Monthly Archives: July 2017

Glad-Handing at Holy Mass?

Allan Gillis brings you this from The Remnant:

On the Sign of Peace

  Written by  Michael Warren Davis

A right-minded friend recently told me about a campaign of (shall we say?) nonviolent resistance undertaken by an Anglophone remnant following Vatican II: after the priest intoned, ‘The Lord be with you,’ they would shout, ‘Et cum spiritu tuo!

I’m all for cheeky traditionalism. In fact, we need much more of it. Think of the thousands upon thousands of souls who’ve been formed by great Catholic wits – be it the levitous Chesterton, the acidic Waugh, or the droll Newman. Ours is an uncontrollably joyful faith. Yet we know that underneath it all is a deadly seriousness, too. Think of Saint Lawrence, who mocked his torturers as they roasted him on a spit. ‘Turn me over,’ he teased; ‘This side’s done.’ That’s our greatest example. In the fight to restore the fulness of Faith, we must be solemn, but never dour – humble, not shy.


By my reckoning, the most dangerous inversion of the traditional Mass is the so-called Sign of Peace. It marks the post-VII Church’s most aggressive rejection of the Early Fathers. We gather to witness the sacrifice of Our Lord on the altar, falling on our knees as the priest calls God Himself down from Heaven. This happens every hour of every day, as it has done for millennia. Without exaggeration, it’s the single most important event in the history of the world.

Maybe after 2,000 years we’ve come to take it for granted, because the Peace in the new Roman Rite amounts to nothing but a distraction. Instead of being engrossed by the miracle of transubstantiation – humbled and awed by the love of a God who died the cross to redeem our sins and feed our souls with His own precious body – we mill around the pews making pleasantries.

Dei gratia, those of us who live near a parish that uses the traditional form are spared this rude interruption. But what about those who don’t? Or if we want to attend a weekday Mass, which are rarely said in Latin? And what if we’re invited to a Novus Ordo funeral, wedding, baptism, first communion, or confirmation? My suggestion – and it’s only a suggestion – is this: when you kneel at the beginning of the consecration, resolve in your own mind not to stand until it’s time to approach the altar and receive the Sacrament.

Now, there are certainly reasons why this could prove dangerous. It might foster feelings of spiritual pride. It may sow malicious disobedience to Mother Church. And then there’s the fact that it’s just plain embarrassing. But the sad irony is that traditionalists reject the Novus Peace precisely because it lays out all these spiritual perils. It diverts our focus from the altar. It trivialises the great gift given to the Church by her Bridegroom: the power to summon Him in sacred matter. And it draws our attention back to ourselves, the people – attention that should be given solely and completely to the Lord of Hosts. What could be unseemlier?

Yet it can be overcome. Just be cognizant of the risk, and remember why you’re undertaking them. Shut your eyes tight and bow your head. Meditate on the mystery of the Incarnation. Pray ‘O sacrament most holy…’ Adore Christ, who offers Himself as our spiritual food. And, for God’s sake, smile! If you look down (or, I suppose, up) your nose at those turning to offer you the Peace, grumbling and frowning, that profits neither you nor them. Besides, this your salvation we’re talking about. Where can a man find true, soul-shuddering delight if not here?

The Early Fathers, in their wisdom, asked us for this one brief moment to turn our hearts and minds completely toward the Altar, at the moment Heaven and Earth intersect. Waugh himself wrote in The Catholic Herald that what most affected his conversion was:

the spectacle of the priest and his server at low Mass, stumping up to the altar without a glance to discover how many or how few he had in his congregation; a craftsman and his apprentice; a man with a job which he alone was qualified to do.

‘Waugh’s love of the Tridentine rite was not a matter of loving the solemn splendour of a high Mass,’ writes Francis Phillips, also in the Herald; ‘it was simply the priest’s humble absorption in the rite of a low Mass.’ Low or high, modest or majestic, that ‘humble absorption’ is the quintessence of the traditional form. And it should be true of the laity as well as the clergy. What could be more inappropriate to that end than this mini-coffee hour wedged into the middle of the Liturgy of the Eucharist?

Heaven knows this is nothing against the Peace in itself. But throughout the pre-VII history of the Roman Rite, it was only offered among the clergy. Even in the Ambrosian Rite, it’s given immediately after the Liturgy of the Word. Placing it mid-consecration was unprecedented, and evident of some overtly Protestant influence. It reduces the Eucharist to a meal – a ‘memorial supper’ as Zwingli taught. That’s the same corrupt understanding that leads to female ‘Extraordinary Ministers’ in tank-tops and jeans dropping the Host in people’s hands, which they peel off their sweaty palms and pop in their mouths like potato chips. (God help us.)

But, just as we’re always free to receive the Eucharist from a priest on the tongue, so too are we free to remain immersed in the holy mystery throughout. And by staying loyal to the example set by the Fathers, we can share their example with others. Even in the midst of a Novus Mass, we can encourage others in a deeper and more ancient understanding of the Pascha. It’s as simple as it is luminous: frankly, the Mass isn’t about you.

It is, however, for you. It was instituted by Christ Himself, for your good and for the good of all His holy Church. That’s nothing to be embarrassed about. It’s nothing to be prideful of. It’s something to be observed with solemnity, humility, good humour, and – above all – unspeakable joy.

– Michael Warren Davis is a Boston-based columnist.

Why Liturgical Lessons Aren’t Being Learned

(an older article from New Oxford Review – winter 2011 – still most relevant!)

At Mass, Actions Speak Louder Than WordsBy Michael A. Beauregard

Michael A. Beauregard is Headmaster of St. Michael’s School in West Memphis, Arkansas. He is currently a doctoral candidate at the University of Memphis and has written extensively on the classical curriculum in elementary schools.

I have taught in Catholic schools for many years. For the past ten, I have had the pleasure of teaching sixth-grade religion classes in a school that is unwaveringly faithful to the Magisterium. The religious curriculum in the sixth grade includes the sacraments, the theology of the Mass, and Church history. In previous grades, the students thoroughly study the faith with the help of textbooks that are faithful to the Church, and teachers who are devout, enthusiastic, and knowledgeable.

Nevertheless, year after year I am surprised by what my students know — and do not know — at the beginning of their sixth-grade year. Students are typically baffled and sometimes even stunned to learn that the Blessed Sacrament is Christ physically present in His body, blood, soul, and divinity, and not just in a spiritual or symbolic sense. More often than not, these students have incorrectly acquired the notion that the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass is just a Communion service memorializing the Last Supper with the priest acting as presider. They are fascinated to learn about the sacrificial aspects of the Mass and the priesthood, and the tremendous graces received from the Mass. Why are all these students, who have no less than five years of solid catechetical training, entering the sixth grade with an almost Protestant view of Catholic liturgy and the sacraments?

One might question the content, quality, and overall effectiveness of the religion program. But after years of observing, monitoring, and, most importantly, probing the students, I have come to a clear assessment of this peculiar situation. Irrespective of what is being taught, if the Mass and liturgies do not reflect the realities and truths of our Catholic faith, the teachings of the Church will be taught in vain. It is of the utmost importance that the Holy Mass model and emphasize what we want our students (and adults) to understand and embrace. The rubrics, gestures, and symbols that are employed serve a fundamental and very useful purpose in that they reveal and give witness to the faith we profess.

To illustrate a common example, I ask students at the beginning of their sixth-grade year what they genuflect toward inside a church. At least ninety percent say the crucifix or the spiritual omnipresence of Christ. After receiving a thorough explanation that genuflection is an act of adoration toward the real presence of Christ in the Blessed Sacrament, the students invariably have a number of questions, a typical one being: “If we believe that the Blessed Sacrament is Christ Himself truly and really present among us, then shouldn’t we show greater respect and reverence at Mass?” The crux of the problem is that students cannot retain the truths they are taught if these truths are not manifested on a regular basis in our liturgical language, songs, gestures, and symbols.

In the wake of the Second Vatican Council, many expressive gestures and symbols in the Mass were not necessarily suppressed, but were set aside in favor of an emphasis on simplicity. This has resulted in a watering down of the truths of the Mass, which has itself led to a lack of reverence during the Mass.

One of the greatest tragedies of the post-conciliar New Mass is that the spirit of informality has displaced our duty of reverence and respect. For example, in the pre-conciliar Tridentine Mass, only the priest was allowed to touch the sacred Species. During and after the consecration, he was required to keep his thumb and index finger joined in order not to spread the particles of the sacred Host. It was only at the final ablution that he was able to separate his finger from his thumb. This simple yet powerful rubric sent a clear message about what we as Catholics believe about the Eucharist.

During reception of Holy Communion, an altar server held a paten under the Host to ensure that Christ would not accidentally drop to the floor. The use of patens in the New Mass has been requested in the Vatican’s 2004 instruction Redemptionis Sacramentum, but they are absent from the average Catholic parish. In most Masses today, the sacred Species might be handled with care at best, but not with the ineffable care they were once given. And they are handled by virtually everyone. What does this teach our children? Furthermore, what example is given to reaffirm mature, faithful Catholics in their beliefs? The strict rubrics in the pre-conciliar Mass were established for a firm purpose: to foster a greater reverence for the Eucharist and to prevent avoidable accidents.

One of the great and unexpected phenomena of our day is the number of young Catholics who are attracted to the Tridentine Mass. Many critics of the “extraordinary form of the Mass,” as it is now called, have stated that its appeal is largely nostalgic. However, the younger generations of Catholics did not grow up with the extraordinary form and, therefore, it cannot be a nostalgic experience for them. I require my students to attend the Tridentine Mass periodically, and they often comment on how much more reverent it is than the typical New Mass. Many respond that they prefer the Tridentine Mass because it gives authentic expression to their faith in a way that is both prayerful and contemplative. This is not to say that the New Mass cannot be reverent too, but because of the rubrics and gestures employed and indeed required, the Tridentine Mass shows greater honor toward and adoration of the Holy Eucharist.

Our Holy Father has written extensively about and encouraged two liturgical practices that were at one time common in every parish: priests facing ad orientem, toward the East, and communicants receiving the sacred Host on the tongue, while kneeling. Both of these practices have been encouraged for two main reasons: to give glory and reverence to God and to reinforce our belief in the real presence of Christ in the Eucharist. These two practices express our beliefs through action and raise awareness of the sacredness of the Mass. Even smaller actions that appear at first to be trivial can have a similar effect, such as making use of chalice veils (as recommended in the General Instruction of the Roman Missal) and patens, and keeping silence in the church before and after Mass. There are a multitude of lessons we can learn about the symbolism of such acts and how this conveys and expresses our faith in the real presence. These small details, which many take for granted or ignore altogether, can make the difference between giving the appearance, to Catholics and non-Catholics alike, that the Mass is either something extraordinary and mystical or something ordinary and secular.

The hymns that are selected should be given due consideration as well. Sometimes I wonder if anyone really pays attention to the words that are sung. Are they consistent with the theology of the Mass and what we as Catholics believe? If the lyrics were recited and not sung, would they be appropriate prayers to God?

Recently, when I was teaching fifth-grade boys some of the refinements of serving at Mass, one of them did not know exactly what I meant when I mentioned “the altar.” He mistakenly thought that the altar was the general area around the altar of sacrifice — the sanctuary. After I corrected him briefly, the young student responded, “Oh, you mean the Communion table.” I then saw that it was necessary to give him a fuller explanation of the sacrificial nature of the Mass and what distinguishes the altar of sacrifice from an ordinary table. But the next day at Mass, the offertory hymn included such lines as “Come to the table of plenty” and “O come and sit at my table, where saints and sinners are friends.” That hymn served to reinforce the incorrect perception not only about the altar but about the nature of the Mass. I realized that despite the faithful, correct instruction we give, we are fighting a losing battle when the externals of the Mass do not accurately reflect what we teach.

The Church has witnessed some positive and fruitful developments over the past twenty years. I can remember a time when the ringing of the bells at the elevations had become a rarity. This very important element, which has been reintroduced in many parishes, can act as a great teaching tool to both Catholics and non-Catholics. For example, a co-worker of mine, a Lutheran, attended Mass at our school during her first week of employment. Afterward, she inquired about the ringing of the bells at the epiclesis (unbeknownst to many, this is encouraged in the General Instruction of the Roman Missal) and the elevations. It was a great opportunity not only to explain the symbolism of the actions but to talk about the Mass and how it differs from Protestant services.

Another positive development that has been occurring over the past decade is the placement — or relocation — of tabernacles in many churches to their proper place of honor. Even in many of the cathedrals in the U.S. that were modernized in the 1970s the tabernacles are beginning to be returned to prominent areas in order to foster devotion to the Blessed Sacrament. Likewise, a momentous event soon to unfold is the revised English translation of the Order of Mass. This single event will not only bring the wording of the Mass back to its Latin origins, it will also provide a richer, more compelling and beautiful translation that will uplift the faithful. [For a look at the new missal translation, see Rosemary Lunardini’s article “A Defining Step Toward Authentic Liturgical Reform,” Nov. 2010 — Ed.]

Perhaps one of the greatest changes we have seen over the past twenty years is a renewed interest in and devotion to eucharistic adoration. A majority of parishes now participates in some regular form of eucharistic adoration. This is incredible and miraculous, not only because this practice became almost extinct nearly thirty years ago, but because it occurred without any mandates or widespread movements. It was one of those things that suddenly happened everywhere, an occurrence of such great magnitude over such a short time that it can only give witness to the workings of the Holy Spirit in the life of the Church today.

It is imperative for all parishes and schools to closely examine the Church’s authoritative writings on matters liturgical, such as the General Instruction of the Roman Missal and Redemptionis Sacramentum. Employing the rubrics they call for, and in addition those that are given as options, will bring about a greater sense of mystery and sacredness to the Mass.

Beyond just reading these documents, their contents need to be incorporated into a liturgical catechesis. This could be accomplished by printing short columns in Sunday bulletins about different aspects of the Mass, or by offering workshops and classes in order to better educate the faithful in the rubrics and gestures. The Catechism of the Catholic Church states that “liturgical catechesis aims to initiate people into the mystery of Christ by proceeding from the visible to the invisible, from the sign to the thing signified, from the ‘sacraments’ to the ‘mysteries’” (no. 1075).

Many parishes, schools, and dioceses have taken tremendous steps toward ensuring faithful catechetical training. This is a great turnaround from the watered-down instruction largely given in the 1970s and 1980s. However, if what we teach about the Mass and the Eucharist is not expressed in our actions and daily examples, even when good catechetical instruction is offered, we are inadvertently leading the faithful away from the fullness of truth about the most sublime and beautiful event this side of Heaven — the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, with all the graces it contains.

 

 

“Birds of a Feather Flock Together” (part 2)

brought to you by Allan Gillis – published in LifeSite News:

(back when we started this project, I remember a friend asked me why we would call this blog what we did – and I pledged then that I would bring proof that Mother Church is indeed; in crisis!)

(have your barf-bag ready!)

High-ranking priest caught in cocaine-fueled gay orgy in Vatican apartment

July 6 2017

A high-ranking Vatican monsignor who is a secretary to one of Pope Francis’ closest collaborators was arrested by Vatican police after they caught him hosting a cocaine-fueled homosexual orgy in a building right next to St. Peter’s Basilica.

Monsignor Luigi Capozzi, 49, was caught by Vatican gendarmerie in a raid some two months ago that took place in the former Palace of the Holy Office.

While the top Vatican officials have been mute about the raid, Italian media broke the story last week after receiving inside information.

Vatican police allegedly caught the monsignor, whom Italian media called an “ardent supporter of Pope Francis,” after tenants in the building complained repeatedly about constant comings and goings of visitors to the building during all hours of the night. The building is currently being used by various high-ranking churchmen, including prefects, presidents, and secretaries to the Roman Curia.

Capozzi, who on his LinkedIn page calls himself an “expert in canon law and dogmatic theology,” managed to evade suspicion from Italian police by using a BMW luxury car with license plates of the Holy See, which made him practically immune to stops and searches. This privilege, usually reserved for high-ranking prelates, allowed the monsignor to transport cocaine for his frequent homosexual orgies without being stopped by the Italian police.

Italian news service Il Fato Quotidiano wrote that the building’s separate entrance into Vatican City from outside the Vatican walls made it “perfect” for clandestine activity.

“Its main entrance, in fact, opens out directly onto the piazza of the Holy Office that is already Italian territory and is outside of the control of the Swiss Guard and of the Gendarmerie. Anyone, by day and by night, can freely enter into the Vatican by this entry without undergoing any inspection and without, of course, being put on record. A perfect location to enjoy the privileges of extraterritoriality but without having to be subject either to the inspections of the Italian State or to those of Vatican City,” the news service wrote.

At the time of the arrest, Capozzi was allegedly so high on cocaine that he was hospitalized for detoxification for a short period in the Pius XI clinic in Rome. He is currently in an undisclosed convent in Italy undergoing a spiritual retreat, Italian media reported.

“One thinks one is dreaming: in the most deplorable of ways, the Rome of today seems to have fallen lower than the Rome of the Borgias,” reported Riposte Catholique.

 

Msgr. Luigi Capozzi (far left) with Card. Coccopalmerio (far right) in an October, 2011 photo.

Capozzi’s arrest comes on the verge of him being appointed a bishop on the recommendation of his superior Cardinal Francesco Coccopalmerio, the Vatican’s top canonical official.

Coccopalmerio, President of the Pontifical Council for the Interpretation of Legal Texts, is one of Pope Francis’ closest collaborators and ardent supporters.

Earlier this year, the Vatican’s own publishing house released a book by the Cardinal with much fanfare that defended Francis’s 2016 Exhortation Amoris Laetitia as allowing civilly-divorced-and-remarried Catholics living in adultery as well as unmarried cohabiting Catholics living in fornication to receive Holy Communion. Coccopalmerio maintained that the book was his own personal reflection on the matter and carried no legislative weight.

The Cardinal later defended his interpretation of Amoris, even though it contradicted perennial Catholic teaching, stating that what he wrote was no different from conversations he had had with the Pope on the subject.

“I spoke with the Pope at other times about these questions, and we always thought the same,” he said.

Coccopalmerio’s book was later praised by U.S. Cardinal Blase Cupich, who, in a foreword to the English edition of the book, said that it “fully complies with traditional Church teaching on marriage but is also in conformity with accepted standards of a pastoral approach that is positive and constructive.”

The fact that it was Coccopalmerio’s trusted secretary who was behind the orgies makes the Cardinal’s past declarations on the “positive elements” of gay couples take on pressing significance.

In a 2014 interview with Rossoporpora, the Cardinal said that while homosexual relationships are deemed “illicit” by the Church, Catholic leaders, such as himself, must “emphasize” the “positive realities” that he said are present in homosexual relationships.

“If I meet a homosexual couple, I notice immediately that their relationship is illicit: the doctrine says this, which I reaffirm with absolute certainty. However, if I stop at the doctrine, I don’t look anymore at the persons. But if I see that the two persons truly love each other, do acts of charity to those in need, for example … then I can also say that, although the relationship remains illicit, positive elements also emerge in the two persons. Instead of closing our eyes to such positive realities, I emphasize them. It is to be objective and objectively recognize the positive of a certain relationship, of itself illicit,” he said at that time.

When the interviewer noted that some attendees at the Synod on the Family were tending in such a direction towards homosexuals, Coccopalmerio agreed. He then immediately went on to criticize those who feared that “valuing the positive elements” of homosexual relationships would be “undermining” the Church’s doctrine on marriage and sexuality, saying such a conclusion was “problematic.”

Bishop Athanasius Schneider of Kazakhstan highlighted in a talk given in Washinton D.C. last October the moral principle that “heresy” always goes hand-in-hand with an “unchaste life.” Where there is heresy, there is also sexual immorality, he said.

 

As of July 4, 2017, Capozzi is still listed as a staff member on the website of the Pontifical Council for the Interpretation of Legal Texts. (click to enlarge)

Michael Hichborn, president of the U.S.-based Lepanto Institute, said he highly suspects Coccopalmerio knew of the orgies.

“Given the monitoring and whispering that goes on in the Vatican, it is unlikely to the point of absurdity that Cardinal Coccopalmerio was unaware of Msgr. Capozzi’s disgusting activities. In fact, when we consider the 300-page document on the homosexual lobby that was handed to Pope Benedict XVI just before he resigned, the probability is that many who work in the Vatican were fully aware of what Capozzi was doing, and that such activities are taking place among other clergy as well,” he added.

The 79-year-old Cardinal is well beyond the age of retirement, set at 75. Despite this, Pope Francis has kept him at his post. This fact becomes all the more interesting given Pope Francis’ recent removal of the 69-year-old Cardinal Gerhard Muller, prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of Faith, from his post last week. Muller, unlike Coccopalmerio, has taken an orthodox stand from the beginning of Francis’ pontificate, opposing a liberal interpretation of Amoris Laetitia favored by Francis-supporters.

LifeSiteNews reached out to the Holy See Press Office for comment on a homosexual orgy happening inside a Vatican building by a high-ranking prelate, but received no reply.

Hichborn said that the homosexual orgy happening right next to St. Peter’s reveals a “mass apostasy” that is currently happening within the Catholic Church at the highest levels.

“The Vatican is now ground zero for a mass apostasy that is happening right now within the Catholic Church,” he told LifeSiteNews.

It is interesting to note that despite Capozzi’s arrest months ago, he is still listed as an active staff member on the website of the Pontifical Council for the Interpretation of Legal Texts.

Hichborn said that the Church’s enemies are now trying to destroy her from within.

“We know for a fact that Communists and homosexuals were specifically recruited as far back as the 1920’s to infiltrate seminaries. It was a concerted effort to destroy the Church from within. What we are seeing is the culmination of nearly 100 years worth of this effort playing itself out,” he said.

Hichborn said that faithful Catholics must not abandon their Mother, the Church, in the face of such evil.

“In times such as these, many will be deeply scandalized and tempted to leave the Church. But it is imperative for Catholics to remember that Holy Mother Church is completely blameless, despite the terrible things done by men who represent Her. What Capozzi was caught doing is absolutely vile, but his crime was as much against the Church he claims to serve as it was against the faithful who are affected by his actions,” he said.

“But if we remember that our Faith had its beginnings in the Death of Our Lord, then we can look forward to the Glory which follows the Passion of His Mystical Bride, Holy Mother Church,” he added.