Wednesday, February 19, 2020

More Catholics in Germany than Protestants




In a recent PEW survey conducted in Germany, Catholics now outnumber Protestants. At first this sounds like great news to Catholics – in the nation which was, for all intents and purposes, the birthplace of Protestantism, Catholicism is bigger than all forms of Protestantism (Lutherans, Baptists, etc.). Upon closer reflection both Protestants and Catholics have really gone down in the percentage they hold in Germany and those who claim to be not religious has grown, taking some from the other two groups (Evans, 2019). Protestants have lost more ground than Catholics - but both have lost ground to those who claim to have no religious affiliation - and also according to church attendance roles.

Catholics only hold a slight edge on Protestants, but the bigger story here is how many both have lost. Religion is losing out to non-religion, not to mention the growth of Islam in Europe too, which is also taking its toll on Christian church attendance. 

No doubt, the sex scandals of recent years/decades has coloured the eyes of many who have left the Church over these. Part of our mission is to educate them and bring them home. Just because there were some bad men IN the Church does not make the Church herself to be bad. 

Outside the Catholic Church there is no valid Eucharist. Outside the a valid apostolic succession of bishops - there is no forgiveness of sins (John 20:21-23). Jesus sent out His apostles to do what He did, celebrate Eucharist being right at the top of the list. Then breathing on them, He tells them whose sins YOU forgive, are forgiven and whose sins you do not forgive (retain) are not forgiven.

This is a call, not just for Germany's former Catholics and Protestants, but to the same throughout the world!  

References

Evans, J. (2019). Once a majority, Protestants now account for fewer than a third of Germans. Pew Research Center. Retrieved from https://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2019/02/12/once-a-majority-protestants-now-account-for-fewer-than-a-third-of-germans/

Saturday, February 15, 2020

SSPX Excommunications Were Remitted


CONGREGATION FOR BISHOPS
DECREE REMITTING
THE EXCOMMUNICATION "LATAE SENTENTIAE"
OF THE BISHOPS OF THE SOCIETY OF ST PIUS X



In a letter of 15 December 2008 addressed to Cardinal Dario Castrillon Hoyos, President of the Pontifical Commission "Ecclesia Dei", Mons. Bernard Fellay writing also in the name of the other three Bishops consecrated on 30 June 1988 requested once again the removal of the excommunication latae sententiae formally declared by a Decree of the Prefect of this Congregation for Bishops on 1 July 1988. In his letter, Mons. Fellay stated, among other things, that "we continue firmly resolute in our desire to remain Catholics and to put all our strength at the service of the Church of our Lord Jesus Christ, which is the Roman Catholic Church. We accept her teachings in a filial spirit. We firmly believe in the primacy of Peter and in his prerogatives, and for this reason the current situation causes us much suffering".
His Holiness Benedict XVI in his paternal concern for the spiritual distress which the parties concerned have voiced as a result of the excommunication, and trusting in their commitment, expressed in the aforementioned letter, to spare no effort in exploring as yet unresolved questions through requisite discussions with the authorities of the Holy See in order to reach a prompt, full and satisfactory solution to the original problem has decided to reconsider the canonical situation of Bishops Bernard Fellay, Bernard Tissier de Mallerais, Richard Williamson and Alfonso de Galarreta, resulting from their episcopal consecration.
This act signifies a desire to strengthen reciprocal relations of trust, and to deepen and stabilize the relationship of the Society of St Pius X with this Apostolic See. This gift of peace, coming at the end of the Christmas celebrations, is also meant to be a sign which promotes the Universal Church's unity in charity, and removes the scandal of division.
It is hoped that this step will be followed by the prompt attainment of full communion with the Church on the part of the whole Society of St Pius X, which will thus bear witness to its genuine fidelity and genuine recognition of the Magisterium and authority of the Pope by the proof of visible unity.
On the basis of the powers expressly granted to me by the Holy Father Benedict XVI, by virtue of the present Decree I remit the penalty of excommunication latae sententiae incurred by Bishops Bernard Fellay, Bernard Tissier de Mallerais, Richard Williamson and Alfonso de Galarreta, and declared by this Congregation on 1 July 1988. At the same time I declare that, as of today's date, the Decree issued at that time no longer has juridical effect. (emphasis added)

Rome, from the Congregation for Bishops, 21 January 2009

Cardinal Giovanni Battista Re
Prefect


Source: http://www.vatican.va/roman_curia/congregations/cbishops/documents/rc_con_cbishops_doc_20090121_remissione-scomunica_en.html

Thursday, February 13, 2020

Sexagesima and the Fruitful Seed


In Matthew 13:18, Mark 4:13, and Luke 8:4-15. Jesus tells us of the parable of the sower who spread seed. Some of the seed fell on the path and the birds swooped down and ate it up. Some fell upon rocky soil, where the roots could not take hold and they soon withered and died. Some fell among thorns and as the seeds sprouted up - the seedlings were choked out by the weeds. Then some of the seed fell on good soil and it produced a great crop.

The seed is all good!  The seed is the Catholic Faith and the different soils are the different (types of) people who are given the Catholic Faith. For some, the Faith is given but they are unwilling to receive it and it is soon taken away (the path). For others, they receive the Faith - but they have not removed the obstacles (the rocks) and the Faith cannot flourish, and it dies. Similarly, some who receive the Faith are in a bad place and do not surround themselves with others who will help them - rather they are among those who will choke out the Faith when they see it growing. But for those who receive the Faith and are in good company, together they cultivate the Faith and help spread the Gospel to the world.

Which kind of soil are you?

In the Extraordinary Rite (Traditional Latin Rite) the Gospel this Sunday is from Luke 8:4-15 where Jesus tells the story above. As we prepare for Lent (in 2 weeks) we should be asking ourselves if we are the good soil - and if not, what can we do about it? Pray to the Lord to bring you into the good soil where His Faith, the Catholic Faith, can grow and flourish and that you too can be an apostle (one sent) to spread more seed and continue to grow His Kingdom.

If you appreciate this - please click one of the "share" buttons below to share with your friends!


Sunday, February 09, 2020

Septuagesima Sunday

Septuagesima is the ninth (9th) Sunday before Easter and the third (3rd) before the start of Lent, which begins on Ash Wednesday.

Farewell to the Alleluias

In the Latin tradition, the Saturday before Septuagesima Sunday is the last time the "Alleluias" are said in Mass until Easter and in place of the Alleluias the "Laus tibi Domini" is added. Also of note, the "Gloria in Excelsis" is omitted completely (Mershman, 1912).

Preparation for Lent

Our lessons are focused upon Genesis and the fall and misery of Man preparing us for our Lenten penance and ultimately the joy of mankind with the culminating event of the Incarnation, the Resurrection of Jesus on Easter Sunday.

Prepare ye the way of the Lord!



References

Mershman, F. (1912). Septuagesima. In The Catholic Encyclopedia. New York: Robert Appleton Company. Retrieved February 9, 2020 from New Advent: http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/13721b.htm

Sunday, February 02, 2020

OK, Christmastide Ends Today

Today is Candlemas, traditionally celebrated as the Feast of the Purification and the Presentation of Jesus at the Temple. In today's Gospel it is the last reading related to the Nativity, and with this - Christmastide ends for this liturgical year.

Gospel:
Luke 2:22-24
And after the days of her purification, according to the law of Moses, were accomplished, they carried him to Jerusalem, to present him to the Lord: As it is written in the law of the Lord: Every male opening the womb shall be called holy to the Lord: And to offer a sacrifice, according as it is written in the law of the Lord, a pair of turtledoves, or two young pigeons
Of course, the Blessed Virgin Mary did not need purification, but she fulfilled the requirement of the Law, for to not do so would have been scandalous and could even have been called sinful. 40 days after the Nativity is the required time (for the birth of a son, it is 40 days, 33+7, for the birth of a daughter it is 80 days, 66+14) and after this time the mother is able to be present at the Temple for the presentation (Mowczko, 2018).  
 
This is the picture of a mikveh, similar to that which the Blessed Virgin would have been immersed in 40 days after the birth of Jesus (this one is at Magdala):


And here is a mikveh found on the Temple mound:  



After the purification ceremony, the mother is permitted to go to the Temple to present her son to the Lord, which is why we also celebrate the Feast of the Presentation of Jesus at the Temple on this day.



Time to Take Down Christmas Decorations!

OK, so how many of you waited to take down your Christmas decorations until today?  Please comment below!





References

Mowczko, M. (2018). Periods of purification after childbirth (Leviticus 12:1-8). [Blog article]. Retrieved from https://margmowczko.com/purification-after-giving-birth-leviticus-12/ 


Wednesday, January 01, 2020

Eighth Day of Christmas

In the song, the Eighth Day of Christmas is the gift of the eight maids a-milking, and this allegedly symbolizes the eight beatitudes from Jesus' Sermon on the Mount.


In Catholic tradition (as well as what is the Jewish tradition) on the eighth day was the Circumcision of our Lord. In modern times this feast has been changed to the Solemnity of the Blessed Virgin Mary, the Mother of God. Personally, I still recognize this day as traditionally commemorating, the Circumcision of our Lord (and in the extraordinary rite, this is still the feast/solemnity recognized).


IT'S STILL CHRISTMAS!

Do not forget!  It is still the Christmas Season!  This season lasts AT LEAST until the eve of Epiphany (January 6th), or in the older tradition it lasts all the way to Candlemas (February 2nd).




As The Father Sent Me

First off, Happy New Year - 2020!

I open this new year off with an apologetics posting - which I have not done much of lately. Below is a message I posted to a forum on "Ex Catholics For Christ" (apologetics forum). Your thoughts and comments are appreciated (pro or con).

I would agree with the statement that most Catholics do not know their Faith. I disagree with the statement that knowing the Faith leads one OUT of the Catholic Church!

Jesus Christ formed One, True Church - FACT (History itself proves there was One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church for over 1000 years when in 1054 the first major schism took place).
Jesus Christ selected 12 Apostles (1 defected, leaving 11) to lead His Church after He ascended into Heaven - FACT (Matthew 28:15-20).
Jesus Christ commanded those leaders do as He had done - FACT (John 20:21).
Jesus Christ gave His Authority to the Apostles - FACT (Matthew 28:18).
Jesus Christ gave His Authority to forgive sins to those Apostles, and sins THEY do not forgive, are NOT forgiven - FACT (John 20:23).

Considering these few facts alone should convince Catholics to stay Catholic and those who are not Catholic should flee the false teachings they have been taught and come home to the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church which Jesus Christ founded. If your "fellowship" does not have direct apostolic succession, it has no authority to even exist. Without true and valid apostolic succession, there can be no forgiveness of sins - regardless of what you have been taught or come to believe.

FACT - One of the first things the Early Church did was to replace the "bishoprick" or "office" of Judas (Acts 1:20-26).
The first one in apostolic succession, to fill the seat once given to Judas, was Matthias.

FACT- The apostolic office was not limited to "The Twelve" as clearly Sts. Paul and Barnabus are referred to as "apostles" too! (Acts 14:14).
FACT - The Early Church leaders (apostles/bishops) were commanded to do as Jesus did (John 20:21) and part of what Jesus did was select leaders for His Church, thus these new leaders HAD to go out and select more leaders, especially as the Church was growing.

Certainly there have been problems "in" the Church - by men "in" the Church - but the actions of these men, not unlike Judas' betrayal, does not make the Church wrong or bad, it makes those men wrong and bad. Those who cling to those errors and leave the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church because of them are merely looking for excuses to leave. One could speculate that they leave because they do not want to yield to the authority Jesus Christ breathed upon His Church and do not want to face one who has been empowered to forgive sins. One could make all sorts of speculations as to why they leave, but there are no valid reasons to leave THE Church which Jesus Christ Himself founded.

Sunday, December 29, 2019

Fifth Day of Christmas

The five gold rings... as the song goes...

This year found us at the ordinary rite of the Mass, and this Sunday after Christmas is celebrated as Holy Family Sunday.

First Reading

Sirach 3:2-7, 12-14

2For the Lord honored the father above the children, and he confirmed the right of the mother over her sons. 3Whoever honors his father atones for sins, 4and whoever glorifies his mother is like one who lays up treasure. 5Whoever honors his father will be gladdened by his own children, and when he prays he will be heard. 6Whoever glorifies his father will have long life, and whoever obeys the Lord will refresh his mother; 7he will serve his parents as his masters. 12O son, help your father in his old age, and do not grieve him as long as he lives; 13even if he is lacking in understanding, show forbearance; in all your strength do not despise him. 14For kindness to a father will not be forgotten, and against your sins it will be credited to you; 

Second Reading

Colossians 3:12-21

12Put on then, as God's chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassion, kindness, lowliness, meekness, and patience, 13forbearing one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive. 14And above all these put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony. 15And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in the one body. And be thankful. 16Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teach and admonish one another in all wisdom, and sing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs with thankfulness in your hearts to God. 17And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him. 18Wives, be subject to your husbands, as is fitting in the Lord. 19Husbands, love your wives, and do not be harsh with them. 20Children, obey your parents in everything, for this pleases the Lord. 21Fathers, do not provoke your children, lest they become discouraged.

Gospel

Matthew 2:13-15, 19-23

13Now when they had departed, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream and said, "Rise, take the child and his mother, and flee to Egypt, and remain there till I tell you; for Herod is about to search for the child, to destroy him." 14And he rose and took the child and his mother by night, and departed to Egypt, 15and remained there until the death of Herod. This was to fulfil what the Lord had spoken by the prophet, "Out of Egypt have I called my son." 19But when Herod died, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared in a dream to Joseph in Egypt, saying, 20"Rise, take the child and his mother, and go to the land of Israel, for those who sought the child's life are dead." 21And he rose and took the child and his mother, and went to the land of Israel. 22But when he heard that Archelaus reigned over Judea in place of his father Herod, he was afraid to go there, and being warned in a dream he withdrew to the district of Galilee. 23And he went and dwelt in a city called Nazareth, that what was spoken by the prophets might be fulfilled, "He shall be called a Nazarene."

Extraordinary Rite

In the extraordinary rite, this is the Sunday within the Octave of Christmas and the readings for today are:

EPISTLE  

Gal. 4:1-7
Brethren: As long as the heir is a child, he differeth nothing from a servant, though he be lord of all, but is under tutors and governors until the time appointed by the father. So we also, when we were children, were serving under the elements of the world. But when the fullness of the time was come, God sent his Son, made of a woman, made under the law: that he might redeem them who were under the law: that we might receive the adoption of sons. And because you are sons, God hath sent the Spirit of his Son into your hearts, crying: "Abba, Father". Therefore, now he is not a servant, but a son. And if a son, an heir also through God.

GOSPEL 


Luke 2:33-40
At that time, And his father and mother were wondering at those things which were spoken concerning him. And Simeon blessed them and said to Mary his mother: "Behold this child is set for the fall and for the resurrection of many in Israel and for a sign which shall be contradicted. And thy own soul a sword shall pierce, that, out of many hearts thoughts may be revealed."
And there was one Anna, a prophetess, the daughter of Phanuel, of the tribe of Aser. She was far advanced in years and had lived with her husband seven years from her virginity. And she was a widow until fourscore and four years: who departed not from the temple, by fastings and prayers serving night and day. Now she, at the same hour, coming in, confessed to the Lord: and spoke of him to all that looked for the redemption of Israel.
And after they had performed all things according to the law of the Lord, they returned into Galilee, to their city Nazareth. And the child grew and waxed strong, full of wisdom: and the grace of God was in him.

 Last Night of Hanukkah

Tonight is also the last night of Hanukkah!  The eighth candle is lit and Hanukkah ends with sunset tomorrow (Monday, December 22 this year).


Saturday, December 28, 2019

The Fourth Day of Christmas - The Holy Innocents

December 28th is the commemoration of the Holy Innocents, the story of whom is told in Matthew 2 (the whole chapter, but specifically Matt 2:13-18). King Herod wanted to destroy the Christchild for he feared the Messiah as the new King of Israel would take the kingdom by force. Thus, after the Magi had informed him of the arrival of this new king, Herod ordered the massacre of all male children age 2 and under in Bethlehem. St. Joseph had a vision of the impending massacre and was told to take the Blessed Mother and Jesus to Egypt and to stay there until Herod died.

The Coventry Carol

Often just played instrumentally, has words which also tell the story of the Holy Innocents:

Lullay thou little tiny child,
By, by lully lullay.
O sisters, too how may we do,
For to preserve this day;
This poor youngling for whom we sing,
By by lully lullay.
Herod the king, in his raging
Charged he hath this day;
His men of might in his own sight
All children young to slay.
Then woe is me, poor child for thee
And ever mourn and day;
For thy parting, no say nor sing
By by lully lullay

Reminder: Christmastide lasts until February 2nd!  Continue to remember the season!

Friday, December 27, 2019

Twelve Days of Christmas - Day 3

On the Third Day of Christmas, so the song goes, the gift is three French hens. The three are allegedly symbolic of the three theological virtues of Faith, Hope and Charity.


December 27th is also the Feast of St. John the Apostle.

St. John was the only Apostle NOT to die a martyr. Traditionally it is said he passed away about the year 100 AD in Ephesus.

OCTAVE OF CHRISTMAS

The eight days of Christmas, from Christmas Day through January 1st are days within the Octave of Christmas. The Christmas Octave is not at the same level as the Easter Octave. In the Octave of Easter EACH DAY is considered a solemnity - but the same is not true of the Octave of Christmas (correcting what was stated earlier in this posting). There are two solemnities within the Octave of Christmas, those being Christmas Day itself and January 1st, the Feast of Mary the Mother of God in the Ordinary Rite, in the Extraordinary Rite and traditionally, January 1st is the Feast of the Circumcision of our Lord (both days are holy days of obligation).


Closing this posting with another reminder, Christmas lasts until (Candlemas) February 2nd!  Continue to celebrate the Christmastide!

MERRY CHRISTMAS!

Thursday, December 26, 2019

No Hanukkah Equals No Christmas!

That's right! If the Brothers Maccabees had not won the battle with the Syrian Greeks who vastly outnumbered the Jews there would be no Jews. The Greeks sought to annihilate the Jews from the face of the Earth - so, had the Greeks won this battle the Jewish nation would have ceased to exist and thus, the prophecies of the Messiah coming from the City of David (Bethlehem) would have become null - think about it, if their were no more Jews - to whom would the Messiah have come? Certainly we could make all sorts of speculation over how God would have found a way - but the fact remains THE WAY which God DID FIND was through the Maccabees revolt from 167 BC to 165 BC.

So why is it called the Festival of Lights? Why eight candles? Well, when Antiochus III invaded Judea, he also captured the Temple and desecrated it - offering sacrifices of swine and building an altar to Zeus. After the Maccabees defeated the Greek/Syrian armies and took back the Temple, the Temple had to be purified and rededicated. The purification process would take eight days, yet there was only enough oil to keep the lamp in the Temple going for one day - and it would also take eight days for the kosher process to make more oil for the Temple lamp. The miracle then was that the lamp burned the entire eight days, even though it should have only lasted one day! From that time forward the Jews have celebrated the Festival of Lights, lighting one candle per day for eight days.

Again, had the Maccabees failed, there would be no Jewish nation and the Festival of Lights would not have started - thus no Hanukkah would have resulted in no Christmas!

By the way - Hanukkah started on December 22nd this year and ends on December 30th. It is different every year on our Gregorian calendar because it is based on the Hebrew lunar calendar and begins on the 25th of Kislev every year on their calendar. As of this posting we are on the 5th Day of Hanukkah - so - HAPPY HANUKKAH!
One more final bit of trivia - if there are eight days celebrated, why nine candles? The answer is the candle in the middle is called the shamash - and it is used to light the other candles. It is usually set higher than the other eight candles and it is not counted as another day in the Festival of Lights.

Twelve Days of Christmas - Feast of Stephen

Today is the Second Day of Christmas! (December 26)

The Twelve Days of Christmas are the days, starting with the Christ Mass on December 25th, through February 5th. February 6th is the Feast of the Epiphany. February 6th is traditionally celebrated as Three Kings Day - or the day the Three Wisemen visited the Holy Family in Bethlehem. Does this end Christmastide?  Not quite!  Read below!

Martyrdom of Saint Stephen by Giovanni Andrea De Ferrari (1598-1669), undated

Today is also the Feast of St. Stephen, the First Christian Martyr. Stephen's death is recorded in Acts 7:54-60. He died with his last words asking God not to hold his persecutors responsible (one of whom was Saul, who would become St. Paul).

"The Massacre of the Innocents" (1482) by di Giovanni di Bartolo Matteo
As we remember St. Stephen, he being the first one killed for his faith in Jesus Christ, we must not forget the Holy Innocents, who were actually the first martyrs for Christ - though they had no idea who Jesus Christ was. The scriptural accounting of the Holy Innocents is Matthew 2:16–18 when King Herod was attempting to have the Christchild killed. St. Joseph was given a vision of the intentions of King Herod and fled to Egypt with the Blessed Mother and Jesus. The feast day for the Holy Innocents is December 28th - and is also known as Childermas.

Presentation of Our Lord at the Temple - The Last Day of Christmas
Remember!  Christmastide actually lasts well into the Season of Epiphany! Christmastide officially ends with Candlemas on February 2nd - which is the Feast of the Presentation of Jesus at the Temple. In the traditional (extraordinary) lectionary, this is the last time in the liturgical year that the Nativity is mentioned - and thus ends the Christmas Season.