Rome – Day 10: Last Day

We had Mass for the pilgrimage group last night at St. Cecilia and then had supper at a humble spot in Trastevere. It wasn’t much, as far as the food scene is concerned but it was a slice of life and fast, because people had early flights. I had one more day in Rome. It started with sleeping in! Then I packed. Then I wrote. Then I went for lunch at a favorite place. The whole group ate there two nights ago.

I didn’t want anything heavy, since I am out again tonight. So, una caprese with the best mozzarella that I have had in any restaurant in Rome… reading while I waited.


Here se are.


Some of you may never have been to Italy and, even while here, have never had real mozzarella from water buffalo milk.  Even here you have to ask questions about the mozzarella before ordering it, because they often don’t have the real stuff or they pass along second rate fare, hardly worthy of the name.   If you have only had mozzarella in the USA, then you have never had mozzarella.  They should be forced, even at sword point, to change the name to something else like “white cheese product”.  The real mozzarella is like silk and is oozes milk when you cut into it.   And, if you can imagine, it is even better when it comes off the paddle and out of the vat.  Anyway… una caprese.  The “una” agrees with “insalata”.

Some of the great things lined up for your inspection as you enter the place.  Such as artichokes:


Their daily fresh fish options:


Okay… back to my second course.  I’ve been eating plenty lately, so today, after the caprese, I had a sauté of clams, vongole, in white wine and garlic:


My view while eating.  The restaurant has some elements of the remains of the ancient Theatre of Pompey.  No, this is not the place which is named after the Theatre, or which advertises that it has remains of the structure in their lower level.  This restaurant is a bit quieter in its presentation and facade.  It is nothing to look at outside, and you would be tempted to walk by without giving it a second thought.  Inside, however, it is spacious.


They make ciambelle al vino rosso that you will not forget.  And I am not one for sweets.


If you are someday between Sant’Andrea and the Campo de’ Fiori, check out Hosteria Constanza.  All the waiters there are great, but Roberto speaks some English.


More of the stuff awaiting you as you come in the door.  Look… I don’t know why my phone posted the photos out of order, so I am just working with what I find as I scroll down.


Their apple tort, on which they put chocolate.


After this light lunch, I went to the Norcineria Viola, which I wrote about the other day, and got a few slices of salami with black truffle and also with Barolo for dessert.  Perfect.


A sight in the Campo de’ Fiori.


And, just for nice.


As I was walking through I was, in the space of about 30 feet called both a serpent and a fox.  I think they didn’t like priests.  It feels like old times.  One of the funniest moments I had in Rome was when an old crazy woman, and I mean sparks-shooting-from-head looney, followed me through the Campo and down a street shouting imprecations which I dasn’t reproduce here.  Suffice to say that the lightest one was “mafia slave … schaivo mafioso!”  It didn’t help, I think, that as she went on I got the giggles, which just set her off more.

Nap time.  Then I’ll hunt up some cigars and take care of a few final errands.

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ASK FATHER: Donations for confessions

From a reader…


In NYC St Francis of Assisi on 10/28/14 I went to confession. In the middle of the area that one waits on line for confession is a solid-metal 3-ft high donation box with the laminated sign that requests donations in “gratitude for keeping confession available so many hours.” I guess it is needed, but I thought priests felt that being able to offer confession was a gift of inestimable graces for them. So my question is, should we all consider doing this regularly, to help priests?

I would like to underscore the word on the sign: gratitude.

While I think that that donation box, placed where it is, does not send a very good message, because it seems to connect donations directly to the sacrament of penance, I am going to give them a pass on this.

First, that parish has many hours for confession each day.  That means that they have to keep the doors open, the lights on, the heat up and have some people around to watch the church.  That costs money.  That church is near Penn Station.  That means not only commuters are coming in but also homeless people and perhaps some pretty dodgy types as well.  People who clean and watch the church have to be compensated.  Furthermore, confessors themselves, if they are not assigned at the parish for that task, also need to be compensated.  If I, pastor of St. Ipsidipsy, have an Advent penance service and I call my priest friends from St. Fidelia in Tall Tree Circle to come to help with confessions, I must pay them.  Dignus est operarius mercede sua.  Not only is the worker worthy of his “mercedes” (his wage), priests have the right to earn their living from the altar and by the religious services they provide.  The money is not the first consideration: they have to be able to pay the bills in order to continue to serve you properly.

Churches have bills to pay if they are going to stay open.  We know from recently controversy about the nearby Holy Innocents that not all parishes are perfectly secure.  Let’s not fall into the trap of thinking that everything having to do with religion is “free”.  We have to pull our weight.  In a small way, this is observed when, here in Rome, I say Mass at a church.  The sacristan works to make my life easier.  He deserves some acknowledgement and compensation.

Sure, it is highly satisfying and edifying for a priest to hear confessions.  No question.  I am sure that most priests who hear confessions regularly will back that up.  But, it is also work.  It can be tiring, even as it is a pleasure.   I understand the piety and devotion that produces phrases like “a gift of inestimable graces” comes from, but let’s not kid ourselves: it’s work and the bills have to be paid in order to make it all happen in a way that is convenient.

Unless we want to have priests who are itinerate, sleeping under bridges and all that. They will be harder to find that way, of course.   Hmmm… am I channeling my inner “ghost of Christmas yet to come”?

People give stipends to priests to say Mass. They give them a donation for baptisms and weddings.  It isn’t a huge leap to thank Father for his time by a donation.  A donation box is far better than handing it to him.   It is odd, in a way, that we don’t blink at donations for other things that priests do, but not for confession.  It is odd, but – at the same time – understandable.  The idea of connecting confessions and donations makes me cringe inside.  There is something about it that doesn’t jive.  Perhaps it is because, while we give donations for masses, weddings and baptisms, those things are rather more rare and they involve a lot of time.  On the other hand, we need confession frequently and we are already like a raw wire when we seek the sacrament of Penance.  Confession is so necessary that when reasonably sought it should be freely provided for.

His dictis, the optics of a donation box near confessionals strikes me as less than optimal.  Perhaps near the doors would be better.  But I don’t think that there is anything in the fact of a box somewhere that is out of whack.

So, in answer to the question, yes.

If you go to a parish and partake of the services there, you should donate to the parish.  If you go to a some parish or other that isn’t your own for a quick confession, occasionally or regularly, you should make a donation for the service you received.

Finally, everyone, GO TO CONFESSION!

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ASK FATHER: All Souls Sunday – Gloria? Creed? What does the ‘Universal Ordo’ really say?


I was sent this:

Dear Father,
regarding your post on All Souls Sunday, here’s from the Ordo Missae Celebrandae et Divini oficii persolvendi secundum Calendarium Romanum generale pro anno liturgico 2014-2015 iuxta editionem III typicam Missalis Romani:
November 2.
Viol. vel Nig.
LH propria huius diei.
Missa de Comm. omnium fidelium def., ut in Missali hac die, PE cum pf. def.
Lectiones seligendae sunt ex iis quae in lectionario defunctorum proponuntur.
Prohibentur omnes aliae celebrationes.
So, no mention of Gloria or Credo.


ORIGINAL posted Oct 28, 2014 @ 17:27

From a priest…


Would you be able to, and would you be so kind as to tell me what the universal Roman Ordo says about All Souls Day, this Sunday? Gloria or not. Creed or not.

First, I like the distinction of a) being able and b) being willing.

I don’t have a Universal ordo handy. Tomorrow, I’ll be at the church where we use the Extraordinary Form, so they won’t have one either.

I wrote about this the other day, when a reader asked:

The Canadian Bishops’ official Ordo clearly calls for the Gloria and the Creed on Sunday November 2. (Along with a note warning that the Sunday celebration shouldn’t be too penitential because it’s the Resurrection.)

But the Missal seems to say, pretty clearly, that the Gloria and Creed do not belong to the proper Mass for the day, and that Mass takes precedence of the Sunday (in the Ordinary form).

That said, what does the universal Ordo really say?

Anyone? I’ll bet one of you readers has a universal ordo at hand.

I don’t have one with me and I have been saying Mass here in Rome in the Extraordinary Form.

It is so strange to contemplate All Souls on a Sunday…

Also, I wrote about this issue the other day: HERE

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Card. George on liturgical translation

At Amerika there is an interview with Francis Card. George, the out-going Archbishop of Chicago.   Among the various questions put to him, this one, with the answer caught my special attention.

My emphases and comments:

You were prominent in the work of  theInternational Commission on English in the Liturgy (ICEL) and the development of the new liturgical translations. Now that they have been in use for nearly two years, are you satisfied with the translations pastorally and theologically?

It’s hard for me to give an unbiased judgment on the value of the new translations. First of all, the first full translation of the missal of Paul VI was ideologically charged. [It sure was!  It is nice to hear someone of Card. George's eminence to state it clearly.  However, the translation was not the only issue: the prayers of the Novus Ordo also depart from the theology of the prayers of the previous, pre-Conciliar Missal.] Since the liturgy, along with Sacred Scripture, is the primary carrier of the tradition that unites us to Christ, [NB: more on this, below!] the loss of the theology of grace, the domestication of God, the paraphrasing that deliberately omitted nuances of understanding, the deliberate omission of biblical references in the liturgical text itself, etc. left the church for forty years without a way of worship that adequately expressed our faith. [Do I hear an "Amen!"?] This was clear for those of us who used the Roman missal in Spanish during those years; their translation was far more adequate. The bishops had the obligation to see that the translation into English of the third edition of the Roman Missal was faithful and also able to be used communally. I believe it has been well done. Some of the expressions in the Prefaces are a bit “clunky,” [yes... then again, perhaps it is okay for a translation to sound like a translation.  Shall we forget that the Roman Missal is in LATIN?] but the collects are truly beautiful if a priest takes the time [yes!] to interiorize the structure of  dependent clauses and use his voice so that the prayer is comprehensible to the faithful. [Exactly.When I hear priests whine about how haaard the prayers I, I wonder if they took the time actually to read them through before getting up in front of people.] Normally, people paid little attention to the collect; they couldn’t tell you what the priest said as soon as they sat down. [On the other hand, I believe this is also the case with most sermons.] Hopefully, a more deliberate style of declamation with a more adequate text will help draw people into a climate of worship and prepare them to hear the Word of God in Scripture. The canons ["Eucharistic Prayers"... there's one Canon.] are very well done, even the most difficult, Canon One, because it is a compilation from various sources. Criticism of the scientific inaccuracy of the word “dewfall” in Canon II is a bit absurd coming from those who easily accept and speak of “sunset.”  [HA! That was, I think, a little shot at now-retired Bp. Trautman.] Some of the criticisms have an extrinsic rationale. The bishops’ choice of experts meant that many who had been more involved in the work of ICEL previously were no longer engaged. The loss of a work to which one had given oneself is always hurtful. Some others just opposed any exercise of episcopal authority; in principle, the bishops were just supposed to rubber-stamp what the “experts” were doing. Some, surprisingly, objected to the re-introduction of the biblical metaphors and allusions, while others underestimated, I believe, the native intelligence of the average English-speaking worshiper. [ditto] There were a few more justified criticisms of the process, which was open in places to accusations of last-minute manipulation. I have to say that I enjoyed going back and working through Latin texts, something I hadn’t done since minor seminary.

Fr. Z kudos.

Card. George said:

Since the liturgy, along with Sacred Scripture, is the primary carrier of the tradition that unites us to Christ, the loss of the theology of grace, the domestication of God, the paraphrasing that deliberately omitted nuances of understanding, the deliberate omission of biblical references in the liturgical text itself, etc. left the church for forty years without a way of worship that adequately expressed our faith.


This is why I keep harping away that, unless we have a top to bottom renewal of our liturgical worship of God, no other initiative that we undertake will have true and lasting success.  We start from worship and we bring what we have done and who we are back to worship.

We order our relationships with other persons by the virtue of Justice, whereby we give to them what is their due.  But the Holy Trinity are persons.  We owe them what is their due, which is, first and foremost, worship.  Because the divine Persons are qualitatively different from human persons, we have a different virtue for giving them what is there due.  Related to Justice, is the virtue of Religion.  We fulfill the virtue of Religion by offering due and worthy worship to God.  We do this as individuals, smaller groups like the family, and larger groups like the whole Church and her local elements.  If our relationship with God is out of order because we are not fulfilling the virtue of Religion properly, through worthy worship as the Church asks authoritatively, then our other endeavors are going to be disordered.

This is why Summorum Pontificum was a major contribution for the renewal of the Church.

When I hear church leaders bang on and on about project X or initiative Y for group A or B or C, I am left rather disappointed.  While each of those could be good, if we are not simultaneously working hard to renew our liturgical worship of God, those other things won’t amount to much in the end.

I don’t get why they don’t get this.  It is not as if this means don’t do X or Y.  It means in order to do X or Y, we have to get our worship in order at the same time at least, if not before.

Posted in Fr. Z KUDOS, Liturgy Science Theatre 3000, Our Catholic Identity, WDTPRS | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

Coming to a neighborhood near you?

It is hard to imagine that we live in a world in which this is possible, but we do.

I think everyone should take a time each day not only to make a good examination of conscience, but also to contemplate the Last Things and also to get your head into a mental place wherein you can see these sorts of things happening to you and your loved ones.

85-year-old French man fined: urging woman not to have abortion

85-year-old French pro-lifer Xavier Dor was fined 5,000 euro ($6,350) Monday by the Appeals Court of Paris for having exerted “moral and psychological pressure” to dissuade a woman from having an abortion, reports LifeSiteNews.

In 2012, the frail, almost blind, medical doctor, pediatrician, and researcher had given tiny knitted baby shoes to a woman who was approaching a Planned Parenthood center in central Paris.

The court also imposed a suspended fine of 5,000 euro, payable in case of a repeated offense, and awarded 750 euro damages to each of the three pro-abortion associations that had introduced the judiciary proceedings against Dor.



From thecollegefix:


A trend seen by prolife activists that frequently engage college students on campuses nationwide is the growing acceptance of post-birth abortion, or killing the infant after he or she is born, campus prolife outreach leaders tell The College Fix.

Anecdotal evidence by leaders of prolife groups such as Created Equal and Survivors of the Abortion Holocaust said in interviews that not only do they see more college students willing to say they support post-birth abortion, but some students even suggest children up to 4 or 5-years-old can also be killed, because they are not yet “self aware.”

“We encounter people who think it is morally acceptable to kill babies after birth on a regular basis at almost every campus we visit,” said Mark Harrington, director of Created Equal. “While this viewpoint is still seen as shocking by most people, it is becoming increasingly popular.”

Campuses where the high school, college students, local activists and staff members of Created Equal have encountered this opinion include Purdue, University of Minnesota, and University of Central Florida. And at Ohio State earlier this year, the group captured a debate on video between one of its members and an older woman on campus who defended infanticide.

“This is the whole problem with devaluing human life at any stage—it will naturally grow to include other groups of humans; in this case, born humans as well as preborn humans,” Harrington said. “[I] talked with one young man at the University of Minnesota who thought it was alright to kill children if they were under the age of 5 years old, as he did not consider them persons until that age.”


So, it has arrived at a neighborhood near me, in a way.

The University of Minnesota was ideologically skewed when I was there, a long time ago. It has gotten worse, I see. To think of U of M and “alma mater” in the same sentence after reading this gives me a chill.

Posted in De Novissimis: Four Last Things, Emanations from Penumbras, Religious Liberty, Semper Paratus, The Coming Storm, The Drill, The future and our choices, The Last Acceptable Prejudice, The Sin That Cries To Heaven For Vengence | Tagged , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Rome – Day 9: Caravaggio and Tramezzini and Uccelli

This mornings breakfast of champions. You can’t always have a cornetto. Pizza bianca and mortadella. Yum. Just enough salt.


It was time to look for those time pieces.  Off I went to Santa Maria degli Angeli, built into the ruins of the Baths of Diocletian.


Going to your right, in the main body of the church is the solar meridian I was talking about the other day.



The hole through which the sun is cast even gets a papal crest.



On my way to the Palazzo Barbarini, I stopped at S M della Vittoria for a look at Bernini’s famous Teresa in Ecstasy.



And then a stop at S. Carlo a Quattro Fontane, which was done by in wild man genius Borromini.


At the Palazzo Barbarini I saw the exhibit from Guercino to Caravaggio.   It was pretty good.


There was this lovely Guercino, the Madonna of the Sparrow.  There is a thin string from the sparrows leg to Christ’s hand.  I particularly like the deeply maternal character of Our Lady.


Speaking of birds, in the main collection there is this Madonna and Child, with a surprise.


Not just one, but two Christological Goldfinches!  This is rare.  Umbrian, second half of the 14th c.

Back in the Caravaggio exhibit, Cavaraggio’s self-portrait as an ailing Bacchus.  Probably made while convalescing after a kick from a horse, and maybe after he had killed a man.  The stone is suggestive of a tomb, the unripe fruit of sin, the grapes – in two colors – of death and resurrection.


In the main collection, Battoni did a Madonna and St. Philip Neri.


One the way home, a great view of another of the mad masterpieces of Borromini, Sant’Ivo.



Lunch, tuna and tomato, like to those I ate for years at lunch time while living here in Rome.


Near the Trevi fountain, the church where the papal entrails are interred, SS. Vincent and Athanasius, still has the stemma of Benedict XVI.  I find that comforting.

Just riffing off of yesterday’s intestine theme….


At 5 this afternoon, I have Mass in the crypt of S. Cecilia in Trastevere.


On my way to Mass.  Just around the corner here is the church in which I was ordained a deacon.


Quattro capi!  On the bridge going over to the island.


There is a hospital on the island.  It has been a place of healing since in ancient times and the Temple of Asclepius which was here.

You can see the “Broken Bridge” and the opening of the Cloaca Maxima.


St. Cecilia before Mass.  There was some drama.  There were some Germans in the upper church and the sister didn’t want to let us have Mass in the crypt.  I sorted things out.


St. Cecilia after Mass.




We hiked to St. Maria in Trastevere after supper.




Trastevere is lovely at night.


And back across the Tiber to go home and get some rack time.





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Juxtaposition for your consideration

So… Card. Müller of the CDF meets with SSPX Bp. Fellay.  Some positive things are said after their meeting.

Then, Bp. Semeraro of Albano, where the SSPX HQ of Italy is, issues a Notification to warn people off from approaching SSPX priests (who are all suspended a divinis) for sacraments.  The timing of this raises questions.  Bp. Semeraro is the secretary of the “Gang of Nine” Cardinals.

Now watch this video, about the reparation the SSPX organized after the “Black Mass” event in Oklahoma City.

They sure sound dangerous, don’t they?

We might consider welcoming them.

Look… I am simply juxtaposing these things for your consideration.

Frankly, I think we need what the SSPX has to contribute. I pray for a reconciliation. Soon.

Posted in Our Catholic Identity, SSPX, The future and our choices | Tagged , , , , | 77 Comments

ASK FATHER: How to support young priest whose pastor doesn’t want the TLM?

From a reader…


Our parish has a 1 year ordained assoc pastor trained in TLM and would love to say it. Pastor is 62, new to us, would probably have a stroke if assoc pastor said TLM. How can I help(not in pastor’s graces)? I don’t want to harm the assoc pastor by creating a firestorm. Also, pastor heads deanery.

Sometimes the best help you can render is through prayer.  Pray both for the young associate and for the pastor’s change of heart.

The young associate is probably savvy enough to understand the pros and cons of offering Mass in the Extraordinary Form if the pastor is opposed.  After all, he survived the crucible of seminary formation.

While supporting the good young Father, trust his judgment. Don’t push the issue too much. He may have determined the best course of action is to avoid, for now, using the 1962 Missal, at least publicly, at this time and in this parish. I’m sure Father appreciates the support of kind parishioners, but it would be unwise to put any sort of pressure on him to go against the pastor’s wishes.

The best support could simply be that of an extended hand of friendship. Let him know that there are those who hope for better times.  They will support him if and when he sees it opportune to move forward with any plans.  They will also support him if he deems it unwise to do so for some time. Let him take the lead.

Meanwhile, write a supportive letter to the bishop about this good young priest!  It will go into his file.  Don’t mention the Extraordinary Form, or any quarrels you’ve had to land you outside of the pastor’s good graces.  The the bishop what a delightful young priest this associate pastor is.  Remember: bishops tend to only get letters of complaint.   Obvious letters of support will get his attention and, in time, could pay off.  They wind up in a priest’s file and counterweigh any difficulties in the future.

Keep the letter simple.  Something like:

“Fr. Moneypenny is a good, kind young priest with superb preaching skills and a great attitude. Thank you for sending him to us!”

Rather than, “Thank you for assigning Fr. Moneypenny to us. He does things right by the book unlike that crotchety old Fr. Mankiller who mopes around in his burlap chasuble preaching about socialism. Fr. Moneypenny wears his biretta every chance he gets and doesn’t tolerate that kind of wishy-washy liberal nonsense.”

That second letter, no matter how well-meaning, might get read by the chancery folks in an entirely different light than it’s intended. It will go into his file too, along with a snarky memo about how they ought to “stretch” this priest… as if on the rack.

Keep in simple.  Be positive.  Avoid controversial topics.  Sometimes people – in their zeal – hurt priests more than they can imagine.  Believe me.  I know this from personal experience.

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Cybersecurity Threat Lurking On Your Phone


I don’t have that app. But… wow.

Posted in The Drill, The future and our choices | 2 Comments

ASK FATHER: Can a godparent marry a godchild? Confirmation sponsor a confirmand?

From a reader…


Are spiritual relationships hindrances to marriages? For example, can a confirmand marry their sponsor? Can the children of godparents marry the godparents’ godchild?

An excellent question.

St. Thomas Aquinas spoke of spiritual affinity and the impediment it created in Question 56 of the supplement to the Summa Theologica.

The relationship between godparents and their godchildren is referred to as a relationship of “spiritual affinity.”

Spiritual affinity also occurs between the minister of baptism (who could be a lay person) and the one baptized. It is not the same as consanguinity (the relationship arising from sharing a bloodline) or simple affinity (the relationship that arises by way of marriage), but it is a relationship nonetheless.

In the Latin Church, until the 1983 Code took effect on 27 November 1983, spiritual affinity did create an impediment to marriage. Godparents could not marry their godchildren. A baptizer could not marry a baptizee.  However, the relationship of a confirmation sponsor to the confirmand is not the same as that of a godparent to godchild, so the impediment of spiritual affinity did not arise.

The Church understands the impediment of spiritual affinity to be ecclesiastical law, not divine law. Therefore, a dispensation from this impediment could be given, and the law could be changed.  In fact, the Church did change the law for the Western Church with the 1983 Code.  Spiritual affinity is no longer an impediment for Latin Catholics.

The Eastern Church, however, have retained it. Can 811 of the 1990 Code of Canons of the Eastern Churches states in paragraph 1, “From baptism there arises a spiritual relationship between a sponsor and the baptized person and the parents of the same that invalidated marriage.” Paragraph 2 explains that the relationship of spiritual affinity does not arise with the sponsor used in a conditional baptism. Thus, for Eastern Catholics the impediment exists not just between the baptized and his godparents, but also between the godparents and the parents of the one baptized.

The fact that spiritual affinity is no longer an impediment to marriage in the Latin Church does not mean that it should not be taken into consideration.

Not infrequently, when an unbaptized spouse wants to become Catholic, the Catholic spouse wants to serve as a sponsor. This is no longer prohibited, but that doesn’t mean it is a good idea.

The relationship between a godparent and a godchild is of a different category than between spouses.

Similarly, a confirmation sponsor has a different role than a spouse. There may be cases where this would be appropriate.

Since the Church no longer calls it an impediment in the Latin Church, people should be free to make these choices, but some caution should be taken.

Posted in "How To..." - Practical Notes, ASK FATHER Question Box, Liturgy Science Theatre 3000, One Man & One Woman, Our Catholic Identity | Tagged , , | 5 Comments