Thursday, September 29, 2011

Feast Day: St Michael the Archangel (and other Archangels)

Picture from Una Voce Orange County California Handout/Bulletin Insert for guests to the EF, Michaelmas

Hello Everyone.

Yeah we all know Christmas and Easter are big days in the Church, but did you know that there are many other "Big days" in the Church? There's many more feast days. That's right, Feasts. And they pop up annually in the Church Calendar, be it Novus Ordo or Extraordinary Form/TLM. So, what are these feast days?

According to the Revised and Updated Catholic Encyclopedia, edited by Broderick, feast days in the Church calendar are: "... the sequence of festivals to commemorate a teaching or event or religious improtance, or saints' days .... Feasts are celebrated within the limits of a natural day ..." (1)

So, on this day, September 29th, the Church commemorates a Saint's feast day, an event of religious importance, and indirectly teaching of an event. Today is the feast of the Archangels Sts. Michael, Raphael and Gabriel. These are the only angels that are named in the Bible (that is known to us by name). St. Michael is principally who is celebrated today, though all 3 are implied. So what's up with these three big head honchos cause they aren't just angels. Their bigger.

What is an angel? Again I turn to the Catholic Encyclopedia (2):

"... angels are spiritual beings, created by God, and superior in nature to man. They are immortal beings whose role is to minister to God and to do thw will of God in obedience. They are bodiless, spiritual intelligences who have their knowledge, not as man who acquires knowledge through his senses, but by intuition. Thus they do not arrive at conclusions following upon principles by a process of reason but immediately know the principles as truth ...."

Also, there are 9 "choirs" of angels in descending order: Seraphim, Cherubim, Thrones, Dominations, Principalities, Powers, Virtues, Archangels, and Angels (2). Now, that's a nice nutshell definiton for you, but what about the three I mentioned? Let's save the popular one, St. Michael, for last, and let's get Gabriel and Raphael out of the way.

Gabriel means "Man of God/God has shown Himself Mighty." This angel announced to Daniel the prophecy of the 70 weeks in Daniel 9:21-27 and also appeared to Zechariah to announce the birth of St. John the Baptist (Luke 1:11). Finally, he announced to Mary she'd bear Christ who'd be conceived by the Holy Spirit and well, save the world (Luke 1:26) This is the famous angel who is named in the Joyful Mystery of the Rosary, the Annunciation. (3)

Means "God has healed." Appears in the Book of Tobit as a guide to Tobiah. Raphael also bings the demon Asasel in the desert of Egypt in the book ot Tobit, helps Tobiah find a wife and recover his debt, and heals Tobit from blindness. He also reveals his identity directly in the book of Tobit. (3)

Michael (the Big Shatoonah, and my personal favourite Angel)
Clearly you have heard of this angel. Really? No? Well those named Michael have a mane meaning "Who is Like God" which is translated in Latin as "Quis et Deus". You may have seen that expression on some coats of arms or symbols dedicated to Michael. I could tell the story of Michael in a Nutshell, but I found a good summary via the ArchBishop of Ottawa, Ontario, Cannada, +Prendergast's blog: The summary was taken from The Catholic Herald Newspaper in the UK at: . Here it is in full text:

"The Archangel Michael is honoured as the leader of the heavenly host which threw Satan and his fellow rebels out of heaven.
Today, the Catechism of the Catholic Church stoutly maintains the existence of angels as “true of faith”: “The witness of Scripture is as clear as the unanimity of tradition.”
Angels, the Catechism elucidates, “are servants and messengers of God. Because they ‘always behold the face of my Father who is in heaven’ (Mt 18:10) they are ‘the mighty ones who do his word’ (Ps 103:20).
“The whole life of the Church benefits from the mysterious and powerful help of the angels. From its beginning until death, human life is surrounded by their watchful care and intercession.”
This is a development of Jewish tradition. In the Old Testament there are copious references to angels, although Michael’s status is not precisely clear. In the Book of Daniel, written c 550 BC, he is “the great prince which standeth for the children of thy people”.
Jesus Christ speaks (Mt 26:53) of having “more than 12 legions of angels” potentially at his side. And although the term “archangel” does not appear in the Bible, the reference in Revelation (12:7) to “Michael and his angels” suggests his supremacy.
In Hebrew the name Michael actually means “Who is like unto God?” The implication, which the rebellious angels learned to their cost, is that no one possibly could be like God.
In Catholic tradition, Michael serves four distinct roles. Just as he had defeated Satan in celestial combat, so he provides aid in the spiritual struggle fought in every human soul.
“With me,” the worldly Bishop Blougram explains in Browning’s poem:
faith means perpetual unbelief
Kept quiet like the snake ’neath Michael’s foot
Who stands calm just because he feels it writhe.
Secondly, Michael is present at every deathbed, offering the hope of redemption.
Thirdly, he weighs the merits of the soul after death.
Fourthly, he stands forth as the guarantor of Christ’s promise to the Church that it will endure to the end of time.
The cult of Michael developed in Byzantine Christianity, though stories of his apparition on Monte Gargano (southern Italy) in the late fifth century helped to spread his fame in western Europe.
Around 495 a vision of the archangel in Cornwall apparently led to the naming of St Michael’s Mount. By the end of the Middle Ages nearly 700 churches in England (many of them on high ground) bore Michael’s name. His feast was even retained in the ultra-Protestant Prayer Book of 1549.
Since 1969 the Catholic Church has combined his feast day with those of Gabriel, Raphael “and all angels”. Michael, though, is still in control of the army." (4)
So that's what this feast day is all about in the Catholic Church. For those interested in the Scriptural Readings for today's masses, here they are for both forms:

Extraordiary Form/Tridentine Latin Mass (1962): Apocalypse (a.k.a. Revelation) 1:1-5 And Matthew 18:1-10

Novus Ordo (1962): Revelation 12:7-12a, Daniel 7:9-10, 13-14 and John 1:47:51

Also, as to more about the fall of the traitor angels and the Devil (a.k.a. Satan, Lucifer, prior to the fall) with regard to St. Michael, check out the Catechism of the Catholic Church, paragraphs 391 to 395. I am referring you for now, but as always, I could do a catechesis session in future on the fall of the traitor angels, the spiritual war,etc. in future.

Sources (cited according to MLA Style Maual, 5th Ed.)
(1) Broderick, Robert C., Thomas, Ed."Feasts of the Church" Revised and Updated Catholic Encyclopedia. 1987.
(2) Broderick, Robert C., Thomas, Ed."Angel" Revised and Updated Catholic Encyclopedia. 1987.
(3) "Sept. 29. Saints Michael, Gabriel, Raphael" Lives of the Saints For Every Day of the Year. New York: Catholic Book Publishing Company, 1977. 396-398.
(4) "The Saint Who Threw Satan Out of Heaven." The Catholic Herald. 29 Sept 2011. <>

Friday, September 23, 2011

Traditional Catholicism: Vatican Hands SSPX a Choice, it Seems ... Part I: SSPX History

Hello. Sorry if this is a little late but when you work a part time job at all hours and you try to catch up on sleep and trying to exercise, that's reasion "1 of 25" (not literally) why I don't write every day. Better yet, try to take an hour long jog running on concrete when you are fat and haven't done an outside run in weeks and ask your legs, "How yo doin boys". Yeah ...... No. They won't like you and you body will scream "I need a rest!".

Well, this is a #2 and a #3 today from my main topics to be covered: 2, which was popular items on the blogosphere, and 3 for Traditional Catholicism (TPs). Well, this is still popular as the topic of discussion is currenly ongoing, even though the big event happened last week. And yes, some later on may say I should have started with a nice easy piece like basic catechesis, but bloggers gotta jomp on those current event topics while they are popular in that moment in time.

For those of you who don't know, the Vatican has been in talks since last year with a traditional Catholicism society called the Society of St. Pius X. This group is devoted to TPs as well as traditional Catholic lifestyle amongst its adherents, that is the kind of social, educational, and religious atmosphere your grandparents has before the world went for a wrong turn in the 60's and Vatican II. Err what do I mean by traditional Catholic lifestyle? Well pictorally in their liturgies and community celebrations, I'll let that speak for itself here. SSPX is not the only TC society, institution, or prelate, devoted to TPs as there are others such as: The Oratorians of St. Phillip Neri (Toronto, Quebec, and elsewhere), Fraternal Society of St. Peter (Formerly Toronto but mainly the USA and Ottawa), The Institute of Christ the King Sovereign Priest (USA), the Institute of the Good Sheperd (France) and the Canons Regular of St. John Cantius (Specific states in the USA). However, SSPX is the most notorious/well known organization for TCs and TPs, also becuase of their interesting non-canonical status in the Church (Catholic but non canonically in line with Rome, yet not schismatic in itself. Rather the acts of its superiors were schismatic).

Seeing as I'm gearing this blog towards a more basic level, and new people interested in basic Catholicism, I say that to understand any significance of this event, we need to take a brief look at the history of SSPX in the Church. This will be brief as I'd rather spend the time getting to the main event of yesterday, and you can use your spare time to see a more in depth history via books from both pro-SSPX and anti-SSPX sides as well as Wikipedia.

So flashback to the 1970's-1980's post Vatican II. The "Spirit of Vatican II" (or in my opinion the gross misapplication of V-II's meaning and 16 major documents) was taking effect on Catholicism worldwide, combined with the social and political factors sweeping countries (e.g. the anti-war protests of the 60's in the USA with people being hippies, increased sexual deviancy disguised as normalcy thanks to Kinsey, increasing secularism and theological dissent, etc.) In France, a bishop who has been well noted in several Vatican II analyses and accounts, Bishop Marcel Lefebre, was not pleased at the spiritual and moral devastation occuring at the time. As generally noted after the "New Mass" or Novus Ordo came to creation and existience in 1969x, the Extraordinary Form(EF)/Tridentine Latin Mass (TLM) was disappearing at an alarming rate and many "changes were a'happening" that made him unsettled.

After some missionary efforts in Africa, He approached the bishop of Geneva and Fribourg, in France, in the 70's to start the SSPX. While the Society was growing and developing in the 70's, a number of times Church chergy at various levels were intervening, mainly becuase of the difference in theology of French bishops (that is they were with the new V-II theology and didn't take kindly to what was the "Old" mass). Eventually this all came to a head in 1988 in Econe, Switzerland, when without the permission of the Pope at that time, John Paul II (though different accounts will say that there was a lack of communication or obstinancy on part of the Vatican to grant that permission to ordain a bishop, or provide or a bishop for the Society), Lefebre consecrated (along with another bishop) 4 new bishops for the society. (1) This move however, violated the laws of the Church, also knows as Canon law in the following sections:
Can. 1013 No bishop is permitted to consecrate anyone a bishop unless it is first evident that there is a pontifical mandate. (2)

Can. 1382 A bishop who consecrates some one a bishop without a pontifical mandate and the person who receives the consecration from him incur a latae sententiae excommunication reserved to the Apostolic See. (3)
 Furthermore in the encyclical Ad Apostolum Principis by Pope Pius XII in paragraphs 40 and 41:
40. The power of jurisdiction which is conferred directly by divine right on the Supreme Pontiff comes to bishops by that same right, but only through the successor of Peter, to whom not only the faithful but also all bishops are bound to be constantly subject and to adhere both by the reverence of obedience and by the bond of unity."[14]
41. Acts requiring the power of Holy Orders which are performed by ecclesiastics of this kind, though they are valid as long as the consecration conferred on them was valid, are yet gravely illicit, that is, criminal and sacrilegious. (4)

So guess what Levebre just did? Yep, he incured upon himself as well as the 4 bishops (and the other one accompanying him in that act) an excommunication. This led to Pope John Paul II not only establishing the Ecclesia Dei committee just from this sole matter, but he also created the Fraternal Society of St. Peter as a personal prelature to propose a canonically valid Extraordinary Form instituion in communion with Rome.

In terms of the priests and others in the society, this posed an odd conundrum. When consecrated by these bishops, because they were validly ordained prior to the excommunications, they still have a valid priesthood (you never stop being a priest when you are promoted to the order of the Bishop). This priesthood also extends to the priests they consecrate. However their preisthood, bishop positions, and any priests they consecrate, are illicit (as in they do things illegaly in the Church). Worse, what happened affects their sacraments also. Since they have a valid priesthood, they can consecrate they Eucharist illicitly though they say Mass properly with the correct form, matter, and intentions, but as for the rest of their sacraments, these are illicit because they are not done under the permission of the local ordinary in the Church: the diocesan bishop. There might by a few exceptions though. Catholic Answers forums at in the traditional section has yielded comments from 1-2 people saying their SSPX priest got permission from their bishop for their Sacraments, though this is extremely rare so as cannot be verified.

What about the common layman/woman in the Church? Well regardless of what happened in the 80's, a number of people flocked over to the SSPX in the wake of the "Spirit of Vatican II" because of artrocious liturgies done wrong in the Novus Ordo, confusion at learning the new mass, and the longing for the TLM. As for their masses, there has been clarification by the Vatican on this issue from a representative on Ecclesia Dei for the Pope, Cardinal Hoyos, with the latest response being from 2008 in a reply to a letter by Catholic Commentator Brian Mershon of

 "While it is true that participation in the Mass at chapels of the Society of St. Pius X does not of itself constitute "formal adherence to the schism" (cf. Ecclesia Dei 5, c), such adherence can come about over a period of time as one slowly imbibes a schismatic mentality which separates itself from the teaching of the Supreme Pontiff and the entire Catholic Church .... the Pontifical Commission "Ecclesia Dei" cannot recommend that members of the faithful frequent their chapels .... We deeply ... pray ... reconciliation ... may come about, but until such time the explanations which we have given remain in force."
Q: Do lay Catholics who frequent Society of St. Pius X chapels, either more less frequently, incur any sin or canonical delict by doing so, if done solely out of devotion to the Church's Latin liturgical tradition and not to separate one's self from communion with one's diocesan Ordinary or local pastor?

PCED: "Catholics who frequent the chapels of the Society of St. Pius X do not incur any sin or canonical delict by doing so. However, we further refer you to what we have already stated ... above." (5)

Mershon Summarizes Hoyos' responses quite well as to the situation of laity who frequent SSPX chapels here:
5. Catholic laymen may attend Mass at a Society of St. Pius X chapel without committing any sin nor incurring any canonical penalty. However, the PCED guidance is that it "cannot recommend" attendance at the Society of St. Pius X chapels due to the danger of imbibing a "schismatic mentality." In other words, someone might find some Society priests fomenting division from full communion with the Church, their local Ordinary and/or the Holy Father in their sermons. The PCED's recommendation is not to attend their chapels habitually, but they acknowledge there is no sin committed nor canonical penalty incurred resulting from attending Mass at SSPX chapels solely out of the desire to worship according to the 1962 missal and in order to fulfill their Sunday obligation. (5)
 However, as you can see there is a severe warning attached. You can fulfill your SUNDAY OBLIGATION by going to the chapel, but it must not be done in a mentality/spirit of schism and by obligation, it is meant the requirement of going to Mass on Sunday. Furthermore, Catholic Answers through their apologetics magazine, This Rock (now self-titled), clarifies this issue in its question and answer section:

Q: Are the bishops and priests of the Society of St. Pius X validly ordained? If so, can someone fulfill the Sunday Mass obligation at an SSPX chapel?
A: Although ordained illicitly, the bishops and priests of the Society of St. Pius X are valid bishops and priests ....
The SSPX Mass, though gravely illicit, is valid and thus theoretically could fulfill the Sunday obligation when no valid, licit Catholic Mass is available. But because of the SSPX’s freshly schismatic state, it would be extremely imprudent to attend an SSPX liturgy, and it could cause scandal. When no valid, licit Catholic Mass is available, one is exempted from the Sunday obligation, so there is no need to try to fulfill that obligation at an SSPX chapel .... (6)

So to end the history part, what about the now? What about this last decade? The SSPX still has a a few seminaries in the world and also has a number of mission chapels or parishes/communities in the world, but especially the United States of America and Canada. But things have taken an interesting turn with the SSPX, much thanks to our Holy Father, Papa Benedict XVI (B16)!

- The Society was constantly saying they'd only consider communicating with the Vatican on few key conditions, with the two biggest ones being the liberation and promotion of the EF/TLM as well as  lifting the excommunications imposed on the Society's bishops.
- In 2000, when JPII was in charge, a number of SSPX priests went on a pilgrimage to Rome as part of the Jubilee, to show that they were willing to consider re-unification with Rome
- In 2007, B16 released a Motu Proprio document, Summorum Pontificum, which allowed for free use of the EF/TLM by all priests, regardless of their bishops permissions or intentions.
- In 2009, B16 lifted the excommunications of the remaining four bishops under that censure (Lefebre died in ...), however controversy surrounded this event as one bishop, Williamson, made anti-semitic statements denying gas chambers in the Holocaust and lowering the estimate of Jews killed in the massacre.
- With the two big conditions filled, as of Fall 2010, B16 set up a committee to engage in talks with the SSPX via representatives of the Holy See (the head being Cardinal Hoyos) to discuss the doctrinal issues surrounding the Society's reluctance to enter into full communion with Rome. These talks ended April of this year.

And that leads us to the main event that happened on Sept 14, 2011: The doctrinal preamble. I will discuss this with my positive commentary and my critican concerns of the matter in another post, Part II. YCRCM

Sources Cited (According to MLA Stule Guide, 5th Ed).:
(1) "Society of St Pius X," Wikipedia, Wikimedia Foundation Inc. 15 Sept 2011 <>.

(2) Code of Canon Law, Catholic Church. 15 Sept 2011 <>

(3) Ibid., 15 Sept 2011 <>

(4) "Ad Apostolum Principis," Pius XII, 29 June 1958, Vatican, Italy, 15 Sept 2011. <>

(5) "PCED confirms officially: Society of St. Pius X within the Church, not in formal schism; Catholics commit no sin nor incur any canonical penalty for Mass attendance." Hoyos in Brian C. Mershon. Online blog. 23 Sept 2011. <>

(6) "Quick Questions" This Rock. 15.7 (2004).

Friday, September 9, 2011

Initial Post. Welcome, and Laying Down the Law

Hello to all who surf the Catholic Blogosphere. For a while I've done commentary on my favourite sites mostly under my pseudo-name and rarely under my true identity (which I won't reveal here). So who am I? I'm a young Canadian male trying to get myself a living, all the while being faithful to my Lord, Jesus Christ and the Church he established for all eternity. I grew up with a decent start, fell in my post-secondary years, and have now reverted back to the faith for almost 2 years running.

Now I think I might do a little light blogging and posting from time to time. I will not be posting daily or weekly due to my life at the moment. So what will be here on the YCRCM blog (YCRCMB) when I have that spare moment to do a little side blogging?

1) Basic Catechesis. What's my faith? If you didn't get taught well to begin with, or you forgot in university, you might want to know what you believe in if you get stopped on the street. I'll mainly draw on the Catechism of the Catholic Church and the cool new YouCat as starting points, but I might add on other well written explanations from books, more conservative Catholic websites/blogs (e.g. Fr. Z) and whatever sources I find or you, the commenters, point out to me.

2) Commentary on certain popular blogging issues: Let's just say that something happens that shakes waves in the blogosphere and everyone wants their 2 cents on something. I'd both post what others are saying, as well as my take on things from a young male Catholic layman's perspective, with a little common sense/arguments

3) Traditional stuff - Don't get me wrong, Novus Ordo practices in the Church can be cool, and I attend a N.O. Catholic church, but I happen to be favourable to the traditionalism/traddie/trid/.... whatever you call it, movement, though there are particulars with each title and other bloggers will let you know their stances. For all purposes on this blog, let's call what the "trads" do or your grandparents did, "traditional practices" (TPs) and adherents or practicing catholics of those practices "traditional Catholics" or TradCaths (TCs). Therefore you might see promotions, posts with questions, etc. conerning traditional practices or TCs on here. However, see my disclaimer on my tolerance limits below in "THE LAWS OF THE KINGDOM!!"

4) Oddities in other parts of the church that Catch my interest, e.g. Youth Ministry, other orders of the Church of religious or laypeople, ministries, prayers, rating other Catholic blog/WWW sites and giving my opinion etc.

So before I begin, here's the ground rules for my blog. My "living room," my rules. Ahem,
1) This is a blog by a Roman Catholic, mainly for Roman Catholics, but could be for others who are interested in such things. Of course, we Catholics are meant to be "in the world, but not of the world" and due to our theology, and moral/ethical principles and beliefs, we are meant to be hated. However, just cause, that does not mean we are doormats to be stepped upon. As long as the YCRCM blog stands, I will NOT TOLERATE any of the following. These things will get your posts deleted and your blogger ID blocked immediately if you have one. Here's my "RED FLAG LIST"

- Any form of blatant racism, or religious indifference/hate to the Catholic faith or Catholic religions. This also includes people and things, for example: Specific laypeople of note or clergy, taking a pro-choice, pro-Latin Rite married priest, pro-euthanasia, etc. stance and insulting people on here.
- Also any form of blatant racism, or religious indifference/hate to those of other faiths or philosophies.
- Constant trolling or "S*#& disturbing".
- Insulting or lashing out on anything of TCs or those who do TPs. The same goes for the reverse of TCs or those who do TPs insulting or lashing out with those who are Novus Ordo only and do post Vatican II practices. Exception: If something is seriously grievous to the Catholic faith and attention should be brought to it, or an exceptionally intelligent argument is brought to the limelight. I might even investigate it myself to determine if it is heretical and should be reported to the Vatican or proper authorities.
- Any links to pornography, anti-Catholic sites from any source (regardless of religion or philosophy of the site and your religion or philosophy) as spam or insulting those here on YCRCMB.
- Direct insults at me.
- An anonymous poster who does any of the following above or in the "yellow flag list below". I can't exactly warn you if I don't know who you are.
- emails from people with addresses that are blatantly obvious in your intentions e.g.
- you do what is under the yellow flag list either a 2nd time or repeatedly, depending on a case-by-case basis from me.

The following are what I call "Yellow Flags". If you do the actions listed here, and you do have a blog identity or give me a name/pseudoname, you will likely get a one-time warning from me: "________, you are not followint the rules of this blog ..." OR "___________, you are being .....", ".... please cease what you are doing. If I find you doing this action a 2nd time, I will ban you from this blog or delete your comments". If I am being nice or your action seems innocent enough, I'll give you a personal caution that's not like the quotes listed above or I'll ask for clarification myself. Here are my "Yellow flags":
- Something that might seem racist, or express religious indifference/hate to the Catholic faith or Catholic religions. Same with those of other faiths or philosophies. This also includes things, for example: taking a pro-choice, pro-Latin Rite married priest, pro-euthanasia, etc. stance and insulting people on here. This is not case by case if I or a commenter becomes offended.
- First instances of trolling or "S*#& disturbing".
- Sounding condescending on anything of TCs or those who do TPs. The same goes for the reverse of TCs or those do TPs who are condescending of those who are Novus Ordo only and do post Vatican II practices. This includes discussion of traditionalist groups who have questionable statuses in the Church or are schismatic extreme traditionalists (e.g. SSPX, SSPV). I don't mind discussion, but there are limits. If not obvious, this will be a case by case basis. Exception: If something is seriously grievous to the Catholic faith and attention should be brought to it, or an exceptionally intelligent argument is brought to the limelight. I might even investigate it myself to determine if it is heretical and should be reported to the Vatican or proper authorities.
- Indirect insults at me or someone yanking my chain or others.
- Defense of or criticism of certain internet bloggers, laypeople, clergy, etc. if it seems to me like Idol-worship or character assassination. Exception: If you have solid evidence or can cite/quote other sources to prove your point about a specific person's/clergy member's incosistency with the Catholic faith, it will be shown and maybe I'll even follow up with a post.

Well, that's laying down the law. I hope that this blog will be fruitful to someone, even if it's just one person. Anyways, signing off, YCRCM.