Friday, July 3, 2015

The Pallium - Relics of St. Peter and St. Stephen

The pallium is an ancient liturgical symbol of the papacy and of those who share in its Apostolic authority. In the Patriarchate of Saint Stephen, the pallium is of a special design. It is a flat yoke of white wool, with twelve black crosses. The tips of the lapits (parts the hang down the front and back) are black. It is worn by the Patriarch, the Governor-General, and those with Metropolitan authority within the Patriarchate. Each pallium contains third class relics of Saint Peter the Apostle and Saint Stephen the Deacon and Protomartyr. On the front and shoulder are pins representing the nails of the Crucifixion. The Patriarchate uses silver pins with amethysts. The pallium itself should invoke the image of Christ carrying the lamb over His left shoulder. The pins are angled to follow the way that the lamb would be physically oriented.

Monday, June 29, 2015

Statement of the Cardinal Patriarch of St. Stephen on the Recent Marriage Ruling of the Supreme Court of the United States

PATRIARCHAL SEE 29 JUNE 2015 (ORCNS) - The following is the text of the statement issued by the Cardinal Patriarch of St. Stephen on the recent ruling by the Supreme Court of the United States:

We wished to delay until now commentary on the ruling of Supreme Court of the United States on what is often termed homosexual marriage in order to allow emotions to subside somewhat from the frenzy of the past weekend. We also wished to wait because the appointed readings for the mass of yesterday were so appropriate and timely.

The Supreme Court, with a narrow majority, voted to prohibit states from denying civil marriage licenses to homosexual couples. In so doing, the court has taken it upon itself to fundamentally alter the definition of a word – a word that has had the same meaning since before the United States, since before Christ, since before Judaism. The concept of marriage is a fundamental and essential building block upon which human societies since before the recording of history are built.

What the Supreme Court has done, however, applies only to the civil concept of marriage under United States law. The Supreme Court has absolutely no jurisdiction over the Church, which has sole jurisdiction over the administration of the Sacrament of Holy Matrimony. It is, therefore, time to sever the concept of “civil marriage” from Sacramental Marriage. No longer should priests act as effective agents of the state by signing marriage licenses or through other similar acts. Let couples handle the civil side of their marriage with the state, and then let them come to the Church to receive the graces and blessings of the Sacrament of Holy Matrimony. In Europe, this is the norm. A marriage is registered with the state independently from and prior to the rites that take place in the church. In light of this recent ruling, let us as clerics wash our hands of the civil concept of marriage in the United States.

In so doing, however, we must continue to preach the truth of the Gospels of Christ. From the Epistle appointed for Sunday, yesterday, we know that “…there shall be a time, when they will not endure sound doctrine; but, according to their own desires, they will heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears: And will indeed turn away their hearing from the truth, but will be turned unto fables.” Therefore we again echo the words of Blessed Paul the Apostle: “I charge thee, before God and Jesus Christ, who shall judge the living and the dead, by his coming, and his kingdom: Preach the word: be instant in season, out of season: reprove, entreat, rebuke in all patience and doctrine.” It is not hate speech to do these things if they are done with the proper intent and out of love of Christ and of our fellow man.

From the Gospel of the principal mass appointed for yesterday, our Lord reminds us: “Fear ye not them that kill the body, and are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him that can destroy both soul and body in hell. Every one therefore that shall confess me before men, I will also confess him before my Father who is in heaven.” Never be afraid to speak the truth out of love and respect for others. As the Venerable Fulton Sheen said, tolerance should be applied to people and never to ideas, while intolerance should be applied to ideas and never to people. It is a difficult standard to maintain, but one to which we must strive nonetheless.

In this difficult time in which the United States seems bent on turning as a society more and more from God, and in which those who warp the message of the Gospel become more and more vocal, we must nevertheless resolve to keep the faith and to proclaim the faith in word and deed.