Fr. Z’s Voice Mail or ¡Hagan lío!

z-voice-mailI get interesting voice mail.

Remember, I don’t call back, but I listen to it.

  • To the woman in South Africa: Unfortunately, I couldn’t understand most of what you said, because of the poor audio quality the voice mail. It sounds like you are having a hard time. I will remember you in prayer.
  • To Fr. MA in Texarkana, TX: I remember you from Rome. I hope our paths cross again. The Mozart C minor Mass at your place?  Tonight?  Very cool.  That Kyrie is amazing.  But I couldn’t tell if this is just a concert or if it’s a Mass.  At my home parish St. Agnes, in St. Paul, we had some 30 orchestral Masses on Sundays each year.  We had Mozart’s C minor in the repertoire.
  • To the woman in Kansas City, MO: Yes, I am aware of what happened with Bp. Finn. That was really sad.  As a matter of fact I will be in KC, MO for the upcoming ordination to the priesthood of the son of a friend of many years who used to be on my staff at the original Catholic Online Forum on Compuserve, from 1992 onward.
  • To the man in Pittsburgh, PA: First, you are welcome. Second, no!  It is unwise to “switch Churches” so as to marry and pursue priesthood.  Don’t even think about it.

No kooks or haters, or kooky haters, since the last time!  What’s up?  Are you back on your meds again?  Keep up the good work.

And now a bonus ASK FATHER question!

One fellow asked:

First, Orthodox priests are validly ordained.   They are really priests.

Also, under certain circumstances, a Catholic can approach an Orthodox priest for sacraments. The Code of Canon Law says in can. 844 §2:

Whenever necessity requires it or true spiritual advantage suggests it, and provided that the danger of error or of indifferentism is avoided, the Christian faithful for whom it is physically or morally impossible to approach a Catholic minister are permitted to receive the sacraments of penance, Eucharist, and anointing of the sick from non-Catholic ministers in whose Churches these sacraments are valid.

Note that this is the case only when you cannot approach a Catholic priest or bishop and if there is a “true spiritual advantage”.

While this canon does not address the issue of blessing sacramentals, such as Rosary, a medal, Holy Water, etc., it seems to me that the principles outlined in the canon about sacraments would apply. If you can’t approach a Catholic priest, and you really need the help of the sacramentals, I suppose you could ask the Orthodox priest to help you out, if he is willing.  Under normal circumstances, however, I am not sure why one would ask an Orthodox priest to do this.

Since I pay (through your donations) a fee for the voice mail phone numbers, I am glad when they get some use.

You can get me through Skype or through telephone in these USA or in the UK.


020 8133 4535


TIPS for leaving voice mail.

  1. Don’t shout.  If you shout, your voice will be distorted and I won’t be able to understand you.
  2. Don’t whisper.  C’mon.  If you have to whisper, maybe you should be calling the police, instead.
  3. Come to your point right away.  That helps.
  4. Be brief.
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Posted in HONORED GUESTS, What Fr. Z is up to | Tagged | Leave a comment

What ‘Quo primum’ says and what it doesn’t say

At his engaging blog Mutual EnrichmentFr John Hunwicke has a good note about Pius V and Quo primum.  He points out a common error or two about that famous Apostolic Constitution.

Quo primum was the instrument of promulgation of the first “Tridentine” missal, the 1570 Missale Romanum, which – with alterations – is in use today in the form of the 1962 edition (the Extraordinary Form).

Fr. H says (in part):

There is a myth which is endlessly repeated … I groan every time I read it … about the liturgical reforms of S Pius V. It goes like this:

(1) He wished to standardise and centralise. So he ordered everybody to use his new edition of the Roman Missal (but he did permit those with rites more than 200 years old to keep them).

This is pretty well the opposite of what his legislation ordered. He:

(2) Ordered those with such old rites to keep them. But, if they positively wanted to adopt his new edition instead, he permitted them to adopt it AS LONG AS THE BISHOP AND THE UNANIMOUS CHAPTER WERE IN AGREEMENT.

If you don’t want to believe me, I suggest you read the actual TEXT of Quo primum yourself and find out. DO NOT READ SOMEBODY’S SUMMARY OF THE BULL, BECAUSE THAT WILL (almost certainly) JUST TELL YOU THE MYTH.


Fr. H has more on Pius V HERE

In 2009, I did a PODCAzT about Quo primum which included a reading of the whole document.  HERE

BTW… Pius V did not intend with Quo primum to make the 1570 Missale Romanum the Latin Church’s missal “forever”.   Often claimed.  Wrong.

Posted in Linking Back, Liturgy Science Theatre 3000, Mail from priests | Tagged , | 12 Comments

The next time you are tempted to quit…

I had to share this video, which I understand has been “viral”.

Consider this demonstration of determination and desire the next time you are challenged with a task and want to quit.

Via WaPo:

Mason said [Army Capt. Sarah Cudd] with Army Public Health Command at Fort Knox, Ky. The march was the last event required to earn the Army’s Expert Field Medical Badge, a decoration awarded to those who pass a rigorous battery of tests for medical professionals in the Army. Less than 25 percent of those who attempt the required course typically pass.

The Public Health Command shared the video May 1, and confirmed Cudd earned the badge. Forty-five other soldiers did the same day — but 80 percent of those who attempted the course fell short.


In the closing moments of a grueling 12-mile road march, Army Capt. Sarah Cudd fell to her knees. She was exhausted, bowed over by the heavy pack on her back and seemingly unable to continue.

The soldier pressed on, however. Using her rifle to prop herself up, she stumbled to her feet and made it another nine steps before falling again. Other soldiers gathered around her, cheering her on. She rose again, and gritted it out another 50 feet or so until she made it across the finish line while her colleagues erupted in excitement.


Posted in Just Too Cool | Tagged | 8 Comments

A dose of reality from Milwaukee’s Sheriff

I really like this Wisconsin sheriff.

From LifeSite:

Black Sheriff Says if Black Lives Mattered They’d Protest at Abortion Clinics

CNN’s Poppy Harlow interviewed Milwaukee Sheriff David Clarke about the recent protests that some in the Black Community have sparked after the police related deaths of Michael Brown and Eric Garner.

Harlow asked the Sheriff, who has been on several news shows on Fox and others, about a tweet he sent out implying that if Black lives mattered the protesters would be outside abortion clinics because of the high numbers of black babies killed by abortion.


Go check out the story.

Posted in Emanations from Penumbras, The Drill | Tagged , , | 6 Comments

ASK FATHER: Is divorce a sin? Should I confront priest who said it isn’t?

From a reader…

A local, newly Ordained, Priest has told my wife that it is NOT a sin to divorce me so long as she does not remarry. I believe that it is a sin to divorce since there is no abuse, physical or emotional, no addictions on my end, etc… Should I confront this priest or is he correct?

First, I don’t know what the priest said, and it sounds like you don’t either.  You should ask the priest what exactly he said.  Note: I said “ask” not “confront”.  The priest may respond that he is not free to say. So confronting the priest may not provide opportunity to clarify the matter.  More on that later.

Now to another point.

Is divorce a sin?

The Catholic Church certainly seems to think so.

“But Father!  But Father!”, ….

SHHH!  Be still for a moment.

The Catechism of the Catholic Church 2383 says:

“If civil divorce remains the only possible way of ensuring certain legal rights, the care of the children, or the protection of inheritance, it can be tolerated and does not constitute a moral offense.”

But wait! There’s more!

Par. 2384 says:

“Divorce is a grave offense against the natural law. It claims to break the contract, to which the spouses freely consented, to live with each other till death…Divorce is immoral also because it introduces disorder into the family and into society.”

Canon law has a little known procedure called “separation while the bond remains“. Canons 1151-1155 outline the reasons and the logic behind the process. Canons 1692-1696 outline the process.

There are certain times and situations that warrant drastic measures.

Divorce is always awful. It means that an attempt to build a bond of marriage failed. Yet, there are situations and circumstances that warrant a couple separating and even seeking a civil divorce.

Sometimes these circumstances are apparent to one spouse, and not at all apparent to the other.

What damage “no fault” divorced caused, back when!

It is impossible for me to diagnose from afar the situation mentioned by the questioner.  I can’t determine if there is a need for a divorce or if one party is committing sin either by seeking a divorce where none is warranted, or behaving in such a manner that the other spouse thinks divorce is the only recourse.

But please note well: The interlocutor brings up the notion of “confronting” the newly ordained priest about his advice to the young woman.

Instead of “confronting” the priest, who allegedly told your wife that it’s not sinful to divorce, perhaps the best thing to do would be to seek out some spiritual guidance for yourself. Seek some objective feedback about your situation.  Pray for your wife!  Pray for your whole family if you have children.  Ask the intervention of the Holy Family. Trust the Lord.


Posted in "How To..." - Practical Notes, ASK FATHER Question Box, One Man & One Woman, Our Catholic Identity | Tagged , , , | 24 Comments

Fr. Z’s Kitchen: Supper For The Promotion of Clericalism

It’s spring, and time for a Supper For The Promotion of Clericalism, in other words, no lay people allowed.  I am in favor of clericalism… the way I define it.  HERE

In less provocative terms, I’m having 7 priests over for supper tonight.

Because where I am used to be a diocesan seminary, but now houses the diocesan offices (the chancery), I decided to make a variation of my old standby spaghetti “al seminario” (which we got alot in my Roman seminary years).  This version will be dubbed spaghetti “alla curia”, since in Italian a diocesan chancery is called a “curia”.

So, brown lots of beef.  I got ground round at $3.99/lbs.  I prepped it two in two batches.  Generous ground pepper and a bit of salt.

I put the browned beef aside.

Then the onions (2 large Vidalia, also on sale) with a little bit of celery.  Again, salt and pepper.  Sweat them.  I deglazed with a splash of vermouth.


Adding the tomatoes, 3 large cans of San Marzano (which a reader sent… these were the last).

Time to reduce.   Ah…yes… there’s pepperoncino!

Okay, that was last night.   Today I transferred the hot plate (aka my stove – thanks KA!) from the Steam Pipe Trunk Distribution Venue to the common area.

To finish, I added carrots (which made it “al seminario”) and peas and mushrooms (which makes it “alla curia”)

It will finish cooking at low heat.  I’ll finish the plates with a dollop of panna (or the closest I could find, crème fraîche).

Some random shots during prep.

One of the options for after…

Partially set… that’s the menu on the wall.  I took two awful secular pointless frames off the wall put these up.

It’ll be a bit of a tight squeeze, but I’ll slow the meal down to a civilized pace so we can get up and stretch.

In any event…  the second course is roasted chicken and a salad mixed greens with a dressing of cherry tomatoes macerated in garlic, salt, first-press olive oil and balsamic vinegar.  I have cigars and other things to kill off the espresso (thanks to Fr. JB).  The evening was made possible entirely by you readers.  I have used cooking items which you sent from the wish list and some of your donation money (please send more!).  So, thanks a million to all of you.

More later, I hope.

T-minus 1.5 hours and counting!

UPDATE: 5 May 0406 GMT

I have photos … but… wreckage…  stuff everywhere… glasses…. cats and dogs…. chaos.

But all the food was eaten or sent home.

The conversation ranged from insider baseball to the Ford GT.


You don’t see what is of off shot…


Part of the playlist:


I will share with you music for the clean up.

Posted in Fr. Z's Kitchen, Priests and Priesthood, SESSIUNCULA | 22 Comments

ASK FATHER: “We don’t go to Mass to adore Jesus…”?

four-endsFrom a reader…


Last summer I heard a bishop say, “We don’t go to Mass to adore Jesus…” (I was too shocked to hear why we do go.) Last week, my own priest in his homily, said something to the effect that we go to Mass to support each other in our journey as Christians.

I can support my friends over coffee; they aren’t why I come to Mass.

Am I wrong to have adoration as my primary focus?? Doesn’t Adoration, Contrition, Thanksgiving, Supplication still apply?

Is this confusion why we have to sing constantly during the Communion procession? There is no silence for personal prayers of gratitude and love.

I’ve tried to ask for clarification, but those who are committed to this community model become very agitated when I question. It’s pretty much the universal model in our diocese. Am I really that far off base? Please some direction or explanation. If I’m wrong, I will do my best to go along with this, but the best spin I can put on it is that it’s rude to ignore our Lord, and I believe it’s probably a lot worse than rude.

We don’t go to Mass to adore Jesus?

Huh!  Who knew?

The first of the “Four Ends” for Mass comes to mind.  The Four Ends (reasons/aims/purposes) are:

  1. Adoration [Hey!  It’s the first!]
  2. Thanksgiving
  3. Atonement
  4. Petition

A wag once said,

“To pray the liturgy is to really enter into the mystery of God, to allow ourselves to be brought to the mystery, and to be in the mystery. [We are all] gathered here to enter into the mystery: this is the liturgy. It is God’s time, it is God’s space, it is the cloud of God that surrounds all of us. To celebrate the liturgy is to have this availability to enter into the mystery of God, to enter into His space, His time, to entrust ourselves to this mystery. We would do well today to ask the Lord to give to each of us this ‘sense of the sacred’ — this sense that makes us understand that it is one thing to pray at home, to pray in Church, to pray the Rosary, to pray so many beautiful prayers, to make the Way of the Cross, so many beautiful things, to read the Bible — [but] the Eucharistic celebration is something else. In the celebration we enter into the mystery of God, into that street that we cannot control: only He is the unique One — the glory, the power — He is everything. Let us ask for this grace: that the Lord would teach us to enter into the mystery of God.”

Entering into that mystery is another way of saying adoration.

In the Holy Mass, God touches earth and gives us a glimpse of heaven. The Second Person of the Blessed Trinity becomes truly present in the Eucharistic elements.

God is really there.

Adoration seems like a reasonable response.

Adoration of the God who made us could be among the reasons for going to Mass.

So, keep adoring. And keep ignoring silly things that some people say, even if they wear pointy hats and rings.

Oh… and that wag?  That was Pope Francis on 10 February 2014.

Posted in "How To..." - Practical Notes, ASK FATHER Question Box, Liturgy Science Theatre 3000, Pope Francis | Tagged , , | 44 Comments

ASK FATHER: Is saying “God bless you!” a blessing?

From a reader…


I was just at a “seminar” that took place in a catholic church this past weekend and I knew right away that I was in the wrong place (thus the lower case c) when the parish priest introduced the speaker and asked all of us to extend our hand in blessing over this speaker, as though we had the power vested in us to confer blessing!

I spoke to my friends about this, and why it was so inappropriate, but it got me to thinking: I have long been in the habit of saying “God Bless” instead of “Good Bye” both in speaking and in writing…but if it’s inappropriate for me to bless someone in the way this priest was asking us to, then wouldn’t it be just as inappropriate for me to use this phrase? Of course, it is just me asking God to bless them, not pretending that I have the faculty to actually confer a blessing, but still…would it just be more appropriate for me to avoid saying this?

Saying “God bless you,” when someone sneezes has a long history in Christian civilization – spoken by cleric and laity alike. It’s a kind wish and a good thing to do. Similarly, saying “God bless you,” at the end of a conversation, or when tucking a child into bed at night, is laudable.

It’s an entirely different category to pretend one is a priest, extend one’s hands and attempt to “bless” another person. That’s something which the Church rightly reserves to Her ordained ministers, who act in persona Christi.

“But Father! But Father!”, some of you are now gurgling.  “Pope Francis himself asked people to bless him when he was elected and he’s the most wonderfulest, fluffiest Pope ehvur!  He’s the first Pope who ever smiled or kissed a baby!  You hate Vatican II, don’t you?!”

Yes, we all recall that awkward moment at the election of Pope Francis when on the balcony he said:

And now I would like to give the blessing. But first I want to ask you a favour. Before the Bishop blesses the people I ask that you would pray to the Lord to bless me – the prayer of the people for their Bishop. Let us say this prayer – your prayer for me – in silence.

Note that the Pope asked people to pray for the Lord to bless him, not that they would extend hands or make the sign of the Cross and bless him as priests might.   Just to be clear about that.  It was, however, confusing … for the easily confused

Avoid at all costs the silliness of simulating a priestly blessing. This veers close to sacrilege.  I think it smacks of an effort by a certain element in the Church to downplay the ordained priesthood.

Keep on saying “God bless you” when someone sneezes, and keep on asking God to bless friends and family members in your conversations.

Posted in "But Father! But Father!", "How To..." - Practical Notes, ASK FATHER Question Box, Our Catholic Identity | 23 Comments

4 May: St. Monnica!

In the older, traditional Roman calendar today is the feast of the mother of St. Augustine, St. Monnica, widow.  She died in Ostia (Rome’s port) in 387, when she and her family were heading back to North Africa after Augustine’s conversion and baptism by St. Ambrose.  She caught a fever during a blockade of the port.

(Yes, you can spell her name “Monnica”, more consistent with her Punic origins.)

In the chapel of the Steam Pipe Trunk Distribution Venue I have a first-class relic of this marvelous woman.


In the post-Conciliar calendar, her feast was moved to be next to that of her son.

As she lay dying in Ostia near Rome, Monnica told Augustine (conf. 9):

“Lay this body anywhere, let not the care for it trouble you at all. This only I ask, that you will remember me at the Lord’s altar, wherever you be.”

Read about St. Augustine

She was buried there in Ostia. Her body was later moved to the Church of St. Augustine in Rome across the street from where I lived for many years.

May she pray for us, for widows and for parents of children who have drifted from the Church.

Be sure to pray for the departed. Pray for them! Don’t just remember them. Don’t just think well of them. Don’t just, as the case may be, resent or be angry at them. Pray for them!

Prayer for the dead is a spiritual work of mercy.

Also, I’ll remind you of a newish book on Augustine:

REVIEW: The book on Augustine which Pope Benedict would have wanted to write.

Posted in Saints: Stories & Symbols | Tagged , , | 5 Comments

Pope Francis did two really cool things

First, yesterday, Pope Francis went to a parish near Ostia (Rome’s ancient port where St. Augustine’s mother, St. Monica, died – today is her feast in the traditional calendar). Before saying Mass, His Holiness heard confessions!

Fathers… hear confession!

Second, the Pope sent a message for the 750th anniversary of the death of Dante.

If you haven’t read the Divine Comedy you just haven’t read enough yet. It is key.

I recommend the translations by either…

Dorothy Sayers



Anthony Esolen


And don’t just read the Inferno and stop.  Go on and read also Purgatorio and Paradiso.

Posted in GO TO CONFESSION, Pope Francis | Tagged , , | 7 Comments