Saturday, December 20, 2014

Going Through Drafts

I was just looking at the "drafts" of posts which were started and never published... there's over 40 of them!  Most are by me and I am going to either publish them soon, or delete them (the ones by me, of course!).  So, you may be seeing some "responses" to older conversations.  Just a note...


Friday, December 19, 2014

Ember Friday

Though not "required" in the United States, it is still a recommended practice:

The Ember Days are celebrated with fasting (no food between meals) and half-abstinence, meaning that meat is allowed at one meal per day. (If you observe the traditional Friday abstinence from meat, then you would observe complete abstinence on Ember Friday.)

TODAY is Ember Friday!

Ember days (corruption from Lat. Quatuor Tempora, four times) are the days at the beginning of the seasons ordered by the Church as days of fast and abstinence. They were definitely arranged and prescribed for the entire Church by Pope Gregory VII (1073-1085) for the Wednesday, Friday, and Saturday after 13 December (S. Lucia), after Ash Wednesday, after Whitsunday, and after 14 September (Exaltation of the Cross).

The purpose of their introduction, besides the general one intended by all prayer and fasting, was to thank God for the gifts of nature, to teach men to make use of them in moderation, and to assist the needy. The immediate occasion was the practice of the heathens of Rome. The Romans were originally given to agriculture, and their native gods belonged to the same class. At the beginning of the time for seeding and harvesting religious ceremonies were performed to implore the help of their deities: in June for a bountiful harvest, in September for a rich vintage, and in December for the seeding; hence their feriae sementivae, feriae messis, and feri vindimiales. The Church, when converting heathen nations, has always tried to sanctify any practices which could be utilized for a good purpose.

At first the Church in Rome had fasts in June, September, and December; the exact days were not fixed but were announced by the priests. The "Liber Pontificalis" ascribes to Pope Callistus (217-222) a law ordering the fast, but probably it is older. Leo the Great (440-461) considers it an Apostolic institution. When the fourth season was added cannot be ascertained, but Gelasius (492-496) speaks of all four. This pope also permitted the conferring of priesthood and deaconship on the Saturdays of ember week--these were formerly given only at Easter. Before Gelasius the ember days were known only in Rome, but after his time their observance spread. They were brought into England by St. Augustine; into Gaul and Germany by the Carlovingians. Spain adopted them with the Roman Liturgy in the eleventh century. They were introduced by St. Charles Borromeo into Milan. The Eastern Church does not know them.

Mershman, Francis. "Ember Days." The Catholic Encyclopedia. Vol. 5. New York: Robert Appleton Company, 1909. 17 Dec. 2014 <>.

TOMORROW is also an Ember Day!

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Do I Have to Go?

"Mass is boring." "I don't get anything out of Mass — why should I go?" “Why can't I just pray alone?”

These are common feelings, especially among young people but among many adults as well. The great Bishop Fulton J. Sheen, when conducting a retreat for teenagers, once gave a talk on the meaning of the Mass. He said, "If you don't get anything out of Mass, it's because you don't bring the right expectations to it." The Mass is not entertainment, he said. It is worship of the God who made us and saves us. It is an opportunity to praise God and thank Him for all that He has done for us.

If we have a correct understanding of Mass, Bishop Sheen said, it will become more meaningful for us. We will want to go to Mass. We will understand why the Mass is God's precious gift to us, and we wouldn't think of refusing that gift.

The Eucharist is the lynchpin of this argument.  At the institution of the Mass Jesus said to “do this in remembrance of me” (Luke 22:19).  Will you deny Him when He commands you to go and receive Him in the Eucharist.  Will you freely and willingly abstain from eating His Flesh and drinking His Blood as He commanded?

The Church is instituted by Christ (“and on this rock I will build my church” Matt 16:18).  And Christ gave this Church the authority to bind and loose on matters of faith and morals those who would follow Him in the faith (“whatever you [ie, the Apostles] bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven  Matt 18:18).  He told the apostles that those who won’t even listen to the Church that they are to be considered as pagans and tax-collectors (“If the member refuses to listen to them, tell it to the church; and if the offender refuses to listen even to the church, let such a one be to you as a Gentile and a tax-collector.Matt 18:16-17), ie outside of the Church.  Therefore, it is a mortal sin to knowingly and freely ignore what the Church has bound.  And the Church has determined to be binding that of receiving Him as He commanded us, on a weekly basis.  At a minimum, to receive on the day of the week that He Rose from the dead, Sunday (or the Vigil Mass the night before).  To knowingly and freely reject or ignore this binding decree is to reject the authority of His Church, a grave sin.

We ought to go to Mass on a weekly basis not simply to avoid removing ourselves from the Body of Christ but for the much better reason to show our gratitude for what He has done for us.  Indeed, the word ‘Eucharist’ comes to us from the Greek. The earliest Christians called it ‘Eucharistia’ which means ‘Thanksgiving’.

The Mass is, in part, a meal.  At the consecration, the bread and wine become the Body and Blood of Christ.  Not just a symbol, but Jesus’ real flesh and real blood, under the appearance of bread and wine.  When we receive Holy Communion, we receive Jesus Himself.  He is real food for our soul.  He told us as much when He said: “I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you do not have life within you.  Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him on the last day.  My flesh is true food, and my blood is true drink.  Whoever eats my and drinks my blood remains in me and I in him.” (John 6:55-56)

To refuse reception of this greatest gift of Himself is to refuse Him.  Please, please, do not abstain from the greatest gift we can ever receive: The gift of God Himself in the flesh. 


God Bless

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Ember Days

Though not "required" in the United States, it is still a recommended practice:

The Ember Days are celebrated with fasting (no food between meals) and half-abstinence, meaning that meat is allowed at one meal per day. (If you observe the traditional Friday abstinence from meat, then you would observe complete abstinence on an Ember Friday.)

TODAY is an Ember Day!

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Should Women Cover Their Heads at Church?

What Does Scripture Say?

I started this article about a year ago, it's time to post it...
1 Corinthians 11:1-16
1 Be ye followers of me, as I also am of Christ.
2 Now I praise you, brethren, that in all things you are mindful of me: and keep my ordinances as I have delivered them to you.
3 But I would have you know, that the head of every man is Christ; and the head of the woman is the man; and the head of Christ is God.
4 Every man praying or prophesying with his head covered, disgraceth his head.
5 But every woman praying or prophesying with her head not covered, disgraceth her head: for it is all one as if she were shaven.
6 For if a woman be not covered, let her be shorn. But if it be a shame to a woman to be shorn or made bald, let her cover her head.
7 The man indeed ought not to cover his head, because he is the image and glory of God; but the woman is the glory of the man.
8 For the man is not of the woman, but the woman of the man.
9 For the man was not created for the woman, but the woman for the man.
10 Therefore ought the woman to have a power over her head, because of the angels.
11 But yet neither is the man without the woman, nor the woman without the man, in the Lord.
12 For as the woman is of the man, so also is the man by the woman: but all things of God.
13 You yourselves judge: doth it become a woman, to pray unto God uncovered?
14 Doth not even nature itself teach you, that a man indeed, if he nourish his hair, it is a shame unto him?
15 But if a woman nourish her hair, it is a glory to her; for her hair is given to her for a covering.
16 But if any man seem to be contentious, we have no such custom, nor the church of God.

So often we see people trying to rationalize this direct command as recorded by St. Paul in Scripture, but when you come right down to it, that's all you have is rationalization to justify women not covering their heads in church!   Sadly, even most Catholic women do not cover their heads except where the Traditional Latin Mass is celebrated, where it is the norm for women to cover their heads.  I'm not sure why this practice was stopped, but since it is a scriptural command, I encourage ALL Catholic women to return to the practice at ALL Masses they participate in.

Many will argue that "hair is the natural covering," and even point to other parts of this passage which mentions nature and hair - but as we see in verse 6, hair is contrasted by some OTHER covering.

At TurretinFan's blog (Protestant), I responded here:

Well, I had responded there - my response has since been removed. TF and I actually are much in agreement over this subject - so I'm not sure why my posting is no longer there.  You can see that some others who responded to TF's article are rationalizing their way out of obedience - or just flatly get angry and obstinate over the topic.  

Women covering their heads at church was common among Protestants too, until sometime in the 20th century, when that practice - along with many others - fell by the wayside.  Also falling by the wayside, artificial birth control - once abhorred by all Christians, is now reached nearly full acceptance, accept in the Catholic Church.  Similarly, abortion was an unquestionable evil, now, in most circles, it is considered a "women's right to choose" - but no one considers the "rights" of the human children which tens of thousands of "moms" choose to terminate (kill/murder) every year.  Though some fundamentalists are starting to come around, one Church has remained solidly opposed - the Catholic Church.  But I digress.

The fact remains, it is a scriptural mandate, who are we to try and rationalize our way out of submission to this mandate?  What right has any of us to get angry over what God has commanded His Church?  Do we humbly submit to what God has commanded, or do we choose to do what pleases our selves over what pleases God?

I invite your respectful comments...

Monday, December 15, 2014

Why Was Luther Wrong - Part 8 - Purgatory

This is Part 8 of a series of 8 presenting "Why Was Luther Wrong" using Exsurge Domini from Pope Leo X.  This section deals with Luther's errors on Purgatory.
37. Purgatory cannot be proved from Sacred Scripture which is in the canon.
"Proved" is a big word - but that Purgatory can be shown in Canon of Sacred Scripture, well that is quite easily demonstrated for those who have eyes to see and ears to hear!  2 Macc. 12:46; Matt. 5:26; Luke 12:59; Matt. 12:32.
38. The souls in purgatory are not sure of their salvation, at least not all; nor is it proved by any arguments or by the Scriptures that they are beyond the state of meriting or of increasing in charity.
This just shows a complete lack of understanding of what the teaching on Purgatory is.  Only those who ARE SAVED can go to Purgatory.  Those who are damned go straight to Hell.  Interesting that in #37 he challenges the existence of Purgatory, but in 38, 39 and 40 he speaks as matter of fact regarding the souls IN Purgatory!
39. The souls in purgatory sin without intermission, as long as they seek rest and abhor punishment.
A judgment Luther makes regarding the souls in Purgatory - but he has no knowledge, nor place to make such a judgment from.
40. The souls freed from purgatory by the suffrages of the living are less happy than if they had made satisfactions by themselves.
Souls freed from Purgatory are happy, period - for they are now in the full glory of God, and can stand there because they are spotless and pure.  There is no more animosity, no jealousy over how they were freed - they are simply happy because they ARE free.  To be jealous or envious of not doing it for themselves would be a sin in and of itself - and therefore would keep them from entering Heaven.  Sorry Martin, your logic just doesn't play out here.

One more is listed and rather than a separate posting, I'll tag it along with the Purgatory posting.
41. Ecclesiastical prelates and secular princes would not act badly if they destroyed all of the money bags of beggary.
This is simply presumptuous of Luther to judge the prelates and secular princes so.  One can just as easily argue that without the money bags, they would exude what they need/desire in other, perhaps even more cruel ways.

See the Indices Page for the complete listing of these articles.

Do All Dogs Go To Heaven?

Well, no - Pope Francis did not say that!  Perhaps people like Michael Savage should do a bit more research before referring to Pope Francis in derogatory terms. - Story corrected.

As of this posting, here are some sites which still have it wrong:

Now, while Pope Francis did NOT say that - Pope Paul VI did. In the NY Times retraction/correction of their misattribution they said:
Those remarks were once made by Pope Paul VI to a distraught child, and were cited in a Corriere della Sera article
What Pope Francis ACTUALLY said was:
The Holy Scripture teaches us that the fulfillment of this wonderful design also affects everything around us.
I hope we've cleared the air a bit on this now.

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Gaudete Sunday!

Rejoice!  Rejoice!  Emmanuel shall come to thee oh Israel!

The Third Sunday in Advent, Gaudete Sunday, we rejoice in the promise of the coming Messiah!  For those anticipating the First Coming of our Lord, they are in anticipation of what we celebrate on the Christ Mass (Christmas) and it is also a reminder that we rejoice in the promise that He will come again!

Today we light the pink candle on our Advent wreath - only two weeks until the Christ Mass!  Remember, the Christmas season has not yet begun!  Sure, "It's Beginning to Look A Lot Like Christmas" - but Christmas arrives at the Christ Mass, the First Mass of Christmas - traditionally the Midnight Mass.  The Christmas Season lasts at LEAST until Epiphany (January 6th) or according to older traditions it lasts until Candlemas (February 2nd).  I challenge you to keep your lights up and on at least through Epiphany (which is also the "Twelve Days of Christmas") if not all the way through Candlemas.  Including your Christmas tree!  Now, of course, if you have real or cut tree and there is a fire hazard, remove the tree as soon as it becomes brittle - but leave the Nativity and other decorations up!

How Late Is Too Late?

One of the blogs I like to check in on is that of Dr. Edward Peters, a canon lawyer, and he answered the "How late can I be to Mass" question quite well.  I encourage you to read his article on this.  Essentially, fulfilling ones Sunday obligation is not a matter of timing, but intent.  Were you sitting in the car to hear how your team did when it was first and goal, and you walked in as the readings began?  Or, were you taking care of a family crisis and you walked in just before Consecration?  Dr. Peters offers that the former may be in mortal sin while the latter may not.  

Father Edward McNamara, professor of liturgy at the Regina Apostolorum Pontifical Athenaeum, answers this too in similar fashion.  He points out that prior to the Vatican II reforms the "rule" was that one had to be there at least by the Offertory - however post conciliar theologians (not expressing a "rule" - answer more vaguely.  Fr. McNamara uses a baseball analogy and says:
To say that there is a particular moment before or after which we are either "out" or "safe," so to speak, is to give the wrong message and hint that, in the long run, some parts of the Mass are really not all that important. It may also give some less fervent souls a yardstick for arriving in a tardy manner. 
Although I prefer not to hazard giving a precise cutoff moment, certainly someone who arrives after the consecration has not attended Mass, should not receive Communion, and if it is a Sunday, go to another Mass. 
Arriving on time is not just a question of obligation but of love and respect for Our Lord who has gathered us together to share his gifts, and who has some grace to communicate to us in each part of the Mass. 
So, while he hasn't stated a rule, he has given his opinion that if one is not there by the time of Consecration, then they have "not attended Mass, should not receive Communion, and if it is a Sunday, go to another Mass."

From my perspective, which I grant you is from the more traditional (Pre-Vatican II) view is in line with what Fr. McNamara refers to - you need to be there pre-Offertory.  I am also of the mindset that the focal point of the Mass is the Consecration, and to miss that means you have not fulfilled your Sunday obligation.  

How late is "too late" to receive Holy Communion?  While one might fulfill their Sunday obligation if they arrive prior to the Consecration - should they receive Holy Communion?  Now, keep in mind, one does not have to receive Holy Communion to fulfill the Sunday obligation; even the excommunicated, who may not receive Communion, are still obliged to attend Mass every Sunday and holy day of obligation.  With that in mind, while it may be "lawful" for one to receive the Eucharist after arriving late - should they?  Things to consider may include causing another to sin because they may see this as scandalous (whether it is or not) and by your action be distracted and drift into gossip.  While it's not your sin, did you cause it?  

Another factor though, and perhaps more important, is do you NEED to go to Holy Communion?  I know there are times when I truly feel I NEED to receive the Eucharist, and to miss it hurts my soul so much it's almost a physical pain.  In such circumstances, I would still approach Communion - but if I arrived "late" - I would sit in the rear and do my best to cause as little disturbance and distraction as possible.

The "Catholicism.About" page offers that there is no real "time limit" on how late one can receive Holy Communion, if they are still distributing it - you may receive it - HOWEVER - just receiving the Eucharist does not constitute fulfilling the Sunday Duty (obligation).  
If you come into Mass on Sunday or a Holy Day of Obligation at the time that Communion is being distributed, you may receive Communion, but you have not fulfilled your Sunday Duty. To fulfill your Sunday Duty, you need to attend the entire Mass. If, through no fault of your own, you arrive late, or important circumstances require you to leave early, you've still fulfilled your Sunday Duty. But if you leave early to get a better seat at the buffet, or you arrive late because you decided to sleep in, then you haven't fulfilled your Sunday Duty.
The opinion expressed by this "expert" seems a bit contradictory though.  He says that one may arrive late and still receive Communion, but may not have fulfilled their Sunday Duty, and goes on to explain that on days which are not obliged (daily Mass) sometimes Eucharist is distributed before, during and even after Mass.  I would add, to those who are bedbound and Eucharist is distributed to them after Mass, they have not attended Mass - and yet are licitly receiving Holy Communion.  The part I would like to see him clarify is the point about it not being a mortal sin to receive (I agree) but one would need to go to another Mass that day (if it is a Sunday or holy day of obligation).  If that Mass is the last Mass of the day and/or the person has no intention of trying to get to another Mass - then if they have not fulfilled their Sunday obligation (or duty) and since there is no further remedy or intent to remedy, then they are already in mortal sin and should not receive the Body and/or Blood of our Lord - for they would be doing so unworthily (1 Corinthians 11:27-29).

The bottom line is, if you have missed ANY PART of the Mass for an unworthy reason, then you do not fulfill your Sunday obligation and if there is no opportunity to attend another Mass, then you are in mortal sin and should not receive the Eucharist.  As for being late for a "worthy" reason - one would have to HONESTLY self-examine and ask their self if they should receive Communion.  Whether one draws the line at the Offertory or the Consecration (and definitely not past the Consecration) the question should be SHOULD they receive the Eucharist, and that is a question only THEY can answer after a careful self-examination.

And, if I may poke a little jab at those who leave Mass right after receiving...  Mass is NOT OVER YET!  If you leave early, especially for an unworthy reason, then you have not fulfilled your Sunday obligation - and mere receiving of the Eucharist does not fulfill your duty.  So, to leave early can be a mortal sin.  The real "rule of thumb" here should be: "The priest is the last person to enter Mass and the first to leave."  If you arrive after the priest has entered or leave before he has processed out - you have some serious self-examination to do.  Remember who the first one to leave Mass early was?  Judas Iscariot.