“to become highly educated, travel the world … without being beholden to a husband or children”

Some of you alert readers have sent me links to an article in TIME about the Vatican and the LCWR nuns.  Vatican bad, nuns good.

For example, they think this one is pretty spiffy:

For more than four decades Sister Jeannine Gramick has been tireless in her fight for gay rights through her organization New Ways, despite coming under intense scrutiny from the Vatican.

Oooo…. Vatican scrutiny!  You will recall Sr. Gramick from NUNS GONE WILD!


The Vatican doesn’t celebrate these women. In fact, it has done the very opposite. Attacks on American nuns have been happening since 2008, when the Vatican’s Congregation for Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life initiated an “Apostolic Visitation,” a euphemism for investigation, of the nuns.

To put it in perspective, previous “visitations” conducted by the Church were designed to investigate things like the priest sex abuse scandal.

This is simply wrong.  Visitations happen all the time and for various reasons.  From time to time check ups are needed in all manner of the Church’s institutions.  But the silly writer is trying to paint the Holy See in the worst possible light by leading you to accept a false equivalence.

Back to the TIME piece.  It may be that TIME let the cat out of the bag:

Why would a generation of young women raised to believe that they can be anything join an institution that tells them there is something they absolutely cannot be, that there is a certain level they will never reach? Many of the women who are nuns today joined the vocation because it was a way to become highly educated, travel the world and dedicate themselves to a higher good without being beholden to a husband or children.

So THAT’s why the LCWR types became nuns!

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UPDATE – Soccer game for peace!

I am being kept in the loop about the Soccer Game for Peace that Pope Francis called for.  This should take care of the whole war and terrorism problem.

I am told that the stadium is half empty.

“But Father! But Father!”, some of you are howling, “You are such a pessimist!  It’s half full!”

Fine, it’s half full.

Now they are singing John Lennon’s Imagine”, you know, the song about a world without any religion.  Sweet.  I suspect Pope Francis didn’t choose that song.

“Imagine there’s no heaven…

… no religion too…

and the world will live as one.”

Apparently the Pope has donated yet another Peace Tree to be planted for the event!   I wonder if the Peace Tree in the Vatican Gardens when the Imam prayed for defeat of infidels (read: us) is worried about competition for the Nobel Prize.

UPDATE: The Peace Tree has been planted!  Ministers of religion (which is apparently preventing peace, according to the John Lennon song they just sang) did the honors.  None of them were women.  One of the rainbow flags is in the background.

UPDATE: It sounds like there are lots of rainbow flags waving around…. hmmmm.

UPDATE: Diego Maradona is playing.

UPDATE: There’s a hashtag!  #P4Peace (The first P is for “Partita”, Italian for match)

UPDATE: No women are playing in the game, either.

UPDATE: I found a live stream.  A little fuzzy.  Yes, Maradona is playing.

UPDATE: Gooooooooo…. yawn….oooool!

UPDATE: Gooooooooo…. yawn….oooool!

UPDATE: He made the sign of the Cross when coming off the field.

UPDATE: Kevin Kostner does Italian canned salmon commercials.  Who knew?

UPDATE:  Liturgical music now.

UPDATE: Lots of homosexualist pacifism flags.

UPDATE: Gooooooooo…. yawn….oooool!

UPDATE: Gooooooooo…. yawn….oooool!

UPDATE: Gooooooooo…. yawn….oooool!

UPDATE: Gooooooooo…. yawn….oooool!

UPDATE: Gooooooooo…. yawn….oooool!

Posted in SESSIUNCULA | 36 Comments

ASK FATHER: Hand missals, Mass books for children

From a reader…


Do you have any recommendations for good children’s missals for both the ordinary and extraordinary forms of the Mass? We have two school-aged children (2nd grade and kindergarten) that we want to work with on a better understanding of exactly what is happening at Mass and would like to find some good missals for them.

I can warmly recommend A Missal for Young Catholics by Peter A Kwasniewski, who occasionally posts comments here:

Also, check out the Marian Childrens Missal.

There is also the St. Joseph Children’s Missal

And there’s the My See And Pray Missal:

I am not sure about a Novus Ordo children or young people’s hand missal. Perhaps some readers here will know.

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ASK FATHER: Father gave me a penance that discouraged me.

From a reader…


I am struggling with food and alcohol addiction. After confessing this, my penance was to fast the next day after such indulgences. I was discouraged. My confessor did not know my circumstances. I have successfully done “fast’” and abstained from alcohol more times than before, but I feel horrible about my failures. I need more help than this guild of failure. I feel this priest does not understand. I do need forgiveness and grace, but not this sense of hopelessness.

First, good for you for recognizing that you have a problem to confront.  Find all the help you need from others in order to map out your strategy and continue to ask God for help.  I do mean all the help you need, which probably involves professional counseling and might involve support groups.

Be ready to suffer!  You can do it.

Next, penitents are not obliged to accept every penance that the confessor suggests.  There are, indeed, circumstances that the confessor may not know (e.g., telling you to find someone and make amends when there is not way for you to find that person, or there is no prudent or realistic way to have that conversation).  Also, the confessor might suggest something that is not able to be accomplished in a reasonable period of time (e.g., say 10 Rosary a day for the next four months).   Moreover, the confessor could give you something that is so vague that you have no idea of when you have done it (e.g., think nice thoughts about someone today).   We are not obliged to accept such penances and we can ask for another.

Furthermore, I have written before about the matter of validity of absolution even if you do not do the penance assigned during confession.  HERE.

It is clear in the Latin Church’s law that the confessor is to give penances.  If he doesn’t give one, the absolution is still valid.

We are obliged to do penance for sins that we have committed.  This is a matter of justice.

That said, the imposition of a penance is not required for validity of the absolution.  In normal circumstances it should not be omitted.   I can envisage situations when I as confessor would not give a penance, as when I am absolving an injured teen in an overturned car while the emergency teams are cutting it up with the saw to get him out.  (I didn’t give a penance, but the absolution is valid.) Another moment might be when I have, with some difficulty, heard the confession of native Hmong speaker having only a few words in English or French, with no translator or even book to point to.  Rather than make the situation an ordeal, I might just be confident in the penitent’s sincerity, absolve, and send the frustrated fellow on his way, satisfied that the confession itself was a penance.

You, as a penitent, can ask for a clearly defined penance, achievable in a reasonable period of time without undue burdens.  You are not required to take whatever the priest suggests, particularly if by attempting to fulfill it, you might do yourself or others harm.

Finally, don’t be discouraged.  God works wondrous things through fragile and erring priests: you obtained absolution for your sins!  Now, be of good cheer.  Even though you have a long road ahead, you are pointed in the right direction.

Posted in "How To..." - Practical Notes, ASK FATHER Question Box, Liturgy Science Theatre 3000, Our Catholic Identity | Tagged , , , , | 19 Comments

Your Sunday Sermon Notes

Was there a good point in the sermon you heard for your Sunday Mass of obligation?

Let us know!

Posted in SESSIUNCULA | 22 Comments

NIGERIA: The Religion of Peace terrorizes Catholic parishes

More from the Religion of Peace via Robert Spencer at Jihad Watch.  This time we see the deadly ministrations of the mouth-breathers of Boko Haram. I’m no shrink, but these guys clearly suffer from “Isis-envy”:

Nigeria: Islamic jihadists loot and vandalize Catholic parish

Remember: Christians in the West are not to speak of such things. To do so would harm the “dialogue”: “Talk about extreme, militant Islamists and the atrocities that they have perpetrated globally might undercut the positive achievements that we Catholics have attained in our inter-religious dialogue with devout Muslims.” — Robert McManus, Roman Catholic Bishop of Worcester, Massachusetts, February 8, 2013.

Boko Haram overruns Madagali, loots and vandalizes Catholic parish,” Vatican Radio, August 30, 2014:

The Diocese of Maiduguri covers the whole of Yobe, Borno and Adamawa states in Northeast Nigeria. These three states are under Nigeria’s declared emergency rule for the region. Fr. Obasogie says that Madagali and Gwoza are now effectively under the brutal control of Boko Haram sects.

Christian Churches within Maiduguri Diocese have borne much of the brunt of the terrorist activities although some Moslems have also not been spared by Boko Haram extremists. According to Fr. Obasogie, all Christian churches on the major road linking Maiduguri and Adamawa state have been closed after several acts of terrorism at the hands of Boko Haram sects. St Timothy’s parish in Bama which has been attacked several times in the past has been abandoned and the parish priest, Fr. Timothy Cosmas was relocated to a different parish. Early this year, St. Peter’s parish in Pulka was brutally attacked by Boko Haram insurgents though fortunately, the parish priest, Fr. James John who seems to have been the main target, was not at the parish when the attack happened.

On 24 August, Boko Haram’s leader Abubakar Shakua, in a move that seems to mimic the Middle East terrorist group “Islamic State” declared a caliphate in Gwoza, North eastern Nigeria. [Again, they suffer from Isis-envy.  And their Caliphate is clearly not as big as Isis' Caliphate.  They had better terrorize a little more to feel themselves bigger than they are.] The Islamic State formerly known as the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (Isis) are a brutal Jihadist group that has declared a caliphate in parts of Syria and Iraq. They claim religious authority over all Moslems in the world. The militant group, Islamic State, is known for its chilling brutality and executions that seem to appeal to Boko Haram.


Read the rest there.

Posted in Modern Martyrs, The Coming Storm, The Religion of Peace | Tagged , , , , , | 14 Comments

WDTPRS 22nd Ordinary Sunday: graft into our hearts the love of Your Name

With small differences our Collect for the 22nd Ordinary Sunday is based on a prayer in the 8th century Gelasian Sacramentary and, subsequently, one in the 1962 Roman Missal for the Sixth Sunday after Pentecost.

Deus virtutum, cuius est totum quod est optimum, insere pectoribus nostris tui nominis amorem, et praesta, ut in nobis, religionis augmento, quae sunt bona nutrias, ac, vigilanti studio, quae nutrita custodias.

Insero means “to sow, plant in, engraft, implant.”  I like “graft”.  Optimum is “best”, but seeing that we are applying “best” to God, we can get away with “perfect”.

Our Collect summons images of, on the one hand, armies and, on the other, an orchard and vine tending.  On the one hand, the God of hosts guards the good things we have.  On the other, this same mighty God is grafting love into us and then nourishing it so it can grow.


Almighty God, every good thing comes from you. Fill our hearts with love for you, increase our faith, and by your constant care protect the good you have given us.

The norms underlying the new, corrected translation stated that “deficiency in translating the varying forms of addressing God, such as Domine, Deus, Omnipotens aeterne Deus, Pater, and so forth, as well as the various words expressing supplication, may render the translation monotonous and obscure the rich and beautiful way in which the relationship between the faithful and God is expressed in the Latin text” (Liturgiam authenticam 51).

Today the priest invokes God as Deus virtutum, an expression in St Jerome’s Latin Vulgate Psalter (Ps 58:6; 79:5 ff; 83:9; 88;9) often translated as “God of hosts.”  Don’t confuse “host”, which is “army, multitude”, with the wheat wafer used at Mass.  Virtutum is genitive plural of virtus, “manliness, strength, courage, aptness, capacity, power” etc.  St Jerome chose virtutum to render the Hebrew tsaba’, “that which goes forth, an army, war, a host.”  Tsaba’ describes variously hosts of soldiers, of celestial bodies, and of angels.   In the Sanctus of Holy Mass and, in the great Te Deum, we echo the myriads of angels bowed low in the liturgy of heaven before God’s throne: “Holy, Holy, Holy LORD GOD SABAOTH …. God of “heavenly hosts”.


O mighty God of hosts, of whom is the entirety of what is perfect, graft into our hearts the love of Your Name, and grant, that by means of an increase of the virtue of religion, You may nourish in us the things which are good, and, by means of vigilant zeal, guard the things which have been nourished.


God of might, giver of every good gift, put into our hearts the love of your name, so that, by deepening our sense of reverence, you may nurture in us what is good and, by your watchful care, keep safe what you have nurtured.

Today we pray to God for an increase in “religion.”  I’ll take this to be the virtue of religion. Last week I wrote about the difference between “values” and “virtues”.  Let’s make more distinctions.

The Catechism of the Catholic Church defines “religion” as a set of beliefs and practices followed by those committed to the service and worship of God. The First Commandment requires us to believe in God, to worship and serve him, as the first duty of the virtue of religion (cf also CCC 2084, 2135).   St. Thomas Aquinas (d 1274) says that religion is the virtue by which men exhibit due worship and reverence to God as the creator and supreme ruler of all things (STh II-II, 81, 1).  We must acknowledge dependence on God by rendering Him a due and fitting worship both interiorly (eg, by acts of devotion, reverence, thanksgiving, etc.) and exteriorly (eg, external reverence, liturgical acts, etc.).  The virtue of religion can be sinned against by idolatry, superstitions, sacrilege, and blasphemy.  We creatures must recognize who God is and act accordingly both inwardly and outwardly.  When this at last becomes habitual for us, then we have the virtue of religion.  A virtue is a habit.  One good act does not make us virtuous.  If being prudent or temperate or just, etc., is hard for us, then we don’t yet have the virtues.

Our petition for religion follows immediately from our desire that God “graft” (insere) love of His Holy Name into our hearts.  We move from the title of God the angels and saints never tire of repeating in their everlasting liturgy in heaven: HOLY.  Then we beg for all good things to be nourished in us by God as He increases in us the virtue of religion.  This leads to the proper interior and exterior actions that necessarily flow from recognizing who God truly is and who we are.

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GUEST POST: “I celebrated the Traditional Latin Mass before today’s exorcism…”

Time and again, priests tell me that when they learn the traditional form of Holy Mass and begin saying it, it changes them profoundly.

Today I received this note from a priest (slightly edited):

I finished the [Saint John Cantius in Chicago] course on the Latin Mass and it was a work of Providence.

This immersion into the Extraordinary Form is proving to be a real renewal of my priesthood.

I’m dedicating this year to the study of the Mass (my daily spiritual reading and whatever free times I find – never seem to materialize….). I’m fortunate that I’ll be at the Carmelite hermitage in ___ next week for my annual retreat and will have a lot of time to go over the rubrics again and celebrate this form every day.

I celebrated the Traditional Latin Mass before today’s exorcism (I usually do them about 4-5 days a week) and the enemy was none too pleased. I’d normally say “offer it up” but it’s too late for him – so, just suffer is all he can do, I suppose.

Thanks for your wonderful blog and God bless your work. I hope to stay in touch.

And God bless you too, Father.

FATHERS: Learn the older, traditional form.  Doing so will teach you about who you are.  Also, the changes in you and your ars celebrandi will have a knock on effect with all those in your charge.  Moreover, you aren’t fully trained in your Rite, in this our Roman, Latin Church, until you do.  Yes, this might mean learning Latin.

EVERYONE: Ask, urge, cajole, prod, plead with your priests to learn the older, traditional form.  Be willing to pay any price to get him trained up.  Find all the materials and things he needs and generously, cheerfully, give them to him.  Pray and fast and perform other mortifications in reparation for his failings and ask God to give him strength and good resolve.  If he is stubborn ask his Guardian angels and Our Lady, Queen of the Clergy to get on him to learn the older form and open his mind and heart.

We need, now more than ever, the riches that the widespread use of the Usus Antiquior will bring.

Posted in "How To..." - Practical Notes, Be The Maquis, Hard-Identity Catholicism, HONORED GUESTS, Just Too Cool, Liturgy Science Theatre 3000, Mail from priests, Si vis pacem para bellum!, SUMMORUM PONTIFICUM | Tagged , , , , | 21 Comments

ASK FATHER: EMHCs when instituted acolytes are present

From a reader…


I am an instituted acolyte in formation for Holy Orders.

Based on my reading of the GIRM, an instituted acolyte is an extraordinary minister of holy communion and would be expected to serve in that role should they be called up to assist during Mass. Am I right?

If I read the GIRM correctly, then an instituted acolyte would be the first EMHC, and people from the pews would fill in as needed.

However, a lay liturgy director seems to be saying “spread the fun around” by telling us [instituted acolytes] not to serve as EHMC at a daily Mass.

It seems to me the liturgy guy is further muddling the concept of active participation by encouraging a proliferation of lay ministers in a spirit of inclusiveness.

Am I being insufficiently pastoral here? I will of course obey, but I would like to know what is the “right” thing to do given the context.


Instituted Acolytes are extraordinary ministers of Holy Communion.  They have no “right” to exercise ministry. There seems to be something of a preference in the rubrics for acolytes over other extraordinary ministers of Holy Communion, but, in the end, they are all extraordinary. If an acolyte shows up at a place where he is not known, he ought not insist on his priority over other extraordinary ministers.

Yet, the stubborn fact remains, there is a certain preference for an acolyte over and above other extraordinary ministers.  Other people who serve are substituting for the instituted acolytes and lectors who aren’t there.

Moreover, it is a general principle of liturgy that roles should be distributed, all things being equal. If there are five bishops, ten priests, and eighteen deacons at Mass it would be foolish to have one priest doing everything – reading the readings, chanting the Gospel, preaching, reading the universal prayers, setting up the altar, and so forth.

Yet, the fact remains that, instituted acolytes are extraordinary.  Therefore, the liturgy director’s comment, that “opportunities be readily available to all those who have been trained and wish to serve” runs contrary to this fact that extraordinary ministers being extraordinary. That’s like saying the Vice President, who is there to step in should something happen to the President, should be given a regular opportunity to step into his extraordinary role as presidential successor because he’s trained for it. No, his role is extraordinary. If it’s not needed, great.  It is also his role not to be needed to step into the not-vacant office of President.

Next, someone in formation for Holy Orders should also exhibit a docility compatible with the Orders to which he aspires. Making a stink and insisting on that priority is contrary to the docility and humility that should mark the character of someone in formation. Unless one is being asked to violate one’s conscience or commit some liturgical or canonical crime, one should smile, nod, and say “Yes, Father,” “Yes, Rev. Mr. X,” or “Yes, Liturgy Czar.”

Posted in "How To..." - Practical Notes, ASK FATHER Question Box, Liturgy Science Theatre 3000 | Tagged , , , | 7 Comments

Time in Rome is a sacrifice, not a career move.

UPDATE 30 Aug:

In yet another proof that liberals have a nasty streak a mile wide but no sense of humor, Michael Sean Winters at the Fishwrap posted a snarky attack on both me and on Cardinal Burke.

Let me spell this out for MSW and his crowd.  I did not speculate that Card. Burke would be moved to Chicago.  What I posted, below, was an exercise in IRONY (if you are a regular Fishwrap reader or from Columbia Heights click HERE for a definition of this hard word).

John Thavis, in his piece, opined that it is a great thing that Cañizares Llovera has been returned to his native Spain, that this may be some sort of genius masterstroke of Pope Francis to help curtail corruption, or something, in the Roman Curia.  Then – try to follow the move here – I brought up a parallel case, and with another figure that the catholic Left despises: Card. Burke.  If it was pastoral and good for the Roman Curia that Card. Cañizares be moved to a major see in his native place, then what American Cardinal in the Curia could be moved to a major see in his native place?  About which American diocese are lots of people talking right now?  Chicago.  See?  Thus: be careful what you wish for, liberals.  They never think things through, do they?

No one thinks that Pope Francis will send Card. Burke to Chicago.  Such a move would be fine by me.  I’d love to see the wailing and gnashing of teeth were he, the great defender of can. 915, sent to Washington DC, but that’s not going to happen either.

Also, take a look at MSW’s deeply nasty ad hominem swipe at Card. Burke.   And they yap about charity on the internet.  Sometimes people say that my combox has mean-spirited comments.  It is to laugh.  No place on the Catholic internet is more vicious than the comboxes at the National Schismatic Reporter.  Go see for yourselves.  HERE

Nasty.  Humorless.  Obtuse.

UPDATE 30 August evening, Saturday of Labor Day weekend:

Fishwrap posted that they were closing their comboxs for the Labor Day weekend.  HERE

And yet their commentators have been posting all day today.

Hmmmm.  Actually, it looks like the combox is turned off on some posts, but not others.  Did someone miss the memo?

_____   ORIGINALLY POSTED Aug 28, 2014 @ 13:08

John Thavis has an interesting observation in his reportage about the transfer of Card. Cañizares Llovera back to his native Spain after his term as Prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship.

A couple snips…

I’ve argued that if Pope Francis really wants to emphasize service over prestige in Vatican appointments, he should make it clear that those called to Rome are there temporarily, with no guarantee of career advancement, and can expect to return home after their five-year term is over.


It will be interesting to see if Pope Francis is willing to send younger department heads back to pastoral service after a few years at the Vatican, rather than keeping them on forever. The turnover would be good for the church, and would remind the prelates that their time in Rome is a sacrifice, not a career move.

Okay, I’ll bite!

Consider if you will the case of His Eminence Raymond Leo Card. Burke, the Prefect of the Supreme Tribunal of Apostolic Signatura.  He is young, in Cardinal Years.   Who better than he to exemplify Pope Francis’ laser-beam focus on the pastoral?

Pope Francis could make Card. Burke the next Archbishop of Chicago!

Think about it.

Card. Burke was born and raised in Wisconsin, near to the Windy City in the great upper Midwest.  He was Archbishop of St. Louis, and so knows his way around the job and around the USCCB.

One way or another, if Pope Francis sends Burke home as an Archbishop or keeps him in Rome as a Prefect, he will seek holiness and excellence in whatever role he has.  And, truth be told, there is quite simply no churchman more pastoral than Raymond Leo Card. Burke.

Little boy crying because he couldn't yet receive Holy Communion.

Posted in Lighter fare, Pope Francis | Tagged , , | 97 Comments