Too many are under the mistaken assumption that the Holy Father knows everything that's going on. That he knows what every pastor is preaching. As Bishop of Rome, all he can do is direct the Bishops to carry out his directives. He cannot stay on top of them every minute. Therein lies the problem. Too many bishops do not take the Pope's words to heart or enforce what he has asked. A good example of this was his Apostolic Letter entitled "Ecclesia Dei" released way back on July 2, 1988 in which he addressed the issue of the Latin Mass and the whole problem with Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre. In his Motu Proprio the Holy Father requested that the bishops make the Latin Mass more available to the congregations. How many bishops have done this? How many have only made a token gesture by granting one parish in a vast diocese? The Pope even set up, through his Letter a Pontifical Commission to enact this. But Rome can only do so much. Holy Mother Church needs the cooperation of her shepherds.
And there are excellent shepherds out there who have responded to the Holy Father's directives. Men like Cardinal John O'Connor, Cardinal Anthony Bevilacqua, Cardinal Francis George, Archbishop Charles Chaput, Archbishop Justin Rigali, Archbishop Terrence McCarrick, Bishop John Myers, and Bishop Fabian Bruskewitz to name a few. In every one of these sees vocations are on the rise, the Church is becoming more vibrant, and more people are returning. Why? Because of their obedience and because they are emphasizing the Holy Eucharist. In these Archdioceses and Dioceses the concept of glad-handing, touchy-feeling actions, and liberal programs have been replaced by more knee-bending, more Dogma, more churches presenting the opportunity for adoration before the Blessed Sacrament...more of an awareness of the fact that Jesus Christ is there in the Tabernacle day and night. We've heard it said so often, that if Catholics really and truly believed He was there body and soul, we would never leave Him alone. This is true of many saints over the centuries. But today, two things have deterred that. One, many of us take Him for granted; two, many, many aren't even taught or reminded of the Eucharistic Mystery anymore. Too often He becomes only a "symbol" of Christ and not the actual Transubstantiation. This lack of educating the people translates into too many Catholics subscribing to "consubstantiation" which is the Protestant belief that Jesus is there but only spiritually present, not truly present physically body and blood, soul and Divinity. This heresy has permeated so many parishes that the line has been blurred. So many Catholics don't realize they're in error and resent us "upstarts" for trying to rock the boat. Folks, we're not rocking the boat, we're trying to recruit more passengers for the Barque of Peter. After all, that's the only safe passage through the rough, swirling waters of secularism today.
How do we wake up those other bishops, and sadly they are many, who are not in tune with the power of the Holy Eucharist? We can talk until we're blue in the face but if they're not listening to the Pope, do you think they're going to listen to the orthodox laity? No way, Jose! There is only one answer: Prayer! There's another way we can get the message across to our pastors. No Doctrine, no dollars! Too many are so concerned with the temporal concerns of their parishes that they've shortsheeted, so to speak, the spiritual concerns of their flocks. If you don't believe this, here's a litmus test: How many hours a week are confessions heard in your parish? If they only offer an hour on Saturday or even less, than your parish is in trouble. Consider how many flock to Holy Communion on Saturday night and Sunday and how the parishes today, to meet this demand, just recruit more Eucharistic ministers to distribute Communion. But where are they on Saturday? Is it apathy or ignorance? We believe both!
Why waste time with confession or Eucharistic Adoration when you can be doing something worthwhile like one of the many parish social activities and fund raisers? After all, isn't that what parish life is supposed to be today? If we sound facetious, we are. But sadly, many don't realize the fallacy of their misdirected emphasis. They really think those social functions are more important because they haven't been taught the basics, or, if they have been, they've forgotten it, allowing the liberal, progressive liturgical platform to color their thinking and slowly, but surely the memories of what the Roman Catholic Church stands for have lost focus.
We'll be talking more this year about Eucharistic Adoration and a return to the Novus Ordo the way Vatican II intended it: in both Latin and the vernacular as Mother Angelica's Monastery celebrates the Holy Mass and the way the Holy Father celebrates Mass. We would like to lay down the gauntlett right here and now to the bishops of the United States to permit and encourage the Latin Novus Ordo at least once a week in every parish, or if that is not possible, every deanery within the Diocese so those who long for reverence and the way the Mass should be said without all the distractions now so prevalent from new-age music to social sessions and hand-holding, can once again worship as they were taught in total accordance with the Second Vatican Council.
We attended Mass this past weekend at a neighboring parish and the pastor there, in addressing the Baptism of Our Lord in his homily, equated the change from the Old Covenant to the New Covenant with changes in the Church after Vatican II. According to him the Church for over 1,950 years was akin to the Old Testament but in 1965 every one saw the light and a new religion of the New Testament was formed. Please give us a break! Yet, even more sadly, the congregation was buying this garbage, hook, line and sinker. He went on to say that in those "dark ages" Latin was the only language allowed and the Mass was a private devotion where we were just there and not participating, didn't know what was going on or what the priest was doing. Pardon us, but we can remember learning about the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass in detail as early grade schoolers. While we may not have known word-for-word all the Latin prayers, we were imbued with a sense of reverence and awe for the Holy Mystery of the Mass and truly knew what it was all about. We weren't lost, as this priest witnessed in his homily, but were educated. Regretfully this catechetical teaching and respect for the Mystery of the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass was phased out after Vatican II. Do we blame the Council Fathers? No way! We blame the insipid "spirit of Vatican II" that, like a parasite, leeched onto the authority of the Magisterium and railroaded their own ideas through under the guise of Vatican II. Sorry, folks, but we still feel their actions were criminal and it's becoming more evident today than ever before. Slowly but surely the trees are being pruned and the bad ones, their shallow roots slowly but surely uncovered, are being exposed for the kindling they are because, as Our Lord says in Matthew 7: 18-19, "A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor can a bad tree bear good fruit. Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire." Are you ready for the bonfire!
St. Paul during this period of his missionary activity had rather thoroughly covered the territory in the eastern world, and was looking for new fields to evangelize in the West. He intended, accordingly, after visiting Jerusalem, to journey to Spain, stopping en route at Rome. In this letter he wished to inform the Romans of his intended visit and to set before them the fruits of his meditations on the great religious question of the day, justification by faith and the relation of this new system of salvation to the Mosaic religion.
Although he had previously dealt briefly with the question in the Epistle to the Galatians, St. Paul had not thus far had the apportunity of fully developing in writing his doctrine on this point. But now wishing to introduce himself to the Romans, he seized the opportunity of setting forth a lengthy statemtnt and defense of his doctrine, not only for the Romans but also for the various Christian communities throughout the world.
Tomorrow: First Corinthians
Death of Saint Leucius of Brindisi, who was the first Bishop of Brindisi. He was assigned there from Alexandria in Egypt by Pope Saint Soter. This St. Leucius is not to be confused with another St. Leucius from the 600's..
Death of Saint Alexander of Fermo, bishop of Fermo, Italy who became a martyr during the persecution of Roman emperor Decius.
Death of Pope Saint Miltiades, 32nd successor of Peter. This African-born pontiff was elected on July 2, 311 and it was during his papacy that the emperor Constantine, after his vision "in hoc signo vinces" issued his decree of tolerance for the Christian Faith. The blessed bread dates from Militiades pontificate and it was he who constructed, with the help of Constantine, the Basilica of St. John Lateran.
Death of Saint Palaemon, anchorite abbot who, with Saint Pachomius a former soldier, founded many hermitages. Palaemon was one of the first of the Egyptian hermits.
Death of Saint Honorata of Pavia Benedictine nun from Pavia, Italy. She was the sister of Saint Epiphanius, bishop who paid a ransom to the king of Heruli after the monarch had kidnapped her.
Death of Saint Theodosius of Cappadocia often called the "Cenobiarch." He was a lector who sought to be a hermit and sought out Saint Simon the Stylite in Antioch before moving on to the Holy Land where he died on this date in Bethlehem.
Death of Saint Anasasius of Castel Sant'Elia. This former notary of the Church became a Benedictine and was appointed abbot of the Castel Sant'Elia Monastery where he died on this date in 570.
Death of Saint Vitalis, Benedictine monk from Gaza. His later life as a religious was dedicated to ministering to harlots in an attempt to convince them to amend their ways. Many nights he would pay a prostitute in order that he might not sleep with her, but rather preach to her and be assured that, at least for one night, she would not be in sin. Many women were converted by his sincerity and genuine care for their souls.
Death of Pope John VI, 85th successor of Peter whose four-year pontificate experienced an extremely difficult period for Christianity. Rejected in the East and in Spain by the Saracens, John VI defended the prerogatives of the Church against the Byzantine Emperor, and ransomed many slaves.