Here are some statemens by recent Popes about the necessity of accepting truths taught by the Catholic Church: Once it is established that God has revealed a truth, the answer is "Yes" for everyone in every age; a "Yes" with conviction and cour- age, without doubts or hesitations. Pope John Paul I, Quoted in an article in the "Catholic Standard and Times, Philadelphia Archdiocese, 2-14-86 ______________________________________________________ The faithful must shun the opinion that dogmatic formulas cannot signify truth in a determinate way, but only offer changeable approx- imations to it. Those who hold such an opinion do not escape dog- matic relativism and they corrupt the concept of the Church's infall- ibility concerning truth...Relativism, which justifies everything and treats all things as of equal value, assails the absoluteness of Christian principles. There is no doubt that the meaning of dogmas declared by the Church is determinate and unalterable! Pope Paul VI, Ecclesiam Suam ______________________________________________________ Here is something to condider: The Council of Trent states in the Canons on the Sacraments in general: Denz 853 Canon 10: If anyone shall say that all Christians have power to administer the word and all the sacraments: let him be anathema.
I am posting some articles from "The Remnant" even if they are from back issues. There are things in them that are useful. From the May 15, 1998 issue: (I am not posting the entire article in this case. I am posting the section entitled "Vandals in New England", partly due to the fact that I used to live about 22 miles from the town mentioned in the article, and because I have been inside the church that is mentioned in the article several times. A Letter from London by Michael Davies In April 1997 I received a letter asking for advice from some of the faithful in the Parish of St. Bruno-St. Remi in Van Buren, Maine. Like the people of Car- low, they wished to prevent the vandalization of the sanctuary of their church, which, they assured me, was sublime. As was the case with Carlow, the people were given the impression that the propsed destruction ("renovation") was required by the law of the Church. The faithful in question took the step of purchasing hund- reds of copies of my booklet, The Catholic Sanctuary, and distributing them throughout the parish. I was informed that it had made quite an impact as it proved, contrary to what people had been told, that there is no mandatory legis- lation requiring a single change in a single pre-Vatican II sanctuary in any Catholic church anywhere in the world. Making known our spiritual needs and desires to our spiritual shepherds is a right granted to us in the Dogmatic Constitution on the Church--Lumen Gentium-- of the Second Vatican Council (no. 37) and repeated in the Code of Canon Law (Canon 212): The laity have the right, as do all Christians, to receive in abundance from their sacred pastors the spiritual goods of the Church, especially the assistance of the Word of God and the Sacraments. Every layman should openly reveal to them his needs and desires with that freedom and confidence that befits a son of God and brother in Christ. An individual layman, by reason of the knowledge, competence, or outstanding ability he may enjoy, is permitted to express his opinion on things which concern the good of the Church. Enter Mrs. Powell The temerity of the faithful of the Parish of St. Bruno-St. Remi in openly revealing their needs and desires evoked the wrath of one Ms. Suzanne Proulx Powell, who is the Director of the Office for Worship of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Portland. Ms. Powell is probably a religious sister, but gives no indication of this in her correspondence, which is why I am referring to her by the title of Ms., the title so beloved of militant feminists. There went out an edict from Ms. Powell to Father Joseph Chasse and the members of the parish denouncing the "division" that my booklet had caused concerning the "church renovation project." Far from expressing their needs and desires, the faithful were evidently expected to line up like zombies, and cry out: "Seig heil Ms. Powell, we hear and we obey, and we will not hesitate to pay." As, in her letter that follows, the redoubtable Ms. Powell does not hesitate to psycho-analyze me and explain my hidden motives and desires, I think it only cricket that I should be allowed the same privilege, and to say that I am firmly convinced that, in her heart of hearts, Ms. Powell would have liked to don a pair of jackboots, take a whip and a German Shepherd dog, and deal with the dissenters in a forceful manner. At the request of some parishioners, I responded to Ms. Powell, but alas, she has not had the courtesy to reply to me. I have managed to live with this. A year has now passed since I wrote to her, and as I pointed out that my letter was an open one, I feel quite entitled to share it with the readers of The Remmnant after providing the text of the Powell edict. Epistolae Suzanne Powell ad Van Burenos Office of Worship, Roman Catholic Diocese of Portland 8 April 1997 To: Father Joseph Chasse and members of St. Bruno-St.Remi Parish, Van Buren, Maine Re: The Catholic Sanctuary by Michael Davies After having consulted with the Worship Office of the Archdiocese of Boston and the Federation of Diocesan Liturgical Commissions, I am prepared to make comments upon the book that is being circulated about your community that has caused much division regarding the issues of your church renovation project. A little background is in order. During the 40s and 50s there were a great many British Anglicans who converted to Catholicism because of the attraction of the latin mass. The changes effected by the Second Vatican Council left many of these converts very digruntled at the loss of the latin mass and the removal of the high altars etc. Davies is associated with an ultra-conservative group in England which seeks to restore pre-Vatican II practices. His book, The Catholic Sanctuary, is not an officially approved book and, therefore, cannot be given any serious consideration as a British publication it does not make any direct arguement to the document Envi- ronment and Art in Catholic Worship, which was commissioned by the National Conference of Catholic Bishops and the Bishop's Committee on the Liturgy here in the United States. Davies' book bears a highly personal agenda and is a subjective and angry attack on the Church. I have ordered the book to be sent to your parish entitled Renewint the City of God by Michael DeSanctis, which is an overview of the reform of Church architecture in the United States since 1962, examining its theological foundations in church documents, its roots in European design and its signifacance for the church of the next century. I hope this book will provide some balance in the continuing discussion. In this Easter season of peace and reconciliation, may the spirit of the risen Christ be with you as you move towards this important decision which will affect the future of your parish. Sincerely, Suzanne Proulx Powell Director The gist of Ms. Powell's edict can be well summarized with the words: Suzanna locuta est, causa finita est. My reply to Ms. Powell reads as follows: 22 April 1997 Dear Ms. Powell, I have been sent a copy of your letter to Father Joseph Chasse dated 8 April 1997. I am responding in the form of an open letter, and so what follows will be read by others as well as by you. I am sure that it is not my booklet which has caused division in the parish of St. Bruno- St. Remi, but proposals to destroy the Catholic ethos of the sanctuary. The martyr priests of England and Wales died, inter alia, for objecting to precisely the type of innovation which you favour. It is a novel thought that those who objected to the destruction of the Catholic sanctuaries caused division in the parishes of my country, and not the Protestant altar smashers. In this respect I would suggest you read The Stripping of the Altars by Dr. Eamon Duffy, published by Yale University Press in 1992. It has been praised throughout the English-speaking world as a model of exemplary liturgical scholarship. Although Dr. Duffy's book is concerned with the destruction of Catholic sanctuaries by 16th century Protestant barbarians, his strictures could be applied to the liturgical barbarians who have vandalized Catholic sanctuaries since Vatican II in a manner that is not only NOT mandated by but not even hinted at by the Second Vatican Council. You will, I am sure, be aware of the fact that Msgr. Klaus Gamber was one of the greatest liturgists of this century. He was among the founders of the Liturgical Institute of Ratis- bonne in 1957, and its director until his death on 2 June 1989, at the age of seventy. His book, The Reform of the Roman Liturgy was published in English by Roman Catholic Books, P.O. Box 255, Harrison, New York 10528, in 1993. I would maintain that those who have not read this book can hardly be taken seriously in any discussion of the Catholic sanctuary. Msgr. Gamber's exemplary scholarship prompted the Holy See to name him an honorary Member of the Pontifical Academy of the liturgy: in 1965 he was appointed a Chaplain to the Holy Father, and in 1966 a Private Chamberlain to the Holy father. Cardinal Oddi wrote a preface to the book in which he described its publication as "an event of the highest importance," and it also includes tributes to Msgr. Gamber by Cardinal Stickler and Cardinal Ratzinger. Shortly before the death of Msgr. Gamber, cardinal Ratzinger remarked that he was "the one scholar who, among the army of pseudo-liturgists, truly represents the liturgical thinking of the center of the Church." Msgr. Gamber proves in his book that the sanctuary changes which have followed the Second Vatican council have no basis in the teaching of that Council or, indeed in the entire tradition of the Latin church. He states: A real change in the contemporary perception of the Mass and Eucharist will occur only when the table altars are removed and Mass is again celebrated at the high altar; when the purpose of the Mass is again seen as an act of adoration and glorification of God and of offering thanks for His blessings, for our salvation and for the promise of the heavenly life to come, and as the mystical reenactment of the Lord's sacrifice on the cross (p. 175). Perhaps, dear Ms. Powell, you imagine that your own knowledge of the liturgy exceeds that of Msgr. Gamber and the cardinals who endorsed his book. There is, however, not a word in your letter to suggest that you possesss even a cursory knowledge of the subject. You do not attempt to refute so much as a single sentence of my booklet, but put forward the bizarre theory that no consideration can be given to any book concerning the faith unless it is an officially approved Catholic publication. My bookshelves are crammed with hundreds of books by such authors as Newman, Belloc, Chesterton, Knowles, Hughes and Ross Williamson. They are not officially approved catholic books. Do you suggest that I hire a dumpster and trash them all as unworthy of serioud consideration? Would you have the tem- erity to suggest that the books of Dietrich von Hildebrand, which condemn the type of changes which you evidently approve, are not worthy of serious consideration, simply because they have not been officially approved? Von Hildebrand, the greatest Catholic thinker in the United States since the Second World War, is a spiritual and intellectual giant when set beside the pseudo-liturgists whose motivating instinct is to destroy rather than to build. In this respect, some words of the late Archbishop Dwyer of Portland, Oregon seem apposite: "The barbarians have taken over: the despisers of culture." As regards your second paragraph, you state quite correctly that, prior to Vatican II, many Protestants were attracted to the Church by "the latin mass" (these words should have upper case initial letters). Few if any converts are being attracted by the English Mass, but I will let that pass. Like my ancestors in 16th Century England and Wales, I was indeed disgruntled at the "loss of the latin mass and the removal of the high altars, etc." Any Catholic who is not digruntled at this loss lacks what Dietrich von Hildebrand described as a sensus Catholicus, a sense of being Catholic. This is something which you evidently do not understand, let alone feel. You adopt the ad hominem approach -- standard tactic of those with no case to argue. Davies belongs to an ultra-conservative group (what does "ultra- conservative" mean? ), therefore we can ignore him. I not only belong to the episcopally rec- ognized Latin Mass Society of England and Wales, but I happen to be President of the Inter- national Una Voce Federation, which has affiliates in over twenty countries. Una Voce America may well be the fastest growing Catholic organization in your country. If you would like to learn more about it write to P.O. Box 1159, St. Charles, Missouri 63302-1159. You are evidently implying that anyone who prefers the Latin Mass cannot be taken seriously. I can assure you that our Federation is taken very seriously by the Holy See, and that I am received most graciously by a number of Cardinals during my regular visits to Rome. His Eminence, Cardinal Ratzinger was recently kind enough to send me the following message to pass on to our members: The International Una Voce Federation has played an important role in supporting the use of the 1962 edition of the Roman Missal in obedience to the directives of the Holy See. For this valuable service I express my gratitude to the members of the Federation and extend my blessing. The traditional Latin Mass is now celebrated with episcopal approval all over the United States. You can consult the listing in an excellent traditionalist journal The Latin Mass. I would recommend that you subscribe to it as your knowledge of the liturgy would increase con- siderably if you read it regularly. It appears quarterly and would cost you only $25.95 a year from the Subscription Dept., 1331 Red Cedar Circle, Ft. Collins, CO 80524. I must insist, dear Ms. Powell, that your reference to my affiliation with the Latin Mass movement is a deliberate red herring to distract attention from the content of my booklet. Your implication is that those who prefer the Latin Mass are bad guys, Davies prefers the Latin Mass, and therefore Davies is a bad guy who must be ignored. The issues of the Latin Mass and sanctuary changes are completely distinct. There are many people who are perfectly happy with the English Mass who deplore the desruction of beautiful sanctuaries, often built at the cost of great sacri- fice with the pennies of the poor, including their own parents and grandparents. Such Catholics are often informed that these changes are required by the Second Vatican Council or by current liturgical legislation. This is manifestly untrue and the purpose of my booklet is to make the faithful aware of this. I invite you, dear Ms. Powell (as you are a lady, I can hardly challenge you), to point out any errors in my booklet. ZFraternal correction is enjoined upon us by the Scriptures. What I have written is completely objective, and not subjective as you suggest; its tone is moderate and not angry; and there is not one word in it which could be construed as an attack upon the Church. Nor is it in any way divisive. As I have already mentioned, it is those who wish to destroy our Catholic heritage who cause the division, and not those who respond by seeking to preserve it. My booklet is not, as you suggest, a British publication, but is applicable to the destruction of Catholic sanctuaries anywhere in the world. I did not mention Environment and Art in Catholic worship because, as I hope you will point out to the parishioners of St. Bruno-St. Remi, it has no canonically obligatory force. This was explained last year by Monsignor Frederick R. McManus who occupies, I am sure, a very high place in your list of good guys. In volume 55 of "The Jurist", pp. 349-362, he wrote: The statement (Environment and Art in Catholic Worship) is not, nor does it purport in any way to be, a law or general decree of the conference of bishops, emanating from the NCCB's legislative power; neither is it a general executory decree of that body. Thus it lacks, and there is no suggestion that it has, juridically binding or obligatory force, for which both a two-thirds affirmative vote of the conference's de jure membership and the recognition of the Apostolic See are required. Conservation is very fashionable in contemporary society, and the conservation of beautiful sanc- tuaries should be a cause dear to every Catholic heart. Where beauty and the sacred are concerned we should be conservative, even ultra-conservative. During a recent visit to Rome, I made a point of visiting a large number of churches to see what modifications had been made to the sanctuaries. All those that I visited have been preserved exactly as they were before the Council, and are considered a sacred heritage to be passed on to future generations. If sanctuaries should be modified, then the Holy Father is very remiss. Apart from being the Vicar of Christ he is Bishop of Rome with ordinary jurisdiction over this diocese, and he is hardly setting a good example to the rest of the Church by leaving Roman sanctuaries intact if the legislation of the Church requires them to be changed. As I mentioned in my booklet, Cardinal Ratzinger has assured me personally that no legislation mandating sanctuary changes exists. The one paragraph in your letter with which I agree wholeheartedly is the final one. It would indeed be wonderful if peace and reconciliation could be brought to the Parish of St. Bruno-St. Remi by abandoning the divisive plan to destroy the Catholic ethos of its sanctuary. I will conclude by asking you to respond to my booklet in a courteous and Christian manner by pointing out to me any errors in fact and interpretation that you can find, rather than by using ad hominem tactics of the less scrupulous type of politician. The fact that I may prefer the Latin to the English Mass, the Packers to the Patriots, or Jack Daniel's to Pepsi, has no bearing whatsoever on the validity of my booklet. It must be judged purely upon whether what it states is true. Surely, to a Catholic, the truth is what matters? I remain, dear Ms. Powell, yours sincerely, Michael Davies.
This article has some interesting facts that relate to Papal or other documents coming from the Vatican. From The Remnant, March 31, 1998: A LETTER FROM LONDON by Michael Davies A Welcome Statement Archbishop Medina Estevez, Prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Sacraments, one of the newly appointed cardinals, made a very positive statement in an interview with the Chilean journal El Mercurio of 25 January 1998. He was asked what his reaction to the claim that the liturgy has not been modernized sufficiently. His Emin- ence rejected this assertion forcefully and cited the example of the Orthodox Churches, which have not changed their liturgies in any way, and yet their liturgies remain a spiritual force absolutely central to the life of these churches. The next question put to him was: "Others think that the decrease of faith is due precisely to the contrary, that the changes promoted (promovidos) by the Second Vatican Council alienated the faithful from going to church and from doctrine." The Cardinal's response reads: "There are persons who have a very great sensibility (sensibilidad) towards the liturgy as it was celebrated before the Second Vatican Council. Church authority understands this sensibility and welcomes (acoge) the desires of those persons and groups and authorizes them to celebrate the divine cult (concediendoles celebrar el culto de Dios) in accordance with the rite which existed before the aforement- ioned council, with the permission of the bishop of the diocese. In the Church there have always coexisted and coexist different liturg- ical families, all of them being wholly Catholic." When I had the privilege of meeting the Cardinal in November last year he assured me that the first question that he puts to visiting bishops is whether they allow the celebration of the Traditional Mass. The answer that a good number of American bishops would be bound to give is that they do not. It is hard to understand how a bishop who refuses a request for Mass according to the 1962 Missal can claim to be loyal to the Pope, in view of the fact that in his Motu Proprio "Ecclesia Dei" the Holy Father, addressing himself "to all those Catholic faithful who feel attached to some previuos liturgical and disciplinary forms of the Latin tradition," expressed his will to "guarantee respect for their rightful aspirations" (no. 5. c.) In order to provide for these rightful aspirations, he established the Pontifical Commission Ecclesia Dei and indicated his mind with regard to its primary task by stating that "respect must everywhere be shown for the feelings of all those who are attached to the Latin liturgical tradition, by a wide and generous application of the directives al- ready issued some time ago by the Apostolic See for the use of the Roman Missal according to the typical edition." (no. 6. c.) Cardinal Mayer, in a letter to the American bishops dated 20 March 1991, en- coraged them "to facilitate the proper and reverent celebration of the liturgical rites according to the Roman Missal of 1962 wherever there is a genuine desire for this on the part of the faithful." Episcopal Disloyalty There are not only bishops who refuse to do what the Holy Father asks them to do, but bishops who continue doing what the Holy Father mani- festly does not want them to do. Most of the documents that come from the Roman Curia include a statement that they have been approved by the Pope, but in the vast majority of cases this does not signify that he has even glanced so much as at the document (sic). This is because the vast majority of documents have received only that form of papal approval known as approval in FORMA COMMUNI. Such documents carry only the authority of the congregation which published them. They are not what is known as a "papal act," coming to us with the full authority of the Holy Father himself. Almost the entire plethora of documents concerned with the liturgical reform, which many bishops treat with the reverence due to the Scriptures themselves, come into this non- papal category. Documents which come with the authority of the Pope himself have received what is known as approval in FORMA SPECIFICA. The special approbation is granted only after the Holy Father has given the matter his close personal attention in every aspect, and possibly made changes in the text submitted to him. The Motu Proprio "Ecclesia Dei" comes into this category, as does the Instruction on Certain Questions Concerning the Collaboration of the Lay Faithful in the Ministry of Priests. The Supreme Pontiff, in Audience of the 13th August 1997, approved in FORMA SPECIFICA this present Instruction and ordered its promulgation. In what, to the best of my knowledge, is a completely unprecedented action, the document was endorsed by the heads of eight Roman Congregations and Pontifical Councils, including those for the Doctrine of the Faith (Cardinal Ratzinger), Divine Wor- ship and the Discipline of the Sacraments (Cardinal Medina Estevez), and the Congregations for Bishops, the Clergy, the Laity. No bishop who disobeys this instruction can claim to be in de facto communion with the Holy See. Such bishops belong to an American Church seperate from Rome. In the November 1991 issue of the Homiletic & Pastoral Review, Father Kenneth Baker wrote: "With each year it seems that we get closer to an "American Church" seperate from Rome. For millions of Catholics it already exists in fact, though not yet officially (De facto but not De jure). Even though the entrenched bureaucracy will not admit it, the Church here is in bad shape. There has been a loss of morale and elan. But what should one expect when most Catholic children do not know the basics of the faith, when heresy is openly taught and defended in "Catholic" universities, when seminarians have declined from 48,000 to about 5,000, and when only 14 million out of 55 million Catholics go to Church regularly on Sunday? It is not an exaggeration to say that the Church here is in a crisis." The Vatica Instruction lists a series of "abuses and transgressions" which are, alas, routine practice throughout the English-speaking world. These practices "have had very serious negative consequences and have caused the correct understanding of ecclesial communion to be damaged." The most serious of these negative consequences is a blurring of the distinction between the ordained priesthood and the common priesthood of all the faithful. "Only the Sacrament of Orders gives the ordained minister a particular participation in the office of Christ the Shepherd and Head in His Eternal Priesthood...The ordai- ned priesthood is absolutely irreplaceable." The Instruction requires that: Lay people (a euphemistic description for feminist nuns) may never be designated as pastors, chaplains, coordinators, and moderat- ors for Catholic congregations. The use of anysuch titles is unlawful; lay people are never permitted to participate as members of presbyt- eral councils; no one but an ordained Catholic priest may deliver the homily at Mass; the non-ordained faithful may never join the priest at the altar or recite any part of the liturgy pertaining to the cele- brating priest; extraordinary ministers of Holy Communion may only be used in extraordinary circumstances, i.e., when the celebrant is truly unable to distribute Holy Communion to a large congregation due to age or infirmity; they may never receive Holy Communion apart from the rest of the faithful as if they were concelebrants; lay people never wear priestly vestments; Sunday celebrations in the absence of a pri- est are only a temporary solution for the absence of a priest and do not fulfill the Sunday obligation. It is obvious that, in view of this Instruction, the use of extraord- inary ministers at weekday Masses always constitutes straightforward disobedience to the Holy Father, and it will be found that in many if not most cases, where a bishop ignores the wishes of the Pope concern- ing the use of the 1962 Missal, he also ignores the requirements of this Instruction. A Conservative Protest It would be naive in the extreme to imagine that because Rome has spoken, the abuses will cease, and it would be unrealistic to absolve Rome from blame in this state of affairs. Liberals have long known they can ignore Rome with impunity, and that if they do so long enough they can rely on Rome legalizing abuses. This has been the case in such instances as Communion in the hand, Communion under both kinds on Sundays, and altar girls. The first two cases are fully documented in my booklets A Privelege of the Ordained Communion under Both Kinds av- ailable from The Remnant for 5.00, postage included. Until the surren- der on altar girls conservative Catholics tended to grin and bear it each time that what had once been an abuse was transformed into an approved practice. The altar girl debacle evoked strong protests from such journals as the Wanderer which has hitherto followed a policy in which Rome could not be criticized. It was encouraging to see such journals catch up with The Remnant, and it has been even more encoura- ging to see that it has continued. An editorial on the Instruction under discussion in the February edition of Father Fessio's The Catho- lic World Report (CWR) was as severe upon the Vatican as anything that has ever appeared in The Remnant. The title of the editorial was "One More Document" and the sub-title: "If Church discipline is never en- forced, how much do formal statements matter?" Identical sentiments were expressed by Father Kenneth Baker a few years ago when he expres- sed the opinion that we need fewer documents and more enforcement from Rome. CWR notes that the Instruction was released in November, and continues: "What has happened since that time? As we survey the Cath- olic scene, we see no change whatsoever. In parishes where those abu- ses occured last year, they are still continuing today. Just, for example, take the use of lay Eucharistic ministers-perhaps the least serious of the offenses listed above, but certainly the most widespread. The Church has made it clear that lay people should dis- tribute the Eucharist only under "extraordinary" circumstances. Yet that practice was ubiquitous before the latest Vatican statement, and it remains ubiquitous today. It would be one thing to say that we could find parishes where the abuse was routine; in fact, we have trouble finding parishes where it is not routine. CWR notes that these abuses have been condemned before, that they will be condemned again, and that the condemnations have no practical effect, and then, with masterly irony, notes that bishops do not al- ways ignore documents coming from Rome: "It was not always thus. Less than four years ago, a novel interpretation of an obscure passage in Canon Law opened the door for female altar servers, and within a mat- ter of days, thousands of adolescent Catholic girls were being meas- ured for cassocks. So evidently parishes can adapt quickly to the lat- est liturgical directives-when they want to." CWR compares the present situation most pertinently to an ordinary household in which the children misbehave, and asks what the consequ- ences would be if the father merely issued a statement of policy, "... and then when they ignore his words, another new statement in response to each repeated transgression?" Readers who live in parishes where the rules governing the use of ex- traordinary ministers are being flouted (almost every parish, as CWR pointed out)should write first to the pastor, then to the bishop, and then to the Apostolic Delegate to the United States, and then to the Pope. Their letters should refer to the Instruction and deal with this one issue only. Many readers will no doubt claim that this would sim- ply be a waste of time and postage stamps. This would probably be the case if our only consideration is that the abuse will be curtailed. It is not a waste of time from the standpoint of our duty as Catholics to do whatever we can to uphold the good of the Church, and alas, we can do no more than protest. I am, at present, completing a short biogra- phy of St. John Fisher. The point was made to him that nothing he said or did could prevent Henry VIII from marrying Ann Boleyn and making himself Supreme Head of the Church in England. The fact that he was the only bishop making the stand that he had taken was pointed out to him by other bishops. St. Thomas More had the same arguements put to him. The two great saints took the stand that they did because they knew that it was right. Those who have read my book on the Vendee may recollect that it concludes with some words of the Vendean General Bonchamps which summarize the spirit that animated the heroes of the Vendee and should inspire every Catholic who loves the faith to emu- late them: "I have not succeeded in restoring the altars and the thr- one, but I have at least defended them." THIS PAGE UPDATED ON JANUARY 6, 1999.
From the Autumn, 1993 Crying in the Wilderness Newsletter. (This is not the one that is done by Brother Michael Dimond.) In his 1931 essay on "The New Paganism", the great Catholic historian Hilaire Belloc warned of the post-Christian Paganism that was to come. This newsletter will not treat of the entire essay, but for the purp- ose of the subject at hand, it is necessary to point out the central aspect of it: the old paganism had deep respect for tradition, the new post-Christian paganism has a revolutionary contempt for tradition. Belloc said: "The old paganism was profoundly traditional; indeed it had no roots except in tradition. Deep reverence for its own past and for the wisdom of its ancestry and the pride therein were the very soul of the Old Paganism; that is why it formed so solid a foundation on which to build the Catholic Church, and that is also why it offered so long a determined resistence to the growth of the Catholic Church. But the New Paganism has for its very essence contempt for tradition and contempt for ancestry. It respects perhaps nothing, but least of all does it respect the spirit of 'Our Fathers have told us.'" Our Fathers Have Told Us!" Throughout the centuries, our Fathers have told us about our Faith and about the Blessed Sacrament. Our Fathers have told us that the Holy Eucharist is truly the Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity of Jesus Christ. The Fathers of the Council of Trent defined the Blesed Sacra- ment with precision and care. Father Thomas Aquinas taught us that out of reverence toward this Sacrament, the touching and administering of this Sacrament belong only to the priest. Out Catholic fathers at home, as well as our teaching sisters in school told us that it was sacreligious for anyone but the priest to touch the Sacred Host. Throughout the centuries, the popes, bishops, and priests taught us this same thing, not so much by words, but by example - and especially by the celebration of the Old Latin Mass, where profound reverence for the Blessed Sacrament as the true Body of Christ was in every move the priest made. Our Fathers told us these things not just for the sake of handing down a venerable but groundless tradition, they have told us these things through word and example to show fidelity to the Catholic Faith and reverence toward the Blessed Sacrament. Our Fathers tols us this because it was the the truth. But the introduction of Communion in the hand and lay ministers of the Eucharist shows an arrogant disregard for what our Fathers taught us. And though these practices have been introduced under the guise of being an "authentic" liturgical development mandated by Vatican II, the truth is Communion in the hand IS NOT an authentic liturgical development, WAS NOT mandated by the Second Vatican Council, and shows complete defiance and contempt for centuries of catholic teaching and practice before us, thus resembling the philosophy of the New Paganism and the philosophy of revolution. Communion in the hand was introduced under a false ecumenism, allowed to grow due to weakness in authority, approved through compromise and a false sense of toleration, and has led to profound irreverence and indifference toward the Blessed Sacrament as the liturgical order of our day and the disgrace of our age. Nowhere Mentioned in Vatica II Communion in the hand is not mentioned in a single document of the Second Vatican Council, nor was it mentioned during any of the debates during the Council. In all sixteen documents of Vatican II, there is no mention of Communion in the hand. Before the Second Vatican Council, there is no historic record of bishops, priests or laity petitioning anyone for the introduction of Communion in the hand. Quite the contrary, anyone who was raised in the pre-Vatican II Church will distinctly remember being taught that it was sacreligious for anyone but the priest to touch the Sacred Host. The teaching of St. Thomas Aquinas, in his great Summa Theologica bears this out. He explains: "The dispensing of Christ's Body belongs to the priest for three reasons. First, because he consecrates in the person of Christ. But as Christ consecrated His Body at the (Last) Supper, so also He gave It to others to be partaken of by them. Accor- dingly, as the consecration of Christ's Body belongs to the priest, so likewise does the dispensing belong to him. Second, because the priest is the appointed intermediary between God and the people, hence as it belongs to him to offer the people's gifts to God, so it belongs to him to deliver the consecrated gifts to the people. Third, because out of reverence for this Sacrament, nothing touches It but what is conse- crated, and likewise the priest's hands for touching this Sacrament. Hence, it is not lawful for anyone else to touch It, except from nec- essity, for instance, if It were to fall upon the ground or else in some other case of urgency." (ST, III, Q.82, Art.13) St. Thomas, who is the prince of theologians in the Catholic Church, who towersd above all the rest, whose Summa Theologica was placed on the altar next to the Scriptures during the Council of Trent, and whose teaching St. Pius X said was THE REMEDY for Modernism...St. Tho- mas clearly teaches that it belongs to the priest and only to the priest to touch and administer the Sacred Host, that "only that which is consecrated" (the hands of the priest) "should touch the Consecra- ted" (the Sacred Host). Practiced in Early Church Communion-in-the-hand was practiced in the ancient Church. But even back then, men could receive the Eucharist in their hand, but women could not receive in their bare hands, but had to cover them with a cloth called a DOMINICAL. In the fourth century, St. Cyril of Jerusalem warned the faithful that they must receive the Blessed Sacrament with utmost reverence and care. He said: "Partake of it, ensuring that you do not mislay any of it, for if you mislay any, you would clearly suffer a loss, as it were, from one of your own limbs. Tell me, if anyone gave you gold- dust, would you not take hold of it with every possible care, ensur- ing that you did not mislay any of it or sustain any loss? So will you not be much more cautious to ensure that not a crumb falls away from that which is more precious than gold or precious stones?" It is obvious from this statement that in the fourth century, when our Church was still in its growing stages, though the practice was permitted, the great St. Cyril, Father and Doctor of the Church, was warning the faithful that they must receive the Blessed Sacrament with the utmost reverence. As time went on, and as reverence and understanding of the true nat- ure of the Blessed Sacrament grew and was perfected through the guid- ance of the Holy Ghost, the practice of placing the Host on the comm- unicant's tongue became more and more widespread, so there would not be the remotest chance that the slightest particle would fall to the ground and be desecrated. Communion in the hand was condemned as an abuse at the Synod of Rouen in the year 650, so it can be said with reasonable certainty that due to the desire for greater reverence, and as a safeguard against des- ecration, receiving on the tongue was the norm. The Roman Ordo of the ninth century accepts Communion on the tongue as the normal practice, and by the 13th century, there is the quotation of St. Thomas Aquinas teaching that nothingis to touch the Sacred Host but the consecrated hands of the priest. Revernce Toward Eucharist INCORPORATED into the Old Mass The teaching that only the priests may touch the Sacred Host, that the priest's hands are consecrated for this purpose, and that no pre- caution was too great to safeguard reverence and prevent desecration had been incorporated in the Liturgy of the Church; that is THE OLD LATIN MASS. Priests were trained in the Old Latin Mass to celebrate Mass with precise rubrics that safeguarded the reverence the Blessed Sacrament deserves. The meticulous rubrics were carved in stone and were not optional. Each and every priest in the Roman Rite had to follow them with unyielding precision. In the pre-Vatican II Church, when the Latin Tridentine Mass was the norm, men training to be priests were not only taught, but DRILLED in these rubrics. Some of the rubrics in the Old Latin Mass are as follows: *From the moment that the words of consecration over the Sacred Host are uttered by the priest, he keeps his forefinger and thumb together, and whether he elevates the chalice, turns the pages of the missal or opens the tabernacle, his thumb and forefinger touch nothing but the Sacred Host. It is also worth noting that there was no leaving the Sacred host up on the altar to walk up and down the aisles (especially before his fingers have been purified) shaking people's hands in an awkward display of forced friendliness. *At the end of Mass, the priest scrapes the corporal with the paten, and cleans it into the chalice so that if the slightest particle was left, it would be collected and reverently consumed. *The priests hands are washed into the chalice after Communion time with water and wine which is reverently consumed, to insure that the slightest particle is not susceptible to desecration. These are only some of the rubrics incorporated into the Old Mass. They were not just silly scruples, but showed the Church believed with certainty that at Mass, the bread and wine become the Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity of Jesus Christ, and that no pains were too great to make sure that our Lord in the Blessed Sacrament was treated with all the reverence and homage that His Majesty deserves. Now, when it comes to showing reverence, is it possible for these rubrics to be improved upon? A TRUE Catholic renewal would either leave these gestures of reverence intact, or enhance them. But oblit- erating these without apology and without convincing argument, as has been the case over the last 25 years with the introduction of the New Mass, is not the mark of genuine Catholic renewal, but resembles the New Paganism warned of by Belloc in its arrogant contempt for tradit- ion. And to add insult to injury, the introduction of Communion in the hand makes all these crucial pre-Vatican IIrubrics look like super- stitious sentimentalism with no foundation in reality - again CONTEMPT for what our Fathers taught us. How did Today's Communion in the Hand Come About? 400 years ago, Communion in the hand was reintroduced into "Christ- ian" worship by men whose motives were rooted in defiance of Catholic- ism. The 16th century Protestant revolutionaries(more politely but undeservedly called Protestant "reformers")re-established Communion in the hand as ameans of showing two things: 1) That they believed there was no such thing as "transubstantiation" and that the bread used at Communion time was just ordinary bread. In other words, the real Presence of Christ in the Eucharist is just a "Papist superstition", and that the bread is just bread and anybody can handle it. 2) Their belief that the minister of Communion is no different in ess- ence from laymen. Now, it is Catholic teaching that the Sacrament of Holy Orders gives a man a spiritual, sacramental power, it imprints an indellible mark on his soul and makes him different in essence from laymen. The Protestant Minister, however, is just an ordinary man who leads the hymns, reads the lessons and gives sermons to stir up the convictions of the believers. He can't change bread and wine into the Body and Blood of Our Lord, he can't bless, he can't forgive sins. He can't DO anything a normal layman can't do. He is not a vehicle for sacramental grace. THE PROTESTANT'S RE-ESTABLISHMENT OF COMMUNION IN THE HAND WAS THEIR WAY OF SHOWING THEIR REJECTION OF BELIEF IN THE REAL PRESENCE OF CHRIST IN THE EUCHARIST, REJECTION OF THE SACRAMENTAL PRIESTHOOD - IN SHORT, TO SHOW THEIR REJECTION OF CATHOLICISM ALTOGETHER. From that point on, Communion in the hand received a distinctly anti-Catholic significance. It was a recognizably anti-Catholic prac- tice rooted in disbelief in the Real Presence of Christ and the prie- sthood. So, if imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, it is not unfair to ask why are our modern Churchmen imitating self-proclaimed infidels who reject core sacramental teaching of Catholicism? This is a question that those Churchmenintoxicated by the liberal spirit of Vatican II have yet to answer satisfactorily. Thanks to Ecumenism... Though communion in the hand was not mandated by the Second Vatican Council, what WAS "canonized" by Vatican II was "Ecumenism" - this false spirit of counterfeit unity that had been previously condemned by the Church, particularly by Pope Pius XI in his 1926 encyclical Mortalium Animos - this movement of Catholics becoming more buddy- buddy and huggy-huggy with other religions, and especially with Prot- estants. This movement that supposedly plays up those things we have in common with other creeds, and hush-hushes those things that divide us. To celebrate our shared "values". ("Values" is a subjective term you won't find in pre-Vatican II theology manuals). No longer do we try to convert non-Catholics, instead we engage in useless and endless "dialogue" in which Catholicism always comes out the loser, because such dialogue gives the unmistakable impression that Catholicism no longer believes it is the sole possessor of theological truth. Though Ecumenism will not be treated within this newsletter (see Crying in the Wilderness Newsletter's "Modern Ecumenism is a Fraud" for fuller treatment), suffice it to say that this novel ecumenical spirit which Dietrich von Hildebrand called "ECUMANIA" became rampant during and after Vatican II. The ecumenical spirit became the primary formative principle in the whole range of the new liturgical forms established since the Council. This is why the new liturgy so closely resembles a Protestant service. The Ecumenical Monkey-See, Monkey-Do After Vatican II, some ecumenically minded priests in Holland started giving Communion in the hand, in a monkey-see, monkey-do imitation of Protestant practice. But the bishops, rather than do their duty and condemn the abuse, TOLERATED it. Because Church leaders allowed the abuse to go unchecked, the practice then spread to Germany, Belgium and France. But if the bishops seemed indifferent to this scandal, the laity were outraged. It was the indignation of large numbers of the faithful which prompted Pope Paul VI to take some action. He polled the bishops of the world on this issue, and they voted overwhelmingly to RETAIN the traditional practice of receiving Holy Communion only on the tongue. And it must be noted that at this time, the abuse was limited to a few European countries. It had not yoet started in the United States. "Memoriale Domini" The Pope then promulgated the May 28, 1969 Instruction MEMORIALE DOM- INI. In summary, the document states: 1)The bishops of the world were overwhelmingly AGAINST Communion in the hand. 2)"This manner of distributing Holy Communion(that is, the priest placing the Host on the tongue of the communicants)must be observed." 3)Communion on the tongue in no way detracts from the dignity of the communicant. 4)There was a warning that "any innovation could lead to irreverence and profanation of the Eucharist, as well as gradual erosion of corr- ect doctrine. The document further says "the Supreme Pontiff judged that the long received manner of ministering Holy Communion to the faithful should not be changed. The Apostolic See therefore strongly urges bishops, priests and people to observe zealously this law." A Simultaneous Red Light and Green Light It must be asked, then, if this instruction is on the books, why is Communion in the hand so prevelant? An illustration can be given by the story of the Canadian bishops' response to Humanae Vitae. Humanae Vitae rightly reaffirmed the Church's teaching against contraception. But when Humanae Vitae was issued, there was a tidal wave of scandal- ous opposition from Catholic priests and Ph.D.'s. The Canadian bish- ops wrote a pastoral letter supposedly IN SUPPORT OF HUMANAE VITAE, but within that document the bishops used the curious phrase "norms for licit dissent". Now this phrase gives the impression that there COULD be room for Catholics to legitimately reject Humanae Vitae. So, whether they realized it or not, the bishops sabotaged their own pas- toral, by giving a simultaneous red light and green light to reject- ion of the Papal Encyclical. When vast numbers of Catholics, then, re- jected Humanae Vitae based on the Canadian bishops' compromise, it was hardly surprising. Even the most ordinary parents are smart enough not to give their children the option to accept or reject parental comman- ds. To do so would be a clear sign of weak and vacilating leadership. But unfortunately, this is precisely what happened with the supposedly anti-Communion in the hand document of 1969. Now, this was the age of compromise, and the document contained the seed of its own destruction, because the Instruction went on to say that where the abuse had already become firmly established, it could be legalized by a two-thirds majority in a secret ballot of the natio- nal bishops conference(providing the Holy See confirmed their decis- ion.)This played right into the liberal's hands. And it must be not- iced, the Instruction said "where the abuse had already become firmly established." So, countries in which the practice had not developed were obviously excluded from the concession - and all English-speaking countries, INCLUDING THE UNITED STATES fell into this category. Naturally, liberal clergy in other countries(including ours)concluded that if this rebellion could be legalized in Holland, it could be leg- alized anywhere. They figured if they ignored Memoriale Domini and defied the liturgical law of the Church, this rebellion would not only be tolerated, but eventually legalized. THIS IS EXACTLY WHAT HAPPENED, AND THIS IS WHY WE HAVE COMMUNION IN THE HAND TODAY. Started in Defiance, Perpetuated by Deception Not only was Communion in the hand started in disobedience, it was perpetuated by deceit. Space doesn't allow all the details, but the propoganda in the 70's that was used to SELL Communion in the hand to a trusting, vulnerable people was a campaign of calculated half-truths that didn't tell the whole story. A quick example will be found in the writings of a Msgr. Champlin. His writings: give the reader the false impression that Vatican II provided a man- date for the abuse when, in fact, it is not hinted at in any Council documents. *does not tell the reader that the practice was started by clergymen in defiance of established liturgical law but makes it sound as if it were a request from the laity. *does not make clear to the reader that the world's bishops, when polled, voted overwhelmingly AGAINST Communion in the hand. *does not mention that permission was only to be a TOLERATION of the abuse WHERE IT HAD ALREADY BEEN ESTABLISHED BY 1969. It was not a green light for it to spread to other countries, like the United States. Not "Optional" for the Clergy! Now we are at the point where Communion in the hand is viewed as a SUPERIOR way of receiving the Eucharist and the vast majority of our little children are being misinstructed to receive First Communion in the hand. The faithful are told that it is an optional practice, and if they don't like it, they can receive on the tongue. THE TRAGEDY OF IT ALL IS, IF IT IS OPTIONAL FOR THE LAITY, IT IS NOT OPTIONAL FOR THE CLERGY. Priests are clearly instructed that they MUST administer Communion in the hand, whether they like it or not, to anyone who re- quests it, thereby throwing many good priests into an agonizing crisis of conscience. After the Second Vatican Council, a very wise Archbishop shrewdly ob- served the THE MASTERSTROKE OF SATAN WAS TO SOW DISOBEDIENCE TO CATHOLIC TRADITION THROUGH OBEDIENCE. It is therefore obvious that NO PRIEST CAN BE LAWFULLY FORCED TO ADMINISTER COMMUNION IN THE HAND, and we must pray that more priests will have the courage to safeguard the reverence due to this Sacrament, and not be trapped into a false obed- ience that causes them to co-operate in the degradation of Christ in the Eucharist. They must find the courage for opposing this novel pr- actice by remembering that even Pope Paul VI, despite his weaknesses, correctly predicted that Communion in the hand would lead to irrever- ence, and profanation of the Eucharist, and a gradual erosion of cor- rect doctrine - and we have seen this prophecy come to pass. AND, if the priest's opposition to Communion in the hand should be fierce and firm, their opposition to "Extraordinary Ministers" should be even more adament. "EXTRAORDINARY MINISTERS" In his best-selling book, "The Last Roman Catholic?",James W. Demers said "Of those responsible for the lack of beauty in the Church, no one is more culpable than today's lay ministers. The mindless behavior of this superficially trained laity brings to the sanctuary a pompos- ity that is both embarassing and saddening to watch." Lay people giving out Holy Communion during Mass was rightly consid- ered an unthinkable act of sacrilege and irreverence only 30 years ago, and for centuries preceding. But now, lay people administering the Blessed Sacrament is an ordinary sight in the average Novus Ordo parish Church, and most Catholics think nothing of it - proving that men can become desensitized to desecration. It seems like they camr from nowhere. All of a sudden, there they were! And where they were, they were for keeps! But if you think about it, there were some necessary steps that we sat in the pew and watched develop that laid the foundation for this plague of unconsecrated hands commisioned pastors to degrade the Eucharist, usurp the duty of those in Holy Orders, undermine the priesthood, and rob the the altar of God of its sacred rights. Bishop Sheen once wrote that both men and women are slaves to fash- ion, but with this difference...he said if women are slaves to fash- ions of clothing, men are slaves to fashions of thought. And the fad and fashion that was the pride and joy of many post-Vatican II Church- men, in the name of making the Church more "relevant" was this idea of lay-involvement in the liturgy. Lay people started reading the Epistle, and the new responsorial psalms. They conducted the tedious "Let us pray to the Lord-Lord hear our prayer" "Prayers of the Faithful", and even greeted us over the microphone before Mass-wishing us "good morning", telling us what hymns we'll be singing and what Eucharistic Prayer Father fancies today. The sanctuary became a stage, and a weekly one-man-monologue would no longer do. The bigger the cast, the better, and the gripping drama of the Mass became an amateur show. The priest, a man who has been call- ed by God and who had been specially trained in the study and dispen- sing of the sacred mysteries had to step aside, either willingly or reluctantly, to allow unqualified, out-of-place, part-time dabblers to trespass and profane HIS sacred domain of sanctuary and altar. But lay-readers within the New Mass was not the only necessary step. Lay ministers of the Blessed Sacrament would not have been possible without the revolution in rubrics that preceded it: the practice and widespread acceptance of lay-people receiving the Holy Eucharist in their palms. The office of Eucharistic minister is therefore the il- legitimate offspring from the union of the New Liturgy's "lay involve- ment" and Commununion in the hand living together in the modern Church. It is the love-child of the 60's revolution. Everybody's on on the Act! You can be sure there were many Catholics willing to become part of this "lay-elite" who distribute Holy COmmunion, but there were also Catholics whose good Catholic sense was initially opposed to this practice, but who eventually allowed themselves to be talked into by persuasive clergymen, and the biggest ploy used by modern clergy was to resort to flattery...to take good Catholic men and women and say "You're a good parish member, an exemplary Christian, a good father or mother, so we want to bestow upon you the 'honor' of being a "Euch- aristic minister." So what have they done? They've taken the distribution of Christ's body, something so sacred that it belongs to the priest alone and tur- ned it into a childish reward for good behavior: like a merit badge that would be given to a cub-scout for swimming a mile or building a wigwam, or like a star that would be placed on the forehead of a third-grade girl because she's the only one in the class who could correctly spell "Czechoslovakia". It's been disguised as a reward that the good and humble in the par- ish accept reluctantly, and then get used to. Or it's a position that the proud and pompous lust after, thereby showing themselves incapable of recognizing a false and petty prestige. "Extraordinary Minister" or "Eucharistic Minister"? The term "lay minister" and "Eucharistic minister" have been used rather loosely up until this point, because this is the terminology often found in parish bulletins. In actuality, there is no such term- inology as "Eucharistic minister", the proper term is "Extraordinary minister". When it comes to the sacraments, "extaordinary minister" is classic terminology. For example, the "ordinary minister" of Confirmation in the Roman Rite is the Bishop, and the "extraordinary minister" is the priest, specially delegated by the bishop in extraordinary circumstan- ces. So, if words mean anything, as Michael Davies pointed out, AN EXTRAORDINARY MINISTER SHOULD BE AN EXTRAORDINARY SIGHT. Not only should we rarely see one, but there should be many Catholics who go through their entire life without once seeing an an extraordinary min- ister. But today, there's nothing extraordinary about extraordinary ministers. They are as ordinary and as part'n'parcel of the modern Church as missalettes and collection baskets. This is clearly a calc- ulated abuse of classic Catholic terminology used to introduce a nov- elty into the New Mass that has no foundation in Church History or Catholic practice. "Immensae Caritatis" On January 29, 1973, an Instruction was issued by the Sacred Congreg- ation for Divine Worship that authorized the introduction of Extraord- inary Ministers of the Eucharist called Immensae Caritatis. This doc- ument does not grant some revolutionary indult for any and every par- ish to permit lay-people to administer Communion, it authorizes the use of extraordinary ministers in "Cases of genuine necessity" which are listed as: *when there is no priest, deacon, or acolyte *when these are prevented from administering because of another pasto- ral ministry or because of ill health or advanced age. *when the number of the faithful requesting Holy Communion is such that the celebration of the Mass or distribution of the Eucharist out- side Mass would be unduly prolonged." The Instruction stipulates that: "Since these faculties are granted only for the spiritual good of the faithful and for cases of genuine necessity, priests are to remember that they are not thereby excused from the task of distributing the Eucharist to the faithful who leg- itimately request it, and especially from taking it anf giving it to the sick." First of all, it is not an act of disloyalty or disobedience to ques- tion the wisdom of the document in the first place, particularly when this permission is a revolution against all the pre-Vatican II rubrics that existed for centuries - rubrics that existed for reason of rev- erence, to safeguard against desecration and that were a matter of Catholic common sense. But even taking this document at face-value, it is difficult to envisage circumstances that would justify the use of extraordinary ministers OUTSIDE of mission lands. Today's "Euchari- stic Ministers" actually operate in defiance of EXISTING Vatican norms. The Age of Ambiguity The term "taken at face value" was used because, as some astute read- ers will have already noticed, the document just quoted from was loos- ely worded. The document had that ambiguity, imprecision and elastic- ity that has characterized many of the Vatican II and post-Vatican II documents. Though there is no hard proof that the loose wording of Immensae Caritatis was done on purpose, there is ample proof that the ambiguity in the Vatican II documents was deliberate. Father Edward Schillebeeckx, an influential liberal theologian at Vatican II, admit- ted that placing deliberate ambiguity in the Council documents was a key strategy of the progressives. He said, "We have used ambiguous phrases during the Council and we(the liberal theologians)know how we shall interpret them after." The main ambiguity which probably gave rise to today's proliferation of extraordinary ministers was the justification of their use if Mass would be(what was called)"unduly prolonged". Now, does this mean 5 minutes or 45 minutes "unduly prolonged"? It depends on who interprets it. Continued below....
And in instructions of this nature, lack of precision gives rise to wide interpretation, and wide interpretation gives rise to the estab- lishment of an abuse UNDER THE APPEARANCE of fidelity to Church regu- lations. And once a fad like "extraordinary ministers" becomes wide- spread, and everybody's doing it simply because everybody's doing it, then who even pays attention to existing guigelines anyway? It is a pattern we see over and over again in the modern Church: "Let's vio- late the law, and in the end we'll have the violation established as local custom." Unsuccessful Papal Intervention This unlawful abuse is so well established as local custom that even Pope John Paul II, who made at least a paper attempt to curb the abuse was completely unsuccessful. In his letter Dominicae Cenae of February 24, 1980, the Pope restated the Church's teaching that "TO TOUCH THE SACRED SPECIES AND TO ADMINISTER THEM WITH THEIR OWN HANDS IS A PRIV- ILEGE OF THE ORDAINED." But, for whatever reason, this 1980 document contained no threat of penalty to any layman, priest or bishop who ignored the Pope's plea. A law without a penalty is not a law, it's a suggestion. And this 13-year-old letter of Pope John Paul II has been taken as an unwelcome and unheeded suggestion by the hierarchy and clergy of Western countries. On September 21, 1987, a letter was sent from the Cardinal Prefect of the Congregation of the Sacraments through the proper channels to a number of Episcopal Conferences, including our American Bishops, on the subject of Extraordinary ministers. In summary, the letter(which can be found in Michael Davies' Privilege of the Ordained)stated that Rome has received many complaints of abuses regarding Extraordinary Ministers. As a result, the Pontifical Commission officially ruled that "when ordinary ministers(bishops, priests) are present at the Eucharist whether celebrating or not, and are in sufficient number and are not prevented from doing so by other ministries, the extraordinary ministers of the Eucharist are not allowed to distribute Communion either to themselves or to the faithful." This ruling has been completely ignored, AS WILL BE ALL RULINGS PRO- VIDING A CONCESSION FOR THIS ABUSE IS SOMEWHERE ON THE BOOKS. We can only pray that our Church leaders will finally come to the realization that when it comes to the Blessed Sacrament, you don't REFORM an ab- use, you ANNIHILATE it. And in order not to continually play into the manipulating hands of the New Paganism of Modernism, then a complete, formal, unambiguous condemnation of Communion in the hand and extra- ordinary ministers is our leaders' only true Catholic option. The Sense of the Sacred The Sacraments are the most precious gems the Church possesses, and the Holy Eucharist is the greatest of all the Sacraments. Because in all the other sacraments we receive sacramental grace, but in the Holy Eucharist, we receive Christ Himself. So, since it is obvious that the Blessed Sacrament is the greatest treasure the Church possesses, then It must be treated with all the reverence and homage it deserves. And all those pre-Vatican II barriers that prevented desecration are indi- spensible to the life of the Church and the holiness of the faithful. How often have we heard even our Church leaders lament that "we have lost the sense of the sacred." This is one of the most astounding statements a Churchman can utter...as if it were some sort of mystery. Because the sense of the sacred is not LOST, we know exactly where it is, and it could be recovered in every single parish Church on earth tomorrow. THE "SENSE OF THE SACRED" IS FOUND WHEREVER SAFEGUARDING THE REVERENCE FOR THE BLESSED SACRAMENT IS PUT INTO PRACTICE OF PARA- MOUNT IMPORTANCE. But the "sense of the sacred" has not been lost, it has been deliberately thrown away, run out of town on a rail, by the arrogant agents of the New Paganism of modernism masquerading as Catholic reformers, who have introduced novel practices into the Church that demean the Eucharist, show contempt for tradition and for what our Fathers taught us, and have led to a worldwide crisis of Faith of unprecedented proportions. But for us, through the grace of God, it is no puzzle. We know exact- ly where "the sense of the sacred" is found, and we cling to it with a fierce tenacity. It is found in the celebration of the Old Latin Tridentine Mass where profound reverence for the Blessed Sacrament is deeply ingrained and where Communion in the hand and "Eucharistic ministers" are still looked upon in horror with Catholic eyes, and are clearly recognized as the out-of-place, sacrilegious, non-Catholic practices that they are.