Sunday, November 22, 2020

SAINT JOSEPH


"What a happiness, not only to see Jesus Christ, but also to hear him: to carry him in his arms, to lead him from place to place, to embrace and caress him, to feed him, and to be privy to all the great secrets which were concealed from the princes of this world! O astonishing elevation! O unparalleled dignity, that the mother of God, Queen of heaven, should call you her lord; that God himself, made man, should call you father, and obey your commands. O glorious Triad on earth, Jesus, Mary, Joseph, how dear a family to the glorious Trinity in heaven, Father, Son, and Holy Ghost! Nothing is on earth so great, so good, so excellent." 

 Saint Bernard

Tuesday, November 17, 2020

THERE IS NO TRUE CHRISTIANITY WITHOUT THE CROSS


"If at any time, my brother, anyone should persuade you, be he a prelate or not, of a doctrine that is wider and more pleasant, do not believe him, and do not accept the doctrine even if he were to confirm it with miracles, but rather penance and more penance and detachment from all things. And never, if you wish to possess Christ, seek him without the cross."

 Saint John of the Cross

Thursday, November 12, 2020

SAINT DOMINIC’S ADVICE



There was a woman who was such a devout and fervent Catholic that amazed the most austere religious of the Church of God with her holy life.  

She wanted to talk to Saint Dominic. She went to Confession with him, and the saint gave her as penance only one Rosary, and he ADVISED her to pray it every day. The woman excused herself by saying that she was wearing a cilice, that she scourged herself several times a week, that she fasted almost every day, and did countless other penances. Saint Dominic urged her repeatedly to follow his advice, but she did not want to listen; she retired extremely shocked by the behavior of her new director, who wanted to persuade her to a devotion that did not please her.

One day, while being in prayer, and rapt in ecstasy, she saw her soul was brought before the Supreme Judge. Saint Michael raised the scales, put all her penances and prayers on one plate, and on the other her sins and imperfections; the plate of good works could not counteract the other; alarmed, she asked for mercy; she addressed the Blessed Virgin Mary, her defender, who put on the plate of good works the only Rosary that she had prayed as penance; and its weight was such that it counteracted that of her sins; the Blessed Virgin rebuked her at the same time for not having followed the advice of her server Saint Dominic to pray the Holy Rosary every day. When she regained consciousness, she went to throw herself at the feet of Saint Dominic, and told him what had happened, asked for his forgiveness for her disbelief and promised to pray the Rosary every day. By this means, she came to Christian perfection, and later to eternal glory. 

Friday, November 6, 2020

SHEEP OR WOLVES

 


“For so long as we are sheep, we conquer: though ten thousand wolves prowl around, we overcome and prevail. But if we become wolves, we are worsted, for the help of our Shepherd (Jesus Christ) departs from us: for He feeds not wolves, but sheep: and He forsakes thee, and retires, for neither dost thou allow His might to be shown.”

 Saint John Chrysostom

Sunday, November 1, 2020

SAME‐SEX CIVIL UNIONS AND THE CATHOLIC FAITH

 


INTRODUCTION BY CATHOLICITY

 It should be noted that the personal opinions expressed by a Pope in an interview are not infallible nor do they express the Magisterium of the Church if what is said does not coincide with it. This is the case of the recent opinions of Pope Francis regarding homosexuality. Although it is true that in the first part of the interview -in which the Pope claims the right for homosexuals to be part of the family they were born in- has been distorted, with malicious intent, by the news media that presented it as referring to homosexual relationships, it is also true that he asserted the following that totally contradicts Catholic doctrine:

 “What we have to have is a civil coexistence law; they have the right to be legally covered.” 

 This is literally the unorthodox expression in the second part to the reporter's question about whether homosexuals can bring their children to church. The Pope does not answer the question, instead he starts talking about the exclusion of homosexuals from the family in which they were born, as the first part of the answer. And there is a pause after which the Pope asks again for "a law of civil coexistence." 

 Rome Reports, the Vatican's digital news newspaper, thus interpreted Pope Francis's statements regarding homosexual couples, with the following title: "Pope Francis says same-sex couples have a right to be legally covered."

 Bishop Víctor Manuel Fernández, Archbishop of La Plata and theological advisor to Pope Francis, interpreted it this way: "Coexistence and Civil Unions are the same for the Pope.” https://www.aciprensa.com/noticias/conntación-y-union-civil-son-lo-mismo-para-el-papa-explica-arzobispo-asesor-de-francisco-20110 

 The Church is made up of the hierarchy and the Catholic faithful, the Pope only represents Christ, he is the Vicar of Christ, servant of Christ. He cannot replace Christ, nor contradict Him, on the contrary, his function is to strengthen the sheep in the faith of Christ and keep it INTEGRAL and INTACT. 

 The correct stance to address this problem should be: 
 1. Never ignore the Authority of the Pope.
 2. Reaffirm our filial reverence for the Pontiff.
 3. Recognize that there is a serious crisis due to his statements and the documents he has published that derive from and exaggerate previous Modernist errors. 
4. Through prudent and respectful action, conclude that it is not possible to accept what is objectively contrary to the teachings of the Catholic Church.
 5. It is necessary to opt for a healthy, respectful and filial resistance, and to prudently make known and warn others what goes against the two thousand-year teachings of the Catholic Church in order to remain firmly faithful to them and, therefore, faithful to Christ and to His Catholic, Apostolic and Roman Church. Below we include a very important article by Bishop Athanasius Schneider that extraordinarily clarifies the Catholic doctrine and a truly Catholic position.

 SAME-SEX CIVIL UNIONS AND THE CATHOLIC FAITH 
By Bishop Athanasius Schneider 

 The Catholic Faith in the voice of the perennial Magisterium, the sense of the faith of the faithful (sensus fidelium) as well as common sense clearly reject any civil union of two persons of the same sex, a union which has the aim that these persons seek sexual pleasure from each other. Even if persons living in such unions should not engage in mutual sexual pleasure — which in reality has been shown to be quite unrealistic — such unions represent a great scandal, a public recognition of sins of fornication against nature and a continuous proximate occasion of sin. Those who advocate same-sex civil unions are therefore also culpable of creating a kind of structure of sin, in this case of the juridical structure of habitual fornication against nature, since homosexual acts belong to sins which cry to heaven, as the Catechism of the Catholic Church says (see n. 1867). 

Every true Catholic, every true Catholic priest, every true Catholic bishop must with deep sorrow and a weeping heart regret and protest against the unheard fact, that Pope Francis, the Roman Pontiff, the successor of the apostle Peter, the Vicar of Christ on earth, uttered in the documentary film “Francesco” that premiered on October 21st 2020 as part of the Rome Film Festival his support for civil same-sex unions. Such support of the pope means support for a structure of sin, for a lifestyle against the sixth Commandment of the Decalogue, which was written with the fingers of God on stone tables on Sinai (see Ex. 31:18) and delivered by the hands of Angels to men (see Gal. 3:19). 

 What God has written with His hand, even a pope cannot erase nor rewrite with his hand or with his tongue. The Pope cannot behave as if he were God or an incarnation of Jesus Christ, modifying these words of the Lord: “You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall not commit adultery.’ But I say to you that everyone who looks at a woman with lustful intent has already committed adultery with her in his heart.” (Mt 5:27-28) and instead of this say, more or less, the following: “You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall not commit adultery’, ‘if a man lies with a male as with a woman, both of them have committed an abomination’ (Lev. 20:13), ‘men who practice homosexuality will not inherit the kingdom of God’ (1 Cor. 6:9); ‘the practice of homosexuality is contrary to sound doctrine’ (1 Tim. 1:10). But I say to you that for persons who feel same-sex attraction “we have to create a civil union law. That way they are legally covered”.

 Every Shepherd of the Church and the Pope above all should always remind others of these serious words of Our Lord: “Anyone who sets aside one of the least of these commands and teaches others accordingly will be called least in the kingdom of heaven” (Mt. 5:19). Every pope has to take very much to heart what the First Vatican Council proclaimed: “The Holy Spirit was not promised to the successors of Peter that by His revelation they might make known new doctrine, but that by His assistance they might inviolably keep and faithfully expound Revelation, the Deposit of Faith, delivered through the Apostles.” (Dogmatic Constitution Pastor aeternus, chap. 4).

 The advocating of a legal union so that a lifestyle against the explicit Commandment of God, against human nature and against human reason will be legally covered, is a new doctrine, which “sews cushions under every elbow and makes pillows for the heads of persons” (Ez. 13:18), a new doctrine that “perverts the grace of our God into sexual pleasure” (Jude 4), a doctrine which is evidently against Divine Revelation and the perennial teaching of the Church of all times. Such a doctrine is scheming with sin, and is therefore a most anti-pastoral measure.

To promote a juridical lifestyle of sin is against the core of the Gospel itself, since persons in same-sex unions through their sexual acts grievously offend God. Our Lady of Fatima made the maternal appeal to all humanity to stop offending God, who is already too much offended. 

 The following voice of the Magisterium, is faithfully echoing the voice of Jesus Christ, Our Divine Master, the Eternal Truth, and the voice of the Church and the popes of all times: 

 • “Civil law cannot contradict right reason without losing its binding force on conscience.” (cf. John Paul II, Encyclical Evangelium vitae, 72).

• “Laws in favor of homosexual unions are contrary to right reason because they confer legal guarantees, analogous to those granted to marriage, to unions between persons of the same sex. Given the values at stake in this question, the State could not grant legal standing to such unions without failing in its duty to promote and defend marriage as an institution essential to the common good” (Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, Considerations regarding proposals to give legal recognition to unions between homosexual persons, n. 6) 

• “It might be asked how a law can be contrary to the common good if it does not impose any particular kind of behavior, but simply gives legal recognition to a de facto reality which does not seem to cause injustice to anyone. In this area, one needs first to reflect on the difference between homosexual behavior as a private phenomenon and the same behavior as a relationship in society, foreseen and approved by the law, to the point where it becomes one of the institutions in the legal structure. This second phenomenon is not only more serious, but also assumes a more far-reaching and profound influence, and would result in changes to the entire organization of society, contrary to the common good. Civil laws are structuring principles of man’s life in society, for good or for ill. They “play a very important and sometimes decisive role in influencing patterns of thought and behavior”. Lifestyles and the underlying presuppositions these express not only externally shape the life of society, but also tend to modify the younger generation’s perception and evaluation of forms of behavior. Legal recognition of homosexual unions would obscure certain basic moral values and cause a devaluation of the institution of marriage.” (ibid.) 

 • “Sexual relations are human when and insofar as they express and promote the mutual assistance of the sexes in marriage and are open to the transmission of new life.” (ibid., n. 7) 

 • “By putting homosexual unions on a legal plane analogous to that of marriage and the family, the State acts arbitrarily and in contradiction with its duties.” (ibid., n. 8)

 • “The denial of the social and legal status of marriage to forms of cohabitation that are not and cannot be marital is not opposed to justice; on the contrary, justice requires it. There are good reasons for holding that such unions are harmful to the proper development of human society, especially if their impact on society were to increase.” (ibid.) 

 • “It would be gravely unjust to sacrifice the common good and just laws on the family in order to protect personal goods that can and must be guaranteed in ways that do not harm the body of society” (ibid., n. 9) 

 • There is always “a danger that legislation which would make homosexuality a basis for entitlements could actually encourage a person with a homosexual orientation to declare his homosexuality or even to seek a partner in order to exploit the provisions of the law” (Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, Some considerations concerning the response to legislative proposals on the non-discrimination of homosexual persons, July 24, 1992, n. 14) 

 All Catholics whether they be lay faithful as little children, as young men and young women, as fathers and mothers of family, or as consecrated persons, as cloistered nuns, as priests and as bishops, are inviolably keeping and “fighting for the faith which was once and for ever delivered to the Saints,” (Jude 3), and who are for this reason despised and marginalized at the periphery in the life of the Church of our days, should weep and cry to God that, through the powerful intercession of the Immaculate Heart of Mary, who in Fatima said that people should stop offending God, who is already too offended, Pope Francis may convert and retract formally his approval for the civil same-sex unions, in order to confirm his brethren, as the Lord has commanded him (see Luke 22:32). 

 All these little ones in the Church (children, young men, young women, fathers and mothers of family, cloistered nuns, priests, bishops) would surely say to Pope Francis: Most Holy Father, for the sake of the salvation of your own immortal soul, for the sake of the souls of all those persons who through your approval of the same-sex unions are by their sexual acts grievously offending God and exposing their souls to the danger to be eternally lost, convert, retract your approval and proclaim with all your predecessors the following unchangeable teaching of the Church: 

 “The Church teaches that respect for homosexual persons cannot lead in any way to approval of homosexual behavior or to legal recognition of homosexual unions.” (Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, Considerations regarding proposals to give legal recognition to unions between homosexual persons, n. 11)

 “Legal recognition of homosexual unions or placing them on the same level as marriage would mean not only the approval of deviant behavior, with the consequence of making it a model in present-day society, but would also obscure basic values which belong to the common inheritance of humanity. The Church cannot fail to defend these values, for the good of men and women and for the good of society itself.” (ibid., n. 11)

 By the incredible approval of same-sex unions through the pope, all the true children of the Church feel like orphans, no more hearing the clear and unambiguous voice of the Pope, who should inviolably keep and faithfully expound Revelation, the Deposit of Faith, delivered through the Apostles.

 The true children of the Church of our days might use these words of Psalm 137, saying: We feel as if in exile, by the rivers of Babylon, weeping when remembering Zion, when remembering the luminous and crystal-clear teaching of the popes, of our Holy Mother Church. Yet we unshakably believe in the words of Our Lord, that the gates of hell will not prevail against His Church. 

 The Lord will come, even if He will come late, only in the fourth watch of the night, to calm the storm within the Church, to calm the storm within the papacy of our days, and He will say: “Take heart; it is I. Do not be afraid. O you of little faith, why did you doubt? And when they got into the boat, the wind ceased.” (Mt. 14:27;32-33).

 Our Lord will say also to Pope Francis: “For what does it profit a man, if he gains the whole world, and suffers the loss of his own soul? Or what exchange shall a man give for his soul? For the Son of man shall come in the glory of his Father with his angels: and then will he render to every man according to his works.” (Mt. 16:26-27); and Our Lord will say in addition to Pope Francis: “I have prayed that your own faith may not fail; and that once you have converted, you must strengthen your brothers” (Luke 22:32)

 October 22, 2020 

 + Athanasius Schneider, Auxiliary Bishop of the archdiocese of Saint Mary in Astana * 

Monday, October 26, 2020

US AND 31 COUNTRIES SIGN A DECLARATION REJECTING THE SO CALLED "HUMAN RIGHT" TO THE CRIME OF ABORTION

Washington, D.C. Newsroom, Oct 22, 2020 / 01:00 pm MT (CNA).- The United States hosted the signing ceremony of the Geneva Consensus Declaration on Thursday. The document rejects the claim that abortion is an international human right. 

 “Today we put down a clear marker; no longer can UN agencies reinterpret and misinterpret agreed-upon language without accountability,” said Secretary of Health and Human Services Alex Azar during the ceremony Oct. 22.

 “Without apology we affirm that governments have the soverign right to make their own laws to protect innocent life and write their regulations on abortion” Azar said.

 “In signing the declaration today, the United States is honored to stand alongside Brazil, Egypt, Hungary, Indonesia, and Uganda, the cross-regional cosponsors for the declaration,” he said. A total of 32 countries have signed onto the declaration.

 Azar called the signing the “high point” of his time leading the department, and noted that countries who have not yet signed the document can still do so. 

 “The Geneva Consensus Declaration is a historic document, stating clearly where we as nations stand on women’s health, the family, honoring life, and defending national sovereignty,” said Azar, calling it “much more than a statement of beliefs.” 

“It is a critical and useful tool to defend these principles across all United Nations bodies and in every multilateral setting, using language previously agreed to by member states of those bodies,” he explained.

 The declaration was written partially in response to a “disturbing trend” in the United Nations, he said. 

 “With increasing frequency, some rich nations and UN agencies beholden to them are wrongly asserting [that] abortion is a universal human right.” 

 Azar said that these policies have the effect of forcing countries to implement “progressive” abortion laws or face the loss of funding or international standing. He accused some nations of having a “myopic focus on a radical agenda that is offensive to many cultures, and derails agreement on women’s health priorities.” 

 The coalition of signing countries “will hold multilateral organizations accountable,” he explained, by denouncing these organizations for “promoting positions that can never gain consensus.” 

 “We will unequivocally declare that there is no international right to abortion. We will proudly put women’s health first at every stage of life,” he said. 

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo also spoke at the signing ceremony, calling the declaration a “deep and personal commitment to protect human dignity” and “the culmination of lots of hard work.” 

Pompeo highlighted the Trump administration’s “unprecedented defense of the unborn abroad,” and said that “the United States has defended the dignity of human life everywhere and always” over the last four years.

 “It’s historic to be here,” he said. “It’s the first time that a multilateral coalition has been built around the issue of defending life.” The Geneva Consensus Declaration, said Pompeo, is a “commitment to work together at the UN and in other international settings to achieve tangible results,” something he is “confident” will happen. He added that he was “truly proud” of the work being done.

 Valerie Huber, Special Representative for Global Women's Health at U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), provided background of the declaration.

 The declaration, Huber explained, was intended to be signed at the culmination of the World Health Assembly’s global women’s health summit, which was canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

 “We decided to move forward with the declaration now, because accelerating health gains for women cannot wait,” said Huber. 

 “Supporting the intrinsic value of the family cannot wait. Protecting life born and unborn, and the sovereignty of nations to make their own laws on this issue cannot wait.” 

 Originally posted on CNA. 

Thursday, October 8, 2020

OCTOBER 7th, ANNIVERSARY OF THE VICTORY OF THE BLESSED VIRGIN MARY IN THE NAVAL BATTLE OF LEPANTO


On October 7, 1571, the fleet of the Holy League, under the command of Don Juan de Austria, defeated the Turkish army in the naval battle of Lepanto. This triumph was achieved thanks to the fact that the Holy Father Saint Pius V together with all Christendom prayed the Holy Rosary, asking for the intercession of the Blessed Virgin Mary. Due to her intercession, Christendom, whose fleets and troops were much less in number, achieved the triumph over the Turks. In gratitude to the Blessed Virgin, the feast of Our Lady of the Rosary was instituted on this date.

Tuesday, October 6, 2020

EXTERNAL WORSHIP MUST BE AN EXPRESSION OF INTERNAL WORSHIP



Lately there is a much talk about the importance of inner attitude and inner worship. Above all of the modesty and way of receiving communion (the Body of Christ in the consecrated host). The importance and necessity of the EXTERNAL is left aside without understanding that this aspect complements and significantly helps the internal disposition.

There are some who believe that the external is not important or is not SO necessary, and what is worse, they make reckless JUDGMENTS against those who fight for the external, calling them Pharisees for worrying about external modesty in clothing, and/or way of receiving our Lord by receiving communion in the mouth and kneeling down. Thus, they fall into serious reckless judgments since the internal aspect and intentions of people are not known and therefore should not be judged. The interior is not visible, but the exterior is. In fact, the internal is reflected in the EXTERNAL as Christ points out in the example of the Pharisee and the Publican, where the former, proud and STANDING, boasted of his "qualities" and "perfections", while the KNEELING publican humbly manifested himself as a great sinner. As can be seen in this case, the internal attitude was shown and also corresponded with the external one. As is it known, the one who came out of the temple justified was the Publican. 

Even many saints have explained the correspondence that exists between the external and internal attitude, since one helps the other and, in turn, is a manifestation of the most important thing that is our ultimate and genuine intention. 

Hence, how important it is to highlight what the Church commands us, which not only indicates the need for internal worship, but also for a correct EXTERNAL worship, since both are necessary to please God as we will see below. 

What the Catechism of Saint Pius X tells us: 

Q. Is it not enough internally to adore God with the heart alone? 
A. No, it is not enough internally to adore God with the heart alone; WE MUST ALSO ADORE HIM EXTERNALLY WITH BOTH SOUL AND BODY, because He is the Creator and absolute Lord of both.  

Q. How do we fulfill the First Commandment? 
A. We fulfill the First Commandment by the practice of internal and EXTERNAL worship. Let’s see what the same Catechism says with regard to the Eucharist and the form of receiving Communion:

Q. OUGHT THE EUCHARIST BE ADORED? 
A. The Eucharist OUGHT TO BE ADORED BY ALL, BECAUSE IT CONTAINS REALLY, TRULY, AND SUSBTANTIALLY, OUR LORD JESUS CHRIST HIMSELF. 

Q. What do the words: To receive Holy Communion with devotion mean?
A. To receive Holy Communion with devotion means to approach Holy Communion with humility and MODESTY in person and DRESS; and to make a preparation before, and an act of thanksgiving after, Holy Communion. 
 
Q. How should we act while receiving Holy Communion? 
A. In the act of receiving Holy Communion we should be KNEELING, hold our head slightly raised, our eyes modest and fixed on the sacred Host, our MOUTH sufficiently open, and the tongue slightly out over the lips.  

(Catechism of Pope Saint Pius X) 

As we can see, it talks about the need for both the internal and the EXTERNAL, since both aspects complement each other. 

What does Pope Pius XII's encyclical Mediator Dei tell us about the importance and necessity of the internal and the EXTERNAL? 
 
II. The liturgy, internal and external worship 

A) External worship 

23. The worship rendered by the Church to God must be, in its entirety, interior as well as exterior. It is exterior because the nature of man as a composite of body and soul requires it to be so. Likewise, because divine Providence has disposed that "while we recognize God visibly, we may be drawn by Him to love of things unseen." Every impulse of the human heart, besides, expresses itself naturally through the senses; and the worship of God, being the concern not merely of individuals but of the whole community of mankind, must therefore be social as well. This obviously it cannot be unless religious activity is also organized and manifested outwardly. Exterior worship, finally, reveals and emphasizes the unity of the mystical Body, feeds new fuel to its holy zeal, fortifies its energy, intensifies its action day by day: "for although the ceremonies themselves can claim no perfection or sanctity in their won right, they are, nevertheless, the outward acts of religion, designed to ROUSE THE HEART, like signals of a sort, to veneration of the sacred realities, and to RAISE THE MIND to meditation on the supernatural. They serve to FOSTER PIETY, to KINDLE THE FLAME OF CHARITY, to INCREASE OUR FAITH and deepen our devotion. They provide instruction for simple folk, decoration for divine worship, continuity of religious practice. They make it possible to tell genuine Christians from their false or heretical counterparts."

What do the Saints say? 

Saint Francis of Assisi said: “Preach at all times. When necessary, use words.” 

What does this mean?
That with the external we preach at ALL times, and words should be used only when necessary. That is, the external speaks louder than words, even the internal is reflected in the external. 

For good reason it is said: Actions speak louder than words 

Saint Jerome said: 
“Either we must speak as we dress, or dress as we speak. Why do we profess one thing and display another?
The tongue talks of chastity, but the whole body reveals impurity.”

(This applies where there is a contradiction between the internal and the external, because both must go hand in hand, or we would be hypocrites, like the Pharisees. Many ignorant believe that only the internal is enough and that it is not necessary to demonstrate with external actions what we teach). 

"Being careless EXTERNALLY IS A SIGN OF INNER NEGLECT" 
Saint Benedict 

 "The honor of the Ministers of Christ is to follow their Lord, not only on the inside, but also on the OUTSIDE".
- Saint John of Avila. 

Lastly, Catholic doctrine is very well explained in Father Hilaire's book Demonstrated Religion: 

NATURE OF RELIGION: INTERNAL, EXTERNAL AND PUBLIC WORSHIP 

66. Q. What are the essential elements of all religion? 
A. There are three essential elements that make up the background of all religion. They all have truths to believe, laws to keep, and worship to render to God. Three words express these three elements: dogma, morality and worship. 

Religion is the totality of man's duties towards God. Man owes his Creator the homage of his different faculties. He must use his intelligence to know him, his will to keep his laws, his heart and his body to honor him with a suitable worship. Such is the intimate reason for these three essential elements of all religion. 

67. Q. How does man manifest his religion?
A. Man's relationship with God must be translated by internal feelings and external acts, which take the name of worship. Worship is the homage that a creature pays to God. It consists of the fulfillment of all his religious duties. 

There are three classes of worship: the internal worship, the external one and the public or social one. These three types of worship are necessary. 

Religion is not a purely theoretical science; it is not enough to recognize the greatness of God and the ties that unite us to Him: there must be, on the part of man, a real homage of adoration, respect and love towards God: that is worship.

We must honor and respect all people who are superior to us, either for their merits, for their dignity, or their power. Worship is the honor, the respect, the praise that we owe to God. Worship, then, is nothing other than the exercise or practice of religion that certain authors define: The worship of God. 

1. Internal worship consists of the homages of adoration, of love and submission that our soul offers to God, without manifesting them externally through sensible acts. 

This internal worship constitutes the very essence of religion; therefore, it is as necessary and as obligatory as religion itself. Any external tribute that does not derive from the feelings of the soul, would be nothing more than a hypocritical demonstration, an insult more than a tribute. God is a spirit, and above all, he wants worshipers in spirit and in truth. 

The first act of internal worship is to do all things for the love of God; referring everything to God is a duty, not only for pious souls, but also for all men who want to act in accordance with the laws of reason, because reason tells us that, being God's servants, we must do everything for his glory . 

2. External worship consists of manifesting, through religious and sensitive acts, the feelings we have for God. IT IS THE WORSHIP OF THE BODY, which put its hands together, bows, prostrates, kneels, etc., to proclaim that God is its Lord and Owner. Thus, vocal prayer, the singing of psalms and hymns, pleading postures and gestures, religious ceremonies, and sacrifices are acts of external worship. These acts suppose the feelings of the soul, and are in relation to God, the signs of respect and love that a son gives to his father. 

3. Public worship is nothing more than the external worship rendered to God, not by a one person, but by a family, a society, a nation. This is social worship. 

Certain deists seek to rise above popular concerns, accepting no more worship than that of thought and feeling, and no more temple than that of nature. They have, according to them, religion at heart, and they reject as useless all external and public worship. Nothing is more false than this theory, as it will be proven in the next two questions. 

68. Q. Is external worship necessary? 
A. Yes; external worship is absolutely necessary for several reasons: 
1. The body is the work of God like the soul; it is fair, therefore, that the body takes part in the tributes that man pays to God. 

2. Man must render to God a worship in accordance with his own nature; and since it is natural for man to express, through sensible signs, the inner feelings he experiences, outer worship is the necessary expression of inner worship. 

3. External worship is a means of sustaining and developing the internal one. If it weren’t for the exteriorities of religion and its practices, inner piety would disappear and our soul would never unite with God. 

a) Through external worship, man pays the homage of the entire Creation, whose pontiff he is. By building churches and adorning sanctuaries, man associates matter with the cult of the spirit and, through him, material creation pays legitimate homage to its Creator. 

b) External worship is natural to man. This, as we have seen, is a compound of two substances, so closely united to each other, that it cannot experience intimate feelings without manifesting them externally. The words, the lines of the face, the gestures naturally express what happens in his soul. Man cannot, therefore, have true religious feelings that are directed to God, if he does not manifest them through prayers, songs and other sensible acts. A man who lives without external religion shows, for that very reason, that he lacks it in his heart. What son, filled with love and respect for his parents, does not show his filial piety?... 

c) But there is more still: external worship is an effective means of developing internal worship. The soul, united with the body, struggles with great difficulties to rise to spiritual things without the help of sensible things. She receives impressions from the outside through the senses. The beauty of the ceremonies, the emblems, the singing, etc., contribute to awakening and enlivening the feelings of religion. Let a man stop kneeling before God, omit vocal prayer, stop attending church, and very soon he will cease to have religion in his soul. Experience proves this. It has been rightly said: "Wanting to reduce religion to the purely spiritual is wanting to relegate it to an imaginary world."

Sunday, October 4, 2020

THE MASS

 


Know, O Christian, that the Mass is the holiest act of religion. You cannot do anything to glorify God more nor profit your soul more than devoutly assisting at It, and assisting as often as possible. 

~ St. Peter Julian Eymard 

Friday, October 2, 2020

TOLERATE ERROR?



 “Catholic doctrine teaches us that the first duty of charity is not in the tolerance of erroneous convictions, however sincere, nor in the theoretical or practical indifference to error or vice in which we see our brothers plunged, but in jealousy for his intellectual and moral improvement, no less than in jealousy for his material well-being. Catholic doctrine further tells us that love for our neighbor flows from our love for God, Who is Father to all, and goal of the whole human family; and in Jesus Christ whose members we are, to the point that in doing good to others we are doing good to Jesus Christ Himself. Any other kind of love is sheer illusion, sterile and fleeting.” 

 Encyclical Letter Notre Charge Apostolique, Pope Pius X.

Tuesday, September 29, 2020

A VERY IMPORTANT NOMINATION



 The president of the United States, Donald Trump, announced this Saturday his nominee to fill the vacancy left in the United States Supreme Court by the death of Ruth Bader Ginsburg. 

At an event held in the White House Rose Garden, Trump introduced Judge Amy Coney Barrett, who, if confirmed by the Senate, will become the third member of the Court chosen by the president, after the appointments of Neil Gorsuch in 2017 and Brett Kavanaugh in 2018. 

“Today I am honored to nominate one of our nation's brightest and most talented legal minds to the Supreme Court. She is a woman of unrivaled achievement, an imposing intellect, excellent credentials and an unwavering loyalty to the Constitution.” 

Before a group of guests including Barrett's family, Trump praised her nominee as a "stellar academic and judge."

 Source: BBC

Saturday, September 26, 2020

INCLINE MY HEART TO YOUR DECREES, by Saint Robert Bellarmine 

 


Sweet Lord, you are meek and merciful. Who would not give himself wholeheartedly to your service, if he began to taste even a little of your fatherly rule? What command, Lord, do you give your servants? Take my yoke upon you, you say. And what is this yoke of yours like? My yoke, you say, is easy and my burden light. Who would not be glad to bear a yoke that does not press hard but caresses? Who would not be glad for a burden that does not weigh heavy but refreshes? And so you were right to add: And you will find rest for your souls. And what is this yoke of yours that does not weary, but gives rest? It is, of course, that first and greatest commandment: You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart. What is easier, sweeter, more pleasant, than to love goodness, beauty and love, the fullness of which you are, O Lord, my God? 

Is it not true that you promise those who keep your commandments a reward more desirable than great wealth and sweeter than honey? You promise a most abundant reward, for as your apostle James says: The Lord has prepared a crown of life for those who love him. What is this crown of life? It is surely a greater good than we can conceive of or desire, as Saint Paul says, quoting Isaiah: Eye has not seen, ear has not heard, nor has it so much as dawned on man what God has prepared for those who love him. 

Truly then the recompense is great for those who keep your commandments. That first and greatest commandment helps the man who obeys, not the God who commands. In addition, the other commandments of God perfect the man who obeys them. They provide him with what he needs. They instruct and enlighten him and make him good and blessed. If you are wise, then, know that you have been created for the glory of God and your own eternal salvation. This is your goal; this is the center of your life; this is the treasure of your heart. If you reach this goal, you will find happiness. If you fail to reach it, you will find misery. 

May you consider truly good whatever leads to your goal and truly evil whatever makes you fall away from it. Prosperity and adversity, wealth and poverty, health and sickness, honors and humiliations, life and death, in the mind of the wise man, are not to be sought for their own sake, nor avoided for their own sake. But if they contribute to the glory of God and your eternal happiness, then they are good and should be sought. If they detract from this, they are evil and must be avoided. 

From a treatise On the Ascent of the Mind to God by Saint Robert Bellarmine, Grade 1: Opera Omnia 6

PRAYER 

O God, who adorned the Bishop Saint Robert Bellarmine with wonderful learning and virtue to vindicate the faith of your Church, grant, through his intercession, the grace to live with the joy of fully professing the true faith. Through our Lord Jesus Christ. Amen. 

Thursday, September 24, 2020

52 YEARS AGO, PADRE PIO DIED

 

 Padre Pio was born into a simple, humble and religious family of farmers, on May 25, 1887, in a small village in southern Italy called Pietrelcina. 

At the age of 15 he entered the Novitiate of the Capuchin Friars Minor, in the town of Morcone. He was ordained a priest on August 10, 1910, in the Cathedral of Benevento. Eight years later, on September 20, 1918, Our Lord's wounds visibly appeared on his hands, feet, and left side of his chest, making Padre Pio the first stigmatized priest in the history of the Church. 

He was heroic in his priestly apostolate, which lasted 58 years. Large crowds, of all nationalities, passed through his confessional. The conversions were innumerable. 

Through his letters to his confessor, unsuspected and tremendous spiritual and physical sufferings are discovered, followed by ineffable happiness, the fruit of his intimate and continuous union with God and of his ardent love for the Eucharist and for the Blessed Virgin.  

The Lord called him on September 23, 1968. Padre Pio was buried in the crypt of the Shrine of Our Lady of Graces, in San Giovanni Rotondo, a place where an ever-increasing number of pilgrims from all over the world wish to go every year. 

Padre Pio, pray for us. 

Tuesday, September 22, 2020

WITHOUT CONFESSION, FROM ABYSS TO ABYSS 

 


"When a Catholic stops going to Confession and is abandoned to himself, he walks from abyss to abyss and as a weak plant without protection, exposed to the force of the winds, falls into the most terrible excesses." 

 Saint John Bosco 

Sunday, September 20, 2020

OFFERING



Oh my Lady, oh my Mother, I offer myself entirely to you. As proof of my filial affection, I consecrate you on this day, my eyes, my ears, my tongue, my heart: in one word, my entire being. Since I am all yours, oh Good Mother, keep me and defend me as your child, and your possession. 

Amen. 

Friday, September 18, 2020

WHY SHOULD HOLY COMMUNION NEVER BE RECEIVED ON THE HAND 

Conference of Bishop Athanasius Schneider, Auxiliary Bishop of Astana, Kazakhstan, and Titular Bishop of Celerina 

Bishop Schneider is a specialist in Patristics and the early church, no one better than him to explain this subject perfectly well and indicate the correct and true interpretation of the Church. This conference refutes many false opinions and misrepresentations not only of simple lay people, but also - sadly - of many modernist priests and even bishops. Let us pay attention to a true expert on this subject of VITAL IMPORTANCE AND THE MOST IMPORTANT OF ALL: THE BODY OF CHRIST HIMSELF IN THE CONSECRATED HOST. Let's not be fooled. Under any circumstances should the laity receive Holy Communion on their hands that are not consecrated and from which the consecrated particles that will remain will fall to the ground. The pretext of the pandemic is not only insufficient but, in addition, it is ridiculous because there is true contamination when taking the Eucharist with a hand that has greeted other people, touched the pews, taken money to give alms, etc., than to receive it in the mouth from the clean hands of a priest, as eminent doctors have explained. The indult granted by Paul VI for those places where the instruction that the Eucharist should be received on the mouth was disobeyed, was a concession so that they did not depart from the Church and was allowed only under certain conditions that avoided the danger of desecration and the weakening in the Eucharistic faith. Conditions that in practice were not viable, as it has been seen in the course of these decades in which carelessness with particles and the theft of Hosts is scandalous, and it also has weakened the faith of many people, to the extent that many receive Communion sacrilegiously in mortal sin without prior confession, a clear sign of lack of faith. The fact of legitimizing disobedience and turning it into a source of law has demonstrated its absolute ineffectiveness and, furthermore, it has paved the way for that terrible and irreverent custom to spread to places where this disobedience was not common when the indult was granted. If the conditions established in it were not viable, the indult cannot be applied, and if it was only for those places where the laws of Church were not obeyed, the spread of this terrible custom - which leads to desecration - makes no sense whatsoever under any pretext. Finally, Bishop Schneider's conference shows that it is false that the current custom of receiving Communion in the hand is the same as that used by the Church during the first centuries and explains the difference between the two forms.

CONFERENCE

The manner in which the faithful receive Holy Communion shows if Holy Communion is for them not only the most sacred reality, but the most beloved and the most sacred Person. The reception of the Body of Christ in the little host requires therefore deep faith and purity of heart, and in the same time unequivocal gestures of adoration. This was the constant characteristic of Catholics from all ages, beginning with the first Christians, the Christians in the time of the Church Fathers until the times of our grandparents and parents. Even in the first centuries when in many places the sacred host was deposited by the priest on the palm of the right hand or on a white cloth which covered the right hand of the women, the faithful didn’t touch the consecrated bread with their fingers (with their tongue they took the host from the palm of their hand -or from the white cloth- and also with their tongue they picked up the loose fragments of the consecrated bread that could have been left there so that none of the particles could be lost). (1) The Holy Ghost guided the Church instructing her more deeply about the manner to treat the sacred humanity of Christ during Holy Communion. Already in the 6th century the Roman Church distributed the sacred host directly in the mouth, as it is witnessed by Pope Gregory, the Great (cf. Dial., 3). The next step we observe in the Middle Ages, when the faithful began to receive the Body of Christ kneeling, in an exteriorly clearer expression of adoration (cf. St. Columban, Regula coenobialis, 9). In our times, and there has passed already 40 years, there is a deep wound in the Mystical Body of Christ. This deep wound is the modern practice of Communion in hand, a practice which essentially differs from an analogous rite in the first centuries, as above described. This modern practice is the deepest wound in the Mystical Body of Christ because of the following four deplorable manifestations: (1) An astonishing minimalism in gestures of adoration and reverence. Generally, there is in the modern practice of Communion in hand almost an absence of every sign of adoration. (2) A gesture as one treats common food, that is: to pick up with one’s own fingers the Sacred Host from the palm of the left hand and put It by oneself in the mouth. A habitual practice of such a gesture causes in a not little number of the faithful, and especially of children and adolescents, the perception that under the Sacred Host there isn’t present the Divine Person of Christ, but rather a religious symbol, for they can treat the Sacred Host exteriorly in a way as they treat common food: touching with his own fingers and putting the food with the fingers in one’s own mouth. (3) A numerous loss of the fragments of the Sacred Host: the little fragments often fall down in the space between the minister and the communicant because of no use of Communion plate, often the fragments of the Sacred Host stick to the palm and to the both fingers of the person who receives Communion and then fall down. All these numerous fragments are often lying on the floor and crushed under the feet of the people, without them noticing the fragments. (2) (4) An increasing stealing of the Sacred Hosts, because the manner to receive It directly with one’s own hand effectively greatly facilitates such theft. There is nothing in the Church and in this earth, which is so sacred, so Divine, so alive and so personal as the Holy Communion, because It is the Eucharistic Lord Himself. And such four deplorable things do happen to Him. The modern practice of Communion in hand never existed in such an exterior form. It is incomprehensible that many persons in the Church don’t acknowledge this wound, consider this matter as secondary, and even wonder why one speaks about this theme. And what is even more incomprehensible: many persons in the Church even defend and spread this practice of Communion. It was the constant belief and practice of the Church that Christ, really present under the species of the bread, must receive an exclusively Divine adoration, which is realized interiorly as well as exteriorly (3). Such an act of adoration was called in the Holy Scripture “proskynesis”. Our Lord Jesus Christ rejected the temptations of the devil and proclaimed the first duty of all creatures: “Thou shalt adore God alone” (Math. 4, 10). Jesus used here the word “proskynesis”. In the Bible the act of adoration of God was performed exteriorly in the following manner: kneeling and bowing the head to the earth or prostration. Such an act of adoration was performed by Jesus Himself, His holy Mother the Blessed Virgin Mary and Saint Joseph when they annually visited the Temple in Jerusalem. In this manner of “proskynesis” the Body of Christ, the Incarnate God, was venerated: firstly, by the Three Wise Men (Math. 2, 11); the numerous people, who were healed be Jesus, also performed this exterior act of adoration (cf. Math. 8, 2; 9, 18; 15, 25); the women who saw the risen Lord in the Easter morning fell down in the presence of His glorious Body and adored him (Math. 28, 9); the Apostles as they saw the Body of Christ ascending into Heaven fell down and adored Him (Math. 28, 17; Luc. 24. 52); the Angels and all the redeemed and glorified Saints in the Heavenly Jerusalem prostrate themselves and adore the glorified humanity of Christ, symbolized in the “Lamb” (Apoc. 4, 10)
(4).
This gesture symbolizes that it is Christ in the person of the priest who is nourishing the faithful. Furthermore, this gesture symbolizes the attitude of humility and the spirit of spiritual infancy, which Jesus Himself requires from all who want to receive the kingdom of God (Math. 18, 3). During the Holy Communion, the sacred host is the real heavenly kingdom, because there is Christ Himself, in whose Body all the Divinity dwells (cf. Col. 2, 9). Therefore, the most appropriate exterior gesture is to receive the kingdom of God like a child, is to make oneself little, to kneel and to allow to be fed like a little child, opening the mouth. Consequently, the rite of receiving the Divine Body of Christ during Holy Communion kneeling and on the tongue was elaborated during several centuries in the Church by the guidance of the Holy Ghost, the Spirit of sanctity and piety. The abolishing of explicit gestures of adoration during Holy Communion, that is the abolishing of kneeling and the abolishing of the biblically motivated gesture of receiving the Body of Christ like a child in the tongue, will surely not bring a deeper flourishing of the Eucharistic faith and devotion. The following words of the Ecumenical Council of Trent remain always valid and continue to be very up to date: “There is, therefore, no room for doubt that all the faithful of Christ may, in accordance with a custom always received in the Catholic Church, give to this most Holy Sacrament in veneration the worship of latria, which is due to God Himself. Neither is it to be less adored because it was instituted by Christ the Lord in order to be received. For we believe that in it the same God is present of whom the eternal Father, when introducing Him into the world, says: And let all the angels of God adore him (Hebr. 1, 6) (session 13, chapter 5).”

Theological and liturgical reasons for receiving Holy Communion on the knees and in the mouth

1
The sacred host is the most sacred and great on this earth, because here it is about the Lord Himself. Consequently there should be provided also exteriorly a manner to receive Holy Communion in such a way that will guarantee a greatest possible security against the loss even of the most little fragments of the sacred host and against the stealing of the hosts. Furthermore, the rite of Communion should express possibly in a most evident manner the sacred and sublime aspect, that means should clearer be distinguished from the gesture of taking a profane food. These exigencies express undeniably the rite to receive Communion kneeling and to allow to be “fed” by the priest, that means to allow that the sacred host be put on the tongue. On the contrary, the modern manner to receive the sacred host on the palm of the hand and after to put the host by oneself in the mouth is more likely similar to the manner to take profane food (this essentially differs from an analogous rite in the Ancient Church). Such scenes one can observe often in receptions “buffet” or in the distribution of sweets in kindergartens.
2
The interior aspect alone is not sufficient in the Divine worship, for God became man, became visible. An exclusively or predominantly interior worship of the sacred host during Communion with the exclusion of the exterior aspect is not incarnational. Such a Eucharistic worship is “platonic”, is protestant and ultimately gnostic. Man is essentially also visible and corporal. Consequently, the worship of the Eucharistic Body of Christ should be necessarily also exterior and corporal. Such worship is adequate to the dignity of man, even if the most important of such worship remains the interior aspect. Both aspects are inseparable one from the other.
3 The whole human body and each of his part is a temple of the Holy Ghost. Therefore, it is wrong to contrast the hand with the tongue. One should not say: “The hand is more worthy than the tongue” or the contrary. 4
Who sins is not the tongue or the hand, but the person. The sin begins in the thoughts and is imputed to the will. Therefore, it is wrong to say: “One dies sin more with the tongue than with the hand”. The tongue remains innocent, because the person is who sins with his faculties of the intellect and of the will.
5 The symbolism of the mouth expresses in a more convincing manner the spiritual and religious content: the kiss as an image of the interior and spiritualized act of love (cf. the Book of Song of Songs; Ps 84:11: “Righteousness and peace kiss each other”), but above all the liturgical kiss or the “holy fraternal kiss” (cf. 1 Cor 16:20 etc.). The word “adoration” is derived from the Latin words “os ad os” (from mouth to mouth). The word proceeds from the mouth: this is an image for the procession of the ETERNAL WORD from GOD. Jesus breathed from His mouth the Holy Ghost (cf. Jn 20:27). 6 The words “take and eat” (in Greek “labete” [λάβετε]), Mt 26:26, should be translated correctly “receive (accept) and eat”. These words were addressed immediately to the Apostles, the priests of the New Covenant and not to the totality of the faithful. Otherwise the words “Do this in memory of Me” (Lk 22:19) should consequently be addressed to the totality of the faithful, who by this would partake on the ministerial priesthood. Furthermore, the word the Greek word “lambanein” (λαμβάνειν) does not mean the touching with one’s hand, but the act of receiving. This word “lambanein” one find e.g. in the following expressions: “receive the Spirit of truth” (Jn 14:17), “Receive the Holy Spirit” (Jn 20:22) etc. In the reception of Holy Communion the question isn’t about “taking or touching with one’s hand”, but the question is about a profoundly spiritual event: “to be allowed to receive” the Eucharistic sacrament with the heart, with the souls, but also obviously with the bodily and this conveniently by tongue and kneeling. 7 The risen Lord didn’t allow that His glorious Body be touched by everybody indiscriminately (“Do not hold on to Me”, “Do not touch Me”, Jn 20:17). However, He permitted that the Apostle Thomas, therefore a priest of the New Covenant, should touch His glorious Body, and one could say His Eucharistic Body (cf. Jn 20:27). 8 In the case of the practice of Communion by tongue, a practice which lasts more than a millennium (witnessed already from the times of Pope Gregory the Great), and in the case of the Catholic Oriental churches and of all the Orthodox churches and the ancient-oriental churches, where the Holy Communion is put in the mouth and often even with a spoon, there are not known cases of deceases because of infection. From the hygienic point of view the hand has more bacteria than the tongue. 9 When nowadays one receive a very important or a venerable person, there are prepared all details in a scrupulous manner and nobody would say: “One can greet such a person also with unwashed hands or without clear signs of respect” (e.g. a King or a President). Isn’t Our Lord, present under the species of the little host, more important than a President or a King? Should there in the case of the reception of the Lord under the species of the host not be taken more detailed and more scrupulous measures than in the case when one receives of a King or a President and treats their persons? 10 In the case of the Communion in the hand the faithful himself puts the sacred Host on his tongue, ultimately also in this case we have Communion on the tongue. The difference is in the following: in the case of Communion by tongue it is the priest, representing Christ in this sacred moment, who puts the sacred Host on the tongue of the faithful. In the case of Communion in hand however, it is the faithful himself, who puts the sacred Host on his own tongue. 11 The gesture of “putting the host by oneself on the tongue” expresses surely less the aspect of receiving in comparison with the gesture of “allowing the host be put by another person”. This last gesture expresses in a very impressive way the attitude of being child before the greatness of God, Who is present in the sacred host. This gesture expresses also the truth: “unless you become like little children…” (Mt 18:3), and one could say: “unless you become infants”, for the Holy Scripture says: “Like newborn babies, crave pure spiritual milk, so that by it you may taste that the Lord is good” (1 Pet 2:2-3). Ultimately the “spiritual milk” is Christ Himself, and especially Christ in the Eucharistic food. The babies receive food only by mouth, the adult, however, puts himself with his hands the food in one’s mouth. The following words could be applied to the Holy Communion: “as a child that is weaned of his mother: my soul is as a weaned child”. (Ps 131:2). Indeed, Jesus didn’t say: “Unless you become adults…”, but the contrary. 12 When there is the case of the Most Holy, of the Lord Himself, then there has to be valid this principle: “What you can, you must dare to do” (“Quantum potes, tantum aude”, sequence Lauda Sion of Saint Thomas Aquinas). Therefore, here must be valid the maximum, and not the minimum of interior and at the same of exterior reverence. The littleness of the sacred host doesn’t justify treating it in the moment of Holy Communion with minimalistic gestures of adoration and sacredness.

Pastoral reasons for the general return to Communion on the tongue and kneeling down

1 The current rite of Communion in hand was never practiced in the Catholic Church, because the so called Communion in hand in the Ancient Church differed substantially from the current use, which was introduced by the Calvinists and not even by the Lutherans, who however till our days kept the traditional rite by tongue and kneeling. 2 The rite of the first centuries was in the following manner: the consecrated bread was put on the palm of the right hand, then the faithful bowed profoundly (similar as today is the gesture “metanoia” [μετἀνοια] in the Byzantine rite) and took the Communion directly with the mouth without touching the consecrated bread with the fingers. Furthermore, with the tongue the faithful could collect from the palm of his hand the fragments which eventually were loosed from the consecrated bread so that none of the fragments might be lost. Women received the consecrated bread upon a white cloth, called “dominicale”. 3 In the current rite, wrongly declared as a rite of the ancient Church, the faithful receives the host not upon the right but upon the left hand and then he takes the host with the fingers and puts himself the Communion in his mouth. This manner was invented by the Calvinists already in the 17th century. From the point of view of the gesture such a rite rather is like a form of self-Communion and like the manner to take common food. 4 Pope Paul VI, giving the possibility of an indult for receiving Communion in hand (cf. Instruction “Memoriale Domini” from May 29th, 1969), requested however that the traditional rite be retained in the whole Church: “This (i.e. the traditional) manner of distributing holy Communion must be retained, regarding the current state of the Church as whole”. All the more: in the same document the Holy See exhorted vehemently the bishops, priests and faithful to observe diligently the currently valid law and confirms again the law to receive holy Communion in the traditional manner (cf. ibd.). Already during the Second Vatican Council the Pope Paul VI stated in his encyclical “Mysterium fidei” from 1965, that there should not be changed the rite of the Holy Communion with reference to a custom from the Ancient Church: “Nor should we forget that in ancient times the faithful—whether being harassed by violent persecutions or living in solitude out of love for monastic life—nourished themselves even daily on the Eucharist, by receiving Holy Communion from their own hands when there was no priest or deacon present. We are not saying this with any thought of effecting a change in the manner of keeping the Eucharist and of receiving Holy Communion that has been laid down by subsequent ecclesiastical laws still in force; Our intention is that we may rejoice over the faith of the Church which is always one and the same” (nn. 62–63). Some years before the Pope Pius XII in the same sense warned against changing current reverent Eucharistic rites and customs “No more can any Catholic in his right senses repudiate existing legislation of the Church to revert to prescriptions based on the earliest sources of canon law. Just as obviously unwise and mistaken is the zeal of one who in matters liturgical would go back to the rites and usage of antiquity, discarding the new patterns introduced by disposition of divine Providence to meet the changes of circumstances and situation. This way of acting bids fair to revive the exaggerated and senseless antiquarianism” (Encyclical “Mediator Dei”, nn. 63–64). 5 The reasons of Paul VI in favor of the traditional rite of Communion are also today valid and even more than ever: 1. The truth about the Real Presence of Christ in the Eucharistic mystery was deeper penetrated by the Church (cf. ibid.). 2. The urgency of a greater exterior reverence (cf. ibid.). 3. The feeling of humility towards this Sacrament on behalf of who receives It (cf. ibid.). 4. It is about a tradition of many centuries (cf. ibid.). 5. It guarantees in a more efficacious manner the solemnity and dignity of the moment of the distribution of Communion (cf. ibid.). 6. It prevents in a more efficacious manner from the danger of profanation of the sacred species (cf. ibid.). 7. By the traditional manner is retained in a more diligent way the care of the Church that no fragment of the consecrated bread might be lost (cf. ibid.). 6 The misgivings of Pope Paul VI were realized in an indisputable manner, based on the experience of Communion in the hand in the past 40 years: 1. The diminishing of the reverence towards the Most Blessed Sacrament of the Altar (cf. ibid.). 2. 2) The profanations of the same Sacrament (cf. ibid.). 3. 3) The alteration of the right doctrine and the Eucharistic faith (cf. ibid.). 7 The conditions under which Pope Paul VI granted the possibility of such an indult have not been observed or fulfilled in a general manner today such a required observation of the conditions became even worse. Paul VI required that any danger had to be avoided (cf. ibid.): 1. the danger of the defect of reverence, 2. the insinuation of wrong opinions about the Holy Eucharist, 3. other improper things. 8 Furthermore, Pope Paul VI expected that the new manner of the rite of Communion would bring an increase of the faith and of the piety of the faithful (cf. ibid.). This expectation, however, is contradicted nowadays by the facts because of the Communion in hand. 9 In view of the real dangers and considering the negative opinion of the majority of the Catholic episcopate, which was consulted on this subject in 1968, the Instruction “Memoriale Domini” says that Pope Paul VI doesn’t think that the traditional rite of administering Communion to the faithful should be changed (cf. ibid.). 10 The current rite of Communion in hand, which never belonged to the liturgical patrimony of the Catholic Church (because it was invented by the Calvinists and differs substantially from the rite in the first centuries of the Church), caused and continues to cause a damage with real worrying dimensions, that is: damaging the right Eucharistic faith, the reverence and the care with the Eucharistic fragments on the limit of the bearable. 11 The Eucharist is the culmination and the source of the entire life of the Church (Vatican II), the Church lives from the Eucharist (Encyclical and testament of John Paul II) and the Eucharist is consequently the very heart of the Church. The real crisis of the Church of today reveals itself in the manner in which this source and this heart are concretely treated. However, because of Communion in the hand and standing, the Most Holy is treated with a real minimalism of exterior reverence and sacredness and moreover the consecrated bread, the most precious treasure of the Church, is exposed with an astonishing carelessness to an enormous loss of the Eucharistic fragments and to an ever more increasing steeling for sacrilegious aims. These are facts no one with good faith can deny. 12 The very crisis of the Church of today is a Eucharistic crisis and more concretely the crisis caused in a decisive manner by Communion in hand, a crisis prognosticated by Paul VI and demonstrated nowadays by the facts. An authentic reform of the Church and a real new evangelization remain less efficacious, if the principal disease is not cured, that is the Eucharistic crisis in general and more concretely the crisis caused by the rite of Communion in hand. A disease is cured more efficaciously not with the cure of the symptoms, but with the cure of the concrete cause. One speaks certainly in a more general and theoretical manner about the necessity of a greater reverence and care of the consecrated bread. However, until there will remain the concrete cause of irreverence and of the generalized carelessness, i.e. Communion in hand, the speeches and necessary programs of a reform and of a new evangelization will not bring a great effect in the sphere of the faith and the Eucharistic piety, which is the heart of the life of the Church. 13 The littlest one, the most fragile one, the most defenseless one nowadays in the Church is the Eucharistic Lord under the Eucharistic species in the moment of the distribution of Holy Communion. Would it be not a most logical demand of the faith and of the love towards the Eucharistic Lord and a most necessary pastoral measure to provide that there might be a possibly most sacred and most safe manner of distributing Communion in order to defend the Eucharistic Lord Who is the most fragile and in the same time the most sacred? Such a more sacred and more safe manner is the rite of Communion by tongue and kneeling, which has borne abundant fruits during more than a thousand years, as has been recalled by Pope Paul VI and also his successors, especially Pope Benedict XVI. 14 One can adduce pastoral reasons in favor of continuing with the practice of Communion in the hand, as for example the right of the faithful to choose. Such a right, however, violates—considering the general proportions of the practice—the right that the Eucharistic Jesus has, i.e. the right to the greatest possible sacredness and reverence. In this regard it is about the right of the most fragile in the Church. All the reasons in favor of the continuation of the practice of Communion in the hand lose their weight confronting the gravity of the situation of the minimalism of reverence and sacredness, the obvious danger of carelessness and loss of the fragments and of the increasing steeling of the consecrated hosts. The continuation of the use of the indult of Communion in the hand cannot be said to be a pastoral need, because it damages the faith and the piety of the faithful and it damages the rights of the Eucharistic Lord Himself. 15 Great Saints who reformed the Church and true apostolic souls in the history of the Church have said: the spiritual progress of an epoch of the Church is measured by the manner of reverence and devotion towards the Sacrament of the Altar. Saint Thomas Aquinas has expressed this truth very concisely: “Sic nos Tu visita, sicut Te colimus” (Saint Thomas Aquinas, hymn “Sacris solemniis”): Lord, visit us to the extent as we venerate you! This is valid also for our days: the Lord will visit His Church nowadays with special graces of an authentic renewal. December 15, 2013, Hong Kong Liturgical Formation Seminar 2013-2014 *NOTES (1) The text in brackets is explained by Bishop Schneider later in this conference. (2) There will be those who say that it is exaggerated, that there can always be particles in one way or another, but it is one thing that a microparticle cannot be humanly controlled, for example, flying unnoticed to our eyes, and another very different is that it falls down through our fault, negligence, cowardice and / or the way we receive Holy Communion. It is true that even receiving it on our knees, in the mouth and without a tray this can also happen -another irresponsibility of the priest-, but it is infinitely less possible than if we subject the Host to the friction of contact with the hands. (3) The Catechism of Saint Pius X teaches: 6 Q. Is it not enough internally to adore God with the heart alone? A. No, it is not enough internally to adore God with the heart alone; we must also adore Him externally with both soul and body, because He is the Creator and absolute Lord of both. 3 Q. How do we fulfill the First Commandment? A. We fulfill the First Commandment by the practice of internal and external worship. 26 Q. Ought the Eucharist to be adored? A. The Eucharist ought to be adored by all because it contains really, truly, and substantially, our Lord Jesus Christ Himself. (4) Other multiple biblical references like these ones can be made. _________________________________________ Bishop Athanasius Schneider Anton Schneider was born in Tokmok, (Kirghiz, Former Soviet Union). In 1973, shortly after receiving his First Communion from the hand of Blessed Oleksa Zaryckyj, priest and martyr, he went with his family to Germany. When he joined the Canons Regular of the Holy Cross of Coimbra, a Catholic religious order, he adopted the name Athanasius (Athanasius). He was ordained a priest on March 25, 1990. In 1999, he began teaching Patrology at the Mary, Mother of the Church seminary in Karaganda. On June 2, 2006, he was consecrated bishop on the Altar of the Chair of Saint Peter in the Vatican by Cardinal Angelo Sodano. In 2011 he was appointed as auxiliary bishop of the Archdiocese of Holy Mary in Astana (Kazakhstan), which has about one hundred thousand Catholics out of a total population of four million inhabitants. Bishop Athanasius Schneider is the current Secretary General of the Episcopal Conference of Kazakhstan. Source: Adelante la Fe. Introduction and notes from Catolicidad