Introit

Introit
Traditional Mass

Friday, July 13, 2007



Spirit & Life®
"The words I spoke to you are spirit and life." (Jn 6:63)Human Life International e-NewsletterVolume 01, Number 75 Friday, July 13, 2007

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www.hli.org
The Vatican One-Two Punch
What a breath of fresh air has just issued from the Vatican this week with the publication of two documents on the Mass and the Church. Pope Benedict XVI has lived up to his vocation to "strengthen the brethren" in their faith (Lk 22:32) with these teachings, and as a result, this healthy wind of truth has made us decidedly clear-headed about our identity as Catholics.
Just to recap, on Saturday (which, incidentally, was 070707) the Holy Father issued his document clarifying that the Traditional Mass was never abrogated and returning permission to every single priest in the world to celebrate it. Three days later he issued a document clarifying that the Catholic Church is the one, true Church that Christ founded. These are not theological treatises per se.
Rather, they are doctrinal clarifications about precise issues that Catholics need to be clear about in order to, well, be real Catholics. With candor and precision, Benedict sidelined all the muddled theology about the Mass and the Church with a solid one-two punch to the "erroneous interpretations" of the Second Vatican Council as he called them which have been confusing Catholics for four decades. The former Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger was one of only two Cardinals at the last conclave who actually attended Vatican II, so he speaks with more than a little authority about that Council. He invented no new teachings and issued nothing that should have been surprising to anyone, but he has fed our minds and spirits with a healthy dose of truth. That, after all, is what doctrine is for.
These two subjects, the Mass and the Church, are the most fundamental matters of our Catholic identity, and because of that, they are also the doctrinal sticking points that have been the cause of more schism in the Church than any others. From the Great East-West Schism of the 11th Century to Henry VIII's usurping of authority in England in the 16th Century to the schism of Archbishop Lefebvre in 1988, doctrinal clarity on the Mass and the Church literally holds Christianity together, and without that clarity, the very mission of Christ is damaged. The average Catholic may not appreciate how vitally important these truths are to our religious identity, but thank heaven Benedict does.
Those who downplay, deny or denigrate one or both of these teachings are really hurting the cause of Christian unity rather than helping it. Despite the somewhat hostile reactions of other non-Catholic Christian leaders complaining that the Pope has set back the cause of ecumenism, the Pope has done a service to those whose religious traditions have rejected the truths about the Mass or the Church.
Similarly, a predictable cast of aging, so-called "progressive""Catholic" theologians have been wringing their hands about both of these documents all week claiming that we are going backwards. But I say, let them rage: Peter has spoken and his judgment is infallible! He is calling all Christians to unity by challenging them to accept the truth of Christ which is experienced in its fullness only in the Roman Catholic Church.
Friends, we need to pray for our dear Holy Father, Pope Benedict XVI, and thank God for the gift that he is to the Church! He has not left us to dangle in the errant winds of the most recent fad or breathe the noxious fumes of doctrinal dissent. He has revitalized us with the fresh air of truth.

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Sincerely Yours in Christ,


Rev. Thomas J. Euteneuer,President, Human Life International

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