REACTION: HBO’s The Young Pope

young-popeI have now seen two episodes of the new HBO (etc.) series The Young Pope. It has already run across the Pond.

It is visually rich, cynical, creepy, weird, unpredictable, sacrilegious and clever.

Try to get your head around Fellini’s Roma morphed by Quentin Tarantino (who belongs in jail) with House of Cards.

The production values are high. There is some gratuitous nudity and a bit of sex.  Flashbacks are important.  I think there are lots of little symbols and cues.  For example, during a flashback you see the main character as a boy, who has as a label on the back of his jeans an American flag superimposed by the letters UFO: he’s an unknown object from America, flying by the seat of his pants, as it were.

I suspect that part of the underlying motives for making the show is to mock the Church.  The major motive, however, was probably the desire to make a surreal show with intrigue against a truly gorgeous backdrop.

I wonder also if this is a bit of a reaction to Pope Francis. It is both a “thank God for Pope Francis” and a “we need less of Pope Francis” show.  There is tension of modern and traditional.  The episodes seem to say, “Thank God we don’t have anything like this guy” and, at the same time, “Maybe we could use a little more of this guy”.

The filming locations were well chosen and they have enough elements to recall the real thing. Although for someone who lived in Rome as long as I did and worked in the Vatican, it is a little distracting to see people occasionally going the wrong way or to see impossible things. Also, there are moments when locations are nearly perfectly reproduced. Amazing.

Frankly, I share some of the goals of this weird fictional Pope. On this blog I have often mentioned that once We are elected Pope we will disappear into the Apostolic Palace for lengths of time so long that people shall wonder if We are still alive. The idea is that the Church has given in to the world too much. It is time to recover, Church-wide, a sense of mystery and that “the world” is still one of the three perpetual enemies which we all battle. I cheered the creepy fictional Pope’s decision to recover the tiara that Paul VI sold and which is now in Washington DC. I also very much like the fact that he sacked the Prefect for Clergy for being homosexual and said that he it is unacceptable that a homosexual be in charge of training priests. Hurray! And he sacked the Secretary of State with real style.

There are some great one liners. It helps to be well-read to follow it. Also, since it was made by Italians, they capture well the ecclesio-babble that only Italians can accomplish.

There are memorable speeches, such as when he met the cook for the first time, changed the Vatican’s marketing policy and, of course his first speech to the world from the balcony of San Pietro. That speech, which the first two episodes built up to, was marvelously monstrous, gloriously brutal, falsely true and, truly, false.  It is on YouTube.   Don’t watch it if you don’t want spoilers.  I don’t like spoilers so I won’t post it or the link.

The next episode will be the moment when I decide whether I will continue to watch it or not.

Posted in REVIEWS | Tagged , | Leave a comment

Kelly Ann Conway, The March For Life, SCOTUS, Roe v Wade

This is interesting.


Posted in SESSIUNCULA | 17 Comments

Solemn Mass Green Eye Candy

As Prez of the Tridentine Mass Society of the Diocese of Madison, I want to leave it all on the field.  We are doing our best to SAVE THE WORLD, one Mass at a time.  We want Holy Mass to be Beautiful.  Beauty, the transcendent, reflects and leads to God.  With the force multiplier of Holy Church sacred liturgical worship…. ?  Are you kidding?  We move hearts and minds.

We have now a beautiful set of green vestments for Pontifical Mass which we can use for Solemn Mass (at least until we get a dedicated Solemn set or … two).

Here is some eye candy from Sunday.  I decided, channeling my inner Spanky, I alerted the Gand, “Hey! Let’s have a Solemn Mass!”.  The scheduled celebrant had not done one before, but 2017 is going to be about MORE MORE MORE!  We are pushing forward.

I received some new photos.  Here they are.



DSC_0118 DSC_0119



Ahhh.  Incense.

012_SolemnMass_2Epiphany_2017_SMPB (1)

DSC_0126a DSC_0127a  DSC_0131a  DSC_0140a

So… that’s a little bit of how our people heard Holy Mass on the 2nd Sunday after Epiphany.



Posted in Hard-Identity Catholicism, Liturgy Science Theatre 3000, SUMMORUM PONTIFICUM | Tagged | 8 Comments

Is ‘Amoris laetitia’ compromised because of ghostwriter plagiarism?

victor-manuel-fernandez_medThere is a bit of hard reporting and analysis at Crux today which merits close attention.

Also, at the end, I have a face-saving solution for everyone regarding the Five Dubia and controversy about Amoris laetitia Chapter 8.

Here is some helpful text criticism.  My emphases and comments:

Ethicist says ghostwriter’s role in ‘Amoris’ is troubling

It turns out that the most important footnote in ‘Amoris Laetitia’ may be one that’s not there, because a key passage of the document is lifted almost verbatim from a 1995 essay in theology by Archbishop Victor Fernandez — raising troubling questions about Fernandez’s role as ghostwriter, and the magisterial force of his ideas.  [Did you get that?]


[Editor’s note: In this essay, Professor Michael Pakaluk of the Catholic University of America examines the role of Argentine Archbishop Victor Fernandez, a theological adviser to Pope Francis, in Amoris Laetitia, the pontiff’s document on the family. [NB] Crux invited Fernandez to respond, and his comments appear at the bottom of the article.]

The most important footnote in Amoris Laetitia may not be, as many suppose, one dealing with access to the sacraments for Catholics in “irregular” situations. Instead, it may be a footnote that’s not actually in the document but which should be, since one of the sentences in Amoris is lifted nearly verbatim from an essay published in 1995 in a Buenos Aires theological journal.

The sentence, from the notorious chapter 8, is this: “Saint Thomas Aquinas himself recognized that someone may possess grace and charity, yet not be able to exercise any one of the virtues well; in other words, although someone may possess all the infused moral virtues, he does not clearly manifest the existence of one of them, because the outward practice of that virtue is rendered difficult: ‘Certain saints are said not to possess certain virtues, in so far as they experience difficulty in the acts of those virtues, even though they have the habits of all the virtues.’” [Cf. Summa Theologiae I-II, q. 65, art. 3 ad 2 and ad 3].

One must see the Spanish to see the plagiarism clearly.  In Spanish, the Amoris sentence is this:

“Ya santo Tomás de Aquino reconocía que alguien puede tener la gracia y la caridad, pero no poder ejercitar bien alguna de las virtudes, de manera que aunque posea todas las virtudes morales infusas, no manifiesta con claridad la existencia de alguna de ellas, porque el obrar exterior de esa virtud está dificultado: ‘Se dice que algunos santos no tienen algunas virtudes, en cuanto experimentan dificultad en sus actos, aunque tengan los hábitos de todas las virtudes.’”

And the corresponding sentence from that 1995 theological journal is this:

“De hecho santo Tomas reconocia que alguien puede tener la gracia y la caridad pero no ejercitar bien alguna de las  virtudes “propter  aliquas dispositiones contrarias” (Summa Th., I-IIae., 65, 3, ad 2), de manera que alguien puede tener todas las virtudes pero no manifestar claramente la posesion de alguna de ellas porque el obrar exterior de esa virtud esta dificultado por disposiciones contrarias: “Se dice que algunos santos no tienen algunas virtudes en cuanto tienen dificultades en los actos de esas virtudes, aunque tengan los habitos de todas” (Ibid, ad 3).”

And here is the footnote that should be there, but isn’t: “Victor M. Fernandez, Romanos 9-11 : gracia y predestinación, Teologia, vol 32, issue 65, 1995, pp. 5-49, at 24.  Cf. Victor M. Fernandez, La dimensión trinitaria de la moral II: profundización del aspecto ético a la luz de “Deus caritas est”, Teologia, vol 43, issue 89, 133-163 at 157. Evangelii Gaudium 171.”

One must add the bit about Evangelii Gaudium, Pope Francis’s apostolic exhortation on the joy of the Gospel, because the same sentence was used there too without attribution, and one must also refer to another article by Fernandez, with yet another version of the sentence.

Naturally, I use the term “plagiarism” in its material, not formal sense.

You and I will suspect that Fernandez, now an archbishop and close friend of the pope and said to be the ghostwriter of Laudato Si, was also the ghostwriter of Amoris chapter 8 and parts at least of Evangelii Gaudium. In the sentence cited above, he was simply helping himself to his own, earlier writings.


Smoking gun.

A little farther along, there is a table showing texts side by side so that you can see the concurrence/dependence.  I did this recently with another deceptive work.  HERE

The writer has some conclusions.  Here is one of them:

The first is that Amoris needs to be “taken back to the shop,” to have various flaws removed or corrected.  I have already pointed out how footnote 329 misquotes Gaudium et Spes, and that it must deliberately misquote that document to advance its implicit argument.

Do I hear an “Amen!”?

Think about this for a moment.   When documents are released, there is usually a press conference during which the document and its context and intent are described by the head of the dicastery that most concerns it, along with some experts.  However, the text that is initially released is a provisional text.  The text is harden and set in stone when it is eventually published in Acta Apostolicae Sedis, which publication is the official instrument of promulgation for the Holy See.  It is an interesting exercise to do “text criticism” with these documents, to compare the version from the time of its release and press conference to the version that appears later, sometimes months later, in the AAS.  You can find many changes to the text.  The changes are often stylistic.  Sometimes they are substantive, as in the case of St. John Paul II’s Ecclesia de Eucharistia.  There was a major (fishy) screw up in the initial version, corrected in the AAS, concerning the words “pro multis” in the form of consecration.  HERE  The mistake was corrected.

However, think about what this post-release correction means for students and scholars and pastors of souls!  There are people who quote only from the translations that were issued at the time of the initial release.   They don’t check the AAS version – the official version – which might be different.

As I write this, the AAS has been completed and posted online for 2015.  HERE  They have not released any of 2016 yet, at least online.  Amoris was dated 19 March 2016 and it was released on 8 April 2016.

And so, if anyone in Rome wants to “save face”, as it were, correct Amoris laetitia Chapter 8 in the official version in the Acta Apostolicae Sedis and let everyone know that the official version has been corrected.   

There’s still time!


Posted in CRUX WATCH, The Drill | Tagged , , , | 32 Comments

ASK FATHER: Can absolution be granted when no purpose of amendment exists?

penance_confession_stepsUnder another entry here a commentator asked:

Can absolution be granted where no purpose of amendment exists? If granted, with no purpose of amendment, does it even ‘take’?

No. And No.

In normal circumstances, when there isn’t danger or some other odd condition, in order to absolve a penitent who is sui compos (conscious, able to make a confession, etc.) the priest must be reasonably certain that the penitent 1) has actually confessed a sin (even a previously confessed and absolved sin is enough), 2) has, in that moment, at least imperfect sorrow for sin (attrition – fear of punishment), and 3) has a purpose of amendment at that time. If any of these three conditions are lacking, the priest MUST withhold absolution.

Since the Council of Trent, Holy Church has taught that the essence of the Sacrament of Penance includes acts of the penitent, that is, the confession of sins, the expression of sorrow, desire for amendment and atonement.  On the other hand, we have also the action of the priest, that is, the granting of absolution.  The actions of the penitent and of the priest relate to each other as the matter of a sacrament relates to its form.

Most priests do not have psychic powers to read minds and few have the gift from God to read souls. We have to listen to what the penitent says and then discern the truth. A confessor will try prudently and carefully to “tease out”, so to speak, any of the necessary elements that are lacking.  “Do you know an Act of Contrition?  No?  Okay, are you truly sorry for your sins and do you intend not ever to commit them again?  Very good. Now I’ll give you absolution….”

However, if finally a person evinces no purpose of amendment – that is, she clearly doesn’t intend to avoid sin(s) again – then the priest cannot, must not, give absolution. His absolution would be, in effect, improperly given and would therefore be sacrilegious. He would abuse the Sacrament, to the offense of Christ, the detriment of the whole Church and his own soul as well as the soul of the poor person on the other side of the grate. He would be, in effect, faking it.

How is that compassion?  How is that “accompaniment”?

How wicked would that be?  To lie to people like that under the guise of compassion.

This is pertinent to the whole discussion of the objectively ambiguous content of Amoris laetitia, Ch. 8.  Any suggestion that a penitent can be absolved if she isn’t sorry for sins and doesn’t say she’ll change is contrary to what we have always held about the Sacrament of Penance.

Keep in mind that, after confession of at least all mortal sins in kind and number, the saying the classic “Act of Contrition” expresses clearly both sorrow for sin (attrition and contrition) and purpose of amendment.  Contrition consists of three acts of the will which form a unity: grief or sorrow, detestation, intention.

O my God, I am heartily sorry for having offended Thee, [grief] and I detest all my sins [detestation] because of Thy just punishments, [attrition, imperfect, based on fear] but most of all because they offend Thee, my God, Who art all-good and deserving of all my love. [contrition, more perfect, based on love] I firmly resolve, [intention] with the help of Thy grace, to sin no more and to avoid the near occasions of sin.  VARIATIONS INCLUDE … to sin no more, to do penance, and to amend my life.

Sorrow, detestation, intention.  If one is lacking, then the matter of the Sacrament is lacking.  If the priest knows the matter is lacking, he may not proceed with absolution because he would simulate a sacrament.  If the person is unconscious or there is true reason for “general absolution (that is, without auricular confession), the priest can proceed.  That’s a whole different growler of beer.

“But Father! But Father!”, some of you lib screwballs and progressivist sapheads now jibber, “She came, didn’t she, to your retrograde torture booth of uptight patriarchal oppression! Didn’t she?  HUH?  That must mean that she’s really sorry even if she doesn’t say she is.  She… right, or whatever non-judgmental gender… ummm….  YOU ARE MEAN! Why does she have to affirm that she’ll stop committing the sinful acts?  What are ‘sins’, anyway!??! What does she… he… umm… have to be ‘sorry’ for anyway? Sin.  HAH! That’s an outdated category and the Council says that’s all gone now.  This is the time of mercy and caring… and… and, oh yes… ACCOMPANIMENT!  The age of hate is OVVVVERRRRRR!  Show some COMPASSION, DAMMIT or … or… ooooh yes yes yes we’re gonna GET you!  Yessiree.  We’ll fix you, you … functionary! You… funeral-faced museum mummy!  Sourpuss! Authoritarian fundamentalist! You gloomy moralistic quibbler!  We’ll write letters, yes, we will, precious.  YOU HATE VATICAN II!”

padre_pio_confessionalI respond, with Lumen gentium, saying:

11. Those who approach the sacrament of Penance obtain pardon from the mercy of God for the offence committed against Him and are at the same time reconciled with the Church, which they have wounded by their sins, and which by charity, example, and prayer seeks their conversion.

Just showing up is enough, eh?  NO.  That’s sentimental twaddle.

The priest cannot simply assume that the person has the necessary sorrow, detestation and intention by the simple fact that she showed up in the confessional!

I am seeking your conversion and your salvation.  And I am going to apply this bitter but effective medicine until it takes effect.  If you listen or you don’t listen, I’m going to persevere anyway and thus save my own soul.  However, like Augustine, “Nolo salvus esse sine vobis! (s. 17.2).

The confessional is a tribunal of mercy, but it is a tribunal.  The confessional is not a “safe space” where tender snowflakes are given hugs and puppies and crayons and affirming coos.  There is a juridical character to the confession.  The facts of each case must be brought to the Judge, who binds and looses with the power of the keys received in priestly ordination and wielded with the permission of the Church via the faculty granted by proper authority.  The penitent is her own Accusatrix and Prosecutrix.  The fact that the person has come is a sign that grace is at work.  Coming to the confessional is a really good start.  But coming is not, in itself, enough.

So, everyone, especially you libs, think about the effect of your heinous black sins on yourselves and on the whole world.  When you sin, you hurt everyone.  Examine your consciences with one eye on the depths of Hell and the other on the gates of Heaven.  Choose.  Be truly sorry for your sins and …


Posted in "But Father! But Father!", "How To..." - Practical Notes, ASK FATHER Question Box, GO TO CONFESSION, Liturgy Science Theatre 3000, Vatican II | Tagged , , , , , | 34 Comments

Canonist Ed Peters on The Maltese Fiasco

Distinguished canonist Ed Peters, at his indispensable blog In The Light Of The Law, has posted in the wake of what we must now call…

The Maltese Fiasco

The Bishops of Malta issued a dreadful set of guidelines for the implementation of the objectively ambiguous bits of Amoris laetitia, Ch. 8.  These are the bits that the Four Cardinals (Brandmüller, Burke, Caffarra, Meisner) – and the rest of the rational, honest world – want clarified.  The Four Cardinals submitted five formal questions or Dubia to the Holy Father and to the CDF.    Since its release, Amoris laetitia has caused confusion, anxiety, division and conflicting practices throughout the Church.  The diverging practices – if prolonged – have the potential of doing long-lasting damage to the unity of the Church and to souls.

The Maltese Bishops, with their Maltese Fiasco, have essentially said that anyone can go to Communion if they want to according to their conscience, but they don’t seem to think that their conscience must be in conformity with the Deposit of Faith perennial safeguarded by the Church.   Moreover, this wasn’t the Fiasco for tiny Malta, alone.  The Maltese Fiasco was published also in the Vatican’s increasingly disappointing newspaper, L’Osservatore Romano.

Prof. Peters does not have a combox open.  The combox here is open, but moderation is ON.

Let’s have a look, with my patented emphases and comments:

The Maltese directive makes answering the ‘dubia’ urgent

When highly placed Italian prelates declare that “only a blind man cannot see[Card. Caffarra, one of the Four – my trans. HERE] that confusion is the ecclesiastical order of the day, and that such confusion has as its fundamental source Pope Francis’Amoris laetitia, matters have reached crisis level. Catholics who have not followed the intense three-year debate over (among other things) admitting to holy Communion divorced-and-remarried Catholics who are living as married persons should stop reading this post and go get caught up on current events. But for those sufficiently aware of the doctrinal and disciplinary issues at stake I offer some observations in the wake of this weekend’s developments.  [This is not just about Communion for the divorced and remarried.  It’s about the very possibility of intrinsically evil acts, about Christology, about the Eucharist, about Ecclesiology.]

The bishops of Malta, by declaring that divorced-and-remarried Catholics who are living as if they were married “cannot be precluded from participating in … the Eucharist” have done grave violence to the unbroken and unanimous ecclesiastical tradition barring such Catholics from reception of holy Communion without—and let me stress this, without—doing violence to the actual text of Francis’Amoris laetitia. That, folks, is the central problem.  [“cannot be precluded”… That puts priests is a dreadful position!  That endangers souls.]

Amoris does not—again, let me repeat, does not [Peters’ emphasis that time!]—declare ministers of holy Communion bound to give the sacrament to divorced-and-remarried Catholics living as if married. Francis’ phrasing in several key passages of Amoris is (I have argued) malleable enough to allow bishops such as Chaput and Sample to reiterate the traditional Eucharistic discipline or, as the Buenos Aires bishops did, simply to pass ambiguous criteria down to local pastors to sort as best they can. But precisely because key passages of Amoris are also flexible enough to allow bishops to do as the Maltese have done and require Church ministers to distribute the Eucharist to Catholics who engage in “public and permanent adultery” (CCC 2384)—not to mention conferring absolution on penitents who express no purpose of amendment in regard to such conduct—this, without doing violence to the actual text of Amoris,[NB] one cannot but agree with Cdl. Caffarra and others that this hitherto unimaginable sacramental disunity is rooted directly in Amoris laetitia.  [Did you get that?  People without any intention of amending their lives are already demanding absolution from priests: “Pope Francis says…!”]

This ability of Amorissimultaneously to sustain orthodox, non-committal, and heterodox interpretations in matters of the gravest ecclesiastical import is exactly why the Four Cardinal’s dubia so urgently need answering—if not by Francis himself (and no one can force Francis’ hand) then at least by Francis’ right-hand man in matters of faith and morals, Cdl Muller of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, to whom the dubia was also (few seem to have noticed) addressed.

Of course, the stakes involved in the dubia jumped dramatically over the weekend, not simply by the Maltese bishops making plain what sort of sacramental abuses Amoris could tolerate within its terms, but by the decision, taken at who-knows-what level, to publish the Maltese document in L’Ossevatore Romano, that “instrument for spreading the teachings of the successor of Peter.” Obviously the pope is not the editor of L’OR and it is possible that the decision to publish the Maltese document took Francis unawares. [True enough… the editor, Vian, might have gone ahead without checking upstairs.  But does that seem plausible to you?] But insofar as L’OR is unquestionably the pope’s newspaper people will be watching to see whether, directly or indirectly, there appears some ‘distancing’ between Francis and the Maltese approach to sacraments for divorced-and-remarried Catholics.

I pray there does appear such papal distancing; [Do I hear and “Amen!”?] I pray that the Maltese bishops repent of their failure to “exercise vigilance so that abuses do not creep into ecclesiastical discipline especially regarding …the celebration of the sacraments” (Canon 392 § 2); [“Amen!”?] and I pray that the teachings of Christ and his Church penetrate our mind and hearts more deeply. [I say again, “Amen!”?]

The Maltese Fiasco.

I fear that this is not the end, dear readers.

Please, God, let me be wrong.


Posted in Canon Law, One Man & One Woman, Our Catholic Identity, Pope Francis, Sin That Cries To Heaven, The Coming Storm, The Drill, The future and our choices | Tagged , , , | 45 Comments

Your Sunday Sermon Notes

Was there a good point made in the sermon you heard during Holy Mass to fulfill your Sunday obligation?

Let us know!

This week I have a bye.  I’m going to be deacon for a priest who has not yet had a Solemn Mass!   And we get to use vestments from our GREEN Pontifical set for the first time!  Help us make our WHITE set.  HERE

Were I to preach, I would preach about what is going on concerning debates about indissolubility and what WE should do about them.



Here are some photos from this morning’s Solemn Mass. I am so pleased with the servers.  We have gotten to the point where we can carry out just about any rite we need.

This was the first Solemn Mass for our celebrant today.  He has do quite a few Sung Masses.


Benedicite, Pater reverende.
Ab illo bene+dicaris, in cuius honore cremaberis. Amen.



Asperges, of course.  NB: Matching tabernacle veil and antependium.


The photos don’t do justice to the vestments and the light in the church.

012_SolemnMass_2Epiphany_2017_SMPB (1)

Posted in SESSIUNCULA | 27 Comments

WDTPRS – 2nd Ordinary Sunday (NO) & 2nd after Epiphany (TLM): We are beggars

I can’t think of a time when it was more important to beg God for mercy and aid, with bent knees, face to the ground.

In the reformed calendar, we have moved into the Time called “Ordinary”, by which we mean “ordered”, not “unexceptional”.  We might say also, “sequential”.

In the traditional calendar of the Extraordinary Form, this is the “Time through the year”, divided into time after Epiphany and after Pentecost. However, this terminology, “Tempus per annum … time through the year”, remained also in the Novus Ordo calendar.

Ordinary Time embraces the sacral cycle of Lent and Eastertide like bookends and stretches from the adoration of the heavenly infant King by earthly kings to the Solemnity of Christ the King who will come as Judge to separate the tares from the wheat and usher in the unending reign of peace.

This Sunday’s Collect, for the Second Sunday of Ordinary Time, is also in the 1962 Missale Romanum for the Second Sunday after Epiphany.

Omnipotens sempiterne Deus,
qui caelestia simul et terrena moderaris,
supplicationibus populi tui clementer exaudi,
et pacem tuam nostris concede temporibus

We often ask when we pray in Latin that God will pay attention, usually by “hearing” us. Exaudio signifies “listen to” in the sense of “perceive clearly.” The imperative exaudi is more urgent than a simple audi (the imperative of audio, not the car). Think of the beginning of one of our Litanies: “Christe audi nos… Christe exaudi nos…” often translated as “Christ hear us… Christ graciously hear us.”

For the ancient Romans a supplicatio was a solemn religious ceremony in thanksgiving for a victory or prayer in the face of danger. It is related to supplex, an adjective for the position of a beggar, on bended knees or prostration.

Tempus obviously means “time”. It also means “the appointed time, the right season, an opportunity (Greek kairos)”. Tempus gives us “temporal”, that is, worldly or earthly things, material things, as opposed to sacred, eternal or spiritual. Plural tempora can also mean the “temples” of our heads, as well as “the times”, our “state of affairs”.

Almighty eternal God,
who at the same time do govern things heavenly and earthly,
mercifully hearken to the supplications of Your people,
and in our temporal affairs grant Your peace.

Father of heaven and earth,
hear our prayers, and show us the way
to peace in the world


Almighty ever-living God,
who govern all things,
both in heaven and on earth,
mercifully hear the pleading of your people
and bestow your peace on our times.

We beg God, omnipotent sempiternal disposer of all things, for peace in our temporal affairs here and now, not just later in heaven. We do not want just any peace. We want the peace which comes from Him.

Christ said:

“Peace I leave with you: my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, do I give unto you. Let not your heart be troubled: nor let it be afraid” (John 14:27 DR).

Christians are confident. Christ will give us His peace. He said so. But He won’t force peace on us.

The temporal peace the world offers and the peace that God bestows are different, though they can be harmonized when the temporal is subordinated to the heavenly.

The goods (and ills) of this world are passing and fragile, always susceptible to loss. The goods of heaven are enduring and dependable. No finite, passing, created thing or person can provide lasting joy or eternal peace: they will be lost through theft and wear, time and death. Our wealth, family, health, appearance and reputation can be lost in the blink of an eye.

To put a creature in God’s place is foolhardy idolatry and a sin. Love God, above all. Practice making His will your own. As Piccarda tells Dante in the Divine Comedy,

“In His will is our peace. It is that sea to which all things move, both what it creates and what nature makes” (Par 3.85).

God knew each one of us outside of time, before the creation of both the visible and invisible universe. He called us into existence at a precise moment in His eternal plan. He gives us all something to do in His plan together with the talents and graces to do it. When we cooperate with Him, submit our wills to His, make His plan for us our own, God then makes us strong enough to carry it out. God knows our needs better than we do. Turn confidently to Him in prayer. Ask Him for the graces, and with them peace, which He alone can give.

Sin shatters His peace. Peace can be regained in the Sacrament of Penance.

We ask God to bless us in this new year of salvation. Let us beg Him to give aid to all who suffer.

With bent knees and with foreheads to the ground, bodies and wills both bent in supplication, beg His graces and His peace.

Posted in Liturgy Science Theatre 3000, WDTPRS | Tagged , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

IMPORTANT: Interview with Card. Caffarra about the Dubia and ‘Amoris laetitia’ confusion


I was sent this Tweet of Matteo Matzuzzi of Il Foglio:

[Decoded: “Differently from what is going around, Caffarra … isn’t responding to Müller (it’s a matter of chronology)”]

Probably addressed to me.  Since Matzuzzi will read this: Good interview with Card. Caffarra!  Sincere kudos.  There was a lot of helpful information.  You might have dropped me an email.

Card. Müller did his interview on Italian TV last weekend, 8 January.  Then, on 14 January, 6 days later, Caffarra’s interview appears at Il Foglio.  Are we to believe that Matzuzzi did the interview before Müller’s TV appearance and then he sat on it until now? Nearly a week after Card. Müller’s appearance?  That’s possible, I guess, though it stretches credulity a little.  Il Foglio is behind a paywall.  I haven’t seen anywhere the actual date of the interview with Card. Caffarra.  Have any of you?  Correct me if it was published somewhere.

Caffarra, coincidentally, addressed Card. Müller’s major concerns.

Then, @Rorate tweeted:

Definitely aimed at me. That this should be the first thing they tweet about in regard to Matzuzzi’s splendid, jam-packed interview with Card. Caffarra is too bad, a wasted opportunity.  Odd priorities.

If I really am wrong about the timing, okay, fine.  It doesn’t make any real difference, does it.  Caffarra’s interesting and dense interview stands.  The response/not response issue is of only peripheral importance.  What Card. Caffarra said is of central importance.

Moreover, the stakes are growing greater and greater each day.  In this new Year of Grace, with all its portentous overtones, egos aside and eyes wide open, it is high time that we close ranks and work together rather than pick at each other.  Don’t you readers agree? [UPDATE: Don’t answer that.  It’s a rhetorical question and the answer is obvious.]

___ ORIGINALLY Published on: Jan 14, 2017 @ 13:13___

carlo-caffarra-con-benedetto-XVIToday in the Italian Il Foglio there is an interview with His Eminence Carlo Card. Caffara, one of the Four Cardinals who submitted the Five Dubia to His Holiness the Pope about Amoris laetitia.

Il Foglio seems to have a paywall, but you can find the Italian text at Il Sismografo.

Caffarra, who founded the John Paul II Institute for the Family is probably the author of the Five Dubia.

This interview is undoubtedly a response to Card. Müller’s statements on Italian television the other day – which on the surface seemed to thrown the Dubia and the Four under the #64 Bus – that provoked confusion and consternation.

Il Sismografo lost the formatting when it was transferred, which makes it laborious to tease out.  Here is the headline:

“Solo un cieco può negare che nella Chiesa ci sia una grande confusione”. Intervista esclusiva al cardinale Carlo Caffarra

“Only a blind man can deny that there is great confusion in the Church.” An exclusive interview with Carlo Card. Caffarra.

Some salient long passages from the extensive piece.  My fast translation with my emphases and comments:

“The division between bishops is the cause of the letter that we wrote to Francis, (the division is) not the effect of the letter. Insults and threats of canonical sanctions are unworthy.”

“I think think that some things have to be cleared up. The letter and the the attached Dubia were reflected on at length, for months, and were discussed at length among ourselves. And in my case they were prayed about at length before the Blessed Sacrament.”

“We were aware that the gesture we were undertaking was serious. We had two concerns. The first was not to scandalize the faithful. For pastors like ourselves that is a fundamental obligation. The second concern was that no one, believer or not, should find in the letter expressions that even at a distance seem to be even slightly disrespectful toward the Pope. The final text is the fruit of many revisions: revised proofs, rejected, corrected.”

What drove us to do this? A consideration that is general or structural and one that is contingent or circumstantial. Let’s start with the first. We cardinals have a grave obligation to give counsel to the Pope in the government of the Church. It’s an obligation, and obligations oblige. In terms of the contingent consideration is the fact – which only the blind would deny – that there is enormous confusion, uncertainty, insecurity in the Church as a result of some paragraphs of Amoris laetitia. Over the past months, in terms of fundamental questions concerning the sacraments [economia sacramentale] (matrimony, confession and Eucharist) and the Christian life, some bishops have said A, others have said the contrary of A – and this with the intention of interpreting the same text. And this is an undeniable fact, because facts are stubborn, as David Hume said. The way out of this ‘conflict of interpretation’ was recourse to fundamental theological interpretative criteria by the use of which, I think, one can reasonably show that Amoris laetitia does not contradict Familiaris consortio. Personally, in public meetings with laity and priests I have always followed this method.”

“Nevertheless, we realized that this epistemological model was not sufficient. The contrast between these two interpretations continued unabated. There was only one way to get to the bottom of is [per venirne a capo]: to ask the author of the text that is interpreted in two contradictory ways which is the right interpretation. There is no other way. Then we confronted the problem of how to bring this to the Pope. We chose a way that is very traditional in the Church, the so-called Dubia. [Why?] Because it is an instrument which would not oblige the Holy Father to respond in detail and at length in case, in his sovereign judgment, he should wish to respond. He only had to answer yes or no. And to pass it on, as Pope have often done, to trusted writers (probati auctores) or to ask the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith to publish a Declaration with explanations of the yes or no’s. It seemed the simplest way. The other question was whether to do it privately or publicly. We thought and agreed that it would be disrespectful if we made everything public right away. So we did it privately, and only once we were sure that the Holy Father would not respond did we decide to publicize it. [NB!] We interpreted his silence as authorization to proceed with a theological discussion. Furthermore, the problem profoundly involves both the Magisterium of Bishops (which, let’s not forget, they exercise on the basis of the sacrament they have received and not on the basis of delegation from the Pope) and it involves the life of the faithful. [NB!] Both groups have a right to be involved in this discussion. Many of the faithful as well as priests were saying, ‘but you cardinals in a situation like this one are obliged to intervene with the Holy Father. Why otherwise do you exist if not to help the Pope in questions as grave as this?’ A scandal on the part of many of the faithful began to grow, as though we cardinals were behaving like the dogs who did not bark about whom the prophet speaks. This is what is behind the those couple of pages.”

Some individuals continue to say that we are not being docile to the Magisterium of the Pope. This is false and calumnious. We wrote to the Pope precisely because we did not want to be un-docile. I can be docile to the Pope’s Magisterium only as long as I know what the Pope is teaching in matters of faith and Christian life. But this is exactly the problem: that which the Pope is teaching on some fundamental points simply cannot be understood, as the conflict of interpretations among bishops shows. We want to be docile to the Magisterium of the Pope, but the Magisterium of the Pope has to be clear. None of us wanted to ‘oblige’ the Holy Father to respond. In the letter we spoke of sovereign judgment. We simply and respectfully asked questions. The accusations that we wanted to divide the Church are unworthy of attention. The division that already exists in the Church is the reason for the letter, not its effect. What’s unworthy in the Church, above all in a context such as this, are the insults and threats of canonical sanctions.”

“I received a letter from a parish priest that’s a perfect photograph of what’s been happening. He wrote me, ‘In spiritual direction and in confession I don’t know what to say anymore. To the penitent who tells me that he lives with all the effects as the husband with a woman who is divorced and now I go to Communion’, I propose a certain path in order to correct this situation. But the penitent stops me and responds immediately, ‘Look, Father, the Pope said that I can receive Communion without living in continence.’ I can’t take this kind of situation any longer. [NB] The Church can ask many of things of me, but not that I betray my conscience. And my conscience objects to a supposed papal teaching to admit to Communion under certain circumstances, those who live as husband and wife without being married.’ This is what the priest wrote to me. The situation of many pastors of souls, and I intend mainly parish priests, is this: they are carrying a load on their shoulders that’s too heavy to carry. This is what I am thinking of when I talk about a great confusion. And while I am talking about parish priests, many faithful are even more confused. We are talking about questions that are not secondary. We’re not talking about whether eating fish violates the law of abstinence or not. We are talking about the most serious questions for the life of the Church and about the eternal salvation of the faithful. Never forget, this is the supreme law of the Church, the eternal salvation of the faithful. Not any other concerns. Jesus founded His Church so that the faithful would have eternal life and have it in abundance.”


[For the sake of length, I’m skipping a rather thick section in the middle.]


“I retain that this is the most important point of all. This is where we meet and clash with the load bearing column of modernity. Let’s begin by clarifying the language. Conscience doesn’t decide, because it is an act of reason; the decision is an act of freedom, of will. The conscience is a guide by which the subject of the proposition that it expresses is the choice that I am about the make or that I have already made, and the predicate is the moral qualification of the choice. It is, therefore, a judgment not a decision. Naturally, every reasoned judgment is an exercise performed in the light of criteria, otherwise it is not a judgment, but rather something else. A criterion is that which on the basis of which I affirm that which I affirm and I deny that which I deny. At this point we have an especially illuminating passage of the Tractate on moral conscience by Bl.  Antonio Rosmini: ‘There is a light that is in man and there is a light which is man. The light that is in man is the law of Truth and grace. The light that is man is right conscience, since man becomes light when he participates in the light of the Truth mediated by the conscience confirmed by that light.’ Now, in view of this conception of moral conscience we contrast the concept that erects as an un-appealable tribunal of the goodness or the evil of one’s own actions: one’s own subjectivity. Here, for me, is the decisive clash between the vision of life that belongs to the Church (because it belongs to divine Revelation) and modernity’s conception of one’s own conscience.

The one who saw this in the most lucid way was Bl. John Henry Newman. In his famous Letter to the Duke of Norfolk, he said, ‘Conscience is the aboriginal Vicar of Christ, a prophet in its informations, a monarch in its peremptoriness, a priest in its blessings and anathemas, and, even though the eternal priesthood throughout the Church could cease to be, in it the sacerdotal principle would remain and would have a sway. Words such as these are idle empty verbiage to the great world of philosophy now. All through my day there has been a resolute warfare, I had almost said conspiracy against the rights of conscience, as I have described it.” Later he adds that, “in the name of conscience one destroys true conscience.” That’s why among the Five Dubia the fifth Dubium is the most important. There is a passage in Amoris laetitia, at n. 303, which is not clear; it seems – I repeat – seems – to admit the possibility that there is a true judgment of conscience (not invincibly erroneous; this has always been acknowledged by the Church) in contradiction to that which the Church teaches as pertaining to the deposit of divine Revelation. Seems. And, therefore, we gave the Dubium to the Pope.

“Newman says that ‘did the Pope speak against Conscience in the true sense of the word, he would commit a suicidal act. He would be cutting the ground from under his feet.’ These are matters of tremendous gravity. It would elevate private judgment to the highest criterion of moral truth. Never say to a person: ‘Always follow your conscience’, without adding immediately and always: ‘Love and seek the Truth concerning the Good.’. You would put into his hands the weapon most destructive of his humanity.


Posted in One Man & One Woman, Our Catholic Identity, The Coming Storm, The Drill, The future and our choices | Tagged , , , , , | 14 Comments

ACTION ITEM! Pontifical Vestments Fund Raising UPDATED!

action-item-buttonUPDATE: The fabric has been delivered, thanks to a clerical intermediary, to Gammarelli in Rome.  On Monday I will send in the order, directions of what to do, and get back the estimate of costs.

So… you need to step up now!  Please help us bring the fundraiser to a successful close.





The Tridentine Mass Society of the Diocese of Madison – 501(c)(3) – is at it again.  Of course it’s at it again: I’m the president and the tank has only one gear.

To find our GoFundMe campaign…


This time we must raise funds for a full set of Pontifical in WHITE.  (See update, below.)

We have to take some pressure off our beautiful gold set, which is silk.  We have to use it more sparingly, but we are having Pontifical Masses pretty often!   It’s a good problem to have, right?

I found some beautiful and durable and affordable while jacquard damask. We will buy the fabric ourselves and take it to Gammarelli in Rome.


A full Pontifical Set typically includes:

  • Chasuble with stole, maniple, burse, veil
  • Three dalmatics with 1 deacon’s stole and maniples.
  • Two tunics with a maniple.
  • Humeral veil
  • Cope and stole
  • Antependium
  • Gremial
  • Pontifical dalmatic and tunic
  • Pontifical gloves
  • Buskins

We will also get fabric and trim for tabernacle veil.  These vestments can also be used for Solemn Masses with priest, deacon and subdeacon.

Down the line we will have a new Black set made (the one we have now… meh…) and a Rose set!   Of course, I continue to harbor hope for the approval of liturgical blue.

Please help us?   Donate now.  The dollar is strong against the Euro now.  I’d like to get this project started at the first of the year.

Here are some action shots of our vestments.

YOU helped to make these!



After consultation with veeps, I have decided to raise the target amount.

“But Father! But Father!”, some of you acolytes of Judas are squeaking, “All these vestments are too lavish and … and … they should be sold and money given to the poor!  Pope Francis hates you trads because YOU HATE VATICAN II!”

Au contraire.  Pope Francis loves all of us equally.  How can you say such a thing?

Moreover, because the Second Vatican Council decided to include a section specifically about the Blessed Virgin Mary in their Constitution on the Church Lumen gentium, we are going to honor Mary by having a sent of Pontifical Vestments made in BLUE.


That’s not blue and white vestments, or even white and blue vestments.

Rather, that’s a set of WHITE vestments and a set of BLUE vestments.

Just think… the sets will have capes with silver chains!

So, please donate lavishly and quickly.

We will use, probably, the cerulean on the right, but maybe not in that pattern.


There’s this:

turquise blue and gold jacquard



Posted in ¡Hagan lío!, ACTION ITEM!, Liturgy Science Theatre 3000, The Campus Telephone Pole | Tagged , | 28 Comments

14 January: Happy Feast of the Ass!

Rev. Mr. Greg Kandra reminds us that today is the Feast of the Ass.  Wikipedia HERE

I wrote about this back in 2012 HERE

There are medieval liturgical rites which ought to be revived… not just on this day but whenever we need to underscore some asinine move from some ecclesial ass.  From Wiki, for speed:


At Beauvais the Ass may have continued his minor role of enlivening the long procession of Prophets. On the January 14, however, he discharged an important function in that city’s festivities. On the feast of the Flight into Egypt the most beautiful girl in the town, with a pretty child in her arms, was placed on a richly draped ass, and conducted with religious gravity to St. Stephen’s Church. The Ass (possibly a wooden figure) was stationed at the right of the altar, and the Mass was begun. After the Introit a Latin prose was sung.[4]

The first stanza and its French refrain may serve as a specimen of the nine that follow:

Orientis partibus
Adventavit Asinus
Pulcher et fortissimus
Sarcinis aptissimus.
Hez, Sire Asnes, car chantez,
Belle bouche rechignez,
Vous aurez du foin assez
Et de l’avoine a plantez.

(From the Eastern lands the Ass is come, beautiful and very brave, well fitted to bear burdens. Up! Sir Ass, and sing. Open your pretty mouth. Hay will be yours in plenty, and oats in abundance.)

Mass was continued, and at its end, apparently without awakening the least consciousness of its impropriety, the following direction (in Latin) was observed:

In fine Missae sacerdos, versus ad populum, vice ‘Ite, Missa est’, ter hinhannabit: populus vero, vice ‘Deo Gratias’, ter respondebit, ‘Hinham, hinham, hinham.’

(At the end of Mass, the priest, having turned to the people, in lieu of saying the ‘Ite missa est’, will bray thrice; the people instead of replying ‘Deo Gratias’ say, ‘Hinham, hinham, hinham.’)

Possible greeting cards…

Posted in Just Too Cool, Lighter fare, Liturgy Science Theatre 3000 | Tagged | 9 Comments

Ninevah 90 starts 13 February

My friend Fr. Richard Heilman has an initiative which you should all know about.

It starts one month from TODAY so this is time sensitive.

It is called Ninevah 90.


Si vis pacem, para bellum.

Posted in Semper Paratus, Si vis pacem para bellum!, The Coming Storm, The future and our choices | Tagged | 8 Comments

RECENT POSTS and THANKS to readers, benefactors

I made a change to the sharing buttons plugin.  I think the blog loads a little faster now.  Perhaps you could make greater use of the buttons? Pretty please?

I am deeply grateful to all of you benefactors who donate regularly, occasionally, or who send items from my wish lists. I will say Holy Mass for my benefactors again on Tuesday, 17 January.  Always included are, of course, DY and GS.

Remember to use the YOUR URGENT PRAYER REQUESTS post.  To post, you need to be registered and approved. HERE

The main page has been changing rapidly.  Here are some recent posts.


And now….


If you use the blog often, please consider signing up for a monthly donation!  Scroll to the bottom of the page for information.

And please use my links to buy COFFEE (and help the Wyoming Carmelites) and my Amazon search box ever time to do your shopping online.  It really helps.
Enter Amazon through my search box and I will get a small percentage of what you spend. (Pssst – Can’t see the search box? Turn off your “ad-blocker” for this site!)

Posted in SESSIUNCULA | Leave a comment

Italian Archbishop: “In 10 years we will all be Muslims because of our stupidity.”

Meanwhile, an Italian bishop had something interesting to say.

I hope the Maltese read this after the way their bishops went to the zoo.  HERE

This is an Emeritus Archbishop… so no one can do anything to him, if you get my drift.

At Express:

‘Everyone will be Muslim because of our stupidity’ Catholic leader blasts ‘WEAK’ church

A PROMINENT figure in the Catholic church has controversially suggested that everyone will “soon be Muslim” because Italy lives in an increasingly secular society amid rapidly growing migration figures.

Monsignor Carlo Liberati, an Italian Archbishop, [Emeritus of Pompei and of the Marian Sanctuary] gave the warning after observing the growing number of detention centres opening up in Europe, suggesting it was a sure fire way to have the Islamic faith become mainstream.

He said: “In 10 years we will all be Muslims because of our stupidity. Italy and Europe live in a pagan and atheist way, they make laws that go against God and they have traditions that are proper of paganism.

“All of this moral and religious decadence favours Islam.”

He added: “We have a weak Christian faith. The Church nowadays does not work well and seminaries are empty.

“Parishes are the only thing still standing. We need a true Christian life. All this paves the way to Islam. In addition to this, they have children and we do not. We are in full decline.


Thanks be to God for this Archbishop.  He is saying what needs to be said.

Years ago, I asked an American bishop what he thought about the state of the Church. “TERRIBLE!”, he rumbled. “What”, I asked, “should we do about it?” “The first thing we have to do is stop blowing happy gas at everyone!”… or words to that effect.

Right now it seems that only retired will stand up.

The moderation queue is ON.  Of course.

Posted in Fr. Z KUDOS, Si vis pacem para bellum!, The Coming Storm, The future and our choices, The Religion of Peace | Tagged | 16 Comments

Maltese Bishops Go To The ‘Amoris laetitia’ Zoo: Disaster… inexcusable nonsense… green-lighting sacrilege


aka – The Maltese Fiasco


Earlier today I had a great misfortune to read a statement from the Bishops of Malta which is a complete disaster.  I was going to post about it tomorrow, but canonist Ed Peters beat me to it and… he nails it with his usual amazing skill.   For the document in the official English version supplied by the Bishops of Malta from their website: HERE

Peters doesn’t have a combox, but I do… and the moderation queue is ON.

The Maltese disaster

The bishops of Malta, in a document that can only be called disastrous, repeatedly invoking Pope Francis’ Amoris laetitia,have directly approved divorced and remarried Catholics taking holy Communion provided they feel “at peace with God”. [As he said… disaster.] Unlike, say, the Argentine document on Amoris which, one could argue, left just enough room for an orthodox reading, however widely it also left the doors open for abuse by others, the Maltese bishops in their document come straight out and say it: holy Communion is for any Catholic who feels “at peace with God” and the Church’s ministers may not say No to such requests. [Did you get that?] In my view the Maltese bishops have effectively invited the Catholics entrusted to them (lay faithful and clergy alike!) to commit a number of objectively gravely evil acts. That their document was, moreover, published in L’Osservatore Romano, exacerbates matters for it deprives Vatican representatives of the ‘plausible deniability’ that they could have claimed (and might soon enough wish they could claim), as it becomes known that the Maltese bishops went beyond what even Amoris, if interpreted narrowly, seemed to permit.

For now, I make just a few points.

1. The Maltese bishops have fallen completely for the canonically and ecclesiologically false view that an individual’s assessment of his or her own readiness to receive holy Communion (see c. 916) controls a minister’s decision to administer the sacrament (see c. 915). In Malta now, anyone who approaches for the sacraments should be recognized as being “at peace with God”. Objective evidence to the contrary is simply no longer relevant. Canon 916 is thus eviscerated, Canon 915 is effectively repudiated.  [These bishops are in serious danger of eternal perdition because of what they have done.]

2. The Maltese bishops do not seem to know what the word “conjugal” means. They think that non-married people can practice “conjugal” virtues and that they can decide about whether to engage in “conjugal” acts. Nonsense and, coming from bishops, inexcusable nonsense at that. Non-married people can have sex, of course, but Catholic pastoral integrity does not hold such sexual acts on par with the physically identical, but truly conjugal, acts as performed by married persons.

3. The Maltese bishops, by extending their document to the sacrament of Reconciliation, have basically instructed their priests not to withhold absolution from a divorced-and-remarried Catholics who refuse to repent of their “public and permanent adultery” (CCC 2384) even to the point of abstaining from sexual (nb: sexual not “conjugal”) relations. Incredibly, such a directive raises the specter of green-lighting sacrilegious confessions and the commission of solicitation in confession. No priest should want either on his conscience, let alone both.  [No bishop in the world could compel me to do that.  I hope the priests of Malta do not imperil their souls.]

4. The Maltese bishops even managed to take swipes at Baptism and Confirmation by opening the door to divorced-and-remarried Catholics serving as godparents contrary to the expectations of Canon 874 § 1, 3º. See CLSA New Comm (2001) 1062-1063.

There are other serious problems with the Maltese document but the above should suffice to show why it is, quite simply, a disaster.

If you read that rubbish document, note the juxtaposition of “situations” and “ideals”.

This is going to turn into a war if not worse.  Different countries different practices.

What will become of the unity of the Church if in one country any unrepentant sinner with the official blessing of the bishop and, when you cross the border into another country, you still need a firm purpose of amendment to be absolved and public scandal must be avoided.

Does that sound like two different Churches?

UPDATE 14 January:

My friend Fr. Martin Fox, a frequent commentator here, has observations at his blog Bonfire of the Vanities.

Posted in One Man & One Woman | Tagged , , , | 71 Comments