Friday, September 24, 2010

Bishop Dosado on the Reform of the Reform

With much being said about the statement of the National Meeting of Liturgical Directors of the Philippines, the statement of Archbishop Jesus Dosado of Ozamis is refreshing. UCANews published his statement in which the good Archbishop denounced the "terrorist procilivities" of some liturgists:

"Looking back, some of the culprits for me for the gradual loss of the true reform of the Liturgy were the so-called 'liturgists'who were more like technicians and choreographers rather than pure students of the liturgy.

They had a peculiar affinity for refined liturgical celebrations coupled with disdain for the old rites and devotions. Unfortunately, some bishops, not pure students of liturgy either, gave in to their terrorist proclivities.

A search for creativity and community were dominant projects in 'reform-minded' Catholic circles in the 1960's and beyond. In itself, it might have not been bad. But the philosophy that the community was god , and that 'God' was not fully 'God' without the community was the source of ideas that have done most damage to the Church.

This secular notion of community made its way into the liturgy to gradually supplant the inherited Christian tradition.

These self-appointed arbiters of the reform were, and I hate to say this, liturgical hijackers who deprived ordinary parishioners - and bewildered pastors - of their right to the normative of their own Church. Hence, there was a need for a reform of the reform."

Thank you Your Excellency! Considering the fact that you received the Sacrosanctum Concilium Award for your contribution to the promotion of the Church's teaching on the liturgy, the authority of your words cannot be questioned by those who pretend to be serious students of the Liturgy.

Read the entire article at the following link: The liturgical renewal I would like to see

Friday, September 17, 2010

Should We Paint God the Father?

New Liturgical Movement blog has this interesting article on God the Father in Christian Art. I myself have reservations about painting the image of God the Father. In fact, I have observed that the Blessing of Sacred Images found in the Roman Ritual says nothing about the image of God the Father. The Blessing is worded in this way:

Omnipotens sempiterne Deus, qui Sanctorum tuorum imagines (sive effigies) sculpti, aut pingi non reprobas, ut quoties illas oculis corporis intuemur, toties eorum actus et sanctitatem ad imitandum memoriae oculis meditemur: hanc, quaesumus, imaginem (seu sculpturam) in honorem et memorian Unigeniti Filii tui Domini nostri Jesu Christi vel beatissimae Virginis Mariae, matris Domini nostri Jesu Christi, vel beati N., (Apostoli) tui, (vel Martyris), (vel Pontificis), (vel Confessoris), vel beatae N. (Virginis), (vel Martyris) adaptatam bene+dicere, et sancti+ficare digneris: et praesta; ut quicumque coram illia Unigenitum Filium tuum vel beatissima Virginem, vel gloriosum (Apostolum), (vel Martyrum), (vel Pontificem), (vel Confessorem), vel gloriosam (Virginem), (vel Martyrem) suppliciter colere et honorare studuerit, illus meritis et obtentu a te gratiam in praesenti, et aeternam gloriam obtineat in futurum. Per (eundem) Christum Dominum nostrum. Amen.

The text of the prayer seems to tell us that the Church does not intend to portray the invisible Father in art. You may want to read this interesting article:

Should We Paint God the Father?

On Retreat

I have been on retreat this week with the diocesan clergy. While on retreat, I had the wonderful privilege of offering the Mass in the Oratory of the Cathedral of Our Lady of Atonement in Baguio City. The Oratory is a wonderful sign of the acceptance by the Bishop of Baguio of Summorum Pontificum which is rare in the Philippines. May God bless the good bishop!

I offered Mass in the Oratory during the Feast of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross, the Feast of Our Lady of Sorrows, and also on the Feast of Sts. Cyprian and Cornelius. What a fitting way of thanking God for the promulgation of Summorum Pontificum.
Thanks to Florentino Asuncion for the pictures!

Friday, September 10, 2010

Recognizing the Mysterious Character of Christianity

A good friend gifted me a copy of "The Mysteries of Christianity" written by Fr. Matthias Joseph Scheeben, SJ (1835-1888). The first pages were filled with points worth considering. I believe that the loss of the sense of the sacred is likewise the loss of the mystery of Christianity:

"Christianity entered the world as a religion replete with mysteries. It was proclaimed as the mystery of Christ (Rom. 16:25-27; Col. 1:25-27), as "the mystery of the kingdom of God" (Mark 4:11; Luke 8:10). Its ideas and doctrines were unknown, unprecedented; and they were to remain inscrutable and unfathomable.

The mysterious character of Christianity, which was sufficiently intelligible in its simplest fundamentals, was foolishness to the Gentiles and a stumbling block to the Jews, and since Christianity in the course of time never relinquished and could never relinquish this character of mystery without belying his nature, it remained forever a foolishness, astumbling block to all those who, like the Gentiles, looked upon it with unconsecrated eyes or, like the Jews, encountered it with uncircumcised hearts. With bitter scorn they would ever scoff at its mysterious nature as obscurantism, superstition, fanaticism, and absurdity.

After the mystery of Christianity has...succeeded in making its way and became firmly entrenched in the belief of the nations, it found other and less malevolent adversaries...They sought to snatch the veil from the sanctuary of Christianity, to cleave the mystery so as to liberate the kernel of truth from the dark prison of its shell and bring it to light.

Even friends and zealous defenders of Christianity could not always suppress a certain dread when they stood in the obscurity of its mysteries. To buttress belief in Christian truth and to defend it, they desired to resolve it into a rational science, to demonstrate articles of faith by arguments of reason, and so to reshape them that nothing would remain of the obscure, the incomprehensible, the impenetrable. They did not realize that by such a procedure they were betraying Christianity into the hands of her enemies and wresting the fairest jewel from her crown.

The greater, the more sublime, and the more divine Christianity is, the more inexhaustible, inscrutable, unfathomable, and mysterious its subject matter must be. If its teaching is more worthy of the only begotten Son of God, if the Son of God had to descend from the bosom of His Father to initiate us into this teaching, could we expect anything else than the revelation of the deepest mysteries locked up in God's heart? Could we expect anything else than disclosures concerning a higher, invisible world, about divine and heavenly things, which "eye hath not seen, nor ear heard," (1 Cor. 2:9) and which could not enter into the heart of any man? And if God has sent us His own Spirit to teach us all truth, the Spirit of His truth, who dwells in God and there searches the deep things of God, should this Spirit reveal nothing new, great, and wondrous, should He teach us no sublime secrets?

Far from repudiating Christianity or regarding it with suspicious eyes because of its mysteries, we ought to recognize its divine grandeur in these mysteries, we ought to recognize its divine grandeur in these very mysteries. So essential to Christianity are its mysteries that in its character of truth revealed by the Son of God and the Holy Spirit it would stand convicted of its intrinsic contradiction if it brought forward no mysteries. Its Author would carry with Him a poor recommendation for His divinity if He taught us only such truths as in the last analysis we could have learned from a mere man, or could have perceived and adequately grasped by our own unaided powers."

MJ Scheeben, The Mysteries of Christianity, 3-4.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Birth of Mary

O Most Holy Virgin Mary, there never was born among women
anyone like you,

Daughter and Handmaid of the Most High King and Heavenly Father;

Heavenly Mother of our Lord Jesus Christ;

Spouse of the Holy Spirit.

Together with St. Michael and with all the powers of heaven

and wth all the saints,

pray for us to your Most Holy Son,

our Lord and Master.


St. Francis of Assisi (+1226)

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Rejoinder on Pro Multis

A reader of this blog e-mailed me a response to the arguments which I posted on behalf of the direct translation of "pro multis" in the new English Missal. I did not really understand what the other blogger was trying to say but it seems it ended with an "ad hominem" argument which sort of discredits the validity of what I quoted simply because of the prestige of Fr. Chupungco.

I will not go down to that level. Rather, I would bring out the following more objective arguments in behalf of the direct translation of "pro multis" to "for many."

Allow me to quote Matthew 26:28: "for this is my blood of the new covenant, which is being shed for many unto the forgiveness of sins." Next is the translation of Mark 14:24: "and he said to them, 'This is my blood of the new covenant, which is being shed for many.'" Where did I get these translations? I got them from the "New Testament Confraternity Version: a Revision of the Challoner-Rheims version edited by Catholic Scholars under the patronage of the Episcopal Committee of the Confraternity of Christian Doctrine".

The New American Bible, which is the Scriptural source of the English Lectionary, has this translation of Matthew 26:28: "For this is my blood, the blood of the covenant, to be poured out in behalf of many for the forgiveness of sins." The same New American Bible has this translation of Mark 14:24: "He said to them, 'This is my blood, the blood of the covenant, to be poured out on behalf of many.'"

The Magandang Balita Bibliya, which is the Scriptural source of the Tagalog Lectionary, has this translation of Matthew 26:28: "Sapagkat ito ang dugo ng tipan, ang aking dugo na mabubuhos dahil sa marami, sa ikapagpapatawad ng mga kasalanan." The same Magandang Balita Bibliya has this translation of Mark 14:24: "Sinabi niya, 'Ito ang aking dugo ng tipan, ang dugong mabubuhos dahil sa marami.'"

These are new translations which, surprisingly, translated "pro multis" to "in behalf of many" and "dahil sa marami." My question is: why did these Scripture scholars insist on translating "pro multis" to "in behalf of many"?

To insist on the argument that it is preferable to translate "pro multis" to "for all" simply because a prestigious liturgist like Fr. Chupungco has spoken is simply an "ad hominem" argument. If Fr. Chupungco is an authority in liturgical matters, I suppose we should also acknowledge the expertise of the bible translators in the field of Scriptural studies. If the basis of the "Institution Narrative" is the Holy Writ, why should the translation in the missal be different from the translation in the Scripture?

I find it very uncomfortable that when I celebrate the Mass of Corpus Christi during the Year B cycle, I read the gospel according to St. Mark which says "in behalf of many" only to say it differently at the institution narrative as "for all." I say two different things in the same celebration of the Mass!!!

I do not mean to be disrespectful to my teacher Fr. Chupungco but even in spite of his prestige, I still beg to differ. I hope that Fr. Chupungco does not get mad at me. He should be proud of me instead because he knows that I don't easily accept things that he said. At least, he knows that I am using my grey matter...I am thinking!