NEW “Pontifical Canon” for use by Bishops in the Extraordinary Form

I just received a copy of the recently reprinted Canon Missae ad usum Episcoporum ac Praelatorum pontificaliter vel non pontificaliter celebrantium, cui accedunt formulae variae e Pontificali Romano depromptae et cantus ad libitum – “Pontifical Canon” for short – done by Nova et Vetera in Germany.

This is the edition appropriate for use by bishops when celebrating Holy Mass with the 1962 Missale Romanum.  It was originally promulgated 19 March 1962.

How necessary is a new edition?  I found a single antique on Amazon for $1725.

The Canon Missae is used by bishops for the Ordinary of Mass.  It was usually a large format book, over-sized, with large print, easy to read and sing from by – ehem – older gents whose eyesight isn’t necessary the best.  It would be held for the bishop at the throne or faldstool and later propped up in the center of the altar, e.g., against the doors of the tabernacle.

My first observation to make about this new Canon Missae: it’s not large.

18.3 cm x 26 cm – not any larger than any other book, and actually smaller by far than most altar missals.

Here is an image with a pen for scale.

That said, the materials are good and it is well bound, as one might expect from a German publisher.

The pages are edged with gold and there are good page tabs for turning.

The “official business” page of the original.  As you can see it is a reproduction of a book from Ratisbon rather than Rome.

The type face, while not large, is easy on the eyes.

Consider, however, how the smaller format could be hard for His Grace to read and sing with ease.

There are three good quality ribbons to mark pages for His Nibs.

Price €185 or, today $200

So, it could be a useful for book for your community, especially in light of the fact that the older Canons and other books are probably by now showing signs of wear and tear.  It is good to have a back up or – in many cases – a lone edition.

But do take the size of the book, and type, into account.   Consider that most bishops today don’t know any Latin.  The Mass texts in Latin will be unfamiliar.  They won’t roll, mostly by memory, trippingly from their episcopal tongues.  If they also have to strain to read the type… well….

Thus, the book  – a tool for the New Evangelization – will be useful, but less useful than it could have been in a larger format.  I hope they will make a larger format.  (HINT HINT)

To buy or look around more click


I saw this same volume on Ebay for $440.  The publisher wants $200.

Order well ahead.  It took awhile.

10 votes, 4.50 avg. rating (89% score)
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Posted in Liturgy Science Theatre 3000, REVIEWS, SUMMORUM PONTIFICUM, The Campus Telephone Pole | 2 Comments

WDTPRS: 2nd Sunday after Easter (1962MR): devastation and rising

Let’s see what happened to today’s Collect in the 1962 Missale Romanum when it was ported over into the 1970MR.

COLLECT (1962MR): 

Deus, qui Filii tui humilitate iacentem mundum erexisti: fidelibus tuis sanctam concede laetitiam; ut, quos perpetuae mortis eripuisti casibus, gaudiis facias perfrui sempiternis.

With a slight variation this prayer was in the Gelasian Sacramentary on the Sunday after the Octave of Easter, which is today’s Sunday: Deus, qui in filii tui humilitatem iacentem mundum erexisti, laetitiam concede <fidelibus tuis>, ut quos perpetuae <mortis> eripuisti casibus, gaudiis facias sempiternis perfruere. So, not many changes. (The words in < > were illegible or missing in the manuscripts, and were supplied by Leo Cunibert Mohlberg, editor of the critical edition of the Gelasian.) The infinitive of perfruor, deponent, is really perfrui. However perfruere, here, is also an infinitive: once in a while, like today, active forms crept into use for deponents.

In the meantime, think laterally: isn’t the last phrase of the Collect similar to the end of the prayer recited after the Salve Regina? “Grant us your servants, we pray you O Lord God, to enjoy perpetual health of mind and body, and, by the glorious intercession of blessed Mary ever-Virgin, may we be delivered from present sorrow and enjoy everlasting happiness (aeterna perfrui laetitia).”

The themes here are similar to today’s Collect in that there is a shift from sorrow to joy through God’s providential gift. Moreover, when the priest vests for Holy Mass, traditionally he says special prayers while putting on each vestment. For the alb, the symbol of our baptism, he prays:

“Make me white, O Lord, and cleanse my heart, so that having been made white in the Blood of the Lamb, I may enjoy everlasting joys (gaudiis perfruar sempiternis).”

There is similar vocabulary in the other vesting prayers, which could once be found posted in every sacristy in the world. I use them daily and exhort other priests to do so as well.

My hook for these last comments was the verb perfruor, one of a few famous deponent verbs used normally and classically with the ablative case: utor, abutor, fruor, fungor, potior and vescor. In different periods of Latin these verbs could have active forms, as we saw above, and could also take objects in the accusative or even genitive. In modern liturgical usage they are deponents and always get ablative “objects”. Actually, these aren’t really objects, but rather a kind of instrument: e.g., vescor, “I feed myself from…”; fruor, “I get fruit/benefit from…”; etc. A good grammar explains how these verbs work. Latin Students: If you want a really good Latin grammar get the superb Gildersleeve & Lodge, or fully, Gildersleeve’s Latin Grammar (enlarged with the additional help of Gonzalez Lodge).

Basil L. Gildersleeve said, and this is true in the world of WDTPRS,

“No study of literature can yield its highest result without the close study of language, and consequently the close study of grammar.”

Two words in the prayer, gaudium and laetitia, can be rendered into English with the same word “joy” and variations. We don’t want to give undue emphasis to the different sorts of “joy” possible with different words. However, our chockful L&S states that gaudium suggest a joy which is interior whereas laetitia suggests a unrestrained joy having outward expression, even though L&S also says gaudium in the plural (as it is in our prayer) can also be “the outward expressions of joy”. In a supplement to the L&S, A. Souter’s Glossary of Later Latin to 600 A.D., we discover that gaudium is “everlasting blessedness” while laetitia is simply “prosperity”. So, in Souter we still uncover something of the spiritual versus material distinction. Blaise/Dumas, or Le Vocabulaire Latin des principaux thèmes liturgiques, implies that laetitia and gaudium are pretty much the same thing.

Are these distinctions really important?

The dictates of ancient rhetoric (and this prayer is ancient) required copia verborum, a richness of vocabulary to avoid boring repetition. Nevertheless, each word gives us “joy”, but with shades of meaning. Perhaps a solution is found in L&S’s explanation that gaudium is “like our ‘joy’, for an object which produces joy, a cause or occasion of joy”. You might think in terms of someone saying, “You are a real joy to me!” For us who, raised up from our sins, die in God’s friendship, the object which will produce joy is, in this world the state of grace and a clean conscience and, in the next life, the Beatific Vision and Communion of Saints.

L&S indicates that erigo, giving us erexisti, means “to raise up, set up, erect” and, analogously, “to arouse, excite” and “cheer up, encourage.” The verb iaceo (in the L&S find this under jaceo) has many meanings, such as “to lie” as in “lie sick or dead, fallen” and also “to be cast down, fixed on the ground” and “to be overcome, despised, idle, neglected, unemployed.” Humilitas is “lowness”. In Blaise/Dumas, humilitas has a more theological meaning in the “abasement” of the God Incarnate who took the form of a “slave” (cf. Philippians 2:7). Blaise/Dumas cites this Collect in the entry for humilitas.


O God, who raised up a fallen world by the abasement of Your Son, grant holy joy to Your faithful; so that You may cause those whom You snatched from the misfortunes of perpetual death, to enjoy delights unending.

Our Collect views material creation as an enervated body, wounded, weakened by sin, lying near death in the dust whence it came. In the sin of our First Parents all creation was wounded. The harmony there ought to have been between the rest of material creation and man, its steward, has been damaged.

Because of the Fall, the whole cosmos was put under the bondage of the Enemy, the “prince of this world” (cf. John 10:31 and 14:30). This is why when we bless certain things, and baptize people, there was an exorcism first, to rip the object or person from the grip of the world’s “prince” and give it to the King. God is liberator. He rouses us up from being prone upon the ground. He grasps us, pulling us upward out of sin and death. He directs us again toward the joys possible in this world, first, and then definitively in the next.

But we must get back to our feet: rise again.

Our Savior rose for this reason.

We see in many of our ancient Roman prayers a pattern of descent and ascent, of exit and return. Before the Resurrection there is the Passion. Before exaltation there is humiliation. The descent, exit, Passion and humiliation bring an even more exalted joy which will embrace the entirety of man in both soul and body, the interior and the outward human person. Ultimately, it will embrace the entire cosmos.

8 votes, 4.38 avg. rating (86% score)
Posted in EASTER, Liturgy Science Theatre 3000, WDTPRS | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Sr. Joan on ‘the soul’

SR. Joan for SSS at the promised landFrom HuffPo comes this jewel: Sr. Joan Chittister and Oprah!

Take in this incomprehensible babble, perhaps with some popcorn.

I like the expression on Oprah’s face at one point. You can tell that she has no idea what Joan is rambling about. But she soon recovers and nods meaningfully.

From the HuffPo wrap up:

As Sister Joan defines the soul, it is all about recognizing the beauty of life. “It’s layers of consciousness. It layers of awareness,” she says. “The more life that you let in, the more life you will have, and then your own soul does grow.”

The way the soul evolves, Sister Joan explains, is similar to how life itself unfolds: slowly and deliberately. This concept is poignantly articulated by French novelist and aviator Antoine de Saint-Exupéry in his 1942 memoir, Flight to Arras, which includes one particular line that has always stuck with Sister Joan.

“Exupéry says someplace something like this. He says, ‘To live is to be slowly born,'” Sister Joan cites.

The reason some people seem more soulful or as if they have “more” soul than others, she adds, is because they have grown their souls during their lifetime. “There’s no magic age; 18 doesn’t do it, 21 doesn’t do it,” Sister Joan says. “It’s a process.

I don’t have the same soul that I had at 6,” she continues. “I have a soul now that’s thicker, deeper, warmer, broader, brighter, wiser than ever before.”

More videos with them HERE.  You might pick out some of your favorite lines.

For obvious reasons, I’ll turn on comment moderation.

16 votes, 4.25 avg. rating (84% score)
Posted in Lighter fare, Women Religious, You must be joking! | Tagged , | 16 Comments

Fr. Z’s Voice Mail or ¡Hagan lío!

I have recently received some voice mails from these USA and the UK.  I enjoy getting voice mail.  I don’t return calls, but I do get your messages.

  • Front Royal, VA – To the guy who suggested approval of polyandry… seriously?
  • South Texas – About Holy Thursday and having “blessed bread” given after Communion to be eaten during Mass. Contact your local bishop.
  • Hexham & Newcastle – You are welcome and congratulations!
  • Albany, NY – Yes, things are getting better. There is no reason to be bored.
  • Akron, OH – About targeting of businesses for destruction by “gays”. Nice try.  I admire your attempt at manipulation.

TIPS for leaving voice mail.

  1. Don’t shout.  If you shout, your voice will be distorted and I won’t be able to understand you.
  2. Don’t whisper.  C’mon.  If you have to whisper, maybe you should be calling the police, instead.
  3. Come to your point right away.  That helps.
  4. Mention where you are, so I can mention where you are in these posts. (Increase the chance you’ll see these acknowledgments.)

Since I pay a fee for the phone numbers, I am glad when they get some use.  I have occasionally thought about how to integrate the audio into posts, when there are good questions or comments, but I haven’t gotten around to it yet.


 020 8133 4535


I do NOT accept contact requests.

TIPS for leaving voice mail.

  1. Don’t shout.  If you shout, your voice will be distorted and I won’t be able to understand you.
  2. Don’t whisper.  C’mon.  If you have to whisper, maybe you should be calling the police, instead.
  3. Come to your point right away.  That helps.
7 votes, 3.00 avg. rating (62% score)
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WWII Chaplain saying Mass as the armor rolls in

One of our alert readers sent me the link to some spiffy footage from WWII.

A Catholic Mass being conducted by a Chaplain in Makin Islands, Kirabati during World War II.

I would still very much like to find someone to make super-light reversible vestments.

18 votes, 4.50 avg. rating (89% score)
Posted in Just Too Cool | Tagged , | 12 Comments

Francis Card. George – RIP

I just received word that His Eminence Francis Card. George has died.

He was Archbishop of Chicago for 17 years and a great churchman.

He was quoted saying some time ago about our era:

“I expect to die in bed, my successor will die in prison and his successor will die a martyr in the public square. His successor will pick up the shards of a ruined society and slowly help rebuild civilization, as the church has done so often in human history.”

Requiescat in pace.

60 votes, 4.68 avg. rating (93% score)
Posted in SESSIUNCULA | 34 Comments

Of the LCWR and the end of the CDF “crackdown”

At the conclusion of the CDF investigation of the LCWR, it is interesting to watch the conga line dance threading its delirious way through the liberal catholic MSM led by Fishwrap‘s Tom Fox, AP‘s (not catholic, but liberal) Nicole Winfield and Rachel Zoll, Commonweal‘s Dominic Preziosi, RNS‘s (which takes money from strange sources) David Gibson, and James Martin, SJ, at Amerika who cooed with satisfaction.

Looking at the liberal reactions side-by-side is reminds me of walking into Pompeii’s “Villa of the Mysteries”.  Their elation is nearly Bacchic.

Not all online reactions have been so ecstatic.

Phil Lawler at wrote (my emphases):

“We learned that what we hold in common is much greater than any of our differences.”

That comment did not come from a Presbyterian cleric after a Saturday-afternoon ecumenical meeting. It was made by a leading representative of American Catholic women’s religious orders, at the conclusion of a long, tense exchange with the Vatican.

Shouldn’t we be able to take it for granted that what unites Catholics is greater than their differences? And especially in the case of religious orders, pledged to the service of the Church?

But it could not be taken for granted, in the case of the Leadership Conference of Women Religious. That’s why the Vatican stepped in.

Now that the intervention has run its course, Cardinal Gerhard Müller, the prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, assures us of the Vatican’s confidence that the LCWR is “fostering a vision of religious life that is centered on the Person of Jesus Christ and is rooted in the Tradition of the Church.”

Again, shouldn’t you be able to take that much for granted? But in 2008, you couldn’t.

Those statements from the two main parties do not guarantee that the Vatican intervention will prove successful. They do, however, demonstrate that the process was necessary.

That’s something that the other side is going to deny: that the process was necessary.

On a somewhat sharper register, at Creative Minority Report we read:

So the Vatican has dropped the investigation into the LCWR. Cuz in the Church, the only thing hetero these days is the doxy.

What is one to make of what happened?

On the one hand, say that the CDF really did back down, on the orders of Pope Francis or not.  One possible take is that they determined that it simply wasn’t worth the effort to attempt a reform of the LCWR, in regard to its guiding principles and goals for formation and spirituality.  After all, most of the groups whose leadership belong to the LCWR are dying out pretty quickly.  If the CDF has closed the file, to quote one of the Left’s darlings, what difference does it make? They have no vocations.

Another point may be that the CDF isn’t the monstrous boogy which liberals delight in reviling.  Perhaps the process simply ran it’s course and ended.   John Allen at Crux as a somewhat less left-skewed view of what happened HERE.  He might have joined the Eleusinian conga by clapping a little on the side-lines, but he didn’t strut.  His analysis is, in its essentials, right, though his own leanings bleed through.

Over at Catholic World Report, Carl Olson has a good round-up of how the story has been covered, the twisted headlines, etc.  Here is a sample with my emphases and comments:


There are, however, several ways of skinning the controversial Catholic cat, as Reuters reporter Philip Pullella makes evident in a piece titled “Activist U.S. nuns make concessions after Vatican investigation”. Instead of reconciliation, Pullella apparently smells capitulation and oppression. And guess who the Bad Guys are?

A six-year row between activist American nuns and Vatican officials who had branded them radical feminists ended on Thursday with the nuns conceding to demands that they keep within the doctrine of the Roman Catholic church.

The clash with the Leadership Conference of Women Religious (LCWR), an umbrella group representing 80 percent of U.S. nuns, became a national issue in America, with many supporters accusing the Vatican of bullying them.

The Vatican investigated the group for three years and then in 2012 issued a stinging report saying the LCWR had “serious doctrinal problems” and promoted “radical feminist themes incompatible with the (Roman) Catholic faith”.

The Vatican criticized the group for taking a soft line on issues such as birth control and homosexual activity. ([Olson’s] emphasis added for fun)

Goodness! It’s as if the sweet little nuns had been doing nothing but putting band-aids on skinned knees and singing sweet, lilting songs of sisterhood when—wham!—those nasty guys in Rome went all patriarchal on them. Of course, the truth about the history of the LCWR and its various actions in recent years suggest a rather different story. But I don’t expect Reuters to tell it. [A safe bet.]

The New York Times says a “battle” has ended, says the “the nuns stand tall”, and Slate claims the Vatican tacitly admitted the entire matter was a waste of time.

[NB… this is rich!] Slate demonstrates it’s tenuous grasp on the story by illustrating it with a photo (see below) of habit-wearing youthful members of Sisters of Life—an order that belongs to the Council of Major Superiors of Women Religious, not the Leadership Conference of Women Religious  (LCWR), which is the (aging) body in question and which is not known for wearing habits (see photo above, thank you). [Yes… it is also important to look at which photos are chosen for the coverage in all these stories!] For those not versed in these matters, it is analogous to illustrating a story about a Hillary Clinton campaign stop with photos from a Tea Party convention.

A far better balance it struck by veteran reporter Francis Rocca, writing for the Wall Street Journal [behind a paywall]:

The Vatican brought to an end a three-year overhaul of a U.S. nuns’ group stemming from a controversial investigation that found the sisters had neglected church teachings on abortion and other issues.

In a final document released Thursday, the Vatican went lightly on the nuns, effectively sparing them from any sanction or further oversight. The outcome represented a markedly more conciliatory tone in a controversy that saw the Vatican widely criticized for its treatment of the sisters.

His title? “Vatican Ends Overhaul of U.S. Nuns’ Group”.

One final thought: Are matters with the LCWR really resolved—with a whimper? [as John Allen said?] Maybe. Frankly, I doubt it. I have a hard time believing that a group whose leadership has thumbed its nose at the CDF and bishops and has  so often ignored (or even denied) Church teaching is going to so suddenly change its spots. I’d like to be wrong on that count. But, time will tell. In the meantime, let’s hear it for more truth in headlines and the stories beneath them.

It will be interesting to see what happens when the LCWR has its annual meeting.  I wonder if they will again go with a keynote speaker like Barbara Marx Hubbard in 2012 with her snake oil: “I am here to be a voice for the Collective Emergence of humanity as a Co-creative Universal Species!” HERE Or Ilia Delio and her view that “There is no cosmos without God, and no God without cosmos.”  HERE

… Lest anyone doubt that the CDF investigation was necessary….

If the CDF process produced some good fruits, I’ll be delighted.  We shall see.

Meanwhile, as one of my correspondents wrote to me:

The only Catholic Franciscans left are chased like Jews in 1944 Poland for the grievous sin of attracting vocations while sticking to the rule and using certain liturgical books.

Final point….

The way I see it, the nuns signed a public agreement, not a “fig leaf”, as one of the liberals in the conga line called it.

If they violate the agreement the whole Church and world can be reminded that they signed it.

In one year, in five… whatever.  Scriptum manet.

The CDF did not promise to do – or not to do -anything.

The nuns did.

Let’s see if they keep their word.

Reminder: Pope Francis doesn’t like hypocrisy.






The moderation queue is on.  I’ll let some comments stack up before releasing them.  You can react to the post before reacting to each other.

25 votes, 3.76 avg. rating (75% score)
Posted in Biased Media Coverage, Magisterium of Nuns, Women Religious | Tagged , , , | 43 Comments


ALAMOI call on all the readers here to pray and offer fasting and alms for the spiritual defense of Archbishop Cordileone of San Francisco.

Will San Francisco be the Alamo of the Church in these USA?

Today, in the ultra-liberal San Francisco Chronicle there is a full page ad from 100 “Prominent Catholics” calling on Pope Francis to remove Archbp. Cordileone.  Prominent?  Why?  Because they support sodomy and they have money?  Catholic?  How?

What will happen across these USA if the liberals and homosexualists succeed in bringing down Archbp. Cordileone?

Think about it.  The libs and the haters of the Church and homosexualists with whom they are in bed, who have been feeling their oats for a couple years now, will target every bishop and priest who dares to preach faithfully on Catholic doctrine and morals… especially morals.

I received an SMS from a friend to find, immediately, a live stream of Michael Savage’s radio show today.  He talked about the attacks on traditional Catholic teaching and the organized liberal attacks on Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone by homosexualists and other liberals with whom they conspire.  Like him, hate him, Savage was great today.  He mentioned that San Francisco, and this attack on Archbp. Cordilone, is like the Alamo.  Wait until the 16 April show is posted.  HERE  There was a priest from the Detroit area who called in.  He did well.  I rarely hear Michael Savage, but today was worth the effort.  (NB: Savage is NOT a fan of Pope Francis’s comments on anything economic or on the environment, but he told the truth about Francis’ comments on the reality of the differences of men and women, etc.)

Savage defended the Church from a liberal pogrom, and he isn’t even Catholic.  How much more should we self-proclaimed faithful Catholics be willing to get up off our complacent backsides and FIGHT BACK?

Keep in mind that, if and when you do fight back, the Devil and his earthly puppets will go after you.  Just watch.  Therefore, the first thing we do when getting ready to fight back, is go to confession and receive Communion in the state of grace.

Look what happens to Catholic bishops who support the Church’s teaching, indeed the very natural law, human ecology.  Archbp. Neinstedt supported the amendment to the Minnesota Constitution in defense of marriage, and the payback has been nothing less than vicious.  Today if a bishop holds the line, he will be relentlessly assailed.

We have to hold the line with Archbp. Cordileone.

Also, check the website

Also, in a related issue, check out this project to Mass Mob a Mass at a parish which has been at the eye of the hurricane in SF, Star of the Sea Church.  HERE

  • When: April 25, 2015 at 4:30pm; plus a reception following the Vigil.
  • Where: Star of the Sea Church at 4420 Geary Street (@ 8th), San
    Francisco, CA
  • Who Should Attend: All supporters of Father Illo and Father Driscoll
    at the Star of the Sea. Invite your family and friends!

One thing that I did to support Frs. Illo and Driscoll at Star of the Sea was to send them some Z-Swag.  I had a nice note back from them.

In any event, I call on all the readers here to pray and offer fasting and alms for the spiritual defense of Archbishop Cordileone. We could use this post as a kind of spiritual bouquet.


The Archdiocese of San Francisco responded quickly to the ad.  According to CBS News, the statement reads:

“The advertisement is a misrepresentation of Catholic teaching, a misrepresentation of the nature of the teacher contract, and a misrepresentation of the spirit of the Archbishop. The greatest misrepresentation of all is that the signers presume to speak for ‘the Catholic Community of San Francisco.’ They do not.”

67 votes, 4.49 avg. rating (89% score)
Posted in ACTION ITEM!, Hard-Identity Catholicism, One Man & One Woman, Our Catholic Identity, Pò sì jiù, Si vis pacem para bellum!, Sin That Cries To Heaven, The Coming Storm, The future and our choices, The Last Acceptable Prejudice | Tagged , , , , | 60 Comments

ASK FATHER: What’s with all the kissing in the Extraordinary Form?

From a reader…


I was wondering what is the point of kissing in the Extraordinary Form? Such kisses include kissing the priest’s hand after handing the server or deacon his biretta or kissing the celebrant’s hand after handing him the thurible, kissing the water and wine cruets? None of the altar boys do this at the Traditional Latin Mass I serve, including me and none of the celebrants ever mention that we have to kiss their hands, etc. How did this liturgical kissing catch on?

The kisses given to objects handed to the priest, and the priest’s hand itself, serve to show respect to the priest who is alter Christus… another Christ…, to show respect to the sacred things being used and the One to whom they refer us, to show joy in the occasion and action, and to lend decorum and solemnity to the moment.

For those who don’t know about this, in the Extraordinary Form of the Roman Rite, always in Pontifical and Solemn Masses and sometimes at Low Masses, objects are kissed as they are given to the celebrant, as is his hand. The rule is when giving, kiss the object first, then the celebrant’s hand and when getting kiss the hand first, then the object. However, when receiving a sacramental, such as a blessed palm on Palm Sunday or a blessed Candle at Candlemass, you kiss the sacramental first, and then the hand. Also, because the kiss is a sign of joy, they are omitted on Good Friday and during Requiem Masses. (Our Church is very cool.)

The kissing of objects and hands surely spread to Holy Mass in a courtly context.  There’s nothing wrong with that, by the way. There is nothing wrong with respect and decorum. Liberals accuse traditionalists of clinging to the useless bowing and scraping of ancient court practices.  They won’t kneel! No! They’ve evolved beyond all that. Liberals would rather has us, as they do, kneel and bow and scrape to the world, the flesh and the devil.

Also, note that in the rubrics sacred ministers such as deacons and subdeacons are directed to give the “usual kisses” or Latin solita oscula. Other ministers and the altar, laymen or boys, may give them. Much depends on local custom.

The giving of solita oscula ties into the style and quality of vestments and vessels used for Holy Mass, as well as the music and the architecture. Be clear about something! When we dress our priests and bishops in gold and lace, and place gold onto and into their hands, and kiss their hands because they were anointed to serve us, we aren’t honoring the priest or bishop the man, however worthy and admirable he may be. We are honoring him and giving our best because we honor Christ at work in them and because we are grateful for the merits of the Cross and our pathway to heaven.

The priest and bishop are our mediators for the one Mediator. They are, during Holy Mass, both priest who offers the Sacrifice, and also the Sacrificial Victim. The lambs prepared for the day of sacrifice were taken great care of and fussed over… right up to the time the knife slashed their throats open. When you see the priest and bishop in fine vestments, remember the love and gratitude and care with which we treat sacred things and persons and places. We look to them and through them as Moses look, straining, to glimpse the Mystery as God passed by on the other side of the cleft in the rock (cf Exodus 33). They are signs that facilitate the encounter with mystery that is simultaneously frightening and alluring, hard to prepare for and yet vital for our spirits. They help us to prepare, through their beauty and challenge for our own deaths.

This is why is wrong for a priest or bishop to refuse the kissing of his ring and hand. People want to give honor and show love for Jesus, the King and Eternal Priest present before them in their person. They instinctively, and also by instruction, seek to reverence what brings them the ordinary means of salvation.

I am reminded of a poem from yesteryear which, though to our ears today it rings a bit saccharin and sentimental, it conveys perennially valuable clues about the attitude we must adopt in the present of the Lord’s anointed. I don’t say that any of us should cringe or fawn (as liberals do before their precious Molochs). Rather, we should reflect on how Christ Himself established the means of our salvation and His holy priesthood. You might know the poem.  Think about the moments that the poem describes:

The Beautiful Hands of a Priest

We need them in life’s early morning,
We need them again at its close;
We feel their warm clasp of true friendship,
We seek them when tasting life’s woes.
At the altar each day we behold them,
And the hands of a king on his throne
Are not equal to them in their greatness;
Their dignity stands all alone;
And when we are tempted and wander,
To pathways of shame and of sin,
It’s the hand of a priest that will absolve us,
Not once, but again and again.
And when we are taking life’s partner,
Other hands may prepare us a feast,
But the hand that will bless and unite us
Is the beautiful hand of a priest.
God bless them and keep them all holy,
For the Host which their fingers caress;
When can a poor sinner do better
Than to ask Him to guide thee and bless?
When the hour of death comes upon us,
May our courage and strength be increased,
By seeing raised over us in blessing
The beautiful hands of a priest.

Yes, I think the solita oscula are entirely appropriate.  When we choose to jettison practices like this, we jettison helps for our Faith, Hope and Charity.

28 votes, 4.29 avg. rating (85% score)
Posted in "How To..." - Practical Notes, ASK FATHER Question Box, Hard-Identity Catholicism, Liturgy Science Theatre 3000 | Tagged , , | 24 Comments

ASK FATHER: 58 years old, never confessed, given Communion or confirmed. What now?

From a reader…


I am 58 years old and was baptized as RC I was never confirmed /never made first holy communion and rarely attended church. I was drawn back to attending church about a year ago and as I am self employed and work in different ares each day I am attending Mass just about every day and receiving a great deal of satisfaction and comfort from doing so. I don’t take communion as I am not entitled to but would dearly love to do so. I don’t belong to any parish as I visit many different churches and would not be able to attend the same one due to my work. As someone who is parish-less how can I get confirmed,no one seems able to help me.

God bless you.  It sounds like the Holy Spirit is doing some wonderful things in awaking in you the Faith you received in baptism so many years ago. Keep at it, even if it gets difficult… and there will be times when it gets difficult.  In the meantime, enjoy the graces you are being given.

Also, kudos to you for wanting to respond to that grace and participate more fully in the Church by receiving the sacraments. God will richly reward your interest and your efforts.

Now, to work!

Even if you are not registered in any parish, the good news is that you DO have a parish. Even if you work all over the place and attend Mass at different places,  you nevertheless have a parish based on where your primary residence is.  Mind you, parish boundaries are not always easy to figure out, but if you call the nearest parish and inquire, someone be able help to yo, if not on the spot, then in short time.

Those who do not have a permanent home are called vagi in Latin, meaning “wanderers”.  They have a right to the sacramental services of the pastor of the church where they are at any given moment.

In addition, if you make inquiries at any Catholic parish, you would surely be welcomed with open arms, given the instruction you need, and placed on the proper path for making a good confession, getting confirmed, and being admitted to receive our Eucharistic Lord in Holy Communion.

If you have found unhelpful people at a parish, place a call in to the local diocese and explain the situation.

If, after this, you still meet resistance or roadblocks, drop me a line again and let me know where you are.  Perhaps I might manage to knock some heads together.

Meanwhile, welcome home!  I imagine that many of the readers here will stop – RIGHT NOW – and say a prayer for you.

30 votes, 4.73 avg. rating (94% score)
Posted in "How To..." - Practical Notes, ASK FATHER Question Box, Fr. Z KUDOS, Just Too Cool, Liturgy Science Theatre 3000 | Tagged | 12 Comments