Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Going to the ordinations!!!

I promised to post every day, but I'm about to leave on a camping trip in the direction of the Holy Land of Green Bay for the ordination of two very good friends -- Deacons Ben and Joel Sember. They will be ordained on Saturday by Bishop David Zubick of that diocese along with one other young man -- a total of three new priests for Green Bay. I studied with the two of them in Rome. Joel just earned his STL in moral theology, and Ben has one more year to go on his degree in Canon Law. Say a prayer for them, and me and my girlfriend (and her friend) as we travel.

Deacon Ben distributing Communion at the Vatican:

Check out Joel's website here: Ben has a blog that's here:

Motu Proprio to come on July 7

Tipping their hat to the German Die Welt, Inside the Vatican Magazine has reported that the motu proprio liberalizing the celebration of the Tridentine Mass will be published on July 7.

I had originally predicted that the motu proprio would appear on May 5, Pope St. Pius V's feast day according to the unrevised article. Below is the text of my article, which appeared in the May 3 Catholic Times:

LA CROSSE – For nearly a year now, it has been anticipated that Pope Benedict XVI will publish a document that would give all priests permission to celebrate Mass publicly according to the form promulgated by Pope St. Pius V for the Roman Church after the Council of Trent and last revised in 1962.
“There is no valid reason not to give to the priests of the whole world the right to celebrate according to this form,” Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, the Vatican Secretary of State, told the French journal Le Figaro on March 31. “The publication of the motu proprio specifying this authorization will take place, but it will be the pope himself who will explain his motivations and the framework of his decision,” the cardinal added.
Many Vatican insiders predict that the document will be released on May 5, St. Pius’ feast day according to the unrevised liturgical calendar. It should be noted, however, that many of these same sources predicted the document would appear on Holy Thursday, which marked the 38th anniversary of the revision of the Roman Rite.
“Right now it’s still just speculation,” said Benedict Nguyen, chancellor of the Diocese of La Crosse. He added that a motu proprio is a “juridical document, not a teaching document.”
“This means that it’s a legal document coming directly from the pope,” he explained. “More than likely it will grant a universal indult, although that term can be misleading.”

The Mass of Pius V
Simply put, the pope’s document is expected to allow any priest to celebrate Mass publicly exactly as many older Catholics remember it in their parishes before the Second Vatican Council. Current indult restrictions regarding who celebrates, as well as when and where, would be abrogated.
The Roman Rite of the Mass was revised and simplified by Pope Paul VI after the Second Vatican Council, when he officially published the apostolic constitution “Missale Romanum” in 1969. This revised Roman Rite is what most Catholics have been experiencing on Sundays for the past 38 years. But even today, many older Catholics recall these changes vividly, and with satisfaction, frustration or a mixture of both.
Gradually, from 1965-1970, the revised Roman Rite was phased in with the publication of various documents, but it was only with the 1969 Missal that the public celebration of the Mass promulgated after Trent was suppressed. Vatican officials have reiterated several times, however, that the private celebration of the Tridentine Mass – also known by some as the classical Roman Rite, or the Old or Latin Mass, as opposed to the Novus Ordo or New Mass – was never suppressed.
“There’s a lot of confusion and misunderstanding regarding the nature and purpose of the liturgy,” said Christopher Carstens, who heads the diocesan Office of Sacred Worship.

Since the Council
Many Catholics were deeply unsettled by the liturgical upheaval that followed Vatican II. Even some bishops were troubled, most notably French Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre, who was a member of the Council’s Central Preparatory Commission. In 1970, Archbishop Lefebvre founded the International Priestly Society of St. Pius X (SSPX) to minister to Catholics wary of the Council’s liturgical changes and certain conciliar teachings. SSPX priests continued to celebrate the unrevised sacramental rites, including the Tridentine Mass.
Friction quickly increased between the Vatican and the Society. In 1976, for instance, Archbishop Lefebvre ignored the Vatican’s suspension of his priestly faculties and continued to ordain priests. Then, in 1988, the archbishop co-consecrated four SSPX priests as bishops, together with the former Bishop of the Diocese of Compos, Brazil, who had never accepted the celebration of the revised rite in his diocese. Soon thereafter, Pope John Paul II confirmed that both the consecrators and the consecrated were automatically excommunicated.

Attempts at reconciliation
That same year, the pope established a pontifical commission called Ecclesia Dei, currently headed by Cardinal Darío Castrillón, with the intention of bringing SSPX and other groups back into the Church.
Already in 1984, the Holy Father had allowed for an indult granted by the local diocesan bishop to individual priests to celebrate the Mass of Pius V. With the document that established Ecclesia Dei, Pope John Paul II wrote that this indult was to be given a “wide and generous application.”
SSPX has thus far rejected the Vatican’s attempts to bring them back into the Church, including a recent meeting between Pope Benedict and SSPX Bishop Bernard Fellay. Still, large groups of lay faithful and priests have chosen to return. Most notably, the Campos diocesan priests and laity who had followed their excommunicated shepherd were reconciled in 2002, and were granted a “Personal Apostolic Administration” – a unique situation that allows them to minister separately from the Diocese of Campos, under the direction of their own Bishop Licínio Rangel.
More recently, in 2006, a group of priests left the Society and were reconstituted as the Institute of the Good Shepherd. These priests, as well as all other priests and laity who return, accept the authority of the pope, the teaching of the Council, and the validity of the revised Roman rite.
Pope John Paul II’s document also called for the founding of the Priestly Fraternity of St. Peter, whose priests minister to Catholics around the world who have a love and devotion for the Tridentine Mass. Besides the Fraternity, which has a seminary in Nebraska, other institutes have been founded on a diocesan level and have experienced a boon of vocations and requests from the laity for their ministry. Among these institutes is the Institute of Christ the King, Sovereign Priest, which was founded in France in 1990.

La Crosse’s pastoral need
The Diocese of La Crosse has not gone unaffected by this liturgical friction. Situated across the Mississippi River from La Crosse, for example, is SSPX’s North American house of studies, St. Thomas Aquinas Seminary.
Additionally, the controversy over the now discredited visionary Mary Ann Van Hoof in Necedah even precipitated a local schism that persists today. Thus, a number of diocesan priests, cognizant of the pastoral needs of a disaffected laity, have acquired an indult. Today, diocesan priests celebrate the Tridentine Mass at St. Francis of Assisi Parish in Necedah and St. Mary’s Parish in Altoona on a weekly basis.

The Institute
In 1999, however, then-Bishop Raymond L. Burke – now archbishop of St. Louis – recognized that the pastoral need was greater than what the diocese could meet. In response to requests from the faithful, he invited the fledgling Institute of Christ the King to begin celebrating the Tridentine Mass at Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary Parish, St. Mary’s Ridge.
Not long afterwards, the Institute acquired the former St. Mary’s Parish in Wausau, which was renovated through donations; the church was reconsecrated by Bishop Burke in 2003 and named a public oratory.
Currently, the Institute’s Father Olivier Meney serves as rector at St. Mary’s.
“We are all very grateful to Archbishop Burke and Bishop Listecki to have given us the ability to enjoy this Mass,” Father Meney said, adding that 200-300 people attend weekend Masses at St. Mary’s.
“Many people are traveling from very far away,” he added. “And many families are moving to St. Mary’s, actually, to be closer. The classical Roman Rite answers to the wishes of many families. Not only are there people who knew the Mass before and have come back, but there are also many young families that are attracted to the Mass.”
Father Meney said the Institute also celebrates the Tridentine Mass in Necedah every first Saturday, and at St. Mary’s Ridge every Sunday at 3 p.m.

Mass at the Ridge
Mass attendance at St. Mary’s Ridge consists almost entirely of young couples with children. Among them is Thom Falter, a self-employed animator from Westby who sings in the choir and attends every week with his wife and children.
“I moved here from Atlanta because of the Latin Mass,” Falter said. “We do this primarily for the kids. We felt deprived that we didn’t have it when we were growing up, so we made sure that, wherever we moved, the Latin Mass would be available.”
Falter said he is especially attracted to the Tridentine Mass’ solemnity. “If we’re meeting God, if He’s coming down from heaven in the Eucharist, then we should do our very best to meet Him, in the most solemn way,” he explained. “The Latin Mass is just the logical conclusion. We already have it, and we don’t need to seek any further. It’s been handed down to us.”
Agreeing with Falter were Ken and Patti Fabrick, who recently moved from Necedah to Sparta with their five children.
“It speaks directly to my heart,” said Patti Fabrick.
“It allows us to touch the universal Church and not just the local Church,” explained Ken Fabrick. “You see more and more young people flocking to the Latin Mass. It connects them to the tradition, and to history – not just to the last 40 years.”

What the future holds
Despite the love that some Catholics have for the Tridentine Mass, no one is predicting a wholesale rejection by the wider Church of the Council’s liturgical revision. “The value of the conciliar liturgical reform is intact,” Cardinal Bertone affirmed in his Le Figaro interview.
But many Catholics believe the pope’s motu proprio will make an impact when it is released. At Our Lady of Guadalupe Seminary in Nebraska, for instance, which is run by the Fraternity of St. Peter, classes for priests interested in learning to celebrate the Tridentine Mass are full. Father Meney said the Institute is offering similar training at many of their sites, and that he is working with a few area priests to learn the basics.
“Being able to say Mass according to the classical Roman Rite is not something that happens in one day,” he said.
Nguyen seconded this point. “There is always the concern that priests are doing things correctly, regardless of which rite they are celebrating,” he said. And, while Nguyen said no juridical permissions would be necessary after the motu proprio is released, he added, “Hopefully, any priest who celebrates it will take into consideration the pastoral needs of his parishioners.”
Carstens said, however, that he believes the diocese’s need is currently met through the Institute’s efforts. He points to the motu proprio as an attempt by the pope to bring schismatic groups back into the Church.
“One of the main purposes of the liturgy – if not the main purpose – is to unify us in the Body of Christ,” Carstens explained.
Father Meney agreed. “The Holy Father has a very positive purpose with his care for the classical Roman Rite,” he said. “He wants to bring unity but not uniformity. The freedom (to use) this liturgical treasure of the Church will make it possible for many to enjoy the beauty and depth of our Catholic heritage.”

St. Cyril of Alexandria

Today is the feast of St. Cyril of Alexandria.

At Blessed Sacrament Parish in La Crosse, Father Olsen gave a wonderful homily at the 7:30 Mass this morning about St. Cyril's defense of Mary being the Mother God God (theotokos), and the conflict he had with Nestorius over this point. Especially important, he noted, is that the schismatic church Nestorius founded, the Assyrian Church of the East, was finally reconciled with Rome by Pope John Paul II.

Here's a column I wrote last year on St. Cyril and the Council of Ephesus:

The deeper one delves into the history of the Church, the more he marvels at the imperfect instruments with which God works. Such was the case with St. Cyril, bishop of Alexandria, a man on fire with love for the truth, but also a man of fiery temperament. St. Cyril’s emotional constitution is known to us more than a millennium later because the bishop found himself fighting for the faith against the errors of a man equal in temperament, Nestorius, bishop of Constantinople.

The conflict between these two men began as something personal. Cyril’s uncle, Theophilus, had been the previous bishop of Alexandria. In 402, Theophilus had convoked the “Synod of the Oak,” where he unjustly condemned the great St. John Chrysostom, who was bishop of Constantinople at that time. The saint was afterwards cleared by Rome, and after his death was venerated as a saint in Constantinople – where Nestorius was now bishop. Cyril succeeded his uncle as bishop of Alexandria, but still refused to enter Chrysostom’s name on the city’s diptychs (registry of saints).

One almost wonders if God perhaps cultivated this personal rivalry to make sure Cyril disliked Nestorius enough to oppose him when he began to preach against the Virgin Mary’s traditional title Theotokos. The Greek word means “God-bearer”, and implies that Christ – whom Mary bore in her womb – was God-made-flesh, and that Mary therefore was the Mother of God. How could Mary be the Mother of God, asked Nestorius – how could God himself take Mary’s flesh? Nestorius concluded in a letter to Cyril, “The body therefore is only the temple of the deity of the Son.”

It was something more than personal rivalry that made Cyril condemn Nestorius’ position. The Doctor of the Church preached against Nestorius in his famous Easter homily of 429: “For this in fact we shall hold… that not as naked divinity would the Word of God the Father be born of the holy Virgin, who took of the office of bearing in flesh the one united to flesh, but one actually united to a human nature… And we call Mary the Mother of God, she who carnally brought forth him who appeared in the flesh for our sake, God himself.” And later he wrote to Nestorius, “We confess the Word to have been made one with the flesh hypostatically, and we adore one Son and Lord, Jesus Christ.”

Obstinate as his rival in Alexandria, Nestorius ignored Cyril and sent his writings to Pope St. Celestine in an attempt to clear his name. Little did he imagine that the Holy Father would give Cyril a commission to try him for heresy. When Nestorius refused to sign the 12 theological propositions sent by his bitter rival, Emperor Theodosius II intervened, convoking a General Council in the city of Ephesus, over which legates of Pope Celestine were to preside.

The Council was to begin on the 7th of June, 431, but the papal legates and many of Nestorius’ supporters had not yet arrived. Even so, Cyril opened the Council, which condemned Nestorius, teaching that Christ had both human and divine natures, but was one person. In due time, both the legates and the bishops arrived. Nestorius’ supporters refused to join their brother bishops, and held their own Council, predictably condemning Cyril. The legates of Pope Celestine, however, chose to join the Council already in session, where they confirmed Nestorius’ condemnation. When Emperor Theodosius heard of the controversy, he had both Cyril and Nestorius arrested and held in custody while theological conferences were held in Chalcedon. In the end, Nestorius was condemned, while Cyril made peace with Nestorius’ greatest supporter, John of Antioch, and returned to Alexandria.

Nestorius and Cyril had much more in common than they would have admitted. Both were brilliant theologians, both men of harsh temper and obstinate will. The difference between them is that one held fast to the orthodox faith while the other didn’t. At first glance, one may wonder why God would allow men of such temperament as Cyril to represent his Church in such a prominent fashion. Then again, we might be Nestorians instead of Catholics today without the fiery constitution of St. Cyril of Alexandria.

Spanish Mass in La Crosse!

Check out this article by Joe Orso of the La Crosse Tribune -- Padre Jose Hirsch will begin offering Spanish Mass at Mary, Mother of the Church Parish here in the city. As Joe states, the Mass is part of the La Crosse diocese's new Hispanic Ministries initiatives. Visit and click on archives to find a Connecting with the Bishop segment, where Bishop Jerome Listecki speaks with Father Klos from Arcadia and Deacon Sage from Catholic Charities about these initiatives. And watch out for my series of articles on Hispanics in the diocese later this summer!

La Crosse church to begin offering Sunday Mass in Spanish
By JOE ORSO La Crosse Tribune

A Catholic church in La Crosse plans to offer a Mass in Spanish on the first Sunday of every month, starting this Sunday.

“It’s way overdue,” said the Rev. Joseph Hirsch, who will conduct the 12:30 p.m. Mass at Mary, Mother of the Church, 2006 Weston St. “There’s a large Spanish presence in the diocese, and here we are in La Crosse and we have no Spanish Mass.”

Hirsch and Deacon Richard Sage, who will assist at the Mass, said they think it will be the first regularly scheduled Spanish Mass in La Crosse County.

The Mass is among the La Crosse Diocese’s efforts to reach out to the area’s Hispanic population, which, according to the U.S. Census Bureau, numbered 1,007 in La Crosse County in 2005.

“If they are truly going to be integrated into American society, they should not only be integrated politically and economically, but they need to be integrated spiritually, and that is the role of the church,” Hirsch said.

The diocese now has a native Spanish speaker from Peru, the Rev. Enrique Castro, who is creating a Web site in Spanish for the diocese.

A second Peruvian priest could arrive by the end of summer, and the Rev. Hector Moreno, associate pastor at St. Elizabeth Ann Seton in Holmen, Wis., is of Puerto Rican ancestry and speaks Spanish.

A major reason Spanish Masses were not done in the county until now is a shortage of Spanish-speaking priests, Hirsch explained.

Hirsch, director of vocations for the diocese, will take one priest and three seminarians to study Spanish and work in an orphanage in Peru this summer, and has been sending seminarians to Peru and Bolivia for the past three summers.

He hopes the seminarians one day will be able to minister to the Hispanic population here.

Weekly Masses already are said in Spanish at diocese churches in Wausau, Norwalk, Arcadia, Altoona and Abbotsford in Wisconsin.Hirsch did Mass in Spanish weekly from 1998 to 2002 in Norwalk, which has offered Spanish Masses since about 1990.

Sage, executive director of Catholic Charities, and Christopher Ruff, director of ministries and social concerns, have met with those in Spanish ministries since April and with Hirsch for about a month to develop a Spanish Mass.Sage said the diocese eventually hopes to have a Hispanic ministry director.

The diocese has done Mass in German, French, Polish, Hmong and other languages in the past to accommodate immigrants, Sage said, so “this isn’t wildly innovative. This is primarily, first and foremost, a spiritual outreach.”

Wecome to the Catholic Beat!

Those of you who know me are already aware that I consider writing to be a vocation. As a Catholic reporter, I have a mission to make Catholics and non-Catholics aware that the Church is alive and well, and active in the world. My goal in publishing this blog will be to supplement what I am paid to do at the Catholic Times -- to take covering the Church to a new level.

I plan to post links to articles others have written, and to post some of my own along with commentary and research that never makes it to print. Expect this blogs coverage to range from the local Church I love here in Wisconsin, all the way to the pope in Rome -- they're connected, after all!

Please feel free to bookmark my blog and come back to visit often. I plan to post almost on a daily basis, so pray for perseverence on my part! And please feel free to participate by means of the comments.

God Bless you...

Franz Klein