Dumb down liturgy. Great idea, right?

I seriously object to the dopey notion that liturgy has to made “understandable”. First, liturgical worship involves mysteries, such as that one about Christ turning the substances of bread and wine into His Body and Blood. How is that easy?  Indeed, Mass ought to be hard!

But no… let’s dumb everything down.  How insulting to congregations that attitude is.

A long-time reader and benefactor of this blog (thanks!) sent me this quote about the changes (Bugnini) made to Holy Week from Evelyn Waugh: A Biography by Christopher Sykes (US HERE – UK HERE) with added emphases:

“(in the mid-1950s) ….the new service retained much of the beauty of the old, and the overwhelmingly impressive Maundy Thursday Mass, the ‘Altar of Repose’, the night offices of Tenebrae, and the liturgical masterpiece, the Good Friday ‘Mass of the Presanctified’, remained intact. Not for long. The belief grew that the celebration of Holy Week would be more valuable, would compel a greater corporate sense in the Church, if it was expressed in ceremonies which did not involve a keen appreciation of symbolism, if they were more easily understood by ordinary people and invited more ‘mass participation’ in the form of community singing; if they appealed less to the sense of awe, they avoided the accusation of meretricious aestheticism, above all of excessive indulgence of the sense of the past. Nowhere did the notion of a ‘Century of the Common Man’ exert more fascination than on Roman Catholic clergy. The entire edifice of the Holy Week Liturgy was swept away as being over-elaborate, and it was substituted by services of a more everyday kind. This was the beginning of a movement which was to reduce all Roman Catholic ceremonial to commonplace and to abolish the traditional order of the Mass in favour of a prayer-meeting in which only essential vestiges of the traditional celebration were retained.

Please share!
Posted in Hard-Identity Catholicism, Liturgy Science Theatre 3000, SUMMORUM PONTIFICUM | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

Even more comes about The Letter™: additional missing text

There is an Italian saying that the Devil makes great saucepans, but doesn’t provide lids for them.  Eventually, people will see what’s cooking: the truth will come out.

Just when you may have thought we had gotten to the bottom of The Letter™, or Lettergate, as Ed Pentin called it, more floats by, like a body face down in a slow moving river.

I have several updates about Lettergate – HERE – but this deserves a separate post.  It seems to me that this whole mess needs to be understood and remembered.  Hence, posts.

First it was revealed that the head of the Vatican’s office for communications (not the Holy See Press Office  – a separate but now subordinated entity) doctored a photo of alleged letter of Benedict XVI about a series of booklets about the theology of Pope Francis in order to avoid the embarrassing revelation that Benedict neither read them nor intended to read them.

I said “alleged” letter.  Now we learn that there was even more in Benedict’s original letter that was redacted out of the version that was read to the press during the presentation of the booklet series.  And again Sandro Magister has the story.  HERE


Between the paragraph omitted in the press release and the valediction there were, in fact, other lines.

And this much could be guessed just by observing the photo of the letter (see above).

In fact, between the first two lines that were made illegible in the photo, at the bottom of the first page of the letter, and the valediction and signature of Benedict XVI on the second half of the second page, there is a space too big to be occupied only by the last part of the paragraph omitted in the press release.

And what else was written there, that Viganò was careful not to read in public and took such pains to cover up in the photo with the eleven booklets on the theology of Pope Francis?

[NB] There was the explanation of the reason why Benedict XVI had not read those eleven booklets nor intended to read them in the future, and therefore why he had declined to write “a brief and dense theological page” of presentation and appreciation for the same, as Viganò had requested of him.

The reason adopted by Benedict XVI in the final lines of his letter – we are told by an incontrovertible source – is the presence among the authors of those eleven booklets of the German theologian Peter Hünermann, who was an implacable critic both of John Paul II and of Joseph Ratzinger himself as theologian and as pope.

About Hünermann, a professor at the university of Tubingen, it may be recalled that he is the author of, among other things, a commentary on Vatican Council II that is the polar opposite of the Ratzingerian interpretation.

It is therefore clear that, given what Benedict XVI writes in the second half of his letter, the first half also takes on a new significance, entirely different from the one that Viganò wanted to attribute to it in his mangled and biased press release.


Here’s the English rendering of what Benedict wrote in the last part of The Letter™:


[…] all the more so in that I am under other obligations to which I have already agreed. [That’s where it seemed to end, before this new part came out.]

Just as a side note, I would like to mention my surprise at the fact that the authors also include Professor Hünermann, who during my pontificate put himself in the spotlight by heading anti-papal initiatives. He participated to a significant extent in the promulgation of the “Kölner Erklärung,” which, in relation to the encyclical “Veritatis Splendor,” attacked in a virulent manner the magisterial authority of the pope especially on questions of moral theology. The Europäische Theologengesellschaft, which he founded, also was initially designed by him as an organization in opposition to the papal magisterium. Afterward, the ecclesial sentiment of many theologians blocked this tendency, making that organization a normal instrument of encounter among theologians.

I am certain that you will have understanding for my declination, and I cordially greet you.


Benedict XVI

This certainly sheds more light on why Benedict declined the honor of writing a preface to the series.

It’s like:

“Thanks for insulting me by asking me to praise this series, when it is in part penned by someone who stood diametrically opposed to the Magisterium… at lease my Magisterium and that of John Paul before me.  I can’t square this circle now and I have better things to do in the future. Thanks but no thanks.  Have a nice day.”

This monumental goat rodeo just gets worse and worse.

Doesn’t this remind you of the seemingly inevitable truth that while a crime is bad, it’s the cover up that really brings you down.

Please share!
Posted in SESSIUNCULA | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

FSSP North America Blog

Okay… I’ll give this a boost. From my email…

I am the editor of the Missive (https://fssp.com/the-missive),
the official blog of the North American District of the FSSP. We are
trying to expand our readership, and I was wondering if I may request
a mention for the Missive on your blog. Thank you!

Please share!
Posted in "How To..." - Practical Notes, Mail from priests, Si vis pacem para bellum!, SUMMORUM PONTIFICUM, The Campus Telephone Pole | Tagged | Leave a comment

WDTPRS 5th Sunday of Lent: Undergoing liturgical death

Traditionally this upcoming Sunday is called First Passion Sunday or First Sunday of the Passion.  “Passiontide” begins.

It is also known as Iudica Sunday, from the first word of the Introit of Mass (from Ps 42/41), and sometimes Repus (from repositus analogous to absconditus, “hidden”) because crosses and other images in churches are to be veiled.  From today, in the Extraordinary Form the “Iudica” psalm is no longer said during the prayers at the foot of the altar and the Gloria Patri at the end of certain prayers is not said.

From today, traditionally we cover or veil images in our churches.

Veils are important.  Our liturgical worship unveils mysteries.  Things cannot be unveiled if they were not previously veiled.   That might seem obvious, but it really isn’t, which is proven in many places by a crass liturgical style and the mania of lowering everything to the lowest common denominator and then shoving it down people’s throats.

This pruning of our liturgy during Lent by the hiding of images in Passiontide symbolizes how Holy Church is undergoing liturgical death.  In Passiontide, our liturgical dying speeds up.

Today’s Collect, new to the Novus Ordo Missale Romanum, comes originally from the Mozarabic Rite.tin

Quaesumus, Domine Deus noster, ut in illa caritate, qua Filius tuus diligens mundum morti se tradidit, inveniamur ipsi, te opitulante, alacriter ambulantes.

Opitulor, a deponent verb, means, “to bring aid; to help, aid, assist, succor.”


O Lord our God, we beg that,  You assisting us, we ourselves may be found walking swiftly in that selfsame sacrificial love by which Your Son, loving the world, handed Himself over to death.

In some respects our Lenten Collects are similar to those of Advent.  There are images of motion, of pilgrimage.  We are moving toward a great feast of the Church but we are more importantly moving definitely toward the mysteries they make present to us.

Taking a page from St. Augustine of Hippo (+430), we the baptized who are the Body of the Mystical Person of Christ, the Church, are on a journey with the Lord, the Head of the Church, toward Jerusalem: the Jerusalem of our own passion and the new Jerusalem of our Resurrection.  Christ made this journey so that we could make it and be saved in it.


Father, help us to be like Christ your Son, who loved the world and died for our salvation. Inspire us by his example, who lives and reigns….

In the bad old days, ICEL regularly reduced phrases like Domine Deus noster to the stark “Father”. The translators apparently thought we were too dense to figure out which prayers were addressed to the First Person of the Trinity.

The obsolete ICEL versions also relied heavily on the catch-all word “help”, as in the quintessential parody of an obsolete ICEL prayer:

“Father, you are nice.  Help us to be nice like you.”

I used the word “assisting” in my literal version (above), though I could have accurately used “helping”.  We should make distinctions about how ICEL used “help” it in the old versions.

God “helps” us.  No question. What we must avoid (and the obsolete ICEL prayers did NOT), is the suggestion that we can do what we are praying for on our own, but, it could be helpful if God would give us a hand now and then.  That attitude is redolent of the ancient heresy Pelagianism.

Pelagianism, fended off in the 4th and 5th centuries especially by St Augustine, is the false notion that Original Sin did not wound human nature and that our will is still capable of choosing good and salvation without the help of God’s grace. Thus, our first parents “set a bad example” for humanity to follow. Adam’s sin did not have the other consequences imputed to Original Sin (wounding of the intellect and will, appetites, etc.). For Pelagians, Jesus sets the good example which counteracts Adam’s bad example. We can, on our own, choose to live by the help of Jesus’ perfect example.  For Pelagians, we humans retain full control and responsibility for our own salvation.

Now read the obsolete ICEL version again.

Keep this in mind if you meet someone who is still stirring discontent about the new, corrected translation.  The new translation, while not stylistically perfect, is theologically less dodgy than the obsolete translation.  The Latin original is even better.


By your help, we beseech you, Lord our God, may we walk eagerly in that same charity with which, out of love for the world, your Son handed himself over to death.

“Help” here is acceptable because we go on to pray about being “in” Christ’s charity, sacrificial love.

In our liturgical worship the one, whole Mystical Christ is on a Lenten journey.  Each year during Lent, Christ, in us, travels that road of the Passion and we, in Him, travel the road marked out by Holy Mother Church and her duly ordained shepherds.  We must unite ourselves in heart, mind and will with the mysteries expressed in the liturgy.

And it came to pass, when the days of his assumption were accomplishing, that he steadfastly set his face to go to Jerusalem. (Luke 9:51)

Our passion, our road to Jerusalem, is also found in our examination of conscience and good confessions, our self-denial and works of mercy.

Our Lenten discipline continues for another fortnight.  Make your well-prepared and thorough sacramental confession.

Please share!
Posted in LENT, Liturgy Science Theatre 3000, WDTPRS | Tagged | Leave a comment

“Christ with me, Christ before me, Christ behind me,…” The Lorica of St Patrick

During these dark days, we can benefit from the use of this prayer, called the Breastplate, or Loríca of St. Patrick, “The Cry of the Deer” (Latin Lorica is pronounced lo-REE-ka).  It is said that St. Patrick (+461) sang this when an ambush was set for him so that he could not go to Tara to evangelize.  Patrick and companions were then hidden from the sight of their enemies, who thought that they were deer when they passed by.  However, some scholars date the prayer to the 8th c.  Either way, this is a mickle, puissant prayer!

The Latin word loríca means “a leather cuirass; a defense of any kind; a breastwork, parapet”.  In effect, it means “armor”.   “Loríca” is also associated with an rhythmic invocation or prayer especially for protection as when going into battle.

The Lorica of St. Patrick is rooted in an un-confused belief in the supernatural dimension of our lives, that there truly is a spiritual battle being waged for our souls.  This prayer reflects our absolute dependence on the One Three-Personed God.

One could pray this prayer each and every morning, upon arising.

On St. Patrick’s Day, instead of indulging in meat on a Friday of Lent (pace bishops, etc.) and drinking green beer, pastors of parishes should invite people to come to Church for confessions, recitation of the Rosary, Mass, Exposition, the praying of the Lorica, Benediction.  Think about it.  Suggest it to your priests.

Latin English
Sancti Patricii Hymnus ad Temoriam. The Lorica, Breastplate, of St. Patrick (The Cry of the Deer)


Ad Temoriam hodie potentiam praepollentem invoco Trinitatis,
Credo in Trinitatem sub unitate numinis elementorum.
I arise today
Through a mighty strength, the invocation of the Trinity,
Through belief in the Threeness,
Through confession of the Oneness
of the Creator of creation.
Apud Temoriam hodie virtutem nativitatis Christi cum ea ejus baptismi,
Virtutem crucifixionis cum ea ejus sepulturae,
Virtutem resurrectionis cum ea ascensionis,
Virtutem adventus ad judicium aeternum.
I arise today
Through the strength of Christ’s birth with His baptism,
Through the strength of His crucifixion with His burial,
Through the strength of His resurrection with His ascension,
Through the strength of His descent for the judgment of doom.
Apud Temoriam hodie virtutem amoris Seraphim in obsequio angelorum,
In spe resurrectionis ad adipiscendum praemium.
In orationibus nobilium Patrum,
In praedictionibus prophetarum,
In praedicationibus apostolorum,
In fide confessorum,
In castitate sanctarum virginum,
In actis justorum virorum.
I arise today
Through the strength of the love of cherubim,
In the obedience of angels,
In the service of archangels,
In the hope of resurrection to meet with reward,
In the prayers of patriarchs,
In the predictions of prophets,
In the preaching of apostles,
In the faith of confessors,
In the innocence of holy virgins,
In the deeds of righteous men.
Apud Temoriam hodie potentiam coeli,
Lucem solis,
Candorem nivis,
Vim ignis,
Rapiditatem fulguris,
Velocitatem venti,
Profunditatem maris,
Stabilitatem terrae,
Duritiam petrarum.
I arise today, through
The strength of heaven,
The light of the sun,
The radiance of the moon,
The splendor of fire,
The speed of lightning,
The swiftness of wind,
The depth of the sea,
The stability of the earth,
The firmness of rock.
Ad Temoriam hodie potentia Dei me dirigat,
Potestas Dei me conservet,
Sapientia Dei me edoceat,
Oculus Dei mihi provideat,
Auris Dei me exaudiat,
Verbum Dei me disertum faciat,
Manus Dei me protegat,
Via Dei mihi patefiat,
Scutum Dei me protegat,
Exercitus Dei me defendat,
Contra insidias daemonum,
Contra illecebras vitiorum,
Contra inclinationes animi,
Contra omnem hominem qui meditetur injuriam mihi,
Procul et prope,
Cum paucis et cum multis.
I arise today, through
God’s strength to pilot me,
God’s might to uphold me,
God’s wisdom to guide me,
God’s eye to look before me,
God’s ear to hear me,
God’s word to speak for me,
God’s hand to guard me,
God’s shield to protect me,
God’s host to save me
From snares of devils,
From temptation of vices,
From everyone who shall wish me ill,
afar and near.
Posui circa me sane omnes potentias has
Contra omnem potentiam hostilem saevam
Excogitatam meo corpori et meae animae;
Contra incantamenta pseudo-vatum,
Contra nigras leges gentilitatis,
Contra pseudo-leges haereseos,
Contra dolum idololatriae,
Contra incantamenta mulierum,
Et fabrorum ferrariorum et druidum,
Contra omnem scientiam quae occaecat animum hominis.
I summon today
All these powers between me and those evils,
Against every cruel and merciless power
that may oppose my body and soul,
Against incantations of false prophets,
Against black laws of pagandom,
Against false laws of heretics,
Against craft of idolatry,
Against spells of witches and smiths and wizards,
Against every knowledge that corrupts man’s body and soul;
Christus me protegat hodie
Contra venenum,
Contra combustionem,
Contra demersionem,
Contra vulnera,
Donec meritus essem multum praemii.
Christ to shield me today
Against poison,
against burning,
Against drowning,
against wounding,
So that there may come to me an abundance of reward.
Christus mecum,
Christus ante me,
Christus me pone,
Christus in me,
Christus infra me,
Christus supra me,
Christus ad dextram meam,
Christus ad laevam meam,
Christus hine,
Christus illine,
Christus a tergo.
Christ with me,
Christ before me,
Christ behind me,
Christ in me,
Christ beneath me,
Christ above me,
Christ on my right,
Christ on my left,
Christ when I lie down,
Christ when I sit down,
Christ when I arise,
Christus in corde omnis hominis quem alloquar,
Christus in ore cujusvis qui me alloquatur,
Christus in omni oculo qui me videat,
Christus in omni aure quae me audiat.
Christ in the heart of every man who thinks of me,
Christ in the mouth of everyone who speaks of me,
Christ in every eye that sees me,
Christ in every ear that hears me.
Ad Temoriam hodie potentiam praepollentem invoco Trinitatis. I arise today
Through a mighty strength, the invocation of the Trinity,
Credo in Trinitatem sub Unitate numinis elementorum.
Domini est salus,
Domini est salus,
Christi est salus,
Salus tua, Domine, sit semper nobiscum.
Through belief in the Threeness,
Through confession of the Oneness
of the Creator of creation.
[Salvation is from the Lord,
Salvation is from the Lord,
Salvation is from Christ,
Your Salvation, O Lord, is with us always.]
Amen. Amen.


Please share!
Posted in "How To..." - Practical Notes, PRAYER REQUEST, Semper Paratus, The Coming Storm | Tagged , | 6 Comments

LENTCAzT 2018 32 – Saturday in the 4th Week of Lent: ungenerous, unscrupulous

Today is Saturday in the 4th Week of Lent.   The Roman Station is San Nichola in Carcere. 

In gratitude especially to benefactors who help me and this blog, during Lent I’m once again offering 5 minute daily podcasts to encourage you in your own use of this holy season.

Today Ven. Louis of Granada schools us about venial sins.

We also hear  some of the delightful Motecta Trium Vocum.




If these podcasts are useful to you and yours, perhaps you might consider making a donation.

Please share!
Posted in LENTCAzT, Liturgy Science Theatre 3000, PODCAzT | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

UPDATES – More of and about The Letter™ of Benedict XVI on the booklets

Because I have about 60 emails having to do with this, and since I’ve already made a few comments about this odd story elsewhere, here is a follow up, for the sake of completeness.

Sandro Magister posted the full text of The Letter™ from Benedict XVI’s about some volumes published on Pope Francis theology. At first we had just some blurbs from the letter, which caused a not a few people to scratch their heads in puzzled wonder.


Last January, the Secretariat for Communications under Msgr Dario Edoardo Viganò, sent Benedict XVI 11 booklet series with offerings of various authors concerning “The theology of Pope Francis,” published by  Libreria Editrice Vaticana.  On 7 February Benedict wrote to Viganò about receiving the booklets.  On 12 March Viganò read the letter during the presentation of the series to the press, just before the 5th anniversary of the election of Francis.  Only portions of the letter were distributed to newsies.  The press took the two things as being connected and as a comment of Benedict on the pontificate.  It seems fairly certain that it was Viganò’s intention that Benedict’s letter should be taken as a ratification of the pontificate.  The “doctoring” of the photo of the letter seems to confirm that.

Whereas only bits of the letter were known before, but now the text is out.  Magister transcribed it from the video of the conference he also attended in person.

Benedictus XVI
Papa Emeritus

Rev.mo Signore
Mons. Dario Edoardo Viganò
Prefetto della
Segreteria per la Comunicazione

Città del Vaticano
7 febbraio 2018

Reverendissimo Monsignore,

La ringrazio per la sua cortese lettera del 12 gennaio e per l’allegato dono degli undici piccoli volumi curati da Roberto Repole.

Plaudo a questa iniziativa che vuole opporsi e reagire allo stolto pregiudizio per cui Papa Francesco sarebbe solo un uomo pratico privo di particolare formazione teologica o filosofica, mentre io sarei stato unicamente un teorico della teologia che poco avrebbe capito della vita concreta di un cristiano oggi.

I piccoli volumi mostrano, a ragione, che Papa Francesco è un uomo di profonda formazione filosofica e teologica e aiutano perciò a vedere la continuità interiore tra i due pontificati, pur con tutte le differenze di stile e di temperamento.

Tuttavia non mi sento di scrivere su di essi una breve e densa pagina teologica perché in tutta la mia vita è sempre stato chiaro che avrei scritto e mi sarei espresso soltanto su libri che avevo anche veramente letto. Purtroppo, anche solo per ragioni fisiche, non sono in grado di leggere gli undici volumetti nel prossimo futuro, tanto più che mi attendono altri impegni che ho già assunti.

Sono certo che avrà comprensione e la saluto cordialmente.


Benedetto XVI

And now… with some emphases:

Benedictus XVI
Papa Emeritus

Rev.mo Signore
Mons. Dario Edoardo Viganò
Prefetto della
Segreteria per la Comunicazione

Città del Vaticano
7 febbraio 2018

Reverendissimo Monsignore,

I thank you for your courteous letter of January 12 and for the attached gift of the eleven small volumes edited by Roberto Repole.

I applaud this initiative which is intended to oppose and react to the foolish prejudice according to which Pope Francis would be only a practical man devoid of particular theological or philosophical formation, while I would be solely a theoretician of theology who could understand little of the concrete life of a Christian today. [Odd, for Ratzinger.  By this phrase, indeed this paragraph, I must conclude that Benedict never expected this to see the light of day, much less to be weaponized.]

The little volumes demonstrate, rightly so, that Pope Francis is a man of profound philosophical and theological formation, and they therefore help in seeing the interior continuity between the two pontificates, albeit with all the differences of style and temperament.

Nonetheless, I do not feel that I can write a brief and dense theological page about them because for my whole life [!] it has always been clear that I would write and express myself only on books that I had also truly read. [!] Unfortunately, even if only for physical reasons, I am not able to read the eleven little volumes in the near future, all the more so in that I am under other obligations to which I have already agreed. [I’d love to know what they are.  Could it be something else he has committed himself to write?  Could it be his early commitment not to make certain comments?]

I am sure that you will understand, and I extend to you my cordial greeting.


Benedict XVI

It could be that the letter which was sent to Benedict with the volumes – which clearly was trying to get out of him that much-desired “brief and dense theological page” itself was the source of the dichotomy that Benedict rejects: “You know, Holiness, that there are people out there who say X about Francis and Y about you.  Why don’t you write something that refutes that claim?”

Ratzinger didn’t take the bait.

So, Benedict ends up saying: I haven’t read them and I am not going to read them.  But thanks for sending them.  Pontificates are different and yet the same.  I don’t have much more for you than that.

Moreover, as I mentioned elsewhere, I find it entirely out of keeping with Ratzinger’s style to make such a blatantly self-referential defense.  If there is anything that anyone will notice in the writings of Benedict is his theme of self-referentiality.  As I wrote elsewhere, some enterprising student of theology could write a thesis on the subject.  I suspect that, given that he said that he wasn’t planning on reading them, his letter would not be weaponized… as it was by leaving out that paragraph when giving printed material to the press.


Meanwhile, La Nuova Bussola has something.  Inter alia, we read…

In effetti in tanti hanno notato la singolarità del messaggio sia per lo stile – così diverso da altri interventi del Papa emerito – sia per i contenuti, anche se dalla portata molto meno sconvolgente di quanto si sia fatto credere.

Yes, I am one of them who noticed that.

Meanwhile, more from Pentin HERE:

The Associated Press reported Wednesday that the Vatican admitted it had “altered a photo sent to the media of a letter from retired Pope Benedict XVI about Pope Francis.” It added that the “manipulation changed the meaning of the image in a way that violated photojournalist industry standards.”

The report said that the Vatican admitted to blurring “the two final lines of the first page” where Benedict explains that he “didn’t actually read the books in question” and “cannot contribute a theological assessment of Francis” as he had other commitments.

The AP added: “The Vatican didn’t explain why it blurred the lines other than to say it never intended for the full letter to be released. In fact, the entire second page of the letter is covered in the photo by a stack of books, with just Benedict’s tiny signature showing, to prove its authenticity.”

AP’s report continued that the missing content “significantly altered the meaning of the quotes the Vatican chose to highlight, which were widely picked up by the media.” [NB] The suggestion given was that Benedict “had read the volume, agreed with it and given it his full endorsement and assessment,” it said.

The news agency said the doctoring was “significant” because news media “rely on Vatican photographers for images of the Pope at events that are closed to independent media.”

The AP made the point that as with most independent news media, it follows “strict standards that forbid digital manipulation of photos” and that “no element should be digitally added to or subtracted from any photograph.”

This episode is particularly embarrassing for the Vatican, coming barely a month since it issued Pope Francis’ message for this year’s World of Social Communications in which the Holy Father called for a “journalism of peace” in an era of “fake news.”


National Review Online:

Faith, Sorely Tested: Today’s Edition

Despair is a sin — Bill Buckley said that frequently, and he was right to do so. It’s practical: One needs to keep repeating that so as not to lose faith. We shall prevail against the Gates of Hell — This is another mantra which many traditional/conservative Catholics say to keep the faith. Given the troubling machinations and trends of Holy Mother Church’s leaders and of Vatican bureaucrats, I find myself saying or thinking this daily.

Today’s reason for almost-despair is an Associated Press story: Vatican doctors photo of Benedict’s praise for Francis. Read it. Turning [weaponizing] the retired pope into a prop for the current pope’s theological play-acting is deeply embarrassing, but of no surprise for an ancient institution whose timid bureaucrats and diplomats (timid, except when it comes to hating America) are eagerly handing the faithful in China over to the Commie regime, whose ultimate leader, Pope Francis, has heaped scorn on abuse victims, and whose leftist cardinals are trying to rewrite dogma on sex, marriage, and sin.

We shall prevail against . . .

UPDATE 16 March:

Meanwhile, at Reuters there is a blurb, but with something rather curious that is fully in keeping with this developing “goat rodeo”.   Reuters writes about the kerfuffle, calling it Lettergate in their title  They quote something from Ed Pentin (clearly the best working Anglophone Vaticanista in Rome right now):

In an email to Reuters, he dubbed the whole episode the Vatican’s “Lettergate”.

And at the bottom of the piece Reuters add… here’s a screen shot.

“Dropped the word ‘angry’ in paragraph 10”!

So… where was that word originally?

It just gets better.



Even ultra-lib and card-carrying member of the New catholic Red Guards, the virtually always wrong Robert Mickens has a blistering piece at mostly wacky La Croix International about the handling of The Letter™ and about, especially, the head of the Vatican’s “reformed” (HAH!) Secretariat for Communications Msgr. Dario Viganò.

Here in one piece do we verify not one but two apothegemata, namely, the one about broken clocks and the other about enemies of enemies.

First, Mickens gives fulsome praise to L’Osservatore Romano for resisting Viganò and his “wrecking ball tactics, and his failure to provide precise details on what the final configuration of this new multi-media conglomerate is supposed to look like”.  Micken’s describes also the dismantling of Vatican Radio (for which, if memory serves he worked for while, in the English section).  Frankly, I think the dismantling of the short wave radio effort was deeply stupid.  Only lack of imagination and competence prevented all of Vatican Radio from being resorted and revitalized.  And let’s not even bring in the lack of basic social justice issues, such as just and ethical pay and treatment of employees.

Mickens raises questions about Viganò, including the pretty basic: How the heck did he get this job in the first place?  Quote:

It is still a mystery to almost everyone how the prefect got his current position. No one seems able to positively identify the people with influence (most likely in the Italian hierarchy) that helped him get a Vatican job in the first place.


But how and why he eventually got his current high-profile job is still unclear. At the time, many believed that the leading and more qualified candidate was Msgr. Tighe.

I say: If they need someone, I’m available.  I might even give Mickens a job, back at Vatican Radio!

Anyway, a lot of his article concerns The Letter™ and its surrounding Goat Rodeo and how it all revolves about Msgr. Viganò.  It’s brutal.

Ultra-liberal La Croix International is behind a paywall, but they let you read a few free articles.


Please share!
Posted in SESSIUNCULA | Tagged , | 15 Comments

Fr. Stravinskas breaks it down to the essential

At Catholic World Report, we find an address Fr. Peter Stravinskas recently gave to a chapter of Legatus about liturgical issues.   He breaks down, Barney style, some super important issues which, today, are controversial. Inter alia he:

  • strongly endorses Robert Card. Sarah and his invitation to priests to celebrate Mass ad orientem
  • he explains the utility of Latin in a highly mobile age
  • examines distribution of Communion by lay people
  • looks at Communion in the hand – quite a bit of space, to this! – and advocates Communion on the tongue while kneeling

He has an amusing rejoinder to those who say that we are just trying to “turn the clock back”.

These issues are controversial today.  They shouldn’t be.  But they are.

They are controversial and they should be.   We must talk about them.  In fact, we have to have the fight about them, that’s how important they are.

Why?  Because our sacred liturgical worship is our collective ecclesial unum necessarium.

I have long advocated a widespread increase in the use of the traditional Roman Rite from the conviction that it will, as Pope Benedict intended, exert a strong “gravitational pull” (my image) on the way the Novus Ordo is celebrated.   As priests learn the older form, their ars celebrandi changes.  In turn, that will have a knock on effect on congregations and, thereafter, the whole life of the Church in every sphere.

Why?  Because WE ARE OUR RITES!

As I have been pounding away at for years, decades as a matter of fact, if by the virtue of justice we are bound to give to human persons what is owed to them, then also by the virtue of religion we are bound to give to the Divine Persons what is owed to them, chief of which is worship.   

In our relationships and in our actions there is a hierarchy.  What goes to God must be first and foremost.

If we don’t have worship of Almighty God squared away, then nothing else that devolves in our hierarchies of relations and actions will be properly ordered and effective.

This is why I am constantly harping on the fact that no initiative we undertake in the Church will be effective unless it begins in worship pleasing to God and returns to worship.

God helps us to get all of this straight by giving us a Church with His own authority to teach us and to tell us how to worship in sacred liturgy. The Church’s sacred liturgical worship is pleasing to God when we are faithful to it and we give our very best to it.

Hence, my perpetual lament – echoed just the other day – that priests and bishops (especially bishops!) get up in front of people and make speeches about this or that issue but they almost never bring liturgical worship of God into the picture.   When they occasionally do, I get pretty worked up (for example HERE).

It is as if most bishops see themselves as senators or aldermen rather than as priests.

Again, all our initiatives are doomed to failure if they are not rooted – first – in sacred liturgical worship.

Remember that whole thing about the Eucharist (Itself and Its celebration which is Mass) being the “source and summit” of our Christian lives?

Again, we are our rites.  Change them and you change our identity and, hence, our impact in the world around us (as in “Save The Liturgy, Save The World“)… not to mention our path to salvation.

Hey bishops and priests!  Wanna promote social action with real fruits?  Then revitalize worship!  Clean up the abuses!  Say the Black and do the Red (after all, each gesture and worship in our liturgical rites is Jesus Christ the High Priest gesturing and speaking)!  Get down on your knees before God!

Stravinskas hit for six on this point in the opening section of his talk, where he wrote/said:

I told an archbishop-friend of mine that I was going to address business people about liturgical concerns. He was slightly bemused [sigh] and said, “With all the problems in the Church and the world, you’re going to talk about liturgy?” He went on: “Of all the clergy I know, you and Cardinal Sarah are at the top of my list, but I don’t get the stress on liturgy.” I replied: “The principal reason for the existence of the Church is to offer fitting praise and worship to Almighty God. There is nothing more important. [Do I hear an “Amen!”?] If we can’t get that right, we can’t get anything else right, either.[My exact perennial and incessant point.] Indeed, every other good thing we may want to accomplish flows from our life of worship.” He seemed to “get it,” although I am not sure if it will stick with him long-term. I hope I can have a more lasting effect on you.

I’ve disagreed with Fr. Stravinskas on a few practical issues now and then, but there is absolutely not the hint of a question that, on the connection of liturgy and – well – EVERYTHING that we hold dear as Catholics, he truly gets it.

Would that in the future and soon more priests and bishops, especially, will get it.  Then we all have to close ranks and really get to work… together.

Enough of the fragmentation and turf-defending B as in B, S as in S!

Lay people: You have a role to play.  You have great influence.  You have a right to sound sacred liturgical worship, faithful to the Church and consistent with what our forebears understood, loved, foster and bequeathed to us as our rightful and honored patrimony.

Priests: I’m going to promote myself.  If you want a serious talk about these matters with your own parish, I’ll come and do the heavy lifting.  I always weave this stuff into what I speak about, for example during parish missions.  Just ask the great iPadre, whose parish I recently visited for a parish mission.   I’m sure that Stravinskas and other good priests who get it would also do this well and often.   We should form a team, a kind of Joint Sacred Liturgy Task Force…. Joint Catholic Identity Task Force?  Joint SURVIVAL Task Force? Same thing.

We need a revitalization of our worship here, there and everywhere.  Let’s get on it, together.


  • Liturgical catechesis
  • Communion on the tongue and kneeling
  • Fewer lay ministers
  • Ad orientem worship

¡Hagan lío!


Please share!
Posted in ¡Hagan lío!, "How To..." - Practical Notes, Hard-Identity Catholicism, Liturgy Science Theatre 3000, Mail from priests, Si vis pacem para bellum! | Tagged , , , , | 4 Comments

The Three Days of Darkness 2018 are underway in LA!

The Three Days of Darkness are underway in LA! (aka Religious Education Conference)

I wasn’t invited.

It might be interesting to have a photopost of your favorite moments.

Videos HERE

We can start with the front page, where there is an ad for the slithery, ambiguous book from the homosexualist Jesuit, on top of an ad for the mostly geriatric ultra-liberal Ass. of U.S. Catholic Priests.

It is instructive to go to the site of the Ass. of U.S. Catholic Priests to see what their agenda items are.


Please share!
Posted in Liberals, Lighter fare, Pò sì jiù | Tagged | 18 Comments


silverstream_via-crucis-priestsHere also are my audio projects of the Way of the Cross.

On 1st Fridays, do please pray the Act of Reparation.

What we need right now is PRAYER, especially now.

And remember to GO TO CONFESSION!

For priests, especially, try The Way Of The Cross For Priests from the Benedictines of Silverstream Priory.  HERE.  Would you consider getting copies of this for your priests where you are?  Lay people: pray it for priests.

Below are readings of the Via Crucis, the Way of the Cross, composed by

  • Joseph Card. Ratzinger, later Pope Benedict XVI, for the 2005 Good Friday observance at the Colosseum in Rome
  • St. Alphonus Liguori
  • Bl. John Henry Newman
  • St. Francis of Assisi (according to the method of…)
  • Silverstream Priory – The Way Of The Cross For Priests

There are two versions of the Way by St. Alphonsus Liguori. One is plain with just my voice. The other is the same voice recording but with the Gregorian chant Sequence Stabat Mater interlaced between the stations.

You can gain a plenary indulgence, under the usual conditions of confession and Communion within a few days of the work and detachment even from venial sin.  From the Handbook of Indulgences:

63. Exercise of the Way of the Cross (Viae Crucis exercitium)

A plenary indulgence is granted to the faithful, who make the pious exercise of the Way of the Cross.

The gaining of the plenary indulgence is regulated by the following norms:

  1. The pious exercise must be made before stations of the Way of the Cross legitimately erected.

  2. For the erection of the Way of the Cross fourteen crosses are required, to which it is customary to add fourteen pictures or images, which represent the stations of Jerusalem.

  3. According to the more common practice, the pious exercise consists of fourteen pious readings, to which some vocal prayers are added. However, nothing more is required than a pious meditation on the Passion and Death of the Lord, which need not be a particular consideration of the individual mysteries of the stations.

  4. A movement from one station to the next is required.

I believe that if you follow the Holy Father’s Way of the Cross on Good Friday, even by television, the indulgence is available.

If the pious exercise is made publicly and if it is not possible for all taking part to go in an orderly way from station to station, it suffices if at least the one conducting the exercise goes from station to station, the others remaining in their place.

Those who are “impeded” can gain the same indulgence, if they spend at least one half an hour in pious reading and meditation on the Passion and Death of our Lord Jesus Christ.

For those belonging to Eastern Rites, among whom this pious exercise is not practiced, the respective Patriarchs can determine some other pious exercise in memory of the Passion and Death of our Lord Jesus Christ for the gaining of this indulgence.

Meanwhile, from a reader last year…

Just a quick note to say thank you for providing your recordings of the Stations of the Cross. I am completely blind and had committed to making this part of my Lenten practices, only to have the Braille display from which I read promptly die. I had been struggling to find a recording of St. Alphonsus’ version. May God bless you!

If these recordings are helpful to you, please say a prayer for me, especially if you use the Way Of The Cross For Priests.

Please share!
Posted in Classic Posts, Liturgy Science Theatre 3000, Our Catholic Identity, PODCAzT, Priests and Priesthood | Tagged , , , , , , , | 37 Comments