Saturday, November 24, 2007

Bet and win Catholicism

Poster advertising Youth Sunday in the Diocese of Linz. It is a play on the actual translation of the German, Pray and Win.

It is the Cry of my Heart.

One of the recommended songs that can be used in the parishes.
And a picture kindly provided for use with sermons on the day. Worryingly, it is entitled Amen and should be withdrawn immediately.
What a horror story. I am working on a theme tune for Cathcon, The Cry of Horror.

The Little Office of the Virgin Explained


HOW far has it pleased God to reveal that it is His Holy Will to be worshipped by such prayers as constitute our Office?

God Himself divinely appointed two ways in which He was to be approached in public worship—by sacrifice and by vocal prayer. In the Mosaic ritual almost all was sacrificial, and very little vocal worship was prescribed. But in Samuel's time we find the Choir Office established. Prophecy, in its primary meaning, signifies the recital of God's Praises. This, then, was the duty to be performed by the companies of persons called the Sons of the Prophets, and here also is the first intimation of synagogue worship. In David's time we find vocal prayers united with the sacrificial worship in the Temple. Drawing near to the period of the Incarnation, more vivid signs of the Eternal Word may be expected. On the return of Judah and Benjamin from Babylon, Ezra re-arranged the services, while the ten tribes, scattered throughout the world, carried their word-worship with them.

This, then, was the state of things at the coming of our Lord. And when Christianity emerged from Judaism, it brought with it both word-worship and act-worship; the word-worship modelled to a great extent on the Jewish Offices, the act-worship (since the institution of the Holy Eucharist) necessarily combined with words.

The Acts of the Apostles prove very plainly that the first Christians, although " breaking bread " daily at home or in an upper chamber, also resorted daily to the Temple prayers and frequented the worship of the Synagogue. Alzog (vol. i., p. 119) tells us that although they frequented private houses for prayer, they did not cease either to hold open communion with the Jews or to attend at the Temple until after the fatal day when the predictions of our Lord were fulfilled, Jerusalem destroyed, and the Temple demolished. Then the Church freed herself for ever from the shackles of Jewish rites, and became a distinct, definite, and visible society. The prayers of the Jewish Church would, however, naturally serve as a model for those of the primitive Christians when scattered by persecution beyond the limits of Jerusalem and Judea.

This early form of worship which the primitive Christians took part in and carried with them would most probably consist of—
The Singing of Psalms, Heading of Holy Scripture, Exhortations, and Common Prayer.
To this would be added, on the Lord's Day, at least, (he Eucharistic Sacrifice, and the vocal prayers would fit around this central act of worship.

Pliny the Younger, writing to Trajan, says of the Christians in his province of Bithynia that they were a law-abiding folk, and did no harm ; their only peculiarity being to meet early on the morning of the first day of the week and sing hymns to Christ as to a God. Thus, Lauds, the song of praise at daybreak, and Vespers, the even-song, were to consecrate to God the whole day, the beginning and end : To Thee do I watch at break of day (Ps. lxii. 1); Let my prayer ascend to Thee, 0 Lord, as an evening sacrifice (Ps. cxl. 2).

The origin of the different Hours of the Office, stretching back as they do to the very birth of Christianity, would naturally be expected to be involved in obscurity and doubt. Happily for us, however, we have the Apostolic Constitutions, a precious authority dating from the end of the second, or at the latest the third, century, and attributed by some to St. Clement of Eome, which makes all clear and precise. It says: " Have Prayers in the morning at the third hour (Terce), the sixth (Sext), and the ninth (Xone), in the evening, and at cock-crow. In the morning, to give thanks to the Lord for having dispelled the night and brought the day to enlighten us ; at the Hour of Terce, because it was at that hour that Christ was condemned by Pilate ; at the Hour of Sext, for it was then that He was crucified; at the Hour of None, because it was at that hour that Nature was moved to horror by the audacity of the Jews, and could no longer bear the sight of the outrage wrought by them on the crucified Saviour. In the evening thank God for giving us the night in which we may rest from the day's labours; and at cock-crow pray because that hour heralds the arrival of the day during which we ought to do the work of light. If, on account of the unbelievers, it is impossible to go to the church, Bishop, you will assemble the faithful in some private house."

Dom Gueranger, in his Institutions liturgiques, tells us that Tertullian and the Latin Fathers attest the same practice in the West. Tertullian says : " Since we read in Luke's Acts that Terce is that hour of prayer when the Apostles, filled with the Holy Ghost, were thought by the Jews to be drunk; and that the Hour of Sext is that in which Peter went to the upper part of the house ; and that the Hour of None is that in which, accompanied by John, Peter went into the Temple—do we not see in this, besides what we are told elsewhere, to pray always and in all places, that these three hours, so remarkable in human affairs, occupied a more solemn rank in the Divine Prayers?" Farther on he uses the word Officium, Office, to designate the ecclesiastical prayers used at these hours.

Side by side with the great Divine Office we find a lesser Office of similar construction, that of the Blessed Virgin. Its history is obscure. St. John Damascene, in the eighth century, is said to have used or composed it; and in the same century the Benedictine monks of Monte CJassino appear to have been bound to say the Hours of this Office after, and those of the Office of St. Benedict before, every day and night Hour of the Divine Office. Cardinal Bona assures us that there was kept at Rome a manuscript Commentary on the rule of St. Benedict, written by Peter the Deacon, in which it is stated that Pope Zachary en­joined on all Benedictine monasteries to recite the Office of the Blessed Virgin along with the Divine Office each day. It is said that Pope Gregory II. was the first to institute this Little Office. So that it must have been in use about 720. (Thomassin, the Oratorian.)

In the ninth century the custom of consecrating the Saturday in honour of our Lady became fairly general- in the Church. On that day Mass and the Divine Office were celebrated in her honour. We are informed that Alcuin, that illustrious son of the glorious Patriarch St. Benedict, exerted much influence in propagating this devotion, and introduced it into many monasteries.
In the eleventh century this Office was in general use all over the Church, thanks particularly to St. Peter Damian, whose zeal in this matter was unbounded. Pope Urban II. and the Council of Clermont were the first to impose this Office as an obligation; for in appealing for Crusaders for the Holy War, all Ecclesiastics were asked to add this Office daily to the Great Office, so as to secure the help of our Lady in the holy enterprise. In the fourteenth century the obligation of the recital of the Little Office of the Blessed Virgin was firmly established, but a decree of the Council of Trent (1563) released clerics from this obligation.

In days of old the Little Office of the Blessed Virgin was the favourite devotion among all who could read. In fact, it was from the Book of Hours containing the Little Office of the Blessed Virgin, that children were ordinarily taught to read. The examples of some cele­brated personages may well be cited. St. Louis, King of France, said it daily, and caused his children to do like­wise. St. Antonine, Archbishop of Florence,,St. Edmund, St. Vincent Ferrer, Ven. Alphonsus Rodriguez, and many others, recited it daily on their knees. St. Ambrose of Sienna knew it by heart at the age of seven. St. Margaret of Hungary, St. Isabella of Portugal, St. Catherine, St. Bridget of Sweden, and especially St. Frances of Borne, experienced great consolation in its recital. We read of St. Gertrude that one day our Lord told her that no devotion pleased Him better than the devout recitation of the Hours of the Office of His Blessed Mother. The unfortunate Mary Stuart, Queen of Scotland, comforted herself in her long and dreary captivity by the pious recital of the Little Office, and even on the scaffold she used her Book of Hours to recommend, for the last time, her soul to Christ and His Holy Mother.

There is abundant evidence to show that in old Catholic times the laity as well as the clergy were accustomed to recite daily the Office of our Lady; and it is clear, too, that they learnt it in their childhood. They were so familiar with it that they could say it by heart, and even recited it together while dressing in the morning. Thus, in the Book of Courtesay, printed by Caxton about 1477, Little John is admonished :
" While that ye be abouten honestly To dress yourself and do on your array, "With your fellow well and tretably Our Lady's Matins look ye that ye say."

Similarly, the statutes of Eton College, founded by Henry VI. in 1440, prescribe that the scholars, as soon as they have risen, and while making their beds, shall say the Matins of our Blessed Lady.

In a report on the state of England made by the Secre­tary to the Venetian Embassy in 1496-97 occurs the follow­ing picture of our English forefathers: " They all hear Mass every day, and say many Paternosters (Rosaries) in public, the women carrying long strings of beads in their hands, and whoever is at all able to read carries with him the Office of our Lady; and they recite it in church with some companion in a low voice, verse by verse, after the manner of Religious."
Even when tyrannous laws had forbidden all invocation of our Blessed Lady, devout Catholics would sometimes meet together in secret to recite the Office of the Blessed Virgin. Of this we have a proof in the register of criminal proceedings after the second unsuccessful rising in the Northern Counties in 1569. Thomas Wright, Vicar of Seaham, had to confess that he said daily in his house, with certain others, the Office of the Blessed Virgin. This poor priest had evidently conformed to the new order out of fear, and was probably hoping for better times, should Elizabeth die.

The Living Bread which gives life to humanity

The Precious Blood of which one taste washes away the sins of the entire world.

Behold the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world,
those that eat His Flesh and drink His Blood inheriting eternal life.

The sanctuary as a place of confusion

From the ever-admirable and excellent

A Curial bishop has specified the causes of the current ecclesiastical crisis : Hand Communion, the abolition of Communion benches and kneelers , the removall of Tabernacles to another part of the Church and laity at the altar.

The secretary of the Congregation Roman liturgy, Archbishop Malcolm Ranjith, is currently giving a spate of interviews. On 16 November, he spoke with the missionary news service 'Fides'.

He said that the Papal Motu Proprio for the liberation of the Old Mass opened the way to a "complete integration" of the followers of Archbishop Lefebvre. This was an important, "as in the past often incorrect judgements were thought necessary, which now have lead to almost insurmountable divisions in the Church." The Archbishop sees the freedom of the old Mass as an explicit attempt of the Pope, to correct views that the Council was a break with the past and as a complete fresh start.

Ranjith also sees the release of the old Mass as a result of a "growing demand" for the old Rite.

In connection with the Motu proprio, the Archbishop specifies a crisis of obedience towards the Holy Father. There were some among the clergy-even in the highest ranks church- who have taken a "position of autonomy ". He cites the example of the Bishops adopted in certain countries implementing provisions for the Motu proprio which has gone against or distorted the intention of the pope . Such action is contrary to the dignity and majesty of the the Episcopal vocation.

Msgr Ranjith admits, that some directives of the post-Conciliar liturgical reform damaged parts of the liturgy But that was not the intention of the council.
The former Cardinal Ratzinger, referred to the so-called "spirit of the council" as a true "pernicious Conciliar ideology;"

The conclusion of the Archbishop: "Progress is good, but not at the expense of history or without history." Nevertheless, the Archbishop was clear that the post-Conciliar reform was "not on the whole" negative : There were many positive aspects.

Misused hand Communion

As a negative example of Archbishop cited hand Communion. . It was introduced so as to be an abuse. Now despite harmful effects on the faith, it is maintained.
The hand Communion, "in a certain way" has helped ensure that the belief in the real presence of Christ in the Eucharist had waned:

"This practice, and the abolition of Communion benches before the sanctuary and kneeling benches in the Churches and the introduction of practices, which the faithful force during the consecration to sit or stand, diminish the true meaning of the Eucharist."

The Archbishop also regrets that the Church is misused as a hall for fraternal meetings, concerts or interfaith celebrations :

"In some churches, the Blessed Sacrament is almost hidden or banned to a barely visible and meanly decorated chapel ." All this overshadows the central beliefs of the Church of the real presence of Christ in the sacrament.

As a further error designate Msgr. Ranjith specified the blurring of the specific roles of the clergy and laity at the altar: "The sanctuary will be a place of confusion."

The introduction of dances, musical instruments and singing , with little liturgical sense belong to the liturgy and the church interior "in no way".

Finally, the archbishop criticized "certain sermons, of a political character, and often poorly prepared."

Polish Bishops' Conference


criticises EU morals.

Poland. The Polish Bishops' Conference have criticized a so-called ban on discrimination against gays in the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights. This was in a statement after its plenary meeting on Thursday in Czestochowa. The bishops regret the other absences in the Charter of a reference to God and an abortion ban. The Archbishop of Gniezno, Msgr. Henryk Muszynski (74), said that the sodomy will never be tolerated. Tolerance also means respect: "A Catholic has no respect for any errors, sins and weakness."