Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Sunday Sermon, June 18 -- Reverent is not enough, we must be traditional (Father Ryan Erlenbush, Corpus Christi Parish)

Lex orandi, lex credendi. The law of prayer is the law of belief. This means that how we pray will inform what we believe -- if we want to believe as all Catholics have believed through all the ages, we must also pray as Catholics have always prayed. This holds especially true in the Sacred Liturgy: It is impossible to have a radical change in the form of liturgical worship without risking the integrity of the faith.

It is astonishing to realize that the Mass was basically the same from the end of the early persecutions when we were first permitted to have public worship until the time of the Second Vatican Council (roughly, for 1,600 years from 360 to 1960). However, the common way that Mass is celebrated since Vatican II bears little resemblance to the form of worship which was common to all the saints and indeed all Catholics for all time.

The Second Vatican Council did not intend this extreme change in the form of worship. Indeed, Popes St John Paul II, Benedict XVI, and Francis have all been guiding the Church to realize that there should be continuity between how the Mass was celebrated before and after Vatican II. When we attend the Extraordinary Form of the Mass (aka Traditional Latin Mass) and then attend the Novus Ordo Mass of Vatican II, we should be struck not by how different but rather by how similar they are.  We should be able to pray in basically the same way in the New Mass as we do whenever we attend the Traditional Mass.

If we want to have the same faith of the saints of all the ages, we need to pray in the same way as the saints of all ages have prayed - and this holds most especially for the Holy Mass. Which is to say: It's not good enough to be reverent and conservative, we must be traditional when participating in the Mass of Vatican II.

Wednesday, June 7, 2017

Pentecost Sermon, June 4 -- There is No Salvation outside the Catholic Church, Because the Holy Spirit is the Soul of the Church

The Holy Spirit is the true soul of the Catholic Church. Even as the soul gives life to the human body and makes it to be one body made up of many parts, so also Holy Spirit vivifies and unites the Mystical Body of Christ which is the Holy Catholic Church.

Even as it would be greatly disordered for the human soul to work outside of the body or be separated from the body, so also the Holy Spirit chooses to work in the world inside the Mystical Body and only in union with the Church.  This is called "co-extensivity" -- where the Church, there the Holy Spirit; where the Spirit, there the Catholic Church.

St Joan of Arc said it well: "About Jesus Christ and the Church, I simply know they are just one thing: and we shouldn't complicate the matter." Whoever receives the Pope and the Bishops as messengers of Christ, receives Jesus. Whoever rejects the Pope and the Bishops, that is, whoever rejects the Catholic Church, rejects Jesus and not only Jesus but also the Heavenly Father.

However, this does not mean that only Catholics are saved - but that if any non-Catholic is saved, they are saved by virtue of the presence of the Catholic Church in the world.

More than anything, this should inspire us to be missionaries! To preach the Gospel and to preach the message of salvation given through the Church and her sacraments! We have a duty to bring all people into full communion with the Catholic Church, so that they might be happy in this life and find salvation in life everlasting.

Saturday, June 3, 2017

Sunday Sermon, May 28 -- The Miracle of the Sun and the Message of Fatima

We conclude our three part series on the message of Our Lady Queen of the Rosary of Fatima.

Appearing first on 13 May 1917, our Lady promised she would return each month until 13 October. on 13 July, Our Lady promised a great miracle in October which would confirm the truth of the apparitions and of the message.

13 October 1917, in the presence of over 70,000 people, some of whom were more than 20 miles away, the sun "danced" in the sky and then crashed toward the earth in a manner that made all believe the world was about to end. The children of Fatima continued to pray, and the sun returned to his place in the heavens.

During this great miracle, the children saw St Joseph, holding the Child Jesus, bless the world three times for peace (together with the Child). They also saw our Lady and our Lord appearing in various manners.

This miracle is to convince us of the message. What is the message of Fatima?
The first message is the children: Lucia, Jacinta, Francisco -- which is to say, a life of prayer and penance for the conversion of sinners and for peace in the world.
Then also, the daily Rosary, the scapular, the First Saturday devotion. And also, devotion to St Joseph.

We say with St Francisco -- Mary, we will give you all the Rosaries you want! Just give us salvation and peace!

Saturday, May 27, 2017

Sunday Sermon, May 21 -- The Three Secrets of Fatima (Father Ryan Erlenbush, Corpus Christi Parish)

When our Lady for the third time appeared to the three children of Fatima, 13 July 1917, she gave them three secrets, which also contain the essential message of Fatima.

The first was the vision of hell, the second the horrors of World War II, and the third was a mysterious apocalyptic image which detailed persecutions of the Pope.

The third secret was at least partially fulfilled in the assassination attempt on Pope St John Paul II, which occurred on the feast of Our Lady of Fatima, 13 May 1981. Our Lady miraculously saved the Pope on that day.


Below, find the text of the three secrets.

Sunday Sermon, May 14 -- The Children of Fatima (Father Ryan Erlenbush, Corpus Christi Parish)

13 May 2017 was the 100th Anniversary of our Lady's first apparition to the three children of Fatima in Portugal. Appearing from May to October, generally on the 13th of the month, our Lady asked that the Rosary be prayed daily and that people be devoted to her Immaculate Heart.

Pope Francis canonized two of the three children on 13 May 2017 -- Sts Francisco and Jacinta Marto! Lucia (the eldest of the three) did not die until 2005, and thus her canonization process is far behind her two cousins who died in 1918 and 1919.

We discuss the history of the apparitions (beginning with the vision of the Angel of Peace) and the lives of our new saints, Francisco and Jacinta.

NOTE: This is the first of three sermons on the apparitions of our Lady, Queen of the Rosary of Fatima.

Sunday Sermon, May 7 --- Discerning a vocation to the priesthood or religious life (Father Ryan Erlenbush, Sunday Sermon)

In the new Mass, the Fourth Sunday of Easter is also Good Shepherd Sunday. The Church throughout the world also celebrates this Sunday as the World Day of Prayer for Vocations.

We consider how to discern a call to the priesthood or religious life -- not only for those young people who are still in the time and age of discernment, but also for parents, relatives and friends who may be able to assist in discernment of a vocation.

The keys to discernment are a life of prayer and a pure motive to love God in and above all things. Essentially, once our motives are purified, God will reveal our vocation to us through giving us joy at the thought of living that vocation. And the priesthood and religious life are the happiest vocations on earth.


Thursday, May 4, 2017

Sunday Sermon, April 30 -- On receiving communion well, and not distributing the Chalice (Father Ryan Erlenbush, Corpus Christi Parish)

The apparition on the road to Emmaus teaches us about the Holy Eucharist -- the bread which our Lord "took, blessed, broke, and gave" is none other than his gift of self in Holy Communion.

We take an opportunity to consider receiving communion well, with greater love and devotion. It is also good to note that Jesus only distributes communion under the one species of the Host -- whereas, on Holy Thursday, he gave communion under both kinds (the Host and the Chalice) as he was distributing to his apostles whom he had just ordained as priests; here, when distributing communion to the lay faithful (Cleopas and the other), our Lord only gives communion under the species of his Body. The whole Jesus is present in the Host and in the Chalice: Body and Blood, Soul and Divinity, and the fullness of grace is received under Host alone. Indeed, the Church teaches that there is nothing "less" in receiving only the Host, nor is there any "more grace" in receiving the Chalice.

Although not all of the following norms are specified in the sermon, it is good to make note of certain guidelines under which the Chalice is permitted to be distributed. First and foremost, we recognize that the general norms of the Church do not permit the distribution of the Chalice except in the most unusual circumstances (e.g. when people make First Communion, Religious Profession, to the couple who gets married). In the United States, wider permission was given (by a special indult from the Vatican and only with the dispensation of the local bishop and the wise discernment of the pastor) for communion to be distributed under both kinds -- but the following norms must be observed.


From "Redemptionis Sacramentum", Vatican Congregation for Divine Worship from 2004 (paragraphs 100-107):

"[Distribution of the Chalice] is to be completely excluded where even a small danger exists of the sacred species being profaned."

"The chalice should not be ministered to lay members of Christ’s faithful where there is such a large number of communicants that it is difficult to gauge the amount of wine for the Eucharist and there is a danger that more than a reasonable quantity of the Blood of Christ remain to be consumed at the end of the celebration."

"[The Chalice is not to be distributed] where a notable part of the people continues to prefer not to approach the chalice for various reasons, so that the sign of unity would in some sense be negated."

"In accordance with what is laid down by the canons, 'one who throws away the consecrated species or takes them away or keeps them for a sacrilegious purpose, incurs a latae sententiae excommunication reserved to the Apostolic See; a cleric, moreover, may be punished by another penalty, not excluding dismissal from the clerical state'. To be regarded as pertaining to this case is any action that is voluntarily and gravely disrespectful of the sacred species. Anyone, therefore, who acts contrary to these norms, for example casting the sacred species into the sacrarium or in an unworthy place or on the ground, incurs the penalties laid down."

Additionally, the USCCB states that where there would regularly be more lay people serving as extraordinary ministers of holy communion than three are priests and deacons serving as ordinary ministers, it may be fitting to not distribute the Chalice so as to avoid the appearance that it is ordinary or normal for lay minsters to distribute communion.  (cf. Norms for the Distribution and Reception of Communion under Both Kinds)


What does this mean? That if there is any danger that the Chalice might be spilt, communion should be given only under the Host. If there is a large number of people at the Mass so that it is difficult to estimate very exactly how much wine to use, communion should be given only under the Host. If say 20% of the people don't want to receive from the Chalice, communion should be given only under the Host. If there are not a number of priests and deacons so that they would generally outnumber the lay extraordinary ministers, communion should probably be given only under the Host.

Finally, the care of the Precious Blood is such a serious matter, that those who have poured the remaining Blood down the drain or into the ground are subject to an excommunication which even the Bishop cannot lift -- and this abuse is something which many of us know from experience to have been shockingly common in certain places and times over the past 50 years.