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As a General Norm: Praying with a sacred book vs. Praying with a smart phone or tablet

Msgr. Charles Pope writes:

So, what could be the problem with using an electronic breviary? The problem is the loss of the “sacred.”

To say that something is “sacred” not only indicates that it is holy but that it has been set aside for a unique and special purpose. For example, the chalices used at Mass are not ordinary cups. They are set apart for only one special use: to contain the Precious Blood. It would be wrong to use them in the rectory for a dinner party. It would also be wrong to bring ordinary cups over from the rectory to use as “chalices” for the Precious Blood. Sacred things normally have but one use or are used only for things related to God and the worship of Him.

This also applies to sacred books and texts.


Cardinal Robert Sarah, Prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship, has a similar view: “Perhaps it is very practical to pray the breviary with my own mobile phone or tablet, but it is not worthy: it desacralizes prayer”. This is not a formal instruction from him in an official capacity, but his views should elicit thoughtful consideration…


A sacred text, as a general norm, deserves a sacred book where it is preserved and from which it is read.

Read the whole article.

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Cardinal Robert Sarah On St. John Paul II, St. Teresa of Calcutta and the Eucharist

“For if, as St Paul teaches, ‘at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth’ (Phil. 2:10), how much more should we bend our knees when we come to receive the Lord himself in the most sublime and intimate act of Holy Communion!” said [Cardinal] Sarah.


Of Pope St. John Paul II’s respect for Jesus in the Eucharist, Sarah said:

The whole of the life of Karol Wotyla was marked by a profound respect for the Blessed Eucharist. Much could be said, and much has been written about this. Today I simply ask you to recall that at the end of his life of service, a man in a body wracked with sickness, John Paul II could never sit in the presence of the Blessed Sacrament. He forced his broken body to kneel. He needed the help of others to bend his knees, and again to stand. What more profound testimony could he give to the reverence due to the Blessed Sacrament than this, right up until his very last days.

He then quoted St. Teresa of Calcutta, an “exceptional nun, whose faith, holiness and total gift of her life to God and to the poor are world-renowned.”

St. Teresa “had absolute respect and worship for the Divine Body of Jesus Christ,” said Sarah. He noted that “she touched daily the ‘flesh’ of Christ in the dilapidated bodies of the poorest of the poor,” but “amazed and full of respectful veneration, she refrained from touching the transubstantiated Body of Christ.”

“Rather, she adored him,” Sarah continued. “She contemplated him silently. She knelt and prostrated herself before Jesus in the Eucharist. And she received him, like a little child who is humbly nourished by his God. She was saddened and pained to see Christians receive Holy Communion in their hands.”

The cardinal recounted Mother Teresa’s own words: “Wherever I go in the whole world, the thing that makes me the saddest is watching people receive Communion in the hand.”

—from the Life Site News article: Cardinal Sarah: St. John Paull II ‘forced his broken body to kneel’ before Eucharist

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What Worship Looks Like in the Bible and in a Traditional Catholic Mass

So would Jesus recognize the Catholic worship that goes on in the great cathedrals and Catholic churches? There are clearly differences between Catholic and Jewish worship, but think of the things Jesus would recognize:

  1. Splendid and ornate temple of God
  2. Priests in fine vestments
  3. Set readings from the Old Testament
  4. The chanting of psalms
  5. The burning of incense
  6. An altar of sacrifice
  7. Golden candlesticks
  8. The bread of the presence
  9. The holy of holies (the Catholic tabernacle)
  10. The lamp of the presence
  11. Processions of priests and people
  12. The offering of the holy sacrifice
  13. The laver or font for cleansing the offerings
  14. Water fonts for ritual ablutions before entering worship
  15. Beautiful decorations of fabrics, carvings and embroidery

The idea that Jesus was a simple preacher leading worship in a homely room usually comes from Bible-only Christians, but what we can glean from the Bible about Jewish worship — both in the Old Testament and from the Book of Revelation (where the worship of heaven is pictured) — all looks far more like a traditional Catholic Mass than the bare preaching rooms and long Bible lectures of the Protestants.

—from the online article Would Jesus Recognize Catholic Worship? by Fr. Dwight Longenecker

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Architectural Orthodoxy

Architecture speaks, and, like a homily or proclamation of scripture, it can change us profoundly. It preaches and teaches every time we enter a church building. When it speaks truth it reminds us that God is central, and that we are broken and in need of a savior who offers us a place of eternal unity with God. It reveals to us that we are on hallowed ground and should act differently than we did before we entered. It instinctively draws us to our knees, to worship, and to focus on him. It tells us that God, in the greatest act of love ever known to man, has given his life for us by providing his son as a sacrifice for our sins.

Whenever we enter into a properly designed and ornamented church, we imagine the great mysteries of salvation presented to the eye as they so often are to the ear, and this kind of preaching could be called architectural orthodoxy. A beautiful church either presents to us the full truth of the liturgy or it does not. It either reminds us that the sacred liturgy takes place in the Heavenly Jerusalem with the other members of the Mystical Body of Christ or it does not. It either fills us with desire to become like God and the saints, or it misses a great opportunity to move our wills to offer ourselves to God. Church architecture, then, is not simply about style, or fashion, or subjective taste but about our genuine encounter with God.

—from the online Crisis Magazine article Some Church Architectural Styles Really Are Profane by Dan Burke

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“This is the work of God, that you believe in him whom he has sent.”

1 John 4:19 – We love, because he first loved us.

John 6:28-29 – Then they said to him, “What must we do, to be doing the works of God?” Jesus answered them, “This is the work of God, that you believe in him whom he has sent.”


The Comments about the song, Abide above are The Five Minute Catholic’s personal reflection on the lyrics.

The wording about grace, faith, and works was adapted from this 5 minute soundbite from The Patrick Madrid Show on Relevant Radio.


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Dorothy Day on the Renewal of the Church: “It is the saints…who keep things going.”

However, Dorothy Day’s realistic attitude to the clergy isn’t the main insight of the quote at the beginning. I think this is: “It is the saints that keep appearing all through history who keep things going.” Many of them are priests and bishops.

Something as old, as big, as complex as the Catholic Church, and with its history, is going always to be compromised. Its leadership will disappoint and sometimes scandalize us. Sociology and theology both tell us that. What Day saw was something sociology doesn’t explain: all those eruptions of holiness and heroism that suggest something Big is behind it, something that keeps it from being its natural self.

“Of course the church is corrupt!” Day wrote in her diaries. “‘But this corruption must put on incorruption,’ St. Paul says, so I rejoice as I have in my short lifetime seen renewals going on, or read of them, and the excitement, the joy of this sense of renewal. … I read the lives of the saints, and knew that the renewal they brought — over and over, the St. Benedicts, St. Francis, St. Dominic, St. Vincent de Paul, St. Isaac Jogues, etc., etc., etc. — was not just a thing of the past but was going on, over and over.”

—from the article Dorothy Day, Bishops, and the Church by David Mills

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On Holy Communion

…we glimpse the mercy which led Our Lord to so entrust Himself to us and are moved to reflect on how we must be ready to receive Him and prepared in our own hearts “for so great and so holy a moment”. We may face the danger today of seeing the reception of Holy Communion in terms of secular inclusiveness. It would then become a token of our hospitality, rather than as the gift of the Holy Body and Blood of Christ which constitutes the most radical call to holiness and the means to becoming the saint we are each called to be.

At the end of his life, Saint John Vianney reflected, if only all his parishioners had accepted his call to frequent Holy Communion “they would all now be saints”. Holy Communion offers such an immediate path to holiness, to complete union with Christ Himself that He Himself told us: “He who eats my flesh and drinks my blood abides in me, and I in him”.


We see why we can never approach Holy Communion casually, still less if we have not confessed and repented of any mortal sin or of a lifestyle in contradiction with our Christian calling. The Apostle Paul urged the first Christians to examine themselves carefully before receiving Holy Communion because anyone who did so in an unworthy state would, he said, be “guilty of profaning the body and blood of the Lord”. The Church calls us to frequent Holy Communion, prepared by the Sacrament of Penance and Reconciliation so that we might become holy, might become saints.

—from the Bishop of Shrewsbury, Mark Davies’ Pastoral letter ‘On Holy Communion’