Daily Archives: May 7, 2009

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Cardinal Cañizares on the Extraordinary Form and the Reform of the Reform

Antonio Cardinal Cañizares, (our new) Prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments, has written a great introduction to the Spanish edition of Fr. Nicola’ Bux’s The Reform of Benedict XVI, talking about the significance of the motu proprio Summorum Pontificum. The New Liturgical Movement has presented it in full:

Undoubtedly, a deepening and a renewal of the liturgy were necessary. But often, this has not been a perfectly successful operation. The first part of the Constitution Sacrosanctum Concilium has not entered into the heart of the Christian people. There was a change in the forms, a reform, but not a genuine renewal, as called for by the conciliar Fathers. . . . It is urgent, however, to distinguish the disciplinary problem arisen from attitudes of disobedience of one group form the doctrinal and liturgical problem.

If we truly believe that the Eucharist is really the “source and summit of Christian life” – as the Second Vatican Council reminds us – we cannot admit that it is celebrated in an unworthy manner. For many, accepting the conciliar reform has meant celebrating a Mass which in one way or another had to be ‘desacralised’. How many priests have been called “backward” or “anticonciliar” [or “political extremists,” as one blogger likes to put it] because of the mere fact of celebrating in a solemn or pious manner or simply for fully obeying the rubrics! It is imperative to get out of this dialectic.

Contrary to the claims of liberals and Charismatics, who see the “Reform” as an ongoing process, and traditionalists’ criticisms as being inaccurate “because we’re not done yet,” the Cardinal says,

The reform has been implemented and it has mainly been experienced as an absolute change, as if an abyss should be created between the “before” and the “after” the Council, in a context where the term “preconciliar” was used like an insult. Here also the phenomenon occurred which the Pope notes in his recent letter to the bishops of 10 March 2009: “Sometimes one has the impression that our society needs at least one group for which there need not be any tolerance; which one can unperturbedly set upon with hatred.” For years this was the case in good measure with the priests and faithful attached to the form of Mass inherited throughout the centuries, who were often treated “like lepers”, as the then Cardinal Ratzinger bluntly put it.

Cardinal Cañizares says that the Holy Father has not just managed to meet the demands of Lefebvrists and others “attached” to the traditional Mass, but, by “opening up its treasures to the faithful,” he has opened the eyes of many more laity.

How many times is the attitude of those who disdain them not due to anything other than this ignorance! Therefore, considered from this last aspect, the Motu Proprio makes sense beyond the presence or absence of conflicts: even if there were not a single “traditionalist” whom to satisfy, this “discovery” would have been enough to justify the provisions of the Pope.

The Council itself wanted the laity to be able to experience the full richness of liturgical tradition:

“In faithful obedience to Tradition, the Sacred Council declares that holy
Mother Church holds all lawfully acknowledged rites to be of equal right and
dignity; that she wishes to preserve them in the future and to foster them in
every way.” (SC, 4).

Moreover, these dispositions are not a novelty; the Church has always
maintained them, and when occasionally this has not been the case, the
consequences have been tragic. Not only have the rites of the East been
respected, but in the West dioceses such as Milan, Lyon, Cologne, Braga and
various religious orders have preserved their various rites peacefully through
the centuries. But the clearest precedent of the current situation is
undoubtedly the archdiocese of Toledo. Cardinal Cisneros put up every means to
preserve as “extraordinary” in the archdiocese the Mozarabic rite which was
about to become extinct. Not only did he make print the Missal and Breviary, but
he created a special chapel in the Cathedral, where still today this rite is
celebrated daily.

I have often said that one of the reasons I am politically conservative is that I am traditionalist.

I grew up hearing the “hermeneutic of discontinuity” by various CCD and religion teachers, priests, nuns, etc.: “Vatican II got rid of that” was a predictable antiphon, whether one was talking about using Latin at all, or indulgences, or the Rosary, or devotion to Saints, or statues, or reverence for the Blessed Sacrament as such. I saw that those Catholics who were politically liberal, into unions and social welfare, also seemed to be overtly hostile to the traditions of the Church. How could they, I reasoned, be representing the authentic view of Catholicism if they reject anything that came before 1960? And the Catholicism I read about in books about the saints looked a lot more attractive than what they were pushing.

Of course, growing up in the ignorance that Cardinal Cañizares refers to, I was forced by the advocates of divide to see Vatican II as something wrong, evil. I resisted Vatican II mainly on their word of it. But, as soon as I was able to view EWTN, read Crisis and read Dietrich von Hildebrand, my view of Vatican II changed. That was even more true when I began to read the documents themselves. It proved that those liberal Catholics were liars.

And now, when there are so many liberal Catholics trying to distance themselves from the overtly heretical attitudes of Call to Action and Voice of the Faithful , but to claim that they are merely “apolitical” or “balanced” or whatever term they use, that original litmus test still applies. “Catholics United” and “Vox Nova” types may insist “we are pro-life,” whether rightly or not (and they conveniently avoid the issue of contraception), but they are still openly hostile to the traditional liturgy, and to the Reform of the Reform.

The idea that we should have continuity not just with the Liturgy, but with the spiritual practices and beliefs of our Catholic ancestors, is the only anathema to “liberals” and “progressives.” They can say they are open to all self-identified “Catholics”.

Don’t even mention freemasonry or authentic Catholic culture.

An Anglican Priest discovers Desert Monasticism

h/t to Our Sunday Visitor.

One little hand

The story on the now 9-year-old child whose hand was pictured in the famous “unborn baby grips doctor’s finger during surgery” photo:
And Sometimes Tea: One Little Hand Against Abortion


"Not one baby will be saved . . . "

A common response to pro-life activism, particularly from the Catholic Left and self-proclaimed “center” is “Not one baby will be saved by what you’re doing.”
“Not one baby will be saved by protesting Obama at Notre Dame.”
“Not one baby will be saved by campaigning against that bill.”
“Not one baby will be saved by denying that politician Communion.”

And, sometimes, one is tempted to buy into that argument, as, often, abortion is a secondary issues. In the case of Notre Dame, it’s secondary to enforcement of Ex Corde Ecclesiae, and, in the case of politicians receiving Communion, it’s secondary to protection of the Blessed Sacrament against sacrilege.

However, who knows how many babies will be saved?

I’ve even seen snide comments made against 40 Days for Life, like, “What’s next? 52 days for life?” Those who are liberal, yet claim to be “just Catholic,” constantly expose their own deception by their animosity to the pro-life movement. They seek out any issue they can get to discredit pro-lifers. Sometimes, with issues like war and the death penalty, they grasp at straws. Other times, with issues like torture, pro-lifers unfortunately hand their enemies a noose.

There is this running theme among the Catholic Left, particulary given their triumphalism after this past election, and using the rhetoric passed down by Chris Korzen and Doug Kmiec, that the pro-life movement is, by and large, a failure.

They claim that our efforts to “lobby” the bishops to deny communion to politicians (in order to “pressure” said politicians) have failed (even though this *has* become a national issue, and many bishops *have* done their job, and even though both Pope Benedict and Cardinal Arinze have said such politicians *should* refrain from communion and should be excommunicated if they persist).

They’ve called Archbishop Burke all sorts of names, and they’ve tried to call his promotion a “silencing.” Then, as more and more bishops have spoken out more vocally on the previous election, and on the Obama administration, they’ve insisted those bishops are a “right wing fringe,” even though close to 1/3 of US bishops have now condemned Notre Dame’s award to Obama, including Roberty Lynch, one of the most liberal bishops in the country.

They claim to be “against abortion, but there are other issues.” They claim to “want to reduce abortions.” They claim to dislike the pro-life movement only because it’s so tied to the GOP, yet they a) oppose *every* form of pro-life activism that doesn’t involve socialism, b) oppose *every* effort to actually reduce abortions and c) call every pro-life organization, including ALL, HLI and EWTN, a GOP front operation. (It doesn’t help, of course ,that Raymond Arroyo has been allowed to turn The World Over into a very political broadcast).

To them, Mother Angelica–who often joked that she just wrote in Jesus’ Name for every election–is nothing more than the Evil-Lyn to Karl Rove’s Skeletor.

Speaking of Mother Angelica, one of my favorite Mother Angelica stories is the one about meeting an NBC executive. “What are your ratings like?” he asked.

“I dunno,” said Mother.
“You don’t know your own ratings?” gasped the executive. “In this business, that’s our gospel!”
“No,” said Mother. “That’s your problem. If just a single soul is saved by my network, it’s worth it.”

Will any children’s lives be saved by the Notre Dame protesting? Very likely so.

Even I was a bit wary of the “ND Abortion Plane” as a waste of time and resources, but what if some girl at Notre Dame right now is scared and considering abortion? Maybe even some girl in South Bend who doesn’t go to the college. What if some girl is praying for a sign from God, and she looks out her window and sees that plane?

I’ve graded a few papers by students who wrote about their abortion experiences, and they all said it would’ve taken one voice to discourage them, especially if that one person had offered some hope.

Bill Clinton said he was taught to be pro-choice at Georgetown. Five years ago, an Internet friend asked me for help on a political message board she was frequenting. There was a liberal Catholic woman on that board who was pro-abortion, pro-contraception, and proud of it. There were non-Catholic pro-lifers on the site who genuinely believed the Catholic Church was pro-abortion because they knew so many Catholics who were “pro-choice.”

They didn’t undersetand, if the Church was pro-life, why the Church allowed pro-choice politicians to call themselves Catholic.

Do you realize what a witness it is to non-Catholics that Catholics are standing up for our faith ? Do you realize that the main thing keeping many evangelical Protestants away from the Church is the perception of Catholics as being hypocrites who don’t follow what the Church teaches?

We’re often accused of being Pharisees if we stand up for the faith, but it’s just the opposite. We’re Pharisees if we sit back and legalistically say, “That doesn’t apply to me.”

So, yes, maybe a single baby *will* be saved by any given pro-life act. Maybe only one baby will be saved. Maybe a baby won’t be saved, but maybe one person’s mind will be changed. Maybe one persno will be led a step closer to conversion to Catholicism.

We will not know till the End what effect any given action ultimately has for the good of another’s soul.

But if we have a chance to stand up for the Good, we have to do it. And, if we are able to help bring just one person closer to God at the same time, it’s all worth it.

Thank You

Dear Readers (Whoever you are),

I’ve been a political junkie for as long as I can remember, and, for as long as I can remember, I’ve wanted to be a columnist. Growing up, I wanted to pursue careers ranging from detective to priest to geneticist to philosopher, but I’ve always wanted to teach, I’ve always wanted to write, and I’ve always wanted to write about politics, particularly life issues.

My parents were quite active activists when I was a kid: Dad was big in the teacher’s union, and I remember a few times that he was on the local news speaking for the union, and how cool that was. Mom and Dad were both active in organizations related to genetic disorders, for my sake: March of Dimes (yeah, I know); National Organization for Rare Disorders (dad sat across a dinner table from the director of the NIH); National Marfan Foundation of course (they were at the first NMF convention, and Dad was VP of communications for a few years). They started the first support group for people with genetic disorders that wasn’t tied to a specific condition, Genetics Unlimited. They were also active in the pro-life movement.

They considered themselves Reagan Democrats. Family political arguments were rather confusing to follow: between the unionist Democrats and the conservative Republicans in the family, I wasn’t ever sure who dad was agreeing with. I would later learn that dad had been active in the early gubernatorial campaigns of Bob Casey, Sr.

I don’t remember exactly how old I was, but I vividly the night when, as often happened, I was supposed to play upstairs because of a dinner party. I remember asking Mom was this one was, and she said it was about abortion. I asked what that was, and she told me, in age-appropriate terms.

It didn’t take much thought to realize that, as a person with a genetic disorder, I was a prime target of what John Paul II would later term “the Culture of Death.”

I’ll cut the memoir off here, but it was somewhere in 4th or 5th grade that I started reading the editorials regularly and decided I wanted to be a columnist. Over the years, I tried various things towards that end. It’s one of the reasons I got a BA in philosophy and an MA in English, did student journalism, etc.

Several things happened in 2004: the Terri Schiavo case; learning of the embryo bank; Allie’s diagnosis with Marfan syndrome; the canonization of Gianna Molla (and Gianna’s birth); reading the book Gianna about Gianna Jessen. All those, following the miscarriage of “little Lew” in 2003, inspired me to seek out ways to finally achieve that dream without waiting.

At one point, I called the Russell Kirk Center, seeking advice, and ended up speaking on the phone with Annette Kirk herself for 2 or 3 hours. She recommended I start a blog. I didn’t do it quite yet.

In November 2004, I wrote something of a manifesto, pulling together all those threads, and e-mailed it out. Friends called and said how impressed they were by it. Relatives called and said they were ticked off by it. I posted it to the message boards I was active on, and the reactions of liberals on those boards proved to be a “shake the dust off my feet”/”Don’t throw pearls before swine” moment. Debbi Vinnedge from Children of God for Life read it (we’d corresponded before) and was inspired by it. She contacted Judie Brown, and said, “You’ve got to publish this guy.” This led to my 2005 article in Celebrate Life.

Annette Kirk had said to get an article published, and set up a web site and a blog, then promote the blog through the article. So I started this blog in January 2005. I had, at the time, built a preliminary web site, and had some other plans that ended up going by the wayside.

As it happened, that was also the year my money-earning life picked up steam, as well, and I was working several part-time jobs. So this apostolate started very slowly.

Sometimes, I thought about giving up. But I knew I had some followers: a real life friend or two (one of my only commentors was our friend Joy); a couple of Internet friends from my ezboard days (Suzanne and StoryTellerAngel); and a couple readers I picked up who commented from time to time (Granny Grump). Knowing that those few readers were out there, I tried to at least update once a month to keep their interest.

When I was less busy, or there was more motivation due to something in the news, I’d post more. In fall 2005, I participated very actively in the Katelyn Sills controversy, seeing in Katelyn’s Catholic school crisis a reflection of myself when I was 15. I picked up a reader or two, got linked by some other Catholic blogs, and even got my blog mentioned on the radio!

Last few months, I’ve been able to work more on my writing, and, while doing so, I’ve been trying to increase the quality of this site.

Early on, I tried to be very specific: ESCR, eugenics, and generally discussing pro-life issues specifically from the viewpoint of someone with a genetic disorder.

I figured I’d be better off as a niche blog, since there were so many others out there. I have never wanted to be an “any topic in general” blog, but, as time has gone on, I’ve found I get more attention when I go off topic a bit. I’ve tried to grow into a wider context of Culture Wars, spiritual warfare, life issues and medical issues. I’ve been trying to add resources for daily prayer, adding incentives for repeat visits (sorry if I’ve fallen off a bit).

And, recently, some really great opportunities are presenting myself. If God intends for this to be my apostolate, and if He intends for this apostolate to be what I’ve always hoped, that will happen soon.

And so I just wanted to thank everyone who’s stuck with me these past 4 years. Knowing you were out there has kept me going with this.

God bless you!