Did Pope Francis insult some young priests? Fr. Z opines and tells a story.

Francis scowl frown glareThis isn’t the sort of thing that should pull much of our attention or energy.  However, I have been asked about it in email by a surprising number of people, including priests.

It seems that the site Messa in latino picked up on an anecdote recounted by a French site Benoit etmoi.  Here’s my translation from the French, which seems to be the original of the anecdote.  I’m cutting out the first part, just to get at the core of the anecdote itself.   Mind you, we are dealing with something that happened recently, after this spring or early summers traditional round of diocesan ordinations to the priesthood.  However, we are also dealing with something that it second hand at best.

A group of young priests from the same diocese, who were just ordained, made a pilgrimage together to Rome. They were not traditionalists, but young priests of today, white shirt with discreet collar, [in some European countries you will see during the summer priests in a white clerical shirt with “tab” collar] classic, pious, normal, very happy with the gift of Christ they had just received. Naturally, they asked and obtained (the chance) to have dinner at Santa Marta and to be presented to the Pope, and also to concelebrate with him at Mass the next day.

They arrived at Santa Marta at the designated time, and went to the place indicated. A secretary pointed them out to the Pope who was approaching. The Pope: “Where are you from?” They, proudly: “Of the Diocese of X”.  And he, with a sour expression [avec la mine des mauvais jours]: “Ah, X, there are still many priests there. That means that there is a problem, a problem of discernment.” And he continues his journey.

The young priests, dismayed, looked at each other, conferred, and left without eating.  And the next day, they spared themselves the concelebration at Santa Marta.

Okay… what to do with this.  And, mind you, I’m doing this here because I’ve had a lot of requests.

It could be that these young men mistook the Pope’s expression.  Some people’s default face isn’t always cheerful looking.

It could be that these young men mistook the Pope’s words.  There could be a language difference.

However, since there were a few of them, they probably were not all mistaken in their interpretation and it drove them to leave and not come back.

Popes kid around with seminarians and priests.  John Paul II sure did.  Here is one of my own anecdotes with John Paul.  I’ve never told this one here before.

Since my seminary in Rome was named after JPII, we seminarians were often called to serve his Masses.  Hence, I had quite a few opportunities as a seminarian and as a deacon.  I was a deacon often enough that the Holy Father got to know me.  One day, as deacon, I brought the thurible into the small sacristy tucked away near the altar of the Pietà (they laid our our dalmatics, etc., on the altar beneath the Pietà – that wasn’t cool or anything…) for the Pope, as celebrant, to “charge”.  As I approached he said in Italian, “You again!”  As I held it up he said, “Which seminary are you from?”  Of course he knew.  He asked every time.  “The John Paul the Second International Seminary, Your Holiness.”  With clearly mock dismay, he almost bellowed, “Terribile! Terribile!”  Everyone was amused, including myself.  Then he became very grave.  Leaning in almost nose to nose, he repeatedly pounded me hard on the chest with his finger and said, punctuating every word, “Tu… deve essere serio.  You… have to be serious.”  “Serio” means “serious”, but also “focused, earnest”.

That experience was a little frightening, to be frank.  First, that was the POPE.  Also, that was Pope Wojtyla.  It is a bit cliché to speak of what it felt like when he came into a room, but I guarantee you he was like no one else I’ve seen.  Seeing him come in or meeting him briefly is one thing.  Having him pound you repeatedly on the chest nose to nose is another.

Clearly the saint was trying in an extremely personal moment to inspire a man to something more than mediocrity.  After all, my seminary had his name.  Ergo, we reflected him, in a way.  We had to live up to that.

Let’s just say that I have not forgotten that moment.

It could be that Pope Francis was trying to do something similar with these young priests, but missed the mark.

“Ah, X, there are still many priests there. That means that there is a problem, a problem of discernment.”

It could be a kind of joking, “Is this the best they can do in X?”

Hah! Hah! Hah!… or not.

One of the things that I have learned over the years is that priests – men in general, but priests and military especially – often show affection through hard ribbing.  And it can get a little sharp.

Another thing that this anecdote can teach us is that pebbles, when dropped from a great height, even when small can, do damage.  Fathers… bishops… be careful out there.

Yet another thing that this anecdote can teach us is that we mustn’t allow ourselves to melt like snowflakes when something rough comes along.

We priests especially have to have a thick hide.  I’m concerned that the young men who have grown up in the relative peace of the JPII and BXVI years of aspiration to priesthood and then then beginning seminary, are not – how to say this – acquainted with battle yet.  They don’t have the slightest idea what seminary was like a couple decades ago, or what the majority of lib pastors did to new priests – and can do – who are of faithful Catholic disposition.  Those days are returning, I’m afraid.  We have to buckle it on and get ready.

In any event, I am not entirely sure what happened between the Pope and those young priests.  It seems to have left them with a less than optimal impression.

If any of them every read this, my reaction to a second hand anecdote, I would just say:

  • Don’t let this get you down.
  • You have a lot of time ahead as priests.
  • Stick together.
  • Be serious.

The moderation queue is ON.

Posted in "How To..." - Practical Notes, Mail from priests, Pope Francis, Priests and Priesthood, Seminarians and Seminaries, The Drill | Tagged , , | 3 Comments

A timely review, including the ULTIMATE priest gift.


From a priest, just now:

Just a note to let you know that I bought a portable altar from St. Joseph’s Apprentice a few months back. I couldn’t be happier with it — it is absolutely beautiful! And Rick was a pleasure to work with — a personified blessing!

Thanks for mentioning his work and business from time to time.

And congratulations on your 25th! As I will likely not make a 50th (ordained at 38), I am taking a cue from you and will design a challenge coin for 2021, when I will be ordained 25 years. I already have a crest, so it shouldn’t be too hard, but I wouldn’t have thought of it were it not for you.

If priests out there have their own challenge coins, I’d be open to an exchange… same for military and LEOs.

If you need help with a coat of arms, you might consider the fellow who did mine… on the side bar.


One year ago, I posted three posts, each one has some review value.

First, this gets my special attention.  I have been readying for a trip for which I will bring the portable altar “St Joseph’s Apprentice” made for my 25th (… which reminds me that I have I to send him a challenge coin).  I need a Pelican case for it (… I really want him to build an altar directly into the case itself).   A couple days ago I got an email from a chaplain who going to Afghanistan.  He ordered one of these portable altars before he is to be deployed.

The ULTIMATE GIFT for a priest revisited: Portable altar from St. Joseph’s Apprentice

In the wake of the martyrdom of the French priest Fr. Hamel…

“Sandwiched between two forms of dhimmitude: Koran or Agenda-driven”

And we can always derive some inspiration from Card. Burke!

Card. Burke’s new book: Hope for the World – To Unite All Things in Christ

And, even though it is not Lent, you might choose to say the Stations of the Cross, or listen to them, as a good Friday devotion.  HERE

Pray today.

Examine your consciences.  Tomorrow is Saturday.  You might…


Posted in Linking Back | Leave a comment

To the defeatists

Some years back, 19 March 2013 to be exact, I published here a manifesto entitled “Dear Traditionalists” to which I return from time to time. I still adhere to it.

In that piece I featured a photo of aspiring Navy SEALs during BUD/S working and suffering together as teams to control heavy logs.

Now in my email and elsewhere I see defeatist grizzling about what might happen… boo hoo.  People are listening to the enemy and taking it to heart, which is what the enemy wants.  They want you to freak out and then watch your heads explode.

I say, we must never give up.

After all, when it comes to working and fighting and praying and sacrificing for what we need to get to heaven, the only easy day was yesterday.

Today I visited the US Navy Seal Museum in Ft. Pierce, FL.

It was a great visit.  All through the place there were reminders of the SEAL ethos.  At the core of that ethos is


During the hell and sifting that is BUD/S, when men have had enough and decide to quit, they can “ring out”.  All they have to do is ring the bell that is out in an open visible place, and they are out.  No problem.   Ring = Quit.   Unless… you get through and graduate.  Then all the successful aspirants can ring the bell as they leave.

Which are YOU going to be?

Are you quitters?

Are you satisfied with failure?

When are YOU going to ring that bell?

¡Hagan lío!

From my manifesto…

Dear Traditionalists:


Those of you who want the older form of the liturgy, and all that comes with it, should…

1) Work with sweat and money to make it happen. If you thought you worked hard before?   Been at this a long time?  HAH!  Get to work!  “Oooo! It’s tooo haaard!”  BOO HOO!

2) Get involved with all the works of charity that your parishes or groups sponsor. Make a strong showing. Make your presence known. If Pope Francis wants a Church for the poor, then we respond, “OORAH!!” [aka HOOYAH] The “traditionalists” will be second-to-none in getting involved.  “Dear Father… you can count on the ‘Stable Group of TLM Petitioners-For-By-Now-Several-Months” to help with the collection of clothing for the poor!  Tell us what you need!”

3) Pray and fast and give alms. Think you have been doing that? HAH!  Think again.  If you love, you can do more.

4) Form up and get organized.  You can do this.  Find like minded people and get that request for the implementation of Summorum Pontificum together, how you will raise the money to help buy the stuff the parish will need and DO IT.  Make a plan. Find people. Execute!

5) Get your ego and your own petty little personal interpretations and preferences of how Father ought to wiggle his pinky at the third word out of the way.  It is team-work time.  If we don’t sacrifice individually, we will stay divided and we won’t achieve our objectives.

At the midway point of SEAL training, BUD/S, there is a “Hell Week” to see how much you want it to keep going.

Do you want this?  Do you?  Or, when you don’t get what you want handed to you, are you going to whine about it and then blame others?

The legislation is in place.  The young priests and seminarians are dying to get into this stuff.  Give them something to do.

And to those of you will you blurt out “But Father! But Father!… I don’t like your militaristic imagery”… in order to derail the entry, here’s a new image from your own back yard.

Pope Benedict gave you, boys and girls, over the course of his 8 years, a beautiful new bicycle!  He gave you a direction, some encouragement, a snow cone, and a running push.  Now, take off the training wheels and RIDE THE DAMN BIKE!

Fathers, lay people.

Read this.  I’ve been recommending it to priest friends for a while now:


Let’s not sit back and relax.  SEALs want to win because they always want another mission.

We must be the same.  We want another mission.


SEALS Die First Then Quit

Posted in ¡Hagan lío!, "How To..." - Practical Notes, Be The Maquis, Hard-Identity Catholicism, Liturgy Science Theatre 3000, Our Catholic Identity, Si vis pacem para bellum!, SUMMORUM PONTIFICUM, The Coming Storm, The future and our choices | Tagged , | 22 Comments

Some good things are happening

I have had notes from reader about good things going on.

First, I call your attention to a good initiative in the Diocese of Burlington (Vermont).  A new group has been established called the St. Philip Neri Latin Mass Chaplaincy.   I am very much in favor of St. Philip Neri.   Included in the email was this:

There will be a special High Mass in the Extraordinary Form on
Tuesday, August 1, 2017, at 6pm, for the feast day of Saint Peter in Chains, followed by veneration of the relic of the chain of Saint Peter. The Diocese of Burlington is the only diocese outside of Rome to possess a link of the chain of Saint Peter. It was brought to Vermont by the first bishop of the diocese, Bishop Louis de Goesbriand (served 1853 to 1899), given to him by Blessed Pius IX. The chain link is stored in the diocesan archives and is only taken out for special occasions, so this is a rare opportunity to see and venerate the relic. The Mass will be celebrated in the basement chapel of the Co-Cathedral of Saint Joseph, 20 Allen Street, Burlington, Vt., by Father Brian O’Donnell, the chaplain of the Saint Philip Neri Latin Mass Chaplaincy, recently erected by Bishop Christopher J. Coyne. Father O’Donnell celebrates the Extraordinary Form six days a week there.

Facebook event: HERE

In other news, my friend Fr. Dave Ireland wrote with news about the Solemn Mass celebrated there by His Eminence Francis Card. Arinze (Card. Bp of my diocese!) at their parish in S. Euclid, OH.  PHOTOS

Screen Shot 2017-07-27 at 09.33.00

Moreover, in Philadelphia there has revitalized a community of Carmelite women, who have now a chaplain from the FSSP.

From the Office for Clergy in the Archdiocese of Philadelphia:

Dear Brother Priests and Deacons,

On behalf of Bishop Fitzgerald, who works closely with the many religious communities serving our local Church as part of his pastoral and administrative responsibilities, I write to share joyful news.

Today, six nuns from the Carmelite Monastery of Valpraiso, Nebraska, and four nuns from the Carmelite Monastery of Elysburg, Pennsylvania, transferred to the Carmelite Monastery of Saint Joseph and Saint Anne in Philadelphia. As a result of these transfers, there is now a community of twelve nuns in the Philadelphia Carmel, which was founded in 1902. Since that time it has been home to generations of Discalced Carmelite nuns who have dedicated themselves to a cloistered life of contemplation and prayer for the good of us all.

Tomorrow, Wednesday, July 26th, the Feast of Saints Joachim and Anne, all are invited to a Solemn High Mass at the Carmel and are welcome to greet the new sisters in the “speakroom” of the convent following the liturgy. Details are below.

Philadelphia Carmel
 1400 66th Avenue
 Philadelphia, PA 19126
 Concert of Sacred Music at 6:15 p.m.
 Solemn High Mass at 7:00 p.m.
 Celebrant: Rev. William Allen, FSSP, Chaplain for the Philadelphia Carmel
 Homilist: Most Reverend Michael J. Fitzgerald 

N.B. Clergy in attendance are requested to wear choir dress.

For additional information on the Philadelphia Carmel, please visit http://www.discalcedcarmelitesphila.org/. Kindly consider sharing this invitation broadly with others and join in praying for the Carmelite community in Philadelphia. Thank you.

Sincerely in Christ,

Rev. Msgr. Daniel J. Sullivan
Vicar for Clergy

In the balance this is great news.

Good things are happening.  The riches of the Church’s treasury have been opened up and put to good use again.  The ripple effects will be manifold.  It takes a while to build a beautiful thing, and so we must be patient and we must – above all – persevere in our efforts.

Never allow yourselves to be discouraged.  Go forward.  Get organized.  “Don’t let the bastards grind you down”, with rumors – probably designed to make the trad community go bananas, react sharply and without filters.  Then they can point and say, “See how awful they are? The old Mass needs to be suppressed!”   Think about it.

¡Hagan lío!


Posted in ¡Hagan lío!, Be The Maquis, Liturgy Science Theatre 3000, The Coming Storm, The future and our choices | Tagged , , | 15 Comments

Rumors about Summorum Pontificum – GET A GRIP!

17_02_17_screenshot_SummorumMy email is filling with panicked messages about a story at LifeSite which suggests that Pope Francis is maneuvering to end the universal legislation established by Benedict XVI in Summorum Pontificum. HERE

Please, friends, breathe into a paper bag or whatever else you have to do to get a grip.

First, I don’t believe it.

Second, I don’t think it would make a lot of difference: this thing is going to continue one way or another.

So, put on your big boy underwear, stop whining, and GET BACK TO WORK.


Honestly… if some people put half the energy they use to worry and whine and wring their hands about rumors into building up a traditional Mass community where they live, we’d see some remarkable progress.

¡Hagan lío!

Posted in ¡Hagan lío!, Liturgy Science Theatre 3000, Si vis pacem para bellum!, SUMMORUM PONTIFICUM | Tagged | 39 Comments

REVIEW – Peter Kwasniewski’s new book: Noble Beauty, Transcendent Holiness: Why the Modern Age Needs the Mass of Ages

I’m digging into Peter Kwasniewski’s new book:

Noble Beauty, Transcendent Holiness: Why the Modern Age Needs the Mass of Ages


It has a forward by the great Martin Mosebach, author of The Heresy of Formlessness (a must read, a hard read but richly rewarding).

Firstly, I could read Peter’s prose forever.  He writes with clarity and great force, which surely reflect both his deft mind and his convictions.

Next, I think we may have a Vulcan Mind-Meld going on.


1  Why the New Evangelization Needs the Old Mass
2  Reverence Is Not Enough: On the Importance of Tradition
3  The Spirit of the Liturgy in the Words and Actions of Our Lady
4  The New Liturgical Movement: Urgent Care for a Sick Church
5  Different Visions, Contrary Paths
6  Formed in the Spirit and Power of the Liturgy
7  Laying Our Foundation on Solid Rock
8  How the Usus Antiquior Elicits Superior Participation
9  A Perpetual Feast of All Saints
10  The Peace of Low Mass and the Glory of High Mass
11  Homage to Our Lady, Queen of the Liturgy
12  “Always Forward, Never Back”

Intriguing, no?

The book is seeded through with exquisite photo images and apt accompanying quotes.  There is a prayerful tone within as well.  Peter is a Benedictine Oblate.  For example, at the end of one chapter you find on a page apart:

Prayer for the Traditional Movement

O Lord, remember in Thy Kingdom N. and N.,
[names of individuals or communities]
and all religious, clergy, and laity throughout the world who are dedicated to the usus antiquior.
Bless us, govern us, defend us, purify us, and multiply us for the good of souls,
for the restoration of Thy Church,
and for the glory of Thy Holy Name.

Every couple pages there are illustrative quotes blocked out which you will wish you could commit to perfect memory.  For example, just flipping to a random page (106) I find…

Those who doubt and deny win immediate fame. And the defer- ence refused to tradition, to antiquity, to authority, is given at once and wholly, with infinite thoughtlessness, to the notions of some writer or other, to one of those prophets of the hour who trumpet the vague phrases: progress, evolution, broad-mindedness, and dogmatic awakening. This is intellectual foolery. And it seems to me that good sense and dignity require from us not only an atti- tude of reserve, but above all a spirit of tranquil resistance and conservatism. Conservation is the very instinct of life, a disposi- tion essential for existence. We shall be truly progressive if we hold fast to this spirit, for there is no progress for a living organism which does not preserve continuity with its past.

Moreover, the book is deeply personal.  I am confident that you will resonate with what he writes.  Here is a sample with my usual treatment:

“Always Forward, Never Back”

Every line written in these pages is born from my personal experience of the things of which I speak. I have sat through every possible permutation of the Novus Ordo, and some impossible ones. I have collaborated or argued with every type of priest or liturgist. I have seen the Reform of the Reform in action and made such contributions to it as I could. I have worked with bishops who promote all the best and bishops who ruthlessly stomp on tradition. I have participated in silent private Masses, magnificent Pontifical Masses, and more or less successful dialogue Masses. I try never to write about anything that has not been intimately and frequently a part of my life as a Catholic. [And now some honest self-examnation…] This will, I trust, help explain the bitterness and harshness of some passages, the tolerance and pragmatism of others, and the melancholy triumphalism that permeates the whole—at once exultant over so many victories and chastened by the sight of so much devastation. It is a hard time to be thinking and writing about the liturgy, when so much is in flux, indiscernible and unpredictable, at the mercy of potentates and volunteers. I am thoroughly prepared to be surprised with the passage of each year at how many good things have sprung up and how many bad things have persisted or emerged from hibernation.

Dr. Eric de Saventhem (1919–2005), first President of the International Federation Una Voce, spoke these prophetic words in a speech in New York City in 1970—words all the more remarkable in the face of the escalating victories of philistinism and modernism, the threat of total devastation, and the hopelessness of the situation emerging at that time: [Speaking of great quotes…]

A renaissance will come: asceticism and adoration as the main- spring of direct total dedication to Christ will return. Confraternities of priests, vowed to celibacy and to an intense life of prayer and meditation, will be formed. Religious will regroup themselves into houses of strict observance. A new form of Liturgical Movement will come into being, led by young priests and attracting mainly young people, in protest against the flat, prosaic, philistine or delirious liturgies which will soon overgrow and finally smother even the recently revised rites.

It is vitally important that these new priests and religious, these new young people with ardent hearts, should find—if only in a corner of the rambling mansion of the Churchthe treasure of a truly sacred liturgy still glowing softly in the night. And it is our task, since we have been given the grace to appreciate the value of this heritage, to preserve it from spoliation, from becoming buried out of sight, despised and therefore lost forever. It is our duty to keep it alive: by our own loving attachment, by our support for the priests who make it shine in our churches, by our apostolate at all levels of persuasion.1

All this has been fulfilled before our eyes, and there is not the slightest sign that the “new form of Liturgical Movement” will back down just because of new threats and intimidations and the premature swaggering of the anti-Ratzinger faction. Indeed, if history tells us any lesson, it is that unjust persecution makes the flame burn more intensely and then, as soon as opportunity arises, blaze out more vehemently.

And yet, so much more is waiting to be done; there is fire to be kindled on the earth, in every place, every community, every church—the fire of the Catholic Faith in its totality and integrity, its tradition and beauty. In this connection we might draw courage from the noble words of the Book of Nehemiah (2:17–18):

Then I said to them, “You see the trouble we are in, how Jerusalem lies in ruins with its gates burned. Come, let us build the wall of Jerusalem, that we may no longer suffer disgrace.” And I told them of the hand of my God which had been upon me for good, and also of the words which the king had spoken to me. And they said, “Let us rise up and build.” So they strengthened their hands for the good work.


[1. The full text is available at the FIUV website: http://www.fiuv.org/p/address- given-bydr.html]

Do I hear an “Amen!“?

Allow me to continue with Nehemiah through a verse which I have for a long while displayed on this blog’s side bar:

Aedificantium enim unusquisque gladio erat accinctus.

And each of the builders had his sword girded at his side while he built.

– Nehemiah 4:18

Peter’s new book is a sword for your side as you build in your own parishes. It is a new arrow for your quiver when you need to explain, defend and spread the vision we share of a Holy Church revitalized in her sacred liturgical worship.

Without a revitalization of our worship, no other undertaking we mount in the Church will succeed.

Hence, the stakes are high.

Do I need to say it?

Yes, I need to say it.

Buy a least two copies, one for you and one for your parish priest or a seminarian.

Noble Beauty, Transcendent Holiness: Why the Modern Age Needs the Mass of Ages


Posted in Liturgy Science Theatre 3000, SUMMORUM PONTIFICUM | Tagged | 14 Comments

ASK FATHER: Can an ex-woman, a trans “man”, be ordained?

13_07_26_trans_bathroom_signFrom a reader…


With the increase of transgender people pushing their agenda, would it be possible for a biological woman who thinks she’s a he and has gone through the Sex “change” process somehow slip through the cracks and make it to ordination, or does the screening process to weed out such people, as such would not be able to be validly ordained?

This sex-change, trans thing is intrinsically evil.

Talk about your Self-absorbed Promethean Neopelagians!

A woman who undergoes this ghoulish process is, at the end, not a man.  She is still a woman, a seriously mutilated woman.  She can dress like a man, try to act like a man, fool some people (not as many as she thinks) that she is a man.  She cannot ever be a man.

They are to be shown great compassion, because they are deeply confused and no doubt in a lot of pain.  But their confusion and pain doesn’t alter reality.

Women cannot be validly ordained to holy orders.  An attempt to ordain any woman, including mutilated women, would be, without question, invalid.


Women cannot be ordained.
She is a woman.
She cannot be ordained.

As for a “screening” process, it is hard to imagine that such a person would not be identified as such right away.


Posted in Self-absorbed Promethean Neopelagians, Sin That Cries To Heaven, You must be joking! | Tagged , | 27 Comments

“For goodness’ sake, own your faith, Fr. Martin!” Analysis of Jesuit’s homosexualist activism

james_martinOver at Crisis there is a piece by Rev. Mr. Jim Russell entitled

“A Final Word On Fr. Martin”

Alas, I fear that that is far too optimistic.  Jesuit Homosexualist-activist Fr James Martin is sure to come up with something weird again soon.  He can’t go too long without the spotlight, after all.

Let’s have a look at Russell’s offering, jumping into its midst.   My emphases and comments:


After being asked hundreds upon hundreds of times by hundreds of different people, exactly why won’t Martin himself own the faith of the Church regarding homosexuality? All he does is pull a few puppet-strings each time the question comes up. Suddenly the Gospel he is supposed to believe down to the marrow of his bones, under the same obligation that St. Paul himself was when saying “woe to me if I do not preach,” is magically objectified into a mere “stance” or “prohibition” that the Church only “officially” teaches, and it’s just untouchable because it’s soooo far from the “stance” of the “LGBT community.” And, besides, it’s clear that “LGBT Catholics” have never “received” the teaching in the first place, Martin says.  [That is a typical lib ploy: pit the “official” Church against the, say, “spirit-filled” church.  Fishwrap writers use this trop all the time.]

If some of this sounds vaguely familiar, it’s because the more Martin talks, the more he simply fades into the murky shadows of many who spoke similarly over the last fifty years. It was another Jesuit, the late Fr. Richard McCormick, who famously embraced the falsehood of a “double magisterium” (naturally the second “magisterium” comprised theologians like himself!) and who insisted that teachings “not received” were not even true teachings at all. The more Martin speaks, the more he disappears into McCormick.  [Good reminder about McCormick.  He exerted tremendous influence on countless clerics and academicians.  How often have you, in your internet peregrinations, found some lib claiming that if an “official” teaching (usually about sex) isn’t “received” (accepted, believed) by people (I hesitate to say “the faithful”), then it doesn’t have to be accepted or obeyed.  Thus a majority determines what might be the teaching right now.  Of course who says which “majority” gets to decide is a little vague.  This is also what lies at the black heart of Card. Kasper’s method.  For example, the meaning of Christ’s teachings in Scripture can drift around over time, mean different things in different eras according to what Benedict warned of when he wrote for Card. Meisner’s funeral: the Zeitgeist.  Thomas Stark put his finger on the bruise when he said that Kasper has replaced philosophy with politics. Read: Stark in Catholic World Report: German Idealism and Cardinal Kasper’s Theological Project. HERE  I’m with Stark quoting Péguy: “Modernists are people who do not believe what they believe.” ]

Not only that, but Martin’s approach is also rooted squarely in the hero he’d like to canonize, Sr. Jeannine Gramick, who has famously admitted her strategy for achieving decades of dissent by doing the same thing—not owning her faith. Her self-labeled “creative circumvention” allowed her to “wiggle” around admitting her dissent by also framing true Church teaching as an objectified “stance.”

However, just as a train receding into the midnight horizon might occasionally throw a spark of illumination from its wheels, Martin’s retreat is not flawless. Recently, he forthrightly admitted his erroneous view that God creates LGBT people as LGBT people. Compare this to the Catechism’s clear assertion that homosexuality has a “largely unexplained” psychological genesis. [If God made them that way, then what they are inclined to do isn’t wrong.  That’s the argument.   Of course that’s crazy.]

This admission is really the crack in the dam that lets the floodwaters past. Virtually everything else that contradicts the Gospel regarding homosexuality arises from this singular flaw. If the entire spectrum of “LGBTQIA” is God’s handiwork, then we can jettison the whole “objectively disordered” kerfluffle and go with Martin’s self-recommended “differently ordered” instead. Then, same-sex sex acts and same-sex “marriage” and transgender surgeries become goods that we don’t have to reject. [Don’t have to?  Nay, rather: can’t reject… must accept.] We can let “gay pride” into our sanctuaries, festooning them with rainbow flags.  [Can? Nay, rather: must.  They will never be satisfied with “can”.]

Make no mistake—Martin’s personal media puppet, which keeps his personal views behind the curtain of the fictional narrative of “created this way,” is nothing more than a Trojan horse. [Interesting mix of metaphors.  Although… both are wood… both look like something that they are not…]

Thankfully, more astute minds than mine have seen just how unrealistically wooden the Martin puppet is; many faithful Catholic writers are taking on the myriad false assertions now incessantly repeated at every media opportunity and every presentation at parishes with faux-Catholic views on this issue. This is largely another reason why I believe the entertainment buzz of the Martin marionette’s performance is fading fast. Simply put, the stilted rhetoric and attached strings are leaving neither the Church nor the “LGBT community” feeling very satisfied.

Thus, Martin himself is creating new videos and print responses to the “critiques” he’s getting from both sides of the as-yet nonexistent bridge. Yet it’s all the same dodgy, scripted formula we’ve seen and heard before, attempts that are not passionately, single-mindedly focused on actually building that bridge, but instead are constructed so that, just as in Oz, we pay no attention whatever to the “man behind the curtain” as the spectacle before us plays out.

Am I being too harsh? Is it too much to ask that the creative artist behind the performance come out, and take a bow? I think not. [NB!] Literally, for goodness’ sake, own your faith, Fr. Martin. Stop attempting the impossible task of building a bridge in a bubble, via “creative circumvention.”

Instead, stake your claim. Are you with the Church and the Good News of its teaching on homosexuality, or not? Because, if you are, your stunt-double Pinocchio is doing a really terrible job of preaching that Gospel. If you are not, I’d suggest taking a good, long look at First Corinthians 9:16.


There’s more before and more after.  It’s worth your time.

Fr. Z kudos to Rev. Mr. Russell.

Posted in Our Catholic Identity, Sin That Cries To Heaven, The Drill | Tagged , , , , | 14 Comments

Registration Issue

The blog registration form has been under attack lately.   To deal with this I tried to do something clever.  It didn’t work.  I goofed something up.  It could be that I screwed up some registrations from some of you good readers.

So, if you registered in the last few days and either a) heard nothing back or b) it didn’t work for you, try again.  I think I put the settings for the registration process back to the way they were before I tried to be clever.

Posted in SESSIUNCULA | Leave a comment

When the ghost of Gene Roddenberry designs a church

“What happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas.”

So runs the popular phrase.

I hope with all my heart that that is true!

Today a friend (and father of a priest) wrote an email with an astonishing link:

When the ghost of Gene Roddenberry designs a church

“The Mass is ended. Live long, and prosper.”

The church in question? See the Las Vegas Review-Journal.

$12M Roman Catholic church going up in South Summerlin


I can hear the theme song in my head as I look at that. Do doooo do do do do dooooo….

What do you want to bet that in spite of Laudato si’, building has air conditioning.   Perhaps as carbon offsets they can get some of those green gals from Orion as “Eucharistic Ministrices”.

“But Father! But Father!”, you eco-liturgical V2-Spirit-filled terrorists are wailing, “What’s wrong with that design?  It embodies noble simplicity and it’s… it’s… groovy!  We thought you were traditional.  This is traditional 1960s, right?  But you wouldn’t know anything about that because YOU HATE VATICAN II!”

If you want to know what’s wrong with this picture, obtain and read my friend Fr. Uwe Michael Lang’s new book: Signs of the Holy One: Liturgy, Ritual, and Expression of the Sacred.


Posted in Lighter fare | Tagged , | 83 Comments

Fr. de Souza responds to responses about “reconciliation” of newer and traditional Forms of the Roman Rite

Mass eucharist sacrificeUPDATE 26 July:

Joseph Shaw of the LMS posted a response to Fr. de Souza’s response to us, who responded… etc.  HERE

___ Originally Published on: Jul 25, 2017 @ 11:14

Some discussion about the “mutual enrichment” hoped for and promoted by Benedict XVI with Summorum Pontificum has been generated by Card. Sarah’s article in the French magazine La Nef for the 10th anniversary of the promulgation of that Motu Proprio’s text.  I read an English translation of Sarah’s article in a PODCAzT.

Cool reactions followed quickly.  For example, scholars Joseph Shaw of the LMS in England HERE and Gregory DiPippo of NLM HERE. I provided my own reaction to Card. Sarah’s La Nef offering HERE.

A warm embrace came from Fr. Raymond de Souza HERE.  I had the impression that he thought that there should be a large-scale revamping of the traditional form and some tweeking of the newer form with traditional elements.  Inter alia, he made the claim that the post-Conciliar Lectionary was universally accepted as being superior to the older, traditional use of Sacred Scriptures in Holy Mass.  Card. Sarah had written that there should be a reconciliation of old and the new.   The aforementioned Shaw and DiPippo, however, made substantive arguments against such a move.  I added my own observations.

Fr. de Souza has issued a new piece in which he doubles down on the Lectionary issue but seems to back away from the large-scale revamping of the traditional form.  HERE  In fact, Father says:

“The more pressing issue by far is the enrichment of the OF, which can happily be done independent of any changes in the EF.”

I warmly agree.  It is by far more pressing to deal with the OF, since it is dominant right now.  It is attractive to think about the elements from the EF that might be introduced to the Novus Ordo.  I suppose, however, they would be introduced as “options”.

Something that, for sure, could be started unilaterally, would be to clean up many of the abuses inflicted on the Novus Ordo, which, alas, is rather open to abuse.

Concerning the Lectionary, de Souza:

I wrote that the superiority of the OF lectionary was a matter of broad consensus. I understated that, actually; it is nearly a unanimous position even in conservative liturgical circles, but evidently leading voices in the EF community do not think so. While there are clearly some weaknesses in the OF lectionary – the prologue of St. John’s Gospel is never heard by most Catholics – its more ample inclusion of Scripture is surely an improvement. It may be here that Cardinal Sarah’s warning about treating the EF as a “museum object” is most on the mark.

Why, Father, the snarky dig at at the end?

Fr. de Souza also wrote that this blog has “a pugilistic style”.  And his dig isn’t pugilistic?

While I grant that one cannot make extended elaborations in short pieces online, Fr. de Souza sidestepped the substantive arguments brought up by Shaw, DiPippo, et al., about the alleged superiority of the new Lectionary.  Fr. de Souza seems to think that the sheer quantity of Scripture used in the Novus Ordo is enough automatically to warrant superiority.

Fr. Finigan at his fine blog (HERE) made sound observations about Fr. de Souza’s views (my emphases and comments):

One problem is that of experience. Most of those Catholics who regularly participate at Masses celebrated in the usus antiquior have experienced the modern rite; most Catholics who regularly participate in the modern rite have not experienced the usus antiquior and do not really understand its attraction or its salient features when compared with the rite that they know. [That is certainly the case with most younger priests.] Some regular experience of celebrating the usus antiquior would lead most priests (or Cardinals) to understand the impossibility of forming a common reformed rite that would really be the usus antiquior which Pope Benedict understood as being attractive to many people, and which he said could not be suddenly considered forbidden or harmful.

This is a good point.  The discussion about the interplay of the two rites would change dramatically were the priests involved well-versed also in the traditional form.  When opining about their Roman Rite it is better to know the Roman Rite… which by definition includes the traditional Form.

Fr. Finigan goes on to address the Lectionary issue:

I would also gently urge that there needs to be greater awareness of the real work that is being done on the liturgy by traditionalist scholars. To take an example that is relevant to the current debate: only last year, Matthew P. Hazell published what is volume I in Lectionary Study Aids: Index Lectionum: A Comparative Table of Readings for the Ordinary and Extraordinary Forms of the Roman Rite. [US HERE – UK HERE ] His blog Lectionary Study Aids has other resources that would be useful for anyone interested in actually studying the question. His book has a Foreword by Peter Kwasniewski and consists of comparative tables by which the lectionaries of the modern rite and the usus antiquior can be compared to see which passages of scripture are included or omitted.

Thanks to Matthew Hazell, it is no longer necessary to rely on feelings or impressions when forming an opinion about the lectionary of the modern rite and it is possible to go beyond the simple assessment that it has lots more verses of the bible and therefore must be so much better. In the Foreword, Peter Kwasniewski makes a brief start on analysis of the modern lectionary, looking at, among other problems, Old Testament omissions, loss of Johannine material, omission of morally demanding texts (notoriously 1 Cor 11.27-29), and reductive redistribution.

Those who would defend the superiority of the modern lectionary cannot simply default to the position that “everybody” knows it is better because it has a higher biblical word-count; there is a real debate to be had, and an increasing amount of source material to be used.

Fr. de Souza brings up a point I made about the period of stability that we need before tinkering with the EF: traditionalists have often been treated horribly over the last few decades.   HERE  My emphases:

It is unlikely that apologies are going to be forthcoming. Yet Fr. Zuhlsdorf’s point about wounds requiring time to heal is valid; he may be right that the EF community is too wounded just now for reconciliation. A challenge though is to ensure that wounds are not passed down to younger devotees of the EF who were not around to have their hearts riven.

Cardinal Sarah’s intervention has made clear that even when friends of the EF – Sarah himself, or Cardinal Raymond Burke – speak about enrichment of the EF by the OF, they lack for supportive listeners in the EF leadership.

First, I had in truth written  that “many” of the traditional community have been wounded.  It is inaccurate to lump all those who prefer the traditional form of the Roman Rite into one group and them imply that “they are too wounded now for reconciliation”.

Fr. de Souza acknowledges that there are “younger devotees” who are frequenting the old form of Holy Mass (who did not personally experience the wars of previous decades), and hopes that they won’t get shot up in the crossfire.  Fine.  However, start messing around too deeply and too quickly with the older form, start tinkering in an artificial way with the older form, and we will see in the 2010’s what we saw in the 1960-70’s: wounds.

Moreover, he seems to be saying that, “Those poor people over there are psychologically too fragile to do the work I think ought to be done.”  That’s not at all pugilistic.

Okay, in fairness, perhaps I read him wrong and he isn’t being dismissive.

Moving on, it seems to me infra dignitatem to pit “EF leadership” against Card. Sarah and Card. Burke in the way that Fr. de Souza did.  I, for one, commented that, while I didn’t agree with everything Card. Sarah wrote, I was taking his suggestions to prayerful consideration.

Does anyone seriously believe that “EF leadership” are against Cardinals Sarah and Burke just because they don’t want have their arguments swept aside and then see massive, sudden, artificial changes imposed on the EF?

I firmly believe in and have for decades argued for what Ratzinger/Benedict promoted: we must allow a way through “mutual enrichment”, or what I like to call a “gravitational pull” of two forms, to jump-start the organic development of sacred worship interrupted by the brutal imposition of an artificially created order.  HOWEVER, we have to avoid the mistakes of the past and resist the temptation to start tinkering too quickly and too deeply.

Suddenly impose artificial changes on the EF and a tremendous opportunity will be lost.

We need a significant period of stability before we legislate changes.

Let the older rite take root and become, again, part of the warp and weft of our lives.  Let the newer rite be cleaned up and implemented without wide-spread abuses imposed on it.

There are already mutual enrichments going on, which are not a result of tinkeritis.  I think that reasonable and well-informed traditionalists understand that changes will result over time, nolens volens.  That’s the way of things.  That’s what happened over the centuries.  If we force the process too abruptly, however, there will be problems.

We, especially we clerics, have to avoid the trap and resist the temptation to tinker, to “fix stuff”, into which Fr de Souza may have fallen… with many others.

We don’t have to be afraid of the side-by-side celebration of these two forms of the Roman Rite.  Just let them be offered in the very best way possible and we will see what happens over time.

In any event, I welcome Fr de Souza’s additional comments, especially because they occasioned a thoughtful response from Fr. Finigan.  I imagine that others will follow and a fruitful dialogue will continue.

Posted in Liturgy Science Theatre 3000, Mail from priests, SUMMORUM PONTIFICUM, The Drill, The future and our choices | Tagged , , , , , | 44 Comments

On this day… “Getting Francis Wrong”

Here is something to ponder.  HERE

On this day in 2013 I posted:

Over at First Things I saw a piece called Five Myths About Pope Francis by William Doino Jr.

What are those myths?

1. “Francis is the anti-Benedict.”
2. “Francis is Not a Cultural Warrior.”
3. “Francis is a ‘Social Justice’ Pope.”
4. “Francis Will Be More Charitable Toward Dissenters.”
5. “Francis Loves the World.”

I think it would be interesting to reread the article in question and see how things are going now…. with some perspective.

Moderation queue is ON.

Posted in Linking Back | Tagged | 32 Comments

My View For A While: Parental Edition

Off I go for a brief southern sojourn.  But first, the joy of airports at Zero Dark Thirty and cramped flights.

Did I mention “cramped”?

Delta’s definition of “comfort” differs from that which most of us understand.

To experience “comfort” is this seat in “comfort” class you would have to be 6 years old.


After a lousy bagel and schmear in the club, it’s off to the next flight.

In the ramp – chute? – Delta’s version of a red carpet for its boarding patrons.


Posted in On the road, What Fr. Z is up to | Tagged | 16 Comments

WDTPRS – 7th Sunday after Pentecost: circumventing God’s plan

Nadal 7th post PentecostIn the traditional Roman calendar this Sunday is the 7th Sunday after Pentecost.

Today’s Collect survived the cutting and pasting experts of the Consilium to live on as the Collect for the 9th Sunday of Ordinary Time.


Deus, cuius providentia in sui dispositione non fallitur te supplices exoramus, ut noxia cuncta submoveas, et omnia nobis profutura concedas.

Blaise/Chirat (a dictionary of Latin in French) indicates that dispositio is “disposition providentialle”. It has to do God’s plan for salvation. Fallo is an interesting word. It means basically, “to deceive, trick, dupe, cheat, disappoint” and it has as synonyms “decipio, impono, frustror, circumvenio, emungo, fraudo”. Fallo is used to indicate things like simply being mistaken or being deceived. It can apply to making a mistake because something eluded your notice or it was simply unknown. In our Latin conversation it is not uncommon to say nisi fallor, “unless I am mistaken…”. If you look for submoveo you may have to check under summoveo. Find profutura under prosum. Don’t confuse noxia with noxa.


God, whose providence, in its plan, is not circumvented, humbly we implore You, that you clear away every fault and grant us all benefits.

There is no getting around or circumventing God’s plan.

Why, given who God is and who we are, would we want to try?

But we do, don’t we.

We have to make a choice about which way to go with noxia.  Does it mean “harmful things” that are outside us or that are within us, that is, our own sins, our faults?  Both?

OBSOLETE ICEL (1973 9th Sunday Ordinary Time):

Father, your love never fails. Hear our call. Keep us from danger and provide for all our needs.

ROFL! Quite simply dreadful.  This may be one of the worst I have ever seen.  But we NEVER have to HEAR IT AGAIN.

CURRENT ICEL (2011  9th Sunday Ordinary Time):

O God, whose providence never fails in its design, keep from us, we humbly beseech you, all that might harm us and grant all that works for our good.

We have to make a choice about which way to go with noxia.  Does it mean “harmful things” that are outside us or that are within us, that is, our own sins, our faults?  Both?
God knows who we are and what we need far better than we can ever know ourselves.

Foreseeing all our sins and many faults, all that we say and do is embraced in His eternal plan.

He has disposed all things so as to make glorious things result from the evils for which we alone are responsible.

Sometimes, moreover, it is hard to understand that God actually cares are us.  Given how immeasurably vast God is and how small we are, it is easy for some, mired in earthly distractions, to lapse into sort of deism and imagine a God who created everything and then, like a clock maker, just set the pendulum to swing and stepped away.

There is an old adage that, if you want to know if God is interested in you, just make a plan.

It is good for us each day never to forget to make an Act of Faith, which is a good Trinitarian prayer.

O my God, I firmly believe that Thou art one God in Three Divine Persons, Father, Son and Holy Ghost. I believe that Thy Divine Son became Man, and died for our sins, and that He will come to judge the living and the dead. I believe these and all the truths which the Holy Catholic Church teaches, because Thou hast revealed them, Who canst neither deceive nor be deceived.


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

WDTPRS – 16th Ordinary Sunday: You are being hunted by the Enemy

lion bloodThe Collect for the 16th Ordinary Sunday is not in any pre-Conciliar Missale Romanum.  It has its antecedent in a 9th century manuscript.  Enjoy the fine clausula (rhythmic ending).

Propitiare, Domine, famulis tuis, et clementer gratiae tuae super eos dona multiplica, ut, spe, fide et caritate ferventes, semper in mandatis tuis vigili custodia perseverent.

We have been cheated of the beauty of our Catholic worship in Latin, which is our common patrimony.  These prayers, from our forebears, are our inheritance.  They lay quiet in manuscripts, but, even after a vast gap of time in human reckoning, they glitter even today.

However, now that we have, far and wide, abandoned our past, slammed the door on our common treasury, switched off the light of learning, it will be more and more difficult for future generations to grasp these tightly woven ancient Latin Collects with their lovely rhythms, their clarity of thought, their force.  Translation doesn’t do them justice.

I am reminded of the present controversy surrounding the infamous paragraph 299 in the 2002 GIRM: if you don’t know Latin, if you don’t use Latin as a priest in the Latin Church, in the Roman Rite, you are effectively cut off from the wisdom of our forebears.

Some vocabulary.

Famulus and feminine famula appear frequently in our Latin prayers.  Famulus is probably from Latin’s ancient cousin, the Oscan *faama, “house.”   A Latin famulus or famula was a household servant or hand-maid, slave or free. They were considered members of the larger family.

Custodia is “a watching, guard, care, protection” and has the military overtone of “guard, sentinel”.  Vigil is “wakeful, watchful”, and, like custodia, can also be “a watchman, sentinel”.

Liturgically, a “vigil” is the evening and night before a great feast day.  In ancient times vigils were times of fasting and penance.  Men who were to be knighted kept a night’s vigil. They were watchful against the attacks of the world, the flesh and the Devil.  They fasted, prayed, and examined their consciences in order to be pure for the rites to follow.


Look propitiously on Your servants, O Lord, and indulgently multiply upon them the gifts of Your grace so that, burning with faith, hope and charity, they may persevere always in your commands with vigilant watchfulness.


Lord, be merciful to your people. Fill us with your gifts and make us always eager to serve you in faith, hope, and love.

Can you believe that?   THAT is how our Latin original was rendered!  THAT is what people heard in their churches for Mass for decades!


Show favor, O Lord, to your servants and mercifully increase the gifts of your grace, that, made fervent in hope, faith and charity, they may be ever watchful in keeping your commands.

Scripture often gives us images of watches during the night.

At the birth of the Lord shepherds “were keeping watch over their flock by night (vigilantes et custodientes vigilias noctis)” (Luke 2:8).  Jesus said, “Watch (vigilate) therefore, for you do not know on what day your Lord is coming. But know this, that if the householder had known in what part of the night the thief was coming, he would have watched (vigilaret) and would not have let his house be broken into. Therefore you also must be ready; for the Son of man is coming at an hour you do not expect” (Matthew 24:42-44).   Our Lord explains that servants should keep watch in order to open the door for the master of the house even if he returns in the dead of the night (cf Luke 12:37-39).  St Paul constantly urges Christians to be “watchful”.

In 1 Peter 5:8 we read sobering, “Be sober, be watchful. Your adversary the Devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour”.

The Enemy is seeking you!  (1 Peter 5:8)  You, dear friends, are described as prey whom the Enemy might devour.

In the ancient Roman countryside there were great estates (cflatifundium) having many buildings for family, household servants, the various workers, storage, etc.  These dwellings were often self-sufficient, and were surrounded with walls against attacks by brigands.  Even into Renaissance times, a great house in a city (domus) might be fortified with watch towers.  The householder or the lord of the estate was the head or father of the larger “family”.  Kind or cruel, the paterfamilias was judge, protector and provider to everyone under his care.

Simple ancient famuli had to work to produce good fruits in order to survive with a good quality of life and a safe place to belong.  Sophisticated modern famuli, marked with the family name “Christian”, marked permanently with the family seal through baptism and confirmation, must produce fruits according to our vocations.

When life’s reckoning comes, will we be like the foolish virgins?

The foolish virgins, too, watched all night for the arrival of the Bridegroom, but they didn’t take care to have enough oil for their lamps.  They were locked out of the house, outside in the dangerous night with no place to go, no work to do, no purpose to fulfill. They no longer belonged.  When the Bridegroom came, they were not ready.  When they returned from obtaining their tardy oil, the door was closed in their faces.  They pounded.  They plead.  From the other side of the door they heard the Bridegroom say those terrifying words: I do not know you.

Vigilate… Watch therefore, for you know neither the day nor the hour” (Matthew 25:13).

When you hear the priest pronounce this Collect, beg our Lord – so gracious and patient with us even when we are lazy and sinful – to continue giving us gifts of faith, hope and charity we need for the very survival of our souls.

If you prepare for bad times and disasters that can occur in respect to worldly things, how much more important is it to prepare for hardship or attacks, and that final moment of reckoning, in the spiritual plane?

After many centuries these orations still communicate the profound intellectual formation and the faith of their composers, our Christian family ancestors.

Posted in Liturgy Science Theatre 3000, WDTPRS | Tagged , , , , , , , | 6 Comments