Monday 30 November 2009

November - Month of the Holy Souls

On this last day of the Month of the Holy Souls in this Holy Year for Priests, let us remember to pray for deceased Popes, Cardinals, Bishops and Priests, especially those who have nobody to pray for them.

Sancte Pie Decime, Gloriose Patrone, ora pro nobis!

Sunday 29 November 2009

"Intruders and Desecrators"

This day in the Liturgical Calendar, the First Sunday of Advent, 1969, marked the coming into force of the Novus Ordo Missae. Pope Paul VI, in a General Audience on 26th November, 1969, spoke thus:

"We may notice that pious persons will be the ones most disturbed, because, having their respectable way of listening to Mass, they will feel distracted from their customary thoughts and forced to follow those of others...

"...Not Latin, but the spoken language, will be the main language of the Mass. To those who know the beauty, the power, the expressive sacrality of Latin, its replacement by the vulgar language is a great sacrifice: we lose the discourse of the Christian centuries, we become almost intruders and desecrators in the literary space of sacred expression, and we will thus lose a great portion of that stupendous and incomparable artistic and spiritual fact that is the Gregorian Chant. We will thus have, indeed, reason for being sad, and almost for feeling lost: with what will we replace this angelic language? It is a sacrifice of inestimable price."

* * *

The Sacred Constitution of the Second Vatican Council Sacrosanctum Concilium spoke thus:

"23. That sound tradition may be retained... there must be no innovations unless the good of the Church genuinely and certainly requires them; and care must be taken that any new forms adopted should in some way grow organically from forms already existing."

"36. 1. Particular law remaining in force, the use of the Latin language is to be preserved in the Latin rites... 2. But since the use of the mother tongue, whether in the Mass, the administration of the sacraments, or other parts of the liturgy, frequently may be of great advantage to the people, the limits of its employment may be extended..."

Saturday 28 November 2009

November - Month of the Holy Souls

From his Apostolic Constitution Indulgentiarum Doctrina of Pope Paul VI on the Doctrine of Indulgences, issued on 1st January, 1967:

1. The doctrine and practice of indulgences which have been in force for many centuries in the Catholic Church have a solid foundation in divine revelation1 which comes from the Apostles and "develops in the Church with the help of the Holy Spirit," while "as the centuries succeed one another the Church constantly moves forward toward the fullness of divine truth until the words of God reach their complete fulfillment in her."

For an exact understanding of this doctrine and of its beneficial use it is necessary, however, to remember truths which the entire Church illumined by the Word of God has always believed and which the bishops, the successors of the Apostles, and first and foremost among them the Roman Pontiffs, the successors of Peter, have taught by means of pastoral practice as well as doctrinal documents throughout the course of centuries to this day.

2. It is a divinely revealed truth that sins bring punishments inflicted by God's sanctity and justice. These must be expiated either on this earth through the sorrows, miseries and calamities of this life and above all through death, or else in the life beyond through fire and torments or "purifying" punishments. Therefore it has always been the conviction of the faithful that the paths of evil are fraught with many stumbling blocks and bring adversities, bitterness and harm to those who follow them.

These punishments are imposed by the just and merciful judgment of God for the purification of souls, the defense of the sanctity of the moral order and the restoration of the glory of God to its full majesty. Every sin in fact causes a perturbation in the universal order established by God in His ineffable wisdom and infinite charity, and the destruction of immense values with respect to the sinner himself and to the human community. Christians throughout history have always regarded sin not only as a transgression of divine law but also -- though not always in a direct and evident way - as contempt for or disregard of the friendship between God and man,6 just as they have regarded it as a real and unfathomable offense against God and indeed an ungrateful rejection of the love of God shown us through Jesus Christ, who called His disciples friends and not servants.

3. It is therefore necessary for the full remission and - as it is called - reparation of sins not only that friendship with God be reestablished by a sincere conversion of the mind and amends made for the offense against His wisdom and goodness, but also that all the personal as well as social values and those of the universal order itself, which have been diminished or destroyed by sin, be fully reintegrated whether through voluntary reparation which will involve punishment or through acceptance of the punishments established by the just and most holy wisdom of God, from which there will shine forth throughout the world the sanctity and the splendor of His glory. The very existence and the gravity of the punishment enable us to understand the foolishness and malice of sin and its harmful consequences.

That punishment or the vestiges of sin may remain to be expiated or cleansed and that they in fact frequently do even after the remission of guilt is clearly demonstrated by the doctrine on purgatory. In purgatory, in fact, the souls of those "who died in the charity of God and truly repentant, but before satisfying with worthy fruits of penance for sins committed and for omissions" are cleansed after death with purgatorial punishments. This is also clearly evidenced in the liturgical prayers with which the Christian community admitted to Holy Communion has addressed God since most ancient times: "that we, who are justly subjected to afflictions because of our sins, may be mercifully set free from them for the glory of thy name."

For all men who walk this earth daily commit at least venial sins; thus all need the mercy of God to be set free from the penal consequences of sin.

4. There reigns among men, by the hidden and benign mystery of the divine will, a supernatural solidarity whereby the sin of one harms the others just as the holiness of one also benefits the others.12 Thus the Christian faithful give each other mutual aid to attain their supernatural aim. A testimony of this solidarity is manifested in Adam himself, whose sin is passed on through propagation to all men. But of this supernatural solidarity the greatest and most perfect principle, foundation and example is Christ Himself to communion with Whom God has called us.

5. Indeed Christ "committed no sin," "suffered for us," "was wounded for our iniquities, bruised for our sins . . . by His bruises we are healed."

Following in the footsteps of Christ, the Christian faithful have always endeavored to help one another on the path leading to the heavenly Father through prayer, the exchange of spiritual goods and penitential expiation. The more they have been immersed in the fervor of charity, the more they have imitated Christ in His sufferings, carrying their crosses in expiation for their own sins and those of others, certain that they could help their brothers to obtain salvation from God the Father of mercies. This is the very ancient dogma of the Communion of the Saints, whereby the life of each individual son of God in Christ and through Christ is joined by a wonderful link to the life of all his other Christian brothers in the supernatural unity of the Mystical Body of Christ till, as it were, a single mystical person is formed.

Thus is explained the "treasury of the Church" which should certainly not be imagined as the sum total of material goods accumulated in the course of the centuries, but the infinite and inexhaustible value the expiation and the merits of Christ Our Lord have before God, offered as they were so that all of mankind could be set free from sin and attain communion with the Father. It is Christ the Redeemer Himself in whom the satisfactions and merits of His redemption exist and find their force. This treasury also includes the truly immense, unfathomable and ever pristine value before God of the prayers and good works of the Blessed Virgin Mary and all the saints, who following in the footsteps of Christ the Lord and by His grace have sanctified their lives and fulfilled the mission entrusted to them by the Father. Thus while attaining their own salvation, they have also cooperated in the salvation of their brothers in the unity of the Mystical Body.

"For all who are in Christ, having His spirit, form one Church and cleave together in Him" (Eph. 4:16). Therefore the union of the wayfarers with the brethren who have gone to sleep in the peace of Christ is not in the least weakened or interrupted, but on the contrary, according to the perpetual faith of the Church, is strengthened by a communication of spiritual goods. For by reason of the fact that those in heaven are more closely united with Christ, they establish the whole Church more firmly in holiness, lend nobility to the worship which the Church offers to God here on earth and in many ways contribute to building it up evermore (I Cor. 12: 12-27). For after they have been received into their heavenly home and are present to the Lord (11 Cor. 5:8), through Him and with Him and in Him they do not cease to intervene with the Father for us, showing forth the merits which they have won on earth through the one Mediator between God and man, Jesus Christ (I Tim. 2:5), by serving God in all things and filling up in their flesh those things which are lacking of the sufferings of Christ for His Body which is the Church (Col. 1:24). Thus by their brotherly interest our weakness is greatly strengthened.

For this reason there certainly exists between the faithful who have already reached their heavenly home, those who are expiating their sins in purgatory and those who are still pilgrims on earth a perennial link of charity and an abundant exchange of all the goods by which, with the expiation of all the sins of the entire Mystical Body, divine justice is placated. God's mercy is thus led to forgiveness, so that sincerely repentant sinners may participate as soon as possible in the full enjoyment of the benefits of the family of God.

6. The Church, aware of these truths ever since its origins, formulated and undertook various ways of applying the fruits of the Lord's redemption to the individual faithful and of leading them to cooperate in the salvation of their brothers, so that the entire body of the Church might be prepared in justice and sanctity for the complete realization of the kingdom of God, when He will be all things to all men.

Saturday 21 November 2009

November - Month of the Holy Souls

From Quod Anniversarius, the Encyclical Letter of Pope Leo XIII on his Sacerdotal Jubilee, issued on the 1st day of April, 1888:

"5. But by the help of God, in order that We may crown this joy, We desire to fulfil, as far as lays in Our power, Our apostolic duty of charity by extending the plenitude of Our infinite spiritual treasures to those beloved children of the Church who, having died the death of the just, have quitted this world of strife with the sign of faith, and are branches of the mystical vine, though they cannot enter into everlasting rest until they have paid the uttermost farthing which they owe to the avenging justice of God.

6. We are moved to this both by the pious desires of Catholics to whom We know that Our resolution will be especially grateful, and by the fearful tortures which the souls of the departed suffer, but We are also animated by the custom of the Church, which, amidst the most joyous solemnities of the year, fails not to make a holy and salutary commemoration of the dead that they may be delivered from their sins.

7. Therefore, since it is certain by the doctrine of the Catholic Church, that the souls detained in purgatory are benefited by the prayers of the faithful, and especially by the august Sacrifice of the Altar, We think we can give them no more useful and desirable pledge of Our love than by everywhere increasing the offering of the pure oblation of the Most Holy Sacrifice of Our Divine Mediator, for the extinction of their pain. We therefore decree, with all the necessary dispensations and indulgences, the last Sunday of next September as a day of ample expiation on which will be celebrated by Ourselves, and equally by each of Our brethren the Patriarchs, Archbishops, and Bishops, and also by other prelates exercising jurisdiction in a diocese, each in his own church, whether patriarchal, metropolitan, or cathedral, a special Mass for the Dead with the greatest solemnity possible, and according to the rite ordered in the Missal for the Commemoration of all Souls.

8. We desire also that this should take place in the same manner in all parish and collegiate churches, both of the secular and regular clergy, and by all priests generally, provided that they do not omit the proper office of the Mass for the day where it is obligatory.

9. As to the faithful, We strenuously exhort them after Sacramental confession devoutly to partake of the Bread of Angels for the benefit of the souls in purgatory. We grant by Our Apostolic authority a plenary indulgence to be gained by such of the faithful, applicable to the dead, and the favour of a privileged altar to all those who, as has been said before, say Mass.

10. Thus those pious souls who expiate the remainder of their sins amidst such tortures will receive a special and opportune consolation, thanks to the life giving Victim which the Universal Church united to her visible head, and animated with a like spirit of charity, will offer to God that He may admit them to the dwelling of His consolation, to light and eternal peace."

Monday 16 November 2009

FIUV General Assembly XIX

The Nineteenth Bi-Annual General Assembly of the International Una Voce Federation took place this weekend in Rome. Following Mass in St. Peter's Basilica, President of the Federation, Mr. Leo Darroch, and Secretary, Sig. Rodolfo Vargas Rubio, led the assembled delegates first in the Veni Creator Spiritus and then in the closed session on Saturday afternoon. Among the matters reported was the presentation of the Report of the progress of the motu proprio Summorum Pontificum during its first two years.

After Mass on Sunday in the Church of Ssma. Trinità dei Pellegrini the open forum began, including several interventions, including from representatives of the Franciscans of the Immaculate, Institute of the Good Shepherd, Institute of Christ the King, and Fraternity of Saint Peter.

Saturday 14 November 2009

Roman Pilgrimage Day 5

Starting the the day late today, with Mass at ten o'clock in St. Peter's. Planned to be at St. Joseph's, but moved at the last minute (or, to be honest, a bit later than that) to Pius X. Mass was celebrated with Una Voce - people from all over the world and after Mass started the Una Voce meeting that some of us were going to attend.

The rest of us spent some time getting souvenirs and posting cartolines before, when we were finally on our way back to the convent, we ran into a flock of migrating bishops and cardinals who were all very friendly and generous; blessed us all from top to toe, including rosary beads and crucifixes.

November - Month of the Holy Souls

From Quod Hoc Ineunte, the Encyclical Letter of Pope Leo XII proclaiming a Universal Jubilee issued on the 24th day of May, 1824:

"10. Venerable Brothers, Patriarchs, Primates, Archbishops, and Bishops: share in these cares and labors of Ours. Call an assembly, gather the people so that your sons may be eager to receive those gifts which God has entrusted to you for distribution to the chosen. Let them recall that the days of our sojourn here are brief, and We do not know at what hour the Father may come. We must therefore watch, carrying lighted lamps filled with the oil of charity, so that when He does come, We may run with eager love to meet him. You must also discuss carefully how much efficacy there is in indulgences; how great is the fruit of remission, not only of the canonical but also of the temporal punishment due for sins; and finally, how much aid from the treasure of merits from Christ and the saints may be applied to those who died truly penitent before they had made adequate satisfaction for their sins. Their souls must be purified in the fires of purgatory so that entry into the eternal fatherland may open to them. Be alert here, venerable brothers, for there are those who have followed a wisdom which is not from God. Clothed in sheep's clothing, and pretending for the most part a semblance of piety, they have spread falsehood among the people. Now teach the flock what they have to do, what works of piety and charity they must exercise, with what sorrow they are to weigh themselves and their lives. Teach them to eliminate and correct whatever may be defective in their habits, so that they may truly benefit from this holy indulgence."

Friday 13 November 2009

Roman Pilgrimage Day 4

The third day of our pilgrimage started with mass in St. Agatha of the Goths; my personal favourite of the roman churches, situated just up the road from the convent where we're staying.

We then took the 117 bus to the Piazza dell' Popolo and walked down to Babington's Tea Rooms in the Piazza de Spagna where we stopped for tea. As we made our way back on foot we stopped at San Andrea della fratte and John told us a little bit about he history of the church and how it served as the setting of the conversion of Alphonse Ratisbonne. We went from there to the Fontana di Trevi where it was time for me to make a third attempt at talking in front of Irish pilgrims.

After a lovely lunch we went to see the rooms of S. Luigi Gonzaga and S. Giovanni Berchmans in S. Ignazio then to the rooms of St. Ignazio himself in the Gesu and the day finished with the illumination of the statue of the saint that takes place in the Gesu every day at 17.30.

Roman Pilgrimage Day 3

This morning we had Mass in S. Dominico e Sisto celebrated by Canonico Luzuy of the ICRSP. We sang Mass IX and latin hymns; Veni Creator Spiritus, Jesu Dulcis Memoria, and Salve Regina.

After Mass we went to the general audience with il Papa - they had unfortunately not managed to get us anounced, but it was nice all the same. He talked about the importance of silence and the value of monks.

After lunch at Roberto's in the Borgo Pio we went for Gelati at the Old Bridge and then took the metro to Piazza della Republica and went from there to the Basilica of Mary and the Angels and Martyrs. We proceeded with a quick stop for coffee before exploring the Maria della Vittoria, where Donna O'Connor took the role of guide and gave an excellent presentation that attracted the attention of visitors outside our own little group.

After that we went to S. Susanna where we picked up the tickets for the general audience with the Pope the day before.

My own presentation of the Fontana dell'Acqua Felice was slightly ruined by the fact that it was covered with tarpaulins, being restored. The afternoon continued from there in the footsteps of Sixtus the Vth - whose sister donated a chapel to the church across the road - down the Quirinale with a quick visit to San Carlino and San Andrea dell' Quirinale, where we had Mass once during last year's pilgrimage above the body of S. Stanislaus.

Wednesday 11 November 2009

Roman Pilgrimage Day 2

The second day of our Roman pilgrimage was a lazy one. After 7 am Mass in S. Peter's we went to see S. John Lateran Basilica. Today is the anniverasry of the dedication of the Lateran Basilica.

Outside we saw the frescos in the loggia or two story porch that was built by order of Pope Sisto V.

Inside we entered by the transcept and were directly across from the Altar where Our Lord is kept. In the photo you can see the papal high altar to the left.

Tuesday 10 November 2009

Roman Pilgrimage Day 1

This morning at 7 o'clock we went to mass in St. Peter's Basilica. Mass was celebrated in the old rite at the altar of the transfiguration. There were several Masses going on at side altars all around the Basilica during that time. Many of them were in the old rite. It is really surprising how alive S. Peters Basilica is at that early hour.

After an hour on the train we met up with the pleasant and generous Margareta who took us in her car to see the house of the martyre Santa Maria Goretti. A girl of eleven years who was killed by a man she trusted because she resisted his attempts to rape her.

We came back to Rome just in time to make it to the Gèsu to see the wonderful ceremony of the illumination of the statue of Saint Ignatius. The whole ceremony has the effect of a sermon (in Italian, unfortunately for us) and as each part of the altar lights up some new medidtation is given.

At the end the painting of S. Ignatius is slowly lowered to reveal the statue that is behind it.

Sunday 8 November 2009

Fourteenth Monthly Mass in the Diocese of Kildare and Leighlin

The fourteenth monthly Mass took place this afternoon in the presence of a congregation of eight. The Mass did not take place in the Church as was usual but in the room behind the tabernacle where some of the congregation usually have tea after Mass. The reason for the change was a display in sand in front of the Altar.

St. Conleth of Kildare, pray for us!

Saturday 7 November 2009

November - Month of the Holy Souls

From Apostolico Consitutio, the Encyclical Letter of Pope Benedict XIV in Preparation for the Holy Year issued on the 26th day of June, 1749:

13. As everyone knows, several months intervene between the issue at Rome of the Bull proclaiming the year of Jubilee and the actual start of this Holy Year. Continuing the ancient practice of the Church, the holy door is opened on the next vigil of the Birth of the Lord; then the Year of Jubilee begins. We use these intervening months to hold missions in different districts of Rome. We highly recommended their usefulness in Our pastoral Edicts when We were Archbishop of Bologna. These appeared in print and were soon translated into Latin. We impress upon the evangelical labourers in missions to instruct the people in order to explain the Catholic doctrine of indulgences and of the universal Jubilee, rather than in purely academic questions of Apologetic and Moral Theology. The faithful must be fully aware that sin and its eternal punishment are remitted by the Sacrament of Penance if one makes proper use of it; however the entire temporal punishment is very seldom taken away. This must be removed either by satisfactory works in this life or by the fire of Purgatory after death. The holy Council of Trent in session 6, chap. 4, and canon 30 of the same session teaches this under the heading de Justificatione. Inform the Christian people of the unfailing treasury in the Church which was constituted by the immeasurable abundance of the merits of Christ and increased by the merits of His saints. Distribution from this treasury has been entrusted by Christ the Lord to His vicar on earth, the Roman Pontiff; consequently the Pontiff prudently decides when these merits can be applied, either by way of absolution for the living or by way of prayer for the dead, provided that the living have destroyed their sin and its eternal punishment by Penance, and that the dead have departed this life united with God in charity. This distribution of merits is in the form of indulgences. When one obtains one, he is freed from the temporal punishment due to sins to the extent granted and defined by the lawful distributor. This we read in the constitutions of the Supreme Pontiffs and especially in the famous Decretal of Our Predecessor Leo X to Cardinal Tommaso de Vio, otherwise known as Cajetan, when he was serving as Apostolic Legate in Germany. The result is that the practice of indulgences is most beneficial to Christians; hence the evil idea which either denies the benefit of indulgences or deprives the Church of the power of conferring them is to be condemned. This was decided by the Council of Trent, session 25, in the decree on Indulgences. Finally, the Christian people must be advised that the Indulgence of the Jubilee year is a plenary one, but is distinguished from other plenary indulgences also distributed on the occasion of the Jubilee by the fact that in a holy year of Jubilee, confessors designated for this purpose receive a wider power both of absolving from sins and of dispensing from certain bonds and impediments which often ensnare the consciences of penitents.

Sunday 1 November 2009

How long, O Lord? How long?

Across the Church over the past forty years there have been countless stories of ordinary people attempting extraordinary things in the cause of the Gregorian Rite. Very often, they have been met with opposition from the sources they looked to for leadership and support.

"...the old rite should be granted much more generously to all those who desire it. It’s impossible to see what could be dangerous or unacceptable about that. A community is calling its very being into question when it suddenly declares that what until now was its holiest and highest possession is strictly forbidden and when it makes the longing for it seem downright indecent..." -Joseph, Cardinal Ratzinger

Sometimes, the opposition was overwhelming and they gave up the attempts. Sometimes, God called them to Himself before their efforts could bear visible fruit. Hopefully, they acted in good faith and gained grace through their efforts.

William, Cardinal Leveda, said recently, in the context of the Apostolic Constitution for former Anglicans coming into full Communion with the Holy See that:

"The unity of the Church does not require a uniformity that ignores cultural diversity, as the history of Christianity shows. Moreover, the many diverse traditions present in the Catholic Church today are all rooted in the principle articulated by St. Paul in his letter to the Ephesians: ‘There is one Lord, one faith, one baptism’ (Eph. iv:5). Our communion is therefore strengthened by such legitimate diversity, and so we are happy that these men and women bring with them their particular contributions to our common life of faith."

But then, to paraphrase an oft repeated maxim in the Diocese, Cardinal Leveda doesn't live in Kildare and Leighlin.

To those members of St. Conleth's Catholic Heritage Association who have died, the short illustrated history that follows is dedicated. Of your charity, pray for them. Since no Parish in the Diocese of Kildare and Leighlin that we have asked will permit us facilities to organise a Requiem Mass for the repose of their souls, please pray all the harder for them.

Petition to Bishop Ryan, 1996

In 1996, a petition of over 500 signatures was presented to Bishop Laurence Ryan, Bishop of Kildare and Leighlin, requesting the provision of Mass celebrated according to the 1962 Missal on Sundays and Holydays of Obligation in the Diocese. Bishop Ryan died in 2003. By the time of his death, no such provision had been made.

Letters to Bishop Moriarty, 2004

In 2004, with the encouragement of St. Conleth's Catholic Heritage Association, hundreds of individuals sent letters to Bishop James Moriarty requesting the provision of Mass celebrated according to the 1962 Missal on Sundays and Holydays of Obligation in the Diocese. No response seems to have been received by any of these intrepid souls and no provision was made.

Requests for Mass on Sundays and Holydays, 2007

In 2007, following the coming into force of the Holy Father's Letter Summorum Pontificum, groups of the faithful in seven Parishes wrote to their Parish Priests requesting the provision of Mass celebrated according to the 1962 Missal on Sundays and Holydays of Obligation in their Parishes. Since October, 2008, more than a year after the coming into force of Summorum Pontificum, a single monthly Mass has been provided in one Parish.

Requests for pilgrimage Masses, 2007-2009

Since 2007, St. Conleth's Catholic Heritage Association has requested permission to organise pilgrimage Masses, for the Holy Year of Saint Paul and then the Holy Year for Priests, in Parishes across the Diocese of Kildare and Leighlin. Requests have been made to 21 out of 56 Parishes. Permission has been granted on 7 occasions. In one instance, permission was given for the Holy Year of Saint Paul and permission refused for the Holy Year for Priests. In one instance, permission was given but withdrawn a matter of days later. How long, O Lord? How long until those asking for the Gregorian Rite are not made to feel downright indecent?

Of your Charity, pray for the souls of the deceased members of St. Conleth's Catholic Heritage Association!