WDTPRS 3rd Sunday after Easter (1962MR): Be distinguished by your profession of Christ!

This Sunday’s Collect survived the knives of the liturgical experts and was inserted into the 1970 Missale Romanum on the 15th Sunday of Ordinary Time. The redactors who glued the Novus Ordo together, however, removed the word iustitiae, thus returning it to the form it had in the ancient Gelasian Sacramentary. Other ancient sacramentaries, such as the Liber sacramentorum Gellonensis as well as the Augustodunensis had the iustitiae. In any event, by the time St. Pius V issued the the Missale Romanum of 1570, which I am sure you have on hand, someone had seen fit to make it read, “in viam possint redire iustitiae”, which endured until the 1970MR and subsequent editions.


Deus, qui errantibus, ut in viam possint redire iustitiae, veritatis tuae lumen ostendis, da cunctis qui christiana professione censentur, et illa respuere, quae huic inimica sunt nomini, et ea quae sunt apta sectari.

Stylistically snappy! It has nice alliteration and a powerful rhythm in the last line. I think there is a trace here of John 14, which I will show you below. Can we also find a connection between this Collect in a phrase from the Roman statesman Cassiodorus (+c. 585 – consul in 514 and then Boethius’ successor as magister officiorum under the Ostrogothic King Theodoric)? Cassiodorus wrote, “Sed potest aliquis et in via peccatorum esse et ad viam iterum redire iustitiae? … But can someone be both in the way of sins and also return again to the way of justice?” (cf. Exp. Ps. 13). Is this prayer old enough to have been known by Milan’s mighty Bishop St. Ambrose (+397) or even St. Augustine of Hippo (+430), who use similar patterns of words?

Your thorough Lewis & Short Dictionary says censeo has a special construction: censeo, censeri aliqua re, meaning “to be appreciated, distinguished, celebrated for some quality”, “to be known by something.” This explains the passive form in our Collect with the ablative christiana professione. Getting christiana professio into English requires some fancy footwork. We could say “Christian profession”, but this adjectival construction really means “profession of Christ.” This same thing happens in phrases such as oratio dominica, “the Lordly Prayer”, or more smoothly “the Lord’s Prayer”.

Via means, “a way, method, mode, manner, fashion, etc., of doing any thing, course”. There is a moral content to via as well, “the right way, the true method, mode, or manner”.

Let’s see what people used to hear in church on the 15th Sunday of Ordinary Time in the…


God our Father,
your light of truth
guides us to the way of Christ.
May all who follow him
reject what is contrary to the gospel.

And now, ….


O God, who do show the light of Your truth to the erring so that they might be able to return unto the way of justice, grant to all who are distinguished by their profession of Christ that they may both strongly reject those things which are inimical to this name of Christian and follow eagerly the things which are suited to it.


O God, who show the light of your truth
to those who go astray,
so that they may return to the right path,
give all who for the faith they profess
are accounted Christians
the grace to reject whatever is contrary to the name of Christ
and to strive after all that does it honor.

Ancient philosophers (the word comes from Greek for “lover of wisdom”) would walk about in public in their sandals and draped toga-like robes. Thinker such as Aristotle were called “Peripatetics” from their practice of walking about (Greek peripatein) under covered walkways of the Lyceum in Athens (Greek peripatos) while teaching. Their disciples would swarm around them, hanging on their words, debating with them, learning how to think and reason. They would discuss the deeper questions the human mind and heart inevitably faces. They were effectively theologians. We must be careful not to impose the modern divorce of philosophy from theology on the ancients. In ancient Christian mosaics Christ is sometimes depicted wearing a philosopher’s robes. But He doesn’t merely love Wisdom, He is Wisdom incarnate, the perfect Teacher!

He is the one from whom we learn about God and about ourselves (cf. Gaudium et spes 22 – which the young Pope John Paul II helped to write during the Council).

The Collect also reminds me of the very first lines of the Divine Comedy by the exiled Florentine poet Dante Alighieri (+1321) who was heavily influenced by Aristotle’s Ethics and the Christianized Platonic philosophy mediated through Boethius (+525) and St. Thomas Aquinas (+1274). The Inferno begins:

Midway in the journey of our life
I came to myself in a dark wood,
for the straight way was lost.
Ah, how hard it is to tell
the nature of that wood, savage, dense, and harsh –
the very thought of it renews my fear!
It is so bitter death is hardly more so.

Dante, the protagonist of his own poem, is describing his fictional self. In his poetic persona, Dante is in the middle of his life (35 years old – half of 70, the number of years mentioned as man’s span in Ps. 90:10). He is mired in sin and irrational behavior, having strayed from the straight path of the life of reason: he is in the “dark wood”.

The life of persistent sin is a life without true reason. Human reason, when left to itself without the light of grace, is crippled.

Dante likens his confused state to death. He must journey through hell and the purification of purgatory in order to come back to the life of virtue and reason. In the course of the three-part Comedy the Poet finds the proper road back to light, Truth and reason through the intercession of Christ-like figures, such as Beatrice, and then through Christ Himself. In the Comedy, Dante recovers the use of reason. His whole person is reintegrated through the light of Truth.

Don’t we often describe people who are ignorant, confused or obtuse as “wandering around in the dark”? This applies also to persistent sinners. By their choices and resistance to God’s grace they have lost the light of Truth. God’s grace makes it possible for us to find our way back into the right path, no matter how far from it we have strayed in the past. When we sin, we break our relationship with Christ. If in laziness we should refuse to know Him better (every day), we lose sight of ourselves and our neighbor.

Christ, the incarnate Word, gives us consolation:

“‘Let not your hearts be troubled; believe in God, believe also in me. In my Father’s house are many rooms; if it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you? And when I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to myself, that where I am you may be also. And you know the way (via) where I am going.’ Thomas said to him, ‘Lord, we do not know where you are going; how can we know the way (via)?’ Jesus said to him, ‘I am the way (via), and the truth (veritas), and the life (vita); no one comes to the Father, but by me. If you had known me, you would have known my Father also; henceforth you know him and have seen him…. He who has seen me has seen the Father’” (cf. John 14:1-6 RSV).

We Catholics, who dare – DARE - publicly to take Christ’s name to ourselves, need to stand up and be counted (censentur)!

In what we say and do other people ought to be able to see Christ’s light reflected and focused in the details of our individual vocations. To be good lenses and reflectors of Christ’s light, we must be clean. When we know ourselves not to be so, we are obliged as soon as possible to seek cleansing so that we can be saved and be of benefit for the salvation of others. We must also practice spiritual works of mercy, bringing the light of truth to the ignorant or those who persist in darkness either through their own fault or no fault of their own.

Every Catholic is called to evangelize, if not in an “official” capacity in the Church’s name, at least through the obligation we have as members of Christ’s Body the Church.

Evangelization and the efforts of ecumenism are an obligation for every Catholic.  There are still people living in darkness. We must “preach” always and, as the phrase often attributed to St. Francis of Assisi says, sometimes use words.

When people look at us and listen to us, do they see a light-extinguishing black hole where a beautiful image of God should be?

7 votes, 4.57 avg. rating (90% score)
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Wherein Fr. Z is, again, in a SciFi novel

I received a note yesterday from Catholic blogger Jeff Miller of The Curt Jester.

So I am reading through John C. Wright‘s new book and I came across this.

In a Basilica on the moon in A.D. 11049:

“A motto picked out in gold letters said in Latin: SAY THE  BLACK, DO THE RED .” A phrase from Father Z.

It’s nice to be quoted.  And in words of gold!

A sure fire way to get mentioned on a blog with nearly a million page views a month.  I’ll add it to my wish list.

I wonder if I have perhaps a second career possibility as a bit character in science fiction?

You might recall that I was a player in the rollicking fun books by Chris Kennedy.  HERE

And, I have been told, there is a chance that I might be resurrected.

11 votes, 3.55 avg. rating (71% score)
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Feedback and a confessional story

confession-731x1024From a reader…

I went to confession! It had been 10 years. Your encouragement helped me get up the nerve to go. The hardest part was actually going to the church. I wrote down every single thing I wanted to say (including “Bless me Father…”). That helped. Your work is helping save souls.


My work here is done.




When is the last time you heard those incredible words of absolution after a good, thorough confession of all mortal sins in kind and number?

27 votes, 4.67 avg. rating (92% score)
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Notes on Eucharistic Prayer II

Every once in the while, when I was saying the Novus Ordo far more often than I do today (last Sunday was the first in several months, after the EF and before an EF baptism), why I used the Roman Canon and never Eucharistic Prayer II.


First, there’s the fact that the claimed origins of EP2 are thoroughly ridiculous.

And here’s a new wrinkle, from the great Fr. Hunwicke. He has a post at his place (with my emphases):

How to enjoy Eucharistic Prayer II

That charismatic writer and teacher of the 1950s and 1960s, the distinguished liturgist Fr Louis Bouyer, in his Memoires [published 2014; I am very gratefully indebted to a kind friend for these extracts], tells of his own involvement with the composition of Eucharistic Prayer II.

He [Bouyer] was summoned to join the sub-commission charged with inventing the new ‘Missal'; after seeing the drafting work aleady done, his instinct was to leave the group instantly … but Dom Bernard Botte persuaded him to stay, even if only to obtain a less dreadful result. He agreed. I give you my own probably inaccurate translation [corrections welcomed with a sigh of relief] of Bouyer’s vivid account of the early history of what has, so very sadly, become by far the most commonly used Eucharistic Prayer during this past half-century in the Western Church.

“You’ll have an idea of the deplorable conditions in which this indecently speedy reform (reforme a la sauvette) was pushed forward, when I have told you how the Second Eucharistic Prayer was tied up (ficelee). Between the fanatics who were archaeologising wildly and at random, who would have wanted to ban the Sanctus and the Intercessions from the EP, adopting the Eucharist of Hippolytus just as it was, and the others who didn’t give a damn about (qui se fichaient pas mal de) his pretended Apostolic Tradition but only wanted a botched (baclee) Mass, Dom Botte and I were charged with patching up the text so as to introduce these elements, which are certainly very ancient … in time for the very next morning! By chance, I discovered, in a writing perhaps by Hippolytus himself but certainly in his style, a happy formula on the Holy Spirit which could make a transition, of the Vere Sanctus type, leading into the brief epiclesis. Botte, for his part, fabricated an intercession more worthy of Paul Reboux [a belle epoque humourist and producer of witty pastiches] and his In the Style of … than of his own areas of academic competence. But I can never reread this weird (invraisemblable) composition without recalling the terrace of the bistro in the Trastevere where we had to work carefully at our allotted drudgery (pensum), so as to be in a position to present ourselves, with it in our hands, at the Bronze Gate at the time fixed by our bosses.” [Botte recalls in his memoires that the Pensionato in which he stayed was too full of red, purple, and cassocks; “my only break was to eat my meals in the little public restaurants on the nearby streets …”]

[… Here I’ve cut out a highly amusing chunk to force you to go over there and read the rest….]

The next paragraph begins with Bouyer informing us that the Novus Ordo Calendar was “oeuvre d’un trio de maniaques”. He also describes Archbishop Bugnini as meprisable and aussi depourvu de culture que de simple honnetete, all of which really does totally defeat either my schoolboy French or my plain old-style Anglo-Saxon sense of decency de mortuis; I’m not sure which. It’s such a terrible burden being an Englishman.

Mémoires Louis BouyerI’ll be heading to Rome in May for some research.  I must get this book.  I don’t see it yet on Amazon USA in French.  It is available at Amazon UK (HERE) and at Amazon ITALY (HERE), at Amazon CANADA (HERE) and of course Amazon FRANCE (HERE).

Let’s have a couple POLLS about the Eucharistic Prayers you usually here.

Pick the answer that best describes your situation.  Feel free to use the combox to elaborate.

Anyone can vote in both polls,  but you have to be registered to comment.

At Ordinary Form Mass on Sundays and holy days...

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21 votes, 3.67 avg. rating (73% score)
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Another morsel for #TalkLikeShakespeare Day

Today my Word of the Day from the OED is

honorificabilitudinity, n.

[‘ Honourableness.’]

Pronunciation: Brit. /ˌɒnəˌrɪfᵻkəˌbɪlᵻtjuːˈdɪnᵻti/, U.S. /ˌɑnəˌrɪfᵻkəˌbɪlᵻt(j)uˈdɪnᵻdi/

Etymology: <  post-classical Latin honorificabilitudinitas honourableness (13th cent. in British and continental sources) <  honorificabilitudin-honorificabilitudo honourableness (in a charter of 1187 in Du Cange; <  honorificabilis honourable (7th cent.; <  honorificare honorify v. + classical Latin -bilis -ble suffix) + classical Latin -t?d? -tude suffix) + classical Latin -it?s -ity suffix.

In a number of texts from the 16th and 17th centuries the Latin ablative plural honorificabilitudinitatibus is cited as an example of a very long word: compare Complaynt of Scotland (1548–9), Prolog. lf. 14 b, Shakespeare Love’s Labours Lost (1598) v. i. 41 (see quot. 1598 at head n.1 1b(a)), and Marston Dutch Courtezan (1605) v. H. The Latin form honorificabilitudinitate (ablative singular) is similarly mentioned in Dante De Vulgari Eloquentia (c1305) ii. vii.  [And we get some Dante as a bonus!]

Compare the following example of the Latin word in an English context:

1599  T. Nashe Lenten Stuffe 24 Physitions deafen our eares with the Honorificabilitudinitatibus of their heauenly Panachæa their soueraigne Guiacum. Honourableness.
Now rare in regular usage, but freq. cited as an example of an unusually long word, or (incorrectly) as the longest word in the English language. Sometimes with reference to Shakespeare’s use of the Latin word (see etymology).

1656  T. Blount GlossographiaHonorificabilitudinity, honorableness. [Also in later dictionaries].

1785  T. Holcroft Choleric Fathers ii. 38 This vast honorificabilitudinity Commands my esteem!

1800  in Spirit of Public Jrnls. (1801) 4 147 The two longest monosyllables in our language are strength and straight, and the very longest word, honorificabilitudinity.

1823  J. Lunn Horæ Jocosæ 43 No honorificabilitudinity Or wealth could suffice To content her.

1908 Denver Med. Times & Utah Med. Jrnl. Jan. 345 Long words (of which the longest is honorificabilitudinity, latinized by Shakespeare).

2005 Province (Vancouver, Brit. Columbia) (Nexis) 15 Mar. a20 Students might consider the old-fashioned spelling bee as nothing more than floccinaucinihilipilification. Well, we see it more as an act of honorificabilitudinity.

In the aforementioned play there is one of the Bard’s famous quotes, followed by the WOTD in question:


[Aside to COSTARD] They have been at a great feast
of languages, and stolen the scraps.


O, they have lived long on the alms-basket of words.
I marvel thy master hath not eaten thee for a word;
for thou art not so long by the head as
honorificabilitudinitatibus: thou art easier
swallowed than a flap-dragon.

Talk Like Shakespeare at least once today.

Flap DragonBTW… “flap-dragon” was a game played in Shakespeare’s day. If you want to play at home, you’ll also need a fire extinguisher, ice, and ointments. Put heated brandy in a bowl with raisins and set the liquid on fire. Turn off the lights. Take turns plucking the raisins from the flaming booze! Fun for all! This game is also mentioned in Henry IV Part II (which the DVD is languishing on my wish list, as Preserved Killick would add):


Because their legs are both of a bigness, and a’
plays at quoits well, and eats conger and fennel,
and drinks off candles’ ends for flap-dragons, and
rides the wild-mare with the boys, and jumps upon
joined-stools, and swears with a good grace, and
wears his boots very smooth, like unto the sign of
the leg, and breeds no bate with telling of discreet
stories; and such other gambol faculties a’ has,
that show a weak mind and an able body, for the
which the prince admits him: for the prince himself
is such another; the weight of a hair will turn the
scales between their avoirdupois.



12 votes, 3.42 avg. rating (69% score)
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Thanks to readers, monthly donations, Mass for benefactors

A quick word of thanks to readers who have sent donations or wish list items.  I will say Mass for the intention of benefactors tomorrow Friday, 24 April.

Oremus pro benefactoribus nostris.  Retribuere dignare, Domine, omnibus nobis bona facientibus propter nomen tuum vitam aeternam.  Amen.*

I am grateful when donations come in, either ad hoc (one offs) or on a regular, monthly basis through the subscription option (at the bottom of the blog).  I keep track of everyone’s name and remember them in my prayers and in intentions for Holy Mass.  It is important that we remember our benefactors in prayer.

That said,  I note that for this day of the month, the 23rd, only 3 people were signed up.  Today there was a new subscriber, SV. He made it 4.  Thanks SV!

Some days of the month have quite a few regular subscribers signed up and other days very few.  Today is one of those “lean” days for the blog.

If you are using the blog regularly, please consider subscribing today to send a monthly donation. That way you also wind up regularly on my list of benefactors for whom I pray and for whom I periodically say Holy Mass.  This is my duty and my pleasure.

Some options


*BTW… did you know that there is an indulgence available for praying for benefactors? It is in the Enchridion Indulgentiarum conc. 24:

Preces pro benefactoribus

Partialis indulgentia conceditur christifideli qui, supernaturali grati animi affectu ductus, orationem pro benefactoribus legitime adprobatam pie recitaverit (e. g. Retribuere dignare, Domine).

Retribuere dignare, Domine, omnibus nobis bona facientibus propter nomen tuum vitam aeternam. Amen.

11 votes, 3.18 avg. rating (65% score)
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A curious lacuna in ‘Misericordiae vultus’, the Bull for the Holy Year of Mercy

From a reader…


Today I was reading Misericordiae vultus and noticed that, in section 15 on the Works of Mercy, [Pope Francis] gives both full lists of 7 works, and then goes on to expand on all 7 of the Corporal Works but only 6 of the Spiritual.

The Spiritual Work he doesn’t expand on is “admonish the sinner.”

I’ve checked the English, Latin, Spanish, and Italian versions online to make sure one clause didn’t just drop out accidentally. Not there in any of them.

Thoughts on this?

Sure.  I have thoughts about this.  But I can only speculate.

It’s a no brainer, for a Year of Mercy, to urge people to practice the all the Corporal and all the Spiritual Works of Mercy.  All of them, and not just the easy ones.  Right?

Perhaps someone should ask Fr. Lombardi.

The moderation queue is ON.

22 votes, 4.23 avg. rating (84% score)
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A Talk Like Shakespeare Day Gift to the Fair Readership that frequenteth This Blog


Talk Like Shakespeare Day!



I urge you all hence forth to speak in verse.
Pentameter iambic would be best.
Hear, O gentles! Also strive to use
in thy fair speech some homage to the Bard.

Maybe you could (ehem… Coulds’t thou not) use the word “Prithee” a few times today, or, perchance, “perchance”?

As a tribute to the Playwright, I offer to you, firstly, a hitherto unknown fragment of an epilogue to the famous play Richard III!

Some others bloggers might, I trow, say that this is an exclusive, first-here-only revelation, and you are forbidden to even think about this post, much less cite it, without credit.

I am not so self-absorbed.  Cite away.

Now, ladies and gentlemen, the long lost  epilogue to

The Tragikal History of King Richard III

ACT VI – Epilogue

RICHARD III, deceased, seated by a grave, holding a skull.

ENTER HAMLET Prince of Denmark, deceased, wearing Wayfarers.

HAMLET [singing ?]:

Brush up thy Marlowe
Start quoting him now
Brush up thy Marlowe
And the women wilt thou wow

But soft!


Ay me!


Whom do I see beside this gaping grave?
Why good ol’ Dicken, Blighty’s erstwhile king
unkindly hacked to bits at Bosworth Field!
Let’s draw near to find his sighings out.


Ay me.

HAMLET [sneaking]:

He speaks!  O speak again chopp’d monarch!


Now is the summer of our afterlife,
made somewhat gloomy by our funeral rites;
and all the clouds that lour’d upon our lot,
in the deep bosom of fair Leicester gather’d.


What ho, good Richard, of that name the third
to wear fair England’s crown, too short a time.
Down seem’st thou to me, and desponding.
Thy so black mood resembleth close that garb
of inky sable I did sport as in
the halls of gloomy Elsinor I moped.
Art thou so dull and drear that thou woulds’t steal
to earthy pit, my shtick to plagiarize?
Thou must be truly vex’d to so converse
with bony chops, by grave and dirt and muck.
Tell me quickly: park you here a lot?


Everyone’s a comic now, I see.
Dost thou permit thyself at my expense
a joke to craft of where my bones did lie?
Give, I pray, the rest of that silence
thou did’st prate on before thine own demise.
If not, begone, shove off, and hie the hence.


Peace, good King.   I do but jest.
In earthly life I was a pill, and now
in heav’n’s joys jocund choose I to be –
and not to be as earnest as before.
In life I would have liked to be a card,
perhaps a jack o’ hearts or e’en napes,
e’en as that Yorick was, whose skull you swip’d.
Come, explain.  Tell me everything.
Why is royal Dicken in the dumps?


Less didst thou annoy when in thy ebon
garb thou wert sunk in melancholy deep.
Inky Hamlet I could bear. But deign
I not to suffer Dane transform’d, in shirt
Hawaiian, cracking wise and gamboling.
But nay, stay a bit and tell me true.
Art thou not mooning still over that blond?
That swimming challeng’d girl? What was her name?
Oprah?  Something on those lines?


Okay okay.  Enough.  Thy point I take.
Cheap shot. Thou art not well dispos’d.
But tell me. What’s the deal?  Get a grip.
Spill it all and list shall I sincere.


Apology accepted, Prince of Danes.
If thou wilt not take thy face hence at once
I’ll unburden’d be.  You asked for it.
Yes, my tomb and long lost place of rest,
beneath that car park less than august was
for monarch royal, e’en one cast down
in wars of rosy houses, white and red.
Now they’ve found my bones and dug me up.
Alchemy scientific they employ’ed
and rituals forensic they performed
upon my matter osseous, my framework
skeletal, my lineage to spy.

HAMLET [sitting down]:

O wizardry most modern!  Tell me more!

RICHARD [holding the skull]:

Studied they my skull, my wounds and hacks,
my curvéd back did they interrogate
until, at last, my bones, renovate,
encloséd were in wooden casket fair.


Much trumpeted was this in media massy.


They bore me thence, a royal tomb to fill
in Martin’s Church at Leicester.


And so?


See’st thou not?  Shall I thee explain?
When thou didst breathe in that vale lachrymose
wert thou not a pious Catholic prince?
Surely thou dost sense the sting that thy
bones in clay encloséd are till doom,
in Denmark, once a land of faithful flock.
The Danish realm, as did the Britians’ isle,
slith’ring slid down into mischief sin
of error and schismatical protest.
Their backs they turned on Holy Peter’s smile,
in separation now circumnutate.

HAMLET [aside]:

What a ranting polysyllabic.
Something bad is eating him for sure.


Woe! More woe! And woe is me!
Thou, Hamlet, royal Dane, must also feel
this piercing sting, e’en in heaven’s bliss!


Hang on there!  Just a second wait!
Dicken, we’re in heaven, see….


… yes I know.
Paradoxical I choose to be.
In heaven’s bliss are we and in God’s sight
replenish’ed by vision Beatific.
But this is yearly “Talk Like Shakespeare Day”.
The cleric scribe who put us side by side
must needs a post for blog readers to write.
We are therefore stuck here, players fretting.


O horrible, O horrible, most horrible.


Shall I say more? List, list, O list!
In course they put my corse in church bereft
of sacrament, of apostolic line,
of teachings clear which no one can suspect.
In angle of a temple Anglican
my bones now lie, far from the Presence Real
as dear to me in life as nothing else.
Entombed am I, unhousel’d evermore.


Ay, there’s the rub!  For in that church
there is no Mass, no priest, no bishop true.


Now for effect dramatic shall I droop.
Though steep’d in bliss, I’ll put on visage sad.
A pair lugubriously blissful now are we.


But shall I now reveal my heart’s true wound?
Near so-called cathedra of Leicester were
my bones with some formality interr’d.
But elsewhere Catholic Mass was lifted up
before my exsequies in that lost church.

HAMLET [glancing at his watch and rising]:

Soooo, there you have it, Dick, my buried friend!
All’s well that ends well!


But wait, there’s more!

HAMLET [aside]:

Who knew…


Long in the past we shuffled off the coil.
Some centuries of years did pass before
a pope of name Iohanine, large of build,
did bishops call into a solemn meet,
second in the place where Peter’s bones
do faithful Christians come to venerate
upon the hill called Vatican at Rome.
There the Council Father’s would mandate
some several changes to the rites of Mass.
But woe again, and woe! For those few points
were seized upon by certain buggy clerks
who then hijackéd all commands reforming.
Though “nihil innovatur” bishops said,
the buggy clerks changed all the black and red.
An innovated ordo did they scribe
and foisted it on Catholics far and wide.
Confusion and decorum’s loss did reign
and no one did the liturgists restrain
from ravages, in power goggle-eyed.
Art did they in, and the noble shrines
builded in love from forebear’s gold and sweat.
They tore them ‘till they bled.  Everything
upon which they could work their heinous spells
they did amend, annihilating despots.
But, heark ye, friend.  I do digress.  I see
that you do stare and wonder at my rant.
Behind thine eyes can I descry the same
indignation and loss of which I speak.
But soft.  I shall be circumspect.
To make the story short, which could be long
in telling as the tale of Trojan grief,
as wending as the paths of him who yearn’d
to see belovéd Ithaca again,
the wily polytrop and trickster sly,
as lengthy as the yarn which Virgil…

[HAMLET consults his watch and looks toward the nearby pub]

To make the story short, an Ordo new,
wholly Novus did they cobble up.
This is the rite by which they prayed when near
the river Soar they offered holy Mass
my once lost bones to reinter with care,
remembrances and prayers.  This is the rite.
They did not use the book for Mass which you,
which I, knew, when we with our mortal step
trod under sun and stars and breathed in air.
They could have used our own belovéd prayer.
For behold, there came another Pope, of frame
more delicate by far, in name twice blessed,
in lore of God and ritual reknown’d.
This pope freed up again the ancient use.
This pope did liberate our hallowed rites.
Rites Roman he unchained, and op’ed the way
for enrichments organic, mutual.
Reason enough, I say, for Summorum.
But no.  The sense that’s common to us all
did stare directly in their faces wan.
I, who lived in century fifteenth,
got Ordo Novus, not tradition’s Mass!
So sit now I upon this ground to tell
the too sad tales of requia of kings.



What ho!  Hail, fellows, and well met.
This Day is called the Feast of Shakespeare,
or something on that line.  We should find a pub.
What’s this I see?  Of somber mien?  Depressed?
What’s up?  What problem could there be in heav’n?
O Richard, of thy name the third, this white head,
which heavy wore a crown, shall hear thee out.

HAMLET [aside]

He had to say it….


Thanks, Lear. But come, let us go.  Our Danish pal
impatient grows the brews at yon fair pub
completely to explore.  Let us go hence,
and there this “Talk Like Shakespeare Day”
observe with beverage apt. It’s happy hour.
And as we go I’ll tell you, celtic lord, what gives.
You see, and stop me if I’ve told you this before,
they’ve found my bones and dug me up!

HAMLET: [aside]

I should have stuck to Marlow.


Alchemy scientific they employ’ed
and rituals forensic they performed
upon my matter osseous, my framework
skeletal, my lineage to spy….


Tech spiffy! Tell, pray, everything.


Richard?  Hey!  Initial rounds on thee.




18 votes, 4.33 avg. rating (86% score)
Posted in Lighter fare | Tagged , | 28 Comments

ASK FATHER: Continuously adding tap water to Holy Water

holy water bottleFrom a reader…


I recently discovered that a Sacristan at the NO parish I attend is filling the Holy Water tank with water taken from the public washroom tap…no priest is blessing this. The Holy Water in this tank is used to fill the fonts in the Church as well as freely available to anyone who wishes to take it home. The tank is marked as Holy Water. I believe this Sacristan is thinking it’s ok because as “normal” water is being added to the tank, it is being “blessed” or absorbed by the Holy Water in the tank already. I have heard some priests say this too: As long as you don’t add more than half of regular tap water, this is fine to do and all the water is blessed. This doesn’t sit well with me for some reason. Can you ease my mind on this matter or give me something concrete to give to our parish priest so it can be rectified?

That should be ended as soon as possible. People want Holy Water. They should not be deceived. The agents of Hell know the difference!

It is possible, in a pinch, to add a small amount of water to Holy Water or Baptismal Water if there isn’t a sufficient quality for the task for which it is needed. However, that should not be the usual practice and only a small amount, proportionally, should be added.

It is better simply to bless more Holy Water and make sure it is in sufficient supply.

It doesn’t take much time to bless Holy Water, even with the older rite in the traditional Rituale Romanum (which is the only rite which I have ever used or which I would even consider using). If the priest is too lazy to do even what the Novus Ordo indicates… well… shame on him.  Someone should kick his backside into gear.

However, it is far more likely that this problem doesn’t even pass through the priest’s radar, because he is not asked to bless Holy Water. Thus, he doesn’t think about it.

A good practice is for every sacristy to have a large card with the words “BLESS” and “BLESSED” on either side. Prop up that card with the “BLESS” side displayed near the water containers (I’ve done several buckets at a time, no problemo) and the page-marked book and the stole (and the salt). When the priest is done, he turns the card over to “BLESSED”.  Bada bing.

I am sure that Father is a diligent man who will happily bless any amount of Holy Water, even often, if the request is made and everything is laid out.

Why wouldn’t he?  This is precisely the sort of thing for which we was ordained?

31 votes, 4.13 avg. rating (82% score)
Posted in "How To..." - Practical Notes, ASK FATHER Question Box, Our Catholic Identity | Tagged | 36 Comments

ASK FATHER: Inviting children to stand around the altar? Fail!

From a reader…


My wife and I have been taking our young children to “children’s Masses” in our diocese for several years, [WHY?!?] and it has become common at every church we have attended (including the cathedral) at Sunday Mass for the priest to tell the kids and their parents to circle the altar while holding hands to say the Our Father.
Needless to say, these are all N.O. Masses. [Indeed.] I believe the priests are well intentioned, in the sense that they want to make the Mass and prayer seem interesting and active for the kids, and yet my “Catholic radar” tells me there may be something inappropriate about this practice. May I ask, is what I’ve described a liturgical abuse? [Yes.]
Because I feel uncomfortable about this practice, I don’t let my kids do it, and I’m thinking that in the future we may go to a “regular” Sunday Mass and avoid the “children’s Masses.” [D’ya think?] The only problem with that is that we then miss out on the experience of parish life of being at Mass with other families. Thanks for your reply, and God bless you!

You would think that, by now, this sloppy sentimentalism would be gone as the aging hippies disappear.

For example, in GIRM 295 we read.

The sanctuary is the place where the altar stands, where the word of God is proclaimed, and where the priest, the deacon, and the other ministers exercise their offices. It should suitably be marked off from the body of the church either by its being somewhat elevated or by a particular structure and ornamentation.

Lay people are not to be in the sanctuary unless they have a ministerial role.  “Standing around” is not a ministerial role!

Furthermore, in these USA people are to kneel – not stand – from the Sanctus until after the Amen at the end of the Eucharistic Prayer.

Back in 1981 the Congregation for Divine Worship’s official publication Notitiae (No. 17 (1981) p. 61) responded to a question about this matter.

Query: At the presentation of gifts at a Mass with congregation, persons (lay or religious) bring to the altar the bread and wine which are to be consecrated. These gifts are received by the priest celebrant. All those participating in the Mass accompany this group procession in which the gifts are brought forward. They then stand around the altar until communion time. Is this procedure in conformity with the spirit of the law and of the Roman Missal?

Reply: Assuredly, the Eucharistic celebration is the act of the entire community, carried out by all the members of the liturgical assembly. Nevertheless, everyone must have and also must observe his or her own place and proper role: ‘In liturgical celebrations each one, minister or layperson, who has an office to perform, should do all of, but only, those parts which pertain to that office by the nature of the rite and the principles of liturgy’ (SC 28). During the liturgy of the Eucharist, only the presiding celebrant remains at the altar. The assembly of the faithful take their place in the Church outside the ‘presbyterium,’ which is reserved for the celebrant or concelebrants and altar ministers.

Again, “standing around” isn’t a ministerial role.

Furthermore, at no point is there an indication in the rite for the priest or anyone else to invite people to come into the sanctuary and stand (against the Church’s clear direction during the Eucharistic prayer) near the altar.

In 1997 several offices of the Roman Curia cooperated in an authoritative document called Ecclesia de mysterio, called in English “Instruction On Certain Questions Regarding The Collaboration Of The Non-Ordained Faithful In The Sacred Ministry Of Priest. This instruction clarified the distinct roles of laypeople and of priests. In that document, we find:

In liturgical celebrations each one, minister or layperson, who has an office to perform, should do all of, but only, those parts which pertain to that office by the nature of the rite and the principles of liturgy.” (SC art. 29). During the liturgy of the eucharist, only the presiding celebrant remains at the altar. The assembly of the faithful take their place in the Church outside the “presbyterium,” which is reserved for the celebrant or concelebrants and altar ministers. [Notitiae 17 (1981) 61]

Bottom line: the lay faithful (except those in liturgical serving roles) are not permitted to be inside the sanctuary, that is, “standing around the altar” during Holy Mass.

Moreover, the Ceremonial of Bishops 50 states,

“A minister who is not wearing a vestment, a cassock or surplice, or other lawfully approved garb may not enter the sanctuary during a celebration.”

The priest who is doing this should be dissuaded, perhaps over a couple mugs of rich and aromatic Mystic Monk Coffee.  If he will not be dissuaded, then he should be compelled.  Either his superior if he is a religious and/or the local diocesan bishop, whose task it is make sure that the Church’s liturgical directives are followed, should be informed.

One could also explain the situation to the Congregation for Divine Worship and Discipline of the Sacraments and ask for advice.



24 votes, 3.92 avg. rating (78% score)
Posted in "How To..." - Practical Notes, ASK FATHER Question Box, Liberals, Liturgy Science Theatre 3000 | Tagged , | 34 Comments