Missa Solemnis for Feast of St. Dominic set at Clifton St. Andrew

A Solemn High Mass in the Extraordinary Form will be celebrated at 7:00 pm this Thursday evening, August 4, at St. Andrew the Apostle Church in Clifton, Virginia. Parochial vicar Reverend Father Joseph Bergida will be the celebrant of the Mass of the Feast of St. Dominic. Father Bergida will be assisted by Reverend Father Christopher Mould, pastor of St. Andrew’s, as deacon, and Reverend Father Paul Scalia, Bishop’s Delegate for Clergy in the Diocese of Arlington, as subdeacon.

Holy Mass will be preceded by Exposition of the Blessed Sacrament beginning at 5:30 pm, followed by Rosary, Novena and Benediction beginning at 6:30 pm. Confession will be available from 5:30 to 6:30 pm. Adoration will continue after Mass from 8:30 to 9:00 pm.

Enrollment in the Angelic Warfare Confraternity, a Dominican apostolate devoted to purity and chastity, will be offered at 8:30 pm in the St. Padre Pio Room.

St. Andrew the Apostle Church is located just north of Compton Road (Virginia State Route 658) about a mile east of Centreville Road (Virginia State Route 28). Ample free parking is available.

Pastors must support the faithful in vigilance

From Pope St. John Paul II’s encyclical Veritatis Splendor (1993):

As the Second Vatican Council reminds us, responsibility for the faith and the life of faith of the People of God is particularly incumbent upon the Church’s Pastors: “Among the principal tasks of Bishops the preaching of the Gospel is pre-eminent. For the Bishops are the heralds of the faith who bring new disciples to Christ. They are authentic teachers, that is, teachers endowed with the authority of Christ, who preach to the people entrusted to them the faith to be believed and put into practice; they illustrate this faith in the light of the Holy Spirit, drawing out of the treasury of Revelation things old and new (cf. Mt 13:52); they make it bear fruit and they vigilantly ward off errors that are threatening their flock (cf. 2 Tim 4:1-4)”.178

It is our common duty, and even before that our common grace, as Pastors and Bishops of the Church, to teach the faithful the things which lead them to God, just as the Lord Jesus did with the young man in the Gospel. Replying to the question “What good must I do to have eternal life?” Jesus referred the young man to God, the Lord of creation and of the Covenant. He reminded him of the moral commandments already revealed in the Old Testament and he indicated their spirit and deepest meaning by inviting the young man to follow him in poverty, humility and love: “Come, follow me!” The truth of this teaching was sealed on the Cross in the Blood of Christ: in the Holy Spirit, it has become the new law of the Church and of every Christian.

This “answer” to the question about morality has been entrusted by Jesus Christ in a particular way to us, the Pastors of the Church; we have been called to make it the object of our preaching, in the fulfilment of our munus propheticum. At the same time, our responsibility as Pastors with regard to Christian moral teaching must also be exercised as part of the munus sacerdotale: this happens when we dispense to the faithful the gifts of grace and sanctification as an effective means for obeying God’s holy law, and when with our constant and confident prayers we support believers in their efforts to be faithful to the demands of the faith and to live in accordance with the Gospel (cf. Col 1:9-12). Especially today, Christian moral teaching must be one of the chief areas in which we exercise our pastoral vigilance, in carrying out our munus regale.

178 Dogmatic Constitution on the Church Lumen Gentium, 25.

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Fr. Langevin to offer Dominican Rite Missa Cantata on Sunday at Silver Spring

A Missa Cantata with choir in the Traditional Dominican Rite will be offered Sunday, July 31, at the Traditional Latin Mass Congregation of Silver Spring, Maryland. The celebrant of the Mass of the Eleventh Sunday after Pentecost will be Reverend Father Dominic Langevin op, Instructor in Systematic Theology at the Dominican House of Studies in Washington.

Holy Mass will begin at 8:00 am. Confessions will be heard from 7:10 to 7:50 am. All are invited to share coffee and doughnuts after Mass in the downstairs community room of the rectory.

Silver Spring TLM Congregation meets at the Historic Church of St. John the Evangelist, 9700 Rosensteel Avenue, Forest Glen.

The faithful have a right to pure, integral moral teaching

From Pope St. John Paul II’s encyclical Veritatis Splendor (1993):

Teaching moral doctrine involves the conscious acceptance of these intellectual, spiritual and pastoral responsibilities. Moral theologians, who have accepted the charge of teaching the Church’s doctrine, thus have a grave duty to train the faithful to make this moral discernment, to be committed to the true good and to have confident recourse to God’s grace.

While exchanges and conflicts of opinion may constitute normal expressions of public life in a representative democracy, moral teaching certainly cannot depend simply upon respect for a process: indeed, it is in no way established by following the rules and deliberative procedures typical of a democracy. Dissent, in the form of carefully orchestrated protests and polemics carried on in the media, is opposed to ecclesial communion and to a correct understanding of the hierarchical constitution of the People of God. Opposition to the teaching of the Church’s Pastors cannot be seen as a legitimate expression either of Christian freedom or of the diversity of the Spirit’s gifts. When this happens, the Church’s Pastors have the duty to act in conformity with their apostolic mission, insisting that the right of the faithful to receive Catholic doctrine in its purity and integrity must always be respected. “Never forgetting that he too is a member of the People of God, the theologian must be respectful of them, and be committed to offering them a teaching which in no way does harm to the doctrine of the faith”.177

177 Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, Instruction on the Ecclesial Vocation of the Theologian Donum Veritatis (May 24, 1990), 11: Acta Apostolicæ Sedis 82 (1990), 1554; cf. in particular Nos. 32-39, devoted to the problem of dissent: ibid., loc. cit., 1562-1568.

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Moral norms are spiritual and eternal, not empirical

From Pope St. John Paul II’s encyclical Veritatis Splendor (1993):

The moral theologian must therefore exercise careful discernment in the context of today’s prevalently scientific and technical culture, exposed as it is to the dangers of relativism, pragmatism and positivism. From the theological viewpoint, moral principles are not dependent upon the historical moment in which they are discovered. Moreover, the fact that some believers act without following the teachings of the Magisterium, or erroneously consider as morally correct a kind of behaviour declared by their Pastors as contrary to the law of God, cannot be a valid argument for rejecting the truth of the moral norms taught by the Church. The affirmation of moral principles is not within the competence of formal empirical methods. While not denying the validity of such methods, but at the same time not restricting its viewpoint to them, moral theology, faithful to the supernatural sense of the faith, takes into account first and foremost the spiritual dimension of the human heart and its vocation to divine love.

In fact, while the behavioural sciences, like all experimental sciences, develop an empirical and statistical concept of “normality”, faith teaches that this normality itself bears the traces of a fall from man’s original situation — in other words, it is affected by sin. Only Christian faith points out to man the way to return to “the beginning” (cf. Mt 19:8), a way which is often quite different from that of empirical normality. Hence the behavioural sciences, despite the great value of the information which they provide, cannot be considered decisive indications of moral norms. It is the Gospel which reveals the full truth about man and his moral journey, and thus enlightens and admonishes sinners; it proclaims to them God’s mercy, which is constantly at work to preserve them both from despair at their inability fully to know and keep God’s law and from the presumption that they can be saved without merit. God also reminds sinners of the joy of forgiveness, which alone grants the strength to see in the moral law a liberating truth, a grace-filled source of hope, a path of life.

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Faithful moral theology develops man in God’s image

From Pope St. John Paul II’s encyclical Veritatis Splendor (1993):

The service which moral theologians are called to provide at the present time is of the utmost importance, not only for the Church’s life and mission, but also for human society and culture. Moral theologians have the task, in close and vital connection with biblical and dogmatic theology, to highlight through their scientific reflection “that dynamic aspect which will elicit the response that man must give to the divine call which comes in the process of his growth in love, within a community of salvation. In this way, moral theology will acquire an inner spiritual dimension in response to the need to develop fully the imago Dei present in man, and in response to the laws of spiritual development described by Christian ascetical and mystical theology”.176

Certainly moral theology and its teaching are meeting with particular difficulty today. Because the Church’s morality necessarily involves a normative dimension, moral theology cannot be reduced to a body of knowledge worked out purely in the context of the so-called behavioural sciences. The latter are concerned with the phenomenon of morality as a historical and social fact; moral theology, however, while needing to make use of the behavioural and natural sciences, does not rely on the results of formal empirical observation or phenomenological understanding alone. Indeed, the relevance of the behavioural sciences for moral theology must always be measured against the primordial question: What is good or evil? What must be done to have eternal life?

176 Sacred Congregation for Catholic Education, The Theological formation of Future Priests (February 22, 1976), No. 100. See Nos. 95-101, which present the prospects and conditions for a fruitful renewal of moral theology: loc. cit., 39-41.

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Fr. Carr to offer TLM this Saturday morning

The Traditional Latin Mass (Extraordinary Form) will be offered at 7:00 am on Saturday morning, July 30, at St. Michael Church, 7401 St. Michael’s Lane, Annandale. Reverend Father Richard Carr will celebrate Low Mass for Saturday of Our Lady with commemoration of Ss. Abdon & Sennen.

Please note that this Mass is scheduled at the discretion of the celebrant, and is not part of the parish’s published Mass calendar. This Mass has been added to our seven-day schedule.

Moral theologians must affirm and proclaim the Church’s authoritative teachings

From Pope St. John Paul II’s encyclical Veritatis Splendor (1993):

All that has been said about theology in general can and must also be said for moral theology, seen in its specific nature as a scientific reflection on the Gospel as the gift and commandment of new life, a reflection on the life which “professes the truth in love” (cf. Eph 4:15) and on the Church’s life of holiness, in which there shines forth the truth about the good brought to its perfection. The Church’s Magisterium intervenes not only in the sphere of faith, but also, and inseparably so, in the sphere of morals. It has the task of “discerning, by means of judgments normative for the consciences of believers, those acts which in themselves conform to the demands of faith and foster their expression in life and those which, on the contrary, because intrinsically evil, are incompatible with such demands”.172 In proclaiming the commandments of God and the charity of Christ, the Church’s Magisterium also teaches the faithful specific particular precepts and requires that they consider them in conscience as morally binding. In addition, the Magisterium carries out an important work of vigilance, warning the faithful of the presence of possible errors, even merely implicit ones, when their consciences fail to acknowledge the correctness and the truth of the moral norms which the Magisterium teaches.

This is the point at which to consider the specific task of all those who by mandate of their legitimate Pastors teach moral theology in Seminaries and Faculties of Theology. They have the grave duty to instruct the faithful — especially future Pastors — about all those commandments and practical norms authoritatively declared by the Church.173 While recognizing the possible limitations of the human arguments employed by the Magisterium, moral theologians are called to develop a deeper understanding of the reasons underlying its teachings and to expound the validity and obligatory nature of the precepts it proposes, demonstrating their connection with one another and their relation with man’s ultimate end.174 Moral theologians are to set forth the Church’s teaching and to give, in the exercise of their ministry, the example of a loyal assent, both internal and external, to the Magisterium’s teaching in the areas of both dogma and morality.175 Working together in cooperation with the hierarchical Magisterium, theologians will be deeply concerned to clarify ever more fully the biblical foundations, the ethical significance and the anthropological concerns which underlie the moral doctrine and the vision of man set forth by the Church.

172 Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, Instruction on the Ecclesial Vocation of the Theologian Donum Veritatis (May 24, 1990), 16: Acta Apostolicæ Sedis [AAS] 82 (1990), 1557.
173 Cf. Code of Canon Law, Canons 252, 1; 659, 3.
174 Cf. First Vatican Ecumenical Council, Dogmatic Constitution on the Catholic Faith Dei Filius, Chap. 4: H. Denzinger-A. Schönmetzer, Enchiridion Symbolorum Definitionum et Declarationum de Rebus Fidei et Morum, 3016.
175 Cf. Paul VI, Encyclical Letter Humanæ Vitæ (July 25, 1968), 28: AAS 60 (1968), 501.

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In the light of Truth, theology carries out the Church’s prophetic mission

From Pope St. John Paul II’s encyclical Veritatis Splendor (1993):

The whole Church is called to evangelization and to the witness of a life of faith, by the fact that she has been made a sharer in the munus propheticum of the Lord Jesus through the gift of his Spirit. Thanks to the permanent presence of the Spirit of truth in the Church (cf. Jn 14:16-17), “the universal body of the faithful who have received the anointing of the holy one (cf. 1 Jn 2:20, 27) cannot be mistaken in belief. It displays this particular quality through a supernatural sense of the faith in the whole people when, ‘from the Bishops to the last of the lay faithful’, it expresses the consensus of all in matters of faith and morals”.169

In order to carry out her prophetic mission, the Church must constantly reawaken or “rekindle” her own life of faith (cf. 2 Tim 1:6), particularly through an ever deeper reflection, under the guidance of the Holy Spirit, upon the content of faith itself. The “vocation” of the theologian in the Church is specifically at the service of this “believing effort to understand the faith”. As the Instruction Donum Veritatis teaches: “Among the vocations awakened by the Spirit in the Church is that of the theologian. His role is to pursue in a particular way an ever deeper understanding of the word of God found in the inspired Scriptures and handed on by the living Tradition of the Church. He does this in communion with the Magisterium, which has been charged with the responsibility of preserving the deposit of faith. By its nature, faith appeals to reason because it reveals to man the truth of his destiny and the way to attain it. Revealed truth, to be sure, surpasses our telling. All our concepts fall short of its ultimately unfathomable grandeur (cf.Eph 3:19). Nonetheless, revealed truth beckons reason — God’s gift fashioned for the assimilation of truth — to enter into its light and thereby come to understand in a certain measure what it has believed. Theological science responds to the invitation of truth as it seeks to understand the faith. It thereby aids the People of God in fulfilling the Apostle’s command (cf. 1 Pet 3:15) to give an accounting for their hope to those who ask it”.170

It is fundamental for defining the very identity of theology, and consequently for theology to carry out its proper mission, to recognize its profound and vital connection with the Church, her mystery, her life and her mission: “Theology is an ecclesial science because it grows in the Church and works on the Church . . . It is a service to the Church and therefore ought to feel itself actively involved in the mission of the Church, particularly in its prophetic mission”.171 By its very nature and procedures, authentic theology can flourish and develop only through a committed and responsible participation in and “belonging” to the Church as a “community of faith”. In turn, the fruits of theological research and deeper insight become a source of enrichment for the Church and her life of faith.

169 Second Vatican Ecumenical Council, Dogmatic Constitution on the Church Lumen Gentium 12.
170 Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, Instruction on the Ecclesial Vocation of the Theologian Donum Veritatis (May 24, 1990), 6: Acta Apostolicæ Sedis 82 (1990), 1552.
171 Address to the Professors and Students of the Pontifical Gregorian University (December 15, 1979), 6: Insegnamenti 11, 2 (1979), 1424.

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The Holy Spirit completes and perfects the Church’s authentic faith

From Pope St. John Paul II’s encyclical Veritatis Splendor (1993):

At the heart of the new evangelization and of the new moral life which it proposes and awakens by its fruits of holiness and missionary zeal, there is the Spirit of Christ, the principle and strength of the fruitfulness of Holy Mother Church. As Pope Paul VI reminded us: “Evangelization will never be possible without the action of the Holy Spirit”.167 The Spirit of Jesus, received by the humble and docile heart of the believer, brings about the flourishing of Christian moral life and the witness of holiness amid the great variety of vocations, gifts, responsibilities, conditions and life situations. As Novatian once pointed out, here expressing the authentic faith of the Church, it is the Holy Spirit “who confirmed the hearts and minds of the disciples, who revealed the mysteries of the Gospel, who shed upon them the light of things divine. Strengthened by his gift, they did not fear either prisons or chains for the name of the Lord; indeed they even trampled upon the powers and torments of the world, armed and strengthened by him, having in themselves the gifts which this same Spirit bestows and directs like jewels to the Church, the Bride of Christ. It is in fact he who raises up prophets in the Church, instructs teachers, guides tongues, works wonders and healings, accomplishes miracles, grants the discernment of spirits, assigns governance, inspires counsels, distributes and harmonizes every other charismatic gift. In this way he completes and perfects the Lord’s Church everywhere and in all things”.168

In the living context of this new evangelization, aimed at generating and nourishing “the faith which works through love” (cf. Gal 5:6), and in relation to the work of the Holy Spirit, we can now understand the proper place which continuing theological reflection about the moral life holds in the Church, the community of believers. We can likewise speak of the mission and the responsibility proper to moral theologians.

167 Apostolic Exhortation Evangelii Nuntiandi (December 8, 1975), 75: Acta Apostolicæ Sedis 68 (1976), 64.
168 De Trinitate, XXIX, 9-10: Corpus Christianorum, Latin series 4, 70.

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