Saturday, October 22, 2016

SSPX and Sunday Obligation

According to the Diocese of Las Vegas on their website, SSPX is "not Catholic" and therefore one does not fulfill their Sunday obligation in assisting at Mass at Our Lady of Victory (the SSPX chapel in Las Vegas).  Their website contains this warning:
There are many other churches that list themselves under Catholic Churches.  The list below are not in union with the Holy See and the Roman Catholic Bishop of the Diocese of Las Vegas. Thus, these Churches are in schism. Attending Sunday Mass at any of these establishments does not fulfill the obligation to attend Mass.
Our Lady of Victory Catholic Church 
1575 E. Windmill Lane   Las Vegas, NV 89123
I do not include the whole list because I do not know what the rest represent.

First of all,
The Rev. Msgr. Camille Perl, the former Secretary, second in charge of the PCED, responded to (a) query personally, in a letter dated 20 March, 2009, by stating: "Our response is that it is possible to fulfill the Sunday and holy day obligation by assisting at Masses of priests of the Society of St. Pius X, but until such time as their situation is regularized in the Church, even though they are part of the Church, we cannot recommend your doing so."
Clearly it is the opinion of the Pontifical Commission of Ecclesia Dei (PCED) in Rome that SSPX is "part of the Church" and while they are not "regularized" it is still possible to fulfill ones Sunday obligation by assisting there. They do not recommend it, but clearly they do not forbid it and it IS possible to fulfill the Sunday and holy day obligation at chapels of SSPX.


During the "Year of Mercy," (2016) Pope Francis has extended to SSPX the faculties for hearing Confession and granting Absolution, even though they are not fully "regularized."  One does not extend this jurisdiction to a schismatic church.

Back To School!

There will be a bit of a slow-down of articles from me as I have gone back to school for my masters degree.  I'm not going anywhere, I just won't have the time to devote to articles for a while. I hope my fellow bloggers will help fill that void - and you readers - please jump in and add your comments!

God bless you all, and please pray for me too!


Scott Windsor<<<

Why Pray The Rosary? Pt 2

In Part 2 of this series let us delve into the history of the Holy Rosary.  Most Catholics who know a thing or two will say it started with St. Dominic in the early 13th century, and to a point they would be correct - but the tradition of praying 150 prayers (the full traditional Rosary) and using counting devices goes back much, much further into our Judeo-Christian heritage.  The Psalter of King David goes back to at least the 5th century wherein monks would pray the 150 Psalms.  To keep track, they would use a cord with 150 knots in it, similar to early rosary ropes/beads.  Even prior to Christian use, the Psalms were sung in Jewish ceremonies at the Temple.  Originally, or a very early addition, there were superscriptions to many of the Psalms, indicating the author, the contents and often the melody for that section (Jacobs).

St. Paul of Thebes, Hermit
3rd to 4th Century AD
St. Paul of Thebes was said to carry two bags and 300 pebbles.  As he would say a prayer he would move a pebble from one bag to the other to keep track of his prayers.  St. Clare, the sister of St. Francis of Assisi, also used this method of prayer.  St. Paul was born about 227ad and lived to be 113 years old.  The last 91 years of his life he spent as a hermit, where he also encountered St. Anthony the Great, also an ascetic, who developed a great devotion to the life of St. Paul. (Roman)

The Jewish Tzitzit
The ancient Jewish and biblical use of the prayer shawl or "tzitzit" or "talit" has specific cords tied into knots, similar to rosary cords.  The knots, however, in the tzitzit are not enumerated for prayers - but as a reminder of God's commandments. The total of the cords twists and knots adds up to 613 to represent the Mitzvah, which are the commandments from the Torah beyond the Decalogue (Ten Commandments) most of us know well.  The cords are on the four corners of the prayer shawl, which traditionally was worn all the time, though in modern times it is primarily used ceremonially. In Jewish orthodoxy, the prayer shawl is still worn under ones outer garment. Again, while the knotted cords do not directly refer to prayers - it is on the prayer shawl.

The biblical references to the tzitzit are found in Numbers 15:37-40 and in Deuteronomy 22:12. There is also reference in the New Testament (Luke 8:44) to Jesus wearing such a garment as the woman who suffered from "an issue of blood" for twelve years reached out and touched the tassel (hem or border in some translations) of Jesus' cloak and she was immediately healed.  (Raj, 2013).

St. Dominic
St. Dominic was preaching the Gospel to the heretics embracing Albigensianism (who believed adultery, fornication and suicide were praiseworthy and did not accept there was a heaven or a hell nor a moral code). He was having little success then one day while in deep prayer and penance the Blessed Virgin appeared to him and stated: "Wonder not that you have obtained so little fruit by your labors, you have spent them on barren soil, not yet watered with the dew of Divine grace. When God willed to renew the face of the earth, He began by sending down on it the fertilizing rain of the Angelic Salutation. Therefore preach my Psalter composed of 150 Angelic Salutations and 15 Our Fathers, and you will obtain an abundant harvest" (Feeney). From this St. Dominic produced the fifteen mysteries of the Rosary - each mystery dealing with a significant part of Jesus' life. As he began preaching the Rosary, converts from the Albigenses began and caught fire throughout the land.

As one can clearly see, the use of beads and/or knotted cords is certainly not anti-Christian and is rooted in ancient Jewish tradition. It is a tradition we may proudly embrace.

Feeney, Robert, St. Dominic and the Rosary

Jacobs, Rabbi Louis, The Book of Psalms

Raj, T. V. Antony, September 10, 2013, Are The Tallit and Tzitzit of Jews Equivalent to Prayer Beads Used in Other Religions?

Roman, Dr. Alexander, The Historical Development of the Orthodox Prayer Rope and Its Importance to Our Spiritual Life and also

Monday, October 03, 2016

Why Pray The Rosary? Pt 1

The Concluding Prayer
O GOD, Whose only begotten Son, by His life, death and resurrection has purchased for us the rewards of eternal life, grant, we beseech Thee, by meditating upon these mysteries of the Most Holy Rosary of the Blessed Virgin Mary, that we may imitate what they contain and obtain what they promise, through the same Christ our Lord. Amen. 

Last Sunday, in the Extraordinary Rite, was Holy Rosary Sunday.  The actual feast day is October 7th, but when that date does not fall on a Sunday, it is celebrated on the Sunday before.  In our sermon, Father taught on several points, but one which struck me - which I had not really thought much about, was the Concluding Prayer (above), in particular the last part... "by meditating upon these mysteries... imitate what they contain... and obtain what they promise.

To Meditate
Meditating on the mysteries is more than just thinking about them as you pray each decade, but going into deeper thought about them.  The mysteries are various stages in the life of Jesus Christ.  We meditate on the joyful parts, the sorrowful and the glorious parts.  In the modern version we have added stages which bear light on the life of Christ in the Luminous Mysteries.  To meditate, we take it beyond just the 15 minutes spent in prayer of the Rosary itself.

To Imitate
One cannot really imitate the life of Christ without first meditating on it.  By imitating Christ, we bring Him into us and allow us to become more like Him.  The more we meditate upon Him and His life, the more we can and hopefully will, imitate Him.

To Obtain
Through the Holy Rosary we hope to obtain our share in the Resurrection, that is, eternal life in and with Jesus Christ.  If we imitate His life, and He lives in and through us, then we will be resurrected with Him in Heaven as co-heirs with Him.

Aids and instruction for praying the Holy Rosary may be found here:

Sunday, September 18, 2016

Bugay On Catholicism and the Early Church

I stumbled across this article a few weeks ago which was listed as the current "featured article" on Triablogue.  It's an older article, but seeing as how they wished to "feature" it, (it is no longer the "featured" article) I figured it would be good to answer it.

John Bugay on Catholicism: What was the ancient church in Rome like?

Some time ago, I spent some time summarizing what some of the major commentators have been saying about the people and the network of house churches found in early Rome in the first century. This is the Rome to which Peter supposedly traveled, where it is thought that he may have died (though historically, there is practically no mention of him at all being in Rome; when Irenaeus talks about “…the church that is greatest, most ancient, and known to all, founded and set up by the two most glorious apostles Peter and Paul at Rome …” this is the reality to which he was referring, and it is this reality of which we can say he was not an entirely accurate reporter of history).

There is a reason why I’m going into such detail on this. Recently, I’ve been citing from the James Puglisi work How Can the Petrine Ministry Be a Service to the Unity of the Universal Church? In that work, I’ve quoted Herman Pottmeyer saying that “anyone who wishes to come to an understanding of the papal ministry cannot avoid dealing with the history of this ministry. The historical facts are not disputed...” In an earlier article from that same work, John P. Meier, a leading Catholic Biblical scholar, pointed out, “A papacy that cannot give a credible historical account of its own origins can hardly hope to be a catalyst for unity among divided Christians.” So the implication is that, until this point, the papacy has not given a “credible historical account of its own origins.”
I find it interesting that these Protestant apologists can't see the forest for the trees.  All we need point to is Scripture in this regard.  Jesus gave to St. Peter, alone, the authority to bind and loose whatsoever he chose in Matthew 16:18-19.  In John 21:15-17, just before Jesus ascends - in threefold manner He commands St. Peter to take care of His sheep.  The Good Shepherd was passing the reins to His Vicar.  We must say, Scripture is a "credible historical account of (the papacy) origins."

The recent book The End of Christianity begins (Chapter 1) with this little but bold proclamation:

The end of Christianity is not some far-off dream, nor is it on the verge of occurring. Instead, it happened two thousand years ago—in fact, Christianity never even began; it was stillborn….there is no such thing as the religion of Christianity; at best it is a multitude of related but distinct and often-enough opposed traditions, shifting and swaying with the winds of local culture and passing history … (Dr. David Eller, “Christianity Evolving: On the Origin of Christian Species”, Chapter 1 in Loftus, ed., ©2011“The End of Christianity”: Amherst, NY: Prometheus Books, pg. 23.)

There’s no need to fear Eller. With this statement he immediately shows himself to be a hack, given that the life of Christ and the origins of Christianity are extraordinarily well attested in history.

But on the other hand, it is the Roman Catholic church and its constant protestations of its own authority, which are extraordinarily poorly attested in history, which give individuals like Eller the kind of toe-hold they need to bloviate and sell books. Eller’s statement is true about Roman Catholicism. Roman Catholicism was stillborn. That’s what Eller and the others can attack freely; it’s the falseness of Roman Catholicism that gives people like Eller the opportunities they have to attack Christ and Christianity.
Wow!  In reality, the Catholic Faith does not begin with Jesus Christ and the Apostles, for it was born out of Judaism.  If one takes, even a little time, to study Jewish culture and religion, and objectively looks at the culture of Catholicism - he/she would be astounded at how similar the two faiths are in many ways.  We must remember, ALL the Apostles and Jesus Christ Himself were all Jews.  They did not totally abandon Judaism when they became Christians - that would be foolish!  Our foundations are deeply rooted in Judaism.  

My wife and I took a course in Judaism, taught by a rabbi, at our local college.  At one point, after five straight weeks of Torah readings after Passover about how God desired His place of worship to be (the altar, candlesticks on the altar, angels on either side, incense, even the vestments of the priests) and my wife commented, "Wow, that's SO Catholic!"  Rabbi responded, "Where do you think you got it from?!"  It would appear that Eller and Bugay are attacking that which they really know little about.
But again, the historical work that is being done on the earliest church is going to be immensely helpful in sorting out fact from fiction. This historical work is going to be like Trigonometry and Calculus: these things will always be taught, so long as the subject is taught. But the question going forward will be, will anyone care to understand them?
And that is precisely MY point!  I do not believe folks like Bugay really understands what he's attacking.  The Trig and Calc (historicity) of the Christian (Catholic) faith has brought many great anti-Catholics TO the Catholic Faith - not away from it!  John Cardinal Newman, for one, comes to mind who fought against the Catholic Church and was looking for historic justification to remain Protestant - and one of his famous quotes is:  "To be deep in history is to cease to be Protestant."

Introduction and Summary
The nonexistent early papacy
In this article, Bugay links to yet another one where he refers to the papacy as "dishonest."  I find it interesting that one of the "scholars" he cites is none other than "Raymond Brown."  That would be "Fr. Raymond Brown, who was a bit of a dissenter and revisionist - OK, more than just a bit.  Bugay doesn't really demonstrate the "nonexistence" he claims - he pretty much just claims it.  
House Churches in the New Testament
I would not deny that early celebrations of the Mass took place in people's homes.  They also took place in the Catacombs.  Just a brief and objective look at history is all it takes to remind us - for the first 300 years of Christendom, the Church was under near constant persecution (with brief periods of "peace").
Households in Ancient Rome
Part 1: Households in Ancient Rome: An Introduction
Part 2: Christians and Jews in First Century Rome
Part 3: Commerce and Household Communities
Part 4: Household Leadership as Church Leadership
Part 5: Patronage and Leadership

The People of Romans 16
Aquila, Priscilla, Acts 18:2 and the Edict of Claudius
“I commend to you our sister Phoebe, διάκονον and προστάτις” 
Andronikos and Junia, Part 1 
Andronikos and Junia, Part 2
Again, we do not deny that even into the 4th century that the meeting place for Mass was often in people's homes.  As mentioned earlier too - they also met in the catacombs where they buried so many Christian martyrs.  In those catacombs they had places of worship literally carved into the walls.  I've been to one of those sites, the Catacombs of St. Callixtus.  The catacombs became places of worship as early as the 2nd century - long before Rome converted to Christianity in the 4th century.
What the early Catholics had to go through to find places to worship is quite a testimony to their dedication to Christ.  Within those catacombs too there were poisonous gases coming in through the walls, poisonous due to volcanic activity (we're not too far from Pompeii and Mt. Vesuvius) so much so that one could not stay inside the catacombs for much more than an hour.  Even with better ventilation, to this day, they have to monitor and not permit visitors to stay inside for extended periods.  It's actually amazing just how much work they did to create the catacombs and incorporate places of worship within them in light of the fact that they could only stay inside them for short periods of time.  Anyway, this is what the early Church in Rome REALLY looked like - and we can still visit sites like this to this day.
Moving forward, my hope is, Lord willing, to continue to expand on this list and this material, and to make it available in an easy to digest form. In the same way that the printing press aided Martin Luther and helped the Reformation sweep across Europe, the Internet and its ability to make accurate information available immediately around the world, is only going to help to clarify the misunderstandings about Christianity and what it means to have faith in Christ.
While I agree, the printing press helped aid Luther's spread what he was teaching, what he taught was dissent, disrespect and counter to what has preceded him from some 1500 years.  The Internet, while it can be used to make accurate information available - like Luther and the dawning of the printing press, it also makes it easier to spread falsehood and lies.  As folks like Bugay "moves forward" I will continue to present counter-arguments in hopes to shed some light on what they say, and hopefully, one day, bring them home to the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Faith.  I do thank Bugay for this opportunity to share how the Early Church did indeed worship.  While undeniable that some of that worship took place in private homes - it also took place semi-publicly in the catacombs.