Rome: Day 1 – settling back into it

I got settled in safely and soundly this morning and, for lunch, had caprese.


Later in the afternoon I said Mass at the tomb of St. Philip Neri in the Chiesa Nuova.  I will say Mass for the intention of my benefactors, you donors, tomorrow, late afternoon Rome Time.


I met with friends on the roof of the Minerva Hotel for a pre-prandial.  Mine was campari soda.


It was great to see and spend time with Bp. Morlino here.  As you can imagine, there are many bishops here.  Bp. Morlino said that there would be as many as 700!  It will look like a council.

The view from one direction.


My small group went to Fortunato near the Pantheon for supper.  While we were seated outside, a group of Portuguese students with their priest chaplain stopped and peered over the hedge by our table and asked if it was truly I, Fr. Z. I responded in the affirmative. We chatted for awhile and got a group shot or two. Really great young men, full of faith and energy. Portugal needs many more like these men!


Spaghetti alle vongole.




Heading back to grab a cab and get some shut eye.  Jet lag has taken hold.


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OLDIE PASCHALCAzT 51: Easter Thursday – You who arrive only at the eleventh hour

From 2011:

These 5 minute daily podcasts are intended to give you a small boost every day and a little insight into Easter and its Octave.

Today is Wednesday in the Octave of Easter. Happy Easter to all!

The Roman Station is Dodici Apostoli, Twelve Apostles. The custom of Roman Stations continues all through the Octave of Easter.

A hint at the thought: “For the Lord is gracious and receives the last even as the first. The Lord gives rest to those who come at the eleventh hour, even as to those who toiled from the beginning.” – St. John Chrysostom

Subscribe on iTunes. Be sure to “update“!

Women at the tomb

Posted in "How To..." - Practical Notes, LENTCAzT, Linking Back, Liturgy Science Theatre 3000, Our Catholic Identity, Patristiblogging, PODCAzT | Tagged , , , , | 2 Comments

My View For Awhile: Meandering to Roma – Part 2

The journey continues after a sojourn in New York. This morning I sought something for a friend in Rome because is what we long time expats do for each other. Did you know that there was vanilla mint Chapstick? I didn’t. I still don’t. I didn’t find any.

So, my view for a while.


Next stop, Rome, my second home.

Do me a favor. Ask everyone’s guardian angels to help preserve quiet and order and help me to sleeeep.

They put USB ports in to charge things!

Helpful for these long ones.



I have managed to land softly.

First, much needed, coffee of the day to break the fast. Then to the centro.


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Confusion in Telegraph story about Francis and divorce/remarriage

Sometimes it is hard to tell whether the writer gets it wrong because he doesn’t know better or whether their mistakes are on purpose.

Perhaps you can chime in.

From The Telegraph:

Pope Francis tells divorced woman she should be allowed Communion [This is news?  No.  That was a trick question.  Is there more?]

In what would be a break from Catholic teaching, Pope said to have phoned remarried [That adds new information, doesn't it?   You would think that something this important would in the headline, no?] Argentine woman Jacquelina Sabetta telling her ‘nothing wrong’ in her taking Holy Communion  [Next question: Who says?  Who claims that this is what the Pope said?]

Pope Francis has reportedly [!] told a divorced and remarried woman that she should be allowed to receive Holy Communion, in what would be a significant shift from current Catholic Church teaching. [And therefore we are all to be highly skeptical.  This is rumor.  The woman tells a reporter in Argentina, the wires pick it up, this article is written... how many times removed is this?  Did she, at the beginning, even grasp what the Pope might have actually said?  (I doubt it.)]

Jacquelina Sabetta, who is from the Pope’s home country of Argentina, wrote to him saying that she found it distressing that as a Catholic who had divorced and remarried, she was not allowed to take the Sacrament in church. ["Take the Sacrament" a turn of phrase redolent of... something.]

After divorcing her first husband, she had remarried in a civil ceremony.

In her letter she said she was worried that if she took Communion, she would be “violating Church rules”. [NO!  This is not just a "rule"! Rules are fairly easily changed.]

The Pope, who since being elected 13 months ago has established a reputation for calling ordinary Catholics out of the blue, then telephoned her at home on Easter Monday. [Maybe.]

He reportedly [!] told her: “A divorcee who takes communion is not doing anything wrong.” [That doesn't pass the smell test.  I just don't buy that the Pope would tell a woman who is in an improper marriage can receive Communion.  And I certainly don't think he would have wanted this to be trumpeted around.]

The surprising exchange was recounted by Mrs Sabetta’s husband, Julio Sabetta, who wrote about it on his Facebook page.  [WOAH!  So, the source wasn't the woman who allegedly received the phone call.  This is more information.  It was her "husband".  And not just her husband, but his page on FACEBOOK!  This is a good source?]

“One of the most wonderful things in my life has just happened,” he wrote.  [And I suppose we are all supposed to be delighted for them. How you "feel" is all that matters these days.]

The phone call from the Pope reportedly [!] came six months after the woman wrote to him. Introducing himself as “Father Bergoglio” – a reference to his given name, Jorge Mario Bergoglio – the South American pontiff said he was sorry it had taken him so long to make the call. ["Father Bergoglio"... uh huh.  Sometimes priest friends have been known to make some pretty funny phone calls to me and mutual friends while imitating imitable priests or bishops.  Hilarity ensues.]

“It is an issue we are discussing in the Vatican, because a divorcee who takes communion is not doing anything wrong,” the Pope reportedly [!] said.  [HERE is the big problem at the core of this article.  It is true that a "divorcee" can receive Communion.  In the last quote, that is the main element to attend to.  The problem enters when you add "remarried" to "divorcee".  Get it?  So... what's going on?  IF the Pope called, and I am not ready to buy that without a moment of doubt, and IF the Pope tried to explain her situation, did she actually understand anything he said after saying that divorce, in itself, isn't the main problem?  I can very imagine her tuning out everything after that.  Then she recounts it in a scrambled way to her "husband" who may or may not get it.  He puts it on Facebook.  Somehow the press sees it... how did that happen, I wonder.  Then it hits the wires... then... get it?]

The Catholic Church currently maintains that unless a first marriage is annulled, [NO! NO! NO!  The Church does NOT annul marriages!   The Church can declare that a marriage was null from the beginning.  The Church cannot put asunder what God hath joined.] Catholics who remarry cannot receive Communion because they are essentially living in sin and committing adultery.

Such annulments are often impossible to obtain, or can take years to process, a problem that has left many Catholics feeling rejected by the Church.

Since being elected in March last year, Pope Francis has on several occasions called for a more merciful approach to the problem, but had so far stuck to official Church doctrine.  ["Official" Church doctrine... is there any other kind?  Apparently there is the Church doctrine as reported by the MSM.]

In February he said divorced and separated couples should not be excluded from Church activities, in remarks which also raised speculation that he may one day lift the ban on divorcees receiving Communion.  [Again... sloppy and misleading.  AGAIN... the problem is not just divorce.  The problem is remarriage.]

He told a group of Polish bishops that priests should “ask themselves how to help (divorced couples), [HUH?  "Divorced couples"?] so that they don’t feel excluded from the mercy of God, the fraternal love of other Christians, and the Church’s concern for their salvation.”

When asked whether the remarks attributed to the Pope were correct, a Vatican spokesman told The Telegraph: “We would neither confirm nor deny that – this was a private telephone call made by the Holy Father and we would not divulge the details.” [The Press Office doesn't have to divulge all the details, but... sheesh!... at least uphold Catholic teaching!]

But the reported remarks were in line with the position taken by Pope Francis in recent months – that the Church should treat divorcees and their partners with more compassion. [When you look at what Francis has said in public, he talks about sinners and compassion.  Compassion does NOT mean violating the teachings of the Church.]

The remarks may indicate that the Pope, who has struck a much more inclusive tone than his predecessor, Benedict XVI, on issues ranging from homosexuality to same-sex unions, is testing the water with the intention of changing the Church’s position.  [Deceptive, this paragraph, no?]

The surprising exchange was first revealed by Mrs Lisbona’s husband, Julio Sabetta, who said he first answered the call from the Pope, before handing the phone to his wife.

“One of the most wonderful things in my life has just happened – receiving a telephone call from none other than Papa Francesco,” he wrote on his Facebook page.


The Catholic Church currently maintains that unless a first marriage is annulled, [ARGH!  A declaration of nullity is NOT "Catholic divorce"!] Catholics who remarry cannot receive Communion because they are essentially living in sin and committing adultery.


Read the rest there.

Remember what Card. Kasper has said.

“Tolerated but not accepted.”

That’s the solution?  Create a tier system in the Church, wherein the divorced/remarried are clearly and publicly second-class?


Posted in Liberals, Liturgy Science Theatre 3000, One Man & One Woman, Our Catholic Identity, The Drill | Tagged , , , | 58 Comments

ASK FATHER: Spouse unwilling to seek convalidation of marriage.

From a reader…



You recently had a post, “ASK FATHER: Godparents must be confirmed, married properly

In this post you discuss the con-validation of a mixed marriage and a little but about the process.

I have an interesting situation that has been with me for a while:

Some background

I am a cradle Catholic that was raised in a home that didn’t practice the Faith. After Confirmation, I quit practicing and drifted further and further from the Faith. During that period, I met a wonderful women, we were married (in a Baptist Church).

Along comes April, 2005. I was sitting in my office and news came that Blessed John Paul II had died. I’m not sure what it was, the next thing I know, I attended the noon Mass at the Church a few blocks away. This was my first Mass in more then two decades.

I get get back to my office a scour the internet for directions on making a good Confession (I had previously availed myself of the Sacrament of Reconciliation only twice: before First Communion and before Confirmation)

The next day I head over to the local Church for the pre-Mass Confession. I get in the box and dump 20+ years of sin on poor father. He does something amazing. He thanks me, telling me I have made his day.

I began to immerse myself in the Faith, learning what it meant to be Catholic for the first time in my life. My wife is very supportive, we are actively raising our daughter as a Catholic (she loves the Latin Mass!) and I volunteer as a Catechist.

About fours years ago now, I stumbled on the issue of the validity of my marriage. For reasons all her own (and she has some good ones that have to do with me not the Church) she is not yet willing to seek validation for our union.  [There's the point.]

This caused me all kinds of Sacramental angst. How can I receive Communion? How can I seek Reconciliation? How can I become a Catechist? What about my daughter’s upbringing?

I have sought guidance from numerous Priests, both on the canon and the spiritual. The guidance has come back two-fold: 1. Because I had more or less abandoned the Faith when I was married, I didn’t need to do anything. It would be like recognizing the wedding of two Protestants before they converted; 2. My wife and I can “live as brother and sister, not husband and wife” so that I can continue to receive the Sacraments until the validation.

The first response came from a single, rather 1970s diocesan Priest, so I’m iffy on that interpretation. The second I have heard from multiple Priest, some who I trust implicitly on this issue.

For the last year and a half, my wife and I have been doing just that, living “as brother and sister”. It has not impacted how we are around our daughter, simply the level of physical intimacy.

I read your post yesterday and would love to get your take on the situation.

As with everything, I pray about!

The “1970’s priest” is wrong, but possibly not maliciously so.

He may have been thinking that you “formally defected” from the faith and therefore, were not held accountable to ecclesiastical law (which is what the requirement of canonical form for marriage is).

“Formal defection” was – was – a very difficult thing to determine. In 2009, the Church did away with that concept.  We have returned to the more traditional understanding “semel Catholicus, semper Catholicus – once a Catholic, always a Catholic”. Your Catholic baptism initiated you into a family. No matter what you do, you are always going to be family.

There are good Catholics and bad Catholics.  There are practicing Catholics and non-practicing Catholics.  There is no such thing as an “ex-Catholic.”

One thing that might be possible.  It would be worthwhile sitting down and talking with a good priest canonist or someone at your local marriage tribunal.  You might look into a sanatio in radice.  This is sometimes translated into English as a “radical sanation”, but a more literal translation of the Latin would be “a healing at the root.” It is also called a “retroactive validation” (can. 1161-1165). In this procedure, the bishop retroactively grants a dispensation which “heals” the wound of the invalidly contracted union.

This procedure is especially useful when one of the parties is not willing to exchange consent anew (but still wishes to remain in the union).

Comment queue is on.

Posted in "How To..." - Practical Notes, ASK FATHER Question Box, Hard-Identity Catholicism, New Evangelization, One Man & One Woman, Our Catholic Identity, The Drill | Tagged , , , , , , , | 21 Comments

OLDIE PASCHALCAzT 50: Easter Wednesday – You are like a new colony of bees

FROM 2011:

These 5 minute daily podcasts are intended to give you a small boost every day and a little insight into Easter and its Octave.

Today is Wednesday in the Octave of Easter. Happy Easter to all!

The Roman Station is St. Lawrence outside-the-walls. The custom of Roman Stations continues all through the Octave of Easter.

A hint at the thought: “All of you who stand fast in the Lord are a holy seed, a new colony of bees, the very flower of our ministry and fruit of our toil, my joy and my crown.” – St. Augustine of Hippo

Subscribe on iTunes. Be sure to “update“!

Noli me tangere

And from the much-missed Vincenzo long ago…

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When the massive planet-killer asteroid strikes, the seas will boil, ejecta will block the sun, planetary temperatures will drop and everyone who didn’t die in the initial fiery inferno or the bone crushing flesh ripping tsunamis, will freeze and starve and then freeze some more until they die in the lonely agony of stiff, frigid hunger and horror.

Or not.

That why this story is pretty interesting. From The Telegraph:

Astronauts plan $250 million asteroid telescope ‘to stop disaster’
Apollo astronauts warn only “blind luck” has prevented worse disasters as they push for $250 million telescope to spot asteroids on collision course with Earth

As members of an elite band of cosmic explorers, they are among the few to have gone beyond the final frontier and looked down on the Earth from space.
Now, inspired by the unique perspective they gained of their home planet – and armed with startling new data about the scale of the threat it faces from asteroid strikes – a group of former Nasa astronauts are on an extraordinary mission to save the world.
Fourteen months after an asteroid exploded over Chelyabinsk, Russia, on a scale equivalent to 30 Hiroshima bombs, the B612 Foundation, a non-profit group founded by Apollo 9 astronaut Rusty Schweickart and space shuttle astronaut Ed Lu, are warning that only “blind luck” has so far saved it from worse.
“It’s a giant game of chance we’re playing. It’s cosmic roulette,” said Dr Lu, whose group is working towards building and launching Sentinel, a $250 million telescope that would spot space rocks on a collision course with the earth, giving several years or even decades worth of notice to deflect a disaster.
“There’s a saying in Vegas that ‘The house never loses’. It’s true; you can’t just keep playing a game of chance and expect to keep winning,” added Dr Lu, the group’s chief executive officer.


We are literally in a shooting gallery,” said Mr Schweickart. “That’s the message we want people to understand. It’s happening, it’s ongoing, and the big ones will come. It’s just a matter of when.”


Two things.

Flaming planetary death is better with a good mug of coffee.

No… three things.

First, since death is imminent, please use my donation button, the wavy flag. Thanks.

Next, drink all the Mystic Monk Coffee you can now. When that asteroid hits, friends, you are going to have other worries. So stock up.  I hear theK-cups are great.

Finally, examine your consciences and…


Posted in "How To..." - Practical Notes, Global Killer Asteroid Questions, GO TO CONFESSION, Look! Up in the sky! | Tagged , | 30 Comments

The Feeder Feed: Old Chasuble Edition

I’m enjoying some time at The Cloisters with a friend.

In honor of a priest who has disparaged my posts about birds, I add this edition.

Behold a priests chasuble from Venice of the late 15th to early 16th century.




A detail from the shoulder gives a sense of how sumptuous it must have originally been.


The very best prepared the most holy of all earthly actions. We need a return to this attitude.

Meanwhile, a fine chalice from 13th c Germany.


Also, the gardens are being prepared. The esplanierd pear is blooming!



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The key to increasing vocations

It seems to me that if we want to see an increase in vocations to the priesthood and religious life, we have to start praying more specifically about what we really want and about what we are willing to give.

For example, can we please stop lumping all vocations together?  Marriage is sliding down the hill towards the edge of the cliff, but lets not lump prayers for more and healthy true marriages together with vocations to the priesthood.  Pray for good marriages.  Prayer for priests.  Pray for religious.   Avoid generic “vocation” prayers.

Next, people must start praying that their own homes be the source of those vocations to the priesthood and religious life.  Don’t pray in a vague way that, somehow, men out there somewhere will respond to their call.

Parents and grandparents have to start praying, “God, take my son to be your good and holy priest”, “Lord, take my daughters to be your brides in the convent.”

This isn’t something that should concern someone else.  It has to concern us at home.

Yesterday I was talking with a friend here in Gotham about the numbers of men and women responding to a vocation to the priesthood or religious life. She mentioned a fascinating story of which I was unaware. HERE

“The little village of Lu, northern Italy, with only a few thousand inhabitants, is in a rural area 90 kilometres east of Turin. It would still be unknown to this day if, in the year 1881, the family others of Lu had not made a decision that had “serious consequences”. The deepest desire of many of these mothers was for one of their sons to become a priest or for a daughter to place her life completely in God’s service.

Under the direction of their parish priest, Msgr. Alessandro Canora, they gathered every Tuesday for adoration of the Blessed Sacrament, asking the Lord for vocations. They received Holy Communion on the first Sunday of every month with the same intention. After Mass, all the mothers prayed a particular prayer together imploring for vocations to the priesthood.

Through the trusting prayer of these mothers and the openness of the other parents, an atmosphere of deep joy and Christian piety developed in the families, making it much easier for the children to recognize their vocations.”

“Did the Lord not say, “Many are called, but few are chosen” (Mt 22:14)? In other words, many are called, but only a few respond to that call. No one expected that God would hear the prayers of these mothers in such an astounding way. From the tiny village of Lu came 323 vocations!: 152 priests (diocesan and religious), and 171 nuns belonging to 41 different congregations. As many as three or four vocations came from some of these families.


Read the rest here.

Some time ago I wrote about a prayer for vocations recited at my home parish in my native place. HERE I am convinced that that prayer was a major factor in the large number of vocations to the priesthood that came from that parish, especially during the tenure of its late pastor, Msgr. Richard Schuler.

A key to the effectiveness prayer is not only its entrusting of the petition to Mary, Queen of the Clergy, but also the petition that God choose His workers “from our homes“.

Vocations are where we live.  They are ours in a larger sense and we must own them.

Posted in "How To..." - Practical Notes, Mail from priests, Our Catholic Identity, Priests and Priesthood, Seminarians and Seminaries, Women Religious | Tagged , , | 59 Comments

OLDIE PASCHALCAzT 49: Easter Tuesday – Finding the bones of St. Paul

I am not making PASCHALCAzTs for 2014, but here is a podcast from 2011:


These 5 minute daily podcasts are intended to give you a small boost every day and a little insight into Easter and its Octave.

Today is Tuesday in the Octave of Easter. Happy Easter to all!

The Roman Station is St. Paul’s outside-the-walls on the Via Ostiense. The custom of Roman Stations continues all through the Octave of Easter.

A hint at the thought: “Let not him who has “put his hand to the plough” forsake his work, but rather attend to that which he sows than look back to that which he has left behind.” – St. Leo the Great

Subscribe on iTunes. Be sure to “update“!

Harrowing of Hell

Posted in Linking Back, Liturgy Science Theatre 3000, Our Catholic Identity, PASCHALCAzT, PODCAzT | Tagged , , , | 1 Comment