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Cardinal Zen says possible restrictions to extraordinary form Mass are ‘worrying’

Cardinal Joseph Zen Ze-kiun departs the Pontifical Urbaniana University in Rome, Nov. 18, 2014. / Bohumil Petrik/CNA.

Rome Newsroom, Jun 12, 2021 / 06:30 am (CNA).

Cardinal Joseph Zen, bishop emeritus of Hong Kong, has called possible restrictions to the celebration of the Mass in the extraordinary form of the Roman rite “worrying news.”

Zen wrote on his personal blog that “I am not considered an extremist of this liturgical form and that I worked actively, as a priest and as a bishop, for the liturgical reform after Vatican II, also trying to curb the excesses and abuses.”

“But I cannot deny, in my experience of Hong Kong, the very good that came from the motu proprio Summorum Pontificum and from the celebration of the Tridentine Mass.”

In a 2007 letter to the world’s bishops, Pope Benedict XVI explained that Summorum Pontificum enabled priests to offer Mass according to the 1962 Missal as a “Forma extraordinaria,” or extraordinary form, of the Roman Rite. The Missal published by Paul VI would remain the “Forma ordinaria,” or ordinary form, of the Rite, he said.

The extraordinary form of the Mass is sometimes also called the Traditional Latin Mass or the Tridentine Mass.

Earlier this month, a source within the Congregation for the Divine Worship told CNA the congregation might soon issue a document modifying some of the provisions of Summorum Pontificum.

Rumors about possible restrictions imposed on Summorum Pontificum spread at the end of May after Pope Francis had a closed-door question-and-answer session with the members of the Italian bishops' conference gathered in Rome for their annual plenary assembly.

Speaking with the bishops, Francis hinted at new regulations about the celebration of the Mass in the extraordinary form, although he did not provide details, according to two bishops who attended the conference.

The sources told CNA that the pope said a third draft of the document is currently under study.

In his blog post, the 89-year-old Zen said he has worked for liturgical reform, but he “cannot forget the Mass of my childhood...”

“I felt such reverence, I was so fascinated (and still am!) by the beauty of Gregorian chant, that I think that experience has nourished my vocation to the priesthood, as for so many others,” he said.

He added that he remembers “the many Chinese faithful (and I don't think everyone knew Latin ...) participating with great enthusiasm in these liturgical ceremonies, just as I can now testify about the community that participates in the Tridentine Mass in Hong Kong.”

The cardinal said he thinks Mass in the extraordinary form “is not divisive, on the contrary it unites us to our brothers and sisters of all ages, to the saints and martyrs of all times, to those who have fought for their faith and who have found in it an inexhaustible spiritual nourishment.”

In 2020, the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith sent a nine-point questionnaire about Summorum Pontificum to the presidents of bishops’ conferences worldwide, since the pope wished to be “informed about the current application” of the motu proprio.

The expected document will come from the Congregation for Divine Worship, however.

One of the proposals being considered for the document is to require priests who want to celebrate Mass in the extraordinary form to establish a specific community at a specific church.

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Eucharistic coherence and the USCCB spring meeting: Five questions you need answered

A priest distributes Holy Communion. / Noah Seelam/AFP via Getty Images

Denver Newsroom, Jun 11, 2021 / 22:00 pm (CNA).

Where did the term eucharistic coherence originate?

The term eucharistic coherence originated in the final document of the Fifth General Conference of the Bishops of Latin America and the Caribbean, held in Aparecida, Brazil, in 2007. Then Cardinal Jorge Bergoglio, a principal draftee, lauded the document and Pope Benedict XVI authorized the final text praising the “wealth of reflections in the light of the faith and the contemporary social context.”

This is the full paragraph:

“We hope that legislators, heads of government, and health professionals, conscious of the dignity of human life and of the rootedness of the family in our peoples, will defend and protect it from the abominable crimes of abortion and euthanasia; that is their responsibility. Hence, in response to government laws and provisions that are unjust in the light of faith and reason, conscientious objection should be encouraged. We must adhere to ‘eucharistic coherence,’ that is, be conscious that they cannot receive holy communion and at the same time act with deeds or words against the commandments, particularly when abortion, euthanasia, and other grave crimes against life and family are encouraged. This responsibility weighs particularly over legislators, heads of governments, and health professionals.”

Why is eucharistic coherence linked so closely to abortion and euthanasia?

The theology of eucharistic coherence builds upon the teachings of the Church contained in the encyclical Evangelium Vitae and the post-synodal exhortation Sacramentum Caritatis. U.S. bishops referencing the term are thus using a term squarely coined by reflection upon magisterial teaching.

Evangelium Vitae, footnoted in Aparecida document paragraph 436, highlights the gravity of abortion and euthanasia, the clear need to oppose all laws that claim to legitimize them, and the prohibition against formal cooperation with this evil, while Sacramentum Caritatis more specifically explores the ramifications of living these teachings on reception of the eucharist

According to Benedict XVI, eucharistic consistency, a term coined in Sacramentum Caritatis, recognizes the “objective connection” between the Eucharist and the fundamental values a Catholic must hold to in personal and public life, including “respect for human life, its defense from conception to natural death, the family built upon marriage between a man and a woman, the freedom to educate one's children and the promotion of the common good in all its forms.”

Why is eucharistic coherence linked with Catholic politicians in particular?

Published just three months before the Aparecida document, Sacramentum Caritatis reflects the development of the thought of Pope Benedict XVI. As head of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, he wrote a memorandum to the U.S. bishops in 2004 in response to debate concerning Democratic presidential candidate and abortion proponent John Kerry presenting himself for reception of holy communion.

Among the principles included in the memorandum are whether a Catholic is in full communion with the Church, guilty of grave sin or under penalty of excommunication or interdict, and whether the person fasted for one hour. 

The memorandum also detailed that when cooperation with abortion and euthanasia becomes manifest—“understood, in the case of a Catholic politician, as his consistently campaigning and voting for permissive abortion and euthanasia laws”—the pastor should deny Holy Communion if the politician does not repent after a private meeting instructing the person on the Church’s teaching. This follows the prescription outlined in Canon Law by Canon 915.

Sacramentum Caritatis further develops the duties of Catholics in public life to affirm fundamental, non-negotiable values, preventing them from divorcing personal beliefs from public duties and reminding them of “their grave responsibility before society.”

The Aparecida document likewise references the duties of legislators and heads of governments with regard to life issues, namely, to oppose the “abominable crimes of abortion and euthanasia” or recognize that they cannot receive holy communion.

Why do medical professionals have special responsibility to live eucharistic coherence?

The Aparecida document makes clear that defense of human life and eucharistic coherence is not limited to government officials; rather, it is the special duty of every baptized doctor, nurse, and healthcare worker to uphold the dignity of life or refrain from receiving the eucharist.

“’Causing death’ can never be considered a form of medical treatment, even when the intention is solely to comply with the patient's request,” wrote John Paul II in Evangelium Vitae. “Rather, it runs completely counter to the health-care profession, which is meant to be an impassioned and unflinching affirmation of life.” John Paul II called on health care professionals to exercise conscientious objection rather than participate in the evils of abortion and euthanasia.

In a speech to the Pontifical Academy for Life Benedict XVI reaffirmed that “every human community and the political community itself are founded” on the right to life.  Accordingly, professionals, doctors, and lawyers must engage in “courageous objection of conscience” to the evils threatening the right to life.

Why is eucharistic coherence connected to the USCCB spring 2021 meeting next week?

In 2004, Joseph Ratzinger penned a memo to the USCCB while the U.S. bishops were embroiled in the Kerry communion debate. The discussion soon broadened to  pro-choice politicians in general. In 2006, as a response to these questions and the implications for all Catholics, the USCCB published a document on preparation to receive the Eucharist worthily.

A crisis of faith in the belief in the Eucharist among Catholics writ large revealed itself in intervening years. In 2019, a Pew Research report confirmed that only 31% of Catholics believed in the doctrine of the real presence of the Eucharist. The urgency of the question about worthy reception of the Eucharist resurfaced as prominent Catholic and abortion supporter Joe Biden, a Democrat, began his own presidential run.

A working group on eucharistic coherence formed in November 2020 to deal with the question of scandal posed by such a prominent public figure receiving holy communion. The group, headed by USCCB vice president Archbishop Allen Vigneron, proposed the creation of a document on the Eucharist--a document aimed at all Catholics and not specifically at one politician. 

In recent months the use of the term eucharistic coherence exploded, and bishops across the country are defending the long-standing church teaching behind the term and its implications for politicians and medical professionals, as well as the general Catholic population, based on an understanding of the fundamental nature of the right to life.

The current head of the Congregation of the Doctrine of the Faith, Cardinal Luis Ladaria, also affirmed the need for eucharistic coherence in a letter to U.S. Bishops, widely mischaracterized as asking for a pause in the normal USCCB procedures.

The bishops will discuss an outline of a draft document on the eucharist elaborated by the Committee of Doctrine during their June 2021 spring meeting next week. The meeting will be held virtually June 16-18, 2021.

New Supreme Knight urges members to be 'Knights of the Eucharist'

Patrick Kelly (right) installed as Supreme Knight by Archbishop William Lori of Baltimore (left) / Knights of Columbus

New Haven, Conn., Jun 11, 2021 / 18:08 pm (CNA).

The new Supreme Knight of the Knights of Columbus, Patrick Kelly, emphasized reverence for the Eucharist at his installation on Friday at St. Mary’s parish in New Haven, Connecticut.

In consecrating his administration and the order of the Knights of Columbus to St. Joseph, Kelly pointed to the saint as the protector of Jesus – and called on Knights to do the same in reverencing and protecting the Eucharist.

“The example of St. Joseph teaches us how to be Knights of the Eucharist. He was the guardian of the first tabernacle — beginning with Mary herself when she bore Christ in her womb, and then in the home where he and Mary lived with Jesus,” Kelly said at his installation address on Friday.

“As Knights, we too are called to have a special reverence for Christ’s real presence,” he said. “The more we dedicate ourselves to Christ in the Eucharist, the more we will be a sign of unity in an age of division and disbelief.”

For the first time in 20 years, the Knights of Columbus on Friday installed a new Supreme Knight, Kelly, who previously served as Deputy Supreme Knight. The Knights of Columbus is one of the world’s leading fraternal and service organizations, with two million members worldwide in more than 16,000 parish-based councils.

Kelly’s installation took place at a Knights’ meeting of state deputies on Friday, attended by leaders of the Knights from every U.S. state and from around the world.

Elected to the position of Supreme Knight in March, Kelly and other elected Knight officials were formally delegated their positions on June 11 at St. Mary’s Parish in New Haven. 

The ceremony began with Mass, celebrated by Archbishop William Lori of Baltimore, the Supreme Chaplain of the Knights. 

Lori drew connections between the significance of the installation Mass occurring both in the year of St. Joseph on the solemnity of the Sacred Heart of Jesus. 

Earlier in the day, Archbishop Lori called on Knights of Columbus to lead the way on the bishops’ proposed Eucharistic Revival project, promoting devotion to the Eucharist in their communities.

He said that “it is incumbent upon us as Knights of Columbus, upon you as lay leaders in the Church, not only to support this effort but also to be in the forefront of advancing it, especially by bearing witness to the centrality of the Eucharist in your own life and in the life of your family, and in the life of the Church."

In Kelly’s address, which took place at the conclusion of the Mass, he began by honoring the work of previous Supreme Knight Carl Anderson, who “consecrated his administration and the entire Order to Our Lady of Guadalupe.”

In similar fashion, Kelly consecrated his new administration and the entire order to St. Joseph. He said it was a “special honor” to take office during the Year of St. Joseph.

Keeping with the theme of Saint Joseph, Kelly focused on two of the saint’s roles, first as “guardian of the family” and also as the “guardian of the truth.”         

The dual roles “both align with the vision of our founder and provide a model for how we as Knights must witness to the world,” he said.                                                                                                     

Kelly highlighted St. Joseph’s humility and obedience in his fatherly sacrifice and service to his family. Quoting Pope Francis’ apostolic letter on the year of St. Joseph, Patris Corde, he noted the Saint’s “creative courage,” referencing the “unexpected challenges” he faced in his life.                                         

Kelly connected St. Joseph’s challenges to those faced in modern times. 

“Catholic families are struggling to live out their faith and raise their children amid a culture that is increasingly hostile to our beliefs,” he said. “Catholic husbands and fathers, especially fathers of young children, need the encouragement and support of the Knights of Columbus.”

Kelly assured that the Knights can inspire fathers with the courage to nourish their families in the faith. 

“They need our witness and example to guide them in embracing their vocation to heroic generosity and self-sacrifice, for the good of their wives and children,” he said. “So let us, like St. Joseph, embrace our role as guardians of the family.”

Speaking about St. Joseph as the “guardian of truth,” Kelly acknowledged “the truth that Joseph protected had a name: Jesus Christ, who is the truth incarnate.” 

Kelly proclaimed that the Knights must also serve Jesus as the truth. Noting the difficulty of serving the truth in the modern era, Kelly called the present a “time of bigotry and intolerance.”

“Key truths — truths about marriage, about life in the womb, about the nature of the family and the meaning of freedom — are often denied and even vilified,” he said. “Yet, this makes our commitment to truth all the more important.” 

Kelly said the Knights will continue to be a sign of unity by standing for the truth. Referencing the Second Vatican Council, Kelly said that the truth is grounded in the Eucharist.

“We know that Jesus Christ is really, truly present — body, blood, soul and divinity — in the Blessed Sacrament. Committed to our principle of unity, let us strive to serve Christ in the Eucharist,” Kelly said. 

He said the Knights were called to have a special reverence for the real presence of Christ in the Eucharist. “The more we dedicate ourselves to Christ in the Eucharist,” he said, “the more we will be a sign of unity in an age of division and disbelief.”                               

Kelly concluded by asking for the intercession of Blessed Michael McGivney, the founder of the Knights who was beatified last fall and whose tomb was in the back of the church. He also asked for the intercession of St. Joseph so that the Knights may have the courage to lead in these “challenging times.”                                            

Following Kelly’s address, Archbishop Lori blessed the medals of the new supreme officers. The other new supreme officers being installed were Deputy Supreme Knight Paul G. O’Sullivan, Supreme Secretary Patrick T. Mason, Supreme Treasurer Ronald F. Schwarz, Supreme Advocate John A. Marrella, Supreme Warden Michael A. Benson, and Past Supreme Knight Carl A. Anderson.

17 supreme directors and 56 state deputies were also installed at the celebrations. Following the installations, the Archbishop led the new officers to McGivney’s tomb in the back of the church and prayed for his canonization. 

This article was updated on June 11 with new information.

Survey shows more Americans believe abortion is ‘morally acceptable’ than ‘morally wrong’

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Washington D.C., Jun 11, 2021 / 17:00 pm (CNA).

A new Gallup poll reveals, for the first time in two decades of surveys, more Americans believe abortion “morally acceptable” than “morally wrong.” 

According to a Gallup poll published on Thursday, 47% of people surveyed found abortion to be “morally acceptable,” the highest tally since the poll began in 2001. Conversely, 46% of those surveyed said that they believed abortion to be “morally wrong.” 

The survey was conducted from May 3-18. A total of 1,016 adults were randomly surveyed, and Gallup estimates the margin of error to be plus or minus four percentage points.

Last year, the Gallup survey numbers on abortion were nearly flipped: 47% of respondents said that they believed abortion to be “morally wrong,” and 44% said it was “morally acceptable.” 

The 2021 poll also marks the first time that more people surveyed found abortion to be morally acceptable than those who said it was “morally wrong.” In 2015, an equal percentage of Americans took each position. The following year, in 2016, 49% of people surveyed said they viewed abortion as morally wrong, and only 43% said they viewed it as morally acceptable.

Gallup found that political identification was correlated with a person’s view on the morality of abortion. Only 26% of surveyed Republicans said they viewed abortion as morally acceptable; meanwhile, 51% of independents and 64% of Democrats said it was acceptable.

The poll also asked respondents if they considered themselves to be “pro-life” or “pro-choice.” Gallup found that 49% identified as “pro-choice,” and 47% as “pro-life.” 

Among Republicans, 74% said they were “pro-life,” wheras 70% of Democrats were “pro-choice.” Gallup also found that those who identified as “conservative” were more likely to label themselves as pro-life, and that college graduates were likely to label themselves as “pro-choice.” 

More than one out of four Democrats (26%) identifies as “pro-life,” despite the 2020 party platform which called for abortion-on-demand throughout the entirety of a pregnancy and supported taxpayer-funded abortion. Over 100 politicians called on the party to adjust the platform. 

While the poll found that more Americans found abortion to be morally acceptable than morally wrong, the poll also found that most Americans support restrictions on abortion. 

Per the poll, fewer than one-third of American adults believed that abortion should be legal under “any circumstances.” A total of 65% of those surveyed supported at least some restrictions on abortion; a plurality of those, 33%, said they believed abortion should be “legal in only a few” circumstances.

Younger people surveyed were more likely to trend to either extreme of the abortion position. The poll found that 41% of people between the ages of 18 and 34 believed that abortion should be “legal in any” circumstance, the highest of the three age groups. However, 20% of the same age group said they believed abortion should not be legal in any cirucumstance, the same as percentage as people aged 55 or older.

Archbishop Lori: Knights of Columbus must be at the forefront of Eucharistic renewal

Archbishop William Lori, Supreme Chaplain of the Knights of Columbus. / Knights of Columbus

Washington D.C., Jun 11, 2021 / 16:03 pm (CNA).

Archbishop William Lori of Baltimore, Supreme Chaplain of the Knights of Columbus, called on the Knights not only to “support” but also to “be in the forefront” of a national Eucharistic Revival project to be presented to the U.S. bishops next week.

At his address during the Knights of Columbus state deputies meeting in New Haven, Connecticut on Friday, Archbishop Lori previewed a proposed three-year Eucharistic Revival project of the U.S. bishops which would launch in 2022.

Lori said the project would take place at “the parish, diocesan, and national level to help all those whom we serve to recover, to reclaim, and to recoup their faith in the Eucharistic Lord and their resolve to participate in Holy Mass without fail every Sunday." 

The bishops’ proposal also includes a national Eucharistic Congress in 2024, to be attended by 100,000 Catholics who would then act as Eucharistic missionaries.

“Bishops in other countries have undertaken similar efforts,” added the Supreme Chaplain. He called on the Knights present to lead the effort in their communities.

“It is incumbent upon us as Knights of Columbus, upon you as lay leaders in the Church, not only to support this effort but also to be in the forefront of advancing it, especially by bearing witness to the centrality of the Eucharist in your own life and in the life of your family, and in the life of the Church,” Lori said.

"Surely," said Archbishop Lori, "we could do nothing that would please Blessed Michael McGivney more than this!" Blessed Michael McGivney, the organization’s founder, was beatified last fall at the cathedral in Hartford, Connecticut.

The Knights of Columbus is the world's largest fraternal organization. Leaders from every U.S. state and around the world attended Friday’s meeting in New Haven, the site of the organization’s founding. It was the Knights’ first national in-person meeting since the start of the pandemic in 2020.

In addition to the joint installation of Supreme Knight Kelly and all attending state deputies - a first for the Knights - the meeting also included the installation of new Deputy Supreme Knight Paul G. O’Sullivan. In another historic first for the Knights, Patrick T. Mason, a member of the Osage Nation, was installed as the first Native American supreme secretary of the Knights.

“In the meantime, let us as leaders of the Knights of Columbus unite heart and soul around the Eucharistic Lord, around the sacrament of our charity, unity, and fraternity, just as we have taught to do by our Blessed Founder for whose canonization we pray more earnestly than ever!” Archbishop Lori said in closing.

Archbishop Lori: Knights of Columbus Must be at the Forefront of Eucharistic Renewal

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