Young Catholics release pre-synodal document revealing much difference of opinion

Last night, I read about two-thirds of the document produced by the Pre-Synodal Meeting of young Catholics in preparation for the Synod of Bishops on Young People, the Faith, and Vocational Discernment coming up in October.  This morning, I read the rest.

Many bishops love being around young Catholics because often their faith is so fresh, many having had a new encounter with our Lord Jesus Christ and in the midst of their first love experience with Him.  Having witnessed this, especially among the young people touched by Catholic Christian Outreach, I can understand why.

That first love is infectious and reminds us of our own first love and can help rekindle that fire if it has grown a bit cold.  Alas, I did not detect that joyful passion of first love inspired by Jesus Christ in this document. In fact, I had to read nearly half of the document before Jesus was even mentioned.  The document mainly seemed to refer to the Church as an earthly institution. Continue reading

The Five Wounds and Our Spirituality

I had been called to go to the emergency room to give Last Rites. When I arrived, the nurse came out of the room and warned me; it was a very bad car accident and he was in very bad shape. The doctors had done what they could but he was not going to live long and the family was not going to make it to the hospital before he passed. She was right; it was hard to see. No words can sufficiently describe a serious injury. By the grace of God I was able to enter the room, give him Last Rites and commend his soul to God. Still today, I remember that feeling when I touched his forehead with the holy oil–he was about to leave this world.

Seeing a bad wound makes some people get queasy. I personally have a hard time with needles, but can handle wounds a bit more. Yet, seeing a serious wound always strikes me deeply. The damaging of one’s flesh and bone is a clear reminder of our mortality. “Memento mori”, remember, you are mortal. The same is true of Christ’s wounds. Although none of us can actually see them today (unless granted the wonderful grace of a miraculous vision), seeing them portrayed in art (or cinema, like “The Passion of the Christ”) and pondering each of them for what they are is of great spiritual value. It leads us to a deeper appreciation of what Our Lord went through for our sakes. It was John the Apostle who saw Jesus as a lamb Who looked like He had been slain (cf. Rev 5:6). That is how Jesus showed Himself on His throne. In other words, He was saying to John, “look at my wounds and do not forget them, for they will be visible forever”. Continue reading

The renunciation required to become Catholic

The recent posts by my fellow blogger Simon Dennerly regarding Anglo-Catholics’ discomfort in the Anglican Church in North America (ACNA) reminded me of how much self-emptying and renunciation —accompanied by suffering—was required by our individuals and communities as we made the journey into the Catholic Church.

So my heart goes out to the clergy and people in ACNA who feel uncomfortable where they are and are discerning where they might find a new home.  And while I would love it if they would join us in the Personal Ordinariate of the Chair of St. Peter, the individual journey into the Catholic Church is not always an easy one.  It was not easy for us, especially for our clergy who had to put both their very identity as priests and, in many instances, their very livelihood on the altar, not knowing if they would ever even be considered for ordination at Catholic priests.

But isn’t the Christian life like that?  At some point in our lives, sooner or later, we must choose to totally surrender to God’s will, and ideally, we will re-confirm this surrender for ever-deeper conversion or remain lukewarm, double-minded Christians. Continue reading

ACNA’s Anglo-Catholic Crisis- A Case Study in Anglo-Catholic issues

After Monday’s article about the Anglican Church in North America’s  Anglo-Catholic section, the Missionary Diocese of All Saints (MDAS) contemplating leaving the ACNA we received a statement from the Suffragan Bishop of MDAS, Richard W. Lipka:

” I want to be clear that we have not made any decision to leave ACNA. We have simply begun to explore relationships with other  non-papal Catholic entities”

Continue reading

A Turn in the North

This last weekend I spent in the twin cities of Minneapolis-St. Paul, metropoli filled with beautiful churches, of which the Cathedral of St. Paul and the Basilica of St. Mary are probably the best known, and the late, lamented Anglo-Catholic bastion of St. Paul-on-the-Hill the most tragic.

On Friday night, I took in Benediction and gave a lecture on the Vendee at St. Paul’s church of St. Agnes, whose legendary music programme was begun by the late pastor, Richard J. Schuler. Msgr. Schuler (whom I had the honour of knowing) was instrumental in the foundation of the Pastoral Provision; his meeting with Canon Albert Dubois and Frs. W.T. St. John Brown, Clark Tea, and our own Jack Barker during the catastrophic General Convention of 1976 was the catalyst that led to those reverend gentlemen contacting Cardinal Seper of the CDF. Happily, Monsignor’s legacy is very much alive and well at St. Agnes.

Saturday afternoon I gave a lecture on the place of the Faith in French-Canadian culture at Minneapolis’ French Canadian national parish of Our Lady of Lourdes (the very first church in the entire world to bear that title), attending Mass afterwards. The church has been beautifully restored since my last visit of over a decade ago, and the musical programme likewise. St. Paul also has such a parish – fittingly named St. Louis, King of France – but I did not manage to visit there this time.

Sunday morning was given to a beautiful Extraordinary Form High Mass at the FSSP parish of All Saints; in the evening we went to the Ordinariate Community of St. Bede’s, meeting at Holy Family Church. Mass was offered in the pastor’s absence (Fr. Treco was en route to the Chrism Mass with Bishop Lopes) by Latin Rite retired priest Fr. William Brenna, and was preceded by something new to me – the Litany chanted in Procession. This St. Bede’s does on the first Sundays of Advent and Lent, and Passion Sunday. It was very beautiful, as indeed,was the whole High Mass. The Kyrie, Sanctus, and Agnus Dei were from  the Missa cum jubilo, as adapted by Charles Winfred Douglas. Afterwards, the parisioners were extremely welcoming during the coffee hour in the undercroft. Adding to the wonderful atmosphere was the English Gothic styled Holy Family church itself; one couild well imagine that it is precisely the kind of church an Ordinariate community would build. Moreover, HF boasts its own schola cantorum specialising in Latin chant and polyphony. It is a group which exemplifies the best in the patrimony.

Before returning to LA the following day, we went back to All Saints for the High Mass of St. Joseph’s Day. As it happens, Minneapolis and Los Angeles are the two FSSP parishes in the United States that have been authorised to use the pre-1955 Rites of Holy Week this year. This writer is very much looking forward to seeing them – and in seeing the other church in St. Paul, St. Augustine’s, where the EF is offered. In any case, I am grateful to my sponsors and hosts in the Twin Cities for this adventure; regardless of whatever difficulties the Church is facing as a whole, it is essential to remind ourselves  of how many good things are happening across the globe in countless local scenes.