“Je Suis Charles Martel”

I noticed this at American Catholic:

The slogan Je Suis Charles Martel is beginning to make its way around Saint Blogs.  Here is some information on the grandfather of Charlemagne who stopped the advance of Islam into what became France in 732 at the battle of Tours.

I think we have to look realisitically at what is going on in the world in regard to Islam.


15 votes, 3.80 avg. rating (76% score)
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Posted in The Coming Storm, The future and our choices, The Religion of Peace | Tagged , , , | 13 Comments

My View For Awhile: Jiggity Jig

And off I go again.

It was a great trip. I met lots of old friends and met a few new ones.

The Pontifical Mass was great. The exhibit on Mary fine. The National Gallery edifying. The Army and Navy Club fantastic.




Last leg.


6 votes, 2.67 avg. rating (57% score)
Posted in SESSIUNCULA | 2 Comments

Francis to new bishops…

Yes, Our Holy Father does have a way of stopping us in our tracks and rereading the sentence.

Not exactly rhetoric in the lofty style, but rhetoric is about getting the point across in way that either persuades, moves or entertains. One considers the ability of one’s audience to follow at which level and then crafts one’s speech accordingly.

According to CNA, Pope Francis said to newly nominated members of the august College of Cardinals:

“The spirit of worldliness … stuns more than grappa on a fast, disorienting and separating one from the cross of Christ.”


So much more than just a great breakfast drink.

12 votes, 3.17 avg. rating (64% score)
Posted in Lighter fare, Pope Francis | Tagged | 3 Comments

ASK FATHER: When is enough, enough?

From a reader…


When is enough, enough? I help facilitate the RCIA program in my parish and the other leaders in the name of compassion are constantly at odds with the teachings of Holy Mother Church. As one trying to be faithful to our Lord and His Church, I wonder at what point is an environment too toxic for one’s soul? Can the heretical opinions of these people start to rub off on me without me even knowing it. Does working with these people become an occasion of sin?

Hmmm… that reminds me of a song! Maestro? ♫

When I was just a little girl
I asked my mother
What will I be
Will I be pretty
Will I be rich
Here’s what she said to me

Que sera, sera
Whatever will be, will be
The future’s not ours to see
Que sera, sera
What will be, will be

No, Fr. Z has not entirely lost his mind. Nor is Fr. Z, “getting in touch with his feminine side.”

Rather, the question proposed has led to a certain flight of mental fancy and the recollection of that delightful song Doris Day sang to alert Jimmy Stewart in the Alfred Hitchcock movie, The Man Who Knew Too Much.”

Like the questioner, the characters played by Day and Stewart – the McKennas – are simply trying to get by in life. They are enjoying a nice vacation when a series of events places them at the center of an assassination plot.

Many Catholics these days seem to be in similar straits.

They attempt simply to eke out a life of holiness day by day, and yet they find themselves embroiled in controversies and conflict.  They are compelled to address the dangers of sin and heresy.

It has always been so.

What is the tipping point? How much do we engage in the battles that rage? At what point do we set the battles aside and retreat to the relative peace of our family lives and homes?

If we retreat, will the battles pass us by?  Will the war bang on our front door?

There’s no one-size-fits-all answer.

I understand the need to back away at times – sometimes to back away temporarily, sometimes to shake the dust from one’s sandals and move on elsewhere.

Choosing the right battles to fight is an important lesson to learn. Prudence is the auriga virtutum, the charioteer of the virtues.

When we struggle, we do NOT struggle alone.

While a Christian does not become either complacent or fatalistic, we need to remind ourselves that Christ has already won the important battle.  We know the final outcome of things.

Christ is at our side.

The battles are difficult, but they are at times necessary so that the Truth be served, the Faith defended, Christ known and loved in His Holy Catholic Church.

What will be, will be, of course. But what we do to help bring about what will be is the stuff upon which our own salvation is built.

Do not let the demon of discouragement distract you.  But, taking stock of your state in life, the exigencies you face in your vocation, the circumstances you live in, learn also “when to fish and when to cut bait.”

16 votes, 4.25 avg. rating (84% score)
Posted in "How To..." - Practical Notes, ASK FATHER Question Box, Our Catholic Identity | Tagged , , | 14 Comments

A piece of good news

A very smart priest friend sent me a note this morning with two pieces of good news regarding Pope Francis.  I’ll simply share what he sent…. no, wait… I’ll share the first piece of good news.  I may post the second in another post.

1. For Pope Francis, understanding  
 the nature of marriage is a criterion in investigating a marriage’s validity


Cardinal Kasper’s thesis was to let people decide for themselves if their previous marriage was null and void.

This article makes three points:

In his speech, Pope Francis 

1. maintained that an understanding of the nature of marriage is a criterion by which to judge the validity of a marriage

Obviously if you don’t understand what the duties and obligations of marriage are, you can’t give consent.

2. asked for an increase of the number of canon lawyers available at local tribunals; 
Speaks for itself. 
But also why bother with Canon Lawyers and Tribunals if you accept Kasper’s “Wild West” / ” grant yourself an unofficial annulment”  solution?
3. and that the availability of services free of charge be increased.

It seems bizarre to me that the parishes are charged for the running costs of the Diocesan Offices – and then people applying for annulments are charged.
Access to the sacraments should be free of charge.

A pity Pope Francis doesn’t remind Cardinal Kasper and the other German Bishops this.

BTW… Pope Francis’ remarks about the cost of “annulments” were a departure from his prepared text.   He said: “How I would like all marriage processes to be free-of-charge.”   That’s a desire, it isn’t an edict.  Let us not forget that someone has to pay the bills in order to keep a tribunal open.

14 votes, 3.86 avg. rating (77% score)
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WASH DC – DAY 3: Old stuff

I have had time before my flight home to visit, for the first time since 1976, the National Archive to view the charter documents of the founding of these USA.

No photos allowed, alas.

While it was great to see the Declaration and Constitution and Bill of Rights, I was more interested to see the Lee Resolution, proposed at the behest of Virginia in June 1776 and passed on 2 July.


And then there is the copy of 1297 Magna Carta.


I like the fact that Magna Carta is here a few steps from the US National Gallery while a few steps from the UK National Gallery is a statue of George Washington.

Now lunch at the Gallery before seeing some last pieces.


My handy notebook is there. I make lots of notes and sketchy in musea. Thanks again to the reader who sent the little books from my wish list.


Since I can’t post shots of my feeder easily, I must have recourse to museum visits for my Feeder Feed.

Here is Giuliano de Medici. a striking fellow to be sure.


Giuliano came to a bad end. A painting commemorates him. Botticelli’s rendition:


The half open door recalls imagery on ancient Roman sarcophagi. It is a sign that the resident – and you – will pass through and pass away.

But what about that bird in the dead, dry branch?


Meet Mrs Turtle Dove, widow. They are symbols of constancy, because it is said that they mate for life.

In this case Mrs Turtle Dove could be an allusion to the famed beauty Simonetta Vespucci, renowned as the easiest on the eyes of her era.

She died a couple years before, if memory serves. I’m working on memories from the spectacular Italian Renaissance Portrait exhibit at the Met a few years back.



5 votes, 3.60 avg. rating (73% score)
Posted in SESSIUNCULA | 1 Comment

Pope Francis says: GO TO CONFESSION!

Pope Francis is nothing if not interesting.   When he goes off text or speaks off the cuff… anything can happen.  The usual result is that we are left stopped in our tracks and scratching our heads, trying to figure out what he is talking about.  Sometimes he seems to contradict Catholic teaching or practice (he doesn’t).  The MSM grabs his somewhat artless sound bites and trumpets them, with the result that many Catholic faithful are left confused.   One need only call to mind his remarks on nearly every airplane presser he has given.

However, if we breathe deeply and think, we eventually sort out what Francis is talking about.

Today, however, Francis spoke extemporaneously in one of his non-magisterial morning sermonettes about a topic on which he is rock solid: the need to GO TO CONFESSION.

This Pope often talks about the sacrament of penance.   Francis talks about confession more than his predecessors, as a matter of fact… and that’s a big win.

From the Vatican Radio account we learn:

Pope Francis said confession is not a judgment but a meeting with God who forgives all our sins, without exception. His words came during his homily at his morning Mass on Friday celebrated in the Santa Marta residence. [I would put it a little differently.  Confession is judgment but it is also an exercise in mercy.   In the tribunal of confession we are our own prosecutors.]

Basing his reflections on an extract from St Paul’s letter to the Hebrews, the Pope said our God forgives all our sins, always and without exception and He rejoices when somebody asks him for pardon.  [That’s a key: we must ask.] This God who pardons us, he continued, choose Jesus to set up a new pact with humanity and the cornerstone of this pact is forgiveness for our sins.

“First of all, God always forgives us.  He never tires of this.  It’s we who get tired of asking for forgiveness.  But HE does not tire of pardoning us.   When Peter asked Jesus: ‘How many times must I forgive? Seven times?’ – ‘Not seven times: seventy times by seven.’ Namely always.  That’s how God forgives us: always.  But if you have lived a life full of so many sins, so many bad things, but in the end, a bit repentant, you ask for forgiveness, He will immediately pardon you!  He always pardons us.”

Pope Francis said a doubt can arrive in a person’s heart over how far God is prepared to forgive us. But, he stressed, all you have to do is repent and ask for forgiveness and you don’t have to pay because Christ has already paid on our behalf. [Keep in mind that Christ established the sacrament of penance as the ordinary means by which God desires us to obtain forgiveness for our sins.]

There is no sin which He won’t pardon. [We little finite mortals cannot commit a sin that is so bad that our infinite and all-powerful God cannot forgive.] He forgives everything.  [Provided we ask.] ‘But father, I don’t go to confession because I have committed so many really bad sins, so many that I can’t be pardoned.’  No, this is not true.  He forgives everything.  If you go (to confession) repentant, He will forgive everything. [And all the sins you have forgotten are forgiven as well, provided you make your confession sincerely and completely as you are able at the time.]  When… so many times He doesn’t even let you speak! You start to ask for forgiveness and He lets you feel that joy of forgiveness before you have even finished confessing everything.”

The Pope went on to describe how God rejoices when somebody asks for forgiveness and at the same time He “forgets” or wipes out from his memory our sins.  [An important point! But note that Francis used ” “. God cannot forget.  That said, once we have confessed our sins and obtained absolution, it is as if they never were on our soul.  They are gone, eradicated, taken away, washed clean in the Blood of the Lamb.  They are not merely “ignored” by God, or “covered over”.  That is an error non-Catholics make.  On the contrary, they are so thoroughly forgiven that they are, quite simply, no more.  We remember them, but the sins will not be “remembered” against us at our judgment.] The reason for this, he explained, is because what matters for God is for us to meet with him. Confession is not a judgment but a meeting with God. [Well… it’s also a judgment, but one in which mercy is exercised.]

“Confessions often seem like a procedure, a formality.   Everything is mechanical!  No!  Where’s the meeting in this? [Well… the process, the formality can free a penitent and help her get past the jitters.  Also, there is nothing wrong with formality in a moment which is so profound as submitting oneself to God for, yes, judgment and mercy.  But the Pope is surely meaning to be encouraging.] The meeting with the Lord who pardons you, hugs you and rejoices.  [Maybe the Lord hugs you, but don’t expect me to, not in the confessional.] And this is our God who is so good.  We too need to teach (others): teach our children, our youngsters to make a good confession, because going to confession is not like going to the dry cleaners to get a stain removed.  No!  It’s about going to meet with our Father who pardons us, who forgives us and who rejoices.”


16 votes, 4.75 avg. rating (94% score)
Posted in "How To..." - Practical Notes, GO TO CONFESSION, Liturgy Science Theatre 3000, Pope Francis | Tagged , , , | 18 Comments

Petition for a Catholic Requiem for King Richard III

richardiii_this-800x500From the UK’s best Catholic weekly, the Catholic Herald:

Thousands sign petition calling for Richard III to have a Catholic burial

Three thousand people have signed a petition calling for Richard III to be given a Catholic burial.

The petition, addressed to Cardinal Vincent Nichols, the Archbishop of Westminster, is being organised by the historians whose efforts led to the king’s remains being found under a car park in Leicester.

Under present plans Richard III, who died in the Battle of Bosworth in 1485, before the Reformation, will be buried at the Anglican [That seems wrong to be.] cathedral in Leicester on March 26.

But Philippa Langley, leader of the Looking for Richard project, said the burial should take into account Richard III’s Catholic faith.

She said: “It seems this former king and head of state is to be treated as a scientific specimen right up to and including the point at which he is laid in his coffin.”

Dr John Ashdown-Hill, a historian who worked to identify the bones, has also called for a Catholic burial, saying: “There is a lot of evidence that Richard III had a very serious personal faith. If Richard III had not have died, maybe the Anglican church would never have existed.” [There’s an interesting point.  Richard was defeated by the Henry Tudor who became Henry VII, father of the monstrous Henry VIII.]

However, a joint statement by Leicester Cathedral and the Catholic Diocese of Nottingham said these concerns were “fundamentally misplaced”. [?!?]

The statement said: “There is no requirement in the Catholic tradition for prayers to be said at the coffining of human remains, including those of a monarch. The arrangements agreed between the university and the cathedral have the full support of the Catholic Church.”

Ecumenical services will surround the event, with Cardinal Nichols preaching a service of compline on the day the king’s remains are received into the cathedral.

The cardinal will also celebrate a Requiem Mass the next day at a nearby Catholic parish.

8 votes, 4.62 avg. rating (91% score)
Posted in The Drill | Tagged | 18 Comments

WASH DC – DAY 2: Tickle the Lord Edition

I am at the National Gallery for Women in the Arts for an exhibit of images of Mary.

UPDATE: I read that on 2 March the group Anonymous 4 is to give a concert at the NGWA.  Wow!

I must admit that my initial reaction to the name of the place made brought to my minds eye all manner of horrors. But the gallery seems fairly tame and reasonable. It is a fine building.

The exhibit is splendid. If you are near DC or can plan a trip before it closes, you don’t want to miss it.

I couldn’t take photos but some images are online.

You all know Caravaggio’s lush Rest on the Flight into Egypt so I won’t bother you with that.

Among my favorites were a wonderful marble by Tino da Camaino (+1337). Madonna and Child. The little Lord seems to be attempting an escape but his hand is raised in blessing. I suspect there may have been other figures.


And there is a wonderful Andrea Pisano marble in which Mary is ticking her Son.


And there is Tiepolo and the Madonna of the Goldfinch. You know what kind of Goldfinch, don’t you!


There are quite a few paintings by women of whom I was entirely ignorant, though Artemesia is well known.

I’m having a bite at the mezzanine cafe and the off to the big Gallery for some El Greco before I meet friends for supper at the Army Navy Club.



8 votes, 4.38 avg. rating (87% score)
Posted in On the road, What Fr. Z is up to | Tagged , , | 23 Comments

ASK FATHER: Simple Exposition

From a reader…


My parish is looking into daily Eucharistic exposition. Our tabernacle is located in a small chapel away from the altar of sacrifice and the current plan is to have exposition take place in the monstrance located inside of the tabernacle with the door open. The ciborium will also remain in this tabernacle. Is it permissible for both exposition and reservation to take place in the same tabernacle?

Thank you for your wonderful blog, I read it every day with a cup of Mystic Monk!

Exposition of the Blessed Sacrament by opening the tabernacle doors was a relatively common form of “simple exposition” prior to the Second Vatican Council. It was more common in some women’s religious communities where the Superior was sometimes given permission to open the tabernacle for adoration, but not to place the Blessed Sacrament in a monstrance.

I’m not aware of this being done in any parish setting, but there may be anecdotes.

The current rubrics on Exposition of the Blessed Sacrament presume that the Eucharist (either in a monstrance, or simply a ciborium) will be placed on an altar. If a priest or deacon is not present, an acolyte or, in exceptional circumstances, another layperson specifically designated for this task, may expose the Blessed Sacrament (if not done by a priest or a deacon, there should be no incensation of the Blessed Sacrament at the time of exposition). The rubrics do not speak of exposition by simple opening of the tabernacle doors. Yet, they similarly do not forbid it. This could be an acceptable practice – though exposition on the altar is preferable.

12 votes, 4.08 avg. rating (81% score)
Posted in "How To..." - Practical Notes, ASK FATHER Question Box, Liturgy Science Theatre 3000 | Tagged , | 16 Comments