Wednesday, 15 January 2014

My Two Cents: Recent Idol Worship of Cardinal Burke by Right Wingers and Trads Behaving Badly

Hello Everyone,

I've got a bit of a beef today. It involves blog coverage and a specific article about a specific cardinal.

Over the past few days, some right-wing to Trad Behaving Badly blogs have been posting THIS article about every Traditionalist/Latin Mass goers' favourite Cardinal, Cardinal Raymond Leo Burke.

They LOVE this guy and idol worship him because they think he's an anti-thesis to the wishy-washy, spineless bishops out there and the current, "liberal" papacy of Pope Francis, the supposedly most anti-Traditionalist, fluffiest pope EVAH (credit to Fr. John Zuhlsdorf) this side of Vatican II. In addition he's one of the few Cardinals in our modern "Vatican II Church" to have celebrated a Pontifical Solemn Latin Mass and is pro-Latin Mass.

In a nutshell, I am disgusted with this article for a few reasons:
  • While the original source is an Italian publication, The translated English source is the Trad Behaving Badly blog, Rorate Caeli. If you recall my last article on Jan 12th, where I highlighted an excellent analysis of the Trads Behaving Badly (TBBs) from Spike is Best, the author says this: "And just a friendly neighbourhood reminder: Rorate Caeli is the schismatic-but-without-the-guts-of-declaring-it blog that on the very heels - within minutes in fact - of the public declaration of the election of Pope Francis posted "The Horror" as their reaction, and did not offer any sort of apology stating their filial obedience to the Holy Pontiff. Thus, everything they post, write, disseminate, can be dismissed out of hand without second thought whatsoever, in the full comfortable knowledge that the neo-orthodoxy which they present is entirely floated."

  • Being a TBB site, Rorate Caeli`s propaganda piece is another brick thrown at the windows of the Church. It promotes Radical Traditionalism through a good and noble prince of the Church, hijacking him like the liberals do with Pope Francis, but for their political TBB agenda. This does another dis-service for Traditional Catholics in both forms of the Roman Rite and/or Latin Mass attending Catholics.

  • This is another intentional stab by these TBBs, who come dangerously close or do act sedevacantist, at our current Holy Father, Pope Francis, because he recently moved or "demoted" a number of the Benedict XVI elected/"Traditionalist" Cardinals from  key positions in the Vatican Curia or councils, and has left Cardinal Burke with only one position vs, what he had before. The TBBs also relate this demotion and reorganization as an insult to another "God" of theirs, Benedict XVI, who is a considered a "saviour" of the Church in their minds(with exception to the SSPX and sedevacantists, who believe that the ``Modern Church`` is plagued no matter who's the Bishop of Rome), because he freed the Latin Mass from public scrutiny, as well as that they view these changes as the end of the Benedict XVI types of cardinals, and in with the "liberal" Francis types. Basically, it's further pitting Francis against Benedict, when for the most part, Francis has been supporting and been supported by His Holiness Emeritus, and has been seeking the Emeritus Vicar of Christ's counsel. What an insult!

  • A real big beef to me: This is a slap in the face to the other good Cardinals/ Archbishops/bishops out there who ARE doing excellent work and even "smelling like the sheep" as Pope Francis wants us to do, but because they aren't super-trads or getting their photo taken with pro-lifers on the battlefield AND being gung-ho about the Latin Mass, they are not "true" princes of the church unlike others.
I particularly am insulted and make pertinent that last point, and I use my Own Eminence as an example. I am under the spiritual authority of His Eminence, Cardinal Thomas Collins, under the Archdiocese of Toronto. He has to look after a diocese of a few million Catholics, including a number of lay organizations, as well as deal with nasty complainers through snail-mail AND online, including Trads Behaving Badly in my archdiocese, who have the gall to use smear campaigns online against himself and his Office of the Archdiocese of Toronto. Whether it`s accusing the Office/++Collins of trying to swindle people in their wills out of money like a "mercenary" as part of my Archdiocese's pastoral plan, accusing them of incompetence in other matters, or the usual complaining about x priest in x parish because he's doing something  more "traditional" or "spiritual" and not "pastoral," these people consistently attack His Eminence and the Archdiocese and know no bounds and don't care for his, nor his office's sake.  

++Collins has publically in the Catholic (and secular media, supported the Traditional Latin Mass, even going so far as to instill a priest permanently in Scarborough after the FSSP mission went bunk. He has allowed both St. Lawrence AND the Oratorians of St. Phillip Neri to have their Latin Masses in the Archdiocese. Other dioceses in this world have ZERO Latin Masses, and bishops who hate or stonewall the Latin Mass, and like, em, other things like their prestige and the "Spirit of Vatican II." If he was a nasty liberal archbishop who was all Novus Ordo-y/"Spirit of Vatican II", there wouldn't have even been the indult Mass in my diocese pre-2007 when he took over after ++Ambrozic. or he would have banned the Oratorians/St. Lawrence from having the Latin Mass, completely ignoring Summorum Pontificum + Ecclesiae Unitatem. So compared to other dioceses in the world in the "modern, Francis-led Church", one could say we are miles ahead and blessed to have this Archbishop with regard to the Latin Mass. (who could become Pope one day, of only now 4 Canadian Cardinals  ...). He DOES care about the Latin Mass, he just doesn't endorse the TBB elements hanging around, as he has indicated when he spoke last year for a Theology on Tap event to youth with the Sisters of St. Joseph, about groups in the Church being more Catholic and/or elitist that others, which is a barrier to discipleship.

Furthermore, My Eminence CONSISTENTLY, attends the Canadian national March For Life, which is held annually in May. He has been going to this for a number of years, and is known to the pro-life organizations as a pro-life bishop, alongside ... the newly-appointed Cardinal Lacroix. ++Collins even STOPPED the annual collection/payments to the questionable organization known as Development and Peace, who are known to have international partners that promote pro-abortion/contraception education and measures in other countries. Don't believe me? For the purposes of evidence to support why ++Collins would ban this collection check out the SoCon or Bust blog. Other dioceses in Canada .... not so much.

Might I also add that His Eminence has a profound respect and admiration for the young people of this Archdiocese? He makes the effort and time to see them, whether it is personally, or he GOES OUT to their events, such as the 808 community prayer and social group, and Theology on Tap nights for Young Adults, and has in past arranged for special spiritual events tied to lectures, such as the annual OCY Palm Sunday gathering. Being a young adult now involved in youth ministry, these are positive signs I look for in a prince of the Church. If that prince is not involving himself with the future of the Church, and yes, it also includes unemployed [or in a number of other's cases, underemployed] young people, then he clearly does not care much for his (arch)diocese, and the future of the Catholic Church.

So seeing an article like this, from a known TBB website, getting passed around the Internet by a number of conservative and TBB blogs, makes a Latin Mass liking, young practicing male Catholic, like me, royally cheesed off. An article like this, has no Joy of the Gospel in it, and if anything, is violating the first commandment, by putting a prince of the Church ahead of our Lord, Jesus Christ, while insulting his current Vicar all at once.

In addition, it's making the good bishops and archbishops of the world like My Eminence ++Collins, look like they are lazy and liberal, when the truth is the opposite. So what if they are not dressing in the cappa magna and holding Solemn Pontifical Masses. Does that make them any less valuable vs. ++Burke? NOT AT ALL. Thanks again for being sourpusses and spreading "Lent without Easter" again.

As for the rest of you, ``Keep Calm, and spread the Joy of the Gospel`` to paraphrase those products, and attend good Latin Mass communities who promote Traditional Catholicism in a positive light. Pax Tibi Christi, Julian Barkin.

Sunday, 12 January 2014

Highlight: Spike Is Best Sums up well What Attitude Kills Traditionalism/Latin Mass

Hello Everyone,

Well, another blogger, "Spike is Best," has done a great job in dealing with the sickening attitude of the Trads Behaving Badly in a post on Traditionalism. He exactly deals with what is poisoning the progress of the Traditional Catholic movement and hence, the movement and progress of the Latin Mass in the Church. This is what I have found having been introduced to the Latin Mass two years ago. I am reprinting the words here in full, because in this instance, Spike is truly, Best.

"This is a blog post about "Traditionalism"

Pentimento has a good post up that I thought worth linking to: In Defense of the Folk Mass.

And for those who may have missed it, Colin Kerr wrote a good post about - in part - the latent gnosticism of those who call themselves "Traditionalists", not to mention the implicit schism of having two calendars (the Masses of which do not differ from each other in the same way that
the Greek Mass differs from the Coptic Mass, or the Coptic Mass differs from the Melkite Mass, but differ from each other in an entirely different way, since one was brought about to reform the other, albeit without replacing it, but as its reform nonetheless, meaning there must at some point be a unification.): Grace and the Form of the Mass.

"Traditionalist" by the way is an implicitly schism-fomenting title. And the FSSP is very careful about using that term as a defining principle - in fact, they don't. They are a fraternity in submission to the Pope and one of their charisms is that they celebrate Mass in the Extraordinary Form.

That's right: the two Masses are supposed to inform each other. That's what Pope Benedict XVI said. Meaning the Novus Ordo being informed by the Extraordinary Form so that it would resemble what was actually envisioned by the Second Vatican Council? No, we can't have that! The sectarian traditionalist fundamentalists prefer the eternal dualism where the Novus Ordo universe exists as the false Matrix which they - being the enlightened Neos - will dissolve by the true and real reality of Underground Zion!

And if not dissolved, they're happy with it being the target from which they can bounce as a sounding board their precious preferences (rather than disposing their relationship with liturgy in the encounter with Christ, the Lamb who was slain who is at the heart of the Mass) by which they congratulate themselves for having such good tastes and their tastes also happen to be their salvation.

And why they prefer this?

Because there is no way the Extraordinary Form can reform the Novus Ordo without itself also being reformed. Because that is why the Novus Ordo came about, as its reform. Was it intended for the two Masses to go alongside in perpetuity with neither the twain ever meeting - and melding? Would Bendict have said that they are to inform each other if that was the case?

Nope. How so? Refer to the above paragraph. Because if the 1962 Mass does not get informed by the Novus Ordo resulting in it being changed, that means that the 1962 Liturgy is something Divinely Ordained beyond any change, which amounts to a denial of Vatican II. How the two Masses can inform each other without a melding point, in other words, while pretending to exist like they differ from each other in the same way that the Coptic Mass differs from the Melkite Mass, is, well, up to your own imagination I guess.

That's not my point anyways. They may very well not "meld". My point is that certain "Traditionalist Catholics" intuitively know the above (how reforming the Novus Ordo means reform of the 1962 Mass) and will show condemnation towards the Reform of the Reform. Is that why certain self-identifying "Traditionalists" are cynical about the phrase, "Reform of the Reform"?

You would think that these folks who write on the blogosphere about how saving the liturgy is to save the world - you would think these people would be all over the Novus Ordo, getting father to tweak various parts of the Mass towards Latin, like the Agnus Dei, towards chant (like father chanting the Gospel), towards having six candles on the altar, towards the tiniest littlest things that make a little tiny step closer to what was actually envisioned by the Second Vatican Council - you know, brick by brick.

Really they don't like brick by brick. They like throwing the bricks. Throwing them in their own condescending superiority. You might almost say it's like they've hijacked Summorum Pontificum.

And just a friendly neighbourhood reminder: Rorate Caeli is the schismatic-but-without-the-guts-of-declaring-it blog that on the very heels - within minutes in fact - of the public declaration of the election of Pope Francis posted "The Horror" as their reaction, and did not offer any sort of apology stating their filial obedience to the Holy Pontiff. Thus, everything they post, write, disseminate, can be dismissed out of hand without second thought whatsoever, in the full comfortable knowledge that the neo-orthodoxy which they present is entirely floated."

Tuesday, 7 January 2014

Just like Fr. Z! Part II of the Review of the St. Joseph's Sunday Missal Complete CANADIAN Edition

The Overview of the Catechism of the Catholic Church
This is the part of the book which can make it a `do or die` missal. Here, the author can do a dis-service to the Catholic lay faithful with a "Spirit of Vatican II" outlook and misinterpret the reading of the Catechism and the Council Documents in the summary, or might actually summarize it well.

The overall introductory paragraphs give a good, brief summary of the history behind the composition of the Catechism and names some of the documents behind it. After it proceeds to go through a summary of each of the four sections, going a little more in depth with certain central teachings or concepts.

The Summary is divided exactly into the four parts of the Catechism with the same titles.
Part 1, the Profession of Faith, covers Revelation, Fatih, The Triune God; Jesus Christ, Son of God, and Redeemer; and the Spirit of the Church.
Part 2, The Celebration of the Christian Mystery covers: Full, Conscious, and Active Participation, The Sacraments of Baptism, Confirmation, Eucharist, Penance, Annointing of the Sick, Holy Orders,Matrimony, with one brief paragraph on "sacramentals and funerals."
Part 3: Life in Christ covers: The beatitudes and virtues, Sin, The Law of Love, and the Ten Commandments, covering each commandment's content in the CCC briefly.
Part 4, Christian Prayer, covers: Types of Prayer, The Petitions of the Lord's Prayer. Sample pictures are below:

My first question in this section, is does a given section correctly summarize what is present in the Catechism of the Catholic Church, regardless of section?  
To answer this question, let's pick a section from the summary and compare what is in the CCC vs. the summary in the Missal.

Let`s just use part 1's coverage of the first section, "Revelation." The Missal says the following on page 1509 about Christ and revelation of God's truth through Him:

"Jesus Christ as the Son of God is then shown to be the major source of the truths of divine revelation, which were transmitted by him to his apostles, and then by them and their successors through the teaching authority of the Church. Such revelation is contained in the Tradition of the Church, which the apostles received from the teaching of Jesus and through the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, and also in Sacred Scripture, comprising both the Old and the New Testaments, of which God himself is considered to be the actual author inasmuch as he inspired its human authors. All forty-six books of the Old Testament and all twenty-seven books of the New Testament are accepted by the Church as inspired teaching."

Each part must be broken down and correlated with its corresponding (or likely corresponding) paragraphs of the CCC. The first sentence, "Jesus ... Church," corresponds to paragraphs 75 and 76. under Part I, Chapter II, Article 2 "The Transmission of Divine Revelation." - Paragraph 75 says:

"Christ the Lord, in whom the entire Revelation of the most high God is summed up, commanded the apostles to preach the Gospel, which had been promised beforehand by the prophets, and which he fulfilled in his own person and promulgated with his own lips. In preaching the Gospel, they were to communicate the gifts of God to all men. This Gospel was to be the source of all saving truth and moral discipline."(

Paragraph 76 describes that the Gospel was handed down to the disciples orally, and in writing, by the Apostles at either the prompting (oral) or inspiration (written) of the Holy Spirit. What is correctly conveyed is that Christ is our source of truth and the Gospel. However, the word choice is poor. The CCC says Christ is the source of the entirety of Revelation, whereas the summary says he is a major source. This leaves room for error catechesis-wise, and implies that other sources can contribute to truth. To me the NSJ missal`s wording  says that Christ is respected as one of the greatest prophets, but not THE source of divine revelation and truth, despite being the Son of God. But will most people do the kind of analysis and thought on the matter as I have? Rather they will take it for what it is on the page and not give anymore forethought.
The next two sentences in this section is `Such revelation ...authors ....`` and ``.... All forty-six books ... teaching.`` correspond to paragraphs 77-83, but also to Article 3, ``Sacred Scripture,`` where the Old Testament. The CCC discusses the apostles receiving the Revealation of truth in the teachings of Christ, which compromises the Tradition of the Church, with a capital ```T``. On that note in paragraph 77-78:

``In order that the full and living Gospel might always be preserved in the Church the apostles left bishops as their successors. They gave them their own position of teaching authority."35 Indeed, "the apostolic preaching, which is expressed in a special way in the inspired books, was to be preserved in a continuous line of succession until the end of time."3678 This living transmission, accomplished in the Holy Spirit, is called Tradition, since it is distinct from Sacred Scripture, though closely connected to it. Through Tradition, "the Church, in her doctrine, life and worship, perpetuates and transmits to every generation all that she herself is, all that she believes."37 "The sayings of the holy Fathers are a witness to the life-giving presence of this Tradition, showing how its riches are poured out in the practice and life of the Church, in her belief and her prayer.

It is highly unfortunate that Fr. Kersten did not capitalize on this moment to educate the laity  on the Tradition of the Catholic Church. This is important, as both sides of the ``political`` spectrum of the Church, liberal or ``C&E/Cafeteria" Catholics, and radical traditionalists, often have no idea what the true "T" Tradition of the Church really is. It is simply one word in this summary paragraph. The reader is forced to look at the Catechism to discover what is truly meant by Tradition, though will most readers be curious and go further in that manner? (rhetorical question with an obvious answer.) He is correct though, on the part about the inspiration of the Holy Spirit guiding the writings of the Apostles and other holy men associated with them.

Is God the actual author of Sacred Scripture? Are all the books of the Catholic Bible truly inspired teaching of Christ, the Word of God Made Flesh? Yes is the answer to both questions. Paragraph 105 in Article 3 of Sacred Scriputre, says:

"God is the author of Sacred Scripture. "The divinely revealed realities, which are contained and presented in the text of Sacred Scripture, have been written down under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit. For Holy Mother Church, relying on the faith of the apostolic age, accepts as sacred and canonical the books of the Old and the New Testaments, whole and entire, with all their parts, on the grounds that, written under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, they have God as their author, and have been handed on as such to the Church herself ...."(

So, as for the 2nd and 3rd sentences of the section, these are almost verbatim, using the exact same words as the Catechism. In short, while, yes I have only looked at this one of many sections to do more thorough analysis, I can say that with this example, the summaries, though not completely, do `summarize` the basic text and ideas of the Catechism sections, but certain other important and necessary concepts in our CCC are left untouched, or must be looked up themselves. So the summaries are not completely summarizing all the content and concepts of the CCC.

My Second Question: Does the Catechism summary, when encountering major teachings, or doctrines of the Catholic Church, approach it haphazardly in an erroneous "Spirit of Vatican II" attitude and possibly heretically? Or is it properly conveying the actual teachings as outlines in the CCC put in the Summary?

Clearly if the answer is no, then this Missal is to be immediately tossed in the garbage and the Catholic Book Publishing Company should not call itself Catholic. But is the answer then, Yes?

Well, Let's look at a couple of sections with MAJOR teachings in the Church shall we, or concepts that are highly misunderstood by laity and clergy alike.

This is under Part Two in the Missal, on pages 1512-1513. I will start with what the Missal Says:
"... the celebrating assembly is the community of the baptized who are consecrated to be a spiritual house and holy priesthood that they may offer spiritual sacrifices. This "common priesthood" is that of Christ the sole priest, in which all his members participate. Mother Church earnestly desires that all the faithful should be led to that full, conscious, and active participation in liturgical celebrations which is demanded by the very nature of the liturgy, and to which the Christian people have a right and an obligation by reason of their Baptism. In liturgical celebrations each person, minister, or lay-man, who has an office to perform, should carry out all and only those parts which pertain to his office by the nature of the rite and the norms of the liturgy."

Right from the start, this paragraph has it literally incorrect, though partially incorrect in meaning, who the celebrating assembly is. I think the author was focusing in context on the level of Joe Catholic attending weekly Mass. He was not thinking past that, or about the greater realities of what the Mass is about and what goes on, and deemed prior paragraphs in the Catechism not worth including in the summary. A narrow, poor, scope indeed. The Catechism says this in Part Two, Section I, Chapter II, Article I, paragraph 1137-1138, with some paraphrasing in square brackets for context:

"1137 ... the Church's liturgy, first reveals to us [in St. John's Book of Revelation/Apocalypse], "A throne stood in heaven, with one seated on the throne": "the Lord God."1 It then shows the Lamb, "standing, as though it had been slain": Christ crucified and risen, the one high priest of the true sanctuary, the same one "who offers and is offered, who gives and is given."2 Finally it presents "the river of the water of life . . . flowing from the throne of God and of the Lamb," one of most beautiful symbols of the Holy Spirit.3 
1138 "Recapitulated in Christ," these are the ones who take part in the service of the praise of God and the fulfillment of his plan: the heavenly powers, all creation (the four living beings), the servants of the Old and New Covenants (the twenty-four elders), the new People of God (the one hundred and forty-four thousand),4 especially the martyrs "slain for the word of God," and the all-holy Mother of God (the Woman), the Bride of the Lamb,5 and finally "a great multitude which no one could number, from every nation, from all tribes, and peoples and tongues."

The greater gravity of what the Mass is, and who participates outside of Joe Catholic, is ignored to the uneducated or non-curious reader of the Missal. However, I can see where Fr. got his readings from in the Catechism, that is paragraphs 1140-1141:

1140 It is the whole community, the Body of Christ united with its Head, that celebrates "Liturgical services ... touch individual members of the Church in different ways, depending on their orders, their role in the liturgical services, and their actual participation in them."7 For this reason, "rites which are meant to be celebrated in common, with the faithful present and actively participating, should as far as possible be celebrated in that way rather than by an individual and quasi-privately."8 1141 The celebrating assembly is the community of the baptized who, "by regeneration and the anointing of the Holy Spirit, are consecrated to be a spiritual house and a holy priesthood, that . . . they may offer spiritual sacrifices."9 This "common priesthood" is that of Christ the sole priest, in which all his members participate:10 Mother Church earnestly desires that all the faithful should be led to that full, conscious, and active participation in liturgical celebrations which is demanded by the very nature of the liturgy, and to which the Christian people, "a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a redeemed people," have a right and an obligation by reason of their Baptism.11

So the last part of paragraph 1141 is almost a verbatim repeat in the Missal. That part of 1141 has a footnote of being taken from Sarcosanctum Concilium Paragraph 14, one of the key documents and the 4 Constitutions of Vatican II. And likewise, SC also says the same thing almost verbatim itself.

What concerns me is that this Missal, in this particular section where it matters, does not define what exactly the meaning of active participation in the Mass means. Unfortunately, one of the biggest mistakes and views that priests and other laypeople of the post-Vatican II Catholic Church think is, "Make the liturgy something that I like, that I'll dance and jump and sing too, like a concert with popular music", or "Let's have a bucket load of laity in the pews doing things and a ton of volunteers in the liturgy, the more the better!". It did dispel this concept in the introduction, so why couldn't that be moved to this Catechism summary?

Regardless, the sentiment above is NOT the meaning of active participation in the Liturgy. What isn't mentioned by the missal in the Catechism summary, but IS the meaning of active participation in the liturgy, is reflected in Sarcosanctum Concilium paragraphs 10-11:

10. Nevertheless the liturgy is the summit toward which the activity of the Church is directed; ... the font from which all her power flows ... all who are made sons of God by faith and baptism should come together to praise God in the midst of His Church, to take part in the sacrifice, and to eat the Lord's supper.... 11. But in order that the liturgy may be able to produce its full effects, it is necessary that the faithful come to it with proper dispositions, that their minds should be attuned to their voices, and that they should cooperate with divine grace lest they receive it in vain [28] . Pastors of souls must therefore realize that, when the liturgy is celebrated, something more is required than the mere observation of the laws governing valid and licit celebration; it is their duty also to ensure that the faithful take part fully aware of what they are doing, actively engaged in the rite, and enriched by its effects.  

In other words, not just mere observation and blank stares, nor just attending and spending time in a corner praying your rosary, not cognoscente of the highest form of prayer in the world and the Re-presentation of HIS passion, death, and resurrection, while ``the priest does all the work for you.`` Both extremes of over-activity and complete passivity, were NOT part of what active participation meant according to SC which the CCC and our section in New. St. Joseph Missal refers to.

One good point? Well, the last sentence in that section of the missal,  is a verbatim quote of CCC 1144. Clearly it is telling the layperson, as would the CCC tell him/her, that only those people who have assigned roles in the liturgy should be carrying them out in the sanctuary. That means only the clergy, the altar servers, the lectors, and Eucharistic ministers (if that's how your church it set up or the space allows). This paragraph in the CCC, and the NSJ Missal likewise, correctly convey to the layperson, that no other busybodies, or other people who shouldn't be up there, should be present. This, is sadly ignored in liturgies around the world (e.g. people dressed up as mascots or puppets, liturgical dancers, children in First Communions ...) and YouTube provides ample evidence of that in this Modern Era. Really, it's like watching horror films on there.

EG 2: SIN (See the second picture far above in the post)
The NSJ Missal lists in the section on Sin, under Part Three: Life in Christ:

"In opposition to these [The beatitudes and virtues] are sins, whether mortal or venial. The catechism carefully distinguishes between the two and restates the ancient formula in regard to mortal sin that requires grave matter, and is committed with deliberate consent and full knowledge that the act is seriously wrong.

What? You mean this author does not commit the heresy of Lonergan theologists and other "Spirit of Vatican II" laypeople and clergy everywhere that there are no gradations of sin? Or another heresy, of no sin to begin with? And wait! Fr. chooses to even cover this section in the Missal? WHOA!!!!!

Honestly, he could have just skipped this over or twisted the content in someway in the Missal, but he did not. He clearly states there are Mortal and Venial sins, which are contradictory to the Beatitudes and Virtues (in fact, each of the 7 Deadly Sins has an opposing Virtue and beatitude(s) so Father is not incorrect in that statement). That's right, MORTAL, AND Venial Sin. And he lists exactly the three conditions that make a sin Mortal. That's what the CCC says folks. No joke.

These commandments of course, are: "You shall not commit adultery" and "You shall not covet your neighbour's wife." Here, the author could have taken great liberty, and could have taken the easy stance by leaning on the Pope`s famous words ``Who am I to judge?" in this section, but this section shows that this Missal has some staying power. Here's the bulk of the content of this section on page 1519:

"[Both commandments] ... are treated separately in the Catechism, but both are concerned with immorality, which in secular society seems to have become the rule rather than the exception. All human beings of their very nature are required to be chaste in their own thoughts and actions and to respect the bodily integrity of others. explicitly condemned are acts of lust, masturbation, fornication, pornography, prostitution, and rape. Those who are homosexual in nature are forbidden to engage in any kind of homosexual activity, although it is stressed that compassion must be shown to those so afflicted. Adultery, polygamy, divorce, and incest are also condemned."

Wow .... I am floored that despite weak points here and there overall in the whole Catechism summary, Father took no shortcuts and gave a summary in this section that clearly would anger and upset most of the mis-educated lay faithful, clergy, political activists, etc. reading this section of the NSJ missal. However, should one read the actual sections of the Catechism, they will correctly conclude that what is written here, is most indeed an accurate assessment of the content of those sections of the CCC: 1) He correctly states that it's the ACTIVITY that is the main concern with those persons affected by same-sex attraction, 2) Further, he stresses compassion for those affected. This summary rightly devotes a separate two sentences to that issue, so prominent in our modern world and unfortunately, as part of the Catholic Church. He correctly states in summary what is in the Catechism's specific sections, 2357-2359, with regards to homosexuality and chastity.

So with regards to the Catechism Summary, It's again, a mixed bag. Yes, actual content is taken from the CCC and put in the NSJ missal, though some summaries are not at a depth that would constitute a complete and through summary that gives the best "meat and potatoes" to the average lay person. It seems though, that the biggest detriment Fr. gives to the readers of this hand missal, are significant skip-overs and a poor selection of content/summarization.

However, most of the time, when major stuff that can be controversial appears, it is NOT ignored and actually covered in full. This NSJ missal is definitely better in theological and doctrinal content than the ones made by Novalis, but there is still a need of improvement in such content and more sections of summarization of the catechism could have given a better ``Coles Notes`` version of our CCC.

The Rest of the Back and any other "Leftovers" in the Missal.
After the summary there is a ``Treasury of Prayers`` in the Back. I am mixed about what is presented to the layperson in this missal.

Some of the prayers are childish and feel like the prior translation of the Roman Missal. One should not feel like the only way to praise Jesus is like a child, despite that saying about coming to him like children (He meant that they listen and believe without doubt in their innocence). For example, this kind of prayer would be OK in grade school, but not as an adult formally, as on page 1522:

``Thanks for a beautiful day: On a beautiful day we may thank God and praise him for his many gifts:
Father of Jesus, we praise you and give you glory for the wonderful things you do for us: for life and health, for friends and family, for this splendid day. For these reasons, we pray as Jesus taught us: Our father ...`

This comes as part of a prayer called ``Praise and Thanks`` which even with the content I haven`t posted, does not sound a lot better than the usual prayers said by school teachers and common clergy. Even with the rest of the prayer, I certainly wouldn`t feel moved by the prayer, nor feel it is an outpouring of my heart in praise and thanksgiving to Christ. It feels contrived or machine-made so to speak.

However, after this prayer comes a shorter version of Morning Prayer (Matins) and Evening Prayer (Lauds) which I have seen as part of a book called ``Shorter Christian Prayer,`` used to help laity pray the Novus Ordo Morning Offices with clergy.

More other prayers from this ``Treasury`` are meal prayers, ``a prayer for our family``, ``Parent`s prayer, etc``. To me, I think that the authors have a misunderstanding of the idea of a ``Treasury`` of prayers. They must have thought about prayers with personal sentimentality for a particular family. What they should have been thinking about was traditional prayers in what is the beautiful history of the Church and all its Saints. Where are the traditional prayers, like those of the Angelus, or ones promulgated by popes like the St. Michael`s prayer by Leo XIII? The idea of a treasury, is that one contains real treasures of significant value and worth (in this case, spiritually,) stored over time, not modern things of lesser quality and value, despite personal sentiments. A ``time capsule`` or a ``memory chest`` would be a better title to fit this section vs a ``Treasury of Prayers.`` Come to think of it, I think there was a popular one before Vatican II called ``The Raccolta`` that it still is being reprinted today.

There are some good prayers in this ``Treasury`` though. Acts of Faith, Hope, Love, and Contrition on page 1534 are for before Mass, as well as Acts of Faith, Adoration, Love, and Thanksgiving on page 1535-1536. 1537 comes with the heavy-hitters, that is:1) the Prayer to Jesus on a Crucifix including an animated corpus, PLUS the correct conditions when a plenary indulgence is granted with the prayer and when only a partial is granted. 2) Stations of the Cross with a 1 sentence reflection, and pictures for the 20 mysteries of the Holy Rosary (15 traditional + John Paul II`s Luminous Mysteries, of which a small side note on that IS included with the Luminous mysteries saying the late pope added them via the 2002 decree.)

Rounding out the last pages of the missal are other various prayers and prayers corresponding to the season in the liturgy. 

I will try to summarize overall, with a grade scale of 1-10, what I say of this Missal:

Physical Characteristics: 8 out of 10. Overall, of hardcover or higher quality keepsake missals, this is comparable in size and make like those of other companies. The design might have been a little more grander and hardcover with leather, but for the most part I am content. It is also nice that it comes with two ribbons so I can go between prefaces and the Mass of the liturgy at hand.

General Visual Content (Overall Order, Readability, Artwork): 7.8 out of 10. Definitely easier to navigate through than Most missals, and responses and things are more clearly denoted. The artwork is great at times, especially the colour inserts, though I am not fond of the artwork at times for the individual Sundays. I`d say it`s ``Teen``: Not childish and immature, but just a step shy of being mature and adult-like spiritually speaking.

Theological and Spiritual Content: 7 out of 10. There is a better job done here than with the Canadian competitor, Novalis and its ``Living with Christ`` missals, in delivering such content. The content is written by a priest, an alter Christus, rather than random laypeople who vary in what education they would have obtained. In composing the reflections, as well as the Catechism overview, there are times that Fr. really hits you off your seat and makes you take a hard look at things with that week`s liturgy. The reflections can tackle hard issues in your world and help you relate that liturgy and the Gospel to your modern world of 2013.

However, like many post-Vatican II clergy, he suffers to an extent from the malady of ``social justice`` overemphasis at times and it does reflect in a portion of the reflections for the Scriputres and liturgies. With the Catechism overview, Father`s biggest crime is skipping over important parts of the Catechism that needed to be summarized and empahsizing parts without complete content, or more complete summarization. When Fr. did have to tackle the important parts of the CCC, he does his duty, giving an accurate summary where he could have easily gone ``Spirit of Vatican II`` and taken more liberal summarizations of the content or used lax words. However, this NSJ missal is not 100% ``solid`` as it were in places, and I`d rather at times tell you to go the daily homilies, speeches, and audiences of the Holy Father, with the Catechism of the Catholic Church, for you to get the TRUE CATHOLIC TEACHING on things.

Additional Content: 4.5 out of 10: Not befitting of what a keepsake missal should contain. The ``treasury`` of prayers is more like personal ones of sentimentality of a particular family, rather than ones that would be fitting of the literal and theological and spiritual history of the Church. Further, There should be a lot more content, exactly like the CTS Novus Ordo 1500+ Hand Missal for laity (NAB translation) that really drives hard the teachings of the Church and adds real deep spiritual reflection and prayers for the laity. 

OVERALL GRADE: 7.3 out of 10.

The short answer is ...... YES ..... for Now.

Basically, this is a decent quality missal in terms of physical content, and to an extent, theological and spiritual content. IT IS DEFINITELY A BETTER INVESTMENT THAN THE LIVING WITH CHRIST MISSALS. Plus, save losing the thing, you get to save the environment by not wasting more trees for those disposable missals!

The bottom line is this: If you HAVE to use a hand missal right now for the Novus Ordo in the Catholic Church in Canada with the NRSV translation, this is the best you have got right now between Living with Christ and the New St. Joseph's Missals. There isn`t any third choice currently unlike the NAB translation missals, for a decent quality, content-solid hand missal in Canada. St. Joe`s and Living With Christ is all you get for the pews or your hands. Maybe you could pester Corpus Christ Watershed or the Catholic Truth Society to do that perhaps.

Also, this is a 3-Year book. This IS the only one currently available if you want to be environmentally conscious and stop buying one every year, or want a keepsake for the Sundays and Holy Days Only. There are NO other missals with the NRSV translation for the laity that are all 3 years in the Novus Ordo liturgical cycle.

NOTE: There currently is no 2-year weekday cycle one just yet, but perhaps St. Joseph's might reconsider this in future ..... if you purchase a lot of these missals AND request a weekday one to be made too ....

So if you are a dual-form of the Roman Rite person like myself, or spend the majority of your time in the Novus Ordo, I say purchase this Missal directly from Catholic Book Publishing Company. It is product 720/10 in their catalogues (ISBN 978-1-937913-62-5), and was sent to me for $49 after shipping and handling and HST (Ontario's combined federal and provincial tax). This is now my mainstay missal for the Novus Ordo Masses on Sundays. 

Hope you enjoyed this review. Spread the word Canada! Pax Tibi Christi, Julian Barkin.

Sunday, 5 January 2014

Just like Fr. Z! Part I of the Review of the St. Joseph's Sunday Missal Complete CANADIAN Edition

Hello Everyone.

If any of you have been faithful viewers of Fr. Zuhlsdorf's, "What Does the Prayer Really Say" website, you will notice he does a fair number of reviews for products and missals for the liturgy of the Catholic Mass.

So I thought for a change, I'd be Fr. Z and review a product. You see, in Canada, we use the New Revised Standard Version - Catholic Edition translation of the Scripture for our lectionaries and Gospels in the Mass. While for the new translation of the Novus Ordo, a number of well known Catholic publishing companies have produced high-quality, keepsake Missals for the Church's 3-year Sunday, and 2-year weekday liturgical cycles, THEY ARE ALL IN OTHER TRANSLATIONS LIKE NAB-RE!!!!! That means you can`t really use the missals for Masses in Canada.

Currently, the Canadian laity had two options for bulk missals: 1) The Novalis produced "Living with Christ" missals which are disposable, but cost $5 per year, containing spiritually lacking "reflections" given by lay people and/or religious who lean to the liberal left, or 2) Also spend $5 but get the better quality St. Joseph's missal for the year, but kill another tree and waste more money, and you must keep purchasing a book each new Sunday cycle. Not to mention not all parishes have the St. Joseph`s books for sale. Most only know of the Living with Christ missals. Option 2 was my only saner way of life for the Novus Ordo liturgy these past couple of years ..... UNTIL NOW.

Just this year, Catholic Book Publishing Company, the printer of the New St. Joseph's Missals, became the first Catholic publisher to produce a 3-year Sundays and Holy Days (including Xmas and the Holy Triduum) hand missal for the laity in Canada. I am finally happy someone did this! Finally, I have a keepsake hand missal I can use for the Novus Ordo for all my 3 years and some Holy Days for the liturgy. Now, as a service to the laity of the Church and the viewers of this blog in Canada, it's best to see, how good is this missal? Is it a worthy investment of $49 Canadian + shipping and handling + Taxes ?????

Part I will cover up to the content of the Individual Sundays, while Part II will look at the summary of the Catechism of the Catholic Church, and rate the missal overall with my answer to that burning question above.

Physical description and Looks (including artwork/pictures)
To start, the book is burgundy in colour and comes in imitation leather. The front and side text is etched into the imitation leather with gold paint, and the front cover has a simple etched cross with a chalice and a 2-ring circle with the letters JHS representing Jesus Christ in the species of the Body.


Also part of the book are two ribbons, a yellow and gold, which one should taper the ends with (via flame) to prevent fraying in future right when they are brand new.

The actual paper of the missal is the kind used for decent quality missals and books, but a bit thicker. It's not of an ultra fine texture, nor the newspaper texture of the regular 1-year pew missals. It is, however, different in quality over the 1-year versions made of the cheaper newsprint material.

The book is 4 1/4 X 6 1/4 in. This measurement is likely for the pages alone. When measured in cm with my ruler, the dimensions are 11.5 cm length x 16.5 cm width when the cover is included. Comparison, this book is about the size of a larger paperback novel.

Some sections of the text contain alternating red and black text, which are the prayer portions and the back sections of the Missal. The major portions containing the readings for the Mass are standard black text, of which there is sectioning of the major readings of the Mass, as well as some of the Novus Ordo propers (Entrance antiphon, Collect, the Gospel Acclamation (which to EF people would be the Gradual/Alleluia), The Offertory prayer, the Communion Antiphons, and the post-Communion antiphons).

As for the artwork, every week or major liturgy has a 1/4 section of picture at the top of the page in the New St. Joseph's art style. They are much better than that of the Novalis Living With Christ Missals, yet the artwork isn't as spiritually uplifting in those parts that it could be.

Now, interspersed among the regular pages are much better and spiritually inspiring artwork including:
  • The mysteries of the Rosary as well as a depiction of Our Lady of Fatima and the three children,
  • For major feast days/liturgies, sections of actual classical art depictions!

  • Some colour sections on harder paper, which are quite lovely to look at, like below,

In summary, at least the reader is being treated more closer to an adult in the visual content in what is present in the St. Joseph's 3 year Missal.

General Internal Content

Inside the Missal is, from start to finish, the following:
  • Preface
  • Calendars of Major Feast Days to 2030, of the 3 year Sunday Cycle
  • General Introduction
  • Order of the Mass, the "Ordo"
  • Listings of the Major readings for each Sunday, and some Major Feast Days for each of the 3 year Cycles. This includes some Propers of Saints
  • Catechism of the Catholic Church: An Overview
  • "Treasury" of Some prayers
  • General Index, with others for Biblical Readings, Psalms, and Prefaces

More In-Depth Analysis of the Content
The Preface
Already this Missal gets off to a somewhat liturgically/theologically incorrect start for the lay person holding the Missal, calling the Mass a "meal" that became a living memorial of Christ's sacrifice on the Cross. It's the meal part that's wrong. Yes, the Passover Seder has a meal element, and that is part of the whole Passion, Death, and Resurrection of our Lord, but that's not the whole Mass. The Mass is the re-presentation of His Passion, Death, and Resurrection, where Heaven (and the Saints), and Earth meet, giving us the foretaste of Eternal Salvation in the Sacrament of the Eucharist.

Then the preface gets into the whole debacle about the issue of "active participation" in the Mass, which the "spirit of Vatican II" clergy and laity misinterpreted to mean, do lots of stuff, or, do what makes you feel good about Jesus. At least the Missal gets this somewhat correct what this was supposed to mean:
"The Church, therefore, earnestly desires that Christ's faithful, when present at this mystery of faith, should not be there as strangers or silent spectators ... through a good understanding of the rites and prayers they should take part in the sacred action conscious of what they are doing, with devotion and full collaboration. They should be instructed by God's word and be nourished at the table of the Lord's body; they should give thanks to God; by offering the immaculate Victim, not only thorugh the hands of the priest, but also with him, they should learn and also to offer themselves through Christ the Mediator, they should be drawn day by day into ever more perfect union with God and with each other, so that ... God may be all in all." ([5]-[6])
To that effect about preparation ....
"In order to enable the faithful to prepare for each Mass AT HOME and so participate more actively AT MASS, the editors have added extensive introductions and notes to the Missal: General Introduction, through provoking Mass themes, and helpful explanations of the scripture readings and the Order of Mass as well as capsule summaries of all Missal texts - all geared to the spiritual needs of daily life." ([6]).
But what exactly are these preparations? Are they sound, and theologically/doctrinally OK, or are they more of the ``Spirit of Vatican II`` type that doesn`t nourish the lay person? Let's look further.
The General Introduction
It is in this section that the Missal attempts to explain general knowledge with relevance to the Mass, some origins, some symbolism, and what happens at major parts of the Mass.

The intro starts with "The Christian Passover". It describes the Passover and its importance to the Jewish people adequately. Then, it describes how Christ changed its meaning, referring to the Passover Sacrifice, which has now become that of His own body and blood. It connects this to Paul in 1 Cor 5:7 when he says "Christ, our Passover, has been sacrificed." It then tells us that the difference between the Jews and Christians, is that "...We Christians celebrate the Eucharist as a memorial of our redemption from the slavery of evil, effected by Christ's Death on the Cross." (1). True, though this is only one element of the Mass/Jesus' Sacrifice. This is good, however, to relate the Old Testament being completed in the New Testament, an element that can be often overlooked in this post-Vatican II era of anti-sacrifice, pro-meal Mass ``theology`` and ``symbolism.``

In the next section, "How to Celebrate", the Missal continues, finally acknowledging the sacrificial aspect of the Mass, saying "In the celebration of Mass, in which the Sacrifice of the Cross is perpetuated, Christ is really present in the very assembly gathered in its Name." (2)
So it doesn't 100% leave the Mass as a Meal, and it does acknowledge the "Communal Body of Christ", one of Christ's 3 aspects of His Body (Living Person, Eucharist, and Community in the Church). Unfortunately, it does a poor job at describing the ministry of the Priest and his relation to the community, and doesn't call the Sacrament "Holy" orders: "... the Eucharist is the action of the whole Church ... through the Sacrament of Orders, some Christians are singled out to exercise a special ministry in this priestly people, whose "spiritual sacrifice is brought to completion ..." (2). I'm sorry, but priests are not just in a ``special ministry.`` While we are to exercise in the carrying out of Christ's ministry as "priest, prophet and king" as Vatican II says, it's HOLY orders. It's not just any special ministry, and those people are not "singled out" as if it is an ostracizing burden. Priests are alter Christi, whose souls are indefinitely changed upon Ordination, and are the only ones who can administer the Sacraments and carry out the Mass. However the New St. Joseph`s (herein, NSJ) missal isn't all to blame, it quotes the General Instruction of the Roman Missal 2002.

The Missal redeems itself a bit in the next section, "3. Structure". It says of the Mass: "If properly understood, participating in the Eucharist is exciting - even without the usual trappings we associate with excitement, such as a swinging band! Music at Mass is meaningful only if it is underlines and fosters activities of the heart and mind. (3).  Wow, can't believe this Missal actually said this. It's unfortunate numerous parishes don't get this message. The Mass isn`t some entertainment venue for a rock band to play while feeling all good about Jesus. It belittles what is actually going on at the altar and most young people, are not entertained by it all, nor want it. That fact that this missal says it ... well, close to priceless.

It also does a decent job in explaining symbolism of certain things of Mass in the short section 4: "... the Penitential Act ... points to cleansing from sin. Genuflecting is a sign of respect for the Blessed Sacrament, kneeling is a symbol of humility, and sanding expressed respect for God."

The intro then goes into each part, step by step, with good overall descriptions of what is done, what it means (not in depth), and what is expected of the lay member, and sometimes, even the priest and other clergy. Personally, more depth can be given on each part, such as in my postings about the parts of the Ordo for the EF/Latin Mass, but it does do a good job. It even uses technical terms that I wish I had known! Did you know that we are in the Anamnesis when the Priest is calling to mind our Lord`s Death, Resurrection, and Ascension, and we offer God in thanksgiving, this holy and living sacrifice ...? Well I know now thanks to this Missal! And I did not even need to take studies at St. Augustine's Seminary in Toronto to know that!

The General Prayers for the Ordo of the Novus Ordo Mass
The Ordo is displayed in a combination of black and red text. When there are parts you must go to Today's Mass, or other parts of the Missal, there are boxes that tell you to do so, or it's the pp. notes in the red text.

The actual text of the Mass is in black Times New Roman font, and your responses are boldfaced. In addition, all options are given for each part, whether it's the opening Greeting, the Penintential Act, the Eucharistic Prayer, etc.

When one turns to an individual Sunday to read the Scripture portions, and/or antiphons, it is only in black text. Titles are de-noted decently, and your responses are denoted by a R, with the responses in boldface text. The scripture passages are preceeded by brief reflections that tell the general gist of the passage and possibly relating it to the introductory reflection and other readings. The Responsorial Psalms list BOTH the GRAIL and the NRSV text versions of the portions, but the music is most of the time wrong and your cantor will use what is likely the version of the Psalms from the Catholic Book of Worship III.

The Content of the Individual Sundays (e.g. 1st Sunday of Advent).
Now I dig into the content of an individual Sundays, including its reflections. The prayers of each Sunday and its readings, are what they are, in the NRSV text, with your responses in boldface. So really, the review is on the reflections that accompany them. I will be using the First three Sundays (1st to 3rd) of Advent and its reflections to show you how good the "reflection portion" is.

All the Mass themes and Biblical commentaries were composed by a Fr. John C. Kersten, S.V.D. (Society of the Divine Word). He has been doing the composition and reflections for the New. St. Joseph's missals for quite a while based on internet searches for older missals. I cannot ascertain the orthodoxy of this priest and his writings from internet searching. The only other thing to note is that possibly, unless there are two Fr. Kerstens, S.V.D, the reflections in this missal might have been released posthumously, as the SVD order page has an archived obituary for a Fr. Kersten in 2012.

Each Sunday and Major Feast Day opens with a reflection on it's theme. For the 1st Sunday of Advent, it is "Be Watchful". Here is what is written:
"With God Revealing himself in the Lord Jesus, we Christians believe that there is a future for human beings. Life is not an absurdity. Death is not "a transition from being into nothingness," as some contemporary "sages" allege. Life has meaning. In the confusion of daily life, the Lord Jesus comes to save us from apparent absurdity, from dangerous inertia and the numbness that the sedatives of modern life can bring about. The only prerequisite is that we be watchful and open up to him and his message found in the Scriptures. As the mystery of his Nativity ... may he find us watchful in pryer and exultant in his praise (preface of Advent II)" (113)

Not Bad .... but not all of the reflections are of decent quality. Some teeter the line with being drunken with the "social justice" ethos that plagues certain corners of the Church, a works without faith mentality. This is present in the 2nd Sunday of Advent's introduction, with the theme being Christ's Leadership:
" Christ is the answer to the frightening questions of life. When the leaders of a nation are corrupt, its people usually suffer. The human family on this planet is afflicted with many maladies resulting from lack of leadership ... Jesus Christ is the God-given Leader, who came to establish God's kingdom on earth, "a kingdom of truth and life, ... a kingdom of justice, love, and peace" .... Are you accepting Jesus Christ and the outlines he gives us for a better society? We know that the ideal society as envisioned by Jesus will never be fully realized on this planet ...." (119)

In this paragraph, the social justice ethos has given the lay person reading this reflection the WRONG interpretation of the kingdom of God. Christ's kingdom was that of Heaven. Yes, we are supposed to do His will here on earth, but this is NOT our kingdom nor His. Other Scripture have Christ Himself saying His kingdom is not on Earth. Also in this reflection, it's all just "let's change the world" and make it a happy place for you and me and Jesus. Sorry folks, but there is more to our Faith than social justice. It is a vital part of our faith (for in James 2, St. Paul tells us ``Faith without works is dead,``) but it is a PART, NOT ALL, of a whole that Christ commanded us to do in His Name.

However, other times, the priest's provided reflections really hit you in the gut and speak to us in our modern times. Just look at this one for the 1st Sunday, 2nd reading from Romans 13: 11-14:
"Be watchful! Wake up! Orgies, drunkenness, promiscuity, lust, rivalry, and jealousy are part of the human condition. The deeds of darkness can make us numb and insensitive to the beauty of life. Put on the Lord Jesus," i.e. be ever more intimately united to him and what he stands for, and a bright future of Shalom - peace - will be yours." (116)

What? Orgies, promiscuity, lust? Those are not PG rated words here in this reflection! The "pornification of society" appears in advertisments and free pornography on the Internet, the legalization of prostitution and other inhumane sexual acts, etc. So this reflection it totally relevant to 2013 and beyond. And how about this in the 3rd Sunday of Advent:
``.... Christian hope opposes despair, which often results in suicide or just ``copping out.`` It opposes escaping from reality through the use of drugs, abuse of alcohol, or excessive addiction to the pleasures of modern life. Christian hope knows how to handle depression: You get on your knees knowing that over the world of the starts, a loving Father must reside (``Òde to Joy`` in the 9th Symphony of Beethoven)`(126)

Alcohol and drug addiction? Sadly, teens do start to get into this early in high school. Thank God the priest in charge of the reflections for this Missal isn't afraid to use a few well-placed "bombs" here and there that our world isn`t all sunshine and rainbows, and powerful physical, mental, and spiritual evils are here in place.

My overall thoughts on the content of each of the prayers and their reflections, is that they do speak to a youth/person in the modern era of the new millenium, with one major deficit and one quam. These reflections are more spiritually relational than educational in the opening parts before the Scriptural reflections, lacking in solid catechesis, or anything about the Sundays or their Feast days themselves. It would have been better to pair up a brief liturgical/catechesis lesson on the Sundays, THEN follow up with a brutally honest reflection that pertain to our modern era above. Now THAT, would have been an impressive combination for a post-Vatican II missal.

The quam is that at times they are the "goopy sugary mess" of social justice that does not speak to the totality of the Catholic faith. Seriously if that's all the faith is, what's the difference of being another faith, or a secular, humanistic, atheist/agnostic? The Catholic Faith, and therefore, you, as a lay person reading this Missal, deserve more nourishment and answers to your questions about applying the Catholic faith in this modern era than, "go serve the poor" or "make the world a better place".

So while this is much better than the so-called ``reflections`` the Novalis "Living with Christ" missals have to offer in content, and these reflections were all written by a Catholic priest versus laypeople, there could have been much more sustenance here and a better job.


Onward to Part II!

Wednesday, 1 January 2014

Happy Solemnity of Mary, Mother of God!

Happy Solemnity of Mary, Mother of God!

I, Julian Barkin, wish you all the best in this new year, and pray and hope for liturgical and evangelic renewal within our world and with Holy Mother Church, under the governance of His Holiness, Pope Francis.

May the Extraordinary Rite continue to grow worldwide, and that even in the Novus Ordo it will experience its own renewal and deeper purification.

In addition, let it be a better year for those fellow youth of mine whom are struggling with their occupation and vocation, but also in even obtaining decent work to support themselves and their families.

Let us also pray to St. Michael for his intercession against those moral evils that continue to plague our society, as well as against those that are re-gaining old strength, or new strength, to become a front-line problem with its "buddies." I am thinking of euthanasia in particular, which seems to be gaining new fire and fury. It will soon be joining his brothers, abortion, homosexuality, and genocide in strength and threat to our Catholic Faith everywhere.

May we pray to our Lord Jesus Christ, give alms and fast, and continue to beg for His mercy and blessings, in this dire time of need of His protection and governance. We, and your Church, need you more than ever to ignite the fires in the hearts of us men (and also women).

Pax Tibi Christi, In Anno Domini MMXIV.