Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Ranjith on Kneeling for Communion during the liturgy and Communion on the Tongue by Shawn Tribe

Libreria Editrice Vaticana has published a book, Dominus Est by Bishop Athansius Schnedier, where that Bishop analyzes the question of communion recieved kneeling and on the tongue. Archbishop Malcolm Ranjith has written the foreward to this book, which the NLM is happy to present an unofficial translation here to follow. (Many thanks to a good friend of the NLM for providing the link to this, which came originally through, Associazione Luci sull'Est. Without further adieu, the foreword of Msgr. Ranjith, Secretary to the CDW: In the Book of Revelation, St. John tells how he had seen and heard what was revealed and prostrated [himself] in adoration at the foot of the angel of God (cf. Rev 22, 8). Prostrating, or getting down one one's knees before the majesty of the presence of God in humble adoration, was a habit of reverence that Israel brought constantly to the presence of the Lord. It says the first book of Kings, "when Solomon had finished putting this prayer to the Lord and this plea, he stood up before the altar of the Lord, where he was kneeling, with palms stretched heavenward, and blessed the whole assembly of Israel "(1 King 8, 54-55). The position of supplication of the King is clear: He was kneeling in front of the altar. The same tradition is also visible in the New Testament where we see Peter get on his knees before Jesus (cf. Lk 5, 8); when Jairus asked him to heal her daughter (Luke 8, 41), when the Samaritan returned to thank him, and when Mary the sister of Lazarus asked for the life of her brother (John 11, 32). The same attitude of prostration before the revelation of the divine presence and is generally known in the Book of Revelation (Rev. 5, 8, 14 and 19, 4). Closely linked to this tradition was the conviction that the Holy Temple in Jerusalem was the dwelling place of God and therefore, in the temple it was necessary to prepare one's disposition by corporal expression, a deep sense of humility and reverence in the presence of the Lord. Even in the Church, the deep conviction that in the Eucharistic species the Lord is truly and really present, along with the growing practice of preserving the Holy Sacrament in tabernacles, contributed to practice of kneeling in an attitude of humble adoration of the Lord in the Eucharist. [...] ...faith in the Real Presence of Christ in the Eucharistic species already belonged to the essence of the faith of the Catholic Church and was an intrinsic part of Catholicism.
It was clear that we could not build up the Church if that faith was minimally affected. Therefore, the Eucharist, bread transubstantiated in Body of Christ and wine into the Blood of Christ, God among us, is to be greeted with wonder, reverence and an immense attitude of humble adoration. Pope Benedict XVI... points out that "receiving the Eucharist means adoring him whom we receive [...] only in adoration can a profound and genuine reception mature."(Sacramentum Caritatis 66). Following this tradition, it is clear that it became coherent and indispensable to take actions and attitudes of the body and spirit which makes it easier to [enter into] silence, recollection, and the humble acceptance of our poverty in the face of the infinite greatness and holiness of the One who comes to meet us in the Eucharistic species. The best way to express our sense of reverence to the Lord in Mass is to follow the example of Peter, who as the Gospel tells us, threw himself on his knees before the Lord and said, 'Lord, depart from me, for I am a sinner " (Luke 5, 8). As we see in some churches now, this practice is decreasing and those responsible not only require that the faithful should receive the Holy Eucharist standing, but even eliminate all kneelers forcing the faithful to sit or stand, even during the elevation and adoration of the [Sacred] Species. It is ironic that such measures have been taken in [some] dioceses by those responsible for liturgy, or in churches, by pastors, without even the smallest amount of consultation of the faithful, even though today, more than ever, there is an environment desiring democracy in the Church. At the same time, speaking of communion in the hand, it must be recognized that the practice was improperly and quickly introduced in some quarters of the Church shortly after the Council, changing the age-old practice and becoming regular practice for the whole Church.
They justified the change saying that it better reflected the Gospel or the ancient practice of the Church... Some, to justify this practice referred to the words of Jesus: "Take and eat" (Mk 14, 22; Mt 26, 26). Whatever the reasons for this practice, we cannot ignore what is happening worldwide where this practice has been implemented. This gesture has contributed to a gradual weakening of the attitude of reverence towards the sacred Eucharistic species whereas the previous practice had better safeguarded that sense of reverence. There instead arose an alarming lack of recollection and a general spirit of carelessness. We see communicants who often return to their seats as if nothing extraordinary has happened... In many cases, one cannot discern that sense of seriousness and inner silence that must signal the presence of God in the soul. Then there are those who abuse takes away the sacred species to keep them as souvenirs, those who sell, or worse yet, who take them away to desecrate it in Satanic rituals. Even in large concelebrations, also in Rome, several times the sacred species has been found thrown onto the ground. This situation not only leads us to reflect upon a serious loss of faith, but also on outrageous offenses... The Pope speaks of the need not only to understand the true and deep meaning of the Eucharist, but also to celebrate it with dignity and reverence. He says that we must be aware of "gestures and posture, such as kneeling during the central moments of the Eucharistic Prayer." (Sacramentum Caritatis, 65).
Also, speaking about the reception of the Holy Communion he invites everyone to "make every effort to ensure that this simple act preserves its importance as a personal encounter with the Lord Jesus Christ in the sacrament." (Sacramentum Caritatis, 50). In this vein, the book written by Bishop Athanasius Schneider, Auxiliary Bishop of Karaganda in Kazakhstan entitled Dominus Est is significant and appreciated. He wants to make a contribution to the current debate on the real and substantial presence of Christ in the consecrated species of bread and wine... from his experience, which aroused in him a deep faith, wonder and devotion to the Lord present in the Eucharist, he presents us with a historical-theological [consideration] clarifying how the practice of receiving Holy Communion on the tonue and kneeling has been accepted and practiced in the Church for a long period of time.
Now I think it is high time to review and re-evaluate such good practices and, if necessary, to abandon the current practice that was not called for by Sacrosanctum Concilium, nor by Fathers, but was only accepted after its illegitimate introduction in some countries. Now, more than ever, we must help the faithful to renew a deep faith in the Real Presence of Christ in the Eucharistic species in order to strengthen the life of the Church and defend it in the midst of dangerous distortions of the faith that this situation continues to cause. The reasons for this move must be not so much academic but pastoral - spiritual as well as liturgical - in short, what builds better faith. Mons. Msgr. Schneider in this sense shows a commendable courage because he has been able to grasp the true meaning of the words of St. Paul: "but everything should be done for building up" (1 Cor 14, 26).
Secretary of the Congregation for Divine Worship

The Day a Bishop Celebrated an Extraordinary Mass by Joseph Madrinan (courtesy of Pro Deo et Patria)

In his immaculate white cassock buttoned with the purple of his Episcopal office, and his zucchetto, Father Bishop Gregorio (forgive the imprecise term, this is my term of endearment for every bishop) processed towards the prie-dieu especially prepared for him. From there he recited some prayers ( I wonder if it was the little hour of Terce, but quite probably it wouldn’t have been, otherwise it should have taken longer), and then started vesting. Washing his hands, a carry-over practice from the ablutions Jews do, he then proceeded to putting on the amice, then the festal alb, followed by the cincture. These pieces of priestly vestments, for the average Catholic nowadays, would seem to be museum pieces, something you only get to see, but you actually don't wear. During this time, the first chaplain, Fr. Jojo assisted him with the help of the Sacristan Mayor of PLDM. Tying the cincture half-way through, Father Bishop then put on his stole, symbol of priestly authority, followed by a beautiful golden chasuble, as the mass was votive to the Blessed Trinity. Finally, on his left arm, he wore the golden maniple. It was simply lovely, a bishop who in front of all the faithful transformed from his simple soutane, to the ornate priestly attire he wore for that day’s Mass: truly it was a sight to behold. As I was recalling this event, I can’t help to remember the word’s of Our Lord to Peter saying when he becomes old, even his belt will have to be put on by his servants.As the bishop passed on from his daily attire to that of high priest, the faithful can’t help but be reminded that truly, the bishop becomes an alter christus, he no longer is just one among us, but another Christ, about to offer the same sacrifice of the Cross!Intoning the Judica me, Fr. Bishop officially began the mass with the antiphon, Introibo ad altare Dei, I shall enter the altar of the Lord! Those who say the TLM is never interactive should have heard how the church resounded with the dialogue that ensued during the Judica me. Just because something is in Latin doesn’t really mean nobody will be able to respond, that simply is a fallacy, and all the more I would doubt that the ones who came on that day’s mass were the ferment of society, or the literati or some intellectual whackoes, No, they were simple-minded faithful.Fr. Bishops sweet, flowing Latin was interrupted when he reread the day’s epistle and Gospel in English, and then providing a brief homily. There, he quoted profusely from the Motu Proprio Summorum Pontificum (MP) and its accompanying explanatory letter. He talked of how, beyond reconciliation and unity, the MP was truly about providing the richness of Catholic Tradition to everyone and that it was about enriching both ordinary and extraordinary forms. To cap his homily filled with a Litany of Thanksgiving, he said, finally I offer this mass to you, who have been devoted to this mass. There he was, a bishop who truly understood the mind of the Holy Father, a true and loyal son of Holy Mother the Church, a pastor bonus, a gift of God to his people.The silence that followed during the Canon Missae rendered more solemnity to the occasion, to this joyous day when two scores after the Pauline reforms, once again a Philippine Church resounded with the silent, almost whispering prayer of a bishop, about to bring Calvary present once more, in the Mass.When the mass was technically done and the final blessing was given, the elaborate ceremonial of the Extraordinary Form doesn’t stop yet. In fact, first, it calls for thanksgiving in the reading of the first chapter of John, and then prayers of petitions to Our Blessed Mother and to St. Michael, for the conversion of sinners, the exaltation of Holy Mother the Church and the defeat of the enemy. Fr. Bishop, all the more did these with a distinct affection one can almost feel when he recited the 3 Ave Mariae and the Prayer to St Michael.After taking off the sacred vestments, Fr. Bishop spent some moments of silence thanking God for what had just happened, afterwards and to no surprise, droves of the faithful “drowned” him, all wanting to take their chance to gain an indulgence by kissing his Episcopal ring, but more than that, to offer their thanks and the warmth of their affection to such a bishop who, to my own recollection, did what simply was a miracle.As I am just 22, truly what I saw today was something I haven’t seen in my whole life, and thus I too thank Fr. Bishop for the “miracle” of the Holy Mass he has celebrated today.

Monday, January 28, 2008

Thanksgiving Traditional Mass of Bishop Camilo Gregorio (pics courtesy of Claire Navarro)

Bishop Camilo Gregorio of Batanes is the first Roman Catholic Bishop in the Philippines in communion with the Holy See, who has officially and publicly celebrated a Low Pontifical Mass assisted by Fr. Michell Joe Zerrudo after the promulgation and as thanksgiving for Pope Benedict XVI's Summorum Pontificum, clarifying that the Tridentine Mass now called the Extraordinary Roman Rite according to the 1962 Missal of Blessed Pope John XXIII, has never been abolished and may still be celebrated by those who wish to have the Mass in that manner yet giving preeminence to the 1970 Missal of Pope Paul VI as the normative liturgy or the Ordinary Roman Rite. The Mass was celebrated at Our Lord of Divine Mercy Parish, Sikatuna, Q.C., at eight in the morning of January 28, 2008. Fr. Zerrudo is Pastor of the said parish.
During recent chats with Msgr. Moises Andrade, the late Rufino Cardinal Santos refused to abandon the Pre-Pauline Rite and disapproved its celebration "ad popolo" even after the reforms of Vatican II. It was only during the 1970 Papal Visit of the late Pope Paul VI that he allowed the Novus Ordo Mass known then as the "People's Mass" in deference to the Pope. Another conversation with well-known Marian visionary Carmelo Cortez who last year attended a seminar on the Extraordinary form of the Roman Rite in the United States shared that the Philippine Church was one of the last to have abandoned the Old Rite in exchange for the New Rite.
It was unfortunate that I was not able to attend this historical event and had no idea that he was planning to celebrate this form of Mass when I met him a few weeks ago at the wake of Dna. Rosario Adriano, mother of liturgical artist, Tony Adriano (who was just recently appointed as Philippine Consul to Rome). It was Bishop Gregorio who celebrated a private Traditional Mass in our house around 1995 and at Santuario de San Jose in Greenhills in the same year. He is a classmate of Benedictine Fr. Pio Lomibao, O.S.B. and encouraged the latter to celebrate the Traditional Mass which he occassionally does. May God bless the good Bishop!

The Bishop of Batanes and the Triumph of Tradition by Armand La Morte

This morning witnessed another great and historic triumph of Tradition, as His Grace, Camillo Gregorio D.D., the Bishop of Batanes, culminated his apostolic priesthood once more as he offered the Sacrifice of the Mass, in the extraordinary form of the Roman rite - the Tridentine rite. It is another affirmation from God, that the Traditional Catholic movement is on the right path, and that the restoration of the Church, particularly here in Metro Manila, is well on its way. The persecuted Bishop, who fought hard on the side of Tradition in his previous Diocese, seemingly mimicked the thanksgiving of St. Athanasius of Alexadria, for the continuing restoration of the Church. In his homily, His Grace thanked Our Lord and the Holy Father for the gift of Summorum Pontificum. He affirmed and highlighted some points of what Pope Benedict XVI, intends for the Church, namely the healing of rift and dissentions among Catholics, and the unity of the Church, as the two valid forms of the Roman rite "enriches one another". His Grace also expressed his thanks and admiration to everyone present during the mass. Although the Extraordinary form was celebrated in the so-called 'Low Mass', nevertheless it was said in a very solemn manner that the people present meditatively, and enthusiastically assisted. Fr. Jojo Zerrudo "concelebrated" and actively served and assisted His Grace, throughout the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass. After the celebration, the people joyfully flocked towards the Bishop to ask for his blessing, and to give their thanks and honor to this great servant of Our Lord and of His Church. May the Lord be praised and all glory be unto Him. May God continually bless his servant Reverend Bishop Camillo Gregorio in give him the strength for the apostolic burden he received.

For once allow me to concede to the Protestants, in singing “This is the day (2x)…that the Lord has made; I will rejoice (2x) and be glad in Him.”

Instavrare Omnia In Christo,

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Grand Sto. Nino Procession Highlights January Festivities

The Philippines, being the major Roman Catholic country in Southeast Asia, (with East Timor as the other), was granted by the Holy See a proper feast every third Sunday of January in honor of the Child Jesus popularlt known as the Sto. Nino. Practically, the whole of January is designated as Sto. Nino month with local images having its own local feast day. The titular image of the Congregacion del Stmo. Nombre del Nino Jesus, the "Nombre" has his feast day observed at the last Sunday of January preceded by a novena of Masses and various images exhibit (around 500) at the Philippine National Bank Headquarters.
Yesterday, the feast was observed with the participation of the 200 carrozas or floats depicting the different images of the Holy Child. The procession, starting from the Philtrade grounds at the corner of Buendia and Roxas Blvd., and ends at the Luneta Grandstand (a 3 kilometer stretch more or less), usually takes 5 hours. However the 2008 procession for the 1st time took more than 6 hours due to the participation of thousands of people watching or joining the procession and the insertion of other unofficial floats. While waiting for the arrival and completion of the carrozas at the grandstand, various ati-atihan groups made their presentations as offering to the Child Jesus. There were also other groups who presented a Filipinana dance and a Lyre band exhibition.
After awarding the best in theme, best carroza, best in group effort and best in ati-tihan presentaion, the celebration was capped by a prayer dance known as the "Bati" dance rendered by young boys and girls while a fireworks display was on-going. The festivities however created an enormous traffick jam which lasted until 10pm since half of Roxas blvd. was closed for the procession. This year's overall Fiesta del Senor Sto. Nino 2008 Chairman was Deo Pamilar together with other committee chairmen. I was designated as head of the Liturgical Committee.

Pictures of the Traditional Latin Mass at the Immaculate Conception Cathedral of the Diocese of Cubao courtesy of Gerald Cenir

Thanks to Gerald Cenir, who serves as our unofficial chronicler and photographer for taking these beautiful pictures. He is also as volunteer memebr of the informal schola/choir for the Divine Mercy Traditional Masses and is undergoing training as an altar server. You may visit his Pro Deo et Patria blog.

Dawn Traditional Mass in Honor of St. Therese of the Child Jesus at the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception

On the occassion of the 2008 Philippine Visit of the Pilgrim relics of St. Therese of the Child Jesus, a solemn votive Mass of St. Therese was offered for the first time in the new cathedral of the Immaculate Conception of the Diocese of Cubao, according to the extraordinary Roman Rite known as the "Tridentine Rite", using the 1962 Missal of Blessed Pope John XXIII. The Mass offered by Fr. Michell Joe Zerrudo at 4am, was assisted by Mark Bunag, a seminarian of the Diocese of Caloocan as Master of Ceremonies, with young altar servers of Fr. Zerrudo's parish of the Divine Mercy as torch bearers and thurifer. Organist and cantor was yours truly, Dennis Raymond P. Maturan, using the Missa di Angelis for chant settings and other latin hymns. A siginificant people from different parts of Metro Manila were present and delighted with the restoration of the Old Rite of the Mass. Below are pictures of that occassion.