Archive for May, 2008

Sequence for Corpus Christi

The beautiful sequence that follows teaches us the deep significance of the Blessed Sacrament. Read this prose translation slowly. Pause to meditate on its meaning. Make it a true prayer.

The Sequence

Zion, praise your Savior. Praise your Savior. Praise your leader and shepherd in hymns and canticles. Praise him as much as you can, for he is beyond all praising and you will never be able to praise him as he merits.

But today a theme worthy of particular praise is put before us — the living and life-giving bread that, without any doubt, was given to the Twelve at table during the holy supper.

Therefore let our praise be full and resounding and our soul’s rejoicing full of delight and beauty, for this is the festival day to commemorate the first institution of this table.

At this table of the new King, the new law’s new Pasch puts an end to the old Pasch. The new displaces the old, the reality the shadow and light the darkness. Christ wanted what he did at the supper to be repeated in his memory.

And so we, in accordance with his holy directions, consecrate bread and wine to be salvation’s Victim. Christ’s followers know by faith that bread is changed into his flesh and wine into his blood.

Man cannot understand this, cannot perceive it; but a lively faith affirms that the change, which is outside the natural course of things, takes place. Under the different species, which are now signs only and not their own reality, there lie hid wonderful realities. His body is our food, his blood our drink.

And yet Christ remains entire under each species. The communicant receives the complete Christ — uncut, unbroken and undivided. Whether one receive or a thousand, the one receives as much as the thousand. Nor is Christ diminished by being received.

The good and the wicked alike receive him, but with the unlike destiny of life or death. To the wicked it is death, but life to the good. See how different is the result, though each receives the same.

Last of all, if the sacrament is broken, have no doubt. Remember there is as much in a fragment as in an unbroken host. There is no division of the reality, but only a breaking of the sign; nor does the breaking diminish the condition or size of the One hidden under the sign.

Behold, the bread of angels is become the pilgrim’s food; truly it is bread for the sons, and is not to be cast to dogs. It was prefigured in type when Isaac was brought as an offering, when a lamb was appointed for the Pasch and when manna was given to the Jews of old.

Jesus, good shepherd and true bread, have mercy on us; feed us and guard us. Grant that we find happiness in the land of the living. You know all things, can do all things, and feed us here on earth. Make us your guests in heaven, co-heirs with you and companions of heaven’s citizens. Amen. Alleluia.

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Instruction Concerning the Criteria for the Discernment of Vocations with regard to Persons with Homosexual Tendencies in view of their Admission to the Seminary and to Holy Orders

In the light of such teaching, this Dicastery, in accord with the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments, believes it necessary to state clearly that the Church, while profoundly respecting the persons in question, cannot admit to the seminary or to holy orders those who practise homosexuality, present deep-seated homosexual tendencies or support the so-called “gay culture”.


Wherefore, in order that all doubt may be removed regarding a matter of great importance, a matter which pertains to the Church’s divine constitution itself, in virtue of my ministry of confirming the brethren (cf. Lk 22:32) I declare that the Church has no authority whatsoever to confer priestly ordination on women and that this judgment is to be definitively held by all the Church’s faithful.

While I am all for compassion and human respect, it amazes me that people would ever think the Church would change her position regarding immoral behavior and the utter repudiation of living tradition. It is true that the American Episcopal Church has acquiesced on these points, but more for changing sociological reasons than from any solid Scriptural or theological basis.  Given its likeness in externals, such changes in teaching and practice have an impact upon the Catholic community.  A radical tolerance alongside the view that truths are relative and subjective make debate virtually impossible just as they infect the consciences of believers.  

1.  Can one condemn homosexual activity as sin but still love the sinner.  The Church says YES, but what do you think?

2.  Should men with a homosexual orientation who have been perpetually celibate be barred from priesthood?

3.  Why is there no three year rule about ordination in regard to heterosexuals who have been previously sexually active?

4.  Why do women want to be priests?

5.  Why are the proponents of married priests so often in favor of women priests?

6.  How can one be sure that women’s ordination is God’s will when there is no evidence in the sources of revelation?

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Like Pope John Paul II, she was nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize, but…

She passed away on May 12, 2008 at the age of 98.

As a nurse and social worker in Poland, Irena Sendler save 2,500 Jewish children from certain death at the hands of the Nazi military police. She smuggled the children to Polish families and convents. At one point she was caught and brutally tortured. She was a living saint, a true woman of faith!

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Some people are sick of religion, others are sick without religion, and many never give real faith a chance. For me, the Catholic faith and Christianity best answers the ultimate questions… about meaning and purpose and the question of pain. True searchers engage both the mind and the heart. Others fall away into despair or superstition or anger. Those who watch too much TV might worship the false idol of cartoons, that which cannot save us, the Simpsonian Spider Pig!

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Should ministers even make endorsements? If a priest took sides the authorities might threaten his tax-exemption. Politics is so devisive, such things can tear congregations apart. In any case, given the quality of endorsements, this election year has great entertainment value even if one is left somewhat troubled about the future of our nation. Is this the best we could do?

Anti-Catholic Minister for McCain?

Anti-Muslim Minister for McCain?

Anti-??? minister for Obama?

????-??? minister for Clinton?

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Lately I have been surfing the websites of various young people I know and have found to my dismay an enormous amount of shocking vulgarity. Frequent reference is made to sexual congress and condoms. Four letter words and gestures are liberally sprinkled by both the owners of the sites and by their friends. I am surprised that young people would allow their parents and a clergyman free access to such sites. I am moved by such trust, but not to make some comment is neither in my nature nor befitting my vocation.

Do they see no contradiction between gutter language and semi-pornographic images with their Christianity? Maybe I am old fashioned, if one who grew up in the 1960’s and 70’s could be considered such, but we always clearly saw the pejorative meaning of such things— even when we misbehaved ourselves or sought to shock others. Today there seems to be a pervasive moral blindness where even the vilest words are given peculiar neutrality or at least acceptance. It makes me cringe to see “nice boys and girls” casually accept the “f” word or give the finger or call girls (even themselves) by the “b” word.

Words are evocative and have meaning that matters. The “b” designation, while appropriate for a four-legged dog, is highly inappropriate for a daughter of Eve. A woman, young or old, should always be regarded with a deep-seated respect. While her body is an expression of her whole identity, she cannot be utterly defined by her bosom or genitalia. Lust masquerades as love and reduces the person to meat that one might devour as a disposable commodity. True love regards “the other” as sacred and as one with “incommensurate” value. Bodies might be wrongly regarded as interchangeable. Persons are unique and possess what might be termed as mystery or soul. The marital act has nothing in common with the (f) word other than some vague similarity in corporeal mechanics. Sexual love is a mutual self-giving and, for married Christians, a sign and seal of the covenant between Christ and his Church. Sexuality and the potency toward parenthood is not a trivial matter for purposes of recreation. It represents a profound ontological openness to God as Creator and to his divine providence. We were not made for ourselves, but for a higher purpose. How will our young people ever perceive such meanings when they have bought into a corrupted language which expresses a distorted meaning about themselves and sexuality?

What does all this mean, you might ask? I am sorely disappointed.

The same mouth that says “Amen” to our Lord’s body and blood should not be poisoned with words that mock God’s creation and his goodness. The hands that cradle the Lord of life should not type or gesture things that would please the demonic. Bodies which are expressions of their most intimate identities, should be treated with modesty and real respect. (Certain photos conflict with this truth.)

Do our young people not worry about their reputations? Are they comfortable with scandal? This saddens me more than I can say.

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