Suffering and attacks on the Church’s “Eldest Daughter”

What beautiful Faith there was once in France.  So lovely was it, so early in our history was the Faith embraced, that France was called the Church’s Eldest Daughter.

However, for decades now Europe – no, let’s say centuries, since the Cartesian revolution and the Enlightenment – and France in Europe, has been on a suicide mission.  European identity is all but destroyed.  Moreover, the practitioners of the Religion of Peace have been systematically invading Europe and eating her alive from within.  Joseph Ratzinger wrote eloquently about the dissolving identity of Europe.

Today I read at the Catholic Herald of seemingly systematic attack on French Catholic churches.

You might pay attention to this.  You see, people tend to think that these sorts of things, and natural and man-made disasters, won’t happen to them.  It’s always someone else, right?  Until it’s our turn.

From the CH:

At least 10 incidents of vandalism and desecration of Catholic churches have been reported in France since the beginning of February, according to French news sources and watch groups.

Vandals in Catholic churches throughout the country have smashed statues, knocked down tabernacles, scattered or destroyed the Eucharist, burnt altar cloths and torn down crosses, among other acts of desecration of religious items.

According to La Croix International, one of the earliest incidents occurred February 4 at St. Nicholas Catholic Church in Houilles, Yvelines, where a statue of the Blessed Virgin Mary was found smashed on the ground. The church had experienced earlier incidents of vandalism just weeks prior, when the altar cross was found thrown to the ground and the celebrant’s chair was damaged.

The Observatory on Intolerance and Discrimination Against Christians in Europe, a Christian watchdog group, documented another attack at St. Nicholas Church on February 10, when the tabernacle was found thrown to the ground. A 35 year-old man later confessed to committing the act to police.

On February 5, an altar cloth was found burnt and crosses and statues torn down or disfigured at Saint-Alain Cathedral in Lavaur, in south-central France. The fire was found early by a parish secretary and did not spread, though the smoke damaged the altar and adjacent walls.

The 800 year-old building had also recently undergone renovations, local sources reported.

“I strongly condemn the vandalism of Lavaur Cathedral and I share the outrage aroused by this intolerable act,” Jean Terlier, a local district deputy, said in a statement following the incident, according to La Croix.

“God will forgive. Not me,” the city’s mayor Bernard Carayon said of the vandalism, La Croix reported.

On February 6, just a day after the Saint-Alain Cathedral incident, vandals at a Catholic Church in Nimes broke into the tabernacle and scattered the hosts on the ground, drew a cross on the wall with excrement and damaged other religious items in the church, according to local reports.

In a statement posted to the Diocesan website, Bishop Robert Wattebled of Nimes denounced the desecration, which “greatly affects our diocesan community. The sign of the cross and the Blessed Sacrament have been the subject of serious injurious actions. This act of profanation hurts us all in our deepest convictions,” he said.

The Bishop also announced that a Mass of reparation must be said in the church before regular Masses can continue, and noted that local religious orders of the diocese had already offered to observe days of fasting and prayer in reparation for the act. He encouraged lay Catholics to join in acts of prayer and reparation.

The Observatory on Intolerance and Discrimination Against Christians in Europe documented another incident on February 9 at the Church of Notre-Dame de Dijon in Côte-d’Or, about 175 miles to the south and east of Paris.

Again in this incident, the tabernacle was opened and the Eucharist scattered. An altar cloth was also stained and a missle book was torn.

Father Emmanuel Pic from Notre-Dame parish told La Bien Public news that since nothing of great monetary value was damaged, it seems the vandals wanted to attack the “heart of the Catholic faith.

Nothing of value has been broken, but it is the intent that is very shocking. This is what characterizes profanation,” Pic said.

The vandals seemed to have known that attacking the altar and the Eucharist would be “a very strong symbol for (parishioners), since the hosts consecrated during the previous Mass are no longer just a piece of bread in the eyes of Christians” but the body of Christ, he added. The priest also posted photos of the desecration to his Twitter account. Mass resumed at the parish after a Mass of reparation was said by the local archbishop.

In a statement posted to the group’s newsletter, Ellen Fantini, executive director of the Observatory on Intolerance and Discrimination Against Christians in Europe, joined local priests, bishops and civil authorities in condemning the “shocking” acts of vandalism.

“It is our sincere hope that the perpetrators are brought to justice and that awareness of increasing anti-Christian hostility in France reaches the public square,” she said.

In a statement posted to Twitter on February 13, Prime Minister of France Edouard Philippe also condemned the acts ahead of a meeting with the country’s bishops.

In one week, in France, 5 degraded churches. In our secular Republic, places of worship are respected. Such acts shock me and must be unanimously condemned. I will tell the bishops of France at the meeting of the forum of dialogue with the Catholic Church,” he said.

Besides the confession in the incident at St. Nicholas Church, investigations are ongoing as to the perpetrators of these acts of vandalism.

While it is yet unclear if the incidents are at all related, they recall the series of attacks and vandalism that the Catholic Church in France and Belgium experienced in 2016 by the Islamic State. The worst of those attacks included the murder of Fr. Jacques Hamel, who was killed by jihadists while celebrating Mass at a church in Saint-Etienne-du-Rouvray in Normandy. The assailants entered the church and took the priest and four others hostage. Local law enforcement reported that the priest’s throat was slit in the attack, and that both of the hostage takers were shot dead by police.

Posted in Semper Paratus, Si vis pacem para bellum!, The Coming Storm, The future and our choices, The Last Acceptable Prejudice, The Religion of Peace | Tagged | 15 Comments

Mister McCarrick

McCarrick has been “laicized”, that is, stripped of the clerical state.  While Holy Orders leaves an indelible mark on the souls (meaning that even death doesn’t remove the sacramental character – a priest is a priest forever, even in heaven or… *shudder* in the other place) he may not function in any priestly capacity for the rest of his life.

The Catholic Herald writes:

Pope Francis and the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith ordered this week the laicization of Theodore McCarrick, a former cardinal and archbishop emeritus of Washington, and a once powerful figure in ecclesiastical, diplomatic, and political circles in the U.S. and around the world.

The decision followed an administrative penal process conducted by the CDF, which found McCarrick guilty of “solicitation in the Sacrament of Confession, and sins against the Sixth Commandment with minors and with adults, with the aggravating factor of the abuse of power,” according to a February 16 Vatican communique.

The conviction was made following an “administrative penal process,”which is a much-abbreviated penal mechanism used in cases in which the evidence is so clear that a full trial is unnecessary.

Because Pope Francis personally approved the guilty verdict and the penalty of laicization, it is formally impossible for the decision to be appealed.

According to a statement from the Vatican on February 16, the decree finding McCarrick guilty was issued on January 11 and followed by an appeal, which was rejected by the CDF on February 13.

McCarrick was notified of the decision on February 15 and Pope Francis “has recognized the definitive nature of this decision made in accord with law, rendering it a res iudicata (i.e., admitting of no further recourse.)”


While I take little pleasure in any of this, I find it grimly pleasing.  I had long held McCarrick as one of the most loathsome people at large in the Church, based on what I had heard of him decades ago, and on his blatant lying about Ratzinger’s letter to US bishops and about what Arinze said in a presser when I was present.

Good riddance.  The barque is a little less grimy today.

What remains to be determined is to what extent McCarrick was involved with Francis and Team Francis before and after the 2003 conclave.

That will come out.  After all, the Devil makes good frying pan, but he doesn’t make covers for them.  Eventually, things come out.


Posted in The future and our choices | Tagged | 34 Comments

Fr. Z’s Kitchen: Shiny little fish!

I was at the market and spotted shiny little fish in the ice bank. Someone had ordered fresh sardines and didn’t need them all. They were fresh, unfrozen, and uncleaned. I got them on the spot.

So… what to do?

Gut them.

Stuff some lemon and thyme in them.

Put them on pans with more thyme, oil, and garlic.   Sprinkle salt.

I did 2 and then 3.

They need only a few minutes, close to the heat source.

These critters are as oily as a conference of bishops!  Hence, you need something that will cut through.

I had an unusual Basque white wine with strong citrus overtones and slightly effervescent.  Ameztoi Getariako Txakolina (pronounced “cha-koh-leena”)

In the end, I had 5 nice broiled sardines and a green salad.

Don’t be afraid to try new things.  When something catches your eye, it’s generally okay to change plans and work with it!

Posted in Fr. Z's Kitchen | Tagged | 13 Comments

Interesting observation by @CCPecknold about laicization of McCarrick

Rumor has is that ex-cardinal Theodore McCarrick – disgraced – may very soon be “laicized”, that is, stripped of the clerical state.

Prof. Chad Pecknold of CUA has a piece today in the NY Post.  He has some interesting posts:

Behind Ted McCarrick’s fall: the wrong kind of ‘openness’

The Roman Catholic Church is sometimes viewed as an impenetrable fortress. To many liberals, that’s exactly the problem.

The church, they think, needs to come of age, modernize its teachings and ­accommodate ­itself to the sexual revolution that has been roiling the West since the 1960s.

Yet those who want a church “open to the world” must face an inconvenient truth: Theodore “Uncle Ted” McCarrick championed just this kind for openness. And this emblem of openness, this man who caused so much pain to underage boys and young seminarians under his authority, will be laicized, likely Saturday.

Before last summer’s sexual-abuse revelations put an end to his brilliant ecclesial career, McCarrick, as cardinal archbishop of Washington, promoted Catholic chumminess with cultural liberalism. [NB] He was a regular visitor to President Barack Obama’s White House. He ran interference for Notre Dame University when it conferred American Catholicism’s highest honor on the pro-abortion-rights Obama. He opposed calls to deny Communion to pro-abortion-rights politicians. He was beloved at Davos.

An entire generation of boomer-age bishops, priests and theologians claimed that the Second Vatican Council demanded a concordat with liberal values. But no one chanted the mantra of openness louder, or raised more money around its central aims, than did McCarrick.

He personified the spirit that swept the church in the immediate years after the council — one that mistook the council’s teachings for an invitation to endless experimentation and the demolition of ancient moral barriers. McCarrick’s laicization is a judgment not only against the man but also against that rebellious spirit.


I can see Team Francis – the New catholic Red Guards – balling up their fists in rage but unable screeching in protest, because it would seem as if they were defending McCarrick.

Posted in Liberals, The Drill, The future and our choices, Vatican II | Tagged , , | 21 Comments

WDTPRS – Septuagesima Sunday: PRE-LENT BEGINS!

While in the new-fangled calendar Sunday is the 6th in Ordinary Time, and celebrated in green vestments,in the traditional Roman calendar this Sunday is called Septuagesima, Latin for the “Seventieth” day before Easter.

The Roman Station for Septuagesima is St. Lawrence outside the walls.

These pre-Lenten Sundays prepare us for the discipline of Lent, which once was far stricter.

The number 70 is more symbolic than arithmetical.

The Sundays which follow are Sexagesima (“sixtieth”) and Quinquagesima (“fiftieth”) before Ash Wednesday brings in Lent, called in Latin Quadragesima, “Fortieth”.

One of our frequent commentators here enriched my view of the numerical adjectives:

A fairly literal interpretation of the terms Septuagesima, Sexagesima, and Quinquagesima:

• Septuagesima Sunday is the 63rd day before Easter and thus falls in the 7th (septimus) decade or 10-day period consisting of the 61st to 70th days before Easter;
• Sexagesima Sunday is the 56th day before Easter and falls in the 6th (sextus) decade consisting of the 51st to 60th days before Easter; and
• Quinquagesima Sunday is the 49th day before Easter and falls in the 5th (quintus) decade consisting of the 41st to 50th days before Easter.

Septuagesima gives us a more solemn attitude for Holy Mass.

Purple is worn on Sunday rather than the green of the time after Epiphany.  These pre-Lent Sundays also have Roman stations, just as each day of Lent does.   The station for Septuagesima is St. Lawrence outside the walls.  St. Gregory the Great (+604) preached a fiery sermon here, which we have, and which is read in part for Matins in the traditional Office.  The traditional Office also presents three figures over the three pre-Lent Sundays, all foreshadowing Christ: Adam, Noah and Abraham.

When we want to follow what Holy Church is giving us in our sacred liturgical worship we should remember that Mass is only part of the picture.  We also have the Office, the “liturgy of the hours”.  They mesh together and reinforce and complete each other.  PLEASE don’t say “the liturgy” when you mean “the Mass”.  Say “Mass”.

Alleluia is sung for the last time at First Vespers of Septuagesima and is then excluded until Holy Saturday. 

There was once a tradition of “burying” the Alleluia, with a depositio ceremony, like a little funeral.  A hymn of farewell was sung.  There was a procession with crosses, tapers, holy water, and a coffin containing a banner with Alleluia.  The coffin was sprinkled, incensed, and buried. In some places, such as Paris, a straw figure bearing an Alleluia of gold letters was burned in the churchyard.  Somehow that seems very French to me.  This custom has been rediscovered and it is being revived far and wide.  Each year we see photos of the charming moment from more and more parishes.

The prayers and readings for the Masses of these pre-Lenten Sundays were compiled by Gregory the Great, Pope in a time of great turmoil and suffering.  Looking at Gregory’s time, with the massive migration of peoples, the war, the turmoil, you are reminded of our own times.

I like to imagine the Romans who were aspiring to be brought into the Church at Easter, catechumens.   Try to picture it…

They were brought out to St. Lawrence for today’s Mass.  In the echoing space, wreathed in smoke and shafts of light, they heard chanted antiphons about suffering and crying out to God.  Then they heard the chanted passage in which Paul says that God wasn’t pleased with everyone who drank from the rock.

These catechumens might have looked at each other and exclaimed:  “What am I getting myself into?!?”   Indeed, I think that was the intended effect of the formulary.

That’a actually a good thing to ask every day.  If you are a real Christian, you think about what you have gotten yourself into!  And more may be coming!

On the other hand, if throughout the ancient Mass formulary there are grim messages, there are also signs of great hope.  God does hear the cry of those who invoke him.

In the Novus Ordo of Paul VI there is no more pre-Lent.

A terrible loss.

We are grateful that with Summorum Pontificum the pre-Lent Sundays have regained something of their ancient status.  May they through “mutual enrichment” correct the Novus Ordo.

The antiphons for the first part of Mass carry a theme of affliction, war, oppression.  We hear from 1 Corinthians on how Christians must strive on to the end of the race.  The Tract (which substitutes the Gradual and Alleluia) is Ps 130 (older 129) the De profundis.

This has been set to music by many composers.  But the chanted version is special.


Preces populi tui, quaesumus, Domine, clementer exaudi: ut, qui iuste pro peccatis nostris affligimur, pro tui nominis gloria misericorditer liberemur.

This prayer, as well as the other two we will see, is in versions of ancient sacramentaries, such as the Gregorian. Our wonderful Lewis & Short Dictionary says ex-audio means “listen to” in the sense of “harken, perceive clearly.” There is a greater urgency to exaudi (an imperative, or command form) than in the simple audi. Clementer is an adverb from clemens, meaning among other things “Mild in respect to the faults and failures of others, i.e. forbearing, indulgent, compassionate, merciful.” We are asking God the omnipotent Creator to listen to us little finite sinful creatures in a manner that is not only attentive but also patient and indulgent.


We beseech You, O Lord, graciously to hark to the prayers of Your people: so that we who are justly afflicted for our sins, may mercifully be freed for the glory of Your Name.

The first thing you who attend mainly the Novus Ordo will note, is the profoundly different tone of this prayer. 

The focus on our responsibility and guilt for our sins is alien to the style of the Ordinary Form.  Such direct references to our sinful state were systematically excised from the ancient prayers which survived, in some form, in the post-Conciliar Missale Romanum.

We need them back.

It is just as succinct as most ancient Roman prayers.  It has the classic structure.  But the focus on our responsibility and guilt for our sins is very alien to the style of the Novus Ordo.  For the most part, such direct references to our sinful state were systematically excised from the ancient prayers which survived in some form on the post-Conciliar Missale Romanum.


Muneribus nostris, quaesumus, Domine, precibusque susceptis: et caelestibus nos munda mysteriis, et clementer exaudi.

This ancient prayer was also in the Mass “Puer natus” for 1 January for the Octave of Christmas.  The first part of the prayer is an ablative absolute. In the second part there is a standard et…et construction.  The prayer is terse, elegant.


Our gifts and prayers having been received, we beseech You, O Lord: both cleanse us by these heavenly mysteries, and mercifully hark to us.

In the first prayer we acknowledge our sinfulness and beg God’s mercy.  In this prayer we show humble confidence that God is attending to our actions and we focus on the means by which we will be cleansed from the filth of our sins, namely, the Sacrifice of Jesus on the Cross, about to be renewed upon the altar.

As the Mass develops there is a shift in tone after the Gospel parable about the man hiring day-laborers.  An attitude of praise is introduced into the cries to God for help.


Fideles tui, Deus, per tua dona firmentur: ut éadem et percipiendo requirant, et quaerendo sine fine percipiant.


In an ancient variation we find per[pe]tua, turning “by means of your…” into “perpetual”. That éadem (neuter plural to go with dona, “gifts”) is the object of both of the subjunctive verbs which live in another et…et construction.  Requiro means “to seek or search for; to seek to know, … with the accessory idea of need, to ask for something needed; to need, want, lack, miss, be in want of, require (synonym: desidero)”.  Think of how it is used in Ps. 26(27),4: “One thing I have asked of the Lord, this will I seek after (unum petivi a Domino hoc requiram); that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life.”  Quaero is another verb for “to seek”, as well as “to think over, meditate, aim at, plan a thing.”  The first meaning of the verb percipio is “to take wholly, to seize entirely” and then by extension “to perceive, feel and “to learn, know, conceive, comprehend, understand.”

Notice that these verbs all have a dimension of the search of the soul for something that must be grasped in the sense of being comprehended.

Just to show you that we can steer this in another direction, let’s take those “seeking/graping/perceiving” verbs and emphasize the possible dimension of the eternal fascinating that the Beatific Vision will eventually produce.


May Your faithful, O God, be strengthened by Your gifts: so that in grasping them they will need to seek after them and in the seeking they will know them without end.

In this life, the closest thing we have to the eternal contemplation of God is the moment of making a good Holy Communion.

At this moment of Mass, which so much concerned struggling in time of oppression, we strive to grasp our lot here in terms of our fallen nature, God’s plan, and our eternal reward.

I don’t believe this prayer, like Septuagesima Sunday, made it into the Novus Ordo, to our great impoverishment.

Start thinking about Lent NOW, not on the morning of Ash Wednesday.

Posted in Liturgy Science Theatre 3000, WDTPRS | 4 Comments


I very much liked this tweet…

Posted in GO TO CONFESSION | 7 Comments

Of Flaring Suns and Starry Nights

While Ham Radio operators are vexed by the lack of spots on your planet’s yellow star, there is still activity.

Frankly, having read recently 48 Hours by William Forstchen – US HERE – UK HERE – this sort of story makes me edgy enough to push me to an examination of conscience.  Scary stuff.

From SpaceWeather.

BIG ACTIVITY ON THE SUN: A gigantic filament of plasma is dancing along the northwestern edge of the sun, rising more than 150,000 km above the solar surface. How large is that? It’s fully 1/10th of the sun’s diameter and almost a dozen times taller than our entire planet. Click to view a 2-day movie from NASA’s Solar Dynamic Observatory:

This is called a “hedgerow prominence.” Hot glowing plasma inside the structure is held aloft by unstable magnetic fields. If the magnetic support collapses, plasma can fall back to the solar surface, exploding in a Hyder flare–a type of solar flare that can occur with no underlying sunspot.

NASA and Japanese space telescopes have taken high resolution images of similar prominences and seen some amazing things such as (1) tadpole-shaped plumes that float up from the base of the prominence; (2) narrow streams of plasma that descend from the top like waterfalls; and (3) swirls and vortices that resemble van Gogh’s Starry Night.

I like that reference to Van Gogh.

Did ya’ll see the movie Loving Vincent?  US HERE – UK HERE

This tells something of the painter’s rather sad story, but in an amazing way.  They found a way to animate some 90+ paintings… portraits, landscapes, stills, etc…   It is a painted movie…. a motion painting. There is a sample of one his “Starry Night” paintings in the trailer, moving like the SpaceWeather piece suggests.

Posted in Look! Up in the sky! | Tagged , | 11 Comments

A quick book plug: A Catholic Introduction to the Bible: The Old Testament

May I have a moment of your time to plug a book?

Since it has been a loooong time since I’ve had formal courses in Scripture (and some of that wasn’t so great), I’ve determined I need some refreshers. I’ve been gathering materials and doing a little each day.

Regarding the Old Testament, may I recommend to my fellow priests, especially, A Catholic Introduction to the Bible: The Old Testament by John Bergsma and Brant Pitre published by Ignatius Press?


This is turning out to be a very good resource, especially in the sometimes murky front of the Bible.

These guys get the need to maintain an excellent approach to texts according to modern tools of scholarship.  At the same time, they are rock solid faithful to the Church’s teachings and traditions.  They seem to have taken their marching orders from Benedict XVI and his Verbum Domini.    They’ve sought an integrated approach.

You might remember that Benedict, in the introduction to one of his Jesus of Nazarth volumes, said that we need to recover a way of Scripture that is faithful to the texts’ content, much as the Fathers read it.  Without, of course, abandoning modern scholarship.

Also, quite helpful in the book, are frequent references to the CCC.

That said, I would like there to have been much more on the Psalms.  As I’ve been reading the Office lately, I’ve been marking things mentally and then seeking greater understanding through some online resources (there are some good Protestant Scripture tools online with interlinear texts, etc.).  The authors, while stressing the importance of the Psalms, don’t devote much time to them.  One might respond that that, in itself, would take a large book and this book is intended as an introduction.  They make the introduction, and move along.  However, good bibliography is provided for further reading.

I warmly recommend this.


Posted in "How To..." - Practical Notes, REVIEWS | Tagged , , , | 23 Comments

Opportunity: R.I.P.

How sad.  Mars rover Opportunity seems to have come to the end of its mission.  HERE

Low batteries and a bad dust storm.  That was it.

A 3 month mission lasted almost 15 years.

Posted in Look! Up in the sky! | Tagged , | 11 Comments

POLL: Prayers after Mass

There is a poll at the ridiculously liberal blog Pray Tell which some of you readers might want to look at.

The question of the poll:

Should additional prayer texts be recited communally after the dismissal of the Mass?


While this might have something to do with special petitions for important concerns in a parish or diocese, it seems that this really has to do with the recitation of the traditional “Leonine Prayers” after Mass, or at least part of them, such as the Prayer to St. Michael the Archangel.

Some bishops asked for the recitation of the St. Michael Prayer in response to the homosexual crisis in the Church which is at the root of abuse of minors and of seminarians, etc.   That has, apparently, upset the curator of Pray Tell.

Right now there are not many results in their poll.  I doubt there would be anyway, since it isn’t widely read.  As I write, the score is NO-10, YES-4.

Because they have a thin readership, you might want to help them out and give them a larger sample in their informal poll.

Meanwhile, this is where you can find their poll, right now.  I added some indications about other items they have going, in red.

Posted in Liberals, Liturgy Science Theatre 3000, POLLS | Tagged | 35 Comments

“Know also this, that, in the last days, shall come dangerous times.”

From Matins today:

Lesson from the second letter of St. Paul the Apostle to Timothy (2 Tim 3:1-5)

Know also this, that, in the last days, shall come dangerous times.
Men shall be lovers of themselves, covetous, haughty, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, ungrateful, wicked,
Without affection, without peace, slanderers, incontinent, unmerciful, without kindness,
Traitors, stubborn, puffed up, and lovers of pleasures more than of God:
Having an appearance indeed of godliness, but denying the power thereof. Now these avoid.

Our Lady at Akita, Japan:

October 13, 1973

“My dear daughter, listen well to what I have to say to you. You will inform your superior.”

After a short silence:

“As I told you, if men do not repent and better themselves, the Father will inflict a terrible punishment on all humanity. It will be a punishment greater than the deluge, such as one will never seen before. Fire will fall from the sky and will wipe out a great part of humanity, the good as well as the bad, sparing neither priests nor faithful. The survivors will find themselves so desolate that they will envy the dead. The only arms which will remain for you will be the Rosary and the Sign left by My Son. Each day recite the prayers of the Rosary. With the Rosary, pray for the Pope, the bishops and priests.”

“The work of the devil will infiltrate even into the Church in such a way that one will see cardinals opposing cardinals, bishops against bishops. The priests who venerate me will be scorned and opposed by their confreres…churches and altars sacked; the Church will be full of those who accept compromises and the demon will press many priests and consecrated souls to leave the service of the Lord.

“The demon will be especially implacable against souls consecrated to God. The thought of the loss of so many souls is the cause of my sadness. If sins increase in number and gravity, there will be no longer pardon for them”

“With courage, speak to your superior. He will know how to encourage each one of you to pray and to accomplish works of reparation.”

“It is Bishop Ito, who directs your community.”

And She smiled and then said:

“You have still something to ask? Today is the last time that I will speak to you in living voice. From now on you will obey the one sent to you and your superior.”

“Pray very much the prayers of the Rosary. I alone am able still to save you from the calamities which approach. Those who place their confidence in me will be saved.”

Our Lady at Quito in 1610.  Brrrrrr!  Read that yourself.  HERE


Posted in Four Last Things, The Coming Storm, The future and our choices | Tagged | 11 Comments

Do you know priests who are struggling, under attack? Terrific movement: Seven Sisters Apostolate

The other day I posted about priests who are bullied when they do the right thing.   In my email I got notes from people offered financial help, a place to live, pro bono counseling, etc.  Some of you readers are simply amazing.  You keep me going on a daily basis.

On the sidebar of this blog, I have an item you can click to say a daily prayer for priests.   The prayer, which has been around for awhile, was renewed through an imprimatur given by the late, great, Extraordinary Ordinary, Bp. Morlino, who understood the needs of priests none better.

This morning another thing came to mind.  Hence, below, I repost something I wrote back in August 2018.

Originally Published on: Aug 18, 2018

Terrific movement of prayer for priests: Seven Sisters Apostolate

Recently, I’ve written about some things that bishops and priests should do in this crisis time.  I’ve also made suggestions to lay people about things they can do.

However, there is one thing that lay people can do… especially lay women… which will be of enormous value in the coming days.

Last June, I attended a party arranged for the 90th birthday of a priest friend in my native place at the parish where he still helps on Sundays.  The pastor there is also an old friend.  While I was there, I kept hearing references to the “Seven Sisters”.  I inquired and learned of this great apostolate.

Seven Sisters Apostolate

This is a bit of a movement, actually.

In essence, 7 women and perhaps a couple alternates, commit for 1 year to 1 hour of prayer for 1 priest each week.   Hence, there is a lady on Monday, one on Tuesday, etc., ideally in the presence of the Blessed Sacrament.

In some cases, though this is not obligatory, the priest or bishop may not even know who they are.

There are good resources at their site.

This is a terrific apostolate.   They are in the process of having the movement designated as an association of the faithful.

May I suggest to some of you women who read here regularly that you might contact them and seek to start a local group for your local bishop and priests, the pastor of your parish, a retired priest, where you are?

Also, I would not object were a group of Seven Sisters might consider praying for me.   Perhaps one of you know six others where you live who also read this blog.

Posted in "How To..." - Practical Notes, Priests and Priesthood | Tagged , | 2 Comments

Movement in the causes of Bl. John Henry Newman and Card. József Mindszenty

Here’s some news from today’s Bolletino.

Francis met with the Prefect of the Congregation of the Causes of Saints and he approved some decrees.  Among them…

il miracolo, attribuito all’intercessione del Beato Giovanni Enrico Newman, Cardinale di Santa Romana Chiesa, Fondatore dell’Oratorio di San Filippo Neri in Inghilterra; nato a Londra (Inghilterra) il 21 febbraio 1801 e morto a Edgbaston (Inghilterra) l’11 agosto 1890;

That is, a miracle was authenticated by the intercession of John Henry Newman.  Since he has already been beatified, the way is open to his canonization.

And also…

 le virtù eroiche del Servo di Dio Giuseppe Mindszenty, Cardinale di Santa Romana Chiesa, già Arcivescovo di Esztergom e Primate di Ungheria; nato a Csehimindszent (Ungheria) il 29 marzo 1892 e morto a Vienna (Austria) il 6 maggio 1975;

The heroic virtues of József Card. Mindszenty have been recognized.  That means he will now be called “Venerable” and, with a miracle, the way is open to his beatification.

Posted in Saints: Stories & Symbols | Tagged , | 6 Comments

ASK FATHER: During sick call, tea and biscuits before administering Communion

From a reader…


When a priest arrives at a sick person’s house in order to provide Communion, should the Communion rite happen immediately upon arrival?

I presume that tea, biscuits and chatting should certainly not happen beforehand?

I was recently put into this situation: bonhomie taking place for at least an hour before Communion. I wasn’t sure that the Blessed Sacrament was present at first, but when this was made apparent I was shocked and upset.

I raised this with the assistant priest, one of the two who had visited. He said that the parish priest (he was the other who had visited) likes to give Communion at the end so all can leave in silence (which on my recollection didn’t happen anyway.) The assistant priest conveyed my thoughts to the parish priest, and apparently his suggestion was that they leave the Blessed Sacrament in the glove box of the car until it’s time.

I have to commend the priests on their pastoral care; I’ve seen priests with no attention to this whatsoever and I think it’s important, but not at the expense of proper treatment of the Blessed Sacrament.

Thanks for also adding your positive comments about your priests.

“tea, bicuits beforehand”

“leave the Blessed Sacrament in the glove box”

I am sure that these priests have no intention of showing a lack of respect for Christ in the Eucharist.

However, as soon as I read this, a phrase flooded into my mind:

Nihil anteponendum dilectioni Christi.

Flooded with this phrase, I had to look it up.  I had it almost right.  The true phrase is: “dilectioni Dei et Christi nihil praeponendum … nothing is to be set before/preferred to the love of God and Christ”.  This is St. Cyprian of Carthage (+258) Ad Quirinum 3, 18.

One of the things priests learn when they use the traditional forms of our sacred liturgical rites is that, indeed, nihil anteponendum when it comes to the Eucharist.  This principle guides even the order in which a priest carries out certain tasks.

For example, after Holy Communion he must purify vessels.  First, he consumes whatever of the Precious Blood might be in the chalice.  Then he begins the ablutions.  If there is a ciborium to be purified, he pours the ablutions into the ciborium and consumes everything from it.  In reposing the Blessed Sacrament after exposition, the lunette is handled as little as possible.  Therefore, tabernacle is opened, pyx is readied, etc.  Then the Host is removed, put into the pyx, reposed in the tabernacle, door closed before anything is done with the monstrance, etc.  Everything is readied so that when it is time to do something with the Blessed Sacrament, no other object or activity interrupts.   Anything having to do with the Eucharist has priority of attention and action.

Nihil anteponendum.

Another clue is taken from the rite of visiting the sick itself.  The very first thing that the priest does when he arrives at the place and enters, he says, “Pax huic domui!  Peace to his house!”  The rite continues from there without interruption… for biscuit or chats or anything.  Also, knowing that the priest is coming, people should have everything ready for the visit.  Households had sick call sets.   I’ve written about them HERE.  Everything should be ready for the arrival of the King.  With all things set out beforehand, when the priest arrives he should be brought directly, without delay, to the person who will receive Communion.  There’s time for other things after the more important things are completed.

Nihil anteponendum.

Hence, I cannot go along with anything that is put before proper attention to the Blessed Sacrament when it comes to sick calls.

This must must must also be hammered into any lay people who take the Eucharist to the sick or shut it.   If you are given the tremendous task, do nothing to interfere with your duty.  Don’t stop for gas (get it beforehand.  Don’t go through the Taco Bell drive-thru (go later).  Don’t … don’t… don’t.   Just go straight to the place you must go and carry out your task.  The same then applies to purification of the pyx.  Christ is present even in small fragments of the Host.

Nihil anteponendum.

Posted in "How To..." - Practical Notes, ASK FATHER Question Box, Liturgy Science Theatre 3000 | Tagged , , , | 8 Comments

Another look at Catholic/Islamic statement: “diversity of religions … are willed by God in His wisdom”

What about that joint document of Francis and the Imam?

Francis signed something that very strongly suggested that God wills, in his active/positive will, a diversity of religions.  This is impossible.   The only way to interpret that in a Christian sense is to say that by God’s permissive will there is a plurality/diversity of religions.   I wrote about that before in an attempt to make what was signed not be male sonans… at least.

At the end of my post I wrote that I didn’t know what the writers of the document had in mind.  We only have the text of what was signed.

People are still talking about it.  I had originally thought that – since tens of people had read it, it would vanish into the big cabinet into which ecumenical documents vanish.   No so.  People are still on it.

For example, over at Rorate a smart fellow, Dr. John R. T. Lamont (a Canadian philosopher and theologian), wrote about it referencing me and disagreeing with what I wrote.  He agreed with me too, in that he wrote, regarding my examination of the English Francis/Imam text:

“Applying the distinction between God’s active will and God’s permissive will to Pope Francis’s words, and interpreting the words as asserting that the plurality of religions is the object of God’s permissive will rather than of His active will, is the only way of understanding them in a Christian sense.”

Then he went on to explain how we can’t interpret the bad phrase from the point of view of God’s permissive will.   I was not wholly convinced, but he had a strong case.   One point I found that was good, that contradicted what I wrote, was something I had planned to include in my own piece… but I left it out lest my post be too complicated.  He wrote:

“The context makes it clear that Pope Francis’s words state that God does will religious pluralism itself. Religious pluralism is classed together with other differences such as colour, sex, race, and language that are not evil in themselves, and that are positively willed by God.”

I actually had worked on a post that dealt with whether or not these other things – race, language, etc. – were willed by God positively or they were permitted in His permissive will.  But… life took over and I didn’t finish it.

Taken by itself, taking the claim only about religions, we can more easily apply God’s permissive will as an interpretive lens.  Taken with the other items, that gets really hard.

I would add another angle.

We also have translations in several languages of the text that was signed.  I don’t know what language was the language of authorship.  Which language did the Imam’s people and Francis’ people use?  Perhaps English or Portuguese… there were Portuguese and English influences in the UAE.  Who knows?

Are there differences in the texts?  Let’s look!


Freedom is a right of every person: each individual enjoys the freedom of belief, thought, expression and action. The pluralism and the diversity of religions, colour, sex, race and language are willed by God in His wisdom, through which He created human beings. This divine wisdom is the source from which the right to freedom of belief and the freedom to be different derives. Therefore, the fact that people are forced to adhere to a certain religion or culture must be rejected, as too the imposition of a cultural way of life that others do not accept;

  • The pluralism and the diversity of religions, … are willed by God in His wisdom


La libertà è un diritto di ogni persona: ciascuno gode della libertà di credo, di pensiero, di espressione e di azione. Il pluralismo e le diversità di religione, di colore, di sesso, di razza e di lingua sono una sapiente volontà divina, con la quale Dio ha creato gli esseri umani. Questa Sapienza divina è l’origine da cui deriva il diritto alla libertà di credo e alla libertà di essere diversi. Per questo si condanna il fatto di costringere la gente ad aderire a una certa religione o a una certa cultura, come pure di imporre uno stile di civiltà che gli altri non accettano.

  • Il pluralismo e le diversità di religione, … sono una sapiente volontà divina,
  • The pluralism and diversity of religions… are one divine will


La liberté est un droit de toute personne: chacune jouit de la liberté de croyance, de pensée, d’expression et d’action. Le pluralisme et les diversités de religion, de couleur, de sexe, de race et de langue sont une sage volonté divine, par laquelle Dieu a créé les êtres humains. Cette Sagesse divine est l’origine dont découle le droit à la liberté de croyance et à la liberté d’être différents. C’est pourquoi on condamne le fait de contraindre les gens à adhérer à une certaine religion ou à une certaine culture, comme aussi le fait d’imposer un style de civilisation que les autres n’acceptent pas.

  • Le pluralisme et les diversités de religion, … sont une sage volonté divine,
  • The pluralism and diversity of religions… are one divine will


Die Freiheit ist ein Recht jedes Menschen: ein jeder genießt Bekenntnis-, Gedanken-, Meinungs-, und Handlungsfreiheit. Der Pluralismus und die Verschiedenheit in Bezug auf Religion, Hautfarbe, Geschlecht, Ethnie und Sprache entsprechen einem weisen göttlichen Willen, mit dem Gott die Menschen erschaffen hat. Diese göttliche Weisheit ist der Ursprung, aus dem sich das Recht auf Bekenntnisfreiheit und auf die Freiheit, anders zu sein, ableitet. Deshalb wird der Umstand verurteilt, Menschen zu zwingen, eine bestimmte Religion oder eine gewisse Kultur anzunehmen wie auch einen kulturellen Lebensstil aufzuerlegen, den die anderen nicht akzeptieren.

  • Der Pluralismus und die Verschiedenheit in Bezug auf Religion, … entsprechen einem weisen göttlichen Willen,
  • The pluralism and diversity of religion… corresponds to a wise divine will


La libertad es un derecho de toda persona: todos disfrutan de la libertad de credo, de pensamiento, de expresión y de acción. El pluralismo y la diversidad de religión, color, sexo, raza y lengua son expresión de una sabia voluntad divina, con la que Dios creó a los seres humanos. Esta Sabiduría Divina es la fuente de la que proviene el derecho a la libertad de credo y a la libertad de ser diferente. Por esto se condena el hecho de que se obligue a la gente a adherir a una religión o cultura determinada, como también de que se imponga un estilo de civilización que los demás no aceptan.

  • El pluralismo y la diversidad de religión, … son expresión de una sabia voluntad divina
  • The pluralism and diversity of religion, … are expressions of a wise divine will


A liberdade é um direito de toda a pessoa: cada um goza da liberdade de credo, de pensamento, de expressão e de ação. O pluralismo e as diversidades de religião, de cor, de sexo, de raça e de língua fazem parte daquele sábio desígnio divino com que Deus criou os seres humanos. Esta Sabedoria divina é a origem donde deriva o direito à liberdade de credo e à liberdade de ser diferente. Por isso, condena-se o facto de forçar as pessoas a aderir a uma determinada religião ou a uma certa cultura, bem como de impor um estilo de civilização que os outros não aceitam.

  • O pluralismo e as diversidades de religião, …fazem parte daquele sábio desígnio divino
  • Pluralism and diversities of religion, … are part of that wise divine design

Interesting, no?

So, in English it is far easier to think in terms of God’s permissive will.

When you get out of English… it isn’t so easy to find permissive will.  The statement sounds very much like the pluralism of religions (and other things) is a result of God’s active and positive will.   Until we have a clear statement from the Holy See about the meaning of this phrase, it is very hard indeed – all the translations considered – to apply permissive will.  It is not impossible to include permissive will, because the whole paragraph is about human freedom.  After the statement in question, the text goes on about things that people do to other people.

Again, I don’t know what the writers intended.  And yet, there are signatures on it.

We sure need Latin, don’t we.

When we hear or read something strange, we should try to apply the best interpretation and not automatically go to the worst interpretation.  At the same time, it doesn’t do any good to ignore the obvious.  I don’t think that it is entirely obvious what is meant in that document.  Not entirely.  But it doesn’t look good.  And I think teachers in the Church are obliged to bring clarity rather than confusion.

But with documents these days… it’s as if they don’t want us to know what they really mean.

BTW… in case you are wondering about that phrase I used above, male sonans, this is a category of the theological censures.  These censures were applied to protect the integrity of the Faith and to prevent people from being mislead (in the case of falsehood) and confused (in the case of fuzziness).  One of the labels was male sonans… evil-sounding.    Anyway, here are the categories in descending order of gravity

  • hæretica (heretical)
  • erronea (erroneous)
  • hæresi proxima (next to heresy)
  • errori proxima (next to error)
  • temeratia (rash)
  • ambigua (ambiguous)
  • captiosa (captious)
  • male sonans (evil-sounding)
  • piarum aurium offensiva (offensive to pious ears)

Male sonans and piarum aurium offensiva were low on the list of censures, but that doesn’t mean that they weren’t taken seriously.

The badly worded phrase in that document are at the very least piarum aurium offensiva and even male sonans.  Note that there is also ambigua.

Salvo meliori iudicio!

I’ve turned on the moderation queue for the sake of helpful comments, well-considered.

Posted in Pope Francis, The Drill, The Religion of Peace, What are they REALLY saying? | Tagged , , | 26 Comments