Friday, September 24, 2010

Notes: Friday, September 24, 2010

Fr. Zuhlsdorf on 'servitude', the Mass, and priesthood

The Rev. Fr. John T. Zuhlsdorf provided a useful reminder of the meaning of the Papal title of 'servant of the servants of God':

... Servitus was sometimes in ancient times used as a form of address. We mustn’t stretch this too much, but tune your ear to how our ancient forebears would have heard words such as servitus. In the writings of the Fathers of the Church servus is used for the priest or bishop. St. Pope Leo I, “the Great” (+461) refers to himself in this way (ep. 108, 2). Servitus or “Servitude” was much as Sanctitas or “Holiness” is for the Pope today, or Excellentia or “Excellency” is for a bishop. I don’t hear of many bishops today welcoming the title “Your Servitude”. St. Augustine (+430) used servus servorum (ep. 217). One of the venerable titles of the Bishop of Rome is, from the time of the aforementioned St. Gregory I, “Servus Servorum Dei… Servant of the servants of God”.

And Father continues well, with the following reminder of the meaning of the Mass:

The altar is the supreme place of priestly service. An altar is about sacrifice. Priesthood is about sacrifice. Priesthood and sacrifice must never be separated in our minds.

We must never lose sight of Mass as propitiation, or of the priest as offering sacrifice to God. This deep current in Holy Mass must inform every word and gesture, ornament and sign.

Unfortunately, Fr. Zuhlsdorf then messes things up by introducing a little Vatican-II-ism:

For example, when the priest is standing at the altar in the place of Christ,
Head of the Church (in persona Christi capitis), ...

Another letter in The Australian on euthanasia (and the on-line comments which that letter has elicited)

Note: The web-page for the letter (published under the heading "Double standards") seems to have cut off the opening sentence, which, judging by the Letters main page, was

THE sanctity of life is a cornerstone of liberal democracy.

followed by

Its primary importance is pragmatic, not philosophical -- it provides ultimate protection of the weak in society.

=Unless we want to re-run the last 500 or so years of political evolution, we can't afford to abandon the principle that no individual or group has the right to kill others. The Greens' proposed euthanasia legislation does just this, devaluing human life and exposing its proponents to the accusation that they have double standards.

How can we concede that the sanctity of a life may be negotiable in some circumstances and then credibly campaign against capital punishment? How can we solve some people's problems by quietly euthanasing them and then hope to persuade teenagers that suicide is not a viable solution to their own problems?

The unconsidered social consequences of adopting this very unprogressive measure are potentially profound and likely to go well beyond its superficial aim of providing the ultimate in pain relief.

John Francis, Lauderdale, Tas

It was interesting to see some of the comment writers rejecting that the "sanctity of life is a cornerstone of liberal democracy":

v Posted at 8:33 AM Today

John Francis, I am afraid that yours is one of the most dishonest letters I have ever read. The "sanctity" of life is NOT a cornerstone of liberal democracy. ...

robert thomson of brisbane Posted at 9:43 AM Today

The sanctity of life a cornerstone of liberal democracy? What sort of bilge is this? ...

Well, there you have it. Liberals rejecting that the sanctity of life is a cornerstone of liberal democracy. Why would anyone support such a political system?

"Vatican joins commemoration of Rome capture"

Full body of the text posted at CathNews:

For the first time, the Vatican has joined in anniversary celebrations of the 1870 capture of Rome by Italian troops which ended the Papal States' domination of the city for more than 1,000 years.

"We are here to take part in a symbolic gesture and to re-affirm the fact that Rome is the indisputable capital of Italy, just like it is the heart of everything that concern the Church," Vatican Secretary of State Tarcisio Bertone said before the ceremony, the Times of Malta reports.

Italy's President Giorgio Napolitano and the mayor of Rome, Gianni Alemanno, also took part in the celebrations of the 140th anniversary of the "breach of Porta Pia," when on September 20, 1870 Italian troops broke into Rome close to the city gate, completing the country's unification.

Mr Alemanno said Cardinal Bertone's presence had "a special meaning", even though the ceremony "was no longer a matter of healing the historical wound between the Italian state and the Holy See".

Dr. Kok on euthanasia

One of the regular commenters at Mr. Muehlenberg's blog had some interesting things to say in a couple of comments at the latter's blog. Large excerpt from the first of those comments:

Jereth Kok
21.9.10 / 2am

[...] Bill, I am a medical practitioner who has spent time working with many dying patients. Arguments about there being a thin line between turning off life support and euthanasia are (to use the academic term) “complete bollocks”.

Life support (which includes such things as respirators, dialysis and artificial feeding) is artificial intervention which maintains life when it would otherwise cease. On the other hand, euthanasia is administration of a drug to a living patient which will shut down their body systems and kill them.

In a life support situation, if medical staff elect to “do nothing”, the patient will die in a way that is completely natural. Sometimes a patient is put on (artificial) life support in the hope that their body will recover to a point that life can be sustained naturally once again; life support is only switched off when it is clear that there is actually no prospect of recovery.

In a euthanasia situation, if medical staff elect to “do nothing”, the patient will continue living. Ongoing life is natural; euthanasia is artificial — the exact reverse of the former set of circumstances.

There is therefore a world of difference between withdrawing medical treatment which artificially prolongs life, and deliberately administering a drug to kill somebody. Contrary to your claim, there is not a hint of “grey” in this at all.

Jereth Kok


See also Dr. Kok's comment of 23.9.10 / 10pm in that same combox for details on how nurses deal with end-of-life situations.

Blog comments by me

Just one, at Terra's blog:

Cardinal Pole said...

Another thing of which Islam reminds us is the social rights of God. If we take the following proposition as the basic principle of Islamism:

Men not just in societies but also as societies must profess Islam.

then that is false not because of the form of the syllogism by which it is argued or because its major premise is false, but because its minor premise is false:

Men not just in societies but also as societies must profess the true religion.
Islam is the true religion.
Therefore men not just in societies but also as societies must profess Islam.

September 24, 2010 3:11 PM

Reginaldvs Cantvar
Feast of Our Lady of Ransom, A.D. 2010

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