Pope Francis, Pope

I have been, frankly, both exhausted and a bit disgusted after the last Synod and I have been trying to have a little RnR.  That doesn’t make for a lot of posting of edgy stuff.

So, here’s a little meat to chew on.

That closing address Pope Francis made to the Synod… interesting, no?  Forget about the part wherein he does a little, what can you call it, name-calling?  About “intellectuals” and “do-gooders”?  No.  What caught my eye is that middle section.

For the last year and a half, His Holiness has been downplaying his image as “Pope”.  He signs his name “Francis” without the other rigamarole which indicated the year of his pontificate.  He is simply been “Francis… Bishop of Rome” rather than than “Supreme Pontiff”.

But in the middle part of the closing address for the Extraordinary Synod, it was all Pope all the time.

And, as I have dared to tell you , [as] I told you from the beginning of the Synod, it was necessary to live through all this with tranquillity, and with interior peace, so that the Synod would take place cum Petro and sub Petro (with Peter and under Peter), and the presence of the Pope is the guarantee of it all.

We will speak a little bit about the Pope, now, in relation to the Bishops [laughing]. So, the duty of the Pope is that of guaranteeing the unity of the Church; it is that of reminding the faithful of  their duty to faithfully follow the Gospel of Christ; it is that of reminding the pastors that their first duty is to nourish the flock – to nourish the flock – that the Lord has entrusted to them, and to seek to welcome – with fatherly care and mercy, and without false fears – the lost sheep. I made a mistake here. I said welcome: [rather] to go out and find them.

So, Francis is more Pope now than before.

I think that, in the wake of the Synod, we may see some exercises of papal power.

How shall they manifest?   I’d like to see Pope Francis summarily reconciled the SSPX.  How about a Pontifical Mass in the Extraordinary Form?  How about … use of the fanon and ferula?  He would wear the items that the Roman Pontiff normally wears in the exercise of his duties.   And these things would now enhance, rather than detract from, his pastoral duties.

Finally, I think that His Holiness is starting to feel – in an intense new way – what it really means to be the Vicar of Christ, the Successor of Peter. His role is, in a special, way to affirm the brethren and the uphold the regula fidei … No. Matter. What.


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Posted in Our Catholic Identity, Pope Francis, SESSIUNCULA, The Drill | Tagged | 4 Comments

Sistine Chapel “rented” out to Porsche?

Someone allowed the the Sistine Chapel to be “rented” for a corporate event. HERE  Someone else in the Holy Sees denies that it was “rented”.   However, a big German corporation gave money to the Holy See and, after that, the corporation used the chapel for an event.

His Holiness has taken an interest in cars for a while now.  HERE

Porsche rents Sistine Chapel for Pope’s charity

For its fans, getting into a Porsche can be like a religious experience, but it’s probably no substitute for getting into the Sistine Chapel.
For the first time ever, the Apostolic Palace in the Vatican — one of the world’s most celebrated example of Renaissance art — can be rented out for corporate charity events.

Forty Porsche enthusiasts, at $5,900 per head, on Saturday were the first group of people treated to a private tour under the Vatican’s new program. The event is part of Pope Francis’ Art for Charity project.
Porsche’s tour is a far cry from what the average visitor gets. Most of the Sistine Chapel’s 20,000 daily visitors get a quick glance at the chapel before they’re rushed out in an attempt to protect its fragile frescoes. The Porsche clients enjoyed a private concert while admiring the famous ceiling painted by Michelangelo.
The event was part of an exclusive four-day tour of Rome arranged by Porsche, which is owned by Volkswagen (VLKAF). Besides the concert, it also included after-hours access to the Vatican Museums and a gala dinner “in the midst of the exhibition,” a trip to the Pope’s summer retreat of Castel Gandolfo and a drive to Lago di Garda in the latest Porsche models.
It was the first time any Pope agreed to rent the chapel out for a corporate event.
The Vatican rejects that description.
“The Sistine Chapel can never be rented because it is not a commercial place,” Vatican spokesman Monsignor Paolo Nicolini told reporters.
Instead, the Holy See described the Sistine Chapel as “visible” for private groups. [Like German corporations who used it for a commercial event.  Right?  It wan't a religious event.  It was for clients of Porsche.]

The Vatican hopes other companies will follow suit with similar events. [Think of the potential!]
“This initiative is organized directly by the Vatican Museums and is directed at big companies,” Nicolini said.
But companies hoping to hold their next Christmas party there will be disappointed — the Vatican intends the chapel to be used for art events only. [Not like Masses, or anything like that.]

The Blessed Sacrament is not reserved in the Sistina.

I wonder if, during the event, there was one of those big turn tables with a car on it an a pretty girl waving her hands over it.

The potential of this is great!   Do you think they could perhaps have temporary naming rights for “donations”?  The Tostitos Sistine Chapel during May, for Cinco de Mayo!  The Chase Manhattan St. Peter’s Basilica.  The colonnade of square has a lot of ad space.  Vestments could have Nike flashes and motor oil logos.

Think of the possibilities!

Posted in Lighter fare | Tagged , | 49 Comments

Helen Hull Hitchcock – RIP

In your charity, please remember to pray for the soul of Helen Hull Hitchcock, who died recently.

Posted in SESSIUNCULA | Tagged | 10 Comments

ROMA – Day 1: Hitting the ground running

Here we are again.


I arrived in time for rush hour.

The flight was uneventful, which is how I like them.

Posted in On the road, What Fr. Z is up to | 9 Comments

Card. Kasper invokes journalist war against another Cardinal?

Card. Kasper looks around for people to blame for his own enormous gaffe.  But the ending is a little … dunno… threatening?

From CWR. Go there for links and other stuff.

The controversy about statements made last week about African bishops and their contributions to the Synod on the Family by the Roman Curial prelate Cardinal Walter Kasper continues. Most recently BILD-Zeitung [a German tabloid newspaper] took up the topic last Friday and headlined its story: “Racism Blooper?” BILD also quoted a German bishop who opined, “Insulting, lying and falsely accusing is not prescribed by the Catechism.” There was criticism about Cardinal Kasper’s remarks over the weekend, as Cardinal Raymond Burke calledthe remarks “profoundly sad and scandalous” in an interview with CWR.

Cardinal Kasper has now offered a qualified apology for his statements and expressed his esteem for the Church in Africa. Kasper had previously denied he’d made the remarks attributed to him by journalist Edward Pentin, then stated that he had been recorded speaking to journalists without his knowledge. Kasper himself has now confirmed to Kath.net that he had had a conversation with three journalists. In Kasper’s opinion, though, it was not an interview; there has to be an agreement for an interview as such. Then the Cardinal made it clear:

“If one of my remarks about Africans was perceived as demeaning or insulting, then I am honestly sorry. That was and is not my intention, and not my view at all. No one will deny that Africa’s culture is different from Europe’s in many respects. But I have been in Africa too often not to esteem African culture highly.” [Translated for CWR by Michael J. Miller]

Cardinal Kasper was quoted by Pentin as describing the problems of the African Church as “impossible” for the synod to solve, while saying that the African bishops “should not tell us too much what we have to do.” The publication of Kasper’s comments to Pentin, his disavowal of them, and the subsequent release of the full audio of the interview were the source of much controversy late last week as the bishops concluded the two-week Synod on the Family. Some speculated that the appointment of Cardinal Wilfrid Napier of South Africa to the committee responsible for drafting the synod’s final document was a response to Kasper’s remarks.

Another comment made by Cardinal Kasper in speaking with Kath.net is quite breathtaking: he talked again about a “deliberate dirty trick” to denounce him. “The fact that Catholic media (and unfortunately a cardinal in person) should participate in it, in order to tear down another position morally, is shameful,” Kasper opined. When Kath.net asked as a follow-up question who that cardinal was, Kasper unfortunately gave no answer. The retired Curial Cardinal announced, however, that “other journalists” are going to take action against such “undignified machinations”.

Is that so?  Is there going to be an attack by Kasper’s journalist sympathizers against Card. Burke?

Moderation queue is ON.

I am getting onto an international flight, so you have lots of time to really think through your comments.

Posted in SESSIUNCULA | Tagged | 43 Comments

My View For Awhile: Midtown Tunnel Edition

I hurtled through the Midtown Tunnel and I am on the Van Wyck on the way to JFK.


And so the pilgrimage to Rome begins.


I had a note that a couple of priest friends are also heading to Rome. Different flight.

Meanwhile… ah the allure of the international flight.


Posted in On the road, What Fr. Z is up to | 7 Comments

Extraordinary Synod on Family is, thanks be to God, over.

The Extraordinary Synod on the family is, thanks be to God, over.

The bishops will meet again next year at the same time in the Ordinary Synod on the same topic: the Family.

Let me start with the pessimistic take, first.

In sum, I think this Synod caused defeats for all sides.

It was a big defeat for liberals/progressivists because they didn’t get what they wanted. The liberals in the Synod weren’t able to ram through their agenda. In the end, they overplayed their hands and the conservative/Magisterium defenders rose up and said “No more!” It was also a defeat, but less so, for the defenders of the Magisterium because, frankly, some of the things which were hotly debated at the Synod, shouldn’t have been debated at all. Thus, liberals got their way a little bit: they managed to get their points on the agenda.

Also, the Catholic people everywhere were defeated: great confusion has been sown about matters such as Communion for the divorced and civilly remarried and the “welcome” we are supposed to show as a Church to homosexuals. I am already hearing from priests that people as saying things like, “I’m remarried but Francis says I can go to Communion”. That’s ridiculous, but, as I said, there is confusion. Some people will have the notion that we now “welcome” (whatever that means) homosexuals because they are homosexual rather than because they are human beings. That’s ridiculous, but, as I said, there is confusion.

The Synod was positive in the sense that in the end enough bishops rose up to put a halt to the lemming rush – nay, rather – walking together towards the cliff.  But we shouldn’t be aiming at the cliff at all.

Who knows if it will be possible to halt this thing during next year’s Synod. Some of the key players who stopped the liberal surge and manipulation in the Synod, probably won’t be involved next year. I doubt Card. Burke will be there. He was there this time in his role as head of a dicastery of the Roman Curia. So were Card. Pell and Card. Mueller.  Who knows who will receive special appointments as participants. If this Synod couldn’t be manipulated, and clearly a manipulation was attempted through the control of information and texts, next year’s could be controlled by stacking the deck, changing the slate of participants to favor one side.


However, one factor that will remain is “The Five Cardinals Book”. This important book will have been read and absorbed well by next October. In the face of the books explanations, many of the liberal issues simply fall apart.

A few more points, in no special order.

First, there was controversy about how we are to “welcome” (accogliere) “gays” (I hate that word now). What on earth does “welcome gays” mean? What does it mean for the divorced and civilly remarried? This “welcome” strikes me as incredibly superficial. It reflects sentiments, not real thought.

Does “welcome” for gays and remarried mean just avoiding any words that might be imagined by some to be off-putting?  Does it mean admittance to Holy Communion? I think it does, ultimately. If that is the case, then I think we just have to say “game over”. Think about it. What does Communion become, through the open admission of those who are objectively and often openly in the state of mortal sin? Communion becomes that white thing someone puts in your hand to make you feel “welcome”, like you “belong”. Then you sing the song and go on your way. You don’t have to think about how you live, or what you are doing with you receive the Eucharist. 1 Corinthians is a dead letter. Why bother going at all? One you have obtained the victory of self-affirmation, of deciding for yourself about Communion without any regard for the Church’s perennial teaching, why even bother with Mass?

The talk about “graduality” was interesting, but again there is confusion about the term.  We do not approve sin. Sin is not good.  We are pleased when people move away from sin toward virtue.  We are happy when people sin less, but we are not happy with the sins they still commit.  Moreover, this is a way of helping individuals stop sinning and come to live a good Christian life, it is not a program for whole groups of people.  This is something to be applied in the internal forum rather than in vague phrases of “welcoming”.

Also, and perhaps I am wrong about this, but I think not… it seems to me that in the words “traditionalist” and “intellectualist” the Magisterium of John Paul II was undermined. It seems now that if you believe in the Catechism of the Catholic Church or Familiaris consortio, you are a “traditionalist” and “intellectualist”. Under attack during the Synod, by liberals, was the Magisterium of John Paul II, especially as found in Familiaris consortio and the Catechism of the Catholic Church. I would like to point out that everything Card. Burke wrote in his contribution to the Five Cardinals Book, is supported by the CCC or Familiaris consortio. Hey! FC is 33 years old! That’s outdated by now, right?  So, the term “dissenter” will be applied to people who defend doctrine.

Weird, no?  It is as if we are now walking about with a Salvador Dali landscape.

I sound pessimistic, I know.  I, therefore, rush to add that we can all be grateful for the participants in the Synod who, fed up, held their hands up, got to their feet, and said “No!”

A week ago, we had no idea what was going to happen.  One camp thought their scheme was going to work like a charm.  They aren’t so confident now, I think.

I am also reminded of the pessimist and the optimist who are discussing the state of things.  The pessimist says, “Things can’t possibly get any worse!”.  The optimist replies, “Oh yes they can!”

Putting on my optimist hat now, I turn my gaze to Sunday 4 October 2015, which should be the date that the next Synod begins.  In the Novus Ordo calendar it will be the 27th Sunday of Ordinary Time, Year B.

What is the Gospel reading for that day?  I knew you would ask.

Mark 10:2-16

Just to refresh your memory:

The Pharisees approached Jesus and asked,
“Is it lawful for a husband to divorce his wife?”
They were testing him.
He said to them in reply, “What did Moses command you?”
They replied,
“Moses permitted a husband to write a bill of divorce
and dismiss her.”
But Jesus told them,
“Because of the hardness of your hearts
he wrote you this commandment.
But from the beginning of creation, God made them male and female.
For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother
and be joined to his wife,
and the two shall become one flesh.
So they are no longer two but one flesh.
Therefore what God has joined together,
no human being must separate.”
In the house the disciples again questioned Jesus about this.
He said to them,
Whoever divorces his wife and marries another
commits adultery against her;
and if she divorces her husband and marries another,
she commits adultery.”

Yes, that is the reading for the corresponding Sunday for next year’s opening of the Synod of Bishops.

We have a year now, during which the debates are going to continue.

For a whole year, as you listen to the rhetoric about mercy v. law, pastoral v. intellectual, compassion v. doctrine, everyone will remember what Gospel they should have for the Synod of 2015.

Meanwhile, friends, do not let up.  Let’s use those provisions of Summorum Pontificum and pray and take on mortifications for the sake of Holy Church in these troubling times.

The moderation queue is ON.  Also, I have a really long flight coming up, without internet.

Posted in Liberals, One Man & One Woman, Our Catholic Identity, The Coming Storm, The Drill, The future and our choices, The Sin That Cries To Heaven For Vengence | Tagged , , , , , , , | 53 Comments

VIDEO: Stop this and watch this

Watch and learn:

Enough said.

This is the guy who did this!

This book was the game changer.


As I post this 564 views.

Posted in One Man & One Woman, Our Catholic Identity | Tagged , | 41 Comments

ASK FATHER: Prayer for the Holy Father’s intention?

From a reader…


To gain an indulgence we are required to “pray for the Pope’s intention”. How are we to understand this – are we asking God to answer the specific prayer intentions of the Holy Father (crudely, asking God to do what the Pope wants)? Or are we praying that God will give inspire and guide the Pope, i.e . that his intentions may be according to God’s will? No doubt this is a bit of a dumb question but I’ve never seen this explained clearly.

Good question. I suspect some people may be a little confused about this.

When you are asked to “pray for the intentions of the Holy Father”, you are not being asked to pray for the Holy Father, though that is good and all Catholics really ought to. Rather, you are asked to pray for the intentions that the Holy Father designates that we pray for. For instance, this month, October 2014 we have these intentions.

  • Peace. That the Lord may grant peace to those parts of the world most battered by war and violence.
  • World Mission Day. That World Mission Day may rekindle in every believer zeal for carrying the Gospel into all the world.

Next month, it’ll be something else.  There is usually a “general” intention and a “mission” intention.

If you don’t happen to know what the Pope’s designated intentions are, you can make a general intention to pray for what he wants.  However, in this internet age, you can find quickly what the Pope wants.  The intentions for the whole year are posted before each year begins.  You might print them out and put them by your wall calendar, or write them on slips of paper for your prayer book or hand missal or your refrigerator.  You could tack them up with a new Zed-Head magnet!

We are all in this together.  It is good to have intentions designated by the Vicar of Christ, for us to coordinate our prayer for specific issues.

Posted in "How To..." - Practical Notes, ASK FATHER Question Box, PRAYER REQUEST | Tagged , , | 16 Comments

NYC Day 2: Benedict Edition

The day began with eggs Benedict.


By the way. Did you see how some loons are saying that some Cardinals tried to conspire with Benedict XVI to sway the proceedings of the Synod? Sheesh.

Next, from the Met.  There is an exhibit of some Pre-Raphaelite stuff.  Here is the Kelmscott printing of The Well at the World’s End, which I read when I was getting interested in the Inklings and their predecessors back when I was in “middle school” and high school.



The atrium area of the Frick.


I spent some time with Constable’s White Horse.

This is, by the way, an important painting.

More later.

Posted in SESSIUNCULA | 12 Comments