Sunday, 23 November 2014

Looking to the east

His Excellency Most Reverend James Conley has determined that
Holy Mass in the Cathedral of Lincoln, Nabraska, USA will be ad orientem.

From the Bishop’s Column, Friday, 21 November 2014


Jesus Christ will return in glory to the earth.

We do not know when he will return. But Christ promised us that he would return in glory, "as light comes from the east" to bring God’s plan of redemption to its fulfillment.

In 2009, Bishop Edward Slattery, of Tulsa, Okla., wrote that "the dawn of redemption has already broken, but the sun —Christ Himself—has not yet risen in the sky."
In the early Church, Christians expected that Christ would come soon—any day. There was hopeful expectation. They were watchful—they looked to the sky in the east to wait for Christ. And because they did not know when he would return, they proclaimed the Gospel with urgency and enthusiasm, hoping to bring the world to salvation before Christ returned.
It has been nearly two thousand years now since Christ ascended into heaven. It has become easier to forget that he will come again to earth. It has become easier to forget that we must be waiting, we must be watching, and we must be ready.

In the season of Advent, as we recall Christ’s Incarnation at Christmas, we are reminded to be prepared for Christ’s coming. In the Gospel for the First Sunday of Advent this year, Nov. 30, Christ tells us his disciples "to be on the watch."

"You do not know when the Lord of the house is coming," Jesus says. "May he not come suddenly and find you sleeping."

We remember that Christ is coming whenever we celebrate the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass. In the Holy Mass we are made present to the sacrifice at Calvary, and to the joy of Christ’s glory in heaven. But we also remember that Christ will return, and we remember to watch, to be vigilant, to wait for him, and to be prepared.

The Mass is rich with symbolism. The vestments of the priest remind us of the dignity of Christ the King. We strike our breasts, and bow our heads, and bend our knees to remember our sinfulness, God’s mercy, and his glory. In the Mass, the ways we stand, and sit, and kneel, remind us of God’s eternal plan for us.

Since ancient times, Christians have faced the east during the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass to remember to keep watch for Christ. Together, the priest and the people faced the east, waiting and watching for Christ. Even in Churches that did not face the east, the priest and people stood together in the Mass, gazing at Christ on the crucifix, on the altar, and in the tabernacle, to recall the importance of watching for his return. The symbolism of the priest and people facing ad orientem—to the east—is an ancient reminder of the coming of Christ.
More recently, it has become common for the priest and the people to face one another during the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass. The priest stands behind the altar as he consecrates the Eucharist, facing the people. The people see the face of the priest as he prays, and he sees their faces. These positions can have important symbolism too. They can remind us that we are a community—one body in Christ. And they can remind us that the Eucharist, at the center of the assembly, should also be at the center of our families, and our lives.

But the symbolism of facing together, and awaiting Christ, is rich, time-honored and important. Especially during Advent, as we await the coming of the Lord, facing the east together—even symbolically facing Christ together at the altar and on the crucifix—is a powerful witness to Christ’s imminent return. Today, at a time when it is easy to forget that Christ is coming—and easy to be complacent in our spiritual lives and in the work of evangelization—we need reminders that Christ will come.

During the Sundays of Advent, the priests in the Cathedral of the Risen Christ will celebrate the Mass ad orientem. With the People of God, the priest will stand facing the altar, and facing the crucifix. When I celebrate midnight Mass on Christmas, I will celebrate ad orientem as well. This may take place in other parishes across the Diocese of Lincoln as well.


In the ad orientem posture at Mass, the priest will not be facing away from the people. He will be with them—among them, and leading them—facing Christ, and waiting for his return.


"Be watchful!" says Jesus. "Be alert! You do not know when the time will come." We do not know when the time will come for Christ’s to return. But we know that we must watch for him. May we "face the east," together, watching for Christ in the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass and in our lives


Sunday, 16 November 2014

Some reflections on the sanctity of Marriage

CDF official affirms teaching on absolution, Communion for the remarried

Catholic World News - November 14, 2014

In a letter written three days after the conclusion of the recent Synod of Bishops, the secretary of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith affirmed St. John Paul II’s teaching on absolution for those who have remarried outside the Church.

Asked by a French priest whether a priest may "grant absolution to a penitent who, having been religiously married, has contracted a second union following divorce," Archbishop Luis Ladaria Ferrer responded that "we cannot exclude a priori the remarried divorced faithful from a penitential process that would lead to a sacramental reconciliation with God and, therefore, also to Eucharistic Communion."

He continued:
Pope John Paul II, in the Apostolic Exhortation Familiaris Consortio (n. 84) envisaged such a possibility and detailed its conditions: "Reconciliation in the sacrament of Penance which would open the way to the Eucharist, can only be granted to those who, repenting of having broken the sign of the Covenant and of fidelity to Christ, are sincerely ready to undertake a way of life that is no longer in contradiction to the indissolubility of marriage. This means, in practice, that when, for serious reasons, such as for example the children’s upbringing, a man and a woman cannot satisfy the obligation to separate, they take on themselves the duty to live in complete continence, that is, by abstinence from the acts proper to married couples."
Archbishop Ladaria then outlined the steps in the penitential process:
"Verify the validity of the religious marriage in the respect of truth, all the while avoiding giving the impression of a kind of ‘Catholic divorce.’"
"See eventually if the persons, with the aid of grace, can separate from their new partners and reconcile with those from whom they had separated."
"Invite remarried divorced persons who, for serious reasons (for instance, children), cannot separate from their partner to live as ‘brother and sister.’"

"In any event, absolution cannot be granted if not under the condition of being assured of true contrition, that is, ‘a sorrow of mind, and a detestation for sin committed, with the purpose of not sinning for the future’ (Council of Trent, Doctrine on the Sacrament of Penance, c. 4)," Archbishop Ladaria concluded. "In this line, a remarried divorcee cannot be validly absolved if he does not take the firm resolution of not ‘sinning for the future’ and therefore of abstaining from the acts proper to spouses, by doing in this sense all that is within his power."

Archbishop Ladaria’s letter was published in L’homme nouveau, a French Catholic biweekly entrusted by the Vatican with the distribution of the French edition of L’Osservatore Romano; and an English translation appeared on the Rorate Caeli blog. The Catholic daily La Croix also reported on the letter.

Why the need for an Annulment Review 
L'Osservatore Romano, 7 November 2014


This may be of interest because in this country expenses for annulments are not charged but a donation of a certain sum is suggested, and paid if affordable by the parties concerned. Read the following from the Pope's address:

"I have not prepared a speech, I would like simply to greet you. In the Extraordinary Synod, the procedures, the processes were discussed, and there is a concern for streamlining the procedures for reasons of justice. Justice, so they may be just, and justice for the people who are waiting, as His Excellency the Dean has just said. Justice: how many people wait years for a ruling. And for this reason, even before the Synod, I constituted a Commission to help prepare various possibilities along this line: a line of justice, and also of charity, because there are so many people who need a word from the Church on their marital situation, for a ‘yes’ or a ‘no’, but that it be just. Some procedures are so long or so onerous that they do not facilitate them and the people leave. For example, take the Interdiocesan Tribunal of Buenos Aires, I don’t recall but I think, in the first instance, it has 15 dioceses; I believe the furthest is 240 km away…. One cannot, it is impossible to imagine simple, common people going to the Tribunal: they have to travel, they have to lose work days, also the bonus … so many things…. They say: "God understands me, and thus I go ahead, with this weight on my soul". And Mother Church must do justice and say: "Yes, it’s true, your marriage is annulled — No, your marriage is valid". But justice has to say it. This way they can move forward without this doubt, this darkness in their spirit."

The Pope went on to say "I had to dismiss a person from the Tribunal, some time ago, who said '$10,000 and I'll handle the two procedures for you, civil and ecclesiastic'. Please, not this! In the Synod a few proposals came up which discussed that they be given gratis. We shall have to see."