Liturgy Q&A: More on Pro Populo Masses

Answered by Legionary of Christ Father Edward McNamara, professor of liturgy and sacramental theology and director of the Sacerdos Institute at the Pontifical Regina Apostolorum university.

 Q: Pursuant to our December 8 comments on the obligation of the pastor to say a Mass for the people, a priest from Toronto asked: “What’s the assistant to the pastor in that regard? Being a co-worker in the parish for spiritual well-being of the faithful in a particular parish, doesn’t he have to say Mass for such intentions?

 On the one hand, we can say yes, insofar as every priest must offer Masses and prayers for the souls entrusted to his care.

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Rolheiser: My Top 10 Books for 2020

When St. Augustine said that “concerning taste there can be no dispute”, he was only partially right. Admittedly, taste always has a subjective aspect; but there’s always an objective component as well: objectively, a cheap soda is not a fine wine, millions of musical compositions are not Mozart, and the picture that your kindergarten child drew for your birthday is not a Van Gogh.

With that being said as an apologia, I admit that my selection of these ten books has a strongly subjective factor. These are simply the books that spoke most deeply to me this past year. Perhaps they won’t do the same for you. Nonetheless, I assure you that none of them is a cheap soda or a crayon picture a child drew for your birthday.

Which ten books spoke to me most deeply this past year?

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President Trump Issues Proclamation Commemorating 850th Anniversary of the Martyrdom of St. Thomas Becket

It’s really a remarkable thing.

This president and this White House, through all the chaos and bluster that seem to constantly surround both, have demonstrated a closeness to the Catholics of this nation that is really unprecedented.

From President Trump being the first to make a personal appearance at the March for Life, to the sounds of Ave Maria being performed at the White House at conclusion of the 2020 Republican National Convention, to his appointment of openly Catholic mother of seven, Amy Coney Barrett, to the Supreme Court, it’s an administration that seems to always have a hand out in friendship to American Catholics.

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Vatican COVID-19 commission promotes vaccine access for the vulnerable

Vatican City, Dec 29, 2020 / 01:27 pm (CNA).- The Vatican’s COVID-19 commission said Tuesday it is working to help promote fair access to the coronavirus vaccine, especially for those who are most vulnerable.

In a note published Dec. 29, the commission, which was formed at Pope Francis’ request in April, stated its six objectives in relation to the COVID-19 vaccine.

These objectives will serve as guidelines for the commission’s work, with the general intention of obtaining “a safe and effective vaccine for Covid-19 so that treatment is available to all, with a particular concern for the most vulnerable…”

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Man who killed Catholic roommate for praying at hospital to be arraigned on murder, hate crime

Los Angeles, Calif., Dec 29, 2020 / 12:52 pm (CNA).- Jesse Martinez, a COVID-19 patient who beat a fellow patient to death with an oxygen tank at Antelope Valley Hospital in Lancaster, will be arraigned on December 31st for murder, elder abuse, and religion-motivated hate crime, authorities announced on December 28.

The victim, David Hernandez-Garcia, an 82-year-old Catholic Latino man, was a resident of Lancaster, a suburb north of Los Angeles in California. He was being treated for a COVID-19 infection in a two-person room. 

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It’s a Wonderful Life: 2020 Edition

There is a classic scene in Frank Capra’s It’s a Wonderful Life where George Bailey tells his guardian angel, Clarence, “I wish I’d never been born.” That is a statement which some others have likely uttered at some point in 2020. George is at the end of his rope; he has watched friends outpace him in education and business; despite boyhood ambitions of travel and adventure, he has spent his life in his hometown of Bedford Falls, working for the family business; and his uncle has lost thousands of dollars in what appears to be a financial scandal for which George will be held accountable. After appealing to God for help George receives what he takes to be “a bust in the jaw in answer to a prayer.” George is struggling with the apparent contradiction between the existence of suffering and the existence of God. If God is all-powerful and all-loving, why does he allow people to suffer? Like the impenitent thief said: “If thou be Christ, save thyself and us.”

As Peter Kreeft notes in Making Sense Out of Suffering, our society has not done what the title of his book proposes to. We are offered countless ways to mitigate physical and emotional pain; we enjoy longer and more prosperous lives than most people in human history; but many of us are unable to cope with spiritual pain and, like George Bailey, come to resent God because of that.

Kreeft identifies a fundamental misunderstanding of modern society, that suffering is something which can be avoided. Kreeft cites the Four Noble Truths of Buddhism, the first of which is dukkha – life is suffering. But rather than a cause for hopelessness, or evidence vindicating atheism, suffering is actually proof that God exists. Like C.S. Lewis said, evil must exist, have intelligence and free will, but existence, intelligence and free-will are good things. Good is necessary for evil, but evil is not necessary for good. Suffering, while evil, is requisite for a good existence, because without suffering we would have no way of knowing pleasure. Borrowing from Tolkien, Kreeft says that the greatest stories need monsters and mysteries, which is why the greatest storytellers are people who have encountered both. We are all creators because we decide the story of our lives, and without suffering, those stories would be unreadable.

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