Sunday, March 1, 2015

Confession


Terence K. O'Leary has an excellent post up at The Catholic Thing asking: Is Confession dead?  Go read it.




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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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Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Father Rosica, drop this embarrassing threat of litigation...

Father Rosica, drop this embarrassing threat of litigation - it is really making you look bad…. really bad.   What kind of priest, much less an official in the Vatican, uses litigation against a Catholic blogger over his reputation?  Reputation?

I can just imagine if the Pope went around suing people every time he felt his reputation was harmed.  If there is a chapter in the Imitation of Christ which encourages suing people over reputation, I missed it.  Perhaps there is merit in offering up any suffering you believe you've had over the words of a Catholic blogger for the strength and courage of Christians being martyred in the Middle East.  There's not even a question that they are suffering serious, unjust injury.

I can't help but wonder: Does Pope Francis know you are so concerned with your reputation that you would hire lawyers to go after bloggers in this fashion? And, you would risk causing a family man to lose his home, among other things?

I was completely unaware of the blogger and blogposts in question until you sent lawyers after this man.   I rarely comment publicly on this kind of thing, and I've been an advocate for finding ways to express our concerns with greater virtue (sometimes it's not what we say but the lack of restraint in how we say it).  However, the thought of a priest suing bloggers comes across as so outrageous I felt compelled to express  my own thoughts on the matter.

Without judging whether any part of what the blogger said is right or wrong, and whether I agree with how he chose to express his concerns or not, bearing patiently with injury, or long-suffering, is a fruit of the Holy Spirit.  From a discernment stand point, I don't see the Holy Spirit's involvement in threats of litigation or lawsuits against bloggers.  While you are concerned with your own reputation, what harm are you bringing to the reputation of the priesthood with litigation?

Here in the U.S., we can't sue public figures for defamation.  Just because it is possible in Canada doesn't mean it's a prudent response for a priest, even if there is some kind of injury.

With regards to claims that Salt and Light TV has suffered damage, I'm not buying it.  If anything, you've done more harm to it yourself.  So much for trusting in God's providence in the face of real or perceived injustice.

Get thicker skin, Father Rosica.  Bearing with injuries - again, real or perceived - goes with the priesthood.  This is what it looks like, and we - you and I - did this to Him, Father:


"William-Adolphe Bouguereau (1825-1905) -
The Flagellation of Our Lord Jesus Christ (1880)
".
Licensed under Public Domain via 
Wikimedia Commons.


Further reading:

*Edited it in after others suggested these Scriptural texts, as well.  I had thought of 1 Cor 6, but had to head out to work before I could find it.

Other edits: Comma added in "Get thicker skin, Father Rosica"



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The obedient are not held captive by Holy Mother Church;
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- Diane M. Korzeniewski

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Monday, February 23, 2015

Some new posts…

Since beginning a second blog with a targeted focus within Catholicism, and to dabble in Wordpress, while working at reducing word-count through the tool WP has for that, I've since made two posts.




I explain in the About page there, why I embarked on this path.  As I said the other day, Te Deum Laudamus will continue, but the new blog allows me to be free of current events and focus on the spiritual realm.



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The obedient are not held captive by Holy Mother Church;
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- Diane M. Korzeniewski

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Sunday, February 22, 2015

A new blog with a particular focus within Catholicism



I've been blogging since 2006 and have used this blog for just about any topic in Catholicism.  What I have found is that the temptation to discuss current events chronically pulls me away from deeper thoughts and prayer concerning the nuts and bolts of spiritual formation.

At the same time, it has been on my mind for some years now to look closer at moving to Wordpress, but I have been afraid of simply migrating my blog for fear of losing things.  This may happen yet as I plan to keep both blogs.

The new blog is called, Standing Before Mount Carmel.  It not only gives me a chance to learn Wordpress on the fly, but it allows me to escape the temptation to stay in the realm of current events.  That's not to say they are bad. Catholics need to be aware of what is going on in the world around them and we need to participate in the public square. This takes knowing what is happening and how we can make a difference by exercising our rights.  But, for me personally, with what little free time I have, current events are difficult to pull away from once I begin digesting them.  With Lent here, I wanted a break, but did not necessarily want to stop blogging or engaging in social media.  It will have a more targeted focus during this season.

In my first post there, I explain why the new blog  with some additional info. For that, see "Another day; another blog"

In my second post, just made a short time ago, I begin to look at a fruit of the Holy Spirit called, longanimity, or long-suffering.

Be sure to use the follow options there, but I will also post a link here to any new posts, as well as sharing in my social media.






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The obedient are not held captive by Holy Mother Church;
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- Diane M. Korzeniewski

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Saturday, February 21, 2015

New Book: "Lent with St. Augustine" by Waldemur Turek



In one of my feeds, I saw this book, Lent with Saint Augustine (Paperback) by Waldemur Turek,  mentioned last week and ordered it without hesitation.  I went on the hunt for an e-book version, but could not find one.  Alas! Today, I see it is at Amazon: Lent with Saint Augustine (Kindle Edition).  I don't think I missed it, but perhaps I did; or it just became available. 

My iPhone camera is not working well (or the lens is just old and worn out).  But, you can look through the murky pics to get an idea of what is in this 114 page book.  Just click the images to enlarge. 

I like the format. It's just over one page per day throughout Lent.  As you can see, it came from series of short talks by a priest from Poland.  It is now available in three languages: Polish, Italian, and English. 

I have a few pages to catch up.  













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The obedient are not held captive by Holy Mother Church;
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- Diane M. Korzeniewski

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Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Thursday Evening Passio; Ember Days during Lent at Grotto



Fr. Perrone leads a post-Mass Rosary following Mass on the recent "pre-Lent,"  Septuagesima Sunday 


Passio Domini on Thursday Nights


With the departure of the priests, brothers, and sisters of the Holy Cross (ORC) to their new home in Carrollton, Ohio, I wondered if the Thursday evening Passio would continue.  This is something they began many years ago.  Following the Thursday night Mass (ordinary form/OF), Exposition would be held until 9:00 p.m. and the Passio Domini (Passion of Our Lord) would take place for the sanctification of the priesthood.  I got the answer tonight from Fr. John who said the intent is to continue with this.  Do support it if you can as it is a worthy cause, especially during Lent.

Ember Days at Assumption Grotto


I was also asked by someone about Ember Days in Lent at Assumption Grotto.  This is specific to the 1962 calendar and are typically celebrated at specified times, four times yearly on Wednesdays, Fridays, and Saturdays. They are penitential days, which is why you see violet vestments.  Being that Assumption Grotto offers Mass in the extraordinary form (EF) Monday through Saturday morning at 7:30 a.m.; and on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday evenings, the four sets of Ember Days are covered throughout the year.  The spring Embertide follows the first Sunday in Lent.

If you do not have a Missal, the propers for Ember Days can be found here.

Additional Notes about Daily Masses


With regards to weeknight Masses, there are two nights per week where the ordinary form is celebrated: Tuesdays and Thursdays.  I do not know if this might change or remain the same.  Some things may get adjusted over time with the absence of the ORC, so stay tuned to the bulletin and assumptiongrotto.com.

It is worth noting that there are occasions when a scheduled EF Mass is changed to an OF Mass.  This might happen, for example, if a visiting priest takes a Mass and does not regularly celebrate with the 1962 calendar.  There are other circumstances that can lead to this, but it is rare for the schedule to deviate.

When EF Masses are celebrated they can be high or low Masses.  Often times, it's dependent on availability of someone to chant.  High Masses during the week happen more often in the morning at 7:30, and rarely in the evening, unless there is something special happening.  You know it is a low Mass before it begins when only two candles are lit on either side of the Tabernacle.  Postures differ between the two, with more changes in the high Mass, such as standing at times.  Tonight's Ash Wednesday Mass was a little confusing because only two candles were lit, but there was chant, and it was a sung Mass. It happens sometimes. Even I wasn't sure whether to stay kneeling (as in low Masses)  or rise at times.

The Holy Rosary is prayed after all weekday and weekend Masses, and most of the time this is led by the celebrant of the Mass.  Sometimes, especially on weeknights, priests must leave immediately for a wake, or other obligation, and one of the altar servers or sacristan will lead it. No one is obligated to stay, but it is there for those who want it.  The time preceding Mass is for silent prayer.

Confessions


Also impacted with the loss of extra priests, is Sacramental Confession.  Recently, Fr. Perrone asked Grotto-goers to make use of the Saturday time slot, from 2:30-3:30 rather than wait for Sunday when there will be only one priest, and perhaps abbreviated times.  He knows some people commute great distances and for them it is not practical.  But for people who live closer, he is asking more to go on Saturdays.  There are often unscheduled Confessions being heard before most of the weekday Masses too.  There's a pretty good chance if you get to Grotto 20 minutes before the Friday evening Mass you can find an opportunity for Confession.



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- Diane M. Korzeniewski

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Video and Pics from Assumption Grotto's Fat Tuesday Cotillion



Each year on "Fat Tuesday" - the day before Ash Wednesday, Assumption Grotto has a Cotillion involving a few hundred people.  It's a family affair with a band that plays music from the 17th and 18th centuries.  Some dress in old world garb; others come dressed in contemporary clothing.  There's lots of food in the hallway, and it's a fun event all the way around.

I have more photos, but did not have time to process them.  I'll get to those with my backlog soon. But I wanted to share this composite of three short video clips.








This looks like trouble!







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The obedient are not held captive by Holy Mother Church;
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- Diane M. Korzeniewski

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Monday, February 16, 2015

Homily of Fr. Eduard Perrone for Quinquagesima Sunday; Notes on Ash Wednesday and Lent




This is audio of Fr. Perrone's homily from this past Sunday at the 9:30 AM Mass in the Extraordinary Form. I uploaded it to YouTube with a snapshot from a previous Sunday.  My regrets that I have not taken time to set up a site for podcasts.

Grotto's pastor explains the importance of the forthcoming 40 Days of Lent and why we need it.




Please forgive the low quality as this was taken using an iPhone from the nave where it picked up echo, and a baby or two, and a few other noises. 

If you listen to one part of this homily and not the entire thing, you might walk away with a different impression. 

ASH WEDNESDAY AND LENTEN NOTES


This is probably a good time to mention some things coming up for Lent, starting with Ash Wednesday.  There will only be two Masses, with ashes distributed at the beginning (so get there early!).  The Masses are at 7:30 a.m. and 7:00 p.m.

During Lent, Grotto will have it's great Fish Fry (which usually includes an option for baked fish).  In the past few years we have had talks in the gym towards the end of the dinner.  This year, Brother Esteban will be doing these.  I'll share a flyer on that in a moment. 

The Fish Fry runs from 4:30 to 6:30 PM.  The talk is at 6:00.  Now, Mass is delayed on Fridays in Lent to allow people more time to honor the Eucharistic fast after dinner. So, the Stations of the Cross are done at 7:00 p.m., and Mass follows after. 

Someone asked me today which Stations we use. In all the years I've gone, it's always been the classic St. Alphonsus Liguori version. 

Someone also asked me about Ember Days during Lent.  The 7:00 p.m. Mass on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays, use the 1962 Missal (always subject to change and availability of a priest to celebrate that form).  One can always count on Ember Day Masses at the morning, 7:30 a.m. Mass at Grotto.  In any event, the spring Ember Days are the Friday and Saturday after Ash Wednesday.  I believe this will be the case this Friday morning and evening, and at 7:30 on Saturday morning.  You can always call the rectory to confirm.

Stay tuned to AssumptionGrotto.com for more news about Lent and various events coming up.

Here is the flyer.





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- Diane M. Korzeniewski

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Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Saying farewell to the ORC at Grotto; and, words from Bishop Schneider on the "New Gnosticism"




This weekend, Grotto-goers will be bidding farewell to the priests, brothers, and sisters of the Order of the Holy Cross (ORC, not OSC) who have been a part of our lives for more about 20 years.  Land donated to them in Carrollton, Ohio is the place where they will build their permanent residence here in the United States after receiving all approvals.  They have been hard at work (see updates here).  On this, Fr. Perrone wrote in a recent Grotto-News:



"…on Sunday February 15th we will bid farewell to the Order of the Holy Cross with a little reception in the gym following the 9:30 and noon Masses. Please come to express your gratitude to the priests and nuns for their presence and work in our parish over these twenty-some years."

If you want to bid farewell, come this Sunday as most or all of them based in the US will be here.

Bishop Schneider on Battling the New Gnosticism


Bishop Athanasius Schneider was ordained a priest of the ORC and there is something just published this morning I know many readers here will find of interest.

First, a note: Many of the photos you find on the web of Bishop Schneider, especially with the Little Flower in the background, were photographs I took during his 2009 visit to Detroit when spoke at the Call to Holiness Conference.  This morning I got an email from Steve Skojec at the One Peter Five site, alerting me to an article published today at that site by His Excellency.  I appreciate the attribution, the link, and the email notice he provided.

The Editor's Note that accompanies Bishop Schneider's article reads:

"Following his strongly-worded interview with Polonia Christiana in the wake of the first part of the Extraordinary Synod on Marriage and Family, we reached out to Bishop Athanasius Schneider to seek his guidance on concrete actions Catholics can take during this time of turmoil within the Church. We specifically requested his advice on what the faithful could do to resist heterodoxy and address the errors (or at least obfuscations) that seem to be issuing forth from some of the highest prelates in the Church. Though his counsel is brief, it is deeply thoughtful, and offers us a great deal of work to do. With the next meeting of the Synod less than eight months away, there is no time to waste."

Bishop Schneider is a man who knows probably some 10 languages, giving him access to much content - both contemporary and historical.  His PhD is in Patristics.   I find it interesting today that no one questions the hard-hitting boldness with which the Church Fathers spoke, or even Saint Paul for that matter, yet if a bishop today dares to do so, he is vilified and blasted as "rigid." I look at what Bishop Schneider says and I see him cut from the cloth of his namesake, Saint Athanasius.

I've read the article and it is bold, firm, and clear in articulating his thoughts, as usual.  Bishop Schneider doesn't mince words. He says what he thinks, but does not use sarcasm or condescension to get his point across - a key point for anyone wanting others who aren't in the choir to hear the message (whether they can agree or not).

Go read the brief article by His Excellency at One Peter Five: Battling the New Gnosticism.  And, on this feast day of Our Lady of Lourdes, let's ask for the intercession of the Blessed Virgin Mary.






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The obedient are not held captive by Holy Mother Church;
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- Diane M. Korzeniewski

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Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Some notes on recent Medjugorje news...



There are some items on the web and in news circles that have those with an interest in Medjugorje - one way or another - in discussion. I talk about three of them here.

Pope Francis to visit Bosnia


Pope Francis boards a flight to Manila
(AP Photo/Saurabh Das)
First, it was recently announced that the Holy Father would make a trip to Bosnia this June.  Whenever the Holy Father is mentioned in the same sentence as Bosnia & Herzegovina (BiH), people automatically think: Medjugorje.  Yet, this tiny nation still suffers from the wounds of war and ethnic tensions.  I wonder: Will journalists around the world make that the center of their stories when he goes there, or will it play second fiddle to the alleged apparitions of Medjugorje? I can tell you, we need to know about the deep suffering taking place there, and what challenges face the bishops and priests of that nation.

I doubt the Pope is going there to tip his hand one way or another on Medjugorje.  Might he make known his final discernment in the matter before then?  Perhaps. The bishops of BiH are due for their ad limina visit this spring and it's hard to fathom it won't be discussed, at least privately.  I would imagine the bishops would like resolution so they could move forward rather than have Medjugorje as a continuing question mark that draws attention from other, very serious matters we know little about.

Aside from the ethnic issues in that region, the Holy See wants resolution of a schism-like situation taking place in the Diocese of Mostar-Duvno which began in the years prior to the alleged apparitions of Medjugorje.  In fact, there is a belief amongst critics and skeptics that the situation in Medjugorje has given very good cover to that problem.  It is hard for some to fathom how the Blessed Virgin Mary could be appearing to people in a diocese where sacrilege has taken place in the form of invalid Sacraments; where dozens of priests remain suspended; where a number of priests and brothers were removed from the Franciscan order, with some still presenting themselves as Franciscan pastors of parishes usurped - yet, astonishingly, the lady of Medjugorje says nothing about this in any of her daily messages.

Did Bishop Komarica say the Pope will recognize Medjugorje?


I've cautioned in the past, with examples, that news from Medjugorje websites needs to be validated very carefully.  This is especially true of the translations themselves. With a report showing up on Medjugorje Today suggesting a bishop tipped the Pope's hand toward's "recognition"and the mega-portal, Spirit Daily linking to it, I turned to Richard Chonak for translation of the German-language interview with Bishop Komarica (KOH-mar-eetza) of Banja Luka (BAH-nyah LOOH-kah).  That interview was in the German language Vatican Radio website and if you put that link into an auto-translator you will see many other things were discussed.  Richard isolated that part of the discussion focusing on Medjugorje and I use his rough translation here.


The interview with Vatican Radio was conducted in German (the audio is on the VR page). Q: "Was there never any discussion that the Pope might visit Medjugorje to form his own impression of it?"

Bp. Komarica: "Yes, actually, Medjugorje is a fact, since '91 [sic], and very many people went there from near and far. The Church has her preconditions, in regard to recognizing a place of pilgrimage. As for any visions there, we're leaving that to the Holy See, as is known. And it's necessary that the Church, the responsible Church officials continue to carefully accompany and evaluate the developments in Medjugorje. One should keep an eye on good fruits, and if there are also any negative fruits, one should isolate them so that one stops them. Thanks be to God, one doesn't hear so much about negative fruits. When Medjugorje is going to be recognized: we're leaving that to the Holy Father. It's his decision ... ["as far as I know"? difficult phone audio]."

Q: So there was never any discussion of a papal visit to Medjugorje?

Bp. Komarica: "As far as I know, no. If the decision might have been otherwise, certainly the Pope could have wanted to decide, and [pauses] the Pope decided as he decided, and he had corresponding reasons to do so, and I'm not able to comment much on that."

After reading that, notice the headline at Medjugorje Today. I would link to the article, but unless you pay the $19/month, you can't read any more than I am showing here (for comparison, a monthly subscription to the e-edition of the Miami Herald is just $6.95/month).  The websites this is taken from is shown at top.




While they quote things Bishop Komarica actually said, it's the way they are arranged, coupled with the headline, and omissions, that takes the reader beyond what was really said.  Aside from that, there are inconsistencies. First, he said it began in 1991 when it actually began in 1981.  Secondly, he acknowledges there are negative fruits, even if he himself is unaware of too many.  But, recognition of authenticity by the Church, or negation thereof, is not based on fruits, but on the events themselves using certain criteria provided by the Holy See years prior to Medjugorje.  Fruits of any kind are secondary to that.  The birth of a baby can never be a bad fruit, even if that baby is conceived in a sinful way.  The birth of the baby to a mother out of wedlock does not change the objectively grave matter involved with illicit sex outside of Sacramental marriage; or, in the case of rape, the assault against the mother.  In other words, illicit sex is discouraged on the basis that it is sinful, not on encouraged because of the goodness of a new life.  Likewise, the good taste and nutritional value of a mushroom does not tell us whether it has an objective poison that can have harmful, if not lethal, effects.  That is why events or facts surrounding the alleged apparitions are studied first, and fruits second.  Noting good fruits augments good facts, and bad fruits are not disregarded. In fact, it is not the good fruits in followers that are examined, but the fruits in the visionaries and their spiritual directors and others who might guide them that the Church examines.  Far down the list is when fruits in followers are considered.  The Holy See has the fullest list of good and bad fruits in the alleged visionaries of Medjugorje and to my knowledge, they have not shared their findings with anyone yet.

Nowhere does Bishop Komarica indicate the Holy Father will recognize the authenticity of the alleged apparitions of Medjugorje.  Even I have recognized in past writings that there have been real conversions among some who visit there.  But, where supporters would point to the appearance of the lady of Medjugorje, I point to the Sacraments and prayer - especially Adoration and the Rosary.  Many can be motivated to use Sacramental Confession when seeing big lines waiting for a multitude of priests.  I know because I was motivated to go frequently at Assumption Grotto where the sight of lines stirred my conscience and my will to be cleansed.  I also know that when I go to daily Mass, pray my Divine Office and Rosary, go to Adoration, and do regular spiritual reading, I get graces that help me to avoid sin and strength to practice virtue.

What often puzzles me is that if a diocesan bishop were to hold a public Rosary with Adoration on an ordinary Friday night, there would probably be sparse attendance.  But if the same bishop, in all the same circumstances, invited an alleged visionary like Ivan Dragicevic to come, there would be standing room only.  This is a serious, collective, spiritual impurity that would only come out for the sideshow of an apparition - real or not - and not to give of oneself in prayer with nothing in return.

Might the Holy Father recognize that people who visit Medjugorje for the Sacraments, and who take time to deepen their prayer life can see good fruits in their lives?  Sure.  Might he recognize the authenticity of alleged apparitions in Medjugorje? That's highly doubtful since some of the seers have ongoing visions.  The Holy See has not recognize alleged apparitions that are ongoing for the simple reason that if they say today, "nothing opposes it" and tomorrow a presumed visionary claims the Blessed Virgin declared herself the fourth person of the Trinity, that error would negate authenticity. It would hurt the credibility of the Church, as well.  On the other hand, if anything is signaling a lack of authenticity, then a negative decision can come down while the phenomena are ongoing.

Pope Francis did say in one of his daily homilettes:

Curiosity, the Pope continued, impels us to want to feel that the Lord is here or rather there, or leads us to say: “But I know a visionary, who receives letters from Our Lady, messages from Our Lady”. And the Pope commented: “But, look, Our Lady is the Mother of everyone! And she loves all of us. She is not a postmaster, sending messages every day.”

Ivan returns to the USA despite Apostolic Nuncio's admonition?

Word leaked out in 2013 that the CDF had twice admonished US bishops to cease giving alleged visionaries of Medjugorje a podium on Church property since this can lend credibility to the claims still being investigated by the Holy See.  Today, I see at Medjugorje Today, this news:



To be clear, the prohibition involves Church property - parishes, Cathedrals, shrines, etc.  Private groups can still host an alleged visionary of Medjugorje on private property, so the arranger is not "challenging" the Vatican on anything.  But, the group hosting it seem to be disrespectful of logic used by the Holy See.  EDIT: Something was brought to my attention last night. It had been a while since I carefully read that letter to to U.S. Bishops which came from the CDF through the Apostolic Nuncio.  After pointing out that the phenomena are being investigated yet by the Holy See, it reads:

It follows, therefore, that clerics and the faithful are not permitted to participate in meetings, conferences or public celebrations during which the credibility of such "apparitions" would be taken for granted.   
In order, therefore, to avoid scandal and confusion, Archbishop Müller asks that the Bishops be informed of this matter as soon as possible.  
I have not seen any other letters made public at this level countering that.

So who is hosting this and where?  The Blessed Anne Catherine Emmerich Foundation is hosting it at a center on the campus of a Presbyterian college in the greater St. Louis area.  I'm not sure why a foundation devoted to her writings would involve themselves in something which carries the risk of a negative decision.  But many are in denial of this possibility.  There is no risk in not hosting an alleged visionary if such a thing were later approved.  When the Holy See is investigating, people need to open themselves for all possibilities.  The fact that the CDF admonished US bishops for hosting visionaries should make any organization pause and follow the same logic. Why take a chance of involving their cause with potential scandal?  That is why the Church traditionally has never allowed alleged visionaries to do their thing or give their testimony on Church property.  It makes me wonder if the Archdiocese of St. Louis will discourage it's priests from attending.

While pilgrimages are prohibited on the basis of authenticity (1991 Zadar Declaration), people can make a private pilgrimage to St. James in Medjugorje for the sacraments, prayer, etc.  They may bring a priest with them.  But this which is happening at the BACE Foundation is not a group of people getting together for the sacraments and prayer, but taking part in a pilgrimage brought to them from Medjugorje, complete with the alleged apparition (also mentioned in that letter to U.S. Bishops). This thumbs it's nose at the 1991 Zadar Declaration, as well as the CDF, in light of the letter mentioned.

Just a side note: Notice how the Blessed Ann Catherine Emmerich Foundation has already stepped ahead of the Holy See in declaring that it is Our Lady who will appear to Ivan. And, as noted, it is at the Standard Apparition Time™ of 6:40 PM.  Not even Bernadette, who was proven to have seen the Blessed Mother later, would refer to her as Our Lady.  She called her, "the lady" and left discernment of who this lady was to the Church.

Also, as just pointed out to me, there is admission being charged of $7.  While this may be for the rental of the center, it's just unbecoming to have whom people believe is the Blessed Virgin Mary show up "on demand" with any kind of fee involved.









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The obedient are not held captive by Holy Mother Church;
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- Diane M. Korzeniewski

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Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Fr. Perrone discusses the moral decline and what we can do



This is Fr. Perrone's column from the January 25, Grotto News. He discusses the March for Life and today's moral decline.

Every year I run into people who attend the annual March for Life in Washington. Some of these are our own parishioners. I have long admired their selfless dedication in making personal sacrifices to be present for this remarkable national gesture of solidarity with those preborn infants who cannot insist on their right to be born and to live thereafter. I have never gone on these trips myself (though I have, in years past, participated in some local events on a smaller scale). One comes to learn that this yearly demonstration which takes place in the Capitol is an event of enormous proportion, the astounding size of which makes it unconscionable for the media to under-report the numbers of the participants and to underplay the significance of the march. It’s well known that this deceptive reporting by the media of such an important event is calculated to downplay the great swell of support of our people to protect life from the death-dealing clutches of abortionists and their powerful supporters–including politicians. This event is more than simply a rally for human life, it is a time for prayer for the conversion of minds and wills of people who are pro-death. 
This protest has been going on for a long time–since 1973. There have certainly been benefits from this annual declaration and protest in favor of life in many ways, encouraging the life-effort and invoking divine help to combat the horrendous crimes that have been legalized. Will this tremendous effort ever finally succeed in ending the massive destruction of elective abortion? The non-violent means, the convincing arguments, the stirring speeches, the fervent prayers–surely these must be to good effect. Yet one wonders whether success will ever attend this laudable work. It seems more probable that our country, at least in the short term, will continue to decline into turpitude, bent as it is now on the acceptance of homosexual practices, with euthanasia already being practiced legally in some places (and often by insidious and surreptitious “health-care” institutions), with fetal experimentation and manipulation of embryos being already practiced. Once the homosexual goal will have been fully achieved, the next stage of declination may be the legal use of children for the sexual pleasures of adults. Yet this cannot yet be the end. The final stages of debauchery will be the allowance of public nudity and–for a grand finale–cannibalism. There can be no stopping, it would seem, the relentless demand to be allowed to do whatever one may wish to do. Freedom has thus been so regarded. Some may find this trajectory of evils excessive, hyperbolic. Yet who of my generation would have thought it possible that the Land of the Free would ever be in such a deplorable state of immoral servitude as it now is? Over time we have tended to grow accustomed to iniquity, have made friends with perversity, while becoming tolerant of evil and evermore impatient with the imposition of moral strictures from any source–the Church included. 
My estimate–not wanting to be disheartening–is that we will not soon be getting better, but continue to slide down the way of debauchery. We simply do not have the muscle to halt this moral regression. By this I mean that our faith is too weak, our confidence in the efficacy of prayer, our trust in God diluted. Part of the reason for this may be that too many “good” people are themselves complicit in some of the great evils du jour through a soft acceptance of immorality in our music, TV, internet, films, etc. Another part of the reason is the decline in practicing what our Catholic faith demands in prayer, Mass attendance, Confession and self-imposed penance. And so, while the National Day of prayer and (polite) protest is ever uplifting, I find it hard to believe that there will be success in overturning the allowance of abortion. If we believe that some politicians will do this for us we need only reflect on the fact that they too as individuals may be plagued by the same moral weaknesses as others. This is an admission, often not willingly made today, that the sins of one adversely affect the welfare of all. We are all worse off because of abortionists, pedophiles, pornographers, lewd entertainers, no-fault divorcers, etc. Sin is never a private affair, no matter how secretly it may be done. 

I admit having a defeatist attitude at times. Why not just let the whole western world go to hell? (I speak here of literal, not rhetorical, hell). The answer has to do with our responsibility. No one can, before God, allow evil to triumph. There must be resistance. 
Moreover there are some things that can actually be done to save at least some people from moral death. The most important of these is to become saints ourselves–one by one–people who refuse to be mastered by their own tendencies to sin and who make up to God, by prayer and sacrifice, for the sins that are committed. 
Pagan society was once converted to faith and to goodness by the Catholic faith. There is no reason why it can’t be done again, except for the fact that many in the Church are too weak, and the conviction of their faith has been compromised. 
God bless the efforts of those who go annually to Washington to pray and give witness to the truth about human life’s intrinsic goodness. (To quibble: I don’t think the expression “sanctity of life” is accurate, though it’s compelling). Unless each individual person makes up his mind and changes his heart to conform according God’s moral laws, our country will never awaken from the moral nightmare of abortion-on-demand and so many other attending evils. 
For this reason we at the Grotto, doing our small part, continue to pray the holy rosary after every Mass. I hope you continue to do this together, recognizing the power of fervent, communal prayer with Holy Mary for the saving of many souls from eternal destruction. 
Fr. Perrone


Photo note:  Fr. Perrone meditating at the organ during readings at the Noon Mass on Easter Sunday, 2006.  He had conducted an orchestra Mass at 9:30 am, and assisted with singing at the Noon Mass, filling in at the organ. 


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The obedient are not held captive by Holy Mother Church;
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- Diane M. Korzeniewski

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Monday, January 26, 2015

Continuing the discussion on Holy Communion at Masses with millions of people...



"Wherefore, brothers, kissing your feet and with the charity of which I am capable, I conjure you all to show all reverence and all honor possible to the most holy Body and Blood of our Lord Jesus Christ, in whom the things that are in heaven and the things that are on earth are pacified and reconciled to Almighty God." - St. Francis of Assisi, Letter to All Friars

I wanted to continue with some thoughts about Eucharistic reverence after my post the other day: Why not "Spiritual Communion" for most at large, outdoor papal Masses?  Many who visited that post came through New Advent, and I thank Kevin Knight for that link.  

Some feedback has been received through email and other means.  I would like to address some of the points raised, but I want to reflect more deeply on them first.  I'll offer a brief thought here, but I do not have the time for more right now, and you probably do not have the time to read another long post! So, let's just break this off into pieces and let it develop.  It needs to "soak" so I may post on other subjects in the meanwhile.

Two Branches: Eucharistic Nourishment and Eucharistic Reverence


From feedback I have gotten to that post in email and other ways, I am starting to see that there are two branches to this discussion about distributing Holy Communion at large Masses in which millions are assisting. There may actually be more, but I'm going to look at them as two main branches.   Along one branch is the need for people to be nourished by the Eucharist at every Mass in which they assist.  Down the other branch is the need to give Jesus in the Holy Eucharist reasonable protection from innocent accidents, imprudent handling, or outright profanation by people with malicious intent. For many of us, one of those is a more dominant concern than the other.  At least, this is what I am getting from what I read.

I need to reflect and pray on this a bit, and will write again soon to continue sharing my thoughts as they develop.

The "Un-Discussable:" Distribution of Holy Communion


As I pause momentarily on the above, my thoughts turn to our inability to discuss this.  In my last post, I called it an "un-discussible."  If you want to see Catholics in a thread descend into derision, just start a discussion on distribution of Holy Communion.  If you want to see some bishops and priests run the other way, try bringing it up.

I've been discussing Catholicism online for 10 years now and I can tell you that anything having to do with the reception of Holy Communion is a hot-button issue.  I've witnessed cruelty aimed at people on both sides from the other in the form of mockery, pompous ridicule, and the like (and I truly mean, from both sides of the big debate).  "Snark" is what people use when they do not have the knowledge, grace, patience, or ability to reason with others like sons and daughters of Christ who are mindful of 1 Corinthians 13.  What happens next is everyone goes their own way, complaining about the other side, with everyone absolving themselves of any fault in the communication break down. I also know from experience that manifest anger won't fix this; it only causes others to tune out the arguments. That's true in any debate.

Some seem to believe it should not be discussed at all, as if we faithful have no room to grow in our understanding of the spiritual benefits to be discovered.   It's also a topic that few want to discuss, perhaps because they want things to remain as they are; or, because they want to avoid the inevitable conflict, and any number of other reasons.

Learn to disagree like a Christian


There is something Archbishop Vigneron wrote during his years as rector of Sacred Heart Major Seminary that is apropos.  When he became the bishop of Oakland, California, he shared it in a column.  I happened to find that column online when I was mining the web after he was appointed and stumbled upon it.  Sensing it might get lost when a new bishop takes over that diocese, I copied the entire thing into a blog entry.  It's a good thing I did. I get an error when I click the link.  It may have simply moved, but you'll find it in this old post of mine, below.

Go read Archbishop Vigneron's, "10 rules for handling disagreement like a Christian."




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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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William Doino Jr. reviews Dawn Eden's latest book…




Many of you will remember Dawn Eden and her visit to Assumption Grotto for her wonderful book, My Peace I Give You: Healing Sexual Wounds with the Help of the Saints.

Here is a review of her latest work, The Thrill of the Chaste (Catholic Edition): Finding Fulfillment While Keeping Your Clothes On. William Doino Jr. begins his review…


In 2006, Dawn Eden wrote The Thrill of the Chaste: Finding Fulfillment While Keeping Your Clothes On. It was an account of how, as a new Christian convert—having led an exciting but spiritually unfulfilling life as a rock journalist—she learned to be joyfully chaste.

Eden’s book stood out. While many Christian writers were directing their messages toward teenagers tempted by pre-marital sex, she spoke empathetically to singles who had already been sexually active, and were wounded by their way of life.

The book resonated with many—Christians and non-Christians alike. The New York Times took note of it, (later profiling her) and a Village Voice sex columnist wrote in a back-cover blurb for the book: “As a single woman myself, Dawn’s given me a lot to think about.” To date, the book has sold over 20,000 copies worldwide, and been translated into Spanish, Polish, Slovak and Chinese.

Now, nearly a decade later, Eden has written a thoughtful revision...

Continue reading the review at First Things...




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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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Saturday, January 24, 2015

Why not "Spiritual Communion" for most at mega-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 ensure people of all classes have access, not just big donors and dignitaries); 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. 



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.