Wednesday, 25 December 2013

Merry Christmas 2013!

Hello, Everyone.

Hope you fulfilled your Christmas Mass obligation in a VALID and LICIT Mass under the Catholic Church in one of its rites, including the TWO forms of the Latin Rite: Novus Ordo and Latin Mass/Extraordinary Form.

Otherwise, I want to wish you a Blessed and Merry Christmas. Christus Natus Est!

Pax Tibi Christi, Julian Barkin.

Tuesday, 17 December 2013

A Heartfelt Plea To the "Players" in the Neopelagian Evangelii Gaudium Ga-fuffle: Please Stop Giving into the Wishes of the Enemy ...

Hello Everyone.

I realize that it's been almost a month since I've posted on S.U.D. Part of the reason is because of my daily life, which is eating up most of my time between a girlfriend, an odd-hours Monday-Friday Part Time job in afternoons, and my other ministry commitments, outside of the Extraordinary Form.

However, I'll be up front, part of me is becoming torn apart spiritually with all the garbage going on in the Church, some of it wondering what the Holy Father is saying at times to Traditionalists (and what he intends), which also includes the ongoing war between Catholic Traditionalism and the "Novus Ordo Church" as some traditionalist radicals coin it. It is eating at my heart and soul, and permanent spiritual damage has been wreaked upon me while I have ventured into the Extraordinary Form.

While a decent number of adherents to this form of the Roman Rite are good, honest, and LAW ABIDING Catholics who aren't hypocrites, sadly, enough of them are giving everyone a bad wrap, and needless to say, their actions are closing the doors fast on the Extraordinary Form, now that, to quote Fr. Z, "the cutest fluffiest Pope Evah" (read: "Liberal" dissenter ally who is truthfully not one, but now a tool of the liberals) is in power. Those ``Trads Behaving Badly`` (herein, TBBs,) are the ones with their websites and positions of power, who are really ruining it with diocesan offices, and just about everyone in the Church. In turn, Liberals and even neutrals/Orthodox Novus Ordo Catholics, are turning into the very enemies they claim them to be, and in return the TBBs just keep being jerks to everyone around them. Sadly, good young people like myself are turning away from the Mass they love, or worse, once loved, because of their stupid shenanigans.

However, those of the "Novus Ordo"/"Francis Cheering squad"/"Neo-Catholics"/whatever you call them, are also being hypocrites as well in certain cases by giving into the accusations that Trads make of their behavior over the past 50+ years and simply uphold what the clergy/laity have done to them. They are reacting just as brash and rude as their "enemies" or the people they are not supposed to be, those darn TBBs. By doing so, they only harden the mindset of the TBBs to continue what they are doing, and for those like the SSPX to continue being justified in their radical positions and never come into communion with Holy Mother Church. Guess they forget "Extra Ecclesiam Nulla Sulam."

All in all, it is making for a truly, spiritually sick environment in the Catholic Church, one that will overwhelm the field hospital, or destroy the road to the hospital whereby the patients will be unable to be treated. Yesterday, and today, that happened with a number of bloggers: 1 Traditionalist priest, and 3 mega phenom "Neo-catholics" or moderates in the Church, here, here, and here. To all of you, and any other blogger or reader, I write this plea for a ceasefire, a truce, peace, anything. Please listen to what I have to say, and harden not your hearts. My plea is in Courier Font, and quotations are in Verdana Font:

To the Catholic bloggers of the Blogosphere, and the "fighters, soldiers, generals" etc. of the liturgical war on both sides, Novus Ordo or Latin Mass,

I am a casualty, collateral damage, caught in the middle of your bickering, your volleys of detraction and/or slander, your apologetics, and/or whatever you are saying on line, and in person. 

I came to the Extraordinary Form seeking to enhance my growing spirituality, after starting to part ways with a Novus Ordo parish that was choking my soul. When I first came to the EF, I was aware of the havoc that liberals had wreaked on the Church in the last 50+ years in the "Spirit of Vatican II." However, I was also introduced to the Trads Behaving Badly (herein, TBBs), who were doing their own damage to the Latin Mass and hence, traditional Catholicism. Eventually, in my Archdiocese, I became the target of these TBBs, because I rejected what the TBBs stood for, and the malicious behaviour I was witnessing before my eyes. Based on my experiences, I sympathize with the views of bloggers like Mark Shea et al., for I know first hand what sins and horrible works can come from such people. 

Because of what was dealt onto me, I am comfortable at only one parish of 2 with the EF, and Masses organized by one Latin Mass group. The other parish and Latin Mass organizing group in my archdiocese contains the presence of those TBBs at their Masses. Although through my blog and my selective EF serving activities, I have tried to provide a counter presence to the counter-Catholic witness in the Latin Mass/Traditionalist Movement, it has been out-massed by these TBBs and the bad examples of others on the internet. These players still dominate the scene, and after 2 and a 1/2 years of witnessing this, it's safe to say that things, at least in my Archdiocese, are not going to improve anytime soon. 

What I have experienced at home though, is sorely being echoed now throughout the mainstream Church in the papacy of Pope Francis. Granted, yes the Church is supposed to reach out to the poor, but it seems that social justice has become the sole focus on a wider scale, at the cost of anything "liturgical" or Theological/Doctrinal. Worse, Francis has not been careful in his words and off-the-cuff comments. Such words have made many question who his intended targets of his fervorinos and messages are, and what the true feelings of Jorge Bergoglio to traditionalists are, despite him being the Bishop of Rome. Worse, it is giving people more ammunition to hate Traditionalists and the Latin Mass all over again, and to remain stagnant in their own ``Cafeteria Catholicism``. Francis has even changed positions in his Vatican dicasteries for more neutral or ``Francis-like`` bishops, and the JPII/B16 ones are being weeded out. What message is that sending to a young guy like me? That EF/Latin Mass/Traditionalists are hated in the Church again??? 

It also doesn't help when just because one priest decides to make a joke out of the situation with the "Evangelii Gaudium Neopelagian quote", that a number of bloggers who are the "neutral" or "neo-caths" or whatever you get called, all gang up on the priest. A priest no less! Laypeople ganging up on a priest!!! Fraternal correction of a person, is one thing, but what I have witnessed was more on the side of disrespectful, and displayed poor example for a young person like myself to follow. If I was any young buck with no liturgical/theological background at all, I'd think it's open season on priests. To the credit of one of the moderate bloggers, he did rewrite his title of his post seeing it was imprudent and crude. 

What I witnessed in these last two days, sickens me even more, because this is the exact same "ganging-up" and harassing behaviour that I have seen the TBBs do online and in person to good Traditionalists, Novus Ordo Catholics of any age, and anyone that does not fit the TBBs' views of Traditionalism. What a number of bloggers have shown in this scenario with the coffee mug Fr. Z created, and perhaps to some extent Fr. Z, clearly goes against the Gospel of Christ, when he is teaching his disciples about piety, the virtue of Humility, and its counter vice of pride, the Devil`s key sin. Recall Luke 18:9-14 when the Pharisee boasts of all the works he does and how Christ replies in verse 14 ``... for every one who exalts himself will be humbled, but he who humbles himself will be exhalted.`` It is in both`s sides postings and the commentators who did not exert prudence and temperance with what they wrote, I feel this is all I am seeing: Pharisees who are simply on one side or the other of the narrow road, slinging bombs and bullets at each other and accusing each other of spiritual infractions against Jesus, while I, trying to walk in the middle, am being blown apart and/or ridden with bullet holes. 

Both sides, you have forgotten that the true enemy in all this, is the Devil. Via those changes, ushered in with the "spirit of Vatican II", I am sure both of you can agree that much spiritual devastation has been brought upon the laity and clergy of the Church, and to our beautiful and sacred Catholic Liturgy (especially the Roman Rite). As His Holiness, Pope Francis quotes in his new book Open Mind, Faithful Heart" in Chapter 12: Testing and Temptation: ".... The devil is intelligent. He knows how and where to tempt people. Saint Ignatius describes him as a militant commander who is attempting to conquer and plunder his objective ... the enemy of human nature prowls around and from EVERY SIDE probes ALL OUR THEOLOGICAL, CARDINAL, AND MORAL VIRTUES. Then at the point where he finds us weakest and most in need in regard to our eternal salvation, there he attacks and tries to take us" (SpEx 327) .... if he attacks something, it is because he recognizes that it is dangerous ...." 

Satan knows that the Latin Mass, Catholic Traditionalism/Orthodoxy, and the Hermeneutic of Continuity of Vatican II, flies in the face of his consolation prize after losing to Christ when He died on the cross: Your souls. And he wants EVERY LAST ONE of them NOT to join Him in Heaven. It also throws a wrench into the Devil's current game plan he has enacted, which has succeeded quite well the last 50+ years. He has pried many souls away from the salvation Christ offers in the Church, with what he's done in liturgy, hererical and/or misguided "catechesis", catholic education, etc. Therefore, with the rest of you who can smell his obvious "traps," He must use a different weapon: Pride, via the twisting of your religious zeal into an ugly, sinful weapon. Yes, our Holy Father might not prefer that Latin Mass over the Novus Ordo, but while our Holy Father has a different goal with his papacy vs. Benedict XVI and John Paul II, the devil is using this liturgical war to every extent to get the fewer, remaining soldiers who love Christ and his Church in these times, to "kill each other" and their own souls, with "friendly fire." 

Everyone ... this friendly fire is exactly what is killing desire in the faithful to not be lukewarm, including embracing proper Catholic teaching, Traditional Catholicism, and/or the Latin mass. This includes us young people. 

If all I see are Trads, hated by liberals and balanced Catholics, and our Pope and those who are "in the middle" are saying non-positive things concerning Trads, and the TBBs are justified in their behaviour, then why should I bother participating in the Latin Mass? 

If the modernists/neutrals/"good" Catholic bloggers act the same as the TBBs, and it's a "Francis or bust" culture, then why should I be part of any Catholic community that doesn't practice love, but rather, conform or be hated? Isn't our Holy Father against regimes and governments who act like dictatorships? Because that's what I feel like I am seeing here with the Fr. Z issue: A Pope Francis or TBB Dictatorship is the only way to go.

Further, if what the neutrals are doing is just the same as the TBBs, then what else am I supposed to feel but justification, that the institutional Church is corrupt and hypocritical? My generation (80's onward), hates the hypocrisy of the generations before us and in our secular/religious institutions. 

Please everyone .... I beg you ... Traditionalist, Orthodox Novus Ordo, or whatever side you take in Traditional Catholicism/
Liturgy or Forms .... please stop the behaviour you are doing online. What hope can a young person like myself have, to even bother with the Latin Mass, or even Catholicism in general, if even our better exemplars (you,) are no different than those hypocrites of our Faith among our family, friends, instructors, and Church clergy? How can I keep being a leader in youth ministry, and try to encourage my tweens/teens to even weekly Mass, when the institutional and ONLINE leadership in the Church keep failing us? 

We hate what is still going on at the ground/parish level in 2013. Many of us reverts have found/renewed our Catholic Faith thanks to your work and examples. But today, you have demonstrated the opposite, and become purveyors of despair in trusting the Church. You, bloggers, myself included, even though we mostly are not clergy, are a PART OF SHOWING PEOPLE WHAT THE TRUE CATHOLIC CHURCH IS, WHETHER YOU THINK SO OR NOT. We are responsible for being those Saints in the sneakers and jeans Francis has asked us to be. It's time again to do that, properly. 

If you want to selectively quote me, bash me, criticize, or repost what I have said, do whatever you must. But please realize what I am saying. Please think about the next generation, and how we are looking up to you to give us the guidance we never got from our clergy and "role models", and more often than not, continue not to get with regards to our Faith. We need saints, not Pharisees, Trad or not. Give us hope and a place to turn to in these trying times. 

Sincerely, with sadness, Julian Barkin, of Servimus Unum Deum .... trying to be a good, young, practicing, Faithful, Somewhat-Traditionalist, Catholic.  

Monday, 18 November 2013

Highlight: Another False Seer Exposed, Maria Divine Mercy is a Fraud!

Hello Everyone.

Normally, I don't cover this stuff. I don't like to get into "Seers" and visionaries, and the only one that I care remotely about, despite a small number being approved by the Church such as Lourdes, Fatima, and Akita, is Fatima. For the most part, I think it's just lies and temptations to evil, laced with the deadly sin of greed.

However, a few days ago, I was in contact with someone on the phone. I unfortunately had to listen to a lot of horrible misfortune in the person's life, and some disturbing conspiracy theory details that I just couldn't really credit, but it turns out the guy is a devotee or credits Maria Divine Mercy, another one of these hokey seers that is dividing the Catholic Faithful, just like Medjugore.

Well, a blog that I view for certain reasons, churned this beauty! Turns out ... the truth of MDM is revealed ... her name, and the shady business dealings behind the visions, as well as what some Church investigation has revealed about her ... long story short, HER VISIONS ARE NOT FROM MARY!!!! THEY ARE MORE LIKELY FROM THE DEVIL!!! Even our Holy Father, just last week, made a homily about "Mary not being a postmaster sending posts", which we, who aren't stupid and can read between the lines, knows he disapproves of what's going on at Medjugore.

Anyways, read here everyone:

And please, do not be swayed by these false profits, masquerading as visionaries. There's more than one mask the Devil wears to persuade others to fall and serve him. It doesn't always have to be the usual lie-beral means or ideaologies and methods. He uses more crafty means for those who aren't so easily swayed by his usual tricks .... trads behaving badly included.

Man ... I've really not been hearing and seeing great things in my life recently online and in person with regards to the Catholic Church. Please pray for one another, and fast, and do penance. I think things are really starting to turn for the worse ....

Pax, Julian.

Thursday, 14 November 2013

Highlight: Pope Francis May Not be a Lover of the EF, but He's Certainly in Favour of the TRUE Hermeneutic of Vatican II

Hello Everyone,

Sorry that I haven't been active a lot on Servimus. My life is in a tailspin between a new job, all my other activities, and even a girlfriend too.

However, I think this is of important note to make a post, with the few precious hours I get outside of my weekends.

Background: To understand this post/highlight, I must make a few statements-of-fact, about Vatican II, Pope Francis, Trads Behaving Badly (which encompasses "radicals" e.g. SSPX, as well as those outliers looming about traditionalists/Latin Mass communities), and such, to understand what the content might just mean.

1) Vatican II happened. Generally speaking, liberals ran crazy with it, and many things got misinterpreted and damage to the lay faithful happened in numerous ways, from churches becoming ugly-fied from wayward "liturgical interpreters" or "wreckovations", to bubble-gum weak theology that makes Jesus sound like a fuzzy bear, to Catholics not knowing their basic faith.

2) Vatican II in itself, was not the main point of blame for all that occurred in 1). However, it got elevated to the status of a "super-dogma" that allowed so many of the liturgical, doctrinal, and moral violations that have plagued the Church and the lay faithful for 50+ years to occur. Part of this was a liberal, ultra-modernist interpretation of the Council by the "school of Bologna" and its chief architect of this way of thinking about the council, a Signor "Giuseppe Dossetti."

3) In response to the horrible events from that school of thought in 2), there were many lost vocations and faithful who have left the Church. However on the opposite spectrum, there was an opposite, but equally disturbing reaction to the events in the form of Radical Traditionalism, exemplified in the thoughts and "Pre-Vatican II" way of life by groups such as the Society of St. Pius X, other more radical groups, as well as certain members of Traditionalist communities who contain the theology and ideaology of those groups, but follow the rules of Canon Law to remain "in the Church" in order not to be excommunicated, despite sympathies/sentiments to these groups, or making statements in person or online, similar to these radical groups. Part of these groups/people's going-abouts with regard to their faith, is anywhere from a negative view of the Vatican II council to rejecting it outright (which is heretical, for to deny any TRUE ecumenical Council of the 21 held in the Church's history, is self-excommunicatory/latae sentitiae under current 1983 Canon Law, under heresy/apostasy).   

4) With regards to our new Holy Father, Pope Francis, it was discovered that the situation of the Latin Mass, which the people in 3) regard so dearly, was mismanaged poorly in his former diocese of Buneos Aires, South America. In addition, the Pope has not taken an active role towards the Latin Mass in his pontificate. Between his off the cuff statements (e.g. "Who am I to judge?",) coupled with his management of the EF in his former archdiocese, those in 3), but also parts of Latin Mass/traditionalist communities (even my Latin Mass friends and colleagues) have an attitude anywhere from a cautious and critical eye on our Holy Father, to daggers of hatred and accusations of heresy and modernism (cough cough SSPX and Fellay cough cough).

Now that I've made my statements-of-fact, I turn your attention to the latest from Traditionalist internet phenom, Fr. John Zuhlsdorf, of What Does the Prayer Really Say. Today, he caught wind, thanks to a "Vatican Insider" by the name of Sandro Magister, of a letter sent to one Archbishop Marchetto, of admiration from His Holiness and the unofficial title of "The best hermeneutical interpreter of the Second Vatican Council." See the translated content of the letter in the link to Fr. Z`s blog.

See, the Archbishop isn't just any interpreter. Firstly, he too, like Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI, prescribes to the proper hermeneutic of ANYTHING within the Church of major importance, the hermeneutic of continuity. That is, any major pronouncement, document, etc. must be interpreted in the light of the Church's Tradition (Big T, meaning the infallible or unchangeable teaching, principles, etc.) and created to follow such Tradition. Furthermore, this archbishop wrote a book, "The Second Vatican Council: A Counterpoint for the History of the Council," which smacks down the false hermeneutic of interpreting the Council and everything that goes with it in the institutional Church, the "hermeneutic of rupture", of which the thought behind it came from the "School of Bologna" mentioned in the statements-of fact.

So what does this affirming letter basically mean? Even if the Vatican's "official spokesman", Fr. Lombardi, gets in the way and downplays the event, it means that, despite the claims, slander, detraction, etc. thrown by the kinds of traditionalists mentioned in statement-of-fact 3), THEY ARE DAMN WRONG on the Pope being the enemy of Traditionalism, once again (as they were when he slammed a bunch of Italian bishops who wanted the EF eliminated in their diocese by eliminating Summorum Pontificum). So you thought that the Pope was a modernist and enemy of the Church, believing the silly hermeneutic of rupture that the Lie-berals did? Well, unless Jorge Bergoglio is the greatest actor in the world, and is truly being two-faced to all of his subjects in the Church as the Holy Father, (which is likely less than 1% chance here), then this is proving that our Holy Father is right where he needs to be on the theological-political spectrum, and isn't stupid to the situation of the Catholic Faithful and the Church in today's world. He takes the situation of the faithful in the Church seriously and is pushing for proper renewal in the Church.

So once again, I guess this Pope is really a litmus test for the Church. He's once again showing us who he truly is, and in return, where we truly are on the narrow path.

Pax Tibi Christi, Julian Barkin.

Monday, 4 November 2013

Thnigs are Grinding Slowly, but Grinding .... Like the Vatican

Hello Everyone,

I know there hasn't been a lot here on Servimus recently in terms of the altar serving department, so sorry for being so sluggish.

I'm currently training for my new position at my workplace and fulltime hours gives me little strength and desire to work in the evenings. I've also been balancing a very busy life between the Latin Mass stuff, work, my church stuff which saw the new edition of the teen program at my parish, and even my social life. And it's gotten bigger than ever!

Not to mention when I do the serving posts, they take time! I don't just tell you how to do it, I look at what's behind each position.

Anyways, I am letting you know I'd say I'm about 75% complete on the thurifer post. It's pretty big, as it's not just a minor position in the Mass. It's what I'd consider a senior position, alongside the acolytes, with the "Master" position being the Master of Ceremonies. More to think and do with each position.

When I'm done that, I'll then be covering serving solo at the Low Mass, after having completed some serving in the summer in that position.

In between that, I'd better update the Servimus serving group page too, and book the November practice.

Pax, Julian.

Sunday, 27 October 2013

REPORT: LITURGICAL HISTORY MADE!!! Solemn Latin Mass at Newman Center in the Archdiocese of Toronto October 27, 2013

Hello Everyone.

The liturgical wheels are grinding once again for the Latin Mass choirs in the Archdiocese of Toronto. The first Solemn Latin Mass to start the season was organized by the Toronto Traditional Mass Society back on October 7, 2013, with a Solemn TLM commemorating the Battle of Lepanto at St. Cecilia's Catholic Church.

Today, another Solemn Latin Mass was held in our Archdiocese of Toronto, in a location of important note. This afternoon at 315pm , a Solemn TLM was held in the Newman Center at the University of Toronto, via its St. Thomas Aquinas Chapel.

Newman Center at University of Toronto
For those of you who are not familiar with the center, or stick to the Extraordinary Form only, the Newman Center (and its chapel) is an Archdiocesan property in the heart of the University of Toronto, St. George (downtown) campus. The Newman Center house was built in 1809/1891 and the adjacent chapel was built in 1926/1927. Both properties have together ministered to the Catholic students of the University of Toronto for decades, and have also seen their fair share of architectural development (more the chapel) and liturgical change alongside the Catholic Church. The St. Thomas Aquinas chapel became an official parish of the Archdiocese of Toronto in 1995.

Newman Center provides solid, orthodox Catholic ministry to students and working young professionals. The center, through the chapel, provides daily 12:15pm, and Sunday Novus Ordo Masses at 11am and 7pm, for the students, with confessions before Mass. While I haven't been to a Sunday Mass yet, I have attended their Novus Ordo weekday Masses. I will say that you will find a similar tranquility and sacredness to the Low Mass of the EF in those Masses, celebrated by the pastor of the Newman Center, Fr. Chris Cauchi. The Center also provides a great range of programming such as opportunities for catechesis/spiritual nourishment, intramural teams, and even social events. In its multi-faceted approach, the Newman Center has become a home and vibrant community for myself and other young adults in the archdiocese. I am proud to say, these other fellow youth are my best group of Catholic friends that I frequently associate with. They are not Judases or hypocrites in their practice of the Faith. Rather, They are role models for fellow Catholic youth to aspire to in their obligation and devotion to Mass, their passion for the True Catholic Faith, and their warmth and openness in being a Catholic community.  For more information please check out for their main site, and for the student specific portion. They can also be found on Facebook here:

Today, liturgical history in the Archdiocese of Toronto was made at the Newman Center St. Thomas Aquinas Chapel. While a Missa Cantata/high Mass was held back in 2009 when the Fraternal Society of St. Peter did a mission here in the (failed) hopes of a possible apostolate, in all likelihood, never, since the establishment of the Novus Ordo and the liturgical changes after Vatican II, has a Solemn Latin Mass been held at the center (again? anyone can clarify this from decades past???) ..... UNTIL NOW.

The Mass at Newman Center Chapel ... Not like the others ....

The St. Patrick's Gregorian Choir, under the direction of Surinder S. Mundra, organized a Solemn Latin Mass for the Feast of Christ the King in the EF calendar. This was quite an exciting change of pace for the choir, as this would be a Mass in the Heart of the downtown Toronto, which also would be even more accessible to the young adults, a group in dire need of ministry in the Church today.

However, there was some logistical issues that needed to be contended with. The chapel had undergone a number of renovations since Vatican II, with such things as it's tabernacle and EF style altar moved to the right side of the chapel like so:

Also, the choir area was behind the main, Vatican II style, Novus Ordo altar. Unfortunately, the direction is ad orientem ("East", towards the Crucifix/Tabernacle) for the Latin Mass, and therefore the choir could NOT be behind the altar. In addition, a number of liturgical items necessary for the celebration of the EF were not present in the Novus Ordo only chapel.

 See those benches behind the altar? Those are where the Choir sits in Novus Ordo Masses here. And the Sanctuary? The front part is about as big as your kitchen. Meanwhile there's a big gap space behind it in front of the choir ....

Also, the chapel's 15th Century Gothic style + its rectangular odd shape, plus a "bathtub-like" baptismal font in the middle of the central aisle, and the SMALLEST EVER sanctuary that St. Patrick's Gregorian Choir had to work with, meant a need for creative navigation and planning.

Great. An obstacle course for the processions.

What to do? What to do ..... The choir was able to work out the following solutions:
  • Near the tabernacle, some of the benches were moved to create a "choir" area, that could also hold a stand-up Baroque organ, as the Newman Center did not have a working small organ for us to use. This arrangement also created a space whereby the Gospel could be read, with servers in tow:

For your information, notice the Ipad on the stand. That's the choirmaster's. More proof that the Ordinary Form and the Extraordinary Form COMPLEMENT and ``mutually enrich`` one another (Ha Ha Ha! ok that was my lame attempt at a liturgical joke)

  • Due to the space constraints, the altar servers HAD to be in the "choir" area for the Novus Ordo masses. This also mean timing adjustments (with help from our MC cue-ing us) to be able to cross the "Gap" from the choir area to the altar/credence table.

  • Many of the liturgical items had to be brought in to the Newman Center, such as the altar linens, candles, altar cards, paten, clergy robes, etc. Thankfully, a parish or two allowed for the borrowing of their items (possibly St. Pius X archdiocesan, one of the Servimus practice sites??? seeking confirmation please), and one of the choir members had a couple of liturgical items, plus a set of altar cards framed for usage in the Mass.
Quite a bit had to be brought in ....
  • To the center's credit, thurible items were provided, including a traditional boat like in my serving post, cruets, and ciboria, and maybe two of the altar candles.

Lo and behold, with the best we could do, the Newman Chapel was fit as could be for the Solemn Latin Mass.

One converted EF altar .....
 ..... a set of sediliae with the chairs provided 

.... and one credence table with a lot more room than we are used to, and Voila! One EF converted St. Thomas Aquinas Newman Center Chapel Complete!

Before the mass occurred, our MC went over all our parts with the program booklet that was provided. In addition, we had to do some alterations for our processions and our roles in the Mass with the odd sanctuary setup.

And then ... we got a number of blessings in surprise. Originally, we were going into the Mass with a bare minimum setup for altar serving of MC, two acolytes and a thurifer. Unconfirmed and unknown to us, two of the St. Lawrence the Martyr Scarborough servers appeared and offered their serving skills for our Mass, and we were able to do a full complement with boat bearer and a crucifer! I couldn't believe it!

Further, while I do not have exact numbers, I would estimate that the chapel's pews could fit about 200-250 people, give or take some, and the chapel was at least 1/2 full by the time Mass was underway!

There were also quite a few young adults and youth within the congregation. As a couple of examples, one gentleman came from Mississauga by transit with his two sons to this Mass. Also, I was able to meet another student who was attending university and aligned with ```Trinity College`` in the U of T college system. Some Newman parishioners from the 11am Mass even purposely stayed to attend the Latin Mass at 315pm!

We were also fortunate to have our clergy with us in carrying out the Latin Mass, of which all three members had, or continue to assist, the St. Pat`s Choir in their Masses. Once again, Fr. Steven Szakaczki, Latin Mass chaplain of St. Lawrence the Martyr, graciously took on the celebrant role of our Latin Mass, with (also once again, a recent 2010 ordinandi) Fr. Russell Asch from St. Patrick`s Markham as deacon, and a seminarian, Eric Mason, returning after a long absence (from SPGC masses) as our sub-deacon from the diocese of Peterborough.

Now ... the Mass itself

Despite all the logistical issues we had to face as a choir, both on the choir end and the serving ends, leading up to this Mass and while carrying it out in the St. Thomas Aquinas chapel, we were able to effectively carry out the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass in the Solemn Latin Mass (in our respective roles, of course.).

Our servers were attentive to the cues from the Master of ceremonies, carried out their respective roles proficiently, and navigated the odd-structured sanctuary and chapel with ease. It was clear that their reverence and their dedication to their service was present, and we were in collective agreement that we were mostly together for this Mass, with no major hiccups.

As for the choir, they sang like sweet angels from above, and demonstrated the fruits of their hard work, the results of weekly 2 hour practices every after the 5pm Mass at St. Patrick's Toronto's 5pm Saturday Vigil.

Due credit though, must also be attributed to the choirmaster, Surinder S. Mundra. Not only did he do an incredible job in conducting the choir, but his vocals were outstanding in his lead parts. The laity truly were able to witness the sacredness and strength of properly conducted Gregorian Chant in his leadership and when he sang. This was particularly present in his baritone (or alto) register portions, which demonstrated the full, sacred power of Gregorian Chant in the voice of a human being, to be able to elevate the soul and mind to Heaven.

Homily in the Mass (What I could remember, and paraphrasing much here .....)

As for the Homily in the Mass, the homilist was Fr. Szakaczki, the celebrant. Interestingly enough, Father discussed the Latin Mass prior to his homily and some of the noted differences between the two forms before getting into his main homily. During the ``introduction`` as it were, besides the mention of receiving communion, Father discussed the actions/"t"raditions in an interesting way. Instead of the pitting of the forms against each other, as mistakenly and commonly portrayed by clergy in their homilies, he mentioned how the traditions are important to the Novus Ordo, and what they are meant to demonstrate with regards to it, or how they tie into it. This put a smile on my face, and was vitally important. Since the Newman Center is a Novus Ordo parish, I was pleased at the direction Fr. Szakaczki took, since certain members of the laity might have never been to a Latin Mass until now. This is exactly the kind of direction the Latin Mass/Priests/those who are voices for the Latin Mass need to take, to connect the two forms, that is, that they are "mutually enriching" and complementary to one another, as Benedict XVI hoped would be expressed in his promotion of the EF. Also this approach respected the parish and its pastor, who administers to the faithful with the Novus Ordo.

Then, Fr. Szakaczki began his homily. From what I did remember, he began by talking about systems of government, because a kingdom is a system of government, tied to a monarchy/patriarchy. It was to tie into the Kingship of Christ, but also he questioned all listening about what kind of system of government would we desire: One where we are to be ruled over by a ruler, with strict force and order, or do we prefer one where we have the freedom to elect our representatives and be able to speak out minds on topics and freedom of religion? There are places in the world where the former exists, and where we are not free to live or speak out against the ruler, lest our families be subject to torture, and ourselves imprisoned or killed. We might perceive the old style kingdoms as such, but this is NOT the kind of "Kingship" that Christ has over us.

Fr. might have said other things after this, but he then proceeded to discuss the kingship of Christ vs. the false "kingship" of Satan, that our world has over us. His kingship is an empty one, where we are perceived to be our own kings, and we can do whatever we want. However, when we succumb to such a selfish kingship, we are truly empty and impoverished with our sins (actions), and we are not happy. It is a kingdom of one, a lonely kingdom, without love or happiness, where we are false masters of ourselves. (It's really the Evil One who is truly our master with those choices). This is especially true when we commit Mortal Sins. We separate ourselves from the Lord, and it makes it that much more easier for us to co-operate with the Evil One, a.k.a. sinning more and more (easily?). However, the Kingship of Christ is one where it is Love that reigns supreme. It is the opposite of the kingship of the Devil. Yes, His kingdom is in heaven, but his reign of ultimate Love extends to that on earth. This is the kingship we should be seeking out. And if there are those things or people in our lives that are causing us to turn to the false kingship of the Devil, we are to remove ourself from those things or people who are of that kingship (editorial note: I am sure Fr. did not imply we cast those people out of our lives off the bat. If we can administer to them and bring them to the Lord, then we give it our best evangelization.)

Finally, after the homily, Father prayed in public the ``Most Sweet Jesus, Redeemer`` prayer for the intention of gaining a plenary indulgence on this Feast Day. For more information on the indulgence, see this informative post from traditionalist priest, Fr. John Zuhlsdorf.

Final Notes

I will say one additional note of editorial commentary here. The servers had to be "versus populum" as it were due to the sanctuary's odd configuration and lack of space to be properly seated behind the sediliae of the sacred ministers. Therefore, during the Mass of the Canons (2nd part), we got to see Father do the consecrations as if we were in a Novus Ordo Mass. When I witnessed Father Szakaczki elevate the host, with his hands in EF configuration, it was if there was something different in the event. While I mean no division in the two forms of the rite, I must say, there was something different in seeing him elevate the Sacred Species. Even with the same silence, the same type of bell ringing (four bell cross type), it was ... different. There was something there going on in those elevations that was awesome .... It simply was. It gives me personal food for thought, to try and apply this the next time I attend Novus Ordo Masses at the consecrations.

All in all, the whole choir performed admirably. A beautiful Solemn Latin Mass was brought to the university of Toronto's Newman community in the downtown of Toronto since Vatican II arrived. We (both servers and choir members), were grateful for this opportunity, and thank sincerely the Newman Center staff, including the pastor Fr. Chris Cauchi, who allowed the Mass to take place in the Chapel, and worked well with us to make it happen.

Between Fr. Cauchi's pastor-ship, the Newman community's openness to such beautiful and sacred liturgy in the Latin Mass (that includes a number of my friends), and all the other parts of the center, is it no wonder I keep coming back there? There clearly is something happening here with the young adults in the Archdiocese of Toronto. What will be part of the future of the Church is clearly here at Newman Center.

Most of the choir and servers, with some of the Clergy. Liturgical history was made!

Pax Tibi Christ, Julian Barkin.

Wednesday, 23 October 2013

Objects and Evil Part 2: A Commentary on the Issue of Using Things and Social Media, or Why I Choose Not To Abhor Facebook

Hello Everyone.

In this second part, I am going to be telling you why I choose to still use Facebook, and perhaps give you more reasoning to consider why just pulling apart from it is NOT the best solution in reaction to its filth.

1) Trads Behaving Badly Behaviour: The SSPX and the Banishment of the TV from the Home
First reason why I will not be signing off Facebook and continue to use it: This kind of radical reaction to cease such an item is one that is similar, or exactly like those of the radical traditionalists, giving a negative impression of those of Traditional Catholicism.

Alright, so for those of you tuning in, the SSPX is a "fraternal organization" of traditionalists who are around the world, with seminaries and chapels/missions in a number of countries. They were formed by a Vatican II Council Father, Archbishop Marcel Lefevbre, in retaliation to the egregious liturgical and spiritual abuses made "in the name of Vatican II/Spirit of Vatican II" that were happening post-council. However, he consecrated four bishops without permission of the Holy See in 1988 (of which the Holy See under the Pope is supposed to consecrate the bishops), and put the society in a weird "no man's land". It's priests are valid but illicit in their ordinations, and while they can confect the sacrament of the Eucharist and can administer a valid baptism (under the Trinitarian formula,) and do everything according to the liturgy and the books of 1962, they are not in communion canonically with the Catholic Church. Further more, the laity attending their "Masses", can be brought into schism with the Church. You should not also consume their Eucharist, because it would be supporting schism with the Church. While they do give "lip service" to the Pope by not committing the heresy of sedevacantism (Yes, you are a valid pope, Paul VI, John Paul II, Benedict XVI, and Francis), they call the Novus Ordo "Evil" thus denying it's sacramental validity and licitness, and are pretty much anti-"Novus Ordo" Church. Most importantly, They have no canonical/sacramental ministry within the Church, as restated by Benedict XVI when he released the excommunications of the 4 bishops illegally consecrated by Lefebvre.

Okay, do you get the picture? Basically their way of "living" is all pre-Vatican II, from their schools to their liturgy, to what they believe, etc. They may profess to all doctrine of the Church and the Magisterium, but their anti-"Novus Ordo" Church attitude (which also includes accusing the Pope of heresy in being a modernist in their 25th anniversary statement), as well as actions they have, as a society committed over the years (e.g. having an anti-Semitic bishop in the expelled Williamson, making an anti-Semitic statement last Xmas after a visit held in MY diocese and Illegally and INVALIDLY administering confirmations ...) is totally against our Holy Mother Church, and will only lead one off the narrow path. It is also important to say a number of traditionalists do support them, despite staying in the "Novus Ordo" church through licit Masses and means due to their status and the individual NOT wanting to be eternally damned by schism, in a Canon Law sense.

Summary picture: They give all Traditional Catholics a bad impression as being rigid, shaming people. WE ARE NOT ALL LIKE THAT!!!

Back to the Facebook issue. While I have not seen anything with regard to specifically Facebook from the SSPX (and in fact, their adherents are on Facebook and use it to push the SSPX propaganda/TBB views), there is a similar vein in their arguments with regards to the television. It was only recently with regards to a movie that puts their founder in a positive light that the SSPX relaxed their views on television and movies. However, at their core, and for the past 25 years, they held rigorist views on the matter. Let's look at their "literature", shall we?

Angelus: Online and Paper publication/Magazine
From an interview with then SSPX bishop Williamson:

"So then would you say that the Internet is a mix of both good and bad, while the television is almost all bad or at least useless?
Even on TV, there can still be some good things. Satan is not stupid. He's going to bait the hook with a nice, juicy worm.
Families, however, should undoubtedly keep the television set outside of the home. Period. Especially if there are young children. The television set must go.

From another Angelus Article:
"Objection: “I always think that Archbishop Lefebvre comes across great on TV!"    Response: “if you can't be present at the Bishop's Mass, then it is God's will.  But if you want to be there, then you will get your priorities straight and make some room in your activities so as to be able to go and see him.  TV is not a channel of God's grace.  It stultifies the sacred and belittles good, while enhancing evil.  You cannot televise Christ's Mystical Body.”

However, despite the SSPX's change in its stance on video this year (which I think, as a measure to try and shake off the "Bad press" they receive and look less oppressive to outsiders, in a bid for their adherency), I restate that it is still TBB in behaviour at its core,  and the criticism of its own members, or other TBBs of the SSPX, still demonstrate the TBB viewpoint with regard to the TV/Internet. Here's an example of one on line, showing that radical response (Chuck out the TV/Internet) as he/she is criticising the notoriously well known SSPX school, St. May's Kansas, for the junior girls promoting a showing of "For Greater Glory" about the 1920's Cristeros war in Mexico:

"One of our readers from St. Marys, KS just told us that the priests there are having their own junior high school girl class promote, as a fundraiser, the recent movie "For Greater Glory" to the adults and children of that parish.  She forwarded us their January 20th, 2012 parish bulletin on the right (yellow emphasis is ours). Besides the problem of tv/movie watching in general, the movie "For the Greater Glory" has problems.   First, it includes a scene with women in their underwear.  It is true, the underwear is 1920's style (and therefore mild compared to modern style); yet our innocent children have (hopefully) never seen any such thing, and therefore watching such a scene would be harmful to their innocence.  Second, the movie leaves the viewer ignorant as to the real nature of the Mexican conflict: Catholicism vs. Masonry.  The movie never mentions or even implies Masonry."

While perhaps For Greater Glory should not be seen by younger children, I will say that the comment clearly upholds the TBB standard of `The TV/Internet is wholly evil" as well as NOT explaining the context of the scene (The women aiding the soldiers/husbands/men, by stashing ammunition in the folds of their underwear, in order to give it to the resistance fighters because government surveillance would have made vehicle transportation and housing ammunition highly unsuccessful). Not to mention a nice side note of obsession with Masonry to boot. Might I also add the site that I got this quote from is "True - No compromise with Modernist Rome?" With a title like that, can I seriously  as a practicing Roman Catholic, spiritually and logically, give credence to someone like that?

Summary: The reaction of chucking out the TV/Computer/Internet entirely is associated with TBB behaviour, and makes a mockery of Traditional Catholics. I will therefore not subscribe to such a radical reaction.

2) Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI and Pope Francis: Social Media and Evangelization.
The second reason I will not subscribe to such a measure to ditch Facebook (and other programs like YouTube and Twitter) and call it a plague of evil: Our Holy Father, Francis, is encouraging us to go out and Evangelize others and even uses social media himself to proclaim the Gospel and preach. Also, our Holy Father Emeritus, Benedict XVI, focused on the Internet as a new Frontier for Evangelization in his recent papacy.

We can start with our Holy Father Emeritus, Benedict XVI, in his recent speech May 17, 2013. This speech was prepared ahead of time, before the conclave this spring, when Francis was elected Supreme Pontiff, and hence is attributed to Benedict XVI.

Benedict XVI opens his speech on the 47th World Communications Day with this quote:
``Dear Brothers and Sisters,
As the 2013 World Communications Day draws near, I would like to offer you some reflections on an increasingly important reality regarding the way in which people today communicate among themselves. I wish to consider the development of digital social networks which are helping to create a new “agora”, an open public square in which people share ideas, information and opinions, and in which new relationships and forms of community can come into being. ``
I couldn`t have said it better myself. And my very blog means I am guilty as charged, Your Holiness Emeritus. Continuing on:
``.... These spaces, when engaged in a wise and balanced way, help to foster forms of dialogue and debate which, if conducted respectfully and with concern for privacy, responsibility and truthfulness, can reinforce the bonds of unity between individuals and effectively promote the harmony of the human family. The exchange of information can become true communication, links ripen into friendships, and connections facilitate communion. If the networks are called to realize this great potential, the people involved in them must make an effort to be authentic since, in these spaces, it is not only ideas and information that are shared, but ultimately our very selves ....``
Whoa! I think Benedict XVI just parroted my thoughts and what I said in the first post. See, even he, implies, that an object such as the Internet can be a good that can be used in one of two ways: for good, or evil. Further, such a tool, especially for the youth, is where relationships are being formed, maintained, etc. online. But most importantly in what I underlined, we are sharing our VERY SELVES. I reflect that we are not just sharing our physical selves, but also our spiritual selves, and shaping our ``selves`` while on there. What self are we sharing, one that respects our self-dignity and reflection as a Creation of God, or a false self, an incorrect self, one which affects other selves? Moving on ....
``.... The development of social networks calls for commitment: people are engaged in building relationships and making friends, in looking for answers to their questions and being entertained, but also in finding intellectual stimulation and sharing knowledge and know-how. The networks are increasingly becoming part of the very fabric of society, inasmuch as they bring people together on the basis of these fundamental needs. Social networks are thus nourished by aspirations rooted in the human heart .... ``
So even Benedict XVI, the Traditionalist favourite of our post-Vatican II popes, realizes that the internet and these social works (and their associated programs, e.g. Facebook, Twitter, Instagram), are a daily means of living, especially in the modern, technologically driven world. To tune yourself out, to me, is willful ignorance of the reality which our Holy Father Emeritus Benedict XVI is calling much attention to.
And now, a big one:
".... The challenge facing social networks is how to be truly inclusive: thus they will benefit from the full participation of believers who desire to share the message of Jesus and the values of human dignity which his teaching promotes. Believers are increasingly aware that, unless the Good News is made known also in the digital world, it may be absent in the experience of many people for whom this existential space is important. The digital environment is not a parallel or purely virtual world, but is part of the daily experience of many people, especially the young. Social networks are the result of human interaction, but for their part they also reshape the dynamics of communication which builds relationships: a considered understanding of this environment is therefore the prerequisite for a significant presence there .... "
Finally, what is Benedict XVI telling us Catholics to do with the Internet? He certainly isn't saying to dispel it as a cesspool of evil, rather:
".... In social networks, believers show their authenticity by sharing the profound source of their hope and joy: faith in the merciful and loving God revealed in Christ Jesus. This sharing consists not only in the explicit expression of their faith, but also in their witness, in the way in which they communicate “choices, preferences and judgements that are fully consistent with the Gospel, even when it is not spoken of specifically” (Message for the 2011 World Communications Day). A particularly significant way of offering such witness will be through a willingness to give oneself to others by patiently and respectfully engaging their questions and their doubts as they advance in their search for the truth and the meaning of human existence. The growing dialogue in social networks about faith and belief confirms the importance and relevance of religion in public debate and in the life of society ...."
This speaks for itself. Now what about the other guy? That 'modernist' Pope who just can't get a good day without some TBB site smearing him, Francis? Well, he himself is encouraging others to be concerned with applying the Gospel to other areas of society, including social Media. In his first ever speech which was given in FULL English, at the First Phillipine Conference of the New Evangelization, he said this:
"... Don’t get tired of bringing the mercy of the Father to the poor, the sick, the abandoned, the young people and families. Let Jesus be known in the world of politics, business, arts, science, technology and social media. Let the Holy Spirit renew the creation and bring forth justice and peace in the Philippines and in the great continent of Asia that is close to my heart ...." (Oct 18, 2013)
Further, look at all the social media the Pope/Vatican has engaged in to reach our "wired" generation:
News Media site -
Twitter: for the English, and for the Latin, !!!
Facebook: N/A? There are multiple groups and pages, though which one is "official" is uncertain.
Websites: (1) Vatican's official page:  (2) Pontifical Council of Social Communications for Youth -
Now, what did he tell other young people to do? Make a mess/Noise/Lio's! It comes from this speech he gave at WYD RIO:
".... Let me tell you what I hope will be the outcome of World Youth Day: I hope there will be noise. Here there will be noise, I’m quite sure. Here in Rio there will be plenty of noise, no doubt about that. But I want you to make yourselves heard in your dioceses, I want the noise to go out, I want the Church to go out onto the streets, I want us to resist everything worldly, everything static, everything comfortable, everything to do with clericalism, everything that might make us closed in on ourselves. The parishes, the schools, the institutions are made for going out ... if they don’t, they become an NGO, and the Church cannot be an NGO. May the bishops and priests forgive me if some of you create a bit of confusion afterwards. That’s my advice. Thanks for whatever you can do ...."
Now, some of you might say, "Uh, Francis told you to resist the TV in resisting things closed in upon yourself." Yes he wants us to resist worldly things, but does he say to ban them from our homes and societies if they are neutral goods or instruments? NO! He is telling us to resist worldly temptations, but to PREACH THE GOSPEL and make ourselves heard! In today's world, the equivalent of the megaphone is: The Internet and mobile, Internet capable phones!!!
Personal Evangelization: Summing it up with my personal example: Youth Ministry
My third reason, which is personal, for not ditching the Facebook: By not using Facebook, we lose a critical means to evangelize to others, and more importantly, to help our fellow youth live a Life in Christ, when the secular world (also on the Internet) is with them. This includes it as originally intended: A means to connect and to communicate with another living being.  
How can I put this succinctly? Well I'll use a personal example in my life. I am now involved in youth ministry, in an active capacity. I currently at one of my parishes are part of a teen youth ministry, whereby our main means of communication with the youth, outside of Mass IF they come to church, or in school if you are a priest/teacher/volunteer/student teacher, is the internet, via a Facebook Group (as well as our online profiles for direct messages).
In fact, as a regular old lay guy, employed in a hospital, I am reduced in being able to reach out to the youth because I am not in a position to be in a school, without good reason (e.g. parent, sibling, attending a play open to the community). You can't just show up at a school by any means to say hello. Between enforcement of visitor policies, cameras, the sexual scandals that have rocked the church, an overall increase in legal enforcement against crimes committed by children, etc. basically, someone like me can't really do what we used to do to maintain relationships with young people. Schools, are also funny business, and might not want "outside interests" coming into "their territory" to promote things, unless it fits with their ideals, or isn't truly 100% Catholic/will get the Ministry of Education on their backs. Worse, the young people themselves are "wired" constantly to mobile phones that text and are hooked to internet and download with great speeds that weren't present in a little device even a few years ago, not to mention video games for both sexes (yes, there are girl gamers out there, and they all aren't stereotypical "geeks." They are normal teenagers, and it's possible they are doing it with their male and female friends, and even are playing games typically oriented towards males). So they are "plugged in" a lot, and between their homework and such, it's not like the past where everyone's out and about in the neighbourhood.
Therefore, Facebook serves as a means of communication and a lifeline to these young people, and a way to, like our Holy Fathers have said, be a part of the lives of youth in our world, and to evangelize and preach the Gospel.
For my ministry, we have a main Facebook page moderated by the Head Youth Minister of the parish. While I am a member of the page, I can post content, but everything is observed by the head minister and approved or not. Also, we both have online profiles specifically for this ministry, with myself taking the additional step of a second profile that is ONLY for the youth, and will only have content appropriate for youth ministry. I even tell them, "I won't accept friend requests under my first profile." They MUST friend the youth ministry profile. Not that I don't want them to see the real me and know me, but I did that because: other youth ministers in the parish were doing it; I saw it as a safeguard for the youth; it keeps everything in one spot instead of going between two profiles (for reference); it provides a written, online record of messages, and so there is no question as to what our communication is for.  
But more importantly, why I keep Facebook, is that the 2nd profile serves as a means to spread the Gospel of Christ, AND as a lifeline for them as a Brother of Christ. Say an emergency happens whereby a young person in my charge doesn't feel they can talk to a priest, a teacher, their parents, etc. and they need someone to talk to. Let's use the extreme example of a whole bunch of garbage happens in their life, and they want to commit suicide. They don't want to tell their parents what's happening out of guilt or chastisement, and well Father is not around or is going bring fire and brimstone on them with their problems (which may or may not be their fault). It's 7pm and school isn't open, so no teachers. They don't know what a crisis center is or Kids Help Phone. They are approaching a bridge/overpass where they can jump off. They are depressed and they are not thinking straight, coupled with their biology (specifically, their pre-adolescent brains that need to be further matured). Say I choose to buck Facebook cause it's evil, regardless of my ministry. Thinking there is no hope left and no one to talk to, one of my charges kill themselves. We now have another Amanda Todd, another teen suicide, another soul whose salvation we don't know where they will be ... and a whole lot of people left behind on Earth, wishing they had heard his/her cries for help or given them a means to do so. AND THAT INCLUDES ME. I will be forever wondering and blaming myself for not helping them. I could have been there!
Now same scenario, but they have me on Facebook with messaging capability. At the last second, they contact me because of all this and online chat happens. It's easy for them to whip off a message on their phones, and chat online (with an attitude of ``privacy`` a.k.a. "mom and dad aren't here so I can be comfortable to speak freely"). I drop what I'm doing, and despite the time spent, I am able to help the young person realize they are valuable, they are loved by Christ, and all of us here in their lives, and help them with the slew of stuff that is causing them to consider ending their life. THEY DESERVE THAT MESSAGE. They might even request police/ambulance, even myself to get them wherever they ended up. LIFE SAVED. SOUL SAVED. And this could open them in future to the Gospel of the Lord .... just from one message. ONE MESSAGE AT A NEEDED TIME. CHRIST WAS THERE FOR THEM. I WAS THERE FOR THEM.
Kay maybe my scenario is extreme, and perhaps in future it will be just a minor problem, or just listening to their lives that will need a message to me, but that`s part of youth ministry, and part of my role as a Catholic and my witness to my Lord`s Gospel. Yes it might not be the heavy stuff, but Facebook is one of those means to minister to the youth, those very youth that are at the heart and forefront of the Church`s concerns. And should that emergency happen .... I may be the last hand outstretched of Christ's to that young person, the one that saves them from forever turning away from Him. May it never come to that though.
So let me repeat my three central points why ditching Facebook, all social media, is not a choice I will make, nor I`d encourage:
1) This kind of radical reaction to cease such an item is one that is similar, or exactly like those of the radical traditionalists, giving a negative impression of those of Traditional Catholicism, and even could be extended to Catholics in general.
2)  Our Holy Father, Francis, is encouraging us to go out and Evangelize others and even uses social media himself to proclaim the Gospel and preach. Also, our Holy Father Emeritus, Benedict XVI, focused on the Internet as a new Frontier for Evangelization in his recent papacy.
3) By not using Facebook, we lose a critical means to evangelize to others, and more importantly, to help our fellow youth live a Life in Christ, when the secular world (also on the Internet) is with them. This includes it as originally intended: A means to connect and to communicate with another living being.  
Now, by no means am I validating Facebook as inherently good. It`s a tool that can be used for good, or for evil. It would be better if Zuckerberg and company, did not lace it with the heavy financial involvement it does now in its advertisments and stocks. It would be better if heavier monitoring of the tool for malicious/inflammatory statements against Catholics and immoral acts happened, but we are not Zuckerberg and company.
Further, I have not denied that each and every one of us using the tool, must conduct ourselves accordingly online. That includes US. Yes, us Catholic youth, and what we reveal, even to only our friends and family, in our messages and pictures.
However, to deny total usage of the tool altogether, will severely cut and restrict your means of evangelization of the Catholic faith to the youth and secular friends (Unless of course, you don't care to evangelize, and like to restrict your interactions to your circle of 100 people you relate to Mon-Sunday.). I can guarantee that just limiting that evangelization to our already youth-deprived Catholic parishes, and the schools, or the few young people in your families, will result in a miserable failure, and a Church closed in on itself.
Latin Mass Side note: I will also say, that this will have a blowback on your ability to evangelize and help others Come to Christ, especially if you are involved in the Latin Mass like me. Summorum Pontificum was a big help, but in total, we conservatives, and especially us Latin Massers, have been able to successfully make the Catholic public aware of the Latin Mass, as we have been using online social media, including Facebook and YouTube. That also includes getting people to come out to the Masses when they are held, instead of restricting it to the "already converted" or your Latin Mass/Traditional friends. Considering one Latin Mass can make an impact, or a few over a string of occasions, why are you NOT using Facebook to do that? In addition, the "liberals" did not pick up early on, as to another form of media to spread their "lukewarm Jesus" ways, so we got the upper hand early, and now look at what's happening? A recovery in the church of Tradition and "t"raditions. Plus don't you want traffic to your Catholic/Traditional blogs? Your Facebook page connected to your blog directs traffic to the blogs.
So while it's up to everyone of us to spiritually discern if Facebook is helping or hurting our spiritual progress and our ability to do the Work of the Lord, taking a violent reaction of rejection, does not seem reasonable. There is too much at stake with the younger generations today, to merit losing a vital tool to the New Evangelization.
And that's my take on this issue.
Pax Tibi Christi, Julian Barkin,
Young person making messes on Facebook and the Internet in his ministries, and with Servimus Unum Deum.

Objects and Evil Part 1: A Commentary on the Issue of Using Things and Social Media, or Why I Choose Not To Abhor Facebook

Hello Everyone,

I am deciding to comment on an issue and a relevant sub-issue that is popping up a little bit on my blogger feeds: Using objects for moral goods/evangelization and social media. I want to start general about usage of goods and what got me writing, and then to say why I remain on Facebook (albeit not promoting Servimus, or maybe I should ..... hmmmm), despite what I have witnessed online.

Introduction: Where am I going, and What got me Writing
The starting point for me is that I observed a posting on a blog that I do not want to give anymore web hits to, nor name, as I've found the content to be critical to the point of overstepping proper, Catholic fraternal charity, particularly in a number of instances, some with regards to the Office of the Archdiocese of Toronto. While lately postings have supported our Holy Father, Pope Francis, if one has been reading it as long as I have, the "bigger picture" is one that I cannot endorse, one that unfortunately also supports other elements in our diocese, that I will not be promoting on this blog. See my "about page" to see what my blog stands for and my intentions with Servimus for more info on what guides my decisions to link blogs and not to.

On this blog, one of the group of men who write for the blog, has decided to take down the corresponding Facebook Page for their website, after finding Facebook a cesspool of near-pornography and Catholics living double lives.

If one is a traditional, older, moral man, I can see the shock for someone just venturing into what Facebook has now developed too. It may be no piddle-sticks to one like myself who has been "wired" from day one, or as a child. But, I have been part of Facebook since 2003, so I have seen where it's gone from, from a simple social media networking site, to one with ads, online free (with pay option) gaming, and worse, including the advertising content. In addition, it has mostly, or always allowed for posting of electronic pictures from digital cameras, scanned print pictures, or cellphone cameras. Needless to say, people in this "ME" age, or tell-all, hide nothing age, think that it's fun to let the world know about the raucous parties you go to, or to flash some skin needlessly. I've even defriended a person or two as I couldn't stand the stuff they were promoting in their newsfeeds online. I can understand the shock part of it, and the reaction is valid, but as for the decision to kill all participation in Facebook, I disagree for reasons I will explain in my second post on these matters.

So the summary argument of this "trad" blogger is: Facebook is a cesspool of evil, porn, immorality, and two-faced Catholics that show the sickness of the youth and our world, and I will not be a participant in the demon machine attached to Hell known as Facebook.

Scalia's Points: General Usage of Goods for Good or Evil
What finally got me to write these posts today, is that I caught a blog post by the Anchoress, Elizabeth Scalia, with regards to money and power, and referencing a Billy Joel song: Everybody Loves you Now, about his fame. Scalia is a Benedictine Oblate (tertiary layperson's order) who writes at The Anchoress. However, Scalia's content in this post does intersect the issue above about Facebook from a use of goods standpoint.

In her post, she comments on the fame aspect of the song, but then proceeds to talk about money and its usage for good and for evil, with reference also to Pope Francis' "Pope of the Poor" modus operandi as our current Holy Father. The underlined content pertains to the subject matter at hand in my postings:

".... But while the pope is, justifiably, dressing down the “bishop of bling”, I wouldn’t make the argument that wealth is, in and of itself, an evil thing. Saint Paul says the love of money is the root of all evil, not the money itself. Just as guns are simply objects, only made evil in how they are used, money is just money, and how you attach to it, and what you choose to do with it, is what corrupts the soul.
Prosperity is not evil in and of itself. A wealthy nation is one that can respond quickly and effectively to help another nation in crisis. A wealthy philanthropist can do a great deal of good for others. It was the wealthy Joseph of Arimathea who had the coin, the connections, and the clout to have Jesus’s tortured body removed from the cross, shrouded in fine linen, and entombed before the Sabbath. All of this was essential to the Resurrection. But prosperity can be a fast and powerful vehicle for driving us away from what Christ has told us is essential which does not include getting rich.
In the end, everything always comes down to our intention, and with how we use the gifts we are given. You could do a great deal of good with money, if your heart is open to it."

It makes perfect sense. Whether it's a physical tool, like a knife, a talent like computer programming, or a computer program, like Facebook, we can all use it the way we choose. A knife can cut our food, free someone stranded by rope, or you can thrust it into someone's torso to pierce a vital organ, causing a person to be murdered with the cause of death being exsanguination (bleeding to death). The computer programmer can create useful programs, such as ones which organize our life and keep track of things, like say a spreadsheet that keeps' a parish's budget on track, or you can make malicious programs such as viruses that can take your vital imformation for someone's evil purposes, or even destroy your computers themselves. I am sure you can see that the same could be said for Facebook, which is, at its core, a computer program created by a user (which we know, one of was a principal founder, Mark Zuckerberg).

Before I get specific with Facebook though, what can we delve from Scripture, and our church theology and teachings on using Goods?

Scripture and Theology
New Testament
Let's begin with a passage that comes to mind: The usage of talents. Jesus tells of the parable of a land or business owner who gives lots of money for his servants to go out and make more profit, in
Matthew 25: 14-30 (NRSV, B/C we use this translation in Canada):
"14 For it is as if a man, going on a journey, summoned his slaves and entrusted his property to them; 15 to one he gave five talents,f to another two, to another one, to each according to his ability. Then he went away. 16 The one who had received the five talents went off at once and traded with them, and made five more talents. 17 In the same way, the one who had the two talents made two more talents. 18 But the one who had received the one talent went off and dug a hole in the ground and hid his master’s money. 19 After a long time the master of those slaves came and settled accounts with them. 20 Then the one who had received the five talents came forward, bringing five more talents, saying, ‘Master, you handed over to me five talents; see, I have made five more talents.’ 21 His master said to him, ‘Well done, good and trustworthy slave; you have been trustworthy in a few things, I will put you in charge of many things; enter into the joy of your master.’ 22 And the one with the two talents also came forward, saying, ‘Master, you handed over to me two talents; see, I have made two more talents.’ 23 His master said to him, ‘Well done, good and trustworthy slave; you have been trustworthy in a few things, I will put you in charge of many things; enter into the joy of your master.’ 24 Then the one who had received the one talent also came forward, saying, ‘Master, I knew that you were a harsh man, reaping where you did not sow, and gathering where you did not scatter seed; 25 so I was afraid, and I went and hid your talent in the ground. Here you have what is yours.’ 26 But his master replied, ‘You wicked and lazy slave! You knew, did you, that I reap where I did not sow, and gather where I did not scatter? 27 Then you ought to have invested my money with the bankers, and on my return I would have received what was my own with interest. 28 So take the talent from him, and give it to the one with the ten talents. 29 For to all those who have, more will be given, and they will have an abundance; but from those who have nothing, even what they have will be taken away. 30 As for this worthless slave, throw him into the outer darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth."

The obvious here is that the foolish servant who wasted his money, or just let it not be used to profit, despite the least amount, wasn't looked above highly. It is also highly evident, without me having to consult someone with more theological training than I, that verse 29 - 30 is referring to our spiritual salvation. You do the work of the Lord and remain steadfast, you will be rewarded with Him, but the other guy ... well let's not be him shall we? And part of that is using the gifts and talents God gave us for His glory on Earth.

Catechism of the Catholic Church
Our current Catechism, lists the following under explanation of the Seventh Commandment:


 You shall not steal.186  

2401 The seventh commandment forbids unjustly taking or keeping the goods of one's neighbor and wronging him in any way with respect to his goods. It commands justice and charity in the care of earthly goods and the fruits of men's labor. For the sake of the common good, it requires respect for the universal destination of goods and respect for the right to private property. Christian life strives to order this world's goods to God and to fraternal charity.   


2402 In the beginning God entrusted the earth and its resources to the common stewardship of mankind to take care of them, master them by labor, and enjoy their fruits.187 The goods of creation are destined for the whole human race ....

2404 "In his use of things man should regard the external goods he legitimately owns not merely as exclusive to himself but common to others also, in the sense that they can benefit others as well as himself."188 .... 

2405 Goods of production - material or immaterial - .... oblige their possessors to employ them in ways that will benefit the greatest number. Those who hold goods for use and consumption should use them with moderation, reserving the better part for guests, for the sick and the poor ....   

2414 The seventh commandment forbids acts or enterprises that for any reason - selfish or ideological, commercial, or totalitarian - lead to the enslavement of human beings, to their being bought, sold and exchanged like merchandise, in disregard for their personal dignity. It is a sin against the dignity of persons and their fundamental rights to reduce them by violence to their productive value or to a source of profit. St. Paul directed a Christian master to treat his Christian slave "no longer as a slave but more than a slave, as a beloved brother, . . . both in the flesh and in the Lord."194

So what can we glean from these paragraphs, or at least how can I relate this to the Facebook situation? Generally, we are to use the goods we have, for the sake of respecting our God who created us and our world in the first place, and that we should be stewards of these gifts, using them for good reason. These goods are to the benefit of all members of our world, including ourselves and our friends.

CCC 2404 says it best though, because the good of production, both material and immaterial, requires us to use them to their maximal goodness. Facebook is a computer program, and runs on a program, and hence is "material" in that sense, but its content could be possibly "Immaterial" in the sense you cannot touch it, hold it in your hand, etc. It is "data". Have you ever been able to hold "Data" in your hands? Or an electric signal? The pictures you post, and your text, etc. are physical in the empirical sense that you can see them with your eyes, however it's not "material" in that you can't hold it in your hand, your ideas are not physical in themselves, but are made physical in the text, and what is conveyed in your pictures (the idea again in your pose or your more-revealing photos) is not malleable.

In addition, Facebook has sadly morphed less and less from its original function and context, as other deadly sins of pride, and especially greed, have creeped its way into Facebook, from online games of questionable morals, and even advertisments promoting dating with escorts, and games that feature scantily-clad heroines enticing young men to, em, fantasize online while killing fictional beasts. So yes, Facebook is actually participating indirectly in CCC 2414 with that regard, or directly if these advertisments are being OK'd by Zuckerberg and his staff in the appropriate division of his company running Facebook.

And what about the young people online who like to show themselves provocatively, or pictures of their latest drunken bouts, or ventures into electronic music festivals where there was likely drugs and liquor involved? Well yes, whether they know it or not, if you read the paragraphs above, we too, have a role to play, in using Facebook properly. It's not just those with businesses or profits, it's also those of us who use Facebook profiles. 2405 and 2414 strike again: When you are putting up pictures of yourself in those awkward poses, or a whole bunch of yourself (like, wayyyyy many pictures),

(1) Are you using Facebook in a way that you can assist your fellow man, your family, your friends, or are you engaging in self-gratification, saying "look at me! I'm a bad-@#3, / A hottie".
(2) Those who gaze at your pictures or posts, are you encouraging them to carry out the Gospel of the Lord and assist their fellow man, or are you just entertaining yourself and them? Think about it, what will encourage someone to feed the homeless, a picture of your shirtless self or a chest shot, or a picture of you working at a homeless shelter feeding those who are less fortunate?
(3) CCC 2414: Believe it or not, by putting up those pictures of yourself, are you really giving yourself the human dignity and respect you deserve or think you do, and telling others that you deserve that respect? What is the message about your human dignity and respect you are sending to your friends, family, and any onlookers to your Facebook profile?

So here we have a bit of Catechism and Scripture to tell us about what responsibility we have with our goods, materially and spiritually speaking. It's not just the bigwigs, it's also you and me, with what we can grip in our hand, and what we do online.

But now, you might be saying "Well Julian, you just proved that blogger's point. Facebook is the work of a Devil's minion and we should abhor it like the plague!!!!"

Really? Well, perhaps that's what you choose, but I am not making that decision for a number of reasons, ones I will be expanding upon in my next post.

Pax, Julian.