Monday, September 30, 2013

Must hear homily: "Walk in a manner worthy of your calling"

Post updated with audio-link

There is a 17 minute sermon that anyone engaged in social media should hear, regardless of whether you go to the ordinary or extraordinary form. It happens to be a priest talking to people in an TLM, but what he has to say is simply Catholic.  We all need to hear this today.  In fact, before you make another entry in a comment box or social media, listen to this sermon.

The priest reflects on some words by Pope St. Leo the Great's 8th Sermon, on the Lord's Passion.  It was preached on September 15, 2013 according to the site, but is in the 7th reading from Matins in the older breviary on the Exaltation of the Holy Cross, which is September 14th.  Here is the text he quotes at the beginning.

"...when we gaze upon Christ lifted up upon the Cross, the eyes of our mind see more than that which appeared before the wicked, unto whom it was said through Moses: And thy life shall hang in doubt before thee, and thou shalt fear day and night, and shalt have none assurance of thy life. Deut. xxviik 66. They saw in the crucified Lord nothing but the work of their own wickedness, and they feared greatly, Matth. xxvii. 54, not with that faith which giveth earnest of life by justification, but with that whereby the evil conscience is tortured. But our understanding is enlightened by the Spirit of truth, and with pure and open hearts we see the glory of the Cross shining over heaven and earth..."

Link to full 17 minute sermon:

Some thoughts

The sermon will have the virtuous looking inward in a big way.

He talks a lot about looking at the faults of others and how we talk about them, thus the title that admonishes us to walk in a manner worthy of our calling.

All that I have been saying in my recent posts about the importance of the face we put on Catholicism in general, or on traditionalism is packaged neatly in this 17 minute sermon.  When I say that how we Catholics interact with each other, as others see us, is very important, this priest helps us to understand it all in a very Catholic way.

It's clear he is addressing a TLM crowd, perhaps about things that may be more dominant within this sub-culture. It's certainly my experience.  However, there is little doubt in my mind that what he says also applies to non-TLM people who talk about the imperfections of traditionalists with the same sort of ugliness they despise among members of the group they target for criticism.

I myself have been overly harsh at times, in my discussion with others, about problems within the "fringe" of the various kinds of traditional communities.  I think it may be the same kind of anger that Jesus had with the pharisees.  We tend to be less willing to bear with the imperfections of others if they themselves are harsh in their treatment of people.

That is why I refuse to link to certain forms of Catholic media, that may be well and good in other ways, but so caustic that in my humble opinion, it is very damaging to the mission of the Church.  It does not do it's damage by heresy or error, but through lack of charity and malevolent nature.   It is abusive and not led by love, but by scorn and spite.  At it's root is a form of bitterness that arises when open wounds are allowed by the individual to fester.  There's nothing in harmony with the Gospel that would allow us to dwell in things that have caused us pain.  Jesus had more reasons to dwell the suffering that came at the hands of each and every one of us, but that is not what he taught us.

So, I ask you all, regardless of whether you go to the EF, OF, or one of the many other rites, to listen carefully to this exceptional homily.

I think other priests and seminarians can also benefit from hearing how this one dealt with a common problem today, that is in no way exclusive to TLM communities.

About Audio Sancto

Last week I discussed the website, in my post on fraternal correction when I shared a very good sermon on the subject.  It might be good to see that note half way down that post.

* Picture at top from a scene in the movie, Passion of Christ

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Te Deum Laudamus! Home

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

- Diane M. Korzeniewski

Note: The recommended links below are automatically generated by the tool, so they are not necessarily related content.

Recent Posts for September 30

I've been going to town on post-writing these days, so here is a list of recent posts:

*Painting at top is Saint Jerome Writing by Caravaggio.  Today is his feast day.

For interesting news items I don't have time to blog on, check out my Twitter Feed: @TeDeumBlog

Te Deum Laudamus! Home

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

- Diane M. Korzeniewski

Note: The recommended links below are automatically generated by the tool, so they are not necessarily related content.

The best commentary I've read yet on the Pope Francis interview

Larry Chapp, a retired professor of theology at De Sales University, wrote one of the best commentaries I've seen to date on the recent, big interview with the Holy Father, called, "Honest Francis."  In the beginning, he cites the analysis by Phil Lawler that I recommended last week, "The key to understanding Pope Francis: The 99 lost sheep." 

Here is just one excerpt to raise your curiosity, but you have to read the whole thing for full context.

"People like me and some bloggers I have read, who suffered through the 'silly season' of the post-conciliar Church, must resist with all of our power the temptation to view these Papal words as a dangerous window letting the clown masses back in. We were scarred by that experience in the 70′s. I know I was and it colors deeply my fears over those 'Commonweal words'. But this is not 1975 anymore and Francis is not a 'wacky,' liberal, 1970′s bishop. The time has come therefore to recognize that the people behind the silly season were not entirely wrong. The pre-conciliar Church was juridical and dogmatic and stuffy and rigid. It collapsed almost immediately after the Council for good reasons: the post-war Church’s apparent outward strength was masking some very serious defects. And despite their lunacy the post-conciliar liberals were on to something deeply true in many ways. Perhaps it is now time for many of us who were formed in those battles to admit that. That is why I fault so many in the Right-wing blogosphere for publicly venting their spleens. I am saying 'Listen more guys, and be still—we may have something to learn here.'"

My thoughts immediately turned to some conversations I had with a self-proclaimed, "former Catholic; non-demonimational Christian" (just for the record, once baptized in the Church, one cannot be a 'former Catholic' no matter how much they declare it.)  I'll go into some detail on those conversations in another post because there are some good things to learn from that when it comes to evangelization.

I know some will get their dander up over what Dr. Chapp just said there, but please be sure to read the whole thing and reflect on it in prayer before reacting.  Think of people you know who have fallen away or are not fully practicing.  It wasn't just a lack of catechesis that permitted this, or even Masses filled with abuses.  Many fallen away or lukewarm Catholics I know had some of the best catechetics offered - in the days of the Baltimore Catechism.  There were other kinds of deficiencies that could be easy to miss for those not looking very closely.  Hopefully, I can illustrate that with my story, maybe tomorrow.

Canonization date announced for Blessed Popes John Paul II and John XXIII

From Vatican Radio

Francis on Monday morning held the Public Ordinary Consistory for the forthcoming Canonization of Blessed Pope John XXIII and Blessed Pope John Paul II. During the course of the Consistory in the Vatican's Consistory Hall, the Pope decreed that his two predecessors will be raised to Sainthood on April 27, 2014, the day on which the Church celebrates the Second Sunday of Easter and Divine Mercy.

For interesting news items I don't have time to blog on, check out my Twitter Feed: @TeDeumBlog

Te Deum Laudamus! Home

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

- Diane M. Korzeniewski

Note: The recommended links below are automatically generated by the tool, so they are not necessarily related content.

Sunday, September 29, 2013

The problem with the traditional "fringe"

I want to address a comment found in someone's Facebook thread directly under this photo. It was his unnecessary, mean-spirited, sophomoric and condescending remark  that prompted this post.  I can't be silent anymore about this kind of stuff. If you want to know what is giving traditionalists such a bad name, here's a good example.

First, I want to make some observations about this 1942 photo from Quebec that has been floating around Facebook.  You see a priest entering a home, preceded by an altar boy, who is likely carrying a candle.  I was moved deeply by what I witnessed in my first Corpus Christi Procession at Assumption Grotto.  Similarly, when I discerned a vocation in a Franciscan convent in Herzegovina back in 1980 that is how the Eucharist was carried to the sick and dying sisters - preceded by someone carrying a candle, and someone ringing bells.  The bells alerted people that Our Lord was going to be passing by.  Those who could kneel did; and those who could not, bowed in adoration.  That is what these people are doing if you look carefully at the photo - they are in adoration as the Lord passes by.  My mind's eye reflects on the magi and how they kneeled before the Infant Jesus in adoration.  I point this out only as an observation. I believe some gesture of reverence is in order when we pass Jesus, or when he passes us. He does not deserve to go unacknowledged in such cases. But, I don't think I need to insult others in order to propose this position to others who may not have thought about it this way before.

Second, I want to get to the remark that set me off.  This snipe was the first comment under the photo at the Facebook thread:

"Now Mrs. Pants Suit Eucharistic Minister does it with the pyx in her pocket."

Take a good look at that statement. It sounds like a 13 year old wrote it. No, wait, that is an insult to 13 year olds. If you think that is funny please allow me to help you see that it is damaging to the Body of Christ and damaging to the cause of making more traditional expressions of the Catholic faith more available for others.  Why? It puts a very ugly face on it.  If this is the kind of traditionalism a bishop encounters is it any wonder why some are still not proactively working to make it more readily available? If this is the kind of traditionalist other Catholics encounter, what impression are they given? If non-Catholics witness this, how inviting is the Catholic faith? Well guess what: Bishops are reading, as are other Catholics and non-Catholics.  We are all on display on the internet. Hello?!?!?

Its so small, really, such a statement.  It broad brushes, in a negative way, every person who takes time out of their day to bring the graces offered by a valid Eucharist to the sick, while others are on the couch watching football or browsing at the mall; or wasting time dropping digital turds like that on the web.

Only God can read souls and judge them, including the souls of those EMHC's taking the Eucharist to the sick.  They aren't doing anything the Church doesn't permit them to do.   If only we had more priests, this would not be necessary, but there is a shortage.   We all know part of it is contrived. Very slowly, that is changing.  It happened; God permitted it to happen.  But we don't please God by insulting others who are trying to help, even if some might have mistaken ideas about their roles.

How does that statement build the Body of Christ?  That is a question we need to ask more often.

Ponder it in Adoration

There was a time when I myself used to think these things and even say them to others. I know from personal experience it's entertaining to the self and to others who cave in to their fallen nature to have fun at the expense of others.  I noticed that once I was still chuckling at my own "humor" while in Adoration. Our Lord was not laughing. In fact, these kinds of things came up often during Adoration, but it wasn't I who would bring it up for discussion.  While we can talk to Jesus, Adoration should be more about listening to see what He might have to say to us.  That said, I largely abandoned the practice some years ago because it seemed to violate virtues, even if I didn't quite know what those were.

There are a few things wrong with this kind of humor and it is lacking virtue.  There's nothing traditional about not practicing the virtues.  No matter how hurt you are over things that happened in the past, or over things happening now, you don't get to abuse other people, even if they are nameless.  People not showing reverence to our Eucharistic Lord may indeed offend Him; but not showing reverence for others also offends Him. That it should be done in the name of defending Jesus is just twisted logic.

When there are many priests in a parish...

At my parish, we have two diocesan priests, but also have some religious order priests that work out of an office on the grounds, and a deacon.  In such a situation, it is much easier for priests to take Communion to the sick on a regular basis and this happens on First Fridays at my parish, and in between as necessary for those in need or near death. The beautiful part about having a priest bring Communion to someone in the hospital is that there is always an opportunity to request sacramental Confession.  How many people today in hospitals and nursing homes are receiving Communion regularly, but have had no real opportunity to seek God's mercy in Confession? This is utterly unmerciful if you understand that it is a sacrament of mercy.  This is a real crisis.  A priest can labor all day every day to get souls to heaven from the parish, and lose them on their death bed because they were receiving Communion with serious sin on their souls.

If we were a one-priest parish, I'm not sure how that would all change, but I do believe something would have to give.  That is the position most parish priests are in today.

The graces of a valid Eucharist for the sick

When I was preparing for surgery last year, knowing our priests make the rounds for Communion, but not daily, I asked one of them how he thought I should respond if an EMHC shows up, being that I could receive from one of the priests, but not as frequently. I still don't know if I was testing him or myself.   He smiled and gave me a piece of paper with the full set of prayers for such an occasion.  He said that some EMHC's take short cuts -- poor training, perhaps.  He told me to hang on to the paper and if they don't do it right, to invite them to pray those things with me. In this way, they too might learn.  Then, in so many words, he told me to be mindful of the fact that it is still the Eucharist, and the holiness, or lack thereof, of the person bringing it to me, or the fact that they were not a cleric, has no bearing on it's validity.  I was able to reconcile his words with what I had already discerned through some prayer, but this sealed it.

Something about my background

I consider myself a traditionalist in the sense that I am deeply devoted to the extraordinary form of the Mass (1962 Missal).  I am also very comfortable in a more traditionally celebrated ordinary form Mass.  Yet, I often will not refer to myself as a traditionalist.  The reason is that a small number of people dwelling in the wounds inflicted on them during a very confusing period in the Church are putting an ugly face on traditionalism.  Others, who are too young to have those wounds, have found that misery loves the company of the miserable and have joined in their cause.   Make no mistake: People who loved the 1962 Missal and more reserved forms of the new Mass were wronged when they were treated like second class citizens, and worse.  They were deprived of a more traditional expression of the faith, from the usus antiquior to the devotions and small "t" traditions inherent in such a culture.  To live a traditional expression of the faith is not just about the Mass; it's a way of life.

I understand because I've been in such a community at Assumption Grotto since 2005 and would be devastated to lose it.  My heart bleeds for those who want it, but have no access.  I can't know the pain Catholics experienced in the 1960's; I was a baby. But I know how painful it would be to lose it now.  Prior to 2005 I kept wandering from parish to parish wondering what it was I was looking for. I was a spiritual mess.  I was not getting things I needed that are now given to me at Assumption Grotto.  That's material for another post.  I have a more wholesome spiritual nurturing at Grotto that is vital for me, personally.  I'm grateful that Archbishop Vigneron grasps the need to make this available to Catholics like myself.

I also understand and accept that other Catholics feel out of place in a parish like mine.  I don't see them as some kind of "enemy."  I don't see myself and my way of worship as superior to someone who devoutly assists at an ordinary form Mass.  The way I often explain it to people is that God gave us active religious orders and contemplative ones.  With so much built in silence and because of it's reserved nature, the EF Mass heightens the contemplative dimension, a subject I should take deeper in another post.

Stereo-typing is stereo-typing

Something I would ask others who don't consider themselves traditionalists to consider is how they might stereo-type all who love the older form of the Mass or go to a traditionalist community.  I know more people at my parish who simply want a nice place to go to Mass and are not interested in fringe wars.  You will undoubtedly find in at least some traditional communities, those who try to make something a part of traditionalism that has no basis.  There are very small camps, either schismatic or in an irregular status, who are holocaust deniers or minimalists.  Could there be some in a community like Grotto?  Perhaps.  I've never met one.

Just as I've learned it's not fair to stereo-type the people at my territorial parish next door, or paint them all with one broad brush of rash judgment, I don't think it is fair to broad brush traditional Catholics for the indiscretions, imprudence, and brashness of the cranks who seem to sometimes be the face of traditionalism in com-boxes and on the web in general.

One thing you will learn about traditionalists.  They are divided. But, I think there is a reasonable, good, and virtuous silent majority out there being harmed by a vocal minority -- the fringe -- whose understanding of the faith is running like a washing machine with too many clothes on one side. It makes for a lot of noise. At the end of the day, what we know about the truths of the faith, must be balanced with a virtuous presentation of those things.  It's called charity, and charity is not a dirty word.

That is my problem with remarks like the one that prompted this post.  What purpose did it serve, really?

UPDATE: A question dropped into the comment box.  Read my response to Jenna here:

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Te Deum Laudamus! Home

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

- Diane M. Korzeniewski

Note: The recommended links below are automatically generated by the tool, so they are not necessarily related content.

Saturday, September 28, 2013

The Catholic Church on Devotion to the Holy Angels

The Agony of Christ, Giovanni Battista Caracciolo, c.1615

With some upcoming feast days for the Holy Angels, I was reflecting on devotion to them following my  recent post on Saint Padre Pio quoting him on the topic.  We look at a number of things in this post related to angels: Devotion, new age perversions, holy angels in Scripture, the liturgy, and an association of faithful who are devoted to the holy angels.

I will be quoting the Holy See's, Directory on Popular Piety in the Liturgy -- Principles and Guidelines.  It is a very long document, which came out in 2001 to clear up confusion on many fronts, and it included a section on the Holy Angels (213-217).

On the one hand, you had some people who have tried to suppress forms of popular piety and devotion as passé. On the other hand, you had people carrying certain forms of devotion to excess, sometimes over devotion to Jesus himself.  In addition, the New Age movement ushered in a love of all things angelic, but some of that was contrary to Scripture.  So, I will also be referencing the Holy See's document on the New Age Movement: Jesus the Bearer of the Water of Life

While I am directly quoting a number of things from these two documents, among others, there is no substitute for reading them in their entirety.  There is a wealth to learn from them both, even if you read just a little each day.  Use a dictionary where necessary, and if you don't get something, just pray for understanding and move on, leaving the matter in God's hands.

There is much on the holy angels in the Catechism of the Catholic Church, which teaches us, "The existence of the spiritual, non-corporeal beings that Sacred Scripture usually calls "angels" is a truth of faith. The witness of Scripture is as clear as the unanimity of Tradition." (328)  You can read the rest there.

Feast Days of the Holy Angels

In the new calendar, we have the feast of the Archangels - Michael, Gabriel, and Raphael - on September 29th.  In the old calendar, this same day is the feast day of St. Michael.  The feast of St. Gabriel, in the old calendar is celebrated on March 24th, the day before the Annunciation; and, St. Raphael is celebrated October 24th.

Both calendars honor the Guardian Angels on October 2nd.

The Holy Angels in the Liturgy: Sanctus. Sanctus. Sanctus.

In Isaiah 6:1-4, we find something familiar from the Mass as we enter the Eucharistic Prayer.

1 In the year of king Ozias’ death, I had a vision. I saw the Lord sitting on a throne that towered high above me, the skirts of his robe filling the temple.2 Above it rose the figures of the seraphim, each of them six-winged; with two wings they veiled God’s face, with two his feet, and the other two kept them poised in flight.[1] 3 And ever the same cry passed between them, Holy, holy, holy is the Lord God of hosts; all the earth is full of his glory. 4 The lintels over the doors rang with the sound of that cry, and smoke went up, filling the temple courts.
Likewise, in Section 215 of the Vatican document on popular piety, we have the following:
In the celebration of the sacred mysteries, the Church associates herself with the angelic hymn and proclaims the thrice holy God (cf. Isaiah 6, 3)(284) invoking their assistance so that the Eucharistic sacrifice "may be taken [to your] altar in heaven, in the presence of [...] divine majesty"(285). The office of lauds is celebrated in their presence (cf. Ps 137, 1)(286). The Church entrusts to the ministry of the Holy Angels (cf. Aps 5, 8; 8, 3) the prayers of the faithful, the contrition of penitents(287), and the protection of the innocent from the assaults of the Malign One(288). 
Of course there is much more to the angels and the liturgy than can be met with in this post.  Perhaps we can look closer at that in another post.

Elijah Fed by an Angel, Ferdinand Bol, c. 1663

The Holy Angels in Scripture

Section 214 details with book, verse, and some quotes, where we see examples of the Holy Angels in action in Scripture -- both Old and New Testament.  Who can forget that an angel halted Abraham from slaying Isaac (Gen 22:7). Or, when Elijah was assisted by an angel (1 Kings 19:4-8).  The short book of Tobit, which everyone should revisit, tells us how Raphael aided Tobit, Tobias, and Sarah (Tb 12:15).  The same section also calls our attention to other ways we see the angels mentioned in Scripture like when, "they protect the footsteps of the just (cf. Ps 91, 11), they praise God unceasingly (cf. Is 6, 1-4), and they present the prayer of the Saints to God (cf. Ap 8, 34). "

We are also reminded of the holy angels in the life of Jesus:

The faithful are also conscious of the roles played by the Angels in the life of Jesus: the Angel Gabriel declared to Mary that she would conceive and give birth to the Son of the Most High (cf. Lk 1, 26-38), and that an Angel revealed to Joseph the supernatural origin of Mary's conception (cf. Mt 1, 18-25); the Angels appear to the shepherds in Bethlehem with the news of great joy of the Saviour's birth (cf. Lk 2, 8-24); "the Angel of the Lord" protected the infant Jesus when he was threatened by Herod (cf. Mt 2, 13-20); the Angels ministered to Jesus in the desert (cf. Mt 4, 11) and comforted him in his agony (Lk 22, 43), and to the women gathered at the tomb, they announced that he had risen (cf. Mk 16, 1-8), they appear again at the Ascension, revealing its meaning to the disciples and announcing that "Jesus ...will come back in the same way as you have seen him go" (Acts 1, 11).
The last paragraph in Section 214 is also worth quoting in full:

The faithful will have well grasped the significance of Jesus' admonition not to despise the least of those who believe in him for "their Angels in heaven are continually in the presence of my Father in heaven" (Mt 10, 10), and the consolation of his assurance that "there is rejoicing among the Angels of God over one repentant sinner" (Lk 15, 10). The faithful also realize that "the Son of man will come in his glory with all his Angels" (mt 25, 31) to judge the living and the dead, and bring history to a close.

So, we cannot be dismissive of the holy angels without going against Sacred Scripture.  They exist. God created them for a purpose. We can, and should venerate them.

Devotion to the Holy Angels

Section 216 gets into proper devotion.  After discussing how love the angels led to cities being named after them, hymns and devotions written for them, we get deeper into Guardian Angels:

Popular piety encompasses many forms of devotion to the Guardian Angels. St. Basil Great (+378) taught that "each and every member of the faithful has a Guardian Angel to protect, guard and guide them through life"(292). This ancient teaching was consolidated by biblical and patristic sources and lies behind many forms of piety. St. Bernard of Clarivaux (+1153) was a great master and a notable promoter of devotion to the Guardian Angels. For him, they were a proof "that heaven denies us nothing that assists us", and hence, "these celestial spirits have been placed at our sides to protect us, instruct us and to guide us"(293).

The document then tells us how devotion to the holy angels is characterized in our lives:

  • devout gratitude to God for having placed these heavenly spirits of great sanctity and dignity at the service of man;

  • an attitude of devotion deriving from the knowledge of living constantly in the presence of the Holy Angels of God;- serenity and confidence in facing difficult situations, since the Lord guides and protects the faithful in the way of justice through the ministry of His Holy Angels.Among the prayers to the Guardian Angels the Angele Dei(294) is especially popular, and is often recited by families at morning and evening prayers, or at the recitation of the Angelus.

Don't name your Guardian Angel

Finally, Section 217 discusses certain problems that can arise, including the naming of angels. Consider that we only know the names of the three Archangels -- Michael, Gabriel, and Raphael.  It says:

Popular devotion to the Holy Angels, which is legitimate and good, can, however, also give rise to possible deviations:

  • when, as sometimes can happen, the faithful are taken by the idea that the world is subject to demiurgical struggles, or an incessant battle between good and evil spirits, or Angels and demons, in which man is left at the mercy of superior forces and over which he is helpless; such cosmologies bear little relation to the true Gospel vision of the struggle to overcome the Devil, which requires moral commitment, a fundamental option for the Gospel, humility and prayer; 

  •  when the daily events of life, which have nothing or little to do with our progressive maturing on the journey towards Christ are read schematically or simplistically, indeed childishly, so as to ascribe all setbacks to the Devil and all success to the Guardian Angels. The practice of assigning names to the Holy Angels should be discouraged, except in the cases of Gabriel, Raphael and Michael whose names are contained in Holy Scripture.

Some have pointed out that Mother Angelica, Padre Pio, and others have encouraged the naming of guardian angels.  I know this was the case, but these things were prior to the Holy See's clarification of 2001.  I think the EWTN show on that was filmed before 2001, so this is not surprising.  I have no doubt about Mother's fidelity on the matter, once she was aware.

Angels in the New Age Movement

The Holy See's document on the New Age discusses angels in greater detail in section 2.2.1,  "Enchantment: There must be an angel."

It warns of avoiding a fall into a contemporary form of spiritualism over spirituality (but some of it sounds more like spiritism to me, so I'm wondering about the translation).   It talks about the use of mediums and  "channeling" of spirits, including those of angels.  In the glossary of the document, it defines channeling this way:

"psychic mediums claim to act as channels for information from other selves, usually disembodied entities living on a higher plane. It links beings as diverse as ascended masters, angels, gods, group entities, nature spirits and the Higher Self. "
I have known a number of Catholics who were unaware that using a psychic or medium is gravely sinful.  If you have engaged in these things, they should be discussed in Sacramental Confession.  In fact, Scripture itself is clear.  Among the many things I could cite in the Old Testament, here is one:

"Do not turn to mediums or wizards; do not seek them out, to be defiled by them: I am the LORD your God." (Lv 19:31)

And, from the Book of Revelations, also referred to as the Apocalypse (21:8)
"But as for the cowardly, the faithless, the polluted, as for murderers, fornicators, sorcerers, idolaters, and all liars, their lot shall be in the lake that burns with fire and sulphur, which is the second death." 
So, Catholics, stay away from these things.  They are foreign to our faith.  We cannot predict the future or seek the unknown by these means.

Within that same paragraph, it also says:

It is probably more correct to refer to this as a contemporary form of spiritualism, rather than spirituality in a strict sense. Other friends and counsellors from the spirit world are angels (which have become the centre of a new industry of books and paintings). Those who refer to angels in the New Age do so in an unsystematic way; in fact, distinctions in this area are sometimes described as unhelpful if they are too precise, since “there are many levels of guides, entities, energies, and beings in every octave of the universe... They are all there to pick and choose from in relation to your own attraction/repulsion mechanisms”.(22) These spiritual entities are often invoked 'non-religiously' to help in relaxation aimed at better decision-making and control of one's life and career. 

The Work of the Holy Angels

Since arriving at Assumption Grotto in May of 2005, I have benefited greatly from the counsel of priests of the Order of Canons Regular of the Holy Cross -- the order entrusted with the association of the faithful, Opus Sanctorum Angelorum (Work of the Holy Angels)

Every time I have gone on one of their excellent retreats or Days of Recollection, it seems someone asks about naming of angels, and the priests are steadfast in quoting the directory heavily discussed in this post.  They discourage it.

In 2010, the CDF offered a public clarification of the status of Opus Angelorum in the Church and it was printed in the Vatican's newspaper, L'Osservatore Romano.  I blogged on that issue here because of media distortions and because some are recycling old stories that do not comprehend the growth it has gone through with the explicit help of the Holy See over 20 years.

One thing I have appreciated in the talks of these fine priests, is that everything they say comes from Scripture, the saints, the doctors and fathers of the Church, and from Church documents.  I've learned to go to these same resources when I have questions, specifically because of their method of instruction.

Go to the Opus Angelorum website and click around. Some of the talks are in writing, and there is an online store where you can look at available titles.  I recommend exploring their site and taking advantage of the retreats and talks.

If you cannot make these, you can order CD's at a nominal cost.  One of my favorite talks is, "On Holy Silence."  The overview reads:

Silence is a necessary condition for growth in the interior life. The spiritual doctors of the Church offer practical advice on how to observe 12 forms of silence in order to dispose ourselves for a deeper union in prayer with Jesus and to receive the subtle guidance of the holy angels.

Another one I recommend is Our Lady of Guadalupe, the Angels, and Abortion. That summary reads:

America has been plagued with legalized abortion since the early 1970's, and the demonic industry has grown to astronomical proportions. Yet there is still hope, we do not give up. For God has given us a very special help in Our Lady of Guadalupe and the holy angels.

These links are just a sampling of the writings at the Opus Angelorum site and they speak for themselves. Their references are clearly cited so you know from where they get the information.

For interesting news items I don't have time to blog on, check out my Twitter Feed: @TeDeumBlog

Te Deum Laudamus! Home

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

- Diane M. Korzeniewski

Note: The recommended links below are automatically generated by the tool, so they are not necessarily related content.

Friday, September 27, 2013

Regina Magazine - a classy Catholic read and it's free online!

Not long ago I saw Regina Magazine being promoted in Facebook.  I didn't know what it was and thought the subscription was paid and I just didn't want more magazines sitting around my already cluttered house.  Then I saw it was an e-magazine, and it was free.

While it has some articles devoted to the Traditional Latin Mass, the bulk of what is there is purely Catholic regardless of whether you like the ordinary or extraordinary form of the Mass.

From the "our story" page:

Our Story

Q. What is your professional background?
A. I am a lifelong New Yorker, and after graduating with an MBA from Dartmouth College, I spent 25 years working on Wall Street as a banker and a financial writer. I now live in Europe and teach Finance on the graduate level.
Q. What is your religious background?
A. Like many Catholics, I am what is called a ‘revert’ to the Faith. I spent my youth ignoring my Catholic heritage, and only came home to the Faith in my middle 30s. Luckily, I had amazing Dominican nuns in grammar school back in the 1960s, who made sure that we learned the Faith. As I grew older, I began to read the great writers of Catholicism: St. Thomas Aquinas, St Augustine, St Theresa of Avila and the modern writers like Chesterton, Belloc and Knox. Then I attended the first Latin Mass since my youth – and that blew me away.
St mary99
Q. What made you start REGINA?
A. Basically, I see so many GREAT Catholic real-life stories that are ignored by the media (both secular and religious, sad to say) that I just HAD to. It is unutterably sad. Many Catholics don’t know their religion OR their culture anymore.

Continue reading the rest of the interesting interview there...

First Impression

There are some interesting things in Regina Magazine. It does not have a singular focus on any one things, such as just the Mass or just the culture.  It appears to be well rounded, with in depth articles about the saints and about Catholics in history. The above interview also mentions that the readership is mostly women and about 30% of subscribers are men.  While there are things that would be most interesting to women, like fashion, there are undoubtedly things that will also be interesting for men.

I have not had a chance to read a full article, but it looks to live up to it's motto: Inspiring. Intelligent. Catholic.  I'll add one more thing to that list: Professional, very professional.  These people appear to be using their talents in a positive way to build the Church, not complain about the state of affairs.  Most Catholics who are dialed in know how bad things are and don't need it drilled into them (unless their human fallen nature drives them to commiserate).  What most people want is to participate in brick-laying, starting with themselves.  It's our example that draws others to the faith just as Christ and the saints attracted people.  It leads by example, then builds knowledge and understanding,  not of what is wrong, but what is right. This magazine has the right attitude from what I am seeing.  I'm interested to begin reading some of the articles in the more than 50 page e-magazine.

Just click around Regina's site. 

The home page is   There, you can read the current issue, back issues, or click around in the many subject categories.

Go read the current issue of Regina Magazine, either in a flip version you read on screen, or a PDF download.  I'm not sure which version is best for an e-reader, but I know the PDF download will work there.  In my Android, I've taken a liking to EZ-PDF reader for it's ability to highlight and mark up text.

They have a free subscribe option and you can follow them on Facebook where they post things from the current issue.

For interesting news items I don't have time to blog on, check out my Twitter Feed: @TeDeumBlog

Te Deum Laudamus! Home

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

- Diane M. Korzeniewski

Note: The recommended links below are automatically generated by the tool, so they are not necessarily related content.

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Good audio sermon on fraternal correction and simple ground rules

Saint Philip Neri supposedly once told a woman who gossiped to bring him a chicken, perhaps for some soup, and to pluck it's feathers along the way.  When the freshly plucked fowl was presented he told the woman to go back now and pick up all of the feathers. Of course, they had blown all around town, just like her gossip.

What would Saint Philip think about how we talk about others online? What would he think about the things we say to one another?

Sometimes we type faster than we think about what we are going to say to others and we involve ourselves in detraction and calumny.

Some will complain about the faults and imperfections of others online and call it fraternal correction.  This is a perversion if I ever heard one and it often comes from those complaining about how all those other people are perverting the faith!

Wouldn't we want to know more about fraternal correction before justifying use of it?  Are there ground rules we should follow as to when, where, what and whom?  We can spend many posts exploring the topic of fraternal correction, and still have room to dig deeper into what it all means.  The saints explain it in various ways, from the more complex theological form to a way so simplified a child could understand it.

I recently found a sermon at, on fraternal correction that is more simplified and refers to other saints and authors I had not heard on the subject before.   Listen to it as it is quite instructive.  Some clear guidelines are given.  These will be helpful to people in various capacities and it should guide us when addressing others online, as well as talking about others.

Note about Audio Sancto is a clearing house for sermons.  Since references are made within them about the Traditional Latin Mass, it's clear these are coming from those Masses.  But, a sermon is a sermon whether it is given in ordinary or extraordinary form.

Because it is entirely anonymous, someone might wonder if these are possibly from the SSPX, whose chapels are not in full communion with the Catholic Church.  Suspicion was heightened when one priest seemed to have lost his cool at the pulpit when Pope Benedict XVI abdicated the Chair of Peter.  That audio has since been removed, to their credit, after Fr. Angelo at Mary Victrix publicly objected, and rightfully so. If the priest was having a meltdown over the matter, his opinion didn't belong at the pulpit leading others into rash judgment of the person of the Pope emeritus or mistrust of the Church.

In general, I agree with Fr. Angelo in that post that there really should be some identification of the priests and their religious order or diocese. Many Catholics wondering if a site involves those not in communion with Rome, will check to see if there is a link to the Vatican.  Audio Sancto does not have a Vatican link in the list on the front page, so that made me wonder. It would help if they added it.

As to the anonymity, it's possible that there is fear of a bishop coming down on them because they talk about subjects like contraception. That fear may be real and it may be perceived.  Many a diocesan priest in the U.S. and in other countries can tell you that in the last 50 years, some have been disciplined for trying to uphold the Church's teaching on that and on other matters of morality.  People would complain and the priest ends up in a chaplaincy or in some remote outpost. But I see no need not to have at least a pseudonym and identify the religious order.  Many have commented online that they know the priests and most are coming from members of the FSSP and ICK (both Traditional Latin Mass communities in communion with Rome).  I've also seen it indicated a member of the Fathers of Mercy (not a TLM community) were involved.  These are all good, reputable Catholic religious orders with very good preachers.

From the Audio Sancto "about" page:

The priests you hear in the recordings on this website are Catholic Priests, in good standing with their local ordinaries and Rome, incardinated with normal faculties and jurisdiction, and serving in North America.

I have listened to a number of the homilies posted there in September of this year and thus far, they are all very good and very focused on the basis of Catholicism.  Many of them deal with the virtues, which is a topic that needs more cover.  I've heard the words of Pope Francis discussed in a positive way.

If anyone finds anything else that is disturbing in an audio, please email me at TeDeumBlog (at) gmail (dot) com.  But, in all charity, use the form at and raise your objection there first.  See if you get a response and if they agree that something was inappropriate, they can pull the audio.  As one who has recorded talks and homilies, you don't always get to hear every word and at the end of the day, priests are human.

*Painting at top is a Normal Rockwell, but I'm not sure of it's title.

For interesting news items I don't have time to blog on, check out my Twitter Feed: @TeDeumBlog

Te Deum Laudamus! Home

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

- Diane M. Korzeniewski

Note: The recommended links below are automatically generated by the tool, so they are not necessarily related content.

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Some random reads and links on the recent Pope Francis interview

Read the original interview in it's entirety

One thing about Pope Francis: He has people talking, including people who don't typically talk about the pope.  As one of our priests said during his homily this weekend, "The good news is that the media is talking about Pope Francis; the bad news is the media is talking about Pope Francis."  That, of course, had to do with the distortions.  I wasn't there for that Mass, but talking to the priest, I got the same impression I had already formed myself: If you leave your thoughts on what Pope Francis said based on what you see in the press you are doing yourself a disservice. So read it and don't talk about it until you do (see the American or British version).

Don't worry about where it is published, it was done collaboratively with Jesuit houses in various countries and the English translations were worked on by about a half dozen people.  It was approved.  So, just focus on the words.

The interview gets wonky at times, and uses big words that people without some background in theology might not understand, especially when talking about the Jesuit order.  Just keep going and don't be afraid to use the dictionary.  

Some Commentaries

Father Z has several posts on the recent interview published with Pope Francis.  In fact, he has created a label for it so if you click here and scroll, you will find all of them.  I want to focus on a PODCAzT he did on September 22.  It's about 45 minutes, so visit his post when you can and just hit the play button.  He has several things packed into one podcast, but they all roll together.  At one point he reads in Latin, but it is brief.  The homily he adds in after that, is well worth the listen.  But listen first to his discussion on the Donatists, and his reading from St. Augustine.

Father Z had a few more items that are related to that interview that are not in the interview label.

Phil Lawler offers some good insight in: The Key to Understanding Pope Francis: The 99 Lost Sheep

R.R. Reno at First things discusses the interview in, Francis, our Jesuit Pope.

Now, in the Philippines, it looks like they have a different kind of media problem.  Go see the Monk Hobbit's post:  How Philippine media distorts Pope Francis's words on contraception, abortion, and homosexual marriage

Michael Coren writes about Pope Francis' Revolutionary Vision in the New York Daily News

Elizabeth Scalia talks about how Pope Francis confounds the Associated Press

Photo credit at top: CNS photo/Alessia Giuliani, Catholic Press Photo

For interesting news items I don't have time to blog on, check out my Twitter Feed: @TeDeumBlog

Te Deum Laudamus! Home

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

- Diane M. Korzeniewski

Note: The recommended links below are automatically generated by the tool, so they are not necessarily related content.

Monday, September 23, 2013

Pope Francis Excommunicates Melbourne Priest

Cardinal Pell recently said Pope Francis' popularity with the press was, "too good to last."  That may come sooner than we all thought.  This may send shock waves through the secular media and the dissenting wing of the Church who still don't understand Pope Francis, or that mercy and charity often involve discipline.

Pope Francis just excommunicated a priest in Melbourne.  Veil-tip to Andrew Rabel.

From The Age in Australia: (Edit - this is quoted text and I'm sure part of it is in error, in particular, when it suggests he was as disciplined for support for 'gays.'" One doesn't get disciplined for supporting people with SSA but that support does not include affirming people in engaging in any sexual activity outside the context of Sacramental Marriage. Google the Courage Apostolate to see how the Catholic Church supports people with SSA. I hope we will see a statement out of the Archdiocese of Melbourne, which I will share)

Dissident priest Greg Reynolds has been both defrocked and excommunicated over his support for women priests and gays - the first person ever excommunicated in Melbourne, he believes. 

The order comes direct from the Vatican, not at the request of Melbourne Archbishop Denis Hart, and apparently follows a secret denunciation in the best traditions of the inquisition, according to Father Reynolds. 

The excommunication document - written in Latin and giving no reason - was dated May 31, meaning it comes under the authority of Pope Francis who made headlines on Thursday calling for a less rule-obsessed church. 

Father Reynolds, who resigned as a parish priest in 2011 and last year founded Inclusive Catholics, said he had expected to be laicised (defrocked), but not excommunicated. But it would make no difference to his ministry.

Read more:

One of the purposes of excommunication is medicinal. It's a way for the Church to say that someone has strayed too  far and is endangering their souls and the souls of others.  Some do reconcile with the Church after the sting of excommunication, when they humble themselves.

The Church does not have the authority to change Scripture or Tradition.  What he is pushing is out of harmony with both.

Don't just gawk at this situation, pray for him.

May the Blessed Virgin Mary and the guardian angel of Mr. Reynolds, enlighten his mind and soften his heart so that he will reconcile with the Catholic Church.

For interesting news items I don't have time to blog on, check out my Twitter Feed: @TeDeumBlog

Te Deum Laudamus! Home

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

- Diane M. Korzeniewski

Note: The recommended links below are automatically generated by the tool, so they are not necessarily related content.

St. Padre Pio's July 15, 1913 Letter: Devotion to guardian angel; locutions; never cease to pray

Today is the memorial of St. Padre Pio of Pieltrelcina.  This letter comes from the book, Padre Pio of Pietrelcina (Letters III).  More on this somewhat difficult to obtain Italian book, in English, at the bottom.


Dear daughter of Jesus,

May your heart always be the temple of the most holy Trinity; may Jesus increase in your soul the ardour of his love and may he always smile on you as on all souls whom he loves. May most holy Mary smile on you throughout all the events of your life, and abundantly replace the earthly mother you lack. 

May your good guardian angel always watch over you; may he be your guide on the rugged path of life. May he always keep you in the grace of Jesus and sustain you with his hands so that you may not stumble on a stone.  May he protect you under his wings from all the snares of the world, the devil and the flesh.

Have great devotion, Annita, to this good angel; how consoling it is to know that near us is a spirit who, from the cradle to the tomb, does not leave us even for an instant, not even when we dare to sin. And this heavenly spirit guides and protects us like a friend, a brother. 

But it is extremely consoling to know that this angel prays without ceasing for us; offers to God all our good actions, our thoughts, our desires, if they are pure.  

For pity's sake, don't forget this invisible companion, always present, always ready to listen to us and even more ready to console us. O delightful intimacy, O delightful company! If we could only understand it!

Always keep him present to your mind's eye. Often remember the presence of this angel; thank him, pray to him, always keep him good company. Open up yourself to him and confide your suffering to him. Have a constant fear of offending the purity of his gaze.  Know this and keep it well imprinted on your  mind.  He is so delicate, so sensitive. Turn to him in times of supreme anxiety and you will experience his beneficial help.  

Never say you are alone in sustaining the battle against your enemies. Never say you have nobody to whom you can open up and confide.  You would do this heavenly messenger a grave wrong.  

As regards those interior locutions, don't worry but be calm.  What you must avoid is that your heart becomes attached to these locutions.  Don't give too much importance to them; show that you are indifferent. Neither despise love, nor long for such things. Always reply to these voices: "Jesus, if it is you who are speaking to me, let me see the facts and the effects of your words, that is, holy virtue in me." 

Humble yourself before the Lord and confide in him, spending your energies by divine grace, in practicing the virtues, and then let grace work in you as God wishes. It is virtue which sanctifies the soul and not supernatural phenomena.  

And don't confuse yourself by trying to understand which locutions come from God. If God is their author, one of the principle signs is that as soon as those voices are heard, they fill the soul with fear and confusion, but afterwards, they leave a divine peace.  On the contrary, when the author of internal locutions is the devil, they begin with a false security, followed by agitation and an unspeakable malaise. 

I do not doubt at all that God is the author of those locutions, but one must be very cautious because often, the enemy mixes a lot of his own work through them.  But this must not frighten you; this is the trial to which even the greatest saints and most enlightened souls were subjected, and they were acceptable to the Lord. You must simple be careful never to believe in these locutions too easily, especially when they concern how you must behave and what you must do.  But you must receive them and submit them to the judgment of him who directs you. Then you should resign yourself to his decision.  

Therefore it is best to receive similar locutions with great caution and constant indifference.  Behave in this way and everything will increase your merit before the Lord.  Don't worry about your spiritual life; Jesus loves you and very much, and you try to correspond to his love by always advancing more and more in holiness before God and men.  

Pray vocally also; as the time has not yet come to leave these prayers, and patiently and humbly bear the difficulties you experience in doing this. Be ready, also, to undergo distractions and aridity, and you must by no means neglect prayer and meditation.  It is the Lord who wishes to treat you in this manner for your spiritual advantage.  

Forgive me if I end here. Only God knows how much it cost me to write this letter. I am very ill; pray a great deal that the Lord may desire to free me from this body soon.  

I bless you along with the excellent Francesca. May you live and die in the arms of Jesus.  

F. Pio

This is a three volume series out of Italy and is the 2nd Edition (English).  It was not easy to get these books and you must read carefully anything you find at Amazon because they are selling the Italian version.   Fr. Perrone originally ordered them for us after he found the books when traveling in Italy.

The letters they had for Padre Pio were broken down into the volumes, to whom they were directed.  One volume covers his letters to spiritual directors, another to his spiritual daughters, and the third to his friend Rafaela.

Note that website has multiple language icons at the top, including English (I would be careful about subscribing to anything without checking the language.  If anything, use the contacts page to find out if there are any vendors here in the US carrying the book.  Catholic book sellers should contact them to stock the book here in the US.

I believe the Assumption Grotto Gift Shop has it stocked.  You can call the gift shop and leave a message for them to contact you back. We don't have a website, but they will ship things out if you ask. The best time to actually reach someone would be weekdays around 8:45 AM to 9:30 AM.  (313) 332-4432

For interesting news items I don't have time to blog on, check out my Twitter Feed: @TeDeumBlog

Te Deum Laudamus! Home

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

- Diane M. Korzeniewski

Note: The recommended links below are automatically generated by the tool, so they are not necessarily related content.

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Fr. Perrone's Monday Night Catechism Begins October 7

Most years, Fr. Perrone teaches the Catholic Catechism to anyone who wants to sit in on it, most especially those considering the Catholic faith.  He explains why he uses this approach.  It has been quite popular.  Many parishioners choose to sit in on it to hear him teach about the faith.  I can tell you that when I sat in on this, two years in a row, the discussion, at times, was lively.  It's mostly a lecture format, but he allows people to ask questions.  I've seen some serious curve balls thrown at him, and he answers them with ease.  Fr. Perrone, while a secular priest, is also a secular Carmelite and the chaplain of our community at Assumption Grotto.  His understanding of spiritual development works it's way in along with the book knowledge.  Here is what he writes in the Grotto News:

Most every year of my priesthood I have taught an adult convert class. This year I will begin the yearly series on October 7, Monday evening, at 6:00 p.m. in the school. As has been my custom, I open these classes to anyone who has interest in the Catholic faith, including Catholics who may want to brush up on their doctrine.

Many parishes have RCIA (Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults) programs which are intended for prospective converts. Behind such parish programs is the Church’s ritual for adult baptism consisting of stages of incorporation into the Church’s life, culminating at baptism. Clearly, this is a sacramental scheme, a succession of ritual steps aimed at full membership in the Church by baptism and confirmation. The RCIA was not intended for the conversion of someone whose baptism in another religion is presumed valid. Yet, in the practical order, these already-baptized people are often placed in the same group with the unbaptized for sheer convenience in the limited resources possible for a parish. But this again is not the purpose behind the RCIA. Unfortunately, when parishes began to implement these rites (RCIA) they at the same time abandoned catechetical instruction in favor of bible classes (for lack of a better term). Thus, in the formation of potential converts (both non-baptized and the baptized of some other religious group), necessary doctrinal foundation in the Catholic faith which defines what it means to be a Catholic Christian, was lacking. The resulting doctrinal illiteracy of adults formed in these programs parallels that of many children in many a parish program who were similarly given little to any foundation in Catholic truth. Behold the product: the ignorant, uneducated, untutored, unenlightened, know-nothing Catholic! We have them today by the many thousands. Is it any wonder that we have as a result that hideous anomaly The Dissenting Catholic?

As a proposed remedy, I have always insisted on giving converts doctrinal classes which aim at feeding of the mind with truth. It’s all well and good to read the bible–for which an entire lifetime is insufficient–and to have meaningful ceremonies of progressive entry into the Church. But if the prospective candidate knows next to nothing of what Church he is entering, it makes all the rest meaningless, if not absurd. The normal life-course for a Christian is first faith (the knowledge of God) and then charity and grace, leading up to, in hope, eternal life. One cannot enter that “race” unless he first knows God and then, as a gift conferred upon him, believes in all His truth. Charity will certainly accompany and follow but, once again, one cannot love a God unknown. Doctrinal instruction is crucial for the right development of the life of grace.

In our adult classes I do not aim at theological sophistication but at doctrinal accuracy and a grasp of the essentials. For this reason I use a rather elementary catechism and supply the remainder in my teaching–however limited I may be in that capacity. The goal is to turn out (or bolster already existing) staunch Catholic believers, knowledgeable and devout. This is primarily the work of God, one in which I am His unworthy collaborator.

Accurate instruction (doctrine) must ever be a necessary component in our experience of Catholic life. We need to have it in our reading, our prayers, our sermons, our political and social activity, as well as in our classes of the faith. Where this is lacking the results are predictable: confusion over what to believe, sentimentalism in our worship, laxity in Mass attendance, and a greater susceptibility to temptation. Orthodoxy–true teaching–thus feeds not only the mind but also the entire life of a Christian leading him, so long as obstacles do not impede, to the fullness of charity and an abundance of divine grace.

Any among you interested may come to the one-hour Monday night class. There is no cost for the course. Do tell potential converts and encourage them to attend, even if only to know something about the Catholic Church. A call to the rectory to pre-register is desirable. We will be using the tested-and-true Baltimore Catechism 3, with needed, updating information supplied in the teaching. Textbooks run $15 something; Confirmed Catholics do not necessarily need the book.

As they say so appealingly down South, “Y’all come now!”

Fr. Perrone

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Te Deum Laudamus! Home

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

- Diane M. Korzeniewski

Note: The recommended links below are automatically generated by the tool, so they are not necessarily related content.