Monday, May 28, 2012

Bishop Cary DVD Available

The Diocese of Baker website has announced that a DVD of Bishop Cary's ordination is now available for $20; to order the 2-disc set, contact Patti Rausch at (541) 388-4004 or by email at

The video below is on the Diocese of Baker website; it's a compilation of the other photos already shown, but set to music ("Holy God").  

Friday, May 25, 2012

The Truth About Gregorian Chant

 “What does Sacrosanctum Concilium 116 really say?” asks Fr. Z, and in answering his own question he has some interesting thoughts to share on Gregorian chant. Be sure to read the entire article. Here are some excerpts and a little commentary:

First, the Council said that Gregorian chant was the characteristic music of the Roman liturgy. That fact has been entirely ignored. Also, the very purpose of liturgical music has been obscured. It is not simply ornamentation or accompaniment. Sacred music for liturgy is prayer, it is liturgy. Therefore, the idiom of the music must be appropriate for liturgical action and the texts must be liturgical texts and sacred texts. This has been widely ignored for a long time, with the result that there is great confusion and shoddy music everywhere.
He notes that the common translation of SC 116 is: “The Church acknowledges Gregorian chant as specially suited to the Roman liturgy: therefore, other things being equal, it should be given pride of place in liturgical services.” But true to form, Fr. Z informs us that

This isn’t a bad translation, but it is weak. To my ear it doesn’t convey the force of the vocabulary which sounds like legal language having to do with property, possession, heredity. This is a powerful declaration about something being a prized possession, even the most prized of all, since it is in the “princeps locus” the “first/chief/most distinguished place”.

Fr. Z gives his usual excellent analysis of the Latin words and their appropriate translation within the context of the whole sentence. He concludes that the Church is very serious about the importance of using Gregorian chant in the Mass:

The Council Fathers weren’t fooling around. They wanted to make this forceful and clear by using a construction that emphasizes the character, the nature of chant, and then producing a conclusion, all using juridical language.

…When we read SC 116 “latinly”, it says that, barring something out of the ordinary, Gregorian chant is the first type of sacred music that is to be used in the Roman liturgy, because the Church claims and acknowledges and declares Gregorian chant to have the “first place” among all legitimate types of sacred music. Just as when a father recognized a first-born son that son became the principle heir, to be preferred over even all other legitimate children, so to the Church places Gregorian chant in the first place over all other types of sacred liturgical music. At the same time, there are rare occasions when something other than Gregorian chant can be used.

He then gives us his rendering of a translation more true to the Latin:

The Church acknowledges Gregorian chant as characteristically belonging to the Roman liturgy, with the result that, therefore, other things being equal, in liturgical actions it (Gregorian chant) takes possession of the first place.

That’s a much stronger statement, and Fr. Z concludes (my emphases):

If you aren’t praying with Gregorian chant, 50 years after the Council, then you are 50 years out of step with the Council mandated in the strongest terms.

The Council Fathers in Sacrosanctum Concilium go on to talk about the use of other kinds of music and they provide a welcome flexibility. But none of those other provisions eliminates or supersede or mitigate what SC 116 says.

And here is a most important point:

In other words, we shouldn’t justify the use of Gregorian chant. The Church has done that for us. We have to justify the use of something other than Gregorian chant.

In other words, it clearly goes against Vatican II to continually employ guitars, piano, and tambourines at Mass. Gregorian chant utilizes no such instrumentation. The guitars, etc., should be a rarity, not the standard fare at Mass!

Help is available for anyone seeking to learn Gregorian chant, and for anyone seeking to understand how Gregorian chant is properly used in the Mass. Contact Stephanie Swee at for more information.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Pentecost: The Sequence

Here’s everything you ever wanted to know - and more! - about when to sing the Sequence for Pentecost! This information comes to you from one who is much more knowledgeable than I am regarding such matters.

The question arises: is the Sequence for Pentecost sung before or after the Alleluia? This becomes an issue only for the Novus Ordo; the answer is quite clear in the Extraordinary Form.

Sigh. Welcome to the world of ecclesiastical politics.

The present state of affairs leaves us in the conundrum of both "A" and "B" (which are mutually exclusive) being correct (for now, at least), depending on where the Mass is being offered. Nevertheless it is important to know which of the two "correct" positions is the more appropriate.

The current (2003) English translation of the General Instruction to the Roman Missal (GIRM), "Including Adaptations for Dioceses of the United States of America" states:

64. The Sequence, which is optional except on Easter Sunday and on Pentecost Day, is sung before the Alleluia.

The GIRM is liturgical law for the Roman Rite throughout the world. But note that this quotation (no. 64) is from the approved English translation of the GIRM that includes "Adaptations for Dioceses of the United States of America". When we compare this same article to the Latin original of the GIRM that is used throughout the rest of the world, we find exactly the opposite:

64. Sequentia, quae praeter quam diebus Paschae et Pentecostes, est ad libitum, cantatur post Allelúia.
(64. The Sequence, which is optional except on the days of Pascha and Pentecost, is sung after the Alleluia.)

Either the Vatican's designated approvers of official vernacular translations didn't catch the error in the English edition, or the change was approved as an authorized adaptation for Dioceses of the USA. I'm inclined to think that it was a case of the latter: the prelates appointed to oversee linguistics didn't have a background in sacred liturgy, let alone in sacred music. They failed to understand and appreciate what a Sequentia is, what it is meant to do, and why it is called "Sequentia": it follows sequentially after the Alleluia, as a florid jubilation on that same Alleluia.

Well-meaning priests and bishops had long noted (well, "long", anyway, after Pope Paul VI's new Mass came out in the 1970’s) that, with the new – and misunderstood – emphasis on EVERYONE having to sing the "Gospel Acclamation" (i.e., "Alleluia"), the people were all standing to sing the Alleluia, and then everyone had to "just" stand there while someone (often just a cantor, since the choir wouldn't learn to sing the Sequence) sang this long solo.

Or, worse yet (following down that rabbit trail of "active participation"), this is all viewed as the apparent anticlimax of the entire congregation having to stand (oh, my Gawd!) and recite (because we HAVE to "participate"!! – and because the chant is TOO HARD for the congregation to learn – and besides, chant is SO pre-Vatican Two!). Meanwhile the deacon/priest stands at the ambo "wasting his time", waiting for this unnecessary intrusion into HIS ministry of proclaiming the Gospel.

With this kind of mindset, coupled with sheer ignorance, the historical placement of the Sequence after the "Gospel Acclamation" made no sense whatsoever.

Ergo, voila! We'll just move the Sequence to before the "Gospel Acclamation"...a sort of extended meditation, before we get on to the real business of the congregation leaping to its feet to "welcome" the Gospel. And this is what happens when you let "liturgists" (cf. "terrorists") run things.

So when it comes to the Sequence in the Novus Ordo Missae (i.e., ordinary form), the present state of affairs is dismal: in the USA, it is sung before the "Gospel Acclamation"; everywhere else in the Catholic world, it is sung in its rightful and historical place: after the Alleluia.

Now just sit back and relax and listen to it...aaaahhhhh....

Monday, May 21, 2012

Episcopal Ordination Photos: Bishop Liam Cary

Thanks to Mark Salvatore (marc@avcreate.comfor these incredible photos (and the captions) of the ordination of Bishop Liam Cary for the Diocese of Baker, May 18, 2012.

Bishop Elect Liam Cary is addressed by His Excellency Archbishop Carlo Maria Vigano,
Aposotlic Nuncio to the United States followed by the reading of the
Apostolic Letter of Pope Benedict XVI
appointing Father Liam Cary Bishop of the Diocese of Baker.
 This authenticates the discernment process of the Church
and the Holy Father's choice of this priest for ordination to the episcopate.

The Most Reverend John Vlazny Archbishop of Portland in Oregon
laying hands on Bishop Liam Cary during his ordination.

Bishop William Stephen Skylstad, Bishop Emeritus of Spokane,
Apostolic Administrator of Baker
laying hands on Bishop Liam Cary during his ordination. 

The Most Reverend Robert Vasa Bishop of Santa Rosa (former Bishop of Baker)
laying hands on Bishop Liam Cary during his ordination.

His Eminence Francis Cardinal George, O.M.I.,
Archbishop of Chicago laying hands on Bishop Liam Cary during his ordination.

His Excellency Archbishop Carlo Maria Vigano,
Aposotlic Nuncio to the United States
 laying hands on Bishop Liam Cary during his Ordination.

This action, part of the Ordination Rite from earliest centuries,
expresses the power of the Word of God over us.
 The life of this new bishop must be thoroughly imbued
with the spirit of God's Word which is the foundation of his ministry.

Taking the Book of Gospels from a deacon, Archbishop Vlazny presents it to
Bishop Cary as a symbol of his ministry of preaching and teaching.

The bishop's ring and miter are presented with the
pastoral staff, which reflects the role of a bishop as one
who gathers and shepherds the people of God.

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Meditation on the Ascension

From the lessons for the office of matins for the Sunday after Ascension:

From the Sermons of St Augustine, Bishop of Hippo. 2nd 07i the Ascension.
Dearly beloved brethren, our Saviour is gone up from us into heaven, but let us not be troubled on earth. Let only our heart be there with Him, and we shall have peace here. Let us in heart thither ascend with Christ in the meanwhile, and when that glad day which He hath promised cometh, our body will follow. But we must know, my brethren, that there are some things that cannot ascend with Christ: pride cannot, nor covetousness, nor brutishness; no one of our diseases can ascend thither where our Healer is. And, therefore, if we would follow our Healer, we must needs leave our diseases and sins behind us. All such things tie us down, as it were, with bands, and hamper us in the meshes of a net of sins but, with God's help, we will say with the Psalmist "Let us break their bands asunder”, that we may be able honestly to say to the Lord "Thou hast loosed my bonds I will offer to thee the sacrifice of thanksgiving". 

The Resurrection of the Lord is our hope the Ascension of the Lord is our glorification. Today we keep the solemn holiday of the Ascension. If, therefore, our keeping of this holiday is to be a right, faithful, earnest, holy, godly keeping, we must in mind likewise ascend, and lift up our hearts unto the Lord. When we ascend we must not be high-minded, nor flatter ourselves with our good works, as though they were our own. We must lift up our hearts unto the Lord. When man's heart is lifted up, but not unto the Lord, such lifting-up is pride; to lift up the heart unto the Lord, is to make the Most High our Refuge. Behold, my brethren, a great wonder. God is high, but if thou art lifted up He fleeth from thee, whereas, if thou humblest thyself, He cometh down to thee. Wherefore? "The Lord is high, yet hath He respect unto the lowly; but the proud He knoweth from afar." To the lowly He hath respect, that He may raise them up; the proud He knoweth from afar, that He may thrust them down.

Christ arose again, to give us hope that this mortal will yet put on immortality He hath assured against an hopeless death, and against the thought that death endeth life. We were troubled, even as touching the soul, but Christ, arising from the grave, hath assured to us the resurrection of the body also. Believe therefore, that thou mayest be made pure. First it behoveth thee to believe, if by faith thou wouldest in the end worthily see God. And wouldest thou see God Give ear to His own words: "Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God" (Matthew 5:8). Think first, then, how to purify thine heart; take from it whatsoever thou seest in it which displeaseth God.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Ascension Thursday Sunday?

This is from "Fr. Z's Annual Rant about Ascension Thursday Sunday":

The liturgical celebration of Ascension by the Latin Church has become a little confused in recent years.

In the post-Conciliar calendar used with the Novus Ordo editions of the Missale Romanum for this coming Sunday we ought - in my opinion – to be observing the 7th Sunday of Easter. Ascension Thursday should fall, appropriately, on Thursday

However, by the same logical that dislocated Epiphany (“Twelfth Night”) from its proper place twelve days, appropriately, after Christmas, some years ago the Holy See allowed bishops to transfer the celebration of Ascension Thursday to the following Sunday.

I call this liturgical caper “Ascension Thursday Sunday”.

Those who are participating at Holy Mass with the 1962MR avoid all this. Ascension Thursday is, logically, on Thursday.

Since we should, when examining issues, pay attention to cult, code and creed, and since we have looked at the theological point of the liturgical observance of the Ascension (creed and cult) let’s look also at some law (code).

In the 1983 Code of Canon Law, can. 1246, Ascension Thursday is indicated as one of the few Holy Days of Obligation.

Nota bene: There are some dioceses where Ascension Thursday has not been transferred.

The bishops who did transfer the feast to Sunday were, I am sure, hoping to expose more people to the mystery of the Ascension of the Lord. Probably included in that calculation was also the notion that it is tooo haaard for people to go to Mass also on Thursday. “Mass twice in a week? Tooo haaard!”

There's sure to read it!

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

The Real Presence: Vortex

Here's another great message about our Faith from "The Vortex". Here's the script, followed by the video.

At the end of the day, when the lights are turned out and all is done, the ONE thing that really separates Catholics and Protestants in this: The Catholic teaching of the Real Presence of Jesus Christ in the Eucharist.

And to be clear, the Catholic Church holds and professes that Jesus Christ the Second
Person of the Holy Trinity is really truly and substantially present, Body, Blood, Soul, and Divinity, under the appearance of bread of wine. In short, what our eyes behold as bread and wine are not bread and wine at all, but are in fact Jesus Christ personally.

It is from this solitary fact that practically every other reality of the Church flows. The papacy, the priesthood, the Mass, Confession, etc. To borrow a poor analogy from the poker game “Texas Hold ‘em”, this is the one teaching in which the Church is “All In”.
Either that host and chalice are Jesus Christ or they are not...period. If they are, then God comes down from Heaven at every Catholic Mass and makes Himself personally present, keeping His promise: “I will not leave you orphans, I will come back to you.”

If what appears to be bread and wine are nothing more than JUST bread and wine, then the Catholic Church is great big façade invented by deceivers for idiots. There can be no other choice than these two options.

It either is…or it isn’t.

We produced a special episode of the flagship show The One True Faith dealing with this express issue. It normally sits on the premium site of the website here, meaning you need a subscription to watch it. But for the next few days we are going to make it available for free. All you need to do is click on the link on the page here.

All Catholic Teaching revolves around this ONE absolutely critical issue; it is the BURNING issue of the faith. If you are Catholic and haven’t heard this before or thought deeply enough on it, please take the time to view the show.

If you aren’t Catholic, or are thinking about becoming Catholic, this is the one single issue you need to stop to consider and make a decision about.

The heart of the Faith is simple, because God is simple. Just as the world must stop to consider the simple question of God – either he exists or he doesn’t – so too this simple question must be answered…it is or it isn’t.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Ordination Updates from Diocese of Baker

Here are some announcements from the Diocese of Baker website:

We are pleased to announce that the
Ordination of Bishop-elect Liam Cary
will be available via this website by clicking on the link below.

This link is currently under construction. May 9, 2012 2:00 pm.

During the test phase, you may notice advertisements;
however, during the actual broadcast of the Ordination,
there will be no interruptions.


Information on Tickets: 

For those with tickets, we do request that you be at the church IN YOUR SEAT, IN YOUR ASSIGNED SECTION BY 1:30 PM; doors will open at Noon. We realize this sounds early, but there will be beautiful music to entertain you. Please use this time for silent prayer for our new Bishop. Your ticket is color coded to the section in which you will be seated. There is some advantage to being early; in some cases there might be two sections for the same color, one section closer than the other. These seats will be on a first come first serve basis.

Information on Parking Permit: 

If you received a Parking Pass, please place it on the dashboard on the passenger side. If you do not have a Parking Permit, there will be people at street-side directing you to off-site parking at the Church of the Nazarene at 1270 NE 27th Street. This is just south of St. Francis Church. We will be running shuttle buses from there to St. Francis Church. You might want to allow a little more time for this.

We are going to request no picture taking during the ceremony except by designated photographers!

For entrance into the church for reserved seating EACH PERSON MUST PRESENT A TICKET regardless of receiving an invitation. Also, in order to park in the church parking area YOU MUST HAVE YOUR PARKING PERMIT DISPLAYED. All others will be directed to the additional seating and parking areas respectively.

We want this occasion to be a wonderful, blessed and memorable event so we appreciate your cooperation very much. We look forward to seeing you on the 18th.

Friday, May 11, 2012

What is Moral Relativism?

Moral relativism is the belief that there are no universal, immutable standards by which to judge human behavior. Up until the time of the early Renaissance, moral absolutes were almost universally accepted. And most of the people in the Western world were Christians, who sought their moral values from Scripture and Tradition of the Roman Catholic Church.
The Reformation opened the door to questioning the truths of Christianity and substituting individual judgment for previously accepted standards. First the Enlightenment, with its new emphasis on science and human learning, and then later philosophers began to ignore a foundation of natural rights based on the dignity of  man and the norms of the Creator.

“The legal positivists, stemming from Spinoza, Hobbes, and Rousseau, hold that human rights is a social contract, often expressed by a written constitution, but admit no higher law.”[1]

The Christian, on the other hand, accepts the ideals of truth and goodness, handed down by God to his creatures. He guides his life by standards that do not change, even if the application of those ideals is sometimes hard work. Abandoning this view has caused much of the confusion in the modern world.

“Since relativists have to admit that in our historical experience all the great cultures of the past have destroyed themselves and the survival of the human species has itself no guarantee, they are forced simply to accept the lack of a firm foundation for morality as a tragedy of the human condition.”[2]

Relativism is based on several arguments: the psychological, the cultural, social conditioning, freedom, tolerance and situationalism. Peter Kreeft, in “A Refutation of Moral Relativism,” deals with all these arguments by showing that “the most radical threat to living morally today is the loss of moral principles.”[3]
He goes on to argue for absolutism on the grounds of consequences, tradition, moral experience and the moral language common to all men. Further, Kreeft says, “Neither philosophy nor science nor logic nor common sense have ever refuted traditional moral absolutism. Relativism is not rational; it is a rationalization.”[4]

For those who seek to live a life truly free and good, then, the need is to turn to revealed truth through Scripture and the Church for guidelines. “God, who does not fail, in creating us has built into our nature, for all its fragility, certain basic needs and goals that ground a natural moral law and the human rights which flow from it.”[5]

by Stephanie Swee

[1] Ashley, Benedict, O.P., Living the Truth in Love. (New York: St. Paul’s Press, 1996), 277.
 [2] Ashely, 278.
[3] Kreeft, Peter, “A Refutation of Moral Relativism.., 1
[4] Kreeft, 12.
[5] Ashley, 278.

Monday, May 7, 2012

Another Parish: Our Lady of the Valley in La Grande

Returning to the “get to know your diocese” theme, here we highlight some photos from Our Lady of the Valley Parish in La Grande, Oregon.

This parish has a nice website with the basics simply presented and easy to access. There are no photo albums at this point, but the person who takes care of the website is a stellar photographer and has provided me with some photos of the stained glass windows to show you here (they're down below).

First, here are some shots of the exterior of the church:

In hunting around on the internet for some photos, I ran across this site which had these wonderful photos taken during the construction of the church:


And here are some of the stained glass windows:

Here are some shots of the old high altar and side altars:

Here you can see the reredoes behind the newer stand-alone altar which has replaced the old high altar for the most part. The old altar has been put into use in the last couple of years for the celebration of the extraordinary form of the Mass:

The statues that were probably originally in those nooks are still floating around the parish in other places. Perhaps one day the sanctuary will be restored to its original glory!

See also:
Parish Pictures: Diocese of Baker
Holy Redeemer Parish
Our Lady of Angels in Hermiston

Saturday, May 5, 2012

What Makes a Church a Cathedral?

I was alerted to an interesting article at New Liturgical Movement: “Cathedral: Home for Liturgy of the Hours” by Matthew Alderman. 

Mr. Alderman suggests that a question that should be asked in designing a cathedral is, “What makes a church a cathedral?”

Of course, there is the obvious answer that the presence of the bishop’s cathedra makes a cathedral, but there’s more to it than that. Mr. Alderman points to Westminster Cathedral as an example (my emphases throughout):

It is instructive to compare the liturgical milieu that informed Westminster Cathedral’s establishment in 1895, with that of a typical large American diocese. Part of the problem is of course a diminished sense of the differences between Mass as celebrated by a bishop (though it is still laid out in the Ordinary Form’s Ceremonial of Bishops) and a priest’s mass, but these are ultimately matters of degree rather than quality. The most significant difference, in my mind, lies in the inclusion or exclusion of the Liturgy of the Hours as prayed by a community.

…Cardinal Vaughn saw the Office as essential to the efficacy of “a live Cathedral,” a missionary presence at the heart of a very secular city, “functioning […] on behalf of others and winning them graces.” …[H]e argued that this public prayer was “the highest function of the apostolic calling.” In this regard, Westminster Cathedral started out not much different than our own standard American cathedral. Being a mission territory, America got out of the habit of having cathedral chapters capable of singing the Office…
Choir stalls: ideal configuration
for singing the Divine Office

I am not a historian by any means, but I think Mr. Alderman has made a very important point here regarding the Church in the US: “America got out of the habit of having cathedral chapters capable of singing the Office”. I have thought for some time that America got out of the habit of singing any Liturgy – especially the Mass! This would be understandable, especially in the history of the Westward expansion. 

For instance, consider the history of theDiocese of Baker. Long distances still separate parishes within the diocese; how much more those distances must have contributed to deterioration of the liturgy in times when travel was much more restricted! In sparsely populated Eastern Oregon, I’m sure there weren’t too many of the faithful who were trained to sing Gregorian chant propers at Mass. In addition, the Protestant churches springing up probably accomplished two things: pulling people away from their Catholic faith, and encouraging Catholics to substitutes hymns for the chants at Mass.

But the singing of the Divine Office in the cathedral parish could be of great benefit to the community. Mr. Alderman notes:

…besides the spiritual graces attendant on placing the full Office at the heart of a diocesan community, there is also considerable evangelical and apostolic merit to the practice…[S]uch a living, breathing exemplar of the movement of sanctified time could be a lightning-rod for an explosion of religious revival. It would also represent a tangible way of fulfilling the Second Vatican Council's goal of encouraging the faithful to regularly participate in the Liturgy of the Hours…The Council recommended:

Pastors of souls should see to it that the chief hours, especially Vespers, are celebrated in common in church on Sundays and the more solemn feasts. And the laity, too, are encouraged to recite the Divine Office, either with the priests, or among themselves, or even individually. (Par. 100)

If this is true of parish churches, how much more it should be of the cathedral church of every diocese!

I can’t speak for other dioceses, but the role of the cathedral church is something that seems to be severely neglected in the Diocese of Baker. St. Francis de Sales Cathedral seems to be more of a historic church than the active and “living” center of the Diocese. The last priestly ordination did not take place at the Cathedral, nor did Bishop Vasa's episcopal ordination. Bishop-elect Liam Cary’s will take place in a parish church, which, though large, was never designed with any kind of ordination in mind. And the anniversary of the dedication of our cathedral is probably only celebrated in the cathedral parish, and then only sporadically and without a bishop present.

Wouldn’t it be nice to see some semblance of cathedral-icity restored to St. Francis de Sales Cathedral?