Sunday, January 18, 2009

Precious Blood

Most Catholics know that when someone is ill and unable to attend Mass that they may receive Eucharist. When they are in danger of death and it is likely to be their last time it is also called the Viaticum. This is usually in the form of the Precious Body.
What is not generally realized is that in cases of special need, for example for a person who cannot swallow, it is permitted for them to receive the Precious Blood. This requires special preparation on the part of the consecrating priest, because it is generally not allowed to retain the Precious Blood, and then only for a very short time. Unlike in the case of the consecrated Host there is not an equivalent to the pyx for transporting the Precious Blood. In most cases only a few drops are really necessary. Except in the case of Celiac disease, most who can't receive the Body of the Lord will only be able to take as much Precious Blood as can be absorbed in the mouth, since they cannot swallow.
If you know someone in this situation discuss the option with their priest. Many believe that there is no option that will allow them to receive the Lord if they are unable to swallow the Host.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Sometimes the numbers tell...

Last year the Knights of Columbus asked the Marist Collage Institute for Public Opinion to conduct a nationwide survey on the subject of abortion. The survey showed that 65% of the Catholic population attend Mass at least once or twice a month. Of that group 59% describe themselves as "pro-life." Of the rest only a small percent of those who consider themselves "pro-choice" would allow abortion in all circumstances, the stand of Roe v. Wade. More telling to me is the fact that of those non-practicing Catholics fully 46% also support same-sex marriage.
Supreme Knight Carl A. Anderson said:
It seems clear that Catholics who are no longer practicing their faith hold positions that are far outside the mainstream of Catholicism and have significant disagreements with the moral teachings of the Church on Fundamental issues.
This would seem to indicate to me that the reason many, if not , most, of these non-practicing Catholics are non-practicing is precisely because they have significant disagreements with the moral teachings of the Church on Fundamental issues.
At least most of these folks aren't pretending be practicing Catholics while publicly disagreeing with Catholic moral teaching. That act is reserved for politicians and some heretical theologians.
So how does that impact the lowly parish catechist?
One statement that every catechumate makes at his Baptism or Rite of Acceptance is that they accept without reservation the full teaching of the Catholic Church. That means more than accepting the articles of the Creed. That means accepting the Church's stance on Contraception, and Abortion. It mean accepting the Church's stance against the ordination of women. It means accepting the practice of the discipline of celibacy for priests of the Roman Rite. It means accepting the Church's stance on the disorderliness of acts of homosexuality and against same-sex marriage. Most of this comes under the heading of sanctity of life issues.
If we expect our candidates to be able to honestly answer to accepting what the Church holds we must insure they understand what the Church believes. More they must understand the issue of dogma, the Magisterium and the laity's place in the Church. We must also expect to perhaps have to defend the Church's position, and have to explain, to the best extent possible why the Church holds these positions.
Don't expect to be able to defend contraception if you haven't read Humanae Vitae. Don't expect to be able to discuss why the Church doesn't ordain women if you haven't read Ordinatio Sacerdotalis.
In other words be prepared. But don't be afraid to say," I'm not prepared to discuss that tonight. We'll talk about it next week." Then run to the CCC or Vatican web site to get doctrined up.

Monday, January 5, 2009

New translation of the liturgy

While someone who hangs around St. Blog might think you'd have to be living under a rock not to know it, most people in the pews in the United States are completely unaware that a new translation of the Roman Missal has been in the works.
Prior to Vatican II the Mass, in the Latin Churches, at any rate, was always said in Latin. Vatican II's Sacrosanctum Concilium said that while the use of Latin was to be preserved in the Latin rites that it was permissible to use the Vernacular where ever approved by the particular Ordinaries, that is, the bishops, for the purpose of pastoral sensitivity. It also provided that translations into the various vernaculars should be accomplished over the greater regions where each language was used.
The text of the Mass is always published by the Vatican in Latin. International organizations have been formed by the various Nation Bishop's Conferences to carry out the actual translations to the various vernaculars, Italian, French, Spanish, English, etc. The Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments is the Vatican department which handles affairs relating to liturgical practices. They issue the Latin version of the Missal. The International Commission on English in the Liturgy(ICEL) is responsible for the actual translation of the Missal into English. This translation is then approved by the National Bishop Conferences and then sent to Rome for final approval. This review by the bishop's conferences has just been completed and the results sent to Rome. It should be remembered that Latin is the official language of the Mass, and that Rome has verified that any Priest anywhere in the world has the right to say Mass in Latin. He also has the right to combine Latin and the vernacular in pretty much any way that he wants, provided that the respective parts are faithful to the respective translations of the applicable editions.
The most recent official text of the Mass was promulgated in the year of Our Lord 2000, and officially published in Latin in 2002. English translations of that edition are in production. The English translation used in the United States is of the 1970 version of the Missal, which was published in 1972. This is one of the reasons, but not the only one, that there will soon be a new translation of the English version of the liturgy used in the celebration of the Mass.
As I've already stated this translation has been approved by the USCCB and the Vatican, who has reserved the right to decide exactly when that version will start to be used.
Meanwhile the bishops are suppose to be preparing the faithful to use the new translation, through catechesis. In my own diocese the bishop's official house organ (the newspaper not the instrument) has announce the new translation is coming.
That probably means about one percent of those in the diocese actually know there is a new translation coming.If the DREs at the various parishes really push they might reach another couple of dozen adults per parish. It is likely that most of the teens and middle school students will have a better idea that this is coming than their parents, provided this information is included in the religious education program.
Eventually a note will be put in the parish bulletins and a larger number of people will get the message. Still I expect that many people will never hear about it before they stumble in to a Mass where to their surpise the words will be different.
My point is that last time a very poor job was done catechizing the faithful about changes to the liturgy. This new translation promises to be more faithful to the actual meaning of the Latin. Some people will not understand why prayers and responses are now different.
It will be the job of the catechist not only to transmit information about the specific changes, but also to explain why the new translation is better.For those who themselves want a better understanding of why this is so click the link for What Does the Prayer Really Say and look at some of the archived blog posts on what the Latin really says.

What we did.

The next time anyone asks you what the Catholic Church has ever done for them, point them to this video from Catholics Come Home