Mary Immaculate of Lourdes Bulletin for July 29, 2012

Mary Immaculate of Lourdes Bulletin for the week of July 29, 2012

Bulletin: MaryImmaculate-2012-07-29.pdf

Front Cover:  A painting of St. Martha taming the ferocious beast called the “Tarasque”, which had been terrorizing the inhabitants of the lower Rhone river valley.  St. Martha’s feast-day in the Catholic Calendar is July 29th, the octave day following her sister Mary Magdalene’s feast on July 22nd.

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Mary Immaculate of Lourdes Bulletin for July 22, 2012

The Eighth Sunday after Pentecost and the Sixteenth Sunday of the Year – This week’s bulletin for Mary Immaculate of Lourdes, Newton:

Mary Immaculate of Lourdes Bulletin for the week of July 22, 2012


Front cover:  A stained glass window which shows Christ with Mary Magdalene and her sister Martha.  The Scripture scene depicted is from St. Luke, Chapter 10:38-42.  Mary Magdalene sits at Christ’s feet, while Martha is busy with the duties of hospitality.  Christ says: “Martha, Martha, thou art careful, and art troubled about many things: but one thing is necessary.  Mary hath chosen the best part, which shall not be taken away from her.”  In the liturgical tradition of the Roman Catholic Church, Mary Magdalene is identified with the sister of Martha and Lazarus at Bethany, as well as the unnamed sinner-woman of Luke 7.  St. Mary Magdalene’s feast-day is July 22nd and her sister St. Martha’s is a week later on July 29th.


Calendar of Masses; Health of the Sick; Military Service Prayer List; Latin Mass texts; Music Programs.

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What is “Sedevacantism”?

In last Sunday’s Pastor’s note, I reprinted Fr. Lawrence Brey’s summary on the Catholic Church’s teaching regarding Private Revelations.  In today’s space I want to present a 2010 essay entitled THE ERROR OF THE SEDEVACANTISTS by Fr. Thomas Carleton.  The “Sedevacantism” he is talking about is a dissent coming from the right-wing of contemporary Catholic life, and it has disturbed the peace-of-mind of not a few traditional-minded Catholics.  Sadly, some of our brethren who once worshipped alongside us at Holy Trinity Church and at Mary Immaculate of Lourdes have been taken in by this schismatic error and walk no more with us.  Fr. Carleton’s essay is very clarifying:

“…They were distressed, and lying like sheep that have no shepherd.” (Matthew 9,36)

The case does not exist where an individual lamb decides whether or not the flock has a shepherd.  A sheep, as Our Blessed Lord explains, recognizes the voice of the shepherd: “My sheep hear My voice: and I know them, and they follow Me.” (John 10,27).  The individual sheep can only recognize the Shepherd’s voice and follow it; or, contrarily, not recognize it, follow a hireling, or be eaten by wolves.  When an individual sheep fails to recognize the voice of the shepherd, it does not mean that he is not the shepherd, it only means that that sheep is not part of the flock: “You do not believe, because you are not part of My sheep.” (John 10,26)

The “sedevacantist” is one who maintains that the Church is without a pope.  The proper use, however, of the term “sedevacante” (or “vacant seat”) refers to the period between the death of one pope and the election of his successor.  The Church, though, is never without shepherds.  The sedevacantist not only rejects the pope, but rejects as well the apostolic college, the successors of the apostles, who are the shepherds who have elected the pope, the supreme visible shepherd.  Our Blessed Lord established His Church so that His flock would not be “like sheep that have no shepherd”. (Matthew 9,36)

The sedevacantist attempts to mask his estrangement from the Church in the manner of the Protestant theory of private Biblical interpretation, that is to say, by his own collection and interpretation of various texts (in his case, of former popes or councils), which, in turn, he then uses to pass judgment on the Vicar of Christ.  The First Vatican Council has taught that a pope cannot be a heretic, which would itself be a direct attack on the infallible intercessory prayer of Christ: “I have prayed for thee,” Our Blessed Lord assures Peter, “that thy faith fail not.” (Luke 22,33) In sedevacantists, indeed, is verified the rebuke of the Lord: “You err, not knowing the Scriptures, nor the power of God.” (Matthew 22,29)

The pronouncements and formulae of the Church, moreover, are not, nor have they ever been, used to decide who is a shepherd: “The Lord hath sworn, and He will not repent.  Thou art a priest forever according to the order of Melchisedech.” (Psalm 109,4) “All things therefore whatsoever they shall say to you, observe and do: but according to their works do ye not; for they say, and do not.” (Matthew 23,3)

When St. Paul speaks of the “house of God, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and ground of the truth” (I Timothy 3:15), he is not referring to a collection of past or present documents, he is referring to the teaching of the present successors of the Apostles in union with the Vicar of Christ, who would, no less than Peter, be guided by the Holy Spirit.

It is impossible for one to say that he rests upon the pillar and ground of truth, which is the Church, if he has not Peter.  It is the “bark of Peter” that is an image of the true Church.  Attacking the Captain of the ship forms part 0f that despised work of mutiny.  Our Blessed Lord has given to the Church a visible Captain so that we can be sure whose boat we are in.  When someone fails to recognize the visible pilot of the ship, it does not mean that he is not the true captain, it merely means that that person is not in the right boat, the only boat that has been assured of safely arriving into the harbour of heaven, the shores of eternity.

The sedevacantist errs in believing that the documents of the Church can be a “rule of faith” independent of a living shepherd, just as the Protestant (with actually even greater reason than the sedevacantist) believes that the Holy Scriptures themselves, privately interpreted, can be a rule of faith.  It is for this reason that there is no “rule of faith”, nor is there any “magisterium”, apart from Peter, and that is to say, apart from living shepherds: “He that heareth you, heareth Me; and he that despiseth you, despiseth Me; and he that despiseth Me, despiseth Him that sent Me.” (Luke 10,16) The texts, documents, and formulae of the Church are considered only the proximate inanimate rule of faith.  These must have the proximate animate rule of faith, which is the Church guided by living shepherds.  Our Blessed Lord, in fact, did not say to His Apostles: Go write down what I have said; He said to them: “Going therefore, teach ye all nations.” (Matthew 28,19)

It is for a deep reason that Our Divine Lord tells us that we must follow, not the words (verba), as if written, but the voice (vox) of the shepherd.  We have a living shepherd, not a dead shepherd.  It is also important to note that
a lamb, much like an ever faithful dog, does not distinguish words as individual concepts, but merely the living sound or voice of his shepherd, and the name given him by that shepherd.  In other words, it does not rest on the individual lamb to pass judgment, as such, on the truth content of a shepherd’s words; it rests, rather, upon the individual sheep to recognize who his shepherd is.  The Good Shepherd could not have made it more simple than that for us poor sheep.  The Good Shepherd assures His sheep that if they should stray away, He shall come after them (cf. Matthew 18,12-14); but He gives no such assurance to those who are not His sheep, those, that is, who do not recognize the voice of the shepherd.

Many sedevacantists use the present scandals and troubles in the Church to justify their Position, but Holy Scripture does not promise that we will always be in green pastures; it promises that, if we follow the shepherd, we will be led to green pastures: “For though I should walk in the midst of the shadow of death, I will fear no evils for Thou art with me.  Thy rod and Thy staff, they have comforted me.” (Psalm 22,4)

The Gospel does not say that the boat of Peter will not pass through violent storms and never come near to sinking; on the contrary, it prepares us for rough sailing and fierce tempests, when the only thing more dangerous than being in the boat, will be being outside the boat, which, in fact, is where sedevacantists have thrown themselves.

Sedevacantists like to present themselves as “traditionalists”, but how can we consider what they are doing as “traditional” when the Church says: “Nemo judicat papam [No-one judges the Pope]?” Union with the Vicar of Christ, as the Popes have taught (cf. Boniface VIII, Pius XII), is essential to belonging to the Church.  In any case we should have compassion on the sedevacantists because they are “lying like sheep that have no shepherd.” (Matthew 9,36)

In conclusion, let me tell you what really was the simple old “traditional” rule of thumb that we grew up with: If someone is attacking the Holy Father—it is probably the devil!

Father Thomas Carleton
Feast of Pope Saint Pius V, 2010 A.D.

Fr. Higgins
(Fr. Higgins)

Pastor’s Note from the Mary Immaculate of Lourdes Bulletin for July 22, 2012

Mary Immaculate of Lourdes Bulletin for July 8, 2012

Mary Immaculate of Lourdes Bulletin for the week of July 8, 2012

Bulletin: MaryImmaculate-2012-07-08.pdf

Front Cover:  The stained glass window which shows the Divine Maternity of Mary, holding the Christ Child in her arms.  The Latin “ora pro nobis” means “pray for us” and comes from the Hail Mary: “Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners now and at the hour of our death.  Amen.”  The windows on the Oak Street side of the church catch the fullness of the late afternoon sun.  Especially during the long days of the summer, the sunlight gives these windows a brilliant effect.  Photo by Paul Eldridge.

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Mary Immaculate of Lourdes Bulletin for July 1, 2012

Mary Immaculate of Lourdes Bulletin for the week of July 1, 2012

Bulletin: MaryImmaculate-2012-07-01.pdf

Front Cover:  Fr. William Blazek, S.J., celebrates a Solemn High Mass of Thanksgiving last Sunday, June 24th, A.D. 2012, assisted by Fr. Higgins as deacon and Fr. Rizzo as subdeacon.  Photos of the Mass and First Blessing by Paul Eldridge.

Pastor’s Note: The Price of Our Redepmtion

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The Price of our Redemption

(Pastor’s Note from the Mary Immaculate of Lourdes Bulletin for July 1, 2012)

One of the earliest prayers I was taught as a child was a bed-time prayer which began: “Night is falling, dear other/And the long day is o’er/And before thy loved image I am kneeling once more… In the course of the prayer-verse were these words:

For one drop of Thy Blood,
Which for sinners was spilt
Is sufficient to cleanse
The whole world from its guilt.

In Catholic devotion this month of July is dedicated to the Precious Blood of Christ, the price of our Redemption.  Although, as theology tells us, but one drop of Christ’s Blood would have been sufficient to atone for the sin-debt to divine Justice, Christ in fact shed all of His life-blood for us on the Cross.  This is a demonstrable proof of the self-sacrificing superabundance of God’s love for us wayward sinners.

We know in human terms how appalling it is to witness people indifferent or even contemptuous of the sacrifices which have been made for them: a nation which refuses to recognize the sacrifices of its war veterans, for example, or a new generation which takes the normality of its tolerably pleasant existence for granted without reference to the responsibility which the older generations—who endured much harder conditions of life—undertook to provide for their future.

How much more appalling it is to see the human race so cold and so ungrateful towards the sacrifice of Jesus Christ on the Cross.  And we are talking here about the coldness and ingratitude of so many professed Christians!  They acknowledge that Christ, the Just and Innocent One, died a terrible death on a cross for the sake of the guilty, but it does not seem to shape their approach to life very much.  They take their cues from the ways of the world just like anyone else.

During this month of July then, we can at least stir up in ourselves the right sentiments of gratitude and awe for—let us say it—the extravagance of God’s sacrifice for us, sentiments so beautifully expressed in these verses of the Precious Blood Hymn Festivus Resonet:

Let the streets resound with festive hymns and the people’s joy be seen in their faces as young and old, each in his rank and carrying a flaming torch, walk in procession.

Yet while we are mindful of His Passion and pay honor to the Blood that Christ shed from His many wounds as He hung upon the cruel tree, it is but right that at least we should shed tears.

The old Adam’s sin resulted in death and misery to mankind, but the new Adam’s sinlessness and loving-kindness gave life back to all men…

Fr. Higgins
(Fr. Higgins)