Archive for the ‘ortho-praxis’ Category

Genesis 3:19

In the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread, till thou return unto the ground; for out of it wast thou taken: for dust thou art, and unto dust shalt thou return.

Ash Wednesday -“Remember, man, that thou art dust, and unto dust thou shalt return”.

It’s very good to be reminded that we’re moral. Everyone dies, the question then will you be raised up to new life or a much warmer spot with a front row to flames?

Luke 10:13

Woe to you, Chorazin! Woe to you, Bethsaida! For if the miracles had been performed in Tyre and Sidon which occurred in you, they would have repented long ago, sitting in sackcloth and ashes.

I’m not one for sackcloth, perhaps the hair shirt will come back in vogue. Get Madoma perhaps she can set the trend;~)

Ashes have since Moses time been a symbol of repentance. One should remember that both the towns mentioned in Luke’s Gospel had Jesus who lived there among them and performed miracles. So just because you have heard the mesage doesn’t mean you’ve changed your heart. The operative word for lent is reflection [primarily inward] after review it’s amazing how much more Christian your neighbors and co-workers seem.

The Europeans seem to use the top of the head for the ashes, I am guessing this is likely the older tradition following Nehemiah 9:1-

On the twenty-fourth day of this month, the Israelites gathered together fasting and in sackcloth, their heads covered with dust.

Those Europeans are so legalistic and literal;>) 

Ash Wednesday marks the start of Lent for Catholic the world over. This is normally a great ice-breaker for Catholics to express their faith with others and to let them know that Lent has begun. I’ve never been one to inquire from folks if they are saved. I’ve always believed in the motto attributed to St. Francis “Preach the Gospel always and if necessary use words”. However I’ve misapplied this standard as well. “If necessary” is for the individual your encountering not what time constrains I’m living under.

It was interesting this year for me, because I am currently working on the mid-shift. Normally I go to the evening service and go straight home or perhaps I might stop off at the store to pick up some milk & bread for the family for breakfast. Living in the south USA, one will get some strange looks from folks. Others will be kind enough to advise me that I have some dirt on my forehead. After the service tonight I when to work with ashes. I was wondering if this was going to be an encounter with a potentially PC management and whether I would be asked to wipe off the ashes. I prayed that this would not occur, but if it had I was prepared to make a stand on the issue. I have no idea why, but stand I would. Hopefully this would not have to blow up into a legal battle, and I thought about the lack of finances to support such a venture if it came to it and gee I should have spoken to my wife before I chose to make a stand on it. I know she’d support me, but I didn’t feel right about the choice without consulting her first.

A few of my employees pointed out to me that I had dirt on my forehead with the standard non-verbal arm to forehead an wipe back and forth routine. I really wanted to play innocent as if I had no idea what they were talking about, but I simply ignored them. Another employee simply looked at me with a puzzled look, but thought better of asking me or advsing me to wash my face. A co-worker of mine, who was born and raised in the SBC, but who that communion would call a back-slider, knew right away what the mark on my forehead was and gave me a sneer and offered to get a wet nap and wipe it off for me. Finally an employee who knew I was Catholic connected the dots and inquired “Is it Ash Wednesday?”. Why yes it is , I said it was the start of Lent and a time of personal reflection for myself and seeking a way to improve my walk with the Lord. I didn’t want to go further then that because being in a gov’t job I didn’t want my employees to think I was preaching to them or because I was their boss that they would be forced to listen.

Later that evening I had an employee who came up and admitted that they were Catholic and felt ashamed that they had wiped off their ashes prior to coming to work.  I said I didn’t know why they felt shamed, it was a personal choice and was glad they were beginning lent as well. Another was a fallen away Catholic and he felt like he had missed out on something and may give something up for lent as well (but won’t consider attending church on a regular basis).  Finally I had a boss who simply wanted to know what Lent was all about, so he could grasp a better understanding of his employees.

Finally I haven’t seen anything in bloggdom addressing where the ashes come from which my priest failed to mention either tonight. I’ve always felt this is the key link in the process. For those that don’t know the ashes are taken from the palm’s used in last years Palm Sunday service.

Matthew 21:6-11

The very large crowd spread their cloaks on the road, while others cut branches from the trees and strewed them on the road. The crowds preceding him and those following kept crying out and saying: “Hosanna to the Son of David; blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord; hosanna in the highest.” And when he entered Jerusalem the whole city was shaken and asked, “Who is this?” And the crowds replied, “This is Jesus the prophet, from Nazareth in Galilee.”

The symbolism is that we proclaim Jesus is Lord, prophet & King just like the crowds did back them. They were all band-wagoners, caught up in the moment. It’s these same folks who  in 4 days shouted for His death.

The lenten ashes for me recall how I sing(ok, I can’t sing, that’s just an opportunity for others to endure penance by listening to me) Hosanna in the Highest during the Liturgy, but how I have failed Him and those I care for in so many ways, just as those people fail Christ. But unlike the people in the Gospel reading, I have the chance to walk with our Lord during the stations of the cross, to repent and even use a few words when necessary.


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Three Little Pigs ‘too offensive’ Why is it that a flight attendant can’t were a small cross around her neck while working for BA, yet the British gov’t has the foresight to insure that they don’t offend the Muslims population (which as far as I can tell hasn’t complained about it). It appears that they are backing down from the Three little pigs position 3 little pigs saved from the PC wolf, yet the reason seems to be that it doesn’t offend the Muslims in this context. Clearly is a positive to respect another’s belief system, but a foreign culture needs to make some adjustments to the pre-existing culture as well. In this case the former culture didn’t even make a complaint and the latter culture has become hyper sensitive to the point where it’s endanger of losing it’s existing culture altogether. It’s just another step in the direction of Islamization of England as I commented earlier here.

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A few paragraphs for those of you who didn’t grow in the first decade of the Vatican II era as a lead in to the topic of LiturgicalAntiquarianism.

As a child of the pre-Vatican II council I’ve see most of the changes these past 40 years in the Liturgy and how the “Spirit of Vatican II” local leaders treated those whose parents drove for an extra hour to attend the Latin service, then as the older Priests retired and we were left with no choice but to go the N.O. we went to the earliest service to avoid all the guitar masses and the “improvisation” & “inspirational” additions to the mass to make it “more meaning full”.

I would really like to have Pope B16 consider a plenary indulgence for those Catholic’s who have endured 30 years of Gather and Worship songs. Surely Purgatory can’t be that difficult compaired to that or perhaps purgatory will be having too listen to Gather and Worship. Please anything but that!

I remember when the pastor denie the retired older women of the altar guild society to spend time in the new chapel for Eucharistic worship so that the church staff could take the short cut from their office over to the school and save them 10 minutes. One wonders why we spent all that money to build a chapel reserved for the Eucharist, if we weren’t going to “need” it any more. We were too much of an annoyance, to old school for them; but the priest was understanding, he was part of the great work they were doing in revitalizing the church – the Spirit of Vatican II would make the church revelant to people again, it’s social action motivating us to see Christ and to help the poor. Those who resisted these changes would die out and they would improve the church on the ashes of our forefathers.

It was simply a waiting game. Time it appeared was on the Spirit of Vatican II’s side. I often wonder if Pope John Pual II had died from the assissin’s bullet that there would have been a Spirit of Vatican II Pope elected and the end would have been upon us all.

Since that didn’t happen; they chose to just wait us out. In the mean time they used our donations to bring in vibrant guest speakers fresh out of some master program in theology with the latest and greatest fade. Perhaps for Lent something on Ghia worship and how it relates to Christian worship, or perhaps Sophia, Mother Spouse Goddess.

Many who could no longer stomach this stuff left the church, many to the non-denomination church which always has a good preacher and great music. Others left for the SSPX church and became more Catholic then the Pope. Others couldn’t even tollerate that started a new schism Sedevacantism.

Those of us that stayed through the 70’s and 80’s endured feeling like St. Peter in the Gospel of John 6

68 Then Jesus said to the twelve: Will you also go away? 69. And Simon Peter answered him: Lord, to whom shall we go? Thou hast the words of eternal life.

And then Cardinal Ratzinger in 1981 took over the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith and actually took on some of the heavy weights in Liberation Theology Leonardo Boff and a host of others. It was a glimmer of hope for those of us hope prayed that the unorthodox variants in theology, discipline and liturgy would be addressed. Cardinal Ratzinger of course wasn’t exactly the poster boy for conservatives at the time. When his best-selling book, Introduction to Christianity came out, it was still considered liberal enough that Cardinal Stefan Wyszynski banned it in his diocese of Warsaw. It must be remembered that Pope Benedict XVI was selected as an archbishop & Cardinal by Pope Paul VI (one of only three) not Pope John Paul II.

Today the tables have turned on the Spirit of Vatican II crowd. This is IMO a good and sadly a bad thing. With Pope Benedict XVI as the Vicar of Christ on earth, those would endured and those who are returning have a lot of resentment and it’s payback time. In those parishes where resistance to the Pope’s new SUMMORUM PONTIFICUM (ON THE USE OF THE ROMAN LITURGY) is view rightly as disobedience, which fuels the fire.

Just about anywhere in Christenblogdom you can find the Traditionalist on the hunt for parishes who refuse to hold a latin mass.  There is also talk of getting rid of the Novus Ordo mass and use the 1962 Missal of the Latin rite exclusively. We must all remember to treat others with compassion, many of the Spirit of Vatican II performed their duties and believed what they were doing was good for the church. As much as I’ve never understood how that can be reconciled, I know it to be true having dealt with several of them over the years. We should not treat them with any less dignity them we would any other Christian. There was a time when the Gallican Rite .added ceremonial practices to the simple and pure Roman rite. I can add that liturgical abuse isn’t exactly a new novel excerise Instruction on Sacred Music by Pope Pius X

We do not touch separately on the abuses in this matter which may arise. Today Our attention is directed to one of the most common of them, one of the most difficult to eradicate, and the existence of which is sometimes to be deplored in places where everything else is deserving of the highest praise — the beauty and sumptuousness of the temple, the splendor and the accurate performance of the ceremonies, the attendance of the clergy, the gravity and piety of the officiating ministers. Such is the abuse affecting sacred chant and music. And indeed, whether it is owing to the very nature of this art, fluctuating and variable as it is in itself, or to the succeeding changes in tastes and habits with the course of time, or to the fatal influence exercised on sacred art by profane and theatrical art, or to the pleasure that music directly produces, and that is not always easily contained within the right limits, or finally to the many prejudices on the matter, so lightly introduced and so tenaciously maintained even among responsible and pious persons, the fact remains that there is a general tendency to deviate from the right rule, prescribed by the end for which art is admitted to the service of public worship

My guide in all this is Mediator Dei

61. The same reasoning holds in the case of some persons who are bent on the restoration of all the ancient rites and ceremonies indiscriminately. The liturgy of the early ages is most certainly worthy of all veneration. But ancient usage must not be esteemed more suitable and proper, either in its own right or in its significance for later times and new situations, on the simple ground that it carries the savor and aroma of antiquity. The more recent liturgical rites likewise deserve reverence and respect. They, too, owe their inspiration to the Holy Spirit, who assists the Church in every age even to the consummation of the world.[52] They are equally the resources used by the majestic Spouse of Jesus Christ to promote and procure the sanctity of man.

62. Assuredly it is a wise and most laudable thing to return in spirit and affection to the sources of the sacred liturgy. For research in this field of study, by tracing it back to its origins, contributes valuable assistance towards a more thorough and careful investigation of the significance of feast-days, and of the meaning of the texts and sacred ceremonies employed on their occasion. But it is neither wise nor laudable to reduce everything to antiquity by every possible device. Thus, to cite some instances, one would be straying from the straight path were he to wish the altar restored to its primitive tableform; were he to want black excluded as a color for the liturgical vestments; were he to forbid the use of sacred images and statues in Churches; were he to order the crucifix so designed that the divine Redeemer’s body shows no trace of His cruel sufferings; and lastly were he to disdain and reject polyphonic music or singing in parts, even where it conforms to regulations issued by the Holy See.

63. Clearly no sincere Catholic can refuse to accept the formulation of Christian doctrine more recently elaborated and proclaimed as dogmas by the Church, under the inspiration and guidance of the Holy Spirit with abundant fruit for souls, because it pleases him to hark back to the old formulas. No more can any Catholic in his right senses repudiate existing legislation of the Church to revert to prescriptions based on the earliest sources of canon law. Just as obviously unwise and mistaken is the zeal of one who in matters liturgical would go back to the rites and usage of antiquity, discarding the new patterns introduced by disposition of divine Providence to meet the changes of circumstances and situation.

There seems to be three camps forming up. Those of the traditionalist who want to get rid of the Novus Ordo Mass altogether, those who still cling to the hope of the Spirit of Vatican II and a group that wants a reform of the reform. The Novus Ordo never called for the removal of altar rails or the Tabernacle from the Sanctuary, Communion on the hand, the use of lay lectors.

An excellent book I recommend for those with an interest is The Reform of the Roman Liturgy by Msgr. Klaus Gamber. msgr-klaus-gamber.jpg

Latin is the universal language of the Catholic Church. It is a means to communicate across nation lines, it is the way we maintain unity with the church of the pass, the present and the future. It is not a club to enforce Orthodoxy.

There are some who present a different position Reform of the Reform Revived from Michael J. Matt – editor of the Remnant. And from the opposite end Confirmed: The Council Was an “Historic Transition.” The School of Bologna Annexes the Pope

The bottom line is IMO again from Pope Pius XII Mediator Dei –

50. The sacred liturgy does, in fact, include divine as well as human elements. The former, instituted as they have been by God, cannot be changed in any way by men. But the human components admit of various modifications, as the needs of the age, circumstance and the good of souls may require, and as the ecclesiastical hierarchy, under guidance of the Holy Spirit, may have authorized. This will explain the marvelous variety of Eastern and Western rites. Here is the reason for the gradual addition, through successive development, of particular religious customs and practices of piety only faintly discernible in earlier times. Hence likewise it happens from time to time that certain devotions long since forgotten are revived and practiced anew. All these developments attest the abiding life of the immaculate Spouse of Jesus Christ through these many centuries. They are the sacred language she uses, as the ages run their course, to profess to her divine Spouse her own faith along with that of the nations committed to her charge, and her own unfailing love. They furnish proof, besides, of the wisdom of the teaching method she employs to arouse and nourish constantly the “Christian instinct.”

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