Many people assert that the Second Vatican Council did away with many things, especially in regards to the Liturgy. This is simply not true. The Second Vatican Council decreed many good things about the Liturgy.
From the document Sacrosanctum Concilium:
17. In seminaries and houses of religious, clerics shall be given a liturgical formation in their spiritual life. For this they will need proper direction, so that they may be able to understand the sacred rites and take part in them wholeheartedly; and they will also need personally to celebrate the sacred mysteries, as well as popular devotions which are imbued with the spirit of the liturgy. In addition they must learn how to observe the liturgical laws, so that life in seminaries and houses of religious may be thoroughly influenced by the spirit of the liturgy.
18. Priests, both secular and religious, who are already working in the Lord’s vineyard are to be helped by every suitable means to understand ever more fully what it is that they are doing when they perform sacred rites; they are to be aided to live the liturgical life and to share it with the faithful entrusted to their care.
19. With zeal and patience, pastors of souls must promote the liturgical instruction of the faithful, and also their active participation in the liturgy both internally and externally, taking into account their age and condition, their way of life, and standard of religious culture. By so doing, pastors will be fulfilling one of the chief duties of a faithful dispenser of the mysteries of God; and in this matter they must lead their flock not only in word but also by example.
Many who follow the rubrics of the Mass are unfairly labeled as pharisees by those who do not follow the rubrics. In my experience, those who ignore the rubrics use the Second Vatican Council as a scapegoat in order to promote their views.
However, upon reading what the documents actually have to say, you will find it is quite clear that the liturgical laws are to be observed. It is clear that Mass and all liturgical aspects of our faith, are to be done reverently and by the book. It is not something to be left to the priest’s discretion.
When many Novus Ordo Masses are said irreverently and by the whim of the presiding priest, we must combat it with all of our strength. The way in which we worship reflects what we believe. If we are reverent in our worship, it reflects the authority of God. If we behave like buffoons, it reflects that we are fools.
Following Christ and His Church is not for the foolish, but rather the wise. To live outside of the Church and the law of Christ is foolish. Therefor, let us follow the liturgical law as it too is the law of Christ.
There is a new Catholic web-site that is going to be launched this Friday, August 1. It is called One Peter Five. It is a web-site that will feature quality articles on how to live the authentic Catholic faith in a world that is slowly turning to ruin.
There will be many different contributing authors discussing a wide variety of topics including, Architecture, Art, Book Reviews, Catholic Life, Culture, Devotions, Evangelization, Family, History and the Liturgy. More than likely, more topics will be added.
I will be contributing articles for One Peter Five. Don’t worry, I will still be working on this blog as there are many different things that I would like to write about that might not be fitting there. I will alert you here when I have published an article over there.
I highly suggest you take a look at the site and encourage you to sign up for the email newsletter. I will also be adding it to my blogroll in the right navigation bar.
My wife has a great aunt that was a nun of the order of the Sisters of St. Benedict in St. Joseph, MN. She passed away in 2008, may she rest in peace.
Every year her extended family gets together for a reunion. This year, they decided that they were going to go up to the Monastery to visit the sisters. I took the day off from work to see them as well.
We were warmly greeted when we arrived. There were stories shared and laughs to be had.
After a little while, we ended up going over to their museum and gift shop. We were a big group, so they split us up. I was in the group that went to the gift shop first. This, in hindsight, is probably a good thing.
For being at a Monastery, you would think that the gift shop would have more Catholic items in it. I can honestly say that it was roughly 20% Catholic and 80% odds and ends that you can get at any gift shop. It was rather disappointing. I was looking around and found a couple of heretical items.
I decided that I would come back and buy my items after the tour.
Instead of going to the museum display that commemorated their 100 years of having their chapel, we ended up going into the back room where they kept all of their old vestments and items that used to be in the chapel.
The vestments were some of the most beautiful that I had ever seen. The nuns from the late 1800s-1940s would make the vestments by hand. They would stitch some very intricate and beautiful images onto these vestments. Some of the flowers looked real. They had Angels with detailed toes and fingers. The fingers were maybe a few centimeters long. Very small and intricate.
The nuns kept referring to all these beautiful vestments as “pieces”, as if they were art.
I mentioned that we needed more vestments like this as these vestments point back to God in the love that the prior nuns had for making them. Alas, the response I received was along the lines of “oh, no, the vestments of today are far more simpler and easy.” Right, because God calls for us to take the easy and simple path that everyone takes. The Sister who was giving us the tour made a comment about how people ask where the color is in the Chapel these days (they “renovated” it in the 80s). They usually reply back with “in the people”.
Afterwards, we went to the chapel where the nuns would pray the Liturgy of the Hours. We prayed noon prayer in this simple looking auditorium that you would expect to see at a college lecture hall. I don’t recall if there was a crucifix, let alone a cross in the entire room. I counted only 3 of the nuns wearing a habit. Most of the nuns were wearing pant suits with a flowery shirt.
We had lunch. That was good. The lettuce for the salad was from their gardens. This was perhaps one of my favorite things of the entire tour.
After lunch was over, we went up to the chapel. In the 1980s, the order decided they needed to “renovate” the chapel. It used to be very Catholic.
They opened the doors to reveal a magnificently grand and bland chapel. The altar had been moved to the center. No kneelers. Just…plain. There was absolutely no indication that this was a Catholic church. It looked just like the Protestant churches.
The entire time we all were looking around in disappointment, the sisters were just smiling and explaining why they did what they did. My tongue had been getting sore from biting down on it so hard throughout the day. When Sister mentioned that they don’t kneel, but stand reverently, I lost it.
I explained how we are supposed to kneel before God who is truly present. They retorted that kneeling isn’t necessary because in the prayers it says something about “…we stand before you…”. They also used the age-old “Europe doesn’t have kneelers” argument, which is incorrect. Certainly some do, but I explained that the Vatican says that churches are supposed to. “Different books at different times say different things” one replied.
TRIGGER ALERT: HERESY: The same sister also said that the community, along with the priest, bring forth Jesus. I replied that that was absolutely incorrect because without the Priest, we do not have Jesus. Only a Catholic Priest can change bread into the Eucharist. “Well, that’s true, but…” and I honestly don’t recall the rest, I’m fairly certain my Guardian Angel protected me from having an aneurysm.
The main nun pulled me aside after things settled down, and told me to keep up the fire. I’m still not sure what she meant by that. Maybe she agrees with me but is sworn to obedience? I’m uncertain.
Regardless, they kept saying how it was too much beauty for a sacred space, its nice and clean now, but in the same breath would say “Could you imagine how beautiful it was?” I could imagine it much better had you left it alone.
Afterwards we went into the Sacristy, where they make their own bread! Its better because its unleavened (valid consecration stipulates that bread must be made of wheaten flour, mixed with pure natural water, baked in an oven or between two moulds and must not be corrupt). Sister also mentioned that it is made with love! Sarcasm Alert(Not like that hate-filled Eucharist you receive at your local parish!) I question if these nuns believe in the True Presence. If God is Love and the Eucharist is God, isn’t the Eucharist also Love?
We then went to the chapel where the tabernacle is kept (yeah, side chapel) and they have kneelers in there!
Also, they felt that the best way to keep the old communion rails was to nail them to the wall.
We then hung out in the Gathering Space for a bit. They talked about community a bit. I stopped listening. Any Catholic that goes on and on about community being that important has lost all sense of what it means to be Catholic. Community does not come first, but God does.
We went back to the museum and I looked around at what used to be a beautiful Chapel.
I found this interesting:
Many were upset at seeing this. So much beauty absolutely ransacked. This order neutered Christ and the church that their previous sisters had built out of love for God. To wreckovate a church, let alone a Catholic Church this badly, is not something of God, but of something diabolical. Sacred beauty points back to the Creator. Being physical beings, we need that physical beauty in order to help us understand God better. It isn’t a hindrance, but an enhancement. The churches before the Second Vatican Council reflected our Catholic faith. Even on movies and TV they still use traditional and beautiful churches when they want to show that they are at a Catholic church. Why? Because its part of our identity and who we are.
This picture sums up everything:
If our Sacred Places reflect who we are, what does it say when we leave a blank canvas? It demonstrates that we are not what we are. We are nothing. We are blank. This isn’t a scenario in which “you build what you want to build” or “grow into who you are to be”, but an honest to God reflection of what we are. Blank, sterile, fruitless, void of beauty. It doesn’t bring any hope. It isn’t up to the people to bring forth the color. Having a picture assists those who pray to contemplate and ask the deeper questions about who we are, who is God and why it all matters. Having a blank slate does absolutely nothing.
Look at your wall. Mine is one solid color. Maybe yours is too. How does that bring you closer to God? How are you able to contemplate the deeper questions? You can, to a point, but it is not very deep.
Meanwhile, an icon with multiple images will allow you to contemplate the beauty of our faith and bring you closer to God.
When we sterilize our churches and remove all the smells, bells, whistles, and pictures, we are making them fruitless. Sterilization brings forth no life. In fact, it ends up destroying life as it doesn’t allow any growth to occur. A sterile society can’t bring forth new members to it. Likewise, a sterile church won’t bring forth new members either.
There was also a picture on the wall that mentioned that the wreckovation was in response to the Second Vatican Council. I forgot to ask them where in the documents it is a requirement to destroy churches.
I didn’t purchase anything in the gift shop, as it goes to support these sisters. Sisters who are obedient to disobedience to God. Ironically, I saw this on Facebook an hour or two after we had left.
I found out that these sisters are actually a part of the LCWR, the same LCWR that was in support of Obamacare and has been in support of abortion, contraception and the like. Sure, there may be some sisters who are not, but you can’t support them.
Meanwhile, here are some Benedictine Sisters you can support. Believe it or not, they actually hand stitch vestments. I find it funny. The order of Benedictines who say that the vestments of today are much easier to make is dying out. Meanwhile, the order of Benedictines who are painstakingly, but lovingly making vestments by hand are thriving.
Beauty and sacredness brings forth reverence and obedience to God. Help parishes and orders that encourage these things.
A couple of really good friends of mine suggested that I watch this talk on Angels. The entire length of the talk is 1 hour and 5 minutes, but its really more 35 minutes of talk with 30 minutes of Q&A. The talk is given by Fr. Chad Ripperger, FSSP. He has his own website Sensus Traditionis where he has uploaded many of his talks. The talk is also at YouTube:
This talk is absolutely, without a doubt, one of the best talks I have ever listened to. It gives all sorts of wonderful details about how awesome Angels are, with especial emphasis on our Guardian Angel. Fr. Ripperger also gives great details on how Demons operate as well.
It really is sad that there aren’t better homilies and talks out there like this. This is wonderful catechesis. Listen to it, share it, preach it.
Its that part of the Mass that most people tend to dread. The Sign of Peace. Now, I don’t dread it nor do I get super excited with the warm and fuzzies about it either. But, after attending the Extraordinary Form (Traditional Latin Mass) more regularly recently, I’ve decided that I will not be doing the Sign of Peace.
In all honesty, I just can’t bear to do it anymore. Logically, it makes no sense when you look at what the purpose of the Mass is and what we are doing. We are worshiping the One True God, physically present in the Eucharist, The Son of the Father, the Lord Jesus Christ.
When we administer a friendly handshake with our neighbor, in an effort to show a faux unity, we are no longer worshiping God, but ourselves. We are already united. We are baptized Catholics, hopefully in the state of grace, who are all gathered to worship Jesus Christ. That is true unity. If anything, the Sign of Peace serves more as a distraction from Jesus than anything else.
The timing of the Sign of Peace is very odd. The Sign of Peace takes place shortly after the Priest has finished consecrating the Bread and Wine into the Body and Blood of Christ. We have just spent the last 10 minutes kneeling (hopefully) in adoration, acknowledging that we are witnessing a miracle. The miracle that a humble servant of God has been used by The Almighty, to transform Bread into the Body of Christ and the Wine into the Blood of Christ. No mere man can do this, but only a man who has given up his life for Christ and His Church and consecrated by his Bishop.
After witnessing this miracle, we then get to shake hands with our neighbor. That includes the guy who hasn’t washed his hands since his last shower, the kids who have been picking their noses, and all the sweat and germs that people have accumulated from all of the hymnals and pews. It really is disgusting when you think about it.
The Sign of Peace disrupts the order of the Mass. Mass is not a social gathering that we fulfill once a week in order to make our weekly obligation. The Mass is the time that we come together as a community to individually worship Christ, truly present in the Eucharist. The second we forget this point, is the second that we stop worshiping as Catholics.
The more and more I contemplate this, the more and more I contemplate that it is no longer necessary to even do the Sign of Peace. The Sign of Peace is optional, meaning that we can each optionally choose whether we are going to do it or not. Likewise, Father can make the decision if the congregation will or will not do it as well. During flu season, the Sign of Peace is omitted. If it can be omitted during times of the year when germs and illness are a concern, then it can be omitted throughout the rest of the year for the same reasoning.
If you see me at Mass and I don’t acknowledge you during the Sign of Peace with a handshake or a wave or a nod, it isn’t because I do not like you or am trying to avoid you, but that I am keeping my focus on Christ, who is truly among us in this sacred place.
Willfully Injuring Or Trying to Hurt Another Person
It is not exactly the most obvious of mortal sins against this commandment, after all, why is hurting somebody a mortal sin when you don’t kill them?
When you are willfully trying to injure or hurt another person, generally speaking there is hatred in your heart. Remember that hatred is a mortal sin. You then take that hatred and give it a physical manifestation, that is hurting another person or injuring them.
The thing is, when we strike at another individual with this intention, it is not out of love. We are destroying their body. We break their bones, or tear their skin. We draw forth blood, blood that should remain within their bodies.
We are killing parts of their bodies. They may still be alive, but we are killing body parts.
St. Paul writes in the first letter to the Corinthians:
Or know you not, that your members are the temple of the Holy Ghost, who is in you, whom you have from God; and you are not your own? For you are bought with a great price. Glorify and bear God in your body. 1 Corinthians 6:19-20
Each and every single person, Catholic or Protestant, Muslim or Jew, Pagan or Atheist, has a body, and that body is a temple for the Holy Spirit. They also have the free will to choose to become Catholic to embrace salvation. But regardless, the body is meant as a dwelling place for the Holy Spirit to reside. Attacking another person (especially a Catholic) is desecration of the body. Physically harming a priest, bishop, cardinal or pope gives an automatic excommunication.
What about if you are being physically harmed by an assailant? Are you allowed to defend yourself by causing physical harm to them?
Yes. We must look at St. Thomas Aquinas’ principle of double effect. Double effect is comprised of 3 principles being (taken from Wikipedia):
The nature of the act is itself good, or at least morally neutral;
The agent intends the good effect and not the bad either as a means to the good or as an end itself;
The good effect outweighs the bad effect in circumstances sufficiently grave to justify causing the bad effect and the agent exercises due diligence to minimize the harm.
When it comes to self-defense and using the principle of double effect we find that it is okay because:
The act of defending one’s self from physical harm is a good. We have every right to live.
You are intending to defend yourself from the assailant. You are hurting them, but that is not your intention. You are not seeking out their injury.
You are defending yourself and are using your best means to subdue the individual with the minimal damage to them as possible. That is if you have to break their arm in order to prevent further harm to come to you, then that is all you do, nothing more. Each situation is different and maybe pinning them is all you need in one circumstance. But, you are using due diligence to determine and assess your situation.
Defending one’s self is not a mortal sin. But causing physical harm is. Boxing and other forms of martial arts, for the purpose of fighting, seems to be a mortal sin as your intention is to hurt each other and cause physical harm. Taking a self-defense class and practicing on each other would fall under double-effect as you are learning so that you can defend yourself if the situation was needed down the road.
Now, St. John Chrysostom is famous for saying in regards to blasphemy:
And should you hear any one in the public thoroughfare, or in the midst of the forum, blaspheming God; go up to him and rebuke him; and should it be necessary to inflict blows, spare not to do so. Smite him on the face; strike his mouth; sanctify your hand with the blow, and if any should accuse you, and drag you to the place of justice, follow them thither; and when the judge on the bench calls you to account, say boldly that the man blasphemed the King of angels!
Notice that St. John actually encourages you to physically harm someone if they commit blasphemy. These would not be sinful to do, as someone who blasphemies against God causes insult to Him. As the blasphemer is causing insult to God, they are causing damage to themselves, and you are defending the Lord.
Intentionally injuring another person or attempting to is a mortal sin. Go to confession.
Sterilization is the act in which a man or a woman intentionally go through either a physical or chemical surgery that renders themselves incapable of reproducing. It is essentially the same as if you were to neuter your male pet or spay your female pet.
There are several different methods in which poor souls can sterilize themselves:
Vasectomy (male): When the tubes that carry the sperm are severed. Can be reversed, but is not guaranteed to be successful.
Tubal ligation (female): Similar to above. The tubes are tied so that an egg can not drop and sperm can not get to the egg. Reversal is more successful.
Hysteroscopic sterilization (female): Permanent sterilization. No reversal.
Hysterectomy (female): Removal of the uterus and potentially the womb. This is permanent. There are exceptions to this procedure.
Intentionally sterilizing yourself or forcing another individual to sterilize themselves is a mortal sin because you are killing a part of your body. You are murdering a perfectly healthy aspect as reproduction is the normal and healthy aspect of being a person.
Men are always able to reproduce, and women over time will not be able to reproduce after they go through menopause. This is natural. It is the way God created it.
Sterilization removes God from the picture of how your body is going to reproduce. You are saying that you know when you are going to create another person. Since most of sterilizations are permanent, much like murder, you murder your body and lose the most basic aspect of advancing the human race. It also goes directly against God’s commandment in Genesis:
And God blessed them, saying:Increase and multiply, and fill the earth, and subdue it, and rule over the fishes of the sea, and the fowls of the air, and all living creatures that move upon the earth. Genesis 1:28
When He said this to Adam and Eve, remember they were married and this was not a commandment to go and sleep with whoever you want. Sex is for marriage. We will go over this in the 6th Commandment.
The healthy, natural, and normal aspect of your reproduction system, despite what society and the culture tell us, is to be able to reproduce. Intentionally destroying this for selfish reasons as not wanting more children is an insult and a blasphemy to God. Similarly to the Original Sin, you become your own god.
In some instances, getting a hysterectomy is not a mortal sin. For example, if a woman develops uterine cancer and she must get a hysterectomy lest she die. This is not a mortal sin as the intention is to save the life of the woman, not to destroy her reproduction cycle. The intention must be to save the life of the patient in any surgery in which sterilization becomes an unavoidable side effect. If the purpose is to intentionally sterilize the patient, it is a mortal sin.
If you have undergone a sterilization procedure for the reason of being sterile, you need to go to confession as soon as possible. You should also attempt to reverse the procedure if you can. Remember also that this post isn’t to condemn, but to lovingly point out error so that you can return to the state of grace and be received into God’s Kingdom.
For all of you who are in the United States, this Friday, July 4th is the day that we celebrate our independence.
Many of us will be grilling, drinking, and lighting off those oh so much fun fireworks. Nothing says freedom more than blowing something up.
But, this year, the Fourth of July falls on a Friday. And seeing as Fridays are days of abstinence, the question arises: Am I allowed to eat meat this Friday, seeing as its a national holiday, and an important one at that.
Father Z wrote up a fairly lengthy post on the subject here. To summarize though, it appears that:
1. It is up to the bishop of your diocese to decide whether there will be a dispensation from the obligatory penance in his diocese.
2. The USCCB has determined that the faithful can decide what sort of penance they would like to substitute on Fridays. You are permitted to give up any other food or item you feel would work, or can add an extra rosary or some form of additional prayer.
You will want to check with your diocesan bishop to see if he has relaxed the need for penance. If not, I would abstain from meat if you can. Just think how much tougher it will be. Penance is not supposed to be easy. The harder your penance is, the more grace you obtain.
If you feel the desire to give up something else, that is up to you, but, try to keep with Catholic tradition and identity by giving up meat.
32. The liturgy makes distinctions between persons according to their liturgical function and sacred Orders, and there are liturgical laws providing for due honors to be given to civil authorities. Apart from these instances, no special honors are to be paid in the liturgy to anyprivate persons or classes of persons, whether in the ceremonies or by external display.
What does this mean? Simply put, the Mass is not to be used to honor the people, whether as the Mass itself (changing things to allow for this) or by external display (applause, special mentions, etc).
How often do we see the abuse of applause during Mass? Vatican 2 disapproves. How often do we see all kinds of crazy types of Masses? The High School Graduation Mass? The Kindergarten Mass? The (Insert Group of People to Celebrate For No Apparent Reason But To Honor and Celebrate here) Mass?
This is not what the Second Vatican Council called for, and it is clearly written here.
Do not applaud. Do not go to these Masses if you are able to.
We see a lot in the Church today all of these Masses that celebrate somebody. Yet, here we are, the feast of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, a solemnity with very few actual Mass celebrations. I’ll be honest, I didn’t even know about it until around 10 o’clock when my wife reminded me. We have wonderful celebrations in the Liturgical Calendar to celebrate and have wonderful Masses for them, but we hear nothing about them.
It has become all about worshiping and honoring the individual, not the Lord. Well, Vatican 2 wants us to worship God in our Masses, not ourselves.