A corporal work of mercy.

A corporal work of mercy.
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Sunday 25 April 2010

Bishop Edward Slattery Homily at Pontfiical Mass

Yesterday at the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in Washington, D.C., a Pontifical Mass in the Extraordinary Form of the Roman Rite was held and celebrated at the High Altar under the great baldacino; a first in 45 years. Sponsored by the Paulist Institute, the Mass was to celebrate the fifth anniversary of the Papacy of Pope Benedict XVI, the Pope of Christian Unity. The original celebrant was replaced by Bishop Edward Slattery, Bishop of Tulsa in Oklahoma. As Diane at Te Deum Laudamus said in Father Z's combox, "Bishop Slattery may not have been originally scheduled to do this Mass, but he was meant to do it."

Here is why:

"We have much to discuss — you and I ... much to speak of on this glorious occasion when we gather together in the glare of the world's scrutiny to celebrate the fifth anniversary of the ascension of Joseph Ratzinger to the throne of Peter.

We must come to understand how it is that suffering can reveal the mercy of God and make manifest among us the consoling presence of Jesus Christ, crucified and now risen from the dead.

We must speak of this mystery today, first of all because it is one of the great mysteries of revelation, spoken of in the New Testament and attested to by every saint in the Church's long history, by the martyrs with their blood, by the confessors with their constancy, by the virgins with their purity and by the lay faithful of Christ's body by their resolute courage under fire.

But we must also speak clearly of this mystery because of the enormous suffering which is all around us and which does so much to determine the culture of our modern age.

From the enormous suffering of His Holiness these past months to the suffering of the Church's most recent martyrs in India and Africa, welling up from the suffering of the poor and the dispossessed and the undocumented, and gathering tears from the victims of abuse and neglect, from women who have been deceived into believing that abortion was a simple medical procedure and thus have lost part of their soul to the greed of the abortionist, and now flowing with the heartache of those who suffer from cancer, diabetes, AIDS, or the emotional diseases of our age, it is the sufferings of our people that defines the culture of our modern secular age.

This enormous suffering which can take on so many varied physical, mental, and emotional forms will reduce us to fear and trembling — if we do not remember that Christ, our Pasch, has been raised from the dead. Our pain and anguish could dehumanize us, for it has the power to close us in upon ourselves such that we would live always in chaos and confusion — if we do not remember that Christ, our hope, has been raised for our sakes. Jesus is our Pasch, our hope and our light.

He makes himself most present in the suffering of his people and this is the mystery of which we must speak today, for when we speak of His saving presence and proclaim His infinite love in the midst of our suffering, when we seek His light and refuse to surrender to the darkness, we receive that light which is the life of men; that light which, as Saint John reminds us in the prologue to his Gospel, can never be overcome by the darkness, no matter how thick, no matter how choking.

Our suffering is thus transformed by His presence. It no longer has the power to alienate or isolate us. Neither can it dehumanize us nor destroy us. Suffering, however long and terrible it may be, has only the power to reveal Christ among us, and He is the mercy and the forgiveness of God.

The mystery then, of which we speak, is the light that shines in the darkness, Christ Our Lord, Who reveals Himself most wondrously to those who suffer so that suffering and death can do nothing more than bring us to the mercy of the Father.

But the point which we must clarify is that Christ reveals Himself to those who suffer in Christ, to those who humbly accept their pain as a personal sharing in His Passion and who are thus obedient to Christ's command that we take up our cross and follow Him. Suffering by itself is simply the promise that death will claim these mortal bodies of ours, but suffering in Christ is the promise that we will be raised with Christ, when our mortality will be remade in his immortality and all that in our lives which is broken because it is perishable and finite will be made imperishable and incorrupt.

This is the meaning of Peter's claim that he is a witness to the sufferings of Christ and thus one who has a share in the glory yet to be revealed. Once Peter grasped the overwhelming truth of this mystery, his life was changed. The world held nothing for Peter. For him, there was only Christ.

This is, as you know, quite a dramatic shift for the man who three times denied Our Lord, the man to whom Jesus said, "Thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my Church, that the gates of hell shall not prevail against it."

Christ's declaration to Peter that he would be the rock, the impregnable foundation, the mountain of Zion upon which the new Jerusalem would be constructed, follows in Matthew's Gospel Saint Peter's dramatic profession of faith, when the Lord asks the Twelve, "Who do people say that I am?" and Peter, impulsive as always, responds "You are the Christ, the Son of the Living God."

Only later — much later — would Peter come to understand the full implication of this first Profession of Faith. Peter would still have to learn that to follow Christ, to truly be His disciple, one must let go of everything which the world considers valuable and necessary, and become powerless. This is the mystery which confounds independent Peter. It is the mystery which still confounds us: To follow Christ, one must surrender everything and become obedient with the obedience of Christ, for no one gains access to the Kingdom of the Father, unless he enter through the humility and the obedience of Jesus.

Peter had no idea that eventually he would find himself fully accepting this obedience, joyfully accepting his share in the Passion and Death of Christ. But Peter loved Our Lord and love was the way by which Peter learned how to obey. "Lord, you know that I love thee," Peter affirms three times with tears; and three times Christ commands him to tend to the flock that gathers at the foot of Calvary — and that is where we are now.

Peter knew that Jesus was the true Shepherd, the one Master and the only teacher; the rest of us are learners and the lesson we must learn is obedience, obedience unto death. Nothing less than this, for only when we are willing to be obedient with the very obedience of Christ will we come to recognize Christ's presence among us.

Obedience is thus the heart of the life of the disciple and the key to suffering in Christ and with Christ. This obedience, is must be said, is quite different from obedience the way it is spoken of and dismissed in the world.

For those in the world, obedience is a burden and an imposition. It is the way by which the powerful force the powerless to do obeisance. Simply juridical and always external, obedience is the bending that breaks, but a breaking which is still less painful than the punishment meted out for disobedience. Thus for those in the world obedience is a punishment which must be avoided; but for Christians, obedience is always personal, because it is centered on Christ. It is a surrender to Jesus Whom we love.

For those whose lives are centered in Christ, obedience is that movement which the heart makes when it leaps in joy having once discovered the truth. Let us consider, then, that Christ has given us both the image of his obedience and the action by which we are made obedient.

The image of Christ's obedience is His Sacred Heart. That Heart, exposed and wounded must give us pause, for man's heart it generally hidden and secret. In the silence of his own heart, each of us discovers the truth of who we are, the truth of why we are silent when we should speak, or bothersome and quarrelsome when we should be silent. In our hidden recesses of the heart, we come to know the impulses behind our deeds and the reasons why we act so often as cowards and fools.

But while man's heart is generally silent and secret, the Heart of the God-Man is fully visible and accessible. It too reveals the motives behind our Lord's self-surrender. It was obedience to the Father's will that mankind be reconciled and our many sins forgiven us. "Son though he was," the Apostle reminds us, "Jesus learned obedience through what He suffered." Obedient unto death, death on a cross, Jesus asks his Father to forgive us that God might reveal the full depth of his mercy and love. "Father, forgive them," he prayed, "for they know not what they do."

Christ's Sacred Heart is the image of the obedience which Christ showed by his sacrificial love on Calvary. The Sacrifice of Calvary is also for us the means by which we are made obedient and this is a point which you must never forget: At Mass, we offer ourselves to the Father in union with Christ, who offers Himself in perfect obedience to the Father. We make this offering in obedience to Christ who commanded us to "Do this in memory of me" and our obediential offering is perfected in the love with which the Father receives the gift of His Son.

Do not be surprised then that here at Mass, our bloodless offering of the bloody sacrifice of Calvary is a triple act of obedience. First, Christ is obedient to the Father, and offers Himself as a sacrifice of reconciliation. Secondly, we are obedient to Christ and offer ourselves to the Father with Jesus the Son; and thirdly, in sharing Christ's obedience to the Father, we are made obedient to a new order of reality, in which love is supreme and life reigns eternal, in which suffering and death have been defeated by becoming for us the means by which Christ's final victory, his future coming, is made manifest and real today.

Suffering then, yours, mine, the pontiffs, is at the heart of personal holiness, because it is our sharing in the obedience of Jesus which reveals his glory. It is the means by which we are made witnesses of his suffering and sharers in the glory to come.

Do not be dismayed that there are many in the Church who have not yet grasped this point, and fewer yet still in the world will even dare to consider it. But you – you know this to be true – and it is enough. For ten men who whisper the truth speak louder than a hundred million who lie.

If, then, someone asks of what we spoke today, tell them we spoke only of the truth. If someone asks why it is you came here to Mass, say that it was so that you could be obedient with Christ. If someone asks about the homily, tell them it was about a mystery. And if someone asks what I said to the present situation, tell them only that we must – all of us – become saints. Through what we suffer."

+Edward James Slattery, Bishop of Tulsa

Tuesday 20 April 2010

St. Michael's Cathedral Blogspot

At the funeral last November of Monsignor Thomas Barrett Armstrong, former Director of St. Michael's Choir School, the homilist mentioned a plaque hanging in the Sacristy. I wondered then if it was the words on that plaque that helped to preserve the liturgy and a sacred Mass at St. Michael's Cathedral in spite of all the liturgical banality and abuse elsewhere.

Here it is:

And here is where I got it from. There is a new blog in Toronto on the Cathedral called St. Michael's Cathedral Blogspot and I encourage you to visit it regularly. It is run by a member of the laity.

The bricks are priceless!

Monday 19 April 2010

Ad multos annos Papa Benedicte!

Many of us can remember where we were when we heard the joyous news; well joyous for some. I was at Catholic institution and a television was set up in the atrium when the announcement came that white smoke was seen. To the atrium I went and I stood there with colleagues and others. At the moment of the announcement, "Ratzinger," two of us punched our fists in the air and yelled "yes!" The rest of the place was silent, gasping with open mouths as the realization that their work of straw was going to come to an end.

I will never forget it.

Much has been written in the last few weeks about this man who is the Vicar of Christ. Most of it has been repugnant, hateful, spiteful, vile and pure evil. Through this time, he has suffered, we have all suffered along with him and the Church has suffered.

V. Oremus pro Pontifice nostro Benedicto.

R. Dominus conservet eum, et vivificet eum, et beatum faciat
eum in terra, et non tradat eum in animam inimicorum eius.
[Ps 40:3]

Pater Noster…, Ave Maria….

Deus, omnium fidelium pastor et rector, famulum tuum
Benedictum, quem pastorem Ecclesiae tuae praeesse voluisti,
propitius respice: da ei, quaesumus, verbo et exemplo,
quibus praeest, proficere: ut ad vitam, una cum grege sibi
credito, perveniat sempiternam. Per Christum, Dominum
nostrum. Amen.

V. Let us pray for Benedict, our Pope.

R. May the Lord preserve him, and give him life, and make
him blessed upon the earth, and deliver him not up to the
will of his enemies. [Ps 40:3]

Our Father, Hail Mary.

O God, Shepherd and Ruler of all Thy faithful people, look
mercifully upon Thy servant Benedict, whom Thou hast chosen
as shepherd to preside over Thy Church. Grant him, we
beseech Thee, that by his word and example, he may edify
those over whom he hath charge, so that together with the
flock committed to him, may he attain everlasting life.
Through Christ our Lord. Amen.

Saturday 10 April 2010

Pray for Poland

President Lech Kaczynski

First lady Maria Kaczynska

The last President of Poland in exile Ryszard Kaczorowski,
Deputy Speaker of the Sejm Krzysztof Putra,
Deputy Speaker of the Sejm, Jerzy Szmajdzinski,
Deputy Speaker of the Senate, Krystyna Bochenek,
Wladyslaw Stasiak Head Office of the President,
Aleksander Szczyglo head of the National Security Bureau,
Pawel Wypych the Prime Minister's Office,
Mariusz Handzlik from the Presidential Office,
Deputy Minister Foreign Minister Andrzej Kremer,
Deputy Minister of Defence Stanislaw Komorowski,
Deputy Minister of Culture Tomasz Merta,
Chief of General Staff Franciszek Gągor,
Secretary General of the Council for Protection of Monuments Andrew Carrier,
President of the Association of Community Poland Maciej Plazynski,
Director of Protocol Dyplomattycznego Mariusz Kazan


Lepszek Deptuła (PSL), Gzegorz Dolniak (PO), Grazyna Gęsicka (PiS), Przemyslaw Gosiewski (PiS), Sebastian Karpiniuk (PO), Izabela Jaruga-Nowacka (Lewica), Zbigniew Wassermann (PiS), Alexander Natallia-World (PiS ), Arkadiusz Rybicki (PO), Jolanta Szymanek-Deresz (Lewica), Wieslaw Water (PSL), Edward Wojtas (PSL)

Janina Fetlińska (PiS), Stanislaw Zajac (PiS)

Accompanying Persons:

Ombudsman Janusz Kochanowski, NBP President Slawomir Skrzypek, president of IPN Janusz Kurtyka, Director of the Office of the Civil War Veterans and Repressed Persons Janusz Krupski, the President of the Supreme Bar Council, Joanna Agatka-Indeck, Advisor to President John Christopher Ardanowski, President Roman Indrzejczyk Chaplain, Barbara Mamińska the Office of the President, Sophia-Kruszyńska Taste of the Presidential Office, Izabela Tomaszewska, the Office of the President, Catherine Doraczyńska the Presidential Office, Dariusz whistled from the Office of the President, James Opara from the Office of the President, the Chancellor of the Order of Military Virtutti War, Major General Stanislaw Nalecz-Komornicki, Member of the Jury Military Order of the War Virtutti Colonel Zbigniew Debski, president of the World Association of Home Army Czeslaw Cywinski, Father Richard Chamomile, rector of the University of Cardinal Stefan Wyszynski, the Polish Olympic Committee chairman Peter Nurowski, Anna Walentynowicz, Janina Natusiewicz-Miller, Janusz Zakrzenski, Adam Kwiatkowski, Marcin Wierzchowski, Maciej Jakubik, Tadeusz Stachelski, Dariusz Jankowski

Chancellery of the President:

Marzena Pawlak, President
Wojciech Lubiński physician,
translator of Russian Alexander Fedorowicz,


Ordinary middle of the Polish Army, General Tadeusz Płoski priest,
The Orthodox Bishop of the Polish Army, Archbishop Chodakowski Miron,
Evangelical pastoral care field - the priest Colonel Adam Pilch,
Ordinariate Polish Army - Lieutenant Colonel John Osinski, a priest,
Secretary general of the Union of Soviet persecutions Edward Duchnowski,
Monsignor Joseph Gostomski, Association president Joseph Joniec Parafiada priest,
Chaplain of the Warsaw Katyn Families Father Zdzislaw Krol,
The Federation of Katyn Families chaplain Father Andrzej Kwaśnik

Tadeusz Lutoborski, President of the Polish Foundation of Katyn Zenon Mamontowicz-Łojek, President Stephen Melaka Katyn Committee, Vice-Chairman of Council for the Protection of Monuments to Struggle and Martyrdom, Stanisław Mikke, Bronislaw Orawiec, Catherine Piskorska, president of the Federation of Katyn Families Andrew Sariusz-Skąpski, Wojciech Seweryn, Leszek Solski, Calvary Foundation East-Przyjałkowska Walewska Teresa, Gabriel Zych, Ewa Bąkowska, Anna Borowska, Bartosz Borowski, Dariusz Malinowski
Representatives of the armed forces:

Operational Commander of the Armed Forces, General Bronislaw Kwiatkowski, Polish Air Force Commander, Lieutenant General Andrew Błasik, Polish Land Forces Commander, General Tadeusz Buk Division, Special Forces Commander General Vladimir Potasiński Division, Naval Commander, General Andrew Karweta, Warsaw Garrison Commander Brigadier General Casimir Gilarski

Officers from BOR:
Jaroslaw Lorczak, Paul Janeczek, Dariusz Michalowski, Peter Nosek, Jacek Pig, Paul Krajewski, Arthur French, Mark Uleryk

Friday 9 April 2010

Wise words from a Jewish New Yorker

From former New York City Mayor Ed Koch in The Jerusalem Post:

"I believe the continuing attacks by the media on the Roman Catholic Church and Pope Benedict XVI have become manifestations of anti-Catholicism. The procession of articles on the same events are, in my opinion, no longer intended to inform, but simply to castigate."

It takes a Jew from New York writing in a Jerusalem paper to tell so-called Catholic journalists how to write!

I don't think Democrat Ed Koch (as obvious from what he disagrees with in the Church) can be described as one of those "right-wing crazies who believe the Times piece was part of an international conspiracy to destroy the Catholic Church."

But you can put me down as one of those "right wing crazies."

Bishop Fulton Sheen, Dr. Dietrich von Hildebrand and Malachi Martin believed it.

If it was good enough for these three great Catholics to believe (it is also in Sacred Scripture and Sacred Tradition) then it is good enough for me.

Thursday 8 April 2010

Ratzinger Prophecy

"From today’s crisis, a Church will emerge tomorrow that will have lost a great deal. She will be small and, to a large extent, will have to start from the beginning. She will no longer be able to fill many of the buildings created in her period of great splendor. Because of the smaller number of her followers, she will lose many of her privileges in society. Contrary to what has happened until now, she will present herself much more as a community of volunteers... As a small community, she will demand much more from the initiative of each of her members and she will certainly also acknowledge new forms of ministry and will raise up to the priesthood proven Christians who have other jobs... There will be an interiorized Church, which neither takes advantage of its political mandate nor flirts with the left or the right. This will be achieved with effort because the process of crystallization and clarification will demand great exertion. It will make her poor and a Church of the little people... All this will require time. The process will be slow and painful."...+Joseph Ratzinger, 1969 lecture on Bavarian radio.

"The cases of pedophilia in the Church are, for all Catholics, a source of profound grief and great sorrow. From members of the Church hierarchy were, in some cases, serious deficiencies and failures, and we welcome the Pope’s wish to shed light on these cases.
With the bishops, and as members of the Church, lay Catholics bear the brunt of the crimes of certain priests and failures of their superiors; they fall firmly, as Christ taught, on the side of those who suffer most from these crimes, the victims, while praying for the culprits.
As for us, we hope with all our hearts that the whole truth comes out and all in the Catholic Church that could enable these offenses brought to Christ should be discussed calmly and amicably amongst all men and women of good will.
At the same time, we regret the runaway and provocative press that accompany these cases. Beyond the legitimate & democratic right to information, we can only note with sadness, as Christians but also as citizens, that many media in our country (and in the West in general) treat these cases with bias, ignorance, or delight. Shourtcuts in generalizations, the portrait of the Church which is currently done in the press does not match the experiences of Catholic Christians.
While reiterating our horror at the crime of pedophile priests and our solidarity with the victims, we urge the media to an ethic of responsibility that would undertake a more ethical treatment of these cases. The effects of runaway media are, by far, reserved to the Church, but we are tired of and battered by this thrashing. We think of so many priests who courageously, and sometimes in solitude, bear the message of Christ.
We are with them.
We welcome the letter from the bishops of France to Pope Benedict XVI, and wish to see the Catholic Church, with serenity and responsibility, through this painful ordeal."
And yet, here in Canada, even a so-called Catholic journalist who rather than confine his column to his expertise in art and architecture, writes instead, this filth below. When the Catholic Register determines by its Editorial right to decline its publication, he still finds a waiting and eager secular press. He can say that he regrets it all he wants, but he still managed to publish this nice little gem. Rather than just write the truth; his intellect has failed him as he fell for the lies of the discredited Hell's Journal of New York as he calls for Pope Benedict XVI to resign and of course his continuous referral to this and other bloggers as "right wing Catholics" in his most derogatory and snobbish manner;
He has no excuse for this putrid diatribe and he owes everyone at his parish an apology!
"I was hurt, offended, angered – but mostly embarrassed by my gullibility. Because I felt I had been seduced by Benedict's eloquence, his brilliant expositions of Christian belief in sermons and writings, and even by his fascinating quirks and eccentricities, I decided to revenge myself on him in the public forum most readily available to me: the pages of The Catholic Register, the Toronto archdiocesan weekly for which I have been writing regularly on Christianity and culture since 2002. In the column I supplied last Sunday, I denounced the Pope for incompetence and lack of vigour in pursuing sex offenders, and I suggested that he should consider resigning from his office."
Yes, John, I disgust "quite easily."

Thursday 1 April 2010

It behooves us to glory in the Cross

Do you see him? There he is, in the back corner, only with half his face showing. The betrayer. The one to whom Our LORD said, "it would be better that he had not been born." What would have happened had the one to whom a few hours later following this Supper, Our LORD called "Friend" had repented; either then in the Garden or the next day on Mount Calvary, at the Cross. The same cross as tonight's Introit or Entrance Antiphon tells us that in it "we should glory". For in that "cross of our Lord Jesus Christ: is our "salvation, our life and our resurrection; through him we are saved and made free." Judas denied Him the opportunity to show His great mercy. Let us not betray Him or His Church or Vicar; let us all remain steadfast at this difficult time. Let us remember at every liturgy this weekend Pope Benedict XVI and offer up prayers for his benefit and health. Let us remember that this purification is necessary and the "gates of Hell shall not prevail."

On this night there is much to recall liturgically. The betrayal, the institution of the Priesthood, the mandatum novum---the giving of a new commandment to love one another exemplified through the Washing of the Feet, the desire that we "all be one" and of course, the "source and summit of Christian life" the Holy Eucharist.

Pray, my brother and sisters; pray hard this weekend. Do not desert your faith because of the attack. This is the time to stand firm, to be Soldier of Christ. Remember, they hated Him and they hate us too.

This is why we were born.

Praise God!

Paschal Monday Extraordinary Form Missa Cantata--St. Joseph's Church, Fergus, Ontario

Once again, wonderful news from Fergus, Ontario!

For those who are off work on Monday, April 5; at 12:00 Noon, Father Ian Duffy, Pastor at St. Joseph's Church in Fergus, Ontario will celebrate the Holy Mass for Paschal Monday in the Extraordinary Form of the Roman Rite--Missa Cantata.

For those looking for the Extraordinary Form of the Roman Rite for the Paschal Triduum in the greater Toronto region, one will need to look at the Priestly Fraternity of St. Peter in St. Catharines, Ontario or in Ottawa as the closest. As for the Archdiocese of Toronto, since the departure of the Fraternity a few weeks ago, the only church is the Mass Centre of the Society of St. Pius X at the Church of the Transfiguration on Aldgate Avenue in Etobicoke where the litugies will all be in the most solemn form as the first assistant to +Fellay is visiting.

The Toronto Oratory's Triduum services will be reverent and beautiful as one has come to expect in the Ordinary Form of the Roman Rite at both St. Vincent de Paul and Holy Family. Sunday at St. Vincent de Paul there will be a Missa Solemnis at 11:30AM with the Oratory Children's Choir.