Benedicamus Domino? Ite, Missa est.

St Jane at Dusk

Learning the Latin Mass hasn’t been without its headaches.  At one point I was the only one saying it every week for about 6 months, which is when it became second nature.

A point of confusion was the ending of the Mass during Advent and Lent.  The Mass ends by the Priest saying “Ite, Missa est,”  meaning variously “Go the Mass is ended” or, more appropriately, “Go, you are sent forth.”  It’s obviously loaded with deep theological meanings.

But Masses that don’t have the Gloria in them, end in “Benedicamus Domino”. So during Advent and Lent one might end the Mass by saying such, which means, “Let us bless the Lord”.

Or do they?  Many Priests do this, and I was taught to do so in my training at St. John Cantius.

Except

The problem is that the 1962 Missal doesn’t say to do that.  The ’62 Missal sticks with (and explicitly says to stick with) saying “Ite, Missa Est“, to end the Mass during Advent and Lent.  (Previous Missals, the ’55 and such – DO have the Benedicamus Domino.)

When something changes so often, so quickly, so much – it’s easy to be confused.  Divinum Officium  is an excellent resource for looking over the changes through the years.

  • The Missal says:  “In dominicis tempore Adventus, Quadregesima et Passionis, in Missas de commemoratione in Officio, in omnibus feriis extra tempus paschale, in vigiliis II et III classis et in Missa Rogationum – “Ite, missa est.
  • Which of course translates as:  “On the Sundays of Advent, Lent and the Passion, the Mass of commemoration in the Office, at any time outside of the Easter holidays, in vigils of the  2nd and 3rd class, and in Rogation Masses, – “Ite, Missa est.”
  • The only difference during the times mentioned just above (Advent, etc,) is a simpler sung tone.  The wording is the same.
  • We go on to read:
  • Quando post Missam sequitur aliqua processio, loco “Ite, Missa est” cantatur “Benedicamus Domino”.
  • Which of course translates:
  • “When the Mass is followed by a procession, instead of “Ite, Missa est,” sing “Benedicamus Domino“.

So, Masses during Advent end with Ite, Missa est.  Unless I’m missing something.  Something that’s not written in my Missal.

Prayer After the Mass

While we’re at it, there’s another long-standing tradition which we’ve always observed that has never made any sense.  I noticed this during seminary.

As Mass ends everyone processes into the Sacristy, waits for the celebrating or highest ranking priest to enter, bows towards the Crucifix and says “pro sit”.  I asked about this peculiar tradition, and it was explained:  It means “it is concluded.”  It is finished”

Except it doesn’t mean that at all.

Prosit

“Prosit” actually means “may it benefit/profit”.  The obvious questions arise. What may it benefit, or profit?  Whom, even?  How? Where? When?

What actually is supposed to happen is this:

  • Priest:  Prosit…
  • Servers: …Pro omnibus et singulis.
  • *Kneel*
  • Servers: Jube, Domne, benedicere.
  • Priest: Benedictio Dei omnipotentis, Pater et Filius et Spiritus Sanctus, descendat super vos et maneat sempter.

Which Translates As…

  • Priest: May it benefit…
  • Servers… one and all.
  • *Kneel*
  • Servers: Please, sir, a blessing.
  • Priest: May the blessing of Almighty God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, descend upon you and remain forever.

Then, and only then, is everything picked up and one can head to the pancake house amidst prayers of praise and thanksgiving.

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iPhone Posting

I’ve never posted from an iPhone, and probably never will again.

But this hideous picture of the Church here caught my eye as it’s all over the place on image searches for our church ever since Google did away with Panoramio, which had some great images linked over to searches.

I tell you, Nothing is permanent these days.

Contrast the image above with this one:


Church

Now I know that when the renovations were done in the 70’s, it seemed for whatever reason to be the thing to do. But I wonder sometimes what they were thinking.

Instead of having Jesus Christ enthroned in the Sanctuary, you had a platform with a chair and an old man sitting there.  The old man who renovated it back then was a holy old man, much loved and revered. The current old man in charge of renovations certainly strives for the heights of such holiness. One day, we all hope, he may attain to it.

Speaking of holiness 

I was flipping through stations on Sirius XM while I still have my free trial – I’m ultimately cheap – and started listening to Joel Osteen’s channel.

No wonder he’s so popular. He knows the Scriptures inside and out, explains them beautifully, and offers people the true hope that the Scriptures promise.  No blather about climate change, immigration, clericalism, sexual abuse, money laundering, RICO charges, communism. He acknowledges human suffering too.

Except that there is no sacramental life and he constantly puts down “religion”, I’d probably start driving over, myself.  Jesus did leave us a religion – the best on Earth – and despite the fact it’s been on self destruct for quite some time, it lives on because it’s simply the Faith in His holy name, in the promises of Scripture, and the awesome power of the Holy Spirit at work in our lives, that keep it going.

Every effort has been made to destroy the Church as an institution; to co-opt it for whatever reasons such is done. So the fact that as an institution it’s being revealed as rotten to the core is not surprising.

But the Church is more than an institution. It’s the living mystical body of Christ, with Jesus Christ as it’s head. He foretold of difficult times. And here we are.

Let the weeds grow amidst the wheat, as we implore the Lord who may seem to be asleep but who certainly is quite active. He could go no great works in Nazareth because those who thought they knew Him had no faith.

So we simply have to have faith. And I am SO GLAD I started harping on this before I listened to Joel Osteen, because he says the same thing and I’m not into copy catting preachers.

Read your Bibles

Read your Bibles. Seriously. It’s the 21st Century and we all need to be well versed in it. So many people are well versed in it from cover to cover; and I’m here preaching to the choir. I’m preaching to myself.  Read it one sentence a day if it takes the time to gain a level of understanding, especially when you get to St. Paul. But just read it.

You could learn Greek and Hebrew too. But I don’t think that’s really necessary for most people.

Thus ends the iPhone post. I’m off to read my Bible.

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Resetting Things

kitchen remake

It’s amazing to think of all the things that can happen in the course of a year.  And my Lord, have so many things happened. Last year at this time, the rectory here looked similar to this.  And it was orderly and relatively clean all the time.

Life is what it is though, and we have to work our way through everything that comes along, as prayerfully as possible.  The mundane. The good and the great!  The sad and the challenging.

The rectory is done – but things have never found a new place.  So it’s not, particularly, in order as it should be.  Still, it works for now.

Next step – order.  A little bit at a time goes a long way on any given day.  I’m letting go of many personal possessions and speaking with the staff and parishioners about some of the things around here that are needing to go – like fax machines from the ’90’s, cardboard items from summer camps years ago.  Et cetera.  I mean – you don’t just get rid of stuff owned by the Parish.

I’ve taken a few days free to help get things more organized as we head into Advent.  But my back is killing me due to the chair I have here, and I’ll probably be in bed resting, then walking and stretching.   And fasting and praying.  I’m low key sometimes like that, but doing a lot of reading and studying in the meantime.

Blessed Feast of St. Andrew in the morrow.

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Prayer and the Single Priest

father allen

I know, I know – all Priests are single. Or at least they’re supposed to be! (How is that for commentary on current events?)

What does a priest do?

I’ve been wondering about this for a while.  Not because I’m stupid enough to not have a clue, but because I’m curious enough to want to have a deeper understanding.  Too, I wonder because the ideas of what a priest does have changed over the last half century or so. Which is fine – these things happen.  They just take a while to fully comprehend.

The Second Vatican Council – the turning point in the historical life of the Church – doesn’t have a great view of the priesthood, which is most likely to do with the fact that everyone wanted to get away from “clericalism”.  Vatican 2 is all about the Bishops and the People of God.  (This, ironically, is coming to bizarre fruition as the People of God demand accountability from the Bishops regarding the ongoing abuse crisis after the Bishops in large part responded in acts of clericalism, after throwing priests under the bus.)

The priests are assistants to the bishops. The priests are administrators of the sacraments.  The priest must be present to the people constantly. The priest must always be aware of the pastoral concerns of the flock entrusted to his care.   All of these were drummed into us at various times in seminary.

It’s not a very lofty vision of the priesthood.  We’re assistants to the bishop and attend to the many memos and drafts and programs which are developed by the bishop and his associates at the chancery, and we attend to the items discerned by our pastoral councils. We’re administrators of the sacraments in that we say Masses, Baptisms, Weddings, hear hours of Confessions, occasionally Confirm;  we bury the dead, tend to the poor and the sick, help the helpless and the homeless and the hopeless.

And in the midst of it all, we meet the most fascinating people one would ever hope to meet.

Deep Calls to Deep

Many of the men and women I meet who are the most profound in their Faith are the ones who don’t let the current crises and various dramas get to them.  It’s not that they’re unaffected. It’s that they have priorities, and their priorities center around virtue, the humility of a confessional life, a focus on truth, and Jesus Christ.  Or, they just love the Lord, and in that love they – often unwittingly – find a beautiful sense of self, rooted in humility, humilitas.

Some appear kind of elitist, or snobby.  But they have full lives;  prayer, family, spiritual directors, apostolates, careers, friends; hundreds to thousands of people asking for a bit of their time.  It’s difficult to be present to everyone at every moment.  A friend of mine who is principal of a large Catholic school has admitted that she too has to triage – to assign degrees of urgency to various calls and tasks.  As a priest, triaging is a matter of course, and we quite honestly want to meet with everyone and speak with them, and take time with them. Some we grow closer to than others, it’s the nature of the spiritual life;  sometimes of circumstance.  Others don’t appear aloof or snobby at all, just different; set apart; called. Chosen.

Prayer and Seminary

Prayer is stressed in seminary, of course, and obviously.  The horrors we hear about in Catholic media, bloggers, vloggers, publications, about seminary life and how horrible and terrible and disgusting it is are, in my experience, not true.  Seminary wasn’t a cesspool of filth.  It was a place where we discerned priesthood. True some discovered that life exists outside of the faith while they were there.  Better there than once ordained.

It’s maturation in the faith to realize that we can do anything we want in life – and then to make a conscious choice to live as a disciple of Jesus Christ and to practice the virtue of faith.  It’s not for the faint of heart, but it’s not rocket science either.

Which gets us back towards prayer obligations… Because prayer in seminary is pretty easy.  You walk down to the chapel and there is the whole liturgical life of the Church right there – or at least part of it.

To Teach, to Govern, to Sanctify

So.  What does a priest do?  Canonically, a priest teaches, governs and sanctifies.  I’ve typed up a lot about that and will have to dig it up. (Will I?  Will I ever really dig it up and share it?)  He also must commit to praying the Divine Office, and to preaching the Gospel.

The problem I have is with the Divine Office, as it’s kind of a murky obligation these days.  It’s clear that we have to do it.  But even the rubrics of it say that “in case of grave pastoral necessity, it is possible to at least pray the two great hinges of the day – Morning Prayer and Evening Prayer.”  That’s not an exact quote, but it’s something to that effect.

The Divine Office

Over the years the Divine Office has changed a lot.  It’s composed mainly of Psalms, with readings from the Old Testament, the lives and writings of the saints, the Gospel and the Epistles.  When we read about the saints who spent hours in prayer, it’s mainly because of the Divine Office – also known as the Liturgy of the Hours, or simply as the Breviary. It used to occupy several hours of the day and was structured, after centuries of use, in accord with the flow of the week, the season of the year, the liturgical life of the church.  The Mass is part of the Divine Office, and so was offered daily as often as one might.  (Mass was never required to be said daily, as has been pointed out to me on Twitter by someone well-versed int he 1917 code of Canon Law, and who was really, really enthusiastic about putting me in my place. I’m not an expert here, and I don’t pretend to be. ProTip: admit you’re not the expert when you know you’re not.)

I struggle with the Divine Office in its current form because it’s – well, how do I say this.  I don’t want to say it’s insipid. And I don’t want to say it’s uninspiring, or that it comes across as a random mish-mash of scriptural writings that leave one wondering what one just read.  It’s not all that.

It’s more that, after studying the various formats used over the centuries, I don’t understand the drastic changes, abrogations and additions that were made in the late 60’s.  It’s easier, it does have sense in its format and structure.  but like the changes in the Mass, it’s more ordered to recitation in community, than in personal prayer.

And a priest in a parish doesn’t always have the luxury of a community with which to pray the Office, or with which to pray daily Mass. (Unless one send out texts to people announcing an individual Mass that day – which happens.)

As a consequence, the mandatory hours of prayer in which religious used to spend their time have been cut drastically short.  Recommended time of prayer abounds, but each soul has to be creative and persistent.  There’s no real (I’ll add the word clear in here) advice or mandate on prayer from the Church.  Pray the Office, have a devotion to Mary the Mother of God, have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ.  Say the Mass as often as possible unless you’re alone and the bishop doesn’t think you should do that, in which case you can certainly still say it.  It’s not a crime.

Recommendations

  • Read the Bible daily
  • Pray the Divine Office – recite it aloud
  • Liturgical Prayer is important  – Mass plus Divine Office above
  • think about God – meditate on the Law of the Lord day and night
  • trim your daily duties – TV, idle chatter;  triage important items
  • develop your personal relationships; friends, family – it will help develop your relationship with the Lord
  • beg the Lord for the grace of prayer.  Be humble and beg. Pride led to the downfall, after all.
  • meditate on the name of Jesus Christ. Meditate on the person of Jesus Christ, his life, death and resurrection.
  • don’t forget to meditate on the ascension of Jesus Christ.  It’s important too – do you know why?
  • meditate on the descent of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost. Do you often consider that the greatest power in the universe, the Spirit of the Lord, has been poured forth into your heart as God’s love for you?
  • Read the Epistles – St. Paul and the other New Testament writers give a bold witness to what it means to be a Christian.
  • Meditate on the Gospels.  What do they mean?  What was it like when these things happened?  While written simply, almost every chapter or verse could be made into a book or a movie.
  • Just pray.  Abraham our father in Faith sat under an oak tree and spoke with God. He was highly favored, but he didn’t have the spirit of the living God dwelling within him.   He took the time to sit out of his busy life and discern that the Lord was speaking to him;  he listened, he responded, he shaped his life accordingly with a few mistakes on the way.

 

Prayer Time

Structuring prayer time is really up to you.  But recommendations usually go along these lines.

  1. Have a place for prayer.  We like place – and sacred place is a beautiful thing to be in, and to create in your own home.
  2. Quiet yourself as you might.  A blessed icon, a specific prayer, a focus on the Lord Jesus Christ, the Trinity – all will help calm your mind and clear distractions.
  3. Don’t be afraid of distractions. We live in one of the busiest times ever known to mankind, with as many distractions as have ever existed.  Distraction is a part of prayer.  Maybe the Lord is using a distraction to call your attention to something?  The tasks you have to organize – maybe a need to declutter your life; a relationship that causes struggle – perhaps forgiveness and humility are called for – or a stern scolding; a person you’ve met and would like to know better – perhaps a call to prayer for them;  the drama of current events;  a pressing unresolved issue – a reminder to be persistent in prayer and to be persistent in your trust in the promises of the Lord.  He knows our needs before we do, and he created us in his image and likeness to his glory.  Do not be afraid.
  4. Give this all to the Lord.
  5. Think about whatever it is your praying with.  Fill your mind with thoughts of Jesus Christ, God the Father, the Holy Spirit;  or some verse(s) or incidents from Scripture.
  6. Ask Jesus to help you.
  7. Close with the Our Father. Keep it simple.

You can do this!

And certainly, I can too.  I just need to get over my bad self and stop wondering about the changes to the Divine Office, and just do it.  Life is much less complex than I pretend it to be.

Blessings.

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Penance and Prayer

courtyard de los Dominicanos

Hilary White posted a great little TED talk today, all about quitting Social Media.

Really, what would do without the time-sucking habit of social media? I can think of quite a lot actually, most of which has to do with prayer. (In fact her post is all about prayer, and becoming a saint.) To be fair, some of that time would no doubt be devoted to the paycheck sucking habit of photography, which has once again been lighting up my life. But social media can be – while a great way to keep in touch – also a waste of time, a hindrance to prayer.

Which, coincidentally, I was thinking about just today because I was outlining a book about prayer. Prayer has so many forms, and we should avail ourselves of creativity in exploring the world of prayer. What does the Bible have to say? Each book of it is, in its own way, a sort of relational

Personal prayer, liturgical prayer, meditative prayer, contemplative prayer, spoken prayer. Then the strange examples we see in the life of Jesus – He groaned from the depths of His spirit; He sighed from the depths of is being; he went up to the mountaintop and prayed all night.

Going up to the mountaintop is an interesting concept in and of itself. The mountains in the Holy Land aren’t the Himalayas, but they aren’t exactly hills. Going to the top would take most of a day, during which conversation might take place with the disciples or the apostles. It would also involve rest and refreshment. So we see the idea from Psalm 95, repeated in the Letter to the Hebrews, of entering into the Lord’s rest.

Shutting things down, heading to the high place, and entering into the Lord’s rest. Or – asking Him for the grace to enter into His rest.

We can read all the books in the world about how to pray. (We can read St. Ignatius who is evry clear.) Really, the Lord has given us so many great examples, He’s given us the Mass and the entire sacramental life of the Church which we should ideally carry into the moments of our daily lives. He’s given us the examples in Scripture, of the lives of the saints; fasting, penance, praise, glorfying, magnifying. Ultimately, we should ask the Lord how to pray, and just start doing it.

This will prove a fruitful line of thought.

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Adventures in Latin

Latin Book

I get this all the time: “But why do you need to know Latin? It’s a dead language! No one needs to know Latin anymore!”

Lot’s of reasons to study Latin.  One of the best I’ve read is this, regarding its educational virtue: “The study of Latin is an ongoing practice in linguistic puzzle-solving that generally helps students to become close and careful readers and writers. Many believe it also generally hones the mental faculties, cultivating careful analysis and attention. When one well-known cancer researcher, Dr. Charles Zubrod (who helped develop chemotherapy treatment for leukemia patients), was asked what had best prepared him for a life of medical research, he responded: “Studying Latin and Greek as a child.”

Ooh, here’s another great article on learning Latin – The Case for Studying Latin. (I could go on forever here.) I won’t be speaking in Latin anytime soon, or writing in it, or reading it with instant comprehension. But a little bit regularly adds up over time.

Me studying Latin often goes something like this below.  It’s from the beginning of the Gospel of John, verses 1-14, translated sentence by sentence via the Catholic Bible online site, to see how the words in Latin correspond to the meaning in English. The Latin is from St. Jerome’s Vulgate edition of the Bible, which was commisioned by Pope Damasus in 382 to clean up the older Latin translations and have one, easy-to-access Bible in the common tongue – the vulgar tongue.

The fact that it was in the common language leads many to say we shouldn’t have it in Latin today, and don’t need to study Latin. Because the common tongue is English! And Spanish, and French, and German, and Polish, and Vietnamese, and Chinese. Fact is, the Vulgate is in a more stylized Latin than the “commoner’s” language.

The Vulgate is the first translation done directly from the Hebrew, not the Greek. And St. Jerome ensconced himself in a small chapel in the Holy Land working on it tirelessly until its end. He was said to be a crotchety grumpy man. But if I sat inside a small Chapel translating the Bible all day… Well never mind. I’d like to think that would make me less grumpy and crotchety.

He must have been preoccupied, and probably just got irritated when people barged in and asked if he had a few minutes while he, quill in hand, was meticulously pondering the meaning of potestatem Die fieri his, or some other notable phrase. You can easily imagine him looking up mid-thought and saying “Out! Out I tell you! Discedite a me, qui operamini iniquitatem

I mean, I’m just like that when people walk into my office whilst I’m ensconced in paperwork, receipts, phone calls, emails, and piles of correspondence from the Archdiocese that I don’t have time to answer, let alone open. (I do open them of course, and I’m actually very polite in case anyone’s wondering. If I don’t clarify that someone will read it and the whole line of “Father is so grumpy when you walk in on him in his office!” will start out of the blue, for no reason other than I’m engaging in hyperbole on my fascinating little weblog.)

So. Here is the beginning of the Gospel of John, verse by verse, with the Latin, then the Duaoy-Rheims, then the Knox, all lined up in a row, followed by some words I needed to look up more directly. The Duaoy-Rheims Bible is the official English translation from about 1590, just prior to the King James Version. And the Knox version is the early 20th century, which used both the Hebrew and the Greek – along with the Latin – and is meant to be used in conjunction with the Douay-Rheims.

John 1:1-14

In principio erat Verbum, et Verbum erat apud Deum, et Deus erat Verbum.
1-In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.
1 At the beginning of time the Word already was; and God had the Word abiding with him, and the Word was God.

Hoc erat in principio apud Deum.
2 The same was in the beginning with God.
2 He abode, at the beginning of time, with God.

Omnia per ipsum facta sunt: et sine ipso factum est nihil, quod factum est.
3 All things were made by him: and without him was made nothing that was made.
3 It was through him that all things came into being, and without him came nothing that has come to be.

In ipso vita erat, et vita erat lux hominum:
4 In him was life, and the life was the light of men.
4 In him there was life, and that life was the light of men.

et lux in tenebris lucet, et tenebræ eam non comprehenderunt.
5 And the light shineth in darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it.
5 And the light shines in darkness, a darkness which was not able to master it.

6 Fuit homo missus a Deo, cui nomen erat Joannes.
6 There was a man sent from God, whose name was John.
6 A man appeared, sent from God, whose name was John.

Hic venit in testimonium ut testimonium perhiberet de lumine, ut omnes crederent per illum.
7 This man came for a witness, to give testimony of the light, that all men might believe through him.
7 He came for a witness, to bear witness of the light, so that through him all men might learn to believe.

8 Non erat ille lux, sed ut testimonium perhiberet de lumine.
8 He was not the light, but was to give testimony of the light.
8 He was not the Light; he was sent to bear witness to the light.

Erat lux vera, quæ illuminat omnem hominem venientem in hunc mundum.
9 That was the true light, which enlighteneth every man that cometh into this world.
9 There is one who enlightens every soul born into the world; he was the true Light.

10 In mundo erat, et mundus per ipsum factus est, et mundus eum non cognovit.
10 He was in the world, and the world was made by him, and the world knew him not.
10 He, through whom the world was made, was in the world, and the world treated him as a stranger.

11 In propria venit, et sui eum non receperunt.
11 He came unto his own, and his own received him not.
11 He came to what was his own, and they who were his own gave him no welcome.

12 Quotquot autem receperunt eum, dedit eis potestatem filios Dei fieri, his, qui credunt in nomine ejus:
12 But as many as received him, he gave them power to be made the sons of God, to them that believe in his name.
12 But all those who did welcome him, he empowered to become the children of God, all those who believe in his name;

13 qui non ex sanguinibus, neque ex voluntate carnis, neque ex voluntate viri, sed ex Deo nati sunt.
13 Who are born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.
13 their birth came, not from human stock, not from nature’s will or man’s, but from God.

14 Et Verbum caro factum est, et habitavit in nobis: et vidimus gloriam ejus, gloriam quasi unigeniti a Patri plenum gratiæ et veritatis.
14 And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we saw his glory, the glory as it were of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth.
14 And the Word was made flesh, and came to dwell among us; and we had sight of his glory, glory such as belongs to the Father’s only-begotten Son, full of grace and truth.

Some Vocabulary

Quotquot autem = many however
receperunt eum = recieved him
dedit eis potestatem = gave them power
filios Dei = sons of God
fieri his = this happens (?)

quotquot = many
neque = or
voluntate = will
carne = flesh
viri = man
sed ex Deo = but/and from/by God
nati sunt = are born

In Conclusio

Mental note to turn off auto spell-correct.

Blessings. Hodie, Magnificat animae tuum Dominum.

I hope that’s right.

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Our Humorous Lord.

Dahlias

A while ago I was praying about my life, my ministry, my work in the vineyard, and I just heard the Lord saying “Write.” (Maybe He was just saying “Right!”)

But no – He wants me to write. So I tidied up my little blog here. And then the entire thing disappeared – which is certainly apropos.

So, start anew, and write. Blog. Keep a blog.

At this very same instant, the Church started manifesting one of the largest crises in her history. So – I’ll just start writing about that too. I certainly don’t hold back on Facebook. The comment threads are all over the place.

But realistically, very few people are truly happy with the direction the Church is going in. Some are because that’s how the Church is – big and filled with many souls with differing opinions on just about everything.

At the same time, the Church can’t just start changing teachings willy-nilly, which they’re “not doing”, and “are doing” at the same time, with very vague language explaining the changes/not changes. And when they do/don’t change teachings and praxis, everyone has a right to question what’s going on. Which is happening, and which the Church has consistently said needs to happen. Good enough.

So if the Lord wants me to write about that – well, He certainly has something much better in store than my own dismal view of such a task. Who am I to question the abundant grace and favor of the Lord? His mercy? His justice? The many graces and blessings which flow into my life? The terrible sacrifice at Calvary, in darkness, terror, wind and storm, where the precious blood of our savior flowed out with water for the salvation of us all; cleansing and washing us from sin. The ascension into Heaven, wherein human nature is raised above that of the angels, and which Jesus Himself said was a part of the plan. Where He sits in glorious unmatchable beauty at the right hand of the father, in majesty, power, in tremendous might – and yet approachable, gentle, kind, generous, humorous. As if he’d bump you with his shoulder and give you a wink and a smile.

I asked on Twitter a while ago, if the current crisis in the Church was affecting anyone’s prayer life, and had some great responses.

Fr. Kenneth Allen on Twitter

Have the scandals and subsequent revelations affected anyone’s prayer life? If so, how? These are things I’d like to know. I’ve struggled a bit. #Prayer #Catholic #USCCB2018

HAve I misread the Lord? Has anyone else ever felt this need to write?

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Psalm 100 – A Psalm for Thanksgiving

My brother, God bless him, asked me to read this Psalm yesterday for our Thanksgiving gathering. I ended up not reading it because the situation was confusing for me – and I’m sure for all of us there gathered.

We had Thanksgiving last year together, but without my brother who was living under a railroad trestle at the time.

Not to speak poorly of my brother in the least – we all have our challenges in life. His challenges have led him to some difficult times, which have been difficult for all of us. Still, we all soldier on. And I’m sure to him I’m the irritating Priest always exhorting him to prayer and conversion further and further to Jesus Christ.

Still.

Yesterday on the phone he said that he would like to pray Psalm 100 before the meal, as one of his friends had recommended it. I was happy to oblige and grateful he brought it up. He was in a bit of a manic phase, and I was not, so I ended up getting frazzled. Then, being in my niece’s house, in a new situation with her not there, my sister in law, grand niece, and the rest of the close family there – was new and emotional

So when we sat down to dinner everything happened suddenly. Everyone was starting to eat while others were serving themselves and my brother was sleeping on a living room chair. I said the blessing quietly and joined in the Feast.

In retrospect, I should have been the prayer leader that I’m trained and experienced to be. But I didn’t, given over to introspection and discerning the dynamics at play, as I’m wont to do. Big fail.

Before I knew it, the moments had passed.

But now I know. Take the lead.

Psalm 100, (# 99from the Knox version, according to the Greek numbering.)

Let the whole earth keep holiday in God’s honor; pay to the Lord the homage of your rejoicing, appear in his presence with glad hearts. Learn that it is the Lord, no other, who is God; his we are, he it was that made us; we are his own people, sheep of his own pasturing. Pass through these gates, enter these courts of his, with hymns of praise, give him thanks, and bless his name. Gracious is the Lord, everlasting his mercy; age after age, he is faithful to his promise still.

Psalm #100, from the King James Version.

Make a joyful noise unto the Lord, all ye lands. Serve the Lord with gladness: come before his presence with singing. Know ye that the Lord he is God: it is he that hath made us, and not we ourselves; we are his people and the sheep of his pasture. Enter into his gates with thanksgiving, and into his courts with praise: be thankful unto him, and bless his name. For the Lord is good; his mercy is everlasting, and his truth endureth to all generations.

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Happy Thanksgiving

Organo Pleno

After all the Masses, after all the travel, after all the turkey is digested – I have to admit to having mixed feelings about Thanksgiving.

My Loves

  • I’m thankful for the Cross of Jesus Christ.
  • I’m grateful for my Priesthood and the Church.
  • I love my family.
  • I’m very thankful for the many blessings and graces I experience in this life.
  • I absolutely love my work here at St. Jane Parish, and the many, many, many marvelous people with whom I’m able to meet, to share, to pray.
  • I love living on the Northshore
  • I love my friends here, and all over the world.

My Struggles

  • I struggle with my family life in a broad sense in that there is some mental illness involved, and the ripple effects are difficult to deal with all of the time.
  • I still struggle with my niece’s death; I’ve been working several times a week to help my brother get situated in a stable situation, which is at last and at least stable for this year. Now, after passing the baton on that, it’s allowed me the emotional room to sit with the emotions involved, and to consider her children more.
  • Her children don’t know me, I’m just the uncle priest who shows up now and again – mainly because everytime I’m in town I’ve been helping my brother get settled. So I’m never really able to show up. And her children don’t really see each other right now.
  • Family. Emotions. Struggle. We all go through it to a degree. I’m sad I don’t have a better relationship with some of my family. I’ll have to step away from some of my obligations with others to be more present to them.
  • I’m thankful for that realization.
  • I have struggles with the current situation in the Church. Through a random dial flip on el radio I started listening to someone who turned out to be Joel Olsteen on Sirius XM the other day and I’ve listened on and off whilst driving for a few days. I know – people will complain about the “prosperity Gospel,” Protestantism, etc. (Yes, I know.)

    But Leo XIII does talk about the fact that leading a Christian life, and thereby growing in virtue, will predispose one to lead a better life and a more prosperous life. See Rerum Novarum. Of course I’m not leaving the Faith, and of course I realize what’s meant when people talk about “the prosperity Gospel.” But the idea is not totally without merit.

    Overall it’s more refreshing to listen to someone speak about the Gospel and the stories of the Old Testament, and explain them in a faithful way, than it is to listen to a dried up faithless man explain that the creation and maintenance of a culture of child abuse in the Church is a non-issue and we need to pay more attention to climate change and immigration, and not be so triumphalistic and filled with clericalism.

    I can’t blame people for being disillusioned and leaving the Faith, given what the Church has handed on to them. Jesus may not have mentioned abortion by name, but I don’t recall him mentioning climate change, immigration and gender identity by name either.

Is there any hope for these situations? Is there any hope for life? Woe is me.

Is there any hope for my life, my retirement accounts, the stacks of paperwork I’m slowly but surely clearing out of my life forever? Why bother, I tell you?!

Of course, there is. Salvation is from the Lamb – and from the word of their testimony.

With all of that being said, Happy Thanksgiving! It’s a beautiful holiday and a great feast.

The picture of the pipe organ up above is triumphant. It’s not a great picture – an iPhone photo from Spain just prior to the Camino de Santiago, all blurry and fuzzy. We all need a sense of triumph in our lives, no matter how fuzzy; it’s in our spirits no matter what a faithless generation has to tell us.

And in Thanksgiving Football, the Bears ended up with – well, a little dance. <pained-emoji.gif>

I’ll leave it at that.

Chicago Bears on Twitter

When in Motown. #DaBears https://t.co/XSqEiOgKub

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The Mysterious Monsignor Bux on Credos, Papal Resignation, and Invalidity

The news cycles come and go so fast it’s difficult keeping up. What makes it easier are the recurring themes.

I mean really. We just want to praise and worship our Lord Jesus Christ now and forever, man. Let’s not go messing with that.

So What’s it All About?

The uptake of it is this: Monsignor Bux recently questioned the abdication of Pope Benedict XVI, saying it should be examined for validity. (I’ll note here that this hypothesis has been bandied about and dismissed by theologians for several years.)

The drama started innocently enough, with an obscure article written on an Italian blog (hence it’s obscurity here – it may very well be the rage in Italy for all I know.)

No Title

No Description

The article was then picked up by Edward Pentin, the renowned Vatican correspondent who writes for the National Catholic Register, and has reported on the Catholic Church from Rome for other publications which include Newsweek, Newsmax, Zenit, The Catholic Herald, and The Holy Land Review. He’s no slouch, and he’s no wild-eyed reactionary.

And It Begins to Spread

So it came to be that when he took note of the obscure article, published in the aftermath of the recent Youth Synod in Rome, and in the midst of the controversially disappointing Bishop’s General Assembly by the USCCB in Baltimore, many others did as well. (Most notably me of course. But Ann Barnhardt wrote about it, and has long held that the resignation of Benedict is invalid.)

From the Twitterz –

https://twitter.com/EdwardPentin/status/1062501342353211394

To his own website.

Monsignor Bux: Pope Francis Must Urgently Issue Profession of Faith

The Vatican theologian says unless the Pope reaffirms Church teaching on morals, the faith and the sacraments, ‘the apostasy will deepen and the de facto schism will widen.’ In a forceful interview with Italian Vaticanist Aldo Maria Valli, Msgr.

Credo

The interview has some interesting things to say. Obviously, given the title, Monsignor Bux suggests that Pope Francis needs issue and proclaim a Credo, a profession of the Catholic faith, due to the confusion caused by his magisterial teachings. Two prime examples he uses are the various interpretations of Amoris Laetitia, and the changing of the teaching on the Death Penalty in the Catechism – both of which are highly controversial and not the subject of this post.

Who is Monsignor Monsignor Bux?

Monsignor Bux is a professor of liturgy and sacramentology at the “Institute of Ecumenical and Patristic Theology” in Bari, a consultant of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith and the Congregation for the Causes of Saints and the Office of the Papal Liturgical Celebrations; adviser to Communio magazine, and author of numerous publications. He’s said to have been one of Pope Benedict XVI’s closest collaborators.

So his words have merit.

If we recall long, long ago in the Wayback Machine’s of our minds, we see him saying some very profound things shortly after the resignation of Pope Benedict XVI and the invention of an entirely new branch of the papacy – the contemplative branch – a synodality of Popes. #wierdness

Benedict’s Closest Collaborator

Fr. Kenneth Allen on Twitter

So rich. The reforms which were expected to happen after #Pope Benedict resigned (and which quite obviously have not happened.) Via the interview in the last tweet.

The linked interview is a fascinating glimpse at what was thought to happen by what the article refers to as Pope Benedict’s closest collaborator. None of which happened, of course. They were obviously living in a dream world.

The “Martyrdom” of Pope Benedict XVI

While Pope Benedict XVI’s resignation and the end of his pontificate are still sending shock waves throughout the world, Catholic World Report spoke with a senior theologian, Don Nicola Bux, among the closest collaborators of Benedict XVI, especially regarding liturgical matters, as he is a consultor to the Office of Liturgical Celebrations of the Supreme Pontiff.

Here’s the larger view.

Bux interview 2013

The News Spreads Like Wildfire

The news went on to be picked up by Pajamas Media:

Fr. Kenneth Allen on Twitter

Here we are Again, the news has made it to PJMedia ~ Noted Vatican Theologian Priest Says Pope Francis may be an Antipope; Calls For Study of #Pope Benedict’s Resignation https://t.co/RGosE4yvWK #Catholic

Rorate-Caeli;

For the Record: Msgr. Bux questions Ratzinger’s resignation, Bergoglio’s legitimacy

We post this now as an important part of the record during the reign of Bergoglio. While we discussed this on Twitter a few days ago, we are just now able to post this on the blog. Long-time readers know we have followed the “Good Bux” for many years (click the tags at the bottom of the post to read more).

And ultimately many others.

So what of it?

Public discontent amongst the Faithful has been growing for several years amongst the Faithful. While it’s said to be a handful of “conservative bloggers” who dislike him, nothing could be farther from the truth. He’s loved by the generation of Vatican II, he’s simply leaving too much doubt in the minds of the Faithful. And his recent handling of the various sex crises around the world – most especially in the US, for all of us here – have left the entire world dumbfounded and angry.

I don’t see anything coming of this per se.

I can see, however, that as discontent and confusion continue to grow, then the Credo, the resignation, the possibility of heresy – all will be scrutinized with a fine-toothed comb, determining what is, in fact, the truth.

Psalm 34/35.

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