From the Pastor: What to do With Modernists
This coming Saturday is the feast day of Pope St. Pius X. At the Holy League, the men and I have been studying (for years!) some of this blessed Saint’s simplest writings. We started out with his basic Catechism. This catechism followed along the lines of the Baltimore Catechism, giving insight into Church teachings through simple questions and clear answers. Many of the answers seem shockingly blunt to today’s ears, for we are almost never exposed, neither in Church nor elsewhere, to truth spoken (or written) with the clarity of conviction and love.
At the Holy League we then moved on to studying this Saint’s 1907 decree, Lamentabili Sane, Syllabus Condemning the Errors of the Modernists. Although the catechism had already opened the men’s eyes to the fact that much of what passes for “Church teaching” today is at least deficient if not outright incorrect, Lamentabili is showing them just how pernicious this erroneous teaching really is and how long it has been among us. (Hint: The year 1907 came slightly before the Second Vatican Council!) This document lists errors currently (then and now) being taught by so-called Scripture scholars, theologians, and other muckety-mucks in the Church.
Today I will give you all a little more from this Saintly Pope from his writing titled, Praestantia Scripturae: On the Bible Against the Modernists. While it is only two pages long, that is still too long to quote entirely here. In the very first line, he cuts to the chase and says that he is issuing “censures and penalties against those who neglect to observe the prescriptions against the errors of the modernists”, lays out his rationale for doing so, and then succinctly explains what happens to those who hold and teach modernist errors as if they are true. It is here that I pick up the following text. Note the clarity of his statements. You will see in these words a loving Father’s concern for the spiritual well-being of his children. He takes seriously his role as Defender of the Faith. St. Pius X, pray for us!
Wherefore we find it necessary to declare and to expressly prescribe, and by this our act we do declare and decree that all are bound in conscience to submit to the decisions of the Biblical Commission relating to doctrine, which have been given in the past and which shall be given in the future, in the same way as to the decrees of the Roman congregations approved by the Pontiff; nor can all those escape the note of disobedience or temerity, and consequently of grave sin, who in speech or writing contradict such decisions, and this besides the scandal they give and the other reasons for which they may be responsible before God for other temerities and errors which generally go with such contradictions.
Moreover, in order to check the daily increasing audacity of many modernists who are endeavoring by all kinds of sophistry and devices to detract from the force and efficacy not only of the decree “Lamentabili sane exitu” (the so-called Syllabus), issued by our order by the Holy Roman and Universal Inquisition on July 3 of the present year, but also of our encyclical letters “Pascendi dominici gregis” given on September 8 of this same year, we do by our apostolic authority repeat and confirm both that decree of the Supreme Sacred Congregation and those encyclical letters of ours, adding the penalty of excommunication against their contradictors, and this we declare and decree that should anybody, which may God forbid, be so rash as to defend any one of the propositions, opinions or teachings condemned in these documents he falls, ipso facto, under the censure contained under the chapter “Docentes” of the constitution “Apostolicae Sedis,” which is the first among the excommunications latae sententiae, simply reserved to the Roman Pontiff. This excommunication is to be understood as salvis poenis, which may be incurred by those who have violated in any way the said documents, as propagators and defenders of heresies, when their propositions, opinions and teachings are heretical, as has happened more than once in the case of the adversaries of both these documents, especially when they advocate the errors of the modernists that is, the synthesis of all heresies.
Wherefore we again and most earnestly exhort the ordinaries of the dioceses and the heads of religious congregations to use the utmost vigilance over teachers, and first of all in the seminaries; and should they find any of them imbued with the errors of the modernists and eager for what is new and noxious, or lacking in docility to the prescriptions of the Apostolic See, in whatsoever way published, let them absolutely forbid the teaching office to such; so, too, let them exclude from sacred orders those young men who give the very faintest reason for doubt that they favor condemned doctrines and pernicious novelties. We exhort them also to take diligent care to put an end to those books and other writings, now growing exceedingly numerous, which contain opinions or tendencies of the kind condemned in the encyclical letters and decree above mentioned; let them see to it that these publications are removed from Catholic publishing houses, and especially from the hands of students and the clergy. By doing this they will at the same time be promoting real and solid education, which should always be a subject of the greatest solicitude for those who exercise sacred authority.
All these things we will and order to be sanctioned and established by our apostolic authority, aught to the contrary notwithstanding.
Given at Rome in Saint Peter’s, the 18th November, 1907, the fifth year of our Pontificate.
Pius PP. X.
With Prayers for your holiness,
Rev. Fr. Edwin Palka
From the Pastor: New Catholic Cemetery?
Is there ever good news about death (apart from Eternal Life, that is)? Today there just may be some. There has long been talk about the lack of Catholic cemeteries in our diocese. The only one that is open to all Catholics (some older parishes have private cemeteries in which only their parishioners may be buried) is located across the bay in Clearwater. It is a nice cemetery and I have been there numerous times from parishes farther away than this one, as people wanted to be buried in a Catholic cemetery rather than a Catholic section of a secular cemetery. Of course, the further the family lives from the cemetery, the less likely they are to visit the grave of their deceased loved ones. But there is a new Catholic cemetery preparing to open up on this side of the bay and it looks like it is less than 20 minutes from Epiphany!
The diocese sent me a link to Resurrection Cemetery (https://resurrectioncemeteryfl.com/) and I am passing it on to you. From what I can see, it will be in a very beautiful, wooded setting. One thing they don’t mention anywhere that I could find, though, is actually burials. They mention above-ground places for bodies and ashes, they show photos of buildings being built for such purposes, and they have plenty of images of heavy equipment clearing under and around trees to give way for roads and other unknown things. Perhaps there is not room for a “traditional” in-ground burial or perhaps it is swampy land unfit for digging six feet. Or maybe I just missed it. But read for yourself what they have on their site:
Resurrection Cemetery is more than a consecrated location for interment of our departed loved ones. The cemetery is a ministry of the Catholic Diocese of St. Petersburg, where mausoleums and cremation niches are sparsely placed within the natural wooded lands of a 120-acre nature preserve.
Phase one is currently under construction with 1,784 spaces for caskets and 1,776 niche spaces for cremains. Heritage structures are crafted of steel-reinforced concrete and clad with solid granite.
An on-site office is set to open, and the first mausoleums and niches are scheduled for completion by late Fall of 2022. Generous discounts are offered for purchases made prior to opening.
You might want to check it out yourself. The “generous discounts” part might be helpful for those who plan ahead, so don’t wait much longer to ask Terry Young (the director) any questions or even for a pre-opening tour. Here is his contact information:
How may we help you?
We would be delighted to answer any questions you might have regarding Resurrection Cemetery or if you would like to schedule an appointment to meet in person, you may contact Terry Young via our contact form, by telephone or email.
10668 E. Sligh Avenue
Seffner, FL 33584
This is the type of thing that the Diocese does with the money you send to what used to be APA and is now Catholic Ministry Appeal. It takes a lot of money to begin such a big project and the Bishop doesn’t have any way to finance such things without your generosity. Having a Catholic cemetery on this side of the bay will help Catholics for generations to come and your donations helped to make it a reality. (The north end of our diocese could use a Catholic cemetery or two also, but at least this is a good start.) With that segue into the CMA, let me remind you that we haven’t come anywhere close to meeting our goal yet this year. If you haven’t yet made a donation, please consider doing so soon so that you don’t forget. Giving to diocesan projects like the cemetery, seminary (sometimes indistinguishable!), charities, and other necessities, helps fulfill one of our basic Catholic precepts, to support the Church. If you remember a few months ago I mentioned that the Bishop didn’t see the progress he was expecting here in regards to the CMA donations and he asked that another letter go out with my signature on it asking you to give generously. I was told that those letters should be out either already or within a very short time. So don’t just toss it!
And, on the topics of Catholic Burials, donations, and precepts, remember that it doesn’t do you any good to have a nice grave if you don’t make it to Heaven. So keep working on all of the precepts, not just the one mentioned, love God and neighbor more and more each day, and always remember that by being fully, faithfully, and joyfully Catholic you will become a Saint!
With prayers for your holiness,
Rev. Fr. Edwin Palka
From the Pastor: No Phones! No Internet!
At the beginning of last week, half of the things I had on my calendar got bumped due to other, more urgent necessities needing my attention. On Thursday morning, after Benediction, I was trying to accomplish one of Wednesday’s missed tasks, but I had to get to the emails first and, before getting anywhere near finishing them, it was already time to head to the church for an afternoon baptism. So much for catching up. After the baptism, I was invited to the family’s house for a bbq but I had to decline, since, among other things, I still needed to write my bulletin article before the day was done. And maybe then more emails. Or maybe Wednesday’s project. Or... I got back to the rectory, set myself down at the computer, and found that there was no internet connection.
Sigh. I wish I could say that this was a one-time event but it happens quite frequently. At one time, Mark had the Brighthouse/Spectrum number memorized since he called it so often. They would dutifully ask if we had rebooted the system, if we had damaged the equipment in any way, if... anything to avoid taking responsibility for their failure to give us the goods we pay for. They would then dutifully tell us that a technician would be out in a day or two to fix it. We are a business, so we get better, quicker service than a residential customer! The tech would drive up, test everything, putter around “fixing” things, and tell us that intermittent problems are to be expected because we are at the end of the cable line. The company simply doesn’t care. Evidently, a problem further up the line might interfere with others down the line but ours only affects us. Why bother doing it right?
Anyway, instead of grousing about the past failures, I dutifully rebooted the system and waited for the internet to return. Nothing changed. Oh, well, I still had a stack of phone messages awaiting me so I turned to them. But there was no dial tone. The phone is also Spectrum. I then checked out the TV that hasn’t been turned on since Fr. Tuoc left for Vietnam. It, too, was getting no signal. So I took it as a sign from God that I was to go to have some barbeque ribs with the baptism family!
After a very nice time away from all the cares of the parish, I returned home expecting everything to be up and running (every once in a while, I am an optimist) but, of course, it wasn’t. That is why you got a “re-run” article in last week’s bulletin. Of course, I have more than enough reading to catch up on, so I was going to spend the next few hours before bedtime in the leisurely pursuit of entertainment. I picked up the Pohle-Preuss Manual of Dogmatic Theology, volume 3, where I am getting very confused as to the dogmatic teachings on creation, which somehow was skipped in the seminary, and which, surprisingly to me, includes both first and second creation, and somehow seems to say that one doesn’t go against Church dogma in holding just about any view of creation so long as one does not deny that God created everything out of nothing. But that pursuit of knowledge ended in about twenty minutes, as my cell phone rang and text messages came in. I managed to read a few more pages after the interruptions were taken care of, and promptly fell asleep in my chair before finishing the section on “The Hexaemeron and Exegesis.” Go figure!
The next morning we found out that the internet at the parish office (not rectory) was working but the phones weren’t. Usually, that is. It seems that we had no dial tone at either the rectory or the office and most of the time when somebody called all they got was a continuing ring. No answer, no answering machine, just a ring. But it wasn’t ringing through. Except for every once in a while. I only heard the phone ring once all day but I was told that several people managed to get their calls through to the front desk. We called Spectrum and they very helpfully told us that, since we are a business, they would send somebody right over at the crack of Monday between 10:00 and 11:00 am. To give them due credit, though, they did offer to get here Sunday morning with this caveat: “Appointments typically take between one and three hours to complete after the technician arrives. An adult over the age of 18 with a government-issued photo ID must be present during our visit.” Of course, that person must know where the phones and computers and connections are and also have keys to access those places, which pretty much means that Sunday mornings are impossible for us. But they actually did arrive before 11:00 on Monday, checked everything, plugged and unplugged everything, traced wires, tested connections, and finally announced, “Yep, just as we thought. We cannot fix this. It is a problem on top of one of the poles. We will call for a bucket truck to come and figure out which pole. They should get here before 6 pm.
By nightfall on Monday the phones and internet seemingly worked again. It took until Thursday morning for us to discover that line one only allowed us outgoing calls and line 2 didn’t work at all. That (hopefully) got fixed in the afternoon before I finished writing this article! When the government offices across the street open, surely the cable company will update the connections. Will they extend it to us, as well?
With prayers for your holiness,
Rev. Fr. Edwin Palka