Tuesday, July 11, 2006

You Reap What You Sow

Embraced by the leadership of all the mainline Protestant denominations, as well as large segments of American Catholicism, liberal Christianity has been hailed by its boosters for 40 years as the future of the Christian church.

Instead, as all but a few die-hards now admit, all the mainline churches and movements within churches that have blurred doctrine and softened moral precepts are demographically declining and, in the case of the Episcopal Church, disintegrating.

When your religion says "whatever" on doctrinal matters, regards Jesus as just another wise teacher, refuses on principle to evangelize and lets you do pretty much what you want, it's a short step to deciding that one of the things you don't want to do is get up on Sunday morning and go to church.

So this is the liberal Christianity that was supposed to be the Christianity of the future: disarray, schism, rapidly falling numbers of adherents, a collapse of Christology and national meetings that rival those of the Modern Language Assn. for their potential for cheap laughs. And they keep telling the Catholic Church that it had better get with the liberal program — ordain women, bless gay unions and so forth — or die. Sure.

[from the Dunker Journal]

The Weight of One Holy Mass

The following true story was related to Sister Mary Veronica Murphy by an elderly nun, who heard it from the lips of the late Reverend Father Stanislaus, SS.CC.

One day, many years ago, in a little town in Luxembourg, a Captain of the Forest Guards was in deep conversation with the butcher, when an elderly woman entered the shop. The butcher broke off the conversation to ask the old woman what she wanted. She had come to beg for a little meat but had no money. The Captain was amused at the conversation which ensued between the poor woman and the butcher.

"Only a little meat. . ."

"But how much are you going to give me?"

"I am sorry I have no money, but I'll hear Mass for you."

Both the butcher and the Captain were very good men, but very indifferent about religion, so they at once began to scoff at the old woman's answer.

"All right, then," said the butcher. "You go out and hear Mass for me, and when you come back, I'll give you as much meat as the Mass is worth."

The woman left the shop and returned later. She approached the counter and the butcher seeing her, said, "All right, then, we'll see."

He took a slip of paper and wrote on it, "I heard a Mass for you." He then placed the paper on the scale and a tine bone on the other side, but nothing happened. Next he placed a piece of meat instead of the bone, but still the paper proved heavier. Both men were beginning to feel ashamed of their mockery but continued their game. A large piece of meat was placed in the balanced, but still the paper held its own. The butcher, exasperated, examined the scales, but found they were all right.

"What do you want, my good woman? Must I give you a whole leg of mutton?"

At this, he placed the leg of mutton on the balance, but the paper outweighed the meat. A larger piece of meat was put on, but again the weight remained on the side of the paper. This so impressed the butcher that he was converted, and promised to give the woman her daily ration of meat.

As for the Captain, he left the shop a changed man, an ardent lover of daily Holy Mass. Two of his sons became priests, one a Jesuit and the other a Father of the Sacred Heart.

Father Stanislaus finished by saying, "I am the religious of the Sacred Heart, and the Captain was my father."

From that incident the Captain became a daily Mass goer and his children were trained to follow his example. Later, when his sons became priests, he advised them to offer Holy Mass well every day and never miss the Sacrifice through any fault of their own.

[hat tip to Long-Skirts]

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

disciplinary infallibility

I have just added a link to a great blog on the side, the Lidless Eye Inquisition, which describes itself as

A weblog dedicated to the exposure of the crackpots of the lunatic self-styled 'traditionalist' fringe who disingenuously pose as faithful Catholics.

and has on its latest post

"If she [the Church] were able to prescribe or command or tolerate in her discipline something against faith and morals, or something which tended to the detriment of the Church or to the harm of the faithful, she would turn away from her divine mission, which would be impossible.
Ah, hmm. So from the Catholic Encyclopedia entry

The authors of these treatises decide unanimously in favour of a negative and indirect rather than a positive and direct infallibility, inasmuch as in her general discipline, i. e. the common laws imposed on all the faithful, the Church can prescribe nothing that would be contrary to the natural or the Divine law, nor prohibit anything that the natural or the Divine law would exact. If well understood this thesis is undeniable; it amounts to saying that the Church does not and cannot impose practical directions contradictory of her own teaching.

In its own laws, the Church cannot impose anything that is contrary to what it is supposed to teach. However, it does not mean that everything it imposes must be perfect or the best. What is perfection anyway? And so ...
From the disciplinary infallibility of the Church, correctly undersood as an indirect consequence of her doctrinal infallibility, it follows that she cannot be rightly accused of introducing into her discipline anything opposed to the Divine law; the most remarkable instance of this being the suppression of the chalice in the Communion of the laity. This has often been violently attacked as contrary to the Gospel. Concerning it the Council of Constance (1415) declared (Sess. XIII): "The claim that it is sacrilegious or illicit to observe this custom or law [Communion under one kind] must be regarded as erroneous, and those who obstinately affirm it must be cast aside as heretics."
Take for example communion on the hand. In this day, I see lots of people coming up to receive communion in a very sloppy manner, and I firmly support a tightening of discipline to encourage tongue+kneeling reception for its value in teaching the laity the proper dispositions. However, I cannot, for the life of me, see how communion on hand is a sacrilege and hence innately sinful, innately harmful and innately detrimental to the Church.