Everything You Ever Wanted to Know About Your Guardian Angel

The New Theological Movement, by Father Ryan Erlenbush:

I am sure that most of us have many questions about our angel and how he works in the world – but where shall we ever find answers? At this point in our journey, rather than becoming discouraged or running off to many other sources, it would be best to place ourselves at the feet of the Angelic Doctor and hear what he has to tell us. The following question and answer study of the guardian angels is based on the Summa Theologica I, qq.50-64 (angels in themselves) and qq. 106-114 (angels in relation to creatures). ST I, q.113, is particularly enlightening, since it is a question devoted wholly to the guardianship of angels over human beings.

Guardian AngelDo I have a guardian angel? Yes, every human being has a guardian angel.

When did I receive my angel guardian? At the moment of conception. Your angel was given to you even before the graces of baptism! This is because angels are given to human beings on account of our reason, not on account of baptismal grace.

Was my angel someone else’s guardian before mine? Probably not. Every human being receives one angel. It is, however, theoretically possible (though not at all likely) that an angel could be re-assigned if their first human was condemned to hell.

Will my angel guardian be with me in the next life? If you go to heaven, your angel will be with you in glory as an eternal companion and friend. If you go to hell, your angel will leave you and you will receive instead a demon who will torment you forever.

Did my guardian angel know me before I was born? Yes. Not only by a natural angelic knowledge, but also by a special knowledge given by God – your angel has known you from the moment of his entrance into heaven after his creation.

Is my guardian angel an archangel? Almost certainly not. It seems that guardian angels are all chosen from the lowest choir of angels, which is called “Angels”. The Archangels are above this choir and seem not to be employed as angel guardians. It is possible that a guardian angel would receive help and guidance from archangels, or even seraphim.

Is my guardian with me always? Yes, your angel always watches over you because God always guides you with his providence. An angel is locally present when he acts as a complete and immediate cause on a body; thus, at times your angel might even be locally present to you. In any case, your angel is always spiritually present to your soul; unless you are condemned to hell after death.

Do my sins make my angel sad? Not really. Your angel enjoys the perfect vision of God and so cannot be sad; for all who see God are perfectly happy.  Just as God wills to permit you to sin, so too your angel permits your fall – this does not make him sad, for takes joy in God’s plan. Still, it is likely that your angel experiences a general displeasure at your sins.

Does my guardian angel fight with demons in my behalf? Of course! Consider the book of Tobit; Raphael saved Tobias from the demons tormenting Sarah.

Can my guardian angel work with other guardian angels to accomplish something great? Yes, indeed. Padre Pio regularly sent his guardian angel to work with other’s angels. The angels rejoice to work together for our greater good.

Does my guardian angel contend with other guardian angels? Yes, in a certain sense. The various guardian angels work on the most immediate level of guiding the human race. Thus, though all the angel guardians are wholly devoted to God’s plan; it is possible that there would be temporary or partial contrary movements in the way this plan is actually carried out. St. Thomas offers this as an interpretation of the division between Gabriel and the angel of Persia in the book of Daniel. As the Angelic Doctor says, “Angels are said to resist one another; not that their wills are in opposition, since they are all of one mind as to the fulfillment of the Divine decree; but that the things about which they seek knowledge are in opposition.” (ST I, q.113, a.8)

Can my angel guardian affect the physical world around me? Yes. St. Gemma Galgani would regularly ask her guardian angel to mail letters for her – many letters were sent back and forth to her spiritual director while he was in Rome.

Can I name my guardian angel? Perhaps, but we must keep in mind that it belongs to a superior to name an inferior. Thus, it seems unfitting that a human being should name an angel.

Does my angel have a name? Most certainly, God has named all his angels – or perhaps the higher angels have named the lower ones.

How do I find out my guardian angel’s name? You could try asking. But it is also possible that it will not be revealed to you immediately. I should think that in heaven, we would all know guardian angels’ names.

Is it possible to get too devoted to your angel? So long as you keep in mind that your angel is an expression of God’s love and providence (and not a being to be considered in isolation), there is no danger in having a very strong devotion to your guardian angel.

Did Christ have a guardian angel? Yes, like every other human, Christ had a guardian angel. It is likely that his angel guardian was the highest of all the angels in the lowest choir of angels.

Will the anti-Christ have an angel guardian? If he is a human being, he will have an angel guardian. Even though he will be a great enemy of God, the Lord will still love him – the expression of this love is the gift of a guardian angel.

How many angels are there who could be potential guardians? There are incomparably more angels than human beings. Thus, even though angel guardians are only chosen from the lowest choir of angles, it is likely that that choir has far more angels in it than the number of humans who have been, are, or will be. The only limit to the number of angel guardians is the number of humans, not the number of angels.

Do have a question about your guardian angel that isn’t listed? Ask it in a comment!

All you holy angel guardians, pray for us!

October 2nd, The Feast of the Guardian Angels

Slight editing.

Who Knew? A Courageous Canadian Bishop.

A Pro-Life Letter by Bishop Douglas Crosby, OMI

The Honourable Chrystia Freeland,P.C., M.P.
Minister of Foreign Affairs
House of Commons
Ottawa, ON K1A 0A6
[email protected]
[email protected]

Dear Minister,

Bishop Douglas Crosby, OMI

Bishop Douglas Crosby, OMI

I am writing to express profound concern with your speech on Canadian Foreign Policy, which you gave in the House of Commons on Tuesday 6 June 2017, and on which Minister Marie-Claude Bibeau further elaborated on 9 June. In it, you equated women’s rights with the right to abortion and “sexual reproductive rights” and said “[t]hese rights are at the core of Canadian foreign policy.” You went on to say that these were also human rights and that they would set Canada’s current and future foreign policy agenda. While the Catholic Bishops of Canada share your concern for advancing the respect and dignity of women – an issue to which the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops and Catholics give great importance – we feel the need to point out, with all due respect, that your statement above is erroneous, confusing, and misguided.

First, to state that abortion, inter alia, is “at the core” of Canadian foreign policy is simply not the case. There is no precedent to support such a claim in fact. Indeed, you yourself offered many examples in your speech of a tradition of Canadian foreign policy marked by the goals of international peace, just order, free trade, foreign aid and global stability. There are, of course, many women’s issues that actually ought to have been raised as legitimate points of international engagement, but these were passed over in silence. They include Canada’s economic partnerships with countries in which female infants are murdered for not being male; those in which women earn less than men for the same job or where they do not enjoy the same privileges under the law, including the right to education or protection from rape, physical violence, and other forms of abuse. Canadians recognize these as grave violations of human rights – indeed, as heinous crimes in certain instances – far more readily and unanimously than opposition to abortion and artificial contraception. If we add to all of the above the fact that abortion and certain kinds of contraceptive technologies carry profound risks for women, including psychological and emotional harm, sterility, and even death itself, it is difficult to comprehend how the policy agenda you have advanced truly represents the interests of women, particularly those that are already at risk.

Second, to state that abortion, inter alia, is a Canadian value, is also incorrect in principle. How could such a statement be made in Parliament when the Supreme Court of Canada itself held in R. v Morgentaler (1988) that there was no constitutional basis in the Charter for the right to abortion on demand? An examination of the ruling by former PEI Supreme Court Justice Gerard Mitchell in his 2014 letter published in Charlottetown’s newspaper The Guardian pointed out, contrary to the popular belief, that in actual fact all seven judges of the Supreme Court of Canada acknowledged that the state has a legitimate interest in protecting the unborn! 1

The attempt to insinuate abortion advocacy in Canadian foreign policy, predicating it on a very particular understanding of feminism, also runs against the thrust of your overall argument. It contradicts the very idea, as you yourself stated, that “it is clearly not our role to impose our values around the world. No one appointed us the world’s policemen.” Such a desire cannot be easily reconciled with the rationale you offered for Canada’s pursuit of a two-year term on the UN Security Council, namely our “wish to be heard” and to “lead” by imparting our “broadly held national values” on others. What ever happened to Canada’s longstanding tradition of respect for cultures, values, and histories, including different religious and moral traditions? What happened to the acute understanding that in confronting global challenges listening is just as important as being heard? How is this consequent to your own words that “the path we choose must be one that serves the interests of all Canadians and upholds our broadly held national values”? More specifically, with respect to a foreign policy based on abortion advocacy and “sexual reproductive rights,” has Canada forgotten that for a considerable population (both within Canada and abroad) the unborn child is regarded as a human being created by God and worthy of life and love? This moral position can be found among Jews, Muslims, Hindus, Orthodox Christians, a number of Protestant Christians, Roman and Eastern Catholics, in addition to many other people of good will, including non-believers. We question whether it was wise or responsible to claim abortion advocacy and “sexual reproductive rights” as the core of Canadian foreign policy – as national values with which to enlighten others – knowing full well that they are not only legally contentious but completely contrary to the deeply held convictions of many both within and beyond Canada’s borders.

In these uncertain times, when Canada’s voice and leadership do matter on everything from climate change to global peace, political ideology cannot be allowed to dictate foreign policy and to override common sense and our humanitarian responsibilities to those in dire need. We saw this last March when the Prime Minister used his personal commitment to feminism to justify a public pledge of $650-million to facilitate abortion advocacy and sexual reproductive rights on a global scale. This amount contrasts sharply with his government’s response to the severe food shortages in South Sudan, Yemen, northeast Nigeria and Somalia, for which it had only pledged $119.25-million – a difference of $530.75-million. The UN, meanwhile, was already calling the situation in these regions the largest humanitarian crisis since World War II, with 20 million people at risk of starvation. Should this unfolding disaster not have prompted the Prime Minister to prioritize relief and aid over politicking at the lavish expense of hardworking taxpayers in Canada? Unfortunately, even the Government’s recent announcement to match 1 “Clarifying facts on Canada’s abortion law, or lack of” private donations 1:1 is too modest in light of what is really needed and of what Canada is capable of delivering both in terms of humanitarian aid and example.

The Catholic Bishops of Canada would agree with your statement that “seventy years ago Canada played a pivotal role in forming the postwar international order.” There can be no question that a new century presents us with new challenges and that the “unique experience, expertise, geography, diversity, and values” gleaned in recent times can help us in confronting them. But whatever our efforts, they will be deeply compromised if we neglect the obvious reality that moral traditions shape people’s perspectives, that perspectives therefore differ, and that it is not a failure of the other person if her or his views do not map onto your understanding of “Canadian values.” The idea that everyone can somehow just agree that abortion and contraception are universal human rights is neither convincing nor credible. Indeed, even here at home, where we live side by side with peoples of so many different backgrounds, moral and religious traditions, the belief that there is universal agreement on a single set of Canadian values is itself contrived.

If Canada’s foreign policy needs a stable ground it cannot possibly be abortion advocacy and “sexual reproductive rights.” And if the dignity of women is to have a universal moral foundation it cannot be based on principles that override the rights of the unborn child.

Sincerely
Douglas Crosby
(Most Rev.) Douglas Crosby, OMI
Bishop Of Hamilton and
President of the Canadian Conference
Of Catholic Bishops

Proud Parenting, a Pro-LGBT Blog, Endorses Jefferson City Diocese as a Pioneer

Bishop Gaydos’ Diocese is the Leader of LGBT Incusion

The following comes from Proud Parenting, a pro-LGBT blog.

Bishop Gaydos

“The Catholic diocese in Jefferson City, Missouri is a pioneer among other U.S. dioceses when it comes to crafting guidance on inclusion of students from families headed by LGBT parents. The diocese oversees 37 Catholic elementary schools and three high schools, with about 7,000 students in communities throughout Central Missouri.

“We probably are in the lead,” Sister Elizabeth Young, the diocese’s superintendent of Catholic schools, remarked how she views the diocese as a forerunner among other U.S. dioceses when it comes to crafting guidance on inclusion of students from families headed by LGBT, unmarried or divorced parents.

The diocese’s guidance, titled “A Pastoral Process of Accompaniment and Dialogue: Addressing Children and Youth in Relation to Gender Concerns and Non-traditional Families,” was presented May 9 to priests who have schools in their parishes, then on May 11 to the principals of those schools.”


In an “internal document only” letter, Bp. Gaydos endorses the “development and presentation” of this program. He further claims the program “promotes our Catholic moral teaching and supports the role of the pastor to act in the best interests of the people of his parish.”

Stay up to date at 30 Pieces of Silver.

Here is a copy of the internal document.

 

Please stop what you are doing right now and contact Bishop John R. Gaydos; Mr. John DeLaporte, Coordinator of Youth Ministry; Sr. Elizabeth Youngs, SCL, Superintendent of Catholic Schools; Fr. Joseph Corel; Sr. Julie Brandt, SSND, Associate Superintendent of Catholic Schools:

Catholic Diocese of Jefferson City
2207 West Main Street
P.O. BOX 104900
Jefferson City, MO 65110-4900

(573) 635-9127

We also strongly encourage you to contact the metropolitan,  Archbishop Robert J. Carlson:

Cardinal Rigali Center
20 Archbishop May Dr.
St. Louis, MO 63119

and

Archbishop Christophe Pierre
Apostolic Nuncio to the United States of America
3339 Massachusetts Ave. NW
Washington, DC 20008

Evangelizing Priest Goes Viral

Fr. David Jenuwine Evangelizing at a Music Festival

By Mary Rezac, EWTN News:

“I think too often we get tied up in planning, planning, planning. But when the Spirit moves, go with Him! No excuses.”What’s a good way to reach a lot of young people all at once?

Plant yourself at an entrance of a popular music festival with a sign, some free stuff, and a smile.

That’s what Catholic priest Fr. David Jenuwine did last weekend, at BottleRock Napa, a three-day music festival with roughly 30,000 in attendance.

His sign read simply: Catholic priest. Blessings, Prayers, Confessions, Answers.

Fr. Jenuwine, parochial vicar at St. Apollinaris Parish in Napa, California, told CNA that he had been trying to brainstorm creative ways to reach out to young adults when he heard about the music festival. He said he was inspired after hearing a talk on evangelization a few weeks ago by EWTN personality Fr. Mitch Pacwa.

“My youth minister said well, BottleRock is this weekend, but it’s chaos,” he said.

“And I went, alright, let’s do it!”

Fr. Jenuwine placed himself on one side of the festival, while his St. Paul Street Evangelization team camped out on the other side. They prayed for 20 minutes before the Blessed Sacrament before hitting the streets, “begging for the graces we need and to get ourselves in the zone,” Father said.

Besides prayers and answers, they offered rosaries, prayer cards and miraculous medals. They went fast.

“That first night we gave away every rosary, every prayer card, every miraculous medal we had, but sure enough we found more, so we went out again Sunday,” Fr. Jenuwine said.

They stayed at the festival for about five hours on Saturday, and another couple hours on Sunday.

The responses varied widely, the priest said.

“I pretty much just made eye contact with people and said ‘Hi, how’re you doing?’” Father recalled. “And some people were like, ‘Is he really a priest?’”

Others greeted him warmly: “Hi Father! Nice to see you out here.”

Some were more skeptical. When one of the St. Paul team handed out a rosary, the recipient asked, “Does it come with a lecture?”

“There was one guy who said, ‘What are you bringing this here for?’” Father recalled.

“And I said, ‘We’re here to tell you God loves you.’ And he said, ‘I already know that.’ So I said, ‘Well good! You’re one of the few’.”

Others tried to avoid him by pulling out their phones and pretending to be busy.

“But even in that, if they were purposely ignoring us then we made an impression, because they knew we were out there,” he said.

There were also some people who got blessings on Saturday that came back for another on Sunday.

“There were some people getting out of their Uber and they said, ‘Hey he’s still here! Father, can we get a blessing?’”

“I even heard a couple confessions,” he said, though the confessees were people he already knew.

And although he advertised “answers” on his sign, there was one thing people asked that Father didn’t know: “Where is the parking lot?”

“I said I promised I’d try, but I do not know where the parking is,” Father said, laughing.

His youth minister, Dominic Figueroa, snapped a photo of Father hanging out under his street lamp with his sign, and Father posted it on Facebook. Yesterday, friends started to realize that the post was trending on Reddit. It now has more than 640 votes and nearly 100 comments.

It’s an evangelization experience that he and his St. Paul team are looking to do again. They already have an event scoped out this weekend.

“I think we made a little splash,” Father said. “In a sense, this kind of started something for us.”

The biggest takeaway, he said, was “how easy it was.”

Birth Control and Catholic Priests

By Fr. Dwight Longenecker, Standing on My Head:

That little pill has changed everything.

The effect of birth control and a contraceptive culture has altered our world in ways we could never have expected.

Think for a moment about the effect contraception has had on the number of vocations to the priesthood and religious life.

First of all, if a family has ten kids it is more likely that they are going to be happy for a few of them to pursue the priesthood or religious life. Mothers will quite happily send a few off to the seminary or monastery. If she has ten she can spare a few.

But if the neat and tidy suburban career woman only has two she is going to treasure them that much more. The idea that one would become a priest would be a shocking idea, but there is another more subtle attitude shift beneath this.

When mother and father decided to limit their family to two children by artificial means they usually do so in order for the woman to go back to work. The silent statement is, “What is most important to this family is to have as much income as possible.” and “The career. The career is everything! It comes first. Children? Meh.”

This attitude is then transmitted to the children who also put career first. Will there be any vocations from a home like that? Probably not.

Think further of the effects of this revolution in family life on the question of vocations. Before the invention and acceptance of artificial contraception a young man considering the priesthood would look around and weigh up his option.

Let’s say he lived in Philadelphia in the 1950s. He came from an Italian American family. He sees his Dad, his uncles, his grandfather. They are working class. They sweat in dangerous jobs to support their large families. They come home to a little house full of kids. Its a good life, but its a hard life.

The priest, on the other hand, doesn’t have his own wife and family, but he’s in Philadelphia. He gets sent to St Anthony of Padua parish. He’s surrounded by a big extended Italian family. He has status. He’s the priest. He gets an education. Maybe he travels to Rome. He lives in a big house with maybe three or four other priests. They have a nice Italian mama who cooks and cleans and looks after them.

The point I’m making is that, from a human point of view, the young man’s choice is fairer. With a wife and family he will have certain joys and certain sorrows and sacrifices. With the priesthood he will have certain joys and certain sorrows and sacrifices.

You pays your money and you makes your choice.

But think of the young man’s choice in today’s contraceptive culture. To be married and have a family doesn’t seem to require any sacrifices at all. Indeed, it seems like the passport to perfection. You get married. You eventually have two nice trophy children. Your wife continues her education and career. You’re both earning enough money to have everything. No sorrows. No sacrifice.
Of course I know it doesn’t always pan out that way, but that is what seems to be on offer.

On the other hand, for a young man to be a priest? He’s faced with a life of loneliness–stuck in Rectory by himself with onerous duties and little reward.
Again–I know it is not really like this, but this is what it may very well appear to be.

What’s to be done?

I happen to feel optimistic about the problem because I think the pendulum is going to swing back. I think an increasing number of young people are going to reject the contraceptive culture and choose a life giving alternative, and with that will be an increasing number of young men and women who choose a religious vocation, and they’ll be choosing for all the right reasons.
Why do I think this? Because a lie cannot sustain itself. All that is false eventually implodes. It can’t last.

On the other hand, all that is beautiful, good and true will always be attractive. Like fresh shoots on a tree that has been felled, it will spring back.

Breaking News! Jefferson City Diocese Paving Way for Transgender Students

Is Your Diocese Next?

On May 9, 2017 the Jefferson City Diocese held a meeting with all priests to present the new policy for transgender students. On May 11th,  the policy was presented to all Catholic School principals of the diocese.  This Diocesan policy will be the fundamental policy for every diocese with accommodating Bishops.  Don’t be fooled, your diocese is next.

The result will be boys being in the girls bathroom.  To stay up to date on this issue, bookmark 30 Pieces of Silver Blog!

Here is the full document:

 

How bad is the process?  Check out the glossary of terms.

To anyone who has been permitted to read this document, it is apparent that the diocese now plans to join the secular world in questioning the very binary gender system created by God Himself.  Once we begin tampering with redefining what is clear to the naked eye or a simple genetics test, what comes next?  Will biological boys be allowed in the girls’ restrooms?  Will men who “identify” as women be allowed in my church’s restroom?  Will we start entertaining trans-species, trans-racial, or trans-age?  Where will the line be drawn?

If there is no security in knowing what we see, how can we expect anyone, much less these children to come to know God on a personal level?  If there is nothing certain in the physical world, how can a person begin to grasp the truths of our Holy Catholic Faith?  If they cannot even come to know God, how can they come to love God and serve Him?  Ultimately, isn’t that going to worsen our vocations crisis?  If the diocese chooses to “go with the flow” of the secular world, we will become like the fish that go downstream, dead.

Please stop what you are doing right now and contact Bishop John R. Gaydos; Mr. John DeLaporte, Coordinator of Youth Ministry; Sr. Elizabeth Youngs, SCL, Superintendent of Catholic Schools; Fr. Joseph Corel; Sr. Julie Brandt, SSND, Associate Superintendent of Catholic Schools:

Catholic Diocese of Jefferson City
2207 West Main Street
P.O. BOX 104900
Jefferson City, MO 65110-4900

(573) 635-9127

We also strongly encourage you to contact the metropolitan,  Archbishop Robert J. Carlson:

Cardinal Rigali Center
20 Archbishop May Dr.
St. Louis, MO 63119

and

Archbishop Christophe Pierre
Apostolic Nuncio to the United States of America
3339 Massachusetts Ave. NW
Washington, DC 20008

 

The Truth is Real, Not Rigid

Does Reality Matter?

By Fr. Gerald E. Murray, The Catholic Thing:

Does reality matter? Is it the decisive and necessary reference point for discovering what is and what is not, what is true and what is false? Or is reality subject to revision based one’s preferences, desires, or some other factor? These questions come to mind when we consider the astounding report concerning remarks made by Cardinal Francesco Coccopalmerio on the question of the validity of Anglican orders. According to Christopher Lamb in The Tablet, Coccopalmerio characterized the Church’s teaching on the question of Anglican orders as follows: “We have had, and we still have a very rigid understanding of validity and invalidity: this is valid, and that is not valid. One should be able to say: ‘this is valid in a certain context, and that is valid another context’.”

The Cardinal speculates on the doctrinal implications of past papal gestures of friendship and respect, stating: “What does it mean when Pope Paul VI gave a chalice to the Archbishop of Canterbury? If it was to celebrate the Lord’s Supper, the Eucharist, it was meant to be done validly, no?” He continues: “This is stronger than the pectoral cross, because a chalice is used not just for drinking but for celebrating the Eucharist. With these gestures, the Catholic Church already intuits, recognizes a reality.”

These remarks are published in a new book, whose title is not given by Lamb, presenting the contents of a meeting of the Malines Conversation Group held near Rome in April of this year. Vatican Radio covered the meeting, noting the participation of Cardinal Coccopalmerio. The Vatican Radio story included comments by Fr. Tony Currer of the Pontifical Council for the Promotion of Christian Unity. Regarding Anglican orders he comments: “I think it’s true to say we don’t use the language of ‘null and void’ any more,” as that’s “clearly not what is spoken by the gestures, generosity, and warmth which we see time and time again.”

Validity is another word for reality when speaking about the sacraments. The Church teaches clearly what is necessary for the valid – that is, true and real – celebration of the sacraments. By invoking the pejorative buzzword “rigid understanding” regarding validity and invalidity, Coccopalmerio reduces the Church’s determination of what counts as a valid sacrament to the expression of a psychologically unhealthy attitude rooted in ignorance or irrational fear.

Rome, Paul VI, and Canterbury, Michael Ramsey, 1966

The question of validity is simple: Does the Church consider an Anglican ordination to be a valid administration of the sacrament of Holy Orders? The answer is no, as determined authoritatively by Pope Leo XIII in his encyclical Apostolicae Curae. Anglican ordination does not make a man into a Catholic priest. That determination is objective, grounded in a careful and reasoned study of the history, doctrines and practice of both the Catholic Church and the Anglican Communion.

Coccopalmerio also states: “When someone is ordained in the Anglican Church and becomes a parish priest in a community, we cannot say that nothing has happened, that everything is ‘invalid’.” The choice presented in this statement is that at an Anglican ordination either a man is validly ordained a priest, or that nothing happened. But there is a third possibility: Anglican ordination results in someone becoming an Anglican priest, not a Catholic priest.

The Church teaches that such an ordination is not a valid Catholic ordination. The man ordained in an Anglican ceremony does not receive the sacrament of Holy Orders. The sacrament of Holy Orders is not administered. (I leave aside the question of Anglicans ordained by bishops who themselves received valid episcopal consecration by Orthodox or Old Catholic bishops.)

Coccopalmerio and Currer apparently resist this truth. The Cardinal claims that the Papal gift of a chalice to the Archbishop of Canterbury means that Pope Paul VI considered the Anglican Communion Service to be a valid celebration of Mass because “it was meant to be done validly.” But Pope Paul never said what Coccopalmerio infers. A gesture does not equal a doctrinal pronouncement.

Fr. Currer claims that “we don’t use the language of ‘null and void’ anymore.” If by “we” he means the Catholic Church, he is wrong. Pope Leo XIII’s determination has never been rejected by any of his successors. The fact that Fr. Currer and others are unhappy that Anglican orders were found to be null and void is evident. Currer’s dissatisfaction with this exercise of the papal magisterium does not, however, mean that the Church no longer upholds the invalidity of Anglican orders.

Coccopalmerio seeks to dismiss the objective truth of what constitutes sacramental validity in the Catholic Church by making it changeable according to a “context.” Is this not relativism plain and simple? The Cardinal does not claim here that the criteria for determining the validity or invalidity of the administration of Holy Orders were misapplied by Leo XIII when he examined Anglican orders. (Perhaps he addresses this question elsewhere in his published remarks.) He simply says that those criteria should not apply because they are “rigid.” Pope Leo XIII’s determination that Anglican orders are invalid is maligned as rigid when one does not like the particular truth in question. One man’s rigidity is another man’s solidity. Is the Church stubborn or steadfast in this matter? I would say She is both. That is what the truth requires regardless of any context. If She made a huge mistake here, what else will be put on the chopping block?

Dietrich von Hildebrand wrote in his essay The Dethronement of Truth: “Disrespect for truth – when not merely a theoretical thesis, but a lived attitude – patently destroys all morality, even all reasonability and all community life. All objective norms are dissolved by this attitude of indifference toward truth; so also is the possibility of resolving any discussion or controversy objectively. Peace among individuals or nations and all trust in other persons are impossible as well. The very basis of a really human life is subverted.”

Truth is cast aside at our great peril.

“This column first appeared on the website The Catholic Thing (www.thecatholicthing.org). Copyright 2017. All rights reserved. Reprinted with permission.”

 

Those Pesky Cell Phones During Mass

The Devil’s Den of Distraction

By Fr. John Lankeit:

When the Temple in Jerusalem degenerated from reverent “house of prayer” (cf. Mt 21;13) into raucous public market, Jesus cleaned house! Since Lent is the perfect time to get our own house—our own soul—in order, I’d like to address one of the most insidious impediments to our respect for God and our charity toward others during Mass:

CELL PHONES!

Have you ever noticed how the words “cell phone,” sounds remarkably like “self phone”? Besides obliterating manners and destroying common courtesy, a cell phone seems to possess the power to make other people completely disappear from its user’s consciousness or concern. A prominent Catholic blogger observed insightfully in an Internet article on device addition last September:

“When someone next to you answers the phone and starts talking loudly as if you didn’t exist, you realize that, in [his or] her private zone, you don’t.”

As a priest who celebrates an average of eight to twelve Masses per week, I invite you to consider the epidemic of cell phone disruption during Mass—from a priest’s perspective. In my experience, we priests hear an average of three or more phone intrusions per Mass—whether the device is ringing, or beeping/chiming to indicate the arrival of an email or “Tweet”. Multiply that number by eight to twelve Masses per week, and a priest must endure this devilish distraction somewhere in the neighborhood of 24 to 36…or MORE…times per week! And most often, it’s not just one ring…or one beep. Sometimes the phone’s owner lets it ring—and RING—and RING—all through the Scripture readings…and even during the Consecration!

At a televised Mass some time ago, someone let their phone ring through its entire cycle during the homily…not once…not twice…but three times! It takes extremely inappropriate behavior to force me to interrupt the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, but by that point—live TV or not—I had reached the limit of my patience, as had all the people who kept looking in the general direction of the noise. I stopped the homily, looked toward the anonymous perpetrator and asked the person to turn the phone, “all…the…way…off!” It was extremely unsettling to have to confront this rudeness during a live broadcast of the Mass—especially with thousands of viewers tuning in—but when the prayers of the Mass are drowned out by electronic noise pollution, even a priest with heroic patience can only take so much.

After that particular Mass, a well-meaning parishioner approached me and said, “Father, don’t get so upset. Be patient.”

With all due respect to that parishioner, he only noticed that one phone during that one Mass—though, immediately after the first offending phone was finally silenced, another person’s phone rang. No joke! By that point in the week, I had probably already endured dozens of rings and chimes during the many Masses I celebrated. Since I had confronted that incident on live TV, I expected a backlash. Instead many parishioners, phone callers, emailers—and even the TV crew—offered enthusiastic expressions of encouragement and gratitude.

Anyone with a modicum of social awareness recognizes how modern “communications devices” are actually destroying genuinely human interaction between individuals. A growing number of scientific studies also catalog the damaging effects on brain development—not to mention the common symptoms of addiction and withdrawal—from device misuse and overuse.

But it’s when our phones disrupt our relationship with God—and distract others from God—that it’s time for priests to “cleanse the temple” of this modern scourge that turns the Father’s house of prayer into the Devil’s den of distraction.

For all the rationalizations people make for bringing their phone into church—and I’ve probably heard them all—we would better serve our souls, better respect our neighbors, and better honor the Lord…if we checked our excuses at the door…and left our phones in the car!