Originally posted on New Sherwood:
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The Holy Father is reported to have said in today’s General Audience:
“If you do not feel in need of God’s mercy, if you do not feel you are a sinner, then it’s better not to go to Mass, because we go to Mass because we are sinners and we want to receive the forgiveness of Jesus, to participate in His redemption, His forgiveness.”
Before you get too excited about this papal permission to skip Mass on Sunday, please recall the unchanged teaching of the Catholic Church:
2180 The precept of the Church specifies the law of the Lord more precisely: “On Sundays and other holy days of obligation the faithful are bound to participate in the Mass.”117 “The precept of participating in the Mass is satisfied by assistance at a Mass which is celebrated anywhere in a Catholic rite either on the holy day or on the evening of the preceding day.”118
2181 The Sunday Eucharist is the foundation and confirmation of all Christian practice. For this reason the faithful are obliged to participate in the Eucharist on days of obligation, unless excused for a serious reason (for example, illness, the care of infants) or dispensed by their own pastor.119 Those who deliberately fail in this obligation commit a grave sin.
2182 Participation in the communal celebration of the Sunday Eucharist is a testimony of belonging and of being faithful to Christ and to his Church. The faithful give witness by this to their communion in faith and charity. Together they testify to God’s holiness and their hope of salvation. They strengthen one another under the guidance of the Holy Spirit.
2183 “If because of lack of a sacred minister or for other grave cause participation in the celebration of the Eucharist is impossible, it is specially recommended that the faithful take part in the Liturgy of the Word if it is celebrated in the parish church or in another sacred place according to the prescriptions of the diocesan bishop, or engage in prayer for an appropriate amount of time personally or in a family or, as occasion offers, in groups of families.”120
2192 “Sunday . . . is to be observed as the foremost holy day of obligation in the universal Church” (CIC, can. 1246 § 1). “On Sundays and other holy days of obligation the faithful are bound to participate in the Mass” (CIC, can. 1247).
Furthermore, the Church teaches that deliberately skipping Mass is a mortal sin:
390. Is it a mortal sin not to hear Mass on a Sunday or a holyday of obligation?
A. It is a mortal sin not to hear Mass on a Sunday or a holyday of obligation, unless we are excused for a serious reason. They also commit a mortal sin who, having others under their charge, hinder them from hearing Mass, without a sufficient reason.
Is one excused from the Sunday obligation if he does not “feel the need of God’s mercy”? Absolutely not. Attending Mass on Sunday is an obligation that falls upon all Catholics, no matter how they happen to be feeling about God’s mercy. Indeed it is even more important to attend Mass if one doesn’t feel himself to be a sinner, or especially in need of God’s mercy, because the graces of the Mass can move a soul to contrition. Sinners have been converted at Mass by means of the homily, the readings, even the words of the liturgy itself – not to mention the presence of Christ and the prayers of the faithful. Catholics who don’t feel themselves to be in need of God’s mercy should be all the more encouraged to attend Sunday Mass, not to commit a mortal sin by staying home.
Originally posted on New Sherwood:
The other day I came across the following statement on a Catholic blog:
“Allow me to stress the most important thing for any Catholic to know regarding the historical accuracy of the Old Testament. First and foremost, as Catholic Christians, our faith is NOT based on this historical accuracy of the Old Testament at all. Our faith is based on the historical accuracy of the New Testament alone. The Old Testament simply serves as a historical, religious and cultural context in which to interpret the New Testament. That is all. So as Catholic Christians, we don’t need the Old Testament to be 100% historically accurate to have faith in Jesus Christ and the writings of the New Testament.
It is the opinion of this blogger that the events of the Old Testament probably do represent actual historical events, starting with the life of Abraham (about Genesis chapter 12) onward. Prior…
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I’m almost done reading this fine little book out loud to the children. We’ve been covering about two chapters a night for the past week. Californians should know their history, and this is a good place to start. General Vallejo’s critical influence in the founding of our state is often overlooked. Like Chico’s John Bidwell, he was genuinely a man of honor and decency. We Californians can be proud of his legacy.
Among his many notable contributions, General Mariano Guadalupe Vallejo founded three cities, named more than twenty counties, provided a vast amount of information for Bancroft’s seven volume “History of California”, and was a delegate to California’s constitutional convention. He has many living descendants who have remained in California and who continue the family tradition of service to the people of this state. Vallejo’s family home in Sonoma, Lachryma Montis (latin for “tear of the mountain”, which refers to an Indian legend), was donated to the state of California on the condition that the Bear Flag never be raised over the land. You see, Vallejo was rudely taken prisoner by yankee ruffians who raised the first “bear flag” and declared California an independent republic. (This independent nation status lasted 26 days.) The women of the family never forgot the indignity.
A personal distaste for the “sub-culture” of orthodox Catholicism has been evident with Dr. John Zmirak for quite some time. In recent weeks, however, this contempt has attained the level of a crusade. His latest rant is remarkable for its pleading stereotypes and crass superficiality:
The weirdness, bitterness, crankiness, and the general mediocrity that pervade the Catholic subculture – from its newspapers to its TV shows, from most of its tiny colleges to the poorly-penned books, and sloppy, sentimental blogs that flood the tiny market of conservative Catholic readers – is the direct result of having few people to choose from …
Is this Church of the Umbrella Handle, with its much smaller set of human types, the ‘smaller, purer Church’ of which Pope Benedict XVI spoke – or is it the subset of ‘neo-Pelagian immanentists’ against whom Pope Francis warned? Of course, it is both, and the wheat is irretrievably mixed up among the tares. But one thing is certain: It is as inbred as a pack of captive cheetahs, with all the dangers of deformity and disease that that implies.
The Church as righteous subculture is unappealing to nearly everyone – including the kids who grow up inside it, who despite all those years of homeschooling and chapel veils frequently flee for what look like saner pastures.
In fairness, Zmirak could have made a legitimate point here without gratuitously insulting the only Catholics left who give a damn. But that opportunity was squandered by his bitterness. One suspects that the author of “The Bad Catholic’s Guide to Wine, Whiskey, and Song” has been, shall we say, unlucky with the devout “home schooled and chapel veiled” set. I should hope so, at any rate.
What Zmirak fails to account for is the fact that without a “righteous sub-culture”, there is no Catholic culture – period. Bad Catholics like Zmirak (and I reluctantly include myself in his company) are by definition parasitical. If you want to be a bad Catholic you need a strong base of serious, orthodox, striving-for-holiness Catholics to sustain the cultural framework. I have discussed the idea at length in various posts over the years. Bad Catholics – defined as those who are less than devout but are not dissenters – are a tolerable and even amusing evil, but they are also a luxury, possible only when the Faith is strong and capable of producing saints. Today, that element is present only in the Catholic sub-culture Zmirak so passionately disparages.
The Catholic sub-culture certainly has warts. But it is virtually alone in producing orthodox vocations, raising large families, and handing down the faith from one generation to the next. Contrary to Zmirak’s insinuation that kids who grow up in this sub-culture are fleeing in droves (which may be his honest perception, as malcontents tend to attract malcontents), those small orthodox colleges are the only Catholic colleges where the overwhelming majority of graduates keep the Faith. As the sub-culture grows and rebuilds, it will also become more diverse, and a place for the Zmiraks of the world will be more secure. But at present, in all sobriety, the Church simply cannot afford Bad Catholics anymore. Bad Catholics drag the Church down just as much as the dissenters, if not more so, because they are more readily perceived as hypocrites (fairly or not) and because they discourage the weak by their impiety. Christ did not establish the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church for the pleasure and enjoyment of Bad Catholics. It was “the Church as righteous sub culture”, however unappealing to the worldly, that converted Rome and the world in the end.
“Having then, brethren, asked the Lord who it is that shall dwell in His tabernacle, we have heard what He commands to those who wish to dwell there; and if we fulfill those commands, we shall be heirs of the kingdom of heaven.
Therefore, our hearts and our bodies must be prepared to fight under holy obedience to His commands; and let us beg of God to supply by the help of His grace that which by nature is lacking to us. And if we desire to escape the pains of hell and to attain to life everlasting, let us, whilst there is yet time, and we abide in this body, and are able to fulfill all these things by this way of light, let us, I say, do with speed now that which will profit us for all eternity.”
When it comes to the Second Vatican Council, traditional Catholics are of three minds:
1. “Hermeneutic of continuity”: i.e., twist yourself into a pretzel in a never-ending effort to interpret Vatican-II as harmonious with tradition. This is often accompanied by the hope that, one day, a pope will issue a document clarifying the Council’s ambiguities and (real or apparent) discontinuities.
2. Repudiate the Council entirely. It is permeated with Modernism throughout, even in its expressions of orthodoxy.
3. Forget the Council. It has too many problems to be useful, but none of them rise to the level of needing an embarrassing public repudiation. So, just ignore it and move on. Fr. John Hunwicke makes a strong case for this approach in his latest post:
“When an elderly ball has been kicked around for long enough, sensible schoolboys leave it to settle quietly into the nutrients at the bottom of the ditch, unobserved except by the water voles, and agree to move on together to newer games. Whatever was of permanent value in Vienne … and Vatican II … has merged and disappeared gradually into what one might call the Church’s general background noise (dogmatic decrees and anathemas of dogmatic councils are, of course, a different matter). What was unhelpful in the Conciliar texts or their consequences … and when the Templars were led out to be burned, they probably thought that was unhelpful … Time has purged away; or will purge. Why cannot Roman dicasteries, and the SSPX, be content with that?”
I must say that this strikes me as culturally a very English solution, and I mean that as a compliment. Option #3 also has the advantage of allowing many good Catholics to save a little face.
By the way, if you aren’t reading Fr. John Hunwicke – a priest of the Anglican Ordinariate in England – you need to be. His last four posts are important enough that I will link each of them here -
We received some good news at Mass this morning: the Society of Saint Pius X has formally agreed to assume responsibility for St. Therese Chapel in Chico. The chapel, located at 367 E. 8th Avenue, had been operating independently for many years. Holy Mass is presently celebrated on the 1st and 3rd Sundays of the month at 10:00am.
This is a highly significant development in my opinion. The traditional Latin Mass now has a degree of stability and permanence in the north valley.
The Traditional Latin Mass Society of San Francisco has posted an extremely detailed and informative booklet by Richard Friend titled “Understanding When to Kneel, Sit, and Stand at a Traditional Latin Mass: A Short Essay on Mass Postures”. The essay is available in a PDF file here. After reviewing much history and scholarship on the subject, the author concludes:
“Whether the Mass is Low or Sung, ideally people in the U.S. should (i) stand for the Introit, Kyrie, Gloria, Collects; (ii) sit for the Epistle, Gradual, Alleluia (tract, sequence); (iii) stand for the Gospel; (iv) sit for the homily; (v) stand for the Credo, and Oremus; (vi) sit during the Offertory; (vii) stand at Orate Fratres; (viii) kneel after the Sanctus; (ix) stand at Per omnia sæcula sæculorum at the end of the canon just before the Pater Noster; (x) kneel after the Agnus Dei and throughout Communion; (xi) sit for the ablutions; (xii) stand at Dominus vobiscum before the Post-communion prayers; (xiii) stand during Post-communion prayer and the dismissal (Ite Missa est); (xiv) kneel for the final blessing; (xv) stand for the Last Gospel; (xvi) and stand for the recessional.”
Quite honestly, this seems much more intuitive to me than the current practices for Low Mass as proscribed in the ubiquitous red missalettes published by Coalition Ecclesia Dei (a group which should be thanked profusely for its immense contribution to the traditionalist movement in the United States). I’d be delighted to see this implemented in TLM communities, but I think it will take the leadership of priests to make this happen. It definitely won’t do to have individual worshipers taking this up on their own while everyone else follows the red missalettes!