Tuesday, November 1, 2016

All Saints & All Souls

San Felipe Chapel:
9:00 AM
HIGH MASS with Father Masutti, FSSP
738 N Geraghty Ave

St. Victor Catholic Church
6:30 PM
HIGH MASS with Father Masutti, FSSP
8634 Holloway Dr West
Hollywood, CA 90069

7:30 PM
SOLEMN HIGH MASS according to the Premonstratensian Rite!

Our Lady of Guadalupe Catholic Church
7:00 PM
HIGH MASS with Father Masutti, FSSP
4018 E Hammel St
Los Angeles, CA 90063

7:30 PM
SOLEMN HIGH MASS according to the Premonstratensian Rite!

Saturday, October 29, 2016

Understanding When to Kneel, Sit, and Stand at the Traditional Latin Mass

Since the publication of the first edition of this essay online by California Latin Mass in 2013, and subsequent postings by other blogs such as the Traditional Latin Mass Society of San Francisco, Canons Regular of the New Jerusalem, and most recently Rorate-Caeli, readers have expressed to me not only their appreciation for what they've learned, but also to point out unintended typos and errors in the text and in the order of postures in the tables. I have corrected those typos and errors in this revised edition.

I have also added a new section discussing the posture at Orate Fratres, which I believe deserves more than just a passing mention and a footnote. The impetus for this was the change in the mandated posture at Orate Fratres in the Novus Ordo. 

Up until 2010, the common posture for all Roman rite Catholics, whether assisting in the Novus Ordo or in the Traditional Latin Mass, was to remain seated while the priest says Orate, fratres, recite the response while seated, and then only rise afterwards. The English text of the General Instruction of the Roman Missal (Novus Ordo, of course), revised and approved for U.S. and Canadian dioceses in 2012, now instructs the faithful assisting in the Novus Ordo to rise for this prayer and recite the response standing. The word fratres could now also be properly rendered as “Brothers and sisters” in lieu of “brethren.” I would advise anyone inclined to think that this is just more evidence of the propensity in the Novus Ordo to innovate unnecessarily and that it has nothing to do with the Traditional Latin Mass to withhold your judgment and read section VI first. There is more to this than you think. 

My advice to all those who want to effect changes in the order of postures in their communities is to talk to your priest about it. Getting him to read this essay in full (admittedly a challenging request) is a crucial first step towards understanding why you want those changes. If you can convince your priest and also persuade him to take the time to catechize the faithful on Mass postures, you will have greater chances of bringing about a change. Be forewarned, however, that you will be up against entrenched Latin Mass “old-timers” who cannot be persuaded to change for whatever reason and who somehow exercise a veto power over any deviation from the postures indicated in the red booklet. Given a choice between following what a mere layman wrote in an essay and avoiding a potentially serious division by just following what is clearly indicated in the ubiquitous red booklet, the decision is rather simple for the harried priest who has not read this essay or doesn't have the time or energy to take on the task. 

This is not a reason to be discouraged, however. There is so much ignorance even among folks who religiously follow the erroneous red booklet postures for Low and Sung Masses. I have witnessed many instances of people assuming the red booklet Low Mass postures for Sung Masses, even among long-time parishioners of a TLM-only personal parish who are used to following the red booklet distinctions in postures between Low and Sung Masses. This occasional confusion seems to be a common occurrence in many TLM communities (and hardly ever in the Novus Ordo).

These embarrassing lapses belie an ignorance that engenders an unhealthy herd mentality and retards the development of a proper understanding of the nature of the liturgy. If you've read this far into the essay, you've taken the first step to educating yourself and your friends and help tear down this seemingly invincible wall of liturgical illiteracy. 

Finally, I want to thank all those readers who took the time to read my previously “short” essay and email me their pithy comments.[1] Please don't forget to include the Canons Regular of the New Jerusalem in your prayers, especially their founder, the Very Rev. Dom Daniel Oppenheimer, CRNJ, who for many years was the sole voice in the Latin Mass landscape to talk about a matter that affects everybody but about which nobody was talking.

Richard Friend October 1, 2016

[1] Readers can email me at richardfriend62@gmail.com.

Download PDF (2nd edition)

Saturday, January 2, 2016

No Injustice in Limbo (New Oxford Review, Sep 2008)

In regard to the article by Hurd Baruch ("On Freeing Children From Limbo," April) and subsequent letters (June), many important factors have been neglected.

(1) Although limbo may have been "elaborated by theologians beginning in the Middle Ages," as the Vatican's International Theological Commission states, it nevertheless goes back at least to the Fathers of the Church. For example, even though he does not use the word "limbo," St. Gregory Nazianzen wrote, "It will happen, I believe, that the children dying without baptism will never be admitted by the Just Judge to the glory of Heaven, nor condemned to suffer punishment since, though unsealed [by baptism], they are not wicked" (de Bapt., XVIII). Clearly, from this quote alone (and there are others like it found among the Fathers of the Church), the notion of limbo is an ancient tradition of the Church.

(2) The Code of Canon Law is very explicit in regard to the urgency of baptizing infants. Canon 867 states, "Parents are obliged to see that their infants are baptized within the first few weeks," and "If the infant is in danger of death, it is to be baptized without any delay." What is more, even the infant of a non-Catholic who is in danger of death is to be baptized immediately: "The infant of Catholic parents, in fact of non-Catholic parents also, who is in the danger of death (in periculo mortis) is licitly baptized even against the will of the parents" (can. 868; emphasis added). The Code also mentions that aborted babies, "if they are alive, are to be baptized, in so far as this is possible" (can. 871). Why worry about getting into an altercation, even a possible lawsuit, by baptizing some non-Catholic's dying baby if there is no limbo? Why worry about baptizing aborted babies if there is such assurance they go straight to Heaven? Why is Hell so bent on abortion if all babies go straight to Heaven? Even the Catechism (#1261), after giving room for an option other than limbo, follows up immediately by saying, baptize! In other words, "the Church does not know of any means other than Baptism that assures entry in to eternal beatitude" (#1257; italics added).

(3) Fr. Albert J. Herbert, in his book Saints Who Raised the Dead (TAN Books), indicates that around eleven saints raised little babies from the dead in order to have them baptized. Among them was St. Joan of Arc, who raised a child already turned somewhat black from being dead for some days. The child came to life, was baptized, and then died again. Other saints listed in the book include Hilary of Poitiers, Colette, Frances of Rome, Philip Neri, Francis Xavier, and Gerard Majella. Why did God do this if there is no limbo and all infants go straight to Heaven?

(4) We have the superhuman efforts of missionaries seeking to baptize every infant possible. St. Jean de Brebeuf summed it up when he declared that he would "go to the ends of the world to baptize a single savage." When St. Anthony Daniel was being shot with arrows and clubbed to death, he noticed a brave of his company dying who had not yet been baptized. He used all his remaining strength to move toward him in order to baptize him. He did not leave him to "baptism of desire," but rather made certain of his baptism by water, as our Lord commanded. These saints displayed a remarkable sense of urgency in seeking the baptism of each and every person, both children and adults, regardless of their own safety. We should ask ourselves what drove them to this. Was it not the Holy Spirit?

(5) We must admit that there is no injustice with limbo. Limbo has always been considered merciful -- most fathers, doctors, and saints considered the only other option to be Hell itself. Such punishment would indeed be along the lines of injustice. We must recognize that we are all beggars, and no one has a right to Heaven or to grace (cf. Catechism, #2007). If a man gives to one beggar rather than to another, he does not violate justice. And here we arrive at the modern problem with limbo: We have lost the sense of sin. When we recognize the evil of sin, then we will see that it can have disastrous effects on our children and the generations that follow -- effects that reach beyond this life. This behooves us to take responsibility for seeking the conversion and baptism of the nations (cf. Mt. 28:19) instead of making God responsible for it all, when, in fact, He has given us the remedy in baptism. This means the Church has the remedy! And she does not bar children from this Sacrament, as the Code of Canon Law indicates. Rather, it is the sins of the parents and the loss of the sense of sin that are often visited upon the children. Is not the current vocations crisis at least in part brought on by the sins of our parents' generation -- i.e., indulgence in contraception and sterilization? Think of all the damage done to children by divorce, drugs, pornography, etc. It seems to me that this is "the serious pastoral problem" that needs to be addressed -- not limbo.

Neither the Catechism nor the recent International Theological Commission's report on children dying without baptism dismisses limbo as a reality, because it simply cannot be done. At the end of the day, all we can really do is entrust unbaptized babies to the mercy of God, because God Himself left the matter grey, if for no other reason than to encourage us all the more to fulfill His commandment: "Go, therefore, and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit" (Mt. 28:19).

Fr. Sean Kopczynski, C.P.M.
Carmelite Monastery of the Holy Cross
Iron Mountain, Michigan