Sunday, January 27, 2008

The Angelus

Many times one will see in the media that the Holy Father has made some statement or given a sermon on a subject during the Angelus at St. Peters. So what is the Angelus?
Saying the Angelus is a practice that originated in the middle ages, surrounding the use of the bells which were possessed by just about every medieval church. At 6 a.m., noon and 6 p.m. the bells were rung in three sets of three. The time between sets was just long enough for a Pater and Ave Maria to be said. The typical Angelus prayer does not consist of an Our Father and Hail Mary but rather a set of lines taken from the Annunciation reading in Gospel (Luke 1:26-27) and a recitation of the Hail Mary.

V/. The Angel of the Lord brought tidings unto Mary,
R/. And she conceived by the Holy Ghost.

Hail Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee. Blessed art thou among women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus.
Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners, now and at the hour of our death. Amen.

V/. "Behold the handmaid of the Lord."
R/. "Be it unto me according to thy Word."
Hail Mary, full of grace...

V/. And the Word was made flesh,
R/. And dwelt among us.
Hail Mary, full of grace...

V/. Pray for us, O Holy Mother of God.
R/. That we may be made worthy of the promises of Christ.

Even though the reading is from the Annunciation the prayer is really a devotion in memory of the Incarnation.

The Angelus is said three times a day in many places in the old world, where the church bells still toll at the appointed times. In Rome, Ireland and even Britain, various radio and television stations interrupt programing at these times to broadcast the tolling of the bells, three sets of three, usually followed by a long peal of the bell originally associated with the ringing of curfew. In some places, like Germany, even the Protestant churches toll the Angelus, and some Lutherans and Anglo-Catholics pray the Angelus daily.

During Eastertide the Regina Coeli, (The Queen of Heaven) is said instead.

Queen of heaven, be joyful, alleluia:
The Son whom you merited to bear, alleluia,

Has risen, as He said, alleluia.
Pray for us to God, alleluia.

Rejoice and be glad, O Virgin Mary, alleluia.
For the Lord has truly risen, alleluia.

The Regina Coeli is also said seasonally as part of the Liturgy of the Hours.

The Angelus is included in the Traditional Catholic Prayer section of the Compendium of the Catechism of the Catholic Church.

Saturday, January 12, 2008

British Airways Anti-Christian?

British Airways has won a suit brought by a woman who was punished for wearing a cross at work. She sued because members of the Muslim and Hindu faiths are allowed to wear faith related clothing, religious markings and jewelry, and lost. So it appears that both British Airways and the British court system believes that it's alright to wear religious artifacts, unless you're Christian.
Let your dollars or pounds show BA your opinion on the matter.

Sunday, January 6, 2008

Fr. Fushek's folly

I'm sure many of you are familiar with Life Teen and St. Timothy's long time pastor who was its founder.
I also expect that you've heard of the allegations of sexual impropriety against Fr. Dale Fushek and how Bishop Thomas Olmsted has, in light of these allegations, removed him from active ministry.
As The Cafeteria is Closed reports Fr. Fushek is defying the diocese by holding non-Mass worship services at the Mesa Convention center. Considering the past history of the priest sex scandal why anyone would want to encourage their children to attend such a function is beyond me. That Catholics would in defiance of their bishop is even more so.
Fr. Fushek was removed from parish ministry. This implicitly should have prevented him from being in any way involved with young people. He is defying his bishop and worse he is the prima facta cause of other Catholics defying their bishop by supporting his actions.
My parish youth minister informs me that Life Teen has sent out a letter explaining that Fr. Fushek is no longer associated with Life Teen and urging youth ministers to warn their teens against attending these "Praise & Worship" events being run by Dale Fushek.
I've no doubt that individuals who have never been enamored with Life Teen's Charismatic approach to teem ministry will point to the scandal of Dale Fushek's actions and attempt to paint the whole program in the worst of all possible lights.
It is up to those who have seen the positive effects that Life Teen has had on young people, how the program has led youth to Christ, to point out that the program is more than the sins and bad decisions of any one individual. I have seen the Eucharist centered message of Life Teen reach teens who would other wise have been lost to the Church. Life Teen teaches serious messages. It's not all fun and games. Small Groups wrestle with hard issues, and the social ministry frame work of Life Teen often gives parents that backup which might be lacking in a classroom environment.
On September 19, 1846, about 3:00 in the afternoon, two children in the village of La Salette, France, beheld a vision of the Virgin Mary. Neither of the child visionaries led particularly saintly or religious lives after the apparitions. Maximin Giraud fell under the spell of unscrupulous people who used him for his notoriety. Mélanie Calvat attempted to live as a Carmelite nun a few times, but eventually returned to the secular world. She began to espouse her own prophecies and mystical dogmas and unsuccessfully tried to develop a personal following.
The point being that while even St. John Vianney, who at first excepted the apparition as real, began to doubt its autheticity after meeting Maximin Giraud, through the intercession of Our Lady of La Salette he latter recanted of his doubts. Our Lord does not need perfect tools to do his work. Luckily, for he would find his toolbox worriedly empty during most ages of the world. He is quite capable of using the most flawed of us to do His will.
Like Mélanie Calvat it appears Dale Fushek is attempting to build a personal following. As with Calvat these actions have no bearing on the sanctity of the prior work God entrusted to him.

Thursday, January 3, 2008

Happy Birthday

Today is J.R.R. Tolkien's birthday. The father of modern fantasy was a devote Catholic, and indeed Christian themes abound in his most famous work. Professor Tolkien was a good friend of C.S. Lewis, and with him was a member of the literary group the Inklings.