Wednesday, March 22, 2017

The Miracle and the Hope: Cardinal Kung's Requiem and Burial

Five Wounds Portuguese National Church before a Requiem Mass
Many think it was providential that Ignatius Cardinal Kung of Shanghai got his wish to have a traditional Requiem Mass in spite of how it was nearly impossible to get permission for the pre-Vatican II form of the Mass at the time of Kung's death in 2000. This story describe why the permission was requested, and how the permission was obtained—after a few setbacks. This story also tells about the hope that motivated Cardinal Kung's nephew to bury his uncle in Santa Clara, California, far from his uncle's place of death on the East Coast of the U.S. and even farther from the Shanghai Cathedral where exiled Cardinal Kung had longed to be buried under the altar as its bishop.

This is a follow-up to another article about the Cardinal Kung: "Bishop Kung Was Tricky That Way, and Other Stories of the Saintly, Stubborn, Persecuted Ignatius Ping-Mei Kung of Shanghai."

To briefly summarize the main points of his life: Father Ignatius Kung, a fifth generation Chinese Catholic, was ordained Bishop of Shanghai just before the Communists took over China, and he was imprisoned in 1950 for thirty years because he would not renounce the pope and join the Chinese Patriotic Association that the Communists created as a local version of the Church under their control. Five years after his arrest, Kung was convicted of treason and sentenced to life. While he was in prison, he was forbidden to correspond with anyone, even family members, forbidden to say Mass, and not permitted to read the Bible.

During his imprisonment, the world did not forget his heroic sacrifice. Bishop Fulton Sheen wrote in his Mission magazine in 1957: “The West has its Mindszenty, but the East has its Kung.” (Jozsef Mindszenty, as you may already know, was the leader of the Catholic Church in Hungary, who was given a life sentence by the Communists in 1949 because of his resistance to the their policies.)

In 1979, while still in prison, Kung was named a Cardinal by Pope John Paul II in pectore. In pectore means secretly, in the heart of the Pope. Elevations in pectore are sometimes done when a pope wants to honor a cleric while not putting him or other Catholics in danger in a situation where the Church is being persecuted.

Cardinal Kung's Death in CT

When Ignatius Cardinal Kung died in March of 2000 at the age of 98, he was in exile far away from his Shanghai homeland, living in his nephew's home in Stamford, CT.  As Fr. George W. Rutler wrote in a Crisis magazine article, when Kung first went to Hong Kong from Shanghai for medical care after his release, he had been unsettled by how much had changed in the Church while he had been in prison. Just for one small example, Kung "was amazed that Catholics no longer observed the Friday abstinence that he had kept for 30 meatless years."

Kung preferred the traditional Latin Mass partly because Latin was (and still is) the official language of the Roman Catholic Church. The Communist authorities preferred Chinese-language Masses because they were more in keeping with their goals to have their patriotic association replace the Catholic Church. Catholics who resisted the patriotic association went underground, and years after the priests who had joined the patriotic association started celebrating the newer form of the Mass, priests in the underground Church had kept on celebrating the older form.

In order to realize how difficult it was going to be for Cardinal Kung's friends and relatives to be able to arrange for a traditional Requiem Mass after he died, you have to realize that after the revised Mass of 1969, now called the Ordinary Form, was introduced, the new form of the Mass became almost the only Mass there was for the Roman rite of the Catholic Church all over the world. The older form of the Mass, now called the Extraordinary Form, was almost completely banned in practice along with Latin, and along with Gregorian chant, between 1969 and 1982, and the Extraordinary Form Mass was still greatly restricted in the year of Kung's death.

Cardinal Kung's Requiem Mass in CA

Cardinal Kung's Requiem Mass was remarkable because it was unusual in many ways.

The year 2000 was thirty-one years after the virtual ban of Latin and the Extraordinary Form of the Mass, along with Gregorian Chant, after the Second Vatican council. When Cardinal Kung died, sixteen years after the 1984 indult that allowed bishops to give permission in some cases for the Extraordinary Form to be celebrated, and twelve years after the 1988 motu proprio in which Pope Saint John Paul II urged a "wide and generous" application of the 1984 indult, permission was still hard to come by.

Ignatius Kung died seven years before Pope Benedict XVI’s 2007 motu proprio Summorum Pontificum further relaxed restrictions against the traditional Latin Mass and opened the way for more frequent celebrations.

Five Wounds Portuguese National Church
Arrangements were made for the Requiem Mass to be celebrated at the Five Wounds Portuguese National Church in San Jose. Five Wounds is a distinctive church modeled on a Portuguese basilica, which preserved its traditional arrangement after the Second Vatican Council. To this day, the building still has a high altar at the top of many steps with an altar rail at the bottom, rows of pews face the altar, and scores of statues of saints abound. The only architectural modification to suit the new Mass that is apparent in Five Wounds Church is the insertion of a freestanding altar in front of the high altar, to allow what is now the usual celebration of the Mass with the priest facing ad populum, towards the congregation.

For a while, things seemed to be going smoothly. Cardinal Kung would not only get his wish for Requiem Mass, but Cardinal Shan of Taiwan agreed to celebrate a Pontifical Requiem Mass in his honor.
Then Bishop Patrick McGrath of San Jose gave permission for Kung’s Requiem Mass, but with one restriction, that the Mass would be celebrated facing the congregation in the ad populum direction.

In the celebration of Extraordinary Form Masses, the priest faces the altar, which is understood to be the "liturgical East," so that posture is called ad orientem. The symbolism behind ad orientem celebrations of the Mass can be glimpsed in the definition of the Latin word orientem, which means: daybreak, dawn, sunrise, east. The sun rises in the East, Christ is called the Sun of Justice, the dawn from on high, and His Second Coming is expected from the east.

Some people have been taught to believe a priest facing ad orientem is offensive because the priest is "turning his back to the people." But the result of the priest praying the Mass ad orientem is to take the focus away from the priest and to focus our attention on God. In that way, the priest together with the people face together in the direction from which we look for the Second Coming of the Lord. Even though the ad populum orientation became common after Vatican II, the council did not mandate it.

When the bishop of San Jose at first made his stipulation, consternation ensued. It must have been hard to imagine how the ad populum orientation could have been carried off in an Extraordinary Form Pontifical Mass. Then at some point, to the relief of all those who were trying to organize the Mass, the bishop changed his mind, and he agreed to allow Cardinal Kung’s Requiem Mass to be celebrated ad orientem.

Some say that the bishop removed his restriction because Cardinal Shan of Taiwan was going to be the celebrant, and it would be impolitic to contradict the wishes of a living Cardinal, even if he was willing to contradict the wishes of a dead one.

Cardinal Kung’s nephew, Joseph Kung, has written at the Cardinal Kung Foundation website that the bishop’s change of heart was due to intercessory prayers of the his dead uncle, and also that the bishop's allowing them to celebrate the traditional Requiem facing the liturgical East was Kung’s first miracle.

On March 20, 2000, an astounding one thousand people attended Cardinal Kung’s Pontifical High Requiem Mass. The St. Ann Choir sang the Gregorian chant for the Mass along with Renaissance polyphony under the direction of Stanford Musicology Professor William P. Mahrt.

The St. Ann Choir is also remarkable for its endurance, because it had providentially been able to keep on singing Gregorian chant and polyphony at Masses in nearby Palo Alto for more than thirty years by then before, during, and after the Second Vatican Council, long after that type of Sacred Music was virtually banned. (For more about the St. Ann Choir's remarkable achievement, see Miracle in Palo Alto: How the St. Ann Choir Kept Chant and Polyphony Alive for 50 Years.)
Requiem Mass at Five Wounds in 2009

The choir sang the hymn “Tu Es Petrus” (You are Peter), which uses the words Christ used when He made Peter head of the Church. For those who know the stories of Kung's life, as described in the article mentioned earlier, “Tu Es Petrus” was a poignant reminder of Kung’s long martyrdom. In addition, “Tu Es Petrus” was a celebration of the canny way Kung was able to convey his courageous refusal to deny the pope to Cardinal Sin in the face of Communists trying to keep them apart during a show visit.

Kevin Rossiter, who had only recently joined the St. Ann Choir at the time of Kung’s funeral, sent me these recollections.“There were a lot of photographers and people apparently from the (non-communist) Chinese press. The homily alternated between Chinese and English and was very good, telling the usual stories about him (the show-trial, about the singing “Tu Es Petrus” ) but also explaining his political strategy from very early on (e.g., in preparing lay catechists for the time when he knew the church would have to go underground). The cardinal used the occasion to announce the beginning of the case for his canonization. The cards for the funeral with his picture were very beautiful—I have one somewhere, but it has been misplaced during moves, so it's still probably in a box or pressed into a book. Those are the things I remember most. The atmosphere was very joyful.”

Choir Director Professor Mahrt shared some of his recollections of Kung’s Requiem Mass also. “At some point the casket was opened for the congregation to pay their respects, and all filed by the casket. At the time I thought, ‘I will probably never again witness the funeral of a saint or see him resting in a coffin.’”

Burial in Santa Clara Mission Cemetery

After the Requiem Mass, Cardinal Kung’s body was interred in an above-ground vault in the Saint Clare Chapel at Santa Clara Mission Cemetery.

Before I knew anything about Cardinal Kung, somebody pointed out his marker to me at the doorway to the chapel, and I wondered how it came about that a Shanghai cardinal came to be interred there. Now I understand.

Six years previously, the body of Archbishop Dominic Tang of Canton, another Chinese member of the Church's hierarchy and friend of Cardinal Kung, had been placed in a nearby vault. In a chapter about Archbishop Tang in his book Cloud of Witnesses, Fr. George Rutler recounted that when Dominic Tang was a young priest in Shanghai, Tang “cycled with his friend Rev. Ignatius Kung Pin-Mei from parish to parish to hear confessions.” Tang had been appointed as apostolic administrator of Canton in 1950, the year after the Communists took over. Like then-Bishop Kung, who accepted his ordination as bishop of Shanghai that same year, Tang realized and accepted the persecution he would be forced to undergo as the result of his ordination. Three years after Bishop Kung was arrested, Tang was also arrested,and he spent twenty-two years in prison without trial.

After they both were released and forced into exile, they maintained their friendship. Archbishop Tang had died while visiting Cardinal Kung in Stamford in honor of the cardinal's 65th anniversary as a priest and his 45th anniversary as a bishop. Archbishop Tang died in the presence of his friend Cardinal Kung, on June 27, 1995. After Tang's death, Cardinal Kung’s nephew Joseph Kung had brought Archbishop Tang's body to Santa Clara for interment. It was fitting that after Kung's funeral, the two friends were reunited.

Father Rutler wrote, “His Eminence was buried next to his friend, and both bodies face the horizon in the expectation that the two old men who, in youth had bicycled together will in a great dawn be buried in their cathedrals in Canton and Shanghai."

Joseph Kung wrote these additional details about the burial in Highlights of the Funeral at the Cardinal Kung Foundation website :
"That the bodies of these two Chinese bishops, ever faithful to the Successor of Peter and devoted to their flocks in Canton and Shanghai despite all adversity, are interred above ground expresses the hope that one day their mortal remains will be transported to China and interred, each at the foot of the altar of his respective cathedral. The same hope was expressed when Cardinal Mindszenty was interred above ground in Austria; and the hope was rewarded when his remains were transported back to Hungary.”
Please pray for this intention, and for the canonization of Ignatius Cardinal Kung Pin-Mei.
For more about Cardinal Kung, check out the trove of information at the Cardinal Kung Foundation website.

Saturday, March 18, 2017

Opposing Amoris Laetitia: Not Envious Bitterness, But Love and True Mercy

In “Moral Theology: Embittered Moralizing," in The Valley Catholic, the San Jose diocesan newspaper, on February 21, 2017, columnist Fr. Ron Rohlheiser engaged in ad hominem attacks against his opponents' motives without considering the merits of their arguments. Even though Fr. Rolheiser wrote in the first person plural, implying that he was not pointing fingers, he clearly is implying that anyone who objects to unrepentant sinners receiving Communion is an “embittered moralizer,” like the older brother of the prodigal son, “angry and jealous.”

The article begins:

One of the dangers inherent in trying to live out a life of Christian fidelity is that we are prone to become embittered moralizers, older brothers of the prodigal son, angry and jealous at God’s over-generous mercy, bitter because persons who wander and stray can so easily access the heavenly banquet table.

According to Fr, Rohlheiser's reasoning, St. Paul must have been an embittered moralizer when he wrote in 1 Corinthians 11:27: "Therefore whoever eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner, shall be guilty of the body and the blood of the Lord."

Ad hominem is a logical fallacy used to distract from the merits of the opponent’s arguments.

In this article, Fr. Rolheiser takes a typical ad hominem approach; the opponent’s words or actions are not taken at face value but are pseudo-psychoanalyzed. It’s a cheap and unfortunately effective trick to smear your opponent when you don’t have a good defense against an objection raised in an argument.
Rev. Ronald Rolheiser, OMI
Like others who psychoanalyze opponents instead of addressing the validity of their arguments, Fr. Rolheiser claims to know things his opponents do not know about their deepest motivations. He posits that those who believe what the Church has consistently taught on this matter are mean and judgmental, not merciful as God the Father is merciful.

Fr. Rohlheiser does not seem to understand an important point: the Church exercises real mercy when it gently reminds sinners not to bring great spiritual harm upon themselves.

Although Fr. Rolheiser did not reference Pope Francis' post-synodal Apostolic Exhortation Amoris Laetitia or its much-disputed footnote 351, when Fr. Rolheiser refers to "persons who wander and stray" being allowed "to so easily access the heavenly banquet table," he clearly refers to the controversy around whether pastors should grant access to communion for some of those who are divorced and remarried in an illicit marriage and who are not committed to living together as brother and sister.

It is not being an embittered moralizer or angry or jealous to ask in shocked amazement, how can a document released by a pope contradict previous clear teachings of the church?

The meaning of the controversial passages in Amoris Laetita is contradictorially explained by sources at the Vatican, so it seems there is intentional murkiness about how it is to be interpreted. Cardinal Coccopalmanio, President of the Pontifical Council for Legislative Texts, recently wrote a 30-page booklet, published by LEV, the Vatican publishing house, which states that Amoris Laetita means that there is a change in practice to allow some people who are cohabiting after a divorce from a valid marriage to receive Communion even if they are sleeping together. Even though Amoris Laetitia quotes what Pope St. John Paul II wrote in his own post-synodal Apostolic Exhortation Familiaris Consortio, On the Role of the Christian Family in the Modern World in 1981, Amoris Laetitia's use of terminology such as the "law of gradualness" and its conclusions contradict what John Paul II wrote in Familiaris Consortio.

Following are some excerpts from Familiaris Consortio, which contradict Amoris Laetitia (italics added):

"Married people too are called upon to progress unceasingly in their moral life, with the support of a sincere and active desire to gain ever better knowledge of the values enshrined in and fostered by the law of God. They must also be supported by an upright and generous willingness to embody these values in their concrete decisions. They cannot however look on the law as merely an ideal to be achieved in the future: they must consider it as a command of Christ the Lord to overcome difficulties with constancy. "And so what is known as 'the law of gradualness' or step-by-step advance cannot be identified with gradualness of the law,' as if there were different degrees or forms of precept in God's law for different individuals and situations. ...

"[T]he Church reaffirms her practice, which is based upon Sacred Scripture, of not admitting to Eucharistic Communion divorced persons who have remarried. They are unable to be admitted thereto from the fact that their state and condition of life objectively contradict that union of love between Christ and the Church which is signified and effected by the Eucharist. Besides this, there is another special pastoral reason: if these people were admitted to the Eucharist, the faithful would be led into error and confusion regarding the Church's teaching about the

"Reconciliation in the sacrament of Penance which would open the way to the Eucharist, can only be granted to those who, repenting of having broken the sign of the Covenant and of fidelity to Christ, are sincerely ready to undertake a way of life that is no longer in contradiction to the indissolubility of marriage. This means, in practice, that when, for serious reasons, such as for example the children's upbringing, a man and a woman cannot satisfy the obligation to separate, they "take on themselves the duty to live in complete continence, that is, by abstinence from the acts proper to married couples."

These are troubling contradictions indeed. Not a cause for bitterness, anger, or jealousy, but for bewilderment and sadness and concern for souls, on the part of those who believe, as I do: morality is not something mutable that can change from one papacy to the next, and St. Paul's warning about the harm that comes to those who receive the Eucharist unworthily should still be heeded.