WDTPRS 6th Sunday after Pentecost – zeal and mercy

Please flip open your own trusty copy of the Liber Sacramentorum Romanae Aeclesiae Ordinis Anni Circuli edited by Leo Cunibert Mohlberg, OSB (in other words the Gelasian Sacramentary and yes, it is “Aeclesiae”.).

You will find Sunday’s ancient Collect in the second group of prayers for Sundays.  This prayer survived the scissor and paste-pot wielding liturgical experts who, under the aegis of the late Fr. Annibale Bugnini, revised and shuffled the ancient prayers for the Novus Ordo.

With only slight changes, this prayer is still heard today on the 22nd Sunday of Ordinary Time.

COLLECT – (1962 Missale Romanum):

Deus virtutum, cuius est totum quod est optimum: insere pectoribus nostris amorem tui nominis, et praesta in nobis religionis augmentum; ut, quae sunt bona, nutrias, ac pietatis studio, quae sunt nutrita, custodias.

In the 2002 Roman Missal it appears this way (variations underscored): Deus virtutum, cuius est totum quod est optimum, insere pectoribus nostris tui nominis amorem, et praesta, ut in nobis, religionis augmento, quae sunt bona nutrias, ac, vigilanti studio, quae nutrita custodias. But in the ancient Gelasian it is like this: Deus uirtutum, cuius est totum quod est optimum, insere pectoribus nostris amorem tui nominis et praesta, ut et nobis relegionis augmentum quae sunt bona nutrias ac uigilantia studium quaesomus nutrita custodias. (Yes, quaesomus.) However, the apparatus criticus at the bottom of the page, where variations in different manuscripts are listed, also suggests vigilanti studio. Thus, the Novus Ordo redactors attempted to restore the prayer in some respects to the version pre-dating by many centuries the “Tridentine” Missale Romanum, making also changes in style.  But they changed the conceptual grounding of the Collect by removing pietas.

Your even trustier copy of the Lewis & Short Dictionary informs you that insero means “to sow, plant in, ingraft, implant.”  Virtutum is genitive plural of virtus, “manliness; strength, vigor; bravery, courage; aptness, capacity; power” and so forth.  Virtutum translates the Hebrew tsaba’, “that which goes forth, an army, war, a host.”  Tsaba’ is applied to hosts of angels, of soldiers, and the sun, moon and stars.   In the Sanctus of Holy Mass and in the great hymn called the Te Deum we echo the myriads of saints and angels bowed before God’s throne in the celestial liturgy: “Holy  Holy  Holy  LORD GOD SABAOTH…. God of “heavenly hosts”, or as the lame-duck ICEL version puts it, God “of power and might”.  “O mighty God of hosts” is a fair attempt at what Deus virtutum is saying.   We find in old translations of the Latin Vulgate Psalter that this address for God is rendered as: “God of hosts.”  The Holy See’s document which lays down the norms for liturgical translation, Liturgiam authenticam 51, says, “deficiency in translating the varying forms of addressing God, such as Domine, Deus, Omnipotens aeterne Deus, Pater, and so forth, as well as the various words expressing supplication, may render the translation monotonous and obscure the rich and beautiful way in which the relationship between the faithful and God is expressed in the Latin text.”  We must drill into these tougher phrases and not simply gloss over them.


Almighty God, every good thing comes from you. Fill our hearts with love for you, increase our faith, and by your constant care protect the good you have given us.


O mighty God of hosts, of whom is the entirety of what is perfect: graft the love of Your Name into our hearts, and grant in us an increase of religion; so that You may nourish the things which are good and, by zeal for dutifulness, guard what has been nourished.

Here are images having to do with armies and also with vine tending. On the one hand we have the God of hosts who guards the good things we have.  On the other, God grafts love into us and then nourishes it into growth.

Notice that we pray to God for an increase in “religion.”

Ancient Roman religio is a complicated term.  The word derives from the root lig– , “to bind”, hence, religio means sometimes the same as obligatio.  As our obliging L&S explains, Romans understood reverence for God (or their gods), the fear of God, “connected with a careful pondering of divine things; piety, religion, both pure inward piety and that which is manifested in religious rites and ceremonies; hence the rites and ceremonies, as well as the entire system of religion and worship, the res divinae or sacrae, were frequently called religio or religiones.”

Note the reference to “piety”.  This description also resonates closely with our Catholic axiom that the “lex orandi lex credendi… law of praying is the law of believing”, if we believe certain things inwardly, we are duty bound to express them outwardly in worship.

St. Augustine of Hippo (+430) in Book X of City of God states that pietas concerns honor and service to God and that it does not much differ from religio.  The Roman sense of pietas is especially the honor we are bound to show toward our parents, especially our father, but by extension to children and the one’s fatherland, patria.  In liturgical language, when pietas is applied to us humans it is the due respect we show supremely to God the Father, but also to His children in the foreshadowing of our true heavenly patria, the Church.  When in liturgical texts we talk of the pietas of God, we are talking about His mercy.  God cannot be under obligations, as we can be, but He has made us promises.  He will be true.

So, in our prayer is a strong conceptual link between pietas and religio.  It is fair to take religio to be the virtue of religion.

The Catechism of the Catholic Church defines religion in the glossary toward the back of the newer English edition, “Religion: a set of beliefs and practices followed by those committed to the service and worship of God. The first commandment requires us to believe in God, to worship and serve him, as the first duty of the virtue of religion. (Cf. also CCC 2084 and 2135)   Religion is the virtue by which men exhibit due worship and reverence to God (St. Thomas Aquinas, STh, 2-2a, 81, 1) as the creator and supreme ruler of all things, and to acknowledge dependence on God by rendering Him a due and fitting worship both interiorly (e.g. by acts of devotion, reverence, thanksgiving, etc.) and exteriorly (e.g., external reverence, liturgical acts, etc.).  The virtue of religion can be sinned against by idolatry, superstitions, sacrilege, blasphemy, etc.”

In sum, we must recognize God and act accordingly both inwardly and outwardly.  When that comes easily for us and is habitual, then we have the virtue of religion.  A virtue is a habit.  If it is hard to do something virtuous (be prudent, be temperate, be just, etc.) you don’t yet have the virtue.

Notice also that this petition of the Collect directly follows from the desire that God graft love of His Holy Name into our hearts.  Our thought in this prayer moves from the title given to God by the angels and saints in heaven in their unending liturgy: “HOLY”, they say again and again.  Then we ask for love of the Holy Name of God.  Then we want all good things nourished in us by God increasing in us the virtue of religion, the proper interior and exterior action that flows from recognizing who God truly is for us.

I find interesting the choice to change the phrase with pietatis in the “Tridentine” version of the Collect to vigilianti studio.

The 1962 version says, “…by means of zeal for dutifulness/mercy, you may guard the things which have been nourished.”  The 1970 edition says, “by means of vigilant zeal.”  We should also decide if the prayer is talking about God’s zeal or about our zeal, resulting from God’s increase of our religion.  From the Latin it is not entirely clear whose zeal it is.

Certainly in all ages and everywhere the powers of hell attack the Christian and attempt to pervert his soul.

It is always necessary to attend to one’s soul dutifully, striving to acquire and to practice the virtue of religion.

I get a somewhat greater sense of urgency in “vigilance” than I do from “duty”.

Consider the image of the soldier at a sentry post.

In peacetime he carries out his duty and is vigilant.  In wartime he is intensely vigilant.

Think of 1 Peter 5: 8-9, so long the chapter for every night at Compline in the Roman Breviary:

“Be sober and vigilant (vigilate): for your adversary the devil is going around like a roaring lion seeking whom he might devour: whom you must resist, strong in the faith.  But you, O Lord, have mercy (miserere) on us.”


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ASK FATHER: Priest who baptizes any baby brought to him

From a reader…

I know of a local Ukrainian Catholic priest who baptizes any Catholic baby (whether Roman or Eastern Rite) who is brought to him by their parents (whether or not the parents knew of this priest or if a relative or friend referred them to this priest). In most of these cases, the parents who want the Baptism of their child/children from this Ukrainian Catholic priest do not practice their Catholic faith, and/or the parents are not married, and/or one of the parents is not in the picture, etc. And in most cases, the Roman Catholic priest(s) they’ve went to have refused the baptism of their child/children for all of the above listed reasons. The UC priest’s reasoning for doing all of these baptisms is that he believes that the child should not have to suffer (I’m guessing the effects of original sin by living their lives unbaptized) and that it’s not the baby’s fault that their parents are in some of the above listed reasons.

Is there anything wrong what this Ukrainian Catholic priest is doing?

Is there a violation of Canon Law? Are the Roman Catholic priests right or wrong for refusing baptism in these cases? Who is right and who is wrong here?

Liberality, or mercy, is a virtue. Prudence remains the mother of all virtues. Prudence instills temperance and strength into liberality, lest it devolve into mushy sentimentality or pompous fanaticism. Prudence helps us to keep the apple cart between the lines along the narrow path.

Holy Church – with Our Lord – wishes that all men be baptized. How different would the world look if everyone shared the Catholic faith? Problems would not be obliterated, but just imagine how wonderful a truly Catholic world would be.  That’s something that the Devil works to thwart… and pretty successfully, too.

From the outset the Church rejected frivolous baptism. Baptism requires something of the person being baptized. In the case of children to be baptized, it requires something of their parents, and sponsors.  Otherwise, to save everyone from the effects of original sin, we would have long ago sent priests (probably Jesuits) up in planes with water canons, to fly around the world baptizing everyone.

The Church asks in can. 868 that all those who administer the sacrament of baptism to children do so only when there is “founded hope” that the child will be raised in the faith. The parents, or those who stand in their place, must have a commitment to raise their child as a Catholic before we can licitly baptize that child. A priest who baptizes children without exercising that prudential judgment in discerning whether or not the parents truly are committed to raising their child Catholic errs.  The baptism is still valid, mind you.

Prudential judgment is a delicate thing. One priest might have obtained the “founded hope” in the simple request of the parents to have their child baptized. Another priest might only have founded hope if the parents are registered members of the parish who attend and contribute every week.

It seems to me that both such priests are extreme cases and not truly being prudent, but only God knows their hearts. It would have include a case-by-case investigation to get to the bottom of the matter.

The question of baptizing children whose parents do not belong to one’s particular ritual Church is a bit of further complication. The newly baptized child’s rite is not determined by the minister of his baptism, but by the ritual Church of his parents. So if both parents are Latin Catholics, their child (under the age of 14) will be Latin Catholic, no matter who performs the baptism. Still, one should not baptize the children of parents who do not belong to one’s Church unless there is a serious need (such as no priests of the parents’ Church available).


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ASK FATHER: Same-sex confusion, false understanding of marriage, and nullity

From a reader…

This may be more of a canon law question (and therefore not necessarily your expertise), but I was rueing the number of Catholics rejoicing with the recent SSM ruling, and it strike me, if they are married, is it possible the marriages are in fact null because of their support for SSM? My understanding that part of the requirement is understanding the nature of marriage, if you support it, do you really understand it? Anyway, a hypothetical really, but thought it could be a thought provoking proposition (and one where I would benefit from more learned individuals).

Hypothetical situations are generally not the most helpful ones for understanding canon law. The law is designed for real situations, and takes into consideration the complexity of the human person. Each of us, and each marriage situation is unique. Though the law speaks in generalities, it does so with the understanding that it is going to be applied in specific, real situations.

The understanding of marriage that’s required for positing a valid act of consent is pretty basic. Can. 1096 establishes that matrimonial consent requires that the parties “be at least not ignorant of the fact that marriage is a permanent partnership between a man and a woman, order to the procreation of children through some form of sexual cooperation.”

A case might be made that a certain hypothetical person lacked sufficient understanding of marriage because he lacked the understanding that it must be between a man and a woman, and that he thought it could be contracted by any two persons, regardless of sex.

Proving that would be difficult.

The whole situation brings to light the need to pray for – and to teach! – a better understanding of marriage among our children.

Unless the next generation gets this right, our society will head down a very dark alley.

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Archbp. Carroll’s “Prayer for Government”

Fathers, you might want to have everyone pray this after Mass on 4 July and other major public holidays.  This, and other prayers, are deeply needed today.

The following prayer was composed by John Carroll, Archbishop of Baltimore, in 1791. He was the first bishop appointed for the United States in 1789 by Pope Pius VI. He was made the first archbishop when his see of Baltimore was elevated to the status of an archdiocese. John was a cousin of Charles Carroll of Maryland, a signer of the Declaration of Independence.

I became familiar with this moving prayer at my home parish of St. Agnes in St. Paul (MN) where it was recited after all Masses on civic holidays of the USA, such as 4 July and Thanksgiving.

Americans among the readership might print it and bring it to your parish priests and ask them to use it after Mass on national holidays.

This needs no translation for Catholics who love their country!


We pray, Thee O Almighty and Eternal God! Who through Jesus Christ hast revealed Thy glory to all nations, to preserve the works of Thy mercy, that Thy Church, being spread through the whole world, may continue with unchanging faith in the confession of Thy Name.

We pray Thee, who alone art good and holy, to endow with heavenly knowledge, sincere zeal, and sanctity of life, our chief bishop, Pope N., the Vicar of Our Lord Jesus Christ, in the government of his Church; our own bishop, N., all other bishops, prelates, and pastors of the Church; and especially those who are appointed to exercise amongst us the functions of the holy ministry, and conduct Thy people into the ways of salvation.

We pray Thee O God of might, wisdom, and justice! Through whom authority is rightly administered, laws are enacted, and judgment decreed, assist with Thy Holy Spirit of counsel and fortitude the President of these United States, that his administration may be conducted in righteousness, and be eminently useful to Thy people over whom he presides; by encouraging due respect for virtue and religion; by a faithful execution of the laws in justice and mercy; and by restraining vice and immorality. Let the light of Thy divine wisdom direct the deliberations of Congress, and shine forth in all the proceedings and laws framed for our rule and government, so that they may tend to the preservation of peace, the promotion of national happiness, the increase of industry, sobriety, and useful knowledge; and may perpetuate to us the blessing of equal liberty.

We pray for his excellency, the governor of this state , for the members of the assembly, for all judges, magistrates, and other officers who are appointed to guard our political welfare, that they may be enabled, by Thy powerful protection, to discharge the duties of their respective stations with honesty and ability.

We recommend likewise, to Thy unbounded mercy, all our brethren and fellow citizens throughout the United States, that they may be blessed in the knowledge and sanctified in the observance of Thy most holy law; that they may be preserved in union, and in that peace which the world cannot give; and after enjoying the blessings of this life, be admitted to those which are eternal.

Finally, we pray to Thee, O Lord of mercy, to remember the souls of Thy servants departed who are gone before us with the sign of faith and repose in the sleep of peace; the souls of our parents, relatives, and friends; of those who, when living, were members of this congregation, and particularly of such as are lately deceased; of all benefactors who, by their donations or legacies to this Church, witnessed their zeal for the decency of divine worship and proved their claim to our grateful and charitable remembrance. To these, O Lord, and to all that rest in Christ, grant, we beseech Thee, a place of refreshment, light, and everlasting peace, through the same Jesus Christ, Our Lord and Savior. Amen.

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Continental Congress at Prayer

The opening prayer session of the 1st Continental Congress was about 3 hours long.

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CQ CQ CQ – Ham Radio Saturday

LinkingExample Echolink


I don’t have too much to report on the Ham front today. I’ve been busy with other things.

There was a field day last weekend but I was unable to get involved. There was a 1st Mass to attend on Saturday and may other pressing things. On Sunday I had two Masses, so that was that.

I had an email (at last… they are pokey in responding) from the people who made my Juicebox. You might recall that it had discharged and I couldn’t get the batteries going again. I wrote to the company… I’ve only been trying to resolve this since APRIL. Anyway, they are sending two new batteries (when… who knows…) and I will do the work of swapping them out myself. The Juicebox has an Anderson Power Pole option. And that leads me to my next point…

My Kenwood T140 came (from a reader) with an Anderson Power Pole cable. So, when I get the Juicebox going again, I’ll have a good power source for the Kenwood. I’ll try setting it up with a Buddistick.

Other than that, I’ve been doing a little Morse and lacksidasically looking over materials for the Extra exam. I have a couple little Baofeng UV-5r radios now. One is tuned to the local repeater and I have reached out a few times to local regulars I hear doing some rag chewing. One, as it turns out, is a reader of this blog who recognized my voice. One of the other radios I would like to set up to listen to local LEO/Fire etc., but I haven’t figured that out yet. One should go into my Go Bag in my car.

I got the Baofeng data cable, but I wasn’t able to get the software to install.  That’s going to take a little effort, it seems.

I will switch on my Echolink program for a while today, if any of you check that. One of our readers here (who sent the Kenwood) has made his node availble to us: 554286 – WB0YLE-R  (Thanks!) Remember: You must be licensed to use Echolink. BTW… there is a great iPhone app for Echolink. I can see quite a few hams using that method to connect.



After an attempted contact in the “WDTPRS Cafe” I did a couple level tests at the ECHOTEST node and found that my mic was waaaay too quiet, underpowered.  I switched to a new USB port (powered) and that helped.

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Are any of you readers involved in Ingress?

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WDTPRS 14th Ordinary Sunday – from dust to freedom

Our Collect for the 14th Ordinary Sunday offers the image of material creation as an enervated body, weakened by sin, lying in the dust whence it came.  In the Original Sin all creation was wounded.  This is evident daily. There ought be harmony between us and the rest of material creation, but our role as nature’s steward has been damaged.  Material creation (including us) is in a way captive to an enemy who has beaten us down.

But Christ came as liberator.  Here’s some “liberation theology” for you.  Christ rouses us, grasps us, pulls us upward out of sin and death.  If we cooperate and get back to our feet, Our Lord aims us again toward the joys possible in this world, first, and in the next, definitively.

Deus, qui Filii tui humilitate iacentem mundum erexisti, fidelibus tuis sanctam concede laetitiam, ut, quos eripuisti a servitute peccati, gaudiis facias perfrui sempiternis.

This prayer is similar to one in the 1962 Missale Romanum for the 2nd Sunday after Easter.  The ancient Gelasian Sacramentary has an even earlier version.

Perfruor (“to enjoy fully”) is one of a handful of deponent verbs usually having its “object” (which is actually more of an instrument) in the ablative: e.g., fruor, “I get fruit/benefit from…”).  Gaudium and laetitia both can be translated with “joy”.  The Lewis & Short Dictionary says gaudium refers mostly to interior joy whereas laetitia suggests outward expression.  That said, gaudium in the plural (as it is in our prayer) can also be “outward expressions of joy”.  Souter’s Glossary of Later Latin to 600 A.D. (a supplement to L&S) says gaudium is “everlasting blessedness”, while laetitia is simply “prosperity”.  This recalls the spiritual/material distinction.  We shouldn’t overtax these nuances. The dictates of ancient rhetoric (and this prayer is pretty old) required a richness of vocabulary, so as to avoid boring repetition.

Erigo is “to raise up, set up, erect” and also “to arouse, excite” while iaceo (in L&S under jaceo) is “to lie” as in “lie sick or dead, fallen” or “to be cast down, fixed on the ground”.  In his dictionary of liturgical Latin, A. Blaise says that humilitas,lowness”, can have a more theological meaning, namely, the “abasement” of the God Incarnate who took the form of a “slave” (cf Philippians 2:7).  Blaise cites this Collect under his headword “humilitas”.  And remember that humilitas comes from humus, “dirt, earth, ground”.


O God, who by the abasement of Your Son raised up the fallen world, grant holy joy to Your faithful, so that You may cause those whom You snatched from the servitude of sin to enjoy delights unending.

The last phrase reminds me of other well-known Latin prayers.  For instance, after the Salve Regina we conclude: “…may we be delivered from present sorrow and enjoy everlasting happiness (aeterna perfrui laetitia).” Note the shift from sorrow to joy.  Furthermore, when a priest vests for Mass he traditionally says special prayers as he put on each vestment.  For the alb he prays: “Make me white, O Lord, and cleanse my heart, so that having been made white in the Blood of the Lamb, I may enjoy everlasting joys (gaudiis perfruar sempiternis).”

Sacrifice first.  Then joy.

We have seen before in our prayers a pattern of descent and ascent, of exit and return.   Before the Resurrection, comes the Passion.  Before exaltation, there is humiliation.  Descent, Passion and humiliation bring the rising, return and joy which will embrace both the interior and the outward, the whole human person.

As mentioned above, today’s Collect is similar to one in the 1962MR.  However, the post-Conciliar version says “whom You snatched from the servitude of sin”, and the 1962MR says “whom you have snatched from the perils of everlasting death”.

A polemical but intriguing booklet by Anthony Cekada, The Problems with the Prayers of the Modern Mass (TAN 1991), compares pre-Conciliar versions of prayers with the post-Conciliar, Novus Ordo versions.  Cekada opines that the architects of the Novus Ordo intentionally eliminated – from the Latin mind you – concepts like sin, guilt and damnation in favor of the “less threatening idea of deliverance from the ‘slavery of sin’” (p. 14).  Cekada is probably right.  On the other hand, to be honest, for the spiritually aware “servitude of sin” is terrifying.  The wages of sin is death (cf Rom 6:23).

Even with the weakening of emphasis in the Latin, the newer Collect is a sound prayer.  It is also more clearly translated … now.


Father, through the obedience of Jesus, your servant and your Son, you raised a fallen world. Free us from sin and bring us the joy that lasts forever.


O God, who in the abasement of your Son have raised up a fallen world, fill your faithful with holy joy, for on those you have rescued from slavery to sin you bestow eternal gladness.

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Excommunication of same-sex ‘marriage’ Catholic SCOTUS Justices for Heresy

From Ed Peters, distinguished canonist, on Catholic SCOTUS Justices (Kennedy, Sotomayor) who ruled for Obergefell v. Hodges:

Obergefell and canonical criminal law

Dcn Greg Kandra calls attention to a question floating around out there, namely, [QUAERITUR…]should Catholic justices who voted to impose “same-sex marriage” on America be excommunicated? We can deal with most of that question pretty quickly.

Excommunication can impact any Catholic (there are no exemptions for those in high civil office), but it can be incurred only for twelve specifically delineated crimes (CLSA Comm. 932, not counting a couple of excommunicable crimes listed outside the Code). Now, voting to impose “same-sex marriage” on a nation (or, taken more broadly, gravely damaging the common good) is not among the canonical crimes punished by excommunication, and even Canon 1399 (sometimes derided, if unfairly, as a “catch-‘em-all” penal norm) would not suffice for so-called automatic excommunication (a canonical institution that presents its own legal complications, but let that pass). In short, I see no excommunication readily imposable on Catholic justices who voted to impose “same-sex marriage” on America.

But, [But…] two points remain for Catholics to consider.

1. For reasons outlined here (chiefly that—aside from the compelling natural law demonstration that marriage is possible only between a man and woman, a demonstration that should be understandable as a matter of human reason—the Church teaches with infallible certainty that marriage is possible only between a man and woman) I think that some Catholic justices have, indeed, manifested their opposition to Church doctrine (Canons 750 § 2 and 1371, 1°), doing so, moreover, “in published writing” and in a way that “gravely injures good morals” (Canon 1369). The canonical sanctions referenced for such offenses are, however, ‘indeterminate’ (justa poena) and, I would hold, do not extend to excommunication. To be sure, a number of very important procedural steps would need to be observed before moving on these norms (and the track record of thinking-through, let alone enforcing, penal canon law has not been strong in our day) but, [But…] at the very least, the fact that such an argument can even be made suggests a basis for some kind of pastoral intervention toward those Catholic justices who hold that “law can recognize as marriage whatever sexual attachments and living arrangements it wishes”, let alone toward those who voted to impose “same-sex marriage” on America.

2. If, as seems likely, Church teaching that marriage can exist only between a man and woman is taught not just infallibly (as a ‘secondary object’ of infallibility) but as being divinely revealed (making it a ‘primary object’ of infallibility), then, a Catholic’s obstinate denial of such a truth is canonically “heresy” (Canon 751) punishable by excommunication (Canon 1364 § 1), an automatic one at that—and is not just ‘opposition to Church teaching’ punishable by a ‘just penalty’. I leave it to theologians to hammer out whether Church teaching on the male-female foundation of marriage is simply, but infallibly, Church doctrine (I am sure it is at least that) or whether it is part of divine revelation (I am strongly inclined to say that it is), but either way, prominent Catholics asserting that marriage is whatever the State wants to make it, is a grave ecclesiastical problem.

Grave Ecclesiastical Problem™.

Yes, I would say so.

Posted in Liberals, One Man & One Woman, Our Catholic Identity, Pò sì jiù, SCOTUS, The Coming Storm, The Drill, The future and our choices | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 47 Comments

ASK FATHER: Sunday obligation and career conflicts

From a reader…


I read your recent answer to a man whose work schedule keeps him from attending Mass.

I’d like to go down that road a little further. I’m a commercial pilot. My schedule (which is written in stone) keeps me on the road 7 days at a time. I miss Mass every other Sunday because my duties do not allow me to attend during the 7 days I am “on duty”.

However, I am now at a point in my life where I “could” retire at some significant monetary loss. My wife and I are living on my income, but could live on social security and savings (401K/IRA) at this point.

Question: Does my obligation to attend Mass on Sunday dictate that I quit my job and retire?

At my age, the chance of landing another flying job that would allow me to attend Mass on Sunday approaches zero, but one never knows.

Being a Christian requires certain sacrifices. Being Catholic requires even more sacrifices.

Being a member of Holy Catholic Church allows one freely to request, from the treasury of grace the Church has built up, some accommodations.

Ironic, isn’t it?  We live in a secular world, which makes fewer and fewer concessions to those attempting to live according to the dictates of the Church.

To determine the exact line between reasonable sacrifice and foolhardiness is difficult. Certainly, one should never put one’s family in an unnecessary state of financial uncertainty. Additionally, one should never place an undue burden on the State to provide!

If you can work, work, rather than rely on government assistance or charity.  (εἴ τις οὐ θέλει ἐργάζεσθαι μηδὲ ἐσθιέτω! – 2 Thess 3:10)

Giving up one’s job in order to fulfill one’s Sunday obligation can cause readjustment of priorities in life. If it is too much of a burden, don’t do it. Yet, if it’s the difference between eating hamburger or dining on prime rib six nights a week, the sacrifice might be spiritually appropriate. Consider that the earthly “banquet” is temporary, while the heavenly is eternal.

Before making such a decision, talk the matter over with your wife, check with your accountant, and consult with your pastor or a trusted priest in order assess the situation.

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UPDATE REVIEW: The ULTIMATE Priest’s Gift – Super Cool Portable Altar

Do you remember when I posted about the coolest gift for a priest ever?  HERE  There is  a carpenter who makes portable altars of wood, rather like a suitcase, with wings that fold out, and an embedded altar stone.

St. Joseph’s Apprentice

After I received the first beautiful altar, which a priest friend immediately wanted to borrow, I offered some suggestions for improvements.  The carpenter took them to heart!

Another priest friend recently obtained his own, upgraded, portable altar.  He brought it over and I shot some photos.

In its case.


This one is considerably lighter than the one I have.  Different wood, I believe, and construction have taken quite a few pounds off.


The altar, closed up.


One of the improvements I recommended were slots to place altar cards.  He added them!


This version of the altar has a storage compartment under the element that holds the altar stone.

On the altar stone you can see a certificate of its provenance, that it was duly consecrated.  I checked out the sepulcher for relics.


This version utilizes supports for the “wings” that fold out.  Mine uses the drawers that pull out from the sides.  Mine doesn’t have the central compartment.

The only concern I have is that the surface has to be pretty level and even for these side supports to work.  Great if you are on a table.

The carpenter’s wife makes altar cloths to fit the altar!  That’s really helpful.  My altar didn’t come with cloths.


Not only are the cloths fitted, one of them is a cere cloth!  This is important with a wooden surface.

The Cross sits atop.  However, he added a little tongue/groove – one of the improvements I suggested – so that it will more easily stay in place.


My friend told me that there was a little book stand, too.  I didn’t see it.



Pretty spiffy.

I would like to swap mine out for this, or at least have some of the upgrades!

This might be the coolest priest gift ever.  It might also, in the future, be one of the most useful.

As the persecution of the Catholic Church mounts, it may be that we will lose a lot of our properties.  Priests might have to take things on the road.

Also, lay people might want to have one of these stored away. Stock up on altar wine, hosts, candles and squirrel them away with your altar.

Otherwise, leave it set up all the time as a home altar!  You could put a shelve over it for statues and hand a fine piece of religious art over it…. even a baldachin, much in the style of some home chapels I saw in palazzi in Rome.

Posted in Just Too Cool, Linking Back, Priests and Priesthood, The Campus Telephone Pole | Tagged , | 17 Comments