Our Sorrowful Mother, Queen of Martyrs

Today is the Seven Sorrows of the Blessed Virgin Mary.  Can you name them?

Here the entry from the Roman Martyrology:

Memoria beatae Mariae Virginis perdolentis, quae, iuxta crucem Iesu adstans, Filii salutiferae passioni intime fideliterque sociata est et nova exstitit Eva, ut, quemadmodum primae mulieris inoboedientia ad mortem contulit, ita mira eius oboedientia ad vitam conferret.

In the older, pre-Conciliar Missale Romanum we find this wonderful Collect for today’s Holy Mass.

Deus, in cuius passione,
secundum Simeonis prophetiam
dulcissimam animam gloriosae Virginis Matris Mariae
doloris gladius pertransivit:
concede propitius;
ut qui dolores eius venerando recolimus,
passionis tuae effectum felicem consequamur.

O God, at whose Passion,
according to the Simeon’s prophecy,
the most sweet soul of the glorious Virgin, Mary our Mother,
was pierced by a sword of sorrow:
mercifully grant
that we who observe her sorrows by veneration
may attain to the happy result of Your Passion

Also, in the old Communion Antiphon we have a connection between the great sorrow of Mary at the Cross and how she merits to be called Queen of Martyrs:

Felices sensus beatae Mariae Virginis,
qui sine morte meruerunt martyrii palmam
sub Cruce Domini

Sensus is an incredibly complicated word. It means, among other things, the faculties of sensing and perceiving, but also of the sentiments of the heart and mind. In a collective “sense” sensus stands for “the common feelings of humanity, the moral sense”. Sensus is also our disposition of mind or humor and inclination. It signifies understanding of the thinking faculty, in the sphere of reason.

Blissful the sentiments of the Blessed Virgin Mary,
which beneath the Cross of the Lord,
without death merited the martyr’s palm

This antiphon underscores how the totality of Mary’s being, “magnified” by God at every point of her life, was united with her Son as He endured the sufferings of the Cross.

This feast reminds us that there is a path to holiness through the sufferings and sorrows we endure.  We must learn to unite them to the sufferings of our Lord.  Mary teaches us to do this.  The martyrs teach us to do this.

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The other day the Holy Father Pope Francis witnessed, during Holy Mass for the Feast of the Exaltation of the Cross, the marriages of a passel of couples, some in some irregular situations. Leaving that aside, there was one thing that caught my eye.

His Holiness, again, did not seem to distribute Communion. He doesn’t, you know. However, deacons distributed under both kinds and by intinction.

Thus, no Communion in the hand.  Nota bene: they are kneeling.

For all the liturgical progressivists out there who think that Francis is the first Pope who has ever smiled or kissed a baby…. When will you implement kneeling in your parishes for Communion by intinction?

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Registered or not, will you in your charity please take a moment look at the requests and to pray for the people about whom you read?

Continued from THESE.

I get many requests by email asking for prayers. Many requests are heart-achingly grave and urgent.

As long as my blog reaches so many readers in so many places, let’s give each other a hand. We should support each other in works of mercy.

If you have some prayer requests, feel free to post them below. You have to be registered here to be able to post.

I still have a pressing personal petition.  I could use your prayers, frankly.  The recent past has brought some bad and discouraging news and, as I foresee, there is worse on the horizon.  I must move into warfare mode soon.

Pray for the poor suffering Christians in Iraq!

Sts. Nunilo and Alodia, pray for us!

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Those zany Satanists!

In case you were wondering, the satanic event scheduled to be held in an Oklahoma City civic center (thus, state operated), is still on and has sold out.  HERE

But, hey!  Don’t worry.  These are just benign people doing their thing.  Right? No consecrated Host, no harm, no foul, right?

In other news, we read at The Mail:

Terrified five-year-old boy has his eyes gouged out with spoon by his mother and five relatives in satanic ritual

A Mexican family has been jailed for gouging out the eyes of their five-year-old relative with a spoon during a satanic ritual to bring about the end of the world.

Fernando Caleb Alvarado Rios was ordered to close his eyes out of respect with his mother, grandparents, aunt and uncles as they danced in a circle and called on Satan to reveal himself.

But when he was too scared to do so, his mother, Maria del Carmen Garcia Rios, grabbed a spoon and the entire group gouged them out.


Fun and games, huh?

I hope Archbishop Coakley will use the older, traditional Rituale Romanum before, during, and after this evil event, the shame of the city officials.

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Good news on the Spanish Front!

I received good news today (Sunday 14 September, as I write). Not all the news – most – I have received lately has been good.   Perhaps things have not gone well in Blackfen or in Bakersfield, but in Dunn, something good is up.

First, I have written occasionally about the need to reach out through the traditional forms of our Catholic Faith to the Latino communities with whom we share our places of worship.  We have to bring communities together.  A while back I posted a question about Extraordinary Form resources in Spanish HERE.  There were good responses.  And recently I posted about a beautiful new Latin and Spanish hand missal from Angelus Press HERE.

Today I had news of a fine development in the Diocese of Raleigh, NC.  Fr. Paul Parkerson of Sacred Heart Church in Dunn, has done something special.

On Sunday, the anniversary of Summorum Pontificum going into effect, Fr. Parkerson announced that his parish will have TLMs with preaching in Spanish.   But, there’s more.

For 10 years, TLM has been offered at Sacred Heart along with two English language Novus Ordo Masses, as well as a Spanish Novus Ordo Mass.

On the last weekend of this month, September, they will have

  • Saturday, 5:30 p.m. English, Ordinary Form (no change)
  • Sunday, 9:00 a.m., Extraordinary Form with repeated readings and sermon in English
  • Sunday, 12:00 p.m., Extraordinary Form with repeated readings and sermon in Spanish
  • Religious Education classes between the two TLMs in both languages for 90 minutes.

Fr. Parkerson told me that he pondered this change for a long time.  The news of the Spanish hand missal, which he read here, pushed his decision along.

Father wrote me a note with some other comments, some of which I can share.  Thus, Fr. Parkerson:

Both before the motu proprio, and after, Sacred Heart Parish has taken on a kind of special apostolate – not just to provide the TLM for those who desire the older Form of the Mass, but also to familiarize, and refamiliarize all the Catholics in the Parish and in the Diocese of Raleigh with the Traditional Mass in all its beauty and mystery. I often say, “We started out this ministry to assist those who simply wanted the Tridentine Mass, but in the process, starting with myself, we fell in love with the Older Mass and Sacraments.” I am a convert, personally, but learning the older Mass has been like a second conversion, transforming my whole understanding of the Faith – and helping many people in the Parish to have a far more profound understanding of the Divine Mysteries which take place at Mass.

At the Parish level here at Sacred Heart, various attempts have been made to bring about greater unity in the – esp. between English speakers and Spanish speakers, most of which have been unsuccessful.

Last Christmas, the Latinos asked me to lead them in the devotion of “Las Posadas” but were insistent that the Americans participate. When the issue of the language difference was brought up, the Latinos themselves were the very ones to ask for the TLM since, according to what they had learned after my years of teaching them this, “Latin is the language of the entire Church and provides us all with the opportunity to worship together.” We had a TLM followed by Posadas, and this was probably, the most successful “multi-cultural” event we have ever had in the Parish. The key, as I knew then, and as I am certain now, was the Latin language and the ancient Form of the Mass which belongs to every Catholic legitimately. It makes everyone equal, if they will open their hearts to its beauty.

In pondering the differences between Catholic immigrants throughout the centuries, it occurred to me, as it has to many others, that there never used to be such disunity amongst Catholics, despite their idiomatic differences. They all shared a common understanding of the Mass of the Ages, despite the fact that the homily may be in a language other than their own mother tongue. (I’ve never heard anyone complain about not understanding the sermon, though.)

After speaking with the Parish Council and several trusted priests, I decided that, for the good of the Parish and for our apostolate to the diocese, it is time to take things to the next level. Therefore, on the 7th anniversary of Summ. Pont., I announced a change in the Mass schedule which will go into effect on the last weekend of September.

My main point in presenting the Parish with this upcoming change is that it must be seen for what it is: GOOD. As our dear Pope Benedict XVI said, “What was good and holy for previous generations remains good and holy for us today.” It is our intention, in this Parish, to live by that simple truth spoken by the Holy Father, and to help all Catholics who come to this Parish to understand the older Mass through the use of Missals and other worship aids. The new Latin/Spanish 1962 hand Missal just made available by Angelus Press is a Godsend.

To pass along history from generation to generation, is a great gift. It is our duty to do whatever we can to shake off the religious, doctrinal, and liturgical amnesia which seems to be paralyzing the Church and to rediscover the gift of the Faith as it is so beautifully contained in the Treasure of the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass in its Traditional Latin Form.

Fr. Z kudos to Fr. Parkerson and Sacred Heart Parish.  Excellent news.

Finally, Fr. Parkerson told me that they are now looking for a good hymnal for Spanish TLMs.  Perhaps there is something out there like the old St. Gregory Hymnal?  Anyone?  Help?

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Your Sunday Sermon Notes

Was there a great point from the sermon you heard for this Sunday, the Feast of the Exaltation of the Cross?

Let us know.

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Summorum Pontificum 7 years on. Wherein Fr. Z rants.

Today is the anniversary of the implementation of Summorum Pontificum.  The Motu Proprio will surely be recognized as one of the most important achievements of the too-brief pontificate of Benedict XVI.  It has already created a huge knock-on effect in many younger priests and seminarians.  It’s fruits, and those of Benedict’s “Marshall Plan”, will manifest themselves in years to come.

That said, I remember where I was when Summorum Pontificum went into effect, on 14 September 2007.  I was in England, visiting my good friend Fr. Tim Finigan, who was, then, at Our Lady of the Rosary in Blackfen, Kent.  On that day we had a wonderful Solemn Mass to mark the occasion and I was privileged to preach.  I concluded that sermon saying:

Our attachment to the extraordinary form of Mass is therefore grounded not in nostalgia, or curiosity, or a fear of modernity, or suspicion of Vatican II, or downright stubbornness, but rather in the conviction that this form of Holy Mass draws us into a participation in the mystery of Christ, the incarnate Word, who saves us from eternal death.

Liturgy has no higher goal than to promote holiness.  And so we are thankful for the gift of Summorum Pontificum.  We accept the challenge the Holy Father has given us to extend this older form of the Roman Rite to all those who seek it and to celebrate the Roman Rite with devotion.  May it promote in us the holiness which is Christ’s gift to the Church.

That was then.  This is now.

I have been curious about how things have been at Our Lady’s Church in Blackfen since they very recently – beginning of September, I believe – acquired a new parish priest, a Fr. Fisher, whom I don’t believe I have met.  Fr. Finigan has moved to Margate after quite a few years at Blackfen.

I’ve been wondering if Fr. Fisher would be maintaining the regular celebrations of the Extraordinary Form in continuity with his predecessor.  I was informed that he knows how to celebrate Mass in the traditional form.

That said, more than one person (Fr. Finigan is NOT among them) has written to me with concern about some swift developments in Blackfen.   People are pretty upset there right now.  I’ve had a lot of information come in which, as I was writing, I decided not to post at this time.   Let two items suffice.

  • Fr. Fisher announced that he is terminating Extraordinary Form Masses at Blackfen at the end of September.
  • The Tablet (aka The Bitter Pill) is now available in the back of the church.

What’s my point?

First, I have real affection for that parish, since I spent good time visiting and I know some wonderful people who have been involved there.  I am concerned for them.  This is happening after two weeks of a new regime.

Second, everyone who has what St. John Paul called “legitimate aspirations” regarding the traditional expressions of the faith need to be vigilant and to work ceaselessly to expand opportunities for the older, traditional form of Holy Mass and the sacraments.  Help seminarians and priests get training.  Encourage them.  Work hard to make sure that everything is in place and available.  Keep expanding the pool of priests who know what to do.

Why do I harp on this all the time?

As its says in Scripture, “surrexit rex novus super Aegyptum… there arose a new king over Egypt, who knew not Joseph”.  It is increasingly evident that, in many corners of the Church today, the enemies of what Pope Benedict accomplished are feeling emboldened.  What has been gained, through patience and the hard work of years, can be swept away be a single sweep of a new pharaoh.

So, I will offer the following.

First, I don’t believe that Pope Francis will rescind Summorum Pontificum.  I have little doubt that it has been suggested to him by his inner circle.  I don’t believe that His Holiness would consider this a big enough issue to deal with.  He has much bigger fish to fry.  That’s doesn’t mean that others, the far more political, sensing changes in the wind, won’t try to curtail what Summorum Pontificum established.

Second, be exemplary Catholics.  Do not just drive to a church where you have the older Mass on the schedule and then drive away, forgetting about the place until next week.  Yes, that’s exactly what 98% of regular parishioners do too.  Be involved in the life of the parish as a whole so that you have some influence when or if the blade hits the meat.  Be involved, be present, be visible.  Be especially attentive to projects that involve corporal works of mercy.  Exceed expectations.  Be engaged with the parish priests.  When something is good, tell them.  Be cordial.  Go out of your way.  Make sure they know you and appreciate your presence.

Will all this require sacrifice?  Yes.  But it is what you should be doing anyway.  Right?  So it’s going to be twice as hard for you as it is for others who don’t care about these things.  So what?

Next, people who have these “legitimate aspirations”, as St. John Paul described them, should get their heads into the mental place wherein they can deal with being persecuted – again - without becoming bitter, discouraged, hostile, aggressive.  In many places, it’s simply a fact that we are already scorned as second class citizens.  Don’t confirm unfair and even sinful prejudices by being a jerk.  St. Paul told the Romans to treat their enemies with kindness and, by doing so, heap hot coals on their heads.  Don’t just check out either.  You have to be engaged and be … well… holier than ever.  So: GO TO CONFESSION.

I sense that, in some corners, things could get tougher really quickly.  It’s buckle-it-on time.  Even if the situation where you are isn’t so dicey, it’s still buckle-it-on time.

You remember the story of Nehemiah, I hope.  The Persian King Artaxerxes gave Nehemiah permission to rebuild the walls of Jerusalem which was surrounded by enemies, Philistines, Arabs and the like.  They were infuriated.  While the workman strove to get the walls up before they could be attacked, “aedificantium enim unusquisque gladio erat accinctus…  each of the builders had his sword girded at his side while he built.”  A trumpeter stood by on watch.

I, for one, do not assume that anything is going to be smooth.  I take my queue not only from what happened to Israelites after the death of the friendly pharaoh, but also from Nehemiah.  I’m buckling up. I sat down today, after some discouraging news, and made a list for myself of a few things I am resolved to do, or to do better.  Change has to begin with me.

Get your heads into the game, my dear readers.   Get organized.  Be vigilant and prayerful and active active active.  All hands on deck.  As Jack Aubrey might put it, get ready for a blow.

And now, on that cheery note, I shall make pesto from basil in honor of this happy anniversary.  The Widow is chilling in the fridge.  I will pray, in a special way for His Holiness Benedict XVI.  I will also raise a glass to Benedict, whom I thank with great fondness for the gift to the whole Church that is Summorum Pontificum.


Posted in "How To..." - Practical Notes, ACTION ITEM!, Be The Maquis, Benedict XVI, Hard-Identity Catholicism, Liturgy Science Theatre 3000, New Evangelization, Our Catholic Identity, SUMMORUM PONTIFICUM, The Coming Storm, The Drill, The future and our choices, The Olympian Middle, Universae Ecclesiae, Wherein Fr. Z Rants | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 44 Comments

“If God exists, He is evil….” Not.

For your consideration…

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David Haines, rest in peace. Mass for his intention.

What part of “war” is unclear?

I am sadden and infuriated at the murder of the British aid worker David Haines.  Practitioners of the Religion of Peace sawed his head off.

His family probably won’t see this, but…

I will say Mass for David Haines tomorrow.  Tomorrow, Exaltation of the Cross, I can choose my own intention.

David Haines, rest in peace.

Sts. Nunilo and Alodia, pray for us.

St. Lawrence of Brindisi, pray for us.


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WDTPRS: Exaltation of the Cross

This year, the Feast of the Exaltation of the Cross takes precedence over the Ordinary Form calendar’s 24th Sunday of Ordinary Time and over the Extraordinary Form’s 14th Sunday after Pentecost.  Let’s look at the Collects for the Feast of the Exaltation of the Cross in both the Ordinary and the Extraordinary Form, the 1962 Roman Missal of St John XXIII.

Today’s feast commemorates the discovery, as tradition has it under sweet basil herb bushes, of the Holy Cross by Emperor Constantine’s mother St Helena in AD 325 in Jerusalem as well as and the Dedication of the Basilica of the Holy Sepulcher built on that site in 335. A portion of the Cross was placed there.  The Basilica was consecrated on 13 September and, on 14 September the fragment of the Cross was shown to the people so that the clergy and faithful could pray before it.  In 614 invading Persians and King Chosroes absconded with it. They held it until it was recaptured by the Byzantine Emperor Heraclius in 628 and returned to the Basilica.

COLLECT (1962):

Deus, qui nos hodierna die Exaltationis sanctae Crucis annua solemnitate laetificas: praesta quaesumus; ut cuius mysterium in terra cognovimus, eius redemptionis praemia in caelo mereamur.


O God, who on this day gladden us by the yearly solemnity of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross: grant, we beseech You; that in heaven we may merit to attain the rewards of redemption of Him, whose mystery we have known on earth.

The colons and semicolons in the older way of printed liturgical orations are intended to help the priest sing the prayer, rather than to give it greater sense.

The force of the last phrase is “whom we have known on earth in mystery”.  Remember that mysterium is nearly interchangeable with sacramentum.  Notice the parallel set up between in terra… in caelo.  In this life, we can know Christ and what is promised us in heaven only as through a glass, darkly, as St Paul put it.  Our supreme contact with Christ in this life is in the sacramental mysteries, in our sacred liturgical worship and in Holy Communion.  In heaven our knowledge will be more direct, though God will forever remain Mystery, tremendum et fascinans, awesome and alluring.

Here is another version from the beautiful hand missal from Baronius Press:

O God, who this day dost gladden us by the yearly feast of the Exaltation of the Cross: grant, we beseech Thee, that we who on earth acknowledge the Mystery of Redemption wrought upon it, may be worthy to enjoy the rewards of that same Redemption in heaven.

The Baronius Press hand missal, printed in the UK, was released in 2007, the same year that Benedict XVI issued Summorum Pontificum which greatly freed up the use of the 1962 Missale Romanum.  This document, with its juridical solutions to many burning issues, is one of the most important accomplishments of Benedict’s too short pontificate.

Let is now move to the Ordinary Form, or Novus Ordo edition of the Missale Romanum.

COLLECT (2002):

Deus, qui Unigenitum tuum crucem subire voluisti,  ut salvum faceret genus humanum, praesta, quaesumus, ut, cuius mysterium in terra cognovimus, eius redemptionis praemia in caelo consequi mereamur.

This was pieced together from phrases from Collects of Palm Sunday and of Wednesday in Holy Week as well as today’s feast in the pre-Conciliar Missal, as we just saw above.


O God, who desired that Your Only-begotten undergo the Cross so that He would make the human race free, grant, we beseech You, that we merit to attain in heaven the rewards of redemption of Him, whose mystery we have known on earth.


God our Father, in obedience to you your only Son accepted death on the cross for the salvation of mankind. We acknowledge the mystery of the cross on earth. May we receive the gift of redemption in heaven.

Not content to chop the Latin into two sentences, the translators opted for three.


O God, who willed that your Only Begotten Son should under the Cross to save the human race, grant, we pray, that we, who have known his mystery on earth, may merit the grace of his redemption in heaven.

Today, the aromatic herb basil (Ocimum basilicum which, comes from Greek basileos, “king”) is blessed by our Eastern brothers and sisters and placed in abundance around their Crosses.  Permit me to channel my inner John XXIII and suggest that having pasta and pesto this Sunday, with friends and loved ones, would be a fine way to observe the feast day.


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