Thursday, September 30, 2010

Finding the right calling...

The woman with Elvis is actress Dolores Hart.  This shot was a promotional photo for the 1957 movie "Loving You".

Here is Dolores Hart a few years later...

This time, this is NOT for a Hollywood movie.

Yup, she became a contemplative nun while at the peak of her Hollywood career.  While in Rome filming St. Francis of Assisi, she met Pope John XXIII.  She introduced herself as the "actress playing Clara (St. Claire) to which the pope replied, "No, you are Clare!"

Now here is MOTHER Dolores, prioress of the the cloistered Benedictine community at Abbey of Regina Laudis in Bethlehem, Connecticut.

To this day, she remains an active voting member of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, the body that gives out the Oscar.

Read the remarkable story of this former Hollywood actress who signed an eternal contract with the Lord.

Click for her story here, and here and here.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Liturgy: And with your spirit...

We still haven't heard anything from the CBCP regarding the implementation of the correctly translated to English Roman Missal.  Well, what do you expect from the CBCP, eh?

So, we will start our series of catechesis on the Roman Missal with article coming from various reliable sources online starting with Fr. Edward McNamara of Zenit.


ROME, SEPT. 14, 2010 ( Answered by Legionary of Christ Father Edward McNamara, professor of liturgy at the Regina Apostolorum university.

Q: As in the English-speaking world, we will have to change the people's answer from "And also with you" to "And with your spirit." [This has deep implications folks!]  I have been looking for a good theological and historical-liturgical explanation for this change, in order to make it understandable for the faithful. Why this insistence on the spirit? And don't the people have the spirit as well? [Valid point, right?] Apart from one short paragraph I have found no treatment of this question in the liturgical books available to me. Could you provide me with some background?" -- H.T., Kundiawa, Papua New Guinea

A: As is well-known, the Holy See has asked that the Latin "Et cum spiritu tuo" said in response to greetings such as "Dominus vobiscum" should always be translated literally as "And with your spirit."

Most major world languages had already translated the expression literally, English and Brazilian Portuguese being notable exceptions.

The brief form of this dialogue ("The Lord be with you. And with your Spirit") is taken from the Book of Ruth 2:4 and 2 Timothy 2:22. Christians probably took these formulas over directly from the synagogue. There is clear evidence, for example, in St. Justin Martyr (100-165) that Christians spoke these answers from the very beginning.

The fact that from the earliest times Christians conserved these phrases in their original form, in spite of their being foreign to both Greek and Latin mentalities, is a good argument to keep them intact in our current translations. In this way, we maintain a living connection with Christianity's historical origins just as we do with the conservation of other Hebrew forms and expressions such as Amen, Alleluia and Hosanna. [Yet you know who are against this?  The very same liturgist who are pro archaeologism!]

The formula "be with you" is considered as a greeting, of benevolence and of recognition of a reality: The Lord is present. The Semitic response, "And with your spirit," literally means "And also with you," as "your spirit" literally means "your person." [There you have it!  YOUR ENTIRE PERSON!] Therefore the current English translation could be considered as an accurate rendering of the Hebrew background.

Historically speaking, however, the text was quickly separated from its Jewish context, and the patristic tradition has interpreted it in the sense of the spirit that the bishop or priest has received in ordination. [Now, it gets deeper!] For example, St. John Chrysostom in his homily on 2 Timothy (in II Tim. homily, 10,3. PG LXII 659 ff), refers to the "your spirit" to the indwelling Holy Spirit: "There can be no better prayer than this. Grieve not for my departure. The Lord will be with you. And he says, not with you, but with your spirit. Thus there is a twofold assistance, the grace of the Spirit, and God helping it. And otherwise God will not be with us, if we have not spiritual grace. For if we be deserted by grace, how shall He be with us?" In his first Pentecost homily (PG L. 458 ff) John Chrysostom sees in the word "spirit" of the reply an allusion to the fact that the bishop performs the sacrifice in the power of the Holy Spirit. [Remember our catechism class where we have lessons about sanctifying grace and being in a state of grace and that our bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit?  Do you...Did you...Oh.  Kids don't don't have this days, eh?  I guess they know more about Al Gore's advocacy than Mother Teresa's charities.  More about Greenhouse gases than the Gifts of the Holy Spirit, eh?]

Such patristic reflections are one reason why from early times the greeting "Dominus vobiscum" was reserved to those who had received major orders: bishops, priests and deacons. [And why it is not allowed as a greeting for even charismatic groups!]  This restriction of the liturgical greeting to the ordained is still in force today. A layperson who leads, for example, a celebration of the Word with distribution of Holy Communion, or an office of the Liturgy of the Hours, may not use the greeting "The Lord be with you" with its response. [And here in the Philippines, I notice the people, when responding "And also with you", be it in English, Tagalog or any dialect, raise their hands in an orans posture. Notice this?]

This does not mean that the faithful are lacking the Spirit or that they are mere passive attendants at the liturgical action. [Cleverly placed since You-Know-Who would react to the lack of actual participation and inculturation!]  Actually, through its response to the priest the congregation constitutes itself as a liturgical assembly presided over by the priest in the name of the Lord and responding in this way to his call.

As the great Jesuit liturgist J.A. Jungmann wrote: [Jesuit!]

"We can best understand the 'Et cum spiritu tuo' as a popular consensus in the work of the priest, not that the congregation here gives the priest authority or power to act in its stead, [the priest does not need the people in order for the Mass to be valid and licit!] but that the congregation once more acknowledges him as the speaker under whose leadership the united group will approach almighty God. [The people cannot have a Mass without a validly ordained priest in communion with the Holy See.]  Thus in the greeting and its response we have the same double note that reappears at the end of the oration [opening prayer]; the 'Dominus vobiscum' seems to anticipate the 'per Christum' of the close of the oration, and the 'et cum spiritu tuo' is a forerunner of the people's agreement expressed in the Amen" (The Mass of the Roman Rite, Volume 1, Page 365).

Although the dynamism contained in this brief exchange is difficult for us to grasp today, [It will remain the same if we continue the lukewarm response of our Pinoy bishops!] the fact of the new translation could present an excellent teaching moment to underline the faithful's active participation in the liturgy and the true theological sense of hierarchical communion[Unless the liturgical hijackers, as Abp. Jesus Dosado aptly put it, are brought to jail!  Liturgical jail that is, liturgical renewal here in the Philippines will always be under the shadow of Anscar and Genaro!]


If there are news in your parishes about the new translation of the Missal, please send me a note.

Maybe Defensore Fidei can start a seminar series about this?  Calling CAP!

Today is Michaelmas!

Statue of Archangel Michael over the main Gate of the church Sankt Michaelis in Hamburg Germany.

Read about Michaelmas, about St. Michael and the feast of the Archangels, here and here and here from Happy Catholic.

In Manila, a stone's throw away from the Presidential Palace, is the San Miguel de Manila Parish Church, where devotion to the traditional 7 archangels is alive. To read more about the history of the church and for some excellent photos, click here.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Today is the Feast of St. Lorenzo Ruiz and Companion Martyrs

To read more about this great saint, click here and here.

RIP: Fr. Thomas Dubay, SM

Father Thomas Dubay, S.M., was a well-known retreat master and highly respected author of books on the spiritual life. He spent the last 35 years or so giving retreats and writing more than 20 books on the spiritual life. He was considered an expert on the teaching of St. Teresa of Avila and St. John of the Cross.
After his ordination as a Marist priest, Father expected to serve in a parish. Instead, he was assigned to graduate school – he holds a Ph.D. from the Catholic University of America – and then to teach at Notre Dame Seminary in New Orleans.

Fr. Dubay’s EWTN series include “Teresa of Avila: Personality and Prayer,” “Prayer Quests,” “Saints: A Closer Look,” “Bedrock Basics,” “Community Transformed,” and “Contemplation: Union With God.”
His many books include “Faith and Certitude,” “Fire Within: St. Teresa of Avila, St. John of the Cross, and the Gospel-On Prayer,” “Prayer Primer: Igniting a Fire Within,” “Seeking Spiritual Direction: How to Grow the Divine Life Within,” and “Authenticity: A Biblical Theology of Discernment.”

Father Dubay was considered one of the greatest experts on the spiritual life in the Catholic Church today. His writings and teachings show us how we all have the capability to understand beauty and to live a Christ-like life, through deep prayer and understanding of the Gospel.

Eternal rest grant unto him,
O Lord, and let perpetual light shine upon him.
May he rest in peace.


All files and text courtesy of EWTN

Monday, September 27, 2010

RIP: Mr. Wilfredo Balza Sr.

I posted this before asking for your prayers for an ailing father of a friend.

Now he has come home to his eternal reward, receiving the graces of the sacraments before he has been called home to the Father.

Please pray for the eternal repose of the soul of Mr. Wilfredo Balza, Sr., father of Jay Balza of Veritatem facientes in caritate blog.

Please say the prayers below:

Requiem æternam dona ei, Domine,
et lux perpetua luceat ei.
Te decet hymnus Deus, in Sion,
et tibi reddetur votum in Ierusalem.
Exaudi orationem meam;
ad te omnis caro veniet.
Requiem æternam dona ei, Domine,
et lux perpetua luceat ei.

In paradisum deducant te Angeli:
in tuo adventu suscipiant te Martyres,
et perducant te in civitatem sanctam Ierusalem.
Chorus Angelorum te suscipiat,
et cum Lazaro quondam paupere æternam habeas requiem.

The Prayer of St. Gertrude the Great

Eternal Father, I offer Thee the Most Precious Blood Of Thy Divine Son, Jesus, in union with the Masses said throughout the world today, for all the holy souls in Purgatory, for sinners everywhere, for sinners in the Universal Church, those in my own home and within my own family. Amen

Requiem æternam dona ei, Domine,
et lux perpetua luceat ei.
Te decet hymnus Deus, in Sion,
et tibi reddetur votum in Ierusalem.
Exaudi orationem meam;
ad te omnis caro veniet.
Requiem æternam dona ei, Domine,
et lux perpetua luceat ei.

In paradisum deducant te Angeli:
in tuo adventu suscipiant te Martyres,
et perducant te in civitatem sanctam Ierusalem.
Chorus Angelorum te suscipiat,
et cum Lazaro quondam paupere æternam habeas requiem.

Why priests need to wear the cassock?

Filipino policemen

Filipino soldiers before being deployed to a UN peace-keeping mission

A Filipino security guard using a laser scanner to check a pupil's body temperature.

This is no ordinary traffic enforcer from Dagupan City.  He is actually dancing while ensuring that traffic flow is smooth sailing. Look he even wears a Santa hat!  Obviously taken during the Christmas season.

See what's in common?

When these men and women are performing the functions of their 'office', they wear the distinctive garb of their function.  You do not expect a plain clothes man to carry an assault rifle in the middle of the street and not be alarmed?  Of course, if an ordinary policeman or military man walks down the street, carrying his service firearm, you won't be worried at all.  Why?  Because he is doing his duty.  WE KNOW WHO HE IS.  Not his name or his personal background.  BUT WHO HE IS IN THE EYES OF THE PUBLIC.

Now, this is how Muslims, cleric or not do it.

This is how Buddhist monks do it.

Now this is how some Catholic priests do it.

Here is the great Jesuit priest, Fr. James Reuter talking during the civic event.  Notice the military men sitting with a nun and the former US Ambassador to the Philippines, Kristie Kenney at the back.

Fr. JBoy Gonzales of the famous "Kape't Pandasal" TV program. 
What would make you think that he is a priest?

Here is the good Somascan Father Abe Ariganiosa of The Splendor of the Church blog, while visiting UP Diliman.

All these priests are witnessing to the call of their ordination.

Who do you think is witnessing it more?

Is it an external form of "Pharisaism"?  Or is it an external expression of an inner reality?

What the heart professes, the body expresses.

Or if you want to go legal about this...

The symbolism of the cassock is as follows; The Roman collar symbolizes obedience; the Sash or cincture around that waist, chastity; and the color black, poverty. Moreover, black is a color of mourning arid death for the priest, the symbolism is dying to oneself to rise and serve the Lord as well as giving witness of the Kingdom yet to come.

The Code of Canon Law still requires "clerics are to wear suitable ecclesiastical garb in accord with the norms issued by the conference of bishops and in accord with legitimate local custom" (No. 284). In our very secular world, the wearing of clerical garb continues to be a visible sign of belief and of the consecration of one's life to the service of the Lord and His Church.

Unless some do not want to wear their visible sign of belief and of their consecration?


Thanks to Fr. William Saunders, "Why Priests Wear Black"

Saturday, September 25, 2010

GULP Exam ANSWER: All about cassocks and albs

Huzzah and a "salakot" tip to all our GULPs for getting the correct answer to this GULP Exam question: Spot the not in the photo above.

Notice that the priests in the photo are all wearing uniformly designed...ALBS.

Yup. This is one phenomenon that boggles me to this day.

I have seen priests like this in Mindanao... the Visayas,

and most especially here in Luzon and Manila.

Priests are substituting a clerical cassock from an alb.

Let us look at the difference of the two.

Here is an alb.

Notice the sleeve.  It is wide.  The fitting is loose.  And the alb only comes in WHITE.

Take note of these

Now let us look at the cassock.

Here is a photo of seminarians of the Archdiocese of Lipa in a gameful pose.  Notice the sleeves and the fitting.  I also read in the blog where this photo came from that their archbishop asked them to wear their cassocks ALL THE TIME!  Huzzah and salakot tip to

Oh, they are in white!  Does that mean they are in albs?

NOPE.  That is a cassock, the proper garb of seminarians and priests.

The proper color of cassocks is BLACK, not white.  A special indult has been given to tropical countries to wear white cassocks.

Here is how it should be...

Notice that the one in the middle is not wearing a "belt".  Actually it is called a faschia and it is also proper for diocesan clergy, priest, deacon and seminarian.  So, it is also proper for diocesan clergy to wear a black faschia even if they are wearing a white cassock.  Look at the picture below

That is a Sri Lankan bishop leading a protest march with his clergy.

So we, can observe the difference of the two.

The function also greatly differs.

The cassock is the plain clothes of the clergy.  It is also called soutana.

While the alb IS a liturgical vestment.  As a liturgical vestment, it is worn by deacons and priests when they are administering the sacraments.  I can bring up the altar servers wearing alb but the practice is just wrong.   More of that in later posts.

So if the alb is a liturgical vestment, IT MUST BE WORN ONLY DURING THE CELEBRATION OF THE LITURGY!

Get it?

So, the million dollar questions are:

1.  Considering that the Philippines, as a tropical country, was given an indult for its clergy not to wear the black cassock, why are MOST, I am not saying all, Filipino clergymen, not wearing the white cassock?

2.  If they are not wearing the white cassock, then why are they wearing the alb as a non liturgical vestment?

3.  And if the alb is their alternative to the cassock as an everyday wear, why are these priests not wearing it MOST OF THE TIME, and instead goes back into their secular clothes?

Honestly, I knew some priests who, are dear friends of mine but who keeps on giving me this crappy worn-down answer of "being close to the people" and being to "pre-Vatican II"or being too "clerical" for wearing the cassock.

For all I care, I know most of them would not want to be recognized when they are in public so they can do whatever they want and go wherever they may want to THEIR SECULAR CLOTHES!

Wear the dignity of your ordination, our dear Fathers!

Be the example of obedience by following the simple liturgical laws!

Are these too much of a request for you, dear Fathers?

Friday, September 24, 2010

Never say no to a panda!

Imagine if this cute panda were a member of God's Undercover Liturgical Police!

And he has in front of him Frs. Anscar Chupungco and Genaro Diwa!

That would be HILARIOUS!

Thursday, September 23, 2010

GULP Exam: Notice something wrong here?

I'll give the answers tomorrow.

To members of SLAP and police officers of GULP, time to SPOT THE NOT!

Things that make you a Catholic that only believes in the so-called "Super Council" Vatican 2


Thanks to Josemaria Lazaro Paulo Jeronimo Martin Carvalho-von verster for the tip.


You Might be a "Vatican II Only Catholic" If...

Its time to have some fun. OK, here are a few questions to ask yourself to see if you are a Vatican II only Catholic. That would be a Catholic who thinks the Church has only existed since the Second Vatican Council.
You might be a Vatican II only Catholic if...

1. You think Vatican II has changed Catholic doctrine.
2. You think that kneeling to receive the Eucharist on your tongue is an outdated medieval practice.
3. You think that a cheap table cloth with a hole cut in it passes for liturgical vestments.
4. You love those ugly felt banners that hang from the ceiling of your church.
5. You think that glass dinner ware passes for the sacred vessels of the Mass.
6. You think it is your right to be part of the flock of Extraordinary ministers that hover around the altar like vultures waiting to grab the “bread and wine.”
7. You think the death penalty should be completely abolished from the face of the earth because you think retribution and justice is cruel.
8. You think the crusades were started by a Pope who loved violence and hated the peaceful religion of the East.
9. You hate St. Thomas Aquinas, and you think he is boring.
10. The only Church document you have ever read is the New Catechism
11. You hate Latin.
12. You hold your hands up, or clap, and sway at Mass.
13. You think that “On Eagles Wings” is great liturgical music to replace Gregorian Chant.
14. You can’t tell the difference between the altar and the tabernacle.
15. You are upset because the Pope says the Church cannot ordain women.
16. You like liturgical dance.
17. You think it is not ecumenical to tell people that the Catholic faith is the one true faith.
18. You think that 'Summorum Pontificum' was a mistake made by the Pope.
19. You think that the Mass is all about the community.
20. You think that Thomas Merton was the greatest mystic of all time.
21. You think that St. Therese of Liseux wanted to be officially ordained a priest.
22. You cite the USCCB as an authority for your Catholic faith.
23. You think that Cardinal Bernardin was a great theologian.
24. You think Karl Rahner was a genius.
25. You think the secondary end of the conjugal act is now the primary and sole end.
26. You think your daughter has a right to serve as an altar boy.
27. You think a head bob replaced genuflection.
28. You think St. Paul was chauvinistic pig because he told women to cover their heads.
29. You substituted the crucifix for a flying Jesus. (Resurrected Christ)
30. You think the sign of peace is an intermission where you get to catch up on the latest news.
31. You think your priest looks better in a sweater than his collar.
32. You think its hip that nuns are now wearing slacks and Reebocks.
33. The only religious art you have in your house are of Ghandi and Dorothy Day.
34. 'Brother Sun, Sister Moon' is your favorite Catholic saint movie of all time.
35. You drop your teens off at the Life Teen Mass.
36. During football season you wear your favorite team jersey to Mass.
37. You think that you have to pray the consecration prayer during Mass along with the priest.
38. The Latin Mass bores you.
39. You think that Mark Shea is the new G.K. Chesterton.
40. Add your own in the comment box.


I'll add mine here...

41. If you think that Anscar Chupungco is the only liturgist that we ought to listen to.
42. If candles must not be placed on the altar.
43.  If your priest hates black.
44.  If you call the altar, "The Table of the Lord" and the Mass "the Meal of Love" or "The Lord's Supper"
45.  If you buy books from Claretian Publication...(ROFL!)
46.  You want dancing children or middle aged men and women holding tambourines while dancing during the singing of "Papuri sa Diyos"
47.  You want the Sinulog and Ati-atihan done during Mass
48.  During your Graduation Mass, your school brings to the Offertory everything like diploma, guitar, scroll, etc.
49.  You think that the only liturgical vestment is a white chasuble and a stole.
50.  You think that the devil is an allegory for the ills of society like corruption, pollution and drugs.
51.  The best Mass to attend to is where the priest makes you laugh during or uses a Powerpoint presentation for his homily.

Saint of the day: St. Pio of Pietrelcina

For a beautiful biography and photos of this great saint, click here. Tons of photos!

Wonderful photo of the Pope at Glasgow

The photographer was just in the right place at the right time.

The Sun illuminating the ferula (cross topped staff) of the Holy Father.

So much message in this photo.

FYI. This was not photoshopped!

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

GULP ALERT: Altar girls...what the?!

Pay close attention that you have, not one, not two, but THREE altar girls acting as torch bearers while the Holy Father, kneels in prayer and adoration in front of the Eucharistic Lord. [That last bit there make me sound like I am selling a Super Chamois on TV!]

Odd? Really! Tell me about it.

We all know how the Holy Father has celebrated the Liturgy in all its solemnity and faithfulness to tradition always mindful of the organic development. We also know how the Church stands on the ordination of women.

Now this?

We all know the happy story of the ordination of women and how it worked wonders in the unity of the Anglican Church.

The Successor of Peter in UK...Did the Catholic bishops there made a fast one against the Holy Father?

We read in the past how the Msgr. Guido Marini insisted on the Benedictine arrangement of the altar, against the wishes of some UK bishops. But having girls as altar servers?

What do you want them to think when they grow old? They have the cassock and the surplice? ALTAR GIRLS IS NOT AN ISSUE OF EQUALITY! Being altar servers is an issue of vocations. LOTS AND LOTS of men became priests because they were once altar boys. And it is even stupid and foolish to presume that having altar girls will deter predator priests! Come on.

To deepen the discussion,may I quote this article from Zenit, courtesy of Father Edward McNamara, professor of liturgy at the Regina Apostolorum Pontifical Athenaeum. If anyone wants to get another professor into Paul VI Institute, then Fr. Edward is the ONE!


Q: What is the Church's position on the use of female altar servers? May all of the servers be female, or must at least one be male? Do you feel that the use of female altar servers detracts from the building of vocations among young males? — M.C.S.N., Catonsville, Maryland

A: Female altar servers are permitted in all but two U.S. dioceses. They are also common in most English-speaking countries, and in Western Europe. The situation is patchier in the rest of the world, going from total absence to the occasional diocese that allows them.

From the point of view of liturgical law, an official interpretation of Canon 230, Paragraph 2, of the Code of Canon law on the possibility of delegating certain liturgical offices led to a 1994 letter from the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Sacraments clarifying that girls may serve at the altar. But bishops are not bound to permit them to do so, nor could the episcopal conference limit the bishop's faculty to decide for himself.

A further clarifying letter published in 2001 said priests are not compelled to have girls serve at the altar, even when their bishops grant permission.

The 1994 letter states: "It will always be very appropriate to follow the noble tradition of having boys serve at the altar. As is well known, this has led to a reassuring development of priestly vocations. Thus the obligation to support such groups of altar boys will always continue."

The letter also recommends to bishops to consider "among other things the sensibilities of the faithful, the reasons which would motivate such permission and the different liturgical settings and congregations which gather for the Holy Mass."

Therefore the Holy See's recommendation is to retain as far as possible the custom of having only boys as servers. But it leaves to the bishop the choice of permitting women and girls for a good reason and to the pastor of each parish the decision as to whether to act on the bishop's permission.

It is important not to focus this debate using political categories such as rights, equality, discrimination, etc., which only serves to fog the issue. We are dealing with the privilege of serving in an act of worship to which nobody has any inherent rights.

The question should be framed as to what is best for the good of souls in each diocese and parish. It is thus an eminently pastoral and not an administrative decision, and this is why it should be determined at the local level.

Among the pastoral factors to be weighed is the obvious yet often forgotten fact that boys and girls are different and require different motivational and formative methods.

This difference means that both boys and girls usually go through a stage when they tend to avoid common activities.

Preteen boys in particular are very attracted to activities that cater especially for them, and they tend to reject sharing activities with girls.

They also tend to have a greater need for such structured activities than girls who are usually more mature and responsible at this stage of life.

As a result, some parishes have found that the introduction of girl servers has led to a sharp drop-off of boys offering to serve. Once the boys have left and enter the years of puberty, it is difficult to bring them back.

Some pastors say this phenomenon is less marked where serving at Mass forms part of a wider Catholic structure, such as a school, or when siblings serve together.

It is also true that groups of boy servers have fostered vocations to the priesthood. But to be fair, this usually happens within a broader culture of openness to a vocation in which other elements come into play, such as the example and spiritual guidance given by good priests, and family support.

If, for example, a long-established program of boy servers has proved successful in promoting vocations or has been useful in helping boys avoid bad company and maintain the state of grace, then the good of souls obliges pastors to weigh heavily the spiritual risks involved in abandoning it.

When girls do serve, it is probably best to aim for a mixture of boys and girls — if only to avoid giving the impression to the congregation that Catholicism is above all a female activity. On some occasions, however, it might be best to separate boys and girls into different groups.

It is very difficult to lay down precise rules in a matter like this since the situation may vary widely between parishes. And it is not unknown to have sharp differences among the faithful who assist at different Masses at the same parish. ZE04020323

* * *

Follow-up: Female Altar Servers [from 02-17-04]

Regarding the column on female altar servers (Feb. 3), a priest from Illinois asked if it were possible to place the issue in a theological context.

He suggests several arguments against their use and asks: "based on the same theology of the body that Pope John Paul II has so profoundly explained, how can girls serving at the altar not be perceived as a move towards women's ordination? The role of the altar server is not just functional. Also, actions speak louder than words; by the Pope allowing altar girls in the context of the cultural politicization of the liturgy and the role of women, he does send the message that women's ordination will come about despite statements to the contrary."

Personally I do not think it is wise to try to establish doctrinal grounds for every aspect of liturgical discipline. The very fact that the Holy Father approved of this change clearly shows that he does not consider this issue to have serious doctrinal implications.

While our correspondent is correct in saying that the role of altar servers is not merely functional, I think it is necessary to distinguish between minister, either ordained (bishop, priest and deacon) or instituted (acolyte and lector) and those who may be delegated in some cases to substitute for them.

Thus the formal ministries of the Church are open only to males, while altar servers, readers and extraordinary ministers of Communion, whose function is to substitute for the lack of proper ministers, may be delegated to Catholics of either sex.

Even when these functions are carried out frequently, or even daily, they will always be essentially delegated and substitutive. In this context the canonical decision to open service at the altar to girls was logical since every other delegated ministry had already been opened up.

This is certainly a break with a very long-standing custom of having only males serve at the altar even in substitutive roles. But it does not appear to be an issue of doctrine.

Nor does the Holy Father's decision open the way toward women's ordination. The papal declaration in "Ordinatio Sacerdotalis" that the Church has no power to ordain women is no mere statement of opinion but, as confirmed by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, an exercise of the gift of infallibility and therefore binding.

Another reader, also from Illinois, asked if there were any norms regarding adults serving at Mass.

All instituted ministers (acolytes and lectors) are adult men, most of whom receive these ministries in their early 20s. Adult servers are very common all over the world especially in daily Masses or very early Sunday celebrations.

One or two female readers took exception to my comments that this debate should not use political categories such as rights, equality and discrimination.

One correspondent from Boston writes: "Since when have human rights and human equality become a 'political category.' Any brief survey of Church documents would reveal that such rights and equality are part of morality. Too frequently, it sounds as if the Church doesn't have to worry about breaking the moral law because it follows a higher liturgical law. Also, the last time I checked, by virtue of baptism, the Code of Canon Law says that every Catholic has a right to the sacraments. Does liturgical law also override canon law?"

Perhaps my choice of examples might have been better, but I think our correspondent read too much into my words.

She is totally correct, of course, in suggesting that rights, above all human rights, are essentially rooted in morality and thus should be beyond politics. I would also observe that there are other classes of rights less closely tied up to morality, such as the right to vote at 18 instead of 21.

At the same time, many of these rights have a political dimension and in this way are also political categories.

The social equality of women, for example, was not caused by a sudden surge of male morality sweeping away all discriminatory laws. Rather, it was eked and pried out by dogged, determined and sometimes heroic political action by women themselves.

Likewise, who can deny that the supposedly unalienable right to life has not tragically become the stuff of political activity?

Getting back to our subject, while the rights enjoyed by every Catholic are spelled out clearly by canon law, and include among other entitlements a right to the sacraments (see Canon 214), which is certainly not political, this fact has little to do with the question of a "right" to serve at the altar.

Serving at Mass, unlike the Catholic's right to assist at Mass and receive Communion, is a privilege and in some cases a vocation. But it can never be called a right. Therefore, I repeat that no one has a right to do so and to frame the question in these terms is to use political categories to seek to demand what can only be humbly accepted.

Finally, a reader from Kenya suggested that St. Margaret Clitherow could complement St. John Berchmans as patron of altar servers. This English wife and mother was martyred in 1586 because she kept the forbidden vestments, chalices, books and bread in her home and arranged that priests could secretly celebrate Mass there. It is an interesting suggestion and may prosper. ZE04021720

GULP Alert: Guess the liturgical color

That is Fr. Anscar Chupungco. The father of Filipino liturgists, ugh!

And he has a Doctorate in Sacred Theology with a focus on Liturgy!

If that is the fruit of a Doctorate, then let me stay as a Bachelor!

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Know the TRUTH!

As they say, Knowledge is Power!

Arm yourselves with the Truth of the Catholic Faith so that you don't get bamboozled by INC lunatics and Bible wielding spirit smitten "Born-against"...


We Filipinos love free things, right?


Reactions on the statement of Diocesan Liturgists

There were a lot of reactions posted in Fr. Z's blog about the statement of the Diocesan Liturgists who had their meeting recently.  I also blogged about this.

Now here is my reaction that I posted over that particular post at WDTPRS.

Before everybody thinks that ALL Filipinos are so stuck in the kumbaya era, let me get things in straight.

As a Filipino Catholic blogger, blogging in the Philippines, I am following closely the liturgical developments here in the country.

And may I say this:

1.  Whatever you read, was all done by Fr. Anscar Chupungco.  The Diocesan Liturgical Ministers who attended are mostly his students or fans.  They signed it just as it was written.

2.  Fr. Chupungco, along with his protege, Fr. Genaro Diwa, his successor as Executive Director of the CBCP's Episcopal Commission on the Liturgy, are trying hard to suppress SP.  We in the Philippines feel that we are living the privileges of Quattuor Abhinc Annos.

3.  Liturgical inculturation is the life's work of Fr. Chupungco who is now trying desperately to turn back the hands of liturgical time.  His brand of liturgy is a complete carbon copy of Abp. Piero Marini.  So you get the picture of his kind of liturgical inculturation.

4.  Most Filipino bishops are against SP.  Only a handful have celebrated them openly.  Only a handful follow the Benedictine altar arrangement.  Manila's Cardinal is so viciously anti-SP.

5. Theology schools in the Philippines are anti-Rome.  I can name two:  Loyola School of Theology where Bishop Chito Tagle teaches.  His view on the Eucharist is Lutheran!  And the other dissenting school is Maryhill School of Theology.   [They produce nothing but dissenters and borderline heretics and apostates!]  I have friends who graduated there who teach Enneagram, Eco-Spirituality and the Feminine Goddess as part of their retreats.

Yes, the Philippines is a deeply religious country.  But most bishops, priests, theologians and nuns are the ones doing most of the damage.

There are a handful of bishops, priests, theologians and nuns who are working hard to stay faithful to the the expense of being ostracized.

Just got in.

Our office was in a terrible internet "disconnection" problem since yesterday.  No emails... and of course no blogs.

Imagine how solitary we felt for not being able to communicate via email or surf the Web.

Ahhh... How the concept of communication changed so quickly over the past years.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Interesting debate about the INC logo...continues!

Fellow Pinoy Catholic blogger, Dr. Quirino Sugon of Ateneo de Manila University and of Monk's Hobbit blog, linked the logo of the INC I found and the striking similarities of this logo with Masonic elements. It has been a year since I made that post.

The thread has been visited by both Catholics, Masons, INCs and what have you.  And by golly, the name callings are all over the place.

Go over the post, which got 157 comments so far.

TONS of updates from National Meeting of Diocesan Liturgy Directors

 (Photo courtesy of the Archdiocese of Manila website)

The Liturgists have released a statement after their National Meeting.  Here it is available at


September 13-16, 2010

Peace! [This is the traditional greeting of Benedictines.  Fr. Chupungco IS a Benedictine.  So you get the feeling that he has a hand in this.  A BIG HAND.]

We, the delegates to the 25th National Meeting of Diocesan Directors of Liturgy (NMDDL), raise our hearts and voices in thanksgiving to Jesus Christ, the Leitourgos of divine worship. For twenty-five years, NMDDL has been a consistent instrument of the continuing liturgical formation of diocesan directors of liturgy. It has created closer ties among the directors and has promoted better coordination between the Episcopal Commission on Liturgy and the diocesan commissions in the implementation of the liturgical reform of Vatican II. [Really!  Well, that worked well.  Because Sacrosanctum Concilium demanded that Latin and Gregorian chant remain.  But where is it?  Well, to too much inculturation, the Liturgy that should have been inculturated became adulterated!]
As we look back with gratitude at what NMDDL has accomplished, we look forward to what remains to be done so that the liturgy will become more vibrantly the source and summit of the Church’s life in the Philippines. [Hold on to your seats, brothers and sisters because this is going to be one hell of a ride!] Hence, we recommend attention in the future meetings to topics like the following:
  1. The Use of the Vernacular. While we respect [Wow!  The killer understatement of the day!  Remember what Fr. Chupungco wrote which Cardinal Rosales signed limiting the impementation of Summorum Pontificum in the Archdiocese of Manila?  What a brazen and bold effort to openly defy the Pope!  The pope for crying out loud!] the option to use Latin and celebrate the Tridentine liturgy, [And you thought they are liturgists?  It is now called the Extraordinary Form of the Roman Mass and NOT Tridentine Mass.] we uphold the use of the vernacular in our parishes and communities and recommend translations that faithfully reflect both the spiritual doctrine of the texts and the linguistic patterns of our vernacular languages. [Is raising the white flag of surrender after the efforts of some US bishops to stop the implementation of the correct translation of the Missal?  And this paragraph here makes you think that the Philippines did not have vernacular in the Liturgy and almost everything was in Latin.  Well, the Philippines is just REDISCOVERING Latin in the Liturgy after too much inculturation was 'seeped into the cracks'.  Pun intended.]
  1. Spirituality of Liturgy. Active participation is one of the many blessings Vatican II has bestowed on our parishes and communities. [Uh-huh.  Whose brand of active participation?] We wish to remind ourselves, however, that active participation should lead to deeper spiritual encounter with Christ and the Church. Hence our liturgical celebrations should foster the necessary environment of prayer and awe in the presence of the divine mysteries, excluding those expressions that trivialize the sacred celebration. [Do mine eyes fool me?!  Am I reading this right?! Do we see an end to sketch skits and liturgical dance?  I am hoping so much here.  Remains to be seen.]
  1. Liturgical Inculturation. The interest in recent times to revive the Tridentine Liturgy should not draw the attention, especially of the Church leaders, from the unfinished agenda of liturgical inculturation. [It is the unfinished agenda of Fr. CHupungco and his students at Paul VI Institute in Bukidnon and San Beda College in Manila.  Hopeless, they are on life support.  And with active Catholic bloggers around, you can't fool us anymore!] We are of the persuasion that liturgical renewal, as envisioned by the Constitution on Liturgy of Vatican II, entails liturgical inculturation and that our rich cultural heritage has much to offer to make the Roman liturgy truly Filipino. [
  1. Liturgical Studies. Sound tradition and legitimate progress are key phrases that express the program of liturgical reform. It is consequently necessary to study the history and theology of the liturgy, be familiar with culture, and be imbued with liturgical spirituality and pastoral zeal for the Church. We, therefore, recommend that those involved in liturgy, particularly the clergy, should be sent by their bishops or superiors to enroll in academic institutions that specialize in liturgical studies. [And now you get the impression that Fr. Chupungco is promoting his school, eh?]
  1. Lay Ministers. [And you thought THEY are liturgists?  They are not lay ministers but EXTRAORDINARY MINISTERS OF HOLY COMMUNION!  Read Redemptionis Sacramentum!  I guess they did not read that too, eh?]  Our parishes and communities are blessed with numerous and worthy lay liturgical ministers. However, some dioceses in the Philippines still reserve to male persons ministries like serving at the altar and leading Sunday celebrations in the absence of a priest. We believe that we should encourage the ministry of women where it is allowed by universal law. [And what law?  Here we go with the equality issue.]
  1. Liturgy Newsletter. Part of continuing liturgical formation of diocesan directors and their collaborators is liturgical information. We request the Episcopal Commission on Liturgy to publish and disseminate regularly through newsletter, in print or by electronic media, recent liturgical norms, guidelines, and other pertinent information on the liturgy. [Will we see Summorum Pontificum and Redemptionis Sacramentum discussed there?  I DOUBT IT.  All we see are advertisements and articles of You-Know-Who!]
As we celebrate the 25th anniversary of NMDDL, we recall the visionary initiative of Archbishop Jesus Dosado [I have interesting tidbit here.  A friend overheard the archbishop say during the break of the meeting say that he "does not want to debate".  Debate?  During a meeting of liturgists?  Hmmm. Fascinating!] who, together with Fr. Camilo Marivoet, CICM, and Fr. James Meehan, SJ, established and promoted the annual meeting. We are in their debt. Likewise,  we remember with gratitude the dioceses that have generously hosted NMDDL and the speakers that shared their liturgical expertise with us. Lastly, we thank His Eminence Gaudencio B. Cardinal Rosales of the Archdiocese of Manila for hosting NMDDL at this significant year of its existence.

That in all things God may be glorified! [The signature of Fr. Anscar.]


Why have a meeting of liturgists when you can just send a copy of the statement via email and have them approve it when in fact the agenda of one liturgists who is slowly fading into the horizon dictates the entire gathering.

And did you know that the theme of the meeting of liturgists is "Veneration of Saints"?  Then why did we end up with this political statement?

Admit it Fr. Chupungco.  Your agenda is dead!


By the way, before I continue my rants, I learned from a source that Fr. Genaro Diwa, the Liturgical Minister of Manila and protege of Fr. Anscar, has been appointed the Executive Secretary of the Philippine Episcopal Commission on Liturgy.  Right into his masters footsteps!  He said that a commission for liturgical musicians might be formed and a national hymnal might be on the way.

But there is a problem.  Will we have Tagalog Mass songs in the hymnal that Cebuanos, Ilocanos and Chavancanos will use?  Yes, there are Tagalog songs today but these people sing MOSTLY their own dialect's songs.  So the question is the same for the Tagalogs.  Will they sings Cebuano or Ilocano or Chavacano songs?

I thought we are inculturating?  Then why have a national hymnal?  Will there be traditional Latin hymns there?  It remains to be seen.

Fr. Diwa also said, according to my source, that the correctly translated Missal will be the priority of the Commission and will be submitted to the Plenary for approval and "may" be implemented on January 2012.


What did I miss?

The Philippines is an English speaking country.  In fact, it is the 3RD largest speaking English country in the world.  So what is there to wait for?  And FYI, Archbishop Romullo Valles of Zamboanga IS a member of ICEL.

What, then, is keeping the CBCP from implementing the correctly translated Roman Missal to be implemented in the Philippines?

I guess the English will also be the basis of the translation to the local dialects.  The Dominicans of UST are great at Latin.  Why not ask their help with the translation?

I guess we do not see much Dominicans at CBCP, eh, except for Archbishop Leandro Legaspi who IS a Dominican.  Maybe coming from a Pontifical University does not give you a seat there?

Be vigilant, fellow Pinoy Catholics!

Sunday, September 19, 2010

What makes us really happy?

 "There are many temptations placed before you every day - drugs, money, sex, pornography, alcohol - which the world tells you will bring you happiness, yet these things are destructive and divisive. There is only one thing which lasts: the love of Jesus Christ personally for each one of you. Search for Him, know Him and love Him, and He will set you free from slavery to the glittering but superficial existence frequently proposed by today’s society. Put aside what is worthless and learn of your own dignity as children of God."

- Pope Benedict XVI (Glasgow 2010)


A 'salakot tip' to Gerald for this.