ASK FATHER: Delaying baptism until after Lent

baptism ancientFrom a reader…


The pastoral associate at our NO parish makes a point of insisting every year that we don’t do Baptisms during Lent, supposedly as a way of showing unity with the Catechumens. A couple of years ago, for my daughter that was born in late February, I effectively demanded the sacrament for her based on on CCC 1250, which tasks both the Church and the parents to “confer Baptism shortly after birth” without noting any exception based on the liturgical calendar. Our pastor was on my side and so obviously the Baptism occurred (during Lent, much to the PA’s chagrin). This practice of delaying the sacrament continues at our parish unless one gets the pastor involved.

The question is: Is there a tradition of such a practice as delaying Baptism until after Lent? Is such a practice documented anywhere?

In the ancient Church, baptisms most often involved adults.  They were done at the Easter Vigil, after a lengthy period of catechesis.

While it’s always good to look back to the foundations of our faith for guidance and direction, it’s also good to look at why our forebears stopped doing what they did.

baptism_01Once Christianity was legalized and being Christian didn’t automatically subject one to suspicion, probable arrest and likely execution, we could be a bit more open about how we welcomed newcomers into the faith. Coupled with Christ’s clear command to baptize, we started baptizing new believers, including children, more frequently. No longer a once-a-year event, baptism came to be relatively commonplace.

Fast forward to today. There is no prohibition in the law against baptizing during the season of Lent. None.

Canon 867 in the 1983 CIC places on parents the obligation to have their infants baptized “in the first few weeks.”

The ritual books place a preference on baptizing adults at the Easter Vigil, but even that is not mandatory.

Baptism should come when the adult has “manifested the intention to receive baptism, been instructed sufficiently about the truths of the faith and Christian obligations, and been tested in the Christian life through the catechumenate.”

Baptism. It’s not a thing to be trifled with.  It should not be delayed too long, especially out of what might sometimes but a sentimental reason.

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ASK FATHER: Do vestments really matter?!?


Building the kingdom, one yellow chasuble at a time.

From a deacon…


Does the kind, shape, color, and texture of vestments worn to celebrate the Mass really matter? Or, is it the person wearing the vestment is about building God’s Kingdom here on earth?

Wow… interesting.

I am reminded of John 12.

Jesus therefore, six days before the pasch, came to Bethania, where Lazarus had been dead, whom Jesus raised to life. And they made him a supper there: and Martha served: but Lazarus was one of them that were at table with him. Mary therefore took a pound of ointment of right spikenard, of great price, and anointed the feet of Jesus, and wiped his feet with her hair; and the house was filled with the odour of the ointment. Then one of his disciples, Judas Iscariot, he that was about to betray him, said: Why was not this ointment sold for three hundred pence, and given to the poor? Now he said this, not because he cared for the poor; but because he was a thief, and having the purse, carried the things that were put therein. Jesus therefore said: Let her alone, that she may keep it against the day of my burial. For the poor you have always with you; but me you have not always.

Actually, the kind, shape, color, and texture of the vestment really doesn’t matter.

Nor does the person wearing the vestment matter.

The only thing that matters is Him. Everything else is contingent.  There is one thing necessary (cf Luke 10: 41-42).

When, during Holy Mass, we are in attendance upon the one Who is necessary, then our feeble attempts to put forth our best foot become all-important.

Have you ever seen a child picking a bouquet of dandelions for his mother? He is careful to pick only the most beautiful ones, in full flower and not yet gone to seed. He meticulously finds the largest blossoms, arranges them carefully and presents them to the object of his affection proudly with a puffed-out chest and beaming smile.

They are worthless. Mere weeds that, under the best circumstances, will last for a few hours in a vase. Yet, they are the most precious things in the world because of the love and care that has gone into their selection. The boy gave his best to find the best possible dandelions for his mother.

Should we put less effort into our gift of worship to Almighty God?

So, yes, the vestments matter, and, no, they don’t matter at all.

gold angel vestments

2 votes, 4.50 avg. rating (87% score)
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LENTCAzT 38: Friday of the 5th Week of Lent – Our Lady of Sorrows

LENTCAzT15Today is Friday of the 5th Week of Lent.  Passiontide is underway. We are one week away from Good Friday. Today is the Feast of Our Lady of Sorrows.


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.

In this podcast you hear music from the wonderful Benedictines of Mary, Queen of Apostles. HERE


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ASK FATHER: Can a Bishop be a Deacon for a Priest in a Solemn Mass?

From a reader…


Would it be licit for a Bishop to offer to serve as Deacon for a Extraordinary Form Solemn High Mass Extraordinary Form celebrated by a Priest who is not a Bishop?

That would be just plain weird.

I have no idea how the ceremonial of it all would play out. Fortescue, Wapelhorst, … any of the other standard Rubricians wouldn’t be of much help to figure it out.

This is in the great category of The Possible. A Bishop was ordained as a Deacon. He still possesses the diaconal character.

It is also in the great category of The Inadvisable.

It would be like … putting ketchup on sushi or playing Vivaldi on a banjo.

8 votes, 4.88 avg. rating (95% score)
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Another Cardinal stands up to Card. Marx and German bishops:

His Eminence Kurt. Card. Koch, President of the Pontifical Council for Christian Unity (Card. Kasper’s old billet), has firmly rejected the progressivist notions which Card. Müller called “absolutely anti-Catholic”.  From LifeSite with my emphases and comments:

Vatican cardinal tells German bishops: We can’t adapt the faith to the times like Christians did under the Nazis

ROME, March 26, 2015 ( – An influential Swiss cardinal at the Vatican has warned Germany’s bishops that the Church cannot merely adapt itself to the times as some Christians did in order to support the Nazis.

In an interview with the German Catholic newspaper Die Tagespost, Cardinal Kurt Koch firmly (but politely) refuted the proposal of Cardinal Reinhard Marx and Bishop Franz-Josef Bode, both delegates to the upcoming Synod on the Family, that the Catholic Church has to adjust herself more to the “life realities” of Catholics today, and liberalize its attitude toward remarried divorcees. Cardinal Marx had even declared that the German bishops will make their pastoral decisions independently of Rome.  [Boooo!]

Cardinal Koch’s comments followed a strong rebuke of Cardinal Marx by German Cardinal Paul Josef Cordes. “A Cardinal cannot easily separate the pastoral approach from the teaching,” Cardinal Cordes said, “unless he wants to ignore the binding meaning of Christ’s words and the binding words of the Council of Trent.”

Cardinal Koch, president of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity, said that Bode’s words should remind us of a similar historical situation: namely the time of the Third Reich, where the “German Christians” adjusted their faith to the worldview of National Socialism, namely its racist and nationalistic ideas. [Wow.  That will get their attention.] He said: “Let us think of the ‘German Christians’ during the time of National Socialism, when, next to the Holy Scripture, they also raised up the Nation and the Race as sources of revelation, against which the Theological Declaration of Barmen (1934) [which rejected the submission of the Protestant churches under the state] protested. We have to differentiate very carefully here and listen with sensitivity to the signs of the times – and to the spirit that reveals itself in these signs: Which ones are signs of the Gospel, which ones are not?”

With this comment, Koch made clear that it is not the Catholic Church’s mission to adapt her irreformable teaching to the spirit of the time, the Zeitgeist, but, rather, the Church has to follow Christ’s teaching at all times, throughout history.

In this context, it is wise to point to that part of German history, where many Christians, mainly Protestants of the movement called “German Christians,” subjected parts of Christ’s teaching under the ideology of Adolf Hitler. Such an adaptation might have sounded convincing at the time, but there will also always be a “time after,” where many Christians then had to regret their inordinate submission to such a false teaching.

In reference to our own time, we can apply Cardinal Koch’s words and determine not to adapt to a morally lax atmosphere that has spread throughout the Western world since the cultural revolution of the 1960s, which now also permeates more and more of the culture of the Catholic Church. The standard of Christ is still applicable now, and will always be – it is timely, and timeless.

[NB] Cardinal Koch thus insisted that it is dangerous to declare “life realities” as a third source of revelation: “To see how and in which way people are living their Faith today, is of course helpful and important, in order to recognize the challenges of the pastoral duties of the Church. However, this [the “life realities”] cannot be a third reality of the revelation next to Holy Scripture and the Magisterium.”

18 votes, 4.78 avg. rating (94% score)
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The silly season is still in full swing!

Sent to me by a reader.

No, this isn’t… weird.  Not at all.  Nope.


French Provincial Minister Michel Laloux expressed himself in dance during our morning Mass for the Annunciation.

I’m not making this up.

Watch and try not to laugh or roll your eyes. Face palms are acceptable.

This was posted, seemingly with admiration and approval, by the ENGLISH SPEAKING CONFERENCE – Order of Friars Minor.

French Provincial Minister Michel Laloux expressed himself in dance during our morning Mass for the Annunciation.

Posted by ENGLISH SPEAKING CONFERENCE – Order of Friars Minor on Wednesday, March 25, 2015

[Within minutes of my posting this, someone pulled the video.  But it is also on YouTube!]

I wonder if he practiced that.

And then there is the fellow who gave the guys an “instrumental reflection” during the morning’s liturgy.  Instrument? Clarinet.

Not really my thing.

11 votes, 3.91 avg. rating (78% score)
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Wherein Fr. Z muses on a growing trend

Let me put some facts together for you.

At La Stampa Marco Tosatti is reporting that, before the upcoming Synod on the Family in October, things are already heating up.   It seems that Cantagalli, the Italian publisher of Permanere nella verità di Cristo (the Five Cardinals Book™ Remaining in the Truth of Christ, UK HERE) is suing the ultra-liberal “Bologna School” and Kasperite writer Alberto Melloni for defamation.  It’s usually only liberals who sue the faithful.

And there is a short paragraph in Tosatti’s piece about the reaction of Card. Nichols to the 500 Priests Letter™.

Next, I see at nocristianofobia the Archbishop of Santiago, Card. Ricardo Ezzati, has sacked from the Catholic University of Chile a Jesuit, Jorge Costadoat Carrasco, SJ, from the theology department, because the Jesuit publicly supported the bizarre notions of the Bishop of Anversa, Johan Bonny, once a collaborator of Card. Kasper at the Pontifical Council for Christian Unity.  As you will recall, Bonny called for the approval of “gay” relationships.  The Jesuit also called for Communion for the divorced and remarried (the Kasperite position).

Then note that Paul Card. Cordes (aka Hero Of The Week) really stood up to Card. Marx and the German bishops HERE.

Note also the way that, some time ago, Fr. Fessio of Ignatius Press stood up to Card. Baldisseri in the mysterious case of the Missing Books.

Note too the reactions of support and opposition that the 500 Priests Letter™ is garnering.

It seems – feels – as if those who seek to silence the Voice of Orthodoxy (the Voice of the True Faithful) are no longer going to be given a pass.

Pastors of souls should take notice: Coming to a diocese near you.

Just be sure not to gossip or chatter about any of this.


And now Card. Koch says that what Card. Marx and the German bishops are suggesting sounds like what Christians did in Germany when they adapted their doctrines to National Socialism.  The idea is this: “it is dangerous to declare ‘life realities’ as a third source of revelation”.


20 votes, 4.45 avg. rating (88% score)
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“Blessed are they who persecute the righteous, for they shall be called the children of God.”

The estimable translator and teacher Anthony Esolen has a wickedly biting commentary piece at Crisis today.  Read it in the context of controversy over the upcoming Synod on the Family in October, namely, there are those who suggest that Christ didn’t really mean what Scripture says he said about adultery.


A Modern Translation

The Church, I’ve been hearing, has to change, if she is going to have any leverage with men and women of our time. What that means, of course, is that they would like a sexual permission slip. It’s the only thing they care about. What’s it to them, after all, if the Church does not change her teachings, even if she could? They don’t obey them anyway.

But perhaps they are setting their revisionary sights too low. Why change the Bride of Christ, when you might as well go for Christ Himself? Why trick out the bride in lingerie from Astarte’s Secret, you can put new words on the lips of the bridegroom, or give him a new interest?

The Lord says that He comes not to abolish the law and the prophets, but to fulfill them. He is the true and only agent of moral evolution. He reveals the truth that had lain hidden in the shadows, or encrusted with local or tribal customs. He is the refining fire, making ore into gold. So His teachings stretch our dust to infinity.


So we need a Jesus who will fit; a god we can put in the cave to stay. I translate His words accordingly:

“You have heard me say, let your yes be yes and your no be no. What’s the use? Consider the clods of the earth, how they crumble. Are not your words worth less than they? Be content with maybe. Say what you will, to make your days comfortable, because they are few, and they will pass.”

“You have heard me say, he who will not take up his cross and follow me is not worthy of me. What’s the use? I accomplished nothing on the cross. I have no baptism of fire for refining the earth. Don’t bother. Be not too eager to cause other people to suffer, but at the same time be not too eager to expose yourself to suffering.”

“Blessed are the modestly well off, for theirs are the good schools and the suburbs.”

“Blessed are they who chuckle, for they need not give a damn.”

“Blessed are they who believe in themselves, for they shall cover the earth.”

“Blessed are they who scoff at righteousness, for they shall be less than hypocrites.”

“Blessed are the indifferent, for they shall be left alone.”

“Blessed are the sly of heart, for they shall see porn.”

“Blessed are the compromisers, for they shall win elections.”

“Blessed are they who persecute the righteous, for they shall be called the children of God.”


There’s more of this amusing but mind-chewing stuff which you can read over there.

Fr. Z kudos.

You might recall that he wrote the piece How to kill vocations – Feminize everything! with which he scored a direct hit.

Also, check out his translation of the Divine Comedy, one of the most important things every penned by man.  If you have read Dante then… well…. pffffft.


You could start with Esolen (Part 1, Inferno HERE) or perhaps with Dorothy Sayer’s fine version (Part 1, Inferno, HERE).  There are many renderings to choose from.  I would very much like to teach on Dante someday.  Maybe it’ll happen.

When you make the excellent choice to read the Divine Comedy, here are a couple tips.  First and foremost, make the decision that you will read the whole thing.  Don’t read just the Inferno.  The really great stuff comes in Purgatorio and Paradiso.  Also, read through a canto to get the line of thought and story and then go back over it looking at the notes in your edition.  Sayers has good notes.  Dante was, I think, the last guy who knew everything.  Each Canto is dense with references.  You will need notes to help with the history, philosophy, cosmology, poetic theory, politics, theology, etc.

In any event, Esolen did a good job.

23 votes, 4.13 avg. rating (82% score)
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Card. Müller: Delegate doctrinal decisions to regional conferences? “absolutely anti-Catholic”!

Cardinale-MullerRecently Card. Marx and the German Bishops conference flexed their muscles a bit and suggested that they should have oversight of doctrine (rather than Rome) and that they were pretty much not subordinated to Rome.

I have now read an interview which Card. Müller gave to Famille Chrétienne. He said that to delegate certain doctrinal or disciplinary decisions on matrimony or the family “is an absolutely anti-Catholic idea”.

I have to agree.  It has been kicked around in the discussion of restructuring the Roman Curia that perhaps doctrinal oversight could be devolved to regional bishops conferences.  That is the liberal’s Shangri-la, the progressivist’s Eldorado, the dissenter’s nirvana.  It would also be, of course, total disaster.

Were such a thing approved, I believe I might simply withdraw to a cave to finish out my natural span in prayer and penance.

Regional conferences do not constitute some kind of parallel or equal body alongside the Holy See’s Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, which has it’s mandate from and in the name of the Successor of Peter.  The Roman Pontiff delegates his own authority to his Congregations in matters that concern them.

You might take a few minutes to read Apostolos suos.  (Latin HERE)

In a nutshell, conferences of bishops do not exercise teaching authority as the whole body of bishops does.  Individual bishops do (when they are in unity with Roman Pontiff), but conferences don’t.  Conferences must submit their doctrinal declarations to the Holy See for a recognitio (approval).  But then the doctrinal statement is authoritative not by authority of the conference but because the Holy See has backed it up.  Conferences don’t have their own doctrinal authority.  They “borrow” it.  And, again, individual diocesan bishops are not subjected to the regional conference.  They have their own authority in their dioceses by virtue of their belonging to the college of bishops, as successors of the Apostles.  Conferences can’t command them to do X or Y.  They can agree to follow what the conference as a body decides.  In general, that’s what happens: they act in solidarity.


21 votes, 4.24 avg. rating (84% score)
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Card. Nichols reacts to the 500 Priests

The other day I posted about an open letter, in the UK’s weekly the Catholic Herald, signed by almost 500 priests of England and Wales.  The letter urged the members of the upcoming Synod in October to stand firm on the Church’s traditional teachings concerning reception of Holy Communion.  HERE

I now see in the Catholic Herald a reaction/response to the priests’ letter from His Eminence Vincent Card. Nichols, Archbishop of Westminster.  His Eminence isn’t happy.  Here is his statement (my emphases):

“Every priest in England and Wales has been asked to reflect on the Synod discussion. It is my understanding that this has been taken up in every diocese, and that channels of communication have been established,” the statement said.

“The pastoral experience and concern of all priests in these matters are of great importance and are welcomed by the Bishops. Pope Francis has asked for a period of spiritual discernment. This dialogue, between a priest and his bishop, is not best conducted through the press.

During his general audience today, Pope Francis called for prayer not “chatter” ahead of the Synod. He said: “So here is what I, with my collaborators, have thought to propose today: to renew the prayer for the Synod of the Bishops on the family. We are taking up this commitment again next October, when the ordinary Assembly of the Synod, dedicated to the family, will take place. I would like for this prayer, and the whole Synod journey, to be animated by the compassion of the Good Shepherd for His flock, especially for persons and families that, for different reasons, are ‘troubled and abandoned, like sheep without a shepherd’ (Mt 9:36).

“So, sustained and animated by the grace of God, the Church can be ever more committed, and ever more united, in the witness of the truth of the love of God and of His mercy for the families of the world, excluding none, whether within or outside the flock. I ask you, please, to not neglect your prayer. All of us – the Pope, Cardinals, Bishops, priests, religious, lay faithful – we are all called to pray for the Synod. There is need of this, not of chatter! I also invite those who feel far away, or who are not accustomed to do so, to pray. This prayer for the Synod on the Family is for the good of everyone. I know that this morning you were given a little prayer card, which you have in your hands. It might be a little wet. I invite you to hold on to it and keep it with you, so that in the coming months you can recite it often, with holy insistence, as Jesus has asked us.”

The prayer which the Pope distributed reads:

“Jesus, Mary and Joseph,
In you we contemplate
The splendour of true love,
We turn to you with confidence.

Holy Family of Nazareth,
Make our families, also,
Places of communion and cenacles of prayer,
Authentic schools of the Gospel,
And little domestic Churches.

Holy Family of Nazareth
May our families never more experience
Violence, isolation, and division:
May anyone who was wounded or scandalized
Rapidly experience consolation and healing.

Holy Family of Nazareth,
May the upcoming Synod of Bishops
Re-awaken in all an awareness
Of the sacred character and inviolability of the family,
Its beauty in the project of God.

Jesus, Mary and Joseph,
Hear and answer our prayer. Amen.”

Damian Thompson of The Spectator offered his views on this exchange.

Also, don’t miss what the great canonist Ed Peters offered at his blog In The Light Of The Law.  Sample:

British priests have canonical rights, too

There isn’t a word—not one single word—in the short, open letter signed by hundreds of British Catholic priests to the Catholic Herald (London) defending Church teaching on marriage and sacraments that any Catholic could not, and should not be proud to, personally profess and publically proclaim. The priests’ letter is a model of accuracy, balance, brevity, and pastoral respect for persons. It fortifies the soul to know it exists. It gladdens the heart to actually read it.

I am at a loss, therefore, to understand why Vincent Cardinal Nichols seems to chastise priests who signed letter for their allegedly “conducting [a] dialogue, between a priest and his bishop … through the press.” The priests’ letter is statement of Catholic belief, not an opening gambit in a negotiation; it is addressed to a journal editor, and through him to lay and clerical public, not to a particular prelate. Moreover, the letter is a text-book example of clergy exercising a canonical right guaranteed to all the Christian faithful, namely, “to manifest to sacred pastors [Code for ‘bishops’] their opinion on matters which pertain to the good of the Church and to make their opinion known to the rest of the Christian faithful, without prejudice to the integrity of faith and morals, with reverence toward their pastors, and attentive to common advantage and the dignity of persons.” Canon 212 § 3, my emphasis.


17 votes, 4.53 avg. rating (90% score)
Posted in Mail from priests, One Man & One Woman, Our Catholic Identity, Synod, The Coming Storm, The future and our choices, ¡Hagan lío! | Tagged , , , | 30 Comments