Thoughts on Usus Antiquior from John Gilmary Shea

From the Pictorial Lives of the Saints (1887) entry for St. John Chrysostom:

ST. JOHN was born at Antioch, in 344. In order to break with a world which admired and courted him, he in 374 retired for six years to a neighboring mountain. Having thus acquired the art of Christian silence, he returned to Antioch, and there labored as priest, until he was ordained Bishop of Constantinople in 398. The effect of his sermons was everywhere marvellous. He was very urgent that his people should frequent the Holy Sacrifice, and in order to remove all excuse he abbreviated the long Liturgy until then in use….

We should try to understand that the most productive work in the whole day, both for time and eternity, is that involved in hearing Mass. St. John Chrysostom felt this so keenly, that he allowed no consideration of venerable usage to interfere with the easiness of hearing Mass.

Something to think about for my brothers and sisters who become a little scrupulous about the Ordinary Form of the Mass. When your prayers against it reach heaven, none other than Saint Golden-Mouthed may be lobbying against you.

It’s also instructive that before he implemented reform, he first learned how to be silent. I’ve studied silence a lot here and there, but my last confessor told me to keep a diary and write more, and I’ve been remiss in not attending to that here. My new confessor has asked me to put more effort into my daily devotionals, so perhaps it’s time I ended my own silence.

Charity, at a cost

Several times in the last few weeks I’ve wanted to post something. But it’s been very difficult to vent charitably, so I’ve kept my silence. I’m not sure that’s good for my health, so I’m reconsidering “taking up the pen,” as it were.

Meet the Boss

The Swiss Guard have to go back to work.

Hat tip to Rocco Palmo for the title.

One word of warning: some Rad-Trads are despondent and almost suicidal, thinking that Francis is somewhere between Rowan Williams and Martin Luther. Stay away from their websites until they’ve been calmed down and unlocked from their straightjackets. And do pray for them, because it is a real burden to be holier than the pope.

UPDATE: Some good-hearted souls are rising to the defense of the Holy Father. Let us all do likewise.

Who understands Catholicism?

Many of us in the pews complain about those who claim to be Catholic, yet don’t understand the basic idea of what it means to assent to the faith. But sometimes we find an intellect which comprehends the concept even if he doesn’t believe in God. Well done, Mr. Jillette.

Habebimus Papam!

“We will have a pope!”

The Holy Father announced today that he will abdicate the See of Rome and Chair of St. Peter, effective the last day of February. A resignation of the papacy has only happened a handful of times, and not for almost 600 years.

A conclave convened to elect his successor should be completed before Easter, according to the Vatican. Let us pray for Benedict, and for his successor.

Campaign poster for my favored candidate


h/t Fr. Z’s Blog – What Does The Prayer Really Say?

Does Science Show That the Unborn Are Human Beings?

I had this argument with my coworker Joel a few weeks ago and made no progress with him, but Jimmy probably says it better than I do (obviously).

The choice is clear

CatholicVote explains the case for Mitt Romney and against Barack Obama. It’s a scandal that it’s even close, and the fact is is might not really be close at all.

Protect them Whereso’er they go

In Memoriam.

Eternal Father, Strong to save,
Whose arm hath bound the restless wave,
Who bid’st the mighty Ocean deep
Its own appointed limits keep;
O hear us when we cry to thee,
for those in peril on the sea.

On immorality inside the spotless Church

At First Things, Leroy Huizenga confronts the issue of the sinful bishop, so relevant today.

The ultimate issue for those who take seriously the question of which Christian communion they should belong to, I think, is not which ecclesial structure evinces the most holiness yesterday and today. Rather, the proper question is this: What structure has God willed? For me, I came to believe that God through Christ willed the episcopal structure with the bishop of Rome at its head, though others will of course come to different conclusions.

He then quotes apologist Frank Sheed:

We are not baptized into the hierarchy; do not receive the Cardinals sacramentally; will not spend an eternity in the beatific vision of the pope. Christ is the point. I, myself, admire the present pope (John Paul II), but even if I criticized him as harshly as some do, even if his successor proved to be as bad as some of those who have gone before, even if I find the church, as I have to live with it, a pain in the neck, I should still say that nothing a pope (or a priest) could do or say would make me wish to leave the church, although I might well wish that they would leave.

He finishes by pointing out that, “if one can believe in God after Auschwitz, one could also believe in the Church after whatever scandal.” It’s a very good read.