UPDATE: White Pontifical Vestments Project

UPDATE 22 March: Progress

I had a note from Gammarelli that the embroidered coat-of-arms should arrive this week.  That means that they will then cut the fabric and get to work.

UPDATE 14 Feb: The next phrase

I just finished, with the help of the Vocations Director and his assistant, the unfurling, cutting, and folding of the last bolt of fabric that remained here in The Cupboard Under The Stairs.  As you may remember, I sent a huge amount to Rome through the kind intermediary of a seminarian.  This batch is going with the VD on his way to visit our guys at the NAC.

This means that Gammarelli will now have plenty of fabric to work with, even to make all the extra chasubles and dalmatics for ordinations, etc: an additional 23m!

Many thanks to all of you who contributed money to this Vestment Project!

Don’t worry… I’ll be back for more!

We still have to make sets in black and rose… and the famous blue.  The vestments in those sets won’t be as numerous, however.

You can still make tax deductible donations at any time!  Mail your large, generous checks to us (or to me!):

Tridentine Mass Society of Madison
733 Struck St.
PO BOX 44603
Madison, WI 53744-4603

UPDATE 24 Jan:  We are making progress.

I’ve exchanged email with Gammarelli.  I told them to GO AHEAD and to begin making the vestments!

I hope to receive even more donations so that we can have matching copes made for the servers who bear the instruments for the bishop (miter, bugia, etc.).  We could then use these copes for Solemn Vespers, etc.

ALSO: I am thinking about having two over-sized dalmatics made. XL.  That can give us more flexibility about whom we can vest.  So… kick in some cash!

A priest friend is going to Rome in February and he will deliver another large quantity of the same white fabric.  Hopefully we will be able to make additional chasubles and dalmatics for ordinations.  We saved a lot of money by providing our own fabric.

Click HERE to make a (generous) tax deductible donation to this project.

The Tridentine Mass Society of the Diocese of Madison is a 501(c)(3) charitable organization.

We will have the coat of arms of the Diocese embroidered on the dalmatics and cope.  Bp. Morlino’s (aka The Extraordinary Ordinary) coat of arms will be on the chasuble.  And, yes, I will have a chasuble made for myself with my arms.

Because the diocesan arms will go on the dalmatics, I may have them made all as dalmatics including stoles for each one so that they could be used for ordinations to the diaconate.  Maybe… maybe…  Otherwise, I would have 3 dalmatics made and 2 tunics, but with one diaconal stole only.  And, of course, the maniples.

Once again, we will get everything, down to the last bit: gremial, antependium, extra trim so we can make tabernacle veils (for Solemn Masses), buskins, gloves, the works.

I have a big Pelican case for transporting an entire set for when we need to take it on the road, as it were.  It’s heavy, but super tough and water proof.  Here it is filled with the red set.

What sorts of things are we doing?

Here are a few shots.

In the future I want to have made a full set in ROSE.  I suspect there aren’t make of those around.  Also, we have a black set, but it is less than optimal.  I very much want to replace it.  This last year we used it twice, once for All Souls and once for the Requiem of a wonderful priest.  There will be more opportunities in the future to donate.  But NOW is a really good time!

How do we fight against confusion and eroding Catholic identity here?  Beauty.  Fidelity to the Church’s teaching.  Worthy sacred liturgical worship.

Posted in ¡Hagan lío!, "How To..." - Practical Notes, ACTION ITEM!, Hard-Identity Catholicism | Tagged , , | 7 Comments

LENTCAzT 2017 22 – Wednesday of the 3rd Week of Lent: The true Christian penitent

17_02_28_LENTCAzT_2017Today is Wednesday in the 3rd Week of Lent.  The Roman Station is San Sisto (in Rome this year celebrated at Sant’Andrea della Valle).


Today we hear more from the wonderful works of Abbot Anscar Vonier, today a different book.  US HERE – UK HERE

These daily 5 minute podcasts for Lent are intended to give you a small boost every day, a little encouragement in your own use of this holy season and to thank the benefactors who help me and this blog.

Posted in GO TO CONFESSION, LENTCAzT, Liturgy Science Theatre 3000, PODCAzT | Tagged , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

ASK FATHER: Away from the Church for 17 years, but I want to return

penance_confession_stepsFrom a reader…

I am a baptized Catholic who strayed far away, dabbled in Buddhism for 17 years, and now realize all that was ridiculous nonsense. I want to come back to the Church. Where do I start?

First, good for you. You heeded the urging of the Holy Spirit, who never lets a single one of us go, so long as we are open to that which is good, beautiful and true. When we stray into dark and twisty places, God still works on us with graces to help us back to the straight road.

Your return to the Church and to reception of the sacraments is not complicated.

Go to confession!

That’s it.

Examine your conscience well, and go to confession. If you need to, make an appointment with a sound priest and have him help you with your confession.

What happens when you make your sincere confession? What happens even if you sincerely can’t remember every thing?

WHAMO! All your sins will be forgiven, taken away, gone, eradicated, washed clean in the Blood of the Lamb.

Though your sins be red as scarlet, they will become as white as snow.

There is no sin so horrible that we little mortals can commit that God will not forgive provide we ask for forgiveness.

So, friend, relax, look at your life with honesty, and go to confession. That’s it.

Then you will be able to go to Communion again just as if it were your First Holy Communion all over again.

Bless you.

Posted in SESSIUNCULA | Tagged , , | 11 Comments

The Mysterious Case of the Hallow’s Missing Maniple

I wonder if Tracer Bullet, Private Eye, has any contacts in London.

There’s a mystery to be solved.

Fr. Hunwicke reported at his fine blog Mutual Enrichment, about the Case of the Missing Maniple.  In this case, the case concerns, includes, and encloses the mortal remains of St. John Southworth.  In the side aisle on the Gospel side of Westminster Cathedral, you find a glass case in which the body of the saint awaits the resurrection.

He was once vested, as a priest, with his maniple.  Here are a couple photos I shot in 2010.

10_10_11_London_Southworth_01 10_10_11_London_Southworth_02

Fr. H writes:


Medieval hagiographers would have undoubtedly had an account of how this happened; their stories would probably have ended with a spectacular miracle resulting in the supernatural restoration of the maniple. Inventive readers of this blog must surely be capable of some diverting inventions within the general conventions and dynamics of that genre. But what is to be done?

Traddies with large families might consider taking all their children into the Cathedral, equipped with red crayons or board-writers or loads of red paint, and settling them down with instructions to add maniples to all the cards. This would result in what Anglican Priestesses proudly call “Messy Church”, and thus constitute an Ecumenical Gesture.


There is, over there, more to amuse and horrify.  “O! the maniple!”

Meanwhile, I wonder… perhaps he traded it for a brand new Clement XIV mug.  Hmmmm.



Meanwhile, it has been sometime since I posted this:

maniple tie one on

Indeed!  “Tie one on St. John Southworth!”


UPDATE 22 March:

A priest sent me a photo from 2015.

As you can see, the maniple is still in its proper place.


Posted in Mail from priests | Tagged , , | 10 Comments

PHOTOS: Pontifical Mass for St. Joseph

Last night the Extraordinary Ordinary of Madison, His Excellency Most Reverend Robert C. Morlino, celebrated a Pontifical Mass at the Throne for the glorious Feast of St. Joseph, this year transferred because of the Sunday of Lent.

The Mass was sponsored by the Tridentine Mass Society of the Diocese of Madison (click and donate).

Here are some photos of the Mass.

IMG_9193 IMG_9227 IMG_9272

In his sermon, Bp. Morlino concluded, “St. Joseph, pray for us!  Make real men of our men!”

IMG_9297 IMG_9308 IMG_9332 IMG_9351 IMG_9361 IMG_9373

Hopefully the next time I post photos of Pontifical Mass we will be using the new WHITE set!


Posted in ¡Hagan lío!, Hard-Identity Catholicism, Liturgy Science Theatre 3000, Our Catholic Identity, SUMMORUM PONTIFICUM, What Fr. Z is up to | Tagged , , , , | 5 Comments

Clarity from Vancouver about Communion for the divorced and civilly remarried

vancouver christmas-welcome archbp millerIt’s great to have some clarity for a change. Of course each dose of clarity makes the general confusion which some are fomenting more exasperating. Nevertheless, it’s great to have some clarity for a change.

At the page of the Cathedral of the Holy Rosary in Vancouver we find some clarity from Fr. Pablo Santa Maria.  Of course this would not have been published without the knowledge and consent of Archbishop Miller, who is very solid.

Communion, Marriage and Divorce

Mar 16, 2017
[QUAERITUR: …]Who can receive Holy Communion at Mass? None of us are truly worthy of such a great gift but God’s grace makes us worthy and prepares us to receive this sublime gift through which we are united to Christ and find salvation. We are reminded of this reality at Mass when we prepare for Holy Communion and say “Lord I am not worthy that You should enter under my roof, but only say the word and I shall be healed.”

When it comes to the issue of those who are divorced and remarried, some confusion arises. The following paragraphs are an attempt to give some clarity to this delicate matter and to encourage all of us to accompany those who are on the peripheries of the Church.


The Church has always upheld the dignity and vocation of Marriage as a central component of her life: “The matrimonial covenant, by which a man and a woman establish between themselves a partnership of the whole of life, is by its nature ordered toward the good of the spouses and the procreation and education of offspring; this covenant between baptized persons has been raised by Christ the Lord to the dignity of a sacrament”. (1)
However, there are instances when a couple has to divorce. Reasons may vary but usually it is for the physical and mental wellbeing, of one of the parties. When there are situations of abuse, violence, neglect, etc. separation and even divorce are a necessary step. Those people who are divorced but are not living with another person either in marriage or in cohabitation, can and should receive Holy Communion if they are not is the state of mortal sin.


“I say to you, whoever divorces his wife – unless the
marriage is unlawful – and marries another commits adultery.”
– Mt. 19, 31 – 32

In this passage, our Lord is debating with the Pharisees on the nature of Marriage. Here Christ reiterates what he mentioned in the fifth chapter of Saint Matthew’s gospel, that divorce and remarriage are a serious sin. [Wait for iiiiit….] When we know we have committed a serious sin, we should not receive Holy Communion. [There it is.]

St. John Paul II in the Apostolic Letter Familiaris Consortio[But wait!  There are some who suggest that because FC is over 30 years old, it is no longer relevant.  These people are trying to repress the magisterium of St. John Paul II.  Once that’s accomplished, just about anything goes.] further reminds the faithful of this truth. Those who are divorced and remarried cannot receive Holy Communion. This is because the previous union still exists. Even though civilly it’s no longer there, in the eyes of Church it still exists for divorce does not end a bond blessed by God.

However, those who are divorced and civilly remarried are not outside the Church. The divorced and remarried should be welcomed as an essential: part of the Catholic community. These members of the Church should share in the life of the Church.They can attend Mass, [not can… must… they must still attend Mass on Sundays and other days of obligation like everyone else] pray, and take part in the activities of the parish. The children born in these situations are central to the life and mission of the Catholic Church and should be brought up in the Faith. In the recent Papal document Amoris Laetitia, Pope Francis reiterates the teaching of Christ and of Pope John Paul II: “In no way must the Church desist from proposing the full ideal of marriage, God’s plan in all its grandeur.” (2)
However, what the Holy Father is also encouraging us to do is to have an examination of conscience and to see how we can help those who are on the peripheries, in this case, those who are divorced and civilly remarried. In some cases they feel ostracized and excluded from the life of the Church. The Holy Father is encouraging all of us, but especially priests to “accompany {the divorced and remarried} in helping them to understand their situation according to the teaching of the Church” (3)
In some cases the first marriage bond may have never existed. To this end a canonical investigation of the first marriage by a Church marriage tribunal may be appropriate, which may help to regularize the second civil union. In other cases, when the first marriage was indeed valid, the Church invites the couple in the second civil union to abstain from marital intimacy so that they may receive the sacraments.


In recent days, since the Synod on the Family and the publication of the Papal Exhortation Amoris Laetitia, there has been some added confusion to this matter. There are some who say that the Pope has somehow changed this teaching of Christ, which is not the case. The teachings of Christ cannot be changed or re-interpreted according to the fashions of the time, or ignored because they are difficult. [And yet some highly placed people are doing precisely that.] In a recent interview, Cardinal Muller, the Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith says that “For us marriage is the expression of participation in the unity between Christ, the bridegroom, and the Church, his bride. This is not, as some said during the Synod, a simple vague analogy. No! This is the substance of the sacrament, and no power in heaven or on earth, neither an angel, nor the pope, nor a council, nor a law of the bishops, has the faculty to change it.” (4)
[NB] In other words, neither the Pope nor a bishop can change the teachings of Christ. The Church has always maintained this practice and teaching reminding us of the sanctity of Marriage and the importance of the Holy Eucharist. St. Paul in the First Letter to the Corinthians reminds us all look into our hearts and to see if we are indeed ready to receive Holy Communion as it’s a grave sin to receive Holy Communion when we are in the state of mortal sin. (5)
The ultimate goal of the Church is to accompany those who are hurting and feel excluded and to bring them back into the fold. To encourage them and to lead them to a worthy reception of the sacraments by which they will come to share in the life of our Saviour.  [There are those who are in situations that can’t be “fixed” easily.  They must exclude themselves from receiving “the sacraments” (generally Penance and Eucharist) and be excluded.  To be able to receive these sacraments they must have a firm purpose of amendment.   So, what Father wrote is correct.  People in these hard situations must be helped to a) not receive unworthily until they b) make the tough choice and move to amend their lives.]

Fr. Pablo Santa Maria



Catechism of the Catholic Church N. 1601
FRANCIS, Pope, Post Synodal Apostolic Exhortation, Amoris Laetitia, 2016. N. 307.
Ibid, N. 300
I Cor. 11, 27

Father did a good job of laying out the issues in a brief and simple way.

Posted in Fr. Z KUDOS, One Man & One Woman, Our Catholic Identity | Tagged , , , | 13 Comments

Vera Lynn is 100 years old!

Vera Lynn is 100 years old!

What a voice!  She was an important figure for the West’s greatest trial which produced the greatest generation.

You young’uns pay attention!  There was once music which moved nations to more than… I don’t want to say.

When you see older people who lived this music in their own youth… ask them what it was like.  Their living memories are precious.

Vera Lynn is 100 years old!


I said UK HERE!

Posted in Just Too Cool, Linking Back | Tagged , | 13 Comments

LENTCAzT 2017 21 – Tuesday of the 3rd Week of Lent: Holy Mass is Calvary Triumphant

17_02_28_LENTCAzT_2017UPDATE: There were problems with the iTunes feed.  I hope they are resolved.

Today is Tuesday in the 3rd Week of Lent.  The Roman Station is Santa Pudenziana.


Today we hear from the wonderful works of Abbot Anscar Vonier.  US HERE – UK HERE

These daily 5 minute podcasts for Lent are intended to give you a small boost every day, a little encouragement in your own use of this holy season and to thank the benefactors who help me and this blog.

Posted in LENTCAzT, Liturgy Science Theatre 3000, PODCAzT | Tagged , , , , , | 2 Comments

A charming 15th century view of St. Joseph

Today is the transferred Feast of St. Joseph.  Yesterday, a Sunday in Lent, “outweighed” the feast.  St. Joseph has many titles in his beautiful litany.  We will sing them tonight after our Pontifical Mass at the Throne.  Joseph is the Foster-father of the Son of God, Protector of Holy Church, Glory of domestic life.

Speaking of “Glory of domestic life”, I recently saw at the Metropolitan Museum in NYC a marvelous French 15th century limestone relief with painting and gilding produced by the circle of Antoine Le Moiturier (+ c. 1497).

There are charming elements which reveal the devotion of the maker.

The star of the show must be Joseph, rendered in great detail.  All the perspectives and points of view favor him, the largest and closest figure.


There are several area which deserve attention.   First, on earth, St. Joseph is on the right, warming the little Lord’s coverlet before the fire.


Angels are lending a hand: they make the Infant Jesus’ bed.

Meanwhile, shepherds have scaled a nearby tree.  They peer in over the broken wall and crumbled woodwork.  They scrabble over each other for a good look.


In the center, an angel has raised the Lord up to the loft or rooftop.  He seems to be changing Jesus, while He plays with the muzzle of a curious critter.  The other beast seems either to want to help or she is trying to eat the blanket.


On the left, more angels enthusiastically watch.  One of them, perhaps our designated representative in the scene, prays, overwhelmed, as we should be.


The Mother of God serenely gazes upward towards the domestically challenged angel and her Son.


Simply superb.  There is a lot packed into this little scene, which is about a foot and a half wide.

Great love made this.

Posted in Just Too Cool | Tagged | 16 Comments

A Deacon’s First Holy Mass ‘ad orientem’ – Wherein Fr. Z issues an invitation

Here is something interesting from blogger Deacon Greg Kandra. He has had his first experience as a sacred minister for Holy Mass ad orientem.

Rev. Mr. Kandra was visiting a parish where Mass is said towards the liturgical East. Let’s see something of what he has to say.  My emphases:

Deacon, look East: serving my first Mass ad orientem

[The pastor] told me Saturday he had started doing one of the Masses ad orientem—giving his flock plenty of notice—and said the response had been positive for both himself and the people in the pews. “When you pray the Mass that way,” he told me Saturday night over dinner, “it brings people together in a way that is almost indescribable. You have all these people from different backgrounds and different ways of being Catholic, and suddenly it’s all focused in one direction, for one purpose.”

And I found that out myself Sunday morning.

“Is there anything special I need to know?,” I asked Fr. Aron. “I’ve never done Mass this way before.”

“It’s exactly the same,” he said, “just turned around.”

And it was.

And I have to say: there was also something profoundly humbling about it. Just as Fr. Aron described it, all the energy in the church seems to go toward that moment, that action on the altar.  And all the action on the altar was directed there, in that time and space. There were no distractions, nothing to draw the eye away from the chalice and that sliver of bread. It was at once transcendent, but also intensely private.

There’s no other way to put this: it was beautiful.

For a more objective take, I asked my traveling companion and CNEWA colleague Phil Eubanks what he thought of it. Phil is a young Methodist from Tennessee and has seen his fair share of Catholic Masses over the years.  How did this strike him?, I wondered.

I actually like it better,” he said after Mass. “That moment when the priest raises the host and the chalice is suddenly so much more powerful.

It’s made all the more so, I think, because the bread and wine been more or less obscured from view during the Eucharistic Prayer. At the moment of consecration, suddenly the sacred species are revealed for what they are: Christ physically present before us.

It’s enough to bring us to our knees.


Do I hear an “Amen!”?

I have often written about how learning to say the older, traditional form of the Roman Rite changes priests forever.  I haven’t thought about the effect on deacons.  I know that altar boys prefer it, in general.  In this case, Rev. Mr. Kandra has had a taste of something which is part and parcel of the older, traditional Roman Rite, but which is also entirely appropriate and even rubrically preferred for the Novus Ordo.

I hereby extend an invitation to Deacon Kandra to come to Madison where we would be pleased to have him act as Deacon for a Traditional Solemn Mass or even as Deacon for a Pontifical Mass.  He would be able to have the “full nine yards” of what it is to be a deacon at the altar in the Roman Rite.  If he would be pleased to contact me, I would be pleased to chat about it.

We would be very pleased to have him visit.  Perhaps we could also organize a mini-conference for his visit with a couple speakers and make it an event.



Posted in "How To..." - Practical Notes, Brick by Brick, Fr. Z KUDOS, Liturgy Science Theatre 3000, Our Catholic Identity | Tagged , | 11 Comments

OLDIE PODCAzT: St. Joseph’s hymn dissected & a hard sermon from St Bernardine of Siena

12_11_13_stjosephBack in 2009 I made a PODCAzT about the hymn sung in the Liturgy of Hours in honor of St. Joseph.

In this rapid PODCAzT, we will drill into a beautiful Gregorian chant hymn to St. Joseph in the Liturgia Horarum, the Liturgy of the Hours.

The hymn is Te, Ioseph celebrent and it is in the Liber Hymnarius for 1st and 2nd Vespers for the Feast of St. Joseph.

Also we listen to an indulgenced prayer written by Pope Leo XIII, Ad Te Ioseph.

Finally, we hear St. Bernardine of Siena (+1444) preach on our Patron of the Universal Church who is Patron of the dying.

082 09-03-19 St. Joseph: a hymn dissected & sermon of Bernardine of Siena

Also, Happy Name Day Holy Father Pope Emeritus Benedict!

Posted in Linking Back, Liturgy Science Theatre 3000, Saints: Stories & Symbols | Tagged , | 3 Comments

LENTCAzT 2017 20 – Monday of the 3rd Week of Lent: Envy

17_02_28_LENTCAzT_2017UPDATE: There are problems with the iTunes feed.  This happens EVERY YEAR!  I don’t know how to fix it.

Today is Monday in the 3rd Week of Lent.  The Roman Station is San Marco.


Sometimes you hear in these podcasts pieces from Matthew Curtis’ – Motecta Trium Vocum.


These daily 5 minute podcasts for Lent are intended to give you a small boost every day, a little encouragement in your own use of this holy season and to thank the benefactors who help me and this blog.

Posted in LENTCAzT, Liturgy Science Theatre 3000, PODCAzT | Tagged , , , , | 5 Comments

My View For Awhile: Lovely Nightmare Edition

It’s a beautiful day, nicest in a while.  Of course that means that after a great Chinese meal with friends…

… I’m going somewhere else!

Going into the airport, a tour bus got stuck under a bridge and the delay was a nightmare.  I wound up getting out of the car at a different terminal and taking a shuttle.

I have a fast check in process (so that helped) and I got to my gate as the boarding was underway. 

Meanwhile my friend The Great Roman™ has been sending photos from the great St Joseph celebrations including a procession and, of course, la cuccagna!

Off we go.


Or maybe not.  This is, after all, Delta!

They can’t get the door of the aircraft to close.  I believe that’s a useful option when flying.

Delta…Not Quite Ready When You Are!


Apparently the problem lies with the electric assist for the door.   They have decided to – wait for it – close it manually. Such creative thinking.

Delta! We solve our problems!

Posted in On the road, What Fr. Z is up to | 11 Comments

LENTCAzT 2017 19 – 3rd Sunday of Lent: SCRUTINY SUNDAY

17_02_28_LENTCAzT_2017UPDATE: There are problems with the iTunes feed.  This happens EVERY YEAR!  I don’t know how to fix it.

Today is the 3rd Sunday of Lent.  The Roman Station is the Basilica of St. Lawrence outside-the-walls.


Sometimes you hear in these podcasts pieces from Matthew Curtis’ – Motecta Trium Vocum.


These daily 5 minute podcasts for Lent are intended to give you a small boost every day, a little encouragement in your own use of this holy season and to thank the benefactors who help me and this blog.

Posted in LENTCAzT, PODCAzT | Tagged , , , , , , | 4 Comments

“If you don’t commit adultery, I’ll kill myself!” – “Well, okay.”

Francesco-CoccopalmerioMy friend Fr. Gerald Murray has again offered some insights over at The Catholic Thing about…

The False and Dangerous Coccopalmerio Gambit

Ready for some casuistry? [which is the use of clever but unsound reasoning, especially in relation to moral questions; sophistry. synonyms: sophistry, specious reasoning, speciousness, sophism, equivocation
… ]
Should the Catholic Church allow a man and a woman to receive the sacraments in the following case? A woman living with a married but divorced man tells him that she no longer wants to live in sin; the man threatens to kill himself, and she, following her confessor’s advice, stays with him?

In an interview with Edward Pentin, Cardinal Francesco Coccopalmerio offers this example and says: yes. He refers to his recent book on Chapter 8 of Amoris Laetitia in which he speaks of this case:

Think of a woman who lives with a married man. She has three little children. She has already been with this man for ten years. Now the children think of her as a mother. He, the partner, is very much anchored to this woman, as a lover, as a woman. If this woman were to say: “I am leaving this mistaken union because I want to correct my life, but if I did this, I would harm the children and the partner,” then she might say: “I would like to, but I cannot.” In precisely these cases, based on one’s intention to change and the impossibility of changing, [See the fatal flaw?] I can give that person the sacraments, in the expectation that the situation is definitively clarified.  [Fail.]

What’s the harm to the partner in her departure? “But how can she leave the union? He [her civilly married spouse] will kill himself. The children, who will take care of them? They will be without a mother. Therefore, she has to stay there.” 

He even states that the woman who desires to end the adulterous relationship would be guilty of killing her partner by leaving: “But if someone says: ‘I want to change, but in this moment I cannot, because if I do it, I will kill people,’ I can say to them, ‘Stop there. When you can, I will give you absolution and Communion.’”

The argument posed here is a quintessential “hard case” being used to establish a premise in favor of treating publicly known adultery as no longer an obstacle to the lawful reception of Holy Communion. But this premise sanctions emotionally manipulative coercion [Right!] and victimizes the woman further by treating her desire to live a virtuous life as the cause of harm to another.

How can that be? Obedience to God’s law is the cause of good in the life of the woman in question and that good radiates out to those around her. Her departure might shock the man into realizing how abusive his behavior has been toward her. His children are his responsibility, along with their mother, assuming she is still alive and involved in their lives. Her decision to follow God’s law will bring the children sadness, but more importantly gives a living witness of the Christian duty always to obey God’s law.  [One of the things that continues to shock me and other sensible people is the assumption that any sticky situation people get themselves into can be “fixed”.  Sometimes people get themselves into jams that can’t be fixed with some solution masked as “compassion” or “mercy”.  True mercy usually means helping the person through the suffering their self-created situation has gotten them into and then finding God in the redemptive suffering.  Happiness in this short life is not the ultimate goal.  Happiness in the next life, for eternity, is the goal.]

The man in question uses the threat of suicide to coerce this woman, not simply to remain in his household to raise his children, as would be the case if he agreed to live in a chaste, brother and sister relationship for the sake of the children; he is coercing her into committing acts of adultery. He is sinning gravely on two counts. She is conscious of her objectively sinful behavior and wants to conform her life to the demands of the Gospel.

Her culpability is mitigated by the force and fear imposed upon her by this man’s threat. [Yes.] Nonetheless, [NB] when grace moves a person to reject sin, the Church must never tell that believer that she need not worry about her sinful situation because the man she is civilly married to is somehow entitled to adulterous relations, lest he kill himself.  [That’s it, isn’t it?  Think about what the promoters of the Kasperite position claim: the matrimonial state is an ideal that some people can’t attain… people who get themselves into sticky situations shouldn’t have to reach for an ideal that they can’t attain.   Isn’t this a denial of God’s grace?  Isn’t it a denial of something that Church teaches definitively?  cf an anathema of the Council of Trent.  Keeping God’s law in particular situations can be difficult, extremely difficult, but it is never impossibleHERE]

Is it an authentically Christian pastoral approach to allow a deadly threat by the man to go unchallenged? Could the threat of suicide likewise be invoked to allow other gravely sinful situations to continue? [“If you don’t let me get that dress for the party at Danny’s place I’LL KILL MYSELF!”] If he were sexually abusing his children, and threatened to kill himself if they were removed from the house, would anyone think they should be left there? Why should his demand to continue in adulterous acts with a reluctant woman be treated differently?

An underlying assumption here may be that once the woman agreed to live with this man more uxorio, she somehow lost her right to refuse pseudo-conjugal rights, and that such a refusal would harm him, if not kill him. This is a backwards way of looking at the plight of a woman who, moved by God’s grace, wants to live faithful to the Sixth Commandment.

[Watch this…] By allowing this “suicide exception,” the Church would be tolerating the woman’s exploitation and reinforcing the man’s mistaken notion that he can, without any consequences, manipulate another person, until such time “that the situation is definitively clarified” (whatever that means).

The role of the priest confessor in this case is to help this man and woman to live virtuous lives, which means abandoning threats to commit suicide and giving good example to the children by living a chaste life together. If that is not possible, the priest should advise the repentant woman to live in accordance with her upright conscience by departing.  [HEY WAIT!  Surely the role of the confessor is to affirm people just as they are!!?!]

Sad to say, Cardinal Coccopalmerio believes it is impossible (emphasis added) for some Christians to change their situation: “I say in the book, it’s necessary to instruct the faithful that when they see two divorced and remarried that go to the Eucharist, they ought not to say the Church now says that condition is good, therefore marriage is no longer indissoluble. They ought to say these people will have reasons examined by the ecclesial authorities on account of which they cannot change their condition, and in the expectation that they change, the Church has placed importance on their desire, their intention to change with the impossibility of doing so.”  [impossibility]

Sed contra: “With God all things are possible.” Mt 19:26

Right.  Fr. Z kudos.

And now…

A reading from the the Council of Trent.

Mind you, the what the Council of Trent is still true.  Right?  Even though it was a few centuries ago, it is still true what that Council taught and we Catholics are obliged to accept what that Council taught.

Celebrated on the thirteenth day of the month of January, 1547.


On keeping the Commandments, and on the necessity and possibility thereof.

But no one, how much soever justified, ought to think himself exempt from the observance of the commandments; no one ought to make use of that rash saying, one prohibited by the Fathers under an anathema,- that the observance of the commandments of God is impossible for one that is justified. For God commands not impossibilities, but, by commanding, both admonishes thee to do what thou are able, and to pray for what thou art not able (to do), and aids thee that thou mayest be able; whose commandments are not heavy; whose yoke is sweet and whose burthen light[That, dear readers, is true compassion.] For, whoso are the sons of God, love Christ; but they who love him, keep his commandments, as Himself testifies; which, assuredly, with the divine help, they can do. For, although, during this mortal life, men, how holy and just soever, at times fall into at least light and daily sins, which are also called venial, not therefore do they cease to be just. For that cry of the just, Forgive us our trespasses, is both humble and true. And for this cause, the just themselves ought to feel themselves the more obligated to walk in the way of justice, in that, being already freed from sins, but made servants of God, they are able, living soberly, justly, and godly, to proceed onwards through Jesus Christ, by whom they have had access unto this grace.


CANON XVIII.-If any one saith, that the commandments of God are, even for one that is justified and constituted in grace, impossible to keep; let him be anathema.

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