Insight into the Catholic Faith presents Catholic Tradition Newsletter

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Vol 11 Issue 38 ~ Editor: Rev. Fr. Courtney Edward Krier 
September 22, 2018 ~ Saint Thomas of Villanova, opn!

1. What is the Sacrament of Confirmation
2. Eighteenth Sunday after Pentecost
3. Saint Thecla
4. Family and Marriage
5. Articles and notices

Dear Reader:

There was a time when, attending a public or non-Catholic School, the view presented to the student was one where the Catholic Church held man in darkness.

There was the constant misrepresentation of the Dark Ages not as when the raging hordes of barbarians invaded (immigrated to) the Roman Empire and completely destroyed society, but as the Catholic Church holding the people in submission by forcing them to become Christians or be tortured and murdered (no evidence) and not telling them the truth. The Dark Ages, in the eyes of the pupils, extended to the Age of the Enlightenment when, finally with the French Revolution, man was free and there was once again liberty, fraternity and equality—justifying the enormous casualties not because it was truly a return to barbarity, but the shedding of blood needed to give way to a New World Order—repeated with the Revolutions of Marxist Communism, which, too, was a return, again, to tyranny.

Catholics know the Church, in her belief in Truth, has always advanced the cause of Truth and developed technology that advanced civilization—and never hid Truth. The Universities, the educational systems and vocational schools all received their birth from her. The magnificent gothic cathedrals testify to the progress as also her advancement in the sciences. When the barbarians invaded, she attempted to preserve learning in the recesses of her monasteries and convents, so that once the storm was over, educational centers could  blossom again throughout Europe.

Today, Truth is actually suppressed. Satan knows that God is Truth; and, Satan being the father of lies and a murderer from the beginning, he opposes Truth and true Life. Having personally attended a University and participated in research, the answers found were rejected if they did not fit in with policy. And, even though the professors would say you must be objective, those papers that sided with the policies promoted—even if irrational—were accepted even though they ignored findings that proved the contrary (It is still the same today). But it is not just in the Universities, it is everywhere, that presentations which oppose a policy course are rejected and the presenter ignored or removed. What this has created is a suppression of Truth and fear for one’s financial security and freedom that causes most to not engage in looking for the Truth. I am not in support of those who conjure up a hypothetical possibility and design an interpretation of facts to support the speculation—because these, too, oppress Truth demonstrated by their insistence that you accept their hypothesis as true when it hasn’t been empirically proven, just contrary to the state position. What one must clearly understand is reality as it is and the Church’s assistance by the Holy Ghost to guide mankind in properly understanding reality as it is—not as knowledge in itself, but as being able to live in that reality as it is intended—a moral life.

Since Adam and Eve, the Evil One has lied and continues to lie through those who follow his seductions. This is done by presenting a different understanding than that which is true. Simple truths, even today, are denied, such as marriage, such as Mass attendance, such as speech—where the excuse is not an excuse but a non serviam, a refusal, because the father of lies has convinced one that he or she does not have to listen to Truth—that one will not die the death. What has resulted is a colosseum of spectators seeking to see the Christians (Catholics upholding Truth) torn apart by wild animals not as though they would admit they are blood thirsty but claiming themselves to be good citizens of the state (that has condemned Truth).

Catholics must not excuse themselves from living their faith either, being a scandal to their children, by living a theoretical faith (words) but not living a practical faith in being drunk, profane in speech, unfaithful, and not fulfilling their religious obligations such as absence from holy Mass.

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

________________

WHAT IS THE SACRAMENT OF CONFIRMATION?

by Rev. Courtney Edward Krier

XIV

Post Trent Church Teachings on Confirmation

Confirmation, because of the decline of Church life among Catholics by reason of the secularization of once Catholic States and because of the indifference of Catholics, soon became a Sacrament rarely received. The necessity of the reception of the Sacrament was further being lost in the struggle to defend the necessity of the Sacrament of baptism—which, once received, saw too many Catholics feeling they had no other need of the Church since they were baptized. It became necessary to require those planning to marry in the Church to receive the neglected Sacrament before marriage or promise to do so at the earliest occasion, which promise was seldom fulfilled (although today most baptized Catholics neglect to even marry in the Church). As weak as the argument may seem to some, but because the Church acknowledges the necessity in the words of Our Lord, Amen, amen I say to thee, unless a man be born again of water and the Holy Ghost, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God, (John 3:5), Pius XII, in the decree, Spiritus Sancti Munera of 14 September, 1946, gave permission for Parish Priests to administer Confirmation to those in danger of death, as at this time it would be difficult to have the Bishop come to administer the Sacrament.

I

DECREE

ON THE ADMINISTRATION OF CONFIRMATION TO PERSONS

WHO ARE IN DANGER OF DEATH FROM

GRAVE ILLNESS

Catholic doctrine proclaims that the gifts of the Holy Spirit are conferred by the sacrament of Confirmation. Hence it is the earnest desire of the Church that children, after they have been cleansed in the waters of baptism, shall receive this sacrament, through which the gifts of the heavenly Paraclete are imparted to strengthen the faith conferred in baptism, so that, suffused with the fulness of grace and marked with the character of soldiers of Christ, they may be equipped in fact and by profession for every good work.

Though it is beyond dispute that Confirmation is not required as a necessary means to salvation (canon 787), yet because of its high excellence and the abundance of precious gifts which it bestows, pastors and other shepherds of souls should make every effort that no one who has the opportunity to receive so great a sacrament of the Redemption should fail to do so; for it is a wonderful help to fight valiantly against the wiles of the devil and the allurements of the world and the flesh, and to obtain on earth an increase of grace and of all virtues, and in heaven an added crown of glory. [1 St. Thomas, Summa, III, q. 72, a. 8, ad 4.]

It is true, the watchful shepherds of souls do their utmost to see that all baptized persons be duly fortified with this sacrament, and that this be done as soon as they attain the age of reason, that is, at about the age of seven years: and it is of course quite licit to anticipate this age, as is expressly provided in canon 788, “if an infant is in danger of death or if the minister of the sacrament for just and grave reasons thinks it expedient.” Yet it is a fact proved from the records available in this matter, that very many children, being more exposed to mortal perils even long before they reach the age of reason, die without being confirmed, especially in these times following the dreadful scourge of war; and daily experience shows that the same is true of not a few adults who for various reasons were unable to receive Confirmation in their youth.

There is a provision against this evil in the Oriental Church, where it is the practice to confirm infants immediately after they have received baptism. Indeed this same discipline was in use also among the Latins in the first centuries of the Church, and in some countries it is still followed through legitimate custom: but the common law of the Latin Church, adopted in canon 788 just cited, provides that the administration of this sacrament is to be put off until about the age of seven, when the children, after receiving suitable catechetical instruction, can share more fully in the effects of the sacrament. [2 Cf. S. C. Sacr., 20 May, 1934, AAS 27-11, CANON LAW DIGEST, Vol. 2, p. 185; S. C. Prop. Fid., 4 May, 1774, Fontes, n. 4565, Vol. VII, p. 95; Holy Office, Instruction, July, 1888.]

Now the chief reason why so many Christians die without receiving the sacrament is that when they are in danger of death they have no opportunity to receive it because of the absence of the Bishop.

It is defined doctrine that only a Bishop is the ordinary minister of Confirmation [3 Conc. Trid., sess. VII, De confirmatione, can. 3.] (canon 782, § 1): accordingly the Holy See has always earnestly sought that, as far as possible, the administration of this sacrament should be reserved to the Bishop as a right and duty which pertain to him. And this Sacred Congregation has always been conscientiously on guard that the reverence due to this sacrament be not diminished nor the pious expectations of the people be disappointed through being deprived of the presence of the Bishop; and that the conspicuous splendor of its administration be not allowed to wane, nor its solemn and becoming ceremonial be slighted.

Yet, when necessity and the good of the faithful have demanded it, the Holy See has more than once been obliged to permit that, when the Bishop owing to peculiar circumstances could not be had, he might be replaced by a simple priest who has some ecclesiastical dignity, as the extraordinary minister of this sacrament ( canon 782, § 2); who should do it with becoming ceremony, always informing the people that the Bishop is the exclusive ordinary minister of this sacrament, and that it is being conferred by the priest by favor of the Holy See, [4 Cf. Instruction of S. C. Sacr., 20 May, 1934, Section III.] as clearly appears from a great number of papal indults. [5 Cf. the same Instruction, Section I, n. 2 (DIGEST, Vol. 2, p. 185); the Instructions of the S. C. of Propaganda and of the Holy Office cited in note 2; the Formulae of Faculties of the S. C. of Propaganda.]

Hence, in order to provide for the spiritual welfare of so many infants, children, and adults, who are in danger of death because of grave illness, and who would most certainly die without Confirmation if the provisions of the common law regarding the ordinary minister were strictly insisted on; it has appeared necessary to this Sacred Congregation to find and apply some remedy, to the extremely important end that so many of the faithful may be given an opportunity of receiving Confirmation.

Reflecting on the importance of this matter, His Holiness Pope Pius XII, desiring to provide more amply for the good of souls, in accordance with his great solicitude for the entire Church, deigned to commission this Sacred Congregation, empowered as it is to solve this question, to consider the matter carefully and thoroughly in its plenary sessions, and to report to him the resolution which it would consider appropriate.

This Sacred Congregation then, after hearing the opinions of a number of consultors noted for their learning and prudence, and after having moreover carefully reviewed all the previous documents and records which are available on the discipline of Confirmation, carefully submitted the entire matter to the consideration of the Cardinals in several plenary sessions.

After maturely considering the opinion which was the result of these deliberations, the same Supreme Pontiff, in the audience granted to the Secretary of this Sacred Congregation on May 6, 1946, ordered this Sacred Congregation to issue a decree which would set forth the discipline regarding the administration of Confirmation in the peculiar circumstances above stated, according to the norms which he himself, of certain knowledge and after mature deliberation, had approved and graciously declared.

Accordingly, this Sacred Congregation, in faithful obedience to the Apostolic mandate, by the present decree decided to establish the following provisions:

1. By general indult of the Holy See, the faculty to confer the sacrament of Confirmation as extraordinary ministers (canon 782, § 2), only in the cases and under the conditions mentioned below, is given to the following priests and to them only:

a) To pastors who have a territory of their own, exclusive therefore of personal and family pastors unless these also have their own proper, even though cumulative, territory;

b) To the vicars mentioned in canon 471 and to vicar administrators (vicariis oeconomis) ;

c) To priests to whom the full care of souls with all the rights and duties of pastors has been entrusted in an exclusive and stable manner in a definite territory with a determinate church.

2. The aforesaid ministers can validly and licitly confer Confirmation themselves personally, only upon the faithful who are staying in their territory, including the persons who are staying in places which have been withdrawn from the parochial jurisdiction; including, therefore, seminaries, guest-houses, sanitaria and other institutions of every sort, and religious Institutes howsoever exempt (c. 792); provided these faithful by reason of grave illness are in genuine danger of death from which it is foreseen that they will die.

If these ministers overstep the limits of this mandate, they must fully realize that they act invalidly and confer no sacrament, and that moreover the provision of canon 2365 remains in full operation.

3. They can use this faculty either in the episcopal city itself or outside it, whether the See is occupied or vacant, provided the Bishop of the diocese cannot be had or is lawfully impeded from conferring Confirmation in person, and there is at hand no other Bishop who is in communion with the Apostolic See, even a merely titular one, who might take his place without grave inconvenience.

4. Confirmation is to be conferred observing the discipline introduced by the Code of Canon Law as adapted to this matter, and using the rite taken from the Roman Ritual, both of which are transcribed at length and in full below: and it is to be conferred without charge on any ground.

5. If the persons to be confirmed have attained the use of reason, there is required in addition to the state of grace some disposition and instruction, that they may be able to receive this sacrament with profit. It is therefore the part of the minister to teach these sick persons, in a way suited to their condition, the truths which they must know, and to arouse in them some intention to receive this sacrament which will strengthen their souls. If they should afterward recover, those whose business it is should see to it that, through appropriate instructions on the mysteries of the faith, they be carefully taught the nature and effect of this sacrament. [6 Cf. Holy Office, 10 April, 1861, in Collectanea S. C. de Prop. Fid., ed. 1907, Vol. 1, p. 663, n. 1213; Catechismus Romanus, De Confirmatione.] (Cf. canon 786.)

6. According to canon 798, the extraordinary minister shall make a notation of the fact that the sacrament has been conferred, in the parish confirmation register, by inscribing in it his own name and the names of the person confirmed ( and in case the latter is not his own subject, also the diocese and parish to which he belongs), and of the parents and sponsor, the date and the place, finally adding the words: “Confirmation conferred by Apostolic indult, the person being in danger of death from grave illness.” An annotation should also be made in the baptismal register according to canon 470, § 2.

If the person confirmed belongs to another parish, the minister shall as soon as possible personally give notice of the administration of the sacrament to the proper pastor by an authentic document which shall contain all the information above mentioned.

7. Extraordinary ministers are also obliged to send immediately each time to the proper diocesan Ordinary an authentic notice of the Confirmation which they have conferred, with all the circumstances which affect the case.

8. It is the part of the Ordinary of the place to inform the extraordinary ministers above mentioned, in the manner which he deems best, of the provisions of this decree, and to explain the same to them in detail, so that they may be entirely prepared to perform this important work.

9. It is also the duty of the same local Ordinary to send to this Sacred Congregation at the beginning of each year a report giving the number of persons so confirmed in the year just preceding, and the manner in which the extraordinary ministers in his territory have proceeded in performing this important function.

His Holiness by Divine Providence Pope Pius XII, in the audience granted to the Secretary of this Sacred Congregation on 20 August, 1946, deigned to approve the above decree and to give it his Apostolic Authority, all things to the contrary, even those worthy of special mention, notwithstanding; and he ordered that the decree be published in the official commentary, Acta Apostolicae Sedis, and that it have the force of law from the 1st day of January, 1947.

Given at Rome, from the office of the Sacred Congregation of the Sacraments, 14 September, 1946.

(To be continued)

————————–

Dr. Pius Parsch

The Church’s Year of Grace (1959)

THE CHURCH’S HARVEST TIME

EIGHTEENTH SUNDAY AFTER PENTECOST

Arise and enter your heavenly home

1. Text Analysis. Today’s formulary becomes more intelligible if we keep in mind that it does not belong to the sequence of Sunday Masses proper to the Pentecostal cycle. For in ancient times the Sunday following the Ember days was aliturgical; the Ember service lasted throughout the night into early Sunday morning. Only later when the vigil celebration was anticipated and observed on Saturday morning was the present formulary introduced. It seems certain that a Church-Dedication Mass was chosen, at least for the various chants. Note the psalm (121) at the Introit and Gradual: “How my heart joyed at the good news: We are going to the house of Yahweh.” In the Offertory there is reference to the construction of an altar; and to “the courts of God” in the Communion.

Whether the two Readings are to be related to the church structure is not too clear. Still it is not difficult to see “Dedication” implications. That would give the formulary unity. In the church we receive the greatest of gifts, i.e., faith (see Epistle), pardon (see Gospel), and grace (see Offertory). The word peace (see Introit) would include all three. Notice the strong accent placed on preparation for the parousia in the Epistle and Alleluia verse. The Epistle, culled from First Corinthians instead of the Captivity letters, is another indication of the extraneous character of today’s Mass. One might note that from now until the first Sunday of Advent the Introit antiphon (with one exception) is never taken from the psalter.

2. Holy Mass (Da pacem). Since the parish church in a very special way symbolizes the heavenly Jerusalem today, the theme song of the Mass very appropriately is the “song of Sion,” Psalm 121: “How my heart joyed at the good news: We are going to the house of Yahweh!” Leaving the world of conflict, of unrest, and of persecution, we enter the peaceful sanctuary chanting: “Give peace, Lord, to those who hope in You.” What do these words mean? O God, give us that eternal beatitude for which we yearn in order that Your prophets who have painted Your return in such glorious colors may be proven truthful. The entrance of priest and servers portrays our journey to heaven—joyfully we go to the mansions prepared for us on high (pray the whole psalm). Collect: conscious of our own helplessness we implore “divine grace to direct our hearts,” for such is the nature of the Mass.

In the Epistle (which breaks the lectio continua as already noted), Mother Church stands before us. The end of the Church year is approaching; therefore, she glances back and thanks God for His many gifts and graces. Oh, how rich are we, God’s children! Were we not flooded with every needed grace? Even at this very moment Christ “will confirm you unto the end” (in the Mass). The Church tells us to “await the appearance (Second Advent) of our Lord Jesus Christ,” and that it must be our greatest concern to appear “without sin in the day of His coming.” She would have us look back in gratitude and forward in desire for the return of Christ Jesus. Meditation on His “Advent” takes us in spirit to the heavenly “house of the Lord” where “peace and abundance” reign (Grad.). The Alleluia verse conjures up a vision of the final judgment when the Redeemer, surrounded by kings and Gentiles, will appear in “glory.”

Then a cripple comes before Christ and by a miracle He proves His “power on earth to forgive sins.” That man sick of the palsy represents us Christians, for we too are beneficiaries of a similar healing. Even as that sick man, you once were sick in soul; and the Lord healed you. That was your baptism. Every Sunday, this Sunday included, perfects the graces you then received. There still remain paralyzed areas in your soul; the world, self, lower nature, like leaden weights cramp it to the earth, obstructing every movement toward the things of God. To remedy this Christ instituted the holy Eucharist; by it He supplies you with added strength and ready vigor, and thus counteracts your spiritual inertia. The holy Eucharist equips you well for your journey heavenward. In this way the Gospel brings together the past (baptism), the present (Eucharist) and the future (Second Advent). On the last day the word of Christ will be realized perfectly in you: “He arose (surrexit) and entered his (heavenly) home.”

The Offertory will be covered in detail later. There is profound theology in the Secret: through the sacred “exchange” effected by the holy Sacrifice, God makes us sharers of His divinity (the exchange consists in this that God becomes man in order that man may become God-like); we pray not only to preserve the gift of faith but also that we may “put its truths worthily into practice.” The Communion is an open invitation to participate in the sacred Banquet: “Bring your offerings and assemble round the altar.” More probably, however, the ancient Church took the Latin words literally; Tollite hostias, receive the sacred Host and enter His courts—an exhortation to proceed heavenward with hearts adoring the Lord. The Gregorian melody set to the words adorate Dominum is a falling cadence expressive of adoration, while the phrase in aula sancta eius loses itself in eternity through an indeterminate Phrygian finale. By way of exception today’s Postcommunion voices thanksgiving for God’s “holy Gift.”

3. The Offertory. Studied in its full original form, the Offertory is most impressive; its message is the parousia in an Exodus setting.

Moses consecrated an altar to Yahweh

and offered holocausts upon it.

With animals of sacrifice,

he made an evening sacrifice

as an odor of sweetness to Yahweh, God,

in the presence of the children of Israel.

Yahweh spoke to Moses and said:

Come now into my presence

by ascending the mount unto its very peak.

Moses rose and climbed the mount

designated by his God.

And in the clouds Yahweh appeared

and stood before his face.

When Moses saw him,

he fell upon the earth and prayed:…

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