Catholic Issues

I thought of a helpful illustration to explain why “cradle Catholics” are often unable to explain and defend the Catholic faith. The example has its weaknesses, but it does help get the point across.

As an American I asked myself this question: if some one trained to attack America intellectually approached me on the street and challenged my country, would I be ready and able to defend the USA? Would I know all the historical details, dates, and facts? Do I know the U.S. Constitution, the Declaration of Independence, the Bill of Rights, the Supreme Court rulings or even the ancient documents that preceded the birth of our nation—the documents and events that formed the foundation for our government?

The answer is simple: “No, I would not be prepared.”

But I am an American. I love my country. I was born here and believe in the principles and love the freedom that are American. I know my country has many problems and I do not love everything that is American. But I would be unprepared to explain and defend the details and documents of my nation even though I love the USA and would readily stay an American citizen rather than join another country.

This is much the same as a “cradle Catholic” like those in the Philippines. They are often ashamed that they cannot defend the faith, but they are like me as an American. I was born American and never been in a situation where I had to defend my country in a rigorous intellectual debate. Filipinos have been Catholics for 400 years. They love their faith, the Lord Jesus, Mama Mary and the Catholic Church. But for 400 years they have been a Catholic nation and never needed to “defend” it. They only needed to love it and obey it.

But now the wolves are approaching their islands and making great inroads devouring the flock. The attack comes not only from cults and sects, but also from modernism and Americanism. They are pursued from every side. They are pushed to leave the Church, to join the cults and sects or to pursue pleasure, money, and sin.

Just like I would I need to take the time and energy to study my country and its history, so they are now required to learn their faith in a new and energetic way to defend the faith and their children. The time for comfort is over. The time to study and learn is here. No longer can the Filipinos—or anyone who has been born and raised Catholic—sit back and take the faith for granted. It is time for war! It is time for defense! It is time to get to work!

I do not criticize “cradle Catholics” for not knowing their faith. I understand the situation. But now we must begin rigorous study and learning—our children and our faith are at stake. We have no time to to waste. We are called to re-evangelize and defend Mother Church! God bless us all as we serve Our Lord.

{ 12 comments }

There is a lot of homosexuality in the ranks of our clergy, even and especially with prelates in Rome. It is not mentioned, not rebuked.  Unhappily it seems to be ignored and condoned. Very few bishops have mentioned or addressed it. Laicized pervert McCarrick and his collaborators and protectors are good examples. He advanced all the way to the top and those at the top knew it and approved.

For those who consider homosexual practice acceptable, it would be good to study Scripture and the ancient tradition of the Church (Rom 1:25-27; CCC 2357).

Now I know a good number of bishops a lot of priests and they are good men. The vast majority of the clergy are good men, faithful, celibate and true. I feel sorry for these great clerics because the reprobates among them cause a cloud to overshadow them all. We need to support and encourage those who are faithful to their vows.

Screen Shot 2019-06-30 at 10.00.34 AMThe same thing was happening a thousand years ago. A courageous cardinal spoke out against homosexuality and sexual perversion in the ranks of the clergy, pointing to bishops, priests and deacons. His name was Peter Damian. He was raised to Cardinal and Doctor of the Church. He was charged by the papacy with fighting against this scourge of sexual perversion and sodomy. I wish our Pope would do the same.

St. Damian wrote a document entitled The Book of Gomorrah which was completed in 1054. It exposed the sodomy and perversion in the ranks. I suggest people get this book and read it today and pass it around. Pope Leo IX responded to this extensive letter with unreserved praise. He said, “everything that this book contains has been pleasing to our judgment, being as opposed to diabolical fire as is water.”

For an excellent review of the book and interview with the translator in Catholic World Report, click here.

Here are quotes from his book. The first is describing the sins (and is a bit graphic)

“So that the whole matter might be presented to you in an orderly way, I distinguish four types of this nefarious sin. Some pollute themselves, others are soiled by fondling each other’s male parts, others fornicate between the thighs or in the rear, and these ascend by grades, such that each one is worse than the previous.

Peter DamianAccordingly, the penance that is imposed on those who fall into sin with others is greater than those who dirty themselves alone by the discharged contagion of semen, and those who contaminate others in the rear are more strictly judged than those who copulate between the thighs. The skilled machination of the devil thus contrives these grades of corruption, so that the more it ascends them, the more deeply the unhappy soul may be plunged into the depths of hell” (pg. 83).

The second is an overview of what needs to be done. And needs to be done again today.

“Alas, it is shameful to speak of it! It is shameful to relate such a disgusting scandal to sacred ears! But if the doctor fears the virus of the plague, who will apply the cauterization? If he is nauseated by those whom he is to cure, who will lead sick souls back to the state of health?

The cancer of sodomitic impurity is thus creeping through the clerical order, and indeed is raging like a cruel beast within the sheepfold of Christ with the audacity of such liberty, that for many it would have been much more salutary to be oppressed by the yoke of worldly duties than to be surrendered so freely to the iron rule of diabolical tyranny under the pretense of religion.

It would have been better to perish alone in secular dress than, having changed one’s clothes but not one’s heart, to also drag others to destruction, as the Truth testifies, saying, “He that shall scandalize one of these little ones that believe in me, it is expedient for him’ that a millstone be hanged about his neck, and that he be drowned in the depth of the sea.” And unless the force of the Apostolic See opposes it as quickly as possible, there is no doubt that when it finally wishes for the unbridled evil to be restrained, it may not be able to halt the fury of its advance.”

c6ed3b37273420aab4a8e70adc6b7f37There is a lot more to this book. I have only provided two short passages. But St. Damian goes through it all and confronts it head on — with both mercy and judgment in the proper balance.

Another document from an even earlier period in Spain.

In A History of the Councils of the Church the author details many of the laws promulgated in the Church at the time. I found this law concerning sodomy among bishops, priests and deacons interesting. The Intro to the actual laws states, “In Spain, so rich in Synods, on May 2, 693, was opened the sixteenth Synod of Toledo, in the Church of SS. Peter and Paul. There were present fifty-nine bishops out of all the ecclesiastical provinces of Spain, besides five abbots, three representatives of bishops, and sixteen secular counts. King Egiza appeared personally…”

Law 3, “The prevalence of sodomy makes severe punishments necessary. If a bishop, priest, or deacon commits this sin, he shall be deposed and banished for life. Moreover, the old law remains in force, according to which every such sinner is excluded from all communion with Christians, scourged with rods, deprived of his hair in disgrace, and banished. If they have not sufficiently done penance, the communion is not to be administered to them even on their deathbed.”
(Charles Joseph Hefele, A History of the Councils of the Church, trans. William R. Clark, vol. 5 (Edinburgh: T&T Clark, 1896), 245.)

downloadWhat we are facing is nothing new. What is new is that it is being accepted and even approved. We have priests going around promoting tolerance for the LGBTQ lifestyle even within the Church. We have a papacy and magisterium that is silent about the problem. We must pray for our Church and defend her.

When cancer invades a human body it is unloving to ignore it. What if the doctor says, “We don’t want to operate since that is invasive and painful.” The best thing for the patient is to deal with the cancer and do what is best for the patient. Lovingly remove the cancer for the health of the whole body.

St. Peter (Cardinal) Damian, Doctor of the Church, pray for us!

 

{ 7 comments }

Genuflecting a No-No?

by Steve Ray on May 5, 2019

Several years ago my wife and visited a new parish (new for us). I genuflected before receiving the Blessed Sacrament. Believe it or not, I was reprimanded by the Extraordinary Minister while he handed me the host. After Mass I spoke with the priest about it and he reprimanded me as well. I told them Quite explicitly they were both wrong and the letter I wrote them below explained why.

***************************************************

Dear Father:

My wife and I had the pleasure of attending Mass at your parish for the first time Saturday evening, May 15. I found the Mass very reverent and your homily delightful and instructive. I appreciated the explanations about the Council of Jerusalem and the authority of Peter and the need for flexibility within the bounds of the Catholic Church’s teaching. I told you afterwards that I enjoyed your homily very much.

Having said that, I would like to comment on one other matter—namely, being confronted in a rather brusque way about genuflecting while approaching to receive the Eucharist on our first visit to your parish. In addition, I was inappropriately “corrected” by an Extraordinary Minister while receiving communion. The GIRM 160 indicates that even priests should not argue with communicants about posture when they are receiving Communion, saying that they should provide ‘proper catechesis’ (no doubt when the communicant is not in the Communion line). Consequently, it is certainly inappropriate for an extraordinary minister to do so.[i]

First, I am not ignorant of the GIRM’s latest instruction about bowing in reverence before receiving as the norm. The GIRM establishes the norm but in doing so does not forbid other appropriate signs of reverence, including genuflecting or receiving while kneeling. If the GIRM specifically mentions that kneeling is allowed, as it does, it must certainly not forbid the lesser action of genuflecting, especially if it is done in the line prior to actually stepping up to receive. In fact, the GIRM gives specific instructions that even if one kneels they are not to be denied the Eucharist.

Colin B. Donovan, STL (degree received from Angelicum in Rome) commented on the matter by saying:

“The bishops have set the bow as the norm. They have not forbidden kneeling or genuflecting. They cannot, as the Roman interpretations of the norms have made clear. Genuflection is a one knee kneel. It is contained within the statements permitting kneeling, since it is a lesser reverence than kneeling, though stronger than bowing. Standing and bowing replaces kneeling, as the original legislation authorizing bishops’ conferences to choose standing over kneeling makes clear. . . . Indeed, the real issue is not whether genuflecting is allowed but whether the USCCB having chosen standing and bowing as the norm criminalizes or makes disobedient those who desire to do something else. To that question Rome has answered an emphatic no, with respect to kneeling and implicitly genuflecting, and warned the clergy about making it seem so.”

It does not necessarily follow that since bowing is the norm that genuflecting is therefore criminalized.[ii] Though this can potentially be confusing for Catholics, I would suggest that the recent Redemptionis Sacramentum[iii] was promulgated to clarify matters. In no. 90 it says: “The faithful should receive Communion kneeling or standing, as the Conference of Bishops will have determined”, with its acts having received the recognitio of the Apostolic See. ‘However, if they receive Communion standing, it is recommended that they give due reverence before the reception of the Sacrament, as set forth in the same norms’” (176). Also, “Therefore, it is not licit to deny Holy Communion to any of Christ’s faithful solely on the grounds, for example, that the person wishes to receive the Eucharist kneeling or standing” (no. 92).

As I understand it, even though the American norms specify that the sign of respect before receiving is a bow of the head, when the Sacred Congregation for Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments was queried about whether continuing to genuflect was forbidden, they responded in the negative. Consequently, if genuflecting is not specifically forbidden by Rome, the burden of proof to the contrary certainly falls on the one trying to enforce such a non-existent prohibition.

“The way Americans read law; the norms would be interpreted strictly. But that interpretation is misleading. The law has to be understood in the sense in which it is intended by Rome (which approved the law and whose interpretation of the law is definitive), and Romans do not read law the same way Americans do. Americans tend to take a much stricter interpretation of law that admits of no exceptions unless they are stated in the text itself. Vatican officials, however, often understand laws in a more permissive way that allows for unwritten exceptions” (Jimmy Akin). There are a number of examples I could cite that refer specifically to posture during Mass (e.g., See attachment #2).

Again, genuflecting is a lesser act than kneeling and kneeling is specifically mentioned as an allowed and acceptable posture for receiving Holy Communion. I know I was not denied the Eucharist on Saturday, but even being reprimanded during reception and after Mass for something not disallowed—but even approved of—could prove to be a problem. But the real matter is that if the Holy See has allowed reception by standing or kneeling, genuflecting ahead of time is certainly not a violation of Church law.

I am a ten-year convert to the Catholic Church and have always genuflected out of my great reverence and love for the Eucharist and the Church.[iv] I have always been encouraged to do so. For me it is a personal way of demonstrating my love and utter reverence for the Eucharist, the liturgy, and the Church. I have genuflected while receiving before our own presiding bishop many times (as lately as last week), twice with the Pope in a private Mass; with Cardinal Ratzinger, Cardinal Schonborn, Cardinal Wamala, Cardinal Vidal, Archbishop Foley and Bertoni in Rome, the Patriarch of Jerusalem, the Auxiliary bishop of Jerusalem, the archbishop of Smyrna (St. John’s successor), two Papal Nuncios, and many other knowledgeable and holy priests, bishops and archbishops, including bishops in the United States. Never before have I been reprimanded for expressing my reverence to Our Lord in the Eucharist.

Sometimes I think the reprimand should be for those who refuse to show any reverence toward the Eucharist, but then again that is just my humble opinion.

I understand that you are trying to instruct your community on the norms for worship and I appreciate your efforts and commend you for it. I would suggest though, that tact is a virtue when instructing the faithful and that the postural leniency allowed and protected by Rome should be also allowed and protected in the parishes.

Other than that, as I commented before, I found you very impressive and knowledgeable, celebrating a very reverent liturgy. I plan on visiting your parish again since it is so close to our new home. I look forward to more excellent homilies.

Thanks for being a priest and serving Our Lord and the Church in such a marvelous capacity. I hope this is letter is not taken in an offensive or challenging way. It is simply an honest communication and with the hope we can be friends in the future. I pray for all of God’s blessings on you and your ministry.

Respectfully yours in Christ and in His Church,

Steve Ray

PS. Later this week I will be writing to the CDW to get further clarification on this point and will pass the response on to you and the bishop.

Attachments:

Congregation de Cultu Divino et Disciplina Sacramentorum
Prot. n. 1322/02/L
Rome, 1 July 2002

“The Congregation in fact is concerned at the number of similar complaints that it has received in recent months from various places, and considers any refusal of Holy Communion to a member of the faithful on the basis of his or her kneeling posture to be a grave violation of one of the most basic rights of the Christian faithful, namely that of being assisted by their Pastors by means of the Sacraments (Codex Iuris Canonici, canon 213). In view of the law that “sacred ministers may not deny the sacraments to those who opportunely ask for them, are properly disposed and are not prohibited by law from receiving them” (canon 843 ¶ 1), there should be no such refusal to any Catholic who presents himself for Holy Communion at Mass, except in cases presenting a danger of grave scandal to other believers arising out of the person’s unrepented public sin or obstinate heresy or schism, publicly professed or declared. Even where the Congregation has approved of legislation denoting standing as the posture for Holy Communion, in accordance with the adaptations permitted to the Conferences of Bishops by the Institutio Generalis Missalis Romani n. 160, paragraph 2, it has done so with the stipulation that communicants who choose to kneel are not to be denied Holy Communion on these grounds.”

Jorge A. Cardinal Medina Estévez
Prefect
+Francesco Pio Tamburrino
Archbishop Secretary

********************************************************

“[That] the Roman Curia, and in Europe in general, they take a much more relaxed view of posture than we do . . . This is something that people with a sound formation in liturgical law have known for a long time, however it recently became possible to document it. In a response issued June 5, 2003, the CDW issued a response which stated:

Dubium: In many places, the faithful are accustomed to kneeling or sitting in personal prayer upon returning to their places after having individually received Holy Communion during Mass. Is it the intention of the Missale Romanum, editio typica tertia, to forbid this practice?

Responsum: Negative, et ad mensum [and for this reason]. The mens [reasoning] is that the prescription of the Institutio Generalis Missalis Romani, no. 43, is intended, on the one hand, to ensure within broad limits a certain uniformity of posture within the congregation for the various parts of the celebration of Holy Mass, and on the other, to not regulate posture rigidly in such a way that those who wish to kneel or sit would no longer be free.

This response deals specifically with the question of kneeling after receiving Communion, but it also states Rome’s general interpretation of the posture provisions of the GIRM for the laity, which is that the provisions are “to ensure within broad limits a certain uniformity of posture within the congregation for the various parts of the celebration of Holy Mass, and on the other, to not regulate posture rigidly” (Jimmy Akin).


Endnotes:

[i] If we are to hold strictly and legalistically to the instructions about distribution of the Eucharist, the Extraordinary Minister of Holy Communion should not have spoken words to me other than those prescribed. Note the USCCB’s Committee on the Liturgy instruction in its Extraordinary Ministers of Holy Communion at Mass where it is specifically forbidden to add any words other than “The Body of Christ” and “The Blood of Christ”.

[ii] Also, on a practical matter, I genuflect prior to stepping up to receive – while the person in front of me is still receiving. This way I do not hold up the line. By the time the person in front of me has moved aside, I am standing and stepping up to bow and receive. In this way I full follow even the norm if strictly interpreted.

[iii] This Instruction, prepared by the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments by mandate of the Supreme Pontiff John Paul II in collaboration with the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, was approved by the same Pontiff on the Solemnity of St. Joseph, 19 March 2004, and he ordered it to be published and to be observed immediately by all concerned. From the offices of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments, Rome, on the Solemnity of the Annunciation of the Lord, 25 March 2004. Francis Card. Arinze, Prefect. Domenico Sorrentino, Archbishop Secretary .

[iv] Early on I read St. Augustine’s words which follow. They touched me deeply and based on encouragement from very good priests, we have always genuflected prior to stepping up to receive. St. Augustine wrote, “He took flesh from the flesh of Mary.  He walked here in the same flesh, and gave us the same flesh to be eaten unto salvation.  But no one eats that flesh unless first he adores it . . . we do sin by not adoring.”

{ 9 comments }

Update: Scholars accuse Pope Francis of Heresy

May 3, 2019

This is a significant and important 20 page letter written to the Pope by a group of scholars. I hope Rome takes it seriously. I am in Rome right now two blocks away from the Vatican. I’d love to go over and beg Pope Francis to consider this letter seriously.  I am not saying that […]

Read the full article →

The World’s 50 Most Anti-Christian Countries

March 17, 2019

Is anyone surprised that the majority of these anti-Christian countries are Islamic? Click on map below for larger image. This was published by Ignatius Press’ Catholic World Report. Washington D.C., Jan 15, 2018 / 11:55 am (CNA/EWTN News).- There are more than 215 million persecuted Christians worldwide according to the 2018 World Watch List, Open […]

Read the full article →

Why Stay with the Church? Make Rome Catholic Again! Steve Ray Talks Straight with Teresa Tomeo

March 9, 2019

Steve’s segment starts 24:00 minutes into the show. The questions are multiple. What is happening to the Church? Why aren’t Rome and the bishops doing something about homosexual clergy? Why should I stay with the Church with all the confusion and lack of action with Pope Francis and the Vatican? I am angry and don’t […]

Read the full article →

Plenty of Sinners in the Church…

March 6, 2019

“There are plenty of sinners within the Church. That’s a given. But I’ve always been more amazed by the saints than I am disheartened by the hypocrites. All it takes to be a hypocrite is to be human, while it takes supernatural grace to be a saint.”  (Carl Olson @carleolson)

Read the full article →

Finally a Bishop Refuses Communion to a Pro-Abort Senator

February 26, 2019

This should be the norm, not an extraordinary event. Bishops should act more like shepherds than politicians. Finally a bishop steps up and says, “NO!” Bishop Thomas J. Paprocki of Springfield, Illinois says Senator Dick Durbin is “cooperating in evil” and persisting in “manifest grave sin” because of his abortion advocacy and must therefore “not […]

Read the full article →

A MUST READ: Cardinal Müller issues Manifesto: A quasi correction of Pope Francis’ pontificate

February 9, 2019

“February 8, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) (News also released by Catholic News Agency) – Cardinal Gerhard Müller, the former head of the Vatican’s doctrinal office, has released a Manifesto which reads like a correction of many of the doctrinal errors Pope Francis has taught during his tenure as Pope…. …Pope Francis removed Cardinal Müller from his post as […]

Read the full article →

Trump’s Brilliant Speech

February 7, 2019

I’ll just say it… [by Brian Birch] That was a helluva speech. President Trump delivered one of the best speeches of his presidency last night, weaving together aspirational rhetoric with raw, emotional personal stories, as well as a focus on key issues of deep concern to Catholics. And Americans agreed… A snap CNN poll showed […]

Read the full article →

Mass with 2 Protestants and 1 Crucifix

January 5, 2019

A while ago we went to Mass with two Protestants.  As we walked in the door — there it was, as big as life — a CRUCIFIX with the Body of Our Lord hanging over the altar. I knew what the Protestants were thinking — I used to think the same — “CATHOLICS ARE WRONG, JESUS IS […]

Read the full article →

Why Many Consider Cardinal Pell’s Conviction a Sham

December 15, 2018

After guilty verdict, questions raised about Pell trial By Ed Condon Cardinal George Pell, prefect of the Secretariat for the Economy, outside Rome’s Hotel Quirinale, March 3, 2016. Credit: Alexey Gotovskiy/CNA. Washington D.C., Dec 14, 2018 / 04:00 pm (CNA).- After reports of a guilty verdict emerged in the trial of Australian Cardinal George Pell, […]

Read the full article →

Catholic Church: “Don’t Read the Bible!”

December 1, 2018

We often hear that the Catholic Church has forbidden the reading of the Bible! Have you heard this? Yeah, me too! But, this is another one of those big myths which has worked its way into the popular dialog but one that has not been proved from Church teaching and documents. There are two good […]

Read the full article →

Holding Hands at Mass

November 28, 2018

My wife Janet and I always cringe at a new parish when it comes time for the Our Father. We quickly bow our heads and close our eyes; I clutch my hands close to my chest (and she does the same) and we start to pray — hoping some aggressive hand-holder doesn’t reach over and insist […]

Read the full article →

INTERVIEW: Cardinal Müller on Homosexuality Practiced and Covered Up within the Clergy and Hierarchy

November 24, 2018

Pope Francis recently fired him from his position as the head of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (and maybe now we know why!) Here is part of the interview: “In this discussion about the abuse crisis, Müller does not shy away from pointing out that the Church needs to address the problem […]

Read the full article →

BREAKING: Abp. Viganò urges U.S. bishops to confront sex abuse as ‘courageous shepherds’

November 13, 2018

ROME, November 13, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) — Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganò today issued a brief message to the U.S. Bishops, urging them to confront sex abuse as “courageous shepherds” rather than “frightened sheep.” The U.S. Bishops are currently in Baltimore at their much-anticipated fall annual meeting at which they were expected to vote on concrete proposals […]

Read the full article →