Monthly Archives: January 2014

2 Kings 12:3 On Modifying the Liturgy to the Culture

“But yet he took not away the high places: for the people still sacrificed and burnt incense in the high places.” (2 Kings 12:3)

A very serious scandal, though often overlooked by many, in the Church today is the modifying of the sacred liturgy to make it more palatable to the modern culture.  Though there is an element of truth to the need to adapt the liturgy to the people of today, this truth is often abused to the point that the liturgy becomes less focused on worshipping God and more focused on what appeals to the modern culture.  This is by no means a new problem but was an issue with the people of Judah as well.  God commanded His people in Deuteronomy 12:10-14 to sacrifice only at the place he appoints when they enter into the Promised Land, but the people failed time and time again to adhere to this command and instead worshiped at the “high places” just like the pagans nations around them.  Instead of focusing on what would be the right way to worship God, the people of Judah were more concerned about what would make them more like the modern culture of their time.  In a similar way, many have abused the liturgy out of concern to the modern culture to the point that it neglects proper worship due to God.  This is unquestionably an issues which Catholics must combat and strive to promote purity in liturgical worship.

Denying the Validity of Vatican II Leads to Deism

I have a friend who is questioning the validity of Vatican II and here and here is the conclusion I came to if one embraces this position and carries it out to its logical conclusion.  Please critique if the logic is flawed:

  1. If one rejects Vatican II, then one cannot trust the veracity of all previous Ecumenical Councils.  What makes a council Ecumenical?  We can’t say that it is Ecumenical if all of the Bishops in the world are there because this has never happened.  We can’t say it is Ecumenical if all of the local Churches are represented because this never happened.  We can only say a council is Ecumenical if the Pope ratifies it or at least accepts it as such, which has is the case with Vatican II.
  2. If one cannot trust all previous Ecumenical Councils, which would include the First Council of Nicaea, then we cannot know who Jesus was.  Was He fully God and Fully man (the Nicene position) or was he only God (the Docetist view) or was He only a man (the Ebionite view)?
  3. If we cannot know who Jesus really was then we cannot know if He was really the Messiah.
  4. If we cannot know that Jesus is the Messiah then we cannot trust the Old Testament since it declared that the Messiah would come before Judah lost the scepter (Genesis 49:10), which was right around the time of the birth of Jesus.  If my interpretation of Gen 49:10 is flawed then, without an infallible Magisterium to determine whose interpretation is correct, we still can’t trust the Old Testament since it may yield multiple opposing interpretations, any of which are viable options since it boils down to one’s own opinion as to what the text means.
  5. If we cannot trust the Old Testament then we cannot claim that the One True God has revealed Himself to humanity.
  6. If God has not revealed Himself to humanity then we cannot know who God is, as Thomas Aquinas demonstrated by natural reason, and therefore we must become Deists.

1 Samuel 25:1-35

1And Samuel died, and all Israel was gathered together, and they mourned for him, and buried him in his house in Ramatha. And David rose and went down into the wilderness of Pharan. 2Now there was a certain man in the wilderness of Maon, and his possessions were in Carmel, and the man was very great: and he had three thousand sheep, and a thousand goats: and it happened that he was shearing his sheep in Carmel.  3Now the name of the man was Nabal: and the name of his wife was Abigail. And she was a prudent and very comely woman, but her husband was churlish, and very bad and ill natured: and he was of the house of Caleb.  4And when David heard in the wilderness that Nabal was shearing his sheep,  5He sent ten young men, and said to them: Go up to Carmel, and go to Nabal, and salute him in my name with peace.  6And you shall say: Peace be to my brethren, and to thee, and peace to thy house, and peace to all that thou hast.  7I heard that thy shepherds that were with us in the desert were shearing: we never molested them, neither was there ought missing to them of the flock at any time, all the while they were with us in Carmel.  8Ask thy servants, and they will tell thee. Now therefore let thy servants find favour in thy eyes: for we are come in a good day, whatsoever thy hand shall find give to thy servants, and to thy son David. 9And when David’s servants came, they spoke to Nabal all these words in David’s name: and then held their peace.  10But Nabal answering the servants of David, said: Who is David? and what is the son of Isai? servants are multiplied now a days who flee from their masters.  11Shall I then take my bread, and my water, and the flesh of my cattle, which I have killed for my shearers, and give to men whom I know not whence they are?  12So the servants of David went back their way, and returning came and told him all the words that he said.  13Then David said to his young men: Let every man gird on his sword. And they girded on every man his sword. And David also girded on his sword: and there followed David about four hundred men: and two hundred remained with the baggage. 14But one of the servants told Abigail the wife of Nabal, saying: Behold David sent messengers out of the wilderness, to salute our master: and he rejected them.  15These men were very good to us, and gave us no trouble: neither did we ever lose any thing all the time that we conversed with them in the desert.  16They were a wall unto us both by night and day, all the while we were with them keeping the sheep.  17Wherefore consider, and think what thou hast to do: for evil is determined against thy husband, and against thy house, and he is a son of Belial, so that no man can speak to him. 18Then Abigail made haste and took two hundred loaves, and two vessels of wine, and five sheep ready dressed, and five measures of parched corn, and a hundred clusters of raisins, and two hundred cakes of dry figs, and laid them upon asses:  19And she said to her servants: Go before me: behold I will follow after you: but she told not her husband Nabal.  20And when she had gotten upon an ass, and was coming down to the foot of the mountain, David and his men came down over against her, and she met them.  21And David said: Truly in vain have I kept all that belonged to this man in the wilderness, and nothing was lost of all that pertained unto him: and he hath returned me evil for good.  22May God do so and so, and add more to the foes of David, if I leave of all that belong to him till the morning, any that pisseth against the wall. 23And when Abigail saw David she made haste and lighted off the ass, and fell before David, on her face, and adored upon the ground.  24And she fell at his feet, and said: Upon me let this iniquity be, my lord: let thy handmaid speak, I beseech thee, in thy ears: and hear the words of thy servant.  25Let not my lord the king, I pray, regard this naughty man Nabal: for according to his name, he is a fool, and folly is with him: but I thy handmaid did not see thy servants, my lord, whom thou sentest. 26Now therefore, my lord, the Lord liveth, and thy soul liveth, who hath withholden thee from coming to blood, and hath saved thy hand to thee: and now let thy enemies be as Nabal, and all they that seek evil to my lord.  27Wherefore receive this blessing, which thy handmaid hath brought to thee, my lord: and give it to the young men that follow thee, my lord.  28Forgive the iniquity of thy handmaid: for the Lord will surely make for my lord a faithful house, because thou, my lord, fightest the battles of the Lord: let not evil therefore be found in thee all the days of thy life.  29For if a man at any time shall rise, and persecute thee, and seek thy life, the soul of my lord shall be kept, as in the bundle of the living, with the Lord thy God: but the souls of thy enemies shall be whirled, as with the violence and whirling of a sling.  30And when the Lord shall have done to thee, my lord, all the good that he hath spoken concerning thee, and shall have made thee prince over Israel,  31This shall not be an occasion of grief to thee, and a scruple of heart to my lord, that thou hast shed innocent blood, or hast revenged thyself: and when the Lord shall have done well by my lord, thou shalt remember thy handmaid. 32And David said to Abigail: Blessed be the Lord the God of Israel, who sent thee this day to meet me, and blessed be thy speech:  33And blessed be thou, who hast kept me to day, from coming to blood, and revenging me with my own hand.  34Otherwise as the Lord liveth the God of Israel, who hath withholden me from doing thee any evil: if thou hadst not quickly come to meet me, there had not been left to Nabal by the morning light any that pisseth against the wall.  35And David received at her hand all that she had brought him, and said to her: Go in peace into thy house, behold I have heard thy voice, and have honoured thy face.” (1 Samuel 25:1-35)

David is a type of Christ, Nabal a type of sinners and Abigail a type of Blessed Virgin Mary.  As the Lord is ready to come in judgment against all sinners, the Blessed Virgin Mary comes to the aid of sinners and requests Christ to show mercy.  As David accepted Abigail’s request for mercy, the Lord accepts the Blessed Virgin Mary’s request for mercy upon lowly sinners.

Reflection on 1 Samuel 2:12-17, On Liturgical Abuse

“12 Now the sons of Heli were children of Belial, not knowing the Lord, 13 Nor the office of the priests to the people: but whosoever had offered a sacrifice, the servant of the priest came, while the flesh was in boiling, with a fleshhook of three teeth in his hand, 14 And thrust it into the kettle, or into the caldron, or into the pot, or into the pan: and all that the fleshhook brought up, the priest took to himself. Thus did they to all Israel that came to Silo. 15 Also before they burnt the fat, the servant of the priest came, and said to the man that sacrificed: Give me flesh to boil for the priest: for I will not take of thee sodden flesh, but raw. 16 And he that sacrificed said to him: Let the fat first be burnt to day according to the custom, and then take as much as thy soul desireth. But he answered and said to him: Not so: but thou shalt give it me now, or else I will take it by force. 17 Wherefore the sin of the young men was exceeding great before the Lord: because they withdrew men from the sacrifice of the Lord.” (1 Sam. 2:12-17)

The sons of Eli were corrupt priests who changed parts of God’s liturgy and to such an extent that it “withdrew men from the sacrifice of the Lord” (v. 17). Some priests today are not unlike the sons of Eli who corrupted the liturgy of the Old Testament and scandalized many of the faithful. Whenever a priest changes the liturgy to his own liking – by deliberately adding, omitting or modifying words, gestures and rituals – one can be assured the priest ministers in the spirit of the sons of Eli. The Second Vatican Council rightly intended to prevent such a grievous abuse by stating that “no other person, even if he be a priest, may add, remove, or change anything in the liturgy on his own authority” (Sacrosanctum Concilium). Yet many priests still arrogantly usurp power against the wisdom of Holy Mother Church by changing the liturgy, as the sons of Eli arrogantly changed the liturgy given to them by Moses. Surely the Lord is not pleased with such behavior, especially when it scandalizes the faithful. How many of the laity have been so scandalized by liturgical abuse that they were driven away from the Church into the bosom of a harlot, that is, into communions outside of the Catholic Church? Later in the chapter, the Lord is said to have desired to put the sons of Eli to death because of their sins. If the Lord responded with such a reaction in the Old Covenant sacrifices of animals, how much more will the Lord respond in judgment against those priests who corrupt the sacrifice of His precious Only Begotten Son?

Reflection on 1 Sameul 2, On Weak Bishops

“27 And there came a man of God to Heli, and said to him…29 Why have you kicked away my victims, and my gifts which I commanded to be offered in the temple: and thou hast rather honoured thy sons than me, to eat the firstfruits of every sacrifice of my people Israel?…34 And this shall be a sign to thee, that shall come upon thy two sons, Ophni and Phinees: In one day they shall both of them die. 35 And I will raise me up a faithful priest, who shall do according to my heart, and my soul, and I will build him a faithful house, and he shall walk all days before my anointed.” (1 Samuel 2:27, 29, 34-35)

As the High Priest of Israel and father of the priests Ophni and Phinees, Eli was responsible for the actions of his sons. Yet, Eli was weak and did not discipline his sons for the scandals they cause. For this reason, the Lord told Eli that he honored his sons rather than Him. In a similar way, many Bishops today do not discipline the priests under their care. These unfaithful Bishops turn a blind eye to priests that teach heresy against about the Catholic faith, mislead the faithful, abuse the sacraments and even sexually abuse those under their authority. Such Bishops are worse than Eli, for he was not given as great a responsibility as Catholic Bishops, who have been entrusted with the right administration of the New Testament sacraments and the destiny of the souls under their care. Surely such Bishops prove right the saying “the floor of hell is paved with the skulls of bishops”. In spite of such weak Shepherds, the Lord will continue to raise up faithful Catholic Bishops to lead His Church, just as he raised up Samuel in the days of Eli.