Fr. Z’s Voice Mail: A wish for a dying seminarian – ACTION ITEM! #wookies4wes

z-voice-mailIt has been a while since I have posted about my voice mail.  I enjoy your voice mail messages!

FIRST, about the seminarian who is dying from cancer.

What an awful piece of news.  Hopefully his sufferings will help him to heaven and will edify his brethren so that they live holy lives.


This is a seminarian of the diocese of Kansas City-St. Joseph.

There you go.  Now, folks, do your thing which you do so well.  Spread the word.  This is an official ACTION ITEM.  And the Facebook page is HERE

I remember when Stratford Caldecott was dying, there was a similar initiative. HERE  Even stars of the Captain America: Winter Soldier movie got involved.

So, people activate your networks!  Let’s get this going!

Next… the gal in California:

This guy sounds like he is well motivated, but perhaps not the brightest bulb in the Church’s marquee.  Doing this once is bad enough, but to repeat it, is worse.  This is decidedly NOT allowed.  He was essentially asking people to give a sermon of some sort.  This is like having the head of the finance council talk about the dire state of the parish’s investments (i.e., pass along information)… although the pastor should do that.  Nope… this is a really bad idea.  Imagine the loony stuff people might spout?  No… we don’t have to imagine, do we.  I think we have all heard the awful stuff people come up with for spontaneous prayers of the faithful or, quod Deus avertat, eulogies.   Father should knock this off right away.

Finally, to the nice old gent in England…

To begin, while you were kind to invite me to ring you back, I don’t do that.  Also, I think the article on Hell that you liked might have been in the UK’s best Catholic weekly, the Catholic Herald, for which I have been a writer for some years now. My present column is called Omnium Gatherum. It’s available in the print edition, which can bee found in toto online through Exact Editions. I recently wrote a little about Hell from my desire to keep people from going there. Here is a sample:

Speaking of Hell, let’s be clear about something. Hell exists. Holy Church teaches about Hell and the Devil without the possibility of error. The greatest accomplishment of the Devil is to deceive people that he and the fallen angels don’t exist … that there is no Hell … that no one is in Hell, blah blah blah. If you don’t believe in Hell and malicious fallen angels, you are in serious risk of joining them.
Hell isn’t merely like a really long bad cruise. In Hell, the damned suffer the agony of loss and eternal separation from God (hint: unending pain will be a key feature of your eternity). We risk Hell by separating ourselves from God by sinning, by resisting grace, by failing to repent, by not doing what we ought. Never presume that you are automatically saved. If, when you die – and you will die – you are not in the state of grace, not living in the friendship of God, you will go to Hell. Once you are there, that’s it. There is no hope of ever changing your lot even after a million billion years. If you choose that fate, it would be better for you had you never been born (cf Matthew 26:24).
STOP. Imagine what goes through the mind of the damned soul during his first 30 seconds in Hell.
I bring up these harsh realities because I don’t want anyone to go to Hell, myself included. Each day, therefore, examine your conscience.
We must be clear about the Four Last Things: Death, Judgment, Heaven, Hell. Sure, we must also talk about heaven and goodness and joy and kitties and sunshine and birthday cakes. But let’s also get this Hell and Devil thing straightened out because they’ve been neglected for far too long.
Another thing: Priests and bishops who don’t teach about Hell will probably wind up there.

Anyway, about writing to me, I recently posted a postal address (not my residential postal address, but a mailbox), so that people could send Christmas cards.  Click HERE

Thanks! (I hope you see this… I suspect that you read the print edition and don’t spend a lot of time online.)

Please leave me voice mail. I don’t call back, but I listen to it. You have three options:


 020 8133 4535


TIPS for leaving voice mail.

  1. Don’t shout!  If you shout, your voice will be distorted and I won’t be able to understand you.
  2. Come to your point right away.
  3. Let me know at the onset if I can use it on the blog.  I may be able to anonymize it a little by editing if need be.
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Posted in ACTION ITEM!, Four Last Things, HONORED GUESTS, Pray For A Miracle, Seminarians and Seminaries, Urgent Prayer Requests, Voice Mail | Tagged | Leave a comment

ADVENTCAzT 01: God is the God of the second chance

This year I once again offer short daily podcasts to help you prepare for the upcoming feast as well as for your own, personal, meeting with the Lord.

These are especially offered as a token of gratitude for my benefactors who donate and send items from my wishlist.  Thank you!

And so, here is ADVENTCAzT 01, for the 1st Sunday of Advent.  Have some Mystic Monk Coffee and have a listen!

Some of the music used today: HERE

Chime in if you listened.

PS: These podcasts should also available through my iTunes feed, though in years past I have had problems with it. Let me know how you are listening.  Through the plug in on this post? Through iTunes? Downloading?

Posted in 1983 CIC can. 915, ADVENTCAzT, PODCAzT, Priests and Priesthood | Tagged , , , , , | 5 Comments

ACTION ITEM: Pontifical Vestments Fund Raising – PROGRESS UPDATES

UPDATE 29 Nov:

Don’t forget about this project!   The Tridentine Mass Society of Madison needs vestments.. lots of vestments.  This is only the beginning.

Get out that crowbar and pry loose some money… for a tax deductible donation.

UPDATE 20 Nov:

Today I received an email from Gammarelli in Rome:

We have finished to cut the vestments, so now we will wait for them to be started from our worker (3 weeks time).

So, we are getting closer. They won’t be here by the 1st Sunday of Advent (that was slim) but they should be here before Advent is over!

We were able to get over the half way point yesterday. We even had one donation of $1K! That seems to have encouraged more people to contribute

Have you pitched in yet? This is tax deductible.


Gammarelli sent a few photos of the cutting of the fabric for the Pontifical set. They are a little fuzzy, but… they are making progress!  Click >>HERE<<

Parato Fr. Zuhlsdorf 001

Parato Fr. Zuhlsdorf 002

Parato Fr. Zuhlsdorf 003

Parato Fr. Zuhlsdorf 004

Parato Fr. Zuhlsdorf 005

Parato Fr. Zuhlsdorf 006

So Gammarelli is making progress with our new set of Pontifical vestments.  Now we need you to help us make progress with the fundraising to pay for them!



During my recent Roman trip (thanks, readers) I went to Gammarelli, where I ordered up a new Pontifical Mass set in purple for the Tridentine Mass Society of Madison.

I set up a GOFUNDME drive to raise money for this project.  You can make TAX DEDUCTIBLE donations through this.  The TMSM is a 501(c)(3) organization.  


We must keep pushing forward!  Always forward!

Here is one of the shop minions, calculating expense of fabric and trim for the altar frontal or antependium.

The set will have:

  • Chasuble in the “Philip Neri” Roman style with stole, maniple, burse, veil
  • Four dalmatics with 1 stole and 2 maniples.  They might squeeze a couple stoles extra from the fabric
  • Humeral veil
  • Cope and stole
  • Antependium
  • Gremial
  • Fabric for tabernacle veil should be sent.

They have to order more of the purple, because this kind of set requires quite a bit.  I hope they may have it finished and sent by Advent.

Hopefully we will have regular Pontifical Masses during the Year of Mercy as well as Solemn Masses.  I am pretty sure it will be the only Solemn set, much less Pontifical, in the diocese.

Please help with our project?

At the time of this writing…

Thanks to donors!

MH, AS, BY, KS, MB!, DC!, NA, JE, KA!, CM, DY!!!!!, FB, PO, RE!, JG!!, AS, EK, RF. ED, MM, MH, GG!!!!!, CD, CRJR, CD!, AD, MG, WH, PC, MH!, AS, CU!!, TB, JK!, SH, MR, TB!, PW, CT!x10, JB, BK, AH, AL, RJS, SG!

Posted in ACTION ITEM!, Liturgy Science Theatre 3000, SUMMORUM PONTIFICUM | Tagged , , | 16 Comments

ASK FATHER: Use of the Advent Preface in the TLM, Extraordinary Form

From a reader…


Hello Father, Happy Advent! Today, our priest didn’t use the Preface for Advent which my hand missal says was promulgated (along with one for the Holy Eucharist, All Saints, and the Dedication of a Church) in

1962 for use. Are these considered ad libitum? If not, what were the restrictions? God bless and thank you for your time!

And a penitentially happy Advent back at you.

It is permitted to use those so-called “Gallican Prefaces” with the 1962 Missale Romanum but it is not obligatory.

They are now a legitimate option for the Extraordinary Form, although many people object to their use.  Some think that nothing at all should be introduced to the 1962 book.  Period.  Others think that the prefaces are okay, but that, right now, it isn’t prudent to incorporate them into the practice of the Extraordinary Form yet.  They think that we need a measure of time for us to regain some lost time and territory, as it were.  Perhaps in the future they could be used but not now.

I don’t have any objection to their use.  Today I might have used the Advent Preface, but the book was already set up with the Preface for the Holy Trinity and it didn’t occur to me at the moment.

The Advent Preface is: [Not as it turns out…]

“It is truly meet and just, right and for our salvation, that we should at all times and in all places give thanks to Thee, Holy Lord, Father Almighty, eternal God: for through the Mystery of the Word made flesh, new radiance from Thy glory hath so shone on the eye of the soul that the recognition of our God made visible draweth us to love what is invisible. And therefore with Angels and Archangels, with Thrones and Dominations, and with all the hosts of the heavenly army we sing a hymn to Thy glory, evermore saying: …”

Vere dignum et justum est, ?quum et salutáre, nos tibi semper, et ubíque grátias ágere: Dómine sancte, Pater omnípotens, ætérne Deus: per Christum Dóminum nostrum. Quem pérdito hóminum géneri Salvatórem miséricors et fidélis promisísti: cuius véritas instrúeret ínscios, sánctitas justificáret ímpios, virtus adiuváret infírmos. Dum ergo prope est ut véniat quem missúrus es, et dies afflúlget liberatiónis nostræ, in hac promissiónum tuárum fide, piis gáudiis exsultámus. Et ídeo cum Angelis et Archángelis, cum Thronis et Dominatiónibus, cumque omni militia cœléstis exércitus, hymnum glóriæ tuæ cánimus, sine fine dicéntes: — Sanctus.

It is truly meet and just, right and for our salvation, that we should at all times and places give thanks unto Thee, O holy Lord, almighty Father, eternal God, through Christ our Lord; for in Thy mercy and fidelity Thou hast promised Him as Savior to the lost race of men, to instruct the ignorant with His truth, justify the wicked with His holiness, and help the weak by His power. Now that the time draweth nigh that He Whom Thou art to send should come, and the day of our liberation should dawn, with faith in Thy promises, we rejoice with holy exultation. And therefore with the Angels and Archangels, with the Thrones and Dominions, and with all the hosts of the heavenly army, we sing a hymn to Thy glory, evermore saying: — Sanctus.

Click for larger…


Posted in "How To..." - Practical Notes, ASK FATHER Question Box, Liturgy Science Theatre 3000, SUMMORUM PONTIFICUM | Tagged , | 3 Comments

Your Sunday Sermon Notes

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

Let us know.

I said Masses in both the Extraordinary and the Ordinary Form today, and wound up giving different sermons – as the spirit moved me. Given the harrowing Gospel reading in both forms, actually scarier still in the Novus Ordo form, in both I touched on the need to examine our consciences regarding sins of omission and our obligation to perform corporal and spiritual works of mercy, as our state in life calls.

Someone sent me a photo of Communion time:


Posted in SESSIUNCULA | 20 Comments

Blue Vestments: wherein Fr. Z rants

The use of blue vestments during Advent is pretty much cliché now, so cliché that not even the aging hippies are clinging to it.  Here’s my annual rant about the use of blue vestments in the Roman Rite.

At this point, some people always blurt, “But Father! But Father! Once upon a time in Spanish territories there was an indult and… therefore… we can… you know!  You hate Vatican II!”

Who knows if that legendary – I repeat legendary – indult still applies. I don’t.  I seriously doubt it does.  Has anyone ever seen the text of that indult?  No. I haven’t either. Over the years more information has come to light about that legendary indult.  According to THIS, we read: “This privilege was granted to Spain, its colonies, and Latin America by a decree of the Sacred Congregation of Rites on Feb. 12, 1864.”  I have not seen the text.  Also, I suppose you would also have to demonstrate that your territory was under Spanish control on 12 Feb 1864.

Apart from whether their use is licit, it is clear that they were used in some Spanish territories and that they probably survive in the Rite of Toledo and in other regions too.

Others will say, “But Father! But Father! There is a custom of using blue during Advent and on Marian feasts!”

Yeah yeah… sure.  It’s against the law.

Also, I I learned last year from a commentator, the Spanish bishops approved, in their liturgical Ordo, the use of blue (“azul”) for the Marian Feast of the Immaculate Conception.   Last year it read:

Misa de la solemnidad (blanco o azul).
bl az MISAL: ants. y oracs. prop., Gl., Cr., Pf. props. No se puede decir

I’m not in Spain.  Are you?

15_11_29_blue_lampasGiven what’s going these days, I am more inclined to look favorably on a traditionally tinged antinomianism.  HERE  In this Age of Mercy, I guess we can do whatever we want to the Roman Rite.  It’s for the poor, after all.  And, in mercy, some of the things we do in the Extraordinary Form should be done in the Ordinary Form.  No?  Shall I mention the traditional offertory prayers?  The Anglican Use has them.  How about the Last Gospel?  The Anglican Use has it.

Use the prove that I love Vatican II I say “Let’s just do whatever the hell we want!”

Here is another argument: “But FATHER! Solemn occasions merit the most beautiful vestments even though they might not be the right color!  It’s legitimate to use illicit colors if they are the best vestments you have!”

Sure… okay.  But respondeo dicendum: Since blue is not an approved liturgical color in the Roman Rite, why are the blue vestments the best you have?

As soon as blue is approved for use, and I hope it will be, I will be among the first to have a beautiful set made in the Roman style!  I will take up a collection and get a magnificent Pontifical set, replete with cope and humeral veil and all the dalmatics and tunics and gremials and frontals!  I’ll get a stupendous Low Mass set with gold and embroidery.  I will ask for huge donations!  You can bet on it.

In fact… why should I wait?

If bishops – cardinals – can pretend that Christ didn’t mean what he said about one man and one woman and matrimony… can pretend that the magisterium of John Paul II is obsolete and that Benedict didn’t really issue Summorum Pontificum … and can pretend that there is such a thing as mercy without truth… then I can pretend that I’m in Spain and that blue is approved for the entire Latin Church.


Thus endeth the rant.

Now enjoy this annual song from the official Parodohymnodist.

UPDATE 29 Nov:

There is a treasure trove of information about past concessions to use cerulean/blue vestments HERE.  Ultimate Fr. Z kudos for that.

In a nutshell, the concessions given for the use of cerulean were few in number and were quite restrictive by the clear intent of the Holy See.

Posted in Lighter fare, Liturgy Science Theatre 3000, Parody Songs, Wherein Fr. Z Rants | Tagged , , , | 39 Comments

ADVENTCAzT 00: Joyful penance and penitential joy

This year I once again offer short daily podcasts to help you prepare for the upcoming feast as well as for your own, personal, meeting with the Lord.

These are especially offered as a token of gratitude for my benefactors who donate and send items from my wishlist.  Thank you!

And so, here is ADVENTCAzT 00, for Saturday before the 1st Vespers of Advent.  Have some Mystic Monk Coffee and have a listen!

Some of the music used today: HERE

Chime in if you listened.

PS: These podcasts should also available through my iTunes feed, though in years past I have had problems with it. Let me know how you are listening.  Through the plug in on this post? Through iTunes? Downloading?

Posted in ADVENTCAzT, ADVENTCAzT, PODCAzT | Tagged , , , | 20 Comments

ACTION ITEM UPDATE: Christmas Cards and gloves

We are on the very threshold of Advent. This afternoon I switch volumes of the Roman Breviary… already. I have also located and and ready to sling up my tactical stocking.

Yesterday I received the first Christmas cards from you readers.  More about this HERE

They were from

  • Santa Clarita, CA
  • Indianapolis, IN

Thanks!  I suspect more will start pouring in soon, if last year is an indicator.

Meanwhile, since it has turned cold, I have needed to dig out my gloves.  What did I find?  I found in my glove place… 5 left hand gloves.

How does this even happen?!?

It is as if someone for a practical joke crept in and, instead of sowing weeds, removed half the wheat.

Posted in ACTION ITEM!, Lighter fare | Tagged | 12 Comments

WDTPRS: 1st Sunday of Advent (Novus Ordo) – “they are His while they are ours”

AdventWe’ve come around again to the 1st Sunday of Advent, the beginning of a new liturgical year.

In the newer, post-Conciliar calendar this Sunday is back to back with the Solemnity of Christ the King, honoring the future Second Coming at the end of the world, even while Advent prepares us for celebrating His First Coming at Christmas.

Advent is about how the Lord comes… not just in His Nativity and at the Second Coming, but in every way. He comes in actual graces. He comes when the priest says, “Hoc est enim corpus meum….This is my Body.” He comes in Holy Communion and in the person of the needy.

“Make straight the paths!”, the liturgy of Advent cries out with the words of Isaiah and John the Baptist.

As we begin Advent, perhaps you would do well to remember that when the Lord comes, He is going to come by a straight path whether you have done your best to straighten it ahead of time or not. He will do the straightening for you, one way or another. Better to start doing now, don’t you think?

Let us drill into the very first oration of our liturgical year, according to the Novus Ordo or Ordinary Form

This is a new prayer for the Novus Ordo but based on ancient prayer from the so-called “Gelasian Sacramentary”.


Da, quaesumus, omnipotens Deus,
hanc tuis fidelibus voluntatem,
ut, Christo tuo venienti iustis operibus occurrentes,
eius dextrae sociati, regnum mereantur possidere caeleste.

This is how we begin our year, suffused with the language of deep humility: “Grant, we beseech You….”

There may be a current of Matthew 25 flowing into this prayer, with its parables of the wise and foolish virgins, waiting for the Bridegroom to come, and image of the Lord’s right hand, where we hope to be gathered after the separation of the goats from the sheep.  Both parables have to do with the coming of the Lord, as Bridegroom and as Judge.

The prestigious Lewis & Short Dictionary says that voluntas is basically, “will, freewill, wish, choice, desire, inclination”, but in our collect I think it has also the nuance of a “disposition” toward a thing or person. Occurro is, “to run up to, run to meet” and the deponent verb mereor, “to deserve, merit, to be entitled to, be worthy of a thing”. The usually active socio, “to join or unite together, to associate; to do or hold in common, to share a thing with another”, has a “middle” impact in this passive construction with the dative.


Almighty God, we beseech You, grant
to Your faithful this (disposition of) will,
that those rushing with just works to meet Your Christ, now coming,
united at His right hand may merit to possess the heavenly kingdom.


All-powerful God,
increase our strength of will for doing good
that Christ may find an eager welcome at his coming
and call us to his side in the kingdom of heaven.


Grant your faithful, we pray, almighty God,
the resolve to run forth to meet your Christ
with righteous deeds at his coming,
so that, gathered at his right hand,
they may be worthy to possess the heavenly kingdom

It can be hard to get certain constructions from Latin into English. The “Christo tuo venienti” with its present active participle is one of them. The present or, better here, contemporary participle has the time of the verb of the main clause. It describes “Your Christ” in the very act of “coming”. We can do that as “Your Christ who is coming” rather than “Your Christ-right-now-in-the-process-of-coming” or the awkward “Your coming Christ”. We are rushing forward (occurrentes) and smoothing the path for the feet of our King. This requires work, just works, just by their origin, Christ Himself. When even in this life we are united to the right hand of Christ (dextrae sociati) our works are truly ours but also truly His and we merit heaven. The image of the “right hand”, the Biblical place of honor, points to the eternal glory of God and the inauguration of the Messianic kingdom… regnum…celeste to which we look forward even as we look back to His First Coming (cf. Catechism of the Catholic Church 663-4).

A Protestant or fundamentalist Christian would not say this prayer with its “just works”, its “meriting”, its “disposition”. What does “disposition of will” (voluntas) mean for us fallen humans? Protestants think our nature is wholly corrupt and so our disposition must be entirely evil. But we know man is wounded by the Fall, not wholly corrupted. Protestants believe anything good in us must be imposed from outside through the “alien merits” of Christ. Is the voluntas we are begging in the prayer going to be our will or someone else’s will covering us over? The prayer doesn’t say if the voluntas is God’s or ours.

Once we are baptized and live in the state of grace, we are New Creations and God the Holy Trinity is at work in us. Our cooperation with God’s gift of faith through good works saves us, not “faith alone” or a mere “covering over”. A proper interior “disposition of will” is made possible and given by God but after that it is really ours. Our works do not by themselves merit anything, but once we are transformed and renewed by sanctifying grace, “united at His right hand” already in this life, our work on earth merits the increase of grace and the reward of heaven because they are His while they are ours.

Thomas de Vio Card. Caietanus (Cajetan +1534) explained to Martin Luther (+1546) that, when we say that we “merit”, we are saying that Christ merits in us (cf. De fide et operibus, 12).

St. Augustine of Hippo (+430) preached that, “When God crowns our merits (merita), He crowns nothing other than His own gifts (munera)” (ep. 194, 5, 19). We merit salvation on the foundation of habitual, sanctifying grace, through the virtuous works which we perform. His will becomes our sole desire.


Posted in SESSIUNCULA | Tagged , , , , | 7 Comments

“Admonish the sinner” reappears

A while back I posted something about a curious lacuna in Misericordiae vultus which listed some of the spiritual works of mercy but which omitted “admonish the sinner”. HERE

However, it now does in the online version in English HERE.

15. […] It is my burning desire that, during this Jubilee, the Christian people may reflect on the corporal and spiritual works of mercy. It will be a way to reawaken our conscience, too often grown dull in the face of poverty. And let us enter more deeply into the heart of the Gospel where the poor have a special experience of God’s mercy. Jesus introduces us to these works of mercy in his preaching so that we can know whether or not we are living as his disciples. Let us rediscover these corporal works of mercy: to feed the hungry, give drink to the thirsty, clothe the naked, welcome the stranger, heal the sick, visit the imprisoned, and bury the dead. And let us not forget the spiritual works of mercy: to counsel the doubtful, instruct the ignorant, admonish sinners [peccatores monere], comfort the afflicted, forgive offences, bear patiently those who do us ill, and pray for the living and the dead.

We cannot escape the Lord’s words to us, and they will serve as the criteria upon which we will be judged….

Posted in Linking Back | Tagged , | 5 Comments