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June 8, 2021 (LifeSiteNews) — One of the most beautiful aspects of the traditional Roman liturgy is the rich calendar of saints that it places before our view year after year. The calendar of Paul VI’s modern papal rite of 1969 removed over 300 saints; at the same time, it refocused the celebration of the first part of Mass on a more regimented march through Scripture and optionalized the use of “propers” that referred to the saints. The result is a liturgy that feels much more distant and detached from the cultus of the saints and their distinctive traits, without any compensation of feeling more close and attached to the adoration of Christ their King. In a wonderful paradox, the intense veneration of the saints in the Latin Mass — especially of Our Lady who is mentioned ten or eleven times, as compared with only one to four mentions in Paul VI’s rite — has a way of enhancing the sublime dignity of the Son of God, of whom all the saints are images and to whom they face, like heliotropes following the course of the sun. The cultus of saints, far from detracting from the Lordship of Christ, rather manifests its power and extent. He is all the greater when we see the greatness of His court.

Then there are, from time to time, special “groupings” within the great company of saints that we find arranged for us on the traditional calendar by the hidden workings of Divine Providence. An example is what I like to call “the month of brothers,” June, where we find a quartet of blood brothers who won through to heaven together.

On June 9, we celebrate the feast of Saints Primus and Felician, described thus in the Roman Martyrology:

At La Mentana in the Sabine Hills, the birthday of the holy martyrs Primus and Felician, brothers in the reign of the Emperors Diodetian and Maximian. These glorious martyrs passed a long life in the service of the Lord, and having borne severe torments, sometimes alike for them both, at others different, at length completed the course of their happy warfare, for they were beheaded by Promotus, Governor of Nomen tum. The bodies of these martyrs were afterwards translated to Rome and honourably buried in the church of St Stephen the Protomartyr on the Coelian Hill.

On June 18 comes, in addition to St. Ephrem the Syrian, the commemoration of Saints Mark and Marcellian, about whom the Martyrology says:

At Rome, on the Via Ardeatina, the birthday of the holy martyrs Mark and Marcellian, brothers, who were apprehended in Diocletian’s persecution by the judge Fabian, and bound to a stake, sharp nails being driven into their feet: and since they would not cease to praise Christ, their sides were transpierced with spears, and they passed to the heavenly realms with the glory of martyrdom.

If the Mass for the brothers be said (it is more usual to say the Mass of Saint Ephrem, which was added to the calendar later, but to add the mandatory orations for Mark and Marcellian), this very special Alleluia text would be recited or chanted: “Alleluia, alleluia. This is the true brotherhood, which never can be broken in battle: through the shedding of their blood, they have followed the Lord. Alleluia.”

On June 19, the feast of St. Juliana Falconieri, are commemorated Saints Gervase and Protase:

At Milan, the holy martyrs Gervase and Protase, brothers; the former Astasius the judge ordered to be beaten until he gave up the ghost, the other after scourging to be beheaded. Blessed Ambrose, guided by divine revelation, found their bodies, sprinkled with blood, and as incorrupt as if they had been slain that very day. At their translation a blind man received sight at the touch of the bier, and many who had been harassed by demons were set free.

Lastly, on June 26 falls the memory of Saints John and Paul, to whom devotion in Rome was so strong that their names are found in the Roman Canon. The Martyrology gives us this brief account:

At Rome, on the Coelian Hill, the holy martyrs John and Paul, brothers. The former was the governor of the household, and the second the chamberlain of the virgin Constantia, daughter of the Emperor Constantine; both of them afterwards, under Julian the Apostate, obtained the palm of martyrdom, dying by the sword.

Strikingly, the Collect of the last feast defines a new form of “blood brotherhood” that is achieved by faith in Christ who shed His blood for us, and by the shedding of one’s own blood for Him:

Grant, we beseech Thee, almighty God, that we may derive a doubled joy on this day’s festival, which proceeds from the glorification of blessed John and Paul, whom the same faith and suffering truly made to be brothers. Through our Lord Jesus Christ…

The Gradual of the Mass takes up Psalm 132: “Behold how good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity,” and the Alleluia repeats that of June 9, continuing and completing the thought of the Collect: “Alleluia, alleluia. This is the true brotherhood which overcame the wickedness of the world: it followed Christ, attaining the noble kingdom of heaven. Alleluia.”

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In the weeks since the Vatican's Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith declared that the Catholic Church cannot bless homosexual relationships, calling such blessings "illicit," hundreds of German priests have defied the ban on "homosexual blessings."

Indeed, more than 500 German priests have vowed to violate the Vatican's directive which states that it is "not licit to impart a blessing on relationships, or partnerships, even stable, that involve sexual activity outside of marriage (i.e., outside the indissoluble union of a man and a woman open in itself to the transmission of life), as is the case of the unions between persons of the same sex."

The fundamental reason for this, of course, is that God, "does not and cannot bless sin."

Very unfortunately, however, many illicit "blessings" have already occurred, as more than 100 locations in Germany (including 50 Catholic parishes) participated in a "Love wins, blessing service for lovers" organized by an openly homosexual German priest.

BUT, there is hope!

Many faithful German Catholics are prayerfully protesting at these renegade parishes, reciting the Holy Rosary and saying other prayers as loving acts of reparation for the illicit "blessings."

Please SIGN and PLEDGE TO PRAY in solidarity with these faithful German Catholics, to STOP these sacrileges. You may say any prayer of your choice!

Of course, these so-called illicit "blessings" are only symptomatic of the head-long plunge of the German Catholic Church into what has been called "massive apostasy," and undeclared "schism."

Observers have suggested that this pernicious deviation from the Church's teaching on marriage and on sexual morality by the German Catholic clergy was set in motion by the so-called German Synodal Path - a Church convention run by the German bishops which dissents from Catholic teaching on celibacy, clerical authority, the ban on female ordination, contraception, cohabitation, homosexuality, and gender theory.

And, many attempts have been made in the last year to appeal to Church authorities, both within and outside Germany, to stop the Synodal Path's manoeuvring against the constant teaching of the Magisterium in faith and morals.

Indeed, in the last ten days, a group of faithful Catholic clergy - including a Cardinal, bishops and priests - have approached the Pope asking him to intervene to stop the Catholic Church in Germany from crossing into declared schism.

Calling on the Pontiff to take action, the faithful group of clergy appeal thus:

"Concerned about this sad situation [the drift of the German Church into schism], we Pastors of the Catholic Church and faithful laity committed to the defense of the Truth of the Faith, ask the Holy Father to take the necessary measures to put an end to these drifts of the German Synodal Path and, if necessary, to apply the appropriate canonical sanctions against the promoters of this tremendous deviation from both doctrine and communion with the Keys of Peter."

Please PLEDGE TO PRAY for the Catholic Church in Germany, that the illicit "homosexual blessings" would cease, and that the Church, there, would swiftly reunite itself to the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church and Her perennial and immutable teachings on faith and morals.

Thank you!

FOR MORE INFORMATION:

'Vatican rejects blessings for homosexual couples' - https://www.lifesitenews.com/news/breaking-vatican-rejects-blessings-for-homosexual-couples

'Priest: Blessing homosexual couples in Germany is a 'sacrilegious … diabolical act'' - https://www.lifesitenews.com/news/priest-blessing-homosexual-couples-in-germany-is-a-sacrilegiousdiabolical-act

'Over 500 German priests vow to defy Church’s ban on same-sex couples’ blessings' - https://www.lifesitenews.com/news/over-500-german-priests-vow-to-defy-churchs-ban-on-same-sex-couples

'German bishop involved in Amazon Synod will not suspend priests who bless homosexual couples' - https://www.lifesitenews.com/blogs/german-bishop-involved-in-amazon-synod-will-not-suspend-priests-who-bless-homosexual-couples

'Cardinal, bishops, priests ask Pope to stop schism of Catholic Church in Germany' - https://www.lifesitenews.com/news/cardinal-bishops-priests-ask-pope-to-stop-schism-of-catholic-church-in-germany

'Bishop Schneider: How Catholics in Germany can remain faithful in face of schism' - https://www.lifesitenews.com/news/bishop-schneider-how-catholics-in-germany-can-remain-faithful-in-face-of-schism

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One final irony might be mentioned: Many of the saints removed by Paul VI are saints that Roman Catholics venerate in common with the Eastern Orthodox. That is true for three of these pairs of brothers in June: Mark and Marcellian (whose feast on the Eastern calendar is December 18), Gervase and Protase (celebrated by the East on October 14), and John and Paul (observed on the same day). One of the most harmful legacies of the liturgical reform was the simultaneous grafting of alien quasi-Byzantine elements into the Roman rite and the purging of genuinely common elements that had always been there — a blow against fidelity to type as well as ecclesiastical brotherhood.

Haec est vera fraternitas: This is the true brotherhood that unites the martyrs, that unites all Christians in the bonds of faith and suffering, wherever we may be, whatever our state or status. In a reversal of the logic of the world, which says blood is thicker than water, Christianity shows us that water is thicker than blood: The spiritual fellowship inaugurated by baptism joins us more profoundly and more eternally than the bonds of biological generation and family culture. Indeed, it is precisely the Christian baptism of both spouses that allows their natural human love and the act of generation to be elevated to the level of supernatural charity and fruitfulness in in the sacrament of matrimony, and it is the same baptism lived out that makes the family an image of the social life of the blessed in heaven.

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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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