Beans v. the East – @MassimoFaggioli cheapshots Orientals

Ubiquitous and relentless self-promoter Massimo “Beans” Faggioli has eructed yet another oh-so clever tweet:


I haven’t paid much attention to Beans lately. His twitter feed is on the “second page”, as it were, of Tweetdeck, and I have to scroll to the right to see it. I haven’t missed much, since most of his tweets are an incessant stream of “Me! Me!”.

But this tweet was brought to my attention by an Eastern Catholic who is Indian. He found the tweet offensive, and rightly so.

While I admit that I am not sure what’s going on in that quip – frankly, he might just be playing with words in order to make connections where they don’t belong – it does seem to cast a shadow over things Eastern.

Who can untangle this?

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The effect of the Extraordinary Form on vocations to the priesthood

From a reader…

In recent weeks I recall reading here and elsewhere some encouraging speculation and projections about the numbers of vocations produced by traditional vs. non-traditional types of communities. I’ve discovered that my parish seems to support those projections. We have both the Ordinary Form and the Extraordinary Form. There are 3 OF Masses each weekend, and one EF.

Recently the parish published information about all the vocations we’ve had from our parish in the last roughly 60 years. Between the years of 1965 and 2007 we had a grand total of 3. However, in the last 10 years since our parish has added the EF, we’ve had 9 new vocations, of which 7 are from EF attending families – 1 priest, 2 brothers, and 4 sisters.

Of the two OF-produced vocations, one is a priest from a very conservative family, who now celebrates the EF himself and has allowed that to greatly influence his OF ars celebrandi.

Bear in mind that there are easily 5 times as many people attending OF Masses at our parish than EF, and yet the EF vocations outnumber them 7 to 2. If you were to assume equal numbers of people at each form, and then extrapolate the data, you’d end up with somewhere around a 15-1 preponderance in favor of the EF. Absolutely amazing.

As we know, the plural of anecdote is data.  This is what I’ve been talking about and writing about for a long time.  The knock on effect of the Extraordinary Form.

This is why libs hate and fear it.

This is why I have begun to wonder if the Extraordinary Form, after a few more years of disastrous demographics and the churning wake of The Present Crisis, won’t be the “Last Mass Standing”.

¡Hagan lío!

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Posted in ¡Hagan lío!, Hard-Identity Catholicism, Just Too Cool, Liturgy Science Theatre 3000, New Evangelization, SUMMORUM PONTIFICUM, The future and our choices | 13 Comments

Dinosaur Media attack on Catholics who uphold Faith and Morals

UPDATE 20 Nov:

Dreher’s take.  HERE

Originally Published on: Nov 18

From NBC comes a piece of sheer anti-Catholic homosexualist propaganda.

A few points as a prelude.

The homosexualists are working together with their allies in the dinosaur media to shift all the focus away from the problem of #sodoclericalism in the Church.  They are desperate to get the focus off of themselves and onto someone else.  Hence, they are determined to victimize Catholics who are simply trying to hold the teachings of the Church which their lobby want to bring down.   The libs and homosexualists (lots of cross-over there) depend mainly on the ever deeper mass ignorance of history, Church teaching, basic moral language and its issues.  This ignorance was engineered over decades of execrable public education and limp, empty catechesis. They haven’t been taught much more than to think of their own views as supreme, but they haven’t been taught to learn or to reason.  Now that people are suitably numbed by screens, ignorance and a lack of ability to reason, its time to turn up the heat.

And so, read a bit of the following and contemplate the months to come.  From NBC:

How the Catholic ‘alt-right’ aims to purge LGBTQ members from the church
Websites like Church Militant, LifeSite News and the Lepanto Institute are ratcheting up the rhetoric with personal attacks on supporters of gay Catholics.

By Corky Siemaszko [Corky Siemaszko is a senior writer at NBC News Digital.  Corky also writes for Truthout which “works to spark action by revealing systemic injustice and providing a platform for transformative ideas, through in-depth investigative reporting and critical analysis. With a powerful, independent voice, we will spur the revolution in consciousness and inspire the direct action that is necessary to save the planet and humanity.”]

The call for action against the “Forces of Organized Perversion” landed in the inboxes of conservative Roman Catholics across the country just before Election Day.

“Have you had enough?” activist Randy Engel wrote in a column that first appeared on the conservative website “Or will you wait until the Homosexual Collective’s hobnail boot is pressed on the neck of your prone body or that of your child or grandchild before reacting?”  [Randy Engel wrote a book called The Rite of Sodomy: Homosexuality and the Roman Catholic Church.  US HERE – UK HERE.]

“Cast your vote for God, family, and nation,” she wrote.

[Watch the word choice…] Many Catholics say they are worried that activists like Engel are the vanguard of a new offensive by ultra-conservative Catholic groups that see the growing acceptance of LGBTQ Catholics by Pope Francis and other reformers as a mortal threat to their church.

Websites like Church Militant, LifeSite News and the Lepanto Institute are ratcheting up the rhetoric while replacing polite and prayerful discourse with personal attacks on supporters of gay Catholics, they say.

Meanwhile, anti-gay activists have increasingly been disrupting gatherings of LGBTQ Catholics and their supporters, a phenomenon first reported by the National Catholic Reporter. [aka… you know what.] Just this month, a group of Dominican nuns in suburban Milwaukee hired security guards to keep more than two dozen anti-gay protesters off their property where they were hosting a retreat for gay clergy.

Fordham University [Jesuit-run] theologian Jason Steidl has coined a name for them.  [Steidl is a homosexualist activist, according to his page at Fordham HERE. “As a theologian and member of the ministry team for Out at St. Paul in Manhattan, he is an outspoken advocate for the LGBTQ community in the Catholic Church.” Hence, he is intimately connected with James Martin.  New Ways Ministry has a page for him.  HERE]

“I call them the ‘Catholic alt-right,’” Steidl told NBC News. “We haven’t seen anything like this before. I think they are part of a bigger cultural movement. These people have hitched their wagons to Trump’s presidency, to his tactics.”  [This is the same bullshit that I was accused of in the BuzzFeed hit piece that Martin engineered.]

They have also tried to weaponize the Pennsylvania grand jury report released in August that named more than 300 “predator priests” to scapegoat homosexuals, never mind that many of the 1,000 victimized children were girls[Many? How many compared to the boys and young men?]

[And, right on cue…] “They inject fear, hatred and homophobia into religious discourse,” said the Rev. James Martin, a Jesuit priest and author of “Building a Bridge: How the Catholic Church and the LGBT Community Can Enter into a Relationship of Respect, Compassion and Sensitivity.”

“They use the same tactics as the political alt-right: lies, personal vilification and demonization of minority groups,” he said.

Michael Voris, who heads Church Militant, rejected the label “Catholic alt-right,” calling it “non-applicable and stupid.” He said all they are doing is vocally defending their faith and see President Donald Trump as an ally. He once compared Trump to Constantine, the first Roman emperor to convert to Christianity.

Voris agreed that conservative Catholics are more focused now on the LGBTQ community, but said it’s because “the news [of the Pennsylvania grand jury report] has certainly multiplied under Pope Francis.”

“I don’t whip up crowds to stone them,” he said. “We’re not a bunch of Muslims in Saudi Arabia chopping peoples’ heads off.”

But the gay lifestyle is a sin, Voris said, and he’s speaking from personal experience.

“I lived a gay lifestyle for a number of years,” said Voris, who said he is now celibate.

Mike Hichborn of the Lepanto Institute also bristled at the Catholic alt-right label.

“The Lepanto Institute does not stand for anything beyond the absolute and immutable teachings of the Catholic Church,” Hichborn wrote in an email. “That does not make us ‘alt-right’ but fully  [… the piece cuts off… really.  Then it just starts up again.]

[…  There follows some whimpering about how badly treated Martin, etc. are…. ]

Who are the Catholic alt-right?


Guess who?

Catholics who really know and believe their Catholic Faith just want to be Catholic without having heterodox and immoral rubbish shoved down their throats.  It’s not that complicated.  They aren’t extremists.  They aren’t crazy.  They are just tired being BULLIED.  It is getting to the point that they are starting to fight back.  The left and homosexualists don’t like that one little bit.

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Truly pathetic musings at the Fishwrap about priesthood and those halcyon days of Vatican II

The Fishwrap sure lived up to its name this time.  Fishwrap (aka National Schismatic Reporter) has gushy piece about a reunion of old men who were seminarians of class 1966 at the Pontifical North American College in Rome.  The arrived in Rome in 1962 and were ordained in 1966.  Hence, they were in Rome during the Second Vatican Council.

That’s the point of the Fishwrap piece, of course: those halcyon days.  And, with Francis, they’re back… or should be.

The whole piece is rather pathetic.   Fishwrap’s breathy account of the reunion, with the cute little jokes and quips the ol’ gang bandied about, belies the underlying subtext.   Here’s a passage:

Fifty-five were eventually ordained. Sixteen are still active priests. Thirty-one left the active priesthood.

They came home aflame — and ran headlong into the mid-1960s. The turbulence of change was fierce, but so was their zeal. Something had to give. For many, it was the priesthood. Most thought, in the wake of Vatican II, that mandatory celibacy would soon become optional. They were wrong. They thought the ban on contraception would be overturned. They were wrong. As some joined the first great wave of resignation, laicization or whatever term you choose, they feared their fellow Council Class members would ostracize and reject them.

They were wrong.

Many forged new paths, establishing careers — frequently pastoral in nature — getting married, raising kids. Keeping tabs on one another wasn’t as easy then as it is today. There was no internet yet, no email.

But they had Bill Freburger, who left the priesthood in 1976 and worked for NCR.

That about sums it up.  They were wrong.  56% of the class quit.  But you could work for Fishwrap!

And, by way of explanation of the rot that infested theology and whole swaths of the priesthood in those wondrous, halcyon days that produced streams of men and women out of religious orders, the destruction of catechetics, wholesale obliteration of our Catholic identity in a new springtime of post-Conciliar transformation….

An article shared by Joe Reid about the old theological notion that an “ontological change” occurs through ordination became a running gag throughout the four days here. The class never bought that, had great fun with it, and gave it a serious thrashing.

Get it?  In this reunion group – the one that Fishwrap is all agog over – the ontological effect of the Sacrament of Orders is, for them, a joke.  They don’t believe in priesthood as the Church believes in priesthood.  One hero of the group, a priest from Detroit (whom I bet was involved in Call To Action back in the day) cited “lay empowerment” as the “blueprint for the future”.  These guys have been wrong about just about everything their whole lives, it seems, but they’ve got stunning insights for us now.  Here’s some more, straight from the Fishwrap‘s fevered imaginings:

I do think that will be the major challenge of the next several years, to break this clericalism and think of ways of transforming the sacrament of orders into a living kind of leadership sacrament that anybody in the church would be eligible to be appointed to, obviously with preparation and some kind of spiritual grounding.

Perhaps the sort of preparation that these jokers had?

This is warmed over Rahner and Schillebeeckx.  Choose someone from the community to preside.  When that person no longer embodies the needs of the community, choose another.  In seminary, in the 1980’s, this is crap we got, from faculty trained around the same time as this tragic reunion group.  We were even forbidden to use the word “priest” but rather to say “ordained minister”.  Everyone, you see, is a “minister”, either ordained or unordained.  If you don’t believe that there is an ontological change in the man who is ordained, and that change imparts something to what the priest does, then priesthood is simply a job, a role that any person could fulfill.  So, why not choose this person or that person who has – for now – what we want?  The selection effectively has nothing to do with God.

Of course, of the guys who were ordained for my native place, were I to be counted among that class of ’91, I’m the only one left.

Look.  No one begrudges a bunch of guys a reunion, but this is really sad.

Another quote also reveals something of the Fishwrap view.

“The Vatican Council gave a whole new vision of possibility for the Catholic church,” said Bob Livingston of Detroit, who left the active priesthood, married and, had a long career with General Motors. “That was personally transformative. It was the most exhilarating intellectual and faithful thing I have ever experienced. When Francis came in, it was like going back to 1966. It was like coming out of a long, dark tunnel. Francis was like stepping back into John XXIII, a breath of fresh air.

Ah…. those halcyon days of springtime and transformation!

What a springtime it has been!

A final piteous example, making reference to John XXIII’s “Moon Speech” on the evening of the Council’s opening day…

Most of all, they are, as Jim Murphy put it, by way of Thomas Merton, a finger pointing at the moon — in all its phases, including its exhilarating fullness, even when obscured. These classmates would say, “Don’t pay attention to us. Pay attention to what we’re pointing at,” and the moon they’re pointing at is the Second Vatican Council, reflecting the light of that major eruption of the Holy Spirit, a moon capable, in its fullness, of lighting our way forward into the future.

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19 Nov 1863: The Gettysburg Address

Today is the anniversary of the Gettysburg Address.   It wasn’t much attended at the moment, but over time it has been recognized one of the greatest public speeches ever.

Four and a half months after the Battle of Gettysburg, on the afternoon of Thursday 19 November 1863, President Abraham Lincoln delivered a “few appropriate remarks” at the dedication of the cemetery for fallen soldiers.

After a 13,607 word speech by Edward Everett, the President’s address consisted of 10 sentences in 272 words.

This address took me only about 2 minutes to read aloud.

Four score and seven years ago our fathers brought forth on this continent, a new nation, conceived in Liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal.

Now we are engaged in a great civil war, testing whether that nation, or any nation so conceived and so dedicated, can long endure. We are met on a great battle-field of that war. We have come to dedicate a portion of that field, as a final resting place for those who here gave their lives that that nation might live. It is altogether fitting and proper that we should do this.

But, in a larger sense, we can not dedicate — we can not consecrate — we can not hallow — this ground. The brave men, living and dead, who struggled here, have consecrated it, far above our poor power to add or detract. The world will little note, nor long remember what we say here, but it can never forget what they did here. It is for us the living, rather, to be dedicated here to the unfinished work which they who fought here have thus far so nobly advanced. It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us — that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion — that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain — that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom — and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.

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Christmas, Priests, Arms, and You

Right on cue, some folks have written messages asking for advice about Christmas gifts for priests.

I could give the same advice I gave in years past. However, here’s a new thought based on a project I have wanted to get going for a while. Consider this. If your priests happen to have ecclesiastical coats of arms already prepared, you might have them either embroidered on vestments, or embroidered on appliqué patches which could be sewn on vestments.

To this end, if the priests do not have coats of arms already prepared, they might contact someone who can help them, someone knowledgeable in the field. Some priests will have family crests. I for example was able to find mine.

I found the services of David Burkart very helpful. He did a good rendering of my coat of arms, sent me a digital file, and also our large printed version for framing. The digital version can be used to create embroidered appliqués.

Right now, I am raising money to have a very beautiful set of investments made for pontifical masses. My hope is that I can make coat of arms appliqués of all the priests who are usually involved in these masses and then temporarily affix them to the appropriate vestments for mass. I am not yet sure how to do that. Perhaps with clear Velcro or pins. I’m thinking about that.

You readers are remarkably well informed and helpful. You are a great resource. Hence, I open the floor to your ideas.

Here is a patch, embroidered onto mesh, which I then applied to the chasuble for my 1st Mass, lo those many years ago.  It doesn’t have the motto ribbon, but it works well.

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Reliable Catholic and Pro-Life Causes

Here are some efforts worth your attention. We are getting down to the end of the year. Some of you are starting to think about your end of year TAX DEDUCTIBLE giving.

Tridentine Mass Society of the Diocese of Madison

First, in the sphere of liturgy and the promotion of our Catholic identity, may I recommend the Tridentine Mass Society of the Diocese of Madison? The TMSM is a a 501(c)(3) organization.

I am the president of the TMSM. For the last few years, especially with the help of the Extraordinary Ordinary, we have been expanding our arsenal of good vestments, so important for dignified liturgical worship, and celebrating Solemn and Pontifical Masses regularly. Right now I have a couple projects going, for a new solemn Pontifical set in black, and one in a spectacular multicolored damask fabric and red moire lining.

The funds are there for the black (which I’m working on), but they are not for the damask.

I want to raise $15000 to cover the new Pontifical set in damask.

It would include things like the gremial, antependium, additional dalmatics and so forth.  Items lacking for a simpler Solemn Mass set.   It is amazing how much of a difference in the atmosphere of a sanctuary the antependium makes!  They cost quite a bit but they are worth every centimeter.

This is what we are after with the damask.  For larger, right click and open in a new tab.

These are the personal vestments of a new priest, his property.  That’s well and good.  But they are not enough for a Pontifical Mass at the throne and I am a firm believer that we should own our own vestments independently of any other (potentially fickle) organization.

To donate you can use PayPal, which is really easy and fast (they take a taste).

You can send a check by snail mail (and every cent comes to us).

Tridentine Mass Society of the Diocese of Madison
733 Struck St.
PO BOX 44603
Madison, WI 53744-4603

You can wire transfer from these USA or from abroad:

Contact me.

We are doing good things here.  As a matter of fact, I believe that our Society has prompted the creation of some other groups.  Also, I suspect that our example with the bishop has perhaps inspired other bishops to be generous with their availability for solemn traditional worship.

We are all in this together.  When we raise the tide, all boats rise.  That’s what we are doing, Mass by Mass and maniple by maniple.

Sacred Heart Academy

My friend Fr. Robert Sirico has done amazing things at the parish entrusted to him in Grand Rapids, MI. He has revitalized worship and resurrected and transformed their school into a first rate Catholic classical academy. During one of my last visits there, I had a good tour of the school during hours and visited class rooms. The students and teachers were amazing.

Right now, at Sacred Heart Academy, they have provided an opportunity to help the students by funding scholarships. At the close of the 2013-14 school year the Academy had 69 students, now enrollment stands at 317 – an increase of 359% in 4 years! And, believe me, this place is really Catholic.

Watch their video HERE. They are at about 50% of their campaign right now. Let’s see what you readers can do. They need 114 donors for matching grants to fund the scholarships. They have 58.

Heartbeat International

More for your information than anything else.  You can help to save lives by spreading this information.

Over the last few years I have gotten involved with a pro-life group called Heartbeat International. This is an amazing group which quietly provides support for many local initiatives, like pro-life pregnancy centers. For example, during a pilgrimage to Italy with them we visited centers in tiny towns where people are doing great things with almost nothing. Heartbeat can give them funding. You might recall that a few months ago, I posted about how they now administer a network of doctors across the continent who can prescribe the medication that REVERSES the “morning after pill” abortifacient without any negative effects to mother or child. This is a Big Deal. HERE Women can get these abortifacient drugs easily. They take them in a panic and many women change their minds. Most people don’t even know that the process CAN BE REVERSED without ill effects. But the reversal treatment must be administered quickly and by prescription. That’s why Heartbeat runs a network of pro-life doctors and can get women in touch with a local doctor fast, to get that reversal prescribed.

Now, Heartbeat has a new website called The fact is that Big Business Abortion constantly attacks small centers, calling them “fake clinics” etc. This site combats the attacks and provides accurate information. In one presentation I heard while attending a Heartbeat event, we were given statistics about how important that first contact is with some clinic or center. If women contact Big Business Abortion, they tend to go one way. If their first contact for help is with a pro-life group, it goes that way. Over the years, slowly and steadily the lines on the graph they showed have converged, and those first contacts with pro-life groups have caught up to and have started to pass Big Business Abortion. Hence, getting good information out there in a timely and user friendly way is critically important.

Heartbeat is a great organization to support on its own. However, this site – – is something that you should make known to those around you. Get the word out on the internet, in parish bulletins, through diocesan pro-life offices, etc.

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“”Transphobia is a word created by fascists, and used by cowards, to manipulate morons”.

Everyone should dash over to Fr. H’s place and read his latest: Transphobia, fox hunting, and the SS

It’s jolly good.

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ASK FATHER: My priest doesn’t carry the “emergency phone”

From a reader…


What’s the deal with priests carrying their emergency cellphone on them? [Hmmm… I don’t know what the deal is!] I was disturbed to learn that our priest doesn’t keep it with him. When I asked him about it and raised my concerns, and he said that it’s not that busy and that according to St. Alphonsus Liguori, priests are only responsible for the souls directly with them.

This doesn’t sit right with me. Basically I can’t call if there’s an emergency (and they have happened in the past for our former priest who would get called out for emergency sacramental needs) because he doesn’t keep his emergency cellphone with him. I have to rely on some other priest for emergencies. [So, there is one.  Okay.] I’m sure the number gets abused, but still. We all have our crosses, this one seems a bit minor.

Other people’s crosses usually are a bit minor.

So, the priests have, over time and according to their experience, their schedules, their inclinations (yes, priests are allowed to be different), handle the “emergency phone” ways that vary from your wishes.  When you want to contact the priest, then by golly, he’d better pick up.

Sure there are emergencies: hospitals have chaplains and/or priests in rotation who can cover.  They are the first line of contact in emergencies, depending on the region, local custom etc.  Of course if there is an agreement among the priests in the area, that’s another matter.  Everyone should pull his weight.

And we all have to keep in mind that the sacrament of anointing is more of a sacrament because Fr. Sven O’Reilly gives it rather than Fr. “Just call me Bob” Hühnerbein.

This email reminded me of something I posted many years ago, sure-fire way method for how to improve your priest:

The Perfect Priest

The results of a computerized survey indicate the perfect priest preaches exactly fifteen minutes. He condemns sins but never upsets anyone. He works from 8:00 AM until midnight and is also a janitor. He makes $50 a week, wears good clothes, buys good books, drives a good car, and gives about $50 weekly to the poor. He is 28 years old and has preached 30 years. He has a burning desire to work with teenagers and spends all of his time with senior citizens.

The perfect priest smiles all the time with a straight face because he has a sense of humor that keeps him seriously dedicated to his work. He makes 15 calls daily on parish families, shut-ins and the hospitalized, and is always in his office when needed.

If your priest does not measure up, simply send this letter to six other churches that are tired of their priest, too. Then bundle up your priest and send him to the church on the top of the list. In one week, you will receive 1,643 priests and one of them will be perfect. Have faith in this procedure.

One parish broke the chain and got its old priest back in less than three weeks.

And if that doesn’t work, there’s always this.  HERE

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Sweetheart Grips and Fortune’s Wheel

I can’t resist posting this.

There are a lot of after market gizmos and gadgets that one can use to bling-up?… pimp?… one’s 1911 (“Nineteen-Eleven”), that classic, US military issue pistol to which so many (I am not one of them) are dedicated even today.

At War History Online I saw a post about “sweetheart grips” for those 1911s.

The piece begins with the observation that for all time soldiers have tweaked and personalized their gear, such as the sculpted body armor of the Romans.

Soldiers have always carried with them images of their loved ones, whether painted, sketched, silhouettes, miniatures, engraved, photographic.  They’d tuck them in here and there.

It seems that during WW2, with the advent of plexiglas, GI Joe made custom grips for his 1911 with photos of his sweetheart back home.    Here is a closeup of pistol handle with a photo of Lt. John Ernser’s girlfriend.  He, 26, was an officer engaged in attacks on German fortification positions at the Italian front.

The article has quite a few photos of these grips.  They could use pieces of broken plastic windows from bombers, gun turrets, vehicles, etc.  Plexiglas was invented in 1928 and marketed in 1933.

The piece says that in the movie Fury, Brad Pitt has a 1911 with a sweetheart grip.  A little touch of authenticity.

Of course this whole concept makes sense.  As stated before, there is a strong pull to personalize gear.

Speaking of movies, what popped into my mind was the clever gun bling used in the extremely strange, postmodern movie version of Romeo + Juliet (UK HERE) by the extremely strange Bas Luhrmann (whose cell should be faaaaarrrr down the hall, far far from Tarantino’s).  In a modern Mexico City like setting, Luhrmann used Shakespeare’s texts without a lot of changes.  From the opening scene you know you are in for a bizarre ride.  Shakespeare writes merely that there is a fight.  Zeffirelli turned it into 10 minutes of total city riot.  Luhrmann puts it at an exploding gas station.    Updating.  Right?

Back to gun bling.  When it comes time for Benvolio to tell Tybalt to “put up thy sword”, he is talking about his 9mm made by Sword.  There are 9mm Daggers and Rapiers, too.  Montague calls for his “Longsword”, obviously a rifle.  Obviously, this is Shakespeare.  They are all carrying swords, daggers and rapiers, right?


Some of the weapons they all carry (like Latino gang members) are rather spiffed up.    It is pretty clever naming them to match the original text.  Another example of clever is when meddling Friar Lawrence tries in vain to send word to exiled Romeo about his Blackadder-worthy “cunning plan”: he goes to the office of Post Haste Dispatch where he fills out the necessary forms and label.  There is even a Post Haste truck and driver trying in vain to make a delivery to the star-crossed lover in the dusty outback of Mantua.  He left notices on the door of Romeo’s trash-trailer.

As you know Balthasar beats the delivery guy, who just barely misses his chance to put the missive into Romeo’s hand before he jumps into his dusty junker and roars back to fair Verona.  Ah, the pathos.

Zeffirelli used a pate-shaved friar with a donkey against Balthasar’s swift steed.

You see, improved technology doesn’t help in tragedies.  As Lady Philosophy suggests to Boethius, when Fortune’s wheel turns, you are pretty much screwed.

Romeo himself cries out after killing Tybalt, “I am fortune’s fool!”  The Bard knew all too well about the well-established trope of Fortune and her wheel, and would have known Boethius, too.  Lady Philosophy explained that, well, of course we are screwed, for its the nature of Fortune to be fickle.  We can’t count on it.  However, she also explains that the goods of fortune are not true goods.  HAH!  Tell that to hormone-addled Romeo.   Shakespeare employs the Wheel of Fortune several times.  If memory serves, in King Lear Kent gripes about it when he is in the stocks and Bardolph whines about it in Henry V.   And there’s Paul VI … Hamlet who mopes around about the “slings and arrows of outrageous fortune”.  But I digress.

There are lots of other clever things in the Luhrmann version.  For example, when Balthasar tells the Capulets that he saw Romeo “underneath the grove of sycamore”, in the film we find the post-modern R at the mostly ruined old beach-side bandshell called “Sycamore Grove”.  There’s all sorts of stuff like this.  Does it counterbalance the weirdness?  You decide.  I am still a little taken aback at the cross-dressing Mercutio.  I can say that the way Luhrmann ended his version, in the Capulet vault, was particularly horrifying.

I am not quite sure how I got to this point.   But…

“But Father! But Father!”, some of you are surely complaining.  “You don’t get it.  This is the age of post-reason and post-faith!  It is the Springtime that we’ve worked for for so many years.  This is what we have to do to everything!  All the documents of the institutional church have to be reread and deconstructed so that they can more clearly resemble our ever changing times and needs.  Look at Amoris chapter 8 as the equivalent of Luhrmann’s revisioning of Shakespeare.  Do you get it yet?   Look at this post-modern romp as if it were the doctrinal development in CCC 2267.  But, no.   Cross-dressing is entirely acceptable now.  James Martin says so. Who are you to judge?!? You don’t understand any of this, with your backward ways, because clearly YOU HATE VATICAN II!”

C’mon.  Get a grip.

Get “sweetheart grips”!

If I had a 1911, I probably would, though I’m not sure what image I’d use.  Some of you might complain if I chose the Immaculate Heart, like the character in the movie.  Those of you who have 1911s might chime in on your choice for customized grips… and your favorite version of Romeo and Juliet.

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ASK FATHER: Absolution from a heretical priest and then going to Communion

From a reader…


Today I went to confession during Sunday Mass at my parish (Novus Ordo, run by a religious order) [Why do I smell trouble?], and even though the priest (not the parish priest) said “I absolve you”, I also know (for many months now) that there’s a high possibility that he denies the existence of hell.

So I have two questions Father:

  1. Is the absolution given by priests who are heretics or possible heretics valid?
  2. Since I received Holy Communion during Mass, not knowing for sure the answer to the first question, did I commit Eucharistic desecration and/or sacrilege?

Thank you Father, and always have the courage to fight for God and thank you too for your blog.

Ad primum.   The absolution given by heretical priests is more than likely valid, just as is the consecration during Mass by heretics.  Provided that they say, do and intend what the Church intends by those acts, without a real act of will within themselves to deny what the Church intends – that is, saying to themselves “I intend to pretend to doing this”, then the absolution is valid.  The old phrase is that “the minister must have the intention at least of doing what the Church does”.  It could be that the minister has some faulty notions about the Church, but if he intends to make his own the Church’s own intention, the sacrament is validly administered.  Hence, in the case of emergency baptism, even an atheist can validly baptize, so long as she, when she pours the water and says the proper words, has the intention of doing for that person what the Church intends, whether she believes in what the Church teaches or not.

Remember that validity of sacraments depends not on the holiness of the priest, or his knowledge, or the accuracy of his notions.  Christ is the true administrator of the Sacrament of Penance and absolution through His agent the priest, alter Christus by reason of Holy Orders.

So, if Father Heretic gets into a confessional and hears confessions and gives absolution, he more than likely has at least an internal intention to administer a sacrament.  The absolution is, therefore, valid (provided he uses at least the minimal form).

Ad secundum:  You more than likely did not commit a sacrilege by going to Communion.  Even if you had a measure of doubt about the validity of the absolution at the time, you were not at the time of Communion sure that you were in the state of mortal sin.   You might have had a doubt or two, but you were not convinced that you were in the state of mortal sin.

If a person is sure that she is in the state of mortal sin, she cannot, must not, may not go to Holy Communion.  She is obliged not to receive, because she knows that she is in the state of sin and that Communion would be a sacrilege, compounding sin with sin.

If a person is in sincere doubt about her state, truly doesn’t know if she is in the state of grace, she can go to Communion.  Of course she should make a good act of contrition and resolve to go to confession, or to seek clarity about her state.  However, if she says, “I could be in the state of grace” or “I could be in the state of sin”, it is still permissible to go.  Mind you, that is not the optimal way to communicate, but remember the Lord’s mercy and the intention of one who cries, “I believe! Help my unbelief!” and as well, “God have mercy on me, a sinner.”

Of course nobody is obliged to receive Communion at this or that Mass!  If a person has doubts about her state, really doesn’t know, it is also perfectly acceptable not to receive.  As a matter of fact, if receiving would increase anxiety rather than bring comfort and peace, then by all means stay in the pew and pray.

The point is this.  If you know that you are not in the state of grace, don’t receive Communion.  That would be quite wicked and a real mistake.  If you are not sure, you think you are in the state of grace, but you are not quite sure, you can still go to Communion, even though it is perfectly okay not to go.



You won’t have to worry about these things.

And pray for your priest confessors.  Pray for them.  If they are heretics, do what you can to help them out.  Some of these poor guys were cheated in seminary and even in basic catechism.  That means that, before you approach them or make judgments about them, you really have to know your stuff.  The problem is, these days, a lot of lay people don’t know that they don’t know things and they don’t know what they don’t know.

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Your Sunday Sermon Notes

Was there a good point made in the sermon you heard during your Mass to fulfill your Sunday Obligation?

Let us know.

You were paying attention, weren’t you?

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To Prelates: “Don’t Pee on My Leg and Tell Me It’s Raining.”

I’ve just spent a few minutes in a hard-hitting piece about The Present Crisis at Crisis.  Here are a couple of outstanding paragraphs.

The apostle Paul certainly saw the redemptive side of scandal and division: “For there must be factions among you in order that those who are genuine among you may be recognized” (I Cor. 11:19). At least the laity, operating as Mary’s Heel, can say to a prelate like Cardinal Blase Cupich or a priest like James Martin, “We know who you are, and we know that you know that we know.

About those who persist in telling us that the problem is “clericalism”:

Prevaricating Priests and Prelates
The fervent devotion to the Idols of Honor and Power is reflected in recent bald-faced lies and gaslighting. The more desperate you are to defend your power and prestige, the more patently false statements you will make.

The priests and prelates sometimes remind me of a title from a Judge Judy book: Don’t Pee on My Leg and Tell Me It’s Raining. [US HERE] We’re told by Cupich (over and over), Francis, and Martin that the real problem is “clericalism” when a recent landmark study (and the John Jay Report) by Father Paul Sullins, a retired Catholic University of America sociology professor, refutes that thesis: “The data show that more homosexual men in the priesthood were correlated with more overall abuse and more boys abused compared to girls.”

And there is this:

We must remember that Athanasius was a minority of a minority. First he was in a minority of bishops who did not get seduced by the Arian heresy, and then he was in the minority within that contingent who raised a hue and cry.

Good men are not hard to find but good men with courage are rare. Fortitude is not the defining mark of the human species.

Ancient Hebrew wisdom tells us that the fear of man is a snare (Prov. 29:25), and no doubt many bishops don’t relish the idea of becoming a pariah, especially with the pontiff’s history of ousting, demoting, and marginalizing those who don’t conform to his agenda. Consequences can be severe: remember that both Archbishop Viganò and Fr. Kalchik are in hiding.

Serious times.  Sobering times.

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Pre-Post Thanksgiving, Pre-Post Christmas Shopping

I’ve already started on my Christmas shopping list.  I want to get everything settled so that I don’t have to think about it as Christmas draws near.

May I ask for you, dear readers, to consider using my Amazon search box or links to do your shopping?  It would be of great benefit for me.

I have a search box always on the right side bar.

If you go into Amazon through my link, I get a small percent of the sales.  This adds up.  I rely on this for expenses like health insurance, etc.

BTW… I have an membership, which gives me a “credit” each month to be applied as I wish.  This can save quite a lot of money in getting audiobooks and audio courses.  Right now I am working through a very good course, in the Great Courses series, Reason & Faith: Philosophy in the Middle Ages (US HERE – UK HERE).   Purchased by itself, it costs quite a lot, but you can apply a “credit” to buy it and save a lot of money, about half.

You might consider an Audible membership.  And you can give them as gifts.  You might give Audible a try.  US HERE – UK HERE.  I think the UK users can get a 30-day free trial.

And don’t forget your good ADVENT MUSIC!  The wonderful Benedictines of Gower, have music discs for Advent and for Christmas.  Good stocking stuffers.  US HERE – UK HERE   And Caroling at Ephesus US HERE – UK HERE

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ASK FATHER: Could the Church make “communal services” the norm for the Sacrament of Penance?

From a reader…



In John 20:22-24, it says “And when he had said this, he breathed on them, and said to them, ‘Receive the Holy Spirit. If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven; if you retain the sins of any, they are retained.'”

I’m interested in knowing the limits of this authority.

For example, it seems clear to me that they were not authorized to forgive the sins of the unrepentent, [A key point.] and I ask you to consider that a “given” in the rest of this discussion. God will not be made a fool.

We know that venial sins can be forgiven without confession, through various other pious works.

We know that baptism forgives all sins, including mortal sins, committed up to that point. And that the Sacrament of the Sick forgives venial sins (and, as I recall, mortal sins if the patient is not able to confess, and would have confessed if he were able).

We also know that the ordinary way mortal sins are forgiven is through the reception of absolution in a confession in which the penitent orally confesses all his mortal sins, in number and kind, to a priest who has faculties to hear the confession.

We also know that under certain extreme circumstances (e.g., a sinking ship or an airplane about to crash) a priest can validly absolve even mortal sins with a general absolution (abuses of this practice notwithstanding).

We also know that a priest must have faculties to absolve to be able to do so validly. These faculties can be extended or denied to persons, geographical territories, or even to particular sins (e.g., abortion).

We also know that any priest, even a laicized or apostate priest, can validly absolve a penitent in danger of death.

The Church also has at least some authority to define certain things as sins in one time or place and not another (e.g., Holy Days of Obligation, fasting and abstinence).

It is also my understanding that in the early church the practice of confession did not take the form it has today, although I don’t know what the differences were.

So we see that this authority can be exercised, changed, or denied through human law or decree (e.g., faculties, the specific form confession takes, etc.)

My question is this:[Whew!] What are the limits of the Church’s authority to bind and loose mortal sins? Could, for example, the Church make penance services, with general absolution and no individual oral confession of sins to a priest, the ordinary way mortal sins are forgiven? If so, how far could the Church go in this direction?

I’m not asking about what would or would not be a good idea from a pastoral point of view. I’m only asking about validity.

Thank you for all the great work you do!

Firstly, that was a pretty good summary you gave.  I am pleased to post it, because it could be instructive for others.

In the antepenultimate, you move too quickly from the “limits of the Church’s authority to bind and loose” to the manner in which that is enacted.

The Church’s authority to forgive sins is pretty much unbounded, but with one provision that you brought up.  The penitent must be penitent.  That is, the person whose sins are to be forgiven must truly be sorry for those sins with either attrition or contrition.  No repentance and sorrow, no absolution.

There is no sin that is so great that it cannot be forgiven.  So, the Church’s authority has no bounds in that respect.  Also, the Church determines how sacraments are celebrated.  So, the Church is free in that respect.  However, sacraments have their proper nature and that nature must be respected.  The Church is necessarily bound in by the nature of the sacrament itself.

The manner of celebration of sacraments is determined by the Church.  Hence, all the sacraments have undergone changes in their rites over the centuries.  However, the essence of the sacraments have not changed.  Holy Church teaches that sacraments have both matter and form.  With most sacraments there is a material matter (the bread and wine, the water, the oil) and form (the words prescribed by the Church).   The matter can vary (the West uses unleavened bread and the East leavened) and the form can vary (the form for Confirmation changed after the Council, and both the pre-Conciliar and post-Conciliar are valid).  What can’t change is that there must by BOTH matter AND form.

The Church teaches at Trent, along the lines of St. Thomas, that the matter of the sacrament of penance is comprised of the acts of the penitent, including sorrow, confession of sins, atonement or desire for atonement.  In the case of this sacrament, that matter is sometimes called quasi-matter rather than just matter because the acts of the penitent (sorrow, confession, desire for atonement) aren’t material substances (water, oil, wine, bread).    There are those who hold that this quasi-matter is necessary for the completeness of the sacrament, as a kind of pre-condition, but not necessarily its essence.  That is to say that, because the acts of the penitent are not themselves the causes of grace in the soul, the priest by his absolution is the sole administrator of the sacrament.  Hence, the unconscious can be validly absolved, even though they are not themselves acting to provide the quasi-matter.

In fact, there are times when it is impossible for a person to act, to express outwardly sorrow, confession and purpose of amendment.  Physical impossibility allows for absolution without the quasi-material completeness of confession of sins, etc.  Hence, when in the moment that absolution must be given, the material, outward confession is not complete (the penitent can’t confess, the penitent has sincerely forgotten some sins, the penitent confesses sins that are already forgiven and therefore gone, etc.) those sin are nevertheless absolved, though indirectly so, rather than directly.   And something is left incomplete, even though absolution was validly given.

There remains a duty to confess all sins, to bring completeness to the sacrament.  That is why in the case of “general absolution” the penitents (conscious or unconscious) have an obligation, as soon as possible, to make a regular, good confession of all mortal sins in kind and number.

Could the Church determine that the ordinary way of receiving the sacrament of penance would be through communal services lacking any outward confession of sins, expression of sorrow, etc.?  One might argue that, by the fact that they are there, the people seeking the sacrament are showing some sorrow, etc., which could be sufficient.  Also, in the ancient Church, even when there was public confession of sins, a distinction was made about those sins which, because of their nature, had to remain secret and those which had to be revealed.  Therefore, it seems possible that there can be communal penance services in which there is no open confession, profession, etc., with valid absolution.  And the Church has those, according to the law, etc.   However, again and again the Church affirms that penitents are, thereafter, strictly obliged to make an auricular confession of sins as soon as opportunity affords.

Keep in mind also that, over the centuries, we understand a great deal more about sacraments and the sacrament of penance than our forebears did in the ancient Church.  Certain practices dropped away as our knowledge and wisdom developed.  That’s why certain practices that were once valid are not done now: we found better ways, better rites, to express the inward, sacramental reality.  We are our rites.

Could the Church lay down that communal services are the ordinary way to receive the sacrament?  No, I don’t think so, because of the nature of sacraments as having matter and form.  We don’t allow that the minimum required for validity is the ordinary way sacraments are administered because the complete celebration of the sacrament is important ad integritatem.  We don’t just walk into church and have Father say, “This is my body”, etc. over bread and wine, then receive it and walk out.  We don’t just pour water with the words and baptize without everything else, except in cases of emergency.  And, in the case of emergency baptism, the person was then to go through at a later time the rest of the rites that were omitted!   Communal penance without confession and expression of sorrow and amendment, is like the 30 second consecration of bread and wine and communion (valid consecration but horrifying because it is outside of Mass).

Emergency conditions which reveal the minimal for validity don’t provide a good foundation for ordinary practice.

The matter (quasi-matter) of the sacrament of penance must be respected.

In any event, I hope that clear up that question.

And since it is Saturday…


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