Saint Maximilian Kolbe (January 8, 1894–August 14, 1941), also known as Maksymilian or Massimiliano Maria Kolbe and "Apostle of Consecration to Mary," born as Rajmund Kolbe, was a Polish Conventual Franciscan friar who volunteered to die in place of a stranger in the Nazi concentration camp of Auschwitz in Poland.
He was canonized by the Catholic Church as Saint Maximilian Kolbe on October 10, 1982 by Pope John Paul II, and declared a martyr of charity. He is the patron saint of drug addicts, political prisoners, families, journalist, amateur radio, prisoners, and the pro-life movement. Pope John Paul II declared him the "The Patron Saint of Our Difficult Century".
Kolbe, the son of a Polish family with partial German origin, was born in 1894 in Zduńska Wola, at that time part of Russian Empire, as the second son of Juliusz Kolbe and Marianna Kolbe (née Dąbrowska). His parents moved to Pabianice, where they worked first as weavers, then ran a bookstore. Later, in 1914, his father joined Józef Piłsudski's Polish Legions and was captured by the Russians for fighting for the independence of a partitioned Poland.
In 1907, Kolbe and his elder brother Franciszek decided to join the Conventual Franciscan Order. They illegally crossed the border between Russia and Austria-Hungary and joined the Conventual Franciscan junior seminary in Lwów. In 1910, Kolbe was allowed to enter the novitiate. He professed his first vows in 1911, adopting the name Maximilian, and the final vows in 1914, in Rome, adopting the names Maximilian Maria, to show his veneration of the Blessed Virgin Mary.
In 1912, he was sent to Kraków, and, in the same year, to Rome, where he studied philosophy, theology, mathematics, and physics. He took a great interest in astrophysics and the prospect of space flight. While in Rome he designed an airplane-like spacecraft, similar in concept to the eventual space shuttle, and attempted to patent it. He earned a doctorate in philosophy in 1915 at the Pontifical Gregorian University, and the doctorate in theology in 1919 at the Pontifical University of St. Bonaventure. During his time as a student, he witnessed vehement demonstrations against Popes St. Pius X and Benedict XV by the Freemasons in Rome and was inspired to organize the Militia Immaculata, or Army of Mary, to work for conversion of sinners and the enemies of the Catholic Church through the intercession of the Virgin Mary. In 1918, he was ordained a priest. In the conservative publications of the Militia Immaculatae, he particularly condemned Freemasonry, Communism, Zionism, Capitalism and Imperialism.
In 1919, he returned to the newly independent Poland, where he was very active in promoting the veneration of the Immaculate Virgin Mary, founding and supervising the monastery of Niepokalanów near Warsaw, a seminary, a radio station, and several other organizations and publications. Between 1930 and 1936, he took a series of missions to Japan, where he founded a monastery at the outskirts of Nagasaki, a Japanese paper, and a seminary. The monastery he founded remains prominent in the Roman Catholic Church in Japan. Kolbe decided to build the monastery on a mountain side that, according to Shinto beliefs, was not the side best suited to be in tune with nature. When the atomic bomb struck Nagasaki, Kolbe's monastery was saved because the blast of the bomb hit the side of the mountain that the monastery was not located on, the said side took the main blow of the blast. Had Kolbe built the monastery on the side of mountain he was advised to choose, his work and all of his fellow monks would have been destroyed.
During the Second World War, in the friary, Kolbe provided shelter to refugees from Greater Poland, including 2,000 Jews whom he hid from Nazi persecution in his friary in Niepokalanów. He was also active as a radio amateur, with Polish call letters SP3RN, vilifying Nazi activities through his reports.
On February 17, 1941, he was arrested by the German Gestapo and imprisoned in the Pawiak prison, and, on May 25, was transferred to Auschwitz I as prisoner #16670.
In July 1941, a man from Kolbe's barracks had vanished, prompting SS-Hauptsturmführer Karl Fritzsch, the Lagerführer (i.e., the camp commander), to pick 10 men from the same barracks to be starved to death in Block 11 (notorious for torture), in order to deter further escape attempts. (The man who had disappeared was later found drowned in the camp latrine.) One of the selected men, Franciszek Gajowniczek, cried out, lamenting his family, and Kolbe volunteered to take his place.
During the time in the cell, he led the men in songs and prayer. After three weeks of dehydration and starvation, only Kolbe was still alive. Finally he was executed with an injection of carbolic acid.
Kolbe is one of ten 20th-century martyrs from across the world who are depicted in statues above the Great West Door of Westminster Abbey, London. He was canonized by Pope John Paul II on 10 October 1982, in the presence of Gajowniczek.
Militia Immaculata Consecration Prayer
Composed by Saint Maximilian Kolbe
O Immaculata, Queen of Heaven and earth, refuge of sinners and our most loving Mother, God has willed to entrust the entire order of mercy to you. I, (name), a repentant sinner, cast myself at your feet, humbly imploring you to take me with all that I am and have, wholly to yourself as your possession and property. Please make of me, of all my powers of soul and body, of my whole life, death and eternity, whatever most pleases you.
If it pleases you, use all that I am and have without reserve, wholly to accomplish what was said of you: "She will crush your head," and "You alone have destroyed all heresies in the whole world. " Let me be a fit instrument in your immaculate and merciful hands for introducing and increasing your glory to the maximum in all the many strayed and indifferent souls, and thus help extend as far as possible the blessed kingdom of the most Sacred Heart of Jesus. For wherever you enter you obtain the grace of conversion and growth in holiness, since it is through your hands that all graces come to us from the most Sacred Heart of Jesus.
V. Allow me to praise you, O sacred Virgin R. Give me strength against your enemies
I found this video with a brief story of his life and many pictures:
I wish we had many, many more priests like Saint Maximilian Kolbe! I would not be surprised to find there are some out there.
Whatever the case, we are all called to be saints. Each one of us was created by God in order to know, love, and serve Him in this life in order that we may be happy with him forever in the next life.
Not everyone is called to the priesthood. Not everyone is called to religious life. Not everyone is called to martyrdom.
However, all of us, and each human being you meet is called to be a saint. We are all called to holiness. The fact that we are not all called to the priesthood, religious life, or martyrdom does not mean we don't have to be holy.
Heaven is for saints.
Saints are sinners who recognize their weakness, sinfulness, and imperfection, and then repent and turn to God.
The Holy See has overturned the declaration of nullity granted to Joe Kennedy of his marriage to Sheila Rauch.
The original declaration of nullity created quite a bit of controversy, as well as accusations that the annulment process is really just "divorce Catholic-style", once Sheila Rauch began an effort to demonstrate the marriage was, in fact, valid.
The most controversial "marriage that never was" in recent U.S. political history is back. Sources tell TIME that the Vatican has reversed the annulment of Joseph P. Kennedy II's marriage to Sheila Rauch. The annulment had been granted in secrecy by the Catholic Church after the couple's 1991 no-fault civil divorce. Rauch found out about the de-sanctification of their marriage only in 1996, after Kennedy had been wedded to his former Congressional aide, Beth Kelly, for three years.
The annulment was the subject of Rauch's 1997 book Shattered Faith, which lambasted her ex-husband and was severely critical of the Catholic Church's proceedings, which made the marriage (which had produced twin boys) null and void in the eyes of the church. Rauch argued that Kennedy was able to unilaterally "cancel" nearly 12 years of marriage because of his clan's influence in the church. Kennedy argued at the time that the annulment was the right thing to do in religious terms. Few observers thought the appeal to Rome by Rauch, an Episcopalian, had a chance against the well-connected Kennedy. With women's groups loudly on Rauch's side, the controversy may have contributed to Kennedy's decision to give up his plans to seek re-election to Congress in 1998.
Reached by TIME in her Massachusetts home on Tuesday, Rauch said that she had just recently been informed by Boston Archdiocese officials of her successful appeal. "I am very pleased," she told TIME. "There was a real marriage. It was a marriage that failed, but as grown-ups we need to take responsibility for that. The [annulment] process was dishonest, and it was important to stand up and say that." But Rauch says she worries that the practice, particularly in the U.S., of giving what she called "easy annulments" will continue. "They don't give people a fair defense. The Boston Archdiocese doesn't even tell you that you can appeal to Rome." Reached by TIME, Kennedy's office provided no reaction from the former Congressman.
Erroneously dubbed "Catholic divorce," an annulment in fact holds that a failed marriage was never valid in the eyes of the Church. With divorce strictly prohibited in Catholicism, annulments allow Catholics to remarry before a priest and continue receiving the sacraments. Several years after his 1991 civil divorce to Rauch, Kennedy obtained an annulment from a Church tribunal in Massachusetts so he could have a Church ceremony with Kelly. The couple had already been married in a 1993 civil ceremony, but needed the Roma Rota appeals tribunal at the Vatican to uphold the Massachusetts annulment verdict before they could be married by a priest. Now with Rauch's successful appeal, that cannot happen, unless Kennedy wins a counter-appeal.
The Roma Rota's ruling, written in Latin, was reached in 2005, and had been kept secret while the official written notice was being prepared, said a source in Rome familiar with the case. Rauch's successful appeal effectively reinstates the Kennedy-Rauch marriage in the eyes of the Vatican. The case once again highlights this unique Catholic Church proceeding. Some 75% of annulments each year are from the United States, where there are an estimated 8 million divorced and remarried Catholics. The subject came up in the 2004 Presidential campaign after word spread that John Kerry had obtained an annulment of his first marriage. Another prominent Catholic who has had a marriage annulled is former New York City Mayor Rudolph Giuliani, who is now running for the Republican Presidential nomination.
This decision is a very good thing.
The Holy See under both Pope John Paul II and Pope Benedict XVI has long maintained that the annulment process has been abused, especially in the United States.
I personally know orthodox Catholic priests and lay people who sit on marriage tribunals where they have witnessed these tribunals declaring marriages that are most probably valid as invalid, despite their own objections.
In the Diocese of Orange, the former head of the tribunal left the priesthood to get married.
Although the abysmal catechesis in the United States has wreaked havoc, it is puzzling how Catholics can frequently enter invalid marriages if they are properly prepared by the priest who marries them (barring dishonesty on the part of one or both parties when entering the marriage).
If so many priests are incompetent in assisting couples in their preparation for marriage, how else might they be failing in terms of transmitting the authentic teachings of the Church?
Apparently Joe Kennedy was initially able to get something King Henry VIII was unable to get, the dissolution of a valid marriage with the official sanction of legitimate Church authority.
That's something to think about.
Thanks be to God that the Holy See has rectified the matter.
This Sunday is Divine Mercy Sunday. It is an important feast, because on that day, Our Lord has promised that those who have gone to Confession and received Holy Communion will receive not only forgiveness of their sins, but the total remission of all temporal punishment due to their sins.
The Feast of the Divine Mercy or Divine Mercy Sunday falls on the Octave of Easter (the Sunday immediately following Easter). It is dedicated to the devotion to the Divine Mercy promoted by St. Faustina (Faustyna Kowalska), and is based upon an entry in St. Faustina's diary stating that anyone who participates in the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass and receives the sacraments of Confession and the Holy Eucharist on this day is assured by Our Lord of full remission of sins, including the remission of all temporal punishment due to our sins.
According to the notebooks of Sister Faustina, Jesus made the following statements about this day:
"On that day the very depths of My tender mercy are open. I pour out a whole ocean of graces upon those souls who approach the fount of My mercy. The soul that will go to Confession and receive Holy Communion shall obtain complete forgiveness of sins and punishment. On that day all the divine floodgates through which grace flow are opened. Let no soul fear to draw near to Me, even though its sins be as scarlet. My mercy is so great that no mind, be it of man or of angel, will be able to fathom it throughout all eternity." (Diary of Sr. Faustina, 699)
Our Lord's promise to grant complete forgiveness of sins and punishment on the Feast of Mercy is recorded three times in the Diary of Saint Faustina, each time in a slightly different way:
"I want to grant a complete pardon to the souls that will go to Confession and receive Holy Communion on the Feast of My mercy" (1109).
"Whoever approaches the Fountain of Life on this day will be granted complete forgiveness of sins and punishment" (300).
"The soul that will go to Confession and receive Holy Communion will obtain complete forgiveness of sins and punishment" (699).
The devotion was celebrated unofficially in many places for some years. On April 30, 2000 (Divine Mercy Sunday of that year), Pope John Paul II canonized St. Faustina and designated the Sunday after Easter as Divine Mercy Sunday in the General Roman Calendar, with effect from the following year. He also decreed a plenary indulgence associated with this devotion.
Pope John Paul II died during the vigil of the Divine Mercy Sunday in 2005.
How To Prepare Yourself Properly
Going to Confession is not the only way we should prepare ourselves for Divine Mercy Sunday. As Cardinal Francis Macharski, Archbishop of Krakow, Poland explains in a 1985 pastoral letter, we are not simply called to ask for God's mercy with trust. We are also called to be merciful:
"Our own merciful attitude is likewise a preparation. Without deeds of mercy our devotion would not be real. For Christ does not only reveal the mercy of God, but at the same time He places before people the demand that they conduct themselves in life with love and mercy. The Holy Father states that this requirement constitutes the very heart of the Gospel ethos (Rich in Mercy, 3) ‑ it is the commandment of love and the promise: "Blessed are the merciful, for they shall obtain mercy' (Mt 5:7). Let it be a mercy that is forgiving and true, and universal, with good words, deeds, and prayer for others!"
Our Lord's words to Saint Faustina about this requirement to be merciful are very strong and leave no room for misinterpretation:
"Yes, the first Sunday after Easter is the Feast of Mercy, but there must also be acts of mercy ... I demand from you deeds of mercy, which are to arise out of love for Me. You are to show mercy to your neighbors always and everywhere. You must not shrink from this or try to excuse or absolve yourself from it" (742).
Thus, to fittingly observe the Feast of Mercy, we should:
1. Celebrate the Feast on the Sunday after Easter;
2. Sincerely repent of all our sins;
3. Place our complete trust in Jesus;
4. Go to Confession, preferably before that Sunday;
5. Receive Holy Communion on the day of the Feast;
6. Venerate the Image of The Divine Mercy;
7. Be merciful to others, through our actions, words, and prayers on their behalf.
(Note: To venerate a sacred image or statue simply means to perform some act or make some gesture of deep religious respect toward it because of the person whom it represents ‑ in this case, our Most Merciful Savior.)
Be sure to take advantage of God's Mercy on Divine Mercy Sunday!
Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, the Vatican's Secretary of State, has said that dissident Catholics are more worrisome than atheists. Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone's comments were published in the December 7 edition of L'Avvenire, the official newspaper of the Italian bishops' conference.
Italian journalist Gianni Cardinale, asked Bertone about atheists who may support the Pope on certain issues such as his stance on Islam. "If I can put it in a sound-bite," Bertone said as translated by Vatican reporter John Allen, "the church doesn't really worry about atheists, however devout, because they're out of her spiritual jurisdiction, so to speak. Much more worrisome are those inside the church who work to distort its faith and moral principles, or who oppose the pope and his design for renewal of the church."
The new Secretary of State is, with these sentiments, very much in line with Pope Benedict. The Pope has paid special attention to Catholics who work to distort the faith and moral principles. Time and time again in meetings with bishops, especially those from the West, the Holy Father has insisted that they pay special attention to Catholic politicians who violate Church teaching on matters of life and family.
The Holy Father clearly understands the predominant errors of this present age. These errors were a large part of the "dictatorship of relativism" he mentioned in his speech before the conclave that ended with his election as Pope.
"We are moving," he declared, toward "a dictatorship of relativism . . . that recognizes nothing definite and leaves only one's own ego and one's own desires as the final measure."
Cardinal Bertone's words reflect the recognition that this dictatorship is attacking the faith not just from without, but also from within, as has been evidenced by Catholic conferences endorsed by Catholic laity, priests, religious, bishops, and even Cardinals where speakers who openly dissent from Church teaching on matters of faith an morals, particularly in the areas of sexual morality and the "ordination" of women. Groups such as Call to Action, known for their open dissent against Church teaching on these issues have been supported by dissenting priests and bishops for years. At the 1995 Call to Action conference, the controversial Bishop of Partenia, Jacques Gaillot, the auxiliary Bishop of Detroit Thomas Gumbleton, and theologian Hans Küng, who was rescinded his authority to teach Catholic theology, were among the featured speakers. Others who have supported Call to Action include: Bishop Raymond Lucker of New Ulm, Minnesota (deceased), Fr. Leonardo do Boff, Fr. Charles Curran, Sr. Ivone Gebara, Sr. Joan Chittister, Sr. Jeannine Gramick (of "New Ways Ministries"), Sr. Helen Prejean (of "Dead Man Walking"), Fr. Robert Nugent (of "New Ways Ministries"), Fr. Matthew Fox (of "Creation Spirituality"), Fr. Michael Crosby, Fr. Richard McBrien (of Notre Dame University), Bishop Pedro Casaldaliga, Bishop Raymond Hunthausen, Bishop Jacques Gaillot, Bishop Albert Ottenweller (retired) of Steubenville, Ohio, Bishop William Hughes (retired) of Covington, Kentucky, Edwina Gateley, and many, many more Catholic dissidents.
Let's pray that the confusion spread by these "Catholic" leaders will be undone so that the hearts and souls of many who have been led astray will hear the voice of the Lord, turn, and be converted. Let us also pray for these "Catholic" leaders, who have also been led astray. It's easy to see these dissenting leaders as the enemy, but we must remember that they are our brothers and sisters in Christ and they have been deceived, as all of us can be deceived. Just as we still love family members who abandon the Catholic faith, we must still love these Catholic dissenters. Just don't drink their Kool-Aid!
The AIDS Healthcare Foundation held an art exhibition and auction last night at the conference center of Our Lady of the Angels Cathedral in Los Angeles to raise money for clinics it sponsors in Tijuana and Puerto Vallarta, Mexico.
A California Catholic Daily reader who saw a preview of the event on a Los Angeles television program alerted the newsaper via email regarding the event. "They showed some of the items, and it was really gross -- men hugging, tops bared, nude males back scenes," said the reader in the email.
The title for the event was “Amigos y Amantes” (Friends and Lovers).
“Showcasing the work of notable and emerging Latino artists, this lively celebration of Latino art and culture will take place on Saturday, February 10th from 6:00 p.m. to 11:00 p.m. at the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels Conference Room in downtown Los Angeles. Entrance is $25.00 and includes complimentary appetizers and no host bar,” said an AIDS Healthcare Foundation flyer promoting the event.
Among the artists whose works were on display were Joey Terrill and Miguel Angel Reyes. A biography on the AIDS Healthcare Foundation website has this to say of Terrill: “a man whose art and identity -- as a Latino, a gay man, a person living with HIV, an activist and an artist -- have always been closely connected. Several of Joey’s paintings, which often document his relationships with friends, lovers and family, will be up for auction as part of AIDS Healthcare Foundation’s art exhibition and fundraiser to benefit its free AIDS treatment clinics in Mexico.”
And, of Reyes, the website offers this insight: “Miguel counts as a primary influence his friendship with Morris Kight, gay civil rights pioneer and AIDS activist, whom many consider to be the founder of the West Coast gay rights movement. When they met, Morris was older than Miguel by more than forty years.
“When asked about his current projects, Miguel offers: ‘I’m working on a series of drawings of men grooming -- combing their hair, taking a shower, drying themselves. Simple, everyday actions.’ He adds with a laugh, ‘Naked, of course.’”
A highly-stylized piece of art by Reyes featured on the website pictures two shirtless, barefoot men facing each other with the caption, “In the Future, Everyone Will be Able to Play with Themselves.”
How much more confusion must be tolerated? Doesn't Rome realize that by appearing to do nothing, Catholics are confused. Don't they know that progressives point to Mahony and say that Pope John Paul II made him a bishop, and then a cardinal, and Pope Benedict XVI continues to allow him to remain in authority, without correction, in Los Angeles, and therefore what Mahony is doing must be okay with the Church?
Why must we wait for his retirement, to the detriment of millions of souls?
Fr. Robert F. Drinan, S.J., who was the Democratic party's Representative for the 3rd Congressional District of Massachusetts from 1971 until 1981, and whose last major public appearance was as the celebrant of a Jan. 3 Mass at Trinity College in Washington, D.C., honoring pro-abortion congresswoman Nancy Pelosi of San Francisco, has died. He was 86.
As a congressman, Drinan consistently supported “abortion rights.” Even after he left office, he continued his public advocacy of abortion. In 1996, for example, Drinan spoke in favor of President Bill Clinton’s veto of the Partial-Birth Abortion Ban.
O my Jesus, forgive us our sins, save us from the fires of hell; lead all souls to Heaven, especially those in most need of Thy Mercy. Amen.
Libera me, Domine, de morte aeterna, in die illa tremenda, quando coeli movendi sunt et terra. Dum veneris judicare saeculum per ignem. Tremens factus sum ego et timeo, dum discussio venerit atque ventura ira. Dies irae, dies illa, calamitatis et miseriæ, dies magna et amara valde. Requiem aeternam dona eis, Domine: et lux perpetua luceat eis.
("Free me, Lord, from eternal death upon that terrible day when heaven and earth shall be moved, when thou comest to judge the world with fire. I am afraid and trembling, on account of the coming judgment and wrath. That day is a day of wrath, of disaster and misery, a great and very bitter day. Grant them eternal rest, O Lord, and may everlasting light shine upon them.")
Requiem æternam dona eis, Domine, et lux perpetua luceat eis.
(Eternal rest grant unto them, O Lord, and let perpetual light shine upon them.)
The Myth of Hitler's Pope is just one of many ways in which the KGB sought to discredit the Holy See, according to a new and excellent article from the National Review Online. The article has far-reaching implications, and actually connects a lot of dots.
The Soviet Union was never comfortable living in the same world with the Vatican. The most recent disclosures document that the Kremlin was prepared to go to any lengths to counter the Catholic Church’s strong anti-Communism.
In March 2006 an Italian parliamentary commission concluded “beyond any reasonable doubt that the leaders of the Soviet Union took the initiative to eliminate the pope Karol Wojtyla,” in retaliation for his support to the dissident Solidarity movement in Poland. In January 2007, when documents disclosed that the newly appointed archbishop of Warsaw, Stanislaw Wielgus, had collaborated with Poland’s Communist-era political police, he admitted the accusation and resigned. The following day the rector of Krakow’s Wawel Cathedral, the burial site of Polish kings and queens, resigned for the same reason. Then it was learned that Michal Jagosz, a member of the Vatican’s tribunal considering sainthood for the late Pope John Paul II, has been accused of being a former Communist secret police agent; according to the Polish media, he had been recruited in 1984 before leaving Poland for an assignment to the Vatican. Currently, a book is about to be published that will identify 39 other priests whose names have been found in Krakow secret police files, some of whom are now bishops. Moreover, this seems to be just scratching the surface. A special commission will soon start investigating the past of all religious servants during the Communist era, as thousands more Catholic priests throughout that country are believed to have collaborated with the secret police. And this is just Poland — the archives of the KGB and those of the political police in the rest of the former Soviet bloc have yet to be opened on the subject of operations against the Vatican.
Prepared by the Sacred Congregation for the Sacraments and Divine Worship Approved and Confirmed by His Holiness Pope John Paul II April 17, 1980
This Sacred Congregation notes with great joy the many positive results of the liturgical reform: a more active and conscious participation by the faithful in the liturgical mysteries, doctrinal and catechetical enrichment through the use of the vernacular, and the wealth of readings from the Bible, a growth in the community sense of liturgical life, and successful efforts to close the gap between life and worship, between Liturgical piety and personal piety, and between Liturgy and popular piety.
But these encouraging and positive aspects cannot suppress concern at the varied and frequent abuses being reported from different parts of the Catholic world: the confusion of roles, especially regarding the priestly ministry and the role of the laity (indiscriminate shared recitation of the Eucharistic Prayer, homilies given by lay people, lay people distributing Communion while the priests refrain from doing so); an increasing loss of the sense of the sacred (abandonment of liturgical vestments, the Eucharist celebrated outside church without real need, lack of reverence and respect for the Blessed Sacrament, etc.); misunderstanding of the ecclesial character of the Liturgy (the use of private texts, the proliferation of unapproved Eucharistic Prayers, the manipulation of the liturgical texts for social and political ends) . In these cases we are face to face with a real falsification of the Catholic Liturgy: "One who offers worship to God on the Church's behalf in a way contrary to that which is laid down by the Church with God-given authority and which is customary in the Church is guilty of falsification."
None of these things can bring good results. The consequences are--and cannot fail to be--the impairing of the unity of Faith and worship in the Church, doctrinal uncertainty, scandal and bewilderment among the People of God, and the near inevitability of violent reactions.
It's time for an end to the wave of liturgical experimentation and liturgical abuse that has overtaken the Catholic Church in many parts of the world. The Holy Sacrifice of the Mass needs to be celebrated with reverence and dignity.
One would like to believe Masses like these are isolated incidents, but there is evidence that abuses like these (and other reprobated liturgical abuses) are quite common in the United States and abroad.
How long is such nonsense to be tolerated? How many warnings from the Holy See reprobating such actions need to be written, promulgated, and ignored, before more concrete action is taken? The abuses have to stop.
One way to stop them is to expose them. That's where YouTube and Catholic Blogs can be of invaluable assistance.
I intend to post footage of liturgical abuses in various dioceses throughout the United States here on Roman Catholic Blog. I do it not to spread scandal, but rather to assist in putting an end to such abuses. Whatever else may be said about exposing these things, it cannot be denied that the ones exposed do not like it. Which makes one wonder how they think what they are doing is so wonderful if they are angered by actions that expose what they are doing?
Bottom line: the darkness still hates the light.
Feel free to utilize YouTube to upload videos of legitimate liturgical abuse or heretical teachings. E-mail me the link to the video on YouTube at email@example.com. If your video is appropriate, I will post it here.
The Cafeteria is Closed is reporting that Orange County, California bishop, Tod David Brown, has permitted his chancery to issue this directive from Lesa Truxaw, the Orange diocese's director of worship, to all priests and deacons in the Diocese of Orange, letting them know they should ignore the new directives from Rome with respect to the purification of vessels (rescinding the controversial, temporary permission for lay persons to purify the sacred vessels after the distribution of Holy Communion) until the U.S. Bishops meet to discuss the "new" norms. The need for the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops to discuss the implementation of the Holy See's new directive is somewhat mystifying. Some analysis of Bishop Brown's latest chess move is in order.
Note: Gerald erroneously (but with the best of intentions) reported that the Diocese of Orange is: "in lockstep with Mahony's Los Angeles (it's part of the archdiocese)". That is not entirely accurate. While it is true that Bishop Brown's policies are often in lockstep with those of Cardinal Mahony, the Diocese of Orange is a separate entity. According to the history section of the official Diocese of Orange website: "On June 18, 1976, His Holiness Pope Paul VI established the Diocese of Orange, encompassing 782 square mile [sic] along 42 miles of Southern California coastline." On June 16th of that year, Cardinal Timothy Manning installed Los Angeles Auxiliary Bishop William Johnson as the first Bishop of Orange at Holy Family Cathedral.
The Most Reverend William R. Johnson was installed as First Bishop of Orange and served his flock during the formative years of the diocese until his death on July 28, 1986. Auxiliary Bishop John T. Steinbock served as Apostolic Administrator until February 24, 1987, when the Most Reverend Norman F. McFarland was installed Second Bishop of Orange. On September 3, 1998 Bishop Tod D. Brown was installed as Third Bishop of Orange, upon the retirement of Bishop McFarland.
When the Diocese was first established, there were 42 parishes and 179 Priests serving 330,000 Orange County Catholics. Today, 25 years later, there are 55 diocesan parishes and 289 Priests serving 1,044,191 Catholics in the county of 2,760,948 people.
Although the territory of the Diocese of Orange was once part of the Los Angeles Archdiocese, it is now a separate diocese. Bishop Tod Brown is not an auxiliary bishop for the Archdiocese of Los Angels (nor were his predecessors). The office of Bishop of Orange is a separate see, independent of the authority of the Archdiocese of Los Angeles.
However, it might be helpful to give some perspective on the history of Cardinal Mahony's efforts to influence policy in the Diocese of Orange.
As Jeff Nihill reported in the July 20, 2000 article, in the national Catholic weekly newspaper, The Wanderer, titled, "Tod Brown, Bishop of Orange: A Two Year Retrospective":
Bishop Tod D. Brown was installed as the third Bishop of Orange in the Diocese's Mother Church, Holy Family Cathedral, on September 3, 1998. When he arrived, little was known locally about Brown, other than that he was a friend and former classmate of Los Angeles Cardinal Roger Mahony and had served for nine years as Bishop of Boise, Idaho. This relationship led many conservatives to fear that Brown was a staunch liberal, and, after nearly two years at the helm in Orange, this has proven true. Since his arrival, Brown has moved the diocesan administration steadily leftward, and has turned Orange into little more than an extension of the Los Angeles Archdiocese, responsive to the directives of Cardinal Mahony.
Norman McFarland, Brown's predecessor, served as Bishop of Orange for 11 years. He was a competent, able administrator, widely known for his financial acumen. Although his manner could be gruff and demanding, and one could easily disagree with his decisions, he was genuine and straightforward, and widely respected among the clergy and laity.
McFarland was solidly orthodox and well educated in the Catholic faith. However, McFarland's orthodoxy was frequently not shared by members of his chancery staff, nor by many of his priests and parish staffs. While he did ordain some pious, orthodox young men to the priesthood, he did little to change the far-left makeup of the religious education establishment in the diocese, intervening only in cases of the most overt heresy.
Unfortunately, such intervention was often ineffective. Should an abuse arise, McFarland might contact the offending party privately, and order it to cease. The person would ordinarily be left in his position of authority; someone who had no intention, despite assurances to the contrary, of being orthodox. Furthermore, McFarland would make no public statement to reassure the scandalized "layman in the pew" that the abuse had been corrected.
To the delight of many in Orange, McFarland and Cardinal Mahony had long shared a mutual dislike for each other, not only on philosophical grounds, but also because of the Cardinal's repeated attempts to meddle in the affairs of Orange.
With the appointment of Brown, however, such meddling has become commonplace. Brown is very much a different kind of bishop from McFarland. He is very much more the politician, quite pleasant and charming socially, and reserved and diplomatic in his public statements. However, in nearly two years as Bishop of Orange, he has yet to demonstrate, either in his writing or preaching, any depth of understanding of the Catholic faith.
Later in the article, Mr. Nihill reported:
In yet another indication of his obsequious relationship with Cardinal Mahony, Bishop Brown closed the Diocese of Orange's 24-year-old newspaper, the Bulletin, and is replacing it with a publication of the Tidings Corporation, which produces the L.A. Archdiocese's weekly newspaper, The Tidings. Mahony ordered the move to improve The Tidings' sagging circulation, which has today fallen to around 30,000 from a one-time high of 150,000.
Due in part to its promotion of a liberal political agenda with ideas contrary to the Catholic faith, the publication has alienated many faithful priests and lay persons. Additionally, the watered-down Catholicism of the L.A. Archdiocese has made the faith irrelevant to the lives of many Catholics, who, therefore, have no interest in the Archdiocesan newspaper. Considering the enormous sums of money the Archdiocese has spent to keep its newspaper afloat, its continuing rejection by rank-and-file Catholics has vexed Mahony and The Tidings' abrasive editor, recently appointed the Archdiocese's Director of Communications, Tod Tamberg.
So, you see, Cardinal Mahony has no authority over Bishop Tod Brown, they are simply the best of friends, and cut from the same theological cloth.
As for Lesa Truxaw's directive to the ordained ministers (priests and deacons) of the Diocese of Orange, several things come to mind:
First, why is a lay woman the Orange diocese's director of worship? Wouldn't a priest be more appropriate for such a position? Apparently, such is not the case in Tod Brown's diocese.
As Mr. Nihill noted in his article:
Brown also shares the political correctness typically found among members of the mainstream media and college professors. For example, his first high profile diocesan appointment was that of Sister Katherine Gray--a Sister of St. Joseph of Orange, the diocese's largest religious community which is rife with liberalism and rapidly dying out--as chancellor, a role traditionally held by a priest (female chancellors are the "in thing" among liberal bishops).
Second, why does the U.S. Conference of Catholic bishops need to meet in order to implement a directive from the Holy See rescinding the indult allowing lay persons to purify the sacred vessels after the distribution of Holy Communion? (For background details, see: Extraordinary ministers of Eucharist barred from purifying vessels)
National espiscopal conferences are not part of the intrinsic structure of the Church, but rather an added (and frequently unnecessary) layer of bureaucracy. (For the official position of the Church on national bishops' conferences, see: Apostolos Suos) Sometimes, it can be helpful to have all of the bishops in a given country work towards uniformity within that country, but in reality, each diocese answers directly to the Holy See (and its various offices) and needn't look to or follow the directives of any intermediary body.
To put things plainly, adopting a "wait and see what the U.S. bishops say" policy seems, at best, a ploy to stall for time and end run the clear and expressed wishes of the Holy Father on this matter. At worst, it would seem to imply that the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (or at least some of its members) want to create the impression that they, and not the Holy See, are the final authority on liturgical matters in the United States.
This April 16, 1999, John Allen article on (then) Cardinal Ratzinger from the ultra-liberal, dissent friendly, National Catholic Reporter reveals the tension between national bishops' conferences and the Holy See: The Vatican’s enforcer
Others have spotted politics in the evolution of Ratzinger’s own theological positions. In 1965, for example, Ratzinger in a Concilium article called national episcopal conferences “the best means of concrete plurality in unity,” arguing that they’re rooted in the ancient church. As prefect, however, Ratzinger has insisted that episcopal conferences have no such status; a bishop can teach in his own diocese and all the bishops together can teach in a council, but there’s nothing in between. That was the thrust of the recent papal document Apostolos Suos.
Why the shift? NCR’s late Vatican affairs correspondent Peter Hebblethwaite suggested in 1986 that it’s an instance of Ratzinger using theology ideologically. It’s much easier to cow an individual bishop than a strong conference, so by reducing the power of conferences, Ratzinger boosts his own.
Finally, you may notice that Lesa Truxaw emphasizes that reception of Holy Communion "under both signs is a "more complete" sign of the sacrament's meaning." This is accurate, but misleading. Here is what Catholic News Service (the official news organ of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops) reported about Cardinal Arinze's clarification in the letter rescinding the controversial, temporary indult allowing lay persons to purify the sacred vessels after the reception of Holy Communion:
Although receiving Communion under both kinds is a "more complete" sign of the sacrament's meaning, Cardinal Arinze said, "Christ is fully present under each of the species."
"Communion under the species of the bread alone, as a consequence, makes it possible to receive all the fruit of eucharistic grace," he added.
Another "legitimate option" when "the high number of communicants may render it inadvisable for everyone to drink from the chalice" is intinction -- the practice of dipping the consecrated host into the consecrated wine -- "with reception on the tongue always and everywhere," the cardinal's letter said.
§ 1. The canonical discipline concerning extraordinary ministers of Holy Communion must be correctly applied so as to avoid generating confusion. The same discipline establishes that the ordinary minister of Holy Communion is the Bishop, the Priest and the the Deacon.(96) Extraordinary ministers of Holy Communion are those instituted as acolytes and the faithful so deputed in accordance with Canon 230, § 3.(97)
A non-ordained member of the faithful, in cases of true necessity, may be deputed by the diocesan bishop, using the appropriate form of blessing for these situation, to act as an extraordinary minister to distribute Holy Communion outside of liturgical celebrations ad actum vel ad tempus or for a more stable period. In exceptional cases or in un foreseen circumstances, the priest presiding at the liturgy may authorize such ad actum.(98)
§ 2. Extraordinary ministers may distribute Holy Communion at eucharistic celebrations only when there are no ordained ministers present or when those ordained ministers present at a liturgical celebration are truly unable to distribute Holy Communion.(99) They may also exercise this function at eucharistic celebrations where there are particularly large numbers of the faithful and which would be excessively prolonged because of an insufficient number of ordained ministers to distribute Holy Communion. (100)
This function is supplementary and extraordinary (101) and must be exercised in accordance with the norm of law. It is thus useful for the diocesan bishop to issue particular norms concerning extraordinary ministers of Holy Communion which, in complete harmony with the universal law of the Church, should regulate the exercise of this function in his diocese. Such norms should provide, amongst other things, for matters such as the instruction in eucharistic doctrine of those chosen to be extraordinary ministers of Holy Communion, the meaning of the service they provide, the rubrics to be observed, the reverence to be shown for such an august Sacrament and instruction concerning the discipline on admission to Holy Communion.
To avoid creating confusion, certain practices are to be avoided and eliminated where such have emerged in particular Churches:
— extraordinary ministers receiving Holy Communion apart from the other faithful as though concelebrants;
— association with the renewal of promises made by priests at the Chrism Mass on Holy Thursday, as well as other categories of faithful who renew religious vows or receive a mandate as extraordinary ministers of Holy Communion;
— the habitual use of extraordinary ministers of Holy Communion at Mass thus arbitrarily extending the concept of "a great number of the faithful".
Incidentally, the same document also said (at the end of Article One):
It is unlawful for the non-ordained faithful to assume titles such as "pastor", "chaplain", "coordinator", " moderator" or other such similar titles which can confuse their role and that of the Pastor, who is always a Bishop or Priest.