ASK FATHER: Abstinence from meat difficult when living in parents’ home

florentine steakFrom a reader…


I would like to abstain from meat all Fridays of the year but I live with my non-Catholic parents and can’t easily get my own food every Friday, what should I do? During Lent I have been making a substantial effort not to have meat on Fridays and thanks to fortunate circumstances I have managed thus far!

Our interlocutor could be writing from Sweden. I haven’t seen that the Swedish bishops rescinded the obligation to abstain in favor of another penitential practice. I plead ignorance on that score.

That said, …

Prior to Canon Law being codified in 1917, the Church’s law was contained in a series of collections. In one of the greatest of these collections, the Liber Sextus of Pope Boniface VIII, we find 88 axioms that are known as the Regulae Iuris, The Rules of Law. These axioms provide good insight into how the Church’s law should be interpreted and applied.

Rule 6 states: Nemo potest ad impossibile obligari. No one is bound to do the impossible.

If you are young, and living with parents who provide bed and board for you, abstaining from meat (while still eating sufficiently to stay healthy) can be difficult. Whether it’s an impossibility is difficult to say from a distance. I don’t know your circumstances, the dynamics of the home.

I recommend talking about the issue with your pastor or a trusted priest. Your pastor has the authority to commute the obligation to abstain to some other pious work, if it is truly a serious difficulty. One must, of course, be respectful of one’s parents and careful not unnecessarily to waste food. At the same time, honor the Church’s law to keep Fridays a days of penance – in some way – in memory of Our Lord’s Sacrifice.

11 votes, 3.45 avg. rating (70% score)
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“Pause” for a moment to see Michael Voris’ new project

Like Michael Voris.  Hate Michael Voris.  Whatever.  Voris is a man with convictions and he acts on them.  That’s admirable.  

Like his projects.  Hate his projects.  He is doing something concrete with the time, talent and treasure at his disposal.

Would that more Catholics had his energy and determination!

Here is his latest. I don’t know if his new – and really interesting – initiative is going to work or not, but, hey! Michael, I’ve gotta hand it to you. You clearly love the Church. You are leaving it all out on the field. You could pull this off!

Helping to build up men who will serve God in some calling? Oorah!

If you want me to come to say Mass for the guys sometime, or give them a talk, I’m game. Good luck and God love you!

And for those of you who don’t like what Michael does… you do better! Just try it.

39 votes, 4.10 avg. rating (82% score)
Posted in Fr. Z KUDOS | Tagged | 17 Comments

Religion of Peace in Nigeria – now beheading with chainsaws

From RT:

Boko Haram kills, ‘beheads with chainsaws’ 40 people to derail Nigeria elections

Militants from extremist group Boko Haram attacked several Nigerian towns, torching houses and fatally shooting those who fled before reportedly beheading some of the bodies with chainsaws. The string of terror attacks comes amid the presidential vote.

At least 25 people were killed and more than 30 injured in the village of Buratai in Borno state, local officials confirmed.

Surviving witnesses described gruesome scenes of murder, saying that not only did the extremists set homes on fire and shoot those trying to escape, but also decapitated the bodies.

Local politician Ibrahim Adamu, who fled the scene, told CNN that Boko Haram “slaughtered their victims like rams and decapitated them,” adding that “they burned a large part of the village and we are afraid some residents were burnt in the homes because most people had gone to bed when the gunmen struck.”

Meanwhile, at least 14 people were killed in separate attacks by the radical Islamist group in the towns of Biri and Dukku, located in Gombe state. The victims included a legislator, AP reported.


Read more about the Religion of Peace over there.

Sts. Nunilo and Alodia, pray for us.

St. Lawrence of Brindisi, pray for us.

St. Pius V, pray for us.

11 votes, 3.45 avg. rating (70% score)
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ASK FATHER: “Mass” with no Collect, readings, etc., but lots of made up stuff

From a reader…


Today I attended Mass where we had no Collect, no First or Second Reading, No Gospel, we sashed neatly from The Lord have mercy to the bidding prayers!
We had the Consecration, and we received Communion, but no prayers after Communion and no Dismissal! we were subjected at the very start by a long eulogy on the sun shining in the sky and the Son shining in our hearts (there were no children present), lots of padding and made up bits, one of the longest SoP ever -he shook every single persons hand- I feel robbed. I just had to share this with you…I mean, have I attended Mass?

I don’t think so. This was not Mass. The priest, therefore, consecrated both elements outside of the context of Mass and, thereby, committed a grave delict. Furthermore, since this wasn’t Mass, the priest has no right to the stipend.

Can. 927 says:

It is absolutely forbidden (Latin nefas), even in extreme urgent necessity, to consecrate one matter without the other or even both outside the eucharistic celebration.

Latin nefas means, according to your trusty Lewis & Short Dictionary, is “something contrary to divine law, sinful, unlawful, execrable, abominable, criminal; an impious or wicked deed, a sin, a crime”.  Nefas is so monstrous that it is quite simply impossible to imagine that someone would do it.  In Canon Law nefas is reserved for really bad things, like keeping or selling the Eucharist for nefarious, sacrilegious purposes, selling relics, violating the Seal of Confession, and compelling someone to receive Holy Orders.

I think this has to go to the local bishop.

28 votes, 4.18 avg. rating (83% score)
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ASK FATHER: Son married in another church without a dispensation

From a reader…


My son left the Catholic Church And now belongs to the Church of England. he is getting married in C of E without a dispensation as he no longer considers himself a Catholic. I know he will not be married as far as the Catholic Church is concerned but will he be married in the eyes of God?

God Himself gave His Holy Church, the Catholic Church, the authority to bind and loose (Matthew 18:18).  The Church, with this God-given authority, has mandated that all those who are baptized into the Catholic Church are obliged to observe the Catholic form of marriage. That means that they are to marry in the presence of a duly authorized minister of the Church.

I don’t think God can be of two different minds on the matter.

That said, please don’t despair of your son’s condition. It is tragic that he has stopped practicing his Catholic Faith. Perhaps, in time, the loving example (and prayers – certainly prayers!) of his mother will draw him back.

The Church’s law might seem harsh, but is intended to bring about the good of all the faithful by upholding and protecting the integrity of matrimony, which is so under assault today.

33 votes, 3.73 avg. rating (74% score)
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LENTCAzT 40: Palm Sunday, 2nd Passion Sunday

LENTCAzT15Today is Palm Sunday, 2nd Passion Sunday. Holy Week is underway.


How long has it been?

Here is another 5 minute daily podcast for Lent.  They are intended to give you a small boost every day, a little encouragement in your own use of this holy season.

I am providing these again this year especially in gratitude to benefactors who help me and this blog.

14 votes, 3.64 avg. rating (73% score)
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Happy Birthday St. Teresa of Avila!

teresa of avila francois gerardToday is the 500th birthday of St. Teresa of Avila (28 March 1515 – 4 October 1582).

She is a great saint, reformer and Doctor of the Church.

Perhaps you readers could contribute your own favorite quotes of the quotable St. Teresa.

One of my favorite tidbits is how her feast day wound up where it did in October.

Teresa died in 1582 on the night that the Gregorian Calendar took over from the previous Julian Calender, which was off several days. With the implementation of the Gregorian calendar 5–14 October were skipped. So, Teresa died either on 4 October (if she died before midnight) or on 15 October (if she died after). Very often saints’ feasts are the day they died and were “born” into heaven. Teresa’s feast, in any event, is on 15 October… her other birthday.

22 votes, 4.09 avg. rating (81% score)
Posted in Saints: Stories & Symbols | Tagged | 21 Comments

LENTCAzT 39: Saturday of the 5th Week of Lent

LENTCAzT15Today is Saturday of the 5th Week of Lent.  Passiontide is underway. Holy Week begins tomorrow.


How long has it been?

Here is another 5 minute daily podcast for Lent.  They are intended to give you a small boost every day, a little encouragement in your own use of this holy season.

I am providing these again this year especially in gratitude to benefactors who help me and this blog.

14 votes, 3.00 avg. rating (61% score)
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WDTPRS: Palm Sunday – The Transforming Example

Palm Sunday marks the beginning of Holy Week.  The Sacred Triduum (triduum from tres dies – “three day space”) were once days of obligation when people were freed from servile work so that they could attend the liturgies, once celebrated in the morning.  In the 17th century, however, the obligation was removed under the influence of changing social and religious conditions.  As a result, the faithful lost sight of these beautiful liturgies and in general only priests and religious in monasteries knew them.

In 1951 Pope Pius XII began to restore the Triduum liturgies to prominence by mandating that the Easter Vigil be celebrated in the evening.  In 1953 Mass was permitted in the evening on certain days.  A reformed Ordo for Holy Week was issued in 1955 and took effect on 25 March 1956.   That is when the Sunday of Holy Week came to be called “The Second Sunday in Passiontide, or Palm Sunday”.  Matins and Lauds (Tenebrae, “shadows”) was to be sung in the morning.  Holy Thursday Mass was not to begin before 5 p.m. and no later than 8 p.m.  The idea was to make it easier for people to attend these all important liturgies.

The principal ceremonies of the Palm Sunday Mass include the blessing of palm branches (or olive branches in some parts of the world, such as Rome) and a procession around and into the church.  In the present Missale Romanum an interesting rubric about the procession harkens to ancient times:

“At a suitable hour the “collect” is made (fit collecta) in a lesser church or in another appropriate place outside the church toward which the procession marches.”

Here is our word “collect” used to describe a gathering of people.

Also in the rubrics there is something helpful for our understanding of “active participation”:

“Then as is customary the priest greets the people; and then there is given a brief admonition, by which the faithful are invited to participate actively and consciously (actuose et conscie participandam) in this day’s celebration.”

Those words actuose et conscie are very important.  The Second Vatican Council, when using the term actuosa participatio or “active/actual participation”, meant mainly interior participation, the engaging of the mind, heart and will.  The Council Fathers did not mean primarily exterior participation.  Exterior participation should be the natural result of interior participation: we seek to express outwardly what we are experiencing within.  While the two influence each other, there is a logical priority to interior participation, which is by far the more important.

At the end of the procession, when everyone is gathered in the church, the priest says the…

Omnipotens sempiterne Deus,
qui humano generi, ad imitandum humilitatis exemplum,
Salvatorem nostrum carnem sumere
et crucem subire fecisti,
concede propitius,
ut et patientiae ipsius habere documenta
et resurrectionis consortia mereamur.

The vocabulary of today’s Collect is incredibly complex.  We can only scratch at a fraction of what is there.

Our prayer was in older editions of the Missale Romanum and, before them, in the Gelasian Sacramentary.  In the Gelasian there is an extra helpful et: Salvatorem nostrum et carnem sumere, et crucem subire.  Wonderfully alliterative!  The editor of the Gelasian excludes a comma, which makes sense to me: qui humano generi_ad imitandum…. There may be a touch of St. Augustine’s (+430) influence in the prayer.  In Augustine humilitatis appears with exemplum on close conjunction with documentum (ep. 194.3) and with documentum and patientiae in proximity to exemplum (en. ps. 29 en. 2.7).  In the context of the Passion Augustine says: “Therefore, the Lord Himself, judge of the living and the dead, stands before a human judge (Pilate), offering us a decisive lesson of humility and patience (humilitatis et patientiae documentum), not defeated, but giving the soldier an example of how one wages war (pugnandi exemplum): …”

There are two words for “example” here: exemplum…documenta. These words appear together in numerous classical and patristic texts. Our startlingly useful Lewis & Short Dictionary informs us that our old friend exemplum means, “a sample for imitation, instruction, proof, a pattern, model, original, example….”  Exemplum is a term in ancient rhetoric, an inseparable part of the warp and weft of the development of Christian doctrine during the first millennium.

For Fathers of the Church, all well-trained in rhetoric (how we need those skills today), exemplum identified a range of things including man as God’s image, Christ as a Teacher, and the content of prophecy.   In Greek and Roman rhetoric and philosophy, an exemplum could have auctoritas, “authority”, the persuasive force of an argument.  When we hear today’s prayer with ancient ears, exemplum is not merely an “example” to be followed: it indicates a past event with such authoritative force that it transforms him who imitates it.  Today we hear humilitatis exemplum, the authoritative model of humility who is Christ – Christ in action, or rather Christ in Passion, undergoing His sufferings for our sake.  This becomes the foundational and authoritative pattern of the Christian experience: self-emptying in the Incarnation and Passion leading to resurrection.   Exemplum is augmented later in the prayer by documentaDocumentum is also a “pattern for imitation” like exemplum but also in some contexts having the meaning of “a proof”, that is, a concrete demonstration that what is asserted is true: evidence.   In this case it is a paradigm after which we are to pattern and shape our own lives.  But this pattern or model itself actually has power to shape us.  Christ transforms us the baptized who are made in his image and likeness, after his perfect exemplum, and who imitate His exempla and documenta, His words and deeds.

Consortium (from con-sors… having the same lot/fate/destiny with something or someone) classically is a “community of goods” and “fellowship, participation, society.”

Habere has a vast entry in the L&S. The common meaning is “have”, but it also indicates concepts like “hold, account, esteem, consider, regard” as well as “have as a habit, peculiarity, or characteristic.”  Habere is doing double-duty with two objects, documenta and consortia. This is why I use both “grasp” for the first application of habere and “have” for the second.  The meanings of the two different objects draw our two different senses of habere.

Patientia is from patior, “to bear, support, undergo, suffer, endure”, and it carries all its connotations as well as the meaning “patience”.  This is where the word “Passion” comes from.  Today is Second Passion Sunday.  We could say here, “examples of His long-suffering” or “exemplary patterns of His patient forbearance.”  Finally, note that nostrum goes with Salvatorem and not with carnem: caro, carnis is feminine and the form would have to have been nostram carnem.

Almighty eternal God,
who, for the human race,
made our Savior both assume flesh and undergo the Cross
for an example of humility to be imitated,
graciously grant,
that we may be worthy both to grasp both the lessons of His forbearance
and also to have shares in the resurrection.

Almighty, ever-living God,
you have given the human race Jesus Christ our Savior,
as a model of humility.
He fulfilled your will
by becoming man and giving his life on the cross.
Help us to bear witness to you
by following his example of suffering
and make us worthy to share in his resurrection

Almighty ever-living God,
who as an example of humility for the human race to follow
caused our Savior to take flesh and submit to the Cross,
graciously grant that we may heed his lesson of patient suffering
and so merit a share in his Resurrection

More can be said about that phrase patientiae ipsiusIpse, a demonstrative pronoun, is emphatic and means “himself, herself, itself”.  Could we personify patientia to mean, “grasp the lessons of Patience itself” or even “of Patience Himself”?   That would be poetically sublime.

In the fullness of time the Second Person of the Trinity, God the Son, the eternal Word through whom all things visible and invisible were made, by the will of the Father emptied Himself of His glory and took our human nature up into an indestructible bond with His own divinity.  He came to us sinners to save us from our sins and teach us who we are (cf. Gaudium et spes 22).  This saving mission began with self-emptying (in Greek kenosis).

Fathom for a moment the humility of the Savior, emptying Himself of His divine splendor, submitting Himself to His humble and hidden life before His public ministry.   When the time of His years and His mission was complete He gave Himself over again, emptying Himself yet again even to giving up His very life.   Every moment of Jesus’ earthly life, every word and deed, are conditioned by humility.   This is our perfect example to follow, an example so perfect that it has the power to transform us.

As Holy Week begins and the Sacred Triduum is observed, come to the sacramental observance of the sacred and saving mysteries with humble self-emptying.  Make room for Christ.

20 votes, 3.25 avg. rating (65% score)
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An especially virulent case of Burke Derangement Syndrome™

wile e coyote knife forkThere is an especially venomous case of Burke Derangement Syndrome™ from the Wile E. Coyote of contemporary liberal catholicism, Michael Sean Winters of National Schismatic Reporter (aka Fishwrap).

He reacted to an interview Card. Burke gave to LifeSite.  HERE

When it comes to Card. Burke it seems that there are no limits to decorum.  Winters assumes he can write any sort of trash and not commit a transgression.

You can read MSW’s hit piece yourselves, but here is the bottom line:

Card. Burke says that homosexual sex is sinful and MSW has a spittle-flecked nutty.

22 votes, 4.23 avg. rating (84% score)
Posted in Self-absorbed Promethean Neopelagians, Sin That Cries To Heaven | Tagged , , | 2 Comments