Friday, January 27, 2012

And The Word Became Flesh...

Click here to go to beginning of book review

Et incarnatus est! "And the Word became flesh...". These true words should be enough for us... but unfortunately, due to sin... they are not enough for us.

All of the miracles that Our Lord performs for us in the Gospels have one astonishing thing in common: Our Lord in them, REQUIRES the cooperation of man when He performs the miracle. This is a great and incomprehensible miracle in and of itself. I'm reminded of something Mother Angleica used to say when asked about the absurd reality of the success of her endeavor to create a Catholic television and radio network with no budget, no business plan, no cooperation from most of the American hierarchy and no advanced degree. She would say "If we wish for God to do the miraculous... we must be willing to do the ridiculous". It may seem ridiculous for the blind man to have mud put on his eyelids and to be told to stagger across town to the Pool of Siloam... nevertheless, our Lord willed it.

He could have made it otherwise... but He didn't. This cooperation is at the very heart of what it means to be a Catholic. This is also at the very center of the dispute that Protestantism attempts to advance... namely the error of "justification by faith alone". The Protestant sees the passion as fixed in time. The Catholic knows that the passion is played out daily, lives on until the end of time, has always had merit for those that assist at Mass in a state of grace. To use the authors own words: "The Catholic conception of the Christian religion can be aptly described as 'incarnational'. Christ's means of applying the merits of His Passion is to continue the Incarnation throughout time until he comes again" (P7, Ch1).

God could have chosen some other means, besides cooperation with grace through Mary. But He DIDN'T! As Davies tells us, "Mary's fiat sets in motion a train of events..." Non Modernist Protestants and Catholics agree on the historical reality and the sufficiency of merit obtained via the crucifixion. But we disagree upon the dispensation of those graces... and upon the perpetual nature of the re-presentation of that reality. We disagree on the requirement of cooperation. It is one of the reasons that Mary presents such a psychological and spiritual problem for the revolter.

The Church maintains that there is an 'opus operatum' in the system of the seven sacraments when administered validly.

Sacred scripture is clear that the same Eucharist which is a blessing to the man in a state of grace can be a curse to the man who is knowingly not. How can this be unless there is indeed an opus operatum. The book has an excellent appendix which describes the opus operatum. It is worth getting the book for that simple appendix alone.

On to chapter two. I may add or tweak each as these summaries as I go, as family or friends discover omissions or errors. Check back if you wish. But I plan to move ahead. I have been given much to think about here... and I will be reading the offertory prayers more closely this Sunday in my old beat up but much loved 1957 Saint Joseph's Daily Missal.

Accept, O Holy Father, Almighty and eternal God, this spotless host, which I, your unworthy servant, offer to You, my living and true God, to atone for my numberless sins, offenses and negligences; on behalf of all here present and likewise for all faithful Christians living and dead, that it may profit me and them as a means of salvation to life everlasting...

We offer You, O Lord, the chalice of salvation, humbly begging of Your mercy that it may arise before Your divine Majesty, with a pleasing fragrance, for our salvation and for that of the whole world...

In a humble spirit and with a contrite heart, may we be accepted by You, O Lord, and may our sacrifice so be offered in Your sight this day as to please You, O Lord God... Come, O Sanctifier, Almighty and Eternal God, and bless, + this sacrifice prepared for the glory of Your holy Name.

After this and after the Lavabo (the washing of the hands) the priest says:
Accept, most holy Trinity, this offering which we are making to You in remembrance of the passion, resurrection, and ascension of Jesus Christ, our Lord; and in honor Blessed Mary, ever Virgin, Blessed John the Baptist, the Holy Apostles Peter and Paul, and of these, and of all the Saints; that it may add to their honor and aid our salvation...

And in the consecration itself we read: In like manner, when the supper was done, taking also this goodly chalice into His holy and venerable hands, again giving thanks to You, He blessed + it, and gave it to His disciples, saying: All of you take and drink of this: for this is the Chalice of my Blood of the new and eternal covenant: the mystery of faith: which shall be shed for you and for many unto the forgiveness of sins.

Make it a wonderful weekend. And remember... this is the last Sunday of Post Epiphany... so SAVOR that Alleluia.


And... NO... this is not me singing (I wish). This is credited to CC Watershed's ReneGoupil website... which has all the chants for the Novus Ordo and Tridentine Rite.

You won't hear Alleluia sung again until you hear the Easter Alleluia. Perhaps I'll post that Alleluia so you can hear it when the time comes if I'm still blogging.

IJM Pascendi

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Who Was Archbishop Cranmer

The Catholic Archbishop Cranmer was a principal reformer of the liturgy under King Henry VIII. Archbishop Cranmer was a key to the liturgical reforms of the Protestant revolt.

Much can be said about his theology... none of which is good. He criticized monasticism, suppressed the Mass, forced his homilies down the throats of all Catholic priests who were in his charge and made them read them to their congregations. He used the legal force of the reigning political and ecclesiastical powers to effectively coerce Catholic bishops to submit to his views or face expulsion from the Church. Only a few Catholic bishops stood up to him because of his political power and his authority as a churchman.

Who Was Michael Davies
Michael Davies is a convert to Catholicism. He wrote three books on the Mass (These three are collectively called 'The Liturgical Revolution'). The first of these is called Cranmer's Godly Order. This deals with the liturgical reforms masterminded by Archbishop Cranmer. The book will explain the Reformation... namely what happened and why it happened. The second book, Entitled Pope John's Council will deal with the Second Vatican Council. The Third book is called Pope Paul's New Mass and will deal with the liturgical changes that followed the council (many of which have nothing to do with the council and some which do).

Michael Davies explores this history of the first "reforms" in the following chapters of this first of these three books in Cranmer's Godly Order... specifically as to how liturgical change was used to effect change in belief. Davies is focusing on the English Reformation.

I will be writing about each of these chapters as I go through them.

1.) Et Incarnatus Est
2.) The Catholic Doctrine of Justification
3.) Sola Fides Justificat
4.) Catholic Teaching on the Eucharist
5.) The Most Horrible Blasphemy
6.) Protestant Teaching on the Eucharist Part I
7.) Protestant Teaching on the Eucharist Part II
8.) Liturgical Revolution
9.) The Principles of Liturgical Reform
10.) The Reform and the Missal of St. Pius V
11.) Preparatory Measures
12.) An Ingenious Essay in Ambiguity
13.) Priesthood and the Ordinal
14.) "Godly Order" or "Christmas Game"?
15.) "Believe as your forefathers"
16.) The Pattern of Compromise

Hopefully, before the end of the weekend... I will take a short break and introduce you to the person of Michael Davies. It is important to remember that he was always a Catholic in good standing as he converted to Catholicism as a student in the 1950's. From what I have learned thus far, he had one of the most prolific pens and exhaustive lecture schedules before he died. Let me also add that Mr. Davies did not get rich by any of this work. His life was an effort to restore a sense of the sacred in the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass. He asked insightful questions that made others uncomfortable... but he seemed to always do it with great charity, good humor and humility.

Cranmer's Godly Order, by Michael Davies

What is Coming Next

Tomorrow, I plan to list the names of the 16 Chapters of this book I'm reading which is entitled "Liturgical Revolution, Volume I": or "Cranmer's Godly Order". I will also give you a brief introduction to who Cranmer was and why he was so influential a person during the protestant liturgical revolt or the so called "Reformation".

I can tell you that as an Irish Catholic... I have found these chapters interesting and at the same time... I have felt my blood boil. You will see why soon.

Brief Disclaimer
Because the Mass is so close to the heart of every Catholic it can be a sensitive subject. Our own individual likes and dislikes regarding the Mass are often views held with such personal fervor... that it becomes difficult to speak about the Most Holy Sacrifice unemotionally. Also... it is not uncommon for folks to believe that their ideal or some other ideal is the most 'catholic' or universal ideal. But all these impulses are just opinion and a matter of taste. I'm not interested in opinions or tastes here. I'm only interested in what the Church documents ask of us regarding the Mass. I'm interested in an authentic implementation of Vatican II and in the Mass which is so often talked about by all of our great popes... and most especially the present pontiff.

So with that... I'm hereby stating that I have full trust and confidence in the present magisterium to teach and guide. I may not always understand every little practical detail that comes up in "this public ritual" or "that public Mass"... or "this small document" or that "big letter from some group of bishops"... but my intent is always full obedience and communion with Rome and with my own bishop as far as is humanly possible and canonically required of me as a layman.

vty Pascendi

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

The Center of the Center

I have not written a blog post since 2009! Mainly because I felt there was nothing important enough to blog about. Or perhaps I felt that what I had to contribute to a discussion would only be received by a small group of friends... and handled best by the intimacy of e-mail.

But I believe that something has gotten my attention and it is IMPORTANT for me to write about it in a public way. It is important for me to organize my thoughts and experiences for myself and my children and grandchildren. It is also important to organize them for those who care to read these experiences. For my experiences in the Catholic Church as a layman span a great deal of movements and 'spirits'. And there is lots of time to look back on. I will be sharing all of this as I write.

We all have our conversion stories to tell if we are Christians. My conversion began when I was in my early 20's. An important aspect of this conversion (or shall I say REVERSION as I was a cradle Catholic who abandoned my faith the day after I was confirmed)... is my experience of what should be the center of Catholic life: The liturgy.

And so the up coming series of short articles I will be writing will be about the center of Catholic life... and indeed the center of the Universe. For, if as Catholics, we believe that the Eucharist is the center of the universe... then the Mass is the expression and reality of that center. It is the center of the center... and therefore it IS the very core and expression of our existences as Catholics. If you agree with that statement... then you do not need to read anything else. If you disagree with that statement or you are not sure... then please stay tuned.

vty Pascendi