“My sons playing Mass ‘against pagans’.

Children at Mass.  Ah… children at Mass.  They are simultaneously the great consolation of priests and, hopefully, the seniors of a congregation, as they can also be the woe.

Look at the average age of people at some suburban parishes, or at that church in Portland.  Then look at the average age of people at the TLM.  If, at the later, certain pews turn into universally distracting three ring circuses, at the former the quiet foreshadows the day when the last parishioner might remember to throw the main power switch and lock the door before ambling off behind a walker.

After this morning’s circus punctuated Mass, I was enthusiastically greeted by the boy “Luke” who, a few weeks back, I described as having solemnly demonstrated how to use a thurible, substituted by his pair of blue plastic binoculars on their strap.  Today he ran at me quite unliturgically with a handful of cupcake.  He is, after all, still three.

This is all a preface to a photo that encapsulates something of an aging priest’s hope for the future.   From a reader who explains:

My sons playing Mass “against pagans”.

How it doth warm the cockles of my beady-black heart.

I appreciate the serious expression as he receives the incensation from someone  in PJs.

My lumberyard memory has produced a connection with an image from the superb Life of Little Saint Placid, originally in French, the English recently reprinted by St Augustine Academy Press which has that lavishly illustrated guide to the TLM.  I gave away my English versions, but here’s the French:

I am ransacking the lumberyard of my mind, but I think it was St. Thomas Aquinas who explained that play and contemplative prayer are similar to each other, in that both activities are undertaken for their own sake, for pleasure.

“Play Mass”.  Contemplate that!

It isn’t easy being even remotely contemplative during Mass when the average age in the place is roughly 10. Then again, at the altar the priest’s main task is not so much play or contemplative prayer but play’s correlated activity, work.  Nevertheless, it is wholly holy fun, serious pleasure, when everything is clicking smoothly in a Solemn Mass, to be able to steal snatches of contemplation of the momentous liturgical works at the altar, magnalia Dei.

How delightful, however, is that play Mass “contra paganos”?

I just had a glimpse in my lumberyard mind of a scene in one of those Jurrasic Park movies, when mom or dad T-Rex gently crunches a bad guy so that junior can play Grown Up and practice the kill.  In addition to contemplation, play can have its practical side.

Pray for more priests for the future.  Perhaps even today some of them are playing Mass “contra paganos”!

Posted in Just Too Cool, Liturgy Science Theatre 3000 | Tagged , , , | 8 Comments

Your Sunday Sermon Notes – Our attitude at the altar

Was there a good point or two in the sermon which you heard at your Mass in fulfillment of your Sunday obligation?  Let us know.

For my part, I connected the Gospel parable of the Pharisee and the Publican praying in the Temple, what our attitude in prayer should be, and what the priest expresses in the prayers of the Offertory in the Traditional Latin Mass, so very attenuated in the Novus Ordo.

These days our sermons are being recorded and put out there, so, here it is!

In the wake of the Pew Research about the lack of Faith of Catholics, I figure I will add a little more liturgical catechesis to my time at the pulpit.  It is good to know what’s going on up there.  Hence, today’s look at the Offertory, especially from the priest’s perspective.

BTW… we had a Solemn Mass with a deacon ordained in May.  He did a good job.

Posted in Liturgy Science Theatre 3000 | Tagged , | 7 Comments

That tragic Portland parish, the mistreatment of the priest. Fr. Z’s solution: “Let’s make a deal!”

I have been wanting to post something about this ever since I heard about it, days ago.  Others have done yeoman’s work to cover it.  For example, LifeSite.

The bare bones: At an ultra-liberal parish in Portland – and that means waaaay out there, ’cause it’s Portland – aging-hippies rose up in revolt against their new pastor, a Nigerian-born priest, who was getting rid of, inter alia, the dreadful liturgical junk and the “gay” stuff.  They had a spittle-flecked nutty and got the local press on his case. The secular paper had an article so biased that it read like Eye Of The Tiber… but was not satire.   During Mass the geriatric libs, reliving their halcyon days of Woodstock glory, protested with signs and shouting, tambourines or noise-makers, etc.  There is video.  Get that groooovy song at the end.

What a goat rodeo.  That poor priest.  In that place.  Wow.  Just wow.

If I were the Archbishop there, I would go there, listen, and – knowing full well in advance what would happen, be ready with options.  [All due respect to my old friend Archbp. Sample.  I don’t want to be a bishop anywhere.  And I pray for you.]

Remember my descriptions of what drives aging hippies?  They are channeling those formative experiences, those halcyon days of protests, sexual revolution, Vatican II, all fused into an iconic moment.  They see something remotely conservative and they are triggered – POP! – and they go into silly mode, reliving their glory days.

Yes… so, for the length of this post I’m now Archbishop there… let’s have the meeting with these elderly congregationalists and then give them three options, sort of like Monty Hall and Let’s Make A Deal.

“Dear ladies and other congregationalists, I’ve listened to what you had to say. I’ve heard your demands and insults when you interrupted me. I’ve read your signs. I’ve got a good picture of your position. Here’s my position.

Since you are playing a really dangerous game with your souls and your salvation, and committing dreadful scandal to others, I’ll play along.

You can choose what’s behind Door #1, Door #2 or Door #3.”

[The curtain pulls back to reveal the big doors with numbers.]

“Well? C’mon! You have three choices.”

[… they look all around at each other until one of them, with really short gray hair and a flannel shirt over a tie-dyed rainbow tee says …]

“Door #1 please!”

“Thanks for your choice! Behind Door #1 we have a brand new



– ANNOUNCER VOICE: “An interdict is a censure imposed when someone incites hatred against the Holy See or the local bishop because of some act of ecclesiastical power (such as assigning a certain priest to a parish), or joins an association that plots against the Church or who commits simony.”]

“It seems to me that by fighting in such a disruptive way against Father you are also attacking me, your Archbishop, as well as the Church’s teachings and laws. You’ve demonstrated contempt for me all evening. Thanks for that. You removed doubt.  Just to be clear, an interdict forbids people to celebrate or receive any of the sacraments or to take any liturgical role such as a reader, or nearly always unnecessary minister of Communion. If you violate the interdict and try to take a role at Mass or try to receive the Eucharist, which under canons 915 and 916 you should not approach and should not be given to you, the Mass… sorry, I’ll speak your language for your religion – liturgy or empowerment session or whatever, would have to be halted and the person or persons should even be expelled.

[crickets… the Archbishop continues:]

“I’ll just remind you that in most places, it is illegal to interrupt a church service. I suppose if we have an off-duty cop present (a good idea anyway) that could help.”


“You don’t seem enthusiastic. If you don’t like that option, maybe we can maaaaaaake a deal! First, let me ask you, how many men have you as a parish sent to the seminary over the last, say, 10 years? Even 5 years?”

“Ummm…. [… whispered consultation…] that would be none.”

“Is that your final answer? None?”

“Yes, it is.”

“Since you have provided zero priests for either the Catholic religion or for whatever religion you are into here, I think this qualifies as mission territory, ripe for the New Evangelization. You can keep your Interdict or trade your Interdict for what’s behind Door #2.”

[pause… whispered consultation…]

“We’ll trade.”

“Good choice! Let’s see what’s in there. I suspect it might have something of a missionary flavor. Here’ it comes…


[MUSIC… rather like a Te Deum…]

Since you haven’t been providing men for seminary formation, I don’t have a priest to send back to you! We’ll just have to get one from somewhere else. Oooopps we did that!  The Nigerian fellow!  Well, that was then and this is now.  So, now you too will enjoy Latin and altar service only by males dressed all in blue, with lace of course, and hear sermons inspired mainly by the Baltimore Catechism until you start producing vocations. How’s that sound?  Is it a deal?  You are already living in the past, about 1968… its not that much farther to 1948 … which some of you will remember, anyway. Maybe you still have your missals and Rosaries from First Communion. Remember those? Chapel veils? You… [looking at one in particular…] can have one in flannel.”

[… alarmed stares… a sign drops to the floor… sobs… angry shouts… applause, abruptly cut off with a smack from a tambourine… ]

“What’s behind Door #3?”

“So, the New Evangelization isn’t welcome here. Let’s open up Door #3 and let’s see what awaits you! Behind the third door we have… waaaaait for it…. any time now…



That’s right, you’ve chosen a self-imposed and informal interdict. You’ll now be going off to find the sacraments, if you are really still interested in those old things in your religion, at some other parish to your liking – or not – down the road. But that probably isn’t much of a bother, since you are more than likely driving here, your destination parish, from various zip codes.

See how easy? I think that we’ve just about wrapped it up here. Thanks to all the pro-testants and con-testants. For those of you who didn’t get your way, thanks for participating. There are no consolation prizes for attacking the priest I sent here to help you stay out of Hell. Until next time!”

[On his way out he stops, thinks, turns…]

“Of course there’s always Door #4.”

[Taking a stole from his pocket, he opens up the door to the confessional, upon which a large “4” materializes.]

“Let’s make a deal. You confess in number and kind all your mortal sins, including the way you’ve treated Father, and, in exchange, I’ll give you God’s pardon. The line forms to the LEFT at this parish, or so I hear.”

[The door clicks shut and the light over his door flashes on.]

[MUSIC… CREDITS… Rapid disclaimer voice: “The prize of Hell is neither desired by the Archbishop nor can it be imposed, though interdict and/or the loss of a priest may or may not increase their odds of going there. The contestants are real people chosen from the general membership of the Church and will receive God’s justice whether they want it or not when the time comes. His mercy they will have to request and it will surely be given without reservation.
Ceteris paribus etc etc.]

Posted in Liberals, Lighter fare, New Evangelization, Pò sì jiù, Si vis pacem para bellum!, The Coming Storm, The future and our choices, Throwing a Nutty | Tagged | 23 Comments

Is cutting off the money the way to go?

The other day, I posted a question from a reader about a priest who had, for the second year, put out a “gay” flag at the parish for Hubris Week.  HERE

I suggest that, in a situation like this where satisfaction can be gained from neither the priest nor the bishop, your only recourse might to be to cut off all or some of their money.

Think about this.  Demographics are shifting in the Church.  Lots of the people who have money – people who do or have worked – are aging or are aged.  Their money is not going to be available to parishes and dioceses pretty soon and their kids aren’t going to Mass at all.  The “nones” are going to stop pretending to associate themselves with the family’s “legacy faith”.  They won’t be a source of money for the Church either.

So, the individual giver is going to be ever more important.   Even in politics today, small donors are making a huge difference.

So, cutting off money may be the way to go.

I would modify that to say that you should do research to find out solid and reliable Church entities to support.  Hey!  Remember the TMSM!

But seriously…

Did you see what is happening in the Christ the King Seminary?  Diocese of Buffalo (where a RICO suit has been filed)?

A letter was made public.  The “dean” of seminarians at Christ The King resigned his leadership position – said he is leaving the formation program – and issued a letter addressed to the Bishop of Buffalo, Richard J. Malone, and clergy and seminarians, made public by a local news station.  PDF HERE  Before becoming a diocesan seminarian for Buffalo, he had been a religious brother for 24 years.

It’s a real bombshell.  One line: “How do I commit my life to representing a diocese that is suspected of being so corrupt that it is being investigated by the federal government under the R.I.C.O Act?

Here is a short video clip I spotted on Twitter


Well that’s another take on “New Evangelization”!

I don’t know if we can in good conscience entirely cut off every entity of the Church.  We have an obligation to support the Church materially and support the works of religion.  But we don’t necessary have an obligation to support entity X or entity Y.  Z – YES! but not necessary X or Y, if you get my drift.

There are many great groups who are doing wonderful and important things in and for the Church which need support.

Posted in "How To..." - Practical Notes, The Coming Storm, The Drill, The future and our choices | Tagged , , , , | 17 Comments

ASK FATHER: Can I wear a scapular on my bullet proof vest?

From a reader…


I want to wear a scapular on my bullet proof vest. The best way to do this is to sew a Velcro patch onto one, but would doing that be considered impious or a mistreatment of the sacramental?

I think it is a great idea.   Front and back.

Scapular over body armor.   Hmmmm… where have I seen this before?

Posted in "How To..." - Practical Notes, ASK FATHER Question Box, Going Ballistic | Tagged , | 5 Comments

BOOK: Grandmother and the Priests

With delight I am making my way through a book I discovered many years ago, as we count the years, even before I entered Holy Church. I recall my own grandmother reading all the books of this writer.

Taylor Caldwell

Grandmother And The Priests


In 1904, a little girl is shipped off to the house of her wealthy Irish grandmother in Leeds.  The widow’s relationship with the Church is strained, but she retains a great respect and affection for priests.  She regularly invites groups of priests poor and well off, of the city or of the country, to dine at her fine table.  Her requirement is story-telling.  The priests are to tell a story, which the spellbound girl overhears and remembers.

Here is a snippet, a description of some of the clerics of the day.

As her family had been so devoted to priests and the Religious when she had been a girl at home, Rose Mary had come to look upon them all with affection. The priests in her day were not Elegant English Gentlemen, but were men of vigor and strength and imagination. They had to be, to survive in those days in Scotland and England. The weak among them had no chance at all. But even those who survived were chronically poor and hungry, as were most of their parishioners, chronically shabby and threadbare, with neat patches visible at knee and elbow and boot. What woolen scarves they had were made by female relatives, or old ladies in their poverty-stricken parishes. Moreover, most of the priests had large numbers of indigent brothers and sisters, nieces and nephews, not to mention old parents, and to these went most of their tiny stipends, if any, and all of the meager gifts.

They were not persecuted, of course, in either Scotland or England, but they were ignored by all but Catholics. They appeared to live in a world that found them invisible. They had no friends except those of their own Faith, and if some of the more daring reached out a kind and tentative hand towards a possibly different friend, they were immediately accused of attempting to make converts. Rare was the Protestant minister, however full of good will, who would challenge his own congregation by inviting some starveling young priest to dinner. A minister who paused on the street to speak to a ‘Roman’ colleague was inviting the darkest of suspicions and even darker glances. Sisters meekly collecting for charities in shops were usually roughly ordered out at once, unless the shopkeeper were Catholic, himself.

So priests in England, Scotland and Wales in those days led very rigorous lives, and they needed all the humor, affection, sympathy and kindness they could get from their own people. It was no life for the faint-hearted, the timid or the too gentle, or the openly sensitive. Sons of a brawling people, they did not hesitate openly to protect a victim of a gang on some sordid street. They did not rush for a policeman. They rescued the victims themselves, and punched and kicked with fervor. Their garb did not protect them at a time when they were objects of derision. Many a priest suffered a broken head or a limb on his missions of violent mercy, but one can be sure that they gave as good as they got. Each of them would have eagerly offered his life in martyrdom for his Faith and his God, and considered such martyrdom the most blessed of Graces. But a helpless woman who was being beaten by her drunken husband, or a child who was being tormented by cruel adults, often had reason to rejoice encountering a passing priest drawn by her screams and groans. The deep humility of their souls, which would have prevented them from defending their own persons except when in danger of death, did not permit priests to stand by while the weak were being attacked or tortured. Many priests died of injuries in the slums of London and Liverpool and Manchester, when their attempts to save a helpless man, woman or child failed, or even when they succeeded. They had to be brawny and vigorous men, of courage, steadfastness and strength. They met the devil face to face many times in their lives, and often gave their lives and blood in the struggle against him. But still they preserved their good humor under the direst of challenges, and as they were mighty men they were singularly gentle and uncomplex, the first to help, the first to comfort, the first to offer kindness.

They were, of course, not Gentlemen. Few there were of noble blood, those Scots and Irish priests. Most of them had been born in the working class, in poverty, in the midst of other teeming children, in hunger, in cold. They knew hard labor as soon as they began to toddle. They never wondered if they had a vocation for the priesthood, nor did they dally at ease with the thought. A lad knew, absolutely, if he had a vocation, and he pursued it under the most dreadful of circumstances, often without a penny in his pocket or more than the clothes that he stood in. He knew what the life entailed, and so from the very beginning he could have no doubts. A boy or youth with doubts, or hesitations, never became a priest in those days.

It is no wonder, then, that their people reverenced and loved them, for they knew what these men were sacrificing for them because of their love of God and man. Few Catholics in those days, in England, Scotland or Ireland, were rich. If they were, their homes became oases of refreshment, temporary rest, and food, and what charity could be wrung from rich pockets. It was never a great deal, that charity, for men of substance who have never known pain, sorrow, hunger or homelessness are frequently hard of heart. What little money found its way into the offering plates came from hands scoured, callused and twisted by the most arduous work. Still, the homes of the rich Catholics were open to the priests, most of the time, provided the priests did not press too ardently for cash for a school or new bells or an orphanage or a convent, and used tact during the hour of possible extraction. It was a case of “I won’t look if you take anything from my purse, provided you don’t call my attention to it.”

Grandmother had known priests all her life. As they possessed her own sense of humor, vitality, shrewdness and love for living, she remained fond of them.

The Stories…

  • Monsignor Harrington-Smith and the Dread Encounter
  • Father MacBurne and the Doughty Chieftain
  • Father Hughes and the Golden Door
  • Father Ifor Lewis and the Men of Gwenwynnlynn
  • Father Donahue and the Shadow of Doubt
  • Father Padraic Brant and the Pale
  • Father Alfred Ludwin and the Demon Lady
  • Father Thomas Weir and the Problem of Virtue
  • Father Shayne and the Problem of Evil
  • Father Daniel O’Connor and the Minstrel Boy
  • Bishop Quinn and Lucifer

I have hard copy stored away, but I’m using my Kindle.  It is, by the way, a great deal less expensive on Kindle.

Posted in Just Too Cool, Priests and Priesthood, REVIEWS | Tagged | 12 Comments

What is a “liturgist”? Some thoughts.


Go over right away to read Anthony Esolen’s latest at The Catholic Thing.

He reflects on how hard it is to pray at a rather usual “Novus Ordo” Mass. His description could match any number of places.

Then he asks: What is a liturgist?

He gives his own thoughts on the matter.

My old pastor use to say that:

A liturgist is one raised up by God so that people who haven’t yet suffered for their Faith may do so.

Back to Esolen. Choice quote…


I stand in line to receive, just as I stand in line for chili and doughnuts at Tim Horton’s.  Indeed, at the latter, I may have a few moments of silence for thinking, but at Communion, no.  Keep that line moving, pal.  Body of Christ already.

The priest at this church is a very fine man, and he gives intelligent homilies.  I believe he does the best he can, by his lights, under the circumstances.  But everything in that Mass, from the music out of Glory ’N’ Praise, to the bored and slouching altar girls, to the chirpy announcer, to the disgraceful lectionary, to the bleak and bare walls, to the bad liturgical instructions come down from the chancery, acts as a drag on the ship of faith.

It is like trying to sail with anchors down and flukes in the mud.


As usual, his writing is excellent.  Go there to find his answer to the question.

Also, check out his book

Nostalgia: Going Home in a Homeless World



Posted in Liturgy Science Theatre 3000 | Tagged , | 9 Comments

WDTPRS – 20th Ordinary Sunday: Live in love to have later Love Himself

Giacomo Galli – Christ Displaying His Wounds

The Collect for the 20th Ordinary Sunday, found also in the 8th century Gelasian Sacramentary, is in the 1962 Missale Romanum for the 5th Sunday after Pentecost.

Deus, qui diligentibus te bona invisibilia praeparasti, infunde cordibus nostris tui amoris affectum, ut, te in omnibus et super omnia diligentes, promissiones tuas, quae omne desiderium superant, consequamur.

Our prayer has many different words for love and longing: diligo, amor, affectus and the related cor, desiderium, promissioAffectus means “a state of body, and especially of mind produced in one by some influence, affection, mood: love, desire, fondness, good will, compassion, sympathy.”  The marvelous diligo means initially, “to value or esteem highly, to love”.  It also has the impact of being careful  and attentive, as in English “diligent”.  When you love, you give your best.  Desiderium is “a longing, ardent desire or wish, properly for something once possessed; grief, regret for the absence or loss of any thing [or person].” Cor is, of course, “heart” and promissio “promise”.  Consequor means, among other things, “pursue, go after, attend, to follow” and also, “to follow a model, copy, obey”.  It indicates, “to follow a preceding cause as an effect, to be the consequence, to arise or proceed from.”  I will say “attain.”


O God, who have prepared unseen goods for those loving You, pour into our hearts the disposition of Your love, so that we, loving you in all things and above all things, may attain Your promises, which surpass every desire.


God our Father, may we love you in all things and above all things and reach the joy you have prepared for us beyond all our imagining.


O God, who have prepared for those who love you good things which no eye can see, fill our hearts, we pray, with the warmth of your love, so that, loving you in all things and above all things, we may attain your promises, which surpass every human desire.

Today’s Collect pulses with longing.

When this is sung aloud – FATHERS…. please sing our prayers more often? In Latin? – I hear a connection between invisibilia at the beginning and promissiones at the end.

The concepts are ordered into a climax, beginning with the ways that we can love on our own (the starting point as the prayer begins), namely, that at first we love with “natural” love, previous to or apart from our new Christian character given to us through baptism.  We then move beyond mere human loves.  We can love, in this world, with the help of the grace which we ask God to pour into our hearts (charity).  Then we aim at the love which awaits us in heaven, a love beyond anything we can experience in this life.  This Love will complete our every hope and desire.

Everything God promised is already fulfilled for us, but we still have to live in love to have later Love Himself.

What a mystery it is that, even though Christ defeated death, we must still pass through death to have Love’s unimaginable fulfillment.

What awaits us at our entrance into the Beatific vision is unimaginable.  For now, however, we can only ache for the completion of what God promised.

Although we have, in our Collect, an ascent in and to Love personified, we shouldn’t oppose natural and supernatural loves.

Human love, sometimes called eros, isn’t automatically in conflict with “religious love”.  We are human beings, not angels.  We must avoid the extreme of trying to profane what is supernatural by locking it into the finite and, on the other hand, in this life paying attention to purely spiritualized supernatural love, which would render us ineffective in regard to Our Lord’s two-fold command of love for God and neighbor.

Our good earthly loves are fulfilled in the perfect love which is only in God.  Grace builds on nature, it doesn’t destroy it.  In redeeming us, God did not undo us. He lifts up who and what we are and makes us whole again.

We therefore long for Love, we reach out to it, thirsting for its fullness, its completing, it healing, transforming power. This is the promise we live for in this vale of tears.

Though this is summer, consider the Preface for Christmas, the celebration of Love Incarnate and finally visible:

“For through the mystery of the incarnate Word, the new light of Your glory dazzled the eyes of our mind, so that while we know God visibly, through Him we may be snatched up into invisible love… (in invisibilem amorem rapiamur).”

Richard of St. Victor, in his work on contemplation, cites the phrase: “Love is the eye and to love is to see”, or more precisely “where your is love is, there is your eye” (Ubi amor ibi oculus – Benjamin minor 13 – sometimes cites as “Amor oculus est, et amare videre est.”).

Our Collects teaches us that love is the key to seeing the one who is otherwise unseeable.

Practically speaking, couldn’t this also be a starting point for consideration of…

custodia oculorum… custody of the eyes.

Some options

Posted in Liturgy Science Theatre 3000, WDTPRS | 1 Comment

Adventures in “gay” ad blocking

I hate this ubiquitous “gay” rainbow garbage. First, I can’t stand what has been done to the word “gay” and I detest the appropriation of a sign of God’s benevolence to promote a totalitarian agenda.

I noticed at the bottom corner of my Tweetdeck page (really useful for Twitter) that there was a little “gay” logo with the tweety-bird on it.

I immediately found a different program for Twitter, Tweeten, which is similar. Maybe you have suggestions.

In any event, I determined also to defeat that infernal “gay” logo.

Enter: AdBlocker for Chrome

Right click the little bugger (pun intended) and block it selectively using the AdBlocker option on the mini-menu that pops up.


But wait!  There’s more.

Look how tiny it is on Explorer.  It’s as if they are sneaking it in so that it’s subliminal.

I never use this browser, so I am not sure about blocking this element.

However, it showed up in Firefox, full-size as it did in Chrome.  BLOCKED.

The offending element is


I don’t want this garbage shoved at me every time I look at the screen.

Posted in "How To..." - Practical Notes, Sin That Cries To Heaven | Tagged | 3 Comments

Lighter Fare For Friday

It has been a serious week.

Let’s have something a little less heavy.

First, some memes that amused me.


For a long-time reader who works for NASA


And now to make you suffer.

For the libs here.

Welllll… you do know you are dead, but you get the point.

And for the Trump supporters.  Spotted at the store.

Okay… enough of those.

On a cheery note, you know that a bishop has really made it when he gets his very own


Congratulations to Bp. Hying, of Madison.  You’ve finally arrived at the apotheosis of the episcopate.

Speaking of Madison, yesterday I had some of the best BBQ I have ever had anywhere.

In MADISON!   Wisconsin!!

Beef brisket.

Pork ribs.  Chewy and tender at the same time.  Outstanding.

I am sad and glad that it is on the other side of town.

In any event, something lighter for Friday.

It’s been a tough week.

Posted in Lighter fare | Tagged | 13 Comments

ASK FATHER: @BishopBarron on the Pew Research and lack of belief in the Eucharist. Fr. Z rants a little and issues an invitation.

From a reader…


Bishop Barron has a video reacting to the Pew Research saying that 75% of Catholics think the Blessed Sacrament is just a symbol.  He talks about the failure of catechetics and educators and that social justice was made more important than sound teaching.

What say you?

Here’s the video in question:

Bishop Barron indeed reacted to the recent Pew Research about Catholics and their belief in the Church’s teachings about the Eucharist.  He is clearly frustrated.  Anyone with any commonsense and sliver of love left for the Church would be beside himself at the news that 75% think that the Eucharist is just a symbol (younger Catholics … drop that to 80%). It’s only a symbol.

Barron quotes Flannery O’Connor’s famous quip and quite properly.  “If it’s only a symbol, to hell with it.” Exactly right.  The Eucharist is the – here comes the non-cliché which must never be allowed to be used as a cliché – “source and summit” of our lives as Catholic Christians.

Barron admits that, if 75% don’t believe then something has gone seriously wrong. It represents a “massive failure” for which “we are all guilty”.

Sorry, but I’M NOT!  I’ve been flogging myself for decades to be clear as crystal about the Eucharist and I’ve been beaten to a pulp for my efforts.  As I recounted elsewhere, I was thrown out of seminary (the first time) because of a dispute over the Eucharist.  But, as a former Lutheran, I can “do no other”.  As a convert, I made radical choices knowing what I was leaving and knowing what I was embracing.  As a matter of fact, I did my profession of Faith, from the traditional Ritual, publicly during Sunday Vespers kneeling in front of the Blessed Sacrament exposed on the altar.  Enough about me.

It could be that Barron’s “we” meant “we bishops”. But, sincerely, I get his point: many, not all, people are to blame.  Hmmm… many… not all….

Bp. Barron underscores that this has been a massive failure on the part of educators, catechists, evangelists and teachers.

Well, yes, but mostly… NO!

Yes, catechesis is important, but more important still is our liturgical worship, for decades hardly “sacred” liturgical worship.

Lack of belief in the Eucharist is mostly a massive failure in the way we celebrate the Eucharist!  I mean, of course, Holy Mass.

Everything flows from worship and then back to worship.

Allow me to affirm that you can’t say everything in a short video. There isn’t enough time. So, what you choose to include is probably your most important position, what you really want to get across.

Not a word from Bp. Barron in the video about liturgy, about decades of the prevailing liturgical style (or the rite itself – the Novus Ordo).  This is so typical of bishops.

Not a word – in that video – about liturgy as either a cause of the problems we face or as a solution. I listened to it twice and didn’t hear it.  He talks about the danger of placing social justice, etc., before doctrine.  But, he doesn’t talk about liturgy.

Did I miss it?  Please correct me if I did.  It may be that he has held forth at length on the topic elsewhere.  I don’t follow him daily.

Bp. Barron, in this video, underscores great figures who loved the “Eucharist” and who would be flabbergasted at the suggestion that the Eucharist was just a symbol.  Exactly so!

However – and I know you know this Bp. Barron – “Eucharist” is not just the Blessed Sacrament. It is also the way the Eucharist is celebrated.

There’s the Eucharist that is the Host and Precious Blood and there’s the Eucharist that is the very way by which we have the Host and Precious Blood, the ultimate “thanksgiving” which is Holy Mass.

Our sacred liturgical worship is our most important action in the fulfillment of Religion, that orders all other activities and gives them meaning.

The way that Holy Mass is celebrated IS DOCTRINE… it IS CATECHESIS.

Liturgy is the principle locus of encounter which the vast majority of Catholics have with the Church. It’s Sunday Mass (if they go) far more than talks, classes, adult education, CCD, etc.  Let’s not even bring up efforts in most homes of your average Catholic to teach children the Faith.

The way Mass is celebrated is by far the principle influence on how people see and think about the Eucharist.

If the ars celebrandi of the priest is X, then people will be guided towards X. Change the liturgy and the belief of people about X will slowly follow.  Legem credendi lex statuat supplicandi … “Lex orandi – Lex Credendi” is NOT a cliché, either. It’s the way things work!

WE ARE OUR RITES. Change those rites and you change belief.  It is inevitable.

What Pew Research revealed is nothing other than the fruits of the last 50 years of near total liturgical devolution which enervated and evacuated the Faith of the overwhelming majority of Catholics.   And soon they won’t even bother calling themselves Catholic.

Tick… tick… tick… tick….

Bp. Barron says that this is a “call to action” in the Church. I agree.

On the other hand, the Bishop doesn’t seem to mean action to change the way we celebrate the Eucharist, the way we see the Eucharist, the way we sing to and about the Eucharist, the way we literally handle the Eucharist.  That is: liturgical worship, how we celebrate Holy Mass.

He wants a “call to action”? Here’s a call to action!

  • Foster kneeling for Communion put in Communion rails.
  • Get serious about music.
  • Phase out unnecessary lay ministers of Communion.
  • Clear the sanctuary of everything that distracts.
  • Celebrate ad orientem.
  • And the scariest of all … implement generously Summorum Pontificum!

Every one of those will require, yes, catechesis.  Lot’s of sound catechesis and patience.

Patience and more patience.

But “it’s the job that’s never started as takes longest to finish.”

Let’s not wring our hands and wonder how to proceed “pastorally” to the point that we, again, proceed to do nothing.

“Oh dear, oh dear! Some people might not like these changes!  We have to be sensitive!  They’ll… you know… complain!  Then what?  We have to be nice, after all.  Can’t we get along?  Let’s not fight over these things.”

Not fight?  NO!  Sometimes we have to have the fight.   The fight has come to us, whether we want it or not.

We are, in fact, now in the fight of our Catholic lives!

Bp. Barron has issued a call to action.

I respectfully issue a call and an invitation to Bp. Barron.

Bp. Barron: Think outside the box – which is actually inside the box of Tradition –  and talk about sacred liturgical worship as the key to rebuilding our Catholic identity.

Projects and programs and pamphlets and videos… yeah… great.  It’s liturgy all along.  It’s has always been about liturgical worship.

Also, in my capacity as the President of the Tridentine Mass Society of the Diocese of Madison, I invite you to come to talk to us here about all these matters and – please! – also to celebrate a Pontifical Mass in the Extraordinary Form either at the Faldstool or, with Bp. Hying’s consent as he wishes, at the Throne.

I am convinced that you will do well as celebrant.  It isn’t has hard as one might imagine.  In fact, celebrating traditionally as a bishop is about as easy as it gets in the Roman Rite on either side, because you are surrounded by ministers who do just about everything.  All you have to do is be a little docile, pray, and preach well.  We do the rest.

Please consider coming. Your welcome will be warm and sincere and you will set an example of “action”.

Posted in "How To..." - Practical Notes, ASK FATHER Question Box, Hard-Identity Catholicism, Liturgy Science Theatre 3000, Mail from priests, Our Catholic Identity, The Coming Storm, The Drill, The future and our choices, Wherein Fr. Z Rants | Tagged , | 26 Comments

The latest podcast on the upcoming Synod from Damian, Unbound. “@HolySmoke” is right!

Damian is Unbound.

Go right away to Damian Thompson’s latest podcast, an interview with Ed Condon.


The synod and the sex scandal: two time bombs threatening Pope Francis’s moral authority

His comments and Condon’s comments on the upcoming Synod (“walking together”) – indeed the whole apparatus in Rome right now – are pure TNT.

A favorite moment… 5:00-6:48. If nothing else!

I rewound several times.

Posted in Synod, The Coming Storm, The Drill, The future and our choices | Tagged , , , | 8 Comments

ASK FATHER: Why didn’t Benedict XVI say the #TLM? How can we get one? What does the future look like?

From a reader…


Thank you for your blog. I get so much from it! Never stop!

I know you like one question at a time, but maybe you’ll do this.

I heard a podcast at 1 Peter 5 with Peter Kwasnieski about the Extraordinary Form. It was good but I wonder what you take is on a couple of the things they said. (They didn’t mention you, by the way.)

[1] Why do you think Benedict XVI never said the Extraordinary Form while we was Pope?

[2] What should lay people do to get the old Mass in their parishes?

[3] How do you see the future of the Extraordinary Form?

Thanks for answers to one or all!

Thanks for that.  No link to that podcast, so I am a bit hobbled.  However, I can’t imagine that they said anything strange.  These are smart guys.

1) Why didn’t Benedict XVI never say the Extraordinary Form?

He certainly did not, as Pope, celebrate the Extraordinary Form in public.  However, I suspect he could have privately now and then.  I say that because, once in while, during Masses I thought I spotted him doing some things that I must be very careful about when I say the Novus Ordo.  I don’t say the Novus Ordo very often, and I get into “autopilot”, for example, automatically genuflecting at certain points, automatically tucking the paten, etc.  But, that’s not really the question.

I think there were two reasons why Benedict didn’t publicly say the Extraordinary Form.  I am convinced that he would have liked to, so there must have been compelling arguments against.

One argument is that to mount a Papal Mass, not just a Pontifical Mass would have been extremely difficult.  It was already difficult at the time of John XXIII (who was reviving liturgical uses) and Paul VI (who abolished it all).  I used to argue on this blog that Benedict could celebrate not a Papal Mass but at least a Pontifical Mass.  I haven’t entirely abandoned that, but it would be seriously deficient.  The Pope must be the Pope and must not be just any old bishop.   The Papal Mass was so demanding that it was more common for Mass to be celebrated coram Pontifice, itself pretty complex especially when the Pontiff is the Roman Pontiff.

The full Papal Mass, however, had things and roles which were abolished that would have to be revived.  Impossible?  No.  Really hard?  Absolutely.  Worth the effort?  Jury still out.

For example, the Noble Guard. One of their tasks was to sound silver trumpets at the elevation.  Not too hard to overcome: His Holiness snaps his fingers an honorary Guards with trumpet skills can be placed in the tribunals.  It could be possible to created titular or honorary positions ad hoc, of course.  Heck, there are titular bishops and cardinals get titles in Rome.  There’s no reason why there couldn’t be established roles pro hac vice.  On the other hand, though there are no Papal Chamberlains any more, the newer-fangled Gentlemen of His Holiness – who replaced them – could take part as train-bearers. There are still Protonotaries Apostolic, so that’s not a problem. Cardinal Deacons still exist, as do Auditors of the Rota. There are not any longer officially appointed Assistants at the Pontifical Throne, but that can be fixed with the scribble of a pen on a napkin. There are still Prince Assistants at the Throne, by the way! The Sedia Gestatoria was not part of Mass per se, and so it wouldn’t be absolutely necessary, but it was part of the plan. Many of the vestments are not used now, but that’s a small detail and, frankly, they still exist in the papal stores and they can be made. A fanon was used by John Paul II and by Benedict XVI.

The papal tiara… yes, that was part of the gear, the last thing put on before Mass.  Well… they are still around in the Vatican’s treasuries. Also, a Pope could suggest that he would use it and two dozen individuals or organizations would immediately have one made.  Using it would absolutely make – even more than all the other stuff – make lib heads explode and all the parrots and ferrets fly out.  Which in itself might make it worth it, to answer my rhetorical question above.

So, it would not be impossible but the work to put it together and the fall out afterward might not make it feasible.

His scriptis, I suspect a deeper and more far-sighted reason.   Benedict was a teacher, not an imposer.  He reintroduced a few things, such as the sung Gradual and even the Fanon.  Small things, but indicative.  They were signals, much as, on a smaller scale the late Extraordinary Ordinary in Madison started to celebrate ad orientem on Sundays, a sign to priests that they could move in that direction.  Bishop Wall did this in Gallup.  Leading by example.

Benedict had magnificent vestments brought out of the treasury that probably made MC Piero (Bad) Marini writhe.  At that point, Benedict’s detractors started saying that he was imposing his personal tastes on the liturgy.  Never mind that that is what JP2 and Bad Marini did.  That was okay!  But what Benedict was doing was double-plus-ungood.   So, Benedict wanted to avoid that criticism.

Can you imagine what would have resulted from a PAPAL Mass? I used the image of exploding heads.  But it also would have run the risk of opening for future Pontiffs to do anything they wanted according to personal preferences.  That was, after all the trend ever since the conclusion of Pius’ pontificate.  John XXIII applied his personal preferences and revived the camaura and even thought about moving his residence to the Lateran.  Oh yes, he announced a Council even though it was advised against. Paul VI imposed an artistic style according to his preferences, sold the tiara, and, oh yes, also the Novus Ordo even though he acknowledged the upheaval it would cause.  See my podcasts on that.  John Paul II exercised his preference and stopped using the sedia, then adopting a populist low common denominator liturgy with strange inculturation applications according to the preferences of Bugnini’s former secretary Bad Marini.

The trend was that Popes do as they please: they don’t serve the Roman Rite in humility, they alter it according to their will.

Benedict’s whole life was about bringing the Church’s liturgical life back to stability and continuity.

Would reviving the Papal Mass, 40-50 years after the fact, serve well a long-term goal?

Would I have liked to see it?  Of course!   Old priests in Rome used to describe these Masses. You can see video clips.  Amazing.  But would it have been … prudent?

Quis sum ego ut iudicem?

What would be far more confounding would be for Francis to command one at full re-assimilation of the SSPX.

2) How to get the TLM in your parish.

I’ve written on this more times than I can count.  However, to break this down barney styles, here are some rapid pointers.

First and foremost, you have to be able to articulate why you want the TLM.  Like 1 Peter 3 (not 5!) says, always be ready to give reasons for the hope that is in you, with kindness.  So, you should sit down and make lists in columns on paper.  Why you want the TLM, its advantages, etc., across from objections to the same and then figure out your responses.  That means you might need some good reading.  Peter’s books are good for that.

Next, get a group together.  Don’t go at this alone.  Get on the same page about concrete things, namely, you will pay for all the expenses necessary to obtain vestments, books, booklets or hand missals, etc., and you will handle all the setting up and taking down, unlocking of doors and locking up, send them off for a workshop, etc.  In short, you will handle everything so that the priest doesn’t have yet another set of things to do.  I suspect that a lot of priests and bishops balk not just because they don’t know what to do – and they don’t like being seen not knowing what to do – but because they frankly have to much to do and this is another thing… and a BIG thing at that.  They will have to learn to say Mass in a language they probably haven’t studied, which is intimidating.  Be ready with solutions for every possible thing that can be a speed bump or spike strip thrown in the way.

Which brings us to the priest himself.  You have to handle the guy with serious TLC.  Do not get up in his face or press him.  Be persuasive.  Also, make sure your group is visibly participating in the life of the parish.  Don’t just chopper in and chopper out.  This is important after you get what you want!  Be an important component in the parish.  Keep in mind that, these days, priests are (absurdly) moved every 6 or 12 years, to the detriment of continuity and spiritual paternity of the priest and parish.  You could in a few years be faced with Joseph’s situation when a new Pharaoh came.

Each parish and priest will be different.  But these tips are, I think, indispensable even if the priest is 100% aboard and just waiting for the request.  HE will have to answer to challenges from other priests and maybe the bishop.  Be sure that everything he reports is positive.  Be part of the solution, not a problem to be solved.

3) How do you see the future of the Extraordinary Form?

Some years ago, lay friends used to say to me that one day the Novus Ordo would disappear and the Traditional Latin Mass would once again be the Mass of the Latin Church.  At the time, I shrugged that off as impossible and that the Novus Ordo wasn’t going away.  At the same time, I remembered conversations with Card. Ratzinger years ago which shaped my thought about the old Mass: there should be side by side celebrations and then, as I put it, market forces would prevail.  Either people would flock to the TLM and stick with it, or it would be tried and people would reject it.  Either way, we shouldn’t fear the results.   Also, there is the matter of the “gravitational” pull I think will take place, but let’s leave that.

However, right now I am also looking at demographics.  Demographics suggest, soon, a massive falling away from the Church and a sharp decline in the numbers of priests.  Suburban parishes will die.  On the other hand, TLMs are populated with committed Catholics with lots of children.   Moreover, I keep hearing from seminarians and the newly ordained that the majority in ordination classes each say – or want to say – the TLM for their First Mass.  It could very well be that when the dust and rubble settle, the Usus Antiquior will indeed be the predominant form.  This might take a while.  But even in the shorter term, say 10 years, we might see a entirely different landscape.   And we might have to factor in persecution from outside the Church, which could clarify some people’s values.

In addition, a little while ago I wrote about another trend… early trend, I’ll admit… it seems that Catholics from the more “charismatic” side of things are discovering Tradition and the TLM and they are getting into it.  That has terrific potential for explosive growth.

In any event, the trajectory is good.  The number of TLMs available since Summorum Pontificum has grown tenfold.  There is no sign that this is slowing down.

I’ve been fighting this battle since the late 80s and early 90s of the last century.  I don’t know if I, at my age, will see the results of this race against the Biological Solution and the agents of the world, the flesh and the Devil.

Bonum certamen certo, cursum consumo, fidem servo.  I am glad the young bucks are running with the batons.  Before too much longer I’ll have to change those tenses to perfects.


Posted in "How To..." - Practical Notes, Liturgy Science Theatre 3000, SUMMORUM PONTIFICUM, The Coming Storm, The future and our choices | Tagged , , , | 11 Comments

@JamesMartinSJ praises preaching by a religious sister. Let’s consider what he praised!

Once upon a time, when you could recognize religious by the habits they wore, a Jesuit was riding grandly in his carriage when he spotted a Minim, of the the order founded by St Francis of Paola, on foot and begging as the mendicant he was. As he passed the little friar, this grand Jesuit chortled in Latin, “Minime! Minime! Semper minimus eris!” (Hey Minim/Shorty! Hey Minim/Shorty! You’ll always be the least!) To which the Minim duly replied, “Jesuita! Jesuita! Non ibat Jesu ita!” (Hey Jesuit, Jesuit! Jesus didn’t get around that way!).

The Jesuit was caught in his hypocrisy.

You could still hear this barb in Rome, back in the day: “Iesuita! Non Iesu ita!” (A Jesuit, but not like Jesus.)  Fair or unfair, it writes itself.

Speaking of Jesuits, James Martin posted this bit of virtue signalling from high atop his carriage.

Martin once posted that he was “stupefied” that women weren’t allowed to preach.  Isn’t he amazing?

I remind the readership that Jesuits reject women, unlike the Benedictines, Dominicans, Franciscans, Augustinians, Carmelites… etc.

So, what does “distinguished” Sister have to say about the Assumption?  Let’s see what Martin is praising.

BTW… this seems to be a set piece for the video, not during a Mass.  Also, Osiek taught at the dreadful Chicago Theological Union for a long time and is involved in FutureChurch.  You wouldn’t know she is a RSCJ, Religious of the Sacred Heart.   You could tell immediately that she is a religious, but not because of an identifying habit.

Quotes and paraphrases…

“The feast of the Assumption means that Mary is just as good as the guys.”

We tend to talk about Christ’s Ascension as if he did it on his own and Mary’s Assumption as if she needed some help.

But Jesus and Mary are not the first to have gone “somewhere up there where God is”.  In addition to Elijah and Enoch, Livy said that mythic Romulus, and Roman Emperors was taken up.

“So, the Ascension of Jesus, the Assumption of Mary are by no means unique. Rather, they conveyed a message to their world. Jesus and Mary rate with the great ones.”  (I am not making this up!)

Then she says that inclusion of Mary’s Assumption was “early”, 4th or 5th century.  (Patently absurd.)

Then she mocks the image of the Assumption by Murillo.

Going on, she likens the image of the woman and child in Revelation, threatened by the dragon.  To protect the child the woman must flee, just like all the immigrant mothers who must flee to protect their children.  (I am not making this up… this is what the Jesuit thinks we need!)

“Look out those who sit on thrones of worldly power.”  (Wow… she’s really subtle.)

Anyway, after an struggle with the clutch and stick shift of linear thought she goes to another gear about 1 Cor 15 and finishes with a quote from Chesterton’s Regina Angelorum.  This part had zero to do with the first part of her “sermon” and was therefore the best part.

Meanwhile, I contacted a priest friend who had to study at CTU back in the day.  I asked him about Osiek and he responded with a single word: “Heretic”.  I mentioned that I would post about Martin and Osiek’s “sermon”.   “A perfect combo”, quoth he.

Posted in Jesuits, Women Religious | Tagged , | 17 Comments

VIDEO: 1950 – Pius XII infallibly proclaims the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary

In 1950 my late pastor, Msgr. Schuler, was in Rome on a Fulbright working on the manuscripts of Giovanni Maria Nanino, the successor of Palestrina for the Sistine Chapel.  He had great stories about being a priest in Rome in that Holy Year and, specifically, of the Proclamation of the Dogma of the Assumption.

It was a different world.  Think about it: the war had ended just 5 years before.

Posted in Just Too Cool, Our Solitary Boast | Tagged , | 4 Comments