Meeting Christ in the Liturgy: Weekly reflections on the Scriptures of the sacred Liturgy
and the Catechism of the Catholic Church

Meeting Christ in the Liturgy E-zine



FLAWED AND DEFECTIVE


by Bishop Fabian W. Bruskewtiz



Last Oct. 1st, a document entitled Always Our Children: A Pastoral Message to Parents of Homosexual Children was published by the Committee on Marriage and the Family of the U.S. bishops' conference. Although this document was evidently "approved" by the Administrative Committee of that conference, and it would seem the correct procedures outlined in conference rules were followed, it should be made clear that the document was composed without any input from the majority of the American Catholic bishops, who were given no opportunity whatever to comment on its pastoral usefulness or on its contents. As almost always happens when such procedures are used by committees of the conference, the illusion is given, perhaps deliberately, and carried forth by the media, to the effect that this is something the U.S. bishops have published, rather than the correct information being conveyed to the public; namely, that most bishops had nothing to do with this undertaking. I believe one would be justified in asserting that in this case, flawed and defective procedures, badly in need of correction and reform, resulted in a very flawed and defective document. The majority of America's Catholic bishops were allowed nothing to say about this document. Still less were they permitted any suggestions or comments about the "advisers" and consultants used by the committee, who, by their own boasting and the ordinary "rumor mill," have been detected to be people whose qualifications in this area of moral conduct are highly questionable. The document, in a view which is shared by many, is founded on BAD ADVICE, MISTAKEN THEOLOGY, ERRONEOUS SCIENCE, AND SKEWED SOCIOLOGY. It is pastorally helpful in no perceptible way. Does this committee intend to issue documents to parents of drug addicts, promiscuous teenagers, adult children involved in canonically invalid marriages, and the like? These are far more numerous than parents of homosexuals. The occasion and the motivation for this document's birth remain hidden in the murky arrangements which brought it forth.

Not only does this document fail to take into account the latest revision in the authentic Latin version of The Catechism of the Catholic Church regarding homosexuality, but it juxtaposes several quotes from the Catechism in order to pretend falsely and preposterously that the Catechism says homosexuality is a gift from God and should be accepted as a fixed and permanent identity. Of course, the document, in order to support the incorrect views it contains, totally neglects to cite the Catholic doctrine set forth by the Holy See which teaches that the homosexual orientation is "objectively disordered." Also, the document's definition of the virtue and practice of chastity is inadequate and distorted.

The character of this document is such that it would require a book of many pages to point out all its bad features, which sometimes cross the border from poor advice to evil advice. For instance, I believe it is wicked to counsel parents not to intervene, but rather to adopt a "wait and see" attitude when they find their adolescent children "experimenting" with homosexual acts. Parents have a grave moral duty to prevent their children from committing mortal sins when they can. It is certainly and seriously wrong to counsel parents to "accept" their children's homosexual friends. In my view, parents should be vigilant about the friends and companions of their children. Of course, the document deliberately avoids distinguishing minor children from adult children in its advice to parents and seems to delight in this ambiguity, just as it confuses the acceptance of a person who does immoral acts with the acceptance of such a person's immoral behavior.

Sinners are always the object of Christ's love and so they must also be the object of ours. Loving sinners while hating their sins must mark the followers of Christ even when dealing with homosexual people. However, true love is never served by obfuscating the truth as this document appears to do. Homosexual acts, insofar as they are deliberately and freely done, are mortal sins which place a person who does them in the gravest danger of eternal damnation. The document says to parents, "Do not blame yourselves for a homosexual orientation in your child." Many scientists and psychologists say that the orientation is likely and often due to certain parental defects, which are usually unconsciously present, and proper therapy requires that these matters be confronted. The document claims that something is "the common opinion of experts" when in fact it is no such thing. One critique of this document says that it is really an exercise in homosexual ("gay and lesbian") advocacy. It is difficult not to see it as such.

"Calamity and frightening disaster" are terms which are not too excessive to describe this document. It is my view that this document carries no weight or authority for Catholics, whom I would advise to ignore or oppose it.

MOTHER TERESA ON PRAYER


"Love to pray. Feel often during the day the need for prayer. Prayer enlarges the heart until it is capable of containing God's gift of Himself. Ask and seek and your heart will grow big enough to receive Him."


FATIMA SEER SAYS POPE STAVED OFF NUCLEAR WAR



VATICAN (CWN) -- Sister Lucia, the final survivor among the three Portuguese children to whom the Virgin Mary appeared in Fatima in 1917, has caused a sensation by saying that Pope John Paul II forestalled a nuclear war when he consecrated Russia to Mary in 1984. Sister Lucia also said that the famous third secret of Fatima, the subject of so much speculation over the years, is not intended for public revelation. Finally, she said that Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev asked Pope John Paul II for forgiveness when the two men met in December 1989. However, the Vatican denied this last report. The rare interview with Sister Lucia, scheduled for television broadcast in Spain on Sunday, March 1, also furnished the material for numerous radio and press reports in Europe over the weekend. The Vatican press office issued a statement on March 2 contradicting Sister Lucia's report that Gorbachev had "knelt at the Pope's feet and asked for pardon for the sins he had committed during his life." Joaquin Navarro-Valls, the spokesman for the Holy Father, said that report was completely inaccurate. Sister Lucia said that the third secret of Fatima was never intended to be made public, but "it is only destined for the Pope and the ecclesiastical hierarchy close to him."

POPE CAUTIONS COUPLES ON USING NFP



VATICAN (CWN) -- Pope John Paul II repeated the traditional Catholic teaching that artificial contraception is "intrinsically illicit," but he also cautioned against using natural methods of family planning for selfish reasons. In an address to an international society for the promotion of natural family planning, the Holy Father commended the group for its research on human fertility, and stressed that "responsible parenthood" might compel some married couples to use the natural periods of a woman's fertility as a means of regulating births. However, he cautioned that couples should use this method, too, in a way that is "truthful to their love." The use of natural family planning can also be subject to abuse, he said, if couples avoid having children simply in order to make their own lives easier or more affluent. The Holy Father recommended that pastors should show "understanding" toward the many couples who have difficulty fulfilling the natural plan of marriage. But he emphasized that such "understanding" should not mean ignoring the laws of nature and the teachings of the Church.

"I have recently been involved in a debate concerning holding hands during the Our Father. One of the people involved accused the another of being dissident because she held hands during the Our Father." See QUESTIONS FROM OUR READERS



NEW BOOK FINDS PIUS XII IN "COLD WAR" ON HITLER



VATICAN (CWN) -- A new book, examining the activities of the papal nuncio in Berlin during World War II, suggests that a "cold war" took place between Adolph Hitler and Pope Pius XII. Italian historian Monica Biffi today unveiled a biographical work about Archbishop Cesare Orsenigo, the Pope's representative to Germany during the years before and during World War II. The clear pattern of his activities, the scholar found, shows the Pope's steady opposition to the Nazi regime.

JEWISH AND WORLD LEADERS PRAISE POPE PIUS XII AND THE CATHOLIC CHURCH for saving Jewish lives in WWII



"We share in the grief of humanity at the passing away of his Holiness Pope Pius XII.  In a generation afflicted by wars and discords, he upheld the highest ideals of peace and compassion.  When fearful martyrdom came to our people in the decade of Nazi terror, the voice of the Pope was raised for the victims.  The life of our times was enriched by a voice speaking out on the great moral truths about the tumult of daily conflict.  We mourn a great servant of peace."
--former Israeli Prime Minister Golda Meir

"The death of Pope Pius XII is the loss of a great man to the world at large.  Catholics are not alone in lamenting his passing."
--Chief Rabbi Herzog of Palestine
 
"Only the Catholic Church protested against the Hitlerian onslaught on liberty.  Up till then I had not been interested in the Church, but today I felt a great  admiration for the church, which alone has had the  courage to struggle for spiritual truth and moral liberty."
--Albert Einstein

     "The Church and the papacy have saved Jews as much and in as far as they could save Christians....  Six million of my co-religionists have been murdered by the Nazis, but there could have been many more victims, had it not been for the efficacious intervention of Pius XII."
--Dr. Raphael Cantoni, Head, Italian Jewish Assistance Committee

"When armed force ruled well-nigh omnipotent, and morality was at its lowest ebb, Pius XII commanded none of the former and could only appeal to the latter, in confronting, with bare hands, the full might of evil.... Unable to cure the sickness of an entire civilization... the pope, unlike many far mightier than he, alleviated, relieved, appealed, petitioned - and saved as best he could by his own lights.  Who but a prophet or martyr could have done much more?"
--author Pinchas Lapide

"What cannot be questioned is the integrity, the charity, and the deep commitment to humanity of Pius XII.  It is idle to speculate about what more he could have done, for unlike most of the leaders of his day, he did very much."
--Joseph Lichten, International Affairs Department for the Anti-Defamation League's B'nai B'rith (in "Pius XII and the Holocaust:  A Reader", Milwaukee: Catholic League for Religious and Civil Rights, 1988, p. 31)

It should also be pointed out that Israel Zolli, the Chief Rabbi of Rome during WWII, was so overwhelmed by the lengths Pope Pius XII went to to save Jews that he converted to Catholicism after the war, and changed his name to Eugenio (Pius XII's first name).

Vote in Time magazine's poll of the 100 most influential leaders of this century. Do you think Pope John Paul II has a place in such a group? Vote for Pope John Paul II by submitting his name as the greatest leader of this century.


EARLY CHURCH ESTABLISHED PRIESTLY CELIBACY


VATICAN (CWN) -- The official Vatican newspaper L'Osservatore Romano devoted two full pages of its January 15 edition to the question of priestly celibacy. The paper's coverage indicated that the tradition of celibacy was firmly established in the ancient Church. The newspaper's coverage was based on the work of theologian Stefan Heid, who has studied recent debates on celibacy in light of the traditions established in the early years of Christianity. He concludes that the tradition dates back to the first Apostles-- who, while some (such as St. Peter) were married, observed "perfect continence." Heid finds, from his study of the earliest Church councils, that the Apostles clearly understood Jesus to call for celibacy among priests, and thus they believed that in order to follow Jesus' example, they themselves must become celibate.

PRIESTS: Visit the "Fraternity of Priests" site for a schedule of events, information about scheduling a retreat or study sabbatical at "Visitation House" at Steubenville/Franciscan University, and information about how to start a chapter of F.O.P.

Prayer For Priests
O Almighty Eternal God our Father, look upon the face of your Son, and for love of Him Who is the Eternal High Priest, have pity on your priests. Remember, O most compassionate God, that they are but weak and frail Human beings. Stir up in them the grace of their vocation which is in them by the imposition of the Bishop's hands. Keep them ever close to You, lest the enemy prevail against them, so that they may never do anything in the slightest degree unworthy of their sublime vocation.
O Jesus, our Eternal High Priest, I pray for your faithful and fervent priests; for your priests laboring at home, or abroad in distant mission fields; for your tempted priests; for your young priests; for your dying priests; and for the souls of your priests in Purgatory.
But above all, I commend to You the priest dearest to me; the priest who baptized me; the priests who absolve me from my sins; the priests at whose Masses I assist; the priests who give me Your Body and Blood in Holy Communion; the priests who taught and instructed me about You and Your Holy Scriptures; the priests who helped and encouraged me to accept You as my Lord and Savior; and all the priests whom You sent to touch my life and those of my loved ones.
--By Richard Cardinal Cushing

Visit The Joan Andrews Web Page. She has recently been released from imprisonment for pro-life rescue work.

Visit The Couple to Couple League on the web...new site offers catalog on-line, email contact, information on CCL international, Natural Birth Regulation, the chastity curriculum, and more.


Dear Father Cusick, My name is Anders Jonsson and I am a convert to the Catholic Church from a Protestant church here in Sweden. Thanks for your work for the Catholic faith. I live in a small town named Hudiksvall and not far from here in a little village named Sörforsa we have a convent with Missionary of Charity contemplative sisters. May God bless you and your work for the Church.
--Anders Jonsson

Visit ART FOR THE CATHOLIC RESTORATION...exciting new Catholic art by Matthew Brooks.

DEFEND YOUR FAITH!! Visit REDIMIR.

THE NEW EXODUS: CHRISTIANS LEAVING THE HOLY LAND IN RECORD NUMBERS!! Visit the HLF page to read more...


"A Christian exodus, unlike any in our history, is presently occurring in the Holy Land..." No more Christianity in the Land of Christ? Help now to support the living Body of Christ where He was born, offered his Body on the Cross and founded His Body the Church!


INSTRUCTION ON COLLABORATION BETWEEN LAITY AND PRIESTS PRESENTED



Read the just-published Vatican document titled Instruction on Certain Questions Regarding the Collaboration of the Non-Ordained Faithful in the Sacred Ministry of Priests



From the document: "The Extraordinary Minister of Holy Communion.
... The ordinary minister of Holy Communion is the Bishop, the Priest and the Deacon. ... Extraordinary ministers may distribute Holy Communion at Eucharistic celebrations only when there are no ordained ministers present, or when those ordained ministers present at a liturgical celebration are truly unable to distribute Holy Communion. ... Certain practices are to be avoided and eliminated: ... - Extraordinary ministers receiving Holy Communion apart from the other faithful as though concelebrants; ... - the habitual use of extraordinary ministers of Holy Communion at Mass, thus arbitrarily extending the concept of 'a great number of faithful'."


Read feature items on the proper celebration of the authentic Roman Rite.



MORE CHRISTIANS HAVE DIED FOR THE FAITH IN THE 20TH CENTURY THAN IN THE PRECEDING 19 CENTURIES COMBINED


Read feature items on the Catholic martyrs and living witnesses to the faith in our time.



Dear Father Cusick,

You may not recall, but I wrote to you some eight months ago (and again about a month later), to thank you for your MCITL web site. At that time, my son had just been accepted into a Catholic high school and, although not Catholic myself, I had started to study about the Church to be better informed about what my son would be learning. I found your web site to be an invaluable resource - and I also found my perspective on Catholicism changing in highly unexpected ways.

Well, I wanted to let you know where the changes have led. In September I began attending the Rite of Christian Initiation program, and yesterday, November 23, I went through the Rite of Acceptance and Welcome as a catechumen in my local Catholic church. I hope to be baptized in the Church next Easter - and my wife, who is not yet going through the same changes I am, has nevertheless suggested that our marriage be convalidated in the Church, on our thirtieth wedding anniversary next June. A year ago I could never have imagined any of this happening...but when the Lord decides it's time for something to happen, it happens!

To say I'm excited and happy would be a hopeless understatement. I'm on a wonderful journey of faith, and I wanted to thank you once again for the information and support I've gained from the MCITL web site and those linked to it. I look forward to its help as I continue to grow.

Best always,

Peter Shaw

"The use of the terms 'gay' and 'lesbian' give the public the impression that the homosexual condition is fixed and permanent. There is much scientific and empirical evidence to the contrary. Men and women who sincerely desire to develop their heterosexual potential should not be in ignorance of the opportunities for help to move toward their God-given masculinity or femininity."
To read more visit the Courage website and read OBSERVATIONS ON THE PASTORAL LETTER FROM THE BISHOPS' COMMITTEE ON MARRIAGE AND FAMILY: "ALWAYS OUR CHILDREN"



DEFINITIVE LATIN EDITION OF CATECHISM PUBLISHED


The definitive edition of the Catechism of the Catholic Church has been published with a number of changes to the text. Click here to read the changes you will need to make to your copy of the CCC to bring it up to date.



"Regulation of the sacred liturgy depends solely on the authority of the Church, that is, on the Apostolic See and, as laws may determine, on the bishop. Therefore no other person, even if he be a priest, may add, remove, or change anything in the liturgy on his own authority." (Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy, No. 22)
For more "Facts on the Liturgy" visit the MCITL Library.



Vacation plans? Plan ahead to attend Holy Mass. Just call 1-800-MASSTIMES. Use your zip code to locate the closest Catholic church.

Now available on-line: Daily Mass readings and the calendar of saints courtesy of Catholic Information Network. A Daily Mass guide is also available from EWTN.



Ever wondered if there are guidelines for the celebration of the Mass? Wonder no more: read the General Instruction of the Roman Missal on the internet.



"For me, prayer means launching out of the heart toward God; a cry of grateful love from the crest of joy or the trough of despair; it is a vast, supernatural force that opens out my heart, and binds me close to Jesus." --St. Therese of Lisieux
From "A Daily Spiritual Seed." A daily (M-F) e mail newsletter on Christian contemplative spirituality, featuring a short quote from a mystic. To subscribe, send an email to dailyseed@resurrection.com with "Subscribe Daily" as your subject.

START YOUR TOUR OF THE NEW VATICAN WEBSITE HERE!


Click Here for Jubilee News and Features
Jubilee of the Year 2000 News and Features
Come, Spirit of love and peace!

COME, SPIRIT OF LOVE AND PEACE!

Prayer of his Holiness Pope John Paul II for the second year of preparation for the Great Jubilee of the year 2000

Holy Spirit, most welcome guest of our hearts,
reveal to us the profound meaning of the Great Jubilee
and prepare our hearts to celebrate it with faith,
in the hope which does not disappoint,
in the love which seeks nothing in return.

Spirit of truth, you who search the depths of God,
memory and prophecy in the Church,
lead mankind to recognize in Jesus of Nazareth
the Lord of glory, the Saviour of the world,
the supreme fulfilment of history.

Come, Spirit of love and peace!

Creator Spirit, hidden builder of the Kingdom,
by the power of your saints guide the Church
to cross with courage the threshold of the new millennium
and to carry to the coming generations
the light of the Word who brings salvation.

Spirit of holiness, divine breath which moves the universe,
come and renew the face of the earth.
Awaken in Christians a desire for full unity,
that they may be for the world an effective sign and instrument
of intimate union with God and of the unity of the whole human race.

Come, Spirit of love and peace!

Spirit of communion, soul and strength of the Church,
grant that wealth of charisms and ministries
may contribute to the unity of the Body of Christ;
grant that laity, consecrated persons and ordained ministers
may work together in harmony to build the one Kingdom of God.

Spirit of consolation, unfailing source of joy and peace,
inspire solidarity with the poor,
grant the sick the strength they need,
pour our trust and hope upon those experiencing trials,
awaken in all hearts a commitment to a better future.

Come, Spirit of love and peace!

Spirit of wisdom, inspiration of minds and hearts,
direct science and technology
to the service of life, justice and peace.
Render fruitful our dialogue with the followers of other religions,
lead the different cultures to appreciate the values of the Gospel.

Spirit of life, by whose power the Word was made flesh
in the womb of the Virgin Mary, the woman of attentive silence,
make us docile to the promptings of your love
and ever ready to accept the signs of the times
which you place along the paths of history.

Come, Spirit of love and peace!

To you, Spirit of love,
with the Almighty Father and the Only-Begotten Son,
be praise, honour and glory
for ever and ever. Amen


"I include your sermon as part of the bulletin every week. I was delighted to find you on the web. You are really an answer to prayer. Thank you for this service. Sincerely, --Janet Ernst, Louisiana"


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