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FOR THE RESTORATION
OF DOCTRINAL AND LITURGICAL DISCIPLINE
IN THE CATHOLIC CHURCH

LAYMEN'S REFLECTIONS, RESOLUTIONS, AND PETITIONS TO ALL THE SHEPHERDS IN THE CHURCH

 

1. DIVINE ORIGIN AND AUTHORITY OF THE CHURCH TEACHINGS

We reaffirm our resolution to be totally and wholeheartedly faithful to all the official teachings of the Catholic Church on faith and morals promulgated by the Popes and Ecumenical Councils in union with the Popes and explained and practiced by the Church Fathers and other Saints throughout the two thousand-year history of the Church. 

We believe that these teachings are divine in nature by virtue of (1) the authority that Jesus Christ, Our Lord and Savior, bestowed on His Church in entrusting His teachings to her for preservation and propagation and (2) the constant workings of the Holy Spirit in the Church prompting and guiding her members to properly and effectively carry out their missions from the Lord. 

While being open to the possibilities of deepening of our understanding of the divine teachings over time, we reject all attempts to manipulate the contents of the official teachings of the Church through equivocations, dilutions, omissions, or alterations "to accommodate the changing needs of the times" or for any other reasons.  Especially, we deplore the attempts (1) to downgrade the divine origin and authority of the Church teachings, (2) to explain away the accounts of supernatural events in the Holy Scripture as fables and fictions, (3) to misinterpret the sublime teachings of the Second Vatican Council to weaken the traditional pillars of faith in the Church and accommodate individuals' progressive and human-centered agenda, (4) to promote the erroneous notion or impression that the teachings of the Second Vatican Council override or invalidate the previously-existing teachings of the Church, and (5) to introduce or induce, in the name of modernization, numerous unnecessary changes into the liturgical celebrations, prayers, music, architecture, statues, paintings, and norms of dress and demeanor in the church, which erode the respect for the divine and blur the true meaning of Our Lord's teachings in the minds of many people.

With filial obedience and profound gratitude to God for giving us His teachings along with His grace to enlighten our minds and also for establishing a divine teaching authority in the Church protected by the Holy Spirit so that we may be guaranteed the objective possibility of professing the true faith without error (Catechism of the Catholic Church #890), we embrace these teachings as the indispensable and fundamental basis and paradigm for our Christian faith and life and resolve to diligently study, practice, defend, and propagate them.

 

2. OUR SUPERNATURAL DESTINY

"God, infinitely perfect and blessed in himself, in a plan of sheer goodness freely created man to make him share in his own blessed life." (Catechism of the Catholic Church #1).   Thus, our destiny is not limited to the affairs and concerns of this world but is supernatural and eternal, as its object is none other than God Himself, Who is the infinite truth, justice and life and the source of everything that is good.  From the moment of our conception in the mother's womb, every one of us is called to eternal union with God as His loving child and a loyal subject in His Kingdom. 

Being humble creatures of God, we should never boast or glorify ourselves or our works, as we are not the true source of anything that is good.  A deep realization of the utter nothingness and poverty of ourselves should help us sense our own lowliness as well as the infinite greatness and sanctity of God.  We need not despair, however, as God does not leave us in misery and hopelessness but calls us to a new life in Him offering all the help that we need.  We could become like a crippled person who does not know that he can walk again with the help from God.  All we need to do is to stand up and begin walking, faithfully following the teachings from God.  We can soar to a dignity, holiness, beauty, and happiness that far exceeds what is proper to the human nature, when our souls (and our bodies, too, after resurrection) become transformed by the power of God's grace, which is normally first infused into our souls at the time of Baptism and restored through the Sacrament of Confession when it is lost through our personal sins. 

The seed of this grace in our souls can grow over time through the concerted workings of ourselves and the Holy Spirit.  In other words, we can attain our supernatural destiny by exercising our free will in tune with the promptings of the Holy Spirit, Who always helps us in understanding and practicing the divine teachings available through the Church.  This way, we will be leading a life on earth in conformity with the Will of the Father in Heaven (Matthew: 7:21) - attuning our intellects and wills to the demands of God's holiness, chiefly in three areas: (1) charity; (2) chastity or sexual rectitude; and (3) love of truth and orthodoxy of faith (Catechism of the Catholic Church #2518).   

We reject all the false teachings that mislead us (1) to neglect our supernatural destiny and limit our attention and efforts to the worldly matters and concerns as if they were the ends of our lives instead of being just the means for achieving our true destiny, (2) to deemphasize the absolute necessity of God's supernatural graces in remitting our sins, sanctifying our souls, and thus making us true children of God, (3) to equivocate on the evil of sins, which are our disobedience to God and His Commandments and are the only causes of our losing the graces, and (4) to downgrade the need for our repentance of sins and doing penance and even to discount the supreme importance and value of Our Lord's sufferings and death for redeeming the whole human race from sins and eternal perdition. 

We also realize that the natural wisdom and virtues that can be acquired even before embracing the Christian Faith through the practice of self-discipline and charitable acts are valuable and can prepare one to be more open to the knowledge and love of God, but by themselves are not sufficient for acquiring the divine graces for remitting one's sins and sanctifying his soul so that he may become a true child of God.  The way of salvation earned and taught by Our Lord is not just one among many ways of salvation made available by God so that we may freely choose from them.  The need for evangelizing the world as well as revitalizing the relapsed, confused, or inactive Christians remains as necessary and urgent as ever.

 

3. THE HOLY EUCHARIST - THE PERPETUAL EMMANUEL

The Incarnation of the Second Person of the Holy Trinity as the Savior of the world was the greatest event in human history as it was the supreme act of mercy and love by God toward the fallen humans.  Furthermore, the Church teaches that the mystery of God the Son's Incarnation, Passion and Resurrection was not merely a passing event in history that becomes buried in the past but is a perpetually living reality for all times, because by his death Christ destroyed death and all that Christ is and all that he did participates in the divine eternity.  It transcends all times while being made present in them all and abides and draws everything toward life (Catechism of the Catholic Church #1085).      

According to the Protestant faith, Jesus left this world after His Resurrection to be with His Father in Heaven and will return only at the end of time.  While this doctrine is correct in a sense, it misses the important fact that Our Lord established His Church on earth (Matthew 16:18) so that the mystery of His Incarnation, Passion, and Resurrection might continue as a perpetual reality through this Church and, thereby, the work of evangelizing and saving the world might also continue until the end of time.  Just before His Ascension, Jesus promised to his disciples that He would be with them all days, even to the consummation of the world (Matthew 28:20).  It has become clear that Our Lord did not just mean a spiritual or symbolic presence.

The Church that Our Lord established on earth is more than just an assembly of the faithful or a house of prayer.  It is a living organization that has both the inner supernatural reality and the external visible reality, just as Jesus Himself had the inner supernatural reality of being God the Son and the external visible reality of being a human?these two realities not remaining separate but intimately united in one Person.  As her inner reality, the Church has Jesus as her head and the source of all graces for her members and the Holy Spirit as her soul and the power that protects and guides the Church.  Externally, the Church has (1) a hierarchy of shepherds who represent Christ on earth carrying out His command to feed His sheep (John 21: 15-19) and (2) the laity who also carry out the mission from the Lord of sanctifying their souls and spreading the faith under the spiritual guidance and administration of the Sacraments by the shepherds.  The Church is the Mystical Body of Christ that is alive and active with the Spirit of God and journeys on its way of pilgrimage and spiritual battle spreading God's truths and love, fighting all kinds of evils and disorders, and enduring many persecutions until she finally completes her mission and joins the Triumphant Church in Heaven.  

Through this Church, people of all ages can have full access to the Savior just as the Jewish people two thousand years ago had.  From the Church, all peoples of the world can receive the divine teachings without worrying about their authenticity; they can really receive the absolution of their sins and receive many other graces for the sanctification of their lives through the Sacraments; they can truly participate in the Lord's supreme sacrifice on Mt. Calvary through the re-presentation of this sacrifice in Mass; and they can actually be with the Lord not only in spirit but also substantially by means of the Holy Eucharist.  We need to give eternal praise and gratitude to God for making these arrangements, which are possible only with the infinite power, wisdom, and love that God alone has. 

The external appearances of bread and wine in the Blessed Sacrament cannot be a valid excuse for not believing that the Eucharist is not bread and wine any longer but the truly living, whole, resurrected Christ with His body, blood, soul, and divinity.  At the time of the consecration by the priest at Mass according to the formula and command by the Lord (Matthew 26: 26-28; Mark 14: 22-26; Luke 22: 14-20; and John 6: 22-71), bread and wine are no more except their appearances, as their substances are converted into the living body and blood of Our Lord.  He is the omniscient, omnipotent, and infinitely truthful God Who can neither be deceived nor deceive us.  We must accept whatever He tells us based on His divine authority.  Of course, we are objectively sure of this, because the Church teaches so with the authority entrusted to her by the Lord.  Two thousand years ago, many of the Jews refused to believe Him and crucified Him, because, to their physical eyes, He only looked like a human being but He was claiming to be the Son of God and One with the Father (John 10:30).  They failed the test of their faith, trusting their own eyes more than the words of Christ.  In our times, we are being put to the same kind of test.  The Eucharist looks and tastes like bread and wine, but are we going to trust our senses more than Our Lord's divine words?  Likewise, His Church may look like any other institution on earth, but are we going to make judgment based on the external appearances only concerning an entity that belongs to God?  Our Lord repeatedly told us that faith is necessary for our salvation (for example, Mark 16:16).  St. Paul also reminded us of this many times (for example, Galatians 3:7-14).  If Our Lord externally revealed His true glory, beauty, and dignity in the Eucharist, there would be no room left for faith, and Our Lord could not test if we truly believed and loved Him.  The Eucharist is a mystery, a hidden reality of God's love and saving power, just as the Church is a mystery.  The external appearances of bread and wine in the Eucharist can be a blessed occasion for professing our faith in and love for the Lord or a sad obstacle over which one stumbles because of his lack of faith and love.  Despite the definitive teaching of the Church on the Holy Eucharist, there have always been many people including some clergy who have had difficulty in believing the truth about the Eucharist, just as some of Our Lord's disciples two thousand years ago complained and left Him (John 6: 60-66).  To aid those with such difficulties, Our Lord has worked miracles of the Eucharistic species turning into visible flesh and blood and also miraculous receptions of the Eucharist without the medium of the priest to prove the supernatural origin of the Holy Eucharist many times in Church history.    

Our Lord in the Eucharist is the suffering, bleeding, crucified Christ as well as the glorious, resurrected Christ.  By receiving Him in Holy Communion, we participate both in His Passion and in His Resurrection.  In this sacrament we can enter a most intimate union with the Lord as willing participants in His Passion and Resurrection and loyal followers of His teachings and Commandments.  Every time we approach the Lord in Holy Communion, we must renew and deepen our sentiments of worshipping Him and uniting with Him and reaffirm our resolution to do His Will.  He comes to us in the humble appearances of bread and wine seeking nothing but our love and friendship, but, at the same time, exposing Himself to the dangers of disbelief, neglect, indifference, mistreatment, insult and sacrilege.  We need to take extreme care to minimize such dangers by properly preparing ourselves before Communion through prayers, contrition, and Confession if necessary, and also by thoroughly educating the children, the catechumens, and others.  We need to restore the traditional discipline regarding how to behave in the church, during the Mass, and at Holy Communion.  We need to discourage all practices that promote or tolerate carelessness toward the Blessed Sacrament and encourage the habit of longer and more fervent prayers after Communion and during adoration. 

For these purposes, we especially implore all the shepherds (1) to restore the location of the tabernacle in the front center of the church; (2) to restore kneelers in all churches, (3) to re-install the communion rail if possible so that people may receive the Lord kneeling (receiving Communion standing increases the risk of the distributor's finger touching the communicant's tongue), (4) to encourage Communion on the tongue to prevent losing little particles of the Sacred Host and to discourage careless handlings of the Eucharist when received in the hand, (5) to use extraordinary ministers only when their help is truly needed, (6) not to use illicit matter in celebrating the Eucharist, and (7) not to improvise the prayers of the Mass to the celebrant's personal liking.  The Church dogma says: "If anyone denies that the whole Christ is contained in the venerable sacrament of the Eucharist under each species and under every part of each species, when the separation has been made; let him be anathema" (Council of Trent, DS #1653).  It is an undeniable fact that Eucharistic particles sometimes remain in the hand and become lost when the communicant receives the Eucharist in the hand.  Also when a very large host is used and, after the consecration, is broken into many pieces for the Communion of the faithful, numerous small particles are produced and remain on the paten.  It is not always true that the priest cleans the sacred vessels according to the directives from the Holy See.  We may be stunned, if we read about the care, awe, and sorrow with which the Saints (including St. Thrse of Lisieux) handled small Eucharistic particles found on the floor of the church after Mass (cf: Jesus Our Eucharistic Love by Fr. Stefano M. Manelli, F.F.I., Franciscan Friars of the Immaculate, 1996).

In fact, the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacrament at the Holy See already issued a comprehensive instruction regarding the correct celebration of the Sacred Liturgy, especially the Holy Eucharist, on April 23, 2004 under the title: Redemptionis Sacramentum.  This document can be accessed on the Vatican website:  www.vatican.va.  As most of the laity and even some of the priests seem unaware of the existence of this important document, we strongly encourage our readers to get a copy from the above site and benefit from reading it. 

Also, as a proper intention and the state of grace are required for receiving the Communion, the Sacrament of Confession is a necessity before the Communion when the communicant is aware of any serious sin.  After the Second Vatican Council, confessions on weekdays disappeared in almost all churches.  Neglect of the Sacrament of Confession weakens our Eucharistic faith and also promotes indifference toward our personal sins.  Hearing confessions and giving absolutions and penances is the most important duty for priests after the celebration of the Mass.  We sincerely implore all the shepherds in the Church to make the Sacrament of Confession more available every day.  What a precious and noble work it is to heal the spiritually ill with the authority and power of Jesus!

 

4. GOD HAD A REASON FOR GIVING A MOTHER TO HIS SON AND HIS CHURCH

There seems to be a remarkable parallelism between the events surrounding Adam and Eve's fall and those surrounding the Incarnation of our Savior.  In the Garden of Eden, Satan, the fallen angel, first approached the woman and tempted her to eat from the tree of forbidden fruit in violation of God's command.  Eve succumbed to the temptation and, then, made Adam commit the same sin.  In consequence, they were stripped of all their preternatural privileges and blessings and expelled from the Garden.  All their descendants were to be born without the divine graces and privileges and with a weakened nature. 

Later in Nazareth, it was a good angel, Gabriel, who brought God's message of hope to a young virgin called Mary, asking for her consent to become the Mother of the Savior, which would involve accepting not only the dignity and honor but also all the enormous responsibilities, difficulties, and pains that would be her share as the Mother of the suffering and dying Son.  She agreed in profound humility, obedience, self-denial, love, and courage, opening the way for God the Son's Incarnation and Redemptive Work for all humans.  Later, the grown-up Son would accomplish the work of human redemption on a tree in the shape of a cross.      

According to Genesis 1:26, God said, "Let us make man to our image and likeness".  He used plural terms: "us" and "our", because God is One with one divine nature but is also a community of three distinct Persons: the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit completely united as one in infinite love and truth.  As we were created in His image and likeness, we are necessarily individual persons as well as members of the society.  Our relationship with God is also individual and social.  Our Lord listens to our private prayers and calls us by name but also deals with us as a society or community, which is the Church.  While He was on earth, He not only prayed and worked as an individual person but also associated with many other people and relied on their helpHis family, relatives, friends, travelers, and more.  God does not ignore either the individual aspect of our life or its social aspect.  Neither can we. 

Christ's redemptive suffering and death was sufficient to expiate all human sins and reconcile the fallen human race with the Father in Heaven.  He is the only Savior for the whole human race.  The Protestant faith stops here and does not go any further.  According to the Protestant thinking, faith and salvation are a matter between each individual and God only, which does not leave any room for the social aspect of the process of our salvation, which means the cooperation between individuals.  Let us review some quotes from the Holy Scripture:

"If anyone wishes to come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me" (Luke 9:23). 

"I am the vine, you are the branches.  Whoever remains in me, and I in him will bear much fruit, because without me you can do nothing" (John 15:5).

"Now I rejoice in my suffering for your sake, and in my flesh I am filling up what is lacking in the afflictions of Christ on behalf of his body, which is the church" (Colossians 12:24). 

The above scriptural quotes indicate that we belong to a body, the Church, and, therefore, must help each other for salvation.  Our relationship with God is not a one-to-one relationship only.  Our Lord says that we are branches of the vine which is Himself and the Church.  In this community of the faithful, all members have important but different functions, just as many organs and parts in our body have different functions (1 Corinthians 12: 12-31).  They all work together for one same goal:  the salvation of the world.

Among all the members of the Church, the Blessed Mother's role is by far the most special one, as Our Lord not only took His body from her and was raised by her as her true child but also was with her even during the supreme sacrifice on Mt. Calvary.  She was not only His Mother but also His most perfect disciple, friend, and companion, denying her own self for the sake of her Son and carrying her cross daily with Him.  It was God's Will that His Son entered into the world as a little Baby and Son of a Woman and Mothera most humble, most pure, most caring, and most loving one that the divine Child deserves.  God could have chosen a different method that did not require others' help, but willingly chose this way in which the Baby was totally dependent on His Mother like any other human baby and also on St. Joseph, and, after He grew up, needed many others' help as well like Peter's, John's, Andrew's, Matthew's, Mary Magdalene's, the Samaritan woman's, and so on.  It was God's Will that His Son's followers participate in His redemptive work not only during His life on earth but always thereafter so that His work of human redemption may continue until the end of the world.  God made our help necessary for building up His Church and saving the world.  And He also made it necessary that, in doing our work, we should be aided by the Blessed Mother, just as Jesus was aided by her throughout His life on earth.  It would be so unnatural and unthinkable that the Mother of Jesus would not care about the Church, which is the Mystical Body of her Son, and her members, who are little Jesus', still weak and vulnerable but so precious in her eyes.  In fact, St. Alphonsus de Liguori likened the Blessed Mother to the neck of the Mystical Body of Christ, through which all the graces from her Son flow down to the members of the Church (The Glories of Mary, St. Alphonsus de Liguori, Redemptorist Fathers, Brooklyn, New York, 1931).  St. Bernard of Clairvaux and many other Saints also testified that God willed to give all the graces to people through the hands of the Blessed Mother.  Many Popes have confirmed the orthodoxy of this doctrine.  For example, Pope Pius XI quoted St. Bernard's words in his encyclical, Ingravescentibus malis (1937): "Thus it is God's will that we should have everything through Mary".  God has created humans as male and female.  It seems so appropriate that the Savior, a man, does the primary work of earning graces but is aided by His Mother, a woman, in distributing what He earned to all His and her children, caring for them and bringing them up.      

Throughout Church history, the Blessed Mother has continued her work of looking after the Church as a whole and her individual members, especially protecting them from heresies, wars, pestilences, and other disasters.  Sometimes, she visited individuals for their needs or for the needs of the whole Church as in Guadalupe (1531), Paris, France (1830), Lourdes, France (1858), Fatima, Portugal (1917), Akita, Japan (1973), Naju, Korea (since 1985), and other places bringing God's messages and miraculous signs to prove the supernatural origin of the messages.  Many of the apparition sites have developed into major shrines visited by millions from all over the world every year.  In the messages, the Blessed Mother has informed us that God wills to save the world through the Sacred Heart of Jesus and her Immaculate Heart.  She also emphasized the need for more fervent rosary prayers and more sacrifices in our daily lives to overcome the tremendous crisis facing our present world.  If more of us pray the rosary fervently every day and offer up even the littlest difficulties and pains as sacrifices, we may be saved from many disasters, as the Christian Europe was saved from an overwhelming Turkish invasion by a spectacular victory in a naval battle at Lepanto on October 7, 1571.  Also in Naju, Korea, Julia Kim, who received the Stigmata from the Lord several times and constantly suffers extreme pains in reparation for the sins of abortions and other sins in the world, saw a special vision on September 7, 1995.  She saw countless soldiers in red uniforms marching in lines toward people, aiming their rifles at them in a frightening way.  However, when the people began offering up fervent prayers, the soldiers gradually lost their strength and lowered their hands with which they were holding their rifles.  Even the color of their uniforms slowly turned from red to light grey and then to light blue.  Soon they turned back and the threat was removed.  At that moment, Julia saw the Blessed Mother appearing in the sky surrounded by bright light and giving her a message of hope and love.  This vision probably tells us the best solution to the worsening crisis of our world involving terrorism and proliferation of nuclear weapons.  The only way we can overcome this terrible crisis may be for more and more of us to kneel before God, do penance for our sins and the sins of the world, and pray hard relying on Our Lady's help and intercession, as God has given her to us as our true Mother and entrusted to her the power to crush the head of the serpent.  Her final victory in this battle with Satan is predicted in Genesis 3:15 and also described in the Apocalypse.  Despite the certainty of her final victory, how soon and how extensive it will be very much depends on how faithfully and resolutely we pray and reform our lives.  Efforts by a few individuals at a few places only may not be sufficient to turn the tide, as the scale of the problem is worldwide.  What we need is to make many efforts to motivate people all over the world to return to God and His teachings and Commandments and begin a life of fervent prayers and charitable acts.       

The Marian devotion has been attacked by the Protestant Reformers since the 16th Century and, has been repressed even in the Church by the progressive forces after the Second Vatican Council in the 1960s.  It seems likely that the ongoing many problems in the Church, especially, the erosion in the doctrinal and liturgical discipline as well as the cooling off of the missionary spirit has been the result of our neglecting the Blessed Mother, who is not only the Mother of God the Son but also the Mother of the Church and the conduit of all graces.  If we continue belittling her role in the Church and keep secularizing the Church, we would be compromising the traditional teachings of the Church that belong to God in order to appease the progressives with their human agenda.  This would be contrary to what all the Saints have believed and practiced.  The subject of Mary lies at the heart of deciding the future course of the Church:  continuous confusion and disorder or true reform and restoration of the truth and order in faithful obedience to God's Will.      

 

We invite our readers to make more copies of this article and give them to more people. 

Also, if you still do not have the book:  The Catechism of the Catholic Church, we strongly encourage you to purchase your copy from a Catholic bookstore as it is the best available summary of God's teachings entrusted to His Church for our salvation.


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P.O. Box 1668
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Benedict Sang M. Lee

Reviewed by Spiritual Director:  Rev. Robert J. Billett, C.M.F.
October 11, 2006

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