Friday, October 1, 2021

Pastoral Letter by the Anglo-Roman Holy Father regarding Servant of God Father Kapuan

FIRENZE-NUOVA ROMA 1 October 2021 (NRom)

Pastoral Letter by the Archfather, His Holiness and Eminence Papa Rutherford I regarding the recovery of the body of Father Kapuan.

There is much that we can learn from Servant of God Father Emil Kapaun. He was an American Army chaplain in the Second World War and the Korean War. He died in a prisoner of war camp during the Korean War, and just now his body has been recovered and returned to his home in Kansas. In his service as a chaplain, Father Kapaun had a reputation for bravery, serving the troops under adverse conditions and rescuing both the wounded and the dead. He baptized, heard confessions, and said the mass far in the front under heavy enemy fire. His Jeep from which he celebrated mass was destroyed several times, but he survived. In 2013, he was posthumously awarded the Medal of Honour, the United States of America’s highest military decoration.

Upon being captured during the Battle of Unsan in 1950, he refused to escape, instead staying to serve his fellow prisoners of war. Conditions unsurprisingly were horrid, with men suffering abuses and were afflicted by many medical conditions, malnutrition, etc. He refused to give in to despair, stood against communist indoctrination even in his vulnerable position, and worked tirelessly to keep others going.

Father Kapaun exhibits the best attributes of a selfless priest. We all hope never to be in such difficult conditions as he was, but there is much that we can learn from him in our daily lives. First, there is no excuse or reason to come down to the least common denominator simply because things are difficult or challenging. The good father said the holy mass wearing the proper vestments and using the proper forms on an altar improvised on a Jeep in the field, even under enemy fire. If he, like so many other chaplains then, could do that, we can certainly keep our standards, our dignity, and our faith during any difficulties that we face. Character is most important in adversity.

Second, life does not always go as we expect. Father Kapaun was taken prisoner by the Communists, and though that was surely known as a possibility, it also surely was not his desire or expectation. Even when life does not go as we expect, we should follow the good father’s example and not lower our standards, not give in to fear and despair, and not fall prey to the sorts of indoctrination to which people are particularly vulnerable during stressful situations. Consider now during the pandemic how many are giving into fear and are becoming victims to all sorts of harmful indoctrination.

Third, you should never give up. That is a clear message of Father Kapaun. He kept going in war and in a prison camp until he finally succumbed to death. As long as we are living, there is hope, and we can continue. The enemy wants us to abandon hope and stop doing what we are doing. The enemy ultimately is the same as always, Satan. He comes in many guises – often masquerading as a force for good. He influences governments and their agents, institutions, and even sometimes friends and family. There is no trick that evil will not use in order to harm us and bring us down. Indeed, with God all things are possible, and we must never, ever give up. We must never lower ourselves or surrender our dignity, no matter how go or desperate things may seem.

Lastly, you must remember the power of prayer. Father Kapaun credited his own survival under fire to the prayers of others. No doubt he took strength and gained courage for his own immensely brave actions from his own prayers as well. And, his prayers and the sacraments he offered no doubt saved countless lives, strengthened others in their darkest hours, and raised up many people.

It is no surprise that the few still living who remember Father Kapaun personally were overjoyed that his body was recovered and brought to Kansas. We hope that this will renew public awareness of his heroic acts, thereby inspiring others to strengthen their own faith or even come to the faith for the first time.

Monday, September 27, 2021

Origins of the Clerical Collar and the use in the Anglican Patriarchate

By Jean DuBois

FIRENZE-NUOVA ROMA 27 September 2021 (NRom)

You have seen it in Hollywood movies, in the news, and at the local church. The little white plastic tab in the front of a black shirt or the full white plastic “ring” known as a band collar. The symbols of a clergyman. But how traditional are they?

As it turns out, the modern clerical collar is a recent invention in the late 19th century by a Protestant Anglican clergyman. He took a detachable shirt collar (collars tended to attach with little studs to shirts at that time) and turned it around backwards, dropping the tie. It gradually caught on and eventually spread to the Roman clergy.

If the clerical collar is relatively recent and maybe not-so-uniquely-clerical at all, what was worn in the preceding centuries? It’s a very simple answer. Usually it was a tie. A white tie, often known as a cravat, worn over a regular dress shirt. The cravat differs from the modern necktie. It would typically wrap around the neck and tie in the front. Sometimes it would be tied in a bow (and white bow ties were common among clergy). Sometimes it would be tied in a simple knot. Underneath the clerical cassock, it provided a look that is now being mimicked by the modern clerical collar. This was common among Roman clergy for quite some time. It was also the standard to be worn with the “short habit” that was the period version of the clergy suit commonly worn out in public outside of liturgical and ceremonial settings.

A cardinal wearing the period version
of the clergy suit, with a white cravat

That was not the only option. For much of the church’s history, a white shirt collar was worn underneath the clerical cassock, and sometimes it was brought up and turned down over the outside of the cassock. You can see these two looks in countless paintings of priests, bishops, cardinals, and even popes. In fact, Cardinal Newman regularly dressed that way, even often having the top button of his cassock and the collar unbuttoned. Only in his old age did he appear to adopt the modern version of the clerical collar.
Cardinal Newman wearing an open cassock with
open white collar

Pope Innocent XI with regular
collar turned over the habit

Cardinal de Richelieu wearing a large regular
collar over the habit

This ancient and consistent custom is kept as a trade with tradition in the Anglican Patriarchate. A regular white shirt collar is known as the “regular collar” in the canons and ceremonial and is commonly worn underneath the cassock. This actually makes it easier for clergy wearing the cassock to open both the top of the cassock and collar (like Cardinal Newman) when needed for work or other purposes. With the civic habit (clergy suit), the white silk cravat is a traditional item added (and a white bow tie or a white or black necktie may be also used). Also, there is the patriarchate's "collarino," which is essentially the front part of a long cravat wrapped around the front of the neck, but instead of being brought around and tied in the front, it is designed to be tied with little ties in the back under the collar. This is the closest look to the modern band or tab collar. Many find these styles much more comfortable. These are not modernist or liberal affectations, but traditions deeply rooted in the heritage, history, and common practices of the Holy Catholic Church.

Pope Clement XIV wearing a regular
collar under the habit.

The clergy of the Anglican Patriarchate are also free to use the tab collar or band collar according to their preference, though. Neckwear was never the defining symbol of the clergy. The clerical cassock or habit of a religious order has always been a key symbol, as is the zucchetto (skullcap), which represents symbolically the clerical tonsure.

Sunday, September 26, 2021

Is the United States a Catholic Country? An interview.

By Jean DuBois

FIRENZE-NUOVA ROMA 26 September 2021 (NRom)

Il Nunzio Romano recently interviewed Papa Rutherford I to get His Holiness's views on the question of whether or not the United States of America is a Catholic country. Here is the transcript of that interview with the Holy Father.

NR: People always say that the United States is not a Catholic country, and this widely held belief influences how Catholics and even Catholic clergy act. Do you agree that the United States is not a Catholic country?

PR: Sì e no... (Yes and no.) In terms of the culture in which the United States originally was formed, no. Geographically, considering the territory of the United States today, the answer is resoundingly yes.

Of course, the United States is officially a secular country, but we are talking here about culture. The founding principles of the United States grew out of the Enlightenment and deism, both of which are really quite opposed to Christianity, especially traditional Christian doctrine. The Declaration of Independence is an adaptation of the Treatise on Government by the Enlightenment philosopher John Locke. Thomas Jefferson's phrase "life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness" is adapted from John Locke's phrase "life, liberty, and property." The Enlightenment philosopher Immanuel Kant's writings really reminded me of a lot of Catholic social doctrine with God removed completely as if everything happens in a vacuum.

Meanwhile, the British colonies in North America (because that is what became the United States) were staunchly anti-Catholic. The attempt at a Catholic haven in Maryland completely failed, including bloody conflict such as the Battle of the Severn. Declaration of Independence itself includes is one of his grievances against the King a blatantly anti-Catholic statement. That is, there was a grievance that complained about the King of England giving full religious freedom to French Roman Catholics in Québec. It has been argued that this act by the king, granting the same religious freedom that the British American colonists wanted for themselves, nevertheless sparked fear that there would be a "papal takeover" launched from Québec (conspiracy theories existed then as well!). Considering that disputes over money and taxation rarely seem to lead to actual armed conflict against a government, the fear of French Catholic influence arguably more than anything lit the fuse to the American Revolution.

So, when it comes to the culture of what formed the United States, no, it is certainly not a Catholic culture or country. However, when you take into account the geography of the continental United States today, the overwhelming majority of it was under the Spanish or French crown, even if only for a time --  and therefore Catholic. The original United States was comparatively small, and it grew to its present size by taking over the French and Spanish holdings. It is ludicrous to me to consider that hundreds of years of Catholic culture should simultaneously be erased simply because political borders change, whether in the eastern seaboard or moving westward.

NR: What are these differences in how Catholics act that we have heard about in the United States due to the Protestant influence?

PR: One of the biggest is in the visual. A dispensation was given to Catholic clergy in the United States to wear the clergy suit instead of the cassock or religious order habit in public so as not to "offend" the Protestant majority or invite discrimination. I entirely disagree with this decision, of course, but it is nevertheless what was done and is still influencing how Catholic clergy in the United States act today. Now, even in Rome it was common for quite a long time (in fact until the very end of the 19th century) for clergy to wear the "short habit" regularly as street dress (the Anglican Patriarchate maintains this custom). That can be considered somewhat of a period version of the clergy suit. The important thing is that it was done merely as an element of style and tradition, as well as for practical reasons, not to prevent discrimination or to accommodate those who dislike the Church.

Also, after the Second Vatican Council, which largely modernized, in the theological sense, the Church and brought in Protestant and other influences, Catholics did indeed become more accepted in the United States – at least to a point. The fact that that only came after such sweeping changes to the fundamental theology and traditions of the church should give any faithful Catholic pause for thought.

NR: Many have spoken of anti-Catholic discrimination in the United States, including Your Holiness. Can you elaborate more on this? Is it still around today?

PR: Absolutely. I already mentioned the colonial roots of anti-Catholicism. In fact, the first Catholic martyr in what is now the United States is believed to have been hanged in Boston by the Puritans, who believed she was a witch. There are actually still laws on the books in some areas in the United States against priests and religious brothers and sisters wearing their habits in public schools. That is bigoted discrimination, but comparatively minor to earlier forms of discrimination. Nevertheless, such policies need to be overturned. Remember that anti-Catholic discrimination (which does not have to be a law on the books, but can easily come from public sentiment) is a basic principle of the racist organisation the Ku Klux Klan. They are not just opposed to ethnic minorities, but to both the Catholic and Jewish faiths. When opposing the Catholic Church, especially traditional Catholicism such as We shepherd, people should ask themselves whether or not they want to be associated with something backed by groups like the Ku Klux Klan.

NR: Sometimes people say they are not opposed to Catholics, but they want Catholics to keep their faith hidden away at home and in the church, citing "religious neutrality." Do you agree that is a valid justification?

PR: Any sense of religious neutrality, for example on the part of a business or a secular state, is not violated by an individual living his or her faith openly. Wearing a crucifix or clerical habit, for example, is a statement of belief and sometimes a religious obligation. It is not something being forced on someone else. If you are offended by a particular sports team, does that mean someone cannot wear a shirt bearing the logo of that team? I doubt anyone would agree with such restrictions, even though sports disputes sometimes actually end up in violent conflict! To claim that anything religious may not be expressed openly is to disenfranchise religion and therefore to disenfranchise a very large segment of the population from complete participation and complete exercise of rights and freedom.

NR: Returning to the question of whether or not the United States is a Catholic country, in light of what Your Holiness said, what do you think the faithful and clergy should do now?

PR: That is a very good question. First, we should not persecute those with differing beliefs. In other words, we should not do unto others as many others have done to us, but instead we should exhibit the behaviour that we ourselves expect. Second, the faithful should – and really, I believe the faithful must – openly exhibit their Catholic faith and openly embrace the Catholic culture and heritage of the geographical area of the United States that has been suppressed for so long. This absolutely especially applies to the clergy, who need to remember to dress traditionally in accordance with the canons when in public. In the same sense as the "short habit" that I mentioned as being quite common in Rome in past times, the clergy suit is still absolutely fine provided it is worn for the right reasons. I encourage clergy to wear the cassock in public at least some of the time as a witness to the faith – especially to the traditional faith.

NR: Could this be difficult specifically for the people of the modern Pontifical States, the Anglican Patriarchate of Rome, and the New Roman Communion since they are so dispersed?

PR: It is often easier to do things when it is being done by many others, and it is often difficult to stand alone. What you say is certainly true. The Anglican Patriarchate, which leads the modern titular Pontifical States and the New Roman Communion, is most certainly a diaspora. We are good in number, but spread over a diverse geographical area. Thus we are an ethno-religious minority and are defined as an intangible cultural heritage. Yes, all of this makes things challenging at times, but no one ever said life was necessarily easy, let alone living the Catholic faith. Ultimately we must witness the Cross of Christ and His Holy Church no matter where we are.

NR: What about Europe? Much of it is traditionally Catholic, but it is now highly secularized.

PR: That is, unfortunately, very true. Both what you asked about the United States situation and my replies actually apply equally to Europe. Many of the same principles against the Church, by the way, were a major part of the French Revolution. (That is why I never celebrate Bastille Day!) In France, the revolutionaries engaged in wholesale murder of both the nobility and the clergy, even going so far as to create a new 10 day calendar in an attempt to stop Catholics from knowing what day was Sunday.

NR: Does Your Holiness have any parting thoughts?

PR: Secularisation is a worldwide phenomenon. Rather than submit, however, it is time that we peacefully reclaim our cultural heritage and our faith. May God bless each and everyone of you.