WDTPRS 21st Ordinary Sunday: the smoke of Satan v. invisible love

Let’s look at the Collect for the upcoming 21st Sunday of Ordinary Time:

Deus, qui fidelium mentes unius efficis voluntatis, da populis tuis id amare quod praecipis, id desiderare quod promittis, ut, inter mundanas varietates, ibi nostra fixa sint corda, ubi vera sunt gaudia.

A master crafted this prayer.  In the 1962 Missale Romanum we use it on the 4th Sunday after Easter. It is also in the ancient Gelasian Sacramentary.  Listen to those “eee”s produced by the Latin “i”. Savor those parallels.

Varietas means “difference, diversity, variety.”  It is commonly used to indicate “changeableness, fickleness, inconstancy.”  I like “vicissitude”.  The adjective mundanus is “of or belonging to the world”.


O God, who make the minds of the faithful to be of one will, grant unto Your people to love that thing which You command, to desire that which You promise, so that, amidst the vicissitudes of this world, our hearts may there be fixed where true joys are.


O God, who cause the minds of the faithful to unite in a single purpose, grant your people to love what you command and to desire what you promise, that, amid the uncertainties of this world, our hearts may be fixed on that place where true gladness is found.

Let us revisit that id…quod. We can accurately say “love that which you command,” or “love what you command”, but that strikes me as vague.  Can we be more concrete and say “love the thing you command… desire the thing you promise”?

We are called to love and desire God’s will in concrete situations, in the details of life, especially when those details are little to our liking.  We must love God in this beggar, this annoying creep, not in beggars and creeps in general.  We must love Him in this act of fasting, this basket of laundry, this ICEL translation. I said it was a challenge!  We must not reduce God’s will to an abstraction or an ideal. “Thy will (voluntas) be done on earth as it is in heaven”… or so it has been said.

Lest we forget why we needed new translation….


Father, help us to seek the values that will bring us lasting joy in this changing world. In our desire for what you promise make us one in mind and heart.

Good riddance!  “Values”.  Very slippery.  Typical of the obsolete translation.

To my ear, “values” has a shifting, subjective starting point. In 1995 Gertude Himmelfarb wrote in The De-Moralization of Society: From Victorian Virtues to Modern Values that “it was not until the present century that morality became so thoroughly relativized that virtues ceased to be ‘virtues’ and became ‘values.’”

In this post-Christian, post-modern world, “values” seems to indicate little more than our own self-projection.

John Paul II taught about “values”, but in contradiction to the way “values” are commonly understood today.  For example, we read in Evangelium vitae 71 (emphasis added):

“It is urgently necessary, for the future of society and the development of a sound democracy, to rediscover those essential human and moral values which flow from the very truth of the human being and express and safeguard the dignity of the person: values which no individual, no majority, and no state can ever create, modify, or destroy, but must only acknowledge, respect, and promote.”

In his 1985 letter to young people Dilecti amici 4, John Paul II taught:

“Only God is the ultimate basis of all values…. in Him and Him alone all values have their first source and final completion… Without Him – without the reference to God – the whole world of created values remains as it were suspended in an absolute vacuum.”

Benedict XVI has spoken about the threats we face from the “dictatorship of relativism”, from the reduction of the supernatural to the natural, from caving in to “the world”.

Christ warned His Apostles about “the world”, saying said: “The world cannot hate you, but it hates me because I testify of it that its works are evil” (John 7:7).  He spoke about this world’s “prince” (John 12:31; 14:30 16:11).  St Paul wrote: “Do not be conformed to this world but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that you may prove what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect” (Romans 12:2).

If what “the world” offers gets priority over what God offers the world through His Holy Church, we produce the situation Paul VI described on 29 June 1972, the ninth anniversary of his coronation:

“Through some crack the smoke of Satan has entered into the temple of God.”

Our Collect today asks God to grant that His will be the basis of our “values” in concrete terms, not in mere good intentions or this world’s snares.

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NYC – What’s up at Our Saviour Church where Fr. Rutler used to be pastor?

I have received word that some demolition is going on at the church where Fr. George Rutler used to be pastor, Our Saviour.

As you may know, Fr. Rutler was – in a move that surprised many – transferred not too long ago from Our Saviour on Park Avenue to St. Michael’s in Manhattan’s Hell’s Kitchen and was also made administrator of Holy Innocents in the Garment District.

In any event, I am told that the new pastor at Our Saviour, Fr. Robbins, removing iconic artwork from the sanctuary.

I was told at one point that the altar rail was slated for demolition.  However, as one person clarified for me, the workman only cleaned it.  When people had seen workmen concerning themselves with the rail they protested to the Archdiocese. Fr. Robbins thereafter said that it was not ever his intention for it to be removed.  Or so it goes.

This is what Our Savior looked like before:

And this is what it looks like today… I really do mean today, literally:

Look.  I understand that each pastor of a parish wants to be able to make adjustments, even improvements.  But I don’t get this.

Is it that he wants to restore the church to what it looked like before the Eastern style art was introduced?  I suppose there is some sense in that sort of project, returning a building to the original intent.  The artwork, added by Fr. Rutler, can only have been in place for about a dozen years, max, since that was the length of his term.  I doubt that that is what is going on here.

I suspect this is ideological, and not restoration at all.

It looks like a modern example of iconoclasm.

If the iconic work that frames the sanctuary has been effaced, how long can the work around the triumphal arch and in the tympanum of the apse survive?

What’s going on there?  Is this “Get Rutler!” time in NYC?  Deface Rutler’s work at Our Saviour? Slate St. Michael’s and Holy Innocents for closure a year after he arrives?  By next year he’ll be pastor of a cardboard box over a grate near the Hudson.

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Just Too Cool: The Glory

For your “Just Too Cool” file, I direct your attention to Astronomy Pic of the Day and a viewing of …

… The Spectre of Veszprem. 

This truly is just too cool!

Want an explanation?  Of course you do.

This is a phenomenon called The Glory or Heiligenschein or the Specter of the Brocken!

Want more? Go HERE

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Question for readers: TLM and NO readings

Do any of you know of a site where someone has compared, side by side, the readings or “pericopes” for both the Extraordinary and the Ordinary Forms of the Roman Rite, for the whole liturgical year?

That is to say, I am wondering if there is a chart somewhere where you can see the correspondence of the readings.  As in, the pericope Matthew 16:13-20 appears on the 21st Sunday in Ordinary Time Year A as well as (more or less the same) appears in the 1962 Missale Romanum on Sts. Peter and Paul.

I found the Scripture Index of Gospel Readings, 1962 Missale Romanum as well as the Scriptural Index of Chants and Readings in the Missale Romanum(1962), but that seems to require, to download, a subscription that I don’t have.  (Anyone?)

CLARIFICATION:  It would be good at least to have this side by side chart of correspondence for SUNDAYS at least.  That would be the most useful.

Posted in "How To..." - Practical Notes, Liturgy Science Theatre 3000 | 12 Comments

VIDEO: The Chapel Veil

A nice young lady sent me a note and link to a video.

Dear Fr. Z,

I am entering my sophomore year at Christendom College, and I recently made an 8 minute video on the chapel veil to explain why women wear it and to encourage women to wear it. I think you would appreciate the content and the quality. If you like it, perhaps you can share it with the women who read your blog.

If you can, I would appreciate any feedback.

I can pretty much guarantee some feedback.


Posted in "How To..." - Practical Notes, Hard-Identity Catholicism, HONORED GUESTS | Tagged , , | 14 Comments


First, help each other out with your prayers:



STUDENTS, PARENTS: Text Books, Back To School, and You


I am grateful to those of you who have been using my amazon search box and links that I post, whether in these USA or in the UK.  As a matter of fact, on the UK side of the pond, the revenue from those links is handled a little differently.  The credit my account with “gift card” amounts, which expire.  Thus, recently, I was able to send my friend Fr. Tim Finigan a couple items from his own wish list, and this on the eve of his having to leave his home and parish of some 17 years.  So, I thank you for helping me to brighten a fellow priests day.

Also, recently, I had a book drive project for seminarians of the Diocese of Madison.  HERE  During the annual gathering of the all the seminarians with Bp. Morlino (aka The Extraordinary Ordinary) I gave them a couple talks about the Extraordinary Form and, during discussion, found that some were lacking Joseph Ratzingers Spirit of the Liturgy.  I posted a request for a number of that book, through my own wish list, and BAMMO! the books were purchased for the guys within an hour.  So, I posted for a few more books and KABLAM! you did it again.  So, we were able to distribute some great books to these guys. THANKS TO YOU!

I hope you are all using the Mystic Monk Coffee link on the side bar.  You neeeeeeed coffeeeeee!  Buy coffee and help the Carmelites in Wyoming build their new digs.  They now have – I am not making this up - CHOCOLATE MINT coffee.  They also have, right now, their SUMMER BLEND.  I haven’t tried it, but I’ll bet that “It’s swell!”

Also, because I am concerned about your online security and identity theft, you might consider looking into LifeLock.  I have an affiliate program with them now.  I use it.  It is a good line of defense.  Be alert and be smart.

At last, some of you have sent items from my wish list, both the stuff list and the Kindle book list.  Thanks!  I have tried to include your initials on the sidebar along with those of people whose regular monthly donations (by subscription) and ad hoc donations come in.  It is my duty and pleasure to pray for my benefactors, which is what I consider all of you to be whether the donation is large or small, whether the item is a bigger purchase or less so.  Each and everything that arrives is a boost and encouragement and a real concrete help.  Thus, many and sincere thanks.  Also thanks to those who have, for one reason dropped out of the subscription donations and those new people who have signed up!

Lastly, I also appreciate email notes.  Here is one that came recently from a reader:

I’m an upcoming senior at Rutgers University and I would like to thank you for being my first exposure to the Extraordinary Form. I stumbled upon your blog last year while trying to find ways to be an effective CCD teacher and ever since then, my eyes have been opened! I’m an active member of my parish (lector, cantor, CCD teacher) but at the same time, I bring my friends and classmates to an EF at least once a month and they all love the reverence in it and we always learn something new and amazing each time. Basically, I just would like to thank you for being an awesome source of knowledge regarding the faith.

This is how it is done.  We each influence the sphere we have been placed in.  Thanks for passing along what you have found!

I am convinced, with Benedict XVI, that the crisis of identity in the Church is a crisis, first and foremost, of our sacred worship, our liturgy.  We have to revitalize our worship, in order to straighten out and revitalize every other aspect of our Catholic lives and also to present a coherent identity to the world.  The use of the Extraordinary Form will help us to do this.

Thank you to everyone who reads and engages.

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Friday Fun Moment: One Hit Wonders (and a digression)

I saw something in a TV segment while doing some chores in the Steam Pipe Distribution Center about the show hosts’ favorite “One Hit Wonders”.

You know what those are, right?  Some artist has one big hit and is virtually never heard from again.

So… what are yours?

Off the top of my head, I can think of…

And as a runner up, just because I heard it recently when I watched Kung Fu Panda:

Digression on Kung Fu Fighting.  I was once asked me via email what comic book character I most identified with.

Well… since my favorite as a kid was Superman, I’d have to say Superman.  After all, your Earth’s Yellow Sun has been pretty good to me.  But I can also absolve and consecrate. Take THAT, Superman!

That said, even though I didn’t grow up on the Marvel side of things – for the world is divided into Marvel people and DC people – I’d have to go with a combination of Wolverine and Po the Panda.

Wolverine, because someone quipped about me that I am the best at what I do, but what I do sometimes isn’t very nice.  Po, because I need to lose weight, I did Karate for years, I wear black and white, I have a thing for good Chinese food, I screw up massively all the time, the people I beat up aren’t really hurt, and, in the end, things seem to work out okay.

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UPDATED: Of “rubber bullets”

ORIGINAL: Aug 19, 2014 @ 12:02

Something both funny and serious at the same time.

A HuffPo reporter at Ferguson, MO spotted some foam earplugs on the ground and thought they might be rubber bullets.  I think he was probably eager to report how the violent police officers using excessive force on the crowds were making matters worse.  That’s my guess, at least.  This was a HuffPo guy, after all.  To be fair, he did ask for a confirmation.   But, yes, I think his eagerness lead him astray.

Anyway, the Twittersphere went after this poor guy with some benign mocking.  You can find tweets HERE   Some of them are pretty funny, if you want a chuckle.

At the same time, in a more serious vein, I am amazed at how anti-gun folks (yes, I am making an assumption that the HuffPo guy is probably not on board with the 2nd Amendment… I hope I am wrong) are so ignorant about gun-issues.  That’s a problem, especially when they are reporters.

Moreover, you don’t have to be into guns to know what earplugs are. Right?

A sample of the Twitter reaction.  More HERE

UPDATE 22 August:

As a follow up, the legendary Jerry Miculek explores whether or not ear plugs can be fired as “rubber bullets”.  He even shows a real rubber bullet.  There is some good slow motion video.


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If you are anywhere near Manhattan…

I received this by email:

Tonight (August 22nd, 2014), after the 6pm traditional Mass at the Church of the Holy Innocents, there will be another prayer vigil for the Christians in Iraq and Syria.

We already had one on Monday, August 11, 2014. You can read more about that vigil here in the Archdiocesan newspaper CATHOLIC NEW YORK:

There will be another one on Friday, September 12, 2014 after the 6pm Mass.

For tonight’s vigil and for the one on September 12th, there will be free buttons like the one you can see below, which will be worn in solidarity.

What better place to have a public rally on this matter than at a church called “Holy Innocents”?

Posted in SESSIUNCULA | 8 Comments

USCCB Pres. Archbp. Kurtz comments on Obama Admin’s slithery new HHS mandate rules

The Obama Administration’s war on religion continues unabated.

From Catholic News Agency:

Obama administration announces new HHS mandate rules

Washington D.C., Aug 22, 2014 / 10:33 am (CNA/EWTN News).- The Department of Health and Human Services issued on Friday new rules regarding its contraception mandate, after the Supreme Court ruled against its application to certain companies this summer.

The rules create a new way for non-profit groups to state their objections to the required coverage, prompting their insurance company to pay for their employees’ contraceptives. For closely held for-profit companies such as Hobby Lobby, the federal department said it is asking for ideas on how to extend the same accommodation being offered to non-profits.

Friday’s news rules deal with the federal contraception mandate – issued under the 2010 Affordable Care Act – which requires employers to offer health insurance covering contraception, sterilization and some drugs that can cause early abortions.

The mandate has been met with controversy since its introduction, leading to more than 300 lawsuits from individuals and groups who say that it forces them to violate their religious beliefs.

For non-profits, the newly-issued rules “lay out an additional way for organizations eligible for an accommodation to provide notice of their religious objection to providing coverage for contraceptive services,” the Health and Human Services department stated Aug. 22.

Previously, religious groups were instructed to sign a form voicing their objection to the coverage, which would authorize their insurer or a third-party administrator to pay for the products.

Many religious groups had objected to this arrangement, saying that it still required them to violate their religious beliefs by authorizing an outside organization to pay for the products they found to be immoral.

The new rule announced Friday allows these non-profit groups to notify the Department of Health and Human Services of their objections. The federal government will then contact insurers and third party administrators to provide the coverage.

The non-profit rule goes into effect immediately, although it is an “interim final rule,” meaning that it is open to comments from the public and has not yet been finalized. ["interim final rule"...]

Regarding closely held for-profits, such as Hobby Lobby, HHS said it is asking for comments on how it might extend to them “the same accommodation that is available to non-profit religious organizations.”

“The proposal seeks comment on how to define a closely held for-profit company and whether other steps might be appropriate to implement this policy.”

Friday’s announcement is the latest in a series of revisions to the controversial mandate. While the mandate includes a narrow religious exemption for houses of worship and their affiliated organizations, many faith-based groups – such as soup kitchens, hospitals and schools – do not qualify for the exemption because they are not affiliated with a specific house of worship.


Read the rest there.

Meanwhile, a reaction from the President of the USCCB, Archbp. Kurtz of Louisville.

Archbishop Kurtz Provides Initial Response To Revised HHS Mandate Regulations

Disappointed that regulation will not expand exemption, only modifies ‘accommodation’
Extending ‘accommodation’ to exempted businesses reduces religious freedom
More thorough study and detailed comments to come

WASHINGTON–Today, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) announced that it is issuing an additional set of interim final rules to implement its requirement that health plans, including employer-sponsored plans, provide for sterilization, contraception, and drugs that can cause an abortion. In response, Archbishop Joseph E. Kurtz of Louisville, Kentucky, president of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB), provided the following statement:

“The Administration is once again revising its regulations on the HHS mandate. We will study the regulations carefully and will provide more detailed comments at a later date. In keeping with our practice, we will evaluate the regulations according to the principles set forth in ‘United for Religious Freedom,’ a March 2012 statement of the USCCB Administrative Committee that was later affirmed unanimously by the body of bishops at the General Assembly of June 2012.

“On initial review of the government’s summary of the regulations, we note with disappointment that the regulations would not broaden the “religious employer” exemption to encompass all employers with sincerely held religious objections to the mandate. Instead, the regulations would only modify the “accommodation,” under which the mandate still applies and still requires provision of the objectionable coverage. Also, by proposing to extend the “accommodation” to the closely held for-profit employers that were wholly exempted by the Supreme Court’s recent decision in Hobby Lobby, the proposed regulations would effectively reduce, rather than expand, the scope of religious freedom.

Posted in Emanations from Penumbras, Liberals, Our Catholic Identity, Religious Liberty, The Coming Storm, The Drill, The future and our choices, The Last Acceptable Prejudice | Tagged , , , , , , , | 4 Comments