Tuesday, May 23, 2017

"What makes Bach so successful among the Japanese?"

Uwe Siemon-Netto, "J. S. Bach in Japan" (First Things, June 2000). What an amazing article! Here are a few teasers ...
Twenty-five years ago when there was still a Communist East Germany, I interviewed several boys from Leipzig’s Thomanerchor, the choir once led by Johann Sebastian Bach. Many of those children came from atheistic homes. “Is it possible to sing Bach without faith?” I asked them. “Probably not,” they replied, “but we do have faith. Bach has worked as a missionary among all of us.” During a recent journey to Japan I discovered that 250 years after his death Bach is now playing a key role in evangelizing that country, one of the most secularized nations in the developed world....

... “In their frenetic pursuit of production, speculation, and consumption,” Repp said, “the older Japanese have provided their offspring exclusively with materialistic values. But the youngsters are yearning for something more. The result is an enormous gap between the generations; they are no longer able to communicate with one another.”

... ”What people need in this situation is hope in the Christian sense of the word, but hope is an alien idea here,” says the renowned organist Masaaki Suzuki, founder and conductor of the Bach Collegium Japan. He is the driving force behind the “Bach boom” sweeping Japan during its current period of spiritual impoverishment. “Our language does not even have an appropriate word for hope,” Suzuki says. “We either use ibo, meaning desire, or nozomi, which describes something unattainable.” After every one of the Bach Collegium’s performances Suzuki is crowded on the podium by non-Christian members of the audience who wish to talk to him about topics that are normally taboo in Japanese society—death, for example. “And then they inevitably ask me to explain to them what ‘hope’ means to Christians.” ...

Japan’s Bach boom does, however, have one baffling aspect: how is it possible that melodies and rhythms from eighteenth-century Germany should please people of an entirely alien culture thousands of miles to the east? Tokyo musicologists have come up with an astonishing answer: Bach’s appeal to today’s Japanese is directly linked to a Spaniard’s first attempt to evangelize their ancestors 450 years ago.

... Believers were crucified, burned at the stake, tortured to death, or hanged upside-down over cesspools to intensify their suffering. Few Japanese were aware of this sinister aspect of their history until last year, when the Tobu art gallery in Tokyo commemorated the 450th anniversary of Francis Xaviér’s arrival with a massive exhibition spread over three floors.

The enormous crowds filing through this show were horrified by the cruelties its images portrayed. But there was one thing they did not learn at the Tobu Gallery: Western music managed to survive the persecution. The Jesuits had introduced Gregorian chant to Japan and built organs from bamboo pipes.... By the time Christianity was totally outlawed in Japan in the early seventeenth century, elements of Gregorian chant had infiltrated Japan’s traditional folk music. That influence remained strong enough to help Johann Sebastian Bach’s music sweep across the island nation more than four centuries later.

This explains the amazing success of Bach’s collected works, which were published by Sogakukan, a Tokyo company, to commemorate the 250th anniversary of the composer’s death. This collection of fifteen volumes, including 156 CDs accompanied by books with the original lyrics in German and Latin plus their Japanese translations, cost a staggering $3,000 each. Within weeks the first edition of five thousand copies was sold out.

The collection’s editor, Tesuo O’Hara, described himself as one of Christianity’s sympathizers, though not a believer. He could have fooled me. “What makes Bach so successful among the Japanese?” I asked him. O’Hara replied, “Bach gives us hope when we are afraid; he gives us courage when we despair; he comforts us when we are tired; he makes us pray when we are sad; and he makes us sing when we are full of joy.”
[Hat tip E. Echeverria]

Saturday, May 20, 2017

"What, then, remains of Luther?"

In the early part of the twentieth century there were prominent Protestant theologians like Reinhold Seeberg of Berlin and Wilhelm Braun of Heidelberg who lamented the bitter fruits of the Reformation. Fr. Joseph Husselein, S.J., writing in "What, Then, Remains of Luther?" in America, Vol. IX, No. 14 (July 12, 1913), p. 320, suggests that nowhere is this Protestant chagrin over the bitter fruit of the Reformation more faithfully reflected than in an article written by the Protestant theologian Braun for Evangelische Kirchenzeitung, March 30, 1913. Braun, upon reading the historical and theological exposés of Luther by Father Heinrich Denifle, O.P. [photo below left], in Luther und Luthertum and by Fr. Hartmann Grisar, S.J., in Luther, asked "What, then remains of Luther?" After candidly admitting the superior facilities possessed by the Dominican and Jesuit authors over Protestant theologians and historians in the field of Luther research (p. 169), Braun draws up the following remarkable summary of his impressions:
The reading of Grisar should afford food for reflection to us Evangelical theologians. With strips cut from our own skin the Catholic author has pieced together his 'Luther.' How small the Reformer has become according to the Luther studies of our own Protestant investigators! How his merits have shrivelled up! We believed that we owed to him the spirit of toleration and liberty of conscience. Not in the least! We recognized in his translation of the Bible a masterpiece stamped with the impress of originality -- we may be happy now if it is not plainly called a 'plagiarism'! ... Looking upon the 'results' of their work thus gathered together, we cannot help asking the question: What, then, remains of Luther?
Considering the bitter legacy of the Reformation -- a Christendom shattered into a thousand pieces -- these eminent Protestant scholars considered that it would be more appropriate for Protestants, rather than celebrate the fourth centenary of Luther's Ninety-Five Theses, should do penance in sack-cloth and ashes. But then, that was a century ago.

Book: The Political Pope, by George Heumayr

This is more about the politics of the Holy Father than his theology, though some might beg to differ; but it's a book that's catching quite a bit of attention. It's by George Neumayr, who is contributing editor to and former executive editor of the conservative American Spectator.

Maike Hickson recently published "An Interview with George Neumayr, Author of The Political Pope" (OnePeterFive, May 6, 2017).

Saturday, May 06, 2017

"Shack" Theology

Gavin Ortlund, "The god of William Paul Young" (TGC, April 28, 2017):
Paul Young’s The Shack has sold 20 million copies, inspired a major motion picture, and generated a lot of spiritual reflection and conversation. Some have appreciated its depiction of faith and suffering. Others have been uncomfortable with its theological eccentricities. More than a few have used the “h word” to describe it (heresy). But the fact that The Shack (and Young’s other books) are novels has made it difficult to know exactly how to place them.

Now, with the publication of his first non-fiction work, Lies We Believe About God, Young gives a more propositional, concrete expression of his beliefs. Although this book casts itself as tentative and conversational (20–21), it definitely advocates theological positions, often quite energetically. Its 28 chapters are each devoted to exposing a “lie” we believe about God, and expounding the corresponding opposite truth.

Unfortunately, the theology espoused in this book represents a wide and unambiguous deviation from orthodox Christian views. I mean no personal animus to the author in saying this, nor do I question his intentions. But the reason categories like “orthodoxy” and “heresy” arose in church history is because Christians have maintained there are right and wrong ways to think about God, and that pointing out the difference matters. When a book departs from historic, mainstream Christianity, it’s important to make the differences clear. Read more >>
Our underground correspondent, Guy Noir - Private Eye, who called our attention to this review asks whether this represents where a portion of modern Catholicism in America and Europe is positioning itself under the rhetoric of Pope Francis. They could never officially condone it, he says, but they don't need to: "Non-condemnation or equivocation is its own endorsement in these knee-jerk, social media times. Dissent non-condemned becomes a legit option. And those voicing concern become uptight haters."

Friday, May 05, 2017

Trump's Religious Freedom Order: "Woefully inadequate"

John Stonestreet and Roberto Rivera, "BreakPoint: President Trump's Religious Freedom Order" (BreakPoint, May 5, 2017):
President Trump’s long-anticipated order on religious freedom reminds us that salvation won’t come on Air Force One.

Yesterday, on the National Day of Prayer, President Trump signed an executive order on religious liberty.

Unfortunately, though it was a “first step,” it was a small one, an order Ryan Anderson of the Heritage Foundation called “woefully inadequate.”

Now, let me be clear: there are things in the order worth praising. The president said that “No American should be forced to choose between the dictates of the federal government and the tenets of their faith.”

I couldn’t agree more. And I’m thankful that at least so far this administration, unlike the last one, isn’t forcing that choice on Americans. Still, protecting religious freedom requires more than just noble sentiments. And here is where the executive order disappoints. After directing the federal government to “vigorously enforce Federal law’s robust protections for religious freedom,” the measures set forth in the order are, well, less than vigorous.

The order instructs the Secretaries of the Treasury, Labor, and HHS to “consider amending existing regulations” to address “conscience-based objections” to the HHS mandate.

Words like “consider” aren’t exactly a guarantee that anything will change. As Ryan Anderson told The Atlantic, the “regulatory relief” promised to groups like the Little Sisters of the Poor may very well amount to, “Well, you have to do it, because [the Supreme Court] told you to do it,” but, it “doesn’t move the ball” on religious liberty.

Nor does the emphasis on the Johnson Amendment, which prohibits churches and other charitable organizations from endorsing political candidates.

First, the Johnson Amendment is bad law, but it’s rarely, if ever, enforced. So the order effectively tells the IRS to continue doing what it is already doing. Second, the inability to endorse candidates from the pulpit on Sunday isn’t the problem with religious freedom in this country. The problem is the increasing inability of Christians and other people of religious conviction to practice their faith Monday through Saturday.

Yesterday’s events suggest that, as I said after the election, the incoming administration has offered us a reprieve on religious freedom, but not a champion. Or as Chuck Colson often put it, salvation doesn’t arrive on Air Force One.

So, with or without the executive order we really wanted, we have to know this: The case for religious freedom must be made both in our churches and over our backyard fences. Even had we gotten the executive order many of us had hoped for, it would have been, at best a temporary help.

Why? Because our cultural understanding of religious freedom is currently not strong enough to offer or to sustain a long-term political solution. Like the understanding of marriage was lost in the cultural imagination way before Obergefell, so the understanding of religious freedom has been lost in the culture. Many are just frankly ignorant about what the free exercise of religion means and why our founders thought it so important.

For most Americans, religious freedom means the ability to “attend the church of your choice.” The logical corollary of this would be, “what happens in church stays in church.”

Of course, if Christians took that idea seriously, there would be a lot fewer religious hospitals, soup kitchens, homeless shelters, etc. Government can’t even begin to fill the vacuum left should these institutions be forced out of business.

Americans must be reminded that believers ought not be made to choose between obeying their conscience and serving their neighbor. And it would help if Christians understood this better. In too many churches, being a Christian is about how God can make your life better, not how you can work with God to make the invisible kingdom visible.

This is where the battle for religious freedom will be fought, and either won or lost, no matter who sits in the Oval Office.

Friday, April 28, 2017

Ensconced in his "Evangelical Catholic" perspective, Weigel "positively hysterical" over Rome's SSPX overtures

[Disclaimer: Rules ##7-9] P. J. Smith, "George Weigel and the SSPX" (Rorate Caeli, April 28, 2017):
George Weigel, in his most recent column, has decided that the Holy See should not offer the Society of St. Pius X a personal prelature. It appears from statements by Archbishop Guido Pozzo, secretary of the Pontifical Commission Ecclesia Dei, and Bishop Bernard Fellay, superior general of the Society, that a personal prelature is the current offer. More than that, it seems that the Holy See is not insisting on the Society’s submission to every jot and tittle of every document of the Second Vatican Council. This is wonderful news.

Many informed commentators noted that the 2012 negotiations between Rome and the Society were torpedoed at the last moment by the sudden insistence of the Roman authorities on such submission. Archbishop Pozzo has conceded in public interviews that there are levels of authority in the documents of that “pastoral council,” and that total assent may not be necessary. And Weigel is positively hysterical at the prospect. Read more >>

Monday, April 24, 2017

Important: Review of Rod Dreher's The Benedict Option

The Benedict Option: A Strategy for Christians in a Post-Christian Nation, by Rod Dreher, Sentinel Press, 2017, 262 pp. Reviewed by Sacerdos Romanus at Rorate Caeli, April 24, 2017:
We would not usually be inclined to read a formal schismatic’s thoughts on how Christians should comport themselves in the secular world. But two things persuaded us make an exception for Rod Dreher’s The Benedict Option. The first was a favorable mention of the book by the Rt. Rev. Abbot Philip Anderson of the traditionalist Benedictine monastery at Clear Creek. The second was the bitter dismissal of the book by many mainstream Catholic pundits. And we were not disappointed. While we would agree with the criticisms of some tradition-minded writers, we find that overall Dreher’s analysis of the current situation in Western Europe and North America is accurate, and his suggestions for a practical response to the situation sensible. In fact, Dreher’s insights can very easily be developed into an argument for Catholic Traditionalism and against the anti-traditionalism of the Catholic mainstream since Vatican II. Read more >>

Sandro Magister: "After Four Cardinals, Six Laymen Speak. Who Knows If the Pope May At Least Listen To Them"

Sandro Magister, "After Four Cardinals, Six Laymen Speak. Who Knows If the Pope May At Least Listen To Them" (L'Espresso, April 22, 2017):
The four cardinals have never been alone with their “dubia.” Proof of this comes from what happened in Rome on April 22 in an auditorium of the Hotel Columbus, a short walk from Saint Peter’s Square, where six renowned lay scholars came together from as many countries of the world to give voice to an appeal that is being raised from a large part of the “people of God” so that clarity may be brought to the confusion raised by “Amoris Laetitia.”

Anna M. Silvas came from Australia, Claudio Pierantoni from Chile, Jürgen Liminski from Germany, Douglas Farrow from Canada, Jean Paul Messina from Cameroon, Thibaud Collin from France. And one after the other, over the span of one day took stock of the crisis that the document of Pope Francis has produced in the Church, one year after its publication.

Settimo Cielo offers its readers the complete texts of the six presentations, in the languages in which they were delivered. But it calls special attention to the one by Claudio Pierantoni, a scholar of patristics and professor of medieval philosophy at the Universidad de Chile, in Santiago, an abridgment of which is provided below.

Pierantoni brings up again the cases of two popes who fell into error during the first Christian centuries, the one condemned “post mortem” by an ecumenical council and the other induced to correct himself during his lifetime.

But also today - he argues - there is a pope who is “victim,” although “hardly aware of it,” of a widespread tendency to error that undermines the foundations of the Church’s faith. And he too is in need of a charitable correction that may bring splendor back to the truth.

Pierantoni is not the only one among the six to have recalled the lessons of the past, ancient and recent.

Thibaud Collin, a professor of moral philosophy and politics at the Collège Stanislas in Paris, recalled for example the opposition of numerous theologians and entire episcopates to the encyclical of Paul VI “Humanae Vitae,” which was downgraded to purely “ideal” and thereby made inoperative. And he showed how this deleterious “pastoral” logic has come back into vogue with “Amoris Laetitia,” concerning indissoluble marriage and soon also concerning homosexual amours.

Anna M. Silvas, an Australian of the Eastern rite, a scholar of the Fathers of the Church, and a professor at the University of New England, instead emphasized the danger that the Catholic Church might also go down the road already traveled centuries ago by the Protestants and Orthodox toward divorce and remarriage: just when - she surprisingly added - the Coptic Church is returning to the indissolubility of Christian marriage, without exception.

On a response from Pope Francis to the “dubia,” as also on the possibility of a “correction” from him, Anna M. Silvas expressed skepticism. She instead proposes a “Benedict option” for the current post-Christian era, inspired by the monasticism at the collapse of the ancient era, a humble and communal “dwelling” with Jesus and the Father “Jn 14:23) in the faithful expectation, made up of prayer and work, that the tempest shaking the world and the Church today may cease.

Six voices, six different interpretations. All profound and nourished by “caritas in veritate.” Who knows if Pope Francis may at least listen to them.

Sunday, April 23, 2017

Tridentine Community News - Chaplet of Divine Mercy in Latin: Coróna Divínæ Misericórdiæ; Tridentine Summer Camps; TLM schedule

"I will go in unto the Altar of God
To God, Who giveth joy to my youth"

Tridentine Community News by Alex Begin (April 23, 2017):
april 23, 2017 - Low Sunday / Divine Mercy Sunday

The Chaplet of Divine Mercy in Latin: Coróna Divínæ Misericórdiæ

It is meritorious for the faithful to know how to pray many of the popular and important prayers in Latin, the official language of the Church. This column, for example, has previously printed Latin versions of the Holy Rosary and various indulgenced prayers from the Enchirídion Indulgentiárum. As today is the Feast of Divine Mercy, you may wish to consider praying the Chaplet of Divine Mercy in Latin. The below basic structure of the Chaplet was assembled from a variety of sources; unfortunately we have not been able to locate the various optional introductory and concluding prayers in Latin.
Sign of the Cross: In nómine Patris, et Fílii, et Spíritus Sancti. Amen.

Our Father>: Pater noster, qui es in cælis, sanctificétur nomen tuum. Advéniat regnum tuum. Fiat volúntas tua, sicut in cælo et in terra. Panem nostrum quotidiánum da nobis hodie, et dimítte nobis débita nostra, sicut et nos dimíttimus debitóribus nostris. Et ne nos indúcas in tentatiónem: sed líbera nos a malo. Amen.

Hail Mary: Ave María, grátia plena, Dóminus técum; benedícta tu in muliéribus, et benedíctus fructus ventris tui, Jesus. Sancta María, Mater Dei, ora pro nobis peccatóribus, nunc et in hora mortis nostræ. Amen.

Apostles’ Creed: Credo in Deum, Patrem omnipoténtem, Creatórem cæli et terræ. Et in Jesum Christum, Fílium ejus unícum, Dóminum nostrum: qui concéptus est de Spíritu Sancto, natus ex María Vírgine, passus sub Póntio Piláto, crucifíxus, mórtuus, et sepúltus: descéndit ad ínferos: tértia die resurréxit a mórtuis: ascéndit ad cælos: sedet ad déxteram Dei Patris omnipoténtis: inde ventúrus est judicáre vivos et mórtuos. Credo in Spíritum Sanctum, sanctam Ecclésiam cathólicam, Sanctórum communiónem, remissiónem peccatórum, carnis resurrectiónem, vitam ætérnam. Amen.

On each Our Father bead: Pater ætérne, óffero tibi Corpus et Sánguinem, ánimam et divinitátem dilectíssimi Fílii Tui, Dómini nostri, Jesu Christi, in propitiatióne pro peccátis nostris et totíus mundi.

On each Hail Mary bead: Pro dolorosa Ejus passióne, miserére nobis et totíus mundi.

At the conclusion, three times: Sanctus Deus, Sanctus Fortis, Sanctus Immortális, miserére nobis et totíus mundi.
Tridentine Summer Camps

Are you looking for a traditional Catholic summer camp experience for your children? Each year it seems there is a gradually increasing number of Tridentine Mass-centered camps. A few worthy of your consideration are:

Camp St. Peter, run by the Fraternity of St. Peter, is held at Custer State Park, south of Rapid City, South Dakota, August 11-23. It is for boys age 13-15. Applications must be filed by May 19.

Camp St. Isaac Jogues, also run by the FSSP, is held on the grounds of St. Gregory the Great Academy in Elmhurst Township, Pennsylvania. It is for boys age 13-16. Applications must be filed by May 17.

St. Francis Xavier Mission Trips, run by the FSSP, provide a charity and service experience in a foreign land. A mission trip to Guadalajara, Mexico takes place July 19 – August 1 and is open to families of all ages and individuals age 16 and over. Youth mission trips to Piura, Peru for young men and women age 16-21 take place July 21 – August 3 and August 5-18. It appears that the deadline for applying has already passed, however it could not hurt to make inquiry.

For more information on all three of the above, visit: https://seminarycamps.wordpress.com/

St. Anne’s Chant Camp is run by the San Diego, California FSSP parish and is open to girls and boys age 8-18. This may not be a residential camp, so parents may need to arrange accommodations. Further information is available at: www.stannes-sandiego.org/

The Institute of Christ the King offers camps in Wausau, Wisconsin for boys age 10-17 July 17-21 and for girls age 10-17 July 24-28. Applications are due by June 30. For more information, visit: www.institute-christ-king.org/wausau/wausau-events/

The Morning Star Summer Camp for teenage girls, and the Montfort Boys Camp are run by the St. Benedict Center in Still River, Massachusetts. Four week-long camps are planned for 2017, but dates have not yet been announced. For more information, visit: www.saintbenedict.com/index.php/apostolates/montfort
Tridentine Masses This Coming Week
  • Mon. 04/24 7:00 PM: Low Mass at St. Josaphat (St. Fidelis of Sigmaringen, Martyr)
  • Tue. 04/25 7:00 PM: High Mass at Holy Name of Mary, Windsor (St. Mark, Evangelist)
  • Sat. 04/29 8:30 AM: Low Mass at Miles Christi (St. Peter of Verona, Martyr)
[Comments? Please e-mail tridnews@detroitlatinmass.org. Previous columns are available at http://www.detroitlatinmass.org. This edition of Tridentine Community News, with minor editions, is from the St. Albertus (Detroit), Academy of the Sacred Heart (Bloomfield Hills), and St. Alphonsus and Holy Name of Mary Churches (Windsor) bulletin inserts for April 23, 2017. Hat tip to Alex Begin, author of the column.]

Saturday, April 22, 2017

Tridentine Masses coming this week to metro Detroit and east Michigan

Tridentine Masses This Coming Week


  • Sun. 4/23 7:30 AM and 10:00 AM: Low Mass (Confessions 45 minutes before and after Masses) at St. Joseph's Church, Ray Township [NB: See note at bottom of this post about SSPX sites.]* (Low Sunday [Divine Mercy Sunday] - 1st class)
  • Sun. 4/23 8:00 and 10:30AM Low Mass (Confessions 1/2 hour before Mass: call beforehand) at St. Ann's Church, Livonia [NB: See note at bottom of this post about SSPX sites.]* (Low Sunday [Divine Mercy Sunday] - 1st class)
  • Sun. 4/23 9:00 AM: Low Mass at St. Joseph Oratory, Detroit (Low Sunday [Divine Mercy Sunday] - 1st class)
  • Sun. 4/23 9:45 AM: High Mass at OCLMA/Academy of the Sacred Heart, Bloomfield Hills (Low Sunday [Divine Mercy Sunday] - 1st class)
  • Sun. 4/23: [occasional Tridentine Masses: contact parish] at Our Lady of the Scapular Parish (Low Sunday [Divine Mercy Sunday] - 1st class)
  • Sun. 4/23 11:00 AM: Solemn High Mass at St. Joseph Oratory, Detroit (Low Sunday [Divine Mercy Sunday] - 1st class)
  • Sun. 4/23 12:00 Noon: Missa Cantata at Assumption Grotto, Detroit (Low Sunday [Divine Mercy Sunday] - 1st class) -- Perrone's Missa Cantata, and Frank's Redemption, Mascagni's Regina Caeli, and Gounod's Judex
  • Sun. 4/23 12:00: High Mass at St. Mary Star of the Sea, Jackson (Low Sunday [Divine Mercy Sunday] - 1st class)
  • Sun. 4/23 2:00 PM: High Mass at Holy Name of Mary, Canada (Low Sunday [Divine Mercy Sunday] - 1st class)
  • Sun. 4/23 3:00 PM: Tridentine Mass (call ahead for Confession times, 989-892-5936) at Infant of Prague, Bay City [NB: See note at bottom of this post about SSPX sites.]* (Low Sunday [Divine Mercy Sunday] - 1st class)
  • Sun. 4/23 3:00 PM: High Mass St. Matthew Catholic Church, Flint (Low Sunday [Divine Mercy Sunday] - 1st class)



  • Tue. 4/25 7:00 AM Low Mass at Assumption Grotto, Detroit (St. Mark - 2nd class, or Rogation Mass (if there is a procession) - 2nd class)
  • Tue. 4/25 8:00 AM: Low Mass St. Joseph Oratory, Detroit (St. Mark - 2nd class, or Rogation Mass (if there is a procession) - 2nd class)
  • Tue. 4/25 8:00 AM: Low Mass (Confessions by appointment) at St. Joseph's Church, Ray Township [NB: See note at bottom of this post about SSPX sites.]* (St. Mark - 2nd class, or Rogation Mass (if there is a procession) - 2nd class)
  • Tue. 4/25 7:00 PM: Low Mass at Holy Name of Mary, Canada (St. Mark - 2nd class, or Rogation Mass (if there is a procession) - 2nd class)
  • Tue. 4/25 7:00 PM: Low Mass at Assumption Grotto, Detroit (St. Mark - 2nd class, or Rogation Mass (if there is a procession) - 2nd class)






* NB: The SSPX chapels among those Mass sites listed above are posted here because the Holy Father has announced that "those who during the Holy Year of Mercy approach these priests of the Fraternity of St Pius X to celebrate the Sacrament of Reconciliation shall validly and licitly receive the absolution of their sins," and subsequently extended this privilege beyond the Year of Mercy. These chapels are not listed among the approved parishes and worship sites on archdiocesan websites.

Monday, April 17, 2017

Tridentine Masses coming this week to metro Detroit and east Michigan

Tridentine Masses This Coming Week









* NB: The SSPX chapels among those Mass sites listed above are posted here because the Holy Father has announced that "those who during the Holy Year of Mercy approach these priests of the Fraternity of St Pius X to celebrate the Sacrament of Reconciliation shall validly and licitly receive the absolution of their sins," and subsequently extended this privilege beyond the Year of Mercy. These chapels are not listed among the approved parishes and worship sites on archdiocesan websites.

A faithless retired Episcopal priest's demythologized Easter 'homily'

Harry T. Cook, "On Easter, an alternative approach to resurrection" (Detroit Free Press, April 15, 2017):
The Easter story is not the work of journalists. No good can come from torturing it into news, good or otherwise. It is a story with meaning. What is its meaning? It cannot be that a convicted revolutionary who was executed on a Friday walked out of his grave on Sunday to the profound amazement of his followers. Is it possible that the meaning of the story is that while you can kill a human being, you cannot kill what he or she has been or done?
Pitiful. Pitiful that good people ever come to believe such complete nonsense. Pitiful in the way St. Paul says that we would be of all people most to be pitied if Jesus hadn't been raised from the dead as claimed (providing an intricate logical syllogism to that effect in 1 Corinthians 15).

Even on empirical grounds, how pitiful is it to believe that miracles "can't happen" because, well, just because "miracles don't happen." Even if all the stars in the heavens arranged themselves so as to spell "Jesus saves," such individuals would probably respond: "Why, goodness me! What a remarkable coincidence! It almost looks as if someone has played some sort of optical trick on us."

There are accounts of other resurrected deities? Like Dionysus? Yeah, so what? Where have they left a paper trail of witnesses and martyrs like Jesus has? The Apostles must have been deceived about Jesus' resurrection? You think? One can be deceived about lots of things, but some things are just too big to be deceived about. A resurrected man is one of these. I doubt one could be anymore deceived about a man being resurrected from the dead than be deceived into thinking that exactly 37 pink pigs with wings are hovering in the air like hummingbirds just outside one's window.

But it could have been in the Apostles' self-interest to believe the Jesus rose from the dead. True. But it could also be in your own self-interest to believe that exactly 37 pink pigs with wings are hovering in the air like hummingbirds just outside your window if I offered you $1 million to believe that. Trouble is, our honest beliefs aren't quite under our control the way our ordinary choices are. I can't really bring myself to believe something just because someone offers to pay me money to believe it.

If course, I could say I believed it, even if I didn't. So maybe the Apostles conspired to lie about Jesus' resurrection? You think? When each of them (except for John) went to his martyrdom knowing that all he'd have to do is refuse to go along with the lie anymore, to just break and tell the truth and admit that Jesus didn't rise from the dead? Furthermore, each of these conspirators would have known that each of his fellow conspirators was lying through his teeth in the face of terrible persecution, torture, and the threat of death, and all that would have to happen if for one of them to break and tell the truth, and the whole resurrection story would go down in flames as a failure not worth being martyred for.

So we have a story people just can't be mistaken about of someone rising from the dead, and a story that the Apostles' couldn't possibly have conspired to lie about, given the fact that each of them (except John), knowing that it is human nature to break under torture, nevertheless willingly gave his life as a martyr for the authenticity of the story with not one of them throwing in the towel and denying its authenticity. Not to mention centuries of martyrs and witnesses to lives changed, relationships redeemed, bodies and souls healed in expectation of life eternal.

Pray for Harry T. Cook. Poor man. Pitiful.

Saturday, April 15, 2017

He is risen! He's alive!

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

More light on a persistent confusion

Mats Wahlberg,"The Two Faces of Amoris Laetitia" (First Things, April 4, 2017), writes:
Two completely different—and logically incompatible—arguments in favor of communion for the divorced and remarried have figured in the synodal process that led up to Amoris Laetitia. Despite their incompatibility, both arguments can be found in Amoris itself, at least according to many of the document’s interpreters. Here is one of the arguments:
A) Living in a new sexual relationship after a divorce from a valid marriage can in some cases be objectively morally good or at least morally acceptable, namely in cases where the new relationship is so established that the well-being of children and other innocent persons would be jeopardized if the couple were to separate or attempt to live as “brother and sister.” Jeopardizing the well-being of innocent persons would be unjust, which is to say immoral, and this means that the morally right course of action is to preserve and nurture the new relationship. This is why persons who are in this kind of situation can receive communion.
Fr. Thomas Reese, S.J., senior analyst for the National Catholic Reporter, has no doubt that this is how Pope Francis reasons: “Francis would be sympathetic to the woman who put her husband through law school waiting tables but then got dumped for a pretty, younger associate. She is now married to a loving plumber who is a good father to the children from both marriages. Telling her to abandon her new husband or live as brother and sister is not only absurd, it is unjust” (National Catholic Reporter, Dec 8 2016, my emphasis). However, some other commentators who embrace communion for the divorced and remarried reject this argument out of hand. According to them, the pope reasons like this:
B) Living in a sexual relationship after a divorce from a valid marriage is always objectively gravely immoral, but various factors can diminish or even remove subjective guilt. So while the situation itself is gravely sinful, the persons involved in it need not be in a state of mortal sin. This is why some of them can receive communion.
The philosopher Rocco Buttiglione advances this interpretation. “Sexual relations outside of marriage are without doubt gravely contrary to the moral law. This was the case before Amoris Laetitia, this is still the case in Amoris Laetitia. … Again, there is no doubt as to whether [the divorced and remarried person] is living in an objective situation of grave sin, except in the limited case of an invalid marriage. Whether he or she is carrying the full subjective responsibility and is at fault remains to be seen” (L’Osservatore Romano, July 19 2016).
Then, skipping ahead to the conclusion, we read:
Since Argument A is very persuasive, taken on its own terms, it is no wonder that intelligent and faithful Catholics feel its pull and are moved to advocate what they see as a merciful pastoral solution for people in difficult marriage situations. And it is no wonder that faithful Catholics prefer to defend this pastoral solution in terms of another, incompatible argument—the arguably orthodox Argument B—that allows them to claim that no doctrine has changed. However, this double play can only go on for so long in “good faith.” And the time when Arguments A and B could be innocently confused is over.
Now, go back and read the detailed argument in between at the original source.

Sunday, April 09, 2017