Thursday, August 17, 2017

A nice sort of 'vocations crisis' at Our Lady of Guadalupe Seminary in Denton, Nebraska


Maybe some of you remember the tell-tale signs of burgeoning success from several years ago ... like Brian Kelly's article, "Signs for Hope: FSSP Has 75 Seminarians in US and Looking to Open Seminary in Mexico" (Catholicism.org, March 5, 2015).

Then there was the report on EWTN last year: "Our Lady of Guadalupe Seminary in Denton, Nebraska, has a new claim to fame. It produced one of the best-selling classical albums on Amazon and i-tunes centered on Gregorian chant."

And now we have the report on the latest priestly Ordinations: May 26, 2017 at Our Lady of Guadalupe Seminary.

But remember, the Fraternity has an international presence throughout many countries of the world beyond its seminary in Denton, Nebraska! Here are the statistics.

If you wish to donate to a growing and successful apostolate, look no further than this. In many ways, what you see here may well be the future face of the Catholic Church throughout the world. May God continue to bless their work with generous supporters!

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Fr. Perrone: Cultural impoverishment, nobility of soul, and the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary

Fr. Eduard Perrone, “A Pastor’s Descant” (Assumption Grotto News, August 13, 2017):
I once asked my friend Dan, “When you’re at a stop light and the car next to you has the radio on, how often have you heard classical music playing?” Without skipping a beat he said, “Never.” I also noticed when doing a little food shopping what things were piled up in the shopping carts of those around me. Mostly junk food. Next, I looked over the offerings on non-cable TV (just to take a quick look). Guess what? Trash, silly or filthy, with lots of commercials.

Culturally a great majority of our American people are deficient if not impoverished. That’s not to say they’re necessarily bad, immoral people, but that for the greater part they have a rather low level of culture which can be assessed by standards other than those mentioned above. Reading material, for instance. Language skills. Knowledge of history. Good manners. We may have a pretty good standard of living in terms of technological advances, amenities of life and rather high economic standing, but we’re sorely deficient in what are called “the higher things.”

These observations are hardly news breaking. Our people are by and large the descendants of generally poor, hard-working immigrants who formed a united people that became great in the remarkable achievement that we call the USA. For this we may be forgiven our lowbrow tastes and ignorance about many of those higher things. Yet there’s one measure of a people, and of individuals too, that should not excuse underachievers. This is the attainment of nobility of spirit. It has little to do with schooling or wealth or pedigree, but has all to do with the condition of one’s soul.

This is all by way of an odd introduction to our upcoming feast day. The Holy Virgin Mary is the most noble human person ever to have lived (or yet to live) and this in spite of the mean circumstances of her most humble life. Mary is the exemplar of all that is most excellent in our nature. Our Lord sait that the greatest among us would be as the least. No better instance of this than Our Lady. What we will celebrate on August 15 is god’s acknowledgement of Her incomparable nobility of soul, Her unsurpassed excellence in grace and virtue. She did not need to be schooled in philosophy or science or art, although God may indeed have infused knowledge of these and many other things into Her mind that we do not know of – in this life at least – for She is the Seat of Wisdom. No one can hope to come close to imitating Her exalted degree of excellence in anything, but we can attain to some degree of nobility of soul which is the fruit of the Catholic life well lived.

The Popes, in reference to Her Assumption, have drawn our attention to the ways in which we can become like the Holy Virgin Mary. She set a pattern of life for us that we can imitate no matter what our degree of culture, position, wealth, or any other natural criterion. God rewarded Her in the glorification of Her body immediately after Her death, assuming it united with Her soul into heaven. The other saints – among whom we hope to be numbered – will have to await their rising from the dead and entry into heaven until the end of time. Only those will be glorified, in whatever degree, who have nobility of soul, that is, one healed of sin and elevated by grace.

As always, I make an appeal to our parishioners to be present on August 15th not only for the Mass that they attend, but to spend added time in prayer to and with Our Blessed Mother. This is our parish’[s finest hour and the opportunity to express our devotion and love for Our Lady in a demonstrative way. In this we carry on a tradition that reaches back more than a century when pilgrims came here in search of grace and divine favor. We are privileged to be members of this parish today for all the fidelity it has shown in generations past in honoring Holy Mary. This is the day above all others when we witness Her continuing solicitude for our people.

Let us celebrate together this longstanding tradition of honor to that most noble Lady of the Assumption.

Fr. Perrone

P.S. A reminder to use the shuttle bus from Saint Veronica Church if you can to avoid parking on the neighborhood streets. This is for your convenience and your safety.

Monday, August 14, 2017

Contra Ivereigh: not just 'converts' are worried about the Church

Dan Hitchens, "It’s not just converts who are worried about the Church" (Catholic Herald, August 10, 2017):
In the last few years, many Catholics have become uneasy about statements coming out of Rome, and about the general direction of the Church. But which Catholics? According to a recent article in the Vatican newspaper, the “main obstacle” is “a good part of the clergy”. Then again, an article in Crux last year identified those “going against the Pope” as “almost always lay”.

Some believe that the issue is geographical: Massimo Faggioli describes an unease about the Church changing its style “from a Western one to a global religion”. Conversely, Cardinal Walter Kasper has said that the recalcitrant tend to be African or from “Asian or Muslim countries”....

This brings me to Austen Ivereigh’s latest piece suggesting that the epicentre of current anxiety is neither priests nor the laity, neither Westerners nor Africans, but converts. Ivereigh diagnoses “convert neurosis” in a range of writers, from “elegant commentators such as Ross Douthat” all the way down to “ex-Anglicans in my own patch such as Daniel Hitchens of the Catholic Herald.” Our neurosis reveals itself in disproportionate anxiety at the state of the Church; a horror of doctrinal development beyond our favourite period of Catholic history; and a failure to trust that “the Holy Spirit guides” Pope Francis. In sum, “their baggage has distorted their hermeneutic”.

I’m wary of this kind of psychologising: it is hard, even with those we know best, to say how their psychological issues affect their opinions. And in this instance the psychoanalysis seems needless, since there are at least as many cradle Catholics who have the same worries as us converts....

... I’m sorry to go over this again, but it seems worthwhile, since there is a determined effort in some quarters to change the subject. The concerns are about the sacraments and about doctrine. Nothing on this earth is more beautiful and precious than the sacraments, and it is natural for Catholics to be alarmed about the abuse of them. Scarcely anything is as necessary for our happiness as sound doctrine, and it is normal for Catholics to worry that doctrine is being contradicted or confused. There have been as many saints who were relaxed about heresy as there have been saints who despised the poor.

So of course converts and cradle Catholics will be dismayed by sacramental abuses and doctrinal confusion. And it is hard not to use such terms when we read Malta’s bishops claiming that avoiding adultery may be impossible; when we hear of priests, bishops and even cardinals abandoning the Church’s practice on Communion; when papal teachings are used – without contradiction from Rome – to justify novel approaches to divorce, euthanasia and extramarital relationships....
[Hat tip to JM]

Sunday, August 13, 2017

Tridentine Masses coming this week to metro Detroit and east Michigan


Tridentine Masses This Coming Week

Sunday


Monday


Tuesday


Wednesday


Thursday


Friday


Saturday


* NB: The SSPX chapels among those Mass sites listed above are posted here because the Holy Father has announced that "those who during the Holy Year of Mercy approach these priests of the Fraternity of St Pius X to celebrate the Sacrament of Reconciliation shall validly and licitly receive the absolution of their sins," and subsequently extended this privilege beyond the Year of Mercy. These chapels are not listed among the approved parishes and worship sites on archdiocesan websites.

Wednesday, August 09, 2017

Against the new optimism ...


Michel Houellebecq, prophet without religion

Rod Dreher, "Against The New Optimism" (American Conservative, July 31, 2017):
Oliver Burkeman has a long-read piece in The Guardian about whether or not life is getting better or worse. It is mostly a defense of the claims by the “New Optimists” that pessimism is grounded on willful blindness to the spectacular material improvements modernity has brought us. But it’s not entirely a defense. Excerpt:
The argument that we should be feeling happier than we are because life on the planet as a whole is getting better, on average, also misunderstands a fundamental truth about how happiness works: our judgments of the world result from making specific comparisons that feel relevant to us, not on adopting what David Runciman refers to as “the view from outer space”. If people in your small American town are far less economically secure than they were in living memory, or if you’re a young British person facing the prospect that you might never own a home, it’s not particularly consoling to be told that more and more Chinese people are entering the middle classes. At book readings in the US midwest, Ridley recalls, audience members frequently questioned his optimism on the grounds that their own lives didn’t seem to be on an upward trajectory. “They’d say, ‘You keep saying the world’s getting better, but it doesn’t feel like that round here.’ And I would say, ‘Yes, but this isn’t the whole world! Are you not even a little bit cheered by the fact that really poor Africans are getting a bit less poor?’” There is a sense in which this is a fair point. But there’s another sense in which it’s a completely irrelevant one.

At its heart, the New Optimism is an ideological argument: broadly speaking, its proponents are advocates for the power of free markets, and they intend their sunny picture of humanity’s recent past and imminent future to vindicate their politics. This is a perfectly legitimate political argument to make – but it’s still a political argument, not a straightforward, neutral reliance on objective facts. The claim that we are living in a golden age, and that our dominant mood of pessimism is unwarranted, is not an antidote to the Age of the Take, but a Take like any other – and it makes just as much sense to adopt the opposite view. “What I dislike,” Runciman says, “is this assumption that if you push back against their argument, what you’re saying is that all these things are not worth valuing … For people to feel deeply uneasy about the world we inhabit now, despite all these indicators pointing up, seems to me reasonable, given the relative instability of the evidence of this progress, and the [unpredictability] that overhangs it. Everything really is pretty fragile.”
This seems right to me. Read more >>
[Hat tip to JM]

Puts things in perspective ...

Joni Eareckson Tada, "Reflections on the 50th Anniversary of My Diving Accident" (TGC, July 30, 2017):
Recently I was at my desk writing to Tommy, a 17-year-old boy who just broke his neck body surfing off the Jersey shore. He’s now a quadriplegic. He will live the rest of his life in a wheelchair without use of his hands or legs. When it comes to life-altering injuries, quadriplegia is catastrophic.

Halfway through my letter describing several hurdles Tommy should expect in rehab, I stopped. I felt utterly overwhelmed, thinking of all that lies ahead for him. I’ve been there. And even though half a century has passed, I can still taste the anguish. Hot, silent tears began streaming, and I choked out a prayer, Oh God, how will Tommy do it? How will he ever make it? Have mercy; help him find you!

... Like Tommy, I was once the 17-year-old who retched at the thought of living life without a working body. I hated my paralysis so much I would drive my power wheelchair into walls, repeatedly banging them until they cracked. Early on, I found dark companions who helped me numb my depression with scotch-and-cola. I just wanted to disappear. I wanted to die.

What a difference time makes—as well as prayer, heaven-minded friends, and deep study of God’s Word. All combined, I began to see there are more important things in life than walking and having use of your hands. It sounds incredible, but I really would rather be in this wheelchair knowing Jesus as I do than be on my feet without him [emphasis added]. But whenever I try to explain it, I hardly know where to begin....

Ten words have set the course for my life: God permits what he hates to accomplish what he loves.
Read more >> This gets pretty deep.

What we did on our summer vacation

This summer four of us made a 'grand tour' of Europe and the UK. I had a couple of invitations to visit friends across the Atlantic, and at a colleague's suggestion, Hannah and I took along two members of the Peters family and split hotel costs. It was a remarkably congenial arrangement. Robert Peters has spent several previous summers in European countries learning various languages, and this summer he was brushing up his Italian in Rome while looking into lodging accommodations for doctoral studies at the Augustinianum Institute next year; so, being sufficiently fluent in Italian, he served as our 'Cicerone,' or guide, while in Rome, ordering our meals in restaurants, etc. His sister, Theresa has studied Arabic and noticed when we arrived in Malta she understood many of the words in Maltese, since the language is largely a combination of Italian and Arabic. All-in-all, it was a terrific arrangement, and we couldn't have asked for better traveling companions. (Pictures of all of us are linked in the descriptions of our time in Rome and at Harlaxton Manor in the UK below.)

Poverty of spirit: different Papal styles


In his Vicars of Christ: A History of the Popes(Arcadia: Tumblar House, 2014), 380-90, Charles Coulombe makes the following insightful observation about the difference in 'style' between Benedict XVI and Francis:
The generation of westerners of which [Francis] is a part was marked -- in Church, State, and indeed, in every field -- by what can only be called a sort of "personalization" of authority. That is to say, that the traditional division in perception between an office and the current holder of that office -- which allowed people of wildly differing, sometimes even opposed, views to collaborate out of shared respect for the office under whose direction they functioned -- has been blurred or even obliterated. Such folk, when in authority, tend to downgrade or do away with traditional symbols of their office while emphasizing their own personalities in pursuit of some nebulous "authenticity." So it is that morning dress and uniforms disappear from presidential inauguration and legislatives openings, and royals love to appear in casual wear. The difficulty with such an approach is that it tends to weaken respect for the office in the eyes of its subjects, who in turn begin to believe that their loyalty to it is dependent purely on their personal feelings for the occupant of the moment. Seeing the problems this had created, Benedict XVI began to restore the symbolic side of the Papacy, for all that formalism and display ran extremely counter to his nature. But it is not an issue that one of Francis's generation could be expected to understand -- quite the contrary.... Despite the lack of tiara noted earlier, piece by piece [Pope Benedict] restored bits of the papal wardrobe that his immediate predecessors had discarted: the fur-lined mozzetta, the camauro, the fanon, and -- most annoying to some -- the traditional red shoes, symbolizing the fact that as Pope he walked in the footsteps of the martyrs.
Commenting on this passage, Prof. Peter A. Kwasniewski writes about Benedict:
This humble Bavarian who shied away from the limelight saw that it was necessary to elevate and accentuate the sacramental iconicity of the pontiff in order to move beyond the cult of personality inadvertently started by John XXIII and vastly augmented in the charismatic athlete, actor, poet, and playwright of John Paul II. With Pope Francis, we see a return both of the cult of personality and of the false conception of poverty, this time applied not only to liturgy but also to doctrine itself.
By "poverty of doctrine," Kwasniewski explains, "I refer to the superficiality, messiness, ambiguities, contradictions, and unclarity of this pope's teaching, in contrast to the rich truthfulness of those of his predecessors who take seriously the Lord's command to 'let what you say be simply 'yes' or 'no' (Mt 5:37); cf. 2 Cor. 1:17-19, Jas. 5:12. (Peter A. Kwasniewski, "True Poverty of Spirit in the Splendor of Worship," The Latin Mass: The Journal of Catholic Culture and Tradition, Vol. 26, No. 2 (Summer 2017), p. 14.

Sunday, July 30, 2017

Tridentine Community News - Fr. Jake van Assche to Celebrate First Missa Cantata at Old St. Mary’s this Friday, August 4; Pontifical Missa Cantatas No Longer Allowed; Local TLM schedule


"I will go in unto the Altar of God
To God, Who giveth joy to my youth"

Tridentine Community News by Alex Begin (July 30, 2017):
July 30, 2017 – Eighth Sunday After Pentecost

Fr. Jake van Assche to Celebrate First Missa Cantata at Old St. Mary’s this Friday, August 4


Long-time readers may recall that Fr. Jake van Assche has served as Subdeacon at Solemn High Masses for the St. Benedict Tridentine Community prior to his ordination to the sacred priesthood. Since ordination, he has celebrated Low Masses at St. Michael Church in Pontiac during Lent. Fr. Jake became interested in the Extraordinary Form when it began to be offered at his family’s parish, St. Stephen in New Boston, in 2008.

This Friday, August 4, Fr. Jake will celebrate his first High Mass at Old St. Mary’s. This is a homecoming of sorts for Fr. Jake, as he has received spiritual direction from one of the priests at Old St. Mary’s. We hope you can join us in thanking Fr. Jake for his willingness to offer the Traditional Mass.

Pontifical Missa Cantatas No Longer Allowed

In response to an inquiry from a Tridentine Mass choir from the Philippines, the Vatican’s Pontifical Commission Ecclésia Dei has ruled that it is no longer permissible for a bishop to celebrate a Missa Cantata, that is, a sung Mass without the additional clergy and ceremonies that constitute a Pontifical Solemn Mass.


In 1962, the only options for a bishop were to celebrate Pontifical Low Masses or Pontifical Solemn Masses. The Pontifical Missa Cantata was authorized in 1964 in the document Inter Oecuménici, likely because even at that time it was becoming increasingly challenging to assemble the trained clerical entourage necessary to support a Pontifical Solemn Mass. In light of the fact that this document included instructions paving the way for the 1965 transitional missal, the PCED must believe that it did not strictly pertain to the liturgy of 1962, thus the permission given in it is not valid. While that viewpoint is understandable, the PCED has been given the authority to amend the 1962 rubrics when beneficial. For example, the PCED ruled that laymen who have been installed as an Acolyte may fill the role of Subdeacon at a Solemn High Mass. This is a logical adaptation to the needs of our time, when truly ordained Subdeacons are only found in the priestly communities that are granted use of the preconciliar rites of ordination. That makes it all the more puzzling why the PCED would not see a similar benefit to the faithful in permitting the Pontifical Missa Cantata. Furthermore, it is odd to think that a bishop – who has the fulness of Holy Orders – might have less faculties than a priest.

This writer has substantial experience organizing Pontifical Masses in our region. The few local bishops who have consented to celebrate the Traditional Mass, Bishop Earl Boyea in Lansing, Auxiliary Bishop Donald Hanchon in Detroit, retired Bishop Eugene LaRocque in Windsor, and retired Auxiliary Bishop Francis Reiss in Detroit, have all celebrated Pontifical Missa Cantatas. That has been challenging enough to arrange. None of them has the interest to learn the Pontifical Solemn Mass.

This writer has also been involved in organizing or serving three Pontifical Solemn Masses: 1) A Pontifical Solemn Mass at the Faldstool for the 2010 Latin Liturgy Association Convention at St. Josaphat Church with Auxiliary Bishop Joseph Perry of Chicago, 2) A Pontifical Solemn Mass at the Throne at All Saints Church in Flint in 2005 with then-Ordinary Bishop Carl Mengeling, and 3) A Pontifical Solemn Mass at the Faldstool for the 2006 C.I.E.L. Conference in Oxford, England. All three required an outside Master of Ceremonies to oversee the complex rubrics, an experienced Assistant Priest to attend to the bishop, and extensive server rehearsals to prepare for the unfamiliar and elaborate ceremonies. The rarity and complexity of the rubrics place the Pontifical Solemn Mass outside the competence of even our most experienced local clergy and servers. A Pontifical Missa Cantata, however, is an organic development for our modern era that allows our bishops to offer the Traditional Mass in a solemn but not discouragingly difficult manner. We must not intimidate those whom we wish to involve in the Extraordinary Form.

Our next local Pontifical Mass – Bishop Hanchon’s Mass before Confirmation on October 1 at the OCLMA/Academy of the Sacred Heart – will thus be a Pontifical Low Mass. We will, of course, make it the highest of Low Masses, with hymns and motets sung by the choir. There will, however, be nothing sung by the celebrant, no Aspérges, and no sung Ordinary or Propers.

Tridentine Masses This Coming Week
  • Mon. 07/31 7:00 PM: Low Mass at St. Josaphat (St. Ignatius Loyola, Confessor)
  • Tue. 08/01 7:00 PM: High Requiem Mass at Holy Name of Mary, Windsor (Daily Mass for the Dead) – Fr. Joe Tuskiewicz will celebrate a memorial Requiem Mass for his mother, Virginia Tuskiewicz
  • Fri. 08/04 7:00 PM: High Mass at Old St. Mary’s (St. Dominic, Confessor) – Celebrant: Fr. Jake van Assche. Devotions to the Sacred Heart before Mass. Reception in the second floor parish hall after Mass.
  • Sat. 08/05 8:30 AM: Low Mass at Miles Christi (Dedication of the Basilica of St. Mary Major)
[Comments? Please e-mail tridnews@detroitlatinmass.org. Previous columns are available at http://www.detroitlatinmass.org. This edition of Tridentine Community News, with minor editions, is from the St. Albertus (Detroit), Academy of the Sacred Heart (Bloomfield Hills), and St. Alphonsus and Holy Name of Mary Churches (Windsor) bulletin inserts for July 30, 2017. Hat tip to Alex Begin, author of the column.]

Tridentine Masses coming this week to metro Detroit and east Michigan


Tridentine Masses This Coming Week

Sunday


Monday


Tuesday


Wednesday


Thursday


Friday


Saturday


* NB: The SSPX chapels among those Mass sites listed above are posted here because the Holy Father has announced that "those who during the Holy Year of Mercy approach these priests of the Fraternity of St Pius X to celebrate the Sacrament of Reconciliation shall validly and licitly receive the absolution of their sins," and subsequently extended this privilege beyond the Year of Mercy. These chapels are not listed among the approved parishes and worship sites on archdiocesan websites.

Saturday, July 29, 2017

Blog issue resolved!

After many attempts at unsuccessfully trying to resolve the blog problem, our good friend Alex Begin immediately identified the problem as the background image, which was taking forever to load. I'm still not sure what changes Google made to it's Blogger program that triggered this sudden slow down; but the issue is resolved. The background is now a simple white, but the blog loads immediately and will allow continued posts. So Deo Gratias. Thanks also to Christopher Blosser for his many related tips, which helped perfect the new format.

Saturday, July 22, 2017

The Russians have hacked by blog!!!

I'm not sure what's wrong, but one of my readers notified me that my blog is on the fritz. My son Christopher who knows a lot about these things is working with me to resolve the problem. In the meantime, one wag suggested that it must be the Russians. I'm inclined to agree. Perhaps it was Putin himself. In collusion with Trump. After all, that's about all the Democratic Media have been saying for the last six months, is it not? It's the Russians! It's the Russians! We can overlook the 'indiscretions' of Clinton that compromised national security, involved multiple violations of constitutional law, and got innocent people killed, but there's sure to be a Russian plot behind all this. Think I'll hire a Grand Inquisitor. Or a Special Prosecutor.

New studies: 'responsible contraception' doesn't prevent pregnancy or abortion in more than half of cases

Slippery slope from non-Catholic to non-Christian 'saints'?

Peter Crenshaw, "Pope Francis Opens Door to Non-Catholic Saints" (Remnant, July 12, 2017).

Comment by Guy Noir - Private Eye: "Does anyone really think there will be a long gap between the emergence of protestant Saints and the emergence of non-Christian ones? There's the rub!"