Wednesday, May 23, 2018

Feast of Corpus Christi - Thursday, May 31 at 6PM



As is tradition, on Thursday, May 31, 2018, at 6PM, there will be a Solemn Mass to celebrate the Feast of Corpus Christi - on its traditional day.

Immediately following the Mass, there will be an outdoor Procession (with triple Benediction) around midtown Manhattan. This year will be Holy Innocents’ 9th annual outdoor Blessed Sacrament Procession for this traditional celebration.

Newly ordained Fr. Leo Joseph Camurati will be the Celebrant of this Solemn Mass. At the end of the Mass and Procession, Fr. Leo Joseph will confer his priestly blessing.

Tuesday, May 15, 2018

Absolving Penitents without Admonition

Question. A certain confessor enjoys quite a reputation for expediting matters in the confessional. As a rule, he pays no attention to the different classes of penitents who approach his confessional. He rarely asks a question; He allows the penitent to tell his sins without interruption, and then if he thinks him at all disposed, he absolves him immediately, without any word of instruction or admonition. On the vigils of great feasts, when the number of penitents is very great, he does not permit his penitents to make a full confession, but when they have told one or the other sin, he admonishes them to tell the rest of their sins in their next confession, and then absolves and dismisses them. He maintains that he is justified in acting thus, because otherwise he would never be able to hear all the people who come to him. To instruct or to admonish penitents in the confessional is not an essential part of the Sacrament of Penance, he says, nor is the confessor strictly bound to interrogate the penitent, provided the penitent confesses “materiam suficientem.” What must be thought of his method of action?
Answer. The practise of this confessor is certainly blameworthy, because he is neglecting certain strict obligations that are binding on the confessor's conscience.
First, as regards the practice of dismissing all penitents indiscriminately, without admonition or instruction. Benedict XIV, in his encyclical letter, Apostolica Constitutio, of July 26, 1749, issued for the jubilee of the following year, admonishes all confessors that they do not discharge the obligations of their office, but, on the contrary, that they are guilty of mortal sin, if, while sitting in the sacred tribunal of Penance, they show no solicitude for their penitents, but, without admonition or instruction, absolve them immediately they have finished the recital of their sins. The words of the Encyclical are as follows:
Ut meminerint suscepti muneris partes non implere, imo vera gravioris criminis reos esse eos omnes, qui cum in sacro Pœnitentiæ tribunali resident, pœnitentes audiunt, non monent, non interrogant, sed expleta criminum enumerations, absolutionis formam illico proferunt.
Every priest who exercises the ministry of the Sacrament of Penance is, according to the uniform teaching of the theologians, a teacher, a physician and a judge. As a teacher he is bound to instruct the penitent concerning the things that are, hic et nunc, required for the worthy reception of the Sacrament, as well as in the things he ought to know, in order to be able to lead a Christian life. As a physician of souls, he is required to investigate the causes of the spiritual illness of his penitents, that is to say, the nature and causes of their sins, in order to apply suitable spiritual remedies in each and every case. And, finally, as every judge is obliged to hear and to study the whole case of the culprit before him, to consider its various phases and to weigh justly all extenuating or aggravating circumstances before he renders a final judgment; so likewise does the office of the confessor require of him, as a judge in the court of conscience, that he study the state of the penitent’s conscience, and consider his dispositions and judge of his firm purpose of amendment, and then only to give or deny him absolution.
Now it is evident that the confessor mentioned in this case does not and cannot fulfil this threefold duty of teacher, physician and judge. His purpose is not to instruct and to heal and to judge; his purpose is to hear and to absolve as many penitents as possible. It stands to reason, of course, that where the number of those desiring to confess is very great, and they are for the most part pious souls, who are accustomed to approach the sacred tribunal of Penance frequently and have at the most only venial sins to confess, and the confessor knows that they are sufficiently instructed concerning the Sacrament of Penance, and rightly disposed, it stands to reason, I say, that the confessor may dispatch his work expeditiously, because such penitents do not need the spiritual care and help of the confessor in order to receive the Sacrament of Penance worthily and with profit.
But to proceed in the same manner with all penitents indiscriminately, whether they be known or unknown to the confessor, even with the ignorant and the poorly instructed, whether they confess mortal sins or venial sins, is certainly not to administer the Sacrament of Penance as we are bound by grave obligations to administer it. For experience proves that there are those who approach this holy tribunal unprepared, who have not sufficiently examined their conscience, who through false shame hesitate to confess certain sins, who are lacking in true contrition, though believing themselves contrite, because they have repeated orally the act of contrition. Now the prudent and careful confessor, whose earnest desire is to fulfil this holy ministry validly and licitly, with fruit and with profit, as the Church ordains that it shall be fulfilled, will endeavor to discover and correct the faults and defects and shortcomings of his penitents, by prudently questioning and instructing and disposing them, lest their confession be fruitless or even sacrilegious.
If the penitent confess mortal sins, he ought to be admonished of their heinousness, in order that he may be moved to realize his spiritual condition and abhor his sins and take the necessary means of shunning them in the future. If such penitents be absolved and dismissed incontinently from the sacred tribunal without a word of admonition or advice, they will very likely consider their sins of little consequence and never come to a realization of the necessity of correcting them, and thus will they speedily fall into them again.
Every confessor who has had experience of souls in the tribunal of Penance appreciates the gravity of this danger. For this very reason the Roman Ritual admonishes confessors to be careful to instruct their penitents regarding the condition of their souls, endeavoring to make them realize the number and gravity of their sins and to dispose them to contrition and a firm purpose of amendment.
“Demum, audita confessione, perpendens peccatorum, quae ille admisit, magnitudinem et multitudinem, pro eorum gravitate, ac penitentis conditione, opportune correptiones ac monitiones, prout opus esse viderit, paterna charitate adhibebit et ad dolorem et contritionem efdcacibus verbis adducere conabitur, atque ad vitam emendandam ac melius instituendam inducet, remediaque peccatorum tradet.”
The great number of penitents waiting to be heard does not excuse the confessor from the obligation of admonishing, correcting and disposing them, so that the reception of the Sacrament of Penance may be of benefit to them. St. Francis Xavier was accustomed to say that it was better to hear a few confessions, and to hear them well, than to hear a great many and to only half hear them. And St. Alfonsus says that it matters little whether there be others waiting to confess or whether some will be obliged to depart without being heard; for on the day of judgment the confessor will have to render an account of those he actually heard, and not of the others.
“Parum refert, quod alii expectant aut inconfessi discedant; confessarius enim de hoc tantum, qui sibi nunc confitetur, non vero de aliis, in die judicii rationem reddere debet” (Praxis confess. n.7).
Again it is quite blameworthy that the confessor, on the eves of great festivals, when the number of confessions is very great, should permit the penitent to confess only one or two sins and then absolve him, with the admonition to confess his other sins in his next confession. It is expressly stated in all moral theologies that the number of penitents desiring to be heard in confession can never be a valid or just reason for making only a partial confession, even though many must depart unheard and unshriven.
Under all such circumstances, a full and integral confession of all mortal sins is required of the penitent, sub gravi. The practice of absolving penitents without permitting them to confess all their mortal sins, because otherwise many must depart without absolution, is expressly condemned by Pope Innocent XI, in the 59th proscribed proposition.
“Licet sacramentaliter absolvere, dimidiate tantum confessos, ratione magni concursus penitentium, qualis v. g. potest contingere in die magnae alicujus festivitatis vel indulgentiæ.”
The reason why this proposition was condemned, says Billuart, is that the harm done by sending some penitents away unheard is not so great, as to justify a partial confession, especially when there is danger of absolving the unworthy, by reason of the precipitation with which the confessions are heard and the omission of a part of one’s sins.
~The Casuist, Volume II, 1908.

Thursday, April 19, 2018

Pope Paul VI ...

With the "imminent" decree of canonization for Pope Paul VI, below are two articles/blog posts about the man and his role in the liturgical changes: 
1) This article seems to provide excuses for Paul VI's actions with regards to liturgical changes, with which --it would appear--, he was not in agreement:
2) This blog post opposes the conclusions reached in the first one, particularly given the fact that Paul VI never publicly condemned or reversed any of the changes that bore his very signature:

It does seem "odd" that someone who does not want certain things to happen ends up being the one whose signature officially approves the unwanted things. ... It seems difficult to think that Paul VI willingly and knowingly approved what he thought deserved condemnation. After all, when he wanted to reprimand somebody or condemn something, he made it happen ... all one has to do is see how Archbishop Lefevbre was treated, or anyone who publicly opposed the changes Paul VI had already approved, not to mention how wonderfully Paul VI spoke of the fruits that would emerge from the new horizons that he was foreseeing.
Moreover, the way in which Paul VI dealt with Cardinal Mindszenty is still something that scandalizes any serious Catholic with a little bit of Catholic sense left in him -- it was a complete betrayal of the fight that the Cardinal had put up against communism for decades in order to ensure the survival of the Catholic faith under such savage regime.
Besides Humanæ Vitæ, can anyone really bring up anything else (positive) for which Paul VI's pontificate was known? Has the Catholic Church ever based Her decree of canonization on one (1) thing done by the person being added to the catalogue of Saints? Should every person believed to be in Heaven be declared a Saint ... should every Pope? We can think of a few Popes who are still (and have long been) waiting to be canonized, Popes with a better track record, as Popes and as fervent and devout men of prayer and undeniable holiness, than Paul VI.
It might be a good thing (some people might say) that the cult of canonized Saints is not a "big deal" in general. Very few canonized Popes receive much popular attention from the devout faithful after they are added to the catalogue of Saints (St. Pius V and St. Pius X) being very well known exceptions. And, let's be serious: Paul VI was not a Pius V, nor a Pius IX, nor a Pius X, nor a Gregory VII, either in his personal life nor in the exercise of the Pontificate entrusted to him.  

Paul VI celebrating the (immemorial?) New Order of Mass. At the time this photo was taken, the New Order was only a few years old, and its creators were still alive and kicking. 
[Protestant] Contributors to the creation of the New Mass ... forget about the way in which the New Order is ("unfortunately") celebrated ... what about the creation process? Who was involved? Why were non-Catholics part of that process?

One could complain about the way in which some priests celebrate the traditional Mass, but when would one find anybody seriously complaining about who created the traditional Mass (or how it came about), or even better, who could pinpoint the time/place when the traditional Mass was created and by whom?   
 Paul VI with Michael Ramsey, "Archbishop" of Canterbury.
Paul VI giving the said "Archbishop" of Canterbury the episcopal ring he used when he was Archbishop of Milan ... a strange present for somebody the Church has formally decreed possesses no Apostolic succession! Stranger still is from *whom* the present came. Such a meaningless dramatic gesture!
Paul VI meeting with Orthodox leaders.
In an attempt to show humility (?) and moved by strong emotions (?), Paul VI kneels to kiss the feet of Metropolitan Meliton ... we can think of another "famous" kiss (a little over two thousand years ago) that was a betrayal of betrayals.

Wednesday, April 11, 2018


“What is Charity? A supernatural habit of the mind whereby we love God above all things for His own sake, and ourselves and our neighbor for Him. It is a theological virtue [like Faith and Hope], but higher than they, and the only *eternal* one of the three. Faith and Hope will take us as far as the threshold of eternity, but when we actually enter it, they will have fallen away. Only of Charity St. Paul has said: ‘Charity never falleth away, never dies’; it is eternal, like God Himself, like the Holy Spirit Who pours it into our hearts; and of such surpassing excellence that only the Divine Spirit can infuse it; of a quality that no human force or even the strength of the Seraphim, the spirits of love, can impart to us.” ~Fr. Escribano
“Even supposing --an impossible supposition, of course-- that every virtue were enshrined in my soul, my whole existence a most fertile soil and limitless source of heroism, if I lack Charity, “nihil mihi prodest, nihil sum”; it would avail me nothing, I should count for nothing (Cor. xiii, 3). Charity is necessary --necessitate medii-- for my justification and salvation. Who does not love God is in sin.... Whoever appears before the Judgment-seat of God without the cloth-of-gold garment of divine love will have his part and lot with the hypocrites in the unquenchable fire.” ~Fr. Escribano
“O God, let the solemn, imperative, and burning proclamation which accompanied the issuing of the great precept of love on Mount Sinai serve to impel my entry into the Kingdom of those that love Thee: ‘Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with thy whole heart and with thy whole soul, and with thy whole strength and with thy whole mind’ (Deut. vi, 5)... ‘for this is the greatest and the first commandment’ (Matt. xxii, 37).” ~Fr. Escribano
“The act of least outward significance, for instance, to give someone a drink of water, if done out of supernatural charity is of greater value in the sight of the Supreme Judge than the tortures of a St. Laurence if endured without Charity.” ~Fr. Escribano
“...Because it is so necessary to love [to have Charity] in man’s life, God has imposed it upon him as a precept... and has placed it at the head of His commandments... and He has even summarized in it all the other (precepts). He who loves, keeps already all the other commandments.” ~Fr. Villar

Thursday, April 5, 2018

Pascha Nostrum Immolatus est Christus

Christ is risen!
This good news that concerns everyone who comes into the world must be announced incessantly by word and by pen, by telegraph, telephone, and radio, through books and through the theater, from the heights of the pulpit and through the microphones of popular assemblies, in the cities and on the highways, by television and in the darkened halls of the cinema, on the eight continents and in all languages, in verse and in prose, through didactic teaching and the evocative medium of poetry, in all varieties of literature and in all forms of uproar of this news:
Christ is risen!
~Fr. R. L. Bruckberger, The History of Jesus Christ (1965)

Thursday, March 15, 2018

The Holy Season of Lent

Condensed from The Liturgical Year by Abbot Guéranger OSB
The History of Lent
The forty days' fast, which we call Lent, is the Church's preparation for Easter, and was instituted at the very commencement of Christianity. In most languages, the name given to this fast expresses the number of days - forty, such as Quadragesima in Latin; the English word Lent signifies the Spring-fast, for Lenten-tide in the ancient Anglo-Saxon language, was the season of Spring. Our Blessed Lord Himself sanctioned this fast by fasting forty days and forty nights in the desert; and though He did not impose it on the world by an express commandment (which, in that case, could not have been open to the power of dispensation), yet He showed plainly enough, by His own example, that fasting, which God had so frequently ordered in the old Law, was to be practiced also by the children of the new.
The disciples of St. John the Baptist came, one day, to Jesus, and said to Him, "Why do we and the Pharisees fast often, but Thy disciples do not fast?" And Jesus said to them, "Can the children of the Bridegroom mourn, as long as the Bridegroom is with them? But the days will come, when the Bridegroom shall be taken away from them, and then they shall fast." (Matt. 9, 14-15)
Hence we find it mentioned, in the Acts of the Apostles, how the disciples of Our Lord, after the foundation of the Church, applied themselves to fasting. In their Epistles, also, they recommended it to the faithful. Nor could it be otherwise. Though the divine mysteries whereby Our Savior wrought our Redemption have been consummated, yet we are still sinners; and where there is sin, there must be expiation.
The Apostles, therefore, legislated for our weakness by instituting, at the very commencement of the Christian Church, that the solemnity of Easter should be preceded by a universal fast; and it was only natural that they should have made this period of penance to consist of forty days, seeing that Our Divine Master had consecrated that number by His own fast. St. Jerome, St. Leo the Great, St. Cyril of Alexandria, St. Isidore of Seville, and others of the Fathers of the Church, assure us that Lent was instituted by the Apostles, although, at the beginning, there was no uniform way of observing it.
Thus the Eastern Rites begin Lent much earlier than the Latin, owing to their custom of never fasting on Saturdays. This is the origin of the Latin Rite's Septuagesima, which roughly corresponds to the beginning of the Eastern Lent. We see also that the Latin Rite - which, even as late as the sixth century, kept only thirty-six fasting days during the six weeks of Lent (for the Church has never allowed Sundays to be kept as days of fast) - thought it proper to add, later on, the last four days of Quinquagesima, in order that her Lent, beginning with Ash Wednesday, might contain forty days of fast.
St. Basil, St. John Chrysostom, St. Jerome, and St. Gregory the Great, make the remark, that the commandment put upon our first parents was one of abstinence; and that it was by their not exercising this virtue, that they brought every kind of evil upon themselves and upon us their children. The life of privation, which the king of creation, Adam, had thenceforward to lead on this earth (for the earth was to yield him nothing of its natural growth, save thorns and thistles), was the clearest possible exemplification of the law of penance imposed by the anger of God on rebellious man.
When God mercifully shortened man's ordinary life span, that so he might have less time and power for sin, He permitted him to eat the flesh of animals, as an additional nourishment in that state of deteriorating strength. Fasting, then, includes abstinence from such nourishment as this. Its privation is essential to the very notion of fasting.
Fasting also includes the depriving ourselves of some portion of our ordinary food, inasmuch as it allows only one full meal during the day. It was the custom with the Jews, in the old Law, not to take the one meal allowed on fast days, till sunset. The Christian Church adopted the same custom. It was scrupulously practiced for many centuries. But about the ninth century some relaxation began to be introduced in the Latin Church, and the custom, though resisted at first, gradually spread of taking the repast after the hour of None, that is, about three in the afternoon. By the late thirteenth century, even this was considered too severe, and a still further relaxation was deemed necessary - that of breaking the fast after the hour of Sext, or after noon.
But whilst this relaxation of taking the repast so early in the day as noon rendered fasting less difficult in one way, it made it more severe in another - by evening the body had grown exhausted by the labors of the day. It was found necessary to grant some refreshment for the evening, and it was called a collation. The word was taken from the Benedictine rule, which allows wine to be taken in the evening on fast days outside of Lent. It was the custom to read from the Collationes of Cassian during this refreshment; thus the name. Shortly after the death of St. Karl the Great, the Chapter of Aachen extended this indulgence to the Lenten fast. By the fifteenth century, it was permitted to take a morsel of bread with the wine, so the monks would not be obliged to take wine on an empty stomach. These mitigations gradually found their way from the cloister to the world, and eventually a second collation was permitted - so long as the two collations together did not constitute a full meal. Eventually, a variety of foods, besides bread, were permitted at the collations, with the exception of meat. Beverages were permitted between meals.
Thus did the decay of piety, and the general deterioration of bodily strength among the people of the western nations, infringe on the primitive observance of fasting. To make our history of these humiliating changes anything like complete, we must mention further relaxations. For many centuries eggs and dairy foods were not allowed, because they came under the class of animal food. Beginning with the ninth century, dairy foods were gradually permitted, especially in northern Europe. The Churches of France resisted this custom until the seventeenth century.
In earlier ages, even princes had difficulty in obtaining dispensations. Wenceslaus, king of Bohemia, being seized with a malady which rendered it dangerous to his health to take the Lenten diet, applied, in the year 1297, to Pope Boniface VIII, for permission to eat meat. The Pontiff commissioned two Cistercian abbots to inquire into the real state of the prince's health; they were to grant the dispensation if they found it necessary, but only on condition that the king had not taken a vow to observe the fast for life, that he must abstain from meat on Fridays, Saturdays and the vigil of St. Matthias, and that he must not take his meal in the presence of others and was to observe moderation in what he took. But after the fifteenth century, dispensations became increasingly easy to obtain. Eventually eggs and even meat were widely permitted on most of the Lenten fast days. Pope Benedict XIV lamented this general relaxation in an encyclical in 1741, and, in 1745, he renewed the prohibition of eating fish and meat at the same meal - but even this prohibition has been generally relaxed.
How few Christians do we meet who are strict observers of Lent, even in its present mild form! What comparison can be made between the Christians of former times, who, deeply impressed with the fear of God's judgments and with the spirit of penance, happily went through these forty days, and those of modern times, when love of pleasure and self-indulgence are forever lessening man's horror for sin? Where is now that simple and innocent joy at Easter, which our forefathers used to show, when, after their severe fast of Lent, they partook of substantial and savory food? The peace, which long and sharp mortification ever brings to the conscience, gave them the capability, not to say the right, of being light-hearted as they returned to the comforts of life, which they had denied themselves in order to spend forty days in penance, recollection, and retirement from the world.
In the "ages of faith", Lent was a season during which, not only all amusements and theatrical entertainments were forbidden by the civil authority, but even the law courts were closed; and this in order to secure that peace and calm of heart, which is so indispensable for the soul's self-examination and reconciliation with her offended Maker. Hunting, too, was for many ages considered forbidden during Lent. Even war, which is sometimes so necessary for the welfare of a nation, was suspended during this holy season. Indeed, in the eleventh century, the institution called "God's truce" became widespread, which forbade the carrying of arms from Wednesday evening until Monday morning throughout the year. St. Edward the Confessor, King of England, decreed that God's truce should be observed without cessation from the beginning of Advent through the Octave of Easter and from the Ascension through the Octave of Pentecost, as well as on all Ember days and Vigils, beside the days already prescribed.
Thus did the secular world testify its respect for the holy observances of Lent, and borrow some of its wisest institutions from the seasons and feasts of the liturgical year. The influence of this forty days' penance was great, too, on each individual. It renewed man's energies, gave him fresh vigor in battling with his animal instincts, and, by the restraint it put upon sensuality, ennobled the soul. There was restraint everywhere; and the present discipline of the Church, which forbids the solemnization of marriage during Lent, reminds Christians of that holy continency, which, for many ages, was observed during the whole forty days as a precept, and of which the most sacred of the liturgical books, the Missale Romanum, still retains the recommendation. The final rubric of the Nuptial Mass states: Let the priest admonish them, in grave words…to remain chaste during the time of prayer, especially fasts and solemnities…(such as on liturgical vigils and during the penitential seasons of Lent and Advent.)
In closing, we extract from the encyclical of Pope Benedict XIV, cited above: The observance of Lent is the very badge of the Christian warfare. By it we prove ourselves not to be enemies of Christ. By it we avert the scourges of divine justice. By it we gain strength against the princes of darkness, for it shields us with heavenly help. Should mankind grow remiss in their observance of Lent, it would be a detriment to God's glory, a disgrace to the Catholic religion, and a danger to Christian souls. Neither can it be doubted that such negligence would become the source of misery to the world, of public calamity, and of private woe.
More than two hundred years have elapsed since this solemn warning of the Vicar of Christ was given to the world; and during that time, the relaxation he inveighed against has gone on gradually increasing. The result of this ever-growing spirit of immortification has been a general laxity of character, which has led to frightful social disorders. The sad predictions of Pope Benedict XIV are but too truly verified. Every nation among whose people the spirit and practice of penance are extinct, are heaping against themselves the wrath of God, and provoking His justice to destroy them by one or other of these scourges - civil disorder or conquest.
It is sad and humiliating to note that as laxities were introduced by the hierarchy and local churches into the laws of fasting and practices of severe penance, the members of the Church have suffered immeasurable spiritual loss - a loss of at least part of the rigor of those sacred times set apart to cleanse their bodies and souls of imperfections and the corrupting spirit of the world. In our modern times, the spread of permissiveness, liberalism, deterioration of morality and the general practices of purity, have led to a spirit of relaxation and the loss of a general effort, on the part of the faithful, to strive for a life of holiness and of union with God through the practices of self-denial, mortification, piety and renouncement of the spirit of the world - a spirit which is opposed to the spirit of a true Christian life and the very possibility of eternal salvation.