So much has been said and written about the Tridentine Mass, especially during the previous papacy…
…but not much has been said and written about the Tridentine Mass Wedding!
Rejoice! Our country is blessed!
VATICAN City, 21 October 2012 — The Holy Father Pope Benedict XVI praised the “heroic courage” and “tenacious profession of faith” of Filipinos’ second saint, Pedro Calungsod, during the homily at today’s mass.
In his homily for the canonization ceremony, the Holy Father recalled the life of Saint Pedro in the Marianas mission.
“His desire to win souls for Christ… made him resolute in accepting martyrdom,” he said.
Key in Pope Benedict’s exhortation on the young martyr is the special circumstances of his death – that he could have decided to leave Fr. Diego de San Vitores, but decided to stay on.
Making a direct appeal to modern-day Filipinos, he said, “May the example and courageous witness of Pedro Calungsod inspire the dear people of the Philippines to announce the Kingdom bravely and to win souls for God!”
The Holy Father also praised Pedro and the six other new saints, for their “…heroic courage, [spending] their lives in total consecration to the Lord and generous service of their brethren.”
Hopefully, the example of Saint Pedro, “will inspire the dear people of the Philippines to announce the Kingdom bravely and win souls for God,” added the Holy Father.
Besides being a day of celebration for the Church because of the canonization, October 21 is also celebrated this year as World Mission Sunday. (Aaron James R. Veloso, taken from CBCP Online Radio).
“Optimum legum interpres consuetudo.”
The sixth commandment in the Old Testament says “You shall not kill”. Even if in some ways the New Testament has superseded the Old Testament, the rule did not change: do not kill.
This applies to many cases, but relatively. In the case of a war, if, for instance, a journalist asks Pope Benedict XVI for a comment, the pontiff will certainly condemn it no matter who the aggressor or defender is. The pope will condemn all motives (final cause) for war, all participants in the senseless killing, most especially all agents involved: guns, bombs, fighter planes, bullet-proof vests, etc.
Speaking of bullet-proof vests, it is a brilliant invention made to protect the life of war participants against firearm-fired projectiles and shrapnels. These vests are made available in the war market. All items in the war market are condemned by the Vatican because they are all involved in carrying out war.
But war is already taking place. Not even the Swiss Guards will be able to stop the warring factions. Wouldn’t it be “madness” for the Vatican to forbid the use of bullet-proof vests?
Pope Benedict XVI would have certainly answered thus: “There may be a basis in the case of some individuals, as perhaps when a soldier uses a bullet-proof vest, where this can be a first step in the direction of saving a life, which is HIS life, a first assumption of responsibility, for it will prolong his true mission on earth, one of which is not to kill”.
The same line of reasoning can be argued regarding the pope’s remark on condom usage only made controversial by an irresponsible media and many a sex-starved individual who frivorously twisted the said remark to justify their unjustified interests.
In a recent interview that journalist Peter Seewald had with the German pontiff regarding condoms and the spread of AIDS in Africa, the Catholic leader said that the use of condoms could be seen as “a first step toward moralization,” even though condoms are “not really the way to deal with the evil of HIV infection.”
A confused Seewald asked for more clarification: “Are you saying, then, that the Catholic Church is actually not opposed in principle to the use of condoms?”
The pope’s answer: “It of course does not regard it as a real or moral solution, but, in this or that case, there can be nonetheless, in the intention of reducing the risk of infection, a first step in a movement toward a different way, a more human way, of living sexuality.”
Although the pope in particular and the Vatican in general did not change the Catholic ban on contraceptions such as condoms, the pope’s remarks to Seewald was, sad to say, greeted as a “breakthrough” by liberal Catholics and pro-choice activists. But this “breakthrough” that they claim is nothing more but a type of unrepresentative generalization. And their claim that the Vatican has finally softened its stand on condom use is purely anecdotal evidence.
Drawing an analogy from the “war commentary” mentioned earlier, to say that the pope is 100% OK with the sale and usage of bullet proof vests to protect human life from bullets and shrapnel in times of war is tantamount to saying that he is OK with war itself. Of course not. That would have been contradictory to the Church’s stand against war and the taking of another life. Therefore, to claim that the pope has finally OKd condom usage is to say that he is now OK with pre and extramarital affairs, an absurd scenario.
And besides, the media has been very selective of the pope’s remarks. They have only allowed to publish what the boisterous pro-choice people had wanted to hear all along, thus killing the entire context altogether. But if pro-condom advocates are to read the full transcript of what the biased media had made controversial, they will get a different idea, far different from what they have claimed to be a victory:
Peter Seewald: On the occasion of your trip to Africa in March 2009, the Vatican’s policy on Aids once again became the target of media criticism. Twenty-five percent of all Aids victims around the world today are treated in Catholic facilities. In some countries, such as Lesotho, for example, the statistic is 40 percent. In Africa you stated that the Church’s traditional teaching has proven to be the only sure way to stop the spread of HIV. Critics, including critics from the Church’s own ranks, object that it is madness to forbid a high-risk population to use condoms.
Pope Benedict: The media coverage completely ignored the rest of the trip to Africa on account of a single statement. Someone had asked me why the Catholic Church adopts an unrealistic and ineffective position on Aids. At that point, I really felt that I was being provoked, because the Church does more than anyone else. And I stand by that claim.
Because she is the only institution that assists people up close and concretely, with prevention, education, help, counsel, and accompaniment. And because she is second to none in treating so many Aids victims, especially children with Aids.
I had the chance to visit one of these wards and to speak with the patients. That was the real answer: The Church does more than anyone else, because she does not speak from the tribunal of the newspapers, but helps her brothers and sisters where they are actually suffering.
In my remarks I was not making a general statement about the condom issue, but merely said, and this is what caused such great offense, that we cannot solve the problem by distributing condoms. Much more needs to be done. We must stand close to the people, we must guide and help them; and we must do this both before and after they contract the disease.
As a matter of fact, you know, people can get condoms when they want them anyway. But this just goes to show that condoms alone do not resolve the question itself. More needs to happen. Meanwhile, the secular realm itself has developed the so-called ABC Theory: Abstinence-Be Faithful-Condom, where the condom is understood only as a last resort, when the other two points fail to work.
This means that the sheer fixation on the condom implies a banalization of sexuality, which, after all, is precisely the dangerous source of the attitude of no longer seeing sexuality as the expression of love, but only a sort of drug that people administer to themselves. This is why the fight against the banalization of sexuality is also a part of the struggle to ensure that sexuality is treated as a positive value and to enable it to have a positive effect on the whole of man’s being.
There may be a basis in the case of some individuals, as perhaps when a male prostitute uses a condom, where this can be a first step in the direction of a moralization, a first assumption of responsibility, on the way toward recovering an awareness that not everything is allowed and that one cannot do whatever one wants. But it is not really the way to deal with the evil of HIV infection.
That can really lie only in a humanization of sexuality.
Peter Seewald: Are you saying, then, that the Catholic Church is actually not opposed in principle to the use of condoms?
Pope Benedict: She of course does not regard it as a real or moral solution, but, in this or that case, there can be nonetheless, in the intention of reducing the risk of infection, a first step in a movement toward a different way, a more human way, of living sexuality. (from Seewald’s latest book Light of the World, The Pope, The Church and The Signs Of The Times which was published last month)
Canon law and Church law, particularly those that deal with human life and sexuality, cannot be altered just like that, especially not in an interview. So when in doubt, always remember that custom is the best interpreter of the law. It has never been the custom of the Catholic Church to advocate the banality of sex. And in view of the foregoing excerpt, I believe enough has been said. So Congressman Edcel Lagmán better shut up for a while, the way he always does anyway whenever he is caught in a predicament in debates with Congressman Roilo Gólez regarding the RH bill.
Unfortunately, the damage has been done. Many people with childish logic have already believed that the Pope has approved condom use. So let us just be wary and extra cautious the next time around. Keep in mind that media is the most effective way to influence the greatest number of people in the shortest posible time and is the key to any advocacy campaign. Conspirators against life know this perfectly. Let us not fall prey next time.
My friend Arnaldo has been scolding me for weeks for this rather impious stance that I have toward the modern Catholic Church. But I still go to churches, if only to mutter a short prayer of gratitude, praise, and support. I frequent the mysterious Santo Sepulcro church every Friday, not really to attend Friday masses but as a devotee and to practice my Catholicism.
But other than that, I abhor the Novus Ordo Missae — “the new Ordinary of the Mass” which we –Catholics and non–Catholics alike– are all familiar today.
The nearest church to our place (the San Pedro Apóstol Parish Church which shelters the arcane Cross of Tunasán) is just walking distance away from our apartment. I used to attend masses there when we were new in San Pedro. But remembering the traitorous history of how the Tridentine Mass was cunningly replaced by the Novus Ordo Missae, I stopped attending mass altogether, feeling that I’m doing history and the Christian faith a great disservice.
After having read and understood by heart the contents of the controversial book Till The End of Time With the Mass of All Time by the late Atty. Teodoro R. Domínguez, I started to harbor misgivings toward the kind of Catholic Mass which is celebrated today. It is nothing more than a conspiracy between top Protestant ministers, liberal theologians, and even Freemasons. The arguments and facts presented by Atty. Domínguez, an expert in Canon Law and Apologetics, are difficult, if not impossible, to refute. I was totally disillusioned, especially because during the time that I first read the book, I had just reconverted to Catholicism (I was an atheist-agnostic for a couple of years).
Last year, me and my family were about to stroll in Alabang Town Center when I noticed something “strange” going on inside the nearby St. Jerome Emiliani and Santa Susanna Parish Church. I noticed that the priest was facing the altar. We stopped by the church’s entrance, just to make sure if my suspicion was correct. And yes, they were celebrating the Latin Mass, all right! Perhaps only God could describe the elation that I felt during that time.
Suddenly, my mind flashbacked to 2003, the most difficult year of my young, married life. I was bicycling all the way to that church from our home in BF Parañaque just to attend Mass (I was then attending Mass everyday, not just on Sundays, since I had just reconverted to the Faith — I was very hungry for holiness). I chanced upon Rev. Fr. Grato Germanetto, CRS outside the church. He’s the parish priest of St. Jerome Emiliani and Santa Susanna Church. I gathered myself up for a conversation, to check if this Italian priest knows something about the Latin Mass, because I was then ignorant about it but was all eager to learn more and support it. Sadly, what he told me disappointed me: he said that the Novus Ordo Missae and the Tridentine/Latin Mass were both the same, and that he didn’t sound appreciative of French Archbishop Marcel-François Lefebvre (1905-1991), one of the bastions of Traditionalist Catholicism and founder of the Society of St. Pius X. He just gave it a shrug of the shoulder, as if the fruits of Vatican II, i.e., the new Mass should really happen, and that Archbishop Lefebvre’s non-acceptance of it was a big mistake.
We parted ways after that brief conversation, with more questions left unanswered in my mind.
That is why I was surprised that, a few years later, his parish church suddenly decided to bring back the Latin Mass. Was that short conversation of ours inspired the good reverend to think twice? LOL! That’s too pretentious of me already. But anyway…
The Latin Mass was being celebrated there in that Alabang church every Sunday at 9:30 AM. But recently, they stopped. Up to now, I don’t have any idea why. Even the website dedicated to it didn’t offer any explanation. So after that short-lived ecstasy, I was again disillusioned.
But Arnaldo reproved me by saying that the Holy Catholic Church didn’t disappear just because the Mass was changed into something else. The deduction he brought forth is that I don’t stop being a son just because I disagree with my parents. My argument is that a son should still love his parents but not support their illegal drug business. This is a deep theological debate which I will not dare discuss further especially since I am no theologian, nor am I worthy to even defend my case; I’m not a holy man.
Nevertheless, I see his point. If many Catholics will follow my direction, then the Holy Mother Church will lose more members. Or perhaps these Catholics will join dissenting Traditional Catholic groups such as the Society of St. Pius X or, worse, Protestant cults. That will only betray Pope Benedict XVI’s efforts of reuniting with Traditionalists all over the world (and hopefully it will also include the Iglesia Filipina Independiente).
Right now, me and my wife are doing something in our spare time to “free ourselves from time constraints” once and for all. And once things fall into place smoothly, then I will have all the time in the world for my advocacies. And one of them is to bring back the Latin Mass, at the very least in the community where we will move in to (we’ll be moving to nearby Calambâ very soon).
But until then, what? What of the Holy Mass?
We’ll see this Sunday…
Two nights ago, I was chatting with a young chap from UPLB. He was practising his Spanish with me. Our conversation then shifted to Catholicism. And this young man impressed with me with his knowledge of the Catholic Church.
I was born a Catholic, but wasn’t really a devout one. But my father is. He comes from a very religious family. Anyway, my dad is from a generation whose elders were brought under a strict Spanish Catholic environment. I was what you’d consider a Catholic by affiliation, and that is all. I was nonchalant about my religion, and even ignorant about most of its teachings.
When I stepped into the world of college life, I was exposed to a myriad of ideas, precepts, beliefs: Iglesia Ni Cristo, Marxism, Freemasonry, atheism, born-again peeps, etc. Since I’m a person who reads a lot, I explored and researched about other creeds. In the end, this (mis)led me to believe that the religion I grew up with is a false one. =(
After brief stints with other groups, the funny thing was I ended up as an atheist for the next two years or so!
But as they say, God works in mysterious ways.
I was brought back to the Catholic fold last 2003 due mainly to personal researches about my country’s Spanish past. Along the way, I was able to discover and realize the leyenda negra (black legend) being hurled against the Spanish clergy. Ironically, I ended up defending the Spanish friars against everyone attacking them although I was still an atheist! Little by little, my “reconversion” was on its way. I soon became an agnostic. And one September night of that year, as I was pondering whether to have my wife abort our second child or not, God gave me a sign.
You see, 2003 was the worst and arguably one of the best and memorable years of my life. I was jobless, disowned by my folks and various relatives, living in a decrepit bodega, penniless, you name it. It was during this year when I did nothing but read, write, ponder, steal books, ponder some more, dream. And since I was (surprisingly) having difficulty in getting employed, I thought that having another baby was too much (I was already then an agnostic during this time). I was goading my wife for days to give up the baby. I was giving her horrible scenarios of what might happen to us if she doesn’t accept abortion as a solution: poverty, poverty, and lotsa poverty. Finally, I was able to make her say yes. We planned of going to Quiapò to buy an infamous pill (Cytotec) to kill the fetus.
I admit, however, that I felt uncertain and very afraid of doing it. So before committing the crime, I prayed to God for the very first time in years. While walking desolately along Chino Roces Avenue one night on my way home, I muttered, “Lord, if you are indeed real, show me a sign —any sign— that you disapprove of this abortion”.
The sign came that very night. Upon arriving home, I talked again to my wife (without telling her that I prayed). I told her that we have to abort the fetus soon, the next day, while the it is not yet in human form (an infamous argument by “pro-choice” advocates). Quietly, she agreed. And as we slept together, I thought of my prayer – I had no idea what kind of sign I would receive… if God were ever real. After a few minutes, we drifted to sleep.
But moments later, my wife woke me up. I was surprised — she was crying! In between sobs, she said she’d rather not have an abortion. She said she’s willing to face anything —EVERYTHING— just to keep the baby. I embraced her, and broke into tears as well.
It was no coincidence or anything like that. It couldn’t have been any clearer: that was the sign I’ve been waiting for…
GOD IS REAL.
And so a few months later, a very handsome José Mario Guillermo II P. Alas —Momay— was born. And my stupid fear of poverty-ridden-days-ahead was just that: plain stupid. Because now our kids are four, and we’ve never been better than before!
Fast forward to today. Me and my wife will have been married for a decade this coming September 13 (our anniversary). Although we’ve been married civilly, we haven’t had a church wedding yet.
It’s every Filipina’s dream of being walked down the aisle. As a Catholic husband, it’s everything for me as well. The rite of marriage for devout Catholics is very sacred. And so we’ve decided to be wed under Church ceremonies. It is never enough to remain married only in pen and paper or in the eyes of the law.
And since it’s going to be our tenth year together, we decided to marry under Church ceremonies. And my wife even went a step further by suggesting that it should be a Latin/Tridentine Mass wedding.
My wife has always known my passion for everything Catholic. In fact, she learned about the Tridentine Mass only from me. But although it was I who taught her about the Latin Mass, I’ve never even thought of marrying under that rite!
I’ve learned about the “reality” of the Latin Mass during those bleak days of 2003 when I was deep into Philippine history. Although renowned Philippine historian Fernando Ziálcita will not agree with me (he once told me that one shouldn’t interrelate Christianity to Philippine history), one cannot help studying Philippine history vis-à-vis Philippine Christianity (because I firmly believe that the Philippines is a Christian creation; Spain was but a tool). One particular book which really grabbed my attention was Till The End of Time With the Mass of All Time written by the late Atty. Teodoro R. Domínguez (A.A., L.L., B.), himself an ex-atheist who converted to Catholicism. Funds for the publication of this controversial book was from a certain Therese Villanueva de Vargas.
It was from this book where I learned about the brief history of the Tridentine Mass, the alleged “Lefebvre schism”, the crisis within the Vatican, the Society of St. Pius X, even Canon Law (I wasn’t really familiar with it before). In this book I was also introduced to then Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger, now known as Pope Benedict XVI; he was then Prefect of the highly important Sacred Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (now headed by William Cardinal Levada). And through this book, I instantly became a fan of Cardinal Ratzinger (that’s why when our beloved Pope John Paul II passed away, I was rooting for Cardinal Ratzinger to take his post — and my prayers were answered!).
I got this book from my mentor, the eminent Filipino scholar, linguist, and historian Señor Guillermo Gómez Rivera. And I was even intrigued when Señor Gómez told me that he once contacted Atty. Domínguez for a telephone interview. Señor Gómez said he had a hard time in doing so because he had to go through a lot of people and a tedious verification process before finally being able to speak to the erudite lawyer. Señor Gómez also mentioned to me that Villanueva de Vargas’ various businesses were ruined, and that she went bankrupt.
The reason behind this? Señor Gómez had an accusing finger on Freemasonry, the nemesis of our religion (but that’s another story). I am not so sure if all this information is correct. Well, I’m not saying that Señor Gómez was exaggerating or something to that effect (he’s not that kind of person). It’s just that I’m surprised about the intriguing nature and controversiality of this issue (I just hope I could contact Ms. Villanueva de Vargas).
I tried contacting Atty. Domínguez myself (I think it was also 2003 or early 2004). I found his number in the phone directory (because Señor Gómez lost his contact number) and dialled him. The person who answered the phone was Mrs. Domínguez herself! She was a very polite lady (quite young if you ask me), but I could easily tell from the suspicion from her voice. She asked me how I got their number, what my agenda was, and all that verification stuff. I simply told her that I had the opportune chance of reading her husband’s book and had wanted to attend a Latin Mass. She said that her husband was already too old and weak to accept calls (by then, he was already receiving the Holy Communion privately at their house), but politely told me that I can attend one of their services in a church somewhere in Quezon City (Our Lady of Victories Church in New Manila). I didn’t ask anymore, but apparently she’s hiding her husband against some form of “threat”. She also told me briefly about her husband’s tiff against the late Manila Archbishop Jaime Cardinal Sin who was the first to oppose the Society of St. Pius X, calling the members schismatic (the Domínguez couple were members of this Catholic Traditionalist group).
Although I wasn’t allowed to speak with Atty. Domínguez, I learned a lot from his nice spouse.
Then a few years later, as I was searching his name in the internet, I found out that he already passed away… =(
I won’t go into details of the book lest this blog post becomes a book review. But all I can say is that it opened my eyes to the crisis —the current crisis— that the Holy Catholic Church is currently facing. And that is one major reason why I no longer attend Sunday masses in churches near us (although I stop by to pray and pay my respect). Because such masses are orchestrated by the “Conciliar Church”.
Let me add a sixty-third reason: Facebook and the internet!
That was a joke.