Thursday, October 27, 2005
Wednesday, October 26, 2005
Kind of humbling when you read something, you like it and then realize that you wrote it...
One of my favorite quotes is from the journals of Father Alexander Schmemann: "God, when creating the world, did not solve problems or pose them. He created what He would call 'very good.' God created the world, but the devil transformed the world and man and life into a problem.'" If we want to adore God with praise and thanksgiving we are going to have to learn to stop seeing everything as a "problem" or "interruption" and begin to be open to seeing God's goodness and interventions even in the most unlikely of places. Many of the most horrific sins ever committed by human beings happen because people see problems where they should see blessings. If we do not adore God above all, we risk doing horrible things as we serve whatever else we put in God's place."How to Get the Most Out of the Eucharist" via Julie of "Happy Catholic"
- from Michael Dubruiel's
It will be interesting to see how the Pope takes the propositions...
From Cath. News:
He observed that the Synod has presented its conclusions to the Pope, who will prepare an apostolic exhortation on the topic. The cardinal added that although the Synod had voted to affirm the current Church policy, calls for change had also been heard.
Similarly, the German cardinal said that the door is not closed to the possibility of ordaining married men. Although he said that he recognises celibacy as "a gift for the Church," he suggested that "in certain cases" it might be better to "remain open to the hypothesis" that married men of proven virtue could be well equipped for the ministry.
Tuesday, October 25, 2005
From the Vatican Information Service:
THE LITURGICAL REFORM OF VATICAN COUNCIL II (Proposition no. 2)
"The synodal assembly gratefully recalled the beneficial influence that the liturgical reform implemented following Vatican Council II has had for the life of the Church. This reform has highlighted the beauty of Eucharistic action, which shines out in the liturgical rite. Abuses have occurred in the past, nor are they lacking today though they have to some extent diminished. However, such episodes cannot darken the beauty and validity of the reform which still contains unexplored riches, rather they call for greater attention to 'ars celebrandi,' in which a privileged place must be given to 'actuosa participatio'."
EUCHARIST AND THE SACRAMENT OF PENANCE (Proposition no. 7)
"It is of vital pastoral importance that bishops in their dioceses promote a decisive revival in teaching the conversion that arises from the Eucharist, and that to this end they favor frequent individual Confession."
"The Synod strongly recommends bishops not to allow the practice of collective absolution in their dioceses, save in the objectively exceptional circumstances laid down in John Paul II's Motu Proprio, 'Misericordia Dei'."
"In this context, it is also necessary to dedicate more profound study to the dimensions of penance already present in Eucharistic celebration, in particular the penitential rite, so that people may experience true moments of reconciliation therein."
SHORTAGE OF PRIESTS (Proposition no. 11)
"The centrality of the Eucharist for the life of the Church means that the problem of the great shortage of priests in some parts of the world is felt very acutely. Many faithful are thus deprived of the Bread of life. In order to meet the Eucharistic hunger of the people of God, who are often forced to go without the Eucharistic celebration for considerable periods, it is necessary to implement effective pastoral initiatives.
"In this context, the Synod Fathers affirmed the importance of the inestimable gift of ecclesiastical celibacy in the Latin Church. With reference to the Magisterium, especially to Vatican Council II and to recent Pontiffs, the Fathers requested that the faithful be given adequate explanation of the reasons for the link between celibacy and priestly ordination, in full respect for the tradition of the Eastern Churches. Some reference was made to 'viri probati,' but it was decided that this was an untenable hypothesis.
"Furthermore, it must be borne in mind that, in offering the Eucharistic gift to all the faithful, the Christian quality of the community and its force of attraction have a decisive influence. It is particularly important to encourage pastors to promote priestly vocations, ... raise awareness among families, ... ensure (by bishops, with the involvement of religious families and maintaining respect for their charism) a more even distribution of the clergy, encouraging the clergy itself to a greater readiness to serve the Church wherever the need arises."
DIES DOMINI (Proposition no. 30)
"As a fruit of the Year of the Eucharist, the Synod strongly recommends that significant efforts be made to ensure that the 'Dies Domini' be valued and experienced by the entire Church. It is necessary to reaffirm the central position of Sundays. ... Truly, Sunday is the day in which, with others, we celebrate the Risen Christ, a holy day consecrated to the Creator, a day of rest and of openness."
"Through catechesis and preaching, Christians must be given the opportunity to meditate on the 'dies Christi' as the day of the resurrection of the Lord and, hence, as a feast of liberation, a day given as a gift during which to savor the goodness of the Kingdom of God."
"It is our hope, then, that the Day of the Lord may also become the day of Christians, respected by all society as a day of rest from work."
"Although Saturday evening is actually part of Sunday (First Vespers), and it is acceptable to fulfill the Sunday precept with a vigil Mass, it must be remembered that it is the day of Sunday itself that must be sanctified, that it may not remain 'empty of God'."
THE USE OF LATIN IN LITURGICAL CELEBRATIONS (Proposition no. 36)
"In celebrating the Eucharist during international meetings, which are becoming ever more frequent today, in order better to express the unity and universality of the Church it is proposed: that the (con)celebration of Mass be in Latin (except the readings, the homily and the prayer of the faithful), the prayers of the tradition of the Church should also be recited in Latin and, where appropriate, Gregorian chants be sung; that priests, beginning in the seminary, be trained to understand and celebrate Mass in Latin, as well as to use Latin prayers and to appreciate the Gregorian chant; that the possibility of educating the faithful in this way not be overlooked."
DIVORCED AND RE-MARRIED CATHOLICS AND THE EUCHARIST (Proposition no. 40)
"In keeping with the numerous pronouncements of the Church's Magisterium, and sharing the anxious concern expressed by many Fathers, the Synod of Bishops reaffirms the importance of attitudes and a pastoral actions that express attention and welcome towards divorced and re-married faithful.
"According to the tradition of the Catholic Church, they cannot be admitted to holy communion, being in a position of objective contrast with the Word of the Lord which conferred on marriage the original value of indissolubility. ... Nevertheless, people who have divorced and re-married still belong to the Church, which welcomes them and follows them with special attention that they may cultivate a Christian lifestyle through participation in Mass (though without receiving communion), listening to the Word of God, adoring the Eucharist, prayer, participating in community life, confidential dialogue with a priest or a master of spiritual life, dedication to living charity, works of penance, and educational commitment to their children. If, then, the nullity of the matrimonial bond is not recognized and objective conditions arise that render cohabitation irreversible, the Church encourages them to commit themselves to live their relationship in accordance with the law of God, transforming it into a firm and faithful friendship; thus they will be able to return to the Eucharistic table, receiving the attention laid down by time-honored ecclesial practice. But such relationships should not be blessed, so as not to create confusion among the faithful concerning the value of marriage.
"At the same time, the Synod hopes that all possible efforts be made both to ensure the presence, pastoral character, and correct and swift activity of ecclesiastical tribunals for causes of the nullity of marriage, and to dedicate further study to the essential elements of the validity of marriage, also bearing in mind the problems emerging from the profound anthropological transformations of our times, by which the faithful themselves risk being conditioned, especially given the lack of solid Christian formation."
ADMISSION OF NON-CATHOLIC FAITHFUL TO COMMUNION (Proposition no. 41)
"On the basis of the communion of all Christians, which the single Baptism already accomplishes though not yet completely, their separation at the Lord's table is rightly felt as being a source of pain. As a consequence, from both within the Catholic Church and from our non-Catholic brothers and sisters, the urgent request often arises for the possibility of Eucharistic communion between Catholic Christians and others. It must be made clear that the Eucharist does not designate and effect only our personal communion with Jesus Christ, but above all the full 'communio' of the Church. We ask, therefore, that non-Catholic Christians understand and respect the fact that for us, in accordance with the whole of biblically-founded tradition, Eucharistic communion and ecclesial communion are intimately connected, and thus that Eucharistic communion with non-Catholic Christians is not generally speaking possible. Even more so is ecumenical concelebration to be excluded. However, it should be made clear that, with a view to personal salvation, admitting non-Catholic Christians to the Eucharist, the Sacrament of Penance, and the Anointing of the Sick, in certain particular situations and under specific conditions, is possible and even to be recommended."
THE EUCHARIST AND MIGRANTS (Proposition no. 45)
"The Synod, thanking those committed to this field, invites all bishops to exercise their pastoral care towards migrants. These faithful must be welcomed as members of the same Body of Christ, whatever their race, status or condition, especially in Eucharist celebrations. Christ's charity impels other local Churches and institutes of consecrated life give generous help to dioceses that welcome large numbers of migrants."
EUCHARISTIC COHERENCE OF CATHOLIC POLITICIANS AND LAWMAKERS (Proposition no. 46)
"Catholic politicians and lawmakers must feel their consciences particularly aroused ... by the heavy social responsibility of presenting and supporting iniquitous laws. There is no Eucharistic coherence when legislation is promoted that goes against the integral good of man, against justice and natural law. The private sphere and the public sphere cannot be separated, placing oneself in a position of contrast with the law of God and the teaching of the Church, and this must also be considered in Eucharistic terms. In applying this guidance, bishops should exercise the virtues of courage and wisdom, bearing in mind actual local situations."
THE SOCIAL DIMENSION OF THE EUCHARIST (Proposition no. 48)
"Christ's sacrifice is a mystery of liberation that calls out to us. It is in the commitment to transform unjust structures and to re-establish the dignity of man, created in the likeness and image of God, that the Eucharist assumes in life the significance it has in celebration. This dynamic movement opens up to the world: it questions the process of globalization which not infrequently increases the gap between rich countries and poor countries, it denounces the political and economic forces that dilapidate the earth's resources, it reiterates the grave requirements of distributive justice in the face of inequalities that cry out to heaven, it encourages Christians to commit themselves and to work in political life and social activity. ... Those who share in the Eucharist must commit themselves to creating peace in our world, which is marked by violence, war and, especially today, by terrorism, economic corruption and sexual exploitation. The conditions for building true peace are the restoration of justice, reconciliation and forgiveness."
Monday, October 24, 2005
Tie in with the weather today...
St. Anthony Mary Claret was the bishop of Santiago, Cuba which at one time included not only Cuba but all of Florida and Louisiana.
Prayer to St. Anthony Mary Claret:
St. Anthony Mary Claret, during your life on earth you often comforted the afflicted and showed such tender love and compassion for the sick and sinful. Intercede for me now that you rejoice in the reward of your virtues in heavenly glory. Look with pity on me (or on the person afflicted or whose conversion is desired)and grant my prayer, if such be the will of God. Make my troubles your own. Speak a word for me to the Immaculate Heart of Mary to obtain by her powerful intercession the grace I yearn for so ardently, and a blessing to strengthen me during life, assist me at the hour of death, and lead me to a happy eternity. Amen.
One' s personal relationship with God
A Spiritual Meditation on Love and the World
Sunday, October 23, 2005
Now there is a specific reason for this mysterious and indefinable character of human personhood. And this reason is given to us by St. Gregory of Nyssa, writing in the fourth century. "God," says he, "is a mystery beyond all understanding." We humans are formed in God’s image. The image should reproduce the characteristics of the archetype, of the original. So if God is beyond understanding, then the human person formed in God’s image is likewise beyond understanding. Precisely because God is a mystery, I too am a mystery.
Now in mentioning the image, we’ve come to the most important factor in our humanness. Who am I? As a human person, I am formed in the image of God. That is the most significant and basic fact about my personhood. We are God’s living icons. Each of us is a created expression of God’s infinite and uncreated self-expression. So this means it is impossible to understand the human person apart from God. Humans cut off from God are no longer authentically human. They are subhuman...
...Self-centeredness is in the end coldness, isolation. It is a desert. It’s no coincidence that in the Lord’s Prayer, the model of prayer that God has given us, and which teaches what we are to be, the word "us" comes five times, the word "our" three times, the word "we" once. But nowhere in the Lord’s Prayer do we find the words "me" or "mine" or "I".
In the beginning of the era of modern philosophy in the early seventeenth century, the philosopher Descartes put forward his famous dictum, "Cogito ergo sum"—"I think therefore I am." And following that model, a great deal of discussion of human personhood since then has centered round the notion of self-awareness, self-consciousness. But the difficulty of that model is that it doesn’t bring in the element of relationship. So instead of saying "Cogito ergo sum—I think therefore I am," ought we not as Christians who believe in the Trinity to say, "Amo ergo sum"—"I love therefore I am"? And still more, ought we not to say, "Amor ergo sum"—"I am loved therefore I am"?
From Pope Benedict's Angelus Message for Today:
To the most Holy Mary, Eucharistic woman, we entrust the spiritual fruits of the Synod and the Year of the Eucharist. May she be the one to watch over the journey of the church and to teach us to grow in communion with the Lord Jesus to be witnesses of his love, where the secret of joy lies.
From edmontonsun.com - Canada - Gay Toronto priest outs himself on TV:
'I'm a Roman Catholic priest and I'm gay.'
With that confession, 63-year-old Karl Clemens became the first priest in Canada to openly declare his homosexuality.
Clemens - a priest for 33 years who retired from the Kingston diocese seven years ago - now lives in Toronto, calling Church Street in the city's gay village his parish.
'I don't have a parish,' Clemens told 360 Vision in a documentary that aired last night on VisionTV. 'My parish is the street - the highways, the byways, the bars.'
Clemens, who wears a priest's collar and says mass every day in his living room, said he is celibate.
Friday, October 21, 2005
Looking for a powerful intercessor? Try this great saint--the founder of the Precious Blood Community.
From the Missionaries of the Precious Blood:
Gaspar began his work by proclaiming "peace through the blood of the cross." He called people to reconciliation - to a restored right relationship with God and with God's people. In order to continue his mission of preaching missions and retreats, he gathered other diocesan priests together to spread the message beyond the city of Rome.
On August 15, 1815, he established the Missionaries of the Precious Blood, in Giano, Italy, where an abandoned monastery was given to the community in order to help it begin the work of proclaiming God's saving love through the precious blood of Jesus. Gaspar continued to bring men together to help build up his small community of preachers. Eventually the community would have both priests and brothers, who worked together to reach out to people who needed to hear some good news.
Gaspar was especially famous for his preaching to the bandits in the small towns of the Papal States. His preaching inspired many to turn away from lives of crime and brought hope to areas heavy with crime.
Gaspar died in Rome, December 28, 1837. He was declared a saint by Pope Pius XII, June 12, 1954. His feast is celebrated in the City of Rome and by members of the Missionaries of the Precious Blood on October 21 - the anniversary of the day he preached to the Archconfraternity of the Precious Blood for the first time.
A 93-year-old driver apparently suffering from
dementia fatally struck a pedestrian, then continued driving through a toll
booth with the man's body on his windshield, police said.
Ralph Parker of
Pinellas Park drove for 3 miles Wednesday night after striking the 52-year-old
pedestrian with his gold 2002 Chevrolet Malibu, severing the man's right leg,
Wednesday, October 19, 2005
The Florida Marlins today named Joe Girardi their manager for the 2006-2008
seasons. The announcement was made by Senior Vice President and General Manager
"I am extremely pleased to have Joe in our organization
and I look forward to his input as we start focusing on next year," said Marlins
owner Jeffrey Loria. "Joe was known as an intelligent player with great
leadership skills, and he will bring those traits to his new position. He is the
right man to lead our team and I'm proud that he will start what will be a long,
successful managerial career here in South Florida."
According to the archbishop, 'we make use of this power to expel the demons. This power is real and must be taken seriously, but it must be exercised with great humility, avoiding hasty analyses or degenerating into magical arts of liberation, remembering always that it is Jesus who liberates, through the power of prayer that arises from faith, and through the power of the sacraments of faith.'
The prelate referred to a dialogue that St. John Vianney, the Cure of Ars, said he had with the devil.
The latter said: 'I can do everything you do, I can also do your penances, I can imitate you in everything. There is one thing, however, that I cannot do, I cannot imitate you in humility.'
The saint answered: 'That's why I defeat you.'
'Humility,' continued the archbishop, 'is the best bulwark against the devil and humility always ends in prayer and adoration...
'[It is] a power that is obtained continuously from the cross, because the whole of
salvation stems from that event of infinite love with which Jesus entered history as Savior.'
Prayer of Petition
O God, who inflamed the hearts of your blessed Martyrs with an admirable zeal for the salvation of souls, grant me, I beseech you, my petions and all the requests recommended here today, (here name your request) so that the favours obtained through their intercession may make manifest before all the power and the glory of your name. Amen.
St. Jean de Brébeuf, pray for us.
St. Isaac Jogues, pray for us.
St. Gabriel Lalemant, pray for us.
St. Antoine Daniel, pray for us.
St. Charles Garnier, pray for us.
St. Noël Chabanel, pray for us.
St. René Goupil, pray for us.
St. Jean de Lalande, pray for us.
Holy Mary, Queen of Martyrs, pray for us.
In the U.S.... National Shrine of Our Lady of Martyrs
In Canada...Martyrs' Shrine
From the Sun Sentinel:
Hurricane Wilma's sustained winds reached 175 mph and its pressure dropped as
low as 882 mb this morning, making it the strongest Category 5 hurricane on
record with a projected path that crosses southern Florida from west to east.
"This is the lowest pressure on record for a hurricane in the Atlantic
Basin," the National Hurricane Center said in a statement..
Tuesday, October 18, 2005
One synod participant told NCR on Tuesday morning that in his view, the propositions "faithfully reflect the discussion on the synod floor."
Another participant, however, expressed dissatisfaction. "I wonder why in the hell they brought us here and put us through all this," he said Oct. 18, "to say absolutely nothing more than what has been painfully said for decades."
This participant expressed hope that since Benedict XVI listened to most of the discussions, he might come up with more innovative responses to some of the pastoral problems identified in the synod.
From Luke, from The holy Bible, Revised Standard version:
Inasmuch as many have undertaken to compile a narrative of the things which
have been accomplished among us, just as they were delivered to us by those who
from the beginning were eyewitnesses and ministers of the word, it seemed good
to me also, having followed all things closely for some time past, to write an
orderly account for you, most excellent The-oph'ilus, that you may know the
truth concerning the things of which you have been informed.
See A visit from Our Lady:
A visit from Our Lady
Statue of Virgin Mary: Local parish is host to 33-foot idol for 2 weeks
Update (10-19-05): Has been corrected, thanks to all those who wrote and complained!
It is not enough to point to the recent John Jay College study that found most of the victims of clergy abuse since 1950 were adolescent boys. Revelations concerning seminary life in recent decades have given sufficient impetus to pursue an extensive evaluation of the institutions that train and educate future priests, especially when it comes to the issue of homosexuality.
Several years ago, Father Donald Cozzens, then rector of a Cleveland seminary, wrote that many seminary faculties included a disproportionate number of homosexuals. In his book, The Changing Face of the Priesthood, he commented that "straight men in a predominantly or significantly gay environment commonly experience self doubt."
In my own study of seminary life over the past three decades, I have found that many heterosexual men give up their seminary studies precisely for this reason, leaving behind a student body gradually swollen with homosexuals. I'm not talking about the presence of a few gay-oriented men who want to live chastely, but rather the institutionalization of a gay subculture that has earned some seminaries nicknames such as the Pink Palace, Notre Flame, and Theological Closet.
Monday, October 17, 2005
Now Meyer's Gators have two losses and Weis's Irish also have two losses, but does anyone out there think that it is a wash as to who has their team headed in the right direction?
Meyer inherited a very talented team that played very good but was incredibly inconsistent...beating a top ranked team one week, losing to an unranked team the next.
Weis inherited a team that, well, just looked horrible all of the time.
Now Weis has taken his group of misfits and made them into contenders even in defeat. Meyer has taken his talented team and forced an offensive scheme that, well, makes them look horrible even when they win.
Its to early to tell how all of this will play out, but I'm guessing the Irish fans are pretty happy that they got Weis--Gator fans are starting to wonder why Steve Spurrier isn't back with them and Urban isn't still with the Mountain West Conference.
And a famous quote...From the Office of Readings:
I am writing to all the churches to let it be known that I will gladly die for God if only you do not stand in my way. I plead with you: show me no untimely kindness. Let me be food for the wild beasts, for they are my way to God. I am God’s wheat and shall be ground by their teeth so that I may become Christ’s pure bread. Pray to Christ for me that the animals will be the means of making me a sacrificial victim for God.
No earthly pleasures, no kingdoms of this world can benefit me in any way. I prefer death in Christ Jesus to power over the farthest limits of the earth. He who died in place of us is the one object of my quest. He who rose for our sakes is my one desire.
Sunday, October 16, 2005
Saturday, October 15, 2005
From the Office of Readings:
All blessings come to us through our Lord. He will teach us, for in beholding his life we find that he is the best example.
What more do we desire from such a good friend at our side? Unlike our friends in the world, he will never abandon us when we are troubled or distressed. Blessed is the one who truly loves him and always keeps him near. Let us consider the glorious Saint Paul: it seems that no other name fell from his lips than that of Jesus, because the name of Jesus was fixed and embedded in his heart.
Once I had come to understand this truth, I carefully considered the lives of some of the saints, the great contemplatives, and found that they took no other path: Francis, Anthony of Padua, Bernard, Catherine of Siena. A person must walk along this path in freedom, placing himself in God’s hands. If God should desire to raise us to the position of one who is an intimate and shares his secrets, we ought to accept this gladly.
Whenever we think of Christ we should recall the love that led him to bestow on us so many graces and favours, and also the great love God showed in giving us in Christ a pledge of his love; for love calls for love in return. Let us strive to keep this always before our eyes and to rouse ourselves to love him. For if at some time the Lord should grant us the grace of impressing his love on our hearts, all will become easy for us and we shall accomplish great things quickly and without effort.
Friday, October 14, 2005
Thursday, October 13, 2005
Pope John Paul II that is...
"One Sunday morning, Myrna Kincaid's life changed with the flip of a pancake.
'Look at my pancake,' she reflects. 'It looks like, looks like the pope.'
'I thought it could very well look like him,' said Jay, her husband."
From the Vatican Information Service:
The Relatio was presented by Cardinal Angelo Scola, relator general of the Eleventh Ordinary General Assembly, who began by recalling the fact that John Paul II wished to dedicate this Eleventh Ordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops to the theme: "The Eucharist: Source and Summit of the Life and Mission of the Church." He also recalled the meditation with which Pope Benedict XVI opened the First General Congregation.
The cardinal affirmed that he had not written "a synthesis, but rather a collage of the interventions, due to the vastness of the themes dealt with and the sensitivities involved." The introduction of the Relatio, he said, shows "the basic orientation that emerged, in a general sense, from the interventions: overcoming any dualism between doctrine and pastoral care, between theology and liturgy."
The Relatio is divided into two parts. The first part, "Educating the People of God to Faith in the Eucharist," contains five chapters. Chapter one explains how many interventions highlighted the objective difficulties encountered by Christians today in believing and celebrating the Eucharist. The serious responsibility of pastors in evangelization and new evangelization also emerged.
Chapter two outlines the essential contents of this great mystery, and the main points arising arose from the need to educate believers in an integral Eucharistic faith.
Chapter three highlights the great importance given, during the discussions, to the bond between the Eucharist and the seven Sacraments.
Chapter four considers the subject of the Eucharist and the priestly people, the faithful who, gathering together, rediscover their own sense of belonging to the Church. Mention is also made of 'Dies Domini', bishops and priests, permanent deacons and special ministers of Communion, parishes and small communities, family, consecrated life, and youth.
Finally, Chapter V discusses the theme of the Eucharist and mission: to be missionary the Church must also be deeply Eucharistic.
The second part, "Eucharistic Action," contains four chapters. In Chapter one, the relator notes how many Fathers gratefully recalled the beneficial influence of the liturgical reform of Vatican Council II on the life of the Church. Chapter two deals with the structure of liturgical celebration, chapter three with the urgent need for greater attention to 'ars celebrandi,' and chapter four with the 'actuosa participatio.'
In the conclusion, which closes the Relatio and precedes the 17 questions due to be considered by the Working Groups, Cardinal Scola asserts that the "work that now awaits all the Synodal Fathers is the most delicate part, the part from which the propositions will emerge, which we will offer to the discernment of the charism of Peter's Successor."
Wednesday, October 12, 2005
From the Orthodox Church
First the Greek...
METROPOLITAN JOHANNIS ZIZIOULAS OF PERGAMO, GREECE. "It is a great honor for me to be given the opportunity to address this venerable episcopal Synod and bring to it the fraternal greetings and best wishes of the Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew and the Church of Constantinople. The invitation to our Church to send a fraternal delegate to this Synod is a gesture of great ecumenical significance. We respond to it with gratitude and love. We Orthodox are deeply gratified by the fact that your Synod also regards the Eucharist as the source and summit of the life and mission of the Church. It is extremely important that Roman Catholics and Orthodox can say this with one voice. There may still be things that separate our two Churches but we both believe that the Eucharist is the heart of the Church. It is on this basis that we can continue the official theological dialogue of our two Churches, which is now entering a new phase. Eucharistic ecclesiology can guide us in our efforts to overcome a thousand years of separation. For it is a pity to hold the same conviction of the importance of the Eucharist but not be able to share it at the same table."
Then from the Russian and Preparation for Reception of the Eucharist
REV. FILIPPO VAYLTSEV OF THE PATRIARCHATE OF MOSCOW, RUSSIA. "The Eucharist is the central and most important point of the life of the Church and of every Christian. Hence, the weakening of Eucharistic awareness leads to a destruction of ecclesiastic awareness, ... and to errors in the understanding of Christian values. ... We would be very pleased if our experience of Eucharistic life, both past and present, proves useful and helpful to the Roman Catholic Church. ... It must not be forgotten that preparation for communion in the Russian Orthodox Church also includes, apart from inner preparation, 'The Rule' (strict fasting for three days, visits to Church during these three days, prayers for communion, and special Eucharistic fasting after midnight), and Confession is also compulsory. However, these strict rules are seen by the Church not as an obligation, but as a measure that was formed historically in accordance with tradition, and that people apply to themselves."
From the Syrian Orthodox
MOR SEVERIUS MALKE MOURAD OF THE SYRO-ORTHODOX PATRIARCHATE, SYRIA. "In our Syrian Orthodox Church, we celebrate the divine liturgy in Syriac-Aramaic, the language of our Lord Jesus; and during the divine liturgy the very same words which Jesus said in the Upper Room are recited. And the priest who celebrates this Sacrament, has to celebrate it alone. I feel proud that I live in the Monastery of St. Mark in the Old City of Jerusalem, where Jesus had His Last Supper. ... The presence of Christ in the Holy Eucharist is not only His bodily presence, but all His fullness in humanity and divinity. So Lord Jesus is present in all parts of the two elements. ... St. Paul the Apostle exhorts the believer to spiritually prepare himself before he comes to receive holy communion with faith, reverence and a pure conscience, and should cleanse his body and observe the pre-communion fast at 12 midnight. We used to give the sacraments of holy communion to the children immediately after they receive the sacraments of Baptism and Confirmation."
From the Anglicans Noting the Public Communion of Brother Roger (a Protestant)
Note to readers: This happened at the funeral of John Paul and Brother Roger received Communion from then Cardinal Ratzinger...
BISHOP JOHN HIND OF CHICHESTER, ENGLAND. "I bring greetings from the Archbishop of Canterbury and request for prayers for Anglicans at a difficult time. ... When is it appropriate to share holy communion? How should we interpret the public giving of communion to the Protestant Frere Roger Schutz? The Eucharist is not primarily a matter or rite or ceremonial but a living of the new life in Christ. If it is to be truly Christian, there must be criteria for mutual recognition. No less important is the extent to which we suffer with each other. ... In the Eucharist it is not our fellowship that is being celebrated, but our reconciliation with God which creates our fellowship. ... If the Eucharist is itself 'Mysterium fidei' then it must follow that our fellowship or communion in the Church is also a 'mysterion,' in other words, speaking something we cannot understand by reason alone. Finally, being united with Christ in His self?offering orients us not only towards God but also towards every single one of our human brothers and sisters, for whom in their amazing diversity the Son of God gave His life."
Against Married Priests
CARDINAL GEORGE PELL, ARCHBISHOP OF SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA. "Many Synod Fathers have spoken of the difficulties experienced by the Church throughout the world. Some of these are caused by our own mistakes. Vatican Council II brought great blessings and substantial gains, for example, continuing missionary expansion and the new movements and communities. But it was also followed by confusion, some decline, especially in the West, and pockets of collapse. Good intentions are not enough. ... My recommendations to the Synod on how to deal with these 'shadows' presuppose the maintenance in the Latin Church of the ancient tradition and life?giving discipline of mandatory celibacy for the diocesan clergy as well as the religious orders. To loosen this tradition now would be a serious error, which would provoke confusion in the mission areas and would not strengthen spiritual vitality in the First World. It would be a departure from the practice of the Lord Himself, bring significant practical disadvantages to the work of the Church, e.g. financial, and weaken the sign value of the priesthood; it would weaken, too, the witness to loving sacrifice, and to the reality of the Last Things, and the rewards of Heaven. ... Communion services or liturgies of the Word should not be substituted for Mass, when priests are available. Such unnecessary substitutions are often not motivated by a hunger for the Bread of Life, but by ignorance and confusion or even by hostility to the ministerial priesthood and the Sacraments."
BISHOP LUIGI PADOVESE O.F.M. Cap., APOSTOLIC VICAR OF ANATOLIA, TURKEY. "I speak as bishop of the Church of Anatolia, an area that saw the first great expansion of Jesus' message and in which Christians are now reduced to just a few thousand. The only Christians in the city of Tarsus, homeland of the Apostle Paul, are three nuns who welcome pilgrims; pilgrims who must get a permit in order to celebrate the Eucharist in the only remaining church-museum. The same is true for the church-museum of St. Peter in Antioch. In that city was born John Chrysostom, the 16th centenary of whose death in exile falls in 2007. With his homilies, Chrysostom reminds us that the Eucharist was and is the privileged place for announcing Christ. His memory, as well as the more recent recollection of bishops such as Clemens von Galen and Oscar Romero, is a living testimony of the bond between the memorial of Jesus' sacrifice and the people who found therein the motivation and strength for a proclamation undertaken with intelligence and courage and frankness."
Presenting Christ Boldly to the World!
MOYSES LAURO DE AZEVEDO FILHO, FOUNDER AND MODERATOR GENERAL OF THE SHALOM CATHOLIC COMMUNITY, BRAZIL. "One of the most important fruits of the Eucharist which we must cultivate is 'parresia.' Parresia is a Greek word which in the New Testament takes on the meaning of audacity in proclaiming Christ. In the period of carnival, in Brazil, when youngsters are exposed to serious dangers, the Catholic Shalom Community promoted ... a moment of adoration before the Most Holy Sacrament. It was impressive to see what many consider impossible: one hundred thousand young people in deep adoring silence before the real presence of Jesus in the Eucharist. This was a prelude to Cologne. Even more impressive were the fruits of this and of other actions of this type: many conversions, a large number of confessions, commitment to the Church with a return to participation in Mass, an awakening of priestly vocations, and love and service to the poor. We discovered that the best reply to the challenge of secularization is to present Christ with audacity!"
Tuesday, October 11, 2005
From Catholic Online - Saints & Angels - Bl. Francis Xavier Seelos:
"Francis Xavier Seelos was born in Fussen, Germany, in 1819. Expressing his desire for the priesthood since an early age, he entered the diocesan seminary of Augsburg after completing his studies in philosophy. Upon learning of the charism and missionary activity of the Congregation of the Most Holy Redeemer, he decided to join and go to North America. He arrived in the United States on April 20, 1843, entered the Redemptorist novitiate and completed his theological studies, being ordained a priest on December 22, 1844. He began his pastoral ministry in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, where he remained nine years, working closely as assistant pastor of his confrere St. John Neumann, while at the same time serving as Master of Novices and dedicating himself to mission preaching. In 1854, he returned to Baltimore, later being transferred to Cumberland and then Annapolis, where he served in parochial ministry and in the formation of the Redemptorist seminarians. He was considered an expert confessor, a watchful and prudent spiritual director and a pastor always joyfully available and attentive to the needs of the poor and the abandoned. In 1860, he was a candidate for the office of Bishop of Pittsburgh. Having been excused from this responsibility by Pope Pius IX, from 1863 until 1866 he became a full-time itinerant missionary preacher. He preached in English and German in the states of Connecticut, Illinois, Michigan, Missouri, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, and Wisconsin. He was named pastor of the Church of St. Mary of the Assumption in New Orleans, Louisiana, where he died of the yellow fever epidemic caring for the sick and the poor of New Orleans on October 4, 1867, at the age of 48 years and nine months. The enduring renown for his holiness which the Servant of God enjoyed occasioned his Cause for Canonization to be introduced in 1900 with the initiation of the Processo Informativo . On January 27, Your Holiness declared him Venerable, de creeing the heroism of his virtues"
Blessed Francis'Relics Survive Hurricane Katrina...
From the Saint Louis Review:
While St. Mary’s Church in New Orleans was damaged from Hurricane Katrina, the relics of Blessed Francis Xavier Seelos, CSSR, were not, said Father Henry McKeever, CSSR.
"The chief relics were removed in time to save them from any damage. They will be returned as soon as things clear up down there," said Father McKeever, area contact for the National Shrine of Blessed Seelos, based at St. Mary’s Church in New Orleans.
St. Mary’s is the national headquarters for the canonization cause of Father Seelos. St. Louis, Father McKeever noted, has its own shrine "branch" where devotions to the priest are commended at St. Mary of Victories Chapel, 744 S. Third St. in Downtown St. Louis.
Pray for the people of New Orleans!
The Secret of Success
CARDINAL IVAN DIAS, ARCHBISHOP OF BOMBAY, INDIA. "In the Synod sessions, among the many shadows in our Church today, the decreasing numbers of church?goers, the waning interest in sacramental Confession, and the lack of catechesis has been mentioned. These problems have been in the Church always, albeit in different ways. On the other hand, the Church has also had persons who have tackled such situations in ways which can inspire us even today. Everyone knows of the saintly Cure of Ars and great apostle of the confessional, John Mary Vianney, and of Archbishop Fulton Sheen, the brilliant speaker who reached millions of people through his television and radio broadcasts, The secret of their resounding success was the many hours they spent in prayer before the Blessed Sacrament. They could well be role models for priests and bishops today. There is a Chinese proverb which says: instead of cursing the darkness, light a candle. As we are immersed in the darkness of spiritual and moral ills all around us, would it not be wonderful if bishops and priests all over the world would spend an hour in praise and worship before the Blessed Sacrament everyday interceding for themselves, for the faithful entrusted to their pastoral care and for the needs of the whole Church? Their flocks would certainly be edified and encouraged at seeing their shepherds practising what they preach on devotion to the Blessed Eucharist."
CARDINAL JULIAN HERRANZ, PRESIDENT OF THE PONTIFICAL COUNCIL FOR LEGISLATIVE TEXTSPerhaps we should be more sensitive to the reasonable requests of the faithful who express their 'hunger for the Eucharist.' In fact, many of them complain of the difficulty of finding a confessor, even where priests are not lacking in the parish; they point out liturgical abuses and trivializing desecration of Eucharistic celebrations; they suffer because, contrary to canonical norms on public worship, churches are always closed except during community celebrations, and people cannot remain in adoration in front of the Blessed Sacrament, etc. Since justice consists in giving each their rights ('unicuique suum tribuere'), we ask our Lady - 'Speculum Iustitiae' - to help us guarantee our lay brothers and sisters the exercise of their rights: for the good of their souls, but also for the apostolic vigor of the entire People of God."
Passivity of the Laity
BISHOP EDWARD GABRIEL RISI O.M.I., OF KEIMOES-UPINGTON, SOUTH AFRICA. "In the conference area of Southern Africa we have discovered that the role of the small faith?based community is essential in the preparation for and the celebration of the liturgy, and also the place where the gift of the Spirit is lived out. ... However, because of the shortage of priests, there are many communities who only celebrate Mass once a month, or once every two months. ... We notice that the most sacred part of the liturgy, the Eucharistic prayer, is the least attractive part of the Sunday liturgy. Although it is the central part of the Eucharist, the climax, it has proved to be the anti?climax. The priest does it alone, and the laity move from active to passive participation. We would propose that there be some form of responsorial participation which allows the people to participate more actively than simply by a respectful silence. We are not proposing that the role of the celebrant be diminished but rather that the people be given a role by which they support the celebrant and enhance their participation."
Monday, October 10, 2005
A Suggested Name Change
- H.E. Most. Rev. Petru GHERGHEL, Bishop of Ia?i (ROMANIA)
I suggest a proposal to increase respect towards the Eucharist. Keeping in mind the Oriental tradition, the richness of such witness and the attempt of an exchange of gifts between our Churches, I propose using for the Holy Mass also the name “The Holy and Divine Liturgy”, next to the Latin one, already in use but not very precise. It would be a title that suggests in a better way the sacred and invites to meditation, to amazement, to silence, to adoration.
Finally, an appeal: let us conserve in the structures of our churches the most visible and accessible place for the Tabernacle, to avoid the risk of our churches becoming like lovely shells whose inhabitant no longer can be found there.
- H.E. Most. Rev. Gabriel MALZAIRE, Bishop of Roseau (DOMINICAN REPUBLIC)
In some of the dioceses that are predominantly Protestant and/or
strongly influenced by the evangelical culture some of the faithful have
difficulty appreciating the difference between the Mass and non-Catholic
worship. For practicing Catholics the Eucharist is very important for their
growth in the Faith.
Systematic formation on the Eucharist is most prevalent
for children and young adults preparing for first communion and Confirmation. By
and lager the adult population has depended on the Sunday homily for their
doctrinal and spiritual formation
Great efforts are made to ensure that the
Eucharist is celebrated with dignity, decorum and with true participation of the
The awareness of the need for inculturating the liturgy is growing
in the Caribbean. Many of the faithful resist the short handshake for the sign
of peace. They want a more feeling expression of fraternity, such as a bear hug
or an embrace.
The Sacrament of Penance is not a regular part of the
spiritual life a growing number of Catholics.
Mixed marriages sometimes lead
to a diminished regard for the Eucharist. Intercommunion poses a problem in the
Many of the faithful believe Holy Communion leads to personal
sanctification and transformation of attitudes and engenders responsiveness to
the needs of others. However, for many others there is a disparity between what
they believe and how they live.
Some recommendations include: (1) A return
to the emphasis on Easter duties with its requirement for (at least) annual
Confession; (2) Reclaim the respect and reverence due to the holy places; (3)
The need for grater silence before and during the celebration of the Holy Mass;
(4) That pews with kneelers be returned to the Church so that people get into
the habit of showing reverence before the Blessed Sacrament.
The "Moment" of Consecration and Dialogue
- Rev. Peter-Hans KOLVENBACH, S.I., Superior General of the Society of Jesus (NETHERLAND)
The rediscovery of the Tridentine notion of sacramental representation by Odo Casel, recently integrated and founded under the biblical profile, opens encouraging horizons in the dialogue between Catholic and the Reformed Churches. Instead of saying that the Mass is the renovation of the sacrifice of the Cross, today we say more exactly that the Mass is the renovation of the memorial of the sacrifice of the Cross. In fact, the Mass is a sacramental sacrifice, i.e. the sacrament of that sacrifice, our sacramental re-presentation to the sole sacrifice.
The limit which sets the Catholic theology of the second millennium against the Orthodox one was that of analyzing the Eucharistic transformation on the basis of the notion of physical time, making it exclusively dependent either on the moment when the consecration words are pronounced or on the moment in which the consecratory epiclesis is pronounced. On the one hand as on the other, it has been forgotten that the moment when the transubstantiation (or metabolè) occurs is not that of our chronometer, but it is God’s instant, which is sacramental time. The Magisterium of the lex orandi teaches that this instant, being by its own nature, “beyond physical things”, admits two strong moments, both provided with an absolute consecratory efficacy: the institutional narration and the epiclesis. Referring to the consecration words and to the consecratory epiclesis, the notion of absolute consacretory efficacy does not support conflictuality or exclusivisms. Far be it from presenting itself as an obstacle, the question of the epiclesis is revealed as a real ecumenical bridge in the dialogue between Catholics and the Othodox.
- H.E. Most. Rev. Jean-Louis BRUGUÈS, O.P., Bishop of Angers (FRANCE)
We need to take our part in the ongoing secularization: it is a weighty and lasting tendency. It has secreted a mentality - secularism - which singularly questions Christian conscience. Secularism challenges any form of relationship with the world beyond and the invisible world. There exists even a self-secularization within our Christian communities. What becomes of the Eucharist, “bread from Heaven” if there is no longer a heaven? The role that the Eucharist should play in the “new evangelization”, more precisely in evangelization by culture, should be defined. Our young people who have discovered in Eucharistic Adoration the source of their mission in the service of modern rationalism, should also be encourage.
From a Homily of Pope John Paul on Daniel Comboni:
From the time of his priestly formation in the institute founded by the Servant
of God Nicola Mazza, Daniel Comboni felt called to give his own life to proclaim
the Gospel in the land of Africa. This awareness stayed with him throughout his
life and supported him in his missionary labours and pastoral difficulties. He
felt comforted in this dedication by the words he heard from Pope Pius IX:
'Labora sicut bonus miles Christi pro African' ('Work like a good soldier of
Christ for Africa' Scritti, n. 4085).
The modernness and boldness of his
work were expressed in the preparation and formation of future priests, in the
tireless promotion of the missions by his writing and publishing, in the
founding of two institutes one for men, the other for women exclusively
dedicated to the mission 'ad gentes', by struggling for the abolition of the
terrible slave-trade and by actively working 'for the rebirth of Africa through
itself'. These insights of the new blessed produced great fruit for the
evangelization of the African continent by paving the way to the consoling
growth of the Church in Africa today (cf. Apostolic Exhortation Ecclesia in
Africa, nn. 3338).
'Leading humanity to the light of eternal life':
Daniel Comboni's ideal continues today in the apostolate of his spiritual sons
and daughters. They still maintain strong ties in Africa, particularly in Sudan,
where their founder spent a great part of his energy as a tireless evangelizer
and where he died at a young age, worn out by his labours and illness. The
unconditional trust he had in the power of prayer (cf. Scritti n. 2324) is
effectively expressed in the 'Cenacles of missionary prayer' which are being set
up in many parishes and represent a significant way to promote and renew
missionary spirituality. "
From Asia News It:
This morning in St Peter Basilica, the beatification of Clemens August Von Galen, Bishop of Munster, Cardinal, took place; he was a fearless opponent of the Nazi regime. Ordained a priest in 1904, he undertook pastoral ministry for a long time in a parish in Berlin and in 1993 he became Bishop of Munster. In the name of God he denounced the neo-pagan ideology of National Socialism, defending the freedom of the church and gravely violated human rights, protecting Jews and the most vulnerable people, who the regime considered as rejects to be eliminated. Three homilies which the fearless Pastor delivered in 1941 are well-known. Pope Pius XII appointed him as Cardinal in February 1946 and he died barely a month later, surrounded by the veneration of the faithful, who saw him as a model of Christian courage. This is precisely what the timeless message of the Blessed Von Galen is: faith is not to be reduced to a private sentiment, possibly to be hidden when it becomes uncomfortable; rather it implies consistency and bearing witness in the public sphere in defence of mankind, of justice, of truth. I express my congratulations to the diocesan Community of Munster and to the Church in Germany, invoking upon all, through intercession of the new Blessed, abundant graces of the Lord.
In these days, as you know, the Assembly of the Synod of Bishops is under way in the Vatican, to delve into the theme of the Eucharist in the present-day life and mission of the Church. I presided over the meetings in the first week and the Synod will constitute my main commitment in the coming two weeks also. I ask you to continue to pray for the Synod, so that it may bear the hoped-for fruit. In particular, in this month of October, during which all church communities are called to renew their missionary commitment, I invite all to take in what Pope John Paul II wrote in the fourth part of the Apostolic Letter, Mane nobiscum Domine, about the Eucharist as the ‘principle and plan of mission’ (nn. 24-28):
‘The encounter with Christ, constantly intensified and deepened in the Eucharist, issues in the Church and in every Christian an urgent summons to testimony and evangelization’ (ivi 24). This is emphasised in the dismissal at the end of the mass: ‘Ite, missa est’, which recalls the ‘missio’, the task for all who participated in the celebration to take to all the Good News received and to animate society with it.
Let us entrust this intention to the intercession of the most Holy Mary and St Daniel Comboni, whose memory will be commemorated in tomorrow’s liturgy.
May he, an outstanding evangeliser and protector of the African continent, help the Church of our time to respond with faith and courage to the mandate of the Risen Lord, which sends it to announce the love of God to all peoples.”
Request for Religious Freedom in Muslim Countries
H.E. Most. Rev. Berhaneyesus Demerew SOURAPHIEL, C.M., Metropolitan Archbishop of Addis Abeba, President of the Episcopal Conference, President of the Ethiopian Episcopal Conference (ETHIOPIA)
In some parts of the world, this is not possible: e.g. in Saudi Arabia or in some other Muslim countries. Sunday is a working day and the Eucharist is not celebrated because there are no Churches, nor priests, or there is simply no religious freedom.
From Eritrea and Ethiopia, there are many Christians who are working and living in Muslim countries. They are mostly Christians of the Ethiopian or Eritrean Orthodox Tewahdo Churches. They go there mostly to work as domestic workers, to take care of children or the elderly. I do not have the statistics of these Christians who go to Saudi Arabia, Yemen, the Gulf States, and other Muslim majority countries. They are in the hundreds of thousands. Only in Beirut, there are more than 20,000 Ethiopians working there. We are grateful for Caritas Lebanon for the help it gives to these Christians.
Before they go to the Muslim countries, they are forced to change their Christian names into Muslim ones and, especially, the women have to dress in Muslim attire. Once they reach their destinations, their passports are taken from them and they suffer all kinds of abuses and exploitations. Many are forced by the situation to become Muslims.
They are forced to go to these Muslim countries because of the poverty of their own countries, and because the doors of other Christian countries are closed to them. We know that many African Christians die crossing parts of the Sahara desert or get drowned in the Mediterranean Sea attempting to go to Christian countries in Europe and America.
It is poverty which is forcing them to give up their Christian heritage, their Christian culture, and even their human dignity.
They are denied their right of expressing their religion: the celebration of the Eucharist, and the Sunday Mass. It is one of the religious persecutions of the modem times.
I request the Synod Fathers, especially those working in Muslim countries where poor Christians go in search of employment, to extend their pastoral care to these Christians and to ask the Muslim governments to respect the religious freedom of the Christians.
An Alarming Drop in the Number of Catholics in Brazil
H. Em. Card. Cláudio HUMMES, O.F.M., Archbishop of São Paulo (BRAZIL)
According to the statistics of the Brazilian Government and the Church’s research in Brazil, the number of Brazilians who declare themselves Catholics has diminished rapidly, on an average of 1% a year. In 1991 Catholic Brazilians were nearly 83%, today and according to new studies, they are barely 67%. We wonder with anxiety: till when Brazil will be a Catholic country? In conformity with this situation, it has been found that in Brazil there are two Protestant pastors for each Catholic priest, and the majority from the Pentecostal churches.
Many indications show that the same is true for almost all of Latin America and here too we wonder: till when Latin America will be a Catholic continent?
The Church must pay more attention to this serious situation. The response of the Church in Brazil is, in the first place, the missions including the permanent home missionary visits. The parishes have to organize their faithful and to prepare them to be missionaries.
A missionary Church must also be deeply Eucharistic, for the Eucharist is the source of the mission. The Eucharist helps the disciple to grow, announcing the Word of God to him and bringing him to a personal and community meeting with Christ, through the celebration of the death and Resurrection of the Lord and through the sacramental communion with Him. The disciple, through this meeting realized in the Holy Spirit, is urged to announce also to others what he lived and experienced. Thus the disciple becomes a missionary. From the Eucharist, one goes on the mission.
Brazil and Latin America urgently need this missionary action nourished by the Eucharist.
- H. Em. Card. Walter KASPER, President of the Pontifical Council for the Promotion of Christian Unity (VATICAN CITY)
The theme “Eucharist and unity” goes back to what Saint Paul says in his first letter to the Corinthians: “And as there is one loaf, so we, although there are many of us, are one single body, for we all share in the one loaf” (1 Cor 10:17). This assertion “one loaf - one body” and “participation in the single chalice”, which means “communion in the single body”, modeled the entire tradition of the Church in the Orient and in the West. First of all, we find this first of all in Saint Augustine and once again in Saint Thomas Aquinas. For Thomas, the ‘res’, that is, the species and the goal of the Eucharist is not the real presence of Christ, which Thomas no doubt teaches, but for him the real presence is only ‘res et sacramentum’, that is, an intermediate reality. The ‘res’, the goal of the Eucharist is the unity of the Church.
This view was renewed in Vatican Council II, which rediscovered the Church as communion, through the common participation in the sole Baptism and the sole Eucharistic bread. On this point, we agree with the Oriental Churches; the Communities that go back to the Reform had the same concept at their origins, they have only recently abandoned this. Therefore, the Catholic concept of the intimate tie between Eucharistic communion and ecclesial communion is not - as some would tend to believe - a vague anti-ecumenical concept, but an ecumenical concept per se.
However, because of this reason, the terminology, which unfortunately is found also in the Instrumentum laboris, and that speaks about “intercommunion”, is ambiguous and in itself contradictory. It should be avoided. Since this is not an “inter” communion, that is a “between” two communions (two Communities), rather a communion in the communion of the one body of Christ, which is the Church.
Devoloping a Spirituality of the Eucharist
- H.E. Most. Rev. Miguel Angel ALBA DÍAZ, Bishop of La Paz en la Baja California Sur (MEXICO)
To form ourselves in the Eucharist, for this reason, is to be formed in the experience of grace, in the contemplation of the marvels that God does. It is to feel ourselves as graced, to experience the gratuity of all we are and have.
It is to be formed to “give thanks always, in every place and in all the circumstances of life”, appreciating life with its sorrows and joys and discovering that “everything happens for the good of those the Lord loves”.
It is to be formed to make of our life a Eucharist, to love and serve God and humanity with grateful love, to ,make of our lives a living and permanent offering.
To form ourselves for the Eucharist is to be formed in order to give worship to the Father “in spirit and truth”. Perhaps seven years of seminary seem too many to learn to say Mass, but they are too few to learn to celebrate the Eucharist.
The Instrumentum Laboris gathers suggestions that denounce serious negative practices. They are not only transgressions of the rubrics, but the expression of attitudes that ignore or deform the sense of the reform of the Council.
If precipitation in applying the liturgical reform has lead us to lose our equilibrium, in looking again for this balance, before proposing new initiatives, we must promote a spirituality that allows for the overcoming of both a passive ritualization and an excessive creativity, so that the Mystery can speak through the Liturgy.
Sunday, October 9, 2005
From Yahoo News:
"This is classic river flooding," said Jim Van Dongen, spokesman for the state Emergency Management office. "It's been raining since Friday night and there is nowhere for the water to go."
The most severe flooding was in Keene, where some major roads were under as much as four to six feet of water, according to fire officials. About 500 people were evacuated to the city's recreation center, officials said.
Saturday, October 8, 2005
From Catholic Online - Saints & Angels - St. Pelagia:
Pelagia, more often called Margaret, on account of the magnificence of the pearls for which she had so often sold herself, was an actress of Antioch, equally celebrated for her beauty, her wealth and the disorder ofher life. During a synod at Antioch, she passed Bishop St. Nonnus of Edessa, who was struck with her beauty; the next day she went to hear him preach and was so moved by his sermon that she asked him to baptize her which he did. She gave her wealth to Nonnus to aid the poor and left Antioch dressed in men's clothing. She became a hermitess in a cave on Mount of Olivette in Jerusalem, where she lived in great austerity, performing penances and known as 'the beardless monk' until her sex was discovered at her death.
From 7.6 Magnitude Earthquake hits North India and Pakistan border region:
The center of the earthquake is not too far away from the Chitral region in Pakistan, which is believed to be the hiding spot for Osama bin Laden, but it is not yet certain whether this area was badly affected by the earthquake today.
Knowing the facts of the Erickson case posted throughout this week, and now hearing from the diocese that every time he was sent to a psychologist he received a glowing report, and add to that the number of abuse cases where those charged were sent to a psychologist who at some point declared them "okay" to return to ministry one has to seriously question the effectiveness of this "science" in dealing with issues that matter this much.
There is an added caveat here, I have experience of reading these reports from my days as a faculty member at a major seminary. One report received read: "This candidate has an abnormally high libido and will find it nearly impossible to lead a celibate life." The rector read the report and added a cover letter that he sent to the bishop dismissing the report essentially by saying "the psychologist does not share in the Christian faith," in fact the psychologist was a devout Jew. The rector also made the decision not to use this psychologist in future cases, even though he was considered to be among the best by his peers. The seminarian, who tested with the high libido, ended up being ordained, had a number of affairs--some conducted in the church parking lot and eventually left to marry. Much pain could have been averted if the psychologist's report had been heeded.
Given this experience I wonder if more sympathetic psychologist aren't searched for...in the way the courts find sympathetic professional witnesses to bolster their cases and the blame rests on those who really do not want to face the truth but want to hear only glowing reports.
I wrote a piece in The Priest magazine almost fifteen years ago that made the conclusion that if seminaries really weeded out those not capable of living a celibate life were asked to leave that the numbers would plummet overnight--but we would have an accurate picture of those who are called and gifted as celibates versus those who think they are called and are not gifted with this charism of the Holy Spirit.
In the case of the psychologist who examined Erickson, the press should turn up the heat on them. Children have been sexually abused, two men murdered and Erickson himself tragically has committed suicide because they either didn't apply their craft rightly or were more concerned about giving the kind of report that the diocese liked to receive. Either way, they should answer for the tragedy that has unfolded because of their inability to correctly diagnose a very sick individual.
From the Winona Daily News:
6. Were there any additional psychological evaluations required of Erickson?
As required by the admittance process at St. Paul Seminary School of Theology, Erickson was evaluated in September 1996. The psychological evaluation stated: "The allegations of inappropriate sexual behavior do not appear to be significant in the context of this gentleman’s overall psychological makeup. He does not appear to be predatory or exploitative in his overall orientation and he does not seem to be a high risk for acting in a sexually aggressive or manipulative manner in the future. The alleged sexual misconduct behaviors he described to us appear to be benign."
That psychological evaluation indicated that Erickson was a heterosexual and that the major concern was that he might be vulnerable to women who would take romantic or affectionate initiatives with him.
Upon the conclusion of his theological studies, the rector and faculty of St. Paul Seminary recommended that he be ordained as a priest.
Against Legalism in the Eucharist
- H.E. Most. Rev. José de la Trinidad VALERA ANGULO, Bishop of La Guaira (VENEZUELA)
Celebrate with joy and celebrate the joy of the Lord’s Easter.
The world has to know and to live the joy in the Holy Spirit, is hungry for God and it is Christ who reveals man to man. Revelation, more than pure reasoning, is LIFE, it is the joy of communication of the Trinity of the One God. We celebrate this joy in sanctity in the Liturgy. In the Eucharistic celebration one lives the novelty of the Paschal Christ, happiness of the faithful and promise for those who do not know him yet. How many martyrs won because of the chanted joy of the Eucharist! The whole Eucharist is a chant, it is to surpass all limits of space- temporality in order to enter into the mystery of the living and real God.
Our service, as shepherds of the flock, is to achieve the ways which permit our people to live the joy of the Risen One. The liturgical orientations have to be far away from all legalisms and to search for the way in which they can be in line with the joy in the Holy Spirit in order for the world to believe and to have life.
Study the Shortage of Priests
- H.E. Most. Rev. Luis Antonio G. TAGLE, Bishop of Imus (PHILIPPINES)
We thank God because the Catholics in the Philippines, especially the children and the youth, still value the Eucharist and adoration. We have priests but not enough for the big Catholic population. Some communities do not have a stable access to the Eucharist.
To respond to the hunger for the Eucharist, priests say many masses, accept multiple intentions and send lay ministers for the service of the Word with communion. Priests exercise their responsibility to the best that they can. The faithful know the difference between a bible service and Eucharist, a priest and a lay minister. Many communities wait for the gift of the priesthood and the Eucharist with humility.
For the sake of these communities I propose the following. 1) The Synod can initiate a serene study of the shortage of priests. As we look at the world for threats to the gift of vocation, we should also ask whether the Church is a good steward of the gift. 2) To address the confusion of roles in the Church and the Eucharist it is not enough to recall LG 10 on the essential difference between the ministerial priesthood and the common priesthood of the baptized. LG 10 also says that they are ordered to each other. In mutuality and communion we will rediscover the gift of the priesthood and Eucharist.
Christians Being Willing to Be Broken Like the Bread
- H.E. Most. Rev. Lucius Iwejuru UGORJI, Bishop of Umuahia (NIGERIA)
It is of great significance that at the Last Supper Christ identified himself with broken bread. The breaking of the bread was to become the action through which his disciples recognised him at Emmaus (Lk 24: 13-35). In the celebration of the Eucharist in the apostolic times, the breaking of bread was so prominent that the first Christians employed the term, "breaking of bread" to designate the Eucharistic assemblies (Acts 2: 42-46; 20:7).
We cannot ignore the importance of the rich symbol of receiving Christ in the Eucharist in the sign and symbol of broken bread. Communion with Christ, the broken bread, cannot but be communion with those who are members of Christ. The fraternal unity arising from Eucharistic communion is concretely expressed by the early Christian community in a model Eucharistic community. They lived together, sharing spiritual and material goods with one another (Acts 2: 42-44).
If the Eucharist brings about fraternal unity in the Body of Christ, then the ever widening gap between the affluent and the millions of poor people living in hunger and undeserved misery in today's society is a great scandal (cf. 1 Cor 11: 17-22). If Christians partake of the Broken Bread at the Lord's altar, they must be ready to work for a better and more just world for all. They must be prepared to be broken bread and to share bread with broken humanity.
Such sharing has to involve a certain breaking of the political and economic patterns, which assures security to the affluent while reducing millions to abject poverty and wanton suffering. If Christians profess to break bread, it means that they are willing to be broken in terms of their comfort and security and to be agents of justice and solidarity. The social, political and economic implications of this can be immense. Among other things, this involves living simply, so that others might simply live.
A powerful 7.6-magnitude earthquake reduced villages to rubble in Pakistan and India on Saturday, killing more than 160 people and injuring hundreds. Pakistan’s army described the damage as widespread and said it included villages buried in quake-induced landslides.
A Vatican document expected to be made public soon says the Church will allow gay men who have lived chastely for three years to be candidates for the priesthood.
The document, which has been in the works for three years will update Vatican policy which up until now made clear that homosexuals should be barred from the priesthood.
A senior official with the Vatican, who requested anonymity because the document has not yet been released said the new policy will permit candidates who have lived a chaste life for at least three years before their admission to the seminary.
Friday, October 7, 2005
Archbishop Nikola Eterovic, secretary general of the Synod of Bishops, asked those present to pray for the victims of the hurricane that struck Central America. He then announced that the Holy Father, consenting to the request of various Synod Fathers, has ordered that from 5 p.m. to 6 p.m. on Monday, October 17, an hour of Eucharistic adoration will be celebrated in the Vatican Basilica.
On the Redistribution of Priests
BISHOP LUCIO ANDRICE MUANDULA OF XAI-XAI, MOZAMBIQUE. "On the basis of the supposition that the Eucharist is the 'source and summit of the life and mission of the Church,' and considering the fact that current statistics confirm the great shortage of priests in the world, I feel we must ask to what point an ecclesial community deprived of the Sacrament of the Eucharist can achieve the dynamism of life that enables it to transform itself into a missionary community, one capable of joyfully accomplishing the missionary project with which the Lord Jesus Himself entrusted us? ... For this reason we must insist on a fair redistribution of priests in the world, as Synod Fathers have so often asked. Furthermore, there is an urgent need to propose once again to the entire Church, and especially to priests, a 'Eucharistic spirituality' characterized by gratitude for the sacrifice of Christ, Who gives Himself as Eucharistic bread that we might all achieve the new life of grace."
The Witness of the Martyrs of the Eucharist
ARCHBISHOP LUCIAN MURESAN OF FAGARAS AND ALBA IULIA OF THE ROMANIANS, ROMANIA. "In Romania the communists tried to give man material bread alone, and sought to expel 'the bread of God' from society and from the human heart. ... Priests were imprisoned simply for being Catholic, so they could not celebrate or speak about God. Even lay people who participated in clandestine Masses suffered the same fate. In the famous period of 're-education' and 'brainwashing' in the Romanian prisons, to compromise priests, to ridicule the Eucharist and to destroy human dignity, the persecutors made them celebrate with excrement, but they never succeeded in destroying their faith. ... How many humiliations, when during winters at minus 30 degrees they were undressed for body searches; how many days spent in the famous 'black room' as a punishment for having been caught in prayer? No one will ever know, ever. These modern martyrs of the 20th Century offered all their suffering to the Lord for dignity and human freedom. ... There is no lack of hope, and I think first of all of the deep religious sense of our people, the deep devotion with which they approach liturgical celebrations and the Eucharist."
For Universal Perpetual Adoration
ARCHBISHOP CHARLES MAUNG BO, S.D.B., OF YANGON, MYANMAR. "Over 2,500 parishes around the world now have perpetual Eucharistic adoration. About 500 in the Philippines, the United States has about 1,100 chapels of perpetual adoration, the Republic of Ireland about 150, South Korea has about 70 and lesser numbers in India, Sri Lanka and Myanmar. Holy Father, if the perpetual adoration chapels were to be established in all the dioceses in the world and in all possible parishes, what a magnificent result that would be for the Eucharistic Year. ... This is true: until the Church cries out that Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament is worthy of perpetual adoration for all He has done for our salvation, she will continue to be defeated by her enemies. I believe that the best, the surest and the most effective way of establishing everlasting peace on the face of the earth is through the great power of perpetual adoration of the blessed Sacrament."
Communion and Politicians
CARDINAL ALFONSO LOPEZ TRUJILLO, PRESIDENT OF THE PONTIFICAL COUNCIL FOR THE FAMILY. "Can access to Eucharistic communion be allowed to people who deny human and Christian principles and values? Politicians and lawmakers have great responsibility. The so-called personal option cannot be separated from sociopolitical duty. This is not a 'private' problem, the Gospel, the Magisterium and true reason have to be accepted! ... The Lord is truly present in the Eucharist, the Lord of the family, of life, of love, of the alliance that unites husband and wife. God is the Creator of human dignity. The question cannot be resolved conjecturally by following the various attitudes of different countries, because the conscience of Christians and ecclesial communion would become obscured and confused. All these questions are clarified and illuminated by the Word of God in the light of the Church's Magisterium. ... Politicians and lawmakers must know that, in proposing or defending iniquitous laws, they have a serious responsibility, and they must find a remedy to the evil done ... in order to have access to communion with the Lord, Who is the Way, Truth and Life."
Problems with Married Priests, Distribution of Priests, Necessity of Married Priests
(I think he covers all the bases)
CARDINAL NASRALLAH PIERRE SFEIR, PATRIARCH OF ANTIOCH OF THE MARONITES, LEBANON. "The Maronite Church admits married priests. Half of our diocesan priests are married. Yet it must be recognized that if admitting married men resolves one problem, it creates others just as serious. A married priest has the duty to look after his wife and family, ensuring his children receive a good education and overseeing their entry into society. ... Another difficulty facing a married priest arises if he does not enjoy a good relationship with his parishioners; his bishop cannot transfer him because of the difficulty of transferring his whole family. Despite this, married priests have perpetuated the faith among people whose difficult lives they shared, and without them this faith would no longer exist. On the other hand, celibacy is the most precious jewel in the treasury of the Catholic Church. How can it be conserved in an atmosphere laden with eroticism? Newspapers, Internet, billboards, shows, everything appears shameless and constantly offends the virtue of chastity. Of course a priest, once ordained, can no longer get married. Sending priests to countries where they are lacking, taking them from a country that has many, is not the ideal solution if one bears in mind the question of tradition, customs and mentality. The problem remains."
Need for Liturgical Ministers to Set Aside Ego
CARDINAL FRANCIS ARINZE, PREFECT OF THE CONGREGATION FOR DIVINE WORSHIP AND THE DISCIPLINE OF THE SACRAMENTS. "Focussing on the Eucharistic celebration, 'ars celebrandi' refers to both interior and exterior participation on the part of the celebrating priest and on the part of the congregation. ... 'Ars celebrandi' helps the priest to have a faith?filled and disciplined posture at Mass. On the one hand, he cannot isolate himself from the presence of the people. On the other hand he should not become a showman who projects himself. The liturgy is not primarily what we make but what we receive in faith. On the part of other contributors to the Eucharistic celebration ? the altar servers, the readers, the choir, etc ? 'ars celebrandi' demands good preparation, faith, humility and focussing attention on the sacred mystery rather than on self. When the Mass is celebrated in this spirit it nourishes faith and manifests it powerfully - 'lex orandi, lex credendi.' With a genuine understanding of the role of liturgical norms, such a celebration is free of banalization and desacralization. It sends the people of God home properly nourished, spiritually refreshed and dynamically sent to evangelize."
Importance of the Homily
ARCHBISHOP CORNELIUS FONTEM ESUA, COADJUTOR OF BAMENDA, CAMEROON. "In order to highlight the importance of the liturgy of the Word during the Eucharistic celebration, in the first place, there should be in our parishes a proper organization of biblical pastoral ministry. ... Secondly, the importance of the homily, which breaks the Word of God for the consumption of the faithful, should be emphasized. It links the Word to the Eucharist and enables the participants to continue to live the Eucharist, to witness it in charity and to go on mission at the end of the celebration. ... Without the homily the Eucharistic celebration could be considered a magical act. It is the homily which makes the Christian celebration of the Eucharist different from the sacrifices of African traditional religions which are often accompanied by invocations and incantations, sometimes in languages not understood by the participants. ... In some particular Churches in Africa, for example in many dioceses in Cameroon, the liturgy of the Word is introduced by a solemn lectionary or bible procession which begins immediately after the opening prayer and not just before the proclamation of the Gospel. The assembly is thus invited to listen to the Word of God with attention and reverence just as they do when a traditional ruler addresses them or when a message from him is proclaimed to them."
Question About Former Priests
BISHOP DENIS GEORGE BROWNE OF HAMILTON IN NEW ZEALAND. "It is important for us as a Church to remember that small communities of Catholic people have as much right to participate in the Eucharist as their brothers and sisters in large busy parishes. We, as Church, need to be continually open to finding ways in which the Eucharist can become easily available to all of our faithful people. 'Sir,' they said, 'give us that bread always.' We need to be sensitive to the questions that the faithful often ask us, for example: 'Why does it seem to be possible for former married priests of the Anglican Communion to be ordained and function as Catholic priests while former Catholic priests who have been dispensed from their vow of celibacy are unable to function in any pastoral way?'"