Regína sacratíssimi Rosárii, ora pro nobis!

Ave Maria!

Septuagesima Sunday - 5 February AD 2012

Q&A  March AD 2012
Our Lady of the Rosary
Parish Bulletin

Secret of the Mass?
I will vs. I will it?
Socialism, Contraception, and the Bishops

Q&A Archives

Our Lady of the Rosary
Secret of the Mass?


    Question:  What is the “Secret” in the Mass? (CMP)

    Answer:  The answer is a bit complex.  When Mass is sung, most of what is sung by the choir or congregation can be described as psalms or hymns—music that praises and glorifies God, rather than constituting a prayer—the Kyrie and Agnus Dei being minor exceptions.  All of this music developed over a number of centuries, progressively enriching the celebration of the Holy Sacrifice.  If we consider only Gregorian chant, this development extends slightly beyond the first millennium.  We have written about it in the Parish Bulletins for February, March, and April AD 2006.[1]  In the second millennium, great composers wrote choral music of great complexity and harmony.

    At the same time that choral music was developing, so to were the ceremonies carried out by the clergy at the altar. 

Kyrie (6th century)

Agnus Dei (7th century)

Credo (11th century, at the request of the Emperor)

● Offertory prayers (Gallican - 14th century)

● Psalm at the Lavabo

Suscipe sancta Trinitas (medieval - prescribed in 16th century)

● Prayers at the foot of the altar (16th century - previously private)

● Elevation of the Host (about 13th century)

● Elevation of the Chalice (14th-16th century)

● Communion prayers (16th century)

● Last Gospel (16th century - previously a recessional or thanksgiving prayer) 

● Blessing (11th - 17th century)

    Since both the parts of the Mass assigned to both the choir and the clergy at the altar increased in length, many of the parts assigned to the latter began to be recited in a relatively low voice, not audible beyond the Communion rail.  This enabled the choir to sing without clashing with the voices of the clergy, and without unduly prolonging the length of the Mass.  Thus, the clergy must recite the prayers at the foot of the altar quietly during the singing of the Introit; the munda cor meum during the Gradual psalm;  the Offertory prayers during the singing of the Offertory psalm;  much of the Canon during the Sanctus; and the pre-Communion prayers during the Agnus Dei.

    We should also note that in every Mass there is at least one set of three prayers that are read or sung by the priest.  These are usually addressed to God the Father but occasionally to God the Son, asking for some grace, often through the intercession of the Saint of the day.  The first and third sets conclude with the words “Per ómnia sǽcula sæculórum,” which is answered “Amen.”  These prayers are called “orations,” or simply the prayers,” or somewhat ambiguously, “the collects,” which name applies more specifically to the first in each set.

    The first prayer in each set is called the “Collect,” or “gathering prayer,” (“oratio ad Collectam”) which expresses the general public intention of the Mass, and which is recited immediately after the Glória (or Kyrie if there is no Glória.  As the choral singing is over, this set of prayers is prefaced with “Dóminus vobíscum,” and “Et cum spíritu tuo,” and all are sung or recited in a clear voice to be heard by all.

    The last prayer in each set is called the “Postcommunion” as it is recited or sung after Holy Communion, when the Communion psalm has been sung and the priest has purified the chalice and paten.  The first is prefaced “Dóminus vobíscum,” etc.  The clear voice is used as no one else is singing.  Generally, it is a prayer that requests some grace in connection with the Communion we have just received.

    The middle prayer in each set is recited after the Offertory prayers, including “Súscipe sancta Trínitas.”  It is prefaced with the prayer “Orate, fratres,” most of which is said and answered at the altar in a low voice, for the choir is anticipated to be singing the Offertory Hymn.  The prayers are recited in a low tone to allow the choir to sing until it ends with Per ómnia sǽcula sæculórum,” in a clear voice.  The prayers generally ask God for the acceptance of the offerings, and the sanctification of those who offer them.  The name of this prayer comes from the Latin word for “setting apart” the offerings, secernere, which is rendered as “secreta,” or “secret” in English.  While the Secret is generally rendered in a low voice, the text of these prayers is not secret and can be found in any hand missal.

 Our Lady of the Rosary
I will it

    Question:  In the Gospel for the third Sunday after Epiphany a leper asks Jesus to be healed: “Lord, if thou wilt, thou canst make me clean.  And Jesus stretching forth his hand, touched him, saying: I will, be thou made clean. And forthwith his leprosy was cleansed.”[2]  Isn’t there something more to our Lord’s answer than merely, “I will do it”? (CMP)

    Answer:  Absolutely.  In English the phrases “I will” and “I would” are ambiguous.  They can mean that the speaker intends to do something, or intends to do it if some condition is fulfilled—even to do something that he would rather not do.  Or they can indicate that the speaker actually wants to do the thing in question.  In the Gospel mentioned, the Latin of the Roman Missal has the leper say “si vis potes me mundare” and Jesus to respond “volo mundare”—with both underlined words being forms of “volare—to want.”  (θέλῃς and  Θέλω in Greek).  Clearly, the healing of the leper is an act of the will of God, which is what brought all creation into existence, and which continuously preserves it.  The English translation would more correctly convey the meaning as “you/I will it,” rather than simply “you/I will.”


Our Lady of the Rosary
Socialism, Contraception, and the Bishops

    Question:  Catholic authorities have discussed the possibility of “civil disobedience” in connection with the Obamacare/Health and Human Services (HHS) dictate that religious institutions provide contraception, sterilization, and abortifacients as part of their employees’ medical insurance coverage.  Aren’t Catholics obliged to obey civil laws?

    Answer:  No power on earth has the authority to order anyone to sin—not the president, not the Pope, not any human being.  Nor will God send an angel from heaven to cause us to violate His Law.  Sin is contrary to God’s unchanging will, and is always disobedient to Him, to Whom we have the ultimate obligation of obedience.

    We are not looking for some special privilege for Catholics—the Obama requirements are morally abhorrent to other people of good will.  It is a dangerous precedent to allow the government to contravene the moral beliefs of citizens using the mighty powers at its disposal.  Religion has always been a threat to power hungry governments, and perhaps the most effective way for such regimes to neutralize the power of religions and religious leaders is to get them to compromise on the tenets of their faith.  Should religious organizations cave on something essential to the Natural Moral Law, in the minds of the faithful they will lose their authority to speak out about any other moral or dogmatic issue.

    Contraceptive insurance is no more than “the nose of the camel under the tent” of religion.  The state will soon be back—there is so much more for the godless to achieve.  After the coverage for abortion, infanticide, and euthanasia is secured, there will be little to keep the state from requiring these practices at its direction.  If religious agencies allow adoption by homosexuals, who will listen to their condemnation of homosexual “marriages”? How can the authorities of any church speak with authority after trading off  non-negotiable moral principles?

    The U.S. Constitution is the supreme law of these United States.  There is no reason to assume that it means anything other than what it says.  It is relatively easy to read, with only a few legal terms that require recourse to a dictionary (attainder, marque and reprisal, habeas corpus, etc.).  Amendment I clearly states (in part):  “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof....”

    The free exercise thereof is much more than the right to attend a worship service of one’s liking.  It is the right to make one’s beliefs known in the free marketplace of ideas, it is the right to prayer at moments when prayer is appropriate or necessary, and it is freedom from coercion to behave in a manner opposed to one’s moral principles.  The First Amendment applies to everyone within the jurisdiction of the United States—not just to Catholics.

    An establishment of religion, likewise, is more than the bureaucracy that constitutes a state church.  It is an interference with the free marketplace of religious ideas, an interference with the right to pray, and the prescription of a set of moral principles at variance with the Natural Moral Law.  Sterilization is the sacrament of the “Progressive” religion, contraception is the sacrament of the liberal religion, and abortion is the sacrificial worship of the devil.

    Beyond violating the First Amendment, the Obama/HHS dictate, and all of Obamacare, violates the Tenth Amendment: The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.  Nowhere in the Constitution is the power to regulate medicine or to require anyone to purchase or provide any sort of medical treatment (or anything else) delegated to the federal government—therefore, it has no such powers.

    As this was being written (February 10th) we received the following:

Washington (CNN) -- President Barack Obama announced a compromise Friday in the dispute over whether to require full contraception insurance coverage for female employees at religiously affiliated institutions.

Under the new plan, religiously affiliated universities and hospitals will not be forced to offer contraception coverage to their employees. Insurers will be required, however, to offer complete coverage free of charge to any women who work at such institutions.[3]

    The Obama “compromise” is no such thing.  Insurance companies do not and cannot provide anything for free.  Whatever they pay out in claims is paid for by their policy holders.  Saying that they will provide coverage “free of charge” (which Obama has no constitutional authority to say) is simply saying that the costs will be spread around to all of the company’s policy holders, or stolen from the shareholders.  That means that the conscience of even more people will be violated, and people with no interest in having birth control insurance (e.g. men, and infertile women) will be required to have it and pay for it.  For the larger companies that self-insure, there will not even be the fiction of “free of charge,” for the insurance companies merely administer such plans, sending the company a bill for all of the medical costs plus the administrative costs.

    One might ask, Why has the government chosen to wage war against religion?  What do Obama and his minions stand to gain from putting Christians between a rock and a moral “hard place”?  Indeed, don’t they stand to lose a voter base that often votes Democrat?

    Perhaps the answer is that the war against the Church and against religion is part of a larger power grab.  The Tenth Amendment has been a dead letter since the 1930s or earlier.  The free exercise clause of the First Amendment has been dead for forty years or more.  But, in latter nineteenth century, in the twentieth century, and now under Bush, and then Obama, we have seen even bolder attempts to centralize power in the Executive branch of government.

    “Article I  Section 8. The Congress shall have power to ... declare war....” Wars are no longer declared by Congress (e.g. Korea, Viet Nam, Serbia, Iraq, Afghanistan, etc.) or even with the tacit approval of Congress, (e.g. Libya).

    Amendment IV: The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.  Today, people are x-rayed and strip searched at airports, and perhaps other transportation hubs.  Warrantless searches are regularly conducted with no reason and with no idea of what might be found.  Property seized is held even after its owner is proven innocent of wrong-doing.  Searches are conducted by invasion with disregard for property and the lives of people and animals.

    Amendment V:  No person shall be held to answer for a capital, or otherwise infamous crime, unless on a presentment or indictment of a grand jury, except in cases arising in the land or naval forces, or in the militia, when in actual service in time of war or public danger; nor shall any person be subject for the same offense to be twice put in jeopardy of life or limb; nor shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself, nor be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation.  The Executive branch has declared itself competent to indefinitely and secretly imprison persons without charge, counsel, or trial, in contravention of the Seventh Amendment;  and to torture them in contravention of the Eighth Amendment, US law, and international treaty;  and, ultimately, to assassinate them.  Claiming security or environmental concerns it deprives owners of the right to use their property, without any compensation.[4]  Though the Senate has not ratified the UN’s International Criminal Court (ICC), the Executive has been cooperating with that court, supporting the prosecution of its cases.[5]  Yet crimes committed in the Executive branch go unpunished.[6]  The Vatican has not ratified ICC.[7]

    Ah, Yes!  the UN  The US has not yet ratified the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child but some local jurisdictions have incorporated the Convention’s draconian assault on parental rights.[8]  US officials are chomping at the bit to adopt the UN Small Arms Treaty as a means of eliminating the Second Amendment right of the people to keep and bear arms.[9]  The US (and the Vatican) have agreed to the UN World Heritage Convention, placing significant national treasures under UN supervision.[10]  The list of sites includes Independence Hall, the Statue of Liberty; the National Parks at Yellowstone, Carlsbad, Redwood, Hawaii, Grand Canyon, and the Everglades among others, and with more to come.[11]  Vatican City, its holdings in Rome, and Saint Paul’s outside the walls are likewise under UN supervision![12]

    What is to be done?

    Obtain and read one of those pocket sized copies of the Constitution—know what the federal government is supposed to be doing and not doing.  Become informed about what they are doing.  Vote only for people who can be trusted to keep their oath to uphold the Constitution.

    Recognize that Obamacare and other socialist legislation was passed in large part due to the support of Catholic religious, priests, and bishops.  Be sure they know that they will get none of your money or other support until they repudiate socialism and globalism. 

    Pray!! Pray for our putative president and congressmen to respect the Natural Moral Law, and their oath of office to uphold the Constitution.  Pray that the Pope, bishops, and clergy come to understand that globalism and socialism are inherently evil and lead to violations of God’s law.  Pray for the conversion of hearts!



[2]   Matthew viii: 1-13

[6]   “Aide: Obama Won't Prosecute Bush Officials”


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