 2007 (see news story here).  The only thing I can find is this report.  It would have been good to get the entire statement in English if that is available.  In part, the report reads:

According to the directive, proponents of this practice believe that people inherit their ancestors´ sins, which cause chronic family problems. 
The proponents of "family-tree healing," also called "generational healing, argue that if people do not pray for their ancestors´ souls and offer Masses for the removal of their sins, these problems cannot be solved. 
Bishop Choi explains that "family-tree healing is a mixture of traditional Church teaching" on the souls of the dead and Oriental religious worldviews. "The belief that people inherit their ancestors´ sins is not part of the Catholic faith," he stresses. 
He points out that sins belong solely to the individual and cannot be inherited. 
Furthermore, baptism frees all Catholics from their past sins, even original sin, he points out.

Yeah. This is superstition.

Related Reading:


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Te Deum Laudamus! Home

The obedient are not held captive by Holy Mother Church;
it is the disobedient who are held captive by the world!

- Diane M. Korzeniewski

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Thursday, January 8, 2015

Something to know about: "We Humble Ourselves!"

Recently, a fellow parishioner made known to me a special endeavor I hope you will look into and support through your involvement and/or presence.  It's called, "We Humble Ourselves - Turning a Nation Back to God."  She wrote to me in an email, in part (shared with permission).  I have highlighted one part so Grotto-goers will note Fr. Perrone's involvement (may not be visible in mobile view).  Note that this is not a Catholic event, but one that will include a number of Christian groups on something of mutual interest.

For those who may not have heard, a group of Christians are planning a patriotic, historical, musical event that will thank God for the gift of our Nation and ask for His healing grace at this time in history, when [we may all agree] it is most needed. The We Humble Ourselves event is based on 2 Chronicles 7:14, which states: If my people, who are called by my name will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from Heaven and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land. 

It is an incredible offer from a Father who always keeps His promises.  
The event, then, is a patriotic celebration full of music and song and history. And because our Nation's history is replete with Judeo-Christian references, we will include hymns and Scripture verses as well. Our beloved Pastor at Assumption Grotto, Rev. Eduard Perrone, has graciously accepted our request to conduct our symphony, and we are currently assembling the 100 voice choral group which will delight us with their talent, and lead us in the sing-a-long sections of the program. We will have Pilgrims and Founding Fathers and famous Civil War characters on stage, reading their own words and reminding us about the sacrifices of those who went before us. 

This is our opportunity to reclaim the good heritage that was given to us, once upon a time. Already, we have Catholics and Lutherans, Presbyterians and Methodists working together to make this event the best it can be, for the glory of God and the good of our Nation. This is not a prayer service, because we must acknowledge that each Christian denomination has differences. But we can find common ground, and we have. We will call upon the Most Holy Name of Jesus and we will stand in the breech for our fellow citizens. God-willing, the graces that shower down on us that August day in Dearborn, Michigan, will run like a living stream to the rest of the Nation. 
We have been organizing since last May. We have a nonprofit 501(c)(3) charitable organization, We Humble Ourselves, Inc., that has been created to see this project through. Here is our mission: The purpose of the organization is to reawaken in the citizens of the United States, the love of God and Country that led our Founding Fathers to pledge “[their] Lives, [their] Fortunes and [their] sacred Honor” in support of the Declaration of Independence.

She goes on to say near the end of the email:

We have a website at which has some additional information and a page to "get involved."  
We also have a Twitter account at We Humble Ourselves @TurningA_Nation
May the Lord bless our efforts! 
Please pass the word:  
We Humble Ourselves - Turning a Nation Back to God
Sunday    August 30, 2015    3-5 pm 
Free admission. Free parking. Food available at minimal cost.
We encourage attendees to dress in pilgrim, colonial or civil war era clothing!
The public is welcome to come and see how the soldiers lived during their respective eras.
Ford Field Park, 22051 Cherry Hill, Dearborn, Michigan 
Colonial and Civil War reenactors will set up camp on Saturday, August 29, 2015

The organization also has a Facebook page, which is a little behind yet, but you might want to use the Like button to keep up on news about the event.  Here is one post about an upcoming meeting.

For more info, you can contact:

Please use the social media share buttons to help spread the word.  While this event is taking place in metro-Detroit, the website encourages people in other cities to follow and can provide guidance.


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Te Deum Laudamus! Home

The obedient are not held captive by Holy Mother Church;
it is the disobedient who are held captive by the world!

- Diane M. Korzeniewski

Note: The recommended links below are automatically generated by the tool, so they are not necessarily related content.

Thursday, January 1, 2015

Happy New Year!

May God grant all of us many graces in 2015 to build the Body of Christ.

I just plucked this Venerable Fulton Sheen clip from YouTube to put on my listening list for tomorrow.  The subject line caught my eye as a way to start the New Year.


For interesting news items I don't have time to blog on, check out my Twitter Feed: @TeDeumBlog

Te Deum Laudamus! Home

The obedient are not held captive by Holy Mother Church;
it is the disobedient who are held captive by the world!

- Diane M. Korzeniewski

Note: The recommended links below are automatically generated by the tool, so they are not necessarily related content.

Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Catholic Virtual War Series - Table of Contents


I close out 2014 with this post which serves as a table of contents for a series I have worked on, and which is a work in progress.  Some which were not part of the original series, like Rash Judgment, have been renamed and labeled for the series.

I shut down my comments some time ago since I do not have time to monitor them and the spam filter does not eliminate all spam.  People these days hold most discussions in social media anyway.  So, older discussions may be in some of these but comments should not be operational for anything new.

*Picture at top is an isolation of the girl with a black eye in Normal Rockwell's painting, "Shiner"


For interesting news items I don't have time to blog on, check out my Twitter Feed: @TeDeumBlog

Te Deum Laudamus! Home

The obedient are not held captive by Holy Mother Church;
it is the disobedient who are held captive by the world!

- Diane M. Korzeniewski

Note: The recommended links below are automatically generated by the tool, so they are not necessarily related content.

Te Deum Laudamus!

O God, we praise Thee, and acknowledge Thee to be the supreme Lord.

Everlasting Father, all the earth worships Thee.

All the Angels, the heavens and all angelic powers,
All the Cherubim and Seraphim, continuously cry to Thee:
Holy, Holy, Holy, Lord God of Hosts!
Heaven and earth are full of the Majesty of Thy glory.
The glorious choir of the Apostles,
The wonderful company of Prophets,
The white-robed army of Martyrs, praise Thee.

Holy Church throughout the world acknowledges Thee:

The Father of infinite Majesty;
Thy adorable, true and only Son;
Also the Holy Spirit, the Comforter.

O Christ, Thou art the King of glory!

Thou art the everlasting Son of the Father.

When Thou tookest it upon Thyself to deliver man,

Thou didst not disdain the Virgin's womb.
Having overcome the sting of death, 

Thou opened the Kingdom of Heaven to all believers.

Thou sitest at the right hand of God in the glory of the Father.

We believe that Thou willst come to be our Judge.

We, therefore, beg Thee to help Thy servants whom Thou hast redeemed with Thy Precious Blood.
Let them be numbered with Thy Saints in everlasting glory.

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Tonight: Memorial Mass for Fr John A. Hardon

Tonight at 7:00 will be the annual Memorial Mass for Fr. Hardon at Assumption Grotto. Fr. Hardon had an office at Assumption Grotto in his final years and he was Confessor and spiritual director to many.

See this flyer

Thursday, December 25, 2014

Merry Christmas! Some photos and video from Assumption Grotto

Merry Christmas to all of my readers.  Here is a short video of the Blessing of the Nativity as Midnight Mass got underway in the extraordinary form.  I began recording as the second verse of Silent Night was being sung.  You can go to the settings (gear icon in lower left) and change it over to HD for a better quality.  This was taken with my new Canon EOS 70D, which I've been pretty happy with after the 40D broke a gear.

Here are a few photos from last night.  I had to use a really high ISO with the added darkness so they will be more grainy and have less clarity on close-ups, but these will do.

Here is Fr. Perrone conducting the choir and orchestra. What few empty seats there were could have been filled to standing room only if the choir were not in the risers.

After Midnight Mass, many crowded around the Nativity, including these two religious sisters who live near the parish.

A short time later, three priests came out to each celebrate a pair of private low Masses at each of the three altars.  With the Nativity in the foreground you see one private Mass at the main altar.

There was another at the Sacred Heart Altar

And at the Altar of the Blessed Virgin Mary. A small number of people remain behind, as in past years, to pray silently during these Masses happening around 2 AM.

In this shot, you see all three Masses taking place at the same time.

As a parting shot, this is the Spanish Infant sitting under my small Christmas Tree last night.

To see more photos, check out my gallery for Midnight Mass 2014 at Assumption Grotto.


For interesting news items I don't have time to blog on, check out my Twitter Feed: @TeDeumBlog

Te Deum Laudamus! Home

The obedient are not held captive by Holy Mother Church;
it is the disobedient who are held captive by the world!

- Diane M. Korzeniewski

Note: The recommended links below are automatically generated by the tool, so they are not necessarily related content.

Thursday, December 18, 2014

2014/2015 Christmas Season Schedule at Assumption Grotto

This blog has been neglected of late as I try to catch up with things around my own home now that I am on vacation.  I hope to blog more, soon, so do check back.  In the meanwhile, I want to share the Christmas season schedule at Assumption Grotto.  You can always visit to see what's happening too.  Also, when I am to busy to blog, you can often find me actively sharing quick thoughts and links on Facebook.  You can simply click "follow" for my public posts to see these things.  Also, I recently set up a Facebook page for Assumption Grotto, which is still in early development.  Do "Like" that if you are on Facebook.  And, if you didn't know it already, the Assumption Grotto Gift Shop and Book Store has had a Facebook page for some time.

First, here is the Orchestral Mass schedule for December 25, December 28, and January 4.

The flyer below, which is found in the December 21st Grotto News, gives a more complete schedule, including Confession. Fr. Perrone likes to use the word "Tridentine." Take a close look at each Mass you are wanting to attend and note that in some cases, the EF Mass moves from the usual 9:30 a.m. time-slot to the Noon.  When Fr. Perrone has an orchestral Mass at a Mass time other than 9:30, he most often shifts the EF Mass with it, and a Latin Novus Ordo or vernacular Mass will take it's place.

With regards to the 11:00 p.m. Mass on December 31st, it is a vigil Mass for the Solemnity of the Mother of God.  I've attended this most years, along with the pot luck dinner that follows around 12:30 a.m. New Years Day.  In all the years I attended, this was a Novus Ordo concelebrated by all priests who are on site that day.  This is subject to change.  I will try to find out if that is the plan this  year and update this post, so check back.


For interesting news items I don't have time to blog on, check out my Twitter Feed: @TeDeumBlog

Te Deum Laudamus! Home

The obedient are not held captive by Holy Mother Church;
it is the disobedient who are held captive by the world!

- Diane M. Korzeniewski

Note: The recommended links below are automatically generated by the tool, so they are not necessarily related content.

Sunday, November 30, 2014

Fr. Perrone on the First Sunday of Advent

Fr. John during Elevation in today's 9:30 A.M. Mass for the First Sunday of Advent

Fr. Perrone in talking about the First Sunday of Advent in his Sunday column, had this to say:

Today, the 30th of November, would be the feast of Saint Andrew, apostle of Christ, were it not for this feast falling on a Sunday this year. In the hand missal I had since my boyhood, this day marked the turning point of the calendar of the saints and it appeared at the very top of the section of saints’ day Masses. This year it is especially prominent as a moment of passage since it coincides with that other cycle of the Church, the liturgical cycle, in the beginning of Advent.

A noted theologian has said that Saint Andrew is the Apostle of the Cross. You will no doubt remember that he is depicted as being crucified on a cross in the form of an X. So, no matter whether this feast comes at the end of the Church cycle (as it does some years) or at the beginning (as this year), it is the reminder of the cross that counts. From an old account of his martyrdom we find this: When Aegeas (his judge) ordered Andrew to be hoisted on a cross, to die like Christ, Andrew cried out, ‘O good cross, made beautiful by the body of my Lord! So long desired, now at last made ready for my soul to enjoy.’ He was fastened to the cross on which he hung alive for two days, preaching without cessation the faith of Christ all the while, after which time he passed on to Him whose death he had so coveted.” The Advent connection with St. Andrew lies in this: he longed for and found the Messiah, discovering him along with his brother, St. Peter. Advent then is the season of longing for Christ and Andrew well represents this desire.

Advent has a double aspect about it: the backward glance to the time before Christ, when He was the long-desired One, and that forward looking for His return to earth as its glorious Judge. Both events have a quasi-political ring to them which perhaps makes this year’s Advent have special significance.

We are living in an age of anxiety. Uncertainty, unrest, fears, apprehension over many things: the Church in her leadership; the government’s overweening controls of more and more of our lives with the corresponding loss of personal control and freedom; worries about the security of our freedoms of speech and of the free exercise of the Christian faith; the security of our money; political tensions here and unrest in the global scene; radical Islam, etc. Of this much we must be certain: Christ is the one Lord and God for all people and of all times ever since His first coming. He is sovereign. All things refer to Him and He is in absolute control of all things.

Our utter dependance on Him, our absolute trust in Him is essential, now and for all times. Certainly, He gives freedom for men to cooperate with His will, or to oppose it; hence the consequences which befall us on account of our sins. The whole Church, and all humanity too, should cry out, “Come, Lord Jesus,” (an ancient prayer of the Church). This prayer is not so much a plea to hasten His second coming (though it is that) as it is for Him to be present now to make us saintly, Godfearing people. Were we saints, we would have no fear. But because we have been wicked people generally speaking, we do have cause for apprehension. Advent then ought to be a serious cry to Jesus for help, to be with us, His Church militant, in this time of disquiet in the world.

This morning I read an excellent post by Dom Mark at Vultus Christi that I recommend: Mary always present in the Church.

Please Note: The priests of the Holy Cross are offering an Advent Day of Recollection next Sunday after the Noon Mass in the school.  


For interesting news items I don't have time to blog on, check out my Twitter Feed: @TeDeumBlog

Te Deum Laudamus! Home

The obedient are not held captive by Holy Mother Church;
it is the disobedient who are held captive by the world!

- Diane M. Korzeniewski

Note: The recommended links below are automatically generated by the tool, so they are not necessarily related content.

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Archbishop Vigneron prohibits speaker who promotes 'gay' agenda

Yesterday's Detroit Free Press featured a piece by Patricia Montemurri entitled, Archdiocese of Detroit bans Catholic gay rights speaker from parish.  She begins this way:

The Archdiocese of Detroit has banned a support group for Catholic families with gay members from using a Detroit parish for a Saturday meeting because the scheduled speaker represents a pro-gay rights ministry censured by the Vatican.

This part is true. In fact, to the reporters credit, she later mentions a 1999 censuring of the founders of New Ways Ministry, the organization whom the speaker, Francis DeBernardo, represents. I'll offer a little more background here.  This organization was founded by Sr. Jeanne Grammick, SSND and Fr. Robert Nugent, SDS - two individuals who were the subject of a notification from the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith under the pontificate of Saint Pope John Paul II over what they taught, and neglected to teach, in their ministry to people with same sex attraction (SSA).  The end of that document states (emphasis mine in bold):

Father Nugent and Sister Gramick have often stated that they seek, in keeping with the Church's teaching, to treat homosexual persons “with respect, compassion and sensitivity”. However, the promotion of errors and ambiguities is not consistent with a Christian attitude of true respect and compassion: persons who are struggling with homosexuality no less than any others have the right to receive the authentic teaching of the Church from those who minister to them. The ambiguities and errors of the approach of Father Nugent and Sister Gramick have caused confusion among the Catholic people and have harmed the community of the Church. For these reasons, Sister Jeannine Gramick, SSND, and Father Robert Nugent, SDS, are permanently prohibited from any pastoral work involving homosexual persons and are ineligible, for an undetermined period, for any office in their respective religious institutes.

New Ways Ministry was also the subject of a statement by the USCCB in 2010, which states:

No one should be misled by the claim that New Ways Ministry provides an authentic interpretation of Catholic teaching and an authentic Catholic pastoral practice. Their claim to be Catholic only confuses the faithful regarding the authentic teaching and ministry of the Church with respect to persons with a homosexual inclination. Accordingly, I wish to make it clear that, like other groups that claim to be Catholic but deny central aspects of Church teaching, New Ways Ministry has no approval or recognition from the Catholic Church and that they cannot speak on behalf of the Catholic faithful in the United States.

Bill Donohue at the Catholic League released a rap sheet on NWM.

Getting back to the Detroit Free Press article, Montemurri writes:

It comes a month after Catholic bishops publicly feuded at a Vatican meeting over Pope Francis' more welcoming words and outreach to gay Catholics and their families.
I don't recall Pope Francis saying anything of this sort at the recent Synod, but many in the secular media and in the dissenting wing of the Church seem to know what he thinks.  As Robert Royal, who was in Rome covering the Synod, recently wrote at The Catholic Thing:

"The pope’s own views have been impossible to detect – though many reporters pressed – because he said nothing at all this week. Presumably, he does desire some pastoral developments. He did invite, after all, Cardinal Kasper to give the keynote at the February consistory that got that whole controversy going. But to identify him with the most radical language in some garbled documents does him an injustice."

I want to return to that word, "welcoming," used by Montemurri, which has become popular today. In a nutshell, it is ambiguous and that is what some like.  "Welcoming," in what way? Should people be welcomed in a way that acknowledges the SSA and supports them in living out their lives in harmony with God's ways; or, should they be welcomed in a way that affirms, or seems to affirm, people in behaviors that are objectively grave in their sinfulness?  It's hard to pin-point what people mean by "welcoming."  The latter lacks mercy in that it considers only the temporal without regard for eternal salvation.  I really hope the bishops will define what it means to be "welcoming" in the 2015 Synod, if that word has to be used at all, knowing how it is exploited.

This is probably one of the greatest misunderstandings people have today.  The world believes God wants us to be happy, even unto stretching the truth in ways that puts our eternal salvation at risk. Everything is interpreted through the lens of the "here and now" while disregarding the lens of eternity.  Jesus Himself would not be considered "welcoming" today by telling followers as he did:  "Enter through the narrow gate; for the gate is wide and the road is easy that leads to destruction, and there are many who take it. For the gate is narrow and the road is hard that leads to life, and there are few who find it." (Mt 7:13-14)  This conflicts with the gospel of comfort, which avoids any reflection on what it means to take up our crosses daily.

The Free Press report continues:

Joe Kohn, a spokesman for Archbishop Vigneron, said New Ways Ministry is not an approved organization to address Catholic teachings on homosexuality.

"It was brought to the archdiocese's attention a few weeks back that New Ways Ministry had been scheduled to speak at Christ the King Church," Kohn said in a statement. "Because New Ways Ministry had been identified as a group that might cause confusion in regards to Catholic church teaching, the archdiocese did clarify that a presentation by New Ways Ministry should not be hosted on church property."

And that's why the group hosting New Ways Ministry, moved the Saturday talk offsite.  No further statement is really needed by Archbishop Vigneron or the Archdiocese of Detroit.  Any time a bishop prohibits an event from happening on Church property, people need to act on prudence.  Such action speaks volumes.

Patricia Montemurri, discussing the thoughts of the the man who was to speak at Christ the King Parish, writes:

New Ways' DeBernardo, who was in Rome attending gay rights events during the bishops' meeting, said the Detroit archdiocese's actions run counter to Pope Francis' more sympathetic posture toward gay Catholics.

First, "gay rights" is synonymous these days with affirming the lifestyle now casually referred to as, "gay."  In Catholic circles where groups like New Ways Ministry is welcomed it is often code for affirming people in their sexual relations outside of sacramental marriage while making them feel it is okay to receive Communion.

Lets be clear: Someone with SSA is welcome to receive Holy Communion like any one else, if they are striving for chastity just like any heterosexual would strive for this. There are many single, heterosexual people, who desire marriage, but have not found a spouse.  They are not free to engage in sexual relations outside of Sacramental Marriage and receive Holy Communion.  Many do, but that's something our priests and bishops need to start addressing and maybe it would carry more weight when discussing homosexual relations.  Homosexual inclinations are not sinful; acting on them is (CCC 2357-2359).  People of either sexual orientation fall into sin and that is why there is Sacramental Confession, but this takes acknowledging a wrong and striving to, "go and sin no more." (Jn 8:11).   As the saying goes, "the Catholic Church is not a museum for saints, but a hospital for sinners."  But, we sinners have to want to live in a way that is faithful to God's Commandments.  Contrary to low-information belief, Jesus did not, "do away," with the 10 Commandments.

What kind of parent gives wheat to a child with celiac disease, just to avoid the appearance of being mean, or not wanting the child to feel different from other children, or to be happy?  Humans are not incapable of eating wheat gluten, but the bodies of some individuals react in a way that damages the colon. Eating wheat can eventually be deadly.  In a like manner, a pastor or bishop who permits people to believe they can have sexual relations outside of Sacramental Marriage, or turn marriage into something other than the joining of one man and one woman, engages in false mercy. Personally, I think heterosexual cohabitation is one of the most neglected topics in the Church today.

Perhaps Patricia Montemurri and other reporters would do a story on the Church approved apostolate, Courage and EnCourage.  Courage supports people with SSA to live out their lives in harmony with Church teaching.  EnCourage is a branch of the apostolate which provides support to family members of those with SSA.  Here in Detroit, Msgr. Michael Bugarin is heading up that apostolate.  I look forward to Montemurri's report on it.

The article continues…

The Rev. Victor Clore, pastor of Christ the King parish, said he was notified last week by an archdiocese official that the parish could not host the meeting. Clore said the archdiocese's position was discouraging.

"I'll give you a quote from one of my parishioners, who said: 'It amazes me how Pope Francis eagerly and happily engages those who openly deny the divinity of Christ, yet (New Ways) DeBernardo is deemed unworthy to enter our church,' " Clore stated.

"That's pretty much my feeling, too," said Clore. "It's treating people as if they were children."

Childlikeness is a virtue, especially when it comes to docility.  Also, when children want to touch a hot stove they get told, "no."  That is what Archbishop Vigneron is doing here and he would be guilty of omission if he did not do so.  And, where is Pope Francis giving a platform to a speaker who openly denies the Divinity of Christ?  It's a straw-man argument.  It's one thing to meet with people and talk to them; it's quite another to give them a platform on Church property to spread error, or to say it is okay for them to receive Holy Communion while freely placing themselves in a state of grave sin.

Here's something interesting. The Doctrinal Assessment of the Leadership Conference of Women Religious (LCWR) stated that one of three reasons for initiating the assessment was this:

Policies of Corporate Dissent. The Cardinal spoke of this issue in reference to letters the CDF received from “Leadership Teams” of various Congregations, among them LCWR Officers, protesting the Holy See’s actions regarding the question of women’s ordination and of a correct pastoral approach to ministry to homosexual persons, e.g. letters about New Ways Ministry’s conferences. The terms of the letters suggest that these sisters collectively take a position not in agreement with the Church’s teaching on human sexuality. It is a serious matter when these Leadership Teams are not providing effective leadership and example to their communities, but place themselves outside the Church’s teaching.

Lest there be any doubt, Pope Francis reaffirmed the Vatican's desire to reform the LCWR.  But there it is again, from the Vatican website, clearly showing New Ways Ministry might minister to people with SSA, but not in a Catholic way.

Karle-Nelson said she fears interested Catholics might be confused by the change of location. Last year's meeting drew about 40 participants, with some walk-ins. She said 22 people are registered for Saturday's gathering so far.

"It's really been a problem trying to get the information out to people who have registered and those who might want to walk in," said Karle-Nelson.

"The reason we invited Frank DeBernardo, is he just returned from Rome and the Synod on the family, and he was going to share his perspective and where do we go from here," said Karle-Nelson. "The pope has asked for reactions and to weigh in."

I'd be more concerned about the confusion DeBernardo will sow about what the Church teaches on human sexuality with regards to SSA than with confusion about a change in location.  Where do we go from here?  Look to the very good shepherd we have here in Detroit and follow through with the Church approved apostolates.

New Ways Ministry doesn't have any links to Courage and Encourage. I think we know why.

A final word on how groups like NWM use polls, and how media types tend to use that information, treating the Church as if it is a political class. Catholic understanding of Sacred Scripture is not based on opinion polls. Keep in mind, Jesus had a high unfavorable rating in the opinion poll that put him on the Cross (Mt 15:13-15).  Opinion ≠ Truth.  Here's a good summary from Cardinal Napier on Twitter.

Pray for all involved.


For interesting news items I don't have time to blog on, check out my Twitter Feed: @TeDeumBlog

Te Deum Laudamus! Home

The obedient are not held captive by Holy Mother Church;
it is the disobedient who are held captive by the world!

- Diane M. Korzeniewski

Note: The recommended links below are automatically generated by the tool, so they are not necessarily related content.

Friday, November 14, 2014

Feasts of All Carmelite Saints and All Carmelite Souls

It is ordinary time, but a special day for Carmelites. Today is the feast of All Carmelite Saints for those within the order and I wish all of my fellow Carmelites a blessed feast day.  

On the Church's feast of All Saints on November 1st, we remember most of all, those saints whom are not named. The Church elevates certain saints, giving them a place in liturgical celebrations, but there are many more who enter eternal life as saints whom we do not know of, from monks and religious in monasteries to ordinary homeless people we might have passed on the street every day.

Likewise, in the Carmelite order there are known saints with specified feast dates. But, there are also unknown saints  - men and women who lived and died holy lives, but who have no place in the liturgical calendar.  We remember them today and invoke their assistance in our pursuit of holiness.  We can also remember the many saints who already are acknowledged in the liturgical calendar today.

Not having but a few minutes, I looked around the web for posts made by others and found a beautiful one written at the blog, Salve Sancte Mater Dei about Carmelite saints.  It is from November 14 of 2012 and also covers the feast of All Carmelite Souls which is on November 15th, where we pray for all deceased Carmelites still in purgatory.  Go read: For all the Saints, who from their labor rest: Two Carmelite feasts.

Even if you are not a Carmelite, please offer a prayer today for their assistance, and offer a prayer tomorrow for all Carmelites in purgatory.


For interesting news items I don't have time to blog on, check out my Twitter Feed: @TeDeumBlog

Te Deum Laudamus! Home

The obedient are not held captive by Holy Mother Church;
it is the disobedient who are held captive by the world!

- Diane M. Korzeniewski

Note: The recommended links below are automatically generated by the tool, so they are not necessarily related content.

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

The unimaginable life of man born and raised in a North Korean labor camp

Last night, channel flipping, I stumbled upon this stunning interview Anderson Cooper did with an escapee of a notorious labor camp in North Korea back in 2012. He was re-running it because of the recent news of two Americans recently freed from that country.

The interview took place in 2012, I believe and I found it on YouTube.  I can't begin to fathom what this man went through, and what others are still going through.  Imagine being born believing that the world around you in such a camp is all there is to life. Imagine a child who doesn't know what it means to be loved.  There are people being born and raised in these camps for generations.   You can see how easy that would happen in the situation he describes, and there are people still there.

Pray for him and for all who do not know liberty.  Pray also for our veterans today for the freedom we enjoy.

See more here.


For interesting news items I don't have time to blog on, check out my Twitter Feed: @TeDeumBlog

Te Deum Laudamus! Home

The obedient are not held captive by Holy Mother Church;
it is the disobedient who are held captive by the world!

- Diane M. Korzeniewski

Note: The recommended links below are automatically generated by the tool, so they are not necessarily related content.

Friday, November 7, 2014

Bishop Schneider's Athanasian response to the Synod's mid-term report

Bishop Athanasius Schneider's patristics background shines in this latest interview which conveys his concerns over how the recent Synod went down, especially the interim report.  Like his namesake, he doesn't leave room for moral gymnastics.  Thanks to Polonia Christiana we have the interview in full translation from Polish.  It was a long read, but worthy of reading in it's entirety. I'm sure some on the left will exploit what he says in a way that is out of context, so don't limit yourself to excerpts. People are quoting those parts that make good soundbites, but when those are not balanced with the other things he says, they only feed the machine that will be all too quick to burn him at the cyber-stake.

As an aside, I'm glad to see so many of my original photographs of Bishop Schneider floating around the web.  I'm using several here from his visits to Detroit.  The one at top, and those similar to it you will find, was taken at Shrine of the Little Flower in Royal Oak when he spoke at the Call to Holiness Conference in 2009.  Others were taken at Assumption Grotto in 2008.

Here is the first part, below this line.

The Church and the world do urgently need intrepid and candid witnesses of the whole truth of the commandment and of the will of God, of the whole truth of Christ’s words on marriage. Modern clerical Pharisees and Scribes, those bishops and cardinals who throw grains of incense to the neo-pagan idols of gender ideology and concubinage, will not convince anyone to either believe in Christ or to be ready to offer their lives for Christ - said + Athanasius Schneider Auxiliary Bishop of the Archdiocese of Saint Mary in Astana, Kazakhstan in interview with Izabella Parowicz.

Your Excellency, what is Your Excellency’s opinion about the Synod? What is its message to families?

During the Synod there had been moments of obvious manipulation on the part of some clerics who held key positions in the editorial and governing structure of the Synod. The interim report (Relatio post disceptationem) was clearly a prefabricated text with no reference to the actual statements of the Synod fathers. In the sections on homosexuality, sexuality and “divorced and remarried” with their admittance to the sacraments the text represents a radical neo-pagan ideology. This is the first time in Church history that such a heterodox text was actually published as a document of an official meeting of Catholic bishops under the guidance of a pope, even though the text only had a preliminary character. Thanks be to God and to the prayers of the faithful all over the world that a consistent number of Synod fathers resolutely rejected such an agenda; this agenda reflects the corrupt and pagan main stream morality of our time, which is being imposed globally by means of political pressure and through the almost all-powerful official mass media, which are loyal to the principles of the world gender ideology party. Such a synod document, even if only preliminary, is a real shame and an indication to the extent the spirit of the anti-Christian world has already penetrated such important levels of the life of the Church. This document will remain for the future generations and for the historians a black mark which has stained the honour of the Apostolic See. Fortunately the Message of the Synod Fathers is a real Catholic document which outlines the Divine truth on family without being silent about the deeper roots of the problems, i.e. about the reality of sin. It gives real courage and consolation to Catholic families. Some quotations: “We think of the burden imposed by life in the suffering that can arise with a child with special needs, with grave illness, in deterioration of old age, or in the death of a loved one. We admire the fidelity of so many families who endure these trials with courage, faith, and love. They see them not as a burden inflicted on them, but as something in which they themselves give, seeing the suffering Christ in the weakness of the flesh. … Conjugal love, which is unique and indissoluble, endures despite many difficulties. It is one of the most beautiful of all miracles and the most common. This love spreads through fertility and generativity, which involves not only the procreation of children but also the gift of divine life in baptism, their catechesis, and their education. … The presence of the family of Jesus, Mary, and Joseph in their modest home hovers over you”.

Those groups of people who had been expecting a change in the Church’s teaching with regard to the moral issues (e.g. allowing divorced and remarried people to receive Holy Communion or granting any form of approval for homosexual unions) were probably disappointed by the content of the final Relatio. Isn’t there, however, a danger that questioning and discussing issues that are fundamental for the Church’s teaching may itself open doors for serious abuses and for similar attempts to revise this teaching in the future?

In fact a Divine commandment, in our case the sixth commandment, the absolute indissolubility of the sacramental marriage, a Divinely established rule, means those in a state of grave sin cannot be admitted to Holy Communion. This is taught by Saint Paul in his letter inspired by the Holy Spirit in 1 Corinthians 11, 27-30, this cannot be put to the vote, just as the Divinity of Christ would never be put to a vote. A person who still has the indissoluble sacramental marriage bond and who in spite of this lives in a stable marital cohabitation with another person, by Divine law cannot be admitted to Holy Communion. To do so would be a public statement by the Church nefariously legitimizing a denial of the indissolubility of the Christian marriage and at the same time repealing the sixth commandment of God: “Thou shalt not commit adultery”. No human institution not even the Pope or an Ecumenical Council has the authority and the competency to invalidate even in the slightest or indirect manner one of the ten Divine commandments or the Divine words of Christ: “What therefore God has joined together, let man not separate (Math 19:6)”. Regardless of this lucid truth which was taught constantly and unchangingly - because unchangeable - through all the ages by the Magisterium of the Church up to our days as for instance in “Familiaris consortio” of Saint John Paul II, in the Catechism of the Catholic Church and by Pope Benedict XVI, the issue of the admissibility to Holy Communion of the so called “divorced and remarried” has been put to the vote in the Synod. This fact is in itself grievous and represents an attitude of clerical arrogance towards the Divine truth of the Word of God. The attempt to put the Divine truth and the Divine Word to a vote is unworthy of those who as representatives of the Magisterium have to hand over zealously as good and faithful rules (cf. Math 24, 45) the Divine deposit. By admitting the “divorced and remarried” to Holy Communion those bishops establish a new tradition on their own volition and transgressing thereby the commandment of God, as Christ once rebuked the Pharisees and Scribes (cf. Math 15: 3). And what is still aggravating, is the fact that such bishops try to legitimize their infidelity to Christ’s word by means of arguments such as “pastoral need”, “mercy”, “openness to the Holy Spirit”. Moreover they have no fear and no scruples to pervert in a Gnostic manner the real meaning of these words labeling at the same time those who oppose them and defend the immutable Divine commandment and the true non-human tradition as rigid, scrupulous or traditionalist. During the great Arian crisis in the IV century the defenders of the Divinity of the Son of God were labeled “intransigent” and “traditionalist” as well. Saint Athanasius was even excommunicated by Pope Liberius and the Pope justified this with the argument that Athanasius was not in communion with the Oriental bishops who were mostly heretics or semi-heretics. Saint Basil the Great stated in that situation the following: “Only one sin is nowadays severely punished: the attentive observance of the traditions of our Fathers. For that reason the good ones are thrown out of their places and brought to the desert” (Ep. 243).

In fact the bishops who support Holy Communion for “divorced remarried” are the new Pharisees and Scribes because they neglect the commandment of God, contributing to the fact that out of the body and of the heart of the “divorced remarried” continue to “proceed adulteries” (Math 15: 19), because they want an exteriorly “clean” solution and to appear “clean” as well in the eyes of those who have power (the social media, public opinion). However when they eventually appear at the tribunal of Christ, they will surely hear to their dismay these words of Christ: “Why are you declaring my statutes and taking my covenant in your mouth? Seeing you hate instruction, and cast my words behind you, … when you have been partaker with adulterers” (Ps 50 (49): 16-18).

The final Relatio of the Synod also unfortunately contains the paragraph with the vote on the issue of Holy Communion for “divorced remarried”. Even though it has not achieved the required two third of the votes, there remains nevertheless the worrying and astonishing fact that the absolute majority of the present bishops voted in favor of Holy Communion for the “divorced and remarried”, a sad reflection on the spiritual quality of the catholic episcopacy in our days. It is moreover sad, that this paragraph which hasn’t got the required approval of the qualitative majority, remains nevertheless in the final text of the Relatio and will be sent to all dioceses for further discussion. It will surely only increase the doctrinal confusion among the priests and the faithful, being in the air, that Divine commandments and Divine words of Christ and those of the apostle Paul are put at the disposal of human decision making groups. One Cardinal who openly and strongly supported the issue of Holy Communion for “divorced and remarried” and even the shameful statements on homosexual “couples” in the preliminary Relatio, was dissatisfied with the final Relatio, and declared impudently: “The glass is half-full”, and analogously he said that one has to work that next year at the Synod it will be full. We must believe firmly that God will dissipate the plans of dishonesty, infidelity and betrayal. Christ holds infallibly the rudder of the boat of His Church in midst of such a big storm. We believe and trust in the very ruler of the Church, in Our Lord Jesus Christ, who is the truth.

Go read the rest at Polonia Christiana.  He was just getting warmed up.

Parting shot: Bishop Schneider's daily ring - the Miraculous Medal.

Books in English by Bishop Athanasius Schneider, ORC can be found online here.


For interesting news items I don't have time to blog on, check out my Twitter Feed: @TeDeumBlog

Te Deum Laudamus! Home

The obedient are not held captive by Holy Mother Church;
it is the disobedient who are held captive by the world!

- Diane M. Korzeniewski

Note: The recommended links below are automatically generated by the tool, so they are not necessarily related content.