Thursday, August 04, 2022

Freedom in Christ

 I'm serving as a Chaplain this week at one of FOCUS's "Summer Projects" locations -- in Big Sky, MT. As part of the summer, the students get to attend talks by different speakers. This week at Big Sky, there was a talk by Kim Zember. 

She shared her powerful testimony of growing up Catholic, discovering her attraction to women, living that out, and her reversion as an adult, and finding healing. It was truly powerful. Her testimony and talks can easily be found online, and she has also made videos for Ascension Press. The Lord truly loves us -- every single person, no matter what. We don't get our stuff together first, to earn His love. He loves us first, and that changes everything. 

What struck me was the range of very insightful questions from the students -- how to love friends who are LGBT, should I attend a family member's same sex wedding, attending Pride Marches as a form of outreach, and so on. Kim has been here for a few days and has had the opportunity to meet one on one with students as well. 

My question to her was her response to voices in the Church, some very influential, especially on social media (a certain prolific Jesuit priest comes to mind), that call for the Church's teaching to change (the German Synodal Way, or the Cardinal of Luxembourg), or at least suggest that it is inadequate. She said that, basically, if we truly lived the Church's teaching of welcome, love, and led people to Christ, such voices would not be necessary. 

Kim has recently moved to the Metro Atlanta area from San Diego. I certainly look forward to continuing the conversation. She is working with an ecumenical outreach to the LGBTQ+ community. She mentioned the Freedom March, that has been around for 5 years. It will be in Atlanta in the Fall. Looks really intriguing. 

Wednesday, August 03, 2022

Unborn children qualify for tax exemption in Georgia

 In June I wrote a post about the contents of the  State of Georgia's "Heartbeat bill" (which was allowed to go into effect by the 11th Circuit on July 20). Yesterday, the Georgia Department of Revenue issued a ruling on some provisions of HB481, which recognizes the personhood of a human fetus, from after the detection of cardiac activity. 

Here's the relevant bit: 

As such, on individual income tax returns filed for Tax Year 2022 where, at any time on or after July 20, 2022, and  through December 31, 2022, a taxpayer has an unborn child (or children) with a detectable human heartbeat (which may occur as early as six weeks’ gestation), the taxpayer may claim a dependent personal exemption as provided for under O.C.G.A § 48-7-26(a) and (b)(3) in the amount of $3,000.00 for each unborn child.  For Tax Year 2022, the deduction for dependent unborn children will be a subtraction on Line 12, “Other Adjustments,” of Form 500 Schedule 1.

So, basically, after July 20, a pregnant woman can claim her unborn child as a dependent and receive a tax exemption of $3000. 

This is, from the pro-life point of view, pretty huge. 

There's still a lot of questions -- and the subsequent guidance the DOR promises will likely try to resolve some of these. For instance, does a women still qualify for the exemption if the pregnancy ends in miscarriage? Will there be a requirement to submit some kind of medical proof of pregnancy? 

In the comments on some social media posts, amidst all the vitriol, one question came up periodically -- would a pregnant woman be able to drive in the HOV lanes around Metro Atlanta? I suspect the questions are asked tongue-in-cheek. However, if the law is to be applied consistently, the answer would have to be in the affirmative. And indeed, one woman who was cited for an HOV violation is challenging it based on this reasoning

It turns out the Georgia State Patrol is reviewing the question

The next thing, of course, is to get the Republican dominated legislature to pass some kind of support for paid maternity and paternity leave, through tax incentives for employers, or some other means. 

Surely, all the big corporations that support busing women from abortion-restrictive states to abortion-permissive states so that they can kill their children, will also support choice and provide paid leave to those who don't want to kill their children? Right? 

[Photo by Alicia Petresc on Unsplash]

The Kansas Vote

 [Originally posted on Facebook] 

A disappointing result from the heartland of "Red State" America, but one that doesn't surprise me (the margin of the vote did, though).

Dobbs was only the beginning. The fact of the matter is, thanks to the narrative defined by the culture shaping institutions of the media, film and academia, as well as the desire to have back up birth control (a traditional Judeo-Christian sexual ethic is actually practiced by a minority, particularly among young adults), the democratic process will reveal that our nation wants access to abortion, at least in the early stages of pregnancy, and will be ok with restrictions during later stages. Like it or not, we're headed to some kind of a regime more akin to Europe. That's better than what we had, but far from ideal. 

The political dimension of the pro-life movement will continue to face an uphill battle, even in conservative states. The pro-life movement is a largely (but not exclusively) Christian movement, and the influence of the churches on American political life is only going to wane. The fact that the Catholic Church was squarely behind the "Vote Yes" campaign in Kansas will diminish her influence even more. [This is not to say that the Church shouldn't have done what she did.] 

I expect the mainstream media to trumpet the Kansan vote in all kinds of distorting ways. However, pressure on state legislatures will be felt everywhere, I suspect. 

The pro-life movement has its work cut out in all kinds of ways, at the grassroots, in helping women, and helping change hearts and minds. None of that changed with Dobbs, and only grew more urgent. The political battle too, is far from over. 

I don't for one moment believe the pro-life movement should surrender on this. A society that continues to lie about the reality of abortion, is a society that is diseased. It may be that the voices of sanity will continue to lose cultural and political influence -- but it behooves us to continue to work for a culture rooted in reality, and in the joy of the gift of life. 

And for those who say that, for pro-life, faithful Catholics, with the fall of Roe, there is now less of a reason to vote only for one party -- I just can't see the argument. Which party is the one that is squarely behind the access to baby killing? And hostile to religion, Christianity in particular? 

[[The preceding is a personal opinion, and doesn't reflect in any way any official position of the Church.]

Saturday, June 25, 2022

Georgia's LIFE Act

With yesterday's historic decision by the Supreme Court of the United States, the issue of the legality of abortion returns to the States, and to the democratic legislative process. 

Here's what's in the Georgia statute, HB481, signed into law on May 7, 2019 by Gov. Kemp, and that came into effect on Jan 1, 2020, and called the Living Infants Fairness and Equality (LIFE) Act.

[In SisterSong v. Kemp, the US District Court granted a preliminary injunction in favor of the plaintiffs on Oct. 1, 2019, suspending the law from coming into effect. A summary judgment that the law violated the 14th Amendment was issued on July 13, 2020. On August 11, 2020, an appeal was filed with the 11th Circuit, which on Sept. 27, 2021, issued a stay pending the decision of the Supreme Court in Dobbs vs. Jackson Women's Health. With that decision having just come down on June 24, 2022, it is expected that the 11th Circuit will soon vacate its stay, and allow the law to go into effect. As of this moment, the stay is still in effect.]

There's basically two substantive issues in the 2019 law. One grants personhood to an unborn human being after cardiac activity can be detected, which normally occurs around six weeks of gestation. 

Section III of the law modifies Section 1-2-1 of the Official Code of Georgia as follows: 

(a) There are two classes of persons: natural and artificial.

(b) 'Natural person' means any human being including an unborn child.

(c) Corporations are artificial persons. They are creatures of the law and, except insofar as the law forbids it, they are subject to be changed, modified, or destroyed at the will of their creator.

(d) Unless otherwise provided by law, any natural person, including an unborn child with a detectable human heartbeat, shall be included in population based determinations.

(e) As used in this Code section, the term:

(1) 'Detectable human heartbeat' means embryonic or fetal cardiac activity or the steady and repetitive rhythmic contraction of the heart within the gestational sac.

(2) 'Unborn child' means a member of the species Homo sapiens at any stage of development who is carried in the womb."

The extension of personhood to require the counting of the unborn child (post ~six weeks) in population based legal determinations is very interesting. It makes sense, logically. There are several practical questions it raises, that state officials will soon have to grapple with. 

Section IV of the law amends various sections of the Official Code of Georgia dealing with abortion. 

It gives a definition of abortion ("the act of using, prescribing, or administering any instrument, substance, device, or other means with the purpose to terminate a pregnancy with knowledge that termination will, with reasonable likelihood, cause the death of an unborn child;")

It excludes certain conditions or procedures from the definition of abortion: 

  • the removal of a dead unborn child caused by spontaneous abortion from the uterus (i.e. a miscarriage) 
  • the removal of an ectopic pregnancy

After that, it bans any kind of abortion after the detection of embryonic or fetal activity, 

  • except when there is a medical emergency that threatens the life of the mother, 
  • that a physician determines that a pregnancy is medically futile ("'Medically futile' means that, in reasonable medical judgment, an unborn child has a profound and irremediable congenital or chromosomal anomaly that is incompatible with sustaining life after birth."), 
  • or if the pregnancy is the result of rape or incest, in which case the gestational age at which the procedure is allowed to be performed on a child of probable gestation age of 20 weeks. 
Other provisions of the law: 
  • If it is determined during the performance of an abortion that a child is capable of sustained life, medical aid is to be provided. 
  • Abortions can only be performed in certain licensed medical facilities, and only by physicians and not nurse practitioners of any kind. The health records relating to the performance of an abortion are to be made available to local district attorneys (either where the procedure takes place or the woman resides).
  • Various kinds of liability are spelled out, including the ability to pursue civil damages if a women receives an abortion in violation of the law; the kind of court ordered support a father might be obliged to give towards an unborn child (the full costs of pregnancy borne by the mother); and that there is liability for the "full value of the life of the child" in the homicide of an unborn child after the detection of embryonic or fetal heartbeat. 

As can be seen, Georgia's law is fairly restrictive, compared to the regime in place that was just overturned. From a Catholic point of view, it is less than perfect. However, it is a vast improvement. The declaration of the personhood of unborn human life is especially valuable. This, of course, raises a host of legal questions that will no doubt be tested in the courts going forward. 

[The photo has an incredible story. The photographer joined the prolife cause after witnessing this photo and makes it available for prolife use.] 

Monday, August 02, 2021

Catholic Extension

 Last week, I was invited by Catholic Extension, one of the oldest charities in the US, on a "pastor immersion experience" to see what kinds of apostolates are supported by the funds they raise, in one of the 87 dioceses that they serve in the United States. It was a truly memorable event that took me and a handful of other pastors from around the country to the Diocese of Yakima in Washington State. 

The Diocese of Yakima partners with WAFLA (Washington Farm Laborers Association, a non-profit that serves as a liaison between workers and farm owners), as well as major fruit producers in the area, to provide a variety of spiritual and other services to the migrant farm workers, largely Mexican, that come every year to harvest the produce of the land. One of the highlights was meeting Bishop Joe Tyson, the Bishop of Yakima, whose pastoral zeal was so evident and inspiring. He started an initiative by which seminarians for the Diocese (and others) spend a summer working alongside farm workers (Covid has interrupted this and several other initiatives). Priests say Mass in the fields, or in the dormitories where the workers stay. Sisters and catechists provide religious education, spiritual support, and just a kind and loving face, to workers who are far from their families and loved ones. Occasionally, the Bishop himself will wake up early and join the men in the fields. 

We went out to one orchard and talked with several workers who were busy picking cherries. We offered Mass in the ballroom of an old Fairfield Inn, that is co-owned by WAFLA and some of the fruit producers, and houses some 1000 men. We visited a children's literacy camp in Monitor, WA, where migrant families stay in a state owned camping facility, in tents or trailers. The Diocese hosts the camp over the summer, where seminarians and others play games with the workers' children and reads to them. Most of the workers are in the country legally, through the H2A farmworker program

The Yakima valley was settled by French and German immigrants. After the war, through the Bracero program, Mexicans joined the mix. The Diocese itself is 85% Hispanic. Over the harvest months, the population swells by some 30%. 

Some of the highlights: celebrating First Communion and Confirmation with three of the men at the Mass at the hotel ballroom; catching up with one of my seminarian friends, who used to be in formation for Atlanta but, after spending a summer in Yakima, felt called to serve in that Diocese; and getting to know the humorous, generous, indefatigable Bishop Tyson -- a true shepherd after the heart of the Good Shepherd! 

The economic heart of migrant work: where remittances go back home

One of the rooms where 4 workers stay. Others have 6 bunk beds

Children's literacy camp in Monitor, WA

Saturday, July 17, 2021


[The Nuptial Mass according to the old Roman Rite, Basilica of the Sacred Heart, Atlanta, 2017]

Pope Francis issued the motu proprio Traditionis Custodes today, issuing restrictions on celebrations of the Mass according to the Missal of 1962, and writing an accompanying letter to the world's Bishops explaining his reasons. 

It's Friday, a day that I normally don't follow social media, or post. However, while refraining from commentary, I did spend the day reading various reactions, pondering the new reality, and responding to a small flood of messages from a variety of folks who wanted my "take," or simply were hurt, bewildered, dismayed, and in anguish. Here's some preliminary thoughts.

I am a pastor with the cura animarum in a semi-rural corner of my diocese. I think folks know me as someone who loves Gregorian Chant and Latin (those who are familiar with my conversion story know of the impact these had on me). After Ordination, I taught myself the rubrics of the 1962 Missal, with some assistance from the priests at the local FSSP parish, and have celebrated Mass in this form privately, and occasionally, publicly. Some of the most beautiful and joyful occasions were weddings of former parishioners, students at the University of Georgia, in the beautiful Basilica in downtown Atlanta. In my last assignment, there was one evening where the schola from the FSSP parish came up to the mountains, to assist with a Missa Cantata, and a crowd of some 100 showed up on a weekday evening. In my current assignment, I know of no one who can serve the old Mass, and with a full complement of weekend Masses, there has been simply no way to offer it publicly.

Learning the old rubrics and offering the old Mass has deeply influenced the way I celebrate Mass in general, and my advice to seminarians and priests had always been -- even if you don't offer it, learn it. It will change the way you celebrate Mass. It is hard to describe the sense of the sacred, of the laser focus on the priest offering sacrifice, that is so clear when one offers the old Mass. Several others, who've experienced the Tridentine Mass, whether lay or clerical, say similar things

Well, it seems, that changes now. 

We got an email from the Chancery stating that the old Mass was not suppressed in the Archdiocese, and would continue to be offered at the FSSP parish. Any priest who is resident in Atlanta and not a member of the FSSP, should approach the Archbishop to apply for faculties to offer the Mass publicly. Meanwhile, the motu proprio and its provisions would be studied and we'd be informed about any new developments. 

As far as I know, only one parish in the Archdiocese offers Mass regularly in what, until today, would have been called the Extraordinary Form, in the language of Benedict XVI, that Pope Francis consciously avoids, and seems to repudiate. It's unclear as to what happens at this parish. No 3.3 of the new motu proprio suggests the old Mass should not be offered in parochial churches (but makes an exception for personal parishes dedicated to the old Mass, while insisting that no new ones be erected). However in many parts of the United States, the Tridentine Mass is simply one of the Masses offered on a weekend. If the Mass is not offered in a parish church then where would be offered? It's bewildering that the consultation that preceded the publication of the legislation didn't seem to be aware of the situation in many Dioceses in the one western country where the old Mass seems to have actually been integrated into parish life, in many places. 

Or maybe it did, and it didn't matter. 

It is hard to read the Pope's accompanying letter without being dismayed. The only fruit he sees of the experiment of Summorum Pontificum (as he describes it) is disunity and a questioning of the legitimacy of the Second Vatican Council. Nothing else. Then there's this

Whoever wishes to celebrate with devotion according to earlier forms of the liturgy can find in the reformed Roman Missal according to Vatican Council II all the elements of the Roman Rite, in particular the Roman Canon which constitutes one of its more distinctive elements. 

I heard the Roman Canon perhaps a dozen times in all my years as a layman. Even in one of the most faithful and orthodox seminaries in the country that I was blessed to attend, it could hardly be called common. But that apart, in my diocese alone, there is such a divergence in how Mass is celebrated between parishes, and between priests (without even touching on the neuralgic issue of music) that this assertion of the Pope seems, at best, naive. If one listens to those who are attached to the Traditional Mass -- they speak of beauty, of a sense of the sacred, of transcendence, mystery, and otherworldliness. One major part of that is the use of a sacred liturgical language. And yes, all of that is possible in the reformed Missal. But where does it actually exist? And it could all change, when the next Pastor rolls into town. With the old Mass, in our time celebrated with much care and affection than it perhaps was in earlier ages when it was just "the Mass," 21st century post Christian moderns can reliably experience the glory and beauty of the rite, unaffected by the personality and preferences of the priest celebrant. The rubrics and the orientation of the Mass (facing [liturgical] East, the constant tradition of all the Churches, until the innovations of the mid 20th century) ensure that. It is no wonder that parishes that are dedicated to the Traditional Mass, or offer it, are packed with young adults and young families. The young, at least in the West it seems, want tradition.

It is clear that the Pope sees in attachment to traditional liturgical forms only a dangerous source of disunity, dissent, and nothing else.  While this is true (perhaps more online than on the ground, frankly), there's so much more to this reality, if one has ears to hear. The response seems to be to treat it like hazardous waste, or a cancer to be contained and eliminated. The restrictive legislation aims to do just that:

Indications about how to proceed in your dioceses are chiefly dictated by two principles: on the one hand, to provide for the good of those who are rooted in the previous form of celebration and need to return in due time to the Roman Rite promulgated by Saints Paul VI and John Paul II, and, on the other hand, to discontinue the erection of new personal parishes tied more to the desire and wishes of individual priests than to the real need of the “holy People of God.”

So, in a nutshell, may traditionalists ultimately disappear. 

This following bit is always nice to hear, especially when so many of our "elders" seem to throw the charge of rubricism and clericalism and what not at anything that doesn't conform to their vision of "Vatican II" which tends to involve ugliness, worldliness, iconoclasm, the sanctuary overrun by everyone and their grandmother (literally!) and, often, outright dissent from definitive moral teachings. 

At the same time, I ask you to be vigilant in ensuring that every liturgy be celebrated with decorum and fidelity to the liturgical books promulgated after Vatican Council II, without the eccentricities that can easily degenerate into abuses. Seminarians and new priests should be formed in the faithful observance of the prescriptions of the Missal and liturgical books.
The Pope desires through this motu proprio to foster unity. It would be an understatement to say that is likely not going to be the result. And it might just reignite the always simmering liturgy wars in a time of religious decline in the West, with other urgent and pressing needs -- evangelization, making disciples and retention of membership for one, and the fall out from the abuse crisis, the ongoing drama of financial scandals at high levels in the Church, residential school scandals in our neighbor to the north, and the seeming inability of the hierarchy in some places (Poland) to learn from the mistakes of Bishops elsewhere, among others. 

On the ground? The Bishop is back in charge after the fourteen year "experiment" of Summorum Pontificum. I expect those Bishops who are hostile to the old Mass to weed the cancer out from their dioceses. Most others will study the matter, but not really change much on the ground (speaking only of the United States). In fact, several Bishops today issued statements saying that nothing has changed on the ground so far, and that further study would be required (San Francisco, Detroit, New Orleans, Lafayette in Louisiana, Madison, are the statements I've seen). Some granted faculties right away to priests who have been offering the old Mass in their parishes. Others offered words of encouragement and hope to those who attend Mass (imagine that! Comforting the afflicted!). That's still a handful. And one can easily name those from who one won't be hearing any words of encouragement.  [Cardinal Gregory in Washington DC has also given temporary faculties for things to continue as they are, until the provisions of the law are clearer.]

In fact, that is the final take away from today's new legislation and explanatory letter: the seeming insensitivity to the pastoral needs of one group in the Church. I would go so far as to say that few groups are treated with such utter disdain as those attached to traditional forms of the liturgy. They are truly pariahs. The Church in Germany seems to be synodaling its way into schism, and vast swathes seem to be in open dissent without any negative consequences. The US hierarchy is sorely divided over the issue of whether politicians who support and work actively to expand the killing of children in the womb should receive Holy Communion. But the old Rite? Toxic! One can pray that the Pope of the peripheries might find a shred of compassion for this suffering portion of his flock. 

In the end, the Church is the Lord's, and we rely, as always, on Him. The Holy Father always asks for prayers, and we absolutely should pray for him, and for our Bishops, even -- especially -- when we don't understand what he does. 

As some commentators have pointed out, the legislation addresses only the celebration of Mass and the Missal. It doesn't say anything about the Roman Ritual (older sacraments, sacramentals) and the Divine Office (governed by the Instruction Universae Ecclesiae of 2011). Given the canonical principle of strict (i.e. narrow, not broad) interpretation of legislation that restricts rights (see canon 18 of the Code of Canon Law), the current legislation cannot be extrapolated to cover these other issues. I expect a clarification will be forthcoming, and I don't expect it to take a positive view of the permission granted for the use of the old ritual books in this regard. 

It is truly curious that the legislation was introduced without a vacatio legis, and went into effect immediately. Why the hurry? The need for clarity and correction, as well as need for time to study of how to implement the law, is already obvious and the traditional vacatio legis exists to facilitate just that 

Responses that I found worth while [a link is not an endorsement] 

Fr. Anthony Ruff OSB of the progressive blog Pray Tell, calls for peace and compassion
Chris Altieri, editor of The Catholic Herald (US edition), at Catholic World Report on the best, middle, and worst case scenarios going ahead 
Amy Welborn at Charlotte was Both doesn't mince words
The traditionalist blog Rorate Caeli, which seems to call for all out defiance 
Fr. Dwight Logenecker

J.D. Flynn and Ed Condon at The Pillar give a great summary of what actually changes now

And finally, finally, I couldn't resist: 

"The unique expression of the Roman Rite"

"Poolside" Mass at a Catholic high school in 2014. 
Photo from this post at the traditionalist blog 1 Peter 5

Sunday, July 19, 2020

Abusive obedience

As yet another disheartening story appears of mismanagement, at best, of a case of sexual abuse by a cleric (in this case, involving an adult woman. Kudos to my buddy Chris Altieri for his reporting on this story), I was reminded of an article that I had saved away for future reading when the McCarrick affair exploded upon us back in 2018, but never actually got around to. It showed up again this weekend in my Facebook feed. 

Tyranny and sexual abuse in the Catholic Church: A Jesuit tragedy  by "Adfero," appeared on the traditionalist blog Rorate Caeli in the aftermath of the McCarrick saga in 2018. It's central thesis is that the roots of the crisis lie, at least in part, of a tyrannical understanding of obedience, divorced from reason and law, that goes back to the 14th century nominalism of Ockham, but especially to a conception of obedience to one's religious superior that can only be called blind, in the writings of St. Ignatius of Loyola. In its original setting, as a military-style training in obedience and discipline for the "shock troops" of the Counter Reformation, for priests who would be working in far flung mission fields, this helped keep a focus on the mission for which they were sent. Divorced from this context, however, this conception of obedience gave rise to a culture of tyrannical, unquestioning obedience to religious superiors, that lent itself to abuse, and spread throughout the Counter Reformation church, and was passed on in seminary formation. This led to an infantilization of clergy, and also of the laity. Other factors (canon law, the longer tradition of the Church, philosophy, customs of religious orders) kept this tyrannical tendency in check, which, while crippling the Church, didn't prove fatal ... 

Do note that this is a description from a traditionalist blog. Which, again, goes to show that facile stereotypes are just that ... facile, and misleading. 

I was reminded, while reading this piece, of the description of the dominant "morality of obligation" that arose in the post-Reformation Church, given by the great Dominican moral theologian, Servais Pinckaers. In his invaluable "The Sources of Christian Ethics," he writes, 
... in this view of morality, the question of obligation isn't one question among man. It is the question, even the only question. 
He continues that this conception of morality as having to do only with obligation spread over all of Catholic culture. 
Originating in manuals intended for the education of the clergy, this idea of morality spread to the people during recent centuries through homilies and catechisms. It created an image of the priest as one who taught what we should and should not do, with the accent on sins to be avoided. This was its outstanding feature. 
(Do also note, this isn't to say that the priest has no role in teaching his people about morals. However his rulings  do not determine what is good or evil! "Father says so" isn't a sufficient reason for things to be the way they are!) 

In fact, while this view of the priesthood seems to have largely vanished in English-speaking US Catholic culture, I do find strong vestiges of it still dominant in various Spanish-speaking and other immigrant Catholic cultures in the US.

And, in my own formation and training, I've encountered an attitude of submission towards one's spiritual director that isn't, at least in its form, very different from what "Adfredo" describes as tyrannical. While my own experience of this has been anything but ... one only needs to think of some of the cases now coming to light of the abuse of spiritual authority, such as the shocking revelations of the life of L'Arche founder Jean Vanier, which are rooted and abetted by this view. 

One can see how a view of morality reduced solely to obligation, combined with the thesis of a tyrannical view of obedience to religious superiors, was a potent mix, rife for all kinds of abuse. As both the author of the Rorate piece, as well as Pinckaers, note, what one saw in the years immediately following the Second Vatican Council was a massive backlash against this view, leading to the chaos of the post-Conciliar years, and a still entrenched antinomian mindset. The rise of a lax approach to sexual morality, combined with a still extant tyrannical view of authority, however, was a perfect storm for both the toleration of sexual abuse and its cover up. 
The chaos that engulfed the Church in the 1960s and 1970s was probably due in large part to rebellion against the tyrannical exercise of authority that had been inflicted on clergy and religious prior to the 1960s. Like other revolutions recorded by bistory, however, this revolt against tyranny did not lead to the triumph of freedom. Instead, it produced a more far-reaching and thorough tyranny, by destroying the elements of the ancien régime that had placed limits on the power of superiors. It did away with the factors listed above that had counteracted the influence of a tyrannical conception of authority in the Counter Reformation Church. 

The progressive faction that seized power in seminaries and religious orders had its own programme and ideology that demanded total adherence, and that justified the ruthless suppression of opposition. The tools of psychological control and oppression that had been learned by the progressives in their own formation were put to most effective use, and applied more sweepingly than they had ever been in the past -- the difference between the two regimes being rather like the difference between the Okhrana and the Cheka. 
(That last is a reference to the secret police of Tsarist Russia that morphed into its Soviet version after the Revolution. One often hears similar comparisons made between the KGB and the FSB)

Finally, both Pinckaers and "Adfredo" contrast counter-Reformation ideas with the teaching of St. Thomas ... showing just what a gift the Angelic Doctor continues to be in the life of the Church! 

"Adfredo's" counsel at the end of his piece is salutary ... a thoroughgoing reform ... 
Part of the progressive ideology was the falsity and harmfulness of traditional Catholic sexual teaching; the effect of this tenet on the sexual abuse crisis need not be laboured. But it would be a mistake to think that progressivism as such is responsible for this crisis, and that its defeat would solve the problem. The roots of the crisis go further back, and require a reform of attitudes to law and authority in every part of the Church.

Sunday, May 10, 2020

"From Ragas to Responsories"

[This is now a  very very very occasional blog. ] 

The latest episode of Square Notes: Sacred Music podcast is a conversation with yours truly. [YouTube link to episode] 

 George Sigalas from Athens (former parishioner of mine) had sent in my conversion story to Dr Jennifer Donelson (who teaches at Dunwoody Seminary) and Peter Carter, the hosts of the podcast, and they thought it worth their while to follow up. 

Hope it's of some use and interest. 

I can't recommend the other episodes strongly enough. (Lots of heavy hitters on there -- including Archbishop Sample of Oregon and the prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship and Discipline of the Sacraments, Robert Cardinal Sarah). This one, and the Liturgy Guys podcast, do stellar work in providing solid liturgical formation in light of the magisterial teaching of the Church.

[A small, personal tidbit. We recorded this over Skype in late June of 2019, just a week or so after I had gotten back to India to take care of my mom in her last days. It's a sweet touch, that it was finally published today, on Mother's Day ... ]