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Tuesday, November 17, 2009


Today, we watched history taking place: a singular moment in time, in a convergence of conflict, strife, unity and passion for Truth, in the ongoing struggle between humanity and divinity, of improper formation versus proper understanding of the liturgy. I'll never forget where I was in that moment.

While I watched this conference and the vote from my computer at work, I was brought back in time.....

The Council in Constantinople was overseen by Bishop St. Flavian (Bishop Flavius), back in 448 AD. His role was to defend the Faith against a serious Christological error being advanced by Eutyches, and indeed condemned it as heretical. Eutyches fought back and through the politics of the time, in 449 AD they were brought together again and St. Flavian, this time as a "party" and not presiding, made a profession of Faith and condemned the heretical errors of both Eutyches and Nestorius.

The battle continued, and in a very dramatic council, a false Council in Ephesus in August of 449. The heretics had taken control, and when St. Flavian and his supporters were sentenced to deposition, which was a condemnation of the Truth of the Church, a violation against the Faith. The Papal Legates (people who were acting in the role of the Pontiff and with his authority) protested, and a Deacon objected to the obvious violence of the heretics (for in general the heretics were prone to violence...we see nothing has changed in this age, either.) As the sentence began to be read, several bishops prostrated themselves asking him to go no further, trying to prevent the oncoming violence.

Dioscuros commanded the doors be opened and in streamed soldiers with clubs and other weapons. St. Flavian himself appealed to reason and to appeal from the Holy See in writing through the Papal Legates. Dioscuros was so incensed at this reasonable approach, the refusal of Flavius to kowtow to the violent objectives of the heretics, and his adherence to decency, logic, and diplomatic process that Dioscuros naturally had a violent reaction. He ordered his henchmen to cast St. Flavian to the ground, where he was beaten and trampled so severely that he died three days later. The Papal Legates fared was beaten and unjustly imprisoned to prevent him from delivering St. Flavian's message to the Holy See. The other managed to flee after great difficulty and reveal to the Pontiff all that had occurred.

...Meanwhile, on November 17, 2009...

All of this was going through my head (what I could remember without looking it up) while watching the Bishop's debate today. Most of us who are plugged into the Catholic world via internet are familiar with the Bishops who tend towards dissent, and those who uphold Truth without compromise, and some that are theological squishy and hold the middle ground. We pray for them all, of course, but in all of it, we pray that the Holy Spirit act through them.

Today was no disappointment. It had all the drama of the past, but far less blood and guts. Today, in the course of an hour or so, all of which I was able to witness, I saw Truth, I saw betrayal, I saw political alignments and double-agents! I watched two particular Bishops, whom I expected to throw their lot in with Bishop "Catholics are stupid" Trautman step up to the plate and oppose him on his own ground!

I was so shocked I stopped working for awhile because I couldn't even FATHOM what I was seeing and hearing. There I was, a pen in one hand, a list of kid's names in another, a form in front of me...completely unnoticed.

History was happening. New alliances. Truth restored. A new translation far more faithful to the original Latin...restored. It has only to be moved to the Holy See for "Recognitio", the word for formal approval.

This moment was only slightly less important to me than the election of Pope Benedict XVI, and so I took stock of my surroundings. At that first moment, his election, I was in a pizza restaurant, the ONLY person among my co-workers who actually understood what was going on and REJOICED in it! Even the other proclaimed Catholics in my presence were utterly bored and had never heard of Cardinal Ratzinger or his importance to our Faith and to the world. Today, in this second moment, I was at work in a Catholic parish, realizing Bishop Serratelli might be speaking to ME and my future role in the promulgation of this new translation. I took stock of my surroundings, realized where I was as a parish employee, and was THRILLED at the thought I could help in this endeavor; both professionally and personally.


It saddens me that MOST Catholics probably don't care about the Liturgy or the development of it, and so don't have any idea of the import of what transpired today. It is the recognition that this historical event is going to go unnoticed by so many souls professing this Faith that makes me realize that it IS akin to the trampling of St. Flavian.

Closing Speech - Bishop Arthur J. Serratelli, Chairman of the Bishop's Committee on Divine Worship

God bless dear Bishop Arthur J. Serratelli whose words upon the acceptance of the new faithful translation of the Roman Missal by the United States Council of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) were like perfectly pure, cool water to this dry, dying soul in the desert of the translation of the Mass within which I've been living from birth. It is such a GRACE to be studying Liturgy and Sacraments this semester and be able to see, clearly, how much we suffer with the bad translation dealt to us, which itself denies the very things for which St. Flavian WAS MARTYRED!

That cool water, the words of triumph, LEX ORANDI, LEX CREDENDI washed over me as I realized this had REALLY HAPPENED! Yes! the Law of Prayer is the Law of Belief! Grace builds upon nature! If the Liturgy is unfaithful...then so are we! If the Liturgy is faithful...then so are we, and even more, we are made HOLY!


We all struggle with sin, and we need every mode to holiness we can find. The Liturgy is, in large part, how the canon of scripture was discerned and if we are not faithful to the Liturgy, we are not faithful to Christ, who comes to us, in Word and Sacrament, made present, drawing us ever closer to Him. Not as a symbol...but as a reality.

I can't contain my happiness at this new translation. I await with much prayer the Recognitio from the Holy See, and hope to be of assistance where I am needed in my particular state, to assist the Faithful in understanding these changes, why they were necessary, overdue, and the importance in our salvation.

Thank you, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Thank you.

Bishop St. Flavian, Patron Saint of the Liturgy** Pray for us!

** (By my own personal designation, not that of the Church)



Father Cory Sticha said...

Yes, exactly, right on. We've forgotten how people were willing to give their lives to fight over these aspects of our faith that people today take for granted. The Catholic Faith is not something we're passively a part of, but something that should be influencing every molecule of our lives. Would we be willing to fight and die for our faith in Christ?

Adoro said...

Father ~ Great point! So much of our Faith seems so "passive" today. We forget that every time we go to Mass, every time we proclaim our Faith, we walk in bloody footsteps of those who have formed what we have now. To ignore that is an insult.

The flag of the United States gets more adulation and recognition by Catholics than does the reality Mass and the importance of the Liturgy.

We should be willing to die just to GET to Mass!

Qualis Rex said...

Hello Father - don't lose faith in us lay Catholics. There are some, if not many of us who DO care about the liturgy and who have been praying for its restoration. This is indeed good news (almost as good as Summorum Pontificum, for which I have prayed most of my life). THAT for me was one of those "remember where you were when..." moments : )

saintos said...

I was so happy when the CCCB made their go ahead on it and was frankly surprised that liberal Canada was ahead of the US bishops on this one. We eagerly await its printing and implementation.

Warren said...

I am very happy about the revised ICEL texts, which correct many many problematic or weak translations.

However, I expect the reaction in the pews to be mixed. I expect a few of my more "Traddie" friends will think that it's sad that they did so little to "restore" the liturgy, and my more "Contemporary Catholic" friends might be irritated that they have to modify how they say the "Domine non sum dignus". As I have always privately (inaudibly) used the latin response for that 'non sum dignus' bit, I am happy that the clear sense of the liturgy is not being fogged as many by wishy-washy translations. I guess theologically speaking the "pro multis" (for the many) being done correctly is the single largest change.


Hidden One said...

Glory to God in the highest,
and on earth peace to people of good will. We praise you, we bless you, we adore you, we glorify you, we give you thanks for your great glory, Lord God, heavenly King, O God, almighty Father.

Lord Jesus Christ, Only Begotten Son,
Lord God, Lamb of God,
Son of the Father,
you take away the sins of the world,
have mercy on us;
you take away the sins of the world, receive our prayer;
you are seated at the right hand of the Father, have mercy on us.
For you alone are the Holy One,
you alone are the Lord,
you alone are the Most High, Jesus Christ, with the Holy Spirit,
in the glory of God the Father. Amen.

PS: Is there some way for me to watch the meeting online, now that it's concluded?

Hidden One said...

PPS: Glancing at this again and this time not distracted quite so much by its content, I'd like to file for the correction of a certain typo in a certain Latin word.

Joe of St. Thérèse said...

My turn to get you :p, it should be Habemus not Habemos, (Spanish)

But now to my serious comment: Rejoice, Rejoice, though I have no problems, I just reply in Latin where applicable for the OF or EF