Saturday, August 30, 2003

On the Underlying Weltanschauung of "Language Control":
(Musings of your humble servant at Rerum Novarum)

Some have inquired as to my bringing up at times the fact that I transcend being easily "categorized." I blogged a little on the principle behind this about a year ago when discussing the benefits and dangers of slogans and syllabus style statements. But having thrown out a few musings on Mark Shea's Haloscan system earlier today, it seems appropriate to flesh out those jottings into a more systematical musing. Hence, the post you are about to read.

Now indeed, by my own admission I am rather resolute about not being put in a box of any kind. The reason of course should be self-evident: that he who controls the vernacular controls the parameters of the debate. Instead, I prefer to control the vernacular myself. And if I cannot control the vernacular myself, at the very least I will not let others do so either.

For when we get down to brass tacks, all forms of engineering - be it social, philosophical, theological, political, medical, scientific, legal, or otherwise- is preceded by verbal engineering. This is why I refuse to cede to the extremists of any stripe their own choice of terminology. Instead, I refer to them as they are. In the case of the "progressives" and "traditionalists" (to give two examples of many which could be mentioned) the proper terms are as follows:

"self-styled 'progressives'"

"so-called 'progressives'"


"self-styled 'traditionalists'"

"so-called 'traditionalists'"


For when we let countefeit philosophies or outlooks coin their own noble terminology, we provide them with a shibboleth of their own to mindlessly parrot and/or cloak themselves in to with greater ease attempt to (and potentially succeed at) confusing the unwary. Allowing them to control the language and eventually they will control the terms of the battle. And to see what genuine Progressivism is - along with genuine Traditionalism and genuine Conservatism - see the dissertation blogged HERE.

Indeed the astute reader will notice in the above example that the concept of "Conservatism" as properly understood is both Traditional and Progressive: indeed the authentic article of either is synonymous with the other. And for this reason it is those who have a penchant for dualist outlooks who try to pit them against one another -or blindly uncritically accept the categories as established by others either sympathetic or hostile to the outlooks themselves- who are the ones who misunderstand the true dynamic behind the terms they attempt to employ.{1}

For often those opposed to the view will caricature it in a gross manner and those sympathetic often embrace and magnify the caricature. I for my part want nothing to do with this scuffling nor will I allow others to label me - even if they attempt to do so as a kind of "reference point" in a discussion.{2} Again, I either control the vernacular or we relegate it to a stalemate. The moment I as a rule allow others to do so{3} is the moment that I begin to give control of the arena to someone else. And that my friends is (i) not something I have ever done and (ii) it simply is not going to happen at any time in the future.


{1} For this reason, they cannot be allowed to set the parameters for any discussion if that is at all avoidable.

{2} To give one example of this, Kevin Tierney sought to do so for categorization purposes in the dialogue I responded to back in early August at this humble weblog.

{3} Barring of course the very rare exception sometimes necessary to establish foundational points for discussing a particular subject matter. However, this is only in the case of interaction with the work of others who cannot be reached - or at least not without profound difficulty. See my essays contra Cardinal Stickler and Fr. Chad Ripperger for examples of this very rare exception to the afore-enunciated rule.

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Michelle Malkin explains the logic behind catch and release fishing - and points out the hypocrisy of the wackos who claim to "care about the fish" HERE. As one who used to fish in bass tournaments - where the practice was catch and release, I can attest to what she says about how "[a]nglers are among the most dedicated stewards of the environment." This is true.

This does not mean that I never ate any of the fish I caught of course - as with perch, bluegill, and trout this was the case. But I threw back many more of the latter three than I actually ate because they have to be a certain size before one can get a meal out of them. But with bass it was always catch and release and not because bass were not tasty. Instead, it was because of the recognition of the important role that bass play in natures system that made catch and release so necessary.

And as odd as it may appear at first glance, it was through fishing that I became a conservationist and concerned about the ecosystem. And this was/is genuine concern, not the hypocritical violin strainings of shrieking wackos who with one tonality claim to care for the fish but with the other conduct lab experiments on them. (See the link above.)

Also, Miss Malkin was kind enough to alert us to something that the major media seems to want to cover up about the history of one Cruz Bustamante. Go HERE for details - not that any of you with a normal intact functioning brain need convincing that the major media has a policy of hypocrisy.

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According to Drudge, Moloch Hillary claims that she will not run for president in 2004. Some have speculated that she may run as vice president and We at Rerum Novarum have been pondering the advantages and disadvantages of this in her case. Unfortunately, we can only see advantages for her in this endeavour and that of course has no small amount of unsettling feeling in the bowels stomach.

First of all, she would give any presidential candidate from the Democratic side some instant recognition. When these fellas are spending money to campaign and the majority of Americans do not even know who they are, obviously it would be advantageous for one of them to approach her about running as the VP.

Secondly, though she would garner the attention that the presidential candidate would not have, there is an advantage in the event that the Democrat she helps out loses the election. If they lose, she can dismiss it as "hey, I was merely the VP." In short, as she does not accept responsibility for anything bad now, this is tailor made to continue that trackrecord.

And thirdly of course if they win the election,{1} she would claim in at least some veiled manner - if not openly so - that she was responsible for the victory. For just as she never accepts responsibility for bad things but blames others, she never ceases to take credit for the good things if she thinks she has a gnat's eyelash of an affiliation with them. (And in this case she would have no small amount of involvement.)

The fourth advantage of course is that she will not follow conventional protocol. Some readers would probably say "but if she runs as VP then she is forced if she runs in '08 to oppose an incumbent president". This is true and while conventional wisdom says this is a bad thing, in Hillary's case if she was the one who "crowned the president", then she would believe that she could uncrown him as well - particularly if the economy was in the toilet or some other significant problems persisted. But even if none did, she may still consider a run and in a sense play the role of the "black widow."

Anyway, all of this is reason enough to make sure that the Democrats lose in '04. That will buy us time to persuade New Yorkers to dump her from the Senate in '06. Because I do not believe she would run in '08 if she was defeated in '06. After all, if a Democrat cannot win in New York - which like Massachusetts is basically a wholly-owned subsidiary of the Democratic Party politically - then they will not win the White House. But if she wins in '06, she will run in '08 even though she will probably claim in the '06 campaign that she will serve out her term.{2} But all of this aside, just because she claims to have "no interest" in running for president in 2004, do not dismiss her from the equation so hastily my friends. There is after all more than one way to shaft a nation "represent the people" after all.


{1} I know some election observers will likely say "but the candidate would have to get through the primaries first." This is true. But it is equally true that anyone who gets Hillary from the Democrat side will roll through the primaries like a Panzer through Poland in '39.

{2} Much as Bubba did in 1990 when he ran for Governor of Arkansas - a term that expired in 1994.

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Friday, August 29, 2003


Due to a misunderstanding with regards to a previous entry to this weblog, the following clarification is necessary.

I. Shawn McElhinney of Rerum Novarum has expressed concern about our being ahead of the curve in the Great Kneeling Debate. He is wise, but I do not agree with him. I only blog because swordplay is condemned by the Church and outlawed by the State.

Maybe I was not clear enough here. If swordplay and duelling was not condemned by the Church and outlawed by the State, I frankly would not care about where I was on the curve. It is that we utilize the pen rather than the sword here which makes me more cautious. If we could morally rout our opposition via duelling or the sword (or the musket) that would be one thing. But since we cannot, natural instincts call for a different tactical approach.

To get the feel for how I approach these kinds of situations, think of Mel Gibson's character from The Patriot. Recall how cautious he was in the beginning of the movie about supporting the call to arms. Then, when his family was directly involved - one son killed and another taken off by a troop to be tried for treason - how he went from objector to situational warrior. (Referring to the scene where he viciously cuts down the aforementioned troop with the tomahawk.) But even after that incident, it was only later on that he committed himself completely to the cause but once committed, he stayed the course.

My late father and I sympathized with that character because we both saw ourselves in him; albeit in slightly different ways. Such outbursts of intensity (as in the tomahawk incident) by nature need to be brief and infrequent. Otherwise just as an individual can overtrain in the physical sphere, they can do likewise in the arena of ideas. (The overall effects of both are deterioration.) This is why there is pacing, why there is caution, why there is deliberation.

One cannot be passionate about their principles and be a totally reasonable individual. So do not misunderstand my previously enunciated position please. The very reason I am hesitant to be ahead of the curve is because swordplay and duelling is condemned by the Church and outlawed by the state. (In short, the enemy is still able to run their mouths off.) This does not mean I retreat when in a serendipitous moment I am ahead of the curve of course; only that I do not strive to position myself there as a rule.

Hopefully this clarification straightens everything out and I do not scare off readership with the thought that they are reading a more sophisticated version of the "Unabomber Journal" here at Rerum Novarum. (Worry not folks, I am hardly going to "pull a Sungenis" on you.)


Points to Ponder:

I was delighted to read the Manichaean ramblings of Danel Paden, director of the Catholic Vegetarian Society ("Letters," June 2003). It confirmed my theory that fanaticism in Western society alternates between nudism and vegetarianism, both of which contradict the order of grace.

As an optimist, I happily trust that Paden confines his extreme commitments to vegetarianism.

Taste is one thing; it is another thing to condemn meat eating as "evil" and permissible only "in rare and unfortunate circumstances." Paden disagrees with no less an authority than God, Who forbids us to call any edible unworthy (Mark 7:18-19), and Who enjoins St Peter to eat pork chops and lobster in one of my favorite revelations (Acts 10: 9-16). Does the Catholic Vegetarian Society think that our Lord was wrong to have served up fish to the 5,000, or should He have refrained from eating the Passover Lamb? When He rose from the dead and appeared in the Upper Room, He did not ask for a bowl of Cheerios, nor did He whip up a meatless omelette on the shore of Galilee.

Man was made to eat flesh (Genesis 1: 26-31; 9: 1-6), with the exception of human flesh. I stand on record against cannibalism, whether it be inflicted upon the Mbuti Pygmies by the Congolese Army or on larger people by a maniac in Milwaukee. But I am also grateful that the benevolent father in the parable did not welcome his prodigal son home with a bowl of radishes.

Vegetarians assume an unedifying posture of detachment from the sufferings of vegetables that are mashed, stewed, diced, and shredded. In expensive restaurants, cherries are publicly burned in brandy to the applause of diners. It is not uncommon for people to submerge olives in iced gin and twist the peels of lemons. Be indignant, vegetarian, but not so selectively indignant that the bleat of the lamb and the plaintive moo of the cow drown out the whine of our brother the bean and the quiet sigh of the cauliflower.

Vegetables have reactive impulses. Were we to confine our diet to creatures that lacked sense and do not even respond to light, we could only eat liturgists and liberal Democrats. [Rev. George W. Rutler via The Corner at National Review (August 29, 2003)]


"JunkYard Blog" Dept.
(A Rerum Novarum Mega-Slam)

I noted yesterday that your humble servant has been remiss a bit in monitoring his favourite blogs as of late. Talk about the understatement of the month!!! Apparently JunkYard Blog changed addresses over a month ago. So this will not be a mere triple slam, quadruple slam, or even a pentuple slam. No, we will be going back over a month so I am not sure how many update links this response will contain. (At least ten is likely though.) Because of the quantity, the excerpts quoted will be much shorter as will my commentary. In essence, I will be Instapundit for this post. But enough on that and onto the update itself...


A couple months back he said that an idiotic Belgian law giving its courts jurisdiction over "war crimes" committed anywhere at anytime might force NATO to move its headquarters elsewhere. Cases brought against President Bush, Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon and US commanders in the Iraq war proved him right. Now, after Rumsfeld's simple statement, that law is history. The Belgians will just have to find some other way to take over the world... Click Here to Continue...

Good riddence to bad rubbish my friends. But remember, evil never rests so they will be a limp wristed Terminator but they will return nonetheless...


Google News had up a curious set of links as of 9:52 tonight. In the "US" section, it links to a story headlined "Attacks on US Forces in Iraq Seen Very Likely to Continue." That's fairly obvious given the environment, and Google didn't write the headline so I'm not hitting them for that. What has me puzzled is the link to the story's right--it's one of those thumbnail links, subbed "Intellectual Conservative." The image seemed to depict a gorilla leaning on a fencepost for a good hard think, and with the interesting subhead I decided to click. Turns out it led to one of the most angry (and poorly written and reasoned) anti-Rumsfeld diatribes I've seen in a while, by an anonymous writer on an obscure site. Why would Google link to such an irrelevant piece? Click Here to Continue...

Bryan should know that what he refers to is simply the result of a few generations of intellectual inbreeding.

This next one is from Bryan Preston's associate Chris Regan...


As regular JYB readers know, I've been saying for a while now that the Bush Administration is going to attempt to provoke a war with N. Korea (with the sincere hope that Kim Jong-il backs down first -- possibly with China's prompting). We clearly need to have a credible threat of force in place to have any chance for peace. Kim is convinced we're too petrified of nukes to do anything about him now. Technically it could be argued that we're the ones that have been threatened into the provocative pre-war posture we're about to take. Think Libya: 1986... Click Here to Continue...

Aaah yes, Lybia. Proof that standing up to terrorists rather than coddling them works. The entire thread is a very interesting read but focus on the last paragraph of that entry when you do.


Those Catholic priests who made man-love to all those little boys made one big mistake: The committed their crimes too soon. What they did--manipulating trusting boys, lying to those boys' parents, having various forms of sex with those boys in and around the churches entrusted to them--may soon be legal if one Supreme Court Justice, the American Psychiatric Association and the odious North American Man-Boy Love Association get their way. And they may, since last month's SCOTUS decision in the Lawrence case has made it easy for them. Click Here to Continue...

Five words: Impeach Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg!!!


Tell me that Iraqi's aren't happy we kicked out Saddam Hussein... Click Here to Continue...

Some klutzy intern had to have gotten a caning at Reuters for letting that one slip out.


The debate to redefine marriage is about to get in full swing. Libertarians have aligned with gay rights advocates who say that allowing gay marriage won't have the negative consequences that traditionalists predict.

That being the case it's worth looking at how libertarianism, or more properly its cousin libertinism, has affected sexual mores generally. Libertines and libertarians applaud the sexual revolution, many even going as far as approving or finding no qualms with the increased sexual activity of unmarried teenagers in the past several decades. In the teen population, a libertarian view of sex is having devastating consequences... Click Here to Continue...

I am not one to generally put much stock in "statistics" but I must admit that the ones posted to the above post are an exception to the rule...


Rev. Pat Robertson isn't the only preacher with dubious ties to Liberian strongman Charles Taylor. Rev. Jesse Jackson, who never met a dictator he didn't like, likes Charles Taylor. So much, in fact, he freelanced the Clinton administration's spurious attempts to mainstream the bloodsoaked thug. Click Here to Continue...

Thirteen words: Reverend Jesse HiJackson is a dispicable media whore who should be publically flogged.

BOB HOPE, 1903-2003

Just take a look at those dates in the title. America's only been around for two and a third centuries, and Bob Hope lived through one of those centuries in its entirety. And he didn't just live through it; in many ways he embodied it. Click Here to Continue...

Well worth a read my friends as Bryan recounts the life of one of the greats - both as an entertainer and as a man. May he rest in peace.


According to a Transportation Safety Administration memo sent to airports July 26th, al Qaeda may be sending out five-man teams to attempt to hijack planes on the East Coast or in Europe or Australia. Knowing that they won't be able to smuggle any kind of blade onto an aircraft, the hijackers will instead try to use everyday items that have been modified into weapons. They're apparently getting very James Bondish on us, outfitting cameras and the like with secret weapon components.

This story is profoundly good news. It indicates that al Qaeda is undergoing a dual collapse--its money and brainpower have been drained away... Click Here to Continue...

As usual, Bryan's take is spot-on.



CREEPING CALVINISM, BATMAN! Click Here to Continue...

Bryan is not nearly the theologian that he is political and social commentator. I post this as more of a "We are not completely concurring with JunkYard Blog" notification. Methinks Bryan needs to read a bit more of Catholic teaching on justification because this notion that Catholicism is somehow "Arminian" but is currently having some "creeping Calvinism" is not just a little amusing. But Bryan is a Calvinist so he sees what he wants to see I guess. Anyway, eleven down and three to go with the update so let us get to it...


We all know the score by now: Osama bin Laden, founder of al Qaeda and author or 9-11, was Saudi. Fifteen of the 19 9-11 killers were Saudi. Most of al Qaeda's leadership is Saudi, as are most of the "charities" that fund al Qaeda, and not incidentally, Palestinian terrorists. Looking around the globe, Saudi dollars spread Wahabbi doctrine and its poisons in Iraq, in Afghanistan, in Indonesia, across Africa and Europe and even right here in America. And while Osama aimed his most spectacular stunts at the West, his goal was ultimately not just our own injury, but something more practical closer to home: He wanted to overthrow the Saudi royalty, whom he considered corrupt because it let us infidels protect it and and the holy cities in its jurisdiction from Saddam.

So, as some sage said not too long ago, the global war on terror is really a Saudi Arabian civil war that the House of Saud has exported to everyone else. Click Here to Continue...

An interesting thesis I must say...


David Hoberg thinks so. George Will, famously, doesn't--and hopes it ruins everyone involved. Flies and honey, George...

As for me, I don't know whether it's conservative or not, but I'm mildly in favor of it for one simple reason: It makes the political class nervous. And to me, a nervous political class is a political class that understands its place in a representative democracy. Click Here to Continue...



A la Jeff Foxworthy, Georgie Ann Geyer's motto should be "If you favor deregulation, you must be a terrorist." That, basically, is the thrust of this idiotic column written evidently in the darkness of her blacked out brain. She's evidently gone the Dowd route, preferring a dash of style over substance, creating an empty-headed work of utter nonsense. Click Here to Continue...

And what a fine piece of fisking the above link is.

Anyway, your humble servant at Rerum Novarum has gotten to the long-needed JYB update and you the reader are now up to speed over there as of August 20th. And one more nagging "to do" weblog update is completed: a win-win situation in other words.

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Thursday, August 28, 2003

Knowing when to supply the vineger that sometimes is required amidst some of those who do not well regulate their ecumenical mindset is an important but often overlooked element of the equation of evangelization or re-evangelization. Such must be used judiciously but at the same time it must be used at times. Click HERE to read Dr. Art Sippo's fisking of a fallen-away Catholic and see a good clinic on what well-rounded knowledge of Scripture, theology, and church history can do in these kinds of discussions.

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The Secret One claims here that As always, I. Shawn McElhinney of Rerum Novarum and your humble [servant] SecretAgentMan are ahead of the curve on the debate... I am not sure "always" is the right word here - at least not in the case of *this* humble host. (Maybe the *other* humble host though.)

For my part, being ahead of the curve in my commentary on issues is a delicacy kinda like a pre-Castro Montecristo or a bottle of Chateau '61 - though not that rare of course. And with the kneeling debate, we actually are ahead of the curve; though until I read his weblog I was unaware that there was even a curve on this subject. (Apparently I have been a bit remiss in fully keeping up on St. Blog's weblogs as of late also.) But anyway, this is a delicacy my friends, an exception to our normal protocol.

That is correct gentle readers, you read just what you thought you did. While many blogs may claim to be the next "Woodward and Bernstein", We at Rerum Novarum are not among them. For you see, We prefer to generally let others take the bounding steps forward to be skewered by arrows - for reasons explained HERE. Essentially this normative policy means that we can sit back, watch others drop with arrows sticking out of every orifice, and solemnly intone a "there are Indians that way" proclamation.{1} Usually this means we will not be ahead of the curve but of course if we are - as in this case - that is okay too.

I am sure that our good friend SecretAgentMan will eventually concur with this approach the more attuned to blogging he becomes. The benefits are (i) there is greater longevity (ii) it allows for better overall musings (iii) we seldom err in our predictions and (iv) I cannot think of a fourth or subsequent advantage offhand but I may update this post later on and add more of them at that time :)


{1} And casual observers in the process will marvel at our "foresight" and think we have something akin to ESPN ;-)

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SecretAgentMan vs. Rerum Novarum on Communion Posture and the Authority of Bishops:
(Book II, Epilogue)

[Prefatory Note: This part will be more personal and not as indirect as the previous installments of this "book." - ISM]

Having addressed the three parts of The Secret One's last response HERE, I went back to look at his subsidiary posts on the subject located HERE, HERE, and HERE.

With regards to those additional threads, the second one basically expresses some tangent musings but does not contribute materally to the debate - though it does perhaps clarify SAM's personal views a bit. (Again, we concur here in some regards.) The third one is basically a preamble to what SAM covers in Part II - which I have responded to already - so I will simply note it here and not deal with it. (As I saw nothing in it that would modify my response to Part II in the thread I already posted.)

However, with the first one, there is a small piece I want to touch on in brief before taking a brief period of delay to precede sending SAM the terms of surrender an email regarding his response to this response if that is his wont. The bit I want to touch on from the first tangent thread is the following paragraph:

With respect to kneeling during communion, I still maintain that my Bishop hasn't issued the instruction required of him by § 43. He is instead wrongly insisting that § 43 means nothing, because the entire US-GIRM already requires standing and has done so since 1974. When and if the Bishop exercises his authority under §43, that will only create the the same problem we have now with respect to §160(2) -- kneeling during communion will be a completly appropriate thing which unfaithful Catholics do at Mass.

I think the second part of the paragraph I have already dealt with substantially enough; however, the first part presents an interesting scenario. In perusing the US Amendments to the 1975 GIRM, I noticed the following point given:

At its meeting in November, 1969, the National Conference of Catholic Bishops voted that in general, the directives of the Roman Missal concerning the posture of the congregation at Mass should be left unchanged, but that no. 21 of the General Instruction should be adapted so that the people kneel beginning after the singing or recitation of the Sanctus until after the Amen of the Eucharistic prayer, that is, before the Lord's Prayer.

Here is the original GIRM no. 21 Provision:

21. For the sake of uniformity in movement and posture, the people should follow the directions given during the celebration by the deacon, the priest, or another minister. Unless other provision is made, at every Mass the people should stand from the beginning of the entrance song or when the priest enters until the end of the opening prayer or collect; for the singing of the Alleluia before the gospel; while the gospel is proclaimed; during the profession of faith and the general intercessions; from the prayer over the gifts to the end of the Mass, except at the places indicated later in this paragraph. They should sit during the readings before the gospel and during the responsorial psalm, for the homily and the presentation of the gifts, and, if this seems helpful, during the period of silence after communion. They should kneel at the consecration unless prevented by the lack of space, the number of people present, or some other good reason.

But it is up to the conference of bishops to adapt the actions and postures described in the Order of the Roman Mass to the customs of the people. But the conference must make sure that such adaptations correspond to the meaning and character of each part of the celebration.

There is in short, a bit if ambiguty here. While the GIRM amendment mentions kneeling "until" the Pater Noster, this does not mean that at the Pater Noster kneeling is to cease. We know that people stand at the Pater Noster but there was some confusion as to what happened after that point up until communion.

In the old rite, it is true that people would kneel at the Agnus Dei but this was by legal prescription not custom so appealing to it is a non-sequitur. And it is clear that in some areas since the promulgation of the Revised Missal, a custom developed based on the past law of kneeling after communion. As SAM points out, the CDW recognizes the validity of this custom where it developed and encourages its retention. So in this regard Bishop X's assertions are not correct.

Also, the CDW did clarify this point when it was brought up in 1974 noting the following:

QUERY 1: After communion should the faithful be seated or not? REPLY: After communion they may either kneel, stand, or sit. Accordingly the GIRM no. 21 gives this rule: "The people sit. . .if this seems useful during the period of silence after communion." Thus it is a matter of option, not obligation. The GIRM no. 121, should, therefore, be interpreted to match no. 21: Not 10 (1974) 407.

I recall in my experience with the Revised Missal before my time at SSPX where we would kneel after communion - indeed many in the Church did for about a minute or so. And this was the pattern at all of the churches I attended in that time period. Therefore, unless Bishop X can show the legislation subsequent to this where standing was mandated, I am afraid his assertion is false.

For we had a custom of the very same sort in my dioceses for as long as I can remember. And my local ordinary, made his mind on this known in promulgating the new US GIRM amendments. (Essentially that people were to remain standing after communion until the first song is completed. At that time, they can remain standing, kneel, or sit at their own discretion until the priest indicates that they stand for the Post-Communion Prayer.)

And as the new US GIRM Amendment sets as its defacto setting kneeling or sitting after communion unless the bishop of the dioceses determines otherwise; Bishop X would have to counter this by making this determination in a formal manner.

Maybe he has done this already but it does not sound like it thus far. And frankly he needs to if he is going to command that people go contrary to the defacto prescriptions of the GIRM's US Amendment on this issue. For until Bishop X does this, he is in essence commanding people to adhere to his (faulty) interpretation of the GIRM. And without some form of formal authentication, people who resort to the defacto instruction of the GIRM in its US Amendments can hardly be guilty of "schism" let alone "heresy." Indeed no mass posture involves grounds for the heresy assertion so this assertion is waaaay out of line.

Finally, with regards to the notion that I still maintain that my Bishop hasn't issued the instruction required of him by § 43 if this is true, I cannot see how what the Bishop is saying is accurate. However, it would seem in my view to be a good idea to submit a dubitum to the bishop with the CDWDS' recent ruling and other materials and respectfully request His Grace to either (i) formally pass judgment and command the faithful to stand at this time or (ii) give tacit concurrance with the CDWDS' statement and publicly acknowledge an allowance for people to kneel after communion in parishes where this was customary in recent years. (At the discretion of the presiding celebrant.)

For my part - and I may be mistaken here - I see no reason why until a judgment is made one way or the other that a person cannot simply observe whatever the parish they attend does in this area - but with one caveat: it would not be advisable to use the latter as an excuse to not pursue a decision one way or another from the local ordinary. Otherwise there is no foundation of consistency from which to argue against those who take liberties with the liturgy that they should not be taking.

So I would strongly exhort those of his dioceses to get Bishop X to formally declare his judgment on proper posture here. Otherwise, as far as I can tell his statements are "so much sound and fury signifying very little."

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Wednesday, August 27, 2003

SecretAgentMan vs. Rerum Novarum on Communion Posture and the Authority of Bishops:
(Book II, Part III)

The previous thread of this discussion can be read HERE. To start from the beginning of the thread, please go HERE. To start from the very first installment of this discussion - the first "book" if you will - please go HERE.

Let us deal in short order now with SAM's "trump card." Now, we have already proven adequately that as this judgment was reserved to the diocesan bishop that his decision is therefore binding. But as long as SAM thinks he has a "trump card", he will wave it around like a bullfighter waves his cape. So your humble servant has pasted the entire thread from Adoremus so we can go over it carefully.

Concerning the practice of kneeling after receiving Holy Communion, Cardinal Francis George, chairman of the Committee on the Liturgy, submitted a dubium [question] to the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments [CDW] on May 26, 2003:

Dubium: In many places, the faithful are accustomed to kneeling or sitting in personal prayer upon returning to their places after having individually received Holy Communion during Mass. Is it the intention of the Missale Romanum, editio typical tertia, to forbid this practice?

Notice the question here is "forbid." In other words, the Cardinal wants to know if this customary practice was to be understood as not allowed by the rubrics of the Missale Romanum Editio Typical Tertia. Observe Cardinal Arinze's response to the question now...

Cardinal Francis Arinze, Prefect of the CDW, responded to the question on June 5, 2003 (Prot. N. 855/03/L):

Responsum:Negative, et ad mentem (No, for this reason). The mens [reason] is that the prescription of the Institutio Generalis Missalis Romani, no. 43, is intended, on the one hand to ensure within broad limits a certain uniformity of posture within the congregation for the various parts of the celebration of Holy Mass, and on the other, not to regulate posture rigidly in such a way that those who wish to kneel or sit would no longer be free.

Note here, this was the intention of the GIRM at the universal level. However, this does not take into account the local Churches whose right to regulate this practice was explicitly recognized by the Vatican.

The dubium and response appear in the July 2003 edition of the BCL Newsletter, published by the US Bishops Committee on the Liturgy.

Earlier, the CDW re-affirmed kneeling after the Ecce Agnus Dei [Behold, the Lamb of God] when it amended the relevant paragraph (no. 43) of the Institutio Generalis Missalis Romani for the universal Church by adding the following clarifying sentence:

"Where it is the custom that the people remain kneeling from the end of the Sanctus until the end of the Eucharistic Prayer, and before Commnion when the priest says Ecce Agnus Dei, this is laudably retained".

Again, this is the GIRM without the US Amendments. With regards to the latter, Adoremus notes the following:

(See AB March 2003, p 4 sidebar. This sentence does not appear in the Institutio [or GIRM] as adapted for the United States, since this period of kneeling is explicitly affirmed in the adapted version of no. 43, "unless the Diocesan Bishop determines otherwise"..)

In short, though the CDW recognizes that kneeling at this point is laudable - and further recognizes that customs of kneeling at this point which have developed in some dioceses or parishes would remain untouched by this legislation; at the same time the authority to regulate the practice is still at the discretion of the diocesan bishop. So far from a "trump card" SAM simply provides excellent rationale to approaching "Bishop X" to reconsider his judgment. But there is no justification for controverting his judgment in the interim.

Really that is all this writer can say on the issue. SAM gives a wonderful rhetorical flourish to end his case with what would appear to be a convincing finish. The reader can review his work HERE. And for the record, we are both on the same same side here as far as personal scruples go viz the appropriateness of kneeling after receiving communion - even if only for a few brief moments - to reflect upon the veiled mysteries that just passed before our lips, mysteries to which everything we will ever write or say amounts to but an "empire of dirt" if you will.

Nonetheless, the spiritual masters are very clear about this. Though any number could be mentioned, this response will close here with an excerpt from the Holy Father's own spiritual master - and one the present writer is growing to appreciate the more he meditates on them: St. John of the Cross. Here is what St. John noted in The Dark Night about the imperfections with respect to spiritual gluttony. Any of the seven deadly sins could be mentioned here but gluttony applies as well as any of the others so we will focus there to round off this discussion.

Of imperfections with respect to spiritual gluttony.

WITH respect to the fourth sin, which is spiritual gluttony, there is much to be said, for there is scarce one of these beginners who, however satisfactory his progress, falls not into some of the many imperfections which come to these beginners with respect to this sin, on account of the sweetness which they find at first in spiritual exercises. For many of these, lured by the sweetness and pleasure which they find in such exercises, strive more after spiritual sweetness than after spiritual purity and discretion, which is that which God regards and accepts throughout the spiritual journey. Therefore, besides the imperfections into which the seeking for sweetness of this kind makes them fall, the gluttony which they now have makes them continually go to extremes, so that they pass beyond the limits of moderation within which the virtues are acquired and wherein they have their being. For some of these persons, attracted by the pleasure which they find therein, kill themselves with penances, and others weaken themselves with fasts, by performing more than their frailty can bear, without the order or advice of any, but rather endeavouring to avoid those whom they should obey in these matters; some, indeed, dare to do these things even though the contrary has been commanded them.

These persons are most imperfect and unreasonable; for they set bodily penance before subjection and obedience, which is penance according to reason and discretion, and therefore a sacrifice more acceptable and pleasing to God than any other. But such one-sided penance is no more than the penance of beasts, to which they are attracted, exactly like beasts, by the desire and pleasure which they find therein. Inasmuch as all extremes are vicious, and as in behaving thus such persons are working their own will, they grow in vice rather than in virtue; for, to say the least, they are acquiring spiritual gluttony and pride in this way, through not walking in obedience. And many of these the devil assails, stirring up this gluttony in them through the pleasures and desires which he increases within them, to such an extent that, since they can no longer help themselves, they either change or vary or add to that which is commanded them, as any obedience in this respect is so bitter to them. To such an evil pass have some persons come that, simply because it is through obedience that they engage in these exercises, they lose the desire and devotion to perform them, their only desire and pleasure being to do what they themselves are inclined to do, so that it would probably be more profitable for them not to engage in these exercises at all.

You will find that many of these persons are very insistent with their spiritual masters to be granted that which they desire, extracting it from them almost by force; if they be refused it they become as peevish as children and go about in great displeasure, thinking that they are not serving God when they are not allowed to do that which they would. For they go about clinging to their own will and pleasure, which they treat as though it came from God; and immediately their directors take it from them, and try to subject them to the will of God, they become peevish, grow faint-hearted and fall away. These persons think that their own satisfaction and pleasure are the satisfaction and service of God...

These persons have the same defect as regards the practice of prayer, for they think that all the business of prayer consists in experiencing sensible pleasure and devotion and they strive to obtain this by great effort, wearying and fatiguing their faculties and their heads; and when they have not found this pleasure they become greatly discouraged, thinking that they have accomplished nothing. Through these efforts they lose true devotion and spirituality, which consist in perseverance, together with patience and humility and mistrust of themselves, that they may please God alone. For this reason, when they have once failed to find pleasure in this or some other exercise, they have great disinclination and repugnance to return to it, and at times they abandon it. They are, in fact, as we have said, like children, who are not influenced by reason, and who act, not from rational motives, but from inclination...

These persons who are thus inclined to such pleasures have another very great imperfection, which is that they are very weak and remiss in journeying upon the hard road of the Cross; for the soul that is given to sweetness naturally has its face set against all self-denial, which is devoid of sweetness. [St. John of the Cross: Dark Night of the Soul Book I, Chapter IV (c. 1580)]

Now while most self-styled "traditionalists" have far more of this problem than those who attend the "unsweetened Pauline liturgy" - particularly since the Tridentine is celebrated with far more reverence than was common before the liturgical reform; nonetheless, there are still points where the individual can bristle at having to comply. There is a distinction to be made between customs which are of a voluntary nature and those where a specific posture or practice are either commanded or proscribed. In the one that we are talking about, the diocesan bishop proscribed kneeling after the Agnus Dei.

Is this command repugnant??? This writer believe it is. Is it unreasonable??? Again, this writer believes so. Should His Grace's flock strive to persuade him to reconsider this position in light of the recent CDW clarification on the appropriateness of kneeling in the period of question??? Certainly this is permissible and hopefully is something that will be undertaken as soon as possible. However, disobedience to the local ordinary on this matter is not acceptable. It indicates a degree of "sensual sweetness" which the individual is seeking which has been denied him by his superiors.

As St. John of the Cross noted, those who thus indulge far from acquiring merit for it actually advance not in virtue but in vice. And Lord knows we all have enough sins as a result of our natural infirmery without adding more to the pile - particularly under the auspices of "piety" which is the worst pretext of all from which to countenance sin. (As the one doing it believes they are acting in accordance with the wishes of God.)

Click Here for Epilogue

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SecretAgentMan vs. Rerum Novarum on Communion Posture and the Authority of Bishops:
(Book II, Part II)

The previous installment of this discussion can be read HERE. To start from the very first installment of this discussion - the first "book" if you will - please go HERE.

This is the second part of a three-part reply to I. Shawn McElhinney at Rerum Novarum about kneeling and its place in the Novus Ordo generally, and under the recent American adaptations to the GIRM (US-GIRM). It deals with kneeling and private prayer during communion and after one has received communion.

This writer has no doubt that (i) We are in for another very well-written defense by his favourite attorney and (ii) the present writer's scruples on this subject will again mirror those of SAM.

Much of this is mooted by the CDWDS' recent ruling (see below "I told ya so . . . .") but for what it's worth I'll post it here and conclude tomorrow with some thoughts on culture and kneeling in individual Catholic parish communities.

We shall see if the recent ruling really is the trumpcard that SAM thinks it is. But not until at least the end of this response. Bear in mind what we outlined in part I about the authority of bishops to legislate for their dioceses on liturgical matters as we review this section as well as SAM's supposed "trumpcard" when we get around to responding to it.

Hand and hand with the eradication of kneeling is a campaign against private prayer at Mass. Opining that before the Second Vatican Council there was "little sense of liturgical prayer" among the faithful, who were supposedly reduced to ineffectually trying to follow the Mass" with a prayer book containing a translation of the Latin . . . or listen[ing] to a choir," he has determined to eradicate the "privatization of holy Communion" in order to "highlight the more communitarian character" of receiving the Lord. He is gratified that the Second Vatican Council instituted the communion hymn, because "folks are less likely to retreat into private prayer upon returning to their place after receiving holy Communion," but is still disturbed that "for the most part, the time after the reception of Communion has remained a period of private prayer." Accordingly, he commands that there be no private prayer after communion except during the vague, ever-variable, and awkward "period of silence" discussed in my correspondence with "Joe." (He also says, true to my speculation about the USCC's theorizing, that we may not kneel during that period because sitting is the proper posture for reflecting on Jesus' eucharistic glory).

Upon a second read, it is clear that he is talking about the bishop. (There was a little confusion here because of uncertainty as to whom SAM was talking about; however, this writer remembered his reference to "Bishop X" at the end of his first part.) So let us look at this from the standpoint of diagnosis and then remedy.

The part about "little sense of liturgical prayer" among the faithful, prior to the Second Vatican Council is a stance that this writer has made on previous occasions. It is true. All anyone has to do is attend a Tridentine liturgy today - a liturgy that today is celebrated far more reverently than was common prior to the reform - and they will see this assertion by way of demonstration.

The readers also will note that the Catholic Encyclopedia of 1913 in the article on kneeling and genuflections said exactly the same thing. (And in all honesty, the author never read that article in detail until today so its confirmation of his past stances is purely serendipitous.) But back to the Tridentine liturgy as it is commonly celebrated today - either in the SSPX or even in the FSSP. (This writer has attended it as celebrated by both organizations.)

The only respondants for the most part during the liturgy are the servers and other than an occasional entrance or exit hymn, it is as silent as a tomb except for the priest's prayer. (Unless you are close to the front it is usually difficult to hear the servers - ninety percent of what they say being in the first five minutes of the liturgy anyway.)

All prayers such as the Gloria, Credo, Pater Noster, Sanctus, and Agnus Dei are recited by the priest. During High Mass the choir sings these as the priest is reciting them but that is more for show than anything else. (Few if any in the congregation actually sing.) Instead of the people being encouraged to respond to the priest's Confiteor, the server says the Misereatur "for them." Instead of responding to the priest's Amen with saying the Confiteor themselves, the server instead again says it "for them." Likewise, what little the server says with the Gloria and the Credo boils down to a simple "Amen."

The author can rarely recall anyone in the pew saying even this much - or at least they do not say so audibly. The Pater Noster again is recited by the priest, the server responding with "sed libera nos a malo" and the priest responding with "Amen." Even the most common of exchanges during the mass - the Dominus Vobiscum/Et Cum Spiritu Tuo/Oremus was only priest, server, priest. You may hear an occasional whisper from the congregation but that was it.

Not infrequently you see rosaries being prayed during mass. This practice started undoubtedly when the liturgy began becoming imperceptable to the lay person in the pew. Vernacular missals as are common today were only taken off the Index in 1898 towards the end of Pope Leo's reign. And even then it was done grudgingly with the Vatican basically taking the view that since books were being published illicitly by some already, they might as well legalize it and regulate the process.

In short, there was a lot of problems in this area and liturgical reform was badly needed. This is not the thread to delve into the relative merits of what was proposed and what was accepted in various areas of the reform of the liturgy. The only point here was to sustain the basic premise of Bishop X viz the "little sense of liturgical prayer" that actually had existed prior to the Council.

who were supposedly reduced to ineffectually trying to follow the Mass" with a prayer book containing a translation of the Latin . . . or listen[ing] to a choir,"

All of which was and is true. This writer attended many a Tridentine mass in the decade and a half of his involvement with the SSPX. He was also a fill-in sacristan and occasional altar server. In short, he saw this from many angles and the verdict is the same: there was virtually no actual involvement in the liturgy. So in that sense the bishop's diagnosis is accurate.

SAM has gone on to claim that he venture[s] to say that the Bishops are so strident on these points because they see them as an effective way to combat individualism, the glorification of a free subjectivism in all aspects of life. In this he refers to the bishops as a whole stressing the unified nature of liturgical prayer not only in the words but also the posture and gestures.

SAM then goes into a litany of USCCB statements against the individualist notion of our age - a kind of Kantian "islands in the stream" notion of human relations to one another and how this has undermined society in many ways. SAM finds this stance as one aspect of the puzzle but not its totality. And what he notes next will be quoted in full since it is difficult to parse without making this response overlong. So here goes:

The scourge of individualism is not produced merely by an individual's awareness of himself, nor by the tension between that awareness and his membership in a community. In Veritatis Splendor, the Holy Father diagnoses individualism, finding in it a disordered freedom that simultaneously promises the empowerment of the individual's conscience and encourages him to indulge in a profound skepticism about, and eventual denial of, a universe of truth in which he can have a meaningful place.{John Paul II, Veritatis Splendor, ¶¶ 32-33 (1993).} In his Apostolic Exhortation Pastores [Dabo] Vobis, the Holy Father describes the sad and impoverished dimensions of an individualist's life:

We should take note also of a desperate defense of personal subjectivity which tends to close it off in individualism, rendering it incapable of true human relationships. As a result, many -- especially children and young people -- seek to compensate for this loneliness with substitutes of various kinds, in more or less acute forms of hedonism or flight from responsibility. Prisoners of the fleeting moment, they seek to "consume" the strongest and most gratifying individual experiences at the level of immediate emotions and sensations, inevitably finding themselves indifferent and "paralyzed" as it were when they come face to face with the summons to embark upon a life project which includes a spiritual and religious dimension and a commitment to solidarity.{John Paul II, Pastores Dabo Vobis, ¶ 7 (1992).}

Individualism isn't the fact of individuality. It is a "distorted sense of freedom. . . Instead of being understood as obedience to objective and universal truth, freedom is lived out as a blind acquiescence to instinctive forces and to an individual's will to power. Individualism naturally erodes internal consent to ethical principles" and results widespread indifference and . . . a life which, even in its more significant moments and more decisive choices . . . lived as if God did not exist.{John Paul II, Id., ¶ 8.} In other words, individualism is a false understanding of true individuality, a fraudulent sense of sufficiency that makes men deaf to the falconer, creating an ever-widening gyre of anarchy wherein the best are unsure of truth and the worst give themselves up to their own lusts.{This, of course, is an allusion to Yeats' Second Coming.}

All of this is of course excellent and well documented. But here is where our good friend begins to go astray a little:

Individualism is not an exterior illness, a visible separation from a whole. It is a spiritual affliction, an inward, invisible denial of a real moral universe.

Aah but this is an unnecessary dichotomy here. It is similar to the Protestant "faith alone" in that it seeks to separate the external from the internal. The Son of Sirach was clear that [t]he fruit discloses the cultivation of a tree; so the expression of a thought discloses the cultivation of a man’s mind (Sirach xxvii,6). One way we express our thoughts is in the external forum. Our Lord built on Sirach's proverb with metaphor of the tree being judged not by some some internal indicator but instead was by its external manifestations - by its fruits if you will:

Enter ye in at the narrow gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way that leadeth to destruction, and many there are who go in thereat. How narrow is the gate, and strait is the way that leadeth to life: and few there are that find it! Beware of false prophets, who come to you in the clothing of sheep, but inwardly they are ravening wolves. By their fruits you shall know them. Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles? Even so every good tree bringeth forth good fruit, and the evil tree bringeth forth evil fruit. A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit, neither can an evil tree bring forth good fruit. Every tree that bringeth not forth good fruit, shall be cut down, and shall be cast into the fire. Wherefore by their fruits you shall know them. {Matthew vii,13-20}

And of course the "narrow path" mentioned above is the path of obedience as God the Father is reputed to have told St. Catherine of Siena OP in her Dialogues:

Now I wish you to see and know this most excellent virtue in that humble and immaculate Lamb, and the source whence it proceeds. What caused the great obedience of the Word? The love which He had for My honor and your salvation. Whence proceeded this love? From the clear vision with which His soul saw the divine essence and the eternal Trinity, thus always looking on Me, the eternal God. His fidelity obtained this vision most perfectly for Him, which vision you imperfectly enjoy by the light of holy faith. He was faithful to Me, His eternal Father, and therefore hastened as one enamored along the road of obedience, lit up with the light of glory. And inasmuch as love cannot be alone, but is accompanied by all the true and royal virtues, because all the virtues draw their life from love, He possessed them all, but in a different way from that in which you do. Among the others he possessed patience, which is the marrow of obedience, and a demonstrative sign, whether a soul be in a state of grace and truly love or not.

Wherefore charity, the mother of patience, has given her as a sister to obedience, and so closely united them together that one cannot be lost without the other. Either you have them both or you have neither. This virtue has a nurse who feeds her, that is, true humility; therefore a soul is obedient in proportion to her humility, and humble in proportion to her obedience. This humility is the foster-mother and nurse of charity, and with the same milk she feeds the virtue of obedience. Her raiment given her by this nurse is self-contempt, and insult, desire to displease herself, and to please Me.

Where does she find this? In sweet Christ Jesus, My only-begotten Son. For who abased Himself more than He did! He was sated with insults, jibes, and mockings. He caused pain to Himself in His bodily life, in order to please Me. And who was more patient than He? for His cry was never heard in murmuring, but He patiently embraced His injuries like one enamored, fulfilling the obedience imposed on Him by Me, His Eternal Father. Wherefore in Him you will find obedience perfectly accomplished. He left you this rule and this doctrine, which gives you life, for it is the straight way, having first observed them Himself. He is the way, wherefore He said, 'He was the Way, the Truth, and the Life.' For he who travels by that way, travels in the light, and being enlightened cannot stumble, or be caused to fall, without perceiving it. For he has cast from himself the darkness of self-love, by which he fell into disobedience; for as I spoke to you of a companion virtue proceeding from obedience and humility, so I tell you that disobedience comes from pride, which issues from self-love depriving the soul of humility.

The sister given by self-love to disobedience is impatience, and pride, her foster-mother, feeds her with the darkness of infidelity, so she hastens along the way of darkness, which leads her to eternal death. [St. Catherine of Siena OP: Treatise on Obedience from her Dialogues (c. 1370)]

So we can see that SAM's outlook on this matter is borderline dualist and clearly *not* congruent with the manner whereby Our Lord Himself views the internal and external. Our Lord's anger in the Gospels was directed most at those who sought to appear righteous who really were not. The reason for this of course is that the external expression is supposed to be in harmony with the internal forum.

Now obviously because of sin this is not always possible. But the process involved in subjecting oneself to the prescriptions of the liturgical rubrics can if properly utilized harmonize the internal with the external. And at the very least, if the internal is not completely set correctly, then at least by conforming externally the person removes from others the proximate occasion of placing an uncharitable interpretation on their actions. Further still, the person conforms to the Church's Law itself which decrees that:

Can. 209 §1 Christ's faithful are bound to preserve their communion with the Church at all times, even in their external actions.

Hence, even external actions play a part in manifesting an individual's communion with the Church. Further still:

Can. 209 §2 [Christ's faithful] are to carry out with great diligence their responsibilities towards both the universal Church and the particular Church to which by law they belong.

With regards to this discussion that would involve the universal church prescriptions (as laid down in the GIRM) and the particular church portions. (Represented in the US Bishops' approved adjustments to certain portions of the GIRM.)

Generally speaking a reference to "Churches" would refer to various "rites." However, the Code of Canon Law makes it clear in the very first canon that [t]he canons of this Code concern only the Latin Church (Can. 1). For this reason, it is clear that another definition of "Churches" must logically apply in the Code whenever that term is used.

This writer would argue that by logical extension the intended application of "Churches" is a reference to individual dioceses. And by this interpretation, Code 209 §2 would bind SAM's associate to the decree of his bishop where Rome approves of a derogation in the universal law. So permit the author to sustain this interpretation and thereby secure it as a building block for ths thesis. Such evidence will be supplied utilizing the Code itself.

For you see gentle reader, the Code itself confirms this interpretation when enunciates the following with regards to "[t]he office of preaching" where it delineates the authority in the universal Church on the one hand and of "particular Churches" which receives a definition in the other by virtue of how it is utilized:

Can. 756 §1 The office of preaching the Gospel to the whole Church has been committed principally to the Roman Pontiff and to the College of Bishops.

Can. 756 §2 For the particular Churches entrusted to them, that office is exercised by the individual Bishops, who are the moderators of the entire ministry of the word in their Churches. Sometimes, however, in accordance with the law, a number of Bishops simultaneously carry out that office together in respect of a number of different Churches.

So interpreting the earlier canon by the later one, the interpretation of "Church" by this writer is sustained. (It refers to the dioceses as a "Church" as indeed according to tradition a dioceses *is* a Church.) So that settles the question of Canon 209 §2 and the requirements of SAM's associate to comply with the prescription laid down by his local ordinary. For as far as the authority of the diocesan bishop, goes, allow this writer to reiterate the traditional definition from his previous response:

Bishops, Jurisdiction of. Bishops are the successors of the Apostles and by divine institution rule their dioceses with ordinary power under the authority of the pope. They have legislative, juridical, and executive power... [A] bishop can enact those laws which he considers for the good of his dioceses and he is a judge in the first instance in all ecclesiastical trials; he can punish lay people with censures and clerics by deprivation of offices or censures (qv). He has supreme direction of the clergy, the conduct of divine worship, administration of ecclesiastical property, building of churches, etc. [Catholic Encyclopedic Dictionary: Donald Attwater General Editor, tenth edition, pg. 62 (c. 1941)]

This is the point that SAM cannot circumvent doctrinally. As far as what Church teaching recognizes viz the bishop's authority, this writer has already quoted from the pre-Vatican II Catholic Encyclopaedic Dictionary. There is also the teachings of the Second Vatican Council which outlined in greater detail the authority of Bishops in the Dogmatic Constitution Lumen Gentium §22 and §25. Furthermore, the Code notes the following:

Can. 381 §1 In the diocese entrusted to his care, the diocesan Bishop has all the ordinary, proper and immediate power required for the exercise of his pastoral office, except in those matters which the law or a decree of the Supreme Pontiff reserves to the supreme or to some other ecclesiastical authority.

So you see gentle reader, the interpretation of this humble weblog was correct all along. The bishop retains supreme authority in his dioceses except where the Supreme Pontiff reserves to himself or some other authority the competence to mediate on the matter. As Rome recently derogated to the diocesan bishop the judgment on whether or not there would be kneeling after the Agnus Dei, it is clear that the authority to regulate this practice belongs to the diocesan bishop because (i) Rome did not reserve it to herself in the original GIRM and (ii) Rome accepted the US Amendment explicitly reserving judgment in this area to the diocesan bishop.

The Mass must not be "privatized." But that is not to say private prayer after the reception of communion indulges an impermissible subjectification. To the contrary, private prayer after the reception of communion is a necessary means for each Christian to realize both what he has done as a member and what he has thereby received as a person.

This would be something to take up with the local ordinary. Until he allowed for it, there is always remaining after mass for a couple of minutes to reflect upon one's reception of Christ. This writer (and the esteemed Mark Shea) have a local ordinary who has requested that people return from communion and stand until the end of the first song; then they can sit or kneel at their preference. Blessed Sacrament where this writer (and the aforementioned Mr. Shea) attend mass is really good at utilizing moments of silence at key points of the mass - including for about a minute or so after the communion hymn and before the post communion prayer. Other parishes are not as good at this; however, there are ways to compensate for it. But that is a subject for another time perhaps.

To be sure, the "communitarian" elements of the Mass are indispensible to its existence at the summit of Catholic life; if we dispensed with them, our worship would lose its connection to the Church and the Body of Christ. But we cannot go to the other extreme; if we condemn individual eucharistic piety as "private" subjectification hostile to the Body of Christ, we make our worship into a simple ceremony. It only remains to allude to my earlier discussion of kneeling, to connect this individual moment with that particularly-expressive posture.

Again this present writer does not disagree in the slightest with SAM's assertion above. In essence what "Bishop X" is doing is creating an arid desert right after communion so to speak. Those subject to him have received the Lord of Hosts and want to take a few moments for thanksgiving but are told to remain standing. (And possibly asked to sing.) Consider the merit inherent in this situation if they handle it properly:

If you experience great dryness in your meditation or other prayers, do not feel distressed and feel that God has turned His Face away from you. Far from it. Prayer said with aridity is usually the most meritorious. It is quite a common error to confound the value of prayer with its sensible results, and the merit acquired with the satisfaction experienced. The facility and sweetness that you may have in prayer are favours from God and for which you will have to account to Him: hence the result is not merit but debt...

The very fact that we derive less gratification from such prayer, makes it all the more pleasing to God, because we are thus suffering for love of Him. Let us call to mind at such times that Our Lord prayed without consolation throughout His bitter agony. [Fr. R. P. Quadrupini: From his spiritual instruction Light and Peace - Instructions for Devout Souls pgs. 19, 20 (c. 1795)]

So the ordinary requires you to stand. Consider this inconvenience in light of the above instruction on prayer and its triviality cannot be plainer. As far as requesting that you sing, well this is usually phrased in the form of a request so you need not actually sing here - particularly if they picked a bad hymn to sing at that point.

This writer recommends finding a prayer of thanksgiving that you can recite in about half a minute or less and pray that prayer while everyone else around you is singing. Or (if this is too difficult), try praying during the announcements portion shortly before the dismissal. There is rarely anything said at this point that is not already covered in the bulletin so this is another option.

Of course if the priest or someone asks you later about this, you can tell them that you needed to set aside a short period for thanksgiving. It would be ideal if they did this during the liturgy but if not, then you would do so yourself. If he refers to you as "schismatic", ask him if you are really more of a "schismatic" than those who do not follow the Church's teaching on artificial forms of contraception. (And further, why he is unwilling to bring this to their attention but he will bother you about a few moments of silent prayer.) For if he is not willing to do this, then he is truly straining at gnats only to swallow the camel (cf. Matthew xxiii,24).

To be Continued...

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SecretAgentMan vs. Rerum Novarum on Communion Posture and the Authority of Bishops:
(Book II, Part I)

The previous thread of this discussion can be read HERE. SAM's words will be in black font and his sources in dark green font. My words from this point on will be in regular font with all sources on my part in darkblue font.

Your humble servant should note from the outset that he can find little that he would object to materially in Part I of SAM's response except perhaps the attempt to project kneeling into the liturgy where it was not utilized in the early Church. Also, the symbolism of kneeling itself is too complex to cover here in an adequately economical way. Therefore, this present writer will simply note from Part I the areas that he takes issue with.

As far as the subject of kneeling goes, in this writer's treatise, he dealt with a host of ancillary Integrist objections to the Revised Roman Missal. One of these objections was the removal by some churches of the kneelers. Initially there were some radical Feeneyite integrists who sought to refute the sections on the liturgy from that work - one of which contained the statement that Kneeling for the Consecration was not put into place until after the Protestant Revolt.

It will not be detailed here what a laugh their attempt to do so was; however, in responding to their screed, your servant solicited assistance from some friends for many reasons - mainly that of time constraints. By order of delegated sections of the work, the task of responding to this objection was assigned to Dr. Art Sippo who noted the following (the Integrist's words in this exchange will be in italics):

Kneeling was not part of the rubrics throughout the Latin Rite until the Counter-reformation reforms. Pews and kneelers were actually invented by our Protestant brethren. Most Catholic Churches had open bare floors in the Middle Ages. Have you ever tried to kneel for an hour on bare wood or stone? Most people stood for the whole Mass. Kneeling had been a recent innovation by the 16th Century and was not observed uniformly in the Church in the West until the Counter-reformation reforms. It was almost never done in the East during the liturgy. It was not until the Elevation of the Host and Chalice was introduced in the West that the congregation had any idea when the Consecration actually occurred because the words of institution were whispered in secret. Prior to that the congregation stood until Communion. Kneeling during Mass had not been an immemorial custom but a recent innovation.

Furthermore, it is of interest to note that kneeling was not only reserved for the Consecration, but also for prayer.

Our Integrist opponents make another totally irrelevant statement. Kneeling has always been part of Christian prayer and worship. This has no bearing on the catholicity of the [Pauline Missal] since the custom of kneeling during the entire Mass did not become universal in the West until the Counter-reformation.

Hence, it stands to reason that they would kneel during this, the greatest prayer of the Church, while both uniting their prayers with those of the Priest, praying their private devotions (both before, after, and during Mass), and praying the Mass itself.

There is only one small problem. Most people prior to and during the Middle Ages stood for the entire Mass. Kneeling was not traditional. This is another example of our Integrist friends elevating their own idea of what ought to be "fitting" into an immemorial custom while ignoring the actual historical practices.

The bottom line is that we agree with out opponents that kneelers ought to be in Catholic churches especially in the presence of the Blessed Sacrament. But, it is not necessary to pretend that they have always been present in the churches or that the Counter-reformation customs surrounding Eucharistic worship were normative from apostolic times. The Integrists allege that the [Tridentine Missal] contains apostolic traditions and that this justifies not altering any part of it. So why don't they want to return to the immemorial custom of standing during the Consecration? [Dr. Art Sippo: Detection and Overthrow of the ‘Traditionalist Catholics’ Falsely So-Called Part IV (c. 2000)]

This writer will build on the subject of kneeling during the liturgy by further noting what was emphasized by the Quintsext Synod of Trullo in 692 AD when talking about kneeling for prayer:


WE have received from our divine Fathers the canon law that in honour of Christ's resurrection, we are not to kneel on Sundays. Lest therefore we should ignore the fulness of this observance we make it plain to the faithful that after the priests have gone to the Altar for Vespers on Saturdays (according to the prevailing custom) no one shall kneel in prayer until the evening of Sunday, at which time after the entrance for compline, again with banded knees we offer our prayers to the Lord. For taking the night after the Sabbath, which was the forerunner of our Lord's resurrection, we begin from it to sing in the spirit hymns to God, leading our feast out of darkness into light, and thus during an entire day and night, we celebrate the Resurrection. [Quintsext Synod of Trullo - Canon 90 (c. 692 AD)]

The "ancient epitome of canon xc" noted this as follows:


From the evening entrance of the Sabbath until the evening entrance of the Lord's day there must be no kneeling.

This traditional distinction between kneeling and non-kneeling is well explained by St. Luke the Evangelist Orthodox Church under the heading of External Expressions:

[I]t should be made clear that gestures and attitudes in the Church are the expressions of personal feelings. For this reason individual expressions remain with the individual and are not firmly regulated for each and every case. Orthodox Christians may cross themselves, kneel, venerate an icon, or stand depending upon their personal feelings during the Liturgy. With regards to kneeling, Church history and Orthodox tradition teach that at the beginning of Christianity, everyone participated in the Divine Liturgy daily, not just on Sundays. Since they knelt during the daily Liturgies, they did not kneel on Sundays.The First Ecumenical Council in 325 AD decreed that Sunday is the great day dedicated to the Resurrection of Our Lord, and Christians should pray standing and not kneeling. Over the centuries, as Orthodox Christians could not attend daily Divine Liturgies, the general practice was for participants to kneel at least during the consecration of the Holy Gifts, when the choir sings, "We praise You..." and during the Lord's Prayer. The Church especially prohibits kneeling from Easter to Pentecost, since this is a season of great joy and happiness. [St. Luke the Evangelist Orthodox Church: Guidelines for Members]

Only with the so-called "reformation" was the practice of kneeling throughout the mass instituted as was noted previously in this response. The reason for this was to draw attention to Our Lord in the Blessed Sacrament. Readers aware of that climate will recall that this was at a time when most of the so-called "reformers" were denying the Real Presence of Our Lord in the Eucharist. So kneeling before the Eucharist was a way of fighting this heresy. (And impressing the reality of the Real Presence devotionally on the faithful.)

Of course during the Counter-reformation, the Catholic confessional scholarship sought to defend every jot and tittle of Catholic orthopraxy in divers ways. However, if one reads carefully enough, they will often see concessions made even in confessional style literature on these matters. One such example is the 1913 Catholic Encyclopedia article on kneeling and genuflection which notes the following on kneeling during liturgy:

[It is not] unlikely that since standing has always been a posture recognized, and even enjoined, in public and liturgical prayer, it may have survived well into the Middle Ages as one suitable, at least in some circumstances, for even private devotion. Yet, from the fourth century onwards, to kneel has certainly been the rule for private prayer...[Catholic Encyclopedia: Article on Kneeling and Genuflection (c. 1913)]

And again:

Even for the ante-Nicene period, the conclusion arrived at by Warren is probably substantially correct: —"The recognized attitude for prayer, liturgically speaking, was standing, but kneeling was early introduced for penitential and perhaps ordinary ferial seasons, and was frequently, though not necessarily, adopted in private prayer" (Liturgy of the ante-Nicene Church, 145). [Catholic Encyclopedia: Article on Kneeling and Genuflection (c. 1913)]

And one more excerpt - this one rather long because it contains a lot of stuff to corroborate what this writer has already said thus far in the past:

It is noteworthy that, early in the sixth century, St. Benedict (Reg., c. l) enjoins upon his monks that when absent from choir, and therefore compelled to recite the Divine Office as a private prayer, they should not stand as when in choir, but kneel throughout. That, in our time, the Church accepts kneeling as the more fitting attitude for private prayer is evinced by such rules as the Missal rubric directing that, save for a momentary rising while the Gospel is being read, all present kneel from the beginning to the end of a low Mass; and by the recent decrees requiring that the celebrant recite kneeling the prayers (though they include collects which, liturgically, postulate a standing posture) prescribed by Leo XIII to be said after Mass it is well, however, to bear in mind that there is no real obligation to kneel during private prayer. Thus, unless conditioned on that particular posture being taken, the indulgence attached to a prayer is gained, whether, while reciting it, one kneel or not (S. Cong. of the Index, 18 Sept., 1862, n. 398). The "Sacrosanct?", recited by the clergy after saying the Divine Office, is one of the exceptions. It must be said kneeling, except when illness makes the doing so physically impossible.

Turning now to the liturgical prayer of the Christian Church, it is very evident that standing, not kneeling, is the correct posture for those taking part in it. A glance at the attitude of a priest officiating at Mass or Vespers, or using the Roman Ritual, will be sufficient proof. The clergy in attendance also, and even the laity assisting, are, by the rubrics, assumed to be standing. The Canon of the Mass designates them as "circumstantes". The practice of kneeling during the Consecration was introduced during the Middle Ages, and is in relation with the Elevation which originated in the same period. The rubric directing that while the celebrant and his ministers recite the Psalm "Judica", and make the Confession, those present who are not prelates should kneel, is a mere reminiscence of the fact that these introductory devotions were originally private prayers of preparation, and therefore outside the liturgy properly so called. It must not, in this connexion escape attention that, in proportion as the faithful have ceased to follow the liturgy, replacing its formul? by private devotions, the standing attitude has fallen more and more into disuse among them. In our own time it is quite usual for the congregation at a high Mass to stand for the Gospel and Creed; and, at all other times either to remain seated (when this is permitted) or to kneel.

There are, nevertheless, certain liturgical prayers to kneel during which is obligatory, the reason being that kneeling is the posture especially appropriate to the supplications of penitents, and is a characteristic attitude of humble entreaty in general. Hence, litanies are chanted, kneeling, unless (which in ancient times was deemed even more fitting) they can be gone through by a procession of mourners. So, too, public penitents knelt during such portions of the liturgy as they were allowed to assist at. The modern practice of Solemn Exposition of the Blessed Sacrament for public adoration has naturally led to more frequent and more continuous kneeling in church than formerly. Thus, at a Benediction service it is obligatory to kneel from beginning to end of the function, except during the chant of the Te Deum and like hymns of Praise. [Catholic Encyclopedia: Article on Kneeling and Genuflection (c. 1913)]

In short, whatever problems some of us may have with some of the statements of the USCCB on the subject of kneeling, their basic premise is correct at least as far as what the traditional custom was for Sundays throughout most of Church history. Your humble servant shares many of the same personal scruples as SAM's associate - and possibly SAM himself; however, facts are facts and kneeling was reserved either for private prayer or for "when the occasion was one of special solemnity, or the petition very urgent, or the prayer made with exceptional fervour" {Catholic Encyclopedia: Article on Kneeling and Genuflection (c. 1913)}. As the Eucharistic Prayer is the part of the liturgy where there is the greatest solemnity, the posture for that prayer prescribed during the celebration of the Revised Roman Missal is kneeling - with only serious impediments dispensing from this requirement.

So as well-put-together as SAM's response is, there are some minor glitches that needed to be pointed out. By getting these out of the way, we will be able to refer back to them as needed when responding to the other parts in sequence.

The next section will deal with the second part of SAM's response and this writer promises to try to stay more on topic with that one. But when one point leads to another, and to another, and to another, you see why it is easy for a simple response to turn into a ponderous cogitation.

To be Continued...

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Tuesday, August 26, 2003

"Coming Soon to a Theatre Near You" Dept.

I anticipate having my response to Part II of the The SecretOne's Edification and Kneeling response completed today.{1} I will hopefully address a couple of shorter tangent pieces of the thread as well - though all of this will have to be blogged in sequential format piece by piece.{2}

My request to The Secret One would be to avoid responding to them as I put them up until I have finished. I will let him know when everything is responded to by private email.

It may take a few days to do in full but I assure you the readers that I am working on it as my time constraints allow for it. For much of this series is from scratch; ergo the time factor comes into play much more so than when I am discussing subjects I have covered before. In short, we are yet again breaking new ground here at Rerum Novarum my friends but in our customary ressourcement fashion, not in an organic disconnect from what has been covered in the past. Stay tuned for details...


{1} To refresh the reader's memories, The SecretOne was responding to this response of mine from July 5th.

{2} I hope in the coming days to get to Part III of his response as well.

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Monday, August 25, 2003

Courtesy of The Secret One is this quiz. I like the results myself...

You're a maduro! Bullish, passionate, you admire strength and clarity. You have a touch of elegance, but power is your forte. You don't mind mixing into a good fight. You'd be happiest sitting around the fireside with your brother officers before the battle of Gettysburg. Try a maduro cigar with a ring guage of 50 or more!

What kind of cigar are you?
brought to you by Quizilla

I would of course never smoke anything less than a Churchill - though my "never" on very rare occasions slips down into a Grand Carona.{1} For those who do not know, a Churchill is roughly 6.75-7.25" x 47-49 ring.{2} Robustos are good too {3} except they are too close to being a "quick smoke" and my concern over economizing an endeavour that is supposed to take time comes into play here. So for that reason, I as a rule draw the line at Churchills and only rarely would consider a Grand Carona or Robusto.

If a double carona is possible,{4} that is my choice. If not, then I prefer Churchills. Those who are knowledgable about cigars would know my reasons for this - and I emphasize: outrageousness has nothing whatsoever to do with it. But I digress...


{1} A Grand Carona is roughly 6.5" x 46.

{2} A classic Churchill is 7" x 47.

{3} Robustos are roughly 5" x 50. (But the ring can sometimes exceed the low to mid 50s on some kinds of Robustos.)

{4} Double caronas are usually 7-8" x 48-52 or larger ring. (A darn near perfect size IMHO.) Some refer to the sizes over 8" x 52+ as a "Giant Figurado" but in my mind they are no different than a double carona except slightly larger. (Usually they are around 9" x 52+.)


On Spam:
(Not the lunch meat)

I am usually very capable of picking out when I am being spammed but this morning I was caught offguard. In my bulkmail box was a letter from a "Misty S. Joyce." The subjectline read "You forgot to write." I have received similar emails from people who have corresponded with me where I was delayed in responding for various and sundry reasons. So I thought this was another example of this. Though I did not recognize the name "Misty Joyce" I have noticed that sometimes people use email names that are not the same as their real names. So I was prepared to apologize to the emailer and opened the email only to find it addressed to "ismac" but instead of "lycos" it read "mailcity." That is when I knew I had been had.

They were for something called "IGF2" pills and I will leave what they were promising to "enhance" at that. Normally I do not bristle when reading this stuff but frankly this pissed me off. So I am posting the email of the sender here in case anyone wants to spam "her" or "him" or whatever "they" are. Here it is:

Or for your convenience click HERE and it will immediately pull the screen up. Feel free to even set up other pseudo accounts specifically to spam this person into oblivion. Hotmail, lycos, yahoo, msn, and other web based email accounts are perfect for this kind of thing. I can think of far worse things to do with this person but for the sake of keeping the temper in check and avoiding a serious breach of charity, I will leave it at that.

I am not normally a vindictive person but again I actually thought this person was someone I was dealing with in email correspondence at some point. And when it comes to helping other people with difficulties of a theological, political, philosophical, or social nature, I take this aspect of what I do here very seriously. After all, I do have writings in the public domain which influence other people in these and other areas; therefore the right to publish comes with a corresponding responsibility attached.

Oh, lest people point to the email being in the bulkmail folder as "proof" I should not have been deceived, I want to note here that the fact it was in my email bulk folder is not as problematical as it may appear. I get emails from people at times which appear in there which are not spam - mainly because I set the filter so strictly. (In fact, out of over thirty pieces in the folder this morning, six were non-spam; however I was able to instantly tell with five of them.) Anyway, the rant is over and we will return you to your regularly scheduled weblog fare starting with the next installment to this humble weblog...