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Mosaic of Christ, Sts. Peter and Paul in St. Lawrence outside the Walls, Rome.Fr. Lawrence Lew O.P./Flickr

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June 29, 2021 (LifeSiteNews) – The traditional Roman rite, with its immeasurable human wisdom, recognized that June 29, although consecrated by the martyrdom of the twin apostles of Rome, Peter and Paul, was naturally dominated by the figure of Peter, first pope and head of the apostles. The epistle (Acts 12:1–11) and Gospel (Mt 16:13–19) are purely Petrine, focusing on the liberation of Peter from prison “prayer without ceasing” on the part of the Church for him, and on the famous scene at Caesarea Philippi when Christ confers the primacy on Kephas or “Rock,” this impulsive but loyal fisherman, who confesses His divinity while stumbling shortly afterwards at His humanity.

Therefore, with warm affection and in a spirit of courtesy, the old calendar features a separate liturgy the next day, June 30th, that focuses on St. Paul and his missionary work. This time the epistle (Gal 1:11–20) and Gospel (Mt 10:16–22) are Pauline. The Galatians reading is brilliantly suited for the day because it mentions how Paul, though he received the Gospel directly from Jesus Christ, nevertheless “went to Jerusalem to see Peter, and tarried with him fifteen days”: the Gospel they preached was identical. We also know that Paul in the next chapter of the same letter (2:11–13) tells us how he rebuked Peter for his inconsistency in applying the Gospel. The Gospel pericope of June 30 is the great passage about sending forth the disciples as sheep in the midst of wolves; the need to be “wise as serpents, simple as doves”; the need to “beware of men”; and the prophecy that the followers of Christ will be hated, hauled before courts of Jews and Gentiles, and put to death. In particular, the verse “you shall be brought before governors and before kings for My sake, for a testimony to them and to the Gentiles” makes us think strongly of Paul.

We should also bear in mind that the usus antiquior furnishes a distinct Vigil Mass for the feast of Saints Peter and Paul on June 28th, with its own proper antiphons and readings. Again, these focus on Peter, though some of the elements speak more generally of “Thy Apostles.”

So, tradition rightly gives us three days, a veritable triduum, on which to bask in the splendor of Peter and Paul: a day to prepare, a day to think mainly of the Rock, and a day to think mainly of the greatest Missionary. When we look closely, we see how the propers of all three days mingle both apostles: preachers of the same Gospel in life, witnesses to the same Christ in death, and co-sharers in eternal glory. Thus, on June 30th, a Collect of St. Peter is added after the collect of St. Paul (and again with the Secret and Postcommunion). The liturgy itself, by its very form, teaches us that they are highly distinct saints united in a single confession of the true Faith. This unity-in-distinction is carried through the Mass and the entire Divine Office. For example, the wonderful Vespers hymn “Decora lux” includes the verse:

Mundi Magister, atque caeli Janitor, 
Romae parentes, arbitrique gentium, 
Per ensis ille, hic per crucis victor necem, 
Vitae senatum laureate possident. 

The teacher of the world and keeper of heaven’s gate, 
Rome’s founders twain and rulers too of every land, 
Triumphant over death by sword and shameful cross, 
With laurel crowned are gathered to the eternal band. 

The Magnificat antiphon of June 29th (set to marvelous music by William Byrd, among others) reads:

Hodie Simon Petrus ascendit crucis patibulum, alleluia. Hodie clavicularius regni gaudens migravit ad Christum. Hodie Paulus apostolus, lumen orbis terrae, inclinato capite pro Christi nomine, martyrio coronatus est, alleluia.

This day Simon Peter ascended the gibbet of the cross, alleluia. This day the keybearer of the kingdom departed hence with joy to Christ: this day the Apostle Paul, light of the whole world, bowing his head for the Name of Christ, was crowned with martyrdom, alleluia.

As I mentioned last week in my article on St. John the Baptist, the traditional Roman rite places a strong emphasis on saints who held principal positions in salvation history, and thus encourages our devotion to them. St. John the Baptist, St. Peter, and St. Paul are all mentioned nine times in the usus antiquior’s Order of Mass, that is, the unchanging part said nearly every day, in contrast with the changing Propers. Nine is a sacred number that pays homage to the Blessed Trinity (3+3+3 or 3×3), reminding us too of the nine orders of angels in the heavenly hierarchy.

The ancient Roman rite also featured an abundance of octaves, among which had been one for Saints Peter and Paul, which was observed with the Mass of the feast on unimpeded days, with commemorations on the feasts of other saints, and with a grand liturgy on the octave day (July 6). All this was in keeping with Dom Prosper Guéranger’s observation: “The veneration of St. Peter and of St. Paul is rooted in the very foundation of Catholicism; it cannot become weakened either in the people or in souls without great harm to Catholicism itself” (The Liturgical Year, Fifth Day in the Octave).

Pope Pius XII, in a spate of liturgical reforms that presaged and smoothed the way for the liturgical revolution under Paul VI, ruthlessly purged the octaves of the Roman rite, decreasing them from eighteen to only three (Christmas, Easter, and Pentecost). The octaves of John the Baptist and of Peter and Paul were among the casualties. In pursuit of further but more radical simplification, the liturgical reformers who gave us the Novus Ordo removed nearly all of the mentions of Peter and Paul from the Order of Mass (they remain only in the Roman Canon if it is chosen). Then, as regards the sanctoral cycle, they made the Mass of the 28th primarily St. Irenaeus; created an optional evening Vigil for June 28th that is rarely used, and removed the Commemoration of St. Paul on June 30th, effectively collapsing everything into June 29th, which then became a sort of neither-primarily-Peter-nor-Paul liturgy, but a mishmash. It would be no exaggeration to say that liturgical evidence of the centrality of Peter and Paul was summarily reduced by about 95%—ironically, by means of the single greatest abuse of papal power in the history of the Church. The papacy symbolically sawed off the branch on which it was sitting.

The Church today should “pray without ceasing” for the liberation of our Peter, the present pope, from the prison of this-worldly opinions, attitudes, and policies. May an angel of the Lord strike him on the side, in his heart; release his shackles and lead him into the open road of evangelical truth. We should pray that our pope and our other episcopal leaders will not be wolves in the midst of sheep, but sheep in the midst of wolves; that they may say and do what is right, even though they will be hated for it, hauled before courts, and even put to death.

The beauty of our traditional June 28–30 observances may still be savored by those who dare to recover them. Be among these cultivators of the Roman apostolic rite by attending the traditional Mass, or if that is not possible, then through praying the traditional Divine Office.

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PETITION: Urge U.S. Bishops to publicly excommunicate Joe Biden (and other pro-abortion politicians)
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PETITION UPDATE (9/3/21)

Following the US Supreme Court's decision to allow Texas' Heartbeat Law to go into effect, Joe Biden made the announcement that he would initiate a "whole-of-government" response against the new pro-life statute which could ban abortions after a fetal heartbeat is detected.

This is yet another, outright confirmation of Biden's openly pro-abortion policies, policies which have the main objective of ensuring that women will continue to be able to kill their own children without impediment.

This anti-life, anti-Catholic stance needs to be urgently addressed and condemned by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops.

For the good of the Church, for the good of pre-born babies, for the good of the faithful, and, indeed, for his own good, Joe Biden needs to be publicly rebuked by the bishops and excommunicated until such time as he repents from his pro-abortion policies.

Please continue to SIGN and SHARE this petition, which asks the bishops of the United States to act in unison to exclude Joe Biden from Holy Communion for his scandalous promotion of abortion - the murder of the innocent.

After signing, please take a moment to CONTACT the offices of the USCCB to politely, but firmly, encourage the Conference to take the necessary steps to exclude from Holy Communion public officials who continue to show blatant disregard for innocent human life and the Church's teaching.

The USCCB's Office phone number is: 202.541.3000

Thank you!

_____________________________________________________________________________

"No man can serve two masters. For either he will hate the one, and love the other: or he will sustain the one, and despise the other. You cannot serve God and mammon." - Matthew 6:24

In the lead-up to their meeting in mid-June, we call on the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) to exclude Joe Biden and other “Catholic” politicians (like, Nancy Pelosi) from Holy Communion over their public, obstinate, and scandalous promotion of abortion.

Please SIGN and SHARE this petition which asks the USCCB to act to stop the abuse of the reception of the Holy Eucharist by politicians who promote the murder of innocent pre-born babies.

We know that making a decision to exclude public figures from Holy Communion is not easy. But, sometimes, this is the only way to make them understand the error of their ways, and to preserve the Church from serious scandal.

Indeed, Canon Law (Canon 915) declares that those who persist in manifest, grave sin should not be admitted to Holy Communion

Beyond that, at this point, public excommunication appears as the only suitable response for Biden's obstinate, public and grave sin of promoting abortion.

In doing so, we do not hold ourselves up as judges over Joe Biden's eternal soul, but we encourage the bishops to make known one of the consequences of public and obstinate support of abortion by our 'Catholic' politicians.

The fact is, in terms of the manifest, grave sin of abortion, Joe Biden is as bad as he said he would be before the election.

Therefore, it is cold comfort that the USCCB is only preparing to discuss this issue only now.

But even now, if the USCCB publicly excommunicate Biden for his pro-abortion stance (as well as other pro-abortion politicians), the Conference could reclaim some of the moral authority which they lost by their largely silent assent to Biden's candidacy.

Please SIGN and SHARE this petition, now.

Since Joe Biden was sworn-in on the 20th of January, he has wasted no time in signing orders and bills which facilitate the destruction of unborn human life.

  • In one executive order, Biden rescinded the Mexico City Policy prohibiting the federal government from spending taxpayer monies on abortion and the promotion of abortion.
  • Biden also signed (instead of vetoing) the COVID relief bill, which, for the first time in 44 years, contained funding for abortions in America, using taxpayer dollars.
  • Biden said that he wouldn't defend Hyde, and he hasn't.

And, if he and the Democratic Party get their way, a lot more of the same regarding abortion is on the way.

Strong action must be taken lest anyone, especially young people, be confused by the scandal of a "Catholic" in Biden's position aggressively promoting abortion, enabling the killing of innocent human beings.

American rank-and-file Catholics don't want any more compromise and equivocation from the Bishops Conference on this "pre-eminent" life-and-death issue.

We want clear action, not twenty more years of dithering and "dialoguing."

50 million babies have been lost to abortion in the U.S. since Roe!

So, we will NOT accept any more lives lost as a result of dithering and "dialoguing." [**Please see "Notes" below about how it has been reported that some senior U.S. clerics are trying to prevent this discussion from even taking place.]

And, we will especially NOT accept one life lost to abortion by politicians who claim the Catholic Faith, but who promote grave evil. God forbid!

With all due respect to these bishops, they diminish the Holy Eucharist and their high office, as well as cause grave scandal to the faithful, by not imposing public canonical penalties on a man who is promoting mass murder of the unborn against the constant teaching of the Church.

The bishops are now at a crossroads and must choose either God or mammon.

We call on them to choose God and choose Life!

And we also continue to encourage those brave, true and good bishops who have done well to warn Amercian Catholics about the perils to the unborn and the Faith resulting from Biden's promotion of abortion!

SIGN and SHARE this petition, which asks the bishops of the United States to act in unison to exclude Joe Biden from Holy Communion for his scandalous promotion of abortion - the murder of the innocent.

After signing, please take a moment to CONTACT the offices of the USCCB to politely, but firmly, encourage the Conference to take the necessary steps to exclude from Holy Communion public officials who continue to show blatant disregard for innocent human life and the Church's teaching.

The USCCB's Office phone number is: 202.541.3000

FOR MORE INFORMATION:

Joe Biden: I support abortion ‘under any circumstance’ - https://www.lifesitenews.com/news/joe-biden-i-support-abortion-under-any-circumstance

Biden administration has opened the way for ‘abortion by mail on a massive scale’ - https://www.lifesitenews.com/news/biden-administration-unleashed-by

‘Catholic’ Biden marks Roe v. Wade anniversary with pledge to make abortion available for ‘everyone’ - https://www.lifesitenews.com/news/catholic-biden-marks-roe-v-wade-anniversary-with-pledge-to-make-abortion-available-for-everyone

BREAKING: DC archbishop affirms he will give Holy Communion to pro-abortion Joe Biden - https://www.lifesitenews.com/news/breaking-dc-archbishop-affirms-he-will-give-holy-communion-to-pro-abortion-joe-biden

Vatican puts brakes on US bishops confronting problem of pro-abortion Biden receiving Holy Communion - https://www.lifesitenews.com/news/vatican-puts-brakes-on-us-bishops-confronting-problem-of-pro-abortion-biden-receiving-holy-communion

Abp. Aquila backs call for pro-abortion ‘Catholic’ Joe Biden to be denied Holy Communion - https://www.lifesitenews.com/news/abp-aquila-backs-call-for-pro-abortion-catholic-joe-biden-to-be-denied-holy-communion

Cardinal Burke floats ‘excommunication’ for Biden over his ‘aggressive’ abortion promotion - https://www.lifesitenews.com/news/cardinal-burke-floats-excommunication-for-biden-over-his-aggressive-promotion-of-abortion

Biden’s HHS is lying about Title X to push abortion - https://www.lifesitenews.com/blogs/bidens-hhs-is-lying-about-title-x-to-push-abortion

List of US bishops for and against denying Communion to pro-abortion politicians like Biden, Pelosi - https://www.lifesitenews.com/news/list-of-us-bishops-for-and-against-denying-communion-to-pro-abortion-politicians-like-biden-pelosi

Notes about USCCB's June Meeting:

For nearly twenty years, the US bishops have been dithering about whether or not to excommunicate pro-abortion politicians by formally withholding Holy Communion from them.

Their indecision on this gravely scandalous matter is a scandal in itself, but one of the biggest obstacles has been internal opposition from senior U.S. bishops.

And, although the faces have changed in the last 20 years, their morally-and-intellectually-challenged arguments against excommunication have not changed.

Liberal bishops of the USCCB say that excommunicating Biden (for example) would divide the Church, divide the bishops, and would politicize the reception of Holy Communion.

Indeed, in the name of “unity,” it is reported that some senior U.S. clerics, including Cardinal Blase Cupich (Chicago), Cardinal Wilton Gregory (Washington, DC) and Cardinal O’Malley (Boston), have been working overtime to prevent any substantial discussion of so-called “Eucharist coherence” (that is, what qualifies as worthy reception of Holy Communion).

It is also reported that at least 57 other American bishops allegedly joined these Cardinals in a recent letter to the Head of the Bishops Conference, Archbishop Gomez of Los Angeles, to try to pressure him to drop the planned discussion at the full meeting of bishops in June.

And now, even the Vatican is getting involved, with the head of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith suggesting that even more “dialogue” is needed.

These same clerics may mistakenly believe that any attempt to suppress the objective connection between a politician’s promotion of abortion and his unworthy reception of Holy Communion will fool anyone.

But, it will not.

Rank-and-file Catholics are not stupid and can smell compromise a mile away, and we’ve had enough.

With all due respect to the Cardinal, bishops, and the Vatican…those who fail to act diminish the Holy Eucharist and their high office, as well as cause grave scandal to the faithful, by “dialoguing” with a man who is promoting mass murder of the unborn against the constant teaching of the Church.

Please SIGN and SHARE this urgent petition urging the bishops Conference to take action at their June meeting to exclude pro-abortion Joe Biden and other abortion-promoting “Catholic” politicians from Holy Communion.

***Photo Credit: Claire Chretien / LifeSiteNews

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Peter Kwasniewski, Thomistic theologian, liturgical scholar, and choral composer, is a graduate of Thomas Aquinas College in California (B.A. Liberal Arts) and The Catholic University of America in Washington, DC (M.A. and Ph.D. in Philosophy). He taught at the International Theological Institute in Austria and the Franciscan University of Steubenville’s Austria Program, then helped establish Wyoming Catholic College in 2006. There he taught theology, philosophy, music, and art history and directed the choirs until leaving in 2018 to devote himself full-time to writing and lecturing.

Today he contributes regularly to many websites and publications, including New Liturgical Movement, OnePeterFive, LifeSiteNews, Rorate Caeli, The Remnant, and Catholic Family News, and has published thirteen books, including four on traditional Catholicism: Resurgent in the Midst of Crisis (Angelico, 2014, also available in Czech, Polish, German, Portuguese, Spanish, and Belarusian), Noble Beauty, Transcendent Holiness (Angelico, 2017), Tradition and Sanity (Angelico, 2018), and Reclaiming Our Roman Catholic Birthright: The Genius and Timeliness of the Traditional Latin Mass (Angelico, 2020). His work has been translated into at least eighteen languages.

Kwasniewski is a scholar of The Aquinas Institute in Green Bay, which is publishing the Opera Omnia of the Angelic Doctor, a Fellow of the Albertus Magnus Center for Scholastic Studies, and a Senior Fellow of the St. Paul Center. He has published over a thousand articles on Thomistic thought, sacramental and liturgical theology, the history and aesthetics of music, and the social doctrine of the Church.

For news, information, article links, sacred music, and the home of Os Justi Press, visit his personal website, www.peterkwasniewski.com.

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