Tuesday, October 31, 2017

The Protestant Rebellion (Non serviam)


SINCE the year, 1883, when the Protestant world celebrated the fourth centenary of Martin Luther's birth at Eisleben, scholars who have made a special study of the religious revolt of the sixteenth century have accepted as an undeniable historical conclusion the existence of two Luthers—a Luther of fiction and a Luther of fact. As posterity and historical scholarship have done justice to Luther, by drawing a sharp line of demarcation between the ideal reformer of panegyric and romance and the real founder of Protestantism, so also have theologians, after a thorough and searching study of the spirit and principles underlying the Reformation, discovered that Lutheranism, far from being an unmixed blessing, contained the germs of Evangelicalism and Liberalism, and of that Rationalism which underlies all the aberrations of modern Philosophy and runs through all the developments of the Higher Criticism, until finally it has run to seed in Modernism—that strange conlectum omnium heresion, as Pius X well styled it, which in our own day has succeeded in destroying the very vitals of Protestantism, whose philosophical and theological foundations the sapping of intellect had long since undermined, because of its revolt against their inconsistencies and logical contradictions
It is a strange paradox indeed that the religious revolt of the sixteenth century, which set out ostensibly to vindicate the independence of intellect, and to free it from the yoke of all authority, should be declared to be responsible for all the religious indifference of to-day, and even to have contained in germ those philosophical systems which are loudest in their charge of incompetency against the conclusions of reason, and in their denial of any validity to intellectual knowledge, ever since the day that Immanuel Kant became the founder of modern philosophical criticism. And yet this is only what might have been expected from the very beginning. It is the principle of private judgment driven to its logical conclusions. Since all truth has one source, it is not possible to divorce reason from religion; to set up a false religion and then to look to reason to justify such a course, cannot but end disastrously for the new theology, whose conclusions at every turn must be established at the expense of logical consistency. So that the logical course for the reformers, and the one which history shows them to have adopted, since they were too proud to acknowledge their apostasy and go back to the bosom of the true Church, was to set up a perplexing and exasperating antinomy between faith and reason; to say that the former had no foundation in the latter, nay, that the dogmas of the one contradicted the conclusions of the other.
There was one way by which a rapprochement could be effected between erroneous religious principles and intellectual integrity, and Protestant theologians have adopted it, when they deny any intellectual basis whatsoever for their doctrines, and make emotionalism alone the bar before which they are forever summoning the religious instinct to justify itself; knowing that before the bar of right reason, their system stands condemned. There are those who would make modern philosophy responsible for the ruin of faith in intellectual circles among the contradictory sects into which Protestantism is dissolving from day to day. But perhaps a truer conception of Reformation theology would go to show that modern philosophical systems themselves are rather a result than a cause of the errors that make religion to-day outside the Catholic Church anything but an obsequium rationabile. The most prominent characteristic of modern philosophy is a doubting scepticism stamped indelibly upon its beginning by its founder, Réné Descartes. The intellectual movement that culminated in the Reformation theology, and developed into Reformation philosophy, began long before October of 1517. It takes its origin, not from Luther, or the Castle Church of Wittenberg, but from the Humanists who came forth from Constantinople after its fall in 1453.

Of course, the movement received a great impetus from the Reformation, whose proud boast was the overthrow of all authority in matters of religious belief, and the enthronement in its stead of the supremacy of individual thought. The systems of Descartes' successors differed not so much in kind as in degree. Immanuel Kant is probably the greatest thinker of modern philosophy. He is certainly the one of whom it is proudest; and yet his greatest contribution to philosophical thought is nothing but a grand act of despair in the capabilities of the human intellect, amounting in fact to a denial of the objective validity of knowledge. Though setting out, like many another reformer, with the best of intentions, it was the author of the Critique of Pure Reason who put the finishing touches to Cartesian doubt and Cartesian rationalism. Modern thought in its origin and development is thus sceptical and agnostic, and Immanuel Kant is its prophet; for he was the one great thinker that has left the deepest impress upon the writers that followed him. He was, in the words of Sabatier, the master mind that makes leaders of lesser calibre proud to boast of the fact that they have received their philosophic initiation and baptism from his Critique. When we speak then of modern thought, we mean systems of philosophy that are preponderantly rationalistic, and, when there is question of the supernatural, altogether agnostic. This is to say that modern thought is dominated and impregnated, colored and tainted, by the philosophy of Kant. Even the philosophical principles underlying the religious sentimentality of Schleiermacher presuppose the Critique of Practical Reason of the professor of Königsberg.
Our age is one of sceptical unbelief in every department of knowledge. Rules of human conduct are vicious because they are founded on false principles of destructive philosophies. Leo XIII, looking at the dangers that threatened modern society, civil and religious, saw the root of the evil in the pestilence of perverse opinions built on the shifting foundations of weak and shallow philosophy, and declared that all society would be much more tranquil and much safer if healthier teaching were given in universities and schools. “If anyone will look carefully at the bitterness of our times, and if he considers earnestly the cause of what is done in public and in private life, he will discover with certainty the prolific root of the evils which are now overwhelming us and which we greatly fear. He will find that the cause lies in the evil teaching about things human and divine that has come forth from the schools of philosophers. It has crept into all the orders of the state, and it has been received with the common applause of very many.” Were Leo living to-day, how true and how justified he would think his diagnosis of the maladies that are slowly disrupting the social fabric.
It remained for Leo's successor, Pius X, to proscribe in no uncertain terms the attempts that were being made to readjust Christianity to the mentality of the age, and to reinterpret its dogmas in terms of modern thought. As Newman aptly expressed it, “while believing revelation, there is a tendency to fuse and recast it, to tune it, as it were, to a different key, and to reset its harmonies.” The Catholic Church, because it is divine, and the pillar and ground of infallible truth, has come forth triumphant from the open and covert attacks of these insidious and erroneous teachings; but alas, what has become, for those outside its fold, of those doctrines of faith and morality once held sacred even by the reformers themselves! In the absence of any infallible authority in their churches, the influence of modern philosophy has captivated the minds of Protestant theologians, and with them religion has ceased to connote all that it has hitherto stood for in the minds of reasonable men. Not only supernatural religion, but even our natural knowledge of God and the consequences that spring from that knowledge, with regard to His rights and our duties toward Him, has been corrupted and destroyed. We search in vain among the writings of modern philosophers to find a place in their theories of knowledge for the God of Scholasticism.
The name is mentioned, indeed, but the orthodox signification is conspicuous by its absence. “The adherents of these various systems like to be called Monists, and they are wont to apply the name of God to their one reality, into which they profess to resolve all existence; but the true name for them is Atheists, and we must protest against the practice of giving to the Name of God a meaning distinct from that which it has hitherto borne, and even opposite to it, in all that gives to the idea of God its special value as the basis of moral conduct and obligation.”.” For if God does not exist, religion and morality are mere meaningless abstractions. Kant's influence then is clearly discernible in the groundwork of modern thought. It is rationalistic, because Kant was a rationalist. It denies the supernatural and poses as agnostic, because Kant was pleased to put the supernatural outside the pale of intellectual knowledge. Because Kant in his Lutheranistic pietism made religion a matter of personal inward experience independent of external authority, modern thought, impatient of the restraints of any control, appeals to the supreme tribunal of the inner consciousness as the sacred fountain whence emanates the pure stream of religion and morality undefiled. The human heart has thus become the Sinai whence is promulgated the new decalogue of sentimental liberalism.
It is easy to show that modern philosophy is proximately responsible for the decay of religious teaching in matters of faith and morals, for so Popes and Councils have taught us. But is it possible to prove that modern thought is itself an excrescence of Reformation theology, that darkens our understanding and weakens our will, and leaves in us a strong inclination to flippancy and shallowness when treating of the most sacred truths? Is this a result of the original sin of Martin Luther, what time he nailed his ninety-five theses to the doors of the Castle Church of Wittenberg, on that fateful eve of all Saints, 1517, when the novel doctrines of the Saxon monk put him at the head of that religious unrest which his ready comprehension had shown him to be swaying the contemporary world, as expressed in the unsettled currents of thought then prevalent in its intellectual centres?
The theology of present-day Protestantism, as championed by men like Dr. McConnell, calls for a complete divorce of religion from objective fact and grounds of intellect, and a founding of the whole edifice upon an emotional consciousness. It has no express intention of turning atheist any more than Kant had; but, like him, it is satisfied with the undogmatic and emotional piety inspired by Luther. Since even God Himself cannot be reached by intellect, and human nature cannot well get on without Him, we must believe in God for reasons of expediency and sentimentalism. Since modern philosophy knows no science of metaphysics, its psychology will not allow the modern theologian to say that God exists, a proposition that savors too much of the medieval science of being. Its credo in unum Deum is revised and modernized and brought abreast of the age into “Man cannot help wishing a God to be.” If to the subjectivism of Kant be added the humanism of Professor James, we have the foundations upon which is built the whole summa of Protestant theology, deducible with mathematical exactness from its primum verum—“Wanted, a God”. Each man's religion is just what he finds it expedient to believe. Man needs religion and creates it for himself accordingly. If it suits his interests to believe in it, it is so far forth good and true.
But other men may think otherwise, and so are free to believe otherwise also. Since even the expedient for the same individual is subject to change, so proportionately his beliefs and their object may change too. What was good and true yesterday may be bad and false tomorrow. Thus does dogma progress and regress; and truth, becoming identified with expediency of belief and a vague undefinable sentimentality, the will and emotions, not intellect, are made its judges. Emotional standards are especially the deciding factor in matters of supernatural beliefs; and the only test of experience to which it is legitimate to subject them is—How do they serve the account of the individual who in the security of his foggy and mystified pietism scorns to formulate any system of objective apologetics? Each must decide for himself, his religion, its foundations, origin, and genesis, in the introverted quiet of the sanctuary of his own soul, if he has a soul; and every age is supreme in deciding what are its own peculiar religious needs, and this conglomeration of individual tastes, in a given time, is the universal consciousness, to whose bidding the Church must conform its teachings and its practices, its dogmas and its morals, if it is to remain true to this Christian consciousness. That is the Court of final appeal and last resort for enlightened humanity, emancipated from the yoke of every authority, human and divine. Even the bondage of knowing the truth is forsaken for the freedom of doubt and denial and the inalienable liberty of wandering along the primrose paths of error, out of the beaten way that would make the mind conform itself to fixed and immovable standards of objective realities, in tending to the great goal of truth. Things are good and true because they are expedient, not expedient because they are true and good. This is Kantian subjectivism with a vengeance, for even Professor James owes much to the Kritik der praktischen Vernunft.
Scholasticism on the contrary would prove the truth of Christianity and all it stands for, by purely objective criteria. Religion, if you like, is a fact of human consciousness. It is a mere phenomenon of the human mind, if you only mean that men have thought about it, and have been elevated and purified for the thought of it. But if you go on to say that, because men have thought of it, and believed in it, and have lived it, they are its creators and its causes, you are assuming what, in the interest of historical and scientific truth, all sensible men must reject, namely, that our own dreaming and theorizing Egos are the creators of nature and the universe, and—pardon me for the blasphemy—the creators likewise of the God of nature and the divine authors of the supernatural itself.
The preconceived philosophical dogmas of Neo-Kantian philosophy will not allow the modern Protestant theologian intellectually to recognize things as they are in themselves, apart from the forms and impressions and creations of the human mind. His dogmatic bias makes him the measure of religious truth also, instead of making religious truth a God-given standard to which the human mind in its beliefs must conform itself. Even the great pagan Plato, more than two thousand years ago, taught “that God should be to us the measure of all things, much more than any man.” Religious sentiment and emotion, then, gives us divine realities that do not exist in themselves independently of the person who believes in them. The Deity is not external but immanent in man. We cannot raise our minds and hearts to God any more in the old sense. But we can do better, think our modern Aquinases—we can raise God in our hearts and minds! Revelation and dogma are the products of the vague indefinite cravings of human desires, not objective truths that satisfy the intellect and the heart, that conform themselves to them, but things which are summoned into existence or out of it, by the passing longings of human sentiment and emotions. If God has any objectivity or permanence apart from the modern Protestant theologian's notion of Him, He has it because these ravings about religious values lie latent in the tranquil sub-consciousness of the prospective believer. God is capable of being evolved at any moment, provided the aspirations of humanity are allowed to develop to their highest and their best.
How these theologians, some holding high ministerial office, in Protestant communions, can call themselves Theists and even Christians, while holding doctrines so contrary to every notion of orthodox religion, natural or revealed, passes ordinary comprehension. We are astonished to find men holding the rank of Dr. McConnell, asking in the pages of the North American Review, “if there is any way by which the religious man and the intelligent man, or rather the religion and the intelligence in man, can get together.” And he solves his difficulty by allowing one and the same individual mind to maintain its intellectual integrity with regard to the essentials of a religion, such as we have described it, and at the same time consistently to profess faith in the venerable creeds of Christianity! Would it not be a more honest position to admit outright that the impetus of the grand and glorious Reformation of the sixteenth century has fizzled out in philosophical infidelity in the twentieth? And now that the Protestant Churches are doing special honor this year to the founder of Protestantism, is it not strange that reflecting minds among them cannot see that it is Luther who is responsible for all this travesty of unreasoned religion, this eviscerated Christianity of modern times? All this liberal theology of to-day is only a revival of Lutheranism, because it was his Lutheranistic pietism that made Kant seek God through the practical reason, after he had dethroned him from his seat in the intellect proper.
Liberalism, in following Kant, is thus unconsciously imitating the example set by Luther. As long ago as 1852 the keen mind of Newman saw that it was Luther who had sown the seeds of the terrible religious indifference and widespread unbelief which exists in the modern world, and which has gone on increasing to such an alarming extent to our own day, under the baneful influence of egregious systems of idealistic philosophy. The following passage from the pen of the illustrious Cardinal, in the Idea of a University, fully substantiates our thesis. “In proportion as the Lutheran leaven spread, it became fashionable to say that faith was, not an acceptance of revealed doctrine, not an act of the intellect, but a feeling, an emotion, an affection, an appetency; and, as this view of faith obtained, so was the connection of Faith with Truth and Knowledge more and more either forgotten or denied. At length the identity of this (so-called) spirituality of heart and the virtue of Faith was acknowledged on all hands. Some men indeed disapproved the pietism in question, others admired it; but whether they admired or disapproved, both the one party and the other found themselves in agreement on the main point, viz. in considering that this really was in substance Religion, and nothing else; that Religion was based, not on argument, but on taste and sentiment, that nothing was objective, everything subjective in doctrine. . . . They learned to believe and to take it for granted, that Religion was nothing beyond a supply of the wants of human nature, not an external fact and a work of God.
There was, it appeared, a demand for religion, and therefore there was a supply; human nature could not do without religion, any more than it could do without bread; a supply was absolutely necessary, good or bad, and, as in the case of the articles of daily sustenance, an article which was really inferior was better than none at all. Thus religion was useful, venerable, beautiful, the sanction of order, the stay of government, the curb of self-will and self-indulgence, which the laws cannot reach: but, after all, on what was it based ? Why, that was a question delicate to ask, and imprudent to answer; but, if the truth must be spoken, however reluctantly, the long and short of the matter was this, that Religion was based on custom, on prejudice, on law, on education, on habit, on loyalty, on feudalism, on enlightened experience, on many, many things, but not at all on reason; reason was neither its warrant, nor its instrument, and science had as little connection with it as with the fashions of the seasons, or the state of the weather.” Over against this travesty of theology stands the rock-ribbed system of the Catholic Church, which, sinning neither by excess nor defect, holds that “the doctrine of our Saviour is indeed perfect in itself and has need of nothing, for as much as it is the power and the wisdom of God.”
Yet does it not despise the native dignity of the human intellect, but believes “that a rightly and wisely used system of philosophy is able in a certain measure to pave and to guard the road to the true faith, and is able also to prepare the minds of its followers in a fitting way for the receiving of revelation.” It knows full well that Greek philosophy does not make the faith more powerful, but still it knows that great and glorious truths can be gathered from human reason. It teaches that the philosophy of the schools “is an education leading to the Christian faith,” “a prelude and help to Christianity,” “a schoolmaster for the gospel.” Not confining speculation within the limits of the narrow circle of a mere theory of knowing, it does not make its metaphysics conterminous with psychology, even that caricature of a psychology that ignores or denies the existence of an immortal soul. With a true scientific imagination, it will not divorce knowledge from experience; it scorns to abandon for the mere poetic monistic idealism of the Neo-Kantians its well-balanced science of being, built on that sane and moderate dualism borrowed of Aristotle, which, while it exalts mind infinitely above matter, still has room for a real distinction between intellect and the world which it cognizes, and, being rationally theistic, between God and His creation. The higher unity of pantheism never charmed the true Scholastic. He made indeed the being of the contingent world analogous to the being of God, but infinitely below it.
The scholastic mind was ever bent on the bed-rock of being, not wasting its energies on mere forms of thought; but, accepting facts, it made a pronounced objectivity the most characteristic feature of its whole system of philosophy. It accepted as an axiomatic truth the invincible belief that man sees a world, which is no part of his own mind, nor yet a necessary shadow cast by the Creator outside His own infinity. This primary dictum of the philosophy of the Schools kept metaphysics and psychology distinct, a distinction altogether ignored by modern idealism, which confounds consciousness with all reality, making it the object, not the instrument, of its cognition; and thus it ends in a vulgar pantheism. Thus Scholasticism is able to establish triumphantly against all the specious arguments of sophistry the praeambula fidei—the immortality of the human soul, the existence of God. It shows that God excels in His own peculiar excellence, by the sum of all perfections, by an infinite wisdom from which nothing is hidden, and by a supreme justice, which no shadow of evil can touch. It proves that God is not only true, but the truth itself, incapable of deceiving or being deceived; and thus does human reason obtain for the word of God the fullest belief and authority.
Thus does this twin alliance of faith and reason, effected in the councils of Scholasticism, reject a separate peace with the foes of truth. Theology was partly divine and partly human. It is divine inasmuch as it came from heaven in revealed truths or principles which human reason developed as it proceeded f1om premise to conclusion, establishing beforehand, by its own unaided powers, the trustworthiness of the sources of knowledge whence came those truths that lay outside its own special sphere of inquiry, namely: those dogmas that belong exclusively to the higher science of theology, those mysteries of our holy faith which the human mind can neither demonstrate nor comprehend.
Distinct though the two sciences of philosophy and theology are in their formal objects, still are their conclusions ever in complete harmony, because since both spring from the same fountain of knowledge, it is essentially impossible for the God of nature and the supernatural ever to contradict Himself. Faith never contradicts reason, because it does not at all follow that because a mystery is incomprehensible to human reason, it must therefore be labeled a contradiction. Revelation enlarges the horizon of knowledge, and, accepting the limitations of human thought to lie within the bounds of the natural order of things, faith strengthens and supplements and becomes a complement of reason. Beyond the confines where human knowledge terminates, modern agnostic philosophy places the region of nescience, where no human thing can dwell; while the Scholastic, with the light of faith upon his soul and the word of God for a lamp to his feet, enters a new world, a land of promise made known by a higher knowledge revealed by God, to which assent is reasonably given, since the authority of its source has already been demonstrated—the authority of the infallible Godhead. Knowledge, for the Scholastic, is co-extensive with reality. As reality is the twofold realm of science and faith, the latter continuous with the former, assent to its dogmas is still radically reasonable; for belief must rest ultimately on the authority of God, and it is the unaided light of human reason which primarily must tell us that God cannot deceive or be deceived.
If our faith then is not to degenerate into a blind superstition, reason must furnish unaided the motives of credibility and establish beyond prudent doubt the preambles of supernatural faith. Scholasticism, unlike later systems of philosophy, then, does not seek refuge in any insoluble enigmas, any irreconcilable antinomies between faith and reason, but recognizes that revelation is eminently reasonable, and that reason is in a manner divine. This is the greatest triumph of the philosophy of the Schools, this constructive synthesis that clearly defines the provinces of philosophy and theology, while it shows perfect harmony between faith and science, between the human reason and the divine. Catholicity is the true champion of the claims of intellect, for even God Himself or His Church does not ask us to accept the truths of faith blindly, but, as a preliminary thereto, He wishes us to make full use of our reason. All He demands of us is that we trust those to whom He has given the requisite credentials.
Scholastic theology at all times has consequently insisted on the necessity of objective apologetics, and Catholics are the most rational of believers, because they will not rest their beliefs on merely subjective feelings, but only on the rock of objective and infallible criteria. Even the most profound mysteries of the faith, though anything but objectively evident, are not accepted until they have become evidently credible, by the application of standards of assent which are themselves objectively evident in their certainty, which is the ultimate criterion of certitude.
Liberal Protestantism on the contrary rejects reason for the sake of the religious sense. Their faith is only a blind groping after the unknowable that cannot be scientifically justified by reason, according to their own premises. For Catholics, as Pascal truly remarked, “faith is the highest act of reason,” and the Vatican Council itself teaches us that right reason demonstrates the foundations of faith. “If any person says that divine revelation cannot become credible by external signs, and that by internal experience alone or by private inspiration men are moved to faith, let him be anathema.” Relative immanence has its place in Catholic theology, we admit, and some modern Catholic apologists lay great stress on internal feelings and desires; but it is questionable whether this method is practical in scientific apologetics. Hence, Catholic theologians are extremely cautious about the emphasis placed on these methods as against the traditional and recognized proofs. As motives of belief, they must not receive undue prominence, especially if this is done at the expense of keeping external motives in the background. Without borrowing from Protestant apologetics, subjective states of mind cannot receive too much value in a scientific analysis of the motives of credibility. These should be at all times severely tested in the light of objective facts. It was fear of the light that cannot injure the truth, which made Luther take refuge in subjectivism.
Kant's subjective idealism, when applied to religion, we have seen develop into pantheism in the hands of Fichte, Schelling, and Hegel; while Schleiermacher did not hesitate to make a mere subjective sentiment the very essence of religion, and the great and penetrating, but unscholastically trained, mind of Newman himself, while still a Protestant, thought it sound criticism to teach that popular feeling and moral instinct was sufficient ground for the reformers of the sixteenth century, in giving their assent to the belief that the Bible was truly the word of God. Psychological voluntarism and credulity may lead into any extravagance in religious states, apart from the restraint of constitutional checks and balances administered under the dry light and before the cold scientific cross-examination of the bar of intellect.
It must not be inferred from our thesis, however, that the assent of supernatural faith is no stronger than the natural motives of credibility warrant. For an act of supernatural faith there is need of divine grace to enlighten the understanding and strengthen the will. We are not dealing explicitly, however, with the act of faith in itself, so much as with the reasons that make the faith that is in us a reasonable service. Our quarrel is with liberal Protestantism, which after it broke with authority went on to ridicule the supernatural, and, calling itself rational, rejected the reasonable credentials demanded of orthodox Christianity; the while appealing to reason, and still inconsistently presuming to pass judgment on revelation and the supernatural and declaring unknowable everything that transcends the limits of reason, and gratuitously confining the limits of reason itself to knowledge of the phenomena of sensible things only.
The Catholic on the contrary examines the documents of his faith, and tests the value of the motives of his belief. Accepting the primary conceptions of the understanding, which are known immediately by the light of reason, such as first principles, he is certain he can acquire the knowledge of God. His reason, too, can establish God's holiness and veracity, and consequently the grounds for the reasonableness of faith in divine revelation, which is ultimately based on the infallible authority of God. This mode of procedure is eminently reasonable, and thus Catholicism is the real apotheosis of intellect; and Protestantism, while boastfully asserting the contrary, stands convicted in principle and in theory of being avowedly hostile to the independent rights of reason, preferring in the name of a false liberty, which is in reality license, the degrading freedom of being in error to the glorious bondage of knowing the truth.
~J. C. HARRINGTON., St. Paul, Minnesota.
Taken from The American Ecclesiastical Review, Volume 57; 1917.

Wednesday, October 25, 2017


(128 West 37th Street, NYC)

The Church of the Holy Innocents will start its Forty Hours Devotion THIS COMING FRIDAY NIGHT.
First Day: The opening Mass will be this coming Friday, October 27, 2017 at 6PM, and it will be a Votive Mass of the Most Blessed Sacrament.
At the end of the opening Mass, the Blessed Sacrament will be exposed, there will be a solemn Eucharistic procession inside the church, and the Pange lingua, the Litany of the Saints, and some other special psalms, versicles, and prayers will be chanted. 
Second Day: Then, on Saturday, October 28 at 1PM, we will have the traditional Votive Mass Pro Pace.
Third Day: The closing Mass will be on Sunday, October 29 at 10:30AM, which will also be the 1st class Feast of Christ the King. This closing Mass will be celebrated coram Sanctissimo (in the presence of the Blessed Sacrament exposed throughout the entire Mass).
At the end of the closing Mass, the Litany of the Saints and other special psalms and prayers will be chanted and we will have another Procession of the Blessed Sacrament inside the church. This Procession will end with Benediction of the Most Blessed Sacrament, the Divine Praises, and the recitation of the Act of Consecration of the Human Race to the Sacred Heart of Jesus.
While in the Roman Catholic Church there are many Feasts and devotions throughout the year, the Forty Hours Devotion is always awaited and received with extreme joy. “Devotion to the Blessed Sacrament,” according to Fr. Faber, “is the queen of all devotions. It is the central devotion of the Church. All others gather round it and group themselves there as satellites; for others celebrate His Mysteries; this is Himself.
The Forty Hours Devotion is surrounded with three special dimensions:
1) The protection from evil and temptation;
2) Reparation for our own sins and for the poor souls in purgatory; and
3) Deliverance from political, material and spiritual calamities. 
All these petitions (for ourselves, for our neighbors, and for the entire Church) are expressed in detail in the beautiful Litanies of the Saints that are chanted as part of the opening and the closing Masses for the Forty Hours.
The very active and vibrant Church of the Holy Innocents (NYC) is still the only parish in the entire Archdiocese of NY that has the Forty Hours Devotion in its traditional form. The Forty Hours Devotion was permanently established by Pope Clement VIII “in order that day and night the faithful might appease their Lord by prayer before the Blessed Sacrament solemnly exposed, imploring there His divine mercy.”

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Why I Love the Traditional Mass!

Below is a nice article about why people love the Traditional Mass. And, of course, we cannot forget the famous reason given by Fr. Adrian Fortescue in his book The Mass:
"So our Mass goes back, without essential change, to the age when it first developed out of the oldest liturgy of all. It is still redolent of that liturgy, of the days when Cæsar ruled the world and thought he could stamp out the faith of Christ, when our fathers met together before dawn and sang a hymn to Christ as to a God. The final result of our enquiry is that, in spite of unsolved problems, in spite of later changes, there is not in Christendom another rite so venerable as ours."
That seems like a good enough reason for us!
P. Villanueva, ‘Mass in St. John Lateran in Rome’, early 20th century
P. Villanueva, ‘Mass in St. John Lateran in Rome’, early 20th century
Blogs  |  Oct. 16, 2017

Why I Love the Extraordinary Form of the Mass

“The People of God need to see priests and deacons behave in a way that is full of reverence and dignity, in order to help them to penetrate invisible things without unnecessary words or explanations.” —Pope St. John Paul II
“What earlier generations held as sacred, remains sacred and great for us too, and cannot be all of a sudden entirely forbidden or even considered harmful. It behooves all of us to preserve the riches which have developed in the Church's faith and prayer, and to give them their proper place.” —Pope Benedict XVI (regarding the Extraordinary Form of the Mass)
I confess. I am passionately orthodox and traditionally minded, and I'm tired of hiding it. I'm crawling out of my hideous little liturgical cave – just watch me. Just mention the words, “the universal tongue,” and I'm off sailing into the supernal skies, hunting for the closest Latin Mass, even if I have to call a helicopter ambulance so I can get there before the Gospel reading so I can receive Holy Communion most reverentially at the Communion rail. Just whip a golden-frilled chapel veil my way, and I'll swoon miserably. Show me a holy card of an eternal priest of Jesus Christ raising the sacred chalice to the heavens, facing ad orientem, and I'll need natural blood pressure supplement ASAP. Seriously!
The Latin Mass knocks my soul's socks off. Why? Well, now I know. For a decade, I've treasured the Latin Mass, but more recently, I've come to actual moral convictions about its redeeming place in the Church. It is re-surging with a wondrous energy and vivacity. In the 80s, there were fewer than ten locations in the United States where one could find a Latin Mass offered by a priest in good standing with Rome each Sunday. Now in 2017, there are reportedly more than 400 such places. In a recent article I wrote for the Dakota Catholic Action, I included a personal testimony of my journey:
Having just joined the Church, I was still learning basic Catholic teachings, getting the hang of praying the Rosary and starting to change my life for the better. I definitely wasn't overly familiar with Ecclesiastical Latin, and if you mentioned that a priest wore a “cassock” to me, I'd probably wonder why you were talking to me about his footwear. On a practical level, as I sat through the Latin Mass, I didn't understand what was going on. I was just a broken, searching  young person looking for a little peace and guidance in life, and yet, I instinctively knew a few things for certain. I knew that when I was at the Latin Mass, I was on “sacred ground”; I was in touch with the lifeblood of God's very heart. As I watched the priest offer the Sacrifice of the Mass ad orientem (“to the east”), I knew that Christ was radiantly alive in the world today, just waiting to take the sorrows and sins of us poor pilgrims upon Himself. I also knew that this divine liturgy brought solace to my soul in a unique, overpowering way – such as I had never felt before. As I attended the Latin Mass over and over, I began to sense that it was like a clandestine jewel of Christ the King, tucked away in the bosom of the Church; it had the capacity to bring a glimpse of Heaven to even the most pitiful of souls. And I began to see that in some beautiful way, God deems us, His creatures, worthy to walk on this “sacred ground”; to attend this Mass so akin to the praise of the celestial angels.
And, the truth is, I am surely not alone. Centuries of devout Catholic souls have cherished what we now call the Extraordinary Form of the Mass and, time and time again, found themselves fortified by its limpidity and inspired by its authenticity. At the height of a solemn High Mass, if you just keep your heart open, you will find yourself worshiping Almighty God with such purity – you will see that He is a God so omniscient and omnipotent that He is worthy of the same worship that centuries of Saints have offered to Him. As described on the website, latinmassmontana.org:
For this is the Mass that St. Gregory the Great inherited, developed, and solidified... This is the Mass that St. Louis IX, the crusader king of France, attended three times a day. This is the Mass that priests said secretly in England and Ireland during the dark days of persecution, and this is the Mass that Blessed Miguel Pro risked his life to celebrate before being captured and martyred by the Mexican government. This is the Mass that Blessed John Henry Newman said he would celebrate every waking moment of his life if he could. This is the Mass that Fr. Damien of Molokai celebrated with leprous hands in the church he had built and painted himself.
Like many devout Catholics, I've savored the Latin Mass from the moment I first encountered it, but now I have come to a point where I don't just savor it, I believe in it. I believe it is like the fantastical wellspring of water that sprang out of the rock that Moses struck to feed God's chosen people in the wilderness. I believe it is one of the ways that God is lending to rescue the Church at sea from battering winds of the culture of death. It makes a prodigious impression on the meek of the earth and it raises the brokenhearted to a place of healing. And I do believe it makes us free – free creatures that can worship God on high without an earthly care. It does not tie us down to the sensory demands that overly affective and cheaply emotional worship forms of worship tend to do. It pierces the soul with its ethereal radiance, and a genuine encounter with it will never be forgotten.
As Wyoming Catholic College professor Dr. Peter Kwasniewski writes in his book, Resurgent in the Midst of Crisis:
This is the challenge that the traditional Roman liturgy makes to us again and again, in its prayers, its ceremonies, its calendar, and its ethos. It is not accommodated to our worldly compromises... It proclaims unequivocally the primacy of things heavenly and spiritual. It is the luminous expression of an ageless tradition of worship, as carried out by men and women who made this worship their primary work in life. As such, it does the opposite of pandering to us moderns; it confronts us with our need for radical conversion. The old Missal is the unwavering,   undying repository of the radical message of Jesus Christ, our Lord and God. Are we ready to hear this Gospel and take up the Cross?
Despite its seemingly radical edge, Pope Benedict's motu proprio is ardently supported by some of the Church's foremost liturgical experts.
Cardinal Robert Sarah, Prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments, is known to endorse both the Novus Ordo and the traditional Latin Mass. Last October, he notably, and with remarkable encouragement, addressed pilgrims who had traveled to Rome to celebrate Benedict XVI’s motu proprio Summorum Pontificum. Further, regarding the Extraordinary Form of the Mass, he once said, “Vatican II never asked us to reject the past and abandon the Mass of St. Pius V, which spawned many saints, nor discard Latin. But at the same time we must promote the liturgical reform sought by the Council itself.”  
In 2001, Pope St. John Paul II, in an address to the plenary assembly of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments, said:
The People of God need to see priests and deacons behave in a way that is full of reverence and dignity, in order to help them to penetrate invisible things without unnecessary words or explanations. In the Roman Missal of Saint Pius V, as in several Eastern liturgies, there are very beautiful prayers through which the priest expresses the most profound sense of humility and reverence before the Sacred Mysteries: they reveal the very substance of the Liturgy."
So, this being said, who's on board?

Friday, October 13, 2017

100th Anniversary of the Apparitions of Our Lady at Fatima and of the Miracle of the Sun

“Are you willing to offer yourselves to God to bear all the sufferings He wants to send you, as an act of reparation for the sins by which He is offended, and for the conversion of sinners?”
“Sacrifice yourselves for sinners, and say often to Jesus, especially whenever you make a sacrifice: O Jesus, it is for love of Thee, for the conversion of sinners, and in reparation for the sins committed against the Immaculate Heart of Mary.”
“You have seen hell where the souls of poor sinners go. To save them, God wishes to establish in the world devotion to My Immaculate Heart. If what I say to you is done, many souls will be saved and there will be peace. The war is going to end; but if people do not cease offending God, a worse one will break out during the reign of Pius XI. When you see a night illumined by an unknown light, know that this is the great sign given you by God that He is about to punish the world for its crimes by means of war, famine, and persecutions of the Church and of the Holy Father.”

“To prevent this, I shall come to ask for the consecration of Russia to My Immaculate Heart, and the Communion of Reparation on the First Saturdays. If My requests are heeded, Russia will be converted and there will be peace; if not, she will spread her errors throughout the world, causing wars and persecutions of the Church. The good will be martyred, the Holy Father will have much to suffer, various nations will be annihilated. In the end, My Immaculate Heart will triumph. The Holy Father will consecrate Russia to Me, and she will be converted, and a period of peace will be granted to the world.”
“Do not offend the Lord Our God any more, for He is already too much offended!”
A physician, Dr. Almeida Garrett, testified [The Miracle of the Sun]:

Suddenly I heard the uproar of thousands of voices, and I saw the whole multitude spread out in that vast space at my feet turn their backs to that spot where, until then, all their expectations focused, and look at the sun on the other side I turned around, too, toward the point commanding their gazes, and I could see the sun, like a very clear disc, with its sharp edge, which gleamed without hurting the sight. It could not be confused with the sun seen through a fog (there was no fog at that moment), for it was neither veiled, nor dim. At Fatima, it kept its light and heat, and stood out clearly in the sky, with a sharp edge, like a large gaming table. The most astonishing thing was to be able to stare at the solar disc for a long time, brilliant with light and heat, without hurting the eyes, or damaging the retina.
The testimony of Avelino de Almeida, editor-in-chief of O Seculo, Lisbon’s anticlerical and Masonic daily newspaper, is similar:

And then we witnessed a unique spectacle, an incredible spectacle, unbelievable if you did not witness it. From above the road we see the immense crowd turn towards the sun, which appeared at its zenith, clear of the clouds. It looked like a plate of dull silver, and it was possible to stare at it without the least discomfort. It did not burn the eyes. It did not blind. One might say that an eclipse had occurred.
Others also testified:

"It shook and trembled; it seemed like a wheel of fire." (Maria da Capelinha)

"The sun turned like a fire wheel, taking on all the colors of the rainbow." (Maria do Carmo)

"The sun took on all the colors of the rainbow. Everything assumed those same colors: our faces, our clothes, the earth itself." (Maria do Carmo).
The most terrifying aspect of the Miracle of the Sun then took place:

We suddenly heard a clamor, like a cry of anguish of that entire crowd. The sun, in fact, keeping its rapid movement of rotation, seemed to free itself from the firmament and, blood-red, to plunge towards the earth, threatening to crush us with its fiery mass. Those were some terrifying seconds." (Dr. Almeida Garrett)

"The sun began to dance and, at a certain moment, it appeared to detach itself from the firmament and to rush forward on us, like a fire wheel." (Alfredo da Silva Santos)

"Finally, the sun stopped and everybody breathed a sigh of relief " (Maria da Capelinha)

"From those thousands of mouths I heard shouts of joy and love to the Most Holy Virgin. And then I believed. I had the certainty of not having been the victim of a suggestion. I had seen the sun as I would never see it again." (Mario Godinho, an engineer).
Yet another astonishing aspect of the Miracle was that all of the thousands of people, most of whom were soaked to the bone and dirty from the mud, suddenly found that their clothes were dry and clean.

"The moment one would least expect it, our clothes were totally dry." (Maria do Carmo)

"My suit dried in an instant." (John Carreira)
The academician Marques da Cruz testified:

This enormous multitude was drenched, for it had rained unceasingly since dawn. But though this may appear incredible after the great miracle everyone felt comfortable, and found his garments quite dry, a subject of general wonder the truth of this fact has been guaranteed with the greatest sincerity by dozens and dozens of persons of absolute trustworthiness, whom I have known intimately from childhood, and who are still alive (1937), as well as by persons from various districts of the country who were present.

Wednesday, October 11, 2017



This coming Friday, October 13, after the 6PM Mass, the Church of the Holy Innocents will have devotions to Our Lady of Fatima (as it has had every 13th of the month) to commemorate the apparitions of Our Lady at Fatima. October 13th will also be the commemoration 6th apparition and of the 100th anniversary of the “Miracle of the Sun.”
On that day, the Pastor of the parish, Fr. James Miara, will consecrate the parish to the Immaculate Heart of Mary following the devotions to Our Lady of Fatima.
Additionally, those who have been preparing themselves for 33-days to make their Total Consecration to Our Lady will have the chance to do so.