Young People, TLM, the Dowry of Mary, and America’s Patron Saint

Long ago, the people at Catholicism Pure and Simple became friends and allies of mine. We each recognize that our essentials and druthers may be a bit different, but that our roads meet at the foot of the Cross. Sunday they posted an article on how the traditional Latin Mass is gaining much support amongst young people I’m not surprised but I am pleased.

The loss of young people is a problem for all of our churches, not just the Catholic Church, It’s true in my Lutheran Church, it’s true in the Anglican churches. But for us too, the more traditional the service (and historic Lutheran Services reach back to the Rev Dr Luther himself, while traditional Anglican services are based on Thomas Cranmer’s Book of Common Prayer, both of which are contemporaries of the Tridentine Mass) the better young people receive them. CP&S has a video of some of what young people are saying.

 

Adding weight to that, a young London based female Journalist, Enza Ferrari, whom I have been reading for a long time, adds weight to what those young people are saying, when she says…

During the Easter Triduum I repeated that experience several times, always choosing the Ancient Rite, except once, when by mistake I watched a video of the New Mass. The close sequence of the two with a distance of a few hours between them gave me an opportunity to compare the two liturgical experiences in a way that I’d never come across before.
And I saw differences that had previously escaped me.
It’s two entirely diverse experiences.
They were both from churches in Italy, the Latin Mass from the Church of Santissima Trinità dei Pellegrini, Rome (pictured above).
One, the Tridentine Mass, worships God and the other celebrates man, reflecting the analogous change in outlook brought by Vatican II Council.
The former brings you closer to the spiritual realm.
I’m not the only one to have noticed this peculiar gift that, in all the mayhem and panic, the Covid-19 quarantine has given us. I’ve discovered that Catholic writer and philosopher Peter Kwasniewski has also published two articles about it.
The celebrant’s ad populum orientation towards the people, which may seem a way to bring everyone together as a community and increase the participation of the faithful, is not the right thing for a Mass, where priest and congregation should not look at each other and focus on one another as if it were an assembly or meeting, but instead both should look at and focus on God.
Keep reading, there is quite a lot more, and if you are a traditional Christian (not only the Catholics among us) I think you’ll find it making a lot of sense.
In related news, The Catholic Herald tells us that The Catholic Shrine of Our Lady of Walsingham reports that it is probably having the largest Pilgrimage season ever, since the government forced it to close its doors during the (still continuing) lockdown.

But rather than seeing this as a disaster, shrine rector Mgr John Armitage regarded it as an opportunity. England’s national Marian shrine had already built up a following with its livestreamed Masses. Armitage decided that it would now livestream 24 hours a day, with the help of a sturdy internet connection provided by EWTN.

He devised a programme that begins with morning prayer, followed by Mass, Exposition of the Blessed Sacrament, a talk on faith, the rosary, the Angelus and another Mass. And that’s just the morning.

In the afternoon, there’s the Divine Mercy chaplet, the rosary, more Exposition, Benediction, the Angelus and Vespers, followed by all-night adoration.

“We’ve probably had the biggest pilgrimage season so far in the history of Walsingham because we’ve had thousands upon thousands of people every day joining us for our program,” Armitage told CNA.

Saying that he now felt like “the abbot of a monastery rather than the rector of a shrine,” Armitage explained that people from 135 countries had taken part in the program and that he had been inundated with letters of gratitude.

“Last week I had a lovely letter from a family of farmers in Wisconsin, just saying how much they appreciated it. They watched as a family,” he noted. “So it’s made that connection.”

He said the letters came from two types of people:

“There are those who have been in lockdown, like the rest of the world. They’re grateful that it’s given them a spiritual framework during this time.”

“But much, much more important, it’s given a spiritual framework for those who’ve been in lockdown for years. The elderly, the disabled, those who are never going to come out again.”

“And I don’t say we forgot them, but what’s happened is that we’ve discovered a way to connect that we kind of missed.”

The pandemic also forced a major change to Walsingham’s biggest event for decades: the rededication of England to Our Lady on March 29.

Armitage had spent three years planning the rededication, which was preceded by a two-year tour of England with the statue of Our Lady of Walsingham.

Catholics were due to gather at cathedrals across the country as the rededication ceremony took place at Walsingham. But when churches were ordered to close due to the pandemic, Catholics were asked to follow the ceremony live from their homes on the shrine’s website instead. So many logged on that the site crashed.

“The rededication of England was phenomenal,” Armitage said. “It overwhelmed our server. We had to transfer to YouTube. That rather took us by surprise.”

In his homily at the rededication, Armitage said: “We have long pondered and treasured the words of Pope Leo XIII to an earlier generation of bishops: ‘When England returns to Walsingham, Our Lady will return to England.’ In the hour of our need, Our Blessed Mother has indeed returned to England.”

Many of you know that I feel an affinity to Our Lady of Walsingham and have for years (albeit more the Anglican Shrine). This shrine known as England’s Nazareth was visited by every English King from William the Conquerer to Henry VIII, who destroyed it in The Dissolution of the Monasteries. It was revived in the early 20th century. Interestingly, the first Catholic Mass in Walsingham since the Reformation was held amongst the ruins of the monastery by the United States Army Air Forces shortly after VE Day.

A most pleasing report indeed, from the country known since the 14th century, at least, as Mary’s Dowry, because of England’s deep devotion to Our Lady. Perhaps it carries down to us in some measure, since Mary is also the Patron Saint of the United States.

As we have always known:

To sip or dip … that is the question.

There are many denominations under the umbrella of ‘Christian’ – including ‘non-denominational’. The different denominations have a different view of The Lord’s Supper, Holy Communion, The Family Table; for those who are not Christian, those phrases represent our receiving of the sacrament (bing definition-“(in the Christian Church) a religious ceremony or ritual regarded as imparting divine grace, such as baptism, the Eucharist and (in the Roman Catholic and many Orthodox Churches) penance and the anointing of the sick”. For many of us, a sacrament is an ‘outward and visible sign of an inward and invisible grace’. To Christians who receive Holy Communion, it’s a big deal. A really big deal.

Here we are in the clutches of an illness that may – or may not – be the end of the world as we know it (remember that old song?). Depending on how deeply you traverse the canyons and underground tunnels of YouTube, this could be start of the Zombie Apocalypse. If you listen to the whispers, you may hear that Covid-19 was deliberately ‘released’ from its cage to wipe out the elderly of every nation in order to rid the planet of old folks who would stand (on a cane, a walker, or with orderlies on both sides) in the way of globalization. Take your pick of ‘conspiracy theories – you’ll find one that suits you no doubt.

But for Christians, death holds no fear (1 Corinthians 15:55 55“Where, O death, is your victory? Where, O death, is your sting?” In 2011, Stephen Hawking, probably the greatest mind of our age, said heaven is a ” … “fairy story for people afraid of the dark”“. Poor man; on this he was completely wrong. Christians don’t fear the dark because they live in the light of Christ. For us, there is no darkness.

Which brings me to the title of this essay – to sip or dip? One school of thought, from our Suffragan Bishop, Chad Jones, is that as we are receiving the Body and Blood of Jesus Christ, sipping from the Common Cup can in no way sicken us. That is my understanding as well. Just as an aside, during the ‘outbreak’ of Aids, I was attending a little mission church in a local store front. We received Communion and went back to foldable metal chairs and said our ‘after Communion’ prayer. At that point, a gentleman felt moved to stand up and announce that he had Aids. Guess who was right after him on the Common Cup? Here I am, all these many years later and completely disease free.

The second school of thought maintains that for the safety of the communicants, they have the option of ‘intincture’, that’s when the priest slightly submerges the Body of Christ (what some call the wafer or bread) into the Blood of Christ (the wine, for folks who are new to this) and then places the Bread on the tongue of the communicant (you often see this on televised religious programing). What some priests have decided to do, since there’s a fear of ‘hands’ and their cleanliness, some priests are opting for wearing gloves for intincture. Then, of course, there’s the issue of, “Well, what if the priest happens to touch the inside of the communicant’s mouth and then does another intincture right after?” You can see how this starts to go down a long road.

Franklin D. Roosevelt made a wonderful, thoughtful statement, “The only thing we have to fear is fear itself”. And that’s where we are right now. Fear. Dread. The unknown. Each Christian must decide for themselves – sip or dip.

(For a wonderful discussion on this matter, and the matter of church closings, I recommend watching this You Tube video. Just a little background, Gavin Ashenden (once a bishop) was a Chaplain to the Queen of England – when the Church of England strayed from the Gospel, he resigned his position. He has since felt led to become Roman Catholic. George Conger is a priest and a writer of some significance. He’s Episcopalian, as is Kevin Kollson. They are three very strong Christians. Here is the link

Michaelmas? Huh, What?

Yesterday was, in the traditional Catholic calendar, the Feast of the Dedication of the Basilica of St. Michael, in Italy. In short: Michaelmas.

So what? I hear you ask? Well, Fr. John Zuhlsdorf tells us:

As a “mere” Archangel, Michael belongs to one of the lower choirs.  But such are God’s might and plan, that Michael is the one who restrained Satan, highest in the hierarchy and mightiest of all the angels before his fall.  Michael it will be who chains the great “red dragon” of Revelation 12.

OK, a lot of this strikes me, and maybe you, as Catholic mumbo jumbo and a diminution of the Faith in Christ onto a whole (heavenly) multitude of other characters. And maybe it is. But it also presents in a popular form the many facets of our Faith – here the faith (or Church) Militant defending itself from evil. Something that does appear in short supply these days.

Part of the reason we take note is this is because as Fr Gavin Ashenden tells us:

“After Leo XIII had celebrated a morning Mass, he went to a meeting with the Cardinals. Suddenly he collapsed into unconsciousness. The doctors who came to his aid found no cause for the collapse, although his pulse almost ceased. Suddenly he awoke and was fresh as ever. He reported that he had seen a terrible vision. He was granted to see the devil’s seductiveness and ravaging for the coming ages in all lands. In this distress St. Michael the Archangel appeared and cast Satan with all his demons back into the infernal abyss. Leo XIII thereupon ordered, shortly after 1880, the Common Prayer to St. Michael.”

Pope Leo was so shocked by his vision of the unleashing of evil in the Church and in the world in the 20th Century, he asked all Catholics to pray this prayer after celerbrating the Eucharist.

He then provides us with the prayer Leo taught us:

O glorious Prince of the Heavenly Host, St. Michael, the Archangel, defend us in the battle and in the fearful warfare that we are waging against the principalities and powers, against the rulers of this world of darkness, against the evil spirits. Come thou, to the assistance of men, whom Almighty God created immortal, making them in His own image and likeness and redeeming them at a great price from the tyranny of Satan. Fight this day the battle of the Lord with thy legions of holy Angels, even as of old, thou didst fight against Lucifer, the leader of the proud spirits and all his rebel Angels, who were powerless to stand against thee.

Neither was their place found anymore in Heaven. And that apostle Angel, transformed into an Angel of darkness who still creeps about the earth to encompass our ruin, was cast headlong into the abyss together with his followers.

But, behold, that first enemy of mankind, and a murderer from the beginning, has regained his confidence. Changing himself into an Angel of light, he goes about with the whole multitude of the wicked spirits to invade the earth and blot out the Name of God and of His Christ, to plunder, to slay, and to consign to eternal damnation the souls that have been destined for a crown of everlasting life. This wicked serpent, like an unclean torrent, pours into men of depraved minds and corrupt hearts the poison of his malice, the spirit of lying, impiety, and blasphemy, and the deadly breath of impurity and every form of vice and iniquity. These crafty enemies of mankind have filled to overflowing with gall and wormwood the Church, which is the Bride of the Lamb without spot. They have laid profane hands upon her most sacred treasures.

Make haste, therefore, O invincible Prince, to help the people of God against the inroads of the lost spirits and grant us the victory.
Amen.

Now mind, I’m a fairly good Lutheran, I  can’t countenance praying to archangels and such, although I have found it efficacious to ask Jesus’s Mom to intercede with him for me on occasion. But given the way the world currently is, it could do no harm to ask Jesus and his heavenly father to unleash such a doughty champion on our behalf.

A Letter to Nick Sandmann of Covington Catholic

It is not often, in fact, it is quite rare, for an Orthodox Rabbi to speak for this stick-in-the-mud Lutheran. Actually, it’s unheard of, especially to a bunch of Catholic kids. Yet it has happened. It is here, from Dov Fischer.

Dear Nick,

It now is some ten days since you unintentionally became famous, and you blessedly no longer are the news outside Covington. But I write to tell you that you are not forgotten for many of us whom you made proud. That includes me, an Orthodox Rabbi.

Obama once said that, if he had had a son, it would have been a boy like Trayvon Martin. Nicholas, I do not doubt that. Not for a moment. I would rather set the boys of CovCath as role models.

Nick, you came with a bunch of other kids from CovCath to Washington, D.C. to march for life and to have some clean fun in the nation’s capital. That is so noble, and that used to be what America is all about: kids getting to visit Washington, D.C., maybe meeting their Congressional representative and getting to sit in the gallery, maybe getting to visit the National Archives, the Smithsonian, the FBI building, Ford’s Theater, the Jefferson Memorial, the Lincoln Memorial, the Reflecting Pool, the Washington Monument. That was the big visit and family trip that teens all over this country hoped they one day could do with their parents and siblings. And maybe one day, if your red hat’s message of hope and change comes true, we all can make America great again.

On the day of CovCath’s visit, though, you found that all around you, millions of other Americans want the right to tear apart fetuses limb from limb. Women and men who are too tired or lazy to take simple precautions that they learn in California and New York elementary school classes end up causing an unwanted pregnancy and choose to undo their laziness and gross irresponsibility by paying someone to tear apart the fetus later. In the old days, when science was less advanced, they fooled themselves into thinking that a fetus has no life form to it, was just a collection of random cells. But now the science is settled: the heart beats, the body nourishes, the life exists. In a world of Andrew Cuomos and Kermit Gosnells, you came to defend life.

You also came wearing a MAGA hat. Good for you! Some people in this country believe that everyone except for the kids at CovCath has a right to free speech. They cheer high school drop-outs who say “F – – – Trump.” They photograph themselves holding a bloody decapitated head representing the President of the United States. Indeed, the United States Supreme Court has held that free speech even includes the right to burn the American flag and to dance naked at strip clubs. So, Nick, our Founding Fathers gave us the Bill of Rights so that kids at Covington Catholic and others in yeshivas throughout the United States and others who are older and perhaps not even religiously trained may wear a hat that says “Make America Great Again.” Those words are not thefighting words of Chaplinsky v. New Hampshire, 315 U.S. 568 (1942), nor a Brandenburg v. Ohio, 395 U.S. 444 (1969), incitement to imminent lawless action but words of hope and change: hope for a change from the Wasted Obama Decade.

In America we protect the biased Left mediacracy — people like CNN, MSNBC, ABC, NBC, CBS, the New York Times, and the Washington Post. These people report mostly true on local interest stories like a county fair or a new restaurant, but they intentionally distort and lie deliberately on national public-interest stories. You know that first-hand because you now have experienced it directly. That is why the President calls them “the enemy of the people” — because they are. They deliberately distort the truth and reality of what is happening in order to mislead the public into believing an alternate reality. When Walter Duranty of the sameNew York Times did that during the Stalin Years, he and theNew York Times contributed to the murder of millions of people who otherwise might have been saved if the truth of the Golodomor had come out. Instead, the people died, murdered by the enemies of the people. The same New York Times in a small way helped Hitler gas, bury, and incinerate millions of Jews during the Holocaust by hiding his crimes from the public. Did you know that the Times ran 23,000 front-page stories from 1939-1945, of which 11,500 were about the World War — but only twenty-six about Hitler’s mistreatment of Jews? Of course these evil villains are the enemies of the people.

Read it all, it’s the best thing I’ve read in quite a while. And yes, I agree with Rabbi Fischer completely. Well said, sir.

In a related matter, I not that the Governor of Virginia is openly supporting a bill that will allow the killing of an already born child. We have a word for that. It is murder, but this loon thinks it is fine. Perhaps he should be aborted.

An Unalienable Right

Yesterday, more than a million Americans gathered to protest America’s violation of the very first right God gave us – the right to life. While there are marches across the country, the focus is always Washington, where the violation of the right was first condoned, and where it will be restored one day.

From The Catholic Herald.

‘This is a movement founded on love and grounded in the nobility and dignity of every human life,’ President Trump said

The March for Life again gathered myriad pro-life advocates to mark the anniversary of legalized abortion in America, and in a surprise appearance Vice President Mike Pence and Second Lady Karen Pence introduced a pre-recorded message from President Donald Trump.

“This is a movement founded on love and grounded in the nobility and dignity of every human life,” President Trump said in a pre-recorded message to the massive January 18 rally, before the crowd began its march through the streets of Washington, D.C.

“When we look into the eyes of a newborn child we see the beauty of the human soul and the majesty of God’s creation, we know that every life has meaning and every life is worth protecting.”

“I will always protect the first right in the Declaration of Independence, the right to life,” he said.

Trump touted his administration’s new expansion of the Mexico City Policy, which restricts funds for international organizations that promote or perform abortions. He promoted his administration’s actions to protect religious freedom for medical professionals and religious charities, as well as support for adoption and foster care. Among new proposals are limits barring Title X funds for clinics that perform abortions; and making permanent the Hyde Amendment budget restrictions on abortion funding. […]

“Every child is a sacred gift from God,” he said. “Each person is unique from day one. That’s a very important phrase. Unique from day one. And so true… Together we will work to save the lives of unborn children.”

Vice President Mike Pence and Second Lady Karen Pence appeared in person to introduce the president and to give their own remarks.

“We gather here because we stand for life,” the vice president said. “We gather here because we stand for compassion. We gather here because we believe as our founders did because we believe all of us, born and unborn, are endowed by our creator with certain inalienable rights and first among these rights is the right to life.”

Pence said that the Supreme Court’s 1973 Roe v. Wade decision “turned its back on that right,” but that decision gave birth to “a movement born by compassion and love a movement animated by faith and truth, a movement that’s been winning hearts and minds every day since.”

Because of those gathered here, he said, “we know in our hearts that life is winning once again.”

Pence praised and thanked pregnancy center volunteers, adoptive families, and “courageous men and women who step forward to serve in public office” in the U.S. capitol and state legislatures. He urged pro-life advocates to “stand strong” and give reasons for their hope “with gentleness and respect.”

“They will attack you, they will question your hearts to silence others but don’t listen to them. Listen to the truth,” he said. He told marchers that God will not forsake them and they do not stand alone.

“Know that you have an unwavering ally in this vice president and this family. And you have a champion in the President of the United States, President Donald Trump.”

He’s right, we are winning finally, a clear majority of Americans want abortion severely restricted or outlawed. It’s up to us to continue the fight, it’s far from over.

It is time, nay, it is well past time for America to again recognize abortion as what it is, infanticide, and treat it as it should be. We owe it to the Founders, and we owe it the over 60 million American dead from this abomination. We best respect their right by continuing the struggle to end abortion in the United States.

 

Saints and Sinners

Pastor Hans Fiene.

There something interesting going on lately, particularly in conservative blogging. There are suddenly a certain number of the best writers going who write from a Christian, specifically Lutheran, perspective. A surprising number of them get highlighted here, not specifically because they are Lutheran, but because they are so good.

One of them is Rev Hans Fiene, a pastor in the LC Missouri Synod. Thos of you who know the Lutheran synods will know that the LCMS is pretty conservative, which means essentially that they teach the theology that Rev Dr Luther taught. And so Pastor Fiene does. Sound dry boring, and hard doesn’t it? Well, yeah, No. One of the things he does is Lutheran Satire. Here’s another sample that I don’t believe I’ve used before.

He’s very productive so you can find many on YouTube, it’s one of those places where I can spend days, and will if I’m not careful.

In any case, what Pastor Fiene teaches is pure Christian orthodoxy, and in most cases, he does it by making reasonably gentle fun of heterodoxy. All good and well. But he, like any good pastor, can bring it home when it needs to. And after Sutherland Springs he needed to.

I do my best to avoid the most sewer like areas on Twitter but sometimes they flood over like the Mississippi in spring, and this was one of them. Stuff like this.

or this:

Lovely, eh?

Well, Pastor Feine wasn’t amused either, and he thought a bit of a sermon might be in order. So, he wrote this.

However, we should all recognize that pointing to a couple dozen warm corpses and saying, “Fat lot of good your Jebus-begging did you” is an act of profound ugliness.

It’s also an act of profound ignorance. For those with little understanding of and less regard for the Christian faith, there may be no greater image of prayer’s futility than Christians being gunned down mid-supplication. But for those familiar with the Bible’s promises concerning prayer and violence, nothing could be further from the truth. When those saints of First Baptist Church were murdered yesterday, God wasn’t ignoring their prayers. He was answering them.

“Deliver us from evil.” Millions of Christians throughout the world pray these words every Sunday morning. While it doesn’t appear that the Lord’s Prayer is formally a part of the worship services at First Baptist Church in Sutherland Springs, I have no doubt that members of that congregation have prayed these words countless times in their lives.

Evil Isn’t Just Temporal

When we pray these words, we are certainly praying that God would deliver us from evil temporally—that is, in this earthly life. Through these words, we are asking God to send his holy angels to guard us from those who would seek to destroy us with knives and bombs and bullets. It may seem, on the surface, that God was refusing to give such protection to his Texan children. But we are also praying that God would deliver us from evil eternally. Through these same words, we are asking God to deliver us out of this evil world and into his heavenly glory, where no violence, persecution, cruelty, or hatred will ever afflict us again.

We also pray in the Lord’s Prayer that God’s will be done. Sometimes, his will is done by allowing temporal evil to be the means through which he delivers us from eternal evil. Despite the best (or, more accurately, the worst) intentions of the wicked against his children, God hoists them on their own petard by using their wickedness to give those children his victory, even as the wicked often mock the prayers of their prey.

During Christ’s crucifixion, for example, the same chief priests, scribes, and elders who conspired to put Jesus to death mocked him, saying, “He saved others; he cannot save himself. He is the King of Israel; let him come down now from the cross, and we will believe in him. He trusts in God; let God deliver him now, if he desires him. For he said, ‘I am the Son of God’”

Yet God proved his son’s divinity by, three days later, lifting him up out of the death those men gave him. Despite the chief priests, elders, and scribes doing all they could to silence the one who claimed to be the savior of the world, God turned their hatred into the catalyst of the world’s salvation.

Well, as is normal for Christians these days, especially orthodox ones, he pinned a great big target on his back, as I suspect he intended to.

Kim Quade, another one of us Lutherans out here described the shitstorm that enveloped Hans in her article, Lutheran Pastor Sets Off Storm with Article About Texas Massacre. It’s a good article, as well.

And, because Hans Fiene is a pastor with a German name in a German heritage Lutheran church body, someone blew the Nazi dog whistle:

There is absolutely no doubt that the ELCA (Evangelical Lutheran Church in America) – the ‘mainline’ strand of Lutherdom – would never condone such a remark by this right-wing Lutheran pastor. indeed, this right-wing Lutheran pastor happens to be a member of LCMS (Lutheran Church – Missouri Synod). . . Whereas the membership of the LCMS is predominantly German-American, the membership of the ELCA is primarily Scandinavian-American and Finnish-American. . .

And they went on and on. As my husband said, the intellectual wattage demonstrated in that comments thread couldn’t power a 40-watt bulb.

Hans Fiene himself said, in a podcast on the controversy released on Tuesday, that this sentiment is part of ‘outrage addiction,’ which ‘makes us all stupider.’ These people are ‘chasing a dopamine release.’ Fiene also adds that ‘outrage addiction’ exists on the right, as well. Neither camp is exempt.

Sadly, for the hearer of dog whistles, unlike Pastor Fiene and Kim, I’m an ELCA Lutheran, and have been for 30+ years. Much of what the ELCA has temporized out of the basic doctrines of Christianity is pretty bad, just as it is in the Episcopal Church, but the basic doctrine is exactly the same as taught here. Do I personally have problems with a lot of the revisionism in the ELCA? Yep, but not quite enough, yet anyway, to change.

Frankly, I think  Pastor Frank Pomeroy of the First Baptist Church of Sutherland Springs, TX, who lost his 14-year-old daughter in the massacre, said it best.

“I don’t understand, but I know my God does.”

“Whatever life brings to you, lean on the Lord rather than your own understanding.”

It’s enough for me, anyway. And I am reminded that Dietrich Bonhoeffer said, long before the Nazis hanged him.

“When Christ calls a man, he bids him come and die.”

 

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