Friday, October 28, 2011

Pope Pius Clock

This may be the greatest idea ever.  There have been 12 popes throughout the Church's history that have taken the name of Pius.  I recently ran across this website:  I gotta get me one of these clocks!

Out of all the popes that have ever lived, the popes that have taken the name Pius have been my favorite of all time.  Two of our most important Marian dogmas were defined by a pope named Pius.  Blessed Pius IX had one of the longest reigns ever from 1846-1878 and dogmatically defined the Immaculate Conception of Mary in 1854.  Pius XII reigned from 1939-1958 and dogmatically defined the Assumption of Mary in 1950.

St. Pius V reigned from 1566-1572 and enforced the observance of the discipline of the Council of Trent, raised the standard of morality for the clergy, and imposed uniformity in the liturgy.  At the time of the Council of Trent, the traditions preserved in printed and manuscript missals varied considerably, and standardization was sought both within individual dioceses and throughout the Latin West. Standardization was required also in order to prevent the introduction into the liturgy of Protestant ideas in the wake of the Protestant Reformation.  His Roman Missal of 1570 became the standard for the Tridentine Mass that is still used today in the Extraordinary Form of the Latin Rite in its latest version of 1962 by Blessed John XXIII.  

St. Pius V was the last pope to be canonized a saint up until the canonization of St. Pius X who reigned from 1903-1914.  St. Pius X is the last pope to be canonized and is hands down my all time favorite pope.  He promoted frequent reception of Holy Communion, ordered authentic use of Gregorian Chant, and released a short catechism with questions and answers regarding the essentials of Catholic faith and doctrine.  In 1910, he issued his famous Oath Against Modernism.  St. Pius X was a very orthodox and traditional pope and he deplored modernism.  He sets up the oath with this opening statement:
It seems to Us that it has not been ignored by none of the holy Bishops [Sacrorum Antistitum] that the class of men, the modernists, whose personality was described in the encyclical letter Pascendi dominici gregis, have not refrained from working in order to disturb the peace of the Church. They have not ceased to attract followers, either, by forming a clandestine group; by these means, they inject in the very veins of the Christian Republic the virus of their doctrine, by editing books and publishing articles in anonymity or with pseudonyms. By reading anew Our aforementioned letter, and considering it carefully, it is clearly seen that this deliberate movement is the work of the men that we described in it, enemies that are the more dangerous the closer they are; that abuse their ministry by offering poisoned nourishment and by surprising the less cautious; by handing a false doctrine in which the sum of all errors is enclosed.
Here is the actual text of the Oath Against Modernism which pretty much sums up what St. Pius X was all about:

To be sworn to by all clergy, pastors, confessors, preachers, religious superiors, and professors in philosophical-theological seminaries.
I . . . . firmly embrace and accept each and every definition that has been set forth and declared by the unerring teaching authority of the Church, especially those principal truths which are directly opposed to the errors of this day. And first of all, I profess that God, the origin and end of all things, can be known with certainty by the natural light of reason from the created world, that is, from the visible works of creation, as a cause from its effects, and that, therefore, his existence can also be demonstrated: Secondly, I accept and acknowledge the external proofs of revelation, that is, divine acts and especially miracles and prophecies as the surest signs of the divine origin of the Christian religion and I hold that these same proofs are well adapted to the understanding of all eras and all men, even of this time. Thirdly, I believe with equally firm faith that the Church, the guardian and teacher of the revealed word, was personally instituted by the real and historical Christ when he lived among us, and that the Church was built upon Peter, the prince of the apostolic hierarchy, and his successors for the duration of time. Fourthly, I sincerely hold that the doctrine of faith was handed down to us from the apostles through the orthodox Fathers in exactly the same meaning and always in the same purport. Therefore, I entirely reject the heretical' misrepresentation that dogmas evolve and change from one meaning to another different from the one which the Church held previously. I also condemn every error according to which, in place of the divine deposit which has been given to the spouse of Christ to be carefully guarded by her, there is put a philosophical figment or product of a human conscience that has gradually been developed by human effort and will continue to develop indefinitely. Fifthly, I hold with certainty and sincerely confess that faith is not a blind sentiment of religion welling up from the depths of the subconscious under the impulse of the heart and the motion of a will trained to morality; but faith is a genuine assent of the intellect to truth received by hearing from an external source. By this assent, because of the authority of the supremely truthful God, we believe to be true that which has been revealed and attested to by a personal God, our creator and lord.
Furthermore, with due reverence, I submit and adhere with my whole heart to the condemnations, declarations, and all the prescripts contained in the encyclical Pascendi and in the decree Lamentabili,especially those concerning what is known as the history of dogmas. I also reject the error of those who say that the faith held by the Church can contradict history, and that Catholic dogmas, in the sense in which they are now understood, are irreconcilable with a more realistic view of the origins of the Christian religion. I also condemn and reject the opinion of those who say that a well-educated Christian assumes a dual personality-that of a believer and at the same time of a historian, as if it were permissible for a historian to hold things that contradict the faith of the believer, or to establish premises which, provided there be no direct denial of dogmas, would lead to the conclusion that dogmas are either false or doubtful. Likewise, I reject that method of judging and interpreting Sacred Scripture which, departing from the tradition of the Church, the analogy of faith, and the norms of the Apostolic See, embraces the misrepresentations of the rationalists and with no prudence or restraint adopts textual criticism as the one and supreme norm. Furthermore, I reject the opinion of those who hold that a professor lecturing or writing on a historico-theological subject should first put aside any preconceived opinion about the supernatural origin of Catholic tradition or about the divine promise of help to preserve all revealed truth forever; and that they should then interpret the writings of each of the Fathers solely by scientific principles, excluding all sacred authority, and with the same liberty of judgment that is common in the investigation of all ordinary historical documents.
Finally, I declare that I am completely opposed to the error of the modernists who hold that there is nothing divine in sacred tradition; or what is far worse, say that there is, but in a pantheistic sense, with the result that there would remain nothing but this plain simple fact-one to be put on a par with the ordinary facts of history-the fact, namely, that a group of men by their own labor, skill, and talent have continued through subsequent ages a school begun by Christ and his apostles. I firmly hold, then, and shall hold to my dying breath the belief of the Fathers in the charism of truth, which certainly is, was, and always will be in the succession of the episcopacy from the apostles. The purpose of this is, then, not that dogma may be tailored according to what seems better and more suited to the culture of each age; rather, that the absolute and immutable truth preached by the apostles from the beginning may never be believed to be different, may never be understood in any other way.
I promise that I shall keep all these articles faithfully, entirely, and sincerely, and guard them inviolate, in no way deviating from them in teaching or in any way in word or in writing. Thus I promise, this I swear, so help me God.
Too bad the professors in our Catholic universities today do not have to take this oath.  That is a whole other story for another day....

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Extraordinary Form of the Latin Rite

Below are some great resources on the Extraordinary Form of the Latin Rite.  In July 2007, Pope Benedict issued his Apostolic Letter Summorum Pontificum which loosened previous restrictions on celebrating the ancient traditional mass (now called the Extraordinary Form of the mass).  The missal used for the Extraordinary Form is the 1962 missal of Blessed John XXIII.  Earlier this year in May 2011, a further instruction called Universae Ecclesiae was released which clarifies some of the finer points concerning the implementation of Summorum Pontificum.

Many of the resources that you read online about the traditional mass come from groups that are not in full communion with Rome (most notably, the SSPX), and you can bet that there will be plenty of bashing of the so called "Novus Ordo (New Order)" Church on these websites.  They will not have anything to do with the Ordinary Form of the Latin Rite (which is the normal form of mass that most Catholics celebrate) and claim that it is somehow inferior to the traditional form of mass (now called the Extraordinary Form) that was celebrated for centuries prior to Vatican 2.  You have to watch out for these so called "traditional" Catholics that are sedevacantists or in schism who fail to recognize that being in communion with the Holy Father of Rome is one of the tenants of being a "traditional" Catholic.  A traditional Catholic that denies the Holy Father is an oxymoron.  Although I can sympathize with their sentiments, I don't think that bashing the Catholic Church or going into schism is the appropriate way to handle things.  So never fear!  There is a plethora of traditional Catholics like myself out there who enjoy learning about the ancient traditions of our faith without abandoning the Holy Father and our bishops.  

Despite the arguments and politics over these issues, it is important to remember that the Church has definitely been through worse times and has always survived as the good Lord promised it would.  Just read about the state of Rome and the papacy from the 12th through 14th centuries and it will make your head spin.  But then again, Jesus chose 12 apostles who weren't much better.  One betrayed him, one denied him three times, nine others abandoned him in his greatest time of need on Good Friday.  Only the blessed St. John stood at the cross.  

I became interested in the Extraordinary Form once I started attending St. John Cantius in downtown Chicago.  Check out their website here if you are interested in learning more about this phenomenal parish.  So if anyone out there is looking for some good resources on the Extraordinary Form of the Latin Rite and is interested in learning more, check out the video and links below.  

Here is a video by Jimmy Akin at Catholic Answers giving a good summary of the Extraordinary Form:

Click here for a copy of the Apostolic Letter Summorum Pontificum by Pope Benedict. 

Click here for an article on Father Z's blog about Universae Ecclesiae released earlier this year.

Click here for a listing of masses celebrated in the Extraordinary Form near you.

Click here for a tutorial on the Extraordinary Form by St. John Cantius parish in Chicago.  St. John Cantius parish is often recognized as the leading authority in the country on teaching the Extraordinary Form.  The EWTN website even references them for learning about the traditional mass.  I'm lucky enough to have them close to where I live!

Click here for information about the Priestly Fraternity of St. Peter (often called the FSSP which is the initials of their Latin title).  They are often called upon to celebrate the Extraordinary Form in parishes that want the old mass, but have pastors who do not know how to say the old mass.  The FSSP is trained for this very purpose.  They have a presence at Saints Peter and Paul in Naperville, IL and celebrate the Extraordinary Form there every day. 

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Plenary Indulgence For All Souls Day

2 November indulgences coming up. Have a plan? | Fr. Z's Blog – What Does The Prayer Really Say?

Holy souls in Purgatory

Check out Father Z's blog post above about gaining a plenary indulgence for All Souls Day (November 2).  Before doing so, I suggest you click here for a New Advent article if you don't really understand what an indulgence is and the difference between a plenary indulgence and partial indulgence.  Fulton Sheen explained confession and indulgences by the analogy of driving a nail into a piece of wood.  A sacramental confession takes that nail out, but the hole in the wood remains.  The indulgence fills in that hole.  In other words, God forgives our eternal punishment through confession so that we don't end up in hell for our mortal sins, but the indulgence helps us to erase the temporal punishment that we would otherwise go through in Purgatory.  We either pay for it now or we will pay for it later when we are saved "as by fire" (1 Corinthians 3:15).  

In order to make the indulgence qualify as a plenary indulgence, the acts must be accompanied by a sacramental confession, reception of holy communion, prayers for the intentions of the Pope, and you must be free from all attachment to sin (even venial sin).  If you perform the works of the indulgence, but do not meet all of the criteria for a plenary indulgence, it will only be a partial indulgence.  The indulgences granted for All Souls Day are very fitting indulgences since we celebrate All Souls Day to offer our prayers and sacrifices for the holy souls who are suffering in Purgatory.  The indulgence we receive may help us to never end up in Purgatory ourselves.  To use a loose analogy, we should all aim for the non-stop flight to heaven instead of having to go through a connecting flight in Purgatory.  Indulgences offered by the Church along with prayers, fasting, and almsgiving will help us on that journey.

If you really want to be a spiritual warrior, you can gain multiple indulgences and offer those up to God to be applied to souls in Purgatory so that they can be released from the bondage of Purgatory and enjoy the beatific vision of heaven.  Offering up an indulgence to be applied to a soul in Purgatory is a great spiritual work of mercy recognized by the Church.  Who knows....that soul may then return the favor and pray for you.