Liturgy & Priesthood

The_Ressurrection_of_ChristToday is the Feast Day of St. Isaiah the Prophet.  What? Isaiah is a saint? Yes, and so are many of the heroes of the Old Testament.

Adam and Eve have liturgical feast days, so do Moses, Elijah, Elisha, Jeremiah, King David and many others.

The Roman Martyrology (1600) lists saints recognized up to that point including many saints not in the Church’s general calendar. Some that it remembers are Habakkuk (Jan. 15); Isaiah (July 6); Daniel and Elias/Elijah (July 20 and 21); the seven Maccabees and their mother (Aug. 17); Abraham (Oct. 9); and King David (Dec. 29).

We in the West have not discussed it much, but the Eastern Churches remember them every year.

The Catechism of the Catholic Church states,

“The patriarchs, prophets, and certain other Old Testament figures have been and always will be honored as saints in all the Church’s liturgical traditions” (CCC 61).

48340dc324c6ca26bea274dc480c6789Here is an interesting article Dr. Jeremy Holmes who teaches Theology at Wyoming Catholic College ? Old Testament Saints and Events.

It not only explains the “sainthood” of Old Testament heroes, but gives a list of the dates for various prophets, kings, and virtuous men and women before Christ. For this article and calendar, click here.

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In answer to the question on air about the redemption of Adam and Eve, I promised a bit of information. The Catechism 489 states, “Throughout the Old Covenant the mission of many holy women prepared for that of Mary. At the very beginning there was Eve; despite her disobedience, she receives the promise of a posterity that will be victorious over the evil one, as well as the promise that she will be the mother of all the living.

Another quote CCC 635 “Today a great silence reigns on earth, a great silence and a great stillness. A great silence because the King is asleep. The earth trembled and is still because God has fallen asleep in the flesh and he has raised up all who have slept ever since the world began.… He has gone to search for Adam, our first father, as for a lost sheep. Greatly desiring to visit those who live in darkness and in the shadow of death, he has gone to free from sorrow Adam in his bonds and Eve, captive with him—He who is both their God and the son of Eve.… “I am your God, who for your sake have become your son.… I order you, O sleeper, to awake. I did not create you to be a prisoner in hell. Rise from the dead, for I am the life of the dead.”

Soshestvie-vo-ad(Picture to right: Jesus raises Adam and Eve from their graves. Notice they are wearing halos. Notice a similar picture at the top of the post.)

One Journal I own states it well, though I don’t agree with the article overall:

“In this first dispensation, there is a clear illustration that the only way of salvation is by the grace and personal provision of God. After the judgment section of Chapter 3, the literal translation states that the Lord God himself “made garments of skin for Adam and for his wife, and He caused to clothe them.”

The Lord God initiated and was the causative agent (Hiphil stem—“cause to”) of the personal redemption of Adam and Eve by providing a method of restoring the personal relationship with Him. Some conclude that the personal faith of Adam was expressed by naming his wife, Eve (living or life-giver), and believing that (strong textual emphasis) “she, she will be (the) mother of all living.”

This act would have verified that he believed in the future promise of God (3:15) and in the prospect of continued life after judgment (3:20). In a similar way, having acknowledged that the Lord was the source of her first born son, Eve confirmed her personal faith in the Lord and His previous promises of children (3:15–16; 4:1).

“Considering that this was a possible theophany of God, the full impact of the statement may be realized. This would be Christ himself who had performed this sovereign act of divine grace for Adam and Eve, another Old Testament verification that Christ was involved providentially in the affairs of mankind from the beginning!”

Conservative Theological Journal Volume 2 2, no. 7 (1998): 455–456.

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Screen Shot 2020-05-21 at 8.49.41 AMFox News reports that the Minnesota archdiocese and all the bishops of Minnesota have defied the state’s coronavirus limits on religious gatherings. Civil disobedience in the face of blatant religious repression. Bravo to the bishops of Minnesota — and may all the bishops in the US have the courage to do the same.

“In defiance of limits on religious gatherings, Minnesota‘s Catholic Church said Wednesday it will not comply with the state mandate.

The Archdiocese of Saint Paul and Minneapolis said in a letter that its decision was based on Gov. Tim Walz’s lifting of the state’s stay-at-home order. Like in other states, the requirement limits worship services to no more than 10 people to combat the coronavirus outbreak.

“The bishops of Minnesota are united in our conviction that we can safely resume public Masses in accordance with both our religious duties and with accepted public health and safety standards,” the letter read.

“We can worship in a way that reflects both the love of God and the love of our neighbors,” it continued. “Therefore, we are giving our parishes permission for the resumption of the public celebration of Mass on Tuesday, May 26, which will give us time to be ready for the celebration of Pentecost on May 31.”

The archdiocese said parishes will be required to adhere to sanitation measures and social distancing protocols, and will limit attendance to one-third of a church’s seating capacity.

“We are blessed to live in a nation that guarantees the free exercise of religion. This right can only be abridged for a compelling governmental interest, and only in a way that is narrowly tailored to be the least restrictive means of achieving the desired end,” the archdiocese said.

“That is why a large majority of states now allow in-person religious services, including many states that had previously suspended in-person religious services,” it added.

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Coronavirus, Mass, and Catholic Life

by Steve Ray on March 19, 2020

Coronavirus, Mass, and Catholic Life  by Jimmy Akin

First, here is my 15-minute show with John Harper on Relevant Radio discussing how the shutdown is affecting families and what we can do. My segment begins at the 30:00 minute mark.

Now to Jimmy Akin’s excellent article:

The coronavirus/Covid-19 pandemic has produced many questions and controversies, including how it is impacting people’s ability to attend Mass and receive the sacraments.

How dangerous is the virus? What should be our response as Catholics?

Here are eight things to know and share.

1) How dangerous is the coronavirus?
Nobody knows for sure. The virus only emerged a few months ago, so doctors are only now getting experience with it.

Some have compared Covid-19 to the flu, which is a well-understood and predictable disease.

It appears that Covid-19 is much more infectious than the flu. A person with the flu will infect an average of 1.3 other people, but a person with Covid-19 will infect an average of between 2 and 3.11 additional people. Covid-19 thus has the chance to spread much more rapidly.

Covid-19 is also much deadlier than the flu. In the United States, the death rate for the flu is usually around 0.1%. The death rate for Covid-19 is not yet well understood, but it appears to be between 1.4% and 2.3%—making it between 14 and 23 times more deadly than the flu.

While it is true that—at present—more people are killed by the flu than by Covid-19, governments and health authorities are working to keep the latter from becoming as common as the flu.

There are around 27 million cases of flu each year in the U.S., resulting in around 36,000 deaths. If COVID became as common as the flu (and, remember, it’s actually more infectious than the flu), there would be around 500,000 deaths.

This is what authorities are trying to prevent. Current Center for Disease Control guidelines for how to protect yourself are online here. 

2) Is everyone equally at risk?
No. Covid-19 hits certain people much harder than others. People younger than 60 are much less likely to die because of the disease, though they can still catch and spread it.

They may even have it but not feel sick and yet spread it to others. In fact, a recent study suggests that more than 80% of current cases were spread by people who did not know they had the virus.

People older than 60 are much more likely to die, and the risk increases with each decade of age.

People with other underlying conditions, such as high blood pressure, diabetes, and cardiovascular disease also have increased risk of dying. Current Center for Disease Control guidelines for how to protect yourself are online here.

3) Why are bishops cancelling Masses and dispensing people from their Sunday obligations? Aren’t Christians called to be martyrs?
Christians are called to be martyrs when we are forced into the situation. If we are directly asked if we are followers of Christ, we cannot disown our faith. “If we deny him, he also will deny us” (2 Tim. 2:12).

However, this doesn’t mean we are called to rush into martyrdom. In fact, Jesus said that we can flee persecution for our faith: “When they persecute you in one town, flee to the next” (Matt. 10:23).

The requirement to witness to our faith thus does not mean Christians can’t take reasonable steps to protect themselves from physical danger.

If it is morally permissible to leave town to avoid one physical danger (being killed by people who hate our faith), so is staying home from Mass for a few weeks to avoid another physical danger (being killed by a plague).

4) Are bishops being too quick to cancel Mass?
The Eucharist is “the source and summit of the Christian life” (Lumen Gentium 11), so no bishop will take the decision to suspend Masses lightly.

The decision involves a prudential judgment call, so there is no single answer that obviously applies in all situations. This means the faithful should pray for the bishops as they wrestle with this issue and show respect for the difficult decisions they are having to make.

They also should bear in mind that:

  • The conditions in some areas are much worse than others.
  • In some places, bishops may not have much of a choice, as public authorities have prohibited public gatherings over a certain size.
  • Epidemics grow exponentially, so the only way to stop them is to take early action—before the situation becomes severe. If you wait until an epidemic has gotten really bad in an area, it is too late.

5) When are people allowed to stay home from Mass?
People are allowed to stay home from Mass in three situations:

  • When one has a legitimate excuse (e.g., because a person is at elevated risk of acquiring Covid-19)
  • When one is dispensed by the competent authority (e.g., the pastor or bishop)
  • When it is impossible to go (e.g., because Masses have been cancelled)

6) On what basis can pastors and bishops dispense a person?
The Code of Canon Law provides that the pastor of a parish can give a dispensation in individual cases, as can the superiors of religious institutes (can. 1245).

The bishop’s authority is greater. He can “dispense the faithful from universal and particular disciplinary laws issued for his territory” by the Vatican (can. 87 §1). This is the category of laws that the Sunday obligation belongs to.

7) What should we do if staying home from Mass?
One is not legally obligated to do anything on these days. However, the Church strongly recommends that the faithful undertake another form of spiritual activity:

If participation in the eucharistic celebration becomes impossible because of the absence of a sacred minister or for another grave cause, it is strongly recommended that the faithful take part in a liturgy of the word if such a liturgy is celebrated in a parish church or other sacred place according to the prescripts of the diocesan bishop or that they devote themselves to prayer for a suitable time alone, as a family, or, as the occasion permits, in groups of families (can. 1248 §2).

Watching a Mass on television or the Internet also is a possibility, and some parishes and dioceses stream Masses on their web sites.

Participating in the Liturgy of the Hours is another possibility (can. 1174 §2), as are reading the Bible or spiritual works.

8) What should I do if I’m not sure whether I’m getting sick?
Err on the side of caution. With many diseases, people are most infectious just before they start feeling sick and just after they start having symptoms. Therefore, if you think you might be getting sick, you may be at the point where you have the greatest chance of infecting another person.

Even if you do not feel sick, you may be able to spread the virus to others, so it is important to follow safety practices even if you currently feel fine.

This applies especially if you have contact with older people or those with health conditions that put them at greater risk of dying from Covid-19.

Remember: We are not just protecting ourselves; we are protecting those around us.

If we don’t have the virus, we can’t give it to others. Even if we’re young and healthy, we’re protecting the more vulnerable. That is a physical work of mercy, and it’s an act of love for others. As Jesus taught us, “You shall love your neighbor as yourself” (Mark 12:31).

FOR A MASSIVE LIST OF RESOURCES PROVIDED BY TERESA TOMEO, CLICK HERE.

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If you can’t attend Mass this Sunday, this will be a beautiful streamed Mass

March 14, 2020

  Join the Sisters, live from the Motherhouse. Sunday at 7:30 a.m EDT. The Mass is our greatest act of worship in which the Pilgrim Church on earth is united with the Church in heaven, sharing their worship of the Father. The Mass invites us into the very prayer of the only Son of God. […]

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Old Testament Priests; New Testament Priests – Isn’t Jesus our ONLY Priest Now?

February 17, 2020

This is a common fallacy among Protestants. Now that Jesus has become our high priests, priests are no longer needed; in fact, they detract from the priesthood of Christ. We don’t need priests now because Jesus has become our one and only High Priest. We believers are all priests in the New Covenant. We are the “priesthood […]

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Benedict XVI Breaks Silence

January 12, 2020

New book out on Monday written by Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI and Cardinal Sarah and published by my publisher Ignatius Press. Can’t wait to read it. FROM THE DEPTHS OF OUR HEARTS: PRIESTHOOD, CELIBACY, AND THE CRISIS OF THE CATHOLIC CHURCH.

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Don’t You Wish this Sign was on Every Church Door in the USA?

November 19, 2019

This sign confronts everyone entering the Carmelite Monastery Church of St. Joseph. This was the 1st convent started by St. Teresa of Avila. Don’t you wish it was on every church door in America?   :-)

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Should We Use the Missalette at Mass?

November 15, 2019

From Jimmy Akin’s blog: Richard Becker, who describes himself as a “God-haunted lunatic,” has an entertaining rant against the use of missalettes at Mass. Being a God-haunted lunatic myself, allow me to counter-rant in the same spirit. In his piece, Becker poses a number of arguments against using missalettes at Mass. Let’s take a look […]

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Etiquette at Mass: Reasonable Do’s and Don’ts for Polite and Proper Worship

October 18, 2019

20 Things TO DO And NOT DO at Mass. These are not rules that will get you banished from the Church, but things that are mostly common sense — polite conduct to enhance our worship and that of those around us. 1. Fast before Mass. It is required that one fasts for at least 1 […]

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What is the Earliest a Mass can Start on the Preceding Day to Fulfill the Obligation for a Sunday or Holy Day Obligation?

October 14, 2019

A question on Mass-start times that warrants attention by Dr. Edward Peters Recalling, in the wake of a some recent discussions of Mass obligations, that I had promised some time ago to set out some materials for use in reasoning through another Mass attendance question, I offer some of that now. This question concerns, What is the […]

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Can you guess what this is? St. Paul would have no idea…

October 3, 2019

Take another look. It has two parts. St. Paul wrote to the Corinthians 2,000 years ago and told them how to properly conduct themselves on Sunday morning. He also told them what they were to do at the heart of their liturgy. If you still can’t figure it out, then visit this site where you […]

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Holding Hands at Mass? Fr. John Riccardo’s 4-Minute Answer

September 22, 2019

I hate holding hands at Mass so this 4-minute video sure resonated with me….

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Genuflecting a No-No?

May 5, 2019

Several years ago my wife and visited a new parish (new for us). I genuflected before receiving the Blessed Sacrament. Believe it or not, I was reprimanded by the Extraordinary Minister while he handed me the host. After Mass I spoke with the priest about it and he reprimanded me as well. I told them Quite […]

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I Love the Universality of the Catholic Church – Love Being Catholic!

April 18, 2019

We went to Mass a while ago and wanted to share it again. We could not understand a word during Mass since it was all in French. We are celebrating Mass with a church FULL of French-speaking Africans with a white French bishop with an Italian parish priest in a church built by Italians in the […]

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Mass with 2 Protestants and 1 Crucifix

January 5, 2019

A while ago we went to Mass with two Protestants.  As we walked in the door — there it was, as big as life — a CRUCIFIX with the Body of Our Lord hanging over the altar. I knew what the Protestants were thinking — I used to think the same — “CATHOLICS ARE WRONG, JESUS IS […]

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“Call No Man Your Father”

December 29, 2018

“Call No Man Your Father” By Steve Ray I received several questions recently and will post my answers separately over the next few days. Here is the first question which I received and answered. 1.) In Matthew 23:9 Jesus says: ” And call no man your father upon earth: for one is your Father which […]

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