Friday, October 24, 2014

Before he became Pope, Francis downplayed the necessity of Holy Mass?

"The Man who would one day be Pope Francis had come to hold a service far from the grandeur of the great cathedral of Buenos Aires. He had travelled – taking the subway train and then the bus – to arrive in one of the shanty-towns, which Argentines call villas miserias – misery villages. He had picked his way down crooked and chaotic alleyways, criss-crossed with water pipes and dangling electricity cables, along which open sewers ran as malodorous streams when the rain came. There, amid ramshackle houses of crudely- cemented terracotta breezeblock, he fell into conversation with the middle-aged mother.

She told him of life in an impoverished slum, terrorised by gangs peddling paco – the cheap chemical waste product left over from processing the cocaine sent to Europe and the United States, or sold to the affluent middle classes of the Argentinian capital. Dealers mix the residue with kerosene, rat poison or even crushed glass and sell it for a dollar a hit to the people of the slums. So addictive is the drug that one day’s free supply is enough to get hooked, creating a short-lived high followed by an intense craving, paranoia and hallucination. The dealers target the children of the poor and adolescents who hang around because there is no work to be had.

The woman looked at the prince of the Church and apologised to him for the fact that her son, amidst all that, had stopped going to Mass. The man, who as Pope was to take the name of Francis – the great saint of the poor – looked into her eyes as though she were the only person in his world. “But is he a good kid?” the priest asked.

“Oh, yes, Father Jorge,” she replied, eschewing the grander titles of the cardinal archbishop. “Well,” pronounced the prelate, “that’s what matters.” See here.

It goes without saying that such is pure nonsense. As Manuel Garrido, O.S.B. explains:

"The moral obligation to participate in the eucharistic sacrifice on Sundays dates from the very beginning of Christianity, although it did not become a definite law of the Church until the fourth century. The meaning, the scope and the application of this law have been the subject of much research and study, not to mention considerable controversy, in the years following the Second Vatican Council. The matter can be studied from the vertical point of view, in that there exists the obligation to worship God, and also from the horizontal viewpoint, which involves all the anthropological aspects of every shade and hue. Both of these approaches are legitimate and easily lead to a solution, so long as they are integrated, and the conclusions drawn from each are given their proper place in the scale of values. But trouble begins when the proponents of one approach refuse to recognize the validity of the other. And here, as in so many other manifestations of the Church's discipline, the strength of our faith is all-important, and so is the regulating of all our acts by a truly religious conscience. Something similar happens in hospitals and schools, or in any institution with a set of rules that must be followed. Typical is a fixed schedule for meals, which people with a good appetite find no difficulty in obeying, while those with poor appetites regard it as an imposition to be avoided.
The obligation to attend Sunday Mass exists. It is a commandment of the Church which binds under the penalty of grave sin. It exists for a specific reason and should be known and loved, so that the soul feels a need to fulfill it. The fact that it is a law helps to create a religious consciousness of this need, which, in turn, makes it easier to fulfill the obligation.

Although they refer to another subject, the following words of Msgr. Escriva de Belaguer sum up admirably what I am trying to say: "In direct opposition to the faith which we find a mistaken interpretation of freedom, a freedom with no end in sight, with no objective standards, without law, without responsibility; in a word licentiousness. This unfortunately, is what some people propose, and it is nothing but an excuse to attack the faith." ("Friends of God", no. 32) Like any other society, the Church has her own laws, which should be followed in the light of her proper aims, especially when it is a matter with some bearing on the third Commandment. In order to appreciate a law and fulfill it conscientiously and enthusiastically, it is first necessary to know it properly.

The Day Of The Lord

The Second Vatican Council reminds us that "apostolic tradition of the Church is, from the very day of the resurrection of Christ, to celebrate the Pasch every eight days, on the day which is called the day of the Lord" ("Sacrosanctum Concilium", 106). Modern scientific investigation also proves that this custom is from the time of the apostles.

The first mention of this is to be found in Sacred Scripture is in St. Paul's first Epistle to the Corinthians, written in the year 57. The Apostle refers "to the first day of the week" (16, 1-2) as the most appropriate for the collection for the poorer communities. About two years later the Acts of the Apostles tell of the celebration of the eucharist in Troas: "on the first day of the week" (20, 7-8). Here we are given to understand that the celebration takes place in the evening or the night of the day before. This custom was observed in the Church until the last century and has been restored since the Council. From the foregoing it is clear that in Greece, Galatia, Bithynia, and consequently in Palestine and Syria, during the first half of the first century, the celebration of the eucharist on the first day of the week was a common establishment among Christian communities.

We first hear of this day being referred to as the Lord's day in the Apocalypse of St. John, 1, 9-10: "I was in the spirit on the Lord's Day". In Latin it is called "Dominica" or "Dies Dominicus", a name which is retained in the Latin languages: "domingo, domenica, dimanche, domineca", etc.; while in the Germanic languages the pagan name is retained "dies solis" (sonntag, Sunday), in Russia it is called "voskresenie," after the resurrection of the Lord; the Armenians call it "haruthjan" and "deruni," which means "the Lord's Day."

In Didache, 14, I the Sunday celebration seems obligatory: "On Sundays, get together and break the bread and give thanks, confessing your sins in order that your sacrifice may be pure." This testimony pertains to the second half of the first century. In the second century, St. Justin, writing to a pagan, gives us a striking description of Holy Mass being celebrated every Sunday, referred to by him as "dies solis"; and he goes on to explain that those who live in towns and villages attend this sacred assembly ("Apologia" I, 67). During the same period we have Dionisius of Corinth speaking of the first day of the week as a "holy day" ("PG", 20, 388). From here on we can find numerous descriptions of the Sunday eucharistic celebration and also of the Christians' obligation of participating in the same."

In Luke 18:19, Jesus responds to a young man who calls Him "Good Master,":

"Why dost thou call me good? None is good but God alone."

Apparently these words are lost on Francis.  As are these words from Jesus related in John 6:53:

“Amen, amen, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you do not have life within you."

And some insist that orthodox Catholics have nothing to worry about? Really?

Who's kidding who?


Paul Anthony Melanson said...

"Canon 4. If anyone says that the sacraments of the New Law are not necessary for salvation but are superfluous, and that without them or without the desire of them men obtain from God through faith alone the grace of justification, though all are not necessary for each one, let him be anathema." Council of Trent, 7th Session.

David said...

If Mass isn't necessary for salvation, why do we attend? What do we need the priest for?

Is this the Pope's message for mankind?

Ted Loiseau said...

2180 The precept of the Church specifies the law of the Lord more precisely: “On Sundays and other holy days of obligation the faithful are bound to participate in the Mass.”117 “The precept of participating in the Mass is satisfied by assistance at a Mass which is celebrated anywhere in a Catholic rite either on the holy day or on the evening of the preceding day.”118

2181 The Sunday Eucharist is the foundation and confirmation of all Christian practice. For this reason the faithful are obliged to participate in the Eucharist on days of obligation, unless excused for a serious reason (for example, illness, the care of infants) or dispensed by their own pastor.119 Those who deliberately fail in this obligation commit a grave sin.

2182 Participation in the communal celebration of the Sunday Eucharist is a testimony of belonging and of being faithful to Christ and to his Church. The faithful give witness by this to their communion in faith and charity. Together they testify to God’s holiness and their hope of salvation. They strengthen one another under the guidance of the Holy Spirit.

2183 “If because of lack of a sacred minister or for other grave cause participation in the celebration of the Eucharist is impossible, it is specially recommended that the faithful take part in the Liturgy of the Word if it is celebrated in the parish church or in another sacred place according to the prescriptions of the diocesan bishop, or engage in prayer for an appropriate amount of time personally or in a family or, as occasion offers, in groups of families.”120

2192 “Sunday . . . is to be observed as the foremost holy day of obligation in the universal Church” (CIC, can. 1246 § 1). “On Sundays and other holy days of obligation the faithful are bound to participate in the Mass” (CIC, can. 1247).

This is the teaching of the Catechism of the Catholic Church which Francis seems anxious to rewrite.

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