Saturday, June 21, 2003

"Catholic" Senator Kerry Vows Everlasting Fealty To Moloch

"I am prepared to filibuster, if necessary, any Supreme Court nominee who would turn back the clock on a woman's right to choose or the constitutional right to privacy..." Sen,. John Kerry (Massachusets) said in remarks to Minnesota Democratic apparatchiks yesterday, as reported in a story on today's AP Wire. Thanks to Mark Shea for the link.

Translated, this should be read as "I will say and do anything to bow and scrape before the Pro-Abortion Advocates Of Death Who Have a Stranglehold on the Democratic Party. I am untroubled by the fact that my power is built on the death of millions of innocents."

"Kerry also has said if elected president he would only appoint judges who support Roe v. Wade, " according to the same AP story. This should be translated as "I will stand for the rights of the powerless and voiceless, as long as they aren't innocents in the womb. They're on their own."

Last week I wrote that the Democrats, in becoming the Party of the Will To Power [TM], have become the Party of Sin [TM]. It appears that they have only two principles: Power and Abortion. Their continued worship at the Altar of Moloch, their willingness to sacrifice the lives of unborn children for their ambitions, has made them the Party of Death [TM].

It is time, as Catholics, to make a stand against these Politicians of Death. Is there any bishop in Massachusets willing to speak the truth about what Kerry really is? Are there any bishops out there willing to stand up to the Democrats and denounce them for what they have become?

May God have mercy on our nation.

Friday, June 20, 2003

While So Many Catholics Are Arguing (again) About Harry Potter...

Some of us actually have real problems to deal with:

Like how to deal with lapsed, semi-Catholic, cohabitating couples, who either to please the parents or out of some vestigial traces of unformed faith, nonetheless want to get married in the Church.

Like many (if not most) priests, I am in the thick of wedding season. Lots of weddings, and lots of couples coming to me wanting to get married in the next year or so. For every couple who come to me wanting to really celebrate the Sacrament of Marriage, and want to make their wedding an expression of their faith, I'd say there are five who fit the above description. I am grateful for those "good" couples when they come along: without them to provide encouragement (and relief), things could get really discouraging.

While I was in the seminary, I would sometimes get together with priests and the subject of weddings would come up. I was initially shocked and a little scandalized at how priests would complain about weddings: they looked forward to impending weddings the way most people look forward to a root canal or a colonoscopy. Now that I am a priest I understand. And Catholic priests aren't the only ones who complain: Once I was visiting some friends on vacation, and at a cook-out I met an Anglican priestess who was my friends' colleague at the college at which they taught. Of course, we talked "shop" and discovered, that while we could agree on practically nothing theologically (though we were on safe ground with the Trinity and the Divinity of Christ), we were of almost one mind at our dismay and discouragement over weddings. She vituperated at some length on how the brides treated the wedding as a big show, how the grooms were almost disinterested, and how no one semed to appreciate the sacred covenant which the wedding is supposed to represent.

Now, aside from the horror stories of brides who want to re-shape the liturgy to fit their own "fashion show" fantasy of their wedding (it's supposed to be MY day, isn't it, one bride whined), and requests for bizarre, let alone merely inappropriate music, I have one specific issue I am trying to grapple with:

I'd say that approximately 50% of the couples that come to me wanting to get married are constructively cohabitating. That is, even if they in some sense maintain separate residences, they more-or-less live together a substantial part of the time. One dead giveaway is when I call the phone number given for one of the parties and I get an answering machine which says "Hi, Bill and Suzy aren't home right now..." Now, all of the couples I have dealt with thus far have been surprisingly candid about it: they genuinely don't see that there is a problem with cohabitation, much less pre-marital sex.

So how do I deal with them? How do I minister to them, re-evangelize them? Many of them, like most of our generation, have been woefully under-catechized. I recognized right away that I really have to start from scratch with many of these couples: they don't know their faith, they aren't practicing it. So, while I know that they really should separate and be chaste during their engagement, I know that's not the point at which to begin: I try to get them back to Mass, back to confession and the sacraments, to rekindle their faith. Only then do I bring up the issue of cohabitation and the need to separate. I give them material to read by good Catholic authors. I talk to them about the meaning of sex in the marriage covenant and I require them to attend an NFP introductory class. But it's an uphill battle: I can't make up, in 8-10 meetings over as many months, for little or no formation in their youth.

But there always comes the moment of truth: after I've talked to them about the sacramentality and covenant of marriage, and the sanctity of sex; after I've given them the articles and explained to them why cohabitation is bad preparation for marriage, etc, etc. After all of that, they have to decide. And so far, the decision has always been, "well, Father, we understand what you're saying, but we've decided we really can't/won't separate."

At that point, I feel as though I am at a loss. I know of some priests who simply refuse to perform the wedding if the couple won't separate. But they always make the issue of cohabitation the first thing addressed "out of the gate" and I think this is a mistake, for the reasons I explained above. This approach also seems to go beyond what the Church itself says, because Canon Law is quite clear and firm about Catholics having a right to marry in the Church. And I can't imagine it being fair to a couple to work with them for 4-6 months and then announce that since they won't separate I won't do the wedding.

So what to do? I'd be interested in hearing suggestions both from married Catholics and from any priests out there who have more experience in these things than I do. One concern I have is that I don't want to contribute to people entering invalid marriages. Given, as Canonist Extraordinaire Pete Vere pointed out last week, that the majority of people who seek annulments were in fact sexually active with their ex-spouses prior to marriage, I think this is a legitimate concern. I can say that, in my own experience in dealing with people seeking annulments, this is universally the case: literally every person I have talked to about seeking an annulment turned out to have been sexually involved with his/her former spouse prior to marriage. I find it hard to imagine that's a coincidence.

So, any pearls of wisdom out there?

Tuesday, June 17, 2003

If You Think Liturgical Dance Is a Good Idea...

Then you'll probably really love the next big thing, coming to a liturgy near you:


I predict a whole new section in the OCP lineup, with inspiring songs like "I Wanna Yodel For the Lord", or "Jesus" (done to a groovy Beguine-style beat).

Thanks to Fr. Bryce Sibley at A Saintly Salmagundi for the link!

Monday, June 16, 2003

And Another Thing...

About Liturgical Dance: While I, perhaps, wouldn't have described liturgical dance as cruelly as Dale Price ("Gay. Super-Gay. Liberace Gay."), nonetheless he is reinforcing a point made before by himself, and most recently by Joanna Bogle at Catholic Exchange: Catholic Liturgy, as it is practiced in many, if not most parishes in this country, has a decidedly feminized atmosphere. Much of what happens in many Sunday liturgies today has the effect of telling men that they are irrelevant, or that the Faith is irrelevant to them. Bogle writes:

"Why is this? Take a look at your parish liturgy. Often it is very female-oriented. Most of the readers at Mass are women. Most of the Extraordinary Ministers of Holy Communion are women. Probably most of the altar servers are girls. This used to be the one area that boys could claim, but now many — maybe most — parishes have girls, which naturally means that boys think that serving Mass is girlie and so they swiftly disappear."

Now, I can think of nothing that would send the message more convincingly that the Catholic religion is "girlie" than the adoption of liturgical dance. A spectacle such as this:

does not shout out "Average Joe Normal Guy" Welcome Here.

And, dare I speak that which should be blindingly obvious to all, but nontheless will not seem very PC? That the advocates of liturgical dance are overwhelmingly female? Not that most women want it - I doubt that. But those that do want it are, as the above photo illustrates, mostly women. There is no groundswell out there of Catholic men clamoring "We Want To Dance!".

I also think that bishops, priests, and interested laypeople would be well advised, as one commentor alluded, to put all proposed liturgical innovations through what I call the "15 Year Old Boy Test". I can guarantee you that 99% of 15 Year Old Boys would be reduced to fits of guffaws at the prospect of witnessing something like the above at Sunday Mass. Not that 15 Year Old Boys are some sort of font of wisdom, but teenage boys have very well tuned B.S. Detectors: they would take one look at that and see it for the foppish silliness that it is. If you can't get your 15 Year Old to do it, say it, or sing it without snickering, then just maybe it might not be a good idea to do it at Mass.

Sunday, June 15, 2003

The Solemnity of the Most Holy Trinity

An Offering to the Most Holy Trinity

We offer to You, Most Blessed Trinity, the merits of Jesus Christ in thanksgiving for the Most Precious Blood which He shed in the garden for us; and through those merits we beseech Your Divine Majesty for the remission of our sins. 

Our Father ... Hail Mary ... Glory Be...

We offer to You, Most Holy Trinity, the merits of Jesus Christ in thanksgiving for His Most Precious Death endured on the Cross in our behalf and through those merits we beseech Your Divine Majesty for the remission of the punishment due to our sins.

Our Father ... Hail Mary ... Glory Be... 

We offer to You, Most Blessed Trinity, the merits of Jesus Christ in profound gratitude for His Infinite Love in descending from Heaven to become Man and suffer and die for us upon the Cross; and by those merits we beseech Your Divine Majesty to bring our souls to the glory of Heaven.

Our Father ...Hail Mary ... Glory Be...