Friday, September 26, 2008

40 Days for Life

Today is day three. It is also the Feast of Ss Cosmas and Damian. I remembered this morning that in the EF, they are also commemorated on Thursday of the third week of Lent (just passed the halfway point). In fact, the collect used today in the OF is from Lent, not from Sept 27 (their Feast in the EF). Their heavenly intercession (as physicians) is requested to help us persevere in the fast. Remember, this election is crucial for the pro-life movement. It also occurs, as was read in the Gospel as we began this campaign (Ember Wednesday) -- this kind may only be cast out by prayer and fasting. Pray, pray, pray.
I truly don't think we have ever had a more important electoral cycle. We have a man running for president who thinks that botched abortions should be given a second chance -- at death. Didn't they used to let convicts go if, in the process of hanging them, the rope broke? Even convicted murders were let free, or at least not re-hanged, if their death sentence was unsuccessfully carried out. This man, however, thinks that innocent children, whose death sentence is unsuccessfully prosecuted should be left to die. In the words of the Church Lady "Could it be......Satan?" Abortion is truly diabolical. It must stop. This kind of evil can only be cast out by prayer and fasting. You know what you have to do.

Fiat Lux?

Well, I just watched the introductory video to Oakland's new Cathedral of Christ the Light, which is posted on Rocco's page. I don't know if I could actually stand it in person. Let the be light (Fiat lux)? Perhaps Fiant tenebrae would be better. I think I'd want to gouge my eyes out if I lived in Oakland! Where to start?
  • They point out that the cross was used as a form form many Cathedrals in the past. They then go on to say they are using an even more ancient symbol -- the fish (ichthys). True, this is more ancient, but to my knowledge, it has never been used as the shape of a building before.
  • People can come by and visit during the day -- even dine in the Cathedral Cafe. Are you kidding? Isn't bad enough that the Rogmahall has a Starbucks? It's supposed to be a cathedral for heaven's sake!
  • They tell you want the wood panels symbolize. Frankly, I don't see the symbolism even after being told. Art is supposed to communicate without words. If you have to tell me what it means, it ain't art!
  • In fairness, I must say the architecture would be quite nice for a modern art museum, airport or bus station. It shows that this is the architect's first church. I wish I could say that he still hadn't designed a church, but now it has been consecrated and Mass has been celebrated their. That sound you heard was the Baby Jesus sobbing. I wonder if they used EP II, just to make Him cry more.
  • I feel truly sorry for the next Bishop of Oakland, who will have to call this monstrosity his Cathedral. If you think Bishop Bruskewitz and his predecessor (who was forced to dedicate it) have had to suffer, take a look at Oakland. On the bright side, your Excellency, there are now two Cathedrals in the US that are FAR uglier than the Cathedral of the Risen Christ in Lincoln. No offense, your Excellency, but I hope you don't move any further up the scale!
There you have it. Oh, the thing is supposed to be earthquake proof. Perhaps we could get the someone to say "God Himself couldn't sink her."

Sunday, September 21, 2008

He came not to call the just, but sinners

For the Feast of St Matthew, which is celebrated today in the EF in the Canonical Circumscription in which I find myself, we see the Call of St Matthew. Our Lord tells the pharisees that he came not to call the just, but sinners.
It occurs to me that this is not something that was written to point out how snotty the pharisees were, but rather to warn Christians that they should not get their own noses in the air. There are horror stories from the Protestant world of people gasping as a man answers the altar call while toting cigarettes in his pocket (a sure sign that he couldn't be saved). Then we experience the charming love of many of our own as they begin to judge others in the Church. Some who are the most liturgically pious can be the most pharisaical when it comes to others. Hmmm. Weren't the pharisees the traddies of their day? Anyway, I digress.
It is a warning again and again to us not to be like those pharisees. Our liturgical piety should be forming us to make Christ present in the world. If it does not, than, I'd dare say, it is empty piety. Remember "Misericordiam volo et non sacrificium."

Friday, September 19, 2008

I bet he prefers the Extraordinary Form

As I had the great pleasure of celebrating Mass according to the Extraordinary Form yesterday, it occurred to me that St Joseph of Cupertino was probably smiling. Here is a great and powerful saint, who worked many miracles this side of the veil. He was known for his ecstatic visions and for levitating. While he was not known for being the most brilliant of men in his life time, does this really matter? He knew the One who is most important to know!
I pray that his feast will one day be recognized in the universal Church, in the Ordinary Form. Then again, perhaps he will simply intercede for the growth of the Extraordinary Form instead! May he, and St Philomena, St Christopher, and all the Saints pray for the expansion of the Extraordinary Form of the Mass of the Roman Rite. As the EF grows, the OF will become better and better.
There is cross pollination occurring already. As Priests celebrate according to venerable custom, they begin to apply the hermeneutic of continuity to their celebration of the Ordinary Form. Can't celebrate the Mass oriented? Why not venerate the Altar on the Occidental side? Why not start the incensation there? Arrange the presider's chair to be where the sedillio always was. Then turn toward the people for the Dominus Vobiscum, and Oremus -- then face the altar, and bow toward the Cross at the per Dominum. Exercise your option to pray the post-communion prayer at the altar. Slowly the pendulum is swinging back -- but there is nothing saying we can't get behind it a bit!

Friday, September 12, 2008

Dare we hope for the PLU-ness of all?

An interesting question has come up of recent date. Can someone who attends an undesirable seminary be PLU? How much does thorough indoctrination poison the man?
A resounding "yes" comes for the first question. There have been many men who have survived under dire situations, who have survived with their PLU-ness intact. They have had to do things that are downright humorous from the post-ordination perspective. We always joked that the men at one seminary in DC during my college days would be better off returning from an evening out smelling of Channel no. 5 than of incense. One can almost imagine the bottle of perfume in the glove box used to cover over the scent of Gloria PR#3!
Then there is my friend who attended Sacred Heart School of Technology (yes -- a confirmandus addressed it that way -- how apropos!). He survived with his faith intact, if not somewhat solidified as a defensive mechanism.
But what of those, who knowing that their seminary had a liberal reputation chose it anyway? It would seem that those men would be likened to those who know that Jesus Christ intended to found a Church, and that the Catholic Church is that Church, and still remain outside her. I mean, really, can one ever be PLU when one leaves the bosom of Holy Mother Overbrook to go to a place where flip-flops suffice for Mass? Can one who chooses a place dubbed the Pink Palace over the Pontifical Josephinum (which has suceeded, it seems, in removing itself from the bad list) ever really be one with us?
We are talking about degrees of communion with brother Priests. It becomes truly difficult to have a meaningful relationship with a brother Priest with whom you share nothing in common theologically. How can we spend our day off with a man who doesn't want to exercise his Priesthood on that day? How can we have meaningful conversations with a man who doesn't see any problem with Charles Curran?
It is one thing when a man is sent by his Bishop to an undesirable place, it is another thing all together when he chooses it. Those who choose the easy place where they never have to answer for missing Morning Prayer because they stayed up late the night before "studying"; who get to wear jeans and a golf shirt to class and never, ever wear a cassock. In essence, they have chosen to live like regular college students during their years of "formation." There could be hope for those who simply don't know any better. In fact we know that all things are possible for Christ. Yet, we won't be holding our breath for new members of the diocesan schola.