Sunday, August 30, 2009

Good reads in the Catholic blogosphere for Sunday, August 30, 2009

I just read an excellent article by The Anchoress:
Two terrific “must read” stories, one at the start of a life, and the other at life’s culmination, bring to mind verse 2 of Psalm 131:
Truly I have set my soul
in silence and peace.
A weaned child on its mother’s breast,
even so is my soul.

Go read those two "must read" stories in her blogpost: As a child rests in his mother's arms

In other news, hotly circulating, is one in which Vaticanista, Andrea Tornielli reaffirms what he penned, after the Holy See has put out a denial. The Vatican watcher carefully points out that the denial is a non-denial because it denies things he did not write in his original article. If you are dizzy, you are not alone. Since the Holy See got caught with it's cassock unbuttoned in the Bp Williamson affair, among others, it has been closely monitoring the blogosphere. Hmmmmm........Perhaps that is what some of those hits are from Vatican City and Lazio, Rome. This is a positive development, as is the careful clarification by Andrea Tornielli about what he did and did not say.

There are a few blogposts to read on this topic:

Those of you who have followed this blog have seen the many posts I have made on Bishop Joseph Martino of Scranton, PA. He has been hailed as a pro-life, pro-family champion, and the bane of those who think Church teaching is something that changes with popular opinion. Who can forget him standing up last November at the annual bishop's conference and telling his brothers that they would be held accountable for their collective reticence (referring to how matters concerning Catholic politicians were being handled).

Rumor was circulating locally for some weeks that His Excellency was stepping down, most likely due to health reasons. He was in Rome in June for a meeting with officials at the Congregation for Bishops. What is interesting to note is that his auxiliary bishop, John Dougherty, 77, is retiring at the same time. There is a presser in some undisclosed location, closed to the public, in Scranton, being held by the diocese at 10:00am Monday. Stay tuned.

Related links:

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The obedient are not held captive by Holy Mother Church; it is the disobedient who are held captive by the world!

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Kennedy Funeral - Catholic Thoughts

There has been much talked about ahead of the Catholic funeral Mass for Teddy Kennedy, such as the excellent piece over at Get Religion: Kennedy, O'Malley, & Benedict XVI. In it, tMatt compares and contrasts the differences between the funerals of Teddy Kennedy, whose actions in congress were often in conflict with the Catholic faith, and his sister Eunice.

There will undoubtedly be a flood of analyses cropping up on the Catholic funeral today. I'll be editing this post to add them as I spot them, so do check back.

From, Robert Royal of The Catholic Thing blogpost: Scandal Time

The American bishops have been admirably clear that the defense of life is not like their other concerns about the poor and social justice. Defense of life occupies a different level. It is the basis for everything else.

Yet most people watching the Kennedy funeral have never heard a word of our bishops’ teachings, except that Catholics are “not single issue voters.” They might with justification believe that you can be a notorious pro-abortion Catholic and still be publicly honored by the Catholic Church. No one mentioned the issue, let alone took steps to make it clear that the Church means business about life.

Some have argued that now is not the time to criticize Edward Kennedy. There will be time enough later. But this is not a matter of criticism. This involves a widespread public misperception of Catholicism – or is it a true perception now? Television coverage of the Mass has spread the image of the Church honoring a well-known Catholic, passionately disrespectful of life. The damage may be irreversible.

Other Articles and Blogposts:

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The obedient are not held captive by Holy Mother Church; it is the disobedient who are held captive by the world!

RIP: Robert Schindler - Father of Terry Schiavo dies

Sad news broke today that Robert Schindler, the father of Terry Schiavo, whose case for life became the focus of national attention some years ago died of heart failure at 72 years of age. Robert Schindler was a champion for life, especially for the disabled.

See more at LifeNews: Terri Schiavo's Father Robert Schindler Dies, Pro-Life Group Mourns His Death

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The obedient are not held captive by Holy Mother Church; it is the disobedient who are held captive by the world!

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Lots of news; no time to post

I regret that I have been unable to do much blogging of late. Stuff happens, and lots has been happening in my small world that will not allow me to get much blogging done. My huge backlog of audio, video and photo work has gotten bigger since I have not had the time to process much.

Perhaps soon. I pray the Good Lord will give me time, until then, I highly recommend you check out some of the hot topics being discussed out there. Once again, I am watching the news, but I am unable to write on it, and haven't even had time to twitter.

Noteworthy events:

There is a 4-day mission going on at Assumption Grotto right now. I went tonight. I don't think I will make it tomorrow night. It continues Saturday and Sunday. I have to take one day at a time with some responsibilities that have fallen on me of a time-sensitive nature. See details of the Mission here.

Saturday, September 5th, there is a Memorial Mass for Servant of God, Fr. John A. Hardon, SJ out at the Colombiere retreat center.

Labor Day Weekend (Sunday): Andrew Rabel, Australian correspondent for Inside the Vatican magazine will be at Assumption Grotto to give a talk on a newly canonized Carmelite saint from Portugal - St. Nuno de Maria Alvares Pereira, O. Carm. Andrew's talk will be Sunday, September 6, 2009 around 1:45pm which gives everyone a chance to participate in the Eucharistic procession following Noon Mass, with Rosary and Benediction. And, to pick up a hot dog or hamburger at the Grotto-grill ahead of the talk. See the flyer here for more about St. Nuno and the talk.

And, the Helpers of God's Precious Infants will be having their next vigil on the 19th of September at St. Basil the Great Catholic Church in Eastpointe. It will be led by Bishop Flores! More to come in this.

Did I miss anything? How about adding upcoming events at Grotto and for Grotto-goers in the combox. It might take me 10-12 hours before I can moderate comments.

Now, about that news I was talking about. Go visit these blogs & sites and scan the subject lines:

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The obedient are not held captive by Holy Mother Church; it is the disobedient who are held captive by the world!

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Phoenix Bishop discusses Satanic attacks experienced by St.John Vianney

In the Year for Priests, St. John Vianney's life is examined more closely. Bishop Thomas Olmsted of Phoenix, talks about demonic attacks suffered by the saint.

From the Catholic Sun:

Year for Priests: St. John Vianney

Part Two: The devil's attacks

Editor’s note: This is the second part in a new series of columns in celebration of the holy Year for Priests.

The influence of the devil can never overcome the power of God’s grace. Jesus assures us of this when He tells Peter (Mt 16:18), “I say to you, you are Peter, and upon this rock I will build my Church, and the gates of the netherworld shall not prevail against it.” But the evil one, nonetheless, continues to tempt and test all of us during our life on earth.

Satanic attacks were commonplace in the life of Fr. John Vianney. For 35 years, the devil taunted and harassed him, not only in spiritual ways but even in tangible and audible ones. These latter, demonic acts normally are quite rare. But, by the influence of the devil, the Cure of Ars’ bed was moved about, crashing noises resounded, fires were ignited, and other harassments occurred, all in an effort to stop or at least to curtail the priestly ministry of Fr. Vianney. Why did God allow these to occur? How did the saint respond? We shall examine these questions today. We shall also look, in subsequent parts of this series, at other defining characteristics of his life, namely his love for beauty, and his pastoral service of hearing confessions.

Infestations by the devil

Fallen angels, also known as devils and evil spirits, try to hinder all of us in our pursuit of holiness. Their ordinary ploy is by means of temptations, which God allows so that we can make good use of our freedom in resisting them and thus growing to fuller maturity in Christ.

In addition to these ordinary ploys, demons resort to other extraordinary acts, on rare occasions, with the same intention of thwarting the plan of God and undercutting our filial trust in Him. These harassments can be of three kinds: infestations, obsessions and possessions.

With infestations, the devil makes use of noises, outcries, rattling, apparitions and other extraordinary outbursts of some sensible nature aimed at terrifying people, intending to undercut their confidence in God. He used these repeatedly on the Cure of Ars, sometimes to keep him from getting badly needed sleep, at other times to disturb his peace of mind and to try to shake his trust in God. All these were aimed at disrupting the effective ministry of this holy priest.

Early on, Fr. Vianney became aware that these infestations were most outrageous just before an outstanding action of grace was about to occur through his priestly ministry, usually the conversion of a sinner. In fact, he remarked that the worst assaults of the devil happened when he was on the verge of “landing a big fish,” by which he meant welcoming back a baptized person who had fallen far into the darkness of despair. With this insight, Fr. Vianney calmly ignored the infestations, and looked forward with joyful hope to the next victory of grace about to occur through the Sacrament of Penance. If we ever have to deal with similar harassments, we should follow this saintly priest’s good example of calmly ignoring the devil, confidently turning to God in prayer, and deepening our communion with Christ through the Eucharist and the other sacraments.

Obsession and possession by the devil

The Cure of Ars himself never suffered from demonic obsession or possession, but he dealt with them in others whom he served in his sacred ministry. With obsession, the devil goes beyond infestations and actually plays on the external senses of the body or influences a person’s memory or imagination. In cases of possession, which are even more rare than those of obsession, the devil actually uses the whole human organism, with the exception of the mind and will.

The suffering that obsession and possession bring to a person is almost unimaginable. Moreover, to be freed of these satanic harassments, the Church’s sacred power from Christ is needed. This is why bishops appoint exorcists in their dioceses to offer pastoral care for persons afflicted by the devil in these horrifying ways. Through prayers of deliverance and the rites of exorcism, persons are freed from satanic power and their peace of heart and soul is restored.

Very easily, these harassments by the devil can be misunderstood and even exploited by sensationalist segments of the media or by enemies of the Church. For that reason, the Church avoids publicity about them and handles each case without fanfare. But it is more than foolish for any of us to dismiss the reality of the devil and his works of darkness, for as St. Peter warns (1 Pet 5:8-9), “Be sober and vigilant. Your opponent the devil is prowling around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. Resist him, steadfast in faith, knowing that your fellow believers throughout the world undergo the same sufferings.”

‘He cast out demons’

It could be said that the priesthood is not fully understandable except in contrast with the work of the devil. The mission of a priest is linked intrinsically to God’s forgiveness of sins through Christ, and to His mission of defeating the devil and ushering in the Kingdom of God. We see this, above all, in the life of Christ Himself, our eternal High Priest. Recall that Jesus cast out seven demons from Mary Magdalene (Cf. Lk 8:2), and expelled a whole legion of demons from a possessed man in the territory of the Gerasenes (Cf. Mk 5:1-20). The Catechism of the Catholic Church says of Him (#539), “Christ reveals Himself as God’s Servant, totally obedient to the divine will. In this, Jesus is the devil’s conqueror: He ‘binds the strong man’ to take back his plunder. Jesus’ victory over the tempter in the desert anticipates victory at the Passion, the supreme act of obedience of His filial love for the Father.”

Even before Jesus began His public ministry, the Father allowed Him to be tempted by the devil in the desert (Cf. Mt 4:1-11). He successfully resisted the temptations and made it possible for us to do the same when we are one with Him in faith. In His public ministry, Jesus cast out devils and vanquished the evil one as an integral part of His mission from the Father. He did this in the most humble of ways; as the Letter to the Hebrews says (4:15), “For we have not a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect was tested as we are, yet without sinning.”

In part three of this series on St. John Vianney, we shall look at the usual way that Christ continues in the Church His victory over the devil, namely through the Sacrament of Confession. Then, in part four we shall look at the Cure’s keen sense of beauty.

Source page for article.

Part 1 of the series, as well as other articles written by Bishop Olmsted can be found on this page at the Catholic Sun.

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The obedient are not held captive by Holy Mother Church; it is the disobedient who are held captive by the world!

Monday, August 17, 2009

2009 Feast of the Assumption at Assumption Grotto - Evening Mass with Archbishop Vigneron and Candlelight Procession

Please note: Photos may be used for Catholic blogs and websites, with a link back to the respective post or my home page. For publication in print, blog photos will not work as they are low resolution. Please contact me.

This is the third, and final photo post of the Feast of the Assumption at Assumption Grotto in 2009. Archbishop Allen H. Vigneron was the main celebrant for the Latin Novus Ordo (post-Vatican II Mass) which was celebrated ad orientem at the old wall altar.

For those unfamiliar with this posture of the celebrant, where he faces the wall altar, it is most associated with the extraordinary form of the Mass (1962 Missal). However, it is also a valid posture in the ordinary form of the Mass (post-Vatican II). At Assumption Grotto, all Masses are celebrated at the wall altar - a preference of priests and laity alike at the parish.

There is a spiritual side to this that may seem difficult to comprehend for people accustomed to the priest facing the people, or versus populum. When people ask me how we at Grotto could like this posture, I explain it this way:

We seek not the face of the priest in the Mass, but the face of Almighty God!

From a personal standpoint, the ad orientem posture enables me to follow the priest who, in persona Christi, leads us in prayer. There is a contemplative dimension to the Mass and I have found that this posture allows for deeper focus on the Mystery taking place.

I can tell you that Grotto-goers found it heart-warming that our Archbishop would celebrate the newer form of the Mass using a posture and other valid options familiar to us - like Latin. Archbishop Vigneron can celebrate the Traditional Latin Mass (1962 Missal), but it was not practical to have a Pontifical High Mass this time. The invitation was sent out with very little notice and time to prepare - for the parish and the archbishop. We are hopeful that he will eventually celebrate such a Mass in the future at our parish. Some bishops have started offering Confirmations in the Extraordinary Form and perhaps that opportunity will happen here in Detroit in due time.

We start with the procession into the Church.

As you will see in pictures here, the Church was at max capacity, with people standing outside the front doors. It reached 90 degrees after weeks of unseasonably cool weather. It was very hot in the building, but it is something we just deal with. Many braved that heat to honor Our Lady along with fully vested archbishop and priests, Knights in full color, and altar boys in multiple layers.

Our choir and a 17 member orchestra peformed Mozart's coronation Mass under the direction of our Pastor, Rev. Eduard Perrone, in what was probably the hottest place in the building - the choir loft. I couldn't help thinking about our brethren in other parts of the world who are in climates hotter than ours without air conditioners, and our ancestors who never had such luxuries. Many rightly offered their suffering as prayers.

Below (left to right) is transitional deacon, John Dumas, Archbishop Allen H. Vigneron, Deacon James Gennette, Fr. John Bustamante, Fr. Paul Ward, Fr. Lee Acervo, and the newly ordained Fr. Charles White IV who celebrated his first Mass (Solemn High) at Assumption Grotto on Pentecost this year. Not pictured was another newly ordained priest on the other side of the sanctuary, Fr. Michael Wilkes, along with Fr. Matthew Hincks, ORC and Fr. John Britto, ORC.

Transitional Deacon - John Dumas - reads the Gospel.

I regret that I do not have the homily, written or in audio. I was going to ask for a copy of it, but it was unscripted to the best of my knowledge. The archbishop was very passionate and I regret not having a way to audio record it with reasonable quality. I do know the people of Real Catholic TV were there attempting to get good audio along with the video. We will have to wait to see if it turned out.

Fr. Charles Fox, the archbishop's secretary, stands in the background.

Would you like to see more pictures from this feast day? You can check out my first two photo posts from earlier in the day. Also click the smugmug links to see all 180 photos from the day in slideshow format (hint: click "fast" in the upper left area after starting the slideshow), or use other options for viewing them.

From my Smugmug site:

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The obedient are not held captive by Holy Mother Church; it is the disobedient who are held captive by the world!

2009 Feast of the Assumption at Assumption Grotto - Eucharistic Adoration & Afternoon Procession

This is the second of three posts for the 2009 Feast of the Assumption at Assumption Grotto in Detroit (see links to other posts, and more, at the bottom of this post). I will add text before certain sets of photos below to explain what is going on.

Eucharistic Adoration was held in the Church from 11:00am until 3:00pm. In many other photos you will see on this blog of Adoration, you'll notice that the Seat of Wisdom statue directly behind the monstrance is covered. However, on Marian feast days, it is not covered, as seen here.

At 3:00pm, the Blessed Sacrament is processed out to the Grotto.

A living Rosary is then led by Fr. Perrone. People line up and one by one they step up to a microphone and recite the first half of the Hail Mary, and the people follow with the other half.

After the living Rosary, the priests annointed the sick and the elderly. This was not a blanket access to the Sacrament for anyone wanting it. Rather, it was explained that certain conditions must be met for people to present themselves. They must be properly disposed and confessions are heard earlier in the afternoon. While some were sick with things like cancer, or other life threatening conditions, many of the elderly were annointed, as they are permitted, even though they may not be sick. Not pictured this year, is the Benediction which followed before the procession back to the Church, of the Blessed Sacrament.

A visiting priest from the Oxford Oratory in the UK who was staying with a Grotto family. Read about the the Congregation of the Oratory here.

Be sure to see the first of three photoposts from earlier in the day, and photos of the climax of the day - the 7:00pm Mass with Archbishop Vigneron and candlelight procession in the final photo post. The last post also contains links to more of the 180 photos. These posts reflect only a sampling.

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The obedient are not held captive by Holy Mother Church; it is the disobedient who are held captive by the world!

2009 Feast of the Assumption at Assumption Grotto - Morning and Afternoon

In this first of 3 photopost for the 2009 Feast of the Assumption at Assumption Grotto, we start with the 9:30am Mass in the extraordinary form (often referred to by the misnomer, "Tridentine").

Since the feast fell on a Saturday, it was not a holy day of obligation in our diocese, but as you will seem many came to honor the the Blessed Virgin Mary on her feast day, regardless.

The Noon Mass, also pictured below, was a Solemn High Mass with Fr. Eduard Perrone - Grotto's pastor - as the celebrant, Fr. Paul Ward as the Deacon of the Mass, and Fr. John Bustamante as sub-deacon.

The second of three photoposts will feature Eucharistic Adoration, the Eucharistic procession to the Grotto, and the annointing & blessing of the sick.

The last photopost will feature the 7:00pm Mass with Archbishop Vigneron and concelebrants, and the candlelight procession. There, you will be able to get a link to see all of the 180 photos uploaded to my smugmug site from throughout the day.

This first pic, taken as Fr. John awaits the start of the 9:30am Mass, reveals the beauty of the old chasuble worn by all celebrants on this feast day.

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The obedient are not held captive by Holy Mother Church; it is the disobedient who are held captive by the world!