Monthly Archives: August 2015

Phenomenology of Two Masses Part VIII

Today, I treat the Eucharistic prayers. Here, let us simply lay out the difference of content. Then we will reflect on difference in calling, on what the Mass asks of us. I have chosen the first part of the Eucharistic prayer; the second will be treated in another post. The Extraordinary form has one and the same canon for every Mass. The Ordinary Form offers typically four options. As all know, the second form is used most of the time, if not over 75% of the time. Hence, we will compare the Extraordinary form with the second Eucharistic prayer of the Ordinary form.

Extraordinary Form Ordinary Form
We therefore, humbly pray and beseech Thee, most merciful Father, through Jesus Christ; Thy Son, our Lord, that Thou wouldst vouchsafe to accept and bless these ☩ gifts, these ☩ presents, these ☩ holy unspotted Sacrifices, which in the first place we offer Thee for Thy holy Catholic Church to which vouchsafe to grant peace, as also to preserve, unite, and govern it throughout the world, together with Thy servant Francis our Pope, and (name of Bishop) our Bishop, and all orthodox believers and professors of the Catholic and Apostolic Faith. You are indeed Holy, O Lord, the fount of all holiness. Make holy, therefore, these gifts, we pray, by sending down your Spirit upon them like the dewfall so that they may become for us the Body and + Blood of our Lord Jesus Christ.
Be mindful, O Lord, of Thy servants and handmaidens, N. et N., and of all here present, whose faith and devotion are known unto Thee, for whom we offer, or who offer up to Thee, this sacrifice of praise for themselves, their families and friends, for the redemption of their souls, for the health and salvation they hope for; and who now pay their vows to Thee, the everlasting, living and true God.
We pray in union with and honor the memory, especially of the glorious ever Virgin Mary, mother of our God and Lord Jesus Christ: as also of the blessed Joseph, her Spouse,and of the blessed Apostles and Martyrs Peter and Paul, Andrew, James, John, Thomas, James, Philip, Bartholomew, Matthew, Simon, and Thaddeus; Linus, Cletus, Clement, Xystus, Cornelius, Cyprian, Lawrence, Chrysogonus, John and Paul, Cosmas and Damian, and of all Thy Saints, through whose merits and prayers, grant that we may in all things be defended by the help of Thy protection. Through the same Christ our Lord. Amen.
We therefore beseech Thee, O Lord, graciously to accept this oblation of our service, as also of Thy whole family; and to dispose our days in Thy peace, preserve us from eternal damnation, and rank us in the number of Thine Elect. Through the same Christ our Lord. Amen. Which oblation do Thou, O God, vouchsafe in all respects, to bless, ☩ approve, ☩ ratify, ☩ make worthy and acceptable; that it may be made for us the Body ☩ and Blood ☩ of Thy most beloved Son Jesus Christ our Lord.
Who, the day before He suffered, took bread into His holy and venerable hands, and with His eyes lifted up towards heaven unto Thee, God, His almighty Father, giving thanks to Thee, He blessed ☩ it, broke it and gave it to His disciples saying: Take and eat ye all of this, for this is my body. At the time he was betrayed and entered willingly into his Passion, he took bread and, giving thanks, broke it, and gave it to his disciples, saying: Take this, all of you, and eat of it, for this is my body, which will be given up for you.
In like manner, after He had supped, taking also this excellent chalice into His holy and venerable hands He takes the chalice in his left hand, and with his right he signs it with the Sign of the Cross. He blessed ☩ , and gave it to His disciples, saying: Take and drink ye all of this, for this is the chalice of my blood of the new and eternal testament, the mystery of faith; which shall be shed for you and for many unto the remission of sins. As often as ye do these things, ye shall do them in remembrance of Me. In a similar way, when supper was ended, he took the chalice and, once more giving thanks, he gave it to his disciples, saying: Take this, all of you, and drink from it, for this is the chalice of my blood, the blood of the new and eternal covenant, which will be poured out for you and for many for the forgiveness of sins. Do this in memory of me.The mystery of faith.


We may make the following observations.

First, there is but one sign of the cross in this part in the Novus Ordo. In the EF, there are at least 10 signings. I have removed the rubrics for each form; inclusion of the rubrics would highlight yet more differences.

Second, that the Mass is a sacrifice comes through with utter clarity in this part of the EF but only implicitly in this part of the OF.

Third, on the other hand, there is express petition for the sending of the Holy Spirit in the OF but no such express petition in the EF that I have found as yet here.

Fourth, a host of saints is expressly invoked here in the EF but none here in the OF.

Fifth, the EF offers express petitionary prayers for many, especially for the Holy Roman Church. None in the OF.

Sixth, in the EF the priest humbly begs God to have mercy and spare us from eternal damnation. No such prayer in the OF.

Seventh, in the EF Christ’s prayer is clearly oriented to the Father. It is clear that this is a sacrifice offered primarily for God’s glory; in the OF, that Christ is offering the Eucharist to the Father is only implicit (giving thanks).

Eighth, there is great and delicate piety in the EF. We hear of Christ’s “holy and venerable hands” and of his eyes lifted up to his Father and are thus invited to contemplate the royal tenderness of his Incarnation and fired to join him in gazing at God in prayer. This invitation is repeated with the consecration of the wine. I do not see this reflected in the OF.

Ninth, the EF draws attention to Christ’s “suffering,” whereas the OF draws attention to his “being betrayed”.

Tenth, the phrase “Mystery of faith” in the EF enjoys its traditional placement. The mystery is the true presence, not simply a doctrinal formula of resurrection and second coming. In the OF, the mystery targets historical events, crucial events to be sure, yet it notwithstanding as the ring more of a doctrinal formula than the present august mystery of Christ’s substantial presence.

Eleventh, the importance of the orthodox faith is stated in the EF but not in the OF.

Rahner and the Withering of God

A correlation: Rahner’s dominance in theology and the destruction of Catholic vitality.

A suggestion: Rahner’s theology premises and fosters the “withering of God”.

Argument: Recall previous lengthy posts on Rahner’s thought. If you haven’t read them and wish to think this argument over, first read them / listen to them. In light of those analyses, I make this further argument.

How, for Rahner, can one point out God? God is indicatable by way of man’s not being stuck in any particular, by his going beyond the particular. Rahner will thus call God man’ whither. This could be misleading. We might think of this whither as an indicatable item. For instance: Whither goest thou? The answer: To Greece. Greece is an indicatable place. So is sushi.

But for Rahner God cannot be such an indicatable item. If he were, he’d be finitized. But he is not finite. The hypothetical condition–if God were indicatable, he would be finite–is Rahner’s presupposition.

Hence, Rahner concludes, God is not “whither” as another object is whither. Rather, he is “whither” precisely as what corresponds to the progressive infinity of man’s reach. Man ever reaches beyond whatever particular upon which he happens to be thrown. That man goes beyond the particular indicates a whither dynamically and so-to-speak ontologically (not statically or ontically). To what, then, does man go? Not to a particular. Rather, to the progressive infinity of ens commune, qua potential.

Hence, God is not really an identifiable whither. He is not an indicatable whither. God is pointed out by our cognizing the character of man’s whithering. Man whithers his way towards God. Or, man’s whithering past this particular and that shows us … God. God is the correlate of man’s being an ever historically grounded, ever transcending being.

I therefore call Rahner’s presentation of God the “whithering of God.” 

The pun with withering is intended. Hence, I happily entitle the post the Withering of God.

The pun works. Why? Because on this analysis, no one can have a personal relationship with God. God dissipates into the mist of ens commune, but not even qua actual; rather, qua potential. This is disastrous. It is one of the foundational errors that wrecks havoc upon just about everything Rahner does.

Why does God so dissipate? Precisely because God is the correlate of man’s whithering. But by man’s whithering we can really only gather an awareness of ens commune, qua possible. Why? Man’s reaching is not actually infinite. Rather, man reaches beyond this particular and that precisely in targeting this particular and that. Man can surpass “this”.  This transcending capacity has as correlate a potential infinite. Ens commune is that potential infinite.

Leo XIII Against Naturalism

The Church teaches, by the reign of Leo XIII, that all naturalism is erroneous and insidious.

It is the teaching of the Church that we cannot take reason only as our guide.

Leo XIII, in Humanum genus, condemns naturalism: “The fundamental doctrine of the naturalists, which they sufficiently make known by their very name, is that human nature and human reason ought in all things to be mistress and guide. Laying this down, they care little for duties to God, or pervert them by erroneous and vague opinions. For they deny that anything has been taught by God; they allow no dogma of religion or truth which cannot be understood by the human intelligence, nor any teacher who ought to be believed by reason of his authority. ”

The Church also condemns Masons for welcoming men from any religion into their group. Why? Why should such a practice be so worrisome? Pope Leo links it to indifferentism:

“Again, as all who offer themselves are received whatever may be their form of religion, they thereby teach the great error of this age-that a regard for religion should be held as an indifferent matter, and that all religions are alike. This manner of reasoning is calculated to bring about the ruin of all forms of religion, and especially of the Catholic religion, which, as it is the only one that is true, cannot, without great injustice, be regarded as merely equal to other religions.”

How tempting it would be to form a group in which Catholics and non-Catholics, Christians and non-Christians, can work together. Yet, as Leo teaches, how greatly it risks indifferentism.

Leo also condemns the notion that authority is given to the commander by the subjects. That is, he condemns the idea that one must receive authority from those whom one is to govern. Let us hear what is the false naturalism that he condemns:

“22. Then come their doctrines of politics, in which the naturalists lay down that all men have the same right, and are in every respect of equal and like condition; that each one is naturally free; that no one has the right to command another; that it is an act of violence to require men to obey any authority other than that which is obtained from themselves. According to this, therefore, all things belong to the free people; power is held by the command or permission of the people, so that, when the popular will changes, rulers may lawfully be deposed and the source of all rights and civil duties is either in the multitude or in the governing authority when this is constituted according to the latest doctrines.”

Connected to this error is the error that society is best constructed without religion. Or, that the religion should not be specific. These he condemns as errors:

“It is held also that the State should be without God; that in the various forms of religion there is no reason why one should have precedence of another; and that they are all to occupy the same place.”

Because of Original Sin, Leo adds, human nature is greatly weakened. So much so that we absolutely need the helps of supernatural grace and the One True Religion in order even to live decently: “20. Moreover, human nature was stained by original sin, and is therefore more disposed to vice than to virtue. For a virtuous life it is absolutely necessary to restrain the disorderly movements of the soul, and to make the passions obedient to reason. In this conflict human things must very often be despised, and the greatest labors and hardships must be undergone, in order that reason may always hold its sway. 

Hence, we cannot form groups that stress the capacities of human nature, that by intention wish to avail themselves simply of the helps of nature, that make unwelcome any mention of the Catholic faith and the Prince of Peace, Jesus Christ, that welcome any member regardless of his religion in such way as to downplay the absolute centrality of the correct religion in all of life, etc.

What hath Ashley Madison to do with Eschatology?

The adulterous site Ashley Madison has recently suffered a grave hackattack. Apparently, the data of every user has been gathered and released by hackers. The site is an “affair” site; it sets up new relationships for those who are already married or steadily dating. The motto is “Life is Short; Have an Affair.”

The motto is akin to the thinking of fools condemned in the bible: “Eat, Drink, Indulge: For Tomorrow We Die!”

Now our question: What hath the hacking to do with Eschatology? Everything!

Eschatology is the study of “the last things”. Now, when each of us dies, we are judged immediately and privately by Almighty God. We are judged on the basis of whether or not we responded to the graces God offered us throughout our lives. If upon my death, I die in the state of mortal sin, I am found guilty of rebelling against God and suffer the condemnation of eternal damnation: “Out of my sight, you wicked doers; into the fire that dies not, with the worm that eats and never grows weary.”

But at the end of all time, there will be a public judgment. The public judgment will set to rights all inequities since the beginning of time, through the blood of Christ. For instance, if I was libeled, I shall be exonerated; if my evil deeds were in secret and no one knew them, they shall be exposed.

The public exposition of data of the Ashley Madison users was against certain laws of man. Whether it is or is not against true law, I do not wish to say here.

Most importantly, the public exposition of AM users is a foretaste of the public judgment of all souls by Almighty God. It is a judgment of justice. All injustice shall be exposed and unearthed. The users of the Ashley Madison site are unfaithful to their beloved. If married, they are adulterers.

Before that great and awful day, the DAY OF WRATH, the Dies Irae there is yet time to repent. Repent O Sinner, if you have sinned. Be Humble and Acknowledge the grace of God, O Righteous, if you have passed the test. Love is who judges; and Love judges love. If love hath grown cold or become unfaithful, how can it join the fellowship of eternal love?

The Day of Wrath is celebrated in the Church’s liturgy. That is, in the Extraordinary Form. Let us study it and ponder it, let us remember the grave, the ash that shall cover our corrupt and rotting bodies only days after our heart beats its last. If thou a man be, the bell tolls for thee.

DEATH is Struck, and nature quaking; All creation is awaking, To its judge an answer making. Low, the book exactly worded, wherein all hath been recorded…

Apostolate Strategies: On What Foundation?

How shall we spread Christ’s kingdom? There is a certain apostolic strategy that tries to derive all its directive norms from reason alone and natural law.

For instance: What should I say to those high-schoolers at the Catholic prep school if I am to talk with them about right acting? (Some, after all, are not Catholic.) Again: What should be our guiding light if we are to encourage families to live harmoniously? Again, how should we work for a better future?

Some limit these apostolates to the use of reason and natural law. If I am going to present at that high-school, they say, I should only speak of “natural law”. I should not mention the Bible, or Christ, or the Ten Commandments, etc. Only what pure reason can deduce should I mention. Don’t want to scare them.

If a family is disfunctional, mention God perhaps but only as creator of the world. Try to treat the situation simply from the perspective of natural law. Say Johnny is disobeying Dad’s instructions. Say Sally is immodest habitually. Say the situations are very, very bad and that these are only symptoms of the problem. What should be done?

If you are in a group to consider the matter, what should you discuss? Can you bring in the God question? Can you bring in the question of Consecration of the family to the Sacred Heart?

A number of good Catholics are suggesting that in such groups, you should try to identify the issues and a resolution to the problem solely by appeal to reason and natural law. If I am to suggest that the chiefest problem is spiritual and that prayer, the Eucharist, the Rosary, etc., are solid and crucial bases on which to build, the response would be that  while the suggestions are very welcome of course personally and privately, they are not invited and perhaps even discouraged as public suggestions.

This is a reason for my last post. Why the restrictions? Has not God spoken? Revealed his will? Left us his Church?

True, the human mind is not so dull as not to be able to learn from natural law. However, the human mind is darkened and on its own it stammers and fails. Its conceptions of God will in the end be mixed with errors, unless it turns to the One True Revelation. (This, by the way, is pretty much De Fide at Vatican I.)  All the more, then, when man is to consider the laws by which he should practically act, – all the more is he likely to be mixed up and confused, at least in the details. Earthly pleasures lie close at hand and turn the mind towards them. Sin knocks, beseeches, and begs us: Return to me, you unfortunately thoughtful fellow!

There is another consideration: If a group of predominantly Catholic persons again and again discusses a matter and does so with a mighty effort to avoid appeal to Catholic faith, how could it not very easily, down the road, begin to forget that all foundations that are not set on Christ are doomed to miserable failure?

What good is being “orderly” if it is not directed to Christ? A banker can be upright morally (as it were), good to his kids, Stoically resigned that he may well disappear after death, yet be committed to defending the destitute as well, living decently but not luxuriantly, etc. Should we praise this man? Not if he seeks not the True God with every fiber of his being.

Shall we be glad that Jack is no longer smoking pot and messy, but now orderly and decent? Yes, in limited fashion, we should be glad. But on the other hand, his pot-smoking spelled a deeper hunger that he had. If he has carved out a way of decency shorn of Christ, I’d venture to say that in an eternal respect he is infinitely worse off as a decent man than he was as a pot smoker.

O Sad State of Affairs, when the best of Catholics, who perhaps have the most (human things) to teach, and the most resources, are riding the tide of an 18th century view of “pure reason” and “natural law” that, in the end, I would argue, is at bottom not Catholic.

O that the King of France would have consecrated his nation! O that we would not forgot that religion, special religion, revealed religion, the True Religion!, is also obligatory. O that we would not premise our strategies on the world’s determinations, especially when those determinations were anti-Catholic to begin with and are of course reversible. O that we would drink from wells of Tradition that run back the gamut of Tradition and not merely from the albeit informative and important but in the end, when isolated from the Tradition, quite limited cisterns left us these last 53 years.

On What Foundation?

The world is confused and floundering. Nations are in anguish, self-deceived and deceiving. Morality fails. The last lights on the black west dim. We are on the brink of utter destruction.

And so, what is the solution?

Should we argue from natural law? Tempting. We could try to establish “common ground” by our own efforts.

I don’t reject such efforts. However, the global strategy must be Christ and Christ Crucified. Natural law will not save you if you can do it all. But you cannot do it all even if you know it all. And you cannot know it all unless you know Christ and his One True Church. Every other church and every other religion gets something about Natural Law wrong. I don’t think there is a single exception to this contention. And it is not an accident of history. Original sin has darkened the mind. What we are obliged to know we will not come to know adequately unless we come to Christ. Yet Christ has adequately born witness to himself and bestowed on his Only Church the adequate signs of her divine constitution. Hence, we must build on Christ or perish.

Incidentally, we hereby also avoid Pelagianism.