Cobblestones, new vestments, and swag for Zed Heads

The last couple of days have involved a lot of TV coverage.  The person who invented the DVR deserves prayers.  Everything is recorded, so I can blast through commercials and jump around.  Yesterday I tuned in – sort of – to Wimbledon, slightly more to the World Cup Final, and really to the 9th Stage of the Tour de France.

Stage 9 of the TdF involves dreaded cobblestones, 15 narrow stretches involving some 13 miles!  The cobbles are treacherous enough on foot.

Some don’t make it.

That was an amazing stage.

Today, while working in lunch with a priest, I caught the Trump/Putin Presser, read the NYT piece about the disgusting Card. McCarrick, proofed my weekly column, and unboxed our new green Solemn Mass set from Rome.  We needed a Solemn green set so that we would not unevenly wear the rather more precious Pontifical set.  DONATE!

This has bronze trim, rather than gold.  It looks great!

Here’s the antependium.

Oh… and a new item from my online Z-Swag Store came… I saw that they were now offering a “latte mug”, which has angled sides.  I figured it might be good for the live basil plants I keep in the kitchen.

I opted for the Zed-Head version.  Sometime ago, one of the haters at the Fishwrap labelled you regular readers as “Zed Heads”.  I thought that was pretty good, so I asked the the official graphic guy, also the maker of the wonderful Pius Clock, to whip up something appropriate.

This is really a trip.

I also got the mega-mug from the UOM collection.

And now I will join via Facetime my poetry reading group – which I founded many years agin – in my native place.  We are reading Eliot’s “Four Quartets” today.



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Posted in Lighter fare, SESSIUNCULA | Leave a comment

ACTION ITEM! Spiritual Bouquet for Bp. Morlino

On 1 August, His Excellency Most Reverend Robert C. Morlino, the Extraordinary Ordinary, will mark the 15th anniversary of his installation as the 4th Bishop of Madison.

The TMSM has begun to gather a Spiritual Bouquet for His Excellency, especially in gratitude for what he has done to promote beautiful, sacred liturgical worship of God.

A Spiritual Bouquet is an offering of prayer and/or sacrifice for the benefit of a soul of another person.

Bp. Morlino has worked marvels in the Diocese of Madison in fostering vocations to the priesthood, promoting reverence for the Blessed Sacrament, offering faithful moral preaching, and advancing sacred liturgical worship.  In the later he has been exemplary.

We have an online form that you can use to pledge your own spiritual offerings for Bp. Morlino’s benefit.

Please fill out by Wednesday 29 July to be included, though prayers are welcome after this date of course.



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More shallow, angry, cliché feminist rubbish from Fishwrap

The Fishwrap is a disgrace.  The National Schismatic Reporter today proudly displays:

Yes, Fishwrap pays people to write that.

Notice also their “same-sex marriage” post.  Coming from liberal RNS, it is not objective, which suits Fishwrap’s agenda just fine.

Jamie Manson, openly lesbian, disciple of Margaret Farley, writes against Catholic bishops:

But the bishops have only dug in their heels, using their health care facilities, financial resources and political influence to make the church perhaps the most powerful force in the world driving the movement to restrict access to birth control.

When Catholic theologians and ethicists argue against Humanae Vitae, they ultimately appeal to the church’s teaching on individual conscience as the final arbiter in moral decision-making. The problem with this argument is the fact that the Catholic hierarchy is making it increasingly difficult for individuals to exercise their consciences.

Realizing long ago that it had lost its authority over the faithful regarding contraception use, the bishops changed their strategy, investing their energy in promoting laws and policies that force individuals, Catholic or not, to obey their doctrine on conception.

And there’s this:

Most priests were taught three models of female sexuality: the pure and holy virgin, the chaste mother who only engages in sex for the sake of conceiving a child, or the wanton woman who is in need of repentance and the directive to “sin no more.”

These men were never expected to imagine what a women’s real life was like, what kinds of complexity she faces in her decision-making and what capacity she has to make judgments about her own sexuality.

It is little wonder that the hierarchy compulsively acts as if they have been charged as guardians of women’s purity; the ongoing exultation of the ban on contraception positions the church as a bastion of “old-fashioned values.”

What a load of shallow, angry, cliché feminist rubbish.

The Catholic bishops of these USA should immediately instruct this publication to remove the word “Catholic” from their title.

Meanwhile, pray for the conversion of these poor people.

St. Joseph, pray for us.

Dear St. Joseph, Terror of Demons and Protector of Holy Church, Chaste Guardian of Our Lord and His Mother, hear our urgent prayer and swiftly intercede with our Savior, whom as a loving father you defended so diligently, that He will pour abundant graces upon the staff of that organ of dissent the National catholic Reporter so that they will either embrace orthodox doctrine concerning faith and morals or that all their efforts will promptly fail and come to their just end. Amen.


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Posted in Liberals, Sin That Cries To Heaven | Tagged , | 15 Comments

The demographics of church participation are shifting.

The demographics of church participation are shifting.

In these USA…

The numbers of active priests will drop, impacting the number of parishes open.  The number of millennials going to church will drop, thus impacting parish income.  The number of conservative and traditional priests will rise, percentage wise, in presbyterates, thus impacting liturgy, preaching, and identity.  The number of children being born to practicing Catholics will outstrip those being born to liberals.   The number of conservative or traditional bishops being appointed will probably drop, thus creating a slowly growing identity rift between faithful and their local chief pastors.

Meanwhile, I saw this tweet:

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Posted in Our Catholic Identity, The Coming Storm, The future and our choices | Tagged | 7 Comments

ACTION ITEM! Urgent prayer request for a priest

A friend of mine asks for:

“An army of prayer for Fr. P!”

I don’t know who he is or what’s up, but if my friend asked me to ask you, then it must be important.

In your kindness, pray for “Fr. P”.

Daily Prayer for Priests

O Almighty, Eternal God, look upon the Face of Your Son and for love of Him, who is the Eternal High Priest, have pity on Your priests. Remember, O most compassionate God, that they are but weak and frail human beings. Stir up in them the grace of their vocation which is in them by the imposition of the bishop’s hands. Keep them close to You, lest the enemy prevail against them, so that they may never do anything in the slightest degree unworthy of their sublime vocation. O Jesus, I pray for Your faithful and fervent priests; for Your unfaithful and tepid priests; for Your priests laboring at home or abroad in distant mission fields; for Your tempted priests; for the lonely and desolate priests; for Your young priests; for Your dying priests; for the souls of Your priests in purgatory. But above all, I commend to you N. and all the priests dearest to me, the priest who baptized me,  the priests who have absolved me from my sins, the priests at whose Masses I have assisted and who have offered me Your Body and Blood in Holy Communion,  the priests who have taught and instructed me or helped and encouraged me,  and the priests to whom I am indebted in any other way. O Jesus, keep them all close to Your Heart, and bless them abundantly in time and in eternity. Amen.


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Posted in ACTION ITEM!, Mail from priests, Priests and Priesthood, Urgent Prayer Requests | 9 Comments

Your Sunday Sermon Notes

Was there a good point or two made in the sermon you heard at the Holy Mass to fulfill your Sunday obligation?  Let us know what it was.

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Posted in SESSIUNCULA | 9 Comments

“St Swithin’s day if thou be fair…”

Today is the Feast of St. Swithun, Bishop of Winchester (+862).  His bones in Winchester were the occasions of many cures, but his shrine was destroyed by Protestants.  He is celebrated today, 15 July, because this is the day his relics were translated in 971.  It seems that the saint was annoyed at being moved from a humble grave to a fancy shrine. A storm broke out, lasting for 40 days and nights.  Hence, he is associated with rain.

There is a rhyme:

St Swithin’s day if thou dost rain
For forty days it will remain
St Swithin’s day if thou be fair
For forty days ’twill rain na mair.

Swithun is also associated with apples, hence a custom of bobbing for apples on his feast.

We need more children named Swithun.


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What priests can – with credibility – do in marriage preparation

The other day, Kevin Card. Farrell, formerly of Dallas and now of Rome, made a disparaging remark about pretty much every priest in the world when it comes to marriage prep. He said: “[Priests] have no credibility; they have never lived the experience; they may know moral theology, dogmatic theology in theory, but to go from there to putting it into practice every day . . . they don’t have the experience.”  If that is the case, one might wonder with a measure of irony if he, a priest, is credible as the head of the Dicastery for the Laity, Family, and Life.

My good friend Fr. Gerald Murray comments on the Cardinal’s remarks at The Catholic Thing.

The Priest’s Role in Marriage Preparation

Cardinal Kevin Farrell, prefect of the Dicastery for the Laity, Family, and Life, made some provocative remarks about priests and marriage preparation in an interview that appeared recently in the Irish Catholic magazine Intercom. He said: “They have no credibility; they have never lived the experience; they may know moral theology, dogmatic theology in theory, but to go from there to putting it into practice every day . . . they don’t have the experience.”

He also spoke about the priests of the Diocese of Dallas where he served as bishop for nine years: “We have a million and a half Catholics and 75 priests, with a 45 to 50 percent rate of (Mass) attendance. Those 75 priests are not going to be interested in organizing marriage meetings.”

Do priests really lack credibility and interest in preparing couples for the sacrament of marriage? That has not been my experience. Most priests, and more specifically, most parish priests take a lively interest in marriage preparation.

Couples almost always appreciate their efforts as they prepare for marriage. Fr. Roger Landry has described the reality on the ground in most parishes in a recent column. Most priests are credible witnesses to the Church’s teaching on marriage, and they speak with insight – and often wisdom – from their extensive experience dealing with engaged couples, families, and children[Oddly enough, priests come from families.  Hmmm….]

What’s most troubling here are the premises underlying Cardinal Farrell’s remarks. He implies that the primary purpose of marriage instruction is to communicate experiential advice on how husbands and wives can live so as to produce marital happiness and familial harmony. To attain this goal, what couples need is to hear is practical advice from married people who, from their own experiences, will share “best practices” with engaged couples. He also claims that overworked priests would rather not take time from their busy schedules to meet with and instruct couples seeking to be married in the Church.

Marriage preparation programs should include advice on marital life from couples who are serious Catholics and have years of valuable experience in living out the demands of Christian marriage. And many priests are overworked. Yet should we promote the notion that priests should avoid working with engaged couples and are not really suited to this task?
Is it really better for them, instead, to dedicate time to other, relatively less important tasks such as building management and office work, which are in fact unavoidable and time-consuming tasks for most parish priests? Isn’t sacramental preparation a vital part of the spiritual paternity of the men ordained to celebrate the sacraments? [I think, perhaps…. yes?]

I had plenty of instruction in the seminary about Christian marriage, and none about building maintenance and parish office management. The seminary’s priorities were correct.

The number of Catholics seeking to be married in the Church has declined significantly. One reason is the ignorance of many Catholics about the sacramental nature of marriage and their obligations as Catholics. [Perhaps more important on the list of things that priests should pass along than “best practices”.] When a couple comes to the rectory seeking to be married in the Church we should view this as an opportunity to give doctrinal and spiritual formation to these obviously good willed, believing people. Who knows? They may tell their friends what a good experience it was to learn from a priest about the state in which they plan to spend the rest of their lives.

Poorly catechized Catholics need to understand Church teaching about the nature and purpose of marriage. Priests spend years in the seminary acquiring a deep understanding of that teaching, and how to explain its truth and value to the people of our times. They are meant to share that doctrinal formation with the laity.


I’ll cut it off there, only because I want you to go over there and read the rest.  It is very good.

Also, Fr. Raymond de Souza has a piece at the UK’s best Catholic weekly about the same topic.  He wrote:

Many priests devote enormous time and heroic energy to marriage preparation, often in the face of significant difficulties. They might not be the “best people” to do it, but certainly they would be deflated to hear Cardinal Farrell pronounce that, having “no credibility”, they are consequently wasting their time.

About 18 months ago Pope Francis – who himself offers all sorts of homely, affectionate and practical advice to married couples – took a rather different view when addressing parish priests, telling them that “no one better than you knows” the situations that couples face.

“May your primary concern be to bear witness to the grace of the Sacrament of Matrimony,” Pope Francis said. “Such witness is put into practice concretely when you prepare engaged couples for marriage, making them aware of the profound meaning of the step which they are about to take.”

So if it were a matter of authority alone, Cardinal Farrell’s comments could be ignored in light of the Holy Father taking a contrary view. Yet if Cardinal Farrell is right, it doesn’t matter that Pope Francis disagrees with him. But is he right? Is it true that priests have “no credibility” in preparing couples for marriage, because they have not been married themselves?


Yet there are questions that a priest is uniquely, but not exclusively, positioned to ask: do you pray together? If not, why not? Do you understand that your primary mission as a husband or wife is to get your spouse to heaven? Do you know that you will fail at that if you do not call upon the sacramental grace you will receive? Do you know what sacramental grace is? Do you know that it can enable to you to be far more than you imagine?

Those are matters upon which priests ought to have some credibility. If they don’t, we have much graver problems than marriage preparation.

Indeed.  Perhaps we do have graver problems.

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Posted in Mail from priests, One Man & One Woman | Tagged , | 37 Comments

French stones and soutanes

As I do each year, I’ve been watching the Tour de France.  When I was young, I did a bit of riding myself.    The coverage is technically amazing and the scenery along the way is beautiful.  It’s like a brief daily vacation around different regions of France.  They show the landscapes, chateaux and churches along the way and talk about their history.

Yesterday’s leg, Stage 7, resolved in Chartres.  One of the aerial shots showed the cathedral at the moment when a figure was crossing the street and I am quite sure he was in a cassock.  My screen has pretty good resolution.  Hard to tell, but I’m pretty sure.  I watched it several times.

On Sunday the riders hit the cobblestones.   There’s even a WSJ story about it.  It should be interesting.

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Posted in Just Too Cool | Tagged | 3 Comments

US Association of Consecrated Virgins condemns confusing new rules from Holy See

This is interesting… in the wake of the Holy See’s confusing document on consecrated virginity.  Ed Peter‘s wrote:

Now, according to the plain terms of ESI, the Blessed Virgin Mary, archetype of virginity consecrated to God, would not be eligible for admission to the order of virgins, but Mary Magdalene, model for women who, Deo gratias, set aside a promiscuous life, would be eligible.

Something, I suggest, is seriously wrong with such norms.

Hence, the consecrated virgins of these USA are pretty irritated.

US Association of Consecrated Virgins condemns ‘shocking’ new rules

The US Association of Consecrated Virgins has said it is “deeply disappointed” at new rules issued by the Vatican that appear to say consecrated virgins need not be virgins.

The group has taken issue with section 88 of the new document, which states: “Thus to have kept her body in perfect continence or to have practiced the virtue of chastity in an exemplary way, while of great importance with regard to the discernment, are not essential prerequisites in the absence of which admittance to consecration is not possible.”

The USACV said it was “shocking to hear from Mother Church that physical virginity may no longer be considered an essential prerequisite for consecration to a life of virginity.”

“The entire tradition of the Church has firmly upheld that a woman must have received the gift of virginity – that is, both material and formal (physical and spiritual) – in order to receive the consecration of virgins,” the association added.

They said that the new rules do not change the prerequisites for consecration as stated in the Rite of Consecration to a Life of Virginity, which says: “In the case of virgins leading lives in the world it is required that they have never celebrated marriage and that they have not publicly or manifestly lived in a state contrary to chastity.”

The USACV says that this means virginity is a minimum requirement for consecration, and they add that there are “some egregious violations of chastity” that, although they do not violate virginity, do disqualify women from receiving consecration.

The Vatican issued the document, titled Ecclesiae Sponsae Imago, last week after requests from bishops throughout the world for clarity on the role of consecrated virgins amid an upsurge in vocations.

A consecrated virgin is a woman who has never married who pledges perpetual virginity and dedicates her life to God. Unlike a nun, she does not live in a community and leads a secular life, providing for her own needs.

Stay tuned!

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Posted in ¡Hagan lío!, Pò sì jiù, The Drill | Tagged | 40 Comments

What could possibly go wrong?

UPDATE 13 July:


MARTIAN GREEN FLASH: Mars is approaching Earth for a 15-year close encounter on July 27th. The Red Planet now outshines every object in the sky except the sun, Moon, and Venus. Mars is doing things only very luminous objects can do–like produce a green flash. Watch this video taken by Peter Rosén of Stockholm, Sweden, on July 12th:

“Mars was shining brightly in the early morning sky,” he says. “At an altitude of only 6.5° above the horizon, the turbulence was extreme, sometimes splitting the planet’s disc in 2 or 3 slices and displaying a green and blue flash resembling those usually seen on the sun.”

___ Originally Published on: Jul 11, 2018

From Science Alert:

A Massive, Black Sarcophagus Has Been Unearthed in Egypt, And Nobody Knows Who’s Inside

Archaeological digs around ancient Egyptian sites still have plenty of secrets to give up yet – like the huge, black granite sarcophagus just discovered at an excavation in the city of Alexandria, on the northern coast of Egypt.

What really stands out about the solemn-looking coffin is its size. At 185 cm (72.8 inches) tall, 265 cm (104.3 inches) long, and 165 cm (65 inches) wide, it’s the biggest ever found in Alexandria.

Oh, and then there’s the large alabaster head discovered in the same underground tomb. Experts are assuming it represents whoever is buried in the sarcophagus, though that’s yet to be confirmed.


Okay. If they are going to open it, how about during this….

From SpaceWeather:

FRIDAY THE 13TH SOLAR ECLIPSE: If you live in Tasmania, this Friday the 13th is your lucky day. The new Moon will pass in front of the sun, off center, taking a bite out of the solar disk. This video created by graphic artist Larry Koehn of shows the circumstances of the partial eclipse:

The eclipse will be visible in a region stretching from the southernmost edge of Australia (2% coverage) to the northern coast of Antarctica (33% coverage). As the Moon’s shadow crosses few inhabited areas, Hobart, Tasmania, arguably has the best combinaion of population (200,000) + coverage (10%). It will be interesting to see if we receive any photos of this remote event. Stay tuned!


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¡Hagan lío! in Poland. Young, and raising hell…. correction… razing Hell.

These days it seems as if every time I turn around, I receive news of another Pontifical Mass in the Traditional Roman Rite has been celebrated somewhere.   I couldn’t be more pleased.

Slowly but surely, we are witnessing the reintegration of traditional sacred worship into the life of the Church.   Only good can come from the steady, side by side offering of worship to God in the two forms of the Roman Rite.

All should welcome this development, which is in its essence unifying, across ethnic groups, regions, generations and even across the bounds of death with the lived experience of our forebears, who were spiritually nourished by it and who lovingly handed it on.

Today I received a press release, which I’ll simply pass along:

Laudetur Iesus Christus! Pls feel free to use the following press release:

International liturgical workshops „Ars Celebrandi” are going on

Solemn and lofty celebrations; intense training; beautiful, contemplative Gregorian chant, new friendships and a warm atmosphere—this is the short summary of the international liturgical workshops „Ars Celebrandi”, launched yesterday at the Sanctuary of Our Lady of Sorrows in Liche? (Poland).

The workshops of the traditional liturgy „Ars Celebrandi” in Liche?, organized by the association Una Voce Polonia (Polish branch of the International Federation „Una Voce”, an organization recognized by the Holy See as the official representation of secular Catholics attached to the traditional Latin liturgy), are held for the fifth time. About 200 people from Poland and a dozen or so countries around the world, including Estonia, Latvia, Germany, France, Byelorussia, or even South Korea, learn to celebrate the Mass in the extraordinary form of the Roman rite (priests), serve it (altar servers), or sing (male and female Gregorian chant consorts).

The visit of the high-ranking Vatican prelate, Archbishop Guido Pozzo, secretary of the Pontifical Commission Ecclesia Dei (responsible for Catholics attached to the traditional liturgy around the world), will be the most important event of this year’ edition. On July 18 he will celebrate a pontifical Mass in the Basilica of Our Lady of Liche? and will hold a meeting with the participants of the workshops, answering their questions.

From this year on, “Ars Celebrandi” workshops are officially an international event: one of training groups for altar servers is held in English. This innovation was introduced in response to requests addressed to the organizers.

The priests have an unusual opportunity to improve their priestly singing under the direction of a Benedictine monk in charge of liturgical singing in the thousand-year old Benedictine Abbey in Tyniec (Cracow). Another important point is the presence of the Dominican rite—more than 750 years old own liturgy of the Order of Preachers (very popular in Poland); and the opportunity to participate in the so-called „Polish Masses” celebrated with the accompaniment of the once popular and now almost forgotten devotional folk unison songs.

The workshops are organized in a way enabling everything: prayer, learning and entertainment… well, except for rest. The plan of the day starts at 6 a.m. with singing lauds (the morning office), and ends in the late evening with a sung complete [compline] (not forgetting—for those willing—additional workshops, lasting up to midnight). However, the time for coffee meetings and making new contacts has been also provided („Ars Celebrandi” makes a great contribution to the integration of the Latin liturgy communities of different towns and countries), and even to watch the finals of the World Cup on football. [Of course.] The enthusiasts of the old liturgy are not alienated from life and stand firmly on the ground.

The event takes place from 12th until 19th of July. Daily releases and photo galleries are being published on Facebook and Instagram. Pls find enclosed a link to photos from the first day of the workshop, including the celebrations:  HERE

New galleries and releases will be published subsequently. Pls feel invited to follow us!

¡Hagan lío!

Isn’t that what Pope Francis wanted young people to do?  “Make a mess!”?   He probably meant something slightly different.  When coming from an Argentinian, who are famous for their blunt manner of expression, it probably means, “Raise hell!”… but in a good way.  Right?  “Pero quiero lío en las diócesis … Que me perdonen los Obispos y los curas, si algunos después le arman lío a ustedes, pero.. Es el consejo. …  I want a little hell-raising in dioceses… May the bishops and priests forgive me if some of you create a bit of confusion afterwards. That’s my advice.”

I love this photo from Poland:

They are young, and raising hell…. correction… razing Hell.

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Posted in ¡Hagan lío!, "How To..." - Practical Notes, Just Too Cool, Liturgy Science Theatre 3000, Our Catholic Identity, SUMMORUM PONTIFICUM | Tagged , , , | 1 Comment

WDTPRS – 15th Ordinary Sunday: We can stray off the path to the right or to the left.

This week I read a story about some nitwits in Scranton who have a breakaway church.  They are going to use the original (horrible) ICEL translation.  They’re entire pastoral/theological position seems to be about making people feel comfortable.  Hence, they’ve chosen the right translation; it stripped out anything that matters.  This week, the 15th Ordinary Sunday, we have a good example of a dramatic difference Obsolete ICEL version and the Latin with the Current ICEL.

The Collect or Opening Prayer for this 15th Sunday of Ordinary Time in the Ordinary Form of the Roman Rite is also used in the Extraordinary Form on the 3rd Sunday after Easter.   In the Ordinary Form it is also the Collect for Monday of the 3rd week of Easter season.

Today’s prayer goes back at least to the ancient Gelasian Sacramentary.  My trusty edition of St. Pius V’s 1570 Missale Romanum, and the subsequent 1962MR, shows the insertion of a word – “in viam possint redire iustitiae” – not present in the more ancient Collect in the Gelasian (though it was present in some other ancient sacramentaries).

The Ordinary Form editions of the Missal drop iustitiae.

Stylistically, this is a snappy prayer, with nice alliteration and a powerful rhythm in the last line.

Deus, qui errantibus, ut in viam possint redire,
veritatis tuae lumen ostendis,
da cunctis qui christiana professione censentur,
et illa respuere, quae huic inimica sunt nomini,
et ea quae sunt apta sectari.

It is hard to know what might be the sources influencing this prayer.  There is John 14, which we shall see below. Can we find a trace of the Roman statesman Cassiodorus (+c. 585 – consul in 514 and then Boethius’ successor as magister officiorum under the Ostrogothic King Theodoric)?  Cassiodorus wrote, “Sed potest aliquis et in via peccatorum esse et ad viam iterum redire iustitiae? But can someone be both in the way of sins and also return again to the way of justice?” (cf. Exp. Ps. 13).  Note especially the presence of “iustitiae” in Cassiodorus’ phrase.  Might we infer a touch of Milan’s mighty Bishop Ambrose (+397) or even more probably Augustine of Hippo (+430) who use similar patterns of words?

The thorough Lewis & Short Dictionary informs us that the verb censeo, though quite complicated, is primarily “to estimate, weigh, value, appreciate”.  It is used for, “to be of an opinion” and “to think, consider” something.  There is a special construction with censeo, censeri aliqua re meaning “to be appreciated, distinguished, celebrated for some quality”, “to be known by something.”   This explains the passive form in our Collect with the ablative christiana professione.   Getting this into English requires some fancy footwork.   Censeo here retains a meaning of “be counted among” (think of English “census”).  We can get the right concept in “distinguished” since it can mean both “be counted as” as well as “be celebrated for some quality.”

Christianus, a, um is an adjective with the noun professio. When moving from Latin to English sometimes we need to pull adjectives apart and rephrase them.  We could say “Christian profession”, but what this adjectival construction means here is “profession of Christ.”  We find the same problem in phrases such as oratio dominica, which is literally “the Lordly Prayer”. In English it comes out more smoothly as “the Lord’s Prayer”.

Respuo literally means “to spit out” and thus “reject, repel, refuse”.  The fundamental meaning gives a strong enough image for me to say “strongly reject, repudiate”.  The deponent verb sector indicates “to follow continually or eagerly” in either a good or bad sense.  Sector is used, for example, to describe a group of followers who accompanied ancient philosophers, which is where we get the word “sect”.

The word via needs our attention.  It means, “a way, method, mode, manner, fashion, etc., of doing any thing, course”.   There is a moral content to via as well, “the right way, the true method, mode, or manner”.

That’s a lot of vocabulary.  On the other hand, that’s what the prayer contains and words have meanings.


O God, who show the light of Your truth to the erring so that they might be able to return unto the way, grant to all who are distinguished by their profession of Christ that they may both strongly reject those things which are inimical to this name of Christian and follow eagerly the things which are suited to it.

Now look at this!


God our Father,
your light of truth
guides us to the way of Christ.
May all who follow him
reject what is contrary to the gospel.

I’m inspired!  Aren’t you?

What were they thinking?!?   No wonder so many Catholics today are so screwed up, after decades of that rubbish.


O God, who show the light of your truth
to those who go astray,
so that they may return to the right path,
give all who for the faith they profess
are accounted Christians
the grace to reject whatever is contrary to the name of Christ
and to strive after all that does it honor

Some initial associations to my mind.

Ancient philosophers (the word comes from Greek for “lover of wisdom”) would walk about in public in their sandals and draped toga-like robes.  Thinker theologian/philosophers such as Aristotle were called “Peripatetics” from their practice of walking about (Greek peripatein) under covered walkways of the Lyceum in Athens (Greek peripatos) while teaching.  Their disciples would swarm around them, hanging on their words, debating with them, learning how to think and to reason.  They would discuss the deeper questions the human mind and heart inevitably faces and in this they were theologians.

We must be careful not to impose the modern divorce of philosophy and theology on the ancients.  In ancient Christian mosaics Christ is sometimes depicted wearing philosopher’s robes, his hand raised in the ancient teaching gesture.  He is Wisdom incarnate and the perfect Teacher.   He is the one from whom we should learn about God and about ourselves.  After Christ Himself, we also have His Church, who is Mater et Magistra – Mother and Teacher.  Sometimes a small Christ is seated upon His Mother as if she were His teaching chair, or cathedral.  When so depicted, Mary is called Seat of Wisdom.

I am also reminded of the very first lines of the Divine Comedy by the exiled Florentine poet Dante Alighieri (+1321) who was heavily influenced by Aristotle’s Ethics and the Christianized Platonic philosophy mediated through Boethius (+525) and St. Thomas Aquinas (+1274).

The Inferno begins:

Midway in the journey of our life
I came to myself in a dark wood,
for the straight way was lost.
Ah, how hard it is to tell
the nature of that wood, savage, dense, and harsh –
the very thought of it renews my fear!
It is so bitter death is hardly more so.

Dante, the protagonist of his own poem, describes his fictional self.  His poetic persona, in the middle of his life (35 years old), is mired in sin and irrational behavior.  He has strayed from the straight path of the life of reason and is in the “dark wood”.

The life of persistent sin is a life without true reason, for human reason when left to itself without the light of grace is crippled.

Dante likens his confused state to death.  He must journey through hell and back.  He then experiences the purification of purgatory in order to come back to the life of virtue and reason.  In the course of the three-part Comedy he finds the proper road back to light and Truth and reason through the intercession of Christ-like figures such as Beatrice and Lucy and then through Christ Himself.

In the Comedy, Dante recovers the use of reason.  His whole person is reintegrated through the light of Truth.

Don’t we often describe people who are ignorant, confused or obtuse as “wandering around in the dark”?  This applies also to persistent sinners.

By their choices and resistance to God’s grace they have lost the light of Truth.  God’s grace makes it possible for us to find our way back into the right path, no matter how far off of it we have strayed in the past.

When we sin, we break our relationship with Christ.

If in laziness we should refuse to know Him better (every day), we lose sight of ourselves and our neighbor.

The Second Vatican Council teaches that Christ came into the world to reveal man more fully to himself (GS 22).

Christ, the incarnate Word, tells us in the person of the Apostle St. Thomas:

“‘Let not your hearts be troubled; believe in God, believe also in me. In my Father’s house are many rooms; if it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you?  And when I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to myself, that where I am you may be also. And you know the way (via) where I am going.’  Thomas said to him, ‘Lord, we do not know where you are going; how can we know the way (via)?’ Jesus said to him, ‘I am the way (via), and the truth (veritas), and the life; no one comes to the Father, but by me.  If you had known me, you would have known my Father also; henceforth you know him and have seen him…. He who has seen me has seen the Father’” (cf. John 14:1-6 RSV).

We have not only the words and deeds of Christ in Scripture, but God has given us in the Catholic Church herself a secure marked path to follow towards happiness.

We can stray off this sure path either to the right or to the left.  Either way, too far right or too far left, we wind up in the ditch in the dark.

When we have gone off the proper path and have left Christ, the Way, we can return to our senses again and be reconciled with God and neighbor through the sacraments entrusted to the Catholic Church, especially in the Sacrament of Penance and then good reception of Christ in Holy Communion.

We Catholics, who dare publicly to take Christ’s name to ourselves, need to stand up and be counted (censentur) in public and on public issues and even sharply refuse (respuere) whatever is contrary to Christ’s Name.

In what we say and do other people ought to be able to see Christ’s light reflected and focused in the details of our individual vocations.

To be good lenses and reflectors of Christ’s light, we must be clean.  When we know ourselves not to be so, we are obliged as soon as possible to seek cleansing so that we can be saved and be of benefit for the salvation of others.


We must also practice spiritual works of mercy, bringing the light of truth to the ignorant or those who persist in darkness either through their own fault or no fault of their own.

QUAERITUR: When people look at us and listen to us, do they see a black, light-extinguishing hole where a beautiful image of God should be?

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12 July: Sts. Louis Martin and Marie-Azélie Guérin

Today is the feast of two saints married to each other and the parents of another.

Sts. Louis and Zelie Martin have their feast in the Novus Order calendar.  They are the parents of St. Therese, the Little Flower.  July 13th was the day of their marriage. So, today would have been a preparation day. They were married at midnight with just a few witnesses.

Brides and grooms could take a lesson from this humble couple.  Maybe the dresses and photos aren’t the most important thing?

Marie-Azélie, Zelie, died from breast cancer.  Perhaps she might be invoked.

One of the more interesting choices John Paul II made during his long pontificate was the canonization of the married couple Luigi and Maria Beltrame Quattrocchi.  Pope Benedict did this with Marie-Azélie Guérin and Louis Martin.

Married couples have vocations together: to help each other get to heaven.  Everything else takes a back seat to that.

BTW… my friend Fr. Stephen Reynolds, during his time at St. Theresa’s in Sugar Land, TX, had a beautiful bronze made of the couple for a shrine.



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Posted in One Man & One Woman, Saints: Stories & Symbols | Tagged | 1 Comment

Does “Beans” @MassimoFaggioli undermine ‘Humanae vitae’?

The war on the teaching of Humanae vitae continued today with an offering at ultra-liberal Commonweal by Massimo “Beans” Faggioli.   Beans spends a lot of time on Twitter throwing out one inflammatory tweet after another as click bait.

Faggioli takes his starting point from the release of a new book, in Italian, by Gilfredo Marengo about how Humanae vitae came to be promulgated.   What he is really up to, however, is sowing doubt about the dependability of the content of Humanae vitae under the guise of making it is genesis understandable.

Beans doesn’t indicate that he adheres to Humanae vitae even though he teaches at a Catholic university and he should, therefore, have a mandatum.

First, note his title:

‘Humanae Vitae’ Was a Rewrite

If he and others can show that its development was contentious, then maybe you don’t have to adhere to it.

Then, inter alia, look at his numbers game:

Another important fact revealed in Marengo’s book has to do with Paul VI’s request to the bishops gathered at the synod of October 1967 that they send him suggestions about a magisterial document on the regulation of fertility. Of the more than two hundred members of the synod, only twenty-six replied between October 1967 and May 1968—and only seven of these twenty-six recommended that Paul VI confirm Pius XI’s prohibition of contraception. Among the bishops in favor of a shift in teaching away from Pius XI’s Casti connubii were not only well-known European progressives like Suenens (Brussels), Döpfner (Munich), and Legér (Montreal), but also the U.S. prelates Dearden (Detroit) [spectacularly liberal], Krol (Philadelphia) [a social liberal who covered up sex abuse], Shehan (Baltimore) [spectacularly liberal], and Wright (Pittsburgh) [supporter of Charles Curran].

Two hundred members of the synod, of which 26 replied, of whom 19 (of 200) wanted the Church’s perennial teaching to be overturned.   And that is a big deal.

Moreover, a whole bunch of bishops – the majority – didn’t respond: Qui tacet consentire videtur.

Beans might read Humanae vitae 6.  Paul VI (and the drafters) explicitly acknowledged the division in the commission that had studied the question.  HV recognized that a way of thinking emerged in the commission that was not consistent with Catholic moral reasoning.

In other words, both those who drafted the text and the Pope who made the text unequivocally his own by signing and promulgating it his own were deeply aware of the dissenters’ position. They didn’t agree with it.

This is how dissenters typically roll.

They assert that if you disagree with them, you are ignoring them.

For liberals, “dialogue” means that you need to agree with them.

Pope Paul knew about the dissent.  Pope Paul didn’t agree with it.  Pope Paul published something that adhered to the Church’s teaching.

How Humanae vitae came to be promulgated is, in fact, interesting.  I look forward to looking at this new book… for the sake of history, etc., but not to undermine the encyclical.

When we discuss Humanae vitae we discuss the promulgated text, and not some previous draft.

And now for some of the actually text of Humanae vitae:

Special Studies

5. The consciousness of the same responsibility induced Us to confirm and expand the commission set up by Our predecessor Pope John XXIII, of happy memory, in March, 1963. This commission included married couples as well as many experts in the various fields pertinent to these questions. Its task was to examine views and opinions concerning married life, and especially on the correct regulation of births; and it was also to provide the teaching authority of the Church [Paul] with such evidence as would enable it to give an apt reply in this matter, which not only the faithful but also the rest of the world were waiting for.

When the evidence of the experts had been received, as well as the opinions and advice of a considerable number of Our brethren in the episcopate—some of whom sent their views spontaneously, while others were requested by Us to do so—We were in a position to weigh with more precision all the aspects of this complex subject. Hence We are deeply grateful to all those concerned.

The Magisterium’s Reply

6. However, the conclusions arrived at by the commission could not be considered by Us as definitive and absolutely certain, dispensing Us from the duty of examining personally this serious question. This was all the more necessary because, within the commission itself, there was not complete agreement concerning the moral norms to be proposed, and especially because certain approaches and criteria for a solution to this question had emerged which were at variance with the moral doctrine on marriage constantly taught by the magisterium of the Church.

Consequently, now that We have sifted carefully the evidence sent to Us and intently studied the whole matter, as well as prayed constantly to God, We, by virtue of the mandate entrusted to Us by Christ, intend to give Our reply to this series of grave questions.

And that put to rest what the Not Popes opined.

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Posted in Emanations from Penumbras, Liberals, One Man & One Woman, Our Catholic Identity, The Drill | Tagged , , , , | 10 Comments