Daily Archives: May 1, 2011
Today, the sunday immediately following Easter, goes under three different days.
The first is as the dominica in albis
The name comes from the ancient habit by which the newly baptised wore a white tunic for Easter and the following seven days, the sunday following Easter being the day when the white tunic was put away. Therefore, the day was called dominica in albis depositis or “sunday in which the white clothes are put away”.
This day is (or perhaps rather: was) also called “Quasimodo Sunday”, because on this day the anthiphon of the Tridentine Mass used the words taken from Peter, Quasi modo geniti infantes, Halleluja, rationabile, sine dolo lac concupiscite, something on the lines of “yearn the pure spiritual milk as if you were newborn children”. In the book “The Hunchback of Notre-Dame”, the protagonist is a deformed foundling who is, well, found on the easter following Sunday. In the words of Victor Hugo (taken from Wikipedia):
He [sc. archdeacon Claude Frollo, Quasimodo’s adoptive father] baptized his adopted child and called him Quasimodo; whether it was that he chose thereby to commemorate the day when he had found him, or that he meant to mark by that name how incomplete and imperfectly molded the poor little creature was. Indeed, Quasimodo, one-eyed, hunchbacked, and bow-legged, could hardly be considered as anything more than an almost.
The third way of calling this sunday is – after JP II declared the relevant feast – Divine Mercy sunday. This refers to the visions occurred to Saint Faustina Kowalska and nowadays considered worthy of belief by the Church. The Divine Mercy devotion is not everyone’s cup of tea, but – as always in such cases – no Catholic has the obligation of believing in it, so if you don’t follow it you aren’t 1% less Catholic than those who do.
Looking for news about the beatification of the late John Paul II, I went on the “Telegraph” page. It is now 21:48 of Sunday evening and what you click is this (of course they might change it).
It turn out that in the same page dealing with the beatification, there is a disgusting, obscene photo of two men kissing; they are obviously kissing in opposition to the Pope and the “Telegraph” calls them – following the diktat of worldwide poofdom – “gays”. …
This homosexual rag can’t even allow Catholics to read in peace about what they consider a great day without smashing in their face obscene photos of clear anti-Catholic content.
That two men kissing are a disgusting sight for everyone who is not a poof himself or so corrupted as to have lost the very meaning of the term “perversion” doesn’t seem to be a concern for the editors of the “Telegraph”.
Reading around the Internet some of the reflection about today’s beatification of John Paul II, I would like to point out to a couple of aspects which are, in my eyes, rather important in order to put today’s events in the right perspective. Though I have already written a similar post here, I’d like to tackle the issue again from the point of view of the effect it causes on others, particularly non-Catholics.
1) A beatification has the same rank of a private revelation. No Catholic is obliged to believe that the person made blessed really is in Paradise. This obligation only comes into effect with the canonisation. This should, I think, always be said very clearly when you discuss the matter.
2) A beatification (or a canonisation) exclusively deals with the saintly life and heroic virtue of the blessed or saint and with the presence of the required number (if any; for the beatification of martyrs no miracles are required) of miracles, but is no endorsement of the operate of a person as a Pope, or in whatever other public role he might have been involved. Please stress this to everyone you talk about the matter. This should also be stressed with much energy whenever someone mentions the beatification.
3) The great “expansion” of the number of beatifications starting from JP II is, in my eyes, questionable; still, given the fact that as a Catholic do not have to believe a single one of the beatifications anyway I allow myself to feel relaxed on the point. My – or your – questioning the opportunity of such a number of beatification is therefore perfectly orthodox.
4) More delicate is the question about canonisations. As Catholics, we are bound to believe that the canonised person is in Paradise. As Catholics, we must believe that the Holy ghost would never, ever allow a Pope to make a mockery of the process. Every criticism of the new canonisation process must therefore keep this truth in sight: that every canonisation is to be accepted by the faithful as truth, be they very few or very many. This is very important if we want to avoid confusing our interlocutors.
5) Personally, I didn’t like JP II’s pontificate; not one bit; neither as a whole, nor in any one of his single most defining traits. I’d say that after Paul VI, JP II can be considered the worst Pope of modern times, by a comfortable margin. But this is my assessment of his pontificate, not of his saintliness. I strictly detach the first (the in my eyes catastrophic effect of almost 27 years of “Wojtylism”, by which an entire generation of Catholics grew up without even knowing the Ten Commandments, but ready to fill airports) from the second (the fact that the man was really trying to do his best, and was personally very holy).
6) “Holy” doesn’t mean, again, perfect in the same way as heroic virtue doesn’t mean perfection. People have their own foibles and character’s traits, the blessed and saints as everyone else. Even Padre Pio had his shortcomings, and was harshly criticised because of them. But we honour the saint anyway; even more so, because in reflecting about the shortcomings of very saintly men we can better understand how difficult it was for them, as for everyone else.
I assume that every conservative Catholic can easily agree with all the above points, though there will be obvious differences in the assessment of the concrete situation. Again, by every criticism we run the danger of confusing the Catholics and must, therefore, be particularly prudent.
If I were challenged by non-Catholics, or by non conservative Catholics, to say a word about the beatification I would accurately separate:
a) the man from the pope,
b) the canonisation from the beatification and
c) my dislike with this or that part of the new procedure with the Catholic Truth concerning canonisations.
As Catholics, please let us be mindful that whilst we can criticise the beatification procedure as much as we want, we must be mindful not to give the impression that we have ceased to believe in the binding value of the canonisations.
In addition, by the appalling ignorance about Catholicism now rampant ever among Catholics themselves, I wouldn’t give any critical, liberal Catholic a reason to believe that Catholic truth are considered not so untouchable, if even conservative Catholics appear to attack them.
Within the boundaries of acceptance of Catholic truth in the matter, I’d say that everyone should feel free to exercise his criticism as much as he likes.
A non-Catholic seeing that a Catholic can be very critical, but is always loyal will register the fact and, at a more or less conscious level, remain impressed.