Regína sacratíssimi Rosárii, ora pro nobis!

March AD 2008
Our Lady of the Rosary
Parish Bulletin

Holy Water
"Generalizing" the Church
Letter to the Editor
icw Good Friday prayers for the jews


[Continued from last month

Question: The Novus Ordo priest also said that priests and bishops should not take holy water and bless themselves after Mass. He said that is to be done when entering the church before Mass only as a symbol of our baptism and renewing our life with God. Is that written somewhere as a teaching of the church? 

Answer: The question referred to “priests and bishops,” so the priest may be referring to what is done in the public liturgy rather than to the private acts of individuals. 

Holy Water in Catholic Tradition 
The Pontifical of Scrapion of Thumis, a fourth-century bishop, and likewise the "testamentum Domini", a Syriac composition dating from the fifth to the sixth century, contain a blessing of oil and water during Mass. The formula in Scrapion's Pontifical is as follows: "We bless these creatures in the Name of Jesus Christ, Thy only Son; we invoke upon this water and this oil the Name of Him Who suffered, Who was crucified, Who arose from the dead, and Who sits at the right of the Uncreated. Grant unto these creatures the power to heal; may all fevers, every evil spirit, and all maladies be put to flight by him who either drinks these beverages or is anointed with them, and may they be a remedy in the Name of Jesus Christ, Thy only Son." 

Pope Leo IV [r. 847-855] ordered that each priest bless water every Sunday in his own church and sprinkle the people with it: "Omni die Dominico, ante missam, aquam benedictam facite, unde populus et loca fidelium aspergantur" (P.L., CXV, col. 679). Hincmar of Reims gave directions as follows: "Every Sunday, before the celebration of Mass, the priest shall bless water in his church, and, for this holy purpose, he shall use a clean and suitable vessel. The people, when entering the church, are to be sprinkled with this water, and those who so desire may carry some away in clean vessels so as to sprinkle their houses, fields, vineyards, and cattle, and the provender with which these last are fed, as also to throw over their own food" ("Capitula synodalia", cap. v, in P.L., CXXV, col, 774). 

Catholic Encyclopedia s.v. “Holy Water”

    For most of the history of the Church holy water has been available to the faithful for private use as a sacramental, pretty much as they see fit to use it. Early accounts have holy water being used to cure illness and to ward off the powers of the devil, and both of these purposes are mentioned in its blessing according to the traditional rite.[1] This blessing suggests that the faithful may profitably sprinkle the water in their “homes and other buildings” and “wherever.” The rubrics of the Ritual add their “sick,” “fields,” “vines,” and “rooms.”[2] It is common for Catholics to have holy water fonts in the vestibules of their homes and churches so that they can bless themselves with holy water as they come and go. Since we tend to think of our homes and churches as places of relative protection, it is probably more common to make use of holy water when leaving than when entering. 

    In monasteries it is the general practice for the abbot or prior to sprinkle the monks with holy water as they leave the church after Compline to retire for the night. 

    Although customary in some churches, the rubrics of the traditional Missal make no mention of taking holy water when going from the sacristy to the altar or vice-versa (the priest is to carry the chalice with both hands). It is permitted “if convenient” on leaving the sacristy for Sung Mass or Solemn Mass if there is no Aspérges.[3] The Aspérges —the sprinkling of the altar, clergy, and people with holy water by the celebrant, takes place only on Sundays, only before the principal Mass (and not on Palm Sunday).[4] The same ceremony takes place during the Easter Season, but the antiphon Vidi aquam is sung instead of Aspérges me. The use of holy water at Mass is otherwise limited to the few blessings which may take place before or after it. Apart from the ceremonies of the Missal and Ritual everyone is free to take holy water as they enter or leave the church. 

    As with everything else in the Conciliar Church the ritual for the blessing of holy water and the Aspérges have been changed in the Novus Ordo rite.[5] There is, as the questioner mentioned, a new emphasis on the water as a reminder of Baptism. By using the proper options (there are always options in the new rites) one can ignore the concept of illness and the power of the devil. An ambiguous phrase: “étiam ánime mundaréntur”—translated as “it washes away our sins”—might wrongly be taken to mean that the blessed water acts with the efficacy of Baptism to remove all sins without Confession.[6] 

    The questioner did not ask, but, no, it is not appropriate to remove the holy water from the font for all of Lent, substituting sand or gravel. This is an innovation of some bored liturgist with time on his hands. It has no basis in Catholic tradition or even in the Conciliar Church[7]

Modernism, Marxism, Religious Indifference

    Question: My feeling is that modern day priests seem to be trying to generalize the Catholic Church to be just like every other Christian church. It is amazing the similarities the new order Catholic Church is to, for instance, the Presbyterian church. But is that the way it really should be according to church teaching? 

    Answer: There can be no doubt that the New Order has attempted to make itself as similar to Protestantism as possible. The Novus Ordo was developed with the help of six Protestant ministers. Particularly in its vernacular translations those doctrines which are characteristically Catholic are minimized. But it goes beyond Protestantism—frequently the Protestants are more attached to tradition, reverence, and the doctrines found in the Bible than Conciliar Catholics. 

    One Hundred years ago Pope Saint Pius X diagnosed the problem correctly, calling it “Modernism.”[8] To the Modernist nothing is real if it cannot be perceived by the senses; there is no transcendent reality beyond the natural physical world; and reality is constantly changing according to the sentiments of common people and the consensus of the “acting persons.” You can read the brief synopsis of Modernism preached on the 100th anniversary of Saint Pius’ encyclical on our parish website.[9] 

    And Modernism is precisely what we have experienced during the past half century or so. The Oath Against Modernism has been repealed. The requirement to teach seminarians the philosophy of Saint Thomas Aquinas (diametrically opposed to Modernism) has been removed from Canon Law. Since Modernists admit of no transcendent reality and God exists only in pious sentiment, Baptism now emphasizes membership in the community; sin is now alienation from that community; and Penance has become reconciliation with that community. The devil of the Modernists is a psychological matter, as is all evil. Illness, when it is not psychological, can only be organic—never a punishment for sin or the work of the devil—curable by any number of remedies, but not holy water. 

    Modernism seeks political solutions to perceived problems at the expense of doctrine, morality, and piety. We are told that an armed United Nations, “sustainable development,” political correctness, globalism, “prudent use of resources and an equitable distribution of wealth” and a plethora of other utopian ideas will do what Catholicism has failed to do, “wasting” Its time with God, and morality, and prayer, and original sin. Allegedly, there is nothing that the brotherhood of man cannot do with just a little bit more “dialogue.”[10] 

    Not many centuries ago “ecumenism” and buggery might be punished by imprisonment or even death—today the former is celebrated and the latter is concealed Yes, there are grounds for annulment of an invalid marriage, but the 15,000% (yup! fifteen thousand percent) increase since Vatican II makes one wonder if there are any valid marriages anymore—after all, the annulments only go to those who ask for them. . Not many decades ago birth control by natural methods was barely tolerable in the most difficult of circumstances—today it is taught as a sort of Modernist “apostolate.” 


The opinion piece below appeared in the Palm Beach Post. Believe it or not it was written in response to Pope Benedict’s modification of the prayer for the Jewish people on Good Friday—rather more polite than the old one. Father’s response follows. 

Pope trying to convert Jewish 'elder brothers'
By Steve Gushee
Special to The Palm Beach Post
Friday, February 22, 2008 

The Pope could easily lose the respect his office deserves by the divisive decisions he has recently made. He offended the Jewish community directly and, indirectly, insulted every thoughtful person. 

Save that such actions are tragic for the church and the world, they would be quickly dismissed in any rational consideration of the church catholic. 

Quite appropriately, Benedict XVI seeks the respect of the world as leader of more than a billion Catholics. He behaves, however, as if he were running an exclusive club with no need to consider the sensibilities or intelligence of that world. 

The Pope approved a revision of a prayer for the Good Friday liturgy that asks God to enlighten the hearts of Jews "so that they may acknowledge Jesus Christ, the savior of all men." That is such an affront to the Jewish community that the international assembly of Conservative Rabbis meeting this week is considering a resolution to condemn the prayer for endangering the mutual respect engendered in recent years. 

The Pope's revised prayer would undo much of the good will that his predecessor, John Paul II, did for Jewish relations. John Paul called Jews his "elder brothers" in the faith. Benedict wants to convert them. 

He seems intent to undo the remarkable work of the Second Vatican Council in the 1960s to engage the contemporary world. 

He declared a plenary indulgence for anyone who visits the French shrine at Lourdes during its 150th anniversary this year. 

That kind of spiritual abuse triggered the 16th-century Protestant reformation. Luther objected to indulgences offered by Pope Leo X in exchange for money to rebuild St. Peter's Basilica in Rome. A plenary indulgence allows the faithful to bypass purgatory, escape God's judgment and proceed directly to heaven. 

Playing games with the souls of the faithful worked for a while in the Middle Ages, but since Luther it has been seen for what it is: A fund-raising marketing tool that mocks the mission of the church, the theology of Scripture and the justice of God. 

The Pope needs to choose the role he wants to play. He can act the cult leader catering to the emotional needs of his followers and the power lust of his institution. He can take a responsible place in the world's religious community, embrace his "elder brothers" and give up the indulgence fantasies. 

He can't do both. 

23 February AD 2008 
The Palm Beach Post 
P.O. Box 24700 
West Palm Beach, FL 

    The publication of Steve Gushee’s article “Pope trying to convert Jewish ‘elder brothers’” suggests that The Palm Beach Post subscribes to the idea that anti-Catholicism is the one remaining socially acceptable form of bigotry in the modern world. 

    The metaphor of the Jewish people being our “elder brothers” is not a bad one, for the Faith that is Catholicism springs directly from that of Moses and Elias. And certainly, there is nothing unusual about family members praying for one of their own whom they believe to be following the wrong road in life. Surely a believing Jew—or any person committed to a Faith he believes to be of divine origin—would pray for the “correction” of a relative who considered conversion to another religion. Even if he mourned the son or daughter as “dead” for taking such a step it is likely that he would continue to pray for the lost one’s return. No one faults Moses for pleading with God for the earthly survival of the Jewish people (Exodus xxxii)—and no one should fault Catholics for praying for the eternal happiness of Jewish people in heaven. 

    At the risk of further “un-hinging” the Reverend Gushee, I will tell you that on Good Friday, even before we pray for the salvation of the Jews, we will pray for him and for other Christians who have departed from the Faith. We are as concerned for the salvation of our “younger brothers” as we are for the “elders.” 

    The Vatican II era Popes may be guilty of many things—perhaps the most significant being the “moral relativism” decried by Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger in a sermon given shortly before his election to the papacy, but which, as Pope Benedict XVI, he has done little to correct. This moral relativism is the direct product of the false philosophy of existentialism. In particular, Pope John Paul II thought it was possible to alter reality through some sort of dialectic—that the very real differences between people of conviction could be resolved by thinking happy thoughts and engaging in “dialogue”—as if good will and lots of talk could change the truth. Pope John Paul seemed to have forgotten that people can live peacefully with one another while “agreeing to disagree” about their beliefs. His forgetfulness made a lot of people expect the Popes to apologize for everything Catholic and to say nothing controversial. If Pope Benedict XVI seems overly concerned about the salvation of Jewish or other people, it is because his near predecessors were confused by ideas of universal salvation—that everyone would be saved, and there was no need of prayer for anyone. 

    You can bet your bottom dollar that Pope Benedict is receiving nothing at all for indulgences granted for visiting Lourdes—or for any other indulgences. 

    Gushee’s attack on the doctrine of indulgences is ludicrous. His words suggest indignation that anyone might “bypass Purgatory,” but it is hard to believe that he considers Purgatory as anything more than a “papist innovation.” Catholics generally take our Lord’s word literally. We believe in things like the Real Presence and the power of priests to forgive sins on Jesus’ word (Matthew xxvi, John vi, John xix, etc.). As the successor of Saint Peter, Pope Benedict has the power to “bind and loose” things on earth and consequently in heaven (Matthew xvi). 

    Martin Luther, with his notion of “private interpretation,” was obviously wrong. His revolt against the Church created a near infinity of non-authoritative opinions about what it means to be a Christian. The churches he spawned are founded on sand instead of the rock promised by Christ. 

    The Pope does not require the respect of the world—not even the respect of Steve Gushee. Indeed, often the respect of the world is incompatible with being a Christian (cf. John xv-xvi). What the Pope needs, above all, is to preach the truth, for Christ is the Truth, and the Pope is His vicar. If the Pope is Christ-like he will urge everyone to pray for those who are not yet part of the Church which Christ established. 

    We will be praying for you and for the Reverend Gushee, and for all those who could come closer to Christ. And yes, I would be pleased to have your prayers as well. 

    I remain your brother in the Faith, 

The Reverend Father Charles T. Brusca 




[2] Rituale Romanum , Tit. VIII, cap. 2.

[3] J.B. O’Connell, T he Celebration of Mass (Milwaukee: Bruce., 1959), p. 537, quoting SRC 5414.4, and p. 666 dealing with Sung Mass.

[4] J.B. O’Connell, ibid., p. 459; Rituale Romanum , Benedictiones non reservate, n. 1.

[5] Everything! The Mass, all the Sacraments, the Ritual, the Catechism, the underlying philosophy and theology, even the Rosary and the Stations of the Cross. In practice things are changed even more than in theory.

[6] Gregorian Missal (Solesmes, 1990) p.68-72


[8] Pope Saint Pius X, Pascendi Dominici gregis, 7 September 1907


[10] Questioning “The Human Family, A Community of Peace” issued by Pope Benedict XVI, 1 January AD 2008



Dei via est íntegra
Our Lady of the Rosary, 144 North Federal Highway (US#1), Deerfield Beach, Florida 33441  954+428-2428
Authentic  Catholic Mass, Doctrine, and Moral Teaching -- Don't do without them -- 
Don't accept one without the others!