Update: We are currently sold out of the Spirago Catechism in Paperback, and we do not have an estimate as to when it will be back in. The wait time could be very long due to the book’s size. We apologize for the inconvenience.
For the Kindle, click here.
At long last, the Catechism explained by Fr. Spirago is back in print. This edition is not a facsimile, but a full reprint with increased font size, and very minor updates to antiquated English. Some of the numbering has been redrafted to avoid confusion, and we
We already have so many catechisms, what do we need of another? We indeed have in abundance, catechisms and religious manuals which appeal only to the intellect; books that do not aim at the warmth of expression and the fervent, persuasive eloquence which appeal to the heart, the force and vivifying power which affect the will through the influence of the Holy Spirit.
This Catechism aims at cultivating all the three powers of the soul: the intellect, the emotions, and the will. It does not therefore content itself with mere definitions. The idea in it is not to teach men to philosophize about religion, but to make them good Christians who will delight in their faith. Consequently questions of scholastic theology, doctrines debated among theologians, are either omitted altogether or merely receive a passing mention.
In this catechism, Fr. Spirago has endeavored to divest religious teaching of the appearance of learning, and to present it in a popular and simple form. Technical terms, in which almost all religious manuals abound, even those intended for children, are carefully eliminated from his pages since, while useful and necessary for seminarians and theologians, they are out of place in a book intended for the laity. Popular manuals of religion ought to be couched in plain and simple language, like that used by Our Lord and the apostles, easy to understand. What we need is something that will touch the heart and influence the will, not merely cram the mind with knowledge.
“The Catechism Explained by Spirago embodies the Catechism of the Council of Trent, yet contains fuller discussions for each point in the language that was developed by the Church, saints and theologians throughout time. Rather than being locked into a specific age or decade, this catechism is an explication of the faith in an almost timeless manner. It is a catechism that any subsequent generation could read and learn the essence of the Catholic faith.”
-Fr. Chad Ripperger, PhD
Kindle: click here
Every great religious order runs into difficulties, and God provides a saint to redress them. Where would the Benedictines be without St. Romauld or St. Peter Damian, the Franciscans without St. Bonaventure, or the Dominicans without Blessed Jordan? Likewise, where would the Poor Clares be without St. Colette?
Colette of Corbie was born in one of the most turbulent times in the Church, the 14th century. She moved within the world of the Western Schism, having interacted with many of the great figures of her day, men as diverse as the anti-Pope Pedro de Luna, Pope Martin V, and St. John Capistrano. She was also active during the close of the Hundred Years’ War between France and England and was a contemporary of St. Joan of Arc. But her most enduring legacy is her reform of the Second Order of St. Francis, the Poor Clares.
Mother Mary Francis tells the amazing story of this great saint, whose life was filled with miracles, who defeated the devil with humility, prayer and trust in God. She writes Colette’s life with flowing prose that connects her to the great and dramatic events of her time, while at every turn bringing out the work of God in her soul. Saint Colette is a saint to know better, who along with others in laboring in the troubled vineyard of the 15th century, did so much to heal and reform the Church.
6 Dom Raoul vs. Colette
The word “recluse” falls on our ears like a sound from another world. The concept of a severance from society so total as was the life of the medieval anchorite or anchoress is perhaps more difficult for our twentieth-century-conditioned minds to grasp than the notion of separate humanities on other planets. However, during Colette’s lifetime, this very ancient way of life was still followed by a considerable number of men and women, some of them professed religious attached to monasteries; others, layfolk who lived on the alms of the townspeople or of passersby if the anchorhold was situated outside a town. One of the sharpest contrasts between our way of thinking and the medieval outlook is in the attitude taken toward these recluses.
If one of our acquaintances expressed the desire to build himself a little lean-to against one of our big city churches, there to live and die in complete seclusion and utter dependence on the goodwill offerings of people going into the church, all the neighbors would probably agree that he should certainly be locked up. Perhaps his friends would hustle him off to a psychiatrist, who in his turn would be delighted at having so rare a specimen to study. It was not so in the Middle Ages. A recluse was the pride and glory of his town. Sometimes he was given a regular pension out of the town coffers, made annual gifts of clothing; altogether, he was highly respected as one singled out by God. The recluse became a symbol of God’s protection over a city, and the people guarded their treasure jealously as a kind of spiritual lightning-rod. It is quite possible that there was a goodly admixture of superstition in this kind of veneration; but the basic spiritual outlook was there, too.
Some of those who embarked on this way of life were penitents who wished to wash out the stains of their own past swindling or lasciviousness, or what-have-you, with prayer and austerity. Others were individuals whose personal past was the lightest of burdens, but who wished to offer themselves as holocausts of reparation for the sins of the world or for particular sinners or classes of sinners. In still other cases, the motive of reparation was secondary to the simple desire to be as closely united to God as is humanly possible. These latter wanted nothing on earth except to be utterly alone with the Lord they loved, waiting on Him by day and by night, their gypses uncluttered by any material interests, living in complete and happy detachment from all the things other men spend their lives and energies pursuing. Colette was one of these. Yet, Father Jéhan must have had more than one inward tremor about what he was proposing to this lovely young woman. He admitted that the vocation of a recluse was one beyond his own spiritual powers, and he tried to test Colette’s motives by accenting its objective harshness. Relentlessly he pressed upon her imagination the concrete details of the life she was about to embrace.
She would be actually sealed into one or two tiny rooms. (The ritual for enclosing a recluse included an official sealing of the door.) Think what it would mean: Never to walk again in the fragrant fields of Corbie at twilight. Never again to feel the wind or sun against her cheeks. Never again to feel the warm pressure of a friend’s hand, or to join in the laughter of Jacquette Legrande and Guillemette Chrétien over the wonder of being alive and young. She would be completely dependent on the charity of others: she would eat the food they might bring her; or nothing, if they forgot her.
Then, the austerity of the life itself, with all the pleasant distractions of the world removed: prayer and penance; the recitation of the Divine Office; assisting at Mass through a wicket opening into the church. And for relaxation—and as a possible means of support if alms failed—some needlework, perhaps.
When Father Jéhan had completed his word pictures, he swung his gaze back on the girl before him. If he expected to see indrawn lips, thoughtful eyes, and that slight forward thrust of the jaw which her biographers describe as the characteristic sign of Colette’s moments of struggle, he was disappointed. She was smiling, and she had only one question to ask: “When may I begin? I am ready.”
Father Jéhan did not at first reply. Probably he could not. But Colette repeated softly: “I am ready, Father.” The priest finally stood up. “Yes,” he said, “I believe you are.” He blessed her and sent her away until he could make arrangements for carrying out their plan.
It is not clear from the ancient biographies where Colette was living these days, but very probably she stayed with Jacquette or Guillemette, her most loyal friends. We know that she told them of Father Jéhan’s inspiration, and that they received her confidence with a great deal of awe and no small measure of sorrow. Both the older girls were convinced that Colette Boellet had the rare qualities of soul for the austere life of a recluse, but the thought of losing her was almost unbearable. Jacquette and Guillemette suddenly realized how Colette had entered into the very core of their own lives, steadying them. Now the ground was shifting under their feet. They cried.
Colette comforted her two friends, receiving the testimony of their affection quite simply. The greater the holiness, the greater the power to love and the capacity for being loved. The young girl who was so delighted at the prospect of being enclosed in a tiny hermitage for the rest of her life had in its perfection the first prerequisite of a recluse: a love for God and men so great that it could not express itself in any measure less than that of holocaust.
With all her bride’s eagerness, Colette kept her businesslike sense of the importance of details. And the biggest and most formidable detail to be attended to was Dom Raoul de Raye. The spiritual aspect of his guardianship becomes fully apparent here. For although Colette had disposed of her earthly goods on her own initiative and with a free heart, she evidently felt that her entering upon the life of a recluse was a matter entirely within Dom Raoul’s jurisdiction. Years later she confided to Sister Perrine her memories of that difficult time, and from what we know of the characters of Colette and Dom Raoul we can imagine what the encounters between the two might have been like.
One day in August, taking inward reassurance from the Franciscan habit she wore and the solid reality of the Franciscan cord knotted around her waist, Colette set out for the Abbey of Saint-Pierre to disclose her plan to the abbot and obtain his consent to it.
It was a familiar journey, and at every few paces she must have found some reminder of her childhood walks with her father. One can imagine her coming out of the sunlight into the coolness of the abbey parlor, sitting on the edge of one of the stiff chairs, listening, with prayerful anxiety, for the abbot’s precise footfalls in the great flagged hall.
At last he came, looked speculatively at the brown habit and white cord—and perhaps more speculatively at something in Colette’s eyes—and took his seat before her. In her usual direct way, she outlined Father Jéhan’s suggestion for her future life, trying to compensate by her own enthusiasm for the total lack of response she saw in the abbot’s face. Silence. She began again, with a rising inflection, asking his opinion on various points. Still not a word. And then she fell to her knees, as she had done when she was a small child, and said simply, “Will your Lordship permit me to be a recluse?”
At last Abbot Raoul de Raye spoke, and his words must have fallen like small hammer blows in the summer stillness: “I most certainly will not. This is nonsense. And I do not intend to betray the trust of your father by being a party to the wild scheme of Father —Jéhan—Pinet.” Abbot Raoul’s voice was a marvelous instrument. It dragged the Franciscan friar before the bar of justice on “Father,” condemned him on “Jéhan,” and sentenced him with “Pinet.”
All her life, Colette had seen the great abbot at his best, with that odd mixture of reverence and indulgence he reserved for M. Boellet’s daughter. Now, for the first time, she saw the forbidding countenance of an abbot whose mind was closed.
He rose, gesturing for her to rise too, and dismissed her: “I have a number of things to attend to, and I will ask you to excuse me. In any case, the subject is closed.” He held out his hand, and Colette went on her knees again to kiss his ring. She glanced up at him, her eyes full of tears, and he softened a little. “Go along, child,” he said. “You will see for yourself that this is all nonsense. Come back to see me next week.”
Colette had been defeated in the first engagement, but there was another Party involved. She prayed that He would intervene.
Sister Perrine tells us that she went again and again to the abbey, and time after time Abbot Raoul heard her out impassively. And then one day when she was almost in despair of gaining his consent, with the lightning quickness of inspiration she fell prostrate at the abbot’s feet, and the old man suddenly yielded. He stooped down and raised her to her feet. She looked up at him and heard his voice, more gentle than she had ever heard it before: “Go, child, go, and be a recluse.” And then, after a pause, the unbelievable words: “I will help you.”
In the days that followed, all Dom Raoul’s best qualities of soul and heart, too often submerged in half measures, came swimming to the surface of his character. Once this powerful man determined to do something, he did it with despatch and thoroughness. This time, his efficiency was tempered with genuine love for the girl he knew was already greater than he would ever be; but he proceeded with an energy that must have forced Colette to hide a smile more than once.
Like the practical businessman he was, the abbot first announced to all the people of Corbie that they were to be blessed with a recluse of their own, and that the one who wished to place herself in spiritual bondage for their good was no other than his own ward, Colette Boellet. Dom Raoul de Raye, remember, was the reigning lord of Corbie. If the people’s sense of pleasure at the notion of having a recluse in their midst needed any whetting, the immense force of the abbot’s personality would supply it. The townspeople were not asked if they wished to support a recluse. They were told that they were to be privileged to do so and that a delegate of the abbot would shortly be calling on them to take up a collection for the erection of an anchorhold for his protégée.
The fact is, the people were genuinely happy and grateful to God for what their faith considered a rare gift to the town, but the identity of the recluse was a thunderbolt. A converted sinner, yes; maybe a strong man of middle years, or perhaps an aged widow on whom the world had no claims and for whom it held no attractions. But the most beautiful girl in their town! The one who could preach as well as the famous priests in Paris! The happy, innocent daughter of the Boellets! This was too much. They forgot all their grievances against Colette’s supposed instability. Where they had criticized her for not following the abbot’s advice in the past, they now blamed her for acting under his authority.
However, the men, women, and children of Corbie were tame opposition for the determination of Abbot Raoul de Raye. The affair was settled. The ceremony of Colette’s enclosure in her anchorage would be held on Sunday, September 17 of that year, which was 1402. All were invited to attend the solemn rites, over which he himself would preside, in the abbey church. And now, please, a generous donation toward the little dwelling which was to be placed between two buttresses of the parish church of Notre Dame in Corbie.
It needed the intense drive of a Raoul de Raye to get the three- room anchorhold erected and finished in detail by September 17. Doubtless his enormous prestige, as well as her own personal admiration for Mlle. Boellet, inspired the widow of the town provost, Mme. Guillemette Gamalin, to give the entire sum necessary to construct the anchorhold, although the abbot continued to solicit other offerings for Colette’s security. The complaints of workmen who objected to all this haste lodged sidewise in their throats when Dom Raoul came to inspect their progress. One just did not argue with this man. He directed that his own monks should supply the choir for the ceremony of Colette’s enclosure, and that all the civil and ecclesiastical dignitaries should conduct her in procession to the abbey church. Surely it was a magnanimous gesture on the abbot’s part to invite the Franciscan friar, Father Jéhan Pinet, to be present and to receive Colette’s vow of perpetual enclosure before the high altar in the Benedictine church. But it was my lord abbot who would preside from his throne during the ceremony. Everyone was given to understand that this was no mere carpenter’s daughter who was electing to follow the very ancient religious life of a recluse, but the gifted ward of Abbot Raoul de Raye, lord of Corbie. Colette doubtless continued to smile to herself over Dom Raoul’s way of conducting the whole affair. Yet she loved her guardian and saw, perhaps more clearly than any other ever did, the seeds of greatness in his soul. She left him a free hand in arranging for her future as a recluse.
September 17 dawned bright and cloudless for the procession of Corbie’s most distinguished persons conducting a young girl in a Franciscan habit into the abbey church of Saint-Pierre. The flawless Gregorian chant of the Benedictine monks swept worldly concerns out the back doors of the church, and there remained inside only the intense vitality of spiritual reality. Colette was incensed and asperged. She renewed her vow of perpetual virginity, and then Father Jéhan stood directly in front of her and received in the name of the Church her vow of perpetual enclosure. The abbot rose from his throne and signalled the procession to form again. He walked at the end, with Colette immediately in front of him, carrying in her hand the key to the anchorhold in token of her freedom of choice.
Throughout the long and impressive ceremony, Colette had remained serene in her quiet recollection, but when the procession at last parted ranks before the small anchorhold and she came face to face with it, emotion overcame her. She told Sister Penine in later years how she knelt down and kissed the threshold. Then, in something of a transport of joy, she cried out: “Here is the place of my rest, and here I will dwell, for I have chosen it.”
Women began to weep when Colette rose and smiled a last goodbye to her friends. Some in the procession instinctively knelt down. Even Abbot Raoul de Raye permitted himself some moments of silence after Colette disappeared into the tiny dwelling. Then, with his characteristic energy, he stepped quickly forward and placed his own great wax seal on the door. The ceremony was over. Corbie had a recluse. The next day, the door was secured with mortar, and Colette began to follow what she never doubted was her final vocation.
St. Robert Bellarmine was one of the best known of the Counter-Reformation theologians by both friend and foe. His apologetic writings were the most widely read treatises on theological subjects during the 17th century, and they also brought numerous conversions to the Catholic faith.
Now for the first time, St. Robert’s amazing treatises are available to you in English! In this treatise on the Sacrifice of the Mass, St. Robert divides his work into two topics: That the Mass is a Sacrifice, and secondly, the nature of that Sacrifice, namely that the Mass is propitiatory, beneficial to others, and that the ceremonies of the Mass are ancient and pleasing to God.
St. Robert takes the fight to the Protestants on their own ground, defending the Mass from Scripture and how the Church Fathers understood it. Then he argues from the consensus of Greek and Latin Fathers and the whole history of the Church to defend the Mass as a sacrifice instituted by Christ Himself.
“St. Robert Bellarmine, in this section of the De Controversiis, provides the reader with an unparalleled defense of the Catholic theology of the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass. Many of the objections raised and refuted by St. Robert are still applicable today amidst the various theological speculations of our times. Steeped in the tradition of the Church, this text addresses many aspects of the theology of the Mass in a depth not seen in writings of modern authors. The timeliness of the book is evident in our current historical context as many priests and faithful are taking a fresh look at the ancient rite of Mass.”
—Fr. Chad Ripperger, SMD
“For five years in Chablais, I preached with no books other than the Bible, and the Great Bellarmine.”
—St. Francis de Sales
Not everything in Mass must necessarily be said in a loud voice
The next question is not much different from the previous one, namely on the manner of voice. Our adversaries impugn the Latin Church because it bids many things in Mass to be said in a quiet voice, which was addressed in the Council of Trent, sess. 22 canon 9. There, from the beginning it must be observed that the question is not, “Whether it is licit per se to celebrate the whole Mass in a quiet voice”, for we are not unaware that the manner of voice does not pertain to the substance of the sacrifice, and these things can be changed according to the judgment of the Church. Thus, the whole question is placed in this: “Whether the custom of the Latin Church of pronouncing certain things in a quiet voice is opposed to the institution of Christ, and hence, is bad and necessarily must be corrected.”
Chemnitz (Exam. 2 part., pg. 890), contends that it is against the institution of Christ that some things in Mass are read in a quiet voice; but the Council defined otherwise. Moreover, these reasons show that the teaching of the Council is very true. Firstly, it is profitable for the reverence of such a mystery that not everything be said in a loud voice. As St. Basil rightly teaches (de Spiritu Sancto, cap. 27), it confers much in regard to the dignity and preserves the reverence of the mysteries that men are not accustomed to hear the same thing very often, or rather, that it not be offered to common ears. What kind of mysteries are they that are announced to everyone’s ears?
Secondly, we have the example of the ancient liturgies, both Greek and Latin. The liturgies of Basil and Chrysostom, which even Chemnitz notes, prescribe certain things to be said in silence and to be concluded in a loud voice. We also preserve the same thing when we conclude quiet prayers, by raising the voice at the words: Per omnia saecula saeculorum. Chemnitz’s response is that this is interpreted as if those liturgies prescribed certain things to be pronounced in a moderate voice, so that they may be heard by all, and then are concluded with shouting and song; but this does not have any validity. For in the Liturgy of Chrysostom, where we read: “The priest prays secretly,” the Greek word μυσικῶς does not mean in a moderate voice, but in a whisper; nor are the mysteries said which are made public with a moderate voice, but which are altogether hidden. And besides, in that liturgy the priest is advised to recite those prayers in secret while the Deacon sings the Litany in a loud voice, or while the cantors sing other things. Hence, the people cannot attend to those things which the priest says, and so they are truly and properly secret.
In regard to the Latin liturgy we have the testimony of Innocent I (Epist. 1 ad Episcopum Eugubinum, cap. 1) where, being asked about the time in which the pax should be given in the mystery of the Mass, he clearly shows that particular part of the Mass is secret; nor does he dare to recount the type of things that are recited before the pax is given. But if the whole people were accustomed to hear everything, certainly nothing would be secret, nothing hidden and they could easily be committed to writing which was commonly known to all.
Thirdly, we have examples of the sacrifices of the Old Law. For (that I might omit the fact that a great many things in the sacrifice were prayed in mind without any words), in Leviticus 16:17, the sacrifice of incense is solemnly described, and the priest alone is commanded to enter within the veil and offer sacrifice, and pray for himself, the people and all others waiting outside, and not only could they not hear the priest, but they could not even see him. We read that Zachariah, the father of John the Baptist, offered sacrifice in such a rite in Luke 1:10.
Fourthly, Christ himself in the sacrifice of the cross, which was the exemplar of all sacrifices, carried out the oblation in silence, and he did not speak for the space of three hours to those standing about listening, except for seven very brief sentences, as many sentences as there also are which are pronounced in a loud voice in the Canon of our liturgy.
But let us see what Chemnitz asserts in favor of his own opinion.
1) Firstly, he objects that the institution of Christ, that he commanded to be done in his memory in his Supper, is not through silence, but, as Paul explains, through announcement. And the argument could be confirmed from the example of Christ himself, who pronounced the words of consecration in a loud voice so that everyone who was present could hear.
I respond: The memory and announcement of Christ should not be done in words as much as in reality; for so Augustine writes (Contra Faustum 20, 18), when he says: “This sacrifice is also commemorated by Christians, in the sacred offering and participation of the body and blood of Christ.” Nor can what Paul commanded be fulfilled in another manner, that everyone should announce the death of the Lord. What kind of disorder would take place if all the people in the Church should announce the Lord’s death with words?
What pertains to the example of Christ, it must be known that Christ did not only pronounce the words to consecrate, but also to teach the Apostles the rite of consecrating; this is why it was fitting for him to speak in this way, so that he would be heard by the Apostles. The bishops today preserve this when they ordain priests amidst the solemnities of Masses; for they so pronounce the words of consecration so that all these new priests can hear. There is another purpose for those who celebrate Mass for the people.
2) The second objection: Christ did not institute the sacraments in such a way that the action would be visible and public, so the word, which is a special part of the sacraments, should be hidden and buried.
I respond: The notion of a sacrament is one thing, and the notion of a sacrifice another; at the present we are arguing properly on the sacrifice. Moreover, the sacrifice does not consist in words, but in the oblation of a thing, words, however, are required in the sacrifice of the Mass, not to be themselves the sacrifice, or part of the sacrifice, but only to show the presence of the victim to us. By the words of consecration, as we showed above, it comes about that the Body of Christ is truly present on the altar; this is why the sacrifice will truly be outward and sensible, even if the words, whereby it comes about, cannot be heard. Add, that in the sacraments, to the essence of which the words chiefly pertain, it is not necessary that the words are perceived by those who receive the sacraments, provided they are perceived by those who minister them; otherwise baptism conferred upon infants, the insane, and the deaf would be invalid, which not even Chemnitz would admit. Consequently, we respond to the argument that Christ did not establish the words so they would be hidden and buried, that he also did not establish them in such a way that they must be pronounced to be heard by all who are present. Rather, he only established them to be really applied, and after him it was left to the liberty of the Church to constitute a manner of recitation. Not only do Catholics teach this, but even Chemnitz the teacher and Luther the prophet, in his book On the Formula of the Mass, where he permits the freedom to pronounce the words of the Supper in a loud or quiet voice.
3) The third objection: The Apostle (1 Cor. 14) clearly distinguishes these two things: To speak in Church on those things which pertain to the public ministry, and to speak privately to himself and to God.
I respond: For St. Paul, to speak in Church is to exhort and instruct the Church; to speak within oneself and to God is to pray, or praise God, as he says in verse 19: “But in the Church I had rather speak five words with my understanding, that I may instruct others also; … (v. 28) But if there be no interpreter, let him hold his peace in the Church, and speak to himself and to God.” Therefore, he distinguishes a sermon from prayer. Moreover, neither pertain properly to the sacrifice; for a sacrifice is not something to say, but to do; or if it is to speak in some manner, it is not to speak in the Church, or to the Church, but to God. When a man offers sacrifice to God, he acts for God, not for men, although he acts publicly and not privately. This is because he does not act on his own behalf, but on behalf of the universal Church.
4) The fourth objection: In the ancient Church, after those who could not be present at the mysteries were dismissed, the prayers were pronounced out loud, the thanksgivings and even the words of consecration themselves. Cardinal Bessarion (de verbis Coenae) hands down this very thing on the word of consecration, and the same is clear from the response “Amen” which was made to the words of consecration in the ancient rite. For Dionysius of Alexandria (cited b Eusebius, Histor. 7, 9) calls it to mind, as well as Augustine (ad Orosium, quaest. 49). It is likewise clear from Chrysostom (Homily 18 in 2 Cor.) where we read that the prayers and thanksgivings in the celebration of the Eucharist were common to the people with the priest. Lastly, the same is gathered from the Novella of Justinian, constitution 123, where the priests are severely commanded to say what they recite in the celebration of the oblation in a loud voice so that the people could hear it.
I respond: We do not deny that the words of consecration in the Eastern Church are customarily recited out loud, since it is quite certain from the liturgy of Chrysostom. Nor do we condemn this; for we do not contend that these words must necessarily be recited in a quiet voice, rather, that the Church is free to establish the rite, and hence neither the rite of the Greeks nor of the Latins can be condemned, nor should they. But although the words of consecration are uttered in a loud voice among the Greeks, nevertheless, certain others are pronounced in a quiet voice and clearly in secret, as we clearly showed from the same liturgy of Chrysostom. As a result, there is no need to respond to the testimony of Bessarion and Dionysius of Alexandria.
To the citation of Augustine, I respond: That book is not of Augustine, as the scholars affirm, nor does it bear on the matter. That author does not speak about the consecration, but the dispensation of the sacrament; for he only says that those who receive the blood of the Lord customarily say “Amen”, while the priest says, “The blood of our Lord Jesus Christ.” Ambrose also calls this rite to mind (De Sacramentis, 4, 5).
To the citation of Chrysostom, I respond: Chrysostom chiefly meant that the people should not be idle in Church, but should pray for those things for which the priest also prays. The fact is, that can be done even if both the priest and the people pray in silence. Indeed, Cyprian writes (On the Lord’s Prayer) that during the time of the sacrifice Anna the mother of Samuel should be imitated, who prayed in such a way that her lips moved, but hardly a word was heard (1 Kings 1:13), and she was a type of the Church, while she prayed in silence. Also, in our liturgy, it is said to the people: Orate fratres when the prayer is made in secret. Add, that Chrysostom does not say all prayers are common to the people and the priest; this is why even if he spoke on the communion of the same prayers, still our adversaries would gain nothing. For the liturgy of Chrysostom clearly distinguishes what must be said by all, and what must be said by the priest alone, and in secret.
In regard to the Novella of Justinian, the response could be made that in the first place, it does not pertain to the emperor to impose laws on the rite of sacrifice, hence he did not greatly report on what he had ratified. But we also answer that this law is not opposed to our teaching. It only commands that what is customarily said out loud in the Eastern Churches should be said in a loud voice. There were some, as is gathered from the Novella itself, who pronounced what was customarily said in a loud voice quietly, so in that way they might hide their ignorance; they are rightly rebuked both because they acted against the custom of the Church and because they did it because they were ignorant of reading.
5) The last objection: The Popes affirm this is not an ancient usage. Honorius and Belet write that formerly the words of consecration were customarily said in a loud voice, but later it was commanded to be said silently and for this reason: When those words were heard by all, many laity also remembered them. Then it happened that certain shepherds pronounced the words over bread and wine. Immediately the bread and wine were turned into body and blood; and those shepherds, being struck down by God, died. From this history it is gathered that the use of reciting the words of consecration in silence are not ancient, and is born of superstitious opinion, as if those words were magical.
I respond: The miracle which is recalled in this argument truly happened, but different and in a more ancient time than Chemnitz relates. For St. Sophronius writes in his Prato Spirituali, cap. 196, that this miracle happened in his time, but he lived before the time of the Seventh Council, as well as John Damascene. For this book is cited by the fathers of the Seventh Council, in the fourth action, and by Damascene (in Orat. De cultu imaginum, 3). Hence, this miracle happened more or less nine hundred years ago, and it is also recalled by Alcuin (de Divinis Officiis, cap. de celebration Missae), and he lived eight hundred years ago. Moreover, that miracle did not turn bread into flesh, nor kill the shepherds, as Chemnitz gathers from some obscure and more recent authors, rather, when the fire was sent from heaven, the bread, wine and stone upon which these were placed were gone, and the shepherds were astounded to the point that they could hardly speak for a long time. Sophronius does not write that this is the reason why those words should not be said but secretly, although if it were the reason, I do not see what could be objected against it. Certainly, that use is very ancient, even if it did not begin earlier than after that miracle were divinely shown to the world.
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In honor of St. Francis of Assisi, we are offering a sale on the Franciscan themed books we sell!
The Life of St. Francis of Assisi, The Autobiography of St. Charles of Sezze, the Life of St. John Capistran, A Capuchin Chronicle, Brother Deo Gratias and the Franciscan Way of the Cross.
82; now $70! $12 off and only $4 shipping for the whole order!
The Mariology of Cardinal Newman is a study of Blessed John Henry Newman’s journey from a cautious intellectual acceptance of limited Marian doctrines while an Anglican to his full acceptance and development of Marian doctrine as a Catholic. Newman was a master of the English language and possessed a fine intellectual mind, but at the same time, because of his deep humility, he could enter into true devotion to the Blessed Virgin Mary.
The Rev. Friedel draws from all of Newman’s work to provide a truly masterful treatise establishing not only Newman’s views to doctrine, but Newman as a devout client of our Blessed Lady. He divides the first part of the book into two periods: Newman’s life as an Anglican and his developing attitude toward Mary; then his views when he became a Catholic and how this developed in his devotional life. Then, in the second part, the author examines the specific doctrine’s of Mary which Newman treated on.
From the Author’s preface:
“The following study is an attempt to analyze the principles and factors which gave the orientation to his attitude concerning the Blessed Virgin Mary during his Anglican and Catholic days. This represents the First Part. The Second is occupied with a synthesis of his doctrine.”
From the Foreword:
His beliefs regarding Mary as the Mother of God (Theotokos) were firmly in place at the time of his Essay on the Development of Christian Doctrine: completed in 1845, right before he was received (therefore, entirely written while he was an Anglican). Four years later, he elaborated upon the dogma:
[T]he Mother of God has ever been the bulwark of our Lord’s divinity. And it is that which heretics have ever opposed, for it is the great witness that the doctrine of God being man is true.… The truth is, the doctrine of our Lady keeps us from a dreaming, unreal way. If no mother, no history, how did He come here, etc? He is from heaven. It startles us and makes us think what we say when we say Christ is God; not merely like God, inhabited by, sent by God, but really God; so really, that she is the mother of God because His mother. (Sermon Notes of John Henry Cardinal Newman: 1849-1878, “Maternity of Mary,” 14 October 1849)
Continuing our work to increase works on saints from various religious orders, we have for you another obscure saint you never heard of before but should have!
St. Felix of Cantalice was a Capuchin Franciscan in the 16th century. Placed among great personages such as St. Philip Neri, St. Charles Borromeo, and others, St. Felix lived a life of poverty and fidelity to the rule of St. Francis. Born in 1515, he lived as a farm worker until he was 28, when he became a Capuchin. He not only begged alms, but gladly distributed them to the poor. It was said that his alms sack was as bottomless as his heart. He walked bare-foot through the streets of Rome, and his response to anyone that gave him alms was “Deo Gratias,” or “Thank God.” Thus he earned his name. St. Felix also became known as a great healer.
Amabel Kerr (author of the Life of Cardinal Baronius and other books) writes a deep, spiritual account of the holy Capuchin which moves the reader toward the love of God page by page.
You will discover:
-St. Felix’s deep prayer life and love of Christ and His Virgin Mother;
-St. Felix’s continual service to the poor, though owning nothing himself;
-How the saint reminded Church dignitaries and the wealthy of their obligations to Christ and the Church;
-The deep interior life of the saint.
This book is a must have for anyone that loves Franciscan spirituality as well as history.
On the Canonization and Veneration of the Saints
By St. Robert Bellarmine
In our continuing work to translate St. Robert Bellarmine’s Opera Omnia, we are pleased to announce the coming publication of On the Canonization of the Saints, which is book 1 of On the Church Triumphant. Later in the year we plan on releasing the other books, which are on Relics, Images and Churches.
In this work, Bellarmine meets the attack of Protestantism against Catholic teaching on the saints, firstly on their own ground with sound Scriptural Exegesis, backed up by the witness of the Greek and Latin Church.
The great counter-reformation doctor begins the work with a treatise on whether the souls of the saints receive a particular judgment and go to heaven or await for the end of time suspended as it were in some hidden place; then what canonization is, who does it and what is its authority; then lastly, whether the saints may be venerated and invoked.
NB: If you’ve donated to the Bellarmine project, you can expect to receive this on ebook or in hardcover depending on your donation.
We are offering 25% off our books site wide! If you order this week, we can guarantee delivery by 6 January (Guarantees apply to US orders only). After 12/21 contact us for shipping dates. Use the code:
Also, we have a number of books in stock right now that can still get to you by Christmas (with 25% off) if you choose expedited shipping and order before at least 12pm Thursday, 12/20. See list below:
NB: Listings are softcover unless noted otherwise
All Souls’ Forget-me-not
St. Albert the Great
As the Morning Star: The Life of St. Dominic
Autobiography of St. Robert Bellarmine (with sermons, 1 copy)
Blessed Elizabeth Canori Mora (2 copies!)
Blessed Jordan of Saxony, OP (St. Dominic’s Successor)
Bible Stories for Children
St. Charles of Sezze, Auotbiography (one copy!)
Defence of the Priesthood
The History of St. Norbert (1 copy left)
The Holy Mass, Eucharistic Sacrifice and the Roman Liturgy
St. John Fisher (softcover)
Moral Theology vol. 1, St. Alphonsus (softcover)
Moral Theology vol. 2 St. Alphonsus (softcover)
Pope Innocent III
Planting the Faith in the Furthest Africa, the missionary life of Fr. Simeon Lourdel, apostle of Uganda
Rome and the Counter-Reformation
A Small Catechism for Catholics
St. Thomas More
Opera Omnia vol. 1 On the Roman Pontiff in 5 books
Opera Omnia vol. 2 On the Church (contains On Councils, On the Church Militant and on the Marks of the Church in one volume)
On Councils – St. Robert Bellarmine
On the Marks of the Church
On the Church Militant