Catholic Tradition Newsletter 482: Confirmation, Twenty-fifth Sunday, Saint Martin

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Vol 11 Issue 45 ~  Editor: Rev. Fr. Courtney Edward Krier
November 10, 2018 ~ Saint Andrew Avellino

1.      What is the Sacrament of Confirmation
2.      Twenty-fifth Sunday after Pentecost
3.      St. Martin of Tours
4.      Family and Marriage
5.      Articles and notices

Dear Reader:

Here in the United States we just had what is called mid-term elections.

The results nationwide are mixed, but where I live in a city it is clear the community is steered by organizations which claim progress is attained by government control and so-called social benefits. The loss of faith by our youth, who turn to destructive life styles because they cannot find or will not accept a philosophy of life that guides them clearly through a life that is full of contradictions, has caused them to fall for the deceptions of these demagogues who promise them happiness through hedonistic events and freedom from obligations. Placed in an education system that denies them the ability to become independent and capable of thinking logically, they are told they are more intelligent than their parents because their parents had only a black board while they have computers. They don’t tell you that the black board didn’t do the school work, their parents did—whereas now they don’t do the school work, the programmed computer does; that is, their parents were intelligent enough to know how to do the work and show it on a black board, but the children are not intelligent enough to do the work unless assisted by a computer. Brain washed into thinking self-control—which is what parents are supposed to teach children—is oppression, they are now actually oppressed by their covetousness, anger, gluttony, lust, and sloth because of pride and envy that prevents them from living a truly free life to develop their personality to its fulness by living a spiritual life rather than simply an animal life. Surprisingly, because they are in darkness (caused by ignorance and/or sin), many believe that because they are choosing (as there is no struggle for self-mastery) to live an animal life they are rational and free—but they are deceiving themselves since, if they studied animals, a comparison of their life and that of an animal will be a reflection of each other. That is why they use rats and mice (before they would include monkeys) in place of humans for learning animal responses, knowing that the response of the mouse or rat (or monkey) mimics a human’s animal response.

Even in the natural order, a spiritual life would be one that agrees to what is better for oneself: a life of truth and goodness, a life of giving and enrichment of one’s personality. As Catholics, we are called to a higher life than one just to base nature. We are called to live a life in conformity to God’s desire that we dwell with Him in heaven by knowing, loving and serving Him. This serving God is morality (religion); and morality is based on both His placing in our heart that of the moral law (natural) and then set in what He has revealed to us as His divine will: worship in the Church He established and the Two Great Commandments: Love of God and love of neighbor. You may notice that as soon as you mention marriage is between a man and a woman they cry one is imposing their religion; that as soon as you say abortion is murder they scream that Christians have no right to tell them how to live; that when you tell them divorce is wrong they will tell you that the Church has no authority over their lives. It is a red-herring, because these crimes are against nature (written in the heart of man) and not simply Church teaching. At the same time it shows that only those who are religious are moral since there is a higher authority that holds one accountable for one’s crimes or there is no crime at all—and one who believes in God recognizes God requires justice.

Being in the lions’ pit, as Daniel was, we can only place our faith in God to protect us from these organizations that believe progress is achieving state tyranny over dependent masses. As Saint Peter says:

Be you humbled therefore under the mighty hand of God, that he may exalt you in the time of visitation: Casting all your care upon him, for he hath care of you. Be sober and watch: because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, goeth about seeking whom he may devour. Whom resist ye, strong in faith: knowing that the same affliction befalls your brethren who are in the world. But the God of all grace, who hath called us into his eternal glory in Christ Jesus, after you have suffered a little, will himself perfect you, and confirm you, and establish you. (1 Peter 5:6-10)

As always, enjoy the readings and commentaries provided for your benefit. —The Editor

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WHAT IS THE SACRAMENT OF CONFIRMATION?

by Rev. Courtney Edward Krier

1917 Code of Canon Law Concerning Confirmation

TITLE 2

On Confirmation

Canon 794

§ 1. A sponsor presents only one person to be confirmed, or two, unless it seems otherwise to the minister for just cause.

§ 2. There is also only one sponsor for each person to be confirmed.

What makes one a valid sponsor, i.e., a spiritual relationship with the confirmand? The following canon gives the requirements:

Canon 795

In order to be a sponsor it is required that one:

1.º Also be confirmed, having obtained the use of reason, and having the intention of fulfilling the role;

2.º Not belong to any heretical or schismatic sect, or be under any penalty mentioned in Canon 765, n. 2, or be under a declaratory or condemnatory sentence;

3.º Not be the father, mother, or spouse of the one to be confirmed;

4.º Be designated by the one being confirmed or the parents or the guardians or, if these are absent or refuse [to name a sponsor], by the minister or the pastor;

5.º Physically touch personally or through a procurator the one being confirmed in the very act of confirmation.

It is also, in order legitimately to accept the office of sponsor in Confirmation that one follow these laws in the following canon:

Canon 796

In order to be licitly admitted to the role of sponsor it is required:

1.º That he be different from the sponsor at baptism unless for reasonable cause in the judgment of the minister it argues otherwise, or if confirmation is legitimately conferred immediately after baptism;

2.º That he [ or she] be of the same sex as the one being confirmed unless in particular cases it seems to the minister there are reasonable causes to do otherwise;

3.º That the additional prescriptions of Canon 766 be observed.

Canon Law Digest I points to the Instructions of the Sacred Congregation of the Council of January 12, 1930 (AAS 22-26) that adds:

Council of Vigilance: To Treat of Modesty in Women’s Dress

In virtue of the Supreme Apostleship which he exercises in the universal Church, His Holiness, Pius XI, has never ceased to inculcate in word and writing that precept of St. Paul (I Tim. II, 9, 10): “Women also in decent apparel; adorning themselves with modesty and sobriety. . . as it becometh women professing godliness, with good works.”

And on many occasions the same Supreme Pontiff has reproved and sharply condemned the immodesty in dress which today is everywhere in vogue, even among women and girls who are Catholics; a practice which does grave injury to the crowning virtue and glory of women, and moreover unfortunately leads not merely to their temporal disadvantage, but, what is worse, to their eternal ruin and that of other souls.

It is no wonder, then, that Bishops and other Ordinaries of places, as becomes ministers of Christ, have in their respective dioceses unanimously resisted in every way this licentious and shameless fashion, and in doing so have cheerfully and courageously borne the derision and ridicule sometimes directed at them by the ill-disposed.

Accordingly this Sacred Congregation for the maintenance of discipline among clergy and people, in the first place accords merited approval and praise to this vigilance and action on the part of the Bishops, and moreover earnestly exhorts them to continue in the purpose and undertaking they have so well begun, and to pursue them with even greater vigor, until this contagious disease be entirely banished from decent society.

That this may be accomplished with greater ease and security, this Sacred Congregation, in pursuance of the orders of His Holiness, has determined upon the following regulations on the subject:

IX. Girls and women who are immodestly dressed are to be refused Holy Communion and excluded from the office of sponsor in the sacraments of baptism and confirmation; and in proper cases are even to be excluded from the church.

AAS 22-26; S. C. Conc., Instruction, 12 Jan., 1930.

Periodica, 19-195.

The problem of women ignoring proper decorum flows from mothers who themselves have not matured and recognized their role of seeking attention from the opposite sex should have ceased when they were engaged. The appeal to their vanity that they should still turn men’s heads as they enter a room clouds their mind that they are doing the devil’s work and are blameworthy while losing the graces needed to have a good family life. Men who fell from grace are cursing them for leading them into temptation. Young daughters, following the example of a vain mother, have lost their innocence and now curse the mother for betraying them to the animal appetites of wicked men, never experiencing love but always living in hate.  The sons curse such a mother because these boys grew up in a culture that focused their minds on the body and not the obligations of a man and when seeking a companion they found themselves only embracing prostitutes who have no desire to be a wife. Such a woman, dressed for this reason, shows contempt for God—but our young girls have learned this is expected of them and are taunted if they reject the immodest fashions. It is why many choose to wear pants and loose blouses: to retain some modesty, to hide the body. That it did not start in the ‘60’s is evident by the above Instruction. This was already mentioned above (Canon 782; AAS 27-11, Section II.):

Those who are to be confirmed must not present themselves for this Sacrament with dirty face or hair uncombed; but they should be dressed, as should also the sponsors, simply and modestly. Women who are to receive the Sacrament or to act as sponsors must not come into the church decked in vain ornaments or with painted faces, but with all modesty and reverence.                                       (To be continued)

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Dr. Pius Parsch

The Church’s Year of Grace (1958)

Twenty-fifth Sunday after Pentecost

Rev. Pius Parsch

The King comes as the wise Judge

Holy Mass The Readings (Epistle and Gospel) sketch the Church from two contrasting approaches; one is light and cheery, the other dark and sobering; one depicts the ideal, the other remains closer to life and reality. In the Epistle Paul describes the ideal—a community of saints adorned with every Christian virtue. In this community love is queen; in her train follows the peace of Christ. The apostle is giving us a glimpse of the liturgical worship and the private lives of the early Christians. With them the word of God “dwelt abundantly.” We hear them singing psalms and spiritual canticles; and, privately, their every act is performed “in the Name of the Lord Jesus Christ.”

The Gospel, by way of contrast, shows another Christian community, one marred by human weaknesses and sins, grave scandals, lukewarmness, indifference, petty jealousies. Which makes our hearts heavy. But Jesus’ words help us understand the enigma of evil in the Church. From the two readings it is easy to deduce a program for the week. Personally, and in my relations with others, I will try to reproduce the ideal; if evil crosses my path, I will not be scandalized; I will seek to imitate God’s patience toward it.

The Gospel, moreover, provides revealing insights into the mysterious and often inexplicable character of God’s kingdom as it continues to grow through the centuries. There is, for instance, the mystery of the abiding presence of evil in the Church. Evil is the devil’s sowing. Evil is permitted; indeed, in God’s providential plan it must thrive and ripen. On earth both good and evil enjoy freedom of action, and both serve a purpose. Evil is designed to chasten the good, to prove their strength and steadfastness; it is God’s rod of correction upon the virtuous. Strictly speaking, it can cause no harm to God’s kingdom. This reassurance should be a consolation, especially in days like the present, when we meet so much evil in the world.

Now let us apply the lesson of the Gospel to ourselves. Today at Mass the divine Sower sows the good seed (wheat) of the Eucharist in my soul, expecting it to grow during the week. Of course, as the week passes, the devil, too, will sow his weeds; but by penance and mortification we can nullify their influence. May this day’s “Sacrifice of propitiation” steady our “vacillating hearts” (Secr.). The Eucharist is the “pledge” of “salvation’s fulfillment” (Postc.); in the light of the Gospel parable this means that the divine Reaper is already gathering our ripened sheaves into His heavenly barns.

4. Sunday Meditations. A. The Seaside Sermon. For a better understanding of the parables on the fifth and sixth Sundays after Epiphany, it would help to be familiar with the historical context in which they appear. Hence, a few remarks are in order concerning our Lord’s activity previous to the sermon on the shores of Lake Gennesareth.

When Jesus began His public ministry He directed His efforts toward the Jewish people at large. He wanted all of them to enter God’s kingdom (the Church), irregardless of their status in life. So He preached everywhere, in Judea, in Samaria, in Galilee. He addressed Himself not only to the well-bred, to the doctors of the Law and the Pharisees, but likewise to the common people, the plain folk and the illiterate. In short, He wished to be the Redeemer of all. Yet the longer He preached and the more miracles He worked, the more did the Jewish leaders strive to turn the people away from and against Him. Wherever His preaching or His miracles had won popular admiration and approval, the Pharisees, too, appeared, weakening and undermining the effect of His work.

Presently He was staying at Peter’s house in Capharnaum, where He cured a man possessed by a devil. The people, of course, were amazed; but the Pharisees quickly retorted that Jesus Himself was possessed and that He cast out devils by invoking the prince of devils. It was a low blow. He who had come to break the devil’s power and to redeem mankind from bondage to Satan, He was now accused of being in league with His archenemy. The blasphemous accusation could not go unanswered. Before Jesus finished His apology, He had made it plain to the Pharisees that not He but they themselves were possessed by a sevenfold devil; and because they would not accept the Messiah, they who had been a “chosen people” would be rejected.

The incident was a turning point in our Lord’s ministry. From then on He became more reserved and began to concentrate His efforts on the preparation and formation of His disciples. Shortly before He had chosen twelve among His followers, whom He called apostles. These were destined to preach His gospel to the world. Therefore He would use every means to confirm their belief in His mission of salvation and to prepare them for the great missionary work that lay ahead. His activity was now dedicated primarily to the task of forming His apostles. And though He still went among the people, His preaching to them took a new turn. Evidence of His altered approach soon appears in the sermon to the crowd preached from Peter’s boat on the Sea of Galilee. It was His so-called “Seaside Sermon.” He spoke only in parables, without explaining them to His listeners. But later when alone with His apostles, He interpreted and applied them.

What was the message of that sermon? Jesus Himself pointed out its principal theme, namely, the mysteries of the kingdom of God (or, the kingdom of heaven – the terms are interchangeable). God’s kingdom, or the kingdom of heaven, is the Church on earth. “Mystery” here does not mean a doctrinal statement, such as a dogma of faith. Christ is using the term to designate the mysterious nature and growth of the Church, a development that goes counter to human expectation. To know the mystery of the kingdom, then, is primarily to realize that outwardly the kingdom makes no pretensions or display as it adheres to the ordinary course of events, without miracles or other astounding phenomena. All its power and majesty lie within, invisible to earthly eyes.

Taking the Seaside Sermon as a whole, its content may be divided into five parts:

1. the founding of God’s kingdom (parable of the sower)

2. the tragedy of evil (parable of the good seed and the cockle)

3. growth and development of the kingdom:

a) parable of the growing seed

b) parable of the mustard seed

c) parable of the leaven

4. incomparable value of God’s kingdom (parables of the treasure and the pearl)

5. conclusion: final phase of the kingdom (parable of the fish-filled net)

First part. The parable of the sower describes the founding of God’s kingdom (especially with reference to individual souls). The moral. Whether and how far God’s kingdom will be realized in me depends upon my cooperation. I am the soil. God is continually sowing His grace in my heart. His kingdom should yield an abundance of full-grown, ripened fruit, such as may be expected from a divine planting. If it fails to do so, the fault is mine, completely. I hindered or stifled its growth. The soil was deficient. Some of it may have been worn hard by constant treading (spirit of indifference). Or my heart was stony ground (too superficial). Perhaps the whole field was overgrown with the thorns of earthly hankerings and pleasures, choking God’s seed. Briefly, the great lesson of the parable is: God’s kingdom is glorious indeed, but first it must grow in me and I must cooperate with grace.

Second part. The parable of the weeds throws light on the tragedy of evil in the Church. Evil is the devil’s planting. God allows it to thrive and reach full maturity, unhindered. In this life both the good and the bad are granted complete freedom of operation. Yes, evil has its place in the divine plan. As noted earlier, it serves to chasten the good and test their steadfastness. It is God’s rod of correction, and should contribute to the growth of virtue in the good. It cannot cause the kingdom of heaven any real harm. It will not, however, go unpunished; no, the wages of evil is eternal ruin and punishment. Be patient, therefore, with evildoers. Do not begrudge them their short-lived, earthly happiness. Above all, do not hate them, rather they are to be pitied. Thus does this parable contribute to a solution to that greatest enigma, the presence of evil in God’s kingdom.

Third part. The growth and impact of God’s kingdom is the burden of three brief parables. The first, that of the spontaneously growing seed, is found in St. Mark 5:26ff. This short, little-known parable conveys some goodly thoughts on God’s kingdom. Both its founding and its termination at the end of time are effected by Christ in person. Meanwhile, however, He does not intervene personally but leaves things to their normal development. It is as though Jesus slept, like the man in the parable, and the seed He had sown continued to grow of itself. Nevertheless, the kingdom’s inner vitality is derived from Him. If the parable of the sower emphasized the need of man’s cooperation with grace, the parable of the spontaneously growing seed stresses the intrinsic power and efficacy of grace….

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