The Raising of Lazarus by the Italian painter Duccio, c. 1310-1311. Lazarus was the saint who died, and was buried for four days, before Jesus came to his tomb and spoke those words which have echoed down the centuries: “Lazarus, come forth!” This was the last great miracle Jesus performed, just eight days before he was arrested and executed

    Christ’s Raising of LazarusAthens, 12–13th century. Lazarus is on the right, already wrapped in his burial cloths, having been consigned to the tomb four days before Christ came to save him

    Letter #131, 2023, Monday, October 2: New Consecration?

    I write from the island of Cyprus, near Larnaca.

    I came here to pray at the tomb of St. Lazarus, before the start of the Synod in Rome on October 4.


    Lazarus, some time after he was raised from the dead by Jesus in what was the last and arguably the greatest miracle of Jesus’ miraculous healings, recorded by the Apostle John, left Israel and came to Cyprus.

    Here he was consecrated a bishop by St. Barnabas, and became the the first Christian bishop of Larnaca.

    Here, according to tradition, Lazarus died and was buried, and here is his tomb, in the crypt of a peaceful Greek Orthodox church here.

    I came here because I felt that Lazarus represents the longing of every Christian, and really of every human… that we may live, and “remain together,” in our families, with our loved ones, even in spite of sin and death… that death may not end all, but that Christ, because he is holy, may have power even over death, and bring… eternal life.

    It is this that seems to me the true central question of this coming Synod, and of every aspect of the life of the Church, whose “supreme law” is “the salvation of souls” — the saving of souls from sin and death: how may we participate in the victory of Christ over sin and death?

    How may we share in Christ’s eternal life?


    Lazarus of Bethany (Latinised from Lazar, ultimately from Hebrew Eleazar, “God helped”), also venerated as Righteous Lazarus, the Four-Days Dead in the Eastern Orthodox Church, is the subject of a sign of Jesus in the Gospel of John, in which Jesus restores him to life four days after his death. (The Eastern Orthodox and Catholic traditions offer varying accounts of the later events of his life. Some traditions record his burial in France.)

    Raising of Lazarus (link)

    The raising of Lazarus is a miracle of Jesus recounted only in the Gospel of John (John 11:1–44) in the New Testament, as well as in the Secret Gospel of Mark (a fragment of an extended version of the Gospel of Mark) in which Jesus raises Lazarus of Bethany from the dead four days after his entombment. The event took place at Bethany. In John, this is the last of the miracles that Jesus performs before the passion, crucifixion and his own resurrection.

    The biblical narrative of the raising of Lazarus is found in Chapter 11 of the Gospel of John. A certain Lazarus, who lives in the town of Bethany near Jerusalem, is introduced as a follower of Jesus. He is identified as the brother of the sisters Mary and Martha.

    The sisters send word to Jesus that Lazarus, “he whom thou lovest,” is ill. Jesus tells his followers: “This sickness will not end in death. No, it is for God’s glory so that God’s Son may be glorified through it.”

    Instead of immediately traveling to Bethany, according to the narrator, Jesus intentionally remains where he is for two more days before beginning the journey.

    The disciples are afraid of returning to Judea, but Jesus says: “Our friend Lazarus is asleep, but I am going to awaken him.”

    When the apostles misunderstand, he clarifies, “Lazarus is dead, and for your sake I am glad I was not there, so that you may believe.”

    When Jesus arrives in Bethany, he finds that Lazarus is dead and has already been in his tomb for four days. He meets first with Martha and Mary in turn.

    Martha laments that Jesus did not arrive soon enough to heal her brother (“if you had been here, my brother would not have died“) and Jesus replies with the well-known statement, “I am the resurrection, and the life: he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live: And whosoever liveth and believeth in me shall never die”.

    Martha affirms that she does truly believe and states, “Yes, Lord. I believe that you are the Messiah, the Son of God, who has to come into the world.”

    In the presence of a crowd of Jewish mourners, Jesus comes to the tomb. Jesus asks for the stone of the tomb to be removed, but Martha interjects that there will be a smell. Jesus responds, “Did I not tell you that if you believed, you would see the glory of God?”

    Over the objections of Martha, Jesus has them roll the stone away from the entrance to the tomb and says a prayer. They take the stone away then Jesus looks up and says: “Father, I thank you that you have heard me. I knew that you always hear me, but I said this for the benefit of the people standing here, that they may believe that you sent me.”

    He then calls Lazarus to come out (“Come forth”) and Lazarus does so, still wrapped in his grave-cloths. Jesus then calls for someone to remove the grave-cloths, and let him go.

    The narrative ends with the statement that many of the witnesses to this event “believed in him.” Others are said to report the events to the religious authorities in Jerusalem.

    The Gospel of John mentions Lazarus again in Chapter 12. Six days before the Passover on which Jesus is crucified, Jesus returns to Bethany and Lazarus attends a supper that Martha, his sister, serves.

    Jesus and Lazarus together attract the attention of many Jews and the narrator states that the chief priests consider having Lazarus put to death because so many people are believing in Jesus on account of this miracle.

    The miracle of the raising of Lazarus, the longest coherent narrative in John aside from the Passion, is the culmination of John’s “signs”.

    It explains the crowds seeking Jesus on Palm Sunday, and leads directly to the decision of Caiaphas and the Sanhedrin to kill Jesus.    


    After the resurrection, the early Christians began to gather together to recall and to pray to, and to be in spiritual communion with, Jesus, and over time, these gatherings began to take on a liturgical form which we now call “the Mass.”

    That liturgical form centered on the consecration of bread and wine which became the very “body and blood” of Jesus, which was shared, and which early Christians termed “the medicine of immortality,” that is, the “communion” with Jesus Himself which provided the power to overcome sin and death.

    This is the importance of the liturgy of the Church.

    And now news is being circulated on the internet that a new change is being planned in the consecration of the Mass, and that it may be implemented in Brazil on October 12.

    I do not know whether the news is true, or will come to pass. But the author of the news I received — who himself says he does not know whether the report is true — is a thoughtful Catholic writer who has written a long, detailed, and useful work on the Second Vatican Council.

    So, I send out the letter I received via email, with the Qualification that I, like the author himself, am unsure about whether this report will turn out to be true. —RM


    New Consecration?

    NEWS: September 29, 2023 (link)

    Bird’s Eye View of the News

    By Atila Sinke Guimarães

    IS A NEW BRAZILIAN MASS COMING? – While all attention is turned toward the Vatican and its October Synod on Synodality, in another corner of the world a very important thing is about to happen and practically no one is watching.

    Indeed, in Brazil, where the number of active Bishops is 400 (second only to Italy with 730, including the Vatican) and the number of Catholics is 123 million – the largest contingent in the world – a new Mass is in gestation and very close to its birth.

    Well-informed sources who asked not to be revealed say that throughout Brazil the Bishops are calling the priests together to prepare them for a new Mass that is coming.

    Brazil is divided into 19 episcopal Regions. My sources reported that each of these Regions is preparing to have its own particular Mass. I am not sure if this is true or if it was just presented this way to the priests to make the idea more acceptable to them. It could be that there will just be one Mass for the entire country. What I will relate below comes from the report I received from one of these Regions.

    In Region East II, encompassing the State of Minas Gerais with 7 Archdioceses and 21 Dioceses, the Prelates are gathering all their priests to tell them to prepare for an enormous change that has been prepared for their present-day Novus Ordo Mass.

    Although the entire liturgy will change, the most important innovations are the words of Consecration for the bread and the wine, which would change to accommodate the “sensibility” of each region.

    In Minas Gerais, the new formula of the Consecration of the bread would become: “And He gave it to His disciples saying: This is My love which will be delivered for you and for all …”

    For the Consecration of the wine, the new formula would become: “Take and drink of it all, this is the wine and the water of life, which will be poured in your hearts …”

    These changes reportedly will be made public on October 12, 2023, the Feast Day of Our Lady Aparecida, Queen and Patroness of Brazil.

    According to the same sources, these changes have been in preparation since 2004 during the pontificate of John Paul II, and today are finally ready to be put in practice with the full endorsement of Pope Francis.

    This is, to this day, the data I received. I will now go on to comment on them.

    Is this real?

    The first question is: What degree of credibility should we give to this information?

    We have seen an African Zairian Rite Mass celebrated in St. Peter’s Basilica. The “Zaire Use” of the Roman Rite was said in Lingala, the language spoken in Congo, with much spontaneous clapping, dancing, singing and shouting.

    We know that Francis encouraged the Mexican Bishops to propose a Mayan Rite, which was already sent to the Vatican for final approval.

    We read in Querida Amazonia that the Pope is encouraging the South America Indian tribes to develop their own liturgical rite. Initially, he proposed adapting the entire liturgy to the idolatrous rituals of those Indians who adore the elements of nature as deities.

    In Querida Amazonia he affirmed:

    “The inculturation of Christian spirituality in the cultures of the original peoples can benefit in a particular way from the sacraments, since they unite the divine and the cosmic, grace and creation. In the Amazon region, the sacraments should not be viewed in discontinuity with creation. They ’are a privileged way in which nature is taken up by God to become a means of mediating supernatural life.’” (§ 81)

    Then, dealing with the Sunday Liturgy of the Mass, Francis stated:

    “In this sense, ’encountering God does not mean fleeing from this world or turning our back on ’ It means that we can take up into the liturgy many elements proper to the experience of indigenous peoples in their contact with nature, and respect native forms of expression in song, dance, rituals, gestures and symbols. The Second Vatican Council called for this effort to inculturate the liturgy among indigenous peoples; over fifty years have passed and we still have far to go along these lines.” (§ 82)

    With these precedents, I do not see any inconsistency between the predicted New Brazilian Mass with its changed words of Consecration and today’s papal general guidelines.

    I would say that the information I transcribed has all the appearance of truth. If by chance it is not announced and applied this coming October, as my source reports, this could be due to some reactions from the priests, and not from the Bishops or the Vatican.

    Immediate consequences

    The new words of the Consecration mentioned above break completely with the entire past of the Catholic Church.

    Until now the Novus Ordo Missae of Paul VI has tried to maintain appearances and pretended to have some continuity with the Tridentine Mass. This New Brazilian Mass abandons any such care. It is a blatant break with the past; all links are broken.

    Nonetheless, it is the normal outcome of the Novus Ordo Mass. It is the natural debouchment of the river of changes that came from Pau VI’s Liturgical Reform.

    In this episode the progressivists throw out the window the bi-millennial respect – not to say the adoration they should have – for the words of Our Lord. In fact, if the words change, the entire Eucharistic doctrine of the Church loses its meaning.

    Actually, if the formulae of the Canon can be modified to please the “sensibilities” of this or that audience, the Mass is no longer the renewal of the Sacrifice of Our Lord Jesus Christ. There is no longer Transubstantiation. This ”mass” becomes a vague remembrance of the Last Supper to be reenacted according to the preferences of the theater’s audience. I see no difference between this “mass” and a Protestant service.

    But it is not only the Holy Eucharist that is abolished, the entire Sacramental Theology itself, which demands a precise formula and exact matter to effect the Sacraments, is also razed to the ground.

    In these new formulae of the Consecration the Conciliar Church shows its real face and appears in all its ugliness.

    If this step is taken, Catholics will be facing a true cataclysm.

    While the reaction against the Novus Ordo Mass has divided Catholics into factions – progressivists, middle-of-the-road, conservatives, traditionalists and all types of sede-vacantists – this New Brazilian Mass promises to bring this fragmenting to a zenith.

    The Vatican and Prelates most probably are counting on a general imbecile/apathetic acceptation of this Mass, similar to the compliance they saw people make with the covid lockdowns and the corresponding vaccines. They may be very mistaken…

    A veritable religious chaos can erupt from this change that could well spin out of their control. The spell may come against the sorcerer. The tables may turn.

    Let us keep our eyes peeled on this Brazilian experiment and see what happens.

    [End, article on the proposed new consecration]


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