Sunday, November 30, 2014

Hearts Aloft! A Reflection on our Mystical Transport to Heaven in Every Mass By: Msgr. Charles Pope

                       From a VOCAL friend ..... And the Archdiocese of Washington.   

"Before November ends and our consideration of the four last things (death, judgement, Heaven, and Hell) gives way to Advent preparations for the the great Second Coming that ushers in those things definitively,  let us turn our attention to a short, often-overlooked summons to Heaven that takes place in every Mass. It takes place in a short dialogue just after the prayer over the gifts and before the singing of the Sanctus. It is called the “preface dialogue” and it is really quite remarkable in its sweeping vision and heavenly call.
  • The Lord be with you.                            
  • And with your spirit.
  • Lift up your hearts.
  • We lift them up to the Lord.
  • Let us give thanks to the Lord our God.
  • It is right and just.
A fairly familiar dialogue to be sure. But to some extent, it fails to take wing because of the rather earthbound notion most moderns have of the Mass. Very few attending Mass today think much of the heavenly liturgy. Rather, most are focused on their parish Church, the priest in front of them, and the people around them. But this is NOT an adequate vision for the Mass. In the end, there is only one liturgy: the one in Heaven. There is only one altar: the one in Heaven. There is only one High Priest: Jesus in Heaven. In the Mass, we are swept up into the heavenly liturgy. There, with myriad angels and saints beyond number, we worship the Father through Jesus, with Jesus, and in Jesus.  In the Mass, we are swept up into Heaven!
More so than “Lift up your hearts,” a better translation of Sursum corda is “Hearts aloft!”
What is the celebrant really inviting us to do? After greeting us in the Lord, he invites us to go to Heaven! But remember, the priest is in persona Christi. Hence, when he speaks it is really the Lord Jesus speaking, making use of the priest’s voice. And what does the Lord really say to us in the magnificent dialogue and preface that follows? Allow me to elaborate on the fuller meaning of this text:
Let your hearts be taken up! Come and go with me to the altar that is in heaven where I, Jesus the great High Priest, with all the members of my body render perfect thanks to God the Father! You are no longer on earth, your hearts have been swept aloft into the great liturgy of heaven! Come up higher. By the power of my words you are able to come up higher! Since you have been raised to new life in Christ, seek the things that are above where I am at my Father’s right hand. Come up now and enter the heavenly liturgy. Hearts aloft!”
Consider this writing of Cardinal Jean Danielou, reflecting on some teachings from the Fathers about this critical moment of the Mass.
The liturgy of earth is a visible reflection, and efficacious symbol, of the heavenly liturgy of angels. This unity of the two worships is expressed by the liturgy itself in the Preface, where it invites the community of the Church (on earth) to unite with the Thrones and Dominations, the Cherubim and Seraphim, to sing the angelic hymn of praise, the Thrice-Holy. [St. John Chrysostom] says “Reflect upon whom it is that you are near and with whom you are about to invoke God–the Cherubim. Think of the ranks you are about to enter. Let no one have any thought of earth (sursum corda!) but let him lose himself of every earthly thing and transport himself whole and entire into heaven … ” (Chrysostom Adv, Anon., 4)
Elsewhere, Chrysostom remarks that the Gloria in excelsis  is the chant of the lower angels. Even the catechumens are permitted to join in it. But the Sanctus is the chant of the Seraphim; it leads into the very sanctuary of the Trinity, and thus “it is reserved for the initiated, the baptized” (cf Chrysostom, Homily on Colossians 3:8).
The Chant of the Seraphim expresses holy fear. It expresses the awe felt by even the highest creatures in the presence of the Infinite, Divine Excellence. And this enables us to better understand the holiness of the Eucharist … (Jean Cardinal Danielou, The Angels and Their Mission, pp. 64-65)."
Hence the Mass is never just the “10:00 am Mass at St. Joe’s.”  It is the heavenly liturgy.
Until recently, Churches were designed to remind us that we were entering Heaven. As we walk into older churches we are surrounded by windows and paintings that depict the angels and saints. Christ is at the center in the tabernacle. And all the elements that Scripture speaks of as being in the heavenly liturgy are on display, not only in the building, but in the celebration of the liturgy: candles, incense, an altar, the hymns that are sung, the Holy, Holy, Holy, the scroll that is brought forward in the Book of Gospels, the lamb on the throne-like altar, the prostrations and kneeling of the saints before the Lord. All these things are described in the Book of Revelation’s depictions of the heavenly liturgy. None of these things are in our churches or the liturgy for arbitrary reasons.
Yes! We are in the heavenly realms and the heavenly liturgy and so we see and experience heavenly things. Hearts aloft!
This video I made some time ago shows forth traditional Church Architecture as a glimpse of Heaven. The Latin text of the music by Bruckner describes how the form of the Liturgy and even Church architecture is set forth by God, who first gave it in elaborate instructions to Moses on Sinai. Here is the text, with my translation:
Locus iste a Deo factus est  (This place was made by God)
inaestimabile sacramentum; (a priceless mystery)
irreprehensibilis est. (It is beyond reproach)

Friday, November 21, 2014

Defending the Catholic Campaign for Human Development. Is There a Defense?

Defending the Catholic Campaign for Human Development 
By Stephanie Block
After three years of intense scrutiny into problematic Catholic Campaign for Human Development (CCHD) grants, the American Life League and other concerned groups gave the beleaguered “charity” some space to reorganize. CCHD’s 2013 collection came and went with hardly a peep from its critics and the next year of grants was announced unchallenged.
CCHD allies, however, have used the hiatus to argue against any reform or redirection.
One of those allies is Faith in Public Life. In anticipation of the 2008 elections, Faith in Public Life was created by Soros-connected individuals[i] to be a media machine that could give a religious voice to progressive political positions. To this end, progressive clergy from various “faith traditions” were brought together to deliver coordinated messages concerning the election – most critically, that voting for a president needed to be about more than his abortion record. They were so successful that the organization continued to coordinate other campaigns, such as a push for universal health care regardless of any moral failures built into the new system.[ii]
The secular media was encouraged to use Faith in Public Life sources for commentary about how “faith communities” saw particular policy proposals. Progressive clergy, rather than more conservatively-oriented religious spokespersons, would represent the “moral” perspective. And this “moral” perspective quite deliberatively laid the question of abortion and same-sex marriage to the side. There were, Faith in Public Life insisted, more relevant things to discuss.
Who came under the Faith in Public Life umbrella? Most of the individuals and groups who are part of this religious-progressive media machine were – and are – exactly what might be expected: people from denominations that officially support abortion and homosexual “rights” as well as activist groups founded to further these particular causes.[iii]
It is shocking, however, to realize the number of Catholic organizations that also appear as Faith in Public Life contacts. Catholics are staunchly opposed to abortion. Yet, because of nuanced positions on issues such as universal health care and immigration, official Catholic bodies are often positioned in active political fellowship with pro-aborts and homosexual activists. And because there are many genuinely progressive individuals at the helm of Catholic institutions – individuals who often have a compromised personal relationship to Church teaching – this political fellowship is extremely comfortable.
So, when CCHD came under increasing internal examination, Faith in Public Life sprang to its defense. One recent defense is in the form of a report titled “’Be Not Afraid?’ Guilt by Association, Catholic McCarthyism and Growing Threats to the U.S. Bishops’ Anti-Poverty Mission,” authored by John Gehring and released in the summer of 2013.[iv] Gehring, very wisely, got a number of progressive Catholics to “endorse” the report and a quick glance at the list reveals that most, if not all, of the report’s endorsing Catholic groups have been associated with Faith in Public Life since its inception. The report’s endorsing individuals – many directly working for the CCHD, either currently or in the past – show how closely Faith in Public Life’s progressive political ambitions and CCHD’s grant patterns are associated.
The report’s introductory comments set the stage. It begins by characterizing its critics: “Using guilt by association and other tactics from the McCarthy-era playbook, these activists are part of an increasingly aggressive movement of Catholic culture warriors who view themselves as fighting for a smaller, “purer” church.” (page 2) A few pages further, the report complains that “[t]hreats to anti-poverty work are part of a toxic climate of fear in which efforts to narrow Catholic identity to a few hot-button issues distort the debate over Catholic values in public life, and social justice advocates face character assassination.” (page 4)
In particular, the Faith in Public Life report makes a point of defending CCHD’s funding of community organizing – and not just any community organizing but Alinskyian community organizing. Alinskyian community organizing is the key to understanding CCHD’s response to poverty. “Not all of CCHD defunding involves guilt by association,” the report admits in a section called “A rejection of ‘Alinsky-Style’ Organizing.” “In some cases, there is also a deeper hostility toward the principles of community organizing despite the church’s long history of shaping and supporting this movement.” (page 17).
The report singles out bishops who have rejected Alinskyian-style organizing with snarky, comments such as: “In a nod to the 1950s McCarthy era when ‘blacklists’ were emblematic of a culture of fear, the protocol in the Cleveland diocese requires a list of all organizations ‘found to espouse, support, finance or otherwise promote in any way any position or program that is contrary to the teachings of the Catholic Church, whether in practice or in philosophy.’” (page 19)
How much it says about Faith in Public Life (and its Catholic endorsers) that a bishop who rejects funding anti-Catholic programs or positions because those programs or positions are contrary to the teachings of the Catholic Church is dubbed a “McCarthyite.” Isn’t that what a bishop is supposed to do – to lay down his life in defense Christ and his Church?
Faith in Public Life has argued that there are many Church teachings and that concern for the poor is among them. CCHD critics agree with this statement.
However, the report fails to explain why it insists that the novelty of Alinskyian community organizing is the only way to accomplish concern for the poor when, for two millennia, the Church was faithful to her teaching without Alinskyian community organizing. The report also fails to explain why, for the first time in her history, it is necessary for the Church to chose to obey one teaching – concern for the poor – at the expense of others, such as “thou shall not kill.”
The problem is that the CCHD – as represented by the Faith in Public Life and its Catholic endorsers – is part of a progressive political package that is essentially pro-abortion.
And, despite the defunding of a few token organizations, CCHD’s trajectory is exactly what it has been since the 1970s.[v] CCHD grants continue to be skewed toward progressive political organizations, most particularly Alinskyian community organizing.
Of the 193 grantees on the national[vi] 2012-2013 CCHD grant list, well over half can be positively identified as belonging to Alinskyian community organizations (the number may be higher given how frequently new affiliates form and old affiliates change their names). Among these, at least 30 went to affiliates of the organization founded by Saul Alinsky, the Industrial Areas Foundation (IAF); over 45 went to IAF clone networks – 20 to PICO affiliates, 15 to Gamaliel affiliates, and about 10 to DART affiliates; and the rest went to affiliates of National People’s Action, Interfaith Worker Justice, USAction, and several of the smaller organizing networks.
These groups are well-represented among the Faith in Public Life media machine. This is not “guilt by association” – these people openly work together in support of a common vision that “serves the poor” without charity, via mandatory societal restructuring. They are part of a progressive fellowship that includes Planned Parenthood and chapters of the Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice.
There have been very real affronts to Church teaching about abortion and homosexual issues in past CCHD grant awards. But the problem is more systemic than a grant here or there.
As the Faith in Public Life report make plain, those affronts are so woven into the fabric of Alinskyian organizing that to address them is to threaten the very essence of not only CCHD but the entire United States progressive machine.
Spero columnist Stephanie Block is the author of the four volume study "Change Agents: Alinskian Organizing among Religious Bodies."
[i] See Sr. Mary Ann Walsh, “Memo to Journalists,” 6-27-12:
[ii] It was apparent, long before the Affordable Health Care Act became law, that this legislation would have ethical problems: Block, “Alinskyian organizing linked to abortion movement: The Catholic Church is a supporter of Alinskyian community organizing. Why?”
[iii] A more extensive discussion of the groups making up Faith in Public Life can be read: Block, “American Catholics and Faith in Public Life,”
[iv] John Gehring is Catholic Program Director at Faith in Public Life. Previously, he served as Director of Communications at Catholics in Alliance for the Common Good and was Assistant Director for Media Relations at the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops in Washington.
[v] A few dioceses have attempted to respond to CCHD scandals by including more “economic development” grants and/or awarding unobjectionable grants that are presented in CCHD terms. Thus, the perfectly laudable grant of $30,000 to the Washington DC Gabriel Network – which provides assistance to women in crisis pregnancies – is described as a “community development” grant.
[vi] CCHD gives back a percentage of the collection to each diocese who can distribute the money locally as it sees fit. This analysis doesn’t account for those local grants but only those disbursed at the national level.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Festival Chorale Oregon Concert: Friday, November 21st at 7:30PM at St. Joseph Church, Salem

The Festival Chorale Oregon will be presenting a must-see concert at St. Joseph’s Parish!  On Friday, November 21st at 7:30PM this immense choir with orchestra will perform Faure’s Requiem and Distler’s Totentanz as part of a season they call “From Darkness Into Light.”

In addition to hearing this very beautiful and powerful music, your attendance at this concert benefits our future pipe organ, as the group has designated the profits to go to our Casavant organ fundraising!  This is an amazing opportunity to hear great music in the wonderful acoustics of our own St. Joseph’s sanctuary and also help this wonderful cause!  

Tickets are $20 for adults, $15 for seniors, and $5 for students, available at the door or the parish office.  Spread the word and be a part of this special event!!

And this, from the Festival Chorale's website:
 The concert features three works that will prepare us to move from the darkness through 
 dawn into light over the course of the three concerts this season.  First will be Hugo Distler's Totentanz (Dance of Death), where actors and a small choir portray the power of death over humanity.  After the intermission, the full choir performs two works by Gabriel Fauré including an audience favorite, Fauré's Requiem, exploring a different view of death. In talking about his Requiem, Fauré described death as "a happy deliverance, an aspiration towards happiness above, rather than as a painful experience." 
The Totentanz is very rarely performed.  Besides a small choir, the performance include several actors, one representing Death, the others his various victims: president, manager, physician, merchant, soldier, sailor, mystic, farmer, young lady, old man, and child. The Dance of Death is a literary and painting genre, portraying the inevitable power of death over all humanity, often with admonitions to righteousness so you can enter heaven. The work sounds bone-simple, but  those who have actually sung it, tell you it can give a choir fits.  

The Totentanz comes from roughly 1936. Distler, a German living during the Third Reich, joined the Nazi party when they came to power, believing that the party would favor the church.  However, the Nazis' hostility to religion and therefore to sacred music became increasingly clear. As the Nazis began to harass and clamp down, Distler moved from faculty to faculty. Furthermore, many of his friends had tried to resist the Nazis and were arrested. Distler found protection in high circles for a time but no respite from being called up. He got his wife and children out of Germany, while he remained behind. The terror and brutality of the Nazis depressed him. After one final attempt to draft him, he committed suicide. Ironically, another exemption came through shortly thereafter.
The second part of the concert features two works by Gabriel Fauré:  Cantique de Jean Racine and Requiem.  Fauré composed Cantique de Jean Racine when he was only 19 years old, as  a graduation requirement. The piece won Fauré the first prize when he graduated from the École Niedermeyer de Paris. More than 20 years later,  Fauré composed his Requiem, between 1887 and 1890. This  choral-orchestra setting of the Roman Catholic Mass for the Dead  is the best known of his large works.   Here, the 100-voice choir is joined by a chamber orchestra, and baritone Kevin Helppie.  The famous Pie Jesu movement of the Requiem, traditionally performed by a soprano soloist, will be sung by the children's choir of Adams Elementary School in Corvallis, directed by Stephanie McCormick.

Some proceeds from this concert will go toward the Organ Restoration Fund for St. Joseph Church.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Replies from Ed Langois of Catholic Sentinel re: Joy Wallace Article and the Newspaper.

In June, there was an article regarding long-time homosexual activist Joy Wallace in the Catholic Sentinel. Since Ms. Wallace has openly supported anti-Catholic positions for decades, it was curious that the writer of the article, Ed Langois, wrote it in the first place or that news editor Robert Pfhoman allowed its publication.  

Here is the official retraction from Ed Langlois for VOCAL readers, but it wasn't  published in Catholic Sentinel's on-line edition where it appeared.  It took until September to receive the "retraction" and longer since finding out if it was also in print meant a trip to the Oregon Catholic Press to make sure it wasn't published in print.  Forgive me for this lack of trust.

"Earlier this summer, the Sentinel published an online story about Joy Wallace, who leads an organization to prevent bullying of youths, including those who have a homosexual orientation. While the Catholic Church recognizes homosexual acts as disordered, it does not condemn such orientation. 

But readers subsequently brought to our attention that Wallace also has led marches in Portland’s Gay Pride parade and is one organizer of a service led by a woman who claims to be a Catholic priest. To prevent confusing Catholics, Sentinel staff removed the story from the website and refrained from putting it in print."

Ed Langlois 

Staff Writer


503•460•5496 Fax

  Further questions regarding the Catholic Sentinel.

The Catholic Sentinel has been around for so long and there is a growing realization that we know very little about how it works.  To put this matter to rest there are two things requested.

The answer to this question: Are there four Catholic Sentinels? English printed and on-line as well as Spanish editions?  There seem to be. The reason please? 

Since the article was on-line for a month it seems to many that a public mention of the mistake with the actual reasons it was pulled is necessary.  On-line would be fine since it was on the web.  If, however, it was actually printed, that would also apply.

God Bless,


Ed's Reply:

Carolyn —

I can explain the first issue easily. 

The Sentinel and El Centinela are produced independently, though we do translate a story back and forth now and then. Rocio Rios leads the El Centinela pretty much single handedly, with some freelancers.  The Sentinel has three writers and senior editor Bob Pfohman, who is the leader. Both papers carry an essential of the mission — the archbishop’s column.

Both papers also have websites. Because the space in print is limited, the websites contain everything from print, plus much more, including stories, arts reviews, videos and more photos. In addition, most stories will show up on the website much sooner than in the paper, since it’s a two-week wait between printings. We post new stories in all the website sections daily. 

Regarding your second question, let us think on it. On one hand, I feel you have amply publicized Joy Wallace’s life and I don’t see at this point how we can add much to further the common good and the mission handed to us by Jesus. We are not in the business of publicly embarrassing people and I don’t think anyone is in danger of having their faith confused. On the other hand, we should be transparent. 


Ed Langlois 

Staff Writer


503•460•5496 Fax


Thanks for sending me the information on the two papers.  It's good to know. 
I was wondering if you and Bob thought anymore about the retraction regarding the Wallace article. 

If you were thinking in any way Joy would be publicly embarrassed, she wouldn't be. Just her
Joy center-stage defying AB Sample
behavior would eliminate that possibility. A retraction would simply let people know that the Catholic Sentinel, i.e. the Archdiocese of Portland doesn't condone or encourage homosexual behavior through her organization.  

In my opinion, this article does confuse Catholics. The common good and mission of Christ Jesus is in fact harmed.  Ask Archbishop Sample if you are still confused.

Transparency is a positive thing.  

God Bless,

 (Below is my final email to make sure he understood the gravity of our request)  


Thanks again for getting back to me.  I want to make sure that you are sure you looked into the organization that Joy Wallace founded.  It seems to me to be a forum for homosexual promotion in our schools and an attempt to lead the souls of Catholic schoolchildren away from Christ.  

Here are the newsletters from the Oregon Safe School Coalition website.    

"Earlier this summer, the Sentinel published an online story about Joy Wallace, who leads an organization to prevent bullying of youths, including those who have a homosexual orientation. While the Catholic Church recognizes homosexual acts as disordered, it does not condemn such orientation. 
But readers subsequently brought to our attention that Wallace also has led marches in Portland’s Gay Pride parade and is one organizer of a service led by a woman who claims to be a Catholic priest. To prevent confusing Catholics, Sentinel staff removed the story from the website and refrained from putting it in print."

If you want to change this 'retraction' in anyway, please let me know.  Otherwise, I'll publish this as is.

Response, status quo.

Oregon Catholics need to keep praying, be thankful for the changes, but be wary of what's printed in the Sentinel.  The editor, Bob Pfohman has retired this November.  Let's pray for the next editor and his/her discernment in protecting Oregon Catholics.

Saturday, November 8, 2014

Interested? Archdiocese of Portland Job Openings: Marriage and Family and Director of Divine Worship.

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