My eldest daughter has been in THE big city, the centre of the universe, for a year now. She already had a Bachelor of Arts in English but decided she wanted to be a chef.
So to Toronto.
She finished her year of chef training which, although well promoted, was disappointing. She persevered. She is now working three jobs (two in her field) and barely covers her rent on a room. Well, it IS Toronto...
At one job, she gives as little notice as she reasonably can that she wants a few days off to come see us. If she gives more notice, she will not be scheduled to work in the time leading up to her departure. She knows she won't be scheduled for a week or more after she gets back, either.
Another job she was hired for was supposed to be full-time days. Although she didn't mind the job, it was not full-time. She was sent to another location of the same business with the promise of more hours. She did not like this position as well, as it took her away from food preparation. And it wasn't full-time either.
The third job is intermittent, and again, doesn't actually have her doing food prep.
Now, one job is not scheduling her (no explanation) and the other didn't pay her for her last pay period. The cheque was written incorrectly and instead of re-issuing the cheque, they said they add it to her next cheque which should have arrived today, but hasn't.
How is a person supposed to keep body and soul together in an expensive place if he doesn't even know if he'll be given what he's entitled to?
And how is a young person supposed to get a start in life if when he or she gives it the best they've got, they get nothing?
Our daughter has opted to come home and try life from here for a while. She's already applied to several positions in our area.
Scripture tells us that a worker is worth his wage.
I read this today on Fr. MacRae's blog and it got me thinking in a few directions.
Fr. MacRae asks the cost of Fr. Marcel Maciel's transgressions. This is a good question, but I wonder if he's taken the answer far enough.
What is happening to priests is scary. Horrifying. I have been feeling the tensions build over the years among priests I know. I once went to a priest I knew reasonably well and quite innocently asked "I've heard rumours. Are they true?" This was a reference to something I'd heard about his assisting at another parish outside his diocese. The news had surprised me but I was fairly sure he'd know what I was referring to. The immediate look on his face, and his "Please do NOT start a conversation like that!" made me realise just how close to the surface are rumours of a far more sinister form.
The base reason behind the rumours is also horrifying. There are actually people suffering at the hands of priests. Given that priests are to uphold Christ's teaching, this is reprehensible. But the facts tell us that the desire to inflict harm is a human problem, not a priestly problem. It happens everywhere.
But knowing that this abuse has actually happened somewhere in the Church, inflicted by Church clergy affects the faithful in a profound way. For myself, I often feel like the ground is shifting under me. I am afraid to express my faith in someone, for fear of my confidence later being shown to be misplaced. We are called to explain the joy that is within us. I sometimes feel that it is easier to explain my faith than it is to explain why I maintain it in the company of those teachers who would profane it.
The ready claim of "child pornography" being tossed at any priest reminds me a bit of an advertising ploy that we often fall for...a product being touted as being "free" of something that it never actually contained...implying that other similar products are NOT free of it. An example: When cholesterol began to be seen as a bad nutrient for consumption (and I do not claim to believe this), peanut butter was sometimes marketed as "cholesterol free" as if this was a development. In fact, peanut butter has never contained cholesterol. No lie was actually told, but the implications for other products were certainly there.
Then there's the hanging questions...as a lactation counsellor, I saw some of the advertising material created by the makers of artificial infant food targeting new mothers. While giving the government required lip-service to breastfeeding, one video I remember showed a concerned looking mother holding her very young baby. In the background were quietly spoken questions like "How do I know my baby is getting enough?". The video never actually answered that particular question, even though it is entirely possible to tell if a naturally fed infant is being fed enough. But a "formula" manufacturer doesn't necessarily want you to know that.
Hearing a priest defend himself against child pornography charges is a bit like asking the question "So, when did you stop beating your wife?" No matter how it's answered, it doesn't sound good.
Not only is every priest "guilty" in the eyes of many, but every follower is guilty by association. This cross will continue to demand a huge toll on followers whose faith is focussed more on an individual than on Christ. It also has a toll on those who do not understand how language and emotions can be manipulated to create a desired end.
A great many of my parents' generation have left the Church, nominally because of the 'scandals'. I realize that sometimes this is just an excuse for leaving an institution that no longer suits them. But this generation would also have been young adults at the turn of Vatican II. Along with so many things that have changed in that time, the Church has become disposable. When something is seen as dirty, you throw it out.
In my own generation, we have suffered lack of catechesis, and a sort of 'anything goes' mentality which makes the Church simply an option among many. So you don't pick the option you don't like. Who would like the option that may endanger one's children?
For my children, it's second generation catechetical failure. I've tried to stem the tide, but they're young and they're hearing the news...and we've had a lot of news. How relevant is something that they KNOW is bad? After all, mum seems to be the only one telling them otherwise...
The legacy of Fr. Maciel will haunt us for a long time. Pray for our priests!
Easter is a season of hope. We see Jesus die, and then see Him resurrected, with the hope that we may also be resurrected on the last day. We hope in things unseen, like heaven, and we hope that we will get there when we die.
But there is a lot of life that happens before our deaths. How does hope affect us every day?
Well Easter tends to coincide with a lot of very worldly new beginnings. People graduate from schools, which for many means the beginning of new careers. For the young, this may mean new life in the world as a 'grown-up'. Would they have bothered with all the work of studying, if they did not have the hope of reward (gainful employment) at the end?
Fields and gardens are planted in the spring with the hope of the produce to come.
In our own families, we see hope expressed frequently as people strive for better health. Those with unexplained and undiagnosed illnesses can benefit greatly from the hope of a treatment or cure that can mitigate their conditions. Having been in that state myself for a long time, I can tell you what a danger to self is the loss of hope.
Romans 8:24-25 tells us that hope is for something we don't or can't see. Why would you hope for something which you already know and see?
This explains a lot why people in dire circumstances can still hope. This explains why people pray for solutions. If you know what the solution is, you'd do it. When you don't know what the solution is you hope.
Hope is not the same as wishing. Hope is confident and active. Wishing is sitting back and musing about how you'd like something to be. I fully believe that wishing can become hoping, but it doesn't happen automatically. Praying about something is hopeful. We know God answers prayers, even if that answer is not always what we expect. Wishing for a garden becomes hoping for a garden when you start planting seeds. Wishing to be a doctor becomes hoping when you register for classes.
We Christians need to do a lot of hoping. It seems the past years have been rife with excuses to lose hope. People to whom we should be looking for inspiration are letting us down. When we try to do as Christ has asked us through His Church, we are derided and called names, even by those with whom we worship. Various media give us a seemingly endless list of reasons why, according to themselves, we should be embarassed to be who we are.
But we have Jesus, who warned us that we will be hated because He was hated first. We also have the promise that God's ways will eventually conquer the ways of evil.
Catholics are told that we are to attend Mass on all Sundays and Holy Days of Obligation. I think we can see this wisdom of the Church as a way of bringing us hope as it brings us Jesus, Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity.
Let thy mercy, O Lord, be upon us, as we have hoped in Thee..
A director of music at a Catholic parish, obviously of long experience, sent me a list he has been keeping of things that people believe that are not so.
1. It is possible to fully understand the Mass.
1a. Having Mass entirely in the vernacular facilitates this complete comprehension.
1b. The more Latin we use, the less we can comprehend the Mass, unless we know Latin.
2. Mass is really about the words.
3. We must determine the popular musical taste of young people and incorporate these styles into the Mass, or young people will eventually leave the church.
3a. Young people overwhelmingly prefer contemporary popular music in church.
3b. Likewise, young children are only capable of grasping music written specifically for them.
3c. Family Masses, primarily addressed to children, facilitate catechesis. Such Masses do not, however, demonstrate to adults that religion is primarily for children.
4. Hymns and songs are integral to the Mass. Mass with music, but with no hymns or songs, is unthinkable.
5. The main way to determine a hymn or song's suitability for Mass is to examine the text.
5a. Therefore, since all versions of the Mass Ordinary have the same approved text in English, any setting is inherently suitable for Mass.
6. Changing texts to prayers, readings and hymns can be helpful, or is at least harmless; people won't even notice, and would say something if they did.
7. Laypeople live essentially stable lives, and look to the church to be surprising and innovative, especially in the liturgy.
8. Most women prefer gender-neutral language when referring to God. The younger the woman, the more this is true. References to God as "he" or "Father" are scandalous or unintelligible to the non-religious.
9. A small group of vocal parishioners likely represents the views of the majority.
10. People can sing tunes and especially rhythms rooted in popular music easily and naturally. Popular music is much easier to sing than classical music.
11. Members of ethnic minorities are grateful to us when we incorporate into Mass musical styles we associate with them.
11a. In cultures other than our own, especially in Latin America, the distinction between sacred and secular music is non-existent.
12. Having a single Mass in multiple vernacular languages is a way to please everyone, even those who speak only one of the languages. This leads to unity.
12a. Any use of liturgical Latin, on the other hand, is extremely divisive.
13. Church music shares many important characteristics with Broadway music from the 1980s and early 90s.
14. All chant sounds the same to untrained ears.
14a. All chant is in Latin.
14b. All chant is equally difficult and esoteric.
14c. Exception: The funeral Sanctus and Agnus Dei are the only pieces of chant that untrained laypeople are capable of singing.
14d. Chant is most appropriate for penitential times (like Lent) and least suitable for joyful times (like Easter).
15. The assembled parishioners, along with the priest, perform the primary actions of the Mass, and are also the Mass's primary audience. This principle drives every liturgical or musical decision.
16. God is indifferent to the particulars of our worship.
17. People in the pews will never, never, never sing in Latin and they resent you teaching them how.
18. The most natural and appropriate opening is a rousing hymn or song for the procession.
19. The best metric to gauge participation in the Mass is the assembly's singing. The louder the singing, the greater the participation.
19a. People who don't sing at Mass lack enthusiasm or devotion.
19b. No responsibility can be laid on the accompanist or music director if a congregation is not singing.
20. The church provides us the Mass in the form of a rubrical skeleton, onto which we map our choices of songs, service music, and locally-designed elements. This is how we do liturgy.
20a. The two main sources for doing liturgy are personal preferences -- what most of us like -- and the lectionary readings for the day.
21. Unaccompanied, unamplified polyphonic music sung by unseen singers in a choir loft is more a performance than worship.
21a. Conversely, a band with an electric keyboard, two guitars, bass guitar, flute, and three singers on microphones near the altar is more worship than a performance.
22. People will sing more at weddings and funerals if you use Mass of Creation.
23. All authoritarianism in Catholic liturgy originates in Rome.
24. The Second Vatican Council fundamentally changed the church, and especially the liturgy.
25. The liturgical changes following the Second Vatican Council have led to an increase in understanding of the Mass, and therefore a general rise in Catholic practice.
25a. To question these changes is to question the Council.
Hmmm. New med. Adjustment is going well and I'm feeling pretty good. Apparently I'm not exactly on my game yet though.
Yesterday at Mass we heard about Jesus raising Lazarus from the dead. But there was a twist in the homily.
Given that Jesus was "Firstborn from the Dead", Lazarus couldn't have been dead. Even though Father was wearing rose on the Fifth Sunday of Lent (Laetare Sunday is the Fourth Sunday...and that is when rose vestments MAY be worn) I bought the line.
And then I thought about it. The raising of Lazarus had just been un-miraclized (my word!) before my eyes and ears.
If Lazarus was not truly dead, then Jesus did not perform the miracle of raising him. Poppycock.
But it is true that Jesus IS Firstborn from the Dead. A brief consult with some people with better-functioning brains than mine said that Jesus rose from the dead and conquered death by not dying again. He ascended to Heaven. THAT is the difference. Lazarus did eventually die and return to dust as all men subject to sin will do.
Meant to get this sent out much earlier, but the fog rolled in...so here it is now! God Bless!
We have had a great deal of bad news, in one form or other, over the past couple of months.
Planned Parent advocates in the United States have called those who would restrict their public funding stupid, while themselves saying brilliant things like not having them (PP) would result in mothers having to feed their children mayonnaise sandwiches and Ramen noodles at the end of the month to "fill their little bellies". I respectfully ask PP what alternative they would suggest...to rip those little bellies wide open and kill the children? Goodness knows PP does not offer material assistance to those who have their children, instead of aborting them.
In Canada, LifeSite News is being sued by Father Raymond Gravel because they've said fairly clearly that he is not a good example of a Catholic priest.
In a National Post article on the subject of Father Gravel, Father Thomas Rosica from Salt and Light Television weighs in in Father Gravel's defence against LifeSite, although he says he doesn't agree with him. Father Rosica has his own ax to grind with LifeSite, who took him to task when he labelled as "Taliban Catholics" those who took issue with the flashy Catholic funeral of pro-abortion Senator Ted. Kennedy.
In that interview, Father Rosica felt compelled to mention that Father Gravel had counselled women against abortion. It is utterly remarkable to me that Father Gravel's public record is so spotty that his counselling against abortion is worthy of mention. Counselling against abortion is only what any faithful Catholic priest would do!
This week, Michael Voris issued a Youtube segment regarding the accusations leveled at Taliban Catholics
You know, this is not how I like the Canadian Church to show up in the media...
Our Conference has now received recognitio for all sections of the English translation of the revised Roman Missal for use in Canada. The Executive Committee, in consultation with the Permanent Council, has selected the first Sunday of Advent, November 27, 2011, as the date for the official implementation of the English translation of the Missal. The official decree for this date has not yet been published, because our Conference is still involved in discussions with the Congregation for Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments about the exact wording of one of the requested adaptations for Canada.
These discussions with the Congregation will not in any way slow down the preparation of the English translation of the revised Missal. Both the National Liturgy Office and the CCCB Publications Department are busy preparing the new book and their work is proceeding on schedule.
As well, the English Sector National Liturgy Office is preparing to start the launching of the catechetical material it has already prepared. The resource Celebrate and Song, which contains the parts of the Mass spoken by the people, as well as three newly composed Mass settings and the ICEL chants, is now finished and will be available for distribution during the first half of April. This resource also contains the texts of Eucharistic Prayers I-IV and 40 hymns not currently found in the Catholic Book of Worship III.
Starting the first week of April, the National Liturgy Office will begin posting texts and power-point slides to be used for workshops at the local level – including workshops dealing with the theology of Eucharist, the process of translation and revision, and the history of the Eucharist.
We had not been able to proceed with the production of the DVDs with Salt and Light TV until the matter of Canadian adaptations was resolved andrecognitio received. We can now proceed with the DVDs. National Liturgy Office Director Father Bill Burke and CCCB Publications Director Dr. Glenn Byer have met with Salt and Light CEO Father Thomas Rosica, C.S.B. The scripts to be used are completed. Salt and Light will do filming in May and June and then, after editing and production, the two DVDs will be ready for distribution by the end of August. The first will be a two-hour presentation on the theological emphases of the General Instruction of the Roman Missal. The second will be an hour-long presentation with a teaching DVD on the structure of the Mass and the meaning of each part of the Mass. The National Liturgy Office will provide a packet of material including suggested workshop formats and questions for discussion at the parish level.
Finally, early in September, we will have CDs ready with a cantor singing a dozen or so of the new prefaces to assist priests who do not read music but would like to sing the prefaces.
If you have any questions or concerns about the implementation of the English translation of the revised Missal for use in Canada, or about the catechetical materials being planned for its implementation, please do not hesitate to call me.
With every good and prayerful wish on our Lenten journey, I remain,
Sincerely yours in Christ Our Lord,
(Rev. Msgr.) Patrick Powers, P.H.
It has occurred to me that I do not have anything written here on Papal Succession. What is it? Why do we have a Pope?
Certainly, having a Pope is one thing that sets Catholicism apart from other parts of the Christian world.
Papal Succession is the connection between the current Pope and St. Peter, the Apostle to whom Jesus gave the "Keys to the Kingdom".
Although the term "Pope" is not in Scripture (neither is the word "Trinity") the idea of an earthly leader for a Heavenly institution is.
Matthew 16:18 shows Jesus recognizing Simon/Peter's faith and telling him that that is the rock (petra/petros in Greek, kephas or cephas in Aramiac) on which the Church would be built. Jesus then gives Peter the keys to the kingdom.
The giving of the keys is an allusion to the Hebrew Scripture Isaiah 22:22 where we see the king giving the keys of his kingdom to a minister, who is in charge of running the affairs of the kingdom. One who holds the keys is in charge.
Peter was in charge of Jesus' earthly kingdom, the Church.
Since apostolic time, every bishop has been ordained by someone who was ordained by a bishop who ultimately was ordained by an apostle. Popes are chosen from those who are ordained (or who can immediately be ordained) bishops. Therefore Popes are descended from the Apostles.
This is part of what makes us Apostolic, as stated in the Nicene Creed ("I believe in One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church").
There is a question in some circles as to whether the present Pope is valid. Some say there hasn't been a valid Pope since the 1960s or thereabouts.
A major problem with this is that the few living bishops who are considered by these folks as validly ordained are very elderly. They will not live much longer. IF they are in fact the only validly ordained bishops, and a Pope is not soon chosen from among them (which is unlikely, as the past several popes have actually been cardinals and younger than these few pre-Vatican II bishops) before they die, apostolic succession will have ended.
Unless the world ends first, this cannot happen. We are told that the gates of Hell will not prevail against the Church. If the Church should run out of eligible candidates for the Papacy, I think it can be safely said that the gates of Hell have prevailed. One of the four marks of the Church will have been erased.
It's been a while since I've been here, that's for sure. I have been busy. I am still trying to figure out why I'm sick, to try to get myself back into 'fighting trim' as a member of the Church Militant.
Or is it the Church Somnolent?
My faithful followers, and my other friends, will know that I have a 'thing' for liturgy...at one time I described it as a passion. The past few years have pretty much eliminated the possiblity of my name and 'passion' occurring in the same sentence. It is hard to get excited about things. But I'm trying.
I think it's getting better. Every so often I get flickers of my old self. Well, my old liturgical zealot self. Something gets me moving.
Something like listening to people complain about the choir. Warning...do NOT complain about the choir in my presence! It is not healthy.
Our esteemed choir leader decided that we should learn to chant the Our Father, according to the Mass setting we've been using for Ordinary Time for several years now. It's a nice setting, and very easy to learn, as these things go. She had the support of both Father and the choir in doing this.
But people will talk. They will grouse and moan. And they will try to pass opinion off as valid criticism. Cries of "Liturgically Incorrect" were summarily dealt with. Education had the effect of silencing most
Life has been made difficult for at least a couple of people in this process. And that couple of people really have far better things to be doing with their time than trying to entertain those who will not be entertained except by being catered to.
Why DO people do this? Why does one suppose his taste in anything should be imposed on many, when the many are not doing anything wrong?
The Church needs people to be involved and dedicated and devout. The Church does NOT need people trying to run the 'show' when they are governed more by their personal thoughts and desires than by the Church's teachings.
The Church does not need people who are there to be entertained. Hmm. Perhaps it is this type of Churchgoer who inspired the idea that "religion is the opiate of the masses" (Karl Marx). Does this mean the Mass is an opiate? Hah. There's that "Church Somnolent" thing again.
No. As was said by Pius XII and many after him, we are called to full active and conscious participation in liturgy. Nothing sleepy about that. Nothing sleep-inducing about that, except perhaps the peace that one may come to because of that participation.
So, anyway...this has pulled me out of hibernation.