Sunday, 2 May 2021

Six Ascension Thursday Latin Masses in the Greater Pittsburgh Area


The Ascension of Our Lord
Pietro Perugino (1448–1523)
(Source)

And he lead them out as far as Bethania: and lifting his hands, he blessed them.  And it came to pass, whilst he blessed them, he departed from them and was carried up to heaven.  (Luke 24, 50, 51.)

+   +   +   +   +

On Ascension Thursday, 13 May 2021, there will be six publicly offered Traditional Latin Masses in the Greater Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, metropolitan area.

Saint James Church (Society of Saint Pius X)
326 South Main Street, West End Village, Pittsburgh PA 15220  (Website)
7:00 PM High Mass

Most Precious Blood of Jesus Parish (Institute of Christ the King Sovereign Priest)
3250 California Avenue, Pittsburgh PA  15212 (Website)
7:00 AM Low Mass
12 Noon Low Mass
7:00 PM High Mass

Saint Titus Church (Order of Saint Benedict)
952 Franklin Avenue, Aliquippa PA 15001  (Website)
7:00 PM Low Mass

Saint Blaise Church
772 Ohio Avenue, Midland PA 15059 (Website)
7:00 PM High Mass

Monday, 29 March 2021

Five Easter Sunday Latin Masses in the Greater Pittsburgh Area

 
Resurrection of Christ
Raphael 1499-1502
(Source)

The first day of the week, came Mary Magdalen and the other Mary, to see the sepulchre.  And behold there was a great earthquake.  For an angel of the Lord descended from heaven and coming rolled back the stone.  And the angel answering said to the women: Fear not you; for I know you seek, Jesus who was crucified.  He is not here.  For he is risen.  (Matthew 28, 1, 2, 5, 6.)

+   +   +   +   +

On Easter Sunday, 4 April 2021, there will be five publicly offered Traditional Latin Masses in the Greater Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, metropolitan area.

Saint James Church (Society of Saint Pius X)
326 South Main Street, West End Village, Pittsburgh PA 15220  (Website)
9:30 AM High Mass

Most Precious Blood of Jesus Parish (Institute of Christ the King Sovereign Priest)
3250 California Avenue, Pittsburgh PA  15212 (Website)
7:30 AM Low Mass
9:30 AM Low Mass
11:30 AM High Mass

Saint Titus Church (Order of Saint Benedict)
952 Franklin Avenue, Aliquippa PA 15001  (Website)
12 noon Low Mass



Sunday, 14 March 2021

 


Whatever Happened to Sin? A hidden heresy?

Nicolas Bellord

A debate on sin arose in the October edition of the Catholic Herald; Melanie McDonagh interviewed John Finnis describing him as a celebrated exponent of natural law. She reports that he has recently written “A Radical Critique of Catholic Social Teaching” about which she wrote “the gist of that much of what we understand by Catholic Social Teaching is tendentious, and bishops would do better to focus on teaching fundamental Catholic moral principles instead, leaving their application to laypeople who know what they're talking about … He is especially critical of bishops' conferences that issue lengthy guidelines on, for instance, migration or global warming, which are matters of legitimate debate”.


The following month Professor Philip Allot responded in a letter in response to the approach of Finnis: “We should speak out if we see evil in rampant capitalism, in perversions of humanising liberal democracy, and in the rise of of new forms of dehumanising absolutism, or in the human use of the natural world. These are moral judgements, not political opinions.


Later in the same issue Thomas Storck laments that “There is a certain group of Catholics … who reject the entire notion of Catholic social teaching … To limit the Church's teaching to matters of private morality is to acquiesce in the effort to privatise religion and drive the Church from the public square.”


Now all three are considerable people. Wikipedia tells us that among other achievements John Finnis was Professor of Law & Legal Philosophy at Oxford from 1989 to 2010, where he is now professor emeritus. His most important work is Natural Law and Natural Rights the study of which I found very enlightening. Unfortunately much of his other work, as Melanie McDonagh mentions, is in books which are beyond the purse of most people.


I knew Philip Allott at school but was unaware of his subsequent career until now when I have read about him on the internet. His roles, publications and achievements are so numerous that it would be foolish of me to sum them up in a few words. Something of his distinguished career can be gleaned from his speech at his 80th Birthday Dinner at Trinity College Cambridge. 8 June 2017 “REMEMBERING EIGHTY YEARS OF THINGS PAST”1


Allott was for many years in the Foreign Office subsequently returning to Cambridge as Professor (now Emeritus) of International Law. “I have spent much of the rest of my life trying to help International Law to become a more sensible system.


Evidently he has been someone who wanted to change the world and was in a position to do so although he is very modest about whether he succeeded in any way.


Thomas Storck has a websitethat is dedicated to Catholic Social Teaching in its full breadth and depth.” As a keen reader of the Chesterton Review I have read his contributions and his book “An Economics of Justice & Charity” is one I have noted as something I must read one day.


Now it is fundamental to Catholicism that we not only have to have faith but we also have to perform good works if we are to get to heaven. This is where we differ from those Protestants who believe that one can be justified by faith alone. Good works can extend from making someone a cup of tea to promoting or implementing some grand political programme for the relief of poverty in a third-world country.


Expanding Thomas Storck's first sentence in full he wrote: “There is a certain group of Catholics, doubtless more often found in the US than in the UK, who reject he entire notion of Catholic social teaching”. I have no idea about the situation in the US but I have never come across such a group in the UK. Professor Finnis is not rejecting a Catholic response to social problems nor is he complacent about the ills described by Philip Allott e.g. rampant capitalism etc. What he is saying is that the solution to these problems are a matter of prudence and there will be honest differences of opinion as to how to solve them; Bishops should be wary of saying that there is one 'Catholic' solution to such problems.


However I as a Catholic layman, and I suspect I am not alone, are fed to the back teeth of being lectured by priests and particularly religious about structural sin and how wrong it is for many people to be poor and some rich. The reason for being fed up is that there is very little the ordinary Catholic can do about these problems except to feel guilty about some situation in which we had no detectable hand in creating. Yes I can contribute to some charity which alleviates poverty and I suspect they want me to vote for some political party on the left. But what else can I do? Not much other than being made to feel guilty. Obviously there are people who can do more: Thomas Storck can write books suggesting what can be done; Philip Allott has roamed the corridors of power and has been in a position to make some changes. But they are exceptional people.


What does the average layman do? Well he can follow the teachings of the Church: the “fundamental Catholic moral principles” of which Professor Finnis writes. But when do we ever hear a sermon on such matters? What has happened to these fundamental Catholic moral principles? Thomas Storck writes “To limit the Church's teaching to matters of private morality is to acquiesce in the effort to privatise religion and drive the Church from the public square.” I would query the logic of that statement but the truth of the matter is that the clergy does no such thing. They simply no longer teach “matters of private morality” but frequently limit themselves to teaching what it perceives to be solutions to social problems. Of course not all sermons are about social problems but those that are not are often trite and innocuous. For example only recently I watched a mass where the first reading was from Genesis and the gospel was Mark 7:14-23 which finishes with the words: And he said, “What comes out of a man is what defiles a man. For from within, out of the heart of man, come evil thoughts, fornication, theft, murder, adultery,coveting, wickedness, deceit, licentiousness, envy, slander, pride, foolishness. All these evil things come from within, and they defile a man.” The sermon was just some remarks on the reading from Genesis. The list of sins in the Gospel was a bit too much for the celebrant.


The idea that some social problems arise from a failure to follow fundamental moral teachings seems to escape the clergy. When I watch the TV and some example is produced of child poverty it is almost always the case that a single mother is the example. Obviously it is desirable to provide her with economic assistance but where is the father of the children? Why are there so many single mothers? Is it not the case that the Churches have utterly failed to teach about marriage and the 'private morality' involved and have allowed the traditional family to be undermined? Why is proselytism or any missionary effort in the third world now decried? Has this not had some effect on the proliferation of corrupt regimes which keep the third world in poverty?


And it is not just the failure to teach fundamental morality by our pastors but also the undermining of morality by our pastors on such matters as contraception, homosexual acts, same-sex marriage and sex education programmes for the young. Do I need to give examples of such failures by our pastors? The list is endless. I wonder how many priests giving a homily on the second Sunday in Ordinary Time based on the readings mentioned the second reading which condemned fornication?


I used to think that one of the causes of all this was the dilemma faced by members of the clergy who lose their faith. To declare such a loss publicly is very difficult; not many are going to be able to find a remunerative alternative career. Better to keep quiet. You may no longer believe in the truths of the faith but you can see that the Church does some useful social work – so why not concentrate on that and ignore the rest? Keep in with your contracepting parishioners and do not frighten them.


The loss of faith has been further demonstrated in the liturgy. Why not waffle about how merciful God is rather than reciting the Confiteor? “We believe ...” which means the simple people around me may do so but I am above that sort of thing; fortunately now corrected to “I believe...” “Look not upon my sins …” say the celebrant has become “Look not upon our sins ...”. The beatitudes are about happiness rather than being blessed. “And with you” has fortunately being changed back to “And with your spirit”. “What does it profit a man if he gains the whole world but suffers the loss of his own life” becomes meaningless if you have translated “anima” and “psyche” as “life” rather than “soul”. The previous frequent use of the word 'soul' in Masses of the Dead has virtually disappeared in the new rite. Completely in the German Mass of the Dead. It is a whole series of things that spring to my attention and cause me concern. Let us call them 'poisoned signs'.


But is it too simple that one can attribute all this, as I have done, to priests who have lost the faith? Recently I read Elio Guerriero's “Benedict XVI His Life and Thought” (Ignatius Press 2018). A curious feature of this book is that it describes what the author sees as the thinking of Benedict but never has any substantial quote from Benedict's enormous oeuvre. However I was astonished to read the following paragraph on page 230:


'In the preface to the first edition of his volume dedicated to eschatology, Ratzinger recalled that twenty years had passed since 1957, when at the age of thirty he had given the course on eschatology for the first time. Since then he had not only addressed over and over again the topics that emerged from it, but had made a true retractatio, an abrupt reversal with respect to the question of the soul. In his early years of teaching, indeed, he had adopted the program of so-called de-Platonized eschatology that entirely denied the idea of the soul, which was considered to be of Platonic origin and foreign to the world of the Bible. Later on, however, he had changed his mind, rediscovering “the inner logic of the Church's tradition”.'


So for some period of up to 20 years Ratzinger had been teaching that there was no such thing as the soul – a period that included Vatican II on which he had substantial influence. Now I have never formally studied theology but I learnt the Penny Catechism2 at my mother's knee and the first chapter of eight questions is all about the soul. And I learnt them by heart and can still recite them nearly 80 years later:


1. Who made you? God made me.


2. Why did God make you? God made me to know Him, love Him and serve Him in this world and to be happy with Him forever in the next.


3. To whose image and likeness did God make you? God made me to his own image and likeness.


4. Is this likeness to God in your body, or in your soul? This likeness to God is chiefly in my soul.


5. How is your soul like to God? My soul is like to God because it is a spirit, and is immortal.


6. What do you mean when you say that your soul is immortal? When I say that my soul is immortal, I mean that my soul can never die.


7. Of which must you take most care, of your body or of your soul? I must take most care of my soul; for Christ has said, “What doth it profit a man if he gain the whole world, and suffer the loss of his own soul?” (Matt, 16:26).


8. What must you do to save your soul? To save my soul I must worship God by Faith, Hope, and Charity; that is I must believe in Him, I must hope in Him, and I must love Him with my whole heart.


Those eight questions and answers are for me, the fundamental starting point for the religious life. But it now seems, according to a German school of theology, to which Pope Benedict adhered at one time, they are just so much nonsense in that there is no such thing as the soul. I was duly astonished. Indeed I was so incredulous that I bought Joseph Ratzinger's book: “Eschatology Death and Eternal Life”3. It is not an easy read for those like myself unversed in reading theology. It is an examination of the errors of many theologians; an examination which leads to a reassertion of the traditional teaching of the Church that we have a spiritual soul; that when we die we may go straight to Hell or Heaven but more likely we will go through a purifying process in Purgatory and on the last day we will be reunited with our bodies in a glorified form.


Reading Ratzinger's book there are constant echoes of the 'poisoned signs' which have caused me so much concern and cause so much confusion generally. Are we not dealing with a heresy? Contrariwise these German theologians in rejecting the orthodox teaching believed that 'The history of eschatology is nothing less than the history of an apostasy'4 Ratzinger wrote in 1977 that his support of the traditional view of Eschatology which deals with the four last things “runs contrary to the contrary prevailing opinion”.5 The Bible is not conclusive on eschatology – the orthodox view is based on tradition. Luther's rejection of tradition therefore rejects the orthodox view. Marxism offers an alternative – the possibility of a utopia in this world. The orthodox view reduced Christianity 'to the level of individual persons' ...rather than 'the confident, corporate hope for the imminent salvation of all the world'6 Does this not reflect the words of Thomas Storck above?


This 'contrary prevailing opinion' which sees salvation as just some future utopia on earth 'blazed up soon enough. It became Political Theology, the Theology of Revolution, Liberation Theology, Black Theology'.7 Ratzinger's response is to say 'The Kingdom of God, not being itself a political concept, cannot serve as a political criterion by which to construct in direct fashion a program of political action and to to criticize the political efforts of other people'.8 Our Bishops could well take note of that before pontificating upon what they regard as the 'common good'. At the beginning of the Covid-19 pandemic the Government were not minded to close the churches. However the Conference of Bishops for England & Wales, using a pro-LGBT and pro abortion activist, persuaded the Government to close the churches citing the 'common good' and ignoring the spiritual life of the soul. An act of almost unforgivable wickedness.


Ratzinger goes on to say 'The Kingdom of God is not a political norm of political activity, but is a moral norm of that activity.'9 Thus political activity must be governed by morality rather than being derived from eschatology. We have seen plenty of examples of political activity where morality is ignored from the time of the Enlightenment onwards. Liberation Theology is just one example where it has been used to justify violence as a means to create a supposed Kingdom of God on earth. Ratzinger insists that political activity must be sundered from eschatology less it become a 'Gulag Archipelago'.10 Utopia – the non-place – the fantasy that takes no account of man's fallen nature which makes it impossible.


When Ratzinger moves on to the Theology of Death, he notes how contemporary society hides death away. Death becomes a technological issue to be handled by the appropriate institution rather than in a human situation such as the family home. Death is pushed away and trivialised. It is a banal event which does not happen to me but is merely a technological event carried out by technicians (e.g. as in abortion and euthanasia) and there are no metaphysical problems. He asserts that 'For Christian faith there is no such thing as a life not worth living'.11 And yet in cases such as that of Alfie Evans some of our Bishops have preferred to support the National Health Service as if it was an almost sacred institution rather than plead for the life of a child.


Denying the existence of the soul has led to a host of different theories. Ratzinger sets about showing how many of them basically just do not add up and are illogical.


But on the question of whether 'salvation' is merely the implementation of God's Kingdom on earth at some distant date Ratzinger comments: “The biblical representation of the End rejects the expectation of a definitive state of salvation within history.12 Further “A planned salvation would be the salvation proper to a concentration camp and so the end of humanity13 - one thinks of present day China and its attempt to create a Utopia about which Msgr. Marcelo Sánchez Sorondo, chancellor of the Pontifical Academy of Sciences, has said "Right now, those who are best implementing the social doctrine of the Church are the Chinese" 14 But for Ratzinger what is important is 'that faith in Christ's return is also the certitude that the world will, indeed come to its perfection, not through rational planning but through that indestructible love which triumphed in the risen Christ.'15


Ratzinger's book was published in 1977 and shortly afterwards the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, on 17th May 1979, published a 'Letter on Certain Questions on Eschatology' which is basically in accord with Ratzinger's views. He therefore added an Appendix I to the second edition of his book on Eschatology entitled 'Between Death and Resurrection: Some Supplementary Reflections' commenting on the Congregation's Letter.16 If one does not have the time to read the whole book this Appendix is a very useful summary of his views.


The position which Ratzinger opposed in his book is the denial of the existence of something called the soul – a denial principally by German theologians. For them the concept of a soul is merely an idea imported from Platonism; it reflects the deplorable dualism found in Descartes etc etc. The alternatives to having a soul have been worked out in various forms such as the immediate resurrection of the body on death, a complete denial of resurrection at all etc etc all of which he shows to have no basis in scripture and is logically implausible. But perhaps the most important idea behind the denial of the soul is that of the Kingdom of God being something that will be created on earth at some future date as a result of political action and planning enacted by human beings.


In the Appendix Ratzinger points out that such views deny the last sentences of the Creed viz: 'I believe17 in … the resurrection of the body and the life of the world to come'. That denial effectively denies the whole of the Creed he says.18 He quotes the very strong statement in the CDF's Letter: 'The importance of this final article of the baptismal Creed is obvious: it expresses the goal and purpose of God's plan, the unfolding of which is described in the Creed. If there is no resurrection, the whole structure of faith collapses, as Saint Paul states so forcefully (cf. 1 Cor 15). If the content of the words "life everlasting" is uncertain for Christians, the promises contained in the Gospel and the meaning of creation and Redemption disappear, and even earthly life itself must be said to be deprived of all hope (cf. Heb 11:1). '19


The Letter draws attention to the dangers of these idle speculations: 'But one cannot ignore the unease and disquiet troubling many with regard to this question. It is obvious that doubt is gradually insinuating itself deeply into people's minds. Even though, generally speaking, the Christian is fortunately not yet at the point of positive doubt, he often refrains from thinking about his destiny after death, because he is beginning to encounter questions in his mind to which he is afraid of having to reply, questions such as: Is there really anything after death? Does anything remain of us after we die? Is it nothingness that is before us?' Perhaps Hans Kung sees immortality merely in the statue he has of himself in his garden.20Unfortunately matters have moved on since 1979 and the confusion amongst the faithful is even greater particularly as it is very rare that any priests preach on the four last things.


Ratzinger talks of the irresponsibility of certain theologians: 'Because the “fundamental truths of faith” belong to all believers, and are, as a matter of fact, the concrete content of the Church's unity, the fundamental language of faith cannot be regarded as something for experts to work out. And for the same reason, that language which is the bearer of unity cannot be manipulated at will.'21


Just how widespread are the erroneous ideas that Ratzinger attacks? 'The crisis became manifest after the Second Vatican Council … The impression arose that Christianity in all its aspects was to be sketched out anew.'22 He even goes so far as to use the word 'necrophilia'.23 In Appendix II 'Afterword to the English edition' he recounts that in 1977 'I took up a position which was sharply opposed to the post-conciliar consensus of a seeming majority of Catholic theologians'.


Thus we have a set of views which deviates from the fundamental truths of the faith and is widespread amongst Catholic theologians. We have a major heresy that has seeped its way into the Church. Ratzinger quotes G.Nachtwei, a theologian sympathetic to his views: 'He calls attention to the fact that the most “up-to-date” eschatological theses were in many cases turned straight into preaching and catechesis, without any intervening interval to allow a suitable pause for reflection.”24 It is a heresy which is seemingly widespread in the clergy and has been fed to the laity, lacks coherence and comes in many forms. Like many ideologies people just get part of the heresy rather than the full picture. Ratzinger complains of 'a lack of philosophical seriousness' 'simplemindedness' 'absence of awareness' and a 'noticeable paucity of reflection.'25


For me the prevalence of this heresy explains the 'poisoned signs' which I have mentioned above. Perhaps only a few explicitly deny the existence of the soul but there is a tendency to emphasise the importance of the material world at the expense of the spiritual.



So how has this affected sin? If all I can look forward is some future worldly utopia then in listening to the news it does not sound very likely to happen in my lifetime. If I am dead and no more, then what sort of hope is that? We are constantly told that God loves us. The incorrect translation of the Beatitudes insist that we are 'Happy' when we patently are not. There is a pretence world “Happy are those who mourn” etc. How do we deal with suffering if we have no soul and there is no afterlife? Why should I bother about some future utopia in which I will not share? Why should I avoid sin if I have no soul to lose? What does it profit a man to gain the whole world? Well quite a lot it seems if I have no soul to lose. We do not need to worry about our sins as God is merciful and one day there will be a utopia for all: Universalism.  Indeed we need to follow the spirit of the age as the German Bishops are proposing in abandoning the teachings of the Church on sexual morality.


So sin has lost its importance in the eyes of many. God will forgive you whatever. The sacrament of Confession is largely ignored and indeed is often not available. Any talk of sin is ridiculed as being just Catholic guilt which we should have grown up out of. The problem that arises when the clergy no longer teaches about sin is that many still sense that some things are wrong. If the Church does not deal with this and we become an increasingly atheistic culture we turn to legislation to deal with matters for which the Church previously catered. Thus we have the idea that legislation can make people good. Hate crime is invented and legislated against. We have political correctness and then the woke culture. We must not say certain things. Talking about coloured people instead of people of colour can lead to the end of a person's career. We are moving towards a new morality enforced by legislation reminiscent of the worst excesses of Puritanism; free speech is no longer acceptable if what we say is deemed hateful in anybody's view. There is certainly no forgiveness.26 A chance remark made decades ago will be brought up and condemned regardless of context or any change in the person's views subsequently. A job or a career will be terminated. This is the path to the Gulag that Ratzinger feared.


A concentration camp survivor and future Bishop, Johannes Neuhausler, wrote in 1946 wrote about the Nazis' attack on Catholicism: 'Attack on the papacy, attack on the bishops, attack on all the clergy, attack on religious instruction, attack on prayers and the crucifix in schools, attack on all Catholic groups, constraints on church services, constraints on Catholic religious orders, tendentious portrayals and misrepresentations; diatribes against Christianity, goodbye to the Old God … rage against “worthless lives”'.27 Does that at least not ring a bell?; the removal of crucifixes in Catholic hospitals, religious orders deemed unfit to teach the young, adoption societies closed down because they would not accept 'same-sex' parenting, the closing of churches, failures and compromises in religious instruction particularly as regards sexual morality, lukewarm response to attacks on human life?


The big difference is that much of this is self-inflicted rather than, so far at least, the result of the imposition of a pagan ideology. However due to the negligence in teaching the fundamental Catholic moral principles and observing them this is beginning to happen and we may well find matters getting worse under a pagan ideology. We need to fight against this and as Cardinal Sarah has said we need to find God once again.




2Known as the Baltimore Catechism in the USA.

32nd edition The Catholic University of America Press Washington D.C.

4“Eschatology Death and Eternal Life” p.5

5Ibid Forward p.xxv.

6Ibid p.5

7Ibid p.58

8Ibid p.58

9Ibid p.59

10Ibid p.60

11Ibid p.101

12Ibid p.213

13Ibid p.213

14http://www.asianews.it/news-en/Msgr.-Sanchez-Sorondo:-China,-the-best-implementer-of-the-social-doctrine-of-the-Church-43033.html

15“Eschatology Death and Eternal Life” p.213

16Ibid p.241.

17Again translated as 'We believe' prior to 2012.

18Ibid p.243

19This is taken from the official Vatican translation of the Letter into English rather than the translation in Ratzinger's book' which is undoubtedly a translation from the German translation. See: https://www.vatican.va/roman_curia/congregations/cfaith/documents/rc_con_cfaith_doc_19790517_escatologia_en.html

20https://www.theguardian.com/world/2012/oct/05/catholic-revolution-nazi-dictatorship-pope

21“Eschatology Death and Eternal Life” p.244

22Ibid p.248

23Ibid p.249

24Ibid p.268

25Ibid p.263.

26This pitiless absence of forgiveness is something Douglas Murray has drawn attention to in his book “The Madness of Crowds” and elsewhere see: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=g_RrYz85E1A

27Quoted in Peter Seewald's “Benedict XVI A Life” Volume 1 p.154.

Saturday, 27 February 2021

The Traditional Latin Mass Comes to the Midlands of South Carolina

Our Lady of the Lake Catholic Church
Chapin, South Carolina
(Source and additional photos of the church.)

Beginning 28 February 2021, the Traditional Latin Mass will be offered on Sundays at 1:00 PM at Our Lady of the Lake Catholic Church in Chapin, South Carolina, northwest of Columbia.

This is the culmination of many years of prayer, work & perseverance by the local faithful.


Saturday, 13 February 2021

Announcing the Confraternity of Our Lady of Fatima



About the Confraternity

The Confraternity of Our Lady of Fatima is a world-wide family of Catholics who are dedicated to bringing about the Triumph of the Immaculate Heart of Mary as soon as possible and are dedicated to spending the rest of their lives living out the call of Our Lady of Fatima and in doing penance for poor sinners and reparation to Her Immaculate Heart.

It was started in 2020 by Christopher P. Wendt, the International Director and Dr. Michael Sirilla, Professor of Dogmatic and Systematic Theology at Franciscan University in Steubenville, Ohio, USA, and became approved by His Excellency Bishop Athanasius Schneider on July 26, 2020.

It is growing like wildfire all over the world and is an answer to the times that we are currently living in where Russia’s errors are spreading.






Endorsement of Bishop Schneider

I encourage Catholic faithful to join the Confraternity of Our Lady of Fatima and become a practicing member. The Confraternity is a worldwide family united with one purpose – the Triumph of the Immaculate Heart of Mary, as she promised it in her apparitions in Fatima. Members work each day to bring this about by living out the call of Our Lady of Fatima, consecrated to Her as families, and then praying that the Holy Father will consecrate Russia to Her Immaculate Heart in the manner that She asked for. In the dark times that we live in, the goals of the Confraternity of Our Lady of Fatima and their practical realization will be a necessary and helpful spiritual means in the warfare against the works of Satan and the powers of this world and in the supplication for the conversion of Russia, so that a time of peace and the grace-filled era of the Triumph of Our Lady’s Immaculate Heart may arrive. This will be the time of a true springtime of the Church, where grace will be more abundant, more souls will be saved and God more glorified in the Royal and Eucharistic Heart of Jesus.




How to Become A Member
  • Confession once per month
  • Daily Rosary (5 decades)
  • One daily act of simple penance
  • Wear the Brown Scapular
  • Pray the Prayer for the Holy Father to Consecrate Russia each day


Prayer for the Holy Father to Consecrate Russia

O Immaculate Heart of Mary, you are the holy Mother of God and our tender Mother.
Look upon the distress in which the Church and the whole of humanity are living
because of the spread of materialism and the persecution of the Church.
In Fatima, you warned against these errors, as you spoke about the errors of Russia.
You are the Mediatrix of all graces. Implore your Divine Son to grant this special grace for the Pope:
that he might consecrate Russia to your Immaculate Heart,
so that Russia will be converted, a period of peace will be granted to the world, and your Immaculate Heart will triumph,
through an authentic renewal of the Church in the splendor of the purity of the Catholic Faith,
of the sacredness of Divine worship and of the holiness of the Christian life.
O Queen of the Holy Rosary and our sweet Mother, turn your merciful eyes to us and graciously hear this our trusting prayer.
Amen.

+ Athanasius Schneider, Auxiliary Bishop of the Archdiocese of Saint Mary in Astana




Learn more about the Confraternity of Our Lady of Fatima at their website.


Thursday, 24 December 2020

Three Christmas Midnight Latin Masses in the Greater Pittsburgh Area

 

THE Lord hath said to me: Thou art My Son, this day have I begotten Thee.  Introit.  First Mass at Midnight.


At Midnight on Christmas Eve 2020, there will be three publicly offered Traditional Latin Masses in the Greater Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, metropolitan area.


Saint James Church (Society of Saint Pius X)
326 South Main Street, West End Village, Pittsburgh, PA 15220 (Website)

Most Precious Blood of Jesus Parish
(Institute of Christ the King Sovereign Priest)
3250 California Avenue, Pittsburgh, PA  15212 (Website)

Saint Titus Church (Order of Saint Benedict)
952 Franklin Avenue, Aliquippa PA 15001  (Website)


Thursday, 17 December 2020

“Don’t Be Afraid!” A Meditation on Christmas 2020 by Archbishop Viganò

 



NOLITE TIMERE

a Meditation in expectation of the birth

of the Most Holy Redeemer

 

Sleep, O Celestial Child:
The nations do not know
Who has been born;
But the day will come
When they shall be
Your noble heritage;
You who sleep so humbly,
You who are hidden in dust:
They will know You as King.
 

Manzoni, Il Natale

In less than two weeks, by the grace of God, this year of Our Lord 2020, which has been marked by terrible events and great social upheavals, will draw to a close. Allow me to formulate a brief reflection with which to turn a supernatural gaze both towards the recent past as well as the immediate future.

The months that we leave behind represent one of the darkest moments in the history of humanity: for the first time ever, since the birth of the Savior, the Holy Keys have been used to close churches and restrict the celebration of the Mass and the Sacraments, almost in anticipation of the abolition of the daily Sacrifice prophesied by Daniel, which will take place during the reign of the Antichrist.

Monday, 2 November 2020

All Saints Altar - 2020

 

All Saints side altar, St. James Church (SSPX), Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, 1 November 2020, Feast of All Saints and the 50th anniversary of the founding of the Society of Saint Pius X.

Friday, 14 August 2020

The Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary

 


The Solemnity of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary is on Sunday 16th August. 

While the Bishops of England and Wales have dispensed the Faithful from attending Sunday Mass and Holy Days of Obligation such as this, Masses for this great feast will be at 10.30am and 5pm on Sunday.

Come and honour the Immaculate mother of God and her glorious Assumption into Heaven, body and soul, where she intercedes for us by her Divine Son.

Friday, 12 June 2020

The German Option: Will the English Bishops follow their German counterparts into Schism?


The German Option: Will the English Bishops follow their German counterparts into Schism?


What is the German Option? Sandro Magister in L'Espresso has explained how a synod is developing in Germany:


Here are a few excerpts:

The synod held its first session in Frankfurt from January 30 to February 1. And the inaugural Mass, officiated by Munich cardinal Reinhard Marx, provided the portrait of it, with bishops, priests, and lay people [who form the majority]...
even among the bishops the dissenters can be counted on the fingers of one hand. Left to contest the dreaded slide toward a Protestant model of Church are Cardinal Rainer Maria Woelki, archbishop of Cologne, and the bishops Rudolf Voderholzer of Regensburg, Stefan Oster of Passau, Gregor Maria Hanke of Eichstätt, and Wolfgang Ipolt of Görlitz”
POWER
Gender equality must be achieved at all levels. For access to pastoral services, even to the diaconal, presbyteral, and episcopal ministry, it cannot be excluded.”
"The institutional order linked to a hierarchy as ‘sacred power’ is due not so much to a Catholic necessity as to an anti-modern mental prejudice.”
In this context, access to the ordained ministry must also be clarified. On the synodal journey we must openly discuss married priests and the access of women to these ministries, including the ordained ministry.”
WOMEN

The evident discrepancy between the position of the magisterial documents and the unanimous argument of theological scholarship on the question of the female call to the ministerial apostolate is a ‘skandalon’ that must be overcome for the sake of the credibility of the proclamation of the Paschal Gospel.”
In theological research we do not agree on how binding is the affirmation in the apostolic letter ‘Ordinatio sacerdotalis’ of Pope John Paul II, acccording to which the exclusion of women from the sacramental ministry must be ‘definitive tenendam,’ or a decision ‘to be definitively held by all the Church's faithful.’
SEX
Turning one’s attention to what happens between those who love each other today ... can even mean scenting the work of the Spirit and the action of God in unusual places.”
The normative postulates of current Catholic sexual morality contradict the knowledge of the human sciences on the multiple dimensions of meaning of human sexuality.”
... Furthermore, the Church's ban on socially and legally recognizing homosexual couples is judged as discrimination based on sexual orientation.”
In the individual declarations of the magisterium regarding pre-marital and extra-marital sexuality, as well as autoeroticism, the negative evaluation of sexual pleasure continues to dominate. […] The first helpful guidelines are found in ‘Amoris laetitia’ [by Pope Francis].”
Family planning, even with the help of artificial means of regulating conception, does not represent an act hostile to life, but supports the right of a couple to decide responsibly on the number of children, on the spacing of births, and on the concrete means of family planning.”
Homosexual acts also realize positive values of meaning if they are an expression of friendship, reliability, loyalty, and life support.”
It is necessary to recognize homosexual life unions without reservation and to give up morally discrediting their sexual practice.”
Basically the German Church is looking to rubbish the Church's teaching on the role of women and sexual matters. They may claim that they will submit the most important decisions on doctrine to Rome but is there any doubt that regardless of what Rome says they will go ahead with these 'reforms' as Luther did with his 'reforms'? That is the German Option.
WILL THE ENGLISH BISHOPS FOLLOW THE SAME PATH?
They will not have a Synod on the German model; instead they may reach the same destination by osmosis without consulting the laity in any meaningful sense. Gradually proponents of these same proposals will become more numerous in positions of power so that these new ideas become the norm. Anyone not accepting them will be ignored and sidelined as being out of touch with the modern world. In fact this has been gradually happening over many years but has accelerated in the last twenty years with the arrival of Cormac Cardinal Murphy-O'Connor at the start of the new millennium. But now it has reached a critical point with the controversy surrounding the closing of Churches during the pandemic and the employment of the LGBT activist Jim McManus by the Bishops' Conference to influence the Government towards closing the Churches. The use of Jim McManus in this role has come under a very strong attack by LifeSiteNews:
This attack on the role McManus is so forceful as to make one wonder whether it is credible. However at the Conference's own website at:

there is a picture of McManus. His connection to the Hertfordshire County Council is clearly shown by the items appearing on the right of the picture. Taken together with the video of him promoting LGBT at a Hertfordshire CC event last year that is sufficient prima facie evidence of his being a leading advocate of the LGBT agenda.

McManus is not shy about his many achievements and roles as he sets them out in his blog at:


He has certainly managed to embed himself in the Catholic Church:

A member of the Theology, Religion and Practice Research Group at Roehampton University, and Vice-Chair of the Healthcare Executive Group of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales, authoring the 2008 and 2018 national chaplaincy guidelines for the NHS and the Catholic Church, a Trustee of St Joseph’s Hospice, Hackney, awarded the Good Samaritan Medal for Excellence in Healthcare by Pope Benedict XVI, the highest honour for healthcare the Vatican can award, a Companion of the Order of Malta, Chair of the Board of Governors of the Catholic Anscombe Bioethics Centre in Oxford, Knight and then a Grand Knight of the Knights of St. Columba sodality in Birmingham between November 2008 and July 2012, a Trustee of the Diocese of Birmingham from 2009 to 2014.

Truly a very active man. However throughout his career he has been an advocate of LGBT rights and evidently believes there is no problem with their lifestyle.
Perhaps what is interesting is that since the publication of the LifeSiteNews article on 13th May 2020 there has been no reaction from anyone in the Catholic world apart from a passing twitter from Damian Thompson. Blinded by his CV? Fear of legal proceedings or just so aghast as to freeze? There is total silence.
This is surely the moment to determine the future direction of the Bishops' conference.
The story has come to a head over the closing of Churches during the Covid-19 pandemic. Apparently the Government were not minded to close Churches other than to ban religious services but McManus acting for the Bishops' conference persuaded them to close the doors of the Churches. This was utterly deplorable. I knew nothing of McManus but I saw this as the culmination of an appalling record in the Catholic Church in England going back many decades.
THE HISTORICAL RECORD
When I was in practice as a Solicitor from the 1960s onwards all that seemed to be happening was the collapse of the Church. I dealt with nuns leaving their convents in droves and the inevitable closure of convents that followed. Then we had the abuse scandals which made being a Catholic an embarrassment. Church attendance was in free-fall, many beautiful churches were uglified in a program of re-ordering and Catholic institutions either disappeared or became increasingly laicised and secularised. Clergy seemed preoccupied with worldly matters and inevitably became political. Vocations fell off a cliff and now we can anticipate our monasteries disappearing – by their fruits you will know them. Modern catechetics lost its way and much of the fault for that must be laid at the foot of the Catholic Education Service which is an arm of the Bishops' Conference.
A particular problem with which I was concerned was the secularisation of the Hospital of St John & St Elizabeth. First of all there was an attempt by secular elements to purloin the Hospital. I brought this to the attention of Cardinal Hume who was very angry over this issue. Unfortunately he ended up dead at the Hospital after his cancer was diagnosed as merely depression. His plan to create a centre of Catholic Medical Excellence was buried by the apparatchiks at the Bishops' Conference.
In the first decade of the present century a number of eminent lay Catholics – philosophers, ethicists and others presented a petition to Cardinal Cormac, to ban Gender Reassignment Operations (GROs)– mainly female to male – which were taking place at the Hospital contrary to their code of ethics but earning them much money. Cormac instead of dealing with this passed the buck to Rome. Fortunately the then Cardinal Ratzinger told Cormac to set up an inquiry which duly reported and recommended a much stronger code of ethics. However despite rumours of abortions taking place and a disregard for Humanae Vitae Cardinal Cormac gave in to secular minded doctors and allowed the new code to be eviscerated. One particular point that struck me was that the newly eviscerated code, blessed by Cardinal Cormac removed the ban on FGMs – Female Genital Mutilation. One can now see such a ban might have interfered with the lucrative Gender Reassignment Operations. Cormac triumphed in the end when the Catholic Board of the Hospital who had wrested control from the secularists were unceremoniously asked to resign in favour of Cormac's more compliant appointees.
At the time I pleaded with the Bishops' conference to do something but they refused saying that there was nothing wrong with GRO's if the patient felt better afterwards. It was plain to me that Cormac rejected the Church's teaching on sexuality and the Bishops' Conference followed his lead. Cormac's disastrous handling of the case of the paedophile Father Hill has to be seen in that light. We then had the scandal of the Soho Masses which seemed to be under the control of an active gay man who ran a blog:https://queeringthechurch.wordpress.com/ proposing a 'reality-based theology'. Lay Catholics protested about this but Cormac's successor Cardinal Vincent Nichols told them “Hold your Tongues”. Cardinal Nichols emerged from a low week meeting of the Bishops' Conference to say he was in favour of Civil Unions for homosexual couples. A position taken up by a representative of Catholic Voices at one point.
Over the years the Catholic Education Service, an arm of the Bishops' Conference, has been complicit in agreeing to the Government's plans for sex education. In 2010 in correspondence they misrepresented what the Government were laying down by quoting what the Minister had said in Parliament but carefully cutting out statements that should have been unacceptable to the Catholic Church. More recently the Government is implementing an unacceptable sex education programme in the Autumn and once more the Catholic Education Service has accepted it. There is an authoritative article by Dr Tom Rogers entitled "How Catholic Church Officials have betrayed Parents and Children" in the Spring 2019 edition of 'Calx Mariae'.
THE McMANUS AFFAIR – A CRITICAL TURNING-POINT?
I see it as such but it is a matter of scandal which has not been resolved one way of another. The official line as communicated to me is that:
a. The Bishops Conference did not persuade the Government to close the Churches but that Churches have been closed in response to the requirements of the Government.
That rather dodges the issue as the question is how did those requirements come about. The Westminster Archdiocese website at: https://rcdow.org.uk/news/churches-to-close-with-immediate-effect/ reports on a clarification issued by the Bishops' Conference which reads:
"'Professor Jim McManus has spoken with a senior civil servant and it was quite clear they just had not thought through the issues of infection and security of churches and when he made these points clear, they were appalled and agreed they had made a mistake."
That surely requires further explanation.
b. McManus is not an employee of the Bishops' Conference.
If you mean by employed that someone is a paid employee of the Conference then that is probably correct. However in ordinary parlance to employ someone has a much wider meaning. For example somebody might say that they have employed a Solicitor to fight their case in court. Of course this does not mean that the Solicitor is a paid employee but merely that he is in a professional relationship where he is self-employed acting on behalf of a client. McManus appears on the Conference website advising about Coronavirus on behalf of the Conference and the above quote shows him acting as an agent for the Conference. Can the Conference really dispute that?
  1. The Conference and the hierarchy cannot comment as the matter is the subject of legal processes.
    It is claimed that the matter is 'sub judice' and therefore any public discussion would be a contempt of court. Did they bother to take legal advice on this point? The Contempt of Court Act 1981 makes it clear that in respect of civil proceedings the rule only applies when the case has been set down for trial on a fixed date. As far as has been reported no writ has been issued and the process of setting down for trial only follows weeks or months after the issue of a writ. It is therefore nonsense to say that the matter is 'sub judice' and one can only assume that this is a pathetic attempt to refuse to respond to the concerns of the laity and a desire to cover-up the truth.
Of course the nub of this matter is not really about the closure of churches but how it is that a man who promotes the LGBT cause and/or promotes abortion, if that is the case, has been allowed to penetrate the Church in England and Wales and to have such a high profile in the Bishops' Conference and more distressingly become Chairman of Governors of the Anscombe Bioethical Centre – an organisation that is supposedly in the front line of supporting Catholic condemnation of homosexual acts and abortion. Although their website has suddenly said he is 'on leave of absence' – no doubt a euphemism.
An explanation is demanded but so far it is not forthcoming.
The question then arises as to whether the Bishops' Conference is heading down a path similar to that of the German Bishops. There are of course some Bishops who are very strong in opposing abortion and some have murmured about the closure of Churches but it is only a murmur. Are they strong enough to bring the Conference back on course? There is no cause for optimism that they are.
Is the Conference so infiltrated by the homosexual lobby and a disregard for sexual morality that they will take up the German Option? If they do I doubt whether it will be done openly or as a result of consultation with laity. It will just gradually happen. Sin will be normalised.
Any Bishop reading this should note that Sandro Magister's first heading is POWER. The GERMAN OPTION involves handing over power to the laity. Perhaps this something which some Bishops would be only too happy to accept. It would save them a lot of bother if they just become figureheads.
The final question is what should be the response of the faithful laity to such a move to the GERMAN OPTION. Some have suggested that withholding money from the clergy is one answer i.e. stop putting money in the plate. I doubt if this will work. If the Church gradually becomes indistinguishable from the worldly zeitgeist the Churches will empty – why bother? - the hierarchy can then sell off redundant churches and live on the proceeds.
Will faithful Bishops, Priests or Religious stop this? Unfortunately most will do nothing out of false loyalty and false obedience. It is going to be up to the Laity to get the barque of the Church back on an even keel. So far I have not seen overmuch happening amongst the laity but let us hope matters will change.
Maybe there will be a rising up from an unexpected quarter. Some have suggested that what we are seeing is a Marxist culture war to destroy Christian civilisation by revolution and the destruction of morality and in particular the family. Originally the theory was that the proletariat would rise up and bring about the revolution. However the proletariat have been a disappointment to Marxists. They have therefore given up on the proletariat and have instead turned to certain minorities – extreme feminists, ethnic minorities, those with homosexual tendencies, those with gender dysphoria etc. to replace the proletariat and to foment a revolution. However it may be that it will be just these groups, who like the proletariat, will disappoint the Marxists. It is noticeable for instance that the ethnic minorities in the Church seem to be the most traditional and they must be asking themselves whether those who cry 'Black Lives Matter' means “Only some Black Lives Matter” when it comes to the unborn. Are there not many with homosexual tendencies who do not want to be promoting queerdom? Many feminists are at war with the transgender movement. And are there not many ordinary people with no particular religious affiliation who are protesting at the filth that is being fed to their children as 'sex education'?
We live in interesting times.
Nicolas J. Bellord    12th June 2020


UPDATE 13th June 2020

Churches are to be allowed to be re-opened for private prayers as from Monday 15th June. The Catholic Church has issued guidance to its priests dated 1st June on 3rd June:


The Church of England followed suit on 3rd June:


There is a great contrast. Whilst the Church of England writes:

Should someone be present all the time to monitor the church?

There is no public health need to do this, though the decision will need to be based on your own local situation and risk assessment.

Catholic priests are told:

At least two stewards must be present in the church throughout the time it is open for prayer; the stewards must ensure that hand sanitisation occurs at entry and exit points, social distancing is maintained by people in the church and if a pre-determined capacity is reached, they prevent others from entering the church. (Through, for example, a “one in, one out” policy.) People with cold or flu-like symptoms should be asked not to enter.

And that is just the start as to what these stewards have to do.

But why the difference? Are not Catholic priests being asked to do far more than the Government actually requires?

Physical veneration of relics or objects such as statues, crucifixes and shrines is not permitted.

So presumably genuflecting in front of a crucifix is now forbidden; although for years such quaint customs have been discouraged by our more progressive clergy.

As for confession, which could easily be made available, there is no mention.

All in all the Church of England's document is encouraging the opening of their churches with as few restrictions as possible whilst the Catholic Church seems to be imposing such detailed and burdensome requirements on Parish Priests that it is difficult to see how more than a few will be able to open their churches.

It has been suggested that the hand of McManus is all over this document. If so, just what is happening?

I would imagine that Satan would see the current deprivation of the laity of sacramental grace as truly a great victory. Has he not got some useful disciples, knowingly or unknowingly, implementing his wishes?

FURTHER UPDATE 23RD July 2020

Mr McManus has resigned as Chairman of Governors of the Anscombe Bioethics Centre with the encouragement of his fellow governors.

No news from the Bishops.  Their new regulations about Masses have resulted in Mass being available.  My  parish has announced public masses as follows:

Tuesday 14th July  9.30.a.m.
Friday 17th July  9.30.a.m.
Tuesday 21st July  9.30.a.m.
Friday 24th July  9.30.a.m.
Tuesday 28th July  9.30.a.m.
Friday 31st July  9.30.a.m.

But NEVER on Sundays which seems to be the rule at adjoining parishes


Tuesday 21st July,

Friday 24th July, 9.30

Tuesday 28th July

Friday 31st Jul











Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...