Most Rev. Alexander Sample
Archbishop of Portland
We are so blessed! Many in our world today continue to experience religious oppression and persecution. Not the least of these are our Christian brothers and sisters who, in some parts of the world today, are persecuted and even killed for their faith and witness to Jesus Christ. Unthinkable as it may seem, it is true. In some parts of the world, many of our brothers and sisters are threatened with death for their faith in Jesus Christ.
Our Religious Liberty is Threatened and Under Siege
Archbishop Alexander Sample
But even in our own land — this land of liberty — our religious liberty is threatened and under siege. Some people call such a statement “alarmist” or “unfounded,” but an honest and objective analysis can come to no other conclusion. Believers, especially Christians, are becoming more and more marginalized and pushed out of the public square. There are clearly those who wish to deny us a rightful place at the table in the great debate that goes on to shape the moral fabric of our society according to values of human dignity taught us by the Gospel. Some wish to silence us.
Recent examples are the HHS mandate forcing private persons of faith and even religious institutions to provide insurance coverage that includes means of contraception that can abort a newly conceived human life. Also, in the debate over the nature of marriage, some of those who seek to redefine marriage as something other than a permanent union between one man and one woman label those who seek to defend traditional marriage as “bigoted,” “homophobic” and/or “hateful” people. Worse yet, some defenders of traditional marriage are driven out of business or lose their jobs. This is an attempt to silence and discredit us.
Believers today are in danger of finding themselves in the same situation as those early Christians we read about in the New Testament — living our lives as disciples of Jesus in a society which does not understand us and with a government that is even at times hostile to us and our religious and moral values.
Our first, greatest and most cherished liberty, given to us by God and guaranteed by our Constitution, is our religious liberty: “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof.”
We must defend and fight for religious liberty, not just for ourselves, but for all persons of faith and good will. Many have made tremendous sacrifices to gain for us this freedom and to defend it. Many of our ancestors gave their very lives to gain for us this freedom, and many have died to defend it.
There must be a wakeup call all across America to defend religious liberty. Not just the freedom to “worship” within our churches, but the liberty to freely live and witness to our faith in the public square, unhindered by the restrictions some seek to impose.
We must be clear.
We are not seeking to impose our religious belief or practice on others. We are dealing with human moral issues that transcend any particular religious system of belief, but which are written on every human heart by the Creator, from whose hand each of has come into this world.
Therefore, let us entrust ourselves and our liberty to Almighty. May our religious and human liberty always be protected, and may we have the courage to take action to defend that liberty as have so many who have gone before us.
Re-claiming the Sacred Music
by Fr. Jay Finelli:
I received the following eMail today:
Dear Fr. Jay Finelli,
In the spirit of the new evangelization we are celebrating our 44th year in guitar music ministry. It has been a long journey from those original “guitar masses”. Today’s worshippers demand a musical sophistication that is liturgical, relevant, contemporary. Please enjoy this sample of our work (link removed) and if you have a need for music ministry in your parish please contact us.
I have no doubt that the person who sent me the eMail is very sincere. However, let’s take a look at this.
“In the spirit of the new evangelization” And what is that? Haven’t we had enough with the “Spirit of Vatican II”. It just time to give up the ghost! Let’s leave aside all this nonsense of the “spirit” of this and that and get to the essence and the root of something.
A Crock of Bulloney
First, the “spirit of Vatican II” is a crock of bulloney (Yes, I purposely misspelled baloney. You get my drift). If people would only read what the documents are and stop making them up as they go along. The REAL Vatican II had noting to do with eliminating Latin, the priest facing the people, the introduction of “folk Masses” and every kind of music, except for that desired by the Most Holy Council.
Yes, this is a real Mass.
And the “New Evangelization” is not a re-making of the Catholic Church and Her worship. It is a living who we are and what we have been given with zeal and fidelity. So in reality, it is not a “new” evangelization. It is a continuation of the same evangelization that began with our Lord and His Apostles 2000 years ago. The only difference is in how we present these sacred truths and institutions. There is much more that we could say about that, but let’s move on.
Let’s take a look at the “un-spirit” of Vatican II, or should I say, the real thing. Yes, let us see what Sacrosanctum Concilium really has to say about music in the Sacred Liturgy.
“In the Latin Church the pipe organ is to be held in high esteem, for it is the traditional musical instrument which adds a wonderful splendor to the Church’s ceremonies and powerfully lifts up man’s mind to God and to higher things.” (Sacrosanctum Concilium 120.)
Acoustic, electric guitars should never be part of the Sacred Liturgy.
The fathers of Vatican II clearly wanted the “pipe organ” to be the ordinary instrument used in the Roman Rite of the Latin Church. Ordinary means that this is the instrument used above all others, and all other musical instruments are to be used in support of the pipe organ, not the other way around. I can foresee the use of a classical guitar to augment the pipe organ on special Feast Days, or when the organ is not functioning properly, but it may not replace the “ordinary” instrument of the Liturgy. Acoustic, electric guitars should never be part of the Sacred Liturgy.
“But other instruments also may be admitted for use in divine worship, with the knowledge and consent of the competent territorial authority, as laid down in Art. 22, 52, 37, and 40. This may be done, however, only on condition that the instruments are suitable, or can be made suitable, for sacred use, accord with the dignity of the temple, and truly contribute to the edification of the faithful.” SC 120)
Guitars, drums, tambourines, electronic keyboards and a number of other musical instruments and I would dear say, the piano, smack of the secular. These are instruments that take the mind to a rock concert or your local watering hole. The pipe organ would surely not be heard in a pub or rock concert.
The same goes for the style of music admitted to the Liturgy.
To the extent that the new sacred music is to serve the liturgical celebrations of the various churches, it can and must draw from earlier forms — especially from Gregorian chant — a higher inspiration, a uniquely sacred quality, a genuine sense of what is religious. (St. John Paul II, 1980)
So, does this mean that we are to admit contemporary “praise and worship music”? I think that would be a gross misunderstanding of the Council. The fathers of the Council were not thinking in terms of allowing a style of music that one might heard in a secular venue. they recognized that the music of the Church IS Gregorian chant. However, there are other legitimate forms of sacred music. There is a caveat. They did not leave this up to the imagination or whim and fancies of the musician. They went on to write:
“other kinds of sacred music, especially polyphony, are by no means excluded from liturgical celebrations, so long as they accord with the spirit of the liturgical action.” (SC 116)
Pope Paul VI saw the dam that broke in the Church music situation. In 1974, he tried to plug the hole and set the Church back on course when he wrote to all the Bishops of the world. He sent all the Bishops a book called Jubilate Deo. This document contains all of the basic chants that should be familiar to every practicing Catholic.
Over 50 years after the the promulgation of Sacrosanctum Concilium and it is still probably one of the most debated documents of the Church. It’s time for every musician and every Catholic to slowly and prayerfully read the source to see what the Father’s of the Second Vatican Council really said and what they did not so as to stop making it up as we go along.
- See more at: http://www.ipadre.net/2014/07/in-the-spirit-of-the-new-evangelization/#sthash.mE3WRIga.dpuf
Pope Francis discussed three main points in connection with the theme of belonging: that it is impossible to be a Christian “by oneself”; that belonging to the Church means being formed by members who have in their own turn received the faith – that is to say – to be part of a living tradition; that the Church – the community of faith – is the essential and necessary mediator of grace, including the grace of knowledge of and relationship with the Lord.
“There are those who believe you can have a personal, direct, immediate relationship with Jesus Christ outside of the communion and the mediation of the Church,” said Pope Francis. “These are,” he went on to say, “dangerous and harmful temptations.” It was a theme to which he returned in the English-language summary that was read out after his main catechesis in Italian. “Our relationship with Christ is personal but not private; it is born of, and enriched by, the communion of the Church.”
The Holy Father went on to say, “Our shared pilgrimage is not always easy: at times we encounter human weakness, limitations and even scandal in the life of the Church.” Nevertheless, he continued, “God has called us to know him and to love him precisely by loving our brothers and sisters, by persevering in the fellowship of the Church and by seeking in all things to grow in faith and holiness as members of the one body of Christ.”
Originally posted at: Vatican Radio (Edited for Length and Content)
His Excellency Most Reverend Thomas John Paprocki; Ars celebrandi et adorandi
On the Art of Celebrating the Eucharistic Liturgy
The art of celebrating the liturgy properly and adoring the Lord in the Eucharist devoutly (ars celebrandi et adorandi) is the key to fostering the active participation of the People of God in divine worship. (Part 3 of series)
Processions with the Blessed Sacrament
33. As a young boy, it was the custom in my home parish of Saint Casimir to have an Easter sunrise Mass at 5:30 a.m. which included a solemn procession of the Blessed Sacrament around the church. At the parish where I served as Pastor on the northwest side of Chicago, Saint Constance Parish, this custom was observed with a standing room only crowd of over a thousand people overflowing the church at daybreak on Easter morning. On the Solemnity of the Body and Blood of Christ (Corpus Christi), our procession with the Blessed Sacrament carried by the priest in the monstrance went around the block of our parish grounds, with stops at four altars set up by the faithful for Benediction.
Bishop Paprocki: Leading by example with a Eucharistic Procession
34. Pope Benedict XVI spoke eloquently about the meaning of the Corpus Christi procession for contemporary Catholics in his homilies for the feast. The procession is a profession of faith: the Solemnity of Corpus Christi developed at a time when Catholics were both affirming and defining their faith “in Jesus Christ, alive and truly present in the Most Holy Sacrament of the Eucharist,” and the procession is a public statement of that belief. The sacrament of the Lord’s Body and Blood always “goes above and beyond the walls of our churches.” The procession blurs the separation between what we do inside the church, and what we do outside: we immerse Christ, so to speak, “in the daily routine of our lives, so that he may walk where we walk and live where we live.” Pope Benedict declared, “The procession represents an immense and public blessing for our city.”19
35. The Code of Canon Law encourages liturgical processions outside the church, “When it can be done in the judgment of the diocesan bishop, as a public witness of the veneration toward the Most Holy Eucharist, a procession is to be conducted through the public streets, especially on the solemnity of the Body and the Blood of Christ.”20 The leading of processions outside the church is among the specific liturgical functions especially entrusted to the pastor.21
36. I highly encourage and give permission for pastors to conduct processions with the Blessed Sacrament through the public streets, especially on the solemnity of the Body and the Blood of Christ, as a witness to our faith in the Real Presence of Our Lord in the Eucharist and as an expression of our belief that God is in our midst even in our everyday lives. Suitable arrangements are to be made with public authorities and local law enforcement officials for the safety of the participants.
His Excellency Most Reverend Thomas John Paprocki; Ars celebrandi et adorandi
On the Art of Celebrating the Eucharistic Liturgy
The art of celebrating the liturgy properly and adoring the Lord in the Eucharist devoutly (ars celebrandi et adorandi) is the key to fostering the active participation of the People of God in divine worship. (Part 2 of series)
A reverent genuflection.
To bend the knee
28. In recent years, there has arisen the practice of bowing to the Lord present in the tabernacle, rather than genuflecting before him. Such a profound bow — made purposefully and reverently from the waist — can be a fitting way to reverence the Divine Majesty, but only if one cannot genuflect, which is not always the same as having some difficulty genuflecting.
29. The General Instruction of the Roman Missal provides that “if, however, the tabernacle with the Most Blessed Sacrament is situated in the sanctuary, the Priest, the Deacon, and the other ministers genuflect when they approach the altar and when they depart from it, but not during the celebration of Mass itself. Otherwise all who pass before the Most Blessed Sacrament genuflect, unless they are moving in procession. Ministers carrying the processional cross or candles bow their heads instead of genuflecting.”17
30. To genuflect means, literally, “to bend the knee.” In the ancient world the knee symbolized the strength of a man. If a man is struck in the knee, he stumbles and falls; his strength is taken from him. When we genuflect before the Lord, our strength is not taken from us; rather, we willingly bend our strength to the Lord and place ourselves humbly in his service. When we bend our knee to the Lord of heaven and earth we should hear the words of the Psalmist ever in our hearts, “Lord, I am your servant,” remembering that before the Lord every knee must bend (Psalm 116:16; cf. Philippians 2:10).
31. I must note here, that as important as the Eucharist is to the Church, and that the proper reverence to the Blessed Sacrament is “to bend the knee,” to genuflect, it does not replace another reverence made by all between the opening and the closing processions. During Liturgy between these processions, all who enter or leave the sanctuary, or who pass before the altar, make a deep bow, a bow from the waist toward the altar. Neither a deep bow or a genuflection is made to the tabernacle within the Mass between the opening and closing processions.18
How to Genuflect
32. In order to keep these words in our hearts and put them into practice, it is helpful to be purposeful and deliberate in the moment of genuflection. One may avoid a hasty and irreverent slide through an attempted genuflection by consciously touching the right knee to the ground and humbly pausing momentarily before rising again. In doing so, we not only pay proper respect to the Lord, but we also remind ourselves in whose presence we are.
His Excellency Most Reverend Thomas John Paprocki; Ars celebrandi et adorandi
On the Art of Celebrating the Eucharistic Liturgy
The art of celebrating the liturgy properly and adoring the Lord in the Eucharist devoutly (ars celebrandi et adorandi) is the key to fostering the active participation of the People of God in divine worship. (Part 1 of series)
The Reservation and Adoration of the Holy Eucharist
18. While the Holy Eucharist is reserved in the tabernacle of every parish church in our diocese, the faithful in some places do not frequently come to pray before the tabernacle to be in the presence of the Lord. Several reasons for this certainly exist, but one among them is the reality that the tabernacle is not always easily found in many of our churches today. Over the past few decades, tabernacles all too often were moved from prominent places in the sanctuary to obscure and remote rooms that in some cases were previously supply closets.
19. The present legislation of the Church concerning the placement of the tabernacle states, “In accordance with the structure of each church and legitimate local customs, the Most Blessed Sacrament should be reserved in a tabernacle in a part of the church that is truly noble, prominent, conspicuous, worthily decorated, and suitable for prayer.”13
Regrettably, this is not always followed.
20. In some churches and chapels, the tabernacle is set on a “side” altar in such a way that the tabernacle, though noble, is neither prominent nor readily visible. The same is often the case with the location of some Eucharistic chapels, whether they be in the nave itself, behind the sanctuary, or in another room. They are not always prominent or readily visible.
21. The great majority of our parish churches and chapels were designed to house the tabernacle in the center of the sanctuary; removing the tabernacle from these sanctuaries has left a visible emptiness within the sacred space, almost as though the building itself longed for the return of the tabernacle. With the removal of the tabernacle from the center of the sanctuary, the architectural integrity of many churches and chapels has been severely compromised.14
22. Pope Benedict XVI wrote in his Post-Synodal Exhortation on the Eucharist in 2007, “The correct positioning of the tabernacle contributes to the recognition of Christ’s real presence in the Blessed Sacrament. Therefore, the place where the Eucharistic species are reserved, marked by a sanctuary lamp, should be readily visible to everyone entering the church. … In any event, final judgment on these matters belongs to the Diocesan Bishop.”15
23. With this in mind, in order that more of the faithful will be able to spend time in adoration and prayer in the presence of the Eucharistic Lord, I direct that in the churches and chapels of our diocese, tabernacles that were formerly in the center of the sanctuary, but have been moved, are to be returned as soon as possible to the center of the sanctuary in accord with the original architectural design. Tabernacles that are not in the center of the sanctuary or are otherwise not in a visible, prominent and noble space are to be moved to the center of the sanctuary; tabernacles that are not in the center of the sanctuary but are in a visible, prominent and noble space may remain.
24. Some may object to this directive and point, by means of example, to the Basilica of Saint Peter in Rome to suggest that tabernacles should not be located in the sanctuary. Saint Peter’s, of course, is different from the average church or chapel in many respects. Chief among these differences is the number of tourists who visit the Basilica each day, with no intention of praying to the Lord therein. These tourists enter this remarkable edifice built to the honor of the Prince of the Apostles simply to look around, to see the architectural beauty and perhaps to see some aspect of Catholic worship, but not to pray. The Eucharist is reserved in a special chapel into which tour groups are not permitted so that the reverence and adoration due the Eucharist can be properly accorded him by pilgrims seeking to speak with him.
25. At the same time, it should be noted that the Eucharistic chapel in Saint Peter’s is itself larger than many of our parish churches. There is more than enough room to accommodate all those who wish to pray in the presence of the Eucharistic Lord in the chapel; it is not always so with every Eucharistic chapel in this Diocese.
26. This deep-seated desire to be in the presence of the Lord resounds in the heart of every person, even if they cannot at first name this desire for what it truly is. We should therefore do all that we can to help them encounter the Lord who waits for them to seek and find him. In this regard, I strongly encourage keeping our churches open to the public in so far as can be done with the safety of people and the building in mind. Pope Francis spoke about this in his Apostolic Exhortation on the Joy of the Gospel, Evangelii Gaudium: “The Church is called to be the house of the Father, with doors always wide open. One concrete sign of such openness is that our church doors should always be open, so that if someone, moved by the Spirit, comes there looking for God, he or she will not find a closed door” (no. 47).
27. Regularly scheduled times for exposition of the Most Holy Eucharist in a monstrance or pyx, as well as an annual solemn and lengthier exposition of the Most Blessed Sacrament, are highly commended as ways to stimulate the faithful to spiritual union with Christ which culminates in sacramental communion. The norms in the liturgical books for Eucharistic exposition and benediction are to be observed.16
By Fr. Dwight Longenecker,
I have to hand it to Nancy Pelosi. The “Venom Masquerading as Virtue” line is a good one. I’m always a sucker for alliteration.
That’s where my admiration ends.
In this article Pope Pelosi, who last year received the Margaret Sanger Eugenicist of the Year Award, now presumes to correct Archbishop Salvator Cordileone for planning to attend the march in Washington to defend marriage.
House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi took the lead this week in a high-profile lobbying effort to pressure San Francisco ArchbishopSalvatore Cordileone not to attend the controversial March for Marriage event, which she characterized as “venom masquerading as virtue.”
Pelosi, who is one of the country’s most powerful Catholic politicians, made a passionate appeal to the archbishop in a letter obtained by The Chronicle not to participate in theNational Organization for Marriage‘s June 19 march on the Supreme Court in Washington.
Cordileone, who is one of the featured speakers at the event, was a leader in the campaign for Proposition 8, the 2008 California anti-gay-marriage initiative.
“We share our love of the Catholic faith and our city of San Francisco,” Pelosi wrote to Cordileone, who, as head of the 560,000-member Archdiocese of San Francisco, has become the Catholic bishops’ point man against gay marriage. She urged him to abandon an event in which some of the participants show “disdain and hate towards LGBT persons.”
Progressives, Collaborating With A “New Paganism” Are Driving The Church Towards A Split.
By Sarah Atkinson, Catholic Herald.co.uk
The Fourth Great Crisis Of The Church
Liberals, collaborating with the “new paganism”, are driving the Catholic Church towards a split, according to Bishop Athanasius Schneider, the liturgical specialist who is carrying on a rearguard fight against “abuses” in the Church.
So serious are the problems, Bishop Schneider said in an interview last week, that this is the fourth great crisis in the history of the Church, comparable to the fourth-century Arian heresy in which a large part of the Church hierarchy was implicated.
If you have not heard of the Soviet-born bishop, you will. The sincere, scholarly clergyman is auxiliary bishop of the distant Archdiocese of St Mary in Astana, Kazakhstan. But this month he has received a rock star welcome from congregations across the country on his tour of England and he has embraced cyberspace to put over a trenchant, traditional defence of the Church. “Thanks be to God, the internet exists,” he said.
His views are not popular with everyone, especially not some of his liberal colleagues, or, he says, with the mainstream media of the secular world. But his audiences tell another story.
Vatican II Documents Need Clarification
Bishop Schneider is best known for arguing that Holy Communion should be received on the tongue while kneeling, which he insists is the more efficient way to foster respect for the Sacrament and to prevent abuse of the Sacred Hosts. The 53-year-old bishop has called also for clarification (a new Syllabus of Errors), aimed at the clergy, to put a stop to liturgical and doctrinal freewheeling on a range of issues in the “spirit of Vatican II”.
In his interview, Bishop Schneider said the “banal” and casual treatment of the Blessed Sacrament is part of a major crisis in the Church in which some laity and clergy, including some in positions of authority, are siding with secular society. At the heart of the problems, he believes, is the creeping introduction of a man-centred agenda, while in some churches God, in the tabernacle, really is materially put in a corner, while the priest takes centre stage. Bishop Schneider argued that this situation is now coming to a head. “I would say, we are in the fourth great crisis [of the Church], in a tremendous confusion over doctrine and liturgy. We have already been in this for 50 years.”
How long will it last?
“Perhaps God will be merciful to us in 20 or 30 years.”
In the autumn, the synod of bishops will meet in extraordinary session to discuss the family, in the light of the questionnaire which Pope Francis invited the faithful to complete, giving their views on marriage and sexuality. Expectations are growing that rules will be relaxed on a range of sexual matters and in terms of divorced people receiving Communion as a sign of “mercy” from the Church.
The Greatest Evil: Clergy Putting Themselves At The Center Of The Liturgy!
Such views, according to Bishop Schneider, reveal the depth of the problem. “I think this issue of the reception of Holy Communion by the remarried will blow up and show the real crisis in the Church. The real crisis of the Church is anthropocentrism and the forgetting of Christo-centrism…
“This is the deepest evil: man, or the clergy, putting themselves in the center when they are celebrating liturgy and when they change the revealed truth of God, for instance, concerning the Sixth Commandment and human sexuality.”
Although he says talk of change is mainly coming from “the anti-Christian media”, he sees clergy and lay Catholics “collaborating” with what he calls the new paganism. Bishop Schneider is particularly critical of the idea that these changes should be made so as to be merciful to those currently barred from receiving the Sacraments. “[This is] a kind of sophism,” he said. “This is not mercy, this is cruel.”
He suggested this was “a false concept of mercy”, saying: “It is comparable to a doctor who gives a [diabetic] patient sugar, although he knows it will kill him.”
The bishop believes there are clear parallels with great crises of the past, when leading clergymen were complicit with heresies. In the Arian heresy, he said, naming them on his fingers, only a handful of the hierarchy resisted. “We [Christians] are a minority. We are surrounded by a very cruel pagan world. The temptation and challenge of today can be compared with the first centuries.”
He added: “Unfortunately there were … members of the clergy and even bishops who put grains of incense in front of the statue of the emperor or of a pagan idol or who delivered the books of the Holy Scripture to be burned. Such collaborationist Christians and clerics were called in those times thurificati or traditores.”
And today, he maintained, we also have those who collaborate, our “traitors of the Faith”.
Pope Francis Has Taught Beautiful Catholic Doctrine In His Official Homilies
Pope Francis is perceived to be at the forefront of a new liberal attitude coming from Rome. But Bishop Schneider says: “Thanks be to God, Pope Francis has not expressed himself in these ways that the mass media expect from him. He has spoken until now, in his official homilies, very beautiful Catholic doctrine. I hope he will continue to teach in a very clear manner the Catholic doctrine.”
The bishop said he hopes “the majority of the bishops still have enough Catholic spirit and faith that they will reject the proposal and not accept this”.
A Coming Split?
Nevertheless, he can foresee a split coming, leading to an eventual renewal of the Church on traditional lines. But, he believes, this will not be before the crisis has plunged the Church further into disarray. Eventually, he thinks, the “anthropocentric” [man-centred] clerical system will collapse. “This liberal clerical edifice will crash down because they have no roots and no fruits,” he said.
In the turmoil, Bishop Schneider, fears traditional Catholics may, for a time, be persecuted or discriminated against, even at the behest of those who have “power in the exterior structures of the Church”. But he believes those involved with the “heresy” will “not prevail against the Church”. And, in hope, the bishop said: “The Supreme Magisterium will surely issue an unequivocal doctrinal statement, rejecting any collaboration with the neo-pagan ideas.”
At this point, Bishop Schneider believes, the modern thurificati et traditores will leave the Church. “I can presume that such a separation will affect each level of Catholics: lay people and even not
excluding the high clergy,” he said.
Such comments are unlikely to win Bishop Schneider popularity in some circles, but he argues: “It is quite insignificant to be popular or unpopular. For every member of the clergy, their first interest should be to be popular in the eyes of God and not in the eyes of today or of the powerful. Jesus said a warning: ‘Woe to you when people speak well of you.’”
Great Saints Have Rejected Popularity In Favor Of Truth
He added: “Popularity is false… Great saints of the Church, such as Thomas More and John Fisher, rejected popularity… those today who are worried about the popularity of the mass media and public opinion… will be remembered as cowards and not as heroes of the Faith.”
Bishop Schneider observes ruefully that there are many whose views coincide with those of the pagan world who “declare themselves Catholics and even faithful to the Pope”, while “those who are faithful to the Catholic faith or those who are promoting the glory of Christ in the liturgy” are labeled extremists.
Such critics may assert that Bishop Schneider’s concern over Holy Communion is like worrying over the numbers of angels on a pinhead. But the bishop insists that treatment of the Eucharist is at the very heart of the crisis. “The Eucharist is at the heart of the Church,” he said. “When the heart is weak, the whole body is weak.”
He argued that receiving Communion in hand “contributes gradually to the loss of the Catholic faith in the Real Presence and in transubstantiation”.
Bishop Schneider also rejected the idea that concern for the liturgy is less important than, or even separate from, concern for the poor. “This is erroneous. The first commandment which Christ gave us was to adore God alone. Liturgy is not a meeting of friends. It is our first task to adore and glorify God in the liturgy and also in our manner of life. From a true adoration and love of God grows love for the poor and our neighbour. It is a consequence.”
The bishop’s views have been shaped by his early childhood, growing up as a persecuted German Catholic in the Soviet Union, where he even had to attend atheism lessons at school. His book Dominus Est discloses
how the German Catholic community kept alive their faith despite severe hardship and persecution. In his own experience, his mother and great aunt took great risks for their faith and on behalf of others in the community. So Bishop Schneider and his family were horrified at the liberal attitudes and practices in the West, especially in respect of Holy Communion, which had been so rare and so precious to the persecuted German Catholics of the Soviet Union.
Communion In The Hand Weakens Faith In The Real Presence!
Seemingly like the little boy in the story of the Emperor’s New Clothes, the bishop now feels compelled to speak out and he cannot understand why others do not do the same. “It seems that the majority of the clergy and the bishops are content with this modern use of Communion in hand… For me this is incredible. How is this possible, when Jesus is present in the little Hosts?”
He continued: “There is the grievous fact of the loss of the Eucharistic fragments. And the fragments of the consecrated Host are crushed by feet. This is horrible! Our God, in our churches, is trampled by feet!”
Bishop Schneider admitted that he is “very sad that I am feeling myself as one who is shouting in the desert”.
He said: “It is time that the bishops raise their voices for the Eucharistic Jesus who has no voice to defend himself. Here is an attack on the Most Holy, an attack on the Eucharistic faith.”
The Holy Spirit Will Renew His Church!
But despite his concerns, Bishop Schneider is not pessimistic and believes that there is already a groundswell of support for traditional values that will, in time, renew the Church: “Little ones in the Church have been let down and neglected,” he said. “[But] they have kept the purity of their faith and they represent the true power of the Church in the eyes of God and not those who are in administration.
“I spoke with young students in Oxford and I was so much impressed by these students. I was so glad to see their purity of faith and their convictions, and the clear Catholic mind. This will renew the Church. So I am confident and hopeful also in respect of this crisis in the Church. The Holy Ghost will win this crisis with this little army.”
He added: “I am not worried about the future. The Church is Christ’s Church and He is the real head of the Church, the Pope is only the vicar of Christ. The soul of the Church is the Holy Spirit and He is powerful.”