Sunday, September 11, 2011

10 Years Ago Today...

Emergency personnel carry the body of Fr. Mychal Judge, OFM - FDNY chaplain
Photo: SHANNON STAPLETON/Reuters /Landov

As we remember the tragedy which took place 10 years ago today, I'd like to pass along something I read the other day in the National Catholic Register in the article, Catholics Remember the Tragedy — and Its Spiritual Impact.  Here is a clip from the article which talks about the priest in the photo as Fr. George Rutler recalls:

He had just been named pastor of the Church of Our Savior on Park Avenue but was still at his former Church of St. Agnes by Grand Central Terminal. He heard a plane that seemed to be flying right over his head and wondered why such a large plane was flying so low. Then he heard the sound from downtown.

As soon as he heard that sound, he literally ran the distance to Lower Manhattan, saw the building on fire and went into St. Peter's Church looking for the holy oils. The church was empty, but he said the impact of the crash had been so great that file cabinets were pushed from the walls and everything was coated with white dust.

"A priest, Father [Mychal] Judge — I didn't know him — had been killed, and firemen brought his body to St. Peter's Church," Father Rutler said. "The firemen in shock came in with the priest's body. He was the first officially recorded death. They put his body in front of the altar. It was very moving. There is a picture of the Crucifixion over the altar. I remember blood coming down the altar steps. I shall always remember that scene."

Next, he saw one policeman sitting on the steps of the church weeping.

"That reduced everything to a human scale," Father Rutler said. "I knew everything was bad, but, at that time, I didn't know the scale of it."

"Firemen were lining up to go into the building, asking for absolution. I was giving general absolution; they were going into a battlefield. One always has these mental images of the firemen going up these staircases and the people coming down."

The Catechism explains in the case of grave necessity a general absolution is the recourse (1483).

"Grave necessity of this sort can arise when there is imminent danger of death without sufficient time for the priest or priests to hear each penitent's confession," it states, referring to Canon 961 of the Code of Canon Law. The faithful must have contrition and the intention of individually confessing in due time each of the grave sins which cannot then be confessed.

There's much more in the article:

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