Sunday, November 09, 2014

Dedication of St. John Lateran

Mass: Terribilis est locus iste, "terribilis" literally meaning that overused thus now devalued word awesome as in awe-inspiring (reverence). A feast so important it pre-empted Pentecost XXII. The mother church of Christendom, although the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem would be a contender historically if it were practical and if God didn't have other plans (Palestine is no longer the promised land, as the new covenant is in force). Bet even a lot of Catholics don't know that St. Peter's isn't the Pope's cathedral! (St. Peter's, the Pope's private church = "The Vatican," the modern synecdoche for "the Pope" or even "the church.")

Looks like the epistle and gospel, from the common for the dedication of a church, cover two meanings of "church." Some Eastern Christians call the church building a temple (храмъ in Slavonic and Russian), emphasizing the meaning in the Apocalypse (Revelation), a continuity with the Old Testament Temple (destroyed in 70). The gospel about Zacchaeus's house underlines the fact that the sinless, infallible church is made up of sinful, fallible people; our holy mother, the hospital for sinners, the domus ecclesiae, the place where the church, the people, are housed.

The gates of hell will not prevail against Rome.

Jesus saves; Mary prays. Burke for Pope; Fellay for cardinal; Lefebvre for saint.


  1. But not in this regrettable pontificate.

    1. Our recessional yesterday was "Long Live the Pope"; I appreciated the irony. Of course it's always true in the sense that I used "Rome" here; Archbishop Lefebvre's of "eternal Rome," our doctrine, of which the Pope is only a caretaker, not about the reigning Pope's person. When in doubt, read the catechism and follow churchmen who stick to it such as Cardinal Burke.

      Some commenters on the scene say we've actually been blessed with smart, conscientious modern Popes compared to say 500 or 1,000 years ago. Bad Popes can't destroy the church; otherwise we'd be long gone.

      Francis is a catastrophe; he's been compared to Obama and, as one wag put it, Graham Greene's Monsignor Quixote elevated to the See of Peter. Or maybe Peter Sellers in Being There.

      Good thing he can't change doctrine.

      We have reverted to Defcon 3 (lots of churchmen are suspect) as under Blessed Paul the Disaster 40 years ago, EXCEPT we're better off than then because of Benedict the Great's reforms; the new Mass in English isn't a problem anymore. That's big. Good that Francis is a Jesuit, so he doesn't care about liturgy either way, and I understand he doesn't really speak English (he really only knows Spanish, so he can get by in Italian), so he doesn't care about that either, so he does nothing. (Defcon 5: Pius XII and Cardinal Spellman; Defcon 1: go underground.)

      Sometimes churchmen quote Newman (?) out of context about yesterday's orthodoxy becoming today's heresy, trying to justify "progressive revelation," that is, fungible doctrine. No, I think he was referring to his theory (only a theory) of doctrinal development. An analogy: the Church of England answered Leo XIII thinking it was clever by pointing out that much of the Catholic ordination ceremonial didn't exist in the early church, so by our own standards (which we apply to the Anglicans), our own orders are invalid. Not so of course. It's about intent and context. The ceremonial hadn't evolved yet so there was no Protestant intent in not using it, unlike the Anglicans, who took it out because of that intent.

      Newman wasn't really a Modernist (that he LEFT the latitudinarian Church of England speaks for itself), and the church can't change essentials on a Pope's whim.

    2. Interesting points.


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