NE OF THE HOLIEST men I knew died about a year ago, on 17 January 2020. Father Valentine Young, OFM, was a missionary who, towards the end of his life, worked for the Priestly Fraternity of Saint Peter. Father Valentine loved God, and his soul was pure and peaceful. Needless to say, I don’t feel comfortable revealing Father Valentine’s private email correspondence. However, I think he’d be okay with me sharing a short excerpt from a message (18 February 2016) he sent me:
“Jeff, back in the 1980s, I wrote to the Congregation for Divine Worship & Discipline of the Sacraments, asking why the Gospel for the Last Sunday of Pentecost (Mt 24:15-35), was omitted from the Novus Ordo lectionary. They eventually wrote back, agreeing with me. They said it would possibly be included in some future edition of the lectionary; so far, I don’t think this has happened. Furthermore, I Corinthians 11:27-29 (about receiving the Eucharist unworthily) is nowhere found in the Novus Ordo lectionary—believe me, it isn’t there! Is it any wonder that so many Catholics go to Communion, but never go to confession?”
As far as I know, Father Valentine is the only person to have noticed this important omission. I did a cursory search, and his assertion seems to be correct. (Father Valentine’s discovery might be worth exploring in Father Uwe Lang’s Antiphon Journal or some other scholarly liturgical publication.) Prior to the Second Vatican Council, these words from Saint Paul were highlighted because they were the EPISTLE ON HOLY THURSDAY. [Used with permission; taken from the St. Edmund Campion Missal.]
Here are the words of Saint Paul, which have been omitted from the Novus Ordo lectionary:
Saint Paul’s admonition seems to have been forgotten. Somebody on Facebook was discussing the Catechism of the Catholic Church §1385 and Canon 915 from the Code of Canon Law (1983). An English priest named Father Peter Littleton and a man named Ryan Owens were quite patient:
Somebody could argue: “Nothing prevents Catholics from reading that passage in their free time.” However, that seems a weak defense. The post-conciliar lectionary was supposed to provide more Sacred Scripture, not less. (In 2013, we noted other omissions that distort Sacred Scripture and must be corrected in a future edition.)
Communion + Pro-Abortion Politicians
Anyone who believes CORPUS CHRISTI WATERSHED would tolerate articles on the subject of American politicians is “out to lunch,” as my mother would say. If you came here for political articles or analysis, you came to the wrong place. CCW authors ardently embrace all Catholic teachings, and we’re trying to make a positive contribution to the Church’s liturgical life. We’re not here to enter the morass of American politics.
I feel comfortable speaking for all our contributors when I say: There is nothing we can add to Canon 915 from the Code of Canon Law (1983). I suppose we could repeat it constantly, but I don’t think that’s how Almighty God wishes for us to use our time. For myself, I have spent time praying at abortuaries where “sidewalk counseling” is taking place, and my family takes part in Pro-Life activities—but what does that have to do with articles on Sacred Music? I repeat: we embrace all the teachings of the Church. Period.
A Hidden Danger
We must be vigilant when it comes to a hidden danger. I’m talking about people who focus on Canon 915 to the detriment of their own spiritual life. After all, the reason Canon 915 exists is because we believe the Blessed Sacrament is the Body, Blood, Soul, and Divinity of Our Lord Jesus Christ. The Blessed Sacrament is, as Saint Noël Chabanel reminds us, “the Testament of God with Man.” Whenever he was in the presence of the SANCTISSIMUM, Saint John Mary Vianney was so moved that “he could scarcely speak or breathe.” I think we can all agree that a quick silent prayer or visit to the Blessed Sacrament is better for our spiritual lives than posting about Canon 915 on Facebook or causing turmoil in one’s soul by spending time watching CNN. 1
We all know Catholics who love spending their time fuming over “devout” politicians who (sadly) make a mockery of their Catholic Faith. Some do this to avoid contemplating their own sins, negligences, and ways they have failed to properly honor the Blessed Sacrament. We must be on our guard against such temptations. Father Valentine would say: “Don’t let the sins of prominent clerics or politicians take away your peace of mind, cause you to sin, or cause you to neglect your prayers.” Easier said than done, I admit! When Saint John Vianney heard about a scandal, he would go into his room and whip himself until the blood was pouring from his back. He was praying for the conversion of the sinner. How many of us are willing to do that? I think we can agree that posting self-righteous articles on Facebook is much easier than the approach adopted by the Curé d’Ars!
Accusations Of An Immoral Life
When I was in Corpus Christi, Texas, a certain priest accused me of living an immoral life. I later learned that he made these accusations because I had gotten close to a “powerful” cleric, and he was jealous. I forgot all about that priest—but a few years ago I heard he’d left the priesthood. When I visited his Facebook page, I saw him making excuses for why he “decided” to leave active ministry. One reason he gave was: “Right now in the church there is one camp getting bent out of shape spending energy telling us who must be forbidden from communion.”
That certainly sounds like a “politically correct” message…but he omitted something important. From friends of mine who live in Corpus Christi, I learned this man didn’t choose to leave the priesthood. He was forced to leave, because—as a priest!—he was secretly having children with young women in his parish. Folks, that man knows the truth, deep down. He pretends to be upset by Canon 915 to draw attention away from his own sins. Another justification he gave for leaving the priesthood was that living a single life was “unnatural” according to him. He said Our Blessed Lord “erred” by not getting married. (By the way, that’s total heresy.)
I have a suggestion for myself and everyone else. Next time we are tempted to spend time arguing on Facebook, let us instead call to mind this excerpt from the life of Saint Isaac Jogues:
The Iroquois continued to torture the victims, cutting, stabbing, burning till dusk fell. The prisoners then were placed in one of the houses, each of them stretched on his back—limbs extended—his wrists and ankles bound fast to stakes driven into the earthen floor. It was time now for the children to amuse themselves. They placed live coals on the naked bodies. Sometimes the prisoners were able to shake off the coals. Like little demons, the youngsters chortled with glee when the victims were unable to dislodge the coals.
On the three following days they were placed on the platform, where old and young, men and women, resumed their sport. The crowd surged up on the platform and beat and stabbed the prisoners. A sorcerer approached the priest and cried: “I hate this one most of all.” With that, he commenced to gnaw his fingers. Next, he ordered a Christian Algonquin woman, a prisoner of the Mohawks, to saw off Father Isaac’s left thumb with a jagged shell. She refused. The braves began to beat her and threatened to kill her. Trembling, she at last complied with reluctance.
When the thumb fell to the floor, Father Isaac picked it up and—as he later wrote—“I presented it to Thee, O my God, in remembrance of the sacrifices which for the last seven years I had offered on the altars of Thy Church and as an atonement for the want of love and reverence of which I have been guilty in touching Thy Sacred Body.”
A photograph of Father Isaac Jogues (d. 1646) by Father Lawrence Lew, who is probably the greatest Catholic photographer in the world:
May we never be guilty of a sacrilegious Communion. If we are, may we confess this sin as soon as possible!
NOTES FROM THIS ARTICLE:
1 I do realize some of the “professional Catholics” on the internet rejoice over scandal—because it means “clicks”—but let us not imitate them. In their relentless and rabid pursuit of “clicks,” such mountebanks make heroin addicts seem lackadaisical.