Please pray for me and my brother priests!

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Frankenstein's Monster: The 'New Church'

Paradoxically, there has been in recent history, a disturbing trend among those in Catholic higher education to do all that they can to attack the Church and her moral teachings, and to distance themselves from their true identity in order to embrace and receive accolades from those in the liberal secular movement. This situation objectively causes great scandal and harm to the faithful. The College of the Holy Cross in Worcester, Massachusetts provides the latest example.

Holy Cross is hosting a conference in which NARAL (National Association to Repeal Abortion Laws) and Planned Parenthood (the nations largest abortion provider and distributor of contraceptives) are the principle participants. The venue serves to promote and further their expressed goals, which run contrary to the truth about the dignity of the human person taught by the Church.

Why would a Catholic institution want to hurt what should be an integral part of its mission? The only reason I can deduce is that the institution, and those who run it, have abandoned the mission of the Church, and recreated the mission, and the Church, as they see fit. What they are left with is not the Church that Christ gave us, Christ guides, and Christ provides for our salvation. Instead they replace the Bride of Christ for the Bride of Frankenstein: a monster-church of their own making, comprised of various parts of secular ideologies and modern-liberal agendas, who contains no truth, no beauty, and no soul, and with a visage that can only be looked upon without horror only by those who created it. This monster-church, like Frankenstein's monster, mimics life as God gives it but reeks with the stench of death.

Truth be told, and to follow the Frankenstein analogy, even they come to hate this new creation, their monster-church with its false God. They come to see that their 'new church' is indeed not a new creation, but the work of the ancient Accuser and Father of Lies, who allows man to think that he has asserted his independence and superiority over God and His Church, all the while making him the most pathetic of slaves.

Bishop Robert McManus is the ordinary of Worcester and has bravely and strongly called Holy Cross to task. He calls them to their duty and dignity as a Catholic institution, and reminds them not to forget that he, as bishop, has "pastoral and canonical responsibility to determine what institutions can properly call themselves Catholic.”

This article from Catholic World News provides a good synopsis of the Bishop's statement.

Pray for Bishop McManus, and all Bishops, that they may have the courage of the Apostles whose successors they are, and proclaim the Truth of Jesus Christ in season and out, without counting the cost.

Questions and comments are welcome.

God love you!

Massachusetts Bishop Issues Warning to Jesuit College

Worcester, Oct. 11, 2007 ( - A Massachusetts bishop has strongly criticized a Jesuit-run college in his diocese, hinting that he could withdraw the school's recognition as a Catholic institution.

Bishop Robert McManus of Worcester issued a statement on October 10, responding to protests from lay Catholics about plans for a conference at the College of the Holy Cross in which Planned Parenthood and NARAL Pro-Choice Massachusetts will make presentations. Siding with the pro-life protestors, Bishop McManus disclosed that he had urged Holy Cross to cancel the conference plans.

The organizations participating in the scheduled event, the bishop said, "promote positions on artificial contraception and abortion that are contrary to the moral teachings of the Catholic Church." Saying that the Church's position on key issues involving respect for life is "manifestly clear," he questioned why a Catholic school would offer these groups a forum. The bishop warned that the conference could create a "situation of offering scandal understood in its proper theological sense, i.e. an attitude or behavior which leads another to do evil." By canceling the conference, he said, Holy Cross would not infringe upon academic freedom, but would "make unambiguously clear the Catholic identity and mission of the College of the Holy Cross."

Bishop McManus noted that as the head of the Worcester diocese in which Holy Cross is located he has the "pastoral and canonical responsibility to determine what institutions can properly call themselves Catholic.” He added: "This is a duty that I do not take lightly…"

The bishop concluded his public statement by expressing his "fervent wish" that Holy Cross would cancel plans for the conference, "so that the college can continue to be recognized as a Catholic institution committed to promoting the moral teaching of the Roman Catholic Church."

Sunday, October 7, 2007

Great Clouds of Incense

I love to use incense at the Holy Mass. It helps to support an atmosphere of solemnity and beauty that is fitting to the greatest gift given by Christ to His Church, and the highest prayer the Church has to offer to God: the True Worship of God the Father as offered by Christ on His Cross. It helps man to understand that at Mass we enter into and are united with the worship offered God in Heaven by His Angels and Saints. If we are told, after all, that the angels stand amid clouds of incense singing God's praise in heaven, why shouldn't they do the same gathered around the altar, as they are, singing God's praise during the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass?

Even though I think most people have a "gut" instinct about incense, one of the questions I often get after using incense at Mass is, "Why do you use incense?" or "What does the incense mean?" This great article from The Catholic Education Resource Center gives a great history of the liturgical use of incense, its symbolism, and its importance.

Questions and comments are welcome.

God love you!

Great Clouds of Incense
An unusual tree grows in the sultanate of Oman.

Standing about 15 feet high, with thick stems and dense branches, the Boswellia sacra looks like a shrub that needs pruning. Slash the trunk and a thick resin oozes out; wait a day or two and the resin will hardened into nuggets that look like rock candy. These nuggets are the raw material of incense. For thousands of years the Boswellia trees of Oman have provided the incense that burned in the temples of Egypt, Babylon, Athens, Rome, and of course the holy Temple in Jerusalem. Today, the incense burned in your parish church at a solemn Mass, Benediction of the Blessed Sacrament, or at a funeral probably came from Oman. ( Yemen has planted groves of Boswellia trees and exports incense, but Oman still dominates the market).

In the temple rituals of the ancient world incense played a symbolic and a practical role. Because it was rare, expensive, and would be completely consumed by fire, it was considered a suitable sacrifice to the gods. Furthermore, priests and people hoped that their prayers would rise to heaven like the great clouds of sweet-smelling smoke. Then there was the practical dimension of burning incense: in temples where animals were sacrificed and their carcasses burned, incense helped mask the stench.

Both the Old and the New Testaments tell us that incense is pleasing to God. In the book of Exodus God commands Moses to build a small, gold-plated altar specifically for burning incense every morning and evening (Exodus 30:1-8). In St. Luke’s gospel we read that St. Zachary the priest was about to offer incense in the Temple in Jerusalem when the archangel Gabriel appeared to announce that he and his wife Elizabeth were about to have a son, the future St. John the Baptist (Luke 1:8-13). And the book of Revelations describes a scene in Heaven in which an angel burned incense in a censer, “and the smoke of the incense rose with the prayers of the saints… before God” (Revelations 8:3-4).

In spite of biblical endorsement of the practice, there is no evidence that Christians during the first three hundreds of the Church used incense at Mass. Perhaps Christians worried that clouds of incense billowing from their little house-churches would have attracted unwanted attention. Another reason is more probable: among the early Christians incense stirred up unhappy memories. During periods of persecution, Roman magistrates always offered a Christian the chance to save his or her life by burning a few grains of incense before an image of a pagan god. Christians who refused were executed, while those who out of a natural fear of pain and death complied and burned the incense became a source of shame and heartache for their fellow Christians.

For reasons are hard to pin down, by the late 4 th century the Church in the East had begun to use incense in worship. Etheria, a nun from present-day France who in 381 began a lengthy pilgrimage to the Holy Land, tells us that incense was burned in the Church of the Holy Sepulcher in Jerusalem. As the bitter memory of incense’s link to the era of persecution faded, the Church in the West took up the custom, too, censing everything that was considered holy—the bread and wine, the altar, the crucifix, the book of the gospels, the celebrant of the Mass and the sacred ministers, and the congregation. Today incense serves the same purpose as it did when Moses burned it in the desert—it pays homage to all that is holy, and symbolizes our prayers ascending to God.


Thomas J. Craughwell. "Great Clouds of Incense." Our Sunday Visitor.