Praying the Holy Rosary in October

Saturday, October 2, AD 2010

The month of October is dedicated to the Holy Rosary — by personal recommendation of Pope Leo XIII:

In a letter of September 1, 1883, mindful of the Rosary’s power to strengthen faith and foster a life of virtue, he outlined the triumphs of the Rosary in past times and admonished the faithful to dedicate the month of October to the Blessed Virgin through the daily recitation of her Rosary in the presence of the Blessed Sacrament, in order to obtain through her intercession the grace that God would console and defend His Church in her sufferings.

Beginning on September 1, 1883, with SUPREMO APOSTOLATUS OFFICIO, Pope Leo wrote a total of eleven encyclicals on the Rosary, ending with DIUTURNI TEMPORIS in 1898. (Source: Rev. Matthew R. Mauriello, Catholic.net).

The spread of the devotion of the rosary is attributed to the revelation of Mary to St. Dominic, who sought her help in battling the heresy of the Albigenses. Robert Feeney’s “St. Dominic and the Rosary” gives a detailed account,

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One Response to Praying the Holy Rosary in October

  • Every day: beginning to end using a small prayer book (my grandmother gave me) with the prayers, meditations and scheduling.

    Prayer Before the Rosary
    “Queen of the Most Holy Rosary, you have deigned to come to Fatima to reveal to the three shepherd children the treasures of grace hidden in the Rosary. Inspire my heart with a sincere love of this devotion, in order that by meditating on the Mysteries of our Redemption which are recalled in it, I may be enriched with its fruits and obtain peace for the world, the conversion of sinners and (was Russia) America, and the favor which I ask of you in this Rosary. I ask it for he greater glory of God, for your own honor,and for the good of souls, especually my own. Amen.”

    The Blesed Virgin Mary (my Mother); legions of angels at her bidding; and the Holy Rosary have brought me through many “issues.”

    Each day last year my Rosary was for my son in Afghanistan. Now, it’s for another son or a brother with a chronic disease.

    When my mother was dying, we left her each night with her Rosary in her hands. She prayed the Rosary all her life. When I was taking a test for a scholarship, she was simultanepusly praying that Rosary for me. I scored enough to go to college. It may not have happened otherwise.

    Today and tomorrow will be the Glorious Mysteries.

Fides et Ratio

Tuesday, September 14, AD 2010

Today is the anniversary of what might be John Paul II’s most important encyclical, Fides et ratio. Although I have not the time to give it a full treatment, if you have not read it I strongly urge you to do so as soon as possible. Catholicism’s eager embrace of reason & philosophy not only sets it apart from most other religions but also positions it to best respond to the philosophical failures that are hurting the modern world. If the modern world is to find some redemption, it will be because these words are heeded:

Faith and reason are like two wings on which the human spirit rises to the contemplation of truth; and God has placed in the human heart a desire to know the truth—in a word, to know himself—so that, by knowing and loving God, men and women may also come to the fullness of truth about themselves

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5 Responses to Fides et Ratio

  • I’d welcome — personally and professionally — any thoughts on how we might facilitate the “incarnation” of papal documents amongst the masses; I’ve got a few ideas, but I’d love to hear any thoughts my fellow contributors and commentators might have.

  • I think on Catholic social teaching as a whole, the best thing is to start referencing them in homilies. If the priests act as if Catholic teaching is important, the faithful will follow suit. Furthermore, I think reading clubs or such that go over the encyclical would be great to getting adults caught up; children should get a LOT more exposure to them in religion class/ccd.

    However, I don’t know if there’s anything the Vatican can do to get them respected by the masses-and that shouldn’t be the focus yet. Let’s get the Catholics to care before we start worrying about the non-Catholics.

  • I meant the Catholic masses, Michael… most of them — as you know — are just as clueless as the non-Catholics, much to our chagrin.

    Reading groups are a good idea, but the problem there is that most Catholics are afraid of even *trying*… I think the term “encyclical” must somehow be intimidating. 🙂

    My current thought: start a reading group that emphasizes incarnation, i.e. not just understanding the text intellectually, but embodying it in our lives. And the next crucial step: the participants who value the group need to step up and *invite* others to come! We Catholics aren’t very good at that.

  • I wasn’t sure which masses you were referring to! lol

    Well, most Catholics are afraid of trying-by themselves. They’re intimidated by the philosophy, whatever. I think they can have some success if led by the priest though after the priest builds up some trust in the parish. Even if people are just showing up to hear the priest talk and explain, that’ll do some good.

    That said, I think Catholics could probably use more philosophy in their training so they’re not so afraid of encyclicals.

    And you’re definitely right; the groups need to emphasize that this isn’t just book learning; this is helpful information for how to better live out our lives as we strive for holiness.

  • Agreed, with this caveat: I think those of us who are capable must take the lead; we need to get the approval/permission/endorsement of our pastor, but chances are, he’d be *thrilled* to have us offer something like this… the guys are stretched pretty thin these days, and as much as I’d love to have them doing the actual teaching, I’ll settle for them letting competent laity doing it if he can’t.

An Encyclical Prediction

Tuesday, July 7, AD 2009

Thus far I’ve only had the chance to read the first couple pages of Caritas in Veritate, however seeing the first rounds of blog and media reaction rolling forth from both sides of the Catholic political spectrum I would like to indulge in revisitting a prediction from the beginning of the year:

9. The much discussed social encyclical will finally be issued — and all sides of the Catholic political spectrum will within several days claim that it supports the positions they already held.

Regardless of one’s political position, if the main thing one gets from reading the encyclical is, “I am right, and my opponents are all fools or villains” then you probably aren’t reading very carefully. Hopefully most Catholics taking the time to discuss Caritas in Veritate will take the time to read at a deeper level than that.

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41 Responses to An Encyclical Prediction

  • Then you’re probably not. 🙂

  • Then we will lecture you on the effects of confirmation bias and intellectual pride, Henry. 😉

    That said, I think Weigel’s proposed hermeneutic is problematic:

    But then there are those passages to be marked in red — the passages that reflect Justice and Peace ideas and approaches that Benedict evidently believed he had to try and accommodate.

    Um, shouldn’t we read the document as an expression of Benedict’s considered opinion, rather than assuming any parts we dislike were reluctant concessions?

  • Amen, Darwin.

    Poking around the libertarian sites I frequent, the anti-Catholic bigots along with the ignorant have already started coming out of the woodwork. No doubt something similar will occur on the left, who will go ga-ga over any phrase that can be interpreted as a tacit endorsement of state intervention.

    I’ve only had a chance to read the opening sections myself, but hope to post my thoughts on this important encyclical from a more libertarian, free market POV…

  • But what if I were?

    In all seriousness, the idea that one cannot have been right beforehand is indicative of an idea which goes against the nature of the encyclical itself: the idea that this is a leap away from tradition, and something entirely new, outside of the bounds of what has existed within the Church until this time. This, however, is not the case.

    That many people are not within the “right” or “left” divide, and have consistently rejected it, should itself place them more comfortably within the position of being one who can already be seen as following the dictates of the encyclical itself. Now, I would say, most Americans are not too familiar with all the theological, economic, and philosophical presuppositions within Benedict’s writings, and so it would make it more difficult for an average person to know what to expect; on the other hand, one who actively engages Benedict and his sources, and has watched him and his work within the social doctrine for decades, will not be surprised here. Really.

  • Weigel’s approach is…um…nope, can’t think of any PG words to describe it. The idea that Benedict is too weak to stand up to the liberal forces inside the Vatican is so preposterous…

  • In all seriousness, the idea that one cannot have been right beforehand…

    Henry, I apologize for not being clearer: I was completely, entirely kidding. I haven’t seen anything that surprising from this encyclical (so far – I’m not finished yet) either.

  • JH

    I will agree — those who predetermine that the encyclical is to be read within a hermeneutic of suspicion, to distance themselves from the challenges within to fit their own bias, that is erroneous. This is true not only for Weigel; Novak certainly has this problem. Now, I don’t think I would expect many on the “left” (using the American idea) would say that Benedict’s position is identical with theirs, but they would admit there is debate between him and them, but I guess, it is possible some from them will come up and say “it is in perfect agreement with us.” Please, if you find such, show me!

  • What a perfect post, both for Weigel and his mirror image on the left (the MMs of the world).

  • Henry,

    I don’t really look at this from a left/right perspective. There are good faith attempts to interpret a document, and even good faith arguments to discredit other interpretations, and then there are outright dismissals of portions of the document (e.g. Weigel). I see little distinction between the ‘left’ and the ‘right’ here, but I’d be relieved and happy to see America trumpeting the pro-life portions of the encyclical.

  • Having read and discussed the encyclical with Katerina, it does not seem that the encyclical can be spun to support neo-liberalism. I think this fact is displayed in Weigel’s piece where he parses out that with which he agrees (the “Benedictine” parts) and those with which he does not (the Justice and Peace parts). Kat and I are also in agreement that the strong sections on respect for human life and the reaffirmation of the singular importance of Humanae Vitae means that the encyclical cannot be hijacked by those who want to emphasize only the strictly economic parts of the encyclical. Pope Benedict XVI brilliantly tied morality and social doctrine together in such a way that the encyclical makes little sense without the respect for life sections. Like Weigel, those who want to argue otherwise are going to have to concoct some narrative about how some sections of the encyclical are more important or more true than others, the latter of which can be disregarded.

    In any case, I think that the Church’s traditional critique of Marxism is now met with a solid critique of neo-liberalism. The emphasis distributive justice, solidarity among diverse populations, and transnational juridical frameworks for global markets sounds very much like social democracy to me (which would make sense given Bavaria’s politics). But I do not say any of this with certainty, so don’t hold it against me!

  • M.J. (it’s going to take me a while to get used to the new handle) was too polite to link to it, but here’s his full length post on the encyclical:

    http://evangelicalcatholicism.wordpress.com/2009/07/07/the-authority-of-catholic-social-teaching-why-should-catholics-take-the-new-encylical-seriously/

    I haven’t finished it, but it’s worthwhile reading.

  • Henry,

    In all seriousness, the idea that one cannot have been right beforehand is indicative of an idea which goes against the nature of the encyclical itself: the idea that this is a leap away from tradition, and something entirely new, outside of the bounds of what has existed within the Church until this time. This, however, is not the case.

    Well, I think it depends very much what one means by “right beforehand” — and I’ll be the first to admit that being excessively pithy results in being far less precise.

    I’ll admit that I’m saying this while only 10% done reading the encyclical, so perhaps this one will abandon the mold followed by all previous CST, but I would very strongly suspect that if anyone believes that CiV clearly and definitely endorses a particular political/economic program and structure is probably reading his assumptions into it. There are, in the many times and places where Catholicism has found itself, many ways of pursuing a just society, and there is not one form which we as Catholics must endorse in all times and places. This is what makes CST very different from all the utopian -isms which are floating around the modern political consciousness.

    This is the sense in which I would predict that if someone with a particular political agenda reads the encyclical and immediately thinks, “This proves I’m right and everyone else is wrong,” he’s misreading it.

    Also you ask:

    Now, I don’t think I would expect many on the “left” (using the American idea) would say that Benedict’s position is identical with theirs, but they would admit there is debate between him and them, but I guess, it is possible some from them will come up and say “it is in perfect agreement with us.” Please, if you find such, show me!

    I don’t know about “in perfect agreement with us”, but there seems to be a certain amount of “the pope used some words we like, so he must be endorsing our political agenda” thinking in comments such as this one:

    This is so clear, there’s no way to spin this one.

    Distributive justice? Redistribution of wealth? Isn’t that what Obama was attacked for? Same words that Benedict uses.

    Similar comments in the creation that appears on the Commonweal blog thus far.

  • The Encyclical rather strikes me like a variant of the song from the play A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum: “Something for everyone, an encyclical tonight!” I found parts that I liked, parts that I didn’t like, parts I found confusing and parts I found literally incomprehensible. Other parts I found nice, like reforming the UN, but as likely of accomplishment as Ahmadinejad announcing his conversion to the True Faith. Ah well, something new to battle about for awhile on Saint Blogs.

    Here is Weigel’s take since his name was mentioned above:
    http://article.nationalreview.com/?q=NTdkYjU3MDE2YTdhZTE4NWIyN2FkY2U5YTFkM2ZiMmE=&w=MA==

  • Weigel again?

    Just how many neocons infest TAC?

  • Charming, e.

  • e., you really don’t want to be the first person to be placed in moderation by both Joe and me in the history of The American Catholic do you?

  • Charming, e.

    As is Weigel’s notoriously biased account of the Good Pope’s encyclical; claiming that the good parts must have assuredly been from His Holiness himself (imagine that?) while the rest the he found disagreeable (and even, to some extent, tried to discredit and even demonized) were merely products inserted by some clueless, cryptic cosa nostrain the Vatican that Benedict had to somehow accomodate.

    That whole dismissive attitude of his towards such sections seems only to corroborate all the more his wont to color Pope Benedict’s encylical into little more than his lil’ ass upon which he seeks to sit upon and ride all the way to Jerusalem — making the pontiff’s profound work into nothing more than a pawn to advance his end game.

  • Donald:

    Surely, you don’t regard Weigel as some sort of gold standard that all most pay homage to?

    Did you even read his review with some modest degree of impartiality?

    The man surreptitiously attempted to turn the encyclical to something less, making those elements within it that he agreed with as coming from the Pope himself, while those he found distasteful the product of some phantom menace in the Vatican.

    Please tell me that you are ‘Catholic’ and not given to this rather coarse hermeneutic that’s notoriously based on left/right polity rather than ‘Christian’ ideal, which latter this encyclical quite rightly attempted to address.

  • I can tell this debate is going to be fun.. 🙂

    And I had such high hopes for my post on advertising this morning. Ha! Who am I to compete with a new encyclical!

  • Its like Farah Fawcett competing with Michael Jackson.

  • e, I would agree that it is far too easy to assume that what one likes in an encyclical is the pure papal teaching and what one dislikes is caused by bureaucrats in the Vatican. However, in modern times most encyclicals have had heavy involvement from the various departments of the Vatican.

    I truly hope the tourism section is the product of a Vatican bureaucrat:

    “An illustration of the significance of this problem is offered by the phenomenon of international tourism[141], which can be a major factor in economic development and cultural growth, but can also become an occasion for exploitation and moral degradation. The current situation offers unique opportunities for the economic aspects of development — that is to say the flow of money and the emergence of a significant amount of local enterprise — to be combined with the cultural aspects, chief among which is education. In many cases this is what happens, but in other cases international tourism has a negative educational impact both for the tourist and the local populace. The latter are often exposed to immoral or even perverted forms of conduct, as in the case of so-called sex tourism, to which many human beings are sacrificed even at a tender age. It is sad to note that this activity often takes place with the support of local governments, with silence from those in the tourists’ countries of origin, and with the complicity of many of the tour operators. Even in less extreme cases, international tourism often follows a consumerist and hedonistic pattern, as a form of escapism planned in a manner typical of the countries of origin, and therefore not conducive to authentic encounter between persons and cultures. We need, therefore, to develop a different type of tourism that has the ability to promote genuine mutual understanding, without taking away from the element of rest and healthy recreation. Tourism of this type needs to increase, partly through closer coordination with the experience gained from international cooperation and enterprise for development.”

    That struck me as just plain odd to be in a papal encyclical. Of course all it comes out in the name of the Pope, but parts of the encyclical have a committee feel to me.

  • e., I didn’t say I agreed with everything that Weigel said. He was being treated above in this thread as if he were a leper, and frankly nothing he wrote I haven’t seen written by many commentators whenever an ecyclical comes out. As I noted in my last comment, most modern encyclicals are very much a group effort, and I don’t think it is particularly scandalous to conjecture which department in the Vatican influenced the Pope to add a section in an encyclical.

  • By the way Anthony I did like your post and I hope we will see further posts from you for AC.

  • Thanks, Don. I’m coming to really enjoy the site.

  • Donald:

    Out of profound respect for you, rather than press the issue further and engage in more depth examination of the various particulars concerning the matter (as doing thus would ultimately and most assuredly earn me certain excommunication beyond the already seething vitriol against me by Joe et al.), I shall pass up the polemics.

  • Hey, come on e, I haven’t seethed anything at you lately.

    I don’t hold grudges. Water under the bridge.

  • Yeah, sorry, Anthony. I’d thought it would take people couple days to digest the encyclical and we could get the advertising piece in before the storm. Silly me. 🙂

    Hopefully we’ll get back to it — or perhaps I’ll repost in a week or two if it gets totally lost in the shuffle.

  • I want to get back to it, Darwin and Anthony. So with three of us interested, it will happen 🙂

  • Thank you e. All comments about the encyclical right now should, I think, be taken as very preliminary observations. There is a lot in it, and one read through as I have done, only allows me to have some very general impressions. I look forward to analyses from all sides in the days to come, especially in regard to passages I find confusing.

  • For those with vocations and current states in life which allow more study: I would like to state that I had pictured a quiet evening of having dinner, reading to the kids, and then reading the encyclical. However, there has been a minor change in plans, which involves several hours scrubbing marker off the wood floors with a series of Mr. Clean Magic Erasers, and scrupulously avoiding beating my children.

    St. Paul was right when he said that a man who has a wife and children and mortgage and floors finds himself distracted from the work of the lord at times. Consider this consolation all ye single people.

    Any commentary from me will be at a later date. 🙁

  • Your predicament Darwin reminds me of the time I went out to our front room and found my then 3 year old sons had decided that the rocking horse needed a ring around it drawn in shrimp sauce. Shrimp sauce on green carpet makes for a striking contrast. My first words to my wife were to ask her to please take the lads up to their room before I cleaned the mess up as I didn’t trust myself with them at that particular moment.

  • Tsk tsk, Darwin. At times like these it’s important to ask, “what would Jesus do?” Thing is, the answer is in the new encyclical, so why not just beat the kids and make them clean it up? After all, you’re just going to find the necessary justification for doing that in the encyclical. 😉

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  • The emphasis distributive justice, solidarity among diverse populations, and transnational juridical frameworks for global markets sounds very much like social democracy to me (which would make sense given Bavaria’s politics).

    This bothers me. Shouldn’t it bother you? It makes the encyclical sound less like a timeless set of principles, and much more like a product of a particular set of prejudices and assumptions common to people who lived in a particular time and place (i.e., old Western European men who grew up in the 20th century).

  • It makes the encyclical sound less like a timeless set of principles, and much more like a product of a particular set of prejudices and assumptions common to people who lived in a particular time and place (i.e., old Western European men who grew up in the 20th century).

    Of course, a social encyclical is going to contain BOTH timeless principles AND inductively established principles that are more relate to specific, historical circumstances. Also, a social encyclical will contain the application of both kinds of principles to historical events. I don’t see any problem with any of that. As for how this particular encyclical sounds, I don’t know about the whole old men from Western Europe thing, but it does seem to me that Benedict XVI accord primacy to some general political and economic solutions that are inspired by current European political thought (particularly social democracy). However, the encyclical avoids specific, technical policy proposals, which is why I don’t think it can be described as similar to old European policy options.

    Apropos of the discussion further up this thread, I wrote a response to the Weigel piece.

    [ed. updated the name for you Pol…er, I mean MJ – JH]

  • Sorry, old combox habits brought back Policraticus!

  • MJAndew/MJ Andrew/Policratius/Michael Joseph:

    You are confusing me in what is obviously a malicious plot by you to take revenge on me and others for your anger against JPII & Centesimus Annus. I am blocking out all your nicknames in red ink and will gold only Policratius, which I have arbitrarily determined to be the only name that you really intend and that is not the product of Katerina and your other friends, who you clearly are only catering to because you are a gentle young man.

  • Denton–

    That was pretty funny.

    I apologize for the collage of blogging names. I used “Policraticus” because I was often mistaken at Vox Nova for “Michael I.” (since I was “Michael J.”). At EC, I went back to Michael Joseph, but tacked on my confirmation name. I think I am now stable.

  • MJ Andrew:

    Glad you enjoyed it. I do recall several times being confused, wondering when you became an anarchist.

  • ut it does seem to me that Benedict XVI accord primacy to some general political and economic solutions that are inspired by current European political thought (particularly social democracy).

    Well, imagine a 19th century encyclical pronouncing French colonialism the best form of political/economic system; or a Renaissance encyclical saying that small city-states were the way to go; or an earlier encyclical saying that serfdom and monarchy were best situated to implement Catholic principles; or a 4th century homage to Constantine and the Roman Empire. If such encyclicals existed, we’d all look back and wince at the Church’s unthinking assumption that a very time-bound and place-bound system of government was “the” Catholic system.

    Is it really plausible that just now, 20 centuries after Christ, a bunch of mostly secular Europeans came up with the one golden system of government and economics that just happens to be what the Catholic Church was searching for all of these years? Church leaders who grew up under that European system of government just happened, by sheer coincidence, to come to the belief that the system in which they are most comfortable is the one that God has ordained?

14 Responses to Caritas in Veritate Is Here

  • Thanks for having this set up first thing this morning. It made my day being able to find the new encyclical so easily.

  • Quick off the dime John Henry! Well done!

  • We will be analyzing this one for a very long time!

    Struck by this portion thus far:

    “Some non-governmental Organizations work actively to spread abortion, at times promoting the practice of sterilization in poor countries, in some cases not even informing the women concerned. Moreover, there is reason to suspect that development aid is sometimes linked to specific health-care policies which de facto involve the imposition of strong birth control measures. Further grounds for concern are laws permitting euthanasia as well as pressure from lobby groups, nationally and internationally, in favour of its juridical recognition.

    Openness to life is at the centre of true development. When a society moves towards the denial or suppression of life, it ends up no longer finding the necessary motivation and energy to strive for man’s true good. If personal and social sensitivity towards the acceptance of a new life is lost, then other forms of acceptance that are valuable for society also wither away[67]. The acceptance of life strengthens moral fibre and makes people capable of mutual help. By cultivating openness to life, wealthy peoples can better understand the needs of poor ones, they can avoid employing huge economic and intellectual resources to satisfy the selfish desires of their own citizens, and instead, they can promote virtuous action within the perspective of production that is morally sound and marked by solidarity, respecting the fundamental right to life of every people and every individual.”

  • This is a very interesting passage:

    “What is needed, therefore, is a market that permits the free operation, in conditions of equal opportunity, of enterprises in pursuit of different institutional ends. Alongside profit-oriented private enterprise and the various types of public enterprise, there must be room for commercial entities based on mutualist principles and pursuing social ends to take root and express themselves. It is from their reciprocal encounter in the marketplace that one may expect hybrid forms of commercial behaviour to emerge, and hence an attentiveness to ways of civilizing the economy. Charity in truth, in this case, requires that shape and structure be given to those types of economic initiative which, without rejecting profit, aim at a higher goal than the mere logic of the exchange of equivalents, of profit as an end in itself.”

  • Agreed Don. I thought Joe, in particular, would also appreciate this section:

    39…When both the logic of the market and the logic of the State come to an agreement that each will continue to exercise a monopoly over its respective area of influence, in the long term much is lost: solidarity in relations between citizens, participation and adherence, actions of gratuitousness, all of which stand in contrast with giving in order to acquire (the logic of exchange) and giving through duty (the logic of public obligation, imposed by State law). In order to defeat underdevelopment, action is required not only on improving exchange-based transactions and implanting public welfare structures, but above all on gradually increasing openness, in a world context, to forms of economic activity marked by quotas of gratuitousness and communion. The exclusively binary model of market-plus-State is corrosive of society, while economic forms based on solidarity, which find their natural home in civil society without being restricted to it, build up society. The market of gratuitousness does not exist, and attitudes of gratuitousness cannot be established by law. Yet both the market and politics need individuals who are open to reciprocal gift.

  • Where’s the part about how people should vote for Obama?

  • I’m halfway through it, taking extensive notes. I’m going to post on it, if not tonight, then tomorrow. Until then I won’t be around much.

    So far, I must say, it is everything I hoped it would be 🙂

  • I had to put this one up as possibly my favorite passage not directly dealing with the economy (and even then, its way up there):

    “In order to protect nature, it is not enough to intervene with economic incentives or deterrents; not even an apposite education is sufficient. These are important steps, but the decisive issue is the overall moral tenor of society. If there is a lack of respect for the right to life and to a natural death, if human conception, gestation and birth are made artificial, if human embryos are sacrificed to research, the conscience of society ends up losing the concept of human ecology and, along with it, that of environmental ecology. It is contradictory to insist that future generations respect the natural environment when our educational systems and laws do not help them to respect themselves. The book of nature is one and indivisible: it takes in not only the environment but also life, sexuality, marriage, the family, social relations: in a word, integral human development. Our duties towards the environment are linked to our duties towards the human person, considered in himself and in relation to others. It would be wrong to uphold one set of duties while trampling on the other. Herein lies a grave contradiction in our mentality and practice today: one which demeans the person, disrupts the environment and damages society.”

  • Here is one passage I find very meaningful:

    “76. One aspect of the contemporary technological mindset is the tendency to consider the problems and emotions of the interior life from a purely psychological point of view, even to the point of neurological reductionism. In this way man’s interiority is emptied of its meaning and gradually our awareness of the human soul’s ontological depths, as probed by the saints, is lost. The question of development is closely bound up with our understanding of the human soul, insofar as we often reduce the self to the psyche and confuse the soul’s health with emotional well-being. These over-simplifications stem from a profound failure to understand the spiritual life, and they obscure the fact that the development of individuals and peoples depends partly on the resolution of problems of a spiritual nature. Development must include not just material growth but also spiritual growth, since the human person is a “unity of body and soul”[156], born of God’s creative love and destined for eternal life. The human being develops when he grows in the spirit, when his soul comes to know itself and the truths that God has implanted deep within, when he enters into dialogue with himself and his Creator. When he is far away from God, man is unsettled and ill at ease. Social and psychological alienation and the many neuroses that afflict affluent societies are attributable in part to spiritual factors. A prosperous society, highly developed in material terms but weighing heavily on the soul, is not of itself conducive to authentic development. The new forms of slavery to drugs and the lack of hope into which so many people fall can be explained not only in sociological and psychological terms but also in essentially spiritual terms. The emptiness in which the soul feels abandoned, despite the availability of countless therapies for body and psyche, leads to suffering. There cannot be holistic development and universal common good unless people’s spiritual and moral welfare is taken into account, considered in their totality as body and soul.”

  • Unfortunately, my work schedule is such today that I won’t have the chance to get beyond the first few paragraphs of Caritas in Veritate that I’ve read so far until this evening. However, as others get farther into it an begin to discuss, I’d be curious what various people think of these remarks by Amy Welborn as Via Media:

    I have to say right out that I am never sure what the ultimate point and effect of an encyclical like this is. It is a mix between analysis of very specific global situations ranging from the financial crisis to migration to unions to the welfare state and some quite wonderful, clearly Benedict-written passages about the nature of human life, especially human life in community.

    I wonder if arguments about the former – about the accuracy of the analysis, the sufficiency of the evidence and data – will overwhelm the latter, which is really what we should be looking to a Pope for. Don’t think I’m saying religious figures – Popes included – shook stick to the “purely religious” stuff – whatever that means. I am just not sure if contemporary Catholic pronouncements touching on current issues have quite mastered the task of effectively bringing the Gospel into the fray while at the same time acknowledging the limitations of received data and analysis. This encyclical actually does better than some in its attempt to look at every side of issues and the prevalence of original sin and the law of unintended consequences. But I wonder if the detail and specificity it contains is necessary.

    Link.

  • I think John Paul II in Solicitudo Rei Socialis or Centesimus Annus discussed that any such document is necessarily based on economic, historical and sociological data. As such, there is a limit to the infallibility of its conclusions. There are of course set principles that are established including subsidiarity, solidarity, preferential option for the poor etc.

    The trick is sorting out which is which and how to apply to the current world situation. Thus will flow differing interpretations.

  • One aspect of the contemporary technological mindset is the tendency to consider the problems and emotions of the interior life from a purely psychological point of view, even to the point of neurological reductionism.

    To me, this seems to also address certain Christians who tend to use Christ as some sort of ‘consumer product’; that is, to be used as nothing more than a psychological pick-me up but never really anything having to do with acquiring that kind of spiritual life that the saints themselves aspired to but, more so, merely a utilitarian tool to ease one’s psyche.

  • so far it seems like a great condiment… but dinner, still, has yet to be served.

Exclusive Sneak Peek of Caritas in Veritate

Wednesday, July 1, AD 2009

Caritas in Veritate

[Updates at the bottom of this posting.]

The much anticipated new encyclical that Pope Benedict XVI recently signed, his third, on June 29th titled Caritas in Veritate, or Charity in Truth, will be released soon by Ignatius Press (the English version) on July  6th or 7th of 2009 A.D.  In searching for information regarding this encyclical I found bits and pieces here and there but nothing exhaustive or concise that came close to satisfying my curiosity.  So I’ve gathered all of my information and have presented it the best way possible in this posting.  With tongue in cheek I labeled this preview of Caritas in Veritate as an ‘Exclusive Sneak Peek’*.

Caritas in Veritate will be a social encyclical examining some of the social changes that have occurred since Pope Paul VI’s encyclical Populorum Progressio, particularly globalization.  The encyclical will have Pope Benedict XVI articulating the need to bolster humanism that brings together the social and economic development of humans and to reduce the disproportionate gap between poor and rich.  One other major theme of this encyclical will be that of global justice.

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8 Responses to Exclusive Sneak Peek of Caritas in Veritate

Res & Explicatio for A.D. 3-16-2009

Monday, March 16, AD 2009

Salvete AC readers!

Here are today’s Top Picks in the Catholic world:

1. The Indian Catholic is reporting that Pope Benedict’s next encyclical will be on the global meltdown.

The Pope’s message fundamentally will be one of hope… …it will be filled also with truth about how false economic principles and moral ideals can lead mankind toward the abyss…”

For the link click here.

2. Communion in the hand, this recent innovation, is dissected by Fr. John Zuhlsdorf on his blog.  Fr. Z wants us to consider the following:

Consider the lack of care with which many receive, how they move the Host around and handle it.

Consider that often there is a more or less properly prepared EMHC also handling the Host.

Consider the condition of the skin of the palm.

Consider the few seconds after a person transfers the Host from palm to mouth.

Consider that the Host has been in contact not only with the palm, but the fingers of the other hand.

For the link click here.

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44 Responses to Res & Explicatio for A.D. 3-16-2009

  • Speaking of March Madness, congratulations goes out to Vox Nova for making the field of the Top 64 People Destroying our Culture. They meet Linda Ronstandt in the first round.

    And potentially match up against George Clooney or Mariah Carey if they make it to the second round. Who knew that a member of the St. Blogs circle had such pop culture pull?

  • I’ll take George Clooney over Mariah Carey. He should pull it off considering that he has the most Iraq War themed movie failures.

  • Who knew that a member of the St. Blogs circle had such pop culture pull?

    If only they did; I’d take the VN contributors over anyone else on that list as making positive contributions to the culture.

  • Yeah, throwing in VN is a fit of pique.

  • They probably should have said certain bloggers, so as not to paint JonathanJones and BA as part of that bunch.

  • I don’t think it’s a fair rap to accuse anyone on Vox Nova as “destroying the culture”. Honestly, if the differences between our writers and those on Vox Nova were the widest cultural and moral gaps we had in this country, we’d be in a very, very good place.

    But then, I don’t really think Mariah Carey and George Clooney are going to destroy our culture either. So I was just swinging with it as humor.

  • But then, I don’t really think Mariah Carey and George Clooney are going to destroy our culture either. So I was just swinging with it as humor.

    There’s an alternative way of looking at these things too: Without drawing any judgment on who should or shouldn’t be listed, or if a list should even be attempted (though I think this list is meant to be more of a humorous exercise), I’d say that these people are products of our culture more than they are an influence. Enough to make you weep…

  • They probably should have said certain bloggers, so as not to paint JonathanJones and BA as part of that bunch.

    Honestly, there isn’t anyone in ‘that bunch’ that I see as harmful to the culture. At the end of the day, they are practicing Catholics. I’m a practicing Catholic; we agree 90%-95% of the time on issues of significance, and where we disagree I’d generally like to hear more from them rather than less. My main frustration with VN is that unnecessarily antagonistic behavior by some contributors creates an environment in which a clear exchange of views is difficult. To be fair, it’s probably a problem with the architecture of blogs and blog comment sections rather than the contributors much of the time.

  • DC & JH,

    It’s a humorous post by CMR.

    But I’m not going to defend Catholics who deliberately mislead others away from the truth.

    You guys can cut hairs, I’ll stick to the truth.

  • I think the danger of Vox Nova is not their own impact on the culture, as their lack of appropriate response to the culture…. appeasement and permissiveness.

    Concurring with Tito that’s not ALL of them but perhaps most.

    I agree with DC that if the whole range of opinions represented between here and there were the whole range of the culture we really wouldn’t have a serious problem at all (at least not culturally)… unfortunately, the liberal Catholic approach is an enabler of the liberal secular approach.

  • 😉

    Tongue in cheek.

    I have no hair! lol

  • I would have sworn that the explosive issue for this post would have been communion in the hand or communion on the tongue.

  • Matt and Tito,

    You two can and do more to damage Catholic culture in your often faulty and wanting presentation of it in one post than V-N has done in its entire history.

    The examples are aplenty.

    Congratulations.

    Oh, I am saying this tongue in cheek.

  • They probably should have said certain bloggers, so as not to paint JonathanJones and BA as part of that bunch.

    It’s hard work being super cool. 🙂

  • Consider the lack of care with which many receive, how they move the Host around and handle it.

    Consider that often there is a more or less properly prepared EMHC also handling the Host.

    Consider the condition of the skin of the palm.

    Consider the few seconds after a person transfers the Host from palm to mouth.

    Consider that the Host has been in contact not only with the palm, but the fingers of the other hand.

    CONSIDER, THAT JESUS SAID “TAKE AND EAT.”

  • CONSIDER, THAT JESUS SAID “TAKE AND EAT.”

    🙂 That’s a pretty good one!

  • Interesting article here on the reception of communion:http://www.franciscan-archive.org/apologetica/tongue.html.

    Catholic Anarchist, I believe that Christ at the Last Supper was giving communion to a room full of priests.

  • Catholic Anarchist, I believe that Christ at the Last Supper was giving communion to a room full of priests.

    I just don’t get this bizarre thinking. 1) No, Christ did not “give communion to a bunch of priests” at the Last Supper. 2) Are priests’ hands cleaner or holier or what? I don’t know what Tito is doing with his hands that makes his palms something of a threat to the host. What are you people talking about?

  • Communion in mouth recipients remind me of the “look at me, I am holier than thou” crowd…especially whenever they disrupt the flow of the communion line, with their insistence upon kneeling at reception.

  • “No, Christ did not “give communion to a bunch of priests” at the Last Supper.”

    You deny that the apostles were priests? Why am I not surprised.

    Priests hands are consecrated Catholic Anarchist and only priests are able to change the bread and wine into their body and blood. Of course this makes them different in regard to handling the body and blood.

    “with their insistence upon kneeling at reception.”

    Mr. DeFrancisis, when it comes to an efficient flowing of the communion line or allowing someone to pay traditional reverence to the Lord of the Universe, perhaps you could show some Christian charity.

  • Mr. McClarey,

    The current Mass already has its built in many practices to show reverence, as practiced in dioceses all across America.

    The insistence to go beyond the prescribed alternatives in one’s diocese is odd at best, whenever one kneels in cases in which this is not a prescribed option, and clearly works, inadvertantly or not, as a means to disrupt the communio that the Eucharistic sacrifice is to effect.

  • especially whenever they disrupt the flow of the communion line, with their insistence upon kneeling at reception.

    Maybe our expectations of how the communion line should flow (like a drive-through???) are wrong. Maybe if everyone knelt at communion, it wouldn’t feel like the holier than thou crowd is trying to set themselves apart. I don’t have strong feelings about the reception in hand/mouth debate, but sometimes I wish that the faithful could take an infinitessimally longer amount of time to show reverence and recall what is actually happening at that moment. Something about the rushed atmosphere just seems out of place.

  • I think it is a minor disruption at most Mr. DeFrancisis. I do not kneel myself, but I have only respect for those who do. I think the Pope agrees with me, judging from this:

    “Congregation de Cultu Divino et Disciplina Sacramentorum

    Prot. n. 1322/02/L

    Rome, 1 July 2002

    Your Excellency,

    This Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments has recently received reports of members of the faithful in your Diocese being refused Holy Communion unless while standing to receive, as opposed to kneeling. The reports state that such a policy has been announced to parishioners. There were possible indications that such a phenomenon might be somewhat more widespread in the Diocese, but the Congregation is unable to verify whether such is the case. This Dicastery is confident that Your Excellency will be in a position to make a more reliable determination of the matter, and these complaints in any event provide an occasion for the Congregation to communicate the manner in which it habitually addresses this matter, with a request that you make this position known to any priests who may be in need of being thus informed.

    The Congregation in fact is concerned at the number of similar complaints that it has received in recent months from various places, and considers any refusal of Holy Communion to a member of the faithful on the basis of his or her kneeling posture to be a grave violation of one of the most basic rights of the Christian faithful, namely that of being assisted by their Pastors by means of the Sacraments (Codex Iuris Canonici, canon 213). In view of the law that “sacred ministers may not deny the sacraments to those who opportunely ask for them, are properly disposed and are not prohibited by law from receiving them” (canon 843 ¶ 1), there should be no such refusal to any Catholic who presents himself for Holy Communion at Mass, except in cases presenting a danger of grave scandal to other believers arising out of the person’s unrepented public sin or obstinate heresy or schism, publicly professed or declared. Even where the Congregation has approved of legislation denoting standing as the posture for Holy Communion, in accordance with the adaptations permitted to the Conferences of Bishops by the Institutio Generalis Missalis Romani n. 160, paragraph 2, it has done so with the stipulation that communicants who choose to kneel are not to be denied Holy Communion on these grounds.

    In fact, as His Eminence, Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger has recently emphasized, the practice of kneeling for Holy Communion has in its favor a centuries-old tradition, and it is a particularly expressive sign of adoration, completely appropriate in light of the true, real and substantial presence of Our Lord Jesus Christ under the consecrated species.

    Given the importance of this matter, the Congregation would request that Your Excellency inquire specifically whether this priest in fact has a regular practice of refusing Holy Communion to any member of the faithful in the circumstances described above and — if the complaint is verified — that you also firmly instruct him and any other priests who may have had such a practice to refrain from acting thus in the future. Priests should understand that the Congregation will regard future complaints of this nature with great seriousness, and if they are verified, it intends to seek disciplinary action consonant with the gravity of the pastoral abuse.

    Thanking Your Excellency for your attention to this matter and relying on your kind collaboration in its regard,

    Sincerely yours in Christ,

    Jorge A. Cardinal Medina Estévez
    Prefect

    +Francesco Pio Tamburrino
    Archbishop Secretary”

  • Michael I/Mark D.

    Did you even click on the link that Tito posted? You are apparently unfamiliar with the FACT that the universal norm in the CATHOLIC Church is that communion is to be received on the tongue. The use of communion in the hand in the modern era was out of DISOBEDIENCE and as a result of a faulty theology. Ultimately, the Holy Father granted an indult for certain places were this illicit practice had developed, in the document granting this, the universal norm was defended despite permitting limited use of the alternate practice.

    Michael, do you adhere solely to Vatican II and Sacred Scripture? You throw out nearly 2000 years of the Church’s development of theology and discipline in favor of antiquarianism, and Vatican IIism. You are PRECISELY the sort that the Holy Father is warning to reform.

    There should be no mistake by any of the moderates here that Michael and Mark’s hostility towards traditional piety and reverence to the Blessed Sacrament is not a matter of personal preference but represents a serious theological flaw. They feel deeply threatened by the Holy Father’s steps towards a reform of the reform… their anger belies a deep fear.

    If Christ Himself in natural form were to stand there at the altar would not EVERY knee bend? Then why would we show any less reverence to His REAL Presence in the Sacrament?

  • Donald,

    Tamburrino? that old relic, why should Mark or Michael listen to him, isn’t he one of those hundred of year old bishops still clinging to the pre-Vatican II Church?

  • “There should be no mistake by any of the moderates here that Michael and Mark’s hostility towards traditional piety and reverence to the Blessed Sacrament is not a matter of personal preference but represents a serious theological flaw. They feel deeply threatened by the Holy Father’s steps towards a reform of the reform… their anger belies a deep fear.”

    Matt,

    I think you may have missed a doasage of your meds, as you are clearly frothing at the mouth in your assinine accusations. They deserve no further response.

  • Mark is right, Matt. You’ve gone over the line in judging our view toward “traditional” piety and in questioning our reverence for the Eucharist. So as Donald, but you, Matt, have become a caricature of yourself and of the supposed “moderates” you claim to represent. You’re a reactionary nut case.

  • Alright that is enough. This is Tito’s thread, but I will delete the next comment that insults anyone.

  • Donald – Have an equal hand, friend. God’s watching. Are you as willing to give witness to “true christian charity” in your dealings with Matt as you are will me?

  • As I stated Catholic Anarchist, I will delete the next insulting comment made.

  • Deleted your last comment Catholic Anarchist. I’m not a policeman, merely one of the posters on this blog who does not wish to see the comboxes devolve into endless, boring flinging of insults. I blog for fun. Reading back and forth insults is not fun.

  • Communion in mouth recipients remind me of the “look at me, I am holier than thou” crowd…especially whenever they disrupt the flow of the communion line, with their insistence upon kneeling at reception.

    Such love expressed here. Rest assured Mark, God knows what’s in our hearts. If people receive Our Lord kneeling because they think they can put themselves above you, the Lord will deal with that. If they’re doing it because they’re humbled in the presence of the Lord and at the thought of receiving this great Gift, I would guess He’s quite okay with it. Really, think about what you’re saying and griping about. I mean, even if a communicant is kneeling for what you consider to be self-righteous motives. How does it really affect you? Why would you want to let something like that disturb you so? And don’t say because you have to spend a few extra minutes in the Communion line, that will sound even worse.

  • Yeah, I get kick out of this. Seeing how the VN bloggers join the other 2% of Catholics who actually follow the Church’s teachings on Sexuality in our daily lives and our commitment to pro-life work and corporal works of mercy, yeah, we are DEFINITELY destroying our Culture. If you mean destroying the American individualism and culture of death, YEP! Guilty as charged and PROUD of it!

  • Rick,

    I am only speaking from personal experience, reflecting back on whenever I received by mouth and occasionally kneeled, in settings in which communion in the hand was the dominant practice.

  • If one did study 2000 years of history and Christian tradition, one would know how common communion by the hand actually was. And one would learn of other odd practices. I am sure Matt would be horrified if he learned about St Macrina and the eucharist.

    The problem is that those who say “it is not just the modern age,” while correct in stating that, ignore the whole 2000 years, when they judge what happens in the modern age. They also act like Martin Luther, who said “Well, the modern age gets it wrong, but let me show you how I read tradition.” No, the Church reads tradition, and we must understand the modern practices in relation to that.

    “IT started as an abuse.” So did many other things Romans do. Shall we mention the filioque?

  • Ok, since I am one-quarter Irish I will give myself a dispensation from abstinence from blogging for St. Patrick’s Day 🙂

    I was about 12 or 13 years old when communion in the hand (as well as face to face confession) started, and accepted it in good faith. I do it to this day simply because it’s what I’m used to, and because I’m kind of self-conscious about subjecting the priest or EM to my potentially virus or halitosis-contaminated breath. Then again, cold viruses allegedly spread faster through your hands than your breath anyway so I guess that argument is a wash.

    I personally feel the most dignified and least potentially disruptive way to show reverence before receiving the Eucharist is to bow slightly from the waist while the person in front of you is receiving. My daughter and I both do this. This shows reverence but doesn’t hold up the line or call attention to oneself.

    My daughter (13 and mildly autistic) always receives on the tongue. When she was going through instruction for First Communion they taught her how to do it both ways and she showed a marked preference for on the tongue, and that is how she does it — perhaps because her manual dexterity leaves something to be desired and she doesn’t want to take the chance of dropping or fumbling with the Host. So there are valid reasons for people to receive both ways.

    I suggest that we approach this the way St. Paul asked the early Christians to approach the question of whether or not to eat meat (purchased in the marketplace) that had been or may have been sacrificed to idols at the time of slaughter.

    St. Paul said that while eating such meat wasn’t wrong in itself (since the false gods to which it had been “sacrificed” really didn’t exist), it was better to refrain from eating such meat in the presence of “weaker brethren” who might be offended or scandalized by it. But he also told the latter group not to be overly judgmental of those whom they saw eating such meat. His point was that he did not want to see the Body of Christ torn apart on an issue that wasn’t a matter of faith or morals, just because one side wanted to prove itself “right.”

    There is also a passage in C.S. Lewis’ Screwtape Letters that applies Paul’s approach to the differences in piety between High and Low Anglicans. Lewis (via Screwtape) says that if Anglicans took that approach, one might see “Low Church” people genuflecting and crossing themselves so their “High” bretheren won’t be tempted to irreverence, and “High Church” people abstaining from those gestures so their “Low” bretheren won’t be tempted to idolatry!

    Imagine a Church in which Catholics who prefer receiving kneeling and on the tongue instead receive standing and in the hand (perhaps offering it up as a penance) because they don’t want to distract or offend their “weaker” brethren — while, at the same time, those who normally receive in the hand decide to make the sacrifice of receiving on the tongue, or kneeling, so as not to offend or tempt to irreverence THEIR “weaker” brethren and sisteren. 🙂 Wouldn’t that be a lot better than bickering about it?

  • Thank you Elaine for your insightful comment. I am glad you gave yourself the “Saint Patrick’s blogging dispensation”. I have always loved the passage you cite from the Screwtape letter.

    My position is not to say that all Catholics should receive communion on the tongue, as I do, and kneeling, which I do not, but that they should be respected when they do so, just as no aspersions should be cast on those Catholics who receive communion in the hand, as my wife does.

    I would note that the norm at papal masses apparently is now kneeling and communion on the tongue, so I believe those Catholics who choose to receive God in that manner are in good company!

    http://www.catholicnews.com/data/stories/cns/0803381.htm

    I have a son too who is autistic. Alas, I wish I could I could state his condition was mild, although there is nothing wrong with his manual dexterity. He too receives on the tongue. I am sure he is merely copying his old man, although he very much has a mind of his own on most things. Having him worship by me at Mass has added a great dimension to my own experience of the Mass, and I thank God for it.

  • I only receive on the tongue, mostly because my tradition uses a golden spoon for the distribution of communion, and I am used to it, even when I go to a Roman liturgy. It’s just easier not to get confused and to follow one practice. But again, distribution to the hand is not an abuse (it was when it was not approved discipline, at those times it was not; but before it was an abuse, it was not an abuse, and I think people should remember that, because it points something out about the whole matter).

    Sergius Bulgakov reminds us that Christ’s blood did fall upon the earth, and the tomb shows the ground took his body; as such, if Christ was able to distribute his graces to the earth, we might also use that to reflect upon many of the things being discussed here and now. His idea that the earth itself is the holy grail has all kinds of implications, from ecology to sacramentology and even soteriology; I think a reflection on it would help everyone.

  • “at those times” should have been “at other times times it was not” should have been deleted, but I generally write comments quickly without editing them, and I sometimes don’t delete everything I intended to as I change the way I am saying something.

  • Has anyone here read the document of Paul VI that granted the indult for communion on the hand in certain places? If you are serious about your faith, regardless of your communion practice, you ought to read it.

    http://www.ewtn.com/library/CURIA/CDWMEMOR.HTM

    This method of distributing holy communion must be retained, taking the present situation of the Church in the entire world into account, not merely because it has many centuries of-tradition behind it, but especially because it expresses the faithful’s reverence for the Eucharist. The custom does not detract in any way from the personal dignity of those who approach this great sacrament: it is part of that preparation that is needed for the most fruitful reception of the Body of the Lord.[6]

  • Elaine,

    Thank you for your intervention, especially as it has affected me.

    The funny thing is, if we were to return across the board to kneelers and a communion rail at the altar and communion for everyone in such a way, I would be more than happy.

    As it is I actually regret the hodge podge of standing, kneeling, mouth and hand reception that occurs only because of the apparent discord it seems to express.

    And, yes, Donald, your examples prove that this apparent discord may be minor, in comparison to the good that the alternatives serve in individual cases.

    My bad.

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