Thursday, December 8, 2016


Vatican updates guidelines for educating priests  OSV Newsweekly

Vatican updates guidelines for educating priests Pope Francis greets a new priest during the ordination Mass of 11 priests in St. Peter's Basilica at the Vatican April 17. The Catholic Church needs holy, healthy and humble priests, and that requires prayers for vocations and the careful selection and training of candidates, said the Congregation for Clergy. (CNS photo/Paul Haring)
VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- The Catholic Church needs holy, healthy and humble priests and that requires prayers for vocations and the careful selection and training of candidates, said the Congregation for Clergy.
Updating 1985 guidelines for preparing men for the Latin-rite priesthood and ensuring their continuing education, training and support, the Congregation for Clergy Dec. 7 released "The Gift of the Priestly Vocation," a detailed set of guidelines and norms for priestly formation.
The updated document draws heavily on St. John Paul II's 1992 apostolic exhortation on priestly formation, as well as on the teaching of and norms issued by now-retired Pope Benedict XVI and Pope Francis and by Vatican offices over the past three decades.
It reaffirms an instruction approved by Pope Benedict in 2005, which said, "the church, while profoundly respecting the persons in question, cannot admit to the seminary or to holy orders those who practice homosexuality, present deep-seated homosexual tendencies or support the so-called 'gay culture.'"
The document insists that through courses in pastoral theology, the example of priests and practical experience, candidates for the priesthood learn that priestly ministry involves -- as Pope Francis says -- being "shepherds 'with the smell of the sheep,' who live in their midst to bring the mercy of God to them."
Highlighting lessons learned over the past 30 years from the clerical sexual abuse scandal, the new guidelines state, "The greatest attention must be given to the theme of the protection of minors and vulnerable adults, being vigilant lest those who seek admission to a seminary or to a house of formation, or who are already petitioning to receive holy orders have not been involved in any way with any crime or problematic behavior in this area."
Seminars and courses on the protection of children and vulnerable adults must be part of both seminary education and the continuing education of priests, it says. And bishops must be very cautious about accepting candidates for the priesthood who have been dismissed from other seminaries.
In the end, each bishop is responsible for determining which candidate for priesthood he will ordain, but the guidelines strongly encourage bishops to accept the judgment of seminary rectors and staff who determine a certain candidate is unsuitable.
"Experience has shown that when ordinaries (bishops) have not accepted the negative judgment of the community of formators, it has been the cause of great suffering in many cases, both for the candidates themselves and for the local churches," the document says.
Reaffirming the requirement that seminarians study Catholic social teaching, the document says the education must include a study of climate change and other environmental threats.
"Protecting the environment and caring for our common home -- the Earth -- belong fully to the Christian outlook on man and reality," the document says. Catholic priests must be "promoters of an appropriate care for everything connected to the protection of creation."
Seminarians should be encouraged to use social media to build relationships and for evangelization, the guidelines say, but seminary personnel will need to help the students use the media wisely and in a way that is healthy.
Psychologists, whether or not on the staff of the seminary, can provide valuable help to the seminary rector and diocesan bishop "in the assessment of personality, expressing an opinion as to the psychological health of the candidate and in therapeutic accompaniment, in order to shed light on any problems that may emerge and to assist in growth in human maturity," the document says.
The Congregation for Clergy recommends that women be on the staff of seminaries or teach at the universities where the candidates study and that seminarians' ability to relate to and work with women be considered in the candidate's evaluation, since the majority of parishioners with whom the future priest will work are women.
The guidelines, which are to be adapted by national bishops' conferences, include an outline of the stages, prayer life and specific subjects to be studied during the six or more years of preparation for priestly ordination.
But the guidelines also acknowledge that many of the skills needed to be a good priest cannot be learned in a classroom. They are the result of prayer, self-discipline and seeking to model one's behavior on that of Christ, the document says.
"The call to be pastors of the people of God requires a formation that makes future priests experts in the art of pastoral discernment, that is to say, able to listen deeply to real situations and capable of good judgment in making choices and decisions," it says. "To make pastoral discernment effective, the evangelical style of listening must take central place. This frees the pastor from the temptation of abstraction, to self-promotion, to excessive self-assurances and to that aloofness that would make him a 'spiritual accountant' instead of a good Samaritan."
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Wednesday, December 7, 2016


Pope grants interview to Belgian Catholic newspaper

Pope Francis granted an interview to Tertio, a Catholic weekly newspaper in Belgium - ANSA
Pope Francis granted an interview to Tertio, a Catholic weekly newspaper in Belgium - ANSA
07/12/2016 11:24
(Vatican Radio)  Pope Francis has granted an interview to Tertio, a Catholic weekly newspaper in Belgium, on themes ranging from the fruits of the Jubilee of Mercy to his hopes for a synodal Church.
In the wide-ranging interview, Pope Francis reflected on the openness to transcendence inherent in the human person, the scourge of religious fundamentalism, the price of war, the Extraordinary Jubilee of Mercy, and his desire for a synodal Church.
Healthy laicité vs. laicisme
The desire to separate religion from public life, he said, “is an antiquated stance”, recalling the distinction between laicité and laicisme.
The Pope said: “There is a healthy laicité, for example, the laicité of the state. In general, a state organized on the principle of laicité [el estado laico] is a good thing. It’s better than a confessional state, because confessional states end poorly.” However, he said, laicisme “closes the doors to transcendence, both transcendence towards others and, above all, transcendence towards God”. 
Openness to transcendence, he said, “is a fundamental part of a human being”. Thus, when a political system does not respect this, it “prunes, cuts off the human person”.
War and religious fundamentalism
Moving to the theme of war and religious fundamentalism, Pope Francis said “no religion as such can foment war”.
He said terrorism and war are not related to religion; rather, they “use religious deformations to justify their acts”.
He said “all religions have fundamentalist groups; all; even our own… But those small religious groups deform, sicken their religion, and from there they quarrel, make war, or cause division within the community, which is form of war.”
Third World War fought piecemeal
Turning to Europe, the Holy Father said that 100 years after the First World War we are still in a state of world conflict, a “Third World War… fought piecemeal”.
“We say ‘Never again war’ but at the same time we produce weapons and sell them to those who are at war with one another.”
He said had read an economic theory which advances the idea that, when a state’s finances aren’t going well, it wages a war to balance the budget. “This is an easy way to grow rich, but the price is very steep: blood.”
Jubilee of Mercy inspired by the Lord
An important part of the interview was dedicated to the Jubilee Year of Mercy. Pope Francis said the idea of a Year of Mercy did not come to him “suddenly”.
He said it had been prepared by his predecessors Paul VI and John Paul II, as well as by St. Faustina and the Feast of Divine Mercy Sunday.
The Pope recalled that the idea for an Extraordinary Jubilee came out in a conversation with Archbishop Rino Fisichella, President of the Pontifical Council for the Promotion of the New Evangelization.
“I felt that the Lord was asking this of me”, he said. “I don’t know how the idea formed in my heart… I believe the Lord inspired it. And evidentially it did much good.”
Unity in diversity: a synodal Church
The interview then turned to the issue of Vatican II in the world today and the synodality of the Church.
“The Church,” he said, “is born from the base, from the community.” Thus, “there is either a pyramidal Church, in which what Peter says is done, or a synodal Church, in which Peter is Peter but he accompanies the Church and helps it grow – he listens. Further on, he learns from her and seeks to harmonize, discerning that which comes from the churches and returns it.”
The Pope said the last two Synods on the family were the “best experience of this” because they express the “unity in diversity” of the Church.
“Everyone [at the Synod] said what they thought without fear of being judged. And all actively listened, without condemning. Afterwards, we discussed like brothers in groups.”
“A synodal Church means this movement from above to below, from below to above”, affirming that the Church “needs to advance in this synodality”.
A word for priests
The final reflection of Pope Francis was for priests, whom he invited to always love the Virgin Mary, to allow themselves to be gazed upon by Jesus, and to “seek the suffering flesh of Jesus in their brothers; there you will find Jesus”.

Tuesday, December 6, 2016



Swiss guards with cardinals and priests during the celebration of the Mass at the Easter vigil in St. Peter's Basilica on April 4, 2015.
Swiss guards with cardinals and priests during the celebration of the Mass at the Easter vigil in St. Peter's Basilica on April 4, 2015. (L'Osservatore Romano)
VATICAN  |  DEC. 6, 2016
Church Leaders Respond to the ‘Dubia’
While Pope Francis has declined to reply to the formal request for clarification of Amoris Laetitia, some cardinals and bishops have responded publicly.
VATICAN CITY — Cardinal Peter Turkson has proposed placing on stage all the main parties publicly debating the correct interpretation of the Pope’s apostolic exhortation Amoris Laetitia (The Joy of Love) so they can listen to and better understand one another.
“For all of these people who’ve said things, written things, each in their own different contexts, a great thing that could happen is have them all on stage,” Cardinal Turkson told the Register Dec. 1.
The prefect of the new dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development believes it could help resolve the differences if they were “together, to listen to what each other had to say, and to see: How would they respond and react to each other?”
The Ghanaian cardinal was responding to the various conflicting interpretations of the document, as well as the publication last month of the Dubia, five “doubts” that Cardinals Carlo Caffarra, Raymond Burke, Walter Brandmüller and Joachim Meisner sent the Pope Sept. 19, with the intention of seeking clarity regarding the ambiguities and differing interpretations they said the document has generated.
The Pope has declined to respond to the five questions, which ask for “Yes” or “No” answers on whether aspects of Amoris Laetitia, particularly related to whether civilly remarried divorcees without an annulment and not living in continence can receive holy Communion, are consistent with previous papal teachings.
The Pope’s silence prompted the cardinals, “out of deep pastoral concern” for the faithful and the unity of the Church and charity towards the Petrine office, to make the Dubia public on Nov. 14. They said they “interpreted his sovereign decision as an invitation to continue the reflection and the discussion, calmly and with respect.”
Since the Dubia were published, Pope Francis has reacted only in an indirect way, saying in a recent interview that “certain responses” to Amoris Laetitia “persist in seeing only white or black, when, rather, one ought to discern in the flow of life.” He also said such opposition can derive from “bad spirit” or psychological defects that foster division and argued that such thinking showed a lack of understanding about how the Holy Spirit has been working in the Church since the Second Vatican Council.

Cardinals Müller and Turkson
Varied and sometimes heated reactions have ensued from other Church leaders, although most cardinals and bishops have chosen to remain silent publicly, neither supporting the cardinals’ wish to uphold previous Church teaching, nor backing those who have said the document opens the door to radical changes.
In a Dec. 1 interview with the Austrian Catholic news agency Kathpress, Cardinal Gerhard Müller, prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (CDF), declined to comment on the content of the Dubia themselves, explaining that his office has a duty not to respond to the questions unless Pope Francis instructs that it do so. Cardinal Müller, who also received the cardinals’ letter and Dubia in September, said his office could respond if Pope Francis authorized it, but it would now be inappropriate for the CDF to intervene in a controversy without the Pope’s specific approval.
Cardinal Burke told the Register last month that Cardinal Müller earlier had relayed to the signatories that the Pope would not be responding to the questions they had submitted. “He [Cardinal Müller] was told by the Pope that he was not to respond to the Dubia and that there would be no response to them,” he said.
For his part, Cardinal Müller played down differences within the Vatican in his Kathpress remarks, emphasizing, “It is important for each one of us to stay focused and objective and not to be driven into polemics, much less create them.”
And although he refrained from addressing the passages of Amoris Laetitia that created confusion, he stressed the document cannot be interpreted in a way that refutes previous teachings of the popes or of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.
In particular, he cited a letter of the CDF from 1994 in which then-Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger rejected a plan by German bishops to allow divorced couples to receive Communion in some cases. The indissolubility of the marital bond, Cardinal Müller said, should be the “unshakeable foundation” of every pastoral strategy. Pope Francis, he added, was seeking to help couples “find a way that is in accordance with God’s gracious will.”
In his comments to the Register, Cardinal Turkson expressed surprise at the Pope’s decision not to respond, noting his emphasis at the recent synods on the family for parrhesia — to speak boldly and frankly.
He also regretted that the debate is continuing to play out in public.
“Probably we can find a way of doing this so it doesn’t become warfare in the media,” he said. “If we don’t sort it out, and if we resort to the media to help us to slog out this kind of thing, then it takes away the freedom to discuss everything and anything freely.”

Other Church Leaders Comment
The Register has contacted approximately 20 cardinals and bishops in the Curia and in the wider Church, some of whom have been vocally supportive of Amoris Laetitia, as well as others known to be concerned about its content or the confusion it has generated.
Almost all of them either didn’t respond, said they were too busy or politely declined. Those not commenting included Cardinal Robert Sarah, prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship, Cardinal Francis Arinze, Cardinal Sarah’s predecessor, and Cardinal Gianfranco Ravasi, president of the Pontifical Council for Culture.
Some of those who have been most vocally supportive of the Pope in light of the Dubiasimilarly declined to restate or clarify their perspectives when contacted by the Register, including Cardinal Kevin Farrell, prefect of the newly created Dicastery for Family, Laity and Life. In mid-November, Cardinal Farrell, who served formerly as bishop of Dallas prior to his Vatican appointment, said U.S. bishops should have agreed on a common position about implementing Amoris Laetitia before individual dioceses implement their own pastoral guidelines. And he specifically criticized Archbishop Charles Chaput of Philadelphia for ruling out holy Communion for all remarried divorcees who are not living in continence as brother and sister in the guidelines published by the Archdiocese of Philadelphia on July 1.
Jesuit Father Antonio Spadaro, a close confidant of the Pope who, at the time of the publication of the Dubia, published a torrent of tweets insisting Amoris Laetitia is magisterial, also declined comment when contacted by the Register. Father Spadaro, who is editor of the influential Jesuit periodical La Civilta Cattolicà, also wrote an op-ed for CNN saying the Pope never blocks dialogue if it is “loyal and motivated by the good of the Church.” It is different, he added, for those who “use criticism for other purposes or ask questions in order to create difficulty and division.” Amoris Laetitia is only “the mature fruit of Francis’ reflection, after listening to everyone and reading the synod’s final document,” Father Spadaro added.
Father Spadaro declined a request from the Register for additional clarification, but he reiterated that Amoris Laetitia is “the mature fruit of the synod” in an interview published by Crux on Dec. 4.
“And in the synod all the necessary responses were given, and more than once,” Father Spadaro added. “Afterwards, many other pastors, among whom were many bishops and cardinals, carried on and deepened the discussion. Amoris Laetitia is very clear. I think a questioning conscience can easily find all the responses it is seeking, if it is seeking sincerely.”
The dean of the Roman Rota, Father Pio Vito Pinto, also criticized the Dubia in remarks made during a conference in Madrid and was incorrectly reported by some news media as warning that the cardinals risked losing their membership in the College of Cardinals by virtue of expressing their concerns. In fact, Father Pinto had actually emphasized that Francis would not contemplate such a course, even though the Pope theoretically had the authority to take such action.
In subsequent comments to the Register, Father Pinto stressed that both of the family synods in 2014 and 2015 that gave rise to Amoris Laetitia incorporated a wide consultation of episcopal perspectives. “It’s enough to remember that the Pope did not decide anything in solitude,” Father Pinto said, emphasizing how the “people of God” were also consulted by means of questionnaires.
He also reiterated that Francis would not dismiss the cardinals from the cardinalate.
“This Pope would never touch the essence of the cardinals,” he said. “He’ll leave them in peace, but I think they also have a duty to manifest the communion, although they think differently. That is the essence of communion.”

Additional Perspectives
Cardinal Claudio Hummes, prefect emeritus of the Congregation for Clergy, sought to downplay the Dubia in a Spanish interview, by saying the four cardinals were alone in their concerns and that they were “excluding themselves” from the Pope’s position.
The most direct criticism of the cardinals by a senior Church leader has come from the president of the Greek bishops’ conference, retired Bishop Frangiskos Papamanolis, who accused the Dubia authors of committing sin and heresy and saying they should have resigned as cardinals before even writing them.
However, Cardinal George Pell, prefect of the Vatican Secretariat for the Economy, expressed his support for the four cardinals by asking, “How can you disagree with a question?” He added that to ask the five questions was “significant.”
Cardinal Pell also tried to deal with the substantive issues in question, saying he believes that “primacy of conscience” is being used selectively by those seeking to change the Church’s pastoral practice on certain moral issues, usually concerning sexual morality, but not similarly on other issues, such as race. He also reiterated that while doctrine develops, there are “no backflips.”
Others supportive of the four cardinals have included Bishop Athanasius Schneider of Astana, Kazakhstan, who said the cardinals “did their basic duty as bishops and cardinals,” and the obstreperous reaction from their critics was geared towards “silencing the truth.”
And Bishop Jan Watroba, president of the Council for the Family of the Polish Bishops’ Conference, commented that “no unified interpretation and no clear message” exists of Amoris Laetitia currently, while Bishop Jozef Wrobel, auxiliary of Lublin, Poland, said the apostolic exhortation “is not well written” and the four cardinals “did well in asking for clarification.” It is “evidently necessary to answer them,” he said, and the cardinals “did well and have exercised correctly what canon law provides for. I think it is not just a right, but, moreover, a duty.”

Edward Pentin is the Register’s Rome correspondent.


Pope Francis is of course an enigma, perplexing the polarized members of the Church on the left and right.

Pope Francis' Angelus on Sunday is an Angelus Pope Pius XII could have given in the 1950's:

Angelus: The Kingdom of heaven is the love and humility of God

Pope Francis during the Sunday Angelus - ANSA
Pope Francis during the Sunday Angelus - ANSA
04/12/2016 12:43
(Vatican Radio) “The Kingdom of God is at hand and is indeed in the middle of us, this is the central message of all Christian mission.” Those were the words of Pope Francis during his Angelus address in St Peter’s Square on the Second Sunday of Advent.
Listen to Lydia O'Kane's report
He was referring to the Gospel reading of the day in which John the Baptist issues the invitation to "Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand".
The Holy Father explained that with these same words Jesus will start his mission in Galilee and it is an announcement that will “bring the disciples on their first missionary experience.”
The kingdom of heaven, said the Pope, is not just a place in the afterlife, but it is the good news that Jesus brings us.
God, Pope Francis continued, “comes to establish his dominion in our history, in our everyday life;” and where it is accepted with faith and humility and love.
But the “condition to become part of this kingdom”, the Holy Father stressed, “ is to make a change in our life, that is to repent.”
The Pope said, “it is to leave the streets, convenient but misleading, the idols of this world: the success at all costs, the power at the expense of the weak, the thirst for wealth, pleasure at any price and instead to open the way for the Lord who comes”.
He does not take away our freedom, Pope Francis underlined, “but gives us true happiness. With the birth of Jesus in Bethlehem, it is God himself who has come to dwell among us, to free us from selfishness, from sin and corruption.”
During his address the Holy Father invited the faithful to prepare spiritually for Christmas by examining their consciences and confessing their sins in the sacrament of Penance.
Following the recitation of the Marian Prayer, Pope Francis said, “see you Thursday for the feast of the Immaculate Conception. We pray together, asking her maternal intercession for the conversion of hearts and the gift of peace."

Monday, December 5, 2016


MY COMMENTS FIRST:  The good bishop is conflicted when it comes to "ad orientem" for the Ordinary Form of the Mass. But as primary liturgist for his diocese he rightfully requests that a priest who wishes to celebrate the OF Mass ad orientem have a discussion with him prior to implementing it and to make sure the parish is properly catechized prior to implementing it. This makes sense to me as I properly catechized my former parish on ad orientem years before I implemented it at one of our 5 Sunday Masses, our 12:10 PM Mass. But prior to that many in the parish had already experienced for years the EF Mass which is ad orientem of course.

I applaud the bishop on his comments on the common chalice and eliminating it during the flu season in his entire diocese. He acknowledges, as I have sounded the alarm for years and years, that there is a very real possibility of contracting a disease from the common chalice and that if we as a Church were under the health department, we would be shut down for this unsanitary procedure which liturgy ideologues continue to promote and in the most fundamentalist and Protestant way as it concerns the laity have a right to the chalice. 

I now know of two people with compromised immune issues who believe and for good reason, that they contracted a serious intestinal bacterial infection from the common chalice. One is a GI doctor who almost died from it and the other is a priest who became seriously ill with a bacterial intestinal infection while on a continuing education pilgrimage to Italy and the Holy Land. That priest is me!

At St. Joseph Church I seldom purified the common chalices as these were cleansed after Mass in the sacristy. At daily Mass I would do the first cleansing by diluting any remnant of the Precious Blood with water so that the Precious Blood was no longer present as the wine was no longer, just water. This was then poured into the sacraium which drains to a secure ground area.

Since arriving at St. Anne, at daily Mass I cleanse my chalice and the two common chalices at Mass after Holy Communion at the traditional time. I do so by pouring almost a chalice full of water in one of the common chalice and then pouring that into the other common chalice and that into my chalice which I then consume.

BINGO! My already compromised immune deficiency disorder which manifests itself in ulcerative colitus which I have been diagnosed for the past 20 years (and for the past four years in almost total remission with medication) came out of remission over night with a "stomach or indigestion issue" I had the Friday before I departed for Rome on the next Monday which caused my ulcerative colitus to come out of hibernation.  At first is was mild by difficult for me on the flight over but gradually beamed unmanageable by the last week of the program. 

In addition, I had fever with it (which I have never had with my disease) and I felt like a Mack Truck had run over me. I had severe pains in the my stomach. The day before our departure for home, I felt that I might not be able to go because the issues surrounding my disease were so severe that I needed to stay close to a restroom. But with the help of God and shear determination, I got back to Richmond Hill with my motto, "Come Hell or High Water!"

The next morning I was in a panic because my symptoms had increased! I called by GI doctor who sent me to a "immediate care" clinic and was told what antibiotic to get along with a strong steroid. He said my symptoms pointed to a serious bacterial infection that could lead to C-diff!

While there were signs of C-diff from some of the lab tests, it turned out that it wasn't and thanks be to God. I am on new medication for my ulcerative colitus which the intestainl infection reopened and on a month long steroid which usually treats only the colon.

I blame the manner in which I have to consume contaminated ablutions at our daily Mass for this infection that could have changed my life forever if it had led to C-diff!


The Ordinary Form of the Mass Celebrated “ad orientem

On July 5, 2016 Cardinal Robert Sarah, in speaking with priests during a retreat conference,
spoke of the Holy Season of Advent being an opportune time for those priests in attendance to begin celebrating Mass “ad orientem”. On July 11, 2016 the Vatican spokesman Fr. Frederico Lombardi, S.J. issued a statement declaring that there were no new liturgical directives being issued from the Vatican in this regard.

As some of you know, I have on a few occasions publically celebrated the Ordinary Form of the Mass “ad orientem”. Celebrating Mass “ad orientem” in the Ordinary Form means that the priest stands at the altar facing the same direction together with the people from the Preparation of the Gifts until the Communion Rite turning to the people when indicated by the rubrics. 

After some discussion I did support the proposal of one priest to celebrate the Ordinary Form of the Mass “ad orientem” in one of our local churches with the understanding that it would be done with proper catechesis. Even though the Ordinary Form of the Mass may be celebrated “ad orientem” the norm since the Second Vatican Council has been to celebrate this form of the Mass “versus populum” (facing the people).

My expectation is that our priests will continue to celebrate the Ordinary Form of the Mass “versus populum”. I would not expect or encourage a priest in our Diocese to begin celebrating Mass “ad orientem” at parish Masses without having a personal, in-depth conversation with me.

Even though there are many options in the Roman Missal some options do need and continue to be properly explained and implemented in order for the faithful to enter more deeply and participate more fully in the Church’s Liturgy. Which leads me to another option which is Distribution of Holy Communion Under Both Kinds.

Holy Communion Under Both Kinds

The General Instruction of the Roman Missal states with regards to “Holy Communion under Both Kinds”, that “whenever the opportunity for instruction is present, the faithful should be properly catechized...”(25). We all know that the flu and cold season raises all sorts of questions with regards to the transmission of germs when the faithful receive the Precious Blood from a chalice. I feel that it is most timely to address these concerns now.

There are two issues, as I approach this:
  1. Health (the possible spread of contagion vis-à-vis the approach to the Sacred with an
    attitude of heroic faith. “Because it is Precious Blood, in Faith, I won’t get sick or
    transmit sickness to another.”)
  2. The doctrine of concomitance (one never is denied reception of the Precious Blood when
    one receives Holy Communion under the appearance of Bread since the Body and Blood of Christ are both fully present as one under either Form) vis-à-vis the admonition that receiving Holy Communion under BOTH forms is a “fuller sign”.
These two discussions rest on both Faith and Reason and, as in most theological discussions, opinions can be strongly held on several levels.

It is my contention that our belief in the concomitant Presence of Body and Blood must be reiterated in these days. Our people need to know what we believe and hold as truth and, in this matter, the truth is greater than the “fuller sign”. Therefore to receive under ONE Form is a true reflection of our true doctrine. 

Traditionally the one form to be received is the form of Consecrated Bread, not the Precious Blood under the appearance of wine, though for one whose manner of obtaining nutrition is by liquid administered through a feeding tube, this stands to perfect reason and is acceptable.

For the seasons beginning with the First Sunday of Advent and, in fact, until Holy Thursday, Holy Communion is to be distributed only under the form of the Consecrated Host (except as noted for the special feeding need).

Prior to Holy Thursday a renewed catechesis on the practice of Holy Communion Under Both Kinds will be made available under my direction from the Office for Worship.

Liturgical Music and Environment

Music Directors, Musicians and Liturgical Art and Environment individuals and committees really need to work, as always, with their pastor’s input and pastors ought to be attentive to the General Instruction of the Roman Missal and diocesan guidelines. Particularly when decorating the church, please take special note of the altar itself, the free standing altar is freestanding so that the priest can walk around it. Displays of flowers or the Nativity or other decorations are not in keeping with the directive of the Second Vatican Council which intended the altar to be beautifully decorated but not obscured.

With regards to music, again, I leave it to the pastors to work with your liturgical music ministry to plan according to the Liturgical Seasons.

In the end we believe that the celebration of the Eucharist is of the utmost importance for us as Catholics. And so, we should be vigilant in ensuring that the dignity of our celebrations be enhanced. In promoting such dignity, the beauty of the sacred place, of the music, and of art should contribute as greatly as possible. 


i think this interview shows angst in high places, all self-inflicted.

From Crux:

Jesuit close to pope says attacks on ‘Amoris’ are ‘part of the process’

  • December 4, 2016
Jesuit close to pope says attacks on ‘Amoris’ are ‘part of the process’
Father Antonio Spadaro with Pope Francis (photo: Osservatore Romano)
In an exclusive interview with Crux, Jesuit papal confidant and director of the journal La Civiltà Cattolica, Father Antonio Spadaro SJ, takes issue with the tone and tactics of social media critiques of the pope and directly responds to the four cardinals who have publicly criticized Amoris Laetitia. 
[Note by Austen Ivereigh: Father Antonio Spadaro SJ, editor of La Civiltà Cattolica and one of the Jesuits closest to Pope Francis, recently got in touch with me to ask if he could clear up misunderstandings over a tweet of his which had caused offense in some quarters. The tweet was in response to a barrage of ill-tempered criticism he had received for defending Pope Francis’s exhortation on the family, Amoris Laetitia
I suggested that, as well as clarifying the tweet, he could use the opportunity to respond more fully to the so-called ‘dubia’ letter recently made public by four cardinals who wrote it. He kindly agreed, on the understanding that we make clear that he was not responding on behalf of anybody but himself. The interview was conducted by email.]
You recently asked for, and got, an apology and correction from a newspaper columnist after he claimed you had insulted the four cardinals who wrote to the pope asking for clarification of Amoris Laetitia. Others have repeated the allegation, which has taken wing on social media. Do you want to first of all clear this up?
The whole thing is ridiculous. And deeply offensive, that anyone should believe that I could ever refer to a cardinal as a ‘worm’. I might not agree, or make a light-hearted joke, but offense is something else together.
Father Spadaro's ironic tweet
What happened was the exact opposite of what is claimed. I tweeted that Amoris Laetitia was an act of the magisterium. Someone quoted my tweet and compared both Pope Francis and myself to Tolkein’s characters Grima the Wormtongue and Saruman. In a light-hearted, ironic riposte, I simply posted a screenshot from the Lord of the Rings movie without any comment, in which Saruman says, ‘to bandy crooked words with a witless worm’. The reference was to myself, not to anyone else.
So what was the source of the misunderstanding?
I have no idea. Someone decided I was insulting the four cardinals who wrote the ‘dubia’ letter, and this idea took off and went viral. How anyone decided I was referring to the cardinals is a mystery - ask those who tweeted it!
When I realized what was happening I deleted the tweet, which was being used in ways that were unseemly by people who present themselves as defenders of Catholic orthodoxy. Then the fact that I deleted it was used as proof that I now regretted insulting the cardinals. Sadly, the manipulation continues.
How does that make you feel?
Douthat apology to SpadaroI dislike the fact that some groups resort to such tactics simply in order to be heard. Ross Douthat, the New York Times columnistrepeated the claim but when I pointed out the mistake he apologized and corrected his article, which was very honest of him. Sadly, that’s not true of First Things, which doesn’t come out of this looking so good. Every newspaper or magazine is responsible for its own quality standards.  
There’s also the issue of a Twitter account which some of your critics claim you are ‘hiding’ behind. 
What do they mean, “hide”?! The account was simply an under-used one of three or four I operate, including that of the journal. I often re-tweet from one to the other.
If I had really wanted to throw stones from an anonymous account I would never, obviously, have re-tweeted it. And why should I feel any need to hide? I was merely quoting the view of an American friend who was commenting not on the behavior of the cardinals but the way the expression “the four cardinals” was being used on so many blogs in ways that reminded her of 196os rock bands.
The funny thing was that when I sent that tweet, Raymond Arroyo of EWTN tweeted the photo of a cardinal [Timothy Dolan of New York] dancing the can-can with his legs in the air along with the Rockettes. His tweet was cheered by my detractors, from which I deduce that this attack on me is organized and deliberate.
What’s behind it, do you think?
I think that some people are exploiting the cardinals’ letter in order to ramp up the tension and create division within the Church. These groups feel sidelined, so they’re yelling, and attacking anyone perceived as being close to the pope. I’m not here referring to the case of the tweet, but more generally.
It’s painful that this is taking place within the Church, among Catholics. In some cases it’s enough to be positive about the Petrine magisterium to be attacked. It’s a deeply unpleasant opposition, incapable of articulating a thought without at the same time turning it into an attack.
But why are the attacks so unpleasant - what’s going on?
I think there are three things happening here. The first is that Francis’s actions have been highly effective; they’ve hit the nail on the head.
And that means, secondly, that, “the spirits are expressing themselves,” as Bergoglio would say. The hatred and viciousness directed against him are always signs of the bad spirit which has nothing to do with the Gospel.
That’s easy to discern. And by the way, that disturbance of spirits is a reaction to the good spirit: if there were no reaction, it would be worse.
The third point is that those who are hostile to Francis are in the main self-enclosed groups who cannot handle an open, serene debate, and who simply repeat each other, like in an echo chamber. Some of those sites, and Twitter accounts, are simply copies of others.
What is the proper response?
Patience. We need patiently to bear the insults and attacks, and just trust in the process that’s underway. The attacks are an inescapable part of the process.
Some might hear you as saying that all criticisms of Francis are motivated by the bad spirit. 
St. John Paul II often endured vicious attacks from those who accused him of a heretical openness. I’ve seen one site which claims he said 100 heretical things. So there’s nothing new under the sun.
But no, of course, not all criticisms of Francis are like that. Some are criticisms which he is the first to accept; in other cases they are criticisms intended not to provoke but to open a dialogue that is calm and authentic.
How does the pope himself react to the attacks? There have been reports that he’s enraged by the letter.
Oh please! Such comments make me laugh. To get Bergoglio angry it has to be something very different. His real concerns are pastoral. What disturbs him is poverty, injustice, the martyrdom of Christians, violence, and so on, not these kinds of criticisms.
I can assure you, because I have direct knowledge of this, that Francis simply doesn’t get annoyed about this kind of thing. I think he sees the anger in some quarters as evidence that some people feel challenged by the hermeneutic of mercy, by the Gospel sine glossa [‘unglossed’ - i.e. presented directly].
Cardinal George Pell recently said in London that the four cardinals’ letter was “significant.” Do you agree?
It depends what you mean by “significant.” Certainly it has given encouragement to certain environments where there is resistance to the teaching of Amoris Laetitia.
Why hasn’t the pope responded to the cardinals?
The pope doesn’t give binary answers to abstract questions. But that does’t mean he hasn’t responded. His response is to approve and to encourage positive pastoral practices. A clear and obvious example was his response to the Buenos Aires area bishops, when he encouraged them and confirmed that their reading of Amoris Laetitia was correct.
In other words, the pope responds by encouraging, and indeed loves to respond to the sincere questions put to him by pastors. The ones who really understand Catholic doctrine are the pastors, because doctrine does not exist for the purpose of debate but for the salus animarum [‘the health of souls’] - for salvation rather than intellectual discussion.
Certain Catholic newspapers and journals in the UK and the U.S. who support the cardinals’ dissenting letter claim that ‘AL’ is essentially “ambiguous” over the question of communion for the divorced and remarried, and that the pope has not settled these questions adequately.
Francis loves dialogue when it is in loyal and sincere and motivated by the good of the Church. The four cardinals’ questions had in truth already been posed during the Synod, where the dialogue was broad, deep and above all frank.
The approval of all the points in the synod final report by a qualified majority is testimony to the high degree of convergence that was achieved. Amoris Laetitia is the mature fruit of the synod.
And in the synod all the necessary responses were given, and more than once. Afterwards many other pastors, among whom were many bishops and cardinals, carried on and deepened the discussion. Amoris Laetitia is very clear.
I think a questioning conscience can easily find all the responses it is seeking, if it is seeking sincerely.
The four cardinals claim to be motivated by a pastoral concern for the good of souls, in order to resolve “doubts which are the cause of disorientation and confusion.” Do you agree? 
All the cardinals can ask the Holy Father whatever they want  and if they have doubts they can speak to him and open their hearts to him. A well-founded and discreet dialogue, without media exposure and without seeking to make waves, is always useful. Always.
It’s rather different when a dialogue is used in a calculated way, or when people pose questions in order to place another in difficulty, provoking divisions.
As in this case, however, anything which touches on people’s lives should not be resolved by hitting people over the head with abstractions, but should be dealt with - as the four cardinals have themselves stated - through “calm and respectful reflection and discussion.”
The cardinals want to know whether Amoris Laetitia ever makes possible absolution and Holy Communion for people who are still validly married but having sexual relations with another. They claim that hasn’t been made clear. 
I think that the answer to that has been given, and clearly. When the concrete circumstances of a divorced and remarried couple make feasible a pathway of faith, they can be asked to take on the challenge of living in continence. Amoris Laetitia does not ignore the difficulty of this option, and leaves open the possibility of admission to the Sacrament of Reconciliation when this option is lacking.
In other, more complex circumstances, and when it has not been possible to obtain a declaration of nullity, this option may not be practicable. But it still may be possible to undertake a path of discernment under the guidance of a pastor, which results in a recognition that, in a particular case, there are limitations which attenuate responsibility and guilt - particularly where a person believes they would fall into a worse error, and harm the children of the new union.
In such cases Amoris Laetitia opens the possibility of access to Reconciliation and to the Eucharist, which in turn dispose a person to continuing to mature and grow, fortified by grace.
Their other area of concern is the compatibility of AL with St. John Paul II’s teaching on objective truth and conscience in Veritatis Splendor. They want to know if after AL, church teaching continues to exclude “a creative interpretation of the role of conscience.” 
Amoris Laetitia is underpinned by a clear objectivity of the good and of truth. The proof of it is in the development of understanding and the commitment to carry out what is for the good of man in via [‘along the way’]. We find ourselves here at the very opposite pole from a situational morality in which the norm is perceived as somehow extrinsic to the act that is carried out.
In situational morality the subject is freed from the objective norm, which is conceived in an abstract fashion, in favor of a pragmatism linked to circumstances. The Catechism of the Catholic Church is right to say that “the truth about the moral good, stated in the law of reason, is recognized practically and concretely by the prudent judgment of conscience” (#1780).
The moral justice of a particular concrete act includes, inseparably, the search for the objective norm which I must apply to the complexity of my case, as well as the virtue of prudence, which disposes us to discern in every circumstance our true good.
It is in function of who I am and the context in which I find myself that prudential judgement seeks, judges, chooses that which seems just and right in a concrete case. “When he listens to his conscience, the prudent man can hear God speaking,” as the Catechism (#1777) also says.
St. John Paul II already opened the door to an understanding of the position of the divorced and remarried through the discernment of the different situations which are not objectively identical, thanks to the internal forum.
Francis has taken an important step in obliging us to clarify what had remained implicit in Familiaris consortio, namely the link between an objective situation of sin and the life of grace faced with God and His Church and, as a logical consequence, of the concrete imputability of the sin.
As Cardinal Christoph Schönborn reminded us, Cardinal Ratzinger [the future Pope Benedict XVI] had already explained this in the 1990s: we can no longer automatically speak of a situation of mortal sin in the case of a new union. There cannot exist a general norm which is capable of covering all the particular cases. Just as the general norm remains clear, so it also remains clear that such a norm cannot cover all cases in an objective way.
Which means, I guess, that it’s possible to be objectively culpable without being so subjectively?
In certain cases, when we are in an objective situation of sin without being so subjectively, or at least only partly, it is possible to grow in the life of grace and charity, receiving for this purpose the help of the Church, through the sacraments,  including the Eucharist, which is “not a prize for the perfect, but a powerful medicine and nourishment for the weak” (Evangelii Gaudium, 47).
Moving from the general rule to individual cases cannot be made only through considerations of formal situations. It is therefore possible that, in certain cases, a person who is in an objective situation of sin can receive the help of the sacraments, yes.
When the pope speaks of “objectively sinful situations” he is not only referring to cases of different kinds as in Familiaris consortio #84, but in a broader way to include those “who do not objectively embody our understanding of marriage” and whose “individual conscience needs to be better incorporated into the Church’s praxis” (AL #303).
Francis notes at the start of AL (#3) that “each country or region…can seek solutions better suited to its culture and sensitive to its traditions and local needs.” But do you believe that this also allows for latitude in interpretation of AL? Is one bishop’s view of AL as good as another’s? 
No. One thing is to implement AL according to local circumstance, another thing to interpret it differently. Every bishop can find his own way of formulating his pastoral strategy for the family, and indeed, that of the divorced and remarried. The bishop is both doctor and judge and knows how to implement AL, giving concrete expression to the correct interpretation of it.
The pope’s letter to the bishops of Buenos Aires leaves no doubt both that bishops must implement AL according to local needs, and that AL must be correctly interpreted.
The cardinals behind the ‘dubia’ letter are all retired or, in Burke’s case, do not lead a diocese. It’s also striking how many of AL’s critics are lay intellectuals, rather than pastors. Do you sense there is a basic division in the reactions to AL between, as it were, the pastors and legalists?
The best reactions to AL have come from priests with long pastoral experience. They have immediately understood why AL speaks from experience rather than from abstract theory. AL speaks of a pastoral response that is attentive to concrete lives. And the Gospel always takes shape within a concrete life. So those who have been exposed to pastoral ministry get it straight away.
The pope leaves no room for doubt about the teaching of the Church, and in case there should be any, he says that “in no way must the Church desist from proposing the full ideal of marriage, God’s plan in all its grandeur” (#307).
But earlier, using very strong language, he asserts that “it is reductive simply to consider whether or not an individual’s actions correspond to a general law or rule, because that is not enough to discern and ensure full fidelity to God in the concrete life of a human being” (#304). We must not be reductive.
Pastoral ministry always demands the discernment of situations. The Church’s doctrine is that of the Good Shepherd. Pastoral ministry is not a second-rate, or even pragmatic, application of doctrine. Doctrine without the pastoral element is a ‘clashing cymbal’. We have to continually return to the kerygma, to that which is essential and which gives meaning to our whole body of doctrine, in particular to our moral teaching.
What is your sense, overall, of how AL is being accepted by bishops’ conferences across the world? Are most behind it, or must we wait and see?
It’s early days, and it’s difficult to generalize. But from what I see and sense around me, and from the number of invitations I get to present AL to dioceses - most of which sadly I can’t take up - I can say with total certainty there is a great commitment to following the Petrine ministry, to following Francis.
My sense is that the vast majority of the cardinals and bishops are with him, and very few are resisting Amoris Laetitia.