An Interview with Director of Development for The Fraternal Society of St. Peter

A big thank you to writer Jim Graves for writing the article below about the Fraternal Society of St. Peter.  We can personally attest to the solid formation of these manly and masculine Priests and their strong desire for saving souls!  Deo Gratias.

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http://www.catholicworldreport.com/Item/3937/The_Priestly_Fraternity_of_St_Peter_Traditional_Liturgy_Booming_Vocations.aspx
The Priestly Fraternity of St. Peter: Traditional Liturgy, Booming Vocations

June 10, 2015

With priests serving 200 locations in 120 dioceses worldwide—and another 150 men currently in formation—the FSSP’s director of development reflects on the order’s unique apostolate.

Jim Graves

Father Gregory Pendergraft, FSSP is director of development for the Priestly Fraternity of St. Peter and the assistant director of vocations. His work consists of raising the necessary funds to operate the Fraternity’s Our Lady of Guadalupe Seminary in Denton, Nebraska and the North American District House, as well as assisting communities that desire FSSP parishes to realize that goal. He also helps young men discern if they have a vocation to the Fraternity and its particular mission.

He recently spoke with CWR.

CWR: What is the Priestly Fraternity of St. Peter, and how was it first formed?

Father Gregory Pendergraft, FSSP: The Priestly Fraternity of St. Peter is a clerical society of apostolic life of pontifical right, that is, a community of Roman Catholic priests who do not take religious vows, but who work together for a common mission in the world, and whose foundation was directly under Rome rather than in a particular diocese. The Fraternity was founded by a dozen priests and a score of seminarians on July 18, 1988, in response to a growing desire for access to the traditional liturgy and sacraments of the Roman Rite.

CWR: What is the Fraternity’s key ministry or charism? Do you only do parish work, or do you teach in schools and engage in other apostolates?

Father Pendergraft: The mission of the Fraternity is two-fold: first, the formation and sanctification of priests within the traditional liturgy of the Roman rite, and secondly, the pastoral ministration of the priests in the service of the Church. The former is the primary, for it is through priests who are both well-formed and holy that the faithful can be pastorally assisted on their own path to holiness. Both aspects of our mission are focused on and rooted in the Traditional Latin Mass and the sacraments as set forth in the liturgical books of 1962. Schools, camps, and other works often spring forth from our parish communities or are begun where they are needed.

CWR: How large is the Fraternity today?

Father Pendergraft: In the quarter-century since our founding we have grown to more than 250 priests, and we now operate seminaries in both North America and Europe, with more than 150 men currently in formation. We are currently operating at more than 200 locations in 120 dioceses—primarily in Europe and North America, but with active and growing apostolates in Central and South America, Australia, and Africa as well.

CWR: Do you get many requests from bishops to come to their dioceses?

Father Pendergraft: The Fraternity receives several requests each year to establish parishes which serve the Catholics in various dioceses throughout the world.

CWR: How did you personally get involved with the Fraternity?

Father Pendergraft: Like most of our priests, I was introduced to the FSSP when I first attended the Traditional Latin Mass, or Extraordinary Form of the Roman Rite, as it is often called. This form of the liturgy continues to inspire numerous candidates to seek to become priests in one of our seminaries.

CWR: Most Catholics today are not old enough to remember the Church before Vatican II. How are you received by parishioners and priests unfamiliar with the Fraternity or the Church before Vatican II?

Father Pendergraft: Knowledge must precede love. This is no different with the liturgy than it is with anything else. For this reason we try to encourage the faithful to experience the Traditional Mass so that they can see the many graces it has to offer. Interestingly, it is the younger generation among both priests and parishioners who are often most actively seeking the ancient rites of the Church.

As far as a reaction, most often it is the liturgy that speaks for itself. When Catholics have the opportunity to experience this liturgy they are very often intrigued and interested and want to know more about it. Thus, our role is often more that of teaching rather than trying to garner interest. As we are easily identified by the wearing of the Roman cassock, we are received with every emotion possible based on the likes or dislikes of the individual with whom we have contact. Yet, the many friendships we have with the bishops and priests who have visited our parishes and seminaries and the faithful who discover one of our parishes attest to the power of charity and the desire for sanctity to overcome any obstacle.

CWR: How does your seminary education differ from that which your seminarians receive at a typical diocesan seminary in the US?

Father Pendergraft: We currently have more than 150 seminarians in our two seminaries. The formation program at Our Lady of Guadalupe Seminary is seven years long. It consists of the following divisions:

One year of spiritual formation: An initial “year of spirituality” introduces the candidate to the Fraternity, its community life, and a disciplined life of prayer and penance. During this time, the seminarian wears civilian dress and, in close union with his superiors and spiritual director, seeks to discern if he is truly being called to become a priest for our community.

Two years of philosophical studies: In order to study theology, a sound philosophical formation is necessary. As many popes have recommended, the philosophical studies carried out at our seminary are according to the principles and methods of St. Thomas Aquinas. These two years of philosophy are complemented by a number of other subjects such as Latin, Greek, Scripture, fundamental theology, and Gregorian chant. Seminarians are tonsured and receive the cassock at the beginning of their second year and become temporarily incorporated members of the Fraternity.

Four years of theological studies: This is a systematic study of the Catholic faith. The principal work used is the Summa Theologiae of St. Thomas Aquinas. This is augmented by study of the historical and scriptural basis for the Church’s explication of dogma, as well as authentic teaching and development that has taken place in subsequent centuries. In addition to dogmatic and moral theology, exegesis, liturgy, Church history, canon law, and Gregorian chant are also studied during these years. At least a semester of apostolic work is included in the four years.

The emphasis on Thomistic philosophy and theology is a significant difference between our seminary and many others. Another difference is the reception of the minor, as well as major orders (porter, lector, acolyte, exorcist, subdiaconate, diaconate, and priesthood). This systematic integration into priesthood provides graces and blessings along the way toward ordination. At the end of the formation process, the seminarian has progressed through a development of his spiritual and ascetic life within the context of community living.

CWR: Is the Extraordinary Form more work to learn and celebrate than the Ordinary Form?

Father Pendergraft: The Extraordinary Form is celebrated in Latin and therefore requires a working knowledge of the language. It is also a Mass that developed over centuries, and each of the actions and words were very carefully chosen (often by saints). For this reason, the “rubrics” of the Mass are detailed and require practice in order to offer the Mass as it is intended in a worthy manner. For this reason, we offer training classes for priests who wish to learn how to offer the Extraordinary Form of the Mass.

CWR: What do you think the Extraordinary Form liturgy brings to parishes and dioceses? 

Father Pendergraft: The Extraordinary Form liturgy sanctified generations of faithful Catholics in the past and continues its work in the present. The singular beauty and reverence of the Mass and its link to the traditional practices of the Catholic faith help to free us from the bonds of sin and the attachment to the things of the world. A strong emphasis on the need for repentance often inspires a return to the sacrament of confession, which has been called the “forgotten sacrament” in our modern age.

CWR: Do you think it’s unfairly been a source of friction between different factions in the Church?

Father Pendergraft: The rule lex orandi, lex credendi teaches us that the law of prayer is the law of belief. Thus, those who desire to change the doctrines of the Church will always reject anything that seeks to uphold them, whether it be a particular liturgy or even a simple devotion of the faithful.

CWR: What is your relationship with the Society of St. Pius X?

Father Pendergraft: As our founders were members of the Society of St. Pius X there is a relationship built on the love of the traditions of the Faith.

CWR: You had a young Fraternity priest, Father Kenneth Walker, murdered in Phoenix. What effect did that have on the Fraternity, and did it lead to any changes in the lives of your priests in their rectories?  

Father Pendergraft: Father Walker was a devoted priest and his death was a tragedy. Our priests, like all, take reasonable steps to ensure security while, at the same time, living in society and relying on the Providence of God.

CWR: Father Joseph Terra was injured in the attack. How has he recovered?

Father Pendergraft: By the grace of God, Father Terra has recovered well from his injuries.

CWR: As a traditional Catholic priest, when you study issues in American culture and society, what are some of the things that concern you the most?

Father Pendergraft: The loss of the sense of sin and the moral law in general are grave evils of our modern age. These are not new evils, but the modern electronic media have increased their influence dramatically.

CWR: What needs does the Fraternity have, and is the website the best way to get news about the Fraternity?

Father Pendergraft: In order to carry out the work that God and the Church have given us, we need the prayers of the faithful and financial support to continue to form holy and traditional priests to bring the sacraments and traditions of the Faith to every corner of the world. If anyone would like to learn more about the FSSP or to receive our monthly newsletter they can write to: The Priestly Fraternity of St. Peter, 119 Griffin Rd., Elmhurst Township, PA 18444, contact us by email at info@fssp.com or go to our website at www.fssp.com.

Five Myths About Worship in the Early Church – by Michael Foley

The article below, written in 2011, undercuts some of the anti-traditional and anti-catholic arguments that get bandied about.  We recommend you memorize them and use this ammo as we work to bring back the true faith!

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http://www.crisismagazine.com/2011/five-myths-about-worship-in-the-early-church

Five Myths About Worship in the Early Church

As the forthcoming new translation of the Roman Missal debunks the myth that liturgical language must be so banal that even the muppets on Sesame Street can understand it, it’s a good time to examine five other untruths that have been wreaking havoc on the Church’s worship in recent decades.

1. Mass facing the people. After studying free-standing altars in early churches, liturgists in the 1930s concluded that priests once celebrated Mass “facing the people,” and that it was only under the influence of decadent medieval clericalism that they “turned their backs” to them. This myth was much in the drinking water at the time of Vatican II (1962-1965). Later, some scholars began to reexamine the evidence and found that it did not support their thesis at all, and that in fact there had been an unbroken tradition — both East and West — of priest and congregation celebrating the Eucharist in the same direction: eastward.

Pope Benedict XVI, who endorsed the most recent book refuting the versus populum error, has been trying to make the facts of the case better known. But in the past generation, millions of dollars have been spent destroying exquisite high altars and replacing them with altar-tables, all in conformity to “the practice of the early Church.” Would that this myth were busted earlier.

2. Communion in the hand and under both kinds. Myths about Holy Communion follow a similar pattern. Fifty years ago, the claim that “Communion in the hand” was the universal practice of the early Church was believed by everyone, even by those who didn’t wish to see the practice resuscitated. Now we’re not so sure. What we can say is that some early Christian communities practiced Communion in the hand, but Communion on the tongue may be just as ancient. And when Communion in the hand was practiced, the communicant received from a priest (and only a priest), most likely by putting It in his mouth without his other hand touching it. And in some places, a woman’s hand had to be covered with a white cloth!

We are more certain that the Roman Church once administered Holy Communion under both species (just as the Eastern churches have always done), but we don’t know exactly how. One interesting practice, which was in use by the seventh century, had the deacon distributing the Precious Blood with the use of a golden straw. Some think he dipped the straw in the chalice (which only he or a priest or bishop could touch), closed one end with his finger, put it over the communicant’s open mouth, and then lifted his finger to release the contents.

In other words, Holy Communion was probably not administered in the fast-food manner we have today, with a “grab-and-go” system of multiple efficient lines that move from one station to the other, and the communicant touching the Host or Precious Cup with his own hands. Our current arrangement may have more in common with the Protestant than the patristic. Significantly, Benedict XVI, a careful student of the Church Fathers, no longer administers Communion in the hand.

3. The vernacular. Another widespread myth is that the early Church had Mass “in the vernacular.” But when Jesus worshipped in the synagogue, the language used was Hebrew, which had already been dead for 300 years. And for the first three centuries in Rome, the Mass was mostly celebrated in Greek, not Latin, which was only understood by a minority of the congregation.

When the Mass was eventually translated into Latin, it retained foreign elements such as the Hebrew amen and alleluia, and even added some, such as the Greek Kyrie eleison. Moreover, the Latin used in translating was deliberately different from what was being spoken at the time: It had curious grammatical usages and was peppered with archaisms. In other words, even when the Mass was celebrated in a language people could understand, it was never celebrated in the “vernacular” — if by that term we mean the common street language of the day.

The reason for this is simple: Every apostolic Church — to say nothing of every major world religion — has always had a sacred or hieratic language, a linguistic toolbox different from daily speech specially designed to communicate the transcendence and distinctiveness of the gospel.

4. Lay ministry. Another perduring myth is the idea that the laity were “more involved” in the Mass than they were in later ages. In our own day, this has spawned a multiplication of liturgical ministries for lay folk, such as lector, etc. The reality is that in the early Church, all of these roles were administered by the clergy. In fact, the early Church had more ordained clerical offices (the former minor orders) than it does today. The Council of Nicea in 325, for instance, talked about fine-tuning the office of “subdeacon.” This tells us one thing: that subdeacons were already a fixture in the landscape before the council was convoked. Lay Eucharistic ministers were not.

5. The pre- vs. post-Constantinian Church. Lurking behind all of these myths is a powerful “meta-myth,” the claim that there was a rupture in the life of the Church after the Emperor Constantine legalized Christianity in the fourth century. The Church before Constantine, the meta-myth goes, was simple and pristine, a Church “of the people.” After Constantine, however, the Church became clericalist, hierarchical, and corrupted by the desire for grand buildings and highfalutin’ ceremonies.

The truth is that although the Church did indeed change — in some ways for the better and some for the worse — there was far more continuity than rupture. The Church before Constantine already had firm distinctions between clergy and laity, and she already recognized the importance of beautiful art, architecture, symbolism, and solemnity. After all, the Last Supper took place during the Passover, which was itself highly ritualized, and every Mass is a consummation of the ornate liturgies of synagogue and Temple. Indeed, a Eucharistic liturgy in the second or third century was longer, more hierarchical, and more symbolically brocaded than a Sunday Mass today. And since pews are a Protestant invention to accommodate long sermons, you either stood or knelt on the floor the entire time.

Like a bad virus, the myth of a utopian, pre-Constantinian, kumbaya-singing Church continues to impair. A typical example is the 2001 video A History of the Mass, produced by Liturgy Training Publications, one of the more influential purveyors of information about Catholic worship in the United States. After describing an idyllic, egalitarian community in which bishops gave up their seats for poor widows at the Eucharistic table, the narration shifts with the ominous words: “But then… the Emperor Constantine became a Christian.” You can imagine what follows (see here and here).

Moreover, even if every one of these myths were shown to be true, it would still not justify returning to the patristic era. In 1947, Pope Pius XII prophetically warned against archeologism, an “exaggerated and senseless antiquarianism” which presumes that the older is better than that which has developed organically over time and with the approval of the Church (Mediator Dei 64). The pope was worried about liturgical innovators who would leapfrog over 1,900 years of sacred tradition and divine inspiration. He was right to worry, but not even he foresaw the extent to which that targeted Golden Past would be a reconstruction of dubious accuracy.

The Latin Mass Changes Us for the Better

Below, Father Heilman from Wisconsin, talks about his first upcoming Latin Mass.  He has been a priest for 27 years and he has discovered the ancient liturgy!  We have to save the liturgy to save the faith.  Father Heilman gets it.  Deo Gratias!

Please continue to pray for these priests that are discovering the traditions of the Church because they will be persecuted.  Lets also pray more and more priests and laity have the veil lifted from their eyes and they see the light as well.  We need strength in numbers.

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http://www.romancatholicman.com/lord-fill-us-with-the-light-of-your-grace/

Lord, Fill Us With the Light of Your Grace!

by Fr Richard Heilman

May 27, 2015

“God enters into our reality, and we can meet him; we can touch him. The liturgy is where he comes to us, and we are enlightened by him.” -Pope Benedict XVI

Today is my “golden” anniversary, as they say. Not because I have been a priest for 50 years, but that my anniversary and today’s date match: 27th Anniversary on May 27.

I spent the day preparing for my first Traditional Latin Mass, which will be this Sunday. And, I had my last run-through this afternoon, with the help of a couple of TLM veterans. Although I have practiced off and on for over a year, I have concentrated more intently on this over the past few weeks.

Even though I know God looks to refine me everyday to become the saint we are all called to be, I’ve become very aware that what I am about to do is really quite significant, and I will be changed forever.

Already I have incorporated many of the rubrics (allowed) into my Novus Ordo Masses. Things like custody of my forefingers and thumbs after touching the consecrated host or, the extra diligence I give in purifying the vessels or, the distinct and reverent way I speak the words of consecration. Why? Because learning this ancient Mass has helped me, immensely, to understand that all of this precision and reverence and care is due God. He is being made present to us, and it is simply absurd that we would ever take this miracle lightly.

More than anything else, I am becoming more immersed in what is happening at the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass. This, to such an extent, that I find myself trembling in His presence, like never before. Like the centurion, I say in awe, “Lord, I am not worthy to have you enter under my roof.” Yet I know, in spite of this, it is exactly what our Lord seeks to do.

“To be truly alive is to be transformed from within, open to the energy of God’s love. In accepting the power of the Holy Spirit you too can transform your families, communities and nations. Set free the gifts! Let wisdom, courage, awe and reverence be the marks of greatness!” -Pope Benedict XVI

Lord, fill us with the light of your grace!

Traditional Catholicism Saves Souls

Traditional Catholicism is the last refuge of unique thought left on earth.  We Traditional Catholics are the last line of defense between total chaos in our society.  This is why we promote Traditional Catholicism on this blog.  And, most importantly, Traditional Catholicism saves souls!  The story below shows how Traditional Catholicism speaks to the masses if it actually is SPOKEN!

Traditional Catholics have nothing to fear if we speak the truth.  We should not fear the inevitable persecution at work.  We should not fear the inevitable persecution of our families and friends.  We only need to fear God.  He is our only judge.  So please talk to your priest about wearing a cassock when he is out in town.  Talk to him about bringing back the Latin Mass on a Sunday.  Talk to him about spreading the good news of the gospel while proudly displaying his traditional Catholicism when out in town.  It will work but today, for the most part, our religious need to be pushed back onto the path of Tradition.  And that is our job at the moment.  Now hop to it!

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http://www.traditionalcatholicpriest.com/2015/05/17/traditional-catholic-altar-boys-save-souls/

Traditional Catholic Altar Boys Save Souls

When visiting the convalescent hospital, the people are very happy to see all the altar boys in their cassock and surplice.  It stuck Marion so much, that she wanted to go to confession.  She had not gone in 45 years and she has a very serious disease from which she could die at any minute.  IMG_4002This man had never gone to confession in his life.IMG_3999Confession really makes people feel good.

The Sobering State of Affairs in The Modern Catholic Church

For anybody that is paying attention, the “modern” Catholic Church is dying.  At nearly every Novus Ordo Parish we have attended across the country there have only been a small core group of faithful families that have kept it alive.  The rest of the (mostly empty) pews have been filled with clueless Catholics that don’t know their faith and would rather be out at Madison’s or Bryson’s soccer game rather than, for example, praying the rosary as a family or attending the holy sacrifice of the mass.  Most of the traditions have been lost in these parishes and as a result in these families.

Please read the sobering blog post below from Father Carota who has identified the reason for the staggering decline in the numbers of humans that consider themselves Catholic.  If the Church would return to offering them traditional Catholicism rather than presenting a watered down protestant version of the faith, then the pews would be full again with fervent Catholics.

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Fact: Liberalism Kills Catholic Faith

No matter what the liberal pope, cardinals, bishops, priests and religious try to say, there is NO NEW SPRINGTIME IN THE CATHOLIC CHURCH.  What the hard statistical facts say, is that liberal modernist ‘catholicism’ drives people away from the Church instead of making them so called ‘practicing Catholics’.

wpid-photo-20140428182201We, the traditional priests and laity cannot help but noticing the dire situation all around us in the Catholic Church.  We see the extreme decline in attendance at Sunday Masses, selling off churches, dioceses claiming bankruptcy, closing and selling off Catholic schools and seminaries, hardly any native vocations to the priesthood or religious life and the loss of the true Catholic faith in all of our brothers, sisters, cousins, nieces and nephews.

The evil experiment first failed in Holland, where the bishops came out with their ‘Dutch Catechism’.  They wanted to please the people and water down the 2000 year old Catholic teachings.  They assumed that the Dutch people would keep on coming to church on Sundays and practicing their faith.  All of my friends who are Dutch and go back home, they say the churches are empty, other than a few old ladies.  Most of the churches have communion services because there are very very few, (If any), Dutch vocations to the priesthood.  This same dire situation is all over Europe.

If it had not been for our wonderful Mexican neighbors down south of the United States borders, we would be experiencing the same reality here in the USA.  But, Mexicans continue to have ‘some’ children and so far, continue to go to Mass on Sundays, filling up what otherwise would have been empty churches.

Here are some facts that have just come out of the Pew Poles.  pewNone of us traditional Catholics are surprised by these facts at all.  Yet, the pope, cardinals, bishops, priests and religious continue to head down the same road to oblivion.  And instead of waking up and facing the facts, they attack the traditional Catholics who have been warning them for decades now.

The liberal, modernist Catholic just keeps on preaching and enforcing the tearing down of Jesus’ Sacrifice, morals and commandments.  Cardinal Pell just stated what we are trying to say: “The secrets for religious prosperity,” he added, “lie in the Gospels and in the Catholic tradition. We’ve just got to go to them… And adapting more and more to the society – they’ll all say that’s good, but they won’t join, and it will put us out of business if we do it long enough.” (The prefect of the Secretariat of the Economy made this statement when speaking to Vatican Radio after having given the keynote address for a conference in Rome on Saturday intended to discuss strategies for promoting the Church’s teaching on life, marriage, and the family.)

Image processed by CodeCarvings Piczard ### FREE Community Edition ### on 2015-05-12 13:48:45Z | http://piczard.com | http://codecarvings.com

These facts also cause a crisis in holy priests and laity.  They see and experience the evil everywhere around them.  In the world and in the Church.  And, instead of being listened to or allowed to make changes, they are persecuted and shunned.

Nevertheless, we are so blessed to be traditional Catholics and to have a chance of someday, being with Jesus and Mary forever in Heaven.

Fear Not Traditional Catholics!

Fear not if you are a traditional Catholic for the modernists and heretics and the baby boomers that have tried to destroy the Church from the inside for the past 50 or so years are leaving the scene.  Please read Father Carota’s hope giving blog post.  This should make your coffee taste that much better this morning.

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http://www.traditionalcatholicpriest.com/2015/05/13/catholic-modernist-last-hurrah-before-biological-solution/

Catholic Modernist Last Hurrah Before Biological Solution

Almost all of the modernist liberal Catholics, (including the Pope, cardinals, bishops, priests and religious), are from the baby boomer’s generation, (born right after World War II).  Within the next 10 – 20 years, these ‘bleeding heart’ liberals will either be in convalescent hospitals or where ever God has judged them to be for all eternity.

Graveyard_FRIEDRICH, Caspar David10, 20, 30 years is insignificant in comparison with the 2000 years of Catholic tradition.  It is even more insignificant in the view of ETERNITY.  All through out the history of Jesus’ Holy Catholic Church, there has been a battle going on between the good guys, (faithful Catholics), and the bad guys, (unfaithful Catholics, heretics and the friends of the devil).  It just seems worse, at this time in history, because this is the terrible time that we are having to witness and live through.

As Jesus, the Apostles, the Church Fathers and all the saints suffered at the hands of evil religious and government leaders, so too will we have to suffer.  The time has change.  We are living in 2015.  But the basic characters and struggle is the same.

  • The devil and his minions are at work against God, His Church and His people.
  • Power hungry people in the Church micro manage their church empires to enforce there ‘spiritually, morally and religiously correct’ propaganda just like the High Priest, Priests, Scribes and Pharisees did to Jesus because ‘their’ empires were threatened by His TRUTH.
  • Money hungry people who charge for everything in their dioceses or parishes, even for the Holy Sacraments.  They fail to do as Jesus said: ‘freely have you received, freely give.’  Matthew 10:8b.
  • Lust hungry men who live immoral sexual lives and who condone others who do the same.

‘But these men, as irrational beasts, naturally tending to the snare and to destruction, blaspheming those things which they know not, shall perish in their corruption, Receiving the reward of their injustice, counting for a pleasure the delights of a day: stains and spots, sporting themselves to excess, rioting in their feasts with you: Having eyes full of adultery and of sin that ceaseth not: alluring unstable souls, having their heart exercised with covetousness, children of malediction:  Leaving the right way they have gone astray, having followed the way of Balaam of Bosor, who loved the wages of iniquity,’  2 Peter 2:12-15

At times we traditional Catholics can be so concerned about the times we are living in that we can despair.  Or we can overlook our own sinful actions and attachments.  Instead, we need to work on our own purification and put all our trust in God, who in His infinite goodness allows all that befalls us and His Holy Church.

compassion-bouguereauWe also need to remind ourselves that we get what we ask for and deserve.  The evil that is in the Church, and in the world around us, is simple the fruit of our, and others sins.  They are what God uses to punish us and reform us.  We need to humbly ask too; in what area do we traditional Catholics need to reform?  In what area do we need to act?  In what area do we need to pray and have more faith in God’s power?

As simply good Catholics, we are called to reform the Church as all the saints did who came before us.  But before we can reform the Church, we need to get the beam out of our eyes so that we can see clearly what is wrong within Jesus’ beloved Church.

And why seest thou the mote in thy brother’ s eye: but the beam that is in thy own eye thou considerest not?  Or how canst thou say to thy brother: Brother, let me pull the mote out of thy eye, when thou thyself seest not the beam in thy own eye? Hypocrite, cast first the beam out of thy own eye; and then shalt thou see clearly to take out the mote from thy brother’ s eye.  Luke 6:41-42.progress

We are so blessed to be traditional Catholics and to have the great arms God has left for us to do battle with.  All times, since Adam and Eve’s rebellion, have been bad.  But the good get going when the bad times come.  Let us trust in God who made heaven and earth and in the powerful intercession of our mother Mary.

The Crisis in the Catholic Priesthood

Please pray for all the traditional Catholic Priests that are keeping the faith alive one latin mass at a time.  Please pray that more priests discover the traditions of the faith for the sake of the souls of their flocks.  Please read Father Carota’s post about the persecution Traditional Catholic Priests face.

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http://www.traditionalcatholicpriest.com/2015/05/11/traditional-catholic-priests-in-crisis/

Traditional Catholic Priests In Crisis

This blog is for all you traditional Catholic priests, or those of you who are just beginning to discover the great treasure of Traditional Catholicism.  All over the world, the Holy Spirit is opening priests’ hearts and minds to embrace the great ancient treasures of our Catholic faith that have been buried and discarded for the last 50 or 60 years.

GIRL KNEELS AS SHE RECEIVES COMMUNION FROM POPEFor many of us, it was the ‘Summorum Pontificum‘ from Pope Benedict XVI that opened our eyes and mind to things we barely heard about or never ever knew existed before.  From that day forward, we have been led on a very exciting, but also a very difficult journey.

We first discovered the Holy Latin Mass from blogs and pictures.  But then we also found out about all the other Latin Sacraments; like baptism, confirmation and matrimony.  Many times, it has been holy lay people, who have told us and taught us about these holy things we never knew anything about.

Then we discover the HUGE difference between all that we know; The New Mass, New Sacraments and New Prayers, with these ancient Latin Rites we begin to study and practice.  This can bring on a terrible crisis in our priesthood.  WE CANNOT DENY WHAT WE ARE DOING EVERYDAY AS NOVUS ORDO PRIESTS, AND THE HUGE DIFFERENCE WE EXPERIENCE DOING THE ANCIENT RITES AS TRADITIONAL PRIESTS.

Before, when all we offered and knew was the Novus Ordo New Mass, Sacraments and Prayers, we were satisfied doing our best to offer them according to the rules or rubrics in a sacred way.  But then, and especially after we start offering these Tridentine Rites, the difference in the rubrics and prayers, stare us straight in our faces.

Most of us are obliged to offer the Novus Ordo New Sacraments.  This is where the crisis begins to effect our conscience and our priesthood.  An example are the rubrics that dictate the way that the Host and Precious Blood is handled in the Latin Mass compared with the minimal rubrics contained in the New Mass for handling the Body and Blood of Jesus.  The same is to be said about the purification of the Sacred Vessels.

Then, when the rubrics of the Latin Mass explicitly demands that Jesus should only be given kneeling down and on the tongue, yet, in the New Mass, we are obliged to give Holy Communion in the hands and standing.   Bishops oblige priests to use Extra Ordinary Eucharistic Ministers to give out Holy Communion and to bless everyone who approaches in sin or who is not Catholic.  For us priests, trying to live in these two worlds, it can cause us to become schizophrenic.

Pope Benedict XVI Baptism of the LordOnce you begin baptizing in the Latin Rite, with its many exorcisms, you clearly see the stark difference in the New Baptism Rite which only has a slight mention of Exorcism, but without any clear words exorcizing the devil out of the child.

The list can go on and on.  The magnificent vestments versus the simple modernistic vestments.  The long prayers for blessing Holy Water and objects.  The Wedding ceremony.  The Requiem Mass for the dead.  The use of gold plated silver chalices and patens.  The Chalice palls and burses.  The traditional Saint’s Calendar.

A huge one, is the altar.  In the New churches and rite, a table is used and called an ‘altar’.  In the ancient rite, a high altar is used with an altar stone with a martyrs relic in it.  This ‘table’ speaks of the Last Supper.  The stone altar speaks of the Sacrifice of Jesus on the cross for us sinners.  

the-holy-sacrifice-of-the-mass2In the prayers of the New Mass, very rarely is the word ‘Sacrifice’ used.  In the Tridentine Mass, it is used very often and is the focus of the whole Mass.  It is called the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass.  In the New Mass, it is called the celebrating of the Holy Eucharist.

I will write more on this gradual crisis, that any sincerely holy Catholic priests will go through, as they discover and offer the two rites, The New and the Old Roman Rites, together.  I also want to write more on the persecution we priests receive when we dare say the truth, ‘THAT THE LATIN MASS HAS MORE REVERENCE AND PROTECTION FOR GOD/JESUS IN THE HOLY EUCHARIST THAN THE NEW MASS’.

What shall we do in this crisis of our Catholic Priesthood?  We pray, we keep on learning and we make decisions that take a lot of faith.  We must let our pastors and bishops know what our conscience is experiencing.  We may have to change parishes or dioceses where we will be able to offer the Latin Mass.  We may have to offer the New Rites with great pain, while we continue to offer the Ancient Rites.

We do not want to jump ship, even though this is very tempting to do.  We want to stay in canonically approved Church.  We need to have faith that God will take care of us, even if it means being terribly persecuted by our bishops, fellow priests and parishioners.

Easter_Holy SacrificeFor all of you wonderful priests who are going through this crisis, God and Mary will sustain you.  Let us pray for each other and go steady on.  The Catholic truth that we have discovered is TRUE.  There is no turning back.  God needs us right now in His Church to help reform, renew and remind people of their Catholic Treasures that were almost destroyed, but are now being brought back to life at the great price of great persecution and ostracization.

We are so blessed to be traditional Catholics, and priests at that, and to be able to help God when He needs us most in this history of His Catholic Church.

Ember Days – Bringing Back the Tradition Stolen from Us!

Please find the article below on another Catholic tradition that was ripped from us following Vatican II and is slowly coming back. . . Ember Days!  Ember Days are a great time to thank God for the seasons we have been given in our lives as well as the seasons in the weather.  The Church really has it all figured out.  The next Ember Days are the week after pentacost.

This fisheasters links has more information as well: http://www.fisheaters.com/emberdays.html

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http://cnstopstories.com/2015/05/01/ancient-catholic-tradition-of-ember-days-resurrected-by-iowa-deacon/

Ancient Catholic tradition of Ember days resurrected by Iowa deacon

Deacon Eric Bertrand of Warren County, Iowa, and Deacon Tom Hunkele of Des Moines bless hogs April 10. The two are reviving the ancient Catholic tradition of Ember days. (CNS/Kelly Mescher Collins, Diocese of Des Moines)

By Kelly Mescher Collins Catholic News Service

CHARITON, Iowa (CNS) — The ancient Catholic tradition of Ember days has been resurrected in the Diocese of Des Moines by a deacon who serves in rural ministry.

Deacon Eric Bertrand, assigned to Sacred Heart Parish in Chariton and Holy Trinity Parish in Lacona, said he was inspired to reintroduce the prayer and fasting traditions of Ember days while reading Pope Francis’ 2013 apostolic exhortation, “Evangelii Gaudium” (“The Joy of the Gospel”).

The pope “talked about reawakening popular devotion,” Deacon Bertrand said. “There was a lot of talking and discernment (among deacons in rural ministry). We started to explore bringing our spirituality out of the church.”

As a result, priests and deacons will by request make home visits to farmers who would like their seed, livestock, water sources, equipment, tools and land blessed. Farmers are encouraged to contact their local parish.

Kyle Lechtenberg, director of the diocesan Office for Worship, said the Ember day tradition focuses on giving thanks while remembering our dependence on God.

“I grew up on a farm, and you are totally dependent on the water that God provides, and there’s a risk and trust in farming,” Lechtenberg said. “We are so fortunate here that year after year after year the yields are so bountiful. That’s not true everywhere, and that’s a reason to be even more thankful.”

At one time, Ember days were on the liturgical calendar. Such days required fasting and were meant to “thank God for the gifts of nature, to teach men to make use of them in moderation and assist the needy.”

In 1966, Pope Paul VI’s apostolic constitution, “Paenitemini,” addressed and altered fasting guidelines and excluded Ember days as days of fast and abstinence.

Ember days occur four times per year, loosely corresponding to each season and preceding a liturgical feast day: Ash Wednesday in spring, Pentecost in summer, Exhaltation of the Holy Cross in fall and St. Lucy Day in winter.

Deacon Bertrand wants to bring back the message of Ember days while incorporating the spirituality and reverence surrounding agriculture.

“We really need to bring our spiritual life into our everyday life and into our rural occupations and rural activities,” Deacon Bertrand told The Catholic Mirror, newspaper of the Des Moines Diocese. “The care you’ve been given of these items comes directly from God and you’re asking for his blessing and abandoning your works into his hands.”

Deacon Bertrand said he would eventually like to have a special day of prayer and blessing for the public in the fall. City dwellers would benefit as well, he said.

“It’s where their food comes from,” he said. “You recognize the sacrifices of the people, their blood, sweat and tears in bringing that food to them.”

While giving thanks, it’s also important to remember farmers who have been injured or killed, as well as immigrants traveling far and working long hours in the fields to provide for their families, he said.

Ralph Sheve, a farmer and parishioner of Sacred Heart, looks forward to having his farm, equipment and cow/calf operation blessed. He likes the idea of renewing old church traditions and feels it can only help him spiritually.

“I just feel like in this day and age, the devil is working harder and harder to get my soul, and so anything I can do I’m going to do it,” Sheve said.

Farming can also be a dangerous occupation, and Sheve is thankful he has not faced serious injury or death in his family.

“In blessing my farm, I hope it slows me down a little bit and makes me appreciate everything,” he explained. “I just feel very blessed. If I can do anything to enable me to grow more spiritually when I’m out there doing my physical work, that’s what I’m all about.”

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Collins is a multimedia journalist on the staff of The Catholic Mirror, newspaper of the Diocese of Des Moines.

Desacrilizing the Mass and the Church has Been a Dismal Failure

The latest post from New Liturgical Movement is about how the experiment of the modern mass has not born fruit.  We couldn’t agree more! ————————————————————————————————– http://www.newliturgicalmovement.org/2015/05/beauty-and-tradition-in-church-of-poor.html#.

Beauty and Tradition in the “Church of the Poor” –

An interesting Article on Catholic World Report Abbot Nicholas Zachariadis and Benjamin Mann, who are both members of an Eastern Catholic monastery, Holy Resurrection in Saint Nazianz, Wisconsin, have recently published an article on the website of Catholic World Report, http://www.catholicworldreport.com/Item/3839/beauty_and_tradition_in_the_church_of_the_poor.aspx, on beauty in the liturgy and the truly Christian sense of humility. (Mr Mann, who is soon to receive his monastic tonsure, is also the author of a regular column at Catholic Exchange.)

The article contains a number of valuable insights and observations, of which I will give just a few selections here; click the link above for the rest. Especially interesting is the middle section, which is under the subheading “Poor Church, Yes – Iconoclastic Church, No!” (I am very much in favor of always keeping the combox open, and I try to keep a very light hand on moderating the discussions in it. A gentle reminder, which I know is not necessary for the vast majority of our readers: keep the comments charitable, especially in regards to the Holy Father, and germane to the topic at hand.)

While it has lost much of its momentum since the heyday of the 1970s and 1980s, the iconoclastic approach to liturgy and religious art has not gone away: indeed, it remains deeply ingrained, at the parish level, in much of the Western world. Today, there is a danger that this de-sacralizing attitude will be revived – and Benedict XVI’s efforts toward authentic liturgical renewal rolled back – by a misreading of Pope Francis’ words and ideals: an interpretation that casts Christian humility and liturgical beauty as opposites in tension, or even outright contradiction, rather than as potentially harmonious counterparts.

Notably, this assertion would have been repugnant to Pope Francis’ namesake St. Francis of Assisi – who wrote in his Testament that he wanted “above all” for Christ’s Eucharistic presence “to be honored and venerated and reserved in places which are richly ornamented.” This is in keeping with the saint’s entire view of nature and creation as showing forth the glory of God: for Il Poverello, there is no question of demonstrating our own humility through minimalistic worship. Rather, we show our ultimate poverty before God precisely by offering all created beauty – symbolically present in the Christian temple – back to its Creator. …

Examples could be marshaled and multiplied, to show that Christian humility and poverty do not require the abandonment of classical beauty and traditional liturgical forms. And such examples would by no means be confined to history. Across the globe even today, many of the world’s humblest and poorest Christian populations – those of the Middle East, or India, for instance – are among those most intent on maintaining their long-established forms of liturgy, art, and architecture, in all their outward splendor.

Ironically, far from expressing a sense of global or social solidarity, the insistence on a minimalistic and exaggeratedly “humble” religious aesthetic actually seems to be a form of modern Western parochialism among an educated elite. The movement toward a contrived informality and secularity in liturgy and art did not come from the poor or the ordinary faithful, but from a class of trained professionals who saw themselves as the most qualified readers of the signs of the times.

Their basic aspiration – to engage and evangelize the modern world more effectively – was good, and remains essential. Yet the result of their iconoclastic experiments can be seen in the “devastated vineyard” of closed seminaries, barren sanctuaries, and dwindling religious orders. The Western Church has already tried the reductive, desacralizing approach to humility and poverty, which claims that the Church must put off her outward signs of holiness and simply meet modern man on his own terms – and garb – in the secular city. Whatever its intentions may have been, this project has proved to be a dismal failure.

A Saint for Traditional Catholics

It certainly is tough times for Catholics that love the tradition of the Church. We are often viewed as mean-spirited or backward looking or just plain nutso. No matter because we have Truth on our side! Please read the post below from Father Peter Carota from traditionalcatholicpriest.com about a saint we can model our life after: St. Athanasius.

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St. Athanasius, Saint For Us Traditional Catholics

March 24, 2015

St. Athanasius (297-373) is the saint for us traditional Catholics today.  The reason I say this, is that he was banned from his diocese by the Church and emperors for at least five times.  He was the Bishop of Alexandria in Egypt for 46 years, but he also spent seventeen of these years in exile for defending Catholic truth.  He was constantly persecuted at the hands of the emperors and Church’s hierarchy for just defending the Divinity of Jesus against the Arian heretics.  Under the pressure of these heretics, even Pope Liberius excommunicated him.

athanasius-coverIt all began when he assisted the Patriarch Alexander, at the famous Council of Nicaea (325).  The Roman Emperor, Constantine, had called this council to settle conflicts in the Roman Empire concerning conflicts over Catholic dogma.  Here, Arius’ heretical teaching, (that Jesus was not consubstantial or co-equal with the Father), was condemned.  The confession of faith that came out of this council is known as the Nicene Creed, (defined at the council of Nicaea).  And this is why the word ‘consubstantial’ was recently re-inserted into the Nicene creed that we recite at every Sunday Mass.

The Arian heresy ‘denies that the Son is of one essence, nature, or substance with God; He is not consubstantial with the Father, and therefore not like Him, or equal in dignity, or co-eternal, or within the real sphere of Deity.‘  1914 Catholic Encyclopedia

Athanasius_monastery-studenica-frescoFrom this council on, Athanasius spent the rest of his life defending the divinity of Jesus and the Holy Trinity.  Because he (mostly alone) continuously stood up against the arianist who had infected almost all of the Catholic Church, the famous saying was penned; Athanasius contra mundum“, that is, “Athanasius against the world.  In the 400’s, Saint Jerome described this period as, “The whole world groaned and was amazed to find itself Arian“.

Today, we traditional Catholics, groan against the whole world and Church, because we find it almost filled with modernist and progressive heretics.

Athanasius_icon_17th centuryLet us not be discouraged.  Over and over again, God got St. Athanasius through his sufferings, false accusations and exiles.  It dearly cost St. Athanasius.  It will dearly cost us too.  But when all is said and done, it is in heaven where St. Athanasius is being rewarded by God forever.

We are so blessed to be traditional Catholics and to know and defend our Church’s dogma and history.  In the end, good always wins, even if it is not until heaven.