Monday, December 21, 2009
Tuesday, October 20, 2009
The structure will be similar to that of the military bishops who serve a dispersed flock or the structure of the Eastern Rite churches where a bishop in communion with the Holy See ministers to a dispersed flock with their own ethnic and historic spirituality and liturgical patrimony.
- A canonist on the Anglican provisions: http://wdtprs.com/blog/2009/10/a-canonist-on-the-anglican-provisions/
- Anglicans desiring unity will have “ordinariates”: http://wdtprs.com/blog/2009/10/anglicans-desiring-unity-will-have-ordinariates/
Sunday, September 13, 2009
The story in question was, of course, the tragic news out of Michigan that James Poullion, a pro-life activist in the township of
Coming as it does on the heels of the cold-blooded murder last May of George Tiller, the notorious late-term abortionist from Witchita, Kansas, the so-called "culture war" over the dignity of human life feels more like a real war these days.
Expressions of outrage from the powers-that-be are noticeably scarce this time around, unlike what we saw in the wake of Dr. Tiller's murder. I'm not inclined to hold my breath, but we will see. The Washington Post buried the story on p. A4 this morning with the headline, "Prosecutors: Gunman with grudge kills 2 in
Having pondered the question since yesterday, I have decided that Mr. D'Souza's article is perhaps even more timely than I thought. He is correct--a lack of knowledge is not the central problem. Women seeking abortion know intuitively that the unborn fetus is a human being; and anyone with a trace of intellectual integrity can see where all of the scientific evidence points. The pro-choice position just doesn't wash, because it does not stand up in isolation from the actual thing that is being chosen. It did not stand up to scrutiny when the choice in question was human chattel slavery, and it does not stand up now with regard to the abortion issue.
If Mr. Drake "was offended by the manner of Mr. Pouillon's message," that was probably at least in part because he didn't like being confronted with the truth of abortion. Mr. Poullion often displayed graphic pictures of aborted fetuses, so his tactics may have been irritating, but he certainly did nothing to deserve this.
The problem, in a nutshell, is that people will do what they want to do. It is the problem of setting the human will in opposition to God. In particular, the pro-life position has failed to prevail, in Mr. D'Souza's words, "because abortion is the debris of the sexual revolution."
We have seen a great shift in the sexual mores of Americans in the past half-century. Today a widespread social understanding persists that if there is going to be sex outside marriage, there will be a considerable number of unwanted pregnancies. Abortion is viewed as a necessary clean-up solution to this social reality.
D'Souza concludes the article by pointing out that any attempt to move the pro-life position forward will not succeed without an understanding of the entrenched sexual libertinism of our opponents.
If you're going to make an omelet, the Marxist revolutionaries used to say, you have to be ready to break some eggs. And if you're going to have a sexual revolution, you have to be ready to clean up the debris. After 35 years, the debris has become a mountain, and as a society, we are still adding bodies to the heap. No one in the pro-choice camp, of course, wants to admit any of this. It's not only politically embarrassing, it's also painful to one's self-image to acknowledge a willingness to sustain permissive sexual values by killing the unborn.This analysis might help to explain why otherwise compassionate people fight so tenaciously against the most helpless and vulnerable of all living creatures, unborn persons.
If I'm on the right track, pro-life arguments are not likely to succeed by simply continuing to stress the humanity of the fetus. The opposition already knows this, as probably do most women who have an abortion. Rather, the pro-life movement must take into account the larger cultural context of the sexual revolution that invisibly but surely sustains the triumphant advocates of abortion.
It won't be easy, but somehow the case against abortion must include a case against sexual libertinism. It is time to return to the drawing board.
Sunday, September 6, 2009
The phrase, duc in altum (put out into the deep) is one that presents a perpetual challenge to me, and whenever I fail to meet that challenge it is usually because of ordinary rank fear. No wonder the phrase, "Fear not," or "Be not afraid," or some variation thereof, appears so very often in Scripture, including this passage. We are fearful creatures, and of course our Creator knows that. So it is no wonder this admonition appears so often in accounts of heavenly visitations or challenges to go where God leads--the Annunciation, for example (Luke 1), or Joshua's speech to the Children of Israel just before they enter the Promised Land (Jos. 1). Indeed, "Be not afraid" became a trademark phrase of the late Holy Father John Paul II.
Few people meet this challenge with the kind of physical and spiritual courage embodied by Father Vincent Capodanno, so this Gospel reading was especially appropriate for a Mass in his honor last Thursday at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in Washington. Also known as "The Grunt Padre"--the title of a biography of him by Fr. Daniel L. Mode--he was a Navy/Marine Corps chaplain in Vietnam known for refusing the relative safety of the command post and choosing instead to serve his flock on the battlefield. He died on Sept. 4, 1967, ministering to the wounded and dying men of a company of Marines battling a much larger force of North Vietnamese.
He was awarded posthumously the Congressional Medal of Honor and a Purple Heart, in addition to two Bronze Stars and various other military honors. The cause for his canonization was opened in 2004, and in 2006 he was declared a "Servant of God," the first step toward that end, by the Archbishop for the Military Services. His official Medal of Honor citation reads as follows:
For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty as Chaplain of the 3d Battalion, in connection with operations against enemy forces. In response to reports that the 2d Platoon of M Company was in danger of being overrun by a massed enemy assaulting force, Lt. Capodanno left the relative safety of the company command post and ran through an open area raked with fire, directly to the beleaguered platoon. Disregarding the intense enemy small-arms, automatic-weapons, and mortar fire, he moved about the battlefield administering last rites to the dying and giving medical aid to the wounded. When an exploding mortar round inflicted painful multiple wounds to his arms and legs, and severed a portion of his right hand, he steadfastly refused all medical aid. Instead, he directed the corpsmen to help their wounded comrades and, with calm vigor, continued to move about the battlefield as he provided encouragement by voice and example to the valiant Marines. Upon encountering a wounded corpsman in the direct line of fire of an enemy machine gunner positioned approximately 15 yards away, Lt. Capodanno rushed a daring attempt to aid and assist the mortally wounded corpsman. At that instant, only inches from his goal, he was struck down by a burst of machine gun fire. By his heroic conduct on the battlefield, and his inspiring example, Lt. Capodanno upheld the finest traditions of the U.S. Naval Service. He gallantly gave his life in the cause of freedom.
dedicated to his canonization from the men who served with him--Catholic and non-Catholic alike. Clearly his example helped deepen (and in some cases, awaken) the faith of many of them.
Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends. (John 15:13)
Friday, April 17, 2009
It took a while for all of us to filter through the rather narrow west door of the Cathedral, which gave us a chance to inspect the crowd. It was not unlike pro-life events I have encountered here in the US – people of all ages, including lots of young people, families with several children, extended families, and a few handicapped people, too. We settled into a pew on the left side and waited.
The banner was set up behind the altar, as pictured below. A succession of speakers went to the lectern to speak, then to offer prayers, and in between we sang praise and worship music, most of which I didn’t recognize. When they set up the monstrance on the altar, however, which you can see in the photo below, the song was “Majestad,” that is, “Majesty,” in English. (The first line is “Majesty, worship his majesty….”) Bernie and I are very familiar with this evangelical standard, so we sang along in English.
Those of you who have read my blog know that I am not overly fond of evangelical praise & worship music as a rule – at least not for use at Mass. But this one is one of the better ones, I think, since the focus is on Him rather than on us. And indeed, this was not a Mass, it was a Holy Hour, and somehow that song made much more sense to me in this context than it ever has before. After all, His Majesty was right there on the altar! It was really quite moving.
We decided to slip out at about 9 p.m., while the bishop (Bp. Ibáñez, to the left in the photo) was still speaking, since we were pretty exhausted and had not eaten supper yet. His topic, as nearly as I could tell, was the Annunciation. Annunciation Day had been the previous Wednesday, after all.
The next day – Sunday – we took the commuter train into Madrid, and who should get on the train after us but a small group of people with a rolled up banner that looked something like the one we had seen the night before. I screwed up my courage and approached a young woman in the group. Neither of us spoke each other’s language, but I did manage to ascertain that they were with the group we had seen and that they were on their way into Madrid for another pro-life rally there – at the Ayuntamiento (the Town Hall) – at noon. Bernie and I decided to make that one of our first stops after we took care of our tourist business at Atocha Station.
I should pause here to explain the occasion for the demonstrations: Spain’s Socialist government, under Prime Minister Jose Luis Zapatero, came to power several years ago in the wake of terrorist bombings, the worst of which destroyed part of Atocha Station. True to form, Zapatero’s government has introduced legislation to liberalize the country’s historically restrictive abortion laws, and hundreds of thousands of Spaniards turned out to protest and to declare, “There is no right to kill, there is the right to live,” as the banner below proclaims. For more on the march see the Life Site News story from March 31. The march was organized primarily by four major Spanish pro-life organizations, Derecho a Vivir (Right to Life), Hazte Oír (Make Yourself Heard), Doctors for Life, and ProLife Madrid. Reportedly, an estimated 100,000 people participated in the Madrid march. Having witnessed it myself, I would say that is no exaggeration. The crowd was enormous! It was stretched out over about a mile, at about 20-people wide.
By the time we arrived it was about 1:30 p.m., and the march was well underway. We stuck around long enough to take a few photos, which I have posted above and below.
Saturday, April 4, 2009
The focus of this post is the town where we stayed, including some of my photos. More in a later post re. the "Jornada por la Vida" (March for Life) we encountered on our first night there.
As I mentioned in an earlier post, my husband had to go there on business, so I tagged along for my first trip to Spain. The town where we stayed is
The town is also notable as the site of the first meeting between Christopher Columbus and Ferdinand & Isabella, to discuss Columbus' plans for a voyage West to the East Indies. The site of that meeting, the Archbishop's Palace, was also the birthplace of Catherine of Aragon, youngest child of Ferdinand & Isabella and, of course, the first (and true) wife of King Henry VIII. The palace served as the seat of the Archbishops of Toledo from the 13th to the 19th centuries
The town is also famous for its storks, which are protected by law in the town and which seem to have nests in nearly every available tower or rooftop in the town. The photo below is of a stork on the roof of the Convent of St. Bernard (San Bernardo), next door to the Archbishop's Palace.
Since we arrived on Saturday we decided to attend the Vigil Mass at the Cathedral that evening. The Cathedral, built on the site of the tomb of Sts. Justus and Pastor (Justo & Pastor), two young boys who were martyred for their faith during the reign of the Roman Emperor Diocletian, in the early 4th century. It is known familiarly as the Catedral de lost Santos Niños (the Cathedral of the Holy Children). Below is a photo of the west front entrance, an example of Isabeline Gothic (late 15th cen.). My husband is in front on the left, reading the Mass schedule.
When we left the Cathedral after Mass in search of something to eat, we found something we did not expect--a pro-life march through the main street of town. More about that in my next installment (Spain Trip - Part II). It deserves a separate entry.
Not surprisingly, the town of Alcalá is full of references to Don Quixote, including the statues outside of Cervantes birthplace, pictured above. There is also a statue of Cervantes in the main square of town, the Plaza de Cervantes. (See the photo below left.)
As I mentioned above, the town is home to a university. Founded in 1499 at the beginning of Spain's "Golden Age" by Cardinal Cisneros, among its distinguished list of faculty during the 16th and 17th centuries are St. Ignatius of Loyola, Lope de Vega, Ginés de Sepúlveda and Tomás de Villanueva. Renowned for its traditional humanities curriculum, it is well-regarded in the Spanish-speaking world for its efforts to promote Spanish language and literature. The prestigious Cervantes Prize is awarded each year by the University to honor writers who follow in Cervantes' footsteps.
Our hotel, the Hotel El Bedel (below left), is located next door to the original University building (below right), which now houses the university admissions office.
Thursday, March 26, 2009
No blogging for at least the next several days, since I am leaving tomorrow for my first trip to Spain. My husband is travelling to the Madrid area for a business meeting, so I am tagging along. While we are there I hope to visit Toledo (pictured above), an important center of Iberian culture since Roman times and home to a magnificent cathedral, and Avila--as in St. Teresa of Avila and St. John of the Cross. We will stay in the town of Alcala de Henares, northeast of Madrid, which is among other things the birthplace of Miguel de Cervantes and Catherine of Aragon.
I will take lots of pictures and report on the trip after I return next week and recover from jet lag.
Friday, March 20, 2009
Many of you may already be familiar with the book, Why Catholics Can't Sing, by Thomas Day. It is a humorous, and informative, look at the often sad state of liturgical music in the post-Vatican II American Catholic Church. When my husband and I first began attending Mass at our local parish, we were bewildered and somewhat dismayed at times by both the lack of congregational singing and the often inappropriate music selections for the Mass. This book helped us put things in perspective. Although some reviewers criticize Day for being a bit too hard on the Irish, in my opinion his analysis is less concerned with assigning blame than with offering constructive criticism and practical suggestions for improvement.
Thanks to Jeffrey Tucker, managing editor of Sacred Music magazine and editorial VP of the von Mises Institute, now we have even more helpful suggestions for choosing liturgical music that enriches the Mass rather than distracting from it. His new book, Sing Like a Catholic (see link to the right), is intended to re-introduce Catholics – laymen as well as musicians – to existing resources that will help bring order out of the musical chaos that defines the experience of many modern Catholics. In his article on the subject at InsideCatholic.com, he makes the following observation about the current situation:
For several generations, what was originally permission to sing “other suitable songs” apart from the ritual itself has mutated into a kind of musical nihilism that denies that anything should be called universally appropriate or inappropriate. It is widely believed that, so long as people more or less like it, it can and should be sung or played.
What this has led to is not universal satisfaction with music at Mass, but rather the opposite. One never knows for sure what one will get on Sunday. Catholics are good sports, so they do their best to make a game of it. Will it be the aging hippy Mass, the breathy teen-pop Mass, the pseudo-Broadway Mass, the lone-cantor-plus-guitar Mass, the ethnic parade? The instability of it all becomes a kind of bonding point between us.
He goes on to describe the missing element (which forms the thesis of his book): "both a lack of direction and a lack of any fixed ideals."
As he goes on to point out, this confusion is entirely unnecessary:
The music of the Roman Rite has been part of the structure of the Mass for as long as 1,500 years, and the roots trace to apostolic times. It still would be part of our practice were it not for the fact that we have lived through one of those periodic ruptures that afflict the Church.
However, there is no reason for it to last. The beginnings of clarity come from looking at the actual music attached to the Mass, which you can do by picking up the Gregorian Missal.
He concludes by citing a criticism from one of his musical colleagues to the effect that the book is a waste of time, since the entire point is to point out what Catholics should know already – that the core music of the Mass is the Graduale Romanum (Roman Gradual). As Mr. Tucker rightly points out, if this were widely known there would be no need for books like his. But it is not widely known; it has been largely forgotten. This book can help remind us of that neglected treasury of Catholic liturgical music.
Saturday, March 14, 2009
At my parish, Holy Spirit Church-Annandale, we will mark the occasion with a high mass at 7:30 pm, when we will also dedicate our parish's new organ. As I wrote in an earlier blog entry ("The Beauty of Holiness"), our parish is in the midst of our own "reform of the reform," and we have gradually been re-introducing chant (in both Latin and English) and other neglected forms of sacred music. Tonight will sing all of the ordinary parts of the mass in Latin, including the Credo for the first time. Please join us if you are in the area. (See map.)
O St. Joseph whose protection is so great, so strong, so prompt before the Throne of God, I place in you all my interests and desires. O St. Joseph do assist me by your powerful intercession and obtain for me from your Divine Son, all spiritual blessings through Jesus Christ, Our Lord; so that having engaged here below your heavenly power I may offer my thanksgiving and homage to the most Loving of Fathers. O St. Joseph, I never weary contemplating you and Jesus asleep in your arms. I dare not approach while He reposes near your heart. Press him in my name and kiss His fine head for me, and ask Him to return the kiss when I draw my dying breath. St. Joseph, Patron of departing souls, pray for us. Amen.
Monday, March 9, 2009
This year's Anglican Use Society Conference is scheduled for June 11-13 in Houston, Texas. Our Lady of Walsingham (OLW) Catholic Parish and St. Mary's Seminary. OLW is, one of the earliest Anglican Use parishes established in the U.S., and this year marks their 25th anniversary. St. Mary's Seminary is the home of the Graduate School of Theology of Houston's University of St. Thomas. St. Thomas is the future home of former Episcopal Bishop Jeffrey Steenson, who resigned his Episcopal orders in September of 2007 and was ordained a Pastoral Provision Catholic priest in New Mexico on February 21, 2009. He will teach Patristics at St. Thomas and St. Mary's Seminary beginning this fall. He spoke at last year's Anglican Use Conference in San Antonio. You can read a copy of his address here.
If you are interested in attending this year's conference or know someone who might be, find out more by visiting the Conference website or clicking on the tabs below. Whether you are clergy or laity, Catholic or perhaps a Protestant at some stage of discerning whether to dip your toe in the Tiber River, I would encourage you to attend. Several of last year's attendees were Anglican clergymen who were there to learn more about the Pastoral Provision.