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.

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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/