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I was born, I'm currently living, and will eventually die. After that I face my judgment, and we'll talk then.


Wednesday, July 30, 2008

"Poetry soars to the heavens"

The English-speaking Catholic world is alive with talk of the new translation of the Roman Missal (Ordinary form). The translation has, according to numerous Catholic news reports, been approved by the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments and the USCCB, which had earlier stated qualms with some of the translation suggestions. It will more closely follow the Latin original, translating things like "Et cum spiritu tuo" as "and with your spirit," rather than "and Also with you." There are other ones too, one in particular actually removes the need for the second part of my post: Apologia pro Novus Ordo Missae.

The changes will not take effect for a while, a good thing, so as to avoid the liturgical and linguistic confusion that followed the promulgation of the Mass in the vernacular following Vatican II.

The full article can be here or one can read a blog post on it by Fr. Cusick, a priest I know, here.

I'm excited. Hopefully it will cut down on the number of people raising their hands with the priest when they say "and also with you."

But some people never change.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

More things to make you say: "What the. . . ?"

More updates involving this story. Read it here, if you want the details.

Long Story short, the University of Minnesota will not remove the biology professor in question.

(Slams head against the wall)

Thursday, July 17, 2008

What the. . . ? continued

Here's the latest article update concerning Dr. Dr. Paul Zachary Myers, the biology professor who has threatened to desecrate consecrated hosts.

He claims to have them. . .

Storm Heaven, my friends! Please!

Professor who threatened desecration claims to have consecrated Hosts

P.Z. Myers

.- University of Minnesota Morris biology professor and science blogger Dr. Paul Zachary Myers, who last week threatened to desecrate the Eucharist and to broadcast the act on the internet, says he has acquired Eucharistic Hosts consecrated at a Catholic Mass.

Prof. Myers explained in an e-mail to CNA that he has received the Eucharist from several people. “So far, the crackers I have received have been given to me in person or sent to my home address.”

Myers has been derisively referring to the Eucharist as a “cracker.” He began his desecration campaign on his scienceblogs.com blog “Pharyngula” in reaction to an incident at the University of Central Florida in which a student senator allegedly held the Eucharist hostage.

When asked by CNA whether he considered taking consecrated Hosts from a Catholic church to be theft, he replied:

“I'm not taking the crackers from any church. I'm not interested in attending church, nor would I misrepresent myself as a Catholic to receive it.

“It is freely handed out to people taking communion in the church. The people who are sending me crackers have received it openly,” he wrote.

Myers also could not see how others could consider taking a consecrated Host to be theft. “No. This ‘theft’ nonsense is a rationalization people are making up to justify hysteria.”

Myers said the reason to abuse a Host is “to expose the witch-hunt tactics of extremist Catholics like Bill Donohue.”

CNA asked Myers if he had received any “intellectually worthy” replies to his desecration threat, to which he responded “No.” “It's your job to give me one. ‘I will pray for you,’ ‘you must hate Catholics,’ and ‘why don't you desecrate a Koran?’, which are the most common messages I'm being sent, are not rational.

He noted that his blog Pharyngula has an open comments policy where critiques are already posted.

On Friday the Catholic League reported that Thomas E. Foley, a Virginia delegate to the Republican National Convention (RNC) in Minneapolis has asked that increased security be considered for the event in light of Myers’ threat to acquire and desecrate the Eucharist.

“I just felt security at the Republican National Convention ought to look at him and his followers,” Foley told CNA in a phone interview on Wednesday morning. He reported that he had not received an update about his request.

Voicing his concerns about Myers, Foley said: “What I think he has done, he’s loaded a cyberpistol and he’s cocked it and he’s left it on the table. He may have set something in motion that no one can stop. It was irresponsible, a hell of a thing to do.”

Foley explained that he thought Myers should not be able to incite such acts with “impunity,” saying that he was especially disturbed by the comments posted on Myers’ blog. He said it was “eye-opening” to read the people who supported Myers’ action. Even at his age of 63, Foley said, he had never “personally encountered such bigotry.”

He also objected to Myers’ recent description of Catholic League President Bill Donohue as “braying,” which Foley, a self-described Irish Catholic, claimed was “a great insult for the Irish.”

Foley said he believes Myers was telling his readers to acquire a consecrated Host at Mass, which Foley thought would result in disruptions.

“What’s he telling them to do? Consecrated Hosts are not just lying around,” he said to CNA, noting that the only other possible way to secure a Host would be to accost a priest, nun, or layman taking the Sacrament to the sick. Even E-bay, Foley emphasized, has prevented the sale of consecrated Hosts.

Foley said he thinks Myers’ actions have ended his career. “Who can listen to him lecture on science without thinking ‘Polly wants a cracker’?” he asked.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Apologia pro Novus Ordo Missae part 2

To read part 1, click here. We continue with the second part of the series.

To deny the invalidity of the Mass, even more recent forms such as the “Novus Ordo,” is a grave matter, for claiming invalidity opens up a Pandora’s box of other conclusions. If the “New” Mass is merely invalid, is an error that has been promulgated by all stages of Church hierarchy for the last 40 years, including all popes from Paul VI to our present day Holy Father, Benedict XVI. Such a claim is serious, for it undermines the right mind and authority of the Magisterium. On one hand, if the “Novus Ordo” is invalid because the intention of the priest is not the “intention of doing what the Church does,” as stated in the September 2002 issue of The Angelus, then there is no way that a member of the congregation can know for sure if the Mass is valid, and therefore must avoid any association to the form. On the other hand, if the Novus Ordo itself is sinful or heretical (sinful in its nature by promoting sacrilege or heretical by promoting heresy), then those who promote it are sinful/heretical, and therefore the popes from Paul VI through Benedict XVI are heretics. But a formal heretic cannot be pope, and therefore the see of Peter has been empty for 40 years, a series claim for any Catholic, much less a devout one. This, therefore, is no light matter and requires not a passing glance, but rather a firm examination.

I will first examine the claim that the Novus Ordo is invalid in itself, that is, in the matter and form of the sacrament.

The core of the validity of any sacrament lies in the matter and form of the said sacrament. The matter is the physical action or substance used, the physical vehicles for conveying grace. The form is the words spoken. For example, in baptism, the matter is the water poured on the recipient’s head and the form is the words “N. I baptize you in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.” That is the bare minimum for a valid baptism.

For the Mass, the matter and form are a little more complicated. The debate over the validity of the Mass centers on the consecration, where the matter (bread and wine) is transubstantiated into the body and blood of Jesus Christ through the form (the words of consecration) spoken by the priest. Since the beginning of the Church this has always been the case. The disagreements have been over things like what the exact consistency of the bread should be, or what exact words are necessary for consecration. These same debates have appeared again in the debate over the “Novus Ordo Missae” and its validity.

Since the main focus of the debate has been over the form, not the matter (at least 50% wheat bread and grape wine), this Apologia will likewise focus on the words of consecration.

One of the main arguments of the ultra-traditionalists is that the Words of Consecration were made invalid by moving the “Mysterium Fide” from the consecration of the wine, turning it into the Blood of Christ, to after the elevation and adoration of the sacrifice. In the Traditional Mass, the Consecration of the wine is as follows:



The Consecration (From the First Eucharistic Prayer) is as follows:



One notices that the phrase “Mysterium Fide” (“Mystery of Faith”) is missing. It appears immediately afterwards. In the Latin of the Novus Ordo, it retains the structure of Mysterium Fide; in the English translation it is rendered “Let Us Proclaim the Mystery of Faith.” We will return to this positioning and translation question later. For now, we examine the question of whether not having the Mysterium Fide among the words of consecration invalidates the consecration, and therefore the Mass.

The reason the rearranging of the words does not invalidate the consecration is because the phrase Mysterium Fide is not required for the consecration. It is a matter of rites. The Church is made up of several different rites from different parts of the world, Latin rite being the one with which most of you readers are most familiar. Each of these rites have valid, licit sacraments, including their liturgie; therefore their Masses, and thus their consecrations, are valid. The Church recognizes these rites as such, allowing certain things to be different about each one, while maintaining the central Pillars of faith. Such is the case with the Mass. Each rite may have different Masses in that they have different rituals, but they are all the same Mass, the same sacrifice on Calvary.

Now there are some rites recognized by the Church, much older than the 20th Century, which have consecrations lacking the phrase Mysterium Fide. These rites include the Ethiopian Rite and the Liturgy of the Abysinnian Jacobites. These rites are valid rites with valid sacraments, and therefore their liturgies are valid, despite the fact that they lack the phrase “Mysterium Fidei.” Though some ultra-traditionalists claim that St. Thomas Aquinas states that the whole consecration of the wine is every part of the consecration, not merely “This is the Chalice of my blood,” which is refuted by the fact that it is an instance of St. Thomas stating what he thinks and not what the Church holds as infallible. The earlier referenced extra-Latin liturgies are a convincing argument against the Angelic Doctor.

But what of the argument on the part of Ultra-traditionalist that placing the “Mysterium Fidei” after the consecration actually draws away from the Eucharistic sacrifice, placing more emphasis on the response following the phrase, which references Christ death, Resurrection, and Second Coming? Surely that is a problem. It is not. The proclamation after the consecration (which follows immediately after the priest genuflects in adoration before Christ made present on the altar) draws the focus of the prayers out to encompass the entirety of salvation history. The sacrifice on the Cross, Christ’s death and Resurrection, are presented as one all encompassing sacrifice.

A related point is brought up by Ultra-traditionalists dealing with the English translation of the Mass. A phrase that remained in the words of consecration is “Pro Multis,” “for many,” which is describing for whom Christ’s blood was shed. The English translation of the Mass renders the phrase “for all,” which does not seem to mean “for many.” Does this invalidate the Mass, or maybe even promote the heretical view that Christ’s death automatically saved every soul, and that there our souls are predestined to be with him? Does this phrase make the “Novus Ordo” Protestant?

The simple answer is no, but since simple answers don’t win arguments, I’ll give a little more complex one. The Mass does not become invalid with the translation of “multis” as “all” because of the same reason removing “Mysterium Fidei” does not produce invalidity. Both rites mentioned earlier, the Ethiopian and Abysinnian Jacobites, do not have anything resembling “pro multis” in their valid consecrations. Even if that were not the case, poor translations of sacraments do not mean the sacrament is invalid, as said in this quote from Instauratio Liturgica from the Congregation for the Doctrine of Faith:

"When a vernacular translation of a sacramental formula is submitted to the Holy See for approval, it examines it carefully. When it is satisfied that it expresses the meaning intended by the Church, it approves and confirms it, stipulating, however, that it must be understood in accordance with the mind of the Church as expressed in the original Latin text." - Instauratio Liturgica, 25 January 1974

Therefore the translation of “pro multis” as “for all” does not invalidate nor make heretical the Mass as promulgated by Paul VI. Nor will any later translations or linguistic corrections to be made in the coming years create multiple Masses, nor will they demonstrate invalidity to the earlier promulgated forms by having corrections.

What the. . . ?

I'm taking a break from ranting about Ultra-traditionalist Catholics to rage against really messed up non-Catholics who are attacking the very center my beliefs. I don't know if you've heard of it, but there is a professor at the University of Minnesota has offered, nay, encouraged his blog readers to get him consecrated hosts so that he might defile it. He has not said explicitly what he will do, just that it won't be "totally tasteless" and that he will not back down.

It scares me and pisses me off. More fear than anger though with him, sorrow as well. I fear for him, who seems so messed up in the head that he would want to do something like desecrate the Blessed Sacrament. What's in it for him?

Please pray for him, that he does not follow through with this threats.

Here's the article.

Minnesota Professor Repeats Threat of Eucharistic Desecration

P.Z. Myers / Bill Donohue

.- University of Minnesota at Morris biology professor P.Z. Myers has repeated his threat to desecrate the Eucharist, saying “I have to do something. I’m not going to just let this disappear.”

Speaking in an interview with the Minnesota Independent, Myers characterized the Eucharist as a “cracker.” He said that the vitriolic responses he received from self-described Catholics had strengthened his resolve.

“I have to do something,” he said in the interview. “I'm not going to just let this disappear. It's just so darned weird that they're demanding that I offer this respect to a symbol that means nothing to me. Something will be done. It won't be gross. It won't be totally tasteless, but yeah, I'll do something that shows this cracker has no power. This cracker is nothing.”

According to Myers, a minority of the threats even directed anti-Jewish remarks at him. Myers was in fact raised Lutheran.

When the Minnesota Independent asked Myers how his proposed action differed from U.S. military personnel’s reported abuse of the Koran, Myers responded:

“There's a subtle difference there -- maybe an important difference. I don't favor the idea of going to somebody's home or to something they own and possess and consider very important, like a graveyard -- going to a grave and desecrating that. That's something completely different. Because what you're doing is doing harm to something unique and something that is rightfully part of somebody else -- it's somebody else's ownership. The cracker is completely different. This is something that's freely handed out.”

Myers claimed the furor generated by his threat was a result of the weakening state of religion. “This is them lashing out. It's a disparate ploy to be relevant and to be important again... They're looking for somebody to take their ire out on.”

Last week Myers had threatened to desecrate the Eucharist in response to a Florida incident in which a student senator allegedly held a consecrated Host hostage.

“Can anyone out there score me some consecrated communion wafers?” Myers wrote on July 8 on his blog Pharyngula. “…if any of you would be willing to do what it takes to get me some, or even one, and mail it to me, I’ll show you sacrilege, gladly, and with much fanfare. I won’t be tempted to hold it hostage… but will instead treat it with profound disrespect and heinous cracker abuse, all photographed and presented here on the web.”

Bill Donohue, president of the Catholic League for Religious and Civil Rights, in a Tuesday statement criticized Myers for showing deference to Islam but not Catholicism in Myers’ Minnesota Independent interview.
Donohue cited Myers’ 2006 remarks on a Danish controversy surrounding derogatory depictions of Mohammed, in which he said the cartoons “lack artistic or social or even comedic merit, and are presented as an insult to inflame a poor minority.”

Donohue continued: “He even went so far as to say that Muslims ‘have cause to be furious.’ (His italic.) Worthy of burning down churches, pledging to behead Christians and shooting a nun in the back…”

“We hope Myers does the right thing and just moves on without further disgracing himself and his university,” Donohue stated. “The letter I received from University of Minnesota President Robert H. Bruininks makes it clear that school officials want nothing to do with his hate-filled remarks. It would also be nice if Myers’ fans would cease and desist with their hate-filled screeds.”

In a Friday Catholic League statement Donohue said that Myers’ remarks and the reactions of Myers’ supporters has prompted Thomas E. Foley, a delegate to the Republican National Convention in Minneapolis-St. Paul, to voice concern for Catholics who are attending the September convention.

“Accordingly, Foley has asked the top GOP brass to provide additional security while in the Twin Cities so that Catholics can worship without fear of violence,” Donohue said.

The Florida incident which provoked Myers’ desecration threat happened in June when Webster Cook, a student senator at the University of Central Florida, reportedly received a consecrated Host at a campus Mass and took it back to his seat to show his curious friend. When confronted by a Catholic leader who reputedly tried to retrieve the Host, Cook left the church and stored the Sacrament in a plastic bag. He returned the Host on Sunday July 6 and apologized, but said he was motivated by his opposition to the Catholic campus group’s use of student funds.

Catholic students in an official complaint charged Cook with disruptive conduct, while Cook responded with an official complaint concerning alleged physical force.

According to wftv.com, Cook is now pressing charges against the University of Central Florida Catholic Campus Ministries for hazing, alleging the Catholic group violated an anti-hazing rule against the forced consumption of food. The rule is normally applied to fraternity initiations.

Cook has also charged the Catholic group of violating the school’s underage alcohol policy by serving communion wine to underage students.

Anthony Furbush, an officer in the university’s Student Government Association (SGA), has filed an affidavit of impeachment against Cook, alleging that he violated SGA ethics when he announced that he was an SGA official during the Mass. He claimed this status as a reason he did not have to leave the Mass when asked. If impeached, Cook would be stripped of his SGA position.

Wednesday, July 09, 2008

Gabriel's Revelation?

What if a piece of archaeological evidence arose from the deserts of the Middle East that could prove that Christianity was false? How would the world react.

It sounds like the plot of a bad adventure movie, but this time its real. The article tells the tale, and is pretty thorough, so I won't waste time summing it up here.

I just thought it was something interesting to post, something nice and controversial.