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Rockford, Illinois
March 24, 1961     The Observer
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March 24, 1961

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By Father John Ryan HOW CAN CATHOLICS TRUTHFULLY MAINTAIN THE UNBROKEN APOSTOLIC SUCCESSION FROM ST. PETER TO THE PRESENT POPE, WHEN AT TIMES IN T H E CHURCH'S HISTORY THERE HAVE BEEN TWO, OR ONCE EVEN THREE POPES CLAIMING TO BE THE TRUE ONE? The occasional occurence of false claimants to the Pap- acy is no proof whatever against the Apostolic Succession of the Popes. The Papacy is not handed down from one person to another; it is an elective office. There is no chain, as it were, from St. Peter to the present Pope, the strength of which would depend upon that of the weak- est link. One Pope is dead before the next one is elected; there is no handing down whatever except that the office has been held without any considerable interruption of time by some 261 Popes from St. Peter to John XXIIL Note the words "considerable interrup- tion", for obviously it always takes some time to gather the electors together and to proceed to a new election. Sometimes the civil power attempted to prevent an election. An election was prevented once for almost two years in Napoleonic times between 1799 and 1800. Sometimes a schismatic group, backed up by the civil power, elected or made pre- tense to elect another candidate, and cleated an anti-pope and maintained him for a time, mostly by force. Some- times through politics and lying Propaganda an anti-pope might be accepted erroneously on a limited area, and that even by well-meaning people. Once a group of people acted on the mislaken principle that a doubtful Pope is no Pope, in a doubtful election, therefore, neither claimant is Pope. hence they elected a new candidate. They succeeded only to making a second false-claimant. This is the case of the "three Popes"-re- terred to in the question. There has been no anti-pope or disputed election now for practically 500 years. However regrettable such occur- ences may have been. they in no sense affect the Apostolic Succession of the Popes, because each Pope succeeds the Apostle Peter in the office by the choice of the Church existing at the time, whatever claimants may have pre- ceded him. "k -k ~ WHO WERE THE PARENTS OF ST. JOSEPH? The father of St, Joseph was Jacob (Matthew 1. 17). Be- yond this we have no certain knowledge of the descent of Joseph, or of his family circumstances. Some scholars have suggested that his brother was Cleophas. who is men- tioned as the husband of Mary (Mark 15, 40) and whose sons were James and Joseph, and possibly the Apostles Simon and Jude. WHAT IS THE ORIGIN OF THE PRESBYTERIAN REo LIGION? Presbyterianism 'dates from the year 1560 as an organ- ized church. It was founded by John Knox in Scotland. He was a Catholic priest who had fallen into the errors of Calvinism. The Church of England had already been es- tablished about 25 years when, in Scotland, John Knox began to teach his form of Protestantism. He was expelled from the country immediately but returned in 1559. Then by acts of the Scottish .Parliament, Protestantism. under the form taught by Knox, was made the established re- ligion in Scotland. Presbyterianism maintains a system of government based on the equal right of all ordained ministers and the right of the congregation to choose its own pastor. It has no bishops. It has no official liturgy. It admits the use of two Sacraments: Baptism and Communion. WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN EXCOM- MUNICATION AND APOSTACY? Excommunication is an ecclesiastical penalty which de- prives a person of the rights and privileges enjoyed by those m communion with the faithful. It does not remove one from membership in the Church. nor does it neces- sarily imlhly the final condemnation of the one affected. Apostacy is complete and voluntary abandonment of the Christian faith which one had formerly professed. Apostacy consists formany, therefore, in the act of the one who is guilty of it, while excommunication consists formally in an act of an official of the Church. WHAT IS MEANT BY THE EXPRESSION "THE AL- PHA AND THE OMEGA?" Alpha is the first letter of the Greek alphabet and Ome- ga is the last. The expression is used in the Apocalypse, written by St. John. in which he quotes the Lord as say- ing, "I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End, Who is, Who was Who is coming, the Almighty." Questions for "You ASKED IT" should be sent to: Father J0bn Ryan. St. Joseph rectory, Lena. Ill. It is not necessary to sign your name unles,~ you wish a per- Banal reply. However, Father Ryan reserves the right not to use unsigned questions. Souls are like wax waiting for a seal. By themselves they have no special identity. Their destiny is to be softened and prepared in this life, by God's will, to re- ceive, at their death, the seal of their own degree of like- ness to God in Christ. And this is what it means, among Other things, to be judged by Christ. The wax thdt has melted in God's will can easily receive the stamp of its identity, the truth of what it was meant to be. But the wax that is hard and dry and brittle and without love will iaot take the seal: for the seal, falling upon it, grinds it to powder. . . --Thomas Merton. ,i Man is a being of genius, passion, intellect, eonseienee, power. He exercises these various gifts in various ways, in great deeds, in great thoughts, in heroic acts, in hate- ful crimes. He founds states, he fights battles, he builds cities, he ploughs the ~forest, he subdues the elements, he rules his kind. He t~-eates vast ideas, and influences many generations. He takes a thousand shapes, and under- gases a thousand fortunes. Literature records them all to the life. --Cardinal Newman. | Vol, XXVI, No. 12 Mar. 24, 19~t THE MOST REVEREND LORAS T. LANE Publisher THE REVEREND ARTHUR J. O'NEILL Managing Editor THE REVEREND WILLIAM/. JOFFE .Asst. Managing Editor SAARJORIE GALLAGHER .~. Women's Page Editor ROBERT WILLEMS News Editor BEULAH O'MEARA Business ROBERT ]. STARR Advertising c ANN B.RTOLASI Circulation The Observe.r/ printed weekly of 413 Pleasant ~treet Beloit, Wis- o lsin, is the offmial newspape, rot the Catholic D o e=$ af Rockford, Second class postage pard et Beloit, Wisconsin. | $ubssrlpfians |4.00 per yRt in tke United $tatee ALL COMMUNICATIONS SHOULD BE ADDRESSED TO THE OI~SERVER. 1260 NORTH CHURCH STREET. ROCKFORD. ILLINOIS. POST~t, STEB: Please send ferm $$79 to fhe OBSERYEIt, 12S0 Ne~h Chul~,h Street, Reckford, Ulinele. The prayers and ceremonies for Good Friday-- the Liturgy of t h e Lord's Passion and Death--- give striking proof that the purpose of the prayer- life of t h e Church is to extend the effects of redemption through time and space to our o w rL day. At first glance the ceremonies of Good Friday seem mysterious and only vaguely reminiscent of the events Of the first Good Friday. Truly, the Good Friday Liturgy goes much d e e p e r than mere recall of past history. The ceremonies are not designed to dramatize historical events b u t rather to bring about what those events m a d e possible--our faith in Christ's act of redemption and our participation in the Christ-life through grace. Tbe Holy Week Manual shows that there are four parts to the Liturgy of Good Friday: Read- ing from the Scripture, the Solemn Prayers, the Unveiling of the Cross, Holy Communion Service. These are not separate and unrelated actions; the total impact of these prayers and actions is to bring us in closer contact with Christ the Re- deemer on this Good Friday. SCRIPTURE READING Readings from the inspired Word nf God a r e used in all Church services to feed our minds with truth. On Good Friday the readings are f r o m both the Old and the New Testament. From the Old Testament we hear first t h e prophecy of Osee who tells us that God is n o t pleased with those who turn to Him in time of trouble only to neglect Him when the trouble has passed. This reading should arouse sorrow for our own past unfaithfulness and give h o p e in the reference to the joy of the resurrection which the Prophet Osee mentions. The second Old Testament reading is from the Book of Exodus and gives the exacting details told by God to Moses and Aaron for the offering of the deliverance lamb which was so significant in the final days of the Israelites s 1 a v e r y in I I I Egypt. The offering of this Lamb signaled their deliverance from physical slavery. We are thus reminded that the offering of the Lamb of t h e New Testament will make possible the deliver- ance of mankind from the slavery of sin. We then turn to the New Testament and hear the account of Christ's Passion and Death as re- corded by St. John. He was the only G o s p e 1 writer who was an eye-witness to the events, yet he stresses, more than the other evangelists, the significance of the events rather than the physical details. For example, he emphasized the connec- tion between the Jewish Passover Feast--the re- ligious rite of offering the Lamb--and the death of Christ. St. John's account of Christ's d e a t h soars above the-visible and audible details of that day and presents the doctrinal truth that this is truly the offering of a Victim--an offering which establishes the New Covenant between God and man. t THE SOLEMN PRAYERS Having heard the Word of God which renews in our minds the truth that Christ is the Victim of the Sacrifice of the New Covenant, we do not pause to weep but rather proceed immediately to take part in the official prayers of the Church di- rected to the purpose that the effects of this Sacri- fice will flow out to the whole world. The inten- tions of these Solemn Prayers bear close study as they truly interpret the mind and heart of Christ the Savior. The faithful make these intentions their own as they give the stamp of approval in their vocal Amen as prayers are chanted for God's Holy Church; the Holy Father; those in IIoly Or- ders; candidates for Baptism; the needs of the faithful; unity of the Church; conversion of un- believers. Each intention is solemnly announced; there follows the "bid" to kneel and pray silently ("flectamus genua") and then to rise (levate") to join in the official prayer chanted by the cele- brant. These prayers are not those personal and self- centered requests which so often occupy our atten- teen; they are the pleadings of the Jr iversal Church that redemption will be accomplished all men. THE UNVEILING OF THE CROSS The third and most dramatic rite of Good Fri- day is the unveiling of the Cross. 'In three stages the celebrantremoves the covering from the cru- cifix and announces: "Behold the wood of the Cross; on it hung the Savior of the world." This serves to remind us of the stark reality of God's demand for the ransom of sinners. The peo- ple then approach to kiss the/f0ot of the Cross in an act of humble:penitence. Meanwhile lest we dwell only on the past, the "Reproaches" are chanted. In these poetic phrases, Christ speaks to us and reminds us of God's favors to the Chosen People. By their deliverance from the Egyptians in their passing through the waters of the Red Sea, we are reminded of our deliVerance to a new life by the waters of Baptism, By their physic. nourishment of manna from the hand of God, are reminded of God's gift of spiritual nourish- ment in Holy Communion. HOLY COMMUNION SERVICE We have prepared our minds and hearts for a better grasp of the Divine Truth that Christ is the Victim of the Sacrifice of the New Law. We are now privilegd to receive in Holy Communion the very Victim of this Sacrifice. As Holy Com- munion is brought to the altar the choir chants: "We adore Thee, O Christ, and we bless Thee, because by Thy Holy Cross Thou hast redeemed the world." In preparing for Holy Communion all the people say the Our Father with the priest. This is the oldest and best prayer of preparation for Holy Communion as it leads us to ask for our daily Bread and prompts us to express forgiveness of one another's faults. Thus we are united sacra- mentally to our Lord and Redeemer and the grace of redemption flows abundantly in our souls. SPOTLIGHT ON t SOCIAL REFORM O O There's been a good deal of talk lately in labor circles about bringing the ex- pelled T e a m- seers union back FATHER WILLIAM SMITH, S. J. Since the expulsion of the Teamsters. the AFL-CIO nation- al organization has suffered a financial loss of about a million dollars a yea~ in per capita good standing within the nation- al organization. One reason that fans the spark of their hopes is a dream of the future. George Meany can't live forever. Some- into the AFL- dues. Local unions, large andone, sooner or later, will have CIO. The, sub- small, bemoan the loss of theto succeed him as'National ject popped tip strategic part played by the President 0"f AFL-CIO'. Many ~ a,t t h e recent Teamsters as an ally in timesold:line craft leaders will never -.:~ ~g~ ,---~- ~:~,u~, meeting of the of 'strike. accept Reuther as president of ,~--. ~.'~*~=.~~ .= . ~- - National Execu- The disciplinary action by the the united labor movement. -~.*~.'::e,~$.~::'~C:~~ tire committee parent AFL-CIO evidently has Once back in the good graces of ' ':'~ 7 : ~~ of AFL-CIO in had little effect upon the fate AFL-CIO, Jimmy Hoffa would 2-"5; ::::':~ ~~~ Miami. Official- and fortunes of the Teamstersbe a logical candidate to replace ,~, : ;,;. << ~::~.' >~.~-' - ~ ~.-:: ~ :<~:-~' ~~ ly, it didn't get Internahona]. So strong and ag- George Meany. No one doubts .::):i;.:;i-~{~i.(~{; );,kf