More on the question of deaconettes

I direct the readership to look at a piece in First Things:


hen Pope Francis announced his willingness to appoint a commission to study whether women can serve as deacons in the Catholic Church, my first thought was: Here we go!

And sure enough, FutureChurch, the liberal Catholic organization that has subtly pushed for the ordination of women to the hitherto all-male Catholic priesthood, not only praised Francis for his statement but announced its intention to set up a website, sponsor a retreat for women feeling the “call” to become deacons, and, clearly most important of all, lobby the U.S. bishops to start pestering Rome about opening the diaconate to the female sex. The less subtle Women’s Ordination Conference (WOC) faulted Francis for not going all the way and opening the priesthood to women, but it did offer him some limited praise: “WOC advocates that a new commission on the diaconate include discussions on priestly ordination for women in the Roman Catholic Church.”

The “discussions” WOC has in mind seem to be historical in nature. In its press statement, WOC invokes “historical evidence” of the existence of “several women deacons” in the early Church and asserts that, in ordaining women deacons, the Vatican would merely be “recognizing its own history.”

But a look at that history may cause us to doubt whether the aspiring women deacons of today really are in line with the historical Christian women they claim as their forebears.


As you can imagine, there’s more.

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Card. Sarah: “it is essential that the priest and faithful look together towards the east.”

He doesn’t, in this case, mean the Eastern Churches.

An argument can be made that the wholly unnecessary and uncalled for turning around of altars in the wake of Vatican II was the single most damaging innovation that occured.   This was NOT called for by the Council Fathers, nor was it truly for the good of the people.

But that’s what we got and enormous damage was inflicted on the Catholic identity of millions.

In the UK’s best Catholic weekly, the Catholic Herald, I saw today a piece by the great Robert Card. Sarah, Prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship:

Vatican liturgy chief urges priests to celebrate Mass facing east

Cardinal Robert Sarah made the comments in an exclusive interview with Famille Chrétienne

The Vatican’s liturgy chief has called on priests to celebrate Mass facing east.

In an interview with the French Catholic magazine Famille Chrétienne, Cardinal Robert Sarah said that the Second Vatican Council did not require priests to celebrate Mass facing the people.

This way of celebrating Mass, he said, was “a possibility, but not an obligation”.

Readers and listeners should face each other during the Liturgy of the Word, he said.

“But as soon as we reach the moment when one addresses God – from the Offertory onwards – it is essential that the priest and faithful look together towards the east. This corresponds exactly to what the Council Fathers wanted.”

Cardinal Sarah, prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments, rejected the argument that priests celebrating Mass facing east are turning their backs on the faithful “or against them”. [Thank you.]

Rather, he said, all are “turned in the same direction: towards the Lord who comes”.

“It is legitimate and complies with the letter and spirit of the Council,” he said. “As prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments, I wish to recall that the celebration versus orientem is authorised by the rubrics, which specify the times when the celebrant must turn to the people. It is therefore not necessary to have special permission to celebrate facing the Lord.

Cardinal Sarah’s remarks echo an article he wrote a year ago for L’Osservatore Romano, in which he said it was “altogether appropriate, during the penitential rite, the singing of the Gloria, the orations and the Eucharistic prayer, that everyone, priest and faithful, turn together toward the East, so as to express their intention to participate in the work of worship and redemption accomplished by Christ.”

The cardinal added in the article that Mass facing east could be “implemented in cathedrals, where the liturgical life must be exemplary”.

God bless Card. Sarah.

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SSPX reconciliation. I think it might happen.

I have said for years that the SSPX could be reconciled without all sorts of doctrinal declarations about points in Vatican II documents.

I see this at the NCRegister:

Cardinal Müller Expects SSPX to Recognize Disputed Council Teachings

Cardinal Gerhard Müller has said he expects the Society of St. Pius X, which has always opposed the Second Vatican Council’s declarations on religious freedom and ecumenism, to “unreservedly recognize” freedom of religion as a human right, and an obligation to ecumenism.

In an interview in the June edition of the German publication Herder Korrespondenzthe prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith said that if one “wants to be fully Catholic, one must recognize the Pope and the Second Vatican Council.”

Cardinal Müller said he expects a recognition of all the Council declarations that deal with these issues, according to the interview, reported on the Austrian Catholic website, Kathpress, May 24.

His comments come after reports that the Society of St. Pius X, which continues to oppose key teachings of the Second Vatican Council regarding ecumenism, freedom of religion and aspects of liturgical reform, may be close to being recognized by the Holy See.


I am hearing things in the background.

Friends… I think this is going to happen.

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Fr. Z’s 25th Anniversary of Ordination

Well… this is it.  I made it this far.

Many priests observe the anniversary of their ordination at this time of year. It is a common time for ordinations, probably because Ember Days were common times for ordinations and Ember Days fall during the Pentecost Octave.

It is my anniversary of ordination today, 25 years ago, by St. John Paul II in St. Peter’s Basilica.  I suppose that might make me a 2nd class relic.


It was not only the Feast of St. Philip Neri, 26 May, but it was also Trinity Sunday. A beautiful sunny day.

I got up that morning, ate breakfast, said my prayers, and walked alone across town to the basilica, where I entered through the main doors with the rest of the crowd. After that, however, I went to the right, to the nave near the Pietà, where we vested and waited for the Holy Father. My family members came separately from a different part of town. They had special tickets which brought them very close to the altar.

Since we were 60 in number, and from many countries, the basilica was absolutely jammed with people from all over the world who had come for the ordinations. The number of people, probably some 50k since it was packed to the gills with families and friends and whole colleges and the inevitable tourists, made the responses during the Litany of Saints flow over us palpably as we lay on the floor. Bl. Mother Theresa of Calcutta was there (in front of where my folks sat) because a couple men were being ordained for the male component of the Missionaries. That group never really got traction. I had arranged for my grandmother, a convert to Catholicism in her 80’s, to receive Communion from the Holy Father.

You have not experienced the Litany of Saints until you have heard it sung by that many people in a space like that.

I often wonder what happened to the other men with whom I was ordained. I only knew a couple of them personally, since I had been at the Lateran University with them. I know that one fellow is now a bishop in Haiti. Also, it was the first year that the Iron Curtain was raised enough in Romania so that a few men were permitted out of the country to come to Rome to be ordained by the Pope. There were quite a few Opus Dei guys ordained with us. Another was the sad, so very sad, John Corapi of the SOLT group. Another of them was ordained that day too. One priest is in England, in Southwark, I think. It would be great to meet with him during some trip. I reached out to a few some years ago and got a few responses. I may try again now that our 25th has come, perhaps by writing to their dioceses or institutes and asking that my letter be forwarded.


God doesn’t choose men who are worthy. He chooses those whom it pleases Him to choose. In regard to myself, it’s all a great mystery to me. I probably won’t get it until I die.

The sermon from the Mass HERE  The video of the sermon for the Mass of Ordination.  The sermon is in Italian.  Listen to the way St. John Paul speaks, even if you don’t understand Italian.  I miss him.

Here is an excerpt from the broadcast of the ordination, the moment of the essential laying of on hands (this plugin might not work for some browsers…

I had trouble with Chrome, but it can be downloaded and viewed, otherwise, in a new Chrome window put chrome://flags/#enable-npapi into the address bar, enable the plugin, and then click the “Relaunch” button at the bottom of the page.  On my Mac, I clicked “download” and it played in a different window.

Anecdote: After our ordination we lined up, new priests on one side of the side nave, all the cardinals and various prelates on the other. The Holy Father came and greeted us all.  To my shock, my boss, the late and great Augustine Card. Mayer who had joined the recessional, came across the nave and, in front of the Roman Pontiff, knelt down and asked for my blessing. It was one of several startling lessons Card. Mayer gave me.


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Rome – Day 2: DOC and berries

Busy day. Today I got my basic shopping done for some clerical things and a couple books. We met for lunch a priest who teaches in one of the Roman schools.

The owner of the restaurant is from Amatrice.  On the menu it says Spaghetti all’Amatriciana DOC.   It was.

This was as good as any I have had in years.

Then I dashed to the Porta Sant’Anna and the barracks for a meeting with the Commandant of the Pontifical Swiss Guard.

This was a disappointing moment in my favorite bookstore near the Vatican.  But next to Gronchi?  What a sad joke.

I found a new place for trims and fringe and pompoms suitable for liturgical things.  I have to get an order in tomorrow for the “fiocchi” which will go on the dalmatics of the pontifical vestment sets.

I had the parish Mass at St. Trinità in the evening and then it was off to supper.


In Rome the height of strawberry seasons is the Feast of St. Philip Neri!  These “fragoline” were melt in your mouth perfect, dressed with a little lemon.

Tomorrow… my anniversary.  And it looks to be a hectic day.

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Rome – Day 1: Not quite out of the way Churches

The usual breakfast. The Roman cornetto (roll) is not duplicated anywhere else.

Click the wavy flag to help me buy breakfast tomorrow, too!  (And many thanks to those who have donated.  Mass on Friday for my benefactors.)

We went to see three churches my travel friends hadn’t seen.

First, San Francesco a Ripa, in Trastevere.

It is a nice little church in the clutches of Franciscans.

Here you find the tomb of Bl. Ludovica Albertoni, with a sculpture by Bernini.  It is reminiscent of the more famous marble of St. Teresa in ecstasy on the other side of town.

And a pic from my camera, rather than from my phone.  I’m try to learn this new camera.  It is small and has a 40x optical zoom.  The format of the photos is huge, however, and it takes a couple steps to get them into the blog, so I’ll have to figure out a good method to make the transfer.   But this, in relatively low light and from a distance is a pretty good image.

Bernini… incomparable.    If you are looking for a fascinating read… or if you are in Rome or are coming to Rome, you must dig into The Genius in the Design: Bernini, Borromini, and the Rivalry That Transformed Rome.  It’s riveting and it will change the way you view and visit Rome.


Again, every priest needs a pulpit like this.

And that is how you get into it!

Off to nearby Santa Maria dell’Orto.  This was/is a “university” church.  Various “colleges” (of tradesmen) got together to build the church where a chapel had been, set up around a miraculous image of Mary that was in the garden of …. a gardener, I think.  Memory is fuzzy.  Anyway, this was doubtlessly one of the wealthiest churches in Rome in its heyday.

Here is the chapel of my favorite among the guilds represented.

The “Vermicellari” or the “Pasta Makers”!

Then to tiny and ancient San Benedetto in Piscinula.

This was built where the house of the ancient Patrician family the “Anicii” were: St. Benedict’s family.  It was here, probably, that he sensed his vocation.

The church is mostly 13th c., but there are parts that go back to the 8th c.

And unusual depiction of Benedict as a young man.

One of the oldest of the ccsmatesque floors in Rome.

I’m not sure why they put mushrooms on my Saltimbocca, but it wasn’t bad.

A manhole cover that still shows the symbol of the fascist era.   I hear that it may become the new logo of the Dems if Hillary is elected.   Perhaps that’s just a rumor.

Er Belli!

The street where the main door of my seminary was is where Caesar was killed.  There is an inscription.

And just around the corner, on the side of the building attached to the church Sant’Andrea della Valle is scratched graffiti from the time of the Sack of Rome.   The dopes who did a cleaning of the facade sandblasted most of it off.  At one point you could read dates.  Very cool.  Alas, hardly anything is visible.


And tucked away in the corner is one of the Talking Statues.  This is Abbate Luigi.   He has lost his head several times, but it usually returns.

On the facade of a nearby building some Latin in dactylic hexameter.  Who can work it out?


Speaking of my seminary, my window was the open on to the right.

And, settling in for supper.  We definitely did our 10K step today!


Scottditto…. (stoopid iPhone) … scottadito.

So far so good.

In the coming day I have Mass in the evening at St. Trinità, a meeting with the Commandant of the Swiss Guard, and some clerical shopping.

Posted in On the road, What Fr. Z is up to | 14 Comments

ASK FATHER: Should I say “Amen” if the priest is making up prayers?

From a reader…


When I attend Mass in the Ordinary Form, the priest sometimes illicitly modifies the texts or even makes up his own prayers. Is it sinful for me to silently pray along with the priest or to answer “amen”? Does this count as forbidden cooperation with the priest’s sin? Does it depend on whether the made-up prayers are heretical or otherwise intrinsically bad?

Allow me to preface this with a story about a faithful priest.

On March 3, 1796, Father Pierre-Rene Rogue was led from the prison where he had been held aintsince the previous Christmas Eve, having been arrested for the crime of bringing Holy Viaticum to a sick man in Vannes, France.  The Revolutionaries had tried at length to get him to go along with the spirit of the times, and adhere to the rites of worship that had been adopted by the revolutionary authorities, but kindly Father Rogue (he was only four foot ten and known as “le petit prete” by the locals) held fast to his faith. Before he was executed, his Roman collar was cut, his head shaved so he had no sign of tonsure, and his arms were tied behind his back. On the way to the scaffold, he sang a song of praise he had written in prison, and managed to give his watch to the man who had betrayed him. His mother was present at his trial, where she was horribly abused by the Revolutionaries who screamed at her, “You reared a monster!” She was likewise present at his execution, performed by one of his former pupils. He was beatified by Pius XI on May 10, 1934.

Fathers, it’s not that difficult to read the black and do the red. Your liturgical “creativity,” rather than making people holier, is causing confusion and crises.

Stop it. Stop it now.

I realize that I’m preaching mostly to the choir, but I get so fed up with the brethren who decide, upon their own initiative, to change things around. A word here or there, or a slip because of old habits… that’s one thing, but wholesale making stuff up because you know better is entirely another.

Perhaps it’s not entirely their fault.  First, they might simply be a little dumb, but not malicious or vain.  Otherwise, they may have had poor formation in the seminary.  Combined with poor leadership in their diocese or order… results vary.

At the same time, they are adults, privileged by the grace of God to stand at the altar and offer the most august sacrifice, so they presumably have enough sense in their heads to know what they are doing.

When attending a Mass at which liturgical abuse is taking place, one should certainly pray for the priest (or whomever is inflicting the abuse upon the faithful). If the priest, say, is making up his own Collect, one would probably not sin by saying “Amen” at the end of it, but neither would one sin by reading the appropriate Collect out of one’s hand missal quietly.  Don’t, by doing that, attempt to usurp the priest’s role. Intend, rather, to pray together with the entire Church, even though Father is rowing against the tide.

Depending on how well you know the priest, and having considered what sort of a man he is, it might be worthwhile to take him out to lunch some day. Explain to him how conflicted you are by his choice to mess with the Mass.

In an ideal world, speaking to the bishop about him might have some effect, but I fear we live in less than an ideal world.

Pray for him, and all those like him.

Bl. Pierre-Rene, intercede for all priests, and give to them a portion of your courage to remain faithful to the faith, their priesthood, and the liturgy.

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ROME – Day 0.5: Et In Arcadia Ego

Once back in the City, a switch is thrown in my head and it is as if I never left.

I made a run to Gammarelli to do some vestment business, but my guy wasn’t there.  I’ll have to go back.  Meanwhile, some stuff in the window.


If I am not mistaken, the buckles were still prescribed in 1962.  I suspect that was honored more in the breach than in the observance.

In addition to making diminutive birettas, now too miters.

I had to go to the Vodafone store for something… that was waste of time… but it is never a waste of time to visit San Lorenzo in Lucina.

The Crucifixion is by Guido Reni.

Here you find also the tomb of the painter Poussin.  Chateaubriand caused his monument to be made and carved with an image of one of Poussin’s better known works.

You can try your hand at the Latin.

On the image are carved the words “Et In Arcadia Ego”.

Some of you might be familiar with this phrase from your readings of Brideshead Revisited.   It is a kind of “memento mori” trope.  The idea is this.  “Arcadia” is an iconic place of beauty and pleasure.  You the reader, standing there reading the inscription, hear the inscription (and the person in the tomb) saying, “I, too, was in Arcadia”.  That is to say, “I, too, was once in the land of the living… but before long you, pal, are going to be here with me.”

Every priest needs a pulpit like this.


A quick stop in Sant’Andrea della Valle to visit Pius II.


And St. Giuseppe Maria Tomassi di Lampedusa.   An interesting guy, ahead of his time.  In a way, I am glad that he failed in his endeavors.

Look at this risible set up.  Good grief.

Stopping for an aperitif before supper.

Which drink is mine?

Rigatoni all Norcina.



On the way to some rack time.

The Roman sojourn has begun.

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Your Good News

Do you have some good news to share with the readership?

For my part… I’m in Rome.

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My View For Awhile: Silver Edition

I’m off! It is nice to have visual verification that your bag is going with you.

I was in a bit of a hurry at the end of packing.  I had carefully put out everything that had to go, except my laptop charger… which as you can imagine was a bad thing to leave behind.

Happily, in the airport on my layover, there was a shop with what I needed.  I am charged it.   (See what I did there?)

My view for a while from the lounge.


A nice old fella next to me is traveling with his daughters to cross some thing off of his bucket list. Bless him, his wife just passed away before they could go together.

Meanwhile, lots of planes going to lots of places.

And they are now replacing a generator in an engine.   Sigh.

At least my duty-free bag made the flight!


They pushed back our departure 30 min – grrr – maybe they’ll make up some time.

DELTA … Comfort Redefined™

Since we are entombed, they started the inflight screen, which has been upgraded to a better touch screen.

But I ask – in the audio section – which of these doesn’t belong?

And then there’s this…

No thanks.


This was scheduled to auto-post, but for some reason it didn’t.  Oh well… here it is now.

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