Sunday, July 29, 2007

Saints Abdon and Sennen, Martyrs

June 30th.

Saints Abdon and Sennen.

O God, who on thy servants Abdon and Sennen
didst bestow abundant grace to attain unto the crown of glory
grant unto thy servants the remission of all their sins;
that, by the intercession of the merits of thy Saints,
they may be found worthy to be defended against
all adversities.

Abdon and Sennen were Persians. In the reign of the Emperor Decius they were accused of interring, on their own farm, the bodies of Christians, which had been thrown out unburied. The Emperor commanded them to be arrested and ordered to sacrifice to the gods. This they refused to do, and persistently preached that Jesus Christ is God, whereupon they were put into strict confinement. When Decius afterwards returned to Rome, he had them led in chains in his triumph. Being thus dragged into the city and up to the idols, they abhorred and spat upon them, for which they were cast to bears and lions ; the beasts were afraid to touch them. They were butchered with the sword, and the corpses, with their feet bound together, were dragged before the image of the sun. Thence they were stolen away, and the Deacon Quirinus buried them in his own house.

(Matins of the feast iii nocturn)

Friday, July 27, 2007

Hispanic Christianity

Part VI

Feast: February 27

St. Leander, a close friend of St. Gregory the Great, was born in Carthagena to a family of high nobility. He was the eldest brother of several saints. His brother, St. Isidore, succeeded him as Bishop of Seville. Another brother, St. Fulgentius, became Bishop of Carthagena, and his sister, St. Florentina, became an Abbess in Carthagena.

117_leander032.jpg - 46304 Bytes
When he was still young, Leander retired to a Benedictine monastery where he became a model of learning and piety. In 579 he was raised to the episcopal see of Seville, where he continued to practice his customary austerities and penances.

At that time, a part of the territory of Spain was dominated by the Visigoths. Those barbarians were Arians and had spread their errors in the cities they had conquered. The Iberian Peninsula had been infected by that heresy for 170 years when St. Leander was chosen Bishop of Seville. He began to combat it immediately. With the help of God, to Whom he had recourse, his efforts were successful and the heresy began to lose hold on its followers. He also played an important role in the conversion of Hermenegild, the eldest son of the Visigoth King.

King Leovigild, however, became angry over his son’s conversion and St. Leander’s activity. He exiled the Saint, and condemned his son to death. Later, he repented, recalled the Saint to Spain and asked him to educate and form his other son and successor, Reccared, who became a Catholic and helped the Saint to convert the rest of his subjects.

St. Leander played a central role at two councils, the Council of Seville and the Third Council of Toledo, where Visigothic Spain abjured Arianism in all its forms. He also wrote an influential Rule for his sister with instructions on prayer and renunciation of the world. He reformed the liturgy in Spain, adding the Nicene Creed to the Mass in order to make an express profession of the Faith against Arianism. Later, this practice passed to other Catholic countries. He died in 596.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Hispanic Christianity

Part V

Saint Hermenegild Martyr:

Feast Day April 13.

Saint Hermenegild was the eldest son of the Arian Visigothic king Leovigild. He married Ingund the daughter of the Frankish king Sigibert a Catholic and through her prayers and example and the influence of the holy bishop of Seville, Saint Leander he was converted to the faith and received into the Church. As a Catholic he took up arms against his father in defense of the Catholics but was captured in 583 by Leovigild’s men who brought him in chains to Toledo. Stripped of his royal garments and dignity by Leovigild he was banished to Valencia. Saint Gregory the Great relates that Leovigild sent an Arian bishop to him on the eve of Easter 585 with the Blessed Sacrament, but upon his refusal to receive communion from the the hands of a heretic, he was beheaded. Reccared the younger son and successor of king Leovigild, and brother to St. Hermenegild was converted to the true Faith through the example and intercession of St Hermenegild, and with him all of the Visigoths.

Saint Hermenegild is invoked against thunderstorms, drought, and inundations. His holy relics are preserved and venerated at Seville.

Hispanic Christianity

Part IV

The Kingdom of the Visigoths.

After the Visigothic sacking of Rome in the year 410 by Alaric the king of the Goths, the great armies of the Visigoths turned towards the Iberian Peninsula. Under Ataulf successor of Alaric these Germanic tribes, who by this time had become semi-assimilated into late classical Roman culture, and who for the most part understood and spoke Latin, and had been converted to Christianity albeit in the form of the Arian heresy, took control and occupied the north-eastern portion of the Roman province of Hispania, the region has ever since been called after them (Gotha-landia or Catalaunia) Catalonia. The Visigoths quickly extended their rule over most of the Peninsula, keeping the Suevians, Germanic peoples who had entered Hispania and settled into much of the Iberian Peninsula, shut up in Galicia, the furthest north-western corner of Hispania. By the year 466 the Visigothic king Euric had put an end to the last remnants of Roman Imperial power in the Peninsula, Euric has be considered by some historians as the first monarch of Spain, though the Suevians still maintained their independence in Galicia. Apart from ending Roman rule over the Iberian Peninsula Euric also noted for being the first king among the Goths to have issued and codified written laws.

The religious differences within the Visigothic kingdom greatly divided the country, touching every part of society, even the royal family. For the most part the original Hispano-Roman inhabitants of the peninsula remained loyal to orthodox Catholicism, while the Visigoths in the majority remained Arians. This division eventually erupted into open civil war. Hermengild, king Leovigild's eldest son, a convert to the Catholic Faith and latter a canonized saint, organized and led an insurrection of the Catholics against his father. Defeated and taken prisoner by his father's forces, he eventually suffered martyrdom for refusing communion from the hands of an Arians bishop.

Recared, the younger son of Leovigild and successor to his throne, added to the political unity already achieved by his father, religious unity by abandoning Arianism and converting to the Catholic Faith at the Third Council of Toledo in 589. The religious unity established throughout the kingdom by Recared's conversion, and the council of 589 itself has been seen as the basis of the fusion of Goths and Hispano-Romans which suddenly gave birth to what is unmistakably Hispanic civilization .

As a result of this union of creed and national identity, Catholicism has become a hallmark of the Hispanic peoples, their culture and self understanding simply cannot not be explained without a constant reference to the Catholic creed. Simply stated, because of the events of 589 to be Hispanic is by a law of strict necessity, and cultural logic, to be Catholic.

The undivided Spanish kingdom of the Goths continued to flourish until the catastrophic Moorish invasion of 711 A.D..

During this period in Spanish history, many very important Church councils were held in Spain. Among the most memorable were: that of Tarragona in 516, at which ten bishops assisted; the First Council of Barcelona in 540, and those of Lérida and Valencia in 546. Most important of all, and of a special character, were the councils of Toledo and of Braga.

Significant also were the great number of saints, and learned men that were produced in this period of Spanish history.

Monday, July 23, 2007

Hispanic Christianity

St. James and the vision of Our Lady of the Pillar

Part III

St. James the Greater
Heavenly Patron of Spain.

Saint James who together with his brother Saint John are referred to in the New Testament as the sons of thunder, was the son of Zebedee, a fisherman and Salome; a relative of the Blessed Mother. He is also called the "Greater" to distinguish him from another of the Lord's apostle by the same name.

Tradition states that St. James the Greater miraculously appeared to fight for the Christian army during the battle of Clavijo at the time of the Spanish Reconquista, and was henceforth called Matamoros that is “Moor-slayer". Santiago y cierra España; "St James and strike for Spain" has been the traditional battle cry of Spanish armies since.

Cervantes says of St. James in his classic novel Don Quixote: “St James the Moor-slayer, one of the most valiant saints and knights the world ever had ... has been given by God to Spain for its patron and protection.

The name "James" in English comes from "Iacobus" (Jacob) in Latin. In eastern Spain, Jacobus became "Jacome" or "Jaime"; in Catalunya, it became Jaume, in western Spain it became "Iago", and Portugal and Galicia it was Tiago. "Saint James" ("Sanctus Jacobus") became "Sant' Iago", which was abbreviated to Santiago, and the Portuguese São Tiago is a cognate.

Hispanic Christianity

Part II

Our Lady of the Pillar:

40 AD - Saragossa, Spain

In 40 AD St. James the Apostles traveled to the village of Saragossa in northeast Spain to preach the gospel. While he was deep in prayer the Blessed Mother appeared to him and gave him a small wooden statue of herself and a column of jasper wood and instructed him to build a church in her honor saying:

"This place is to be my house and this image and column shall be the title and altar of the temple that you shall build."

Today the column and the 15 inch tall, wooden statue of our Lady can be seen at the Basilica of La Virgen del Pilar in Saragossa.

Hispanic Christianity

Part I

Tubal according to Book of Genesis chap. 10 (the Table of Nations), was the name of a son of Japheth, son of Noah.

The Book of Genesis (chap. 10) gives us the descendants of Noah's three sons, Shem, Ham, and Japheth. We are told that the sons of Japheth were Gomer, and Magog, and Madai, and Javan, and Tubal, Meshech, and Tiras.

Many authors, following the Romanized Jewish author Josephus (1st century AD), related the name to Iber. Concerning the question of the ethnic affinity of the population of Tubal, Josephus wrote: "Tobal gave rise to the Thobeles, who are now called Iberes". This version was repeated by Patriarch Eustathius of Antioch, Bishop Theodoret, and others. However, the Welsh historian Nennius stated another tradition that Tubal was ancestor to the Iberians, 'Italians' [i.e., Italic tribes] and 'Spanish' [who were also called Iberians]. Tubal, is also said to be the founder of portuguese city of Setubal.

Basque intellectuals like Poza (16th century) have named Tubal as the ancestor of Basques, and by extension, the Iberians. The French Basque author Augustin Chaho (19th century) published The Legend of Aitor, asserting that the common patriarch of the Basques was Aitor, a descendant of Tubal.

Upon these first strata of population, which may be considered aboriginal, were superimposed the colonists and conquerors. The colonists wereGreeks and Phoenicians; the conquerors, Carthaginians, Romans, Goths, and Arabs.

The Phoenicians, who colonized all the Mediterranean coasts, established a great many colonies, or factories, in the South of Spain — Carteya, Calpe, Malaga, Sexi, and chief of all, Gades (Cádiz), the centre of their power in Spain and their cult of Hercules, which is symbolized on the Gaditanian coins. Soon after the Phoenicians, the Greeks began establishing their colonies, the chief colonizers being the Rhodians at Rosas, south of Cape Creus (910 B.C.), the Phocians, at Emporium (Ampurias, the present name, or Ampurdan, being derived from Emporitanum) and at Artemisium (Denia, from Diana, another name for Artemis), and the Zacynthians, who founded Saguntum and populated Iviza, giving it the name of Ophiusa.

The Carthaginians settled in the Balearic Isles in the seventh century B.C. In the sixth century, having aided the Phoenicians of Cádiz against the Tartesians, they took possession of that city and began trading in Baetica. After the First Punic War they sought to indemnify themselves for their losses in Sicily by conquering Spain. The conquest was begun by Hamilcar Barca, and extended as far as the Ebro; then, too, began that struggle of the Spaniards for independence which was to last until the nineteenth century of the Christian Era. Istolacius and Indortes, the former a Celtic chieftain, the latter chief of certain Celtiberian tribes of the Ebro, raised an army, according to Diodorus Siculus, of 50,000 men; but they were defeated and condemned to death. However, Orison, another Iberian chief, achieved the rout and death of Hamilcar at Elice, or Elche (230). Hasdrubal, the founder of Cartagena, (New Carthage), was assassinated by a slave, and Hannibal, to complete the conquest of Spain, laid siege to Saguntum, which city then immortalized itself by its heroic act of self-destruction. The issue of the Second Punic War caused the Carthaginians to lose Spain, and the Romans succeeded to their mastery of the country.

The Spaniards showed no more docility to the Romans than to the Carthaginians. Indibil and Mandonium commenced that course of resistance which ended only whenSpain had been Romanized.

Under the Roman domination Spain received Christianity. There is a venerable tradition that the Apostles Paul and James came to the country, as well as the Seven Apostolic Men (Torquatus, Ctesiphon, Secundus, Indalecius, Caecilius, Hesychius, and Euphrasius) to whom the foundation of various churches is attributed. Connected with the coming of St. James is the very ancient tradition of Our Lady of the Pillar (la Virgen del Pilar) of Saragossa.

Thursday, July 19, 2007

St. Margaret of Antioch, Virgin and Martyr

St. Margaret of Antioch

The blessed and saintly Margaret, virgin and martyr.
On this day the Holy Church of Christ
draws our attention
to the pearl drawn from the abyss of infidelity,
and recalls that the cross was her weapon and,
like the saintly soldiers who shed their blood for the name of the Savior,
this most blessed of virgins, too, consummated her trial in her blood.

Most holy saint of God we pray you come to our defense
and cast far from us all rebellious spirits
who seek the destruction of our race.

Good and faithful Margaret pray for us.

Sunday, July 15, 2007

Feast of Our Lady of Mount Carmel

Father, May the prayers of the Virgin Mary protect us
and help us to reach Christ Her Son
who lives and reigns with You and the
Holy Spirit,
one God, for ever and ever.


Saturday, July 14, 2007

QUO PRIMUM July 14 1570



Pius Bishop Servant of the Servants of God For a Perpetual Memorial of the Matter

From the very first, upon Our elevation to the chief Apostleship, We gladly turned our mind and energies and directed all out thoughts to those matters which concerned the preservation of a pure liturgy, and We strove with God's help, by every means in our power, to accomplish this purpose. For, besides other decrees of the sacred Council of Trent, there were stipulations for Us to revise and re-edit the sacred books: the Catechism, the Missal and the Breviary. With the Catechism published for the instruction of the faithful, by God's help, and the Breviary thoroughly revised for the worthy praise of God, in order that the Missal and Breviary may be in perfect harmony, as fitting and proper - for its most becoming that there be in the Church only one appropriate manner of reciting the Psalms and only one rite for the celebration of Mass - We deemed it necessary to give our immediate attention to what still remained to be done, viz, the re-editing of the Missal as soon as possible.

Hence, We decided to entrust this work to learned men of our selection. They very carefully collated all their work with the ancient codices in Our Vatican Library and with reliable, preserved or emended codices from elsewhere. Besides this, these men consulted the works of ancient and approved authors concerning the same sacred rites; and thus they have restored the Missal itself to the original form and rite of the holy Fathers. When this work has been gone over numerous times and further emended, after serious study and reflection, We commanded that the finished product be printed and published as soon as possible, so that all might enjoy the fruits of this labor; and thus, priests would know which prayers to use and which rites and ceremonies they were required to observe from now on in the celebration of Masses.

Let all everywhere adopt and observe what has been handed down by the Holy Roman Church, the Mother and Teacher of the other churches, and let Masses not be sung or read according to any other formula than that of this Missal published by Us. This ordinance applies henceforth, now, and forever, throughout all the provinces of the Christian world, to all patriarchs, cathedral churches, collegiate and parish churches, be they secular or religious, both of men and of women - even of military orders - and of churches or chapels without a specific congregation in which conventual Masses are sung aloud in choir or read privately in accord with the rites and customs of the Roman Church. This Missal is to be used by all churches, even by those which in their authorization are made exempt, whether by Apostolic indult, custom, or privilege, or even if by oath or official confirmation of the Holy See, or have their rights and faculties guaranteed to them by any other manner whatsoever.

This new rite alone is to be used unless approval of the practice of saying Mass differently was given at the very time of the institution and confirmation of the church by Apostolic See at least 200 years ago, or unless there has prevailed a custom of a similar kind which has been continuously followed for a period of not less than 200 years, in which most cases We in no wise rescind their above-mentioned prerogative or custom. However, if this Missal, which we have seen fit to publish, be more agreeable to these latter, We grant them permission to celebrate Mass according to its rite, provided they have the consent of their bishop or prelate or of their whole Chapter, everything else to the contrary notwithstanding.

All other of the churches referred to above, however, are hereby denied the use of other missals, which are to be discontinued entirely and absolutely; whereas, by this present Constitution, which will be valid henceforth, now, and forever, We order and enjoin that nothing must be added to Our recently published Missal, nothing omitted from it, nor anything whatsoever be changed within it under the penalty of Our displeasure.

We specifically command each and every patriarch, administrator, and all other persons or whatever ecclesiastical dignity they may be, be they even cardinals of the Holy Roman Church, or possessed of any other rank or pre-eminence, and We order them in virtue of holy obedience to chant or to read the Mass according to the rite and manner and norm herewith laid down by Us and, hereafter, to discontinue and completely discard all other rubrics and rites of other missals, however ancient, which they have customarily followed; and they must not in celebrating Mass presume to introduce any ceremonies or recite any prayers other than those contained in this Missal.

Furthermore, by these presents [this law], in virtue of Our Apostolic authority, We grant and concede in perpetuity that, for the chanting or reading of the Mass in any church whatsoever, this Missal is hereafter to be followed absolutely, without any scruple of conscience or fear of incurring any penalty, judgment, or censure, and may freely and lawfully be used. Nor are superiors, administrators, canons, chaplains, and other secular priests, or religious, of whatever title designated, obliged to celebrate the Mass otherwise than as enjoined by Us. We likewise declare and ordain that no one whosoever is forced or coerced to alter this Missal, and that this present document cannot be revoked or modified, but remain always valid and retain its full force notwithstanding the previous constitutions and decrees of the Holy See, as well as any general or special constitutions or edicts of provincial or synodal councils, and notwithstanding the practice and custom of the aforesaid churches, established by long and immemorial prescription - except, however, if more than two hundred years' standing.

It is Our will, therefore, and by the same authority, We decree that, after We publish this constitution and the edition of the Missal, the priests of the Roman Curia are, after thirty days, obliged to chant or read the Mass according to it; all others south of the Alps, after three months; and those beyond the Alps either within six months or whenever the Missal is available for sale. Wherefore, in order that the Missal be preserved incorrupt throughout the whole world and kept free of flaws and errors, the penalty for nonobservance for printers, whether mediately or immediately subject to Our dominion, and that of the Holy Roman Church, will be the forfeiting of their books and a fine of one hundred gold ducats, payable ipso facto to the Apostolic Treasury. Further, as for those located in other parts of the world, the penalty is excommunication latae sententiae, and such other penalties as may in Our judgment be imposed; and We decree by this law that they must not dare or presume either to print or to publish or to sell, or in any way to accept books of this nature without Our approval and consent, or without the express consent of the Apostolic Commissaries of those places, who will be appointed by Us. Said printer must receive a standard Missal and agree faithfully with it and in no wise vary from the Roman Missal of the large type (secundum magnum impressionem).

Accordingly, since it would be difficult for this present pronouncement to be sent to all parts of the Christian world and simultaneously come to light everywhere, We direct that it be, as usual, posted and published at the doors of the Basilica of the Prince of the Apostles, also at the Apostolic Chancery, and on the street at Campo Flora; furthermore, We direct that printed copies of this same edict signed by a notary public and made official by an ecclesiastical dignitary possess the same indubitable validity everywhere and in every nation, as if Our manuscript were shown there. Therefore, no one whosoever is permitted to alter this notice of Our permission, statute, ordinance, command, precept, grant, indult, declaration, will, decree, and prohibition. Should know that he will incur the wrath of Almighty God and of the Blessed Apostles Peter and Paul.

Given at St. Peter's in the year of the Lord's Incarnation, 1570, on the 14th of July of the Fifth year of Our Pontificate.

[with gratitude to De Fide Catholica]

Friday, July 13, 2007


It is time to bring back the MANIPLE!

The now universal absence of the maniple from modern Catholic worship is, together with the equally absent use of orientation at the Altar and the use of the Latin language, the clearest indication of the rupture that has taken place in the life of the Western Church. The wound inflicted by modernity, by the spirit of rupture was caused not only through ideas but also through the manipulation and abandonment of symbols. To heal the injury suffered through the rupture now 40 years old, with our own history, it is vital, in light of the Holy Father’s efforts to undo what has taken place, that we all make personal attempts at restoration, at setting up once again what has been cast down, of mending what has been broken. The wearing of the maniple once again which was made optional in 1967 and wholly discarded, but not officially forbidden, after the suppression of the Sub-deaconate in 1972 would be such an effort. My brother priests, now is the hour to act. Put on your MANIPLE next time you approach the Altar to celebrate the Holy Sacrifice.

Thursday, July 12, 2007

First of the Americans

Archbishop O'Brian

The Holy See announced this morning that the Holy Father has accepted the resignation of His Eminence William Cardinal Keeler, Archbishop of Baltimore and has named His Grace Archbishop Edwin O’Brien, Archbishop of the Military Archdiocese as the successor of Keeler to the Primatial throne of the United States. O’Brien, a native of the Bronx New York was ordained to the priesthood in 1965, and has in his career been rector of two seminaries; St. Joseph’s in Dunwoody New York, and the North American College in Rome, as well as Archbishop of the 1.2 million strong Archdiocese of the Armed Forces.

Sunday, July 8, 2007

Summorum Pontificum

Up to our own times,
it has been the constant concern of supreme pontiffs
to ensure that the Church of Christ
offers a worthy ritual
to the Divine Majesty

(Motu Proprio Summorum Pntificum of Pope Benedict XVI)

Monday, July 2, 2007

The Church in China

Mother of the Dawn of Grace
intercede for your children in
China and throughout the
whole World.

July 2

His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI in his letter to the Church in China speaks with “particular interest” and “sincere admiration” about the Chinese people, its culture and socio-economic achievements. With great “respect” for its political leaders, he is reassuring about the Church’s mission—which is not to “change the structure or administration of the State” (nº 4) —and is eager for and open to normalizing diplomatic relations. But with equal determination and clarity, he wants a place for the Church in Chinese society “for the good of Chinese Catholics” and “all the inhabitants of the country,” to reawaken its “spiritual energy”. For this reason the Holy Father wants an end to improper interference by the Chinese state in matters regarding the Faith and the internal life of the Church” and calls on the state to guarantee “authentic religious freedom.”

In a loving and open attitude he demands in the name of the Catholic faith the right for the Holy See to appoint its bishops. He calls on underground bishops to seek official government recognition and on official bishops to overcome their fear and publicly acknowledge their ties with the Pope so that bishops and the faithful alike can become reconciled. He especially urges the Chinese Church as a whole to go beyond the defensive mode persecution imposed on it, and try instead evangelizing Chinese society, Asia and the whole world by giving itself the necessary means—bishops’ conference, pastoral councils and diocesan administrations—that the task entails. This will mark as it were the end of the time of emergency, and allow the Church of China to become an integral and active part of the universal communion.

When all is said and done all that the Holy Father desires for China is that China become a truly modern state, subject to the United Nations conventions to which it is a signatory.