Recently Received Items

The diligent John of Leaflet Missal, in the wake of the great Seminarian Biretta Project (ongoing) has sent me a mighty tool of the New Evangelization.

Behold a “scruple spoon”.


I lacked this weapon of demon-terrorizing in my liturgical arsenal. Thanks to John.

I am still getting notes from seminarians. EVERYONE! Call John and get a biretta for a seminarians! Click HERE


“But Father! But Father!”, some libs are puling, “That’s a huge ladle of a thing!  How big is your ‘precious chalice’?  Does hating Vatican II mean that you are scrupulous, too?  HA HA!”

Nope, it means none of those things.  It does mean, however, that I adhere to what Unreconstructed Ossified Manualists hold: pour too much water into the wine and you have invalid matter for consecration.  We learn from Tanquerey (that tonic for the soul), that “quinta pars aquae ad vinum corrumpendum non sufficiat … a fifth part of water isn’t enough to break [the substance of] the wine”, and thus render it invalid matter for consecration.

Fathers, if you don’t use much wine, which is my practice, you had better be careful with that water!

So, the careful priest, and I am careful, has the option of a little spoon, often called a “scruple spoon”.

As far as the size of the spoon is concerned, here are a couple objects to add perspective, namely, a .45 ACP snap cap and a packet of hot sauce from Chick-fil-A.


You “dunk” the spoon into the narrow neck of the cruet to fish up some water.


You never have to worry.  One less thing.

One of you readers and frequent donors here, MH, sent a bunch of cards she had made with the Apostolic Pardon/Blessing printed in Latin and English.  They are wallet-sized.  She said I should give them to priests…. and I will!



More about the Apostolic Benediction HERE.

Thanks MH!

FacebookEmailPinterestGoogle GmailShare/Bookmark
Posted in "How To..." - Practical Notes, Just Too Cool, Liturgy Science Theatre 3000 | Tagged , , | 4 Comments

A note about the necessary faculty priests must have licitly and validly to absolve sins

12_08_16_confessionI want to clear up something related to the upcoming grant from Pope Francis (I repeat… upcoming, and not yet) to SSPX priests to absolve the sins of penitents who come to them.

Some people are claiming that the SSPX already validly absolve sins because of their mystical “supplied jurisdiction”.  No.  Sorry.  They don’t.  They don’t because they do not have the faculty – under normal circumstances (that’s important) – to absolve validly.  The Church’s Lawgiver (the Pope) included a canon in the 1983 Code of Canon Law (for the Latin Church) that a priest must have (in addition to valid ordination) the faculty – the Church’s permission – to absolve.  No ticky, no laundry.

So, how does one get the “ticky”?

Can.  966 §1. The valid absolution of sins requires that the minister have, in addition to the power of orders, the faculty of exercising it for the faithful to whom he imparts absolution.

§2. A priest can be given this faculty either by the law itself or by a grant made by the competent authority according to the norm of ? can. 969 (i.e., diocesan bishops, religious superiors).

The priest can be given the faculty either by competent authority (i.e., his diocesan bishop, religious superior) or by the law itself.  How does the law give the faculty?

This is where can. 976 comes in.

Can.  976 Even though a priest lacks the faculty to hear confessions, he absolves validly and licitly any penitents whatsoever in danger of death from any censures and sins, even if an approved priest is present.

Imagine this scene:

A person is dying.  In the crowd gathered there are five priests.  One is a diocesan priest in good standing with full faculties of his diocese who is pretty conservative but doesn’t know how to say the traditional Mass.  One is a traddy diocesan priest from another diocese who has faculties in his own diocese, but here in Tall Tree Circle in the Diocese of Black Duck he does not because the local bishop wrote explicitly to tell him he may not hear confessions because he’s a trad.  One is a religious priest, the dying man’s brother-in-law, who is still on the active roles, but he is presently suspended because he is trying to figure out if he is a man or really a woman trapped in a man’s body.  One is an married ex-priest who has just gotten out of jail.  One is a priest of the SSPX.

QUAERITUR: Which priest has the faculty validly and licitly to absolve the dying fellow?

ANSWER: All of them.

Even if there is a priest in good standing with the faculty present, all of the priests there have the faculty because of the circumstance.  The law itself gives even the questioning priest and the SSPX priest the faculty in that circumstance.  It doesn’t make any difference that there is a priest in good standing there.  The dying person may, perhaps, wish to confess to the SSPXer instead of the “Novus Ordo” priest from the diocese.  The dying man may wish to confess to his brother-in-law, because he knows him.  The dying man may wish to confess to the SSPXer because he know that he knows the traditional form of absolution.  He might want the married ex-priest because he, too, is a Cubs fan.  Whatever.  All three priests present have the faculty, but for different reasons.

Imagine another scene:

A ship is sinking in the ocean.  Two priests are watching as people are drowning and being eaten by sharks.  One is a priest in good standing in his diocese with faculties to hear confessions.  The other is an ex-SSPX priest, validly but illicitly ordained but now out of the SSPX because of drug trafficking and prostitution charges.  Which one can validly absolve?

You know the answer before I ask.

In the case of a person who is dying, the law itself gives the faculty even to a “laicized” ex-priest (or an SSPX priest) even though there is a shiny clean priest in good standing present.

Another scene:

On one side of the street is St. Progressiva – aka “Jesus Our Fluffy Friend Catholic Community” where Father “Just call me ‘Bruce'” in his tie-dyed tee has finished hanging up the felt butterflies in the gym cum worship space before the illicit and probably invalid Form 3 “general absolution” service he has scheduled in advance for his faith community.  He is musing about the homily Sr. Randi gave during liturgy that morning, cherishing her insights about global warming and wishing that he weren’t part of the oppressive patriarchal which caused it.  A person comes up to him and asks him to hear her confession.  He scratches his scruffy graying beard as she hands him a card with the actual form of absolution written on it.  She asks him to use that because, the last time she was there during the 15 minutes of confession schedule last Lent, he had composed his own form of absolution.  He hesitates.  “What would Francis do?”, she asks.  He scratches his beard some more, shrugs and, since the butterflies have made him happy, hears the woman’s confession, gives her a penance and absolution… “just like the old days!”  He has a twinge as that tiny little Catholic voice in him suggests that he did it right this time, but it is soon drowned out as the pop-combo (of his contemporaries lead by Sr. Randi) starts warming up.   After all, no one believes in that anymore.

On the other side of the street, in the converted ex-Lutheran SSPX church now called St. Marcel the Courageous, newly-ordained Fr. Rocco Firm has motivated a group of happy girls and their mothers to scrape gum off the undersides of pews from 20 years ago.  He straightens his biretta and gets into the newly constructed traditional-style confessional, complete with curtains and sliding doors and fixed grates.  There is a line.  They are well-catechized and up-to-date about the issues and news of the Church and the SSPX.  None of them are in danger of death.  All of them could have walked across the street or have driven over to Msgr. Zuhlsdorf’s parish St. Ipsidipsy or over to Fr. Guido at St. Fidelia.  No one is being denied the opportunity to go to confession to a regular priest.  Fr. Firm hears one person after another and says the traditional formula of absolution.

QUAERITUR:  Which priest has validly absolved?  “Bruce” or Fr. Firm?

ANSWER:  You know the answer.

Were the people at St. Marcel validly absolved?  No.

Were the people at St. Marcel forgiven their sins by God? Perhaps.  We don’t know.  I’ll bet most of them made pret’near perfect Acts of Contrition after a good examination of conscience.

Was the woman who went to the aging hippy across the street validly absolved?  Yes.  She might have had to hold her nose because of the smell of the bong, but, yes.

Will the people who go to the Form Three service across the street be validly absolved?  Probably not.  General Absolution cannot be scheduled, since it can be given only in cases of grave necessity.  Can. 961 establishes that a grave necessity exists (outside of the clear case of danger of death) when…

“given the number of penitents, there are not enough confessors available properly to hear the individual’s confessions within an appropriate time, so that without fault of their own the penitents are deprived of sacramental grace or of Holy Communion for a lengthy period of time.”

All those conditions would need to be present for general absolution to be given licitly.  Telling people to “come back next week” would NOT deprive them of sacramental grace for a “lengthy period of time,” which most manualists – and we like manuals – would say is a month or more. Furthermore, the Motu proprio of 7 April 2002 Misericordia Dei, 5 clarifies that “judgment as to whether there exists the conditions required by canon 961 is [Note bene] not a matter for the confessor, but for the diocesan bishop who can determine cases of such necessity in light of the criteria agreed upon with other members of the Episcopal Conference.”  Moreover, you must make a regular confession as soon as possible after a Form 3, or the second time is invalid (except in danger of death, of course).

During the Year of Mercy the priests of the SSPX will NOT have the faculty from the law itself (as in the danger of death) to absolve validly, but the faithful will have the privilege of going to them anyway.


And go to a priest with faculties who is NOT giving general absolution.

Yes… the moderation queue is ON.

Dura lex, sed lex.

Anyway… the real point, amidst the digressions, is that in the case of the danger of death any validly ordained priest – active or inactive, in good standing or not – can validly absolve even if a priest who is canonically squared away is present.

Posted in "How To..." - Practical Notes, GO TO CONFESSION, Liturgy Science Theatre 3000, Priests and Priesthood, SSPX | Tagged , , , , , | 7 Comments

New lenses for the Pope

I can’t say I saw this one coming.

The Pope went to an optical shop – I am not making this up – the Pope went to an optical shop the Via del Babuino (that’s a street in Rome) to get new glasses.

He is being fitted in this photo, which came in via Twitter.

Do you suppose that the liberal MSM will punish His Holiness for getting designer named glasses?  After all, they savaged Pope Benedict for his “Prada” shoes… which were from a Roman cobbler, and not Prada after all.

Anyway, I am glad that the Roman Pontiff will have a better view of things during his upcoming trip to these USA.

Magoo glasses

Posted in Lighter fare | Tagged | 6 Comments

LEGO MASS SET BRICKS (yes… Legos for Mass!)

I’ll bet some of you played with Legos when you were young.  I’ll bet some of you still play with Legos.  I’ll bet some of you played Mass when you were young.  I hope none of you are playing Mass now… unless it’s with Legos.

There is now an easier way to play Mass with Legos..

A company called Domestic Church Supply has Legos – real Legos – for Mass.

Mass legos

Being Legos, you can put the priest on the correct side of the altar.  Their blurb:

Fr. Leopold is on a mission to share the good news of Jesus Christ with minifigures everywhere. [Father needs a blog.] Sporting his brand new clerics and a friendly face, he is ready to preach the gospel and bring the sacraments to his people.

Featuring 171 genuine LEGO® bricks, three modified bricks (his Roman collar, the sacramentary and the lectionary were printed after they left the factory) and a set of four vestments (a green chasuble for Ordinary Time, red and white for feast days, and purple for Advent and Lent) this set will provide hours of imaginative play. [NO BLACK?!?]

The included 28-page full-color instruction guide makes building the altar, ambo, credence table, presider’s chair [aka sedilia] and tabernacle a snap.

Put the lectionary, sacramentary, chalice, paten, hosts, cruets and lavabo dish in place, get Fr. Leopold vested and he’s ready to celebrate Mass. Congregation not included.

This model isn’t sponsored, authorized or endorsed by the Lego Group. The design, kit assembly and instructions are a Domestic Church Supply Company exclusive.

Because of the limited availability of certain Lego bricks in this set, quantities are limited.

Due to the overwhelming interest in this product, current delivery times are approximately 4-6 weeks from when you place your order.

We are working hard to reduce delivery times, but these sets are hand assembled and take a significant amount of time to put together.

Speaking of playing Mass… check out this great video of 4 year old Thuan’s liturgical style. ALERT: Thuan – at 4 – has more Latin in his Mass than most priests of the Latin Church, but I digress. I especially enjoyed the ministration of the altar boy at about 8:00 onward. He really makes sure that the corporal is on that altar! “Father Thuan” is not into liturgical abuse. He sticks to the book! Note how he corrects the “reader” at the prayers of the faithful.

Posted in Just Too Cool, Lighter fare | Tagged , | 13 Comments

ASK FATHER: Father with dementia “absolved” by Episcopalian

From a reader:

Short, short version: my ailing dad thinks he received (and is satisfied with) absolution from an episcopalian “priest” — do I press the point or trust in the Lord’s Mercy on this one?

My father (70) has been away from the sacraments for at least 35 years and has a new appreciation of his own mortality thanks to a fast-moving form of dementia. He hasn’t slept more than maybe an hour in 5 months, which if you can imagine is affecting his sharpness.


Being so far removed and having to overcome significant family
obstacles to having him “go to confession again” (which he may not have the recall capability or penitence for multiple civil marriages to make a good one) I don’t know if I should just drop it and continue to pray for his reconversion or push as much as I can because there isn’t anything more important for him. I tried to seek counseling from my pastor, whom I love and trust, but much of this happened literally with movers in my house….

Difficult situations call for a great deal of prayer. Dementia is a terrible thing, as it robs people of not only their memories, but also their freedom. Your father’s situation indeed seems to be a difficult one.

The Episcopal priest who heard his confession was not able to give valid absolution. He did some spiritual damage to your father if – knowing that your father is Catholic – he let him think that he was capable of doing so. He gave your father a confidence which he should not have had.

That said, there is probably not a lot that you can do for your father other than pray at this point. You could try to contact the Catholic priest in the area. Explain the situation to him, and ask him to make a home visit. But, if your father is unwilling to go to confession, he can’t be forced to.

If his dementia has advanced to the stage where he can no longer remember his past sins, but is still able to express contrition for the fact that he has sinned, of course, he can confess and be absolved.

By all means, continue to pray for him, pray that he be reconciled, continue to encourage him to seek out a Catholic priest. At some point, however, the decision is left with him.

And I will take this opportunity to address all those out there who haven’t been to confession for a long time…


Just, for the love of God, go while you can.


Posted in "How To..." - Practical Notes, ACTION ITEM!, GO TO CONFESSION, Liturgy Science Theatre 3000 | Tagged , , , | 3 Comments

OBITUARY: Spirit of Vatican II – RIP – 53 years of age

An oldie from the often amusing Eye of the Tiber:

[2014] CINCINNATI, OH- A Solemn High Requiem Mass was held Thursday at St. Martura Church in downtown Cincinnati for the Spirit of Vatican II, aged 52. After suffering a progressively debilitating illness for the last ten years of its life as a new generation of priests re-examined the Council in light of Sacred Tradition, the Spirit of Vatican II passed away quietly in its sleep last Tuesday.

“The Requiem Mass really brought closure to the community,” said 26-year old Father David Flannigan, FSSP, who celebrated the Mass with Deacon Brady Schwartz, 32, and Subdeacon Anthony LaViera, 23. “While the death of the Spirit of Vatican II was certainly expected, we were glad to offer Mass for its repose.”  [I would like to have been the celebrant for that one.  Perhaps I’ll schedule my own.]

“What a beautiful Mass!” commented long-time parishioner Gladys O’Neal. “I hadn’t seen black vestments since I was a little girl. And as much as I love the song On Eagle’s Wings, the Dies Irae sequence really got me thinking about the Four Last Things.”

The Spirit of Vatican II is survived by a dwindling number of aging hippies who dropped out of seminary in the ‘70’s, some faded felt banners, and tambourines presently gathering dust in storage.

Do I hear an “Amen!”?

Posted in Liberals, Lighter fare | Tagged | 17 Comments

How Spirit got there

Poor little Spirit isn’t working anymore (so far as we know), but this is how he got there!

Posted in Just Too Cool, Look! Up in the sky! | Tagged , , , | 5 Comments

70th Anniversary of end of WWII

Today was the 70th anniversary of the formal surrender of Japan.  HERE

The instrument of surrender was signed aboard USS Missouri on 2 Sept 1945.


Japanese Foreign Minister Mamoru Shigemitsu sign Japanese Instrument of Surrender, a  document  signed on the deck of the USS Missouri in Tokyo Bay on Sept. 2 1945 in Japan. (AP Photo/pool/Life)

Japanese Foreign Minister Mamoru Shigemitsu sign Japanese Instrument of Surrender, a document signed on the deck of the USS Missouri in Tokyo Bay on Sept. 2 1945 in Japan. (AP Photo/pool/Life)

Also on this day, the Battle of Actium was fought in 31 BC when Octavian bested the fleet of Mark Anthony and Cleopatra.

Posted in Just Too Cool | Tagged , | 4 Comments

Smoking Gun Book™ about last year’s chaotic Synod

Do not… DO NOT… succumb to Synod Fatigue!

We need all hands on deck right now, before the storm, to batten down the hatches and reef the sails.

My spies tell me that this upcoming Synod will not be smooth sailing.  The “other side” has been preparing their machinations ahead of time.  My hope is that the “good guys” are also consulting with each other before the Synod begins.

What can we do?  We can keep ourselves informed, use alternative Catholic media sources for news… you can bet that the liberal catholics will have their outlets as well as the secular MSM on their side.

What else?  You can fast and you can pray.

That said, my friend Edward Pentin’s new book has been released by Ignatius Press (bless them for fighting the good fight).  HERE

The book is not inaccurate!  Note especially the part about how the head of the Vatican’s Synod office, Card. Baldisseri, boosted and hijacked the Five Cardinals Book™, Remaining in the Truth of Christ: Marriage and Communion in the Catholic Church (UK HERE), sent through Italian post to the Vatican Post mail slots designated for each Synod member.

It’s Cold War stuff.

The Rigging of a Vatican Synod?
An Investigation of Alleged Manipulation at the Extraordinary Synod on the Family

Excerpt in CWR HERE.

BTW… I don’t think that Communion for the divorced and remarried is going to get anywhere.  I don’t think that that was the true agenda from the start.  There is some discussion of a certain lobby at work.  But I digress….

Pentin, who is fair, tries to view the Synod from different perspectives.  He explains the influence of the media in the controversy.

Is the Holy Father trying to create some “lío” in order to produce clarity down the line?

The Eleven Cardinals Book™ is on its way.

Eleven Cardinals Speak On Marriage and the Family

Eleven Cardinals Book

Edited by Winfried Aymans the Eleven Cardinals Book is slated for release on 25 September (in advance of the Synod on the Family).  For more on the Cardinals, HERE.  The publisher is – who else? – Ignatius Press!

This book has as its focus merciful pastoral ministry to those who are in challenging marriage situations.  It will address marriage preparation, evangelization and conversion, the situation of the divorced and civilly remarried.

Next… slated for release on 28 September (in advance of the Synod on the Family), also from Ignatius Press (who else?)…

Christ’s New Homeland – Africa: A contribution to the Synod on the Family

This is the Ten Africans Book™!  This book may be the German dissidents worst nightmare.

Christs New Homeland Africa

Ten African cardinals and bishops wrote essays about the attitudes of Africans about marriage and the family.   The indomitable Francis Card. Arinze wrote the preface.

Among the cardinals and bishops are

Card. Sarah
Card. Arinze
Card. Tumi
Card. Sarr
Arcbp. Kleda

There will be Kindle versions of both.

Get a Kindle now, if you don’t have one already.  USA HERE – UK HERE



Posted in Si vis pacem para bellum!, Sin That Cries To Heaven, Synod, The Coming Storm, The Drill | Tagged , , , , , | 35 Comments

From 1965: Paul Harvey’s “If I were the Devil”

For your consideration. This, from the year of closing of the Second Vatican Council.

Posted in Our Catholic Identity, Semper Paratus, The Coming Storm, The future and our choices | Tagged | 10 Comments