BOOK: The Devil Hates Latin

The title of this book intrigued me from the start, since it is a phrase that I have written many times.  It came out last year (I’m surprised that I wasn’t alerted, frankly).

The Devil Hates Latin by Katherine Galgano (which strikes me as a nom de plume).


A Kindle version is available.  Do you not have a Kindle yet?  Sheesh. US HERE – UK HERE

Here is a quick read which will appeal immediately to the more traditional among you, but which could be a strong cup of wake up for the more liberal among you.

It strikes me as having been written with a heavily female ex-pat perspective, which is fine. Women stress some things that men don’t.  As someone who live in Rome as long as I did, I see what’s going on pretty easily and she get’s a lot right.  The plot takes a while to develop, as many characters are introduced one by one, each one having grim circumstances.  It’s hard, at first, to see how the threads will eventually come together.

BTW… you’ll probably not want to live in Rome after reading a few pages of this book.  As a matter of fact, it deals with some awful stuff.  The line, “Hopelessness, cynicism and disappointment bit deeply into the fabric of Italian life, and like some airborne malaise, drifted through the windows of the Pirisi’s third floor apartment.”  Thus, also the book.   It paints a not very rosy picture of the state of modern society and of the Church… the liberal-run Church.  There’s this:

“But the Church has broken down here in Italy to the point where it can no longer perform these vital tasks. Old clergy still parrot the exhausted ideas of the sixties, speaking mainly to the elderly in fast-emptying pews. There are no vocations. The few committed Catholics here are isolated in the ghettos of their various ‘movements’ which help them find work and, sometimes, raise their children among like-minded people. But they have very little influence on the larger culture. If you are unlucky enough to be a pregnant young woman in a ‘normal’ Italian family, you will probably choose to abort. The evil is everywhere, Your Excellency.”

But with a title like The Devil Hates Latin you wouldn’t expect fluffy kittens and dancing smiley flowers.

Much like Malachi Martin does in Windswept House (US HERE – UK HERE) she creates not very subtly veiled characters, such as Alexander Card. Portland, described as “an intelligent bishop who actually believed” and “the real thing”. He is a composite.  There is an African Pope (a good guy).  The conclave dodged a German and “a Filipino with an infectious grin”.

And Latin, of course, figures in the book. She gets some Latin and Italian wrong, and in my Kindle version there were some typographical problems, but I give lots of points to those who try. There’s Latin for Masses and exorcism: what’s not to like? Happily, there are mentions of the traditional parish in Rome, Ss. Trinità dei Pelegrini and the traditional Mass.  And one line I agreed with entirely: “He thought reflexively for the thousandth time about how one of the benefits of being Roman Catholic was, no doubt, the food.”

A good thing in the book is the emphasis on how people get into serious spiritual trouble and what sort of disasters result from liberalism and indifferentism in the Church.

There is a very strong defense in the book of the unborn, while describing some sad circumstances.

Many of you will enjoy this quick read.

Posted in REVIEWS, The Campus Telephone Pole | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

St. Peter Canisius, pray for the Jesuits!

peter_canisius_smToday is the Feast of St. Peter Canisius (+1597), a Jesuit priest and Doctor of the Church.  There is a good write up about this great son of Ignatius HERE.

Peter was a great counter-Reformation saint who worked tirelessly in German speaking lands for the Faith.  This is exemplary:

From his earliest youth, God had specially protected him, and had markedly endowed him with a tender fervency in prayer and a predilection for heavenly things. He also had the advantage during his years of study, of a most excellent director, who guided him onwards in the path of holiness, and to whom he on his part daily confided with a generous humility his actions, words, and even his most secret thoughts. Eventually it was God’s will that he should become acquainted at Mayence, with Father Peter Favre, and by his means led to join the Society of Jesus. He had already, as a young priest at Cologne, given proofs of extraordinary zeal, which had won public recognition. Herman von Wied, the misguided Archbishop of Cologne, had at that time invited some of the innovators into the city, thus bringing ravening wolves into Christ’s fold. The firmness with which Canisius opposed the heresies of the new teachers, and the high esteem in which he was already held, caused him to be sent by the clergy and people to the Emperor, to ask help against their false pastor; and he fulfilled his mission so well, that shortly afterwards the hireling, for he was no longer a shepherd, was deservedly deposed and excommunicated.

Ravening wolves.

When shall we see Jesuits like him again?

I would rather see the company repressed again than foster the likes of THIS and the article and doings behind it at a Jesuit-run school.


Clement_XVI_Mug_01 Clement_XVI_Mug_02

For all the selections click



Meanwhile Jesuits at the Jesuit-run Jesuit School of Theology in Berkeley they’ve invited a woman to speak who claims that she has been ordained.  HERE


Posted in Liberals, Saints: Stories & Symbols | Tagged , | 3 Comments

Happy Birthday Universe!


This is from History:

On this day in 4977 B.C., the universe is created, according to German mathematician and astronomer Johannes Kepler, considered a founder of modern science. Kepler is best known for his theories explaining the motion of planets.
Kepler was born on December 27, 1571, in Weil der Stadt, Germany. As a university student, he studied the Polish astronomer Nicolaus Copernicus’ theories of planetary ordering. Copernicus (1473-1543) believed that the sun, not the earth, was the center of the solar system, a theory that contradicted the prevailing view of the era that the sun revolved around the earth.
In 1600, Kepler went to Prague to work for Danish astronomer Tycho Brahe, the imperial mathematician to Rudolf II, emperor of the Holy Roman Empire. Kepler’s main project was to investigate the orbit of Mars. When Brahe died the following year, Kepler took over his job and inherited Brahe’s extensive collection of astronomy data, which had been painstakingly observed by the naked eye. Over the next decade, Kepler learned about the work of Italian physicist and astronomer Galileo Galilei (1564-1642), who had invented a telescope with which he discovered lunar mountains and craters, the largest four satellites of Jupiter and the phases of Venus, among other things. Kepler corresponded with Galileo and eventually obtained a telescope of his own and improved upon the design. In 1609, Kepler published the first two of his three laws of planetary motion, which held that planets move around the sun in ellipses, not circles (as had been widely believed up to that time), and that planets speed up as they approach the sun and slow down as they move away. In 1619, he produced his third law, which used mathematic principles to relate the time a planet takes to orbit the sun to the average distance of the planet from the sun.
Kepler’s research was slow to gain widespread traction during his lifetime, but it later served as a key influence on the English mathematician Sir Isaac Newton (1643-1727) and his law of gravitational force. Additionally, Kepler did important work in the fields of optics, including demonstrating how the human eye works, and math. He died on November 15, 1630, in Regensberg, Germany. As for Kepler’s calculation about the universe’s birthday, scientists in the 20th century developed the Big Bang theory, which showed that his calculations were off by about 13.7 billion years.

Well… a billion here a billion there…

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ASK FATHER: Non-standard form for Confirmation – valid?

12_03_12_confirmationFrom a reader…


Yesterday I acted as sponsor for a person receiving Confirmation. I noticed that the bishop, at the moment of anointing the candidates with the sacred chrism, did not say the standard formula. The bishop (a native English speaker, speaking in English) said, “Be sealed in the gifts of the Holy Spirit.” (He repeated this same nonstandard formula over and over for dozens of candidates. I heard him both through the microphone and directly up close.) Is that sufficiently similar in meaning to the prescribed formula to be valid? The bishop did all sorts of other nonsense during the Mass that made a mockery of Catholic liturgy, and I was very annoyed by it, but is this change to the essential sacramental formula bad enough that I should report it to the appropriate congregation at the Vatican?

Let’s review, because reviewing helps.

All sacraments have both matter and form.  For the Sacrament of Confirmation the matter is the laying on of hands and the anointing with chrism.  In 1971, Paul VI issued in his Apostolic Constitution Divinae consortium naturae a new rite of Confirmation and he designated as the form: Accipe signaculum doni Spiritus Sancti… Be sealed with the Gift of the Holy Spirit.”  In the Byzantine East the form is virtually the same, including singular  “gift” (??????, genitive of ? ?????) except that different parts of the body are anointed.  The older, traditional Latin Church form is also valid: “Signo te crucis: et confirmo te Chrismate salutis, in nomine Patris, et Filii, et Spiritus Sancti. … I sign thee with the Sign of the Cross, and I confirm thee with the Chrism of salvation, in the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost. Amen.”

The Catechism of the Catholic Church covers the Sacrament of Confirmation in 1285 ff.  Everyone should own a copy.  More HERE.

Does “Be sealed with the gifts of the Holy Spirit” mean the same thing as “Be sealed with the Gift of the Holy Spirit”?

In general, the “gifts of the Holy Spirit” are understood to be, “Wisdom, Understanding, Knowledge…”, etc., which are bestowed with the indwelling of the Holy Spirit in the soul with sanctifying grace.  They are a result of the indwelling of the Spirit.  “The gift of the Holy Spirit” could include the “gifts of the Holy Spirit”, and more.  Each sacrament has its effects. In the CCC 1303 we read that one of the effects of the sacrament of Confirmation is that “it increases the gifts of the Holy Spirit in us”. I suppose that we can conceive of all the effects to be one with the Holy Spirit’s indwelling. But…the Latin form has singular “doni”, genitive singular of donum.  The Greek has the singular. I don’t know if “gifts” is valid or not.  Perhaps you could – respectfully – ask the bishop if it means the same thing before you write to the Congregation.  In general, which every Catholic always has immediate recourse to the Holy See in these matters, it is best to work your way up with questions rather than start at the top.

It grieves me some priests and bishops do not use the sacrament form as it is written in the book. People who are in attendance can read it in the book or the handout.  People who are paying attention and who have basic catechism scratch their heads when the book says one thing while the minister of the sacrament says another.

Catholics with a fundamental knowledge of their basic catechism know that our sacraments have both matter and form and that the form matters, if you get my drift.  For a sacrament to be valid, a valid form – the words spoken – must be used.  The valid form is laid down by the Church.  It is not up to individual priests or bishops to determine what the valid form is.  Priests and bishops are obliged by law and all that is good and holy to use the proper form.

I don’t think that most bishops and priests who screw around with sacramental forms are being malicious.  I think that, for the most part, they are trying to make the rite more “meaningful”, even though they have zero authority to change the words.

If it comes to their attention that people are confused by what they do, then it is a horrible lack of charity to continue to upset people by using a non-standard “form” for sacraments, thus raising doubts in their minds:

“Was I really absolved?  Was I really confirmed?  Is that really the Eucharist up there?  Was my child really baptized?”

Fathers, please just stick to the book for the form of sacraments.

If you have to review, then, for the love of God, review.  Just…

Say the Black Do the Red

The moderation queue is ON.


My dear friend Fr. Tim Finigan, His Hermeneuticalness, has picked up on this post and, at his place (HERE), added good remarks, including:

I have another quibble with the form of Confirmation in our current English version. Simply put, it is not a correct translation of the Latin text.


“Be sealed with the Gift of the Holy Spirit.” I do not think that it is pedantic to point out that “Be sealed with the Gift of the Holy Spirit” is not the same as “Receive the seal of the Gift of the Holy Spirit.”


The seal is something that is given and received. In the Roman army, recruits were marked on the hand or the forearm with an abbreviation of the name of the general. This tattoo was called the signaculum. (In the film Gladiator, Maximus has the mark on his upper arm and cuts it away with a flint while he is being transported to be sold into slavery.) In Greek the word would be sphragis and there is a rich vein of material in the Fathers of the Church that brings out the significance of this in the rite of Baptism and Confirmation. Danielou in his “The Bible and the Liturgy” devotes a chapter to it.

The signaculum or sphragis was an indelible seal, a mark of belonging to Christ, of being incorporated into the Church, a mark of protection, and a mark of enlistment into the army of Christ. The notion of being a soldier of Christ did not originate with Faustus of Riez, it was there in St John Chrysostom. The military metaphor was made more explicit by the Roman use of signaculum, of course.

So using the phrase “Be sealed with the gift of the Holy Spirit” in our current translation is not the same as “Receive the seal of the Gift of the Holy Spirit” which is what the Latin original means.


Go over there and read the rest.  It is very good.

Fathers, you priests of the Latin Church: Just Use Latin!

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Disaster. Vocations. Identity. Liturgy. Prayer. ACTION ITEM and Fr. Z rants.

See the end of the post!

See the end of the post!

A while back I wrote that people get the priests that they deserve.  Collectively, at least.  Priests don’t just spring full grown from the heads of… cabbage.

Recently, a writer at hyper-liberal Commonweal suggested that vocations are down because his grand vision of the spirit of Vatican II was stifled by the baaaaad Popes John Paul and Benedict.  If only we had more visionaries like Card. Kasper, we’d have more wonderful “presbyters” and sunshine and happy little puppies and more hugging, etc.

The problem is, in those places where his vision of the Church has been implement in full force, hardly anyone goes to Church anymore and there are no vocations.  What a wonderful success!  Take Belgium, for example: 5% Mass attendance.

I remember some time back when there were no men admitted for one year to a major seminary for an archdiocese, they crowed about how effective their screening process was.  Another success!

Many years ago my old pastor, Msgr. Schuler, commenting on the liberal trend in the archdiocese at that time and about how the powers-that-were were talking about priest-less parishes, quipped that they were like the Irish, sitting around talking about how to die rather than figuring out how to plant more crops.

Now I read this, about Ireland, another place where the liberal modernist spirit has for decades ravaged the land.  This is from the Irish Times (with my emphases and comments):

No Mass to take place in Limerick diocese next Tuesday
Fall-off in Catholic priesthood vocations leads to unprecedented situation

Masses will not be said at any church in the Diocese of Limerick next Tuesday, April 25th – the first time since Catholic Emancipation in 1829 that this has happened in any Irish diocese.
Instead, there will be only lay-led liturgies of the Word (readings) and public prayers in churches, with no Mass and no Communion on that day. The lack of services in the Limerick diocese is directly related to the fall-off in priestly vocations, despite major efforts by the diocese to best use existing priests.  [This is the reporter writing, granted, but note… “existing priests”.]
Communion will not be distributed on Tuesday, but this is not to suggest it might never be so distributed at future lay-led liturgies, especially, for instance, on Sundays in nursing homes, said a diocesan spokesman.
Last November, Bishop Brendan Leahy warned that a chronic shortage of priests, coupled with falling Mass attendances, could lead to “some churches” having Mass “every second Sunday or one Sunday a month”.
Limerick diocese has a Catholic population of 184,340 in 60 parishes, with 94 churches. It has 83 active priests, made up of 45 parish priests and 38 curates, with just 10 of them under the age of 50.
“All over the world, when priests are not available, the liturgy of the Word is celebrated in parishes without the distribution of Communion. We are, in many respects, going back to the future[?!?] as not that long ago people would attend weekly Mass without receiving Communion, which was largely a sacrament received only occasionally,” Bishop Leahy said.  [Good grief!  The problem with this is that when, back in the day, people didn’t receive Communion as often when they went to Mass… THEY WENT TO MASS.  And the thing they went to was MASS and not some “liturgy”.   Ohhhh how I detest the use of the generic word “liturgy” instead of “Mass”.  It has helped to erode, over time, the sense of what Mass is.]
Chronic shortage
The chronic shortage of priests next Tuesday is because priests across the diocese will attend a one-day training course, The Irish Times understands.  [The writer should go back to school.]
Last year, a 400-strong diocesan synod, 300 of them lay,  [?!?] acknowledged the need for greater involvement by the laity, [What a surprise!] including situations where lay people would lead prayers in church.
Noting that the synod had strongly supported this, Bishop Leahy said: “We need to prepare for a time when, even though priests are not available, each local community will be prepared to arrange for moments of public prayer.
“No parish should find itself in a position where it is not prepared for such a possibility, so it makes sense for us to begin right now,” he said.  [Yep.  That’s the spirit.]
There are currently 67 men studying for the priesthood – 55 at St Patrick’s College Maynooth and 12 at the Irish College in Rome. [NB:  That’s for Ireland not for just Limerick.] Maynooth was designed to cater for 500 seminarians. It has just over a tenth of that number now. Meanwhile, the average age of the Irish Catholic diocesan priest hovers at around 67. They retire at 75.  [One of my priest friends told me that in 5 years time they project that in their US diocese they will lose 50% of their priests to retirement or death.]
A 2013 study found that three-quarters of Ireland’s priests were then aged between 45 and 74, with the largest proportion (27.1 per cent) in the 65-74 age group. Altogether in 2013, 64.9 per cent of Irish priests were over 55, while, as the study put it, “the proportions of priests in the sub-44 age groups are decreasing”. In 2013 that latter figure was 11.9 per cent.
No resident priest
Last month, the Bishop of Ardagh and Clonmacnois Francis Duffy said three parishes in his diocese no longer have a resident priest: “This trend of a declining number of clergy is set to continue.”
He said that “by 2030, over the next 13 years, 28 of our 53 diocesan priests will reach the retirement age of 75 years”. There would then be 25 priest to serve 41 parishes.
The Dublin archdiocese does not have a priest under the age of 40.[Did you get that?] In 2014 there were a total of 419 priests serving its 1,159,000 Catholics in 199 parishes with a total 238 churches. In 13 years’ time, by 2030, there are expected to be 192 priests under 75 (retirement age) in the archdiocese.
The number of diocesan priests in the decade 2002 to 2012, went from 3,203 in 2002 to 2,800 in 2012, a fall of 403, while the number of religious priests – members of congregations and orders – dropped from 2,159, to 1,888 in 2012. For the female congregations, the drop in numbers was bigger, down from 8,953 in 2002 to 6,912 in 2012 – a fall of 2,041.

A number of things now come to mind.  First, I remember well what Pope Benedict XVI wrote to the Irish people after the clerical sexual abuse crisis exploded there. HERE He wrote, among other things, that in Ireland there should be greater Eucharistic adoration and reparation for sins and an increase of the sacrament of penance.  I wonder if that has been done, as the Pope asked.   Wanna place any bets?

Next, I get the sense that certain bishops and priests don’t give a damn about vocations. They want the lay-run church in which the rare priest occasionally comes around to provide the white thing that gets handed out before they sing the song together.

Isn’t that what Communion has become for so many catholics?  They put the white thing in our hand and then we sing the song.  And don’t we feel good about ourselves?

Is that going to produce priests and religious vocations?

There is no lack of priestly vocations where bishops and priests project solid clerical identity and where they teach perennial Catholic truth in charity and in clarity.

Moreover, in this matter of priestly and religious vocations, no initiative will succeed unless we have a top down and bottom up revitalization of our sacred liturgical worship.

That means a wide-spread, wholesale return to traditional practices including, especially, ad orientem worship (Card. Sarah is right!) and the elimination of Communion in the hand.

We must restore to our worship an ars celebrandi which favors an encounter with mystery rather than fostering an encounter with ourselves in self-affirmation.


We have to get down on our knees constantly and pray for vocations to the priesthood and religious life.  Let’s not pray for generic “vocations”, lumping them all together.  No.  We need a public, manifest, constant call for vocations to the priesthood from our own homes and families, not someone else’s.

At the parish where I serve, the pastor and I had cards printed with an old prayer for vocations used at my home parish, where there was on average a First Mass every year.   From now on, at every Sunday and Holy Day Mass, after the Gospel and before the announcements and sermon, everyone will kneel and say this prayer:

LEADER: Please kneel for our prayer for vocations.  Let us as God to give worthy priests, brothers and sisters to His Holy Church.

ALL: O God, we earnestly beseech Thee to bless this (arch)diocese with many priests, brothers and sisters, who will gladly spend their entire lives to serve Thy Church and to make Thee known and loved.

LEADER: Bless our families. Bless our children.

ALL: Choose from our homes those who are needed for Thy work.

LEADER: Mary, Queen of the Clergy!

ALL: Pray for us. Pray for our priests and religious. Obtain for us many more.

A friend back home – whom I miss rather a lot – sent me one of the original holy cards, which I prize.



Note that key line:

Choose from our homes those who are needed for Thy work.

We had cards made with beautiful artwork on the front and this very prayer on the back.  Soon it will be so much a part of the regular Sunday and Holy Day practice that everyone will know it by heart.  It will ring in the ears of young people and keep the idea of a religious vocations constantly present and active.  I don’t doubt the outcome.

This is an ACTION ITEM.   Fathers, consider implementing this in your parishes.  And don’t junk the prayer up with additions about “married life” or “single life” or “permanent deacons”.  Just leave it as it is.  We’ve done the heavy lifting by already printing the cards if you want to drop a line.

Lay people!  Especially you who are in sound parishes!  Go to your priests with this post and ask them to implement a prayer for vocations to the priesthood.  Keep at them.

Posted in "How To..." - Practical Notes, ACTION ITEM!, Priests and Priesthood, Seminarians and Seminaries, Semper Paratus, The Coming Storm, The future and our choices, Turn Towards The Lord | Tagged , , , | 12 Comments

BOOK RECEIVED: Traditional LECTIONARIUM from Fraternity Publications

I recently received a new, old Lectionarium from Fraternity Publications, the publishing arm of the FFSP, Fraternity of St. Peter.  This liturgical book is used during Solemn Mass in the traditional Roman Rite.  It contains the texts of the Epistles and the Gospels to be sung by the subdeacon and deacon.

It is bound in red leather cover and is approximately 10″ x 14″ x 1 7/8″.  It has , two high ribbon markers.   The edges of the pages are gilded.

The spine.

There is a nice colored plate at the beginning.

It’s bona fides.

The type face is a little more ornate than I would prefer but it is easily legible.

The ribbons have a couple nice touches. First, the are reinforced at the connection to the  spine.  Also, they are finished at the end.  They are designed, with care, to last.

The notation for the Exsultet is included, which is fitting, since it is something to be sung by a deacon.

By way of comparison, this is a shot of my other, older Lectionarium.  Again, this is an older book…

Now back to the new volume.  A shot with items… just for scale.

The book is not inexpensive, but it is a one time purchase.

If your TLM community needs one, consider getting it and donating it.  However, check with the priest before you get it.  Make sure that a) they don’t have one and b) that there isn’t something more urgent to acquire.

Our liturgical books should be elegant, as well as useful.

One thing might improve the volume, even though it was not included in older editions. It would perhaps be helpful to include templates with Gregorian notation for the chants of the readings.

There are modes that have become standard in the Roman Rite and every seminarian and cleric should know them.  Alas, I have not heard of any seminary out there where they are taught.   I would love to be corrected.  I hope seminarians will drop me a line.  I’ll protect your identity, of course.

There is a huge lacuna in liturgical training in all things Latin in this our ailing Latin Rite Church.  And yet the Code of Canon Law clearly states that seminarians should be very well-trained in Latin (can. 249).  Their training of Latin matters liturgy should be thorough.

The Fathers of the Second Vatican Council mandated that pastors of souls should make sure that their flocks should be able to both sing and speak the parts that pertain to them in both Latin and their mother tongue.  But if that is a requirement of the Conciliar reform for lay people in the pews, how much more important is it that their clergy know how to sing the parts that pertain to them in Latin, which is the language of their Rite?

The templates for singing the orations and readings for Mass are found, for example, in the Liber Usualis.  I think they ought to be included in the Lectionarium, even if they were not included in the past.  We need them today.  And we need people to teach the seminarians and clergy what those tones are.  Many of them can’t read music.  And there are also some who don’t hear the difference between whole and half steps.  They should be helped to hear and sing the correct intervals.  That means practice.


This brings to mind a book from the Canons at St. John Cantius which has all the variations of tones of orations and of the readings in chant notation.  I wrote about it HERE.   The Cantius book, Canticum Clericorum Romanum, is a helpful book, to be sure.  It is great for practice.  It is far better that seminarians and clergy know their chants without using this… “cheat sheet”.  They should more properly use the elegant, liturgical book, such as this Lectionarium from Fraternity Publications.


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ASK FATHER: Should I consider permanent diaconate if I can’t serve the traditional community?

deacon_dalmatic_02From a reader…

My pastor and several bishops have urged me to enter the diocesan permanent diaconate program. I will be beginning my studies in Sacred Theology this September. But I am having second thoughts, mainly because I have been hearing opinions from priests belonging to Ecclesia Dei communities, that they dislike the concept of married deacons, and that they would not serve at the altar with somebody who is not committed to the sacrifice by living a celibate life. I am afraid, that the traditional community would not accept me. Must I now choose between the diaconate and being a traditional catholic? Are the two really not compatible?

I can’t speak to the attitudes of priests of “Ecclesia Dei communities” in your area.

However, it is just plain silly to suggest that permanent deacons are not able to serve – or shouldn’t be allowed to serve – in the traditional Roman Rite.

Deacons are deacons are deacons.

Of course there is a debate about married deacons and continence.  Ed Peters has made a strong case that married deacons should be continent.   The basic argument is this.  In the Latin Church clerics are bound by can. 277 to observe perfect and perpetual continence. This is supported by tradition.  All deacons are clerics.  Hence, all deacons, including married deacons, are bound to be continent.

I supppose that some priests of “Ecclesia Dei communities” in your area might add that, if the permanent deacons are not continent, they are not acting as deacons ought.  That being the case, they shouldn’t serve.  However, priests of “Ecclesia Dei communities” in your area can’t know how a deacon is living.  They presume to know what they can’t, and ought not, know.  So, do they commit the sin of rash judgment about the deacons whom they meet?

In any event, a deacon is a deacon is a deacon.  Transitional deacons are not “more deacony” than permanent deacons.

Furthermore, given that the Solemn Mass of the Roman Rite should be preferred to the mere Sung Mass or the Low Mass, and that they cannot be celebrated without an additional priest or deacon for the diaconal roll, what are these priests of “Ecclesia Dei communities” in your area trying to accomplish?

Subsequently, if you have strong concerns, give yourself some time and talk with your confessor and with wise priests who know the score.  And remember that priests of “Ecclesia Dei communities” in your area will be rotated out to serve someplace else… or at least that is what usually happens.

All these things having been considered, ponder deeply that you – as you say – have been urged to enter formation for the diaconate by “several bishops”.  That’s not nothing!  If bishops are asking this of you, pay attention.  Service to Holy Church may or may not include service in traditional forms of the Roman Rite.

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Firstly, do give some attention to…


Next, some links, because they scroll off the front page pretty quickly.


Posted in SESSIUNCULA | Leave a comment

Your Good News

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

Let us know!


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ASK FATHER: Deacons in Novus Ordo Masses

17_04_17_recession_01From a reader…


Father, can you please shed some light on GIRM #171-173 (and there abouts), regarding the position of the Deacon during the procession to and from the altar?

We were instructed in the seminary to be in front of the priest. I am seeing more and more (even on EWTN) the deacon walking in procession to and from the altar NEXT to the priest. This seems to be wrong. It “appears” then as the Deacon is equal in all aspects to the priest. In fact, in my diocese deacons have been asked to not conduct any, so called, “Communion Service” because it “looks” like he is offering the Mass in the eyes of many of the laity. At Masses where the Deacon preaches, I have even heard parishioners say to the Deacon after Mass: “nice Mass Father.” And the Deacon, of course, never correctes them. Is the statement about being “next to the priest” meant for only within the sanctuary, or only as an alternative to being in front of the priest during the procession, as when not carrying the Book of the Gospels? I believe there is another part of the GIRM (escapes me at the moment) that states the Deacon exits the same way he enters. I would read that as, if entering carrying the Gospels in front of the priest, then you should leave in front of the priest even if not carrying the Gospels.

It seems, our “Uppity Deacons” today enjoy making issues of virtually everything.

Thank you Father, for your wise and much appreciated thoughts.

It has been a long time since I had a deacon for a Novus Ordo Mass, and it has been a really long time since I was a deacon for a Novus Ordo Mass.  I was deacon for a Solemn TLM last Sunday, however.   During that Mass I walked at the side of the priest on the way in and during the Vidi aquam, because he was in cope and because I had to carry the aspersorium. If there had not been a Vidi aquam I would have walked in front of the priest. I also walked at the priest’s side from the sedilia to the altar.  It was pretty clear that the priest was the priest and that the deacon was the deacon: we were dressed differently.  At the conclusion of Mass, I walked in front of the priest.   That’s how we do it in the Roman Rite… traditionally.

What does the GRIM say?

171. When he is present at the celebration of the Eucharist, a Deacon should exercise his ministry, wearing sacred vestments. In fact, the Deacon:

a) assists the Priest and walks at his side;


172. Carrying the Book of the Gospels slightly elevated, the Deacon precedes the Priest as he approaches the altar or else walks at the Priest’s side.

I believe the GIRM says that the deacon walks in front of the priest in the entrance procession when he carries the Evangelarium.   I suppose then that if he goes in in front of the priest, he should leave that way too.

Perhaps this is a chance for enrichment of the Novus Ordo.  Perhaps the more traditional entrance and exit would be a good idea.

I suspect that there are deacons who would like to jump in.


Posted in "How To..." - Practical Notes, ASK FATHER Question Box, Liturgy Science Theatre 3000 | Tagged | 15 Comments


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Registered or not, will you in your charity please take a moment look at the requests and to pray for the people about whom you read?

Continued from THESE.

I get many requests by email asking for prayers. Many requests are heart-achingly grave and urgent.

As long as my blog reaches so many readers in so many places, let’s give each other a hand. We should support each other in works of mercy.

If you have some prayer requests, feel free to post them below.

You have to be registered here to be able to post.

I still have two pressings personal petitions.  No, I actually have THREE now.  I can’t get a break, it seems.  Ut Deus….


Posted in PRAYER REQUEST, Urgent Prayer Requests | 24 Comments

ASK FATHER: Do I fulfill my Sunday obligation at an Eastern or SSPX church?

Russian_CatholicFrom a reader…

Are SSPX Masses and Eucharist licit for Roman Catholics? This Triduum was heart-wrenching as we had the “full band” (organ, piano, guitar, drums and cymbals) playing during Holy Thursday AND Good Friday!

There is no Tridentine Mass celebrated in my area. I have increasing doubts as to the validity of the NO. There is an SSPX parish several towns over, also a Ukranian Byzantine Catholic Church within 45 minutes of here. I love God, and I love my faith, but truly feel the NO has been protestantized (is that even a word?). Yes, I have spoken to our priests. Their responses were “I’ve heard that from several other parshioners as well”.

I’m sorry that you have had to suffer in that way.

Without question the Novus Ordo is valid.  The Eucharist is confected and Holy Mass is celebrated.  Sadly, the Novus Ordo lends itself to abuses.   However, it can be celebrated reverently and in a traditional way.  If it is possible to protestantize the NO it is also possible to traditionalize it. Way too much depends on the whims of the priest and those whom he designates to help.

And now to the question which has been answered here many times before.

Masses celebrated by the SSPX are valid.  They have valid Holy Orders.  They validly consecrate the Eucharist.  They undoubtedly celebrate Mass using a Catholic rite, since it is the legitimate traditional Roman Rite which was never abrogated, even with the introduction of the Novus Ordo.

The Code of Canon Law for the Latin Church says:

can. 1248 1. The precept of participating in the Mass is satisfied by assistance at a Mass which is celebrated anywhere in a Catholic rite either on the holy day or on the evening of the preceding day.

This means that if you go to a chapel of the SSPX on the day of precept (such as a Sunday) or the evening before and attend Holy Mass, you fulfill your obligation… silly claims to the contrary notwithstanding.

The Holy See has clarified that this is so.

Also, there is no question that you fulfill your obligation by attending the Divine Liturgy of a Catholic (not Orthodox) Eastern Church, such as the Ukrainian Catholic Church or a Maronite Catholic Church, etc.   They, too, celebrate in a Catholic Rite.  You may go to these churches and you may receive Holy Communion.  I suggest that you not be the first to present yourself for Communion if you are not familiar with how it is distributed.  It is distributed by the priest with a spoon directly into the mouth.  Watch others first.  Do not close your mouth on the spoon!  That’s a no no.   Attending Eastern Catholic Divine Liturgy can be a tremendous experience, especially when the choir and acoustics are good.

I have never recommended that people regularly frequent chapels of the SSPX.  A great deal depends on the priests of these chapels.  If they get the “wrong guy” as it were, people can undermine their unity with the Roman Pontiff by taking in the wrong message.  The risk of this erosion of unity could in part depend on the manner of preaching and many other factors.

Mind you, I think this erosion take place on a huge scale at “legitimate” parishes which lean liberal!   For decades, countless Catholics have been starved of sound doctrine and their faith eroded by dreadful worship.  It is a sad fact that the SSPX, which is so Catholic and reverent, must be… well… not avoided, but not entirely embraced yet, while there is no problem with going to a loony parish in manifest communion with the local bishop where all manner of soul-annihilating nonsense goes on unchecked.  It’s just plain sad, and I hope that this will soon be resolved.

I still will not recommend frequent reception of Holy Communion at an SSPX chapel – yet – unless the conditions of your life are such that it would be very difficult, physically or morally, to get to another church or parish manifestly in union with the local diocese and Rome, even if it isn’t ideal.  The obstacles must be serious, but they cannot be easily spelled out because the circumstances of people’s lives differ so much.

So, yes, you fulfill your Sunday Mass obligation at an SSPX chapel and at an Eastern Catholic church.

This question comes up fairly often and it bears review.

Posted in "How To..." - Practical Notes, ASK FATHER Question Box, Both Lungs, Canon Law, Our Catholic Identity, SSPX, The Coming Storm, The Drill, The future and our choices | Tagged , , | 13 Comments

ASK FATHER: Sunday Mass obligation when traveling to remote places

From a reader…


I travel to many places that don’t have a church (e.g. remote areas of Nepal; Bhutan; Ladakh) so I can’t attend Mass. What do I do? Pray the Rosary?

This question has been answered many times, but here is a…

GUEST RESPONSE from Fr. Tim Ferguson:

There are two axioms rooted in ancient Roman law which effectively mean the same thing: Ultra posse nemo obligatur and Nemo ad impossibilia tenetur. No one can be held to the impossible. The Church has utilized this Roman law principle as well. No one can be obliged to do something which is impossible. If you are traveling in a place where there is not a Mass available, you are thereby not bound to attend the Holy Mass.

I can hear the indignant replies already: “Well, I take my Catholic faith seriously unlike everyone else. I would NEVER travel to a place where it would be impossible to fulfill my Sunday obligation!” or the plaintive, “Surely your travel plans can accommodate a quick flight to Kathmandu where the Church of the Assumption has Sunday Masses!” or even the strident, “If this person took his faith seriously, he would quit his job if it required him to be away from Mass on Sunday! Harumph! Harumph!”

Respondeo dicendum quod – the Church recognizes that, while hearing Sunday Mass is a serious obligation which should not be dismissed lightly, there are legitimate situations where a good and faithful Catholic finds himself or herself in a situation where attendance at Mass is not possible. The necessities of one’s employment, military service, the due (and legitimate!) cause of the occasional vacation, the human need to explore our world – even the very Christian task of spreading the Gospel to all corners of the earth, all of these things can leave one in a place where Mass is not held.

Mindful that one is not bound to the impossible, but also mindful of the grave obligation that one assumes upon being Catholic, one should firstly consult with one’s proper pastor or chaplain. They have the ability to dispense or commute the obligation (canon 1245). The Church also provides that, if attendance at Mass is not possible, taking part in a liturgy of the Word celebration be a priority, and if that, too is not possible, spending “an appropriate time in prayer, whether personally or as a family, or as occasion presents, in a group of families” (c. 1248, 2).

Were I the pastor in question, I would consider commuting the obligation to a devout recitation of the rosary as well as reading the Sacred Scriptures, especially the Gospel of the day and spending time in quiet contemplation if at all possible.

Posted in "How To..." - Practical Notes, ASK FATHER Question Box, Hard-Identity Catholicism, HONORED GUESTS, Liturgy Science Theatre 3000, Mail from priests | Tagged , | 9 Comments

A note about comments, moderation, etc.

I have to use the “moderation queue” feature for many posts.  I can’t watch what is going on 24/7 and I won’t allow the combox to descend into the horrid fever-swamp of the comments at, say, Fishwrap.   As a result, fewer people comment here, but we can live with the absence of the lack of brains and charity.

Also, only people who are registered here can post comments.  Again, that is to keep the knucklehead stuff out of sight, not to mentioned spammers, etc.

Remember also, that any comments that bring up in any way the moderation of comments are instantly deleted.  I don’t even read the rest, once I spot that.

Some people send me email with their comments.  That’s fine.   Some people even ask me to post them for them.  No.  Unless they are exceptionally good, no.  I have enough to do.

I am grateful for feedback.  I am grateful for voicemail (see the sidebar).  I am grateful for contributions, alerts, donations, heads up, etc.

On the subject of donations, today (25th of the month) is a really “thin” day.   Donations keep this blog afloat.  I’m just sayin’.


Posted in SESSIUNCULA | Leave a comment

I reject sexism in every form, and all its pomps, and all its empty works.

At the Fishwrap (aka National Schismatic Reporter) there is an interesting piece by our old pal Phyllis Zagano which merits a little – just a little – attention.

She never misses an opportunity to work in tidbits about the disparity of men’s and women’s presence in leadership roles in the Church, and she got in a dig about deaconettes (her obsession).  That said, her main point was about how the Holy See handles communications with the wider world.

I must admit that she got a lot of this right.  The Holy See’s communications operation is seriously messed up.  I’ll give Phyllis this point.  I believe she once worked in communications.  But I digress.

Zagano criticized Pope Francis for not naming enough women as consultors to the new Secretariat for Social Communications.  Except for the consultors for the CDF, I’m not sure that consultors do very much.  Still, how dare Pope Francis not appoint more women!

And then there is the FACT CHECK:

Fact check: it was the deacon Phoebe who carried Paul’s letter to the Romans. In today’s world, that could be called “release of information.”

First, Romans 16:1 doesn’t say that Phoebe carried any letter.  Some people – not everyone – extrapolate that she did.

Commendo autem vobis Phoeben sororem nostram, quae est in ministerio ecclesiae, quae est in Cenchris: ut eam suscipiatis in Domino digne sancti: et assistatis ei in quocumque negotio vestri indiguerit : etenim ipsa quoque astitit multis, et mihi ipsi. … And I commend to you Phebe, our sister, who is in the ministry of the church, that is in Cenchrae: That you receive her in the Lord as becometh saints; and that you assist her in whatsoever business she shall have need of you. For she also hath assisted many, and myself also [DR].

It was a commonplace in the ancient world to commend the one who carried the letter.  However, the text does not explicitly say that Phoebe carried the letter.  There is a strong chance that she did, but this is not in any way clear.  Maybe she did, maybe she didn’t.  We don’t have to accept this premise.

Furthermore, she wrote:

In today’s world, that could be called “release of information”.

Or, in today’s world, that could be called “carrying a letter”.

In other words, Phoebe was the FedEx guy.  Paul didn’t trust the Italian post… or the Vatican post for that matter.  Perhaps Card. Burke should have found a “Phoebe” when he sent his books to the members of the Synod of Bishops.  They were stolen out of the mail slots, remember?  HERE  But I digress.

Next, Zagano calls Phoebe a deacon, which is scriptural, but that confuses the issue in the present day debates about ordination of women.  It would be better to refer to deaconesses (deaconettes), to distinguish their ministry from that of the ordained, that is, male, ordained (real) deacons.

Then it goes blah blah for a while.  But, toward the end, the last few paragraphs…

The question is not so much what is true and what is false, but rather what people perceive as true and what people perceive as false.  The first thing that seems “false” is what the church says about women in relation to how it acts toward them.  [Isn’t that the same as what is true and what is false?  Anyway, if there aren’t enough women in the Secretariat for Social Communication, as consultors mind you, then the Church’s credibility is compromised… for Phyllis.  But it gets worse.  Her argument is that if there aren’t enough women involved, as consultors, then the Vatican’s message itself is not credible.]

That is the very serious problem the Secretariat for Communication and its units face. [Never mind the meltdown of Vatican Radio, the bizarre content of L’Osservatore Romano, etc. etc. etc.] If the messenger is not to be believed, then what happens to the message?  [So… because Phoebe delivered the letter it was somehow credible in a way that it wouldn’t have been had a man carried it.]

You think maybe everybody needs to remember who announced the Resurrection?

Ummm… it was the angel.

In any event, I reject the notion that the Church’s message is not credible simply because men announce it.

I reject this, just as I reject sexism in every form, along with all its pomps and all its empty works.

The moderation queue is ON.

Posted in Deaconettes, Liberals, Lighter fare, The Drill | Tagged , , , , , | 10 Comments