Cardinal Sarah: “Fear is the greatest weakness of the Church today”

And the problem with activism:

Today too, we must . . . pray. . . . it is our responsibility to stand firmly by the Doctrine, the teaching of the Church, and to pray.

We do not pray enough. Priests have too many activities.

By believing that we can change the Church through our own efforts, and through simple structural reforms, we become activists.

Rather, we need the grace that is obtained only through fervent and constant prayer.

Pelagianism? Relying too heavily on what each can accomplish by doing things?

(Suggested cautiously, knowing Pope Francis has accused traditionalists of that very heresy!)

The day’s doings: Orate Fratres . . .

What kept running through my mind at mass today was the Suscipiat, the altar boy’s prayer of many decades ago, which goes like this:

Suscipiat Dominus sacrificium de manibus tuis, ad laudem et gloriam nominis sui, ad utilitatem quoque nostram, totiusque ecclesiae suae sanctae.


May the Lord accept this sacrifice at your hands, to the praise and glory of His name, for our good and the good of all His Holy Church. [“All” is omitted from the currently approved version.]

The meme (“Suscipiat”) came to me at the “Pray, sisters and brothers” part — formerly Orate Fratres, or “Pray, brethren” — when the pew-sitter in front of me gave her clearly heard response, as did others, with a slight change, one of dozens that identify a person as true-blue post-Vatican 2 Catholic, substituting the above sui, “his,” with “God’s,” so that it became “for . . .  the good of God’s Holy Church.”

It is surely God’s, but there is a slight problem with the change, apart from its unauthorized tweaking of the approved text, something I have been wrestling with for many years of pew-sitting. I can explain.

First, no “God” is needed because like any reflexive pronoun, sui refers in the sentence precisely eleven words back to Dominus, “Lord,” and that’s how we talk, isn’t it? We use pronouns so as not to repeat a word needlessly, and needless indeed is this substitution of “his” with “God’s.”

Second, if there’s cause to be unsure in the matter, whether Lord in not the same as God, one’s prayer in church is no place to announce it. Take it to a confessor or friendly theologian. Why so? because we would not shy away from the pronoun except to avoid confusion in the matter. Would we?

So I made the best of this distraction, which turned out a very good thing. I kept repeating the prayer in the Latin I learned as a boy as the mass wore on, testing memory while feeding soul.

This took me almost to communion time, when I tumbled out of my pew and did the long, slow walk to the front, hands behind my back for balance’ sake, and received the Lord, hands still at my back, then walking the faster walk back to the pew.

All in all, a good way to start the day whatever the confusion.

The strange birth of the Novus Ordo | Catholic Herald

More on how the new Mass happened . . .

Blithe Spirit

A subject worthy of careful consideration.

After several decades of liturgy wars, few are unaware of the turbulent history of the post-conciliar liturgy since the New Order of Mass (Novus Ordo Missae) was promulgated 50 years ago, on April 3, 1969, by Pope Paul VI with his apostolic constitution, Missale Romanum.

The Novus Ordo was produced in a mere five dizzying years by a committee of bishops, guided by an assemblage of experts. The process itself was a novelty, starkly contrasting with the gradual and organic growth (over more than 1,500 years) of the liturgy it replaced.

Yes indeed, it was a revolution, when the few decided what was good for the many and got their way.

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Confessions of an American Bead Counter – Crisis Magazine

This fellow gives a brief history of drug abuse and confessions of addicts from DeQuincy to Baudelaire and beyond, then gives his horrifying account of his own addiction:

To the best of my increasingly fallible memory, it started with small indulgences—dabblings—such as the sign of the cross and the Jesus prayer. A mild and tentative usage of something powerful, as De Quincy discovered, can prove a gateway.

Pretty soon I caught myself saying Ave Marias and Pater Nosters. There were other steps along the road, but, after some time, I was fumbling the beads once a month and then weekly. Pretty soon, the rosary became a daily habit. I felt restive without it.

I even prayed while driving. It’s not yet a felony, but I dread to think how many PWDs the traffic cams have been recorded. [!] When, as sometimes happened after a hectic day, I fell asleep without having indulged, I’d wake up in the middle of the night and reach for the beads. There was no use denying it, I had a habit.

At a party

Those who harangue and explain their “breakthroughs” at parties can be a bane of social life. People have very different takes on what is vital, or even real today, and one never knows what is rattling around in another’s skull. Even before campus safe-spaces, trigger warnings, microaggressions and the like, it was advisable to tread gingerly in unfamiliar verbal terrain, especially among the liberally educated, a prickly and fragile class. Politics and religion had potential for chilling or overheating the atmosphere. Reticence was in order. It was our host who probed.

He wanted to catch up on changes in the lives of the partygoers.

Out he and his wife came with it, their “reversion” — Sunday Mass, step by step until . . . the rosary! — to the astonishment and horror of all. “How can you?” we were asked. What’s more, we had not done so “for sensible reasons . . .

. . . you have kids and recognize the need for structure; you admire what the Church does in the inner city and how it promotes peace and justice; or you share the Church’s opposition to fundamentalism, the denial of global warming, racism, sexism, Trumpism, etc. All within the bounds and rational.

They could accept that.

Butto revert or convert because it’s True with a capital T? No! Not that, please! Decent folk took you for a reasonable, sentient, liberal-minded human being. They welcomed you, unsuspecting, into their midst. In return, you expose your leprous lesions, admitting that you’re an ethnic, ghetto, pre-Vatican II suppurating throwback.

Pope Francis described the antipathy this arouses rather well. Back in Buenos Aires, a “restorationist group” assured him of “thousands of rosaries” for his intentions. He felt as though he was “dragged back … sixty years! Before the Council. One feels in 1940.” Just so. [Even the Holy Father!]

For more about his “remaining a bead-counter after all these years,” stay tuned, he says. Watch this space . . .

Cardinal Sarah’s fearless cri de coeur | Catholic Herald

The man who can’t make it with il papa;

Cardinal Robert Sarah is not the most influential figure within the Roman Curia. Although he is prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship, one of the most important Vatican departments, his power is tightly circumscribed.

After he gave a speech in 2016 urging priests worldwide to celebrate Mass facing east, he received a rare public rebuke.

Later the Pope made sweeping changes to the membership of his Congregation – a move that was perceived as removing his supporters and replacing them with those who do not share his liturgical vision.

Il papa, probably for political reasons — he’s African, isn’t he? — has apparently decided he can’t fire him, or doesn’t have to. But the old bar bouncer can still poke fingers in his eye.

The bothersome cardinal in turn may be neutralized in his lofty position, but he can write books, can’t he? And “despite his relative lack of sway at the Vatican, when [he] speaks, the world listens,” says The Catholic Herald.

Which surely irritates papa. In the latest of the cardinal’s books, Le soir approche et déjà le jour baisse, to be unleashed on the English-speaking world in September as The Day is Now Far Spent from Ignatius Press, he “argues that darkness is falling over our civilisation” and “the West is in an advanced state of spiritual collapse and can only be saved by rediscovering Christ.”

He’s a prophet, for all that, apparently crying in the wilderness as far as il papa and his minions are concerned.