Brick By Brick: Terrific News! NEW Benedictine Monastery Established in IRELAND – ACTION ITEM!

Here is news to warm the cockles of my beady-black heart.

This comes from the Benedictines of Silverstream Priory in the Diocese of Meath. HERE

On 25 February 2017, they were formally, canonically established by the Bishop of Meath.  Their constitutions had been approved by the Pontifical Commission “Ecclesia Dei” – that means they are traditional – and the go ahead was given to the bishop.

As a gesture to congratulate them for their “birthday” you might send them a donation.  Tell them Fr. Z sent you. 

The monastery is contemplative in nature, with a particular focus on the Liturgy and Eucharistic Adoration.  Its constitution and canonical norms were approved by the Holy See earlier this month.

Bishop Michael Smith signed a Decree on 25 February “erecting the Benedictine Monks of Perpetual Adoration of the Most Holy Sacrament of the Altar as a monastic Institute of Consecrated Life of diocesan right in the Diocese of Meath”.

This Decree is believed to mark the first formal establishment of a monastic community in the Diocese of Meath since the suppression of the monasteries by Henry VIII in 1536.   Their immediate “black Benedictine” predecessors were the monks of the ancient Monastery of Fore in County Westmeath, founded originally by Saint Féichín (+665).  The monastery was suppressed in 1539.

Fr. Z kudos to the Prior, dom Mark Kirby, and the monks at Silverstream.

BTW… the monks have developed their own splendid Way of the Cross specifically for use by PRIESTS. HERE  Fathers!  Pay attention!  Lay people, consider getting this for your priests.

They also have produced beautiful and well-planned altar cards for the traditional form of the Roman Rite.   I have framed a set and use them in my private chapel.

framed altar cards from Silverstream Priory.  They turned out very well.  Check them out HERE.


Again, as a congratulation gesture for their “birthday” you might send them a donation.  Tell them Fr. Z sent you.

Posted in Brick by Brick | Tagged , , | 3 Comments

WDTRPS – Quinquagesima Sunday: PREPARE FOR BATTLE!

QuinquagesimaIn our traditional Roman calendar tomorrow, Sunday, is Quinquagesima, Latin for the symbolic “Fiftieth” day before Easter.  Today is one of the pre-Lenten Sundays which prepare us for the discipline of Lent. The priest’s vestments are purple. No Alleluia. The prayers and readings for the pre-Lenten Sundays were compiled by St. Gregory the Great (+604).   The Consilium’s liturgical engineers under Annibale Bugnini and others eliminated these pre-Lent Sundays, much to our detriment.  (Cf. BugniniCare).

Those who participate at Holy Mass in the Extraordinary Form will see that the priest’s vestments are purple. A Tract is sung in place of an Alleluia, which has been “buried” until Easter.  The Introit refers to the “rock” and the Roman Station today is at St. Peter’s on the Vatican Hill.


Preces nostras, quaesumus, Domine, clementer exaudi: atque, a peccatorum vinculis absolutos, ab omni nos adversitate custodi.

This prayer is found in the ancient Liber Sacramentorum Augustodunensis and the L.S. Engolismensis.  I cannot find this prayer in any form in the post-Conciliar editions of the Missale Romanum.

You won’t find Quinquagesima either!  Thanks, Bugnini!

The ponderous Lewis & Short Dictionary reminds us that absolvo means “to loosen from, to make loose, set free, detach, untie” or in juridical language “to absolve from a charge, to acquit, declare innocent”.  The priest uses this word when he absolves you of the bonds of your sins.  Vinculum is “that with which any thing is bound, a band, bond, rope, cord, fetter, tie”.  This bond can be literal, as in physical fetters, or it can be moral or some sort of state.  You can be bound in charity or peace, or bound in damnation or sin.  In the case if sin, in liturgical prayer we find a form of vinculum or its plural with “loosing” verbs such as absolvo or resolvo or dissolvo. In ancient prayer the state of sin conceived as a place in which we are bound.  The bonds must be loosed so that we can escape and be free.

In the whole of the post-Conciliar Missal I don’t believe the combination peccata absolvere is found, but it is in ancient collections.  One finds the phrase with some additional term such as “bonds” or “ties” of sins.


We beseech You, O Lord, graciously attend to our prayers: and, having been loosed from the fetters of sins, guard us from every adversity.

What is the first thing an enemy does to you, once you are captured? 

  • He disarms you.
  • He shackles you.
  • He renders you powerless to do your own will.

Even when we have fallen into sin, we retain free will, but our will is already weakened due to original and actual sin.  We can become so mired in sin that we can’t rule ourselves.

The Sacrament of Penance is a great gift.  It frees us from our self-inflicted chains.

We must strive to live without mortal sin.

But we fall.  In mortal sin we divest ourselves, as it were, of our spiritual armor. We make ourselves prisoners.

We pray to God to protect us from the dire consequences of sin, including the attacks of the Enemy, which on our own without God’s help we cannot resist.

Among the benefits of the Sacrament of Penance, along with being freed from the chains of sins, is a strengthening to resist sin in the future.

These prayers of the pre-Lenten Sundays are meant to help us ready the stores in our interior fortresses before the spiritual battle of Lent.

We must empty out what does not serve and be filled with that which does.

Prepare yourselves for battle and Lent’s discipline.


Posted in GO TO CONFESSION, Liturgy Science Theatre 3000, WDTPRS | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

To a priest who learned the Traditional Mass and then quit because it was hard.

traditional-latin-mass-altar-your-viewI have often written about how priests are never the same after having learned how to say the older, traditional form of Holy Mass in the Roman Rite.  Many priests have related to me about how, once they learned, or relearned it, their sense of themselves as priests, as priests at the altar, as priest victim, as priest redeemed sinner has ever after exercised its influence over how they work and act, especially in their ars celebrandi.  In turn, this creates a slow but inexorable knock-on effect in their congregations.

Take note of the following from Liturgy Guy (my emphases and comments):

What Priests Learn by Learning the Latin Mass

A reader of Liturgy Guy shared the following story with me recently. One anecdote wouldn’t necessarily be worth dedicating an entire blog post to; however, as I have personally heard similar experiences from others, I believe there to be merit in sharing this with you now.

I used to regularly communicate with a priest who was trying to learn the Traditional Latin Mass. Another priest promised to teach him but warned that “it will very likely ruin your life.”

What he meant, he explained, was that it would cause this particular priest to clearly see the deficiencies in his own formation and in his understanding of the Sacrifice of the Mass, ultimately causing him great frustration. Of even greater significance, he was told, learning the traditional Mass would make it difficult to celebrate the new Mass any longer. [Yes, these effects are also possible.]

“You won’t want to go back to it.”

Several months later I checked back in with the first priest. He told me that he had indeed gone on to learn the Traditional Latin Mass and had even celebrated it for some time before finally deciding to give it up.

Give it up, I asked? Why?

In the end, he said, “it was too foreign” to him. I asked him (very carefully and respectfully) how was it that the Mass which had been celebrated for the vast majority of Church history seemed too foreign. What did this say about his formation?

He agreed completely that his priestly formation was obviously lacking in a significant way. He simply did not have the background and formation in the theology and spirituality of the Holy Mass to deal with the ancient rite.  [This is where the priest loses me.]

It was shocking to him.

Sadly we are finding that the Church has often failed priests in teaching them the Faith, and in so doing they have failed the laity who are supposed to be sanctified by these very same priests.

We often think of the classic expression lex orandi lex credendi (as we pray, so we believe) as being applicable to the laity. In reality, it is just as applicable to our priests. Possibly even more so. [Yes, even more so, for sure!]

Remember too, many of the priests formed by the new Mass over the last fifty years have now gone on to become bishops; and here we are left dealing with the fall out of this liturgical formation and its ramifications for the Church.

The current challenge to orthodoxy cannot be separated from the ongoing assault against orthopraxy.  [And this is why libs so very hate the older, traditional form.]

Pray that more of the laity, more of our priests, and more of our bishops recognize this for themselves. Of course, this first requires a familiarity with the traditional liturgy.  [The USE of the traditional Roman Rite!]

My concern is that many do recognize this connection, and that is why they are so hostile toward the traditional Mass.

Concerning the priest who gave up because the older Rite was tooo haaard.

In InfernoDante describes the fate of those who could not decide to commit and who remained tepid. Dante moves through the gate that says “Abandon all hope ye who enter here”, passing into the “fore-Hell”, he sees a great, bare plain upon which a vast multitude of souls run in a circle chasing a meaningless whirling banner. A great moaning wail rises up. As Dante gazes at them, he says, “I had not thought death had unmade so many.” As they run, wasps and flies sting them. These are the souls who were tepid, whom God spewed out. They are “hateful to God and His enemies”. As commentator Anthony Esolen describes them in his good translation, they are the “unnamed spirits whose cowardice relegates them to the vestibule”.

I am reminded of Lumen gentium 14 which speaks to those who know what the truth is but who refuse it.  This particular situation is not exactly parallel, but its serious nature harks to the warning.

I am reminded of a passage from Juan Donoso Cortes (+1853). The passage is from Essays on Catholicism, Liberalism, and Socialism:

“There is no man, let him be aware of it or not, who is not a combatant in this hot contest; no one who does not take an active part in the responsibility of the defeat or victory. The prisoner in his chains and the king on his throne, the poor and the rich, the healthy and the infirm, the wise and the ignorant, the captive and the free, the old man and the child, the civilized and the savage, share equally in the combat. Every word that is pronounced, is either inspired by God or by the world, and necessarily proclaims, implicitly or explicitly, but always clearly, the glory of the one or the triumph of the other. In this singular warfare we all fight through forced enlistment; here the system of substitutes or volunteers finds no place. In it is unknown the exception of sex or age; here no attention is paid to him who says, I am the son of a poor widow; nor to the mother of the paralytic, nor to the wife of the cripple. In this warfare all men born of woman are soldiers.

And don’t tell me you don’t wish to fight; for the moment you tell me that, you are already fighting; nor that you don’t know which side to join, for while you are saying that, you have already joined a side; nor that you wish to remain neutral; for while you are thinking to be so, you are so no longer; nor that you want to be indifferent; for I will laugh at you, because on pronouncing that word you have chosen your party. Don’t tire yourself in seeking a place of security against the chances of war, for you tire yourself in vain; that war is extended as far as space, and prolonged through all time. In eternity alone, the country of the just, can you find rest, because there alone there is no combat. But do not imagine, however, that the gates of eternity shall be opened for you, unless you first show the wounds you bear; those gates are only opened for those who gloriously fought here the battles of the Lord, and were, like the Lord, crucified.”?

If I were to talk with this priest, I would remind him of his identity.  I would remind him of the stakes once he has learn what is “out there”, the patrimony that has been denied him.  How can one turn back?

Prayers for the priest, whoever he may be.

The moderation queue is ON.

Posted in ¡Hagan lío!, Hard-Identity Catholicism, Liturgy Science Theatre 3000, Mail from priests | Tagged , , | 10 Comments

“Christ with me, Christ before me, Christ behind me,…” The Lorica of St Patrick

During these dark days, we can benefit from the use of this prayer, called the Breastplate, or Loríca of St. Patrick, “The Cry of the Deer” (Latin Lorica is pronounced lo-REE-ka).  It is said that St. Patrick (+461) sang this when an ambush was set for him so that he could not go to Tara to evangelize.  Patrick and companions were then hidden from the sight of their enemies, who thought that they were deer when they passed by.  However, some scholars date the prayer to the 8th c.  Either way, this is a mickle, puissant prayer!

The Latin word loríca means “a leather cuirass; a defense of any kind; a breastwork, parapet”.  In effect, it means “armor”.   “Loríca” is also associated with an rhythmic invocation or prayer especially for protection as when going into battle.

The Lorica of St. Patrick is rooted in an un-confused belief in the supernatural dimension of our lives, that there truly is a spiritual battle being waged for our souls.  This prayer reflects our absolute dependence on the One Three-Personed God.

One could pray this prayer each and every morning, upon arising.

On St. Patrick’s Day, instead of indulging in meat on a Friday of Lent (pace bishops, etc.) and drinking green beer, pastors of parishes should invite people to come to Church for confessions, recitation of the Rosary, Mass, Exposition, the praying of the Lorica, Benediction.  Think about it.  Suggest it to your priests.

Latin English
Sancti Patricii Hymnus ad Temoriam. The Lorica, Breastplate, of St. Patrick (The Cry of the Deer)


Ad Temoriam hodie potentiam praepollentem invoco Trinitatis,
Credo in Trinitatem sub unitate numinis elementorum.
I arise today
Through a mighty strength, the invocation of the Trinity,
Through belief in the Threeness,
Through confession of the Oneness
of the Creator of creation.
Apud Temoriam hodie virtutem nativitatis Christi cum ea ejus baptismi,
Virtutem crucifixionis cum ea ejus sepulturae,
Virtutem resurrectionis cum ea ascensionis,
Virtutem adventus ad judicium aeternum.
I arise today
Through the strength of Christ’s birth with His baptism,
Through the strength of His crucifixion with His burial,
Through the strength of His resurrection with His ascension,
Through the strength of His descent for the judgment of doom.
Apud Temoriam hodie virtutem amoris Seraphim in obsequio angelorum,
In spe resurrectionis ad adipiscendum praemium.
In orationibus nobilium Patrum,
In praedictionibus prophetarum,
In praedicationibus apostolorum,
In fide confessorum,
In castitate sanctarum virginum,
In actis justorum virorum.
I arise today
Through the strength of the love of cherubim,
In the obedience of angels,
In the service of archangels,
In the hope of resurrection to meet with reward,
In the prayers of patriarchs,
In the predictions of prophets,
In the preaching of apostles,
In the faith of confessors,
In the innocence of holy virgins,
In the deeds of righteous men.
Apud Temoriam hodie potentiam coeli,
Lucem solis,
Candorem nivis,
Vim ignis,
Rapiditatem fulguris,
Velocitatem venti,
Profunditatem maris,
Stabilitatem terrae,
Duritiam petrarum.
I arise today, through
The strength of heaven,
The light of the sun,
The radiance of the moon,
The splendor of fire,
The speed of lightning,
The swiftness of wind,
The depth of the sea,
The stability of the earth,
The firmness of rock.
Ad Temoriam hodie potentia Dei me dirigat,
Potestas Dei me conservet,
Sapientia Dei me edoceat,
Oculus Dei mihi provideat,
Auris Dei me exaudiat,
Verbum Dei me disertum faciat,
Manus Dei me protegat,
Via Dei mihi patefiat,
Scutum Dei me protegat,
Exercitus Dei me defendat,
Contra insidias daemonum,
Contra illecebras vitiorum,
Contra inclinationes animi,
Contra omnem hominem qui meditetur injuriam mihi,
Procul et prope,
Cum paucis et cum multis.
I arise today, through
God’s strength to pilot me,
God’s might to uphold me,
God’s wisdom to guide me,
God’s eye to look before me,
God’s ear to hear me,
God’s word to speak for me,
God’s hand to guard me,
God’s shield to protect me,
God’s host to save me
From snares of devils,
From temptation of vices,
From everyone who shall wish me ill,
afar and near.
Posui circa me sane omnes potentias has
Contra omnem potentiam hostilem saevam
Excogitatam meo corpori et meae animae;
Contra incantamenta pseudo-vatum,
Contra nigras leges gentilitatis,
Contra pseudo-leges haereseos,
Contra dolum idololatriae,
Contra incantamenta mulierum,
Et fabrorum ferrariorum et druidum,
Contra omnem scientiam quae occaecat animum hominis.
I summon today
All these powers between me and those evils,
Against every cruel and merciless power
that may oppose my body and soul,
Against incantations of false prophets,
Against black laws of pagandom,
Against false laws of heretics,
Against craft of idolatry,
Against spells of witches and smiths and wizards,
Against every knowledge that corrupts man’s body and soul;
Christus me protegat hodie
Contra venenum,
Contra combustionem,
Contra demersionem,
Contra vulnera,
Donec meritus essem multum praemii.
Christ to shield me today
Against poison,
against burning,
Against drowning,
against wounding,
So that there may come to me an abundance of reward.
Christus mecum,
Christus ante me,
Christus me pone,
Christus in me,
Christus infra me,
Christus supra me,
Christus ad dextram meam,
Christus ad laevam meam,
Christus hine,
Christus illine,
Christus a tergo.
Christ with me,
Christ before me,
Christ behind me,
Christ in me,
Christ beneath me,
Christ above me,
Christ on my right,
Christ on my left,
Christ when I lie down,
Christ when I sit down,
Christ when I arise,
Christus in corde omnis hominis quem alloquar,
Christus in ore cujusvis qui me alloquatur,
Christus in omni oculo qui me videat,
Christus in omni aure quae me audiat.
Christ in the heart of every man who thinks of me,
Christ in the mouth of everyone who speaks of me,
Christ in every eye that sees me,
Christ in every ear that hears me.
Ad Temoriam hodie potentiam praepollentem invoco Trinitatis. I arise today
Through a mighty strength, the invocation of the Trinity,
Credo in Trinitatem sub Unitate numinis elementorum.
Domini est salus,
Domini est salus,
Christi est salus,
Salus tua, Domine, sit semper nobiscum.
Through belief in the Threeness,
Through confession of the Oneness
of the Creator of creation.
[Salvation is from the Lord,
Salvation is from the Lord,
Salvation is from Christ,
Your Salvation, O Lord, is with us always.]
Amen. Amen.


Posted in "How To..." - Practical Notes, PRAYER REQUEST, Semper Paratus, The Coming Storm | Tagged , | 3 Comments

Pope Francis helps SSPX take over church, complex, in heart of Rome

Il Foglio today as a story about how Pope Francis was a decisive factor in handing over a neo-Gothic church in the center of Rome, Santa Maria Immacolata all’Esquilino, to the SSPX.

It is going to be a center for studies and, perhaps, their HQ.  It is a pretty large complex.

SM_Immacolata_all’Esquilino_01 SM_Immacolata_all’Esquilino_02


Posted in SESSIUNCULA | Tagged , | 38 Comments

Loony-tune “witches” to hex Pres. Trump. Wherein Fr. Z has an idea!

The New York Daily News informs us that …

[Fake] Witches of the world will cast a mass spell on President Trump on Friday night

The next four years could spell double, double, toil and trouble for President Trump.

[Fraudulent] Witches of the world will [pretend to] cast a “mass spell” on the commander-in-chief Friday night in a ritual that calls for an unflattering photo of Trump, a tower tarot card, salt, a candle, a feather and either the stub of an orange candle or a baby carrot. [They might be stupid, but they deserve some pity. They are dealing with satanic stuff.]

The stroke-of-midnight rite is a “binding spell” to deter the President from doing harm — not a hex or curse meant to harm him, writer and magical thinker Michael M. Hughes, 50, explained to the Daily News.

“This I consider to be primarily a self-defense measure,” Hughes said. “So many of us are just overwhelmed with the assaults on civil liberties, immigrants, the environment … this felt like a way to reclaim our power and say, ‘We have power over you. You don’t have power over us.'”

Hughes, who says he has also protested through traditional outlets like marching, letter-writing and calling Congress, helped finesse the ritual instructions crafted by some private magic groups.


These nut cases are toying with evil… with Evil.  Evil isn’t a toy.  Toy with Evil and, eventually, Evil toys with you.

Stupid.  Stupid.  Stupid.

I suggest that you all pray the mighty Loríca of St. Patrick for and against these fools.

I also bring to the attention of the readership a jolly old custom on the Vigil of St. John the Baptist (23 June).  In some countries it was – and is – customary to burn witches…

… in effigy, of course: burn witches in effigy.  Real witches are, happily, in short supply.

“Witches” were made from straw (or whatever flammable stuff is around) and they were festively burned.  Keep in mind that on the Vigil of St. John the Baptist there is the traditional blessing of bonfires.  More HERE (photo!)

Here is the text in English for blessing the fire:

P: Our help is in the name of the Lord.
All: Who made heaven and earth.
P: The Lord be with you.
All: May He also be with you.

Let us pray.
Lord God, almighty Father, the light that never fails and the source of all light, sanctify + this new fire, and grant that after the darkness of this life we may come unsullied to you who are light eternal; through Christ our Lord.

All: Amen.

The fire is sprinkled with holy water; after which the clergy and the people sing the following hymn (for the music see the music supplement):

Hymn: Ut queant laxis

[after the hymn]

P: There was a man sent from God.
All Whose name was John.

Let us pray.
God, who by reason of the birth of blessed John have made this day praiseworthy, give your people the grace of spiritual joy, and keep the hearts of your faithful fixed on the way that leads to everlasting salvation; through Christ our Lord.

All: Amen.

Perhaps we will get this going for the parish this year.  If could be instructive.  We buried the Alleluia. Why shouldn’t we burn the witches?

The moderation queue is ON in anticipation of the spittle-flecked nutty that is sure to follow.

Posted in ACTION ITEM! | Tagged , , , | 18 Comments

LENTCAzTs 2017 – Choices to make

I am thinking about doing LENTCAzTs again this year.  I am also thinking about not doing  LENTCAzTs again this year.

As I think about it, I am looking through materials for possible podcasts.  That’s always the challenge.  A few of you have sent me gift books from my Kindle wish list which could be good sources of texts.

5 minutes?  7 min?  10?

Notes about the Stations?  That’s an important feature of Lent, after all.

Should I have something serial?  Should there be one particular source that dominates, but not every day?

If I were to choose 10 minutes for length, should I have “guest spots” in which I feature someone else reading (high quality audio of a selection read by a guest sent by email)?

The moderation queue is ON.


I’ve been reading your comments, all still in the queue.  I may not release any of them, but I am reading them carefully and taking notes.  Some of your suggestions and feedback are quite similar, by the way.  GMTA!

Posted in What Fr. Z is up to | Leave a comment

DENMARK: Man prosecuted under old blasphemy law for burning a Koran

From Breitbart:

Danish Man who Set Fire to Quran Charged with Blasphemy

A man who burned the Islamic holy book in his backyard has been charged with blasphemy, in a move his lawyer speculates was driven by fear of Muslim extremists. The attempted prosecution is the first of its kind in nearly 50 years.
The 42-year-old man from Jutland uploaded video footage of a Quran being lit on fire, which he posted to a Facebook group called ‘Yes to freedom – no to Islam’ in December last year.

“It is the prosecution’s view that circumstances involving the burning of holy books such as the Bible and the Quran can, in certain cases, be a violation of the blasphemy clause, which covers public scorn or mockery of religion,” said chief prosecutor Jan Reckendorff in a statement.

“It is our opinion that the circumstances of this case mean it should be prosecuted so the courts now have an opportunity to take a position on the matter.”

The defendant’s lawyer, Rasmus Paludan, said that his client had burned the Quran in self-defense, asserting that the Islamic holy book “contains passages on how Mohammed’s followers must kill the infidel, i.e. the Danes”.

“Therefore, it’s an act of self-defense to burn a book that in such a way incites war and violence,” he told the New York Times.

Noting that it’s “legal to burn a Bible in Denmark”, highlighting how in 1997 a Danish artist set fire to and burned a copy of the Bible on state television in Denmark but was not charged, Mr Paludan said he is “surprised that it would be guilty to burn the Quran.”

“The fear of Islam and Muslims may be far greater now, and the prosecution service may be a lot more apprehensive of Islam and its followers,” he added, speculating on the prosecutor’s decision to bring charges in this case.

Under clause 140 of Denmark’s criminal code, anyone found guilty of publicly insulting or degrading religious doctrines can be imprisoned or fined, but only four blasphemy prosecutions have ever been attempted in the country.


I wonder if there are any old blasphemy laws on the books here in these USA.

Posted in Religious Liberty, The Coming Storm, The Last Acceptable Prejudice, The Religion of Peace | Tagged , , , , | 7 Comments

The Three Days Of Darkness begin again

I didn’t want any of you to miss it, in case it slipped your mind.

The Religious Education Conference (aka The Three Days Of Darkness) is on in Los Angeles!

I’m sure there will be inspiring “liturgies” and talks replete with sound, clear doctrine.

What could go wrong?

Posted in SESSIUNCULA | Tagged , | 26 Comments

Make Church Great Again! “Free Our Churches From the Ugly and Stupid”

So I’m reading my email.  A reader sent the text of a Wall Street Journal piece (they have an evil paywall) entitled “Free Our Churches From the Ugly and Stupid“.

“This hath potential”, quoth I, and in did I delve.

Pure gold.

So I get to the end of the brilliant brief essay only to discover that it was penned by Anthony Esolen!  Moreover, it was abridged from his recent book – which I instantly added to my Kindle Wish List … Out of the Ashes: Rebuilding American Culture


I’ll bet that this book will apply also in the UK, Canada, etc.

Here’s a sample from the WSJ version with my emphases and comments:

The great iconoclasm of the 1960s buried much of Christianity’s best art and music.

I have seen, in Catholic churches, minimalist Stations of the Cross that hardly can be recognized as depictions of the Passion. I have seen crosses that look as if a modernist Jesus were flying with wings outspread, like a theological pterodactyl. I have seen the Eucharist relegated to what looks like a broom closet. I have seen a baptismal font that bubbles. I have seen beautifully tiled floors, with intricate cruciform patterns, covered over with plush red carpet.

I have heard for decades effeminate “hymns” with the structure and melody of off-Broadway show tunes. I have read hymn texts altered so as to obliterate references to God with the personal pronoun “He.” This music would not be acceptable for a jingle to sell jelly doughnuts on television.

I have seen and heard enough. We must get rid of everything ugly and stupid from our churches, most of it visited upon them since the great iconoclasm of the 1960s. What’s needed is genuine art that stirs the imagination and pleases the eye, that entices the soul with beauty before a single word of a sermon is uttered. [Do I hear an “Amen!”?]

Let me use an analogy. I am involved in the restoration of an old home that for more than 100 years served as the rectory of a Catholic parish in Nova Scotia. One of the first things we did was to tear out carpeting that had gotten dingy and moldy. Beneath lay plywood and linoleum. And underneath that?

We found in most of the rooms oak and maple floors, with three-inch-wide strips laid in handsome patterns, squares enclosing diagonals, and a large diamond set in the center of the original parlor. The craftsmanship was impressive, the execution precise. Other floors had large planks of seasoned hemlock, which absorbs moisture from the air and grows tougher from it. The hemlock is as old as the home’s foundation.

This kind of plywood covers beauty everywhere in today’s churches. You are not only walking on it. You are looking at plywood on the walls, hearing plywood from the pulpit, and singing plywood instead of hymns.

The first thing we can do to return beauty to our churches is to swallow chronological snobbery and find out what our ancestors, even those who could not read or write, achieved. I am speaking about more than the fine craftsmanship of well-turned balusters and newels, though we should desire that too.


Today, the word of God is proclaimed in translations that have all the charm and wonder of a corporate memorandum. Must ordinary people be fed the drab and insipid? The politically correct—another thing thrust upon people by their ecclesiastical betters—is always ugly. Get rid of it, period, no excuses, no exceptions. What Christ hath spoken well, let man not paraphrase. Let grace in the word be one humble way in which we show our desire and our gratitude for the grace of God.

Fr. Z kudos.

Run, don’t walk, to get his book.

And let’s get back, now, to ad orientem worship!


Posted in ¡Hagan lío!, "How To..." - Practical Notes, Be The Maquis, Cri de Coeur, Decorum, Fr. Z KUDOS, Hard-Identity Catholicism, Just Too Cool, Liturgy Science Theatre 3000, New Evangelization, Our Catholic Identity, The future and our choices, Turn Towards The Lord | Tagged , , | 9 Comments

ASK FATHER: Is there a good, conservative RCIA program?

From a reader…


I attend a Maronite church and our priest has decided he wants to offer an RCIA type program (Maronite Rite doesn’t technically have one). He’s a generally conservative priest and I was hoping you might suggest a good conservative program.

I do not know, sorry.

However, perhaps some of our readers here, especially the priests, can help out.


The moderation queue is ON.

Posted in "How To..." - Practical Notes, ASK FATHER Question Box | Tagged , | 30 Comments

ASK FATHER: Faculties of the Missionaries of Mercy after the Year of Mercy

From a priest…


Do the missionaries of mercy still have the faculty to remit censures arising from reserved delicts? I’m working with a priest who is worried (I think he’s ok actually). But if a trip to the missionary would be able to remit a possible censure it might help him out. I read the Pope’s letter at the end of the year of mercy and he said their ministry continues. But that is not exactly a clear/canonical statement. I figured you would know if they still have the faculty.

First, let’s review.  What could these priests, confessors, do that other priests could not?  They were able to absolve censures incurred by certain sins.

A handful of sins are so bad that they incur automatic censures, the lifting of which is reserved to the Holy See.  Under normal circumstances, a priest has to request the faculty to lift the censure incurred by those sins.  These Missionaries of Mercy were given the faculty – during the Year of Mercy – to absolve the censure incurred by 1) profaning the Eucharistic species by throwing them away or keeping them or giving them for a sacrilegious purpose; 2) the use of physical force against the Roman Pontiff; 3) the absolution of an accomplice in a sin against the Sixth Commandment (“thou shalt not commit adultery”) and 4) a direct violation against the sacramental Seal of confession.

In Misericordia et Misera at close of the Year of Mercy, the Pope wrote:

I thank every Missionary of Mercy for this valuable service aimed at rendering effective the grace of forgiveness. This extraordinary ministry does not end with the closing of the Holy Door. I wish it to continue until further notice as a concrete sign that the grace of the Jubilee remains alive and effective the world over. As a direct expression of my concern and closeness to the Missionaries of Mercy in this period, the Pontifical Council for Promoting the New Evangelization will supervise them and find the most suitable forms for the exercise of this valuable ministry.

So, as far as I can tell, even though his language is – as usual – juridically unclear, it seems to be the Pope’s intention that the Missionaries now still have the faculty to absolve the censures resulting from those aforementioned sins.

Keep in mind that if the sin was not committed, and there are several criteria that must be fulfilled, then the censure was not incurred.

Posted in "How To..." - Practical Notes, ASK FATHER Question Box, Mail from priests, Priests and Priesthood | Tagged , , , | 2 Comments

NEW Fr. Z Swag Available: Pope Clement XIV Ganganelli (1769-1774)

Slowly but surely I’d like to build up more pontifical coffee mugs.  I have some selections with Pius XII, Leo XIII (that’s a good one), etc.

Today, I make available also

Clement_XVI_Mug_01 Clement_XVI_Mug_02

For all the selections click


Enjoy in your new Clement XVI mug some


When you are irked and frustrated with attacks on clarity and fidelity to Catholic doctrine, why not make yourself an invigorating Z-mug filled with freshly brewed coffee from the wonderful Carmelites in Wyoming?   Look at it as a kind of aroma therapy, without all the effeminate new-age garbage.

Don’t suppress your urge for that great mug of Mystic Monk Coffee!

It’s swell!

And you can quaff your slightly chilled Norcia Monks Birra Nursia from this excellent stein:

Do you want to start conversations at the gym?

Know any super liberal Jesuits?  Perhaps they’d like one.

UPDATE 24 Feb:

Fr. Hunwicke over at his splendid blog Mutual Enrichment has noticed my humble effort to bring Clement XIV, of blessed memory, back into the public eye.  HERE

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

“For, amen I say to you, if you have faith as a grain of mustard seed…”

From the Gospel according to Matthew

And when he was come to the multitude, there came to him a man falling down on his knees before him, saying: Lord, have pity on my son, for he is a lunatic, and suffereth much: for he falleth often into the fire, and often into the water. And I brought him to thy disciples, and they could not cure him.Then Jesus answered and said: O unbelieving and perverse generation, how long shall I be with you? How long shall I suffer you? bring him hither to me. And Jesus rebuked him, and the devil went out of him, and the child was cured from that hour. Then came the disciples to Jesus secretly, and said: Why could not we cast him out?  Jesus said to them: Because of your unbelief. For, amen I say to you, if you have faith as a grain of mustard seed, you shall say to this mountain, Remove from hence hither, and it shall remove; and nothing shall be impossible to you. But this kind is not cast out but by prayer and fasting.  [17:14-20 DR]

Posted in ¡Hagan lío!, Cri de Coeur, Hard-Identity Catholicism | Tagged , | 10 Comments

ACTION ITEM! Birettas for Seminarians Project! UPDATES

action-item-buttonSometimes the small things really help.

Today I received a note from a seminarian.  He is the recipient of a biretta, bequeathed through our BIRETTAS FOR SEMINARIANS PROJECT:

I am a seminarian who recently received a biretta from your recent Birettas for Seminarians Project push a month or so ago. I don’t know who donated it to me, and so in their stead I would like to thank you for organizing this and I have thanked John at Leaflet Missal. May God bless you in your priesthood and ministry, and may our Mother Mary protect and watch over you.

It is good to hear back from the men who have benefited from this project.    More thank you’s are HERE.

YOU, dear readers, have supplied over 100 birettas to seminarians.  Kudos.

What is this project and how does this work?

We want to get as many clerics to use birettas (and all that goes with them – fidelity to doctrine, reverent ars celebrandi, good life choices, solid priestly identity, etc.) as possible.

  • Seminarians should 1) discern their hat size and then 2) contact the biretta supplier and get their names on a NEED list.
  • YOU, dear readers, contact the biretta supplier and PAY FOR the birettas which are then distributed.

You remain anonymous to each other.

Seminarians and potential donors…

Contact John in church goods at Leaflet Missal in St. Paul – 651-209-1951 Ext-331. 


If John is away, leave a voicemail with your phone number and he will call you back ASAP.

John keeps track of the names of the seminarians and their hat sizes. My involvement would only get in the way of the process. Don’t write to me.

Let’s encourage these men.

Call John and buy a biretta for a seminarian.  It’s as easy as that.

There is also a SATURNO FOR CLERICS project.

Posted in ACTION ITEM! | Tagged , | 3 Comments