Flash back with Stravinsky’s Mass

Over at the increasingly-voluble Crisis there is a great piece about the composer Igor Stravinsky and his sacred music.  Yes, Stravinsky wrote truly sacred music, and I find it quite compelling.  Stravinsky was a deeply religious soul and at times he considered conversion to the Catholic Church.  He wrote a Mass, by the way.  From the piece:

Around the same time as Babel, Stravinsky had begun work on his one and only Mass. Completed in 1948, the Mass for choir and wind instruments was written “from spiritual necessity” (as Stravinsky’s assistant Robert Craft claimed) rather than from a commission. Stravinsky intended the Mass for actual liturgical performance—the score contains intonations for “the priest”—but the premiere performance was at an opera house and it has, regrettably, seldom been performed as part of an actual Mass. [AH HAH!] In this work, Stravinsky created a haunting amalgam of the ancient and the modern. At times the vocal incantations suggest Orthodox chant or medieval polyphony. The wind instruments form a glowing background to the choir, like the gold of a Byzantine icon. Stravinsky explained that the Credo is the longest movement because “there is much to believe.”

I am happy to report that I have been celebrant for Holy Mass in the Traditional Roman Rite with the very Mass mentioned above.  It was almost exactly 6 years ago, this time of year. I was in Detroit at the wonderful Assumption Grotto parish, where the esteemed church-musician Fr. Ed Perrone is pastor.  I had mentioned to him once that I would like to be able to have the Stravinsky Mass and he put it together.  They had it in their repertoire.   It isn’t the favorite, I think, of some of the choir members, but it is a moving experience.  The contrast of the music with the ancient lines and movements, the chants (and some Bach!) and language of the Roman Mass, East meets West, is striking and evocative.  My post on that Mass HERE.

Here is a sample of Stravinsky’s Mass.

Posted in Both Lungs, Linking Back, Liturgy Science Theatre 3000 | Tagged , | 1 Comment

Peter Kwasniewski: Why tradition is important and reverence alone isn’t enough

Over a Rorate there is something so good that it compels me to overcome even their animosity toward me, extend an olive branch again, and direct you there to read patiently and completely.  Peter Kwasniewski of Wyoming Catholic College (where students can’t have cellphones but they can have guns) did a presentation for the new translation into Czech of his fine book Resurgent in the Midst of Crisis: Sacred Liturgy, the Traditional Latin Mass, and Renewal in the Church.  US HERE UK HERE

Peter makes an argument, reflected in the talk’s title: “Reverence Is Not Enough: On the Importance of Tradition”

Here are a couple samples with my emphases and comments:


But after this extended metaphor, an objection might be raised. “Why is tradition so important? Isn’t it enough just to have a reverent liturgy?  As long as we are sincere in our intentions and serious about our prayer, all these other things—the language of our worship, the type of music, the direction of the priest at the altar, the way people receive communion, whether or not we keep the same readings and prayers that Catholics used for centuries, and so forth—are just incidental or accidental features. They are ‘externals,’ and Jesus taught us that externals aren’t the main thing in religion.” [All of us who have promoted the traditional Roman Rite have heard this countless times.  Right?  “The Novus Ordo where I go is reverent!  Don’t tell me that that isn’t enough!”  I say, it might be enough, but why not have more.  To use one of my old analogies, a grown man can survive on jarred baby food, but he won’t thrive.  He needs a steak and cabernet.  At the same time, many people today have to be brought carefully, prudently, to the steak and cabernet so that they, unready, are not overwhelmed.]

There is, of course, some truth to this objection. Our intentions are indeed fundamental. If a non-believer pretended to get baptized as part of a play on stage, he would not really become a Christian. No externals by themselves will ever guarantee that we are worshiping the Father in spirit and in truth (cf. Jn 4:23–24), and an attitude of reverence and seriousness is the most crucial requirement of the ars celebrandi. Nevertheless, I believe that the objection as stated is erroneous, and dangerously so, because it presumes (and thereby fosters) a radical transformation of the very nature of the Catholic religion under the influence of Enlightenment philosophy.

Prior to all arguments about which practice is better or worse is the overarching principle of the primacy of tradition, meaning the inherent claim that our religious inheritance, handed down from our forefathers, makes on us. We do not “own” this gift, much less “produce” it. Tradition comes to us from above, from God who providentially designed us as social animals who inherit our language, our culture, and our religion; it comes to us from our ancestors, who are called antecessores in Latin—literally, the ones who have gone before.[3] They are ahead of us, not behind us; they have finished running the race, and we stand to benefit from their collective wisdom. [That’s a good insight.  Our forebears are ahead of us!] St. Paul states the principle in 1 Thessalonians 4:1: “We pray and beseech you in the Lord Jesus, that as you have received from us how you ought to walk and to please God, so also you would walk, that you may abound the more.”

[NB] The rejection of tradition and the cult of change embodies a peculiarly modern attitude of “mastery over tradition,” which is the social equivalent of Baconian and Cartesian “mastery over nature.” The combination of capitalism and technology has allowed us to abuse the natural world, treating it as raw material for exploitation, in pursuit of the satisfaction of our selfish desires. In a similar way, the influence of rationalism and individualism has tempted us to treat Catholic tradition as if it were a collection of isolated facts from which we, who are autonomous and superior, can make whatever selection pleases us. In adopting this arrogant stance, we fail to recognize, with creaturely humility, that our rationality is socially constituted and tradition-dependent. By failing to honor our antecessores, we fail to live according to our political nature and our Christian dignity as recipients of a concrete historical revelation that endures and develops organically over time and space. [Superb.]


Kwasniewski later in his talk does something quite useful: He shows the contrast between Joseph Ratzinger’s view of liturgy and Walter Kasper’s! There’s quite a bit to it, but here are a couple tastes…


[On the topic of how the Novus Ordo is often implemented…] Every celebration is, in a sense, a new project, a new compilation, a new construct of the human agents involved. Even if the same “traditional” options were to be chosen as a rule, the very fact that they are chosen and could be otherwise makes the liturgy not so much an opus Dei as an opus hominis.[10] [A “work of human hands”?]

This voluntaristic malleability of the liturgy, joined with an emphasis on local adaptation and continual evolution, is precisely the liturgical equivalent of the decades-long dispute between Walter Kasper and Joseph Ratzinger in the sphere of ecclesiology. For Ratzinger, the universal Church and its sole Lord and Savior take precedence[11]—and therefore the liturgy, which is the act par excellence of Christ and His Mystical Body, should embody, express, and inculcate exactly this universality, the faith of the “one, holy, catholic, and apostolic Church.”


In contrast, we see Cardinal Kasper’s group-based “ecclesiology from below” reflected in the localist Novus Ordo Missae—not in its abuses, but in its essence as a matrix of possibilities destined to receive its “inculturated” form from priests and people at each celebration. It is a liturgy in a constant state of fermentation, re-visioning, re-invention, which is antithetical to orthodoxy in its original meaning of “right-worship-and-right-doctrine.” It is worth pointing out that proponents of Kasperian ecclesiology and liturgy also tend to repudiate Constantinian Christianity and its universalizing aspiration to “re-establish all things in Christ” (Eph 1:10). This is because they hold, with Karl Rahner, [yep… there he is… lurking…] than every man is already Christian at some level, and that the world as such, the secular world, is already holy. [Well done.  Rahner thought – and this really bad idea has had serious and deep consequences for those upon whom it was thrust in seminaries and universities and therefore congregations after them, that sacraments mark pre-exiting realities.  Think about how that starting point would affect every single liturgical choice, right down to architecture!] Thus there is no clear distinction between ad intra and ad extra, between sanctuary and nave, between minister and congregation, between tradition and innovation, or even between sacred and profane. All things collapse into immanence, into the choice of the moment, the quest for instant inculturation, the transient emotional connection, the self-proclamation of the group. It is a liturgy of the Enlightenment, ahistorical, sociable, accessible, efficient, unthreatening. It is supposed to be pleasant, convenient, thoroughly free of magic, myth, or menace. There must not be any of that primitive or medieval mysterium tremendens et fascinans, [A phrase from Rudolf Otto which I use all the time when talking about the ends of sacred liturgical worship.] none of that groveling of slaves to their masters: we are grown-ups who can treat with God as equals.  [Sound familiar?] As a matter of fact, we will edit out “difficult” passages from Sacred Scripture and rewrite “difficult” prayers so that offenses or challenges to our modern way of life will be, if not eliminated, then at least kept to a polite minimum. [And there is the connection to reinterpretation of Scripture, such as Christ’s teaching about indissolubility of marriage.  Add to that the Church’s teaching about scandal and about reception of Communion in the state of grace.  Everything is up for grabs!]


This is excellent stuff. Peter also underscored Kasper’s approach to interpretation of Scripture. Scripture is constantly to be reinterpreted according to the times. What it once meant doesn’t confine us now. We interpret Scripture differently than our ancestors did. Thus, Christ’s strong and clear injunction about matrimony does mean what it meant. You get this also in his latest offering in Stimmen der Zeit about Communion for the divorced and remarried in Amoris laetitia.  Robert Stark, in CWR, some time ago described Kasper has replacing philosophy with politics: majority rule can change interpretation of Scripture, doctrine, whatever.

In any event, you might head over there and read the whole thing. It is worth the time and trouble.

Posted in Liturgy Science Theatre 3000, Olive Branches | Tagged , , , , , | 9 Comments

TORONTO: Upcoming Solemn Mass and Conference

Anyone who is in the neighborhood of Toronto, please take note.

First, there will be a Solemn Mass celebrated for the Feast of Christ the King (the last Sunday of October), 30 October.  His Eminence Thomas Card. Collins will preach.  It is significant that this will take place at the St. Michael’s Cathedral of Toronto.  More on that HERE or HERE.

Also, Serviam Ministries is sponsoring a day conference in Toronto on Saturday, 5 November called “Revival: Restoring the Sacred in Our Lives and Church.  More on that HERE.  Tickets are still available.

Good things in Toronto!


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Wherein Fr. Z rants: Our worship, therefore our identity, needs orthotics.

I receive this from a reader…

 I thought you might be interested in this; it at least is new to me. In Waterbury, Connecticut this morning, I came across this version of “Now Thank We All Our God” in WLP’s “We Celebrate” hymnal. I circled the two notable changes. The first is what caught my ear and made me pay closer attention even though it was very subtle. The way I always heard this hymn, it was “In whom his world rejoices, not “this world.” The reasons are obvious. It’s one of those things that had it been written that way in the first place 400 years ago, no one would care, but obviously someone with a 2016 agenda was at work here.

The second is actually more troublesome. The way I’ve always heard it, it was, “and free us from all sin, till heaven we possess,” not “free us from all ills, in this world and the next.” The very end of the verse doesn’t bug me too much, but I wonder why that needed to be changed. Expunging the reference to sin, however, does raise my ire— as you well know, that is not what we need these days. It makes me wish that the hymn had a Latin original so that we could appeal to that.

I am with Cardinal Sarah– the Novus Ordo needs to be fixed, not made even worse with stuff such as this.

The other day I wrote about a blurb Benedict XVI penned for a book in honor of the 25th anniversary of election of Patriarch Bartholomew.  Benedict took that opportunity to emphasize the importance of ad orientem worship.  I am confident that he did this knowing full well that Card. Sarah called for ad orientem worship from priests beginning in Advent, if possible, and I am also confident that he knows about the blow back and defiance Card. Sarah’s invitation provoked.  My friend Jan Bentz also wrote this up for LifeSite the other day.  HERE

We need ad orientem worship as an effective orthotic for many levels of the Church’s life.  I say the same about expanding the use of the older, traditional form of Holy Mass. Benedict gave us great tools: a good explanation of what ad orientem worship is about and also the Motu Proprio Summorum Pontificum.

Not too long ago, His Excellency Robert C. Morlino, Bishop of Madison and The Extraordinary Ordinary, spoke to seminarians and staff at the North American College about ad orientem worship.  He made a great connection between “turning towards the Lord” and morals, the bridge between them being a recovery of a sound eschatological view.  He also published a version of that talk in the diocesan newspaper.  HERE  You will see how he deals with pro-life issues along with matters of matrimony.  It is quite the presentation.  And he is right.

Ad orientem worship directs us all together to the liturgical “East”, whence from the very beginning Christians have believed the King of Fearful Majesty will return in glory to judge the living and the dead and unmake the world in fire.

Judge the living and the dead and unmake the world in fire.  That bears repeating.

Ad orientem worship can help us recover together a deeper sense of the Four Last Things.

I am pretty sure that people who regularly meditate on the Four Last Things are less inclined to commit mortals sins habitually.

Perhaps this is one of the reasons why there are bishops and priests who so strongly resist and even fear ad orientem worship.  Perhaps they are purposefully avoiding, for one reason or another, regular reflection on their own judgment, the Four Last Things.  I have often wondered if that is the reason why many priests neglect their duties in regard to the Sacrament of Penance for their flocks.

I suspect that priests who on principle refuse ad orientem worship have a problem of some kind that they are not dealing with.  I’m not talking about priests who don’t want to say Mass “turned towards the Lord” because they are unfamiliar with it, or they are not sure their flocks would go for it, or they just don’t get it.  I’m talking about priests who get it, but they refuse on principle ever to say Mass ad orientem.  I can’t shake the idea that they might be dealing with some undealt with issue.

But I digress.

As I read more and more of Card. Sarah’s new book about the power of silence to combat the dictatorship of noise (right now only in French – US HERE – UK HERE), on the foundation of having read also his fantastic God Or Nothing (think about that title for a moment – UK HERE), as I consider also how he speaks in public and having spoken with him personally, I am convinced that his appeal to priests to “turn towards the Lord” is rooted in profound marrow.  It is a sound course of treatment, a corrective orthotic.  When I compare what Sarah has to say with what his critics respond… and how they respond… pffft.

There comes to mind the image of braces on legs, teeth, or back, which slowly and painfully correct rigid structures when they are twisted and dislocated.  Ad orientem worship in the Novus Ordo and also the side-by-side celebration of Holy Mass in the traditional form of the Roman Rite are orthotics.  They are spine straighteners and strengtheners.  They realign.

We are dislocated right now.  Our corporate Catholic identity is twisted and misaligned, alternately enervated and neuralgic, which makes it harder and harder to run to our daily tasks as Catholics, in private and in the public square.  If our spines are out of line, we can’t do the heavy lifting of living Catholic lives according to our God bequeathed vocations.  If we cripple ourselves, we betray the gift God has given us.

We all always need conversion.  But we also, as individuals and as a body, need straightening.

Retracing my steps to the reader’s letter at the top, note how the redactors edited out the uncomfortable reference to sin.   This doesn’t surprise me, of course.  In the prayers, the orations, for the the Novus Ordo, when they were based on or pasted together from bits of earlier and ancient prayers, nearly completely redact out clear references to our sins, our guilt for sin, expiation, propitiation, etc.  The bowdlerized hymn reflects the bowderlized orations.  Don’t get me wrong.  The orations in the Novus Ordo are, generally, pretty good prayers, taken individually!  But, as a body of prayers, they aren’t enough. They studiously avoid clear references to some really important things.  They leave us without the constant spur to reflect on our souls and think about our judgment.

Ad orientem worship in the Novus Ordo and side by side use of the Traditional Roman Rite will bring to our flocks a powerful corrective for the twisting enervation of our Catholic identity.  The correction of the twist will be slow and painful, I’m afraid.  Those braces on limbs and on teeth don’t feel good.  But without the corrective counter-forces on our twists we soon won’t be able to walk or chew.  I don’t know much about sciatica – caused by pinching and irritation of nerves when things get out of line – other than the fact that it is really painful and that, unless it is treated, it can get so bad that you can’t get around.

The treatment is painful but the lack of treatment is worse.

Fathers… there is time before Advent to start catechizing your flocks, to ready them to turn toward the East.   There is time, but you have to begin now.   Many will fight you.  They will grumble and make complaints.  Your bishops might – probably will – bully you.    Your fellow priests will run you down.  I think it is the right thing to do.  You will be made to suffer.  I, too, will be made to suffer for urging this.  If you can’t do it right now, Fathers, start thinking about how you can get it done down the line.  Make a plan.  Read and study.

Get Ratzinger’s The Spirit of the Liturgy  US HERE UK HERE

Get Klaus Gamber’s The Reform of the Roman Liturgy: Its Problems and Background US HERE UK HERE

Get Fr. Lang’s Turning Towards the Lord US HERE UK HERE

Dear readers… make sure that your priests have these books.  Get them.  Give them.

This is going to be hard and fraught with pain.

As Augustine wrote, with only his knowledge of ancient medicine, the doctor doesn’t stop cutting just because the patient is screaming for him to stop.



I received this amusing note from Fr. George Rutler about the hymn and comments at the top of this post.   He corrects an errant assumption about the text change.  However, his correction in no way touches on the fundamental point I made about what was intentionally done to weaken the Novus Ordo texts  Nor does it touch on my larger goal in the post.  Still, this is interesting.  Take it away, Fr. R:


“Now Thank We All Our God”:

Sophia Institute Press is republishing my history of hymns, “Brightest and Best” in January. It was first published by Ignatius Press 19 years ago and has been out of print.

Having been an Anglican choirboy, I know many hymns by heart and I can say that, curiously, the WLP version of “Now Thank We All Our God” is the original. (“sin” for “ills” is the bowdlerized version. )The text is by Catherine Winkworth (1827-1878) an English social worker and Germanophile. She went through a couple of slight revisions (“this world” in the original and “his world” in later ones), and basically what we have first appeared in her “Lyra Germanica” in 1858. Of course the archaic indicative “haths” were in the mint Winkworth text..
The German original was written by Martin Rinkart (1586-1649), Lutheran archdeacon of Ellenburg during the horrors of the Thirty Years’ War. “Der un von Mutterleich/Und Kindesbeinen an/ Uhzahlig viel ze gut/ Bis hieher hat getan” (I don’t do umlauts). [And you are the poorer for it!] Part of it is a paraphrase of Jesus ben Sirach.

As Winkworth was a Germanophile, Mendlessohn who harmonized the tune of Johann Cruger, was an Anglophile. The Nazis banned all his works, along with the works of Mahler, because of racism.

This is the classical English version:

Now thank we all our God, with heart and hands and voices,
Who wondrous things hath done, in Whom this world rejoices;
Who from our mothers’ arms hath blessed us on our way
With countless gifts of love, and still is ours today.

O may this bounteous God through all our life be near us,
With ever joyful hearts and blessèd peace to cheer us;
And keep us in His grace, and guide us when perplexed;
And free us from all ills, in this world and the next!

All praise and thanks to God the Father now be given;
The Son and Him Who reigns with Them in highest Heaven;
The one eternal God, whom earth and Heaven adore;
For thus it was, is now, and shall be evermore.

Posted in "How To..." - Practical Notes, ASK FATHER Question Box, Be The Maquis, Cri de Coeur, Four Last Things, Hard-Identity Catholicism, Liturgy Science Theatre 3000, New Evangelization, Our Catholic Identity, Si vis pacem para bellum!, The Coming Storm, The future and our choices, Turn Towards The Lord, Wherein Fr. Z Rants | Tagged , , , , | 7 Comments

Card. Kasper: It’s a scandal to deny Communion to adulterers

john_stoneIn the Augustinian Order today is the Feast of St John Stone, one of the 40 English Martyrs canonized by the author of Humanae Vitae. He died under Henry VIII opposing the original version of the Kasper Proposal.

Speaking of Kasper, this is, frankly, scandalous.

Via LifeSite:

BREAKING: Cardinal Kasper: Can the ‘remarried’ now receive communion? ‘Yes. Period.’

October 24, 2016 (LifeSiteNews) — In a recent publication of the German journal Stimmen der Zeit (Journal for Christian Culture), Cardinal Walter Kasper published an article calling Amoris Laetitia a “paradigm shift” in the Church’s teaching. [It was a paradigm shift for more than one reason, perhaps.  One reason is that it teaches through implication and ambiguity rather than through unmistakable clarity.  The fact that we keep having to come back to certain questions and that theologians are divided underscores this approach.  Kasper, however, who was an architect of what has become a seriously confusion situation, is raring to go.]

“Amoris Laetitia: Break or Beginning” is the title of a recent scientific article by Kasper in which he analyzes the post-synodal exhortation and provides his opinion on the right hermeneutic in reading it.  [Guess which side he comes down on.]

In the first part called “Discussion regarding the binding character,” Kasper critiques Cardinal Raymond Burke [there’s a surprise] for his statement that post-synodal documents by the Pope are not necessarily binding. Instead, Kasper states, “This position is refuted by the formal character of an Apostolic Exhortation as well as its content.”

According to Kasper – and indeed he is right, as evidenced by the post-synodal discussions concerning the document – critiques of Amoris Laetitia boil down to the question of “remarried” divorced Catholics receiving Communion.  [Indeed, it is more fundamental even than that. The question also must be, can people who are manifestly living in a state of sin receive Communion.  And behind that, does it matter if you are in the state of mortal sin?  And behind that: What is “Communion” anyway?]

As Kasper points out, the question is addressed by two different camps: One opinion is held by “conservatives,” some of whom (including German philosopher Robert Spaemann) see Amoris Laetitia as a break from the tradition of the Church, whereas others (including Cardinal Gerhard Müller) say the publication does not change the position of the Church.

Another (held by Italian theologian Rocco Buttiglione) says the doctrine of the Church is developed further but not on the line of Pope John Paul II. Yet others acknowledge a “careful development” that is paired with a lack of “concrete guidelines.” The last position among the “conservatives” is Norbert Lüdecke (Canon Law, Bonn, Germany) who says it is up to the individual conscience of the remarried divorced person to decide if he or she may receive Communion or not.

Kasper goes on to cite Buttiglione that Cardinal Christoph Schönborn presents the “decisive interpretation.” This citation refers back to a publication in L’Osservatore Romano. The same position is taken by Fr. Antonio Spadaro, SJ in La Civiltà Cattolica, among whom Kasper wants to count himself.

Kasper critiques the “alleged confusion” [“alleged”?  Look at what Kasper detailed as the state of the question!] as having been caused by a “third party” who has “alienated themselves from the sense of faith and life of the people of God.” He continues to say that “behind the pastoral tone of the document lies a well thought-out theological position.”  [One must, then, ask, why wasn’t that well thought-out theological position spelled out clearly in AL?  Kasper claims there is a “well thought-out position”.  Gratis asseritur.]

The Cardinal praises the “realistic, open, and relaxed way of dealing with sexuality and eroticism” in Amoris Laetitia that does not seek to “indoctrinate or moralize.” [So, is that what this is all about?]With a grain of salt, [What’s that kind of phrase doing in an explanation of a “well thought-out position”?] one can say that Amoris Laetitia distances itself from a primarily negative Augustinian view of sexuality and turns toward an affirming Thomistic view on creation.”  [We really need some Thomists to drill into Kasper.  Also, picture yourself trying to explain this situation to St. Thomas Aquinas, and finishing with the phrase: “Therefore, the divorced and remarried can receive Communion.”  But wait… it get’s worse…] Kasper repeats his opinion that the moral ideal is an “optimum,” yet is unreachable by many. “Oftentimes, we have to choose the lesser evil,” he states, “in the living life there is no black and white but only different nuances and shadings.”  [There it is.  Morals are only ideals, I guess.]

Amoris Laetitia does not change an iota of the teaching of the Church, yet it changes everything.” [What does that mean?] The text provides ground for believing – so says Kasper – that the Pope, and with him the Church, moves away from a “legal morality” and toward the “virtue morality” of Thomas Aquinas.  [Ummm… the “legal morality” v. “virtue morality”.]

Afterward, the Cardinal presents his own complex interpretation of Thomistic teachings concerning virtue and moral law in concrete situations. [I haven’t seen the Stimmen der Zeit text, but I’m fully prepared to believe that it is complex.] He bases his opinion on prudence as the “application of a norm in a concrete situation.” “Prudence does not give foundation to the norm, it presupposes it,” Kasper writes. He draws the conclusion that the “norm” is not applicative mechanically in every situation, but prudence is needed as fits the case.


St John Stone in his prison cell awaiting execution. From an engraving printed in 1612 at Liege in a volume by Georges Maigret Buillonoy OSA (+1633)

With reference to Familiaris Consortio (No. 84), Kasper states that “remarried” divorcees are not anymore punished with excommunication but instead are “invited to participate as living members of Church life.”

Instead of choosing the path of John Paul II and Benedict XVI (“who had adhered to John Paul II’s decision”) to not allow “remarried” divorced Catholics to receive Communion and instead to insist that they practice abstinence in their sexual relations, Pope Francis “goes a step further, by putting the problem in a process of an embracing pastoral [approach] of gradual integration.” [Which means that just about anyone can receive Communion, regardless of their objective state.]

“Amoris Laetitia envisages which forms of exclusion from ecclesiastical, liturgical, pastoral, educational, and institutional services can be overcome,” Kasper explains. He posits that when John Paul II gave permission for remarried divorced to receive Communion – if they lived as brother and sister – this was “in fact a concession.” [There is still the matter of public propriety, etc.] The Cardinal reasons this by saying, “Abstinence belongs to the most intimate sphere and does not abolish the objective contradiction of the ongoing bond of marriage of the first sacramental marriage and the second civil marriage.” [He got something right, there.]

Kasper further denies the magisterial content of the provision: “This provision obviously does not have the same weight than the general norm; anyhow it is not a final binding magisterial statement.” In Kasper’s eyes, John Paul II’s request opens up a “playground” between the “dogmatic principle” and the “pastoral consequence,” which Amoris Laetitia tries to widen.  [It’s a “playground”, but perhaps with a “grain of salt”.]

Another argument Kasper tries to use to justify allowing “remarried” divorcees to receive Communion is the distinction between “objective mortal sin” and “subjective culpability.” He insists that Pope Francis “emphasizes the subjective aspects without ignoring the objective elements.” Kasper also alludes to the fact that sometimes people are not able to be convinced of an “objective norm” because it seems to them to be “as insurmountably estranged from world and reality.” [I would ask, if people cannot understand, cannot grasp, cannot accept the Church’s teaching about the indissolubility of marriage, should they be receiving Communion at all?  Perhaps. If that is the only point they are shaky on.  But is it likely that that’s the only weak spot?]

“The conscience of many people is oftentimes blind and deaf to that which is presented to them as Divine Law. That is not a justification of their error, yet an understanding and mercifulness with the erroneous person.”

Therefore, Kasper states that “Amoris Laetitia lays the groundwork for a changed pastoral praxis in a reasoned individual case.” Yet he also says the “Papal document does not draw clear practical conclusions from these premises.[But… let’s see if the Cardinal draws clear practical conclusions from it.] According to Kasper, the Pope leaves the question open, and the very fact of leaving it open is “in itself a magisterial decision of great consequence.”

Kasper explains that the direction of Pope Francis is clear: “One does not need to focus on footnotes. [Ummm… first, the footnotes are the cause of much confusion.  Next, if they are not important, why were they included?] Much more important is that the gradual integration, which is the key topic in question, is directed essentially towards admittance to the Eucharist as full-form of the participation of the life of the Church.”

Kasper quotes Francis’ statement from an in-flight press conference on April 16 wherein he responded to the question if in some cases remarried divorced can receive Communion with the poignant words: “Yes. Period.” This answer is not found in Amoris Laetitia but ‘corresponds to the general ductus.’”  [And so he draws a clear practical conclusion from the document that he says doesn’t draw clear practical conclusions.  Or did I get that wrong?]

According to Kasper, this statement is in full accordance with Canon Law (915 CIC/1983) because it does not negate that “obstinacy to remain in mortal sin” can supposedly be judged in individual cases, and in some cases be excluded. It is even up for discussion whether an objective mortal sin is present in the given case.   [Look how far this has now drifted.]

He adds that the cause of scandal is not necessarily having a person who lives in a second civil marriage receive Communion. Rather, in such a situation, “not the admission but the denial of the sacraments is creating scandal.” [If I am not mistaken, I think he said that it is a scandal to deny Communion to adulterers.  Which turns two thousand years of teaching, starting with Christ Himself, on its head.]

Wow.  Nobody spins like Kasper spins.  He could look you in the eye and without blinking argue that sea urchins are really giraffes.

A Cardinal of the Church says it is a scandal to deny Communion to people who are in an objective state of adultery and the Chicago Cubs are in the World Series.

Is the end of the world and the Lord’s return upon us?

The moderation queue is ON.

Posted in Liberals, One Man & One Woman, Our Catholic Identity, Pò sì jiù, The Drill, What are they REALLY saying?, You must be joking! | Tagged , , , , | 51 Comments

“Today is called the Feast of Crispian…”

Today is called the Feast of Crispian…

Some video versions … in order:

The 3rd c. martyrs Crispin and Crispinian were killed in Soissons.  They converted people as they plied their trade as cobblers and they were generous to the poor.  Eventually they were persecuted by the local governor and eventually beheaded around on 25 Oct 286 in the time of the Emperor Diocletian.  A different version has them in England, in Faversham, which is surely the version Shakespeare worked with.   St. Eligius made a reliquary for the head of Crispinian.

How could we go without some samples of the great speech?

Henry V (1944) directed by and starring Lawrence Olivier

Henry V (1989) directed by and starring Kenneth Branagh

Richard Burton’s version:

Tom Hiddleston from the Hollow Crown series. US HERE UK HERE

Renaissance Man with Lillo Brancato, Jr.

Happy Feast of Sts. Crispin and Crispinian.

And let the revival of our liturgical worship continue.

The numbers of Holy Masses in the Extraordinary Form are growing, though but slowly.    Also, I fear that the number of bishops, priests and laity who accept what the Church teaches about marriage is shrinking.

For now content us saying “the fewer men, the greater share of honour”.

Posted in Saints: Stories & Symbols | Tagged | 8 Comments

Libertarians unmasked!

Like a bad commercial jingle that has become annoying ear worm, libs such as the catholic writers at the National Schismatic Reporter (aka Fishwrap) accuse anyone who favors expansive, dynamic free markets of being a Randian who hates the poor and – *GASP* – a libertarian.   Being a libertarian is about the worst thing you could ever be!   If you are a libertarian you don’t believe in any rules, you think that is great for the rich to oppress the poor, blah blah blah.  If you are a libertarian you might even not want to vote for Hillary!

Actually, libertarian is a rather stupid label to throw around, but it’s effective amongst liberals.  You see, liberals get the whole oppression thing.  Liberal, after all, comes from the root “free”, as in, “I’m a liberal and you are free to agree with me… or else.”

But I digress.

Over at Public Discourse there is an offering by Sam Gregg of ACTON INSTITUTE about the meaning of “libertarian”.   It isn’t what Fishwrappers claim.

Gregg makes some distinctions. He addresses himself to sources far more serious than the Fishwrap, by the way. In the original, over there at PD, you can follow the tantalizing links.

Markets, Catholicism, and Libertarianism

In a recent American Prospect article, John Gehring maintains that Catholics like myself who regard markets as the most optimal set of economic conditions are effectively promoting libertarian philosophy. Gehring’s concerns about libertarianism and what he calls “free market orthodoxy” have been echoed in other places.

The generic argument seems to be the following. Promoting market approaches to economic life involves buying into libertarian ideology. But libertarianism is at odds with Catholicism in important ways. This is especially apparent, the argument goes, in the age of Pope Francis. This pope has been very critical of free markets. To dispute aspects of Francis’s reflections on economic matters thus involves placing yourself at odds with the Pope in the name of libertarianism, a position that no faithful Catholic should want to be in.

What these critics seem to miss is that a favorable assessment of markets and market economics need not be premised on acceptance of libertarianism in any of its many forms.

Insightful Economics

Libertarianism’s great strength lies in economics. Prominent twentieth-century libertarian economists, such as Ludwig von Mises and Friedrich von Hayek, made major contributions to the critique of socialist economics. While ridiculed by some at the time, their criticisms turned out to be spot-on.

In Socialism (1922), for example, Mises illustrated that socialist economies can’t replicate the market price system’s ability to signal the supply and demand status for countless goods and services to consumers and producers at any one point in time. However intelligent and statistically equipped the top-down planners might be (whether they take the form of a Communist politburo, a Fascist dictator, or a 1970s British government), they simply cannot know the optimal price for any good or service at any point in time. Any attempt to dictate prices from the top-down will lead, paradoxically, to economic disorder and dysfunction.

Hayek’s contributions to economic thought are legion. They range from his work on business cycles to monetary theory. One of Hayek’s most significant economic insights concerned the unworkability of centrally planned economies. He called this “the knowledge problem.” The dispersed information and data held by millions of individuals and groups in a given economy, Hayek held, can only be fully utilized in a decentralized economic system characterized by competition and pricing: i.e., a market.

Given the twentieth century’s economic history, the validity of such insights by these scholars is difficult to deny. The truth of their economic views, however, isn’t dependent upon accepting libertarianism as a comprehensive philosophical position.

Inadequate Philosophy

Philosophically speaking, Mises associated himself, especially in Human Action (1949), with Epicureanism and utilitarianism. Hayek’s views were more complicated.


Read the rest there.

Further down he gets into Pope Francis and his economic views.  Very interesting.

Posted in The Drill | Tagged , , , , | 11 Comments

DePaul University Pres. Fr. Dennis Holtschneider prohibits ‘Unborn Lives Matter’ posters


See the write up on this in the Detroit News.

When pro-life students at the largest Catholic university in America set out to recruit others to their cause, they probably didn’t expect a Catholic cleric to brand them bigots for it.

But that’s what DePaul University’s president the Rev. Dennis Holtschneider seemed to do in a recent note to Chicago’s Blue Demons.


____ Originally Published on: Oct 25, 2016 @ 02:31

I want everyone to know this name:

Father Dennis Holtschneider

He is President of DePaul University.

This is from the Washington Times:

Catholic university prohibits ‘Unborn Lives Matter’ posters on campus

The nation’s largest Catholic university told a group of pro-life students that it could not display posters reading “Unborn Lives Matter,” lest they provoke the Black Lives Matter movement.

In a letter to the College Republicans, DePaul University president Father Dennis Holtschneider said the posters contained “bigotry” veiled “under the cover of free speech,” the Daily Wire reported.  [?!?]

“By our nature, we are committed to developing arguments and exploring important issues that can be steeped in controversy and, oftentimes, emotion,” Mr. Holtschneider said in the letter. “Yet there will be times when some forms of speech challenge our grounding in Catholic and Vincentian values. When that happens, you will see us refuse to allow members of our community be subjected to bigotry that occurs under the cover of free speech.

Citing the university’s Guiding Principles on Speech and Expression, he said the poster “provokes the Black Lives Matter movement” and therefore needs to be redesigned.[So, he’s a coward.]

The prohibition of conservative speech is becoming routine at DePaul.

Last August, the DePaul Young Americans for Freedom were prohibited from inviting Ben Shapiro to the Chicago campus. The administration cited security concerns.

And after protesters stormed the stage at his May lecture, Milo Yiannopoulos was told that he could not return to DePaul for a followup performance the following month.

Mr. Holtschneider denounced Mr. Yiannopoulos as a “self-serving provocateur” who is “unworthy” of university discourse.

Everyone… Holtschneider… Dennis Holtschneider… Fr. Dennis Holtschneider of DePaul University.

Are you thinking about a school?  Think again.  Are you a donor or alumnus? Express your thoughts to the school’s president.

Posted in Emanations from Penumbras, Liberals, The Olympian Middle, You must be joking! | Tagged , , | 27 Comments

ROME 2 – Day 1: Exorcisms, guts, and Roman altars

The pilgrimage group having dispersed in Venice, we made our way to Lake Garda simply to rest up and have a nice view. That was gloriously accomplished. Now it’s time for the third phase. I headed back to Rome for my own pilgrimage: Summorum Pontificum.

Having taken possession of my quarters for the week, I saw to the essentials. First, I blessed Holy Water and, with it, the room.

Then I had to get groceries, including the essential coppiette.

The Campo.

And this, friends, is what an altar should look like. No?

So, I’m back in Rome.  I have quite a bit to do in the next few days, but I’ll also have time to kick back, as well.  Tonight I met a priest friend for supper and caught up on all sorts of good goings in the City.

It’s still fairly early.  Perhaps I’ll watch a movie on my laptop.

Posted in On the road, What Fr. Z is up to | 4 Comments

“Be Thou unto us, O Lord, a help when we go forward, a comfort by the way…”

Workshop_of_Andrea_del_Verrocchio._Tobias_and_the_Angel._33x26cm._1470-75._NG_LondonAs it is the Feast of Raphael the Archangel in the older, traditional Roman calendar, I’ll share something I wrote for the UK’s best Catholic weekly… also, I’m traveling today, back to Rome after a nice rest at Lake Garda.


As I tap on my awkwardly propped laptop in a van bouncing on Roman streets, my mind turns to Archangel Raphael.   I invoked him in the prayer called the Itinerarium, raised before a journey. Our pilgrimage group is heading north.   Raphael is a protector of travelers, as we know from the book of Tobit. In the National Gallery in London there is a lovely painting by Verrocchio of Tobit (Tobias) and his fish, a jaunty Raphael, and, of course, a bit with a dog. In the traditional calendar of the Roman Church we celebrate the Feasts of the Archangels Michael, Gabriel and Raphael individually. Monday 24 October is the Feast of St Raphael.

Stepping out your door is a mysterious event. Ancient Romans had liminal deities (Latin limen is a threshold), the most famous of which is Janus, the god with two faces, one old, one young. A ianua is a doorway and our month January looks both forward and backward. When we go forth from our houses and churches to be about our daily business, we cross thresholds of hope and plunge into the unknown. Given the perils and vicissitudes of our modern world, with so many allurements to distract and trip the soul, we do well to pray to our angel guardians as we get under way.

Speaking of getting underway, here are a couple of the prayers of the aforementioned Itinerarium, which I prayed moments before plunging out of Rome and onto the Autostrada.

O God, who didst call Thy servant Abraham out of Ur of the Chaldees, and didst keep him from evil through all the ways of his pilgrimage, we beseech Thee, that it may please Thee to keep us Thy servants. Be Thou unto us, O Lord, a help when we go forward, a comfort by the way, a shadow from the heat, a covering from the rain and the cold, a chariot in weariness, a refuge in trouble, a staff in slippery paths, a haven in shipwreck Do Thou lead us, that we may happily come thither where we would be, and thereafter come again safe unto our own home.

Graciously hear our supplications, O Lord, we beseech Thee, and order the goings of Thy servants in the safe path that leadeth unto salvation in Thee, that amidst all the manifold changes of this life’s pilgrimage, Thy shield may never cease from us.


Posted in On the road | Tagged , | 10 Comments

ASK FATHER: An old priest gets confused, hard to understand

old_priest_by_vidagr-d5laqk6From a reader…

Our parish has a mass that is served by an increasingly elderly and frail priest. His physical limitations are what they are. The concern that he needs prompting through the entire mass, not just the daily changes, but including prayers and the consecration. Also despite prompting from his loyal assistant sections are often mumbled, and the congregation can’t understand what is being said. At what point do we have to worry about whether the mass is valid? Or confessions?

Isn’t it a wonderful consolation that Christ took our human infirmity into mind before founding His Church and priesthood?  He knew that we – his priests – would grow old, get sick, suffer from the effects of the Original Sin which He came to resolve.

There were a couple summers when, back from Rome at my home parish, the pastor would send me (bottom of the pecking order by far) over to the chapel each day to help the octogenarian priest he allowed to come every day for the afternoon Mass.  I often questioned this choice by the pastor.  This priest, by the way, was in the 3rd wave at Normandy and was at the Battle of the Bulge.  He was an ornery little cuss.  Many were the times when I would have to have him back up and do something over for validity, though I learned to let some things slide.  He was hard to work with.  However, over time, this former Lutheran of Prussian descent learned a lot from having a church in Italy and helping this old priest.

Would there have been times when I wasn’t there and Mass wasn’t valid because he did not get the words of consecration right?  Probably.  Would there have been times that he didn’t get the form of absolution right? Probably.

And yet Jesus chose us poor men, who get old.  I’m sorry that we can’t be 33 years perfect for you all the time.  Talk to the Lord about that when you see Him.  I, for one, want to have a serious discussion with Him about why He made our breathing tubes and eating tubes cross.  Perhaps that’s so that He could kill off some of us when we were done.  Perhaps.

There is a huge difference between the work of the elderly and the work of the able bodied.  Were I a bishop, I would bring the wrath of God down on a man who, completely sui compos, changed or omitted sacramental forms.  Believe me: The Ride of the Valkyries and Robert Duval would be nothing compared to what that priest would experience at my hands were I to get involved.

But when it comes to old priests… who’ve serve for 5, 6, 7 decades… I’d try to give them them lots of support to keep working if they wanted to.

Thousands of Masses.  Many thousands of confessions.  Hundreds of baptisms and marriages.  Countless acts of counseling and kindness. Tens of thousands of hours of praying the breviary and rosary.  Many hours of suffering.  Old priests and old soldiers….

Thank the Lord, folks, when you get an old curmudgeon in a confessional once in a while who cuts through all your oblique patter.

Lots of lib priests retired as soon as they can.  Lots of faithful priest want to die with their boots on.

I know old priests who want to die saying Mass.  I’ve actually watched a couple priests die while saying Mass.

None of this, of course, diminishes the problems of invalid Masses or confessions.  Yes, that’s a problem.  The faithful shouldn’t ever have to wonder or doubt.  There are also the issues of stipends.

Yet… Jesus didn’t change our human nature when He chose us.  We are still weak and infirm, sinners and sinned against.

Maybe this can teach lay people about how very alone an older priest can be.  You might not think about that.  You really should think about that.  Some of them soldier on without a lot of support.  I, for one, in my present circumstances might not be missed for some time, were something to happen.

As priests get older, and their condition of life changes, they look back on what they gave up.  It is sometimes harder for the older priests than for the younger men, whose zeal can carry them forward more easily.  I’m starting to get this more and more as my hair rapidly goes gray or simply takes a break.

Let’s always keep our eyes on these old guys and get them extra help when questions come up.  Be good to them.  Thank them.  They just want to be of service. Their whole identity for their entire lives, for which they sacrificed so much, is tied to the activity of being a priest!

Posted in "How To..." - Practical Notes, ASK FATHER Question Box, Priests and Priesthood | Tagged | 40 Comments

Your Sunday Sermon Notes

Was there a good point or two in the sermon you heard for your Mass of Sunday obligation?

Let us know.

I, for one, did not preach!

However, I did meditate during Mass on how silly differences tend to keep conservatives and traditional Catholics apart and, thus divided, weaker than they could be, while libs, dissenters and heretics work together to tear everything down.  Petty problems shouldn’t part us.  Paul was wise to admonish people never to let the sun go down on their anger.

Posted in SESSIUNCULA | 17 Comments

The war is here.

I would like to be able to write like Anthony Esolen every day.  His latest, at the increasingly useful Crisis, is not to be missed.

Most of us who are paying attention to the signs of the times, know that something is heading straight towards us that, while it will be done unto us according to God’s permissive will, we aren’t going to enjoy.   Esolen says it in his piece as bluntly as I’ve been saying it for a while too: We are at war.

In this War, there will be the usual suspects.  History repeats and we tend to divide up rather like stock characters in commedia dell’arte.

Esolen identifies four groups which will emerge when the persecution of the Church really gets going.  I’ll give you a taste, by means of excerpts, but you really must go there to read it yourselves.

What Will You Do When the Persecution Comes?

I know there are plenty of Catholics who are, in one way or another, looking forward to the relentless institutional persecution that is coming our way unless we surrender the One Thing Needful to the secular left, and that is the family-destroying and state-feeding beast called the Sexual Revolution, with its seven heads and ten horns and the harlot squatting atop it. As I see it, these Catholics belong to four groups.

The Persecutor
First are the Persecutors. These people hate the Church, and that is why they remain ostensible members of it. They desire from within to punish the Church for what they perceive to be her sins, which these days have nothing to do with her teachings on the Trinity or the nature of Christ, but with sex—so tawdry are our heresies. O Arius, Arius, would that we had such as you for our enemy! The Persecutor has unbridled contempt for Pope John Paul II, the too-lenient father whom the Persecutor, like a spoiled brat, portrays as a tyrant, and for Benedict XVI, whose broad-ranging and penetrating intellect makes the Persecutor feel puny by comparison.


The Quisling
Second, the Quislings. The Quisling does not hate the Church, but he does not love her, either. He is a worldling and craves the approval of the world. He believes in “the future,” and that means he is easy prey for the peddlers of ideological fads: a field mouse against the Great Horned Owl. He is embarrassed by tradition. He is seldom brave enough to express formal heresy, just as he is seldom brave enough to defend the Church with any clarity or confidence. He seems pleasant enough, is perfectly lamb-like when it comes to wining and dining with the powerful, but will turn with a pent-up frustration against the ordinary churchgoer who dares to question his prudence. If he is a bishop, he is secretly happy to close churches and sell off their property, comforting himself with the thought that he is doing what is only necessary in hard times, and blaming the parishioners themselves for failing to bring up their children in the faith—when in point of fact he and the chancery have given them no help at all in doing so, and have usually checked them at every pass.


The Avenger
Then comes the Avenger. He has tried to live in accord with the Church, and has received mainly contempt from her, or neglect, or persecution. That has curdled him within, and he now hates the Church such as she is more than he loves her as the bride of Christ. He sees that the Church has compromised herself by taking Caesar’s coin, even when Caesar offered it at first with the most innocent of intentions, and so he looks forward to the time when Holy Mother will have to do without that money. It occurs to him that that will kill an untold number of Catholic schools and colleges, but he says that they deserve to die; and he does not clearly consider how many souls will be lost. To him, it is better that there should be no Catholic school at all, than that there should be a school struggling to remain Catholic in a bad time—struggling, and often failing, but struggling for all that.


The Soldier
Last we have the Soldier. The Soldier complains about his superiors not because they give him bad orders, but because they give him no orders at all. He wants to do battle, and is willing to be led. He knows that war is hell, but that he and the Church have not sought the war. The war and the demons who lead it have sought the Church, to adulterate her or to kill her. The Soldier would prefer peace: he would prefer that his country might return to at least a worldly sanity, and grant the Church the liberty that she is owed and that redounds to the great benefit of the state itself.


Each one of those lacunae represents great reading.

Lately I’ve cited the message attributed to Leon Trotsky: You might not be interested in war, but war is interested in you.

I can’t shake the premonition that, shortly, we are really going to be in it up to our necks.   We should all start getting our heads into a mental place where we will be better able to handle the stresses to come.  Prepare for darker times.

Fathers: May I make a suggestion?  Can you say a Mass, a Mass with a particular formulary, by heart? No book?  All the antiphons? The readings, too?  This could be useful in the future.  Remember, too, that wine valid for Mass can be made from raisins.    It should resemble regular wine as much as possible.  Some Easterners makes wine for their Eucharist from raisins, by letting the desiccated grapes set in water for sometime so that fermentation will take place.  File that away in your memory and start memorizing stuff.


Posted in Be The Maquis, Our Catholic Identity, Semper Paratus, Si vis pacem para bellum!, The Coming Storm, The future and our choices, The Last Acceptable Prejudice, The Olympian Middle | Tagged , | 28 Comments

Archbp. Chaput: a smaller Church of fewer believers rather than compromise orthodoxy

16_08_14_Madonna_del_Soccorso_01Every once in a while people opine about whether or not it would be good (and not just inevitable) to have a smaller, leaner, more faithful Church rather than one filled (mainly?) by mere cultural Catholics or CINOs. Benedict XVI spoke about a “creative minority” in larger society. This speaks to our Catholic identity, which has been so devastated since the 60’s by enervated and even faithless preaching of pabulum or downright error, feckless leadership in the public square, and flaccid, aimless, evacuated liturgy.

John Allen at Crux 2.0 has a report about comments made by Philly’s Archbp. Chaput at Notre Shame, for the 2016 Bishops’ Symposium, “Reclaiming the Church for the Catholic Imagination.” It was sponsored by the USCCB and an ND think tank.  My emphases and comments.

Philly’s Chaput welcomes idea of smaller, holier Church

In a stark prognosis for contemporary Catholicism, [To use an image from the ancient world, the doctor doesn’t stop cutting just because the patient is screaming for him to stop.] a leader of the conservative wing of the U.S. hierarchy has said that “a smaller, lighter Church” of fewer but holier believers is preferable to one that promotes inclusion at the expense of orthodoxy.  [I think not all of his fellow bishops agree with that.]
In a speech delivered Oct. 19 at the University of Notre Dame, Philadelphia Archbishop Charles Chaput also suggested that many prominent Catholics are so weak in their faith that they ought to leave the Church. [Do I hear an “Amen!”?]
Chaput singled out Democrats such as Vice President Joe [the Theologian] Biden and vice presidential nominee Tim [Quisling] Kaine for special criticism, linking them to the concept of a “silent apostasy” coined by Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI and saying Catholics who do not champion the truth of Church teaching are “cowards.” [YES!]
“Obviously we need to do everything we can to bring tepid Catholics back to active life in the Church,” Chaput told a symposium for bishops and their staff members at the South Bend, Ind. campus. [And that project, Your Excellency, must be accomplished especially through a revitalization of our sacred liturgical worship.]
But we should never be afraid of a smaller, lighter Church if her members are also more faithful, more zealous, more missionary and more committed to holiness.  [They will be more articulate and exemplary in the public square.]
Losing people who are members of the Church in name only is an imaginary loss,” he continued. “It may in fact be more honest for those who leave and healthier for those who stay. We should be focused on commitment, not numbers or institutional throw-weight.”  [Right.  What would we be losing by losing them?  The occasional presence and contribution at Christmas and Easter?]
Chaput’s ideas channeled a lively and long-standing debate in Church circles – intensified by Pope Francis’s open-arms approach to ministry – about whether Catholicism should be a smaller and more tradition-minded community, or a larger and more inclusive Church of imperfect believers at various stages in their spiritual pilgrimages. [Get! Out!]
In the context of the coming presidential vote, Chaput’s speech was also the latest in a series of pronouncements by conservative bishops and Catholic activists who have blasted Democrats [The Party of Death] as Election Day draws closer.


You can read more of Allen’s report on this speech over there.

The full transcript of Chaput’s talk is HERE.

I like the way he started out:

As I sat down to write my talk last week, a friend emailed me a copy of a manuscript illustration from the 13th century.  It’s a picture of Mary punching the devil in the nose.  She doesn’t rebuke him.  She doesn’t enter into a dialogue with him.  She punches the devil in the nose.  So I think that’s the perfect place to start our discussion.

This all brings up the contended point:

Should they just get out?

Posted in Hard-Identity Catholicism, Our Catholic Identity, The Drill, The future and our choices | Tagged , , | 53 Comments

Spiritual Super Powers: Monks of Norcia and Card. Sarah

I am reading Card. Sarah’s new book “The Power of Silence: against the dictatorship of noise”.  It is profound.  What a tonic for the confused pabulum we are getting from… elsewhere.

I got a note from the Benedictine monks of Norcia – who make great beer – about the visit of Card. Sarah to their earthquake stricken digs.

“It reminds me of Bethlehem.”

With these words, Robert Cardinal Sarah, Prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship at the Vatican, brought consolation and inspiration to the ears of his listeners — the 10 monks of San Benedetto in Monte. In the early hours of October 22, we gathered together for the Cardinal’s blessing of our temporary living quarters.

After sprinkling the kitchen, scriptorium, beds and chapel, he declared gently but powerfully: “I am certain that the future of the Church is in the monasteries… because where prayer is, there is the future.”

Planned long before the earthquake, His Eminence’s visit for a speech to the local lay chapter of the Association of St. Benedict, Patron of Europe, became the occasion for a visit to the damaged buildings and personal time with the monks. After assisting at Conventual Mass in choir, the Cardinal brought his gentle tone and gracious words to an informal gathering of the entire monastic community and answered our questions with candor and depth, reminding us that, just as Pope Benedict XVI has given us an example of the importance of prayers, we are called to be men of prayer for the entire Church, to help bring up to heaven all who encounter us in one broad sursum corda.

This delightful visit was no doubt the highlight of the week, but as we prepared for it we also cleaned the property and enjoyed an intense mountain hike to explore the 17th century stone walls surrounding the property. We were searching for the best places to pray — and for a spot to picnic!
Other discoveries this week have included the surprise donation of a gas stove top from a local restaurant. Monks in town made a fraternal visit to the Benedictine monastery of S. Pietro in Perugia which has often hosted our monks while they study Italian. The leaves are now changing color and the mountainside of Norcia reminds of autumn in New England. We know many there and throughout the world are praying for us and as winter comes closer, know that your prayers are appreciated as we now have roofs over our heads and a warm fire. Deo Volente, we might just have our church of San Benedetto in Monte open by Christmas. A new Bethlehem indeed.

We produce below a transcript of the Cardinal’s words to the monks at San Benedetto in Monte following the blessing:

Thank you for this welcome, for the prayer this morning, and for asking me to bless this house, which reminds me of Bethlehem, where it all began. Salvation began in Bethlehem, in absolute poverty, and I think that we should follow Christ in this, in His poverty, which is also the humility of God. God is humble, God is poor, but He is rich in love. To live here means that your heart is full of the love of God, for you cannot live with God without loving him. Love is at the center of all of our work. This is why the revelation that Jesus gives us says that the Lord, our Father, is love, and that everything we do comes from love, above all.

I ask that this be a place of love for the Lord. I am certain that the future of the Church is in the monasteries, because where prayer is, there is the future. Where there is no prayer, there is disaster, division, war. Perhaps I am not an optimist, but I see that a church that doesn’t pray is a disastrous church. Since you are a church that prays, the whole of the Church is here.

So I thank you for your commitment, for this manifestation of your love, for the expression of your love in continuous prayer. Pray for the Church, pray for the Holy Father, for his collaborators and for me. I promise you now that I am familiar with your home, that I will always pray for you and ask the Lord to continue to send you more young men to join your life that serves the Lord in prayer, in silence and, above all, in solitude.

Thank you, pray for me. I promise to pray for you. And if the Lord gives me life, perhaps I will return to see your new home. But never forget poverty, never forget humility, and if your house is beautiful, remain always humble and poor. Thank you.

– Robert Cardinal Sarah –
October 22, 2016

Posted in SESSIUNCULA | Tagged , | 9 Comments