Friday, October 21, 2011

Quick Takes: New Missal edition and more

It's still Friday here! Just in the nick of time….

1. Catholics! In case you haven't heard, the Mass is changing! Well, the essence of the Mass never changes, but beginning on November 27 (the first Sunday of Advent) the new English translation of the Roman Missal will be implemented. It's been a long time coming, and I for one am so excited!

Pick a video below if you'd like to know more about what's happening and why. Personally, I like the first and second videos the best, because my little mind needs things simple. Middle school or high school level… that's about right for me!

For middle school youth:

For high school teens:

The next two are a little more involved and scholarly. Fr. John Muir, a great priest from my own diocese, narrates these….

For parish leaders:

For parents and adults:

2. Remember my post called Laughing at Dead Babies and the Avenging Conscience? Well, here is another manifestation of how that works. Notice how pro-"choice" congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee cannot bring herself to say "heartbeat" when referencing the...wait for it...heartbeat of unborn human beings. She makes quite a linguistic gyration in order to avoid the word. Simply bizarre, unless you recognize the avenging conscience at work. Check it out:

3. Let's contrast that stalwart supporter of the Culture of Death to Jon Scharfenberger, the 22-year-old Students For Life staffer who died after a horrific car accident that also took the life of SFL Field Director Kortney Blythe Gordon and her unborn daughter Sophy. I speak often of a crisis of manhood, but Jon stood out from the crowd of his peers -- a rare, true Christian gentleman. As Dr. Gerard Nadal says, all who revere life and strive for virtue "knew" Jon, even if we didn't know him:

An excerpt:
Jon wasn’t typical of most men his age. For one thing, he was a man. A real man. Not in some pseudo-masculine macho sense of the term, but in the truest sense of masculinity. 
He was principled, and all in the pursuit of virtue. He had unusual strength of conviction, all aligned along the axis of moral clarity. Such clarity only comes in self-giving and not in self-assertion. It comes through self-discipline, of subordinating one’s appetites to a vision of the other as worthy of our best and not as an object for our consumption. It’s the stuff of which the more cynical among us who have only ever known being used cannot believe exists in reality.
The loss of such a truly good man is difficult to grasp, and as a parent, my heart goes out especially to his mother and father.

4. For anyone who wants to see a glimpse of Jon's gentle heart and firm conviction, take a look at him in action:

 Resquiat In Pacem

5. Oh, hey, did you know that there's no such thing as evil? Because some super-duper smart neuroscientists have said so, so rest easy...
Of course, people still commit innumerable bad actions, but the idea that people make conscious decisions to hurt or harm is no longer sustainable, say the new brain scientists. For one thing, there is no such thing as "free will" with which to decide to commit evil. (Like evil, free will is an antiquated concept for most.) Autonomous, conscious decision-making itself may well be an illusion. And thus intentional evil is impossible.
Check out the whole pathetic thesis if you must, here. I've heard of people trying to weasel out of moral responsibility, but this takes the cake.

6. So Life Site News picked up my last post, which was an honor and very humbling. Humbling especially because the post that gets the most attention is the one in which I lay out all of my sins and deficiencies! Maybe if I write a post detailing the contents of my next sacramental confession it'll be picked up by the New York Times!

7. Get ready for Mass this Sunday by studying the readings ahead of time:

And have a great weekend!

Thanks to Jen for hosting!


  1. Leila,
    Thank you so much for pointing out that article on Evil. I agree that many are wrong to try to explain it away, however, I think we are right to study the minds of those who commit atrocities etc. Empathy is so important to study. The whole of Jesus' mission was to force people to get out of themselves and see others and situations from another perspective. He wanted us to develop infinite empathy.

    Also glad to see there appear to be many who doubt the reductionist claims, and glad to see this was elucidated by SLATE no less.

  2. Also, I will confess, the existence of psychopaths has blunted my understanding of free will. Are these people actually possessed? Is there such thing as possession?

  3. I love, love, LOVE your #6!!! YOU CRACK ME UP!!!

    CONGRATULATIONS on being picked up by LifeSiteNews!!!!!! You're a superstar!

  4. Mary, yes there is definitely such a thing as demonic possession, but that is different from someone's free will choice to do evil. I should do a post on that, ha ha.

    I hate to be contrary, but I don't believe this to be true: "The whole of Jesus' mission was to force people to get out of themselves and see others and situations from another perspective. He wanted us to develop infinite empathy." Certainly Jesus wants us to be empathetic and merciful, but his mission was (as he said) to testify to the Truth, and to save people from the bondage of sin and ultimately Hell. His mission was about calling people to repentance (which presupposes that we can do evil) so that we might live in friendship with God forever (which requires faith and a life of virtue). Of course, none of that would be possible if He hadn't become Incarnate and died for our sins.

    I do think it's good to study the brain, so we do agree! I am all for ethical scientific studies; it's the "social science" type of conclusion that these guys are putting out there that people of common sense can say is simply wrong. This study illustrates what I have been saying. That we don't need a study to tell us what we all know: that evil does exist. We've all encountered evil. It's a metaphysical reality. It's a privation of good, to be sure, so not "substantive" in that sense, but it's very real.

    Was up to early, about to take a nap, hope that makes sense?

    Lauren, thanks! ha ha!

  5. That's awesome about LifeSite News! I'm honored to say that I know you--even if it's just through the Bubble!:-)

    That is so sad about Jon Scharfenberger. But at the same time, isn't it funny how death brings to light the graces in a person's life which would have remained hidden if they were alive?

    I have nothing to say about #5. That's just ridiculous. What other excuses can we come up with?

    Hope you have a great weekend!

  6. My heart aches for John's family. So sad....

    Thanks for posting all the videos and news clips that I haven't seen or read. I'm dying to check out that congress women but haven't gotten a chance.

    I come to your blog when I know I'm gonna have time to read. :) LOL

  7. BTW

    Loved the videos! Especially the middle school version! I like to keep things simple too! :-)

  8. Congratulations on the Life Site News article! We need to pray more for the Representative and for John's family. So sad, for very different reasons. And those videos...LOVE! Actually, I love this entire post! Thanks Leila!

  9. So awesome about Lifesite news! Oh and I'm excited about the new translation as well. I noticed that when I was in Mexico, they had slightly different responses in the Spanish mass. But they were doing the "new" translation. "And with your spirit" instead of "and Also with you" etc. I can't wait! It'll probably throw some people off for awhile, but it'll be fine in the end :)

  10. Congrats on the Life Site News pick up!! Also, thanks for sharing those Life Teen videos! I'd only seen a couple of them. I'll definitely be passing them along!

  11. 1. I love those vids. They're the ones I've been watching so that I can understand it enough to share with Kyle. Hey, ya think they might finally make the congregation stop holding hands during the Our Father? That'd be nice.

    2. Sick. Thy are completely delusional.

    3. So heartbreaking. I love Students for Life and it's just so sad to see them lose such remarkable people.

    5. Wow, what a bunch of malarky.

    6. YOUUUUU are a rockstar!! LOL NY Times, go for it ;) So many people related with that post because we all go through it, internally, and it's very hard to put it into words. It was awesome of you to be able to do that, to put yourself out there. I can't thank you enough for it, truly. I am really hard on myself when it comes to all of that and having a family that doesn't support our beliefs makes it even harder.

  12. I don't remember those other post-Vatican II changes that were mentioned in the high school video.

    Why do pro-aborts like Sheila Jackson Lee want pregnant women to abort their babies? So what if hearing the sound of the heartbeat discourages a woman from aborting? What's it to her?

    Also, Kara in the comments above, mentioned holding hands during the Our Father. When I was growing up, I thought it was perfectly fine. Now, I don't like it. I don't know WHY I don't like holding hands during the Our Father. Am I getting old and uptight? Is it because it seems fake to be holding hands with a stranger? No one in my parish comes across as "icky," so why don't I want to hold hands with them during the Our Father. Any insights?

  13. From what I can tell, most scientists who believe that we don't have free will do believe we have what's referred to as "free won't"--that while we have *impulses* that we can't stop, we still have the power to *not* follow them.

  14. I don't like holding hands during the Our Father either. My reasons are mostly that I'm a reserved person and holding hands with a complete stranger doesn't make me feel united, it makes me feel even more disconnected. Trying to force the "warm fuzzy feelings" doesn't work for everyone; I think we should just simply let people pray the Our Father with their hearts, not with their hands.

  15. Hi there,
    I stumbled upon your blog... although for the life of me I can't remember how I made my way here. Just wanted to send a quick note and let you know how much I've enjoyed your blog. I know you write primarily for a Catholic audience. I am not Catholic (although I am a Christian), but I've enjoyed getting to know you and read your words. I've only read a few posts so far, and have been encouraged by them all. You have a beautiful family and I am quite happy I stumbled upon your blog! :)

  16. This is a great quick takes. I like holding hands during the our father bc it feels like we're united, and I imagine the Holy Spirit pouring out His graces upon the entire congregation. Too funny about the "scientific study" which says evil does not exist. Would like to see their research for that one.

  17. I used to like holding hands too, and I'm sure Leila can explain it better than I. But you are supposed to be praying with your hands folded. People are not supposed to be imitating the priest. They are supposed to be reverently praying. That's all I've got. ;)

  18. Here's what I found from catholic answers :

    In his book, Mass Confusion, Jimmy Akin says the following:

    “The Holy See has not ruled directly on this issue. In a response to a query, however, the Holy See stated that holding hands “is a liturgical gesture introduced spontaneously but on personal initiative; it is not in the rubrics” (Notitiae 11 [1975] 226, DOL 1502 n. R29). For this reason, no one can be required to hold hands during the Our Father.”
    (Nor is the orans posture in the rubrics.)

    The U.S. Status:
    People hold hands during the Our Father (p. 161)—Discouraged
    (Mass Confusion Appendix Three pg. 234)

    In the new General Instruction of the Roman Missal the only posture specified during the Our Father is standing.
    (paragraphs 43 and 160)

  19. Re: holding hands for the Our Father.

    In our diocese, the Bishop has specifically asked the laity not to do so, along with the "orans" (hands up) prayer posture.

    Here's my take:
    The orans posture is a priestly posture of prayer. The priest is doing it because it indicates leadership in the priestly context.

    Therefore, it is inappropriate for laity during liturgy (however, when we pray privately/in a non-liturgical setting, if we want to pray with the orans posture, or in a handstand, or jumping on one foot, we are certainly at liberty to do so.) Laity using orans began slowly after the 70s, when, it could be argued, the distinctions between laity and clergy were blurred and people were less conscious of the difference between the sacramental priesthood (holy orders) and universal priesthood (for all the baptized).

    The holding hands things is murkier, but I have two hypotheses:
    it evolved because so many people were in orans, and because their hands were close in height and distance, just started holding them (in which case it's an extrapolation of orans by laity = liturgical abuse), and/or,
    people wanted to symbolize that we are one family in Christ and holding hands is "nice."


    We are moments away from receiving Jesus's body in the Eucharist and physically sharing family fellowship in his blood... so holding hands is kind of... insufficient compared to those things.

    Also, every action and word in the Holy Mass was put there for a specific purpose by the Church, guided by the Spirit. We don't just add things because "it's nice."

    And yes, I'm SO PUMPED for November 27!!

  20. Maggie and Kara, thanks for sharing that information!

    I am NOT a touchy-feely person in Church. I have always disliked and avoided the "peace" handshake as much as possible since I was a child. (Nodding "Peace be with you" is good enough for me). In my home state, at least in the different areas where I lived, there was no hand-holding during the Our Father, nor do I remember people holding their hands up in prayer in the same manner as the priest did. (Never knew it was called "orans." The stuff I learn here!)

    In fact, I never noticed either until I moved several years ago to where I live now. I would try to avoid the hand-holding by bowing my head, closing my eyes and folding my hands. I've had others tap me a couple times (not getting the hint the first time) to have me hold their hands and would do so, grudgingly. So I am glad to know that whether people think I'm an unfriendly chick (I'm not, really!), I am probably correct in my actions. Woo hoo!

    Not only have I seen the laity in orans, but also where I live now, I have seen parishioners extend their hands towards individuals standing at the altar (for example, RCIA candidates) as the priest does the same to give them a blessing. That always struck me as wrong. We're the laity - we don't give the blessings. The priest does. When I comes to gestures and actions on the part of the laity, I am very conservative.

  21. @Girl from NY: Oh man, don't even get me *started* on this ridiculous "let's all raise our hands in blessing..." business. You're absolutely right- laity don't give blessings. That's a faculty of the ordained (deacons/priests/bishops). Besides which, it looks so awkward, like everyone's doing the Hiel Hitler! Ugh! Who ever thought that was a good idea!?

  22. Yeah don't get me started on that one. They do it at our parish and I can't stand it. Make it stop!!! Pleeeease!! :)

  23. Leila, I loved watching your last post go positively viral on the web (or at least my little corner of the web/FB, etc) I feel so honored to "know" you. :) Such a great piece worthy of a broad audience! Congrats on that acheivement!

    We are super excited about the New Missal changes around here! It's so funny how polarizing the whole topic is though--I find that there are three groups: 1) those who eagerly wait for Nov. 27, 2) those who are bitter and can't understand WHY the Church is making these "nit-picky" changes and 3) those who genuinely have no opinion because they sadly haven't been informed even yet (some parishes around here are really dropping the ball). It will be interesting to see how is all gets absorbed as it is implemented next month.

  24. Leila- Thanks for sharing those videos! I generally don't have much of an attention span, but I was engrossed in the entire 10-minute video. Thanks. I am now even more exciting for these changes to take full effect.

    As for the "Our Father", I am a convert as of less than 2 years (status-post protestant). The thing that I can't stand about the hand-holding is how it distracts me (as if anything can distract me in church when I am holding a 13-month-old). I get this terrible anxious feeling inside... 'will that guy try to hold my hand or not? will he think that i am unfriendly if i don't grab his hand? is she extending her hand out to me or not?' and it NEVER fails that if the person that I am standing beside spent the first half of the Mass coughing, sneezing, and blowing her nose, she will most definitely reach for my hand.

    So, then, all that I can think about during the "Our Father" is HANDS. Makes me nuts.

    Can we talk about the people that kiss me during the Sign of Peace? As a convert, I can't say that I am totally ready for this type of thing.

  25. Ugh, they KISS you?! Literally??? I don't think the "kiss of peace" is meant to be literal. Sorry to jump in for what, the 3 or 4th time here, but as a touch-sensitive person that would drive me crazy!

    I have never yet had anyone actually kiss me during the Kiss of Peace. God knows better.

  26. Loved the videos on the new Roman Missal. I have to admit, I was not excited at all for the changes and did not understand them, til those videos!! I'm like you, loved the first video!! But, I did kind of like that last one too, what a great priest!!

    I am excited now and can actually explain it to others...I hope.

    Thanks Leila for sharing those videos...might have to figure out how to share them too!

    So sad about that young man, Jon. Wow, tragic. I'm sure all his planted seeds are flourishing even more now with his intercession.


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