Tag Archives: scripture

The Perpetual Virginity of the Deipara

The Annunciation -Fra Angelico

The Annunciation
-Fra Angelico

As we approach the Nativity of our Blessed Lord, Jesus Christ, it is good to take up the doctrinal realities and teachings on the Virgin Birth, as it is the second great jewel in the crown of the Deipara. (NB: Deipara is the classical Latin theological term which translates the Greek Θεοτόκος, and is used in theology as opposed to Dei genitrix, which is normally used in Liturgy). We will proceed by unfolding three Theses of this doctrine and their proofs, namely that Our Blessed Lady was a virgin a) before birth  b) during birth  c) after birth. While c was historically denied by many protestants, in modern times both a and b are denied, even by some claiming to be Catholic.

Thesis I
Maria purissima virgo ante gignentem Christum fuit. (De fide)
(Mary was a pure virgin before the birth of Christ)

This part of the doctrine holds that the Mary was a virgin from her beginning and through the moment when the archangel St. Gabriel was sent to announce to her the mystery of the incarnation. This should be logical, since in terms of effects if this were not the case, it would be very hard to prove that Jesus was the incarnate God as opposed to having his origin in some man. Therefore it is one of the first and obvious places to attack if one were going to disprove the Incarnation, validating the principle that authentic Mariology lays the foundation for authentic Christology.

Scriptural Proof Continue reading

Objections to the Traditional Latin Mass answered: The Lectionary

In commentary after commentary of defenders of the Novus Ordo, from liberals to so-called “conservatives” (who are preserving the liberal revolution), they always point to the supposed superiority of the lectionary of the Novus Ordo to that of the Traditional Latin Mass.

The argument goes “Since the majority of the bible is read in the course of 3 years, Catholics are exposed to more scripture now than in the Traditional Liturgy with its narrow selection of readings”.

We’ve heard this for years, and I’ve refuted it for years, but it won’t go away. To be fair, I’m not concerned with issues of translation. The best arguments against the Novus Ordo are against the Latin Novus Ordo, not the ICEL translation. Defenders of the new rite can always appeal to a bad translation to explain away the endless problems with the fabricated liturgy of Bugnini’s Concilium. They might also refer to Bishops changing the banal and doctrinally questionable translations in favor of traditional ones. It is simple enough to go back to the source. Forget the ICEL monster. This I do here, and have consistently done when criticizing the new rite.

The argument is essentially flawed because it relies upon numbers and the mere quantity of something as the sufficiency necessary for correct evaluation. Thus, to put it another way it seeks to implement the liturgical reform the way governments try to reform things, by throwing more of something indiscriminately. In this case it is scripture. Just as truly as government throws money at education, or defense in the desperate hope that things will get better, so the new lectionary throws as much of the bible at the layman as possible, indiscriminately, in the hope that he will leave the Church knowing something about the bible. However, the Traditional Lectionary’s effect is qualitative, focusing not so much on how much of the Bible the man in the pew hears, but rather what the man in the pew hears.
In the Traditional Liturgy the lectionary was tailored to match the breviary and lead the faithful to a certain idea through its collects, antiphons and other propers, the lectionary of the Novus Ordo often makes use of antiphons and propers that do not match any liturgical objective, that are given just for the sake of it.

The next problem with the argument is that there are many texts of scripture, which are present in the Traditional Rite of Mass but are omitted or made optional in the new lectionary (which, if all the endless options and alternative texts were gathered into one book the thing would plummet to the center of the earth). The text of the great apostasy predicted in 2nd Thessalonians is present on the ember Saturday of Advent in the Traditional Rite, but absent in the new lectionary. Another example was pointed out by Cardinal Stickler speaking on the text of I Corinthians XI:27-29:

Apart from the pastoral difficulties for parishioners’ understanding of texts demanding special exegesis, it turned out also as an opportunity-which was seized-to manipulate the retained texts in order to introduce new truths in place of the old. Pastorally unpopular passages-often of fundamental theological and moral significance-were simply eliminated. A classic example is the text from 1 Cor. 11:27-29: here, in the narrative of the institution of the Eucharist, the serious concluding exhortation about the grave consequences of unworthy reception has been consistently left out, even on the Feast of Corpus Christi. The pastoral necessity of that text in the face of today’s mass reception without confession and without reverence is obvious. (Online source)

Dr. Peter Kwasniewski, a writer for Latin Mass magazine, had this to say in an October article on the New Lectionary:

There is the basic human problem of having more than one year’s worth of readings. A single year is a natural period of time; it is healthy, pedagogically superior, and deeply consoling to come back, year after year, to the same readings for a given Sunday or weekday. This has been my experience. You get to know the Sunday readings especially; they become bone of your bone. You start to think of Sundays in terms of their readings, chants, and prayers, which stick in the mind all the more firmly because they are both spoken or chanted and read in the missal you are holding (more senses engaged). In this way the traditional Western liturgy shows its affinity to the Eastern liturgies, which go so far as to name Sundays after their Gospels or after some particular dogma emphasized. In the old days, the fourteenth Sunday after Pentecost had a distinctive identity: Protector noster was the introit, you knew its melody, and the whole Mass grew to be familiar, like a much-loved garden or a trail through the woods. Nowadays, who knows what the “tenth Sunday of Ordinary Time” is about! It’s anyone’s guess. Online source

The New Lectionary has a cold and meaningless feel about it. First of all, let us suppose a Latin Novus Ordo where the propers were used, and not replaced by this or that hymn, something which is rubrically incorrect even in the NO. There is no theme, no attempt to unite the psalms sung with the readings. Sometimes they are consistently repeated throughout Sundays of the Year. Second, while the Sunday readings are on a “3 year cycle”, the weekday readings are on a “2 year cycle”, which is completely nonsensical. If they match up at all to what is read on Sunday it is a pure accident occurring around the time when the planets align. And, who can remember all of these readings? I have known priests who say the Novus Ordo who haven’t a clue of the general order or pace of the readings beyond the Sunday they are in, and one back as well as one forward. It becomes a dead letter and we move onto the next one. And if we consider Lent and Holy Week, in some instances the readings match up and follow a progression, but there is no overall theme matched by the Mass propers or the Divine Office. In Holy week you only hear two passion accounts, on Palm Sunday and Good Friday, where as in the Traditional Liturgy you hear all four, Matthew on Palm Sunday, Mark on Tuesday and Luke’s on Wednesday, while Monday contains a prophecy of our Lord’s death and resurrection.

The whole of the lectionary for the Traditional Mass is contained in the same book as the Missal, and it comprises a modest size book. As I said above, if one was to take the entire Novus Ordo with all of its options, extra prayers, and the lectionary with its endless options and substitutions, it would fall through the altar and wind up in the center of the earth (a good place for it if you ask me, and good riddance!)

Another problem is the fact that the lectionary was arranged by exegetes with sociological leanings (which could just as easily be written socialist), while the ancient Roman lectionary was arranged by St. Jerome one of the greatest of ancient doctors apart from Chysostom and Augustine, and apart from changes and modifications for the saints or new feasts, the propers for the year are unchanged. If we lined up the Traditional Lectionary with the calendar of the Eastern Church (or even that of the Orthodox), one will find striking similarities. Only one epistle reading, not two as in the Novus Ordo. A one year cycle, is unique to both calendars, and to liturgical tradition. The concept of a three, or two year lectionary is a novelty east and west and not even suggested by Vatican II. Sundays after Easter are called “Sundays after Pentecost” by both calendars, and the propers which must always be sung in a Divine Liturgy match up to the epistle and Gospel reading. Lastly, the readings must be sung in the Divine Liturgy, just as they must at a Tridentine High Mass. The Traditional lectionary is linked with and grew out of the common heritage of liturgical development which in spite of different cultures, locations and circumstances, share characteristics coming form ancient practice.

Therefore, for both practical and liturgical reasons, the New Lectionary is a complete and useless novelty, inferior to Catholic tradition, just like everything else in the Novus Ordo. Yet one may ask, how could one reform the Traditional lectionary? There are several Masses for different types of saints, and when there is no regular reading for the saints, the regular readings from the Mass Os Justi, or some such Mass will be used over and over again, sometimes within the same week. So texts could be found which would match the life of the saint, while this is often not done in the Novus Ordo, and as Dr. Kwasniewski notes in the article I linked, the readings for St. Therese in the Traditional Mass make sense, whereas the ones in the new rite follow the baneful 2 year cycle and have nothing to do with her.

There is but one more consideration. At the average Traditional Mass, one will hear more scripture than at the Novus Ordo if one is to take the whole of the liturgy into account. The Mass begins with Psalm 42, many of the responses are actually quotes from the Psalms (Adjutorium nostrum…Psalm 69, etc.), a good portion of the offertory prayers are from scripture directly, including all of Psalm 25, many parts of the canon and the priests communion come directly from scripture, not to mention the Last Gospel (John 1:1-18) and the fact that the propers are never skipped, while in the Novus Ordo encoutnered by 99% of Catholics in the world they are generally skipped, and or are repeats from a series of options while in the Traditional Liturgy they are different every Sunday and saints day.

Like all things, the simple fruits of tradition are better than the ugly creations of modernity.

Heresy Matters….

How many times have you heard this?

All God really cares about is that you are a good person. Or God doesn’t really care about what you believe, just as long as you try to be good. Now would it really surprise you to know that these statements were made by Catholic school students who had 11 years of “Catholic” education? Probably not.

Many of us however, when we are met with the most common liberal/secular challenge are somewhat dumbfounded. Could God really damn someone to hell because they didn’t believe the right thing? So what if someone didn’t teach exactly the right thing?

If you want to really mess them up, just say yes, it is the least expected answer. Yes, if you do not profess the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic faith, you will not be saved. Obviously there are gray areas. Intention comes into play, so someone who teaches heresy without knowing and without correction, then of course, God takes intention into account.

Remove all gray areas for a moment. That is the biggest smokescreen used by liberals to muddy the waters of truth. Pure black and white, does right doctrine matter? YES.

The attempt to remove dogma and doctrine from the place of importance in religion is a modernism. If that was the case, and they didn’t matter, then Our Blessed Lord would not have wasted his time teaching theology, or preaching the resurrection, or for that matter rising from the dead. He would have merely taught people how to share, and probably voted Democrat.

However, our Blessed Lord was very much concerned with right teaching, and right belief.

And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the desert, so must the Son of man be lifted up: That whosoever believeth in him may not perish; but may have life everlasting. (John III:14-15)

But it doesn’t matter what you believe.

For if you believe not that I am he, you shall die in your sin. (John VIII:24)

But it doesn’t matter what you believe.

Enter in at the narrow gate: for wide is the gate and broad is the way that leads to destruction, and many there are who enter there. How narrow is the gate, and strait is the way that leadeth to life: and few there are that find it! (Matthew VII:13-14)

But hey, it doesn’t matter what you believe, the wide path is fine after all.

But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach a gospel to you besides that which we have preached to you, let him be anathema. (Galatians I:8)

Who was that Paul guy anyway? What did he know?

This is just starting with the Bible, let alone Church teaching! First there is either only one religion or no religion by logical necessity. The Bible might be right, or the Qur’an might be right, or neither might be right, but they can’t both be right. This applies to Christianity likewise. All Churches claiming to be Christian contradict each other, therefore they can’t all be right. Since no Church teaches the same thing, only one of them could be right. There is only one fold and one shepherd, not many.

The Catholic Church is the only Church to have maintained the same doctrine going back to the apostles. She has done this, against immense pressure in all times in History for a reason, because she is not a human institution, but a divine one which has men as her members. The heros of the faith, the martyrs, have not shed their blood by the gallon from Nero to Stalin so that they might teach people how to share, or be tolerant or to engage in ecumenical dialogue. They did so because they clung to truth, to the whole teaching of the Church, which is Christ Himself.

Ego sum vita, et veritas……

Our Blessed Lord said that he is the Truth (John XIV:10). He did not say a truth, but the truth. Truth is not a thing, but a who. When Pilate demanded to know what is truth, he did not realize that it was standing before him and his Roman seat of judgment. Thus when someone denies the truth, he denies Christ himself. This is why in the early Church heresy would result in such riots that imperial troops had to be sent in order to quell the fighting. Truth mattered! This is why the Church had convened councils to explain what was always and everywhere believed. At Nicea, the question of Arius had innumerable consequences. If Christ was not God, then that which they did at his command, namely the celebration of the Sacrifice of the Mass, would have been idolatry, since even if it did turn into his body and blood, you would be adoring the body and blood of a man. If Arius was right, we would not be worshipping the true God. However it is not sufficient to stop there and say yeah, but whatever you want to believe is fine. No! Because if you don’t believe in the truth, what kind of God are you worshipping? Is it Christ? If not, take to heart some scripture quotes above and ask yourself, does Jesus care about heresy?

The martyrs, the true Christians, who when push came to shove laid down their lives for God, did not do it for “their version”. They did it for the eternal and unchanging truth. Heresy, which comes from the Greek word hereseo (I choose) is a choice against the truth. It is always centered around a selfishness. All the early heretics are associated with the worst vices: the Judaizers denounced Catholics to Roman authorities, the Donatists lied, forged documents and murdered, the Arians bore false witness and destroyed people’s lives, the Albigensians and the Fraticelli used to seduce innocent virgins and nuns to sex by the reasoning that they would become more pure, or were so pure that the act could not be sinful. Heresy, as a denial of truth, disfigures the soul and makes it prone to vice. Worst of all, it separates one from the true worship of God. Material heresy on the other hand, that is the act of believing a heresy without knowing, has its ill effects slowed by good will. However it is not long before good will gives way, as other subtle activities of life are transformed by heretical thought. The modern world with all of its moral sickness, the world which has deprived men of productive property and made them slaves in factories and cubicles grew out of medieval heresies which denied the truth of Christ and the transforming power of his grace.

True doctrine on the other hand builds up true worship. As the ancient maxim goes, lex oriandi, lex credendi (The law of praying is the law of believing). The Nicene Creed in the original Greek is almost like a song, and was set to music very early by the title of Pisteo, as it is known by “Credo” in Latin. Its articles were theology woven in golden threads which the post Nicene fathers meditated on as their daily bread. The doctrine of the Councils through the ages, rather than chains restricting free thought, are liberating decrees freeing the mind from the deceit of error. The proof of this is in the fact that the doctrine of the Church comes from God not men. Giving assent to an authority other than ourselves removes from us both the decision and the pride inherent in creating one’s own doctrine. Rather than becoming our own lights of doctrine, we submit, not as Muslims do to an impersonal will of God, but to the very person of God, to virtue, to being transformed to be the light expounding His doctrine, not ours. This is something fundamentally different from every other religion in the world.