Mittwoch, 25. März 2009

Communion in the hand?

This topic is a very divisive one.

I will not tackle the historicity of either position, but will simply focus on the directives from Rome:

"The Pope grants that throughout the territory of your conference, each bishop may, according to his prudent judgment and conscience, authorize in his diocese the introduction of the new rite for giving communion. The condition is the complete avoidance of any cause for the faithful to be shocked and any danger of irreverence toward the Eucharist. The following norms must therefore be respected.

1. The new manner of giving communion must not be imposed in a way that would exclude the traditional practice. It is a matter of particular seriousness that in places where the new practice is lawfully permitted every one of the faithful have the option of receiving communion on the tongue and even when other persons are receiving communion in the hand. The two ways of receiving communion can without question take place during the same liturgical service. There is a twofold purpose here: that none will find in the new rite anything disturbing to personal devotion toward the Eucharist; that this sacrament, the source and cause of unity by its very nature, will not become an occasion of discord between members of the faithful.
2. The rite of communion in the hand must not be put into practice indiscriminately. Since the question involves human attitudes, this mode of communion is bound up with the perceptiveness and preparation of the one receiving. It is advisable, therefore, that the rite be introduced gradually and in the beginning within small, better prepared groups and in favorable settings. Above all it is necessary to have the introduction of the rite preceded by an effective catechesis, so that the people will clearly understand the meaning of receiving in the hand and will practice it with the reverence owed to the sacrament. This catechesis must succeed in excluding any suggestion that in the mind of the Church there is a lessening of faith in the eucharistic presence and in excluding as well any danger or hint of danger of profaning the Eucharist.
3. The option offered to the faithful of receiving the Eucharistic bread in their hand and putting it into their own mouth must not turn out to be the occasion for regarding it as ordinary bread or as just another religious article. Instead this option must increase in them a consciousness of the dignity of the members of Christ's Mystical Body, into which they are incorporated by baptism and by the grace of the Eucharist. It must also increase their faith in the sublime reality of the Lord's body and blood, which they touch with their hand. Their attitude of reverence must measure up to what they are doing.
4. As to the way to carry out the new rite: one possible model is the traditional usage, which expresses the ministerial functions, by having the priest or deacon place the host in the hand of the communicant. Alternatively, it is permissible to adopt a simpler procedure, namely, allowing the faithful themselves to take the host from the ciborium or paten. The faithful should consume the host before returning to their place; the minister's part will be brought out by use of the usual formulary, The body of Christ, to which the communicant replies: Amen. [Note: Rome later forbid the Communicant to take the Host themselves.]
5. Whatever procedure is adopted, care must be taken not to allow particles of the eucharistic bread to fall or be scattered. Care must also be taken that the communicants have clean hands and that there comportment is becoming and in keeping with the practices of the different peoples.
6. In the case of communion under both kinds by way of intinction, it is never permitted to place on the hand of the communicant the host that has been dipped in the Lord's blood.
7. Bishops allowing introduction of the new way of receiving communion are requested to send to this Congregation after six months a report on the result of its concession."

The red parts are quoted from this source: http://

The highlighted parts are those which I see as not followed - at least in many parishes I have gone to here in Germany. In such a case, it should be clear that these parishes are disobeying the directives from Rome. Worst of all, they people responsible for this allow the profaning of the Body of the Lord.

There is then in total 3 problems:
1) The profaning of the Body of the Lord
2) from the aforementioned follows judgement upon those who profane the Body of the Lord
3) disobedience to the directives of the Mother Church

If you ask me, Rome ought to take away the indult from most places.

Donnerstag, 19. März 2009


Are atheists truly "free"?

2 Peter 2:11 Whereas angels who are greater in strength and power, bring not against themselves a railing judgment. 12 But these men, as irrational beasts, naturally tending to the snare and to destruction, blaspheming those things which they know not, shall perish in their corruption, 13 Receiving the reward of their injustice, counting for a pleasure the delights of a day: stains and spots, sporting themselves to excess, rioting in their feasts with you: 14 Having eyes full of adultery and of sin that ceaseth not: alluring unstable souls, having their heart exercised with covetousness, children of malediction: 15 Leaving the right way they have gone astray, having followed the way of Balaam of Bosor, who loved the wages of iniquity, 16 But had a check of his madness, the dumb beast used to the yoke, which speaking with man's voice, forbade the folly of the prophet. 17 These are fountains without water, and clouds tossed with whirlwinds, to whom the mist of darkness is reserved. 18 For, speaking proud words of vanity, they allure by the desires of fleshly riotousness, those who for a little while escape, such as converse in error: 19 Promising them liberty, whereas they themselves are the slaves of corruption. For by whom a man is overcome, of the same also he is the slave.


One can only be free with the truth.

John 8:32 And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.

What is truth? Quid est veritas?

John 14:6 Jesus saith to him: I am the way, and the truth, and the life.

Montag, 9. März 2009

The real *mere Christianity*

Have you heard of C.S. Lewis' "mere Christianity"?

Supposedly it is a book about the fundamental doctrines that all Christians - regardless of denomination - susbcribe to.
I have to confess that I have not read the book and that I am not planning to read it as of now.

My reason for this is that I can see the very foundation of Christianity in a single word: love.

This statement should be understood in light ot the greatest commandment which has to be believed in by every single person who claims to be a Christian:

Matthew 22:37 Jesus said to him: Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with thy whole heart, and with thy whole soul, and with thy whole mind. 38 This is the greatest and the first commandment. (Douay-Rheims Bible)

So what should be the primary concern of every single Christian? The total love for God.

And here we will have a question frequently asked by protestants: "Is that necessary for salvation?"

Such questions already reveals the difference in attitude between the Catholic and the protestant. It is a fundamental difference. While the Catholic thinks of totality, the protestant focuses only on the things he deems to be necessary for salvation and therefore rejects certain things like the 7 sacraments.

Where is the problem though? The problem lies in the fact that the question as stated above reveals an objective disorder in attitude. A Christian is commanded to love God above all things in totality. What does this mean though? This means that he desires that which is pleasing to God: whether *that* is indeed necessary for salvation or not should not even be our concern. If the answer to that question though is the basis for the protestant's ideology, then love is not really the reason for his belief. We can conclude that someone who seeks only to follow that which he thinks to be necessary for salvation (since all the doctrines and rules Catholics follow are rather inconvenient and numerous) is then not really focused on the love for God, but rather focused on saving his own butt from punishment, eternal damnation. That leads then to the question whether that particular protestant believes in God out of love or out of selfishness (the avoidance of one's suffering).

The Cath0lic does not have this problem: to him, faith is an all-or-nothing package. It is about totality, loving God with his whole heart, mind and soul.

What of him who relies on faith alone in order to have a rather convenient *assurance* to avoid damnation? What of him who asks "is that necessary for salvation"? What of him who does not really believe out of love for the Lord Jesus Christ?

Since protestants cling on to the false teaching of sola scriptura, I will let Sacred Writ answer:

1 Corinthians 16:22 If any man love not our Lord Jesus Christ, let him be anathema, maranatha.
(Douay-Rheims Bible)

Freitag, 6. März 2009


How do I - as a Catholic - view ecumenism?

Firstly, we have to acknowledge that the Catholic Church has joined the ecumenical movement that was originally launched by protestants.
We also know that many Eastern Orthodox brethren condemn ecumenism as a heresy.

My personal take?

Since the Church has accepted it, I do as well. However, I differentiate between a good ecumenism and a bad ecumenism. What do I mean when I use those adjectives? I mean that ecumenism can have both positive and negative fruits: and we as the Church ought to do our best to strive only for the good fruits.

Since I live in Germany, I can say form personal experience what really happens in the ecumenical movement in the lowest part: the parish life. There you would have Catholics and protestants taking the ecumenical talks a bit further forgetting about the boundaries of decency and truth: Catholics participating in protestant "last supper meals" and protestants recieving the Body of Christ from Catholic clerics. Many lay persons even condemn the prohibition of such unlawful practices with the argument "we're all Christians anyways".
It is true that we are all Christians, but we are not all right and there is but one Church: that's the Catholic Church.

So basically, the bad type of ecumenism takes places when the truth becomes blurry, when people try to create a false sense of unity, a superficial one that would break down right away once in-depth-talks take place.

What do I think should be our goal in ecumenism? It is simple: our goal ought to be this:
to lead our brethren in error back to unity with the chair of Peter

Does that mean, I want to convert protestants? Sure: why not? We know there is but one Church and only in this Church cam there be solid hope for salvation as promised by our Lord Jesus Christ.

So from my perspective: we hold the truth, we are not allowed to water it down for the sake of illusory unity and for the sake of being liked by the world.

I will close with the words of St. Cyprian of Carthage:

The Lord says to Peter: I say to you, he says, that you are Peter, and upon this rock I will build my Church. . . . On him [Peter] he builds the Church, and to him he gives the command to feed the sheep [John 21:17], and although he assigns a like power to all the apostles, yet he founded a single chair [cathedra], and he established by his own authority a source and an intrinsic reason for that unity. Indeed, the others were that also which Peter was [i.e., apostles], but a primacy is given to Peter, whereby it is made clear that there is but one Church and one chair. So too, all [the apostles] are shepherds, and the flock is shown to be one, fed by all the apostles in single-minded accord. If someone does not hold fast to this unity of Peter, can he imagine that he still holds the faith? If he [should] desert the chair of Peter upon whom the Church was built, can he still be confident that he is in the Church?" (The Unity of the Catholic Church 4; 1st edition [A.D. 251]).

Dienstag, 3. März 2009


Christians are dying out!

Now, Christians are not really dying out, but it is a fact that many Christians are converting to other religions and cults or becoming agnostics/atheists. It is also a fact that most Christians in the Western world are "cafeteria Christians": these are those who are only "Christian" because "that's just the way it is" and not because of true faith.

Are there reasons for this negative development of Christianity in the West?

Of course there is! In essence, there are three groups of people that leave Christianity:

1) the ones who simply do not care about religion & the meaning of life
2) the ones who do feel some need for spirituality, but dislike Christianity for its rules
3) people who are convinced by shallow arguments put forth by scientism

I feel no need to discuss the first group of apostates any further as I deem the description to be self-explanatory.

The second group includes the people who apostize from Christianity and join other religions. The most popular groups Westerners now join would be Islam, neo-pagan cults like Wicca and Eastern philosophies/religions like Buddhism and Hinduism. Here again we can distinguish between two types of people: between those who are sincerely seeking the truth and those who have a sense for spirituality, but do not wish to have the inconvenient rules - especially on sexual morality. People belonging to the latter group normally join Wicca and other neo-pagan cults to still be able to have a "spirituality", but not at the cost of the exaltation of human nature.
People belonging to the former are the ones who join Islam, Buddhism and Hinduism.

The third group of people may include both those simply seeking a justification to live a life according to their personal desires devoid of any objective moral/divine Law, and those who truly seek the truth and therefore start to question religion, in this case Christianity.

What can be done against these tendencies?

There is a solution to these problems: education. Most people who leave Christianity apostize due to ignorance: not only due to their persona ignorance, but also due to the ignorance of certain clerics and their unorthodoxy. When people recieve proper Catholic-Christian education, it wouold be rather difficult to find supposed counter-arguments against the Christian religion.
Furthermore, the lack of truly orthodox Christian clerics and lay members - e.g. religion teachers - also is showing its fruits: people tend to believe that religious pluralism, modernism and relativism are compatible with Christianity, but they are not.

If we want to solve this problem, all we have to do is to go back to true orthodox Catholic education!


Why chastity?

There are good reasons for chastity:

1) Freedom: A chaste person governs his body as opposed to those simply doing as they wish. The chaste person is not a slave of his sexual desires but knows how to control them. It is important to note that it is not merely about suppression - abstinence - but there is more to it. Chastity allows the person to view other human beings in a different way. The focus is placed on the person, not the physique. Chastity therefore also promotes the dignity of the person.
On the other hand, someone who is not chaste will find himself having to succumb to his primitive instincts. He therefore gives up control over his body and accepts the control of his desires over himself. The unchaste person becomes a slave of his passions.

2) True love: Another good reason for chastity is that it disciplines the person and also filters the desires of a person. In the modernist morally relative society we now live in, sex seems to be a normal part of every relationship - even pre-marital ones. It then gives the person a pure view on the partner: the focus is the person, not the physique - as already mentioned above.
Furthermore, chastity is a great way of finding out whether the foundation of a relationship is true love or temporary physical attraction that may last for a couple weeks. Some couples stay together not because of true love but rather because "the sex is good": such a foundation is not good if one seeks a solid-based relationship. If one then is really seeking Mr. or Ms. Right, then chastity should be an option. If sex is not what the person is seeking, but the person for what he/she is, then chastity should not be a problem: on the contrary, it helps to filter the genuine people from the ones only seeking to satisfy their lustful desires.