March 2013

All the “good guys” are for it and all the “bad guys” are against it. I just can’t get over the feeling that this is a trap.

School, church officials praise Indiana court decision to uphold state’s voucher program

The biggest problem I have is that when one starts accepting money from the government then the government can dictate how it has to be spent. We already have a state superintendent that is against it but vows to administer it “faithfully” (ironic choice of words). We won’t always have the same Governor. What happens when Catholic schools are dependent on this money and the state starts telling them what they can and can not use the money for? I pray that doesn’t happen, but I’m not optimistic.

Another problem I have with this is that the spokesman for all things officially Catholic in this state not only has officially stated that the primary goal of catholic (from this point on it will be a small “c” for catholic in front of “schools”) schools is not the promotion of the faith but the “education” of  students. I realize in actuality this has been the case and attitude of catholic schools for some time. Now it is official. He not only states it, he seems to laud it.

The things people do and say for money never ceases to amaze me.



We visited St. Cecilia for the Good Friday liturgy this afternoon and used the WLP missalette to follow St. John’s account of the Passion set to dialogue. On the cover, I noticed a strangely beautiful painting of the Crucifixion. It’s by Albrecht Altdorfer of Regensburg, who evidently painted it in 1518 for the “St. Sebastian Altar” at the great Augustinian monastery of St. Florian in Upper Austria. If anyone has any additional information on the painting/altarpiece, I’d love to have it.

Note to Ms. Hunt: If you’re looking for young Catholics, go to St. Cecilia, where Fr. Weber immerses them in reverent liturgies, no-nonsense doctrine, and daily confession.

In a typically inscrutable column for the Catholic Telegraph of Cincinnati, “nationally recognized catechetical leader and author” Jeanne Hunt presents us with a false choice of which should come first, conversion or catechesis. She predictably chooses the first and then never bothers even to address the second, other than dismissively, when she claims that many Catholic parents have “memorized the rules of religion but have sparse knowledge of the cause for such devotion.” Has any Catholic under 60 really spent too much time memorizing aspects of their Faith? I’m in my mid-40s, and doubt 1-in-10 Catholic parents my age can name the Ten Commandments. And yet Ms. Hunt claims to be mystified that young Catholics, i.e., the children of my peers, are turning away from the Faith in droves. How are they supposed to stay converted to Christ if they don’t get to know Him? Heaven forbid they should memorize anything. In any event, what got my attention was this paragraph near the end:

So, what has gone wrong? Just a few generations ago, everyone was “God-fearing.” Our families were immersed in faith. We prayed together. We went to the Catholic parish for education, social life, prayer, and devotion. All around us were the witnesses of wonderful, faith-filled people. We met Jesus at every turn. He was the unseen guest in all of our homes.

She then fast-forwards to today, when many parents fear they “cannot give what they do not have.” Shouldn’t this be where catechesis kicks in? Ms. Hunt doesn’t seem to recognize that between “a few generations ago” and now, there were at least two generations (generation being defined as ~ 15 years) of Catholics schooled in burlap-&-butterfly catechesis. Thankfully, in 2013 we have marvelous resources available to help parents and catechists, e.g., the universal Catechism, the Compendium, the United States Catholic Catechism for Adults, Fr. Barron’s Catholicism video series. Again, you can’t really love someone you don’t know. Which is why conversion and catechesis go hand-in-hand; “both/and” and all that. This is only as hard as we make it.

Not so long ago, it was the custom of local parishes, most acutely those with generous “penitential” reputations, to suspend hearing confessions during the Triduum. It was largely based on a mistaken interpretation of the missal, which understandably has us avoid Mass along with baptisms and weddings during this time. That’s why it’s great to see two priests central to Cincinnati’s East side renaissance generously offering access to confession on Good Friday. Fr. Fox at St. Rose will be “in the box” at 11 am tomorrow, and Fr. Weber at St. Cecilia at 3:30 pm. Don’t hesitate to keep the good padres company.

And here’s a link to Fr. Fox’s terrific homily for tonight’s Mass of the Lord’s Supper.

We need a new term for an abuse of the liturgy by a Pope.

Because that’s what happened today.

The Holy Father, as the Supreme Legislator for the Church universal, is within his rights to change beforehand the rubrics for the Mass. But he is not free to disregard them as he goes along. Indeed, a true spirit of humility would suggest submitting to them.

On the practical side of the equation, this move sends exactly the wrong signal to the Bernardin men — young and old — who still dominate this diocese. Try complaining to your pastor about a “minor” abuse of the liturgy or deviation from the missal now.

What a shame.

In his latest column for the Catholic Telegraph of Cincinnati, Fr. Earl Fernandes, the dean of the Athenaeum of Ohio/Mount St. Mary’s of the West Seminary, answers the question, “Will new Jesuit Pope make the Church more liberal?”:

Catholics should give thanks to God that we have a Pope. What joy to hear “Habemus Papam”! It is good to have a universal shepherd, a visible center of unity in the person of the Pope, the Vicar of Christ. In Pope Francis for the first time in history the Church has a Pope who was a Jesuit. Just as not all popes are the same, not all Jesuits are the same. They differ, like all people, in temperament, style, and personality. They have diverse areas of expertise and different interests. The idea that Jesuits tend to be more liberal is a generalization; perhaps one has this impression because some Jesuits are more vocal than others with particular agendas, but that does not mean that all Jesuits are that way. Jesuits are shaped and formed in different seminaries, different pastoral settings, by diverse experiences, and by different families. Further, one must realize that in any office over time, a person changes and develops; sometimes an office such as the papacy, with its responsibilities and burdens, changes a person. …

The Cincinnati Enquirer reports that the Supreme Court is about to strike down the Defense of Marriage Act.

As I read yet another story about Pope Francis breaking with a tradition of his predecessors in the name of humility, I am reminded of a key section in Peter Kreeft’s chapter on aesthetics in his The Philosophy of Tolkien, where Kreeft quotes C.S. Lewis from A Preface to “Paradise Lost”:

In an age when every one puts on his oldest clothes to be happy in, you must re-awake the simpler state of mind in which people put on gold and scarlet to be happy in. Above all, you must be rid of the hideous idea, the fruit of a widespread inferiority complex, that pomp, on the proper occasions, has any connexion with vanity or self-conceit. A celebrant approach the altar, a princess led out by a kind to dance a minuet, a general officer on a ceremonial parade, a major-domo preceding the boar’s head at a Christmas feast – all these wear unusual clothes and move with calculated dignity. The does not mean that they are vain, but that they are obedient. … The modern habit of doing ceremonial things unceremoniously is no proof of humility; rather it proves the offender’s inability to forget himself in the rite. …

We moderns may like dances which are hardly distinguishable from walking and poetry which sounds as if it might be uttered ex tempore. Our ancestors did not. They liked a dance which was a dance, and fine clothes which no one could mistake for working clothes, and feasts that no one could mistake for ordinary dinners, and poetry that unblushingly proclaimed itself to be poetry. What is the point of having a poet, inspired by the Muse, if he tells the stories just as you or I would have told them? … When we are caught up into the experience which a “grand” style communicates, we are, in a sense, no longer conscious of the style. Incense is consumed by being used.

Not an EMHC? Join us to learn how you can participate.

The Church instructs that Extraordinary Ministers of Holy Communion may be used only “where there are particularly large numbers of the faithful and which would be excessively prolonged because of an insufficient number of ordained ministers to distribute Holy Communion.”

She further forbids “the habitual use of extraordinary ministers of Holy Communion at Mass, thus arbitrarily extending the concept of ‘a great number of the faithful.'”

So extraordinary ministers are for exceptional, unique circumstances, and not for a typical Sunday Mass.

So why on earth is a local parish inviting a priest to host a “motivation in ministry” session on “the history, meaning and relevance of the Extraordinary Minister of Holy Communion (EMHC) in today’s liturgy,” along with a special “Commissioning” rite and call for even more EMHC volunteers?

For a decent explanation, see the retrograde project- and activity-driven flyer from the Worship commission that appears appears further in the bulletin.

At the end of a recent homily, new pastor Dan Hartnett, S.J., of Xavier University’s Bellarmine Chapel explains what he “likes” about Pope Francis:

– I like the fact that the Cardinals chose a man who, as archbishop of Argentina put aside the hierarchical trapping of residence and retinue to live simply;
‐ I like the fact that the new pope took the name of Francis, making it clear that he intends not to be a monarch but a servant who will “rebuild the church”;
‐ I like the fact that, after being named cardinal, he went back to the hotel on the bus with his colleagues;
– I like the fact that he asked the delegation from Argentina that was planning to travel to Rome: cancel the trip, save the money and give it to the poor;
‐ I like the fact that in his opening homily he challenged the cardinals to “keep their feet on the ground” and their “eyes and ears on the poor”;
‐ I like the fact that he is a Jesuit who received the same formation, who has made the Spiritual Exercises, a brother.

I suppose there’s nothing wrong with any of that, but aside from the mention of the Spiritual Exercises, it reads like, “What I gleaned about Pope Francis from the New York Times.” Here’s what he might have also said:

– I like the fact that the new pope is a stalwart defender of the unborn;
– I like the fact that he took a popular demagogue-president to task over her support for homosexual “marriage”;
– I like the fact that he mentioned the Devil twice in his first two addresses as Pope;
– I like the fact that he places Jesus Christ at the center of his preaching;
– I like the fact that he echoed his predecessor in warning affluent societies to be wary of a “dictatorship of relativism.”

That last “like” came after Fr. Hartnett’s homily, but I hope you get my point; there’s more to Pope Francis and the papacy than humility and social ethics.

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