ASK FATHER: Where to bow or genuflect in confusing church

Genuflecting2From a reader…


I attend a “modern” church with the traditional long, central aisle. At one end (not the east) is the rose window above the wooden table that serves as an altar (ad popularum). At the other end is the Tabernacle in a small chapel with glass doors. Thus the tabernacle is just about as far from the altar as possible, but can be seen from the aisle through the glass doors. Some folks when they enter genuflect toward the bare altar, and bow when they cross from left to right in front of the altar (on their way to give a reading etc.). Before the consecration shouldn’t they bow toward the Tabernacle, and not the bare altar?

When Constantine legalized Christianity in the 4th c., the Church moved from worshipping in homes, caves, and makeshift gathering spaces into larger venues built (or in some cases, adapted) specifically for the worship of God. In times of persecution, the Church went back to worshipping in whatever space was available.

When persecution comes again (as it will) we’ll do the same.

In the meantime, we have the ability -now – to construct buildings specifically for the worship of God. We have a tradition of such structures, built by our forebears, upon which we can draw. From past constructs we can what works, and what doesn’t work.

We don’t need to re-invent the wheel.

There are those for whom “creativity” means starting with a blank slate, ignoring the past, and creating something altogether new. Beauty is irrelevant, what works is cliché, logic is thrown out the window (which usually contains some chips of colored glass in some abstract pattern). It’s a passing trend, but it’s something we have to deal with now.

Two hundred years from now art and architecture students will write theses entitled, “What WERE They Smoking in the 20th – 21st Century?

Reverence should always be shown to Our Lord. He is our Creator and Redeemer. We owe Him EVERYTHING. We genuflect when we pass before the Blessed Sacrament because throwing ourselves prostrate before the Lord of the Universe each and every time we encounter Him would simply be impractical.

Genuflecting3Yet, we also have liturgical law. In a spirit of humility, we should obey liturgical law. After all, the Church, which is properly deputized to do so, puts this in place to govern our actions when we worship God.

The current liturgical law in force for the Ordinary Form of the Roman Rite requires that the ministers genuflect when entering the sanctuary if the Blessed Sacrament is reserved there. They must also genuflect at the end of the Holy Mass as they leave. If the Blessed Sacrament is not reserved in the sanctuary, the ministers bow to the altar. During the Holy Mass, the ministers are instructed to bow to the altar when they pass it.

Happily we also have now the full use of the Extraordinary Form.  It is to be hoped that the Extraordinary Form will exert a powerful “gravitational pull” on the hearts and minds and knees of the faithful, and then upon the rubrics and laws of the Ordinary Form.

3 votes, 4.67 avg. rating (90% score)
FacebookEmailPinterestGoogle GmailShare/Bookmark
Posted in SESSIUNCULA | Tagged | Leave a comment

Jesuits here, Jesuits there

The latest from Sandro Magister involves Pope Francis, a writer for the Jesuit produced journal La Civiltà Cattolica, the bishops of the Philippines, Pope Francis, and Fr. Joseph Fessio, SJ.

ROME, January 29, 2015 – They have not gone without notice, the harsh criticisms addressed by an authoritative Jesuit of the authoritative “La Civiltà Cattolica” to the bishops of the Philippines, for their strenuous opposition to the law on “reproductive health” successfully backed in the country by Catholic president Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino.

The criticisms, formulated in a book, were presented in detail in this article from www.chiesa:

> Bishops of the Philippines Under Pressure. Examined and Rejected

The Jesuit who slammed the Filipino bishops for being “backward” and “closed off” not only with respect to the beacons of modernity but also with respect to the requests of Pope Francis is the Frenchman Pierre de Charentenay, a former president of the Centre Sèvres, the Paris institute of higher education of the Society of Jesus, director from 2004 to 2012 of the magazine of the Jesuits of France, “Études,” and since last year part of the team of writers of “La Civiltà Cattolica,” the magazine of the Rome Jesuits printed after inspection by Vatican authorities and directed by a man very close to the pope, Fr. Antonio Spadaro.

His [Pierre de Charentenay’s] dismissal of the bishops of the Philippines made an even bigger impression because it coincided with the journey of Pope Francis to that country, which is not only the only one in Asia with a majority Catholic population, but also distinguishes itself by the strong presence of its bishops in the public sphere. [So, the Jesuits in orbit about Pope Francis right now are against “culture warriors”?]

Receiving the pope on January 16 at the presidential palace (see photo), Benigno Aquino, educated in the Jesuit schools of Manila, also took the opportunity to criticize the Filipino bishops. In welcoming his guest he cited and turned against them the pre-Christmas address of Francis to the Roman curia, with the condemnation of those who by virtue of their roles make themselves “sowers of discord.”

But neither in the discourse delivered immediately after that circumstance – where he nonetheless struck a blow for the “inalienable right to life, beginning with that of the unborn” – nor in other moments of his visit did Pope Francis expend a single word in defense of the bishops.

Not everyone, however, among the Jesuits agrees with the accusatory theses of their confrere of “La Civiltà Cattolica,” […]

From San Francisco, after reading the rejection of the Filipino bishops decreed by Fr. de Charentenay because of their closure to modernity, the Jesuit Joseph Fessio reacted by sending us the letter reproduced below.

Fr. Fessio is not an unknown. Formed in the theological school of Joseph Ratzinger – and a prominent member of the circle of his disciples, the “Ratzinger Schülerkreis” – he founded and directs the publishing house Ignatius Press in the United States, which recently made an impression with the book “Remaining in the Truth of Christ,” with contributions from five cardinals against communion for the divorced and remarried.

The following are the “errors of reason and of fact” that Fr. Fessio sees present in Fr. de Charentenay’s criticisms of the bishops of the Philippines, on matters of “reproductive health.


Read Fr. Fessio’s letter there.


3 votes, 5.00 avg. rating (95% score)
Posted in Emanations from Penumbras, One Man & One Woman, Our Catholic Identity, The Drill, The Olympian Middle | Tagged , , , | 4 Comments

Videos of Solemn Masses 1960, 1962 at Ushaw Seminary

A priest friend sent a link to this film from 1960.  A Solemn Mass at Ushaw College (Seminary).

Notice that the place is full.

And there is this Christmas Mass from 1962.

The next year Vatican II started.

Ushaw is pretty much empty now. HERE

BTW… notice the rabbit on their logo HERE.

8 votes, 4.50 avg. rating (89% score)
Posted in "How To..." - Practical Notes, Liturgy Science Theatre 3000, Mail from priests, Priests and Priesthood, Seminarians and Seminaries | Tagged | 10 Comments

Pope Francis will no longer impose the pallium on Archbishops

A letter dated 12 January was sent out to all the nunciatures by Msgr. Guido Marini, the papal Master of Ceremonies.  HERE

Pope Francis has changed the way the pallium will be distributed to new Metropolitan Archbishops.

The pallium is a liturgical vestment comprised of strips of white wool embroidered with black crosses, held together with pins, worn over the shoulders at certain solemn events.  It symbolizes the close union of the archbishop, and his region, with the See of Peter.  For a long time, new Archbishops would travel to Rome to receive the pallium from the hands of the Roman Pontiff in St. Peter’s Basilica on the Feast of Sts. Peter and Paul.

Before they receive the pallium, the archbishops take a public oath in Latin:

Ego… Archiepiscopus… beato Petro apostolo,  Sanctae Romanae Ecclesiae, ac tibi, Summo Pontifici,  tuisque legitimis Successoribus  semper fidelis ero et oboediens.   Ita me Deus omnipotens adiuvet.

I… Archbishop of the _____ diocese (these are adjectives) will always be faithful and obedient to St. Peter the apostle, the Holy Roman Church, and to you, the Supreme Pontiff and to your legitimate Successors. So help me God Almighty.

No longer.

Now the pallium will be put on the Archbishops in their local churches.

It seems that the Pope will give the archbishops the pallium, but out of the limelight. Then the archbishops take the pallium back home and they arrange to get it from the nuncio. So, they’ll have a Mass, and then there’s the “Here’s this thing” moment.

I suppose that will give bishops of suffragan dioceses a chance to be present, as well as more people from the region.

Once upon a time, the pallium was simply sent out to those who were to receive it.  There is nothing new here, historically speaking.   Also, there is nothing magical about the pallium.  It doesn’t make an archbishop more of an archbishop.

However, …

Although the pallium will still probably be blessed by Pope Francis on 29 June, and although the pallium is still supposed to symbolize  the union of the archbishops with the Bishop of Rome, and although I imagine that the archbishops will still make the same oath, probably in the vernacular (since, after all, who uses Latin?), the sign value of the archbishop receiving it from the hands of the Successor of Peter will be lost.

Keep in mind that Pope Francis has as part of his project for his pontificate, to weaken the Roman Curia and decentralize the Church.  Whatever other value sending the pallium out to local churches might have, I see this move also as part of that project.

But… wait…

It seems that the Pope will give the archbishops the pallium, but out of the limelight. Then the archbishops take the pallium back home and they arrange to get it from the nuncio. So, they’ll have a Mass, and then there’s the “Here’s this thing” moment.

13 votes, 3.54 avg. rating (71% score)
Posted in Pope Francis, The Drill | Tagged , | 51 Comments

Of Cardinals and Canaries

A post by the distinguished scholar Fr. John Hunwicke caught my eye. Here it is, in toto, but do check the comments over there as well.  My emphases:

Cardinal Rodriguez [That’s Oscar Card. Rodiguez Maradiaga… Archbp. of Tegucigalpa, sometimes referred to only by the second (matronymic?) of his parental, family names.]
I have tried to read carefully a paper by a Cardinal Rodriguez. [Not in Tegucigalpa, but in California at Santa Clara Univ, run by, who else, Jesuits.  Coincidently, around the same time, Card. Marx, speaking in California, did an interview with American Magazine, Jesuit run.  HERE] There are entire paragraphs that I actually don’t understand. Perhaps there are problems of translation; Fr Lombardi will know. But three points do strike me: (1) Christology. The Second Person of the Glorious and Undivided Trinity is referred to in phrases like “The God of Jesus” [I believe Card. Kasper has a book called “The God of Jesus Christ”.] and “God through Jesus”. I did not identify language clearly affirming that our Redeemer is God. [Odd.] (2) “Mercy” seems to be construed as being at the heart of theology. [I wonder if “mercy” can be entirely disconnected from justice and truth.] But any attempted reconstruction of Christianity which concentrates singlemindedly on one word or slogan (“Justification by Faith Alone”, for example, or “Sola Scriptura”) has tended, throughout history, to have disastrous effects. [A key phrase in the Cardinal’s talk: “The Pope wants to take this Church renovation to the point where it becomes irreversible. The wind that propels the sails of the Church towards the open sea of its deep and total renovation is Mercy.”] (3) The Roman Pontiff’s role is to protect the Tradition and to define and exclude heresy. [NB] This paper seems exclusively concerned to prepare the way for an agenda of radical but unspecified change centred upon the non-Magisterial utterances of just one pope during a ministry of less than two years. This is accompanied by a bizarrely curious suggestion that the Holy Father’s public style and personal gestures are his Magisterial Encyclicals.  [Have you noticed that on the Vatican website there is now a page dedicated to his non-Magisterial, off the cuff, fervorini at daily Mass? HERE]

Even during the pontificate of Pius XII and his canary, did papolatry go quite as far as this?

pius xii canary



24 votes, 4.33 avg. rating (86% score)
Posted in The Drill | Tagged , , | 58 Comments

Life with Capuchins? Take me back to jail!

A priest friend sent this, no doubt to amuse and edify.

From the Daily Mail:

Criminal serving his sentence with monks pleads to be sent back to prison… because monastery life is too hard

A convicted criminal who was serving out his sentence in a monastery has escaped for the second time and asked to be sent back to prison because life was too tough.
Thief David Catalano, 31, was sent to a Santa Maria degli Angeli community run by Capuchin monks in Sicily last November.
But he found their austere lifetstyle too tough to handle and soon escaped. After a short while on the run he was caught by police and sent back.

On Monday he fled for the second time in six weeks, only to swiftly turn himself in at a police station and beg officers to send him back to jail in the nearby town of Nicosia.
He told the stunned policemen: ‘Prison is better than being at that hostel run by monks.’
A police spokesman said: ‘Catalano arrived out of the blue and said there was no way he could stay on with the monks.

‘He said it was too tough and he wanted to go back to prison, so we happily obliged and he is now back behind bars serving the rest of his sentence.


Not exactly three hots and a cot.

Read the rest there.

32 votes, 4.59 avg. rating (91% score)
Posted in Lighter fare, Mail from priests | Tagged , | 14 Comments

ACTION ITEM! Send Fr. Z Christmas cards from around the world – UPDATE

ORIGINAL Published on: Dec 22, 2014

xmas card 01Do people still send Christmas cards?  I have fewer this year than usual.

Some one remarked to me, jokingly, that I didn’t have a lot of Christmas Cards.

First, he couldn’t know that and, second, he wasn’t being serious.

Still, his remark got me thinking.

I am not impressed by email Christmas greetings.   Not at all.  If someone wants to send me Christmas greetings, they can send a card by snail mail.

So, let’s try something.  

Send me Christmas cards from all over the world with cool stamps.

I’ll save the interesting stamps and see if there is a home school group that might be into stamp collecting. 

I have set up a mail box at a UPS Store.

Fr. John Zuhlsdorf
6666 Odana Road
PMB #455
Madison, WI 53719-1012

First, I enjoy all those sixes.  I wish there were only three, just to provoke the imaginations of some of my … fans.   Second, I give the USP Store address because, in this holiday stretch especially, the mail delivery where I live is spotty at best: even the mail room people have to have a break.  Third, I start another round of travelling on 4 January, the people at the mail box will make sure I get everything.  Fourth, they are better at identifying ticking packages and defusing bombs than the people here.

I’ll let you know along the way how the card count is going.  Sometimes I look at the blog’s stats and I see, coming and going, people from all over the world.  Hopefully, you will take a moment or two to send a card.

UPDATE 26 Dec:

Cards are starting to come in. Among those which arrived today … from…


  • Cleveland, OH
  • St. Louis, MO
  • Indianapolis, IN
  • Fort Wayne, IN
  • Alton, IL
  • Lincoln, NE
  • Yellowstone National Park, WY (How cool is that for an address? And the card was made in India, so they took me literally)!
  • Dallas, TX
  • Mt. Clemens, MI
  • Denton, TX

UPDATE 31 December:

I had a couple days away of down time.  I returned to find a huge stack of cards!  It took me an hour and a half to open them and extract stamps and read the contents.  Some people included family photos and their annual letter to friends and family.  Most people added written comments of appreciation for this blog.  A few people included donations.  Some people asked for prayers.  It was quite touching.

Cards came from all over the country and a few from beyond the borders, including…

  • Rochester, NY
  • Cheyenne, WY
  • Berekely, CA
  • Fresno, CA
  • Houston, TX
  • Holyoke, CT
  • Forest Hills, NY
  • King of Prussia, PA
  • Fredricksburg, VA 2x
  • Lake Worth, FL
  • Mt. Laurel, NJ
  • Thousand Oaks, 2x
  • San Jose, CA 2x
  • Aptos, CA
  • Southhampton – UK
  • Dundee, MI
  • San Diego, CA
  • Orlando, FL
  • San Rafael, CA
  • Irving, TX
  • Catskill, NY
  • Glen Burnie, MD
  • La Honda, CA
  • Arcadia, OK
  • Atlanta, GA
  • Jacksonville, FL
  • Kingston, ON
  • Meadville, PA
  • White Plains, NY
  • Lewiston, ME
  • Marshfield, MA
  • Summit, NJ
  • Camarillo, CA
  • Williamsport, PA
  • Madrid – SPAIN
  • Dorchester, MA
  • Millers Tavern, VA
  • Kansas City, MO
  • St. Paul, MN
  • Hudson, WI
  • Indian Trail, NC
  • Waldport, OR
  • Westchester, NY
  • Worchester, MA
  • New York, NY

Also, I have to share two shots of things that came in cards. Fun!

First, a bunch of old stamps.


And then there was this!  I think that’s a biretta at the top!



A few more cards today from…

  • York – UK
  • Austin, MN
  • Zebulon, NC
  • Northlake, IL

 UPDATE: 2 Jan 2015:

More cards are coming, now also from overseas!

  • Calgary, Alberta (not overseas for me)
  • Stockholm, Sweden
  • Guilford, CT
  • Sydney, Australia
  • Lansdowne, VA
  • Fritch, TX

Here is a nice card I received:


UPDATE 3 Jan 2015:

More cards have come in!

Today from

  • Quaker Hill, CT
  • Southwick, MA
  • Sheffield, England
  • Nottingham, Emgland
  • Somewhere in Ireland
  • Houston, TX (with Vietnamese)
  • Washington DC (I think)
  • Parrish, FL
  • Mount Laurel, NJ
  • Tambaram East, Kanchipuran – India
  • Franklin, MA
  • Wichita, KS
  • Bonita Springs, FL

I start the first round of travel for the new year as of tomorrow.  So, it’ll be a while before I can pick up more cards.  I hope for more.  The Christmas cycle ends conclusively with Candlemas, after all!

UPDATE 28 Jan:

More cards have come in. It took me a while to dig out from under my mail after my travels. I like to read the cards and the notes that are included. Some of them are quite touching. They give me a glimpse into the lives of readers. Many people asked for prayers for their families. DONE!

This round…



Only one piece of hate mail this time, typically anonymous. Ho hum.

Your cards came from….


  • Spokane, WA
  • Charlotte, NC
  • Winder, GA
  • Koln, Germany
  • Huntersville, NC
  • France
  • USS Carl Vinson (CVN-70)
  • Malta
  • Eltopia, WA
  • Glasgow, Scotland
  • Christchurch, NZ
  • Harvard, MA
  • Muskegon, MI
  • Emsdetten, Germany
  • Miami, FL
  • Gibraltar
  • St. Peters, MO
  • Monticell, MN
  • Albuquerque, NM
  • Langhorne, PA
  • Simpson, PA
  • Destrehan, LA
  • Czech Republic
  • Chula Vista, CA
  • South Jordan, UT
  • Cuyahoga Falls, OH
  • Manchester, NH
  • Citta del Vaticano
  • Philadelphia, PA
  • Shelton, CT
  • Bellingham, WA
  • Markt Schiebe, Germany
  • Indianapolis, IN
  • Vadnais Heights, MN
  • Raleigh, NC
  • Eden, NC
  • Columbus, OH
  • Ponte Vedra, FL
  • Grand Rapids, MI
  • Voorhees, NJ
  • Albany, NY
  • Carol Stream, IL
  • Arlington Hts, IL
  • Orlando, FL
  • Mililani, HI
  • Lawrenceburg, TN
  • Gerocery West, NSW
  • Westminster, CO
  • Calgary, Alberta
  • San Antonio, TX
  • Tiverton, RI
  • Issaquah, WA
  • Tacoma, WA
  • Washington, DC
  • Menoken, ND
  • Breese, FL
  • Poland
  • Turku, Finland
  • Columbia, IL
  • Fresno, CA
  • Wichita, KS
  • Burnwood, Vic
  • Huffman, TX
  • Palmyra, WA
  • Richmond, VA
  • Nogales, AZ
  • Trinidad & Tobago
  • Paicineo, CA
  • Suffield, OH
  • Nogent-sur-Marne, France

Here’s one, making reference to my desire to write more by hand and my nostalgia for old school correspondence, that came nicely penned in Latin.


63 votes, 3.89 avg. rating (77% score)
Posted in "How To..." - Practical Notes | 28 Comments

San Francisco parish takes step in right direction. Sky falls on pastor’s head.

UPDATE 29 Jan:

I had this note from a reader:

Check out how much the faithful have donated to support Fr. Illo in his decision for altar boys at Star of the Sea- $22K so far in 1 day!
God bless you!

_____ Originally published on: Jan 28, 2015 ____

In San Francisco, the new parish priest of Star of the Sea parish has decided to end service at the altar by girls in favor of exclusive service by boys.

In this he is to be praised.

However, right on schedule, the spittle-flecked nutty has begun. It started only by a couple disgruntled grousers. Then the press got it. Now pressure is on. HERE and HERE.

I have, as a gesture of support, sent Fr. Illo and the assistant some of my Z-Swag. You might drop them a line of support.

Let’s thank Archbp. Cordileone in advance for backing the priest.

41 votes, 4.32 avg. rating (86% score)
Posted in SESSIUNCULA | Tagged , | 53 Comments

Washington DC attacks religious freedom of Catholic schools

I was alerted to this terrible development.

From the Cardinal Newman Society.  Check out their feed on my sidebar.

Mayor Signs Coercive Bills Damaging Religious Freedom of D.C. Catholic Schools, Colleges

District of Columbia Mayor Muriel Bowser has signed into law two bills that will severely damage the religious freedom of Catholic educational institutions and organizations in the nation’s capital.

The first bill, the Reproductive Health Non-Discrimination Amendment Act, could coerce religious organizations to work with and hire those in favor of abortion and force employers to cover elective abortions in their health plans, regardless of their religious objections.

The second, the Human Rights Amendment Act, repeals an exemption that protected religious schools and universities from approving or funding homosexual advocacy. This new law would effectively force schools to recognize LGBT student groups or advocacy groups on campus.

In October, The Cardinal Newman Society joined The Catholic University of America and the D.C. Catholic Conference in warning the D.C. City Council that such a bill would violate the religious freedom of Catholic schools and universities.

According to the Council’s interpretation, the exemption allowed “religiously-affiliated educational institutions to discriminate based on sexual orientation.” However, the exemption gave Catholic schools the ability to uphold their religious beliefs for the past 25 years and was not problematic, argued Cardinal Newman Society President Patrick Reilly.

In a column published in The Wall Street Journal, Reilly went on to note that the Council’s decision “has the appearance of an attack on traditional religious teachings on sexuality, rather than any substantial victory for gay rights.” He stressed that the “narrow exemption was never intended to hinder human rights, but to put a stop to the unreasonable demands of city officials.”


17 votes, 3.94 avg. rating (79% score)
Posted in Emanations from Penumbras, One Man & One Woman, Our Catholic Identity, Religious Liberty, The Coming Storm, The Drill, The future and our choices, The Last Acceptable Prejudice | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Card. Burke’s sermon on marriage

His Eminence Raymond Card. Burke recently celebrated a Pontifical Mass at the faldstool in the Basilica of San Nicola in Carcere in Rome.   The Mass took place the day after the close of the conference of the Confraternity of Catholic Clergy and I was subdeacon for the Mass.

The text of His Eminence’s sermon for the occasion has been provided by NLM.  Check it out HERE.


14 votes, 4.07 avg. rating (81% score)
Posted in SESSIUNCULA | 6 Comments