Thursday, June 29, 2017

Feast of Saints Peter & Paul, the Princes of the Apostles

Today is the Feasts of Saints Peter and Paul, the Princes of the Apostles: a Jew and Gentile, the first Pope and the first-ranked missionary bishop. In honor of this Double of the First Class Feast and (historically and still in Rome) a Holy Day of Obligation, I post a make I have delineated of the Catholic Dioceses of the United States: 

A few questions linger:

  1. If only 1/4th of the supposed 70 million U.S. Catholics attend Sunday Mass, why are there still all these dioceses and ecclesiastical provinces headed by archdioceses/archbishops?
  2. If many Catholics (of all ranks and classes) support abortion, contraception, and gay marriage, why aren't they excommunicated?
  3. Why hasn't the Church been purified liturgically and doctrinally in all it's institutions? 
The simple answer is Vatican II. 

Monday, June 26, 2017

Mary Immaculate of Lourdes Parish in Newton to be spared, but don't hold your breath

Mary Immaculate of Lourdes Parish in Newton, Mass., the main Traditional Latin Mass parish in the Archdiocese of Boston, will be spared from the Archdiocesan "Disciples in Mission" clustering program and will not be clustered when the program is completed in 2023, according to announcements in the parish bulletin and from the pulpit. The parish was originally going to be clustered with neighboring parishes after a draft plan in 2013, but the Archdiocese recently decided otherwise. 

This is good news, but don't hold your breath. Several things could happen between now and 2023. 

This clustering plan, spearheaded by Cardinal Sean, is code for the closing of more parishes. Since the Cardinal turns 75 in 2019, and if he retires in a couple of years at the canonical age for retirement of bishops, Boston will have a new archbishop, who could scrap this program altogether. If Francis is still around, Sean's successor will be worse than him, so Mary Immaculate of Lourdes might end up closed anyhow, since most younger bishops have no living memory of the TLM as the universal norm. If Francis isn't around in two years and a much better Pope is around (even a John Paul II-type would be a significant improvement), things could be much different. If a bona-fide traditionalist like Cardinals Burke or Sarah ascend to the Papal Throne, and dump the Novus Ordo, then we can all eventually attend Holy Mass in our hometown parishes!

Iraqi Catholic Refugees saving the place?

Since 2014 Iraqi Catholic refugees who've been in the the Boston area for several years have been renting Mary Immaculate by having a monthly Mass in the Chaldean Rite of the Catholic Church under the name "Our Lady of Mesopotamia." Their mission was recently placed under the jurisdiction of the Chaldean Eparchy of St. Thomas in Detroit. 

Since most U.S. Catholic bishops are for open borders, they favor foreigners over native-born U.S. citizens. This could be a factor why the Cardinal decided to issue a stay. 

Ultimately, since many Novus Ordo parishes are folding, it would be better off to grant the Iraqi Catholic Community their own parish church and facility, just like St. Jeremiah's in Framingham was sold to a Syro-Marabar Catholic group and St. Charles Borromeo Parish in the Diocese of Worcester was sold to Our Lady of Mercy Maronite Parish in recent years. At least they can have their own sanctuary customized to the Chaldean liturgy. 

SSPX purchase?

To any sane person, the rumored SSPX regularization is not going to happen anytime soon. I doubt the Archdiocese will sell property to the SSPX or any Traditionalist order, even for more than assessed value, because of the Traditional Latin Mass and the (presumed) total rejection of Vatican II and the New Mass of the occupants. If Francis decides to do it, knowing his track record, he'll likely revoke Summorum Pontificum and canonically suppress the FSSP, ICKSP, etc., which then could lead to property transfer to the SSPX. Otherwise, Mary Immaculate of Lourdes is going to remain property of the Roman Catholic Archbishop of Boston, a Corporation Sole. 

Unfortunately, because Mary Immaculate is a diocesan parish, the Archdiocese is requiring that the Novus Ordo be offered, which is stupid since you can go to a Novus Ordo elsewhere. At least the elimination of the Novus Ordo Masses would add a Low Mass on Sunday morning, but offering cookies to keep faculties is not good. 

Stay Tuned. 

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

New Hampshire becomes to 11th diocese to confirm children before First Communion

Manchester, New Hampshire Bishop Peter Libasci has decided to administer the Sacrament of Confirmation to children before receiving their First Communion, according to a syndicated National Catholic Register article. This is the 11th Latin rite diocese worldwide to initiate such change, with most recently the Archdiocese of Denver to do so in the United States. 

Lay proponents of this reshuffling believe this is theologically-correct, and the order of the Sacraments of Initiation are Baptism, Confirmation, and Holy Eucharist in that order. They are if you're an adult convert, since anyone over the age of reason (7) must go through this order, even if they're a teenager. An adult must consent to his baptism, a prerequisite for all the other Sacraments. 

In the Eastern Church the priest confirms immediately after infant baptism, and there is not much of a big deal with First Communion that I'm aware of. In the Western Tradition you are not Confirmed until much older and are fully responsible for your own salvation. Traditionally the minimum age is 12 (when my mother was confirmed), but most often it's more like 14 or 15 when teens are confirmed. Seven-year-olds may be confirmed at the danger of death provided they've received their First Communion. 

Since most adult converts are Baptized at the Easter Vigil, they are also confirmed thereafter (often by the parish priest with faculties from the Bishop), and receive their First Holy Communion at the First Mass of Easter. However, adults may be baptized anytime as long as they're catechized (and/or also at the danger of death), which automatically makes them eligible to receive Holy Communion provided they're in the state of grace. They'll get confirmed later on. 

Originally children didn't receive their First Communion until 9 or 10 years old. Pope St. Pius X changed this to 7 in his 1910 Papal Bull Quam Singulari, in reaction to Little Nellie receiving 5 of the 7 Sacraments before dying at age five just a few years beforehand. 

Today, unfortunately, Confirmation has become a laughing stock Sacrament, in the sense that parents, grandparents, and godparents have to force their youngsters into taking the classes. The use of red and white graduation robes (which aren't in the rubrics) has indeed turned Confirmation into a graduation ceremony from CCD. (Additionally, in the Novus Ordo, the sacrament might be doubtful because of the oil used.) There are some who complentate whether or not to raise the Confirmation age to 18 when the persons are legal adults. Either way, I don't think confirming 7 year-olds who don't have full faculties is a good idea. 

Friday, June 16, 2017

Catholic school teachers have no business being unionized

The schoolteachers of the Diocese of Worcester who teach at the Central, chancery-run schools (Holy Name H.S., St. Bernard's H.S. in Fitchburg, St. Peter's Elementary School, and St. Peter-Marian) are part of a union called the Diocesan Educators Lay Teachers Association (DELTA). Yesterday, they walked the picket lines with their pupils after authorizing a strike vote while negotiating a new contract. (Pictures of the picketing appeared in today's Local section of the Telegram & Gazette; the article states the salary ranges are from $33,990 to $61,660.)

The Diocese has responded on their website, which can be accessed here. Apparently the teachers have a generous health insurance plan (85% paid by the Diocese), free tuition for teachers' kids after one year of service, and a 401k matching retirement plan. 

First of all, one of the last major decrees issued by Benedict XVI before the bogeyman forced him out was a salary cap on lay employees. Lay employees should not make more in a salary than double that of a diocesan priest's salary. (Last to my knowledge, Worcester priests made $25,000, so lay employees shouldn't make more than $50,000.) Since these schools are operated by the Diocese, the teachers are church employees. 

Secondly, raises haven't been given in a while because Catholic school enrollments are down, not because only because good Catholic families can't afford it, but because they don't teach from the Baltimore Catechism. Neither the TLM has been said in 50+ years for school liturgies. With orthodoxy in question, you're going to lose customers. 

Finally, church employees work for the Church. They have no business being unionized. Quadragesimo Anno only applies to private secular industry, not Church lay employees. 

Thursday, June 15, 2017

"Millionaire Tax" to appear on Mass. 2018 ballot

The Massachusetts Legislature approved yesterday the "Millionaire Tax" constitutional amendment for the ballot in 2018. Likely to be Question 1, below are a couple of slides (the text and a chart of what actually could happen):

If you read the text carefully, the proposal is worse than thought. The second to last sentence says that the surtax bracket is to "be adjusted annually." This will destroy the Commonwealth. 

There were 15,422 real millionaire taxpayers in Massachusetts in 2014. If this tax passes, most of them at the lower end ($1.1, 1.2, etc.) will pack-up and move to more tax-friendly states, like:

  • New Hampshire (No ordinary income or sales tax, 5% on interest and dividends)
  • Rhode Island (Highest rate 5.99%)
  • Pennsylvania (3.99% flat tax)
  • Michigan (4.25& flat tax)
  • Illinois (3.75% state flat tax)
  • Indiana (3.23& flat tax)
  • Utah (5% flat tax)
  • Colorado (4.63% flat tax)
  • Tennessee (Same as New Hampshire)
  • Florida (No income tax)
  • Texas (No state income tax)
  • Nevada (No income tax)
  • Wyoming (No income tax)
  • South Dakota (No income tax)
  • Washington state (No income tax)
  • Alaska (No income tax)
  • (Source: Tax Foundation)

The list goes on and on, but the individual rate in Mass. is currently 5.1%, with the exception of some capital gains 12%. The corporate rate is 8%. If this ballot initiative passes, the rates will jack-up 4% to 9.1% for individuals, 12% for business (if applied), and 16% of those certain capital gains (if applied).

Say for example, according to the chart, all the actual millionaires and their businesses leave Massachusetts (which will be no surprise). The surtax bracket will be required to be adjusted to make sure the top 15,000 tax filers pay the extra 4%, so potentially $100,000 earners could be classified as "millionaires" for purposes of this amendment! 

This amendment must be defeated. If it does indeed pass (which unfortunately is very likely), it's permanent. This is a Constitutional Amendment to the state constitution and not a regular ballot question for a law, which will very hard to undo. 

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Who cares if the Article V Convention is a "runaway convention!"

On this Flag Day, I confess that I support Article V Convention of States, and could care less if it's a "runaway convention!" For those who are unfamiliar, Article V of the U.S. Constitution reads: 

The Congress, whenever two thirds of both Houses shall deem necessary, shall propose Amendments to this Constitution, or, on the Application of the Legislatures of two thirds of the several States, shall call a Convention for proposing Amendments, which, in either Case, shall be valid to all Intents and Purposes, as Part of this Constitution, when ratified by the Legislatures of three fourths thereof, as one or the other Mode of Ratification may proposed by the Congress; Provided no Amendment which may be made prior to the Year One thousand eight hundred and eight in any Manner affect the first and fourth Clauses in the Ninth Section of the first Article, and that no State, without consent of Congress, shall be deprived of its equal Suffrage in the Senate. 

So there are two constitutional ways amendments can be proposed: the Congressional method, which is how the first 27 amendments became part of the Constitution. The other method, which has never been done, is where 2/3rds (34) of the states pass resolutions agreeing to participate in an Amendments Convention, where each state sends a delegate. Any proposed amendments would have to be ratified by 3/4ths (38) of the states, just like the Congressional method. (As of this post 12 states have passed Article V.)

The Left obviously opposes the Constitutional Government, so they could care less about Article V. Some conservative groups, such as Concerned Women of America, the John Birch Society (which some SSPX priests are members of), and Eagle Forum (which has gone unhinged since Phyllis Schlafly passed away last year) over the fear of the "Runaway Convention." The Convention of States Project, who is behind the legislative process in the states, believes it's impossible since if all 34 resolutions include the same certain topics, the Convention must deal with the topics approved by the states and nothing else? 

The topics focused on by the Convention of States Project are Limited Federal Power, term limits, and fiscal discipline. These topics need to be discussed, no doubt. But I am disappointed that other topics on restoring our moral values will likely won't be discussed, so I could care less if Article V is a runaway convention! If 38 states must ratify proposals anyhow, the Convention wouldn't hurt. 

What about American essentials being Constitutionalized, such as the Pledge of Allegiance, the National Anthem, the Flag, English as the official language, etc.? With no language currently in the Constitution about these, a future Supreme Court could put them at-risk (and ruin America permanently). 

What about amendments overturning Roe v. Wade and defining civil marriage as heterosexual? What about banning men from using the ladies room? With the current makeup of Congress the marriage amendment would've passed 15-20 years ago but not today! Even if the GOP ends up with 67 Senators in 2018 they still won't passes these amendments because of John McCain's girlfriend Lindsey Graham, who would vote against it. 

I know Mark Levin proposed in his Liberty Amendments an amendment that would allow state legislatures to propose amendments to the Constitution. Is there the social issue amendments are to be proposed? 

Technically, any amendment proposal is allowed except two U.S. Senators from each state. They could propose abolishing everything, which won't fly. 

Also, Article V itself doesn't specify that only certain topics must be discussed. It's quite possible that pro-life groups could challenge the constitutionality of limiting certain topics, where the Supreme Court would have immediate jurisdiction. (See. Article III, Sec.2, Cl. 2)

Article V is the only peaceful way the United States of America is going to be saved. Otherwise, be prepared for another Civil War. 

Monday, June 5, 2017

Bernie's people now in charge of Mass. D-party; Mass. Bishops support abortion rights

Massachusetts Democrats have moved on from their electoral loss last fall by embracing Bernie Sanders' platform for the 2018 state election. At the DCU Center in Worcester on Saturday, 3300 Democrats attended the State Convention (the most ever for an odd-numbered year), and the speakers ripped President Trump and RINO Gov. Charlie Baker and approved a Soviet-style platform at the state level going forward (my commentary in red):

  • $15/hour minimum wage ($15 just to flip a hamburger? I don't think so, since Mass. just had a min. wage increase to $11/hour this past January. If this passes, more high school kids looking for summer jobs will be out of work. This hurts working families who actually need their kids to work on summer vacations.
  • Free UMass and state colleges to all residents (See my note below)
  • A single-payer MassHealth system for all (MassHealth is currently 40% of the state budget and was originally for those in poverty, now mostly illegals are on it. This mimics Bernie's Medicare for All, which wouldn've worked. When the state that Bernie represents in the Senate, Vermont, passed Green Mountain Care for 600,000 people, it was scrapped because it would have doubled taxes. There is simply no way it would work for the 7,000,000 people in Massachusetts.
  • Carbon emissions reductions 
  • Demilitarizing the police (The reason why the state and some local police are militarized because of 9/11 et. al. If people actually behaved maybe the cops wouldn't have to ride in tanks and wear riot gear.

These nullifiers are no joke. They are ready to run primary challengers against more moderate Democrats in the Legislature who would not vote for such things and those who voted against the Bathroom Bill and the obscene pay raise. 

What would end the Commonwealth of Massachusetts is the voter approval of the Millionaire Tax to the state constitution, which would levy a 4% surcharge for millionaires to be earmarked for education and transportation. The organizers backing the question think they're going to raise $2 billion in extra revenue for these two purposes, but I don't think it will work. Once passed, millionaires at the low-end will just pack-up and leave for states with lower or no income taxes. This is a gimmick posed by the teachers' union thinking that the extra money will go to the schools, which is no guarantee! (The way Beacon Hill works, and in theory, a tax can be used for any purpose.) 

Free UMass is another gimmick that will not be served by the passage of the Millionaire Tax. Since illegals (who have no business being present in the country) are already receiving in-state tuition, there is no way tuition free UMass or state college for lawful residents will work. According to Maddie Kilgannon's Get Smart column in the April 5, 2017 edition of The Boston Globe ("Tuition hikes. Oh, my!"), UMass Amherst tuition this upcoming academic year will be $15,345 in-state (a 2.5% increase) and $33,492 out of state (a 0.9% increase). Based on calculations, room and board should be $12,253. 

Free college, like free K-12, could lead to legally mandatory college. Think about it.

Finally, everyone knows the Massachusetts Catholic Bishops are a joke because they don't act like and govern as bishops. Now they are ok with abortion rights, and in particular, taxpayer funded abortions. Since there is an effort to amend the state constitution to ban taxpayer funding of abortion and signatures were being collected, the Bishops banned collecting signatures for political purposes on June 1st on church property for this reason:
Church functions are a place to experience the fullness of community and parish life. In particular, Holy Mass is a place to encounter God through the reception of the Eucharist. The celebration of Holy Mass is a place for prayer, reflection, Reconciliation and hope.
Yeah right. Holy Mass is not said validly in 99% of the parishes, so don't give us lectures on the sacraments when your excellencies don't even dispense them yourselves! Then again, most Catholic clergy are, unfortunately, Democrats, despite the platform going against God and country. 

Friday, June 2, 2017

New "Order of Celebrating Matrimony" is perverted

June is the month of the brides, or at least it used to be. 

For Catholics who bother to marry in the mainstream church these days, your new "Order of Celebrating Matrimony", mandated by the USCCB last September, is perverted. Below are some slides from a presentation made by Msgr. James P. Moroney, Rector of Saint John's Seminary in Brighton, Mass., to priests of the Diocese of Worcester in October 2016:

So according to No. 29, the parish priest will determine whether or not the couple will be married with a Nuptial Mass or just with a simple ceremony. 

No. 45 insists that the priest meet the wedding party at the church door! The procession chart suggests BOTH sets of parents walk their children up to the altar! (Not quite a Jewish wedding, where the grandparents are also involved, but inconsistent with Catholic Tradition.) 

No. 48 (second form) says that the couple should process-in together.

Notice on this slide the words "for ever" are stricken-out of the opening greeting. This approves of divorce. Do you have your divorce attorney ready? 

The Arras are coins that represent the dowry. Today commonly only used by Hispanics. Since the rings are made of metal (gold and silver alloys) they represent these in part. 

The Lazo is a common custom in Hispanic communities. Usually in the from of a Rosary, it is placed on the couple after the marriage service in the Traditional Rite. The picture above shows a Latina bride marrying a white groom, so do we all have to perform this custom? 

Finally, if you want to know what the REAL Catholic Marriage rite is, take a look for yourself: