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A Leaven In The World… Churches In The Cultural Crossfire: Be Aware

November 13, 2017 Our Catholic Faith No Comments


After a new high in the national death toll, and a new low for the moral fiber of our nation in the Texas church massacre, people who attend church everywhere in our country are wondering the same thing: Could we be next?
The Sunday slaughter in a house of prayer this month, after so many signals of brewing trouble were ignored or overlooked — including the failure of the Air Force to notify the FBI that the shooter was dishonorably discharged and thus ineligible to own a personal firearm — led to a new record of violence and disregard for the sacredness of human life in our country.
As an increasing number of details about the life of the shooter surface, and a picture of culpable laxity and human weakness in lack of attention to detail is pieced together, we see by negative affirmation that there are many ways we can improve our systems of communication and coordination so that lives can be saved.
For those of us who are determined to not be intimidated out of attending Sunday Mass, we must inform and train our people in the proper procedures to be followed in the event such a dreaded malevolence violates our own sacred places of worship.
In light of the uptick in violence sweeping our country, it behooves us to prepare so that we can minimize or, hopefully, completely eliminate the loss of life.
After the church massacre in Texas, 2,976 people were reached as a result of 20 shares of my post on Facebook wherein I shared an excerpt relevant to the situation from De Defectibus. That is the treatise concerning defects in the celebration of the Church’s sacred rites, and what may or may not be omitted from the Mass under various unusual circumstances while preserving validity.
Why does the Mass continue even under some potentially dangerous conditions? Christ remained on the cross until the sacrifice was complete. With His cry, “It is finished,” He decreed that the price had been fully paid for men’s sins by His total self-giving on the cross with the total giving of His Body, Blood, Soul, and Divinity.
The Holy Mass is the selfsame sacrifice as on Calvary except in an unbloody manner. This is the reason why, once begun, the priest must not discontinue the offering of the sacrifice. However, in the case of risk to life, he can omit certain portions after the consecration. The essential elements of the consecration and reception of the confected sacrament by the priest for the completion of the sacrifice remain necessary even in the case of an active shooter.
As I posted on Facebook:
“In light of increased concerns and possible fears after the tragic shooting in a Texas house of prayer today, please share with your priest the following information from the Church’s official document, De Defectibus, which governs what the priest should do should something similar happen while he is celebrating Holy Mass.
“Obviously the faithful present should immediately do what is most necessary for their safety and well-being.”
I shared with Facebook followers and now also with you a quotation from De Defectibus, n. 32:
“If, while the priest is celebrating Mass, the church is violated before he has reached the Canon, the Mass is to be discontinued; if after the Canon, it is not to be discontinued. If there is fear of an attack by enemies, or of a flood or of the collapse of the building where the Mass is being celebrated, the Mass is to be discontinued if it is before the Consecration; if this fear arises after the Consecration, however, the priest may omit everything else and go on at once to the reception of the Sacrament.”
Many are now dead or injured after what appears to have been a sociopathic and mentally unstable young man with a grudge against Christian faith and a vendetta against practicing Christians led him to mow down an innocent group of praying believers.
While we certainly pray that this may never happen again, we must be realistic and prepare for the possibility that it will.
We owe it to our worshippers to discuss this soon in the context of a Sunday homily.
The Sunday Scriptures we will read this month include the following words:
“Therefore, stay awake, for you know neither the day nor the hour.” ”
We live our faith against the background of uncertainty in this world. The span of our lives is outside of our control. The day when we close our eyes upon this creation for the last time, whether it is near or distant in time, we cannot know. But we can and must prepare.
For this we have the consistent and persevering practice of our faith. We also pray in November for all the souls of the faithful departed.
It is not morbid to prepare for our meeting with the Lord, but rather it is the most important work of our lives.
While we pray for a holy death and pursue the life of grace so that we are prepared for death however and whenever it comes, we are also called to defend life.
The increasing toxicity of our culture which cheapens and dispenses so easily with human lives in abortion and other instances of violence calls for our vigilance.
The heroic mother who covered her children with her own body, sacrificing her life in the process, inspires us to more virtuously use the graces we receive from the Lord in the Eucharist to also defend the weak.
Whether the weak we encounter are the unborn threatened in an abortion facility or children endangered with violence, let us ask for the strength and the presence of mind to be heroes, too, if circumstances ever place us in a situation where fast thinking and quick action can save a life.
This, too, can serve our salvation because this is also of the love of Jesus Christ our Lord.
Thank you for reading and praised be Jesus Christ, now and forever.

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