23 September 2017

Here it is from Madrid.

The Sun is up and Virgo rises with the Crescent Moon at her feet.  The other orbs are above in Leo forming 12 in all.


And the just closed the door to my flight.

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Sunday News?

Rumors are bouncing and binging like pinballs.  Ooo the excitement!  What will it be?  Sites are rushing to talk about sources and possibilities.   How exciting it all is.  “I’m first!”

Sometimes that’s great and benign.  Other times you are hurting your cause.

What some of you eager beavers out there in tradblogdom don’t seem to get is that hype sometimes diminishes impact.

Not always – but sometimes.

This is probably one of those times.

New document? Sure have at.  But other – moves, keep your powder dry, as it were.

So, one of these days excecise a little control.  Don’t you get this yet?

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WDTPRS – 25th Ordinary Sunday: tick… tick… tick… tick…

Want a really PIUS clock?Click HERE!

This week’s Collect for Mass for the 25th Ordinary Sunday (Novus Ordo, obviously), was introduced into the Missale Romanum with the Novus Ordo but it is influenced by a prayer in the ancient Veronese Sacramentary.

Deus, qui sacrae legis omnia constituta in tua et proximi dilectione posuisti, da nobis, ut, tua praecepta servantes, ad vitam mereamur pervenire perpetuam.


Father, guide us, as you guide creation according to your law of love. May we love one another and come to perfection in the eternal life prepared for us.


O God, who placed all things of the sacred law which were constituted in the love of You and of neighbor, grant us that we, observing Your precepts, may merit to attain to eternal life.


O God, who founded all the commands of your sacred Law upon love of you and of our neighbor, grant that, by keeping your precepts, we may merit to attain eternal life.

This Collect seems to be founded on the exchange between Jesus and a lawyer:

“But when the Pharisees heard that he had silenced the Sadducees, they came together. And one of them, a lawyer, asked him a question, to test him. ‘Teacher, which is the great commandment in the law?’ And he said to him, ‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind. This is the great and first commandment. And a second is like it, You shall love your neighbor as yourself. On these two commandments depend all the law and the prophets’” (Matthew 22:34-40).

St Thomas Aquinas (+1274) glossed this verse in his Commentary on Saint Matthew:

When man is loved, God is loved, since man is the image of God.

In 1 John 4:21 there is a good explanation of this double precept: “This commandment we have from him, that he who loves God should love his brother also.”

All of the Law is summed up in Jesus’ two-fold command of love of God and neighbor.

The first part of the two-fold law is about unconditional love of God. The second follows as its consequence.

We must cultivate our different loves in their proper order.

God comes first, always.


A married person must love God more even than a spouse. We must never put any creature, no matter how proximate to us in our hearts, closer than the God in whose image and likeness we are made. When this logical priority is properly in place, love of God and neighbor will not conflict or compete. Each love fuels the other, when love of God is first.

HEY!  YOU out there promoting an agenda that really can’t be reconciled with the Church’s teaching!  You are putting something in God’s place.  That’s perilous.

Today’s Collect reestablishes that we have a special relationship with each person who lives, and not merely with God alone. People are made in God’s image. They are our neighbors, though some are closer to us than others.

But there is no person on earth who is not in some way our neighbor, even enemies.

This reciprocal relationship calls to mind another act of reciprocity which the Lord teaches us: forgive or you will not be forgiven.

When our Savior taught us how to pray what we now call the Lord’s Prayer (Matthew 6:9-13), the first thing he then explained and stressed was forgiveness:

“For if you forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father also will forgive you; but if you do not forgive men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses” (vv 14-15).

It is often hard to forgive.

The second section of the Catechism of the Catholic Church [US HERE – UK HERE ] digs into the Lord’s Prayer. When we get to the examination of “…as we forgive those who trespass against us” we read (2842):

“This ‘as’ is not unique in Jesus’ teaching: ‘You, therefore, must be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect’; ‘Be merciful, even as your Father is merciful’; ‘A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another, even as I have loved you, that you also love one another.’ It is impossible to keep the Lord’s commandment by imitating the divine model from outside; there has to be a vital participation, coming from the depths of the heart, in the holiness and the mercy and the love of our God. Only the Spirit by whom we live can make ‘ours’ the same mind that was in Christ Jesus. Then the unity of forgiveness becomes possible and we find ourselves ‘forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave us.’”

QUAERITUR: When it is your time to go to Your Lord, will you be well-reconciled with the neighbors you leave behind?

Our time will come. Let us pray daily that we will not die without the solace and strengthening of the sacraments and an opportunity to make peace with our neighbor.

Do you have unfinished business?

Time is running out.

Reconcile with your neighbor.  Get right with God and others.


tick… tick… tick… tick… tick… ti-

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Moving feedback from a “gay” reader

prodigal son detailThis is the kind of note that make all the flak worthwhile:

A thousand times, thank you for your blog. I’m a Catholic in no small part because of this blog. When I first entered the Church ten years ago, I fell under the influence of liberals who taught me it was OK to live in sin as a gay man. I fell away from the faith eventually. Through the years, my own conscience told me this was not the life I wanted to live.  Your faithful words have supported my decision to leave the homosexualist life, that was death. I could tell I was on the slippery slope again you spoke of last Sunday. Today I went to Confession and the FSSP priest (which I also learned about from your blog) reminded me that though this cross is “big and bloody and difficult,” the Lord will help me bear it. Thank you for standing up for the truth on which I have staked my life and eternal salvation. Please pray for me, as I do for you.

I am sure that God will bless this fellow a hundred fold for the suffering that he has had to endure in trying to live a good and holy life.  It is hard for me to imagine the trials people with such attractions feel.  However, I am convinced that if they bear their crosses and persevere, their place in heaven will be very high indeed.

Here’s another point.

When we fall and commit a sin, we can get back up again, go confession and move forward.    I say the same thing to straight couples who may be living together in an irregular situation which, for some reason, they can’t change, as I might say to a same sex couple: live continently and be ready to suffer, don’t put yourselves in occasions of sin if you can help it, again be ready to suffer, use the sacraments well, use sacramentals to help to keep off the attacks of the Enemy of the soul.

If you fall… get back up and keep trying.

Our Church is for sinners.  The only Church I want to belong to is the Church Christ gave to sinners.  This is not the Church of the pure, only.  We are all in this together.

If we ponder the gift Christ gave us as a Church, the effects of absolution are quite simply breathtaking.

With absolution, provided that you are sincere, that you’ve done your best to confess your mortal sins without intentionally hiding anything, that you want sincerely to amend your life, then…

Your sins are taken away, obliterated, gone from your soul never to be held against you. They are not merely covered over.  They are eradicated forever.  They are washed clean out of your soul by the Blood of the Lamb.  You might remember them (with sorrow), but they are no longer yours.  Penance must be done in reparation for them, but they have been irrevocably forgiven.

There is nothing that we little mortals can do that is so bad that that absolution given by the priest – who is Christ in that moment – can’t perfectly forgive.  Therefore, never hold back.

With absolution also come graces not to sin in the future.  God doesn’t just forgive us and forget us.  His care is ongoing through graces.  You can also call upon the baptismal and confirmed character that you have in time of temptation and trial.


So, everyone, give thanks to God, for He is good, and His mercy endures forever.  I rejoice in this feedback, as Christ enjoins all to rejoice for conversion of sinners and the return of our prodigals.

FATHERS: If you don’t hear confessions, how can men like this amend their lives and live?





Posted in GO TO CONFESSION, Our Catholic Identity, Sin That Cries To Heaven, Wherein Fr. Z Rants | Tagged , | 28 Comments

ASK FATHER: Permutations of the Novus Ordo according to options

Niederauer_LA_Novus_OrdoFrom a reader…


Your recent post on ways to enrich the Novus Ordo has brought to mind something I’ve wondered for a while, how many different ways can Mass be said validly in the OF given all of the different options? e.g. just going off of 4 Eucharistic Prayers and yes/no on the sign of peace you’re already at 8 options.

Interesting question.  The number of permutations might be hard to calculate.

First, you would need to know all the variables/options.  Then you would have to figure which options negatively exclude other, subsequent options.  Then you would do the math.

However, in a simple series of options, without lots of exclusions, etc., the number can get big really fast. You mention 8 options. Let’s double that. Let’s say that there are 16 options.  There are way more than 16, but let’s say there are 16. So, 16 × 15 × 14 × 13 × … = ?

The total permutations are: 20,922,789,888,000

You decide.

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BOOK: Noble Beauty, Transcendent Holiness


There is a good interview [HERE] of Peter K by Aurelio Porfiri, whom I just met in Rome.  It’s good.  Porfiri is a composer of sacred music.  At the Pontifical Mass in St. Peter’s for the Summorum Pontificum conference we heard his Mass and Te Deum.


Against the back ground of present controversies, I’ve been thinking.

Again, NOTHING that we undertake as a Church will succeed unless it is rooted first and foremost in the proper liturgical worship of God.

Hence, I need to plug Peter’s book again.


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ASK FATHER: What can we do to get these men into seminary?

12_03_30_vocationsFrom a reader:

I am a Youth Minister at a parish and have probably a dozen young men (age 12-19) who are discerning calls to the priesthood and are interested in seminary. I have young priests at the parish, but they are reluctant to “push too hard.” What can we do to get these men into seminary? How can I, as a lay man, continue to give them hard-identity Faith that translates into them continuing their formation in college seminary?

For a response I turned to a priest who is a vocation director for his diocese.

GUEST RESPONSE: Fr “Diocesan Vocation Director”

Keep the young men involved in the life of the Church, serving at the altar, good service opportunities, prayer/retreat opportunities, a few Hail Marys per day for protection of their vocation and allow them to interact with the priests on a personal level.

Secondly, help them see that the Lord’s call can pass them by, the Lord has a plan for our life where we can do the most amount of good and achieve holiness with greater ease so don’t avoid His invitation because the disposition or situation may pass you by.

Thirdly, no one can make the vocational decision for you; be a man and choose to respond to the invitation.  If the Lord wants you to do something else, He has to make it clear through the situation and circumstances of their state in life.

Tell the men why they have the qualities needed to be a good priest and the impact their life as a priest will have on thousands of others.

We honor soldiers and volunteers that give of themselves during disasters but in the long run their work primarily focused on earthly results and peace but how much more should the priesthood be honored because they are called to stand in the trenches of hell in people’s lives and bring the light of Christ there.

Priesthood is a noble and honorable calling which every man should want to pursue; Hoorah!

Posted in "How To..." - Practical Notes, ASK FATHER Question Box, Mail from priests, Priests and Priesthood, Seminarians and Seminaries | Tagged , , | 10 Comments

UPDATE: Reversible travel vestments progress

Here is a VESTMENT PROJECT UPDATE.  There is news about two projects, as a matter of fact.

First, there is progress on the reversible, Shantung silk travel vestments.

I have received a couple donations for these vestments.  I’ll embroider the names of the donors on the eventual pouches to be made for each set.  You will be remembered in prayer that way.

A reversible travel vestment, in two colors, with all the parts from Gammarelli will be, according to the estimate I received, about €600 (c. $715).   Not bad at all.

The fabric is being cut.



The trim is being measured.


Here is something fun.  I got just a little extra fabric so that I could have miniature antependiums made for my travel altar to match the travel vestments. A Roman altar has a grand antependium of the color of the Mass.  For example, the other day in Rome we saw this:

So, I will have little reversible antependiums for my altar.  Here is the preparation.


That one will be black and, reversed, green, also with silver trim.

And if you don’t recall the altar, here it is set up when I first received it.

I know.  Better than a lot of parishes, right?  The ULTIMATE priest gift.  HERE

There is also progress on another project.

Quite some time ago, we of the TMSM had a set of red vestments made for Pontifical Masses.  This is how they have been employed.  For example, we had once a Mass for the intention of persecuted Christians on the Feast of the Most Precious Blood.  The other day, the bishop celebrated the Feast of the Exaltation of the Cross.

We are having more red chasubles made to match the set so that we can use them for priestly ordinations next June 29!  The fabric is being cut.  In addition, we have also having several more white chasubles made with the diocesan coat-of-arms, again for ordinations in a couple years from now.  The dollar is strong these days.  Who knows where it will be if things keep going in the world the way they are?

Yes, I know… they need to take better photos.  It’s still good to see.


Ready to go to the workers.


So, that it a bit of an update.

Again, I have donations for two of the four sets (THANKS! M&JS and JS).  The combinations will be:

White (gold trim) & Red (silver)
Black (silver) & Green (silver)
Violet (silver) & Rose (silver)
White (gold) & Blue (silver)

I suppose the donors should be able to choose which one to support, no?

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ASK FATHER: What’s so difficult about learning to say the Traditional Latin Mass?

children playing at MassFrom a reader…


Maybe this question is too broad, but here goes: What is so difficult about saying/learning the EF? My pastor recently mentioned that he simply does not have time to learn the EF well enough to say it himself (he is open to it and even attended some local Juventutem events, but he is the sole priest in charge of two large parishes). As an outside observer, I realize that learning how to pronounce the Latin may be a bit difficult, and a priest needs a bit of help learning where to start, but isn’t everything the priest says and does in a TLM (especially a low mass) provided in the books? And if not, couldn’t new books be written to provide for details in the margins or more clear directions in the priest’s native language to guide him right though? It seems that a lot of smart and not-so-smart men learned to say mass over the last 500 years, I would presume the same should still be able to hold true today.

There are a lot of factors to consider.

First, many priests are up to their eyeballs in tasks.  One more task gets to be daunting.  We have to have compassion and patience when considering their time.

I know, I know… this is a really important task, and it touches on the very identity of every priest of the Roman Rite.  Who are we if we don’t know our Rite?  And we don’t know our Rite, if we don’t also know the Usus Antiquior, the TLM, which is arguably the expression of the Rite which is richer and has the greater track record by far.  Hence, many tasks a priest has on his plate ought to be set aside for this more important project.  But we all know what human nature is like.

Another aspect is, surely, that many priests have heard that it is sooooo haaaaard to learn the older Mass, and, not knowing Latin well or at all, they are simply intimidated.  Moreover, some intimidated priests who are serious and pious, in their desire to do it well and without mistakes, hesitate to start because they are afraid they won’t do a good job of it.  Of course a lot – and I mean a lot of really dumb priests in the past learned how to say Mass and the world continued to spin on its access.  If they could do it, we can do it.

There’s one guy I know who is pretty nervous about the whole thing.  I’m about to ship him a box of Depends with a sharply worded note.



There is a Latin phrase: Fabricando fabri fimus… we become carpenters by doing carpentry.   We have to get our of our heads and get our hands dirty, as it were.  Also, we mustn’t let the perfect be the enemy of the good.  That’s a killer.

It really helps some men to be shown what to do, one on one.   Listening to recordings of the Latin can be useful.  Doing a workshop, if possible, can be productive.

Priests should be encouraged, enjoined, badgered, beckoned, cajoled, urged, wheedled, exhorted, implored and pressed to learn the older form, for his own sake, and for the sake of the congregation he serves.

Also, be willing to step up and provide anything and everything he needs.

Father says, “I don’t have the books.”
You reply, takingthe paper from your pocket, “Here are several editions, Father, which would you like?”
“I don’t have the right vestments.”
“Father Z says that Gammarelli in Rome is not too expensive and they do good work.  Which colors would you like?  I’ll order them.”
“My Latin isn’t very good.”
“Here are some great resources.  Let’s work on it together.  I’ll bring the wine and cheese.”

The knock on effect of knowing the traditional ways pays back a thousand fold all the efforts paid to learn them.

Fathers, you CAN do this!  You SHOULD do this!  Your life as a priest will change once you know the older form and people will be grateful for the ongoing dividends your efforts will provide.

Posted in "How To..." - Practical Notes, ASK FATHER Question Box, Liturgy Science Theatre 3000, Priests and Priesthood | Tagged , , | 25 Comments

Wherein Fr. Z responds to some points made by Bp. McElroy

OLFatima-200In the English speaking world, in the wake of the withdrawal of speaking gig invitations to Jesuit Father James Martin, Jesuits and their allies have coagulated.  They now pour it on,  to create a critical mass of hatred against those Catholics who stick up for clear traditional moral teaching.  That means that their well-established Big Jesuit Machine, and those who aid and abet their agendas, are picking on the little guy who dares to raise their heads to object.

At the Jesuit-operated organ Amerika I saw on 18 September an op-ed by San Diego’s (Berkeley Jesuit trained) Bishop Robert McElroy:

Bishop McElroy: Attacks on Father James Martin expose a cancer within the U.S. Catholic Church

The “C” word.  No, that’s not dramatic. But, hey, he got your attention.

Let’s have a look at His Excellency’s piece with my usual emphases and comments.

Father James Martin is a distinguished Jesuit author who has spent his life building bridges within the Catholic Church and between the church and the wider world. He has been particularly effective in bringing the Gospel message to the millennial generation. When we survey the vast gulf that exists between young adults and the church in the United States, it is clear that there could be no more compelling missionary outreach for the future of Catholicism than the terrain that Father Martin has passionately and eloquently pursued over the past two decades. There are few evangelizers who have engaged that terrain with more heart and skill and devotion.  [We are not going to admit the premise that that there is a “vast gulf that exists between young adults and the church” in the traditional community. As one writer put it recently, tradition is for the young.  In one “old Mass” community after another, you find a predominance of young people, growing in numbers with new families. While some promote this sort of outreach, others promote outreach through defending homosexuality.]

Last year Father Martin undertook a particularly perilous project in this work of evangelization: building bridges between the church and the L.G.B.T. community in the United States. He entered it knowing that the theological issues pertaining to homosexuality constituted perhaps the most volatile element of ecclesial life in U.S. culture.  [To me, “evangelization” includes the content of our Catholic Faith.  If the bishop thinks that talking about homosexuality is perilous, I invite him to step into the shoes of those whom he is about to condemn and try the increasingly perilous activity of defending the Church’s doctrine on faith and morals.]

It was this very volatility that spurred Father Martin to write his new book Building a Bridge: How the Catholic Church and the L.G.B.T. Community Can Enter into a Relationship of Respect, Compassion and Sensitivity. Using a methodology that is fully consonant with Catholic teaching, [Is it? Is innuendo part of that methodology?  For example, when you look at the preview available through Amazon (they almost always provide a brief sample), after his dedication Martin has an “epigraph” citing Ps 139, “For it was you who formed my inner parts”.  This can be nothing other than the innuendo that people who have same-sex attraction are made that was by God, and, if they are made that way by God, then what they do is okay. In that “epitaph” Martin doesn’t say that, but his meaning is clear.] employing Scripture, the rich pastoral heritage of the church and an unadulterated realism [?] that makes clear both the difficulty and the imperative for establishing deeper dialogue, Father Martin opens a door for proclaiming that Jesus Christ and his church seek to embrace fully and immediately men and women in the L.G.B.T. community.

Building a Bridge is a serious book, [Janet Smith pointed out that it is pretty short, being “essentially an expanded talk”.  HERE] and any such work invites substantive criticism and dialogue. This is particularly true with a complex subject like the relationship of the L.G.B.T. community and the church. Many analyses of Father Martin’s arguments have pointed to important problems that do not have easy answers and to the reality that dialogue must always proceed both in respect and in truth.

But alongside this legitimate and substantive criticism of Father Martin’s book, there has arisen both in Catholic journals and on social media a campaign to vilify Father Martin, to distort his work, to label him heterodox, to assassinate his personal character and to annihilate both the ideas and the dialogue that he has initiated.  [Of course no one would want to do that.  No one would want to suggest that people who have different ideas are, for example, a disease involving abnormal cell growth.]

This campaign of distortion must be challenged and exposed for what it is—not primarily for Father Martin’s sake but because this cancer of vilification is seeping into the institutional life of the church. [Finally, we get to it.] Already, several major institutions have canceled Father Martin as a speaker. Faced with intense external pressures, these institutions have bought peace, but in doing so they have acceded to and reinforced a tactic and objectives that are deeply injurious to Catholic culture in the United States and to the church’s pastoral care for members of the L.G.B.T. communities. [We know that the Knights of the Holy Sepulcher begged off.  The national major seminary called Theological College at CUA begged off.  However, so did the Bishops of England and Wales, who found a way to beg off having Fr. Martin address Cafod.  These are not insignificant institutions.]

The concerted attack on Father Martin’s work has been driven by three impulses: homophobia, a distortion of fundamental Catholic moral theology and a veiled attack on Pope Francis and his campaign against judgmentalism in the church.

The attacks on Building a Bridge tap into long-standing bigotry within the church and U.S. culture against members of the L.G.B.T. community. The persons launching these attacks portray the reconciliation of the church and the L.G.B.T. community not as a worthy goal but as a grave cultural, religious and familial threat. Gay sexual activity is seen not as one sin among others but as uniquely debased to the point that L.G.B.T. persons are to be effectively excluded from the family of the church. Pejorative language and labels are deployed regularly and strategically. The complex issues of sexual orientation and its discernment in the life of the individual are dismissed and ridiculed.  [Go back through that and substitute the term “Tradition Loving Catholics” or “T.L.C.”, and make an appropriate adjustment.  That’s how the catholic Left treats the T.L.C. community.*  Also, while I think we all admit that we can all treat all people better, I must add that telling people that their sins are not sins is not a way to treat them well!]

The coordinated attack on Building a Bridge must be a wake-up call for the Catholic community to look inward and purge itself of bigotry against the L.G.B.T. community. [Interesting word choice: purge  What comes to mind immediately?  The German philosopher Paul de Lagarde wrote, “I have long been convinced that Jewry constitutes the cancer in all of our life; as Jews, they are strangers in any European state and as such they are nothing but spreaders of decay.” ] If we do not, we will build a gulf between the church and L.G.B.T. men and women and their families. Even more important, we will build an increasing gulf between the church and our God. [And if prelates of dioceses don’t embrace what St. John Paul II commanded by his Apostolic authority and show respect to traditional Catholics and give a wide and generous application of the legislation concerning traditional expressions of our liturgical worship, they are responsible for a widening gulf between the church and our God and will perhaps even contribute to real schism.]

[This is where I have some real concerns.] The second corrosive impulse of the campaign against Building a Bridge flows from a distortion of Catholic moral theology. The goal of the Catholic moral life is to pattern our lives after that of Jesus Christ. [Augustine reminds us that Christ, being perfect, isn’t the best model for us.  He recommended the lives of the saints.  But… let this pass.] We must model our interior and exterior selves on the virtues of faith, love, hope, mercy, compassion, integrity, sacrifice, prayerfulness, humility, prudence and more. One of these virtues is chastity. Chastity is a very important virtue of the Christian moral life. The disciple is obligated to confine genital sexual activity to marriage.

[You could hear this next word coming, right?] But chastity is not the central virtue in the Christian moral life. Our central call is to love the Lord our God with all our heart and to love our neighbor as ourselves. Many times, our discussions in the life of the church suggest that chastity has a singularly powerful role in determining our moral character or our relationship with God. It does not.  [Let’s be clear about this.  The Bishop just wrote that chastity, which “very important” does NOT have a “singularly powerful role” in determining our moral character or our relationship with God.]

This distortion of our faith [namely, that chastity has a “singularly powerful role”] cripples many of our discussions of sexuality in general and homosexuality in particular. [I think he means that we shouldn’t insist in our discussion that homosexuals abstain from same-sex acts.] The overwhelming prism [the things that project rainbows?] through which we should look at our moral lives is that we are all called to live out the virtues of Christ; [Okaaaaay.  Christ was chaste. Christ was not a homosexual.  Also, Christ’s exemplary display of virtue in Scripture did not exclude the flipping of tables and the whipping of people with cords.] we all succeed magnificently at some and fail at others. [I admit that I haven’t been good at whipping people with cords lately.] Those who emphasize the incompatibility of gay men or lesbian women living meaningfully within the church [WOAH!  Who says that?  That’s smacks of the proverbial straw man.] are ignoring the multidimensional nature of the Christian life of virtue or the sinfulness of us all or both.  [WOW.  There is a lot to unpack here.  As Janet Smith mentioned in her critic of James Martin’s “expanded talk”, it takes a lot of words to examine something that is briefly put.  I’ll comment further, below.]

The third impulse behind the campaign against Building a Bridge arises from a rejection of the pastoral theology that Pope Francis has brought into the heart of the church. Regarding the issue of homosexuality, in particular, many of those attacking Father Martin simply cannot forgive the Holy Father for uttering that historic phrase on the plane: “Who am I to judge?” The controversy over Building a Bridge is really a debate about whether we are willing to banish judgmentalism from the life of the church. Pope Francis continually reminds us that the Lord unceasingly called the disciples to reject the temptation to judge others, precisely because it is a sin so easy for us all to fall into and one so injurious to the life of the church. [I think we can dismiss this out of hand.  Criticisms of James Martin’s agenda have nothing to do with Pope Francis.  Gratis asseritur, gratis negatur.]

The gulf between the L.G.B.T. community and the church is not primarily based on orientation; it is a gulf created by judgmentalism on both sides. [No. We don’t accept this premise.  The gulf is not based on the orientation of homosexuals towards people of the same sex (which the CCC restates is “disordered”, and not just “different”.  The gulf is a matter of excusing or permitting or exalting homosexual acts.  And as far as both sides are concerned, I haven’t seen a lot of outreach from the other side.] That is the real starting point for a dialogue between the Catholic Church and the L.G.B.T. community in the United States today. Father Martin should be thanked for pointing to this reality, not shunned. [I don’t see how not being invited – or being dis-invited is “shunning”.  If that is the case, then I’ll be waiting for the Bishop’s article about how I’VE been treated recently by a certain important prelate with whom he is often grouped.]

I want to go back to that part about chastity.  The Bishop carefully makes a statement about genital acts, etc.  Fine.  He is a Catholic bishop, after all.  He says that chastity is “very important” However, he says in the next paragraph that chastity does NOT have a singularly powerful role in determining our moral character or our relationship with God.

Much depends on what he means by “singular”.   “Singular” usually means “extraordinary, remarkable”.  “That was a singular accomplishment!”, one might say.  Only lower on the list of possible meanings does “singular” mean “unique”, as if to say, “the only one that matters”.  I want to give him the benefit of the doubt, but it sounds to me as if McElroy meant to say that chastity does NOT have an “extraordinarily powerful role” in determining our moral character, etc.

Does that sound right to you?

I think that chastity does have an extraordinarily powerful role in our moral lives and our relations with God and others.  I also think that – and it may be that the Bishop was trying to get to this – sins of the flesh are NOT the worst sins that we can commit.  But to write something like that… that chastity is NOT singularly important… to my mind is at least imprudent.

What do I mean?

In a nutshell, the worst sins we commit are the spiritual rather than the carnal, wherein we  – poor wounded humans that we are – succumb to our passions and appetites.  However, the Church is right to place such an emphasis on carnal sins because of how easily we can fall into them and how they numb us to sin, make us stupid, and open us to worse sins.  Our passions and appetites are so very dangerous because they are so seductive.  They quickly draw us away from our ultimate and best end, and thus, by them we damn ourselves.  Remember: carnal sins are enough to lose heaven!  You know the Seven Deadly Sins.  They are called “Deadly” for good reason.

The other thing I thought about as I read the Bishop’s unfortunate phrase is that Our Lady of Fatima warned about sins against chastity.

Our Lady said:

“More souls go to Hell because of sins of the flesh than for any other reason.”

That was exactly 100 years ago.  Human nature hasn’t changed since then and sins against chastity are far more widespread now than they were then and even more horrifying.  It sound to me as if the Mother of God thinks that chastity is more than “very important”.  It might even be “singularly” important, given the stakes.

Sr. Lucia explained that Mary was referring primarily to sins of impurity.  Even if sins of impurity are not the worst among the sins that we can commit, they are grave and very common.  Sins of impurity, sins against chastity, are often not confessed well because there is a great sense of shame for committing certain impure acts – especially impure acts of a disordered nature with someone of the same sex, and, hence, a greater difficulty in confessing all of them in the sacrament of penance.  These days, with pornography everywhere and women and girls dressing with spectacular immodesty, and with the massive “pro gay” media campaign going on EVEN IN THE CHURCH we have a dangerous spiritual hurricane ripping souls from God.

However, we are NEVER called to do the impossible!  To suggest that would be a violation of God’s promises.  Christ said, “What is impossible with men is possible with  God.” (Lk 18:27)

In this matter of chastity and its “singular” nature in our spiritual lives, I’m going to go with Mary rather than Bishop McElroy, and emphasize how important it really is.

Moving on, I don’t think that there are any regular readers here who hate “gays” or who want to discriminate against them.  If there are, knock it off, for you are endangering your own souls.

I also don’t think that this whole debate is really about “homophobia”.  And you know what I mean.

Finally, a note about an image that McElroy used: cancer.  You know precisely what he is signalling.  This is a dogwhistle.  Cancer is something that needs to be “cut out”, “destroyed”.  He thinks that those who disagree with Fr. Martin’s agenda should be “cut out” like the “cancer” they are.  At whom is he aiming the scalpel?  Opponents “both in Catholic journals and on social media”.  A nice thing for a bishop to publish.

And to metastasize the “cancer” image, this is like Big Tobacco targeting the whistle-blowers.

The moderation queue is ON.

*As mentioned, above, here’s that paragraph with substitutions and adjustments: “The attacks on Summorum Pontificum tap into long-standing bigotry within the church and U.S. culture against members of the T.L.C. community. The persons launching these attacks portray the reconciliation of the church and the T.L.C. community not as a worthy goal but as a grave cultural, religious and familial threat. The Traditional Latin Mass is seen not as one sin among others but as uniquely debased to the point that T.L.C. persons are to be effectively excluded from the family of the church. Pejorative language and labels are deployed regularly and strategically. The complex issues of traditional orientation and its discernment in the life of the individual are dismissed and ridiculed.”


From a German reader by email:

Dear Father Zuhlsdorf

Read Bishop McElroy’s “cancer“ piece – it very much is lacking the loving, understanding, bridge building attitude that he so advocates.

What is really, deeply upsetting is his “purge” reference – you were quite right in picking up that particular connection you made. I live in the country that lived through a “purge”. That is plain nazi-talk and not a language a Catholic prelate should employ.

I wanted to drop an email to that extend to His Excellency, but their webpage doesn’t even give a general email.

Would you happen to know how to reach him electronically?

Wow.  No electronic contact?  That’s interesting.

No, I’m sorry, I don’t know how to reach him or the diocese other than to look on their website or write snail mail.  HOWEVER… maybe their FAX still works! 001-858-490-8272

After all, when it comes to the Church, according to the phrase I coined when I worked in Rome…


Posted in Mail from priests, Sin That Cries To Heaven, The Coming Storm, The Drill, The future and our choices, What are they REALLY saying? | Tagged , , , , | 80 Comments

ASK FATHER: Proposals to priests to “enrich” the Novus Ordo from Tradition

traditional-latin-massFrom a reader…


I’ve recently come across an article on NLM titled “A Primer for aTradition-Minded Celebration of the OF Mass.” As you can assume, this article has suggestions for celebrating the OF Mass traditionally. My question is this: which of the suggestions can be followed in accord with the current liturgical law?

I am a college student discerning priesthood and this topic is of definite interest to me; I want to (God-willing) celebrate Mass one day traditionally and reverently, but at the same time I desire to be obedient to Holy Mother Church and will follow rubrics unless they are not morally permissible.

My initial observations.

NLM writers and smart and reliable.

Rubrics are correctly situated in the realm of moral theology.  That said, it is fairly certain that if a rubric is in an officially sanctioned book, it is morally permissible to follow it.  That doesn’t mean that all rubrics are good rubrics.  Frankly, I think that ill-advised Novus Ordo rubric to ignore the Blessed Sacrament in a conspicuous tabernacle after Mass begins is just plain stupid.  However, I don’t think a priest commits a sin in obeying that rubric.  (I don’t think he commits a sin if he doesn’t, either. But that’s another pot of Bagna càuda).

Over at NLM in the post in question, my friend Greg DiPippo makes some suggestions about things that priests saying the NO can do.  Let’s have a look with my usual treatment.

1. Say the vesting prayers every day. Always wear the maniple, the sign of the work of the priest. When using Roman vestments, cross the stole. Wear the biretta. [Excellent start.  Over time, these can make a difference for a priest’s sense of self as he begins Mass.]

2. Always use the veil and burse for the chalice; a bare chalice is embarrassing and irreverent. [Right!  And we must one day get more into the nuptial imagery in the Mass.] Either have the veiled chalice on the altar before Mass or carry it in in the traditional way. On the way to the altar, recite Psalm 42 quietly.

3. The Mass must be celebrated ad orientem. This is the most important injection of the Tradition into the OF. To change the orientation is to eliminate the terrible novelty of saying Mass facing the people and the misunderstanding of the Mass that ensues from such a posture. Those who are pastors must, after proper catechesis in the parish, re-introduce the ancient and constant tradition of orientation of the celebrant facing liturgical East. Remember that the rubrics of the OF still assume that the priest is facing East, as, for example, to turn to the people at the Orate fratres. (For more details, see “The Normativity of Ad Orientem Worship According to the Ordinary Form’s Rubrics”. [I think you all know what I think about this!]

4. When incense is used, the customary prayers of blessing should be said silently, thereby not breaking the rubric to say “nothing” at the blessing. [Again, were a priest accidentally on purpose to allow a couple words to be audible, I think he’s still in good shape.]

5. The Ordinary of the Mass (Kyrie, Gloria, Sanctus, Agnus Dei) should be in their traditional languages and preferably sung to a simple chant. This injection of Greek and Latin into the Mass, even daily Mass, helps the people become comfortable with the uniform objectivity and universality that the use of Latin affords. The final blessing is another good place to introduce the use of Latin in the Mass. [It’s not as if people don’t know what’s supposed to take place at that moment of the Mass, right?]

6. Make the customary bows in the Gloria at adoramus te, gratias agimus, Jesu Christe, suscipe deprecationem, and make the sign of the Cross at the end.

7. The position of the hands at the Collect, at the Prayer over the Gifts and Post-Communion prayer, should be in the traditional form, never the outstretched arms that came into vogue in the 60s and 70s. Beware of making the traditional form too rigid. [THANKS for that last bit.  Fathers, avoid looking like manequins, please.]

8. The Responsorial Psalm is one of the least happy novelties of the reformed rite. Wherever possible, sing the psalm, or better yet, have a cantor sing the Gradual, which is an option listed in the General Instruction. [Yes, this is a legitimate option!  Benedict XVI reintroduced the Gradual at his Masses.]

9. Memorize both prayers before the Gospel from the traditional rite and say those quietly.

10. At the Creed, make the customary bow at Jesum Christum, a deep bow at et incarnatus est, a bow at simul adoratur, and the Sign of the Cross at end. [But don’t feel compelled to pray with a “J”.]

11. At the Preparation of the Gifts, the berakah prayers that thank God for bread and wine must be said according to the rubrics. They should be said quietly before saying the traditional Offertory prayers silently, Suscipe sancte Pater for the bread and Offerimus tibi for the wine. It would seem that the water is not blessed according to the OF rubrics. [Ummmm….] Bow deeply at In spiritu humilitatis.

12. When censing the gifts, use the traditional three crosses and three circles. Memorize the prayers Dirigatur and Ascendat at the censing of the altar.

13. Memorize the Lavabo prayer at the washing of hands.

14. At the Orate Fratres use the “half-circle” movement. Turn to the right to face the people and then continue turning to face the book.

15. Make a profound bow at the Sanctus and bless yourself at the Benedictus.

16. THE CANON should be said audibly but quietly. God does not have to be shouted at, especially during this most sacred prayer of the Mass.[!!!] At the beginning of the Roman Canon, use the traditional circular motion with your hands and bow profoundly at “Jesus Christ” so that this is as close to the traditional kissing of the altar as possible. Ignore the brackets after Andrew in the list of Apostles and always include all of the saints in the list beginning with John the Baptist. Before the consecration, wipe your thumbs and forefingers three times on the corporal. Genuflect both before and after you elevate the Sacred Host and the Precious Blood. Keep “digits” (thumb and forefinger joined) from after the consecration until the ablutions.

17. At the Our Father use same hand position as for the Collects.

18. Turn to the people for the Peace, and then turn back to the altar and begin the Agnus Dei.  [In other words omit the entirely optional invitation to make a “sign of peace”.]

19. When receiving the Host and Chalice, make the sign of the Cross with each before receiving. Memorize the prayers Panem caelestem and Quid retribuam and use them before consuming the Sacred Species.

20. Have the altar server ring the bell immediately after you have consumed the Sacred Species. This is important to let the people know that the Sacrifice is complete. The reformers deliberately moved the Ecce Agnus Dei to before the priest’s Communion to make it seem that the priest is just receiving Communion first before the people. The priest is not “receiving Communion”; he is completing the Sacrifice. [His point about moving the Agnus Dei is a good one.  Priests should reflect on this.]

21. Always do the double ablutions, first only wine, holding the paten under your chin, and then wine and water, holding your joined thumb and forefinger over the chalice as the server pours the wine and water over them. When consuming the second ablution hold the purificator under your chin. Dry your fingers with the purificator, cleanse the chalice thoroughly, cover the chalice with the veil and place the corporal in the burse.

22. After the post-Communion prayer go to the foot of the altar and say the prayer to St Michael, followed by Most Sacred Heart of Jesus, have mercy on us, three times. Or, consider using the full suite of Leonine prayers: three Hail Marys; Hail, Holy Queen; the prayer for the Church; the St. Michael Prayer; and the threefold Sacred Heart invocation.

23. If possible say the Prologue to John en route to or in the sacristy after Mass.

Good suggestions, all.

Okay, Fathers, get out there and start enriching!

¡Hagan lío!

Posted in ¡Hagan lío!, "How To..." - Practical Notes, Hard-Identity Catholicism, Liturgy Science Theatre 3000 | Tagged , | 26 Comments

SSPX forbidden to pray at Shrine of Our Lady of Knock

OL_KnockI saw this, thanks to a reader.

From God does not die:

Knock and it Shall NOT be Opened to You! – SSPX Pilgrimage Group Refused Entry to Knock Shrine.

The Society of Saint Pius X annual pilgrimage to the Shrine of Our Lady at Knock in Co. Mayo was disrupted yesterday, Saturday 16th September, when Shrine officials refused entry to priests and laity.  [St. Peter’s Basilica permits them.]

Members of Knock Shrine Security approached the SSPX priests, informing them that they were not permitted to celebrate Mass or carry out any devotions as a group. They confirmed that these were the orders which they had been instructed to convey.

For the first time in over ten years, therefore, the Society was forced to celebrate Mass outside of the Shrine grounds (heretofore, for a number of years, SSPX priests had been granted permission to celebrate Mass in various chapels on the grounds of the Shrine). And, for the first time in the entire history of the SSPX’s presence in Ireland, the pilgrimage group was not even permitted to recite the Rosary or pray the Stations of the Cross within the Shrine precincts!

As a result, Mass was celebrated in the car-park of an obliging local café, and the Rosary was prayed on the Main Street which runs adjacent to the Shrine. Security was posted at the gates during the rosary procession, ensuring that the group did not enter the Shrine grounds at any time.

Just like there was no place in the inn for Christ in Bethlehem, so there was no place for those faithful to the Tradition of the Church at Knock this past Saturday. The Knock Shrine authorities should be ashamed of themselves! Rector, Fr. Richard Gibbons, had no problem allowing an “ecumenical service” last January in the Saint John’s Rest and Care Centre at the Shrine. Neither did he have any problem with the assistance of “Reverend Canon” Derek Swann of the Church of Ireland, the Presbyterian “Reverend” Molly Deatherage and a Muslim representative, Manar Cherbatji, at a 2014 Peace Mass at Knock. He even had his photograph taken with them on the occasion:
Also in 2014, Father Gibbons was content to conduct a joint ecumenical service in the Knock Shrine Basilica with the Church of Ireland “Bishop” of Tuam, Killala and Achonry, “Dr.” Patrick Cooke in August of that year to celebrate the 190 years of the Royal National Lifeboat Association. On this occasion, as the Irish Catholic reported, Father Gibbons went the extra mile … “Dr.” Cooke led the celebration, while Father Gibbons was his assistant!

Conclusion? Father Gibbons cordially invites Anglicans, Presbyterians and Muslims, who do not accept the Church’s infallible teachings on the Blessed Virgin Mary, to participate in, and even lead services on the site where Our Lady appeared. But, he does not allow the Society of Saint Pius X and those faithful who assist at their Masses to even say the Rosary as a group on the same site, despite their obvious love for the Mother of God. Shame on him!

To contact Father Gibbons to protest against this injustice, call: (094) 93 88100 or email: frgibbons@knock-shrine.ie

I remember a story about a bishop who locked a group who wanted the traditional Sacred Triduum out of their church.  The particulars escape me.

Posted in Liberals, SSPX | Tagged , | 32 Comments

23 September 2017: Look! Up in the sky!

The old phrase forever to be associated with Superman, “Look!  Up in the sky!” denotes wonder and curiosity about something unknown.

On 23 September we will look up in the sky and see something wondrous and curious.

All sorts of planets and stars and constellations will be lining up in way that makes you ponder the significance of heavenly signs.   After all, we are in the 100th anniversary year of Our Lady’s apparitions at Fatima and Our Lord said to watch for signs.

Here is a wiki entry about the 17 Sept event.   YES!  It has its own entry!  HERE

Is this alignment and the patterns of retrograde motion, etc., something to do Revelation 12?

Hard to say.

However, it is going to be beautiful!

Revelation 12 Sign.gif
By Brad – Revelation 12 Daily, CC0, Link

Posted in Look! Up in the sky! | Tagged , | 13 Comments

Bullying the little guy.

For decade after decade a liberal elite dominated the mass media. People hardly knew it, the domination was so pervasive and complete.  Then, slowly but surely, a few conservatives clawed their way past the massive machine of opposition.   So, it came to pass that some conservative (sane) talk radio hosts and cable news broadcasts managed to get a new voice into the public square.   The libs were not happy.   They still are not happy. All manner of lib trickery was attempted to silence the unwanted alternative voice in the public square which they had dominated for so long without opposition.  It didn’t work.  With the growth of the internet, the whole game has changed.

Right now, in Catholic media, the same thing is going on.  The libs have had near total domination of large Catholic media outlets.  The domination was so complete that barely anyone knew that they were being fed soul-annihilation.   Small but faithful outlets such as The Wanderer kept a fingernail’s hold on the edge of the Catholic public square, as did a few others.  Then voices such as Mother Angelica managed to claw their way through the opposition.  People, who suddenly had an alternative, began to wake up.  The libs were and are not happy. With the growth of the internet, they have no chance to maintain their uncontested hegemony.

You can tell how angry and frightened the catholic liberal Left is right now by how they are rushing higgledy-piggeldy to defend the claim that homosexual acts are really not so bad after all.  THAT, friends, is the issue.  This is about the long-desired goal of divorcing sexual acts from procreation.  Once that can be accomplished, then anything goes in any and every sphere of Catholic life. The Church will forever be transformed into a sort of NGO with broad goals of niceness, providing really good salaries for the ones who run it.

Civil_Rights_dog_01The anger and fright of the catholic liberal Left has recently manifested itself through, among other ways, attacks on converts.  Not long ago we saw that some radicalized catholic liberals, also defenders (at least) of homosexuality, opined that converts really shouldn’t be allowed to voice opinions.  How tired they were of converts saying what they thought!   Of course what they were really irritated with is that converts tend to be more conservative.  Because they made a choice to become Catholics as adults – and indeed during difficult times for the Church – they often are better informed and more faithful when it comes to the Church’s doctrine.   Of course converts have to be silenced!

Now we see the anger and fright of the catholic liberal Left coming out in attacks on “Catholic internet trolls”.  That’s what an editorial at Jesuit (what else?) run Amerika Magazine did on 18 September.   Here is a taste :

It is likewise a mistake to ignore or dismiss those whose so-called evangelization takes the form of online attacks, and whose goal seems to be a purge of Catholic voices who do not meet their standards of purity. Those who lead such efforts are claiming a kind of parallel magisterium, substituting their own outrage for the judgement of those who occupy the church’s legitimate teaching office.

They must be confronted, and church leaders—especially those whose viewpoints may differ from those of the persons under attack—should speak up strongly and clearly against these attacks and attempts at intimidation. The communion of the church needs to be defended—not from the peril of theological discussion but rather from that of being monitored and policed by the loudest and least loving voices among us.

This would be hilarious if it weren’t such a distortion of reality.

If there has ever been an effort to run a “parallel magisterium” it has been from the liberal Left!   Think “Spirit of Vatican II”.

Amerika is worried about those who “occupy the church’s legitimate teaching office”?  Oh, yeah?  Where were they during the pontificate of John Paul II and Benedict XVI?  Were they out their fighting the good fight to uphold what these Popes taught?  How have outlets like Amerika and Fishwrap etc. been in defending Veritatis splendor and Summorum Pontificum?  The hypocrisy of their concern for the magisterium is pathetic.

And, in their eyes, the crisis is so bad that the “communion of the church needs to be defended”.  It is to laugh.  Think about it.   A small media outlet like Lifesite writes a story about a Jesuit and, “OMG! THE COMMUNION OF THE CHURCH IS UNDER ATTACK!”  A small outlet like Church Militant writes a couple stories and, “OMG!….”  A single little insignificant priest writes a blog post and, “OMG!  If we don’t do something about these people IT’S THE END OF EVERYTHING!”

How about that phrase, “the loudest and least loving”.   Niiiice.  First, they judge the love of others.  Then, “loudest”?  For crying out loud, THEY are the loudest!  Do you want the LOUDEST voices in the Church?   They have to be Amerika and Fishwrap and Civiltà and all these established liberal organs.   To put this into perspective, I am like a guy on a street corner with an open guitar case, busking my little tunes, while Amerika and Fishwrap are a Village People tribute band on top of the Empire State Building with full media coverage.  THEY are the loudmouths around here.

Some days the some Jesuit Conference or other issued an official statement of full-throated support for James Martin’s notions in his book.

They have undertaken a war campaign of intimidation and bullying against the little guy.

I had questions… questions… about why and for what purpose Fr. Martin was to speak at a national major seminary… not university, mind you… seminary… when his very name these days brings a single thing to mind: the homosexualist agenda.  I asked questions about that.  I’d ask them again.  Speaking at a university or a community college is one thing.  Speaking at a seminary, for their 100th anniversary, is another.  And everyone knows I’m right about that.

And yet the Jesuits are getting out their dogs and firehoses.  The machine needs to silence the voices of those who have a right to be heard.


The moderation queue is ON.


Posted in Liberals, Si vis pacem para bellum!, Sin That Cries To Heaven, The Coming Storm, The Drill, The future and our choices | Tagged , , | 55 Comments

Please! Attack some more!

The hijinx continues.  Today I was alerted to an attack on my sacred person, et alibi, at the site of La Croix International by Massimo “Beans” Faggioli of ultra-lib Villanova.  His purple patch and over the top notions suggest that he is pretty upset.  That’s too bad.  “Beans”, unhinged, likened the Catholic social media influence (which played a role in Fr. Martin being disinvited from a seminary) to “cyber-militias”.  You know the drill: The libs are reacting with spittle-flecked nutties to the fact that they can’t simply steamroller everyone anymore with their homosexualist agenda.

The homosexualist agenda is this season’s hottest item.

BTW… another story at La Croix today concerns a couple of bishops who think that same-sex marriage is just fine.  I’m sensing a theme.

Speaking of such, I was sent this via my phone.  We see here a revelatory homosexualist moment on Twitter:


You’ve gotta love that.  And I didn’t hack that site, either!

Folks, to be clear…

I didn’t start a campaign to get Martin ousted from that speaking slot.  What I did was ask some questions.  I didn’t say anything about universities and academic freedom or different points of view.  That’s irrelevant.   I am concerned about the major seminary where he was to speak.

So, the libs are on the attack now, doing precisely what it is that they accuse me of doing which, ironically, I didn’t do.

Even more ironically, Fr. Martin seems to have tried to get Matthew Schmitz of First Things fired.

In a way, I rather enjoy it when the libs attack: they increase my traffic and, hence, my readership.

They also give me a chance to make some money!  

When, a couple years back you readers were called “Zed Heads” in the combox of the Fishwrap by the usual maliciousy vacuous namecallers, I got busy and made these mugs and stickers.


That was fun… and lucrative!

When another lib called us “lockstep sheep and papist throwbacks”, I made another product.  HERE

Maybe I should start a

Fr Z Defense Fund“?

I am going to have to get some dental work done.

Comments are OFF.

Posted in ¡Hagan lío!, Liberals, Lighter fare, Si vis pacem para bellum!, Sin That Cries To Heaven, The Drill, The future and our choices | Tagged , , | 1 Comment