Monday, January 12, 2009

New & Old Catholic Traditions

While spending endless hours trying to catch up on reading blogs and emails after a few week break... I came across an interesting topic or set of topics regarding traditions of the Catholic Church. I thought I'd share my findings and opinions. Thank you to all who are participating in this - blogging and online research seems to be the new way of finding out the truths of our Catholic Faith.

The Roman Missal - A New English Translation by 2010

The USSCB has an article regarding the current english translation of the Roman Missal. This article as well as others, discuss how there is a committee appointed and blessed by Pope Benedict XVI, who's current studies show that there need to be a few minor changes in the American Mass. The Catholic Knight Blog seems to have sparked some interest in this being a positive move, as I agree - but for different reasons than he presents in his blog. He refers to an article about the current American Mass being "defective." This committee is working diligently to have these changes presented to bishops and priests by the year 2010. Of course, it will be awhile later before we see it in full at church. I am certain they want a smooth transition for all of us Catholics who are conformed to the almost 40 year old way. Making sure this was all "kosher" with the Vatican... I found this letter from the Pope blessing the committee.

I know many of my Traditional Latin Mass friends are excited about this change. But with all change comes opposition... so please pray for the souls of the faithful. I personally think that if something needs to be more defined or redefined, based on new translations stemming from new research... then let it happen. It will only make us stronger, right?

Will we see a return to Church Veils????
Again, this Catholic Knight seems to have gotten this discussion started. You may have read about it on Ora et Labora or Totus Tuus Family blogs or listed on the right side bar at Shower of Roses.
Their discussion stems from the tradition of women wearing veils or hats at Church prior to the change in the Canon Law in 1983. The previous tradition was enforced by church leaders, but is no longer stated in the new law. Those who still wear veils, want us to know that this is a right that was never taken away. It is no longer a law or enforced, but the tradition of it - and its original intent is still worth consideration. Am I understanding you all right?

Of course I wanted to know where this really all stems from - church documents or journalistic manipulations? I found this article helpful, from Fatima Family, which states there is no longer a force of this law, yet there is nothing restraining us from doing so either. It IS a personal decision and it is NOT a sin to not wear a veil to Mass or Adoration. But for those who chose to wear a traditional head covering when in the True Presence of Christ, they are always a good example of modesty.

I personally feel that wearing veils is up to the individual, if used respectfully and not as just another fashion trend. If it helps you be more devoted and modest, go for it. I personally believe that I will not have a better faith life or incur more blessings by covering my head while in church. I am not trying to disrespect God or the Angels by not wearing one. I however do attend in modest dress. I do not agree that it should be enforced as it was before the 1970s. I do agree that women who chose to wear a mantila or head covering be resepcted for their decision and let alone.

I think instead of a focus on whether or not to wear head coverings, there should be a nation wide effort to focus on teaching modesty in dress for all ages when attending Mass and in the secular world. I think if we simply enforce head coverings, you will begin to see baseball caps and other rediculous styles popular today - and/or it will lead to more vanity. It should be a choice just as much as it is a choice to wear slacks, a skirt, or a dress to Church. Hopefully more will begin to make the modest choices.

Isn't Fasting just for Lent?

I have heard discussions about fasting on all Fridays of the year, not just during Lent. Of course that peaked my curiosity. I went straight to the Code of Canon Law for my answer. You know, our faith is not just based on the Bible. It stands on three balanced legs of Writings, Tradition, and Papal Authority. Those things laid down for us by Christ and his first disciples. I figure their word is good enough for me, I don't have to refer to other websites or blogs for this.

The Canon Law has a section regarding Days of Penance:

Can. 1249 The divine law binds all the Christian faithful to do
penance each in his or her own way.
In order for all to be united among
themselves by some common observance of penance, however, penitential days are
prescribed on which the Christian faithful devote themselves in a special way to
prayer, perform works of piety and charity, and deny themselves by fulfilling
their own obligations more faithfully and especially by observing fast and
abstinence, according to the norm of the following canons.
Can. 1250 The penitential days and times in the universal Church are every Friday
of the whole year and the season of Lent.
Can. 1251 Abstinence
from meat, or from some other food as determined by the Episcopal Conference, is
to be observed on all Fridays, unless a solemnity should fall on a Friday.
Abstinence and fasting are to be observed on Ash Wednesday and Good
Can. 1252 The law of abstinence binds those who have completed
their fourteenth year. The law of fasting binds those who have attained their
majority, until the beginning of their sixtieth year. Pastors of souls and
parents are to ensure that even those who by reason of their age are not bound
by the law of fasting and abstinence, are taught the true meaning of
Can. 1253 The conference of bishops can determine more
precisely the observance of fast and abstinence as well as substitute other
forms of penance, especially works of charity and exercises of piety, in whole
or in part, for abstinence and fast.

Well, I hope you enjoyed learning more about the Catholic Faith. I encourage you to say your peace here, whatever your thoughts. Just try to be respectful of people's decisions, because no matter what we wear or what language we say the Mass in.. we are still all Children of God trying to live our faith the best we know how.


  1. Some findings on your questions…

    Regarding the norms for fast and abstinence, the Code of Canon Law (1253) makes this provision for the national bishops' conferences: "The Episcopal Conference can determine more particular ways in which fasting and abstinence are to be observed. In place of abstinence or fasting it can substitute, in whole or in part, other forms of penance, especially works of charity and exercises of piety" (emphasis added).

    Accordingly, in 1966, the National Conference of Catholic Bishops (NCCB) decided: "Friday should be in each week something of what Lent is in the entire year. For this reason we urge all to prepare for that weekly Easter that comes with each Sunday be freely making of every Friday a day of self-denial and mortification in prayerful remembrance of the passion of Jesus Christ;

    "Among the works of voluntary self-denial and personal penance which we especially commend to our people for the future observance of Friday, EVEN THOUGH WE HEREBY TERMINATE THE TRADITIONAL LAW OF ABSTINENCE AS BINDING UNDER PAIN OF SIN, as the sole prescribed means of observing Friday, we give first place to abstinence from flesh meat. We do so in the hope that the Catholic community will ordinarily continue to abstain from meat by free choice as formerly we did in obedience to Church law" (2-3; emphasis in original).

    You can read the NCCB's decision in context here:

    CCC 2522 Modesty protects the mystery of persons and their love. It encourages patience and moderation in loving relationships; it requires that the conditions for the definitive giving and commitment of man and woman to one another be fulfilled. Modesty is decency. It inspires one's choice of clothing. It keeps silence or reserve where there is evident risk of unhealthy curiosity. It is discreet.

    CCC 2524 The forms taken by modesty vary from one culture to another. Everywhere, however, modesty exists as an intuition of the spiritual dignity proper to man. It is born with the awakening consciousness of being a subject. Teaching modesty to children and adolescents means awakening in them respect for the human person.

    Notice – no indication that one has to wear specific clothing or headdress…

    One of the most controversial American adaptations concerned the posture of the faithful when receiving Communion. Traditional practice allowed for communicants to receive either kneeling or standing. If they received Communion standing, they should show another sign of reverence for Christ in the Eucharist. The new GIRM specified the following:

    “The norm for reception of Holy Communion in the dioceses of the United States is standing. Communicants should not be denied Holy Communion because they kneel. Rather, such instances should be addressed pastorally, by providing the faithful with proper catechesis on the reasons for this norm. When receiving Holy Communion, the communicant bows his or her head before the Sacrament as a gesture of reverence and receives the body of the Lord from the minister” (160).

    When the U.S. bishops proposed this adaptation, the Holy See insisted on the provision that the faithful who choose to kneel not be denied Communion. Following the release of the old GIRM, many faithful who chose to kneel were denied Communion or otherwise harassed regarding the practice, and Rome received numerous complaints.

    Dad the Deacon…

  2. I understood that if the Pope has not sent word down the line to us ladies that it's just a traditional thing to wear a veil. But, I am confused as to why it is that the Pope then insists women who come to him are veiled. It's custom and tradition that important . . ??? I am grateful to your research on this topic. I think it is a good tradition and I feel called by God to follow it - not force it on anyone else as that lacks charity. I do think you understood me alright about it. I like traditions and although I'm not wearing skirts and dresses to every Mass, I am taking better care to dress accordingly (no jeans) and to "veil" (wearing a beret) I feel more lady-like and reverent toward the Lord.

    I really enjoyed reading this and what your dad added. God bless you!


Thanks so much if you have some thoughts to share here! Please keep them kind - think, would you say this to your friend?