ASK FATHER: Waxed linen altar cloths

In honor of the appointment of Card. Sarah to the Congregation for Divine Worship, we tackle an important liturgical issue.

Traditionally our Roman altars should have three linen altar cloths.  One of them should properly be infused with wax, to make it relatively waterproof.  This is sometimes called a “cere cloth”.  It is also known as a “chrismale” because it is placed on the altar during its consecration rite after the mensa has been anointed with chrism.

A reader wants to find one.

I was hoping you could inquire after your readers as to where one might procure a proper waxed linen cere cloth?  My children’s school has an altar that is sorely in need of proper altar cloths. I would like to procure them for the school, but am unable to find a supplier of them.  I was hoping you or your readers might be aware of one.

Maybe you can help.

If I recall correctly, someone involved with the Institute of Christ the King knows someone who makes these cloths.  This thought stems from when I attended the consecration of Old St. Patrick’s in downtown Kansas City: when they clothed the altar for the first time, they used a “cere cloth” which looked like the real thing.  I have a recollection of asking about it and hearing that someone made it.

I suppose that, in a pinch, one might cut to shape a table pad if it were thin enough.  There are also a certain kind of sheet used in hospitals that is moisture proof.

The cere cloth has wax on only one side.  The production of such a cloth involves dipping the linen in melted wax and then ironing it between two other sheets.  I think that removes the top layer of wax.

So… have at!

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Posted in "How To..." - Practical Notes, ASK FATHER Question Box, Liturgy Science Theatre 3000 | Tagged , , | 12 Comments

Your Sunday Sermon Notes

Was there a good point or two made during the sermon you heard for your Sunday Mass of obligation?

Let us know!

Posted in SESSIUNCULA | 19 Comments

New Prefect of Divine Worship and Discipline of the Sacraments

Pope Francis has appointed Robert Card. Sarah, 69, as the new Prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship and Discipline of the Sacraments.

Hitherto, Card. Sarah, from Guinea, has been the head of the Pontifical Council “Cor Unum”.

Not long ago, I posted here about Card. Sarah’s remarks concerning the poor.

Cardinal Sarah, citing Benedict XVI, told CNA that “charity is very linked with the proclamation of the Gospel, and doing charity is not only giving food, giving material things, but giving God too. Because the main lack of man is not having God.

Also, he seems to have seen through the machinations of a certain element active during the recent Synod of Bishops on the family regarding homosexuality.

Cardinal Robert Sarah, president of the Pontifical Council Cor Unum, emphasized to CNA Oct. 16 that “what has been published by the media about homosexual unions is an attempt to push the Church (to change) her doctrine.”

“The Church has never judged homosexual persons, but homosexual behavior and homosexual unions are grave deviations of sexuality,” the cardinal, who is from the west African nation of Guinea, added.

Card. Sarah wasn’t happy about the manipulation of the Synod.  HERE

I think it was precisely this sort of input from Africans that Card. Kasper feared during the Synod.

Posted in Liturgy Science Theatre 3000 | 51 Comments

Curial reshuffling to take place?

I have of late not been very happy with Andrea Tornielli, who seems to have jettisoned objectivity.  However, at La Stampa he posts that there are perhaps some big changes coming to the Roman Curia.

On Monday the Pope will sit down with heads of curial dicasteries before he meets with the Gang of 8+1 (1=SecState).  It is rumored that the Congregation for Catholic Education and the Pontifical Council for Culture may be combined.  Card. Ravasi, now at Culture, might wind up head of the new dicastery.  The head of Education, Zenon Card. Grocholewski, recently turned 75.

Another move might fuse together the Pontifical Councils of Justice and Peace, Migrants, Cor Unum, the Academy for Life with Card. Maradiaga as head.

I have been hypothesizing that the Pope wants to pare down the number of curial Cardinals (and the Archbishop Secretaries that go with them).  This would weaken the Curia’s influence overall and would concentrate power in the hands of a very few who would be especially close to this Pope.  Also, I see the demotion of Card. Burke not just as a way of sending a chill through a whole sector of the Church, but also a preparatory move to smash together the three tribunals, which would reduce the number of their cardinals from two to one.  It is possible that there could also be created a “Moderator of the Curia” position.


Posted in Pope Francis, The Drill | 21 Comments

Anti-Christian group’s founder arrested

Via BarbWire:

Homosexual HRC Founder Arrested for Raping 15-Year-Old Boy

et another high profile “gay” activist has been arrested for homosexual assault on a child. This time authorities caught one of the big fish (a rainbow trout?). Terrance Patrick Bean founded the “Human Rights Campaign” (HRC), which is one of the world’s largest, wealthiest and most powerful anti-Christian organizations. To this day he remains on the board of directors. HRC was developed for the sole purpose of pushing the extremist homosexual political agenda. Bean is also a major player for the DNC and a big Obama supporter.

The Oregonian reports:


Read the rest there.

Posted in The Drill, The Sin That Cries To Heaven For Vengence | Tagged , , | 10 Comments

MIAMI: TLMs bringing in young people

A reader alerted me to coverage of a TLM in Miami in which the local Juventutem chapter is involved.

With Ancient Language, Catholic Mass Draws Young Parishioners

Roman Catholic Mass was at one time universally celebrated in Latin, the ancient Roman language.

After the second Vatican Council in the 1960s, Mass was allowed to be celebrated in the language of the people, meaning Mass in Peru was celebrated in Spanish and Mass in the United States was celebrated in English — you get the picture. [It's in English now.  What it was in in 1973 is debatable.]

Latin is now sometimes referred to as “the dead language,” but it is not dead in Miami. [It's not dead anywhere else, either!]

The Mission of Saints Francis and Clare is a Roman Catholic chapel in Miami that celebrates traditional Latin Mass every Sunday. It’s one of three local churches that offer this regular service. The mission has about 20 pews facing its single stained-glass window just above the altar.

Father Joe Fishwick has been leading the traditional Latin Mass at the chapel for almost 20 years. He says he’s noticed a change in attendance recently.

“The fascinating thing is the number of young people who discover the old liturgy and who fall in love with it,” he says. “There’s indeed a thirst for a return to one’s roots.”

Father Fishwick says he has seen more and more young people at Sunday’s Latin Mass since the death of Pope John Paul II nine years ago.

“I think maybe the younger generation, which has had no experience of that, has been completely starved of it,” says 30-year-old Miamian Josue Hernandez. “They see it and they run to it because they have been so deprived.”


Read the rest there.

Apparently they have a “Dogma on Draught” night once in a while.  Great!

I’d like to visit them sometime, maybe for a Mass.  Preferably when it is -10°F at the Steam Pipe Trunk Distribution Center.

The New Evangelization, one TLM at a time.

Posted in "How To..." - Practical Notes, Just Too Cool, Liturgy Science Theatre 3000, New Evangelization, Our Catholic Identity | Tagged , | 17 Comments

My View For Awhile: Allons Y Edition

Vacation having come to an end, it’s time to hit the long and dusty. Paris is worth, among other things, another visit.


This is the part I like the least.




Back in these USA!

Last leg.



It’s short.

Posted in On the road, What Fr. Z is up to | 14 Comments

Paris – Day 7: Shells and bones

Today brought better weather. We had a trip to the Bon Marche again, almost like a pilgrimage. But there were various motives I cannot now explicate.

On the way…


And the place itself.  Fascinating.


Did you know that large format wine bottles have historical/biblical names?

These two await the either the re-election of Benedict XVI or, perhaps, the abolishing of the Book of Blessings, or maybe even the loosing of restrictions on ordination in the Extraordinary Form for all bishops and places.

A Nebuchadnezzar and Balthasar.  If memory serves, the largest is a Melchizedek, which is poetic justice.  Of course, in the boxes, we have “The Widow”.  And the Neb was €1600+.


Scallop shells are symbols of Christian pilgrimage.  You will see St. Rocco with one.  You see the Apostle James with one, because of the pilgrimage to Santiago di Compostella in Spain.  In French, the scallop is “coquille Saint-Jacques”, of St. James. Here are some, in the raw. They were as big across as my whole hand could spread.


Skipping waaaaay forward, to the wonderful supper, chicken consommé with celery and a ravioli of duck foie gras.

Before the addition of the consommé:



And after:


I won’t bother with the “after” shot of this, because there is nothing to show.
Paried with Puligny-Montrachet. Yes!

The rest of the meal was devoted to devouring a whole “Bresse” chicken.

Tomorrow, however, is another day.

Posted in On the road, What Fr. Z is up to | Tagged | 13 Comments

Turning to the East in the Diocese of Lincoln

The late-great liturgist Klaus Gamber, who also influenced Joseph Ratzinger (also known by another name), said that turning around the altars was the single most damaging change that happened in the name of the Council, and it wasn’t even mandated by the Council.  There is no document that required tables be set up.

But I digress.

Great news from the Diocese of Lincoln!

His Excellency Most Reverend James Conley has determined that Holy Mass in the Cathedral of Lincoln will be ad orientem.

Bishop’s Column
Looking to the east
Friday, 21 November 2014
Jesus Christ will return in glory to the earth.

We do not know when he will return. But Christ promised us that he would return in glory, “as light comes from the east” to bring God’s plan of redemption to its fulfillment.

In 2009, Bishop Edward Slattery, of Tulsa, Okla., wrote that “the dawn of redemption has already broken, but the sun —Christ Himself—has not yet risen in the sky.” [I wrote about that HERE]

In the early Church, Christians expected that Christ would come soon—any day. There was hopeful expectation. They were watchful—they looked to the sky in the east to wait for Christ. And because they did not know when he would return, they proclaimed the Gospel with urgency and enthusiasm, hoping to bring the world to salvation before Christ returned.

It has been nearly two thousand years now since Christ ascended into heaven. It has become easier to forget that he will come again to earth. It has become easier to forget that we must be waiting, we must be watching, and we must be ready. [Holy Mass must help to prepare us for death.]

In the season of Advent, as we recall Christ’s Incarnation at Christmas, we are reminded to be prepared for Christ’s coming. In the Gospel for the First Sunday of Advent this year, Nov. 30, Christ tells us his disciples “to be on the watch.”

“You do not know when the Lord of the house is coming,” Jesus says. “May he not come suddenly and find you sleeping.”

We remember that Christ is coming whenever we celebrate the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass. In the Holy Mass we are made present to the sacrifice at Calvary, and to the joy of Christ’s glory in heaven. But we also remember that Christ will return, and we remember to watch, to be vigilant, to wait for him, and to be prepared.

The Mass is rich with symbolism. The vestments of the priest remind us of the dignity of Christ the King. We strike our breasts, and bow our heads, and bend our knees to remember our sinfulness, God’s mercy, and his glory. In the Mass, the ways we stand, and sit, and kneel, remind us of God’s eternal plan for us.

Since ancient times, Christians have faced the east during the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass to remember to keep watch for Christ. Together, the priest and the people faced the east, waiting and watching for Christ. Even in Churches that did not face the east, the priest and people stood together in the Mass, gazing at Christ on the crucifix, on the altar, and in the tabernacle, to recall the importance of watching for his return. The symbolism of the priest and people facing ad orientem—to the east—is an ancient reminder of the coming of Christ.

More recently, it has become common for the priest and the people to face one another during the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass. The priest stands behind the altar as he consecrates the Eucharist, facing the people. The people see the face of the priest as he prays, and he sees their faces. These positions can have important symbolism too. They can remind us that we are a community—one body in Christ. And they can remind us that the Eucharist, at the center of the assembly, should also be at the center of our families, and our lives. [As Joseph Ratzinger indicates it also leads to a worshipping body being closed in on itself.]

But [BUT...] the symbolism of facing together, and awaiting Christ, is rich, time-honored and important. Especially during Advent, as we await the coming of the Lord, facing the east together—even symbolically facing Christ together at the altar and on the crucifix—is a powerful witness to Christ’s imminent return. Today, at a time when it is easy to forget that Christ is coming—and easy to be complacent in our spiritual lives and in the work of evangelization—we need reminders that Christ will come.

During the Sundays of Advent, the priests in the Cathedral of the Risen Christ will celebrate the Mass ad orientem. With the People of God, the priest will stand facing the altar, and facing the crucifix. When I celebrate midnight Mass on Christmas, I will celebrate ad orientem as well. This may take place in other parishes across the Diocese of Lincoln as well.

In the ad orientem posture at Mass, the priest will not be facing away from the people. [OORAH!] He will be with them—among them, and leading them—facing Christ, and waiting for his return.

“Be watchful!” says Jesus. “Be alert! You do not know when the time will come.” We do not know when the time will come for Christ’s to return. But we know that we must watch for him. May we “face the east,” together, watching for Christ in the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass and in our lives.

Fr. Z kudos to Bp. Conley!


Posted in Fr. Z KUDOS, Liturgy Science Theatre 3000, Our Catholic Identity | Tagged , , | 62 Comments

Five Cardinals Book™ will defend marriage in several more languages!

Friends, the controversy isn’t over yet.  It is only beginning.

So, I am happy to report that The Five Cardinals Book™,  Remaining in the Truth of Christ: Marriage and Communion in the Catholic Churchwhich helped to turn the tide during the recent Synod of Bishops, is already in English, Italian (it is a best seller in Italy), French (they’re hiding it at La Procure in Paris, but I found it!), German and Spanish.

It is now probably going to be issued in:

  • Polish
  • Portuguese
  • Hungarian
  • Croatian
  • Slovak
  • Czech

Do you have your copy yet?

Click to buy!

Are you in these USA: HERE  

You can get it on Kindle.

Don’t have a Kindle yet.  What on earth are you waiting for?  USA HERE (for one type, a Paperwhite, you can surf to others) and UK HERE

Also available now in the UK! HERE - UK KINDLE HERE

REMINDER of what is in this pivotal book.

Remaining in the Truth of Christ: Marriage and Communion in the Catholic Church contains five essays of cardinals, of the archbishop secretary of the Vatican congregation for the Oriental Churches, and of three scholars on the ideas supported by Walter Card. Kasper in the opening discourse of the consistory in February 2014.

These are the nine chapters of the book:

  • The Argument in Brief- Robert Dodaro, O.S.A.
  • Dominical Teaching on Divorce and Remarriage: The Biblical Data - Paul Mankowski, S.J.
  • Divorce and Remarriage in the Early Church: Some Historical and Cultural Reflections - John M. Rist
  • Separation, Divorce, Dissolution of the Bond, and Remarriage: Theological and Practical Approaches of the Orthodox Churches - Archbishop Cyril Vasil’, S.J.
  • Unity and Indissolubility of Marriage: From the Middle Ages to the Council of Trent - Walter Cardinal Brandmüller
  • Testimony to the Power of Grace: On the Indissolubility of Marriage and the Debate concerning the Civilly Remarried and the Sacraments - Gerhard Ludwig Cardinal Müller
  • Sacramental Ontology and the Indissolubility of Marriage - Carlo Cardinal Caffarra
  • The Divorced and Civilly Remarried and the Sacraments of the Eucharist and Penance  - Velasio Cardinal De Paolis, C.S.
  • The Canonical Nullity of the Marriage Process as the Search for the Truth - Raymond Leo Cardinal Burke

The Augustinian Fr. Robert Dodaro, editor, is the President of the Patristic Institute “Augustinianum” in Rome.

The Jesuit Paul Mankowski is a professor at the Lumen Christi Institute in Chicago. Professor John M. Rist teaches ancient history and philosophy at the University of Toronto and at the Catholic University of America in Washington.


Posted in "How To..." - Practical Notes, Fr. Z KUDOS, New Evangelization, One Man & One Woman, Our Catholic Identity, Si vis pacem para bellum!, The Coming Storm, The Drill, The future and our choices | Tagged , , | 8 Comments