Vol. 3, Issue 2, © February 2008
Website: www.pjpiisoe.org – E-mail: email@example.com – Tel: (760) 488-2919
Lent and the Shadow of the Cross
Victor R. Claveau, MJ
There is a legend of the Shadow of the Cross. Jesus is about ten years old. He is returning to His mother, perhaps from an errand. It is near evening, and the sun is sinking, casting long shadows on the ground. As Jesus approaches, He opens wide His arms, waiting for His mother to enfold Him in her embrace. Mary’s eyes are lit with joy, but it is an anxious joy, a sad joy, for on the ground in the shadow cast by her Son’s arms and body, she sees the cross.
Mary, the dearest of all God’s creatures, lived in the shadow of the cross. It could not be otherwise, since she was so closely related to Him who came to save the world by the cross. The Bible tells us little about Mary’s life; it was a hidden existence. Yet, what little we read of Mary in the Scriptures is in some way or other connected with the cross. When Jesus was born, Mary had the sorrow of a young mother who could not provide a warm, comfortable home for her Child. When the Holy Family fled to Egypt, Mary was in continual fear of the enemies of her Babe. Days of grief were Mary’s when for three days she sought Him sorrowing. Her supreme day of sorrow came as she stood by the cross of her Jesus.
Mary was always in the shadow of the cross because she was always so near to Jesus. Those who, like her, wish to walk with our Lord, must also walk in the shadow of the cross. He has told us that unless we deny ourselves and take up our cross daily, we cannot be His disciples.
Our cross is not a wooden one. There are no iron nails to pierce the hands and feet. There is no crown of thorns to make the brow throb with agony. There is no lance to open one’s heart. Our cross comes in a different way.
Does not the sickness or death of a loved one pierce the heart like a lance? Worry, work, weariness crushes our souls to the ground as our Redeemer’s soul was crushed in the garden. Christ was often lonely because His friends did not understand Him. Are we not often lonely because friends and relatives are ungrateful, forgetful of favors, some-times even mean? Christ was tempted. We are tempted.
Whether we choose or not, we must walk in the shadow of the cross. Every human being has his hour of agony. The pity of it is that so few really understand where the shadow comes from. We Catholics understand, at least in part, for when we see the shadow of suffering and death and trouble falling around us, we look up to the tree that casts the shadow, the tree of the cross. On it we see our beloved Savior, who explains it all to us.
Jesus fasted forty days. On February 6, we begin our forty days of penance. We do want to be real followers of Christ. We are going to take up some little, voluntary penance as our part in this season of Lent. We are going to abstain from this or that in order to make ourselves just a little bit more like Christ, who fasted for forty days.
You would be surprised at the large number of followers of the mortified Christ, even in the bustling world of today. Seldom do you see their penances. Still more seldom do you hear about them. These people do not parade their piety. They love Christ sincerely. Out of love and gratitude for what He has done for them they are willing to make sacrifices. They do not look for excuses. Rather, they seek ways in which they can imitate the suffering Christ. I mention this because there are some who think that nobody does penance these days. They falsely reason that because Mother Church has lightened some of her regulations, there is no longer need or place for penance. Mortification is still a mark of the true follower, of the Master.
You might ask, “How can I lead a life of self-denial?” I answer, “By living a good Christian life.” Does that mean I must scourge myself, Live on bread and water, say long prayers, go without sleep and other comforts? Not at all, we can lead a good Christian life in the following way:
First, deny yourself what God and the Church of God forbid. Secondly, conscientiously do what God and His Church command. The commandments tell us exactly what God wants and what God does not want. The best penance is to keep His laws exactly.
Over and above this, the real Christian will do things which are difficult but not strictly obligated. He will do without things to which he has a right; he will adopt some practice that requires an effort.
Indeed, doing the little tasks of every day is the kind of self-denial Christ desires of us. It is carrying your cross and following Jesus. Daily duties become delightfully easy if one does his or her best, as Christ would have it.
There, brothers and sisters, is your shadow of the cross. Don’t be afraid. Walk in that shadow, at least during Lent. For where the shadow is, we find the cross.
On that cross hangs One who is watching every act and who’s suffering is lightened because He sees that He is not altogether alone. The shadow of the cross points to Good Friday and Calvary. But after Good Friday comes Easter, an earthly and eternal Easter of joy.
A Baker’s Dozen
By Reverend Father Peter M. J. Stravinskas
n the summer of 1996, Society member, Reverend Father Stravinskas delivered an address on the occasion of the Peoria Diocesan Summer Institute, entitled “A Baker’s Dozen of Obstacles to an Appreciation of the Sacraments.” Each month we will print one of his observations. Even though they were written a dozen years ago, they are, unfortunately, still most relevant. Whether you agree with his observations or not, they will certainly provide food for thought.
1. The Lack of Eschatology
“’Eschatology” is an intimidating word for a most essential aspect of Christian faith, namely, conviction about the afterlife. Sacraments, you see, ultimately make no sense if we do not view our life here below as the prelude to something bigger, better, and more enduring. Cardinal Ratzinger maintains that the gravest error of the postconciliar period has been the shunting off of eschatology to the sidelines of the Catholic experience. Admittedly, forty years age one could get the impression that life on earth was little more than a troublesome way station through which we had to pass to get to the ‘real thing’. But we’ve now gone to the other extreme in many cases, both in our preaching and in our teaching. Twenty years ago, people were already remarking that one never heard homilies on hell anymore; now, it is hard to discover homilies on heaven, except from some silly but well-meaning priests who canonize every body brought into the center aisle of their churches for a funeral—you know, even as the widow sits there wondering if the homilist could be talking about the man she knew!
“Seriously, though, we must get back to a balanced notion of how the present fits into the future; we must strike a happy medium that loves life to the full, all the while being able to nod in agreement to the conviction of the author of the Epistle to the Hebrews” ‘For here we have no lasting city, but we seek that city which is to come’ (Heb. 13:14). The sacraments are the meeting place between time and eternity, between heaven and earth; hence, a one-dimensional view of things does irreparable damage to the sacramental system as God willed it for our salvation. Sacramentality without eschatology is meaningless and ineffectual sacramentality.”
A Catholic - Protestant Dialogue
Victor R. Claveau, MJ
Recently, I found myself in the home of a Protestant teacher of religion and philosophy explaining Catholic theology. Before I describe that meeting I would like to provide a bit of background.
As a Catholic evangelist, it seems to me that never a day passes without my sharing the faith with someone, either by way of the Internet or face to face.
Not too long ago I visited the home of a Protestant couple in order to conduct personal business. When asked what I did to make my living, I replied that I am a Catholic evangelist. They were very surprised by my answer and the Mrs. said, “I didn’t know the Catholic Church had evangelists.” I replied that I was just one of a very large number serving all over the world.
As we concluded our business, I offered to answer any questions they might have concerning the Catholic faith, and we dialogued for over an hour. They were very curious and asked a number of questions. In turn, I left them with two questions: “How do you know your pastor teaches truth?” and “By what authority does he teach?” The following day I mailed them 20 pamphlets on various aspects on the faith that I downloaded from the Pope John Paul II Society of Evangelists website (www.pjpiisoe.org).
As it turned out, the husband of the couple taught mathematics at the local Protestant high school and he had mentioned our conversation to the religion teacher. Two days later I received an E-mail from the religion teacher (John) asking if I would be willing to take over his classes for a day.
Now, I would have understood the request if it had come from a Catholic teacher, but as John taught in the local Protestant high school, I was a bit suspect. After an exchange of E-mails, I was assured that he was not trying to set me up to attack Catholicism. We agreed that I would address his senior philosophy class on the subject of why Catholics believe that we are members of the one true Church established by Jesus. He also asked me to address three Bible study classes on why Catholics believe that the Bible is a Catholic book and to explain why Catholic and Protestants have different canons of Scripture. A date was set and I was looking forward to the experience.
John then invited me to meet with him and his wife at their apartment on the Sunday before my scheduled class appearance. When I arrived, he and his wife greeted me cordially. No sooner had we sat down when the door bell rang and five of John’s friends were introduced. There was John’s pastor and the pastor’s wife and two other teachers from the school and the wife of one of the teachers. I was a bit taken aback by this group as I had not been informed that there would be other guests.
It was not long before we got down to basics. I offered to answer any and all questions they had concerning Catholicism. As the discussion ensued, each time I began to explain a topic, one of the guests named Harry continued to object saying he did not believe that the Catholic teaching was correct. Finally in exasperation I said, “Harry, everyone here, including myself, knows and understands what you believe, if all you want to do is argue we will never get anywhere. This is your opportunity to learn what the Catholic Church really teaches and I would appreciate it if you would not waste the time available to us.” After that exchange, Harry kept his peace and there was a candid, respectful dialogue.
The pastor and his wife were sitting on the floor directly opposite me. She (I’ll call her Jane), asked why Catholics believe that we receive the actual body of Jesus during communion. I began my answer with the question, “Who created the universe?” and Jane answered, “God.” I then asked how did God create and she answered, “He spoke.” “Yes,” I said, “God said, ‘Let there be light,’ and there was light. I used a couple more examples from the first chapter of Genesis (1:1-31) on the creation and then to further hammer home my point, referred to Isaiah 55:11 “so shall my word be that goes forth from my mouth; it shall not return to me empty, but it shall accomplish that which I purpose, and prosper in the thing for which I sent it.” “Do you agree,” I said, “that when God declares something into being that it actually comes to pass?” “Yes, of course’ Jane answered.
“Do you believe that Jesus is a Divine Person, in others words, God.” Jane nodded assent. “Then,” I continued, “Whatever Jesus declared would have to come to pass as well. When He told the woman caught in adultery that her sins were forgiven, were they not forgiven? Did He not have the power to raise people from the dead and cure many illnesses? “Certainly,” she answered. Well, then, at the last supper when he held bread in His sacred hands and declared ‘Take, eat; this is my body’ (Mt. 26:26), what was he holding in His hands? After a pregnant pause, Jane answered ‘His Body.’ I went on, to further illustrate, and when Jesus took a cup, and when he had given thanks he gave it to them, saying, ‘Drink of it, all of you; for this is my blood’ (Mt. 26:28), what was He holding in His hands, and Jane answered, ‘His Blood.’” “Exactly”, I said, “It could be no less.”
Although this is one of the greatest mysteries in Christianity, it is really that simple. Jesus changed bread and wine into His sacred Body and Blood, and in Luke’s Gospel Jesus instructed His apostles to do the same by saying “Do this in remembrance of me” (22:19). What did Jesus mean by the word “this”? He has just changed bread and wine into His body and Blood. Isn’t it obvious that Jesus meant for the apostles to change bread and wine into His Body and Blood and gave them the power to do it! The logic of my explanation was obvious and there was a pregnant silence in the room. As we had been in conversation for almost three hours I thought it best to end on that note and took leave of these good people.
The following Friday I addressed John’s students, but that’s another story.
Catholic Church News
by Sandro Magister
On Monday, January 14 "L'Osservatore Romano," in reporting on the Mass and baptisms celebrated by Benedict XVI in the Sistine Chapel the previous Sunday, the feast of the Baptism of the Lord, emphasized that "for the first time since the beginning of his pontificate," the pope "celebrated the Mass in public from the traditional altar" (see the photo at the top).
And it explained:
"He decided to celebrate at the ancient altar in order not to alter the beauty and harmony of this architectural gem, preserving its structure from the viewpoint of the celebration and making use of a possibility provided for by the liturgical guidelines. At certain moments the pope thus found himself with his back to the faithful and his gaze upon the Cross, orienting in this way the attitude of the entire assembly."
A few days later, in a January 20 interview with Vatican Radio, the new master of ceremonies for the pontifical liturgies, Guido Marini, gave these additional explanations:
"I believe that it is important first of all to consider the orientation that the liturgical celebration is always called upon to display: I refer to the centrality of the Lord, the Savior crucified and risen from the dead. This orientation must determine the interior disposition of the whole assembly, and in consequence, the exterior manner of celebrating as well. The placement of the cross on the altar, at the center of the assembly, has the capacity to communicate this fundamental aspect of liturgical theology. There can also be particular circumstances in which, because of the artistic conditions of the sacred place and its singular beauty and harmony, it would be preferable to celebrate at the ancient altar, which preserves the precise orientation of the liturgical celebration. This is exactly what happened in the Sistine Chapel. This practice is permitted by the liturgical norms, and is in harmony with the conciliar reform."
As for the celebrant "turning his back to the faithful":
"In the circumstances in which the celebration takes place in this manner, this is not so much a question of turning one's back to the faithful, but rather of orienting oneself toward the Lord, together with the faithful. From this point of view, instead of being closed the door is opened for the faithful, to lead them to the Lord. In the Eucharistic liturgy, the participants do not look at one another; they look to the One who is our East, the Savior."
And about the motu proprio "Summorum Pontificum," which liberalized the use of the ancient rite of the Mass:
"The Church's liturgy, like all of its life, is characterized by continuity: I would speak of development in continuity. This means that the Church proceeds on its journey through history without losing sight of its own roots and its own living tradition: this can even require, in some cases, the recovery of valuable and important elements that have been lost and forgotten along the way, and the authentic meaning of which has been dimmed by the passage of time. It seems to me that the motu proprio moves in precisely this direction, reaffirming very clearly that in the Church's liturgical life there is continuity, without rupture. One must not speak, therefore, of a return to the past, but of a true enrichment for the present, in view of tomorrow."
In any case, an instruction on the motu proprio is being prepared "that soundly establishes the criteria of application": cardinal secretary of state Tarcisio Bertone announced this in an interview with "Famiglia Cristiana" on January 6.
Moreover, there will soon be published a new formulation of the prayer for the Jews contained in the rite for Good Friday in the 1962 "Tridentine" missal liberalized by the motu proprio. The references to the condition of "darkness" and "blindness" of the Jewish people will disappear, while the prayer for their conversion will remain. "Because in the liturgy we are always praying for conversion, of ourselves in the first place and then of all Christians and non-Christians," explained archbishop Angelo Amato, secretary of the congregation for the doctrine of the faith, in an interview with "Avvenire."
Returning to the orientation of the celebration, to understand to what extent the words of master of pontifical ceremonies Guido Marini reflect the thought of Benedict XVI, it is enough to note what the pope said in this passage from his last general audience on Wednesday, January 23:
"In the liturgy of the ancient Church, after the homily the bishop or presider of the celebration, the main celebrant, said: 'Conversi ad Dominum'. Then he himself and everyone else stood up and faced the East. Everyone wanted to look toward Christ."
Catholic Church Defends the Right to Evangelize
Vatican City — Responding to allegations, particularly from Russian Orthodox and Anglican leaders, that the Catholic Church was “poaching for souls,” the Holy See’s Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (CDF) released a statement affirming its “right and duty” to evangelize among nonbelievers and welcome converts into the Church.
The 19-page “Note on Some Aspects of Evangelization,” declares that evangelization is “an inalienable right and duty, an expression of religious liberty…
“The incorporation of new members into the Church is not the expansion of a power group, but rather entrance into the network of friendship with Christ which connects heaven and earth, different continents and age. It is entrance into the gift of communion with Christ.”
“Every person has the right to hear the “Good News’.” The “Note” said. “Every Christian has the corresponding duty to help people meet Jesus Christ, a task that must be accomplished not only be words, but also by one’s actions”
The “Note” was sent from the CDF to conferences of bishops worldwide to be made public December 14, 2007, when it was to be published in L’Osservatore Romano.
It was signed by William Cardinal Levada, prefect of the CDF, and Salesian Archbishop Angelo Amato, CDF secretary.
The CDF issued the statement because of a “growing confusion” about the Church’s missionary mandate, the “Note” said. For example, some maintain that “any attempt to convince others on religious matters” somehow infringes upon the freedom of the person. Some argue that conversion to Christ and to the Catholic faith should not be promoted because it is possible for people to be saved without explicit faith in Christ or formal incorporation in the Church. The “Note,” CDF said, “is intended to clarify certain aspects of the relationship between the missionary command of the Lord and respect for the conscience and religious freedom of all people.”
The CDF highlighted anthropological, ecclesiological, and ecumenical implications of evangelization.
Citing anthropological implications, the “Note” said that human freedom cannot be separated from its integral reference to truth. Teaching and dialogue, it said, constitutes “a legitimate endeavor and a service capable of making human relationships more fruitful.”
Communication of religious truths so that they might be accepted by others is also in harmony with the natural human desire to have others share in one’s own goods, the “Note” said.
Evangelizers themselves benefit from evangelizing, it added. “Every encounter with another person or culture is capable of revealing potentialities of the Gospel which hitherto may not have been fully explicit and which will enrich the life of Christians and the Church.
The “Note” underscored the attitudes which should accompany evangelization and said that whatever fails to respect the dignity and religious freedom of the partners in dialogue, such as coercion or improper enticement, has no place in Christian Evangelization.
It also warned against relativism. The Church’s task of evangelization is endangered, it said, “by relativistic theories which seek to justify religious pluralism, no only de facto, but also de jure” [by right]. Such theories overlook the fact that human freedom is not indifference; it is rather directed toward truth.
In noting ecumenical considerations, the CDF spoke of a close connection between evangelization and ecumenism in the sense that Christian divisions seriously compromise the credibility of the Church’s evangelizing mission. The more ecumenism brings about greater unity among Christians, the more effective that evangelization will be.
When Catholic evangelization takes place is a country where other Christians live, Catholics must take care to carry out their mission with “both true respect for the tradition and spiritual riches of such countries as well as a sincere spirit of cooperation.”
The CDF noted ecumenism’s different dimensions: listening, “as a fundamental condition for any dialogue”; theological discussion, “in which, by seeking to understand the beliefs, traditions, and convictions of others, agreement can be found, at times hidden under disagreement”; and witness and proclamation, “of elements which are not particular traditions or theological subtleties, but which belong rather to the Tradition of the faith itself.”
391 Official Declarations on Medjugorje
392 The Meaning of Inspired Scripture
393 Fundamentalist Interpretation of Scripture
394 The Vatican and the Death Penalty
395 Compulsory Sterilization
396 Deadly Medicine: Creating the Master Race
397 The Nazi’s T-4 Euthanasia Program
398 Principle of Double Effect
399 Heaven and the World, Victor R. Claveau, MJ
400 Living Tabernacles, Victor R. Claveau, MJ
401 Fourth of July
402 Saint Josephine Bakhita
403 Papal Succession
404 A Brief History of the Rosary, St. Louis de Monfort
406 Sacred Images
407 The Veil, Jackie Freppon
408 The Crucifix, Stations of the Cross, and the Veneration of the Cross
409 Holy Water
410 Hell Does Exist! Martin J. Scott, S.J.
411 Anti-Catholic Prejudice, Martin J. Scott, S.J.
412 Was Abraham Lincoln’s Assassination a Jesuit Plot? Victor R. Claveau, MJ
413 Medjugorje Evaluated in New Study, James Likoudis.
New Spanish CD Lectures:
S01 La Nueva Vida En El Espiritu – Una Explicacion, Deacon Nick Carrillo
S05 Abre La Puerta A Cristo, Pepe Prado
S06 Evangelizar Con Gran Poder, Pepe Prado
S07 La Nueva Vida En EI Espiritu-Una Explicacion, Pepe Prado
S08 Sacramento De Reconciliacion: Perdon, Sanacion, Celebracion, Pepe Prado
S09 ¿Ya Que Abrimos Las Puertas A Cristo? Ahora Que? Pepe Prado
S10 Bautismo En El Espiritu Santo, Padre Florencio Rodriquez
S13 Cristo Sobre Todo Lo Otro. Jesse Romero
S15 Devocion Biblica a la Virgen Maria, Jesse Romero
S17 El Poder De La Sagrada Eucaristia, Jesse Romero
S18 Encendiendo El Fuego De Fe, Jesse Romero
S21 ¿Hay Garantia En La Gloria? Jesse Romero
S22 Jesus Ayer, Hoy y Siempre, Jesse Romero
S24 La Biblia, El Diezno y EI Cristiano, Jesse Romero
S25 La Confesion y La Eucaristia, Jesse Romero
S26 La Iglesia y La Biblia, Jesse Romero
S27 La Presencia Real De Cristo En La Sagrada Eucaristia, Jesse Romero
S32 Vayan y Hagan Discipulos de Todas las Naciones, Jesse Romero
S36 Celebrando Diversidad En Un Espiritu-El Espiritu De Cristo, Maria Vadia
S37 Maria-Modelo Del Nuevo Milenio, Maria Vadia
We have purchased 50 pamphlet racks at a discount from the manufacturer. These racks are now being made available, completely stocked with 1,875 pamphlets, for only $400.00. There is certainly a hunger among the laity for accurate Catholic information. We now offer over 400 pamphlets on 40 different topics; from Abortion to World Religions.
For those of you living in Southern California, a Society board member will travel to meet with any pastor who desires to explore the possibility of placing a pamphlet display rack in their parish. Members should contact their pastors and explain the benefits of providing our pamphlets to the congregation.
We will place a display rack on a no obligation, trial basis. If after this trial period, the pastor decides not to continue displaying the pamphlets, we will remove it as soon as possible and there will be no cost. On the other hand, if he should decide to keep and maintain the display, he will then pay $400.00 to cover the cost of the display and the initial stock of pamphlets.
Members should contact their pastor and set up an appointment to discuss the program. Call 760-488-2919 to coordinate an appointment.
Pamphlets can be either downloaded from the Society website at no cost or purchased in lots of 1,875 for $125.00 (about 6¢ each). The pamphlets come pre-folded which save a great deal of time and effort. There are five different lots available, the titles of which are found on our website.
Accounting Help Needed
We are in need of a volunteer Tax Accountant located in Southern California (more specifically, in the Inland Empire). If you have the necessary qualifications and would like to help the Society please call Victor at 760-488-2919.
I have printed out on small-medium size paper "Got truth? Want to know what the Catholic Church really teaches? Please visit www.pjpiisoe.org". I leave them on Cars, lobbies, restrooms, and clubhouses. Hopefully someone will want to know the answer to the question: Got truth?—Jose G.
Another good evangelization idea is to place the following ad or one similar in your local newspaper. You can change the mailing address or use the Society’s.
What does the Catholic
Church really teach about
To get the answer to this or
Any other question regarding
Catholic belief, send your
Question along with a stamped,
Self-addressed envelope to:
The Pope John Paul II
Society of Evangelist
14818 Ranchero Rd.
Hesperia, CA 92345
The above is one column two inch ad and should be fairly inexpensive, especially if you contract for three months or more.
The topic can be varied from week to week. We offer the following topics and a pamphlet suggestion(s).
Original Sin—Pamphlet 251
Blessed Virgin Mary—Pamphlet 014
Euthanasia—Pamphlet 021 or 042
Justification—Pamphlet 302 or 068
Biblical Interpretation—Pamphlet 334
Divorce—Pamphlet 060 or 242
Hoy Communion—Pamphlet 235
Which is the true religion—Pamphlet 286
Infant Baptism—Pamphlet 089 or 011
Being Born Again—Pamphlet 325
Faith and Works—Pamphlet 045
You might also consider sending the respondents a pamphlet each month for a period of 3-4 months; then refer them to the local pastor for further instruction.
Questions from our members
Question: Please the meaning of the word “Rubrics”, which is used in reference to the Mass.
Answer: The word “rubrics” (from the Latin word rubber — “red”) refers to the directions printed in red in the Missal and the breviary and in the other official prayer books of the Church. These directions prescribe in great detail the ceremonies and actions to be performed by the priest and/or other participants in the various forms of worship such as the offering of Holy Mass and the administration of the sacraments. The red print is used mainly for clarity and distinction. Canon Law requires strict observance of the rubrics in the liturgical books for the celebration of the Mass, the recitation of the Divine Office and the administration of the sacraments.
Question: How often do I have to go to confession when I receive Holy Communion daily?
Answer: There is no regulation binding you to go to confession before receiving Holy Communion if you are in the state of grace, but it is customary and prudent for frequent communicants to go to confession every two weeks, or at least monthly. The sacrament of penance is always a fitting preparation for Holy Communion, since along with its primary effect of restoring sanctifying grace to the soul in a state of sin; it also carries with it a sacramental grace through which we are strengthened to resist temptation. Besides, like all the other sacraments, confession increases sanctifying grace in our souls when that grace is already present.
Question: There seems to be quite a difference of opinion among the clergy as to whether or not the holy water fonts in churches should be emptied of holy water and refilled with sand or rocks during lent. Would you please clarify the Churches position?
Answer: While the holy water fonts are emptied from the Mass of the Lord's Supper until they are refilled with water blessed at the Easter Vigil, they should not be emptied prior to Holy Thursday. The following letter from the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments rejects this practice. Note the strong bias (reason 1) against inventing practices not called for in the liturgical law. Forcibly rejected is the argument used by some to justify their abuses that “It is not forbidden, so I can do it.” In reality, no one may do in that liturgy that which is not prescribed by the Church, specifically the Apostolic See, who alone has authority over it (SC 22, canon 838.
Congregation de Cultu Divino et Disciplina Sacramentorum, Prot. N. 569/00/L Dear Father:
March 14, 2000
This Congregation for Divine Worship has received your letter sent by fax in which you ask whether it is in accord with liturgical law to remove the Holy Water from the fonts for the duration of the season of Lent.
This Dicastery is able to respond that the removing of Holy Water from the fonts during the season of Lent is not permitted, in particular, for two reasons:
1. The liturgical legislation in force does not foresee this innovation, which in addition to being praeter legem is contrary to a balanced understanding of the season of Lent, which though truly being a season of penance is also a season rich in the symbolism of water and baptism, constantly evoked in liturgical texts.
2. The encouragement of the Church that the faithful avail themselves frequently of the [sic] of her sacraments and sacramentals is to be understood to apply also to the season of Lent. The "fast" and "abstinence" which the faithful embrace in this season does not extend to abstaining from the sacraments or sacramentals of the Church. The practice of the Church has been to empty the Holy Water fonts on the days of the Sacred Triduum in preparation of the blessing of the water at the Easter Vigil, and it corresponds to those days on which the Eucharist is not celebrated (i.e., Good Friday and Holy Saturday).
Hoping that this resolves the question and with every good wish and kind regard, I am,
Sincerely yours in Christ, [signed]
Mons. Mario Marini Undersecretary
Question: At an area meeting of clergy, three of my priest colleagues stated that they anointed gravely ill infants because the Catechism did not forbid this. Is this permissible?
Answer: In short, the answer is no. It is neither logical nor correct to have the Catechism answer questions that were not asked of it (cf. CCC §1514-1516). Whereas, the same Catechism (1992) does cite the relevant canon law and the Rite of Anointing (1972) both of which directly answer this question.
First, the law—Canon 1004, §l: “The anointing of the sick can be administered to any member of the faith who, having reached the use of reason (adepto rationis usu) begins to be in danger by reason of illness or old age.”
Next, the Rite of Anointing (Ordo Unctionis Infirmorum (11/30/72) states in the Praenotanda or “Introduction”: “Sick children may be anointed if they have sufficient use of reason (cum talem habent usum rationis) to be comforted by this sacrament” (Ordo, n. 12).
Since your letter describes “infants” as those who are 1 or 2 years old, clearly these are not the proper recipients of this Sacrament since by no calculation would anyone suggest that they have reached the age of reason.
A Catholic University dissertation (Canon Law Series §419) treats at some length the question of attaining the use of reason in this context (cf. C. G. Renati, The Recipient of Extreme Unction  pp. 101-108). Renati argues that in the past some particular legislation required the recipient to be of a fixed age beyond that which brings the use of reason. But, Pope Benedict XIV (1748) ruled emphatically: “As soon as children are judged capable of knowing right from wrong and of being answerable for their acts they can be anointed should they fall seriously ill” (p. 102). Not to administer this Sacrament to children who have reached the use of reason was described by the Decree Quam singulari (1910) as a “detestable abuse.”
In view of Renati’s scholarly research it is fair to say that it has never been the tradition nor the practice of the Church to administer this Sacrament to those who have never attained the use of reason—they are simply ineligible to receive this Sacrament.
Does this leave us without spiritual means and aids for infants who are seriously ill? I think not! Surely prayer (individual or group) can be offered; novenas can be offered as can all sorts of pious works and efforts. Indeed, the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass can be offered for this specific purpose.
Please E-mail your question(s) to: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Spread the Word about the Society
Let us know what you are doing to spread the Faith, as your story might encourage others to do the same. Society membership is slowly growing by word of mouth. It is imperative that we spread the word about the materials we offer in order to evangelize the world. Please tell everyone you know about the Society. Forward this newsletter to family and friends.
We wish to sincerely thank each and every one of you who donated to the Society in the past month. Without financial contributions we will not survive. There is still much work to be done and we rely on your generosity to continue.
Are you taking advantage of the materials we offer? During the past few months, we have filled hundreds of orders for books and CD lectures. These materials are sold at our cost. We sincerely want to continue to provide materials as inexpensively as possible, but we will only be able to do this with your generous contributions.
Our immediate need is the purchase of additional printers, and a new computer. When our goal to place these 50 racks is achieved, it is conceivable that we will have orders for as many as 50,000 pamphlets per week. That number is far beyond our present capabilities.
We can only minister to the evangelization needs of Catholics through the generous support of friends and members like you. A $30 tax deductible donation will provide 500 pamphlets for a poor parish or prison ministry. $125 will provide 1,875 pamphlets. $400 will provide a pamphlet display rack complete with 1875 pamphlets.
Please join us in ministering to our Catholic brothers and sisters, and reaching out to those searching for the truth of the Catholic Faith.
Please consider a monthly tax deductible donation. Take a moment right now and write a check. Any amount will help us to stay afloat and accomplish the many goals that we have set for this year.
Help us to build up the Church. Please make your check out to the Pope John Paul II Society of Evangelists, and mail it to the Pope John Paul II Society of Evangelists:
The Pope John Paul II Society
24818 Ranchero Rd.
Hesperia, CA 92345
Thank you for your prayers and financial help.