LENTCAzT 2018 07 – Tuesday in the 1st Week of Lent: subtle temptation

Today is Tuesday in the 1st Week of Lent.   The Roman Station is Sant’Anastasia. 

In gratitude especially to benefactors who help me and this blog, during Lent I’m once again offering 5 minute daily podcasts to encourage you in your own use of this holy season.

Today I sample music from the wonderful Benedictine Nuns in Missouri.

Buying their discs helps them to build their new monastery.



Please share!
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Attacks on the family

Sr. Lucia said that Satan’s great battle is against the family.

Now listen to this.  Please, people, try to think. NB especially about 4:00. Family as the “final bulwark”.

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My View For Awhile: Capital Edition

After Holy Mass, I dashed to the car and zoomed to not too distant Milwaukee’s aerodrome. I’m off for a quick assault on museums of the nation’s capital and for meetings with a priest and lay people about an upcoming pilgrimage which is being organized.

I like this “Recombobulation Area” after security.

You’ve gotta have a sense of humor in traveling these days.

Ah the perks…

Here we go again. Inevitably in the premium boarding process there are those who would trample new born puppies to get onboard before you. They invariably have headphones. Often they wind up getting stuck on the jet bridge 3 passengers in front of you. It is mildly amusing when their bag doesn’t fit in the overhead and, like guy who chosen too high a seat at the banquet must seek the “pink tag”.


For a dear friend, about to enter a new phase.

Meanwhile… just so that everyone knows….

I contacted the people at the Shrine about saying Mass.  Everything was cordial and happy and accommodating…. then I mentioned “Extraordinary Form”.

That’s when the chill and obstacles began.

I was told that to say the Extraordinary Form at the National Shrine, special permission was required from The Rector..

Special permission.  I waited for a response.  Nothing.

Let me be clear that the very nice person I spoke to by phone when trying to figure this out is in no way to blame.  She was extremely gracious.

Never mind that Summorum Pontificum is LAW for over a decade.  Never mind Pope Francis’ concessions to the SSPX.  Never mind everything else, including mere hospitality!   Apparently, the if you want the older form of Mass at the Shrine…  this is the Rector’s shrine and “those people” it seems… well…

St. Peter’s Basilica? No problem.  The Rector’s Basilica?  Keep moving.

So many altars.  Nothing going on at any of them, even though they weren’t built for mere decoration.

Everything was all sweetness and welcome… then I mentioned the Extraordinary Form.

So, my visit to the National Shrine with my friends was great, but tinged with real sorrow.  I walked around in the Basilica with that cloud over my head, asking Mary to help.

It has been hard to be treated so shabbily by stingy priests for so many years.  But that’s the deck we have been dealt.

Those of us who still want what John Paul II called “legitimate aspirations” are sent to the back of the bus.

They can do whatever the hell they want, but those who have “legitimate aspirations” must make sure that they aren’t in town at sundown… or else.

We don’t need your kind ’round here.


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Books for boys. Suggested titles and an additional point.

At Crisis there is a good post about

10 Books That Every Boy Should Hazard

I warmly approve his use of “hazard”. Thank you.   He signals the spirit of this list in a word.

The writer, Sean Fitzpatrick, explains:

Thanks to the adulterators of children’s literature, the natural anticipations when approaching forgotten classics have been skewed. Everyone expects that everything will be picturesque, nice, and most importantly, safe. For reality is far too dangerous, far too harsh a thing, and children must be protected from it at all costs. Real stories for real boys, however, refuse to deliver saccharine platitudes. These books are composed of the uncanny, unforeseeable, and unimaginable. They present a reality that is often harsh, terrible, and so far from the idyllic it is free to become adventure. The books every boy should hazard are constantly on the brink of disaster, but still bear the distant but firm promise of final resolution; deftly navigating the fine line between realism and romance—requiring caution.

The books he recommended.

I. Midshipman Easy by Frederick Marryat


Recommended Age: 14-16

Perhaps the mighty Aubrey/Maturin series when they are a bit older.

II. Wild Animals I Have Known by Ernest Thompson Seton


Recommended Age: 10-14

III. Otto of the Silver Hand by Howard Pyle


Recommended Age: 13-15

IV. The Chimes by Charles Dickens


Recommended Age: 15-17

V. The White Company by Arthur Conan Doyle


Recommended Age: 15-17

VI. The Thirty-Nine Steps by John Buchan


Recommended Age: 14-16

VII. The Other Wise Man by Henry van Dyke


Recommended Age: 12-14

VIII. The Black Arrow: A Tale of the Two Roses by Robert Louis Stevenson


Recommended Age: 14-16

IX. The Prisoner of Zenda by Anthony Hope


Recommended Age: 14-16

X. The Persian Expedition by Xenophon


This one surprised me.  However, I can see why he included it.  As he described: It’s a manual for leadership.

Recommended Age: 15-17

So, those are the books that are recommended in the Crisis piece. You can see more about them over there.

I would add a question and a proposal.

So…. Kindle or a book?   Perhaps a combination of both.   There’s nothing like a real book. But the Kindle makes it easy to read on the fly, and the books don’t gather dust.

In addition to finding books for boys of that age, might I suggest also some effort to read aloud?

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LENTCAzT 2018 06 – Monday in the 1st Week of Lent: “I warned you!”

Today is Monday in the 1st Week of Lent.   The Roman Station is San Pietro in vincoli. 

In gratitude especially to benefactors who help me and this blog, during Lent I’m once again offering 5 minute daily podcasts to encourage you in your own use of this holy season.

Today I sample music from the wonderful Benedictine Nuns in Missouri.

Buying their discs helps them to build their new monastery.



Please share!
Posted in Four Last Things, LENTCAzT, Liturgy Science Theatre 3000, PODCAzT | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Wherein Fr Longenecker schools @JamesMartinSJ

Jesuit homosexualist activist James Martin doesn’t respond to critiques of his position. He can’t. Well… if he did it would have to be along the lines of, “Yes. You are right and I was wrong.” But he’s unlikely to do that given his track record.

Do go read Fr Longenecker’s correction of Martin’s latest. HERE

Straight forward. Clear. Correct.

It is sad that we have to waste our energies on making these corrections. But there are the times we live in. Some one repeats oddities, and it takes us twice as many words – at least – to clean their mess up from the carpet.

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Your Sunday Sermon Notes

Was there a good point made during the sermon you heard for this 1st Sunday of Lent?

Let us know.


If the audio didn’t play immediately, refresh.  I had the wrong link for the audio file for a few minutes after posting.

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WDTPRS 1st Sunday of Lent (N.O.): The Lenten “Sacrament”

The Roman Station for the 1st Sunday of Lent is St. John Lateran.


Concede nobis, omnipotens Deus, ut, per annua quadragesimalis exercitia sacramenti, et ad intellegendum Christi proficiamus arcanum, et effectus eius digna conversatione sectemur.

Quadragesima is the Latin word for the season of Lent, literally “fortieth” (from quadraginta “forty”) for the fortieth weekday before Easter (Ash Wednesday). In Souter’s A Glossary of Later Latin to 600 A.D., we find quadragesimalis is the adjective form for “forty” and means “Lenten”. Pope St. Leo the Great (+461) used the phrase quadragesimale ieiunium, literally “the Forty Fast”, for Lent. In our WDTPRS version let us say “forty-day” together with “Lenten” (“Lent” comes from the Old English lencten for “spring”).

Exercitium indicates military and other practices for preparedness, “exercises”. Christians of the Church Militant must “exercise” (repeatedly drill) the virtues and pious practices to fulfill their mission, the vocation in life.

Arcanum means something that is “closed” and thus, “a secret thing or place.” It refers to sacred rites and sanctuaries and “a sacred secret, a mystery”. The always handy Lewis & Short Dictionary reveals that the verb sector is “to follow continually or eagerly, in a good or bad sense” and also “to run after, attend, accompany.” It also can be “imitate.” Effectus is “a doing, effecting” but in respect to the result of an action it means “an operation, effect, tendency, purpose.” We can get at both of those meanings with “consequence.”

Conversatio will fool you if you are not careful. It means “conduct, manner of living” and not the English false-friend “conversation.”

Early Christian writers lacked specialized vocabulary for their new theology and so made up new words or adapted existing words and gave them new meaning. Sacramentum was first used – that we know – in a Christian context by Tertullian (+ c. 225). In early Christian writings in Latin sacramentum translates Greek mysterion, “mystery”. Its root is sacer, “dedicated or consecrated to a divinity, holy, sacred” (like sacerdos… “priest”). Sacramentum had a legal/juridical meaning as a bond or initiation confirmed by an oath. In the military sacramentum was the initiation into service and the oath taken by a soldier. In the Christian context, sacramentum referred to the pledge and profession of faith made by catechumens when they were baptized and initiated in the Church. Sacramentum pointed to the content of the faith the Christian pledged he accepted. Thus, sacramentum involves the mysteries of our salvation, the meaning of the words and deeds of Christ explained in a liturgical context, the liturgical feasts themselves, and the rites of initiation themselves (baptism, confirmation, Eucharist). St. Augustine of Hippo (+430) used sacramentum also for marriage, the laying on of hands at ordination, anointing of the sick and reconciliation of penitent sinners. We can say for sacramentum something like “sacramental mystery”, or simply “mystery”. So, in Latin texts, sacramentum can mean more than just the English word “sacrament”.


Grant to us, Almighty God, that, through the annual exercises of the forty-day Lenten mystery, we may both make progress in understanding the hidden dimension of Christ and imitate the consequences by worthy conduct of life.

through our observance of Lent,
help us to understand the meaning
of your Son’s death and resurrection,
and teach us to reflect it in our lives.

Grant, almighty God, [already better!]
through the yearly observances of holy Lent, [holy]
that we may grow in understanding
of the riches hidden in Christ
and by worthy conduct pursue their effects
. [what a contrast!]

Even though this is a prayer during Mass, sacramentum here refers not just to the sacrament of the Eucharist, but also its ancient meaning: the forty-day long discipline of Lent which mysteriously bonds Christians and Christ more closely together.

The whole season of Lent is a transforming mystery, a “sacrament”, during which our practices have consequential effects: they bring us into the mystery of the dying and rising Jesus. This transforming bond with Christ is brought about through denial of self and good works for others, penitential mortification and works of mercy, both spiritual and corporal. In Lent the words of the Baptist must ring in our ears daily, even hourly: “He must increase, I must decrease” (John 3:30). When He increases in us, we are more who we are supposed to be. Thus, we have to make “room” for Him by our self-denial.

Keep two things about Jesus firmly in mind:

He is eternal almighty God and He is fully human.

He took our human nature into a bond with His divinity in order to save us from our sins and also to reveal to us who we really are (cf. GS 22).

Through His words and deeds in Scripture (and continuing teaching through the Church), Christ reveals us more fully to ourselves while showing us the invisible Father. We know some things about Christ (and ourselves) that can only be known through an ongoing relationship with Him in which He increases and we decrease. We perhaps might measure the length and breadth and height of the Cross (cf. Ephesians 3:18-19), but part of It is hidden: the part under ground which holds it up. The sensible accidents of the Eucharist can be studied, but the divine reality is hidden from our senses. We pierce through the mystery to the hidden mysteries through faith and penance.

As our prayer says, Lent – the quadragesimale sacramentum – is a season during which we learn things about Christ, and therefore about ourselves, we can learn in no other way.

In our Collect, Holy Church calls the season of Lent a sacramentum, a “mystery”. There is an intimate bond between the whole Lenten cycle and the Person of Christ Himself.

The Lent and Easter cycles make present for us, in a sacramental way, the reality of the Paschal Mystery, Christ’s life, passion, death and resurrection.

Remember! Sacramental reality is no less real than the sensible reality we normally pay attention to. When we participate actively in Lenten practices, God the Father conforms us to His Son who died and rose. During Lent each year the Church conforms herself to the dying and rising Jesus.

This is why traditionally the Church stripped the liturgy of its ornaments: music and all decorations such as flowers. On Passion Sunday (the Sunday before Palm Sunday) statues and images would be draped and hidden. Bells would disappear on Good Friday and there was no Mass at all. The Mass experiences a liturgical death so that at Easter, when everything returns ten-fold, our joy can be that much sweeter, the flowers that must more florid, the music more splendid, the church that much brighter. In our Collect today we are humbly asking God to make this annual series of disciplines and exercises effective in our lives so that we can have the joy the deprivations promise.

To be good Catholic Christians our lives must take on the qualities of the mysteries we profess.

Our participation in these mysteries is not just in this or that particular Mass, for an hour or so on Sunday. We are asked to participate actively and fully in the whole liturgical year. In church and outside of church this participation does not end.

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LENTCAzT 2018 05 – 1st Sunday of Lent: Anger and Reason

Today is the 1st Sunday of Lent.   The Roman Station is St John Lateran. 

In gratitude especially to benefactors who help me and this blog, during Lent I’m once again offering 5 minute daily podcasts to encourage you in your own use of this holy season.

Today we hear a bit of the Gregorian chant Introit antiphon for Holy Mass.


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Commandments are NOT mere “ideals” from which some are excused because, “They’re tooo haaard!” Wherein Fr. Z rants.

two-roads-heaven-hellWith all the chatter these days about virtuous behavior being an “ideal” and jawing about “paradigm shifts” and so forth, I present anew something I posted exactly one year ago today.

___ Originally published 17 Feb 2017

Look. I’m the first one to admit that I am a sinner.  I sin and I go to confession with a firm purpose of amendment.  When I fall, I get back up, again with a firm purpose of amendment.  I go to confession. I keep trying.

I do not think that, just because I sin and fall, God’s commandments are only “ideals” which some other people may be able to keep, but that I – poor wretch that I am – cannot and, therefore, I’m a special case whom the Church must tell, “There there, John, you don’t really have to change your ways.  Go ahead and receive Communion anyway! (cf Gen 3:1)”

Since I am a priest, the whole sin v. state of grace thing is officially a Big Deal™ which I must monitor on a daily basis, especially after reading the news, my email and writing this blog.

It’s not like I can go to Mass (as celebrant) and not receive Communion, like a lay person. If I don’t receive, it isn’t Mass.  So, the pressure is on.

That said, let’s learn something from St. John Paul about the possibility of living in the state of grace.

This is from the 1993 encyclical Veritatis splendor, seemingly contradicted by the Post-Synodal Apostolic Exhortation, Amoris laetitia, chapter 8.  In fact, of the famous Five Dubia sent by the Four Cardinals to the Holy Father (the signer of Amoris laetitia) two Dubia concern Veritatis splendor.

Cf Veritatis splendor, 102-104 (my emphases and comments):

Grace and obedience to God’s law

102. Even in the most difficult situations man must respect the norm of morality so that he can be obedient to God’s holy commandment and consistent with his own dignity as a person. [This has to do with our dignity.] Certainly, maintaining a harmony between freedom and truth occasionally demands uncommon sacrifices, and must be won at a high price: it can even involve martyrdom. But, as universal and daily experience demonstrates, man is tempted to break that harmony: “I do not do what I want, but I do the very thing I hate… I do not do the good I want, but the evil I do not want” (Rom 7:15, 19).

What is the ultimate source of this inner division of man? His history of sin begins when he no longer acknowledges the Lord as his Creator and himself wishes to be the one who determines, with complete independence, what is good and what is evil. “You will be like God, knowing good and evil” (Gen 3:5): this was the first temptation, and it is echoed in all the other temptations to which man is more easily inclined to yield as a result of the original Fall. [This is the danger inherent in the cant that people can go to Communion if their “consciences” allow.  Conscience… formed how?]

But temptations can be overcome, sins can be avoided, because together with the commandments the Lord gives us the possibility of keeping them: “His eyes are on those who fear him, and he knows every deed of man. He has not commanded any one to be ungodly, and he has not given any one permission to sin” (Sir 15:19-20). Keeping God’s law in particular situations can be difficult, extremely difficult, but it is never impossible. [Did you get that?] This is the constant teaching of the Church’s tradition, and was expressed by the Council of Trent: “But no one, however much justified, ought to consider himself exempt from the observance of the commandments, nor should he employ that rash statement, forbidden by the Fathers under anathema, that the commandments of God are impossible of observance by one who is justified. [I posted on that HERE.] For God does not command the impossible, but in commanding he admonishes you to do what you can and to pray for what you cannot, and he gives his aid to enable you. [SEE?] His commandments are not burdensome (cf. 1 Jn 5:3); his yoke is easy and his burden light (cf. Mt 11:30)”.

103. Man always has before him the spiritual horizon of hope, thanks to the help of divine grace and with the cooperation of human freedom.

It is in the saving Cross of Jesus, in the gift of the Holy Spirit, in the Sacraments which flow forth from the pierced side of the Redeemer (cf. Jn 19:34), that believers find the grace and the strength always to keep God’s holy law, even amid the gravest of hardships. As Saint Andrew of Crete observes, the law itself “was enlivened by grace and made to serve it in a harmonious and fruitful combination. Each element preserved its characteristics without change or confusion. In a divine manner, he turned what could be burdensome and tyrannical into what is easy to bear and a source of freedom”.

Only in the mystery of Christ’s Redemption do we discover the “concrete” possibilities of man. [NB!] It would be a very serious error to conclude… that the Church’s teaching is essentially only an “ideal” which must then be adapted, proportioned, graduated to the so-called concrete possibilities of man, according to a “balancing of the goods in question”. [Did you get that?] But what are the “concrete possibilities of man”? And of which man are we speaking? Of man dominated by lust or of man redeemed by Christ? This is what is at stake: the reality of Christ’s redemption. Christ has redeemed us! This means that he has given us the possibility of realizing the entire truth of our being; he has set our freedom free from the domination of concupiscence. [NB!] And if redeemed man still sins, this is not due to an imperfection of Christ’s redemptive act, but to man’s will not to avail himself of the grace which flows from that act. God’s command is of course proportioned to man’s capabilities; but to the capabilities of the man to whom the Holy Spirit has been given; of the man who, though he has fallen into sin, can always obtain pardon and enjoy the presence of the Holy Spirit”.

104. In this context, appropriate allowance is made both for God’s mercy towards the sinner who converts and for the understanding of human weakness. Such understanding never means compromising and falsifying the standard of good and evil in order to adapt it to particular circumstances. It is quite human for the sinner to acknowledge his weakness and to ask mercy for his failings; what is unacceptable is the attitude of one who makes his own weakness the criterion of the truth about the good, so that he can feel self-justified, without even the need to have recourse to God and his mercy. An attitude of this sort corrupts the morality of society as a whole, since it encourages doubt about the objectivity of the moral law in general and a rejection of the absoluteness of moral prohibitions regarding specific human acts, and it ends up by confusing all judgments about values. [“Encouraging doubt” about those thing is, apparently, BAD.  As a matter of fact, it is scandalous, isn’t it?  As Killick would say, “Which it’s millstones ain’t in it!”]


Oh yes… that’s right.  I forgot.  Veritatis splendor came out in late 1993.  That’s 23, almost 24 whole years ago!  [about 25 now!] That’s really old!  Surely VS isn’t relevant today, is it?  Imagine paying attention to something that outdated!

If you were looking for the promised rant, look no farther.

Everyone, don’t be overly discouraged if you fall into sin, even something that is repetitive and truly hard to root out.

Sense the prevenient grace that God is extending to you!  Be truly sorry for your sins, resolve to sin no more, get up off your sorry backsides, go out the door and …


One of the effects of the Sacrament of Penance is a strengthening against sin.

We can do this!  We have to encourage each other and not make excuses.  We have to look at the truth straight on and not get mired in sloppy sentiment.  Truth doesn’t short-circuit compassion, but compassion doesn’t usurp truth.

Here’s a dose of truth.

One of the important things to know ahead of time about amending your life is that, when the temptations come, you have to be willing to suffer.

A firm purpose of amendment means embracing the Cross.  It means being willing to stay up there on your cross and suffering.  Saying “No!” to yourself, saying “No!” to a temptation is the hard path, but it is the path that leads to heaven.  As soon as you say “No!”, the suffering will begin, especially when it comes to more carnal matters.  The cross will be laid upon you.  Then you will carry it.  You might fall!  Then you will be nailed to it.  Then you will thirst and cry to God.  This is how we must face temptations and root out sins.  We face them with a plan and the foreknowledge of the suffering to follow.

On our own, we can’t do it.  With God, we can.  It is not impossible with God’s help.  It is impossible only if we are alone, and we are never alone.

God offers the crosses and the graces every time.   The cross, your daily cross and suffering is the road.  Suffering is bad, but it is good.  Suffering corrects us and tests us.  Suffering purifies us and strengthens us.  It’s all a question of what you love.  If you love God and want heaven enough, then with love you will stay up on that gift of a cross and you will suffer in sorrowfully joyful pain.  It will be bad.  But know also that it is, without question, suffering’s easy yoke.  It is the easy yoke because you are exactly where you ought to be in God’s plan for your rescue from sin into heaven.

Christ is already victorious.  We must live His victory in our bodies and souls.  His victory was through the Cross.  Our victory is through the Cross.   Reject the Cross and you cannot be saved.  Reject your crosses and you imperil your salvation.

The Church teaches with Christ’s authority.  The Church, faithful to Christ her spouse, wants your salvation, just as Christ wants your salvation.  Christ offers crosses to help you.  Therefore, some of the Church’s teachings will be occasions of crosses which you must bear for the sake of your salvation.

The Church isn’t trying to ruin what might otherwise be a good time in life.  She is trying to help you to Heaven, and that means saying “No!” to a lot of things, because there are a lot of things that can drag us to Hell if we are not careful.  Hell’s road is deception, to which we are lead by ease.  The road to Heaven is arduous, steep, long, fraught with challenges.  But Heaven’s road is the happier, even though it is the harder.

If someone comes along and tells you that you don’t need to stay up there on your cross… that’s from Hell.  It certainly is not from God.

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JUST TOO COOL – Cops, ashes, and podcasts

This is just too cool.

I have a friend at the 19th Precinct in Manhattan, which covers quite a large stretch of the East Side. On Ash Wednesday one of the Dominicans from St. Vincent Ferrer went to the precinct station to impose ashes. I understand that a large percentage of the NYPD is Catholic.

Not only that, but the huge NYPD Holy Name Society – probably the largest Holy Name Society in the world – has been sending out daily messages to their members during Lent including…

Thanks to the NYPD Holy Name Society!

I have your backs with prayers!

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VIDEO Fr. Murray and Prof. Royal on some tough issues

The other day my friend Fr. Gerald Murray and Prof. Robert Royal were on The World Over offering some analysis of present issues.

I think you will find it useful. They get into it near the 5:00 mark.

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LENTCAzT 2018 04 – Ash Saturday: Getting ready for… it.

Today is Saturday after Ash Wednesday.  Lent is barely underway.  The Roman Station is S Agostino ad Tryphonem

In gratitude especially to benefactors who help me and this blog, during Lent I’m once again offering 5 minute daily podcasts to encourage you in your own use of this holy season.

Today I sample music from the wonderful Benedictine Nuns in Missouri.


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Pontifical Requiem Mass for a great lover of the Church’s sacred liturgy

On this Friday after Ash Wednesday, at St. Mary’s in Pine Bluff, we bade farewell to a founding member of the Tridentine Mass Society of the Diocese of Madison (TMSM).  Please, in your goodness, say a prayer for Jacek Cianciara, who died recently.  R.I.P.

His Excellency Most Rev. Robert C. Morlino graciously consented to be the celebrant for a Pontifical Requiem at the Throne.  A fine choir provided music.  Several clerics attended in choro.  It was a lovely Mass.

Here are a few stills of the Mass, which was also live streamed.

Kyrie elesion.

The Gospel: “Jesus said unto her, I am the resurrection, and the life”

My Lord and my God.

In paradisum

Again, in your kindness, say a prayer for Jacek, who dearly loved Holy Church’s beautiful sacred liturgy.

Also, in your kindness, make a tax deductible donation in his memory to the TMSM.  Help us – as quickly as possible – replace our black “starter vestment” set with a set that is truly amazing.

Click HERE

The next Pontifical Requiem will be also at St. Mary’s in Pine Bluff, for the 20th anniversary of the death of Fr. Alfred Kunz.

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LENTCAzT 2018 03 – Ash Friday: Grant me a little more time

Today is Friday after Ash Wednesday.  Lent is barely underway.  The Roman Station is Ss. Giovanni e Paolo al Celio. 

In gratitude especially to benefactors who help me and this blog, during Lent I’m once again offering 5 minute daily podcasts to encourage you in your own use of this holy season.

I often will use music from the wonderful Benedict Nuns in Missouri.



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Role of #MSM in mass shootings: If it bleeds, it leads. Angry @fatherz asks fearful questions

I dunno.

What is the role of the MSM in these mass shootings?

The networks descend on every mass shooting like vultures and create 24/7 coverage.

I wonder if mentally disturbed people don’t fix on these horrors and then copy them…because of the MSM and their 24/7 coverage.

MSM… Mass Shooting Media?

Say you are someone who wants to create maximum pain and be remembered for it.  Time and again you see running children, interviews of tear streaked survivors, lines of officials in uniforms at microphones, politicians pushing each other out of the way to convey their “thoughts and prayers”.  An endless stream of attention and – in a twisted way – affirmation that, “HEY!  Yeah… I could do THAT!”

More and more I am of the mind that the naming of and displaying of photos of these perps should be voluntarily banned by the MSM.  I suspect it can’t be banned because of the 2nd Amendment.  However, if enough people were to make these networks the hiss of the world, maybe they would back off.

Also, fully aware of the over-the-top nature of what I am about to suggest, perhaps the only public media coverage the perps should get is when they are publicly drawn and quartered.

Yeah yeah… I know.  We shouldn’t ever want that for anyone.  Priests should never think that way, especially in light of the English martyrs and Evangelium vitae.  Some will rush to say censoriously that that wouldn’t cure the problem.  (Neither would changes to gun laws.  A nut will find a way.)  Let the virtue signalling begin!  Please, libs, fall all over yourselves.

Dammit, I’m mad!

I am mad, because I have the strongest sense that the MSM is helping to create these hideous, heartbreaking events.  Maybe the only MSM coverage there should be is of really bad things that happen to those who are proven to be guilty.  I’m not sure what that would be like, since we don’t torture people or show executions.

But… dammit!  I’m mad!

I can’t hear the network execs: “But CNN is down there with about 20 producers and cameras!  If WE don’t go, we’ll lose market share tonight!”

Perhaps the prurient interests and itching ears of the public also create the market for the coverage, which in turn creates the coverage, which in turn creates the shooters, which creates the coverage, which creates the interest in the coverage, which creates the shooters, which…..

If it bleeds, it leads.

The upside is that we get to hear stories of heroic people  We get to see how wonderful our LEOs and other responders are.  We get to hear about amazing doctors.

But… dammit, I’d rather not have to have these events at all.

Meanwhile, dear readers, you might consider contacting schools and workplaces to find out about “active shooter” training.

Are your schools on alert?

Are your workplaces even slightly hardened and informed?

Would you know what you can and should do?

How about what you should NOT do?  (For example, when law enforcement arrives don’t run at them.)

Where I am, just last week we had people come from the Sheriff’s Department in to give a presentation.   I’ve thought about this stuff a lot, I’ve read a lot, I’ve seen a lot.  I nevertheless learned a couple new and helpful things that day.  It was time well spent.

This goes hand in glove with situational awareness.

Remember: It’s always some one else… until it’s you.

Meanwhile, dammit, I’m pretty worried about the influence of the MSM on these mass shootings.

I’m not saying that there shouldn’t be any coverage ever.  I’m wondering if the perp should simply never be talked about.  Never.

Damnatio memoriae?

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Wherein Fr. Z rants in the wake of the Florida school mass murder

When man-made or natural disasters occur which result in the loss of life, I have often posted here about the importance of being in the state of grace.

In the first LENCAzTs I have done, I’ve used texts from St. Alphonsus de Liguori about our preparation for death.

We don’t know when death will come.  This is why in important prayers such as the Litany of Saints we pray: “From a sudden and unprovided death, spare us O Lord.”

A sudden death is not so bad in itself.  Sudden and unprovided,without access to the last sacraments, is terrifying.

Turning my thoughts to the recent school shooting in Florida, I have a few thoughts.

First, given that we don’t want an unprovided death, let us not have an unprovided life.  To avoid both, we must practice situational awareness.

Spiritual situational awareness involves a daily examination of conscience. 

Sacred situational awareness involves full, conscious and active participation in our sacred liturgical worship.

Temporal situational awareness involves watching your physical surroundings, taking in the actions of people around you, knowing where your exits are, being aware of how to defend yourself and loved ones, taking in who is doing what and where, etc.

Know yourself.  Know your surroundings.

Next, we must train in all three spheres.

Spiritual awareness is trained up through an examination of conscience which gets more thorough as we practice it on a daily basis.  Sacred awareness becomes more profound as we discipline ourselves in it.  Temporal awareness can be honed and sharpened over time.

In each case, we have aids to help us.  There are printed examinations of conscience and spiritual reading.  There are good aids, such as hand missals and commentary on the meaning of sacred worship.  There are courses and different types of training for awareness of our surroundings.

We are members of the MILITANT Church. Soldiers drill.  If you are a baptized Christian, you are a pilgrim solider.  That means that you are never in the same place from day to day… you are making progress..

You must constantly drill and you must constantly advance.

This applies to all three spheres of situational awareness, spiritual, sacred and temporal.

Your souls and the souls of those around you depend on it.

In the wake of the Florida school shooting, we are once again hearing, “If you see something, say something.”

Cain the murderer said, “Am I my brother’s keeper?”

We are all in this together.  My spiritual progress helps the whole Church.  My sins hurt you, members of the same Church.

When we see someone in need, we must intervene.  If you see something, say something and act.

Having drilled in threefold situational awareness, you will find many opportunities for spiritual and corporal works of mercy.

Pilgrim soldiers on the march do not abandon their brethren on the wayside.

As I contemplate the Florida shootings – and I get alternately angry and sorrowful – I want at the very least to offer from my platform, in my role as a priest, for the love of God take yourselves seriously in the ways that count.

Take your vocations seriously.  Take your unavoidable death seriously.  Take your eternal destiny seriously.

None of the people who were killed yesterday knew that they were going to die yesterday.

It’s always some one else … until it’s your turn.

Situational awareness… spiritual, sacred and temporal.


That’s step number one.

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Posted in "How To..." - Practical Notes, ACTION ITEM!, Cri de Coeur, Four Last Things, GO TO CONFESSION, Hard-Identity Catholicism, Semper Paratus, The Coming Storm, The future and our choices, Wherein Fr. Z Rants | Tagged , | 10 Comments

Friday after Ash Wednesday: Feast of the Crown of Thorns

Last year a reader has sent photos from the Cathedral of Notre Dame in Paris where she saw the relic exposed!

She wrote:

I was impressed by the huge crowd and most went up to venerate the Crown. The service was dignified, beautiful and moving. No antics. No craziness. Moral of the story? When people come to church they want the Faith, the authentic Faith. They don’t want to be entertained. They go elsewhere for that.

Notre Dame Crown of Thorns

Reliquary image


A reader sent…

Feria Sexta post Cineres [Friday after Ash Wednesday] is the feast of the “Crown of Thorns”- one of the old Friday devotional feasts (in aliquibus locis) regrettably lost before 62… Might be worthy of a blog post or incorporation into your LentCaZt. [Already made before I opened the email.]

To this day at Notre Dame (where a significant portion of it is preserved), they have a special Crown of Thorns Mass on Fridays of Lent, and the relic is exposed… Not sure if the propers were changed under Novus Ordo, but am attaching the traditional propers for your convenience

The history of the Crown of Thorns itself is intriguing… transferred from Jerusalem to Constantinople, it was pledged to Venice for a heavy loan before being redeemed by the saintly Louis IX and taken to Paris, where it survived the Revolution and remains today.


Also, while the Crown of Thorns feast would not be celebrated under the 1962 rubrics, I believe it would be licit as a Votive Mass on some ferial Friday per annum.   Perhaps a priest assigned to a liberal tyrant pastor could use it on or near the anniversary of his assignment.  Of maybe some priests could say it with a special intention for the bishop… or another prelate.

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LENTCAzT 2018 02 – Ash Thursday: What you are I was, what I am you shall be.

Today is Thursday after Ash Wednesday.  Lent is barely underway.  The Roman Station is San Giorgio in Velabro. 

In gratitude especially to benefactors who help me and this blog, during Lent I’m once again offering 5 minute daily podcasts to encourage you in your own use of this holy season.

Music used today is from Matthew Curtis beautiful Motecta Trium Vocum.


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Your #AshWednesday Sermon Notes #ashtag – AUDIO Fr Z

Today is NOT a holy day of obligation.

That said, many people try to go to Mass on Ash Wednesday.  Many, however, cannot.

Let us know about the good points in the sermon, if there was one.

I wrote “good”.  Let’s make this positive and edifying for the benefit of those who had to work or who were shut in or otherwise not able to go to Mass.

Here is audio of my sermon for Mass in the Extraordinary Form at St. May’s in Pine Bluff at 6 PM.


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