"Furthermore, We declare, We proclaim, We define that it is absolutely necessary for salvation that every human creature be subject to the Roman Pontiff."- Pope Boniface VIII, Unam Sanctam

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Pope Facts: Hanno the Elephant

On the occasion of the coronation of Giovanni de' Medici as Pope Leo X in 1513, His Royal Majesty, King Manuel I of Portugal presented the new Pontiff with a white elephant, a gift from the Kingdom of Portugal, to the Holy See.

This white elephant arrived in Rome the following year. He was four years of age, and was originally from India. Hanno was his name, and he soon become the Pontiff's beloved pet, as well as a favourite amongst the peoples of Rome.

Upon his arrival, Hanno was kept in an enclosure in the Belvedere courtyard. He was later moved to a building specially constructed for him. This building was situated between St. Peter's Basilica and the Apostolic Palace.

His arrival in Rome prompted many works of art and poetry, one such example is the little poem by Pasquale Malaspina:

"In the Belvedere before the great Pastor
Was conducted the trained elephant
Dancing with such grace and such love
That hardly better would a man have danced:
And then with its trunk such a great noise
It made, that the entire place was deafened:
And stretching itself on the ground to kneel
It then straightened up in reverence to the Pope,
And to his entourage."

Hanno was to be seen in the great processions held in Rome. However, after two years in the Eternal City, he fell ill. On the 8th of June 1516, with his master, Pope Leo X at his side, he died. Hanno the elephant was buried in the Cortile del Belvedere, aged 7 years.

The artist Raffaello Santi designed a fresco in memory of Hanno, and the Pope himself created the epitaph. Unfortunately this fresco no longer exists, however the epitaph composed by His Holiness Leo X in honor of his pet, still remains with us. It reads:

"Under this great hill I lie buried

Mighty elephant which the King Manuel
Having conquered the Orient
Sent as captive to Pope Leo X.
At which the Roman people marvelled, --
A beast not seen for a long time,
And in my brutish breast they perceived human feelings.
Fate envied me my residence in the blessed Latium
And had not the patience to let me serve my master a full three years.
But I wish, oh gods, that the time which Nature would have assigned to me,
and Destiny stole away,
You will add to the life of the great Leo.

He lived seven years
He died of angina
He measured twelve palms in height.
Giovanni Battista Branconio dell'Aquila
Privy chamberlain to the Pope
And provost of the custody of the elephant,
Has erected this in 1516, the 8th of June,
In the fourth year of the pontificate of Leo X.

That which Nature has stolen away
Raphael of Urbino with his art has restored."

For a more detailed hisory of Hanno the elephant, see the Wikipedia article here indicated:

Monday, August 17, 2009

DVDs published to help the faithful learn the 1962 Latin Mass

.- The Pontifical Commission Ecclesia Dei, which was recently incorporated into the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, has announced the publication of two DVDs to help “priests and the community” celebrate Mass according to the extraordinary form of the Latin Rite.

The two DVDs include an entire Mass celebrated by Cardinal Dario Castrillon Hoyos—until recently the president of the Commission—at the Basilica of St. Mary Major in 2003.

The discs also feature segments explaining in detail the “gestures and rubrics, from the preparatio ad missam (preparation before Mass) to the act of thanksgiving in the sacristy.”

The video is available in four languages (Italian, English, Spanish and French) and is intended to be the “first concrete contribution of the Holy See for the implementation of the Pope’s wishes contained in Summorum Pontificum.” The Motu Propio “Summorum Pontificum,” which was released in July of 2007 by Pope Benedict XVI, granted universal permission to the faithful to celebrate the Tridentine Mass adapted by Blessed John XXIII in 1962.

The Commission has not yet announced where or how the DVDs can be purchased.

Pope to close Year for Priests in Rome with huge meeting

.- The Congregation for the Clergy, headed by Cardinal Claudio Hummes, announced this week that the Pope Benedict XVI plans to close the Year for Priests by convoking a huge meeting of priests from around the world between June 9-11 in Rome.

Every Catholic priest in the world—there are around 407,000—is invited to the meeting, which will have the theme of “Faithfulness of Christ, Faithfulness of the Priest."

The program, announced by the Congregation for the Clergy today, indicates that the first day of the gathering will take place at the Basilica of Saint Paul-Outside-the-Walls and will have as theme "Conversion and Mission." The activities will include prayer, a conference to discuss the subject, Eucharist adoration, an opportunity for Confession and a Mass.

On day two, June 10, the theme will be "Cenacle, invocation to the Holy Spirit with Mary, in fraternal communion." The venue for the morning reflections will be the Basilica of Saint Mary Major, while in the evening a “priestly vigil” will be held at Saint Peter's Basilica. The vigil will consist of priests offering their testimonies, singing and adoration of the Eucharist. Pope Benedict XVI will be present at the vigil and will greet the priests.

The Year for Priests will be brought to a close on Friday, June 11, which is the Solemnity of the Sacred Heart of Jesus. Pope Benedict XVI will preside over a Mass in Saint Peter's Basilica to conclude the Year for Priests. The final day of the meeting will have "With Peter, in ecclesial communion" as its theme.

Pope Benedict to meet with 'School Circle,’ discuss Church’s mission

.- In keeping with a custom he created when he was a university professor, Pope Benedict XVI is gathering some of his former students for his annual "Ratzinger School Circle." The group will meet at Castel Gandolfo between August 27 and 30 to discuss issues of theological and cultural interest.

Before being elected Pontiff, Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger held annual summer meetings with some of his former students from the theology departments of Tubingen and Ratisbona. Among the students convened by then Cardinal Ratzinger were important theologians, such as Cardinal Cristoph Schonborn of Vienna, who was also one of the editors of the Catechism of the Catholic Church.

Since 2005, the Pope has kept the tradition of meeting with the “Ratzinger Schulerkreis,” with discussions in previous years focusing on issues such as evolution and Islam.

This year the group will focus on the “Mission of the Church,” a topic that is central in the reflections of Ratzinger the theologian.

The only former student of Joseph Ratzinger in the United States who regularly attends the meetings is Jesuit Father Joseph Fessio, the editor of Ignatius Press. "I am planning to attend," Fr. Fessio told CNA.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Pope Benedict's Wednesday Audience: The Relationship of Mary and Priests

Castel Gandolfo, Italy, Aug 12, 2009 (CNA)*.- During Wednesday’s general audience in Castel Gandolfo, Pope Benedict XVI spoke of there being a “nexus” between the Blessed Virgin Mary and the Priesthood. Like St. John, he said, all Priests “are called to accept her into their home.”

Pope Benedict pointed out that this nexus is rooted in the mystery of the Incarnation. “God does not act against our freedom,” he explained. “He needed the yes of his creatures.”

“St. Bernard of Clairvaux, in one of his homilies, explained in dramatic manner this decisive moment of universal history, when heaven, earth and God Himself await this creature’s response,” he added.

“Mary is truly and profoundly involved in the mystery of the Incarnation, of our salvation. … Sacrifice, the Priesthood and the Incarnation go together and Mary is at the heart of this mystery,” the Pontiff said.

Pope Benedict also reflected on the tie between Priests and Mary.

From the cross, Jesus sees His mother and the beloved apostle, an important individual, but more importantly a prefigurement of loved people and especially all Priests.

“The Second Vatican Council invites Priests to see Mary as the perfect model of their existence,” the Pope added.

“The CurĂ© d'Ars, who we think of this year especially, loved to repeat that after Jesus Christ gave us everything He could give, He wanted to make us heirs of what was most precious to Him, His holy Mother,” the Pope continued. “This applies to all Christians, but especially for Priests.”

"Every Priest can and should truly feel himself to be the son of this most holy and most humble Mother," he said.

The Holy Father concluded by expressing his closeness to the people of Taiwan, China, Philippines and Japan, who were recently hit by a typhoon. “I call on everyone to pray for them and for those who lost their lives. I hope that the relief of solidarity and the help of material aid will not be lacking.”

*12 August, Catholic News Agency

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Pope: Nazi concentration camps a symbol of evil


Pope Benedict XVI releases album for Christmas

Pope Benedict XVI has the chance of a Christmas number one in the pop charts after signing a record deal to release an album of him singing chants in the Vatican

By Stephen Adams, Arts Correspondent Published: 12:01AM BST 31 Jul 2009

It will feature the Pope singing litanies and chants in honour of the Virgin Mary, as well as reciting passages and prayers in Latin, Italian, Portuguese, French and German.

The recordings were made in St Peter's Basilica in the Vatican, with the Pope accompanied by The Choir of the Philharmonic Academy of Rome.

They will be blended with modern classical recordings by the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, which is recording its contribution at the Abbey Road studios in London.

It will be released on CD on November 30 on Universal's Geffen label, which was behind Donna Summer's gold-selling disco record The Wanderer as well as John Lennon's last album, Double Fantasy.

Producers at Vatican Radio came up with the idea and invited music executives to Rome to consider signing His Holiness.

Colin Barlow, the president of Geffen, admitted to being "sceptical" about the Pontiff's musical appeal before hearing him.

But he said: "When you are sitting in the Basilica listening to it, you suddenly think that you are hearing something that could be incredibly special.

"It's a beautiful a piece of music as the soundtrack to the film The Mission."

"The Pope has got almost a lullaby tone to the way he sings," he said.

He thought the album would make "a great Christmas present".

One aspect of the album will be reassuringly traditional – it will not be sold as a digital download.

"I think this is going to be something that you would like to own," explained Mr Barlow. "To break up a beautiful album digitally would be wrong."

He hoped it would sell in large numbers globally, noting: "There's quite a huge Catholic fan base out there."

A proportion of profits will go to a charity that will provide musical education for poor children around the world. The remainder is expected to be split between the Vatican and Universal. Details have yet to be finalised.

The music executive said Geffen also had plans to re-record an album of Pope John Paul II praying in 1999, called Abba Pater, which he said had been put to an "odd" keyboard accompaniment, with classical backing tracks instead.

From the Telegraph:


Sunday, August 9, 2009

The Papacy of Reason


Quebec Cardinal urges Bishops to "Support Holy Father"

By John-Henry Westen

PHOENIX, August 5, 2009 (LifeSiteNews.com)

In a short but stunning talk before some 90 Bishops, eight Cardinals and 1000 Knights, the Primate of Canada, Quebec City Archbishop Marc Cardinal Ouellet, addressed the subject of unity at the 127th annual Supreme Convention of the Knights of Columbus last night. Ouellet spoke of the "hard winter" Pope Benedict XVI had to "suffer" this past year as he was "harshly criticized both within and outside the Church and was not adequately defended by those who share his ministry."

The two biggest controversies that sparked criticism of the Pope in recent months from the liberal, mainstream media, and even from some in the Church hierarchy, were the lifting of the excommunications of the bishops of the Society of St. Pius X, and the Pope's remarks against the use of condoms. Although Cardinal Ouellet mentioned by name only the Pope's "effort to bring back the Schismatic group of the Lefebvrists to full communion," he noted the Pope was criticized "for this and various other reasons."

Only one other controversy - that of the condom comments - caused an international outcry against the Pope, even from some within the Church. AIDS "is a tragedy that cannot be overcome by money alone, that cannot be overcome through the distribution of condoms, which even aggravates the problems," the pontiff said to reporters aboard the papal plane on March 17 this year.

The comments were followed by heavy criticism from world leaders, including Catholic leaders, and even veiled criticism from bishops in Portugal, Germany, and Canada. Two cardinals, one retired and one active, were among those who were unsupportive.

While there were various cardinals and bishops that defended the Holy Father on the matter, the defense of the Pope was far from widespread.

"At every level of leadership in the Church, unity with Peter and solidarity with him has not been a great achievement in this past year," said Ouellet in his address.

In a rousing call for unity with the Pope and also an affirmation of his teaching authority, Cardinal Ouellet said: "It is fully time to take action and stand with our Holy Father who is himself so admirably peaceful and coherent in fulfilling all his duties. We are greatly blessed by the quality of his teaching."

The Quebec Cardinal congratulated the Knights on their theme for the convention: "We stand with Peter in Solidarity with Our Bishops and Priests."

"Let us ask the Holy Spirit to help us all to give stronger witness to our loving loyalty to the Church and its Chief Shepherd, successor of Peter," he said. "Unity in the Church is the key to the realization of its mission."

The Primate of Canada pointed to dire hardships in the Church as the fruit of disunity with the Pope. "When there is a lack of unity within the Church we quickly see a decline in vocations and in Church attendance and disintegration of family life," he said.

Concluding, Cardinal Ouellet said: "Let us stand with Peter's successor, our Pope, at this challenging time courageously taking up our Christian duty of building unity and solidarity everywhere."

To watch the Cardinal's full address begin at 24 minutes in this video (place mouse in bottom of video window and video controls will show): http://www.catholictv.com/shows/default.aspx?seriesID=136&videoID=315

Gratitude to the Holy Father

Some years ago, Dr. Alice von Hildebrand told me an anecdote about her husband's presence in the crowd in Rome at a canonization ceremony. I do not remember the saint concerned, but that really does not matter. The point of her story was that Dr. Dietrich von Hildebrand was in the company of the great Church historian, Ludwig von Pastor, and that that very fine scholar displayed a face running with tears.

Pastor's face was running with tears because he was a believer and his belief had been confirmed anew. Here was a man whose forty volume History of the Popes was filled with accounts of just how much shame Catholics of all sorts--pontiffs, emperors, kings, barons, bourgeois, and peasant farmers--could bring upon the Mystical Body of Christ due to their deep human flaws. And yet here was a man who had in front of him a contemporary selection of those same flawed individuals all giving public testimony to the fact that Catholics did not have to be so bad, and that the Church was more than the sum of her fallen parts. Truth and holiness triumphed at that canonization ceremony, placing all the seemingly endless cynicism and betrayal Pastor's research revealed into their proper perspective. And tears were his spontaneous reaction to such a joyful fact.

This story could not help but come to my mind as I write this piece from Rocco's with tears in my eyes. My work involves adding my own humble contribution to what we know of Church History. I, like Pastor, clamber through seemingly endless examples of Catholic cynicism and betrayal to do so. But the truth and the holiness of the Church often shine through the darkness, and when they do I am wont to respond in the same way that he did.

Truth and holiness came to me today in the form of the pope's letter to the episcopacy (Thursday, March 12th, 2009) explaining and defending his lifting of the excommunications of the four bishops consecrated for the SSPX in 1988. After reading it, all I can say, with tears in my eyes, is habemus papam! We have a pope: a pontiff concerned, as he himself clearly and distinctly says in this document, for the truth about the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob; a supreme pastor filled with zeal for the truth about Jesus Christ, and Him crucified and resurrected from the dead. We have a good pope; a high priest who fills me with hope for the future of the Church when there seems to be little if any grounds for hope in any other realm. If this is not a reason for me to shed tears of joy I see no other grounds that I could ever have for doing so.

Allow me to make two "qualifications" when I shout my joyful, tearful, habemus papam!

The first of these is that I am in no way claiming that we have somehow not had a "real" pope from the days of the Council until today. I am not now and never have been a sedevacantist. Moreover, despite my many and often quite intense criticisms of John XXIII, Paul VI, John Paul I, and John Paul II, I never argued that there was nothing decent that they did. Nor did I ever state that these pontiffs were personally bad men. I even had my "habemus papam moments" with each of them as well.

Still, I would be lying to the world and to myself if I were to argue that those "habemus papam moments" were the same as I feel today. Obviously, I have not been a thrilled spectator of the pontificates following the reign of Pius XII, the last of which, that of John Paul II, I myself once labeled the worst in history. I am a Catholic, I accepted them, I obeyed them, I appreciated whatever was said and done under them for the Faith in general--and, under John Paul II, for the traditionalist cause in particular. Nevertheless, my response to these Vicars of Christ was with my head, while my response to Benedict XVI is with my head, my heart, and my whole soul.

Perhaps I have said so in these pages before, but I think it bears repeating that my wholehearted response to Benedict began the evening in 1996 that I met him when he was Cardinal Ratzinger on the street outside the simple Roman trattoria called Mario's in Trastevere. My party had just left the restaurant, my friend and colleague at the Roman Forum, Fr. Richard Munkelt, recognized him, and we stopped and chatted with him out there in the little Via del Moro for a while. My wife then asked his blessing for our one-year old son, Nicholas, which he happily gave. His intelligence, simplicity, pastoral graciousness, and--dare I say it?--his tremendous sincerity very much impressed me at the time.

This impression was confirmed and turned into a real feeling of love on my part when I was in Rome shortly after his election in the spring of 2005. I ran to St. Peter's after attending a Traditional Mass my first Sunday back in the city in order to hear him speak at the time of the Angelus. Irrational as it may sound, I immediately knew that my feelings on the Via del Moro were justified when I listened to him. Why? Because it was exactly that same voice--just as intelligent, simple, pastoral, and sincere--that had spoken to us and blessed my child outside Mario's. Habemus papam, I thought, and I cheered my guts out and cried.

Then came Summorum pontificum, the lifting of the excommunications, and finally, today, this letter which I have in front of me as I write. Behold the man; the same man! An intelligent man, simple, gracious, pastoral, utterly and totally open and sincere, leaving not the shadow of a doubt in my mind that this document was written by him and him alone.

My readers cannot know what I heard in Trastevere in 1996 and in St. Peter's Square in the spring of 2005, but they can pick up this 2009 piece addressed to the bishops of the world and read it to see what I mean. Despite what the world press may say about it, this document is not at all primarily about Holocaust, Holocaust denial, and papal errors of judgment. On the contrary, its primary concern is loving, pastoral care for the whole of the misled human race. It tells the tale of a conscientious, believing preacher--the pope himself--hunting for words to address Roman seminarians while burdened down with the terrible personal woes occasioned by the events of the last month or more; a preacher discovering new meaning in a passage of St. Paul regarding Christians tearing one another apart like wild beasts, as well as inspiration in the Marian feast of the day, as he set about fulfilling his homiletic task. It tells the tale of a man of the highest office--the pope himself--who feels deeply a manifold set of personal responsibilities in undertaking his public duties: an obligation to reach out to traditionalists like ourselves who have called out to him repeatedly for fatherly help, and who continue to be unjustly treated today as in the past; an obligation to reach out specifically to an SSPX that remains in an unsettled canonical position and is rightly disturbed about the errors of supporters of Vatican II who act as though the Church had no history before 1962; an obligation to reassure other believers upset by parochial, short-sighted tendencies within that same Society; an obligation to find nuanced ways to bring the message of Jesus crucified and resurrected simultaneously to a moribund Christendom, to Moslems and Jews who treat conversion as though it meant annihilation of their very being, and to an atheistic and agnostic world going to hell in a hand basket and yet "smiling as it dies". Most importantly, it tells the personal tale of a holy man--our reigning pontiff--who needs to warn all of us that we cannot undertake any apostolic activity with any hope of success if we do not love one another; a man of charity who does indeed see some bitterness and closed-mindedness in our traditionalist circles, but much more of it in the ranks of that segment of the episcopacy, clergy, and laity which somehow feels that the SSPX is the one sole group with which the pope can open no dialogue and for which he can display no pastoral Christian love. When I read this, I see the truth and holiness of the Catholic Church before me, and I enthusiastically say habemus papam, like I have never said it before.

I noted above that I had a second qualification to make while shouting out these words with tear-stained face, and that is the fact that my love is not the love of a love-struck teenager. There are ideas expressed by Joseph Ratzinger, now gloriously reigning as Pope Benedict XVI, with which I do not agree. There are actions taken by the current Pope that I wish he had not taken, and others that I wish he would and that I doubt he will. If I am correct in disagreeing with him on certain thoughts and deeds, then there is still much prayer that I must make for him and much to be fearful of in the future. If I am wrong, which is always more than possible, my prayers will never go wasted.

Whatever happens, I think that it would be well for me--as well as for my fellow traditionalists--always to keep continuing disagreements and fears in proper perspective. What helps me to do so is a short story penned in 1928 for Stefan Zweig (1881-1942) by his tragic, fellow Jewish Austrian writer Joseph Roth (1894-1939), entitled Es war einmal ein Kaiser (There was once an Emperor). This is now to be found under the name Seine k. und k. apostolische Majestaet (His Imperial and Royal Apostolic Majesty) in a collection called Deutschland Erzaehlt, republished in 1998 by Fischer Verlag.

Zweig and Roth, along with Karl Kraus (1874-1936), another great Jewish literary figure of the era, all regretted the passing of the old Hapsburg Monarchy and the petty democratic politicians and totalitarian dictators dominating the interwar period. Roth, in this moving little piece, recounts his standing guard as a soldier at the Schoenbrunn Palace in Vienna in 1916 at the death of Franz Josef and compares it with his visit to watch the Kaiser leave for summer vacation from the same site in happier days before World War One. Both experiences reminded him of the fact that this man really was an emperor and not a cheap vote-catcher or miserable tyrant. Roth knows that nostalgia tempts him to think that life was untroubled under the Kaiser's rule, but he fights this off and makes it clear that this was not the case: there were difficulties and mistakes in "the good old days" as well as the bad new ones. Nevertheless, cold though it sometimes might have been, the sun did shine under the old man's Hapsburg scepter. And one can see that Roth wishes that it could shine again, blemishes and all. Flawed as they were, the old days were undeniably better.

Es war einmal ein Kaiser is helpful to me because I know that I, too, in wicked times like our own, am tempted to look back on the Church's past and think that everything was wonderful under the reigns of its greatest popes. Still, my historical research has taught me that this was never the case. There were blemishes and errors, even catastrophic ones, even under the best of pontiffs, even when saints ruled over the Mystical Body of Christ. But the sun, however cold it might have been, did indeed shine when they were there. And would that that sunshine might come again! Perhaps even to be strengthened through the insights obtained in the intervening period of storm.

Dear friends, I wish you would believe me when I say that the sun is shining again. Unlike Roth, who never had the opportunity to say es gibt jetzt noch einmal einen Kaiser, "there is now an Emperor again ", we Traditionalists can rejoice in saying habemus papam: not just a legitimate pope, but a pope open to our concerns, filled with love for us, and in our own day. We can now say habemus papam not just with our head, but with our whole heart and soul as well.

Still, in doing so, we must always keep in mind that this does not mean that we are now inhabiting the New Jerusalem. This does not mean the end of struggle. This does not mean a pontificate where the lion will lie down happily with the lamb. We have our work for the years to come cut out for us. And to underline this sober reality, I end with a citation from an article I wrote for Seattle Catholic on April 20, 2005 entitled "Two Popes, Saint Benedict, and the Soul of the West", not one word of which I would change today.

Fellow traditionalists, the Holy Spirit has given us a new reason for hope with Pope Benedict XVI, first and foremost with respect to the cause of the Mass. Those hopes will, however, only be realized through terrible turmoil. I am convinced that a brutal battle for the soul of Christendom, greater than any we have witnessed over the past forty years, is about to commence, under the leadership of a man who knows the enemy all the better from having once been on the inside of its camp. This will be a war of attrition, a war in the Vatican, diocesan, and parish trenches. We must pray that the Holy Father stays the course in fighting on those battlefields that he already has spotted and reconnoitered, and that he will be still further awakened to the full nature and extent of the conflict before him. We need to send the word over there, to Rome, that we will be behind him if only he will lead; that we will not leave the trenches until the war is over--over there, over here, and everywhere.

Dr. John Rao.

Pope Benedict to Catholics: Kneel For Communion

" I read this article on a freind of mine's note's on Facebook."-Ashley

"Whosoever shall eat this bread, or drink the chalice of the Lord unworthily, shall be guilty of the Body and of the Blood of the Lord... For he that eateth and drinketh unworthily, eateth and drinketh judgment to himself, not discerning the Body of the Lord" - 1 Corinthians 11:27-28

Pope Benedict to Catholics:
Kneel and Receive on the Tongue Only

Pope Benedict XVI does not want the faithful receiving Communion in their hand nor does he want them standing to receive Christ in the Blessed Sacrament. According to Vatican liturgist, Monsignor Guido Marini, the Pope is trying to set the stage for the whole Church as to the proper norm for receiving Communion for which reason communicants at his Papal Masses are now asked to kneel and receive on the tongue.

The Holy Father's reasoning is simple: "We Christians kneel before the Blessed Sacrament because, therein, we know and believe to be the presence of the One True God." (May 22, 2008)

According to the Pope the entire Church should kneel in adoration before God in the Eucharist. "Kneeling in adoration before the Eucharist is the most valid and radical remedy against the idolatries of yesterday and today" (May 22, 2008)

The Pope's action is in accord with the Church's 2000 year tradition and is being done in order to foster a renewed love and respect for the Eucharist which presently is being mocked and treated with contempt. The various trends and innovations of our time (guitar liturgy, altar girls, lay ministers, Communion in the hand) have worked together to destroy our regard for the Eucharist, thus advancing the spiritual death of the Church. After all, the Eucharist is the very life and heartbeat of the Mystical Body around which the entire Church must revolve.

Kneeling also coincides with the Church's centuries old ordinance that only the consecrated hands of a Priest touch the Body of Christ in Holy Communion. "To Priests alone has been given power to consecrate and administer to the faithful, the Holy Eucharist." (Council of Trent) This teaching is beautifully expressed by St. Thomas Aquinas in his Summa Theologica: "Because out of reverence towards this sacrament, nothing touches it, but what is consecrated; hence the corporal and the chalice are consecrated, and likewise the Priest's hands, for touching this sacrament."

It is for reason that Pope Paul VI in his May 1969 pastoral letter to the world's Bishops reaffirmed the Church's teaching on the reception of Communion, stating that: "This method on the tongue must be retained." (Memoriale Domini) This came in response to the Bishops of Holland who started Communion in the hand in defiance of the centuries old decree from the Council of Rouen (650 A.D.) where this practice was condemned as sacrilegious. "Do not put the Eucharist in the hands of any layperson, but only in their mouths." To date this prohibition has never been overturned legally.

Today Communion in the hand is carried on illegally and has become a major tool of the enemy to destory the Faith throughout the world. For this practice serves no other purpose than to warp our conception of Jesus Christ and nourish a contempt for the sacred mysteries. It's no wonder St. Basil referred to Communion in the hand as "a grave fault."

That is to say, Communion in the hand is not tied with Catholic tradition. This practice was first introduced to the Church by the heretical Arians of the 4th century as a means of expressing their belief that Christ was not divine. Unfortunately, it has served to express the same in our time and has been at the very heart of the present heresy and desecration that is rampant throughout the universal Church. If we have 'abuse' problems today it is because we're abusing the Sacrament - it's backfiring on us!

Thanks to Communion in the hand, members of satanic cults are now given easy access to come into the Church and take the Host so that they bring it back to their covens where it is abused and brutalized in the ritualistic Black Mass to Satan. They crush the Host under their shoes as a mockery to the living God, and we assist it with our casual practice? Amongst themselves the satanists declare that Communion in the hand is the greatest thing that ever happened to them, and we do nothing to stop it?

Hence, the Holy Father is doing his part to try to purge the Church of abuse and we as members of Christ are called upon to assist him. For your encouragement we include the following quotation from Cardinal Llovera, the new prefect for the Vatican's Congregation for Divine Worship and Discipline of the Sacraments speaking to Life Site News on July 22, 2009: "It is the mission of the Congregation for Divine Worship and Sacraments to work to promote Pope Benedict's emphasis on the traditional practices of liturgy, such as reception of Communion on the tongue while kneeling."

Also worth considering is the recent decree from Cardinal Caffarra, the Archbishop of Bologna Italy, forbidding the practice of Communion in the hand: "Many cases of profanation of the Eucharist have occurred, profiting by the possibility to receive the consecrated Bread on one’s palm of the hand... Considering the frequency in which cases of irreverent behavior in the act of receiving the Eucharist have been reported, we dispose that starting from today in the Metropolitan Church of St. Peter, in the Basilica of St. Petronius and in the Shrine of the Holy Virgin of St. Luke in Bologna the faithful are to receive the consecrated Bread only from the hands of the Minister directly on the tongue." (from his decree on the reception of the Eucharist, issued April 27, 2009)

Technically all Bishops and clergy are bound to follow the Holy Father's directive on this issue, but in the meantime the faithful are not obliged to wait for the approval of their Bishop in order to kneel for God. The directives of the Holy Father are not subject to the veto or scrutiny of the Bishops and therefore all pastors and laity have a right and duty to put these directives into practice for the edification of their communities.

Our Lady's Workers of Southern California

David Martin