When the ghost of Gene Roddenberry designs a church

“What happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas.”

So runs the popular phrase.

I hope with all my heart that that is true!

Today a friend (and father of a priest) wrote an email with an astonishing link:

When the ghost of Gene Roddenberry designs a church

“The Mass is ended. Live long, and prosper.”

The church in question? See the Las Vegas Review-Journal.

$12M Roman Catholic church going up in South Summerlin


I can hear the theme song in my head as I look at that. Do doooo do do do do dooooo….

What do you want to bet that in spite of Laudato si’, building has air conditioning.   Perhaps as carbon offsets they can get some of those green gals from Orion as “Eucharistic Ministrices”.

“But Father! But Father!”, you eco-liturgical V2-Spirit-filled terrorists are wailing, “What’s wrong with that design?  It embodies noble simplicity and it’s… it’s… groovy!  We thought you were traditional.  This is traditional 1960s, right?  But you wouldn’t know anything about that because YOU HATE VATICAN II!”

If you want to know what’s wrong with this picture, obtain and read my friend Fr. Uwe Michael Lang’s new book: Signs of the Holy One: Liturgy, Ritual, and Expression of the Sacred.


Posted in Lighter fare | Tagged , | 47 Comments

Fr. de Souza responds to responses about “reconciliation” of newer and traditional Forms of the Roman Rite

Mass eucharist sacrificeSome discussion about the “mutual enrichment” hoped for and promoted by Benedict XVI with Summorum Pontificum has been generated by Card. Sarah’s article in the French magazine La Nef for the 10th anniversary of the promulgation of that Motu Proprio’s text.  I read an English translation of Sarah’s article in a PODCAzT.

Cool reactions followed quickly.  For example, scholars Joseph Shaw of the LMS in England HERE and Gregory DiPippo of NLM HERE. I provided my own reaction to Card. Sarah’s La Nef offering HERE.

A warm embrace came from Fr. Raymond de Souza HERE.  I had the impression that he thought that there should be a large-scale revamping of the traditional form and some tweeking of the newer form with traditional elements.  Inter alia, he made the claim that the post-Conciliar Lectionary was universally accepted as being superior to the older, traditional use of Sacred Scriptures in Holy Mass.  Card. Sarah had written that there should be a reconciliation of old and the new.   The aforementioned Shaw and DiPippo, however, made substantive arguments against such a move.  I added my own observations.

Fr. de Souza has issued a new piece in which he doubles down on the Lectionary issue but seems to back away from the large-scale revamping of the traditional form.  HERE  In fact, Father says:

“The more pressing issue by far is the enrichment of the OF, which can happily be done independent of any changes in the EF.”

I warmly agree.  It is by far more pressing to deal with the OF, since it is dominant right now.  It is attractive to think about the elements from the EF that might be introduced to the Novus Ordo.  I suppose, however, they would be introduced as “options”.

Something that, for sure, could be started unilaterally, would be to clean up many of the abuses inflicted on the Novus Ordo, which, alas, is rather open to abuse.

Concerning the Lectionary, de Souza:

I wrote that the superiority of the OF lectionary was a matter of broad consensus. I understated that, actually; it is nearly a unanimous position even in conservative liturgical circles, but evidently leading voices in the EF community do not think so. While there are clearly some weaknesses in the OF lectionary – the prologue of St. John’s Gospel is never heard by most Catholics – its more ample inclusion of Scripture is surely an improvement. It may be here that Cardinal Sarah’s warning about treating the EF as a “museum object” is most on the mark.

Why, Father, the snarky dig at at the end?

Fr. de Souza also wrote that this blog has “a pugilistic style”.  And his dig isn’t pugilistic?

While I grant that one cannot make extended elaborations in short pieces online, Fr. de Souza sidestepped the substantive arguments brought up by Shaw, DiPippo, et al., about the alleged superiority of the new Lectionary.  Fr. de Souza seems to think that the sheer quantity of Scripture used in the Novus Ordo is enough automatically to warrant superiority.

Fr. Finigan at his fine blog (HERE) made sound observations about Fr. de Souza’s views (my emphases and comments):

One problem is that of experience. Most of those Catholics who regularly participate at Masses celebrated in the usus antiquior have experienced the modern rite; most Catholics who regularly participate in the modern rite have not experienced the usus antiquior and do not really understand its attraction or its salient features when compared with the rite that they know. [That is certainly the case with most younger priests.] Some regular experience of celebrating the usus antiquior would lead most priests (or Cardinals) to understand the impossibility of forming a common reformed rite that would really be the usus antiquior which Pope Benedict understood as being attractive to many people, and which he said could not be suddenly considered forbidden or harmful.

This is a good point.  The discussion about the interplay of the two rites would change dramatically were the priests involved well-versed also in the traditional form.  When opining about their Roman Rite it is better to know the Roman Rite… which by definition includes the traditional Form.

Fr. Finigan goes on to address the Lectionary issue:

I would also gently urge that there needs to be greater awareness of the real work that is being done on the liturgy by traditionalist scholars. To take an example that is relevant to the current debate: only last year, Matthew P. Hazell published what is volume I in Lectionary Study Aids: Index Lectionum: A Comparative Table of Readings for the Ordinary and Extraordinary Forms of the Roman Rite. [US HERE – UK HERE ] His blog Lectionary Study Aids has other resources that would be useful for anyone interested in actually studying the question. His book has a Foreword by Peter Kwasniewski and consists of comparative tables by which the lectionaries of the modern rite and the usus antiquior can be compared to see which passages of scripture are included or omitted.

Thanks to Matthew Hazell, it is no longer necessary to rely on feelings or impressions when forming an opinion about the lectionary of the modern rite and it is possible to go beyond the simple assessment that it has lots more verses of the bible and therefore must be so much better. In the Foreword, Peter Kwasniewski makes a brief start on analysis of the modern lectionary, looking at, among other problems, Old Testament omissions, loss of Johannine material, omission of morally demanding texts (notoriously 1 Cor 11.27-29), and reductive redistribution.

Those who would defend the superiority of the modern lectionary cannot simply default to the position that “everybody” knows it is better because it has a higher biblical word-count; there is a real debate to be had, and an increasing amount of source material to be used.

Fr. de Souza brings up a point I made about the period of stability that we need before tinkering with the EF: traditionalists have often been treated horribly over the last few decades.   HERE  My emphases:

It is unlikely that apologies are going to be forthcoming. Yet Fr. Zuhlsdorf’s point about wounds requiring time to heal is valid; he may be right that the EF community is too wounded just now for reconciliation. A challenge though is to ensure that wounds are not passed down to younger devotees of the EF who were not around to have their hearts riven.

Cardinal Sarah’s intervention has made clear that even when friends of the EF – Sarah himself, or Cardinal Raymond Burke – speak about enrichment of the EF by the OF, they lack for supportive listeners in the EF leadership.

First, I had in truth written  that “many” of the traditional community have been wounded.  It is inaccurate to lump all those who prefer the traditional form of the Roman Rite into one group and them imply that “they are too wounded now for reconciliation”.

Fr. de Souza acknowledges that there are “younger devotees” who are frequenting the old form of Holy Mass (who did not personally experience the wars of previous decades), and hopes that they won’t get shot up in the crossfire.  Fine.  However, start messing around too deeply and too quickly with the older form, start tinkering in an artificial way with the older form, and we will see in the 2010’s what we saw in the 1960-70’s: wounds.

Moreover, he seems to be saying that, “Those poor people over there are psychologically too fragile to do the work I think ought to be done.”  That’s not at all pugilistic.

Okay, in fairness, perhaps I read him wrong and he isn’t being dismissive.

Moving on, it seems to me infra dignitatem to pit “EF leadership” against Card. Sarah and Card. Burke in the way that Fr. de Souza did.  I, for one, commented that, while I didn’t agree with everything Card. Sarah wrote, I was taking his suggestions to prayerful consideration.

Does anyone seriously believe that “EF leadership” are against Cardinals Sarah and Burke just because they don’t want have their arguments swept aside and then see massive, sudden, artificial changes imposed on the EF?

I firmly believe in and have for decades argued for what Ratzinger/Benedict promoted: we must allow a way through “mutual enrichment”, or what I like to call a “gravitational pull” of two forms, to jump-start the organic development of sacred worship interrupted by the brutal imposition of an artificially created order.  HOWEVER, we have to avoid the mistakes of the past and resist the temptation to start tinkering too quickly and too deeply.

Suddenly impose artificial changes on the EF and a tremendous opportunity will be lost.

We need a significant period of stability before we legislate changes.

Let the older rite take root and become, again, part of the warp and weft of our lives.  Let the newer rite be cleaned up and implemented without wide-spread abuses imposed on it.

There are already mutual enrichments going on, which are not a result of tinkeritis.  I think that reasonable and well-informed traditionalists understand that changes will result over time, nolens volens.  That’s they way of things.  That’s what happened over the centuries.  If we force the process too abruptly, however, there will be problems.

We, especially we clerics, have to avoid the trap and resist the temptation to tinker, to “fix stuff”, into which Fr de Souza may have fallen… with many others.

We don’t have to be afraid of the side-by-side celebration of these two forms of the Roman Rite.  Just let them be offered in the very best way possible and we will see what happens over time.

In any event, I welcome Fr de Souza’s additional comments, especially because they occasioned a thoughtful response from Fr. Finigan.  I imagine that others will follow and a fruitful dialogue will continue.

Posted in Liturgy Science Theatre 3000, Mail from priests, SUMMORUM PONTIFICUM, The Drill, The future and our choices | Tagged , , , , , | 19 Comments

On this day… “Getting Francis Wrong”

Here is something to ponder.  HERE

On this day in 2013 I posted:

Over at First Things I saw a piece called Five Myths About Pope Francis by William Doino Jr.

What are those myths?

1. “Francis is the anti-Benedict.”
2. “Francis is Not a Cultural Warrior.”
3. “Francis is a ‘Social Justice’ Pope.”
4. “Francis Will Be More Charitable Toward Dissenters.”
5. “Francis Loves the World.”

I think it would be interesting to reread the article in question and see how things are going now…. with some perspective.

Moderation queue is ON.

Posted in Linking Back | Tagged | 25 Comments

My View For A While: Parental Edition

Off I go for a brief southern sojourn.  But first, the joy of airports at Zero Dark Thirty and cramped flights.

Did I mention “cramped”?

Delta’s definition of “comfort” differs from that which most of us understand.

To experience “comfort” is this seat in “comfort” class you would have to be 6 years old.


After a lousy bagel and schmear in the club, it’s off to the next flight.

In the ramp – chute? – Delta’s version of a red carpet for its boarding patrons.


Posted in On the road, What Fr. Z is up to | Tagged | 16 Comments

WDTPRS – 7th Sunday after Pentecost: circumventing God’s plan

Nadal 7th post PentecostIn the traditional Roman calendar this Sunday is the 7th Sunday after Pentecost.

Today’s Collect survived the cutting and pasting experts of the Consilium to live on as the Collect for the 9th Sunday of Ordinary Time.


Deus, cuius providentia in sui dispositione non fallitur te supplices exoramus, ut noxia cuncta submoveas, et omnia nobis profutura concedas.

Blaise/Chirat (a dictionary of Latin in French) indicates that dispositio is “disposition providentialle”. It has to do God’s plan for salvation. Fallo is an interesting word. It means basically, “to deceive, trick, dupe, cheat, disappoint” and it has as synonyms “decipio, impono, frustror, circumvenio, emungo, fraudo”. Fallo is used to indicate things like simply being mistaken or being deceived. It can apply to making a mistake because something eluded your notice or it was simply unknown. In our Latin conversation it is not uncommon to say nisi fallor, “unless I am mistaken…”. If you look for submoveo you may have to check under summoveo. Find profutura under prosum. Don’t confuse noxia with noxa.


God, whose providence, in its plan, is not circumvented, humbly we implore You, that you clear away every fault and grant us all benefits.

There is no getting around or circumventing God’s plan.

Why, given who God is and who we are, would we want to try?

But we do, don’t we.

We have to make a choice about which way to go with noxia.  Does it mean “harmful things” that are outside us or that are within us, that is, our own sins, our faults?  Both?

OBSOLETE ICEL (1973 9th Sunday Ordinary Time):

Father, your love never fails. Hear our call. Keep us from danger and provide for all our needs.

ROFL! Quite simply dreadful.  This may be one of the worst I have ever seen.  But we NEVER have to HEAR IT AGAIN.

CURRENT ICEL (2011  9th Sunday Ordinary Time):

O God, whose providence never fails in its design, keep from us, we humbly beseech you, all that might harm us and grant all that works for our good.

We have to make a choice about which way to go with noxia.  Does it mean “harmful things” that are outside us or that are within us, that is, our own sins, our faults?  Both?
God knows who we are and what we need far better than we can ever know ourselves.

Foreseeing all our sins and many faults, all that we say and do is embraced in His eternal plan.

He has disposed all things so as to make glorious things result from the evils for which we alone are responsible.

Sometimes, moreover, it is hard to understand that God actually cares are us.  Given how immeasurably vast God is and how small we are, it is easy for some, mired in earthly distractions, to lapse into sort of deism and imagine a God who created everything and then, like a clock maker, just set the pendulum to swing and stepped away.

There is an old adage that, if you want to know if God is interested in you, just make a plan.

It is good for us each day never to forget to make an Act of Faith, which is a good Trinitarian prayer.

O my God, I firmly believe that Thou art one God in Three Divine Persons, Father, Son and Holy Ghost. I believe that Thy Divine Son became Man, and died for our sins, and that He will come to judge the living and the dead. I believe these and all the truths which the Holy Catholic Church teaches, because Thou hast revealed them, Who canst neither deceive nor be deceived.


Posted in Liturgy Science Theatre 3000, WDTPRS | Tagged , , , , | 4 Comments

WDTPRS – 16th Ordinary Sunday: You are being hunted by the Enemy

lion bloodThe Collect for the 16th Ordinary Sunday is not in any pre-Conciliar Missale Romanum.  It has its antecedent in a 9th century manuscript.  Enjoy the fine clausula (rhythmic ending).

Propitiare, Domine, famulis tuis, et clementer gratiae tuae super eos dona multiplica, ut, spe, fide et caritate ferventes, semper in mandatis tuis vigili custodia perseverent.

We have been cheated of the beauty of our Catholic worship in Latin, which is our common patrimony.  These prayers, from our forebears, are our inheritance.  They lay quiet in manuscripts, but, even after a vast gap of time in human reckoning, they glitter even today.

However, now that we have, far and wide, abandoned our past, slammed the door on our common treasury, switched off the light of learning, it will be more and more difficult for future generations to grasp these tightly woven ancient Latin Collects with their lovely rhythms, their clarity of thought, their force.  Translation doesn’t do them justice.

I am reminded of the present controversy surrounding the infamous paragraph 299 in the 2002 GIRM: if you don’t know Latin, if you don’t use Latin as a priest in the Latin Church, in the Roman Rite, you are effectively cut off from the wisdom of our forebears.

Some vocabulary.

Famulus and feminine famula appear frequently in our Latin prayers.  Famulus is probably from Latin’s ancient cousin, the Oscan *faama, “house.”   A Latin famulus or famula was a household servant or hand-maid, slave or free. They were considered members of the larger family.

Custodia is “a watching, guard, care, protection” and has the military overtone of “guard, sentinel”.  Vigil is “wakeful, watchful”, and, like custodia, can also be “a watchman, sentinel”.

Liturgically, a “vigil” is the evening and night before a great feast day.  In ancient times vigils were times of fasting and penance.  Men who were to be knighted kept a night’s vigil. They were watchful against the attacks of the world, the flesh and the Devil.  They fasted, prayed, and examined their consciences in order to be pure for the rites to follow.


Look propitiously on Your servants, O Lord, and indulgently multiply upon them the gifts of Your grace so that, burning with faith, hope and charity, they may persevere always in your commands with vigilant watchfulness.


Lord, be merciful to your people. Fill us with your gifts and make us always eager to serve you in faith, hope, and love.

Can you believe that?   THAT is how our Latin original was rendered!  THAT is what people heard in their churches for Mass for decades!


Show favor, O Lord, to your servants and mercifully increase the gifts of your grace, that, made fervent in hope, faith and charity, they may be ever watchful in keeping your commands.

Scripture often gives us images of watches during the night.

At the birth of the Lord shepherds “were keeping watch over their flock by night (vigilantes et custodientes vigilias noctis)” (Luke 2:8).  Jesus said, “Watch (vigilate) therefore, for you do not know on what day your Lord is coming. But know this, that if the householder had known in what part of the night the thief was coming, he would have watched (vigilaret) and would not have let his house be broken into. Therefore you also must be ready; for the Son of man is coming at an hour you do not expect” (Matthew 24:42-44).   Our Lord explains that servants should keep watch in order to open the door for the master of the house even if he returns in the dead of the night (cf Luke 12:37-39).  St Paul constantly urges Christians to be “watchful”.

In 1 Peter 5:8 we read sobering, “Be sober, be watchful. Your adversary the Devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour”.

The Enemy is seeking you!  (1 Peter 5:8)  You, dear friends, are described as prey whom the Enemy might devour.

In the ancient Roman countryside there were great estates (cflatifundium) having many buildings for family, household servants, the various workers, storage, etc.  These dwellings were often self-sufficient, and were surrounded with walls against attacks by brigands.  Even into Renaissance times, a great house in a city (domus) might be fortified with watch towers.  The householder or the lord of the estate was the head or father of the larger “family”.  Kind or cruel, the paterfamilias was judge, protector and provider to everyone under his care.

Simple ancient famuli had to work to produce good fruits in order to survive with a good quality of life and a safe place to belong.  Sophisticated modern famuli, marked with the family name “Christian”, marked permanently with the family seal through baptism and confirmation, must produce fruits according to our vocations.

When life’s reckoning comes, will we be like the foolish virgins?

The foolish virgins, too, watched all night for the arrival of the Bridegroom, but they didn’t take care to have enough oil for their lamps.  They were locked out of the house, outside in the dangerous night with no place to go, no work to do, no purpose to fulfill. They no longer belonged.  When the Bridegroom came, they were not ready.  When they returned from obtaining their tardy oil, the door was closed in their faces.  They pounded.  They plead.  From the other side of the door they heard the Bridegroom say those terrifying words: I do not know you.

Vigilate… Watch therefore, for you know neither the day nor the hour” (Matthew 25:13).

When you hear the priest pronounce this Collect, beg our Lord – so gracious and patient with us even when we are lazy and sinful – to continue giving us gifts of faith, hope and charity we need for the very survival of our souls.

If you prepare for bad times and disasters that can occur in respect to worldly things, how much more important is it to prepare for hardship or attacks, and that final moment of reckoning, in the spiritual plane?

After many centuries these orations still communicate the profound intellectual formation and the faith of their composers, our Christian family ancestors.

Posted in Liturgy Science Theatre 3000, WDTPRS | Tagged , , , , , , , | 6 Comments

Your Sunday Sermon Notes

Was there a good point made in the sermon you heard during the Holy Mass in fulfillment your of Sunday Obligation? Let us know.

Posted in SESSIUNCULA | 27 Comments

22 July: Feast of St. Mary Magdalene

Georges_de_La_Tour_Repentant_Magdalen_400Today is the Feast of St. Mary Magdalene.  I hope you have some madeleines today, even though they don’t have much to do with her.

Last year, in the Ordinary Form calendar of the Roman Rite, St Mary Magdalene’s annual liturgical observance on 22 July was elevated to a status of Feast.  Her new Feast was given a new proper Preface.  There is no way to arrive definitively at the identity of this fascinating figure.  Nevertheless, it is good to see her day restored to greater dignity.

Speaking of Mary Magdalene’s identity, we know from Scripture that she came to Jesus’ tomb in the garden to anoint His Body. Mary, the first witness of the empty tomb, then went to tell Apostles. Hence, she is called “the apostle to the apostles”.  Initially, Mary mistook the Risen Lord for the gardener.  St Augustine (d 430) says that “this gardener was sowing in her heart, as in His own garden, the grain of mustard seed.” When He said her name, she recognized and tried to cling to Him. Christ mysteriously forbade her to touch Him (“Noli me tangere” – John 20:17) saying, “I have not yet ascended to My Father; but go to My brethren and say to them, ‘I am ascending to My Father and your Father, and to My God and your God.’” Augustine proposes that Christ wanted to be touched spiritually, believed in, before being touched in any other way.  Reflect on that before receiving Communion.

The 3rd century writer Hippolytus identified Mary Magdalene with both Mary of Bethany, the sister of Martha and Lazarus, and also the woman who anointed Jesus’s feet. Mary Magdalene and/or Mary of Bethany are often identified as sinners. Pope Gregory I “the Great” (d 604) called her a peccatrix, “sinner”. Eventually she came to be called also meretrix, “prostitute”.  Another tradition supposes that Mary Magdalene was the woman the Lord saved from stoning. This is the tradition referenced in Mel Gibson’s movie The Passion of the Christ. Scholars today believe that Mary Magdalene, Mary of Bethany, the woman Jesus rescued, and the woman who anointed His feet are all different women.

Rightly or wrongly, Mary Magdelene has long been associated in art and literature with ongoing penitence for past sins.  Hallow her feast with an examination of conscience, which can be bitter.  You could then celebrate her Feast with the little scallop-shaped cookies called “madeleines”.  They aren’t really named after our saint, but, who cares?  They might sweeten your remembrance of things past.

I wrote more extensively on the feast of Mary Magdalene’s day to a feast HERE.  That post includes my translation of the new Latin Preface.  Please note that there is an ERROR in the LATIN text!

Meanwhile, in honor of Mary Magdalene, I read a bit of St. Robert  Southwell, SJ’s incredible prose in his Mary Magdalen’s Funeral Tears.  

Robert Southwell is one of the several Jesuit priests among the English Martyrs.  He studied in Rome and returned to England to serve in secret for several years, until he was captured by the ghoulish “priest hunter” and psychopath Richard Topcliffe.  Southwell was tortured many times and eventually hung, drawn and quartered.  He is without question a master of English prose, one of the great writers of his or any other age.

Mary Magdalen’s Funeral Tears is based somewhat on a sermon of Origen and maybe other Italian sources.  It takes the form of a dialogue between Mary, the angels of the empty tomb, Christ, and the narrator. She is quite heroic.

Here’s a taste of the beginning.

Amongst other mournful accidents of the Passion of Christ, that love presenteth itself unto my memory, with which the blessed Mary Magdalen, loving our Lord more than herself, followed him in his journey to his death attending upon him when his disciples fled, and being more willing to die with him then to live without him. But not finding the favor to accompany him in death, and loathing to remain in life after him, the fire of her true affection inflamed her heart, and her inflamed heart resolved into incessant tears; so that burning and bathing between love and grief, she led a life ever dying, and felt a death never ending; and when he by whom she lived was dead, and she for whom he died enforcedly left alive, she praised the dead more than the living; and having lost that light of her life, she desired to dwell in darkness and in the shadow of death, choosing Christ’s tomb for her best home, and his corse for her chief comfort: for Mary (as the Evangelist saith) “stood without at the tomb, weeping.”


For his poetry, which is great and spiritually deep…

US HERE ($1.99 for Kindle) – UK HERE (£1.48 for Kindle)

Don’t have a Kindle yet?

What’s wrong with you?!?



Posted in Saints: Stories & Symbols | Tagged , , | 10 Comments

New Book of Benedict XVI’s collected sermons on the priesthood

This has gone immediately on my wishlists.

It seems to be slated for publication on 1 August.

Some of his books include an appendices of sermons. It will be great to have them in one volume.

Get copies as gifts for your priests and for seminarians.


Oh yes, there is a preface by Pope Francis.

Posted in Benedict XVI, The Campus Telephone Pole | Tagged , , | 11 Comments

Wherein Fr. Z meets Tracer Bullet, Private Eye

tracer bullet calvin hobbes 01I’ve been busy with the Challenge Coin project.  More have gone out to friends and donors, two yesterday, a couple more today.

It’s been awhile since we heard about the doings of Tracer Bullet, Private Eye.  I think the last update was HERE.  Our frequent commentator “Semper Gumby” posts on Tracer from time to time.

Come to think of it, SG also opined about the design of my challenge coin:

But I’m still partial to a coin with Fr. Z in Braveheart blueface, biretta, night vision goggles, and aspergillum. Ah well.

Well, SG isn’t the only one with word from Tracer, sent by Father Z to investigate the The Mysterious Case of the Hallow’s Missing Maniple.

Here’s my account, which I quickly typed out on my old Underwood.


The smell of stale beer and cigar smoke mixed in the dark low-ceilinged bar like a trench filled with poison gas. The slowly drifting fumes drifted languidly to the tune from the jukebox. Maybe it was his imagination, but to him the dust motes hanging in the flickers of the dying neon sign over the bottles by the dull cracked mirror spelt something. “Danger… danger….”

“Stubby” described both the bartender’s height and his face. He paced the length, seeing to refills and watching for trouble.

“What’ll it be, Faddah? The usual?”

The trial-worn priest sloughed of his rain dampened greca and romano, hanging them on the rack that stood like a sentinel near the door.

“The usual?”  He paused, tilting his ear toward the jukebox.  “You Was Born To Die”.  Blind Willie.  It was like the stars were lining up.

“Not tonight, Stubs. I’ll have that one you made the other day for… well, you know who.”

The barkeep went very still and, after a few breaths, said quietly, just audible over the moaning blues guitar.

“Yah, sure ‘ting, Faddah. One of doz’ … doz’ Inky Montanas. Right?”

“That’s right, Stubs, one of those ‘Inky Montanas’.”

Stubby turned to his potions, but his sad eyes fixed on the priest a beat too long.

A couple minutes passed before he neared the cleric’s place again, alone at the middle of the brass-railed bar, shining with the neon and the low-watt bulbs.   He set the drink down.

“Jus’ like da…”.

There was a sudden change in the air.  The barkeep froze, eyes widening as he peered beyond the cleric toward the door.

The priest’s old, sharply-honed senses tightened around him like the grip of an angry Swedish masseuse as the figure entered from the rain swept, street-light glittering darkness.  He had the newcomer in the mirror.  In the reflections off the cash register. Finally in Stubby’s horn-rimmed glasses. The smell of old wet trenchcoat and spent gunpowder all preceded him with the squeak of leather soles before the man sat heavily on the stool beside the priest, still dripping fedora pulled forward.

Beat… beat… beat…

“Tracer”, the ecclesiastic nodded.

“Z”, he returned, a little too informally.

The jukebox started to ratchet in a new tune.  The priest didn’t move.

The private eye took off his hat. But as he set it down, his grip loosened an instant too soon. It dropped, spilling the priest’s untouched drink, which bled out over the flat surface finding his folded copy of the The Wanderer.

“Sorry, Z”, he mumbled, little too nonchalantly, tense.

Beat… beat… beat…

“Tracer?”, the priest said quietly.

There was a pause.

The long smoky room slowly quieted but for the sound of the neon buzz and “How Long, How Long”.

Heard the whistle blowin’, couldn’t see no train
Way down in my heart, I had an achin’ pain
How long, how long, baby how long

“My drink is no longer in my glass, Tracer.”

The Private Dick licked his lips and slowly stood back up.



“My drink.”

The bartender stirred into action. “No problem, Faddah, I’ll jus…”

With the slightest raise of the cleric’s hand from the counter top, he stopped.

“There’s time for that in a moment, Stubs.”

Tracer Bullet stood by the bar stool in the haze of the long, dark smoky-laden watering hole, hands hanging at his side.

Father Z rose, cassock falling into place, hands at his sides.


“Yes, Z.”

Beat… beat… beat….

“My name is Father. You killed my Inigo Montoya. Prepare to die.”

Beat… beat… beat….

The house erupted in howls of mirth and everyone jolted back into motion.

“So, how do we settled this… little problem?, he said, “The usual way?”

Tracer’s shoulder visibly relaxed.

“Yes, Father.”

After a second’s pause, eyes locked, their hands flew to their pockets at the same moment. The black-clad divine filled his hand with smooth cold metal and drew, shooting his arm toward his opponent. Tracer was still fumbling, checking one pocket after another… trousers, jacket, trench coat.


The worn challenge coin glinted in the priest’s palm with the flickers of the dying neon sign by the cracked mirror.

“Tracer, you don’t have your coin.”

“No, Father.”

“You know what that means, right?”

“Yes, Father.”

“Stubbs! Set ’em up. Tonight the drinks are on our friend Mr. Bullet, here.”

Cheers went up from the shadowy length of the caliginous bar and someone by the jukebox punched up the B.B. King.

“So,” Father Z said reclaiming his barstool, “I take it that you saw my old friends at MI-6.  What did you find out in London?  Tell me everything, omitting nothing….”

The priest twisted his head sidelong and looked at the weary detective like a black cobra at mongoose having really bad day.

“If you do… I’ll know.”

The detective extracted a holy card from the breast pocket of his sharp-lapelled pinstripe and placed it on the counter which the hovering Stubby had just wiped down.

“Southworth”, said the priest, without moving his eyes from the investigator’s worn face.

“Southworth”, he replied.  “And Moneypence sends her regards.”

The silent bespectacled bartender, nodded with a distant smile and went to clear some tables.

“Okay, Tracer, get to it or I’ll start on you with the Maledictory Psalms.”

“Okay, padre, keep your fascia on.  It’s like this….


For those of you who don’t know… there is a cocktail called an “Inigo Montoya”, a movie character who utters a famous phrase echoed in the account above.  The drink is quite similar to the Moscow Mule, which is growing in popularity, though it substitutes the vodka with tequilla.  The ginger beer and lime remain, obviously, though a dash of cardamon is added.

Something to lighten up a Friday.

Posted in ¡Hagan lío!, Lighter fare | Tagged , , | 8 Comments

Wherein Fr. Z rants: Card. Sarah’s proposals for “mutual enrichment”

mass TLMI mentioned the firehose effect of onrushing news in another post.  There are strong debates going on over many important issues right now.  One of those which most interests me has been stoked by the 10th anniversary of Benedict XVI’s monumentally important Summorum Pontificum.  I called it the “Emancipation Proclamation”, and have dubbed it a foundation block of his “Marshall Plan” for the revitalization of our Catholic identity and a bulwark against the dictatorship of relativism.

For the 1oth anniversary, the great Robert Card. Sarah, Prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship, wrote an article for the French magazine La Nef.  The text was hard to find (I have it now).  I was also sent a good English translation which I read as a PODCAzT.

I didn’t agree with everything the Cardinal suggested about the future path of Benedict’s desired “mutual enrichment” of the two “forms” of the Roman Rite.  However, I have prayerfully engaged them.

Fr. Raymond de Souza (he’s been busy lately), not an enemy of traditional expressions of worship but not a strong supporter, wrote an endorsement of Card. Sarah’s suggestions at the UK’s best Catholic weekly (for which I also write) The Catholic Herald: “Cardinal Sarah’s challenge to traditionalists“.  HERE  De Souza:

Sarah proposes that efforts be made to have a shared calendar and a shared lectionary, so that both the EF and OF would celebrate more feasts together and have the same Scripture readings at Mass.  [Additions of saints to the traditional calendar is not terribly problematic.  The addition of a new lectionary would introduce the serious problems of coherence that the Novus Ordo experiences, at least on Sundays. Also, I am not entirely sure that everyone would agree that the new Lectionary has been 100% successful.  That said, yes, it would be easier for priests to have the same readings in both forms, especially when they – as I frequently do – say both forms on a Sunday.  But easy isn’t a good objective in worship.]

That poses a twofold challenge. First, it requires the EF community to acknowledge that some aspects of the OF, particularly its reformed calendar and its lectionary – which includes far more Scripture than the EF one – are actual improvements and possible enrichments for the EF.  [That isn’t apparent.]

There are certainly some in the EF community who are happy to acknowledge this and would be pleased to see a shared calendar and lectionary. [Again, these are two different issues.] But others, not an insignificant part, consider the entire OF to be an impoverishment with little, if anything, enriching to offer. [It would be good to put together the bullet points of what riches the OF would bring to the EF.  That could be a helpful starting point for discussion.] In the background, of course, is the Society of St Pius X, which would be deeply suspicious of any talk of changing the EF Roman Missal, 1962 edition.


Moving towards Cardinal Sarah’s vision begins, though, not with practicalities but with a change of heart. That is likely why he chose the term “reconciliation”. Reconciliation requires a change of heart, a willingness to see the good in the other, and an openness to make things different in order to accommodate that good.  [A change of heart…]

I think we all can agree that at the heart of most instances of reconciliation, especially in the life of the Church, all parties need a “change of heart”.

However, I must of observe that, for decades, many of the traditional leaning, have experienced their hearts being torn from their breasts and stomped on by the other side, as it were.  Their hearts have again and again been bruised and riven.  If a change of heart is at the heart of reconciliation, then so are apologies.  So is a time for healing.   Talking about a change of heart is easy.

That brings me to another reaction to Card. Sarah’s 10th anniversary article, in dialogue with Fr. de Souza, by Prof. Joseph Shaw of Oxford and of the Latin Mass Society.

Prof. Shaw wrote a piece called “Why Cardinal Sarah’s liturgical ‘reconciliation’ plan won’t work“.  HERE

Firstly, Shaw recaps what Card. Sarah suggested for the mutual enrichment of the two forms.  For example, Sarah proposes introduction – no – re-introduction into the OF: reception of Communion on the tongue while kneeling (which should be the norm anyway), the reintroduction of the Prayers at the Foot of the Altar, options for using the old Offertory prayers, quiet canon, and the so-called ‘canonical digits’.  Into the EF he would see not so much re-introductions but rather a wholesale change to the traditional Rite, that is, adoption of the Novus Ordo Lectionary (as Fr. de Souza praised) and what I consider a less problematic closer alignment of the calendars, so long as this is restricted to the addition of modern saints, etc.

Shaw tackles the issue of the Lectionary:

The new lectionary is sometimes held up as obviously superior to the old, but not everyone committed to the reformed Mass agrees. The Toronto Oratorian Fr Jonathan Robinson wrote (The Mass and Modernity, 2005, p332):

I think the diversity, rather than enriching people, tends to confuse them… This may be because the selections, as has been noted by others, were drawn up more to satisfy the sensibilities of liturgical scholars than on traditional liturgical principles.  [My old boss at “Ecclesia Dei” remarked that the addition of a third reading on Sundays lent an undesirable element of “didacticism” to Mass.  And if there is greater variety of Scripture readings in the Novus Ordo, the yearly repetition of the same readings on Sunday and Feasts ensured that the faithful came to know them well.  Today, ask people what the readings were as they walk out of Mass.]

However, another question is raised by Cardinal Sarah’s proposal: can the lectionaries of the two Forms simply by swapped over?

The short answer is ‘no’. To take the most obvious problem, the 1969 Lectionary has no readings for the season of Septuagesima, because that season does not exist in the 1969 calendar. Were the ‘Ordinary Time’ cycle simply extended to this period of three Sundays before Lent, its penitential orations would conflict with readings which can be used after Pentecost as well as before Lent.  [How about the reintroduction of the pre-Lent to the Ordinay Form?  How’s that as the step to mutual enrichment?]

Variations on this problem arise throughout the Church’s year. Many of the EF’s proper texts of feast days, and a good many Sundays, refer to the readings. The choice of readings in the Ordinary Form is so different from those in the Extraordinary Form that the discordance would be particularly jarring.  [Moreover, there is often a strong resonance between the readings and the antiphons in Mass formularies that would be disrupted, as it has been in the Novus Ordo with it’s three year Sunday cycle.]


Shaw has more on the issue of the Lectionary.

Then, however, Shaw make a strong argument, which I endorse.

Above all I would like to suggest that the Church has nothing to fear from a varied liturgical landscape: a landscape becoming more varied as Eastern Rite Catholics flee to the West. Vatican II reassured us on this point (Unitatis redintegratio 17):

…from time to time one tradition has come nearer to a full appreciation of some aspects of a mystery of revelation than the other, or has expressed it to better advantage. In such cases, these various theological expressions are to be considered often as mutually complementary rather than conflicting.

This, surely, is the direction from which ‘liturgical reconciliation’ should come.


The Church even in the West has had a varied and rich liturgical tradition of Rites.  Pius V acknowledge and supported this by “grandfathering” in regional Rites to exist along side the Roman Rite which became the universal Rite for the Latin Church.  Over time, the Roman Rite became stronger even in those places which had its own Rite… over time.  With the sudden and brutal imposition of an artifically crafted Novus Ordo Missae in 1969, came the heart-breaking suppression of what was “sacred and great”.

I have argued for decades, ever since an article in Catholic World Report in 1992 (I think), that we have nothing to fear from side by side celebrations of Holy Mass in the traditional form and in the Novus Ordo.  Card. Ratzinger wanted that contact to help jump start the organic development of liturgy which, as the freezing of mustum halts its fermentation into wine, interrupted the centuries long evolution of our liturgical prayer.

Sound liturgical changes take time… a lot of time.   Impatience and imprudent imposition broke hearts and ruptured our Catholic identity, so enervating the Church that we are now experiencing crises in virtually every sphere of her global mission.

Back in the early 90’s I was already arguing that we shouldn’t be afraid of side by side Missals.  Over time, we would see the results. Eventually, however, there would emerge a tertium quid – as I was used to call it then – from the dialogue between the rites.  This I got straight from Card. Ratzinger in chats and from reading his work.

One thing that the Extraordinary Form has already benefited from comes mainly from the ars celebrandi of priests who have had an experience of the Novus Ordo: there is a greater awareness of the presence of and role of the congregation now than ever before. I think that factor alone, if nothing else, has already produced great benefits for the EF.  That’s not a change to the Rite itself.  That’s a change within the mind and the heart of the priest celebrant.  Benedict XVI spoke eloquently of a priest’s ars celebrandi in his Sacramentum caritatis 38 ff., as the best way to foster the (properly understood) “active participation” of the congregation in the way that the Council Fathers hoped for in Sacrosanctum Concilium.  

Who says that we can’t have unity in diversity?  In this Shaw agrees with another great churchman on another 10th annversary.

Back in 26 October 1998, St John Paul II, addressed members of the Priestly Fraternity of St Peter who had come to Rome for the 10th anniversary of the his Motu Proprio “Ecclesia Dei adflicta” (which was superseded… or rather brought to fruition… by Summorum Pontificum).  John Paul said:

In order to safeguard the treasure which Jesus has entrusted to her, and resolutely turned towards the future, it is the Church’s duty to reflect constantly on her link with the Tradition that comes to us from the Lord through the Apostles, as it has been built up throughout history. According to the spirit of conversion in the Apostolic Letter Tertio millennio adveniente (nn. 14, 32, 34, 50), [to which Card. Sarah could appeal] I urge all Catholics to perform acts of unity and to renew their loyalty to the Church, so that their legitimate diversity and different sensitivities, which deserve respect, will not divide them but spur them to proclaim the Gospel together; thus, moved by the Spirit who makes all charisms work towards unity, they can all glorify the Lord, and salvation will be proclaimed to all nations.

There is true unity in legitimate diversity.

I say, we need a long period of stability of the two forms side by side.

We must work to establish more and more celebrations of the older, traditional form so that there is a greater opportunity for, not only mutual enrichment, but also the healing of a deeply wounded Church.

We are our rites.

The rupture of our rites made the wound in our identity.

It was the abrupt tinkering with our rites that made the wound in the first place.

Moreover, there is so much illegitimate diversity in the way that the Novus Ordo is celebrated, with odd variations and liturgical abuses, that a great deal of work is needed on that side of the Roman Rite before the reconciliation and mutual enrichment desired by everyone can get off the ground and pick up speed!

Let’s learn from our mistakes.

We must take the prudent path of growth and stability for the Extraordinary Form and of first stabilizing the Ordinary Form and then letting it be what it is according to the desires of the principles enunciated by the Council Fathers.

Meanwhile, to further Card. Sarah’s call for reconciliation, keep in mind the old but true chestnut, often but wrongly attributed to St. Augustine:

In necessariis unitas, in dubiis libertas, in omnibus caritas.

Let us have unity in necessary things, liberty in doubtful things, and in all things charity.

Posted in "How To..." - Practical Notes, Hard-Identity Catholicism, Liturgy Science Theatre 3000, Wherein Fr. Z Rants | Tagged , , , , , , | 60 Comments

FEAST DAY! 21 July 1773 – Clement XIV suppressed the Jesuits!

It is a great FEAST today.

Today, 21 July, in the year of grace 1773, Pope Clement XIV of happy memory, issued his Bull by which he suppressed the Jesuits.

I have all sorts of Papa Ganganelli gear which you can order and proudly display.


There are mugs and shirts.


Clement_XVI_Mug_01 Clement_XVI_Mug_02

Note the cute little beard and hair.  He could almost be a Jesuit.

I put the salient text from the Bull, Dominus ac Redemptor, on the back

Oh yes… and then there’s this…

Gloria.TV posted a photo of the Superior General of the Jesuits, Fr. Arturo Sosa Abascal, SJ, venerating Buddha.  We’ve read about him before.  HERE


Posted in ¡Hagan lío!, The Campus Telephone Pole | Tagged , , | 8 Comments

Who’s behind Spadaro, et al?

firehoseOver the last few days it feels like the news is coming in at firehose volume and force.

And, from the onset, I’ll just say now that the moderation queue is ON.

A lot of the firehose sensation has to do with fallout following the malicious anti-American, anti-conservative attack piece in the Vatican sponsored and reviewed Inciviltà cattolica by Jesuit Antonio “2+2=5″Spadaro, who is so focused on the life and works of Italian homosexual writer Pier Vittorio Tondelli that he created his own website about him (HERE), and Marcelo Figueroa, an Argentinian Presbyterian.

Of recent note is Rusty Reno’s scathing review of the Spadaro attack article.  Reno is editor of First Things, though this appears in the National Catholic Register.  Spadaro smeared the late Fr. Richard John Neuhaus, the founder of First Things, with the tarry brush of hate-filled integralist ecumenism.

Prof. Chad Pecknold, in a Tweet, made a wry observation about the Fishwrap’s Michael Sean Winters, the Wile E. Coyote of the catholic Left.  This gets convoluted, but Wile E. Winters rose from his fainting couch to issue a full-throated endorsement of “2+2=5” Spadaro with celebratory chicken dance.  Fr. Raymond de Souza wrote a critique of the Spadaro Attack.  In a spectacular 1830 word display of lefty logorrhea the Coyote barked back at Fr. de Souza.  Pecknold, reading Coyote v de Souza, opined: “Michael Sean Winters condemns @ewtn and the @NCRegister as [being] opposed to the pope. I mean, come on. Is this satire? https://t.co/JFc5Wcctdv”  Once upon a time, Fr. Neuhaus quipped that the Anglican Church existed to make irony redundant.  The Anglicans need to move over.

Frankly, Fishwrap‘s MSW Coyote’s ire was probably fueled by a separate but related issue.  Thus, MSW:

Fr. de Souza writes regularly for one of the journals, the National Catholic Register, that advances the conservative Catholic and evangelical alliance rooted in the politics of abortion and gay marriage among other items. I just went to their website yesterday and there are four articles hostile to the LGBT community on the homepage, three of them attacking Jesuit Fr. Jim Martin, for daring to suggest that Catholics should reach out to the LGBT community.

Wile E. rode another ACME rocket today, against Archbp. Charles Chaput of Philadelphia.  HERE   Again, I think we see what really bothers the Coyote.

First, [Chaput] is wrong on the facts. Does the archbishop not recall Anita Bryant and her crusade against efforts to bar discrimination against gays? Does he not recall Proposition 6 in California, the 1978 ballot referendum that would have barred gay men and women from teaching, a form of bigotry so obvious that Ronald Reagan opposed it? Second, see how he immediately sees this, and seemingly every issue, as us versus them, the Christians versus the lions.

Moving on…

One this is clear from this ongoing skirmish.

Spadaro et al., in a few strategic slashes, have done more to promote division and animosity in the Church than anyone else I can think of over the years since… since…  Annibale Bugnini?

Meanwhile, yesterday I posted about a glaring, and telling, strategic omission by Spadaro: he didn’t accuse Ronald Reagan of the “Manichaenism” which he leveled at George Bush and President Trump.  HERE

In a similar vein, Fr. Martin Fox, at his blog Bonfire of the Vanities, notes another omission: the Knights of Columbus.  Fr. Fox observes that the former editor of the ultra-liberal The Tablet, Austen Ivereigh compared the KC’s to ISIS.  Yes… really.

“Frankly, it’s a narrative that’s very close to that of ISIS.”

Get that? When you and I seek to oppose the secular push to remake society, to impose a new vision of human nature (which is what the redefinition of marriage and “gender theory” is all about), we are “very close to…ISIS” — ISIS being those folks who throw gay people off the tops of buildings and give 30 lashes to schoolboys for playing soccer and sell girls into slavery.

Fr. Fox also observes that Spadaro doesn’t openly attack the KofC’s because the KofC’s pay a lot of the Vatican’s bills.

Spadaro, et al., aren’t really interested in truth.  They have an agenda.

Just like George Soros.

We know for whom Soros is carrying water.


For whom are Spadaro, et al., really working?

Posted in ¡Hagan lío!, The Coming Storm, The Drill | Tagged , , , | 19 Comments

20 July 1969 – Man on the Moon

Speaking of videos… today is the anniversary of Neil Armstrong walking on the Moon, 20 July 1969.

That experienced is indelibly burned into my memory.

Here’s video mentioning the event to celebrate the 1969 Moon walk anniversary and to celebrate being a citizen is the greatest nation on Earth.

Posted in SESSIUNCULA | Tagged | 17 Comments

Eastern Worship v. Western? Fair and unfair comparisons.

I ran into a couple videos online, one entirely unfair but mildly amusing and infuriating, the other more edifying and instructive.

They both make a “comparison”, though shallow, of Orthodox and Catholic liturgical worship.

First, infuriating and amusing and unfair.

I’m sure many of you have seen the horrific video of the liturgical horror show horribly perpetrated in Brazil. That is NOT representative of what Catholics do in true sacred liturgical worship. To juxtapose it with the best of what Russians do on a great feast is entirely unfair. STILL, it is useful in several respects, which you will surely be able to enunciate on your own.

Next, edifying and instructive.

This makes a much fairer comparison of the Orthodox and the Roman Rites. For a truer comparison, we have to place the Pontifical Divine Liturgy of the Orthodox side by side with the Pontifical Solemn Mass of the Romans, especially in an environment that is commensurate with the Orthodox cathedral.

It would be a great project for someone out there – perhaps for a student project? – to compare, alternating, snips from Bp Slattery’s tremendous Mass at the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception…

… and the Russian Orthodox celebration of Christmas in the Cathedral of Moscow.

Posted in "How To..." - Practical Notes, Liturgy Science Theatre 3000 | Tagged , , | 24 Comments