On Christian Marriage by Pope Pius XI

The primary reason for this post is to show forth some balance in what we do here at this website and not to just review a book. We are not blind to the confusion and chaos of modern society and the difficulties of right belief in the church today. (we recognize the need for pre Vatican II literature)

In fact what marriage is can be very confused in our minds. We are constantly being feed mixed messages (or outright lies) by the media and our friends (even Christian ones) often set bad examples.

That is why I recommend not only reading Vatican II and post council texts on marriage but also pre-Vatican II sources.

A great start is Casti Connubii by Pope Pius XI. It is a short 45 ish page read (which is not much if you are considering living the whole rest of your life in the state of marriage). It goes through several benefits of marriage and its powerful graces. It also details several don’ts and errors.

The last point is why I write this. There are lots of modern books (which are very good and should be read) about the does and goods of married life, thus it is also beneficial to take a step back and focus on reading an encyclical that is more prescriptive about the don’ts. It gave me a better perspective. It can be hard to move onwards to the law of love in freedom of the New Testament if we don’t first take to heart and pass through the thou shall nots of the 10 commandments of Moses in the Old Testament.

Additionally, reading both pre-and-post Vatican II document on marriage can show forth the continuity. In this way the post Vatican II morality of marriage expressed by some can be purified of its truly erroneous character when we see that this morality does not represent at all the intent of the council or Catholicism.

Bibliaclerus

Did you know that the Congregation for the Clergy (the Holy See) offers a free biblical analysis software?

It is free to download at http://www.clerus.org/bibliaclerus/index_eng.html

This is another great resource. Although, the English version is not as complete as the French or Italian there are still 100’s of books cross referenced to respective passages of scripture.

You can read the bible in parallel modern or ancient (Hebrew, Greek or Latin) languages. You can search the bible for particular words or themes. You have extensive Church Father works cross referenced (especially St. Augustine & St. Chrysostom), the Catechism of the Catholic Church, Homilies from Pope John Paul and Pope Benedict and numerous other documents. (even more if you can read French or Italian)

If you are looking for a great bible software do look up particular themes in the bible or are looking to see how particular verse have been understood this website/software is a great free resource.

Although the software may not be as user friendly as I would like it, I cant argue because it is free. When I have told others about this website, I was amazed how often this gem was a hidden one. I hope it become less hidden with the publication of this review.

(Also it has Vatican II documents cross reference as well for great ease in showing their deep scriptural foundation!!)

Communion on the Hand

Due to many discussions on the subject recently I could not keep silent while many attack Church discipline.

To begin the discussion about communion of the hand I would like to find a point of common agreement. First, I think that if you are reading this then we both probably agree that we both want Jesus to be best served in all things. Secondly, I am not claiming to be an expert in theology or any topic and for the majority of our readers neither are you. Third, there is a lot of other articles out there on the same topic so a rational mind would read those too to see what other have to say.

A novel approach, or at least one less taken, will be to read (or summarize) a passage from St. Faustina’s Diary. In paragraph 160, we can see that St. Faustina is sacrificing for sins and hoping that no sacrileges are committed that day. During Mass when receiving communion on the tongue (as was the only way to receive when she was alive) another Host falls into her hands from the priest by accident. She felt a great love and Jesus said that he not only desires to rest in her heart but also in her hands.

Of course the primary purpose of this episode was not to promote communion on the hand, but it does not mean that we cannot learn something on the subject from it. Clearly, St. Faustina nor Jesus were tremendously frightened about her touching the Host. The lesson is that Jesus truly wants us to be with him especially in the Eucharist. Also, I think that we can agree, it is not about how we want to receive but about how Jesus wants to be received.

In discussing this topic, I am aware that I am dealing with the desire of Jesus to be with us and also the summit and source of our faith. So not to overstep my reaches, I will not be commenting on if communion on the hand is better or worse than communion on the tongue. I will leave that to those to whom authority has been given to discuss that. What I do want to defend is the conscious of my brethren when attacked by others who say that communion on the hand is a sin or sacrilege.

St. Thomas is his Summa Theologica has several articles devoted to the topic of the Eucharist. (Not a surprise). He clearly teaches that quantity is part of the substance of what makes Jesus truly present. ST III:77:4 Thus, if you lose sufficient quantity Jesus is not present. So receiving communion on the hand does not mean we need a microscope to ensure that no particles are lost. Check out Jimmy Akin http://jimmyakin.com/2005/10/when_the_real_p.html.

So the question is brought up, is communion on the hand sinful because particles of Jesus are lost when you receive on the hand? My answer is no. Careful reception does not cause particles to be lost so it is not a sin.

I have read many arguments against receiving on the hand due to negative aspects of historical circumstance. These arguments if held would also have to be applied to other church historical acts surrounded by negative circumstances which unfortunately would call into question a lot of things not just communion on the hand. I have also read the various liturgical and faith based arguments. Yet, I cannot accept these as holding much weight if they proceed to claim that the church has promoted grave error, sin and lead many to lose faith in the sacred species.

Again, I make no comment about which is better (hand or tongue- I leave that to Pope). I simply state that my family and myself will not allow the mind of others to be swayed away from receiving Jesus simply because they receive on the hand. Take my opinion for what it is – that of a layman. On the day of judgment, I want to be known as one who holds to what I have written.

Side note – Vatican II said nothing about communion on the hand. That was a latter development.

I pray for all even those who disagree with me. Regards.

Beautiful Plants of the Bible by Dr. Darom, Other Atlases and Biblical Collections

There are so many different types of biblical commentary out there today. How do you chose which one to follow?

My recommendation for more scholarly commentary is to get the most up to date version of the New Catholic Commentary on Holy Scripture or the New Jerome Biblical Commentary. Alternatively, moving away from sometimes dry academic comments Scott Hahn’s Catholic Bible Dictionary is an excellent choice as well for an in depth yet more accessible guide to the bible.

One of the best (if not the best ever) Old Testament Guides is A Catholic Introduction to the Bible Old Testament by John Bergsma and Brant Pitre. I cannot compliment this book enough. It goes through all the OT, gives historical commentary, modern critiques and other contemporary issues. Yet, its real substance and reason to buy is its faithful and fruitful catholic perspective. For each book (or group of books), it gives a commentary on the book in the living tradition of the faith including beautiful theological typology, where the book is read in the liturgy, quotes from the church fathers and it mentions the sacraments (which some protestant books forget or pass over). Because this book was so rooted in the faith, it was not just an academic exercise to read but also something easily turned into prayer by typology or quotes from the living tradition of our faith.

I was gifted Scott Hahn’s Catholic Bible Dictionary and I highly recommend it. The other books in my scriptural library I have built up through book fairs. Scripture commentaries and guides can be very expensive (but often worth the price if you will use them). As a result of the price, I never pass up the opportunity to buy a bible atlas or guide/commentary at a book fair even if I just end up giving them away to friends.

Not every biblical guide will be from a Catholic perspective, that is why I have my main commentary from a Catholic perspective and compliment it with other series that can be less harmful if read from a different theological stance.

For example, I was able to pick up a book called Beautiful Plants of the Bible: From the Hyssop to the Mighty Cedar Trees by Dr. David Darom. I am not sure of Dr. Darom theological stances, but taking photos and citing scriptural passages of plants is a pretty safe theological bet, so I do not concern myself with the authors history. One thing I learnt from this book was that the mustard seed which birds come and build nest in the branches is not a tree but a herb and is a seasonal plant. (the whole branches idea from Mark 4:30-32 always made me think of a tree not a shrub)

Other great book fair finds have included photo guides of the Holy Land, bible atlases and other bible dictionaries to compliment Scott Hahn’s.

There are also lot’s of free church father homilies online which can serve as reflection guides as well. Check out CatholicCultures.org Church Father’s Collection as a place to start.

Honestly, the best catholic biblical guide is one you are actually going to read so choose what inspires you.

The Catechism of the Catholic Church Vatican II Style

I have seen recent comments diminishing the grander due to the Catechism of the Catholic Church published after Vatican II because of subsequent changes to its content on lying and on the death penalty. It is claimed that the Catechism of the Council of Trent never went through corrections of the same sort so it shows a certain superiority in that regard.

This article is not about addressing the changes made to the post Vatican II Catechism. What this article (more to follow in the coming weeks) is about my journey with the modern Catechism and my current reading and take on the Catechism of the Council of Trent.

Over the years I have slowly read the modern Catechism front to cover twice. I grew up and learnt to pray several of my prayers from the Baltimore Catechism and have also read the Trios Rivieres Catechism (French). I have never read the Catechism of the council of Trent but will do so to write these articles.

First impressions.

I like how the Modern Vatican II catechism approaches how to begin. I talks about humanity’s desire to know God. It deals with ways of coming to know God. Then dives into how God has revealed himself before going directly to the creed. This set up is much more appealing on an apologetic note and gives modern humanity a great systematic way to approach Catholicism. Many today first need to be convinced God actually does exist and does reveal himself before they will considering talking about articles of the creed.

What I like about how the Catechism of the council of Trent starts is its passages on how we come to know God more through faith than reason. This is a deep truth which I often need to remind myself. The Trent Catechism does set itself up to meet apologetic demands by giving some sort of explanations on how we can Know God through its articles on faith.

The Trent Catechism goes right to the heart by talking directly about faith which I like better than the Vatican II catechism but I feel that the Vatican II is much more akin to modern human thinking.

I also have to note that the Trent Catechism makes note that the Apostles themselves wrote the Apostles Creed and divided into 12 parts. Although this is a pious tradition which may well be correct, we are not required to believe this and can piously debate this fact. (a catechism is not infallible dogma) The Vatican II catechism does not make the assertion that the Apostles themselves wrote the creed. Perhaps, this is one area were the Trent Catechism in its own way could have been revised. Especially, from a apologetic view point it is a bad idea to get weighed down by there type of historical debates early on before you even get to the deeper more necessary truths of salvation (like the actually contents of the creed).

So far impressed with both catechism. Stayed tuned as my thoughts develop as I read more of the Trent Catechism in coming blog posts.

Ave Maria

The Real Presence (Website)

A great place to find a Eucharistic Defence of Vatican II.

www.therealpresence.org/ (check out the Vatican II section for conciliar text quotes on the subject and links to great pro Vatican II articles) http://www.therealpresence.org/eucharst/vat/a4.html

I have not had a chance to go over the entire website’s content (which is a lot of material and resources all about the Eucharist) but all seems to be faithful to the magisterium from what I have read. I think this is going to be a favorite website for me in the future for dealing with the Eucharist and Vatican II.

Here is a quote from the website giving the reason for providing so many great Vatican II Eucharistic defence quotes and article links.

The contents of this page will hopefully help you to use the Vatican II documents as a means of increasing faith and devotion to the Eucharist in your area. It is true that this council encouraged changes in the liturgy. However, many people have misinterpreted this message and thus have down played the importance of the Eucharist in the Church and in our personal lives. Some members of the Church will claim that this council stated that the Eucharist is merely a symbol, thus denying the Real Presence. On the contrary, almost every Vatican II document speaks of the Real Presence, and implies that we need to increase our devotion to Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament.

For me this is not only a great website to learn pro Vatican II apologetics but also come to deepen my faith in the source and summit of our great Faith.

Sometimes we hear so much negativity about Vatican II that we forgot just how many great organizations are defending Vatican II and all the good that it caused. This is another one of those organizations. So I thank the content creators.

Ave Maria

Institute of Catholic Culture

Another Great Catholic Resource!

https://instituteofcatholicculture.org/

What is the Institute of Catholic Culture?

From the website mission statement.

The Institute of Catholic Culture is an adult catechetical organization, faithful to the Magisterium of the Catholic Church, and dedicated to the Church’s call for a new evangelization. The Institute seeks to fulfill its mission by offering educational programs structured upon the classical liberal arts and by offering opportunities in which authentic Catholic culture is experienced and lived.

It succeeds well in this mission. Although you do have to sign up, to access the entire video archives the archives is free to access. I have been exceedingly impressed with the breadth of material dealt with by the institute. Given by numerous presenters, there are video (often 1 hour long) about Liturgy, Culture, Scripture, Theology, Philosophy, Art, Music, Saints, History and more from a Catholic perspective.

If you have never visited the website, next time you are looking for a good lecture/talk give the Institute of Catholic Culture a shot and look through their 100’s of hour of content for something the Holy Spirit inspires you to listen/watch to.

They even let you download some of the talks in mp3 format to take on a trip or listen to during a walk.

I hope that you enjoy this great free Catholic resource to build up your faith and it helps you spread the faith to your family and neighborhood.

Overall Highly Positive

The Order of the Mass Latin and English (Ordinary Form) – Vatican II Loves Latin

Did Vatican II do away with Latin? It was not the council’s intention.

Particular law remaining in force, the use of the Latin Langauge is to be preserved in the Latin rites.” (Sacrosanctum Concilium, n.36)

“Steps should be taken so that the faithful may also be able to say or to sing together in Latin those parts of the Ordinary of the Mass which pertain to them.” (Sacrosanctum Concilium, n.50)

All the beauty/mystery of Latin is still present after Vatican II. Vatican II cannot simply be blamed for the removal of Latin from everyday life. There were deeper social trends going on at the time that contributed to this.

Did you know also that the Latin from of the Ordinary Form of the Mass also has Gregorian Chant? Vatican II did not do away with that also.

The Church acknowledges Gregorian chant as specially suited to the Roman liturgy: therefore, other things being equal, it should be given pride of place in liturgical services.(Sacrosanctum Concilium, n.116)

In the Latin Church the pipe organ is to be held in high esteem, for it is the traditional musical instrument which adds a wonderful splendor to the Church’s ceremonies and powerfully lifts up man’s mind to God and to higher things. But other instruments also may be admitted for use in divine worship, with the knowledge and consent of the competent territorial authority, as laid down in Art. 22, 52, 37, and 40. This may be done, however, only on condition that the instruments are suitable, or can be made suitable, for sacred use, accord with the dignity of the temple, and truly contribute to the edification of the faithful.” (Sacrosanctum Concilium, n.120)

What is the purpose of all these quotes? (a lot more could be added from John Paul II and Benedict XVI praising Latin as well)

It simply shows that when Vatican II reformed the Liturgy the purpose was not to rid the church of Latin or Chant, but for renewal and accessibility. Other currents were also part of the removal of Latin from everyday experience including the sentiment of lay people and the clergy.

My challenge for everyone is to go out at least once for the ordinary form of the Mass in Latin (hopefully with chant). I was able to do this twice, although it took a while. (Latin ordinary form can be even harder to find than Latin extraordinary form — the pre-Vatican II form)

It was a blessing to experience the traditional language of the Roman Church. It also helped me experience first hand the liturgical continuity of Vatican II at a deeper level!

The wisdom of Vatican II is here present. Now I can go to a vernacular Mass with greater understanding without losing the traditional language of Catholicism at other times. How grateful should we be for this!

Praise God

Bishop Sheen Today

This website is a great find!

https://www.bishopsheentoday.com/

It has a load of links to free Venerable Archbishop Fulton Sheen material and books. Radio shows, videos, books and more!

I have meet Allan Smith the founder personally, and can attest to the power of his influence to spread Bishop Sheen. Let’s pray for Sheen’s canonization.

If you have not read or listened to Venerable Archbishop Sheen I would definitely give him a thought for your next book/radio show. I would describe Venerable Archbishop Sheen’s writing as an older version of Scott Hahn. Very accessible like Scott Hahn but also with great depth. Sheen’s books can be slightly longer than Hahn’s and also deal with topics like communism and psychology more often (as we would expect from someone who preached in the 40-70s).

I would not be surprised if his works like Three to Get Married, The World’s First Love Mary Mother of God or The Priest is not his Own are still being read 300 years from now. -God willing the world does not end before that.

Dr. Taylor Marshall – Does Vatican II Contain Error 3 Views on What to Do: Vigano, Schneider and Brandmuller

Before I begin I would like to show my respect to the faithful and insightful Dr. Taylor Marshall for his contributions to the faith. He is holier and smarter than me, but that does not mean I agree with everything he says. I would like to dialogue with his position expressed on Jul 16th 2020 in his YouTube video entitled as seen above.

A lot of what he does I agree with. His prayer at the beginning of the episode and academic depth I look up to. There was a few details in the episode dealing with Vatican II that I disagree with though.

To mention some.

First, that Paul VI said Vatican II never promuglated any dogmatic definitions so that means there is a lot of its contents up for debate. (See this great article on the subject) https://www.catholicculture.org/commentary/pope-paul-vi-on-vatican-ii/

Basically, I don’t think anyone would argue that Vatican II used an extraordinary act of the Magisterium to proclaim dogma as Paul VI said. Yet, I would take it for granted that almost all would agree that Vatican II’s teaching fell (or has fallen) under the protection of ordinary magisterial acts. Especially considering that the subsequent Popes have been very pro Vatican II and they have repeated its teaching numerous times. This allows it to be considered protected against error under acts of ordinary Magisterium. (again check out the linked article) Thus, I think that Catholics owe a submission of intellect to Vatican II rather than a questioning attitude.

Secondly, I disagree with his critiques of Nostra Aetate. He mentions that it teaches questionable things about other religions including the fact that Buddhism can allow adherents to attain perfect liberation. Reading the entire paragraph were you have the questionable ideas about Muslims, Buddhism and Hinduism (paragraph 2) you get a powerful final thought. It says that Christ is the way truth and life in whom the fullness of religious life dwells. You have to read the sentences before that in light of its final idea. Hence, some translation don’t read Buddhism teaches a way to perfect detachment but proposes a way (Austin Flannery – Costello Publishing). See my more detailed defence in the link below. (Luther ‘taught’ a way to salvation also but that does not mean we agree) Perhaps Nostra Aetate could have been more careful on the wording (teaching – vs attempt to teach) but I will not venture beyond my wisdom to claim this of a sacred council. When you read the entire paragraph with its ending it is clear that it does not place all religions on the same level. https://defendingvatican2.wordpress.com/defending-vatican-ii/2-0-nostra-aetate/ (or go online and find some even better defences like https://www.firstthings.com/web-exclusives/2015/11/the-road-to-nostra-aetate, )

Thirdly, that the use of subsist in is a problem. That because Vatican II said the Church of Christ subsists in the Catholic Church it could also subsists elsewhere. (same words applied to Christ’s Divinity) See Tim Staples defend Vatican II on this point extremely well and shows that is not the correct interpretation. https://www.catholic.com/video/defending-vatican-ii

Don’t get me wrong I have great respect for Dr. Taylor Marshall, I just hope that he will use his great faith and intellect to defend Vatican II (or dialogue more on a pro Vatican II side) rather than critique it.

Overall lesson that I hope the reader takes away is that instead of finding error in Vatican II, try to find the good. When in doubt at least spend as much time listening to people defend Vatican II as you do those who critique its documents. I am be able to easily be defeated in my argument by someone like Dr. Marshall but there are a lot smarter people out there than me defending Vatican II to meet the match of any challenges.

For Dr. Taylor Marshall’s other critiques I hope you also do some personal research and listen to some intellectual pro Vatican II bishops before making any life changing choices.

Ave Maria