More on Alter Girls & Women Priests

For those who think that some day there will be women Priests obviously choose not to listen to what the Magisterium of the Church teaches and are not aware of what a “Priest” really is or does.

I would hope everyone would agree that Jesus Christ was a MAN. When a priest offers the Sacrifice of the Mass the priest stands in the person of Christ, or In persona Christi. A woman no matter how able of doing the actions of the priest is not a man. Again God created us for a specific purpose. A male who knows who he is does not want to be pregnant or give birth, and a woman who knows who she is does not want to be a priest.  A woman maybe able to be a priest but she is not capable of being a priest. There is a difference in definition.

Once the Catholic laity come to understand this again they will not want alter girls. Which is why many Catholics who know, study, and surrender to their faith see alter girls as a poor novelty of this current time period at best. Surrendering to the teachings of the Catholic Church is surrendering oneself to Christ.

With that said God’s greatest human creation was a woman.  The Ever Virgin Mary is our model.  As good, or bad, as Fr. So-And-So might be we are not to emulate him we are to emulate the Holy Virgin Mary, the Mother of God.  If we humble ourselves as Mary did the we will humble ourselves to Christ.

Alter Girls

The other night I was reading through responses to a questions over at Catholic.com

“Will alter girls lead to women priests?” 

While I’m sure many in my own parish will disagree with my sentiment on whether or not we should have alter girls I hope they don’t think it will lead to women priests and that there is some eventual progression that will allow it.  Below is my response to the question.

Alter Girls won’t lead to Women Priests. The term Woman Priest is an oxymoron. Women can’t be priests no more than men can have babies. God didn’t set it up that way.  And sense Alter Girls won’t lead to Women Priests I don’t think we should have them.  Leave it to the boys please.

If we let boys wear nursing bra’s or maternity clothes we’d all say that’s ridiculous because boys can’t have babies, its not how they were made. Yet we let girls be alter servers when they can’t be priests and say there’s nothing wrong with that. Catholics have gone astray in our thinking. God put us here for a specific purpose and we are fooling ourselves if we allow our boys and girls to participate in roles they weren’t meant for, and we do them great disservice when we do.

Jesus Washed the Apostles Male Feet

I’d be interested from those who read this blog how many parishes out there actually follow the rules put in place by Catholic Church. The following can be found on the USCCB’s website. My parish openly breaks this rule unfortunately. Although I hope to be surprised this coming Thursday evening. I’ve sent a letter in with the reminder but I probably should have sent it in a month ago before they start planning the feet washing and asking people.

If the church cares to change the rules to allow women they are well within their ability to bind and loose. But until they do shouldn’t we respect the rules that were put in place and come to understand why men are specified in the first place? I do not think Jesus was incapable of washing the feet of women but at Holy Thursday he didn’t and there is a reason why the Church specify’s men are to be selected. We do not select women for the Priesthood, which relates to why men should be selected for the Holy Thursday Mandatum.

Holy Thursday Mandatum

My parish liturgy committee has decided to allow both men and women to take part in the washing of the feet at the liturgy on Holy Thursday. I have always heard that only men may have their feet washed. Which does the Church allow?

The rubric for Holy Thursday, under the title WASHING OF FEET, reads:

“Depending on pastoral circumstance, the washing of feet follows the homily. The men who have been chosen (viri selecti) are led by the ministers to chairs prepared at a suitable place. Then the priest (removing his chasuble if necessary) goes to each man. With the help of the ministers he pours water over each one’s feet and dries them.”Regarding the phrase viri selecti, the Chairman of the Bishops Committee on the Liturgy, after a review of the matter by the committee, authorized the following response which appeared in the BCL Newsletter of February 1987:

Question: What is the significance of the Holy Thursday foot washing rite?

Response:

  1. The Lord Jesus washed the feet of his disciples at the Last Supper as a sign of the new commandment that Christians should love one another: “Such as my love has been for you, so must your love be for each other. This is how all will know you for my disciples: by your love for one another” (see John 13, 34-35). For centuries the Church has imitated the Lord through the ritual enactment of the new commandment of Jesus Christ in the washing of feet on Holy Thursday.
  2. Although the practice had fallen into disuse for a long time in parish celebrations, it was restored in 1955 by Pope Pius XII as a part of the general reform of Holy Week. At that time the traditional significance of the rite of foot washing was stated by the Sacred Congregation of Rites in the following words: “Where the washing of feet, to show the Lord’s commandment about fraternal charity, is performed in a Church according to the rubrics of the restored Ordo of Holy Week, the faithful should be instructed on the profound meaning of this sacred rite and should be taught that it is only proper that they should abound in works of Christian charity on this day.”1
  3. The principal and traditional meaning of the Holy Thursday mandatum, as underscored by the decree of the Congregation, is the biblical injunction of Christian charity: Christ’s disciples are to love one another. For this reason, the priest who presides at the Holy Thursday liturgy portrays the biblical scene of the gospel by washing the feet of some of the faithful.
  4. Because the gospel of the mandatum read on Holy Thursday also depicts Jesus as the “Teacher and Lord” who humbly serves his disciples by performing this extraordinary gesture which goes beyond the laws of hospitality,2 the element of humble service has accentuated the celebration of the foot washing rite in the United States over the last decade or more. In this regard, it has become customary in many places to invite both men and women to be participants in this rite in recognition of the service that should be given by all the faithful to the Church and to the world. Thus, in the United States, a variation in the rite developed in which not only charity is signified but also humble service.
  5. While this variation may differ from the rubric of the Sacramentary which mentions only men (“viri selecti”), it may nevertheless be said that the intention to emphasize service along with charity in the celebration of the rite is an understandable way of accentuating the evangelical command of the Lord, “who came to serve and not to be served,” that all members of the Church must serve one another in love.
  6. The liturgy is always an act of ecclesial unity and Christian charity, of which the Holy Thursday foot washing rite is an eminent sign. All should obey the Lord’s new commandment to love one another with an abundance of love, especially at this most sacred time of the liturgical year when the Lord’s passion, death, and resurrection are remembered and celebrated in the powerful rites of the Triduum.3

Notes

  1. Sacred Congregation of Rites, Instruction on the Correct Use of the Restored Ordo of Holy Week, November 16, 1955 (Washington, DC: National Catholic Welfare Conference Publications Office, 1955), page 6.
  2. In biblical times it was prescribed that the host of a banquet was to provide water (and a basin) so that his guests could wash their hands before sitting down to table. Although a host might also provide water for travelers to wash their own feet before entering the house, the host himself would not wash the feet of his guests. According to the Talmud the washing of feet was forbidden to any Jew except those in slavery.In the controversies between Hillel and Shammai (cf. Shabbat 14a-b) Shammai ruled that guests were to wash their hands to correct “tumat yadayim” or “impurity of hands” (cf. Ex 30, 17 and Lv 15, 11). Priests were always to wash their hands before eating consecrated meals. The Pharisees held that all meals were in a certain sense “consecrated” because of table fellowship.Jesus’ action of washing the feet of his disciples was unusual for his gesture went beyond the required laws of hospitality (washing of hands) to what was, in appearance, a menial task. The Lord’s action was probably unrelated to matters of ritual purity according to the Law.
  3. For a brief overview of the restoration of the foot washing rite in 1955, see W. J. O’Shea, “Mandatum,” New Catholic Encyclopedia, Volume IX, 146, and W. J. O’Shea, “Holy Thursday,” New Catholic Encyclopedia, Volume VII, 105-107; Walter D. Miller, Revised Ceremonial of Holy Week (New York: Catholic Book Publishing Company, 1971), p. 43. See also Prosper Gueranger, OSB, The Liturgical Year, Volume VI, Passiontide and Holy Week (Westminster, Maryland: Newman Press, 1949), pp. 395-401. For the historical background of the many forms of this rite, see the following studies: Pier Franco Beatrice, La lavanda dei piedi: Contributo alla storia delle antiche liturgie cristiane (Rome: C.L.V. Edizioni Liturgiche, 1983); “Lotio pedum” in Hermann Schmidt, Hebdomada Sancta, Volume II (Rome: Herder, 1956-1957); Annibale Bugnini, CM, and C. Braga, CM, Ordo Hebdomadae Sanctae Instauratus in Biblioteca “Ephemerides Liturgicae” Sectio Historica 25 (Rome: Edizioni Liturgiche, 1956), pp. 73-75; Theodor Klauser, A Short History of the Western Liturgy: An Account and Some Reflections, second edition (New York: Oxford University Press, 1979), p. 81.

This is the latest statement of this Secretariat on the question. No subsequent legislation or instructions have necessitated a modification in the statement. Holy Thursday Mandatum

Start a Men's Group

Does your parish have a Men’s groups?  If not start one, it’s as simple as meeting once a week.  The group I’m in reads the up coming Sunday Mass readings on Friday mornings from 7am to 8am.  We use the questions from the National Fellowship of Catholic Men http://www.nfcmusa.org/Reading-Questions

We open with a prayer, go through the readings, and end with shared prayer.  There’s no attendance, men show up when they can, some are late, some need to leave early.  Each week I send out readings and the questions and bring some extra copies on Friday morning.  A sample is below.  We meet in a room at the parish but you could meet anywhere.  Think about it.

Reading 1 Ex 3:1-8a, 13-15

Moses was tending the flock of his father-in-law Jethro, the priest of Midian. Leading the flock across the desert, he came to Horeb, the mountain of God. There an angel of the LORD appeared to Moses in fire flaming out of a bush. As he looked on, he was surprised to see that the bush, though on fire, was not consumed. So Moses decided, “I must go over to look at this remarkable sight, and see why the bush is not burned.” When the LORD saw him coming over to look at it more closely, God called out to him from the bush, Moses! Moses!” He answered, “Here I am.” God said, “Come no nearer! Remove the sandals from your feet, for the place where you stand is holy ground. I am the God of your fathers, “he continued, “the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, the God of Jacob.” Moses hid his face, for he was afraid to look at God. But the LORD said, “I have witnessed the affliction of my people in Egypt and have heard their cry of complaint against their slave drivers, so I know well what they are suffering. Therefore I have come down to rescue them from the hands of the Egyptians and lead them out of that land into a good and spacious land, a land flowing with milk and honey.” Moses said to God, “But when I go to the Israelites and say to them, ‘The God of your fathers has sent me to you,’ if they ask me, ‘What is his name?’ what am I to tell them?” God replied, “I am who am.” Then he added, “This is what you shall tell the Israelites:  I AM sent me to you. God spoke further to Moses, “Thus shall you say to the Israelites: The LORD, the God of your fathers, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, the God of Jacob, has sent me to you. “This is my name forever; thus am I to be remembered through all generations.”

Responsorial Psalm Ps 103: 1-2, 3-4, 6-7, 8, 11
The Lord is kind and merciful.
Bless the LORD, O my soul; and all my being, bless his holy name.
Bless the LORD, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits.
The Lord is kind and merciful.
He pardons all your iniquities, heals all your ills,
He redeems your life from destruction, crowns you with kindness and compassion.
The Lord is kind and merciful.
The LORD secures justice and the rights of all the oppressed.
He has made known his ways to Moses, and his deeds to the children of Israel.
The Lord is kind and merciful.
Merciful and gracious is the LORD, slow to anger and abounding in kindness.
For as the heavens are high above the earth, so surpassing is his kindness toward those who fear him.

Reading 2 1 Cor 10:1-6, 10-12
I do not want you to be unaware, brothers and sisters, that our ancestors were all under the cloud and all passed through the sea, and all of them were baptized into Moses in the cloud and in the sea. All ate the same spiritual food, and all drank the same spiritual drink, for they drank from a spiritual rock that followed them, and the rock was the Christ. Yet God was not pleased with most of them, for they were struck down in the desert. These things happened as examples for us, so that we might not desire evil things, as they did. Do not grumble as some of them did, and suffered death by the destroyer. These things happened to them as an example, and they have been written down as a warning to us, upon whom the end of the ages has come. Therefore, whoever thinks he is standing secure should take care not to fall.

Gospel  Lk 13:1-9
Some people told Jesus about the Galileans whose blood Pilate had mingled with the blood of their sacrifices. Jesus said to them in reply, “Do you think that because these Galileans suffered in this way they were greater sinners than all other Galileans? By no means! But I tell you, if you do not repent, you will all perish as they did! Or those eighteen people who were killed when the tower at Siloam fell on them— do you think they were more guilty than everyone else who lived in Jerusalem? By no means! But I tell you, if you do not repent, you will all perish as they did!” And he told them this parable: “There once was a person who had a fig tree planted in his orchard, and when he came in search of fruit on it but found none, he said to the gardener, ‘For three years now I have come in search of fruit on this fig tree but have found none. So cut it down. Why should it exhaust the soil?’ He said to him in reply, ‘Sir, leave it for this year also, and I shall cultivate the ground around it and fertilize it; it may bear fruit in the future. If not you can cut it down.’”

Rethinking Our Approach to Prayer

When God called Moses from the burning bush, he launched him on one of the longest, most significant journeys in history—and began by telling him: “Remove the sandals from your feet” (Exodus 3:5). Why would God say that?

The second half of the verse offers a reason: “The place where you stand is holy ground.” Imagine how fast Moses obeyed! In Egypt, where he grew up, people were required to go barefoot before Pharaoh or any other superior. It was both an expression of respect and an admission of a lower-status position. Standing before the greatest Lord of all, whose glory shimmered out like an invisible force field, Moses must have felt awed and humble indeed.  at does this tell us about our approach to prayer? Without any burning bushes to jolt us, it’s easy to relate to God casually, even as if it’s something of a chore. The image of Moses removing his sandals reminds us that our loving Father is an awesome God whose holiness we cannot even begin to comprehend. It tells us to approach him with reverence, humility, and an awareness of our sin and frailty. But the scene speaks to us in other ways as well.  Shoes and sandals get dirty, and still today in many cultures and homes, people take them off before entering the house. In a way, that’s what we’re called do when we come before God. Grimy footwear can also symbolize the distractions that pop up when we pray. If this happens, we can follow the advice of St. Alphonsus Liguori and try our best to leave all extraneous thoughts at the door of our prayer time. We can also say, along with St. Bernard: “O my thoughts, wait here. After prayer we shall speak about other matters.” So as you go to pray today, take off your sandals! The One who called Moses is calling you!

“Father, who am I that you should love me so much—enough to give up your only Son for my sake? Help me to set aside everything that separates me from you and to return your love as fully as I can.”

 Questions for Reflection/Discussion by Catholic Men

  1. For the second week in a row, we read in the first reading of God’s recommitting himself in covenant to his people for the purpose of “rescuing them.” In what ways has God rescued you from the power of sin and the devil? What are the areas of your life that still need God’s intervention? Take some time to pray for one another for the strength to overcome these areas. 
  2. The Responsorial Psalm tells us that God is “kind and merciful.”  As Christians we are called to be imitators of Christ who “pardons all your iniquities, heals all your ills. He redeems your life from destruction, crowns you with kindness and compassion” (Psalm 103:3-4).  Since Christ has done this for you, what are some ways you can show kindness and compassion to others, and pardon others’ iniquities, especially those who have wronged you?
  3. In the second reading, St. Paul reminds the Corinthians not to “grumble”, which for us can often be a cause of disunity and harm to others. What practical steps can you take individually, and as a group, to build up your families’ or your fellow parishioners’ faith?
  4. In the Gospel reading, Jesus warns us of the danger of assuming that the sufferings or misfortunes of others are caused by their sin.  Are you judgmental?  How can you reach out more to others who are suffering?
  5. Also in the Gospel reading, Jesus tells a parable on the importance he attaches to our lives’ bearing fruit.  What are some of the fruits Jesus may be asking you to bear this Lent?
  6. As we come to God in prayer, it is easy to be distracted by wayward thoughts, the busyness of our days, and the struggles of our lives.  The meditation suggests that when this happens, “we can follow the advice of St. Alphonsus Liguori and try our best to leave all extraneous thoughts at the door of our prayer time. We can also say, along with St. Bernard: “O my thoughts, wait here. After prayer we shall speak about other matters.” What steps can you take to apply these words of St. Alphonsus Liguori and St. Bernard to how you approach your times of prayer?  

Deep End of the Theological Pool

I am not a member of the SSPX but I do have a brother who is.  We have gone round and round on issues concerning the Catholic church and ultimately I don’t think either one of us has budge much from our initial positions.  I think we have both left things up to prayer and the Holy Spirit.  I believe my brother to be a poor apologist for the SSPX although that doesn’t mean he’s not willing to have a spirited debate, his arguments just haven’t moved me nor have mine really moved him.  I’d say for more than the past year we have both dropped the “debating”, which my wife probably more accurately describes as arguing.  My best get under his skin line was telling him to “stop following excommunicated Bishops”.  Well eventually he did that since Pope Benedict XVI removed their excommunication’s.  How ever they are still not in full communion with the Pope from Rome’s standpoint.

Recently I saw a link in one of the comments on Fr. Z’s blog for a book from the Society of St. Pius X.  The book is called “The Problem of the Liturgical Reform” which can be found here  http://www.sspx.org/books/problem%20of%20the%20liturgical%20reform.pdf.

I’m not through reading it yet but I would say they have a pretty decent beef with how things were handled back in the 1960s.  The book is at the theologically deep end of the pool.  But I think any reader familiar with the Catholic Mass can pick up a few things and learn a thing or two about the prayers of the Mass prior to the Vatican II Council.

In the end I’m pretty sure the book is not going to change where I stand, but I will have an additional lens to look at my faith with and without stressing the relationship with my brother.  I feel I am sympathetic to those who want to worship in what is now called the Extraordinary form of the Mass.  I buy the line that the core worship of the Catholic Church for more than 500 years couldn’t be a bad thing, which is how it seems some priests and bishops today view the Extraordinary form of the Mass.  I believe Pope Benedict XVI did the right thing to allow priests publicly to say that Mass without the approval of their Bishops.  I believe the greater use of the old Mass will only have positive effects on our Catholic faith. 

But from what I’ve ready so far I believe the SSPX’s beef goes beyond the issue of the allowing the old Mass to be said freely.  Their beef is with the theology of the new Mass.  They’re not buying into the “Paschal Mystery”, as the “Paschal Mystery” is not what was used to create the old Mass.  The theology of the “Paschal Mystery” is basically in it’s infancy if you look at the history of the Catholic Church as a whole.  This is very weighty stuff but then shouldn’t we know some of this anyway?  This is our faith after all, we are talking about our eternal salvation.

So when things get deep or heavy, I think thats a sign we should pray.  May we pray to the Holy Spirit for unity among all Christians while remaining true to the teachings of our Lord Jesus Christ. Amen

Protests at Mass

Get ready folks this is a scene that I think will be coming to the US very soon if it hasn’t already.

……Protesters, led by town council member Dick Boonman and Gay Krant editor Henk Krol, distributed pink triangles with the word “Homo,” to be worn on the chest at Mass. The protest was held at the parish after Fr. Buyens chose to deny Communion to homosexual Gijs Vermeulen, 24, on February 13th.

Vermeulen was the “prince” of the town’s annual Carnival, a traditional pre-Lenten celebration. At the customary Carnival Mass, the prince addresses the congregation and then leads them forward in receiving Communion.

But, because Vermeulen had been public about his active homosexuality leading up to the festivities, Fr. Buyens contacted him the week before the Carnival Mass to advise him that he would not be able to receive Communion. The priest offered to give him a blessing, and allowed him to address the congregation. Vermeulen attended the Mass, stating that he did not want to “spoil the party,” but did not go up for a blessing.

In response to this week’s protest, Fr. Buyens decided not to distribute Communion at the Mass after consulting his bishop in Den Bosch……

 Read the full article here http://www.christiantelegraph.com/issue8805.html

Fr. Buyens needs our prayer.

Communion in the Hand

Communion in the hand did not cause this particular atrocity, but decades of communion in the hand allowed the mindset for it to occur.  Not everyone is oblivious to what they are receiving but many have no clue, here is such an example.  The woman is the girl friend of a Costa Rican Presidential candidate.  She obviously does not know what she is doing but that does not make it any less offensive. As I understand it the candidate lost.

Showing Up For The Dirt


You know what’s amazing about Ash Wednesday?  Even though it’s not a holy day of obligation Ash Wednesday Masses always seems to be packed.  I went at 6:30am Mass and the church was 70% full and the Masses after that were jam packed.  This doesn’t seem to be the case for other weekday Masses even those on days where Catholics are required to attend.

Most Catholics in the United States have daily Mass available to them, they can receive the Body, Blood, Soul, and Divinity of Jesus Christ any day of the week but, as a whole, rarely do.   Yet on Ash Wednesday a large number of Catholics come out of the wood work to get some dirt rubbed on their head.  The whole thought of it is just something to ponder.  I would love to hear peoples thoughts and comments on this.

Do You Take or Receive Communion?

Bishop Athanasius Schneider gives and interview on Communion in the hand.  If you do take Communion in the hand, please consider receiving Communion on the Tongue after watching this.

Cancelling Christmas

I’ve been traveling and relaxing and watching the snow fall and build up, and up, and up. I traveled home to Nebraska for the Christmas holiday leaving a day early to avoid blizzarding weather. We stopped in Nebraska City for lunch at Runza one of my all time favorite foods. A Runza is a basically a kinda of bread and meat hot pocket with cabbage and spices. It tastes way better than it sounds and I highly suggest you try one if you get the chance.

While at Runza on Christmas Eve for lunch they had a local country station playing in the background during one of the news breaks they started listing all the local church services that were being cancelled due to the weather. Living my whole life in areas that can have inclement weather school and church cancellations are somewhat common place. Much more so today than when I was a kid. When we finally made it to my parents house more church cancellations were rolling across the bottom of the TV screen during my annual viewing of the movie “It’s A Wonderful Life”, my favorite movie.

A curious thing about all the church service cancellations. They were all protestant churches, none where Catholic. Isn’t that an interesting phenomenom? Is it because Catholic Priests live on the parish grounds? That can’t be it as many protestant pastors also live on location at their church. So why is it that Catholic’s don’t cancel their “services” in inclement weather and protestants do?

Well here is my answer, the Catholic Mass isn’t about the congregation whereas a protestant church service is, or at least it’s about the pastor preaching to that congregation. They may be worshiping God, but that can be done from home and without the congregation gathered. Whereas a Catholic Mass isn’t about us, the congreation, it’s about Him, God, and He’ll be there whether we are or not.